I had a dream last night where the centrepiece of the upcoming Brighton Festival was a concert by The Go! Team, but instead of being in a venue it was a parade through the streets with the band accompanied by a brass band and a steel band and loads of vocalists and dancers. It was a joyous celebration. As the procession wound it’s way around the lanes the crowds grew bigger and bigger, culminating in a massive finale on the beach. Sadly it was just a dream, but close your eyes listening to the band’s new album Semicircle and it isn’t too hard to imagine (and if David Shrigley or anyone from the Festival reads this, it’s not too late to make it happen!) Continue reading
The Real Si-B is the monicker of Simon F Baker, a UK Swamp Country-Roots Singer Songwriter & One Man Band, who mixes traditional influences with a love of the quirky & unexpected. Continue reading
Brighton’s favourite gospel-tinged alt-country Americana band The Delta Bell release their debut album today on At The Helm records. It’s a wonderful collection of songs written by Kate Gerrard, and highly praised by the blogsphere.
Listen to album opener ‘Carry Us Home’ below
The album launch show is on August 20th at the Verdict Jazz Bar on Edward Street, and the CD is available now from all good record shop.
The band CLOUD are an enigma, a mystery. Their origins seemingly prehistoric, lost in the annals of time.
Born in Brighton, Cloud have been reinventing Krautrock for a 21st century austerity England. Their live shows are rare but the stuff of legend, a barrage of intense, rhythmic, electric and psychedelic rock’n’roll.
The band’s membership is ever changing but with a few core members whose names are often elusive but rumoured to include Scott Power (g), Mikey Rawlings (b), Alex White (d), Matt Benzi and Pete Mason (synths).
And now we have an album.
Six songs, each between seven and ten minutes long. Mainly instrumental with big violent riffs, like the stormy opener ‘Big Clock’. Some mournful and evocative with haunting vocals, like second track ‘Spirit’ featuring Dave Ringland. There’s the awesome power beat of third track ‘Houston Tx’. The modern disco assault of ‘Proton’ follows, then the Joy Division-esque grandeur of ‘Minor Age’ (with more Ringland vocals, in a gothic lovers duel with Bryony Bird) and finally the murderous punchingly drunkenly repetitive ‘A.C.D.’ It’s excellent stuff. Switch it on and lose yourself in the void.
The CLOUD album is available now from their bandcamp site https://cloudcamp.bandcamp.com/
On Saturday August 1st, CLOUD will play their hearts out at the free album launch gig at the Green Door Store CLOUD gig. Pretty unmissable really.
Photograph by Southcoasting photography
Yesterday, The Beautiful Word released their new album Particles. The Beautiful Word were on my radar years before I even started the blog, and throughout that time they’ve always taken a more personal yet inventive approach to their marketing. All the emails I’ve exchanged have been with the band members themselves rather than anonymous PRs, and many of their gigs have taken a twist, from fancy dress to performing a gig on a bus driving around town. When they offered to send out their new cd to me, it came as no surprise to find some sweets in the jiffy bag as well when it arrived. Other bands, please take note!
Over the years, there have been some constants, but that doesn’t mean that the band hasn’t developed. The Beautiful Word will probably always be slightly twee folk pop with close female harmonies, but their newer material shows a higher level of musicianship, best displayed on recent single and album title track Particles, with it’s Vampire Weekend-esque African guitars. At the time it came out we said that it was probably the best thing they’ve done. After a couple of months of playing it, now we’re pretty sure it is.
We’ve heard a lot of the album before, with half of the tracks having had videos made for them already. The video for their most recent single, Eating Me, Eating You (a metaphor for devouring relationships rather than anything more literal, apparently) quickly descends into a food fight – while the music may have grown up, the band and their songs still have a wide eyed innocence.
Of the stuff we haven’t heard before, our favourite track is Coconut Hair – slightly silly but sweet lyrics to an infectious catchy pop tune, which sums up what The Beautiful Word are all about. If you want a bit of light in your life, Particles is the album for you.
Particles by The Beautiful Word is out now on bandcamp. The launch gig for the album is at Latest Music Bar on 28th November with support from The Common Tongues and The Emperors of Ice Cream.
