Album Review – Night House: Everyone is Watching from Afar

Album Release – Night House: Everyone is Watching from Afar

With what must surely be one of the most aptly named albums around in the current environment, Night House have released their debut LP, Everyone is Watching from Afar. Having been likened to Tom Waits, Radiohead and the genius of Brian Eno, the Brighton collective make music drawn from deep-felt lyrics backed by the ambience of electro-orchestral melodies.

Opening track To Be With sets the pace for the album’s storytelling with Nicholas Williams’ falsetto calling to mind the stark emotion of Antony and the Johnsons. The variety of instruments used throughout (including harpist Ellie Ford on The Roots in The Wires) make for a multi-layered listening experience, with Bloodlines adding a gentle country feel of melancholy. However, don’t be led to think that this album is anything other than uplifting; a complicated but beautiful piece of work that is well worth taking some time out for.

As is the unavoidable norm right now, some planned live dates have been put on hold. In the interim you can find more from Night House here and watch the live video for Bloodlines below.

Everyone is Watching from Afar is out now on Back in the Woods Records 

Review by Siobhan
Photo by Alice Humphreys via A Badge of Friendship PR

30th March 2020

Album Review – Wax Machine: Earthsong of Silence

Album Review – Wax Machine: Earthsong of Silence

Transporting you away from your worries to a trancelike state of relaxation, Brighton’s Wax Machine bring their new album Earthsong of Silence to the table. Full of 60s’ style psychedelia mixed with experimental folk rock and frenzied flute playing, if you’re looking for something to take you far away from the current media maelstrom, this could be just the thing.

Vocally, there’s a nod to Grace Slick’s Jefferson Airplane days, notably on Shade and Truth and fans of the likes of Bardo Pond will likely find this to their taste. Time Machine is perhaps the most commercial of the tracks with a feel of Small Faces’ Itchycoo Park underlying the half sung, half narrated storyline. The whole album offers a welcome escape and appreciation of the cosmic wonders of nature, something that we’re probably all missing out on a little right now.

Planned tour dates for the band have obviously been taken off schedule but look out for opportunities to see them live later in the year.

Earthsong of Silence is out now via Beyond Beyond is Beyond, you can watch the video for Shade below and catch up with Wax Machine here

Review by Siobhan

26th March 2020

Album Review – Baxter Dury: The Night Chancers

Album Review – Baxter Dury: The Night Chancers 

‘You left me with the noise of the night chancers,’ yelps Baxter Dury on the titular track of this, his sixth album. 

But who are the night chancers? Dury describes them as those hotel ravers who are out for ‘good cheer till the wee hours’, but this LP projects little good cheer; instead, The Night Chancers is a brilliant, sordid peek into the pursuit of after-hours promiscuity, jealous insecurity and palpable heartbreak.

He might be coming off the back of the universal praise of 2017’s Prince of Tears, but only Slumlord here comes close to matching the crossover appeal of the synthpop groove of its lead single Miami. Though that’s not a knock against this project, at ten tracks and thirty minutes in length The Night Chancers doesn’t overstay its welcome and Dury’s knack for observation through his sly, smirking delivery against pulsating synths, hip-hop percussion and slinking disco basslines makes it a compelling listen.

Dury is a joy to listen to, his descriptions so sharp and realised you could be fooled into being able to smell the dulling red wine and stale aftershave steaming out of the speakers. The Night Chancers might feature some of his most colourful characterisations yet, though with current affairs considered, I doubt you’d want to be quarantined with any of for them for too long.

The female vocal refrains which pepper the album with a hint of French pop glamour too eventually succumb to the disco gloom of Dury’s vignettes, crooning ‘Who the fuck are you my friend?’ amidst the chorus strings of  Saliva Hog, and moaning in unison throughout the slithering Samurai.

It’s on Daylight that Dury showcases the strongest sympathy for his subject; over a swooping instrumental he contributes more vocally here than on any other track, crafting a tangible heartbreak reminiscent of The Streets’ Dry Your Eyes as Baxter tenderly murmurs ‘You went missing into the night time / And I knew that was it forever’.

