Kudu Blue – The Green Door Store – 16th Januaray 2014

Kudu Blue have to be one of the most exciting up and coming acts of 2014. Sparking similarities with artists such as Bonobo, Chinese Man and Massive Attack, Kudu Blue are set for big things this year.
They’ve recently collaborated with Yumi & The Weather (another band highly recommended by BrightonsFinest) with their track ‘Must I Wait’. Kudu Blue have done a brilliant remix of the track by putting their own stamp on it with horns, haunting samples and mixed with simple, yet effective beats.

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Peggy Sue – Choir of Echoes

Peggy Sue - Choir of Echoes

In line with the album's title, Choir of Echoes begins with the funereal voices of Rosa Slade and Katy Young, the two friends who initially formed Peggy Sue & The Pirates in Brighton in 2005, setting the tone for this slightly brooding yet mesmerising third studio album.
 
Having largely ditched the twee-indie-folk style that got them off running in the mid-nougties, as well as dumping The Pirates part of their name, and the Kate Nash vocal stylings before it got too irritating, Peggy Sue have quietly gone about the business of developing as songwriters, singers and musicians, culminating in this, their best yet; a mature reflection on life through their eyes, but also an album about singing and the art and complexities of communication. For the most part, they sing in unison, their reverb-soaked harmonies forged through years of singing together, and to each other… you can't imagine one without the other, such is their subtle chemistry.
 
This time around, the percussive work of long time third member Olly Joyce is given more prominence, and his energetic yet intricate drum work lends many of the songs a depth and dynamism that has sometimes been lacking. Where sometimes Peggy Sue would get overly maudlin, musically speaking, Joyce's drums makes it sparkier, although there are still moments (thankfully very few and far between) when they fail to rise above a rhythmic depression, drowning a little in uninspiring self-wallowing.
 
But, taking their cue from their Peggy Sue Play the Songs of Scorpio Rising album of 2012 (their take on the original songs that were included in the original soundtrack to the Kenneth Auger cult movie), their love of doo-wop and early rock'n'roll has inspired the raucously dreamy song Longest Day of the Year Blues. Another standout is the short and sweet and beautifully named How Heavy The Quiet That Grew Between Your Mouth and Mine, a stripped back country-folk song that perhaps points to the future for Peggy Sue, a band who are in essence as traditional as Buddy Holly and the aforementioned doo-wop; very little but guitars, drums and voices feature throughout, a master class of economy and song craft from this most unassuming of bands.
 
Out 27 Jan 2014
 
They play the Green Door Store, 3 April 2014

Review of the year 2013

Review of the year 2013

Our reviewer Terry Moore takes us through BrightonsFinest’s highlights of 2013

January

January is often a quiet month for music, we thought the most interesting event of the month was One Inch Badge’s third Seamonsters festival. They took over The Albert for a week from the 22nd of January and this year they decided to invite some other local promoters such as SOURCE, Teen Creeps, Love Thy Neighbour and Slip Jam B to curate their own nights of the festival, helping make the event very diverse with something for everyone. We saw a lot of acts listed on their bills that would be heavily on our radar during the year, including Physics House Band, Traams, Phoria, Luo and many more. Our reviewer Amelie was very excited about the Love They Neighbour curated third night so she headed down to see sets from Abi Wade, Holy Vessels and Jacko Hooper; have a read of her review of the night here.

February

My biggest regret of the year is that I did not make it to the Innerstrings Psychedelic Lightshow curated SOURCE new music night. The Innerstrings guys have been bringing their retro lighting skills and equipment to brighten up Brighton stages for some time and for this night they had chosen five bands who most suited the psychedelic visuals they provide with obvious headliners Physics House Band supported by an array of awesome leftfield acts with my top pick being improvised rock group Reds, who I’ve seen before and been very impressed by – although one suspects with improvised music that can’t always be the case! Brighton SOURCE have been able to put on a subsidised night at the Dome Studio Bar for a mere £4 and they’ve often come up trumps with their line-ups. Always a good chance to see some of our great local talent play on a decent stage, with a great PA and lights without breaking the bank. A Brighton institution!

