Posts Tagged ‘Brighton’

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After the release of their exceptional debut EP, What’s On Your Mind?, Brighton four-piece Thyla made their American debut at this year’s SXSW. The band performed misty guitar cuts like “Pristine Dream,” “Only Ever” and “Blue,” with enigmatic frontwoman/guitarist Millie Duthie at the helm of their lush dream-pop meets moody post-punk. With an impressively consistent discography thus far and an exuberant live show that does their cloudy atmospherics justice, Thyla have all the bearings of a band worth obsessing over.

Music towns like Brighton often come with a set of contrasts. They’re inspiring, because there are tons of artists milling around, collaborating, figuring out their voices alongside each other as they jump from band to band. You’ll always find one gig or another to go check out. But on the flipside, that means there’s that much more noise to cut through, that many other names from which you have to stand out. In the last year or so, one of those bands that has stood out from the local pack is Thyla, a group that’s putting their own spin on the tradition of dream-pop.

“It’s just crazy, every other person in Brighton is a musician,” Thyla frontwoman Millie Duthie says over a Skype conversation from her home in the seaside UK town. “It’s really competitive and sometimes it can get a bit catty, but you just have to stay above it, and then it’s amazing.”

Duthie who was actually born in the States before her family returned to the UK when she was a small child — is like a lot of other musicians in Brighton, in that she moved there with the explicit goal of being a musician. The same goes for her bandmates — drummer Danny Southwell, bassist Dan Hole, and guitarist Mitch Duce all of whom came from other parts of the UK and relocated to Brighton to attend the British And Irish Modern Music Institute (otherwise known as BIMM). That’s where Thyla came together in its earliest form: Duthie met Southwell on their very first day of school, and the genesis of the band goes back to when the two lived in the same house during their college years.

When they found each other, it was the result of years off exploring by themselves. Southwell, Hole, and Duce all grew up as musicians; Duthie started a little later, picking up a guitar at 16 and discovering she had an innate knack for songwriting despite lacking formal training or theory knowledge. All of them gigged around Brighton with other groups until their own project started to percolate. Duce, the latest addition, joined last year, a moment Duthie locates as Thyla truly coming into their own and beginning to feel a distinct forward momentum.

“Things didn’t really start moving for us until he really started gelling with the band and our sound developed a little bit,” Duthie remembers. “About a year ago, we started playing gigs and people started turning their heads rather than going ‘Oh, this band has loads of potential.’”

The band’s early days and growth have, thus far, been catalogued by an impressive series of singles that span early 2017 up to the present. Earlier tracks like “Pristine Dream,” “Ferris Wheels,” and “Tell Each Other Lies” took a lot of cues from dream-pop: aqueous-then-chiming guitars underpinning Duthie’s vocals, which could escalate from an elusive breeze to a gale-force wind in one beat. Oddly, you can find them compared to Interpol in some write-ups from the time, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense — aside from the fact that, crucially, they injected a propulsive edge to their soaring dream-pop choruses by grounding them with hard end post-punk rhythms on occasion.

While Duthie still writes solo and sometimes brings a song to the band, she argues that their best material arises when it’s the four of them in a room jamming, ideas developing on the spot within minutes. “That’s where the magic happens,” she says. “You just have to hope for the best, but it’s where the coolest music comes from.”

Combined with the effect of a recently-expanded lineup and the new perspectives that inevitably come out of a fresh band dynamic, the result has been a slightly different aesthetic in their most recent work. Two months ago, Thyla returned with “I Was Biting,” a composition that still had shimmery guitars and Duthie’s voice swooping up into the stratosphere, but now paired those facets with a distorted, grunge-indebted churn — the fire to the air of Duthie’s voice, each element in tension with but also fueling the other.

That’s partially how Thyla concocted their latest single “Blame” as well. The most aggressive and hard-hitting single the band has released yet, it bears the mark of that specific energy — the energy not just of the four of them kicking up then containing a storm together in a room, but also of their intensifying live shows. “We wrote it out of a real want to go for it onstage, and we didn’t have the tune to facilitate that,” Duthie explains. “’Blame’ was written for the need of a live energy we didn’t have before.” She adds with a wry laugh: “It’s 170 [BPM], you could nearly call it drum n’ bass. It’s super fast and it’s wicked to play onstage.”

