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.”
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!
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.
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.
“We’re big, we’re heavenly, and we’re ethereal.” So say Phoria, the Brighton-based five-piece who are about to play their first gig since August of last year, headlining the Brightonsfinest Alternative Escape showcase at the beautiful St Mary’s Church on Saturday 19th May, joining the likes of The Fiction Aisle, Her’s, Trudy and The Romance, SJ Brett, Charles Watson, and Wild Front.
Back for its 13th year, The Great Escape is the premier showcase in Europe for new music. Over three days and nights, Brighton is host to 450-plus acts playing over 30 venues, from around 20 countries. You won’t have heard of many of these acts, but quality and potential is the name of the game here. Along with a few fairly established names, the bulk of the bill is made up of acts who have shown their talent, and are on the cusp of bigger and better things. It is a fabulous opportunity to check out new music, covering almost all genres known to man. Alongside The Great Escape, there’s The Alternative Escape, which also features a wealth of stunning new talent, and The Great Escape Convention, where many of the music industry’s movers and shakers congregate to check out the talent, and do a spot of networking and deal making. For three days in May, Brighton truly is the place to be! To help you get a grasp of what is out there, we asked various Brightonsfinest contributors, along with some industry players, to give us the lowdown on who they are looking out for.
From Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th April, the glitterati of the UK’s electronic scene and guests from further afield ascended on Brighton – a city that had a strong electronic scene for itself back in the 90s with the likes of Norman Cook, John Digweed and Cristian Vogel putting us on the dance music map. Now in its fifth year, the UK’s foremost electronic music conference, Brighton Music Conference (BMC), took over the city for three days of talks, brand showcases and networking events.
Suitably for an occasion which was initially inspired by the Free Comic Book Day in North America back in 2007, the superheroes that run our local independent record stores came together for Record Store Day. Whereas most retailers would do simply anything to get one over their rivals, this felt different – Brighton’s four indie stores seemed to operate in a friendly and collaborative manner, with a lot of effort put in to avoid event clashes rather than direct competition. Between them, Resident, Vinyl Revolution, Bella Union and Rarekind (as well as a special event at Brighton Dome organised by Spectrum in celebration of local artists) made sure that the whole of Brighton could join in the celebrations of the biggest day in the independent music store calendar.