An Alternative 2016 Albums best of…

So Rob always has his top ten Brighton albums of the year and it’s always very good and there are usually one or two overlaps with Jon’s but they’re never the same, so in the spirit of diversity and a reflection of the excellent year 2016 has been for music, Jon thought he’d drop a few Rob failed to mention and which happen to be top of his list. Continue reading

Willkommen’s ECHO featuring Damo Suzuki

On Friday night, Brighton’s Willkommen collective hosted another of their mini-ECHO festivals with a headliner Damo Suzuki of CAN backed by some of Brighton’s finest young musicians.

The show featured an amazing supporting line up: Sons of Noel and Adrian, Soccer 96 and (from London) Eyes & No Eyes, all perfect headliners in their own right. The music was amazing, and there were also visuals supplied by the Innerstrings Psychedelic Lightshow. A definite candidate for one of the gigs of the year.

Jon Southcoasting was there to take some pictures.

Eyes and No Eyes

Eyes & No Eyes

Soccer 96

Soccer 96

Sons of Noel and Adrian

Sons of Noel and Adrian

Sons of Noel and Adrian

Sons of Noel and Adrian

Damo Suzuki

Damo playing with Alastair Strachan and Patrick Lawrence

Marcus Hamblett, Alastair Strachan and Patrick Lawrence

Marcus Hamblett and Alistair Strachan playing with Damo Suzuki

Damo Suzuki

Damo Suzuki

Weekend Gig Picks

Isn’t the weather meant to be getting better by now? And aren’t the days meant to be getting longer? It’s still dark when I get home from work. At least it’s almost the weekend, which means it’s time for us to flag up the local bands we think you ought to see over the next few days.

On Thursday night Clowns play at the Green Door Store, supported by Frank Melena Band and Victorian Hunter. As front men go, they don’t come much better than Clowns’ Miles Heathfield, so this comes highly recommended. And it’s free! Over in Hove at the Bee’s Mouth, Zoe Hazel Hedderwick headlines the first Lipstick & Picks night – a new monthly night showcasing female musicians, which is also free.

magicbandWEBFriday night’s biggest gigs to mention are some musical legend supported by local bands – Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band headline the Concorde, supported Son Belly, and Damo Suzuki from Can headlines the Green Door Store. Not only is he supported by Sons of Noel and Adrian, Soccer 96 and Eyes & No Eyes, but members of each of these bands will also be playing with him for his set. Friday is also Lout’s next Brighton Rocks night at Sticky Mike’s, with Saint Savanna, The Dancers, Farrow and Pizzabones.


369102_0_club-kovak-with-youth-killing-joke_400There’s also another Brighton Rocks on Saturday at Sticky Mike’s – Ham Legion, The Creaking Chair, The Evil Son and LSD-25 are on the bill. House of Hats host another Harvest Session at the Brunswick, with support from The Self Help Group and Katharine Rose. Later in the evening Kovak host Club Kovak at the Blind Tiger, where you’ll have one of your first opportunities to see them playing tunes from their upcoming album live. Support comes Paper Playground and a DJ set from Youth. I suppose we ought to mention that Woodingdean’s finest X-factor contestant Frankie Cocozza is playing at the Haunt too.

Just the one gig to mention for Sunday, but it’s one we bought a ticket for before we even realised that the support would be a local act. Melody’s Echo Chamber plays at The Haunt (not Green Door Store where tickets were originally on sale for), and we’re looking forward to see them almost as much as we’re looking forward to Fear of Men who are supporting.

Brighton Music Blog Advent Calendar / Day 24 / Willkommen Records – Sons of Noel and Adrian – The Miserable Rich – Laish – Emma Gatrill – Redwood Red – Hamilton Yarns and the rest

It’s been a strange year for Brighton’s neo-alt-folk-rock collective Willkommen Records.  A busy year, but it’s felt like a label that’s been growing up, some of the kids moving on, some of them moving out…

The Willkommen monster band The Sons of Noel and Adrian released their second album ‘Knots‘ in the Spring, and in spite of building beautifully on the frantic neo-folk rock orchestration of the first album managed to stay well under the radar. A shame, as this band deserve to be heard and are a must-see experience on stage.

