Ryley Walker, the singer and songwriter from Rockford, Illinois visited us in Brighton and Hove as part of his 2018 international tour, promoting his latest recording. A homage to The Lillywhite Sessions (a scrapped album by the Dave Mathews Band), this album uses the same name. Walker manages to put his own dynamic and modern twist on the record that inspired it, making it a very interesting and entertaining listen. Fans had a lot of these new track to look forward to on the night of the show at the marvellous Old Market in Hove.
Opening with a brass rendition of Skepta’s grime-anthem, ‘Shutdown’, was perhaps the perfect way to introduce Ezra Collective and their sound and attitude to a fresh face of hip-shakers. It’s grimey, playful, very London-centric, and of course the buzzword: it’s jazz. In fact, they are trailblazers in the scene, as it was only a few weeks ago that keys wizard, Joe Armon Jones, played to a sold out crowd upstairs in the very same venue courtesy of Mr Bongo’s new Jazz Club night.
The demise of Palma Violets was a sad thing, indeed, both indicating the difficulty in keeping an indie band going and how hard it is to make the next step after minor success. Despite the sadness, however, there’s reason to be positive. While Chilli Jesson has created Crewel Intentions, who we witnessed supporting Johnny Marr early last month and called, “A heady, intoxicating mix of Nick Cave and Echo & The Bunnymen”, the remaining members – Sam Fryer, Pete Mayhew and Will Doyle – have created Gently Tender. Also recruiting The Big Moon’s Celia Archer and guitarist Adam Brown, the band’s first trip to Brighton was a positive and upbeat one, showcasing that Palma Violets’ collapse may be a blessing in disguise after all.
It’s testament to the power of the Brighton scene that it feels like every week a local band is making the step up to headline a venue they’ve once played first support in to a couple of friends. This is true for Brighton quartet Twilight Driving, who played to a packed out Hope & Ruin in aid of their brilliant new single ‘Dangerous’ – which we called a, “Hook-heavy, synth-laden call-to-arms” on its release. No doubt one of, if not the, greatest showcase of the band thus far in their short careers, Twilight Driving owned the stage from start to finish, exhibiting their stadium-ready pop-rock to their passionate crowd.
While 2018 has, largely, seen the rise in raucous, politically-charged anthems take the limelight – with the likes of Shame and Idles producing incredible moments both on record and in the live sphere – and capturing the imaginations of wild, youthful audiences, there’s also been a quieter, more reflective style sending adolescent music fans into raptures. One such artist is Matt Maltese, who released his debut album, Bad Contestant, in the summer, and celebrated his fantastic year with a lowkey show at The Haunt.
Seadog are a band we’ve been following for some time, the main project from local singer-songwriter Mark Nathan Benton, they’ve released a series of beautifully delicate, folk-tinged melodic indie songs through EPs and stand-alone singles over the years. I reviewed the band’s Transmitter EP back in 2015, a fantastic short collection of gentle melancholia, but it’s always seemed to me that Seadog’s music would lend itself best to a full-length album, and here we finally have just that. Cabin Fever Blues is a collection of ten wintry tunes which Benton recorded with a variety of collaborators last year, in a number of locations between Brighton and London. It’s a solid and consistent effort that tends towards the slow and plaintiff.
It’s certainly an interesting prospect, a debut album from Canadian college room-mates and childhood school friends that’s been ten years in the making and has finally come to fruition. To be honest, this album came as a complete surprise to me, and that’s as someone who has been obsessively listening to the main singer-songwriter, Andy Shauf’s last two solo albums, The Party and The Bearer Of Bad News. Searching for news of new material I found an interview with Shauf in the Toronto Star, where he talked about making The Party. He abandoned initial sessions with a band to start afresh, playing all the instruments himself. Shauf said he’d realised, “It doesn’t work for me to work with other people”, so it was strange to discover he’s had this project on the back-burner the whole time.
In his long-awaited return, Chicago-born rapper and part of the Odd Future collective, Earl Sweatshirt, champions a brilliantly abstract style throughout what is quite possibly one of his most riveting works to date.
Fans had to wait almost four years for Earl to make a comeback after his previous studio album, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt, which was released back in March 2015. However, it was certainly worth the wait.
Bryan Ferry is a pop legend. A true auteur in every sense of the word, he influenced a generation of new-wave, new-romantic pioneers with legendary band Roxy Music, and continued to reinvent himself as a solo artist. From out and out pop bangers in the form of ‘Slave to Love’ and ‘Let’s Stick Together’, to more experimental records and Bob Dylan cover albums, Ferry is a true artiste constantly reinventing the wheel. His latest record Bitter-Sweet, sees him once again team up with his orchestra and explore the jazz genre after 2012’s The Jazz Age. It’s an atmospheric, smoky affair with Ferry’s sumptuous vocals aligning with the jazzy backdrop with aplomb.
Every year for the past nine years, Jay McAllister, aka Beans on Toast, has released an album on his birthday, 1st December. Beginning with the sprawling 50-track debut, Standing On A Chair, recorded and produced over the course of a weekend by one Ben Lovett, of subsequent Mumford & Sons fame, it was done in the loft of his parent’s house.