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 2021 Part 4 March 30, 2021

It’s very close to the end of March and this is our fourth singles round up of 2021. This roundup once again features a special guest reviewer. I was joined for this mega online listening shindig by an ace Radio DJ, check out his Indie/Alternative Show on Jorvik Radio (Sundays 5pm to 7pm). Let me introduce you to the one and only Jake Cartledge!

We listened to ten quite different tunes from ten clearly talented bands and singers, two of whom (Moodbay and Elkyn) have featured on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem before, but I am confident that all ten will appear here again in the future. This bunch come from Sheffield, Leeds (two of them), North-East UK, the South Coast of England, Lincoln (two of them), Newport, North-West UK and one from outside the UK, San Francisco!  Inject this eclectic selection of tunes deep into your lugholes! Click here to check out the Spotify playlist with all ten songs on it!

“Once Or Twice” – Caroline and the Lights

Bill – Dark, late-night jazz. I love her voice. A proper chanteuse, a real torch singer. In a few years I can imagine Caroline being a contender to record a James Bond theme. It has a 60s feel and possibly my favourite of this particular singles roundup.

Jake – An old school, vintage 60s vibe, but with a slightly more modern twist. Maybe Nancy Sinatra with some Kate Bush thrown in. Really good track and different from everything else in this batch of singles.

“Happy” – Bad Idea

Jake – Definitely one of my favourites from this review session. A song of two distinct sides. It starts off with a dreamy, atmospheric, laid-back late-night listening vibe and then moves into a much more manic and urgent sound for the second half.

Bill – Chilled and even a little lo-fi at the start. Parts of the instrumentation rather weirdly made me think of George Michael’s “A Different Corner”. I love her voice and the harmonies are great. Strangely she didn’t sound very happy in the chorus, but maybe that was wonderfully performed irony. It moved into something really loud and “out there” for the second part.

“Psycho” – Moodbay

Bill – A great vocal from Anna. Like something that All Saints might have done if theye were new to the scene now. Great hooks and I love the way the synths build and then drop to a great keyboard refrain.

Jake – I love this, very atmospheric with great vocals. Anna’s voice sounds a little like Kat from Leeds band Polo.

“Go Back” – The Death Of Pop

Jake – A nice, chilled start, this reminded me of Tame Impala and towards the end some of the more recent MGMT releases. A wonderful galloping bass sound!

Bill – A new take on early 80s jangly indie sounds. Great harmonies and instrumentation and as Jake said, wonderful bass. This lot are more likely to be a defibrillator to pop rather than be the death of it!

“Something” – Elkyn

Bill – Chilled electro style. For me Elkyn get better with each release. Great vocals and I like the slightly less acoustic direction.

Jake – Really nice tune, it makes me think of sitting in the garden on a sunny day during the first Covid lockdown. A great summer song

“No Sympathy” – Duccbod

Jake – This really got going in the final 45 seconds or so. The vocal reminds me of Hozier and there is a great lyrical flow.

Bill – A dark tune where the lyrics are not just dark but bitter too. I love the way that it moves into a quasi rap sound and it builds really well to a fabulous end. I like this one a lot.

“The Last Call” – Finding Aurora

Bill – Great pop punk riffs for a tune that has mosh action written all over it. The singer has a great rock voice. Perhaps a little too Foo Fighters at times, but some definite promise.

Jake – The riff was good, but this one didn’t really stand out for me. But perhaps that is because I am not a huge fan of that pop punk style.

“Eternity” – Seagoth

Jake – This reminds me of something from the 90s, an obscure singer whose name escapes me for now. An androgynous vocal over a chilled 90s dance sound, it becomes a little “ploddy” at times though.

Bill – The name Seagoth suggested something heavy and dark, it wasn’t. This is much more of a dance pop vein. At times like a rare Stone Roses remix. I was not hooked at first, but it did begin to grow on me.

“1983” – MAN ON MAN

Bill – Clearly an ode to gay sex, sadly the sexual nature of some of the lyrics mean it will miss out on airplay. I love his voice and the swirling synths that underpin the track. I think this could be transformed magnificently with a decent dance mix.

Jake – I kind of felt this was a little predictable, the drums were pretty much the same all through. Not entirely sure what to make of it, but I don’t think I would listen again.

“Sabotage” – Arcade Fortress

Jake – A bit self-deprecating, with a “feeling sorry for myself” lyric, but that didn’t take anything away from it. Like Bill I felt some Depeche Mode in there. I really did not expect that vocal, very distinctive. The vocals were also very nicely layered which worked really well.

Bill – A late 80s, early 90s shoegaze vibe. I like the lyrics, especially the line “abusive relationship with myself” and that deep, dark bass line. A little feel of Depeche Mode.

I couldn’t find Bad Idea’s “Happy” on YouTube so here’s a bonus 🙂 their video for “Winter”. But don’t forget to click the Spotify playlist link in the first part of this post!
Another bonus for you, I couldn’t find Moodbay’s “Psycho” on YouTube so check out “Like Nobody Else” but don’t forget to click the Spotify playlist link in the first part of this post!

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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2020 Part 11 August 24, 2020

Here we are with our eleventh singles round-up of 2020. This one features seven great tunes, which found their way into the world over the past few weeks. This roundup carries on the guest reviewer approach kicked off when Simon Pattinson, Head Honcho of Northern Radar joined me to review a batch of singles in the 10th Roundup. This time I was joined joined for another Zoom listening extravaganza by Rusty Green, singer and guitarist with Lost Trends, one of York’s finest bands. If the weather is good and COVID-19 infection rates are low I hope to see those Lost Trends boys playing live again on 30th August, in a socially distanced setting, obviously!

These seven tracks feature another great selection of bands and singers from Long Island, Delaware, Glasgow, Whittingham Asylum, Brighton, Los Angeles and North East UK. All of these acts are new to With Just A Hint Of Mayhem except Moodbay and I am sure that they will all feature again sometime in the future. Play them all now, that’s an order!

“Small World”Gamblers

Bill – I love the jaunty funk and Billy Whizz guitar licks. Great harmonies and at times Nick Heywardesque. A really cool summer vibe.

Rusty – MGMT style vocals with classy harmonies reminiscent of Empire Of The Sun. Funky pop with a great funk bass line. A bright tune that contrasts with some very dark lyrics

“Checkered Vans” – Reece Ratliff

Rusty – A very mature voice. Probably not my kind of area, but a catchy, synth driven, bright pop tune. It kept me interested, was that a vocoder in there?

Bill – A love song about shoes, surely there aren’t many of those around? It made me think that I need to buy me some of the Bowie Vans. This is a great song with an excellent hook. It is really all about lost love, not just shoes, and it made me smile. Simply a perfect pop tune.

“Cosmopolis” – Pleasure Heads

Bill – Very clever lyrics that are stylistically reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys for me. This is a great slice of masterful post punk pop that reeled me in immediately. At times it reminded me of Cast and the Zutons. Did that lyric couplet say “voyeuristic wank”? 🙂

Rusty – Vocally it sounds like the Courteeners, I am definitely a fan of the Pleasure Heads now. The distorted bass roughed it up a bit and made it much rockier. The pre chorus was really cool.

“Imago” – Ward XVI

Rusty – Like a heavy White Stripes. A great vocal and I like the way they used the synth. That reminded me of the Horrors and Mr Bungle. The heavier synth notes suggested a bit of Nine Inch Nails. The whole tune showed some great variation of styles.

Bill – Heavy, deep and masterful riffage. I love the vocals. Apparently this is a part of a concept album about being in an asylum. I am really looking forward to the album after hearing this.

“Current” – Phoria

Bill – Very soundtrackesque, like something from the sad part/ death scene of a David Lynch film. But it is also very chilled with a classical element. No real vocal, but there is a great use of overdubbed voices as an instrument. It made me think of Mogwai while on a post speed come down. Also some rather eery and odd scratchy samples used.

Rusty – definitely my favourite so far, fantastically produced. I really love the chord change from major to minor. Personally I would love to create and record a soundtrack one day.

“Karmic Lemonade” – Velvet Starlings

Rusty – The drop into the chorus was truly brilliant. It suggests classic Primal Scream or the Rolling Stones at the height of their powers.

Bill – Like the heavy side of Brit Pop and yet it strangely reminded me of Kula Shaker as a 60s garage band. I sense a real influence from the classic rock of the 60s and 70s. Great rock vocalist and a tight, talented band. I loved the feedback heavy ending.

“Like Nobody Else” – Moodbay

Bill – Classic 80s style synth pop, but clearly with a 21st century sheen. Like some of the best of the Human League or Depeche Mode but with Oakey and Gahan replaced by a, Anna Stephens a supremely talented vocalist. Great hooks with a middle eight that sounded like the Pet Shop Boys at their best.

Rusty – Pop is not a dirty word and this really is great pop. Catchy and yet very dark at times. Gorgeous vocals and I like that they left the ‘click’ on for the chorus.

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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2020 Part 1 April 3, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 3:20 pm
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We are just catching up with reviews during this COVID-19 downtime. So here is the first 2020 singles round-up. Look for the next one very soon. These five tracks feature an eclectic mix of bands, one of which we have featured before. Enjoy!

Spanish Love Songs

“Kick” – Spanish Love Songs

A wonderful slice of power pop with great punk undertones. Speaking of Undertones I can hear a similar tonal quality in Dylan Slocum’s voice to that of Feargal Sharkey. This LA-based five-piece has influences from the likes of Blink 182, but they are also very much their own band. From this song alone I am now a fan!

“In Your Eyes” – Walking On Mountains

Deep, dark, emotional rock from one of Sheffield’s finest current generation of bands. Powerfully soaring vocals from Davy Jones and a heartfelt counterpoint voice. The riffs are huge and the softer moments ooze feeling too. This is definitely a band to keep an eye on!

“Deranged” – Sex Cells

Reminiscent of early Human League and a wonderfully bonkers percussion-heavy synth track. The bass line drives right through your body and realigns your heart rate to its incessant beat. I challenge you to listen to this and not move your body, you will fail! I love this tune!

“Ghost” – Moodbay

Manchester duo released another classy single, “Ghost” earlier this year. Wonderful 21st Century R & B with a magnificently chilled, jazzy feel. Anna’s vocals are sultry and soulful. This track would work well on a chill-out soundtrack but also as a decent dance tune. I have reviewed Moodbay before and they just get better and better!

“Your Band” – Leather Party

At times it feels like this is just bass and vocals, but there is a dark underbelly of fucked-up Adam and the Ants style drums. That is possibly the heaviest deepest bass sound I have heard in a while. They come over like a cross between the Velvet Underground and the Jesus And Mary Chain with extra added weirdness. This is a great track but way too short.

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“Listen Up” – Moodbay June 1, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 3:47 pm
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Manchester’s Moodbay has a rather delightful new single making its way into the world on June 7th. It is called “Listen Up” and that is exactly what you need to do if you like chilled, trancey, dance vibes infused with some hot 21st Century R & B.  Alfie Cattell and Anna Stephens a.k.a Moodbay list a few artists on their FaceBook page that they like including David Bowie, Gorillaz, Radiohead, Massive Attack, The Weeknd among many others. I can see the influences from all of them being put into the Moodbay magic mixing bowl and then having a large scoop of pure Moodbay added to make such classy sounds. The pair met and formed the duo in 2017 having met at the BIMM music school in Manchester. They describe their sound as mood pop.

In its original form “Listen Up” is damned good, but the dance remix takes it to a level that surely has the ability to set the clubs on fire. Alfie’s production is crystal clear and powerful. The bass sound that underpins the song builds it from simple chill to epic dance.  The music may sound positive and upbeat but the lyrics convey anger and perhaps sadness. That kind of thing is difficult to pull off successfully, but this lot do it perfectly! You need this track in your life and we need more from Moodbay. They are planning to have an album out later this year and on the evidence of this release, I am looking forward to it immensely! Click here to check out a few older tunes from them on Spotify and “Listen Up when it arrives. I have also included a few tracks from YouTube to whet your appetite for the magnificent Moodbay!


All photos by Declan Cerffield.

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