Electric Soft Parade’s Thomas White covers Saint Etienne’s Good Humor

About half an hour ago we sat down to pen a new music blog post, which will be coming soon, but before we get to that something popped up that distracted us from the matter at hand.

saint-etienne-good-humor

Back in January we posted news of two covers albums by the White brothers, and news has just reached us of the latest instalments in their ongoing covers project. Alex White is working on another Steely Dan, while Thomas has posted up his take on Saint Etienne’s Good Humor. As with their previous covers albums, it’s pretty much a note for note re-recording of the original, but where Saint Etienne decamped to Malmo in Sweden for a summer and roped in the Cardigans producer to produce the album using old 60s analogue equipment, Thomas has recorded his version at home on Garageband in the space of a week. You can download it for free over on bandcamp now:

 

December / January Top Ten

With December being a quiet month for new music and with us being a bit busy with our end of year round up, we thought it would be an idea to combine the new music we heard December and January for our Top Ten this time around. 

1 Fickle Friends / Swim

In the middle of winter, Swim was exactly what we needed to hear to be reminded that it won’t always be cold and grey.

 2 IYES / Crazy in Love

Beyonce released a new album, so IYES shared their cover of her most popular tune with us.

3 GAPS / I Know It’s You

GAPS second single I Know It’s You came out in early December but it’s been on heavy rotation since then round these parts, along with its B-side Inside Your Head, getting a bit more interest thanks to the fantastic Foreign Skin remix.

4 Curxes / Avant Guarded

Avant Guarded is another of December’s single releases, which came easy listening YouTube teasers, drums which could be used as sonic weaponry and a video featuring the band wearing budgerigar heads. Obviously.

 5 Do You Feel What I Feel Deer / Golden Future

Do You Feel What I Feel Deer quietly split up midway through 2013, then snuck out their gorgeous album Beat Glorious Heart before Christmas when they thought people weren’t looking. By then it was too late to appear in our end of year round up, but it would have done if we’d heard it sooner. It’s difficult to pick out one track, because the whole record is lush, but we’ve put up album closer Golden Future to listen to here.

 6 Ital Tek / Golden

By the time we had blogged about Ital Tek’s free Christmas giveaway Golden a few weeks ago it had already reached its download limit. Thankfully for everyone who missed it, it’s been reuploaded, so go and grab it while you can!

 7 Calico / Nightowl

Calico put out their first single Night Owl right at the end of November, after we’d put together our November top ten list. We haven’t enjoyed anything this cinematic and funky since David Holmes’ soundtrack stuff.

 8 Kins / Opsimplistic

We wrote about Kins single Aimless and went to the launch party at The Hope back in November last year, but what we didn’t spot at the time was that the track – and a brand new B-side Opsimplistic – had been uploaded to Soundcloud. The B-side is just as good as anything on the album and definitely deserves a bit more exposure.

 9 Thomas White / Go Your Own Way

Last year Electric Soft Parade’s Thomas White covered the whole of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and Alex White covered Steely Dan’s Katy Lied. They’re both very good indeed.

 10 Gudjohr / I Built A Home

Some sunny guitar pop to round off our top ten, which we only got hold of last week.

Two new Electric Soft Parade solo albums

Pretty much every interview we post up undergoes a bit of editing of sorts, sometimes to cut out duplication in what’s been said, or maybe to move around the order of the discussion to give things a bit more continuity. Every now and then things get edited out because you think that your interviewee might be throwing in little white lies to see if they’ll get published, and so it was when I spoke to Thomas White of the Electric Soft Parade around the time he put out his solo album Yalla. At the end of the discussion, after we’d both had a few drinks, I asked him what he was up to next – “I’m doing a cover of the whole of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours” he said with a smile on his face. “I’ll send it to you”. I’ll admit to having been a bit dubious about the idea of someone who has a seemingly constant flow of new ideas covering a whole album and I didn’t hear any more until Idiots got released last year. “Ha!” I thought at the time, “I was right not to include that bit”.

He who laughs last laughs longest though, and on their recent mini-tour a couple of limited edition cds appeared on the merchandise table – As well as Thomas’ version of Rumours, Alex White has made a full album cover of Steely Dan’s Katy Lied. Both albums are very faithful reproductions rather than reinterpretations of the originals, pretty much note for note what was played on the seventies classics, and both are now up on Bandcamp:

Brighton Bands Christmas Music Roundup

We’ve got a seasonal round up for you this week, with festive tunes put out by local artists, some modern takes on traditional tunes, some new compositions. Hopefully this will get you all in the festive spirit:

Catherine Ireton – Christmas My Baby Is Blue

Jacko Hooper – Silent Night

Crayola Lectern – SFXmas

Nick Hudson – I Forgot About Christmas

Laish – Silentish Night

The Boy Who Kicked Pigs – The Christmas Song

Becky Becky – Bells Ringing (Xmas again)

Chris T-T – A Child Is Born (Chris T-T’s previous Christmas tunes are also up on Bandcamp)

Thomas White – White Christmas

Curxes – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Us Baby Bear Bones – Santa Claus is Coming To Town

Interlocut​or at the Green Door Store 25/6/13

We got a sense of déjà vu last night. It felt like it had only been a week since we saw the White brothers onstage at the Green Door Store. Last night’s songs weren’t from Idiots though. In fact, it wasn’t even an Electric Soft Parade gig. Confused yet?

