Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Migrating to Wordpress - New EP FREE DOWNLOAD

Hello all! Just a quick note to say that I have migrated the blog over to wordpress which I will be using for future posts. All of the content from has been moved over to the site and the interface means that the site can now integrate with my website too.

On other news, yesterday I recorded a new 4-track EP, which is available to download for free through soundcloud. Enjoy and see you on the otherside (WordPress).

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Tommy Sissons EP Review - Etchings

Award-winning spoken word poet Tommy Sissons has teamed up with a handful of Brighton's busiest performers to create his latest EP, Etchings, which was released at the end of September 2014 on QM Records. Featuring with striking black and white artwork created by local photographer Lauren Joy Kennett, the cover captures the essence of Tommy and his music simply but articulately, demonstrating visually what his lyrics display aurally; working class culture in the south.

With smooth guitars from the guys of Normanton Street, drums from former-Maccabees drummer and St. Longplayer producer Robert Dylan Thomas, bass from Time For T's Joshua Robert Nicholson Taylor and soaring saxophone melodies from the talented Nick Webb, Tommy has just the right backdrop to showcase his lyrical and vocal abilities with this smooth and well produced EP which has a real Brighton feeling to it, from the seaside soundscapes of seagulls in 'Early Wakers' to the lyrical content throughout. 

Here is my track by track breakdown of Etchings. I hope you enjoy the EP. It available to download for just £2 on bandcamp here. You can stream the tracks to listen to in the player below.

1. Early Wakers

Starting with sounds of waves crashing down and distant seagulls, the driving bass opens the track like an alarm clock, before the vocals wake up and come in. The sheer quality of the lyrics is displayed within the first few of lines of the opening track, spoken at an unhurried pace over a continental sounding lazy-morning saxophone and gentle guitars and bass:

"Rise here with the early wakers
The break of sun-pacers
The fry-up creators
And the desperate for caffeine hot coffee makers
Rise with the homeless
Leave home for your purpose"

2. Fish and Chip Paper Headlines

Definitely displaying the influence of Normanton Street in this track, the slow funk-soul groove of drums, bass and guitar provides the backdrop to this track which looks at the expression "Today's news is tomorrow's chip shop paper" in a new context to ask if people think that this is justification for wrongdoings, evil deeds and anything they please, and the cost of this philosophy on society.

3. My Son

My son is a heart-warming track of a dad (or possibly an unrelated older male figure) giving advice to his boy, using his life experience to tell him how things can be, but telling him to pay heed to his words and not his actions: 

"But pay no attention to me my son
I'm set in my ways
My partisan alignment is to apathy
Make no mention of me my son
Do not waste your days"

4. We Are Young

An upbeat track which juxtaposes funk sounds with unapologetically heavyweight youth cultural observations and criticisms. If you are young, you will totally get this and wonder how things went from Pokemon cards and The Simpsons to questionable habits with questionable company in questionable locations. It's because you are young.

5. Possibilities

With more of a hip-hop vibe, this track ditches the common lyrical themes of the genre in lieu of a warming list of things that Tommy would like to do if he had the time, from the simple "cherish awkward conversations with my barber" to the more adventurous "makeshift a boat from twigs and rope and sail the seven seas". Possibilities is a masterclass of imagination, comprehensively sincere and utterly moving.
Check out the live video of the track for Clockwork Owl below.

6. If You're Gonna

This track is another well thought-out lyrical work, seeking not to justify character flaws and unattractive personality traits, but advising you of the blind spots that they may leave you with, suggesting ways to make them more bearable to yourself, and those around you. 
"If you speak make sure it's worth listening to."

7. Etchings 

A track about making important life decisions, going against the grain, leaving an imprint on society for future generations through etchings, finding your place in society and finding yourself. So pretty much a track about everything that matters, told in a free-flowing storytelling narrative of Tommy Sissons, against the ambient sounds of his band, as the instrumental coda fades out the EP, until the next one begins.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Who To See in Brighton in November 2014

As the autumn leaves adorn the trees (and pavements) we welcome in the closing months of the 2014 - Where has the time gone really? With the Brighton Comedy Festival passed, November is the perfect chance to get back into live music and wean yourself off evenings at home in front of the TV or reading the latest Buzzfeed about absolutely nothing. This November has an exceptional variety of artists from jazz to folk and everything in between so why not take a look at my hot picks for for the month in Brighton and see what you like the look of. Keep music live and alive.

