With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Preach To Me” – Segrëgates March 21, 2020


Segrëgates are a self-confessed Motörpunk band from York and they have a new single, “Preach To Me” out now from Vinyl Eddie Records. If you like thrash, punk, and Motörhead you will almost certainly love this. However, if you are a died in the wool Motörhead fan you may think that this crosses the line between being influenced and aping the sound, they even have an umlaut on the second vowel in their name. But these boys know all that and it doesn’t appear to bother them at all. But whatever your thoughts on their channelling of Lemmy and his cohorts you cannot deny that they are talented rock ‘n’ rollers. I love how they describe themselves in a kind of old school punk way on their Facebook page; Smell – Holds a bass guitar and shouts, Dr. J. Horn – Guitar and musical talent, Davros De La Nutter – Drums and lies.

The single is called “Preach To Me” and I love the anti organised religion sentiment of the lyrics. It is a classy slice of thrash musically, but for me, it veers far to close to Motörhead. The B -side, “Sands Of Time” is more of the same although not quite as strong lyrically in my opinion. The physical 12″ single itself is a beautiful thing to behold. The sleeve is well put together with the lyrics on the back cover and a stunning painting from Charlie Harper on the front. Then of course for vinyl nerds, collectors, and aficionados it is in pillar box red vinyl. The video to accompany the single takes the lyrical theme and will undoubtedly upset a few stiff collared Christians if Mary Whitehouse must be spinning in her grave and that can only be a good thing! I was lucky enough to see Motörhead a couple of times back in the late 70s and live they were a thrash Metal behemoth, maybe Segrëgates can become that and maybe they do when they play live. But I would like to see them stretch their talent and their horizons and step away from that identikit Motörhead sound.

All the pictures were “borrowed” from the bands FaceBook page, We are happy to credit the photographer. The videos were found on YouTube and again we are happy to credit you if it is yours!

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‘First Contact’ – AXLS March 18, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 8:46 pm
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AXLS say in their press release that they draw on old school electro such as Kraftwerk and the Human League but also on more recent explorers of the genre such as CHVRCHES and LCD Soundsystem. As a fully paid-up member of the old school electro appreciation society I regularly dig out my John Foxx, Gary Numan, and Depeche Mode albums. Needless to say, I had high expectations of this band and their debut and trust me I was not disappointed.

The opening track “Magnificent Emptiness” is a fabulous brooding intro that any band would kill to walk on stage to. This leads into the first vocal track “Alone”, which paints a bleak electronic picture of a desolate world. This is a great lead-off track with a superb melody. “Snowblind” is a pleasing earworm of a tune with great hook. Next track “Integration” pulls on a New Order vibe with some great bass work from the wonderfully named Conrad McQueen whose low key work throughout gives the music a great resonance. The mesmeric vocals of Victoria Ownsett are poured over a strong beat in every song and although not mixed prominently are always the chief focus of every track. Unexpectedly the central section of this song has a moment when the beat drops out and gives “Integration” a chance to build to a fascinating climax and makes it one of the strongest songs on the album. It’s excellent Kraftwerk /Depeche style fade courtesy of synth wizard Chris Simmons.

There are lots of songs called Heaven or with Heaven in the title. This one is one of the better ones. It has a beautiful melody with a less intense electro feel and a clear pop sensibility. A melancholy track with a hint of New Order again and a strong touch of Blondie in their pomp. Captivating stuff. This album gets stronger as it moves along. The ideas seem bolder on the later tracks and more intricate. “ICBM” brings together all the strengths of this brilliant trio. Melody, Beat, Atmosphere and devilishly catchy hooks abound. Once again the Kraftwerk feel is strong. On “Alias” the rhythmic aspect of the track is superb. What is great from my perspective is that this is not nostalgia, this is truly innovative stuff. “Battle Song” gives off the feel of the wondrous Yellow Magic Orchestra and is surely destined for a film soundtrack appearance. I know there is a game associated with this music but it stands up strongly in its own right. I ‘m a sucker for a catchy synth melody and this album has them by the bucket load.

This music stands multiple listens, a rarity in a good deal of music these days ( old codger alert!). There are many layers to this bands approach. “Ripples” draws the album to an elegiac close and I really didn’t want to get to the end of this one. As debut albums go ‘First Contact’ is right up there with some of the best recent offerings. I shouldn’t show bias but I know that this band, like myself, hail from the North East. Actually, yer know what, I don’t really care where they come from, I am much more interested in where they are going and I will be following with interest. More please AXLS and soon!

This review was written by Paul Bamlett.

