Abi Wade & Heliopause supporting Sea of Bees at The Haunt

It’s always pleasing when a visiting band gets a local acts to support them, and it’s doubly good when two Brighton acts get added to the bill. Wednesday night, Sea of Bees played at the Haunt, and as well as Stealing Sheep who have supported them on their whole tour, they were also supported by Abi Wade and Heliopause.

Abi Wade continues to astound every time I see her. Conventional wisdom says that if you’re going to have drums, strings and vocals you’d probably have a whole band. Conventional wisdom also says that you play a cello by pulling a bow across the strings, not using the bow, a variety of drum sticks and even a hairbrush not just on the strings but over the whole instrument. At times last night Abi recalled the dexterity of The Durutti Column’s Vini Reilly who coaxes out rhythm, melody and backing out of just the one instrument, but Abi also has the advantage of a fantastic voice. If there was Brighton act that I’d say people ought to see right now, it would be Abi Wade.

Second act on last night were Heliopause, who were the first band I saw at Sea Monsters earlier this year. Their roots are in folk, but their sound is so much more than that – There’s electronica involved, but it’s not folktronica like Four Tet used to make before he went jazz. There’s elements of post rock in there too, and sometimes the guitars shimmer and send shivers down your spine. What’s important is that it all works so well together, and these elements aren’t clumsily thrown in, which gives the band their own sound the separates them from the crowd. Their next album is released on 5th May, and from what I’ve heard so far, is a real treat for the ears.

Abi Wade is next playing on 10th May at 7.30pm at the Unitarian Church as part of the Great Escape Festival and again on 11th May at 3pm at Latest Music Bar as part of the Alternative Escape. Heliopause launch their album with a gig on 5th May at Brighton Electric Studios.

The Moulettes ‘Sing Unto Me’ single launch at The Marlborough 11/4/12

Going to a Moulettes gig is always a bit more special than going to a gig put on by most bands. Seeing a band live ought to be a bit more of a performance – if a band just stand there and run through their record, you might as well save your money and listen to the cd from the comfort of your sofa. The fact that this gig is at a theatre is a good start and walking into the venue, with the stage imaginatively decorated with an oversized tree with buttons for leaves and a mechanical cloud hanging, sets the scene for an interesting night.

Support came from the incredibly talented flautist Laura J Martin. She’s not from Brighton, so I going to move on quickly, but before I do I’ll say that if you get the opportunity to see her play live, then take it up because you’ll regret it if you don’t.

Hannah Miller of The Moulettes

Being a theatre, the stage curtains closed between acts. No one wants to see roadies moving kit around and gaffer taping leads down. It’s best to keep the mystique, especially if you’re a magical band like the Moulettes. Before long the curtains opened to reveal the group, who seem to be growing in numbers every time I see them play. In addition to existing members, they’ve also recruited Jim Mortimore (who also plays bass with sometime Moulettes collaborators The Muel), and Faye Houston (who you may have seen singing with numerous other Brighton bands). The set was comprised mostly of tracks from the bands forthcoming album The Bear’s Revenge, with only a handful of tracks from their debut. The new songs sit perfectly well alongside the old, but are more developed and less contrived – the band members swap instruments (which now include timpani!) and vocal duties are shared. Musically, the sound is richer and less contrived, and Georgina Leach’s fiddle playing now matches Hannah Miller’s cello to extraordinary effect. As if that wasn’t enough, halfway through the set they were joined on vocals by Arthur Brown, of Crazy World of… fame, who didn’t hold back although sadly wasn’t sporting his famous flaming helmet.

Arthur Brown singing with The Moulettes

Set closer was the new single Sing Unto Me. Did I mention that they have a new single? And that the gigs (they played on Thursday too) were the Single Launch? It’ll be out May 28th, with the album following a few weeks later (although you could have picked them up at the gig). The band return for a reluctant encore before the bidding us farewell, the curtains literally closing on a top night’s entertainment.

The Moulettes at The Marlborough

Live Review – Willkommen take over the Haunt

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Sons Of Noel And Adrian ended their recent UK tour with a bang, back home at The Haunt in Brighton last Saturday.

First up from the Brighton-based label Willkommen Records, was Emma Gatrill, a familiar face to anyone who has heard her floating harmonies with SONAA. Managing to avoid too heavy a comparison with Joanna Newsom by eschewing medieval folk tendencies, Gatrill’s harp playing mixes with vocal effects and accompanying instrumentation to bring a contemporary sound to the instrument.

Emma Gatrill with Laish

Next we were treated to Laish, who have just been picked to play at No Direction Home festival. Fronted by the enigmatic Daniel Green and featuring several players from the Willkommen collective, Laish provided an uplifting interlude with witty, knowing lyrics, danceable tunes and playful counterpoints between instruments.

Laish

Headlining were Sons Of Noel And Adrian, who seem to have undergone yet another musical metamorphosis since their last gig in Brighton. Having already forayed into electric guitars they have now brought in synthesizers too, producing a great contrast during the set during which some of the band ditch their familiar acoustic instruments to play polyphonic melodies in a Tortoise style. The new tracks are layered and inventive, with the ever ambitious scope we expect from SONAA. The band clearly love playing these new songs together, and the audience were enraptured.

