With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“It Won’t Last Long” – Ross Andrew October 14, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:35 pm
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Back in February, I reviewed “Places” the fourth single from Birmingham singer-songwriter Ross Andrew, well he has a new one out, it is called “It Won’t Last Long”. With “Places” I saw a softish acoustic vibe along the lines of Clifford T Ward from the early 70s, however the new song, while retaining that great acoustic feel, has a much harder edge and it spews buckets of emotion. The production from Elliot Vaughan has perfect clarity but also brings out more power from Ross’ voice. Click here to hear the song on Spotify and check it out on YouTube below. I believe that “It Won’t Last Long” will, in fact, last a long while and it takes Mr. Andrew’s songwriting up a couple of gears at least. Check this bloke out now, that is an order!

 

 

‘Measure EP’ – Heavy Lungs October 12, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:54 pm
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Bristol’s Heavy Lungs have just released their new 5-Track EP ‘Measure’ on Balley Records, it is their third EP. It has a late 70s post-punk feel and the aural assault of EP opener “Half Full” has tones of Scary Monsters era Bowie, Bauhaus, and even Suicide. It opens with a long feedback and weird noise overture. Danny Nedelko’s voice is a perfect raspy punk with an angry undercurrent. Nedelko has a great claim to fame beyond Heavy Lungs, he is the subject of “Danny Nedelko” a tune by Idles a band who Heavy Lungs are very close to having toured with them regularly. “Self Worth” strikes me as something that Lydon’s first Public Image Limited incarnation might have recorded. If you want an epic festival anthem in the making check out the towering and frantic “T.O.T.B”, it is a complete mental mind warp that seeps into your soul like one of Edgar Allen Poe’s darkest creations. Have Heavy Lungs invented a new sub-genre with this track? Goth-Punk anyone? There is a rather excellent video to accompany 2019 single and the first track released from this EP “(A Bit Of A) Birthday”. But while the video is bloody good the song stands perfectly on its own too. It has a 70s Glam Rock feel to it but with some tight yet mountainous punk riffs and pays a debt to Tin Machine. The EP closes with “Pacemaker” perhaps the softest track on the EP, but don’t be fooled this is still harder than many of their contemporaries. I really don’t know how I have missed out on Heavy Lungs up to now, but I am damned glad that I have found them! There is plenty of time to still catch them on tour (see dates below), if you can then sell whatever you need to in order to grab a ticket!

 

 

Dates with an asterisk are headline shows

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“Joker” – Film and Soundtrack Review October 10, 2019


Joaquin Phoenix puts in a truly devastatingly spectacular performance as Batman’s arch-nemesis Joker in the new DC film of the origin of the Clown Prince Of Crime. I am a big fan of comics, mostly Marvel, but in Batman and most of his villains DC has something on a par with the Marvel Universe. However, until now the film adaptations of DC characters have been at best sporadically good. But with ‘Joker’ they have moved into the Premier League. This film, directed by Todd Phillips is for me potentially the best superhero related film ever, in fact, I would say that it is possibly the best film that I have ever seen. It works as a study of abuse, bullying, isolation and mental breakdown and how society treats those who are different. There are obvious superhero and supervillain references given the iconic nature of one of DC Comics’ best-known villains. However, even with no knowledge of comic history or the key characters, you would probably agree that this is a stone-cold great film. For nerdy comic fans like me, you do get to see a young Bruce Wayne. Apparently, Joaquin Phoenix lost 52 pounds to play the character and he based the maniacal laughter on “videos of people suffering from pathological laughter” He didn’t look at previous Joker portrayals for inspiration, but he read a book about political assassinations so he could understand killers and motivations. He must be in line for an Oscar in my opinion.

