CHOICE MUSIC FROM THE LAST MONTH: TEAM EFFORT

The inaugural Monthly Revue playlist of 2023; a choice selection of tracks from the last month on the blog. Curated by Dominic Valvona with Matt Oliver on the Rap Control once more, and music from reviews by our latest recruit Gillian Stone plus Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea and Graham Domain. Expect to hear the unexpected.

TRACK LIST//

Mentrix ‘Be Mahsa Be Nika’
Meadow Argus ‘No Company’
Anton Barbeau. ‘Dollis Hill Butchers’
Guided By Voices ‘Wild Kingdom’
The Wot Nots ‘Oi!’
Wings Of Desire ‘Runnin”
The Gangsta Rabbi ‘Ana’mika (138the Entr’acte)’
Neon Kittens ‘Chalk’
Smuts ‘Kalashnikova’
Dyr Faser ‘Life Form’
Earth ‘Rocker’
Xqui Ft. Bettina Schroeder ‘I Have A Knife’
Flexagon ‘Fort Saumarez: MP2’
George Winstone & Ben Monder ‘Part I’
Liela Moss ‘Empathy Files’
The Good Samaritans ‘Onughara’
Phil Ranelin & Wendell Harrison. ‘Genesis’
Fliptrix/Onoe Caponoe/Ramson Badbonez ‘SM58’
Masai Bey/BMS ‘I.a.a’
Micall Parknsun/Jazz T ‘Still…’
Dexter Dine ‘Sunshine In A Can’
Elise Preys/Marc-Antoine Perrio ‘Petites Heures’
Bjorn Magnusson ‘Everybody’s Got Something’
Designers ‘Moulindjek’
dal:um ‘Dot’
Clamb ‘Glittering Watermelon Oracle – Live’
Justo The MC/Axian ‘Autopilot’
Skyzoo/The Other Guys ‘Bodies!’
Carlos Nino & Friends ‘Drum Solo +, “Sounds Like Memory…”‘
Ghostwoods ‘Terminus’
Kety Fusco ‘2072’
Raul Refree ‘La Plage’
Esbe ‘Coventry Carol’
Sara Noelle. ‘Blooming Yucca’
Kahil El’Zabar And The Ethnic Heritage Ensemble ‘Harvest Time’
Beats & Pieces Big Band ‘Op’
Galactapus ‘Radio Kolossos’
Oddisee ‘Many Hats’
Upfront MC/Badhabitz ‘Stay Afloat’
Your Old Droog ‘Here’s Johnny’
Onoe Caponoe ‘Pet Cemetry’




















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The second part of the Monolith Cocktail teams favourite albums of 2022.

A recap in case you haven’t yet read part one

Well was I wrong last year when called 2021 the annus horribilis of all years. It has been soundly beaten by the shit-show that is 2022. The invasion of the Ukraine, cost of living crisis, another hideous wave of Covid – which even if the jabs are being rolled out, and the deaths rate, hospitalizations is nothing like the first wave back in 2020, is still causing major illness, absences and disruptions to a society already facing a heap of doomsday scenarios -, strikes, activism, fuel poverty, looming austerity, and the continuing horror show of a zombie government being just some examples. Yes 2022 qualifies as one of the most incomprehensible years on record of any epoch; an ungovernable country in the grip of austerity point 2.0, and greater world untethered and at the mercy of the harridans on either side of the extreme political divide, the billionaire corporates and narcissist puritans.

And yet, it has been another great year for music. Despite the myriad of problems that face artists and bands in the industry, from a lack of general interest to the increasingly punitive costs of touring and playing live, and the ever encroaching problems of streaming against physical sales and exposure, people just can’t quit making music. And for that we, as critics – though most of us have either been musicians or still are – really appreciate what you guys do. In fact, as we have always tried to convey, we celebrate you all. And so, instead of those silly, factious and plain dumb numerical charts that our peers and rivals insist on continuing to print – how can you really suggest one album deserves their place above or below another (why does one entry get the 23rd spot and another the 22nd; unless it is a vote count) –, the Monolith Cocktail has always chosen a much more diplomatic, democratic alphabetical order – something we more or less started in the first place. We also throw every genre, nationality together in a serious of eclectic lists: no demarcation involved.

The lists include those albums we reviewed, featured on the site in some capacity, and those we just didn’t get the time to include. All entries are displayed thus: Artist in alphabetical order, then the album title, label, who chose it, a review link where applicable, and finally a link to the album itself. 

This year’s picks have been chosen by (Dominic Valvona), Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea, Matt Oliver, Andrew C. Kidd and Graham Domain.

M.

Machine Girl  ‘Neon White OST-The Wicked Heart’  ACK


Billy MacKenzie  ‘Satellite Life’ (Cherry Red Records)  GD

Mai Mai Mai  ‘Rimorso’  (Maple Death Records)  DV
Review

Nduduzo Makhathini  ‘In The Spirit Of Ntu’  (Blue Note)  DV

Marlowe  ‘Marlowe 3’  (Mello Music Group)  MO

Luke Mawdsley  ‘Luke Two’  (Spine Records)  DV
Premiere

Simon McCorry  ‘Scenes From The Sixth Floor’  DV
Review

Brona McVittie  ‘The Woman in the Moon’ (Arts Council of N. Ireland)  GD
Review

Amine Mesnaoui & Labelle  ‘African Prayers’  (Lo Recordings)  DV
Review

Milc & Televangel  ‘Neutral Milc Hotel’  (Filthy Broke Records)  MO

Modern Nature  ‘Island Of Noise’  (Bella Union) DV



Tumi Mogorosi  ‘Group Theory: Black Music’  (Mushroom Hour & New Soil)  DV

Montparnasse Musique  ‘Archeology’  (Real World)  DV
Review

Mount Kimbie  ‘MK 3.5: Die Cuts | City Planning’  ACK

Muramuke  ‘S-T’  (Accidental)  DV

Ali Murray  ‘Wilderness of Life’ (Dead Forest Records)  GD
Reviews

N.

Nicole Faux Naiv  ‘Moon Rally’  (Bronzerat) DV

No Age  ‘People Helping People’  (Drag City)  DV
Review

No Base Trio  ‘II’  (Setoladi Maiale)  DV
Review

Noah  ‘Noire’  (Flau)  DV
Review

Che Noir  ‘Food For Thought’  (TCF Music Group)  MO

O.

Old Fire  ‘Voids’ (Western Vinyl Records)  GD
Review

Open Mike Eagle  ‘A Tape Called Component System With The Auto Reverse’ (Auto Reverse Records)  MO

Orange Crate Art  ‘Contemporary Guitar Music’  (Somewherecold)  DV
Review

P.

The Paxton/Spangler Septet  ‘Ugqozi’  (Eastlawn Records)  DV
Review

Peace De Résistance  ‘Bits And Pieces’ DV

Penza Penza  ‘Neanderthal Rock’  (Funk Night Records)  DV

Le Pietre Dei Giganti  ‘Vetie e Culti’  (Overdub Recordings)  DV
Review

Plastic Candles ‘Dust’  (Paisley Shirt Records)  BBS
Review

Plop & Junnu  ‘S-T’  (Fiasko Records) DV

R.

Revelators ‘Revelators Sound System’ (37d03d records)  GD
Reviews

J Rocc  ‘A Wonderful Letter’  (Stones Throw)  MO

Robert  ‘Orange is the New Black’  (Antelope Records)  MO

Scott Robertson  ‘Footprints In The Butter’  (Subjungle)  BBS
Review

S.