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words & images - Ingrid Plum

More new releases

It seems like only a week ago I was posting a bunch of new singles from Brighton bands. Maybe that’s because it was only a week ago, but it must be the season for new releases, because here’s a bunch more:

First up is High Rankin, with his new track Fuck You Virtual DJ. It’s very immature, it’s got some filthy bass, a cartoon video, and childish swearing. What more could you want? A free download, you say? Well, as it happens…

Haunted Gold by Curxes is released today on iTunes. If you’re not such a fan of digital downloads, apparently some vinyl is coming soon!. The video is the result of weeks of painstaking scanner and glitter work. Take a look here:

Next we have Wild Cat Strike, with their debut EP Shout at Satan, which was recorded just up the road a Yellowfish Studio near Lewes. Not quite as dark or metallic as the name might suggest, the EP is three tracks of good old fashioned guitar indie. The band also make their debut performance at the Prince Albert on Saturday 28th April

Sticking with debuts, Soft Arrows release their debut single Spirit Animal Bones today. The two piece played a great minimal shoe gaze set a few months ago at Sea Monsters at the Prince Albert and have released their single as a free download in advance of their forthcoming album All Through The Sinew.

Heliopause (who also played at Sea Monsters) are putting out their next release on limited cassette. Don’t worry though – there’ll be a digital download included. They’re playing a launch gig at Brighton Electric Studios on 5th May, and have put a couple of tracks up on Bandcamp as a taster:

Finally, here’s Kellar’s new EP Smokescreen. Kellar make what they call Improvisional Texture Rock. It’s big slabs of extreme psychadelic noise, devoid of such mainstream constraints like tunes or time signatures. Heavy stuff indeed.

The Return of the Sons

The Sons of Noel and Adrian are back, with not one but two albums plus a hometown live outing at The Haunt on Saturday night. This can only be good news.

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The new album from Sons of Noel and Adrian, Brighton’s “multi-tentacled psych-folk behemoth” (as they are known), is called Knots and will be officially released on Broken Sound on 21st May. It’s their second full album release, following on from their raucous cacophonous self-titled debut from four years ago.

Knots takes the Sons distinctive sound but expands its range, adding some beautiful orchestrated flourishes to their usual gypsy-psych-folk arrangements. The numerous Sons players mesh and meld together well, Tom Cowan’s distinctive guitar sound is in the fore, and Jacob Richardson’s gravel-some voice is wrapped around typically obscure but beautiful lyrics. This is what we expect of course, but the new album adds in some beautiful and complex musicality, with an echoing female chorus in songs like Come Run Fun Stella Baby Mother Of The World  bringing a richer warmer contribution to the mix. Songs range from the mournful Black Side of the River, long-featured in their live set and in a different simpler form on the ‘Rivers’ EP, the almost funereal Matthew (available to hear here), the complex pacy opener The Yard with the Sons’ trademark swirling strings and military beat, a rousing reverberating Big Bad Bold and the beautiful end-song Heroine. Knots is available May 21st, or on pre-order now.

But as if one new album wasn’t enough, the Sons have also just released the rather awesomely titled ‘Your Tunnel That Connects My Arm To A God-Fearing Woman Who Lives In The Dark‘ which compiles various singles, obscure compilation tracks and some unreleased rarities including the aforementioned earlier version of Black Side of the River, a Leisure Society cover, a newly discovered recording with Kristin McClement and the song Rise from the Brighton SeaMonsters compilation released earlier this year.  This makes a great introduction to the band, as well as an essential purchase for the completists. Available now at gigs or online here.

Sons of Noel and Adrian are also on tour this week. Tonight (5th April) they play London’s Bush Hall, and on Saturday (7th) they are back home at the Haunt in Brighton, with support from Laish and Emma Gatrill. It should be an excellent night.

 

 

(Photo of Jacob, Marcus and Cathy bySouthcoasting)

Love Thy Neighbour to release Us Baby Bear Bones EP

Following on from releasing Abi Wade’s debut EP at the end of last year, Love Thy Neighbour have announced that they will be putting out an EP by Us Baby Bear Bones. What Starts With a U Ends With an I comes out in July – A bit of a wait, but if the video they’ve put out already for it is anything to go by, it’ll be worth it:

Us Baby Bear Bones are supporting AU at Sticky Mikes on 26th April, and are playing numerous times over the Great Escape Festival weekend.

New Single Round Up (featuring Orbital, Amongst The Pigeons, Laish and the Mojo Fins)

There’s lots of new singles by Brighton acts around this week, so rather than making lots of small posts, I thought I’d round them up in one bumper effort

First up is Orbital. Wonky is the title track from their first album since 2005, and comes hot on the heels of the New France EP a couple of weeks ago (which I missed because it came out as a digital download only). The video features Mathew Horne, of Gavin & Stacey fame, and some rather sinister cats:

Also out today is The Inherent Racism of Doves by fellow electronic act Amongst The Pigeons. The single kicks off some lovely acoustic guitar loops before the beats, then the vocals kick in. ATP are joined by Horsham’s Stick In A Pot for this track, one of many collaborations on their upcoming album Get Amongst It:

Next up are Laish, with their new four track Obituaries EP, which can be bought from their Bandcamp Page.  Now expanded to a full band (pulling in various members of Brighton’s Wilkommen Collective as needs be) Laish still make their own brand of folk but now can call on additional vocals, violin, clarinet and accordion. Laish are off on tour throughout April, supporting Sons of Noel & Adrian at The Haunt on 7th at The Haunt, and then playing at the Needlemakers in Lewes on 27th

Finally, The Mojo Fins have put up their forthcoming EP The Spirit onto their soundcloud page. Lead track Sweet Spirit features swirling reverb heavy guitar in 3/4 time, and the kind of uplifting chorus that wouldn’t be out of place on a Fleet Foxes or Elbow track. Take a listen to it, and the more reflective acoustic other tracks here: