Interview with the Delta Bell

Kate Gerrard is the singer-songwriter and frontwoman of Americana Brighton band The Delta Bell. They’ve just released their second album ‘Hold Fast the Fire’ and we caught up with Kate to ask her about the band and the songs on the album.

The Delta Bell comprise Kate on lead vocals and guitar, James Brandenburg on bass, Bob Baker on drums, Andrew Blake on guitar and Beth Chesser on backing vocals. The album is released on the Random Acts of Vinyl label on beautiful sounding vinyl (and digital download). It’s a great album of what the band call ‘post-Country’ (rather than alt-country) and builds on their excellent debut ‘Bow out of the Fading Light’ from 2015. It still sounds country, but more like an Americana band who grew up listening to the Velvet Underground, a description that gets a resounding “Yes!” from Kate.

We definitely tried to scuzz it up! We wanted it to sound scratchy and imperfect.

With country music you are always running the risk of sounding cheesy so we made a conscious decision not to do that. We love country music, but we’re all Indie kids as well.

The ten songs on the album were recorded live at Church Road studios in Hove in just two days, and to get the band that tight they hired a house in the countryside by the coast to rehearse, which Kate likened to the movie Spinal Tap, although she says there were more games of scrabble than bottles of spirits involved.

Opening song ‘Berlin’ was actually written a decade ago in Norwich where Kate grew up, after she had returned from her first trip to the German capital. She played the song a bit but she didn’t think it worked as a solo number and she forgot about it until she played it again relatively recently and decided it would work with the band. The song captures that sense of “being a bit lost, feeling tired of life.” (Kate was only 24 when she wrote the song). “The line ‘it feels like such a long time since I felt like a child’ reflects the pressures of being a grown up and having to make decisions.” It also has a big sound, aided by a classy added string section.

Second song ‘Lonesome song’ is a really touching song, full of heart and emotion. But Kate says “I wrote it in twenty minutes. I just sat down with a guitar and there it was.” 

‘Little Girl Lost’ seems to pick up on the theme of vulnerability, but Kate says it’s not about that at all. “This is going to make me sound like a really bad feminist, but it’s a bit of a bitchy song.” It’s directed at someone who’s behaving like a little girl and the song is telling them to pull themselves together, although its subtle harsher edge doesn’t come across directly. “It’s not like saying they’re f++king things up, it’s just telling them to pull themselves together.”

‘Rain on Love’ is a song Kate describes as a power ballad. “I think I was just feeling really sorry for myself. It’s kind of one of those songs. It’s grown on us all and a few people have said it’s their favourite song on the album.

Fifth song ‘Catacombs’ was written about 3 or 4 years ago for her boyfriend, although it’s a maudlin song. “Some people might say I’m intense!” she jokes. The imagery in the song comes from some horrific Sicilian myths about the bodies buried in catacombs, which hardly sounds like material for a love song but this emphasises the album’s battle between romance and edginess., or country and indie-rock.

The song ‘Modern City’ is the least country and most VU-inspired song, with some driven Mo Tucker style drumming (Kate says she banned Bob from playing cymbals). It was written on the plane to Berlin and is another love song, about “when you are just feeling worn out with love and life and someone comes along and rebuilds you.”

Their producer Paul Pascoe called the next song ‘Golden’ a thinking man’s Bond theme (possibly due to the strings at the end). The song came to Kate in a dream and she recorded the chorus into her phone in the middle of the night and then went back to sleep. It’s mainly about “enjoying your life with someone who is awesome“.

‘Killing Heart’ also has obscure origins. “I have a sneaking suspicion it is about the Ugandan President,” Kate says, written at a time when she was working for an HIV charity and thinking a lot about how people can oppress other people.

‘Ride Out’ was “inspired by broken rollercoasters” or “about the end of love, the end of relationships.” It’s the image of things made for fun that break down.

The last song is ‘These Days’ although Kate says she hadn’t heard of the Jackson Browne song of the same name. It’s a song about “people who have no hope of getting out of a situation and there’s nothing you can do to help them. All you can do is hope.” It’s just Kate and Beth playing on this track. “We tried it with the band but it didn’t work so we stripped it all right down.

The album ‘Hold Fast the Fire’ is launched in Brighton on the 16th November at the Pelirocco Hotel and there’s also a London launch on the 18th November at Biddle Brothers in Hackney. Both gigs are free entry – but come to buy the vinyl!

You can hear or order ‘Hold Fast the Fire’ at the bandcamp link below

 

 

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Ellie Ford launch for ‘The Other Sun’

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This gallery contains 12 photos.