Salem Trials  ‘Love Joan Jett’  (Metal Postcard Records)  BBS
Review

SAULT  ‘AIR’  (Forever Living Originals)  ACK
Review

Say What  ‘S-T’  (We Jazz)  DV
Review

Shabaka  ‘Afrikan Culture’  (Verve/Impulse!) DV

Ignacio Simón ‘Old Friends’ (Bandcamp)  GD
Review

Širom  ‘The Liquefied Throne Of Simplicity’  (Glitterbeat)  DV

Sis  ‘Gnani’ (Native Cat Recordings)  GD
Review

Silverbacks  ‘Archive Material’ (Full Time Hobby)  GD
Review

The Soft Pink Truth  ‘Is It Going to Get Any Deeper Than This?’  ACK

Spygenius  ‘Jobbernowl’  (Big Stir Records)  BBS
Review

Staraya Derevnya  ‘Boulder Blues’  (Ramble Records)  DV
Review

Stepbrothers featuring the Honourable Ted  ‘S/T’ EP (German Shepherd Records)  GD
Review

Shepard Stevenson  ‘Man Down’  (Somewherecold)  DV
Review

Stereolab  ‘Pulse of the Early Brain’ (Duophonic and Warp Records)  GD

Robert Stillman  ‘What Does It Mean To Be American’ (Orindal Records) DV

Carl Stone  ‘We Jazz Reworks Vol. 2’  (We Jazz)  DV
Review

Gillian Stone ‘Spirit Photographs’ DV
Review

STS & RJD2  ‘Escape From Sweet Auburn’  (RJ’s Electrical Connections)  MO

Misha Sultan  ‘Roots’  (Hive Mind)  DV
Review

Sweeney  ‘Stay for the Sorrow’ (Sound in Silence)  GD
Review

T.

Team Play  ‘Wishes And Desire’  (Soliti) DV

Mauricio Takara and Carla Boregas  ‘Grande Massa D’Agua’  (Hive Mind)  DV
Review

Tone Of Voice Orchestra  ‘S-T’  (Stunt Records)  DV
Review

Trupa Trupa  ‘B Flat A’  (Glitterbeat)  DV
Review

V.

Various/Solidary  ‘Blue And Yellow’ & ‘Yellow And Blue: Help For Ukraine’  (Binaural Space)  DV
Review

Various  ‘Live at WOMAD 1982’  (Real World)  DV
Review

Various  ‘Mensajes del Agua: Nuevos Sonidos Desde Peru Vol 1’  (Buh Records) DV

Various  ‘Music For Ukraine’  (We Jazz)  DV
Review

Various  ‘Pierre Barouh And The Saravah Sound: Jazz, Gumbo And Other Hallucinatory Grooves’  (WEWANTSOUNDS)  DV
Review

Various  ‘Spirit Of France’  (Spiritmuse)  DV
Review

Vera Di Lecce  ‘Alter Of Love’ DV

Violet Nox  ‘Eris Wakes’  (Infinity Vine)  DV
Review

Vukovar  ‘The Body Abdicator’  (Other Voices)  DV/BBS
Review

W.

Wish Master & Axel Holy  ‘First Nature’  (Official Recordings)  MO

Ethan Wood  ‘Burnout’  (Whatever’s Clever)  DV
Review

Billy Woods  ‘Aethiopes’ & ‘Church’ (Backwoodz Studioz)  MO

X.

Iannis Xenakis  ‘Electroacoustic Works’  (Karlrecords)  ACK

Z.

THE Zew ‘IFI1IFO’  (Numavi Records)  BBS
Review

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.

A (near) 150 albums survey of the year, with choice eclectic albums chosen by the Monolith Cocktail Team.

Well was I wrong last year when I called 2021 the annus horribilis of all years. It has been soundly beaten by the shit-show that is 2022. The invasion of the Ukraine, cost of living crisis, another hideous wave of Covid – which even if the jabs are being rolled out, and the deaths rate, hospitalisations is nothing like the first wave back in 2020, is still causing major illness, absences and disruptions to a society already facing a heap of doomsday scenarios -, strikes, activism, fuel poverty, Iranian protests, and the continuing horror show of a zombie government being just some examples. Yes 2022 qualifies as one of the most incomprehensible years on record of any epoch; an ungovernable country in the grip of austerity point 2.0, and greater world untethered and at the mercy of the harridans on either side of the extreme political divide, the billionaire corporates and narcissist puritans.

And yet, it has been another great year for music. Despite the myriad of problems that face artists and bands in the industry, from a lack of general interest to the increasingly punitive costs of touring and playing live, and the ever encroaching problems of streaming against physical sales and exposure, people just can’t quit making music. And for that we, as critics – though most of us have either been musicians or still are – really appreciate what you guys do. In fact, as we have always tried to convey, we celebrate you all. And so, instead of those silly, factious and plain dumb numerical charts that our peers and rivals insist on continuing to print – how can you really suggest one album deserves their place above or below another (why does one entry get the 23rd spot and another the 22nd; unless it is a vote count) –, the Monolith Cocktail has always chosen a much more diplomatic, democratic alphabetical order – something we more or less started in the first place. We also throw every genre, nationality together in a serious of eclectic lists: no demarcation involved.

The lists include those albums we reviewed, featured on the site in some capacity, and those we just didn’t get the time to include. All entries are displayed thus: Artist in alphabetical order, then the album title, label, who chose it, a review link where applicable, and finally a link to the album itself.  

Because of the sheer number of entries, we’ve split that list in to two parts: Part One (A – L) starts with Anthéne & Simon McCorry and finishes with Lyrics Born; Part Two (M-Z) begins with Machine Girl and finishes with The Zew.

This year’s picks have been chosen by (Dominic Valvona), Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea, Matt Oliver, Andrew C. Kidd and Graham Domain.

A.

Anthéne & Simon McCorry  ‘Mind Of Winter’  (Hidden Vibes)  Dominic Valvona
Review

Seigo Aoyama  ‘Prelude For The Spring’  (Audiobulb)  DV
Review

Armstrong ‘Happy Graffiti’  Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea
Review

Yara Asmar  ‘Home Recordings 2018-2021’  (Hive Mind)  DV
Review

Avalanche Kaito  ‘S-T’  (Glitterbeat)  DV
Review

Avantdale Bowling Club  ‘TREES’  Andrew C. Kidd

B.

Caterina Barbieri  ‘Spirit Exit’  (Warp Records)  ACK
Review

Jam Baxter  ‘Fetch the Poison’  (Blah)  Matt Oliver

Oliver Birch  ‘Burning Daylight’  BBS
Review

Black Mesa ‘Research Facility’  (猫 シ Corp. ‘Selected Works’)  ACK

Brigitte Beraha  ‘Blink’  DV
Review

Brian Bordello  ‘Cardboard Box Beatles’  (Metal Postcard Records)  DV
Review

The Bordellos ‘Ronco Revival Sound’ (Metal Postcard Records)  Graham Domain
Review

Boycalledcrow  ‘Wizards Castle’  (Waxing Crescent Records)  BBS
Review

Broadcast  ‘The Maida Vale Sessions’ (Warp Records)  GD

Apollo Brown & Philmore Greene  ‘Cost of Living’  (Mello Music Group)  MO

Brown Calvin  ‘dimension//perspective’  (AKP Recordings)  DV
Review

C.

Loyle Carner  ‘Hugo’ (EMI)  MO

Tom Caruana  ‘Strange Planet’  (Tea Sea Records)  MO

Cities Aviv  ‘Man Plays The Horn’  (D.O.T.) DV

Claude  ‘A Lot’s Gonna Change’  (American Dreams)  DV
Review

Clouds in a Headlock  ‘Breakfast in Phantasia’  (Offkiltr/Fat Beats)  MO

Julian Cope  ‘England Expectorates’  BBS
Link

D.

