Category Archives: Brighton

What’s On Brighton February 2017

Check out my monthly roundup of some of the best gigs happening in and around Brighton and Hove in February 2017, including gig previews, features and interviews.

There Will Be Blood: Live

Mon 6th February – Brighton Dome

there will be blood live brighton

Following on from their performance at London’s Royal Festival Hall on 30th January, this week sees the London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO) performing three dates of their fantastic ‘There Will Be Blood: Live’ show, with performances at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall (Sun 5th Feb), Brighton Dome (Mon 6th Feb) and Bristol’s Colston Hall (Tue 7th Feb).

Read Full Preview

Barry Hyde (Futureheads) Acoustic Show

Thursday 9th February – Brighton Komedia

Barry Hyde (Futureheads) solo acoustic show brighton komedia feb 2017

Fans of indie post-punk rockers The Futureheads will be delighted to hear that guitarist and vocalist Barry Hyde will be coming to Brighton to perform an intimate solo show at Brighton Komedia (Studio) to showcase his debut album, Malody, which was released in June 2016 on Sirenspire Records. The show is hosted by local promoter Melting Vinyl, and as with most of their shows, features a great support from a local artist – in this case the gentle folksters Lutine, a Brighton 3-piece known for their delicate arrangements and vocal harmonies.

Read Full Preview

Little Comets + Eliza and The Bear

Sunday 11th February – Concorde II


7 Little Comets Quick Facts

1. The band is from the North-east of the UK, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne and their names are Robert, Michael, Matt, Nathan and Matt II.

2. They were signed to Columbia Records in 2009, following a series of gigs in unusual locations, such as lecture halls and on public transport.

3. The Little Comets are the only act inside the top 200 to self-produce, record, release, market, distribute and publish an album.

Read the rest on

Gabrielle Aplin

Tuesday 14th February – The Haunt, Brighton

gabrielle aplin february 2017 tour brighton interview

This week, UK singer-songwriter and YouTube favourite Gabrielle Aplin will be embarking on a short 3-date tour in the south of England. Unsurprisingly, the shows have all sold out, but we are using this as an opportunity to trace her history so far, to give you a brief history of Gabrielle Aplin, told in just 6 videos. Enjoy!


More gigs to be added soon!



MOVES Festival 2017 banner


Esben and the Witch February 2017 UK Tour Interview Brighton



How to write a music blog

In an age of mobile technology dominated by social media and online press, the power has been handed over from the few to the many, particularly with multimedia journalism. It’s easy to find reviews of almost anything online, from obscure indie films to mainstream platinum albums, but it’s not as easy as it looks to write the reviews.

Here is my 10 step guide to writing a music blog that people will want to read:

1. Know Your Stuff

To debunk what may be a common myth amongst music journalism, you do not need to have a formal music education to write about music. You do not even need to be an expert in the field. But what is important is that whatever it is you are writing about is something that you understand and would feel comfortable having a discussion with a fan of the artist about. If you want to say that an artist reminds you of Damien Rice for example, make sure that you know what Damien Rice actually sounds likes and justify (to yourself at least) why you think that. It is easy to make sweeping statement about music to overgeneralise or to look like an expert, but it won’t be long before your reader’s realise you don’t know your Dylan from your Ke$ha. Know your stuff and you will earn your reader’s trust, and if you are lucky, their loyalty too.

2. Write About What You Like

It is so easy to give something a good panning. By nature, we are critical beings and like to cast shade on what others are doing, and often justifiably so, but I ask you this: why? Who wan’t to read a bad review of something? You have have the razor sharp dry wit of a seasoned stand-up, but if nobody know who you are or your voice, then you are just another sarcastic hater who trashes things online. Unless you really hate something with a passion and feel compelled to warn others against it, I suggest writing about what you love, what you really enjoy and you and your readers will want to read about it – and so might the people who you are writing it about, which is the best way to get your work shared around.

3. Meet The Musicians

It’s easy to hide behind a computer screen or smartphone at a show, but the best way to find out information about a band is to get chatting to them. Most local bands are thrilled to talk about their music with anybody that listens, particularly if they might get a review written about their show from it. So get to gigs early to see the supports and stick around afterwards to get chatting with them. It will give you a unique insight into their music that other will not have and it will be interesting to your readers. Plus, you never know which support act you review might be the next big thing, and they may just remember that guy or girl who wrote about them back in the day.

4. Compare and Compère

Two things that audiences like about music blogs is for the acts to be compared and compered. By comparing particular tracks, or the band/artist in general, with known figures helps people to gauge their interest and also helps you as a writer to compartmentalise the music a little, which allows you to be more specific, which is always a good thing. There is nothing worse than vague wishy-washy music journalism, saying things like “the band sounded like Mumford & Sons on crack”… By compèring the acts that you review, you are introducing them to a potentially new audience so give a little background information – not a full Wikipedia biography. If you are reviewing a show, review the support too. It’s a good way to engage with more people, as support acts and local acts are more likely to share your work amongst their networks, and if you like them, odds are that other people will too.

