Jackson and the King Kickers

If you want a fun night out you can’t go wrong with Jackson and Big Jim. They headlined at the Green Door Store on Friday night and once again had the audience dancing with their lively mix of soul, rockabilly, r’n’b and swing.  


Jackson of Jackson & the King Kickers

Jackson is a really dynamic front person with a great voice and she pulls some great moves. Big Jim on the accordion and occasional lead vocals adds some variety. They have a good range of songs and tight rhythm and horn sections that provide a lively celebratory feel. When they launch into their cover of the Waterboys’ Fisherman’s Blues the whole joint started jumping. 

This is a band well worth catching. They have an album ready to roll, so hopefully we’ll see that soon. Their next outing is at The Brunswick in Hove on 8th April


Photographs by Jon Southcoasting

Juice and Source New Music Nights at The Haunt and the Pavilion Theatre

I’ve done my best to attend the Juice and Source new music nights religiously since I started the blog, so when this month came around and they both ended up on the same night, I was in a bit of a quandary. There was only one thing for it – attend both nights. The Juice night started a little bit earlier and finished a bit later, so my plan was to get to the Haunt for the opening act, then head over to the Pavilion Theatre, then back to the Source for their headliner. Continue reading

New Levellers Single – Truth is

I was wondering when I’d get to write about The Levellers. As out of fashion as they might be, they were probably the first band I acknowledged as being from Brighton, back in my student days when I’d jump up and down at The Event, drunk on watered down Snakebite, to the sounds of One Way.

The new Levellers single, called Truth Is, comes out Saturday 21st April. Most singles normally get released on mondays, but this is coming out on the saturday to coincide with Record Store Day, where their contribution to the many limited items available will be the single released on 7″ red vinyl.

You probably don’t need telling what the Levellers single sounds like – just close your eyes and picture the words “folk rock”.

Abi Wade live at the Old Market

Abi Wade at The Old Market

Last time I saw Abi Wade, back in December of last year, she was playing the acoustic spot at the Source New Music night at the Pavilion Theatre. Her ‘Of Blood and Air’ EP had just been released, but she was playing to a largely unappreciative audience. In the past three months a lot has changed, because last Thursday night she played to a packed out hall at the Old Market, where the crowd were hanging on every note. Support came from Dan Edwards & Max Crawford, and Luke Sital-Singh. Rumours of me having missed the support because I was distracted in The Conqueror around the corner are unfortunately true. We arrived just as Abi’s set started, and my companions marvelled at both the simplicity and the complexity of her setup. With just one person on stage, it is quite incredible that the sound of a whole band is produced. Somehow, with the aid of a tambourine and a stomp box on drum pedals, cello strings being bowed, and plucked, and the cello body being tapped with the bow, and drumsticks and even a hairbrush, and warm rich sound was created which, had you not been watching, that thought that it was only being created by one person wouldn’t have even crossed your mind. For three quarters of an hour, we were treated to a selection of tracks from the debut EP, and a whole host of other material, including an interesting cover of One Hand Holding by The Maccabees. We were left wanting more, which is the way thing should be – thankfully, Abi’s got a lot more gigs coming up soon: On 18th April at The Haunt (supporting Sea of Bees, with fellow Brightonions Heliopause also on the bill), 27th April at The Hope (supporting Dan Mangan) and 13th June at the Prince Albert (supporting mancubbabywoman)

The Impellers Interview

I say The Impellers, but actually, I’m just meeting up with one of them. The Impellers are a ten piece funk band, but I’ve popped down to The Basketmakers to catch up with main man Glenn Fallows (known onstage as Ed Meme), in advance of their new seven inch being released next Monday.

Glenn Fallows of The Impellers

RO: The single’s called…

GD: The Knock Knock. We supported James Taylor Quartet in 2010, there’s some stuff on YouTube from that show, and that was one of four or five tracks from that was uploaded. I think that was the first track I’d written after the first album came out, so it’s been around for quite a long time now, but it’s sort of evolved a bit more. The live version’s got all kind of extra added solos, and a bit of rock at the end, and we like to mess with the tempos at the end. The outro’s longer than the actual song itself. The 7″ is just three and a half minutes of dirty funk.

