To showcase the very best of the local music talent that can be found in the Sussex area SQ has called upon its correspondent Andrew Nicholls. Every month, he will listen to and review tracks submitted through our Soundcloud account and display the best of what our coastal county has to offer online for the world to see.
This is part one of November’s showcase featuring Dom Meakins, Trade Secret, Bad For Lazarus, Dog In The Snow, New Sun Blues, Birdeatsbaby, Left Arm Pregnant, Screama Ballerina, Another Costume Party, and The Basis.
Dom Meakins – Can’t Get Enough
Never one to disappoint with catchy tunes and easy to remember lyrics this solo effort by The Meakins’ frontman could be thrown into a box with pop and pop-punk giants like Busted, McFly, and All Time Low. Dom’s soppy, poppy lyrics, precise guitar playing, and the use of harmonies make this song perfect for belting out in the car on a rainy Friday afternoon.
Influenced by: Busted, McFly, All Time Low, Blink 182.
Trade Secret – Sing Sing Sing
Originally let down by an opening that bears a bit of a distracting similarity to Blink 182’s version of “Another Girl, Another Planet” this song by Trade Secret quickly grows on you. With fun, infectious lyrics and pop-punk instrumentation the song may seem like just an offering from another Blink 182 clone, but it’s more than that; Trade Secret’s grimy sound and more adult guitar playing make the song something else entirely, and with such a climatic ending it’s definitely worth a listen.
Influenced by: Simple Plan, All Time Low, You Me At Six, Mayday Parade
Bad For Lazarus – Minnie the Moocher
Beginning with an atmospheric cacophony of reverbing guitars, faint rumbling, and rattlesnake, well, rattling “Minnie The Moocher” by Bad For Lazarus pulls you in with fast playing, robust gang vocals (similar to that of Junkyard Choir) and a desire to drink along. It’s easy to hear similarities to artists like Johnny Cash and sounds of the old south and Motown, but at the same time this song is very much unlike anything else that you may find on the shelves of your local HMV.
Influenced by: The Pixies, Black Flag, Queens Of The Stone Age, The Ramones.
Dog in the Snow – Final Place
With music and lyrics so haunting that one can almost imagine hearing them come from a sombre spectre on a wintery moor the sound of Dog In The Snow, the musical moniker of Helen Ganya Brown, moves away from the often dull norm of acoustic songs. Though a quiet, almost sleepy song “Final Place” has a sense of tragedy and impending doom that keeps your attention even when you feel yourself drifting away.
Influenced by: Sufjan Stevens, Frank Zappa, Beach House, Gil Scott Heron.
New Sun Blues – Inside
Quite a change both musically and vocally compared to their EP “Winter Trees” (which I reviewed back in March) this track by New Sun Blues sees their overall vibe move in a new direction; Matt Cayless’ voice has lost its rock edge in favour of a more melodic one, and instrumentally the band are now much more atmospheric, sometimes even resembling a mariachi band. This change does seem to be for the better.
Influenced by: Jeff Buckley, Nirvana.
Birdeatsbaby – Through 10 Walls
Brimming with haunting vocals and ghostly piano playing that almost gives you the chills “Through 10 Walls” by Brighton band Birdeatsbaby, with its multiple layers and well written lyrics, is very close to being perfect. Mishkin’s voice wouldn’t be out of place in the score of a hammer horror film, and the song’s backline, its simple but driving drum beat and elaborate mixture of strings, only add to that idea. “Through 10 Walls” comes out at you; you can almost feel it watching.
Influenced by: Radiohead, Muse, Hole.
Left Arm Pregnant – Ridiculous
Pumped up with all the power of a steroid-raged body builder downing energy drinks “Ridiculous” by Left Arm Pregnant is a lesson in life. Bearing no small similarity to Baz Luhrman’s “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” and Christopher Eccleston’s voice sample in Orbital’s “You Lot”, just a lot more listenable, the song begs to be listened to and learned from. That added to the rip-roaring and precise shrieking guitar riffs, that sound a little like Static-X, you get something very special indeed. “Ridiculous” needs to be listened to more than once, after an hour on repeat you’ll have barely scratched the surface.
Influenced by: Static-X, System Of A Down.
Screama Ballerina – Skeleton Army
Fronted by Charlie O’Connor “Skeleton Army” by Screama Ballerina’s brief but atmospheric beginning is quickly cut short by rib shaking drums that make you wish you were the one playing them. Vocally similar to Bikini Kill and Jack Off Jill the song’s tongue in cheek lyrics are perfectly executed without losing any of their tragic deeper meaning. With punk at its heart the track’s riffs and drum lines are as messy and explosive as a hand grenade to the mouth. Superb.
Influenced by: Billy Talent, The Ramones, Blondie, The Slits.
Another Costume Party – The Secret
Modern alt-rock with an 80s electro twist “The Secret” by Another Costume Party could be classified as being like a grittier incarnation of Bloc Party with a touch of the darkness that is Joy Division thrown in for good measure. Though at times lyrically repetitive the catchy song, with quite exceptional vocals, is as likeable as it is noteworthy. With throbbing bass as its heartbeat guitars dance, duel, and flirt with one another to create a sound that is difficult to knock.
Influenced by: Bloc Party, Incubus, The Strokes.
The Basis – Fuck Counting Sheep
Easily one of the greatest songs in this month’s showcase “Fuck Counting Sheep” by The Basis is hard to not be blown away by; considering that the band are all aged between 14 and 15 years old the adult vocals and accomplished instrumentation are all the more impressive. With a sound akin to the works of Pete Doherty the song has a real sense of Britishness that shines through in almost every way. Despite having a subject matter that, realistically, is probably beyond the worries of the band at the moment everything about this track, especially its harmonica solo, is exceptional. Expect to hear more from these guys, much more.
Influenced by: The Libertines, The Arctic Monkeys, The Specials, The Jam.
Submitted a song but can’t see your band in this article? Don’t worry, with two more parts to come this month there’s still a lot of great music yet to be revealed. Watch this space.
Originally published, with tracks, here: http://sqmagazine.co.uk/2011/11/sq-soundcloud-showcase-november-–-part-1/