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As we near the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, now just a couple of weeks away, we’re reminded of some of the great events in British music that have occurred during her reign – Beatlemania, the mods and rockers, the rise of punk, Britpop…the list goes on.
Two days after the Silver Jubilee in 1977, The Sex Pistols took a boat along the Thames and performed, illegally, as they passed Westminster and the Houses Of Parliament. This year the Queen is being treated to a concert featuring JLS and Jessie J. Poor old Liz.
This is part one of our May showcase featuring Raising Maisie, Jo Harman, Juno, Chris Priest and Brad Dawson, Seraphim, Tom Staniford, Jetpack Elastic, Kim Slade, Hatful Of Rain, Work In Progress and Jimmy Ballz.
Raising Maisie – Second Nature
A band always aiming to fight the good fight and see off mainstream melancholy in favour of real, melody driven musi, Raising Maisie from Brighton recently supported McFly, and have a bright future ahead of them. Spontaneously written in the studio by frontman Matt Langley, ‘Second Nature’ is all about unrequited love and the pain of waiting in vain for feelings to change. A far cry from some of their rockier, Elliot Minor-esque material, this is a sweet and serene example of the band’s natural talent. With twanging, dancing guitar and glittering keys, ‘Second Nature’ is an acoustic track with real spark and high energy. A rare find.
Influenced by: The Beatles, Simon And Garfunkel, The Who, The Kinks, Kaiser Chiefs
Jo Harman – Sweet Man Moses
Nominated for best original composition at the 2012 British Blues Awards, ‘Sweet Man Moses’ is Jo Harman’s eulogy to her late father. Featuring some exceptional musicians and instruments ranging from saxophones and trumpets to a grand piano, the track is described as having a real New Orleans funeral feel to it, and has to be heard to be believed. Jo’s voice, soulful and evocative, carries with it beauty and power in equal and impressive quantities. ‘Sweet Man Moses’ demands recognition and it deserves attention.
Influenced by: Dusty Springfield, Janis Joplin, Tom Waits
Juno – Johnny Big Spuds
All about the type of lying, cheating, using, no-brain guy one might encounter in Kings on a Saturday night or on The Jersey Shore, “Johnny Big Spuds” by Juno isn’t a short track by any means, but it seems to end far too quickly. Featuring plenty of catchy and harmonic hooks and a tap-along guitar line, this latest offering by the foursome is definitely a memorable one. Finished off by a solo that really tops things off well, “Johnny Big Spuds” has all the sing-along energy of a kumbaya campfire song but with all the cheek of a lad’s weekend.
Influenced by: Rihanna, Radiohead
Chris Priest & Brad Dawson – Take Your Time
A seemingly perfect musical partnership, Chris Priest of On The Spot and funk rock drummer Brad Dawson have given us their track “Take Your Time” for this showcase and, in the process, proven that their soon to be formed band, The Ends Ind, is definitely one to watch. The duo’s first track together sees Brad, who is “having a go at lead vocals”, sing all about girls that mess around, with rich harmonies and strong melodies backed by a delicate but forceful acoustic guitar. It’s an exceptional debut, maybe Brad should sing more often.
Influenced by: InMe, Incubus, Biffy Clyro, Pendulum, One Republic
Seraphim – Anyway
Far off from the creatures described in scripture, Chichester rock band Seraphim’s track ‘Anyway’ is pretty complex and, we’d imagine, really hard to play. With punk bordering vocals describing the ugly side of experimenting with drink and drugs, it all seems more or less like a standard rock song, but it isn’t. Evolved from a guitar riff, the track features a distorted keyboard line that really sets the song apart, topped by heavy, creative drums. For some, ‘Anyway’ might take a little getting used to, and it might grate a little, but give it time. It grabbed us straight away.
Influenced by: Pink Floyd, Coheed And Cambria, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, Led Zeppelin
Tom Staniford – Lesson Still Young
With ‘Lesson Still Young’, Tom Staniford, along with a percussionist, a bassist and a cellist, tells us how he betrayed his childhood sweetheart – the love of his life. Beginning with a dreary melody that really captures the mood and tone of the rest of the song, ‘Lesson Still Young’ demonstrates Tom as one of the finest male vocalists we have encountered thus far. Throughout the track eloquent lyrics, framed by a fine musical arrangement lifting vocals that rise and fall, carry the core message well and remind us that if it weren’t for the events described, Tom wouldn’t be who he is today. Truly bittersweet.
Influenced by: Jeff Buckley, Incubus, City And Colour, Ben Howard, The Cure
Jetpack Elastic – Easy
Born out of a jam session, the not brilliantly recorded ‘Easy’ by Jetpack Elastic is all about loving where you were brought up and living life without any worries. It’s a feel good song, kind of lile what Timon and Pumbah were going for. Led by the growly and grimy vocals of Lucy Holland, the track has a real classic rock feel to it with a main riff that takes centre stage and solos that add a touch of flair. ‘Easy’ is, in fitting with its name, a relatively simple song that gets stuck in your head.
Influenced by: Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Slipknot, Blur, Blondie, Wilson Pickett
Kim Slade – Killed By Cash
Back with us again, Kim Slade’s new track ‘Killed By Cash’ was inspired by people with more money than sense. About a spoilt rich girl who hasn’t a care in the world, until she gets mashed to a pulp that is, the song is a little bit country, with a big rock sound. Sharp and infectious, Slade delivers his message with drive and conviction. You can hear a bit of The Clash in there.
From: Bognor Regis
Influenced by: John Lennon, Mike Skinner, Johnny Cash, David Bowie, Van Morrison
Hatful of Rain – Way Up On the Hill
Hatful Of Rain are something that we haven’t really featured before. A Sussex-based roots band that have an original sound infused with folk and bluegrass, they build their songs with a wide range of instruments including mandolins, banjos and fiddles. As soon as ‘Way Up On The Hill’ begins, the vocal talent of Chloe Overton forces you silent; her voice is simply captivating and filled with emotion. However, what really stands out is the music, with a real British-folk twang, the instruments work with and against each other to create something truly stirring.
Influenced by: Bill Moroe, Ralph Stanley, Ola Belle Reed, Doc Watson, Alison Krauss, Steve Earle
Work in Progress – Chernobyl
The word punk has never been used more appropriately than to describe ‘Chernobyl’ by Work In Progress. An energetic track about the notorious Chernobyl disaster, inspired by an article about Prypiat – where the nuclear power station was, it’s all pretty simple, with catchy lines and great drumming.
Influenced by: The Off Spring, The Misfits, Metallica, The Sex Pistols, Marilyn Manson
Jimmy Ballz – My Chance
Incredibly simple in terms of production compared to his last track, ‘My Chance’ by Jimmy Ballz is brilliantly paced, with an infectious beat and flow. Rapidly rapping Jimmy is as controversial as always with lines that cut deep. Written as a real “look at me” track, ‘My Chance’ is Jimmy Ballz squaring up to the competition and showing them who’s boss. Watch out world.
Influenced by: Necro, Insane Clown Posse, Tech N9ne, Esham, Eminem
This showcase is our attempt to show off some of the music we love in our local area. We received such a demand from bands to have their tracks featured that we had no choice but to open the Showcase. We only hope this popularity continues.
Obviously we couldn’t include everything, so if you’re reading this and your song isn’t here don’t be too disheartened, it could be included in the next edition!