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:

Phantom Runners at The Hope & Ruin

As we posted about yesterday, Phantom Runners have just kicked off their tour which we were surprised to find were their first headline dates. We also mentioned that these were their first gigs with their new line up, including new female vocalist Liv, whose contribution alongside a lot more synths has given the band a much more rounded pop sound. We were there with our camera and got a few shots of the band and of Curxes who supported. Click on the pics to view large:

Phantom Runners on tour

12107247_1026269800766291_5677384993016332254_nThis week, Phantom Runners head out on an eleven date tour of the UK. They kicked things off at the weekend with a low key date in Worthing and are heading to The Hope & Ruin tonight. There’s another local date the weekend after next at Sticky Mikes before they properly head out on the road taking in London, Bournemouth, Southampton, Hastings and Dartford (as well as another Brighton date at Bleach on 26th November).

The band are rejuvenated having had a bit of a line up change recently, and support at tonight’s gig comes from Curxes, who we haven’t caught since their appearance at The Great Escape six months ago, so we’re looking forward to tonight.

Great Escape / Alternative Escape Preview

Stacked_plain_colour_Twitter_400x400In case you hadn’t realised, this weekend is The Great Escape festival, probably the most important musical event in the local calendar. There’s a few Brighton bands tucked in the main festival, but the bulk of the homegrown talent features in the line-up of the Alternative Escape – a sister festival that runs side by side where for most events you won’t need a wrist band, or have to shell out any money to see some fantastic live acts. There are literally hundreds of bands playing over dozens of events so to help guide you through the weekend here’s our pick of some of the BN postcode-based performers you can catch.

The fun begins on Wednesday night with Late Night Lingerie vs The Great Escape at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, where can catch the first of Demob Happy‘s many sets of the festival as well as Skirts last ever gig. Inspired Artists Agency who represent quite a few Brighton bands are taking over Latest Music Bar on Thursday, and we’re hoping to pop in for The Slytones at 2.55pm and Moulettes who play at 6.30pm. There are 20 bands over 28 sets on at The Mesmerist on thursday, on the stages put together by Liberty Music PR, amongst others. If we had to pick one it would be Phantom Runners who are on at 9.40pm. Bleach is being taken over by Strong Island Recordings and Pic & Vinyl on thursday, where Brighton Music Blog favourites Curxes take to the stage at 5.40pm. Over at London Road’s newest cafe Presuming Ed, Cate Ferris tops their line up. Miamigo play their debut show at Patterns (formerly Audio) at 6.45pm.

Brightonsfinest are in charge at Latest on Friday, and they’ve got a cracking line up. You could pop in at any time and see a great local band, but we’ll be popping in for GAPS at 2.45pm and Spit Shake Sisters at 7.45pm. The Mesmerist also has a pretty good line up, with Black Honey and Oslo Parks catching our eye. One of Brighton’s most written about bands at the moment are The Magic Gang, and they head up the DIY / Echochamp showcase at Bleach, playing at 10pm.

Moving on to Saturday, Earworm events and Northbrook college are hosting proceedings at Bar Rogue where we’re tipping Flash Bang Band at 6pm and newcomers Bloom at 6.50pm. The Fiddlers Elbow are having a street party, which is a great idea since I couldn’t get in to see the bands I wanted to last year. If I were you, I’d be down there for Yumi & The Weather at 4pm and Tigercub at 5pm. Marwoods Cafe are hosting some more gentle gigs over Friday and Saturday, but expect things to get a bit more riotous when Black Rooster Black Shag take to the stage at 8.10pm on Saturday night. Tyrannosaurus Dead play their last ever gig in Brighton at Fitzherbert’s a part of Cupboard Music’s line up. They’re only playing one more gig after that, and that’s in London, so expect it to be rammed. Hotel Pelirocco also have an all Brighton line-up – Time for T headline at 10pm, but get down there for 3pm to catch grasshopper who are fantastic. Bleeding Hearts are putting on a gig on Saturday afternoon at the Rialto theatre, which will be the first opportunity to buy headliner Clowwns debut album. It’s not an official Great Escape gig, but it would be churlish not to give them a shoutout. Finally, one of the very last gigs of the weekend is KLDSCP’s party at Sticky Mike’s which doesn’t even kick off until 1am. Mount Bank, who’ve put out one of favourite EPs of the year so far are playing, so hopefully we’ll still be standing by the time they’re on.

