With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2020 Part 17 November 19, 2020


Halfway through November, a few weeks to Chrimbo, therefore it must be time for another singles round up! Our 17th of 2020. This one features five great tracks, which were all launched into our locked down shaken up world in recent weeks. These tracks are by acts from Toronto, Los Angeles and three from the UK. Three of these acts, King Nun, Lucid Phase and AXLS, have featured on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem before. I am extremely confident that all of those and the newly featured artists will appear again sometime in the future. Get these songs in your lugholes immediately!

“Helpless” – Rhye

A beautifully crafted slice of modern R & B intertwined with chilled electronica and sprinkled with some magical jazz dust. Rhye is the alter ego of Canadian singer and musician Michael Milosh. He has a new album, ‘Home’, due out early next year and if “Helpless” is a good indicator it will be pretty damned good!

“Discotek” – AXLS

AXLS and their singer Victoria O have featured on these pages a few times and their new single is well worthy of another mention for them. It has a doomy dark Depeche Mode and yet happy synth bass riff with electronic keyboard shapes and washes worthy of Giorgio Moroder. Victoria is on top form vocally and she drives the tune with a swirling, cinematic performance. Kylie’s new album “Disco” is not very disco at all, this floor filling banger is possibly the best disco track I have heard in a while and I was a mobile DJ for more than 30 years!

“Dance” – Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres

This is taken from Alexandra’s album “2 Years A Stranger” and it is simply gorgeous. I love the way she uses the space between notes and it is no surprise to me that she has composed film soundtracks. It feels like she can turn a simple, yet beautiful, melody something epic. I am no modern classical aficionado, but I know good music when I hear it. Alexandra will be sound tracking my working day tomorrow!

“Human Fly” – King Nun

I was lucky enough to review King Nun’s album, ‘Mass’ last year and was intrigued to hear their take on the Cramps classic “Human Fly”. It was put out just in time for Halloween, so humble apologies for my tardiness. There is a slight hook from the Addams Family theme at the start and two of the band dressed as Addams Family characters for the occasion; Wednesday Adams and Uncle Fester if you wondered. The monochrome video is ace and shows a band that looks like they are really enjoying themselves. My view on cover versions is make it different and make it good. Well King Nun have made it slightly different from the wonderful original version, but most importantly they have made a fucking great version of it!

“Ghost Orchids” – Lucid Phase Featuring the Late Ones

A sublime summery anthem from the uber-chilled Lucid Phase gang. Reggae and dub vibes which cannot fail to make you feel good. I have reviewed a previous Lucid Phase release and I would be more than happy to do more. This is a great band with yet another stand-out song! Check them out, that’s an order. A small request from me, how about a latin version of the song, entitled “Dendrophylax_lindenii”? If you can make a chorus and hook from that I will always be your number one fan!

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“Golden” – Harry Styles November 18, 2020

Filed under: Observation,Rants,Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:06 pm
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I might get some flack for this post, but do you know what? I don’t care. Regular readers will know that I have never been a big fan of boy bands particularly the likes of Boyzone, Westlife and yes, One Direction (or Wand Erection as they have been called). However every so often, or maybe every generation, there is the rare occurrence when a boy band breaks up and one of the team proves that they have something so much more to offer. I guess George Michael is the most shining example of that, some might say so was Robbie Williams, although I have never been a fan of the latter. I should add a small note of praise for Charlie Simpson from Busted who branched out nicely with Fightstar though.

But right now I believe a really talented 21st Century pop star who was formerly in a boy band is in our midst and making an amazing mark on the world. I am talking about Harry Styles. I loved his eponymously titled first album from back in 2017 and I think that last years ‘Fine Line’ is even better. The new single, “Golden” is the fifth single to be released from ‘Fine Line’ and I suspect that it won’t be the last. “Golden” harks back to the finest 70s pop rock anthems. The “doo doo doo” part reminds me of America’s “You Can Do Magic” hit from 1982. I will go as far as saying that “Golden” is one of my favourite singles of 2020, it makes me feel good every time I hear it. OK, so now I have confessed to the world that I am a Harry Styles fan and in doing so I hope that I have proved that I am not a music snob, well not too much of one anyway, although I really don’t like Robbie Williams’ music and I have always found Gary Barlow to be a bit of an arse! Oh and I also love the Vogue cover shots that Harry did, that took balls!

