The High Dials and Tam Johnstone

The High Dials “Yestergraves” EP
The High Dials have evolved their style, shedding the psychedelic influences and moving up a few decades to the late ’80s on Yestergraves. Fans of Depech Mode and The Cure will find a lot to like in the title track. The next song “Echoes and Empty Rooms” is a cool update on The Psychedelic Furs sound. While this is all well and good, I kind of miss the old synth-free band that focused on a more guitar centric melodies.



Tam Johnstone “Cockatoo”
Loved Tam Johnstone’s work years ago on the great The General Store album, so I was totally into this roaring 1920’s soundtrack that’s oddly compelling. If you liked Paul McCartney’s period Music Hall single “Honey Pie” — imagine an entire album of this stuff.

All done with a tongue-in-cheek attitude and great radio acting as well. The slow melody/radio play of “Under The Moonlight” is contrasted by goofy absurdity of “Be-Bop Skiddly-Doo” including faux Louie Armstrong vocals. Just imagine if 10cc played at the Overlook Hotel, and you’ll get the sweet ballad “I Still Dream Of You.” And the title track is another hilarious vamp that combines The Muppet Show theme with Monty Python humor. Honestly, Tam’s talent shines underneath all the period trappings and weirdness. Go really, really retro and give it a listen.

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