April Top Ten

Here’s our top ten tracks that we’ve been listening to in April:

Sea BedCaves

Technically this came out last month (and we included Haunted in last month’s top ten), but their Rosso EP hasn’t left our stereo, and their debut gig at the Prince Albert supporting Them The Sky was awesome.

MomotaroRoots

Momotaro’s new EP Highest actually came out yesterday which made it May, but since the band put up Roots from the EP on Soundcloud, it’s been on heavy rotation around here.

Fiction AisleEach and Every One

It was actually Each and Every One’s joint double A side that we wrote about a few weeks ago, but it was this track of the pair that really caught our attention.

CurxesWhat You Want

Curxes debut album is out in just a few hours time! We’ve been a big fan of the band’s retro electro (or Blitz Pop as they like to call it) for ages, so can’t wait to hear the rest of the record.

The Go! TeamYe Ye Yamaha

Where so many bands put out re-releases or remixes for Record Store Day, The Go! Team put out two brand new tracks. That’s how it should be done.

Black HoneySpinning Wheel

Spinning Wheel is our favourite track that should have been in a Tarantino film this month and deserves to be played LOUD. We’ve not caught them live yet, so we’re hoping to get to see them at the Great Escape in a few weeks.

ClowwnsIdiot Bouncing

The Artful Execution of Macho Bimbo, the debut album by one of Brighton’s finest live bands Clowwns, has been in gestation since before we started the blog so we’re pleased that it’s finally getting released soon. Idiot Bouncing is the free download put up to persaude us all to buy the record.

Ambassadeurs – Can’t See You

Can’t See You is another track which we haven’t actually featured on the blog, having posted up other tracks from the EP, but for our top ten we had to post the release’s title track.

MiamigoHard To Love

DIY mag wrote “Bands could spend decades figuring out how to write the biggest hooks and they might not get close to this” about Hard to Love, and who are we to disagree.

10 Gazelle Twin – Love and Mercy

After doing her best to give us nightmares with last year’s Unflesh, Gazelle Twin is doing her best to gain our affections again with her cover of Brian Wilson’s Love and Mercy.

New Brighton Music

Here’s the last new music roundup of April. We’ve got a Brian Wilson cover, a free download, and something brand new up today in this week’s tunes.

First up is a tune from Curxes debut album due out next week. What You Want is a taster of what’s to come from Verxes, and the band’s first track as a three piece, treading a path beaten last year by La Roux – cool eighties electro pop kicked into shape for modern times. We can’t wait to hear the rest of the album. Next up is Gazelle Twin‘s Brian Wilson cover, recorded especially for the season finale of The Walking Dead. Love & Mercy doesn’t strike fear into you heart like some of the tracks from Unflesh though given the nature of the program it was recorded for maybe it just needs a bit of context, and it’s certainly a lot more ethereal that Brian Wilson’s 1988 original. The Clowwns is almost ready to be released to the world. To celebrate they’re giving away Idiot Bouncing for free over on Bandcamp. Clowwns are headlining Bleeding Hearts recordings not-actually-a-Great-Escape Great Escape show at the Rialto Theatre on Saturday 16th May, where vinyl copies of the album will be on sale. Miamigo are a new Brighton Band who haven’t even played their first gig yet (you’ll have to be at Patterns – what used to be Audio – on 15th May for that). Hard to Love is five minutes of bombastic synth led pop which is taken from their debut EP which is being released on Indian Hop Recordings on 14th June. Dancefloor Troubadours are also pretty new on the scene, but have already shared quite a few tracks on their soundcloud page, the latest of which is the acoustic, dreamy He’s Not Me, She’s Not You: Closing this week’s post is the latest installment from Normanton Street run of videos of tracks from their Much Respect EP. The video for Rakim (The 26th Year) features some familiar spots around Brighton mixed in with some vintage footage:

Album news – Curxes / Verxes

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Brighton Music Blog favourites Curxes have announced details of their debut album Verxes. It’s coming out on 4th May on download with a single entitled What You Want appearing shortly beforehand. The full tracklist is below the video for Further Still, one of a number of the bands earlier singles which appear on the album.

