Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea’s Reviews Roundup

A stalwart contributor for years now, 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 releases include the King Of No-Fi album, a collaborative derangement with the Texas miscreant Occult Character, Heart To Heart, and mostly recently the couplet of double-A side singles, ‘Shattered Pop Kiss/Sky Writing’ and ‘Daisy Master Race/Cultural Euthanasia‘. He’s 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.

SINGLES/TRACKS.

Dez Dare  ‘Conspiracy, O’ Conspiracy’
17th May 2021

I like this. I like the scuzzy electric guitar; it reminds me of Sebadoh running after a bus after having a head on collision with a giant wasp. It has that “yes I am here to entertain and liven up the next two minutes of your life with a blistering piece of alt punk rock, and after that you can fuck off and paint your face with the remnants of your mothers old colostomy bag…see if I care” vibe.

bigflower  ‘Wicked’
18th April 2021

‘Wicked’ is in fact a cover of the Chris Isaac classic ‘Wicked Game’, and the mighty bigflower covers the song with a sonic slowed atmospheric wall of audible blistering heat like a lone walk through a desert with only the midday sun and memories of the one you left behind. If I was mr bigflower I would be straight onto my music publisher and see if it can be pushed onto the soundtrack of some future moody Hollywood block buster directed by Wim Wenders: a song to be heard on the big screen. As wonderful as ever.

ALBUMS/EPS..

Holiday Ghosts  ‘North Street Air’
(FatCat Records)  21st May 2021

The Holiday Ghosts had me from the off after the first few strums of the acoustic guitar. It’s obvious to me that they to have their creative juices stirred by the influence of the marvelous Ray Davies, the opening track ‘Mr Hereandi’ is pure late 60’s early 70’s Kinks, and even more so on the track ‘Bathing Suit, which slightly borrows the melody of the Kinks classic ‘Victoria’.  And as the album plays on you begin to realise that the Holiday Ghosts have mastered this song writing lark and got it down to a fine art; they know that the only way to stand out from all the millions of guitar bands is to be better than the rest, and believe me the Holiday Ghosts are certainly better than most I get to hear.

You can hear and feel the influences they channel, their love of mid 60s to early 70s pop/rock, to produce music that matches those of their influences. ‘Makin a Fool’ will have John Sebastian yearning for the days when the Lovin’ Spoonful ruled the airwaves. And ‘Total Crisis’ is power poptastic, and ‘Told My Baby’ sunshine jangle gem. North Street Air is one of those wonderful albums that has the magic of the life affirming melody. Yes, this is the sound of a band on the top of their game; a truly joyful pop listen.

Salem Trials  ‘A Difference Of Living’
(Metal Postcard) 3rd May 2021

Another new album from the excellent Salem Trials is always a thing to be cherished, and A Difference Of Living starts off where the last ended: guitars arguing with themselves, bass evoking sordidty of the top-notch variety, and Russ spinning yarns from the playground inhabited by rock ‘n’ roll deviants.

The Salem Trials are a rare breed of band as they sound like no one else but themselves. Sure you can hear their influences, The Fall, Magazine, Television and a whole host of other punk, pre punk and post punk bands but the two of them have a certain magic together and all the alums sound like albums not a collection of songs lumped together. They weave a bewitching musical spell that manages to draw you in and leaves you in a total state of relaxed nonchalant could not give a fuckery.

Satch Kerans  ‘Snake Eyez’
Originally released 2016/reissued in 2021

Thank fuck for this album. I have been sitting here sifting my way through pure musical pap for the last hour or so sent by various PR companies, looking for something that might have some chance of moving me in some way, and then I remembered about this album that was sent to me for consideration over social media by Satch Kerans. And I’m so glad he did. This is an album originally released in 2016 but has been re-tweaked and reissued; Kerans hoping it may get the attention it didn’t the first time around.

It’s an album of well-written songs with melodies, heart, soul and humour recorded at home: blessed with that lovely lo-fi warmth. An album filled with simple drum machine, hand held percussion, twangy Fender guitar and song writing talent. At times it reminds me how a Wilco demo might sound and Satch’s voice does have the similar quality and timbre to that of Jeff Tweedy or especially Dennis Wilson on the Beach Boy’s like ‘Back Where We Started’.

