Introducing #1: Soph Nathan

Soph Nathan ID
Regular readers will know of our admiration for the band known as Hella Better Dancer. We love many things about that band, not least the great guitar licks of  lead guitarist, Soph Nathan. Therefore it’s not much of a stretch to realise we were pretty excited to hear of a new track from the lady herself.
‘Our Girl’ doesn’t disappoint with its fuzzed up guitars and a great vocal. Based on this debut outing we cannot wait to hear what Soph comes up with next.
SN
‘Our Girl’ is your debut release – How does it feel to share?
It is! It feels really good to share, especially as we’ve had some songs written for a while but haven’t put them anywhere.
Can you tell us how the song came to be?
I wrote it about 9 months ago now, I think it might have been the first proper song I wrote actually. Lyrically the subject matter sort of carried on into other songs I’ve written since so it kind of feels like it’s a starting point in more than one way, which is nice. 
Soph Nathan, Is this a band effort or a solo project? Did you play everything on the track?
It’s a band effort – Josh Tyler on bass and Nick Klar on drums! Some songs will have just guitar and vocals but generally it seems more fitting to play with the band, and feels most exciting too.
Your face looks familiar, where have we seen you before?
I play in a band called Hella Better Dancer, and also in a band called Bayy! I’m playing with some others that haven’t seen the internet yet, but hopefully they will soon.
Can we expect more releases in the near future?
Yes! We have our first gig in August and then we’ll put a song out not too far after that.

Track(s) of the Week #10: feat, Head Over Heart & North by North

Our track of the week is indeed two tracks. We just couldn’t decide which one so are sharing them both, one pop, one rock, and most importantly, both fine tunes!

‘Mama Gold’ – North by North

NBN

Riff heavy rock is something we find ourselves listening to less and less, but ‘Mama Gold’ would not be ignored. In fact it literally jumped out at us through its sheer energy, and a great vocal. From beginning to end this track remains inventive and engaging – and a lot of fun.

Hailing from Chicago, North by North have just released a double -album, ‘Something Wicked’ and this track has certainly convinced us to check it out.

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‘You and Me’ – Head Over Heart

This subtle pop tune feels like it has its roots in the eighties, but lets face it they knew how to write a pop tune back then, and Head Over Heart have made a pretty good job of putting a 2014 spin on it.

Everything about ‘You and Me’ seems understated, the gently delivered vocals and unobtrusive hand-claps. However, what it all adds up to is something very engaging with a hook that makes you want to play it all over again!

Head Over Heart are a duo (Jordan Prather and Belinda Peters) from Tucson, AZ. This is their first ever music video in support of soon to be released debut EP called I Believe You Liar.

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In Bloom #23: Bella Spinks

Bella Show

Hi Bella, hope we haven’t interrupted anything. What are you up to?

I’m just preparing for a show tomorrow, a choir I am in are performing with UNKLE at the Royal Festival Hall to open Meltdown Festival, it’s incredibly exciting and I get to sing on stage with some amazing people!

You’re a Brighton resident, isn’t the beach, sunshine, etc quite distracting at this time of year?

Quite the opposite in fact! I moved back to Brighton last year after spending some time in London and although I love the bustle of London I missed being able to stand at the sea and know there is space for miles. It clears my head. I couldn’t find that in London. So it’s not distracting at all, it’s very healing and very inspiring.

How do you describe the music of Bella Spinks?

I hate this question….because it’s an expression of me and its much easier to put that in a song than tell you what goes on in my head! I write songs to try to give listeners an experience, so sometimes it gets a bit weird, but mostly it involves a piano, some singing and usually a depressive back story.

We think ‘Music Is What Feelings Sound Like’ Do you agree?

Of course I do. Music is an incredibly emotional experience and everyone has pieces of music that they can relate to. For me, music is therapy.

What comes first for you – the tune or the lyrics?

Neither and both. Every time I write a song the process is different. If I sit down with the intention to write then quite often the piano part will come first, but my favourite way to write is when something hits you out of the blue, be it a melody or a lyric or a rhythm and you just have to run with it- gets me excited.

Please tell us more about ‘Little Bird’. It feels like your most traditional/folky feeling song – how did it come about?

Little Bird was written about a friend of mine who was really struggling to find out who they were. It was my way of saying just keep going, everything is going to be fine.

You have a show in Brighton at The Komedia soon – are you celebrating something? Where can people find out more about the show?

I don’t think I’m celebrating anything…..I don’t play live too often because I like to make my shows the best I possibly can, and for me that means waiting for the right opportunity and preparing well. The Komedia show is very exciting for me because there are two other great acts on the bill – The Moon In The Man and Ellie Ford and I look forward to playing much more when I know the night is going to flow well musically! All the details are on facebook here;

https://www.facebook.com/events/1613893288835730/?ref=5

and you buy tickets here; 

http://sublimemusicpresents.bigcartel.com/product/sublime-music-presents-bella-spinks.

Reading your soundcloud page it seems you were playing the Concorde 2 at age 12. What was that all about? Does your family get some embarrassing footage out when friends visit?

That show was called ‘Teenspirit’ and was a show featuring young acts in and around Brighton. I played it a few times, it was a great way of introducing young people to performing live. The only embarrassing footage that seems to recur quite often is my incessant performing of ‘away in a manger’ when I was about 4 or 5 . I sang it at any given opportunity, whether it was Christmas or not and unfortunately it seems every performance was filmed….

We’ve seen you playing a few shows with local boy Ez Stone recently – can we expect more collaborations in the near future?

Ez is a very good friend of mine, and I enjoy performing with him very much and it is always a pleasure to share a bill with him. Not sure whether there are going to be any collaborations as such, but you never know. Watch this space.

There is a lot of talk over the Glastonbury headliners this year – if you could choose 3 bands to headline, who would it be and why?

Well I would be very predictable and say Regina Spektor, because she is my favourite and I would love to see her perform at a huge festival…If I could choose ANYONE i.e even if they are not alive/not a band anymore..I think I would have to go for The Teardrop Explodes because I think at a festival you need something you can dance to and finally, Olafur Arnalds who has the most epic sound it will make you cry just listening to it on your ipod, so magnified to the extent of headlining Glasto and you would be in for a massive treat.

Thanks to Bella for her time. Keep in touch on Facebook, Twitter or Soundcloud

News #41: feat, Bridie Jackson and The Arbour, Space Daze and Tears & Marble

Our weekly round up of some of the excellent music that found its way to us via the someofitistrue inbox.

We Talked Again – Bridie Jackson and The Arbour

I have to admit that although I knew the name, I’d never heard a song by Bridie Jackson and The Arbour. Thankfully this has now changed as ‘We Talked Again’ is a beautiful, brooding, slow building tune with amazing vocal harmonies. The video plays up the melodrama of the song, making a thoroughly absorbing package.

 

Follow My Light Back Home – Space Daze

Next up is another band I have to admit to never having heard before. Space Daze are a side project of Seapony and if the bright’n’breezy guitar pop of ‘Follow My Light Back Home’ is a good reflection of the rest of the debut LP, then this release is perfectly timed to soundtrack long summer days. A nod to the ‘summer of love’ and a wink to 80’s Sarah Records‘ jangly guitar-pop, lovely stuff. (The LP is available from Beautiful Strange records)

 

Romance EP – Tears & Marble

Enough of the jaunty guitars, let’s get back to something more intense, this time in the form of the debut EP from Tears & Marble. The titles of some of the tracks on the ‘Romance’ EP (Ashes, We Don’t Like You), give a hint to the brooding electronica you’ll find on this release – don’t let it put you off though – these five tracks give the impression of a band with a vision and an understanding on how to execute it – haunting and absorbing.

(At the time of writing the EP is free to download on the bands Soundcloud page)

Brighton News #6: Free Downloads from O. Chapman and Fiona Sally Miller

Some free goodies for you today from two fine, Brighton based, solo artists..enjoy x

O. Chapman – Relapser

Relapser

Regular gig goers in Brighton may well have seen O. Chapman plying his trade as a solo folk troubadour (a role he fills well standing at least 6’5′ and commanding more hair than most of us rustle up in a lifetime!) Relapser is quite the departure from those acoustic roots – this is the noisier end of 90s shoegaze – the first band that came to our mind were The Telescopes.

This is the first track from the ‘Discomfort EP’ – which is released on Bandcamp on the 17th June (& for the more discerning indie-kids out there it features production from members of Hella Better Dancer and the vocal prowess of a certain Sophie Jamieson)

JV

Fiona Sally Miller – A Pause In Between

We may not have heard much from Fiona for a while, but the wait was worth it as Fiona has posted 3 x EPs on her Bandcamp page – and you can download the lot for FREE!