All the photos were “borrowed” from the bands FaceBook page, We are happy to credit the photographer. The videos were found on YouTube and again we are happy to credit you if it is yours!

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‘Savage Purge’ – Carol Hodge March 14, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:33 am
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Huddersfield based UK singer-songwriter Carol Hodge is new to me but she has a classy and extensive musical pedigree. Many of you may know her for her work with Crass main man Steve Ignorant. Carol has provided keyboard and backing vocals on the tours for Steve’s acoustic project Slice Of Life for the past few years. She worked as a lead vocalist for Steve Ignorant’s Last Supper which saw her provide lead vocals on many Crass songs across the world. She is touring again with Mr. Ignorant this year too. Carol has been keyboard stalwart and ace backing vocalist touring with Texan rockers Ryan Hamilton And The Harlequin Ghosts (signed to Stevie Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records). She also makes occasional guest appearances on keys with The Membranes and The Ginger Wildheart Band.

Carol has recently finished recording her second album ‘Savage Purge’ a sophomore follow up to 2018’s ‘Hold On To That Flame’. It was produced by Dave Draper who has worked with Ginger Wildheart, Dodgy and The Professionals to name but a few. It hits the streets on 30th March, you can preorder it and get with the cool kids by clicking here. The album title was inspired partly by the Post World War II épuration sauvage that took place in France, in which many innocent women were tortured. Until I prepared for reviewing this album I must confess that I knew nothing of this, I do now! Click here to read more about it. Carol’s songs appear to be deep and emotional yet very accessible. The songs cover subjects that range from mental health to domestic abuse and alcoholism. But despite those dark subjects it still feels like an uplifting album. Louder Than War described Carol as “The Adele for people into radical politics…a UK 2018 equivalent to the Tapestry-era Carole King”, I can see why. Carol has a powerful voice which is at times enchanting, enthralling and at times hypnotising. She has the clarity of Karen Carpenter and I can hear elements of Patti Smith’s softer moments and a dash of Marcella Detroit.

Album opener “Stop Worrying Baby” is about living life on your own and not worrying whether you have found “the one”. The clarity piano sound on the track is reminiscent of Bruce Hornsby. There is wonderful dark passion and emotion contained in “Waving Not Drowning” and Carol sounds similar to Chrissie Hynde in the early days of the Pretenders. I have always believed that the first person you should love is yourself, because without that how can you love anyone else or how can anyone else really love you? For me “I Still Love Me” is about that and maybe the importance of maintaining strong self-esteem. On top of that the song rocks from the kick-off. “In Case Of Emergency” is a gorgeous ballad about a failed and abusive relationship. But through it all, I can sense Carol’s inner strength, one of the most honest songs that I have heard in a while. I always loved Gene and I can really imagine Martin Rossiter covering “Send Me Someone”, which has one of the best lyrics on the album, although it is an extremely difficult choice. I love the 80’s synth sounds on “Stopped Believing In You” it adds a jaunty positive vibe to a song which is at times dark and the damage of alcoholism, but mostly positive. The double-tracked vocals and almost acapella moments on “Semi-Colon” made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, not many songs have done that to me, obviously, I mean that in a good way! The album closes with “Let Gravity Win” a song which is one of the best takes on getting older that I have ever heard. There are a couple of lines in there that sum up how I feel about aging; “I watch with clouded avarice as youth escapes my grip. But I won’t stop caring passionately for the young and hip”. That may have to become my new mantra! This is a great album with not a duff track in sight, click here to preorder, you need this album in your life!

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‘PENGSHUi’ – PENGSHUi March 9, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 3:49 pm
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Pengshui,s first album, on MVKA Records, is a dangerous mix of punk rock ideals and a grimy attitude. It’s a vicious cocktail of monstrously bangin’ tunes with great rhyming over the top. “Wiseman” is one of the outstanding tracks a little more cool than its raucous mates.

Throughout the album, the energy level does not drop for one nanosecond. “Leave It” with its challenging language and “No Joke” both carry a heavy flavour of violence laced with more than a hint of the late great Keith Flint’s coruscating vocal style, fired out over a spectacular looping riff. “Rise” is carried on a frantic backbeat and “Control” builds to a spectacular full-on climax. On “Blame” the double-tracked vocals bring added menace and when the band says “Nobody Cares” you know that they are tapping into the fearsome style of none other than Mr. John Lydon. The absolute highlight though is their superb and respectful take on the Prodigy track “Light Up The Sky”. Pengshui absolutely brings something new to this already great track. Live I can imagine these boys will more than fill the room and the mosh pit must be a thrilling place to hang out. Fatty, Illaman and excellent drummer Pravvy Prav have tapped into a new energy source and on this evidence, they are gonna drain every last drop. This music is for real with a no-bullshit attitude to all the hangups and problems of now.

