The Inimitable Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea’s Perusal Of New Releases


Fruit Bats ‘We Used To Live Here’

‘We Used To Live Here’ is a bittersweet lament full of sadness and hope. A nostalgic waltz through the past, a memory, a snapshot set to a country/folk beat; a stroll of beauty we all take in our lives. A lovely song, which I am very much taken with.

The Conspiracy ‘Venus’
(Metal Postcard Records)

Chunky Kinks-like guitar riffs sends one off to the adrift of nostalgic England; a place where chunky Kinks guitar riffs go when all hope of rock ‘n’ roll future dies. That is what I love about The Conspiracy: they are so bloody British. They take the past and wrap it in a warm post-punk pop guitar feel; a place where strangers meet and discuss the early albums by Cleaners From Venus and how XTC demos are always better than the finished article. Yes indeed, I love The Conspiracy one of the many great current British bands not clogging up the airwaves.

Opus Kink ‘1 : 18’
(Nice Swan Records)

I do like Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. So I see no reason not to like this, as they take all the early Bad Seeds charm – if charm is the word – and cover it with some youthful enthusiasm. Nothing I haven’t heard before, but Opus Kink does it pretty well. Plus for some reason I approve of a record label called Nice Swan Records. And there really is not much more to add.

CIEL ‘Somebody’

The sound of perfect guitar pop that is what the Ciel single is. Less than two minutes of jangly guitar, power pop hooks and pop punk attitude. A song so sweet it will rot your teeth, and because it is so short something we need not worry about. A lovely little gem of jangly power punk pop delight.

Tomato Flower ‘Destroyer’

Another short single. This must be the new thing, releasing singles less than two minutes in length. A thing that I hope to see more of, especially as this wonderful piece of pop buffoonery, a unhinged little gem of disposing the milk bottle in the grey area of wagstaffs once flowing blond locks, is a triumph. It has an uneasy easy feeling about it; the kind of song people who enjoy their nightmares the next morning might hum to themselves while looking through the situations vacant column knowing they do not want to work for any company willing to employ them. Tomato Flower are a band to watch out for, in a good way.

Cindy ‘Earthly Belonging’

The sound of a Summer jangle delight, at just under one and half minutes long it doesn’t give you time think about anything really. Just gives you time to wonder whether the album will be filled with such pop joy. And of course pop joy at any length is always welcome, and I look forward to the album (Why Not Now?).

Chloe Gallardo ‘Bloodline’
(Taxi Gauche)

Awwwww this is really beautiful. A really lovely sad song full of self doubt and regret. And when the young lady sings “I’m fucked up” it makes me want to give  her a hug. Any song that succeeds in bringing out my natural fatherly instinct should only be applauded, for it proves Chloe Gallardo has the gift of writing from the heart and has plenty of empathy and soul. She also wraps it in a melody so beautiful it is like a discarded bubblegum wrapper blowing in a strong.


Lemon Twigs ‘Everything Harmony’
(Captured Tracks) 5th May 2023

The Lemon Twigs are masters of taking influences from the masters of pop and rock and weaving blankets of musical warmth and reflection from them; whether it be the Beach Boys on ‘Corner Of My Eye’, The Carpenters on ‘Any Time Of The Day’, Simon And Garfunkel on ‘When Winter Comes Around’, Big Star on ‘What You Where Doing’…the list goes on as the album goes on. And plays and unwinds, each track casting shadows of former rock ‘n’ roll greats, and each track reminding you how special and magical classic pop music can be.

Everything Harmony is like listening to an amazing oldies radio show but never having heard any of the songs before. So take a trip in this musical time machine to go back and discover some quite wonderful new songs.

Unlettered ‘New Egypt’

I am indeed Slanted And Enchanted by this lovey 5 track EP of late 80s early 90s  sounding alt rock; an invitation to revisit my youth and long for the days of John Peel and pubs shutting at 11pm, and myself being still young enough to care about these happenings. For New Egypt by Unlettered is a time box of sonic explosions a musical box of unease and bewildered fuzz bass whimsy; a 5 track wonder that takes the influences of JAMC and early Pavement and covers the tracks in a slightly tainted fairy dust of its own. And two of the tracks are available on a very ltd 7 inch single, which I am sure by the time you read this will be snapped up.

A word about the Author of these reviews::

Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea joined the Monolith Cocktail team in January 2019. The cult leader of the infamous lo fi gods, The Bordellos, 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. Far too many projects, asides and oddities to mention, but his latest album is Songs For Cilla Black (released on Think Like A Key Music) threatened to trouble some online alternative chart for a week on Amazon – so things must be looking up.

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.

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