With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

‘Bought to Rot’ – Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers October 25, 2018


Fronting anarchic punk band Against Me! brought Laura Jane Grace to prominence across their seven studio albums of fierce, ‘for real’ punk rock released from 2002 through 2016. Her gender dysphoria has shaped her more recent years and Laura Jane is the first major punk figure to identify as transgender. But more than that she is a spokeswoman for those afraid to take that step and those that are bullied for simply being who they are. For me Laura Jane Grace is a heroine and a champion for the 21st Century by standing up against the prejudice and hate of this, at times, vile world. She has stepped aside from Against Me! for this release as Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers. ‘Bought To Rot’ is softer than much of the Against Me! material. But no less opinionated than some of that bands finest cuts. This record draws influence from Tom Petty’s ‘Full Moon Fever’ which was the first album that Laura Jane ever bought. Overlaid on that is a strong vein of post punk and late 70s new wave. “Apocalypse Now (& Later)” has a really crisp band sound reminiscent of Elvis Costello and the Attractions at their vitriolic peak.

At times Laura Jane’s lyrics are unflinchingly hard and truthful and need to be heard. She is aided and abetted in this venture by ace Against Me! drummer Atom Willard and long time Against Me! producer Marc Jacob Hudson making up a veritable tour de force of a rhythm section. Grace has her eloquent say on friendship in “The Friendship Song” and essentially it is very much about acceptance and not being judgemental. Her pure hatred of her adopted home city of Chicago is tangible and palpable on “I Hate Chicago”. This is possibly one of the most visceral and scathing put downs of a city ever put down in a song. It is that dark power which makes me love it so much. I get the sense that “Valeria Golina” is a skin shredding take down of a failed relationship. The album closes on an almost positive note with the jangly and compact ode to letting go and maybe being forgiving of both past and future fuck ups, “The Apology Song”. My favourite song in this rather excellent fourteen track collection is the opening tune “China Beach”. In many ways it sets out Grace’s manifesto with lines like ““Learn to trust yourself, no one else matters / Respect the source and always welcome failure”. ‘Bought To Rot’ hits the streets on 9th November via Bloodshot Records. You need to get this album by any means necessary, you will not be disappointed!

 

 

‘Reduxer’ – Alt-J October 24, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 3:49 pm
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Click here to check out my review of the new Alt-J album, ‘Reduxer’. A big thank you to those lovely people at TotalNtertainment for sending it my way! It is effectively a remix/ re-imagining of last years ‘Relaxer’ album. I would love to hear what your opinion of this record is!

 

 

Miles – The Crescent, York – Thursday 18th October 2018 October 22, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 4:03 pm
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Miles (ex Epilogues)

No excuse for not living the moment tonight, I forgot to take my mobile phone with me, but that means that there won’t be any shitty out of focus pictures from me! Anyway this gig was another great line up put together by the Magical Mr Coates at Please Please You. Headlined by Miles (ex Epilogues) the night also included three other acts. Excellent value for a fiver I reckon! First to hit the stage was Elk who gave us spaced out folk music backed by acoustic guitar and often by an almost hypnotic keyboard drone. The latter was provided by Mikey off of Miles. There was clearly a whole bundle of emotion in these songs although it sounded like the vocals were mixed a little too low in the quieter moments. The crashing, crescendo like harmonies on some tunes were truly epic. If there is ever another series of ‘True Detective’ some of these songs would fit perfectly.

Wounded Bear

Wounded Bear was second up. He has warm, rich, sublime vocals with a hint of sweetness. Perhaps the aural equivalent of Jack Daniels with honey. This troubadour tells intricate stories with his songs of love and loss. New song “Civil War” is shaping up to be something very special. Alexander Carson was the nights penultimate performer. He has almost angelic vocals on some truly ethereal songs, many of which deal with death. On paper that might sound like a depressing way to spend an evening, but trust me it is not! Alexander’s use of looping and layering his sounds is honed to perfection. On top of that he is one of the most accomplished keyboard players that I have seen in a while. There were some immense piano flourishes that ran the gamut from classical to jazz and back again. This guy is well worth checking out.

Alexander Carson

Finally it was time for Miles. I had seen main man Mikey in a previous acoustic guise as Epilogues. He has come a long way since then and he was good when I saw him as Epilogues, he is even better now and the more powerful sound of a band performance suits him well. Most of the tunes seem to have an ambition to be cinematic in scope and most achieve that ambition. The solo tunes seem to carry a great sadness in their ambient parts and this couples so naturally with the soul baring lyrics. “Me” is an absolute killer of a sad lament. While the emotion in “Two Weeks” was palpable to the point where Mikey was moved to shed real tears. Nigel the drummer took on a spoken interlude to thank everyone who supported and worked on the show. Nigel you are a fucking excellent drummer, but stick to that and not stand up comedy. If you love really open heart outpourings in song then Miles are a must for you. This band needs to be heard more widely. Make it happen!

Miles – ex Epilogues

Public Service announcement: All photos and videos lifted from FaceBook. If you are the photographer and you want to be credited or have the pictures/ video removed then please holler.

 

‘The Strange World Of Suzie Pellet’ – Transmaniacon


Click here to check out my review of the joyously weird new album from Transmaniacon (featuring Lydia Lunch and Maya Berlin). A humongous thank you is due to those wonderful weirdos at 3 Songs & Out for letting me loose with this album! I would love to hear what you think of the record. I was also proper chuffed to read what the band thought of my review (picture below).

 

‘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!

 

 
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