The Self Help Group new video

Brighton Music Blog favourites the Self Help Group interview have just released the first video from their forthcoming 2nd album ‘Dead Stars’, the follow-up to their astounding 2013 debut ‘Not Waving But Drowning’. This new song is a bit of a beaut, titled Luigi’s Waltz, a rambling country swooning waltz with the band’s trademark heavenly vocals and a video featuring children in masks, which in Internetland is second only to cats in vases.

Dead Stars is out on November 6th on Union Music but you’ll be able to hear it live in Brighton at the official launch party on October 25th at the Komedia – if it’s anything like their first album’s launch it’s going to be a cracker and we can’t wait.

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New Brighton Music – The Go! Team, Self Help Group, Sea Bed, Fools Empire

Here’s this week’s new music roundup which starts off with a video and a whole heap of news about The Go! Team.

These days people are more likely to visit Buzzfeed than more traditional media, so with that in mind, The Go! Team have premiered a new video for What D’you Say? there. It’s not just the one video either – every day this week they’re putting up a new video. What you won’t find over on Buzzfeed is news about the band’s tour, kicking off on 5th June in Bristol and finishing up with a hometown gig at The Haunt on 4th July. Tickets go on sale this friday.

Next up is a track called Caves, by a new band called Sea Bed. Sea Bed are made up of Lizzie Massey and Jim Corbin, who used to be in Tiny Dragons. They’ve put the rock side of their character to bed with their old band name and have embraced dance music still layered with live instruments to give the sound a more rounded feel. Caves is taken from the Rosso EP, out on 6th April on DEPF records.

Next up is a new remix of a Self Help Group track. The original version of Prisoner appeared on their album Not Waving but Drowning, but you can grab a free download of the Small World Orchestra remix over on bandcamp:

Fools Empire are a new Brighton Based five piece playing soaring rock. The Professionals came out last friday and is the first of a set of three singles that the band are putting out this year.

Weekend Gig Picks

Now that we’re done with the madness of May, things are getting back to normal in the world of Brighton gigs.

tigercubTigercub headline the Green Door Store on Thursday night, with support from Semper Teens, Animal Language and the Flash Gordons. Tickets are four pounds. Staying in the part of town, Ellekaye play at the North Laine pub.

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LNLThere are loads of great gigs on Friday night. Kovak top the bill at the Hope alongside Storms and Cat Fire Radio, and The Self Help Group are on at the Brunswick with Eliza Jaye, The Beautiful Word and Bella McKendree. Friday Night also sees some of Brighton’s regular nights with strong line ups – Late Night Lingerie at Sticky Mikes is headlined by Skirts with The Repeat Prescriptions also on the line up, and it’s also Les Enfants Terribles at the Blind Tiger, with Written in Waters, Spit Shake Sisters, Calico and Glossy Coat.

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WytchesSaturday is Kemptown Carnival. There are loads of bands on the bill, including Derriere, The Kalakuta Millionaires and Carnival Collective. The afterparty is at the Blind Tiger from 8pm and is headlined by Transformer. Up at the Hope, The Wytches are having their single launch party, and it’s free!

New Videos : British Sea Power, Crayola Lectern, Flash Bang Band, Self Help Group

Here’s four new videos that we’ve come across this week.

First is British Sea Power with a video for Hail Holy Queen. The track isn’t the new single (that’s going to be Loving Animals), but the band made a video for this anyway:

Then we have the beautifully shot Slow Down by Crayola Lectern. We love the album, and Slow Down appeared in our April Top Ten post, so it’s no surpise that we’re giving it another mention.

Next is the new Flash Bang Band single, If You’re Driving. The single is out digitally on 3rd June, and the band next play in Brighton at the Blind Tiger on 9th June at the Root Experience’s Games Fete.

Finally we have the utterly chaming new video from The Self Help Group. The Rapture was filmed around Brighton (see how many locations you can spot!), and is out now on iTunes.

The Self Help Group: the new Fleetwood Mac?

The Self Help Group launched their album ‘Not Waving, But Drowning’ at the Prince Albert pub last night, ably supported by Fiona Sally Miller.