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Jorvik Radio – 1st Birthday Bash – Online Stream – Saturday 7th November 2020 November 17, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:40 pm
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Jorvik Radio, probably the best community radio station in the UK, turned one year old this month and to celebrate they put together an online streamed mini festival on Saturday 7th November. It featured seven very different and very talented acts. Kicking off with the Serotones, a fantastic young band from York. This lot are the bastard children of the Stone Roses and possibly J. Mascis (off of Dinosaur Jr.) too. Yes I know the Shed Seven connection, but I am talking about how they sound. The guitarist has the talent to match John Squire and the vocals are definitely a tad better than Ian Brown’s. Was there a better choice to kick off Jorvik Radio’s first birthday bash? I don’t think so.

Next up were Scarborough’s rather excellent, the Feens, to describe them simply as an indie band would be doing the Feens a great disservice, they are so much more than that with wide ranging influences including Arcade Fire and maybe even Blur. The vocals are incredibly soulful and spot on. What should a band do when they have two stunning singers in their ranks? Use them both to great effect of course. A great performance on vocals from Freddie and Adam.

Bonnie and the Bailers ( although a bit short on Bailers for this gig) are new to me, but I have a hunch they will appear on this site a lot more. Bonnie’s vocals have a tremendous depth of emotion and passion. Without a full band and just guitars she proves just how powerful her voice is. Ably supported by Bull’s guitarist, more of them later, Bonnie powers through an excellent set. “Gravy” is simply weird, wonderful and frankly beautiful. In my opinion Bonnie has the potential to become a Janis Joplin for the 21st Century.

Everyone loves Tony Wright, right? well if you’re a fan of Terrorvision you definitely do. This was a brilliant acoustic set from Tony with support from another guitarist. Wright is now very much a Yorkshire music legend and he plays that role in a very unassuming fashion. The songs are very autobiographical and in the main full-on story songs. It is often said that the mark of a great song is how it sounds in a simple acoustic setting, if that is true then Tony Wright’s set was full of absolute classics. “Do You Love Me” is perhaps one of the finest love songs that I have heard in a long while. In contrast “Janine/ Jeanette” was a bloody hilarious singalong.

Hip Hop from York? Who knew? Keon, playing his first solo non-DJ show for quite a while absolutely smashed it. This bloke knows his stuff and has the great knack and immense talent for spitting perfect ciphers. Flying the flag high for British Hip Hop. Keon also had a wonderful choice of beats to back his linguistic eloquence, particularly Souls Of Mischief. I am most definitely a Keon fan now!

The penultimate act was Hello Operator a band that I have had the pleasure of seeing live quite a few times and they just get better and better every time. They are now a well established full-on rock band drawing their influences from across the whole lineage of British Rock; the Kinks, Led Zeppelin, Blur and many more. They have that classic rock sound that Oasis always threatened to achieve but never did. Their eponymous debut album is out now, check it out, you will not be disappointed.

Bull are another great York band that just get better and better each time I see them. There are not many bands like Bull, they are close to genre defying. An incredibly tight band, original, talented and purveyors of great vocals, heavenly harmonies and stupendous songs. If I had to describe them I would say maybe jangly 90s indie spliced with Velvet Underground, Teenage Fanclub, Blur, the Beach Boys and the Clash. They recently signed a record deal so we will have so much more to look forward to from them. OK until real gigs return this rather splendid online show was a strong substitute. A massive happy birthday to Jorvik Radio and may you have many more!

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“All For Me” – The Kecks November 3, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:33 pm
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I had the pleasure of reviewing “Modern Girls”, an earlier single from the Kecks, back in April this year. That was a magnificent punky tune with a great message about the pitfalls of this modern social media world. “All For Me” is their new single, released last month. What makes a great band in my opinion is diversity of sound and “All For Me” is on a completely different level to “Modern Girls”. It is an extraordinary emotional stygian dark ballad which would rank alongside some of Scott Walker’s finest moments. Vocally Uschmaan at times sounds like Bowie at his Berlin best with a splash of Richard Hawley. This song may salve your wounded heart and help you get through another lockdown. The song grabbed me and pulled me into its core on the first listen, and I don’t want to leave.

Band photograph by Denis Uhreniuk

The wacky, weird, wired and wonderful video which accompanies “All For Me” is a masterful short film by Ingo Stahl. I have watched it five times while writing this review and there is something new to discover each time. Some of you faint hearted oddities might find it disturbing at times, but persevere because the music is subtle, sublime and sensational. If you have not heard the Kecks yet, then this is a great place to start! Every time I get the chance to review a great song it makes my longing for a return to gigs even stronger! The Kecks are definitely on my 2021 gig list!

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“Panic Attack” – Doozer McDooze November 1, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 3:43 pm
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How does one man make so much noise? I don’t really care how, because Doozer McDooze makes a great noise! Hi new single “Panic Attack” is absolute proof of his great noise credentials. It is a rollicking, acoustic, stomping punk workout. There is anger, uncertainty and emotion here and yet I am still left feeling happy at the end of it. The softer breakdown at just after three minutes in evoked, for me, the best of Julian Cope and Traffic. It is also a tune that is difficult not to sing along too. It really is a great tune for these weird, weird times we are living in right now and I am sure the subject matter will resonate with many of you. But just breathe, keep breathing (good advice from Mr McDoozer) and we will all get past these pandemic times. Music always help!

The video is pretty spectacular too, with stupendous animations and vibrant colours from The Famous Artist Birdy Rose, although be careful if you can’t handle flashing images. I love the kaleidoscope parts in particular. Apparently “Panic Attack” is the start of a wider creative project, working with the highly acclaimed producer/singer-songwriter Sam Duckworth (a.k.a Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly). Get some Doozer into your life now, you know it makes sense!

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“Sylvia” – Spit Sisters October 29, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:17 pm
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According to their Twitter blurb, Spit Sisters are “Satanic Queers from SE London”. Well I am straight not queer, and maybe closer to satanic than Christian, although not a full on Satanist, but I absolutely bloody love their new single, “Sylvia”. As soon as it began I had to immediately stop what I was doing, yes the goat sacrifice will have to wait……. oops that was a bit of a giveaway!

“Sylvia” is a gorgeous post punk ode to Sylvia Plath. It has magnificent melodies, roaring riffs, bombastic bass, dynamic drums and voluminous vocals. It is chock full of emotion, anger, smart lyrics and this is pretty much the perfect mix of what makes a great song in my opinion. I was reminded of Bis at times. But Spit Sisters are no copyists they are the real deal! I have a suspicion they will be awesome when playing live, and I hope that I get to experience a Spit Sisters gig in 2021.

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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2020 Part 16 October 28, 2020


Almost Halloween 2020, so I thought let’s have a monster singles round up with two in one week! This is our sixteenth singles round up of the year so far. This one features five great tracks, which were all fired kicking and screaming into the world in the past few weeks. These tracks are by acts from London (two of them), New York, Kansas and West Midlands (UK). Only one of these acts have appeared on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem before; Earthquake Lights, and I am extremely confident that all of them will appear again sometime in the future. Get on these songs immediately!

“When I Am King” – Barking Poets

London punks the Barking Poets released the anthemic “When I Am King last month. It is a fiery, full-on punk masterclass. The riffs are monumental and the politicised passionate anger shines through. Hailing from London, Bristol, Dublin and Barcelona Barking Poets are for real and will be around for a very long while. “When I Am King” is one of the best debut singles in years! The line “And now we’re not gonna take any more, Driving your thorn into this lion’s paw” may become my new mantra!

“Quarter To Midnight” – Earthquake Lights

This is kind of jazzy, lo-fi and cinematic all at the same time. The yearning vocals exude soul and pure passion. The playing is sublime and the production is crystal clear. Is this a band at the top of their game? Possibly, but I hope they have the space to reach even further!

“Born Lonely” – The Casket Lottery

This single is a taster from The Casket Lottery’s first album in eight years, which is due out next month. This is a full-on heavy riffing barnstormer of a song. Such a shame we had to wait eight years but the Casket Lottery are back with a multi megaton bang!

“Level 3” – Le Junk

Le Junk mess with many genres and this cracking single mixes synth pop, pure pop, orchestral and punk. I was reminded of a strange hybrid of the Stranglers and Depeche Mode at times. The sometimes disturbing video takes its direction from ‘Fight Club’ and manages to enhance “Level 3” to many levels beyond!

“Turn Off All Screens” – The New Consistent

Synth-Indie with what feels like real life and very personal lyrics from the New Consistent. Great soft pop hook and lyrics that Mike Skinner would be proud of. I reckon the New Consistent has the potential to be one of 2021’s big breakouts, I certainly hope so. We need more originality and reality like this!