They also released a stunning compilation of various singles and odd tracks that found their way onto other things with the bizarre title of ‘Your Tunnel That Connects My Arm To A God​-​Fearing Woman Who Lives In The Dark‘. It’s a terrific introduction to the band who will be back playing in Brighton on March 1st at the Green Door Store after a short European tour early next year, beginning in London on 15th February.

Check out the video for ‘Come Run Fun Stella Baby Mother of the World‘ from the album Knots, below.

The Sons of course aren’t the only child of the collective by far. Most of the band’s members feature in other acts associated with the label, all of whom offer a wild variety of musical treats. Some links to check out follow.

Daniel Green’s Laish was completely remodelled this year, and features the softer playful side of Martha Rose and Emma Gatrill coupled with a more powerful rocking rhythm section, all in support of Dan’s superlative songwriting. Their Obituaries EP this year was a great introduction to their new songs and sound, and judging from their live shows Laish’s second album when it drops early in 2013 should be highly anticipated.

To keep you going until then, Laish have a sweet Christmas song ‘A Poor Man’ Christmas‘ which is free to download over on bandcamp. It was recorded last Christmas, but Christmas is Christmas, right?

Other adventures from the Willkommen clan this year, included the beautiful harp-driven folksongs of Emma Gatrill, who launched her album ‘Chapter 1‘ in the delightful  Church of the Annunciation in Hanover.

Emma Gatrill

Marcus Hamblett has been busy as ever, not least helping out on Emma’s album and in producing and playing on the amazing ‘The Birdschool of Being Human‘ album by Woodpecker Wooliams.

Marcus has also edited together a massive 14 minute ‘Patchwerk’ of music with contributions from pretty much everyone who is associated with the label – it’s very beautiful, sounding a bit like one of the early Mothers of Invention albums to my ears, as well as a dozen other things. You can download it for free via Soundcloud – or listen below.

Cathy Cardin has been writing new songs under the moniker Redwood Red. Some of these songs have begun to emerge quietly unannounced but sound beautiful. There’s a possible album in the pipeline which will be something extraordinary I think judging from a short live set as part of the alternative Great Escape Festival in May and the few songs over on bandcamp.

The wonderful madcap genius of Hamilton Yarns slipped out yet another album – Calm Down Grandad – apparently more pop and less free jazz, but with the Yarns one always knows any album will not be quite like anything else. And that followed their 32-track double-CD compilation/introduction called ‘Are You Still There?’ earlier in the year.

And former Willkommen associate and Brighton resident, but now world-roaming minstrel, Rowan Coupland slipped out an album called ‘Slow Wave of the Future‘ which after a series of intriguing EPs represents his first full-length collection. With no promotion to speak of, you could blink and miss it – but don’t, because it’s a fantastic and highly original achievement, and my album of the year.

The Miserable Rich

Finally, and sadly, at the end of November one of Willkommen’s and Brighton’s finest bands The Miserable Rich announced they were going to hang up their bows and bells. I guess having produced three stunning albums of beautiful lush string-driven pop songs to only modest interest in the UK (a little more in Germany), there’s only so long you can live on praise and kudos alone. Nevertheless, their final gig to a packed house as part of Brighton Source magazine’s new music night in November was a fitting  send off, and I am sure we will hear new things from the band members soon enough.

The Return of the Sons

The Sons of Noel and Adrian are back, with not one but two albums plus a hometown live outing at The Haunt on Saturday night. This can only be good news.


The new album from Sons of Noel and Adrian, Brighton’s “multi-tentacled psych-folk behemoth” (as they are known), is called Knots and will be officially released on Broken Sound on 21st May. It’s their second full album release, following on from their raucous cacophonous self-titled debut from four years ago.

