With the sun feeling the need to duck away early this time of year and leave us to cope with late afternoons shrouded in darkness the bus ride into Brighton, normally filled with views of rolling down land and sheep frolicking in fields, felt more than a little depressing, like a bad omen.

Sure enough, when I finally arrived at The Pav Tav to watch Puppet Kings, Bombers, Glassroom, and Dizzy Tales the place was dead save for a few blokes staring down into half-empty pint glasses. If it hadn’t been for the two guys rapping the food menu I might have given up on the night there and then.

First up on stage 3-piece Puppet Kings brought the evening to a spectacular start with smashing, rolling drums that shook drinks on the bar, whirling guitar solos, powerful breakdowns, and almost classic rock background. With vocals similar to that of Orion from City Of Ashes, frontman Tom was a little hard to hear over the top of the bands unpredictable and ever changing, but oddly familiar, riffs. With hard to ignore basslines Puppet Kings kept the attention of a very rigid crowd but seemed too nervous to control them, with only the odd bit of anxious communication. Puppet Kings were an exciting band and their well-written lyrics, constant, hard drumming and frequent solos made them impossible to miss.

Coming to us all the way from Birmingham, 4 piece Bombers took to the stage with an immediate, unmissable presence. With punk hearted lyrics often reeking of revolution the band’s dynamic frontman controlled the mic with the poise of other famous band leaders like Ian Curtis (Joy Division), Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys), and Mick Jagger (The Rolling Stones). Backed by music that was slightly missable at times, improved by the occasional bit of exceptional guitar playing, the frontman performed well in front of a slightly disinterested crowd.

With some similarity to bands like Avenged Sevenfold, the third band on stage Glassroom had an unusual sound that was hugely energetic with thumping, jumping riffs that worked in perfect harmony with the drums. At first the band seemed nervous, but as the set went on their confidence seemed to grow, unfortunately as the set went on their sound also began to become hard to bear. Glassroom’s sound was hugely chaotic, which at times was a huge plus, with many songs sounding a bit like a warzone, but somehow this didn’t suit the acoustics of The Pav Tav and went down quite badly.

The last and by far best band to take to the stage were Dizzy Tales. With a confidence that seemed to have been missing with the previous bands the frontman immediately took control of the crowd and pulled them to the front. Sound wise Dizzy Tales were mostly indie and their expressionate, strong-voiced vocalist carried them well. More than that though Dizzy Tales were extremely dynamic and a little experimental, with superb song writing that brought their great songs to a level above the rest of the bands.

This Thursday at The Pav Tav is Hip-Hop night. Don’t miss it.

Originally posted here:




Properly listening to “That Was Then, This Is Now” by Eastbourne’s own The James Cleaver Quintet is like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube while blindfolded on Thorpe Park’s Nemesis Inferno.

With a seemingly infinite amount of sounds coming at you all at once it’s easy to lose focus, but here you have a record by a band that once classified themselves as “circus punk”; don’t expect an easy ride, but do expect to enjoy it.

The JCQ haven’t been quiet lately; with press ranging from a mention in the sex section of an issue of Front Magazine to a 5K review in Kerrang Magazine and that now infamous Lucozade advert the band have been getting much needed attention, but has it all been deserved?

The answer is, depending on your point of view, a resounding yes. While it won’t win them any prizes from the X-Factor brigade “That Was Then, This Is Now” is a thunder-crash of a record from start to finish; opener “Golfing Pros, Bitches And Hoes” is a very unusual but quite astounding twist on the traditional love song and end track “Lower Than A Bastard” is a supercharged epic.

The album is littered with greatness; vocalist Jacky Udon’s from the pit melodies and glass shattering shouts are clearly just a scratch on the surface of his talents, drummer Porl Faud’s thrashing work makes the Gorilla in the old Cadbury advert look like a hippy at the end of a hunger strike, bassist J-Splaff gives every track a backline you can feel in your gut, and guitarist/songwriter Maud E Licious brings the whole brilliant mess together with riffs that make you want to throw down and soul-rendering screams. Brilliant.

Originally published here:



This Thursday will see the very best of local Hip-Hop make an unusual, but not unwelcome, visit to Brighton’s Pav Tav with live sets from Adventures Of…, Elijah MC, Tricky Micky, and Kalestix.

Adventures Of are Koopa Nut and Bernard James and with their electro-heavy sound and cheeky cartoon rhymes they bring a not entirely new but certainly underused vibe to the hip-hop genre. Coming down to The Pav Tav from London the duo will bring unmissable chemistry and incredible beats to the stage.

A unique talent Elijah MC is more than just a beat boxer. Creating dubwise tracks, inspired by similar artists like Dub FX, Elliott Locke builds his tracks from the ground up creating exciting new spins on existing and original material just by using his voice.