Wednesday 5th November

Melting Vinyl Presents: Ben Watt Trio - Komedia - 8:30pm - £15/£17

Ben Watt, it's safe to say, has more than a few strings to his bow. As a performer, songwriter, singer, DJ and author, he certainly has plenty to keep himself busy and I'm sure that he rarely has idle thumbs! Former half of alt-pop duo Everything But The Girl, Ben has embarked on several other projects since their final performance in 2000 including a successful DJing career, setting up his own independent label, an online radio show, writing and publishing a couple of books and as of March 2013 continuing his solo career as a singer-songwriter. This month he will be performing some of his recent material with his trio. Support from Meadowlark


Thursday 6th November

The Sonic Agency Present: John Power - Sticky Mike's Frog Bar - 7pm - £10

Formerly of The La's and Cast, John Power is a Liverpudlian singer-songwriter who has been performing music since the 80's. Probably most famous for the song "Guiding Star" with Cast, his solo material has a grainy detail to it, with experienced hands of a seasoned guitarist and undeniably relaxed stage presence, he is just as comfortable flying solo as playing with a full band. For fans of Ocean Colour Scene and other Britpop/folk acts. With support from Alex Lipinski and local solo artist Lewis McKale


Saturday 8th November

The Thirst - Green Door Store - 7pm - £5

I first saw this band supporting Will and The People back in September 2013 and they were actually the first band that I ever did a video interview with, discussing Jamie Oliver, viral videos and of course their music. The guys were really friendly, hard-working and perform their catchy upbeat funky music with style and swagger. For fans of Bloc Party and funk bands. Check out their great cover of Get Lucky below!


Wednesday 12th November

Gregory Porter - Brighton Dome - 7:30pm - £27.50 - £37

Having seen Gregory perform at Cheltenham Jazz Festival and Love Supreme Festival two years running, I can safely say that he is not somebody that you will ever get tired of seeing live. His band of piano, double bass, drums and sax are super tight, supporting Mr Porter's huge and beautiful voice which can fill concert halls and stadiums with ease. His songs are catchy, rhythmic, heartfelt and melodic, earning him great critical acclaim including the Best Vocal Jazz Album Grammy for his second album Liquid Spirit. Having spoken to him on several occasions, I know that Gregory loves performing in the UK and always puts on a fantastic show so dig deep for this one and come along to check out a contemporary jazz legend in the making. You won't be sorry!


Tuesday 18th November

iluvlive - Komedia - 8:00pm - £2

iluvlive is a live music event which launched in London in 2004. Supporting homegrown talent through regular nights in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Nottingham and Manchester, it has previously featured big-hitters such as Jessie J, Ed Sheeran, Tinie Tempah, PLan B and Emile Sandi. Following the launch night in October, iluvlive is returning to Komedia for the second installment, showcasing local artists featuring Staniford, Kyra, Lu'Ami, Ceezlin and more artists to be announced. With 15 minute sets and a penchant for hip-hop/dance music, it's a chance to see a wide range of up-and-coming artists for just a couple of pounds, or free when you sign up for the guestlist on


Wednesday 19th November

Paul Thomas Saunders - Green Door Store - 7pm - £9

Reviews of "Devastatingly Brilliant", "Sensational" and "A revelation" from the national presses captured my attention with Paul Thomas Saunders, and rightly so. With rich synth textures Snow Patrol drums and Fleet Foxes style vocals, his music is quite poppy, friendly and very easy to listen to. With interesting track titles including 'A Lunar Veteran's Guide To Re-Entry' and 'In High Heels Burn It Down' his album Beautiful Desolation is certainly an interesting addition to any CD collection. Check out the video 'Appointment In Samarra' below.


Thursday 20th November

Marika Hackman - Green Door Store - 8pm - £9.20

Another find of mine from Latitude Festival this year, Marika Hackman is closing her November tour of the UK with a performance at Brighton's Green Door Store. I was instantly captivated by her song "Bath Is Black" and from then on I was hooked. She combines a lyrical rhythm and narrative style often associated with the likes of Arctic Monkeys, telling things how they are, underpinned by a wash of bouncy synths, guitars and drums. Lots of acute little melodies to keep you humming along for weeks after. Don't miss out!


Monday 24th November

Melting Vinyl Presents: AsgeirKomedia - 8pm - £12.50/£14.50

Writing and performing catchy Icelandic folk-pop songs with a beautiful atmospheric edge to them has brought Asgeir a strong international fanbase. I saw his set at Latitude this year and the audience were captivated by his soft falsetto vocals and simple yet moving lyrics: 

"Higher, higher
Far away
And the glare of this world
Is small and humbled"

For a man with a clearly limited knowledge of English language - there was not a lot of talking in between his tracks - Asgeir is a straight down to business kinda guy with the music to back it up.


