SQ Magazine

The UK's Leading Independent Youth Culture Publication

The SQ Showcase: November ’13

Posted on Monday, 25 November by


As the sun sits lower and lower in the sky struggling to radiate its immense heat, the impending Christmas spirit will provide the warmth you so crave. *Vomits a little*

It’s not the cheesy adverts or even the mildly superficial compassion that irks me. No, it’s the terrible choice of Christmas music. I mean, what ever happened to ‘Little Donkey’?

Instead of waiting for those slippers you will undoubtedly bin, here are ten tracks that’ll do a much better job of keeping your feet warm.

Daskinsey4 – Buttplug Horcrux

At school, cheesy American pop-punk used to dominate hallways but we have plenty…oh wait, no we don’t. But recently, we’ve had a flurry of British C86-inspired pop-punk bands and Daskinsey4 slots nicely next to the likes of Colour Me Wednesday. The bouncing energy and carefree attitude is perfect for unruly teenagers looking to take on the world with feet-kicking venom. But let’s be honest, most of us still crave the blithe way-of-life that pop-punk evokes. And with such a pleasantly named song, ‘Buttplug Horscrux’ not only satisfies that craving but fuels it with the kind of joy that’ll have to causing havoc in play parks again.

Time For T – Vegetable

Brighton has a habit of attracting new bands from all over the world purely on the reputation of its music culture. But despite that, bands like Time For T still struggle to finance new recordings despite the abundance of ideas. The six-piece serve up the kind of folk-pop that dashes from brooding tones to upbeat cordiality with unerring ease. On their latest EP Mongrel, Tiago’s expressive vocals lead closing track ‘Vegetable’ with the kind of optimistic vitality that often precedes a meandering adventure. You may not know where you’ll end up but just hope on and enjoy the ride.

Tied To The Mast – Melissa

Tied To The Mast are a five-piece hard rock band with an array of influences; everything from Dinosaur Jr. to Queens Of The Stone Age with a tinge of early Biffy Clyro. And like many great rock bands, their appeal is presented in the form of their interchangeable dynamism. The three guitars interweave like carefully constructed latticework while the punchy drums and romping basslines provide the foundation to make it all impenetrably potent. But beyond all the distorted grinds, they also know how to make a pop song too in the form of ‘Melissa’. As they look to spend more time in studios, be ready some fresh recordings. Who said British guitar music was dead?

BASA – Freefall

Producing under the pseudonym BASA, Ben Anglesea sculpts soaring EDM that does well to detach itself from your usual bass-driven club music. And it’s also quite the departure from the growing list of Brighton-based ambient electro producers. Not only does ‘Freefall’ sound comfortable on the dance-floor but it would provide a sharp injection of euphoria too. Everything from the sharp production, progressive build and clever instrumentation (everyone loves a glockenspiel) ensures this track doesn’t tire easily. It balances delicately between uplifting ambience and feet-stomping bass. And with help from Ben’s sister Sally, it’s laced with a vocal track that highlights the confidence of a producer who knows exactly what kind of music he wants to make.

Ancient Times – Hieroglyphic

Despite only being a three-piece, Ancient Times don’t appear to be lacking a fourth dimension. But this might have something to do with the soft vocals that have echoes of Morrisey with a hint of Brian Briggs. They formed just over a year ago so new sounds are scarce but that’s not uncommon at a time when they’re still finding the right direction to move in. Wherever that may, it won’t detour too far from their current dreamy guitar-pop that’s nostalgically catchy. It’s just a shame ‘Hieroglyphic’ is so short. But after getting some airtime on Steve Lamacq’s show, I’m sure we’ll be hearing plenty more from Ancient Times.

Wild Cat Strike – Attentive Blood

With their second EP Attentive Blood released earlier this month, alt-rock quartet Wild Cat Strike are beginning to unleash their devastating combo on unsuspecting ears. With math-rock influences and crunching riffs, theirs is a sound that appears abrasive at first but the smart song-writing gives them a malleable energy that’s surprisingly catchy. The title track from the feisty EP will claw you in with its coarse opening riff. As it develops, the feral delivery intensifies where guitars weave from distorted grinds to soaring heights while Danny Byrom screams with unexpected composure. A potent combination indeed for anyone more into hard-edged panther as opposed to docile house cat.

Partpanda – Let’s Build A Cinema

Last month, we introduced you to Graeme Coop’s solo project Birkwin Jersey. Partpanda is his group effort with Vienna and James Broughton (of J Biscuits). The trio like blurring the lines between hip-hop, folk and electronica but it’s the delivery that’s significant here; alluringly out-of-reach yet so lucid. Like a faraway world one can only dream of but this time, you hear it swirling around you. ‘Let’s Build A Cinema’ is the b-side to the trio’s latest single ‘Way Back When’ – a beautifully layered track where a fragile melody lightly dances across the considered beats. But it is no doubt made more poignant by Vienna’s soulful vocals weaving around you. Need a pleasant track to wake up to? Try this one.

Poles Apart – Emergeinsea

A four-piece outfit who like to sit on the fence between math-rock and post-rock, Poles Apart are a new British guitar band worth listening to. ‘Emergeinsea’ is the opening track from their debut EP Atlasless. It builds patiently allowing the atmospherics to develop organically while a memorable math-rock riff stitches it all together. Atlasless is certainly a confident start and an excellent debut EP. It’ll be interesting to see how Poles Apart develop their sound because most of the ingredients are there for an absolutely stunning track to be made. Will they lean more towards the rhythmic complexity of math-rock or the atmospheric qualities of post-rock?

IYES – ‘Til Infinity

After featuring in our Great Escape special, IYES just miss out on star pick again (sorry guys). The duo (consisting of Josh Christopher and Melis Soyaslanova) will be dropping ‘Til Infinity’ as their debut single. Earthy toms and sharp handclaps set the tone for what is a heavily percussion-driven track with layered vocals throughout. ‘Til Infinity’ already sounds like a radio hit; the crisp production shimmers across the ears and Melis’ lively vocals are silky smooth. If there’s space in the crowded electronic pop swarm, don’t be surprised to be hearing much more about the duo considering they only met a year ago. I think they have a big hit in them.

Star Submission

Cold Crows Dead – Ghost That Burned Your House Down

Don’t shun winter. Embrace its wintry darkness with a dose of psychedelic melancholia from Brighton duo Cold Crows Dead. They gravitate towards the psychedelic influences of Sparklehorse compounded by their use of theremins, mellotrons and analogue synths. But the death of Sparklehorse frontman Mark Linkous was the despondent catalyst for debut album I Fear A New World. The lo-fi gloom of opening track ‘Ghost That Burned Your House Down’ is offset by inherent pop structures while the vocals loom like a spectre of Wayne Coyne. And die-hard Beach Boys fans will be happy to hear that Stephen John Kalinich even features on the album. Quite possibly the most exciting band from the south coast this year.

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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