Danger De Mort – Nordic Giants & Curxes

It was a good night for Brighton Bands last night. Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster made their live return at the Concorde in the biggest local gig in town, but we were showing our support for Nordic Giants and Curxes at the Green Door Store.

You wait all year for a Curxes gig, and then two come along in less than a fortnight. While they stole the show at the Source New Music Oxjam night, the Green Door felt much more suitable for them, with it’s exposed brickwork and stark decor. And while it probably wasn’t any louder than the Dome Studio Theatre, it felt a lot louder and less refined. The much lower stage gave Roberta the opportunity to get in amongst the crowd to try and get them dancing – Sadly they weren’t having any of it – It was a rainy Tuesday night, don’t you know! The crowd were wrong though – Curxes industrial electro pop should have got everyone in the room moving.

Curxes

The other support was a London act Jake Emlyn, which means I don’t have to write about them. I wasn’t so sure about them to be honest – in some respects androgyny has been a key aspect of pop over the years, from David Bowie through to Suede, but where they had an air of mystery about them, Jake Emlyn just had confusion. And two odd shoes isn’t a good look on anyone.

Jake Emlyn

Most of the crowd last night were there for Nordic Giants, playing we think might have been their longest set in Brighton this year. We haven’t seen too much of them round these parts in 2012, and their sets at Great Escape and more recently Sound Screen were shortened at the expense of a wider bill. With more time, Nordic Giants are bigger, better, and more expansive than ever before. They got to play their full repertoire. Let’s not forget that as established as they feel when you go to see them, they’ve only released one EP and one single, and both of those were based around the fantastic Shine featuring Cate Ferris. Despite only being a duo, the Green Door Store stage almost felt too small for them. Nordic Giants are epic, and have the staging, the lighting and the music just right for a stage that’s bigger than the one under the arches near the station.

Nordic Giants

The Next Danger De Mort is on November 20th at Green Door Store, and features Death Rattle, Dark Bells, My New Favourite Tribe and Heliopause.

We Are One!

It’s been a whole year since we started the blog. We’ve written about dozens of gigs, videos, singles and albums, making over two hundred posts. In that time we’ve written about hundreds of bands – a hundred and seventy five, to be precise. So thanks for the music to all of the bands below, and here’s to the next year!
Black Black Hills at the Source New Music Night at the Pavilion Theatre 1/12/11Cate Ferris in the Pavilion Theatre Bar at the Source New Music NightCate Ferris in the Pavilion Theatre Bar as part of the Source New Music night / Fuji Superia 1600The Woo!Worths at the Pavilion Theatre  at The Source New Music NightPreston from the Ordinary Boys at the Juice New Music Night at the Green Door StorePreston from the Ordinary Boys at the Juice New Music Night at the Green Door Store 30/11/11
Preston from the Ordinary Boys at the Juice New Music Night at the Green Door Store 30/11/11For Marla /Source New Music Night / Pavilion Theatre / 1/12/11For Marla, at the Source New Music Night  at the Pavilion Theatre 1/12/11For Marla /Source New Music Night / Pavilion Theatre / 1/12/11Abi Wade at the Source New Music Night at the Pavilion Theatre 1/12/11Black Black Hills at the Source New Music Night at the Pavilion Theatre 1/12/11
Jane Bartholomew at the Basement 6/12/11Kovak at The Haunt 15/12/11Dominic Von Trapp of Sweet Sweet Lies  at The Haunt 15/12/11Sweet Sweet Lies at The Haunt 15/12/11Sweet Sweet LiesSweet Sweet Lies live on film
Mean Poppa Lean at The Haunt 15/12/11Mean Poppa Lean at The Haunt 15/12/11Steph Goodman of Shrag (taken at Green Door Store 17/12/11)Jennifer Left at the Juice New Music Night at The Haunt 21/12/11Kidda at the Juice New Music Night at The Haunt 21/12/11Midfield General at the Juice New Music Night at The Haunt  21/12/11

Brighton Music Blog, a set on Flickr.

