With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

The Mayhem Monthly Top 20 Artist Chart – January 1st, 2022 January 2, 2022


Greetings to readers new and old, I hope that 2022 is a great one for you. But frankly it can’t be worse than 2020 and 2021 can it? Well my 2022 has started with me isolating with Covid, so who knows! many of you know that I am a keen user of a site called Obscurify. It claims to tell you how obscure your listening on Spotify is. Compared to the rest of the UK I still remain 99% more obscure than other users in the UK. It also lists my most obscure artists, (the top two of which have been there since I began doing these posts) which currently are;

Woke Up Dead (Ever present excellent band)

Promethium (This metal bunch continue to fly the flag for great British rock)

The Dead Zoo (This fabulous band make another appearance at number 15 in this months top 20)

Catherine Anne Davies (a.k.a. The Anchoress. This entry is thanks to me spending some time with the sublime album she released with Bernard Butler, ‘In Memory Of My Feelings’)

The Suncharms (Two months in a row in the obscure gang and top of the last chart too, falling to number two this time out)

So who were the top artists for January 1st (which incidentally was also my birthday!) ? Check the full lists below, the Dame is back at the top after a lowly showing last time. Suncharms stick around at 2. Number 3 is the home of one of my favourite ever acts, the KLF. Meanwhile the Kunts, the marvellous punk Christmas chart Crusaders are at number 4, thanks to me looping their excellent attack on Boris Johnson in a campaign to get it to Christmas number one There are a few new (to me) artists in there, notably Kid Kapichi, Captain Accident and Ferocious Dog. Also, plenty of the usual classic acts, including Paul Weller, Frank Zappa, Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, Wings and Procol Harum. Give Obscurify a spin and let me know what your chart looks like and how obscure your tastes are 🙂

Mayhem’s Top 20 Artists on Spotify (January 1st 2022)

1 David Bowie
2 Suncharms
3 KLF
4 The Kunts
5 Paul Weller
6 Emmylou Harris
7 Frank Zappa
8 Bruce Springsteen
9 Gregory Porter
10 Alicia Keys
11 Captain Accident
12 Cat Power
13 Ferocious Dog
14 Wings
15 The Dead Zoo
16 Apollo Junction
17 Procol Harum
18 Stanley Clarke
19 Kid Kapichi
20 Depeche Mode

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The Mayhem Monthly Top 20 Artist Chart – December 2021 December 13, 2021

Filed under: Mayhem Top 20 Chart — justwilliam1959 @ 10:48 pm
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Regular readers will know that I am a keen user of a site called Obscurify. It claims to tell you how obscure your listening on Spotify is. Compared to the rest of the UK I remain 99% more obscure than other users in the UK. It also lists my most obscure artists, (the top two of which have been there since I began doing these posts) which currently are;

Woke Up Dead (Ever present excellent band)

Promethium (This metal bunch also made it to number 11 in this months top 20)

The Dead Zoo (This fabulous band made an appearance at number 19 in this months top 20)

Hans Deville (Hans makes an appearance at number 12 in this weeks chart while his band, ska punkers King Prawn sit at number 17)

The Suncharms (Not only did the majestic Suncharms get themselves into my most obscure list, they also made their first Mayhem chart number 1, well done lads!)

So who were the top artists for December (12th)? Check the full lists below, but I have already revealed that the Suncharms were number one. Delilah Bon was a chart-topper in October, and for her fifth appearance overall she has hit the number two spot. Radiohead is at number three. There are a few new artists in there, notably Gabby Barrett, Alanna Lyes, Efterklang, and the aforementioned Hans Deville and King Prawn. Also, plenty of the usual classic acts, including David Bowie at a very lowly 16, KLF, Frank Zappa and Paul Weller. Give Obscurify a spin and let me know what your chart looks like and how obscure your tastes are 🙂

Mayhem’s Top 20 Artists on Spotify (December 12th 2021)

