Reviews/Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea



Salem Trials ‘Do Something Dangerous’
(Metal Postcard Records) Album/5th July 2020


This is the label debut LP from one of the bands of 2020 – a fact I’ve previously mentioned in reviewing their first two singles, both of which are featured on this wonderful album; the Captain Beefheart meets the Buzzcocks ‘Head On Rong’ and whip frenzy Wire like pop gem ‘Pictures Of Skin’. The rest of the tracks are no slouches either; mining their influences from late 70s early 80s post punk but without just being a post punk photo fit band, the influences are there but they add their own unique twist adding a beautiful wash of pop melody and some simply stunning guitar playing – especially on the beautifully dark but life enhancing ‘No Light Escapes’.

Andy Goz is one of the most inspiring guitarists I’ve heard in a very long time and is obviously not just an extremely talented musician but must also have a great knowledge and understanding of what makes great rock n roll as the pre punk spirit of the Stooges, MC5 and The Pink Fairies are not just captured but hoisted on flag stands and waived as a taunting warning to all the other many less inspired guitar bands that there are new kids on the block and this simply fine album is the benchmark that they probably have not a hope in hell of reaching. A simply stunning debut.

 






Japanese Television ‘Bee Cage’
(Tip Top Recordings) Single ahead of a new EP, released 4th September 2020




I like this, it’s a short blast of wonky keyboard organ led heavy bass Sci-fi surf frenzy: Just what one wants to pickle an egg. Dick Dale goes for a moonwalk with Joe Meek whilst wondering what goodness lies beneath the waves of yesterday. Summer sweet sensation, a joyride for the bequiffed buffoon that lies deep within all men of a certain age. A Deeley Bopper of a single.






Various ‘A Picture Of Good Health Compilations’
(Wormhole World) Albums/Volumes 3.1 & 3.2 14th July 2020




What we have here is the latest comps from the experimental Wormhole World Records; two albums full of experimental genre hopping music with something for everyone; from the beautiful almost David Lynch soundtrack like Goodparley to the experimental mellow dance sounds of Gnaarf and DXII, to the crazy mad world of Toxic Chicken, to the poetic Crumpsall Riddle, and any fans collectors of 80s synth pop will be interested to find a new track by Blancmange – the beautiful synth instrumental ‘This Is The Moment I Have Been Waiting For’.

In all, this is a massive musical project and all tracks believe me are worthy of investigation: a great way to soundtrack a Sunday afternoon as I’ve discovered to my great pleasure.

There are in all thirty-nine tracks spread over two limited edition CDs 3.1 and 3.2 or two downloads from the Wormhole Bandcamp and is well worth a explore; and if you buy both CDs at the same time you save yourself a £1, so go and treat yourself.






Twisted Ankle ‘A Bag of Pasta’
(Breakfast Records) Single/19th June 2020




A bag of fall and Captain Beefheart discordance shaken up and let lose to breed and corrupt the inner workings of a Daily Mail readers fan club convention; a disconcerting eyelash flutter at the conventional tale of Siegfried and his lust for finding the ideal companion for apple bobbin. Yes a loose cannon of a single.






The Top Boost ‘Tell Me That Your Mine’
(You Are The Cosmos Records) Single/22nd June 2020




The sound of the Byrds going through their country phase is brought to mind with this fine blast of summer jangle. At the moment there seems to be a lot of jangle about and that cannot be a bad thing when it is performed with such style and panache. Two more tracks of 60s influenced guitar pop for you dear readers to soundtrack you sunning yourselves with.






Renaissance Grrl ‘Happy When I’m Sad’
Single/5th June 2020




This is a lovely sad well-performed song of melancholy by the 18-year-old Alannah Jackson. Alone with her guitar, nothing more nothing less, just a simple moment of purity, which should be cherished and held close; proving once again that keeping it simple is sometimes best especially when you are blessed with such a fine voice and songwriting talent.