The opening song from the new Electric Soft Parade album sneaks in the line “And now it’s back to work / as if I never left”, but while it’s been seven years since No Need To Be Downhearted came out the White brothers never quite got around to leaving. Since then there’s been three Brakes albums, three solo albums from Thomas, and guest spots from both brothers in numerous bands. There’s been plenty of live dates too, most notably supporting Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds on their world tour in 2011, and playing a gig at the Haunt last year for the 10th Anniversary of Holes in the Wall.
At the end of 2011 a French label put out Lily on 7″, which we described as “the kind of melodic guitar pop that most indie bands would sell their grandmother to be able to write”, and then the band spent all of 2012 assembling an album full of tracks of the same high standard. Earlier this year they released the country tinged Brother You Must Walk Your Path Alone, which has barely left our stereo.
Next Monday sees the release of Idiots, Electric Soft Parade’s fourth long player. The thing that strikes you on first listen is that any of the album’s ten tracks could be singles; not only is Idiots very much a pop album but there isn’t a duff track on it. It’s a classic guitar pop sound that’s been sorely missing from the charts of late, which have been cluttered up with the likes of Kasabian’s testosterone soaked riffs or Ed Sheeran’s overly sensitive acoustic drivel. Where are the tunes? Where are the choruses you can sing along to?
Well, here they are. Summertime In My Heart is the optimism of the season distilled into song form. The Corner of Highdown and Montefiore is a brooding, reflective ballad with lush strings that you lose yourself in before you realise it’s got a bit epic. Title track Idiots draws on the lush seventies pop of ELO or Wings, and the infectiously catchy Mr Mitchell could have been penned by Ray Davies. One of Those Days makes me swoon with it’s gorgeousness, shuffling rhythms and close harmonies, and Welcome To The Weirdness has the best guitar solo that Brian May never wrote. Never again calms things down to finish with, the sweetest song about hangovers that’s ever been written.
Idiots is a fantastic album. It’s rammed with brilliant, sunny guitar pop tunes, and is a great comeback for the White brothers. It’s out on Monday 17th on Helium Records, and the launch is being put on by Melting Vinyl at the Green Door Store that day.
Brighton is so alive with great music right now. Last night we went to Time for T’s EP launch in the unusual venue of their local church, St Luke’s near Seven Dials and all three acts could have been headliners.
First up was a name we have not come across before, Ellie Ford (above). She plays beautiful songs on harp and guitar with an angelic voice and tone, reminiscent in style of Laura Marling and seemingly for this short set just as good. She noted at one point a lot of her songs seemed to involve God, perhaps fittingly for the setting, although it didn’t seem to show. One to watch – she is currently recording.
The Common Tongues released their new EP Tether & Twine a couple of months ago at the Blind Tiger and Time for T offered support there, so this time around the Common Tongues returned the favour. They’re a popular band and rightly so, as they have a big powerful folk-rock sound, reminiscent of the Mumfords but (to my ears) better songs and tunes. Songs like ‘Something’s Got to Give’ and ‘Praying to God’ sound more powerful live than on the EP, and the latter song being particularly memorable.
However, tonuight was all about Time for T, half a dozen young guys from various parts of the Uk and the continent who all share a house just over the road from tonight’s venue and you get the impression it might be something like an episode from the Monkies. They’re a fun band but one with a lot of musical chops and serious intent. They should be out playing the festival circuit but as it was had the whole church dancing or tapping their feet. Sometimes pop with touches of reggae and funk subtly slipped in, sometimes coming across like a big multi-styled band like Santana, we’re big fans. The band’s charm is partly captured by Tiago announcing his mum had come over from Portugal for this gig and then launching straight into their song referencing Phone Sex (rather surprisingly, a great singalong number) from their first EP.
All three songs from their new (second) EP ‘Mongrel’ have been on heavy rotation in our house, and they sounded strong played live tonight. Tornado with its chorus of “You’re like a Tornado, …when you go you take the House and the car away”, and the beautiful spiritual song “Great Grandma” is a particular favourite. The final song ‘Vegetables’ is a great way to end the night, and gets the whole joint jumping. An ode to sloth, it is anything but. Listen below.
