Dominic Valvona’s contemplative music blog, launched in 2010, built on a lifetime of music obsession.

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.comFor 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 to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

Welcome to the Monolith Cocktail

The MC is an honest and personal site spanning a polygenesis myriad of new music, seminal classics and re-releases. With our ever-growing ambitions, we’re also now taking requests for book reviews and hope to expand into many other areas of critique and comment over the next year.

Completely biased to our own opinion (sophisticated and esteemed, if we may say so), informative and descriptive and held to no one else’s account. MC sometimes reflects the zeitgeist, at others, just the opposite. Originally a platform for the pontifications and musings of me, Dominic Valvona, the blog has grown to include contributions from a number of sagacious contributors. Covering, perhaps, the most eclectic range of genres/artists/bands anywhere, the current team features my good self as lead writer and editor, Franco-Turkish novelist and cultural writer Ayfer Simms, leading hip-hop and electronic music critic Matt Oliver, Glasgow music lover and occasional critic, Andrew Hall, and Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea, the patriarchal leader of the mighty St. Helens cult underground favourites The Bordellos.

Here you’ll find:

Our Daily Bread

A daily post of reviews, news pieces, playlists and live reports.

Tickling Our Fancy

Perhaps the most eclectic roundup of new music reviews anywhere; tickling our fancy is Dominic Valvona’s regular post of some of the more interesting, obscure and essential new releases. Over the years this roundup revue has become both highly popular and influential.

The Archive

Here each artist gets their own page, all related articles in one handy place. There you can also find Dominic Valvona’s influential behomoth ‘A German Music Odyssey’ – it’s how the MC started; 30 chapters detailing my appreciation and obsession of the key bands that fall under and around the ‘krautrock’ moniker. 

Rapture & Verse

Matt Oliver’s (of Clash) unmissable monthly roundup of all the best hip-hop tracks, albums, videos, mixtapes and gossip.

The Monolith Cocktail Social

Our regular choice of tracks from our DJ sessions and dream radio show.


How it started
Founded by Dominic Valvona, MC is based on (almost) four decades of art and music. I’ve DJ’ed, played in bands, written and recorded music for…well, always. And I worked for five years as one half of the music/sound production company, the Trick Noise Makers. I’ve also shown my artwork in 40 plus exhibitions over the years – The Monolith Cocktail figurehead is from my War Cabinet painting series.

I’ve regularly contributed in the past and helped edit God Is In The TV, I’ve also written contributions for The Recommender, Brighton Source, Vessel and Fault. And now work as a freelance writer/researcher; with projects for a number of bands/artists (Seb Reynolds) and labels (Analog Africa) in recent years. I’m currently (2017) trying to get a film script about the life of the inimitable Russian general Kutuzov made, and if I can get past the procrastination, hope to start my first novel.


Get involved

Regular posts go up here on wordpress, you can also find us here:
Like us on
Follow us on twitter @MonolithBlogger
See us on
Listen to us on Spotify
& Don’t forget to tell your friends!

See for details of up coming gigs. If you’d like MC to DJ at your venue or event, get in touch

Artists, labels and PR’s. Got a release you think we’d like? Or a project, perhaps a book? Get in touch

Though we will consider any format and appreciate that due to costs and time it can’t always be viable, we always consider physical copies, either on CD or vinyl, above digital streams. This won’t however necessarily guarantee a review. Please email us for an address.

Contribute or collaborate

Monolith Cocktail is always looking for guest contributions and new collaborations. Get in touch

Regular contributors, already featured on the Monolith Cocktail apart from myself, Dominic Valvona, include:


Matt Oliver

Unable to kick the reviewing habit for what is now the best part of fifteen years, Matt Oliver has gone from messing around with music-related courseworks and DIY hip-hop sites to pass time in sixth form and university, to writing for/putting out of business a glut of magazine review sections and features pages in both the UK and the US. A minor hip-hop freak in junior school, he has interviewed some serious names in the fields of both hip-hop and dance music – from Grandmaster Flash to Iggy Azalea – and as part of what is now a glorified hobby (seriously, every magazine he used to turn up at bit the dust within weeks), can also be found penning those little bits of track info you find on Beatport and Soundcloud, or the notes that used to come with your promo CD in the post. He’s currently giving the twitter thing a go, so follow him at @brimupnorth.


Ayfer Simms

‘I grew up in a suburban green village 40 kilometers south of Paris, dreaming about far away horizons. One of my earlier dreams was to become a kind of Agatha Christie travelling on the Tran Siberian railway, and to write novels while exploring the meaning of my life. At the first “reasonable” chance I moved to Ireland where I spend six years, got the blues with the weather and decided to finally take THAT famous train ride. I spent one year travelling on that side of the world and finally arrived in Japan to visit my sister (a songwriter who moved there to study Aikido) not knowing that I would stay there another six years. I got married and had a baby before deciding to attempt life in Turkey where my family is originally from. I now live in my great-grandmother’s house’s soil in Üsküdar-old Scrutari.