5. Write Regularly

Not everybody can polish off a swift 2,000 words in their lunch break – and that is definitely a good thing. People have a finite amount of time and attention, so don’t overstay your welcome or become a nusiance. Write when you can, but regulate it. If you know you won’t be writing something for a while after a busy period, why not schedule your posts to go out evenly rather than writing in sporadic spurts every so often. People crave regularity, as much as they may not admit to it, and consistently well written work is the key to gaining and keeping readership of your blog. Keep it fresh, interesting and really care about what you write – writing regularly will really help you with this and prevent you from writer’s block or general writing malaise.

6. Good Quality Images

We’ve all done it, but don’t just grab any old image from Google Image Search for a band. Make sure the images you use are current and where possible signed off by the band. Most bands will have a press section on their website, or at least a gallery of recent images which should be fine to use to accompany your blog. If you can’t find anything, drop them an email to request some images and they will more than likely reply with what you need – after all, it is free publicity for them and it will really make your blog stand out by having the latest and best images to complement your writing.

7. Look Good/Mobile Friendly

Before you start throwing everything you write out at the world, you may want to think about how it actually looks. Depending on which platform you use, there is a lot of functionality and deign elements which you can customise, so it helps if you have a clear design idea in your head for how you want your blog to look. If you lack a creative eye for design, seek advice from friends, as your blog template and theme is like a shop window, and if visitors don’t like it, they are much less likely to stick around to have a browse. Most blogs automatically optimise for mobile devices, but make sure that yours does by testing it on your phone/tablet. Most users will be accessing your blog through mobile devices so if it doesn’t look good then it won’t keep them coming back for more.

8. Check It Twice

Just like Santa Claus, you should check everything in your blog is how you want it to be. Do your image link to the right places? Do your web-links work? Have you spelled all the names correctly? Is your factual information correct? It’s always better to double check before publishing to avoid the embarrassment of being corrected online, or losing reader through silly grammar, spelling, punctuation and formatting mistakes.

9. SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a huge field in itself – people work full time just in this field of IT – but put simply, it about making sure your website/blog shows up when people are searching for the information which you are giving. There are a lot of tools which can help you do this through your blog site which are very simple to use and can have a real effect on online traffic. It is helpful to get into good habits, such as giving articles useful names that are likely to be search terms for people, and inserting meta descriptions for articles and images. If you don’t know what these are or how to do this, its easy to find out online, and this would really help your blog to get noticed.

10. Spread The Word

This should be quite obvious, but once you have your work all polished and ready to publish, be sure to send it out to all of your networks with whom it might be relevant. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube are all powerful tools with huge numbers of online daily users, so use the resources that you have available to you and network, spread the word and take constructive feedback on board to help you become the best writer that you can be. You never know when it may turn into more than just a hobby – it could well lead into a full-time career!


February is here. The shortest month, but by no means the least important: you just have two or three fewer days to cram in a month’s worth of entertainment. I saw something online today about “Facebook Free February”, which whilst I agree that people could do with getting out a little more, I think that Facebook is being used as a scapegoat for its success. Also, with my work now involving and mostly comprising of social media, I am personally hoping that not too many people are “offline” this month, as it would make my working days rather dull!

That being said, if you are looking to get out a little more this month, here’s my picks of what’s on and what to see. Unlike usual, a few of the shows are unfortunately already sold out, but these are ones to watch out for next time so that you don’t miss out.

Enjoy your short month. See just what you can do in 28 days. Set yourself a target and go for it. Keep music alive and live!

Friday 6th February

Maydays: Tonight’s Top Story
Komedia – 8pm – £10/8 – BUY TICKETS

Brighton’s professional comedy improv group The Maydays will be performing a set based on Newspaper clippings cut out by the audience before the curtain goes up (so if you want to get involved, be sure to show up early!). If you are new to improvised comedy, it’s definitely an experience. I saw The Noise Next Door in June last year and was completely blown away with them. So if you like topical, improvised and slightly mad comedy (think Mock The Week but less scripted), then why not check out the Maydays and see if they’ll have you sending out signs of distress (from laughing so much)!

Saturday 7th February

Seth Lakeman
St. George’s Church – 7pm – SOLD OUT

Seth Lakeman is a name that I’ve heard a few times but never really paid much attention to, until I listened to his music. I can definitely see where his appeal comes from. He has a kind of old-school Bryan Adams vibe crossed with acoustic guitar. It’s great driving music (in both senses of the word driving). Check out the video for The Wanderer below and keep an eye out for his next Brighton tour date. With a sold out gig in hand, I am sure that he will be back for more very soon.

