An Alternative 2016 Albums best of…

So Rob always has his top ten Brighton albums of the year and it’s always very good and there are usually one or two overlaps with Jon’s but they’re never the same, so in the spirit of diversity and a reflection of the excellent year 2016 has been for music, Jon thought he’d drop a few Rob failed to mention and which happen to be top of his list. Continue reading

Merry Christmas from Brighton Music Blog

A brief interlude from our Top Ten countdown now, to spread a bit of Christmas cheer from some local bands. We’ve featured some of these tracks in previous years, but we’re starting off with some new material too, mostly from our friends over at BMusic. They filmed Bloom, Calico, Seeker and Rob Godfrey all performing their take on well known Christmas songs:

Also new is Santa by Tenderhooks:

And here’s the tunes we’ve featured in previous year’s Christmas roundups, from Delta Bell, Catherine Ireton, Crayola Lectern, Nick Hudson, The Boy Who Kicked Pigs, Becky Becky and Curxes:

New Brighton Music

Here’s our first new music blog post in a little bit. Thankfully things have been quite quiet in the last week or so – I guess all the bands are off at festivals rather than uploading new tunes.

Anyway, our first track is the first new proper release from Dog in the Snow since last year’s Africa single. Proxy is taken from their new EP Uncanny Valley, which comes out on Love Thy Neighbour in October, and has it’s launch party at the Hope & Ruin on 14th October:

Continue reading

Friday 12th June

Two excellent things on for local music fans this Friday.

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Hidden Trail Records are launching their charity compilation ‘Hidden Brighton #2′ on Friday 12th June at the Latest Bar in Manchester Street, featuring some exciting live music from three blog favourites: the rockin’ Black Rooster Black Shag and two superb electro-pop acts Curxes and Becky Becky, both of whom have released very well-received albums this year. Doors at 7:30pm. Entry is £8 on the door.

The album is the Hidden Trail label’s second compilation and features an excellent array of local acts: Curxes, Black Rooster Black Shag, Becky Becky, The Delta Bell, Matthew the Oxx, Clowwns, Cate Ferris, O. Chapman, Momotaro, Grasshopper, Elin Ivarsson, Garden Heart, Jetglo and Alex KP. If this is anything like their first compilation it is going to be really lovely.

The launch and album are raising money for an excellent local charity, The Clock Tower Sanctuary, a day centre providing support to young insecurely-housed or homeless people in Brighton and Hove. All profits from the gig and album release go to the charity.

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If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a wonderful celebration of folk-based music at The One Church, featuring poetic songstress Kristin McClement whose new album The Wild Grips has been getting excellent reviews, along with experimental music from Astra Forward, beautiful alt-folk from Philippe Nash and Hilary Repko‘s heartfelt vocals.

It should make for a beautiful evening of gentle music in a charming venue in Gloucester Place, just a few doors along from the North Laine Brewery Pub. Doors open at 7:30pm, entrance by donation.

Gigs we’ve spotted

Right now, with the evenings going sub-zero it might not seem too appealing to get off the sofa and into town for some live music. We’ve seen a few upcoming gigs which will hopefully change your mind though, starting off with a couple from newly refurbished venues:

10931282_934707609896845_3118508573256408749_nYou might have noticed that right now The Hope is covered with scaffolding and has been closed for a few weeks. on 12th February it reopens as The Hope & Ruin, And Riots Not Diets are hosting their opening party, with Shopping, The Soft Walls and Keel Her setting the bar for what’s to come.

Another venue which has just had a facelift is The Martha Gunn on Upper Lewes Road. Not traditionally known for gigs, it seems that’s to change in their newly reincarnated form. This Saturday (7th February), Becky Becky headline, supported by a stripped down Fiction Aisle, for a free gig put on by the Flash Bang Band affiliated F=KX.

10945724_10155148307895534_4596353916626696870_oFiction Aisle are also support for The Academy of The Sun‘s gig at The Old Market on 19th February. Nick Hudson’s most ambitious project to date have played a few low key gigs so far, but Nick has a history of turning his bigger gigs into events not to be missed.