“Blame” still has traces of the more otherworldly moments in earlier Thyla singles, but there’s a new ferocity, a frantic forward charge and Duthie opting for vocals more percussive than parabolic. The tone of the song mirrors the fact that it came from a more furious and desperate place thematically, influenced by the anxiety and insecurity that can come with trying to make it as an artist and the more detrimental qualities of a music town like Brighton. “’Blame’ is the frustration of that, the pressure to be a specific type of person, to look or sound a specific type of way,” Duthie explains. “The chorus … it’s a bit extreme, but it sums up the attitude of ‘Ugh, what do I do. I know what I want to be doing, but I don’t know how to get there.’”

Topically, these are concepts Duthie often likes to traffic in elsewhere, too. “I tend to write a lot from insecurity, because I’m always scared that it’s not going to be good enough, because it’s all self-taught and a bit untamed,” she says. But she’s quick to point out that, by her estimation, a lot of Thyla’s music comes from a sad source yet counters itself with the brightness of its music.


That’s often the unique quality of dreamy, ambiguous music: It can be what you need it to be in that moment. Out of any of the songs Thyla’s released so far, this might be most evident in the bursting chorus of “Tell Each Other Lies.” You can’t quite tell if it’s defiant, melancholic, or exultant. That’s where a lot of their music’s power is rooted. Whether it’s the burn-it-away catharsis of “Blame” and “I Was Biting” or the gleaming heights and pure beauty of “Pristine Dream” and “Tell Each Other Lies,” Thyla look inward to this emptiness, this feeling of not being good enough, and roar back to prove themselves worthy. “An answer to it,” as Duthie asserts.


Accordingly, these singles have started to catch on, garnering Thyla a bit of buzz in their homeland, earning them some tour slots outside of Brighton’s local music scene. But they’re careful not to let any external pressure threaten the fragility of a still-sorta-nascent project that’s just now taking shape. There’s more music in the works — Duthie’s currently recording new demos — but it remains to be seen when Thyla may arrive with an EP or a full-fledged album. “An EP would be awesome, hopefully by the end of the year, but it just depends on whether we think we have the tunes to do it,” she says. “We’re not just gonna do it because someone thinks we should have an EP out. We want to make sure we have something to say.”

They might be proceeding with level heads, but they are also aware of, and feeding off of, the positive attention that’s been bubbling up around them. As Duthie puts it, there’s a “real cool energy” surrounding Thyla right now, which is the kind of gratifying encouragement you need at some point, the realization that toiling away on music while holding down a day job is worth it when people start responding to your work. Thyla might feel the hype, and want to capitalize on it, but they’re also not letting those reactions impact their focus. “You have to straddle it, and have confidence,” Duthie says of this moment in their early career. “It’s just sheer grind and hard work. Every second we get, we’re in the room writing music. Because that’s what we love doing.”


Brighton dream-pop outfit THYLA are cementing their position as one of the UK’s most promising acts. They’ll be touring the UK this October, including dates in Manchester, London and Bristol.


Introducing Penelope Isles

Penelope Isles are a Brighton-based indie rock quartet centered across the songwriting chemistry of siblings Jack and Lily Wolter. After signing to Bella Union Records and impressing at this years SXSW with their searing reside present, they’re on the point of put out their debut album, “Till The Tide Creeps In”, later this summer.

Bella Union are thrilled to introduce new signings Penelope Isles, Between its chiming dream-pop, fuzz-noise waves, indie-psych currents and lustrous melodies, the album is a transporting show of expansive DIY vision, its elemental metaphors a fertile backdrop for the band’s innate inner chemistry and acute grasp of contrast.

Crisp and woozy, blissful and biting, it’s also an album powerful enough to sweep you away live. 

We’ve already heard two songs thus far, the fuzzily psych-rocking lead single “Chlorine” and a reside recording of the layered nine-minute available Live At Bella Studios opus “Gnarbone.”

“Chlorine” “It’s a song we often open our shows with, so it felt right to have it as the first single off the record,” say Penelope Isles. Bright and brisk, wide-eyed and wistful, ‘Chlorine’ is a dreamy introduction to the instinctive charms and alt-rock chops of the Isle of Man-via-Brighton quartet, ‘Chlorine’ harbours a tale of what the band call “a heart-breaking family divide”. Its potency heightened by the juxtaposition between the band’s fiery lead-guitar sorcery and sailing three-part harmonies, it’s a song of tremendous melodic calm and emotional rip tides, inviting and immersive.

Self-produced by Jack and recorded in Brighton’s Bella Studios, ‘Chlorine’ is a hypnotic teaser for Penelope Isles’ debut LP, And now they’re sharing one other new monitor, a dreamy old-school rock ‘n’ roll sway known as “Round”

“It’s a love music — a set of moments and ideas of what it’s wish to be in love,” Jack Wolter explains. “All the gorgeous moments and all of the troublesome occasions too. Going spherical full circle. The verses are like the gorgeous occasions that we’ll at all times keep in mind the place the refrain is the reality of the way it’s not at all times that simple.”

‘Round’ is taken from the debut album by Penelope Isles.

hollow hand

Hollow Hand is the psych-folk project of Brighton, UK-based Max Kinghorn-Mills. Working with fellow band members and co-producers Pan Andrs and Atlas Shrugs in a rehearsal space-studio called “Cosmic Ocean,” Kinghorn-Mills and co. recorded the endearingly lo-fi full-length Star Chamberreleased on Talkshow Records last October. The songs cover themes both cosmic and earthly: like what matters most at the end of the world (“End of Everything”) or the ineffable pleasure and sweet pain of love (“Blackberry Wine”). Kinghorn-Mills’ sound evokes luminaries like Syd Barrett, Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt, Emmit Rhodes and Something Else to Lola-era Kinks.

“A World Outside”opens with natural sounds that conjure a walk down a country lane—complete with a cheery voice saying “Good morning!”—while a nylon-stringed guitar plays a gently descending line and we ease into the sun-dappled, pastoral universe of Hollow Hand. The song breezes along on jangly guitars and buoyant harmonies, occasionally kicking into a higher gear with crunchy, fuzz-toned chords but always coming back—albeit briefly—to the wistful guitar line that opened the track. Slight shifts along the way are never jarring but do keep one guessing: like momentarily losing one’s way down a wooded path only to emerge into the light again.

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Brighton via London four-piece Porridge Radio have shared their first new music since their 2016 debut LP Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers. “Give/Take” is the kind of poignant, lo-fi guitar pop that makes bedroom pop doubters look silly. Alongside bittersweet ’80s synths and a subtle, silvery bass line, Dana Margolin’s heart-rending vocals yearn with believable affection as she sings of the warring mindsets that make life so confusing, yet visceral. With all the cynicism in today’s cultural and political discourse, sometimes earnest conviction is the best medicine, and “Give/Take” is the type of chaotic good that’s worth celebrating.

This is our first release in a long time and our first real studio recording and I’m so pleased to share it. We’ve been working hard on lots of new things and I’m so ready for you all to hear what we’ve been up to because guess what. I’m proud of us. Come see us on tour next week

“Give / Take” · Porridge Radio

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Brighton four piece Thyla return with their boldest release to date, ‘Blame’. It is a bolstering, boisterous cut further adding to the growing excitement from the press and the public surrounding this new band. Produced by Macks Faulkron and mixed by Alex Newport (At The Drive-In, Weaves), ‘Blame’ is frantic and tough, spiky guitar riffs and tingling percussion beats. It is softened by the seductive femininity of Millie Duthie’s vocal yet her lyrics are equally jagged as she barks the track’s recurring hook “I can’t blame you, can only hate you.”

The band have drawn expected comparisons to London grungers Wolf Alice, yet this has the frivolous frustrations of Marmozets and Wallows. Ahead of the track’s release, the band stated: “’Blame’ is about the uncharacteristic choices people make when they’re trying to be like someone else, for the sake of someone else, at a cost to themselves. It’s a neurotic frenzy of guitars with self conscious lyrics about the state of paralysis jealously puts you in; blind anger with no real solution.”


After picking up a host of tips from across the musical spectrum for this year, this exciting four piece are delivering on promise and releasing quality tracks that step the line between shoegaze and scum.

After the release of their exceptional debut EP, What’s On Your Mind?, earlier this year, things are only looking up for Brighton four-piece Thyla. Singles like “Tell Each Other Lies” “Pristine Dream,” “Only Ever” and “Blue” cultivate a misty dream-pop wonderland with frontwoman Millie Duthie’s enigmatic lead vocals as their euphoric centerpiece. Then add a framework of palatial, lush guitars and a dash of moody post-punk for good measure, and you have all the bearings of a band worth obsessing over.

FUR – ” Angel Eyes “

Posted: February 22, 2019 in MUSIC
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Brighton quartet Fur have been delivering ’50s and ’60s-influenced pop songs with a sanguine sheen and toe-tapping beat for a few years now. They’ve released six singles to date and their self-titled debut EP is coming out on Feb. 14 via Nice Swan Records. Their recently highlighted their latest single, “Him & Her,” praising frontman Will Murray’s jaunty croon as well as the band’s rollicking guitars and infectious rosiness. Though retro pop and doo-wop are both at play here, their melodious songwriting could easily charm listeners from any decade.

Nice Swan Records, one of the country’s most exciting new labels and landing pad for early releases for the likes of Sports Team, Pip Blom and Sweaty Palms, today announce their latest offering – ‘FUR’, the debut self titled EP from Brighton-based quartet FUR.
The EP, lead by the hook-laden ‘Angel Eyes’, is a collection of warm, nostalgia-inducing yet fresh sounding songs from a band truly coming into their own.

Out on 14th February 2019.

Band Members

GURU – ” Consumer Helpline “

Posted: February 20, 2019 in MUSIC
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If you like your indie rock dark, heavy and bordering on the psych-punk, then Brighton’s GURU should be the band for you. Guru blend psychedelia with fuzz and punk to bring one of the most promising and unique new sounds. It’s harsh and in your face, with outstanding vocals, tasty riffs and heavy bass. With ‘Medicine Man’ and the blistering ‘Consumer Helpline’ putting them on the radar strongly enough to propel this four-piece hollering loudly for attention into 2019.

Debut single – proper – ‘Consumer Helpline’ is a stark, electrifying piece of Brutalist indie rock, worth comparing to those initial Shame cuts or even elements of the Fat Whites. Picking apart modern relationships in an era of hyper-capitalism, it reminds us of everyone from Wire to Sports Team, that kind of barbed, deeply British take on art-punk.


The single ‘Medicine Man’ is the band’s most visceral yet, opening with eerie feedback and a menacing bass line, the song kicks into a track that oozes with the attitude and commotion that defines them as a band.


Band Members
Tom – Vocals
Kieran – Guitar
Fergus – Bass
Simon – Drums


GULLS – ” Flaws “

Posted: February 20, 2019 in MUSIC
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Gulls These Brighton almost spoken word indie punks captivated me during a local gig recently, using lyrics to convey political or social problems with danceable tunes. I think we’re going hear more from them in the future.

Sweet vocals join hard beats and guitars, all with a message running through it. Gulls make their own kind of Brighton Rock. Formed in 2016, Gulls‘ punk-rock-poem-pop sees them combine their influences that span QOTSA, Sleaford Mods and Nirvana, to created a raw seaside show of their own. Likened to Hole, Sleater Kinney and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Gulls make music so raw and stripped back it’s ready for a skinny dip plunge off Brighton Pier.


Gulls are:
Rhi Kavok; punk poet
Boe h; guitar and vox
Hicks; drums


Fronted by the charismatic Theresa Jarvis, Brighton quartet Yonaka have been crafting dark, distorted, beats-heavy guitar rock for the past couple of years. 2018 saw them tour with Bring Me The Horizon, with their latest EP Creature being released this last November. Creature is out everywhere now! 4 tracks and we hope you love them. Let us know your favourite track and how it makes you feel, it’s about anxiety and the darkness that comes with love, it’s a story, it’s deep and it’s special it also has our take on The Zombies’ She’s Not There. 

Band Members
Theresa Jarvis – Vocals
George Edwards – Guitar
Alex Crosby – Bass/Keys
Robert Mason – Drums

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Brighton-based Fur are not a new band. They’ve been around for a good three years, and their first three singles were viral hits. We, however, have only started paying attention to Murray, Harry, Tav, and Flynn this year, and just in time. On Valentine’s Day 2019, they will release their self-titled, debut EP via Nice Swan Records . If their initial singles were clues as to what to expect, we’ll be in for a jukebox treat.

The quartet are reviving classic rock, specifically the music of the ’50s and ’60s. Their songs would be perfect for Happy Days or maybe a future Quentin Tarantino movie soundtrack numbers that get the hips wiggling and the toes tapping like “Angel Eyes” and “What Would I Do?“. If you dive a little deeper into their music catalogue, they also craft the perfect slow dance tunes (check out “If You Know That I’m Lonely”). Hmmm… maybe we’ll have to sign these guys for a house party one day.