With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Blood On Your Hands” – Captain Ska March 4, 2021

Filed under: News,Rants,Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:17 pm
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Captain Ska are back with a wonderfully brutal take down of this scummy, vile UK government! Johnson and his Cabinet most definitely have blood on their hands. Let us not forget that the next time we get the chance to vote. However good the vaccine roll out is, let us not forget that the NHS is organising that, not SERCO or some new company set up by a cabinet members mate! This government is the most inept and evil pack of scumbags I have ever experienced. More than 100,000 dead? That is an absolute fucking disgrace. Don’t give me all that “aw but they are doing their best”, no they’re fucking not! Everything Johnson and his gang have done during Covid has been self centered or arse covering. They are liars who refuse to take responsibility for their actions! Never forget these times, hold these bastards to account and share the fuck out of this video!

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“Little Frankenstein (The Franken-Lee Remix) and “Run Boy (No Longer)” – Not Now Norman March 3, 2021


Back in January we featured Not Now Norman‘s “Little Cheryl” in our first singles round up of 2021, well so far this year they have already hit us with two singles! But it’s not just the quantity, it’s the quality. These two are pretty damned good. First up is “Little Frankenstein (The Franken-Lee Remix)” which takes the 2019 original into a much harder riff laden heavy experience and it makes a good song great! This tune proves that Not Now Norman are not just for Halloween, they are for life! The second of this ace brace of singles is “Run Boy (No Longer)” a collaboration with Geo Moon. It sounds like the Prodigy mated with Black Sabbath while secretly being watched by a voyeuristically warped Robert Plant to produce a bouncing electro metal dance baby that everyone will love! The song deals with abuse by toxic people and does it so well. Taylor’s voice is a soaring spectacle of spaced out dance rock on this track and at times reminds me of Madonna. The Game Of Thrones tribute video is pretty sharp too! If you had told me just a few months ago that 2021 would see me becoming a Norminion, I would have laughed in your face (well kind of, but I would still have worn a mask and observed a social distance). You really need to get this band in your life, do it now!

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‘Who Am I?’ – Pale Waves March 1, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:49 pm
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Manchester’s Pale Waves recently released their sophomore album ‘Who Am I?’ many bands have struggled with the quality of that “difficult” second album, but not Pale Waves. The band appear to have taken a really difficult road to the follow up to 2018’s ‘My Mind Makes Noises’; constant touring, a near fatal bus crash, having to record in the midst of a pandemic and perhaps the weight of expectation after that first LP. But those experiences seem to have inspired them to greatness. This is a stylish and classy collection of perfect pop rock tunes. Heather Baron-Gracie’s voice is strong and reminded me at times of Taylor Swift. But there is also a pure crystal clarity to her vocals which hint at what Karen Carpenter might have done if she had taken more of a rock direction.

The album has so far spawned a quintuple of essential singles including opener “Change” which builds slowly into singalong view of a relationship that needs to change. After four or five spins I think “Fall To Pieces” is one of my favourite tracks on the album, at least for now. This is another track dealing with relationship issues, with lyrics which are at times brutally open. “She’s My Religion” kicks off with instrumentation that might have opened a Cure tune back in the early 80s, then Heather’s voice kicks in and you know instantly that this is a 21st Century song. The lyrical couplet “She’s cold, she’s dark, she’s cynical. She’s forever angry at the world” is sublime wordsmithing! I can picture bouncing around in a sunny festival field on a high while listening to the band perform “Easy”. Excuse the pun but it has an easy pop dance lilt to it. A broken relationship is the subject of “Wish U Were Here” and once again the lyrics sound simple but for me they are the work of a first class genius. How can you not love the pre chorus refrain of “I look at pictures of you, I’m getting nothing back. If there’s really a god, why won’t she give me that?” Next up are a brace of songs that draw on the best of the Go-Gos; “Tomorrow” and “You Don’t Own Me”, the latter of which is one of my favourite tracks on the album, but frankly it is a tough competition. As an album ‘Who Am I?’ really lives up to “all killer, no filler’ status.

I love the message in “I Just Needed You” which perfectly sums up what is the difference between what we want versus what we need. It is also a supremely radio friendly song which would have been played to death back in the hey day of US FM radio in the 70s. “Odd Ones Out” has a real acoustic, almost folky feel and such a gorgeous, dreamy, perfectly harmonised chorus. The band are particularly tight throughout the album but for me they come across as the consummate ace band on “Run To” the rhythm section hits perfect cadence and the harmonies are spot on. The album closes with the title track “Who Am I?” a deep, powerful ballad which feels influenced by Alanis Morrisette. Every so often a song comes along that makes me cry, this is one of them. Heather opens her heart wide and sings with so much emotion and soul. For me this is about the black dog of depression and is simply wonderful. This is a faultless release and a further springboard for what should be much deserved huge success for Pale Waves. It is a record that traverses the strange road the world has travelled in the last 12 months taking us from euphoria to depression and onward to hope! Roll on the return of festivals and gigs, I need to see Pale Waves play live.

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“Mad, Bad & Baggy” – Notorious Lightbulbs February 23, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:47 pm
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I first became acquainted with the Notorious Lightbulbs almost two years ago when I featured them in the Mayhem Virgins series. They also provided a great Christmas message for all With Just A Hint Of Mayhem readers last December. Well this funk fuelled duo made up of Diego Wilde and Crystal Miss from the North East of England have a new single out, and in keeping with their talent for great titles it’s a another winner, it is called “Mad, Bad & Baggy”. It has a strong jazz funk feel that would get me on the dance floor. The keyboards have a great Joe Sample vibe going on and the band have maintained their expert grasp of crafting a top notch pop melody. Something about it made me imagine George Michael covering it and he would have made it even more special. The Notorious Lightbulbs keep their mysterious air with their ever present steam punk style shades. Is it really that sunny in the North East. Personally I think this is their best release and they have issued some great stuff before this. If you haven’t got into this funky, punky, disco outfit yet then get started now! That’s an order!

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“Funky Feeling” – Tommyrot February 20, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 2:10 pm
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Those roguish rapscallions of rock known as Tommyrot have recently unleashed a new song on the world. It is called “Funky Feeling” and begs the question, can white boys play da funk? Well these boys can! They have clearly tightened the tourniquet and injected themselves with the funk, some punk and some classic British early 70s rock. But just enough to get a rock ‘n’ roll high. The languid chilled and obviously funky bass line is particularly addictive and Tommyrot prove that as well as being a great band they are also cunning linguists as they introduce some French into the lyrics. After last years singles, “Drugs” and “The Happy Ending Song” it is totally transpicuous that this band have many talents and are adept at avoiding being stuck in one particular genre box! Will there be a Tommyrot album sometime? I hope so, but in the meantime I reckon they will be a lot of fun when we get back to proper gigs.

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‘Cloth Bound’ – Sonder Bombs February 14, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:01 pm
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The Sonder Bombs have a strong sense of melody and they use it to excellent effect on this absolute gem of an album “Crying Is Cool” is a great pop song which bounces along and carries you with it. “Papillon” slows the pace but keeps the melodic sense firmly in place. “Vegas Baby” has some of the pop feel of the Go Gos and the vocals are fabulous. “What Are Friends For” keeps up the pace and quality and the drumming is key to this track. “Scattered” slows things down and the vocal is less intense but still with beautiful timbre and a lovely guitar melody. I think this is one of the most poignant songs here . “The Brink” takes us back to the more frantic but bouncy feel we have got used to early on. “Swing On Sight” is great punk pop and as with everything else here is very strong; lyrics, melody, playing …the whole enchilada! “The One About You” is a truly beautiful piece of melodic pop with a superb arrangement. The Sonder Bombs are a revelation to me and I will certainly be searching out more of their fabulous music and looking forward to seeing them live, soon we hope!

Written by Paul Bamlett

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‘Follow Me’ – Kristina Stazaker

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 4:11 pm
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This album has a raw and honest feel that is often hard to locate in current music. “Follow Me” has some essence of Patti Smith with a folk twist. Kristina’s voice is rich and she inhabits each song in a gripping and fascinating way. “Journey Part 1” carries the same feel and a similar insistent guitar backing. “Goddess” introduces a loping time signature and wonderful vocal interplay which is once again powerful and deep. “In A Previous Life” has a more melancholy feel. It is the great vocal sound which draws you in to every song. “Everyday” has a touch of Michelle Shocked and the lyrics are fierce and powerful. “Judgement Day” travels at breakneck pace and actually seems to increase in speed . “Silence And Slumber” is the strongest song here. Once again the voice , the tempo and the fascinating personality of the singer are set out clearly. This album is a powerful statement of intent and it will be extremely interesting to see where this truly original artist goes next!

Written by Paul Bamlett

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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2021 Part 2 February 1, 2021


It’s February and time for our second singles round up of 2021. Eight classy tunes from eight proper talented bands and singers, none of whom have featured on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem before. This bunch come from Essex, Norfolk, Rotterdam, Liverpool, Lancaster and Manchester. Crank your volume up to 11 and dive into a sea of wondrously great tunes!

“Story Of Strife” – Gloria

Austin Woodcock, Evan Butcher and Will Eagles are Gloria. They formed in 2018 in Lancaster. They claim that they write music for the soul. On the evidence of “Story Of Strife” I think that I believe them. This has deep feeling embedded in every part of it. At times I am reminded of Richard Ashcroft at his most introspective. The line “Freddie and Ziggy are in paradise now helping me write this song” is an absolute killer. “Story Of Strife” is an anthem we didn’t know we needed, but we really do!

“Soho” –  Ben Wood & The Bad Ideas

Essex boy Ben Wood has been putting out great tunes since 2012. He has a very British sound with fragments of Paul Weller, Blur and the Arctic Monkeys among others. His lyrics for “Soho” can probably stand on their own as modern poetry. It is very much a story song and frankly if you are able to successfully mention Marianne Faithful in your song lyrics then you definitely get my vote!

“Gobshite” – Das Kapitans

A wonderful punky riff-fest from Das Kapitans with delightful punk harmonies throughout. The backing vocals are reminiscent of Steve Jones back in his Pistols prime. The video is a psychedelic jamboree and probably not for anyone who suffers from epilepsy. This is a great single and I reckon it will sound even better live. On his BandCamp biog Norfolk based Das Kapitans main man Stephen Potter describes himself as a Potato expert. Well if this song was a potato I believe it would be a Russet Burbank, probably the best potato in the world!

“Looking For Faces” – The Vices

Recently signed to Rotterdam based Mattan Records this lot are pretty ace. They sound like a punked up, funked up and fucked up version of the Strokes with a dash of Talking Heads. I reckon this band is an instant party machine live. This track has taken up residence in my head and it doesn’t seem to want to leave anytime soon!

Roses” – Karl McCann

With it’s dark and sparse video “Roses” makes its whispered way into the world. It seems, to me, to be about a broken, abandoned relationship. Karl’s delivery oozes emotion and the song resonates long after it is over. It makes me want to hear much more from Liverpool based Karl McCann.

“Getting Better” – Flowers Of Evil

Positive Indie Lounge Core from Manchester’s Flowers Of Evil. “Getting Better” is essentially a positive tune and one that would be ideal to accompany us on the journey out of this Covid hell. Lead vocal and well drilled harmonies drift wonderfully over subdued but close to perfect instrumentation. I sense that you will be hearing a lot more from Flowers Of Evil!

“Rain’s Gonna Fall Where We Walk” – Hurray For Tuesday

Manchester’s Hurray For Tuesday refer to themselves as anti-folk. I assume that they mean they are anti folk music rather than just anti folk as in people. Either way it won’t work, this tune is steeped in the history of folk with a modern twist that evokes the Pogues and for me there is an undercurrent of glam rock in the driving incessant and fabulous beat. In the days when the charts mattered this would be instant top ten. It made me want to dance around the room, so I did! Based on this I want to see them on a festival stage when festivals are reborn! They make me want to shout Hurray for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and every fucking day of the week.

“Slow It Down” – Doozer McDooze

Doozer’s new single is the perfect sound to chill to after a heavy night out, do you remember what they were like? It is a hypnotic lofi style tune which stays with you like your favourite pillow or that old teddy bear you’ve had since you were a kid. I cannot think of a nicer tune to end this singles round up with. Doozer McDooze is, put simply, bloody ace!

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Below is a play list of all these great tunes, apart from Karl McCann’s “Roses” which I can’t find on Spotify.

 

“Everyone Says Hi” – The Dead Zoo January 27, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 8:54 pm
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Many of you regular readers know that I am a big fan of the Dead Zoo, they are a band with a very bright future. They have a new single “In The End” lined up for release on 26th March, I reckon it will be their best yet from what the band have told me. But in the meantime they took the rather strange, but rather wonderful decision to release the B-Side early. It was released on January 10th, the fifth anniversary of the passing of David Bowie. It is a cover of one of my favourite later period Bowie songs, “Everyone Says Hi” from 2002’s ‘Heathen’. It is a faithful take on the tune but singer Kaoru adds a hauntingly beautiful and respectful vocal to it. Their is an undercurrent of emotion in her voice, maybe she is channelling her inner Bowie, I know she is a huge fan of the Dame. I also love the sublime vamping backing vocals too. It was a brave cover to attempt, but the Dead Zoo nailed it! I am looking forward even more to the A side now 🙂 keep your ears peeled for it good people! If you love this track like I do, I also urge you to check out Kaoru’s fabulous covers album released last year on BandCamp, click here to find it.

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“Mercury Twin” – AP Tobler January 20, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:11 pm
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For her new single “Mercury Twin” AP Tobler channels her inner Foo Fighters for some mountain shredding riffs. Once again she plays all the instruments herself and the drums in particular are exquisite. Lyrically I sense that this song is about facing the black dog of depression. I am not sure quite how she does it, but AP gets better with every release and long may it continue. The guitar solo is impeccable and would fit nicely into so many classic 70s rock tunes. If you’re not yet familiar with the immensely talented AP Tobler you need to change that right now. Check out the video for “Mercury Twin” below and click here for our recent interview with AP. You can also find this new single and her previous releases on Spotify, so click here to stream the hell out of them!

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