Fiona Sally Miller 20130207 Prince Albert 02

Fiona Sally Miller hasn’t been seen out and about much over the last year which is a shame as she’s one of the most engaging singer-songwriters around town. Simple little riffs set the scene for her personal songs sung in a warm voice that engrosses you like a hug. If you see her on a support bill, make sure you get there early. At this gig she was accompanied on some songs by a cellist, and gave an outing to her old goldie ‘I’m Going to miss you smiling at me like that’.

Mark Bruce

Mark Bruce

The Self Help Group album launch was a bit of a party for family and friends friends, starting off with them getting the whole audience to turn around to watch their video Needles played on the back wall. The launch got even more shambolic, with the band talking as much between themselves as to the audience, losing the banjo on one song and limiting their nervous wit to a strange bit of banter about their song about Birds. Not women, the ones with wings. Odd thing to say to any audience, let alone a Brighton one.Self Help Group 20130207 Prince Albert 03 Mark Bruce, Ian Bliszczak and Sarah Wood

But we needn’t have worried. The thing about Self Help Group is the music, beautifully played, and Mark Bruce’s excellent songs, and the gorgeous twin vocals of sisters Sarah and Clara Wood. The thing is, this is just a truly great band and once they get going you forget about the fluff and hesitation and just get swallowed up by this wave of really wonderful fol rock Americana.

The album is very good indeed. Reviews refer to that Laurel Canyon soft-rock early-70s sensibility but if there’s one band they remind me most of it’s possibly Fleetwood Mac, with the charming female vocals, some sweet guitar and meaty rhythm section but mainly that wonderful mix of west coast Americana with English self-aware folk-blues.

Mark Bruce joked about the lack of happy songs last night – the album is full of songs about death and murder and stories of grim times – but the thing is they don’t sound depressing these songs, they are heart-warming and rich stories that bear repeating. And they have a song about murmuration. What’s not to love?

The final song Sand was a perfect ending, with its closing refrain of

  “You must take the steps towards what you want and make things better

sending us home with a lovely inner-glow.

Clara Wood-Keeley

Clara Wood-Keeley

You  can order the album via the Union Music Store here or any good record shop (it’s one of Resident’s picks of the week this week).

Oh, and our interview with lead Groupie Mark Bruce is here https://brightonmusicblog.co.uk/2013/01/28/interview-with-the-self-help-group

 

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Review and Photographs by Jon Southcoasting

Weekend Gig Picks

Another weekend, another blog post flagging up our pick of the Brighton Bands playing live this weekend.

Our call for Thursday night is the launch of the Self Help Group‘s debut album Not Waving But Drowning. The gig at the Albert has been sold out for a little while, so well done if you’ve got a ticket. Tomorrow night is also the next Spirit of Gravity night at the Green Door Store, headlined by Sarah Angliss (who’s also a member of SpaceDog). There’s talk of robots, and that’s enough for us.

On Friday night Nick Cave is allowing an audience into his last rehearsal before he goes on tour. Resident Records, The Quietus and a few other places held competitions to win tickets. We were unlucky so we don’t even know where it is but it’s definitely the hot ticket of the night. We’re hoping to see The New Union at the Green Door Store, who are supporting the 1975 – that’s another sold out gig though, sorry!

kaleidoscopeSaturday night we recommend that you pay a visit to the Physics House Band’s regular night Kaleidoscope at Sticky Mike’s. Physics House Band aren’t performing – they are playing next weekend though, at the next Source New Music Night – but Sam is DJing and live music comes from Luo, who we like so much we’ve seen them twice this year.

Interview with The Self Help Group

Mark Bruce is songwriter and leader of Brighton’s new folk-rock maestros The Self Help Group whose fabulous new album is being released on the Union Music Store label next month. Jon Southcoasting met up with Mark and asked him to tell us more about the band.

Needles video screenshot

Who are The Self Help Group?

