With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Stardust” – The Galaxy Electric April 8, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 6:59 am
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The Galaxy Electric is a duo from New York specialising in electronic psychedelic pop. This track, “Stardust” is a masterful statement of intent. To start with, I had no real point of reference for this but it certainly grabbed my attention. In places, it sounded like Joni Mitchell doubletracked over a spacey soundtrack. The harmonies are truly beautiful and the jazz flecked vocal style lends this particular space journey a whole other ambience.

In its way this single is almost wantonly uncommercial and yet that is what gives it a very special feel and appeal. It is original. The central section of the song floats off into an entirely different universe before we come back to the theme of the song. I have to say I am inspired to explore the strange new world of Galaxy Electric‘s music. They are definitely going boldly and I for one am happy to follow!

Written by Paul Bamlett.

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“Modern Girls” – The Kecks April 6, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:34 am
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The Kecks count members from Australia, France, Austria, and the UK and have spent a fair amount of time in Hamburg, Germany. Has this diverse geographical pull influenced their sound? I have no idea. But what I do know is that if you are a fan of scuzzy, dirty rock ‘n’ roll then you will love their new single “Modern Girls” which comes out on 23rd April on AWAL records. The song is a treatise on what it means to grow up in this mad modern world where technology is king and people feel measured and judged on social media likes rather than who they are and what they can achieve. The band themselves say of the song; “In a time when it’s easy to point fingers and laugh at the way society and culture are being twisted in the ‘Instagram Age’ we wanted to dive a little deeper and try to understand and sympathise with just how difficult it must be to grow up in the modern age, especially for girls with the constant pressure and complexities modern life brings with it”.

The heavy, punky guitar riffs are wonderfully distorted and the vocals are every bit as good as Julian Casablancas and the chorus would challenge the best that Brandon Flowers has written. the Kecks are a 21st-century garage band with 100% punk sensibilities and credentials. They live the punk DIY ethos and have produced the video that will accompany the release of “Modern Girls” themselves. The video is scheduled for release on 14th April. “Modern Girls” is a song that will lead to magnificent moshing and mercurial crowd singing when it inevitably gets played by the Kecks in a festival field someday, sadly with COVID-19 that is unlikely to be this year. But festival organisers take heed and get this lot on your 2021 line ups! While you are waiting for “Modern Girls” check out the video for “Stick In My Throat” below and click here to follow them on Spotify.

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“Keep It Chill! (In The East Vill)” – Jeffrey Lewis

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:05 am
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Isolated in his East Village apartment, anti-folk figurehead and underground megastar Jeffrey Lewis has been experimenting with live streaming on his Facebook page for a couple of weeks now. I saw a couple of test runs of him singing and playing this song into his webcam before he finally streamed a full version of it on March 24th. I loved it and I chatted pleasantly with him a little about the lyrics in the comments.

He has now released the song officially on digital distribution and streaming platforms.

First things first, since he’s isolated in his apartment the recording is pretty lo-fi compared to his more recent releases like last year’s seminal album, Bad Wiring, this writer’s favourite album of 2019. This is a production style that has always suited Lewis and with modern technology, it even sounds thicker, warmer and cleaner than a lot of his older lo-fi recordings such as The East River or Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song. His trademark strumming on his battered old acoustic guitar is as strong but simple as always.

Lyrically, the song deals with the boredom of isolation as well as the repetitiveness of important ways of combating the virus, like social distancing and washing your hands. As the song goes on though, Lewis gets angrier and the lyrics start talking about the way the American government has handled the pandemic. He refers to Donald Trump as “that orange clown who runs DC” and refers to his supporters as “his Ku Klux Kranks”.

Finally, in the last verse, he talks about the positives that will hopefully come in the aftermath of the pandemic. He talks about how “maybe a wide alliance will respect more science” and ‘we’ll have a full-on call for healthcare for all”. My favourite line is “It’s happened once or twice that when there’s times of crisis, giant good things come from change”. On Facebook, he commented that “the NHS arising after WW2 is part of what inspired me to have such thoughts…”. Hopefully, we can follow the good advice in the first couple of verses and look forward to building the better world he envisions in the final verse. Keep it chill.

Keep it Chill in the East Vill is available to stream or buy from all the usual places. Spotify, YouTube,

etc.

Written by Tom Ray

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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2020 Part 2 April 4, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:35 pm
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We are still catching up with reviews during this COVID-19 downtime. So here is our second 2020 singles round-up. These five tracks feature another eclectic mix of bands from as far afield as Newcastle, Brighton, Mexico, and Los Angeles. All of these acts are new to With Just A Hint Of Mayhem too. Enjoy!

Swine Tax – Browsing

“Browsing” – Swine Tax

21st Century punk at its best, a song full of open wound anger and vitriol. If the Sex Pistols came into being a couple of years ago they might have sounded like this. Their lyrics are sharp and their passion is strong, these boys from Newcastle could go the distance!

