With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

‘Transitions’ – Malcolm Galloway August 22, 2019


Malcolm Galloway from talented and in my opinion unsung prog rock/ electronica band Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate has a new solo album out now. It is called ‘Transitions’ and Malcolm says it is very much influenced by the personal transitions he is going through, he suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetic collagen disorder. This causes joints and soft tissue to hurt and flare up unpredictably. Additionally, it causes nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and problems with the autonomic nervous system. It is an invisible disability, where the sufferer looks completely normal from the outside. This illness means that he has to leave his job as a neuropathologist, but he continues to make great music.

I have listened to ‘Transitions’ a few times now and I seem to find something new in the rich layered soundscapes every time I do. It is an instrumental album and I have benefited from listening to it while working on some intricate spreadsheets at work, relaxing at home and walking to the office. At times I felt the music owed a small debt to early Mike Oldfield, but that is not to take anything away from Malcolm’s achievement. This really is a beautiful suite of music. It runs to just over 45 minutes and contains three tracks; “Pattern Jugglers”, “Slow” and “Transition”, with the latter clocking in at more than 30 minutes. I feel that the album as a whole, but the epic title track, in particular, bear comparison with Philip Glass and at times Brian Eno. Although perhaps not quite as minimalist as some of Eno’s ambient masterpieces. I don’t know if Malcolm has ever considered writing the soundtrack to a film, or maybe he has done so. Either way, I think he could score some superb music for films. If you have never listened to Malcolm Galloway or Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate then now is the time to start. Click here to listen to ‘Transitions’ on Spotify. I for one am now really looking forward to getting to grips with the new Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate album; ‘Ark’.

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“What If I?” – Young Mister August 21, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:26 pm
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Steven Fiore a.k.a. Young Mister, a talented North Carolina-based singer-songwriter has a new single out now. It is called “What If I?” and it is the vanguard of his new album, ‘Sudden Swoon’ scheduled to hit the streets in September on Refresh Records. Fiore worked as a songwriter for Universal Publishing for eight years, including what he referred to as “a strange yet unforgettable co-writing experience with Art Garfunkel. Young Mister already has a decent following on social media and streaming sites; more than 3,000 likes of his FaceBook page and 3.5m streams on Spotify. The new single is a classy piece of work which reminded me of Beck at his whimsical and melancholy best. I think it’s about wanting to leave but simply not having the courage to do it. It is a gentle acoustic pop tune that has the kind of chorus that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. A sublime slab of feel-good summer soft rock. The video to accompany the tune is refreshing and showcases Young Mister’s skateboarding prowess, superimposed over what appears to be a 1950s SciFi B Movie. The video was shot by Fiore’s wife and Matt Lohan. This song was my introduction to Young Mister (incidentally I think he is in his early thirties which makes him considerably younger than me) and has led me to check out his 2016 eponymously titled album and to begin to get excited about ‘Sudden Swoon’.

 

Kitty VR ‘All In Her Head’ EP Launch – The Crescent, York – Saturday 17th August 2019 August 20, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:56 pm
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This was my third visit to the Crescent, one of York’s best music venues, in a week. I need to slow down! Anyway, tonight was a showcase for the launch of the new EP from Kitty VR, ‘All In Her Head’. More of the very talented Kitty later. First, there were two great support acts to talk about. The first of these was Laura Kindelan and tonight marked the fifth time that I have seen her play live and I hope there will be many more. Laura kicked off her set with a new song, “Over Nothing”. This tune is sparse, electric blues that simply oozes with mood and emotion. I have made this comparison before but this was very wonderfully Jeff Buckleyesque. She played her only love song “Fingertips”, which was actually written as an assignment! Fact fans may wish to know that the Brit Pop era band Mansun actually had a song called “Mansun’s Only Love Song”. The divine, atmospheric “Sweet Tooth” was given a rare but stunning airing as it is one of Kitty’s favourites. Laura closed her set with a powerful run through “Toxic” which had the crowd a moving and a grooving!

Laura Kindelan

The next act to take the stage was the Silver Reserve (Solo) a.k.a. Matthew Sturgess. This guy knows how to do songs of emotional introspection which he delivers supremely well. I heard elements of Bon Iver in his tunes and at times the tonal quality of his fragile vocals were reminiscent of both Thom Yorke and Guy Garvey. He is an incredible talent when it comes to looping guitar riffs and vocals too. His take on this seemed effortless and faultless. He might not have any happy songs, but everything he played begged to be listened to.