The Night Chancers sees Dury continue to carve out his niche as the most vital cockney conversationalist and one of pop music’s most unique voices, only Australian singer-songwriter Alex Cameron comes to mind as his contemporary; both modern raconteurs, masters of guiding a listener into worlds occupied by social media snake charmers, midnight cowboys and Jilted-Johns, all the while staying effortlessly charismatic.

More from Baxter Dury here.
The Night Chancers is out now on Heavenly Records – watch the video for opening track I’m Not Your Dog below.

Review by Ryan Bell

24th March 2020

New Music – The Lounge Society + Hallan + Langkamer

New releases: The Lounge Society, Hallan, Langkamer

The Lounge Society – Generation Game (single)

Yet another top track from the Speedy Wunderground team as release number 34 comes your way from Yorkshire’s The Lounge Society. With a combined age below the Covid-19 risk category, the four-piece made up of 16 and 17 year olds have created something beyond their years in terms of depth and substance. With audible influences ranging from The Velvet Underground to The Fall, the single drops past the 5 minute mark with a compelling bass-line and numerous changes in tone and pace. The band say, ‘Generation Game means a lot to all of us, and we feel it’s an ideal introduction to us as a band. To us the lyrics reflect what we’re all about – shedding light on topics and events we feel are criminally ignored – and for it to be our very first offering to the world (especially through Speedy) really helps get that across.’ Having supported bands like Warmduscher and The Wants, The Lounge Society look set to take the headline slot comfortably as soon as we’re all allowed back out into the world again.

Generation Game is available digitally on 27th March and on limited edition vinyl from 24th April via Speedy Wunderground. It looks as though the vinyl is already sold out on pre-order on the SW website but is available at selected record shops so check out your local independent for stock. In the meantime, have a listen here…

 

The Lounge Society

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Hallan – Yesterday (With Him) (single)

Released today, Yesterday (With Him) is the latest offering from Portsmouth’s Hallan, a spiky intake of cynicism about people finding escapism through sensationalised media rather than reality. The single’s style slots nicely into the cluster of currently favoured artists championing spoken word vocals against a dark musical backdrop, the likes of Shame and Dry Cleaning coming to mind. Vocalist Conor explains ‘This song is for those people at the pub, with the nagging set of clubbers three tables down and for the uni students pretending not to hear their peers across the table discussing facts about their private life in minute detail. Many problems spring to mind when fixating on the expectations of youth. However, Yesterday (With Him) highlights the tasks of crawling through day to day life and realising that despite the scope of our existence, people still choose to discuss cheap television and the lives of ‘social influencers’ over valuable human connection’. A strong track from a band with strong potential; keep an eye out for live dates once the curfew lifts. 

Yesterday (With Him) is out now, listen below…

Hallan

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Langkamer – Full Contact (single)

From Bristol’s burgeoning music scene, a taste of Americana from Langkamer comes in the form of new single Full Contact. With an undertone of country rock, the overall sound conjures up a hybrid of The Milk Carton Kids meets Crosby, Stills & Nash (& Young if you like, why not) with a UK twist. The track is about the British school system; its accompanying video depicting a strange 70s’ cult. Drummer Josh says about the song, ‘I had a pretty miserable time in school. It was such an absurdly strict and stifling environment. Even the classes I should’ve loved and done well in were structured in such a restrictive way as to choke any joy out of them. It’s a rotten way to spend your time. That’s what the song’s about. Plus I guess it’s kind of a tribute to the Louis Sachar novel Holes.’

Full Contact is out now on Breakfast Records – watch the video here…

Langkamer

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Words by Siobhan
Photos: The Lounge Society by Piran Aston, Langkamer by AJ Stark, both via One Beat PR, Hallan by Tom Westwell via Majesty PR

20th March 2020

Preview – The Great Escape

The Great Escape, Brighton, 14th – 16th May 2020

A stalwart of the UK festival season, The Great Escape is a huge showcase for new music and spreads across the whole of Brighton with venues of all shapes and sizes playing host to hundreds of artists from all over the world. In just two months’ time it’s all due to take place again.