Thursday 12th February

Amelia Curran
The Verdict – 7:30pm – £8 – BUY TICKETS

This alternative roots/folk singer-songwriter has some seriously infectious and penetrating songs with lyrics that you will fall for like a teenage girl falls for Justin Bieber’s music (I know, powerful stuff). She is refreshing and easy to take in on a first listen, so if you’ve not heard of her before, then she’s a great one to take a punt on! Check out her video for ‘I Am The Night’ below, and her album They Promised You Mercy

Friday 13th February

QM and Green Door Store Presents: Tommy Sissons + More
Green Door Store – 7pm – £FREE

The guys behind QM are very busy guys indeed. Between putting on gigs at The Mesmerist, shooting music videos with their band Normanton Street, they still find time to work with all the young musical talent that they can in Brighton, doing so much to nurture it that I am sure they will receive some kind of National Lottery Funding for their efforts soon (if you are from the National Lottery, then get on this asap). This night is no exception as they host a night of live music, providing a backdrop for local rappers, spoken word artists and singers to showcase their freshest material, headlined by linguistic Heavyweight Tommy Sissons. Check out my review of his EP and check out the gig. You won’t be sorry!

Wednesday 18th February

Bear’s Den
Concorde II – 8pm – SOLD OUT

I first heard of these guys when I heard their track Above The Clouds of Pompeii live on Radio 1. I was instantly drawn in. They have a slow and less over the top folky feel compared to Mumford and Sons. The banjo is less prominent but the tunes have a Ben Howard rawness to them, instantly catchy and memorable. Unfortunately sold out, why not follow them on twitter to make sure that you don’t miss out on them next time around. I predict they will be at a larger venue next time, as they will certainly grow over the next year. One to watch for 2015 for sure!

Thursday 26th February

Folk Off Sessions
Fiddler’s Elbow – 7pm – £FREE

Shameless bit of self-promotion here – I am playing this gig – but there are also 3 other acts, and it’s free, and it’s Thursday so really you must be running out of excuses not to come! Also playing are Butterfly House, Rough Chowder and Jamie Smart. I’ve heard that the nights always fill up and have a good reputation for great live music, so I hope to live up to the expectations and look forward to being a part of it. I hope you can make it along. Check out a music video I shot a few years back. If you’d like to shoot a new one for me for free, get in touch!

Friday 27th February

Scott Matthews
St. George’s Church – 7pm – £16.50 – BUY TICKETS

When was the last time that you saw an Ivor Novello winning songwriter performing in a beautiful Church? If the answer to this is never and you are still one gig down from your monthly target for February, then I strongly recommend that you check out the video (and artist) below. Scott Matthews has received critical acclaim on every level from The Guardian to the BBC, and with due reason. His recent album Home part I leaves you longing for its sequel with his Nick Drake-esque melodic line and intricate acoustic guitar lines.  Scoot will be playing the gig with his band, featuring Danny Keane (celllo, piano), Sam Martin (drums) and Jon Thorne (double bass). Beautiful music for a date, man-date or somebody just looking for a break from the busy weekdays. A perfect way to ease into the weekend.


Saturday 28th February

Tiago Saga Single Launch
BLEACH – 7:30pm – £3 

Brighton-based troubadour Tiago Saga, who some of you may recognise as the front-man of local band Time for T, has been toiling away in secret (not really so secret) on a new solo expedition. Having seen him perform last year at one of Jacko Hooper‘s Folklore Sessions, he was as usual bang on form so I know that this Saturday night will be a special one. As well as his single launch, there are set from another fantastic three artists: Alex KP, a Cambridge-born singer-songwriter residing in Brighton, Konoba aka Raphael Esterhazy, a Belgian musician who collaborated with Tiago on the recording of the single and headlining are Common Tongues, whom I haven’t seen play since The Great Escape last May (a poor effort on my part). I’m really looking forward to seeing all of these artists performing, and as I’ve never been to BLEACH before either, its going to be doubly exciting. If you want to join in the hype and check it out, here is the facebook event.

If you think there is a gig that I’ve missed out and that you’d like me to preview, or have a gig coming up that you’d recommend, drop me a line on or via twitter on @tomsayeruk.

Frank Hamilton Interview and Review – October 2013

I met up with Frank Hamilton, singer-songwriter-extraordinaire from St. Ives, Cambridge, ahead of his headline UK tour, stopping off at Brighton.

Having only been introduced to his music a week ago, and with just a return trip to Cardiff to familiarise myself with his back-catalogue I was very pleased at how many tracks stood out individually as well as part of a great feat of song-writing which is the #OneSongAWeek Album of 2012. He is definitely one to watch out for and catch live before he explodes into the big-time, in the footsteps of similar acoustic breakthroughs like Ed Sheeran and Newton Faulkner.

I ask him about his past, the Song a Week project and what is next in store for Frank Hamilton…



What first got you interested in song-writing when you were younger? 

I guess I was a bit of a late bloomer with music. It wasn’t until I heard Blink 182’s Enema of the State album that I really wanted to write songs. I know a lot of people don’t always take them seriously, but I think they wrote some of the best pop songs of the last 50 years.


Was that your most influential album when you were growing up and has that changed now?

Well I still feel like I’m growing up! But Blink 182’s music was and still is a big influence on my music now. Also, Original Pirate Material by The Streets. The colloquial lyrics of Mike Skinner were something that really inspired me and is something I strive for in my songs.


Where did you play your first gigs, both as your own and as a band?

I played some open mics as a solo singer-songwriter when I was in Guildford studying at University. Before that though I played with my first band, Mike’s New Car at a venue called The Boat Race in Cambridge, which is now a posh wine bar!


Do you have any formal music qualifications from school? Did you have any lessons or take any grades?

I took a couple of trumpet grades and did a little bit on the drums, but that was all when I was pre-13 so not much that’s used now, but you never know when things might come around again!


best of cover

What was your motivation behind your #OneSongAWeek album in 2012?

It started on January 2nd 2012. I’d had a couple of years of being quite musically redundant. I had a record out in 2008 but not much seemed to some from it, but then in December 2011 I released an EP and just promoted it by Twitter and Facebook and it got to number 3 in the iTunes singer-songwriter chart so I thought ‘I need to make the most of this’. I made a couple of calls and started right away.


I think one of the things that stand out about the record is the consistent quality of the tracks, which could understandably have dipped given the vast output in such a short space of time. Did you have a routine for writing the songs? Were you on tour much that year or did you have a set place that you wrote your songs?

Thanks very much. That was what I was going for. There were a lot of tracks which didn’t make the grade. I knew I wasn’t gonna get it right every time so there was just a constant flow of material for a year pretty much. I did a small tour in April 2012 but apart from that most of my songs were written in a small patch downstairs in my lounge. I remember when we played at the Isle Of Wight Festival, I had to take all of my recording equipment with me to the Travelodge and after going out and having a good time I came back to the hotel room and had to get back to work. It was really hard work but it was great fun too.


What was the idea behind the chord and lyrics booklet attached to the #OneSongAWeek Complete record, released in 2013? 

Well the Best of #OneSongAWeek was released just before Christmas due to the demand, but the complete version wasn’t released until early 2013 which gave us some time to get the presentation right. We had had a lot of requests for tabs for some of the songs so I just wanted the fans to be able to enjoy the music fully and get what they wanted from the record. Plus by making it a complete package, it brings a sense of closure to allow me to move onto new things too.

frank hamilton 3


You have some interesting collaborations on your record. How did those people get involved? Did you already know them or were they people who just heard of what you were doing and wanted to get involved?

Mostly it was just people who had heard what I was doing! I got a tweet from Ed Sheeran telling me to check out this article in an acoustic guitar magazine, where he had mentioned me and the album and I was chuffed. I replied to thank him and asked him if he wanted to get involved featuring on a track and he did! Then Newton Faulkner’s manager got in touch saying that he wanted to be involved. That was quite tight as it was near the end of the record and we really didn’t have much time to get it done but we managed it.


How did you keep the record so varied? Did you make a conscious effort to make tracks in certain styles or just span out? 

It wasn’t a conscious effort. I was just trying new things. I knew that if I was excited by what I was doing then hopefully the fans would be too. It would have been pretty boring if I wrote 52 tracks with the same chord progression with just guitar and vocal tracks. I wanted to try out new things and see what I could do.


Does the album make it easy to track where you were over 2012?

Yeah definitely. It gives me a lot of fragments to piece together the year with. And I have specific memories for each track. Like for example Flaws and Ceilings started out at my parents house in 2011 when I remember just looking up and down and I came up with the line “I’ve got flaws, she’s got ceilings” which started off the whole song.


Do you have a favourite track on the record?

I hate this question! It changes daily really. I could list any number of tracks. I always say it’s like having 52 children and being asked to pick your favourite. One song that I wasn’t too keen on was ‘Tiny Chemicals’. I really wasn’t too sure on that track but it’s a favourite with the fans so I think it will always be a part of the set!


The Summer EP is out now. How did you choose on the cover of the Wheatus Track Teenage Dirtbag for the record? 

Well I was asked to do a cover track for Dropout UK and I chose the song because I love it. I started playing it live during the Lucy Spraggan tour and got some positive responses so I tweeted Brendan (singer of Wheatus) to see if he was ok with me recording a version of it and asked if he would like to feature on the track. To my surprise he said yes and asked what I would like him to do. I said the girly part and he was happy to oblige and sent me over the vocal. I was ecstatic.


Are you very involved with the design of your music videos, take for example the new single Summer?

