Maybe by name, but certainly not in reality. Growing up in the West Country, brothers Callum and Ewan Merrett have been making music together since their early teens; a combination of daisy-age hip-hop swagger, big funk, and indie-soul-pop, where Beck meets Blur via the loose Madchester sounds of the 90s. They released their first songs in 2015, Annie Mac made ‘Wages’ ‘Hottest Record in the World’, and the brilliant ‘Avalanche’ was also featured heavily on BBC Radio One. The smart money was on Bad Sounds, and this summer they released their debut album Get Better. It’s lived up to expectations, throwing the band further into the spotlight, helped along by their captivating and energetic live shows, supporting Rat Boy this summer, playing loads of festivals, and about to embark on a sizeable headline tour of their own this autumn. They also like remixing, and people like remixing them, such as the recent Everything Everything remix of ‘Wages’. Jeff Hemmings caught up with Ewan.
Davey Newington is Boy Azooga, who released his debut album this year in the form of 1, 2, Kung Fu! It's a joyous ride, full of melody and pop nous, songs such as 'Loner Boogie', 'Jerry' and 'Face Behind Her Cigarette' swinging effortlessly from disco-rock to psychedelia. Already beavering away at the follow-up, he's out on tour this month. He took some time out to have a chat about The Great Escape, Brian Wilson, Hangover Square, and how he hooked up with the legendary Jeff Barratt and his Heavenly Records label.
Elizabeth Bernholz (nee Walling) is an extraordinary electronic composer, musician, producer and performer who trades under the name of Gazelle Twin. Forged in a rural idyll in Middle-England and four years in the making (amidst life-changing events, including a move away from Brighton), Pastoral is the first major release by the artist since her 2014 album Unflesh. It's a fascism-infused hellscape, this time set in deepest Old England. Jeff Hemmings asked her about her artistic vision, child rearing, and her public vs private persona.
A familiar name to those who listen to BBC Radio 6, Tom Robinson been on the airwaves for over 30 years, starting with The World Service in 1986. He currently presents his own show on 6 Music on Saturdays, and on Sundays as Now Playing @6Music, a show that plays songs based on a certain theme and listeners' input. He also has a weekly show which is focussed on music by local bands from BBC Introducing.
Having only just recently released a gorgeous debut album, Beautifully Astray, at the beginning of April 2018, Abi Wade has long been an incredible talent in Brighton. Known for her stunning solo live show and for using a cello as her core instrument, Abi is a versatile musician whose sound exploration uses vocals, orchestral and choral arrangements, synths and location samples to create a mesmerising window into human nature and the abstract. As well as a musician, Abi has a collaborative audio-visual guise called Gestalt, with her partner Joel Wells, which has flourished since recently moving to London. We caught up with Abi to find out about her current live set, her view on her debut LP, which is now half a year old, and the incredible projects she does alongside her music.
Very much part of an organically burgeoning guitar scene that includes the likes of The Big Moon, IDLES, Dream Wife, Shame, and many many others, London’s Goat Girl have already released a brilliantly incisive, raw, and energetic album – 19 songs in 40 minutes – that was not afraid to tackle social-political and ugly urban realities issues head on, with songs such as ‘Scum’, ‘The Man’, ‘Burn the Stake’, and ‘Cracker Drool’. Clottie Cream, Rosy Bones, Naima Jelly and L.E.D until recently made up the four-piece, although Naima has recently announced her (amicable) departure, and new bassist, Holly, filling in, including a date in Brighton which was re-scheduled from earlier this year following a nasty accident involving Rosie.
Brightonsfinest caught up L.E.D to find out what the crack is…
With a breathful intensity that coarses through his tenor saxophone, Shabaka Hutchings’ sax-playing is instantly recognisable on his many projects, that include the analogue cosmic synth fusion of The Comet Is Coming, the punk-jazz of Melt Yourself Down, the tuba-infused jazz-grooves of Sons of Kemet, and the gentler free jazz of Shabaka and The Ancestors. Initially a clarinet player, and disliker of jazz, he was eventually turned on to it with mentorships under Soweto Kinch and Courtney Pine. Sons of Kemet recently released their third album, Your Queen Is A Reptile, which proposes alternative Queens to our present day monarch. Recorded with Theon Cross (tuba), and the double drum team of Seb Rochford and Tom Skinner, Hutchings merges his classical clarinet and jazz orchestra training with the music he’s heard growing up in the Caribbean, travelling in South Africa, and living in London. As well as performing at this year's The Great Escape, Sons of Kemet are one of the main attractions at this year's Brainchild Festival, and will be touring later in the year, including a date in Brighton. With some very rare down time, Shabaka Hutchings talked to Brightonsfinest.
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.
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.
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.