Review of our Stanley Brinks gig

April 17, 2010

This was published in the May 2010 edition of The Stool Pigeon

The power cuts weren’t a big deal really, they only lasted a few seconds and the music didn’t even stop. Hey-ho.

This Week’s Surprise Discovery – Elizabeth Butters

April 12, 2010

Since WOXY went off-air I’ve been filling those odd spare moments with occasional dips into the world of WFMU.
I’ve always been a big fan of Rob Weisberg’s Transpacific Sound Paradise, and Irene Trudel’s show too. You don’t have to listen long to score a great new discovery.
Today it was the remarkable Elizabeth Butters.
Deliberately retro in her approach, you can’t download her music, you have to buy it on vinyl. While I wait for my copy of her record ‘Folk Blues For Appalachian Dulcima & Guitar‘ to arrive, I’ll re-watch these videos of a whole set from her recent album launch concert.

Stanley Brinks, Kings James & Freschard – Our first sell-out show!

March 30, 2010

Freschard and Stanley Brinks at the Prince Albert, Brighton 29/03/10

Wow, what an amazing night! I’m so pleased that such a great crowd turned out on this wet Monday evening and what a treat it was to see these brilliant musicians.
A lot of great memories from the night: The audience singers for King James, the powercuts, Stanley Brinks playing my guitar with crocodile clips on the strings and saxophone in hand, the brilliant respectful audience, Johny getting very very drunk, Andre dancing to Kelis….
Thanks everyone who came along, we really felt that special Brighton magic.

The Singing Adams

March 20, 2010
Steve Adams

Steve Adams of 'The Singing Adams'

Great show tonight at The Kings Head pub in Crouch End.
Steve Adams was the main songwriter and lead singer of the much-loved Broken Family Band. That band split up last year, and now Steve has a new project called The Singing Adams. It was their first show as a full band tonight, and they’re sounding great. A little rough around the edges maybe (quite a few fluffed intros etc), but when the songs get going they really sound brilliant.

The Singing Adams were the support act. The headliner was Dan Michaelson & The Coastguards (or Dan Mickelberg and the Horse Guards, as Steve Adams jokingly introduced them).
A really gorgeous set by this band. Dan’s deep dark vocals play against a swinging country-infused backing, instantly raising comparisons with Bill Callahan, which is never a bad thing.
After a few songs the band was joined by Romeo Stodart from The Magic Numbers who played guitar on a few songs. Slightly incongruous, but kind of nice to see a well-known figure giving support.

There’s some rumours that Steve and Dan will be touring together this year, and some very strong rumours that at least one of those bands will be playing a show in Brighton very soon….. Shhh

This week’s surprise discovery – Dead Rat Orchestra

March 9, 2010

This band was supporting the amazing Canadian singer Eric Chenaux tonight. They play with a mixture of traditional and improvised instruments, including an electric fan-powered melodica and a plastic teapot. They also do a song whilst chopping a log with axes.
Their music is mainly psych-folk. They build music in layers, usually starting with a harmonium drone and adding percussion, violin, toy keyboard and all manner of other devices. It reminded me of bands like Fursaxa or Charalambides, and perhaps Lau Nau or Islaja with more energy.
Check out their Myspace


February 25, 2010

I’ve been a fan of Susanne Stanglow’s music for a while now. With her clear simple voice, finger-picked guitar and pastoral lyrics she has a timeless quality that would earn associations with female singers from Vashti Bunyan to Joanna Newsom.
Susanne is currently based in Bremen, Germany. I’m not sure if she has ever toured the UK before, but she will do, in June 2010. Naturally, she will be playing a show for Shhh! in Brighton. It will be at The Basement on June 11th, with Birdengine and Woodpecker Wooliams.
Check out the video below, buy the album, come to the show. There’s some free tracks on Last.FM that are definitely worth a download.

Adelaide’s Cape

February 21, 2010

Adelaide's Cape at The Hope, Brighton 20/02/10

The Hope is far from my favourite venue in Brighton, but it sometimes has some really lovely shows. Tonight it was Adelaide’s Cape, Rachael Dadd and Laish. Rachael Dadd was meant to be the headliner, but she had to catch an early train home, so the Laish Quartet stepped in as the main act. To be honest, any of the three acts could have headlined the show. They were all great.
I would recommend any of these bands to you.
Laish are local to Brighton, Danny & friends always give a great performance.
Rachael Dadd was utterly charming. Sweet and goofy, she did a couple of songs without amplification, which wins bonus points from me.
Sam (Adelaide’s Cape) is based in my old home town of Norwich. He played a blinding set, finishing off with an accomplished cover of ‘Black Eyed Dog’ by Nick Drake.

This was a good night that reminds me how great live music is.

King James session for Simple Folk Radio

February 17, 2010
King James session

King James and rag-tag choir recording at Shhh! HQ

Well, life just seems to get weirder every day, in a good way. We just finished recording a session for Simple Folk Radio in my front room.
King James is a spiritual folk duo comprising Laurence Collyer (Diamond Family Archive) and Johny Lamb (Thirty Pounds Of Bone). For the session we rustled up a group of singing friends: Professional sound recordists Rob White, Dave The Well and Stacey Harvey; sometime DJs and promoters Dillon Swinhoe and me; cameraman Leki, and musicians Louise Micklewright (The Vague Gyratory) and Gemma William (Woodpecker Wooliams). Gemma happened to be passing by on her bicycle when she got roped in.
The session will go out on Simple Folk Radio on Brighton’s Radio Reverb 97.2FM soon.

Golden Ghost show

February 14, 2010
Golden Ghost

Golden Ghost playing at The Marlborough Theatre, Brighton 13/02/10

Wow, what a brilliant night!
Thanks to everyone who came along to the Marlborough Theatre last night, and special thanks to our amazing friends who gave so much to make this show happen.

I won’t do my own review of it, that would be a bit biased I think. If I spot any independent reviews in the press I’ll post them here. For my part I’ll just say the venue looked and sounded great, the artists played their hearts out, and everyone I spoke to had a lovely night.

I hope you’ll check out all the bands that played, and look out for their future gigs in Brighton. The artists were Golden Ghost, George Thomas & The Owls, and Woodpecker Wooliams

We’ve now got a photo pool on Flickr. So if you were there, please join the group and share your photos from the night. I’ll probably award a free ticket to our next show for the best photo.


February 10, 2010

Like you, I listen to lots of new music. There’s so much good music about, and I feel blessed to hear these amazingly talented people doing stuff I can only dream about.
That’s brilliant, right, but it takes a lot for someone to really surprise you these days.
Merrill Garbus is that rare thing: Genuinely original, striking, unique, and charming.
I’ve been a fan since her days in the experimental vocal band Sister Suvi. They’ve split up now, which is probably a good thing, because Merrill has gone on to become tUnE-YaRdS, released a home-recorded album called Bird-Brains, gathered a huge and loyal following, and got herself signed to 4AD.
Enough talk. Click on the video below.

tUnE-yArDs at the Secret Garden from hoovesontheturf on Vimeo.