Review of the year – Iain Lauder

My favourite gig of the year goes to a show which saw one of the lowest attendances I had been to all year, the super smooth whispered Americana of the still unknown Sam Evian. Announcing himself to Brighton at this year’s The Great Escape festival, the New York-based band came back to play The Hope & Ruin with their second album in tow and gave one of the most audibly pleasing, captivating and damn right impressive shows I’ve seen in years. It reminded me of a similar situation when seeing Andy Shauf in an empty Prince Albert pub. The band’s musicianship was immense, the songs incredibly strong, and they somehow managed to sound like so many of the great rock acts from yesteryear but stay sounding totally unique. I cannot wait for the next time Sam Evian comes through our city to perform in front of a bigger audience.

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Best of 2018

It has been one hell of a year. From the influx of thousands of artists during festival season to watching many of our most-loved Brighton bands bloom into genuine world beaters, 2018 has been an incredibly successful year for music locally. Our Brightonsfinest writers now look back over the past 12 months to remember their highlights on record and in the live sphere as well as the ones we missed.

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Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

The ego has landed! Arctic Monkeys have finally delivered their long-anticipated sixth studio album, and it could be their most ambitious to date. A concept album, of pure retro futurism, set in a luxury hotel on the moon for the rich, the famous and even Jesus himself. This collection of loungey piano ballads seems a major departure from the big riffs of AM, presenting something of a challenge to those fans who’ve waited five long years for another hit record from the quartet. The album begins with ‘Star Treatment’ and the change of sound is immediately apparent, as Alex Turner croons over this lush new setting, smooth jazz chords pass by like elevator music from the 60s. The muted, staccato bass guitar and percussive wood block initially recalls sonics from The Beach Boys Pet Sounds, but the vibe is more akin to the music you’d expect to hear in an extremely glamorous retro game show, played while the rotunda turns to reveal a gleaming sports car.

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Arctic Monkeys announce details of new album

The Arctic Monkeys are set to return with their sixth album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, to be released on 11th May. Produced by James Ford and the band’s frontman and songwriter Alex Turner, it’s their first studio album since 2013’s AM, and looks to be another big step forward for this iconic band. No new music has been relased as yet, but already you can hear AM‘s fans purring with anticipation!

The LP comes with a gatefold sleeve, lyric and photo booklet and exclusively via the band’s store, on silver vinyl. It will also be available on standard CD, vinyl and digitally.

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