Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea’s Reviews Bonanza
(Unless stated otherwise, all releases are available now)

Singles

Cumgirl8 ‘Dumb Bitch’
(Suicide Squeeze Records)

If this song were a dick it would always be erect and ready for action. It is both sexless and sexy; a molten explosion of catcall frenzy. It is the way I wanted Wetleg to sound, instead of the pale imitation of white slacked disappointment that is made to appeal to the middle aged male wet dream fantasy of still being young and vibrant and with it. No, this is the real deal the real McCoy; this is the thing this is the sound; this is the true alternative.

Lucigenic ‘Joy’

I like this single. It sounds like a Blondie tribute band that has decided to start writing their own material. It is sassy tuneful and sexy, which all pop music should have at least traces of, and this is dressed head to toe in sass, so an enjoyable three minuets of post-punk pop.

Woog Riots ‘Beatnik’
(From Lo-Fi To Disco) 17th June 2022

I love this a wonderful fun cover version of The Clean classic ‘Beatnik’, a song of charm and distinction. And this is indeed a groovy rendition. In fact dare I say a version I prefer to the original? Yes, slowed down and jerky and quite simply charming with the wonderful organ riff, a true gem of a single.

Legless Trials ‘Dirt Bike/Failed Words’
(Metal Postcard Records)

Has groovy art rock ever sounded as groovy as this? The new single by the Legless Trials is a hep cat roll call of early sixties Cliff Richard twisting on a beach whilst a bikini clad Una Stubbs lies and suns herself looking heavenly. It is Mark E Smith drinking bitter bathed in flashing neon lights, flicking beer mats at a spinning disco ball. It is a psalm sang by a true believer in the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll; a bible of pent-up frenzy Jerry Lee Lewis salivating over the line of bobby soxers awaiting to pay homage. Yes, already one of the singles of the year.

Albums/EPs

Wolf Vanwymeersch ‘The Early Years’

Pop music for the introverted is a much under praised thing. Pop music for the introverted is indeed a thing, and it is well thought out and intelligently written. This album is such a thing.

It’s the kind of music that soundtracks the day in a life of a pop art vagabond, the kind of person who loves life but on the whole does not love them back. It’s music for NHS glasses wearers and charity shop fashion. Wolf Vanmeersch makes such art; he takes a melody and wraps it in a comfiness of a favourite old sweater, dipping into his musical influences and bringing out fond radio remembrances.

He might stroke the velvet collar of Bowie or a Billy McKenzie or Talking Heads; loving the glamour of 80s alternative pop remembering the days when music could change everybody’s life and was part of everybody’s life and not pushed into the dark underground. Music is becoming more and more of a minority art and Wolf Vanwymeesch understands that music is art and is indeed an artist, and the Early Years is an album that will appeal to those who still worship at the altar of art is music and music is art. 

Team Play ‘Wishes And Desires’
(Soliti)

This is quite a beautiful album: the soundtrack of the unpeeling of a nighttime wish; the subtle crush of valonia, the strange bewitching aftertaste of your lover’s kiss. Vocal and piano accompanied by the swelling of horns synths and organs and flutes this is music that is made to fall in and out of love to. Teamplay have produced an enjoyable musical journey through life’s rich tapestry touching on subjects and emotions we all in one time in our life will experience, both happy sad and truly bewitching moments. And that is the perfect description of this debut album: happy sad and truly bewitching. I as I’m forever mentioning in these reviews I’m a sucker for boy/girl duets and this album is full of the lovely blighters: A musical heart play. Has ears dropping over a stranger’s heartache ever been so richly rewarding.

Spygenius ‘Jobbernowl’
(Big Stir Record) 24th June 2022

This is a manic depression of an album. An album that at times is manically happy like ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ on steroids but like manic depression, under the up, lies an enormous down: as the sun is most beautiful when you are stood in the shade.

It is an interesting and enjoyable listen. There is of course so many melodies and chiming guitars floating throughout, which of course you expect from an album released on Big Stir Records.

Spygenuis are from Canterbury it seems, and that makes perfect sense as this album sounds so lovely and English pastoral psychedelic. That they breath the same air as Soft Machine and Caravan comes as no surprise, as they take these sixties influences and cover them with a modern sheen, which at times reminds me of Green Day in their folk moments. With an injection of whimsy or Squeeze on psychedelics Jobbernowl is a rewarding listen and maybe one of my favourite releases on Big Stir.

