900 Spaces / We Build Wings

900 Spaces have recently released their new EP We Build Wings. Or should that be WeBuildWings? Anyway, 900 Spaces have put out five tracks of off kilter pop, headed up by indie disco stomper Sea of Tokyo, all angular guitars and wonky synths. The EP is available on iTunes, Amazon or Bandcamp, or in real life at Resident.

900 Spaces play their next Brighton gig on 21st October as part of the Oxjam event, details tbc.

Do You Feel What I Feel Deer / Save My Heart

While we’re on the subject of writing about people we’ve already written about this week, here’s a new track by Do You Feel What I Feel Deer, posted up as a preview from their upcoming album Beat Glorious Heart. If you’re sitting reading this thinking “I’m sure I’ve never read that name on the blog before” then you’re probably right, but I’ve written about the band members quite a few times.

Do You Feel What I Feel Deer is fronted by Eleanor Whittle and Rachel Dey, most recently spotted singing / playing / shaking / clapping for Restlesslist. This is their own project – beguiling folk with enchanting harmonies and rich, haunting strings. If the album’s all this good, then I can’t wait!

Ingrid Plum / The Tunnel Recordings

I didn’t want to open my cd of Ingrid Plum’s Tunnel Recordings EP. Not because I didn’t want to hear what was on it, but because the packaging was so nice – a handmade origami case, closed up with a wax seal. And my cd is number one of a hundred. But it wouldn’t be much of a review if I just told you what the outside was like.

We’ve already written about Ingrid this week, after her set at Monday’s Bleeding Hearts Club. The cd contains five acapella recordings each recorded in one take in a tunnel in Brighton (I’ve been told where it is, but I’m also sworn to secrecy!), the reverb from which gives the tracks a curious feeling of intimacy. The sound sits somewhere between folk and hymnal music, raw and laid bare, and the effect is quite disarming – so rarely is music presented in such a stripped down form these days.

Despite such an old sound, all of the songs on the EP are modern : Three songs are original compositions by Ingrid, supplemented with a poem by Yeats put to music by Ingrid and a cover of Chris T-T’s M1 Song (shown below at monday’s Bleeding Hearts). The EP is available to buy via Bandcamp.

https://www.facebook.com/ingridplummusic

Cate Ferris / deep breath ready get set GO

Cate Ferris has been a live favourite of ours for a few years before we even started the blog. Over that time she’s developed an impressive one woman set involving a guitar, several keyboards, flute, guiro, drum and a loop pedal.

My fear before hearing the cd was how it would sound. Would the tracks stand up without the performance element to them? Would putting the songs into a studio setting make them lose all their charm?

Thankfully there’s nothing to worry about, mainly because the one constant throughout everything isn’t affected all. Cate’s warm rich voice is what really elevates the live sets, and hasn’t been held back on the recordings either. Under the watchful eye of Tim Bidwell (who’s also produced the likes of Jennifer Left and House of Hats) the vocals are at the fore and a band has been put together to bolster the sound that Cate makes on her own when she plays live.

Leave a Light On is a sad acoustic number with lovely strings. Trapeze is almost circus-like with it’s flute flourishes. Condensation is the track the gives the EP it’s slightly wordy title, and is a more upbeat stomper. If you’re wondering where you might have heard Doll on a Music Box before then, yes, it is from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

Cate’s EP is out now and available through Bandcamp

 

The New Union / Without You

When I first came across The New Union on Soundcloud, I thought that they were a band who’d been around for a few years who were showcasing their releases so far. A while later I saw a flyer for one of their gigs and I thought they had a major label design team behind them. When I got to the gig they were as tight as you could get and looked like a band rather than a collection of people who had grabbed instruments and got onstage. But The New Union haven’t even released a record yet.

All this changes on the 8th of October, when the band put out their debut single Without You. Produced by Ian Dowling (who’s worked with the likes of Temper Trap, Bombay Bicycle Club, Kasabian and recent Brighton resident Adele) the song is three minutes of soaring guitar pop which sounds like a band several years into their career rather than one putting out their first record.

