Moving down from Newcastle around the turn of the decade, Demob Happy have slowly but surely stamped their mark, with two glorious progressive grunge-pop albums, Soda Dream and Holy Doom, under their belts. More recently they’ve been out supporting the likes of Jack White, Frank Turner & The Rattlesnakes, and Nothing But Thieves, expanding their fanbase both here in Europe, and in the US. Hungry for more, they’ve just released a new single ‘Less Is More’, with an album expected later in the year.
White Denim are an American four-piece rock band from Austin, Texas, formed in 2005, who have established a riotous fusion of garage punk, soul, psychedelic boogie, prog, jazz and country blues. They’ve done this along with a home-based recording style, and jamming approach, alongside looping work, unusual song structures, and an insatiable lust for musical adventure.
Founder members James Petralli and Steve Terebecki are still at the helm, currently joined by Greg Clifford on drums, and Michael Hunter on keys. Already with eight studio albums under their belt, including last year’s Performance, they’ve decided to release an album’s worth of B-sides, rarities, outtakes, and new songs, called Side Effects, out this spring on City Slang. With a UK tour that takes in London’s Roundhouse, and finishes in Brighton for Mutations Festival, Steve Terebecki took some time out before hitting the road.
Considering herself to be an “Afro-progressive”, Traoré has made six albums, drawing on her Malian roots, but also incorporating sounds from around the globe. Bowmboï (2003) won the Critics Award category at the BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music in 2004, and Tchamantché (2008) won Victoires de la Musique World Music Album of the Year in 2009. Traoré also won Best Artist in the Songlines Music Awards in 2009.
I stumbled upon Gwenifer Raymond when I came across a glowing review of her debut album, the 100% instrumental You Never Were Much Of A Dancer, released last year. I had no idea she was Brighton-based and, later on, during the course of a conversation with an old friend, it transpired that he knew her, and was a big reason why she was eventually picked up by the esteemed American record label, Tompkins Square. Subsequently, she has been announced for this year’s The Great Escape festival. A highly accomplished guitarist, who plays in the so-called ‘American primitive’ style, I caught up with her on her lunch break.
Brighton-based Thyla have been kicking around for a while, firstly as the solo project of Millie Duthie, before she grew the idea into a full band. After releasing a steady stream of singles over the last couple of years, they have just dropped their debut EP, What’s On Your Mind. Adrenaline-fuelled but with a dreamy undertone, it’s already received rapturous applause from all quarters.
Bill Ryder-Jones, a founder of The Coral, has been carving out a dual career as a solo artist and producer this last decade. His latest record, Yawn, again released on Domino, is a beautifully languid work that showcases his ear for melody. While on a trip to Resident for an in-store signing and session, he took some time out to chat with Jeff Hemmings, about the new album, his deep and on-going relationship with Domino, The Coral, and his production work.
Steve Mason has decidedly come out of the dark, and into the light. After years of cult acclaim with The Beta Band, and then years of debt, depression, and isolation, whilst living in Fife, Scotland, he’s found a new home in Brighton. He’s even got a three-year-old child to contend with, born and bred here, and he’s still making extraordinarily powerful, moving, and simply brilliant music. With the recent re-release of much of The Beta Band’s back catalogue last year, Mason’s already sizeable following continues to expand, in awe and/or in love with one of the best songwriters of recent times.
Brit band White Lies are one of those bands who have quietly achieved a lot of success. Their debut album made it to the top of the charts, back in 2009, and ten years later they are about to release their fifth album, Five. A classic sounding epic guitar-synth band, Charles Cave, Jack Lawrence-Brown, and Harry McVeigh met whist still at school, eventually forming Fear of Flying. Jack had set up the indie label Chess Club, and Fear of Flying achieved some early success, before they decided that they needed a new name, to reflect their maturation into adulthood. White Lies was the result. Harry took some time out to discuss the new album, San Francisco, the name change, and those early beginnings.
When The Specials first came to notice, they were a revelation, and for so many, an experience they were unlikely to ever experience again. Coming off the back of punk, and very integral to that profound movement, the Coventry band were of mixed race, a rare beast in the 70s, and a band seemingly everywhere for a few short and heady years.
Initially known as the Coventry Automators, the band came together in time honoured fashion. Jerry Dammers was looking for some help with a music project whilst at Lancaster Polytechnic. Horace Panter was at hand, and in those heady days where, hand-in-hand, the spirit of punk and a DIY ethic was alive and quickly evolving, a band were born, eventually coalescing around the classic line up of Dammers, Panter, Terry Hall, Neville Staple, Lynval Golding, Roddy Radiation, John Bradbury, and horn players Dick Cuthell and Rico Rodriguez.
Formed back in 1993, Low are now one of the prime treasures of alt-American rock. The foundation stones of the band remain Alan Sparhawk (guitar and vocals) and Mimi Parker (drums and vocals), who are also a couple. With a succession of bassists – the most recent recruit being Steve Garrington – they are the epitome of slow burn, musically, as well as critically. Often referred to as a ‘slowcore’ band in the early days, their sound has developed and broadened over the years. Last year’s Double Negative album was their 12th studio album, and represented a career high for them, earning outstanding reviews, as well as being named Resident Album of the Year. Jeff Hemmings spoke with Alan Sparhawk about this success, the album, and his Mormon faith.