With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Mayhem Virgins – Notorious Lightbulbs March 25, 2019


This is another post in the occasional Mayhem Virgins series of artists that are brand new to those of us who squat in the palatial squalor of Mayhem Towers. This time it is the turn of the wacky, punky combo known as Notorious Lightbulbs from the North East of England. The band is essentially a duo made up of Diego Wilde and Crystal Miss. They often collaborate with Danny ‘The Rain’ Allinson and he played or programmed all the drums on their new EP. It was absolute Twitter chance that I came across them after they liked and commented on a recent tweet from me about “Starz In Their Eyes” by Just Jack. I was hotly attracted by their marvellous, magical and magnificent song titles; “Sicadilly Pircus”, “Voodoo Stripper Junkie” and “Mountweazle” to name just a few. But song titles alone don’t make a great band do they? You have to be able to back it up with style, talent, pizazz and great tunes. Notorious Lightbulbs tick all the boxes on that score. Their new EP ‘Captain Mechanical’ is staggeringly good and deserves massive commercial success. Click here to check it out on Spotify.

The four track EP opens with the aforementioned “Voodoo Stripper Junkie” which slams into you like a runaway ten ton truck. This is perhaps the finest song about some kind of stripper since Mansun’s “Stripper Vicar”. It kicks off with a barrage of heavy punk style fuzzy riffs backed by some supremely tight drumming. There is a feel of early Arctic Monkeys here for me, although this has more punch and more electronica than those Sheffield lads did. The guitar solos could have stepped out of any number of 70s classic rock songs. There is an orchestral disco feel to “Far Out” somewhat akin to the Scissor Sisters and even M of “Pop Muzik” fame. The synth shapes on this stay with you long after the song is over. What can I say about “Mountweazle”? It is a splendorous mountain of a song which features a great vocal from Diego, perhaps the best on the EP, although that is a tough competition. I am ecstatically in love with the harmonies on closing track “Make Believe” especially the brief a capella moments.

Notorious Lightbulbs maintain a great air of mystery and are apparently never seen without their steampunk style glasses and hats. Rumour has it that they started life as a part of a creative group named ‘The Notorious Lightbulb Factory’ that wrote music for low-budget horror movies. As well as the new EP click here to check out some of their earlier material on SoundCloud. If you listen to this band and do not almost immediately love them then I suggest you check into hospital to have your musical taste operated on.

 

Earthquake Lights – “The Eight-one” March 22, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:31 pm
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New York based experimental indie outfit, Earthquake Lights met while studying jazz at college. Their sound is a blending of folk and indie with elements of more outré genres (including jazz, obviously) finding their way into the sound. The first single from their forthcoming sophomore album, ‘Distress Signals’, “The Eight-one” begins with some lo-fi reversed string samples and some low-key keyboards before a shuffling, jazz-inspired rhythm section lopes along languidly (think “Knives Out” era Radiohead). Clean tone guitars pleasantly chime in and the vocals have a nice reverby, lo-fi feel to them. When everything is at its loudest together there is a great atmospheric, even anthemic quality to “The Eight-one”. The production is definitely geared towards the rhythm section, the bass and rhythm guitar taking up most of the listeners attention, though the other elements in the mix sound clear and unclouded. The unusual mix of cleanly produced music with lo-fi vocals gives the sound a DIY edge that enhances the songs qualities.

“The Eight-one” is available to stream now from all the usual locations (Spotify, iTunes etc.). The album, ‘Distress Signals’, is released on April 12th 2019.

This review was written by Tom Ray

 

Reatha Pitman – Interview with a future US Country star! March 15, 2019

Filed under: Interview — justwilliam1959 @ 11:37 pm
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Recently I had the absolute pleasure of catching up with up and coming US country singer Reatha Pitman. After 14 years in the US Navy Reatha is now putting everything into becoming a success as a singer. Click here to check out her website, buy some of the merch and you will be contributing directly towards her first album. Reatha answered a range of questions for With Just A Hint Of Mayhem, take a read and feel free to add a comment.

Who is your biggest musical influence and why?

There was absolutely no hesitation in this answer, it is the Judds. She has loved them since she was a little girl and has been lucky enough to see them live twice. Reatha said that one thing that she really admires about the Judds is their passion and how they have an air of being larger than life. Reatha also loves Reba McIntire and Shania Twain.

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

Reatha is currently working on a bunch of new songs for an album, her first, which if all goes well should be out later this year. She plans to start recording it in Nashville in April.

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

Well Ms. Pitman confessed to having no musical guilty pleasures and then having thought about said maybe Will Smith. <With Just A Hint Of mayhem wants your opinion, is Will Smith a guilty pleasure? Answers in the comments please>

What is your favourite song of all time?

Again, no hesitation from Reatha in this answer, it has to be “Love Can Build A Bridge” by the Judds. It brings so many great things together; the words, the tone and the melody. Reatha also added “Crazy” written by the great Willie Nelson and performed most memorably and famously by Patsy Cline.

How do you prepare for a gig?

