With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2020 Part 7 June 13, 2020


Barely halfway through June and here is our seventh singles round-up of 2020. This one features five cracking tunes, I love them!

These five tracks feature another eclectic mix of bands and singers from northeast UK, Houston, Detroit, London, and Scotland. All of these acts are new to With Just A Hint Of Mayhem and I reckon they will all feature again sometime in the future. Get on them now!

“Creep” – Anna Blaise

It takes a brave artist to cover Radiohead, many have tried and only some manage to pull it off. But Anna Blaise, a multi-talented singer from the northeast of the UK nails it with this gorgeous take on Radiohead’s “Creep”. For me, I expect a cover version to be much more than a facsimile of the original and this slow-paced, piano-driven ballad-style version of what might be the former On A Friday’s grungiest rock track. This is haunting, soulful, moody, and beautiful. I could definitely handle an album full of covers like this. Anna gives the song elegance, grace, and a refined delicate style. The perfect song to chill out and reflect on your day late in the evening.

“Not Even Close” – Kringe featuring BBY KODIE

The string sample has a real middle eastern feel to it giving a strange warped feel to the beat. Kringe is a young rapper from Houston who went somewhat viral with his song “Crowd Control” in 2019. I sense an affinity with British rapper Slowthai, although maybe less political and more aligned with the sounds of Drake. Kringe’s delivery is sharp and his rhymes are tight. His first album ‘Don’t Think Too Much’ released earlier this year is already building him a wider audience. I think he would fit well on the bill for Reading/ Leeds in 2021, maybe late afternoon on the BBC Radio 1 Stage.

“Up All Night” – Sara Marie Barron

Detroit artist Sara Marie Barron releases the first single from her sophomore album, ‘Existential Glam’ due out in September. “Up All Night” is a sophisticated, slinky, slow, and sexy slice of modern jazz-funk. Her band is incredibly tight and knows how to lay down a perfect groove. Barron’s vocals are perfect and handle this sultry, soulful ballad perfectly, at times her singing evokes Sade and Amy Winehouse. If the new album is half as good as this track it will be damned good!

“Okok” – Bokito

Despite the really exotic-sounding name Bokito are based in London and most of them hail from Ireland. “Okok” is s dreamy indie-pop anthem which slips into your head, almost unnoticed at first, but then it won’t leave. Frontman Moses’ voice runs the whole gamut from Jeff Buckley to David McAlmont via Brett Anderson. At times there is an African feel to the tune reminiscent of Vampire Weekend or Violet Contours. The song starts slow but builds into a magnificent crescendo. This track leaves me with a smile when it is over and on the evidence of “Okok” and some of their earlier songs I reckon they will be an absolute blast live!

“Elephants” – The Snuts

Scottish band the Snuts are back with a funky, jangly tune that is steeped in classic post-punk pop. A floor filler everywhere from the school disco all the way through to your grandmother’s 80th birthday party. This deserves to be a huge hit, it is miles ahead of much of today’s bland, formulaic pop fodder. “Elephants” also has the makings of a lasting festival anthem. Can we have the Snuts on all the major festival bills in 2021, please?

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“Flex” – Yo! Majesty June 11, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 3:25 pm
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Back in 2008 Yo! Majesty were everywhere. They played Coachella and the South By South West festivals. They released their debut album ‘Futuristically Speaking… Never Be Afraid’ which still sounds fresh today. It was released by Domino Records, now home of the Arctic Monkeys, in the UK. Personally, I thought that they would just get bigger and better, but they seemed to disappear from the radar. But I am so happy to say that Jwl B, Shunda K, and Shon B are back, but not just back, back with an almighty explosion of sound. They make Salt ‘n’ Pepa look like simple condiments, Yo! Majesty are salt, pepper and a mighty dose of  Carolina Reaper chilliTheir new single “Flex” was released a couple of weeks ago and it is a total banger that harks back to Missy Elliott at her peak but also sounds incredibly fresh and is very much a sound of now! “Flex” is the first release from Yo! Majesty’s sophomore ‘Return Of The Matriarchs’ album which is scheduled for August. But whet your appetite with “Flex”, give it a spin, it is electro hip hop at its finest with the ladies spitting ciphers and rhymes like their lives depended on it! The beats are wicked on this tune too. The single is accompanied by a plethora of remixes, including those from DJ Daze, Otis The Rigger, Harry Breast, and plenty more. My favourite of the remixes is probably the DJ Hurley Slowed Mix which has a chilled feel musically but retains the venom and bite of the original rap. Did we know that the world needed a lesbian, Christian rap collective? Maybe the world didn’t know it but the world most definitely fucking needs Yo! Majesty now!  Get on this single and be ready for the album. Yo! Majesty are BACK!

