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 17 November 19, 2020


Halfway through November, a few weeks to Chrimbo, therefore it must be time for another singles round up! Our 17th of 2020. This one features five great tracks, which were all launched into our locked down shaken up world in recent weeks. These tracks are by acts from Toronto, Los Angeles and three from the UK. Three of these acts, King Nun, Lucid Phase and AXLS, have featured on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem before. I am extremely confident that all of those and the newly featured artists will appear again sometime in the future. Get these songs in your lugholes immediately!

“Helpless” – Rhye

A beautifully crafted slice of modern R & B intertwined with chilled electronica and sprinkled with some magical jazz dust. Rhye is the alter ego of Canadian singer and musician Michael Milosh. He has a new album, ‘Home’, due out early next year and if “Helpless” is a good indicator it will be pretty damned good!

“Discotek” – AXLS

AXLS and their singer Victoria O have featured on these pages a few times and their new single is well worthy of another mention for them. It has a doomy dark Depeche Mode and yet happy synth bass riff with electronic keyboard shapes and washes worthy of Giorgio Moroder. Victoria is on top form vocally and she drives the tune with a swirling, cinematic performance. Kylie’s new album “Disco” is not very disco at all, this floor filling banger is possibly the best disco track I have heard in a while and I was a mobile DJ for more than 30 years!

“Dance” – Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres

This is taken from Alexandra’s album “2 Years A Stranger” and it is simply gorgeous. I love the way she uses the space between notes and it is no surprise to me that she has composed film soundtracks. It feels like she can turn a simple, yet beautiful, melody something epic. I am no modern classical aficionado, but I know good music when I hear it. Alexandra will be sound tracking my working day tomorrow!

“Human Fly” – King Nun

I was lucky enough to review King Nun’s album, ‘Mass’ last year and was intrigued to hear their take on the Cramps classic “Human Fly”. It was put out just in time for Halloween, so humble apologies for my tardiness. There is a slight hook from the Addams Family theme at the start and two of the band dressed as Addams Family characters for the occasion; Wednesday Adams and Uncle Fester if you wondered. The monochrome video is ace and shows a band that looks like they are really enjoying themselves. My view on cover versions is make it different and make it good. Well King Nun have made it slightly different from the wonderful original version, but most importantly they have made a fucking great version of it!

“Ghost Orchids” – Lucid Phase Featuring the Late Ones

A sublime summery anthem from the uber-chilled Lucid Phase gang. Reggae and dub vibes which cannot fail to make you feel good. I have reviewed a previous Lucid Phase release and I would be more than happy to do more. This is a great band with yet another stand-out song! Check them out, that’s an order. A small request from me, how about a latin version of the song, entitled “Dendrophylax_lindenii”? If you can make a chorus and hook from that I will always be your number one fan!

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“Phase IV” – The last Of The Fallen Angels July 18, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 6:49 am
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The Last Of The Fallen Angels are born out of lockdown. The band formed a few weeks into the UK COVID-19 shutdown in May 2020. It is a collaboration project of CMQ. He has worked remotely with singers and artists from across the globe. The plan is to release a series of three singles and the first one is with us now, it is called “Phase IV”. The track obviously features CMQ, but with great input from Mark D of Sapien Trace and Victoria O of north east electro champs AXLS. The song was written by CMQ and Mark D. Sapien Trace and AXLS have featured on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem previously.

Apparently Mike Bennett, a producer who has been around the block a few times with some great artists from Toyah and Hazel O’Connor to Ian Brown and the Specials to name just a few of the stellar acts he has worked with. Bennett will be releasing the track on his Paraffin Alien record label on 28th August.

“Phase IV” was produced by Simon Ellis, maybe not the man you would associate with this darker electro vibe given his pure pop credentials working with, among others, the Spice Girls, Britney Spears and S Club 7. But he really nails it with this tune. The whole recording and writing process was conducted via email and messenger, given the restrictions of lockdown. None of the musicians, singers or producers met during the recording process. It was the same for the making of the rather spiffing video which was filmed using mobile phones.

The song is a chilled ambient piece of music with almost an electro dub vibe in the instrumentation. At some points it reminded me of The Beloved’s 1989 hit, “The Sun Rising”. The vocals are a perfect match for the music and are at times ethereal. Victoria O’s singing is heavenly in the guise of a beautiful ghost. This has definitely whetted my appetite for the next two releases in the series. Check it out and let us know what you think. There is a teaser video below, that will have to keep you satisfied until the wonderful full track is unleashed to the world next month!

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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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