REVIEWS/Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea





The cult leader of the infamous lo fi gods, The Bordellos, Brian ‘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 Bordellos beautifully despondent pains-of-the-heart and mockery of clique “hipsters” ode to Liverpool, the diatribe ‘Boris Johnson Massacre’ and just in the last month, The King Of No-Fi album. 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.


Violent Vickie ‘Division’
Album/4th September 2020


Thank the lord for the splendid Violent Vickie and her love for waving darkly at both inanimate and moving objects, for what we have here is a dive head first into her musical synth art of an album: the place where synths whoosh and drum machines do the noise drum machines make, which on the whole is much preferable to the sounds a drummer makes and without less sweat, unless Prince Andrew was the drummer that is and if that was the case someone should warn young Victoria to watch her back and front and all her other areas for that Prince is a bad un.

But what we have here in fact is a royal treasure of an album; an alternative disco Goth delight of an album; one that builds and interjects with an atmospheric grace most dark wave releases [yes and I hear plenty of those; most I ignore] would love to achieve. What moves this album up a notch from 99 per cent of all the other alternative dark synth dark wave that comes my way is Violent Vickie’s grasp of melody and the catchy synth riff, ‘The Blame’ track being a prime example, a riff that weaves its merry way throughout the track without overstaying it’s welcome.

There is also a slightly “ok I am about to lose it feel” about the songs; the “yes I am teetering on the edge and I am not sure what way I am going to fall” feel; a feel I fully support, recognise and understand and which gives the music a touch of “this is my real life, my art, not me playing at being a pop princess” and I have no doubt pop princess is something Victoria could become if that was her want as she has the panache of a Peaches or Miss Kitten when the dark wave succumbs to the total disco glitterball of all the underlying influences this album possess; all but exploding on the sultry ‘Secret Wife’, a song that reeks of glorious seedy glamour.

This album is a wonderful rare thing not just a dark wave album I will want to listen to again but one I could also dance to, but that is a sight I would not force on anyone or anything living or dead: a dance I would name the Violent Vickie. And yes, this album Division is a true joy… [sorry could not resist].





See also…

Violent Vickie ‘The Blame’ Single Review



The Hannah Barberas ‘Fallow Days’
EP/13th August 2020




All the money made from this lovely jangly EP of sublime summer pop songs go to a food bank Lucy from the Hannah Barberas works at, which is reason enough to give it a spin. Four songs that are jangly and pop affirming: I would have said life affirming, but pop music is life to so many of us and this EP proves what a wonderful life pop life is with songs that have the spirit of C86 running through them. For all lovers of Orange Juice, June Brides even Belle And Sebastian and all those other bands we indie poppers love will in no doubt embrace this fine work of indie popdom.





See also…

The Hannah Barberas  ‘Into The Wild’ LP Review



Death By Unga Bunga ‘Trouble’
(Jansen Records) Single/Out Now





I like this, but then I do have a soft spot for songs with power, fun and melody, and this track has all of the aforementioned. A song that will send you spinning back to the days when power pop was briefly en vogue in the late seventies’, early eighties. Yes it almost has me wanting not to finish writing this short and sweet review and nipping onto Youtube and get misty eyed over the hits near hits and misses of The Motors. A lovely little nugget of the power pop variety.






Occult Character ‘Race To The Grave’
Track/Now





It is great to see that Occult Character is finally getting some recognition and radio play from WFMU-FM in America; a man who I’ve been writing and raving about for a couple of years now: although John Robb will probably claim to have discovered him at some point in the future when he actually gets round to hearing him.

So once again we have a under two-minute slam-dunk of a track spraying piss over the state of America and its current failings. Occult Character releases far too much material to actually stay up with him and is probably doing himself a disservice, so by the time this goes to press no doubt there will be another dozen or so tracks to marvel, laugh and cry over.





See also…

Occult Character  ‘Steve Albini’s Kundalini’ LP Review

‘Cult Of Ignorance’ Mini LP Review

‘Chittering Noises’  LPs of 2019


Various ‘Songs Of The City Of The Four Faces – Cambodian Music Of The 60s’
(Metal Postcard Records) Album/19th August 2020





I admit I know nothing about Cambodian pop music from the 60s, so I jump into this album with a little trepidation. But I’m a great lover of 60s beat music and garage rock and 60s pop and spend many a hour delving into the vaults of time unearthing forgotten gems, so I have high hopes. And I’m not disappointed with what I find. What I discover is that this is a treasure trove of 60s hip swinging beat magic; a treasure trove of groovy basslines enthusiastic backing vocals; wonderful cheap sounding 60s guitars, the kind of guitar you would pay a fortune for today; and warm Hammond organ sounds, the kind Clint Boon no doubt has wet dreams about and in the case of the track ‘Kanha Roup Sros’ by my fave of the 5 artists Ros Seresysthes, a horn led little beauty Dexy’s would release 20 years later. In fact I’d say that but Pen Ron could well be my fave newly discovered artist; pure undiluted pop genius from strange psych to out there beat pop magic to melodramatic horn led soul. On the whole this album is one of pure joyful discovery and one I would recommend to anyone even with a passing interest in 60s pop /beat music.