Take a look at the ‘Das Wassup’ documentary about Yo! Majesty, it is one of the best music-related documentaries that I have seen in quite a while.

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‘Amputate Corporate Art’ – The K June 10, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:32 am
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The K are from Belgium and they are a really noisy bunch of guys. If you like your music loud and anchored on big grinding riffs then The K are the band for you. This album sets out its stall in no uncertain manner. Opener “Future Is Bright” is equipped with a great big riff and is quickly followed by “Shit Day” which has a riff like a lumbering monster and big shouty vocals. “Dominant Tracks” has a tub-thumping intro and a Stooges style riff. “Everything Hurts” slows things down a little but then we get “Petty Profit” which comes on like a head-on collision between Nevermind and Black Sabbath. No bad thing!


Not many tracks make me want to get up and pogo like a maniac these days but next track “The Rougher Aspects Of Love” could do the trick. With its frantic punkoid riff and screaming vocal, it’s a great slab of feral rock. Next track “Keep My Nightmares Cold” is the strongest track on the record and shows the melodic skills of this band. “Swim it Better” has a frantic opening which builds into a killer heavyweight riff. The album closes with “(Un)Fortunate Youth” which features a great thrashing riff of doom soaked guitars. If you like Nirvana, Sonic Youth and the fabulous Pixies then get a load of The K. Tell you what, on the evidence of this album, live this band will absolutely take the roof off and I want to be there when it happens.

Written by Paul Bamlett

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‘The Power’ – Evvol

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 6:56 am
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Berlin has long been a hotbed for great music and duo Evvol, who recently released their album, ‘The Power’ can be counted as another addition to that trend. Opening track “Help Myself” immediately draws you in with its delicately phased keyboards and saccharine vocals. One of the key components of this album is an intriguing use of rhythm and “Its Ok” demonstrates this ably. “Rope Walk” is a fascinating soundscape leading into the excellent “Old Love” which has a beautiful vocal with a spoken background. “Call Me Back” has a fantastic keyboard sound with vocals slightly reminiscent of Everything But the Girl. The messed up rhythms are also present on this track.

“All I Need” which features just vocals and keyboard reminds me of Laurie Anderson’s work. “W.A.R.” features a lovely keyboard figure and echoing vocals over a neatly worked polyrhythmic background. This is the strongest track on the album and a good club track just crying out for a lengthy remix. “1994” is a short but fascinating track with experimental keyboards and superb vocals. “M29” is another shorter track which I was eager to hear develop further. “Video Tape” has a Pet Shop Boys feel and tonality and is a potential single. “The Well” has an unexpected synth opening which figures throughout the song, building, and fading. “Swallow” closes the album with quirky synth and vocals. Evvol have a plethora of ideas which can take them as far as they want to go and you should look out for what they do next. Trust me it will be interesting.

Written by Paul Bamlett.

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‘Sovereign’ EP – Coast To Coast

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 6:43 am
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It’s a fact that lots of great music has come out of the Midlands over the years. Black Sabbath, UB40, and Slade to name but three. Now you can add another name to this illustrious list, Coast to Coast! Formed in 2016 they specialise in heartfelt and honest anthems which really make the grade. What’s particularly striking to me is the way vocalist Keiran Hyland does not bow to popular taste by Americanising his accent. This is very refreshing. The band also features Alex Edge on guitar, Josh Taylor on Rhythm guitar and Zak Tyler on bass. They mesh well to produce a great sound.

Standout tracks include “The Sun Is Dim” which has a great melodic opening and builds to a fantastic vocal performance. This is an alternative version of a previously recorded track and for me, this newer version has more depth. “Sovereign” has some impressive vocal sounds. “Be Kind” opens gently and again features a lovely vocal. “Cold Buzz” is melodic and mesmerising, a good description of much of this record. Coast to Coast are described in their press as an “emo rock band”. I can see that this could describe them but you need to know that they are so much more than that. I look forward to hearing much more from this innovative group of musicians.

Written by Paul Bamlett

 

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“3 Billion Heartbeats” – Suncharms Plus ‘A Split Tape – Suncharms/ Mirrorlakes’ June 5, 2020


The Suncharms are not new to With Just A Hint Of Mayhem, we have previously reviewed two of their excellent tracks “Red Dust” (2018) and “Monster Club” (2019). They have a new track out now called “3 Billion Heartbeats” available on a great compilation, ‘Shiny Happy Fanzine 04 – Please Rain Fall Compilation’ from Shiny Happy Records. Click here to check the compilation out and if you can afford it maybe purchase the whole thing or some of the tracks at least. As well as the Suncharms there are some brilliant other acts and songs here. My particular favourites are the quirky cover of Nick Lowe’s “Cruel To Be Kind” by Fernando Torres (the band not the former Liverpool striker), “Rockin’ To The Beat” by the Perfect English Weather (this on has a St Etienne feel about it) and Well Whales’ “She’s A Punk” among many, many other fine tunes, nineteen in all.

Suncharms contribution is a classy chilled, languid, laconic tune with a great summer feel about it. This band is often referred to as shoegaze in style, but they operate far more widely than that one genre would allow. I believe the lyrics refer to the average number of heartbeats that a human heart will make in an 80-year lifespan. If I live that long then I will have just under 700 million left. Every time I hear a new Suncharms track I feel happy and I also feel that they get better with each release. I am looking forward even more now to their album and to finally get to see them play live once we are through these strange COVID-19 days.

The Suncharms also feature on a split tape (yes cassettes are back) release with Mirrorlakes, also from Shiny Happy Records. Click here to check it out. Each band has three tracks. The first from Suncharms is the aforementioned “Monster Club”, click here to read my review of that one from last year. They also contribute the dreamy, trippy “Cosmonaut” which features guitar lines that Johnny Marr would be proud of. Their third and final track on the tape is an acoustic version of “Reflection” which really showcases just how good the band’s songs are even when stripped back to acoustic guitars and vocals. Mirrorlakes from Jakarta, Indonesia are described as a slowcore band and I certainly get a feel of Galaxie 500 and the RedHouse Painters in their first track on this collection “Three Song”. Meanwhile “Kosong” has a much more acoustic, unplugged feel to it and is the kind of tune that I can imagine listening to while lounging in the sun sipping a cold beer. Mirrorlakes final track “Untitle” makes me think of some of Graham Coxon’s less punky tracks.

So check out the ‘Shiny Happy Fanzine 04 – Please Rain Fall Compilation’ and the Suncharms/ Mirrorlakes Split Tape, both are also available digitally. You will not be disappointed!

 

https://shinyhappyrecs.bandcamp.com/track/the-suncharms-3-billion-heartbeats

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“The Happy Ending Song” – Tommyrot June 4, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:05 pm
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Weird, wacky, wayward, waggish, witty, wonky, whimsical, wonderfully eclectic, stylistic nut jobs Tommyrot have released a new single hot on the heels of “Drugs” their debut from last month. It is called “The Happy Ending Song” and it is a wicked out there lo-fi tune that brings back memories of Jonathan Richman and also the Moldy Peaches. It is the perfect song to listen to while sitting around a campfire drinking a cold beer and smoking good weed. I think the lyrics are about how you should make your own happy endings in life, as opposed to the type of happy endings offered by some backstreet massage parlours. It is remarkably different from the band’s first release and this has to bode well for their album when they eventually get around to it!

Click here to hear “The Happy Ending Song” on Spotify.

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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2020 Part 6


Into the sixth month of 2020 and here is our sixth singles round-up of the year so far and this one features six tunes, wait a minute that says 666 right? Quite appropriate for this year maybe. So to take your mind of this utterly shit year take a listen to these corkers, I love them and I think you will too.

These six tracks feature another eclectic mix of bands and singers from London, York, Essex, Wakefield, and Spennymoor. All of these acts are new to With Just A Hint Of Mayhem and I reckon they will all feature again sometime in the future. Get on them now!

Jamws

“Playing For Keeps”Jamws

“Playing For Keeps” is the first track to be released from South London’s multi-instrumentalist Jamws EP ‘Toronto’. It is a languid, leisurely funk work out which makes me think of George Michael fronting a 70s US funk band. It has a positively blissful vibe and if the quality of the EP is as good as this track, then I strongly advise you to get hold of it when it hits the world on 19th June! If you are feeling down the “Playing For Keeps” is the perfect tonic to pick you up.

“State Of Mind”Alice Simmons

Alice is a young singer-songwriter from my adopted city of York. “State Of Mind” is her new single and it has an ethereal, haunting melody that hooks into your psyche so easily. It has a really dark feel to it, almost Nick Caveesque, although Alice’s vocal has the feel of an angel struggling with the dark side of its conscience. At times I heard a trace of Tracy Thorn in Alice’s voice. This woman has a latent talent and I urge you to check her out. I am looking forward to more Alice Simmons tunes.

“Deep Sea Dreaming” – Ocean Flaws

Ocean Flaws from Essex have a great name, I love that ambiguous wordplay element to it. But they are more than just a name they are adept at producing perfect slices of electronica driven dance-pop which harks back to the best tunes involving Vince Clarke (Depeche Mode, Yazoo, and Erasure) but with vocals and dance vibes reminiscent of the Beloved. The Oscillate remix of this track would work incredibly well at the tail end of an all-night rave in a disused warehouse. If you are a fan of Apollo Junction then Ocean Flaws might be right up your street!

“Angelina” – Ascendo

A fine riff-laden slab of indie rock from these lads from Wakefield. The song has a feel of early Arctic Monkeys but with a dirtier, more grungey garage rock feel to it. I can imagine this song becoming a live anthem for them, roll on the day when we are allowed to have gigs again. Ascendo are now most definitely on my list of bands to see post-COVID-19.

“Deep Blue Sea” – Noise Noir

This is a rampaging riff-fest scuzzy, heavy, blues sound. Kelly Chard’s voice oozes with passionate power as she takes us through a treatise on living with depression. This is one majestical monolith of fucked up and fuzzed-out rock. Noise Noir deliver the goods better than many contemporaries. Coming off the back of last years “I Don’t Need You” this new song just proves that Noise Noir mean it…..Man!

“Time” – Conrad Ashton

Conrad is a singer-songwriter from Spennymoor in the northeast of England. “Time” runs at a frantic pace powered by a what sounds like a great band but is actually multi-instrumentalist Conrad playing everything! Conrad’s vocals emanate power mixed with an undercurrent of fragility and emotion. For me, there is a seventies vibe to this tune and Conrad’s voice has tonal qualities similar to Chris Norman of Smokie and perhaps a slightly softer take on Noddy Holder too. It is well worth checking out his 2015 album ‘One For The Road’ too. I hope the next one is every bit as good and if “Time” is a good taster it will be.

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‘Everything Is A-OK’ – Violent Soho June 3, 2020


Violent Soho are an Australian band who come at you with attitude and panache. Their new album ‘Everything is A-Ok’ drips with grungy slacker snarl and bite
“Shelf Life” gives off the feel of Nirvana and QOTSA. “Sleep Year” has a great atonal build up and introduces those snotty, bratty vocals that are a key and captivating feature of this record. Plus it has a great riff. “Pick It Up Again” starts with some strong guitar and builds up to be one of the strongest songs here. It’s great to hear this kind of attitude.

“Canada” has a more panoramic feel soundwise and is a touch more melodic than other tracks. There’s a definite nod to the Foos here. That’s not a bad thing at all.
“Lying On The Floor” has a lovely ascending riff which makes this song another contender for the song of the album. I imagine that Violent Soho are an amazing live band and on the strength of these excellent songs I for one will be in line to see them in action when they can hit the UK. This record is packed full of skip fulls of attitude and also makes a great sound to jump around to so push back the furniture and get some Violent Soho blasting through your speakers

Written by Paul Bamlett.

Click here to buy the album on Amazon.

Click here to listen to the album on Spotify.

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‘Something Blue’ – Lexytron May 28, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:15 pm
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Lexytron recently released her first album, ‘Something Blue’, it is eclectic, exciting, electrifying, emotional and exceptional! Manchester-born Lexy describes herself as “Half Greek, half Persian, and half English”, she now lives in New Zealand. The album was recorded in London with Mike Grice of Manchester’s City Reign and mixed and mastered by London-based producer Marco Meloni. It encapsulates everything that a perfect blend of pop and rock should. There are riffs aplenty, earworm hooks and melodies, and superb vocals from Lexy who seems to be able to sing in an incredible range of styles. It is an album that straddles many styles and is proud of its quirkiness, moving from dreamy chill to hard riffing. This is most definitely a genre-defying album which is all the better for that defiance!

The swathe of synth that opens the album on “Blackmail” quickly moves forward with a dubby bass worthy of Jah Wobble before settling into a harmonic post-punk masterpiece. Like the GoGos on mind-altering substances. Lexy’s vocals are upbeat while at the same time suggesting real darkness as expressed in the lyrics. Perhaps the poppiest song on this record is the quirky but magnificent “I’m Not A Disco”, a song that in a parallel universe would win the Eurovision Song Contest with maximum points, even if it was the UK entry. This track deserves to be a chart mega-hit and is the kind of song that you could not remain seated for in a club. The chorus is something that I reckon Sparks would be proud of. The current single “Blue” has a great melody and Lexy’s voice sounds raw, frail, and passionate, a little like Patti Smith in her more reflective moments. It fits perfectly with a luscious love song that is all about love and loss. It is accompanied by a simple and very effective video shot at New Zealand’s Lake Pukaki and featuring just a head and shoulders take of Lexy doing the vocals. She scores highly for the David Bowie T-shirt she wears in the film too (the girl has great taste), I have the same Bowie shirt! “Couples” draws on some of the best of 70s and 80s soul, funk, and disco songs, especially the bass line and syncopated clapping and the vocals are reminiscent of Sophie Ellis Bextor.

Lexy gets very punky on “Intermittent” like early Blondie and the Bangles at their best. If this had of been released in the late 70s it would have been all over the radio. If the Strokes lost a bit of the misery and adopted a female vocalist they might sound a little like this. There is a much more acoustic feel to “21.5” and Lexy’s voice oozes emotion, it feels like a barbed takedown of someone. A former lover maybe?  The piano is the only instrument, other than vocals, on “The Veil Of Veronica” which is the closest to a proper ballad on this collection. It sounds like something that a young Kate Bush might have put together, particularly the vampish backing vocals. “In The Box” takes us back to a post-punk power pop style like Siouxsie Sioux singing a lost Marc Bolan lyric with its references to wizards, joker, beauty, and the beast. A dance remix of “Brand New” would be something special. Lyrics are bordering on psychedelic at times and there is happiness oozing from Lexy’s singing here. The penultimate track on the album is “Tell The Vein” is a song about trying to heal old emotional wounds, but how do we heal a heart that is broken. This is close to a true power ballad but without Celine Dionesque histrionics. Album closer “Gypsy Blue” ends the record on a happy and strangely weird level in which Lexy seems to be channeling the Greek part of her heritage with a sliver of Berlin 30s cabaret. This diverse and expert journey through so many genres which remains strangely apposite is a marvellously magical menagerie of sound and one hell of a debut album. Can I see Lexytron live now, please?

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