Tuesday 25th November

Ruarri Joseph Trio Komedia - 7:30pm - £11.50

Edinbugh-born Ruarri Joseph found his roots in songwriting after moving to New Zealand at the age of 11 in a remote farming community called Dannevirke. After moving to London (age 16) and then Cornwall (age 17) Ruarri had the first of his three children aged just 19. After prioritising his family, he decided to venture on with his music as a solo artist, with his first EP 'All Substance and No Style' catching the attention of Atlantic records who oversaw the release of his debut album 'Tales of Grime and Grit' in 2007. Since then, Ruarri started his own label, Pip Productions which he released his following albums on, including most recently Big Brother in 2012/2013. His folk songs are personal, warm and sincere. For fans of classic folk artists like Dylan and Cohen, as well as next generation folk artists like Jack Johnson and Ben Howard.


Wednesday 26th November

Melting Vinyl Presents: Perfume Genius The Haunt  - 7pm - £10/£12

Fresh from the release of his third album, Too Bright, Seattle-based solo artist Mike Hadreas aka Perfume Genius, is touring America in October before heading over the Atlantic for his European and UK tour, Performing in Brighton on 26th November. With a reputation for piano ballads, Perfume Genius builds on this in his critically acclaimed new album which is no longer "a little timid" and more staring you straight in the eye and giving you a good talking to. As he recently told Port Magazine 
“[For this album] I have this very specific man-dressed-as-a-woman-dressed-as-a-man kind of thing, like an Inception drag. I want things to look iconic and have a classy feel, but still feel like me”. 
Check out the video below for his track 'Grid'.


Sunday 30th November

Ian Shaw The Brunswick - 8pm - £12/£10 advance

Twice winner of "Best Jazz Vocalist" at the BBC Jazz Awards, presenter of the Ronnie Scott's radio show on and performer on a number of highly acclaimed albums, Ian Shaw's name has become a household name when talking about male jazz vocalists. Having performed on a number of TV shows from Jools Holland to Top of the Pops and collaborated with everybody from Quincy Jones to Cleo Laine and Joe Beck, Ian has had a prolific and successful career in the jazz arena. His latest show, A Bit of a Mouthful, fresh from his run at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, combines comedy, original songs and great musicianship for a night of class and entertainment.


For more updates of local music reviews, articles and interviews, follow my blog or follow me on twitter @tomsayeruk. If you have any gigs that you would like me to review, drop me a line on

Saturday, 20 September 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: Cut The Funk - 'Weekend Coda'

Last month Kent-based funk quintet Cut The Funk played an intimate gig at Brighton Komedia, as part of their south coast UK tour in support of the release of their debut album 'Weekend Coda'.  Unfortunately the gig was quite sparsely attended, which didn't seem to make much sense as other dates in larger venues of the tour had sold out. Clearly Brighton is still recovering a little bit on Monday nights and isn't willing to take a punt on some funk. Their loss I can safely say.

The set was filled with original tracks from the group, not all too common amongst funk bands who are often limited to Stevie Wonder and Tamla Motown tracks (not that there is anything wrong with that, but it is always nice to hear something fresh!). They played a couple of cover tracks, in the vein of Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis: the more serious side of jazz without going too far off the rails. The group performed extremely tightly as a unit, even if they didn't look like the most coherent group on stage with their dress and demeanor. The music was intricate and virtuosic, without going too far, which I think is a very fine line on the jazz side of things. 

Here is my track by track breakdown of his debut album, 'Weekend Coda', which is available to buy now on itunes for just £7.99.

1. Blue Milk - Opening with a dreamlike Ron Burgundy style scalic passage on the jazz flute, the track drops in just before the 1 minute mark into a classic funk groove as the saxophone takes over the lead for this instrumental head arrangement. Would sound great in Casablanca on a Thursday night!

2. Afroturf - Starting with a particularly rhythmic percussion part which carries on throughout the chirrups of the saxophone and flute, the track is underpinned by bass and guitar riffs which are barely audible, until the brass drops out about 3 minutes 30 into the track and they each get a little space to improvise, albeit quite quietly.

3. (Ain't No Thing But A) Chicken Wing - Starting with a guitar riff this time, the pitch-bending opening, which is joined by an ambient synth and sparse drums, is simple yet effective. The sax in the verse has a slight Baker Street cheesy feeling to it, possibly playing it a little safe melodically and not venturing too far into the jazzy sphere of things. Whilst I know there is a difference in styles between jazz and funk, I think the track lacks a certain panache and gets a little tired towards the end. Check out a live video of the track below, from December 2011. 

4. The Promise - Very upbeat with some cool synth sounds, funky guitar riffs and precise brass parts, this track has everything that I wanted the previous track to deliver and then some. A really catchy number and definitely my favourite from the album so far. Have a look at the video below and see if you agree! 

5. Art Dart - Spaced and mellow, almost like a Lionel Richie ballad to start, the guitar lines and opening sax parts are smooth, classy and well balanced by the razor sharp percussion. The structure and textures in the last couple of tracks are far more developed than the opening few and come across as far more polished to my ears, avoiding the slight feeling of repetition from some of the earlier riffs.