Photographs by Jon Southcoasting
Back in the seventies there was a television program called the Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, built around the general premise of the main character having a mid life crisis. You could suggest that releasing your debut album when you’re in your mid-forties might be some kind of mid life crisis, but to do so would ignore Chris Anderson’s presence on the music scene in Brighton and beyond over the years. You could suggest that the title implies some kind of trip – maybe physical, maybe psychedelic – and perhaps you might be right there.
Crayola Lectern are a bit like The Beatles. But I hate it when bands are compared to the Beatles, partly because you can’t even make any sort of meaningful comparison between the band who released Please Please Me and the band who released The White Album. If you can’t even compare the band to themselves how on earth can you compare another band to them? Also the most repeated Beatles comparison of recent times has been Oasis, and Crayola Lectern are nothing like Oasis. That said, there are parts of The Fall and Rise which recall A Day in The Life or maybe Fool on the Hill. Songs from when the Beatles were at their experimental best.
You could also say that Crayola Lectern are a bit like The Durutti Column. This is another poor comparison – Vini Reilly was all about the guitar and most of the Crayola Lectern album is piano based. But there’s something about the Durutti Column’s style (which they once referred to as Avant Garde Jazz Classical) that you can hear with Crayola Lectern. Then there’s the standard of the playing, and also the wider range of influences than most music manages to encompass. Vini was never the strongest singer either, but there’s something endearing about both their deliveries which you wouldn’t want any other way.
Crayola Lectern are also a bit like Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. Actually, Crayola Lectern are probably more like the psychedelic bands of the sixties and seventies who influenced Gorky’s but at the time of my life when I was listening to Gorky’s, songs in Welsh with time signatures that changed halfway through was far out enough for me and I didn’t investigate any further. Maybe it’s time for me to invest in some Kevin Ayers and Robert Wyatt albums. Nevertheless The Fall and Rise’s unifying theme is the quirkiness that runs throughout, not just in some of the lyrical themes (“My goldfish died of boredom”), but also in the twists and turns that the music takes. There’s also a similarity in the gentle psychedelia which runs from start to finish, the high point of which is the album’s centrepiece Trip in D, a ten minute spiralling psychedelic epic with hypnotic guitars tuned to sound like sitars.
Most of all though, Crayola Lectern aren’t really like anyone else. You can pick out references here and there, but comparisons don’t really do justice to the defiantly wilful independence of ideas on The Fall and Rise. They don’t help describe the feelings that the album conjures so well, often shifting from one emotion to another mid-song, as naturally as our own mood changing. For some people the album may seem a challenge, but if it is then it’s a brilliantly rewarding one. One thing’s for certain – you won’t hear another album like this all year.
The Fall and Rise of Crayola Lectern is out on Bleeding Hearts Recordings on 15th April 2013. The album launch gig takes place at the Brunswick on Wednesday 17th April with support from Do You Feel What I Feel Deer. As a taster, Crayola Lectern are offering My Big Idea as a free download:
Iceland Spar – the opener of the new Esben and the Witch album – is a bold statement of intent, guitars either crash around noisily or are conspicuous by their absence pushing Rachel Davies vocals to the fore. The quietLOUDquietLOUD almost post-rock dynamic recurs a number of times throughout the album, but the record is better defined by the sound introduced on the second track, Slow Wave. Dominated by slinky, shimmering textures, ethereal vocals, and instrumentation which is probably guitars but is subject to technical wizardry to make it sound other-worldly beautiful.
One of the album’s best tracks is last year’s single DeathWaltz, urgent guitars soundtracking forlorn, melodic vocals. This is about as pop as Esben and the Witch are going to get. The high point for us though is The Fall of Glorieta Mountain, an elegant, slow motion, glacier of a track. “Is this an answer or is this an echo?” ask the lyrics philosophically, initially over acoustic guitars which morph unassumingly into a backing which is at the same time both majestic yet understated.
Wash The Sins Not Only The Face isn’t an album which will give you the hope to get through these cold, dark days, but it is an album which will reflect this time of year perfectly – dark, sometimes bleak, inward looking, but with a beauty in it’s iciness, which deserves to be appreciated.
Wash The Sins Not Only The Face is out today on Matador Records
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.