With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

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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Mayhem Virgins – Worry Party May 13, 2020


This is the eighth post in the Mayhem Virgins series  It began in November 2017 and only covers artists that I have never mentioned or featured before. The honour this time around goes to Worry Party a delightful ambient electro combo from the north of England. The band consists of Steven Chell on vox, guitar and keys, guitarist Chris Old, vocalist Laura Hilton and Glenn Whitfield on bass. Their sound is akin to symphonic film soundtracks with angelic ethereal vocals gliding masterfully over a chilled electro backing. Their first EP, ‘Souvenirs’, was released in March and contains four tracks; “Traveller”, “Beach Blood”, “True North” and “Waves”. But that is not all you get, there are remixes and instrumentals of each track. As an extended listen it is stunning. It saw me through a large part of my supermarket night shift recently. It also works as a beautiful soundscape to sit down and chill with a Jack Daniels on the rocks late at night when the rest of the world is mostly quiet.

I can hear a snatch of Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro in Steven Chell’s voice, especially on “True North”. The sounds bring to mind the likes of Mogwai and Four Tet for me. Apparently, ‘Souvenirs’ began life as a passion project never intended for release, it was written and recorded over the course of six months in Steven’s spare room. Then after feedback, it was reimagined and will become the core of more full-band electronic gigs going forward, well at least when COVID-19 is killed. Worry Party issued a surprise new instrumental track “The Reef” very recently and it adds to that sublime cinematic scope showcased on the EP. They have also recorded a wonderful cover of Placebo’s “Nancy Boy” that I think is one of the best covers I have heard in quite a while. For me a cover needs to be very different from the original and Worry Party have taken the song somewhere else completely, I would love to know what Brian Molko thinks of this version. Laura Hilton’s vocal performance on the song is as close to perfect as is possible. I get a sense of Beth Gibbons in her delivery too. It is well worth getting Worry Party in your life, you will not regret it!

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Mayhem Virgins – Promethium May 6, 2020

Filed under: Mayhem Virgins — justwilliam1959 @ 6:14 am
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The last Mayhem Virgins post was back in November, so it’s about time for another one I reckon. To refresh your memory the Mayhem Virgins series, which began in November 2017, only covers artists that I have never mentioned or featured before. This is the seventh recipient of the Mayhem Virgins title and it is the turn of Promethium, a five-piece metal band from Lancaster, Lancashire in England. Promethium have been on a slow but always upward trajectory since forming more than ten years ago in 2007. They released their fourth album last year, ‘Revisions’, an acoustic take on some of the best songs from their earlier albums; ‘Welcome To The Institution’ (2010), ‘Origins’ (2013) and ‘Faces Of War’ (2018). Their influences range from across the hard rock and metal spectrum from Black Sabbath to Metallica via Anthrax and Slayer with a little Pantera thrown in. But do not be fooled into thinking they are copyists, Promethium are definitely very much a magnificent metal band in their own right.

‘Welcome To The Institution’ clearly laid out the Promethium metal manifesto and showed that they had far more depth than “just another metal band”. “Visions” has the power to blow up a planet with its huge pulsating riffs courtesy of Dan and Rossi. In fact, the whole album exudes immense power, but Promethium also show their slightly softer side on opening track “Distant Illusion”. Meanwhile “33.1” starts out sounding like a very dark 80s power ballad before moving immaculately into early Linkin Park territory. This was an incredibly confident and mature debut album and their sophomore release needed to be pretty special after the powerful statement of intent made by that first release. ‘Origins’ was very special too, “Won’t Break Me” pushes the riffometer up to eleven and shows just how important their rhythm section is with drums being attacked with the force of Mjolnir and body-shaking bass playing. The vocals are up by another notch from an excellent performance on the first album, especially so on “Rain” and “Gunslinger”. Once again the band show their more mellow side with album closer and title track “Origins”. It is nice to hear a band step beyond their prime sound in this way. It is something that Led Zeppelin were always good at.

