This week’s Week That Was has a big Brighton feel. Which is nice. There is genuinely so much good stuff coming out of the City at the moment.
We start off with Kins. Originally from Melbourne, Kins have been in Brighton for a couple of years now and this summer released their eponymously titled debut album. It’s one of the best of the year in my humble opinion, and has been almost shamefully overlooked. The first single to be released from the album, Aimless, hit the stores yesterday. Aimless is a dreamy and gorgeous exploration into electro-pop with two distinct halves. The first marked by lush electronica bleeding into restless uncertainty with a subtle angst hidden beneath Thomas Savage’s lazy drawl that bubbles away. The second half changes tact with a glorious, extended outro that oozes a delicate and studied charm and if you allow yourself to be, Kins will sweep you off your feet and carry you away.
Like Christmas adverts, Record of the Year lists seem to be coming out earlier and earlier with every year. The wonderful Resident Records have just announced their Top 100 of the year in this beautifully made booklet. At number two is another Australian import to the city of Brighton & Hove, Mr Nick Cave (and the Bad Seeds). Push The Sky Away is the album closer, and it’s a beauty. Lush electronics usher the song in, as Cave’s voice swathes across them, soothing, insightful and as ever promising unknown epiphanies alongside a gorgeously understated hook that hovers like fluffy clouds before floating away.
In the last week I have spent a not inconsiderable time listening to Alcopopular 6, Alcopop! Records occasional compilation offering 14 of the very finest bands emerging from these shores. There is a strong Brighton flavour to it, and not a particularly sugary one. One of the bands featured are The Wytches, who released double A side Robe For Juda/Wide at Midnight yesterday. Robe For Juda is a dark, almost theatrical exploration into Grunge-doom gloop (I should copyright that one, it’ll catch on). The video is fantastically bizarre, and suits the song perfectly
Birdskulls are ANOTHER Brighton band and are signed to Art is Hard Records, which is fast becoming one of my personal favourites. Mispresume is the sound of a band in a rush, it’s played at hurricane speed and each element is spat out as though the world might end if it’s not finished NOW. It’s a headrush of sound, but not one without subtlety, with riffs to die for and a chorus that gets you humming along.
After taking a short and well deserved breather, and leaving Brighton, Gretna Green by Wakefield’s The Spills sounds unashamedly like youth. In fact it sounds like something I would have listened to when I was 16, and I don’t mean to make that sound like a dig, I had fucking ace taste when I was 16. It’s loud, a little brash, and a lot of fun. As they repeat/scream the anthemic mantra ‘I don’t want to stop living the dream’, the song reaches a high intensity crescendo that makes this 32-going-on-16 year old want to both wig, and make, out as though it’s 1998.
Crushed Beaks continue the Alcopopular love-in with Feelers, another 100mph, intensely raucous yet strangely euphoric slice of fuzz-pop. It’s hard to listen to and resist the temptation to bounce around like a fool, and has enough melody in the vocals to even make me want to sing along – if only I had a clue what he was going on about.
To finish it all off, and to head back to Brighton (kind of), last Thursday I saw Torres play here. She was in Europe promoting her debut LP, Torres – which, thanks to the internet has become a well accustomed friend. In truth, I would happily have paid the £10 to get in just to hear Honey live, but she gave me back so much more. Live, Torres is transformed and there is no better example of it than Jealousy and I. It sounds so polished on record but live it was guttural, loud, and heart wrenchingly raw. It felt as though she was opening up the secrets of her soul, and it was beautiful.