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 14 October 14, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:36 pm
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How about that, it’s October and this is our fourteenth singles round-up of 2020. This one features eight great tracks, which made their merry way into this strange world during the last couple of months. These eight songs are performed by bands and singers from the North East of England, Leeds/ York, Cheshire, South Africa, Norwich, Malmo, New York and London. Two of these acts have appeared on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem before; Victoria Owsnett (As a vocalist on Last Of The Fallen Angels current hit) and Alleyways (this is their fifth appearance here at Mayhem Towers) and I am confident that everyone of this lot will appear again sometime in the future. Get these songs into your life now!

“Strings” – Victoria Owsnett

Victoria is a talented singer songwriter from the north east of the UK. She is co founder of the exceptionally good electro band AXLS and you can hear her sublime vocals on the current smash “Phase IV” by Last Of The Fallen Angels. “Strings” is a well grooved dance track with ethereal heavenly vocals from Victoria. I was dancing round the room with my headphones on to this. It is every bit as good, if not better, than her previous single “Thrones”.

“Rude” – Alleyways

Those chirpy funsters Alleyways returned with a classy slice of electro pop, “Rude”. It has a dancey, yet laid back vibe with a saxophone break reminiscent of Steve Norman from Spandau Ballet’s peak. I get a flavour of Haircut 100 in the Billy Whizz riffs. A fabulous follow up to the wonderful “Over It”. Music needs Alleyways and so do you, check them out!

“Northern Rain” – Tim Bowness

How on earth have I not listened to Tim Bowness until now? His career is star studded to say the least. He has worked with some staggeringly talented artists including a long time collaboration with Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree). His vocal on “Northern Rain” is wonderfully warm, and has the resonance of George Michael at his best. The music is sparse and haunting and melancholy, but good melancholy. This is truly a song for our current times. When I have finished this singles round up, I’m off to check out Tim’s new album ‘Late Night Laments’!

“The Unfamiliar” – Anna Wolf

This is dark, disturbing, haunting and beautiful all at the same time. Anna is a unique talent in the way that Kate Bush and Bjork are. Her songs tell stories which draw you in and leave you wanting more and more. Ace production from Pop Morrison. I hope there is an Anna Wolf album on the horizon.

“Close” – The Islas

The Islas are the best band to emerge from Norwich for ages, perhaps ever! This is a solid slab on pop driven indie. It reminded me of Apollo Junction at times. The hooks, riffs and emotion drive this banger perfectly. It adds another great tune to the Islas canon. I am still singing the “wo oh, wo oh oh oh” refrain hours later! I want to see this lot live someday!

“Belladonna” – Spunsugar

This is shoegaze with a happy, electro psych feel. Honeyed choral like vocals soar over a driving beat and make you want to sing and dance like no one is watching. The underlying synth riffs are wrought from the darker depths of Depeche Mode. If the charts actually meant anything any more this would be a smash hit. There new album ‘Drive-Through Chapel’ is damned good too.

“Heartbeat” – Oceanator

This track is steeped in a deep appreciation for indie punk with the best jangly riffs on the planet and infectious vocals. Sometimes it’s like the Housemartins spliced with early Blur and a dash of the Strokes. As a taster for the album ‘Things I Never Said’, “Heartbeat” is perfect!

“Make Us Eat” – The Shining Tongues

The Shining Tongues is a new project from Daniel Knowler and Sam Mclaughlin of The Infinite Three and on first listen it is clear that they aimed at epic and hit the target, actually they didn’t just hit it they smashed it into tiny pieces! As well as wanting more of the Shining Tongues this tune made me seek out the Infinite Three again along with Jason Pierce’s finest moments. This song has an almost funereal feel at times and made me think dark thoughts, but wow what an aural experience. This is how to make great music!

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“Over It” – Alleyways June 18, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:13 pm
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Leeds/ York based indie pop funsters Alleyways are back with a tune so banging that it could be measured in megatons. The funky Billy Whizz guitar licks are reminiscent of Haircut 100. The tune is “Over It” and given the pop perfection, the funky booming bass beat, righteous riffing, superb synth sounds and divine drums you won’t get over it quickly. This song is an immense earworm that will latch itself onto you so tight that you will need to have it surgically removed. Although frankly it is so good, save the NHS and forgo the earworm removal! Plus it will keep you dancing so you would not be able to stay still long enough for a safe operation anyway.

Frontman Dougie Turner has said this about “Over It” – “I feel this song captures the energy we had whilst writing it, and the meaning behind this track is something very important to us. We are a generation living our lives online, so it is crucial that we don’t regress socially. Now more than ever is a time we need to be reminded that community and connection in the real world is what drives us and ties us together. I’m also in love with the positivity that comes off this track, the energy it has from start to finish and that classic ALLEYWAYS sound that will get everyone moving.” If you have missed out on this great band up to now, it’s not too late, but get on board quickly!

Click here to play/ download “Over It” on all the biggest streaming sites.

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“Dance” – Alleyways May 29, 2019


Leeds based York pop funsters Alleyways have a single out on Chalk Pit Records. The track is taken from the band’s new EP ‘Does It Matter?’ Click here to check out that collection on Spotify. It is called “Dance” and having listened to it I would personally take the title as an instruction, or perhaps an order. It is a pulsating pop song that will make you move, whether you want to or not. In the olden days this would be all over national radio, so put it all over your playlists, streams, video views and any other way you consume awesome tunes. It is accompanied by a very arty but tasteful video. It appears almost sepia-toned and occasionally had me thinking that maybe I needed 3D glasses to watch it. Dougie and the gang are on top form in the video, dressed in a kind of slightly smarter than smart casual way and really owning their dance moves. This song and the EP deserve to be seen and heard, so what are you waiting for? If you want to catch them live soon they are a part of the Futuresound Emerging Competition and will be appearing at the Wardrobe in Leeds on 4th July as a part of that (see below), get your arses down there people!

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“TV” – Alleyways October 16, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:26 pm
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Leeds/ York based Alleyways have released another exquisite slice of sublime pop rock with the sublime “TV”. Apparently the song is about living the moment and not immersing yourself in technology. I hope fans take heed at live shows and actually experience the gig through their human senses and not through a tiny phone screen. The song has echoes of some of the finest 80s pop music, I hear elements of Altered Images and Aztec camera here. It doesn’t take much more than the first listen for “TV” to take root in your brain and boost those endorphins off the scale! If you like this then you really need to check out Alleyways other stuff, including three other great songs; “Naked”,  “Bubble Gum” and “Gucci”. They will be playing a number of headline shows in support of “TV” in the next few weeks. This follows some great support slots with Fickle Friends and Glass Caves to name just a couple. The band have begun working with Chalk Pit Records from Leeds and this I am sure will result in some great new things from Alleyways in 2019. Stay tuned people, this band has so much to offer!

 

Billy Bibby and the Wry Smiles – Fibbers, York – Thursday 1st June 2017 June 6, 2017


I was tipped off about this gig by the rather excellent York band Lost Trends, who were on the bill. Lost Trends were originally scheduled to hit the stage later but for some reason they opened the show. Rather than sulk at being told to kick things off they decided to play their set like it was a headline slot and oh boy did that work. They played an absolute blinder and engaged magnificently with the punters lucky enough to be their at the start. This is a band that really know their stuff. Pete and Rusty’s guitar lines do battle with each other aided and abetted by the full powered rhythm section of John and Adam. This is the second time I have seen Lost Trends and I damned well know it won’t be the last, they bring you funky punk that you can dance to. In fact keep an eye on this blog in the next week or so for a hard hitting interview with the band where you will learn such important facts as what their favourite chocolate bars are and whether they could beat Justin Bieber in a fight.

Lost Trends

Next up were Alleyways another splendid York band. They seemed nervous at the start but grew in stature as their set moved on. For me they have a 21st Century spin on electronic 80s sounds a la Flock Of Seagulls and Tears For Fears. The playing was tight and well rehearsed and the lead singer has the makings of a stunning rock voice. “Naked” is a captivating, anthemic song. Check them out, you will not be disappointed. The penultimate band of the night were another of the fine selection of bands from York, the Serotones. A very alt.rock band indeed, think of the likes of Dinosaur Junior with the pop rock sensibilities of the Foo Fighters. I have listened to “Never Back Down” a lot since I got home from the gig.

Alleyways

Now it was time for the headliners Billy Bibby and the Wry Smiles. Billy is the founding guitarist of the rather excellent Catfish and the Bottlemen. The songs have a laid back US East Coast 70s rock feel at times but they have more depth and more strings to their bow than just that. Some of their songs rock out like a hard rock bastard. They suffered a few technical problems during their set including a blown amplifier, did this deter them? No it didn’t if anything it gave them the momentum to pull off a set that really hit the heights. Billy is a great vocalist and the Wry Smiles show a high degree of musical eloquence and skill. These boys know their stuff and are well worth seeing live.

 

 
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