The Dark Jazz Project  ‘S-T’ (Irregular Frequencies)  DV
Review

Aftab Darvishi  ‘A Thousand Butterflies’  ACK
Review

The Difference Machine  ‘Unmasking the Spirit Fakers’  (Full Plate)  MO
Review

Ferry Djimmy  ‘Rhythm Revolution’  (Acid Jazz) DV

Matt Donovan  ‘Habit Formation’  DV
Review

The Doomed Bird Of Providence  ‘A Flight Across Arnham Land’  DV/BBS
Review

Dubbledge  ‘Ten Toes Down’  (Potent Funk)  MO
Review

E.

Eamon The Destroyer  ‘A Small Blue Car – Re-made/Re-modelled’  (Bearsuit Records)  BBS
Review

El Khat  ‘Albat Alawi Op​.​99’  (Glitterbeat)  DV
Review

Kahil El’Zabar Quartet  ‘A Time For Healing’  (Spiritmuse)  DV

Roger Eno ‘The Turning Year’ (Deutsche Grammophon)  GD
Review

Eerie Wanda  ‘Internal Radio’  (Joyful Noise Recordings)  DV

Exociety  ‘Deception Falls’  (Exociety)  MO

F.

Fera  ‘Corpo Senza Carne’  (Maple Death Records)  DV

Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita  ‘Echo’  (bendigedig)  DV
Review

Flat Worms  ‘Live In Los Angeles’  (Frontier Records)  DV
Review

Forest Robots  ‘Supermoon Moonlight Part Two’  (Subexotic)  DV
Review

Nick Frater  ‘Aerodrome Motel’  (Big Stir Records)  BBS
Review

Future Kult  ‘S-T’  (Action Wolf/AWAL)  DV
Review

G.

Mike Gale  ‘Mañana Man’  DV
Premiere

Dana Gavanski ‘When it Comes’ (Full Time Hobby / Flemish Eye)  GD
Review

Gold Panda  ‘The Work’  (City Slang)  ACK

The Good Ones  ‘Rwanda…You See Ghosts I See Sky’  (Six Degrees)  DV
Review

Goon  ‘Hour of Green Evening’ (Demode Recordings)  Graham Domain
Review

Guillotine Crowns  ‘Hills to Die On’  (Uncommon Records)  MO
Review

Gwenno ‘Tresor’ (Heavenly Recordings)  GD

H.

Aldous Harding  ‘Warm Chris’ (4AD)  GD

Healing Force Project  ‘Drifted Entities Vol. 1’  (Beat Machine Records)  DV
Review

Sven Helbig  ‘Skills’  (Modern Recordings)  DV
Review

Bruno Hibombo  ‘Parting Words’  DV

Houseplants  ‘II’  (Win Big Records)  DV
Review

John Howard  ‘From The Far Side Of A Miss’  (Kool Kat)  DV
Review

I.

IBERI  ‘Supra’  (Naxos World Music)  DV

J.

Juga-Naut  ‘Time & Place’ (Juga-Naut)  MO

JPEGMAFIA  ‘OFFLINE!’  ACK

K.

Kamikaze Palm Tree ‘Mint Chip’  (Drag City)  BBS
Review

Kick  ‘Light Figures’  (Anomic Records/Dischi Sottoernnei/Sour Grapes)  DV
Review

King Kashmere  ‘Woof’  (High Focus)  MO

Evan Kertman ‘Rancho Shalom’  (Perpetual Doom)  BBS
Review

KMRU  ‘Temporary Stored’  ACK

L.

Labelle  ‘Éclat’  (Infiné)  DV
Review

The Legless Crabs ‘Always Your Boy’  (Metal Postcard Records)  BBS
Review

The Legless Trials ‘Cheese Sandwich’  (Metal Postcard Records)  BBS

Kristine Leschper  ‘The Opening Or Closing Of A Door’  (Anti-)  DV
Review

Liraz  ‘Roya’  (Glitterbeat)  DV
Review

Francesco Lurgo  ‘Sleep Together Folded Like Origami’  (Bosco Records)  DV
Review

Lyrics Born  ‘Mobile Homies’  (Mobile Home Recordings)  MO
Review

Keep an eye out later this week for Part Two.

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.

Brian Bordello Shea’s Final Roundup of 2022

SINGLES/EPs

John Howard  ‘Christmas Was Made For The Children’

‘Christmas Was Made For The Children’ is pure schmaltz, pure Christmas Schmaltz as all great Christmas songs are. John Howard succeeds where so many seem to fail as he wraps the Schmaltz in a melody so beautiful and timeless it takes one back to the golden days of 70s Christmas TV, when the Val Doonican or Bing Crosby Christmas special would be aired mid evening on Christmas Eve and we’d be entertained by there special guest who would perform a song just like ‘Christmas Was Made For The Children’ as the host looked on resplendent in their Christmas jumper.

This song is filled with magic and nostalgia and I almost feel like I’m that young kid trudging through the cold to attend midnight mass, at least comforted by the thought that my Christmas morning would not have to be interrupted by an hour or so of God bothering. If you are going to buy one Christmas song this year I suggest you choose this gem.

LINN  ‘Okay, Sister’

This is a slow dance with your own shadow; a mixed delight of a lone shard of glass reflecting the crescent of the moon; a night time bathe in melancholia; a song to sing to your loved one as they leave you wanting alone with only memories for company; a bewitching jewel of longing and regret. A fine and beautiful song.

Humour  ‘Jeans’
(So Young Records)

I really like this, it has a wonderful wonky post-punk Captain Beefheart, Zappa feel to it; a song that sent me spiralling back to my youth of energetic nights out drinking in the local alternative pub soaking up the pleasures of too many bottles of newkie Brown and soaking up the sounds of Wigan’s finest, The Volunteers [whose Bladdder Of Life mini album is a must own for all lovers of wonky guitar thrills]. Yes indeed, I enjoyed this track a great deal. You could say I enjoy the cut of their Jeans, which I imagine to be quite flair-y but darn sexy at the same time. 

Dead Patrons  ‘Nothing’

There is nothing like a good Christmas song and video to bring the oncoming tide of nostalgia rushing towards you like the onslaught of a swarm of meat hungry giant turkeys all ready to weave a wave of mass destruction on the waiting children all ready for Santa to bring them their ideal Christmas gift, but instead are pecked to death in their beds, their last thought being it did not look like this in the Argos catalogue. But luckily for us this is not a wholesome Christmas ditty but instead a slow and dirty as death hardcore slow romp of mental cold metal anguish and depravity that we all really need this time of the year: believe me we really do.

Kevin Robertson ‘Why/D.C.B.A 25’
(Fruits Der Mer)

The new single from the infamous Fruits der Mer label, the label of course that released vinyl releases when vinyl releases where not the thing to release but did it anyway and over the years have released a whole slew of collectable vinyl, mostly psych shenanigans of the first degree, is a double-sided joy of 60s cover jangle by Kevin Robertson. The A-side ‘Why’ is a colourful and calmly laid-back reworking of The Byrds gem that explodes in the middle with a guitar solo and a half of acid induced seagull frenzy [which believe me is such a thing]. The B-side is a cover of Jefferson Airplanes ‘D.C.B.A 25’, which actually sounds like The Byrds strangely enough and is wrapped in a blanket of chiming almost Christmassy 12 string guitars, which I suppose this time of the year is very apt and no doubt the radio will soon be blessed with the sound of Chrissie Hynde telling us that 2000 Miles is very far.