In the light of current international festival cancellations, it’s a waiting game for all involved to see how things will develop but the latest information from TGE says ‘At this time, all shows and events are going ahead as planned. Please be assured that the safety and health of all staff and visitors is our main priority and we are implementing recommendations and instructions appropriately. We are closely monitoring official guidance from the World Health Organisation, Public Health England, UK Government, local public health authorities and are working with event promoters and organisers as information evolves.’

Hopefully things will improve in time for the festival to go ahead, even if not in its usual form. In the meantime, we’re taking a look at some of the artists on the line-up and hoping that all is good to go ahead. Here are six of the best UK acts who each come highly recommended…

Arxx

Local two piece Arxx play full throttle garage rock with a sense of purpose and determination. Favourites on the Brighton scene, their live sets are always worth catching.

Kid Kapichi

From not far along the coast in Hastings, Kid Kapichi are attracting lots of attention, having recently toured with Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes amongst others. Check out their full on indie tunes reminiscent of early Slaves.

Lazarus Kane

A live highlight for us last year, Lazarus Kane is a lot of fun to watch and brings bucketloads of fine indie disco – featured in our ones to watch in 2020 list, don’t miss seeing the band if you get a chance.

Lucia & the Best Boys

Part of the brilliant current Glaswegian scene, Lucia & the Best Boys are gradually becoming better known across the country and offer up accomplished indie grunge with an 80s’ synth backdrop, lots to take in here.

Lynks Afrikka

Having had the privilege of seeing Lynks Afrikka live recently, this is a big recommendation for tongue-in-cheek art pop with plenty of fun and dressing up thrown in, you won’t be disappointed.

Walt Disco

Another band in our ones to watch for 2020 list, Walt Disco are another excellent product of Glasgow’s new music scene. Combining indie disco with all the flair but none of the saccharine of the New Romantics, this band are clearly on the up and deserve your attention.

All festival details, updates and ticket links are on a The Great Escape website and you can listen to the artists featured here on the playlist below…

* UPDATE 23rd March 2020: Sadly, as expected, this year’s Great Escape has been cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions – tickets can be carried forward to TGE 2021 or refunded from point of purchase *


Words and photos by Siobhan exc Lucia photo by Alan

13th March 2020

Instore – Porridge Radio at Pie & Vinyl

Porridge Radio, Pie & Vinyl, Southsea, 10th March 2020

Playing a string of record shop instores to promote their new album Every Bad, Porridge Radio paid a visit to surely the most intimate setting of them all, the wonderfully eclectic environment of Southsea’s Pie & Vinyl, a shop with music, memorabilia and, of course, pies.

With everyone squeezed in, they played a beguiling set kicking off with Born Confused, its questioning tone and chant of ‘Thank you for making me happy’ resonating through the shop. The tracks are full of energy and emotion, the addition of violin strings in the background adding another layer of atmosphere and sentiment. The album is an accomplished piece of work and will no doubt delight fans and new listeners alike – pictures from the instore below…

Catch up with Porridge Radio here – Every Bad is released via Secretly Canadian tomorrow, 13th May 2020

Words and photos by Siobhan

12th March 2020

Preview – All Points East Festival

All Points East, Victoria Park, London, 22nd-24th & 29th-31st May 2020

Following on from its success in previous years, All Points East returns to London over two weekends in May, a host of big names already announced and more to come.

Headliners already confirmed are Bombay Bicycle Club (22nd), Tame Impala (23rd), Massive Attack (24th), Kraftwerk (29th) and The Kooks (30th). The last night, Sunday 31st, is still to be announced but, if the others are anything to go by, the news is set to be worth waiting for.

There are also plenty of other artists to look out for on the various line-ups – the inimitable Iggy Pop, guitar legend Johnny Marr, the exceptionally talented Nadine Shah and everyone’s favourite disco cowboys Warmduscher to name just a few.

To coincide with the festival, In The NBHD will be putting on a calendar of free activities including cinema, music, arts and creative workshops coupled with a selection of street food sellers and bars. This year focuses on sustainability and there will be opportunities to learn how to upcycle using repurposed and natural materials.

