With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

‘Love Me To Death’ – Queen Kwong March 31, 2018


Click here to read my review of the rather spiffing new album from Queen Kwong, ‘Love Me To Death’. Find out what I thought of it by visiting the spectacular 3 Songs & Out site, just go back and click it’s simple! Also a big thank you to those music mega-brains at 3 Songs & Out for giving me the opportunity to undertake this review.

 

Hello Operator, BlackWaters, Honours – The Crescent, York – 29th March 2018


I always enjoy a visit to one of York‘s top music venues, The Crescent, especially when it is a package of bands put together by the talented Simon Pattinson of Northern Radar. He has never let me down yet with a gig or band recommendation and frankly he nailed it again here! First up were a York band that up to now I hadn’t heard, Honours. They put on a powerful and energetic performance and in their DNA they have a link to some of the greatest British bands from the Small Faces through to Oasis. Although personally I felt that Honours have so much more personality and presence than Liam Gallagher has these days. Their guitarist’s style and journeys along his fret board shows hints of the best 70s rock licks and riffs. Do the honours and get yourself out there to see Honours!

BlackWaters are originally from Guildford, Surrey but are now based in Sheffield, but tonight they were here in York. I was bloody glad they were here as well. I don’t say this too often but this lot are potentially one of the best bands on the scene right now. John Peel would have loved them. Absolutely boundless energy, magnificent engagement with the audience. I heard shades of the Fall, the Pistols, the Clash and Cabbage. They don’t seem to bow to any scene or fashion and their playing is as punky as a punk band can get. I will definitely be seeing BlackWaters playing live again sometime!

The headliners tonight were one of York’s greatest bands, although the competition is fierce. Having just experienced BlackWaters I thought who the hell would want to follow that? But Hello Operator more than stepped up to the plate, they damn well broke it into a million tiny shards. I have seen them a couple of times before, but that was back in 2015. Back then they were oozing with talent and they have made mountainous growth in stature, power, presence and musicianship and since then. They opened their set under a standard lamp in the middle of the crowd. The punters seemed to love it and the band looked to be having great fun too. The highlight from tonight’s set for me was a rip-roaring “Oosh” which came close to bringing the roof down. Lead singer Max has a vocal that could compete with the best rock vocalists Britain has produced, from Paul Rodgers through John Lydon to Joe Elliott. Max also showed his climbing skills as he appeared on the top of the speaker stack toward the end of the set. Peter Greenwood’s guitar playing has the left field take of his namesake Jonny Greenwood and the subtle tuneful driven licks that John Squire is so good with. This was a titanic and stunning set from a band that I would love to see break very big and I really believe that they have it in them to do so.

 

Divine Era – ‘Scripture Codes Summon Suicidal Thoughts’ March 30, 2018


Click right here to read my review of the barnstorming new album from Divine Era, ‘Scripture Codes Summon Suicidal Thoughts’. I thought it was…….., well you’ll have to visit the rather wonderful 3 Songs & Out site to find out what I thought of it, just go back and click it’s so easy! Also a big thank you to those music passionistas at 3 Songs & Out for giving me the opportunity to do this review.

 

‘Terror’ – Wonk Unit March 28, 2018


‘Terror’ is the sixth studio album from South London‘s Punk DIY kings Wonk Unit, following on from 2016’s rather spiffing ‘Mr Splashy’. They have inherited some of the best things from some of the finest British bands; Blur, the Kinks, the Members, Madness and maybe even the Streets. From its title alone “Day Job Wanker” evokes the classic ‘Inbetweener’s’ “bus wankers’ scene, unless of course that is just the way my mind works.

“Hope” is the sound of Jonathan Richman had he been British. Lyrically this is a band at the top of their game. Have you ever had one of those nights where you simply can’t sleep? Yeah me too. Well that experience is perfectly summed up in “As The Rest Of The World Sleeps” as a ‘war rages in you’. I have listened to music for more years than I care to remember and without doubt Wonk Unit are one of the most original bands that I have heard in years. Every time I hear a note or style in one of their songs that reminds me of another band it only exists for a few fleeting seconds then the Wonk Unit DNA kicks in to prove their idiosyncratic, intelligent originality. This is crystal clear in the song that is my current favourite, the infectious “Christmas In A Crack House”

Wonk Unit have been around since 2006 and aiding and abetting highly talented songwriter and front man Alex Brindle Johnson are; Pwosion on Bass, Guitarist Kenny and Tommy on the drums. Eugene Butcher of Big Cheese said that “Wonk Unit have managed the almost impossible task of having found their own sound.It’s punk son, but not as we know it”. I find it impossible not to agree with that. In fact if Wonk Unit didn’t exist then someone would need to invent them. This is the sort of band that music needs. No ridiculous frills, great lyrics, massive hooks, humour, vignettes of real life just pure unadulterated Wonk Unit. The new album is due to hit the stores, streaming sites and hopefully your ears on 20th April, courtesy of Plasterer Records make sure your ears are on the receiving end of it. Don’t be a wanker, be a wonker!

