With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Mayhem Virgins – Bonnie Mai September 4, 2022


This is the eighteenth in our Mayhem Virgins series and features talented British artist Bonnie Mai. Sometimes you can come across new music and artists in strange and random ways, can’t you? I met Bonnie Mai at the Leeds Festival last weekend, she wasn’t performing there (not yet anyway), she was at the BBC Introducing Stage. We got talking and I discovered that Bonnie Mai is a singer and has released a clutch of great songs, so having heard them I think she is an excellent choice for our Mayhem Virgins series. For those who don’t know what the series is, it is simply an opportunity for us to showcase artists who have never appeared on these pages before. So please welcome Bonnie Mai to the expanding Mayhem Virgins club, most of who will feature regularly after that initial post. Bonnie Mai struck me as a cool and decent human being on that first meeting, although her online presence gives her a nice air of mystery like she just appeared on the planet a few years ago to grace us with some great music. Check out her Spotify profile detail below, I love it!

Not your standard potted history is it? That is what makes it stand out. Anyway, let’s talk about Bonnie Mai‘s music as we open the doors to the House Of Bonnie Mai. She has six singles and EPs available on Spotify, check them out. My favourite so far is probably “Slush Papi” which oozes confidence and sexiness over a modern R & B sound with some harmonic overdubbed vocals that drag you into the song and won’t let you go until the song ends, but even then you can’t forget it. The video is great too, you can see that below. “Chasing The Feeling” is a percussive tour de force of a kind of message song, with Bonnie Mai delivering a sultry and powerful vocal. The acapella version showcases just how good Bonnie Mai’s voice is. Meanwhile “Fall In Love” has a hybrid ska/ reggaeton/ electronica style, once again with some ace percussion and the keyboards give the song an almost oriental feel. The Ian Solo remix of “When Time Stands Still” is an anthem for female empowerment and I suspect may be directed at a former partner. The synth sound on here is reminiscent of early Depeche Mode. The enigmatic Bonnie Mai is a woman of many talents who deserves wider exposure, you need to check out her music, you will not be disappointed!

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Mayhem Virgins – Lynx Deluxe August 22, 2022


This is the seventeenth in our Mayhem Virgins series and it features Lynx Deluxe an Anglo-American rock band. But the rock band moniker does not do them justice, they encompass rock, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, funk, soul, post-punk, glam rock, and many more musical forms. The band consists of

Andy Browne (vocals, guitar)
Lucy Theodora (bass, vocals)
Brad Mattson (drums, samples)
Dean Browne (guitar, vocals)
Billy Fields (keys, arp)


Andy Browne (vocals and guitar) was raised in Birmingham in the UK. He fronted Atlanta band Nightporters and with them got to support some great bands; The Clash, REM, the Beat, and the Replacements. Lucy Theodora (bass and vocals) is Andy’s partner and muse she was raised in Georgia and studied psychology at Georgia State University. Brad Mattson was born and raised in Minnesota and delivers a perfect beat with his drumming. Billy Fields (keys, Moog, and vocals) was born in Atlanta. The band members have an eclectic musical taste which includes David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Barry White, Stevie Wonder, Japan, the Clash, Mick Ronson, and Bill Nelson of another band that uses Deluxe in their name, Be Bop Deluxe. They released their first album, ‘Jungleland’ last year.

The album is a classy collection of songs that has many influences and yet remains very original. “Jane Goodall” reminded me of the Cramps and is a song about the English Primatologist Jane Goodall. I can hear a Clash influence in “A Little Piece Of England”. It is hard to believe that “The Struggle” was written before Covid struck, given how pertinent to these times it is. My current favourite track on the album is “Steppin’ On Gold” which has tones of Tom Petty, Paul Weller, and Roger Daltrey. The eleven tracks are all damned good and there is no filler on the album at all. It has anger, love, spirit, passion, and hope in every note, riff, and groove. The production is clear, crisp, and incredibly clear. It has a live feel to it. I have listened to the album a couple of times now and I am definitely hooked on Lynx Deluxe! Click here to check out the album on Spotify.

