With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“TV” – Alleyways October 16, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:26 pm
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Leeds/ York based Alleyways have released another exquisite slice of sublime pop rock with the sublime “TV”. Apparently the song is about living the moment and not immersing yourself in technology. I hope fans take heed at live shows and actually experience the gig through their human senses and not through a tiny phone screen. The song has echoes of some of the finest 80s pop music, I hear elements of Altered Images and Aztec camera here. It doesn’t take much more than the first listen for “TV” to take root in your brain and boost those endorphins off the scale! If you like this then you really need to check out Alleyways other stuff, including three other great songs; “Naked”,  “Bubble Gum” and “Gucci”. They will be playing a number of headline shows in support of “TV” in the next few weeks. This follows some great support slots with Fickle Friends and Glass Caves to name just a couple. The band have begun working with Chalk Pit Records from Leeds and this I am sure will result in some great new things from Alleyways in 2019. Stay tuned people, this band has so much to offer!

 

‘Rise Not Fall’ – Jess Gardham October 14, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:37 pm
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Sometimes you come across good music purely by chance, well that is my experience. Recently I attended the tenth anniversary dinner for the wonderful York children’s charity the Island. It was a fabulous evening in every way. One of those ways was the musical entertainment, Jess Gardham. She played in the lobby as guests arrived and even with all the noisy hubbub and low volume she sounded like she had something special. Then just before we ate Jess kicked out a stunning acoustic version of the Black Eyed Peas “Where Is The Love” that was full of soulful emotion and anger at the world. Every guest that evening received a gift bag with information about the Island including a flash drive, chocolate and many other things. But my favourite give away was a copy of Jess Gardham’s CD ‘Rise Not Fall’.

Jess at times sounds a little like Joan Armatrading, but her yearning, soaring vocal style give her a very clear identity that is Jess Gardham. All six songs on this CD were written by Jess and she plays percussion and acoustic guitar. I get a sense that some of the lyrics are autobiographical and she sings them like she really mean it. I certainly would not like to be the protagonist of “Caught Out”. The title track “Rise And Fall” is my favourite tune here after a few listens. I especially love the positive emotions displayed and the determination that Jess conveys so easily. She has played support for an amazing array of artists including; Paul Carrack, Martin Simpson, David McAlmont, Wilko Johnson and KT Tunstall to name just a few. Her talent is not just that of a great singer songwriter though, Jess is also an actress and has appeared in stage productions that include ‘Hairspray’, ‘The Buddy Holly Story’ and ‘Ghost: The Musical’. To cap all that she was also a quarter finalist in BBC One’s MasterChef 2018! Check this talented woman out now, you will not be disappointed!

Public service announcement. I found all the pictures included here via Goggle and the videos via YouTube. If they are your pictures or videos and you would like me to credit you or take them down then give me a shout!

 

Laura Kindelan – Forty Five Vinyl Cafe – York – Friday 14th September 2018 September 17, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:19 pm
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This was the third time I have seen Laura Kindelan playing live in just over a year and I hope there will be plenty more opportunities to catch this incredibly talented singer, musician and songwriter in the future. Laura is off to Uni in Leeds very soon so this was her last hometown gig before that. It was at the fabulous Forty Five Vinyl Cafe on Micklegate in York. If you have never been there then you really ought to get yourself there soon. This was probably the first time I have ever visited and not bought any vinyl, although I did buy a couple of CDs from one of the excellent support acts. So let me start with those support acts. First it was Lands (a.k.a. George) a staggeringly good vocalist. He makes his voice soar and he has some really good original material, however were he totally smashed it tonight was with an inspired choice of cover songs. Most notably with Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” on which he came pretty damned close to bossing the Boss. But even more so with his version of Radiohead’s “Creep”, covering Thom Yorke is a brave move and one that is often difficult to pull off, but Lands owned the song and poured himself into it. I expect to see much more from him either as Lands or some of his other projects (I will be checking Leodis with which he partners with his buddy Archie soon).

