Sons of Noel and Adrian on tour

Fresh from headlining last monday at One Inch Badge’s Sea Monsters festival at the Prince Albert, The Sons of Noel and Adrian have announced a tour:

Monday 2nd April 10 Feet Tall, Cardiff (with Winter Villains)
Tuesday 3rd April The Fleece, Bristol (with Laish & Emma Gatrill)
Wednesday 4th April Arts Centre, Norwich (with Laish & Emma Gatrill)
Thursday 5th April Hoxton Bar & Grill, London
Saturday 7th April The Haunt, Brighton

They’re touring to promote their next album Knots, which should be out later this year, which we will no doubt be writing more about when it comes out.

Sons of Noel and Adrian

Rob’s Sea Monsters Diary part 7, 29th January 2012

So, that’s your lot. Six days of gigs, with an incredibly diverse line up, showcasing some of the best that Brighton has to offer. Thanks to One Inch Badge, The Prince Albert, and all of the bands.

The final night started off with The Physics House Band, who were kind of prog jazz, with arpeggiated wigouts with time signatures changing all over the shop. It would appear that this music didn’t die in the late 70s, it just went to sleep for thirty years and grew some balls in the meantime.

The Physics House Band

The second band were equally baffling on a line up which was predominantly indie. The Squadron Leaders were three middle aged men making authentic instrumental Surf Rock (almost) like they used to in the fifties. I say almost, because there was a bit of bass and the odd sample being fired of stage, but aside from that it was a basic twang guitar, sax and drums. Fans of Dick Dale, Link Wray or The Ventures would be impressed. I loved it, but then I’ve been hiding my passion for surf rock for a good few years now.

The Squadron Leaders

If The Physics Band went back to the 70s for their blueprint, and The Squadron Leaders looked at the 50s, it was like Us Baby Bear Bones hadn’t even seen the rulebook. Most bands on over the festival didn’t stray too far from the typical guitar / guitar / bass / drums – Admittedly, a few dropped one from the list, and some added keyboards, but overall there weren’t many surprises. However, each member of Us Bear Baby Bones had at least three instruments in front of them – Front woman Puff had two microphones (one of which should have been run through a sampler, but technical difficulties beset them), a clarinet and a tom tom, Daisy had several keyboards and an autoharp, and Luke was playing guitar, sampler and glockenspiel. Did I say front woman? Yes, UBBB were one of only two bands on the whole bill fronted by a woman (the other being Fear of Men). Musically, they play dreamy, yet ambitious pop. If you wanted some kind of reference point, I might mention Bat For Lashes, but also tell you that UBBB are much more magical, and that the comparison can tell you only so much and you really ought to listen to them to know what they’re like; Except the only track released into the wild so far is Rain, which is on the Sea Monsters compilation. The new stuff is being released on the 10th of Feb (coinciding with their next gig at The Hope), so you’ll have to wait until then to hear some more.

Us Baby Bear Bones

The last band of the festival was Tall Ships, and they had The Albert ram packed for their set of angular indie songs with post-rock breakdowns. They were an ideal band to finish things up, getting the crowd more animated than they had been all week.

Tall Ships

So that was Sea Monsters. I heard a lot of great music and discovered a lot of amazing new bands. The highlights for me were some of the bands who broke the mould – Us Baby Bear Bones, Restlesslist, and Speak Galactic – who obviously felt music so strongly that it just couldn’t be expressed in traditional ways.

How long until Sea Monsters 3?

Rob’s Sea Monsters Diary part 6, 28th January 2012

So, today’s diary is being written a little bit differently from the previous days. Since the gig I’m writing about was on a friday night, I’ve got the luxury of having a bit more sleep than I’ve had the rest of the week, and have done the write up the following morning since I don’t have to go to work. Unfortunately, that extra passage of time (as well the little bit more beer I allowed myself) means that my recollection may not be quite as sharp as previous days. We’ll see though.

First up were Twin Brother. On record, just the work of Alex Wells, live he’s complemented by a full band. Without wishing to just re-type the words from the program, there’s no denying that you can hear the Strokes and Arcade Fire in his music. I feel a bit bad for only catching the end of their set, since they were flagged as ones to watch in several of the previews of the festival I read.

Twin Brother

Next up were Jumping Ships, who despite only being second on the bill, managed to pull the biggest crowd of the night. They played angular guitar pop, not a million miles away from what Twin Brother performed (I guess that’s why they’re on the same bill). The bassist was full of energy and making maximum use of the space he had. They’re playing the Hydrant tomorrow night, where hopefully they’ll have a bigger stage to play on.

