With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

The Mayhem Monthly Top 20 Artist Chart – February 2022 March 1, 2022


On the last Mayhem Top 20 post, I mentioned that I was changing how it would be published. Instead of waiting for Obscurify to tot up listens on a seemingly random date, I will now take a snapshot at the end of each month. So the Top 20 for February is the first of those. 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 achieved a level of 100% more obscure than other users in the UK. 100%, is that even possible? Either way, I am proud of it! Anyway, regular readers will know that 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 (One of the two bands that have been ever-present in my obscure list and an excellent band to boot!)

Promethium (This metal bunch continue to fly the flag for great British rock and like Woke Up Dead have been ever-present in this obscure team)

Tommyrot – (One of York’s finest young bands, check out their new EP, ‘Turkey Vulture Of Drug Culture‘. They appear at number 23 in the extended chart)

Black Acacias -(I have no idea how I found this lot. Their album came out in 2008 and they have 4 monthly listeners on Spotify. There seems to be no information about them online, apart from the music on Spotify. If you were in Black Acacias or know anything about them please contact me. They appear at number 13 in this week’s chart)

Folk The System – (folky protest and frankly great songs, this lot make their second appearance in the obscure list. They appear at number 27 in the extended chart)

As for the February Top 20, only Dame David and Kate Bush remain from the last chart. Other classic artists include Suede, Arctic Monkeys, Glen Campbell, Alison Moyet, Culture Club, Bob Dylan Dionne Warwick, and Frank Turner. Bruno Skibbild makes his second appearance and there will be another post about him very soon. Nine Inch Nails crash in at number one, I have just read a great book about their album ‘The Downward Spiral’, lookout for a review of that on these pages sometime soon. The rest of the top five is The Skinner Brothers, Hawksley Workman, Heartsink, and the aforementioned Kate Bush. Four of the artists who feature in the February Top 20 are current contenders for my album of the year for 2022, can you guess who they are? Who knew that there was a band called Diamond Dogs? I didn’t until now. Gonora Sounds from Africa produce some of the most uplifting music that I have heard in a long while! Here is that all-important top 20. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

1 Nine Inch Nails
2 The Skinner Brothers
3 Hawksley Workman
4 Heartsink
5 Kate Bush
6 David Bowie
7 Glen Campbell
8 Paul Draper
9 Bob Dylan
10 Alison Moyet
11 Gonora Sounds
12 Culture Club
13 Black Acacias
14 Dionne Warwick
15 L.A.B.
16 Diamond Dogs
17 Suede
18 Arctic Monkeys
19 Frank Turner
20 Hurray For The Riff Raff

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‘Turkey Vulture Of Drug Culture” EP – Tommyrot February 12, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:07 pm
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Underground and leftfield York band Tommyrot are about to unleash ‘Turkey Vulture Of Drug Culture’, a four-track EP at the world. The EP opens with the darkly comic and mostly acoustic-driven “Circles”. The song has the feel of a lost nugget from the 60s and creeps into your head quite easily and makes itself comfortable there. The slightly funkier “Waiting On Tobyn” is next and it maintains that gorgeous lo-fi acoustic feel if those lyrics didn’t come from a drug-induced dream then I might have to eat my notebook. It sounds like a lost demo from the 13th Floor Elevators or perhaps Strawberry Alarm Clock. Lead Single “A Very Real Field” grabs you straight away and stays with you for days afterward. While it has a laid-back vibe (I can imagine sipping a beer in the garden while listening to it) I think they will make the song rock like a bastard when they play it live. It has a strong early 70s Kinks feel for me. “Turkey Vulture” is driven by an exquisite bass motif and is the sort of the that The Band might have created had they jammed with the Velvet Underground and Iggy Pop. This is my favourite song from the EP and it needs to become the next single. If he was still with us John Peel would have loved this one. For you fact fans the Turkey Vulture is a real thing and is also known in some North American regions as the turkey buzzard and in some parts of the Caribbean as the John crow or carrion crow. Tommyrot’s earlier release “Funky Feeling” now has a brilliant younger brother in the B-Side of “A Very Real Field”, called “Funky Monkey” which does what it says on the tin, it is as funky as fuck and is like something that George Clinton might have produced for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers had they worked together. Currently, my second favourite of the five, and this one will be awesome played live. There is not a duff track on this EP. Get ‘Turkey Vulture Of Drug Culture’ in your life as soon as it hits the streets. You will not be disappointed! A big shout out to Edd Thomas who hand-painted the stunning cover, which is comparable with some of Roger Dean’s best work and maybe the cover of Elton John’s ‘Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy’. Tommyrot will be playing an EP launch show at The Fulford Arms in York on 26th February.

Click the song title to check out “A Very Real Field” and “Funky Monkey” on Spotify

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Tommyrot – York Vaults – York – Friday 6th August 2021 August 9, 2021


This was my first proper non-seated gig for 18 months and it felt great, a little weird, but great nonetheless. First on stage were Where’s Slater? These guys formed while at York University and on their social media they say that they “could be defined as a band, we prefer ‘search party'”. Personally I reckon they are a good band, I have no evidence to say how good a search party they are though. Although I think they were missing two band members so maybe they aren’t ready to be a search party just yet. Anyway they played a barnstorming set the forefront of which was the great vocals from their singer who has a touch of Kurt Cobain spliced with a pinch of Jim Morrison. They did some great covers including Nirvana and Queens Of The Stone Age. But the highlight for me was their quirky and brilliant cover of XTC’s “Making Plans For Nigel”.

Where’s Slater?

Unfortunately YouVee were unable to make it so their last minute stand in was Leeds band Flat Moon. The hit the stage like they owned it. The drummer is one of the finest that I have heard in a long while. That added to booming and choppy bass and Billy Whizz funky guitar made a sound like Parliament/ Funkadelic fronted by Nile Rogers but with a deep rock vibe. Their cover of the James Brown classic “Sex Machine” was off the scale and through the stratosphere. I loved the way they had so much fun with it, even changing it briefly to a funky love song about a washing machine! One of their own compositions, “Demise” I think was late night jazz club in style, and my good mate Eddie Parkinson remarked that the band could do a great take on the theme tune to any Pink Panther remake. Their Hendrix cover was hard heavy and oozed funky blues. So if George Clinton had P-Funk I reckon Flat Moon have F-Punk with their funk sounds supported by a punk attitude. I am now a huge Flat Moon fan!

Flat Moon

Pleasure Centre from Sacrbados were next and at the start I thought they sounded a bit proggy, but I mean that in a good way. I think the band have great potential but I don’t think they are quite there yet, not for me at least. The guitarist and the drummer are extremely bloody good at what they do. I felt the vocals were mixed a little low down tonight, which was a shame as it felt like the singer had a good voice, which was more apparent standing near the stage. and I need to explore some of the bands recorded output to get a better feel for them. I mentioned Prog earlier but maybe they are a bit shoegazey too. A hard band to put into a specific genre box.

Pleasure Centre

Finally it was time for Tommyrot who formed while at the Access Creative College in York. I have reviewed a few of their singles before and everyone of them has been great. They are a truly eclectic band who looked like they were having great fun while they were on stage. I once described them as “Weird, wacky, wayward, waggish, witty, wonky, whimsical, wonderfully eclectic, stylistic nut jobs” and having finally seen them live I stand by every word of that. They transfer their recorded work to the live environment incredibly well. The highlight for me was my favourite Tommyrot song “Drugs”, even if you don’t do drugs you need to do that song and you need to become a Tommyrot fan!

Tommyrot
Drummer Rhys focussing really hard while hand writing the Tommyrot set lists!

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Access Creative College York Showcase – York Vaults – Thursday 24th June 2021 August 8, 2021


I attended this rather wonderful gig more than a month ago and it may well be my final socially distanced gig. I certainly hope so! Why is the review so late? Well I only went and lost my note pad, but now it is back and here comes that long overdue review. The show highlighted the immense talent that exists and is nurtured by the Access Creative College in York. First up was Kieran of excellent local band Tommyrot. He is a talented, idiosyncratic and original songwriter and performer who at times reminded me of Jonathan Richman in his prime. The ‘sad song’ was something special and the penultimate tune was a proper happy take on life even though, as we all know, life isn’t perfect. Kieran was joined by another member of Tommyrot, Felix for the final song.