Ellie Ford launched her debut album ‘The Other Sun’ at Bleach in Brighton on 22nd April. Brighton Music Blog were there to share in the fun. Opener Alabaster dePlume decided to play in the middle of the room without amplification, … Continue reading

Brighton Unsigned with Yourgardenday, Stark and Mortie Pockett

 

Brighton Unsigned launched their latest issue with a gig at the Hope featuring their cover stars yourgardenday, and three other up-and-coming acts. Another excellent night’s entertainment, emphasising the vast musical talent that exists in Brighton.

First up was a young guy called Mortie Pockett, who hails from Storrington but is now a local town player. His sound felt like a throwback to Elvis in his Sun Sessions period, strong rhythmic strumming and a twang-infused vocal style over some nice rocking tunes.

Mortie Pockett

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up were the startlingly youthful looking but exceptionally talented Stark, with a harder powerful sound that took us out of 1950s rockabilly into a late 60s bluesy heavy rock vibe, akin to Led Zeppelin. All three members of Stark were incredibly impressive, and the sound whilst rocking was also soulful and full of great tunes. They ended their set with a stunning and original version of Dylan’s Crash on the Levee. There’s an EP being launched at the Prince Albert on 4th March which comes highly recommended.

Stark Stark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then came the cover stars yourgardenday with their first full band set of the year, following last year’s successful launch of the Flat Stream EP. Another favourite of this blog, Robin Coward has a bunch of really strong songs which are highly memorable and stand out form the crowd. Robin can be heard every week at one of the open mic spots he runs around town, but in a full band setting songs like the opener Something in the Music, sons of a Gun and the beautiful closer Spring is Springing can be heard as they were intended. Pop classics every one.

Robin Coward (YourGardenDay)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YourGardenDay YourGardenDay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final band Unsung Lilly are out-of-towners, reflecting Brighton Unsigned magazine’s desire to spread a little more widely and cover more of the talent across the south east. They’re a big loud band with a powerful pop sound and oodles of talent.

Unsung Lilly (Sera and Frankie)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographs and word by Jon Southcoasting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellie Ford and EZ Stone supporting Lily & Madeleine

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Lily & Madeleine are two sisters from Indiana with an excellent album under their belt and a musical presence that belies their teenage years. Suffice to say, they put on an excellent performance at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar last night … Continue reading

Maker video and REDS album

Two quick things we didn’t get around to mentioning this week.

First off the new single ‘Devotion’ from Maker is really something special. Probably more pop than their tougher live rock sound, it’s a stunningly executed slice of sexy pop-rock and will hopefully bring this band more of the attention they deserve. There’s a NSFW video too

And the amorphous psych-rock improvisation collective REDS have released a limited edition  CD, which collects together a number of tracks that add to their reverberating and impressive live sound. You can hear it below and buy it over at bandcamp

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

The return of Celebricide

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Legendary Brighton rock band Celebricide returned to the stage for a one-off gig, six years after they went into hibernation following the release of their debut album and effectively disappeared from the scene. A real shame, as on Thursday night’s showing they are still amazing and hopefully this won’t be the only time we see them.

Lead singer Tim Leopard started the evening in dark shades that made me think of Andrew Eldritch and  Sisters of Mercy, but musically the band had a lighter touch and more variety. Dave Hughes on keyboards and Steve Barber on guitar were constantly inventive, the shadowy presence of Chris Anderson (now Crayola Lectern) on bass and the powerhouse of Emily Powell on drums never let up the rhythm.

Fly magazine called them “Elegant psychopaths… a lethal cocktail of Pulp, Roxy Music and The Fall. With literary lyrics about blackmail, contract killings and ruined lives…” Well, yes there’s an oddness and an aggression which is full on and confrontational but their new wave gothic rock belies a humour and self-depreciation which is also endearing. 

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Support came from Clowns. If you haven’t seen this Brighton band yet then you really ought to – they produce a really tight full-on garage-rock sound, and in Miles Heathfield (ex-Poppycocks) have a lead singer prone to prowl the stage and terrify audiences. Although tonight they omitted the Clown costumes that would occasionally appear at early gigs and even neglected to play their anthemic ‘She Says I’m A Clown’, they were really quite brilliant with an unrelenting driving snarling rhythm and beat from start to finish.

Their single is out on one of this blog’s favourite Brighton labels ‘Bleeding Hearts Recordings‘ and is well worth seeking out.

Image(All Photographs by Jon Southcoasting)