MF, Barney, Stephen, 11 Dec
On the whole, I’ve really enjoyed putting on some DIY gigs this year – it’s been stressful at times (for purely organisational reasons – all the other bands have been lovely)… but very much worth it. This last one went very well, and here’s a review from Plugged in Brighton to testify:
On the subject of reviews, here’s one of the EP from Whisperin and Hollerin:
“…And so it is that over the course of 4 songs and 20 minutes, Matt Finucane demonstrates that he’s a singular artistic voice in a sea of sameness, and if 2019 has seen him establish himself, 2020 looks like being the year he takes it to the next level.”
Well, hope so. This year’s not over yet, of course – couple more gigs to come – and in January we’re back in the studio. So who knows? If nothing else, be interesting to see what happens next.
pic(s) by Dexter Bentley
Here’s the live session & interview we did for Dexter Bentley’s HelloGoodbye Show on Resonance FM – it’s very close to the start of the show, and is four uninterrupted songs (including a brand new number) followed by some chat:
That was our afternoon. Later on, we went to Biddle Bros in E5 for a very loud gig:
Honest Song / Evil Relief / Perilous Seat / A Friend From Far Away / Caught Making Signals / Raw Material
…It’s a lot – dive in.
The band’s doing a live session in London this Saturday: Dexter Bentley’s HelloGoodbye Show, Resonance 104.4 FM – that’s from noon on 16 Nov. I’ve wanted to play on Resonance for ages, so this is something of a thrill (there might be an interview too).
Later that same day in the same city, we’re gigging on a great line-up… Here’s the info:
8:30pm THE GREAT MALARKEY (Acoustic)
Influenced by the likes of Tom Waits, Pixies, The Pogues, Beirut, Nick Cave, Fanfare Ciocărlia, Manu Chao, The Dead Brothers and Toots & The Maytals (the latter of whom they supported with only their third gig), The Great Malarkey are a riotous mix of musical styles delivered in a “multicultural train of fast beats and trembling slams of punk-folk spirit.” Earlier this year the song ‘Gimme Sugar’ from their second album “Doghouse” was chosen by Tom Robinson as BBC Radio 6 Music Recommend’s track of the week, getting played by daytime DJs Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq and Mary Anne Hobbs. The band play a special acoustic set tonight, featuring Alex ‘Ware-Woolf’ Gillings on vocals and guitar, Hugh Jones on vocals and guitar and Joni Belaruski on drums and vocals.
“A wild, multi-gendered gang of rebels brimming with deviant energy and fun… An absolute must see live experience” – Tom Robinson, BBC Radio 6 Music
9:20pm LEISURE TANK
Leisure Tank are a new female led power duo arrived from Berlin playing raw, minimalistic rock with unpredictable song structures and heavy, danceable grooves. Originally, K.C. (Katalin Czenker) is from Ossak, a tiny East German farm town that was home before the wall came down. Her songs echo that tough landscape, while her gutsy voice and electric guitar can be compared to PJ Harvey or Anna Calvi. She is backed by Budi on drums who plays huge complex rhythms on a gorgeous old Ludwig kit. The duo, in other guises, performed over seven hundred shows in punk squats and alternative acoustic clubs across Europe for a decade, saving their newer harder sound for the tougher British bar and festival crowds. They have just released their latest single ‘Moema’ and are soon to release their just-completed album.
“Gripping indie rock at it’s best” – Tom Robinson
10:10pm MATT FINUCANE
Brighton based singer/songwriter Matt Finucane’s music takes influence from art rock, krautrock and electronic noise and mashes them up into something intense and energetic. His songs have drawn comparisons to Lou Reed, Jeff Buckley, Nick Cave and David Bowie and for several years he has been DIY-releasing albums at a steady rate, getting airplay on BBC Introducing: South (including a live session with an early version of the band), Kerrang Radio and The Séance, among others. He has just released his third album “Vanishing Island” and has a new EP titled “The Seizure” out in November. Live, Matt is accompanied by Stephen Parker on bass and Barney Guy on drums.
“He should be heard by many many people” – Louder Than War Magazine
“A delight. Always great to hear an artist doing things their way” – R*E*P*E*A*T
VanityAct have always been a product of a variety of burgeoning London music scenes. The band started in 2015 in a bedroom in Hackney, with the main goal of being equal parts jazz, soul and punk, and went on to scavenge inspiration from the rich and diverse music of East London’s local bars and pubs. Originally flying under the moniker of Bubblegum, the band decided to start recording an album before playing any shows. This led to the release of their full-length LP, “Life in Colour”, which laid the groundwork for their full-bodied, orchestrated sound, rich with gospel choirs and raw brass ad libs. This sonic idiom was fully realised on their 2018 releases, ‘Original Sin’ and ‘Sunset (in the Key of E)’. During that year they also started their own regular music night in collaboration with Deviant & Dandy Brewery, entitled “The VanityAct Jamboree”, where they invite their favourite London bands to play laid back sets. The band are Henry Louis Ogilvie Dabrowski on vocals and guitar, Gabi Demera on bass and vocals, Alex Montgomerie-Corcoran on guitar, Jamie Burnett on drums and Helen Walpole on synth and vocals.
