Review of the Year – 2014

Brightonsfinest Review Of The Year 2014

2014 was a great year for music and particularly a great year for music in Brighton. It was quite a job to keep up with all the great releases throughout the year, we featured almost fifty music reviews including Birdeatseaby, Blood Red Shoes, Fragile Creatures, Momotaro, Royal Blood, The Levellers, The Mojo Fins and Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey. Wilko Johnson had an amazing year, this album with Sussex-based Daltrey looked like it was going to be his last, but he has since recovered from what was diagnosed as terminal cancer – this was one of our first departures from purely Brighton-related album reviews – something we'll be expanding more into this year. With so much going on we launched a 'New Music' section on the home page half way through the year to showcase new music videos from local acts and beyond. The list of bands we featured highlights how much great new music was about – the list included: Afrikan Boy, Alice Russell, Chungking, Clowwns, Demob Happy, Dizraeli & The Small Gods, Fable, Fickle Friends, Gaps, Iyes, Kate Daisy Grant, Lutine, Marika Hackman, Octopuses, Passenger, Pink Floyd, Prince Vaseline, Rose Elinor Dougall, Royal Blood, The Cure, The Physics House Band, The Self Help Group, The Wytches, Tigercub, Time For T and many more.

Another new addition to our site was the 'Making Waves' section which gave you an insight to the people behind Bmusic, Cine City, Juice FM, One Inch Badge, BIMM and Latest TV. You can expect a lot more in 2015 as we'll be using this Q&A format to bring you more interviews with the people who make the music scene the success it is in Brighton.

Brighton has always had a reputation as a festival city with the long established events like the Brighton Festival and The Great Escape and several newer festivals which have been growing in reputation over the last few years like Love Supreme, At The Edge Of The Sea and our local Oxjam Takeover which extended it's reach to include an Oxjam Worthing this year. On top of this we had even more festival fun this year with the touring Drill Festival landing in our city in December, the new Heavy Metal Festival Breakout up at the Race Course and The Albert's Bootleg Festival: BrightonsFinest was there for all of them! We have a major promoter currently in talks with the council to host another huge festival in Shoreham in 2015 and, with Newhaven's Festival Of Sound in September and talks about a festival in Worthing as well, we won't have to go far (or wait long) for our festival fix in 2015 either!

Let us talk through our highlights of 2014 month by month:

January
Gypsy Disco @ Concorde 2 14-01-31It looked like 2014 was going to start slowly as usual, as the team gathered together a few reviews we'd not yet published from December '13 but then we were met by a big surprise – Brighton SOURCE announced it was no longer going to continue as a print magazine – February's issue was going to be it's last. The Source had been a major Brighton institution for many years, the magazine to rifle through while sitting in the pub, letting you know what's on and what's hot. From now on they were going to be a stripped back digital entity and we were as sad as everyone else to see them go. We made our way to a flurry of shows towards the end of the month: Jeff caught Warpaint at Brighton Dome but didn't think their live sound lived up to their excellent album; Eva was entranced by the magical Gypsy Disco at Concorde 2 and Adam saw Metronomy preview eight new songs from 'Love Letters' album long before its March release date.

Best Gigs
Gypsy Disco – Concorde 2
Metronomy – The Old Market

Best Brighton Releases:
Chris TT – Bury Me With A Scarab (single)
Peggy Sue – Choir Of Echoes (album)

February
End of the Trail Showcase - The Latest BarIn February we published our first ever feature interview, Jan Wilkinson from British Sea Power gave us some excellent insights into the inner workings of one of Brighton's more successful exports when we caught him in introspective mode in-between records. Eva managed to chat to Jared Phillipo from Gypsy Disco to quiz him about how he puts together his extremely popular nights. Amongst the best gigs the team saw that month were the End of the Trail Records showcase at The Latest Music Bar – Jon thoroughly enjoyed the diversity; Eva loved what she saw of Toy at The Old Market – although she wished they could have played for longer; and Jeff caught a memorable sold-out show from Midlake at the gorgeous St George's Church in Kemptown.

Best Gigs
End Of The Trail Records Showcase – Latest Music Bar
Midlake – St George's Church

Best Brighton Releases
Momotaro – Second Side (album)

March
White MinkOur major coup in March was our second feature interview: this time we caught up with Brighton boy Mike Rosenberg aka Passenger, shortly after things had gone a bit crazy for him. His single 'Let Her Go' had become a crazy success story, even being featured during the American Super Bowl.