A little more variation in the vibe would be nice but if you want mega loud tunes with gargantuan riffs and in yer face rhyming then this trio surely brings the noise in no uncertain terms.

Ave it!

This review was written by Paul Bamlett

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Marsicans – Fulford Arms, York – Tuesday 3rd March 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:10 am
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Another Northern Radar gig promotion hosted by the talented Simon Pattinson, this time at one of York’s great gig venues, the Fulford Arms. This was lined up as a pre-SXSW warm-up gig for headliners the Marsicans. Sadly as I am writing this review news has just come through that this year’s SXSW has been cancelled thanks to Coronavirus. This must be devastating news for the Marsicans and many other bands. My thoughts are with the Marsicans and all the other acts affected by this decision. In the meantime, I am here to tell you about the gig. So here goes.

First to take to the boards were Pool Room from York. They have a really cool USA FM Radio vibe about their sound but with much less AOR and more full-on ROCK edge. Pool Room also have a great jazz feel at times too, not like traditional or pure jazz but more like Steely Dan, but a much heavier sound. So as steel is not the heaviest metal in the world that is Osmium, then ladies and gentlemen let me bring you Pool Room a.k.a. Osmiumly Dan! This is a band of supremely or even obscenely talented musicians who seem to really know their rock history. Their cover of a Black Keys song was sublime. This was the first time that I have seen them, it definitely won’t be that last.

Second on stage were Flooded and this would be the third time that I have seen them. Both previous occasions were Northern Radar gigs at the Fulford Arms; February 2018 and January 2019. I hope it becomes more than an annual event for me. Flooded combine power pop, punk, light funk and blend them together in some epic pop and rock tunes. At times they sound like late 70s punk bands when they went beyond being one chord wonders and discovered melodies and pop sensibilities, like The Damned, Generation X and Siouxse and the Banshees. If Mike Skinner had taken a more punky direction then I believe that the Streets might have evolved into something like Flooded. This band writes youth anthems for the disaffected and downtrodden younger generation.  Edward has a very good voice, but maybe not a great voice, at least yet anyway. But that does not matter because he makes up for it by sheer force of personality. Tonight he proved himself to be one of the best frontmen around. You absolutely need to check this band out.

I can’t believe that I have only seen Leeds band Marsicans just once before this, that was at the Leeds Festival in 2018 on the BBC Introducing Stage. I liked them back then and having listened to them a lot since I bloody love them now. Their vocals and harmonising are close to immaculate. They played a lot of songs from their new album in readiness for the now sadly cancelled SXSW appearance. I hear that they are planning on going to Austin anyway, rather than lose money. I hope that they find some gigs out there and come home having kicked off a decent fanbase in Texas. The crowd was really up for this and the band clearly knew that and metaphorically slapped us in the face with one of the best headline sets that I have seen for a while. You can hear some stylish jangly indie guitars, some heavier riffs, a rhythm section on peak form (especially Cale on drums) and emotional, soaring vocals in their songs. In fact, all the songs have great hooks and choruses and this band knows how to write a perfect earworm. New single “Juliet” epitomises everything that is great about the Marsicans. I reckon the new album will take the music world by storm and they will definitely get another shot at SXSW.

All the photos apart from the gig poster and the shot of the Marsicans were taken by me on my cheap Chinese android phone. The picture of the Marsicans was taken by Simon Pattinson on his much more expensive phone. 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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Skylights – The Crescent, York – Friday 28th February 2020 March 6, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:55 pm
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This would be the sixth time that I have seen Skylights in 18 months. These boys keep getting better. But more of them later, first there were a couple of support acts to talk about. Kicking proceedings off were Mad Leisure from Leeds. They are clearly great musicians and a pretty tight band, the vocals are good too. But for me, their songs are all a bit derivative of Oasis and other Brit Pop sounds and lack a real spark. I would like to see Mad Leisure take a step higher and expand their horizons musically. If they don’t then I fear they will never stand out from the crowd.

The second act to hit the stage was something on another level entirely. I am talking about Sounds Like A Storm, also from Leeds. They are classic rockers for the 21st Century and I believe that they have a great future ahead of them. Most of this crowd was probably at the venue for the headliners but that did not bother Sounds Like A Storm in the slightest. They went for it and drew a lot of punters away from the bar with their heady mix of punk, classic rock, great tunes, and immense sass. There is a raw garage rock element to their sound which underpins the passion and honesty in their lyrics. Sounds Like A Storm acts like a band that was born for the live arena and I intend to get more of them into my life!