1 Suncharms
2 Delilah Bon
3 Radiohead
4 Ch-Lites
5 Paul Weller
6 Gabby Barrett
7 Alanna Lyes
8 Frank Zappa
9 Silk Sonic
10 Millie Manders and the Shut Up
11 Promethium
12 Hans Deville
13 Gregory Porter
14 Joy Crookes
15 KLF
16 David Bowie
17 King Prawn
18 Efterklang
19 The Dead Zoo
20 Dave Gahan

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‘Distant Lights’ – Suncharms December 8, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 4:15 pm
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Suncharms first appeared in the pages of With Just A Hint Of Mayhem three years ago when I reviewed their sublime single “Red Dust”. Now they finally get to release their first album which has kind of been 30 years in the making. Things might have been so very different had social media existed back in the early 90s. In 1993 Slumberland Records expressed a desire to release something by the Suncharms, so the band duly sent a DAT Tape (remember those kids?) to the US record label in a decorated padded envelope. Slumberland never replied so the band assumed that they just weren’t into the charming Suncharms. The band eventually got back together on the back of a retrospective compilation CD on Cloudberry Records in 2016. Amazingly Slumberland picked up on this and contacted the band via FaceBook to explain that they never in fact received the DAT Tape. How might the life of this excellent band turn out had the DAT Tape been received?

Anyway, the past is behind us and we sure as hell can’t change it and we should celebrate the release of the first Suncharms album in 2021. It is called ‘Distant Lights’ and it is beautiful, adventurous and is among the best releases of 2021. I know I am a little late in reviewing it, but I didn’t want to miss that opportunity. The album kicks off with the title track and the mood of this one, along with the droney sound effects made me think of a 21st Century Joe Meek. After a few listens I think “Dream Of A Time Machine” is perhaps my favourite song, at least for now. It has a keen, cheerful feel and the vocal effects have a dub quality to them. I felt the presence of Noel Gallagher strongly on “Three Billion Heartbeats”, particularly with the guitar motifs, although to be fair this tune knocks spots off anything Oasis recorded after their first two albums. If the Velvet Underground were British and hit the scene during the Britpop years then I reckon they would have recorded something akin to “Liquid Through My Hands” and maybe “Cast A Spell”, two beautiful and delightfully eloquent numbers that is a perfect chill out sound.

I sense the spirit of Lee Mavers at his early 90s peak with the La’s on “Precious Hour”. If the charts reflected truly great music and really meant something these days then “Seas Of Titan” would be a shoe in for the top 5, gorgeous hooks aplenty and a stand out vocal performance from Marcus Palmer on vocals. The jangly, Byrdsian guitars on “Jewels” give the song a happy shoegaze vibe which you wouldn’t expect to work on paper, but on record it is immaculate. Sometimes I hear a tune and think, even if I was told I had to dislike it I couldn’t, “Casting Shadows” is such a tune and it leaves me happy after every listen. Cliff Richard, among others, once asked “Why should the Devil have all the good music?” well I would say largely perhaps the acoustics are good downstairs, but album closer “Lucifer” would even make Satan dance, laugh, smile and singalong. This is a marvellous, magnificent, majestic, mighty tour de force of a debut album that is well worth spinning, I love it! You can find it in all the usual places, click here to check it out on Spotify and click here to order your vinyl copy.

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A Christmas Message From The Suncharms December 22, 2020

Filed under: Christmas,Christmas Message — justwilliam1959 @ 9:34 am
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I am overwhelmed by the spirit, kindness and effort shown by so many bands who have given us a Christmas message here at With Just A Hint Of Mayhem. This one is from a great British band, the Suncharms. All being well they hope to brighten up 2021 with their debut album. Based on what we have heard from them so far I am sure it will be bloody good! Get yourself some rather excellent Suncharms tracks over on their BandCamp page, just click here. There is also a rather decent looking T-Shirt on the merch page too, click here for that. The band also contributed a fab track to ‘Comfort and Joy – A Shiny Happy Christmas Compilation’, click here to download the album, it’s a corker!