Fiction Aisle aren’t on the bill for the welcome return of The Bleeding Hearts Club, but it’s surely only a matter of time since Bleeding Hearts put out Tom White’s solo Yalla album. The Bleeding Hearts Club has left it’s old home of the Prince Albert and has relocated to a new home at The Rialto Theatre on Dyke Road, with Gary Goodman, The Hornblower Brothers, Tandy Hard and Mudlow playing on 16th February. After this month, they’ll be back every second monday of the month for the rest of the year.

Another regular night which is making a return soon is The Harvest Sessions, which are restarting on 4th March at The Komedia, coming back with a bang with Luke Sital-Singh, Jacko Hooper and The Standard Lamps.

The following night Della Lupa launches her new single Storm of Swallows at One Church. Not content with just playing a gig, the evening also comprises an art exhibition by Beth Steddon who provided the artwork for the single, a dance performance from the dancers who choreographed the video, and support from Ellie Ford, Summa, and Kwil.

Sputnik – an evening of intergalactic sounds

Saturday night in Brighton and we were getting our groove on at the Green Door Store for  a free-entry night of “intergalactic sounds inspired by outer space” with four local dance-oriented acts, headlined by the legendary psych-rockers Cloud playing what I was told was rumoured to be the opening and closing night of their 2015 World stadium tour.

Opening act NJ Strange has been messing around with software and technology-based sound for around quarter of a century and laid down some smooth sounds to introduce the evening.

NJ Strange

Second on was the electro-dance mix-meister Peter J Mason who is one half of the electro-pop high-drama-duo Becky Becky as well as re-mixer for the likes of Button Eyes, Woodpecker Wooliams and various Fence Collective acts. His high-powered hi-energy set played under the new name JOTA really got the joint moving, and well-deserved the hearty round of applause.

Jota (Peter Mason)

Third act INVADR comprised electronics-wizard Matt Garland who had programmed software to project a space-inspired light-show that was triggered by the different aspects of his 1970s synthesiser-driven dance set. It felt a bit Kraftwerk and a bit Jean-Michelle Jarre.

INVADR (Matt Garland)

Finally, headliners CLOUD are a bit of a supergroup comprising a movable feast of players from the Brighton music scene past and present. Whilst guitar-based, the group include synths, electro-violin and a guest appearance on flute by Woodpecker Woolliams. The band are infrequent visitors to the stage these days but when they play live their thing is an improvised barrage of psych-inspired rock, with a lot like Hawkwind at their grooviest. They were on very good form tonight and there was a lot of dancing going on amongst the enthusiastic audience. Hopefully we’ll be seeing another space-fuelled psych night like this again soon.

CLOUD CLOUD

CLOUD

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Words and pictures by Jon Southcoasting

Hip Hip, here’s some Christmas cheer

This particular part of BMB tends to be a bit of a Grinch this time of year and would be minded to bury any band who recorded a Christmas song deep deep deep in the cold cold snow. But this year the little cockles that warm must have reached my heart because there have been what even I consider to be some very fine seasonal offerings from the local Brighton crew. The BMB mainstay will be back to restart his best-of-the-year list shortly, but in the meantime, here’s some jingle jangle sweetness for you.

We mentioned the Random Acts of Vinyl xmas EP a few weeks ago, but it’s so good we’ll mention it again. This time we’ll feature the Delta Bell, with Kate’s beaut of a 60s Phil Spector-influenced song Hey Santa Claus!

Next up are our favourite bentcousins, with an anti-Christmas break-up song. It’s simple and endearing, perfect for this time of year really if you’re sipping brandy alone and wrapping presents for one. .

Danny Green was a longstanding Brightoner, part of the Willkommen team and a regular feature on this blog thanks to two outstanding albums until he upped and moved to London earlier this year. However, as Laish he is still one of the finest writers of songs of a Brighton persuasion and he has just released a seasonal EP, with sad confessional songs that recount a depressing stay in a freezing Berlin, inform us that we are unlikely to get a present from Danny this year, and in his annihilation of Silent Night, a reminder that the usual drunken debauchery will probably end up in fighting. I love this a lot.