6. Cut The Funk - As the band's signature track, from the name anyway, you would be right to expect big things from this number. To start with, it is the first track to include vocals so far, with a chorus of voices chanting "cut the funk" as the track unwinds. Whilst I was hopeful that the song was going to deliver some more vocals, this doesn't extend any further than some backing vocal oohs and the "cut the funk" which keeps appearing, slightly feeling comedic to me, offering little to develop the track and seeming a curious time to break the vocal silence thus far. Otherwise the track has some great drumming and cool little fills, just a few too few words for my liking!

7. The Velvet Gutter - With the brass not coming in til about 45 seconds into the track, it gives the other instruments a chance to do their thing in the foreground, with a nice keyboard chord progression and some interesting guitar, bass and drum parts going on. The balance is just right in this track for me, alternating between the parts taking the dominance in the mix, whereas at other times the sax seems a little too prominent. The guitar solos towards the final third of the track add a nice change to the texture and sound great.  

8. Funk Credit Card - Opening with a solo breathy jazz flute solo before the beat drops, this instrument has a really pleasing texture to it, contrasting with the typical funk sound in the other sections. The bass solo in the middle stands out in the good way and the general feel of the track is an exciting one. Check out a live video of the track below.  

9. Five Knuckles - A lounge style piano intro with some lovely chords leading into a boogie-woogie track over a shuffle beat, this track stands out from the other by a mile in terms of style. The gallop of the percussion transforms the direction of the album and offers a welcome mix up to the order of play in my books.  

10. Blazer - Returning to the feel of the starting tracks, 'blazer' is quite a traditional sounding funk track. The chorus sounds a little too like some of the other tracks for my liking and the effect on the saxophone kind of irritated me, but perhaps that was just me. Have a listen below and see what you think.

11. Herbie's Grinder - Thanks to the cool fills and interesting harmonies this track is a strong end to an album that for me had its ups and downs. The nice electric guitar solos are the highlight of this track for me, providing a little more of a rocky edge to it. The textures here are nice and the space for the instruments each to share the fill space make up for a slight over-dominance of the sax throughout the album. Hopefully the band's future releases will sound a bit more democratic and balanced. 

This isn't really the sort of album that you listen to in your bedroom; it's much better when you're going for a stroll, jog, bike ride or drive. The movement compliments the music and helps to transform the environment around you into a funky place to be. The best setting of course is in a jazz club where you can see the band play and have a dance along, so if they come to a town near you for such an event, I'd say that they're well worth taking a chance on.

Friday, 12 September 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: Gruff Rhys - American Interior

Whilst several artists struggle to get together a collection of ten tracks together to release for their latest album, Gruff Rhys went all out with his latest solo album, 'American Interior', the follow up to his award-winning third album 'Hotel Shampoo', with a complete package including a film, book, mobile phone app and of course the CD itself.

Best known as the front-man of Welsh psychedelic rock group Super Furry Animals ,Gruff has performed in many bands and has experience in a wide spectrum of the arts from performing, recording and producing music, to storytelling, songwriting, film-making and film composition. His latest solo release, his fourth to date, showcases a wider range of these skills than any of his previous albums has explored, with a vast multiplatform release making his new record stand high above the rest of the crop.

"The project is set in 1792 and tells the true story of John Evans, a 22-year old farmhand from Snowdonia, North Wales, who set off to America to discover if the rumours were true and there was a Welsh-speaking Native American tribe, called The Madogwys, walking on the Great Plains. During the course of an extraordinary adventure, Evans wrestled the largest river reptiles ever seen in the Mississippi, hunted Bison with the Omaha tribe, defected to the Spanish in St Louis, discovered imaginary volcanoes in Missouri, annexed North Dakota from the British, and created the map that guided Lewis and Clark on their legendary expedition." 

Here is my track by track guide to the album 'American Interior'. Led by the prominent drums and piano with filtered vocals and plenty of technical wizardry going on towards the back of the mix, the album is a rich cluster of styles, sounds and stories.

01. American Exterior 

The album is introduced with a pulsing synthesizer that sounds something like an alien's phone ringing in outer space with heavily chorused, flanged and phased vocals repeating the title of the album, as the drums build up to the start of the first real track, 'American Interior'.

02. American Interior 

Led by rumbling piano chords, and the drums from the intro track, 'American Interior' has a slight Ziggy Stardust feel to it. The repeated "American Interior" refrain is used extensively throughout the track in both the verse and chorus sections, even popping up in the middle-8 guitar solo, which leads into the strings playing a somber harmony underpinning the layers of voices and the track becomes noisier without getting louder. Check out the official video for the track below. 

