In case you haven’t seen it, the video for the new Jennifer Left single has landed. Diggory is the second release to come from her forthcoming album Hushabye, which has been produced by Tim Bidwell, and the video has been made by Thom Undrell, who also put together the fantastic video for Black Dog earlier this year. Diggory hits the shelves on 5th November, and Jennifer is having a launch party at the Blind Tiger on the 8th November. See you there!
Calling your event Faulty is tempting fate really, especially where there’s home made electronics involved. Due to a run of bad luck that not even a trip to London for replacement parts could help, it came to pass that the “interactive” element of last night’s Brighton Digital Festival event wasn’t working. Apparently all was well at last weekend’s Makers Faire, but since then things haven’t been right.
Three Brighton acts were on the bill : Krill & Captain Kelp, Maf the ROM and Lumo.
Last time we saw Krill, he was acting solo, hiding behind a laptop at Brighton Electric. Now he’s got a partner in crime, in the shape of Captain Kelp. The music is still predominantly lush ambient electronica, but now live vocals, acoustic guitar and drums are added to the mix, and sampled and looped in real time, proving to the audience that they aren’t just checking their emails.
By his own admission, things got a bit stranger when Maff the ROM took to the stage. Maff operates on the very edge of music – not for him are the likes of melodies, or intros or fade outs. Tracks stop unexpectedly, and the sounds coming from the speakers was made up snatched samples from films, footsteps. It was a challenging set, but I reckon that’s just the way that Maff wanted it.
The last Brighton band on the bill was Richard Davis, who we’ve written about in glowing terms before on the blog about his Heliopause guise. Last night he was going under the name Lumo. The name of this years Heliopause album was The Lumo Tape and featured material originally written under his Lumo moniker before being beefed up to the full band setup. Tonight, using a heavily reverbed mic, an acoustic guitar and additional keyboards, Lumo plyed on layers on top of pre-programmed material. For each new Lumo experience, we’re told, new songs are written, which means that tonight’s performance was a little rough around the edges, but no less charming for it.
Once upon a time, there was a Brighton band called Rob The Rich. They were really good – they even got Single of the Week in the Guardian for their debut release. Comparisons were made with Vampire Weekend, and their future seemed bright, but in the Rob The Rich camp it was felt that something special was lacking, so they went to ground and emerged as Cave Painting.
Things were going fantastically for Cave Painting when they first started – they got themselves a major label record deal after their first couple of gigs. But life on Mercury Records didn’t suit Cave Painting, so they took a step back and ended up signing with Third Rock Recordings, set up by the guy who originally signed them to Mercury. Debut single Gator dropped in May, and now the band have truly arrived with the release of their album Votive Life.
Widescreen epic guitar soundscapes seem to be a bit of a theme for 2012 (see also Brighton Mercury Nominees The Maccabees), and Cave Painting don’t disappoint. Right from the off things sound epic, but they make their own mark and stand out by sprinkling lilting guitar lines over the top. The album never gets too frenetic, instead layering on the atmospherics. Adam Kane’s vocals soar over each track, as much a part of the instrumentation as the are a vehicle to deliver lyrics.
Cave Painting play the Green Door Store on 9th October.
Last night we paid a visit to another Brighton Digital Festival event. We’ve got another two events in our diary in the next week too, so look out for reports on them.
Sound Screen was an audio visual event put on by Pop Up Brighton at the Pavilion Theatre, pairing up electronic acts with visual artists. Electronic acts make some of the most exciting music, and as even Deadmau5 pointed out this summer, quite often the live performance just involves them pressing play in Ableton. All of tonight’s performers do a lot more than just sit behind a laptop, but all were enhanced with the addition of visuals.
The event opened with Caveman Genius – a one man act who plays live drums alongside his lush downbeat electronica. I’m loathed to use such an outdated phrase as Trip Hop, but it’s probably the words that describe his music best, and it’s meant as a compliment. Next up was Pact, whose sound was far more suited to the dancefloor. Unfortunately, the Pavilion was in a seated configuration last night, so I don’t think he was truly appreciated. It would be good to see what he could do at 2am in a club rather than 9pm in a theatre. The last act before the interval were the slightly more laid back Adolescent, who played as a whole band setup. Alex Parish was the focus, who controlled the electronic side of things and occasionally took to the drums, while the rest of the band added shimmering guitar and bass
The headliners of the night were the fantastic Nordic Giants. If you haven’t heard them yet, you must. If you haven’t seen them live yet, you’ve missed out. Musically, they’re post-rock, as emotional as Sigur Ros, with the quietLOUDquiet of Mogwai and the politics of Godspeed you Black Emperor. Visually, the band make so much more of an effort than anyone else – body paint with nightmarish masks, strobe lighting, and award winning films from Shorts International, with the vocal for each track given a separate backlit section on stage. It all makes for arguably the best live performance in Brighton, and it was frustrating that they only got a half hour set, at only their second live performance in town this year.
A new song and accompanying video by Milk & Biscuits has turned up on Vimeo (via Brakes Facebook page). It’s lovely stuff – it starts off as lovely pastoral pop before rocking out for the second half. The video is rather beautiful too:
We turned up a bit later than we’d hope to the night (distracted en route by Brighton’s newest pub), and arrived as P For Persia had just taken to the stage. P For Persia are a three piece who make indie rock fused with 8-bit keyboards. It was an energetic, intense performance, made all the more enjoyable by vocalist / guitarist Daniel McNally hamming up his role as the band’s focus.
