Locally Sourced, Feb 2013

Album: Sea Monsters 3
(One Inch Badge)
Released to coincide with last month’s seven-night celebration of Brighton’s best bands, this compilation is a musical treasure trove. If you made it to any of the gigs in January (read our reviews online) you’ll already know how diverse, interesting and unpredictable this CD will be: its only criterion for inclusion is good music from Brighton, with scant regard for genre, style or production technique. We particularly recommend cello mistress Abi Wade, DA-10’s glittering collaboration with Us Baby Bear Bones and Traams’ breakneck garage. (JMM)

Album: Esben & The Witch
‘Wash The Sins Not Only The Face’ (Matador)
Dispensing with some of the overt gothic tones of their ‘Violet Cries’ debut, the second album from rock dramatists Esben & The Witch thunders in with the skyscraping massed guitars of ‘Iceland Spar’ (a tribute to their two favourite supermarkets). It’s a long, lyrical journey into the night from thereon, shadows in the trees and clouds rolling in as the trio weave subtle electronics deep into the mix for a powerful, often claustrophobic listen. Sleep tight, morning’s never going to come. (SH)

Album: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
‘Push The Sky Away’ (Bad Seed)
The Bad Seeds’ first album since 2008’s rollicking ‘Dig, Lazurus, Dig!!!’ finds Cave and company back in ballad mode, the last few years of Grinderman activity seemingly expelling much of their pent-up mid-life aggression. ‘Jubilee Street’’s orchestral grandeur is pricked by the line about “love in my tummy”, while references to Hannah Montana (‘Higgs Boson Blues’) and the juvenile couplets of ‘Mermaids’ further suggest Cave’s having fun puncturing his serious public persona. A fascinating, self-referential puzzle of a record. (SH)
Listen to the album here.

Album: Alice Russell
‘To Dust’ (Tru Thoughts)
Following her winning collaboration with Quantic on last year’s ‘Look Around The Corner’ comes ‘To Dust’, soul singer Alice Russell’s fifth solo album. Produced as always by long-time partner TM Juke, lead single ‘Heartbreaker’ is a languid soul ballad, broken up by stuttering snare fills and a deep Hammond solo. Elsewhere, Russell varies the organic mood with head nodding house (‘For A While’), liquid grooves (‘A To Z’) and lush disco loops (‘Different’). Another wonderfully classy affair. (SH)

EP: Grasshopper
‘Grasshopper’ (soundcloud.com/musicgrasshopper)
Neat little debut four-tracker from school-age boy/girl quartet Grasshopper, who are worryingly confident for a band so young. Opener ‘You Are The One’ brings tumbledown guitar riffs and bouncy drums, while the sort-of epic ‘Collide’ growls along with grumbling bass and scatterings of glockenspiel. There’s some endearing, inevitable naivety at work in the fumbling structures and Javi Fedrick’s wavering vocals, but Grasshopper’s open-minded instrumentation and DIY approach (pretty badge, lovely hand-sprayed sleeve) point to a bright future. (SH)

EP: Tinheart
‘tiNhearteD’ (Sad Sentry)
tiNhearT is the solo project of Piers Blewett, frontman of folkpop group Stick In A Pot, and, following a handful of covers, ‘tiNhearteD’ is his debut proper. tiNhearT’s music isn’t far removed from Blewett’s other band at all, his already gentle fingerpicked song constructions stripped further back to tightly strung strings, keyboard ripples and airy vocals. Tunes like ‘maybE’ and ‘sicK sicK’ (enough messing with our caps keys already) are breezy, sweet and soft centered. Low key but very lovely. (SH)

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