This EP marks a new departure: if you can make out the text on the back cover, you’ll see there’s an actual band involved. We recorded three tracks from our current set, pretty much live in the studio – barring vocals and a few guitar overdubs – then the final track’s a collaboration with Mik Hanscomb (Junkboy) in a lighter vein.
For more detail, I can’t really do better than the RingMaster Reviews interview I did recently, which covers everything…
Or there’s a review on Plugged in Brighton – “The familiar is twisted and distorted. Music comes from the shadows. Sonic exploration in every sense. Recommended.”
A good end to an interesting year!
(Except it’s not over yet – there’s a live session on Resonance FM to come, among other things…)
A first look at The Seizure from The Ring Master Review: “one of the most unique and honest artists around” – wow, I’ll take it!
The band gets singled out too, which is cool – “The bass of Stephen Parker again proves a dark invitation to get hooked up on; it’s tempting as brooding as it is catchy against the rhythmic swing of drummer Barney Guy”…
And here’s the conclusion: “In our experience every outing with Matt Finucane has proven an absorbing and rousing adventure in some rich level of degree but The Seizure might just be his finest proposition yet; in fact no question, it is.”
…The write-up goes into more detail about each track, but I think it’s safe to say it went over well, which is always a good feeling. Check it out, see if it tingles yr fancy.
EDITED TO ADD:
There’s also an interview: embracing the discord, here – which goes into more detail about the band, what’s behind the EP, and what happens next. As I say, you have to meet me halfway… but it’s always good when someone takes the time to listen and engage; and for what it’s worth, this is the clearest account yet.
Eight Miles High presents a night of far-out live music at the Brunswick Cellar Bar, Hove, with Eight Miles High playlists and liquid visuals in an intimate basement setting.
a Gnostic mix of folk, ambient, electronic and drone influenced by the forgotten places and times that surround us. Meditative drones, corrupted banjo and squeezebox and lo-fi electronics, and the occasional song about Stonehenge. His second album Geomancer was released in August this year.
channels Lou Reed stylings into psychotronic darkness. He’s happy to be “the troubadour of disharmony, back to confront, provoke, and captivate in his unique way” – The Ring Master review
is the project of Mark Benton and his eclectic troupe of performers that create dream-pop songs. They combine a variety of influences into a myriad sound of lullabies with anthemic electric and acoustic textures. performing at Cellar Bar as duo with synth, guitars and vocals
venture down to the Cellar Bar basement for a multi-sensory experience!
Doors open 8pm (first band on 8:30pm)
operates predominantly in the realm of free improvisation, interested in a spatial and phenomenological exploration of acoustic sound through the steel-string acoustic guitar
“the troubadour of disharmony” – Ring Master Review
mellow tastes and long atmospheric trips on hip hop beats
music from 8.30pm sharp
…I’ll be playing the 1st gig as a duo – guitar/drums – and the 2nd solo…
Sat 16 Nov, Biddle Bros (London E5) 8pm – electric band – details tbc
7 Aug ’19, The Prince Albert (Brighton) – CCZH Photography
Thought it was about time for some action shots of the band, to go with the recent overhaul of the site… This new collective focus is reflected in the next EP, which was recorded pretty much live in the studio earlier this year; it’s not just a one-man operation anymore. Anyway, there’s more to follow, audio & visual.
pre-order on Bandcamp here
This is the first set of tracks I’ve recorded with the band – at Church Road Studio here in Brighton, earlier this year – loud and (pretty much) live. There’s also an acoustic song featuring Mik Hanscomb on 12-string guitar: you get the whole spectrum in this EP’s 20min run-time.
It’s available in all the usual online places from 8th Nov, but you can hear a preview of the longest, strangest track on the player above.
“We all choose our suffering. There is ugly suffering and there is beautiful suffering. You, I think, are somewhere in between”
That’s a quote from an interview I did with The Sound Lab, here. (One of the more… interesting audience responses I’ve had in a while, that was.)
There’s also a review of Vanishing Island in print and online in Devolution Magazine – a good one, check it out here.
…Another full-throat shout-out for the August gig:
GREENNESS (full band) onstage 10pm
“Hypnotic electro acoustic tunes creating a relaxed atmosphere with a whiff of Massive Attack / The Sugarcubes” – Breaking Glass Magazine
MATT FINUCANE + band onstage 9.15
“The troubadour of disharmony, back to confront, provoke, and captivate in his unique way” – The Ring Master Review
Wed 7 Aug, The Prince Albert
MUSIC from 8.30 sharp
…After that, I’ve got stuff booked up till December, solo & electric band (and one acoustic duo gig). More on that to follow.
Thanks to GBHBL, who not only interviewed me following the LP release, but published some track-by-track notes that I wrote about it.
Interview link here. “I ended up in Brighton, like so many drug burn-outs and rejects from the capital, and got my act together. The music, hopefully, takes care of itself.”
Track by track here. “I once had an idea for a live show at the Brighton Fringe Festival but couldn’t work out how to do it without somebody getting killed … This turned into a song… which is one of the most upbeat things I’ve written“.
