A brief whizz of noise from Bar 42 the other week – song is Ugly Man.
Here’s the recent Eight Miles High Club gig in Brighton… had some good gigs lately, but this one had to be the most fun in a while – with 2) Fane 3) Melt Plastic Group & 4) the edge of an energetic crowd: all fantastic.
My track Envy The Birds (LP version) appears on this compilation from Aldora Britain Records, ‘King For A Day’.
In their own words of blurb, “AB Records is an e-zine and record label that promotes the music and work of authentic independent or underground artists from all around the world”, and – unlike some in this line – refreshingly legit and non-scammy… A shame that’s the exception rather than the norm… Anyway, there’s 25 tracks (mine’s 11th), including psych, fuzz, folk & coldwave; mine brings the art rock progressiveness, it says here.
It’s a song I’m proud of, and happy it’s getting a bit more exposure; incidentally, the slimmed-down radio edit just got a share on Point of View Promotions‘ Soundcloud, if you’d like to hear it with no second verse.
(Looks a bit like I own shares in the Rossi Bar – sadly I don’t, it’s just the odd way these things work out sometimes.)
The recent run of gigs went really well – as I may already have said, it’s so good to be doing this again and getting such an energized reception. The dream never rusted! There’s a few more to come over the next couple of months… situation permitting… in London (for Trust The Doc at the Amersham Arms), Worthing (Bar 42) & Brighton in November (Rossi Bar, electric line-up this time). Otherwise, am working on new material but that won’t see daylight for a while yet; working on life too, which… likewise, probably… x
Bar 42, Worthing, 15 Aug
We did our first gig in about 18 months a couple of days ago.
It was hot, sweaty and loud – I’d almost forgotten how that feels. It went great, and I’m hyper-aware what a pleasure and privilege it is, after the shitty time we’ve all endured, to do this again. Personally, I dealt with the suspense by focusing on my recent album and working on a follow-up; but there was a point where many venues’ survival looked pretty shaky – as did the whole musical ecosystem where I occupy a marginal corner. And while the covid ordeal’s not over just yet, at least that part of it is. I’m very, very glad.
More to follow – something early September for Sad House Daddy in London first of all, then a couple of things closer to home. Details shortly! x
So I finally got the go-ahead for another gig in this our post-visitation yr 2021: I’m promoting this one (and one day I’ll stop putting myself lowest on the bill), so you know it’ll be pharmaceutical quality.
After such a long lay-off it feels like a big deal, although the thing itself’s fairly low-key… Well, I say that, but it features the immensely talented and fascinating Oli Spleen (with friends, in Gaslight Illuminati guise) & unique polymathic genius R Dyer.
(NB. it doesn’t matter much, but this gig was originally scheduled for 2 July – I just copy-pasted the original post and changed the date/artwork. If it happens again, might leave this here as a monument to modest, albeit doomed, ambition. But that’s loser talk! …I hope.)
Here’s the recent streamed gig courtesy The Rec Rooms, for anyone who doesn’t like Facebook. It’s only the second time I’ve performed this way, and can’t deny it feels odd playing a set at home to dead silence (a bit like radio, but on yr own and with less reliable tech)… Still, reckon it went pretty well – see what you think.
All these lo-fi home gigs are going to make a weird little time-capsule once the immediate crisis passes… A historical record of people with hair that needs cut, staring at cameras in their bedrooms.
For anyone who fancies a deeper dive, here‘s the #SaveOurVenues gig I did for The Brunswick (fb only unfortunately)… Having crossed a line, I’ll probably do more of this kind of thing in future – but still prefer actual in-reality gigs.
So here, because I’m feeling maudlin, are a few that never came to pass:
…Hope to reschedule with some of these bands, some day!
The Music Venue Trust needs YOU – to help #SaveOurVenues.
“We need Artists, Music Fans & Local Communities to act together to prevent their local music venues from permanently closing.
