Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea’s Roundup

The cult leader of the infamous lo fi gods, The BordellosBrian ‘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 King Of No-Fi album, a collaborative derangement with the Texas miscreant Occult Character, Heart To Heart, and a series of double-A side singles (released so far, ‘Shattered Pop Kiss/Sky Writing’, ‘Daisy Master Race/Cultural Euthanasia’ and ‘Be My Maybe/David Bowie’). He has also released, under the Idiot Blur Fanboy moniker, a stripped-down classic album of resignation and Gallagher brothers’ polemics.

Each month we supply him with a mixed bag of new and upcoming releases to see what sticks.


Lauran Hibberd ‘Bleugh’

I like Lauran Hibberd. I think she might have something interesting to say, and she has a true-life observant humour in her lyrics that is both refreshing and entertaining: something my dear friends that all music should attempt to contain. It also contains a wonderful two chord guitar riff that has been used so many times, and I am certain will be used many more times in songs, because it is a great two chord guitar riff and all indie glam garage rock songs at least should attempt to use it.

Yammerer ‘Tell Me What the Ancient Astronaut Theorists Believe’
(Restless Bear Records) Available Now

Yammerer are from Liverpool and remind me of the kind of band I used to go and watch all those years ago in the 80s, in the clubs and venues of Liverpool and Merseyside. A wonderful time with some wonderful venues with some wonderful bands, and Yammerer would have fitted well into those times as there is revolution in the air, fuck the Tories, fuck unemployment, the future is now, we have a voice and we are going to use it. Yes, Yammerer are an enjoyable force of nature, reminding me of The Levellers 5 and the much missed A House. Can you pay a band a higher compliment than that? No I do not think you can.

bigflower  ‘Hanging On’
Available Now

So, for the latest release from the masterful bigflower we have a rather fetching and warm moody romantic guitar drenched version of the Supremes‘You Keep Me Hanging On’. To my mind one of the greatest pop songs ever written, and this version brings to mind the sun scorched sky, a tear in the eye, and lips full of quivering regret etched onto a scratched vinyl copy of Neil Youngs’ Decade, which was the last LP she ever played of yours before departing into the night to destroy somebody else’s life…yet once again beautiful.

Brian  ‘Cycle Super Highway’
(Time For Art Records)  Available Now

I really like this. It has a beautiful shimmering summer quality about it, like if The Beach Boys were young men and just starting out today. Eloquent harmonic vocals float and drift with electro synths and drum machines to supply us with a four-minute plus aural treat. The subtlety slowly washing over the listener pulling us into a state of blissed out dreamland like heaven.  


Anton Barbeau ‘Oh The Joys We Live For’
(Big Stir Records)  16th July 2021

There is something quite beautiful about this album. There is a beauty in the way Anton describes life with a slightly outsider eccentric point of view. This is an album of perfect domesticity, an album that takes the mundane and every day and makes it magical. The final track for instance, the Beatley ‘I Been Thinking Of You’, beneath the chiming guitars and perfect beatastic melody lies a song of love, wanting, escape and the mundane (“I am a teenage man in a minivan squeezing milk for an old cup of tea”). And that is a special talent to have: not squeezing milk for a cup of tea, although that does indeed come in handy, but being able to take the everyday and paint a velvet wash of lyrical surrealism that is based on everyday life.

Anton Barbeau has that special lyrical knack/talent of doing so, a little like what the great Julian Cope also does, and can draw a warm smile on the listeners face with his words of poetic delight. The music and melodies that wrap around the fine lyrics are drawn from a love of folk /synth pop and psych and a little dose of experimental guitar pop; in fact some of the songs could be described as synth folk: ‘Cowbell Camembert’ being a perfect example: squelchy synth, a simple disco drum machine beat and chiming 12 string guitars; as if Roger McGuinn had joined the Legendary Pink Dots for an evening. ‘Oh The Joys We Live For’ is an album of love warmth and humour, and like this album is something we all need in our life.