Ghost Woman ‘Ghost Woman’
(Full Time Hobby) 6th July 2022

I like this album. I decided this as soon as the first bar of the first song started. There is something not quite like many of the psych rock albums that are sent for me to pour scorn and flick my love beads into the waste paper basket to. Or as I now call it: the waste love bead basket.

For the first song ‘All The Time’ reminded me of all people, the Everly Brothers; I can imagine the late Phil and Don doing a great version, and that really does not happen too often. Normally I get the ‘I wonder how many times these blighters have watched Dig’. Saying that the second track does show traces of the Dig disease but the lazy vocal stylings on ‘Do You’ somehow save it from a fate worse than psych fest.

This debut album is in fact an enjoyable listen; one that takes in the sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, the Everly Brothers, the JAMC and Skip Spence, and add a wonderful western guitar twang and jangle that at times is quite life affirming and magical.

Rogers and Butler ‘Brighter Day’
(Think Like A Key) 24th June 2022

A Brighter Day is an album that lives up to its title. It has a wonderful sunny timeless feel to it, all radio friendly guitar pop/rock, that has me thinking of The Kinks and Warren Zevon and Bowie, and is a record filled with really well-written songs with beautiful melodies. But sadly, it could well be an album that gets overlooked, as albums of well-written songs are quite overlooked as at this time. The music industry is overlooking artistry for the search of the next big thing: the next big thing being two young ladies singing about their trip to Ikea.

Rogers and Butler’s lovely little album does not deserve to be overlooked though as songs of quality and style are always needed to be heard, and hopefully should rise to the top, fighting its way past less the deserving and an ideal album to relax to as you spread your self over your Chaise Lounge.

PLAYLIST SPECIAL

An encapsulation of the last month, the Monolith Cocktail team (Dominic Valvona, Matt Oliver, Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea and Graham Domain) chose some of the choicest and favourite tracks from February. It may have been the shortest of months, yet we’ve probably put together our largest playlist in ages: all good signs that despite everything, from Covid to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, artists, bands everywhere are continuing to create.

65 tracks, over 4 hours of music, February’s edition can be found below:

That exhaustive track list in full:::

