With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

‘Take Some Time’ EP – Tom McKenzie June 19, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 6:30 pm
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Yorkshire singer songwriter Tom McKenzie released a new EP, ‘Take Some Time’ last month. I recommend that you do take some time to listen to it. It has a modern indie folk feel to it and Tom marries that to an innate ability to build a pop hook in a ballad kind of way using just vocals, guitar and banjo. It is a great set of songs to just spend time chilling with, maybe in a deck chair with a cold beer or a glass of wine. Tom’s songs are more than just songs, they are stories that are sung. Given when these tunes were recorded I am sure that the COVID-19 lockdown has had at least a small influence on them.

The title track is a wonderfully melancholy love song with stunningly beautiful harmonies provided by Writer’s Rain. I imagined a story around the creation of this song where Sandy Denny might have recorded with Nick Drake. At times I heard a ghost of Clifford T Ward in Tom’s immaculate vocal delivery. “Forever Someday” has an upbeat almost alt.country feel and is one of those songs that just leaves you with a warm happy feeling. “One Way Ticket” seems to be about a relationship that has ended, but where they remain friends, if only all relationships could end that way. I can see the chorus here being a great audience singalong live. There is an invisible anger in “Reason” which appears to be aimed at a composite devil who might represent all that is bad about some people in the world. “How do you reason with the devil? I’m staring him straight in the eye” is a simple yet very powerful line. I think my favourite track on the EP is the closer, “Conkers And Leaves” which is about how great it is to come home, regardless of where and how far you have travelled. If you have not checked out Tom McKenzie‘s music yet I suggest that you do it now. Click here to listen to the EP on Spotify.

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‘Seersucker’ EP – Swears


Do you love dirty, grungey, punky, fuzzy, garage rock? You do? Well you will want to marry Swears. They released their first EP, ‘Seersucker’ last month and it goes straight to the top of the alternative rock class for 2020. Swears formed in Middlesbrough in 2017 and are made up of Joel Clayton, Cypriot brothers George and Stephanos Louca, and Tom Gingell. The EP was recorded at All Silk Recording Studio, Rawtenstall, Lancashire with the music tracked, mixed and mastered by Ed Hall.

EP opener “Warm To The Touch” has quite an impassioned, soulful vocal reflecting the subject of the song which is about the plight of our dying planet. It is underpinned by a heavy, scuzzy sound that Black Rebel Motorcycle would be proud of. Next up is “Say Nothing” which I believe deals with mental health and lyrically, for me, it is one of the most interesting tracks here. “I’m a vision of division, I’m a hound without a sound” is a couplet that conjures up mental despair and anguish (schizophrenia maybe?) with a very intelligent use of just a few simple words. Musically it felt very dark which reflects and supports the lyrics perfectly.

Westlife have aged well haven’t they? 😉

“Catacombs” deals with addiction and is driven by a bass so deep that it probably began in the depths of hell, which I guess is fitting given the songs title and subject matter. This is what a much darker, more punk savvy Kings Of Leon might sound like. You get a feel for how these boys feel about God on “Brain Dead”, an incredibly powerful tune that has some mighty riffs and is possibly the heaviest track on a fabulously heavy release. On the strength of this release I can hardly wait to see Swears live post COVID-19.

Click here to listen to ‘Seersucker’ on Spotify.

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“Sometimes” – Apollo Junction June 18, 2020


Those talented lads of Apollo Junction are about to brighten our musical worlds once again with their new single “Sometimes”. It really is a cracking new song. Sonically it has a feel of U2 and speaking to the band last week they told me they were aiming for a kind of U2 meets New Order vibe, well they have nailed that vibe totally. The lyrics also seem quite deep and personal, but ultimately very positive. The song has a chorus that would compete well with any of the best tunes from the Killers. It has rock, pop and banging hooks. After “Forever” and now this it seems clear that the next Apollo Junction album will be bloody brilliant. No pressure lads!

A long wait, but almost certainly worth it!