03. 100 Unread Messages 

A driving drum beat and unaccompanied vocals start the track, as the other instruments fade in. The feeling of the track is that of an American folk/country song that you would imagine being sung by a man in dungarees whilst playing a banjo (and if there is anybody out there who chooses to cover this track, I think that would be a great way to go!) but the instrumentation is contemporary with guitars, synths, piano and drums. The effect is that the song has a vintage feel with a modern twist, which I think works really well together.

04. The Whether (Or Not)  

Another quite trippy sounding vocal track, which reminds me some The Beatles songs, such as 'Tomorrow Never Knows'. The track combines catchy short pop hooks with an experimental development of harmony in this expansive track, doused as the others are with prominent piano and drums in the mix.  

05. The Last Conquistador 

The Beatles vibe definitely continues with this track, from the narrative style to the simple accompaniment and even down to the drum fills. From the story of John Evans, I assume that this track is about the part when he defected to the Spanish in St. Louis. The outro is spaced and gentle, winding into the next track. 

06. Lost Tribes 

With lots of vocal and synth layers, Lost Tribes in places sounds like a cross between A-HA, Pet Shop Boys and Wham!'s Last Christmas (without the sleigh-bells and cheesy video of course!). 

07. Liberty (is where we'll be) 

This was the first track that I heard from the album and I was hooked straight away from the seductive string riff, which had the sleekness of John Barry's orchestration in the James Bond films. The vocals and piano parts work well together, sounding like a 90s ambient dance track. The production is fantastic, mixing in a lot of layers with utmost precision. This is my favourite track from the album after first listen through and I think it will take a lot to shift it. See the official video below. 

08. Allweddellau Allweddol

Just in case anybody was uncertain of Gruff's heritage, this track is sung entirely in Welsh, probably unsurprising from the title which loosely translates to "Keyboard Key". The children's voices loop throughout the track, seeming slightly stranger after the drop at 2:20 where the tempo increases and it started to feel like a bit of an underground rave anthem.
09. The Swamp 

A simple riff, simple development and simple lyrics combined to make a simple yet great track.
"I'm just a tourist passing you by
I'm just a passenger saying goodbye"

10. Iolo 

With the momentum of a moving train, the drums, strings and vocals push this track forward at breakneck speed. Even without lyrics, the music still seems to tell a story. It is possible that this track is about the influential Welsh antiquarian Iolo Morganwg who was around at the time that the story was set. See a live video of the song below.  

11. Walk Into The Wilderness 

One of the simpler songs on the album, Walk Into The Wilderness has a much more typical structure and stripped back production, showcasing the songwriting more than the studio techniques, of which Gruff is clearly a pro at. The exposed vocal over the raw piano chords just past the half-way point of the song show a new vulnerability to the album, which I think is a nice colour to add to the palette. See a live video of the song below.

12. Year Of The Dog

"I was born in the year of the dog" is the catchy hook in this track which looks at astrology of the Chinese Zodiac signs. The chorus of verses in the chorus gives the song a warm lift into an almost poppy number. The album seems to be taking the listeners back into reality after the journey it has taken them on so far.

13. Tiger's Tale

Bringing the album to a close, Tiger's Tale is an instrumental coda, moving through a lot of textures from the first half of the album in a melodic summary of the record. I can imagine this track being used at the end of the set as the band one by one walk off the stage, tipping their hats to the audience on their way off the stage. 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

REVIEW: Luke Sital-Singh, Karima Francis and Jacko Hooper @ Haunt 9th September 2014

As the buzz around Brighton was that there was to be a secret (not so secret) last minute Foo Fighters gig at Concorde II the next day, I was getting ready for a gig that I had been looking forward to for weeks, singer-songwriter Luke Sital-Singh playing at The Haunt in Brighton, with supports from previously unknown to me Karima Francis, who is supporting Luke for the whole tour, and local champion Jacko Hooper, a personal favourite of mine since seeing his EP launch gig at The Brunswick back in July. Read my review of the show and his EP here.

The venue was quite sparsely filled as Jacko opened up the proceedings for the night, far from empty yet not the audience that he deserved. I must admit that I do tend to favour the "one man and his guitar" approach to songwriting, but that said Jacko is a fine example of how that should be done and how you can do so much with just a voice, a piece of wood and six strings. His confident control of the music was exercised with the surgical precision of a Swiss watch-maker, skillfully manipulating every aspect of the songs from the tempo to the melody, the dynamic to the timbre of his voice. As he played through the tracks from his debut EP and a few older numbers the audience filled out, but I still often wonder why people don't arrive earlier to gigs and see all of the music that they've paid for. I'd say that it is their loss but in truth it affects the artists too so I'd strongly suggest people to check out the supports if possible because you never know what you might be missing out on! Fingers crossed in a year or so Jacko will be headlining his own shows in similar venues, with an album under his belt and a fanbase deserving of his songwriting and performing talents.

