The much admired Leeds-based band Hookworms suffered a near total catastrophe when the studio they practised and recorded in was severely flooded on Boxing Day, 2015. As well as losing their back catalogue they lost all the new material they had just started working on. However, thanks to a variety of sources, including a Crowdfunder campaign, they were eventually able to rebuild the studio and start again from scratch. Their third full studio album, Microshift, which has just been released to rave reviews, is a continuation of the electronic/psychedelic-rock flavours of the past work, it’s a big leap forward for the band, who released their first record on a small Brighton imprint back in 2011, and Brightonsfinest spoke to Hookworms’ Matt (‘MB’) Benn.
The four-piece pop-psychedelic art rockers have returned with another album of crazy beats and melodies, Marble Skies. There is no one quite like them. Jimmy Dixon takes some time out of child rearing activities to have a chat with Brightonsfinest.
Produced by Gethin Pearson and the band’s keyboard player Ben Jackson, The Spiritual Dark Age is the London five-piece’s third album and the follow-up to their self-titled album of 2015. Following spells with Virgin, Communion and Xtra Mile, here’s yet another band in a growing line of DIY bands interested in crowdfunding their work. To Kill A King employed the services of Patreon to tap into their substantial fanbase to help fund the new album. It’s a work that took nearly three years to make, hence the remarkable eclecticism of sound; from glam and epic stompers, to raw acoustica, while the lyrics revolve around issues of compassion within what frontman Ralph Perrymounter believes is a spiritual dark age. Here he takes time out from their UK tour to have a chat with Brightonsfinest.
The daughter of Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson, Eliza’s clan is rightly described as folk’s royal family. While Eliza Carthy MBE is perhaps the most famous of them all. Since releasing her debut album (with Nancy Kerr) in 1993, she’s helped spearhead the folk revival, winning two Mercury nominations along the way, as well as releasing the ill-fated Angels & Cigarettes on a major label in 2000. Ill health has dogged much of her later career but she’s back on top of her game with her 12-piece band, The Wayward Band, releasing both a career retrospective in 2013, and Wayward Daughter earlier this year on the most famous independent label of them all, Topic.
Alex Cameron’s Forced Witness is one of the finest records of the year. Not only does it explore postmodern themes such as catfishing, politics, masculinity and relationships in depth, but it’s an excellent throwback record to the 80s. Produced by Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, it’s got all the charm of a Foxygen record with Cameron’s trademark crooning, lyrical bite. I sat down to talk to him and his friend and business partner Roy Molloy about their recent support slot with The Killers, the music industry, the Australian music scene and the characters behind his latest record.
The acclaimed political alt-rock experimentalists Algiers – named with reference to the political film The Battle of Algiers, an anti-colonialist classic – are composed of vocalist/guitarist Franklin James Fisher, bassist Ryan Mahan, guitarist Lee Tesche, and since 2016 drummer Matt Tong. Their self-titled 2015 debut was released on the Matador label, and became Resident Records Album of the Year. They combined post-punk, industrial rock, gospel and psychedelic soul into a passionate and malevolent whole. As does their follow up, this year’s The Underside of Power. Produced by Portishead’s Adrian Utley, and the first to feature ex-Bloc Party drummer Matt Tong, it confirmed Algiers as a highly politicised band with plenty to say in the Trump era. Franklin James Fisher talked to Brightonsfinest.
Ahead of their headline show at The Hope & Ruin and the release of their double EP Eight I caught up with bassist Josie McNamara of the enigmatic Brighton-based five-piece White Room. Their radiant, self-aware brand of psych, meshes the sound of British 60s guitar pop with Hacienda-sized levels of danceability and it’s seen them support the likes of Paul Weller on tour.
Along with musical partner Benjamin John Power, Fuck Buttons have carved out a cult following for their “adrenaline pumping, ear purging slab of towering, pristine noise”. They came together whilst both attended art school in Bristol, working on creating music for a film that Hung made, and a couple of years later were being feted as the tip of the intelligent ‘pop’ iceberg. Since the release of their third album in 2013 and their last gig back in 2014, they’ve gone on hiatus, Power releasing a string of solo albums, while Hung has moved in production, collaborations and also, finally, a solo album, Realisationship. A huge departure from the Fuck Buttons sound, it features more traditional pop fare, as well as the singing voice of Hung. He took some time out to talk to Brightonsfinest just before the start of a UK tour.
Still only in her mid-20s, former Brighton resident Marika Hackman has been making spellbindingly personal music since the Johnny Flynn-produced debut single ‘You Come Down’ was released in 2012. Both Flynn and Hackman are former pupils of the esteemed Bedales School (Hackman was there after winning a scholarship), where she met model Cara Delevingne, and subsequently formed a short-lived band with her. A self-taught guitarist, her recent album I’m Not Your Man introduced a bigger, more guitar-orientated sound, enabled by the recruitment of her buddies The Big Moon on most of the album.
Formed in 1993, Spoon have slowly developed into one of the finest alt-rock bands from America. Known for their incredible consistency, they dipped their toes in rock, pop, and even disco over the course of nine studio albums. This year they released one of their best yet, the eclectic Hot Thoughts on Matador, a label that released their very first album back in 1996. Although a band with a big cult following in the UK, they’ve never played Brighton before, which they’ll be doing this autumn as part of a European tour. Guitarist, singer and main songwriter Britt Daniel took some time out to chat with Brightonsfinest.