The next act to perform stretched the limit of what you’d call a band. Goodbye Leopold are a vocal trio whose songs are more like chanting than the songs we’re used to at Source New Music nights, and they sported some rather interesting leotards and headwear. But they’re from London, so time to move on to the night’s headliner.
Bunty was taking the opportunity of using the Source New Music / Brighton Digital Festival gig as the launch and showcase of her new project Multimos, which is being released a few tracks at a time over the next year, with the first three available on bandcamp now:
Bunty was making pretty much all of the sound onstage herself, using a loopstation to record parts on the fly before moving onto a different instrument or vocal part. And not to be outdone by the other acts, as well as a live bassist and drummer (wearing hard harts, of course), and visuals from Metaluna, Bunty had dancers, and a man dressed as a bear.
The next episode of Multimos is out in a few weeks time on 2nd October. In the meantime, you can read more about the project in Bunty’s interview with the Source.
Kovak come over all ABBA crossed with Blondie on their new single Living The Dream. It came out on monday, but the video dropped today and is being featured over on Vevo – another coup for the unsigned band. After getting playlisted on radio 2 for their last single Killer Boots, they’ve now all over Vevo (owned and run by the major labels as a way of showing off what they’ve got to offer). The fantastic looking video features footage shot in the Pavilion – not something they let just anyone do!
The band are currently holed away in the studio recording their new album with Andy Gray (who’s worked with Hard Fi, Paul Oakenfold, Gary Numan and Enter Shikari), but will be coming out to play this weekend for Playgroup festival.
You can buy Living The Dream on iTunes
There’s not enough rock on the blog. It’s entirely our fault, because there’s plenty of it about, and it wasn’t hard to sniff out at the Hobgoblin (before it changed), or the Hydrant. We don’t get too many rock bands contacting the blog either, presumably because they look and see that we haven’t written about too many rock bands. It’s a bit of a catch 22 chicken and egg vicious circle type thing.
In an attempt to make some small amends, here’s the first release Saint Coltrane, who have made some waves on the live circuit and are sharing their debut 7″ with Miami’s Weird Wives on Enjoyment Records. Iron Dracula, whose video appears below, appears on the vinyl release, while the digital release also includes their cover of The Pixies Debaser.
The 7″ can be ordered through the Enjoyment Records website. The band next play in Brighton supporting Dope Body at The Hope on 20th October, along with fellow Brighton band Sealings.
Severed begins slowly and quietly. Opening track Capsule uses the same trick that Boards of Canada use – woozy out of phase ambience, familiar yet disorientating. Sounds echo from left to right almost lazily, lulling you into a false sense of security for what’s to come.
Things step up with recent single Precautionary Measures – wonky arpeggios, clattering drums, yelping vocals. Hyss starts off with more crazy stereo effects and builds into something that sounds like it could be a prog epic from the seventies with layered vocals and deliberately primitive keyboards. Pigments lays off the stereo but brings back the out of phase wooziness against krautrock beats with a crazy breakdown midway through.
Lux and Lost Ones bring some of the menace that comes with the wall of sound created at Speak Galactic’s live shows, thick slabs of electronic noise which fall away and blend seamlessly into the album’s masterpiece, Solar Sail.
Clocking in at a mere seventeen minutes, Solar Sail is a piece of ambient beauty. Twinkling analogue electronics start things off before swiftly moving into a seventies sci fi soundtrack that never was. Around seven minutes in you think it might be all over – there’s nothing except something which sounds a bit like tinnitus and some ambient noise. Xylophones threaten something more and background noises start to rumble. And then the sound of running water, and some simple chords which take you away to a beautiful place. Without you realising some distorted noise creeps in underneath, but it doesn’t matter because you’re still in the higher plane you’ve been taken to. The white noise increases, but there’s a beautiful majesty to it, and then out of the noise steps the final slow motion melody, towering like a giant over the rest of the record leaving you feeling exalted. It’s fantastic. It’s like Stereolab and Spiritualized at their most experimental jamming with each other. That good.
Severed is an ambitious, uncompromising, experimental record which isn’t for the faint hearted. It laughs in the face of genres and convention, but rewards you for taking up the challenge it offers.
Speak Galactic had a launch party for the album at Fitzherberts last saturday night. Support came ambient out of towners Plurals and Brighton Music Blog favourites Us Baby Bear Bones. Last time we saw them live was at The Great Escape, and since then they’ve been off in the studio recording material for an upcoming EP. They’ve obviously learned a trick or two while they’ve been away because their sound now is even bigger than before. The magic is still there and the songs sound better than ever. I can’t wait to hear them on record.
Speak Galactic live are a much noisier prospect than on record, and one that’s even more impressive, mainly because all of the sound (save for some live drums) is created by Owen Thomas. Everything is created onstage with a microphone, a guitar, a keyboard and a handful of effects pedals. There’s so much energy, and you can see the ideas and the talent fighting to get out, channelling itself through his fingers and voice. Visuals have been a recent addition to the live sets, and these complement the performance well – another assault on the sense with repeated patterns morphing with the music.
Music needs pioneers, people who are willing to push the boundaries to see what happens, and in Speak Galactic, Brighton’s got one they can be proud of.
Speak Galactic is released on on clear vinyl on September 24th by Cupboard Music.
Bat for Lashes is giving away a track from her forthcoming album The Haunted Man. Marilyn is available to download from Amazon for no pence, so head over there now and get clicking!
The Haunted Man is released on October 12th on Parlaphone, and Bat for Lashes play the closing night of their tour at Brighton Dome on 4th November.