Animal Collective ‘Walker’
Modern Nature ‘Performance’
Gabrielle Ornate ‘Spirit Of The Times’
The Conspiracy ‘Red Bird’
Cubbiebear/Seez Mics ‘All Friended Up’
Dubbledge/Chemo ‘Itchy Itchy’
Dirty Dike ‘Bucket Kicker’
Future Kult ‘Beasts With No Name’
Lunch Money Life ‘Jimmy J Sunset’
Ben Corrigan/Hannah Peel ‘Unbox’
Uncommon Nasa ‘Epiphany’
War Women Of Kosovo ‘War Is Very Hard’
Ben Corrigan/Douglas Dare ‘Ministry 101’
Sven Helbig ‘Repetition (Ft. Surachai)’
Ayver ‘Reconciliacion Con La Vida’
Lucidvox ‘Swarm’
Provincials ‘Planetary Stand-Off’
Wovenhand ‘Acacia’
Aesop Rock ‘Kodokushi (Blockhead Remix)’
Junglepussy ‘Critiqua’
Tanya Morgan/Brickbeats ‘No Tricks (Chris Crack) Remix’
Buckwild ‘Savage Mons (Ft. Daniel Son, Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon & Eto) Remix’
Che Noir ‘Praises’
Koma Saxo w/Sofia Jernberg ‘Croydon Koma’
Medicine Singers/Yontan Gat/Jamie Branch ‘Sanctuary’
Black Josh/Milkavelli/Lee Scott ‘Die To This’
Funky DL ‘I Can Never Tell (Ft. Stee Moglie)’
Mopes ‘Home Is Like A Tough Leather Jacket’
ANY Given TWOSDAY ‘Hot Sauce (Ft. Sum)’
Split Prophets/Res One/Bil Next/Upfront Mc/0079 ‘Bet Fred’
Nelson Dialect/Mr. Slipz/Vitamin G/Verbz ‘Oxford Scholars’
Immi Larusso/Morriarchi ‘Inland’
Homeboy Sandman ‘Keep That Same Energy’
Wax Tailor/Mick Jenkins ‘No More Magical’
Ilmiliekki Quartet ‘Sgr A*’
Your Old Droog/The God Fahim ‘War Of Millionz’
Ramson Badbonez/Jehst ‘Alpha’
Ghosts Of Torrez ‘The Wailing’
Pom Poko ‘Time’
Daisy Glaze ‘Statues Of Villians’
Orange Crate Art ‘Wendy Underway’
Seigo Aoyama ‘Overture/Loop’
Duncan Park ‘Rivers Are A Place Of Power’
Drug Couple ‘Linda’s Tripp’
Ebi Soda/Yazz Ahmed ‘Chandler’
Brian Bordello ‘Yes, I Am The New Nick Drake’
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets ‘Bubblegum Infinity’
Steve Gunn ‘Protection (Ft. Mdou Moctar)’
Jane Inc. ‘Contortionists’
Black Flower ‘Morning in The Jungle (Ft. Meskerem Mees)’
Jo Schornikow ‘Visions’
The Goa Express ‘Everybody In The UK’
Pintandwefall ‘Aihai’
Thomas Dollbaum ‘God’s Country’
Crystal Eyes ‘Don’t Turn Around’
Glue ‘Red Pants’
Super Hit ‘New Day’
Legless Trials ‘Junior Sales Club Of America’
Monoscopes ‘The Edge Of The Day’
Alabaster DePlume ‘Don’t Forget You’re Precious’
Orlando Weeks ‘High Kicking’
Carl Schilde ‘The Master Tape’
Bank Myna ‘Los Ojos de un Cielo sin Luz’
Park Jiha ‘Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans’
Simon McCorry ‘Interstices’



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 last album Atlantic Crossing, a long overdue released collaboration with 20th Century Tokyo Princess’s Ted Clark, was released last year. A new album entitled Cardboard Box Beatle has just been released on Metal Postcard Records.

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

Singles

Goa Express ‘Everybody In The UK’
(Ra-Ra Rok Records)

My self being a miserable bastard, I thought I would not like this as it is a jolly tune with upbeat message and fun video. But I actually like it: probably in the knowledge that in 20 years these young whippersnappers will be as worn down with reality as I am. But let’s not think ahead, let’s celebrate youth and all its shenanigans; let these talented young men enjoy their moment in the sun and applaud their way with a catchy BBC 6 music like tune as it is pretty spiffing [which is a much-underused word in reviewing circles].

Burnsey ‘Nail Your Colours’
7th February 2022

I really like this track from Burnsey, the sound of an exiled scouser living in Germany. And yes, you get all the lovely Liverpool psych that seems to run through the blood of so many musicians from that city; all sea shanty wonder and spaced-out bliss, a track the Coral would no doubt sell their ma’s last pot of scouse for. And as the old saying goes, “you can take the man out of Liverpool but cannot take the Liverpool from the man”. And thank the lord for that for this is a lovely track of pure scouse whimsy. I await the album. Record labels check this man out.

Pintandwefall ‘Last Minutes’
(Soliti)

I like Pintandwefall: if I remember correctly, I gave their 2020 album, Your Stories Baby, a glowing review. And ‘Last Minutes’, taken from their forthcoming album, Seventh Baby (due out this Friday, the 25th February) is also a bit of a musical treat; a melody filled piece of pop candy that has me grinning like a loon, like a caricature of Sid James overdosing on 70s boobs and dairy free ice cream. Yes, it is that good. I once again look forward to the album with my breath indeed baited.

I like this. I love old time country music; my dad was a huge country fan so I grew up hearing it all the time. And this certainly has the same feel – the same way Bill Callahan does it. And I’m sure if my dad was still alive, he would also appreciate this; for a well written song is a well written song no matter what the genre, and this is a well written song. I predict we might be hearing more of Thomas Dollbaum: not that I want to curse Thomas as my predictions of greatness normally end in total anonymity for the poor performer. But you never know, Thomas might be the one to break the curse.

bigflower ‘Free’
12th February 2022

bigflower is back with another whoosh of a track; a song that moves with an urgency of a runaway train; a song with atmospheric guitar and keyboard and a drum machine that hammers the pain into your eyeballs: but in a good way [if that is possible]. 