RO: And the b-side’s another indie cover version?

Continue reading

Thomas White Interview

This week sees the release of Thomas White’s new album Yalla, and I thought I’d find out a bit more about from him via the pubs he lists in the lyrics of the closing track English Sargasso: The Dorset, the Hand in Hand, Fitzherbert’s and The Globe.

Thomas White - Yalla!

We start things off at The Dorset, or to give it it’s full title, The Dorset Street Bar. There are records of The Dorset being a pub going back to 1845, so it’s been a firm fixture in Brighton for quite some time. Continue reading

Blood Red Shoes and Grinderman album streams

Two Brighton acts’ forthcoming album streams have popped up on the web this week. The new Blood Red Shoes album In Time To Voices is available to stream at NME.com, and the new Grinderman remix album is available on the Guardian website. Take a listen to them here:

Blood Red Shoes / In Time To Voices

Grinderman 2 RMX

Album Review : Thomas White / Yalla!

It’s easy to get bored on holiday. You don’t have all your daily routine to keep you preoccupied. But when most of us get a bit bored when we’re away, we reach for a paperback, or head to the bar. Not Thomas White though. When he was bored on holiday in Egypt (before last year’s Arab Spring), he knocked up a whole new album, just using his guitar, his laptop and the the microphone of his pocket videocamera. He wasn’t even going to release it until he was persuaded by friends that he’d be a fool if he didn’t.

Thomas White - Yalla!

Yalla! is Thomas White’s third solo album, on top of those he’s made with Electric Soft Parade and Brakes (and numerous guest spots with others), and it quite possibly his most personal and accomplished work to date.

The album fades in quietly, opening with All The Fallen Leaves. Nearly a minute passes before the first chord is played. The lyrics tell of a aching for home – Brighton – despite the fact that “the sun beats down on desert ground”, and that home is “cold, wet and brown”. An acoustic guitar plucks away at simple chords, and a haunting close harmony joins in for some of the repeated lyrics which aren’t quite a chorus.

I’ll See Her Again and That Heavy Sunshine Sound are a bit more upbeat, but the undercurrent of yearning is still there – not for Brighton this time, but for a woman. The latter is definitely one of my highlights of the album, with the near perfect stanza “I am a boy / with a crush on a girl / who is out of my league / and is certainly out of this world”, which encapsulates exactly how I felt far too often in my early twenties.

The album continues in it’s psychedelic folk theme – Nick Drake with harmonies by the Beach Boys, with Norwegian Wood by the Beatles playing on the radio in the next room. For a more recent comparison, it occupies the same musical space as Balcony Times, the album put out at the end of last year by Milk & Biscuits (which incidentally, Thomas played on).

The best is saved until last. Album closer The English Sargasso lasts for nearly six and a half minutes, and by this point, Thomas is homesick for his friends and the pubs of Brighton – “We’ll hit the Dorset, and maybe The Hand, and down to Fitzherberts and the Globe after that”. While the last piece clocks in over five minutes, it doesn’t drag, but feels unhurried, moving along at a different, slower pace. The kind of pace that things move at when you’re on holiday with absolutely nothing to do – an incredibly clever trick to nail.

If this is what happens when Mr White goes on holiday, I can’t wait to hear the results of his next trip.

Thomas White playing with Brakes at the Green Door Store 23/1/11

Yalla! by Thomas White is released on Bleeding Heart Recordings on 19th March 2012. The first 50 copies – available through Resident Records in Brighton and Rough Trade in London – come with a bonus five track cd, and there will be a free instore gig at Resident at 6pm on 19th March, where the album will be available for £6.99.