No real routine, perhaps trying to learn the lyrics of songs that she plans to cover thoroughly. Reatha also drinks coffee pre-gig as she believes that it helps her vocal tone.

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

In September 2018 Reatha sang both days (Friday and Saturday) at the Mississippi Songwriters Festival. This particular festival features and showcases many renowned Nashville songwriters.

What drives you to write songs?

Reatha’s song writing drive comes from emotion and human experience. Maybe a thought stemming from a line or scene from a movie. She also takes inspiration from other peoples lives and their experiences. One of her newer songs is about her Dad.

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

With this one I think Reatha made a very bold choice in “Crazy” the Patsy Cline classic.

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

“Hittin’ The Road” (which can be found on her new EP, click here to find it on Spotify). She would like maybe Kasey Musgraves or Kelsea Ballerini to give it a shot.

Name three things that you simply cannot live without?

Chips <that’ll be crisps to those of us on this side of the big pond>

Movies/ Cinema/ TV – especially romantic dramas with a happy ending. Particularly Hallmark films.

What is your favourite confectionary item?

Sour Patch Kids Gum candy.

Who is the richest Bruce Wayne (a.k.a. Batman) or Tony Stark (a.k.a. Iron Man)?

Tony Stark because he designs and sells high end electronics and computer equipment.

 

“Saturday” – The Receivers

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:13 pm
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STOP PRESS – UPDATE – the excellent video for “Saturday” is now below and click here to find this future classic on Spotify!

I have received a very tasty sneak preview of “Saturday” the new single from one of York’s finest bands the Receivers. It will be available on streaming sites from Friday 22nd March. I urge you to check it out when it is released. It is a punchy, exciting track with a harder edged indie sound and a feel of classic late 70s post punk like maybe the Motors. The soaring vocals on the chorus slide into your brain like a fish-hook after a couple of listens and believe me this is one metaphorical fish that is not going to be thrown back into the river. The musicianship is first class especially the distinctive guitar melodies, shapes and jangly riffs.In a perfect world this song would be all over the airwaves, but this is not a perfect world, but if any radio stations want to prove me wrong on that score then go ahead. Nick, Alex, Harry and Louis (a.k.a. The Receivers) are a tight band that are clearly passionate about what they do and I can see this release really helping to put them even more firmly on the map. I had the pleasure of seeing these boys live at the Fulford Arms back in January, click here to read that review. The single release will be supported by a short spring tour, get yourself a ticket now, that is an ORDER!

While you are waiting click here to check out some of their other great stuff on Spotify.

STOP PRESS – UPDATE – the excellent video for “Saturday” is now below and click here to find this future classic on Spotify!

 

 

“The lights go out and I can’t be saved” March 14, 2019

Filed under: Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 2:34 am
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William Willett

My beautiful wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman is far more active than I am, so much so that she subscribes to Country Walking magazine and I subscribe to the sedentary Q and Mojo! Anyway which of those threw up the best and perhaps most musically related fact recently? You guessed it, none other than the December 2018 issue of Country Walking.  So last weekend our American friends across the pond slipped their clocks back an hour, well most states did, Then in a couple of weeks the UK clocks go back an hour to hit British summertime. Why did we do that? Was it Farmers? Was it the postal service? Was it World War 1? Was it School Children? Actually it was none of those. In reality it was the brainchild of William Willett. His steadfast belief was that money was wasted by not changing; less  productivity in the darker mornings and power for lighting in the evening. He also enjoyed playing golf in the evening so his campaign which hit pay-dirt in 1916, the year after his death was somewhat selfish.

Chris Martin

I can almost hear you asking what the hell has this got to do with music? Well that William Willett bloke is none other than the great-great- grandfather of Chris Martin off of Coldplay. Of course and so appropriately Coldplay had a hit with a song called “Clocks”, which made the UK top 10 for the band in 2003.

 

Mayhem’s Unsung Heroes – Betty the Tea Lady at Wessex Studios March 12, 2019


 

Betty the lady that made Big Tea with the Boyz That Made Big Noize

This is the first in what I hope will be a reasonably regular feature to give some airtime to those unsung folks that played an important part in music history. Back in July 2017 I posted an article about the recording of the Queen classic “We Will Rock You” after reading a piece in Classic Rock magazine. Click here to read that post. The band and Producer Roy Thomas Baker wanted to get a full and powerful stomp to back it up. Everyone in the studio was rounded up to provide that now familiar stomping and clapping refrain, essentially everyone stamped their feet twice and clapped their hands on the offbeat. Incidentally no drums were used on the track. Now not only was everyone in the studio involved but so was Betty the Tea Lady. No one remembers much about her other than her name was Betty, she made the tea at Wessex Sound Studios in North London and that she lived next door to the studio. Well after adding a plea for information about Betty I have heard from two of her five children. Sadly, Betty passed away eleven years ago. However, I had a long and delightful telephone conversation with Betty’s daughter Rosemary. It was Rosemary that drew the short straw and was nominated to do the interview on behalf of herself and her four siblings (a.k.a. “The Other Four”). She walked me through a wonderful potted history of her mother.

Mike Batt at Wessex Studios with the Kursaal Flyers

The studio itself used to be a Sunday School and one of the main recording areas used to be a classroom. It first became a studio in the 1960s and at various times it was owned by Bill Price, songwriter Les Reed, Chrysalis Records and George Martin was a director for a time. Betty worked at Wessex Studios for 27 years after replying to an advert that was posted on a tree. Many famous and successful bands and singers recorded at Wessex including the Sex Pistols, King Crimson, the Clash, Theatre of Hate, XTC, Slade, Queen, Talk Talk, the Rolling Stones, Pete Townshend and The Damned. Betty, who in addition to carrying out the tea lady duties, also covered the reception desk and met many of them. She got on particularly well with King Crimson. There was always a picture of Queen on the serving hatch. According to her daughter Betty was one of those sadly too rare people who have an innate ability to get on with anyone. Betty and her family, she had five kids including one set of triplets, lived in a flat very close to the studio.

Never Mind The Sex Pistols Here’s the Lapsang Souchong

Rosemary said that she sometimes went to the studio to help her Mum and on one occasion Betty asked her to take a tray of tea to the Sex Pistols. Apparently, Rosemary really wasn’t impressed by the band and told her Mum. Betty’s response was that in her experience the Sex Pistols were always very polite and always behaved respectfully towards her. Betty was invited to many award ceremonies as a part of the studio team and to all the studio parties. For one fancy dress party Betty dressed as a punk in bin liners and safety pins. British comedy legend Roy Kinnear filmed some film scenes in Betty’s flat. On another occasion Mike Batt could be found watching The Wombles on the TV in Betty’s flat. Mike, a big cricket fan, bought one of Betty’s sons a cricket bat. People who worked or recorded at the studio really loved Betty. The Singing Nun of “Dominique” fame sang at Rosemary’s wedding. Many of the acts who recorded at Wessex gave Betty a thank you credit on their albums. Slade even named their 1987 album ‘You Boyz Make Big Noize’ after Betty had heard them and uttered that very phrase, albeit probably not spelled the Slade way. Betty loved music and particularly loved to dance. In her younger days she would often visit the Palais. I am sure that Wessex Studios would not have been the same without Betty, she truly is an unsung music history hero!

Public Service Announcement: If Any of the pictures are yours and you would like a credit or would like them removed please let me know

 

Faux Pas – Fulford Arms, York 28th February 2019 March 8, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:49 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Does anyone not love the Fulford Arms? You don’t well come and see me and let me educate you. This place is an awesome small, intimate venue where a fabulous range of great acts play. On top of all that the staff are a fab bunch too! Tonight the headliners in a show promoted by Under The Influence were the rather fabulous Faux Pas. But more about them later, first to take the stage were Pura Vida (my research tells me that this means pure life or simple life in Costa Rica) a northern powerhouse of a band from Yorkshire. It is just over a year since I last saw them play live and they are still incredibly difficult to pin down to a single genre. Tonight I had a great post punk vibe from them sprinkled with some Factory Records fairy dust. Some of the guitar work was reminiscent of John Squire at his Stone Roses peak they also performed an excellent cover of the Cure’s “Love Song” and they have some great self penned songs too. If you set out to not like this band you would fail, so don’t even try immerse yourself in a pure and simple life with the music of Pura Vida.

Next were the staggeringly talented Lost Trends from York. Why the hell are this band not absolutely huge? They had a few months sabbatical but they are back with a bang that could be measured in megatons or on the Richter Scale. Their new EP ‘Time’ is a finely honed gem. Not many bands are able to combine the indie style with hard-hitting funky dance floor anthems while maintaining a punky attitude. One of the many things that I love about Lost Trends is that wherever they are on the bill and whoever else is playing they rock the stage as though they are the headliners, they never hold back. They treated the crowd to a towering version of “Time” which is a tune you have to move to, Peter Knaggs guitar on this track alone would run the Edge close. The highlight of their set for me was a floor shaking attack of one of their slightly older songs “DJ”. This is perhaps the fifth time I have seen them live and I hope it won’t be long before that runs in to double figures.

Now for the electrifying headliners Faux Pas, I first saw them late last year when their single “Shame” had just been released. They have a never-ending supply of power and energy. Ru Cowl is perhaps one of the finest front men around at the moment. While his image may draw on a punk ethos he is a complete original. The summer dress, badly applied lipstick and the word RUNT scrawled across his chest can only be pulled off by someone with courage and of course talent. Without talent it would be all image, but FauxPas have talent in abundance. Apparently the literal translation of Faux Pas from French to English is ‘false step’, as for Faux Pas the band there is nothing false about them, they are most definitely ‘4 Real’. This show is part of a tour to promote their current single “TV Made Me Paranoid”. The song builds from a slow almost menacing start into something akin to Placebo on steroids. If they are playing your town make sure you’re there, that’s an order!

 

 
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