‘Free’ is a song that has the mid 80s alternative shine about it; a song that has one remembering the days of the Psychedelic Furs, and like a lot of bigflower tracks, I can imagine it appearing in some moody black and white movie where the antihero does not end up getting the girl just a load of shit thrown at him. Yes indeed, another winner from bigflower.

Albums

The White Russian ‘You Are’
(DripDrop Records) 3rd March 2022

Myself being the self-proclaimed King of No-Fi, I really enjoyed the production on this. Coming in at the hi-fi end of lo-fi, this EP has a great deal of heart and soul and real life about it: in film terms, more 60s sink drama than Hollywood blockbuster.

This is a beautiful 5 track EP and my favourite of the five excellent tracks is ‘You Are’, which reminds me of Paul Simon at his most tender. This is one of those rare Eps you wish was an album as I certainly want to hear more from The White Russian. And any band you want to hear more from is indeed a very good thing indeed.

Red Pants ‘When We Were Dancing’
(Paisley Shirt Records) 18th February 2022

I like it when I see I’ve been sent something from Paisley Shirt Records to review, as I know there’s going to be more than a good chance that I’m going to like it. And I’m pleased to say they have not let me down with this fine release by Red Pants; an album of lo-fi(ish) indie rock, an album where murmured vocals are mixed way down in the mix which gives the album a “we are doing this for the love of our art” quality not to be indie rock superstars. It’s like discovering an old band cassette at the bottom of a box and remembering the fun you used to have dancing the Watutsi with the skinny long brown-haired girl who you would of one time offered your world to. It’s an album of fond remembrances; an album of drinking too much and not caring enough; an album of total lo-fi beauty; a cassette of the best kept secret in the world.

Super Hit ‘S-T’
(Metal Postcard Records) 28th January 2022

The magic and love of C86 is alive and well and living in Portland, Oregon. Simple drum machine beats and jangly chiming guitars back whispered vocals that takes one back to the golden days of Sarah Records.

There is something simply charming about the love and fragility of this album. Melodies float and glisten making this 18-track album of short songs a must have album: an ideal album to soundtrack the coming spring months when the nights get lighter and hope takes a peek at the departing darkness. An album that will grow and become a daily occurrence in your life.

Legless Trials ‘Legless Trials On Main Street’
(Metal Postcard Records) 15th February 2022

The Legless Trials are back with their second album Legless On Main Street’, an album that sucks in the spirit of the Fall and The Cramps, The Velvet Underground and smothers it with a radio friendly sheen that fairly sparkles and shimmies like an alternative hit in waiting. Any one of these nine gems should be blasting from your radio in the coming months.

The Legless Trials are rock ‘n’ roll personified; they are Little Richard, The Banana Splits and Captain Beefheart rolled into one. They are Bob Dylan’s snide grin and Elvis Presley’s erect penis. They are Jagger’s crossing the road walk. They understand the importance of Jack Goode screaming limp you bugger at a leather clad Gene Vincent. They understand the meaning of rock ‘n’ roll and are one of the five crucial acts in that movement today, and if you don’t believe me listen to this album of purity, anger, humour and song writing genius and then try and tell me I am wrong without looking like a puerile piece of Pat Boones shit. 

The Monoscopes ‘Painkiller And Wine’
(Big Black Cat Records)

There is a beauty and sadness that sometimes can only be released through the magic of music. It’s like a windswept spell, a lone call through the echoing of a radio dial and the wizards casting the spell on this occasion are the Monoscopes with a debut album filled with soulful yearning; a car crash of psych-tinged velvet indie guitar goodness.

A really enjoyable journey through the feelings and emotions most human beings experience at some time, be it lust, heartache, betrayal, hopes raised and then dashed, watching a shooting Big Star crash into the broken effigy of Alex Chilton’s breaking heart. Painkillers and Wine is a celebration of life in all its dirt and glory, sound tracked by chiming guitars and melodies to wrap and lose yourself in. In other words, simply a fine album of melancholy guitar goodness.

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