With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music reviews, gig reviews, fun trivia and extra added random stuff!

With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2022 Part 3 May 3, 2022

This is the third singles round-up of 2022 which includes ten great songs released earlier in the year (yes we are still catching up!) from a group of artists from all over the world. Reading, New York (via Montreal), Buckinghamshire, Ireland (two of them), Berlin, Manchester, Hull, Canada and London. I think only Head Ballet have appeared on these pages before and while the rest are new to us I am 100% confident that their first appearance will not be their last appearance. It was also rather spooky and random that the artists at 9th and 10th in this list actually have 9 and 10 in their names, freaky huh?

“Laura” – Third Lung

This excellent track from Reading’s Third Lung reminds me of U2 at their best with its immense, soaring Bonoesque vocal and a barrage of riffs all underpinned by a huge rhythm section. Can someone let Third Lung play a set at Red Rocks please?

“I Was Made For Loving You” – Karine Hannah

Karine Hannah takes the classic Kiss power ballad and turns it into a steamy, sultry torch song. A truly magnificent cover version.

“Born To Rule” – Matt James

Matt James was the drummer and co-songwriter with one of the greatest British bands of the 90s, Gene. He left the music business for a while, but now he is back and based on this track, very much on form. This Latin-tinged, brass-driven beauty rolls over your ears nicely and bodes well for his first solo album, produced by Stephen Street, which will be out later this year.

“When I’m Not Awake I’m Dreaming Of You” – lullahush

This track from Ireland’s lullahush is, I suppose, electronica but a kind of dreamy, chilled, and at the same time dancey type of electronica. Vocally there is a folk-like element, which reminded me of Jon Marsh of the Beloved and the synth patterns are otherworldly, which maybe fits the dream subject perfectly. I love the contrasting female vocals towards the end.

“You, Me And Everything Else” – Friendmaker

This starts out as a soft lament and builds into a beautifully orchestrated crescendo, which evokes some of the great choruses produced by Semisonic back in the day. David Marron’s vocal performance is sublime and contains great emotional depth.

“Distant Shouts” – Donkey Kid

Berlin’s Donkey Kid’s songwriting for me compares lyrically, on this track at least, with Mike Skinner. But musically it has shades of some of the best alternative electro sounds from the early 80s. The sort of tracks that John Peel would have championed. I am now most definitely a Donkey Kid fan!

“To Know Yours” – Head Ballet

Supremely talented electro pop duo from Manchester Head Ballet were formed by Kiera Court and Danny Casio and with this single they have come up with another sublime stunner of a track. It refuses to leave your head after just a couple of listens. In a parallel universe this would be playing from every radio during a scorching hot summer!

“Eyes Wide Open” – Breeze

The opening to this rather fabulous ditty had me thinking of the Fountains Of Wayne at their peak twinned with the type of infectious hook and chorus that Noel Gallagher used to be good at back in the 90s. These Hullraisers can only get better, they have an average age that is just over 25% of my age! I am looking forward to seeing them live.

“That Was Yesterday” – J9

Janine “J9” Carter really is a very special talent. This track has everything from drum machine dance vibes, to dark electronic drone, androgynous vocals, a cinematic feel and a sweeping sound that would not be out of place on the soundtrack to “Blade Runner”. A bloody awesome tune! It also has a video that leaps right over the state line of Weirdsville!

“Demons” – 10 Guage

This is heavy, but not just heavy, we are talking FUCKING HEAVY! A tune that forces you to head bang along to its cascade of heart stopping riffs. Rob Jewson’s vocal performance is off the charts./ I will be first in the queue when the 10 Guage album hits the world and I hope they come and play up here in York soon.

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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2022 Part 1 January 28, 2022

This is the first singles round-up of 2022 and I certainly hope we are more prolific with singles review this year than we were in 2021. Some of these tunes came out at the tail end of last year. There are eight songs with a group of artists from Hampstead, New Jersey (2), the Netherlands, Tennessee, Hale (Cheshire) and Norwich. One of which has appeared on these pages before (The Awkward) others are new to us but I am sure this will not be their last appearance. How the hell has Rhoda Dakar not been featured on With Just a Hint Of Mayhem before? That is a huge failure on my part. Rhoda if you’re up for an interview, feel free to get in touch!

“The Man Who Sold The World” Rhoda Dakar

Rhoda first came to prominence fronting the Bodysnatchers who were a part of the whole 2-Tone explosion in the early 80s. She also gave some great vocals to the Specials and Special AKA. She released her first solo album back in 2007 and she seems very active on social media these days. Which is how I first learned of her cover of the Bowie classic “The Man Who Sold The World”. Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of the Dame and have been critical of covers of Bowie in the past. However, Rhoda takes this song and makes it her own. On paper turning this song into a reggae tune shouldn’t work. But this isn’t on paper and it is bloody marvellous. Rhoda maintains the dark, weirdness of the lyric while singing over a sunny, somewhat jaunty reggae track. Her voice is impeccable and raises the song a few notches from other versions. This ace cover is impossible not to like!

Hard Way to Go” – Megan Knight

New Jersey native Megan is a talented singer-songwriter whose songs ooze passion, soul and a life lived. There are some stunning alt.country elements to this song. She also has a hint of Taylor Swift’s delivery and pop sensibility on display with “Hard Way To Go”

Come Over” – The Awkward

This band is from the Netherlands and they sure know how to make a great tune and this talent is to the fore with the infectious “Come Over”. This is pop-oriented rock at its best and I think fans of Apollo Junction will love it, I do!

“Forever Home” – Rick Drevet

This is a fine slab of Southern USA bluesy rock in praise and support of forces veterans. There is a definite Lynyrd Skynyrd influence but in a good way. Rick’s guitar work is reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan and this tune has made me want to check out more of his stuff.

“Moment In Time” – Jai Agnish

Good things are worth the wait and this is Jai Agnish’s first single in thirteen years. It is an almost perfect, gorgeously crafted slice of chilled electro pop. Late night, reflecting on the day with a cold beer or wine, put this on to complete your relaxing chilled mood.

“Kind Of Greenery” – Israel Portnoy

This single from late last year is one that really brings me to a happy place. A beautifully constructed fun tune which can be found on Israel’s ‘Facing Flames’ album. At times it reminded me of two George’s; Harrison and Ezra, although without the Ezra bass boom voice. I need to go and listen to Mr Portnoy’s album now

“Eraser” – Head Ballet

Head Ballet are a duo from Manchester made up of Kiera Court and Danny Casio. This is a great electro pop tune and makes me look forward to more stuff from the pair. Earlier single “Real Life” is an ace electro ballad and worth checking out too.

“Money Talks” – PleasureInc

This classy track hints at an eclectic range of influence including, indie, electro, hip hop, post punk, classic pop and sixties rock sounds. The Jrnalism Remix of the tune takes it in a completely different, warped but wonderful direction.

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