Special Benny launch their excellent debut album 'Toys' at The Macbeth with support from friends, collaborators, admirers and me!
The six-piece band are Mat Baynton, Grace Cheung, Tom Corbett, Ben Gates, Rob Smoughton and Matt Turner who hail from Southend, Brighton, Bexleyheath and Hong Kong but now call London home. Although they admit their individual tastes differ greatly the band cites Tortoise, Jim O'Rourke, Sufjan Stevens, Battles, Frank Zappa and Steve Reich among their shared favourites. As might be expected from a band who admire such experimental luminaries, there is a high degree of collaboration and planning involved in their song writing: “We finish all our ideas together, or the band as a whole aren’t interested. Democracy can be hard within a band, it can lead to arguments. But at the same time, the fact that we are always surprised when we play together is an absolute joy.”
The Voodoo Trombone Quartet
Formed in 2004 by producer, record collector and multi instrumentalist, Paul Thorpe, the band's first tracks were made freely available on the net as supposedly 'rediscovered' originals. The joke soon backfired however when they became immensely popular in their own right as each one clocked up thousands of downloads. The newly formed Freshly Squeezed took note and duly signed Paul for the band's debut album in 2005. Now expanded to a live 8-piece band, The Voodoo Trombone Quartet continue to win fans with their superb live shows at the best UK clubs and festivals including Bestival, Glastonbury, The Brighton Festival Speigeltent, Pussy Parlure, Lost Vagueness and many more. Their music is also featured in hit shows like Ugly Betty and Medium Wave has recently been the theme to MTV's new series The Paper.
Hong Kong In The 60s
Hong Kong In The 60s are Mei Yau Kan (vocals, keyboards, guitar); Christopher Greenberg (keyboards, vocals, guitar); and Tim Scullion (guitar, keyboards, vocals), a multilingual three-piece from London, who formed in 2007. They are heavily influenced by early electronic pop, 1960s Chinese music and Italian film soundtracks. Using their collection of old Casio keyboards, the group combine bittersweet pop melodies and atmospheric electronics to create what Sean O’Hagan of The High Llamas describes as a “lovely, understated and quite beautiful sound.” In their hands, the cheap noises of old toy synths and outdated drum machines reveal hidden warmth and emotion.
Grovesnor is Rob Smoughton, drummer for Hot Chip (and sometimes Special Benny) and student of the old school who loves a good tune and a crisp rhythm. Although undeniably influenced by the pop music of the 80’s there’s something supremely modern about the music of Grovesnor – but yes, there are echoes of Hall and Oates and Billy Joel.
Upcoming artist Mat Pringle illustrated the fantastic 'Toys' album art. He'll be spinning fuzz drenched drum heavy global nonsense. A limited number of screen prints of the sleeve will be on sale.
An early fan of Special Benny, the Artrocker scribe will be making a rare appearance on the turntables.
Sarahtron & Benjamus Prime (Proper Songs)
+ Vinyl, CDs and screen prints on sale.
Venue: The Macbeth, 70 Hoxton Street, London, N1 6LP
Info: 020 7749 0600
Date: Wednesday 22 September, 8pm-1am
Price: Free entry!
Nearest tube: Old Street (Northern Line)