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Mayhem Virgins – Astoria May 24, 2022

Filed under: Mayhem Virgins — justwilliam1959 @ 11:28 am
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This is the sixteenth in our Mayhem Virgins series and it features Leeds band Astoria. The band is made up of Vinnie Smith on vox and lead guitar, Luke Etchells on rhythm guitar, Alex Mawson on bass, and sticksman George Grady. They released their first single “Where The Light Lives” in May 2021. It has been described as an alt.rock ballad and it certainly has those qualities. Above that, it is a very open, emotional, and soulful tune. There are not many rock songs that bring a tear to my eyes, but this one does. The band says that the song “was intended as a love letter to a friend, although written years too late“. It sounds like there is a whole gamut of emotions driving its creation. Follow up release, also from last year, was “The Snow”, coupled with what in the olden days would have been a b-side “(Don’t) Turn Around”. Astoria sound like a band that really knows where they are and where they want to go. “The Snow” is an anthemic rock track that is cinematic in scope Vinnie’s vocals are stunning here and the riffs are huge. Meanwhile, I think the rhythm section is on fire. This is probably my favourite Astoria track at the moment. “(Don’t) Turn Around” sounds rougher and harder than their other tunes, like Cast taking a shot at metal. This is a band for the 21st Century, one that may help to see us through troubled times. I can hear in them the potential to become one of Yorkshire’s finest rock bands, maybe even one of the UK’s greatest bands! You can catch them headlining live at the Lending Room in Leeds on Friday 15th July, click here for tickets.

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Mayhem Virgins – Bruno Skibbild March 3, 2022

Filed under: Mayhem Virgins — justwilliam1959 @ 2:22 pm
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This is the fifteenth in our Mayhem Virgins series and it features Bruno Skibbild a Singer/Songwriter, Author, and Social Worker. He was also the winner of the Best Country Song Award at Clouzine Fall 2020. A country song, you’re thinking this guy is American right? Well, think again the rather talented and diverse Bruno was born and raised in a small town in Denmark called Snejbjerg, which is roughly in the centre of the country. Mr. Skibbild got his first guitar from his sister when he was in 7th grade and he still plays it. As a teenager, Bruno played in a local band, M87 and this is where he began writing his own songs. After completing his Masters in American History Bruno taught at all levels of education from elementary school to high school. At the same time he moved away a little from his music to bring up his children, twins no less. Then in 2017, he got his music muse back and travelled around Denmark with Neal Ashley Conrad performing songs from The Boss in “The Springsteen Show”. As a teenager, his first music loves were Springsteen and Kiss. Nowadays he takes some of that influence and would probably describe himself as a country-rock artist.

In 2019 Bruno Skibbild finally recorded and released his first single, a song he wrote when he was just 16, it is called “A World Tomorrow”. It’s a great tune with a really 70s soft rock vibe and exceptionally good considering how young he was when he wrote it. By then Bruno was in his mid-forties and didn’t take anywhere near as long with his second single “Long Walk” which came out in 2020. This tune chugs along nicely with riffs reminiscent of Keith Richards on the more country-style Stones songs. Bruno was much more prolific in 2021 releasing four singles; “We Pray For It Everyday”, “Dead To Me”, “When The Past Is Done” and “She Would Never Give In”. There is a vein of darkness flowing through these four tracks and maybe that was driven by some of the awful turmoil going on in Bruno’s life at the time. I particularly love “Dead To Me” which I can imagine Nick Cave singing. His next release was full of rightful anger and questionable justice after social services wrongly removed his children from his care. Bruno said this of the track “I wanted to tell the story about a personal family nightmare that me and my children experienced in 2007. I was wrongfully accused of the abuse of my children and the County took them into custody without any further investigations than the original accusation. It took me 8 months to get my children released from the institution where they were kept isolated. Now being an artist, music helps me push away the trauma through singing it out.” Given the anger and sadness in the lyrics, it is quite an upbeat tune, which perhaps reflects the positive outcome of his children being returned to him. Bruno recently released another single “Gonna Jump Like An Evil” which sounds like Dire Straits recording with a South American Salsa band with jazz aspirations. Without a doubt, this is my favourite Bruno Skibbild song to date. He records his music at Oak Mountain Black Swamp Studio in Copenhagen. Click here to check out all these tunes on Spotify

A quick shout to those of you who have faithfully followed the Mayhem Virgins series, you know it is for artists that have never featured on these pages before. However, technically, Bruno got a mention in a recent Mayhem’s Top 20 Artists post, but in my defence I had mostly drafted this post by then!