X
Haunted Gold
Avant-Guarded
What You Want
XX
Further Still
Ghosts
Noise Pollution
XXX
Spectre
Run From the Funeral
Animal
XXXX
Valkyrie
Pure To Last
XXXXX

Brighton Music Blog End of Year Top Twenty, part one 20-11

End of year lists are a funny old business. Should they be a measure of the success of the artists on the list you’re compiling? If that were the case then Royal Blood would be the top of any Brighton based list by the longest of margins (and they have been voted album of the year by NME readers). The alternative is that they’re based on personal preference instead, which is incredibly subjective but does give us the chance to enthuse about the things we’ve loved the most over the past twelve months. Being just a list of twenty acts is incredibly restricting too. The past couple of years we’ve put together out best of list as an Advent Calendar instead, which gave us another five acts we could include, but would have meant us getting our act together in November which was never going to happen this year. So here’s the first half of our top twenty – we’ll count down our top ten counting down as we get closer to Christmas.

20. Yumi & The Weather – All We Can EP

Technically All We Can came out in December 2013, but end of year lists had all been agreed by that point and tracks on the EP are easily as good if not better than most of the new music we’ve heard in 2014. The Vondelpark rework of the EPs title track is pure bliss.

19. Anushka – Mansions

Anushka’s Mansions, the lead single from their album Broken Circuit which came out on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings was one of our tunes of the summer.

18. Curxes – Valkyrie

To keep us interested while the Brighton / Portsmouth duo inch forward to completion of their debut long player (which has a provision title of Verxes), this year the band put out PreCurxor – a compilation of their early work – and this single, a noisy, frantic affair that’s guaranteed to wake you up.

17. Michael A Grammar – The Day I Come Alive

We fell in love with Michael A Grammar’s The Day I Came Alive on the very first listen, probably because it sounded like early Blur and reminded us of our first trips to indie discos many years ago.

16. Dog in the Snow – Factory

Dog in the Snow put out a couple of singles this year, with Factory being the more electronic of the two. The video was a fantastic match for the song, initially about mundane daily repetition before morphing into something magical.

15. The New Union – Now

The New Union continue apace with their melodic indie rock. Now was the first of their two singles of 2014, which was followed up later in the year by the equally great Believe in Nothing.

14. Winston & Goldstein – Ode to a Massive Obsession

Jacqueline Collyer used to be in Kins, but this year she went solo, ditched the guitars (mostly), and embraced electronica in all it’s forms on her album In The Eyes of the Other from ambient to dance tracks like Ode to a Massive Obsession which is our pick.

13. The Fiction Aisle – Blue

The Fiction Aisle have only played three gigs, and have only put one track on the internet so far. The man behind the band is an industry veteran though, with over ten years experience under his belt. This year, Electric Soft Parade hung up their hats (except for the odd one off), but Tom White has formed a brilliant new band, recruiting brother Alex on drums, and a cast of thousands. Well, about a dozen.

12. Blood Red Shoes – Blood Red Shoes

Blood Red Shoes eponymous fourth album was heralded from all quarters as a return to form. Their gig in April at the Concorde was the loudest thing we heard this year.

11. Adolescent – Golden Halls part II

There’s been an incredible amount of electronica produced in Brighton this year, most of it coming out through the wonderful Physics House Band affiliated KLDSCP records. Pick of the bunch for us was Adolescent’s Golden Halls EP, and it’s utterly beautiful and unhurried lead track Golden Halls Part II

August Top Ten

1) There’s one standout winner in August’s top ten. They’ve just released the best selling Rock Debut in since Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and had the first number one album for a Brighton band since, erm, Conor Maynard. This is Figure It Out by Royal Blood

2) David Harks latest offering Open Arms has been getting a lot of plays around these parts, keeping the summer alive when the sun deserted us for most of August:

3) We first wrote about Believe in Nothing by The New Union back at the beginning of July, but it didn’t get released until 4th August. The band will be back on the Brighton stage on 16th September supporting Coasts at the Komedia.