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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2020 Part 15 October 26, 2020


Heading towards the end of October 2020, is everyone else going to be really glad to see the end of this year? To ease these troubled times slightly enjoy our fifteenth singles round up of the year so far. This one features eight great tracks, which were all launched into the world in the last few months. These tunes are performed by bands and singers from Hamburg, Colombia, Austria, Stockholm, Los Angeles, South London, Washington and Brighton. Six different countries, three different continents! Only one of these acts have appeared on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem before; Phoria, from Brighton and I am extremely confident that everyone of them will appear again sometime in the future. Get these tunes into your lugholes now!

“HOY” – Fatiniza Ft. República Cangrejo

Fatiniza has been around a while and hails from Colombia, but now lives in Costa Rica. This song has a fabulous Latin feel that makes you want to dance and to smile. It is the kind of tune that is needed to help lift the mood of a depressed world. Sadly I only speak one language, English, but thankfully music is a universal language. That means “HOY” works on every level, the title, I believe translates to “TODAY” and it is definitely a tune for today. The video depicts people all around the world helping to spread the happy message and that this storm will pass! I will definitely be listening to more of Fatiniza’s stuff.

“Anyone Awake?” – Chris Flyke

This is a rather excellent example of how to produce great synth pop. At times Chris reminds me of Howard Jones and Nik Kershaw. The song draws you in quickly with its tight and instantly memorable hooks. You should also check out the X-Ray Club Mix of the track, just make sure you put on your disco trousers first!

“Uranus – Live” – Manu Delago

Manu Delago is a highly acclaimed percussionist and this track was one of the first to be released from the new album ‘Circadian’. “Uranus – Live” is just the right side of chilled and Delago’s percussion wonderfully understated, but so effective. It might fit into a modern classical genre, but I also sense elements of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois.

“Swoon” – The Color Red

The Color Red is the brainchild of Pontus De Wolfe who has initiated an artist and producer collective in Stockholm, Sweden. This is the second release and it features vocals by Sarah Von Reis. It is an instantly accessible and catchy dance pop tune and Von Reis’ voice is at times reminiscent of Leigh Nash (Sixpence None The Richer). A dance remix would elevate this great tune into something very special.

“Roots Enterprise” – Lucid Phase Ft. Sensi Trails

LA based Lucid Phase seem able to fuse blues, rock, dub, reggae and modern ska into a mix that creates such a summery vibe that this song could give you sunburn. I recommend listening to this with your volume cranked high, a cold can of Red Stripe to hand and a freshly rolled fat spliff ready to go!

“In Kilnsea” – Tim Eveleigh

South London folkie troubadour Tim Eveleigh has a relaxed, chilled acoustic driven sound and a very smart way with lyrics. Tim wrote this plaintive, yet beautiful, tune after a holiday in Kilnsea, a small hamlet in the East Riding of Yorkshire. This tune, and Tim’s other songs, have meditative qualities, that I believe many great songs have. It feels autobiographical too, but I will ask Tim to answer that!

“Catch Us” – Waking Bear

This kicks off as a rootsy folk instrumental and builds to a soft prog-like crescendo when Ivy Jordanne’s vocals kick in. She has that powerful and emotional style that Alanis Morrissette does so well and the band are incredibly tight with an apparent ability to play in any number of styles. Put simply this is a great tune, simply six minutes of heaven!

“Fairytail” – Phoria

This needs to soundtrack an epic film, it is a gorgeous, slow building modern classical piece. It is ethereal, haunting, majestic and uplifting at the same time. It might not be the sort of thing I would normally listen to but it is sublime and heavenly!

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“Darkness Falls” – Skylights October 15, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:52 pm
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One of the best bands ever to arise from York, Skylights, are back to light up that Covid darkness for us all! Strangely with a song called “Darkness Falls”. It starts like a mellow acoustic driven song that the Who have been known for but it builds in gorgeous layers into an inspiring anthemic crescendo. A real giant of a tune. The production, by Jonny G, throws everything, including a full orchestra sound and the kitchen sink into it, and it works, on an epic scale. Rob puts in his greatest vocal performance to date with a commanding voice that soars above the music on a wave of soulfulness. The rambunctious rhythm section marshalled by Jonny and Myles keeps things ticking perfectly while the guitar fills, riffs and especially the solos from Turnbull weave around the melody like a gold thread made from the great lost chord. I also love that this tune ends rather than fades. Not only that it ends with a great drum fill from Myles, reminiscent of the way the Manic Street Preachers closed “A Design For Life”. Write these boys off at your peril, they are here to stay. It’s a tough call but I believe seeing Skylights playing live once more will be more exciting than having Leeds United back in the Premier League! It is out on 23rd October, I have ordered my yellow vinyl 7 inch, have you? You haven’t? Well just click here and get your copy sorted.

