Weds 13 Jan
Canadian hardcore punks Cancer Bats have come a long way since they first turned heads in 2006. Balancing a relentless tour schedule (and a preference for smaller venues) between releases, it’s the band’s well-planned aesthetics that set them aside from their peers, drawing nominations for JUNO and Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards along the way.
With their fifth album, and follow up to the indie-tinged ‘Dead Set on Living’ arriving earlier this year, ‘Searching for Zero’ has been hailed since its release and rightfully so. It’s arguably the Bats’ most melodic record, yet the ferocious songwriting they’re famous for is still omnipresent amid their unflawed combination of punk, metal and sludge.
THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER
Thurs 14 Jan
The problem with dropping an album as career defining as 2013’s ‘Everblack’ is that it sets the bar high when following it up. The Black Dahlia Murder’s response to this challenge comes in the form of the devastating ‘Abysmal’, serving once again to demonstrate why, for the past 14 years, they’ve been considered a vital part of the contemporary death metal scene.
Constantly evolving as musicians, their writing embraces all the finest qualities of melodic death metal, and yet does not confine them. With ‘Abysmal’, the band have retained the signature sound that has won them their devoted legion of fans, making it clear that their best is not in their past.
Sun 17 Jan
Marking the third anniversary of their Brighton debut, London indie trio Daughter return, following widespread success of their first album, ‘If You Leave’, and a prestigious nod from AIM’s 2013 Independent Album of the Year. With a Jeff Buckley-esque sound that layers Elena Tonra’s dramatic vocals effortlessly over soaring guitar melodies, the album encompassed perfectly the fragility of relationships through unambiguous yet enigmatic lyrics.
Its follow up, ‘Not To Disappear’, arrives this month, finding the band making confident strides both sonically and lyrically. There’s just one question on everyone’s lips: ‘can Daughter live up to the hype?’ If new single ‘Doing The Right Thing’ is anything to go by, we think they can.
CHALI 2NA & THE FUNK HUNTERS
Tues 19 Jan
Chali 2na has done it all, from his days growing up on the hardscrabble streets of Chicago’s south side, to his subsequent explosion onto Los Angeles’ burgeoning hip-hop scene. Rising to prominence as the physical and vocal totem of seminal hip-hop group Jurassic 5, Chali epitomises the portrait of a 21st Century artist, firmly establishing himself as one of the most distinctive, charismatic personalities not just in hip-hop, but music in general.
Joined by The Funk Hunters, whose live collaborations have dominated dancefloors the world over with their unique combination of funk and hip-hop, the show promises brilliant technical displays and soulful electronic dance encrusted with hardened wordsmith Chali 2na’s beloved baritone.
Tues 19 Jan
It’s been a long road for Jason Isbell, whose fourteen years in the music industry have yo-yoed from celebrating the blessings of fame to all its misfortunes. At 22, Isbell began a successful stint with Alabama country-rock band, the Drive-By Truckers. Since then: rehab, collaborations with The 400 Unit, and finally, a glowing solo career – “the best songwriter of his generation”, claims John Mayer.
Isbell’s fifth record, ‘Something More Than Free’, debuted at the top spot of the Billboard Country Chart in July with more optimism than 2013’s breakthrough ‘Southeastern’. Though his musings of Dixieland may not resonate with British audiences, heartfelt tales of overcoming struggle are certainly something we can all relate to.
VIEUX FARKA TOURÉ
Weds 20 Jan
It takes a lot to step out of a father’s shadow, particularly one so famed as Grammy winner and guitarist Ali Farka Touré. However, with elements of globe-trotting and genre-bending creating an irresistible Afropop sound, Vieux Farka Touré crafts Malian blues in the rich Songhai tradition, not only echoing his late father but swiftly becoming one of the most celebrated African guitarists in history.
Drawing on haunting Saharan blues and traditional Malian melodies, Vieux Farka Touré’s live performances are known for dazzling crowds with his speed and dexterity on the guitar, as well as his palpable charisma and luminous smile, both of which captivate audiences. With his trio he plays music from his back catalogue and new album, ‘Touristes’.
THE SOUTH COAST JAZZ FESTIVAL 2016
Thurs 21 – Sun 24 Jan
Ropetackle Arts Centre
After the sell-out success of 2015’s debut, the South Coast Jazz Festival returns, bigger and better with its upgraded four-day jazz extravaganza. Once again, vocalist Claire Martin OBE and saxophonist Julian Nicholas have joined forces to create a rich and diverse programme that reflects many styles of jazz music.
Featuring concerts from some of the leading lights in the UK’s vibrant jazz scene (including Norma Winstone of The Printmakers and Imogen Ryall with the Jack Kendon Quintet), an exhibition of jazz photographs by Brian O’Connor, educational workshops, guest speakers and the return of the popular jam session, we’re sure that 2016 will repeat the sell-out success of the inaugural festival.
Mon 25 Jan
Multi-instrumentalist. Grammy nominee. Producer. King of prog-rock Steven Wilson has a repertoire most musicians can only dream of. He has created an incredible body of work from his four solo albums through to his origins in Porcupine Tree, and multiple side projects.
Still riding the waves of success from his album ‘Hand. Cannot. Erase’, Wilson arrives in Brighton on the back of interim EP, ‘4½’ – so titled because it arrives somewhere before the release of his fifth long play. He has successfully cultivated an incredibly dedicated fan base far beyond ‘cult’ status with demand for tickets surpassing expectation time after time.
Fri 29 Jan
Ropetackle Arts Centre
First rising to prominence as front man of John Squire’s post-Stone Roses band, The Seahorses, Chris Helme is in possession of an enviable back catalogue, bolstered further by his acclaimed works with The Yards. However, it was his breakthrough second solo album ‘The Rookery’ in 2012 (rightfully remembered for its anthemic Britpop sound) that catapulted Helme to mainstream success. Showcasing his graceful knack for melody and imaginative, intricate, three-way guitar interplay brought each track to blossoming climaxes.
2015 saw Helme return with a follow up, headed by the single ‘You’re Too Bad’, once again proving the man appears cut from an entirely unique cloth.
Sun 31 Jan
Released on Hackney collective Rudimental’s label Major Toms in July, Anne-Marie’s debut EP, aptly named ‘Karate’ (she’s a triple world champion in shotokan), artfully fuses moody beats, electronic soul and atmospheric synths in a fresh take on pop. It’s a varied album, with the eponymous single weaving metaphors through a haze of textured electronic soul, ‘Gemini’ showcasing the sexy, slow burn of R&B, and a heartfelt ballad in ‘Stole’.
Bringing her powerful, breathy falsetto to thousands around the world as an integral part of Rudimental’s live set, Anne-Marie’s entrance into solo stardom doesn’t come a moment too soon – she has, after all, already proven her vocal credentials.
Mon 1 Feb
Few bands could pioneer an entire genre and live to tell the tale almost four decades on. From the immortal classics ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ and ‘Teardrop’ to the much later ‘Paradise Circus’ (selling 11 million records along the way), Bristol trip-hop giants Massive Attack have managed to keep up their consistent finesse, returning to Brighton in the wake of a mysterious new album shrouded by secrecy and hushed rumours.
We’re told a reunion with Tricky (who hasn’t been featured on a Massive Attack album since 1994’s ‘Protection’) and a Run The Jewels collaboration is in the works, undoubtedly making LP6 a worthy successor to 2010’s ‘Heligoland’ and one hell of a live performance.