Tag: Brighton UK

With the release of their debut EP I Used to Love You, Now I Don’t, the rising Brighton-based dream pop act Hanya — Heather Sheret (vocal, guitar), Benjamin Varnes (guitar), Dylan Fanger (bass) and Jack Watkins (drums) — received attention nationally and across the blogosphere for a sound that meshes elements dream pop and shoegaze. 

Much like countless other bands across the globe, Hanya had plans to build upon a rapidly growing national and international profile: earlier this year,. they released their acclaimed sophomore EP Sea Shoes and they made their Stateside debut at New Colossus Festival last year. Sadly, their New Colossus Festival set at The Bowery Electric was among the last sets of live music I’ve seen since the pandemic hit. Of course, without the ability to tour or play shows, the rising Brighton JOVM mainstays have been rather busy writing and releasing new materail including:

  • Texas,” a shimmering bit of dream pop that nods at 70s AM rock, and focuses on the longing and excitement of a new crush/new love/new situationship. 
  • Monochrome,” which found the Brighton further establishing a gorgeous sound and approach that sets them apart in a crowded and talented field.

The JOVM mainstays’ latest single “Lydia” is a slow-burning and gorgeous track centered around shimmering guitars, Sheret’s ethereal yet plaintive vocals and a rousingly anthemic hook that continues the band’s winning mix of 70s AM rock and Beach House-like dream pop. And much like its immediate predecessors, “Lydia” is carefully crafted, introspective and hauntingly nostalgic.

“‘Lydia’ started as a sweet acoustic number but kept getting bigger the more we played it,” Hanya’s Heather Sheret explains in press notes. “I think that’s the nature of things right now: big gestures only. This past year has involved a lot of contemplation, and so ‘Lydia’ was written about a chance to dwell on our memories and see people, situations and relationships in new light as time progresses. The reminder that rights and wrongs are ever-evolving, perspectives shift and over time you shape your own memories.”

Steven Bamidele is a Brighton, UK-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, has been developing and honing his sound and approach for the better part of the past decade, beginning his career performing as Mirror Signal between 2013 and 2017. In 2017, he decided to drop the moniker, to write and record with his real given name and his Nigerian mother’s maiden name. But regardless of what he called himself, the Brighton-based singer/songwriter has focused on crafting emotionally-driven music that meshes elements of soul and pop.

Bamidele relocated to Brighton back in 2018 and over the following year, he played as many shows as humanly possible, earning a foothold in both Brighton and London. With the COVID-19 pandemic putting live music at an indefinite pause, the Brighton-based artist has been busy producing music for other artists in home studio, as well as working on new, original music — including his debut EP, which is slated for release later this year through Park The Van. (I should mention that Bamidele is the first non-rock signee to the label, as well.)

In the meantime, Bamidele’s latest single “What Happens Afterwards,” features Dave Bryce on an expansive, slow-burning, neo-soul-inspired track centered around twinkling Rhodes, shimmering synths, a sinuous two-step-inducing strutting groove, Bamidele’s achingly tender falsetto. Interestingly, the song is a heady mix of longing, wishful thinking, regret and a desire to move forward that captures how complicated and confusing love and lust can be.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Thyla Releases a Shimmering Ode to Loneliness, Heartbreak, and Survival

Rising Brighton, UK-based indie rock band Thyla can trace its origins to when its founding trio — Millie Duthie (vocals), Danny Southwell (drums) and Dan Hole (bass) — met while attending college. Bonding over shared musical interests, the band’s founding trio started writing original material together, but with the addition of Mitch Duce (guitar) , the band began to reimagine their sound and aesthetic, centered around a distaste what they felt was the stale, boring and tired state of the British recording industry.

As they quickly became JOVM mainstays back in 2019, the Brighton-based act helped to cement their hometown’s growing reputation for a music scene that features some of England’s hottest emerging acts while playing shows with Dream Wife, Luxury Death, Matt Maltese, Yonaka, Husky Loops, Lazy Day, Sunflower Bean, INHEAVEN and Fickle Friends. Adding to a growing profile in their native England, the band was spotlighted alongside Pale Waves, Nilüfer Yanya, and Sorry in NME‘s 100 Essential Acts for 2018.

The act’s debut EP 2019’s What’s On Your Mind was released to critical applause from Pitchfork, Stereogum, NME, The Line of Best Fit and Dork — and it received airplay from BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6, Radio X and KCRW. Adding to a momentous year, which saw the band receive attention from outside the UK, the Brighton-based JOVM mainstays opened for Rolling Blackouts Costal Fever, played attention-grabbing sets at The Great Escape, Live At Leeds and Hit The North. They then followed all of that with their first national tour, which also included one of their biggest shows to date at London’s Electrowerkz.

Last year, Thyla released their sophomore EP Everything at Once, which featured the anthemic and boldly ambitious “Two Sense,”and the shimmering yet anthemic, coming-of-age story “Lennox Hill,” which was arguably the most personal song the band’s Millie Duthie had written to date. And although, last year had put everyone’s career plans and aspirations on hold, the Brighton-based JOVM mainstays had been busy working on their long-awaited and highly-anticipated full-length debut

The quartet’s latest single “Breathe” is their first single of 2021 — and is the first taste of their full-length debut, slated for release later this year. “Breathe” is an atmospheric yet dance floor friendly track featuring glistening synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, squiggling blasts of guitar, stuttering four-on-the-floor, Duthie’s ethereal yet plaintive vocals and an enormous hook. While the song sonically may remind some folks of When The Night-era St. Lucia, the song manages to be completely of this moment: Thematically, the song sees the band further exploring the idea that in a constantly connected world, we are paradoxically even more shut off from each other as individuals, evoking the profound and uneasy loneliness many of us have been struggling with. And unsurprisingly, the song captures our longing for the normalcy and real world interactions we can’t have right now while touching upon the fact that we will all get through this somehow. It may change us but we will get through.

“‘Breathe’ was written in the early hours of the morning. Eventually we chanced upon this really vibey atmospheric lick that you hear in the intro, and the whole song grew from there,” Thyla’s Millie Duthie recalls. “The song blossomed into a slightly melancholic dream-pop bop, it’s bittersweet and has a slightly inconclusive feeling to it; imagine a film where the main character never actually gets the happy ending you’ve been so long yearning for. The result of how the instrumental sounded no doubt manifested lyrics that held the same sentiment. The song is about loneliness, estrangement from family and close friends, yet despite this, feeling a sense of inner strength about the situation. It’s like recovering from a breakup and realising you’ve come out stronger, but a reflection of the scar tissue that resulted from the trauma.”

Directed by Joseph Daly, the recently released video for “Breathe” is a glittering yet intimate and hazy, 80s prom-inspired visual that captures the band in intimate and lonely moments, seemingly finding their own strength to continue onward — with the video turning into a sort of dance party for the lonely.

With the release of their debut EP I Used to Love You, Now I Don’t, the rising Brighton-based dream pop act Hanya — Heather Sheret (vocal, guitar), Benjamin Varnes (guitar), Dylan Fanger (bass) and Jack Watkins (drums) — received attention nationally and across the blogosphere for a sound that meshes elements dream pop and shoegaze.

Much like countless other bands across the globe, Hanya had plans to build upon a rapidly growing national and international profile: earlier this year,. they released their acclaimed sophomore EP Sea Shoes and they made their Stateside debut at New Colossus Festival back in March. Without having shows or tours, the Brighton-based JOVM mainstays have been busy writing new material, which has included “Texas,” a shimmering bit of dream pop that nods at 70s AM rock, and focuses on the longing and excitement of a new crush/new love/new situationship.

Hanya’s latest single, the hazy and meditative “Monochrome” is centered around Sheret’s gorgeous yet plaintive vocals, shimmering guitars, atmospheric synths and a soaring hook, the new song finds the Brighton-based act boldly crafting a sound and approach that sets them apart from a crowded field of challengers.

“With a break from live shows, each of us had a chance to reinvigorate our songwriting. It’s difficult when you’re always rehearsing for the next show to really mess around and make music with no real direction,” the band says in press notes. “‘Monochrome’ started off this way, a hazy-pop ballad written on a midi-keyboard. Now we’re all back together, we fleshed out the chaos together and developed the track’s full dream-pop potential. It’s a song about re-connection with what makes you happy, taking pleasure from the little things”.
 

 

HANYA · Texas

With the release of their debut EP last year’s I Used to Love You, Now I Don’t, the rapidly rising Brighton-based dream pop act Hanya — Heather Sheret (vocal, guitar), Benjamin Varnes (guitar), Dylan Fanger (bass) and Jack Watkins (drums) — received attention nationally for a sound that meshes 90s dream pop and shoegaze.

Much like countless other bands across the globe, the members of Hanya were building upon a rapidly growing national and international profile: earlier this year, they released their acclaimed sophomore EP Sea Shoes and they made their Stateside debut at the 2nd Annual New Colossus Festival back in March. Since then, the band has been busy working on new material remotely, including their latest single “Texas.” Centered around shimmering guitars, Sheret’s ethereal yet plaintive vocals and a soaring hook, the slow-burning track continues a run of 90s inspired dream pop and shoegaze with subtle hints of 70s AM rock. And at its core is the familiar swooning, longing and excitement of a new crush/new love/new situationship.

“‘Texas’ was entirely written and recorded during lockdown, testing ourselves to work remotely as a group,” the Brighton-based quartet explain in press notes. ‘The track explores the feeling of wanting to run away with someone when you first meet them — the head-over-heels uncertainty, the self-doubt and desire to know each other entirely.”

 

 

 

 

Zooni · The Details

Zooni is a rapidly rising Brighton, UK-based art pop/indie rock act — Peter Martin, George Godwin, Ben Clark and Matt Glasbey — that was discovered by Mercury Prize and BRIT Award-winning producer Charlie Andrew.  Last year was a momentum changing year for the British act: they released their debut EP,  which they supported with a sold-out show at London’s The Waiting Room and a set at that year’s The Great Escape.

Zooni · Dissolve

Much like countless bands across the world, the members of Zooni hope to play shows as soon as humanly possible; in fact, they have some shows slated for the fall. But in the meantime, earlier this year, they released the critically applauded single “Dissolve,” and they’ve followed it up with their latest single, the ethereal “Details.” Centered around shimmering and angular guitars, propulsive and hypnotic drumming, atmospheric electronics, twinkling keys and plaintive vocals, the delicate yet painterly song sonically reminds me of OK Computer-era Radiohead and Forever So-era Husky — but within an expansive, prog-like song structure.

 

 

 

 

 

Brighton-based art-pop makers Zooni return today with new single ‘The Details’.  The follow up to their February single ‘Dissolve’. ‘The Details’ is a
 powerful yet fragile mix of poetic lyrics and transcendent textures. Combining hypnotic beats with delicate piano and angular guitars it is available to stream below …

 

Discovered by Mercury and Brit award winning producer Charlie Andrew (Alt J, London Gramma, Marika Hackman), Zooni – Peter Martin, George Godwin, Ben Clark, and Matt Glasbey – played a Sold-Out headline show at The Waiting Room (London) in the summer of 2019, following on from an unforgettable appearance at The Great Escape Festival in that same year – and still hope to be playing some UK shows later this year.

Lyric Video: Beat Hotel Returns with a Swooning and Heartfelt Power Pop Anthem

Split between Brighton, UK and Plymouth, UK,  Beat Hotel, which features current and former members of The June Brides, The Loft, The Weather Prophets, Distractions, Mudlow, Mojo Fins and Lolita Storm can trace its origins to when its founding members — The June Brides’, The Distractions’ and The Granite Shore‘s Arash Torabi and Paul Pascoe met after a 1988 The Jasmine Minks show.  (Interestingly, many years later, the first Beat Hotel single featured a guest vocal spot from The Jasmine Minks’ frontman Jim Shepherd.)

Developing a strong live presence in their local scene, the act managed to record a number of demos,  but they didn’t officially release anything until 2013 — the “Best of Our Years”/”The Fire,” double A-side 7 inch, which featured The Loft’s and The Weather Prophets’ Dave Morgan (drums), who then became a permanent member of the band.

Released earlier this year through Occultation Records, the band’s long-awaited self-titled EP was recorded at Hove, UK-based Church Road Studios by the band’s Paul Pascoe and features five originals written by Pascoe and a cover of The Wishing Stones‘ “Beat Girl.” The EP also features guest spots from The June Brides’ Frank Sweeney, who contributes strings and piano and former Mojo Fins member Stephen Brett (guitar), who releases material as a solo artist under the moniker SJ Brett. “Every now and again, we produce something that’s very special to us. These forays into the physical world are usually inspired by a collaboration,” Beat Hotel’s Paul Pascoe says in press notes about the band’s self-titled EP. “This time it was driven by an unexpected creative surge due to the sudden and shocking end of a relationship. I felt like I had to relearn everything about how to be in the world and look seriously at who I actually am. I found comfort in the music that had given me a sense of belonging the first time around. The Jesus & Mary Chain, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Weather Prophets .  .  .these songs and songwriters, so familiar to my psyche, were there again to drag me to safety.”

“This collection of songs is about love and near-death and confronting the very worst aspects of ourselves, facing down those inner demons, the fears that haunt us and our deepest, darkest secrets,” Pascoe says of the EP’s material. “And… with one of the tracks beginning its recording journey in 1997 and getting its final guitar overdub and mix in 2019 (in all its 3 minutes 14 seconds of rock’n’roll glory), this record is also a tribute to the awesome power of getting shit done.”

Earlier this year,  wrote about “Bury It Deep,” an upbeat, hook-driven song that brings Starfish-era The Church, early-to-mid 80s Echo and the Bunnymen (i.e, Crocodiles, Heaven Up Here and Ocean Rain) and The Dream Syndicate to mind — and while possessing an uncanny period specificity, the song is more than a homage to a classic and beloved sound: at its core, the song is centered around a narrator desperately trying to maneuver a confusing and uncertain world, as well as their own demons. The EP’s latest single “Feel It” continues a run of hook-driven, 80s inspired material — but in this case, the track is a jangling power pop anthem that brings The Smithereens, The Sighs, and others to mind. But interestingly, the song is a heartfelt love song that evokes the swooning urgency of newfound love in a way that should remind you of your first love. 

New Video: Paris’ Morning Robots Releases a Symbolic and Animated Visual for “Moonlight”

Emerging Paris-based indie rock act Morning Robots — Romain, Victor, Jerome, Benjamin and BT — can trace their origins to a school trip to Brighton, UK: Romain, Victor and Jerome met Benjamin and BT while sharing the same room with a host family. The members of the quintet bonded over a mutual love of The Strokes, Oasis and Kasabian and others. And as the story goes, the quintet wanted to start a band as soon as they got back to France. 

When they started the band, not everyone would know how to play an instrument but eventually the stragglers picked an instrument and they all began practicing and honing their sound. Although they wrote and recorded some demos, the band can officially trace its origins back to 2012. Early 2013 saw the band playing their first live shows in the Paris area — and by the following year, they released a handful of singles including “Shiny Laughter,” and “Fall With You.” 

The band continued to hone their sound and live show with shows at some of Paris’ most renowned venues — including L’International, l’Alimentation Générale, FGO Barbara, La Clef, Bus Palladium, Le Baron, Le Truskel, and Paris Paris Club. They’ve also opened for Yungblud at Supersonic. 

The band released their debut EP, 2018’s Vincent Marie Bouvot-produced Nothing Like Tile For A Tango, which featured “Meet Me Later,” a track that found the band establishing a new sound centered around enormous, arena rock friendly hooks and reverb-drenched guitars. Morning Robots spent the next year, playing in and around Paris before eventually returning to the studio to record new material late last year with Vincent Marie Bouvot. 

The late 2019 sessions resulted in the band’s latest single “Moonlight.” Centered around  an alternating quiet verses and loud choruses with enormous power chords, the song features shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, thunderous drumming paired with earnest and plaintive vocals in English and in French. 

The recently released video find the band continuing their ongoing animated visual collaboration with Oscar Langevin (a.k.a Dinopelo). The visual is centered around a mother and child, who are violently separated with the child eventually imprisoned. The mom sets out to get revenge and get her child back in a way that bears a resemblance to Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol 1. and Vol. 2. But at the end, we see a lovely reunion — and a mother’s love and sacrifice for her child.  

Deriving their name from a retired racing greyhound that’s since been renamed Jenna, Jetstream Pony is an emerging shoegazer act split between Brighton UK and Croydon UK. Featuring Trembling Blue Stars,’ The Luxembourg Signal‘s and Aberdeen’s Beth Arzy (vocals), The Wedding Present’s and The Popguns‘ Shaun Charman (guitar), Kerry Boettcher (bass) and the band’s newest addition Hannes Müller, the members of the band bonded over their mutual love of post-punk and indie pop.

The band released a few 7 inch singles through Kleine Untergrund Schallplaten, along with a their 12 inch debut EP Self-Destruct EP — both of which received a bit of attention across the shoegazer and indie pop scenes. Building upon growing momentum, the British act’s self-titled, full-length debut is slated for a May 22, 2020 release through Shelflife Records and Kleine Untergrund Schallplaten. Interestingly, the album’s second and latest single “Trapped in Amber” is a shoegazer-like bit of guitar pop that recalls 120 Minutes-era MTV college radio that features an enormous hook, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, four-on-the-floor drumming and Beth Arzy’s ethereal vocals, delivered with the self-assuredness of old pros.

“‘Trapped in Amber’ is a relationship song, with lyrics by Beth,” the band’s Shaun Charmn explains in an email. “She writes a mixture of prose and verse on virtual scraps of paper. When I have new music, I flick through them to see which fits best, then edit to fit. Beth’s happy for things to be changed, she then edits again for the final version. It does work really well. This song was written at the very last minute before album recording, I was still working it out in the studio as we recorded it, but it was sounding too good to leave off.”

 

 

 

Natasha Khan is a Brighton, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed solo recording project Bat For Lashes — and for being the vocalist for Sexwitch, a collaboration with the members of British psych rock act TOY and producer Dan Carey. Born to an English mother, Josie and Pakistani squash player Rehmat Khan, Natasha Khan traces some of the influences of her musical career to attending her father’s and her uncle’s Jahangir’s squash matches, which she felt inspired her creativity: “The roar of the crowd is intense; it is ceremonial, ritualistic. I feel like the banner got passed to me but I carried it on in a creative way. It is a similar thing, the need to thrive on heightened communal experience.” Her father left when she was 11, and she taught herself to play the piano, which quickly became an important channel to express things, to get them out.

Khan’s debut single “The Wizard” was released digitally through Drowned in Sound Records and on seven-inch vinyl through her own imprint, She Bear Records. By 2006, she caught the attention of Echo Label, a record label owned by Chrysalis Records that acted as an incubator for emerging artists and assisting their careers while moving them to major labels. Echo released her debut, 2006’s Fur and Gold. The following year, Khan and Echo signed an international licensing deal with Parlophone Records, who re-released Fur and Gold that year. The album reached #48 on the UK Albums Charts and since its release, it’s been certified gold. Building upon a growing profile, the British singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer played at Glastonbury Festival and toured across the States. The album was shortlisted for that year’s Mercury Prize, losing to Klaxons’ Myths of the Near Future, despite being critically applauded and named a heavy favorite to win. She won ASCAP’s Vanguard Award, which resulted in her performing at their “ASCAP Presents . .  .” SXSW showcase.