The Poppermost  ‘Hits To Spare’
30th July 2021

The Poppermost is one-man band Joe Kane, who is a raving Merseybeat fanatic who loves all things Fab Four, and this fine album is his tribute to the music from those swinging days. This is not just a whitewashed Beatles album that so many power poppers have recently forced on us, with shit lyrics, second hand melodies and Beatle mop top haircuts. Joe is actually a very talented songwriter who would not have seemed out of place emerging from a transistor radio, the dial set to Radio Caroline or one of those other legendary pirate radio stations.

What makes this album even more impressive is that it actually sounds like a band, not just one-man in his home studio painstakingly layering down very authentic 60s riffs and harmonies. There are so many highlights, from the opening track ‘Egg and Chips’, which you could imagine the Big Three performing in the Cavern, to the very Beatles like ‘Yes It’s True’ being an unreleased track from The Hard Day’s Night album, and the very Jimmy Campbell-esque ‘One Of The Gerliss’.

This is an album of beautifully written and performed sixties inspired beat pop songs. Anyone who has ever sat and got misty eyed over Billy J Kramer’s Best Of album (which I admit to), this is certainly a must buy album and another fine release from the wonderful Think Like A key Label; an album that deserves to be top of the hit parade pop pickers.

Daniel Vujanic  ‘Paramnesia’
(Submarine Broadcasting Co.)  Out There Right Now

To shy away from experimental music and to just listen to guitars and drums and bass and vocals is foolhardy for many reasons: one being that you are obviously emotionally and artistically stunted with little outlook for adventure and sublimity, and another, you are missing out on this fine musical journey into the world of genre hopping eccentricity, part Faust part Miles Davis part Silver Apples. Yes, an album of eight mid to longish instrumental leaps into the unknown; eight tracks to lose and find yourself and re-find yourself in only to discover at the end of the album you are not who you thought you were in the first place. A beautiful work of aural art.

Rob Majchrowski ‘Summer 2021’
Available Now

I like Rob Majchrowski, he seems like a bit of a character, and the kind of chap who I think I might like to spend an hour or two chatting in a pub to. I enjoy his homemade music. He has a wit and charm and down at heel glamour and romance, and is a fine songwriter; and as you know, anyone who knows or reads these little reviews, I’m rather fond of fine lyrics and Rob M certainly writes some fine lyrics. “Out for sex but finding fights,” says it all; a perfect description of this seven track excellent album.

Musically it has the same feel as early Pulp with a touch of Beck and Grandaddy/Mercury Rev, and deserves to find a wide audience, as it really is rather splendid stuff indeed. It can be download on a pay what you want basis from his Bandcamp and I would certainly suggest you do.

The Telephone Numbers ‘The Ballad Of Doug’
(Paisley Shirt Records)  Available Now

The Telephone Numbers The Ballad Of Doug is a lovely jangle pop of an album. An album full of melodies, charming harmonies and chiming guitars; one that takes you back to the halcyon days of when the likes of the June Brides and the Chesterfields and the Go Betweens would share mixtape space as you strummed along on your recently bought and recently just learned how-to-play Fender copy guitar.

Yes, an album that captures the never grow old charm of a lovingly written ode to love, music and everyday life, and the Telephone Numbers write and perform their aural magic very well indeed. The Ballad Of Doug is an album that captures all that is good about guitar pop.

Occult Character  ‘The Song Remains The Stain’
(Metal Postcard Records) Available Now

A new album from my friend and fellow Metal Postcard Records label mate Occult Character is always a welcome thing as I think he is a bit of a fine songwriter: in fact one of the finest. A man with originality and dark wit who raises his middle finger to life in the USA, who lyrically hits his targets with the accuracy of a sniper’s bullet. 

The Song Remains The Stain is an album made up of 27 shortish songs, and on this one ignores his guitar to give us a guide in how to make an alternative electro album. So this is an album of electro throbbing synth bass, chiming drum machines and wonderful mechanical ice cream like melodies, and of course his wonderful lyrics and vocal styling: part Lou Reed, part Roky Erikson, part deranged robot.

Occult Character is indeed a one off and will one day be seen as one of the greats. And The Song Remains The Stain is an enjoyable and rewarding listen; an album filled with originality wit and intelligence. 

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