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Mayhem Virgins – Dea Matrona October 22, 2021

Filed under: Mayhem Virgins — justwilliam1959 @ 12:00 am
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Photo by John Hayhurst (@snapagig)

This is the fourteenth in our Mayhem Virgins series and this time it is the turn of Belfast power trio Dea Matrona formed in 2018 who I was lucky enough to catch at Live At Leeds last weekend. My Live At Leeds review for Soundsphere Magazine is coming soon! They started out busking and that has given them enhanced musical skills. The band is made up of one time school friends Mollie McGinn and Orlaith Forsythe. Mollie’s younger sister Mamie completed the band when she was brought in to play the drums. Unfortunately Mamie wasn’t in the line up at Leeds. The name Dea Matrona has it’s roots in the Celtic language and mythology, it means divine mother goddess, the same goddess who gives her name to the river Marne in Gaul. It certainly suits them because Dea Matrona are divine rock goddesses. There roots are clearly in classic rock which is evidenced by their choice of covers from the likes of Cream, old Fleetwood Mac, Chuck Berry, Led Zeppelin and Them. Mollie and Orlaith are full on rock chicks in the way they perform and dress. in the style of Joan Jett, Suzi Quatro, the Runaways and Girlschool. Live they have an abundance of energy and they rock harder than some much older more experienced bands. Can they transform their live impact into their recordings? I certainly hope so and the quality of their own compositions like the glam stomp of “Stamp On It” and the very hard and very heavy “Make You My Star” suggest that they will. They are building up a decent following on social media, I suggest you check them out. If you like great rock music you will love Dea Matrona!

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Mayhem Virgins – Velvet Insane August 18, 2021

Filed under: Mayhem Virgins — justwilliam1959 @ 5:32 pm
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Unlucky for all you triskaidekaphobics out there but this is the thirteenth Mayhem Virgins entry. This time it is the turn of Velvet Insane who have taken Glam Rock, dusted it off, wrung its neck and made it ready for the 21st Century. These Glam Glitterati are from Sweden and take the best of the Sweet, Bowie, Mott The Hoople and others and make a sound that, while still glam based, is uniquely their own. Their social media presence and bio on Spotify describe them as “a 3-piece gang of rockers that reinvented glam rock by mixing the pop harmonies of the 70’s with the heavy sound of today” They add that they “have been moving forwards since their debut album and now they’re ready to deliver a swaggering statement” and “In fact Velvet Insane’s star is shining so bright they might be the next thing to explode!” Having listened to their debut album, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Glitter Suit’ a few times those statements are hard to disagree with. I think this bunch would be a brilliant support act on the next Darkness tour, so Justin and the boys, if you’re reading this please give them a shot!

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Mayhem Virgins – Pentastone February 22, 2021


German metal band Pentastone are the twelfth act to feature in the Mayhem Virgins series, maybe I need to sort out a Mayhem Virgins playlist! I came across this band thanks to the obscenely gifted singer Lauren Tate (Hands Off Gretel, Delilah Bon) sharing one of their songs on Twitter. Pentastone, from Darmstadt, and founded in 2016, are extraordinarily talented vocalist Luisa Knauß, drummer Timo Schwab a man who could trigger avalanches with his beats, lead guitarist Joschka Ihlefeld who is the complete master of his instrument, rhythm guitarist and riff supremo Dennis Ludwig and last but not least bass player Fabio Brauer who adds an intense heartbeat to the bands songs. For all the people who constantly moan that there are no great female fronted bands around you need to check out Pentastone now!

The band are from Germany and released the ‘Poisoned Mind’ EP in 2018. It contains five blistering and explosive tracks that clearly mark out the Pentastone metal manifesto. “Fuck This” is probably my favourite closely followed by the title track. Two tracks from the EP were good enough to turn up again on the bands debut album ‘Stuck In The Sky’ which was released earlier this month. That album has so far spawned four ace singles; “Stuck In The Sky” and “Keep Falling” from 2019, “How It Feels” from last year and “Get Better” from this year. All four tracks showcase the power and venomous emotion generated by Pentastone and Luisa sings like she means it. Support from BONASSIS of GUT on “Get Better” adds incredible depth to a great tune. If there was a test to write and perform the perfect metal song, “Stuck In The Sky” would be a contender. “How It Feels and “Stuck In The Sky” are two tracks that would ramp up the power in the mosh pit to super nova levels. Every track on this album is a future classic the riffs could split a planet in two, the rhythm section generate enough power to light the the Boötes Void all of this is made perfect by vocals that could be responsible for the Big Bang. Luisa has a magnificent range of styles from softer melodic to full on metal roar. If you have not listened to Pentastone yet, then you need to start NOW! The videos up to now are challengingly different to Pentastone‘s peers and are at times weird and challenging in a good way. I can see massive success in the future for this band and we need to demand their presence at UK Festivals when they resume post Covid!