A band’s third album is often referred to as the “difficult” one. I don’t know if this is the case for Promethium, but it sure doesn’t sound like it. ‘Faces Of War’ sees the band stepping up to yet another level with what sounds to me like a concept album about the futility and horror of war. This is a really tight band revelling in their talent and rocking like bastards. I heard a ghost of Iron Maiden in some of the tracks here. “Enemies Fate” kicks off the album in the hardest and heaviest way possible and it barely lets up for breath after that. This is an album that hits you with a tsunami-like force from start to finish and still leaves you feeling good at the end. “P.O.W” is probably my favourite track on this collection although “Shellshock” has a great hook and again takes a small sideward step away from their full-on metal assault in places. Their latest album is an acoustic rework of some of the best songs from their back catalogue and it showcases the strength of the songs as they work as perfectly in this softer acoustic setting as they do in the full band hard and heavy versions. Promethium have had some pretty tasty support slots in their career to date; Blaze Bayley, Diamondhead, We Are The Catalyst, and fellow Lancastrians Massive Wagons. They had big plans for 2020 with festival appearances and the recording of a new album. I am sure that the COVID-19 lockdown has put the brakes on this but hopefully, they can get moving on the new album soon and hit the festival fields in 2021. I have so far missed out on seeing them play live but I hope to rectify that as soon as it is possible post lockdown.

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Mayhem Virgins – Luna Velvet November 19, 2019


It has been months since the last Mayhem Virgins post, so it’s about time for another, right? To refresh your memory the Mayhem Virgins series only covers artists that I have never mentioned or featured before. This time it is the turn of York-based folk-rock gems Luna Velvet.  Their sound is reminiscent of the Stone Poneys and early 70s US East Coast country-rock in general. Carrie Skipper’s vocals, particularly on “Amelia” the opening track on their 2018 album ‘Songs Of Love And Hate’ caused me to think of early Joni Mitchell. There is definitely a light jazz feel that underpins some of their songs, but mostly it is alt.country, soft rock, and emotional songs. I can imagine Kate Bush taking a shot at “Betrayed”. Luna Velvet are Don Jackson, Carrie Skipper, Stu Fletcher and Tom Sollitt. They clearly have a great deal of respect within the music industry given the stellar contributions on ‘Songs Of Love And Hurt’ and wonderful new single “Molly Lou”. Extraordinary talented fiddle player Steve Wickham from Dublin, although he now lives in Sligo (hometown of Westlife don’t you know!) features on the album and prominently on “Molly Lou”. Steve played fiddle on the U2 classic “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and has worked with Hothouse Flowers, Sinéad O’Connor, and World Party. He has also been a part of the Waterboys for many years. Multi-instrumentalist  Anthony “Anto” Thistlethwaite contributes to quite a few Luna Velvet songs. He was a founding member of the aforementioned Waterboys, along with Mike Scott. Thistlethwaite later tasted success with the Saw Doctors. Troy Donockley, another highly talented multi-instrumentalist and incredibly accomplished player of the Uilleann pipes contributed his skills to “Holding On” from the Luna Velvet album. Finally, bringing back the York connection, Fraser Smith, a one-time member of Shed Seven plays keyboards on the haunting ballad “Fall To Pieces”. Click here to check out Luna Velvet on Spotify, they are well worth a listen. Over here at the old Mayhem Tenement block, we can hardly wait for their next album!

 

All the pictures in this post were found via Google and the videos were sourced from YouTube. If any of them are yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove them please let me know.

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Mayhem Virgins – The Everly Pregnant Brothers May 28, 2019


I love discovering great new bands or sometimes great bands that are new to me. Well, the wonderfully named Everly Pregnant Brothers are new to me and that is why they are the next act to feature in the Mayhem Virgins series.  They are about to celebrate their tenth, yes tenth, anniversary with a headline show at Fibbers in York on June 1st. Their brand of twisted Yorkshire parody and comedy is truly unique and bloody hilarious and I am so disappointed that I have only just discovered them. But the voyage of discovery through their back catalogue and YouTube videos has frankly put me in an even more positive mood than usual! A band that makes amusingly clever covers (obviously with comedic lyrics) of classics is the sort of thing that would appeal to me, but a band whose main instruments are ukeleles and a kazoo would normally not be my thing. But the Everly Pregnant brothers make that combination work, even for me.

The band formed in Sheffield after a drunken dare by Pete Mckee and Richard Bailey in 2009. The success of the dare prompted the
pair to draught in a bunch of disparate chaps who had three things in common, the love of beer, ukuleles and having a laugh. Pete Mckee stated in a recent interview that “We weren’t supposed to last ten days! We originally got together for a one-off gig and the buggers insisted
we carry on…”  Frontman Shaun Doane added, “I can honestly say I didn’t think any further than the first two shows we ever did, it was already fun and I hoped it would continue but I was quite prepared to do those two shows at Art in the Gardens and then go back to my musical retirement home!” Well, I for one am eternally grateful that this lot never returned to that musical retirement home. Bring on the next ten years, please. Take a listen now to some ace and rib-splitting covers from many serious artists including some of Sheffield’s finest such as the Human League and Pulp. My current favourites are “No Oven, No Pie” and “Chav World”. Click here to check them out on Spotify.