This was one of the tracks from the #OneSongAWeek record, week 36. It’s an important song for me because for a while it felt like I was doing a thankless task. I came up with the idea for the video and knew that I wanted to have kids in it. The song is actually about a girl called Summer that I knew in school. A lot of people just think it is about the season. It was important for me to get that out there. I teamed up with Tommy from Speeding Films who managed to pretty much shoot the video with no budget. It’s really hard when a lot of singed artists have such large video budgets but I’m really happy with how the video turned out.


Do you get much time to explore the cities and towns that you tour in? 

I wish. I got to go outside for a cigarette, walk to the guitar shop to buy some plectrums and a coffee but that’s about it. It’s nice when you have days off whilst you’re touring but not being on a label means that everything has to be done as cheaply as possible.



What’s next for you when you finish this tour?

A couple of days rest would be nice. I’ve not really had a day off since May so a couple of days to strategise and plan ahead will be great. It’s really important to think to the future in this business. There will be a new record, most likely a studio album, to be released before Christmas.


With such a wide repertoire, do you mix up your set-lists a lot?

Well the band know about 30 of the tracks from the #OneSongAWeek record, plus another 10 or so that we play live, but usually we only can play around 15 songs a night. The hardest thing for me is that sometime people will come to my shows and not get to hear their favourite track! But I think that natural selection helps to craft the sets so hopefully most people leave the gigs happy. When I was half-way through the record I played a 26-song picnic set at Clapham Common to about 50 people. That was great. I’d love to play longer sets and possible the whole 52-track album but I don’t have anything confirmed yet.


Finally, if you had one track to demonstrate your music to someone who’s never heard of you before, what would you choose?

Wow that’s an impossible question. I don’t know what I would choose. I guess Flaws and Ceilings is a song that I think lyrically sums up my style, so I’d go with that.


Live Review – Brighton Komedia – Monday 7th October 2013

For those of you who haven’t heard of Frank Hamilton, you are forgiven. He doesn’t have a record label or a six figure promotions budget. But what he does have is a talent for song-writing and performing and a work ethic and self-discipline that would rival most professional athletes. Frank’s mammoth record #OneSongAWeek does what it says on the tin; it is a collection of 52 tracks from 2012, chronicling the highs, lows and in-betweens of the year for you all to hear, read and play along to (with the chord sheets and lyrics included in the complete album version). His music crosses The Feeling with Frank Turner, with influences from many other styles including pop-punk and hip-hop thrown into the mix too.

Frank Hamilton opened his set with an old track, You, Your Cat and Me which the audience welcomed with open arms and mouths as they sang along. The changing drum grooves broke up the song very well and after just a couple of songs it was clear that the set was going to be peppered with intelligent lyric writing and big sing-a-long vocal hooks. With a mug of tea, coffee or possibly Lemsip and wielding a ukulele and wearing a checked shirt, Frank is not your typical arrogant front-man; in fact he comes across warmly to both strangers and long-term fans alike.

His technical abilities on guitar and vocally are both top quality, with his screeching solo in The Birds (4am) contrasted with his gentle finger-picking in the refreshingly original cover version of the Wheatus classic Teenage Dirtbag, showing that he is a man with many musical tricks up his sleeves. The unplugged version of Thinking Back which Frank played in amongst the audience was confident yet vocally tender and delicate. He closed the set with a couple of more upbeat numbers and his encore ending with Week 52 dedicated to the audience for supporting him and one of his personal favourites Flaws and Ceilings rounded the night off. The only criticism has to be that the venue should have been larger, the crowd more excited and the set maybe a tad longer. But it is still early days in his musical career and if he keeps on writing material this good it is only a matter of time before he breaks the big leagues into headline stadium tours.

Now that you have read this, you have no excuse to not have a listen and discover a fresh-faced singer-songwriter who might just be one of the best things you’ve not yet heard!

The ‘Summer’ EP is out now on iTunes for just £1.79.

Originally posted on in October 2013. Interview by Tom Sayer.

Beautiful Boy Interview – 15/10/2014

This afternoon I caught up with Dane Lewis Etteridge, the frontman of Brighton-based pop-rock band Beautiful Boy to have a chat before the release of their new single ‘Bodies’, out exclusively on vinyl on November 10th on RAK Records, two weeks before the digital release. In between video shoot sessions for the new single, we met up to discuss musical aspirations, music videos and of course, the music itself.

I was fortunate enough to be given a preview listen of the two tracks of the new EP, ‘Bodies’ as the A-side with a cover version of ‘Kids In America’ by Kim Wilde. As part of RAK’s releases, they ask each band to record a cover version from their back-catalog and so Beautiful Boy chose this track to rewrite in their signature style. Check out the original track here. Bodies is a foot-stomping original track, carrying on from their double A-side Home/ Love Me More, Beautiful Boy’s track record for catchy hooks, strong melodies and singalong anthems continues unblemished. The track kind of sounds like a darker twist on The Feeling. The video will be up soon to accompany the vinyl release and will be the only place to hear it online until the digital release!

Bodies banner

Tom: When you formed BB what were you hoping to achieve musically and how far have you succeeded in that so far?

Dane: When we started we just wanted to make music that meant something. We wanted to connect with people, write sentimental music that was relatable.  We wanted our music to be shared with as many people as possible. And be fucking massive as well! We try not to be pigeon-holed, using a wide colour palette for our songs. Like a playground o songwriting.

T: How do you get the BB signature sound and what would you define it as?

D: Big drums and strong melodies. I think our music covers quite a wide breadth of styles but the voice is the constant in all of the tracks, keeping it all together.

T: What has been your favourite gig so far?

D: We played a gig at The Haunt about 6 months ago and it was rammed for us. We were 2nd on the bill and it was only our fourth gig or something, but it was empty before and the place filled up when we went on stage. That was a great feeling.

Also, our EP launch at The Hope. We had a 4-piece choir that sang with us for 3 of the tracks and that was really special.

Home/Love Me More cover

T: Which local bands influence you the most?

D: We tend not to focus too much on other bands in Brighton. There is so much great music going on it can be easy to turn into a competition and not an art form. We just like to keep our heads down and do our own thing. Brighton is spoiled for great live music and we have a lot of friends in bands but we try to keep focused on our own music.

T: Is there a debut album on the horizon?

D: Definitely. We’ve got a lot of material that we’re sitting on at the moment, waiting for the right time to bring it out. We don’t have any dates fixed yet but we’re hopefully going to have an EP out in the new year, then followed by a single, and then the debut album out in the summer 2015.  We’ll probably have about three album’s worth by then! We’ve got about 8 or 9 new tracks that are ready to perform live, but we just need to the right time to play them so the audiences still get to hear the tracks they are familiar with. Hopefully after the release of the new track  we will start to play some more new songs.

T: If you could support anybody live, who would it be?

D: Arcade Fire or Ryan Adams. It’s got to be your heroes from songwriting. We played a great show with Catfish and The Bottlemen a couple of months ago, and it would be great to do more shows with them. And if he were still alive, John Lennon.

T: Where in the world would you like to perform (not necessarily a venue)?

D: (takes a long sip of his coffee) I like the idea of somewhere romantic and old-fashioned, like a Coliseum or amphitheater outside somewhere in Greece or Italy. Either that or recreating something like The Beatles on Saville Row. My friend and I were in London when they were working on the Apple building, the site of The Beatles last gig, and we bribed one of the builders to show us up to the roof. It was great to see a piece of history and take some photos to remember it by.

Beautiful Boy ptomo

T: Who has been the most influential person in your musical career?

D: My parents have always been really supportive of my music and never made me feel bad for doing what I want to do. I had a great music teacher too called Dafydd Hughes. He was mad but amazing. I’ve got lots of friends who have helped out too, creating the infrastructure that everybody needs for playing music in their city.

T: Next month you have a gig at The Elgar Room in Royal Albert Hall with Amazing Radio. How did you get involved with them?

D: We first got involved by uploading our tracks to their online player and they just really got behind us. They’ve been great supporters, featuring us as track of the day, gig of the day , featuring us in their website header and even in their social media sites. They got in touch with out manager about playing the show and we were happy to play for them.

T: The ‘Love Me More’ video. Where was it shot? Was it a tip of the hat to Arctic Monkey’s ‘A view from the afternoon”?

D: The video was shot in a park in Thakeham, near Worthing. We made a last minute decision to make the debut single a double A-side and were told that we needed a video for the track the next day. Our manager pointed out that the track was all about the drums and so suggested that we focus on that for the video. So we went to the park at 6am on a Saturday morning to shoot the video with some Go Pro cameras with the editor Cliff T. We had a lot of noise complaints but were done within an hour. It was edited within a day and we had the video in time for the release. It wasn’t a reference to The Arctic Monkeys, although it’s kind of hard to look too different in a video when you focus on the drums.

T: You are filming music video later today for the new single ‘bodies’. What is the track about and what can we expect from the video?

D: The track is about coming to terms with a loss, the mortality of life and how we don’t have that much time and the revelations that can bring. The video for the track will definitely be a surprise. It’s the most risqué video we have done. We’re definitely sailing close to the wind to it being X-rated. We still want people to share it though so it’s going to be a fine line. I think the concept for the video is really good though, so hopefully that will come through.

T: Finally, if you could name one track to listen to for new listeners, which would it be?

D: Probably ‘Home’. That’s where it all started for us. It was the first song that we put online, the first video and what generated our first fans. If people like singalongs then maybe ‘Love Me More’. There’s a few tracks online that are only there if you look hard for them, like a song called ‘Begging The Moon’ which is only available as an acoustic video track. I think any of the tracks really. They’re so broad that it’s hard to pick just one. But I am a little biased as I wrote them.

Check out Beautiful Boy’s new single Bodies, out 10th November on vinyl and late November for download.