Red River Dialect


Red River Dialect started out in Cornwall but two of their members now live in Brighton and last night they played a blazing set supporting the US rock 3-brother dynamo that is Pontiak at the Prince Albert.

The five piece play a brand of folk-rock, sort of in the style of an early Fairport Convention but with elements of harder rock and funk in the mix. Lead guitarist Simon Drinkwater is an excellent Richard Thompson, and the rest of the band played with power and verve, all the more impressive for this being their first time on stage together for nine months since the various band members moved to various parts of the country.

The band have also recorded a new album which judging from the clips on their website sounds superb. You can hear them at their blogspot page http://redriverdialect.blogspot.com. They’re currently looking for funds to put the album out on CD and vinyl and if you like this music and want to see it released I’d highly recommend heading over to said blogspot and checking out the options for purchase. This is going to be a limited release which should be really special.


Photographs by Southcoasting

Bleeding Hearts Club / Recordings Profile

Firstly, an apology from me. This was meant to be an interview with Chris Davies, Head honcho of Bleeding Hearts Recordings, and the man behind the long running Bleeding Hearts Club at the Albert. We met and had a good long chat over a few pints, with the intention of turning our conversation into a riveting article about what it’s like to run a label and how to start a successful night. But I forgot to press record. So all I have is my recollection, and none of great quotes which would have made it a much better read. Bleeding Hearts is still something worth writing about though – the night is going from strength to strength, and next Monday the label is putting out Thomas White’s third solo album – so there’s never been a better time to write about them. Anyway, enough with the apologies, and onto the article.

Chris Davies of Bleeding Hearts Recordings

Mid-way through the nineties, Chris Davies headed down to Brighton from the Midlands for a weekend, and ended up staying. He didn’t have any plans to become a leading figure in the local music industry but managed to just fall into running the city’s longest running nights and starting up a record label putting out records by some of the best local talent.

The first Bleeding Hearts Club was around nine years ago. Chris was working at Borders, and lots of his colleagues were musicians, so to provide them with a platform, The Bleeding Hearts Club was born. At the beginning, it never had any real agenda – the music policy was defined pretty much by the acts that were around at the time – but over time the night settled into an acoustic folk type affair. At times, it’s been completely unplugged without any amplification, and the only light coming from candles on the tables. Other times Chris has been a bit playful and put on bands who don’t quite fit the mould, to have a poke at audience members who are taking things a bit too seriously. His philosophy is that the music is there to be enjoyed, not over analysed. Respect the music and be quiet when the bands are on, but also respect everyone at the night who are there to enjoy things.

A few years ago, the night was in a creative trough, and feeling unappreciated (speak to any promoter in town, and they’ll tell you what a thankless task it is) Chris put the night on hold. You can’t keep a good man down though, and it was around this time that Bleeding Hearts Recordings was born. The first release was a compilation of some of Chris’ favourite acts who he’d put on, and in the past 18 months, there’s been an assortment of vinyl, cds and downloads from the likes of BirdEngine, King James, Mute Swimmer, and The Robot Heart. A few months into running the label, the nights restarted, after the realisation that an act could sound good on tape, but it’s how they perform and how they interact with the audience that really matters.

This month, Bleeding Hearts Recordings put out what deserves to be their biggest record yet, when they release Yalla by Thomas White (from Electric Soft Parade, Brakes and a million other Brighton bands). The album was recorded while Tom was bored and homesick on an extended break in Egypt (before last year’s unrest) and was never meant to get a proper release, but everyone who heard it was so impressed that they convinced him that it needed to be heard by the world. We’ll post up our review of the album at the weekend before it’s release on Monday. The first fifty copies (available through Rough Trade and Resident) come with a five track bonus EP, and if you buy the album through recordstore.co.uk, you can grab yourself a signed copy. There’s an instore gig at Resident on Monday, where they’ll be selling the album at a knock down £6.99 (back up to £9.99 the following day), and Thomas will be playing at the next Bleeding Hearts Club on 2nd April.