Our Daily Bread 415: Storm the Palace, Up Against Down, Rita Braga, Zen Baseball…

December 14, 2020

Reviews: Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea

The cult leader of the infamous lo fi gods, The Bordellos, Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea has released countless recordings over the decades with his family band of hapless unfortunates, and is the owner of a most self-deprecating sound-off style blog. His most recent releases include The Bordellos beautifully despondent pains-of-the-heart and mockery of clique “hipsters” ode to Liverpool, the diatribe ‘Boris Johnson Massacre’ and just in the last couple of months, both The King Of No-Fi album, and a collaborative derangement with the Texas miscreant Occult Character, Heart To Heart. He has also released, under the Idiot Blur Fanboy moniker, a stripped down classic album of resignation and Gallagher brothers’ polemics, and in the last week released an album of Bordello live material.

Each week we send a mountain of new releases to the self-depreciating maverick to see what sticks. In his own idiosyncratic style and turn-of-phrase, pontificating aloud and reviewing with scrutiny an eclectic deluge of releases, here Brian’s latest batch of recommendations.


Storm the Palace ‘Dream House’

The new single from Storm the Palace is a beautiful thing, a six-minute song of hope redemption, steeped in a beautiful pathos and wonder, angelically sang as always and although not a Christmas song as such certainly sounds like one with mentions of Christmas trees and snow and a little boy chatting about his dreams running throughout a song to cherish. Indeed, psych folk at its most beautiful and bewitching best.

See also…

Storm The Palace ‘Clive’ Premiere  (HERE)

Storm The Palace ‘Delicious Monster’  (HERE)

Up Against Down  ‘People That Come And Go’

This is the first single from the debut album by Up Against Down, and pretty good it is as well: nice melody, a lovely early 80s post punk feel, the kind of track that may have been released by one of the major labels back in the day trying to attract the hipper underground audience, all polished sheen and alternative pop finish. The album could well be worth a listen.

Lisa Mychols & Super 8 ‘Red Bird’

Because I am on the whole a grumpy old twat people assume I hate Christmas, but in fact I love it, and so was overjoyed to be sent a lovely little Christmas ditty filled with melody charm and Christmas jingle jangle. This is a lovely piece of charming pop fluff that will melt the coldest of “oh humbug hearts”. Yes, Lisa Mychols & Super 8 once again supply the goods with an ode to the jolliest time of the year. And anyone stuck for an idea for a present for their difficult to buy for friend, relative, could do worse than buying their excellent Lisa Mychols & Super 8 album: The perfect Christmas gift.

See also…

Lisa Mychols & Super 8 ‘ST’  (HERE)

bigflower ‘OK’

bigflower along with The Salem Trials are probably the two bands I have featured most this year in my writings, and for a very good reason. For both have consistently released music with soul and invention, and once again bigflower serve up another single of sublime beauty; a guitar drenched work of loneliness and despair. All the tracks released this year by bigflower should be gathered up by some foresighted label and released as one beautiful album. And what a beautiful album that would be. One of the bands of 2020 with bells on.

See also…

bigflower ‘The Other Place’  (HERE)

bigflower   ‘Sound Of Silence’  (HERE)


Rita Braga  ‘Time Warp Blues’

Rita Braga is a Portuguese experimental songwriter and this is her 3rd album, and those with a memory of such things may remember I reviewed her ‘Tremble Like A ghost’ single last year, which is also included on this album. It was a song that sounded like Betty Boop being possessed by the spirit of Betty Boo, or visa versa even. Anyway, it was a fine pop single which had a original wit and joy which I enjoyed greatly and I’m pleased to report the joy and wit continues throughout this fine pop album.

Strange songs that take in influences from the 1920s sometimes played on the uke but with tick tock drum machine and sometimes Silver Apples like synth backing, the songs are beautifully written and performed with Rita’s unique style and panache taking in many varied musical influences and moulding them into her own beautiful eccentric shapes. 

See also…

Rita Braga ‘Tremble Like A Ghost’  (HERE)

Zen Baseball Bat ‘Rations’
(Stahl 42)

This is an album of sublime discourse songs that move and shake with an avalanche of influences, from The Talking Heads like opener ‘Whipping The Lash’ through to the Ska like underbelly of ‘Masochistic Motown’ – the sound of The Beat covering The Sleaford Mods with jelly baby delight. Rations is the sound of a northern band sticking two fingers up at the England of today with the attitude of a cartoon Clash; a band not scared to infuse the melodies of their youth into the feelings of today hiding the darkness under a weighty blanket of humour, dance and good time bonhomie. Northern soul, folk and punk spirits all unite and ignite to form an album of pure undiluted delight.  Rations is due for release on the 1st of January 2021 and is a fine way to start the new year, off with a smile on your face and adding a shimmy to your hips. If pre-ordered you can get the CD in a rather fetching tin which will ship out on the 12th of December, so will get to you in plenty of time to get your Aunt Agnes up and skanking at your Christmas party or any or every party after that.

I Do Karate You Do Karate ‘One Last Job In Mexico’
(Half A Cow Records)

Always pleased to hear new music from Australian guitar bands – although these are not actually from Australia, but the label is Australian so close enough – as guitar music from those parts never seems to let me down, and this album is no different. Melody charm and jangle are the order of the day; at times reminding me both of the Frank and Walters and Fountains of Wayne, which I admit is strange as they sound nothing like each other. Maybe it is because I Do You Do Karate have the same qualities of knowing their way around writing cracking guitar pop songs and sound like they are having the time of their life, which is a quality that cannot be manufactured in the studio as you really cannot fake enthusiasm and get away with it without sounding trite. And this album is anything but trite. It is a joyous exploration in the fun one can have listening to guitars, melody, and a band having the time of their life.

Simon Waldram ‘Into The Blue’
12th December 2020

Simon Waldram is a fine songwriter and one who really deserves to be better known, and this EP is a three-track beauty of a release. The lead off track ‘Into the Blue’ is a slightly jazzy dive into psychedelic waters. Swimming side by side with the Monkees ‘Porpoise Song’ it has the same otherworldly warmth and magical wonder; a song to wrap your thoughts in a blanket of undiagnosed splendour. The second track ‘Aoligahara’ is taken from last year’s excellent Into The Blue album, and is a rather lovely psych-tinged folk song worthy of inclusion on any of the three Nick Drake LPs [yes Simon really is that good]. The third song is a reprise of the first but in instrumental form, but with added sublime atmospherics. A fine EP from an artist worth discovering if you have not already done so.

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.


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