Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea’s Roundup
Unless stated otherwise, all releases are currently available to buy.

SINGLES:

Schizo Fun Addict ‘Fate Chaser’

Schizo Fun Addict are one of the Magnificent Seven; one of the most important bands in the underground today: one of the seven bands that are making music as good as anything released in the history of rock ‘n’ roll.

Music wise they are a jack-of-all-trades and master of them all. They take musical genres and mix them with a cunning ease and panache that other bands can only stand with mouths agape wondering how they achieve such beauty and experimental originality. With this their new single they dip their toes into the magical myth that is the Laurel Canyon of the late 60s, and produce a song of supreme summer jangle. This is the sound of Michelle Philips combing her hair; the sound of Arthur Lee preening himself in front of a full-length mirror in the castle. This is pure nostalgia, a song of the summers we no longer seem to be blessed with; a tear stained memory of teenage romantic yearning.

bigflower ‘The Pill’

The dark world of bigflower once again is upon us with a lovely strange voyage of psyche and psychosis; an off-kilter journey where not everything seems to be where it should be, but strangely fits together perfectly. A song that strangely could and should last longer, which is indeed a very rare thing; an aural journey of a song with shuffling drum beat and beautifully simple strummed electric guitar led astray in a wave of vague drone solitude. Another winner from Ivor Perry.

Borben Dallas & His Filipino Cupids ‘Too Convenient’

I love this single. It starts off all scuzzed-up rock ‘n’ roll and dank and pringy and urgent, then in the middle goes all experimental and almost Beach Boys like. It gives one the impression that Borben Dallas has just found god or at least a God substitute. The post-finding-God section of the song goes back to the first but with an added pringiness that one can only bow their head or even shake it in a Status Quo like manner to. A spellbinder of a single. Originality is not dead it is alive and well and living in the essence of Borben Dallas and His Filipino Cupids.

Martha and the Muffins ‘Save It For Later’

The man who wrote this song is actually a bit of a fan of my band The Bordellos, calling me the natural successor to John Cooper Clarke. Maybe he meant I too am skinny and wear all black, but sadly my hair has long gone the way of my hopes and dreams completely out the window. But that man be the wonderful talented songwriter Dave Wakeling who of course was and is frontman of Ska Beat legends The Beat and this my dearest cherubs is a cover of their classic ‘Save It For Later’, and it’s not a bad version. It’s all post punk jangles and a melody no doubt one would hear emitting even echoing on a beach [see what I did there] from a tiny transistor radio this summer. Martha And The Muffins have indeed done a pop delight of a cover and has managed to put a smile on my face and a skank to my hips. [Please do not take that image to bed with you, I beg of you].

James Howard ‘Baloo’
(Faith & Industry)

As I sit mid Sunday morning writing reviews, this is pretty perfect listening; a song that takes and pulls in the art of traditional songwriting and wraps it around ones heart, squeezing tears and hope from your now moistened eyes. A track of pure beauty; a song I can imagine the great Elvis Presley performing with such gusto and panache extinguishing all the previous night’s demons.  James Howard could well be one to watch and I await an album with my breath somewhat baited. A true beaut of a song.

Fast De ‘Miss Trutti Finally Found Her Gem’
(Bloomer Records)

A lovely instrumental surprise of fuzzed-up pop grandeur, fuzzy synths get off my tail eloquence, and a sweet, so sweet scuzzy melody that it will not just rot your teeth as you chew on it, getting all the juicy goodness from the track, but your grandmas and her twice removed wannabe lovers teeth as well. Yes indeed it is times like this one can only sit back and enjoy the taste of adventure in music.

Pineapple ‘Trials’
(Metal Postcard Records)

Pineapple is a fruity little dish of a band, taking in post punk and talking in post punk sensibilities. It’s an EP of nostalgic splendor; one that takes me back to the days when the local punk band had to compete with the jukebox in the down at heel pub venue, we of a certain age all have played/frequented at some time in our lives. Yes, this is an EP of enjoyable guitar punky scrunge that takes in Billy Childish, Julian Cope and The Fall in equal measure, and ‘Snake & Ladders’ is one of the best songs about football I have heard in many a year.

Linn ‘Happiness is Real’

I love this track. I have listened to it a number of times in a row, and found it a song that is both utterly bewitching and quite disconcerting: imagine Jane [‘Its A Fine Day’ fame] being swallowed whole by early My Bloody Valentine on the sunniest yet saddest day of the year. I hope Linn has an album coming out soon as I think I’m ready to be seduced.