After October 23rd I will edit this post to include some streaming links, I will leave you no opportunity to ignore this classic in the making!

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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2020 Part 14 October 14, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:36 pm
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How about that, it’s October and this is our fourteenth singles round-up of 2020. This one features eight great tracks, which made their merry way into this strange world during the last couple of months. These eight songs are performed by bands and singers from the North East of England, Leeds/ York, Cheshire, South Africa, Norwich, Malmo, New York and London. Two of these acts have appeared on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem before; Victoria Owsnett (As a vocalist on Last Of The Fallen Angels current hit) and Alleyways (this is their fifth appearance here at Mayhem Towers) and I am confident that everyone of this lot will appear again sometime in the future. Get these songs into your life now!

“Strings” – Victoria Owsnett

Victoria is a talented singer songwriter from the north east of the UK. She is co founder of the exceptionally good electro band AXLS and you can hear her sublime vocals on the current smash “Phase IV” by Last Of The Fallen Angels. “Strings” is a well grooved dance track with ethereal heavenly vocals from Victoria. I was dancing round the room with my headphones on to this. It is every bit as good, if not better, than her previous single “Thrones”.

“Rude” – Alleyways

Those chirpy funsters Alleyways returned with a classy slice of electro pop, “Rude”. It has a dancey, yet laid back vibe with a saxophone break reminiscent of Steve Norman from Spandau Ballet’s peak. I get a flavour of Haircut 100 in the Billy Whizz riffs. A fabulous follow up to the wonderful “Over It”. Music needs Alleyways and so do you, check them out!

“Northern Rain” – Tim Bowness

How on earth have I not listened to Tim Bowness until now? His career is star studded to say the least. He has worked with some staggeringly talented artists including a long time collaboration with Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree). His vocal on “Northern Rain” is wonderfully warm, and has the resonance of George Michael at his best. The music is sparse and haunting and melancholy, but good melancholy. This is truly a song for our current times. When I have finished this singles round up, I’m off to check out Tim’s new album ‘Late Night Laments’!

“The Unfamiliar” – Anna Wolf

This is dark, disturbing, haunting and beautiful all at the same time. Anna is a unique talent in the way that Kate Bush and Bjork are. Her songs tell stories which draw you in and leave you wanting more and more. Ace production from Pop Morrison. I hope there is an Anna Wolf album on the horizon.

“Close” – The Islas

The Islas are the best band to emerge from Norwich for ages, perhaps ever! This is a solid slab on pop driven indie. It reminded me of Apollo Junction at times. The hooks, riffs and emotion drive this banger perfectly. It adds another great tune to the Islas canon. I am still singing the “wo oh, wo oh oh oh” refrain hours later! I want to see this lot live someday!

“Belladonna” – Spunsugar

This is shoegaze with a happy, electro psych feel. Honeyed choral like vocals soar over a driving beat and make you want to sing and dance like no one is watching. The underlying synth riffs are wrought from the darker depths of Depeche Mode. If the charts actually meant anything any more this would be a smash hit. There new album ‘Drive-Through Chapel’ is damned good too.

“Heartbeat” – Oceanator

This track is steeped in a deep appreciation for indie punk with the best jangly riffs on the planet and infectious vocals. Sometimes it’s like the Housemartins spliced with early Blur and a dash of the Strokes. As a taster for the album ‘Things I Never Said’, “Heartbeat” is perfect!

“Make Us Eat” – The Shining Tongues

The Shining Tongues is a new project from Daniel Knowler and Sam Mclaughlin of The Infinite Three and on first listen it is clear that they aimed at epic and hit the target, actually they didn’t just hit it they smashed it into tiny pieces! As well as wanting more of the Shining Tongues this tune made me seek out the Infinite Three again along with Jason Pierce’s finest moments. This song has an almost funereal feel at times and made me think dark thoughts, but wow what an aural experience. This is how to make great music!

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