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

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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.

Coming up : Laish supporting Simone Felice / new Anneka single

Simone Felice e

On the 9th of April at the Komedia, Brighton’s Laish plays support as Melting Vinyl bring Simone Felice to town  as part of his current UK tour promoting his new album Strangers.

Simone is known for his unique folk music, and Laish should be the perfect complement to the main act. Tickets are on sale now for £12 + bf.

 

Also coming up is a new single from electronica act Anneka. So far, Big Bad Change is only out there as a live video on YouTube, but it’s getting a proper release later in the month, which we’ll give you more details about as we hear about them:

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

Weekend Gig Picks

Last weekend’s gig pick post was all about quality not quantity, and we promised we’d be back this week bigger than ever. We’re still not scrimping on quality but we’re probably featuring more gigs this week than we ever have done.

IYESWe’re going to kick things off with a couple of gigs happening tonight. Normally we treat Thursday as the start of the weekend, but when two of favourite bands are playing we’d be fools not to give them a mention. IYES play their first ever headline show at the Prince Albert, which we’re very excited about. We’ve been huge fans since we first heard Lighthouse at the end of the year, and they haven’t disappointed since. Best of all it’s a free gig! Elsewhere, down at the Blind Tiger, Brighton Music Blog favourites The New Union are supporting Let’s Buy Happiness.

Thursday night is where we normally start our weekend gig round up, and the weekend proper is starting strong with Calico headlining Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar. Support comes from 900 Spaces and Blackwell, and it’s four pounds to get in. Meanwhile, Normanton Street are playing at the Mesmerist.

PawwsOn Friday some more of our favourite bands are supporting at the same gig. Pawws are supported by the fantastic GAPS and Dog in the Snow (as well as Saint Savanna, who are local and new to us). And it’s a free gig – Green Door Store, you do spoil us. There’s also a free gig at the Blind Tiger, headlined by Transformer, with support from Eagles for Hands, whose new EP we love.

Saturday night’s big gig is the Physics House Party taking place at Sticky Mike’s. As well as the awesome Physics House Band, AK/DK, Alphabets Heaven and Suffer Like G Did are also playing. Over at Fitzherberts, Speak Galactic and Soft Arrows are playing at a night called Ruff Stuff, where Owen from Speak Galactic and some of his old bandmates from Cinemascopes are unveiling a new project called Merlin Tonto.

EsbenRounding off the weekend nicely at Sticky Mike’s, Esben & The Witch play the Brighton leg of their national tour promoting Wash The Sins Not Only The Face. At the Green door store, there’s an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Gram Parsons early death in 1973, aged only 26. There’s loads of local bands getting involved – the list includes The Self Help Group, Dollboy, and Amy Hill plus various members of Laish, The Repeat Prescriptions, Super U, The Standard Lamps, Woodland Blue, The Pooh Sticks, Lolly & the City of Flies, Redlands Palomino Company, Englemann Spruce, and Lost Dog. Get there early enough and you’ll also get to see Pete Wiggs from Saint Etienne DJing before the live acts.

Laish – Live at the Well

This is not a live album. But this might just be the best album of songs you will hear all year. It’s certainly one of the most fun and enjoyable.

This is not a live album although it was recorded live in a single 5 hour session at the home of Dave ‘the Well’, somewhere near St Ann’s Well’s gardens in Hove.  Danny Green’s band had just come off the road after a successful tour and were on the top of their game, sounding as tight as tight can be. So basically, what you get here is a top band with an inventive neu-folk sound running through their full live set, ostensibly for a Simple Folk Radio session but without the annoyance of an audience or sub-standard recording normally necessitated by the ‘live’ environment. In fact, with Dave ‘the Well’ at the controls you’re getting a totally crisp and fresh re-working of a terrific collection of songs, some of which haven’t made it on to a Laish release before. I guess this is what recording the Beatles First LP was like (yep, and the sound here is definitely that good).

And it really is a terrific collection of songs.

The set starts with a reworking of ‘Visions’ from their new Obituaries album, and like many of the songs from that excellent album it is sounding new and refreshed here, clearly benefitting from time on the road and the crystal clear recording facilitated by the Well’s  studio.

Second song ‘Warm the Wind’ is a Brighton Music Blog single of the year – a brilliant and hilarious song about a desperate man’s attempt to warm his partner’s heart, to little avail. Love is an object it says, something to make.- and he wants to make some. The ironic soft soothing backing vocals from the girls in the band are joyful, the playful whisps and turns of the backing musicians immaculate. Where else do you get to hear James Joyce mentioned in song?

And so it goes on. You get ‘Carry Me’, the song of the brilliant video about the penguin and the horse and Danny Green as some sort of guitar-playing hedgehog. Other songs from the Obituaries album (Vague, Discipline etc) have been reborn through touring and sound fresh and original in Dave’s recording. From the first album, ‘In the morning’, one of the most perfect love songs that wasn’t written by Neil Young. The marvellous ‘A Happy Accident’, about the chance in birth and life (that song about a hole in a condom) with the reaffirming refrain “I don’t know what to do with myself, I should probably just give up and try somethng else” (but no, don’t).

‘I am enraged’ which has featured in the Laish live set for some time but never made it onto a recording until now is probably the best song about Lewes or rather anti-Lewes, as a symbol of the compromises we have to make in life. The interplay between the band is electric. And then there’s the beautiful ‘We Speak the Mantra’, a perfect song for today’s austerity times, about being poor and staying strong. I guess Danny thinks he doesn’t do politics, but this is a very good political song, wrapped up in warmth and love and (as the song Vague declares, typically of Green’s songwriting) “full of pathos”.

The last song ends on a note of optimism, with a reminder that “we always have a choice”. You have a choice. Listen to this album or miss out on one of the most vital vibrant songwriters currently at work in Brighton or anywhere.

Buy Live at the Well at the Laish bandcamp site – out today.

Weekend Gig Picks

Before we get onto this weekend’s gigs, we’re going to remind you all about Record Store Day. Hopefully you all know about this Saturday already, but did you know that as well as Resident getting involved, Borderline, Rarekind, Cult Hero, One Stop Records and RK Bass records will also be stocking some of the RSD exclusives. It’s sad that Rounder are no longer around to fly the flag, and a warning that you shouldn’t just go and support your local independent shops just one day of the year!

Anyway, onto the gigs. On Thursday we like the look of Tiny Dragons and Rotait on the support bill for Johnson and the Believers at the Green Door Store. If you fancy a bit more of a grand setting, Mountain Firework Company are on at Saint Georges Church in Kemptown.

Friday night’s pick is Brighton Music Blog favourite Laish, who’s headlining the Prince Albert supported by Emma Gattrill and Martha Rose.

Saturday Night we suggest you head down to the Blind Tiger where Flash Bang Band will be bringing their unique brand of indie pop to the party. Alternatively Cloud, Becky Becky and Kellar play at the Green Door Store.

We’ve also got a couple of picks for Sunday night – We’re very much looking forward to seeing Cate Ferris back in town at the Blind Tiger. She’s been on tour for a while and it seems like ages since we caught up with her. Over on the other end of town, it’s Brighton Folk night at the Brunswick, with Mike Newsham, Donna Fullman and Sam Green.