30lbs Of Bone, 900 Spaces, Adolescent, Alice Amelia, Amongst The Pigeons, Anneka, Apples & Eve, Astro Physics, Augustus Caesar, Jane Bartholomew, Bat for Lashes, Beat Express, Beautiful Word, Becky Becky, BirdEatsBaby, Bitbin, Black Black Hills, Sebastian Blake, Blood Red Shoes, The Bobby McGees, British Sea Power, Bunty, Call Me Jolene, Nick Cave, Cave Painting, Caveman Genius, Celebricide, Al Chamberlain, Chris T-T, Cinemascopes, Clowns, Hattie Cooke, Christine Cooke, Cousin, Crayola Lectern, Curxes, DA-10, Deadbeat Descendent, Dear Prudence, Diamond Family Archive, Do You Feel What I Feel Deer, The Droplets, Electric Soft Parade, Eliza Jaye, Elk, Elle Kaye, Steve Elston, Emy Lou Harris, Esben & The Witch, Fear of Men, Cate Ferris, Fire Eyes, Flash Bang Band, Stuart Flynn, For Marla, Foxes!, Fragile Creatures, Fujiya & Miyagi, The Galleons, Cordelia Gartside, Emma Gatrill, Kate Daisy Grant, Grinderman, Mary Hampton, Ian Hannah, Hatful of Rain, Heliopause, Hiawatha Telephone Company, High Rankin, Amy Hill, Holy Vessels, House of Hats, The Hundredth Anniversary, I Am Ampersand, I’m Being Good, The Impellers, Catherine Ireton, Ital Tek, Jackson & the King Kickers, Daniel James, Jetglo, Jumping Ships, Junior Electronics, Tim Keegan, Keel Her, Kellar, Danny Kendall, Kid Capola, Kidda, King of Cats, King Porter Stomp, The Kingsmiths, Kinnie The Explorer, Kovak, Krill & Captain Kelp, Laish, Jennifer Left, The Levellers, Lux Harmonium, Maccabees, Maff the Rom, Man Ray Sky, Conor Maynard, Mean Poppa Lean, The Men Who Fell To Earth, Metronomy, Midfield General, Milk & Biscuits, Minor Sounds, The Mojo Fins, The Moulettes, Moya, Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer, Mudlow, The Muel, Munich, Native Roses, Negatitve Pegasus, The New Union, Nimmo & The Gauntlets, Nordic Giants, Nullifier, Omega Male, Orbital, Ordinary Boys, Adrian Oxaal, P For Persia, Pact, The Peanut Albinos, Peggy Sue, The Peppermint Beat Band, Pete Fij & Terry Bickers, Physics House Band, Ingrid Plum, Pure Conjecture, Nick Pynn, Red River Dialect, The Repeat Prescriptions, Restlesslist, Rizzle Kicks, Rocker Switch, Saint Coltrane, Saint Etienne, Scribe Tribe, SeaDog, Sealings, Shrag, Silver Brazilians, Smart Phone Orchestra, Soft Arrows, Sons of Noel and Adrian, Sparrow, Speak Galactic, The Squadron Leaders, Robert Stillman, Sweet Sweet Lies, Tall Ships, Tandy Hard, thedealwasforthediamond, Thee Mouldous Hypotenuse, Tigercub, Time & Space Machine, Tiny Dragons, Twin Brother, Tyrannosaurus Dead, Us Baby Bear Bones, Conrad Vingoe, Abi Wade, Whiskey Whores, Thomas White, Wild Cat Strike, Kate Williams, The Woo!Worths, Woodpecker Wooliams, Your Explosion My Mind

A taster of the new Esben & The Witch album

Esben & The Witch release their new album Wash the Sins Not Only the Face in January. “That’s ages away!” I hear you say! Well, it’s not that far away, but if you really can’t wait that long, you can head over to the Matador Records Blog, where there’s a whole host more information, and a free download of the track Deathwaltz.

Restlesslist / Source New Music / Brighton Dome Studio Theatre

This review of this months second Source New Music Night I’m afraid to say isn’t up my own personal standards. Normally I do my best to write about all of the bands on the bill (if they’re from Brighton), but I’m just going to focus on Restlesslist for this write up, so I apologise to Oliver Welby, Them The Sky and Phoria. I’ve been sick with a cold this week which, meant I was lethargic and slow, which led to me arriving late to the evening, which led to me missing a big chunk of the proceedings, and then when I did arrive I bumped into quite a few people I know, which was great but meant I wasn’t giving the attention I should have to the musicians that were onstage. And then at the end of the evening Restlesslist played their album Coral Island Girl in full, and it’s going to take something incredibly special from any band to stand up to comparison to that.

I’ve raved about Restlesslist before. The blew me away when I first saw them at Sea Monsters back in January, and then confirmed all of my expectations when I went to their album launch in September at the Haunt. There are so many individual elements to love and yet the sum is greater than the whole. One of the first things that strikes you is the music. It’s not just that they skip around genres, it’s that they don’t it clumsily, with the transitions being aided by Mark Campbell’s narration of the story. And what a story – I’ve listened to the cd over and over since I got hold of it, and it still makes me smile. Then there’s the light show provided by InnerStrings, a little bit trippy, a little bit retro and one more thing that make the band so compelling to watch.