ALBUMs/EPs

Faust ‘Punkt’
(Bureau B)

Punkt is the lost album by Faust and everybody loves a good lost album. But in honesty many lost albums actually deserve to remain lost and never be found. They are lost for a good reason normally, the reason quite often being it is not very good, but years later are looked through rose-tinted nostalgic eyes and held to one’s collective bosom as a work of previously unreleased genius.

But there is always an exception, and like Shacks masterwork Waterpistol, Punkt is that exception. 

Punkt carries on where Faust IV left of, with a brief ear turned and tuned into melody where the industrial noise is swamped with psych-tinged song writing skill and invention. ‘Morning Land’ sounding very much like what Einstürzende Neubauten would make years later with great success. ‘Knochentanz’ is indeed a Chinese burn of a track, taking jazz and electronic noise to new extremes; like a melting corpse dripping into the eyes of the soulful bugler at dawn wondering whether alcohol will taste quite the same again, it is almost funky and after many spirit enhancing drugs could well be danced to and even at the length of 11.45 it never outstays its welcome. ‘Fernlicht’ follows as a short psychedelic interlude, again covering the noise and drone with a quite becoming melody. And that is a fair summing up of the album actually: the normal Faust invention of drone and noise but with a covering of instrumental beauty, as the quite breath-taking journey of a track ‘Schön Rund’ proves: the sound of Elton John slowly sinking into the ocean; a treat indeed.

So as a lost album this is indeed a found again treasure; one that all lovers of Krautrock will enjoy and stroke the chins over a martini to [or other tipples of choice]. 

Jelly Crystall ‘ILY’
(Smuggler Music/PIAS) 3rd June 2022

All said and done this EP is rather beautiful. The opening track reminds me of the beautiful Paul Quinn and the Spirit of Independence albums, which is indeed high praise. There is such a romantic 50s early 60s magic that those periods in time oozed with, and Jelly Crystal have captured the magic without being too retro.

This is music to be heard coming out of your radio whilst you slow dance with your significant other in the darkness, in the park with the cool evening breeze whispering sweet nothings…truly magical.

Alas The Sun ‘Wild Honey Inn’
(Taxi Gauche Records)

The beautiful sound of summer is what we have here; jangling guitars beautiful harmonies and well-written songs with heart and soul. Everybody who reads these reviews of mine knows I am a sucker for bands with boy/girl vocal duets, and Alas The Sun are indeed blessed with such a thing; both voices blending into a soft honey dew like substance that melts and makes you feel all warm inside.

Whether it be the jazzy ‘Distant Drone’ or the subtle ‘White Rabbit’ soft shuffling beat of ‘Love At Twenty-Two’, which is almost Prefab Sproutish in its texture and feel, Wild Honey Inn is an album of laid-back beauty; an ideal record to soundtrack sheltering in the shade on a too hot summer’s day, when lazing about relaxing is all one needs in life.

Black Monitor  ‘Snake Of My Heart’
(Ikarus Records)

Snake Of My Heart is an album full of tuneful joyful psychedelic pop, and lovers of such will indeed enjoy it. To be honest, there is nothing not to enjoy about it, as it is vibrant, wide space music made to fill the wide musical space in your life; an album taking in the influences of Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett, the Brianjonestown Massacre, early Blur and many other fine pop bands touching on c86 jangle, especially on the Sarah Records like ‘On A Wire’. But there is a slight difference as Black Monitor has a slightly dark edge to the music, a slight uneasiness that many bands that produce music of this ilk do not quite manage to achieve.

There’s a slight appealing wonkiness and depth to the songs that I think will draw me back to and explore more and more over the coming weeks, a quality that many fail to produce with alt radio friendly songs. This a quite lovely and rewarding listen.

Super Hit ‘Pocket Rock EP’
(Metal Postcard Records)

There is a beauty in lo-fi jangly guitar music that I cannot resist, and this seven-track mini album is full of the beautiful little blighters. Any one of the seven songs could quite easily fit onto the compilations Sarah Records released in their all too brief existence. Songs that beguile and charm in equal measure, songs soaked in DIY bedroom lack of glamour but steeped in a yearning and heartache and pure charm that really is hard to beat, and Super Hit is an artist deserving of more attention.

Spiral Of Silence ‘Landmark’
(Jezus Factory)

This is Spiral Of Silence’s first release in 20 years, a band I have not come across before, and described as the Belgian Joy Division – probably because they are from Belgium and have that Peter Hook/Cure bass thing going on and are quite dark and gothic. And despite all that I still enjoyed the EP.