The main support was Karima Francis, a singer-songwriter from Blackpool, armed with a clean electric guitar sound and a serious head of hair that fell somewhere between Brian May and Slash. Her opening couple of tracks were really good, using some lovely floaty chords and showing a good range in her voice through her interesting melodies. She talked in a very relaxed way to the audience between the songs, coming across as very down to earth but as her set continued, I felt that her voice was slightly lacking in the upper register, not quite belting and not quite going into falsetto but sounding somewhere in between which sounded like it needed a little support. As she spoke about usually playing with a band, perhaps she was a little unaccustomed to performing solo, but nevertheless she gave an assured performance. 

At 9pm Luke took to the stage, sitting quietly at an electric piano before bursting out with his first song. His voice is tremendous and he is a fine pianist and guitarist too, skills which are consistently delivered throughout the performance. He was accompanied by a friend on electric guitar and backing vocals whilst he split his time between piano and acoustic guitar, in the way a child shares their time between divorced parents. Having already listened to his album, see my review of it here, I was familiar with the majority of the songs, which were delivered faithful to the recordings but with more room for interpretation in the vocals when performed live. The combination of vocals, particularly in Bottled Up Tight, 21st Century Heartbeat and Greatest Lovers, sounded very lush, but not a touch on the performance at Latitude with the backing of the London Contemporary Voices Choir. 

Luke's way of talking in between the songs seemed very mismatched to his music, which is fairly introvert and gentle. He declared flippantly his dislike for festivals, calling them a massive pain (which granted did get a laugh from the audience, but it was hard to tell how sincere he was being at the time), and suggesting that everybody take a minute to delete the new U2 album from their phones which Apple had kindly gifted its users (whilst this is a weird publicity stunt from U2, I can't help but feel that any 'un-camaraderie' between musicians is a bit of a step in the wrong direction.) He was very outspoken in a kind of playful way but with a slight bite to him. Also, I guess I just wasn't as impressed with his "depressed-ival" idea as some of the audience were. His 45 minute set had no encore and his thanking of the supports just before the final song felt like an afterthought that lacked sincerity, which is far less than what they deserved. As somebody who has been in their situation not so long ago, I expected a little better.


Whilst I am still a fan of his music and have a strong admiration for his songwriting and musicianship and wish him all the best for the future, I think that he would do well to remember his manners and bite his sometimes acid tongue in order to keep his fans coming back for more. And perhaps an extra couple of songs at the end would go a long way too.

Luke Sital-Singh's Album 'The Fire Inside' is out now.


Thursday, 4 September 2014

Who To See in Brighton in October

"As the days are getting shorter and it's colder every night, there's something in the water saying everything will be alright." These words were from a song called Keep Digging that I wrote back in 2011 but seem appropriate for the time of year. Whilst the summer sun has retired for another year, we are looking onward to a great month of gigs ahead, and before you know it, Halloween and the Christmas countdown begins! Take a look at my hot picks for October in Brighton and see what you like the look of. Keep music live and alive.

Sunday 5th October

Brighton Philharmonic - Dome - 2:30pm - £11-35

For those of you unaware, Brighton Philharmonic is a firmly established local orchestra, about to begin is 90th concert season. Formed in 1925, the orchestra has been resident at Brighton Dome for almost all of this time with each season consisting of around one concert a month between October and March, and a series of smaller ensemble performances over the summer. Conducted by Barry Wordsworth, the former BBC Concert Orchestra conductor and Covent Garden's Royal Ballet musical director, the opening concert has a Russian theme with compositions from Glinka, Rachmaninoff and Shostavovich. For a full programme of the BP concerts pick up a brochure at Brighton Dome or check their website here. Below is a link to the first piece of the evening, Glinka's Ruslan and Ludmila Overture performed by the Berlin Philharmonic. Come and experience the wonder of these Russian composers in the beautiful Brighton Dome for a lovely afternoon out.

Tuesday 7th October

LOUT Presents: Southern - Green Door Store - 7:30pm - £5

Southern are a brother-sister duo from Bedlfast, made up of Thom and Lucy Southern and joined by drummer Eoghan Clifford on the drums to complete the band. Based in Liverpool, the band have definitely taken a southerly direction, although I think most locals would agree they need to move this side of the Watford Gap to be really considered "southern". Their musical style featured elements from pop-rock, indie, acoustic and blues, mixed together in a pop way that sounds reminiscent of the 90s, in the good way of course! The track below "Where I Want To Be" is catchy, rhythmic and poppy, and a damn good song. Have a listen and see if they take your fancy in the way they took mine. 


Wednesday 8th October

Melting Vinyl Presents:  Grant Lee-Phillips + Howe Gelb - Komedia - 8:30pm - £16

Described by ABC News as 'One of the most gifted songwriters of his generation...', Grant Lee-Phillips is a great talent from the Americana scene. Imagine the stories of Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen told through slightly less weathered lungs and you're part of the way there. His voice has a delicacy to it with a warm tone to match his folk guitar playing. Also on the bill is Howe Gelb, an American folk legend often referred to as the "elder statesman of freewheeling Americana", with five decades of performing experience, countless albums and a resume that reads like a small festival line-up. The pair with both play solo sets before teaming up for what is sure to be a magical collaboration. Below is Grant's track 'Dream in Colour' for your enjoyment.


Thursday 9th October

Neil Cowley Trio - Corn Exchange - 8pm - £15/£12.50

Jazz can be very hit and miss. Even amongst the most weathered listeners, contemporary performers often go "too far" into the weird and dark textures, isolating the performers from the listeners. It's kind of like asking a question in latin and wondering why all you get are open mouths in response. Neil Cowley Trio is NOT like that. Melodic, intricate, inventive and most importantly aesthetically beautiful, the track below 'Kneel Down' demonstrates perfectly the easy-listening side of jazz, verging on ambient. Neil Cowley has won numerous awards for his compositions, working with a number of pop/soul acts including Adele, whom he played piano for on her breakthrough album '19'. Come and be amazed by the textures created with just a trio and maybe even open the door to jazz, even if just slightly ajar, to see what you might like.


Friday 10th October

Wille and The Bandits Green Door Store - 7:00pm - £8

Combining influences of folk, roots and rock music, the south-west coast trio Wille and the Bandits are coming to a Brighton favourite, Green Door Store, as part of their Ireland and UK Tour, in support of their new live album 'Live in Gouvy', released 1st October 2014. With only three days off in the 22 date UK tour this month, the boys are certainly putting in the effort to get their music heard across the country, following on from their international tour earlier in the year. With a host of rave reviews and from listening to some of their live recordings I can tell that the show is going to be a great one and I am looking forward to seeing them live for the first time this month. Support for this gig comes from Chris Marsh, a Kent-born Brighton-based singer-songwriter who combines powerful vocals with his impressive guitar playing (watch out for his tap-guitar and instrumentals: they're the bomb!) with a strong set of original songs and changed-up covers. Also the rasgueado master Edd Mann will be playing a few of his songs for you. Watch out for his signature track, Spanish Dancer! Check out clips of WATB and Chris Marsh below.

Monday 13th October

One Inch Badge Presents: Glass Animals - The Haunt - 7pm - £8

Glass Animals are and indie/rock quartet from Oxford, led by Dave Bayley and formed of three friends whom he showed his very first recordings to, the product of his insomnia whilst at medical school in London. The band were the first signing on Wolf Tone, a record label set up by superhuman producer Paul Epworth (the man behind everybody from Adele and Florence and the Machine to Coldplay, Paul McCartney and Bruno Mars), so you can assume they're pretty amazing! The track below, 'Black Mambo', recorded live in London captures the band's charisma, precision and understated infectious simplicity of their melodically rich music. Catch this intimate show at The Haunt before they take off to higher heights and bigger stages.


Wednesday 15th October

Live Nation Presents: The Neighbourhood - Concorde II - 7:30pm - £12.50 

A five-piece from LA, The Neighbourhood are hardly known in the UK, judging by the modest success of their releases so far. Their debut album 'I Love You', released back in April 2013 only reached number 70 in the UK charts, compared to top 10 positions in the US Rock and US Alt. charts. Their single 'Sweater Weather' (below) topped the US Alt. charts and was in the top 10 for the US Pop and US Rock charts too, whilst barely breaking the top 50 in the UK. I can only assume that the band simply need to develop their UK fanbase, which hopefully their October UK tour. The band have previously played sold out shows in London and toured with Interpol, so they must be doing something right. The NBHD are quite brooding and atmospheric, reminding me of a chilled out 1975. Support from D/C. 


Thursday 16th October

The Loft Sessions Presents: Charlotte Carpenter - Latest Music Bar - 7pm - £5 adv/ £7 otd

Charlotte Carpenter is a young singer-songwriter from Northampton who is definitely making some strong moves on the UK acoustic scene. Having self-released three EPs, the last of which 'Whole' reached number 10 in the iTunes singer-songwriter chart, her new EP 'Take It All' has some big shoes to follow. Moving in a more rocky direction, diverging from the acoustic path that she has established so far with a slightly further reaching project. The title track from the new EP has a simple accompanying riff that bounces up and down in the background as the superb vocal hooks take the foreground. The track definitely has a KT Tunstall meets Kings of Leon feel to it. Lovely stuff. Come along and check out her performance in the intimate setting of Latest Music Bar.