ALBUMS

Sanfeliu  ‘To Absent Friends’
(4000 Records)

This is a rather lovely relaxing wonky album of synth pop; an album full of bleeps and whooshes and wizzes and soft vocals that at times reminded me of The Frazier Chorus and at others, the Magnetic Fields, and on the excellent ‘El Rey Y La Reina De Los Descastados’ Sanfeliu seems to evoke the spirit of the wonderful Wilder album by The Teardrop Explodes: all hushed tones of angelic beauty, a really lovely track on an album filled with them. To Absent Friends is a must hear for all those with a love of synth pop and smooth relaxing warm slightly wonky music.

Richard Öhrn  ‘Sounds In English’
(Big Stir Records)

Sounds In English starts with a beautiful chiming jangle of the 12-string guitar, which should come as no surprise as of course this album is released on the excellent Big Stir record label. As anyone who reads my reviews will probably realise I normally review at least one album most months from the label. So, you will know what to expect as Big Stir specialise in releasing albums of well written and performed slices of guitar magic, and Sounds In English is yet another lovely gem of that ilk but with a much calmer and pastoral edge and with a baroque pop quality; ‘The Coolest Manners’ could easily fit on Costello’s Imperial Bedroom and ‘5th Month Announcement’ and ‘Love And Friendship’ recalling the sound of Simon And Garfunkel. ‘Every Shade’ has a fine seventies singer-songwriter feel  – I think Big Stir might have found their own John Howard.

Richard Öhrn has crafted a fine and enriching grower of an album, the more you listen the more the melodies seep in and soundtrack your days.

Eamon The Destroyer  ‘A Small Blue Car -Re-made/Re-modelled’
(Bearsuit Records)

‘A Small Blue Car -Re-made/Re-modelled’ is a remix album of sorts of the excellent Eamon The Destroyer album, and this is a rare thing as I actually prefer it to the original, and I enjoyed the original a great deal.

This album has a spooky warm quality to it and the opening track ‘Nothing Like Anything’ has a feel of The Beach Boys ‘Cabinessence’ and sounds like it is having its thigh stroked in a sensual way by a slightly out of it Momus. And track nine, ‘Uledaru’, is taken over and consumed by the brilliance of the Schizo Fun Addict taking the track on a short detour to heaven.

A Small Blue Car… is another overwhelming success of a release taking the experimental and layering it with blankets of alternative pop electronica warmth.

Scott Robertson  ‘Footprints In The Butter’
(Subjangle)

Scott Robinson is a young man from Scotland and member of the excellent Jangly 60s inspired Vapour Trails [who I have written about in the past] and another band whose name escapes me [let’s call it a senior moment shall we], who are a little more prog and 90s alternative psych sounding and also excellent, but I have for some reason never written about [let’s call it another senior moment and be done with it].

Anyway, young Scott is a talented chap and this, his debut, album lies somewhere between his two bands. Opening track ‘Lost My Curtains’ is a lovely soft psych-tinged ballad recalling Teenage Fanclub when they where worth a damn, and ‘The Death Of Daylight Saving’ again psych’s it up with Cinnamon Girl guitar riffs and a Byrds like adventure that has not been heard since the long-lost adventure filled days of the early 90s when the much-underrated Spirea X looked like they where about to rule the roost.

Footprints In The Butter is a lovely album filled with a mature songwriting but with a veal and adventure that can only be performed by a young soul not yet fully tarnished by life. And an album I like so much it has had me dipping into my paypal: heating bills be damned, I will just keep myself warm frigging vigorously to this excellent debut.

CHOICE MUSIC FROM THE LAST MONTH
CURATED BY DOMINIC VALVONA

The very last monthly playlist of 2022 is a bumper edition of eclectic choice music from the last month, with a smattering of tracks from upcoming December releases too.

This month’s picks have been collected from Dominic Valvona, Matt Oliver, Brian ‘Shea’ Bordello and Graham Domain. The full track list can be found below the Spotify link.

The monthly will be back in the New Year. Until then absorb this behemoth of a selection, and next month, ponder and peruse the blog’s 140 plus albums of 2022 features.

TRACK LIST IN FULL

Black Market Karma/Tess Parks  ‘The Sky Was All Diseased’
Enter Laughing  ‘Met Me When I landed’
Salem Trials  ‘Man From Atlantis Is Dead’
Humour  ‘Jeans’
Cities Aviv  ‘Funktion’
Vlimmer  ‘Mathematik’
Gabrielle Ornate  ‘Phantasm’
Dead Horses  ‘Can’t Talk, Can’t Sleep’
Lunar Bird  ‘Driven By The Light’
Mui Zyu  ‘Rotten Bun’
Thank You Lord For Satan  ‘When We Dance’
Pozi  ‘Slightly Shaking Cells’
My Friend Peter  ‘When I Was’
U.S. Girls  ‘Bless This Mess’
Sofie Royer  ‘Feeling Bad Forsyth Street’
Surya Botofasina  ‘Beloved California Temple’
Edrix Puzzle  ‘Shadow of Phobe’
Let Spin  ‘Waveform Guru’
Etceteral  ‘Gologlavka’
Juga-Naut  ‘Camel Walk’
The Pyramids  ‘Queens Of The Spirits Part 1’
Illogic  ‘Nowhere Fast’
Planet Asia/Snowgoons/Flash  ‘Metabolism’
Dabbla/alone  ‘Adept’
Karu  ‘Spears Of Leaves’
Neon Kittens  ‘Nil By Vein’
Renelle 893/King Kashmere  ‘My Demons’
Mount Kimbie/Don Maker/Kai Campos Ft. Slowthai  ‘Kissing’
Homeboy Sandman/Deca  ‘Satellite’
Uusi Aika  ‘S-T’
Gillian Stone  ‘The Throne’
Raw Poetic/Damu The Fudgemunk  ‘A Mile In My Head’
Boldy James/Futurewave  ‘Mortemir Milestone’
Arthur King  ‘Dig Precious Things’
Tom Skinner  ‘Voices (Of The Past)’
Trans Zimmer & The DJs  ‘Wind Quintet No. 3 In E Major, Second Movement’
George T  ‘Dub On, King’s Cross’
The Dark Jazz Project  ‘Great Skies’
Noémi Büchi  ‘Measuring All Possibilities’
Russ Spence  ‘Spectrum’
Seez Mics/Aupheus  ‘Cancel The Guillotine’
Dezron Douglas  ‘J Bird’
Fliptrix/Illinformed  ‘Eden’
Apollo Brown/Philmore Greene  ‘This Is Me’
Illogic  ‘She Didn’t Write’
Milc/Televangel Ft. AJ Suede  ‘Ronald Reagan’
Vincent/The Owl/Nick Catchdubs  ‘Fade 2 Black’
Shirt/Jack Splash  ‘Cancel Culture’
Clouds In A Headlock/ASM/Daylight Robbery  ‘3D Maze’
The Strange Neighbour/Leolex/Bobby Slice Ft. DJ Sixkay  ‘Keep Your Head Straight’
Kormac  Ft. Loah & Jafaris  ‘Bottom Of The Ocean’
A. O. Gerber  ‘Walk In The Dark’
Ben Pagano  ‘Hot Capital’
Hög Sjö  ‘Love Is A Gamble’
Kinked  ‘Introduzione Alla Fabula’
Årabrot  ‘Going Up’
Old Fire Ft. Julia Holter  ‘Window Without A World’
Meg Baird  ‘Star Hill Song’
Susanna/Stina Stjern/Delphine Dora  ‘Elevation’
Rita Braga  ‘Nothing Came From Nowhere’
Orchid Mantis  ‘Endless Life’
The Zew  ‘Come On Down’
Ocelot  ‘Santa Ana’
LINN  ‘Okay, Sister’
Sanfeliu  ‘Grassy Patch’
Young Ritual  ‘Ages’
Yermot  ‘Leaning To Lie’


Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea’s Monthly Reviews Column

Singles

Cormac O Caoimh ‘Didn’t We’

How on earth could I not write about this song, for it is a song about one of my favourite songs, the Jimmy Webb song ‘Didn’t We’. My favourite version is not actually mentioned, which is by the very rarely mentioned easy listening singer from the 60s/70s Sheila Southern, her version being on the sings Jimmy Webb album released on the budget label Marble Arch records in 1970 – well worth keeping an eye out for in your local charity shop. This song is a cracking little unusual pop song. I do love pop songs about pop songs, and this is a finely written one by Cormac O Caoimh and Lindy Morrison. Yes I to was wondering whether it was the same Lindy Morrison from the wonderful Go Betweens. If so, then she is used to being on finely crafted, well written pop songs, which this indeed is.

Schizo Fun Addict ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’

Schizo Fun Addict have just released a teaser video for their new album that will be coming to us in early 2023, and once again, with this a cover of the Led Zepplin classic ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’, have completely reinvigorated and made it sound like one of their own, which I think is the idea of a cover, otherwise I think doing a cover is a pointless exercise and you may as well listen to the original.

But no such worries in that department from Schizo who have taken one of my favourite Zeps tracks and if anything improved it or made it so different it is like two completely different songs. Instead of the Zep theatrics we have a woozy stoned psych trip of shoegaze folk splendor, like the ghost of Sandy Denny haunting the serenity of early Mercury Rev. At this point all betting is off as what will be my favourite album of next year, as Schizo Fun Addict already have that in the bag.

Salem Trials ‘Zipporah’
(Metal Postcard Records)

Yes, another single from the wonderful Salem Trials. ‘Zipporah’ is a fuzzy pop delight with a guitar riff that reminds one of the 80s guitar favourites The Primitives; a riff that could have walked, or in the case slinked and strutted, of their debut LP Lovely. But instead of the twee vocalising of indie 80s sex goddess Tracy Tracy we have the mad wonderful unique vocalising of Russ ranting, snarling, gurgling not so sweet nothings to anyone within earshot: the nutter on the bus singing along to his favourite hits from yesteryear. Russ and Andy should have a statue erected in their honour for their attempt to keep modern indie guitar music interesting and vital, which the Salem Trials undoubtedly are.

bigflower ‘Magic Beans’

bigflower are back with another installment of guitar surge, and indeed how the guitar surges on this beauty of a track; another dense shadow of regret and sadness and inner turmoil. There is nobody sounding like bigflower today but not everybody has bigflower’s talent and pedigree.

Mark Hegan ‘Rearrange Me’

This is a pleasant well-produced radio friendly pop rock ballad. You know, the Snow Patrol, Keane type of track. And I’ll admit something, it’s the kind of thing I normally do not listen to out of choice, but I thought I would give this a mention as Mark Hegan does it better than most of the stuff I’m sent. And anyone with a penchant for radio friendly pop rock songs should give it a listen as I think they might well enjoy it.

Albums/EPs

Thank You Lord For Satan
(Buh Records)

Thank You Lord For Satan are a fine band and this, their debut, album is indeed a fine listen. An album that takes on board psychedelia with a mixture of synth pop and indeed straight ahead pop.  The sultry sexy and dark opener ‘A million Songs Ago’ sets the tone with intertwining Velvet like guitars and soft sensual vocals, and at times vocal wise reminds me of a cross between The All Saints and Leonard Cohen: a strange but beautiful combination.

This debut is indeed like fresh of breath air blowing through the corridors of the halls of psych rock. Showing that with a bit of intelligence and originality and song writing talent greatness can still be achieved in the ever-growing paint by numbers genre that psych rock has become.

THE Zew ‘IFI1IFO’
(Numavi Records)

1FI1FO is a beautiful lo-fi album of near experimental folk songs, with vocals and guitar going through occasional effects to a quite beautiful degree, slightly distorting and giving the album a lovely warm and woozy effect.

The songs and vocals are rather moving, reminding one of camping in the woods with your memories for company. A quite a simple and nostalgic affair, the whole albums flows together and moves with a subtle lo-fi grace that one does not come across often enough, and come the end of the year this could well be one of my favorites. Very special indeedy.

Neon Kittens ‘S-T’
(Metal Postcard)

Experimental no wave pop is not noise pollution, in fact it is darn sexy. Darn sexy is a much underused word in reviewing circles as it sounds like something a passed his prime urban cowboy may say to his best drinking buddy in a down-at-heel bar, and this 4-track slice of experimental epery (yes a made up word). Yes I am flying by the seat of my pants a bit like this quite wonderful EP is. At last, the sound of music not stuck inside the rules; not being made to tick the right boxes; not being made like it was recorded by a middle-class twat wanting to be featured on a episode of Catfish to be played whist some wistful teenager stares at their phone in hope that Nigel really does look like the picture sent and not Nigel Farage. This is the real sound of the musical underground the sound of people making music they want to make, music they like, not making music they think other people may like. This is the sound of real life.

Russ Spence ‘Attempted Soundscapes EP’
(Metal Postcard Records)

This is the debut EP by Russ Spence the vocalist from The Salem Trials, whom I seem to write about on a monthly basis due to their prolific output. Attempted Soundscapes is an EP of experimental tracks that have more in common with Throbbing Gristle and the later works by Scott Walker, so not an EP you will be hearing on BBC 6Music anytime soon; although I could imagine the Freakzone having some fun with it.

The opening track ‘Take The Long Way Home’ is an atmospheric little beauty all spooky Halloween synths, muffled Prodigy drumbeats and the vocalizing of a ghostly Mark E Smith whispering sweet nothings to an empty pint glass. The second track, ‘Simple Sins’, features fellow Salem Trials member Andy on guitar, and supplies the sonic cathedral of feedback that runs throughout this moody atmospheric piece. It’s probably my fave of the four tracks on this excellent debut.

Cream Gorilla ‘S-T’
(NoMen)

Cream Gorilla were an experimental art-noise band from Tokyo who were together from 1997 to 2002 and got back together in 2022 for one final recording. Their complete output is now available on this CD, 35 tracks in all. As you would expect from an experimental art-noise band the tracks are indeed experimental and indeed very noisy but also mostly short: 35 tracks in 40 minutes. So gives you no chance to grow tired or bored of their strange chaotic noise outpourings. Well-done NoMen Records for gathering this delight of indeed artistic noise terror.

Bigfatbig ‘Rockin’ And Rollin’ and Whatnot’

The joyful sound of indie guitar pop; the well played, well written sound of two young ladies writing about the problems and real-life experiences young ladies have to deal with in this day and age, which I being a man in his mid 50s only get second hand from my daughter and my old Shangri-La’s albums. But I really enjoyed these four tracks. It is indeed a joyful romp that had me thinking back to the early days of Kenicke. I think Bigfatbig will do very well, and I wish them luck on their journey through the glittery cesspit that is the music industry.

Dot Dash  ‘Madman In The Rain’

The new Dot Dash album is upon us. Another half an hour or so of pure catchy pop with guitars that jangle and chime and strummed vigorously keyboards that alternate between sounding like they have just been holidaying from the Seeds debut album or from a hit from the Motors. Pure pop for not just now people but even for now and then people.

A Champagne filled picnic of sunny delight of an album is what this is.  I hear so many albums trying to achieve what this achieves, which is a well-written album of well-written pop songs. It even has good lyrics and hummable melodies, which is indeed a rarity believe me. C86, power pop and 60s garage pop combined beautifully to make an album of perfect pop.

Vlimmer ‘Menschenleere’
(Blackjack Illuminist Records)

I will be honest; I very rarely listen to goth music anymore. Back in my youth in the 80s I did enjoy the Sisters Of Mercy, Rose Of Avalanche, the Skeletal Family and such, like even having some of their albums. So I do not claim to be an expert on the genre, but I must admit to enjoying this album; an album of darkness with a slight pop edge at times reminding me of the Sisters Of Mercy being covered by Aha – can you imagine how much better the Sisters Of Mercy would have been with Morten Hacket singing lead.

This album will be up so many old goths streets they will be breaking out their velvet trousers and hairspray in a second of hearing the first doom laden chord. If it is possible to have an enjoyable romp through darkwave or whatever the pesky kids are calling it this week, then Vlimmer isindeed your man.

PLAYLIST SPECIAL
TEAM EFOORT/COMPILED BY DOMINIC VALVONA

Each month the Monolith Cocktail pool of collaborators search long and hard for the choicest of choice tracks; mixing genres and geography into an encapsulation of the last month on the blog.

That team includes me (Dominic Valvona), Matt ‘rap control’ Oliver, Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea, Andrew C. Kidd and Graham Domain.

You may have noticed since the summer that we’ve started compiling a Youtube playlist version, which includes extra bonuses from the No Base Trio and a seasonal treat from Escupemetralla plus some alternative tunes from the same artists on the Spotify list.

So without further ado, here is the October Revue:

And the Youtube version:

Full Track List:-

Montparnasse Musique Ft. Muambuyi and Mopero Mupemba ‘Panter’
Muramuke ‘Just One More’
Balaklava Blues ‘BEAT UP’
Marlowe/L’Orange/Solemn Brigham Ft. Deniro Farrar ‘Godfist’
Rockness Monsta/Method Man/Ron Browz ‘Beastie Boyz’
BeTheGun ‘Metropolis’
Lee Tracy/Isaac Manning  ‘Love Is Everything’
Lee Scott Ft. Sly Moon ‘THE MORE I THINK ABOUT IT, THE LESS I CARE’
Voice Actor ‘Battling Dust’
Juga-Naut ‘To The Table’
Ernesto Djédjé ‘Nini’
Liraz ‘Mimiram’
Mehmet Aslan/Niño de Elche ‘Tangerine’
Underground Canopy ‘Space Gems’
Valentina Magaletti ‘Low Delights’
Carl Stone ‘Sasagin’
Tau & The Drones Of Praise ‘Bandia’
Keep Shelly In London Ft. Sugar For The Pill ‘Don’t Want Your Romance’
Librarians With Hickeys ‘I Better Get Home’
Una Rose ‘Partly’
Carla dal Formo ‘Side By Side’
Derrero ‘Long Are The Days’
Super Hit ‘Donde’
Rahill ‘Haenim’
David Westlake ‘English Parish Churches’
Cormac o Caoimh ‘Didn’t We’
VRï ‘Aberhonddu’
Tuomo & Markus ‘Highest Mountain’
Pitou ‘Dancer’ Dana Gavanski ‘Strangers’
The Zew ‘Come On Down’
Brona McVittie ‘Living Without You’
Brian Eno ‘These Small Noises’
Edouard Ferlet ‘REFLEX’
Rich Aucoin ‘Esc’
Puppies In The Sun ‘Light Became Light’
Short Fuze Ft. Dr. Khil ‘Love Letters To The Lost’
Loyle Camer ‘Speed Of Flight’
Ill Move Sporadic/Tenchoo ‘Amulet Chamber’
Atmosphere ‘Sculpting With Fire’
Ghoster ‘CRAME 4’
Clark ‘Frau Wav (Brief Fling)’
Verbz/Mr Slipz ‘Music Banging Like’
Jester Jacobs/Jack Danz ‘Opportune’
Darko The Super/Yuri Beats ‘Don’t Stay’
Open Mike Eagle ‘I’ll Fight You’ A.G. ‘The Sphinx’
El Gant Ft. DJ Premier ‘Leave It Alone’
Heavy Links/Luca Brazi ‘Complicated Theory’
Fliptrix, King Kashmere/Pitch 92 ‘Primordial Soup’
Shirt/Jack Splash ‘Death To Wall Art’
Smellington Piff/Ill Informed ‘Hard Times’



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.

Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea’s Reviews Spread

SINGLES

Blue Violet ‘Favourite Jeans’
(Me & My Records)

Blue Violet’s ‘Blue Jeans’ is nothing more or nothing less than a beautiful pop song. And that is all I really need to say about this lovelorn little simple fragile ballad of tender regret: “if we were made of Glass we’d have shattered by now”. Pure pop poetry.

Psychotic Monks ‘Post-Post-’
(Fatcat Records / Vicious Circle)

The Psychotic Monks, I saw the band name and thought straight back to the hellish days of senior school when the strict catholic school I attended was run by psychotic monks. But I’m happy to say these psychotic Monks beat you into submission with fuzzy distorted bass and clattering guitars not cane and straps.

‘Post-Post’ is an 8-minute gem of distorted aggression that takes me back to the wonderful live performances of John Peel favourites the Levellers 5. And is a rare thing at just being over 8 minutes long it doesn’t outstay its welcome. A pure 8 minutes of feverish disgust.

Una Rose ‘Resolutions’

‘Resolutions’ is a faded gem of a song. A blink of an angel’s kiss. A summer that never passes just turns to Autumn, and more awkwardly beautiful. A song about the strange and rewarding bond there is between father and daughter or between two soul mates. A song that captures the love that lies between two people who no longer see each other as often as they like but are only a thought away. This song flutters and sways you gently until you feel the loveliest of warm hugs; a magic Autumn pop kiss of a song.

Carla Dal Forno ‘Side By Side’
(Kallista Records)

Oh my dearie lord, what we have here is a sensuous seduction of a track; a song of lovelorn glamour a stroked bedside nightshade crawl of yesterday’s wanton lust. A song of yearning that reminds you that it was best to fall in love when you were both young and attractive and life was one long ride of not caring and laughter and lust. A song to remind you of how you used to be and that makes you beautifully knotted inside. Listening and remembering is one and maybe the most powerful spells the magic of music casts.

ALBUMS

Super Hit ‘Get It Together’
(Metal Postcard Records)

This album by Super Hit is mostly a gentle and swaying affair of short guitar jangle tunes, half instrumental with a smattering of quite charming songs, and is a very relaxing way to spend a half hour or so contemplating having an afternoon nap. This could well be the album to tempt you into a dream like state. At times reminding me of Felt – especially on the rather excellent ‘King Of Suffering’ -, but the stand out track is the 18 minute closer ‘Get It Together’ which is like a unusual compilation of the best of the tracks that came before it, a jarring piece of lo-fi jangle art.

Derrero ‘Curvy Lines’
(Recordiau Prin)

Curvy Lines is an album of prog, pop and psych guitar mastery; an album to put on your CD player and lie back and let the melodies float over you and pull you into the magical world, where such things matter.

It is an album of sunshine ray beams and stardust, an album to enjoy with your morning coffee or a glass or bottle of wine before bed. The Beach Boys, Mercury Rev and 70s pop radio collide into a headlong collision of joy and muse – not the band Muse as they are terrible, but the kind of muse talented Welsh artistic types emit with a longingly frequency.

Curvy Lines is an album of buttercup beauty with the occasional kick in the crotch discordancy. “Numbah Wahn” and Numbah Wahn is were this beauty will be in my personal jukebox in the coming weeks.

Tuomo & Markus ‘Game Changing’
(Grand Pop Records) 14th October 2022

This is a wide cinemascope of an album, a record that takes one on a ride of nostalgic wonder drawing in psych-tinged soft rock and the MOR country rock of the seventies and leaves one in a blanket glow of warmth and peace. It’s a road trip being soundtracked by mix tape of Crosby, Stills and Nash, Steely Dan, America, Nick Drake and the Flaming Lips.

The opening track ‘Game Changing’ is jaw droppingly magnificent, a beautiful beguiling ballad worthy of Mercury Rev at their magical best. And truly is a wonder of a song. ‘Highest Mountain’ is worthy of Gene Clark’s No Other, and No Other is a fine album to mention as they both have the same all-consuming gorgeous vastness.

This is one of those albums that should be played to the narrow-minded morons who say they don’t make records like they used to do, as this proves they do. And in this case better than they used to do. An album that should grace the record shelves of all music lovers.

David Westlake ‘My Beautiful England’
(Tiny Global Productions) 14th October 2022

My Beautiful England is an album of pure sadness and nostalgia; an album of songs that bemoans the effects that modern life is having on our once great and beautiful country; an album that takes us back to the time when every day was Autumnal and students used to have a certain charity shop chic and music still mattered: and music does still matter.

Music can lift you when you are down, can soundtrack all those wonderful and not so wonderful times in your life, and My Beautiful England indeed is an album that matters. And as much as I do not like to mention my own music, but I will anyway, it travels the same path as The Bordellos Ronco Revival Sound album, both drawing on music of the past and painting pictures of a country long gone.

David Westlake‘s beautiful songs has one drawn back to the halcyon days of late 60s Kinks or early 90s Edwyn. And the wonderful ‘Mallory Kept Climbing The Mountain’ has one thinking back to the wonderful Go Betweens or Monochrome Set of the 80s.

My Beautiful England is a beautiful album of well written, lyrically captivating and melodious pop songs.

Jd Meatyard ‘Live The Life’

Jd Meatyard is a man who loves music; a man who is soaked in the spirit and the history of rock ‘n’ roll. His alternative folk songs are charged with a natural melodeon charm and this, his 6th album [I think?], is probably his most musically commercial yet.

His love of the Velvet Underground – ‘Story Of My Life’ being lyrically almost made up of Lou Reed/Velvets song titles – and his love of Woody Guthrie folk is combined with the attack of the Pixies and the Fall and the humour and charm of The Modern Lovers. Live The Life to me sounds like the sound of a rock ‘n’ roll poet looking back and celebrating his life taking in the places he has been/lived and the many characters he has met over the years. And it’s a quite bewitching and indeed a hugely enjoyable listen.

Librarians With Hickeys ‘Handclaps And Tambourines’
(Big Stir Records)

Another jump into the sunshine from Big Stir Records – do they specialize in releasing the happiest sounding music possible? Once again we are offered the jangling clap happy sixties sound, this time by Librarians with Hickeys. From the opening track, the organ led ‘I Better Get Home’, it’s all handclaps and shouted hey backing vocals, through the Byrds-like ‘Ghost Singer’ and ‘Can’t Wait Till Summer, and nearly every other track actually. Yes indeed, the Byrds do seem like a big influence on the Librarians With Hickeys Sound, and to be honest they do the Byrds very well, mixing it with an early 80s power pop feel. And there is no doubting their skill and craft in producing an album of enjoyable melodious songs.

BRIAN ‘BORDELLO’ SHEA’S REVIEWS ROUNDUP

SINGLES/TRACKS

Alexander Stordiau ‘Nothings Ever Required’
(Timeless Music Records)

‘Nothings Ever Required’ is a gem of a aural discovery; a moody piece of John Carpenter-esque solitude over five minutes of pure instrumental poetry. The kind of mood piece to soundtrack the passing daylight by watching passing strangers walk past the old coffee house window trying to read the faces, read their thoughts, lost in your memories, and hopes slowly making the coffee last, cusping it in your warms to keep in the warmth, with Alexander Stordiau gently caressing the shifting time of loneliness.

It’s Karma It’s Cool ‘A Gentle Reminder’

‘Gentle Reminder’ is a in fact a gentle reminder that pop music is a wonderful thing, as this tuneful little ditty shows three and a half minuets of perfectly formed guitar pop rock, with a Peter Holsapple guesting on keyboards – that is in fact one of the highlights of the track  – giving this perfectly formed pop rock of a song a slight new wave sense of danger.

Anxiolytics ‘S​{​R​}​[​C​]​O​[​{​T​}​[​R​]​CHED EARTH’

Anxiolytics are an experimental synth duo from North Wales and have an evil but lovingly portrayed glint in their eye I bet, this single being a strange and haunting affair that takes me back to the post punk early 80s of the Passage and Soft Cell and offers something both original and different; a song that has a cold warmness that will smother and intoxicate you with a germ ridden freshness that has not been inhaled since the passing of the great David R Edwards and the wonder that was Datblygu. Once again I am left awaiting the debut album.

Floorbrothers ‘Drive’
(Ikarus Records)

Ahh Mr Floorbrothers,Fade Into You’ by Mazzy Star is one of my favourite tracks as well. So slowing it down and making it into a drug induced waltz, adding new lyrics and making it sound like Mott The Hoople needing a good night’s sleep is a pretty nifty idea and one I stand and applaud. A good single then.

Bigflower ‘Tried To Care’

The first new track from the mighty bigflower in a few months I think, and yes, they have once again supplied a dark piece of dense guitar magic; a track to help soundtrack these dark, dark frightening days and months that lie ahead in the UK; the kind of track we need to be blasted from car radios as we head to work knowing after a week of hard slog we will still not be able to afford to pay our bills and put food on the table. Although this is not an out and out political lambasting of our uncaring and failing government it is a song to capture the intensity and hopelessness of these worrying times.

EP

Rob Clarke And The Woolltones ‘Rubber Chicken B-Sides’
(Aldora Britain Records)

This is an enjoyable little forage into the dim and distant past. Four songs that take the hip swinging beatitude of the sixties, all beat chords and “What’d I Say” riffage songs your nan would have curled her hair to in her youth before going down the ballroom to watch the local beat band. Four songs that are all enjoyable and warm sounding and with the final track, ‘Love And Haught’, being especially splendid, a track worthy of the final days of the wonderful Escorts: close your eyes and you are back in 1966 heaven. A beautiful release and only 50p to download: that is 12 and a half pence a track. Yes this EP does take you back when half a pence was such a thing.

ALBUMS

The Pixies ‘Doggeral’
(BMG) 30th September 2022

I used to love The Pixies back in the day when they first appeared, and to be honest I’ve not really listened to them much since they got back together. I’ve not really listened to them since Indie Cindy, and I think I might have been missing out if this album is anything to go by; although they are obviously missing the divine Kim Deal. But that is all they seem to be missing. They still have quite a loud thing going on (‘Haunted House’), are still masters of distorted surf guitar (‘Vault Of Heaven’), and have not lost their knack for a catchy strange pop tune, (‘Get Stimulated’). The lovely charmingly charming pop beauty that is ‘The Lord Has Come Back Today’ might just be my favourite track on this rather fine enjoyable album. They even have a whistling solo on ‘Pagan Man’, which there is certainly not enough of in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. So, the eighth Pixies album is in fact quite a musical treat.

Keiron Phelan & The Peace Signs ‘Bubblegum Boogie’
(Gare Du Nord) 23rd September 2022

What we have here my lukewarm fluffy bunny fetishists is an album of sophisticated polite pop – and we all need a little sophistication and politeness in our lives. Remember children always say please and thank you afterwards [ooeer missus]. And this album of melody rich pop could be your injection of sophistication for the day.

