SQ Magazine

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The SQ Showcase: September ’13

Posted on Monday, 30 September by

The SQ Showcase September

Summer is over…until next year. Hopefully you went to some festivals, discovered new sounds and shared good times. I think it’s fair to say that it’s been one of the better summers in recent history. But, rapidly, the darkness is smothering us.

Here’s another SQ Showcase with ten more lovely sounds to help ease the passing of summer and prepare you for the moist autumnal gloom. It’s a good one.

The Hundredth Anniversary – Last Drive

The name is horrible. Just not memorable in any way whatsoever. Fortunately, their hazy sounds more than make up for it. Centred around the pensive vocals of Eleanor Rudge, The Hundredth Anniversary carve wonderfully atmospheric tones that lift and drift you through the most peaceful soundscapes. They impressed many with their recent 7” release and fans will be hoping that their latest track ‘Last Drive’ means that an EP is due shortly. The patient but assured drums leave plenty of space for Eleanor’s shadowy vocals to glow while the reverb-laden melody lights up the dark timbre. If you like your music mysteriously out-of-reach with a ghostly intangibility, download it for free from their SoundCloud.

The Beautiful Word – Particles

With a debut LP due sometime in November, The Beautiful Word will soon be lavishing the world with their sun-flecked folk. ‘Particles’ is the title track from the album and its opening riff will immediately endear many. It has echoes of the riff in Lucius’ ‘Until We Get There’ (which is a good thing) and it’ll have you coming back to it over and over. The whole track is full of radiant tones and the quaint vocals only emphasise the twee taste of their sound as the chorus refrains “I’m living my life/With my hand over my eyes.” It may not be the freshest sound in the south coast but as far as folk-pop goes, you can’t go wrong here – a delightfully saccharine listen.

Tales Of George – In My Head

Slowly but surely, grungey garage bands are making an offensive stand against the army of bedroom producers. Equipped with an array of distortion pedals, Tales Of George don’t like clean edges or subtlety. ‘In My Head’ is one of their heaviest tracks from the Stay Young And Fckd Up EP released back in March. Full of marauding guitars and feisty drums, the four-piece will have your ears ringing for days. It’s the kind of sound that only appeals to a certain few but you can’t fault their vitality. And I’m sure, somewhere within you is this itch to thrash about and go slightly feral. If not, this track might just trigger something.

Forestears – Smoulder House

Forestears are six-piece indie-folk band with a log-fire warmth that hugs you like a duvet. ‘Smoulder House’ is their latest single where Elliot Ellison’s expressive vocals mixed with tip-toeing melodies and tooting brass makes for a thoroughly amiable track. Unlike The Beautiful Word’s ‘Particles’, this is more brooding emphasised immediately but its mysteriously coy intro. It’s a confident lunge forward for a band who have only released one EP previously and as they sharpen their song-writing, the two-part horn section will become an even more integral part of the band. And let’s be honest, everybody loves a bit of brass. Which is why ‘Smoulder House’ builds into an explosive trumpeting flourish. I see a radio hit coming soon.

Them The Sky – Echolalia

The six-piece are still in the early stages of their musical journey but are beginning to pick up momentum with their measured sound. Along with fellow Brighton post-rockers Phoria, Them The Sky like to build tracks slowly with an emphasis on layered instrumentals. If you need help getting into their sound ‘Start Again’ is the most accessible from their latest EP Echolalia. But the title track is much more dynamic of course helped by the 9-minute length. The eerily ambient build-up twinkles into a melodic wander through spacey worlds leaving you to gawp at the soundscapes that surround you. The arrangement is well-considered and reminds me of my favourite post-rock band Explosions In The Sky. You should buy the EP.

Fickle Friends – I Want/You Want

With a couple of synthy elements, Fickle Friends become a dynamic indie band as opposed “just another indie band”. The fact that they draw influences from the likes of TEED and M83 exposes their compositional philosophy; the Brighton five-piece really want to make people dance. Their debut EP Girl Like That certainly did that – the blend of energetic drums, undulating basslines and swerving melodies is irresistibly dancey. Even NME have noticed them (although who really still reads that). ‘I Want/You Want’ is their latest single which isn’t as dancefloor-friendly as their EP material but there’s still a bouncing vibe that’ll have you bopping around to its glimmering guitar lines.

Dog In The Snow – Fire In The Sky

Dog In The Snow is the work of Helen Ganya Brown with support from Marie-Eve de Gaultier and their enigmatic absence since February’s ‘Fear’ has been broken with a new track. ‘Fire In The Sky’ sees Helen’s chilling vocals coupled with ominous piano lines to create a swirling cloud of grey while the punchy drums and fuzzy guitars strike like thunder and lightning. It’s a slight departure from previous track ‘Fear’; there’s still that haunting art-pop tone but instead of being ghostly and vague, it’s much more forceful with a sense of grandeur and Helen’s vocals are more orchestral rather than choral. You should download it for free from their SoundCloud page because they’ll soon become a frequently talked about band.

Foreign Skin – Hoi Sum

Foreign Skin is yet another Brighton-based producer crafting tracks with utmost care and maturity. The Hong Kong-born Flavia Aliverti predictably weaves an oriental flavour into the track while the serene tones have garnered attention from fellow Brighton artists GAPS and Adolescent. ‘Hoi Sum’ (translated as “happy”) is a track to lose yourself in – far east-inspired melodies delicately float over minimalistic beats while the choppy Cantonese vocals emphasise the sense of otherworldliness. This might detract some listeners but lyrics you don’t understand are great. Suddenly the vocals become just another sound and in this case, a sound that soothes and enthrals. It’s an utterly beguiling listen with expertly chiselled samples. And she’s got a side-project we’ll soon be telling you about.

Kanzi – Part I

Kanzi are four-piece band who have that modern blend of synths and guitars. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that their tracks are dense. Their minimalist approach allows the pacifying textures and sparse arrangements to bathe their tracks in soothing tones. Previous track ‘Water’ had a tinge of Wild Beasts about it but ‘Part I’ is more sample-driven. What you get is a track that’s less accessible than ‘Water’ but its patient build-up means you often find new discoveries upon every repeat. It’s irresistibly hypnotic with an array of filters that gives it an ethereal quality. I love how it sounds produced so you can only imagine how mesmerising it’d be to watch them play this live. Let’s hope there’s a ‘Part II’.

Star Submission

Phantom Shilla – Hazy Days

With assured drum samples, fissured vocals and swirling melodies, Phantom Shilla crafts dark ambient tracks with diverse tones. ‘We Could’ was released early September in anticipation of his Hazy Days EP. Though the sampling produced some delectable sounds, it didn’t excite me massively. In fact, every other track on the EP does better to transport you to distant worlds. But this gem, the title track, is packed with absolutely captivating sounds – particularly the muted bells that seem connected to the sharp clicks. I imagine myself meandering up a mountain where some spiritual palace lurks in the dense fog; it’s wonderfully cathartic. As usual, I implore to take some time out and escape our world with this EP. There’re no excuses because you can download it for free. Did you hear that, Thom Yorke?

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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