It is nothing I have not heard before, but The Spiral Of Silence do the Joy Division thing very well and cover their darkness with layers of radio friendly melody, and I can see it appealing to the long black coat brigade [if they still exist].

PLAYLIST
Dominic Valvona/Matt Oliver/Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea’





By now we’ll probably all aware and getting jaded by the constant newsroll of Covid-19 horror stories, and the ominous stench of pandemic armageddon. To return to some sort of normality, the Monolith Cocktail promises to keep finding all the best new music for you to enjoy and mull over. No cheap epidemic cash-ins and no tenuous links to self-promotional lockdowns here. Just great music, which we hope you will all keep supporting during these anxious uncertain times.

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 March 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.



THE TRACKS IN FULL ARE:

Lunar Bird  ‘A Walk’
TrueMendous  ‘Hmmm’
Awale Jant Band  ‘Just Be Free’
Mdou Moctar  ‘Ibitlan’
Collocutor  ‘The Angry One’
Superposition  ‘Antiplace’
The Stroppies  ‘Holes In Everything’
Pozi  ‘Whitewashing’
Loose Fit  ‘PULL THE LEVER’
The National Honor Society  ‘First Among The Last’
Jacqueline Tucci  ‘Fear’
Jaga Jazzist  ‘Spiral Era (EDit)’
Jennifer Touch  ‘Attic’
Bedd  ‘Auto Harp’
The Saxophones  ‘Flower Spirit’
Schizo Fun Addict  ‘Whiskey’
Ploom  ‘Swish’
Tamikrest  ‘Amidnin Tad Adouniya’
Hifiklub & Roddy Bottum  ‘David Says’
Rowland S Howard  ‘Pop Crimes’
The Hannah Barbeas  ‘No Majesty’
The Proper Ornaments  ‘Broken Insect’
Irreversible Entanglements  ‘No Mas’
Nduduzo Makhathini  ‘Indawu’
Masta Ace  ‘GMO’
Riz Ahmed  ‘Fast Lava’
Voodoo Black  ‘Fizzy’
dug & Hassan el HoBo  ‘Electric Sheep’
Harold Nano  ‘Menton Train Jump’
Slitty Wrists  ‘Su-Mi-Ma-Sen’
Shortwave Research Group  ‘Perpetual Midnight’
Cult Of The Damned (Lee Scott, Mikavelli, BeTheGun, Bill Shakes, Sly Moon & Saler)  ‘OFFIE’
Run The Jewels Ft. Greg Nice & DJ Premier  ‘Ooh LA LA’
Super Inuit  ‘Mothering Tongue’
Sebastian Reynolds  ‘The Universe Remembers’
Chouk Bwa & The Angstromers  ‘Move Ten’
Tom Caruana  ‘Dennis The Space Hopper’
Clear Soul Forces  ‘Chinese Funk’
Ghostwood Development Project Ft. Kool Keith  ‘Gulley’
Bishop Nehru  ‘Too Last’
Nomad, Chester P  ‘Athens In Mordor (Secondson Remix)’
Cut Beetlez. Nice Guys  ‘Cut Ya Ass Up’
Jehst  ‘Wild Herb’
Mr Key  ‘Kids Story 2’
Pwaz One, DJ Dister, Akrobatik  ‘No Contest’
Estee Nack, Superior ft. Daniel Son  ‘POPROCKCLASSICS’



And Now, A Word From Our Founder

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.


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 releases include The Bordellos beautifully despondent pains-of-the-heart and mockery of clique “hipsters” ode to Liverpool, and, under the guises of the Idiot Blur Fanboy moniker, a stripped down classic 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.

With all live gigs and events more or less quashed for the foreseeable future, buying music (whether it’s physical or through digital platforms such as Bandcamp) has never been more important for the survival of the bands/artists/collectives that create it. We urge you all to keeping supporting; to keep listening.


Loose Fit   ‘Loose Fit EP’
(FatCat Records) EP/3rd April 2020

I do like a bit of bass heavy post punk and Loose Fit do it better than most. This reminds more than a than a bit of Bow Wow Wow and then all of a sudden on ‘Reflux’ the memories of the wonderful X Ray Spex come surging back, which is no bad thing: a lot worse could come surging back than memories of one of punk’s finest. There’s honking sax, which you do not hear often in bass heavy post punk unless you call the Coasters bass heavy post punk, whom of course you can’t unless you have never heard the Coasters – and then you can think anything. Isn’t imagination a wonderful thing.