4) Hushabye was originally the b-side to Jennifer Left‘s 2012 single Black Dog. This month the album of the same name got released:

5) The Night is the double a-side to to Twin, which is Oslo Park‘s debut single which came out on 25th August:

6) Curxes new single Valkyrie was also out this month, continuing their track record of packing a great tune into a full on aural assault:

7) The Wytches album Annabel Dream Weaver was also one of this months highlights, and it was preceded by the single Burn Out The Bruise

8) We’ve been enjoying the fragile folk of Lutine‘s single Sallow Tree. Noted music have just added up another track from the band’s forthcoming album to their website today.

9) Dark Horses made a return this month with Hail Lucid State, their second album produced by Richard Fearless. Saturn Returns was the single, not to be confused with Goldie’s 1998 album

10) Duly Noted Record’s Black Honey remain just as elusive for the release of their second single Teenager, with no information about the band forthcoming other than a phone number to contact them on…

 

New Music – Oslo Parks, David Harks, Fragile Creatures, Troves, Clay Cats, Garden Heart, Thyla, Fable, Thieves by the Code, Crayola Lectern, Curxes

We’ve got a bit of catching up to do with our new music posts – we haven’t made one since the first week of August. Consequently, we’ve got eleven new tracks to serve up for you.

First is thew new track from Oslo Parks. The Night is the double a side to Twin, which we wrote about back in July, and is out today on 7″ on X Novo records. The band play their debut gig at the Green Door Store on 2nd October.

David Harks was brought to our attention by our friends over at Breaking More Waves who despite being based fifty miles up the coast are sometimes better in touch with some parts of the Brighton music scene than we are. Open Arms is one of those tracks that we wish we’d heard when the sun was shining and the temperature was nudging at thirty degrees. It oozes summer from every pore – blissful house beats, steel drums and a breathy male vocal. Fantastic stuff.

Fragile Creatures eponymous new EP comes out on 31st August. Sunshine did the rounds earlier in the summer, and now you can get your ears around Stowaways, another lovely slice of guitar pop. The EP will be available via the usual download sites, and the band are headlining at The Komedia on 12th September.

Youth in Decay is the debut track from new Brighton synth-pop trio Troves. There’s not a great deal of info about the band out there yet, but we’ll be keeping a very close ear to the ground and keeping you up to date:

Clay Cats put out their Soap EP a couple of weeks ago. If you like the sound of the title track that we’re featuring here, you can grab the whole EP over on Bandcamp, and you can catch the band at Brighton Arts Club this friday.

Garden Heart have just put out their debut single Cure, loaded with three part female harmonies and indie guitars. It’s being followed swiftly with a self titled EP which is out on 17th September, and the band are playing a launch show at Bleach on Tuesday 16th September.

One of the supports for Garden Heart’s debut gig is Thyla, who just last week posted up a video for their track Cornfields, which will appear on their upcoming debut EP War which is due in October:

Stranger in my Head is the second track to be put up from Fable‘s debut EP Parasite, which has a release date of 13th October. It’s not quite as harsh as I Speak Words which we featured a few weeks ago, but still features uncompromising electro beats and vocals which belie the face that Fable has only just turned nineteen:

Thieves by the Code have just announced details of their debut album Tales from the Green Muse and Beyond. It’s out on 4th October, and to whet our apetite they’ve put up So Slick:

Last week the world was greeted with the sad news of Robin Williams’ passing. The latest upload from Crayola Lectern, a new track called Mork, isn’t a cheap cash in on a tragic event, but a track written for his second album which had been mastered and approved by Williams people before events overtook matters. In Crayola Lectern’s own words:

“This track was mixed a couple of weeks ago for the upcoming second Crayola Lectern album. It is the centrepiece of the album like Trip In ‘D’ was for the first. I’d been in touch with Robin Williams’ fan club asking about how to get a copy to him for his approval and had received a reply. Then, a few days later came the awful news of his demise.
Ironically, this song is very much a celebration of the magic spark that ignites the spirit and gives life; it even charts a life, starting at the crib and ending with old age. Robin Williams, to me, always had a unique way about him which cut through to the essence of humanity and my ‘Mork’ was just an attempt to use his character to make that representation, in a way which celebrates our existence on this planet.”

Finally, we posted about Curxes new single Valykrie in our most recent New Music post, which was subsequently released on 18th August. The track was backed with an instrumental and a four to the floor remix from Deluxe Flamingos which we’re happy to share with you here: