Sea Monsters Day One – One Inch Badge vs The Source

So, as I did with Sea Monsters last year, we’re going to blog every night of the festival, on the night. This year it’s even more ambitious, because there’s seven nights not six. The first night was One Inch Badge vs The Source, and editor James Kendall was spotted in the audience. Current Source cover stars were on the bill – would they live up to the hype?

900 Spaces

900 Spaces

First band on were 900 Spaces. They’re quite pop – they reminded me a lot of fellow Brighton poppers Kovak, or maybe The Woo! Worths, but with a more distinctive vocal – a little bit Lily Allen, in a good way.

TheDealWasForTheDiamond

TheDealWasForTheDiamond

Next up were TheDealWasForTheDiamond, who we saw a couple of times last year. Those times had them pitched as post/math rock, but tonight they were a lot more ROCK. I’m glad I brought my ear plugs!

Kins

Kins

The band I was most looking forward tonight was Kins, and they really didn’t disappoint. There was definitely something special about them. I caught up with James Kendall after their set, and he described them better than I could – like a cross between The XX and Foals, despite them completely different bands. Go see them soon!

Written in Waters

Written in Waters

Most of the crown were there for headliners Written in Waters. My ears were a bit confused by the two conflicting styles on stage though. The vocals were a fantastic soul / gospel mix. The rest of the band were a pretty damned good post rock band. But in my head, my understanding of post rock is that it’s all about rich layers, and my understanding of the kind of music that goes with the vocals is that it’s all about being stripped back, and I couldn’t really reconcile the two. What do I know though – the rest of the crowd were loving it.

 

Sea Monsters preview interview with James Kendall of The Source

Last year’s Sea Monsters wasn’t curated by outsiders, but this year’s is. How did you come to be hosting an evening?

We have a really good relationship with One Inch Badge. They’re big supporters of the magazine through their advertising and we find it very easy to write about the gigs they put on as not only are there so many to choose from, they’re also very interesting up-and-coming bands. But I guess they asked us because we’re the only magazine that exclusively writes about the Brighton music scene.

Current Source cover stars Kins are second on the bill. Are headliners Written in Waters set for big things in 2013?

Essentially they could be absolutely huge or drive everyone mad. They’re not for everyone – it’s a very strange mix of styles, they’re kinda goth soul meets Pink Floyd – but the people that like them really love them. Kins are much easier to get you head around – they’re really powerful on stage but also very melodic. But I don’t think many bands would find it easy to follow Written In Waters – they’re so dramatic. Come and make up your mind. You really have to see them.

Who are SOURCE’s tips from the bands playing across the other nights?

I guess that you might be able to tell by the people who have been in the magazine, especially those that have been on the cover. Country rock band Holy Vessels recorded our song of 2012 and they’re every bit as good live as on record. Abi Wade plays the cello like no one you’ve ever seen – totally original – while AKDK and Physics House Band are both intense and intelligent bursts of noise, the former electronic and the latter jazzy. Other that that I’m most looking forward to seeing hip hop outfit Rum Committee for the first time.

If you could have got any Brighton band, past or present, to play your night who would you have chosen?

Tough question – I’d very much like to see one more gig by Gloria Cycles, so they would be on the bill. Nick Cave, obviously. I saw Grinderman at the King Alfred Centre so know how powerful he can be when he’s right in front of your face. And I guess I’d like to see The Maccabees play all the early songs they won’t play any more – in a room full of over excited teenagers, like their infamous gig at the Concorde. Finally I’d like to see Bat For Lashes’ first live incarnation – the all girl band – again. She was a delight in those early days. And still is, of course. That’s not a bad line up in anyone’s books.

Sea Monsters seems to have replaced Brighton Live as the local music festival. Why do you think that is?

I think the problem with Brighton Live – which was a brilliant idea – is that by the end it only attracted bands who weren’t already getting lots of gigs elsewhere. I was part of the board for a while and I pushed for more curated nights, something we did at Sticky Mike’s over three days as a SOURCE-branded event. I don’t want to say the rest of it was full of BIMM bands but… it was full of BIMM bands. That’s not so bad bit it isn’t representative of the Brighton scene as a whole. Brighton Live needed to tempt bands to be involved that were way too big to play for free because it was good for the community. But that never really happened. Sea Monsters works better, I think, because the bands are asked to play and already it’s seen as a badge of honour to be chosen. Because it sells out all the bands get paid, which is good. It’s a shame Brighton Live fell from its former glory because there were a lot of good people involved with very good intentions.

Sea Monsters 3 streaming now!

Sea Monsters 3 is still a few weeks away yet, but to get us in the mood, they’ve put up a Soundcloud stream of the cd that they’re giving out to people who buy a week ticket. It features one track from each band who are playing, so if there’s anyone you haven’t heard of (which is still quite a few even for us), you can take a listen here:

That’s not all though. Over on Bandcamp, they’re GIVING AWAY downloads of the past two years compilations! There was some great tracks on there (Fear of Men’s Doldrums and Us Baby Bear Bones’ Rain still get a lot of plays around here):

 

The Blog Sound of 2013

December’s a funny month for people who write about new music, mainly because there’s not too much of it about. Release schedules are bare, with the exception of big name acts cashing in with Greatest Hits or maybe the odd novelty record, and there aren’t so many gigs because of the bad weather and clashes with Christmas parties, so people like me sit at home reflecting on the past year and pontificating about the year ahead.

Towards the end of last year Robin from Breaking More Waves got in touch with us and 48 other blogs to continue what Breaking More Waves and the Von Pip Musical had started in 2012. The Blog Sound of 2013 poll is a bit of an alternative to the BBC’s own Sound of 2013 – not meant as a criticism of what the BBC are doing, just a different viewpoint. Interestingly, last year’s Mercury Prize winners Alt-J featured on the Blog Sound of 2012 poll, but we’re on BBC’s Sound of 2012.

We were asked to nominate five artists that represented the best in emerging music. At first glance it sounded nice and easy, but was it really that simple? Should I just be nominating bands from Brighton? Most of the other blogs involved weren’t so geographical. And should I be nominating my favourite bands, or the ones who were doing best at “emerging”? And what does emerging really mean anyway?

In the end, I nominated two Brighton bands, one band who are half Brighton / half London, and two bands with no links to Brighton. Sadly none of my nominations made it to the final longlist, but Curxes did appear giving a bit of local representation. Subsequently one of the acts I nominated – Anna Meredith – got awarded Drowned in Sound’s single of the year, which gave me a bit of reassurance that I don’t have cloth ears thankfully.

The longlist announced in December comprised of AlunaGeorge, Curxes, Chvrches, Daughter, Haim, Laura Mvula, MØ, Palma Violets, Pins, Randolph’s Leap, Rhye, Savages, Seasfire, The Neighbourhood, Tom Odell. Seven of these ended up on the BBC’s Sound of 2013 list. This morning, the winner of the crown of Blog Sound of 2013, was announced, alongside the the final top five :

1st Haim 

2nd Chvrches

3rd= Savages

3rd= Pins

5th The Neighbourhood

If you want to get your ears around these bands – which doesn’t seem like such a bad idea considering these are the acts which have been voted for by people passionate enough about music to devote their spare time to writing about them – then Breaking More Waves have put together a handy Soundcloud playlist :