PREVIEW: The Great Escape

tQ are heading to Brighton for the annual new music showcase this week and here's our pick of the acts appearing, with details of our own stage below

There are over four hundred acts appearing at The Great Escape in Brighton between Thursday and Saturday, May 14-16, this week. Four hundred! Man alive. What to do, you say? Well, speaking for ourselves, we’ll be reading over what tQ’s Ben Graham learned at the festival last year, making sure we go and see headliners Skepta and JME on Saturday night, queuing up to get a Malaysian burger from Grubbs and stopping by our six picks below. Sadly, tickets are now sold out, but if you were able to get one and need any further details, the festival’s website is the place to go:

Bad Breeding – May 16, Corn Exchange, 6 pm

Bile-filled punks from Stevenage who have every reason to be spewing liver fluid. As they pointed out in a piece for HUH. magazine, their hometown has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the UK, and it’s out of this context that the band hurtle, laying out fuzzy dissonance and cold-eyed lyrical disenchantment in last year’s Hate Hate Hate-released single ‘Burn This Flag’ or lending Wire’s ‘Two People In A Room’ some extra clout.

So far, the band’s output online just about reaches the ten-minute mark, so expect their set at the Corn Exchange on Saturday evening to lean on the raging-incendiary-brief side, and prime yourselves in the meantime with Roger Sargent’s video for ‘Chains’, which makes the grimmest use of cling film we’ve seen since… no actually, that’s the grimmest use of cling film we’ve seen.

Girl Band – May 16, Corn Exchange, 6.45 pm

Embracing the sound of trepanning if it were performed with the blunt force of a fracking drill, Dublin four-piece Girl Band deal in noise-rock sonics but braced by the rhythmic slug of steely techno. In fact, the first track we heard by them, a cover of the Blawan broiler ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?’, remains probably the best case in point – 4:06: AIIIIEEEEEEEE – but subsequent tracks ‘Lawman’ and ‘De Bom Bom’ bode seriously well for their upcoming debut on Rough Trade. Music to lose one’s shit to.

Kelela – May 14, The Arch, 9.45 pm

Her 2013 mixtape Cut 4 Me established Kelela Mizanekristos as a firm favourite at tQ HQ, and we’ve been waiting for her first album proper ever since. That looks set to be on its way this autumn, but she’s been putting out tracks here and there since the mixtape, the highlight of which has been ‘A Message’, the lead track off her new EP Hallucinogen (a six-track collection of songs that didn’t quite make the cut for the LP). Produced by Arca, it moves away from the kind of kinetic, fragmentary sonics that Nguzunguzu and Kingdom gave to Cut 4 Me, opting instead for a slow-burning R&B banger which rightly dials everything back to put Mizanekristos’ voice up front. Whether or not it’s an indicator of things to come, it’d be worth catching her now, as she’s only got two more UK dates – at Love Saves The Day in Bristol on May 24 and London’s XOYO, 26 – on the cards.

Mumdance & Novelist – May 14, Coalition, 10 pm

We’d venture there are plenty of indie skronk bands called S.H.A.F.T. or some such nestling among the 400-plus acts at The Great Escape (that’s not a slight on the festival, more an observation of the cockroaches-after-nuclear-apocalypse levels of resilience of indie skronk bands called S.H.A.F.T. or some such), so do yourself a favour and make sure you catch Mumdance and Novelist’s set as a welcome alternative. It probably won’t involve the Lewisham MC freestyling over the Looney Tunes theme, but it should take in the kind of chrome-plated grime head-spinners that the pair have been dealing out, with their first collaboration, ‘Take Time’, probably still just pipping its follow-up, ‘1 Sec’, to the post.

Okmalumkoolcat – May 16, Prince Albert, 3.30 pm & Dome Studio Theatre, 8.30 pm

Having previously hooked up with Hyperdub stalwarts LV on ‘Boomslang’ and ‘Sebenza’, the rapper’s also busy putting a new spin on his native South Africa’s kwaito music with his band Dirty Paraffin and hopping on tracks all over the shop, while last year’s Holy Oxygen I EP was one of the year’s finest, an astute matching of his deft, rhythmic lyrical flow with a set of particularly fresh feeling tracks from Austrian producers Cid Rim and The Clonious – give it a spin:

The Quietus stage: Blanck Mass, Lubomyr Melnyk, Rival Consoles and English Heretic, May 15, St. George’s Church, from 7.30 pm

After starting the evening with the multimedia occultism of English Heretic, a long-time dweller on the Quietus’ stereo and a previous fixture on a number of our gigs (read our interview here), we’ll be making our way through the textural electronics of Rival Consoles and Canadian pianist Lubomyr Melnyk’s "continuous music" – both releasing on London label Erased Tapes; stay tuned for an interview with Melnyk on the site tomorrow – to headliner, Blanck Mass, the solo project of Fuck Buttons’ Ben Power, who’s just released his second album, Dumb Flesh (and <a href="‘ target="new">talked to us about his favourite albums). Get a primer below and we’ll see you there:

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