British Sea Power
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|British Sea Power|
Yan (left) and Hamilton (right) in Paris in 2008
|Origin||Brighton, England; Kendal, England|
British Sea Power are an indie rock band based in Brighton, England, although three of the band members originally come from Natland, near Kendal in Cumbria. The wide-ranging nature of their material has led critics to liken their sound to a variety of groups, from The Cure and Joy Division to the Pixies and Arcade Fire. The band are famed for their live performances, the unusual lyrical content of their songs and the adventurous choice of locations for some of their shows. British Sea Power's members are Yan (Scott Wilkinson; vocals, guitar), Noble (Martin Noble; guitar), Hamilton (Neil Hamilton Wilkinson; bass guitar, vocals, guitar), Wood (Matthew Wood; drums), Phil Sumner (cornet, keyboards) and Abi Fry (viola).
Early years and The Decline of British Sea Power 
British Sea Power's Yan and Hamilton are brothers and were school friends with Wood in Kendal. They were in a number of bands together while at school, but after finishing his exams Yan moved to study at the University of Reading, where he met guitarist Noble, who was originally from Bury, Greater Manchester. A few years later, Hamilton and Wood joined them and formed a band.
They played some gigs and produced a 4 track demo in Reading as British Air Powers, before relocating to Brighton in search of a more active music scene. "British Sea Power" was actually the name of one of these demo tracks, and was eventually reworked into "Carrion". In Brighton, BSP amassed a strong local following, due mainly to their own club night called "Club Sea Power". The club nights featured many different support acts, including the Copper Family, a 200-year-old Sussex folk troupe, and other forms of entertainment such as a 1940s fashion show, and were most frequently hosted at the Freebutt and the Lift clubs.
Their first single, "Fear of Drowning", was issued in limited numbers on their own Golden Chariot label. The artwork for the B side, "A Wooden Horse", borrows heavily from the dust cover of the 1950 book The Wooden Horse that details the escape of Allied POWs during World War II. Geoff Travis of Rough Trade Records, impressed by seeing the band live, signed them to his label in September 2001. Originally a four-piece, Eamon Hamilton was recruited to play keyboards and bass drum in autumn 2002.
The Decline of British Sea Power, the band's first album, was released in June 2003 to critical acclaim. A single from the album, "Carrion", became the band's first Top 40 single. The album only charted in the lower reaches of the UK Album Chart but turned out to be a word-of-mouth success, selling well over 60,000 copies in the following two years and allowing them to play sell-out UK tours to audiences of over 1,000 people.
Open Season 
The follow-up, Open Season, was released in early April 2005, and also enjoyed wide critical praise. It showcased a more accessible, produced sound and charted at No. 13 in the UK Albums Chart. The lead single, "It Ended on an Oily Stage", charted at No. 18 in the UK Singles Chart a week earlier.
British Sea Power had won the 2004 Time Out Live Band of the Year award and by this time had built a reputation for elaborate and well-thought out live shows. Stages were often decorated with foliage and plastic birds and shows would generally finish with a semi-improvised song called "Rock in A", which sometimes lasted for over 20 minutes. Various members would climb riggings and tear down the foliage, while Eamon would walk around the audience beating his marching drum. The encore would sometimes see an eight-foot bear, Ursine Ultra, join in the performance.
The stage antics have become one of the signatures of the band. Another is their choice of venues. Their tours have often included unusual locations such as the Scillonian Club on the Isles of Scilly, Grasmere Village Hall, the Czech Embassy in London and Carnglaze Caverns in Cornwall. They have also played in museums, libraries and sea forts.
The band has built up an eccentric image in interviews and press releases. This has included giving journalists grid references at which to meet them, and expressing obsessions with Field Marshal Montgomery and bird watching. Similarly, they appeared on the TV show Countryfile in which they discussed their love of the countryside and played an outdoor performance of the track "Canvey Island".
Do You Like Rock Music? and Man of Aran 
In October 2007, the band toured the east coast of America to showcase their new 5-track EP Krankenhaus?. The November 2007 tour included a seaside cafe in Saltdean, East Sussex, a ferry across the River Mersey, in Liverpool; All Saints' Church in Newcastle-upon-Tyne; and White Mischief, an indoor festival mixing live bands with unusual vaudeville acts.
