Toy – Patterns, Brighton – 19th February 2019

Despite building up a loyal following in the UK, Toy never quite reached the potential that it looked like they would back in 2012 with their self-titled debut album Toy. Their show at Patterns was in support of their fourth record, Happy in the Hollow, which we described as, “A wild ride through the darkness of psychedelia in just about every way, it’s a delightful journey that changes at the drop of a hat”. As huge fans of the five-piece, and certainly their latest album, this was an inanimate and almost lifeless performance from the Brighton band.

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Pom Poko – Birthday

Despite hailing from Norway, dynamic quartet Pom Poko will always have a Brighton connection. Not only are they signed to Brighton’s Bella Union and accidentally share a name with an iconic Brighton restaurant (they’re actually named after the Studio Ghibli film of the same name), but they played their first ever UK headline show on our sunny shores back in 2017. Since that occasion, which we described as “satisfying, vicious and addictive”, they’ve grown from an indie-pop outfit into a pop-punk behemoth. Their debut album, Birthday, is a showcase of this evolution with its spiky riffs, theatrical glamour and infectious pop sheen.

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Sleaford Mods – Eton Alive

Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn continue to prick the bubbles of conformity, with another forensic journey into the dark heart and withered soul of this nation: a place sitting on the cusp of exiting from Europe, to the sleazy pleasure of capitalist benefit scammers, and ignorant nationalist flag wavers, alike.

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Thyla – The Hope & Ruin, Brighton – 16th February 2019

One of NME’s top 100 essential acts of 2018, indie-rock four-piece Thyla have been making waves in recent years. As well as having some great tracks on their newly released debut EP, the group have also allegedly built a “sterling live reputation”. With this knowledge, I was very excited to see for myself just how true this statement was when visiting The Hope & Ruin for their headline show, which included support from LibraLibra and La Lune.

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Louis Sterling – Brighton Electric – 15th February 2019

The fantastic recording and performing space, Brighton Electric, gave us a night of immersive and authentic electronic live music, hosted and presented by Werkstatt Promotions in partnership with local music academy BIMM. This evening also had the noble goal of raising money for Brighton-based charity Grassroots Suicide Prevention. As well as this, it presented us with many fantastic upcoming electronic artists.

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Fur – Patterns, Brighton – 15th February 2019

How fitting that Brighton’s very own dream boys Fur would release their EP and play a very special Brighton headline show around Valentine’s Day. For the quartet are this generation’s quintessential romance band. The leader of a burgeoning scene of 50s throwbackers, also including the likes of Trudy and the Romance, Her’s and their support on the night, Honey Moon, Fur are one of the most exciting indie bands in the country. This show, too, was further proof of that, with the band bringing their debut EP to Patterns in some style. Magical and spellbinding, and witnessed by an enthusiastic and adoring crowd, Fur truly are infectiously affectionate.

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Willie J Healey – The Prince Albert, Brighton – 13th February 2019

It’s funny witnessing the difference 18 months can make. The last time Oxford singer-songwriter Willie J Healey played a Brighton headline show it was at a half-empty Green Door Store. Now, after switching from Sony to Yala! Records, as well as supporting Slaves around the UK, he’s one of the brightest indie sparks in the country. His headline set at a rammed Prince Albert – and, honestly, is there a better sight in the entirety of Brighton’s music scene? – was testament to this; no longer a breezy UK alternative to Mac DeMarco, Willie J Healey has developed into a varied talent brimming with indie joy and an added bite.

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William The Conqueror – Bleeding on the Soundtrack

William the Conqueror is the band, post-solo singer/songwriter career, put together by Ruarri Joseph, alongside Harry Harding (drums) and Naomi Holmes (bass) during 2015. Bleeding on the Soundtrack is the second in a proposed trilogy of autobiographical albums, which began with 2017’s Proud Disturber of the Peace. While that album addressed a less than idyllic period in Joseph’s life – the confusion of adolescence, addiction, divorce, upheaval – Bleeding on the Soundtrack continues to explore these past indiscretions, sorrows, hopes, loves and more. Produced by Ethan Johns, it was recorded live (with added overdubs) over the course of 12 days at Real World Studios in Wiltshire.

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Methyl Ethel – Triage

Built on surrealist pop hooks, and psychedelic tendencies, Methyl Ethel – the musical project of Jake Webb – created a world of sheer pop wonder on Everything Is Forgotten (2017) and Oh Inhuman Spectacle (2015). Dark and evocative, yet brimming with pop joy, they were brilliant pop-rock albums that had a wholesomely Australian twang of the ilk of Tame Impala and Pond. Things have changed for maestro Webb, however, as the musician turned 30 and started to look introspectively. The result is Triage, a more contemplative album lyrically than its predecessors, which explores the ideas of coming of age. Musically, though, it’s an expansive, sweeping pop behemoth with its influences rooted in funk, disco and glam-rock.

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