‘Trojan Pony’ kicks off the album with a fine Harry Nilsson like pop ditty that would not sound out of place on any of his early 70s pop masterpieces. Kieran Phelan is obviously a fan of the seventies laid-back pop as we find a tribute to the lovely gentleman and cult favourite John Howard with ‘Song For John Howard’, a lovely short piano ballad that not just recalls the music of the great man but also Brian Wilson as well, which indeed cannot be a bad thing.

The whole album is awash with gentle laid-back slightly quirky songs that have a layer of sadness and memories, and sometimes, sad memories are the most beautiful. And Bubblegum Boogie is indeed a beautiful little sophisticated bubble gum pop album.

Grave Goods ‘Tursday. Nothing Exists’
(Tulle)  9th September 2022

“Step softly into the new world of the underground” is the opening line from the opening track ‘Come’ from this rather fine post-punk album of clattering guitars and such malarkey. And it’s an invitation I would readily advise all fans of clattering guitars and such malarky to well accept. For they will be treated to seven tracks of aggressive alternative rock post-punk that takes some rather fine lyrics [which I am very taken with] and guitar riffs that put Grave Goods a step up from the usual gallop of the many many other post-punk bands. An album well worth investigation dear readers.

The Legless Crabs ‘And If You Change Your Mind About Rock ‘n’ Roll’
(Metal Postcard Records)

Thank the fuck for the Legless Crabs. After spending over an hour going through my emails to see what delights I could pontificate about and tell you lovely readers all about, I was left bereft. I had listened to loads of power pop with shite lyrics; shoegaze which in itself stands alone as why I have not reviewed it: anything that describes itself as shoegaze is enough to put me off, we all know what shoegaze is, music that reaches for the stars but very rarely manages not to leave the ground. So thank fuck for the rock ‘n’ roll un pc digs at modern life the Legless Crabs on a regular basis release. And If You Change Your Mind About Rock ‘n’ Roll’ is up to their normal high standard.

Guitars that fuzz and buzz and on this occasion form layers of pure confusion that take you back to the golden age of watching loud guitar bands in dingy clubs. ‘Piss Lake’, ‘Anti -Christian Scientists’ and every other track on this album are filled with an anger and disgust at the way modern life is shaping up.

This album is a much more serious and mature sounding album of rock ‘n’ roll. They no longer sound like the slap dash young noise merchants that overdosed on JAMC and the Cramps and Pussy Galore and now sound like they have had to grow up and get jobs. And that has just made them even angrier.

This is an album of darkness like their others, but the others came with a cheeky wink this with just a terrifying blank stare.

Salem Trials  ‘Postcards From The Other Side Of The Sun’
(Metal Postcard Records)

A triple album by the Salem Trials: well it would be a triple LP if it were released on vinyl. There are 29 tracks and each and everyone is filled with the whip snap guitar madness that the Salem Trials deal in.

Songs that echo the world we live in full of dark humour, nostalgia, darkness and T Rex riffs. ‘Black Flash’, which imagine instead of David Bowie guesting on the Marc Bolan Show you had Mark E Smith, and instead of it being in a TV studio it was on a small boat that was slowly sinking below the waves, slowly lapping around Marc and Mark E’s knees; a song of pure and beautiful magic and maybe my fave ever Salem Trials song. Pure brilliance. But there are so many. Andy and Russ are quite incapable of not doing anything that is not at least very good; they have their own sound; they have their own feel; they have their own magic.

The Salem Trials are one offs. They take their influences of post-punk, psych, seventies glam, no wave, indie pop and merge into what can only be described as a unique and rewarding listening experience.

Andrei Rikichi ‘Caged Birds Think Flying Is A Sickness’
(Bearsuit Records)

Apart from Caged Birds Think Flying Is A Sickness being a great album title it is also a fine album; an album that takes electronica, dance and cinematic sculptures to a new and experimental place, a place where white noise and James Bond soundtracks collide to great and unusual effect. ‘What Happened To Whitey Wallace’ sounds like monks playing on a old ZX 90 computer game and ‘Bag, Lyrics, New Prescription’ could be on a soundtrack to an Alfred Hitchcock movie set in a colourful but black and white jazz world.

Yes, indeed once again Bearsuit Records have released an album crammed with original thought-provoking music that is both experimental but also very listenable; an album to soundtrack the spin of a roulette wheel and the shadow-stained wet pavement of a neon signed littered night time street.

PLAYLISTS SPECIAL
TEAM EFFORT/ CURATED BY DOMINIC VALVONA

All the choice tracks from the last month, selected by the entire Monolith Cocktail team: Dominic Valvona, Matt Oliver, Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea, Graham Domain and Andrew C. Kidd.

For the past couple of months we’ve been experimenting with both Spotify version and Youtube (track list will vary) versions of the playlist. Whatever your preference found both below:

TRACKLIST

Future Kult  ‘We’
Grooto Terazza  ‘Tropische Krankheiten’
Speech Debelle Ft. Baby Sol  ‘Away From Home’
Joe Nora & Mick Jenkins  ‘Early’
A.G.  ‘Alpha Beta’
Your Old Droog & Madlib  ‘The Return Of The Sasquatch’
Gabrielle Ornate  ‘The Undying Sleep’
Yumi And The Weather  ‘Can You Tell’
Baby Cool  ‘Magic’
Claude  ‘Turn’
Lunar Bird  ‘Venilia’
Imaad Wasif  ‘Fader’
Legless Trials  ‘X-Tyrant’
Dearly Beloved  ‘Walker Park’
Staraya Derevnya  ‘Scythian Nest’
Short Fuze & Dr. Kill  ‘Me And My Demons’
Group  ‘The Feeling’ JJ Doom ‘Guv’nor’  (Chad Hugo Remix)
DJ Nappa  ‘Homeboys Hit It’
DJ Premier Ft. Run The Jewels  ‘Terrible 2’s’
Zero dB  ‘Anything’s Possible’  (Daisuke Tanabe Remix)
Underground Canopy  ‘Feelm’
Revelators Sound System  ‘George The Revelator’
Montparnasse Musique Ft. Muambuyi & Mopero Mupemba  ‘Bonjour’
The Movers  ‘Ku-Ku-Chi’
Yanna Momina  ‘Heya (Welcome)’
Vieux Farka Toure & Khruangbin  ‘Savanne’
Barrio Lindo  ‘Espuma De Mur’
Brown Calvin  ‘Perspective3’
Nok Cultural Ensemble Ft. Angel Bat Dawid  ‘Enlightenment’
Li Yilei  ‘A Hush In The Dark
Celestial North  ‘Yarrow’
Andres Alcover  ‘White Heat’
Nick Frater  ‘Aerodrome Motel’
Drug Couple  ‘Lemon Trees’
Cari Cari  ‘Last Days On Earth’
Ali Murray  ‘Passing Through The Void’
Diamanda La Berge Dramm  ‘Orangut The Orangutan’
Your Old Droog  ‘The Unknown Comic’
Jesse The Tree  ‘Sun Dance’
TrueMendous & MysDiggi  ‘Talkk’
STS & RJD2  ‘I Excel’
Jester Jacobs & Jack Danz  ‘HIT’
Oliver Birch  ‘Docile Healthier’
GOON  ‘Emily Says’
Lucy & The Drill Holes  ‘It’s Not My War’
Apathy, Jadekiss & Stu Bangas  ‘No Time To Waste’
Verbz & Mr Slipz  ‘Music Banging Like’
Sly Moon  ‘Back For More’
Guilty Simpson Ft. Jason Rose & DJ Ragz  ‘Make It Count’



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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