May is upon us again, even if the sun isn't... and it's time for our annual Alternative Escape Showcase as the Marlborough Pub and Theatre. We'll be joined at 5pm by leading international future music conference maestros FastForward, and evolutionary audience development experts Leaf. Then at 7pm we have a our 6 act showcase in partnership with Leaf and Monk's Road Records. We're delighted to be teaming up with Monk's Road and FastForward again after a superb night last year; and delighted also to be joining up with Leaf again after a huge success in Hamburg in September for Reeperbahn Festival.
If you'd like to rsvp for the networking click here: RSVP
Here's all you need to know about the acts...
19:00 + LYDMOR +
"Hypnotic dance moves in a style reminiscent of Grimes or Lorde... the boldest and most fearless of performers' - Consequence of Sound 'Heavy, feathered, humorous... she is absolutely her own... worth the wait!' 5 ***** - GAFFA
This girl is a star, no doubt about it. We had our minds blown at SPOT in Denmark last year by the undoubted star of the festival, Lydmor. Referred to in her biog as ‘A Danish girl with the bruised knees jumping down from stage swinging the chord of the microphone like a whip while she sings as much of sex and drugs as emotions and far away places.’ She was all that and a lot more. A set at our East London showcase with SESAC late last year resulted in her signing with Phyllis Belezos at ITB. Internationally in demand, Lydmor seems to be everywhere at once. From Sao Paolo singing her heart out while the beat is pumping over her sweaty dancing audience; to coproducing a track with j-pop legend Takeshi Kobayashi; to composing the soundtrack for an animated fantasy series. In between her myriad of creative collaborations (including critically acclaimed "Lydmor & Bon Homme") this young producer/artist has managed to tour most of the world several times, playing from the biggest festivals and venues to the living rooms of her biggest fans.
If you manage to catch one of her shows, she will flirt, dance, cry, scream and hug her way into your heart with a brutal honesty that comes across both in her pumping rhythmical electro sounds as well as her emotional dreamy side. Showered with comparisons to the likes of Grimes, Kate Bush or Björk, but inevitably Lydmor is quite her own. Having returned from Shanghai, she is now working on her biggest project to date. Did we mention she's a star?
19:45 + RORY BUTLER +
Rory has to be one of our favourite artists from any time, ever. If you're into your 70's era Nick Drake, Whizz Jones, John Martyn, Bert Jansch etc - you will just love him. We say that knowing the danger of the comparison - he's in a class of his own right now. Every acoustic singer-songwriter will claim they were born with music in their blood, but few were born with music in their basement. Rory Butler’s childhood home was built on music; his father ran a recording studio in the cellar. It’s unsurprising then, that music became Rory’s world. Encouraged by his parents and their love of Woody Guthrie, Joni Mitchell, Tim Buckley and early John Martyn, Rory’s childhood was spent recording whole albums of “very strange material” in the basement studio with his brother, the experimental post-rock foil to his budding acoustic artistry.
While the influences are there for all to hear, he is increasingly his own man, and recent singles have paved the way for the new album that has been recorded at Ray Davies’ legendary analogue studio, KONK in Crouch End with an all star cast. This is an artist who will be making records for 30 years at least, and while he’s gone deliberately under the radar press wise with the tester singles, (Black and Blue hit 700,000 on Spotify) don’t expect him to be a secret for much longer.
20:30 + BLOOM +
'Astral space-pop worthy of Bjork' - THE QUIETUS
'Vibrant, dynamic indie pop to see you through the darkest times’ - THE GIRLS ARE
'Complex and bittersweet’ - LINE OF BEST FIT
‘A blissful audioscape worth exploring. - ART NOISE
‘A sense of longing, reaching, hoping and emerging’ - BRIGHTON’S FINEST
'What I will say is that it is rare that I feel so loved by music.’ - TWO TORN HALVES
'The best of 80s-laced art pop – with just a hint of the weird.' BRIGHTON NOISE
'From the off - the joy is infectious' - SOURCE MAG
Brighton’s harmonic electro-pop darlings Bloom are in the midst of recording album two following widespread critical acclaim for the first - entirely DIY - record where remarkably they had no team to speak of beyond their loyal fans. We're proud to be in their corner now. Co-fronted by telepathic, harmonising best friends Emily and Megan - Bloom make electronic folk pop using big beats, layered vocals and shimmering synths. Having been picked as one of the acts of 2017 by Richer Sounds Richer Unsigned, and fresh off the back of a live Abbey Road session in February for a benefit album for Help Musicians UK alongside former Mercury Nominees The Magic Numbers and double Ivor Novello nominees The Leisure Society among others, the new record pushes their ability for deceptive time signatures and intricate melodies all weaved together by lyrics that make you feel you had some best friends out there you never knew about. Recommended If You Like Dirty Projectors, Stealing Sheep, Broadcast, Alt J...
21:15 + PAT DAM SMYTH +
"Reminds me of Pink Floyd... epic!" - Cerys Matthews BBC 6Music
"Brilliant stuff" - Lauren Laverne BBC 6Music
"Furious and fierce... a little bit of My Morning Jacket, a little bit of Beck in there... and a little bit of Nick Cave too. Just the holy trinity really, isn’t it?" - RODDY HART, BBC RADIO SCOTLAND
"Pat Dam Smyth’s debut album, ‘The Great Divide’, was critically acclaimed upon its release in 2012… the new record’s first single ‘Juliette’ suggests that he should be expecting at least as much, if not more adulation". - CMU
“… masterfully mournful... Cut from the same cloth of Nick Cave and John Grant... conjures Dark Side-era Pink Floyd in its braying brass and portentous, swaggering pop élan. THE THIN AIR
Having recently returned from triumphant support slots with BBC 6 Music favourites Public Service Broadcasting as well as stunning several opera houses packed full of people in Ireland opening for the legendary Alison Moyet, Pat kicked off 2018 in the studio finishing the new record, venturing out only to record a special live session at the legendary Abbey Road Studios on Valentine’s Day. Pat and the band have been applying the finishing touches to the new album which is set for release in Summer 2018 with Jim Sclavunos (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds) at the helm on production and mix duties.
Debut album The Great Divide was hailed as a modern masterpiece in his native Northern Ireland and received critical acclaim beyond, from The Independent, Q magazine, Hotpress Magazine, Irish Times, Rock Italia, BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 music to name but a few. Leaving behind the lo-fi sound so perfectly captured there, Pat is writing bigger, bolder songs these days, having formed a telepathic bond with drummer, co - writer and co - producer Chris McComish.
Forthcoming album KIDS is a record that allows Pat’s unparalleled mastery of storytelling to come to the fore, deftly weaving nostalgia and harsh reality together to create a portrait of teenage rebellion in the face of a brutalizing adult world. His lyricism transforms a turbulent Northern Ireland into a ruined arcadia: a blasted landscape of “rolling fields and burnt out cars” all lit in the eerie glow of the titular lights. It flips between the stark realities of life now; and poignant suggestions of a nostalgia for innocence over naïveté – an unvanquished faith in our better natures. As he sings in the title track ‘KIDS’ “I miss the sound of Chinooks in stormy weather/soundtrack to my youth, it’s all you’d ever hear/but those songs they fell like stars straight from heaven…” Pat admits that there comes a day when we all grow up to see the world as a con, but in Blue Lights asks us to play on anyway: “Punk rock, yeah, it saved my soul/ Sure beats digging six feet holes/It was freedom, and it never goes away.”
Pat Dam Smyth’s smoky poeticism and atmospheric sonics regularly draw comparisons to dark troubadours Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, and it was only a matter of time before Pat & his long term collaborator Chris McComish drew the attention of one of the Bad Seeds themselves. The hand-crafted rawness of his critically acclaimed record The Great Divide and The Goodbye Berlin EP has made way for a bolder, and larger sound with all the lyrical complexity and theatrical flair that we have come to expect. Joined by Bad Seed Jim, Pat and the band are ready to finally take it to the world this Summer.
22:00 + VIRGIN SUICIDE +
“Baggy janglers with a pop sheen and a miserablist attitude” - The Guardian
The Scandinavian Shoegazers follow up on lead single ‘Burnout’ with their forthcoming LP’s triumphant title track and opener, ‘Forever Trouble’. Once again the big guitars, distant vocals and melancholic harmonies fill a big space with the signature blood-soaked, pop-tainted echoes of the Danish five-piece. Swelling synthesizers cloak the production with an air of purity and a delicate finish – with all the makings of a future fan favourite. Their retro sound embraces elements relatable to ‘Mellon Collie’ era Smashing Pumpkins and a number of early Brit-pop and baggy-rock influences - The Stone Roses, The Cure and Ride all spring to mind. The fuzzy, phasing instrumentation noticeably nods to its cultural roots, but with it comes a refreshing breath of Nordic air.
The firm Danish radio favourites gained A-list rotation for their self-titled debut release in 2015, alongside due recognition from style icons Fred Perry, and further support from international outlets such as The Guardian, Noisey and Red Bull. ‘Forever Trouble’ cements itself as a textbook example of the perfect jangler anthem, in keeping with the rest of the upcoming release.
22:35 + MAKOLA +
Rising duo Makola have their roots in Finland and Ghana but their sound, an irrepressible explosion of hip-hop and afrobeat, could only ever have been forged in London. Meeting on an off chance in a pub in Camden, North London, rapper K Mensah and producer Pete.H bonded over their taste of music and a desire to make waves in the music industry. After experimenting with different styles and genres Makola stumbled upon a sound after K Mensah revisited the music he grew up on, Ghanaian High-Life. Upon hearing the likes of Daddy Lumba, Osibisa, E.T Mensah, A.B Crentsil and Ebo Taylor, Pete took it upon himself to pay homage the only way he knew how, laying down a beat. K Mensah heard it a week later and Makola’s first single was spawned, This Is London, an exhilarating blend of culture and consciousness delivered with unabashed honesty.
Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio show host DJ Julie Adenuga jumped on it, featuring This is London and hailing it as one of her “tracks of the summer”. The track quickly became one of Apple Music UK’s A-List tracks of the week. This is London encapsulated the feeling of summer 2016 and soon made it on UK mainstream radio. Radio 1’s influential Phil Taggart showcased it and so did Mista Jam, culminating in Makola becoming BBC Introducing’s act of the week. Subsequently This is London was playlisted by BBC Radio 1xtra and played by Trevor Nelson, DJ Target and the like, meanwhile Europe was feeling the vibe and major stations like Radio Fritz in Germany and Couleur3 in Switzerland played it all summer.
Second single Black Man Statues saw Makola incorporate a Grimier London sound, again embodying their surroundings and producing a piece of socio-political commentary in a tongue-in-cheek manor. Black Man Statues found pride and place on Spotify’s Grime Shutdown playlist and also featured on Radio 1 with Huw Stephens, also as Mista Jam’s ‘Inbox Fresh’ track of the week. Leading up to the official release Makola played their debut gig to a packed out Koko, which will go down in folklore amongst those who were there to witness the explosion of energy and adrenaline.