Cloud launch their album

CLOUD 2015

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.

CLOUD Live and large

Photograph by Southcoasting photography

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Hip Hip, here’s some Christmas cheer

This particular part of BMB tends to be a bit of a Grinch this time of year and would be minded to bury any band who recorded a Christmas song deep deep deep in the cold cold snow. But this year the little cockles that warm must have reached my heart because there have been what even I consider to be some very fine seasonal offerings from the local Brighton crew. The BMB mainstay will be back to restart his best-of-the-year list shortly, but in the meantime, here’s some jingle jangle sweetness for you.

We mentioned the Random Acts of Vinyl xmas EP a few weeks ago, but it’s so good we’ll mention it again. This time we’ll feature the Delta Bell, with Kate’s beaut of a 60s Phil Spector-influenced song Hey Santa Claus!

Next up are our favourite bentcousins, with an anti-Christmas break-up song. It’s simple and endearing, perfect for this time of year really if you’re sipping brandy alone and wrapping presents for one. .

Danny Green was a longstanding Brightoner, part of the Willkommen team and a regular feature on this blog thanks to two outstanding albums until he upped and moved to London earlier this year. However, as Laish he is still one of the finest writers of songs of a Brighton persuasion and he has just released a seasonal EP, with sad confessional songs that recount a depressing stay in a freezing Berlin, inform us that we are unlikely to get a present from Danny this year, and in his annihilation of Silent Night, a reminder that the usual drunken debauchery will probably end up in fighting. I love this a lot.

Finally we have a new upcoming release from electro-pop Becky Becky, out on Monday. it’s the usual dirty disco weirdness that we enjoyed on their album this year and you’re bound to love it. Here’s taster track, Bells Ringing, which should give you a flavour of what we’ll get on Monday.

Cable Club featuring The Delta Bell

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This gallery contains 3 photos.

the Cable Club is a Brighton institution, putting on low-key small scale gigs for well over a decade. Brighton music blog attended its latest outing at the Prince Albert pub, to see three new acts we’d not seen before. First up … Continue reading

The Re-incarnation of Trim Tab Jim

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Friday night saw the Cable Club present the strange phenomenon that is the re-incarnation of Trim Tab Jim and it was another one of those brilliant Brighton gigs full of talented inventive musicianship that seemed to be attended by about … Continue reading

Fiona Sally Miller – 3 EPs

Listen/download:

Wow, out of the blue not just one but three free-to-download EPs from the excellent Fiona Sally Miller sounding awesome, still in the lo-fi alt-folk mode and not a single sign of the long-promised techno album (well, perhaps I should have sat still is just a little bit techno…)

FSM slips her music out quietly without the slightest attention, but it is very much worthy of your ears. This may well be a clearing of the decks but we hope it is perhaps a sign that more is on the way and we might see her out and about performing again soon. Fiona Sally Miller

 

Becky Becky video interview

In the way of the blogs, we sent Brighton’s electro-pop superstars Becky Becky some questions, thinking to celebrate the release of their new albumGood Morning, Midnight they might supply a few hesitant stuttering finger-typed words, about why House of the Black Madonna is the future of rock ‘n’ roll and how Jean Rhys could have rocked the middle-European disco had she been of a certain age.

Instead, they sent us this.

The album’s out May 1st and is available from their website at www.beckybecky.com

 

Who are… ?

Becky Becky is two people: Gemma L Williams and Peter J D Mason. Bandmates, friends, lovers, enemies. We´ve existed together in almost every possible permutation. We´ve loved each other, hated each other, walked together, walked out on each other. There is no pit of despair we haven´t pushed each other to, we struggle together… but we always remain together.

Where were Becky Becky… ?

…formed in Brighton, England, a long time ago. There have been casualties. We started making music by following a very loose manifesto. One rule that will always remain is: no “real” instruments. No drums, guitars… only electronic music.

By limiting your options, you free yourself.

Where does… ?

What´s in a name? It´s our name. A fifty-fifty partnership, making one complete whole: Becky Becky.

Why “Good Morning, Midnight”?

…from Jean Rhys´ 1939 novel, which took its name from an Emily Dickenson poem. We recommend both these texts.

And what does she mean to you?

Jean Rhys was an author often depicting mistreated, rootless women. To this day, her words are still relevant and easily identifiable. She is an inspiration and a favourite author of ours – a fact which helped bring us together.

Are you a European band now? 

We formed in Brighton and currently reside here, but we are not involved with the Brighton music scene or anything like that. We feel like outsiders here.  If ‘Good Morning, Midnight’ feels like a European record, then that makes sense. It was written in Prague and recorded up a mountain in a wooden chalet in Seythenex, a tiny French Alpine village.

Who are your musical influences?

Hot Chip and ´80s synth-pop. From Europe, the Knife and Legowelt. Eurotrash and Eurobeats too, if you put aside your pretensions. That kind of music is full of joy and is genuinely great.

Is this music to dance to… ?

When we created Becky Becky, we wanted to make danceable music with lyrics tackling serious themes. We hope you can sit and listen to it, to the stories. But we also want you to just switch off and dance. If you come to see us play live, you should definitely be dancing.

Do you have live… ?

We are not really a gigging band. We do not just play. We try and make every show unique. This requires a lot more effort these days as our ideas become increasingly more elaborate. So we do not play very often. We do not just turn up and plug in and play. We make shows.

Do you… ?

For the autumn, we are lining up some shows in Europe and we have one in New York City on the 26th September in the Pyramid Club. Our next show is our album launch in Brighton on Friday 23rd May. It will be an audio-visual show and probably the most elaborate we´ve ever attempted.

What comes next ?

Becky Becky is in a constant fragile state. Gemma is recovering from the unexpected death of her Woodpecker alter ego; and Peter is working on other projects.

