Tall Ships – Interview – 2017

The Brighton-based band's difficult second album wasn't so much the result of flagging creativity, but a deep and thorough test of their resilience as they faced many obstacles in getting to this place. Following the buzz and promise of their 2012 debut album Everything Touching, including headline tours and prime festival slots, the band lost their management and their label, and it looked like it had all been a false start. Even worse, there was a growing sense of momentum lost. But the band battled on, eventually signing a new deal with the rather brilliant local label Fat Cat. Impressions is the result of this testing birthing process, of battle scars and lessons learnt, but has nevertheless cemented the band's wish to be in control of ther own destiny. They literally went it alone for a while, out of necessity, in crafting what is a magnificently realised alt-rock album that is passionate, intense at times, and alternately tender and euphoric at others. It's big on ideas and sound, whilst at the same time allowing the music to breathe and enabling contemplation. It's anthemic, without being overblown; DIY without being shambolic. They say first impressions are everything. That may be true, but second time around, Impressions can also be the one that transforms Tall Ships from being one of the country's most promising rock acts, into the rock premiership.

I spoke to frontman and main songwriter Ric Phethean, just as they had started their UK tour, which will bring them back home to Brighton in early May.

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Jesca Hoop – Interview – 2017

Some people are just natural born songwriters. Not just those of the straightforward classical pop variety, as much as we love them. I’m talking about songwriters who generally break the rules, do things you wouldn’t expect, and have developed a truly singular voice that can’t be replicated.

There are the obvious ones. David Bowie in his 70s heyday, Joni Mitchell of course, Kate Bush, and the likes of avant-garde rockers like Captain Beefheart. All of them produced at various times in their respective careers subtly sophisticated, unpredictable songs that still contained strong melodies and hooks, and enticing structures that just simply worked. That drew you in as the songs weaved and did their magic. This is the area that Jesca Hoop operates naturally in. One who treads diligently and inventively around pop’s unorthodoxies, in creating a highly distinct music.

Born into a family of Mormons, she eventually hit the road in search of adventure, and ended up nannying for Tom Waits’ children. He was so enamoured with her music, that he described it as, “Like swimming in a lake at night”.

Guy Garvey, too, fell in love with her voice, her mystical way with words, and her lyrical rhythmic qualities, before she was known at all in the UK. He interviewed her for his radio show. And then Elbow invited her to tour with them in the States, thereby cementing the beginnings of what is still a strong relationship, only enhanced by Hoop’s decision to move to Manchester some nine years ago. Since then she has released a stream of albums including 2009’s Hunting My Dress, and last year’s collaboration with Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam, Love Letter For Fire. Earlier this year she released the poetic, poignant, and sometimes incomprehensible Memories Are Now.

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Splashh – Interview – 2017

Ahead of the release of their second LP Waiting a Lifetime and headline show at Patterns, I caught up with Splashh frontman Sasha. After several years of touring, a brief relocation to New York and a stint of self-imposed exile to get the album written, the band recorded it at the Rare Book Room Studio in Brooklyn, working with producer Nicolas Vernhes. It sees the four-piece reach into occasionally more raucous musical territory than their slacker-rock debut, tempered by Vernhes’ dreamy production.

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Fukushima Dolphin – Interview – 2017

About a year ago I started hearing people talk about a new band called Fukushima Dolphin. It's rare, when you live in a town where half of your friends are musicians, to hear people raving about a new act. But there I found myself, in a friend’s kitchen, while he excitedly dug out shaky mobile phone footage of a band performing raucously on the Albert stage, posted to YouTube. That was my first encounter with Fukushima Dolphin, with friends geeking out about the chords and vibe of this mysterious new band. I finally got to see them live, supporting Bloom at their Latest Music Bar album launch, and was suitably impressed. Main man, Josh, cuts an interesting figure in a floppy hat and dungarees, but makes an even more interesting sound on the guitar: running a battered old acoustic through a plethora of guitar pedals to create a psychedelic lead tone that really cuts through. I was intrigued by this band that sounded to me like a cross between The Flaming Lips and MGMT with a healthy dose of foot-stopping cowboy folk, which I could not place!

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Formation – Interview – 2017

Formed by brothers Will and Matt Ritson, Formation’s life-affirming blend of catchy grooves, punk attitude and intelligent social insight has built their phenomenal debut album Look At The Powerful People. Ahead of its release and the band’s Brighton show at Green Door Store I had a chat with Matt from the band.

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Dutch Uncles – Interview – 2017

Making some of the coolest and most interesting pop around at the moment, Dutch Uncles have become a staple of the UK’s music scene through a string of art pop albums and their latest release, Big Balloon, is no different. Opting for a more restrained sound pallet, Big Balloon is an addictive concoction of 80s sounds and extremely likeable melodies with an added emotional edge. Ahead of the band making a stop in town, performing at The Haunt on 11th March, we spoke to Duncan to find out more from the band.

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Idles – Interview – 2017

Shortly before the release of their brilliant debut LP and sold out Brighton show I caught up with Idles frontman Joe Talbot. Self-described as a “nosebleed for the ears”, the Bristol band’s noisey post-punk is an enticing and threatening spectacle to behold, with the politically-charged lyrics of Talbot a welcome antidote in the current musical landscape. The group have managed to capture the raw emotion of their live shows in Brutalism and with slots booked in at SXSW and the The Maccabees’ farewell tours, the band have a lot to be excited about.

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Methyl Ethel – Interview – 2017

Perth-based Methyl Ethel have long been a favourite of Brightonsfinest, releasing a spectacular debut album in Oh Inhuman Spectacle (2014), one of the sounds of our summer, as well as gracing Brighton for some stunning live shows in 2016. Dreamy pop and surf rock with Perth’s now legendary psych tinge sounds so organic and so natural, it is as if mastermind Jake Webb has brought Methyl Ethel’s sound to light from the depths of the musical vaults where it has been lying dormant for eternity. With album number two, Everything Is Forgotten, being released this week and a Brighton date at the Green Door Store on 7th March, we spoke to Jack to find out more about Methyl Ethel.

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The Hundredth Anniversary – Interview – 2017

The Hundredth Anniversary are another incredible band from Brighton, who have recently released an exceptional debut album that we have been obsessing over at Brightonsfinest.com, perfectly summed up by our writer Ben Walker as “musical euphoria”. Falling into no particular category, The Hundredth Anniversary drifts seamlessly across 90s indie, post punk and alternative rock in one smooth and glorious motion. On their debut, Sea State Pictures, they have put together a spectacular and intriguing 34 minutes full of exquisite vocals and striking instrumentation that is as compelling as it is pleasing. We had to find out more about the group so we met up with Eleanor Rudge (vocals, guitar), Chris Lowe (bass) and Dem Marther (drums) from the band.

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The Seshen – Interview – 2017

San Francisco based six-piece, the Seshen’s enticing electronic soul sound combines synths, drum machines, live percussion and the remarkable harmonies of lead singer, Lalin St. Juste, to create a magical forward-thinking concoction of influences from r’n’b, pop and electronic music. Glorious textures and heavenly grooves are the staple in their newest album Flames & Figures (released on Tru Thoughts Records, October 2016), superbly and effortlessly swelling from mesmerizing throbbing basslines to glistening pop harmonics. Ahead of The Seshen’s UK tour, stopping for what is sure to be a mesmerizing set at The Green Door Store on 12th March, we put some questions to Lalin St. Juste to find out more about the band.

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