The soundtrack from Icelandic musician and composer Hildur Gudnadottir. Hildur is a classicly trained cellist and has played with Throbbing Gristle and Animal Collective. She also provided the soundtrack for the recent TV mini-series ‘Chernobyl’. The musical soundscapes that she has created for ‘Joker’ are dark, moody and gothic and help to build scenes perfectly. Click here to listen to her soundtrack on Spotify. In addition to Gudnadottir’s work, there are a lot of previously hit or classic songs used at key points in the film. At one point you can hear one of my favourite 70s soul songs in the background while Phoenix as Arthur Fleck is putting on his clown make up. That song is “Everybody Plays The Fool” by the Main Ingredient. Other songs that feature are “Smile” by Jimmy Durante and “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra, both of which take prominent roles in the film’s soundscape. Tracks by the Doors, Joy Division, Pink Floyd and Donovan. “Left Speaker Blown” by Liars an LA-based band formed in the 90s is deeply dark and bordering on the scary side of beautiful. There is clearly at least one controversial track used in the film though. In quite a pivotal scene as Arthur Fleck’s mental state moves him more toward the Joker character he becomes he dances down some steps backed by a soundtrack of notorious UK paedophile Gary Glitter’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Part 2”. Now to many people, particularly in the UK, the thought of the former Paul Gadd making money is gross. However, were the music pickers form the film aware of Glitter’s activities? He never really sold much in the USA, he was essentially a one hit wonder in America. I understand that he is not likely to receive ongoing royalties for this, but will probably receive a lump sum payment. Half of that will go to his co-writer Mike Leander, who I have a degree of sympathy for. In my opinion, it was, with hindsight, foolish to use this tune. However in the context of the film it works!

The bottom line is that this is an incredible film and well worth seeing, don’t let the Glitter shit prevent you from giving it a shot.

As a footnote, last year in a Rolling Stone interview discussing his favourite Glam Rock songs Joe Elliot of Def Leppard said of Glitter’s “I’m the Leader of the Gang (I Am!)”; “This is going to be very controversial because nobody talks about Gary Glitter anymore, since he’s a child molester, but there’s no doubt that in 1973, him and Michael Leander, who previously worked with the Beatles, made a fantastic song. It’s just an absolutely tremendous sing-along, laugh-along pop anthem. It was just undeniable. It starts off with a motorbike and then Glitter and the band start this “Come on, come on” chant and it speeds up and then just stops and he goes, “Do you want to be in my gang, my gang?” and it’s just begging for what comes next, which is the whole Glitter band going, “Oh yeah.” It’s just really well-constructed stuff.

You won’t hear him on the radio in the U.K. anymore because he’s banished to bloody hell because of all his misdemeanors with underage girls. But probably no more so than Jerry Lee Lewis who still gets played. And Chuck Berry had all these tours before he died, and nobody seems to remember that he put cameras in the toilets of his restaurant and filmed people. So people pick and choose their pariahs, I suppose. But if you discuss music and nothing but music here, the songs you had when you’re a 12-year-old kid were fantastic. And that one song in particular was the best one I ever heard.” I am not for one moment this condones anythine Glitter the paedophile did, but this is just another view.

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“Craw” – Pool Sharks October 8, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:21 pm
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Those Indie funsters Pool Sharks from Leeds have a new single coming out on 17th October. It is called “Craw” and follows hot on the heels of previous single “Like This To Die Instantly”. I had the pleasure of seeing these boys play live almost a year ago at the Brudenell, Leeds in support of Skylights, and I believe that was one of their first gigs. Back then I sensed elements of Franz Ferdinand and Edwyn Collins. In “Craw” I get a kind of David Byrne vibe if as if the Talking Heads main man had been British. This song would also sit nicely alongside some of Basher’s (Nick Lowe’s) top tracks from the late 70s. “Craw” has an infectious melody and hook which settles nicely into the brain after just one listen, it has everything needed to be a classy Indie Pop hit and will work incredibly well on radio. The lyrics are very clever in the way they convey what was once referred to as ‘Kitchen Sink Dramas’. This new single does not stick in my craw, but it has taken up residence in my head and is unlikely to leave in the near future. On the evidence of Pool Sharks releases to date their album when it arrives will be a winner!