The band launch the record with a gig upstairs at Fitzherberts on 12th October. Get there early – it’ll be rammed.

The Maccabees nominated for the Mercury Music Prize

Congratulations to The Maccabees, who have been nominated for this year’s Mercury Music Prize for their album Given to the Wild!

The Maccabees – Given To The Wild

The full list of nominees is:

The Maccabees / Given To The Wild

Jessie Ware / Devotion

Roller Trio / Roller Trio

Django Django / Django Django

Field Music / Plum

Michael Kiwanuka / Home Again

Sam Lee / Ground Of Its Own

Richard Hawley / Standing At The Sky’s Edge

Ben Howard / Every Kingdom

Lianne La Havas / Is Your Love Big Enough

Alt-J (∆) / An Awesome Wave

Plan B / Ill Manors

 

Restlessli​st / Coral Island Girl – album launch / review

It’s difficult to know where to start writing about Restlesslist, because there’s no one quite like them. At the same time, there are both no points of reference but also dozens of points. There’s psychedelia, surf rock, post rock, prog rock, ska, calypso, easy listening, exotica, italo-house and spoken word, quite often all in the same song. I first came across the band at Sea Monsters earlier this year, and loved the fact that they had so many people onstage, including a narrator wearing an eye-patch. Last night they launched their new album Coral Island Girl at a gig at The Haunt.

The gig was fantastic. Once again, the stage was packed (how on earth did they fit everyone onto the stage at the Prince Albert?), and rather than being a studied affair it looked like everyone onstage was having a great time. The audience were having a great time too. Well, most of them were – there were some very puzzled faces at the back. The gig that Restlesslist chose to launch their album at was a support slot for American band Howlin’ Wolf, and it seems that some of their fans were… Well, let’s just say that maybe their musical horizons aren’t wide as Restlesslist’s. If any of their fans end up reading these words, my advice to them is to look beyond check shirts and long shorts – there’s a wonderful world out there waiting to be discovered. Visuals were provided by Innerstrings Lightshow, who splashed the stage with 70s style projections in bright colours, adding to the already trippy experience of the gig. The band played their album from start to finish, without breaks between the tracks – that’s where the narration is – or any encores. Well, support bands rarely do encores, do they?

Restlesslist / Coral Island Girl

Coral Island Girl is a concept album. It recounts a tall tale told from the perspective of the album’s narrator of events following a shipwreck. Between each short spoken word segment, the story continues in instrumental form, conjuring up imagery of wonder or excitement, with the musical and non-musical elements complementing each other perfectly. As the story develops, the drama is heightened, and the tension mounts until it reaches it’s explosive conclusion. As I mentioned earlier, the album is jam packed with different styles but familiar motifs crop up throughout which give the record a bit of consistency. It’s an exhilarating listen – as imaginative as it is expansive – and deserves to be digested in one sitting. In a world where mp3 culture has reduced musical attention span to three minutes, it’s a joy to hear an record like Coral Island Girl. Definitely one of the albums of the year for us.

http://coralislandgirl.com/

Over The Moon Festival

This weekend (14-16 September) is the Over The Moon Festival, which is the new name for the Out of the Ordinary Festival, which is probably the nearest weekend festival to Brighton these days. There are LOADS of Brighton based bands playing, so we can’t not mention them, even if we can’t make it along. Over the course of the weekend, Los Albertos are playing one of their last ever dates. They played their last Brighton date last Friday at the Blind Tiger, so this will be one of the very last chances to see them ever. Former Source cover stars Holy Vessels are also playing, as well as Buffo’s Wake, Carnival Collective, The Dirty Devine, Dr Bluegrass & the Illbilly 8, Elijah MC, Forestears, Gyratory Allstars, Jerkin the Rat, Ratbag, Roots Garden, The Black Fields, Time for T, Too Quirky for Me, Transformer, The Triple Chicken Combo and Wide Eyed Order. Other bands from outside of Brighton may also be on the bill.

