SQ Magazine

The UK's Leading Independent Youth Culture Publication

The SQ Showcase: August ’13

Posted on Monday, 19 August by


AIM Independent Music Awards have announced their nominations for 2013 and I’m immediately reminded why such honours are almost completely pointless. You might as well ask people who their favourite band of all time is – not an easy question by any means and certainly not definitive.

Most will read the list of artists and exclaim “you’ve missed out x and y” with the kind of disgust reserved only archenemies. Yet the abhorrence must be diffused because everyone has favourites and subjectivity is prevails.

Still…no Django Django for ‘Best Live Act’? And how can one of the years best indie-pop albums in Just Handshakes’ ‘Say It’ not get a single nomination? No matter, here are ten of Sussex’s best tracks (in no particular order).

Glass City Vice – Waves

When I hear guitar bands slashing my ears with an alt-rock edge, I can’t help but imagine them fizzling to dust within several years. It must be commended though because despite the trends, there are still many people out there who shun the rapidly breeding synthesisers. ‘Waves’ will feature on Glass City Vice’s upcoming EP founded upon anthemic vocal hooks bound to get teenage girls quivering at the knees. And those people who are stoic enough to stave off the influx of electronica in music will immediately latch onto the quartet’s punchy pop-flecked delivery and wheelchair-friendly accessibility. My original thoughts still haunt me though; perhaps I’m just pessimistic?

Wildflowers – Edge Of The Road

Fronted by singer-songwriter Siddy Bennett, Wildflowers are best described as punky Wild West gunslingers. Along with sister Kit, the pair spent much of their life living nomadically thus providing them with many travelling stories; a stable diet of country songwriters. ‘Edge Of The Road’ (from Wild Among The Flowers EP) is about the effects of such a lifestyle as Siddy sings the refrain “Tell me where you want me to be”. It doesn’t contain as many punk-influenced messages as other Wildflowers songs but echoes of it are heard when she bellows “Well I’ll give you what I want but I won’t plead”. They’re likely to be storming into a town near you, but instead of pillaging they’ll be liberating.

Dirt Royal – That Isn’t Me

Dirt Royal come ready mixed with wall-pounding force and searing punk tones designed to get you jumping about and irritating your neighbours. There’s a vivid hint of The Jam to their sound and character which will instantly endear some to their catchy vitality and pop heart. Consisted of guitarist Leon, bassist Charlie and drummer Loz, the trio know what makes a decent punk track. Nevermind the brackish tones or the rapid tempo, it’s all about the breakdowns. Because let’s be honest, you can’t be a punk/ska band if your tracks don’t have a breakdown that your fans can skank to.

Hero – Take It From Me

Add MiMi Soya’s former vocalist, the drummer from The Ghost Of A Thousand with a portion of The Auteur and you’ve got Hero. I know some of you will be sat there thinking “MiMi Soya! I totally forgot about them”. Hero isn’t too dissimilar; a thrashing punk band with a subtle pop tint. ‘Take It From Me’ is rapid onslaught of blistering guitars and earth-rumbling drums led by Hero’s erupting vocals. There are the easy comparisons with Hayley Williams of Paramore which will not doubt annoy Hero. But for me, it’s all about the drummer – a relentless machine of a drummer who gives Hero a hardcore edge.

Adolescent – Shy

Introversion is a curious trait that appears synonymous with creativity and contemplation. And if you’ve heard any of Adolescent‘s previous work, you’ll be familiar with the understated ethereal soundscapes he crafts. Much like introverts, ‘Shy’ is a track you become more familiar with every passing minute you invest. Spectral vocals loom over rustling beats knitted together by a reverb-swathed melody. It evokes a sense of clarity in your own mind as you drift into a distraction-free state while wraithlike apparitions dance before your eyes with tender elegance. Along with Will Phillips of Tourist, Alex Parish is by far one of our favourite up-and-coming Brighton producers. Could easily be a star pick.

Common Tongues – Solitary Thinker

‘Solitary Thinker’ is the single from Common Tongues’ Tether & Twine EP. Born from the creativity of childhood friends Tom Anderson and Oli Hinkins, Common Tongues are a five-piece folk band with a taste for poignant songwriting. The track begins with a brooding acoustic guitar while a weeping violin enhances the pensive atmosphere. But the variety in the composition means that it often swerves at will letting its candid tones flicker at varying degrees of fluorescence before the instrumentation intensifies into a dense flourish. It’s a thoroughly mature track with plenty of delectable textures and tones that will help you wistfully dream away.

Bad For Lazarus – Burnt!

Bad For Lazarus aren’t too far from a super-group mixing ex-members of 80′s Matchbox B-line Disaster, UNKLE & Nine Inch Nails. The crunching guitars, rampaging drums and vigorous vocals fuse with the kind of energy that flattens every venue they play at. ‘Burnt!’ is the title track from their upcoming EP (released 2 September) and it’s for anyone who likes their music wholly unrestrained and filthy; you could almost call it feral. Imagine a pack of Cerberus growling with garage swagger and snarling with punk attitude. You find yourself wrestling with the wall of noise trying to earn a place in the pack. So that next time they play a gig nearby, you can demolish the venue together.

GAPS – Belong

GAPS are a Brighton-based duo consisting of Rachel and Ed with a make-up similar to that of Anushka and AlunaGeorge – Rachel provides the dreamy folk-influenced vocals while Ed crafts the ambient electro sounds. It’s a mouth-watering combination and they execute it with ethereal dexterity. Everyone’s been talking about their 7” ‘Keep You’ which is a beat-driven walk through the night but I think GAPS are at their most luminescent when they craft lucid dreams like ‘Belong’. Not only will you find yourself transported to serene distant worlds but the translucent soundscape provides a beautifully unobtrusive backdrop too. Picking favourites is silly because this could easily have been a star pick and definitely one of the best artists of the south coast.

Tyrannosaurus Dead – Sadie

With a fiery 12” released by the wonderful Odd Box Records, this spirited five-piece are becoming increasingly adored by Brightonians. They’ve had a few DIY tracks lurking about but their latest EP sees their fuzzy tones tidied up a bit. To some, this is a bad thing but a cleaner production always helps with accessibility. Besides, their tracks still have the inherent heady energy that makes them so likeable. ‘Sadie’ is one of the stand-out tracks of their Pure // Apart EP – full of noise-pop leanings while fuzzy guitars and driving drums invite a mosh-pit. And yet, if you’re not the moshing type, the boy-girl vocal dynamics and infectious melodies will have you scampering about and punching the air. This is big.

Star Submission

Alphabets Heaven – mydreamsarequiet

I unreservedly apologise for letting Alphabets Heaven slip past me because Jonny Wildley is a masterful craftsman of the highest order. There is simply no explanation or excuse for why his glitchy, sample-laden tracks don’t receive more attention – quite Gold Panda-ry. Pulled from his delightfully atmospheric EP, Mountain Sound, ‘mydreamsarequiet’ is a soundtrack for mysterious jungle strolls. As animals rustle in the canopy above and insects scuttle beneath your feet, you find yourself in awe of Jonny’s auditory command. There are two ways you can explore this track; peel away its delicate layers and trundle deeper into its dense vegetation or just lay back and absorb all its splendour. Producers love to talk about texture and this track will have your ears in sensory overload. It’s very cliché but this track really needed to be at least another minute longer.

The SQ Showcase is our attempt to provide a platform for some of the best unsigned talent in Sussex. We’ve received tens of thousands of plays since launching this flagship feature in late 2011 and this year, we’re aiming for even bigger and better things.

To get involved, submit your tracks here, or send a message on Facebook with a bio.

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Matt Yau

Matt Yau

Showcase Critic at SQ Magazine
Freelance music journalist with a reputation in Sussex for uncovering new music. Has led SQ Magazine's 'Showcase' since 2013. Obsessive thinker, habitual music listener and timid photographer.
Matt Yau

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