Here we are with our eleventh singles round-up of 2020. This one features seven great tunes, which found their way into the world over the past few weeks. This roundup carries on the guest reviewer approach kicked off when Simon Pattinson, Head Honcho of Northern Radar joined me to review a batch of singles in the 10th Roundup. This time I was joined joined for another Zoom listening extravaganza by Rusty Green, singer and guitarist with Lost Trends, one of York’s finest bands. If the weather is good and COVID-19 infection rates are low I hope to see those Lost Trends boys playing live again on 30th August, in a socially distanced setting, obviously!
These seven tracks feature another great selection of bands and singers from Long Island, Delaware, Glasgow, Whittingham Asylum, Brighton, Los Angeles and North East UK. All of these acts are new to With Just A Hint Of Mayhem except Moodbay and I am sure that they will all feature again sometime in the future. Play them all now, that’s an order!
“Small World” – Gamblers
Bill – I love the jaunty funk and Billy Whizz guitar licks. Great harmonies and at times Nick Heywardesque. A really cool summer vibe.
Rusty – MGMT style vocals with classy harmonies reminiscent of Empire Of The Sun. Funky pop with a great funk bass line. A bright tune that contrasts with some very dark lyrics
“Checkered Vans” – Reece Ratliff
Rusty – A very mature voice. Probably not my kind of area, but a catchy, synth driven, bright pop tune. It kept me interested, was that a vocoder in there?
Bill – A love song about shoes, surely there aren’t many of those around? It made me think that I need to buy me some of the Bowie Vans. This is a great song with an excellent hook. It is really all about lost love, not just shoes, and it made me smile. Simply a perfect pop tune.
“Cosmopolis” – Pleasure Heads
Bill – Very clever lyrics that are stylistically reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys for me. This is a great slice of masterful post punk pop that reeled me in immediately. At times it reminded me of Cast and the Zutons. Did that lyric couplet say “voyeuristic wank”? 🙂
Rusty – Vocally it sounds like the Courteeners, I am definitely a fan of the Pleasure Heads now. The distorted bass roughed it up a bit and made it much rockier. The pre chorus was really cool.
“Imago” – Ward XVI
Rusty – Like a heavy White Stripes. A great vocal and I like the way they used the synth. That reminded me of the Horrors and Mr Bungle. The heavier synth notes suggested a bit of Nine Inch Nails. The whole tune showed some great variation of styles.
Bill – Heavy, deep and masterful riffage. I love the vocals. Apparently this is a part of a concept album about being in an asylum. I am really looking forward to the album after hearing this.
“Current” – Phoria
Bill – Very soundtrackesque, like something from the sad part/ death scene of a David Lynch film. But it is also very chilled with a classical element. No real vocal, but there is a great use of overdubbed voices as an instrument. It made me think of Mogwai while on a post speed come down. Also some rather eery and odd scratchy samples used.
Rusty – definitely my favourite so far, fantastically produced. I really love the chord change from major to minor. Personally I would love to create and record a soundtrack one day.
“Karmic Lemonade” – Velvet Starlings
Rusty – The drop into the chorus was truly brilliant. It suggests classic Primal Scream or the Rolling Stones at the height of their powers.
Bill – Like the heavy side of Brit Pop and yet it strangely reminded me of Kula Shaker as a 60s garage band. I sense a real influence from the classic rock of the 60s and 70s. Great rock vocalist and a tight, talented band. I loved the feedback heavy ending.
“Like Nobody Else” – Moodbay
Bill – Classic 80s style synth pop, but clearly with a 21st century sheen. Like some of the best of the Human League or Depeche Mode but with Oakey and Gahan replaced by a, Anna Stephens a supremely talented vocalist. Great hooks with a middle eight that sounded like the Pet Shop Boys at their best.
Rusty – Pop is not a dirty word and this really is great pop. Catchy and yet very dark at times. Gorgeous vocals and I like that they left the ‘click’ on for the chorus.
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