I love the video produced and directed by Matthew Walsh and starring Millie Gaston who displays a huge range of emotions. It is so hard to be different with videos these days, but the emotional simplicity in this one grabbed me immediately. Plus you get to see the lyrics too. These boys get better with each release.

Click here to listen to the song on Spotify and check out the excellent video below.

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“Over It” – Alleyways

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:13 pm
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Leeds/ York based indie pop funsters Alleyways are back with a tune so banging that it could be measured in megatons. The funky Billy Whizz guitar licks are reminiscent of Haircut 100. The tune is “Over It” and given the pop perfection, the funky booming bass beat, righteous riffing, superb synth sounds and divine drums you won’t get over it quickly. This song is an immense earworm that will latch itself onto you so tight that you will need to have it surgically removed. Although frankly it is so good, save the NHS and forgo the earworm removal! Plus it will keep you dancing so you would not be able to stay still long enough for a safe operation anyway.

Frontman Dougie Turner has said this about “Over It” – “I feel this song captures the energy we had whilst writing it, and the meaning behind this track is something very important to us. We are a generation living our lives online, so it is crucial that we don’t regress socially. Now more than ever is a time we need to be reminded that community and connection in the real world is what drives us and ties us together. I’m also in love with the positivity that comes off this track, the energy it has from start to finish and that classic ALLEYWAYS sound that will get everyone moving.” If you have missed out on this great band up to now, it’s not too late, but get on board quickly!

Click here to play/ download “Over It” on all the biggest streaming sites.

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‘Propoganda’ – Aārp

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 2:12 pm
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Aārp is a classically trained experimentalist with a penchant for politically orientated song titles. Opening track “CA Fuit De Pentant” is an intriguing synth led track which is experimental rhythmically as well as tonally. “Condamnez Vous Les Violences” features scattered rhythms over a descending jazz style sequence. “Axis Of Evil” has a filmic feel with organ leading into a dance like feel with frequent changes of rhythm pattern. “Less Than 1% Of Patients Leave Addicted” has a sadder, less frenetic feel “There Is No Alternative” builds into a dance orientated track with a more laid back feel.

Some tracks such as “Nada Es Gatos Esta Vida” and “The Herbicide That Gets To The Root Of The Problem” feature a more experimental feel . The rhythms are more disorientating and therefore require closer listening. “I Prefer A Literal Dictator” has a sinister feel with orchestral interludes. Final track “Les Malheureux” opens with bassy synth sounds leading into an interesting mix of rhythms interspersed with symphonic interludes and alien dance rhythms. This album reminds somewhat of the work of Ryuichi Sakamoto and the Yellow Magic Orchestra and that is no bad thing. I look forward to hearing further musical exploration from Aārp and his politician quoting song titles.


Written by Paul Bamlett.

Click here to listen to the album on Spotify.

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‘It’s Raining On The Wrong Side Of The Window’ EP – Glass Peaks



Glass Peaks debut EP opens with a soundscape of ambient noise and bleeps. This leads us into “Sao Paulo” ,a great synth based song and a good opener.
An Interlude of ambient guitar takes us into “London Is Concrete” which has a gentle pop feel and an interesting vocal. “Never Really Left” has more upbeat feel and an anthemic Tears For Fears flavour with strong vocals. The next “Interlude” with more ambient sounds coupled with whispering voices leads into the final track the sublime title track, “It’s Raining On The Wrong Side Of The Window”. With beautifully balanced vocals this is the strongest track here and brings this multi faceted release to a close.

Very strong songwriting and excellent production add extra class to this superb EP. Featuring an eclectic and well chosen mix of genres on this evidence Glass Peaks can expect to achieve commercial success in the very near future.

Click here to listen to the EP on Spotify.

