Brighton Music Blog End of Year Top Twenty, part one 20-11

End of year lists are a funny old business. Should they be a measure of the success of the artists on the list you’re compiling? If that were the case then Royal Blood would be the top of any Brighton based list by the longest of margins (and they have been voted album of the year by NME readers). The alternative is that they’re based on personal preference instead, which is incredibly subjective but does give us the chance to enthuse about the things we’ve loved the most over the past twelve months. Being just a list of twenty acts is incredibly restricting too. The past couple of years we’ve put together out best of list as an Advent Calendar instead, which gave us another five acts we could include, but would have meant us getting our act together in November which was never going to happen this year. So here’s the first half of our top twenty – we’ll count down our top ten counting down as we get closer to Christmas.

20. Yumi & The Weather – All We Can EP

Technically All We Can came out in December 2013, but end of year lists had all been agreed by that point and tracks on the EP are easily as good if not better than most of the new music we’ve heard in 2014. The Vondelpark rework of the EPs title track is pure bliss.

19. Anushka – Mansions

Anushka’s Mansions, the lead single from their album Broken Circuit which came out on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings was one of our tunes of the summer.

18. Curxes – Valkyrie

To keep us interested while the Brighton / Portsmouth duo inch forward to completion of their debut long player (which has a provision title of Verxes), this year the band put out PreCurxor – a compilation of their early work – and this single, a noisy, frantic affair that’s guaranteed to wake you up.

17. Michael A Grammar – The Day I Come Alive

We fell in love with Michael A Grammar’s The Day I Came Alive on the very first listen, probably because it sounded like early Blur and reminded us of our first trips to indie discos many years ago.

16. Dog in the Snow – Factory

Dog in the Snow put out a couple of singles this year, with Factory being the more electronic of the two. The video was a fantastic match for the song, initially about mundane daily repetition before morphing into something magical.

15. The New Union – Now

The New Union continue apace with their melodic indie rock. Now was the first of their two singles of 2014, which was followed up later in the year by the equally great Believe in Nothing.

14. Winston & Goldstein – Ode to a Massive Obsession

Jacqueline Collyer used to be in Kins, but this year she went solo, ditched the guitars (mostly), and embraced electronica in all it’s forms on her album In The Eyes of the Other from ambient to dance tracks like Ode to a Massive Obsession which is our pick.

13. The Fiction Aisle – Blue

The Fiction Aisle have only played three gigs, and have only put one track on the internet so far. The man behind the band is an industry veteran though, with over ten years experience under his belt. This year, Electric Soft Parade hung up their hats (except for the odd one off), but Tom White has formed a brilliant new band, recruiting brother Alex on drums, and a cast of thousands. Well, about a dozen.

12. Blood Red Shoes – Blood Red Shoes

Blood Red Shoes eponymous fourth album was heralded from all quarters as a return to form. Their gig in April at the Concorde was the loudest thing we heard this year.

11. Adolescent – Golden Halls part II

There’s been an incredible amount of electronica produced in Brighton this year, most of it coming out through the wonderful Physics House Band affiliated KLDSCP records. Pick of the bunch for us was Adolescent’s Golden Halls EP, and it’s utterly beautiful and unhurried lead track Golden Halls Part II

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Michael A Grammar album news

DIGI Coversmall

More album news, this time from Michael A Grammar whose debut album hits the shops on 29th September. The self titled album features all of the tracks from their now-out-of-print EPs as well as four new tracks, including Don’t Wake Me, which comes as an early download if you pre-order the album on iTunes:

Fore more info head over to the Melodic website, who are putting the album out, where you can also pre-order the album for a few pounds less than iTunes.

February Top Ten

February might be the shortest month, but there was no shortage of good music. Here’s our pick of the crop from the last month:

1 – Momotaro / Warm Step

We could have put any track from Momotaro’s Second Side album at number one this month. It’s barely left the stereo since we first heard it

2 – GAPS / I Know It’s You (Foreign Skin remix)

The original version of I Know It’s You made an appearance in our January top ten, but right at the end of the month, Foreign Skin’s remix was post up, which made the track even more lush.

3 – Blood Red Shoes / An Animal

The brand new Blood Red Shoes album is out tomorrow, but if you pre-ordered it you got an early download of An Animal, which is also the single coming out on 7″ alongside the album. If you want a physical copy and tomorrow’s too long to wait I did spot that they already had it on the racks at Resident yesterday.

