Back in January, I only gave I am Ampersand’s debut single “20 Seas, 4 Oceans” a passing mention in a blog post with a few other videos that were around, which is a travesty because it’s fantastic – four minutes of sunshine psychedelic folk pop. Matt Hainsby’s second 7″ is just as good. Holding the Negative up to the Light crams in even more ideas that it’s predecessor without losing any of the charm. And being the sucker for nice packaging that I am, I can only say good things about the translucent orange vinyl that it’s pressed on, and the screen print that comes tucked into the sleeve.
Negative is a tune of two halves – in the first half of the song, the vocals are accompanied by acoustic guitars and strings and then at around a minute and a half the song crumples then revives itself with effervescent analogue synths which bubble along and bring a completely different dynamic to the second half.
I Am Ampersand’s album is due later in the year on the Great Pop Supplement label. On the strength of his first two singles, it should be a corker!
At the end of the words I wrote for last month’s Bleeding Hearts Club, I said that I would definitely be heading back at some point. I didn’t know at the time that it would be quite so soon, but there were a few bands on this month’s line up that caught my eye.
First up was Ampersand – I featured the video for his new single 20 Seas 4 Oceans in my Media Roundup post about a fortnight ago. Better known as Matt Hainsby from Fujiya & Miyagi, Ampersand plays beguiling solo acoustic pop music. He supplemented his guitar with the occasional loop and sample fired on some foot pedals, but it really was all about his voice and his playing. The single lollops along like a lazy stripped down Fujiya & Miyagi transported to the west coast of America. The other tracks didn’t really hint at krautrock at all and sounded a bit more retro; I’d go so far as to say that on the last song I was getting a bit of Roy Orbison. I was impressed enough to buy the 7″ of 20 Seas 4 Oceans that was for sale. If the song wasn’t enough, the record also comes with a rather beautiful gocco Ampersand print made on very thin wood. You can buy it from the Great Pop Supplement website.
Next up were Naomi Hates Humans. They’re not from Brighton, and it was their penultimate gig, so even if I was moved sufficiently to tell you that you must go and seek them out (which to be honest, I wasn’t really), it would all be too late. So I’ll move swiftly onto Kate Daisy Grant. My first impression of Kate was a very child like quality – a toy piano can do that. In the space of four songs though, the instrumentation became less important, and some top songs and an amazing voice shone through. The last track was especially good – with the addition of some lush strings and a big trip hop remix it could easily be the next bond theme.
Kate Daisy Grant
Kate’s accompaniment was headliner Nick Pynn, who’s one of the great unsung heroes of the music world, playing and touring with some of the biggest names in rock, pop and, er, comedy over the past twenty years. We were treated to a short solo set at Monday’s night gig which consisted of a couple of songs on the fiddle, one one a handmade Appalachian Mountain dulcimer, and one on cocolele – a ukelele with half a coconut shell for the body! This was a virtuoso not a novelty set though, and a fantastic way to round off the night.
There’s been quite a flurry of activity over the past couple of weeks where a lot of bands have obviously been waiting for the new year to unleash themselves onto the world. Here’s a couple of bits and pieces that have come to my attention, some by new artists, some by more established acts.
Fistly some videos, first of which is Moya, covering the Primal Scream track which got remixed to become Loaded. She’s playing at the Juice New Music Showcase next week if you like the sound of that. Then there’s Sebastian Blake, who’s currently working on recording his debut EP, but has put out this taster. There’s also a new track by Chris T-T, who put on last sunday’s Midwinter Picnic. Lastly, there’s a brand new solo release from Matthew from Fujiya & Miyagi, who is recording his own stuff as Ampersand (being neither Fujiya or Miyagi, obviously).
Moya – I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have
Sebastian Blake – Red Underwear
Chris T-T – Binker
Ampersand – 20 Seas 4 Oceans
There’s also some audio too – there’s the latest demo release from Munich, and a taster of Shrag‘s new material: