The Real Si-B ‘Lost in a Hug’

The Real Si-B at the Dover Castle

The Real Si-B is the monicker of Simon F Baker, a UK Swamp Country-Roots Singer Songwriter & One Man Band, who mixes traditional influences with a love of the quirky & unexpected.

Originally from the rougher side of Croydon and brought up on a commune in Suffolk, Si is now based in Brighton and Hove. In ‘Lost in the Hug’ he’s produced a surprising and enjoyable album, mixing a strong musicality with some gutsy, heart-felt rhythm and blues, be-fitting a man who claims one of his favourite smells is the inside of an acoustic guitar.

The album was mainly recorded in Si’s small home studio in Hove with some parts recorded live in Alfriston Chapel and then sent to Finnish producer Jerry Icon, formerly of Brighton but now in Italy, who played & recorded bass for the songs & mixed & mastered the album. Keith Osborne of Hastings also added a gorgeous lapstring steel part to ‘Dear Sam’.

The album is refreshing and while rooted in old music still sounds fresh and new. Particular favourites to our ears are the upbeat ‘Alabama Mambo Blues’, the strangely psychedelic rootsy spiritual sound of ‘Pigskin Shoestring Song’ and the beautifully gentle, memory-filled ‘Dear Sam’ which seems to oose sunshine and personal stories. But there’s not a weak song on the whole album. Give it a listen at the link below.

Si says many of the songs on the album were written about people he knew “like ‘Elephant’ which popped out after a conversation with my brother. Or ‘Rings of Gypsy Gold’ which is a true story about Eastern European gypsies who flagged me down on a motorway flyover & scammed me out of whatever cash I had on me in exchange for some fake ‘gold’ rings. I got hoodwinked – but I got a song out of it!”

Si says he grew up listening to “a lot of Jamaican Ska, as well as punk bands like The Clash and The Slits and all the weird eclectic stuff John Peel used to play” which left a lasting impression. But as he grew older he found himself “more & more drawn to types of music which have a simple timeless beauty & penetrating honesty about them”. He became attracted to Apalachian folk & hillbilly Country music as well as the early 20s and 30s blues singers which inspired the American Folk music revival in the 1960’s, and which comes through loud and clear in the album ‘Lost in the Hug’.

“Really though I wanted to try & do it in the way that came most natural to me rather than trying to apply any kind of formula or style of someone elses,” Si says. 

That certainly worked. While the album has elements of the raw warmth of Seasick Steve or the quirky pop sensibility of the Talking Heads, it is much more rootsy, reminisicent a bit of the Louisiana swamp music as well as a touch of Chas & Dave and the pub rock of the late 1970s. However, it’s very much Si’s own sound, aided by his excellent grasp of his instrumentation also shown to good effect in his one-man-band live shows.

The Real Si-B live at the Brunswick1

Si is currently working on new material for his next album, as well as looking for interesting small venues in the South East to play at and other sympathetic artists to work with. He says that anyone interested should not hesitate to get in touch.

 

Listen to and/or download ‘Lost in the Hug’ from The Real Si-B’s website here

and catch Si next on Friday 1st September at The Bugle Inn (24 St Martins St, Brighton BN2 3HJ)   8.30pm – free entry

or Saturday 4th November at The Dover Castle Pub (Southover St, Hanover BN2 9UE) also a free entry gig

+++++

Words by Jon Southcoasting

Photo (1) by Jon Southcoasting and (2) by Graham O’Connor-Laurence

Advertisements

M Butterfly debut album

M Butterfly is the nom-de-plume of Martyn Lewis, a 27 year old songwriter from Brighton who has just released his first album of subtle, sensitive sad-core.

Martyn plays guitar and synths as well as singing. Unusually, the album was recorded on to tape, giving it the feel at times of an old lost 78.  Martin told us that “Thom was a wonderful producer who managed to hear the same things I heard in the songs, and he never doubted my ability, which gave me endless drive.”

This record took Martyn about 2 years to write and it was worth the wait. The album contains a beautiful collection of sad songs with a musical alt-country heart. The song ‘The Loving Arms’ might just be the saddest song you’ll ever hear. The collection as a whole is not depressing however, because of Martyn’s lyricism and ability to dive into melancholy and then bring the songs back, illustrated well by the opening lines of the first song ‘Yes, always’:  “Well I stare into the abyss and make it blink…”

Martyn says his main influences are classic songwriters like Townes van Zandt, Vic Chesnutt and Judee Sill, all known for not being afraid to dive into the darker regions of the human mind at times.  “Really heartfelt lyrics over relatively simple songs,” is Martyn’s summation. “In terms of dynamics and texture I took a lot of influence from Low, Julee Cruise and PJ Harvey’s more experimental albums. That Julee Cruise album was a massive influence with its textures on the guitars.” You can hear some of the Twin Peaks influence to good effect on some of the songs, and the album contains a similar shimmering sense of otherness.

