December / January Top Ten

With December being a quiet month for new music and with us being a bit busy with our end of year round up, we thought it would be an idea to combine the new music we heard December and January for our Top Ten this time around. 

1 Fickle Friends / Swim

In the middle of winter, Swim was exactly what we needed to hear to be reminded that it won’t always be cold and grey.

 2 IYES / Crazy in Love

Beyonce released a new album, so IYES shared their cover of her most popular tune with us.

3 GAPS / I Know It’s You

GAPS second single I Know It’s You came out in early December but it’s been on heavy rotation since then round these parts, along with its B-side Inside Your Head, getting a bit more interest thanks to the fantastic Foreign Skin remix.

4 Curxes / Avant Guarded

Avant Guarded is another of December’s single releases, which came easy listening YouTube teasers, drums which could be used as sonic weaponry and a video featuring the band wearing budgerigar heads. Obviously.

 5 Do You Feel What I Feel Deer / Golden Future

Do You Feel What I Feel Deer quietly split up midway through 2013, then snuck out their gorgeous album Beat Glorious Heart before Christmas when they thought people weren’t looking. By then it was too late to appear in our end of year round up, but it would have done if we’d heard it sooner. It’s difficult to pick out one track, because the whole record is lush, but we’ve put up album closer Golden Future to listen to here.

 6 Ital Tek / Golden

By the time we had blogged about Ital Tek’s free Christmas giveaway Golden a few weeks ago it had already reached its download limit. Thankfully for everyone who missed it, it’s been reuploaded, so go and grab it while you can!

 7 Calico / Nightowl

Calico put out their first single Night Owl right at the end of November, after we’d put together our November top ten list. We haven’t enjoyed anything this cinematic and funky since David Holmes’ soundtrack stuff.

 8 Kins / Opsimplistic

We wrote about Kins single Aimless and went to the launch party at The Hope back in November last year, but what we didn’t spot at the time was that the track – and a brand new B-side Opsimplistic – had been uploaded to Soundcloud. The B-side is just as good as anything on the album and definitely deserves a bit more exposure.

 9 Thomas White / Go Your Own Way

Last year Electric Soft Parade’s Thomas White covered the whole of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and Alex White covered Steely Dan’s Katy Lied. They’re both very good indeed.

 10 Gudjohr / I Built A Home

Some sunny guitar pop to round off our top ten, which we only got hold of last week.

Weekend Gig Picks

We’re out of town for the weekend, but that’s not going to stop us telling you about the great music that’s on. In fact, we’re going to bring our normal timings a day earlier and start the post off from bands playing Wednesday night, since there’s some great gigs going on then that we’re gutted we’re going to miss out on.

OctopusesOctopuses, Becky Becky and Do You Feel What I Feel Deer? are all on the bill at the Prince Albert on Wednesday night for the launch of Octopuses new single Sarcastic. At the Blind Tiger you can see Faux Flux, Luo and Spacenoid, and you can see The Beautiful Word at Northern Lights.

Skipping to Friday Night, Eliza Jaye holds her album launch at the Ranelagh, and at the Blind Tiger there’s this month’s Les Enfants Terribles, featuring Bad for Lazarus, Fox in the City and The Frenzied Anaesthetist. Unfortunately Fear of Men supporting Youth Lagoon has been rescheduled so if you were hoping to see them you’ll have to wait until October.

sourceWe’ve already mentioned Saturday night RSPB Fundraiser at Saint Luke’s Church with Mary Hampton and Do You Feel What I Feel Deer? Saturday is also this month’s Source New Music at the Dome Studio Theatre – Flash Bang Band headline, with support from 900 Spaces, Hundredth Anniversary and The Victory Dolls. Meanwhile, at the Green Door Store Gnarwolves host the launch party for their new EP Funemployed.

Mary Hampton RSPB charity concert live preview

Normally most of our gig previews are posted up a couple of days before the weekend they occur, giving you all a few day’s notice of what’s coming up. Occasionally, if something catches our eye we might make an exception and point it out a bit earlier, and that’s just what we’re doing here.

On Saturday 27th July, The Hollow Tree Fundraiser takes place at Saint Luke’s Church, in aid of the RSPB. Three local acts are playing – The wonderful Mary Hampton, anti-folk heroes 21 Crows, and Brighton Music Blog favourites Do You Feel What I Feel Deer?. There also promises to be a raffle, giant games, and the opportunity to build a habitat on your head. There’s more information on Facebook.

This also gives us the opportunity to post up the video for the Mary Hampton Cotillion’s latest release Gold Hat, which appeared online last week:

Crayola Lectern album launch

This week saw the release of The Fall and Rise of Crayola Lectern on Bleeding Hearts Recordings, and last night they held the launch party at The Brunswick.

Do You Feel What I Feel Deer?

Do You Feel What I Feel Deer?

Support came from Do You Feel What I Feel Deer, fresh from supporting British Sea Power on tour as part of Milk & Biscuits. When I’ve seen them in this incarnation live before, they’ve been accompanied by a small string section, but last night Eleanor and Rachel were playing as a duo. Stripped of their accompaniment the arrangements were a little more sparse, but no less haunting. Close harmonies and acoustic, twisted backing on guitar and autoharp were order of the day. They only played a short set, which included Silence which is being released as a single in July which the band recently filmed a video for, and ended with last year’s download Save Your Heart.

Crayola Lectern

Crayola Lectern

These days proper intervals in the main feature have all but disappeared, unless you’re at a theatre. Cinemas now project films digitally so there’s no need to swap reels halfway through, and music is for the most part digested in the form of a compact disc or a digital stream. The Fall and Rise of Crayola Lectern was conceived as a good old fashioned long player though, where getting up to turn the record over is as much a part of the experience as the music itself, so for his album launch Crayola Lectern split their set in two with each part being a run through of each half of the album, nearly. Last night’s version of the band was just Chris Anderson and Alistair Strachan (although tomorrow night’s London launch gets the full complement of album contributors) – Chris on upright piano and guitar on Trip in D and Fall and Rise, and Alistair on trumpet, keyboard, and all kinds of percussion. The piano playing was sublime, and and to describe Alistair’s contribution as trumpet playing doesn’t do justice to range of sounds that were made. The first half ended with non-album track and live favourite Barbara’s Persecution Complex – I understand that Crayola Lectern have another couple of album’s worth of material so hopefully this will get a full release at some point. The second half kicked off with Trip in D, the psychedelic high point of the album, which has in the past formed the entire basis of improvised gigs but tonight only lasted for a few minutes. Later, the album’s title track sounded more in tune with the more experimental tracks last night rather than the film soundtrack it could be on the record. After rounding off the second half of the record to a room full off applause, Chris and Alistair rejoined the stage for a triumphant rendition of Combobulatory Explorations (from the first half, but not played because of the inclusion of Barbara’s Persectution Complex). It’s one of the boldest and most intricate tracks and was a superb end to the night.

Crayola Lectern

Crayola Lectern

Milk & Biscuits – Hairstyles

It’s not out for another six and a half weeks, but Milk and Biscuits today released the video for their new single Hairstyles. The video is filmed around the streets, shops and parks of Brighton, so chances are you’ll spot somewhere you know.

Hairstyles isn’t a million miles away from last year’s epic single White Noise, although it’s a bit more radio friendly clocking in around three and a half minutes. It’s a very British pop song, not dissimilar to Belle & Sebastian, breezy, carefree and homespun. The single precedes the upcoming album Spirit Nap.

Had the video been up at the weekend, I could have told you about the band’s support slots on tour with British Sea Power this week, but they’re playing their last joint date tonight in Norwich. Tomorrow night Rachel and Eleanor play the Brunswick with their own band Do You Feel What I Feel Deer? supporting Crayola Lectern who’s launching his album.

Brighton Music Blog Advent Calendar / Day 25 / Thomas White – Electric Soft Parade – Restlessli​st – British Sea Power – Milk & Biscuits – Foxes! – Do You Feel What I Feel Deer? – Fragile Creatures – Clowns

Merry Christmas! We’ve gone overboard today, hit the sherry too hard too soon, and crammed Nine bands into our final advent calendar post. The truth is, you can’t talk about one of of these bands without inevitably mentioning some of the others.

Let’s start with Thomas White, who released Yalla back in March. It was originally just a bunch of tunes he recorded for himself when he was bored and restless on holiday, which he was persuaded to release after he shared them with some of his friends, and is one of the finest collections of tunes that we’ve heard all year. Album closer The English Sargasso is a soporific masterpiece. We didn’t do an end of year list in 2011 because the blog had only been running a matter of weeks but to make make up for it we’ll make a mention of the Electric Soft Parade‘s “A Quick One” EP now. Lead track Lily is the kind of melodic guitar pop that most indie bands would sell their grandmother to be able to write. 2012 marked the tenth anniversary of Electric Soft Parade’s debut Holes in the Wall and the White brothers celebrated by playing the album start to finish at The Haunt, and returning to the studio to start work on their first album for five years.

Thomas White was also listed as a member of Restlesslist in the sleeve notes to their fantastic album Coral Island Girl, although he’s no longer part of their live setup. Before this year I’d heard the name but not the music so was quite looking forward to their performance at Sea Monsters. I wasn’t prepared to see so many people onstage. I wasn’t prepared for so many genres crammed into so many songs. I wasn’t expecting it to be narrated, or for that matter for the narrator to be wearing an eye patch. Most of all, I didn’t expect to enjoy it nearly as much as I did. Musically it was fantastic, but it wasn’t taking itself seriously at all. Where Thomas White earns his prime place in our Advent Calendar by doing things so much better and more effortlessly than anyone else, Restlesslist earn their place by being completely peerless.

While Thomas’ other band Brakes were taking a bit of an, erm, break in 2012, Eamon Hamilton made a return to his old band British Sea Power at one of their Krankenhaus concerts at The Haunt. Krankenhaus was more than just a concert though – The bands on the bill were more varied than you would expect, and played for longer. There were DJs inbetween the bands making for non stop entertainment. There was non-musical entertainment in the form of a ping pong table upstairs. At the one I attended, there was a stage invasion by a giant bear and a choc ice give-away! As well as their Krankenhaus gigs, British Sea Power also played at the Duke of York’s, providing a live soundtrack to a film made up of old archive footage called From The Sea To The Land Beyond.

Milk & Biscuits share a number of their members with Restlesslist, and have rightly had praised heaped upon them for their single White Noise, and their mini-LP Balcony times,  which came out at the end of 2011, is worth a listen. It features the vocal talents of Jennifer Left (who we wrote about back on 14th), and Kayla Bell of Foxes! who also released an eponymous album of top indie pop earlier this year. Eleanor Whittle and Rachel Dey – who provide vocals in Restlesslist and Milk & Biscuits and have sung backing vocals for Thomas White at some of his Yalla gigs – make up Do you Feel What I Feel Deer?, and have given us a taste of their wonky folk with their lush Save My Heart single. Adam Kidd has also sung backing vocals for Thomas White and his own band Fragile Creatures put out a grower of a track called Dear Michael. The tables were turned a week ago when Thomas White provided support at their Christmas gig at the Prince Albert. The final mention goes to Clowns, a band that Thomas White played bass with for a while before admitting that he was too busy. Every time we’ve seen them live this year (at a couple of Bleeding Hearts Clubs – did we mention that it was Bleeding Hearts who put Yalla out? – and more recently at December’s Source New Music night) they’ve got better and better.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there was dozen other related bands. Here’s to finding out all about them in 2013!

Mary Hampton Cotillion supported by Crayola Lectern and Do You Feel What I Feel Deer at the Hanover Centre

This is my third visit to the Hanover Community Centre this year. Last time I was there was a few weeks ago for the Hanover Beer Festival, and back in the summer I was there for a non-Christian christening type affair. It’s not your usual live music venue. That didn’t put people off though, with the room full to the brim before anyone had even played a note.

First up were Do You Feel What I Feel Deer, a folk duo augmented with violin, a smaller arrangement than when I saw them supporting Mice Parade a couple of weeks ago. Their tight harmonies held the room, and the song themselves felt at the same time both progressive yet timeless. The audience was spellbound, as was I.

The second support was Crayola Lectern, whose album The Fall and Rise of Crayola Lectern is due early next year. Crayola Lectern don’t write normal songs – their tracks don’t follow a verse / chorus / verse structure, and can sometimes stretch for ten minutes as different turns are taken. There’s humour, but they aren’t a novelty act, and some songs convey an astonishing level of tenderness and emotion just with the music. There aren’t really words that can truly describe Crayola Lectern. They’re completely without comparison ; brave and individual, and while they confused some of the audience, they should be applauded for doing their own thing.

Crayola Lectern

Finally it was time for Mary Hampton Cotillion. She could call the additional musicians that joined her her band, but they felt a bit more special than that. Seeing Mary Hampton live is an amazing experience normally, but with a band she takes things to another level, bringing in rich harmonies and lush arrangements. Their set felt like it was over too soon, taking in around half a dozen folk songs which sounded like they could have been written at any point in the last five hundred years, including last years single Honey in the Rock, and a brand new track which the band spent the previous day recording. It was beautiful. And while it could be argued that it was a short set, nobody in the room could have felt short changed with such great night.

Mary Hampton

http://www.maryhampton.org/

http://www.crayolalectern.com/

http://doyoufeelwhatifeeldeer.bandcamp.com/