Here’s a few bits and pieces that we’ve come across this week. Gnarwolves and Octopuses have the launches for their releases this weekend (see our previous post), so if you like what you hear, make sure you catch them live.
First up is the new single from Martin Rossiter. No One Left To Blame, one of the standout tracks from last year’s The Defenestration of St Martin, will be released on September 16th, but the rather chilly video is up now:
Moving from chiller to thriller, the next video is for Sun by Us Baby Bear Bones, which features on their What Starts With a U Ends With An I EP, which is available to buy via the band’s website.
Funemployed is the new EP from Gnarwolves. The band have their launch party at the Green Door Store on saturday night, and the EP sounds like this:
Octopuses launch their new single Sarcastic at the Prince Albert tonight. The track’s up on Soundcloud, and you can listen here:
Last Night’s Source New Music at the Dome Studio Theatre was a fantastic night. We’ve written about all three bands, but I can confidently say that each of the three bands better than I’d ever seen them before.
Jacko Hooper is growing with every performance, and he won over the room most of whom were there solely for Martin Rossiter. There seems to be less nerves than when I first saw him, and there’s a great balance that shows off the quality of both his songwriting and his guitar playing. The Beautiful Word have made a bit of a change of direction this year, going a bit more indie and introducing tropical guitar riffs. There’s still a hint of the twee folk in the background with tracks like May Not Be Love, but overall they now sound like a band who’ve found their sound. Fantastic stuff.
The first thing Martin Rossiter did when he came on stage was thank The Source for extending their definition of New Music – I first saw Gene at Reading Festival back in 1999 – but Martin’s solo album only came out last year. Being the showman that he is, he’s recruited the talents of pianist Robin Coward so that he’s not constrained by an instrument, which allows Martin to roam the stage. The simplicity of the songs holds up in a live setting, and the sound is every bit as powerful as on the record. If you’re thinking of going to see Martin live at Bush Hall in London next week, then we thoroughly recommend it.
Here’s this weekend’s gig picks for you all. This week we’re extending things out to Monday, because there’s a gig that we can’t not mention.
On Friday night Martin Rossiter headlines the Source New Music Night at the Dome Studio Theatre. Support comes from The Beautiful Word and Jacko Hooper so this should be a bit special. Tickets are a bit pricier than a normal Source New Music though – so if you’d rather save your pennies then head down to Sticky Mike’s where the Physics House Band are hosting another Physics House Party. They’re playing a headline set with members of Flamingods, and there’s support from Luo, Caveman Genius, Demob Happy, and Shrine. Hush Hush Friday at the Blind Tiger caught our eye too – another free gig with FVNERALS topping the bill and Dog in the Snow supporting.
Saturday Night’s pick is Clowns, who are playing at the Prince Albert. If you like your weekends a bit funkier then The Impellers are on the bill at Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club at the Concorde.
Brighton Folk comes back to the Brunswick on Sunday Night, with Amy Hill and The Galleons playing.
The reason we’ve extended things out to Monday for this weekend’s picks is to include the Electric Soft Parade‘s album launch at the Green Door Store. The album is definitely the highlight of 2013 for us so far and will be on sale at the gig. Support comes from Crayola Lectern. Also on Monday, for those who prefer their ‘problem folk’ to sunshine pop, ex Brighton resident The Great Park returns from Germany for a gig at the Prince Albert, ably supported by local singer-songwriter Tandy Hard. Frankly, as ever, we’re torn…
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:
Last November, Martin Rossiter released his debut solo album, The Defenrestration of St Martin, and we loved it, calling it “a thing of magnificent beauty“. The album was a long a time in the making and Martin was out of the spotlight for nearly ten years. His first step back was a concert at the Unitarian Church in New Road last May, which was recorded and has been released today, on sale for a mere six pounds.
The live album is made up of old Gene favourites as well as tracks from The Defenstration of St Martin, all played in the same style as the album with just piano and voice.
Martin will be heading out on tour soon, and plays Brighton on 14th June at Brighton Dome.
We first started pulling together our end of year list back in October. By that point in the year, you’ve got a pretty idea about who you feel deserves an extra mention. Our first draft didn’t mention Martin Rossiter though – We’d spotted him playing bass innocuously in Call Me Jolene, and heard some positive second hand reports about his performance at The Wedding Present’s At The Edge Of The Sea all dayer back in August, but we didn’t think that was quite enough for him to make our list. But then a couple of weeks ago, we got hold of his first album in over a decade, and we knew that our list needed changing straight away. The Defenestration of St Martin is tender, emotional and personal. It’s cruel yet majestic, cold yet beautiful.
The past casts two very long shadows over The Defenestration of St Martin. The first is that of Martin Rossiter’s musical history with Gene, who he fronted back in the nineties. They were pigeonholed as britpop, but there was always something a bit more complex and cerebral about their lyrics and their music. Events conspired such that despite their differences, their career would follow a similar arc to britpop, and Gene split up in the early noughties. Music continue to flow through Rossiter’s veins though – teaching at Brighton’s ATM college, still writing for himself, and picking up the bass to play in Call Me Jolene. Now, more than eleven years after the last Gene album, Martin Rossiter has released a new record.
The other long shadow over the record is the pain that Rossiter has suffered over the years. If ten minute opener Three Points on a Compass – an incredibly personal, beautiful but damning song about his father – doesn’t have you crying into your headphones, then quite frankly, you’ve got no heart. Difficult lyrical matter continues throughout, as titles like I Want To Choose When I Sleep Alone, No One Left To Blame and My Heart’s designed for Pumping Blood attest, with little respite throughout. This isn’t an album to cheer yourself up to by listening to the words.
However, this doesn’t mean that the album isn’t a thing of magnificent beauty. Musically, simplicity rules throughout with Rossiter’s voice, stronger than ever, soaring over fantastic ballads with no instruments other than piano. Rossiter describes the tracks as secular hymns, and there is a very religious feel to everything here – slightly solemn, with very eloquent, articulate lyrics. The lightest moment on the record comes from the least religious moment with the most religious – I Must Be Jesus – sounding almost a show tune, with deliberately over the top lyrics, exaggerated for effect. Only in it’s closing moments does the album does the album allow itself to break free. In the last minute of Let The Waves Carry You drums beat and a guitar riff kicks off before the album fades out, a reminder of the music that Rossiter used to make, and hopefully a pointer to what we might expect in future, now that he’s back in the limelight.
Later this week, I’ll be writing a review of the new Martin Rossiter album, The Defenstration of Saint Martin. I’ll mention what a glorious return it is for the ex-Gene frontman (who’s now based in Brighton, obviously). I’ll note how there’s obviously been a lot of pain in Martin’s life, and comment on just how eloquently this is put across in the ten minute opener Three Points on a Compass. I’ll note how the instrumentation – just voice and piano – makes it both simple and powerful. And I’ll feel slightly daunted about putting some words together when my command of the English language isn’t a patch on his.
In the meantime, here’s a video of one of the standout tracks from the album – Drop Anchor: