These days there's more to Brighton than the Domesday Book and scenic oceanic views. This resort town, nestled in the south of England has become in the vernacular of those in the know, an "It Spot" and "Scene." But despite the heaps of praise there is no denying that there is a buzz of musical and autistic creativity happening there.
Musically Brighton was put on the map over a decade ago by Fatboy Slim and The Levellers. Now a whole new breed of talented and diverse musicians are cutting a swathe across the city and making people take notice.
One would be hard pressed to call Electrelane "veterans," but that is the case for the all girl kraut rock jamsters who have finished a short US tour including dates with Arcade Fire. They will be Stateside again in the fall to support their most prolific release to date, No Shouts, No Calls.
The Kooks followed their auspicious debut, Inside In/Inside Out with massive hype in the UK and a sold out string of US dates. For almost a year the band was everywhere in the UK press who touted them as the next Oasis. Although the always fickle ears of the UK music press will undoubtedly turn on them eventually they clearly have a future ahead of them. The Kooks are a band on the make who will lay waste to anyone who gets in their way.
Bat For Lashes is the moniker for songstress Natasha Khan, a former nursery school teacher and art student known for direct lyrics and snazzy melodies. She is set to embark on a US tour shortly to support her debut, Fur & Gold.
One of the newest bands to bust out of Brighton is The Maccabees who have finally crossed over to the States, releasing Britpop heavy Colour It In a few months ago.
By the end of the fall most every hipster will have heard of The Pipettes. The brainchild of hipster Monster Bobby, Riot Becki, Gwenno and Rose wear identical polka dot dresses while preening, prowling and cavorting Shangri-La's style throughout their debut, We Are the Pipettes, which will see a Stateside release this summer. They have just released an EP, Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me, on Interscope Records.
No Need to Be Downhearted is the latest from Electric Soft Parade, a veteran band steeped in the finest pop tradition.
British Sea Power burst from Brighton with a unique crazy stage giddups and a sound reminiscent of Echo & the Bunnymen and Pixies. Their jaggedly angular sound is meshed by with post-punk lyrics. They are fearless. Whether it is playing on oil rigs or writing songs about Charles Lindbergh, BSP are always ready to please their devoted and somewhat fanatical fanbase by constantly going over the top to create antics that are utterly preposterous. They currently are stowed away in the studio finishing their third record. BSP recently recorded a cover of The Pixies "Caribou" for a Pixies tribute compilation.
A former British Sea Power member, Eamon Hamilton is the driving force behind Brakes, who have released their second record, Beatific Visions, on Rough Trade. It's a mixed bag of pop, power pup and twangy loveliness.
The Go Team! leapt out of nowhere in 2004 with Thunder, Lightning Strike, a pop, funk throwdown that was nominated for the Mercury Prize. all of this of course made the six piece the hippest band on the festival circuit. When the album was released in the US almost a year later, they were well on their way in Britain. They have a new album coming out soon called Proof of Youth. Their latest single is called "Grip Like Vice." This is a band that will be heard form loudly in the next six months!
Fujiya & Miyagi are a non-Japanese three piece formed in 2000. Like Electrelane they are are influenced by the kraut rock sounds of bands like Can. Their latest record, Transparent Things, was one of the first great releases of this year and helped the band get attention in the US. The band's nonstop barrage of sonic textures sold out a US tour and landed them placement n the new Holy Grail of the music business, placement in a TV commercial. They recently tore up the Pitchfork Festival in Chicago.
Am I the only one that thinks Comic-Con is just a big sham by the man to make us all willing sheep for the crap that movie and comic conglomerates are pushing on us like heroin? Still, it is a massively hedonistic celebration of nerddom.
Sunshine is one of the best SF films of the last five years. I thought it was engaging, visually stunning and flat out amazing.
If you see Cuba Gooding Jr. in a movie..run!
Billy Bragg is going way underground. He's repackaging himself as Johnny Clash for the new 7" single, "Old Clash Fight Song." The record is, for now, a one-off charity project. Bragg will be touring the US in October. His autobigraphy, The Progressive Patriot, came out in the USA this past June.
Athlete will release their new album, Beyond the Neighborhood, on September 25th.
It's hard to believe that after a highly acclaimed career as a front woman, Siouxsie Sioux has never made a record of her own. She is finally getting her chance on October 2nd when she releases her solo debut, Mantaray.
Liars are on the road this fall, opening for Interpol in September and October.
French electronic thumpers Justice will tour the US this October.
Basement Jaxx have recruited Yoko Ono for vocals on their next record, due later this year.
They make musicals based on the strangest things these days. Desperately Seeking Susan is set to open in the West End this year with music from Blondie.
Laurie Anderson has begun to reissue her catalog. The expanded reissue of her first album Big Science is out now on Nonesuch records. She will have a new album and tour in 2008.
Colossal Youth by Young Marble Giants was one of the seminal records of the post punk 1980s. Influencing everyone from Nirvana to the Arctic Monkeys and Arcade Fire, the band made a this amazing debut album and then turned to dust. Domino Records has released this gem with extra tracks and a Peel Session from the band.
Domino has also released The Freed Man, a fifty two song collection of early work from lo-fi pioneers Sebadoh.
Shakes have finally released their snazzy single Sister Self Doubt as an EP on I Am Sound Records.
Also reissued is the magnificent Daydream Nation from Sonic Youth.
We've heard this before, but this time it appears to be the real deal. New Order as we know it, has called it a day. Ongoing friction between members of the band as well as growing interest in other projects has been cited as the main reason for the split. In the meantime, Peter Hook has joined Perry Farrell's Satellite Party. The last true blue New Order release will be music from the new Ian Curtis biopic, Control, which won several awards at Cannes this year. But hold on a minute... as of press time singer Bernard Sumner recently told the UK press that he would like to continue the band with Stephen Morris.
In other New Order related news, the band's stomping grounds, the Hacienda, is the subject of a new retrospective exhibition, Hacienda 25: The Exhibition Fac 491 in Manchester . The exhibition, which runs through February of 2008, features artwork and artifacts from the legendary club which spawned Mancunian, British and international subcultures.
Vietnam and The Tyde have joined others artists in recording tracks for Through the Wilderness:A Tribute To Madonna, due out later this year.
It has been ages since we've heard from Lauryn Hill. But that could change. The former Fugees singer recently scheduled three live dates in the UK ahead of her much delayed new album, The Khulami Phase.
John Cash has paid tribute to his mother, June Carter Cash, with a book and CD titled, Anchored In Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash. Cash penned the book and organized the CD, which features Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn and more.
Gallows are single handedly bringing old school back to the UK. They're the darlings of the fickle UK press at the moment with their debut, Orchestra of Wolves, which features a cover of Black Flag's "Nervous Breakdown."
Although Frank Black is busy readying his new CD, Bluefinger, for a September release, he has paused long enough to give us Frank Black 93-03 a compilation spanning his first nine solo albums. Also included is a second disc of live material.
Fans of Garbage can take solace in the fact that their greatest hits package, Absolute Garbage, contains a new track entitled "Tell Me Where It Hurts." Vocalist Shirley Manson is working on her solo effort.
The White Stripes will hit the road with a North American tour in September.
Another band on the road in September will be Editors. The band will be on tour in September and October in support of their excellent sophomore effort, An End Has A Start.
Electronic pioneers Spooky have returned with Open, a double disc of 21st century blips, beeps, atmospherics and plenty of art rock neofuturism. The first disc grooves on with heaping helpings of electronic soul, the second disc offers chillier ambient versions of the first disc that will please those who love Spooky's 90 oeuvre a lot more.
REM has begun recording their new album in Vancouver. Once done there they will scurry off to Dublin for more session work with producer Jacknife Lee.
Considering recent events, one should be glad that Herbie the Love Bug did most of the driving instead of Lindsay Lohan. Mess!
Next time you go round to the pub, raise a pint for Charles Nelson Reilly. The man was a comedic genius greatly underappreciated!
The Cure has announced a massive world tour with American dates in September. Robert Smith is celebrating thirty years with the band.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs are in the midst of a brief American tour this month between festival dates. They have released a new EP entitled Is Is.
White Chalk is the title of the new PJ Harvey album due out in September.
The Verve has reunited. The Wigan outfit is scheduled to play a handful of UK dates for the winter.
Brazilian thumpmasters Bonde Do Role, who have been opening for fellow Brazilians CSS lately, will headline their own US tour this fall. The band has released their debut With Lasers on Domino records.
STUFF I'M READING:
It is good to see Gaiman back doing what he does best, writing compelling and interesting fiction. This anthology, although geared for kids, is a rock solid collection of eerie, spooky and imaginative stories.
This is just plain fun. The book is a nice collection of maybes, what ifs and general silly things that people thought would be in the realm of SF that never really were.