See also 

The Cambodian Space Project ‘Whisky Cambodia’ LP Review (Ben P Scott)

Various Artists  ‘Khmer Rouge Survivors – They Will Kill You, If You Cry’ Albums of 2016 (Dominic Valvona)



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 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. His next album, The King Of No-Fi is due out next month on Metal Postcard Records.

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.


Beauty Stab ‘French Film Embrace’
Single/12th July 2020


Oh lord this is bloody good. It’s perfect pop in its most perfect form. It gives me goosebumps. It has everything one wants in pop music. No wonder there is a buzz about this band that has not been heard of since…well, lord knows when.

This is worthy of The Associates at their heartbreaking best; a song that could and should if there was any justice in the world be all over the radio to brighten and enlighten, we the listening masses. Maybe too early in the year to say single of the year…but I will say it anyway…single of the year.



Related:

Beauty Stab Interview

Beauty Stab ‘O Edan’ 



The Waterboys ‘The Soul Singer’
(Cooking Vinyl) Single/Out Now




I have a bit of a soft spot for The Waterboys; I quite like how Mike Scott had the music world at his feet with the release of the This Is The Sea album, and was on the verge of U2 like success. It was his for the taking, but instead he locked himself away in Ireland and made two beautifully of kilter folk albums. That kind of career sabotage has to be applauded.

One of rock music’s more eccentric and lovable characters, and here we have a sonnet to another one of rock’s eccentrics the grumpily lovable Van Morrison. This is a fine sun filled pop song in a Radio 2 kind of way, the kind of song that will have you tapping your fingers on the steering wheel as you listen to the radio stuck in traffic. I wonder what Van thinks of it.






She’s A Fish ‘Downstream’
(Puffy Pastryd) Single




This is one for all you pop pickers out there with a taste for the mildly twisted, Shadow hungry psychedelic sounds bordering on the kind of off kilter post punk delights served up by the wonderful Swell Maps all those years ago; hastily scrubbed semi acoustics scratch out the nagging melody of pure austere glory. A little gem of a song.






Peel Dream Magazine ‘Moral Panics’
EP/3rd July 2020




I like this especially track two, the ridiculously titled ‘Verfremdungseffekt’, which comes on like early Julian Cope circa his first two solo albums, and early Belle and Sebastian. A mellow pop treat for sure, the Casio organ and fine melody gives one a splendid few minutes of pop bliss. The rest of the EP is fine garage pop psych tinged mellow shoegaze with lovely floating Casio like keyboards that are both soothing and enriching, giving you the warm feeling of being sponged down by the greatest hits of a sexy but enigmatic European.






Violent Vickie ‘The Blame’
Single/10th July 2020




I wonder if Violent Vickie has ever had her music described as splendid before. For that is what it is: splendid. It has a splendid lo-fi dark syntheses about it that can only be described as, well, splendid. It has a lovely dark crunchy guitar and vocals that can only be described as, splendid. The splendicity of this track is one I enjoyed a great deal and I was a bit concerned at first the press release mentions Joy Division, and normally that is a big turn off in a press release mentioning Joy Division, as every bugger who classes their music as Dark Synth always mentions Joy Division and this sounds nothing like Joy Division I’m pleased to report; there will be no mishaps hanging up her washing…thank the lord, as there is always room for splendid music in my life.






Astral Swans ‘Bird Songs’
Single/10th July 2020




Now I do like a good pop song stuffed with self-loathing and unhappiness but disguised with pop melody and sing-along ability, and this track has those qualities in abundance. It has the same feeling and in fact same beat as Smogs wonderful ‘Cold Blooded Old Times’. It is a song to sing to yourself while walking alone in the park, and we all need one of those in our life.






The Legless Crabs ‘One People One Mind One Death’
(Metal Postcard Records) Album/25th June 2020




The debut proper from the Texas Punk rockers The Legless Crabs is upon us, and what a fine LP it is too. Discordant guitar, ramshackle drums, echo laden vocals and off beat lyrics takes us to the strange world they inhabit. Pussy Galore, The Jesus And Mary Chain and The Shaggs are fine reference points, but placed into a glittering concrete music mixer to supply a musical house art all of its own making; a place where Roky Erickson would happily reside. The 13th Floor elevators are also brought to mind especially on my personal favourite, the wonderfully spaced out ‘Not The Good Kind’, which starts out as almost strange lounge punk and then erupts into waves of feedback, a track of pure wonder which perfectly fits on this album of pure wonders. I can say, without a doubt in my mind, one of the albums of the year.





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