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.

Reviews
Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea





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. His most recent project, Roi (with John McCarthy and Dan Shea, of Beauty Stab and Vukovar infamy) debuted at the end of 2019 through Metal Postcard Records with the paean to local record shop single, ‘Dormouse Records’. They’ve also released their seasonal dirge, ‘Christmas Morn‘.

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.


bigflower   ‘Sound Of Silence’
Single/1st January 2020

How apt that my first review of the year is a cover of the Simon And Garfunkel classic ‘The Sound Of Silence’; a song associated with the mid sixties when the world was full of hope and revolution of peace and love; a beautifully written and recorded folk rock classic. This version by the brilliant bigflower is quite the opposite. This is a dark piece of nihilism a psychotic and slightly psychedelic sleazy lounge lizard rendition, a version that soundtracks the lack of hope we have for the future new decade as we exist under the cloud of hate poverty and despair.

As ever, this shows the world just what it is not getting to hear as it’s force fed smart phone pop (or should that be pap on radio and TV). In these times of unease we should be hearing the call of revolution of high art; we should be letting the kids enjoy the feeling and exhilaration their parents and grandparents felt when they turned on the radio. There are bands artists out there who are just as capable and talented as the bands of yore. Just that they are not being given the chance to shine. Come the revolution – and believe me it is only a matter of time – bigflower will be leading the way.




Pintandwefall  ‘Your Stories Baby’
(Soliti Music) LP/17th January 2020

 

Ah rock n roll I gave you the best years of my wife. The not so subtle sounds of garage punk and well-written pop, of which I have grown very fond of in my 53 years on this planet. This is a little gem of an album; nothing outstandingly different to many other indie garage punk pop albums, but this has enough quirkiness and more importantly it has a soul and immaturity that many other bands can only wish for. A band that has been touched by the hand of pop suss; a band that sounds like it has been force fed 60s girl group records followed by post punk hits for their afters: twangy guitars, one fingered keyboard riffs, “na na na” choruses and synths that whiiirrl. Perfect imperfect pop: and what is more perfect than that.




Sunflowers  ‘Endless Voyage’
(Stolen Body Records) LP/14th February 2020

 

This is a concept LP I’m led to believe, and on the whole I’m not a great fan of them as they normally play out as a way to release an album with shit lyrics, and try and con the listener that it’s more important than it actually is. Normally it is a cabbage like thing dressed up as full salad with relish and everything. It’s a sign of a band that is getting bored with itself and is running out of ideas and have forgotten how to write good songs, but not in this case. On the whole Endless Voyage is a very enjoyable album with screeching guitars, twonking synths, and is mostly instrumental: hence the lack of shit lyrics. The instrumentals are the better tracks on the LP; the tracks with vocals are the least interesting – reminding me of Blur when they where going through their American art rock phase but without Blur’s pop suss. If the Sunflowers had made it a wholly instrumental album I feel it could have been something pretty special instead of the just pretty good album we have here.




Shadow Show  ‘Silhouettes’
(Stolen Body Records) LP/14th February 2020

 

Any LP that kicks off with a wonderful blast of The Beatles’ ‘Taxman’ riffery (‘Charades’) is fine with me. Sparkling sixties jangle tangle with melodies not heard since the last band decided that The Beatles are not such a bad thing, and if you are going to be influenced by anyone why not the greatest band ever.

Silhouettes as I have already mentioned in a few reviews of other new releases already this year, isn’t the most original of albums but it is a damn fine listen, filled as it is with great catchy guitar pop tunes. And Shadow Show is better than most at plundering the wonderful musical sounds the decade of the 60s produced. When it comes to the end if 2020 I wouldn’t be surprised to find this LP being one of my most played and loved of the year.




Bruce Hendrickson and The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies  ‘Any Sunny Day’
Single/24th December 2019

 

‘Any Sunny Day’ is poetic stroll of Sparklehorse like beauty, softly strummed guitars and eerie synths that takes you on a journey to the psych of a perfect day; a soundtrack to a long lost black and white photo of happier times. The b-side or second track if you like, ‘Roll End Credits’, is what the Velvet Underground might of sounded like if they were obsessed by Hank and his Shadows and produced by the great Joe Meek. Please tell me that there is going to be a album, as this is magical.




Stovepipe  ‘Born to Jive/Never Surrender’
(Jezus Factory) Single/21st February 2020

 

Is Garage Rock the new garage rock? Is it making a bit of a comeback or has it never gone away, as I’m certainly being sent loads of it to review. This single/EP is a five track (three of which are bonus tracks) treat for lovers of loud guitars and garage rock organ sounds. Once again nothing ground breaking but it is garage rock. It’s what it says on the tin or the label in this case, and lovers of 60s tinged frenzy and pre-punk pub rock – even occasionally slipping into post punk psych as on ‘I Wanna Be Your Favourite Pair Of Pajamas’ – will no doubt enjoy it and will want in their record collection.




Floodlights  ‘Backyard’
(Spunk Records) EP/21st February 2020

 

What I like about this EP is how Australian it sounds – a bit like the Hoodoo Gurus meet the Triffids -; four songs that recall traveling across the wilds of Australia. Not that I’ve ever been there, but I imagine Backyard would make a wonderful soundtrack if I were ever lucky enough to. It also reminds me of early 80s Kinks around their time of the ‘Come Dancing’ hit, which again can only be a good thing as Ray Davies is certainly no slouch at the old song writing lark. So all in all a very impressive EP.


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