They tour far more than many of their contemporaries and they are behind London’s eclectic Wonkfest. There are plenty of opportunities to catch them on tour this year, in the UK and mainland Europe, have you got your tickets?

30 MAR – Hastings, UK, Blackmarket VIP
31 MAR – Reading UK, Readipop
18 APR – London UK, Black Heart*
19 APR – London UK, Black Heart*
20 APR – Manchester UK, Manchester Punk Festival*
21 APR – Cardiff UK, Clwb Ifor Bach*
22 APR – Keighley UK, Exchange*
23 APR – Edinburgh UK, Bannermans*
24 APR – Inverness UK, The Tooth And Claw*
25 APR – Workington UK, Lounge 41*
26 APR – Sunderland UK, Independent*
27 APR – Nottingham UK, Maze*
28 APR – Stamford UK, Mama Liz’s*
29 APR – Grimsby UK, Yardbirds*
03 MAY – Feldkirch A, Graf Hugo+
04 MAY – Wels A, SBÄM Fest+
05 MAY – Zurich CH, Obenuse Festival+
06 MAY – Bern CH, Roesli+
07 MAY – Lugano CH, Casotto+
08 MAY – Salavaux CH, Le Trou+
09 MAY – München DE, Import Export+
10 MAY – Frankfurt/Main DE, Tiefengrund+
11 MAY – Bonn DE, Bla+
12 MAY – Karlsruhe DE, Alte Hackerei+
13 MAY – Braunschweig DE, B58+
02 JUN – Amsterdam NL, Rebellion Festival
22 JUN – Huddersfield UK, The Parish
23 JUN – Uttoxeter UK, The Old Star
30 JUN – Manchester UK, O2 Ritz
05 JUL – Zwickau DE, Störfaktor Festival
07 JUL – Hameln DE, K3
08 JUL – Hünxe DE, Ruhrpott Rodeo
13 JUL – Bath UK, Belvoir Castle
14 JUL – Wem UK, Wemstock Festival
15 JUL – Derby UK, The Hairy Dog
20 JUL – Cheltenham UK, Frog And Fiddle
21 JUL – Fleckney UK, Mayhem At Mick’s Festival
28 JUL – London UK, The Dome – Wonkfest
04 AUG – Blackpool UK, Rebellion Festival
10 AUG – Winchester UK, Boomtown
* w/ The Raging Nathans + w/ The Murderburgers

A big thank you to Wall Of Sound PR for giving me the opportunity to review this fine release.

 

 

The Big Boss Caine Album Launch Show – The Crescent, York – Saturday March 24th 2018 March 27, 2018


Earlier this month I was delighted to get the chance to review ‘Loved By Trouble, Troubled By Love’ the extraordinary new album from the mighty Boss Caine. (Click here to read that review) So given that I thought it was such a darned good album I was excited and filled with great expectations for the album launch show. Did I enjoy the show? Well dear reader you will have to read on to discover that. The gig was at one of York‘s finest venues, The Crescent and was promoted by talented and discerning promoter Joe Coates of Please Please You. First on the bill and all the way from London were the Swamp Stomp String Band an act that frankly it was impossible not to enjoy. They played some top tunes, many about booze and death, and had the audience a boppin’ and a rockin’ for their whole set. Their music is simple but oh so infectious and enjoyable, the between song banter is highly entertaining too. Essentially the Swamp Stomp String Band is two blokes, a Double Bass, a Guitar, A Banjo and a kazoo! You really ought to see them if you get the chance, I will definitely check them out again sometime.

The Swamp Stomp String Band

The second and final support act were the Snakerattlers who at one point claimed to come from hell, but actually they are from York. This is the second time that I have seen the Snakerattlers and they are a potentially very exciting live band. Their new album ‘This Is Rattlerock’ showcases their sound well and it will be interesting to see how they are able to develop that in future releases. The almost menacing thunder of Naomi’s drumming and the rumble of Dan’s psyched up rockabilly style guitar seemed to really hit the spot for many in tonight’s audience. I think that this is a very good band with the power and ability to become something much bigger. However one thing that is lacking for me is the engagement with their audience. Dan did make a couple of audience invasions but for me spending most of your set with your back to the crowd or side on to them doesn’t help when looking to interact with the punters. But apart from that this is clearly a talented band who are worth checking out if you haven’t already.

The Snakerattlers

Finally it was time for the main event the first live showcase of what I believe to be the finest Boss Caine album to date, ‘Loved By Trouble, Troubled By Love’. I have lost count of how many times I have played the album since receiving my link for review a few weeks ago, but pretty much every song gains an even more expansive life and sound scape when heard live. “Champagne” pulled the crowd in from the off and we were all completely mesmerised by a stunning full band performance. My favourite song from the record is still “Lonesome Crow” in which the build to a wrought emotional crescendo which hits your heart and your brain in equal measure surely cannot fail to move even the hardest of souls. Second track on the album “Evidence” has, for me, some of the best lyrics in a song for some while. I have found that “Where Good Things Go To Die” leads me down a winding lane of memory back to the town where I was born and grew up. Listening to this tune seems to dredge up a new memory of my teens every time that I hear it and standing in the crowd Saturday night I was swept with more recollection of all those now long distant pangs, pains and dilemmas of teenage angst. Dan had all of us singing along with absolute gusto to album closer “Smoking In My Backyard”. While that song meant that the ten tracks from this fine collection had been handsomely put to bed there was room for a couple of extra songs one of which was the soulful lament of “Leaving Victoria” from 2010’s Boss Caine album ‘The Ship That Sailed’. Tonight’s performance was the perfect way to launch a great album with all the potential to become a true classic. For me and many of the other lucky folk in the crowd this gig will live long in our heads. Boss Caine bossed it!

