Reviews Jamboree
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.

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.


Sturle Dagsland ‘Kusansgi’

A track that is as mad as bats is something that should always be celebrated, so here I am celebrating this mad as bats track that is a lovely strange experimental cut up joy of alternative pop; not a song that many people will choose for their first dance as a married couple, but wouldn’t it be great if it was. A song that would bring tears to the eyes of many Aunt Agnese’s, and not one’s of joy. There is always room for the strange in this wonderful world of pop.

Baits ‘What’s On Your Mind’
(Numavi Records) 13th November 2020

This is a gem of an alternative guitar track, one that fizzes with some aplomb, screeching purring like a alley cat with carnal thoughts occupying its waking hours. This song sounds like a pure release of pent up energy and aggression, and a band that can capture that magic is one to watch. A rock ‘n’ roll treat.


Toxic Chicken ‘Uniquely Dancing Into Babylon’
4th November 2020

There is something truly marvelous about the music of Toxic Chicken, it is a wonderful intoxicating blend of found sound, electronica and dance, mixed with a element of the true spirit of psychedelia; it is not just music to lose yourself in but also music to find yourself in and then lose yourself all over again in. There is something just so uniquely special about Toxic Chicken’s music ‘Contracts Are An Illusion’ could well be the music pocket calculators dance to a night out boogieing with their retro digital watch friends: all flared trousers and LED lights. There is a track called ‘Signing Tonnes Of System-Orientated Papers Without Reading Them’, and guess what the track lives up to if not even surpasses expectations. With an inventive foray into the mind of a cartoon Yellow Submarine Beatle the whole album is one of true adventure.

See also…

Toxic Chicken ‘Uncomfortable Music’  (Here…)

Toxic Chicken ‘Fun’  (Here…)

Toxic Chicken ‘Wormhole’  (Here…)

Helen McCookerybook and Rotifer ‘Equal Parts’
(Gare du Nord) 4th December 2020

This six track EP is a beautiful stroll down the paths of gentle guitar strum bliss; songs filled with sixties sunshine and pop filled love and romance; a wholesome semi jangle of heartfelt innocent seduction. Yes the kind of record to listen to when you need to escape the mundanities of everyday life with songs exploring the inner turmoil of everyday life with humour, love, and even whistling on ‘Sorry’. Helen McCookerybook‘s and Rotifer‘s vocals blend together beautifully on these six tracks of slightly quirky indie pop and makes one long for a full album, But leaving one wanting more is surely always a good thing and this EP is a very good thing indeed.

Allyson Seconds  ‘Bag Of Kittens’
(Big Stir Records) 14th November 2020

What we have here music lovers is a reissue of Allyson Seconds debut album, originally released in 2009, all the songs being written and produced by the extremely talented underground cult artist Anton Barbeau. And what a fine album it is as well; songs of melody and sunshine pop psychness that explode in a mirage of delight and wonder: West Coast pop at its finest.

It has all one wants from a sunshine filled pop album. It has “ba ba ba” backing vocals, twanging guitars, melodies dealt from the heart and perfect pop vocals from Allyson: part seduction part sass, part not quite little girl lost, but little girl finding herself and liking what she is finding. This is a true treat for all who have a liking for 60s/70s influenced West Coast pop perfection; a ray of sunshine for the cold winter months ahead.

The Legless Crabs  ‘No Way No Wave’
(Metal Postcard Records) 3rd November 2020

The greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in America at the moment is no doubt the Legless Crabs. You can argue with me if you want, but you would be wrong because they are, and this is their 2nd album of the year or their 3rd if you include the album of EPs and singles. And it is exactly what you would expect from the Crabs: turmoil humour, disgust spat out in a mish mash of distortion, clattering drums, half spoken vocals like Lou Reed with an abscess poking the inhabitants of The USA with a big stick telling them on the whole how stupid they are and to prove the point how stupid they are. Why are the Legless Crabs not on the cover of the Rolling Stone; why are they not blasting out of every radio in America.

The Legless Crabs are America’s best kept musical secret; they are the closet thing they have to the Velvet Underground at the moment: alternative music that is both alternative and music that’s not just some cut and paste facsimile. There might be just a little too much intellect and adventure on show to appeal to the masses, but the underground should take them with open arms and hug the crap out of them. Pure rock ‘n’ roll genius.

See also…

The Legless Crabs ‘Be A Sadist’  (Here…)

The Legless Crabs ‘One People One Mind One Death’  (Here…)

Trouble Tracer  ‘AutoFahrt’
(Crow Versus Crow) 13th November 2020

The garbled outpourings from a drunken Bagpuss maybe or even a blindfolded tour of all the hot spots in a bin man’s lorry, or whatever else you can imagine being off kilter but strangely enjoyable that is what we have here, It’s the kind of release I’m surprised is not on Wormhole World records; the kind of release I would have loved to play to drive my Bruce Springsteen loving brother out of our shared bedroom, whilst growing up. Yes, this is not to everyone’s taste I am sure; strange noises and strange noises made with one’s mouth with the occasional rattle and bang of some kind of pan or saucer, so not music as such, just audible art. And I find it very relaxing and amusing. 21 short tracks of audible insanity cannot be a bad thing. An ideal Christmas gift for the uncle you do not know what to buy for.

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