Jay McAllister, aka Beans on Toast, has released an album every year for the last ten years, always on his birthday, 1st December. A Bird in the Hand is his tenth, and marks the first time since his debut album that Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons fame, has produced him. A brilliantly witty, engaging, honest and emotional singer-songwriter, he has spent a great deal of his time singing about festivals, drugs, and politics. However, the birth of a daughter has given him new perspectives, and an optimism that sees him celebrating life and all that is good about it. He talks to Jeff Hemmings about how his music career took shape, working with Ben Lovett, his new daughter, and plastics…
Rebecca Taylor is best known as one half of maverick indie duo Slow Club, who released five albums, with 2016’s One Day All of This Won’t Matter Anymore being the last. Playing the drums, guitar, and duetting with Charles Watson, the band built up a considerable following, but for Rebecca it clearly wasn’t enough. Over the years she has been developing her own creative outlet, as Self Esteem, moving decidedly into urban, r’n’b, pop, and hip-hop territory, a million miles away from the scruffy indie-pop of Slow Club. With Slow Club on indefinite hiatus, and Watson concurrently developing his own solo career, a number of tracks have been released including her debut ‘Rollout’, made with Django Django’s Dave Maclean. Rebecca talks to Jeff Hemmings about her self-esteem, her creative needs, her love of dancing, and what we can expect on the love stage.
Brighton indie-punk duo Blood Red Shoes have announced the release of their fifth album, Get Tragic, out 25th January on their own label, Jazz Life. Laura-Mary Carter and Stephen Ansell had been pretty much tied to the hip since when they first formed back in 2004. However, by the end of their touring commitments following the release of 2014’s self-titled album, and an aborted attempt at recording new material, the duo had finally run out of track. They were badly in need of a break, from each other, and from the cycle of touring and recording they had committed themselves to over the last decade. However, with their batteries now recharged, they’ve fully embraced the absurdity of their life (hence the title of the new album), are about to release their most eclectic collection yet, and a raring to go, this time with a band behind them. They’ve also got a date lined up as part of Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar’s closing celebrations, 11th December. Laura-Mary tells all to Jeff Hemmings…
Formed in 1988, Oxford’s Ride were, just behind trailblazers My Bloody Valentine, leaders of the influential shoegaze movement, and media darlings for a while, before a backlash against shoegaze in general, and Ride in particular, saw a sharp fall off. It was classic build ’em up, and knock ’em down stuff; a mix of media cruelty, the rise of Britpop, and self-inflicted harm, all helping the band to detonate by 1996. However, for a while, Ride were really riding the crest of a wave with their powerfully atmospheric and melodic wall-of-sound guitar music.
One of the original quartet of punk bands – along with The Clash, Sex Pistols, and Chelsea – who set the world of music alight in 1976, The Damned are the great survivors. The ones who released the first bonafide punk single, ‘New Rose’, and who released the first truly punk album, Damned Damned Damned. They enjoyed nine top 40 hits, including perhaps their best known song ‘Eloise’, and earlier this year released their first album for ten years, Evil Spirits, produced by legendary Bowie producer Tony Visconti, which became their first ever top ten album. Not bad for a band that was supposed to implode in punk spirit back in the 70s! 42 years after their formation, original members Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible and co, are about to venture out on the road once again. Dave Vanian took some time out to chat with Jeff Hemmings…
From the moment we saw Liverpudlian outfit Queen Zee supporting Marmozets at Concorde 2 earlier this year, and subsequently with their own headline show and tour with Dream Wife, we knew they were destined for big things. Having just announced their debut eponymous album, out on their very own Sasstone Records, we thought it was the perfect time to catch up with lead singer Zee, to talk everything from touring with Dream Wife, to being a DIY band and the struggles that come with that.
KIN is an original soundtrack album by Scottish post-rock band Mogwai, released on 31st August 2018 on their own Rock Action. Active since the 90s, Mogwai have previously scored documentaries (Zidane, Atomic, Before the Flood, amongst others), but this is their first full film soundtrack. Directed by the brothers Jonathan and Josh Baker, the film stars Jack Reynor, Zoe Kravitz, James Franco and Dennis Quaid, and is a high-octane thriller that gets its UK release November. Following shows at Latitude, Primavera Sound in Barcelona, and the Robert Smith-curated Meltdown festival this year, they’ve got a short UK tour coming up, supported by fellow Glasweigans The Twilight Sad, including a sold out date at the Dome in Brighton. Founder and guitarist Stuart Braithwaite talks to Jeff Hemmings about the film, ‘donuts’, and their penchant for loud music.
“I’m honoured if anyone listens to my songs and I don’t really have any expectations of anyone. How would I describe my music to someone that’s never heard it? Outlaw paranormal pop”. Such is the brilliantly cool and slightly eccentric mind of one of Wales’ favourite sons, Gruff Rhys. Refreshingly original, he is as well-known as the frontman of indie-popsters Super Furry Animals as he is for his solo work, in which many of his releases are proudly delivered in his mother tongue. His accent is pretty amazing if he is speaking in English too. Watch a YouTube interview with him and hope that he says the word ‘orchestra’. You’ll see what I mean. Indeed, in recent years particularly, it seems that there is not much that he hasn’t touched creatively, notably delving into the world of film in 2014’s American Interior project (where he also created an app – that’s right, an app – to compliment the soundtrack and corresponding book), as well as performing with the Wales National Theatre alongside fellow Welshman, Sweet Baboo.
The Brighton-based post-punk grunge trio Projector have been making some serious waves of late, and are upping the ante again with the release of their debut EP How Does It Feel? which was helped funded by the PRS Foundation’s ReBalance programme, aimed at giving women more of a chance in the music making industry. They’ve also lined-up a cracking gig at The Haunt for a launch that also features the recently IDLES name-checked Ditz, and Libra Libra, led by the fantastic voice of Beth Cannon. As well as touring Europe, they performed at this year’s The Great Escape and Latitude festivals, along with supporting Daniel Wakeford on a number of dates. We caught up with two of the three, bassist and singer Lucy Sheehan, and drummer Demelza Mather.
Manchester-based dream duo, Ríoghnach Connolly and Stuart McCallum, are the creative heart of The Breath, creating honest, personal songs as likely to touch on childhood summers and first love as cultural dislocation and grief. Connolly’s deeply soulful vocal coupled with McCallum’s understated brilliance give The Breath a gorgeous emotional depth and, joy of joys, they have just released a new album, Let the Cards Fall, as the follow up to their 2016 breakthrough, Carry Your Kin. Ahead of some select UK live dates, Anna Claxton caught up with singer and founding member, Ríoghnach, to find out why fairies stealing babies and soft rock singer, John Farnham, are amongst her inspirations and why Brighton has a great vibe.