Ploom ‘Ploom EP’
EP/6th March 2020




What we have here my dears is the debut EP from Denver Psych band Ploom, or that is how they describe themselves in the press release. And that will do for me, as they do have a slight psych feel about them. Going off at various tangents throughout their songs at times, they recall a sunny Mothers of Invention or psychedelic Strokes: in fact you could call them Sun Strokes! (Please no groaning at the back). No really this is a rather excellent listen; a band to listen to whilst riding in a open top car to on a summers day and can imagine them doing really well on the festival circuit: a band to wave giant inflatable too.






Occult Character   ‘Steve Albini’s Kundalini ‘
(Metal Postcard) LP/9th March 2020




A brand new LP from the wonderful Occult Character, and as ever, dark funny lyrical portraits of life in the USA today is the order of the day, but this time taking on a more musically commercial slant. Synth led beats smoother production, and if not for the many curse words, you could imagine gracing daytime radio. This could almost be a pop album it certainly deserves to reach a larger audience. Who else but Occult Character would write a song about a homophobic microwave and other such oddities? It is indeed a crazy world and maybe this is the album to soundtrack it.




Various   ‘Mark Barton’s Sunday Experience Album’
(Bearsuit Records)  LP/27th March 2020




This LP breaks my heart a little as it is a tribute to someone I considered a friend; somebody who I talked via the internet to for over 15 years, and had a great drunken night out with together watching my sons band Vukovar: the first of many nights, or so we thought. But sadly he discovered he had cancer not long after and through various reasons we never got to meet up again.

Mark was a lovely great man who also happened to be a great writer and a great supporter of underground music, and the underground community thought a great deal of Mark, as this CD proves. This could have easily been a 100-track box set, for all the artists giving up tracks to this fine tribute to a fine man. This CD shows what a wide and varied taste Mark had, and he had a beautiful poetic way of praising the music he loved with his writing: one I won’t even try to match.

The music on this album is as I have already said varied, but what it has in common is that it is all excellent, all unique in their own ways; from the dark sweeping guitar sounds of bigflower to the psych tinged rock n roll of the Moon Duo and Schizo Fun Addict, to the wayward lo-fi shambolic of my own Bordellos – a song we wrote a few years ago in tribute the great man and his fine blog.

There are washes with the experimental: the excellent Harold Nono and the Polypores, BBC 6Music faves The Lovely Eggs, and JD Meatyard, even the legendary noise gods Godflesh make an appearance. So many great reasons to purchase this CD.

Mark would be more than a little embarrassed but also deeply touched by this compilation; I just wish he was still around for to enjoy this fine tribute.

All money raised goes to the Macmillan Cancer Support charity.




Rita Braga ‘Tremble Like A Ghost’
Single/21st March 2020


Rita Berga - monolith cocktail

What the world needs now more than anything else is an electro Betty Boop. It really does. And that is what we have here. Three and a half minutes of pop fun. The kind of song that could make you breakout into sporadic leg and hand movements that resembles a meeting of the Charleston you know and love committee. Yes a quirky little pop gem, one for us oldsters and you youngsters and those in-between.




Schizo Fun Addict  ‘The Last Wave’
(Flicknife Records)  LP/Now


Schizo Fun Addict a band that should be cherished and held close to one’s heart. They are one of the many bands that deserve to be better known and raved about, so with this the new album I’m going to do just that and rave about the beauty and joy one can have by losing themselves in Schizos own and original sounding laid back beauty. Sixties psych merges with smooth American FM late night 70’s sounds and British 80’s pop, one of the only bands of today I can hear the influence of Prefab Sprout creep through as well as their obvious love of the Stone Roses and My Bloody Valentine.

The Schizos have so much going for them. Not just fine original musicians and great songwriters but they have one of the most beautiful female voices in modern pop with the candy covered angel whisper of Jayne Gabriel: a voice I could listen to all day and completely lose myself in.

So for anyone out there who hasn’t heard of the Schizo Fun Addict go and do yourselves a favour start with this album and then work your way back through the treasure of a back catalogue. And a treasure it surely is: a band to be treasured in fact.



The Hannah Barberas ‘Into The Wild’
LP/3rd April 2020




Ah C86 those were the days; when boys with floppy fringes wore their hearts on their sleeves, and their guitar songs of love gone wrong and love in waiting. And this enjoyable album by the Hannah Barberas takes us all back there. Over jangly guitars, occasional northern soul beats, and songs of love gone right and long, this LP almost had me wanting to put leather patches on the elbows of my Oxfam jackets and dig out a Davy Crockett hat and kneel and pray to an effigy of Saint Edwyn. This album is highly recommended for those who want to return to those fine days of the June Brides and Brilliant Corners.




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