Coming up : Nordic Giants supporting God is an Astronaut / new music from Esben & The Witch

Nordic Giants at Komedia 2

This week Nordic Giants head out on tour with Irish post rock band God is an Astronaut, where they play their first Brighton gig since the launch of their awesome Build Seas / Dismantle Suns double EP last October. The tour takes in Glasgow, Leeds, Nottingham and Birmingham before arriving in Brighton next Sunday 16th March, where they play The Haunt.

A few weeks later the band are heading up to London to play one of their most important gigs yet headlining Cargo on 1st May.

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Next month, Esben & The Witch release a split 12″ with Thought Forms on Invada records. It was premiered a couple of weeks ago on Stereogum, but now the stream is available for us to share too. The release of No Dog on 7th April comes in advance of the band heading into the studio in the summer with the legendary Steve Albini for an album pencilled in for autumn this year. More news on that as we hear of it, but in the meantime, here’s the audio of No Dog:

Brighton Music Blog Advent Calendar Day Six – Nordic Giants / Neotenie

It’s been a busy year for the Nordic Giants – after a few years in which they only managed to release two EPs / singles in total (which both featured the same lead track – Shine – which appeared in last year’s advent calendar), the band managed to release a single and a double EP in the last twelve months. Speed The Crow’s Nest appeared in February, and then in October the Build Seas, Dismantle Suns EP was released in two parts at either end of a near sell out national tour.

We’ve picked Neotenie as the choice for our Advent Calendar – it comprises of their classic cinematic sound overlaid with samples prophesising big changes ahead, not necessarily for the best. We could have picked any of the tracks from the EP though – all fantastic stuff.

November Top Ten

We’re posting up our favourite tracks from November a little earlier than usual because it’s almost time for us to start our Brighton Music Blog Advent Calendar, where from December 1st we’ll be posting up a different band every day that we’ve enjoyed this year, culminating in our musical highlight on Christmas Day (to give you something to read while your parents are watching the Queens speech). Before then though, here’s what we loved this month:

1) IYES – ‘Til Infinity

IYES debut single proper is a corker. From the opening drums and hand claps (How long before live performances string out the intro and get the audience to the claps like Queen’s We Will Rock You?) through to Melis “Mmm-Hmm” at 2.10 it doesn’t put a foot wrong.

2) Black Rooster Black Shag – Run Baby

Run Baby is the kind of catchy, effortless rock’n’roll that’s as cool as ice. The black & white video for the track makes us love it even more

3) Nordic Giants – Dark Clouds Mean War

 Dark Clouds Mean War is the closing track from Nordic Giants recent Dismantle Suns EP. It’s brooding and cinematic and packs in more emotion into one track than you’re likely to hear this year

4) The Beautiful Word – Coconut Hair

In a complete change mood, Coconut Hair, from The Beautiful Word’s new release Particles is silly and nonsensical and will put a smile on your face.

5) A Lily – The Sparrow In The Lemon Tree

 The Sparrow In the Lemon Tree, taken from A Lily’s new EP Lupa, is a thing of fragile beauty – lush strings and gentle electronica combine for this lovely take on modern folk

6) Kins – Aimless

Kins new single starts off sounding almost jazzy, but soon settles into beautiful abstract guitar pop which feels familiar yet unlike anything you can put your finger on.

7) Plasticine – Dreamers Of The Day

We haven’t heard much from Plasticine since we first crossed paths with them back at Sea Monsters back in January. After nearly a year they’re back on the blog with a fantastic pop single.

8) Faux Flux – Week Long War

Faux Flux follow up this year’s earlier Come Alive release with new single Week Long War, which we like even more. We’ve posted the video here, but you can download the track and it’s b-side for free over on their bandcamp site.

9) bentcousin – Sunglasses In Winter

Bentcousin’s first proper release since their Everbody’s Got One EP is a track quietly tucked away on a compilation album. While it starts off with gentle guitar lines that echo I Think I Like You Girlfriend More Than You from their debut, the subject matter is much more hard hitting. Bentcousin are playing an unplugged gig at Revenge on Sunday afternoon at 4pm for World Aids Day.

10) Jipsy Magic – So Serious

Genre busting Jipsy Magic describe themselves as a disco / funk / pop band. There’s a fair bit of indie in there too as you see in their new single So Serious:

Nordic Giants – Dismantle Suns

At the end of last month, the Nordic Giants played a gig at the Concorde to launch the second part of their Build Seas, Dismantle Suns EP.

Nordic Giants

The Nordic Giants have long been one of Brighton’s best live bands, with their gothic outfits, stunning visuals and huge huge songs. Since this was a bit more of a special occasion they were aided and abetted by The Shadow Enigma, a collection of musicians who added additional strings, brass and percussion to bolster the band’s already massive sound.IMG_1687es

The EP starts with long time live favourite Little Bird. The smooth start with gentle jazzy keyboards and female vocals turns out to be a smokescreen for the Nordic Giants brutality with huge clattering drums kicking in two thirds of the way through. The second track Mechanical Minds also features pianos and big drums, which die down every now and then to reveal old samples warning of a dangerous future. Strangest Tides is a calmer affair, with tender female Scandinavian vocals over something akin to Sigur Ros’ less guitarry work. EP Closer Dark Clouds Mean War is brooding and cinematic, with thick lush strings and simple piano line building up throughout the song, and it’s only in the last seventy seconds of the track that percussion kicks in, the Dark Clouds in the title bringing their promise of a storm.

IMG_1778eesBoth parts of the Build Seas, Dismantle Suns EP are available to buy through the Nordic Giants webshop.

October Top Ten

Somehow, we’ve turned two! Two years of gig going, photo taking, demo listening and doing out best to share the music we love coming out of Brighton. Here’s what we loved in October:

1 Eagles For Hands – Lisbon

Eagles for Hands gave out their new EP for free for a short while earlier in the month and the title track, which sounds not dissimilar to 808 State at the height of the powers has been our most played track this month. The free download is over now (you should have grabbed it when we told you about it!) but it’s worth every penny you’ll pay on iTunes.

2 Momotaro – Reverie
3 Gaps – Belong


Giving away a free track in return for signing up to a bands mailing list is the new black. Or something like that. Momotaro and Gaps are two of our favourite discoveries this year and you can get these tracks just for the price of an email address.

4 The Beautiful Word – Eating Me, Eating You

“It’s not rude!” Megan and Emily blush when they introduce this track live. Of course it’s not, but a bit of innuendo doesn’t do anyone any harm. The video for Eating Me, Eating You dropped this month, and the track appears on The Beautiful Word’s album Particles which we’ll be reviewing soon.

5 Electric Soft Parade – The Sun Never Sets Around Here

The Sun Never Sets Around Here in ESP’s new single to go alongside their minitour. The band have just announced a Christmas date at the Unitarian Church on 6th December. Get your tickets quick because it’s going to sell out fast.

6 Prince Vaseline – Sunset

Lovely lovely stuff from a Milke & Biscuits side project

7 Nordic Giants – Neotenie

Neotenie appears on part one of the Nordic Giants Build Seas Dismantle Suns double EP. We’ll be putting up something about part two – the Dismantle Suns half – very soon.

8 Yumi & The Weather – All We Can

The lead track from Yumi & The Weather’s debut EP (and it’s accompanying video) is a much sunnier track than the weather outside at the moment. We’ve had it on repeat to bring a bit of summer back into our lives. The Vondelpark rework that’s also on the EP is quite tasty too.

9 Moulettes – Songbird

Moulettes gig at Applefest (which we missed because we didn’t want caught in the torrential rain in Lewes), and their giveaway of this track reminded up just how much we love Moulettes. From the look of their Facebook / Twitter streams, they’re working on new material right now. Can’t wait!

10 Alice Amelia – #1000 Dreams

We rather liked Alice Amelia’s free download that she gave away earlier this month – sophisticated sparse piano and a lovely vocal. She’s playing down at Above Audio this Wednesday for free as well!

Weekend Gig Picks

Just a short and sweet weekend gig post this week, because we’re darting off to see Nordic Giants at the Concorde soon (there are still tickets on the door apparently, and they’re a brilliant live band).

Thursday night is Halloween, so it’s only right that our gig pick for the evening is Green Door Store’s Halloweiner event, with Tigercub headlining. It’s a late one though – it doesn’t start until 11pm, which isn’t exactly ideal if you’ve got work in the morning.

Halloweiner

Friday night is Lout’s regular Brighton Rocks night at Sticky Mike’s. This week London Commands You, The Fuses, Lonesome Heights and Dear Joseph play.

Then on Saturday Jipsy Magic launch their new single at the Blind Tiger. So Serious comes out as a free download this weekend, and they’re holding a free party to celebrate.

September Top Five

We’ve been away for half of September, so this month we’re just doing a Top Five rather than our normal Top Ten. Any good stuff we like from the last week or two may well make it into next month’s list. Anyway, without further ado:

1) Dog in the Snow – Fire in the Sky

At the top of the pile this month is Helen Ganya Brown’s latest haunting offering, available as a free download through soundcloud, and with a video that just went up online today:

2) Palm Springs – Could You Be Wrong

We’re the ones who’ve got things wrong about the new Palm Springs single. Their label, Random Acts of Vinyl, sent us a copy a few weeks ago and there was a bit of a mix up with release dates and we haven’t got around to doing a write up yet, even though it’s been out for a few weeks. We’ll be giving it a proper write up soon, but in the meantime, let it be known that it’s one of favourite tracks of recent weeks:

3) Luo – Spiral Staircase

Luo keeps churning out great music, which he keeps giving out for free, and was awesome at Sound Screen at the Corn Exchange earlier this month. This is our favourite track from his latest EP Imprints:

4) Momotaro – Embers

We got turned onto to Momotaro care of the new Green Door Store fanzine which has been popping up all around town. They’ve got got a bunch of free downloads up on Soundcloud, and Embers has had a lot of plays at Brighton Music Blog HQ:

5) Nordic Giants – Violent Lights

We only heard Violent Lights less than a week ago, but we’re big fans of Nordic Giants so we couldn’t not include it. The Build Seas EP which it’s taken from is out tomorrow.

Nordic Giants – Violent Lights

Things have been a but quiet on the blog for the last week or so because I’m on holiday and have been off the internet, but the magical combination of an early rise brought on by jet lag, a hotel with wireless, and an exciting new track to tell you about has forced me to break my silence.

Violent Lights is the first track that’s surfaced from the Nordic Giants forthcoming Build Seas Dismantle Suns EP. It features vocals by Alex Hedley from Saturday Sun, who have been on the bill the last couple of times I’ve seen Nordic Giants, so if you were at any if those gigs you’ll have heard his tender, almost falsetto voice which suits the track perfectly.

The track is just what you’d expect from Nordic Giants – an ambient atmospheric beginning that builds to their trademark epic sound, with a breathtaking drop a minute before the end preceding an awesome aural onslaught.

The EP is being released in two parts, with the Build Seas half coming out next week on 1st October. Nordic Giants play a headline show at the Concorde 2 on 30th October.

New videos!

It’s been a while since we’ve done a round up of some of the latest videos we’ve spotted, so here’s a few to watch on this chilly Sunday night.

First up is Nimmo and the Gauntletts new single Change. The video was directed by Agyness Deyn, more well known for being in front of the camera than behind it. Agyness played the track on 6Music, and the band tweeted her asking her to appear their next video. She went one better and directed the video for them!

Then we have The Beautiful Word, who’ve just headed out on tour. They’re playing Brighton on Thursday night at The Hope. This is the animated video for their track May Not Be Love, which will be on their album Particles which is coming out later this year.

Here’s the video for Debbie Does Drugs by The Bobby McGees. This is one of the tracks from their upcoming album Je Vien Rechcher Mes, and is an opportunity to see Jimmy McGee without his trademark beard!

Next up Monsters Build Mean Robots with the video for their new track A Town Called Tourettes:

Professor Elemental‘s new single is called This is My Horse (show me yours). You can buy it over on his bandcamp page, and watch the video here:

British Sea Power‘s new album Machineries of Joy is out a week tomorrow (1st April). Before that they’re playing a sold out show at the Old Market, and have released a video for the title track:

Finally, here’s a video from the Nordic Giants gig at the Pavilion Theatre last month. This is Glass Skinned Girl, which is the b-side to the band’s new single Speed The Crow’s nest. Nordic Giants are playing up in London next month, and there’s still one or two tickets for the early show (which you can buy here).

Nordic Giants – Speed The Crow’s Nest

The brand new Nordic Giants single, Speed The Crow’s Nest has just been released and the band celebrated with a sold out launch show at the Dome Studio Theatre last night.

Nordic Giants_Single_Crows_300dpi

Speed The Crow’s Nest is unmistakeably Nordic Giants from the off – big, uplifting piano riffs, shimmering guitars and clattering drums. The experience is completely exhilarating – like falling from a great height, or being caught out in a thunderstorm – it’s a little disorientating, but at the same time utterly awe inspiring. The b-side is the first track released with Nordic Giants new vocalist, Freyja. Glass Skinned Girl showcases the other side of the band – quiet, reflective and glacial. Freyja’s voice is a perfect complement to their more ambient stuff, and rings out as much a part of the instrumentation as a vehicle for delivering the lyrics.

Nordic Giants

Onstage Freyja fitted in perfectly too, dressed head to toe in black with the most amazing head dress, with the live delivery matching the clarity of the recordings. Freyja only joined the band for two tracks – the rest of the Nordic Giant’s set was either instrumental, or had the vocalist pre-recorded with their image projected into a separate video box in the middle of the stage. I’ve long maintained that Nordic Giants are one of the best live bands in town. On the way out I heard someone describing it as “a religious experience” which you can’t really argue with – the music blows you away and you’re blinded by the strobes, but it’s all so incredibly beautiful. The next Nordic Giants live date is up in London in April, but it’s in a church in St Pancras – that truly will be a religious experience!

You can buy Speed the Crows Nest on iTunes or it’ll be available in physical form from the band’s website soon.