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.

New Music – Kins, Gazelle Twin, Cate Ferris

I was going to put up this blog post over the weekend, but I figured with the weather like it was you wouldn’t be in reading the internet, you’d be out in the sun.

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Out of nowhere, Kins eponymous debut album appeared last week. Already picked out by many local commentators as an interesting live prospect, their first excursion on full length long player doesn’t disappoint. Sounding something like a more sonically experimental Foals, you can take a listen on the soundcloud below, and buy on iTunes here. We’ll be reporting from the album launch at the Green Door store next monday.

Following on from Gazelle Twin‘s Mammal EP from earlier this year, last week she released a split EP with I Speak Machine of Ultravox / John Foxx covers. The EP is entitled Exponentialism and is out now on Metamatic Records, and is available from the all good music retailers (including Resident). Here’s the video for Gazelle Twin’s version of Never Let Me Go from the EP:

Cate Ferris has a new 7″ out now on local label Roots Garden. Blaze Bright is a gorgeous piece of dub reggae co-written and produced by legendary producer Manasseh, which is ideal listening for these temperate days. You can pick up the 7″ from Roots Garden on eBay here, or you can buy it digitally from Juno here

We’ve already written about GAPS new single Keep You / Cascade which is out today on Sexbeat. They’re holding the launch tonight at the Green Door Store. Support comes from Eagles for Hands and Hundredth Anniversary.

Great Escape Gallery

What a weekend – I saw over thirty bands over the weekend, many of which were local. Here’s a gallery of them all. We’ve got: Jennifer Left, Justin Saltmeris, Curxes, Kinnie The Explorer, Us Baby Bear Bones, Anushka, Fear of Men, Martin Rossiter, The Bobby McGees, IYES, Jacko Hooper, Kins and The Beautiful Word. As usual, click on the image to view large:

 

 

Sea Monsters Day One – One Inch Badge vs The Source

So, as I did with Sea Monsters last year, we’re going to blog every night of the festival, on the night. This year it’s even more ambitious, because there’s seven nights not six. The first night was One Inch Badge vs The Source, and editor James Kendall was spotted in the audience. Current Source cover stars were on the bill – would they live up to the hype?

900 Spaces

900 Spaces

First band on were 900 Spaces. They’re quite pop – they reminded me a lot of fellow Brighton poppers Kovak, or maybe The Woo! Worths, but with a more distinctive vocal – a little bit Lily Allen, in a good way.

TheDealWasForTheDiamond

TheDealWasForTheDiamond

Next up were TheDealWasForTheDiamond, who we saw a couple of times last year. Those times had them pitched as post/math rock, but tonight they were a lot more ROCK. I’m glad I brought my ear plugs!

Kins

Kins

The band I was most looking forward tonight was Kins, and they really didn’t disappoint. There was definitely something special about them. I caught up with James Kendall after their set, and he described them better than I could – like a cross between The XX and Foals, despite them completely different bands. Go see them soon!

Written in Waters

Written in Waters

Most of the crown were there for headliners Written in Waters. My ears were a bit confused by the two conflicting styles on stage though. The vocals were a fantastic soul / gospel mix. The rest of the band were a pretty damned good post rock band. But in my head, my understanding of post rock is that it’s all about rich layers, and my understanding of the kind of music that goes with the vocals is that it’s all about being stripped back, and I couldn’t really reconcile the two. What do I know though – the rest of the crowd were loving it.

 

Sea Monsters preview interview with James Kendall of The Source

Last year’s Sea Monsters wasn’t curated by outsiders, but this year’s is. How did you come to be hosting an evening?

We have a really good relationship with One Inch Badge. They’re big supporters of the magazine through their advertising and we find it very easy to write about the gigs they put on as not only are there so many to choose from, they’re also very interesting up-and-coming bands. But I guess they asked us because we’re the only magazine that exclusively writes about the Brighton music scene.

Current Source cover stars Kins are second on the bill. Are headliners Written in Waters set for big things in 2013?

Essentially they could be absolutely huge or drive everyone mad. They’re not for everyone – it’s a very strange mix of styles, they’re kinda goth soul meets Pink Floyd – but the people that like them really love them. Kins are much easier to get you head around – they’re really powerful on stage but also very melodic. But I don’t think many bands would find it easy to follow Written In Waters – they’re so dramatic. Come and make up your mind. You really have to see them.

Who are SOURCE’s tips from the bands playing across the other nights?

I guess that you might be able to tell by the people who have been in the magazine, especially those that have been on the cover. Country rock band Holy Vessels recorded our song of 2012 and they’re every bit as good live as on record. Abi Wade plays the cello like no one you’ve ever seen – totally original – while AKDK and Physics House Band are both intense and intelligent bursts of noise, the former electronic and the latter jazzy. Other that that I’m most looking forward to seeing hip hop outfit Rum Committee for the first time.

If you could have got any Brighton band, past or present, to play your night who would you have chosen?

Tough question – I’d very much like to see one more gig by Gloria Cycles, so they would be on the bill. Nick Cave, obviously. I saw Grinderman at the King Alfred Centre so know how powerful he can be when he’s right in front of your face. And I guess I’d like to see The Maccabees play all the early songs they won’t play any more – in a room full of over excited teenagers, like their infamous gig at the Concorde. Finally I’d like to see Bat For Lashes’ first live incarnation – the all girl band – again. She was a delight in those early days. And still is, of course. That’s not a bad line up in anyone’s books.

Sea Monsters seems to have replaced Brighton Live as the local music festival. Why do you think that is?

I think the problem with Brighton Live – which was a brilliant idea – is that by the end it only attracted bands who weren’t already getting lots of gigs elsewhere. I was part of the board for a while and I pushed for more curated nights, something we did at Sticky Mike’s over three days as a SOURCE-branded event. I don’t want to say the rest of it was full of BIMM bands but… it was full of BIMM bands. That’s not so bad bit it isn’t representative of the Brighton scene as a whole. Brighton Live needed to tempt bands to be involved that were way too big to play for free because it was good for the community. But that never really happened. Sea Monsters works better, I think, because the bands are asked to play and already it’s seen as a badge of honour to be chosen. Because it sells out all the bands get paid, which is good. It’s a shame Brighton Live fell from its former glory because there were a lot of good people involved with very good intentions.