Knots takes the Sons distinctive sound but expands its range, adding some beautiful orchestrated flourishes to their usual gypsy-psych-folk arrangements. The numerous Sons players mesh and meld together well, Tom Cowan’s distinctive guitar sound is in the fore, and Jacob Richardson’s gravel-some voice is wrapped around typically obscure but beautiful lyrics. This is what we expect of course, but the new album adds in some beautiful and complex musicality, with an echoing female chorus in songs like Come Run Fun Stella Baby Mother Of The World  bringing a richer warmer contribution to the mix. Songs range from the mournful Black Side of the River, long-featured in their live set and in a different simpler form on the ‘Rivers’ EP, the almost funereal Matthew (available to hear here), the complex pacy opener The Yard with the Sons’ trademark swirling strings and military beat, a rousing reverberating Big Bad Bold and the beautiful end-song Heroine. Knots is available May 21st, or on pre-order now.

But as if one new album wasn’t enough, the Sons have also just released the rather awesomely titled ‘Your Tunnel That Connects My Arm To A God-Fearing Woman Who Lives In The Dark‘ which compiles various singles, obscure compilation tracks and some unreleased rarities including the aforementioned earlier version of Black Side of the River, a Leisure Society cover, a newly discovered recording with Kristin McClement and the song Rise from the Brighton SeaMonsters compilation released earlier this year.  This makes a great introduction to the band, as well as an essential purchase for the completists. Available now at gigs or online here.

Sons of Noel and Adrian are also on tour this week. Tonight (5th April) they play London’s Bush Hall, and on Saturday (7th) they are back home at the Haunt in Brighton, with support from Laish and Emma Gatrill. It should be an excellent night.



(Photo of Jacob, Marcus and Cathy bySouthcoasting)

Sons of Noel and Adrian on tour

Fresh from headlining last monday at One Inch Badge’s Sea Monsters festival at the Prince Albert, The Sons of Noel and Adrian have announced a tour:

Monday 2nd April 10 Feet Tall, Cardiff (with Winter Villains)
Tuesday 3rd April The Fleece, Bristol (with Laish & Emma Gatrill)
Wednesday 4th April Arts Centre, Norwich (with Laish & Emma Gatrill)
Thursday 5th April Hoxton Bar & Grill, London
Saturday 7th April The Haunt, Brighton

They’re touring to promote their next album Knots, which should be out later this year, which we will no doubt be writing more about when it comes out.

Sons of Noel and Adrian

Rob’s Sea Monsters diary, Part 2 24th January 2011

OK then, a very quick round up of the first night of the Sea Monsters 2 festival (is it a festival or a series of gigs?) at the Prince Albert.

First up, Heliopause, who I was mightily impressed by. Two guys on stage making dreamy music which was somewhere between folk and post rock. A very big sound from a very small band. They were giving away their cd from a couple of years ago, which I’m very much looking forward to listening to. I’d say out of tonight’s three bands, they’re the one I’m most likely to go and listen to again.


Next up was Robert Stillman. Before tonight, I’d scanned over the program and seen the words composer, multi-instrumentalist, and folk, so I wasn’t expecting half an hour of avant garde contemporary music. Maybe I should have also read the words “sonic arts” and “American pre-jazz”. It was incredible though, and fascinating to watch so close up. Robert Stillman is an amazing pianist. Congratulations to One Inch Badge for having the balls to put something like this in the middle of their gig, and congratulations to the audience for being so broad minded as to lap it up.

Robert Stillman

Headlining were The Sons of Noel & Adrian, who squeezed eight people onstage. Apparently the full band has twelve members – thankfully they didn’t try and get them all onto the stage. They describe themselves as folk noir, which translated into folk with lots of added instrumentation (three guitarists, clarinet, oboe, trumpet, two drummers). They were the only act of the night to play songs in the more traditional sense of having verses and structure, but it was only as a measure against the other acts of the night that they seemed more traditional.

The Sons of Noel & Adrian