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.
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
“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.
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.
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
BOUNCING SKULL PRESENTS
L C PUMPKIN
astonishing lo-fi outsiderness
“Warping keyboards, fuzz-banjo, blown-out drum machine beats and extremely catchy songwriting” – Upset The Rhythm
“It was good” – Jarvis Cocker
ADAM & ELVIS
formidable and poignant live band with a mighty work ethic, fresh from supporting Fat White Family, The Correspondents, Splashh and The Zombies
“Their track The Artiste takes you gently by the hand and draws you down a hypnotizing route that leads to some surprising places” – Steve Lamacq, 6MUSIC
BOUNCING SKULL PRESENTS
YOUNG FRANCIS – onstage 10pm
Young Francis plays guitar by hand, drums by foot and sings by mouth. No effects, no pedals, no loops, no tricks.
Young Francis sings 2 minute songs about girls, getting high and hanging out.
“A one-man Ramones, with a touch of John Cooper Clarke wit”
– Brighton Unsigned
MATT FINUCANE – onstage 9.15
Deliciously dysfunctional… now with drums!!!!!!!!
“Music runs through the core of the mysterious and ground breaking singer/songwriter/poet” – Brighton Source
LA PEQUENA EM – onstage 8.30
Punked up cover versions on a distorted electric uke with masks, wrestling, sharks and fun.
ART SCUZZ FOREVER!!!
Thur 11 Oct, The Quadrant – 12-13 North Street, Brighton BN1
MUSIC from 8:30 SHARP
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.)
There’s another EP coming out later this year – Fri 19 Oct – which is the opposite half of the picture to the abrasive, noise-heavy protest songs on Ugly Scene. The clue’s in the title: Disquiet – a mellow slab of grandeur and weirdness. Till then, got gigs coming up next month and more in Sept-Nov (a mixture of solo and electric band nights, details to follow). These are the nearest few dates:
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 are two free downloads, moved across to Bandcamp from Soundcloud:
a BBC Introducing: South session with my previous live band…
…and a studio track recorded at the same time as Lilith and In The Evil Empire
Please, feel free to pig out on all of the above.