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.
Manchester’s Pale Waves look like the next ‘dead cert’ to make it to the top of the indie music tree. With huge support from The 1975, including Matt Healy producing their debut single ‘There’s a Honey’ and directing the music video ‘Television Romance’, a record deal with huge indie label Dirty Hit and adoring fans, they’ve got the whole package to send them to super stardom.
PINS have had an absolutely stellar 2017. From the release of their Bad Thing EP earlier in the year they’ve been building a whole new level of traction around them and the spotlight has definitely started to shift towards PINS’ direction. After non-stop touring throughout the year they haven’t shown any hint of losing steam. Their latest single ‘Serve The Rich’ is an extended arm to the alienated and a song that oozes with PINS’ cool charm. Before they embark on yet another tour across the UK, PINS frontwoman Faith Holgate had a brief chat with us about their successes of 2017 so far.
Her debut album Stranger in the Alps is one of the debuts of the year. A brilliant collection of deeply personal, and highly literate songs written by this young LA-based singer/songwriter. Heavily influenced by Elliot Smith and Conor Oberst (who appears on the album), her songs are emotive, brave and confident, and beautifully written. Ryan Adams was a big early fan, and produced her first single ‘Killer’, but she went on to make an album prior to signing a deal, there seemed so much confidence in her talent. Dead Oceans showed the most interest and their faith has already been rewarded, with Stranger in the Alps winning universal plaudits.
Holiday Destination is easily one of the best AND most important records of the year. Her third album, the dark, brooding yet grooving post-punk of Holiday Destination mainly focuses on the plight of refugees, but still talks about mental health issues that heavily informed her debut album, Love Your Dum and Mad. With a band that also features her producer Ben Hillier, their potent muscularity is allied to an intelligent and humane lyricism, with Shah’s – who is of both Norwegian and Pakistani heritage – formidable presence giving it her all.
A 20-plus year veteran of the music industry, who tasted the pitfalls of being a musician back in the late 90s with Britpop band Kill Laura, Jane Weaver has since then ploughed her own idiosyncratic course, that includes setting up her own label, and exploring the weird and wonderful worlds of krautrock, female punk, new wave, lo-fi synth DIY, and psychedelic dream-pop. This year’s Modern Kosmology is her biggest and best yet, and she’s just dropped The Architect EP in time for her long UK and European tour.