Finally we have a new upcoming release from electro-pop Becky Becky, out on Monday. it’s the usual dirty disco weirdness that we enjoyed on their album this year and you’re bound to love it. Here’s taster track, Bells Ringing, which should give you a flavour of what we’ll get on Monday.

Becky Becky video interview

In the way of the blogs, we sent Brighton’s electro-pop superstars Becky Becky some questions, thinking to celebrate the release of their new albumGood Morning, Midnight they might supply a few hesitant stuttering finger-typed words, about why House of the Black Madonna is the future of rock ‘n’ roll and how Jean Rhys could have rocked the middle-European disco had she been of a certain age.

Instead, they sent us this.

The album’s out May 1st and is available from their website at www.beckybecky.com

 

Who are… ?

Becky Becky is two people: Gemma L Williams and Peter J D Mason. Bandmates, friends, lovers, enemies. We´ve existed together in almost every possible permutation. We´ve loved each other, hated each other, walked together, walked out on each other. There is no pit of despair we haven´t pushed each other to, we struggle together… but we always remain together.

Where were Becky Becky… ?

…formed in Brighton, England, a long time ago. There have been casualties. We started making music by following a very loose manifesto. One rule that will always remain is: no “real” instruments. No drums, guitars… only electronic music.

By limiting your options, you free yourself.

Where does… ?

What´s in a name? It´s our name. A fifty-fifty partnership, making one complete whole: Becky Becky.

Why “Good Morning, Midnight”?

…from Jean Rhys´ 1939 novel, which took its name from an Emily Dickenson poem. We recommend both these texts.

And what does she mean to you?

Jean Rhys was an author often depicting mistreated, rootless women. To this day, her words are still relevant and easily identifiable. She is an inspiration and a favourite author of ours – a fact which helped bring us together.

Are you a European band now? 

We formed in Brighton and currently reside here, but we are not involved with the Brighton music scene or anything like that. We feel like outsiders here.  If ‘Good Morning, Midnight’ feels like a European record, then that makes sense. It was written in Prague and recorded up a mountain in a wooden chalet in Seythenex, a tiny French Alpine village.

Who are your musical influences?

Hot Chip and ´80s synth-pop. From Europe, the Knife and Legowelt. Eurotrash and Eurobeats too, if you put aside your pretensions. That kind of music is full of joy and is genuinely great.

Is this music to dance to… ?

When we created Becky Becky, we wanted to make danceable music with lyrics tackling serious themes. We hope you can sit and listen to it, to the stories. But we also want you to just switch off and dance. If you come to see us play live, you should definitely be dancing.

Do you have live… ?

We are not really a gigging band. We do not just play. We try and make every show unique. This requires a lot more effort these days as our ideas become increasingly more elaborate. So we do not play very often. We do not just turn up and plug in and play. We make shows.

Do you… ?

For the autumn, we are lining up some shows in Europe and we have one in New York City on the 26th September in the Pyramid Club. Our next show is our album launch in Brighton on Friday 23rd May. It will be an audio-visual show and probably the most elaborate we´ve ever attempted.

What comes next ?

Becky Becky is in a constant fragile state. Gemma is recovering from the unexpected death of her Woodpecker alter ego; and Peter is working on other projects.

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Who knows what comes next ?

The album Good Morning, Midnightis out on May 1st 2014 and available from the Becky Becky website at www.beckybecky.com

 

 

Brighton Bands Christmas Music Roundup

We’ve got a seasonal round up for you this week, with festive tunes put out by local artists, some modern takes on traditional tunes, some new compositions. Hopefully this will get you all in the festive spirit:

Catherine Ireton – Christmas My Baby Is Blue

Jacko Hooper – Silent Night

Crayola Lectern – SFXmas

Nick Hudson – I Forgot About Christmas

Laish – Silentish Night

The Boy Who Kicked Pigs – The Christmas Song

Becky Becky – Bells Ringing (Xmas again)

Chris T-T – A Child Is Born (Chris T-T’s previous Christmas tunes are also up on Bandcamp)

Thomas White – White Christmas

Curxes – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Us Baby Bear Bones – Santa Claus is Coming To Town

July Top Ten

Want to know what’s been on the Brighton Music Blog stereo this month? Then read on:

1) Kins – Post Tropical Storm
Our most listened to track was Post Tropical Storm from Kins eponymous debut album. It’s powerful guitar pop, but the power doesn’t come from obvious hooks or direct choruses, but from it’s sonic quality. Tribal drums and layers of shimmering guitars coupled with angelic vocals don’t just elevate Kins’ songs above the rest but take them to a different place altogether.