As for becoming an Agatha Christie, after writing all the bad literature that I could, crawling under piles and piles of cringing words, I finally ended up finishing a novel that I feel confident with, published in my own blog (about five readers) and planning to send to French publishers as soon as I finish the last draft. About music: At University I went to all the concerts that I could (many!) and had a photocopied fanzine which brought me to a big correspondence with many underground bands all over Europe. I am not a specialist by any means, but I am pleased to find myself in this sphere and pleased to discover a lot of new bands and sounds thanks to Monolith Cocktail and be able to talk about the ones that I like, love, adore…in a non-specialist way.’

Andrew Hall

A self-confessed crate-digger and vinyl fiend, the Glaswegian part-time critic with contributions over the years to sites such as musicOMH, Andrew Hall, joins the team partly because he conveniently lives close by to Monolith Cocktail HQ, in the Glasgow neighbourhood of Shawlands. But mainly because he is a firstrate reviewer of jazz, world music, psych, prog and anything else that takes his fancy.

But Andrew’s main platform in recent years has, and continues to be, his highly popular record collection reviews account on Instagram.

Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea

Brian is the patriarchal leader of the mighty St. Helens cult underground favourites The Bordellos. An opinionated sod, but with an idiosyncratic turn of phrase and self-deprecating sense of humour, the iconic lo fi maverick has been knocking out albums, collection and missives for decades, mostly with his long-suffering band of Stockholm syndrome family members. He’s also been typing away in a sporadic nature pontificating on all manner of musical nonsense through his own blog. He’s happily joined the team in 2019. We throw a slew of releases at him each week and see what sticks.

MC Influences

MC is influenced by the fanzine work of Greg Shaw (Bomp!), Lester Bangs, Hunter S Thompson, Tom Wolfe and a general misty-eyed appreciation of the late 60s/70s Rolling Stone and Melody Maker.

We try not to slate or attack any artists here, so what we cover can be assumed to be on a good footing. We don’t tend to cover the commercial side of music as it gets plenty of coverage already without us adding to it. Besides you can find all the mediocre nonsense at Q or NME.

We don’t use a ratings system. It’s a lazy way for writers and readers to make a snap decision.

One last thanks to the graphic design, created for free by the lovely David Lowbridge. If anyone who reads this is bothered enough, the painting masthead is by me.


15 Responses to “About”

  1. Chris said

    Hey Dom

    Just taken some down time to read your writing…it’s very, very good. Your critique here is positive without being banal; it’s also an education for non-music guys like me.

    Well done, keep up the good work.


    • domv said

      Thanks Chris. Glad you’ve taken the time to comment.

      We aim to only include the music that moves us, no point in including rubbish just to shoot it down with clever negative critiques.


  2. JL said

    My new album might interest you:

    take care,

    • domv said

      Hey JL, sounds interesting – Beach Boys/Jan & Dean with hints of the Animal Collective – would love to review.


  3. Rob Gibson said

    Hi there! Great site BTW. I tried to find a contact email but couldn’t find one. Can I suggest an EP to review?

    Proceeds from the sales are going to charity so I’m keen to get it seen far and wide. Musically I’m not sure how to describe it, lo-fi pop I guess. Have a listen, I hope you like it!

    • domv said

      Hey Rob, thanks for forwarding the link. It’s always fine to contact me through the comments.

      I’ll have a listen to the EP by all means. All the music we review or mention is down to its quality, whether for charity or not, which may sound harsh but I rather not feature a record just because of its good intentions.
      Plenty of records launched on the back of a good cause ends up sounding awful.

      A quick burst earlier sounded promising, so its more then likely that I will feature it soon.

      Dominic Valvona

      • Rob Gibson said

        Thanks Dominic,
        I absolutely understand, it wasn’t my intention to mention the charity thing in order to bag a review. When recording the songs it wasn’t with any such intention for it to be a charity record, like “We are the World” or something, it was more an after thought. Basically I wanted to sponsor my wife’s charity run.
        By all means pass on it if you think it’s awful!

      • domv said

        Hi Rob, maybe I sounded a little too harsh in tone, I would be delighted to take a look at your EP.

        Dominic Valvona

  4. federsel said

    Hi guys, I wonder if you would be interested in listening some contemporary krautrock (any review off course very welcome)…here is link to our ast album:
    Nice blog you have here! Lots of good stuff!

  5. Candyman said

    hello to you, my little beat combo has just completed (and allowed to escape) what seems to have become a concept album. We prefer to call it a song cycle. It is concerned with people who live outside society, marginalised, disenfranchised and demonised (usually through no fault of their own). Your comments and criticism would be welcomed. We quite understand if it doesn’t appeal. Thanks very much and keep up the good work.

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