Written by Paul Bamlett

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‘Second Movement’ EP – Chelsea Pribble

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 2:11 pm
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In the first instance I heard the single from this EP which is “Under the Covers”. To say that I was blown away by its quality and originality would be to give those descriptors a bad name. The release from which “Under The Covers” is taken is far and away the most stunning collection it has been my pleasure to review this far. Beginning with “White Lies” the fragile but effective vocals coupled with delicate complimentary string arrangements are a great opening moment. The tonality here is unique. “Bed Of Stone” with its piano intro has a depth of feeling that is tangible and some truly exceptional classically orientated tonal shifts. A Satie-esque piano figure introduces the aforementioned “Under The Covers”. The arrival of drums is unexpected but pleasant and the track is for me amongst the finest in a superb collection.

What makes this such a great release is that no two tracks are the same but the feel of the release is so unified. “Overgrown” features strings which accent and compliment the timbre of the vocals. The lyrics demonstrate a depth of feeling which lends the song an additional layer. The sound is supremely well blended. “Reprise” has a sadder feel to it but the string arrangement is once again what makes this music work so well. “Prelude” is an instrumental piece which fits supremely well into the exquisite soundscape of the record.

Chelsea Pribble has a classical ballet background and nowhere is that more apparent than on “Pas De Deux”. The vocal here has some of the feel of Anthony Hegarty but this is a voice all its own. This song vies for top billing with “Under the Covers”. Original, beautiful and profoundly emotionally affecting ,the classical dance influence is writ large here and the lyrics are strong. This is a superlative collection of songs and an absolutely resounding 10 out of 10. I will await further music from this great emerging singer with great anticipation.

Click here to check out ‘Second Movement’ on Spotify.

Written by Paul Bamlett

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Mayhem’s Home Town – Music from York – local lock-down releases 1 June 14, 2020


My adopted home city of York has been a hot bed of great music since I first moved here in 2007 and the York music force remains strong. So I thought that I would take this opportunity to highlight just a small handful of the great musical talent that this fantastic city has to offer. Focusing on three releases that have happened very recently during these strange lock down days.

First up are a York band that are destined for huge success, I am confident that eventually this lot will play arenas. I am talking of the Howl And The Hum who recently released their first album ‘Human Contact’ and is arguably one of the best debut albums of the 21st century so far. These boys have earned their chops the hard way through open mic nights and busking. If you haven’t heard them yet then you need to catch up really quickly. As a taster take a listen to their latest release below. It is an alternative live version of “Hostages” from their new album.

Perspex refer to themselves as “the plastic band for the decadent listener”, somehow I doubt if I can conjure up a better way to describe them. The band’s first release of 2020, “A Horse Named Useless” is a lo-fi weirdfest which has a delightful melody and contrasts that with a line about wanking off horses. Warped, wonderful, weird, wacky and worthy of a long listen.

Finally talented young York singer-songwriter Jacob Clayton released his first single “Inside Our Minds” last month. It is a chilled, yet emotional, folky track which feels reflective enough for these strange days. It is hard to judge an artist on one song, but frankly “Inside Our Minds” makes me want to hear more from him.

This site has posted about many York acts over the years and long may that continue. If any York musicians, bands, singers want to be featured here send me a message. Obviously we will still continue to include acts from all over the world, but I feel that a focus on our local scene is well worth it in these strange times!

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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2020 Part 7 June 13, 2020


Barely halfway through June and here is our seventh singles round-up of 2020. This one features five cracking tunes, I love them!

These five tracks feature another eclectic mix of bands and singers from northeast UK, Houston, Detroit, London, and Scotland. All of these acts are new to With Just A Hint Of Mayhem and I reckon they will all feature again sometime in the future. Get on them now!

“Creep” – Anna Blaise

It takes a brave artist to cover Radiohead, many have tried and only some manage to pull it off. But Anna Blaise, a multi-talented singer from the northeast of the UK nails it with this gorgeous take on Radiohead’s “Creep”. For me, I expect a cover version to be much more than a facsimile of the original and this slow-paced, piano-driven ballad-style version of what might be the former On A Friday’s grungiest rock track. This is haunting, soulful, moody, and beautiful. I could definitely handle an album full of covers like this. Anna gives the song elegance, grace, and a refined delicate style. The perfect song to chill out and reflect on your day late in the evening.

“Not Even Close” – Kringe featuring BBY KODIE

The string sample has a real middle eastern feel to it giving a strange warped feel to the beat. Kringe is a young rapper from Houston who went somewhat viral with his song “Crowd Control” in 2019. I sense an affinity with British rapper Slowthai, although maybe less political and more aligned with the sounds of Drake. Kringe’s delivery is sharp and his rhymes are tight. His first album ‘Don’t Think Too Much’ released earlier this year is already building him a wider audience. I think he would fit well on the bill for Reading/ Leeds in 2021, maybe late afternoon on the BBC Radio 1 Stage.

“Up All Night” – Sara Marie Barron

Detroit artist Sara Marie Barron releases the first single from her sophomore album, ‘Existential Glam’ due out in September. “Up All Night” is a sophisticated, slinky, slow, and sexy slice of modern jazz-funk. Her band is incredibly tight and knows how to lay down a perfect groove. Barron’s vocals are perfect and handle this sultry, soulful ballad perfectly, at times her singing evokes Sade and Amy Winehouse. If the new album is half as good as this track it will be damned good!

“Okok” – Bokito

Despite the really exotic-sounding name Bokito are based in London and most of them hail from Ireland. “Okok” is s dreamy indie-pop anthem which slips into your head, almost unnoticed at first, but then it won’t leave. Frontman Moses’ voice runs the whole gamut from Jeff Buckley to David McAlmont via Brett Anderson. At times there is an African feel to the tune reminiscent of Vampire Weekend or Violet Contours. The song starts slow but builds into a magnificent crescendo. This track leaves me with a smile when it is over and on the evidence of “Okok” and some of their earlier songs I reckon they will be an absolute blast live!

“Elephants” – The Snuts

Scottish band the Snuts are back with a funky, jangly tune that is steeped in classic post-punk pop. A floor filler everywhere from the school disco all the way through to your grandmother’s 80th birthday party. This deserves to be a huge hit, it is miles ahead of much of today’s bland, formulaic pop fodder. “Elephants” also has the makings of a lasting festival anthem. Can we have the Snuts on all the major festival bills in 2021, please?

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“Flex” – Yo! Majesty June 11, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 3:25 pm
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Back in 2008 Yo! Majesty were everywhere. They played Coachella and the South By South West festivals. They released their debut album ‘Futuristically Speaking… Never Be Afraid’ which still sounds fresh today. It was released by Domino Records, now home of the Arctic Monkeys, in the UK. Personally, I thought that they would just get bigger and better, but they seemed to disappear from the radar. But I am so happy to say that Jwl B, Shunda K, and Shon B are back, but not just back, back with an almighty explosion of sound. They make Salt ‘n’ Pepa look like simple condiments, Yo! Majesty are salt, pepper and a mighty dose of  Carolina Reaper chilliTheir new single “Flex” was released a couple of weeks ago and it is a total banger that harks back to Missy Elliott at her peak but also sounds incredibly fresh and is very much a sound of now! “Flex” is the first release from Yo! Majesty’s sophomore ‘Return Of The Matriarchs’ album which is scheduled for August. But whet your appetite with “Flex”, give it a spin, it is electro hip hop at its finest with the ladies spitting ciphers and rhymes like their lives depended on it! The beats are wicked on this tune too. The single is accompanied by a plethora of remixes, including those from DJ Daze, Otis The Rigger, Harry Breast, and plenty more. My favourite of the remixes is probably the DJ Hurley Slowed Mix which has a chilled feel musically but retains the venom and bite of the original rap. Did we know that the world needed a lesbian, Christian rap collective? Maybe the world didn’t know it but the world most definitely fucking needs Yo! Majesty now!  Get on this single and be ready for the album. Yo! Majesty are BACK!

Take a look at the ‘Das Wassup’ documentary about Yo! Majesty, it is one of the best music-related documentaries that I have seen in quite a while.

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