Their Krankenhaus? EP was released digitally in October 2007 and on CD and vinyl on 20 November. Their third album, Do You Like Rock Music? was released on 14 January 2008 in the U.K. and 12 February 2008 in the U.S. Prior to their tour in support of Do You Like Rock Music? (visiting Ireland, UK, Belgium, Holland, Germany and US), Wood injured his back and had to be temporarily replaced by Tom White of Electric Soft Parade and Brakes.
In January 2008, keyboard and cornet player Phil Sumner was admitted to hospital in Leeds after being knocked unconscious when he attempted a stage dive from a 12-foot PA system . In spite of this, he returned to the stage with the rest of the band a day later.
In February 2008, the band appeared on Later with Jools Holland, playing "Waving Flags", "Canvey Island" and "No Lucifer". They were accompanied by members of the London Bulgarian Choir and a display of Cumbrian wrestling. The band also played at Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, T in the Park and Bestival in 2008, amongst other festivals.
The band also played an intimate concert at The Monaco Hotel in Canvey Island as a nod to the 5th track on their new album. Prior to the gig, the band took part in a training session at Canvey Island Football Club. They were joined on stage for their encore by Wilko Johnson of Canvey pub rock icons Dr. Feelgood. The performance was featured on BBC2's The Culture Show.
Violist Abi Fry toured with the band in 2008 and has since become a permanent member of the band.
On 22 July 2008, Do You Like Rock Music? was announced as one of the nominees for the 2008 Mercury Prize. To coincide with the nomination British Sea Power re-released their song Waving Flags on 8 September 2008, which they also performed at the award ceremony the following day.
In August 2008, the band hosted their own music festival, Sing Ye From The Hillsides!, at the Tan Hill Inn, the UK's highest pub. A second festival was held at the same location in May 2010.
On 23 January 2009, the band announced that they were recording a soundtrack to the documentary Man of Aran. They performed it in concert at the British Film Institute in April, and a CD/DVD was released in May. On 7 February 2009, they released a new 10-minute track, "The possibility of an island", on Myspace.
Their live performances in the summer of 2009 included a show at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in London.
Valhalla Dancehall 
The band headlined the Festival Republic Stage at the 2010 Reading and Leeds Festivals, on 29 and 28 August respectively. They supported the Manic Street Preachers on their autumn 2010 tour of Britain.
The album Valhalla Dancehall, recorded on the isle of Skye in Scotland and at a farmhouse in East Sussex, was released in January 2011. Initial copies of the album sold by some independent music stores in the UK were accompanied with a bonus EP, Valhalla V.I.P.. The band toured the UK in the first three months of 2011, and a tour of the United States was planned for March, including an appearance on Late Show with David Letterman on March 21.
To mark the ten-year anniversary of their first single, "Fear of Drowning", the band played three intimate shows at Berwick Village Hall in East Sussex in May 2011.
British Sea Power announced a number of forthcoming festival appearances for summer 2011, including Latitude Festival, Leefest, Get Loaded In The Park and the Port Eliot Festival. In addition, the band performed at Jodrell Bank Live at Jodrell Bank Observatory, with the The Flaming Lips, in July 2011. They also performed at festivals in Australia, China and Japan.
September 2011 saw the publication on Rough Trade Books of Do It For Your Mum by Roy Wilkinson (brother of Yan and Hamilton), an account of the author's experiences of managing the band and of how the family's octogenarian father became the group's most ardent fan.
Machineries of Joy 
In 2012 they announced that they would not be extensively touring, but would be playing at their own monthly club night, "Krankenhaus", in Brighton. The band were also commissioned to make a soundtrack for the 1999 documentary Out of the Present, which follows Sergei Krikalev's time on the space station Mir. It was screened at CERN in March 2012 as part of the Cineglobe International Film Festival.
British Sea Power recorded the soundtrack to the film From the Sea to the Land Beyond, showing archive footage of the British Coast. They performed live at an initial screening of the film at Brighton's Cine-City film festival, and a DVD of the film will be released in January 2013.