In 18 months Skylights have had some huge success and 2020 will see them become even bigger. These lads are massive Leeds United fans and like their team they have the potential to move up to the rock music premier league. Their musical roots run deep into British music history to the Small Face, slate 70s punk, Johnny Marr at his Smiths peak, Oasis when they were good and the Inspiral Carpets. But it is not just these roots, Skylights have their own unique talent that makes them more than just another indie rock band. They are possibly one of the tightest bands around. Jonny and Myles provide a rhythm that purrs like a finely tuned Rolls Royce while Turnbull throws magnificent guitar hooks, riffs, and shapes across every song that moves from psychedelic to moody shoegaze and covers every base in between. On top of that, you have Rob’s classic vocal performance with a powerful command of the stage. He has the manic 1,000-yard stare of all the best frontmen and he pulls it off far better than Liam Gallagher. But a band needs more than that to be successful and what Skylights have in abundance is an incredible collection of songs with a future as classics. We heard plenty of them at this gig. Particular highlights for me were “YRA” and new single “Enemies”. Later this year they will be headlining the rejuvenated Apollo Festival in York and supporting York legends Shed Seven in June in Halifax. I even got to meet Turnbull’s Mum, what a top lady she is!

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me on my cheap Chinese android phone or by Eddie Parkinson (a.k.a. Vinyl Eddie) on his far more expensive phone! Eddie took the Skylights shot! 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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Apollo Junction (Acoustic) – Vinyl Cafe, York – Friday 21st February 2020 March 2, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:59 pm
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Another intimate gig at the fabulous Vinyl Cafe in York, this time Leeds band Apollo Junction headlined with an acoustic set. But more about them later as there were also a couple of pretty decent support acts. First up was singer-songwriter Toby Burton. He has a rich, almost baritone voice. His songs are story songs, almost exclusively sad stories. Highlights for me were “The Middle” and “Shining”. He has a new single, “All Night Long” out this month. In fact compared to all the other songs in his set this was moderately happy at times. He was also amusingly self-deprecating about his merch, which was CDs. He said that they made good coasters. I felt that I heard shades of another vocalist in his delivery and tone, it took me a while to think of who, but I can sense some Martin Rossiter vibes within Toby’s voice. I would really like to see Toby playing with a full band, I think it will give his songs greater depth and strength.

Next on stage were a band playing only their fourth gig, spookily enough I was at the third gig just the night before. I am talking about Grapefruit Eyes, a band that I can now genuinely say that I have seen 50% of all their gigs so far! Regular readers will know that I am a fan of this band and their previous incarnation, Neon Salmon. The music is built using samples, drum machine sounds, guitar, bass and for this show softer drums. George’s voice gets better every time and sometimes pitches towards Thom Yorke at his finest. Grapefruit Eyes certainly appear a bit more experimental than Neon Salmon. They fuse prog, dance, chill-out, and rock into their musical melting pot and from that they cook up a sound like no other bands around at the moment. They can move from slightly left-field Pink Floyd style to pre-commercial George Benson (around the time of “Breezin'”) in a heartbeat. I can also sense a bit of Edwyn Collins and Orange Juice in their vibe too. This will definitely not be the last time I see Grapefruit Eyes!

Finally, it was time for Apollo Junction to strut their acoustic stuff. I have never seen a five-piece band play this venue, so I was a little concerned as to how they would all fit in, but in the end, they did fit, a looked a bit cosy at times though. Jamie has a great voice that contains passion, soul and power. They did a cracking cover of the Who’s “Substitute” with some moderate audience participation, stronger from those of us who were around when that single was originally released! We had some real full-throated crowd singalong with an epic take on “Always Remember” which included Jamie wandering into the crowd. The band aired some new songs and judging from how they sounded on the night “Are You Happy” and “Time Is Coming Around” show great promise for the next Apollo Junction album. I should also publicly apologise to the band for not getting around to reviewing their first album, ‘Mystery’ when it was released late last year. But let me state categorically that it really is a fucking awesome album that you need to check out! It is full of pulverising (in a good way) choruses and hooks, they take the best of the likes of New Order, Depeche Mode and ABC and make it their own The band’s “In Your Arms” currently soundtracks the BBC’s Football Focus show which is a proper achievement, not every band gets that kind of exposure. This was an amazing set by a truly talented band. Apollo Junction are heading upwards at speed and on the evidence of tonight, they will definitely be going much further!

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me on my cheap Chinese android phone. Except for the Grapefruit Eyes picture, that was taken by my wife Catherine on her cheap Chinese android phone. 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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