"Bands are weird things, they have their ups and downs," says Mark Chadwick, lead singer of The Levellers, Brighton's veteran survivors of a ruthless music industry, and the most successful band to have ever come out of Brighton, with 11 albums under their belt (including a number one in 1995 with Zeitgeist) and 15 top 40 singles.
Jenny Hollingworth and Rosa Walton are still only 19, and have just released their second album, I’m All Ears, the follow-up to their stunningly inventive debut I, Gemini, which was written when they were aged 13-15, and was finally released just over two years ago. Born and bred in Norwich they first got to know each other when aged just four. “We used to draw together,” laughs Rosa, “and do other creative stuff and make short films together.”
Travis. The band that so many people love to hate. The band who now treat that as a badge of honour. Who sold over two and a half million copies of their second album, The Man Who, which spawned four hit singles. Who called their number one follow-up album The Invisible Band, and are just about to release a documentary of their tour, Almost Fashionable. The band who have won three BRITS. That band. In-between albums, Travis decided to head out on the road for a series of shows – including dates in Brighton and at the Isle of Wight Festival – dedicated to the album that sent them into the stratosphere, The Man Who. Singer and songwriter Fran Healy took some time out to chat with Brightonsfinest about that album, and that Glastonbury show.
Ladies and gentlemen, in time honoured tradition, it’s time for the bi-annual Brightonsfinest Half Year review. Every six months we ask our writing team to look back over the past half a year in order to pick out some highlights and to identify some great music that we’d somehow managed to let slip between our fingers. Every writer is asked to pick out the best album and best live show we’ve reviewed in the last six months, as well as an album that we didn’t manage to write-up. 2018 is shaping up to be a pretty solid year for new music, so far. We’ve actually reviewed over 160 new albums so far this year and sent reviewers to over 120 live shows!
As we look back it’s worth reminding ourselves of all the good stuff we’ve been up to at Brightonsfinest HQ. Our radio show and website have continued to go from strength to strength while we also launched our first foray into print. Our Brightonsfinest Music Guide’s seventh issue has just hit the streets of Brighton, paired with the Latest Brighton lifestyle mag, and it’s been great getting some much needed music-focussed reading into the hands of Brighton people. We’ve also just had our most successful showcase for The Great Escape festival, taking over St Mary’s Church in Kemptown with a buzzy line-up, topped with a stunning set and light show from local heroes Phoria. Head over to our YouTube Channel for our highlights video of the show. As things finally start to chill-out for the summer it’s great to cast our eyes back over the past six months to remind ourselves of some of the best that new music has had to offer, while we start scheming our next steps for the rest of 2018 and beyond!
Part of the legendary Boston scene that also spawned Throwing Muses, the Pixies and The Breeders, Belly were fronted by Tanya Donnelly, who was a member of both Throwing Muses and Belly. In the early 90s they released two albums, Star and King, both commercial successes, as well as a number of minor hits in the UK. All of these were released through the 4AD label, home to all the aforementioned Boston acts. The same line-up as for King – Donnelly, Gail Greenwood, Tom Gorman, and Chris Gorman – came back together in 2016, and released Dove earlier this year, their first album in 23 years. Tanya Donnelly spoke with Brightonsfinest.
The word legend is bandied about all too readily these days, sprinkled like confetti by beyond-themselves music fans and hyperbolic journalists. However, there can be little argument that Earth, Wind & Fire are exactly that. Proper legends. Titans of music. Giants of the form. They've won 20 Grammys, been inducted in the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, and sold over 90 million records. They get me excited, see. And there's plenty of excitement in the air generally as they head our way to perform a Sunday headline slot at this year's Love Supreme festival.
Along with Leftfield and Underworld, Orbital were (and still are) masters of the dance universe. An act that not only made mind-blowing progressive dance-techno fusion, but who could properly do it live on stage, helped immeasurably by their improvisatory flair, and of course that distinctive torch on headgear look.
Mike Rosenberg, aka Passenger, took to his home streets of Brighton on a baking Bank Holiday Monday to perform a busking set, as part of a four-day busking tour of the UK. Using the opportunity to promote his Brighton show later in the year at the Dome, 9th September, and to talk up his forthcoming album, Runaway, which is out at the end of August, Rosenberg was in his element. Thousands congregated to witness the Brightonian doing what he does so well; singing and performing, with just a semi-acoustic guitar, and that appealing mix of self-deprecation, humour and heart-on-sleeve passion.
With a place on the BBC Sound of 2018 poll to her name, a string of festival and worldwide dates ahead of her, and the promise of a debut album in the near future, 22-year-old Nilufer Yanya is on the cusp of great things. Performing at the open mic scene in London, her ‘Baby Luv’ single of last year propelled her into the limelight. She was in town for The Great Escape, performing two shows. We caught up with her that day to ask a few quick questions.
We all like our sugar hits. Like most everything, the truly best things come to those who wait. Unlike the instant gratification (and immediate comedown) that processed, and refined sugar gives you, honey is purer, infinitely more nutritious, and with proven long-term health benefits. Certainly, Brighton band Black Honey have been beavering away at the coalface of music making for a while now. I recall receiving an email from the band looking for some interest in a pre-Black Honey EP. That was back in 2012. For while, it looked like it just may not happen for them, a series of singles and EPs, whilst displaying plenty of talent, energy and dedication, weren't quite firing them into the big time. Yet.