Satch is blessed with a love of rock ‘n’ roll that radiates from this album, as he has soaked up his influences of Dylan, Springsteen, The Byrds, The Clash and an obvious love of 60s /70s pop melody. Hopefully Snake Eyez will get the attention it deserved the first time around.

Suzi Moon ‘Call The Shots’
(Pirates Press Records) 21st May 2021

What we have here is the debut EP from punk chanteuse Suzi Moon; three tracks of commercial punk rock ‘n’ roll pop, part Runaways, part Suzy Quattro songs that kick up a bit of a fuss about various things and then piss off again.

Guitars that go chugga chugga and such like; nothing original, nothing not hasn’t been heard millions times before, but that does not mean it is not enjoyable. I can imagine my daughter at the age of fifteen being quite taken with it and that is the point. I’m a man in his mid 50s and heard it all before, but there are plenty of kids out there who have not heard it before, and there are worse people to hear it for the first time from than Suzi Moon – especially on the opening track ‘I’m Not A Man’, which has a rather fetching nagging bass riff. A rather splendid three track commercial pop punk EP.

Draaier  ‘The Town That Was Murdered’
(Submarine Broadcasting Co.) 12th April 2021

The subconscious merge into the timeless flight of toothless fancy, the long-forgotten call to arms by distorted cold grey makeshift steel bottomed tap shoed vagabonds, The Town That Was Murdered by Draaier is a wonderful sound collage of the to be awakened streets of a dying Northern industrial town, where once factories pumped smoke into the sky the factory now lies dormant and the skies are blue and clear but what a price to pay as unemployment leads to the closure of many of the Highstreet stores and are now boarded up and only used by the homeless to keep their worldly possessions in the cold concrete doorways. The empty bus rattles the discarded street porn and reeks of weed and the old woman hallucinates memories of fonder times when her husband was still alive and her children needed her. A tall skinny teenager sits by the graffitied walls of a stinking subway on a bike he outgrew years ago, smart phone in hand waiting for his man to drop the tiny bag of nightly hope. Cavernous synths and yearning drones drag the screaming images of dying town life all so clearly to life. This is not an album to escape to but an album that reminds you that you really need to escape; you really need to fight the invisible clawing arms wanting to drag you into the colourless drabness of existence in a town that survives on memories of happier days.  The Town That Was Murdered is a decaying corpse of the streets and towns Lowry painted so lovingly and Draaier soundtracks their descent into hell.

Jude Cowan Montague and Bettina Schroeder ‘Versus’
(Wormhole World)  

As ever I will be totally honest and tell you some of this album really gets on my tits: it irritates the hell out of me. But, I find that a really refreshing thing: at least it’s not boring me.  And other parts of the album I find refreshing because it has humour, originality, and is wonderfully rewarding.

I suppose listening to this album is like being with the person you love; not in a romantic Hollywood kind of way but a real life in a long-term relationship way, in which you can love the person to bits but he/she does not half do your head in sometimes. And so goes this marvellous/irritating album of poetic artiness. There are times it brings a huge grin to your face and makes you warm inside, and other times you feel like saying, “just hush will you”. So I would love to thank Jude and Bettina for releasing this joyful/irritating album of real life with all its strange glorious foibles into my musical world.

tvfordogs  
‘I Only Wanted To Make You Cry’(Gare Du Nord) 14th May 2021

I will be honest with you, I was not expecting to like this for some reason, but actually I really enjoyed it. This is an album of very well written melodious pop rock songs, at times reminding me of Todd Rundgren at his early 70s AOR best (especially on the title track ‘I Only Wanted To Make You Cry’), and is an album if marketed right could surf the wave in the rising love of Power Pop music that is ever so quietly becoming very popular (I could well imagine this being released via The Big Stir label).

Anyone with a love of Big Star and The Raspberries will be in seventh heaven with this on their CD player or anyone with Sugars Copper Blue in their collection could well be advised to get hold of this to keep it company. Yes, indeed this album is both rifftastic (‘Lead Boots’ especially) and has so many naggingly beautiful melodies that you could have sworn that you have heard before and even if you have, they are so damn catchy you do not mind hearing them again, especially when performed with such panache. I Only Wanted To Make You Cry is a fine listen.

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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