Jumping Ships

Then it was Black Black Hills, who I’ve seen a couple of times in the past few months, and seem to get better every time. This time they’re revelling in the glow of their debut single “A Drowning” being awarded The Source’s Brighton track of 2011. They’ve got a fantastic captivating front man, and the doubling up of the drums makes their sound so much bigger. My bet is that this time next year, they’ll be the ones headlining.

Black Black Hills

Finally we had Munich, with their broody cinematic pop. Stewart commanded the stage at the Albert – it’s small scale made all of the bands seem larger than life, but for Munich, the effect was that you really were at something special. It wasn’t that difficult for them to make that little bit more effort – just half a dozen table lamps – but it’s the little touches that make a band stand out and Munich certainly did. Over the past couple of months, Munich have been putting the occasional new tune up on their bandcamp page. Get over there and check them out.


Only one more night of Sea Monsters to go, which makes me a little bit sad in a way, because I’ve really enjoyed this week. I think my body could do with a rest though!


Rob’s Sea Monsters Diary part 5, 27th January 2012

Sea monsters just keeps getting better and better. Tonight’s gig was amazing. Quite possibly – and I know it’s very early to start using these words – gig of the year. Strong words, I know.

First up were DA-10.DA-10 stood out because they were the first band I’ve seen so far (except Robert Stillman) not to rely on guitars at all, and the only band on the whole bill of Sea Monsters to make dance music. Picture a slightly more chilled out Daft Punk, with the bottom end of their sound enlightened by the kind of filthy noises made since the advent of dubstep and fidget house.


Next up was Speak Galactic. Our paths had crossed briefly several weeks ago, when they supported Laetitia Sadier at the Green Door Store. They were incredibly loud though, and I was meeting a friend, so I stayed in the bar. I should have gone and investigated though, because it turns out that Speak Galactic were one of the most interesting bands on the Sea Monsters bill so far. Owen Thomas, who effectively is Speak Galactic (there’s a drummer too, but you can see all the amazing ideas are coming from Owen), played on tuesday night as part of Cinemascopes, and I noted that it was him who elevated them above a normal band. On his own, the ideas are flying out everywhere – songs skip around genres and technology is pushed to the limit. I was incredibly impressed. If this guy isn’t a superstar in the next twelve months, then there’s something wrong with the world.

Speak Galactic

Then came Nullifier, whose lead singer was Speak Galactic’s drummer. One of their keyboard players was playing last night in Negative Pegasus. In fact, all of the band members seemed have been playing in other gigs in Sea Monsters. There were seven members in Nullifier, which proved (for them at least) to be too many to fit onto the stage. So the singer, a bassist, and the guitarist performed out in the audience (leaving two keyboard players, a drummer and another bassist onstage). Which made the photography challenging to say the least.


And last of all was Restlesslist, who were an absolute triumph. Where other bands came and played sets, Restlesslist transformed the Prince Albert into another world. And while they might have been headlining a night a Sea Monsters, they would have been equally at ease headlining a stage at Glastonbury. The band – all six of them – were accompanied on stage by an eye patch wearing Mark Campbell, who between songs narrated a psychedelic story involving dogs in hats, shapeshifting beauties, and volcanic eruptions. Between his words Restlesslist effortlessly skipped around pretty much every genre in the textbook – Rock, pop, musical, krautrock, calypso, you name it. If any other band over the next two days managed to beat this performance, then I’ll be amazed.


Rob’s Sea Monsters Diary part 4, 25th January 2012

Life would boring if we all liked the same things. Imagine that – before you even spoke to someone you’d know what they liked. Imagine how rubbish the charts would be with all the songs sounding the same. Thankfully the world isn’t like that, which makes it a much more interesting place. However, what that means is that sometimes, you come across things which other people like, but which aren’t quite to your tastes. But that’s OK, because it’s all part of life’s rich tapestry.

The reason I’m writing all of this is that tonight’s Sea Monsters gig wasn’t really for me. I could see in advance from some of the descriptions that it probably wouldn’t be my cup of tea. Plague Sermon describing their sound as having “deafening sludge riffs” doesn’t really appeal. So I’m not going to describe the music, but I will post up a few of the pictures I took while I was there:

The Beautiful Word video shoot

Last saturday, I got a sneak preview of the new Beautiful Word video being filmed.

The song, Pop It, was recorded as one of a number demos earlier this year, which the band like so much they’ve decided to put it out for everyone to hear.

The video is being made by award winning local videographer Sam Dore, who’s a friend of the band and has used some of their music in shorts that he’s made. Plans are afoot for an album in the future, and they’re making the video now to “keep the momentum up until then and because they’re fun to make”.