A welcome return to the venue Tricky Micky has twice supported Example and collaborated on several songs with Big Brovas creator, Mr Skills. Described by NME Magazine as “a rhymer of wit and skill”, he is not to be missed.

Legends in their own minds Kalestix are Evol, whose words cut so deep they leave a mark on the Aortic Valve, Cyril Le Bop, whose masterful and effortlessly crafted rhymes flow like beer behind the bar, and Kai, whose cocky rhymes and crooning choruses soar between the verses like a screamed curse on the air, and for the first time they are descending on The Pav Tav a day ahead of their (probably) triumphant set at the Cravin Tunez Battle of The Bands 2011 (also at The Pav Tav).

Not to be missed. Bring your friends.

Originally published here:



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.

From: Eastbourne

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.

From: Eastbourne

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.

From: Brighton

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.

From: Brighton

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.

From: Brighton

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.

From: Brighton

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.

From: Brighton

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.

From: Brighton

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.

From: Brighton

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.

From: Brighton

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:–-part-1/



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, starting from now, 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 two of October’s showcase featuring Dirty Leaves, Rosales, City Of Ashes, from Afar, State Your Name, Lost In Vegas, For Marla, We Sink Cities, Loose Lips, and Chemical Smile.

Dirty Leaves – Death Music

With vocals that share a slight similarity with Ian Curtis of Joy Division, a steady, catchy beat, and guitar riffs that at times seem to spin musically “Death Music” is an infectious song with creative lyrics. The song’s middle section makes the listener want to move about and as it is joined by exquisite solos and more of that spinning guitar a final push is made towards the track’s last part, and sadly the song comes to an end.


Rosales – Falling

There are a lot of ways to describe this song by Rosales. You could say that at the start it sounds a little like Kenny Loggin’s theme of the 1984 film “Footloose”, or you could say that it mixes rock music from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s with more modern music by bands like The Libertines and The Strokes in the most perfect way. Vocally it’s catchy, a philistine might tell you that it’s dated, they would be wrong.


City of Ashes – The Art of Opacity

Post-rock City Of Ashes are one of the best bands to come out of Eastbourne in recent years, and their song “The Art Of Opacity” from their EP When Black Fuels Blood, with its poetic lyrics, fantastic drumming, and machine-like start is probably their best song to date. Built to be played live its opening, with its whining guitars and punk inspired drumming, harkens to a dark and distant future. As the song gets going it sucks you in, and you can’t help but instantly love it.


From Afar – A Nosebleed Send-Off

Beginning as though the volume is gradually being turned up From Afar are launched into action after a few seconds by a chime that signals an assault on the ears. With a sound that resembles bands like System Of A Down and Deftones the lyrics are delivered by powerful shouts, fast singing, and sweetly delicate melody. From Afar’s song “A Nose Bleed Send Off” is as good musically as it is vocally, with instruments working together both in unison and separately they carry the vocals with breakdowns, hardcore style riffs, and pounding beats.


State Your Name – Save Yourself

A rattling bassline opens this song as drums and guitars smash and drive the listener to sinister sounding and distinctive, clear vocals. A steady drum beat lies at the heart of this track which has a macabre charm and gets very catchy very quickly. A great band to see live State Your Name are not ones to miss.


Lost in Vegas – Gypsy Lady

With a Hendrix style opening solo “Gypsy Lady” by Lost In Vegas is real, ballsy rock’n’roll. Though quite a low quality demo the simple and uncomplicated nature of this song, both musically and vocally, allows its more intricate parts, its solos and final movement, to shine. Reminding the listener of bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience this is a song for all generations.


For Marla – Flowers

With a distinct 80s sound “Flowers” by For Marla is polished and professional, so much so that you assume you’ve heard it before, with elements that bring bands and artists like The All American Rejects, Joy Division, The Cure, and Morrisey immediately to mind. “Flower” has catchy, quite depressing lyrics that seem to be about losing love. They stay with you.


We Sink Cities – Nut Up or Shut Up

Begining with the sound of rain, which drags things out a little, “Nut Up Or Shut Up” by We Sink Cities, who put on an awesome visual performance at The Eastbourne Extreme Battle Of The Bands, is a powerhouse of a track. With screams, harmonies, and melodic vocals the band combine vocal sounds to make their words explode above a warzone of crashing drums, and limb tearing riffs. A song that creates a visual image as well as a mental one it comes alive. I had high hopes for this track; it didn’t disappoint.