 

Interview – Laura Kindelan – March 19th 2018 March 22, 2018


Laura checks out an excellent, if somewhat expensive, Toots & the Maytals LP at the Vinyl Cafe.

I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing York singer, songwriter and ace musician Laura Kindelan earlier this week in 45 The Vinyl Cafe on Micklegate. Laura was eloquent, effervescent and spoke about her major influences, where she might take her sound next, her musical guilty pleasures and her favourite chocolate among many other things. Check out that conversation below.

  1. Who is your biggest musical influence and why?

Well there isn’t just one person, for me it’s the sound and the performance. For the sound, it has to be Lianne La Havas; I love her jazz guitar, melodic vocals and song writing. I particularly love her lyrical patterns and use of unusual words. My history teacher introduced me to her.

As for performance, I would have to name two people; Amy Winehouse and Damien Rice. I believe that both of them show the beauty of imperfections. Damien Rice’s mix of his first album “O” massively fluctuates in volume within songs, which could be considered wrong but I believe it’s emotive.

  1. What is next for you, where do you go from here?

I am very happy to be a slow burner. I am not focussed at all on becoming a product or a brand. I want to be a well-respected musician, singer and song writer. That has to include maintaining respect for myself and my craft. I want my music to speak for me, not the image. I would also love to work with a really tight rhythm section in the future.

  1. Musically do you have any of what you might consider guilty pleasures, if so what are they?

That is a tough one, the first one that I can think of is Abba. However, I don’t feel too guilty about it as they wrote, produced and released such great songs. But perhaps my real guilty pleasure is my ‘go to’ party song; “Bitch Better Have My Money” by Rihanna.

Photo by Michael Parr

  1. How do you prepare for a gig?

First, I always do some vocal warm ups. I like to make myself feel nice, to feel good. I don’t often wear much make-up, but for a show, I choose to get dressed up with make-up and nice clothes. Everything I do to prepare for a gig contributes to making me feel comfortable and confident on stage. I really believe that a performer should invest the audience in what they do by personally connecting with them, and to do that, you need to be happy and comfortable with yourself. Confidence is key to any good performance.

  1. Name one thing in your musical career that you are most proud of and feel free to tell us why?

My headline show last year at the National Centre for Early Music in York. It felt like such a magical night and I am so proud that I did it. I can’t quite believe that it happened. There were around 180 people there, really listening and enjoying the night – It’s definitely something I’ll never forget.

Click here to check out my review of that show on this blog last year

  1. What drives you to write songs?

Sometimes it is all about getting something off my mind; a feeling or a relationship perhaps. Currently I really love to experiment with harmonies, shapes and different tunings on my guitar. I think I draw influence in this experimentation from Jeff Buckley and Tom Misch, particularly with pretty harmony and rhythm from the latter. I see my sound as evolving into something similar to Tom Misch, only much grottier!

Photograph by Tomorrow’s Photos

  1. How does your song writing process work?

I have lots of lyrics stored on my phone that I’ve written as they come to me and I sometimes go there for inspiration. Although, as I said before, I love to experiment with harmony and chord progressions so I often begin here.

  1. Name a song that you believe you could cover and make it better than the original?

At the moment I am playing around with a very different arrangement of “Do I Wanna Know” by the Arctic Monkeys. I am trying out a very slowed down version which is more ‘head bobby’, with more dissonance and harmonics. I think this new vibe adds more meaning to the lyrics.

  1. Which of your songs would you like to see covered by someone else and who would be your top choice to do it?

I would like it to be someone completely different from me, how about Hello Operator? That could actually be amazing, we should make it happen!

Photo by Tim Downie

  1. Tell me something that you have never told an interviewer before (and this does not need to be music related)?

My signature dish, that I make incredibly well (if I do say so myself), is Carbonara with mushrooms, bacon and cream. Bon appétit.

  1. Name three things that you simply cannot live without?

My family, good food and Doctor Martens. I’m hoping to build a collection of Docs – I currently have four pairs, including one with a snake-skin pattern.

  1. What is your favourite confectionary item?

Terry’s Chocolate Orange, beyond any doubt the best there is!

Now check out some of Laura’s rather excellent tunes.

All photographs were provided to me by Laura and are credited to the photographer in the caption. The first picture was a rare good one taken on my phone. Video links were specially selected by Laura herself.

 

‘You Are Someone Else’ – Fickle Friends March 16, 2018


Click here to read my review of the tasty new album from Fickle Friends. A mahoosive thank you to the modern record for giving me the opportunity to take it for a spin 🙂

 

 
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