In early 2013 the band announced that their upcoming album would be entitled Machineries of Joy and would be released on 1 April 2013.
|Year||Album||Peak chart positions||Certification|
|2003||The Decline of British Sea Power||54||–||–|
|2008||Do You Like Rock Music?||10||5||97|
|2009||Man Of Aran||68||48||–|
|2013||Machineries of Joy||19|
- "Fear of Drowning" (2001)
- "Remember Me" (2001)
- "The Lonely" (2002) (UK No. 76)
- "Childhood Memories" (2002) (UK No. 90)
- "Carrion"/"Apologies to Insect Life" (2003) (UK No. 36)
- "Remember Me" (2003) (UK No. 30)
- "A Lovely Day Tomorrow" (with Ecstasy of Saint Theresa) (2004)
- "It Ended on an Oily Stage" (2005) (UK No. 18)
- "Please Stand Up" (2005) (UK No. 34)
- "Remember Me"/"I Am a Cider Drinker" (with The Wurzels) (2005)
- "Waving Flags" (2008) (UK No. 31)
- "No Lucifer" (2008)
- "Living Is So Easy" (2010)
- "Who's In Control" (2011)
- "Facts Are Right" (2013)
- Remember Me (2003)
- The Spirit of St. Louis (2004)
- Krankenhaus? (2007)
- Zeus (2010)
- Valhalla V.I.P. (2011)
- BSP 1-6 (2012):
Compilation appearances 
- "Waving Flags" – 2000 Trees – Cider Smiles Vol.2, (Hide and Seek Records, 2009)
- "Waving Flags" - FM4 Soundselection 18, (Col, 2008)
- Long, Chris. British Sea Power, Open Season. BBC. Retrieved 2007-09-14
- Siebelt, Olli. British Sea Power. BBC. Retrieved 2007-09-14
- "British Sea Power Biography". Retrieved 2008-09-14
- Review of Open Season. BBC. Retrieved 2007-09-14
- Roy Wilkinson (2009-03-13). "Twitchin' the night away". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-11-17. "My younger brothers Yan and Hamilton are BSP's co-frontmen."
- "Stage dive knocks out musician". BBC News. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
- GIGWISE, British Sea Power Confirm Glastonbury Slot
- "British Sea Power rock Canvey". Echo. 11 February 2008. Retrieved 2010-11-29.
- Manchester Music | Waving Flags re-release
- BBC | Mercury Prize 2008 | British Sea Power
- British Sea Power Finish ‘Man Of Aran’ Soundtrack
- "The Festival Republic stage is announced". Retrieved 2010-06-18.
- "ZEUS EP out 4 October". 2010-09-07. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- "New Album Title Revealed". Retrieved 2010-10-13.
- "Shows: Live from Jodrell Bank". Retrieved 2011-07-10.
- Christine Khalil (2011-07-21). "the AU interview: Yan Scott Wilkinson of British Sea Power (Brighton, UK)". the AU. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- Do It For Your Mum
- Roy Wilkinson (2011-10-15). "My dad, the revolutionary disciple of indie rock". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
- Duncan Hall (2012-01-06). "Krankenhaus 1". The Argus. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
- "British Sea Power to perform a commissioned soundtrack to "Out of the Present"". CineGlobe. 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2012-04-11.
- "British Sea Power Discuss CERN Soundtrack". The Quietus. 2012-03-19. Retrieved 2012-04-11.
- "From the Sea to the Land Beyond" (PDF). BFI. Retrieved 2013-01-09.
- Neil Mitchell (2013-01-03). "Festival radar: Cine-City, Brighton". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-01-09.
- BRITISH SEA POWER – The Official Charts Company
- British Sea Power Music News & Info | Billboard.com
- Certified Awards Search
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 78. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- U.S.A. – Forthcoming Singles | Radio1 Rodos Greece
- Exclusive Record Store Day 2013 Releases
- ^ Kendal band seeks nominations, The Westmorland Gazette, 18 Sep 2003.
- ^ British Sea Power member quits, NME Online, 16 Jan 2006.
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