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Comfort And Joy – A Shiny Happy Christmas Compilation December 17, 2020


Comfort And Joy – A Shiny Happy Christmas Compilation is a beautiful new compilation of Christmas songs for the 21st century put together by those delightful and delectable elves over at Shiny Happy Records. It features 23 classy bands from across the globe and it really is a compilation that makes you feel good and eases you into a nicely chilled Yuletide spirit. Do I have a favourite track on here? Yes, but it has so far been different every time I have listened to it.

“Winter Time” by Denbaron is like something that might have featured on a Chrimbo version of the NME C-81 collection. The Phantom Handshakes sound like a side project from Clare Grogan at the height of Altered Images fame, and I am a huge fan of Clare, so I mean that in a really good way! Can you imagine an early 80s post punk, slightly pop infused band fronted by Jona Lewie? You can? then I think you will love the 100% feel good vibes of “Snowman” by Tampopo. Are there many great songs about games featured in cartoon series? I have no idea, but “Buy Me Bonestorm (Or Go To Hell)” by Teenage Angst is definitely in that category as I believe it is a song about a violent game that once featured in the Simpsons. If you like your Christmas covers shoegazey and very slightly smiley then the bravely named the Lousy Pop Group with their rather different take on “When Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney” will definitely be your thing. Incidentally they might be a pop group, but they are not lousy in real life I suspect.

“Working On A Christmas Day” perfectly expresses the gloom I would feel if I had to work on a Christmas day. It also makes me want to hear more from the songs architects, Archaster. If any of the old classic kids TV shows featured an “out there” indie band it would probably be the originally, immaculately and wonderfully named Vegetablets. I can imagine “Christmas Dream” resonating over the closing credits for a Christmas edition of Trumpton. The Death Of Pop’s “Christmas In Suburbia” owes a small debt to Jonathan Richman and Damon Albarn, but it it also sounds very different and original too. There are a few covers on this record and perhaps the finest is a gorgeous lofi take on Wham’s Christmas classic “Last Christmas” by Teen Idles. My second favourite track on this fine collection is “December Girl” by the Suncharms which adds a sublime seasonal stamp to their magnificent chilled indie signatures. Regular readers will definitely be familiar with Suncharms! Currently my favourite song here is “Happy Xmas (Plague Is Over)” by the Fisherman And His Soul. Definitely a song for 2020 and frankly if Yuletide 2020 needed a Christmas compilation it needed this one!

Sadly I don’t have the time or space to mention every song and every artist, but here is the track list and the BandCamp list is below;

  1. The Skating Party – Brothers in Our World
  2. Day & Dream – December
  3. The Suncharms – December Girl
  4. Denbaron – Winter Time
  5. Phantom Handshakes – Winter Is Blue
  6. Red Go Cart – Winter Work
  7. Tampopo – Snowman
  8. Caramel Snow – Put Me On Your Wish List
  9. Teen Angst – Buy Me Bonestorm ( Or Go To Hell)
  10. Apple Orchard – One Christmas Catalogue
  11. The Lousy Pop Group – When Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney
  12. Nixon – Silent Night
  13. Starry Eyed Cadet – Good Night
  14. Archaster – Working On a Christmas Day
  15. Subterfuge – Christmas Meadow
  16. H! – Christmas (Brighter Cover)
  17. Vegetablets – Christmas Dream
  18. 1Cinéma Lumière featuring Megumi Acorda- Under the Mistletoe
  19. The Death of Pop – Christmas In Suburbia
  20. Sushi Backpack – Christmas Lights
  21. Teen Idle – Last Christmas
  22. The Caraway – A Very Merry Christmas
  23. The Fisherman And His Soul – Happy Xmas (Plague is Over)

Click here to check out this ace collection on Bandcamp.