Loose Lips – Drive Away

Definitely my favourite track on this half of the playlist, “Drive Away” by Loose Lips is the perfect example of British Rock. Comparable to bands like The Who and Biffy Clyro, with exceptional vocals carrying well written lyrics and an inoffensive rock sound, “Drive” is a song with a wonderful voice that should be an anthem. Powerful song writing lies at the heart of this track, and with other great songs in their repertoire we’ll clearly be hearing more from them.


Chemical Smile – Everybody Loves You

The vocals in “Everybody Loves You” by Chemical Smile are forceful, the catchy, poetic lyrics are at times nearly yelled, and that’s what makes them stand out. With simple, yet tuneful guitars, and clever drumming the instrumental section of the band take a bit of a backseat in this track, but for good reason. A superb song.


This showcase is our attempt to show off some of the music we love in our local area. We received such a demand from bands to have their tracks featured, that we decided to open things up and make it a double-header. We only hope this popularity continues.

Obviously we couldn’t include everything, so if you’re reading this and your song isn’t here don’t be too disheartened, it only means it couldn’t be included this time round. This month honourable mentions must go to: Benbo – If You Feel EmotionalMariann Saar – Just Try, and Low Kill – Pushing Back The Fear. We didn’t have the space to include them – but we strongly urge you to check them out.

Originally published, with tracks, here:


GIG PREVIEW: Acoustic Night @ The Pav Tav, October 13th


To celebrate the birthday of InMe guitarist and resident promoter Gazz Marlow, eight of the best local artists our area has to offer will be playing a very special, early starting acoustic night at The Pav Tav.

Doors will open at 7pm with a planned start thirty minutes later and the evening will feature Dog In The Snow, City Of Ashes, When Colours Collide, Hope Rudd, Tom Hughes, Matt Bonner and Gazz himself.

Dog In The Snow, or rather Helen Ganya Brown, merge ambient and folk styles with sweet, almost ghostlike vocals to create music that is both honest, and reflective of the world.

Bringing their post-hardcore sound to an acoustic stage City Of Ashes, responsible for such great songs as “The Art Of Opacity” and “Butterflies & Barflies”, mix beautiful melody with sweetly written poetry. Influenced by bands like Funeral For A Friend, 3 Doors Down, and Lostprophets their set with be one not to miss.

When Colours Collide is split into three parts in perfect harmony. With Hannah’s beautiful, melodic vocals, Luke’s catchy, harmonic rhythms, and Paul’s fantastic technique the trio have a sound that’s unique and has something for everyone.

Inspired by everything from political sci-fi books, to people, places, and life in general Hope Rudd, with her guitar and loop pedal, is one of the most gifted and talent artists on the bill.

Coming to Brighton from Kent acoustic singer/songwriter Tom Hughes’s deep vocal sound brings to mind greats like Johnny Cash.  Obviously inspired by the man in black he also claims to be influenced by Nick Cave, Scott Walker, and Loudon Wainwright III.

Recently reviewed in part one of our Soundcloud Showcase, Brighton’s Matt Bonner has received success both in this country (he was one half of a Fringe Festival act) and overseas (he recently played a gig at Dubrovnik in Croatia).

With a voice arguably as good as that of fellow band mate Dave McPherson, Gazz Marlow is best known as the new guitarist in the rock band InMe. Also working as a solo artist Gazz has been writing songs for over a decade with influences coming from acts like Silverchair, Nirvana, and Frank Turner.

Next week at The Pav Tav things will go back to normal with performances by Synthronus, Dusty Rosko, Loose Lips, and Hawka Hurricane.

Originally published here:

SQ Soundcloud Showcase: October – Part #1


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, starting from now, 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 October’s showcase features 10 tracks from Pink Narcissus, Prowess, Kalestix, Simon Mark Smith, Too Many Generals, Matt Bonner, Monroe, Synthronus, Junkyard Choir, and Written in Waters.

Pink Narcissus – Disinfectant

“Disinfectant” by Pink Narcissus is an incredible, startling, and well written piece of music from the first note to the very last. Having an undoubtable parallel with the last part of “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac the song could easily be mistaken as part of their own back catalogue. “Disinfectant” is one of the best songs on this playlist, with elements that remind the listener of Pink Floyd as well as Fleetwood Mac, it has notes of more modern musicians and bands like The Red Hot Chilli Peppers of whom the vocals greatly resemble. If Pink Narcissus have more songs like this in their arsenal it would be hardly surprising to see them amongst the greats one day.

Prowess – Broken

While at times similar to bands like Sonic Youth, Avenged Sevenfold, and Deftones it’s difficult to put this song in a box. Vocally there’s a resemblance to the throaty sounds of The Distiller’s Brody Dalle, but Prowess’ singer’s more melodic quality to her voice has more beauty and thus makes the song a little sweeter. Musically Prowess are powerful; the guitars and drums drive each other forward and often alter between being quite simplistic and easy to perhaps play along with, and being very intricate. Live this style may drown out its vocals, but recorded like this it creates a powerful balance that is wonderful to hear.

Kalestix – I Am Not a Human

Once quite well renowned in the Eastbourne area hip hop act Kalestix are once again on the verge of a rebirth. Their new song “I Am Not A Human” takes the listener on a journey through their, some would say, slightly depraved minds to a place quite different than here. Opening atop a beat that could quite easily have come from the menu of an old school cartridge game the song begins with a verse by Cyril LeBop full of clever rhymes and subtle jokes. The hook, which takes a more melodic form than the rest of the song while remaining deliberately flat, displays the vocal talents of member Kai who then takes us into second verse that contains a Beastie Boys like quality. The third verse, by Evol, is a little angrier than the rest of the song but not in a bad way, it does so without losing the song’s comic book style. With a clever jab at this country’s foolish racists “I Am Not A Human” is a song with a message, and it’s a great one at that.

Simon Mark Smith – Facebook

Coming from a slightly older age group and bearing a style quite dissimilar to the rest of the songs in this playlist “Facebook” by Simon Mark Smith is a sinister song. With its content being a mix of a love song and a jocular look at the “harmless” act of Facebook stalking it’s a well written piece of music, both instrumentally and vocally, that somehow keeps your attention and in a way makes you think; someone might be watching YOUR Facebook, and it might be Simon! Brilliant.

Too Many Generals – Delirium Tremens

Opening like a Muse track Too Many General’s “Delirium Tremens”, which for those who don’t know is the technical name for the shakes caused by alcohol abuse, is a killer track that deserves to be played loud. A song that makes you want to rock out it features powerful and heavy rock vocals, head banging riffs, and epic drumming. Too Many Generals were sadly unsuccessful when they competed in the seventh heat of the Eastbourne Extreme Battle Of The Bands, but this is one song that they should be really proud of.

Matt Bonner – Every Night

A song all about singing a song “Every Night” speaks of the apprehension bands and solo artists feel as they walk out on stage to play in front of strangers with judging eyes. With this track Matt Bonner proves himself to be a truly exceptional singer and a name to look out for in the Brighton area. Beginning as an acoustic song it quickly becomes something else with different levels of instrumentation and a fairly brilliant solo that brings it to a close. “Every Night” is a standout track on this playlist, and well worth a download.

Monroe – She Knows

Coming from Alkaline Trio and Bruce Springsteen inspired Eastbourne band Monroe it was obvious that this song was going to be good from the very beginning. All about a girl called Jenny that threw all her dreams away with drugs and alcohol it’s a tragic tale of prostitution and the loss of innocence. With rough vocals, a contagious beat, and an old school rock sound the song fits its subject matter perfectly and allows Monroe to live up to the standard set by the fallen starlet that gives them their name.

Synthronus – Damnatio Memoriae

Though this track fits into a genre that’s often known for songs that have no purpose other than to be loud “Damnatio Memoriae”, which is about a man who abandoned the human race and placed his faith in the cosmos only to be cut down by the very thing he set out to find, steps away from the confines of its style and becomes something better. With a cacophony of guitars and thrashing drums that constantly change in a whirlwind of chaotic brilliance, and shouting vocals that scream out from within this is a piece of music that when listened to shows off its complexity and the talents of those that play it.

Junkyard Choir – Groundhog

This song by understated Blues gods Junkyard Choir is a waltz of styles, guitars, and sounds ranging from gypsy punk to country and rock-a-billy ruled by bestial, growling vocals that sing of the band’s revulsion towards the daily grind that holds us all back. With simple yet meaningful lyrics the track boasts exceptional guitar playing, intricate solos, and thrashing, pounding drums. The band came fourth in the recent Eastbourne Extreme Battle Of The Bands; this track proves they should have won.

Written in Waters – Hymn

Beyond haunting “Hymn” by Written in Waters is a sombre, striking, and heartbreaking song that moves you to the depths of yourself. With vocals that have a wailing, soul-like quality this piece of music is exceptional whatever way you look at it and belongs in the soundtrack of a great drama, or as an accompaniment of a black and white film portraying the horrors that go on in distant parts of the world. With parts that reawaken the senses, and parts that calm them, “Hymn” is a multi-layered piece and one that should be heard by everyone.

Look out for part two soon featuring Dirty Leaves, City Of Ashes, From Afar, State Your Name, Lost In Vegas, For Marla, We Sink Cities, Rosales, Loose Lips, and Chemical Smile.

Originally published, with embed music to go with the reviews, here: