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2017 Mid-Year Review

Best Of The Year (January - June 2017)

2017 has certainly gotten off to a flying start! It’s hard to believe we’re only halfway through with all that has happened so far, although it is hard not to notice that it’s summer with all of this amazing weather we are having: I’ve never known it to be so hot. It has been a big year for Brightonsfinest so far too, having finally made the sensible and necessary step of moving our offices from Hove to the heart of Brighton’s bustling North Laine. At the same time we launched our own Radio Show in March on Brighton’s Juice 107.2. If you’re not in the know yet our show runs from Monday-Thursday, 9-11pm, with a new music focussed selection of tracks and interviews with artists, promoters and the like. You can listen back to all of our shows HERE, listen live HERE or tune in on 107.2FM if you’re in Sussex (UK). We also presented a spell-binding Alternative Escape Showcase at St Mary’s Church, which is an incredible setting up the road in Kemptown and have released a Live vinyl album by Los Albertos and a special-edition double vinyl reissue of The Fiction Aisle’s debut Heart Map Rubric. Both are available from Brightonsfinest Presents Shop now, and we expect to be releasing another compilation later in the year, as well as getting more involved in promoting shows on the live music scene down here and beyond.

But that’s enough about what we’ve been up to, outside of the magazine. As is our custom at this mid-way point in the year, we’ve taken the opportunity to ask our writers to take stock of the last six months (or so) to let us know what their favourite album and favourite live show of 2017 (so far) have been. We’ve also asked them to pick a favourite album that we missed – as you can never guarantee covering all of the good stuff. Scroll down below to see what we collectively recommend from the music that’s been on offer this year!

We've also put together a gallery of some of our best photos from the last 6 months, check that out HERE


Favourite Album Reviewed: The Big Moon - Love in the 4th Dimension

Certainly, at the beginning, there were some doubts expressed about the London four-piece who feature Brightonian Soph Nathann in their ranks. Four girls, playing a kind of spiky new wave-meets-Britpop sound with a contemporary nous. Subconscious male prejudices would rear their ugly heads, casting doubt. And certainly in the live arena they were very much initially learning their trade, and fine-tuning their craft. But with this debut, all but the most diehard misogynists would have had to doff their caps, and admit that here was a truly exceptional band, led by the extraordinary songwriting talent that is Juliette Jackson. Producer Catherine Marks captured their live essence perfectly, the resulting work a minor masterpiece of controlled dynamics, memorable melodies, a lyrical universality, and a counter-punching musicality. One of the best debut albums of recent years.

Love Supreme 2017

Love Supreme 2017

After the first Love Supreme Festival in 2013, the organisers very nearly decided to throw in the towel. They lost a tonne of money. But disco legends Chic, in a roundabout way, saved the day. Not only had the festival sold a fair few tickets on the back of their appearance, but they also delivered a nigh-on perfect set of sunshine hits that had the crowd in raptures. It proved to be a lucky booking for, only a week before, Chic had stolen the show at Glastonbury, and re-established their credentials as true icons and purveyors of ridiculously infectious and classy hits galore. This fact reverberated to Glynde, in Sussex, telling the organisers that there was potentially a market for this kind of event, an outdoor festival that catered for a well-heeled, mature crowd, that would literally get down to the right kind of music.

Royal Blood - Interview - 2017

Royal Blood – Interview - 2017

Fun. That is what it's supposed to be, is it not? Being in a band as a young adult. Meeting new people, going to new places, playing music because you just damn well enjoy doing that? And you know what? People can smell that. They often have a good sense of what is real, and what is not. Being able to tell the difference between what is too earnest, and what is just having a bit of a laugh. Even the most muso lunatics such as Yes or Gentle Giant were having a laugh back in the days of bombastic prog-rock. Even the most epic and earnest sounding like Radiohead, are just having a bit of a laugh amidst all the heavy sentiments and chord progressions.

alt-J – Interview - 2017

alt-J – Interview - 2017

They’ve done it again. Albeit perhaps not quite as consistently impressive as their first two albums, alt-J still hit new peaks on Relaxer, an album that continues their foray into that weird and wonderful mix of prog, folk, garage and electro, but which is more spacious and at times punchier. It’s epitomised by the stunning lead track ‘3WW’ (three worn words), a song that, according to the band, “Traces the adventures of a wayward lad on England’s northeast coast, culminating in the whispering of three worn words." It's full of sexual awakening and adventure, and features the voices of alt-J's Gus Unger-Hamilton and Joe Newman, as well as Wolf Alice's Ellie Roswell. "I just want to love you in my own language", they sing against a background of beguiling alt-folk, with distorted waves of electronica, shakers, minimal keys, dubby bass and much else besides. It’s one of their best ever songs.

Kraftwerk – Spotlight – 2017

Kraftwerk – Spotlight – 2017

Legendary and iconic are two words often bandied about without due care and attention, particularly in the hyperbolism prone world of music. But with the German electronic and technological pioneers (Kraftwerk means 'power station' in English) there can be no doubt that these words can be applied with an extremely high level of certainty. You may not particularly like their music, or their aesthetic, but you would be a fool to not acknowledge the immense importance that this group has had on rock'n'roll in particular, and culture in general, beginning with David Bowie himself. The ever reliable beacon of quality and cutting edge endeavour throughout the 70s even invited the band to tour with him, in support of his Station to Station album, which they declined. Never one to be easily put off, Bowie named the 'V-2 Schneider' track off the Heroes album after Florian Schneider, founder member of Kraftwerk, but who parted ways with them in 2009. Much of the subsequent synth-pop music of the late 70s and early 80s (Pet Shop Boys, Tubeway Army, Yello, Ultravox, Depeche Mode, The Human League et al), the electro-hip-hop of Afrika Bambaataa (particularly 'Planet Rock' where he re-recorded the 'Trans-Europe Express' riff over a sample from 'Numbers') and of the techno pioneers of the mid-late 80s can be directly ascribed to Kraftwerk. The so-called Detroit-based Belleville Three (Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May) fused the repetitive melodies of Kraftwerk with funk rhythms. For instance, Juan Atkins sampled the racing, percussive melody from 'Home Computer' for his classic electro track 'Clear'. They popularised synths and electronic music, and inspired countless others to create their own unconventional sounds. Their influence has been maintained right into the 21st century. LCD Soundsystem, for instance, sampled and built a song entirely around Kraftwerk's 'Robots'.



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