The Icebergs ‘Add Vice’
(Imaginator Records) Album/17th July 2020




Beautifully strange is the only way to describe this marvelous album of pure poetic bliss. What grabs me from the off are the wonderful lyrics (an art form much ignored in the music biz today). Lyrical streams of them flowing weaving beautiful, frightening heart-breaking images throughout, bringing the early works of Patti Smith and PJ Harvey in a mellow mood to mind and musically reminding me of Nick Cave’s band of merry men the Bad Seeds rockabilly, folk, the Velvet’s guitar pop and the sounds of late Seventies no-wave, all merging to form a canvas for the poet Jane LeCroy to paint beautifully vivid pictures with her wonderful prose and wonderful voice.






bigflower ‘hunneh’
Single/27th June 2020




The Monolith Cocktail continue in their quest of promoting the under-the-radar beguiling guitar power of bigflower, who once again releases a beautiful sublime slab of free to download aural magic with this wondrous instrumental. When oh when will a record label get their act together and compile an album of the wonders bigflower is releasing on a monthly basis?






Spam Javelin ‘Fuck You/Cogged Off’
Single/20th June 2020




This is a double jab in the eye of pure punk rock old style; two tracks that both last around the 1 min 30 mark and come charging into your life, rattles a few of your remaining brain cells and then pisses off again: which all good punk rock songs should do. Both have rather marvelous guitar riffs especially ‘Cogged Off ‘, which has a wonderful Fall like guitar riff running throughout.






Beaulieu Porch ‘Vivit Sumus’
(Carmite Records) Album/7th June 2020




The lonely world of home-recorded psych can be a beautiful cathartic thing. It can be a thing filled with beauty, magic and soul, and the music of Beaulieu Porch has all three of those ingredients. Mid 70s Lennon and the wayward beauty of the Flaming Lips and the lost music of late 60s early 70s psych folk and Baroque pop collide in a thrilling mismatch of wanton musical adventure. Beaulieu Porch make such beautiful music it deserves to be heard by all instead of by the lucky few in the know; yes once again a musical underground musical maverick who deserves more is becoming quite a feature in these review round ups nowadays, so if you have not heard the music of Beaulieu Porch before do yourself a huge favour and give this fine album a listen; and if you have heard them no doubt this cd will already be in your collection. One of the undergrounds finest.






The Vapour Trails ‘Golden Sunshine’
(Futureman Records) Album/19th June 2020




Sometimes a bit of 60s inspired guitar jangle is what one needs in their life. And if you need that dose of sunshine in your life currently, one could do a lot worse than give this album a listen.

Hailing from Scotland The Vapour Trails are yet another band who wear their love of all things guitar very much on their sleeves: although I’m very sure The Teenage Fanclub influence is there it’s not as prominent as a lot of bands I have been sent music to review over the last 18 months. The opening track ‘Golden Sunshine’ had me thinking of the excellent and much underrated Spirea X [remember them] and a few tracks on this album have the early 90s guitar band feel of The La’s [especially on ‘Different Girl’] and the Cotton Mather; but that comes with them in turn having the same 60s influences (Beatles Byrds and such), and I’m sure the Shack’s masterpiece Waterpistol had more than a few airings in The Vapour Trails rehearsal space.

This is a fine album full of melody catchy guitar lines and is steeped in an obvious love and understanding of what makes great 60s inspired guitar music and what makes 60s inspired guitar music great.






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 releases include The Bordellos beautifully despondent pains-of-the-heart and mockery of clique “hipsters” ode to Liverpool, and the diatribe ‘Boris Johnson Massacre’. He has 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

Playlist/Dominic Valvona/Brian “Bordello” Shea/Matt Oliver





For those of you that have only just joined us as new followers and readers, our former behemoth Quarterly Playlist Revue is now no more! With a massive increase in submissions month-on-month, we’ve decided to go monthly instead in 2020. The June playlist carries on from where the popular quarterly left off; picking out the choice tracks that represent the Monolith Cocktail’s eclectic output – from all the most essential new Hip-Hop cuts to the most dynamic music from across the globe. New releases and the best of reissues have been chosen by me, Dominic Valvona, Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea and Matt Oliver.