Last night Alex White’s new band Interlocutor played at the Green Door Store. You can count their gigs so far on one hand, which is why you might not be familiar with the name. Including Alex’s brother Thomas (on drums) there were a total of eleven people on stage, including a violinist, a three piece horn section, an additional percussionist, and at times three people playing guitar.

Interlocutor

If all of this sounds a little bit grander than the current Electric Soft Parade live setup, which has less than half the number of musicians, then that’s because it is. While both Idiots and the new Interlocutor material both hark back to the days of classic songwriting, Interlocutor’s influences are more rooted in AOR – The set included Steely Dan and Todd Rundgren covers, the arrangements were bigger and the sound a little more melancholy. Alex’s own songs, which he described at one point as “slowcore” sat well alongside the covers although the lyrical content about family and domesticity brought things a little closer to home.

Interlocutor may not have packed the pop punch of Electric Soft Parade, but what they did had grace, class and the same fantastic musicianship.

Interlocutor

The Electric Soft Parade single and album news

The White brothers are back! Not that they were ever really away, with Thomas’ Yalla being one of our favourite albums of last year, and Alex’s Interlocutor side project having played a few gigs recently, and both of them adding their helping hands to dozens of local bands. The last Electric Soft Parade album was back in 2006 though, so news that a new album – Idiots – is due in June is very welcome. The album will feature Lily which first appeared on 7″ at the tail end of 2011, which we loved. We’ve only just picked up on new single Brother, You Must Walk Your Path Alone, but it’s as gorgeous as anything they’ve done – melodic harmonies, a hint of country twang to the guitars, and a sparkling of their magic that distracts you from anything else your doing to make you lose yourself in the song. Lovely.

Brother, You Must Walk Your Path Alone is out now for download on Helium Records (or will be available on iTunes on April 16th)

Brighton Music Blog Advent Calendar / Day 25 / Thomas White – Electric Soft Parade – Restlessli​st – British Sea Power – Milk & Biscuits – Foxes! – Do You Feel What I Feel Deer? – Fragile Creatures – Clowns

Merry Christmas! We’ve gone overboard today, hit the sherry too hard too soon, and crammed Nine bands into our final advent calendar post. The truth is, you can’t talk about one of of these bands without inevitably mentioning some of the others.

Let’s start with Thomas White, who released Yalla back in March. It was originally just a bunch of tunes he recorded for himself when he was bored and restless on holiday, which he was persuaded to release after he shared them with some of his friends, and is one of the finest collections of tunes that we’ve heard all year. Album closer The English Sargasso is a soporific masterpiece. We didn’t do an end of year list in 2011 because the blog had only been running a matter of weeks but to make make up for it we’ll make a mention of the Electric Soft Parade‘s “A Quick One” EP now. Lead track Lily is the kind of melodic guitar pop that most indie bands would sell their grandmother to be able to write. 2012 marked the tenth anniversary of Electric Soft Parade’s debut Holes in the Wall and the White brothers celebrated by playing the album start to finish at The Haunt, and returning to the studio to start work on their first album for five years.

Thomas White was also listed as a member of Restlesslist in the sleeve notes to their fantastic album Coral Island Girl, although he’s no longer part of their live setup. Before this year I’d heard the name but not the music so was quite looking forward to their performance at Sea Monsters. I wasn’t prepared to see so many people onstage. I wasn’t prepared for so many genres crammed into so many songs. I wasn’t expecting it to be narrated, or for that matter for the narrator to be wearing an eye patch. Most of all, I didn’t expect to enjoy it nearly as much as I did. Musically it was fantastic, but it wasn’t taking itself seriously at all. Where Thomas White earns his prime place in our Advent Calendar by doing things so much better and more effortlessly than anyone else, Restlesslist earn their place by being completely peerless.

While Thomas’ other band Brakes were taking a bit of an, erm, break in 2012, Eamon Hamilton made a return to his old band British Sea Power at one of their Krankenhaus concerts at The Haunt. Krankenhaus was more than just a concert though – The bands on the bill were more varied than you would expect, and played for longer. There were DJs inbetween the bands making for non stop entertainment. There was non-musical entertainment in the form of a ping pong table upstairs. At the one I attended, there was a stage invasion by a giant bear and a choc ice give-away! As well as their Krankenhaus gigs, British Sea Power also played at the Duke of York’s, providing a live soundtrack to a film made up of old archive footage called From The Sea To The Land Beyond.

Milk & Biscuits share a number of their members with Restlesslist, and have rightly had praised heaped upon them for their single White Noise, and their mini-LP Balcony times,  which came out at the end of 2011, is worth a listen. It features the vocal talents of Jennifer Left (who we wrote about back on 14th), and Kayla Bell of Foxes! who also released an eponymous album of top indie pop earlier this year. Eleanor Whittle and Rachel Dey – who provide vocals in Restlesslist and Milk & Biscuits and have sung backing vocals for Thomas White at some of his Yalla gigs – make up Do you Feel What I Feel Deer?, and have given us a taste of their wonky folk with their lush Save My Heart single. Adam Kidd has also sung backing vocals for Thomas White and his own band Fragile Creatures put out a grower of a track called Dear Michael. The tables were turned a week ago when Thomas White provided support at their Christmas gig at the Prince Albert. The final mention goes to Clowns, a band that Thomas White played bass with for a while before admitting that he was too busy. Every time we’ve seen them live this year (at a couple of Bleeding Hearts Clubs – did we mention that it was Bleeding Hearts who put Yalla out? – and more recently at December’s Source New Music night) they’ve got better and better.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there was dozen other related bands. Here’s to finding out all about them in 2013!