Pop Sunday

Simon Love / “I Love Everybody In The Whole Wode World (Except You)” and “Me and You.”

Simon Love

I Love Everybody In The Whole Wide World (Except You)/Me And You (Tapete)

Simon Love has been mighty busy these past couple of decades, and while doing so, has crafted a slew of great music. From 2000 to 2011, the Welsh singer/songwriter fronted The Loves, ensued by a stint with The Knickers. Simon eventually decided to go it alone, and his third solo album, “Love, Sex, Death etc,” is slated to be issued the eighth of April. Until the disc is available, here’s a look at two singles that have already been released from the forthcoming package.

Spitting bullets at an obviously despised individual, “I Love Everybody In The Whole Wide World (Except You)” is a potent production, conducted by impassioned vocals combining the salty nasal-pitched whine of Ray Davies with the rootsy drawl of Leon Russell. Corking piano chords, sweeping hooks and a nifty sing-along and bob your head type chorus are also responsible for propelling the track. 

Busting at the buttons with rounds of glorious melodies, “Me And You” sails in as a neatly-chiseled pop pleasure, bouncing and swinging to a display of brass orchestration, fetching licks, heavenly harmonies and hale and hardy drumming. Simon’s lilting vocals – caught somewhere between shades of The Monkees and Teenage Fan Club – top the tune with a suitable shimmer and polish. As an additional sweetner, “Me And You” is a valentine to Simon’s wife.

If these songs are any indication of what the rest of the material on “Love, Sex And Death etc” offers, a very enjoyable album is definitely to be had. 

Big Stir Records & SpyderPop Records / 2021 Retrospective

Various Artists

Big Stir Records/SpyderPop Records 2021 Retrospective

Big Stir and SpyderPop made a good move when teaming up in early 2021. Since then, the paired imprints have released a brace of fabulous recordings and will clearly continue to do so. To mark their first anniversary, the partnered rosters have issued “2021 Retrospective,” which includes samplings of their wonderful wares.

Because each song boasts its own merit, it is a tough job knowing where to start and pencil in favorites. But beginning with the Armoires seems fair, considering this is the band fronted by Big Stir owners Christina Bulbenko and Rex Broome. After all, if it wasn’t for these fine folks, there would be no “Retrospective 2021.” So here’s “Great Distances” that blends jiggly rhythms, jingly guitars and unique hooks with equal portions of beauty and bite.

Chris Church’s “Learn” shuffles to a springy slam-banging beat, while Danny Wilkerson’s “You Still Owe Me A Kiss” blossoms with polished piano flourishes, arresting guitar arrangements and industrious breaks. The Stan Laurels take the stage with the gorgeously textured Teenage Fan Club styled “Tomorrow,” where the Speed Of Sound’s “Tomorrow’s World” resonates with modernized new wave elements. 

Power pop icons the Flashcubes and Mimi Betinis of Pezband join forces on a cover of Pezband’s classic “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” Steve Stoeckel of the Spongetones fame weighs in with the elegant folky baroque strum of “Birds,” and Nick Frater’s bright and zesty “It’s All Rumours” lifts cues from both Paul McCartney and Billy Joel. 

Irena Pena’s version of Fountain of Wayne’s “It Must Be Summer” is typically poptastic, and “It’s For Fun (That’s All We’re Living For)” by the Forty Nineteens is a swinging slab of perspiration-soaked garage rock sizzling with attitude and action. The legendary Sorrows reincarnate the heart and soul of British Invasion pop with maximum impact on the catchy and charming “Christabelle,” and then there’s the Lunar Laugh’s “I Wanna Know” that rings to the rafters with fresh melodies and handsome West Coast inspired harmonies. 

Truly an embarrassment of riches, “2021 Restrospective” represents what a great record label should be. I could babble on and on about these terrific artists and their contributions, but hear the tunes yourself and raise a toast to their efforts. Peddling diversity and quality, “2021 Retrospective”  magnifies Big Stir/SpyderPop’s impeccable taste in music on every track. It goes without saying they are one of the most interesting and exciting banners around.  

mylittlebrother / Howl


Howl (Big Stir Records) 2020

Formed 2012 in Cumbria, England, mylittlebrother features lead singer and pianist Will Harris, guitarist and vocalist Dan Mason, bassist and vocalist Robin Howson and drummer and vocalist Simon Buttress. The quartet recently released their long-awaited second full-length album, Howl, which is rich with sterling surprises.

Armed with a lovely voice emphasizing his British accent, Will sings his shrewdly-scripted  songs on Howl with equal measures of warmth, charm and intensity. The band is truly terrific,  delivering daring instrumental stunts, complemented by waves of in-the-pocket harmonies. A perfect pop song from head to toe, Responsibility romps and rolls to a biting hook, punctured with a burst of whistling sixties styled organ thrills. Built upon an attractive arrangement, a giddy chorus of “ba ba ba ba ba’s” and a flicker of freaky guitar gestures, Janey further embodies mylittlebrother’s knack for producing catchy pop rock. Quirky fret-fingering also arrives on the ear-splitting backwards distortion of Fallen, while Goldmine shakes and shuffles to a rather funky feel.

Starting off in a streamlined rock setting, Chicago is actually three songs mashed into a suite of sorts. The track ultimately transpires into a ravishing piano piece, flooded with melody and light. Majestic piano work is once again exercised on Time Of Our Lives, a sweeping ballad sure to steal the soul, and the title cut of the album favors a hard-edged rhythm and temper.

Comparisions to artists such as The Coral, The Granddaddys and Teenage Fan Club have often been pinned on mylittlebrother. But as Howl attests, they really sound like nobody except mylittlebrother. And that in itself is a good enough reason to give a listen to these engaging songs.