Becky Becky tumblr_inline_mnmen1Xg2w1r1ougb

 

Who knows what comes next ?

The album Good Morning, Midnightis out on May 1st 2014 and available from the Becky Becky website at www.beckybecky.com

 

 

Hiawatha Telephone Company plays Passengers Greatest Hits

‘Passengers Greatest Hits’. You might think this was a collection of songs by Mike Rosenberg but its title comes from the series of photographs of forlorn commuters which feature in the lyric book that accompanies this new CD by our occasional Brighton Music Blog contributor and photographer in his alternative moniker of Hiawatha Telephone Company. We spoke to Jon about what he thought he was up to.   BMB: How was this album made? JON: The whole thing was written in two parts – half of the songs in February 2013, the other half in February 2014 and then it was recorded a couple of days later pretty much in single takes by Martyn Lewis Moss (Butterfly House) in his Kemp Town attic on a Tascam cassette recorder. No computers or wizzardry involved. Then Martyn added some bass and keyboards, Maria Marzaioli (Slum of Legs, Reds) came along the following day and played some violin on some tracks she’d never heard before and there you have it. Wham bam, it’s an album, man! It sounds primitive. Do you wish you’d spent more time on it? Passengers Greatest Hits Probably. It’s a hard album to get into because there is no compromise with modern technology or much in the way of professionalism to be honest. But that also means it doesn’t sound like anything else. It won’t age because it already sounds old. We just wanted to get it down really quickly. And Martyn has this thing about never trying more than three takes of anything. If it isn’t working you should just move on, is his recording motto. In most cases we left it at just the one take. The flaws are so obvious that to get into the album you have to overlook them and treat it differently from the things you’d normally listen to. I think listening to it should feel more like a stroll around a small art gallery, rather than putting on a CD. Did it have any particular influences? I’ve always loved those old crackly blues and country recordings from the 1930s and so on [Ed: the first Hiawatha Telephone Company album was named after folklorist Harry Smith who specialised in collecting such 78s] and some of the songs take that approach. There’s the early primitive pop songs of Daniel Johnston, also recorded onto tape and those sound even more flaky than these do. And I was listening to a fair bit of Bill Callahan this winter, so some of these songs sounds a bit like Smog to me. But who knows? We’re just a mess of all the things we absorb over time, aren’t we? Tell us about the songs. I’m really proud of the opening song ‘If I didn’t love you’. I thought I was going to write a love song. Turned out it was a splitting up or a morbid death song. It was the first one we recorded and I told Martyn his piano should sound like the cold desolate Nordic sound of Sibelius, which it kind-of does. The shortest song is ‘keep it simple’ which started out as a bit of a joke that I wrote in 5 minutes playing around in the chord of D. It’s not really recorded right but we just left it and I think it’s cute. Oddly the next two shortest songs are the ones with the most words in them, both songs I’m really proud of. ‘Song about time’ has some great poetry in it, about needing to live life for the moment. Because you cannot battle time? Yep. The other one is ‘The Cost of Going To Work By Train’ which is an epic by my standards, full of words and stories. I intended it to be a bit of a mythical song, in the form of a traditional folk song, but one firmly rooted in modern lived experience. It’s clearly not about any one real person but it tries to represent the common man. At least I think it tries. There are some proper country songs in this collection aren’t there? Yes, two at least. ‘Ain’t no rainbow’ is a lovely song I think, soft, simple with the same four chords throughout but I like the clichés it uses which still manage to sound surprising to me. And I like how I just told Maria to play something sad and rural, and she came up with this wonderful violin line that’s totally infused with straw and cow-shit. And then there’s Woody’s Song, which I’m really proud of. It’s based on the New Year’s Rulin’s that Woody Guthrie wrote and I have as a poster in my kitchen but he never turned them into a song so far as I know. So I did. I think it could sound better of course, much as I love Maria’s beautiful country-fried violin. But I still hope someone else records it. I think it could be a big hit in Nashville! Passengers Greatest hitsDo you see all of these as songs other people might record? For sure. I think they’re good enough and ought to exist in other versions. They’re all pretty simple, but pretty little tunes. I ought to record other versions myself! What about Dave? A lot of people will think that’s about one person [our present Prime Minister].  That wasn’t really the intention, although I can see why people think it might be. It’s not how I see him – if anything it’s more about the sorts of people he probably thinks he’s against. It’s a song I really like playing live. It gets a reaction. It isn’t the only political song on the album by any means, although none of them are very obviously political I suppose. Do you have a favourite song?  I’m fond of Waking Up With You, more for the verses as I still don’t feel like I’ve finished the chorus. I might rewrite it, but I just wanted to record it for my wife. I didn’t really expect to include it in the album but it turned out OK so I did. And I really like the last song ‘I’ll never Leave you Baby’ which is another simple love song, but one with a twist. It’s a fun song to play live and I also really like Martyn’s bass line on it. A stupidly simple song, but it works. The CD’s only available in physical copy at the moment. Is that right? Yes it is. It’s a proper CD with a nice little printed photo-lyric book in a numbered edition, and it’s dead cheap. You can buy it or just listen on bandcamp, download a couple of tracks for free via Soundcloud or I’d send the mp3s (and the lyrics and chords) to anyone who asks nicely. I’ll probably make the thing available for download but only when most of the CDs have gone. Any plans for more recording? Well it took me five years to get around to recording my first album and another five years for this one. That said, I have plenty of other songs in a big book which never get played so maybe I should record some of them. So many songs, so little time. And we managed to go the whole interview without asking about your band name. Yep. Well done for that. Thanks. {smiles} ‘Passengers Greatest Hits’ is available now in a limited numbered 1st edition of 100 from the Hiawatha Telephone Company bandcamp site Hiawatha Telephone Company