It’s very close to the end of March and this is our fourth singles round up of 2021. This roundup once again features a special guest reviewer. I was joined for this mega online listening shindig by an ace Radio DJ, check out his Indie/Alternative Show on Jorvik Radio (Sundays 5pm to 7pm). Let me introduce you to the one and only Jake Cartledge!
We listened to ten quite different tunes from ten clearly talented bands and singers, two of whom (Moodbay and Elkyn) have featured on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem before, but I am confident that all ten will appear here again in the future. This bunch come from Sheffield, Leeds (two of them), North-East UK, the South Coast of England, Lincoln (two of them), Newport, North-West UK and one from outside the UK, San Francisco! Inject this eclectic selection of tunes deep into your lugholes! Click here to check out the Spotify playlist with all ten songs on it!
“Once Or Twice” – Caroline and the Lights
Bill – Dark, late-night jazz. I love her voice. A proper chanteuse, a real torch singer. In a few years I can imagine Caroline being a contender to record a James Bond theme. It has a 60s feel and possibly my favourite of this particular singles roundup.
Jake – An old school, vintage 60s vibe, but with a slightly more modern twist. Maybe Nancy Sinatra with some Kate Bush thrown in. Really good track and different from everything else in this batch of singles.
“Happy” – Bad Idea
Jake – Definitely one of my favourites from this review session. A song of two distinct sides. It starts off with a dreamy, atmospheric, laid-back late-night listening vibe and then moves into a much more manic and urgent sound for the second half.
Bill – Chilled and even a little lo-fi at the start. Parts of the instrumentation rather weirdly made me think of George Michael’s “A Different Corner”. I love her voice and the harmonies are great. Strangely she didn’t sound very happy in the chorus, but maybe that was wonderfully performed irony. It moved into something really loud and “out there” for the second part.
“Psycho” – Moodbay
Bill – A great vocal from Anna. Like something that All Saints might have done if theye were new to the scene now. Great hooks and I love the way the synths build and then drop to a great keyboard refrain.
Jake – I love this, very atmospheric with great vocals. Anna’s voice sounds a little like Kat from Leeds band Polo.
“Go Back” – The Death Of Pop
Jake – A nice, chilled start, this reminded me of Tame Impala and towards the end some of the more recent MGMT releases. A wonderful galloping bass sound!
Bill – A new take on early 80s jangly indie sounds. Great harmonies and instrumentation and as Jake said, wonderful bass. This lot are more likely to be a defibrillator to pop rather than be the death of it!
“Something” – Elkyn
Bill – Chilled electro style. For me Elkyn get better with each release. Great vocals and I like the slightly less acoustic direction.
Jake – Really nice tune, it makes me think of sitting in the garden on a sunny day during the first Covid lockdown. A great summer song
“No Sympathy” – Duccbod
Jake – This really got going in the final 45 seconds or so. The vocal reminds me of Hozier and there is a great lyrical flow.
Bill – A dark tune where the lyrics are not just dark but bitter too. I love the way that it moves into a quasi rap sound and it builds really well to a fabulous end. I like this one a lot.
“The Last Call” – Finding Aurora
Bill – Great pop punk riffs for a tune that has mosh action written all over it. The singer has a great rock voice. Perhaps a little too Foo Fighters at times, but some definite promise.
Jake – The riff was good, but this one didn’t really stand out for me. But perhaps that is because I am not a huge fan of that pop punk style.
“Eternity” – Seagoth
Jake – This reminds me of something from the 90s, an obscure singer whose name escapes me for now. An androgynous vocal over a chilled 90s dance sound, it becomes a little “ploddy” at times though.
Bill – The name Seagoth suggested something heavy and dark, it wasn’t. This is much more of a dance pop vein. At times like a rare Stone Roses remix. I was not hooked at first, but it did begin to grow on me.
“1983” – MAN ON MAN
Bill – Clearly an ode to gay sex, sadly the sexual nature of some of the lyrics mean it will miss out on airplay. I love his voice and the swirling synths that underpin the track. I think this could be transformed magnificently with a decent dance mix.
Jake – I kind of felt this was a little predictable, the drums were pretty much the same all through. Not entirely sure what to make of it, but I don’t think I would listen again.
“Sabotage” – Arcade Fortress
Jake – A bit self-deprecating, with a “feeling sorry for myself” lyric, but that didn’t take anything away from it. Like Bill I felt some Depeche Mode in there. I really did not expect that vocal, very distinctive. The vocals were also very nicely layered which worked really well.
Bill – A late 80s, early 90s shoegaze vibe. I like the lyrics, especially the line “abusive relationship with myself” and that deep, dark bass line. A little feel of Depeche Mode.
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[…] This Covid bastard has been hanging around too long, but we will get to the other side. Anyway there is still the occasional socially distanced gig to attend and this was one of those, from the wonderful Joe Coates of Please Please You. This would be my first experience of Katy J Pearson. But before that it was the turn of support act Elkyn. I have seen Elkyn, a.k.a. Joey perform before and I have also previously reviewed a couple of Elkyn singles. I am most definitely an Elkyn fan and I was looking forward to this set. However I was somewhat disappointed, there was a real lack of clarity on the vocals, particularly on the bottom end. It felt like the sound wasn’t mixed well for Joey’s voice. Did he get a sound check? Was he singing too close to the microphone? Was it just where I was sitting? I don’t think it was the latter because the sound for Katy J Pearson was great. I don’t know what it was, but I really felt for him, the crowd, as expected, were very polite. But overall I felt it didn’t really work. So sorry Joey, this is simply my opinion and I remain a fan. The next time will work better I am sure! But regardless of my opinion do check out Elkyn’s music, some other reviews of the night paint a very different picture. (If you want to check out my previous reviews of Elkyn click here, here and here!) […]