Silver Reserve a.k.a. Matthew Sturgess

Finally, it was time for Kitty VR to rock the joint with her excellent band. This must have been close to a full house and the air was electric with excitement and anticipation. Her songs are incredibly well developed and Kitty performs them with great style and soul. Her band is frankly shit hot! Tim Downie is a guitar genius who seems to be able to play in any style required from funky chops to a softer sound and everything in between. The rhythm section of drummer Farai Kuudzadombo and bassist Jack Welsh are a highly polished pair who underlay Kitty’s songs with a smooth driving backbeat. The highlight of her set was for me a towering take on her single “Whirlpool” on which the band hit a psychedelic peak. Sometimes the best cover to do is perhaps a difficult one and in my view, Kitty’s choice of Erykah Badu’s “On And On” was a very brave choice. Kitty didn’t just nail it, she smashed it through the floor as she conveyed the emotion and soul of a truly classic song which she made her own. I felt that her vocals were at times as ethereal and ghostly as Beth Gibbons and if I was not mistaken I believe that was a haunting cover of Portishead’s “Glory Box” near the end. Kitty VR’s EP is something special and this show proves that she has so much more to offer too. Check her out now if you haven’t already.

Kitty VR

All the photos apart from the EP cover art were taken on my cheap android phone. The videos were all found on YouTube, if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know.

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“Britannia” (Video) – Skylights August 19, 2019


I can’t add much to what I have already said about the mighty, meaty “Britannia” from those Leeds United fanatics and one of York’s finest bands, Skylights. Click here and you will find my review of that song and another classic Skylights anthem, “Lifeline”. Why am I revisiting this riffadelic masterpiece? Well, “Britannia” now has a superb video to accompany it, filmed and produced by Adam Maxwell. It is essentially a great moody black and white film taken at their recent sold-out show at the Wardrobe. It is the kind of classy reel that would grace a fly on the wall documentary. You get the sense that the boys were having a lot of fun that night and I am sure that they were. This is a banging tune that will not fail to get you on your feet and dancing. Every member of the band is firing on all cylinders for “Britannia” It has all the hallmarks of a song that will be an encore tune for Skylights when they get to headline the bigger venues. If you have not heard it yet, then I need you to tell me why! But make up for your terrible oversight by checking out the video below.

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This House Is Haunted – The Crescent, York – Friday 16th August 2019 August 18, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:23 pm
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One of the few things that I knew about this gig beforehand was that York’s magical, madcap musical adventurers My Wonderful Daze would be playing. This would be the second time that I had seen them. Previously I saw them at the Fulford Arms when they supported Hands Off Gretel back in July. Click here to read what I said about them then. Right now they are just weeks away from the launch of their first EP and if their boundlessly energetic stage performance combined with some supreme musical talent is anything to go by it will be at least bloody good, but most probably fucking great! The bands sound is a clever combination of punk riffs, glam stomp underscored by the sort of funky guitar licks that force you to dance even if you feel that you don’t want to. This is one hell of a tight band and Flowers’ singing show just how powerful a strong punk ethos can be. Highlights for me were “Glorious Day” and “Happy Now” (I hope that I got the titles right!). I had previously detected some warped similarities to Florence and the Machine, but their set tonight took me right back to the first time that I saw Siouxsie and the Banshees around 1976/77. When the My Wonderful Daze EP is available you need to do everything that you can to get your hands on a copy, obviously nothing illegal right? Shady but not illegal might work though.

My Wonderful Daze

Next up were another great York band, although they have now “emigrated” to Leeds, Amongst Thieves. This is a band that knows how to please an audience, in fact, lead singer Josh Nash spent the whole set in the audience. Prowling around with a maniacal stare and swing his microphone around lassoo style emulating Roger Daltrey at his peak. all of this rock theatre element simply added to what was a set of staggeringly great power. Amongst Thieves know how to rock like a bastard from Hell and everything was turned up to eleven or higher. There was punk, metal and classic rock among many other things. Nash’s vocals were hard and spot-on, the counterpoint growly vocal from Ricky Kwong was at times stunning.  This was their first York gig for two years, they really need to come back more often. I am definitely a fan of the band after this gig, I even bought their 11 track CD from 2017 and it has already been played three times. This is a band with the potential to become huge and I hope that they do.