Best Gigs
White Mink – The Old Market
Bombay Bicycle Blub – Brighton Dome

Best Brighton Releases
Blood Red Shoes – Blood Red Shoes (album)
Metronomy – Love Letters (album)

April
The MoulettesLater in 2014 we discovered that Orbital had split and Paul Hartnol set out on his own under the new moniker 8:58. Before that happened BrightonsFinest caught up with him to discuss the album he was working on which at the time he gave every impression was going to be another Orbital record – a close reading of his interview may give us some hints at the disunity between the two brothers at the time.

Best Gigs
Blood Red Shoes – Concorde 2
Moulettes – The Haunt

Best Brighton Releases
Wildflowers – Let It Go (EP)

May
The Great Escape FestivalMay is always one of the busiest months on the Brighton calendar, not only do we have the citywide, month long Brighton Festival and Festival Fringe we also have The Great Escape festival for the musical fanatics amongst us. This year BrightonsFinest had major coverage of the event with in-depth coverage of the city-based music festival and the alternative festival that has built up around it. We had a series of interviews with some of the great local talent represented at the festival including The Xcerts, Elli Ingram, Paul Thomas Saunders, Yumi & The Weather, Royal Blood and Kat Morris who is the festival director. We had an in-depth review of the main festival from Adam and Jeff and a look at the Altenrative Great Escape. The Captain himself made it down to the festivals pre-party and gave us the low down on Yumi & The Weather live and Eva made her way to lots of great acts giving us reviews of individual performances from Little Dragon, Marika Hackman, Eyes & No Eyes, MØ and more.

Best Gigs
The Great Escape Festival

Best Brighton Releases
Quantic – Magnetica (album)
AKDK – Synths+Noise+Drums+Space (album)

June
Emiliana TorriniIn June we had two feature interviews – Jeff managed to chat to two Brighton acts who were both in the process of bringing out albums which we'd easily include in our best-of list for 2014. Stephen Brett from The Mojo Fins guided us through the history of the band and the changes they made to create their most fully realised work yet on their third album CIRCA. Hanna and Ollie from Moulettes let us in on the real reason behind their name (it's a haircut), let us peek into the interconnected world they live in with close ties to some huge acts, many of whom make guest appearances on their excellent album 'Constellations'.

Best Gigs
Emiliana Torrini – St George's Church
tUnE-yArDs – Concorde 2

Best Brighton Releases
Moulettes – Constellations (album)
The Mojo Fins – CIRCA (album)

July
Love SupremeTo celebrate the wonderful weather at the time we went fully into summer mode with a collection of our finest photos so far in the 2014 Summer gallery. Interviews with Icelandic artist Emiliana Torrini, who spent 11 years living in Brighton, and David Gedge from The Wedding Present, which partly acted as a preview to August's 'At The Edge of the Sea' festival. Keeping on the summer theme we put together a popular Summer Playlist featuring Emiliana Torrini, Fragile Creatures, The Mojo Fins, Metronomy, Quantic, Luke Sital-Singh, The Kooks, Passenger, Elli Ingram, Man Ray Sky, Anushka and lots more. We also brought you a review and video footage of The Love Supreme festival.

Best gigs:
Love Supreme Festival
Jacko Hooper EP Launch at The Brunswick Pub

Best Brighton Releases:
The Acid – Liminal (album)
Birdeatsbaby – The Bullet Within (album)

August

The Edge of The Sea 2014We launched a new section this month called 'Making Waves' to highlight some of the hidden talent behind the scenes of the local music industry we started with Bill Smith the Managing Director of Latest TV, the new local TV station which launched last year. Alongside this we had an interview with Luke Sital Singh, a former student at Brighton Institute of Modern Music, but obviously the hottest band in town this month, if not this year, was Royal Blood. We had an interview with them about their incredible rise to fame along with the album review which went on to hit the No.1 spot in the UK album charts. We also launched our first major revamp of the website with news, the latest music videos, Making Waves and a new sleeker look as well as clocking up over four thousand fans on Facebook!