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Mayhem Virgins – Gaylips February 14, 2021


You don’t see a Mayhem Virgins post for more than six months and then two come along in less than a month, I’m not sure how that happened but there you go. Anyway this is the eleventh act to feature in the Mayhem Virgins series. In case you were wondering it has nothing to do with being a virgin, it is simply artists that have never previously appeared on the pages of With Just A Hint Of Mayhem before. Today it is the turn of Gaylips from that hot bed of rock ‘n’ roll the Georgian town of Ampthill in Bedfordshire. The name of the town has Anglo Saxon origins The first settlement was called ‘Aemethyll’, which literally means either ‘ant-heap’ or ‘ant infested hill’. However that is not the town’s only claim to fame they also hold an annual music festival called Amp Rocks (well like everywhere they did in those pre Covid days) which has had bands such as Toploader and Razorlight featured. Last year McFly were pencilled in as headliners. But who cares about any of that now that Ampthill has Gaylips? Before you start sending me missives from ‘Angry Of Basingstoke’ or whatever about the bands name, it comes from drummer Jonny’s Mum referring to vocalist/bass player Carl as having Gay lips. Is that even a thing? Who knows? Anyway Gaylips were formed from the ashes of Betaboy, a band who remain the only act ever to be banned from the aforementioned Amp Rocks. Apparently the ban resulted from something which involved brandy and the Lightning Seeds.

Gaylips are a band that appears to excel in the true sprit of punk. Their tunes have bite, venom and volume in abundance. Vocals which at times take me back to the late 70s and the snarly, whiney Johnny Rotten singing style. I have no idea what this band are like in a live environment, but I have a suspicion that they are truly incendiary judging from their recorded output. They released the rifftastic and wonderfully titled “Fuck The Plan, Sell The Man” EP in 2019. But it is not just the riffs, the power of the drums could break the Himalayas into pieces. Seven tracks and clocking in at less than 15 minutes in total, that really is a throwback to 1977. “Retail Park” is a particular favourite of mine from that release. If there isn’t a Gaylips fanzine already then someone needs to start one. There were a few classy singles from the band last year, with “Hello Armageddon” having future classic written all over it. Meanwhile “D.E.B” is a fine slab of almost perfect punk. Current single “Temporary Love Song” drops the gears down a little, at least at times, and clocks in at a whopping 3 minutes and 9 seconds, that is almost prog rock proportions for Gaylips. Vocally it is as if Bryan Ferry had been put through a punk rock blender. It is a song that proves this band have depth and a real understanding of what makes good music. I know that I say this about a lot of bands in these strange times, but I really need to see Gaylips play live! Before I finish I want to use the rather spiffing quote on the about section of the Gaylips FaceBook page “GAYLIPS is a grenade chucked into the room – a last hoorah before music is finally sacrificed at the altar of an AI algorithm” Now that is class on a stick!

All the pictures above were “borrowed” from the Gaylips FaceBook page and the videos were sourced from their YouTube page. If any of them are yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove them please let me know. The photographer appears to be Paul Curry. (Paul send me your links and I will credit you!)

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Mayhem Virgins – Call Me Malcolm February 7, 2021


This is the tenth act that we have featured in the Mayhem Virgins series since it began in 2018. It gives us an opportunity to showcase great bands and singers that have up to now never featured on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem before. For this post it is the turn of the extremely talented, very original and one of the best ska/punk bands I have ever heard, Call Me Malcolm. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Millie Manders (click here to listen to that interview) and she told me how highly she rated Call Me Malcolm, so I had to check them out and oh boy I am glad that I did. There is an incredible energy in Call Me Malcolm’s songs which I am sure translates into something special in a live environment and gig reviews that I have read bear this out.

They released their first album “We Did This To Ourselves” in 2014 and this sets out their manifesto as a band that knows what they want, where they want to go and what the journey might be like. Like many of my favourite bands Call Me Malcolm wear their politics proudly on their sleeves. Every song that I have listened to by them makes me think that they really give a shit about life. “You’re Free To Do as We Tell You” opens the album with a crashing boom that makes you want to stay with them, give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed. They deploy all the classic traits and skills of the best ska/ punk bands and blend them into a signature Call Me Malcolm sound. I also love their use of soundbites, there is a great use of something from ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’ on this record. “I’m Alright I Suppose” is an early sign of their willingness to confront mental health issues.

