When Jordan Cardy, better known as Rat Boy, first arrived on the scene with ‘Sign On’ – a fast-talking indie delight with an incredibly infectious chorus – comparisons to Jamie T were inevitable. Since his debut record, Scum, however, which heavily resembled Jamie T’s oeuvre, Rat Boy has explored a different avenue which comes to fruition with his latest record, Internationally Unknown. A collaboration with ska-punk legend Tim Armstrong, of Rancid fame, there are times on the record where Rat Boy begins to find his own sonic sound but, on the whole, all this record has done is saturate his own sound.
A tale of two bands. Blood Red Shoes, Drill Festival, Brighton, December 2014, playing to a half empty room, looking a little unhappy, in a venue that was shortly to close (Bleach). They soon thereafter relegated the band to the back of the drawer, Laura-Mary Carter off to LA, in search of meaning, and songwriting jobs, Steven Ansell remaining in Brighton, running a label (Jazz Life), bashing the drums, and – according to Laura-Mary – partying a bit.
I can remember exactly who I was in the heyday of chillwave: a newly come-of-age teenager who was starting to shed his indie kid demeanour and begin exploring the vast ocean of electronic music. Washed Out’s ‘Feel It All Around’ soundtracked what felt like a never-ending school summer holidays, later dubbed as the 2009 summer of chillwave; filled with rose-tinted disposable camera photographs, faux pas heartbreak with a tinge of teenage angst, and misguided youthful drinking abroad on the beach.
Both sides of Tim Presley’s mind, one being White Fence and the other himself as a solo artist, marry together, bringing us I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk, one of his strongest records yet. The result is an entirely new pathway for the songwriter, bringing together both of his projects where, “Tim Presley meets White Fence and together they move on”. The record was born from the home of Cate Le Bon, where Presley was staying at the time of writing, leaving a familiar level of eccentricity rubbing off on the record.
We’ve waxed lyrical about Brighton quartet Thyla ever since we heard their debut single ‘Ferris Wheels’ back in 2017. Since then, they’ve developed and honed their sound, subsequently evolving from a band heavily referencing 80s gloom-pop in the ilk of Cocteau Twins, into a behemoth of their own. Whether it’s with each brilliant single, or their quite brilliant live performances, Thyla have etched their way into the Brighton zeitgeist. For Thyla hold their own unique place in indie music right now; where they’re not only bringing something iconically new to the saturated platter, but they’re inducing their own distinct vitality and glamour on their brand of dark and ingenious guitar pop.
Brightonsfinest were impressed by Pavo Pavo’s debut album, 2016’s Young Narrator In The Breakers [https://brightonsfinest.com/music/reviews/album-reviews/pavo-pavo-young-narrator-in-the-breakers/2016/], marking them as one of those rare bands who emerge with a fully-formed sound and aesthetic right from the get go. Our reviewer, Ben Walker, praised the album for its “big ideas” and “delightful melodies”. We were so impressed, in fact, that we had to have the band perform at our Great Escape Festival showcase last year, with those soaring spectral synths and melodies soaring right to the rafters in the beautiful setting of St Mary’s Church.
Well, it didn’t take 2019 too long to produce its first truly brilliant album. “To @jameelajamil [sic] I love you and you are the reason this album exists”, said James Blake about his girlfriend, of his fourth record, Assume Form, and, in many ways, that’s the greatest way to describe the record. It’s a love letter of an album and one that instantly opposes his last record, The Colour in Anything. While that was overlong, and at times a messy demise into sheer melancholy, Assume Form is a far more refined effort that sees Blake explore his emotions in a far more productive way. Arguably his most complete record, Assume Form implements elements of hip-hop and electronica to produce his greatest atmosphere yet. It’s a beautiful, soaring and ambient modernist pop record if ever there was one.
Australian music is on a high. They’ve always had something up their sleeves, ever since The Easybeats scored Australia’s first ever rock’n’roll hit back in ’66 with ‘Friday on My Mind’. However, in recent times there’s been a stream of high-quality stuff, across all genres; from the lo-fi punk of The Chats to the singer-songwriter indie-rock of Courtney Barnett, and from the guitar-based Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever to the quirky indie songs of Stella Donnelly. To misquote one of our long deceased Prime Ministers, Harold Macmillan, they’ve never had it so good.
When New Yorker Sharon Van Etten released the appropriately titled ‘Comeback Kid’, late last year, garnering huge acclaim and sighs of relief from the many who were worried they had heard the last of her, she reminded us, after a gap of nearly five years, why so many admired her work. Gentle and folksy on the surface, Etten wore her heart on her sleeve in displaying darker undertones, and human frailty. Now though, there is a heightened rock’n’roll grit to her music, ‘Comeback Kid’ containing a hint of the expressive Anna Calvi, with the muscularity of both New York’s LCD and The Strokes.
“How do you describe an album out of time, concerned with the disappearance of culture, of humanity, of nature, of logic and emotion? Why make this album in an era when attention spans have been reduced to next to nothing, and the tactile grains of making music have been further reduced to algorithms and projected playlist placement. Why wake up in the morning? Why hasn’t everything already disappeared?” State Deerhunter about the creation of their latest album, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?, the first album from the band since 2015’s Fading Frontier. A temperamental and cynical record, that sees Deerhunter try to emulate America’s newest heroes such as DIIV and The National, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? brings Deerhunter straight up-to-date with their contemporaries.