Estrons – You Say I’m Too Much, I Say You’re Not Enough

Cardiff’s Estrons, which means alien in Welsh, have been running rough shows on live venues for the past few years now. On record, however, they’ve been showing far more nuance and intelligence than many give them credit for. Their debut record, which highlights gender imbalance, single motherhood, and society’s addiction to love, is not only a vital, crucial and highly nuanced piece of work, it’s also one of the finest debut records of the year. Loud, angry, and passionate, Estrons have struck a winning formula. Importantly, too, each and every song has a purpose, sounds different, and provides sensual thrills. Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, You Say I’m Too Much, I Say You’re Not Enough is calculated, determined and intense.

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Tokyo Police Club – TPC

Three quarters of Tokyo Police Club thought they were dead and buried until a couple of years ago. Greg Alsop was living and working in LA, whilst Graham Wright and Josh Hook had remained in Canada.

After some initial communications via email as they tried to make the band work, it felt as though it had run to its natural conclusion. However, when they asked singer-bassist and chief songwriter Dave Monks, who had settled into life in New York City and made a solo record, he disagreed and went on a mission to convince the Ontario group to make another LP.

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John Smith – Hummingbird

Increasingly a household name in the folk world, John Smith has swiftly followed up on last year’s exceptional Headlong with another superb collection of gems. This time, he has cast his net wide for inspiration and delved deep into the rich history of the genre – Hummingbird is made up largely (with some notable exceptions) of updated versions of folk standards. It also confirms Smith as a worthy descendant from the line of Renbourn, Thompson, Jansch, Drake et al.

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Spring King – A Better Life

After calling their debut record Tell Me if You Like To “Chaotic, riddled with singalong choruses and, more than anything, energy.” and featuring their brilliant single ‘Who Are You?’ on Brightonsfinest , Vol. 2, it’s safe to say that we’re big fans of the Mancunian band here at Brightonsfinest. However, after a quiet 2017 we were a tad worried that the quartet might fade into obscurity like many of their contemporaries. Thankfully, they’re back with A Better Life and, if anything, it’s a huge statement of intent from the band and an improvement on the original.

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Black Honey – Black Honey

As a Brighton publication that started out around the same time as Black Honey, it’s been an absolute honour to watch them grow as a band, develop their sound, and rise to the ranks from low key Brighton band to national darlings. Their debut record is a celebration of every phase, influence and sound the band has ever experimented with, with lead singer Izzy B Phillips’ dynamic, seductive and sultry voice linking it all together into a sound that can only be described as Black Honey. Released without the backing of a label, this is a force of nature that is four years in the making – and has the potential to go down as an iconic record of our times.

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Mutual Benefit – Thunder Follows The Light

Jordan Lee, the only constant member in Mutual Benefit, has again pulled together a variety of musicians to make what is the most intimate record of his career. Creating intricate, emotive soundscapes; Lee has used a multitude of instrumentation and sound recordings for an intensely deep listen, which takes time to fully appreciate each intricate detail.

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Amber Arcades – European Heartbreak

As the Dutch songstress Annelotte De Graaf returns with Amber Arcades for their second full-length release, European Heartbreak, we’re introduced to a far more mature level of musicianship from the band. Amber Arcades have not only discovered their sound, but managed to perfect a brilliant level of finesse and charisma within each song, all coated in the melancholic themes of political uncertainty and the general instability which can be found across this modern world.

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Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – King of Cowards

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, or Pigs x7 to you and I, are a sound from a bygone era. Currently riding a wave which includes a sold-out show at The Hope & Ruin in November, the Rocket Recordings signees have released another early metal-styled record in the vein of Black Sabbath with enough lyrical and technical nuance to straddle it into a new era. A six-track hit of early metal, prog and a dose of devilish influences make Pigs x7 one of the most interesting cult bands around at the moment. King of Cowards is a fiendish, yet seductive, journey into the world of heavy metal and arguably, one of the most accessible metal records for a long while.

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Black Peaks – All That Divides

This is an album I’ve been looking forward to but with some trepidation. Their debut album, Statues, is one of my favourite albums of recent years and it’s always hard to follow up such a stellar debut. In keeping with the album title, All That Divides, on first listen my opinion was divided. Yes, it’s 100% a Black Peaks album but it seemed to not quite have the intensity I loved from the first record.

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12 Stone Toddler – Idiolalia

Last year, after an unfathomably long hiatus, legendary Brighton rock band 12 Stone Toddler dusted off the nappy and unveiled their latest incarnation to eager crowds. Celebrating ten years from the release of their stunning debut album, Does It Scare You?, the band wowed us all with a sold-out tour-de-force at Brighton’s Green Door Store. Then they took the show on the road, showcasing at several prominent UK festivals, including Glastonbury, before they quietly slipped once more from view.

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