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.

Kate Daisy Grant – Portrait – Album Review

Friday 5th September at The Old Market in Hove marks the album launch for Kate Daisy Grant’s ‘Portrait’ AND a preview of new material from Nick Pynn’s forthcoming album ‘Waterproof’. A pair of multi-instrumentalists playing together ensures that there will be a great display of musical wonder, especially when Daisy lists her instruments including toy-piano, autoharp, dulcitone, cello, toy bells and teapot. Kate’s award-winning songwriting is described as “haunting howl-ballads, twisted lullabies and joy-toy-pop”, a combination that I’ve certainly never heard of before and am intrigued by as I am sure you all are! As the winner of the Best Music Act Award of the Brighton Fringe and Festival in 2013, and a host of rave reviews from across the country, I am looking forward to seeing what this evening has in store!

Here is my track by track breakdown of the new album ‘Portrait’. 

Full of delicate vocals with dancing melodies, lots of piano and a grand parade of auxiliary instruments, Portrait takes you on a musical sight-seeing tour from the circus bazaar opener through to the understated finale.

1. Six Feet Under
If like me, you were expecting a macabre and solemn tale from the title then you couldn’t be more wrong. It sounds like the circus has come to town to throw a underground party in a crypt. With the old-time feel piano part and the sweeping violin giving a gypsy jazz vibe, the song combines a wide range of sounds in a slightly chaotic way, yet still managed to have a catchy chorus in the mix!
2. Doubt
Vocally this track has wisps of Imogen Heap with flavours of Regina Spektor on the piano and in the voice too. Far more stripped back than the first track, but steadily building with percussion and a strong cello part, the vocals elegantly prance through the lower and upper registers of the spectrum. There’s some really nice lyrics in this track too: 
It’s only a landing light, and thought the moon had altered its course

3. Little Bird
The use of toy piano sounds quite dream-like, or kind of children’s tv show theme-like, both evoking happy emotions. The song itself is a slalom of musical tonality, underpinned once again with the warm bass notes of the cello. Check out the official video for the track below and see what comes to mind!

4. Resurrection
Bat For Lashes meeting Muse and getting the blues, this song is passionate and sounds kind of bitter yet oddly uplifting. The prominent vocal opening the track is almost a cappella, bar various percussion and sparsely distributed samples, until the piano provides a more rigid structure, sitting underneath the rest of the song. Listen to the track on her soundcloud below.   

5. Fight The Night
This song would fit in well in a musical I think. It has a sort of “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables feeling. I can imagine somebody belting this out on X-Factor in a few years time. It’s delicate yet sure-footed, like a mountain goat.

6. Boy Who Cries for The World
Another quite theatrical song, underpinned with a warm chorus of brass. Lyrically it reminds me of Guy Garvey (Elbow) which is certainly a very good thing indeed! The 

7. Stillpoint
Lovely song, lovely lyrics, lovely stuff!
You were the stillpoint of it all, a heavy kind of light, always looking down
Portraits, maps and bones, tracing paper layers
If you want to paint me, paint me alone
If you want me make me, make me from stone.” 

8. Rise
An uplifting song (both in spirit and pitch), Rise is a get up and get out there kind of song:  “You’d better find a life before living takes the life out of you“. 
Have a little listen to the track below. 

9. Nothing to Fear
Another stripped back piano ballad with a difference: Nothing to Fear swells up around the 3 minute into a warm mesh of wooshing vocals and fiddly instrumental parts. 

10. Silent Night
Initially unsure if this was going to be a cover of the Christmas song, I can reveal ***SPOILER ALERT*** that it isn’t! Although, fragments of the initial melody do have some resemblance, but the song is far less cyclic than the Christmas favourite, developing the melody throughout until its gentle fade out into the distance as the album winds down


Luke Sital-Singh – The Fire Inside – Album Review

After seeing Luke Sital-Singh perform for the first time last month at Latitude Festival I did a little digging and found three pieces of good news: Firstly he was coming to Brighton to perform in September; secondly he had just released a collection of cover songs that he recorded from his favourite films (including great tracks by The Shins, Simon and Garfunkel and the like); and finally his debut out was due for release soon (OUT NOW).
For those of you in Brighton, or elsewhere that he is playing in his UK tour, I would strongly urge you to have a listen to his music and if it’s your cup of tea then get on down to a show near you! It’s really important to support emerging artists at the early stages of their career and to support your local music scene too. The venues aren’t massive and the ticket prices aren’t in the hundreds so why not have a great night out for around a tenner! For the Brightonians amongst you, as well as Karima Francis who is supporting for the whole tour, we have local minstrel Jacko Hooper, whose debut EP ‘For You’ was released last month and is rather fantastic. Check out my review of it here of have a listen below.
Here is my track by track breakdown of his debut album, ‘The Fire Inside’, which is available to buy now on itunes for just £6.99.
1. Nothing Stays The Same – Opening with an “ooh” reminiscent of Ben Howard’s ‘The Wolves‘ without fear of imitation. With a simple melody and uplifting chorus (which when played live at Latitude was with the backing of London Contemporary Voices) the first track has the passion of Frank Turner and astute relatable lyrics which show that his view of the world is a keen one:
 “Let your guard down
Get your heart pounded
We all bleed
We all breathe
And nothing stays the same”

