Waxahatchee – Out in the Storm

Waxahatchee’s fourth album Out in the Storm sees Katie Crutchfield’s songwriting given a studio boost resulting in a more polished, well-rounded outing than its predecessors. Supposedly the album was recorded after a slightly turbulent time for Crutchfield around the release of Ivy Tripp, with Crutchfield now finding herself in a place of strength and clarity. This is the sound of someone at peace with themselves and the result is an empowering listen.

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Francobollo – Long Live Life

Long Live Life is the debut from Francobollo from Square Leg records. The album is a strong, if confusing, debut from the band and feels like a bag of ideas, and very good ones at that. It grabs your attention immediately from the opener ‘Worried Times’ which sounds very psychedelic, like a more rock-inspired Pond song. However, it ditches its ideas of psychedelics quite early on and changes into more of a gritty indie album further on.

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Strange Cages – Brighton Electric – 23rd June 2017

Tonight is a celebratory show for the band Strange Cages who released their second EP, The Cracks, earlier in the month. We’re huddled at the end of Brighton Electric in a medium sized rehearsal space. The room is full to the brim before the band even come on. Support slots from Tuval and Egyptian Blue have been great and have set the tone for the evening well. In particular, I’d give a nod to Tuval who were absolutely fantastic and a band I’d definitely recommend going to see again.

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GAPS – As It Is

There’s a break in the heatwave this morning. I’m sitting by my window looking out over Brighton whilst scrambling about organising the rest of the day accompanied by GAPS. I was sent the album unexpectedly and admittedly not knowing very much about the group to begin with. After doing some research I found little more out about them other than they were a duo from Brighton. Which seems odd for a group with another album already under their belt (another if you count a remix album).

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Tangerines – Green Door Store – 8th June 2017

Peckham band Tangerines are tonight’s headliners at the Green Door Store. To pigeonhole the band you’d put them close to a 60s style garage blues band. There’s a solid Dylan impersonation going on in the vocal, it’s the nasal way of singing combined with a spoken delivery which works well live. They are clearly into the old classics and their rhythm section has hints of Aladdin Saneera Bowie to it.

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Tops – The Joker – 5th June 2017

The Tops show was a difficult one to put into words, I just don’t have the right words for a show like this, I’ll try my best. Their music is cool and quite sensual. Think of an indie version of a classic 60s lounge singer. Tops aren’t a vintage act or a nostalgia act by any means though, these tinges come from singer Jane Penny’s voice which is a voice you find yourself falling in love with slightly. Their live sound is very different from their recorded output; for me, in a live environment their music benefited from having a lack of production. These earlier references don’t make a huge amount of sense when listening to the albums. But live, without added studio magic, served the band’s sound incredibly well.

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Priests – Interview – 2017

It’s possibly the hottest day we’ve had in Brighton when I meet Priests. They’ve spent the day getting here through traffic in London and the band seem to be a little lagged from the tour. We go looking for some food and sit down at Kokoro in Brighton. I wanted to get more of an understanding about Priests and their journey so far. They write brilliant punk music and keep their art fiercely integral. Singer Katie’s lyrics are clever and poignant managing to capture social prejudices and anxieties in a very real way. The recording process for their first proper album Nothing Feels Natural was full of issues, which led to the band re-recording the album from scratch.

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Marika Hackman – I’m Not Your Man

I’d been anticipating Marika Hackman’s new album since the release of her single ‘Boyfriend’ back in March. It’s been a slow few months of teasing new tracks and releasing singles in the run up to the release. She’s teamed up with The Big Moon to serve as her backing band for this album, giving it a sharper modern indie edge to it. You can hear that it’s The Big Moon playing on the album as well, it gives it a live room sound and adds a certain fragility to the songs.

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Priests – The Hope & Ruin – 26th May 2017

The Hope & Ruin is where I find myself spending the majority of my evenings these days. Tonight it’s full to the brim and sweltering. Priests are tonight’s headliners. After releasing their first proper LP Nothing Feels Natural back in July, the band have been grabbing attention from all over. The album has been one of the strongest releases of 2017 so far, it’s a brilliantly balanced powerful post-punk album that’s full of relevant lyricism as well as great production. Their lyrics talk about political discourse, privileges, integrity, modern anxieties and frustration, all in a relatable way, combined with an inspiring attitude.

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