Check out the All Points East website for full details of who’s been announced so far, updates as they come through and ticket links.

In light of other recent music events being affected by COVID-19, please keep a check on news from all festivals/events to make sure you have the latest information

*UPDATE 27th March 2020: Sadly, as expected, this year’s All Points East has been cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions – tickets will be automatically refunded from point of purchase, you are advised that you do not need to contact your seller unless you haven’t heard from them by 9th April *

Words by Siobhan

9th March 2020

Live – Modern Nature + Aoife Nessa Frances at The Green Door Store

Modern Nature / Aoife Nessa Frances at The Green Door Store, Brighton, 3rd March 2020  

Modern Nature is the meeting of minds of Jack Cooper (Ultimate Painting/Mazes), Will Young (BEAK>) plus Woods’ Aaron Neveu and Sunwatchers’ Jeff Tobias. Their music is inspired by the juxtaposition of urban and rural living, their name by a Derek Jarman book. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, they have created something that’s hard to compare along with a sense of interest and intrigue. On Tuesday they visited Brighton to play to a packed Green Door Store.

Travelling from Dublin for support duties, Aoife Nessa Frances and her band brought an abundance of psych-folk melodies, mixing light and dark in the music and lyrics. Aoife’s vocal is pleasantly hypnotic, not the same but perhaps in the same field as contemporaries Cate Le Bon and Gwenno. Her debut album Land of No Junction is well worth a listen.

It’s often a source of perplexity that people go to gigs then provide their own background chat to accompany the music. Something in the atmosphere of Modern Nature’s set from start to finish clearly dissuaded anyone from doing so and it was an absolute pleasure to only hear the band.

Playing through their album How to Live, their musicianship is obvious but understated. Soft vocals meet frenzied sax solos head on, complimented by a seamless transference between guitars, keys, drums and occasional maracas. There are hints of psychedelia, folk, electronica and the Bowie/Eno collaborations of the late 70s. Often the songs run into each other with the barest of gaps and still the crowd remain entranced, only adding their voices in appreciation. When it’s getting late and well into the set, Jack contemplates how many more songs they can fit in and asks ‘What’s the time?’ ‘Half seven!’ is the hopeful response.

Modern Nature have found a niche that draws in lots of different musical tastes. The Brighton show was a resounding success and they look sure to keep building their reputation as word spreads.

You can keep up with news from both artists here:
Modern Nature    Aoife Nessa Frances

Words and photos by Siobhan

6th March 2020

Exhibition – Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers (Design Museum)

Exhibition, The Design Museum, London, 1st April – 26th July 2020
Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers

Header shot: Kraftwerk © Peter Boettcher

Just four weeks from today, The Design Museum in London will be opening a new exhibition which looks set to be a must-see for any fans of electronic music and the technology attached to it. With immersive audio-visual experiences and a chance to see exhibits and installations from the world of electronica, this could feel more like a night out than a visit to the museum. Take 3D trips with icons of the scene Kraftwerk and The Chemical Brothers and bring back memories of the pulsing dancefloors of the rave scene – all the while marveling at how this genre has spanned the decades and remains at the forefront of new music today.

Left: Jean Michel Jarre’s virtual studio, photo © Gil Lefauconnier
Right: MR 808 Interactive by ROBOTS SONIC, photo © Gil Lefauconnier

Full details from the press release below:

‘The Design Museum in London launches a new exhibition exploring the hypnotic world of electronic music, from its origins to its futuristic dreams. Discover how design, technology and innovation powered the genre in the work of visionaries including Kraftwerk, The Chemical Brothers, Jeff Mills, Daphne Oram, Jean-Michel Jarre and Aphex Twin. Experience the museum premiere of electronic pioneers The Chemical Brothers’ sensory spectacle by creative studio Smith & Lyall, featuring mesmerising visuals for the Grammy Award-winning track Got to Keep On. This exhibition makes connections between electronic music and contemporary design, fashion and art, including works from Charles Jeffrey of Loverboy, Andreas Gursky, Peter Saville, Boiler Room, The Designers Republic, Christian Marclay, Jeremy Deller and more.