The Call Me Malcolm sophomore album “I Was Broken When You Got Here” blows that old “difficult second album” problem that hits many bands right out of the water. It is yet another great collection of sublime songs. The “Guided Meditation” speech at the start is very funny. I almost spat out my dandelion and pond weed tea out mid meditation. This album takes the band to another level and I suspect they are still a long way from their peak. I sensed influences from Madness, Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake at times and apparently Vinnie Fiorello (of Less Than Jake) said that he saw Call Me Malcolm as “a saving grace of the genre”. It is difficult not to agree with that assertion. The album was highly acclaimed and Ska Punk Daily voted it no.8 in their “Top 10 Ska Punk Albums of the Decade.” It is hard to pick a favourite track from what is a succession of banging classics. But if forced I would choose the incendiary “There Is No ‘I’ In Apocalypse”, the happy poppy tune with much darker mental breakdown related lyrics, “Restore Factory Settings” and “Show Me What You Got” which opens like a punked up Doobie Brothers track spliced with a ska punk Steely Dan jazzy vibe transported here from a weird and wonderful parallel universe.

The band released their third album “Me Myself And Something Else” last year. The spoof news broadcasts “Good Morning”, “Breaking News” and “Goodnight” showcase Call Me Malcolm’s skilful and very amusing comedic skill. Two of the singles taken from this LP are in my opinion perhaps the band’s finest songs to date. I can hardly wait to hear “Wake Up, The Monster Said” and “What You Burn” at a gig when Covid is all over. The band once again convey some powerful and heartfelt messages relating to mental health and in this current strange world they are much needed. They are among a small, but growing, number of artists prepared to talk openly about such issues and that takes courage and empathy both of which this band possess boatloads of. In addition to the previously mentioned singles my current favourites here are “Also, Spiders”, “I Met All The Beasts In Your Thoughts” and “Sleepwalk With Me”. The immaculate three part harmonies across the bands canon makes them seem like a ska/ punk Beach Boys!

Thanks to that wonderful human being Millie Manders I am now a big fan of Call Me Malcolm. This is another band on my ever growing list of gigs I want to see after Covid. I hope I have enough years left to see them all! Finally, I came across the Call Me Malcolm Christmas single from 2014, “All I Want For Christmas Is A Pony With A Jetpack”. I wished that I had discovered that before my ’12 Days Of (Mostly) Punky Christmas’ posts in December. Check this band out NOW, if you are disappointed after doing that then I will be very, very disappointed in you! Enjoy some great tunes and videos below and after that you’ll find a link to their Spotify page for even more delightful tunes from Call Me Malcolm.

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Mayhem Virgins – AP Tobler July 25, 2020

Filed under: Mayhem Virgins — justwilliam1959 @ 11:13 pm

AP Tobler or Annapurna Tobler to give her full name is the tenth artist to feature in the Mayhem Virgins series since it kicked off last November. By her own admission AP, from San Jose, writes songs and music about things that scare her. I was lucky enough to stumble across one of her fabulous tunes on Twitter and became an instant fan. AP has released three singles to date, “Luvhate” released almost exactly one year ago and at the moment probably my favourite of her songs. I love its heaviness and for me it has a powerful 60s garage rock feel to it. “Stingray” a fabulous bluesy, hard grungey dark ballad, also released in 2019. Her current single “Lazy Eye” launched earlier this year has the potential to be a deep goth anthem and in the perfect world would sit atop the charts for a few weeks! I love AP’s guitar work on “Lazy Eye“. Click here to check out those tunes on Spotify.

Her songs deal with what it is like to have depression and anxiety and sit nicely in the alternative rock world, although her music easily appeals way beyond that. AP is a magnificently talented multi instrumentalist and she plays all the instruments on her available recordings. You can find a few great examples of her impeccable drumming online, she first picked up the sticks aged just 8 years old! Her drumming features on the awesome pop grunge track “Orange Bang” by Victory Vizhanska. AP forms a stunning rhythm section with Abby K on the song. I don’t know much more about AP Tobler, but according to her Twitter profile she is also a possum enthusiast! With or without possums I predict that AP Tobler has a great future in rock music. AP if you’re up for an interview sometime give me a shout!

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