As we enter October the dreary reality that comes with the British winter is already getting us down. Outside the weather is beginning to get frightful, and inside television speakers are straining to dull out the relentless tap of rain on windowpanes. It’s cliché, but new music seems a shining light in these shadowy times.
This is the first part of the October Showcase featuring Justin Alfonso, Oxygen Thieves, Of Fire And Fate, The Sandpaper Eyebrows, Shotgun Risk, Zoe Hedderwick, Rich Lown, Lost In Vegas, One Bright Life and July For January.
Justin Alfonso – Self Loating Above Audio
Originally featured a few months back as frontman of his old band Slugger, Justin Alfonso is a surprising talent. ‘Self Loathing Above Audio’ romanticizes the ideas of alcoholism, depression and rejection that Alfonso felt whilst living above, you guessed it, Brighton’s hottest club, Audio. A track with an atmosphere that echoes that of the Hunter S Thompson novel we assume its title was based upon, it delves into deep emotional territory, with the echoing harmony of the vocals and the nature of the string work eluding to changing moods and heartbeats.
Influenced by: Rancid, Black Stone Cherry, Death From Above 1979, Them Crooked Vultures
Oxygen Thieves – Dance With Death
Beginning with a riff and collection of melodies that bring with them connotations of a sinister nature, Dance With Death at first seems reminiscent of The Rolling Stones. Whilst this often doesn’t make itself known the track does seem influenced by them, especially in the case of some of the more delicate guitar sections. ‘Dance With Death’ seems very classic, perhaps even comparable to ‘Roller Coaster’ by Arkansas Dust & The Muertes.
Influenced by: The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Clash, Foals, The Doors, The Smiths
Of Fire and Fate – Negai
‘Negai’ by Crawley’s Of Fire and Fate immediately picks up the pace of this Showcase. Beginning with a short blast of soaring guitar, the track seems to leap from genre to genre with glee, sounding like a blend of melodic punk and post-hardcore, with roots in the classic and hair metal era. Just like Oxygen Thieves’ ‘Dance With Death’, this feels like a classic track, with a twist; to put it in a more quotable way this track sounds as though Mark Turner and his band got hold of their own DeLorean and sped back to 1985 with Marty McFly.
Influenced by: A Day To Remember, Green Day, Zebrahead, Fall Out Boy, Avenged Sevenfold
The Sandpaper Eyebrows – To Nowhere
Beginning with some walking bass and Space Invaders-esque synth, ‘To Nowhere’ by The Sandpaper Eyebrows throws the listener into a loud and stormy mass of chaos, before yo-yoing them back and forth and shoving a load of hallucinogens down their throats. This one is difficult to get your head around. Termed as progressive, psychedelic metal it’s absolute madness, and is enough to send anyone into a confusing spiral. ‘To Nowhere’ does exactly what it says; grabs you, shakes you about, and drags you on a strange journey with no destination, but a hell of a lot of meandering. We like.
Influenced by: Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Incubus, Zero 7
Shotgun Risk – State of Affairs
Shotgun Risk bring us safely back to reality with ‘State Of Affairs’. A sound clearly influenced by classic rock, it’s a real mixed bag of vibes, fusing together genres and combining together play-along power with grit, melody and modern rock form. What stands out about State Of Affairs is the amount of effort that clearly went into it; with simple but rattling, well-paced bass and Slash style solos it must be a bitch to play live, but a real crowd winner.
Influenced by: Guns ‘n’ Roses, Motley Crue
Rich Lown – Leave it All Behind
When Rich Lown sent us this track, he explained that it had been classed as something that could easily be an X-Factor winner’s single. We disagree. ‘Leave it All Behind’ is too good for that. While it does have the clean vocal quality and well-managed coaching of someone desperate enough to go down that road, and the instrumentals are produced at an incredible standard, ‘Leave it All Behind’ is far from being just another single by a soon-to-fade reality TV star; it’s a masterpiece.
Influenced by: Sigur Ros, Hanson, John Mayer, Snow Patrol
Lost in Vegas – I Spy
This showcase has been full of tracks that sound like classics and ‘I Spy’ by Lost In Vegas definitely has that vintage feel to it. The band’s influences range from Chuck Berry to Jimi Hendrix and, sadly, The Kings Of Leon, and that’s something that seems to come out of the track quite predominately; there’s the “this is a keeper” touch of Berry and Hendrix, and the “I’ve been smoking and drinking too much”-ness of the southern louts. That would sound mean if it weren’t for the fact that we can’t stop listening.
Influenced by: The Kings Of Leon, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, The Kills
One Bright Life – Trojans
‘Trojans’ by One Bright Life bounces with excitement from the very first note. A wild dance/electronica-rock track that seems to exhale the faggy, beery breath of the 1980s, it brings to mind Trojan condoms more than it does Trojan Fighters, and makes us think of pumping beats in smoky dance clubs thick with the smell of hairspray and bathed in the light of the disco ball.
Influenced by: The Police, Dexys Midnight Runners, Billy Joel, Daft Punk, Massive Attack
July for January – All I Ever Wanted
A track by a girl so young we hesitate to contact her online lest we get treated like an archbishop or maths teacher, ‘All I Ever Wanted’ by July For January is a gritty acoustic track with grainy vocals and a catchy melody that reminds us of fellow Eastbourne artists like Hope Rudd. With lyrics that tell of a girl already tired of the strains and monotony of life at such a young age, it’s a track thick with mature vibes and relatable messages.
Influenced by: Secondhand Serenade, Never Shout Never
Zoe Hedderwick – Live Life
‘Live Life’ by Zoe Hedderwick is a beautiful track, one that pulls fairytales back from childhood dreams. With tones that carry a long list of emotions and influence from artists like KT Tunstall, Hedderwick’s voice seems to speak of pain, but that sorrow has a sweet sound, one that surely rivals those that influence her.
Influenced by: Eliza Doolittle, Amy MacDonald, Joshua Radin and KT Tunstall
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!