2. Greatest Lovers – The chorus effect on the guitar at the start sounds slightly 80s/90s, like a Chris Isaak or The Smiths intro. In a music scene filled with introspective shoegazing self-deprecating acoustic folk, it is very refreshing to have an uplifting track, even moreso one that sounds like an uptempo Damien Rice track (in fact I can imagine him doing a down-beat version which would be equally great).

3. Bottled Up Tight – This song is a bit of a dark horse. It starts simply with a finger-picked guitar accompaniment and a soft vocal, remaining under the radar even in the first chorus:
I feel a fire, 
I see a flame set me alight,
Bring me desire bottled up tight” 
Then the drums and piano kick in and the song builds and builds for the last few minutes, moreso than your average construction site manages in a week.

4. 21st Century Heartbeat – A social commentary, unrestricted by location or social class, simply looking at the crazy world that we live in at the present, wherever we are on earth!
5. Lilywhite – A touching piano ballad in the style of Billy Joel (more my parent’s generation) or Fyfe Dangerfield, which once again builds and swells as it progresses organically.
6. Nearly Morning – This track is like an un-Americanized version of a Secondhand Serenade track, with less sap and better lyrics. Once again the vocal layering in the backing sounds great – a good tip for any aspiring songwriters out there is to befriend a fantastic choir so you can replicate this live! The a cappella bit at the end could probably be drawn out a little longer, but maybe that’s for the live shows!
7. I Have Been A Fire – Sparse to the point of almost a cappella, the vocals dominate this track like a Jeff Buckley song, with an almost Bon Jovi like rise in the chorus and when the distorted guitar enters after the second time around. Powerful stuff!
8. Everything Is Making You – Definitely getting a Starsailor vibe from this track, with maybe a bit of Travis thrown into the mix. Acoustic led with throaty vocals, underpinned by the percussion and backing vocals, this song will definitely come to life when played live.
9. Fail For You – Starting with a chorus of voices over a Buckley-esque reverbed clean electric guitar, the lush harmonies and emotive lyrics are sure to draw a few tears for those of a gentle disposition, in a post-breakup lull or who have seen too many charity adverts that day. In all seriousness, it is a beautiful track. Watch the official video below.
“I bought you the sky and the oceans too
Why the look in your eye
The only thing I couldn’t do
Is fail for you, fail for you”

10. We Don’t Belong – Juxtaposing the softest track on the album so far with this upbeat almost-boogie piano led track, the album is never stagnant, jumping all over the place but not in a random uncontrolled way as many do. I can definitely see this song in a future Zach Braff film. Check out my review of the soundtrack to his current release “Wish I Was Here” here.
11. Cornerstone –Like a philosopher in the audience of Question Time, Luke’s words definitely carry more weight than perhaps taken in at first listen, questioning himself as well as the others around him in this song: “Every life needs a cornerstone, and are you mine?”
12. Benediction – Closing the album on a somber note, in the vein of ‘Fail For You‘, with this piano and vocal track, like a stripped back version of The Fray or a David Gray track. You can feel the album physically unwind, like when you take a hot bath after a long day at work.
The album is a time-matured collection of his works so far, not rushed and not compromised. The production is excellent and the variety is impressive. The backing vocal arrangements are brilliant so kudos to whoever did those! Luke’s songwriting is mature and charismatic without shouting for attention, and his vocal abilities should not be overlooked in this stunning paragon debut album. The future looks to be very bright for Luke from where I am looking.

Busy In Bodffordd and Bangor

Just a quick update as to my whereabouts this week. I have returned to my university city of Bangor for the week to do some recording with my good friend Will Roberts in Bodffordd, of some very old material: I mean songs from up to 8-9 years ago, re-recorded, arranged and mastered into a brand new album/EP.

Day One: Worked out the track list and laid down the vocals and guitar for some of the tracks. In the evening I hosted the Open Mic at The Belle Vue in Bangor, my regular haunt from my uni days. The place was packed from start to finish and I saw some great new acts perform as well as some familiar favourites, who had all developed a lot since I’d last seen them perform.

Day Two: Finished off the guitar, piano and vocal tracks for all of the songs. Started a rough drum track for the first song, the wind, and I’m excited for how it’s sounding! Here is me hard at work:

Tomorrow, we’ll be working on some of the arrangements after stopping by at Treffos School on Anglesey in the morning to give a talk on music journalism to the year 6 class.
More to follow tomorrow. 🙂