Amongst Thieves

Headliners tonight were This House Is Haunted, another fabulous York band. This city’s great musical heritage shows no signs of slowing down. Apparently, this was only their fourth gig, that was extremely hard to believe for me. It was a polished and powerful performance from a highly talented band. They are as heavy as hell, but with some introspective moments akin to Radiohead. The bottom line though is that if you love great rock music you will adore This House Is Haunted. Zak Ford’s vocals are reminiscent of some of the great metal vocalists. Jenn and Dom are a formidable rhythm section that is the beating heart of the songs. For a three-piece, they make more noise than a band with twice the personnel. Dom’s drumming is super heavy and he must have some of John Bonham’s DNA in him. Their signature tune “This House Is Haunted” deserves to be massive. I will definitely be seeing this lot again!

This House Is Haunted

 

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken on my cheap android phone. The videos were all found on YouTube, if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know.

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Imarhan – The Crescent, York – Sunday 11th August 2019 August 17, 2019


Imarhan are an Algerian Tuareg rock band formed in 2006 in Tamanrasset, Algeria. They are this generations Tinariwen. They released their first and self-titled album in 2016 followed up by ‘Temet’ in 2018. I was lucky enough to catch them on the UK leg of their tour at one of York’s best music venues, the Crescent. There was no support band, but we were warmed up for the show by an incredibly intuitive DJ whose set crossed Africa, the Middle East, and Jamaica. He played a cover version of Bob Marley’s “War” by a female vocalist which was stunning. (I need to find out who that singer was if you know please tell me – UPDATE – check the comment below from the DJ, Dave Atkin a.k.a. Drummie Dave, the song is by Neyssattou & Likkle Mai ).

I had listened to some of Imarhan‘s current album before the show, but I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but they were highly recommended by a few of my friends, thank you, Dan Lucas! There is a definite middle eastern vibe throughout their music, with an obvious African influence all of which is underpinned by some western rock music stylings. The lead singer and guitarist could probably play any Santana track just as well as Carlos himself. The bass player was among the funkiest that I have ever seen or heard, he sure knows how to get his desert groove on. If there is such an establishment then this guy will have graduated from the Larry Graham Academy of Bassology! Ask your Grand Parents about Mr. Graham kids. The drummer was incredibly talented but also looked like the most chilled dude that I have seen in years. Very special mention to the percussionist who played a range of instruments some of which I had never seen before. It was clear to me that Imarhan are at the top of their game and they were really enjoying themselves on that stage. The vast majority of the crowd, including me and my wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman danced the night away. It has to be said that like many Brits I only speak English so I have no idea what Imarhan are singing about, but that really does not matter, this just proves once again that music really is a universal language that transcends the need for a common spoken language. Check out any of Imarhan’s albums and if you get a chance to see them play live take it!

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken on my cheap android phone. The videos were all found on YouTube, if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know.

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Float Tank #4 – The Arts Barge, York – Tuesday 6th August August 14, 2019


I was lucky enough to spend time in a flotation tank a few years ago and it was an incredible experience. For the uninitiated you float, for an hour in my case, in very salty warm water inside a pod with no light or sound. It is claimed that the relaxation you experience is better than hours of sleep. It sure felt like it and I will definitely do it again. But in the meantime, there was Float Tank #4 an experimental music session brought to us as a part of the Great Yorkshire Fringe 2019. The series started three years ago in the Railway Institute in York, this year Float Tank #4 (the following evening it would be #5) was held on the Arts Barge on the River Ouse at Tower Gardens near Skeldergate Bridge. It was a short show, just one hour, a similar length to the usual flotation tank experience. It began at 10 p.m. and ended at 11. So what exactly was it?

Well it was a very strange gig experience. Imagine, if you will, being at a gig in total darkness and only being able to hear the performers but not see them. Are you imagining that? Trust me the sensory experience goes way beyond what our little minds can imagine. The set began with Sam Griffiths of The Howl And The Hum playing a lounge-style piano take on Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark”, appropriately. Sam was visible for this as it was just background while we took our seats and the last vestiges of light were blocked out. Once we were truly plunged into darkness the fun began with a poem recited, presumably by the poet (apologies, I didn’t get her name). She was backed with some eerie sounds which were mostly keyboard-driven. After that, it was instrumental music which was guitar-based and might have included a number of tape loops. I believe that Kai West of Bull was responsible for much of this. It was a stunning psychedelic ambient drone and at times I was reminded of the sound bite and tape loop psych-out that was “Revolution No. 9” from the Beatles White Album. But however it was composed and performed it was a great sound that fitted the experience perfectly. Like many of us in the audience I completely lost track of time and a few times I tried to get my eyes accustomed to the dark, but it really was Eldritch black. If Float Tank returns next year then I will be first in line!

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