The key thing for me though is that fact they’re all loving being stage so much : You can see that all of the band (I counted nine onstage on thursday) love all of the music that they’re playing. You can see the affection for the influences in all of the songs, and for their fellow bandmates. You can see that it matters to them to put together something that gives them the opportunity to share the things they love – so much music, as well as their friendship with each other – with the wider world, having a great time while doing it.

You can listen to Coral Island Girl in full on Soundcloud:

Tim Bidwell Interview

One of the phrases we seem to be writing almost as often as “Brighton Music Blog” these days is “produced by Tim Bidwell”. He’s had a great year, working with a lot of our favourite local acts – Jennifer Left, Cate Ferris, House of Hats… We thought it was about time he got a bit more credit, so we popped round for a cuppa a few weeks ago to find out to find out how he got to where he is and the bands that he’s worked with.

Around ten years ago, Tim was half of dance act Hardkandy. They released a few albums to critical acclaim but there was a nagging feeling that some of their fellow Brighton peers – the likes of Will Quantic and Si Bonobo – were getting some of the fame that they deserved. Even when he was making dance music, Tim was into his folk, and in 2006 formed the Folklaw label with Fin Greenall, known to fans of Ninja Tune as Fink, and Elliot Richards. The first album Tim produced for someone else was the The Gin Club by Nikolas Barrell, released by Folklaw in March 2007, and around that time Elliot spotted Kate Walsh playing in a pub in Brighton. The resulting number one album, Tim’s House, ended up being self released rather than coming out on Folklaw but kick started Tim’s career as a producer.

“When I first met Cate Ferris, I was a bit terrified of just how talented she is. With her EP, I produced it, but I didn’t really, it was Cate just playing around in the studio and me giving her the space to play around and just capturing her because she’s so full of energy and musically talented. I’d seen of her is doing stuff with the loop pedal on YouTube, so I got in touch with her and asked if she wanted to talk about working with me.

She’s got an amazing voice and she’s a good songwriter, and she’s doing great things and working with great people. For the EP she wanted to experiment with more different things in the studio and get away from the whole loop pedal thing.

She’s a lot like me, she’s quite a control freak musically. I’m not so much musically, but I am with projects, or giving a sound to something and I like giving a sound and working on the artwork even, for things and stuff like that. I like getting involved, whereas Cate’s a little bit of a genius.

“The Cordelia Gartside EP sounds beautiful. I’m really chuffed with it. Some of the best stuff I’ve done. I got some of the best players I know to play on it. We’ve got John Smith on guitar – he’s one of the best guitarists in the country and he loves Cordelia’s stuff. She’s off to college now, so she’s going to be writing away and hopefully we’ll be doing some more recording at Christmas when she comes back.

I’m really excited about Cordelia, she’s got a lot of potential and she’s a whole package, and she means what she does. She’s not interested in doing pop stuff, she’s really into Bon Iver and Laura Marling and people like that and she wants to be a credible artist. She’s not going to sell her soul to the pop devil, which is really refreshing.

I did the video for Fathoms’s Deep. She was so brave doing the stuff in the water. That STUNK! It was one of those peat lakes, so when she got in it, it just kicked up. I woke up the next morning and I was covered in bites. It was shot near Uckfield, some ancient woodland with a lake in the middle, it was beautiful. We got chavs throwing stones at us while were doing that which was a nightmare, but we got there in the end.

House of Hats are great guys to work with. I’ve just recently finished their EP. which has just been released. That was a real labour of love – that took quite a while. They’re real perfectionists, especially with the vocals. They know what they like as well. I always like someone to take the lead vocal, but they wanted all the vocals at the same level. They all write the material, so it was difficult for me as a producer as well, because sometimes I wanted Al’s vocals to come out more, or Noddy’s vocals, because that’s just my instinct as a producer. That said, Rivers Will Run, the title track of the EP, is very much Al’s track. And Noddy sang on Home is Where the Heart is, and that’s beautiful, so there are a couple of tracks of theirs that have got that prominent vocal.

As well as all of the other production work that Tim’s done this year, his big project has been with Jennifer Left, co-writing and producing her forthcoming album Hushabye. He originally approached her about working on a solo project back in the days when she sung and played bass in Gloria Cycles, and things have finally come to fruition this year.

