With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

‘Oh Dearism’ – itoldyouiwouldeatyou October 17, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:12 pm
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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem’s newest writer Tom Ray test drives the new itoldyouiwouldeatyou album. Check out his thoughts on ‘Oh Dearism’ below.

“It’s about Wilfred Owen, King Harold, Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves and Vladislav Surkov. All of these represent real people in my life at various different times. Some of them are me, too.”

 itoldyouiwouldeatyou describe themselves as an Indie-Punk/Emo/Experimental act. I have to confess that ordinarily, the ‘E’ word would be enough to send me running for the hills, but I persevered and found a lot to like with ‘Oh Dearism’, their début album.

Hot on the heels of their February EP, ‘Get Terrified’, ‘Oh Dearism’ is a startlingly diverse record.

Before I talk about the music I’d just like to point out that I really like the album cover, especially the muted blue filter. It looks very much like a modern Shoegaze album. I also really like the lack of capitalisation in both the band’s name, and the song titles. These kinds of small, simple touches really make a band stand out to me.

The opening track, “earl, king, whatever” opens with a church organ playing a morose drone under lyrics inviting someone to a funeral, as a date. You know, like that Peep Show episode but with less humour. Beneath the organ drone, a distorted guitar drone fades in slowly. The whole intro has a grainy, lo-fi texture to it.  The lo-fi vibes fade entirely when the guitar, bass and drums drop in, revealing a crisp, clean, modern production.

Across the following eight tracks, the lo-fi intro to hi-fi song trick is repeated several times, to great effect. The noisy segue between “earl, king, whatever” and “gold rush” is a great example. Or the analogue-sounding synth intro to ‘gathering things together and not dividing them’.

Throughout, eerie synth sounds and syncopated drumming rub comfortably against accomplished, melodic lead guitar and all manner of strange guitar pedal noises, from strange squelches to bitcrushed distortions. These are the sections of the album that I particularly enjoy, when the band really let their hair down and make noise. These sections remind me of a favourite ‘90’s band, Swirlies. Inhabiting the sonic space between Grunge and Shoegaze. I’d be interested to see itoldyouiwouldeatyou take this side of their sound further.

The lyrics tend to deal with issues such as (in their own words); “questions about identity, about love and sexuality, about gender, about morality and responsibility, about the social and political structures which constrain us, and about the fitness of the institutions and systems that underpin modern society to provide us with a world that works for us all.”

So, some pretty heady stuff to wrap your brain around, but I failed to find much depth to their lyrics. maybe I’m too old. I imagine, as a teenager, I’d probably find them a lot more poignant and poetic.

A decent effort for a band way outside my comfort zone.

‘Oh Dearism’ is released 16th November 2018.

In the meantime check out their video for latest single, “gold rush”;

Review written by Tom Ray

 

 

“TV” – Alleyways October 16, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:26 pm
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Leeds/ York based Alleyways have released another exquisite slice of sublime pop rock with the sublime “TV”. Apparently the song is about living the moment and not immersing yourself in technology. I hope fans take heed at live shows and actually experience the gig through their human senses and not through a tiny phone screen. The song has echoes of some of the finest 80s pop music, I hear elements of Altered Images and Aztec camera here. It doesn’t take much more than the first listen for “TV” to take root in your brain and boost those endorphins off the scale! If you like this then you really need to check out Alleyways other stuff, including three other great songs; “Naked”,  “Bubble Gum” and “Gucci”. They will be playing a number of headline shows in support of “TV” in the next few weeks. This follows some great support slots with Fickle Friends and Glass Caves to name just a couple. The band have begun working with Chalk Pit Records from Leeds and this I am sure will result in some great new things from Alleyways in 2019. Stay tuned people, this band has so much to offer!

 

“Even In My dreams” – FOURS

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:23 pm
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To paraphrase that magnificent playwright and all-round entertainer Ernest Wiseman, here is a review wot I wrote of the rather spiffing new single “Even In My Dreams” by FOURS. Click here to read it on the staggeringly good 3 Songs & Out website!

 

‘Rise Not Fall’ – Jess Gardham October 14, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:37 pm
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Sometimes you come across good music purely by chance, well that is my experience. Recently I attended the tenth anniversary dinner for the wonderful York children’s charity the Island. It was a fabulous evening in every way. One of those ways was the musical entertainment, Jess Gardham. She played in the lobby as guests arrived and even with all the noisy hubbub and low volume she sounded like she had something special. Then just before we ate Jess kicked out a stunning acoustic version of the Black Eyed Peas “Where Is The Love” that was full of soulful emotion and anger at the world. Every guest that evening received a gift bag with information about the Island including a flash drive, chocolate and many other things. But my favourite give away was a copy of Jess Gardham’s CD ‘Rise Not Fall’.

Jess at times sounds a little like Joan Armatrading, but her yearning, soaring vocal style give her a very clear identity that is Jess Gardham. All six songs on this CD were written by Jess and she plays percussion and acoustic guitar. I get a sense that some of the lyrics are autobiographical and she sings them like she really mean it. I certainly would not like to be the protagonist of “Caught Out”. The title track “Rise And Fall” is my favourite tune here after a few listens. I especially love the positive emotions displayed and the determination that Jess conveys so easily. She has played support for an amazing array of artists including; Paul Carrack, Martin Simpson, David McAlmont, Wilko Johnson and KT Tunstall to name just a few. Her talent is not just that of a great singer songwriter though, Jess is also an actress and has appeared in stage productions that include ‘Hairspray’, ‘The Buddy Holly Story’ and ‘Ghost: The Musical’. To cap all that she was also a quarter finalist in BBC One’s MasterChef 2018! Check this talented woman out now, you will not be disappointed!

Public service announcement. I found all the pictures included here via Goggle and the videos via YouTube. If they are your pictures or videos and you would like me to credit you or take them down then give me a shout!

 

“As long as we’re together the rest can go to hell” October 4, 2018


As regular readers will know I am a huge fan of David Bowie, although I am not keen on a lot of his output in the 80s. But even in that period there were some gems. One of those is for me the single “Absolute Beginners” a Langer Winstanley production from 1986. I also pride myself in knowing a lot of trivia about the Dame. But I recently read some trivia about “Absolute Beginners” that I never knew before. Kevin Armstrong was Bowie’s guitarist at that time and had been since he put together a band to back him at the previous years Live Aid concert. Armstrong says that when they were recording the song Bowie said that he wanted a backing/ co-vocalist who “sounded like a shop girl”. Kevin said “my sister works in a shop” and from that history was made! The previously unrecorded, untested and I believe 22 years old Janet Armstrong recorded a counterpoint vocal that is definitely comparable to many professional singers! Janet if by any chance you are reading this may I say thank you and I would love to offer you the chance to be interviewed by this blog. 🙂

 

Elkie Brooks – Barbican, York – Saturday 29th September 2018 September 30, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 4:16 pm
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I always prefer to arrive at a gig early, but for this one Catwoman (a.k.a my wife Catherine) arrived earlier than either of us had previously for any gig. We actually turned up at the Barbican on September 29th 2017, last year! I had booked the tickets in June 2017 and had wrongly assumed that the show was just a few months away! Anyway we finally made it in time and on the correct day! As a young teenager one of the many posters on my wall was of Elkie Brooks in full rock mode with Vinegar Joe on the cover of the ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Gypsies’ album. But it has taken me until now before I experienced Elaine Bookbinder singing live for the first time and oh boy was it worth it. She belts out her songs with that amazing bluesy rasp and at 73 years old she blows away many of todays young pretenders. The band all look like supremely experienced musicians and they prove that with an incredibly tight and sonically tight performance.

Elkie opened with “He Could Have Been An Army” from 1979’s ‘Live And Learn’ album and the crowd were clapping along to a military marching beat right from the off. Elkie is a magnificent interpreter of the songs of others and if Rod Stewart is the finest male interpreter of songs written by other people then Elkie is the greatest female at that skill by a country mile. The first half of the show included stunning soul workouts of “Do Right Woman, Do Right Woman” and “Warm And Tender Love” originally performed by Aretha Franklin and Percy Sledge respectively. She covered Rod Stewart’s “Gasoline Alley” and made it her own. Her performance of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” sent shivers down my spine and was among the best takes I have ever heard of that song. While many people consider “Superstar” a Carpenters song, and to be fair Karen Carpenter’s vocals on that track are heavenly, but the song was originally called “Groupie (Superstar)” and recorded by Delaney and Bonnie. Elkie’s arrangement of the song at the Barbican sounded much closer to the original version to me. Alongside that rather stunning collection of classic song covers Elkie also rocked out and poured her emotion into some of her greatest hits; “Lilac Wine”, “Don’t Cry Out Loud” and “Fool (If You Think It’s Over)”. The latter is a fine Chris Rea song, but let’s be honest, Elkie Brooks owns the tune now. The foundations of the building were rocked to the core with a very powerful performance of “Sunshine After The Rain”.

The second half of the show and the encore turned the volume and power up to eleven. An elongated “Pearl’s A Singer” saw the biggest audience participation of the evening for what is probably Elkie Brooks’ signature tune. It was written for her by a writing team that included classic rock n roll songwriters Lieber and Stoller and staggeringly is now more than forty years old! Among a lot of the oldies was a rather excellent new song, the theme from a new British film, ‘Finding Your Feet’. There were more covers too, Bob Seger was given a proper run for his money by Elkie on “We’ve Got Tonight”. But perhaps most outstanding for me was a very skilful run through of Prince’s “Purple Rain”. It is a brave move to decided to cover such a stone cold classic and Elkie clearly has what it takes to pull it off with great style. This was a fabulous night of entertainment from one of the finest vocalists Britain has produced!

This was the picture of Elkie Brooks that adorned my wall in the early 70s

Public Service Announcement: all photos were found via Google. Videos were all found on YouTube. If you wish to be credited for any of the photos or videos or would like them taken down please let me know.

 

Ice Nine Kills – ‘The Silver Scream’

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 5:59 am
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Do you love horror films? Do you love epic hard rock? You do? Then click here for my review of the new Ice Nine Kills album. It is called ‘The Silver Scream’ because each song is based on a horror film. A big scary, screaming pre-Halloween thank you to those ghoulish rock zombies over at 3 Songs & Out for sharing this no tricks treat with me.

 

 
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