Best Gigs
At The Edge of The Sea Festival – Concorde 2
The Growlers – Concorde 2

Best Brighton releases:
Luke Sital-Singh – 'The Fire Inside' (album)
Fragile Creatures – Fragile Creatures (EP)

September

Fragile CreaturesWe had an interview with Adam Freeland from The Acid who has been a pioneer of the electronic dance sound since the 90's and an interview with Mishkin Fitzgerald from Birdeatsbaby about their latest album The Bullet Within. September also saw tickets go on sale for Royal Blood at Brighton Dome… and they sold out within minutes! Iain Lauder joined the team team this month to help bring you even more reviews and interviews. What a month for new music we had, eight reviews this month including The Wytches, The Levellers, The Kooks and the much talked about Fable debut EP. We also spoke to Adam Bushell, college manager from BIMM, for this months making waves and the members of the team who are big fans of all things heavy made their way up to the inaugural Breakout Festival which was a stunning success and will surely be back next year.

Best Gigs:
Luke Sital-Singh – The Haunt
Fragile Creatures – Komedia Studio

Best Brighton releases:
The Wytches – Annabel Dream Reader (album)
The Levellers – Greatest Hits (album)

October

FKA TwigsFor some reason October is always one of the busiest months for gigs in Brighton, maybe it's that fresh crop of students – this month we reviewed more than fifteen shows including coverage of The Albert's Bootleg Festival (Part One and Part Two) where all live performances are recorded for later release and the city-festival Oxjam Takeover which we covered in Brighton and Worthing. We had two Making Waves interviews James McKeown from One Inch Badge and Tony Marks who presents the new music show on Juice FM. With the release of Dark Horses second album 'Hail Lucid State' we had a chat with their singer Lisa Lindley-Jones and interviewed Barry Adamson of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds fame about working with Nick and his other projects. In October Paul Hartnoll announced the Orbital split and launched his new project 8:58 which is sure to be a big news in 2015. This month saw FKA Twigs, one of the artists on most peoples 'Best of 2014' lists, play a stunning show at Brighton Dome Studio. We were given extensive behind the scenes access to Dobet Gnahore as she prepared for UK tour in Brighton with the local African promoter African Night Fever, including her breathtaking concert at Brighton Dome Studio which kicked off the tour.

Best Gigs
FKA twigs – Brighton Dome Studio
Dobet Gnahore – Brighton Dome Studio

Best Brighton Releases
Martha Tilston's – The Sea (album)
Pink Floyd – The Endless River (album)

November

King Lagoon's Flying Swordfish Dance BandNovember was another busy month for gigs so we took on another new writer, Adam Atkins, which helped us to cover another thirteen shows. Marika Hackman has been recording her debut album in 2014 so we interviewed this rising star. We also chatted with Mark Chadwick & Jeremy Cunningham from The Levellers about their new film and reflect on their history as they released a comprehensive best of album. In anticipation of DRILL : BRIGHTON we put together a new playlist featuring highlights of the bands playing which included: Wire, Fujiya & Miyagi, The Wytches, Jesca Hoop, The Physics House Band, Young Fathers, Younghusband, Savages, British Sea Power, TOY and many more. Also this month our most esteemed writer Jeff Hemmings started co-presenting a new show called 'Under The Radar' on LatestTV where he showcases some great unseen music videos. We also chatted to Tim Brown the director of Brighton's Cine City film festival for our Making Waves feature.

Best Gigs
Jungle – Concorde 2
King Lagoon’s Flying Swordfish Dance Band – Dome Studio

Best Brighton Releases
My Accomplice – Original Soundtrack Recording

December

DrillTo finish off the year we had the climax of Drill Festival – so far Wire have hosted this touring city-festival in London and Seattle so we were proud to have it come to our home town and gave it the appropriate in depth coverage (DRILL : BRIGHTON part one and part two). We caught up with Colin Newman from Wire to talk about the festival and Wire as well as catching up with Steven Ansell from Blood Red Shoes to talk about their last 10 years in the band and Gomez who have been on hiatus since 2012 but re-emerged in 2014 with a tour and maybe more to follow.

Alongside this we continued our look at the new local TV station with a Making Waves Q&A with David Elphick co-presenter of Bmusic's Noisereel show on Latest TV. The year finished with two shows which were the hottest tickets all year, Royal Blood at The Dome and The Levellers film preview & gig at The Duke of Yorks and to celebrate the end of the year we reached over ten thousand followers on Twitter… what a way to finish the year!

Best Gigs
DRILL : BRIGHTON
Sharon Van Etten – St Georges Church
Temples – Concorde 2

Best Brighton Releases
Jo Harman and Company 'Live at the Royal Albert Hall'