There’s more information about the festival at www.overthemoonfestival.com/

Bleeding Hearts Club 10/9/2012

We keep writing about Bleeding Hearts, but then they consistently keep putting on great gigs, and this month was no exception.

Al Chamberlain

First up last night was Al Chamberlain. When I spoke to Bleeding Hearts top dog Chris Davies at the bar before the gig, he described Al as a “professional Northerner, who does a song about trains”, which was certainly true, but doesn’t really tell the half of it. Al reminded me a lot of The Montgolfier Brothers, one of the bands that Alan McGee pinned his hope on with Poptones, his project after the closure of Creation Records. Despite nobody I’ve ever met having heard of them, The Montgolfier Brothers are one of my favourite bands – they make beautiful songs with lyrics about being at the precipice of the end of a relationship which are very well observed and utterly heartbreaking at the same time, and Al’s songs had similar qualities. Perhaps the most famous song about trains is The Locomotion, which doesn’t really sit alongside the acoustic aesthetic of Bleeding Hearts. In Al Chamberlain’s song about trains, tracks and stations become metaphors for components of relationships and by the end everything’s ok, both with the relationship in the song and with any fears about the handling of locomotive based songs.

Ingrid Plum

Monday’s second act was Ingrid Plum. Ingrid sang solo a capella folk songs, unencumbered by other musicians or instruments. Of the four songs she sang three were her own compositions but you wouldn’t know it and could easily have mistaken them for traditional songs hundreds of years old. Her fourth piece was a cover of Chris T-T’s M1 Song, made her own in the same style. It was an electric performance which had the room held in silent captivity hanging on every note. Ingrid has just released an EP – head over to her Facebook page to find out how to get hold of a copy.

The Droplets

It was all change for third band The Droplets, who also featured Al Chamberlain on guitar. The Droplets also live in the past musically, but instead of hundreds of years old folk music they play 70s AOR, covering the likes of Randy Newman and Big Star. Musically it was note perfect, but it was the voice that made it something special.

Steve Elston

Finally, it was the turn of Steve Elston, who had apparently played quite a few of the early Bleeding Hearts nights, before disappearing off their radar. He’s turned up again playing guitar for Das Fenster (who completely coincidentally Ingrid also sings backing vocals for), and has made a return to Bleeding Hearts. If you weren’t looking you could have been forgiven for thinking that there was more than one person on stage, such was the sound emanating from the speakers. I don’t want to throw words like this around lightly, but Steve may possibly be the best guitarist we’ve written about at Brighton Music Blog. His fingers performed feats of technical brilliance, yet the music that was made had a degree of tenderness rarely seen alongside this level of ability. Utterly breathtaking.

Fear of Men / Mosaic

Normally I hold off on writing about things until close to their release date – it always frustrated me reading articles in music magazines about tunes I wouldn’t hear for weeks and weeks. And I figured that it’s better for the bands too – a reminder about their releases close to when they come out might improve their sales a bit, allowing them to make more music for us all to enjoy.

But I’m throwing all that out of the window today, because the new Fear of Men single has just dropped into my inbox, and I want to share it with the world. It got it’s premier earlier today on Pitchfork, and it’s up on Soundcloud for everyone to enjoy. Hot on the heels of Green Sea which came out in May, Mosaic is a bit brighter and airier than it’s predecessor, and is sprinkled with samples over the band’s now trademark guitar pop.

Mosaic is being released on the legendary Too Pure Records and comes out on October 15th on limited blue vinyl. You can pre-order it from Resident here. Fear of Men are having a launch party for the single at the Green Door Store on 20th October, supported by Hundredth Anniversary.

If you’re reading this outside of Brighton, and wishing Fear of Men would come and play near you, you may be in luck – they’re also playing the following dates:

15/09 Southsea Festival, Southsea
18/09 Borderline, London (supporting Best Coast)
30/09 Underground Festival. Gloucester
20/10 Green Door Store, Brighton
21/10 SWN Festival, Cardiff