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“3 Billion Heartbeats” – Suncharms Plus ‘A Split Tape – Suncharms/ Mirrorlakes’ June 5, 2020


The Suncharms are not new to With Just A Hint Of Mayhem, we have previously reviewed two of their excellent tracks “Red Dust” (2018) and “Monster Club” (2019). They have a new track out now called “3 Billion Heartbeats” available on a great compilation, ‘Shiny Happy Fanzine 04 – Please Rain Fall Compilation’ from Shiny Happy Records. Click here to check the compilation out and if you can afford it maybe purchase the whole thing or some of the tracks at least. As well as the Suncharms there are some brilliant other acts and songs here. My particular favourites are the quirky cover of Nick Lowe’s “Cruel To Be Kind” by Fernando Torres (the band not the former Liverpool striker), “Rockin’ To The Beat” by the Perfect English Weather (this on has a St Etienne feel about it) and Well Whales’ “She’s A Punk” among many, many other fine tunes, nineteen in all.

Suncharms contribution is a classy chilled, languid, laconic tune with a great summer feel about it. This band is often referred to as shoegaze in style, but they operate far more widely than that one genre would allow. I believe the lyrics refer to the average number of heartbeats that a human heart will make in an 80-year lifespan. If I live that long then I will have just under 700 million left. Every time I hear a new Suncharms track I feel happy and I also feel that they get better with each release. I am looking forward even more now to their album and to finally get to see them play live once we are through these strange COVID-19 days.

The Suncharms also feature on a split tape (yes cassettes are back) release with Mirrorlakes, also from Shiny Happy Records. Click here to check it out. Each band has three tracks. The first from Suncharms is the aforementioned “Monster Club”, click here to read my review of that one from last year. They also contribute the dreamy, trippy “Cosmonaut” which features guitar lines that Johnny Marr would be proud of. Their third and final track on the tape is an acoustic version of “Reflection” which really showcases just how good the band’s songs are even when stripped back to acoustic guitars and vocals. Mirrorlakes from Jakarta, Indonesia are described as a slowcore band and I certainly get a feel of Galaxie 500 and the RedHouse Painters in their first track on this collection “Three Song”. Meanwhile “Kosong” has a much more acoustic, unplugged feel to it and is the kind of tune that I can imagine listening to while lounging in the sun sipping a cold beer. Mirrorlakes final track “Untitle” makes me think of some of Graham Coxon’s less punky tracks.

So check out the ‘Shiny Happy Fanzine 04 – Please Rain Fall Compilation’ and the Suncharms/ Mirrorlakes Split Tape, both are also available digitally. You will not be disappointed!

 

https://shinyhappyrecs.bandcamp.com/track/the-suncharms-3-billion-heartbeats

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“Red Dust” – The Suncharms December 18, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:02 pm
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David Bowie once pitched the question ‘is there life on Mars?’ Well? Is there life on the red planet? I suppose no one really knows but Suncharm’s new single “Red Dust” reflects on their desire to be a Mars Rover so I would like to believe that this band live on Mars or at least emanate from there! Is Sheffield on Mars? This is their first single since 1991 and things could have been so very different had social media existed back then. Back in 1993 Slumberland Records expressed a desire to release something by the Suncharms, so the band sent a DAT Tape (remember those kids?) to the US record label in a decorated padded envelope. Slumberland never replied so the band assumed that they just weren’t into the charming Suncharms. The band got back together on the back of a retrospective compilation CD on Cloudberry Records in 2016. Amazingly Slumberland picked up on this and contacted the band via FaceBook to explain that they never in fact received the DAT Tape and asked for new songs. The band duly obliged and “Red Dust” is one of those songs that was initially available on seven inch single. I reckon I might just have to get my hands on a copy!

“Red Dust” is nearly six minutes of sublime blissed-out indie dreamgaze reminiscent of Ride, the Inspiral Carpets (without the organ) and for me even the more chilled elements of the Kinks. The subject matter of the Red Planet is fascinating as well. This song relaxes me and makes me happy, do you want or need much more from a song? I can picture myself lounging in the sun drinking a cold beer with this tune as the soundtrack. I am looking forward to seeing the Suncharms playing live soon. Leave your duster in the cupboard but get some “Red Dust” in your life!

 

 

 
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