The album has been released in a very limited CD-R edition which has already sold out, but you can still buy the music from bandcamp. Martyn is planning to release a very limited lathe cut vinyl EP later this year which he says will include some full band songs. One of which, ‘strings on yr wrist’  has featured in his live set for a while. “Hopefully [the band songs] will be fast and noisy and grungy.”

“After this I’ll start writing for album 2. I won’t be rushing anything for the second record,” he says. “I’m very into beats at the moment, and whilst I definitely won’t be doing a hip hop album I’d like to record a song or two that you could dance to!”

Surprising perhaps, but whatever it sounds like, we look forward to album number two with eager anticipation.

You can listen to M Butterfly I here:

New Brighton Albums – Nick Cave, Fujiya & Miyagi, British Sea Power, Emma Gatrill, King Porter Stomp and The Physics House Band

We do our best to keep on top of new tracks to share with you all, but it’s about time we made a separate post about new albums too. Some of these have been mentioned in passing already when tracks have come out in advance of the releases, but this will be the first mention for some of the others.

Continue reading

New Brighton Albums

We have two new albums to write about this week – The first is from Broker, whose album Quixota came out on October 22nd on Smalltown America records, although we received the first mail about the record back in August. Sorry guys. Since then the band have been on tour around Europe, but you haven’t missed the local launch yet – The album launch is happening this Saturday at the Prince Albert.

Next other is the new long player from Luo, who also got in touch with us far too long ago. Again, apologies. Their new release is called Sleep Spindles, and is out on local label Small Pond. There’s no big local launch for the record, but Luo are supporting Three Trapped Tigers on Sunday at Patterns, with the equally brilliant Physics House Band also on the bill.

 

Sweet Williams album news / gig preview

sweet-williamsTomorrow night sees Sweet Williams play an intimate set at The Quadrant in support of his new release Please Let Me Sleep On Your Tonight. Long term friend of Brighton Music Blog Greg Neate caught up with Sweet Williams’ Tom House to talk about the record and you can read the interview over at Louder Than War.

Please Let Me Sleep On Your Tonight is out now on Faux Discx, who seem to be unable to put a foot wrong with the records that they’re releasing this year, and can be purchased on vinyl at Resident, or on download from the band’s bandcamp site.

 

Album news – Wytches, Tigercub, Resonators and Bloom

It’s about time we had a catch up on the new albums by local bands which are either just out, or just about to come out. The first of these is The Wytches whose new LP All Your Happy Life came out on Heavenly right at the end of September. As a taster, here’s Crest of Death:

Tigercub are out on tour around Europe right now in support of their upcoming album. It’s called Abstract Figures in the Dark, and it comes out on 11th November on Alcopop. If you pre-order it from Resident you’ll get two free tickets to the band’s instore performance on 13th November. Here’s track three from the album, Omen:

The new album from Resonators also came out last Friday (although they played a Brighton launch at the Dome Studio Theatre a couple of weeks back). Their new release is called Imaginary People and is out on Wah Wah 45s. Here’s album opener All The Paths:

Bloom launched their debut album What Is Life with a gig at Latest Music Bar a couple of weekends ago. Formerly the Beautiful Word, the band have grown up, and are displaying a new-found maturity and a love of synths. The band have a new video out on Friday, and are also selling a very limited run if cassettes of the demos for their album (which you can find more info about on their Facebook page). If you’d like to know what to expect from the record, here’s Shout:

 

Album news – Cold Pumas / Hanging Valley

We dropped the ball a few weeks ago and missed posting about the release of The Hanging Valley, the new album by Cold Pumas, which came out in the middle of August on local label Faux Discx (run by Cold Puma Dan Reeves). Cold Pumas are giants of the local scene and we’re kicking ourselves for missing the launch at the Hope & Ruin a couple of weeks back. It’s not too late for the London launch though, which takes place tomorrow night at Moth Club. Check out the album below, buy the album digitally from bandcamp, or physically on cd or white vinyl direct from Faux Discx or from Resident.