My radio dial seems stuck on 1965, if today’s featured tracks are anything to go by. But both selections are actually brand new releases. Justin Angelo Morey knows the 1960s well, mining the psychedelic rock sounds of the time for multiple albums with his band The Black Hollies. But on this outing he dials things back a few years, with drums, guitars and a song structure that is so Beatles for Sale or anything by The Searchers. “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” brims with jangly guitar accents and an economical lead line that would make George Harrison proud. While Morey’s other recent singles (“I Want Your Love” and “Tell Me What’s Your Name”) also lean into the mid-1960s for inspiration, they’re more in the Yardbirds or Rolling Stones milieu. Personally I’d love to hear a few more tracks in this poppy Merseybeat vein. John Myrtle comes at things from a softer side of the 1960s. His earlier releases gave off a Donovan folkie vibe or the Moody Blues in a poetic moment. But his new album Mytle Soup ups the tempo and turns to more sunny pop hooks. “How Can You Tell If You Love Her” opens with a riff reminiscent of XTC’s “Love on a Farmboy’s Wages” but from there the song is firmly rooted in 1965, calling up flashes of Peter and Gordon and The Hollies. The song is a stunning evocation of the period, complete with a delightfully understated instrumental break at the one minute mark.
I end up in 1965 – musically – so often some might say my radio is broken. But I’m not complaining. There’s a joy in that moment of musical history that contemporary artists keep going back to and making their own. Today’s artists are exhibit A.