The obvious choice for a DA-10 track in our Advent Calendar would have been something from their Shape of Space EP which came out back in April. It was really good – DJ Shadow dropped Redshift in one of his mixes he did for Radio 1. But the track that pushed our buttons was a separate low key release which appeared around the same time. Watching Her Dance was more aimed at the dancefloor and was a bona fide four to the floor banger.
Welcome to our second monthly Top Ten feature. It’s officially regular, now that we’ve made it two months in a row! As with last month, it’s loosely based on what Last.fm has told me I’ve listened to, although this month it seemed to bear no relation to what iTunes was recording for the play counts. Also one of the tracks is just a YouTube video, so that didn’t appear on iTunes or Last.fm. So without further ado, here’s what we’ve been loving this month:
1) Watching Her Dance / DA-10
Watching Her Dance appeared on our radar roughly at the same time as we heard about DA-10’s The Shape of Space EP, but it was the EP which was getting the attention and the PR push. Several weeks later it’s this mode dancefloor friendly free download which is still on heavy rotation.
2) Battersea / AK/DK
Battersea is the lead track from AK/DK’s new cassette only release Dispatch #3, and we love it’s crazy squelchiness
3) Rio / Cave Painting
The video for Rio surfaced online a few months ago, but the EP finally hit the shops on 29th April. The packaging is every bit as gorgeous as you’d expect from Cave Painting, as is the quality of the music. There’s only a hundred of these out there, so good luck hunting one out
4) Daddy / IYES
This track was a bit of a surprise after the vocal pop of Lighthouse and Glow, but Daddy showed that IYES are just as assured at Balearic house
5) Goddess of War / Phantom Runners
Phantom Runners were one of our discoveries in the run up to the Great Escape. We didn’t manage to catch their set (although hopefully we’ll be there when they play at the Blind Tiger at the next Les Enfants Terribles night on 28th June), but we think their debut single as a great slice of indie pop
6) Anneka / Deliver
Not a single, or even a physical or digital release, but just a Youtube video, Deliver was still one of the best tracks out of Brighton we heard this month
7) Abraxical Solapse / Physics House Band
The Physics House Band’s Horizons / Rapture mini LP came out in April, and while it’s not as accessible as some of the poppier acts on the list, it’s certainly just as rewarding. You probably won’t be whistling any of the songs in the shower, but you will keep going back to them over and over
8) Hold On / Luo
Luo seem to be growing more and more with every new track we hear from them, and Hold on is no exception. In a few releases they’ve expanded their range from glitchy chill out and currently sound like a more electronic Physics House Band. Give them a few months and the sky’s the limit
9) Fallback / Catherine Ireton
A little while back, our friends over at the Some Of It Is True blog started up a record label called Hidden Trail. We got a bit distracted and haven’t got around to writing about the label’s first release yet – a compilation of some of their favourite tracks they’ve come across – but our favourite track from what we’ve listened to so far is Catherine Ireton’s Fallback
10) Goldfish Song / Crayola Lectern
We’re still listening to The Fall and Rise of Crayola Lectern at Brighton Music Blog HQ, and have grown rather fond of The Goldfish Song, a tune about suicidal pets sounding not a million miles away from The Beatle’s Day In The Life
The Great Escape is almost upon us – great news for seeing bands, not such great news in terms of having time to write about them. So, very quickly it all kicks off, here’s the things on our list which if why don’t write about now, we’ll never get around to.
Cave Painting have a new EP out called Rio, which is packaged just as beautifully as their album was last year. You can buy it for a fiver from Resident or from the Cave Painting website. Here’s the video for the lead track:
Phantom Runners debut single Goddess of War recalls the best of early 90s guitar indie pop. There’s a hint of Stone Roses in the drums, and the guitars sound like The Railway Children or some other Factory band from that era. We hit download before we’d even listened the whole way through:
Next is the video for Battersea, the lead track from AK/DK‘s new single we wrote about recently:
The new Transformer single is out on 31st May, sees them dropping the vowels for three and a half minutes of electro pop:
Luo‘s new single Dissolver is available to download on Soundcloud. We’ve been big fans of his glitchy laid back jazzy electronica since we first saw him at Sea Monsters, and this track is another fine string to his bow:
AK/DK aren’t the only local analogue synth dance band with new material out. DA-10 also have a new EP called The Shape of Space. Redshift is ravey, Respirator is instrumental hip hop with huge bass (and is still available for download over at XLR8R), Anaphase is retro sounding space-rock, I Have to Survive is broken beat house number and closer Out Of Reach Of Earth brings together a lot of the sounds from each of the preceding tracks. There’s a sampler up on soundcloud, which you can hear here:
The new Call Me Jolene EP, May, is a real change of pace and mood to something far more personal and reflective. It was out on the first of may, and sounds a bit like this:
Finally we have Alice Amelia‘s new single Passion. What starts off sounding like a piano ballad transforms into some slick r’n’b. There’s a free download on the soundcloud link below:
Normally midweek I put up a post about gigs that have caught our eye in the upcoming weekend. This week, I’m making an exception and writing a whole post about three gigs taking place on thursday night, all of which look fantastic.
The first of the three is Brighton Music Blog favourites Moulettes, who are playing at The Haunt. Moulettes are a fantastic band, but it’s not until you see them live that you truly appreciate how great they are. Support comes from local act The Slytones (who we’ve still yet to catch), and Robert Vincent.
AKDK were one of our favourite acts at this year’s Sea Monsters. Their new single Battersea is out soon, so to celebrate they’re headlining this month’s Source New Music at the Dome Studio Theatre. Support comes from DA-10 (who were also brilliant at Sea Monsters), Dog in the Snow and George Lazenbleep.
Last, but by no means least is another launch, but this time of a magazine rather than a single. Boon Magazine say that they’re going to feature music, fashion, photography and culture. The launch takes place at the Green Door Store, and is headlined by The New Union. There’s also going to be a burlesque dancer, and more music from Demob Happy, Kill Moon and Spit Shake Sisters.
Friday Night was One Inch Badge vs Slip Jam B night at Sea Monsters, which meant a bit of a change from all the bands with guitars we’ve seen all week.
DA-10 kicked off proceedings, one of only two dance acts on the bill (the other being AK-DK on Sunday night). I’m a bit surprised by the lack of dance acts across the bill, but as someone pointed out to me last year “if you’ve got any complaints about the line up, why not program a festival yourself?”. So that told me. Anyway, I really enjoyed DA-10 last year, and they were even better this year. Big fat bass, beats made on the fly which have developed from last year’s house to include more two-step and breakbeat rhythms, and big party tunes.
Slip Jam B nights are run by members of Rum Committee – a collective of MCs and DJs. At one point there were over eight people on stage, which pushed them a little bit closer to the monitors than they were used to causing some ear bleeding feedback. “At our nights we don’t have feedback” said one member, which was a bit disrespectful and showed a lack of understanding as to how feedback happens. It was all a bit of a shambles – during the first song one member looked like they were texting someone, and a random got up onstage and started talking to members of the band who weren’t rapping at the time. Maybe that’s how hip hop nights work, but it wasn’t for me – I ducked out for a bit a nipped over to a free gig taking place at the Green Door Store.
I came back for Almighty Planets, and I was glad I did. There’s been a party funk / hip hop shaped hole in the Brighton music scene since Mean Poppa Lean split last year, and Almighty Planets do a pretty good job of filling it, managing to do so without being such a novelty act (let’s overlook the lead singer’s trousers falling down halfway through the set). Bonus points have been awarded for their cover of SBTRKT’s Wild Fire which closed their set.
Last act on was Suave Debonaire, who didn’t seem exceptionally suave or debonaire to me. He was a great rapper though. He was joined onstage by a DJ, and another MC, and rapped with lyrical dexterity worthy of his headline slot. He mentioned that he’ll soon be emigrating to Australia, which will be a big loss to Brighton’s hip hop scene.
Sea monsters just keeps getting better and better. Tonight’s gig was amazing. Quite possibly – and I know it’s very early to start using these words – gig of the year. Strong words, I know.
First up were DA-10.DA-10 stood out because they were the first band I’ve seen so far (except Robert Stillman) not to rely on guitars at all, and the only band on the whole bill of Sea Monsters to make dance music. Picture a slightly more chilled out Daft Punk, with the bottom end of their sound enlightened by the kind of filthy noises made since the advent of dubstep and fidget house.
Next up was Speak Galactic. Our paths had crossed briefly several weeks ago, when they supported Laetitia Sadier at the Green Door Store. They were incredibly loud though, and I was meeting a friend, so I stayed in the bar. I should have gone and investigated though, because it turns out that Speak Galactic were one of the most interesting bands on the Sea Monsters bill so far. Owen Thomas, who effectively is Speak Galactic (there’s a drummer too, but you can see all the amazing ideas are coming from Owen), played on tuesday night as part of Cinemascopes, and I noted that it was him who elevated them above a normal band. On his own, the ideas are flying out everywhere – songs skip around genres and technology is pushed to the limit. I was incredibly impressed. If this guy isn’t a superstar in the next twelve months, then there’s something wrong with the world.
Then came Nullifier, whose lead singer was Speak Galactic’s drummer. One of their keyboard players was playing last night in Negative Pegasus. In fact, all of the band members seemed have been playing in other gigs in Sea Monsters. There were seven members in Nullifier, which proved (for them at least) to be too many to fit onto the stage. So the singer, a bassist, and the guitarist performed out in the audience (leaving two keyboard players, a drummer and another bassist onstage). Which made the photography challenging to say the least.
And last of all was Restlesslist, who were an absolute triumph. Where other bands came and played sets, Restlesslist transformed the Prince Albert into another world. And while they might have been headlining a night a Sea Monsters, they would have been equally at ease headlining a stage at Glastonbury. The band – all six of them – were accompanied on stage by an eye patch wearing Mark Campbell, who between songs narrated a psychedelic story involving dogs in hats, shapeshifting beauties, and volcanic eruptions. Between his words Restlesslist effortlessly skipped around pretty much every genre in the textbook – Rock, pop, musical, krautrock, calypso, you name it. If any other band over the next two days managed to beat this performance, then I’ll be amazed.