With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Steam” – Maryen Cairns September 14, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 1:51 pm
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Australian singer-songwriter Maryen Cairns, now residing in Guernsey, has a new single out now, it is called “Steam” and I rather like it. The hypnotic piano motif draws you in so smoothly as your heart is battered by this tale of a broken relationship. Maryen’s voice is strong and has the timbre of a more rock-influenced Karen Carpenter and at times reminds me of Roseanne Cash. If I had to describe her style I would say softer rock with a smattering of folk influence, but that would be blinkered, it is simply great music. “Steam” definitely makes me want to hear more from Maryen. I am amazed that for me this is the first that I have heard of her, given that her current album ‘Come To Me’ is her sixth. She has given so much to music over the years and has opened for The Troggs, Fish (ex- Marillion), Desmond Dekker, and UFO to name but a few. Get your lugholes around “Steam” and then delve deeper into Maryen’s back catalogue by clicking here.

All the photos were found online/ “borrowed” from Maryen’s Facebook page. The video was all found on YouTube, if any of this media is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know.

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‘To Throw Away Unopened’ – Viv Albertine September 13, 2019


In February this year I posted a list of my top ten rock/ music-related books biographies and autobiographies as a part of this blog’s tenth birthday celebrations. Click here to check it out. ‘Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. : A Memoir’ by Viv Albertine was included in that list. It is easily among the best music-related autobiographies ever written. Well, I finally got around to reading the second autobiographical publication from Viv, ‘To Throw Away Unopened’ and it as least as good as the first, if not better. For me, an autobiography that combines brutal honesty, self-deprecation, love, rivalry and a really interesting life is likely to be good. This second volume of Viv’s life focusses on her relationships with family; her parents, her sister, and her daughter. It gives an insight into her struggles with cancer, relationships, and life in general. I get the impression that while Viv may not sometimes believe it she is a very strong woman who really knows who she is and what she is here for. She is a talented writer and performer and like all the best humans she has flaws alongside her strengths. We should take inspiration from the way she describes those flaws and how she deals with them or overcomes them.

Like many people, I loved the Slits, but Viv’s two books have opened up so much more about one of the people who was such an influence on feminism in rock music. Many of today’s female artists; the Tuts, Lily Allen, and Lauren Tate to name just a few owe a debt to Viv Albertine, even if they are unaware of it. Viv has an abundance of passion, compassion, exuberance and a love of life and she is a true original. She does not hide behind any kind of facade, she is who she is and proud of it. I love the way she deals with the death of her mother in the book, at times I was moved to tears and then a couple of pages later to laughter. ‘To Throw away Unopened’ along with ‘Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. : A Memoir’ are without doubt two of the finest autobiographical works that I have ever read and not just in the music genre. Viv if you are ever in York I would love to sit down for a coffee with you, my treat, I believe that you are a truly great human being, and there aren’t too many of those these days. Thank you for the music and the writing, your talent has enriched this sad world.

All the photos were found online The videos were all found on YouTube, if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know.

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“Anger And Figureheads” – Nallo September 12, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:20 pm
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Nallo from Minneapolis have released their new single “Anger And Figureheads” on Chase Bliss Records as a taster to their self titled album which is due to drop in November. The song is punchy power-pop with a pinch of lo-fi. The band’s frontman Andrew Ranallo said that he wrote the song during a messy time in his life, navigating personal relationships and “trying to survive in the current American swirl of anger, mental unhealth, internet trolls, and violence.” The song certainly conveys the anger against some low key but compelling riffs. It also contains the level of paranoia included in some of the best protest songs. Nallo is a band for our troubled times. In “American Pie” Don McLean posed the question “Can music save your mortal soul?” Well, I believe it can and Nallo, particularly with “Anger And Figureheads” will help us keep our mortal souls fresh.

The song has a great video that fits it perfectly. It depicts many everyday actions which in most cases might seem bland and uninteresting, but it is overlaid with a feeling of menace and of course anger. It takes the normal and destroys it creating some interesting art in the process. The gloved hands give the film an eerie, horror style feel.  Andrew Ranallo who wrote produced and directed the film said that it is”an attempt at trying to create something as chaotic and uncomfortable as the experience itself.” The video is first class and it supports an unforgettable song for our times. On this evidence, I think their album will be a hot one!

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My Wonderful Daze “Guilty Party” EP Launch – Fulford Arms, York – Thursday 5th September 2019 September 10, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:59 pm
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Tonight was the third time that I had seen My Wonderful Daze in less than three months, the first time was also at the Fulford Arms for their Hands Off Gretel support slot back in July. Tonight was a show to let the band showcase their new EP “Guilty Party”. But before I tell you about their set there is the not so small matter of the support band, Freek. I first saw them in December last year, supporting Percy. Freek‘s roots can be traced back to Led Zeppelin and onward through to the White Stripes. Lead singer Ellis Best may, on the first impression, look like a mild-mannered Librarian, but then he unleashes blues-rock licks from his guitar which have the power to cause earthquakes in heaven and hell. But that isn’t all when he opens his mouth to sing out pops a voice that could match Roger Daltrey, Ozzy Osbourne, Paul Rodgers and many more. Best is one hell of a talented rocker. Drummer Christy Bloomfield is like the perfect rock ‘n’ roll metronome (and that is meant as a compliment.) He comes across as a well-controlled sticksman and then he hits those drums with a crazy, frenzied passion and you can imagine him being possessed by the spirit of Keith Moon and the wisdom of Ginger Baker. The highlight for me, and there were many, was “I Am A Weirdo” which is as close as you can get to the perfect rock song!

Just before 9 o’clock, the crowd was palpably excited as they waited for the imminent arrival of those weird, wacky and wonderful folk from Planet Daze, yes it was time for My Wonderful Daze to hit us with their best shot. Incidentally, their best shot is like being attacked by an artillery barrage of riffs, a rhythm section that could power a whole division of tanks and all this marshalled by Field Marshall Chloe Munt a.k.a. Flowers. This is a full-on shock and awe aural assault that either wins you over or forces you to surrender. They played the five songs from their new “Guilty Party” EP first. “Tommy” starts off quite soft and builds into a crescendo of dark passion backed by a band firing on all cylinders. The five-track EP is stunning and in the live environment the already uber heavy, riff-laden, hook-driven, eldritch tunes transform into something heavier, darker and psychedelic. At times they sound like Black Sabbath had Ozzy been replaced by Chloe.

My current favorite track from the EP is “God” and live it is an epic masterpiece. The crowd was up for this band in a big way. Chloe made a number of excursions into the audience and the crowd went into manic mosh mode towards the end. My Wonderful Daze lived up to a previous description from me “Imagine what band might arise if Florence and the Machine had been kidnapped by DC’s Suicide Squad and the Joker injected them with a mix of a large dose of heavy metal and Kurt Cobain’s DNA.” But they went even further than that tonight. In the week that ‘IT – Chapter Two” hit the cinemas there were plenty of Pennywise style red balloons with added black balloons to add a streak of goth. The second half of their set saw much fake blood, well at least I hope it was fake! This was streaked across the faces of the band and Chloe sporting red hair rocked a perfect Carrie White post-Prom Queen scene in a blood dripped white dress. This was not just a gig it was a show with some really theatrical moments, not many bands can pull that off, but My Wonderful Daze can do it with style and ease. There was a technical guitar hitch near the end, but a mighty and dynamic jam session from Mr. Jack Sparkle on bass and JoshQ6 on drums and Chloe taking it upon herself to dance with members of the audience entertained us impeccably while the guitar issue was resolved. For me, the mark of a great band or at least one with the potential to become great is how they handle a mishap like that. My Wonderful Daze handled it like seasoned veterans. They finished with a rip-roaring cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” closer to the White Stripes arrangement but with the heavy and dark turned up to full! You really need to see this band, but while you are waiting check out the “Guilty Party” EP by clicking here

All the photos apart from the EP promo were taken by me. The videos were all found on YouTube, if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know.

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“Pablo’s Hippos” – Violet Contours September 4, 2019


Violet Contours from York are about to bring their latest single into the world, on 27th September to be precise. I have been lucky enough to see them live a couple of times and in this new track, I reckon they have captured a large part of the essence of what makes them such an exciting live act. The song is called “Pablo’s Hippos” and it is about a small part of Pablo Escobar’s self-centered extravagances. Escobar, perhaps one of the most powerful drug lords that ever lived, illegally smuggled four Hippos into Colombia for his private zoo, he also had giraffes and other exotic animals. Wild hippos are only native to Africa, and their escape after Escobar’s death left Colombia with an unexpected problem. Some of the 40 or 50 Hippos now living wild in Colombia have relocated more than 100 miles from Escobar’s estate. This is having a massive impact on Colombia’s biodiversity. I hear that there is even a bounty on Hippos in Colombia now, whereby you get paid if you can get a Hippo ear. I don’t know how successful that has been as I also understand that there is a big black market trade in fake Hippo ears. the world certainly is very strange, isn’t it? I knew absolutely nothing about this until I heard “Pablo’s Hippos”, so a big thank you to Violet Contours for educating me.

It is an incredible story and a truly great song with a pop trance vibe with African style guitars used as effectively as Vampire Weekend did in their early days. It is three minutes of perfectly crafted pop heaven with an 80s dance feel, like a Duran Duran club remix from the latter part of the 80s, around the time of “Skin Trade”. This is one of those tunes that most people would find it impossible not to dance to, especially in the live environment. Violet Contours have released some excellent songs since they formed in 2016; “Airstrike” and “Pixar” are my favourites, but without a doubt “Pablo’s Hippos” take the boys to another level. This song deserves loads of airplay and success. Jericho Keys made it his record of the week on BBC Radio York. I can’t wait to hear it live again and I hope to catch them at the Crescent in York next month. Ben, Sam, Niall, and Daniel have knocked it out of the park with such a banging tune!

 

Pictures were all “borrowed” from the band’s faceBook page. Videos were sourced from YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like me to credit you or to take it down, then please let me know.