Lands

Second on the bill was Nottingham lad (now based in Leeds) Joseph Knight. I had the honour of seeing Joseph sound check for the show and he captivated what at that time was a very small audience. When he took the stage for real he proved what a great talent for songwriting he has, he is quite a tasty performer too. “Have You Seen The Sky Tonight” was performed with sonic beauty, but sadly Joseph told us that up to now he has never find the right way to record the song and probably never will, but a good reason to catch him live though. He explained that “Hold On To Me” had originally been recorded as a duet but obviously he had to play it solo on the night. It is a great song that would grace any pop chart in the world. I am not a fan of manufactured boy bands, but “Hold On To Me” would add class and credibility to a pop act. Maybe Boyzone should sign off with a classic song like this. Joseph played “Nervous” which he explained had been written when he was just fifteen. The song’s sentiment and message about having to love yourself before you will find love must still hang true with all of us. My favourite song from him from tonight’s set was as perfect lyrically as it is possible to get and it is called “Missing Piece”. I can tell you that the words brought a tear to my eyes, especially the line “I didn’t know that I was broken until you fixed me”. Thursday I had never heard or heard of Joseph Knight, Friday I saw and heard him and became a fan!

Joseph Knight

From the first time that I saw Laura Kindelan play live back in July 2017 I felt that she was in possession of a rare and raw talent that doesn’t come along very often. My opinion on that has only got stronger over time. Indeed Laura’s performance this evening was even better than the previous live sets I have seen her do. She has a wide range of influences and her style of singing and playing covers a wide array of genres; jazz, blues, folk, rock and pretty much everything in between. She was brave enough to do something that not many artists would, she opened her show with an unfinished song, “Take A Little Time”. Well it sounds pretty damned spot on right now so what the hell will it evolve into when she finishes it? When introducing “Spiders” Laura described it as the most intense song that she has ever written and listening to the acerbic lyrical flow it would be hard to disagree with that assertion. She is working on a cello based version of the song which I believe could sound truly epic!

Laura Kindelan

The first time that I ever heard the jazz standard “Good Morning Heartache” was in 1972 via Diana Ross’ version. That cover paled into insipid insignificance when I eventually heard Billie Holiday’s 1946 recording of the song. Some people say that certain songs are untouchable sacred cows but I don’t agree and I am pleased to say that neither does Laura in this case. Laura makes fine use of her looping talents to give us an eerie, ethereal and moderately menacing arrangement and take on the song. It makes mincemeat of most of the other recorded cover versions of this song. Laura makes it sound sonically like something from a parallel universe. If David Lynch revives Twin Peaks again then he has to feature Laura Kindelan’s version of “Good Morning Heartache” in at least one episode. Laura’s younger brother Euan joined her on the drums for the last few songs of the set and he proved that he is a skilled and very understated sticksman with massive potential for the future. “Take Your Time” was developed from a drum pattern that Euan created. I have previously compared Laura Kindelan to Jeff Buckley. I was among the lucky few to witness Buckley’s towering but way too short set some twenty-four years ago at the Reading Festival in 1994. I would love to hear Ms. Kindelan cover a Jeff Buckley song one day. I reckon she could definitely add her personal stamp to “Lover You Should’ve Come Over”. Laura’s songs sound far more mature than her years. She is a musician that seems to want to never stop learning and developing her  craft and that will keep her continually fresh ahead of the curve musically. Most of you have no doubt heard the apocryphal tales of the great old bluesmen ‘selling their souls at the crossroads’ to be gifted with supreme talent by the devil. Has Laura Kindelan sold her soul at the crossroads? No of course not, this woman does not need to, she has pure, latent, natural talent in abundance!

Laura & Euan

Laura Kindelan

Public Service Announcement: all photos are from my cheap android phone from China. Videos are all found on YouTube. If you wish to be credited for any of the videos or would like them taken down please let me know. N.B. Fawn were replaced by Lands on the bill.

 

An Interview with Jim Quinn owner of Safe Suburban Home Records – Thursday 6th September 2018 September 11, 2018


Jim sets the controls for the heart of the Safe Suburban Home!

Last week I had the delightful pleasure of catching up with Jim Quinn owner of a new record label in York, UK. The label is Safe Suburban Home and their début launch came a few weeks ago with the release of a limited edition seven-inch vinyl single by the Velts from Malta. I am looking forward to future releases and now that I own the first I may have to become a collector! Jim answered a range of questions for With Just A Hint Of Mayhem, take a read and feel free to add a comment. Jim has also chosen some rather excellent tracks for the videos at the bottom of this post!

Safe Suburban Home? Where does the name come from?

This is a strange one according to Jim. He, his partner Emma and their daughter needed a safe suburban home, so they got one. Their living room became a studio which they named Safe Suburban Home! <and there was me looking for deeper meaning!> 

What is your favourite record label(s) and why?