2) The Electric Soft Parade – One Of Those Days
Our soundtrack to the summer is still Idiots by the Electric Soft Parade. One of Those Days effortlessly breezes out of the speakers with sugary sweet vocals, a light swirling guitar riff and shuffling drums. Here’s a live version from the album launch at the Green Door Store back in June

3) Cate Ferris – Blaze Bright
Another tune which has sounded amazing in the sunshine is Cate Ferris’ new single Blaze Bright. Who doesn’t love a bit of reggae in the summertime?

4) Champione – The View (feat. Lizzie Massey) / Tiny Dragons – Come Alive (PACT Remix)
Yes, Yes. This is two tunes. Well spotted. They’re both dance tunes with Lizzie Massey’s vocals at the forefront, the first in autotuned form on the title track from Champione’s recent EP, and the second as part of her band Tiny Dragons, remixed by PACT who also remixed their track Canvas for a recent mix cd released on Kitsune records. The unmixed PACT remix of Canvas is also on the download package of the Come Alive EP.

5) Crayola Lectern – Trip In ‘D’ (Version)
The past couple of month’s Top Tens have featured tracks from Crayola Lectern’s leftfield The Fall And Rise of … album which came out back in April. Never one to do things the way you’d expect, in July he released a single to go alongside it. Slow Down features in album and alternate versions, alongside a different version of the ten minute long Trip in D, which is the track we’ve selected for our Top Ten. The first eight minutes don’t stray too far from the territory laid down on the album version but just when you’re least suspecting it the track takes a sideways swerve and morphs into a motoric Krautrock monster, awakening the ghost of early period Stereolab.

6) TOY & Natasha Khan – The Bride
The Bride nearly didn’t get to feature in our Top Ten after we picked up the limited-to-250-copies 7” from Resident only to discover on first listen that it was damaged. Speedy Wunderground managed to find another copy from somewhere though and it hasn’t left our record deck since. Despite being a cover of an 70s psychedelic Iranian tune, it’s sounds surprisingly like what you’d expect a collaboration between Bat for Lashes and Toy might sound like – The piano lines and vocal inflections are unmistakably Natasha’s, and the thick chugging guitars match Toy’s trademark sound.

7) GAPS – Keep You
GAPS are probably our favourite discovery of the year so far. The band released their double A side Keep You / Cascade on Sexbeat records two weeks ago at a gig at the Green Door Store, and we put Cascade in our top ten last month. Keep You is the more beat heavy side of the 7”, but still has a beautiful pastoral quality to it:

8) Becky Becky – House Of The Black Madonna
We meant to write about Becky Becky’s album launch gig at the Green Door Store a few weeks ago, but it was a busy weekend for us and we ended up missing the moment. As live shows go, it was much more of a performance than most bands manage. Pulsating synth pop (provided by ex Fence Collective Peter Mason) was accompanied by is-it-real-or-is-it-an-act wine drinking from pint glasses and drunken behaviour from Woodpecker Wooliams. The closest reference point is something like The Knife, but this was more pop and less art. The House of the Black Madonna is from Becky Becky’s forthcoming album of the same name.

9) Us Baby Bear Bones – Sun
The Us Baby Bear Bones EP What Starts With a U Ends With an I is still getting a lot of plays at Brighton Music Blog HQ. As convenient as it may seem, Sun was already coming up as having the most plays of the five tracks last week before the rather chilling video got posted:

10) Limbic System – Distant Lands
Limbic System sent us their Beta Wave EP to listen to a few weeks ago, and the beautiful, fragile Distant Lands was the standout track for us. The band are holding their launch party for the EP at Latest Music Bar on 16th August.