From the more traditional song structures to a score that, “has been crafted from manipulated found sounds, recycled sound and an improvised final layer of vocal, piano, clarinet and guitar.”

Plenty of variation and high-quality throughout – we’ve found a wealth to enjoy in these EPs

Fiona Sally Miller – 3 EPs

someofitistrue:

You’d find no complaints from us if Fiona Sally Miller played a few live shows – these 3 x EP’s are rather lovely x

Originally posted on Brighton Music Blog:

Listen/download:

Wow, out of the blue not just one but three free-to-download EPs from the excellent Fiona Sally Miller sounding awesome, still in the lo-fi alt-folk mode and not a single sign of the long-promised techno album (well, perhaps I should have sat still is just a little bit techno…)

FSM slips her music out quietly without the slightest attention, but it is very much worthy of your ears. This may well be a clearing of the decks but we hope it is perhaps a sign that more is on the way and we might see her out and about performing again soon. Fiona Sally Miller

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News #40: feat, Jamie Beau, Co-pilgrim & Roxanne de Bastion

Lots of new tunes in our inbox this week, here are a few that we’ve been enjoying – as always we would love to hear your thoughts:

Jamie Beau – Little Sentinels

Always nice to hear from someone new – especially when it comes accompanied with a good tune! Jamie Beau’s ‘Little Sentinels’ roars along at a fair intensity, always teetering on the precipice of something more sinister – we think that is a pretty fine place for a song to live!

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Co-pilgrim – Grew Into Something New

It’s a pleasure to have Co-pilgrim back with a new album. Followers of this blog will know we adored ‘A Fairer Sea’ and if ‘Grew Into Something New’ is the benchmark for follow up ‘Plumes’ then we cannot wait to hear it (out 26th May)

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Roxanne de Bastion – Butterfly

Another name familiar to us, Roxanne de Bastion donates ‘Butterfly’ to the ‘F-Spot’ compilation out on Folkstock Records. The first new material from Roxanne since debut LP, ‘The Real Thing’, shows a light touch and just the slightest of nods towards the psychedelia of RubberSoul/Revolver-era Beatles.

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Gig Preview #8: Folk by Candlelight – Brighton Fringe Festival

Folk by Candlelight copy (1)

May in Brighton is a very busy time for all the arts – especially music. Not only is The Great Escape Festival showcasing a wide range of new music, but the Brighton Festival and the Brighton Fringe Festival also present loads of great musicians in a variety of venues across town. 

We caught up with three musicians who will be playing the ‘Folk by Candlelight’ event on Sunday 18th May. We’ve had the pleasure of featuring Small Town Jones and Ellie Ford on the blog before – and had the good fortune to see Jack Harris play on more than a few occasions. The opportunity to see all three playing together sounds like a great night!  Read the full post »

Track of the Week #9: ‘Teenage Wasteland’ by Wussy

ATTICA LP COVER

Track of the Week #9: ‘Teenage Wasteland’ by Wussy

Our introduction to Wussy came via the excellent compilation/retrospective, Buckeye – that came out in the UK on Damnably. We were instantly drawn to the dual vocals of Lisa Walker and Chuck Weaver, and a live show on their brief UK tour in 2012 solidified our fandom.

New album Attica! is due soon and the opening track off the album ‘Teenage Wasteland’ is our Track of the Week. It combines many of the influences that originally drew us to the band, rock music with a keen ear for a melody, think Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr and R.E.M., coupled with an appreciation of more ‘classic rock’ influences – in the case of Teenage Wasteland, The Who are never far from mind.

It is another super-fine track from a band who continue to produce top quality songs. The album promises to be well worth the wait!

WUSSY

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The Music Doesn’t Stop #29: Hans Chew

GDOB-30H3-007 (1k1)

Listening to the new Hans Chew album, Life & Love, we are reminded of why we love rock’n’roll music. It has swagger, it has soul and, most importantly, an energy that remains undiminished throughout. At the centre of it all is Hans himself – seemingly throwing himself into every track. The feeling you are left with is one of an artist giving his all to make the record he wanted, his life and his love – how much more rock’n’roll can you get? As a listener can you ask for more?

HC

Hello Mr Hans Chew – how are you Sir? Where are you writing to us from?

Great thanks!  Never been better…I’m writing to you this morning from Spanish Harlem, New York City, USA.

‘Life & Love’ has been ‘unleashed’ for nearly a month now – are you pleased with the reception thus far?

