new media from Al Chamberlain, Omega Male, Ital Tek and The Maccabees

Before we head out to the Dome Studio bar for the Oxjam Brighton Takeover tonight, here’s a few bits and pieces for you to listen to and watch.

We mentioned Al Chamberlain’s Train Song in our review of september’s Bleeding Hearts Club, and since then it’s turned up as a free download on Soundcloud. Go and grab it now – it’s one of my favourite tracks of the year.

Next is a new video by Omega Male, half of whom is Fujiya & Miyagi’s David Best. Take a look at Testosterone here:

Then we have Ital Tek with the eponymous title track from their new album Nebula Dance, which comes out tomorrow:

Finally, we have beautiful, trippy video Ayla by the Maccabees

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.

Bleeding Hearts Club again

It’s that time of the month. First Monday. 

Bleeding Hearts Club featured in this blog not so long ago, but seeing as it’s a regular monthly event upstairs at the Price Albert in Trafalgar Street, and inevitably excellent, it is not that surprising that it features again.

This month we had four acts, each playing about four songs each and some excellent sounds from the house DJ in-between.

First up was the bizarre yet memorable King of Cats, a man in shorts who went from quiet twee to slash-and-burn hardcore within a verse of a song. He also did something very strange with a second microphone which gave him the ability to detour into these strange sonic interludes which made him sound a bit lie, er… well, a king of cats. He also had some CDs for sale, in home-made sleeves shaped like underpants with a picture of female genitalia on the front. 

It was never going to be a normal night.

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Next up was Al Chamberlain, apparently playing only his second ever gig. A little shy and self-depreciating he played a series of charming songs telling stories of love and adolescent innocence which completely charmed the audience. 

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He was followed by Lux Harmonium, a sometimes two piece with – you guessed it – a Harmonium, but also some of the most exquisite guitar-playing by Devonian Luke Jones which just got better and better as their set progressed. Fortunately, the night’s host Chris Davies called Luke back for a fourth song which was absolutely outstanding. Worth the pittance of an entry fee alone. Wish I’d remembered what it was called, but you can buy a CD and no doubt it’s on it. 

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Finally, headliners Fire Eyes played – drum machine, guitar and violin fronted by some quirky vocals. Apparently slightly under-rehearsed they strung together an assortment of sort of Mazzy Star influenced songs, battling with their equipment but managing to fascinate and rounding off a fine evening.

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There was the usual candles-on-tables, a joke from a Christmas cracker that was as stale as old cheese, and something about every record label  that wasn’t the Bleeding Hearts record label being rubbish. Suffice to say, we all went home very very happy. 

Lovely.

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Photographs by Southcoasting