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‘Tough Crowd’ – Nervus September 3, 2019


Around eighteen months ago 3 Songs & Out gave me the opportunity to review Nervus’ 2018 album ‘Everything Dies’ and I found it to be a great album and I still listen to it now. The band is about to release their third album ‘Tough Crowd’, due to smash its way into the world on September 27th courtesy of Big Scary Monsters Records. It was recorded at the Ranch in Southampton and produced by Neil Kennedy Is it as good as their last album? No, it’s not, it is even better! There is social and political commentary, notably on the hook-laden slower tune “They Don’t”. There is perhaps slightly less anger in this album than in its predecessor, but it is still there and handled with great control which gives it so much more impact. The songs tackle subjects that really need to be addressed and confronted; austerity, fascism and the ecology to name just a few. This is most notable in “Piss”, which might well be about right-wing arseholes. There are some wonderful melodies, riffs, and hooks on show throughout ‘Tough Crowd’ and these often generate a feeling of hope set against the at times very dark lyrics. My favourite couplet is probably “you blame the hangman, but you’re holding the noose” from “Engulf You”. The chorus of “Fake” has Em singing “I Don’t Wanna Be Fake” in perhaps her best vocal performance on this record. I think it is clear from this LP and their previous releases that whatever you might see Nervus as they are never fake. This is a band that is not afraid to confront haters, homophobes, nazi wankers, self-centered, lying politicians and anyone else that deserves to be challenged and taken down. Nervus don’t just play to punk ideals, they live by them. Punk happened to allow newer bands to continue to fly the flag for the downtrodden and the oppressed. I am glad I am on the same side as Nervus!

The first single “Flies” deserves a much wider audience and contains an array of angry, venomous lyrics which I assume are about a soured relationship. “You’re Dead, at least you are in my head”, tells me that I definitely would not like to get on the wrong side of Nervus! “No Nations” is a song of hope for the planet and never giving up, whatever the obstacle. Not a bad mantra to live by in my opinion. For me, the most inspiring song on the album is “Burn”. This is what humanity should be about; listening more than speaking, sharing and “We don’t need heroes, we need faith” sums this song up perfectly and encapsulates all of its acoustic beauty and passion. The harmonies on this song are immaculate. This is a song that would not be out of place in the Levellers canon. I was reminded of Weezer back in their prime in the style and delivery of “Inconvenient Truth” although clearly, the lyrics are most definitely Nervus. Overall ‘Tough Crowd’ is the bands most accomplished album to date and on this evidence, this is a band that will just keep on improving. I am sure that Em, Paul, Kenny, and Luce are proud of this staggeringly good collection of songs and so they should be. As a footnote, I love interacting with Nervus on social media, particularly Twitter. They are eloquent, spunky, passionate and sometimes laugh out loud funny! Give this album one listen and if you feel that you don’t need it in your life after that then you probably need to have your musical taste examined!

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‘100% Full Fat Noise’ – Modern Day Dukes September 2, 2019


Modern Day Dukes describe themselves as a dirty, grungey, weird punk band. I have no idea if that description fits Pais, Rory, Hannah, and Jordan personally, but it sure as hell describes their music perfectly. The band release their first album ‘100% Full Fat Noise’ this month and I am delighted to be among the first people to hear it. The album is full of a blend of full-on hardcore punk style songs with swampy, grungey bass guitars overlaid with huge choruses often supported with some very clever counterpoint harmony vocals.

Album opener “Company Anthem” is a little strange and almost suggests in an overture kind of way that the album is a concept album, although I don’t believe that it is. “Liability Friend” has punk classic written all over it and I am so looking forward to hearing it played live. I was reminded of early Damned with “Go!” and the response part of the call and response chorus has echoes of a pre-fame Adam and the Ants. At times on this collection Modern Day Dukes lean toward the US alt.rock stylings similar to Creed or even the Foo Fighters. They wear Nirvana proudly on their sleeves for the magnificent “Tourist” which is perhaps the grungiest track on the record.

The soaring vocal refrain from “Spent” invites you, or even demands you, to sing along and takes up permanent residence in your head. Instrumentally it took me back to the grossly underrated Tin Machine. I was reminded of that short period between punk and post-punk, say 1979 to 1980, by “Brand Loyalty” and after three listens this is probably my favourite track from ‘100% Full Fat Noise’. The angriest song here feels like “Okhrana”. Apparently, the Okhrana were the secret police of the Russian tsars, created in 1881 after the death of TsarAlexander II in 1881. It has a madcap feel to it, like the Fall going in a heavy metal direction. If the Ramones went prog rock then they might have created “Low Calorie Groove”.

Production by Piper Dawes is excellent and although I haven’t seen them live yet, it has a live feel to it. I must give a special mention also to Mike Bromage for the wonderful cover art. Modern Day Dukes have the ability, talent and scope to become a great band, they are already contenders for one of the best Yorkshire bands, hailing from Sheffield, Huddersfield, and Harrogate. Modern Day Dukes, on the evidence of this album are clearly a band on top form. Check out ‘100% Full Fat Noise’ you will not be disappointed and if you listen to it and don’t become a Modern Day Dukes fan then you and I need to have a little word, capisce?

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