While you wait for “Craw” to emerge into the world click here to check out the Pool Sharks other stuff out on Spotify and to keep you going how about a live version of the upcoming single in the video below!

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Faux Pas – Vinyl Cafe, York – Friday 4th October 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 4:08 pm
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This date was a part of the Faux Pas autumn tour which includes support slots with LIFE and a number of in-store shows. This show was obviously one of the in-store sets, given the wonderfully intimate setting of the Vinyl Cafe in York. Faux Pas are considered by many, including me, to be among the finest young UK bands around at the moment. Did they live up to that accolade at this gig? You will have to read on to find out as there were also a couple of great support acts on the bill before the main attraction.

Will Dreyfus

First up was Will Dreyfus, a York-based singer-songwriter who has a talent for writing story songs with a flow and narrative of very early Springsteen. Some of his tales are truly epic and ooze with an abundance of emotion. Another obvious comparison for me was a more folk-based George Ezra, but Will is also much more than that. He also displays a great self-deprecating humour and for me, he inadvertently came up with the best accidental phrase of the night; “Life is a learning curse”! The songs that Will performed at this gig were all sad songs of some degree, but I spoke briefly with him afterwards and he tells me that he does have some happy songs and having checked him out online that is absolutely true. I recommend that you give this bloke a listen.

Lily Honey

Next, it was the turn of Lily Honey, another talented Yorkshire based singer-songwriter. She has a voice that conveys soul, passion, and honesty. I don’t know if Lily has the octave range that Karen Carpenter possessed (not many singers do), but the clarity of her intonation is very Carpenteresque. According to Lily, her own songs are “down and sad”, although some might say poignant. Based on her performance tonight that might well be true, however, her songs are full of class and suggest a maturity in songwriting way beyond her years. Her cover of EnVogue’s 1996 smash hit “Don’t Let Go (Love)” was powerful and stunning in equal measure. I definitely want to hear more from Lily Honey.

Faux Pas

This would be the third time that I have seen those magnificent punky noiseniks, Faux Pas. The first time was last November when they supported the Blinders at the Crescent in York and the last time was at the Fulford Arms in York as one of their TV Made Me Paranoid Tour shows. Both of those gigs allowed Faux Pas to showcase just how loud, proud and talented they really are. So obviously I was expecting a lot of them at the Vinyl Cafe last Friday, especially as it is a very small, intimate venue for which the volume would need to be turned down a notch. My expectations were exceeded as Ru, Lewis, and Joey proved that they can perform in any environment and that their songs work in quieter as well us loud mode. It wasn’t a full-on acoustic set with Ru adding some decent guitar to some songs and Joey keeping the beat with softer sticks throughout, giving a rich jazzy feel at times. But they were never too far from their indie-punk signature sound, especially with new single “That’s My Ego” where Ru’s vocals might well have melted some of the vinyl albums on display. On “Golden” Joey proved that he is more than just a damned good drummer with some skillful tinkling of the ivories. Perhaps the stand out for me though was Lewis’ guitar work he weaved his punk-jazz licks around every song and added layers to them that takes them to a different level completely. His axemanship was as good as a young Johnny Marr or Steve Mason for Gene in their mid 90s peak. Faux Pas wear their punk hearts on their sleeve, they could be this generation’s Placebo and they are on the same groundbreaking pedestal as contemporaries Queen Zee (who sadly announced their break up while I was writing this review). But wherever their influences may come from they are most definitely original and there is only one Faux Pas! Everything that I have seen and heard from Faux Pas makes me believe that beyond a shadow of doubt they have what it takes to go all the way and I hope they make it! If you haven’t caught them yet on their autumn tour either in support of LIFE or in-store shows promoting “That’s My Ego” there are plenty of opportunities left, go on you know you want to, actually scrub that, you know you NEED to see them!

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me. (There are a few more below) 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. I am also happy for you to use any of my pictures, all I ask is for a credit 🙂

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