Tracklist In Full:


Thiago Nassif  ‘Soar Estranho’
Freak Heat Waves  ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’
Lithics  ‘Hands’
Ammar 808 ft. Susha  ‘Marivere Gati’
Bab L’ Bluz  ‘Gnawa Beat’
The Koreatown Oddity ft. Taz Arnold  ‘Ginkabiloba’ 
Koma Saxo  ‘Koma Mate’
Wish Master  ‘Write Pages’
Gee Bag, Illinformed  ‘I Can Be (Sam Krats Remix)’
Gorilla Twins  ‘Highs & Lows’
Jeffrey Lewis  ‘Keep It Chill In The East Village’
Armand Hammer  ‘Slew Foot’
Public Enemy  ‘State Of The Union’
Run The Jewels  ‘Yankee And The Brave (ep.4)’
Gaul Plus  ‘Church Of The Motorway’
Tamburi Neri  ‘Indio’
Ty, Durrty Goodz  ‘The Real Ones’
Fierro Ex Machina  ‘A Sail Of All Tears’
Skyzoo  ‘Turning 10’
Kahil El’Zabar ft. David Murray  ‘Necktar’
Afel Bocoum  ‘Avion’
Etienne de la Sayette  ‘Safari Kamer’
The Lancashire Hustlers  ‘Stuck In The Middle Of A Week’
Scarlet’s Well  ‘Sweetmeat’
Campbell Sibthorpe  ‘Good Lord’
Westerman  ‘Drawbridge’
The Fiery Furnaces  ‘Down At The So And So On Somewhere’
Kutiman  ‘Copasavana’
Caleb Landry Jones  ‘The Great I Am’
Bedd  ‘You Have Nice Things’
The Original Magnetic Light Parade  ‘Confusion Reigns’
Cosse  ‘Sun Forget Me’
Bananagun  ‘Modern Day Problems’
Salem Trials  ‘Head On Rong’
Lucidvox  ‘Runaway’
HighSchool  ‘Frosting’
Jon Hassell  ‘Fearless’

All our monthly playlists so far in 2020

 

 

 

 


REVIEWS GALORE/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 releases include The Bordellos beautifully despondent pains-of-the-heart and mockery of clique “hipsters” ode to Liverpool, and the diatribe ‘Boris Johnson Massacre’. He has 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.


The Original Magnetic Light Parade ‘Smoke & Mirrors/Confusion Reigns’
(Bearsuit Records) Single/26th June 2020


Once again Bearsuit Records bring us music of beauty and sheer magical elegance, with this fine experimental two tracker by The original Magnetic Light Parade. Sci-fi synths float and caress the air to bring us, the listener, to a higher state of consciousness; a lone acoustic guitar leads us on a gentle floating journey through the clear water of the love laden memories of a past we so wish we had. So yet again, a release of true wanton instrumental genius.




Deleo ‘Mythomania’
(Made It Records) Single/19th June 2020




Ah at long last a song with melody and a melancholy pop freshness that has been missing from this batch of new releases. Yes I have had a heavy metal EP were all the songs are about video gaming and a LP the Quietus has said nice things about according to the press release (do they expect me to fall down to my knees get my cock out and wank over it just because the quietus likes it). If the quietus likes it, it can mean two things either that it is tuneless shit that so called intellectuals will pretend to like or it came out 40 years ago. But with this release the lovely sad mellow pop Deleo saves my early Saturday morning reviewing session with a blissful three minutes of sublimeness.