Gig went well the other night – thanks again to Peter Cat & grasshopper. Great sets, and always a good feeling when one of these DIY gigs gets a good turnout (my band was sounding pretty sharp too, if I say so myself).
Beyond that, there’s a couple of things lined up for August, including this:
…And some other stuff in November. Sept-Oct there’s a few possible dates swirling around, including a return trip to Glasgow (with the full band this time), but nothing definite yet. That aside, the single Perilous Seat – and War on Pain, another track off the album – are getting a lot of radio… about 60 stations, not including syndication, at last count. So it’s all good… The reason I’ve not updated for a while (and this entry’s admittedly something of a bulletin) is I’ve been really busy – also got an EP ready to go with the band, and a whole load of new songs for 2020. The lot of the DIY/independent/underground/really-do-absolutely-everything-yourself artist these days is a hard one – but not a bad one.
Thanks very much for kind words on the Vanishing Island album, from Brighton Source: “a prolific songwriter with an array of excellent self-produced independent releases. He’s influenced by the darker side of indie rock, but puts his own stamp on things […] strong and well-structured, with a memorable and distinctive sound”.
& also Plugged in Brighton:
…Not bad, not bad at all.
[EDIT: PiB now has a website – links added, but check it out here]
Yes, that title’s a dig at Brexit, but there are no overt protest songs this time round: these are complex emotions, for complex times… The kind of feelings that don’t even have names – but you know them when they hit home.
I’m very happy with this one, and hope it’s as enjoyable a listening experience as it was to make.
The video of Perilous Seat can be seen exclusively via Pure Grain Audio, here. It’s a DIY epic of indifferent miming, lurid colours and general dislocation – every penny’s up there on the screen. Hope you enjoy… If not, you can claim back the 3min 47sec of yr life from me at a gig, with this handy token:
Vanishing Island seems to be doing good. Got a tremendous write-up from The Ringmaster Review – “his finest incitement yet… has something extra which truly set it apart… delicious pop cacophony”. O yes.
House of Prog went easy on me this time, citing “a somewhat odd and eerie production, with a touch of kraut to the psychedelia”… Thanks, I’ll take it.
Further, Full Circle calls it “ten adventurous songs with inventive arrangements […] Very enjoyable and well made album throughout by an individual and fascinating artist.”
Anyway, pretty soon you’ll be able to decide for yourself – album’s out 3rd May.
Stencil issue 54
Stencil Magazine reviews Vanishing Island here (p. 153) …”for those looking for something that’s outside of the box and scratches many levels of atmosphere”. Ambivalent but interested – my favourite kind of review, quite often (as it implies a genuine effort to engage).
Plugged in Brighton gave the single, Perilous Seat, its first write-up in their 13th issue: “pop through a prism […] It’s almost a waltz, not quite a sea shanty but certainly quality, adult pop”. Wonder what they’ll make of the album? (That’s by far the most accessible, song-shaped track on there, as you’d expect. Even scored some airplay on Kerrang Radio.) We’ll find out…
Otherwise, doing another free improv Safehouse gig as part of the Wildcard Quartet, on 24 April at The Verdict. Comfort zone? I have none.
More band gigs coming up too – news on them as & when.
EDIT: Another review came in just after this post, from Whisperin & Hollerin. It’s very generous indeed – “tidy hooks and imaginatively-crafted moments of atmosphere and even pangs of emotional depth“, among other things. Always cool when someone sees what I was aiming at. Read it here.
There’s a B-side – Stroke of Noon – and a bonus track on the Bandcamp release – Fair Question.
It’s taken from an album called Vanishing Island, which is due Fri 3 May.
more info to follow…
So the gig went well…
…and three days later, we went into the studio to record as a band – which also went very well (more on that later)…
…but meanwhile, there’s a new single coming out next month:
Due 8 March, accompanied by a video (one of my no-budget, lo-fi specials) – link to follow.
very excited about this one…
THE EMPERORS OF ICE CREAM onstage 10pm
wonky post-punk with a dash of weird
“big time kicks up some serious dust” – Mike Watt
Wed 20 Feb, The Prince Albert
MUSIC from 8.30 sharp
I fucking hate January (and February, but that’s another story). Only remedy’s work – been rehearsing with the band for an upcoming gig and some recording next month, and finalising my next release… due out early May, probably.
More news on the gig and other doings – it occurs to me there’s not a lot of stuff online with the band, which we’ll have to do something about – as and when, as ever.
Hope & Ruin gig went well – although enough’s happened since that it now feels like a vague, fond childhood memory – and the band gets ever more awesome: from early next year we’re doing more gigs, with new material to play.
I’ve got another meaty interview in Irish rock zine Overdrive – read here. Also, German indie radio’s NBT put Disquiet at 55 on their 410-album Best Of 2018, which as plaudits go is pretty heady: some of the names I beat are big and legendary (of course it’s not a contest… is it?… but a gong’s always welcome).
Anyway, big plans for 2019, including a new solo album and our first recordings as a group – starting February, probably. Here we are in that happy era of five weeks ago:
l-r: MF, Barney Guy, Stephen Bad Mother-Folker