Three of the hottest emerging acts on one bill and it’s a Saturday night – that’s all the ingredients for a top night right? First on were local lads Loa Loa, a favourite of Brightonsfinest since their damn right explosive debut headline gig at the Green Door Store on the eve of The Great Escape Festival 2016. Delivering a typically energetic live performance, the trio took the term warm-up act and turned it into fire. Holding an almost punky attitude on stage, you had no choice but to submit to the music they were forcing onto you. Wandering between the dark rhythms of Queens Of The Stone Age and the raw energy of Nirvana, with brilliant moments of At The Drive-In’s emotive undertow; heads were banging. If it wasn’t for the early stage time, raucous scenes would have surely ensued.
Winners of Glastonbury's Emerging Talent Competition and a favourite of BBC Radio 6Music, She Drew The Gun have been one of best new bands to come out of 2016. Their album Memories Of The Future has been one of the highlights from this year’s débutantes, bringing a dreamy psych-pop sound with political storytelling lyrics that leaves a lasting impression. She Drew The Gun start their UK tour in Brighton, on the lead singer Louisa’s birthday, which gave us the perfect excuse to find out more about the band. I spoke to Lousia (vocals and guitar) and Jack (guitar) ahead of their recent gig in South Korea.
Could Utopia Defeated be one of the best albums of the year? The seamless amount of hype surrounding Melbourne-born D.D Dumbo, aka Oliver Perry, definitely puts his debut album in contention.
Perry started making impressions in 2013, most notably at SXSW when he performed solo with a 12-string electric guitar, two drums, a looper and an array of effects pedals. In the following year D.D Dumbo was signed by 4AD and found himself supporting the likes of Daughter and Tame Impala, giving his unconventional imaginative pop the perfect stage to hit music fans alike. Now it’s 2016 and D.D Dumbo’s long-awaited debut album has dropped – have expectations for Perry’s music left the door open for disappointment?
The album starts in a place we are familiar with, both the first and second tracks are singles that have been playlisted on BBC Radio 6Music. ‘Walrus’ immediately showcases Perry quirky approach to his craft; chopped up vocals, eccentric little intricacies as well as Perry’s diverse vocal range makes for a wondrous opener. The first song takes the shape of North African blues rhythms as its base, with Perry’s guitar momentarily taking the song into the Sahara Desert – a complete contrast to what is to come in the second track. ‘Satan’ sounds like it should be the soundtrack to its own subject matter. Futuristic oddities, a chugging beat and the sound of a deep foreboding bassoon fit the idea of a UFO invasion perfectly. With the first three tracks all pieced together by the sounds of the shruti box, ‘In The Water’ works as a settling aperitif; the clean acoustic sounds of guitar, piano and woodwind instruments acting as a beautiful refresher. Then before you know it, you are straight back into the menacing tones of ‘Cortisol’.
Having had D.D Dumbo’s singles at the very beginning of the album, Perry had either made a catastrophic misjudgement or is quietly confident with the remainder of the ten song album. Thankfully the latter rings true. The weird and wonderful sounds in ‘Alhukwe’ set the scene of an exotic tribal ritual; the ominous resonance of the shruti box, the thumping drums and distant background wails culminate in a wash of intense “spiritualness”. ‘King Franco Picasso’ is a dark brute of a track where a truggy beat and warped vocals give the feeling of a monster breathing down your neck, helped brilliantly by the cleverly panned instrumentation that makes for a very abstract feel. Not to be seen as a negative, ‘Toxic City’ is perhaps the most generic track on the album with Perry’s comparatively measured vocals sounding like the very best of Death Cab For Cutie. With piano sounds glistening, the luscious sounds of woodwind as well as warm and wistful guitar tones – what’s not to like?
D.D Dumbo’s inspirations reach far and wide, journeying across Africa, the Middle-East, Oriental Asia and the States, as well as influences from the likes of Dirty Projectors, Sting and David Byrne making themselves known throughout the album. Perry spent two to three months hunkered down in the 4AD’s in-house studio, meticulously creating Utopia Defeated, with no looping pedal, just creating each song piece-by-piece on his own. The outcome, is some of the most divine instrumentation and inventiveness you would have heard in a long time.
With new 80s-inspired single ‘Drive’ set to be released very soon, a debut album in the pipeline and a spoken word cameo from none other than Stephen Fry, the dreamy sonic textures and melodical post-punk of Tourists has caught the attention of Radio 1, Clash and DIY to name but a few. I got in touch with frontman Jamie Giles and synth player Tom Wilkinson to chat about what the future holds for the five piece.
A keen favourite of musical tastemakers Steve Lamacq, Huw Stephens, Zane Lowe and Annie Mac – The Bay Rays raucous edge to their loose rhythms will have you jumping around the room screaming their catchy lyrics. The fast paced garage rock is reminiscent of the great 00s bands such as The View, The Fratellis and The Pigeon Detectives whose big noise, cheeky lyrics and continual energy gave a new voice to guitar driven music. The trio are by no means just purely a pastiche for past indie bands with “the” at the beginning of their names, The Bay Rays bring a formidable sound. We put some questions to lead singer and guitarist Harry Nicoll to find out more about the band.