Friday 17th October

Melting Vinyl Presents: A Winged Victory for the Sullen - St George's Church - 7:30pm - £14/16

A Brussels-based duo made up of ambient soundscapist Adam Witltzie and accomplished pianist Dustin O'Halloran, AWVFTS (it is a long name after all!) produce moving atmospheric music which is as rich and deep as a 4-tier fruitcake. Perfect music for films, relaxation or aiding peoples comedowns at 3am at the summer festivals, the sounds that they create are diverse and universally beautiful.Their new album ATMOS is released on 6th October, so will be available to buy at the gig. Set in the wonderful St. George's Church in Brighton, this is going to be an evening of great wonder.


Monday 20th October

Melting Vinyl Presents: Nick MulveyKomedia - 8:30pm - VERY NEARLY SOLD OUT

I saw Nick Mulvey performing a SOLD OUT gig at Cheltenham Jazz Festival this year and I could see why he was so popular. After moving to Havana at the age of 19 to study Music & Art, he formed the Mercury Prize nominated group, Portico Quartet. Since leaving the group, he has been flying solo, and rather successfully at that, having supported the likes of Laura Marling, Laura Mvula and an upcoming support show for Elbow at the iTunes Festival this September. With a sparse acoustic sound and a minimalist sensibility, there is nothing in the way of the craftsmanship of his songs. Guarenteed to be a wonderful evening. Only 3 tickets left at the time of writing. Check out where to get them quickly, here.   


Wednesday 22nd October

Festival Republic Ltd. Presents: The Antlers The Old Market - 7:30pm - £13 

Transcending from lo-fi bedroom folk into a lushly orchestrated rock group with a penchant for rich layers and experimental vocals, The Antlers are a 3-piece Indie-rock band based in Brooklyn who are embarking on a comprehensive European tour, starting off their string of dates in the UK with a performance at Hove's The Old Market. Fresh of the back of their new album 'Familiars', the band are sure to be full of energy for this tour and eager to share their music with new audiences as well as faithful fans. Check out their track 'Parade' below for a little taster of what's in store.


Monday 27th October

Melting Vinyl & GDS Present: Haley Bonar Green Door Store - 7pm - FREE ENTRY

By the age of 19, Haley had already recorded an album, moved from Rapid City to Duluth and dropped out of college, supporting Low with a guitar and her drummer cram-packed into her Honda Civic. Since then, Haley has branched out in every direction, described as 
"...more than a hard working musician. She is an innovator, creative ass-kicker and visionary dug into the trenches of living.
With an all-star cast of rotating bandmates who have performed with the likes of Bon Iver, Rogue Valley and Alpha Consumer, Haley is well supported in her creative endeavours, with her songs finding their way into TV shows and films as well as filling her diary with local and international touring. Don't miss this great chance to see her perform for FREE at Green Door Store.


Tuesday 28th October

Melting Vinyl Presents: Real Estate Komedia - 8pm - £14.50

Descriptions like "dream pop" and "shoegaze" always make me chuckle a little, as they seem to describe more the audience's reaction to the music, which are clearly as varied as a Woolworths' former pick'n'mix selection, rather than comment on the actual music itself. For those of you who may find youself a little confused by these terms, interchange them with "atmospheric indie-rock" and "evocative" and you're somewhere close. Real Estate (the band not the property market) formed in New Jersey in 2008, and a couple of members and several labels later are still alive and kicking. Their latest record, Atlas, was released in March this year, reaching 34 in the Billboard Top 200 in the US. Check out the video for the opening track off the album, 'Had to Hear' below.


Thursday 30th October

Melting Vinyl Presents: Pale Seas - The Hope -  8pm - FREE ENTRY 

It was the night before Halloween...and everybody was heading down to The Hope before the monsters started getting ready, to see Pale Seas perform a free gig! Singer and guitarist Jacob Scott started songwriting in 2011 when he decided to part ways with his formal education. His reverb-drenched first efforts were bitter-sweet and honest, giving him the confidence to move home and form Pale Seas with his old school friends. Their latest release, 'Place to Haunt' EP, which was recorded on the Isle of Wight, sounds in the same vein as Alex Turner's 'Submarine' film soundtrack, with interesting vocals, nice harmonies and whirling synths providing lift off to the track. Check them out for FREE. Wash your hair another night.


Friday 31th October

Normanton Street 'Much Respect' EP Launch The Haunt  -  7pm - £3 adv/£5 otd

After the success of their last two EP launches at Green Door Store in 2013, MOVES in August and PHOEBE FREYA EP in December, Normanton Street are back bigger than ever with a bigger venue and one of the best local line ups going for their next EP launch night for their new record Much Respect, released on their own label QM Records. Always gigging and airing the new material in Brighton and all over the place, Normanton Street are touring across the UK at the end of October, with their adopted hometown gig sure to be a heavy hitter. Support comes from London-based new-soul outfit New Street Adventure, folk/world music from their local amigos Time for T and four-piece indie rockers Wolflung. With advance tickets for just three pounds, you're literally an idiot if you don't go.

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