Bananagun ‘The True Story Of Bananagun’
(Full Time Hobby/Anti-Fade) Album/26th June 2020




From the off I like this LP. It sounds like a barrel load of monkeys discovering the joys of sunshine pop. 60s harmonies, fast strummed guitars with wah wah solo’s, and that’s only the first track, this is a band that grew up watching Matt Helm films and Beatles cartoons and longed to own a time machine so they could have played the hip and happening clubs of swinging 60s London.

5th Dimension Funk meets Syd’s Pink Floyd in an explosion of technicolour wonderment, a true joy of nostalgic longing wrapped up in the sound of pure unadulterated joyfully playful psych tinged sunshine pop.




Colossous ‘Running In The Sand’
Single/15th June 2020




This is a rather marvelous single; 80s pop synths and even amusement arcade middle eight. The kind of song that would have enriched an early 80s Top Of The Pops (you can imagine it sandwiched between Duran Duran and The Teardrop Explodes) but with a slightly post punk feel; John Peel no doubt tapping his toes and arching one eyebrow whilst we at home sang along from the printed lyrics in that week’s copy of Smash Hits. A gem of a single.




Sir Robert Orange Peel ‘Piers Morgan 1-0 Everyone Else’
(Metal Postcard Records) Single/9th June 2020




I love this. There is revolution in the air and this wonderful track sticks two fingers up at the government and their bordering on criminal handling of the Covid-19 pandemic; a track that features the sense and outrage spoken by at one time one of the most despised characters on British TV Piers Morgan, but who for some strange reason has suddenly become one of the only voices of reason and true outrage at our flimsy poor evil fat cat government who puts money over lifetime and time again this is both a wonderful protest song and a tribute to Piers Morgan [who would have believed it ]shows what a crazy world we are living in.





Salem Trials ‘Pictures Of Skin’
(Metal Postcard Records) Single/13th June 2020




The best new band of 2020 anyone?? The second single coming not even a month after their wonderful debut, these two tracks are ram jam packed of Wire like pop suss: imagine Pete Shelley gargling with a mouthful of spiders [from mars] whilst juggling old vinyl LPs of Tubeway Army and Subway Sect bootlegs, whilst starring Johnny Rotten style at some leather clad beauty who is far too good to even consider you. Yes this is perfect rock n roll that captures the magic and true spirit of the greatest of the art forms. And a big round of applause should go to Metal Postcard Records who released this, and who are quietly becoming the greatest label on the planet.





The Amplifier Heads ‘The Man With A Sun For A Head’
EP/18th June 2020




Although at the moment of typing it is currently raining cats and dogs, but even the inclement weather cannot put a dampener on this fine EP of XTC like pop wonder. The lead off title-track is a fine example of how to make let’s throw the kitchen sink at it work. A song of bright sunshine goodness leaps from the speakers leaving the room to sparkle and bathe in a glow of sunshine psyche so much so that it could easily hold its own on XTC’s excellent Oranges And Lemons album: a song so British sounding it could have only been made by a American. If this was 1967 I would predict a hit single in the offing.




Ageing Children ‘Live’
(Bearsuit Records) LP/18th June 2020




Noise is a musical virtue; it is one of the wonders of the world when it is performed right, and in the right situation can make the dullest of days seem like an adventure into the unknown, and this album of discordant guitar noise is a case in point. This has everything one wants in a noise album; it has atonal discordance it has melody seeping from the dark corners of your psyche. Track two, ‘You Have to Work Hard To Live Like This’, could have easily fitted onto Scott Walker’s masterpiece The Drift, and the wonderful ‘Silaninans Head’ sounds like the theme of Jaws played under water by the Mary Chain in the middle of a fox hunt: a truly magical listening experience indeed.

If anyone out there wants to dip their toes into something a little different and get away from the four white boys playing guitars and drums and singing about love, then this is an ideal place to start from. This is one of the most rewarding listening experiences I have had this year; for it has everything one wants from an album, it has noise power and moments of sublime beauty.




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