Here's what we found in the burgeoning music scene of Brighton.
The Brighton music scene is in a buoyant mood. Any night of the week you can go to one of the many music venues in the city, or one of its many pub back rooms, and see something that will return your faith in music. To list all the bands currently active would result in something of Tolstoy proportions. So here are six Brighton bands and musicians you need in your life NOW!
Sounding like they’ve only ever listened to the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Connan Mockasin, Super Lungs are purveyors of laid back neo-psych surf rock. While this might be a bit of a mouthful, their brand of melodic psych guitar pop, is easy to digest. On their latest single ‘On the Run’ “I’m forever daydreaming, My mind is on the run” they croon as the riffs pile up around us, at an alarming rate. Melancholy hasn’t sounded this much fun since ‘Love is a Lazerquest’.
Rising from the ashes of a previous band, Happy Couple take the brutalism of early Sonic Youth, and inject it with Liz Fraser-esque vocals, to create something Scott Walker might approve of. Latest single ‘Feel Better’ is a harrowing industrial odyssey, that reveals little on a first listen, other than Happy Couple’s penchant for the darker things in life. So far, this trio have only released two songs but buried deep in their dark and terrifying depths, are touching melodies and flawless harmonies. If these tracks are anything to go by, Happy Couple is a band that needs to be on everyone’s radar for the rest of the year.
Effortlessly mixing Riot Grrrl attitude, hypnotic droney riffs, with existential introspection Hanya create something that sounds classic and contemporary at the same time. Hanya’s most devastating element though is frontwoman Heather Sheret’s vocal range. Heather is able to switch from delicately lilting to a viscera scream in seconds. Rumour has it they are set to unveil their debut physical release later in the year. Snap this up early to avoid over inflated prices later.
Brighton’s music scene isn’t just full of guitar bands and singer folkie songwriters. Lo-Fi disco prog trio Merlin Tonto are making their own scene around vintage synths and the tightest rhythm section in town. Sounding like Vangelis did a load of speed after watching 2001: A Space Odyssey a few too many times. Their music ranges from deafening pulsating drums and synths, to minimal velo electronics. Merlin Tonto live are incendiary and as their vision gets bigger and grander, so do their visuals.
Originally Squid had a Portico Quartet vibe. It worked and they were great live. Their gigs were places you went to enjoy the music meditate on your lot in life. However, over the intervening years, their sound has skewed and mutated. The jazz vibes are still there, but now they are lurking below pulsating motorik, Krautpop melodies and post-punk intensity. 2018 is looking to be their coming out party as they are notching up the column inches and are playing Green Man. Catch this band in small venues while you can, as they won’t be in them for much longer.
‘Beautifully Astray’ might just be the album of the year. Throughout its 10 tracks multi-instrumentalist, Abi Wade has crafted intricate compositions that combine electronic motifs, with dextrous contemporary classical playing. The juxtaposition of her soaring voice, glitchy electronic music and cello, plucked, banged and strummed, means that you are unsure what you’re going to hear next. Through minimalism production, Wade manages to create sonic soundscapes that captivate as well as dominate your senses.