We’re not entirely sure if a bonafide music scene can actually exist in a city anymore. Since that damn Internet thingy got invented it seems that everyone’s “into a bit of everything“, so tribes don’t properly exist in large numbers like they used to in decades gone by, and scenes -where lots of bands share a sound, a fashion or a culture – don’t generally gather much momentum in the modern era. These days, what we seem to have in their place is simply a bunch of bands, from all ends of the spectrum and a multitude of genres, that appear from the same geographical location, but that’s all that seems to link them.
A few years ago you had Manchester, with the likes of Everything Everything, Egyptian Hip Hop, Hurts, Delphic and Wu Lyf all appearing over a short period of time, sending A&R men up north into a clamouring frenzy. Soon after you had Oxford, with the bands that revolved around a kind of creative scene called Blessing Force, but that was more of a scene mainly because the protagonists were mates, some living together and lets face it Oxford’s so small that it would be easy to unify. Still, it brought us the likes of Trophy Wife, Fixers, Jonquil, Pet Moon and our favourites, Chad Valley.
Not to be outdone, that scene’s subsequently been followed up by Newcastle, no doubt earning a moan by those poor A&R men, who must have felt like travelling salesman in recent years. Out of the North East came Polarsets, Lanterns On The Lake, Let’s Buy Happiness and Mammal Club, among others. All of these are blindingly good, but like all of the other cities scenes these bands share virtually nothing in common in their music or choice of genre. If everyone is into “a bit of everything” these days it’s perhaps no surprise that so many disparate artists can co-exist.
And so to Brighton. Are we next? For such a small city there’s a surprisingly large number of new bands existing at any one time. Perhaps it’s the city’s famous youth culture, or the popular Brighton Music College, or the plethora of small and mid-sized venues, or perhaps it’s the proximity to London? Numbers vary depending on who you speak with but we’ve heard there’s a approximately 300-400 bands floating around at any one time. So why would we consider 2011 any different from any other year? Well, it seems that this year there’s been a sharp rise in quality. Coverage of Brighton artists on the likes of NME and the tastemaker blogs has been widespread as well as radio plays and industry excitement.
Once again they share zero in common other than the place they call home, and many of them weren’t actually born here, but Brighton can claim them as their own. The genres are spread so wide that even if you are into “a bit of everything” it would still be hard to like them all equally. However, the quality is outstanding and the buzz from the underground impossible to ignore. We list below a small selection of tracks from the shortlist, and although it’s not definitive, as there’s plenty of other bands that are arriving all the time, it should give you a decent idea of why we think Brighton is ripe for a new scene. Let us know your thoughts in our comments and we’d love to know if you believe we’ve missed any obvious bands? (MB)