Public service announcement: all the pictures and videos were sourced via Google and YouTube. If any of them are yours and you would like a credit or want them removed please let me know.

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Mayhem Virgins – Von Kaiser May 6, 2019

Filed under: Mayhem Virgins,Review — justwilliam1959 @ 4:30 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

From Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA comes a band that is brand new to us here at With Just A Hint Of Mayhem and therefore entitled to appear in the Mayhem Virgins series they are called Von Kaiser and they are pretty damned good at what they do. What they do is classy synthwave that can just as easily grace a club, a film soundtrack or just listening. Last years “Dead By Dawn” I understand sets out to pay homage to supremely talented Director George A Romero. In the process it also shows, for me, how much Von Kaiser love Giorgio Moroder and to be fair don’t we all.

David M, Jake V and Kaylin H all contribute their skills on keys and vocals while David also plays some pretty decent guitar. Their new album ‘Landline’ is out now and it wears its pop-rock, synth, electro heart on its sleeve. It definitely has influences drawn from the second British Invasion which included Soft Cell, Duran Duran, OMD and Depeche Mode. But on tracks like “Jetpacks” (which is currently my favourite followed closely by “ETA”)  there is a touch of 80s AOR, while the vocals on “Armitage” could come from Panic At The Disco. But while I can hear a number of influences Von Kaiser are definitely an original band with a crisp, fresh sound that merits a wide audience. An earlier single and the title track from the album “Landline” has an almost spooky hook and makes good use of some telephone samples. The lyrics are very clever and “Landline” speaks of a massive snowstorm in which “The flakes look like falling stars, between the cars”. Is that not a beautiful use of words in a lyric? Genius! “Crystal Lake” might be a long lost OMD tune, but it is also of the 21st century.

Von Kaiser know their 80s stuff, the album has a strong 80s feel and their Bandcamp bio says “Von Kaiser is a collection of four musicians who don’t just want to remember the music and movies of the 80s, they want to celebrate it”. They certainly embrace it and celebrate it in style that makes you want to get out and party. The band were formed as recently as last year, which makes their new record even more of a great achievement. Listening to it I felt that this was a band that had been together a lot longer than that. I believe that Von Kaiser are one of my new favourite bands, can we get them to the UK sometime soon please?

 

 

Mayhem Virgins – Notorious Lightbulbs March 25, 2019


This is another post in the occasional Mayhem Virgins series of artists that are brand new to those of us who squat in the palatial squalor of Mayhem Towers. This time it is the turn of the wacky, punky combo known as Notorious Lightbulbs from the North East of England. The band is essentially a duo made up of Diego Wilde and Crystal Miss. They often collaborate with Danny ‘The Rain’ Allinson and he played or programmed all the drums on their new EP. It was absolute Twitter chance that I came across them after they liked and commented on a recent tweet from me about “Starz In Their Eyes” by Just Jack. I was hotly attracted by their marvellous, magical and magnificent song titles; “Sicadilly Pircus”, “Voodoo Stripper Junkie” and “Mountweazle” to name just a few. But song titles alone don’t make a great band do they? You have to be able to back it up with style, talent, pizazz and great tunes. Notorious Lightbulbs tick all the boxes on that score. Their new EP ‘Captain Mechanical’ is staggeringly good and deserves massive commercial success. Click here to check it out on Spotify.

The four track EP opens with the aforementioned “Voodoo Stripper Junkie” which slams into you like a runaway ten ton truck. This is perhaps the finest song about some kind of stripper since Mansun’s “Stripper Vicar”. It kicks off with a barrage of heavy punk style fuzzy riffs backed by some supremely tight drumming. There is a feel of early Arctic Monkeys here for me, although this has more punch and more electronica than those Sheffield lads did. The guitar solos could have stepped out of any number of 70s classic rock songs. There is an orchestral disco feel to “Far Out” somewhat akin to the Scissor Sisters and even M of “Pop Muzik” fame. The synth shapes on this stay with you long after the song is over. What can I say about “Mountweazle”? It is a splendorous mountain of a song which features a great vocal from Diego, perhaps the best on the EP, although that is a tough competition. I am ecstatically in love with the harmonies on closing track “Make Believe” especially the brief a capella moments.

Notorious Lightbulbs maintain a great air of mystery and are apparently never seen without their steampunk style glasses and hats. Rumour has it that they started life as a part of a creative group named ‘The Notorious Lightbulb Factory’ that wrote music for low-budget horror movies. As well as the new EP click here to check out some of their earlier material on SoundCloud. If you listen to this band and do not almost immediately love them then I suggest you check into hospital to have your musical taste operated on.

 

 
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