Forget that he is 17-years-old – Declan McKenna is a talent three times his age. A smart mind when it comes to songwriting – on the outside you hear a catchy indie pop track that will get any body moving, but delving in a little deeper and you find that Declan’s music is far more complex, commenting on the wide range of modern issues that affect us all. His latest single, ‘Isombard’, is a song that will be stuck in your head for weeks, yet is also a song that comments on police brutality, xenophobia and from the point of view of a news anchor that’s getting it wrong. We spoke to Declan to find out about him and his upcoming album.
C Duncan was certainly one of the standout acts to come out of 2015’s wealth of music. Releasing his debut album to a critically-accliamed reception on FatCat Records, Architect rightfully won itself a spot on the Mercury Prize shortlist along with the likes of Aphex Twin, Gaz Coombes, Jamie XX and of course winner Benjamin Clementine. Apart from sounding utterly delicious from beginning to end, the album was completely recorded by Christopher Duncan himself and all in his bedroom up in Glasgow. Believe it – the quaint ghostly harmonies, the delicate drum patterns and all the intricate arrangements and instrumentation were produced and recorded in a room that had a bed in it. Of course, this brilliance and success brings with it expectations and pressure for the sophomore effort.
The difficult second album sees C Duncan return to where he made his first, albeit with an upgraded set-up but still only relying on himself as singer and instrumentalist. He has cited The Twilight Zone (Rod Serling’s 1960s original series) as his initial idea for The Midnight Sun, the name taken from one of his favourite episodes. Duncan states, “I wanted to … create something that is almost an anthology series styled album, in which all the tracks tie together stylistically without being one big conceptual record.” The album also sees C Duncan follow up with a far more experimental offering, bringing together electronic ideas with his typically dreamy signature. This is an artist evolving, given the freedom to develop his sound and craft for all of us to hear.
The opening track has taken an idea first done by 10CC with ‘I’m Not In Love’; the songs melody made up by layers of Duncan’s ethereal voice (a motif used throughout the album). With the introduction of sweeping synth tones as well as a simple and almost military drum beat to ‘Nothing More’, the song rises high into the roofs of heavens, becoming ever more intense and dramatic until its mid-point before dissipating back down to a calm level. The pulsing keyboard sound in ‘Like You Do’ and the glistening airiness in ‘Other Side’ are the chilling sounds of a white winter – the icy nature to Duncan’s music evoking the images of wispy snowflakes in a billowy blizzard.
A deep brooding syncopated synth bubbles through ‘Wanted To Want It Too’ adding to the mystery brought on by eerie futuristic chords, alluding to Duncan’s new fancy for electronic music. ‘On Course’ sees an elegant step into synthpop, a track that is completely different from Architect yet as fascinating as any of his songs prior – Duncan creates a full choir of himself, producing soft angelic harmonies that builds to a cinematic scale. Gone are the clean sounds of acoustic instruments that worked so well on his debut, enter the new, uncharted, ambitious terrain which gives The Midnight Sun a far more up-to-date feel than its predecessor. This has by no means taken anything away from the meticulous, inventive and polished sound that we have become used to.
Fifteen months since we were all introduced to this unprecedented talent and C Duncan has entered the twilight zone, creating an album that no one could have predicted. The painstaking attention to detail in production is close to unbelievable, with each track being completely cohesive with one another and sounding perfectly natural. The Midnight Sun may not have a wealth of typical singles which the debut had in abundance, but it has shown us the breadth to C Duncan’s musical mind. This is a truly bold second album that I’m sure will win him many fans and lose him a few, but it has made me absurdly excited for what is to come in his next release.
Read our interview with C Duncan here: brightonsfinest.com/html/index.php/12-music/784-c-duncan-architect
Who are Silver Apples and how have they managed to fill Patterns full of music fans from all walks of life? Well, the short answer is they are legends, pioneers in the music game, innovators in the definition of what music is.
I was amazed when I happened to come across Wild Front headlining a stage at the Together The People Festival. I was actually on my way home, but after half a song I could not bring myself to leave their intriguing alternative indie sound. Delving deeper into their material, their self-titled debut EP is a diverse experiment of rock, funk, pop and 80s galore that is as distinct as it is coherent. Once again, they have given us another gem with ‘Rico’ (out 30 September) that sounds utterly different to anything they have done yet still totally Wild Front. I met up with lead singer and guitarist Jack to find out more about him and the band.
One of the UK’s top emerging musicians, Alfa Mist, is quickly making a name for himself as one of the finest beat makers to come out of London. Self-taught on the piano and making music by the time he was 15, Alfa has firmly slotted himself in the mist of the likes of Tom Misch and Jordan Rakei, all who are leading the way in the jazz / hip-hop / neo soul combo that is melting airwaves everywhere. Alfa Mist is playing live in Brighton on 30 September at the Rialto Theatre, you should expect immense musicianship and beats that are silky smooth with a super-chilled groove. We put some questions to the man behind the music to find out more.