“Hsieh Su-Wei” – Mercvrial

A hypnotic dream gaze track from Mexico. It is about the Taiwanese tennis player Hsieh Su-Wei who apparently has a wonderfully unorthodox but successful style of play. It is quite a chilled song that would sit neatly among the early R.E.M. canon of tunes. This is going on my summer playlist!

“More Than I Can Give” – Sapien Trace

Another exciting band from Newcastle. With this single Sapien Trace pay homage to some of the best electro-synth, there has ever been. Imagine the Prodigy, 80s Human League and maybe Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley on vocal duties. All underpinned by an almost Italian House piano motif. This is an intriguingly great track that leaves me wanting more of Sapien Trace.

“Farewell Fareworse” – Something Leather

An eerie heavy psych workout from Brighton band Something Leather. The keyboards, in fact, the whole instrumentation, could soundtrack a modern take on a Hammer Horror film. The vocals are exceptionally good and sound at times like Cerys Matthews on psychedelic steroids. After this one song, I am a fan!

“Hate To Love” – Stonestreet

If you like modern R & B you will love this soulful, chilled tune from Stonestreet. Is it a love song? Maybe, but probably in the context of the occasional sparkle in a toxic relationship. The song is dedicated to Stonestreeet’s childhood friend Ann Emory who is no longer with as she struggled so hard with growing up queer in an unaccepting environment. It saddens me that the world still has more than its fair share of bigots. But I bloody love this tune and I am sure that Ann Emory would have been proud of Stonestreet’s stand for her!

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“Mannerism” – Cat Ryan

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:27 pm
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Cat Ryan is an up and coming trio fronted by their multi-instrumentalist lead singer Mary Anne. This track “Mannerism” is a very pleasant lilting melody led off by some wonderful jangling guitar work that has a touch of the Smiths about it. Billed as an Art Rock/Modern Shoegaze band they will appeal to those of you who are into the mighty Wolf Alice. Tom Robinson has said nice things about them on his show and on this evidence Cat Ryan absolutely has what it takes to go places. More, please!

Written by Paul Bamlett 🙂

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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2020 Part 1 April 3, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 3:20 pm
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We are just catching up with reviews during this COVID-19 downtime. So here is the first 2020 singles round-up. Look for the next one very soon. These five tracks feature an eclectic mix of bands, one of which we have featured before. Enjoy!

Spanish Love Songs

“Kick” – Spanish Love Songs

A wonderful slice of power pop with great punk undertones. Speaking of Undertones I can hear a similar tonal quality in Dylan Slocum’s voice to that of Feargal Sharkey. This LA-based five-piece has influences from the likes of Blink 182, but they are also very much their own band. From this song alone I am now a fan!

“In Your Eyes” – Walking On Mountains

Deep, dark, emotional rock from one of Sheffield’s finest current generation of bands. Powerfully soaring vocals from Davy Jones and a heartfelt counterpoint voice. The riffs are huge and the softer moments ooze feeling too. This is definitely a band to keep an eye on!

“Deranged” – Sex Cells

Reminiscent of early Human League and a wonderfully bonkers percussion-heavy synth track. The bass line drives right through your body and realigns your heart rate to its incessant beat. I challenge you to listen to this and not move your body, you will fail! I love this tune!

“Ghost” – Moodbay

Manchester duo released another classy single, “Ghost” earlier this year. Wonderful 21st Century R & B with a magnificently chilled, jazzy feel. Anna’s vocals are sultry and soulful. This track would work well on a chill-out soundtrack but also as a decent dance tune. I have reviewed Moodbay before and they just get better and better!

“Your Band” – Leather Party

At times it feels like this is just bass and vocals, but there is a dark underbelly of fucked-up Adam and the Ants style drums. That is possibly the heaviest deepest bass sound I have heard in a while. They come over like a cross between the Velvet Underground and the Jesus And Mary Chain with extra added weirdness. This is a great track but way too short.

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“Seaside Donkey” – PERCY March 31, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:10 pm
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The new album from York’s finest post-punkers PERCY, ‘Seaside Donkeys’ will be out in May, well COVID-19 permitting. Anyway, if you feel that you can’t wait that long for another PERCY fix they will be issuing a single from the album this Friday, 3rd April. It is called “Seaside Donkey” and will be bundled in this release with “Love Song”. I can picture massive singalongs occurring when “Seaside Donkey” gets played live, I will certainly be shouting my lungs out next time I see this excellent band live. The song has a slightly more acoustic feel than what we have come to expect from PERCY but put simply it is a great song! It even features a laconic violin motif which gives it the feel of being a drinking song, although perhaps a little bit of a maudlin drink, at least for me. “Love Song” is a complete contrast and rocks in a very John Lydon PiL vibe with a Julian Cope feel at times in the vocals, a song built for a heaving mosh pit! As a taster for the album these two tracks will almost certainly make you want to own it when it is issued, it will even be available on vinyl! If you want some music to ease yourself through this incredibly mad world then try PERCY!

If you want to be among the first to own the album click here now! While you’re waiting take a listen to a couple of tracks from their last album.

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