With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

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
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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.

 

Mayhem Virgins – Pop Noir November 27, 2018

Filed under: Mayhem Virgins — justwilliam1959 @ 4:03 pm
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This is the second in a series of posts about artists that are completely new to the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem Blog. Just because we have only just heard of them doesn’t mean they are new to you. But whether they are or not we would love to hear your thoughts. The series is called Mayhem Virgins. Incidentally With Just A Hint Of Mayhem is now available on FaceBook and Twitter.

This time it is the turn of the delightfully chilled Pop Noir who we discovered via the Twitter-verse. Pop Noir were formed in Los Angeles in 2004 by the then 16 year old British born twins Joe and Luke McGarry. they are the offspring of cartoonist and illustrator Steve McGarry who has designed record sleeves for iconic acts such as Joy Division and John Cooper Clarke. So not only have they been steeped in music history they have also inherited the artistic streak from their father as both Luke and Joe are designers and illustrators themselves. They released their debut single “DIY” in 2009 and they have released many songs since then. Their latest single, “White Jazz” is available now and has a rather wonderful video filmed in Tokyo. It is a sublime slice of epic electro chill out with an infectious feel good vibe. The band have a really chilled out electro sound which for me is reminiscent of the Beloved and the Groove Corporation. Have you heard of Pop Noir before or not? Either way we would love to hear what you think of them!

Public Service Announcement:  This blog post is not linked in any way to any company associated with Richard Branson’s Virgin empire or the sweater wearing tycoon personally!

 

Mayhem Virgins – September Sky November 17, 2018


This is the first in a series of posts about artists that are completely new to the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem Blog. Just because we have only just heard of them doesn’t mean they are new to you. But whether they are or not we would love to hear your thoughts. The series will be called Mayhem Virgins (there is no link to any company associated with Richard Branson’s Virgin empire!). Incidentally With Just A Hint Of Mayhem is now available on FaceBook and Twitter.

The first act to feature in this new series are all the way from Indianapolis, Indiana in the USA and they are called September Sky. If you like your metal heavy and your rock hard then this band are for you. They have a collection of riffs that would challenge any other metal band. If you are a fan of Avenged Sevenfold, Metallica, Trivium and the like then you will certainly love September Sky. Their classy riff-laden, harmonic sonic assault called “Fallacy” gets into your head from first listen and the video for that song is pretty darned good too.  September Sky is; Scott Bernhardt – Vocals, Larry Craig – Guitar, Scott Rainey – Lead Guitar, Kevin Rickett – Bass
and Becket Weir – Drums. Their bio says that they have ‘made it a priority to write original tunes that empower and inspire its audience to conquer all that is life’. I reckon they are well on the way to achieving that! You can contact them on Facebook and Twitter

Are you a fan? Tell us what you think of September Sky!

 

 
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