Yes indeed, the album’s reception so far has been good…we’ve had quite a bit of press on the album already, both print and online, and I hope that this has been successful in helping to get the music into more people’s ears.  That’s the most important thing to me, that people can experience the music.  With my last album, it took awhile for it to really build up a head of steam, perhaps six months or more…we’ll see if Life & Love continues to gather momentum with more press and touring this summer to support it.

We say ‘unleashed’ as this is one ferocious rock’n’roll album – what was the process of getting it recorded like?

Well, my first album was recorded piecemeal before I had a band, with basically just me and the engineer playing all of the parts ourselves and layering things up in the studio.  But by the time Life & Love was ready to be recorded, I had assembled my band and had been playing the songs with them for some time, and we knew that we wanted to try to capture our live sound as much as possible on the album, so we decided to try to record the songs that way in the studio.  For example, we tried to limit the isolation of the amps and mics, all playing in one room together, as well as tried to limit the overdubs, playing solos and improv sections as first takes as much as possible.  I think it gives the album a really loose and spontaneous sound.  Yeah, maybe even ferocious at times!

To us it harks back to some of our favourite blues/rock bands – were there any specific influences when putting this record together?

I think a lot of our influences come through unconsciously of course. For example, Dave Cavallo really loves the Allmans, Faces, and Hendrix, and you can hear those sounds in the guitars for certain.  I think you can also hear my influences in the piano as well, the little nods to James Booker or Leon Russell or Nicky Hopkins.  But in terms of specific influences,  I think that I had it in mind to try to make an album like Physical Graffiti, an album that I loved as a kid, that has diverse styles yet a similar live sound running through it.  For example, I was imagining Chango as an album side opener similar to In The Light, yet also combining the slow build of Gallows Pole (from Zeppelin III)  with the brutality of In My Time Of Dying, while also injecting our own spirit into it…I think essentially Life & Love was my attempt to make a “classic rock and roll” album.

You give the piano some treatment on this album – how many went to the piano graveyard whilst recording? Is the piano always the starting point for your song-writing?

Ha ha!  The studio where we recorded had a gorgeous, 8 or 9 foot Yamaha grand piano, which was one of the most important reasons we decided to record there.  It was actually an extremely robust instrument and never required a re-tuning during our entire recording run.  I think the piano sounds fantastic on the album, the engineer Paul Suarez did an excellent job with microphone placement and recording levels et cetera…you can really hear it breathe on the album, it’s just a glorious sound when you really hear it open up, like on the Supplanter’s Song, or hear it shimmer like on the piano solo of The Wedding Song.

Strange Love is one of our favourites on the record – especially when it goes a little Stevie Wonder – tell us about this particular song.

Yes, you got it:   I absolutely wanted that clavinet “Superstition” breakdown on Strange Love!  It just seemed so obvious…I’m glad you like that song, it’s very special to me.  I thought it was going to be my “hit”!  Sadly, I don’t feel like we were able to capture that song as I had envisioned it, but I do like it as it is on the album, I just felt like it was really going to be THE outstanding track on the record, but something about the arrangement or recording or mixing of it just got lost for me.  The song was actually written around two very painful events for me and my wife: one was the symbolic loss of some people very dear to us, and the other was the physical loss of someone very dear to us.  The song was about a need to express how real love feels, not an expression or statement of love, but active, quantifiable, supportive love…sometimes you can feel and experience the powerful effect of love from someone who never even expresses it verbally towards you, and on the other hand you can have someone tell you that they love you but wonder why you are left so cold and alone…

I reckon these songs are a lot of fun to play live – any particular favourite?

Oh yeah, it’s so much fun to play these songs live.  I can really be transported to another place almost every time when we hit the improvisational outro section of Love, and Junker’s Blues usually takes on a life of its own and drives us out of control down a hell-bound track when we play it.  The Supplanter’s Song can be very powerful, especially during the drum solo and coming back out of it into the full band improvisational section… It’s a great feeling to have this band behind you, it must be the same feeling for a jockey sitting on top of a prized thoroughbred, or how it feels to be sitting at the wheel of sports car or something, just knowing there’s all that horsepower supporting you and at your disposal.  I know how to perform the songs in certain ways that whip those guys into a frenzy if I need to…ha ha!  For the soccer fan in me, here’s the sporting analogy: I know that despite my running and playing soccer and trying to keep in shape I’ll never be able to compete on a professional level, but with my band behind me it must be like how it feels to be Gareth Bale and know that when you call on your body to make a 90 yard run down the pitch beating everyone else on the field, that the energy is there…

When will the ‘Life & Love’ tour kick-off?