BrightonsFinest top local releases for February:

5th February Luo – Antidote EP (featuring Jacko Hooper)

25th February Marika Hackman – That Iron Taste mini album

March

In March Amelie made it down the the Green Door Store to check out The Great Escape’s Spring Party and was particularly taken with Marika Hackman’s set (check out her BrightonsFinest review here).
 
Amelie’s prediction that Marika that there would be ‘big things’ for Marika this year turned out to be spot on. Hackman moved to Brighton aged 18 to do an Art Foundation course and was set to do a Fine Art degree but her music career has taken off fantastically since so she’s had to put art on hold. She released a critically acclaimed mini album ‘That Iron Taste’ in February 2013, just before Amelie caught her and went on to tour Europe and Australia with Laura Marling and the UK with Johnny Flynn. She’ll soon be releasing The Sugar Blind EP and we expect even bigger things in 2014.

Best Brighton Releases for March 2013

17th March Apples & Eve – L’Homme single

25th March Laish – Obituaries album

April

In April we started an experiment putting on our own monthly BrightonsFinest night at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar. For our first show we hosted Apples & Eve, hot on the heels of their single L’Homme. We had some excellent supports from Emma Gatrill (best known for her contribution to Sons of Adrian and Noel) and Willowen from down the coast. The night was a rounding success, you can read my review here. Apples & Eve had a fantastic reaction to their L’Homme single, playing sessions on BBC Radio and gathering shining accolades left right and centre. It seems a shame that they’ve decided to call it a day. I expect their last performance at our Old Market show will be one to remember, and I’m sure the solo projects from founding members Eva and Fran will be just as good, if not better. Also this month I got to see a great local group who’ve done well for themselves. Moulettes played The Haunt touring The Bears Revenge, it was a cracking night from a fabulously different band (you can read my review here). Moulettes will be touring this winter to say ‘Farewell to the Bear’ and have compiled a free 6 track EP on their soundcloud page to mark the occasion, get your copy now: https://soundcloud.com/balling-the-jack/sets/moulettes-farewell-to-the-bear We’ll be looking forward to album number three ‘Constellations’ next year.

Best Brighton releases for April:

1st April British Sea Power – Machineries of Joy album

15th April Crayola Lecturn – The Fall and Rise of Crayola Lecturn album released

15th April The Physics House Band – Horizons / Rapture EP

29th April Phoria – Bloodworks EP

May

May is always a busy month in Brighton with The Great Escape, Brighton Festival, the festival fringe and Meadowlands. We held our second monthly night at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, this time hosting local band Fragile Creatures supported by Swallow and The Wolf and Stark. It was a fantastic night with all the bands putting in a great performances, we hope to see more releases form Fragile Creatures next year, as they’ve certainly got the material for it!. Meadowlands Festival was probably the best place to catch local talent with a great lineup including BrightonsFinest favourites Time For T, Physics House Band, Phoria, Oscillator, Nordic Giants, Nick Williams, Marika Hackman, Laish, Interlocuter, House of Hats, Forestears, Emma Gatrill, Clowns, Apples & Eve and many more! Although The Great Escape has been criticised by some for over-looking the locals we saw a few familiar names amongst the mass of buzz bands they brought down from London including Physics House Band and Luke Sital Singh. I’ve heard rumours we might get to see a few more Brighton bands in the 2014 lineup… if that’s the case I might even go along!

Best Brighton releases for May:

6th May Time For T – Mongrel EP

17th May Wildflowers – Wild Among The Flowers EP

June

In June we put The Mojo Fins on for our last night at Sticky Mike’s, having decided to jump ship and move to The Hope from July. The Fins treated us to a sneak preview of some exciting new material, including their new single ‘Introverts’ which they released on November 11th. The band were supported by O.Chapman and Richard Allan III (have a look at my review from the time). Also in June we checked out the Brighton Music Awards an event designed to celebrate local music talent. We approved of Jacko Hooper winning best solo artist and Fragile Creatures winning best video for ‘Dear Michael’ (a classy black and white piece they brought out last August), The Brunswick picked up best venue and it’s certainly one of the nicer places to catch live music in town, but one expects that was a hotly contested award!. Awards were presented by famous local actor and Brighton Beach Boy Ralph Brown, Saffron from Republica and the devil horned music journalist Simon Price. All in all it was a good effort and a pleasant evening, especially considering the night was nearly scrapped and later rescued by The Latest Music Bar and the people behind BMusic, who filmed the even for posterity.