“Hushabye was all recorded here. I co-wrote it with Jen and a guy called Ewan Wallace. That took over a year to record, just taking our time. It was nice to write again actually. Both of them very talented and it was nice to do that. I’ve been producing for so long you don’t really get to write any more. It was nice to give Jen a sound too. Jen gave us a list of influences and we sort of forged the sound. To be honest the eleven tracks on the album were the first eleven tracks we did. A lot of people you have to write ten tracks to get one good one, but we were just quite pleasantly surprised by how it all came together. Obviously there was a couple of duff ones here and there that we got rid of, but overall we were really chuffed how it all came together. And it was that thing of giving her a sound that was kind of new but then sort of had elements of the Beatles, Django Rheinhardt, swing and jazz elements, but there’s also Grizzly Bear stuff and weird little elements here and there that just make it a little bit different with Jen’s voice. She’s mad as a box of frogs though!

Diggory is released on 5th November, and is backed with a couple of remixes as well as Jennifer’s gorgeous take on New Order’s Temptation:

The launch party is at the Blind Tiger on 8th November, where Jennifer Left is supported by The Maybirds – another band produced by Tim!

Cate Ferris and House of Hats EPs are out now, and Cordelia Gartside’s EP will hopefully be out before the end of the year.

Oxjam Brighton Takeover / Source New Music / Brighton Dome Studio Theatre

We mentioned last week that yesterday saw the Oxjam Brighton Takeover taking place across town. As promised we went to report from the newly renamed Brighton Dome Studio Theatre.

Minor Sounds

It was a bit of a quiet start for Minor Sounds. Who knows whether this was a reflection on the weather, the fact that there’s so much on, the Sunday night effect, or the fact that we’re spoiled in Brighton by so many free gigs, but it would have been nice to have seen a bit more support. It’s a real shame because Minor Sounds set was quite a joy to hear. The band make a kind of amplified folk, and played a set mostly from The Humming – their album which came out earlier this year – as well as a few new songs, which pointed to a more experimental direction for the band, with a lot more atmospherics going on.

Curxes

As much as I enjoyed the headliners, it was second band Curxes who stole the show for me. We’ve featured their two singles Spectre and Gold this year on the blog, which they opened and closed their set with. In between we were treated to a confident set of industrial electro pop, sounding like a female fronted mid-period Depeche Mode. I’ve managed to miss Curxes every time they’ve played this year before now, and didn’t disappoint when I finally did see them. They’re back on stage again next week, supporting Nordic Giants at their “Danger De Mort” gig at the Green Door Store, where you’ll get another chance to hear the band and see what Roberta described as her “Nan on acid” dancing.

P for Persia

It seems like only a few weeks since P For Persia were onstage at a Source New Music night. That’s mainly because it has only been a few weeks – when P for Persia played on the Beatabet hosted night back in September. They were great then, and they were great last night, playing angular wonky synth punk, combined with with some of Beatabet’s cartoon visual projections. Daniel McNally is one of Brighton’s most compelling frontmen, and I challenge anyone not to enjoy themselves at a P for Persia gig.

Source New Music is back again this Thursday, headlined by the brilliant Restlesslist, who will be performing their album Coral Island Girl in full. Support comes from Phoria, Them The Sky and Oliver Welby.

Laish – back in Brighton

So, you’ve finished with Oxjam and the mass of musical fun this past week? Wondering where the next great sounds are coming from? Look no further because hurrah, this Friday, Laish are back in town.

Laish playing at The Haunt, Brighton

Laish playing at The Haunt, Brighton

Daniel Green’s band have just completed a European tour and are now on a short home country trek, stopping off at the Hope on Queen’s Road, this Friday 26th October.

They’ll be supported by Maia – a 4-piece alt- folk band from Huddlesfield who have supported the Low Anthem, Anais Mitchell and the Unthanks, as well as playing the Cambridge Folk Festival and No Direction Home – a mix of gigs which pretty well describes their sound.

They’ve also got Nick Edward Harris on the bill, and having seen him support Emma Gatrill (also a Laish band member) at her album launch earlier this year I would highly recommend you get their early to experience his amazing intricate rhythmic guitar playing which is out of this world.

Laish, in case you didn’t know, come out of the excellent Willkommen Collective. Dan plays drums for Sons of Noel and Adrian when he’s not penning some of the most charming, honest and authentic songs to have come out of Brighton or anywhere for many a year. Their first album was released a couple of years ago, and was one of our records of the year – Mojo magazine termed it “Beguiling songs of love”, Line of Best fit “Clever and accomplished”. An excellent EP ‘Obituaries‘ came out earlier this year  and a second album is now in the can and this blog for one can’t wait.

Listen to the title track from the Obituaries EP here 

Tickets for this Friday’s gig are £6 in advance (£7 on the door) and you can buy them here: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/185957

(Photograph of Laish at the Haunt earlier this year by Jon Southcoasting)

p.s. also recommended this week: Thursday: RESTLESSLIST at the Pavilion theatre