The Chemical Brothers, The O2, 30th Nov 2019 © Luke Dyson

Grab your headphones and plug into the first music-themed exhibition at the Design Museum, from Wednesday 1 April 2020 – featuring a club-like environment where lighting and video are synched to a specially curated soundtrack by French DJ Laurent Garnier. Complete with a new series of live AV experiences, visitors will be transported by multi-sensory installations. This is your chance to step inside the visual world of The Chemical Brothers, featuring elements of their legendary live show, as visuals and lights interact to create a three dimensional immersive experience by Smith & Lyall – inspired by the psychedelic duo’s acclaimed No Geography Tour. Delve into the extreme visual world created by Weirdcore for Aphex Twin’s Collapse and celebrate 50 years of legendary group Kraftwerk with a 30 minute 3D experience.

Kraftwerk © Peter Boettcher

Left: Peter Keene, In Search of Daphne, The Oramics Machine Revisited,
A Work in Continual Progress 2015-2018

Right: Jeff Mills’ Supernatural costume, photo © Gil Lefauconnier

An adaptation of the hugely popular exhibition from Musée de la Musique – Philharmonie de Paris, the London showcase will put a spotlight on UK electronic and rave culture. Featuring over 400 items, the exhibition is divided into 4 sections: Man and Woman Machine, Dancefloor, Mix and Remix, and Utopian Dreams and Ideals. The journey begins with a timeline of revolutionary instruments and the innovators who pioneered them, including Donald Buchla, Tadao Kikumoto for the Roland Corporation and Daphne Oram for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. As well as an ‘imagined’ music studio from electronic music innovator Jean-Michel Jarre, a dynamic light installation by 1024 architecture, the Moog 55 synthesiser and the iconic TR-808. Travel to warehouses and dancefloors across the world in celebration of rave and club culture. Explore the design process behind the vinyl sleeves of Tomato and Underworld, fetish fashion by iconic queer designer Walter Van Beirendonck, objects from the iconic Haçienda club and turn back time with large-scale images of rave culture by Andreas Gursky. Expect to see clothing by Charles Jeffrey of Loverboy, projections of dancers from all corners of the globe including New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and Moscow and relive the moment of ecstasy experienced by many on the dance floor.’

Vanity Flightcase by Bruno Peinado, photo © Gil Lefauconnier

Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers runs from 1st April – 26th July 2020
The Design Museum, 224-228 Kensington High St, London W8 6AG
Opening times: Mon-Thur & Sun 10-6, Fri-Sat 10-8 (10-9 on selected Fridays)
Standard tickets Mon-Fri Adult £16, Child £8, Sat-Sun Adult £18, Child £9; various concessions and group tickets are also available, please check the website for further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from The Design Museum and are copyrighted as credited

Intro by Siobhan

4th March 2020

 

Live – Dry Cleaning + Pozi at The Green Door Store

Dry Cleaning / Pozi at The Green Door Store, Brighton, 28th February 2020 

Despite a strictly bare minimum online presence, the buzz around Dry Cleaning is such that they are still selling out venues on their current tour and look to be headed for much bigger audiences.

Support for the evening came from London trio Pozi, an implausible yet effective stab at post-punk via the medium of drums, bass and violin, with all three band members taking vocals at points. Their sound has a feel of Buzzcocks meets Television and is certainly worth a return listen. Intriguing.

Things have moved on rapidly for Dry Cleaning, whose spoken word lyrics maintain a dark humour running throughout. Their released EPs have been snapped up and there is much anticipation for a debut album. Since their last visit to Brighton they have undoubtedly tightened up their sound and play with a more obvious confidence. With cassette tapes and handwritten lyrics clustered front of stage, there is a sense of nostalgia coupled with the contemporary  structure and content of their songs that makes for quite compulsive listening and viewing. It’s going to be interesting to see what path they take next; they certainly had the crowd in the palm of their hands here.

You can find both bands here:
Dry Cleaning    Pozi

Words and photos by Siobhan

2nd March 2020