2008 continued an incredible run by the British singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist as she was notated for two Brit Awards — British Breakthrough Act and British Female Solo Artist. She opened handful of dates for Radiohead, and she released a cover of The Cure’s “A Forest,” which appeared on the Perfect as Cats charity album.

Khan’s sophomore album, 2009’s David Kosten and Khan-co-produced Two Suns was inspired by a trip she took to Joshua Tree, CA. The album focuses on her desert-born alter ego Pearl, whose personality she adopted while living in New York. Sonically, the material was inspired by the Brooklyn bands that had started to receive attention nationally and internationally at the time — in particular, TV on the Radio, MGMT, Gang Gang Dance and others. Interestingly, the album also found her collaborating with the members of Yeasayer, who contributed bass and beat programming. The album debuted at #5 on the UK Albums Chart and has since been certified gold as a result of “Daniel,” which peaked at #36 on the UK Singles Chart. “Daniel” later won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song and was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year. Additionally, Khan received her second Mercury Prize nomination and a second BRIT Award nomination for British Female Solo Artist.

Summer 2009 saw her play at Glastonbury Festival, Somerset House and the iTunes Festival, which was followed by a special edition of Two Suns, which was released ahead of her October UK tour an included a cover of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody.”

Khan’s third Bat for Lashes album, 2012’s The Haunted Man debuted at #6 on the UK Albums Chart, her second consecutive Top 10 album, an effort that has since been certified silver. Khan was nominated for her third Best British Solo Female BRIT Award and was nominated for two Ivor Novello Awards — Best Song Musically and Best Song Lyrically for album single “Laura.” That year saw her play at Coachella Festival. She also opened for Blur and Depeche Mode.

During a surprise 2015 Green Man Festival set in Wales, Khan debuted her collaboration with Dan Carey and TOY — Sexwitch. That September, the project released its self-titled debut through Echo and BMG, which featured six covers of 1970s psych and folk from different parts of the world.

2016 saw the release of her fourth full-length album The Bride, an album that was nominated for the Mercury Prize.

Khan’s fifth album Lost Girls was released last fall through AWAL Recordings, and the album continues a run of concept albums: in this case, the material was centered around an off-kilter coming of age film, in which bands of marauding female biker gangs roam the streets — and teenagers make out on car hoods. The female characters throughout are parallel to the protagonists of her previously released albums — most notably, the street tough, darkness-driven Pearl from Two Suns. The album’s main character Nikki Pink, was one of the album’s central Lost Girls. And at its core, the album thematically is a loving and romantic homage to all things Los Angeles, being a child of the 80s and the films that influenced Khan. Sonically, the album found Khan mixing sounds she’s long loved — heavy bass lines, synth arpeggios, Iranian pop beats and cascading chorus which help evoke an achingly wistful air.

Khan recently released a four song live EP recorded at London-based venue EartH that features a stripped down versions of “Daniel,” “Desert Man” and “The Hunger” off Lost Girls featuring Khan accompanying herself on piano and organ. The EP’s first official single is a slow-burning,  stripped down, atmospheric cover of Don Henley‘s “The Boys of Summer” centered around twinkling keys and Khan’s expressive vocals.  Khan’s Bat for Lashes cover retains the song’s awareness of the passing of time, the end of youthful innocence — of a darker, more uncertain adult world just over the horizon.

Interestingly, the EP comes just before Khan embarks on a Winter North American tour — and it serves as a taste of what fans should expect: intimate renditions of the material off Lost Girls, as well as never performed songs and some surprises.