The mega talented singer songwriter Ruby Addy took the stage next armed with just a keyboard and a heavenly voice. She brought a late night, smoky, New York City jazz club vibe to proceedings. Is anything more exceptional and extraordinarily stunning as Ruby’s songs? Well I can only think of one thing more exceptional and that is Ruby’s voice! Could anyone write a more heartbreaking song than “Lady Jane”? Possibly but not many could achieve that level of sadness in a song. Ruby played her gorgeous and ethereal new single “St Philomena” and that performance convinced me that I had seen the future of torch singers and that future is named Ruby Addy! Just to prove how multi talented she is Ruby was joined by her friend and fellow student Dyl and the pair performed some rather excellent children’s songs which they had written and for this part they are called Pickleshark. There was “An Agitated Shrew Sounds Like A Digeridoo”, who knew that? Along with a song about Tom The Lizard. I love the line “I know I’m a lizard, but I wish I was a cool guy”! It won’t only be kids who fall in love with these songs.

The rather excellent Alice Simmons was next and this was pretty much the same set as I saw her do at the Centre For Early Music for the Songs Under Skies series of shows. But that does not take anything away from it. Alice was again on top form vocally and her guitar work shines. But once again I have to mention the talented Tim Downie who provided some stunning funky fretwork, particularly on the cover of “No Diggity”. On paper and acoustic cover of that song should not work, but Alice and Tim take it not just to another level, but also in a completely and refreshingly new direction! “Bridges” and “Black Coffee” were particular stand outs for me.

Michelle Jade graced the stage next with more great guitar accompaniment from the talented Mr Dowie. I heard their soundcheck earlier of and I was quite excited as that included “Freefalling” and I was right to be excited Michelle performed a stunning cover of the classic Tom Petty tune. Apparently she used the John Mayer arrangement, which was new to me. Michelle performed some of her original songs along with a few more covers. Her original tunes showcase that she has a great future while the covers amplify and enhance that raw talent. The Shinedown cover was very special indeed. She has an incredibly powerful voice, I am definitely a fan!

Next up was another talented woman with a great voice, Lily Honey. Her delivery has a clarity that is on a par with Karen Carpenter. She opened with a song called “Now You’re Gone”, at least that is what I think it was called. I think it is a break up tune and it has the makings of an epic. Lily also treated us to an unfinished song which she only started writing a few days before this gig. It is an emotionally charged, yearning love song and I loved it. Lily’s choice of covers was smart and the highlight of those for me was Baby Queen’s “These Drugs”. She proved how broad her talent is by closing with a few house tracks, including a cover of Monica’s “Shoulda Known Better”. Lily’s hosue vocals have a lilting, lamenting feel of Tracey Thorn about them and that makes these tracks very special. She played a song, written during lockdown, and released last year called “Leaving All My Love” which I think is awesome. This whole gig was a magnificent showcase for the Access Creative College in York, which is clearly oozing with supremely talented people. A big shout out to the sound guy too, another student and this was his first big gig manning the sound desk, great job!

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“Funky Feeling” – Tommyrot February 20, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 2:10 pm
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Those roguish rapscallions of rock known as Tommyrot have recently unleashed a new song on the world. It is called “Funky Feeling” and begs the question, can white boys play da funk? Well these boys can! They have clearly tightened the tourniquet and injected themselves with the funk, some punk and some classic British early 70s rock. But just enough to get a rock ‘n’ roll high. The languid chilled and obviously funky bass line is particularly addictive and Tommyrot prove that as well as being a great band they are also cunning linguists as they introduce some French into the lyrics. After last years singles, “Drugs” and “The Happy Ending Song” it is totally transpicuous that this band have many talents and are adept at avoiding being stuck in one particular genre box! Will there be a Tommyrot album sometime? I hope so, but in the meantime I reckon they will be a lot of fun when we get back to proper gigs.

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“The Happy Ending Song” – Tommyrot June 4, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:05 pm
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Weird, wacky, wayward, waggish, witty, wonky, whimsical, wonderfully eclectic, stylistic nut jobs Tommyrot have released a new single hot on the heels of “Drugs” their debut from last month. It is called “The Happy Ending Song” and it is a wicked out there lo-fi tune that brings back memories of Jonathan Richman and also the Moldy Peaches. It is the perfect song to listen to while sitting around a campfire drinking a cold beer and smoking good weed. I think the lyrics are about how you should make your own happy endings in life, as opposed to the type of happy endings offered by some backstreet massage parlours. It is remarkably different from the band’s first release and this has to bode well for their album when they eventually get around to it!

Click here to hear “The Happy Ending Song” on Spotify.

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