With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

‘Counting Pennies In The Afterlife’ – Colour Me Wednesday May 17, 2018


The sophomore album from the exquisitely fabulous Colour Me Wednesday is released today on Dovetown Records. It has the best album title that I have seen in years, ‘Counting Pennies In The Afterlife’ and on first listen I can say without a single shadow of a doubt that it is a pop masterpiece. Their first album ‘I Thought It Was Morning’ from 2013 was very, very good but for me this one tops it. I believe it has a really summery feel to it and at times is evocative of the finest late 60s US west coast rock. But at its core it remains, as you would expect from Colour Me Wednesday, a truly British album. If you were looking for a dud track here you wouldn’t find it.

Album opener “Sunriser” kicks off the whole collection with sonic energy and harmonies to die for. The harmonies on this LP surely have their roots in some of the finest Motown and Phil Spector harmonies. I would also argue that some of the jangly indie guitar riffs are almost Byrdsian in their construct. The production is crystal clear throughout and there is sometimes a real incongruity between the depth (and sometimes darkness) of the lyric and the happy vibe of the music. That contradiction, most notable on “Sad Bride”,  is something that the Smiths were masters at, well Colour Me Wednesday are just as skilled with that as Morrissey and Marr were. Are Colour Me Wednesday a punk band? Maybe not in sound but in attitude, approach, boldness, appetite, belief and passion they are 100% punk.

Like their label mates the Tuts this band is political, but not just fashionable pin badge political, they understand life and what it is like to be human and that is writ large in their words. Their songs tell their stories with intelligence, integrity and a soulfulness that is unmatched by many of their contemporaries. One particular lyric, from “Exposure” made me think deeply, “you get one life and you can do more than just survive”. Surely a mantra for living in the 21st century. After two spins so far my favourite songs are “Tinfoil”, “Boyfriend’s Car” and “Edge Of Everything” but that is highly likely to change each listen, largely because every one of the eleven tracks is an indie pop masterstroke. The post song little girl spoken/ sung interlude at the end of “Not My Turf” is bizarre, weird, menacing, disturbing and wonderful. That has to be an adult voice treated by production wizardry right? Jen, Harriet, Jaca and Laura have put together a record that is clearly a contender for album of the year. Is it also the best album ever? Some people believe it might be!

 

 

Remember Who You Are – Daniel Versus The World February 6, 2017


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Sadly I missed the Kickstarter campaign for this album from the talented and magnificent Daniel Versus The World. ‘Remember Who You Are’ is another fine release from Dovetown Records, the label that brought you Colour Me Wednesday and the Tuts among others. The album came out last year and I purchased the CD version a few weeks ago. The songs are all wonderfully catchy pop tunes, most of which grab you very quickly and bury themselves in your brain. Lyrically Mr Stocker is a great talent and he and the band have the chops to back up those often sublime lyrics.

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I find the music and singing sometimes reminiscent of early Elton John or Billy Joel. But these words are not words that Elton could have even dreamt of singing back in the day, although as a great campaigner for the LGBT community I reckon Reg would enjoy this record. The album is dedicated to ‘all the angry queer punx’ which is in itself a fabulously bold statement especially in the dark days of so-called president Trump. (I somehow doubt that the Tango Prez will like Daniel Versus The World, but hey that’s the orange comb-overs loss!)

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The album’s manifesto is most clear on opening track “Second Class Citizen” which relates to the treatment of gay people by many in this ‘modern’ society of ours. I find it incredible and horrifying that there are still people out there that continue to persecute minorities. Sadly it is often people of my generation that are guilty of such misinformed arrogance and hatred. Yes I am a middle-aged/ old straight white bloke, but I am also an Earthling. I totally accept people for who are what they are I have never been bothered by skin colour or sexuality. If you are a good person then I reckon I’ll probably get on with you, if you’re not then I’m pretty sure that I won’t!

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“Thank You” is currently my favourite song on this collection. On first listen you might think of it as a heartbreak song, however while it certainly does seem to be about Daniel being spurned by a former lover the message turns to glass half full with the line ‘thanks for making me, me’. I should mention the band who are very tight and offer a more than accomplished canvas for Daniel’s song paintings. Laura Ankles on drums, Jaca Freer on bass and Carmela Pietrangelo on guitar. Daniel Stocker himself plays piano and obviously vocals too.

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The CD, download and music streaming age make it easy to skip tracks on albums, however ‘Remember Who You Are’ is one of those gems on which there are no tracks that you need to skip. Another favourite of mine is “Little Blue” especially for its couplet around ‘love will make you six feet tall, but I’m six-foot three’. In a parallel universe “I’m So Fun” has topped the charts for the last twelve weeks. Next week my favourite Daniel Versus The World songs will probably different, but what is wrong with that? If Daniel did take on the world right now he might not win but he would give that mean old world a few good body blows at least. I recommend that you buy, download or stream this album immediately, no on second thoughts that is not a recommendation it’s an order!