4 – Yumi & The Weather / Love

Yumi & The Weather gave us their Love as a Valentine’s present. We didn’t get around to posting about it (but we did retweet their link) and since then the link has gone. If you managed to grab the track – all jittery rhythms and slick vocals – then you’ll know why we’re such a fan of this.

UPDATE : Yumi & The Weather have just posted that the track is available as part of a Camels & Lions compilation which you can download for free here.

5 – Electric Soft Parade / One of Those Days

One Of Those Days was one of our favourite tracks on Idiots when it came out last year, so we’re pleased that they’ve put the track out as a single, and that we’ve got an excuse to post it up here

6 – The Wytches / Gravedweller

It’s been a great month for Brighton’s finest psychedelic rock’n’rollers. Not only have they signed to the mighty Heavenly Records, putting them on a roster alongside Toy and Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs, but they also released their first single with the label, available on their current tour, or as a free download.

7 – Physics House Band / Titan (Ital Tek remix)

This month also saw Physics House Band put out an album of remixes of last month’s Horizons / Rapture Ep. Our pick is Ital Tek’s remix of Titan, which wrestles the original into something altogether more dancefloor friendly.

8 – Fujiya & Miyagi / Tetrahydrofolic Acid

Tetrahydrofolic Acid is the first new track released by the band since 2011’s Ventriloquizzing, and shows them heading in a much more electronic direction. To these ears it sounds like To Rococo Rot on a night out with Underworld.

9 – Milk & Biscuits / Hairstyles

Yes, we wrote about Hairstyles before, but that was when it was released as an mp3 download, and this month it’s the lead track on the first cassette released by newly founded Lick Music, who wanted a distraction from making frozen yoghurt.

10 – Michael A Grammar / The Day I Come Alive

It feels like ages since we first wrote about Michael A Grammar’s Random Vision EP, but it finally came out this month. Lead track The Day I Come Alive sounds like dreamy early period Blur.

New Music – Michael A Grammar, Acquaintance, Them The Sky, Bentcousin, Japanese Sweets, Stark, Salt Ashes, Somni, Unknown Brothers

We’ve got a bumper New Music post for you today. I went to go and write it mid-week but Soundcloud was down and since then there’s been more tunes to write about.

First up is Michael A Grammar whose Random Vision EP is out on January 27th. We’ve previously featured another track on the EP (The Day I Come Alive, back in November), and now another track Suzanna is out there.

Acquaintance are releasing their album Satellite Stream on March 10th. To give us a taste of what’s to come, To give us a taste of what’s to come, they;ve sent us the dance pop track Making Eye Contact:

Next up is Them The Sky who have put up another track from their Echolalia EP. This is called Start Again:

Brighton Music Blog favourites Bentcousin have another new song up on Soundcloud. The Love Song recalls 60s Motown beats and has plenty of references in the lyrics too:

We featured Japanese Sweets in last week’s gig picks. It’s the new pseudonym of Speak Galactic’s Owen Thomas.Slow Motion Crash / Around You is widescreen prog electronica which makes Speak Galactic almost seem like pop music.

Changing tack completely, we’ve got the new folk rock single from Stark. Let’s Fall Down Together is out now and the band are playing at the Prince Albert on 4th March.

All out pop doesn’t seem to feature much on these pages, but Salt Ashes is here to change all that – her new single Somebody could easily be a Kylie single:

As if we hadn’t covered enough genres yet, here’s some lovely ambient electronica. Somni has put up a couple of tracks on bandcamp, in advance of an album due in February. Here’s Glacier:

Finally we have Unknown Brothers, who have put up their Unkown Brothers EP onto bandcamp. Physical copies are coming next month but until then, you can pick up the EP digitally here:

Michael A Grammar – The Day I Come Alive

Once from Nottingham, but now based in Brighton, Michael A Grammar have announced details of their second EP, and posted up a track to tease us. Random Vision is a four track EP coming out on Melodic Records on 27th January, and will be released on download and 180mg heavyweight purple vinyl.

MichaelAGrammarBestCreditTomStoke

(photo by Tom Stoke)

Putting a record out on purple vinyl is a bit of a clue as to the band’s psychedelic sound. There’s also the fact that they’ve taken from a Broadcast song. Their biog describes them as “the alien lovechild of too many sunny weekends spent indoors listening to Joy Division and Radiohead records”, but to these ears the closest reference we can hear for The Day I Come Alive – the first track on the EP – is Blur’s She’s So High, with an early nineties sound halfway between baggy and shoegaze, with an anthemic chorus. You can listen below, and pre-order the EP on the Melodic website.