The Self Help Group are, Me, I sing and play the guitar. Clara Wood-Keeley and Sarah Natalie Wood are the good looking side of the band. They are sisters and grew up in Plumpton I believe. Paddy Keely plays guitar and banjo and hails from Selsey. Ian Bliszczak plays bass and spent his idle youth with myself in Peterborough. We have recently been joined on drums by Jamie Fewings who is from Yeovil.
How did you get started?
I had been musically moribund for years since my youthful days in a shoegaze band. When my wife and I bought a flat, I utilised the loft space as a studio, and started writing songs again. Mostly for my own amusement. Friends encouraged me, I started toying with the idea of getting a band together. With the help of some (brave) friends I managed to start The Self Help Group.
There have been numerous changes to the line up before this one, the biggest change being the acquisition of the girls . They started singing and harmonising together at 11 years old in a band called Skyline. Then sang in 10 piece jazz/funk band, followed by their own writing project ‘Tamashi’. All involved close harmonies which fitted perfectly with the sound we’d been aiming for with this band.
How did the link up with Union happen?
Jamie and Stevie invited us to do an in store performance for them at their shop in Lewes. The idea of recording an album for them started forming not long after and became a firm plan after a gig at the Green Door Store back in Jan ’12. 
We started recording in March and the album was finished in October. The album was recorded for the most part in Jamie (Freeman)’s little studio just outside Lewes. Jamie recorded and produced the album. He was definitely a member of the band and had a massive input and influence on making the album as good as (I hope) it is.
The album has a very lush sound. Who writes the songs?
The album is quite BIG at points isn’t it? There is a lot going on. I write the songs. Some come to the table fully formed, but, as time goes on we are fleshing out sketched ideas in rehearsal much more.
The songs are all written in the same way. I will usually come up with a melody while playing guitar. There is a folder on my computer full of odd news items I’ve found and I  have a look in there and try to see which story fits the feel of the music. Then I pick at  the story and write the lyrics. 
Some of the timings of the melodies definitely have a slight funk timing to them but you would never get that from the music unless you were trying to play the parts I think. I’ve never really known what I was doing as a songwriter and had no formal training in music. As a result, the songs are all very simple and there is still a big part of me that is secretly afraid that someone is going to find me out!
There’s a song on the album called the 5th man on the moon. Who’s he? And who is Big Nose George?
The 5th man on the moon was a guy called Alan Shepherd. I read a letter that he wrote to his parents the day before he enrolled in the space program and it interested me. The man inside the space suit. It must have been pretty hairy stuff going into space back then. 
Big Nose George, the song, is older than the band. I wrote it in about 10 mins after spending about 4 hours recording a load of old tosh. He was a wild west criminal called Big Nose George Parrot. Long story short, he was eventual caught and hung. The governor of the county at the time ordered that he be sent to the local tannery, where his skin was made into a pair of shoes which the governor wore for special occasions.
Who are your influences? 
I’m always unsure who our real influences are. I don’t listen to as much music as I used to. I’m too busy chasing a 2 year old around the house and then recovering. Most of the bands that get mentioned in connection with our sound, I know little about. I guess that’s a good thing. 
I was a massive fan of The Smiths in my teens, then the whole shoegaze scene. Funk and soul music played a big part in my late 20’s. Now I listen to more mellow, acoustic stuff. 
I hope I’ve absorbed a little bit of all those things.
I also really love the latest Tallest Man On Earth album. The songwriting is so strong. One man and a guitar. I’m usually drawn to a much bigger sound, but that album is amazing.  I can barely make out a bloody word he’s singing though. And I know t

he girls are really liking The Staves at the moment. Hopefully they won’t try to replace me with another pretty girl. That would suck.
One last thing, the video for Needles is brilliant. How did that come about?
We had a lot of ideas kicking around as we were unsure what the single would be. I was determined to steer away from a stereotypical folk music video. The furthest thing from the norm seemed to be a dance video, so, that’s what we did.
Stevie Freeman (Co-owner of Union Music Store)’s sister Sian happens to be a choreographer. She offered to come up with “the moves”. It was a lot of fun shooting the video, in an old workshop in Lewes, on a cold Sunday morning. The rest is down to Jamie who slaved over an apple mac editing for weeks, bless him.
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The Self Help Group’s launch show on 7th February in Brighton is sold out.

The album ‘Not Waving But Drowning‘ is out on February 11th. But they are playing a free in store show at Union Music Store in Lewes on this coming Saturday at 3pm. It will also be your first chance to pick up a copy of their album too, a week and a half before its official release.