 California’s Burger Records which according to Jim has an underground feel and always seemed pretty cool. His aim is to create that kind of vibe with Safe Suburban Home. Back in the early 2000’s he would also buy anything released by Household Name Records.

 Do you foresee having a roster of acts on the label ultimately or will you carry on with exclusive releases?

This is way too far ahead. Jim would love to work with more local bands and might consider going down the singles club release route. He would absolutely love to record York band Tax <Guys if you’re reading this just do it!> Acts that sign up for an exclusive release on Safe Suburban Home Records sign a 4 month contract, after that they can put their track on other platforms and media.

 Will you expand beyond vinyl?

Jim says that is possible but it would have to maintain some kind of physical tangible purchase too. Say buy a T Shirt, pin badge or something and receive a free digital download of a song.

 Who is your biggest musical influence and why?

There was no hesitation or thought time for Jim’s answer here, immediately he responded with Damon Albarn. He says, and I agree, that everything Damon has done is different and that he is undoubtedly one of the great British songwriters.

 Musically do you have any of what you might consider guilty pleasures, if so what are they?

Like all of us Jim has some guilty pleasures when it comes to music. Notably 80s Pop, Deacon Blue and Prefab Sprout. His guilty pleasures anthem is “Walking On Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves. <personally I don’t think Prefab Sprout are in this category, but then one persons classic band is another persons guilty pleasure, right?>

Name three things that you simply cannot live without (not including family)?

  1. Good coffee – definitely not the instant rubbish
  2. His music collection
  3. His push bikes, he has five!

 What is your favourite confectionery item? Is Die Hard a Christmas film? Who is richer, Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne?

Jim took a shot at all of these;

  • His favourite confectionery item is a Boost Bar
  • Die Hard is not a Christmas film
  • As for whether Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne is the richest, like many people, Jim has no idea!

 

Graeme Clark – National Centre for Early Music (NCEM) – York – Wednesday 5th September 2018 September 6, 2018


Thanks to those excellent people at showfilmfirst myself and the wonderful Catwoman a.k.a. Catherine had the opportunity to see Graeme Clark off of Wet Wet Wet at the National Centre for Early Music in York for just a quid each! We arrived in plenty of time to see the talented Mr Finn Paul who was the support act. Finn has a self-deprecating, engaging personality and he also has some great songs. I sensed a few influences; maybe a bit of Hozier and on “Treat Her Fair” there was definitely a trace of Finlay Quaye. My favourite song from Finn’s set was “The Watcher” which is obviously very deep and possibly quite dark too. He also included a rabble rousing cover of “The House Of The Rising Sun” and an Eddie Vedder song from the ‘Into The Wild’ soundtrack.

Then it was time for the main man of the evening Graeme Clark, former bass player and songwriter from 80s and 90s Scottish pop Titans Wet Wet Wet. Graeme is not only a great singer songwriter and an excellent performer he also excels as a raconteur. His stories about how his songs came to be and his life with Wet Wet Wet were amusing, heartfelt and very honest. It is 31 years since Wet Wet Wet broke into the UK charts with “Wishing I Was Lucky” in 1987. Their debut album ‘Popped In Souled Out’ topped the UK album chart that same year. Graeme has just released a mini album titled ‘Radio Silence’ and he showcased most of the songs from that collection here. Everyone one of them was introduced with an origin story which had the audience captivated. “Polaroid Luv”, “Fall To Pieces” and “Caledonia Soul” are gorgeous songs but none can top the power and emotion of the emotional “Ghost” with the kind of lyric that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, in a good way. Graeme’s vocal style has echoes of Bono’s softer side and even a feel of Robbie Williams without the histrionics. A very special mention to the outstanding fiddle playing of Fiona Cuthill who added great depth to many of Graeme’s songs.

Obviously Graeme was not going to leave us without playing any of the old Wet Wet Wet hits and he began with “Goodnight Girl” a UK number one from 1991. If you thought you needed Marti Pellow’s blue-eyed soul vocal to make this song work, then think again because Mr Clark smashed it and all of us in the crowd were singing along at full volume. He told us about his love for Pellow his friend from school days as he introduced “Somewhere Somehow”. He believes that when the song was recorded it featured Pellow’s finest ever Wet Wet Wet vocal performance. I think you might be able to guess the song that Graeme closed the show with, yes it was 1994 mega smash hit, number one in the UK for fifteen weeks, “Love Is All Around”. For the record Clark said that he still loves the song. He invited the audience to join him on stage to sing along with him and about a dozen people did. It was a more than fitting finale for a really enjoyable and intimate show in a beautiful venue.

Public Service Announcement: all photos are from my cheap android phone from China. Videos are all found on YouTube. If you wish to be credited for any of the videos or would like them taken down please let me know.

 

The Velts – Fulford Arms, York – Thursday 26th July 2018 August 1, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:29 pm
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You can’t beat a gig showing four bands for four quid can you? Especially when it is at the Fulford Arms in York and even more especially when you know and love three of the bands playing; thank you Glass Traps, Honours and Tax! The gig was set up to launch a new York record label, Safe Suburban Home (SSH). The label specialises in releasing exclusive seven-inch vinyl singles by up and coming bands. This gig was to support the launch of the first SSH single by Maltese band the Velts. It is a shame it wasn’t a local band, but I am sure that will come. But before the Velts hit the stage there was the little matter of three fabulous support bands. Before I tell you about them I have to air a little gripe; the sound and mix at times was utterly atrocious. Was it atmospherics caused by the extreme heat or was the sound man having a particularly bad day? I am not sure what the sound was like from the monitors, but I got over the worst of it by standing closer to the stage.

Glass Traps

First up were the Glass Traps, they are quite a young band and they have tons of potential. At times a little Beatlesesque and Byrdsian with a smattering of Tom Petty. The Beatles thing was compounded by the bass player using what I think was a Hofner bass, but not just that, he was also left-handed like Macca! The Glass Traps have some excellent songs, but like all of tonight’s bands the sound let them down a little.

Honours

The second band to take the stage were the mighty Honours, without a doubt one of Yorks finest young bands. Even with the issues with the sound this bunch were fucking awesome. The sound was definitely better closer to the stage, perhaps we got a bleed from the monitors. Honours have the potential to be their generation’s Oasis, only better. Jordan has more stage presence than Liam Gallagher as a front man. Meanwhile Struan’s guitar playing at times hits the majesty of Mick Ronson at his peak. “Freedom” and “Duchess” are outstanding tunes and “Higher Than A Mountain” is heading that way too. It doesn’t matter whereabouts on the bill Honours are, they always play like a headliner!

Tax

I had the pleasure of reviewing the ‘Averageism’ EP from another great York band, Tax, back in January. So I was looking forward to finally seeing them play live. It feels like their sound has developed immensely in those few months. Not just Space Cadets, but proper spaced out cadets! There is definitely a whiff of Tom Verlaine and Television about them while the Mark E Smith influence is also clear. But they are influences and Tax are very much a band mining their own eccentric seam of great music.

The Velts

Headliners were the Velts from Malta here for the launch of their exclusive seven-inch release “Rollercoaster” b/w “Rattle The Cage” which is also the first release on Safe Suburban Home Records. It was a real shame that the bulk of the crowd had disappeared by the time the Velts arrived on stage. Those that left early missed a treat, well apart from the poor sound mix which never really improved the whole night. The Velts are to me what the Beatles might have been like if they had arrived on the scene in the late 90s with a fully formed more modern take on ‘The White Album’. George Harrison would have been proud of some of their left field wig outs! Both tracks from the single were played and they have some other great songs too.

So in summary this was a good gig that might have been great if the sound was better and the crowd was bigger. I hope the safe Suburban Records is a very successful venture and maybe they should try out a few releases from local bands in the next few months. I feel pretty sure that would pull bigger crowds and more sales. But I am the very proud owner of the single, mine is numbered 11 of 250!

All photos were taken by me using my cheap Chinese android mobile phone, hence the quality!

 

 

‘Duchess’ – Honours May 23, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:50 pm
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One of York‘s finest bands, Honours, release their second single “Duchess” hot on the heels of their stunning début with “Freedom”. I truly believe that this band have the talent to become one of the classic British bands. They contain the DNA of everyone from the Kinks, Blur and Paul Weller. In fact the first time I listened to “Duchess” I thought of the Modfather. The guitar lines are comparable with some of Steve Cradock‘s finest. This new song isn’t as instant as “Freedom” however it is still a very classy tune indeed that grows in stature with each listen. If “Duchess” and its predecessor “Freedom” are a harbinger of the first Honours album then that record will be a towering success. Check it out now on Spotify, iTunes and SoundCloud!

 

 

 
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