At the moment it looks like we’ll be kicking off the Life & Love Tour at Truck Festival on Saturday, July 19th just outside Oxford, UK.  We’re lucky to be headlining the Saloon Stage, hosted by our wonderful label At The Helm Records.  We’re still booking at the moment, so there could possibly be a show come in before that, but right now it looks like Truck Festival on July 19th will kick off our European dates.

Tell us a little about the amazing cover art? Were you a patient at ‘sitting’ for your portrait?

The album cover was painted on canvas by my wife, Melodie Provenzano.  She also painted the first album cover.  She is an artist, and has tirelessly indulged me by executing these weird visions of mine.  Both covers are 2 feet by 4 feet works on canvas, and required many, many hours on her part!  She is incredible.  Both covers were actually compiled by me in Photoshop, essentially collages of images, which she then prints in sections and hangs around her studio and paints as she sits at her easel.  I didn’t have to sit for anything, only the photo we took of me that we composited into the scene.  Several people have asked us jokingly, “do you have those Caravaggios hanging in your house?”…

You’ve put together a great video for ‘Junkers Blue’s’ – was it shot local to where you live? Any strange looks during the shoot?

Yes, the concept to shoot the video on the streets of New York was all our guitar player Dave Cavallo’s idea.  He is a cinematographer and runs his own production company when not playing with me.  In fact, a documentary he shot on filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowski is playing in theatres in the US right now.  So yeah, we shot the video around where I live here in Spanish Harlem, as well as in Brooklyn and down near Times Square at Port Authority bus terminal.  Bus terminals are always magnets for unusual behaviour right?  There’s something very raw about them no matter where you go.  We got some great looks and participation from bystanders…I wish we could have kept everything in the final cut but we had to make decisions.  It was a lot of fun.  The concept was basically just “you walk down the street performing the song and I’ll try to catch anything good that happens around you”.  I was kind of envisioning human piranhas ripping the clothes from my body as I was thrashing in the crowded streets, but mostly it was laid back, “thumbs up” supportive and interested onlookers and the occasional dancer or two as I slouched through some street corners…I need to work on my dance moves…

How would you say your sound has developed between this record and your previous LP ‘Tennessee & other stories’?

Well, I think that Life & Love is a little less “Americana” than Tennessee & Other Stories…  It’s more of a straight up rock and roll album.  I think I’ve also made an attempt to write more focused, traditionally structured songs, than before.  It’s a goal of mine to have a simple, two minute and thirty second popular song at some point.  For me, those are really hard to do…it’s much, much easier to write an epic, six or seven minute song with multiple sections and lots of words than to write an under three minute song with two verses and two choruses and a melody that one could hum after a single listen.  That to me is a real challenge: to be able to pare a song down to its most barest, essential elements.  To be able to quickly render a perfectly recognizable anatomical spot sketch of a nude model, as well as then be able to paint an abstract expressionist deconstruction of the same scene excites me.  To me, I’ve always been interested in the idea that to do the latter well one needs to have mastered the former.  Maybe not…

If we booked you for our fictional 3-day festival – who would you recommend us to get in as headliners?

Endless Boogie.  Steve Gunn.  Allen Toussaint.

Finally, Hans Chew is an awesome name – what are its origins?

My full name is Hans-Harding Alexis Chew.  Hans was a name that my father compromised on with my mother: he wanted to name me Bjorn, after Bjorn Borg the tennis player (my father was a tennis pro), but my mother hated that name.   I guess Hans was the compromise…maybe it still sounded  European?  My father’s name was Jon, so Johan, Johannes…Hans…it’s kind of like he named me after himself but not exactly.  The Hardings were a family that took my father in when he was young and basically raised him through high school:  he left home and didn’t have much to do with his family, the Chews.  I think home life was problematic for him.  I only ever really met his mother a few times.  I think that Chew is an English name: actually when I was on my first tour of the UK, on the way to Bristol we saw on the map this place Chew Stoke, and then Chew Magna, as well as the Chew River Valley and Chew Lake.  So I figured “this must be where my people come from!”.  We diverted off the road to Chew Stoke and had a lovely afternoon there before our gig in Bristol.  I walked into a pub to proclaim that I had returned to claim what was mine but no one was interested…

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