For anyone who has been a fan of The Electric Soft Parade and admired the music of two of Brighton’s most loved sons, Tom and Alex White, over the years, Christmas may have come early for you this year. Firstly, Tom’s new project, The Fiction Aisle, a talented ten-piece band which includes brass and woodwind players, as well as Alex on the drums and ESP’s Alan Grice on keyboards, has well and truly taken off the ground. With emotionally affecting lyrics and melodies, Tom’s vision to take his songwriting to another level is being realised, with the band being busy in the recording studio over the past months and their spellbinding live début at Brighton’s Prince Albert last month captivating the appreciative audience.
If you missed the inaugural gig, too bad, but all is not lost. The Fiction Aisle have two more dates at The Prince Albert: Wednesday 29th October (a steal at £5, doors open 8pm with support by Ralegh Long and Fire Eyes) and Wednesday 26th November, 2014 (further details tba), which, after seeing their first show, I urge you not to miss if you can help it. More news about the release of the studio recordings will be coming from the band soon, I’m sure, but their ambitious, expansive sound can be heard first by simply turning up at The Prince Albert and exchanging a fiver for a wonderful evening of achingly beautiful music, so if you want to be able to say you were there during the formative stages of The Fiction Aisle, get on board now!
For those ESP fans who were kicking themselves that they didn’t get to The Borderline gig on April 15th, 2014, when it was announced that ESP were, barring occasional one-off gigs, no more, you may be interested and excited to know that one of those “one off” gigs is coming up. On Saturday 6th December, 2014, the band will be playing at the Tooting Tram & Social (£12.50, doors 7pm) and, what’s more, they will playing their 2013 masterpiece, “Idiots”, in its entirety, plus a set of their best loved songs. As the future of the band is a little unsure, it is probably a good idea not to miss this one; that, and the fact that they are an incredible live band. Also, if you haven’t yet got your copy of “Idiots”, you really need to rectify that with immediate effect, because if you thought “Holes In The Wall” was great, you will be blown away by what is, potentially, Electric Soft Parade’s last and greatest album.
Finally, an ESP rarity, “The Friday Before Christmas”, appears on the new Crimson compilation “An Alternative Christmas”, a double CD at a budget price, which also features artists such as Sufjan Stevens, The Fall, Belle & Sebastian, Weezer, Gruff Rhys and far too many more to list. There are 34 tracks in all, making it a really rather decent purchase and something for indie lovers to listen to over Christmas dinner, if hearing those Slade and Wizzard songs for the forty-millionth time is beginning to get on your nerves. Of course, there’s no guarantee that some of the artists on this compilation won’t make you choke on your sprouts either (nope, I have no idea what Blink-182 are doing on there), but surely it has to be better than Cliff’s Mistletoe and bloody Wine?
The Fiction Aisle are playing The Prince Albert, Brighton (Trafalgar Street, right next to Brighton Station) on Wednesday 29th October and Wednesday 26th November. Tickets available on the door.
Tickets for Electric Soft Parade’s Tooting gig on Saturday 6th December can be bought from gigantic or See Tickets. “Idiots” and “An Alternative Christmas” can be found on all good online retailers (as well as some big tax-dodging ones) and, if you’re lucky, you may still have a record shop open in your town.