 

 

The Selecter and the Tuts – Leeds Brudenell Sunday March 8th 2015 March 9, 2015


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Last night was the first time I had been to a gig at the Brudenell in Leeds and I have to say it really is a fantastic venue. The eclectic and diverse mix of acts appearing there means that I will certainly come back. Anyway on to the main event; the Selecter. I had seen them once before but that would have been around 1979/ 1980 when I was younger than excellent support band the Tuts are now!

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I arrived at the venue just before the doors opened and met some really nice people in the queue. Roger you’re a top bloke! Soon after I came in Pauline Black and Gaps Hendrickson were manning the Selecter’s merch stand. Obviously I was always going to buy something, so I bought a Selecter polo shirt and a CD of the band’s new album; ‘Subculture’ which the pair of them signed for me. Pauline also signed my copy of her autobiography ‘Black By Design’ which I had finished reading a couple of weeks ago. It is an excellent book and every bit as good as recent autobiographies by John Lydon and Viv Albertine. In the book Pauline comes across as very open and honest and having met her, albeit briefly, she really is a wonderful woman. She and Gaps were very attentive with all the fans in the queue for Selecter product.

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As for the gig it was the amazing Tuts who opened the show. They are the support band on the Selecter’s UK tour and Pauline Black has championed them every step of the way. I think that this is the fourth time I have had the pleasure of seeing this incredible young band and it is clear to me that they just keep on getting better and better each time I see them. The stage costumes for tonight were made from a material patterned with the leaf of a popular and some would say refreshing herb. They looked very effective too! Their set was energetic and powerful and they certainly know how to work a crowd. On”Tut, Tut, Tut” especially for International Women’s Day they invited Sarah Statham from local band Esper Scout to drum the intro while all three Tuts ran through the crowd making sure that we all sang along. New song “Do I Have To Look For Love” will become a classic and old favourites like “Worry Warrior” and “Dump Your Boyfriend” already are. The girls cover of the Clash’s “Rudie Can’t Fail” was sublime. Nadia berated the music industry about the apparent need to posses a penis to succeed in the music business. Now those of us with half a brain know that shouldn’t be true, but judging from the line-up for Reading and Leeds this year it certainly and sadly has some credence. So come on all you labels and management companies stop all the macho willy waving and sign this band! Metaphorically they have more balls than many of the men in the music industry! The queue and interest in the band at their merch table was incredible which shows that the fans are there! So come on record labels how about a deal. As for more gigs what about another support slot? Garbage must need a decent support band and the could not go wrong with the Tuts, are you listening Shirley Manson?

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As for the headliners what can I say? The Selecter were awesome. They played most of their biggest songs; “On My Radio”, “Missing Words”, “Celebrate The Bullet” and my particular favourites; “Too Much Pressure” and “Three Minute Hero”. I thought “Danger” and “London’s Burning” went down a storm too and really got the crowd rocking! One of my newer favourites and it’s yet another crowd pleaser is “My England”. They played a few songs from the new album, which I have now played a couple of times now and it is bloody good. It gets an official release next month, but for now is available at the band’s merch stand on the rest of the tour. Some of the new material fits into the set so well that you’d think it had been around a while. “Box Fresh” could easily become a classic pop song. “It Never Worked Out” and “See Them A Come” are the Selecter at their best and on top form. Another song from the new album, “Breakdown” tackles the large number of black people who have died in custody in this country and is as you would expect very hard-hitting. This is clearly a band that stands up proudly for human rights and are openly anti racist and anti sexist, as frankly we all should be! The pre encore show ended with a magnificent version of “Last Train To Skaville” which had all the aging skinheads from the ska revival of the late 70s stomping and skanking hard enough to cave the floor in! Like me many of those folks now have a natural skinhead look given the lack of hair that age brings to some of us. The encore kicked off with a mighty version of “James Bond” and the Tuts joined the Selecter on stage at the end for a final goodbye to the Brudenell crowd. Nadia even managed to stage dive and briefly crowd surf. As for the energy of the band, Gaps must have sweated gallons! (Is there an exercise DVD that could be made from that performance?) Finally I should also mention two other covers that the Selecter performed; Doris Day’s “Secret Love” which worked really well when ska-ified and Springsteen’s “Because The Night” from the new album and for me worked even better when played live. Overall this was a cracking night and I would definitely not leave it as long before seeing the Selecter again and I am already looking forward to seeing the Tuts again.

You can still catch them both on the remaining dates of the UK tour and if you haven’t already done so then sort yourself a ticket out. You will not regret it!

OK and now for the usual public service note, this time the pictures were taken on my little phone but the videos were all obtained on You Tube.

 

 
ACCREDITED SENIOR PSYCHOTHERAPIST,COUNSELLOR, CBT THERAPIST AND COMEDY WRITER -Dr.Fawzy Masaoud-LONDON, ENGLAND

NO DESPAIR WITH LIFE AND NO LIFE WITH DESPAIR . Email: dr.fawzyclinic2019@yahoo.com

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