In their own words “The whole point of the video, and how it goes with the song – it’s all about not talking about being unhappy, and then you’ve got everyone in the world not talking about being unhappy, and everyone going ‘I’m OK, how are you?’ to each other, and how ridiculous that is, and how it makes me want to blow my head up, and then with the video we thought it would be really cool if there was these five people on their own in totally desolate deserted places – this place is lovely, but an empty venue is quite a sad place – and each of these people is playing their hearts out on their own but they don’t realise they’re all playing the same song.”

The Beautiful Word’s next live gig is this Friday at The Ranelagh, and the video should be out by the end of February.

Rob’s Sea Monsters Diary, part 3 25th January 2012

A quick round up of Day 2 of Sea Monsters 2 then. Where yesterday was folk with a twist, today was very much an indie day.

Proceedings were kicked off by Tyrannosaurus Dead. The blurb in the program said Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth, but my ears heard The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, who in the past few years have done a tremendous job of distilling so many of the great guitar indie bands of the past twenty five years. This is by no means a criticism, and I thoroughly enjoyed their set, even if I was a little distracted by the singers visual similarity to a young Buddy Holly. Or maybe he’s just wearing hipster glasses and I’m now old.

Tyrannosaurus Dead

The second band of the night were Soft Arrows – sonically, they’re a rockier version of shoegaze, but the setup of the band was akin to the White Stripes – just drums and guitar. Either they were trying to be arty, or they hate photographers, because the only light on stage came from a single light bulb at the guitarists feet. They’re going to have to try harder than that for me to not get the shot I want!

Soft Arrows

Then we had kraut rockers Cinemascopes, who were fantastic. There’s not nearly enough krautrock around in my opinion, so it’s good to see another Brighton krautrock band, who aren’t treading the same steps as Fujiya & Miyagi. What elevated them about most groups who pick up guitars and make motorik music was the guy to the left of the stage, who spent most of the set kneeling down doing interesting things with loops and samples who defied the male dress code of the evening (skinny jeans, smart shoes, and either a check shirt or a t-shirt bought from M&S) with his hoody and baggy jeans.


Last band of the night were Fear of Men who while they weren’t doing anything especially different to any of the other bands of the night, did so effortlessly and sounding amazing. There was something about the way it all came together – how good the guitar sounded, how much of a better front person Jess was than those leading the other bands, how much more accomplished the songs were, which proved why Fear of Men were the worth headliners of the night.

Fear of Men

Media Roundup

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:

Munich – Hidden House


Shrag – Chasing Consummations

Rob’s Sea Monsters diary, Part 2 24th January 2011

OK then, a very quick round up of the first night of the Sea Monsters 2 festival (is it a festival or a series of gigs?) at the Prince Albert.

First up, Heliopause, who I was mightily impressed by. Two guys on stage making dreamy music which was somewhere between folk and post rock. A very big sound from a very small band. They were giving away their cd from a couple of years ago, which I’m very much looking forward to listening to. I’d say out of tonight’s three bands, they’re the one I’m most likely to go and listen to again.


Next up was Robert Stillman. Before tonight, I’d scanned over the program and seen the words composer, multi-instrumentalist, and folk, so I wasn’t expecting half an hour of avant garde contemporary music. Maybe I should have also read the words “sonic arts” and “American pre-jazz”. It was incredible though, and fascinating to watch so close up. Robert Stillman is an amazing pianist. Congratulations to One Inch Badge for having the balls to put something like this in the middle of their gig, and congratulations to the audience for being so broad minded as to lap it up.

Robert Stillman

Headlining were The Sons of Noel & Adrian, who squeezed eight people onstage. Apparently the full band has twelve members – thankfully they didn’t try and get them all onto the stage. They describe themselves as folk noir, which translated into folk with lots of added instrumentation (three guitarists, clarinet, oboe, trumpet, two drummers). They were the only act of the night to play songs in the more traditional sense of having verses and structure, but it was only as a measure against the other acts of the night that they seemed more traditional.

The Sons of Noel & Adrian

Rob’s Sea Monsters diary, Part 1 23rd January 2011

Monday 23/1/12

So, I’ve been thinking about how best to write up the Sea Monsters on the blog. I definitely don’t have enough time to write up a full gig review the night after each gig, since I’ll be ouat at the next gig. And while I could leave things to the weekend to write things up, it’ll be nearly a week since the first gig so I won’t remember it so won’t remember it so well, especially since there as so many gigs inbetween. So I figured some kind of diary might be a better approach, writing little and often. A recap the morning after the gig, maybe a photo or two, and some thoughts about the gig coming up that evening.

It’s the first gig tonight, headlined by Sons of Noel & Adrian, who have been tipped as one of the ones to watch in the previews I’ve read, so I’m looking forward to that. I’m also looking forward to seeing how they’re going to fit their twelve members on the stage at the Prince Albert!