Visit saveourvenues.co.uk to get involved.”
no venues = no new music
As part of the #saveourvenues campaign, I’m doing a streamed gig on Facebook to raise funds for The Brunswick – a venue I’ve spent a lot of time in over the last several years, both onstage and audience.
It’s Sunday 3 May, 7pm UK time – on my Facebook page or the venue’s: here.
(Donations can be sent direct to The Brunswick here.)
It’s all quite last-minute, but then the situation’s urgent… and dire… for smaller venues in lockdown: I’m hoping we can all help each other out. Keep music (a)live!
All gigs cancelled for the forseeable, unfortunately – but I hope to reschedule, once the Covid crisis is under some semblance of control.
I’ll very likely do something on Facebook live or Youtube quite soon, as much to ward off going stir crazy as anything… Keep an eye out, will update on here as & when.
Take care and thanks for listening – be well
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.
“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.
With thanks to David Page and Joe Bridge.
(Actually, there was one other recent gig review – of the electric band, by Plugged In Brighton, here.)
The 11 June Hope & Ruin gig, written up in issue 4 of Plugged In Brighton. Grab a copy round town, unless distance and/or the forces of entropy prevent you (you’ll just have to move to Brighton). Anyway, it was a very nice night, good to see the other acts getting due credit. While we’re here… Can I direct you once more to the zine’s latest Mixcloud, which features an old track of mine? Here it is.
photo by Lewis McKale
Two more upcoming local gigs:
What can I say – I’m a greedy bitch. To soak up the folly, the gigs will be poles apart in sound, feel and setlist (very different venues too). For the first, there’ll be electricity, bass and drums; the second, I’ll be alone up there… After that, it’s oblivion for a little while.
Meanwhile, a track from the new EP’s featured on Monolith Cocktail’s Quarterly Playlist Revue, alongside Dr Octagon, Grimm Grimm and Crayola Lectern, to name a few – it’s an immersive, intelligently-structured listening experience; switch that phone off and strap in for a journey by tracklist.
An oldie, Lilith, features on the third edition of Plugged In Brighton’s Mixcloud in a rockier setting; Young Francis, Big Slammu et al bring the scuzz.
The two programmes are very reflective of the two nights – one’s adrenaline noise, the other’s a head trip. Explore!
Badges… badges everywhere
A strange feeling, putting yr image into a 25mm metal circle. How do bands cope with their gormless faces plastered all over T-shirts and other… “merch”? Come to a gig and take these damn things away.
…But there are several more to come, including a third go with Safehouse in the Wildcard Quartet, end of June. Details here, as they become available. Anyway, ask me for a badge and you can have one.
My next full-band gig’s on Mon 11 June at the Hope & Ruin, with Pink Narcissus, Peter Cat & Lewis McKale. I’ll be onstage from 8:30, with a new drummer and new songs – truly, playing with the big boys…
Before that, there’s a return to Mr Wolf’s in Bristol (tomorrow!) and another go at Bar 42 in Worthing (electric this time). I chase the phantom wherever it leads, till the oil runs out and the lights go off.
I love a blog entry studded with enticing blue links. So – another track from the new EP can be heard on the second Mixcloud from Plugged In Brighton, along with loads of other really good hard stuff. Listen at leisure.
There’s a new EP due on 11 May in all its ugly glory… I got tired of introspective stuff and dialled up the noise/sarcasm/repetition. It’s also, for the most part, very… direct. Here’s advance word from xsnoize.com.
I’ve already recorded the follow-up, and that’s different again. Meanwhile, think of this one as an outburst of protest – although the final track may be one of the prettiest things I’ve ever done. A conundrum, for sure (but not too much of one… it’s getting playlisted a lot, which is very welcome).
Gigs are lining up – solo, as a guitar/drums duo, full electric band – and dates so far include:
Another improv gig, as described previously, in the Wildcard Quartet:
Mon 21 May, Short Steps presents @ Fortune of War (Brighton) – w/ Ja Sputnik, Noisferatu & Pete Wiseman
Mon 28 May, Mr Wolf’s (Bristol)
Fri 22 June, Real Music Club @ The Brunswick (Brighton) – w/ Andy Roberts & The Boy In The Cupboard
More tbc for June onwards. Ugliness, ugliness everywhere (and I love it)… x
EDIT: you can hear a track from the EP on Indie Arena Radio’s Mixcloud here
the venue (Verdict Jazz Club) in a quiet moment
So I’ve been going to Safe House here in Brighton for a while, and it’s helped keep me honest and open-minded musically (flexible, too). It’s a, well, it’s… right, this is off their site:
…collective that hosts two separate nights that focus on improvised and experimental music: Safehouse, on the first Wednesday of every month, and On The Edge, on the last.
[…] There may or may not be any rhythm, tonal centre or structure to the pieces played. The music is free in that sense. No premeditated ideas or constrictions. Any sound is valid. It is a sonic conversation, in which players respond to each other as spontaneously as possible.
It can be brilliant, terrifying and beautiful or absolute shit, depending on the quiddities of the moment. Some of the players are very advanced indeed, but I’ve managed to reach a point where I can hold my own onstage well enough as part of a free improv scratch ensemble – or at least not embarrass myself too often. One aspect of the gig nights is the Wildcard Quartet: four names are selected at random to go on as first support and improvise for about twenty minutes, no quarter asked or given. (They’re very clear about this… it’s not “jamming”, it’s improvisation. Start spamming out riffs by rote and they take you out back and shoot you. Horribly distorted electric guitars are permitted, however.)
Anyway, my name came up for the gig on 31 Jan. It’s exciting stuff, and will be entirely unique, which is kind of the point.
Graham Dunning, Colin Webster, Sam Underwood
In this trio Graham Dunning plays turntable, dubplates and dentristry tools, walkmans and amplified objects. Colin Webster plays saxophone and Sam Underwood the tuba.
In 2014 Graham and Colin released two albums of recordings on the Linear Obsessional and Raw Tonk labels. They also toured the UK and Switzerland – the video below is from their set in Zurich.
The trio performed a memorable set at Supernormal festival in 2015 and released a CD called Bleed on ADAADAT label – a track from which is below.
Fettucini Spicer attempt to provoke/shock each other into action by the application of a multitude of instruments and objects too numerous to mention!
…I have no idea what to expect, and trust me – neither do you.
Out on tour for the first time in years, by fits and starts till December.
“If Matt’s got a keynote as a songwriter, it’s his knack for seamlessly juxtaposing the macabre with the ordinary […] These days he’s a little wiser and friendlier, but just as stubborn; and still worth spending time with.”
So I’m playing at this all-day celebration of noise on Sunday, with bass and drums and a loud electric guitar again. We’re on about 6pm, but I can recommend arriving earlier: check that line-up.
5 quid, 11 bands, 9 hours of mind-smashing volume in Brighton’s best, most dimly-lit venue. Sounds like heaven to me.
Brighton Freak Rock est. 2009
Alternative Rock from Brighton.
Fuzz Chug Wailers
Deliciously dysfunctional, hard-edged art rock.
Homegrown heavy featuring bits lifted from all your favourite bands.
A fine tuned mix of garage rock and gospel.
Frank & Beans
Two-piece thunder punk outfit from N. Ireland.
Punchy, noisy, melodic punk from Brighton
One Man Punk Band
Here’s a free download, moved across to Bandcamp from Soundcloud.
It’s a BBC Introducing: South session with my previous live band (including links by DJ Melita Dennett – these were included in the original files they sent me afterward, and add a pleasing sense of the captured moment).
Feel free to pig out on all of the above.
Octopuses (Bouncy Castle single launch!)
alt indie dance from the bottom of the (Brighton) sea
Matt Finucane + band
chanelling Lou Reed stylings with backing band
folk singer songwriter…
live at the Prince Albert on Thursday 13th April
Doors Open: 8pm
tickets on the door only