Best Brighton releases in June:

12th June Black Fields – House On The Brooks EP

16th June Usbabybearbones – What Starts With A U Ends With An I EP

17th June Electric Soft Parade – IDIOTS album

July

In July we moved our monthly night to The Hope and, for our first ‘Breakout’ night, we put on Wildflowers with support from Nick Williams and The Victorian Hunter. We had originally booked Native Roses to headline the night but they pulled out on us. Thankfully the wonderful Nick Williams stepped in at the last minute and played a fantastic set. Bumping Wildflowers up the bill to headline was also a great decision as they are another band we’ve seen go on to have a fantastic year, having bagged some amazing support slots including Robert Plants Band of Joy and BIMM graduate Tom Odell. We expect Wildflowers will really take off when they release their debut album next year. You can see what Amelie made of the show here.

BrightonsFinest best releases in July:

8th July Kins – Kins album

15th July Abi Wade – Boxer single

22nd July Octopuses – Sarcastic single

29th July The Meow Meows – Somehow We Met album

August

In August we had another spectacular night at the Hope, with Phoria, Luo and Fox in the City. Phoria caught our attention with their track ‘Red’ on Soundcloud. We’ve never seen a local band gain so many plays and comments on there, but they’ve got an impressive list of supports in their past, including the wonderful Little Dragon and Ultraista (a project from Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich). The EP they released this year has done fantastically well and we wouldn’t be surprised if 2014 saw an album and some mainstream success for the band: it is very much deserved. Fox in the City also deserve a mention as one of the hardest working bands we’ve booked and a great live proposition to boot – we hope to see more from them. Amelie wrote a glowing review of the night which you can read here.

BrightonsFinest best Brighton release for October:

25th August Flash Bang Band – Bite Your Tongue album

September

September was the last, and possibly best of our monthly nights for this year. This time round we had a bumper line-up with four fabulous acts; Time For T headlined with support from The Gypsy Switch, (who we’ve been fans of for a long time), Paperhawk and Prisoners Cinema. Time for T impressed us so much we’ve invited them back for our end of year show at The Old Market. You can read a review of the night from our director here. Also in September our reviewer Terry was very impressed by The Flash Bang Band when they played a late album launch at the Greend Door Store, playing their new Bite Your Tongue album in it's entirety. Have a read of his review here

BrightonsFinest best Brighton release for September:

14th September Traams – Grin album

October

Oxjam was our favourite event in October our reviewer AMS braved the Autumnal weather and trekked all over town to see a great variety of different acts. Last years Oxjam seemed better supported from Brighton institutions like Brighton SOURCE so in some ways it was a surprise that this year’s event, all the result of hard working volunteers, was such a success. AMS’s highlight included Wolflung – a young man with an impressive vocal range who is a captivating presence even with hs one man one guitar show; grasshopper, a boy/girl group who look like they’ve just passed sweet sixteen but play impressively nonetheless and Fragile Creatures who seem to have played everywhere this year! You can read his review on the site here and hear about some of the stranger acts he came across!

BrightonsFinest favourite local release for October:

27th October – IYES – Til Infinity single

November

As we mentioned earlier in the review The Mojo Fins released their single ‘Introverts’ earlier this month, showing great promise for their as yet untitled 2014 album. We’re putting the band on again at The Old Market with support from Time For T, who wowed us at The Hope back in September and Apples & Eve, who are performing together for the last time having chosen to go their separate ways. It’s set to be an unforgettable evening. In other November news local band Birdeatsbaby have caught our attention too with an ambitious Kickstarter campaign asking for £10,000 to help them make and tour their third album. At the time of writing they’re 86% of the way there with six days to go. It’s fantastic to see a local band able to win so much support from their fans and we really hope they make it to the total – if you don’t get the full amount on Kickstarter you get nothing! Have a look at the campaign: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/birdeatsbaby/birdeatsbaby-the-bullet-within?ref=live

BrightonsFinest favourite local releases for November:

11th November The Mojo Fins – Introverts single

16th November Beautiful Word – Particles album

December

Well that was 2013… unlucky for some but not for Brighton’s music scene. We’ve seen some fantastic talent emerge and we’re already getting excited about next year! I can’t really write much about December as it hasn’t happened yet but here are a few things to look out for. After their return to form album ‘IDIOTS’ which was released back in June the Electric Soft Parade are celebrating with a show on December 6th at the Unitarian Church. They’re playing a couple of sets and promise to bring us some live rarities and some Christmas songs. We hear Mark Chadwick form The Levellers is going to be singing Fairytale of New York. Probably worth the entrance fee just to see that! Blood Red Shoes have announced they are ‘unlocking’ some new material on their website on 1st Dec, so it’s likely 2014 will be a big year for them too. When you’re done with all the festive cheer you’ll bound to start thinking about New Years Eve. I would recommend heading to the Physics House Party at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar – we’ve heard great things about the Physics House Band and their parties are becoming legendary. If you’re a fan of the Brighton music scene this is a great way to end the year it’s free entry with some great live bands, including Luo who we put on at The Hope in August, as well as DJ sets from Physics House Band.

 
Playlist of the year 2013
 

Ethan Johns – Komedia – 17th September 2013

This was my first visit to the Komedia’s downstairs venue since they converted upstairs to the ‘Duke’s at Komedia’ cinema and carried out renovations throughout the building. Having known and liked it previously I initially found it an unnerving experience to arrive for Ethan Johns show in what had become more like a cabaret setting: star-spangled curtains with tables and chairs laid out as if I were stepping into a mini version of the World Darts Championship at Lakeside! I half expected a ventriloquist act or comedian would emerge at any second from behind the curtains in a dickie bow tie and straw-hat, but after all this was an Ethan Johns gig and no amount of disastrous décor was going to distract from his warm, personal and intimate performance.

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Time For T – The Hope – 5th September 2013

I was on my own for our third BrightonsFinest night at The Hope, with the rest of the team ensconced in recording sessions or gallivanting off on holiday. It turns out they missed out on a great turn out and a really fantastic night of entertainment. I had not even heard our headliners Time For T before the soundcheck, but they immediately caught my ear and I could tell they were going to be fantastic.

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Wildflowers – The Hope – 4th September 2013

Headlining the new monthly gig from BrightonsFinest’s ‘Breakout’ night was country/folk-pop band ‘Wildflowers’ with support from folk singer songwriter ‘Nick Williams’ and quirky, psychedelic-folk band ‘The Victorian Hunter’.

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Fragile Creature – The Blind Tiger Club – 2013-08-22

It was a balmy night at The Blind Tiger Club for the first ‘Fragile Creature Feature’, a new quarterly night curated by Fragile Creatures. For this first show they decided to present MynieMoe as headliners with an acoustic set from The Bearded Monster to open up and a DJ set from Teen Creeps Luther Ivan Dross to close – a very impressive lineup for a free entry show. The crowd were a little slow to emerge so The Bearded Monster took to the stage in front of a fairly quiet room – despite this he got off to a great start playing two of my all time favourites ‘Dead End Street’ by The Kinks and ‘Moondance’ by Van Morrison sung with a coarse gruffness through a false beard that was really quite endearing. I enjoyed his arrangements of some great songs and he certainly made me sit up and listen with a very loud approach to an acoustic set.

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Phoria – The Hope – 1st August 2013

This month’s experimental/electronic themed Breakout Night was a raging success with a line-up to shout about!

Fox In The City kicked off the night with their Progressive/instrumental and electronic soundscapes. A fairly new band on the Brighton scene, Fox In The City are making a name for themselves and we’re not surprised. They played a fantastic set with a bountiful use of interesting rhythms and chord sequences. Their track ‘[One]’ was certainly a favorite of mine, with the catchy guitar hook beginning the song and resonating through the crowd at the end. Fox In The City’s debut EP [One] is out now & available on their website.

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Laish – The Prince Albert – 19th April 2013

I first came across Laish at their secret Sofar Sounds ‘living room’ gig back in January this year where they played an unplugged/stripped down set and I instantly fell in love – so I couldn’t wait to come down to the Prince Albert to see them play a fully amplified gig.

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