Wednesday, May 29, 2013

God Damn

Today I've got myself a ticket to see Swim Deeps gig on Friday. It'll mean I'm not attending my weekly karate class(that I've attended for many many years) for three weeks in a row, but it'll be worth it. hopefully i'll get some debauched stories of the night afterwards and see some good support bands.
Todays blog comes from a band I've not seen but having simply heard was enough to blow me away. Today's blog is about Wolverhampton's GOD DAMN. I've read about them in Brumnotes and heard local bands rave about them, but in truth they are not the death metal band some may say. I think they sound like the meeting point of, blues, indie-rock, Punk, Thrash metal and Tony Iommi riffs. I've given the debut album a listen and its guitar tones are seriously the closest anyone has got to capturing tony's doom laden tone since he played those de-tuned guitars himself. It weaves a huge amount of styles and sounds yet is also heavy as fuck, and pretty raw.

There's also a humor to the songs, especially considering song titles such as 'Like Meat to Morrissey' or in the lyrics, such as those to 'beggar boy'

what else is there to say really? 

They're one of the maddest bands i've heard all year and I recommend that you download the debut album and give a listen to their ep's. 
The new EP 'Heavy Money' is out on June 17th and you can pre-order it on cassette or simply download it for free when it comes out. 
I've said all I can about this lot so ill leave you to have the fun of exploring the records yourself. 

Heavy Money (2013)

I'm a lazer your a radar -(2013)

Demonstration (2012) -Free download 

A pretty good discography for such a new band 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Exclusive interview, Heavy Waves, Leopard, Pink Violence

So yesterday I was just walking back from work and I got a Text from my friend Jason saying that Leopard liked my review of their début single and that they'd like me to interview them for the blog in The Flapper. After trying to find the place for ages I sat down next to my old friend Jason 'pink violence' Tyler, Luke from Heavy Waves and Issac and Matt from Leopard. What caught my atention first was the dress sense of everyone present, everyone there was dressed in scruffy vintage clothes, there wasn't a person there who didn't look like they were in a band (apart from me).

I didn't feel that there was much point I trying to be an actual interviewer and asking questions, as I wanted to make friends with these guys, and as they were all pretty much interviewing each other. I decided to hang back and simply be a fly on the (velvet skull patterned) walls.
Initial conversation points included Cats, Video Games (and which ones are best to play while stoned) and  of course music. Luke and Leopard discussed the virtues of using computer effects VS the old fashioned way of buying pedals -Leopard have probably spent up to £500 in the past few months on pedals.
Its obvious to any outsider that the B-town scene is a very close-knit environment yet meeting the bands gives you even more of an insight to how the scene works. For example everyone loves Peace, we all admitted that we pretty much idolise them, Jason has been to loads of their gigs while admitted they probably wouldn't be in a band if it wasn't for them.

JAWS got a lot of praise too, being a band who everyone has favourite songs by, Luke mentioned that Connor wrote most of his favourite JAWS songs while heartbroken and also talked about his trademark monotone voice. Its not all praise however, seeing as there's a healthy rivalry too. We talked about how the bigger bands like peace and jaws have the contacts they don't and that with JAWS coming out and making it big at the same time leopard got started that they feel some rivalry.
We also briefly talked about music in general, I asked whether anyone in Birmingham is trying to make life affirming life changing music, and Luke replied that he doesn't think that anything truly new and original can be created, although as I pointed out, its more about how you mix your influences than copy them. We could all agree that Foals have been one of the best bands of recent years though.
I picked up a few band tips as well, Sugar have been recommended and described as being like Peace but  with vocal effects (I pointed out that its a silly name to use though since Bob Mould had a band called Sugar) other names to watch are Spotlight Kid, God Damn and Juice. As it turns out though, no one from B-town actually is from Birmingham. It seems that Brum is becoming like a Midlands New York where people migrate to.

After Luke left, what really showed was how excited Leopard and Jason are about their upcoming tour with each other. Merchandise, tickets and venues are all being discussed and its obvious that the guys are loving being a band and can't wait to get out onto the road. After leaving the Flapper, We went to McDonalds, The Sunflower Lounge and Wetherspoons. Judging by the night I had with them, let loose on an actual tour madness will ensue. I think I made some great new friends last night.

Note: I didn't have my camera so I got Jason to take a few photos on his phone, the pics will either appear in an update of this blog, or in a separate post. I just want to make sure that you know i'm not making this up.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Access to music: Vote for DUKE!

Want to do your bit to help promote a Birmingham band?

My mates Duke have been nominated for best track award at this years British Music Student awards.
the page to vote on is

The page explains that the band have been put on a CD compilation thats has been complied by music students. You can listen to the songs on a Spotify playlist, on the same page. I'm not sure what any of this means really but it would be great exposure for the band and 'One way Road' really deserves it. It's a great song, an anthemic and instantly memorable cut from the bands début EP. Its a song that would sound great in any arena and is inspired by the credit crunch.

I've already voted and the chance for you to vote ends Friday. you can vote on the link I posted above. You can always think for yourself and vote for another song, but it'd be nice if you vote for Duke's.

The Making, I've said it before but this blog has become more successful than I ever could have imagined. why? because now the bands are coming to me. The other day I got an email from a band called 'The Making'

Hey Man,
Just checked out your blog, loving all your reviews! We've just released a new song for free download on our page ("Signals") and you should check it out! West Midlands is the place to be for music right now...
Cheers, Dan.

Lets give it a listen...

It seems to fit the description of 'Grunge-laced Indie Rock with melodies, hooks and splashings of electronica' nicely. this particular track has a rawer punkier feel to it than the laid back slacker grunge of most B-town. Its got some big riffs some who-ho-ho-hooo's and plenty of attitude, not to mention a nice little solo. Production quality's good too, its raw but without sounding like a bedroom demo, like a lot of early releases can. You can download it for free at the bands soundcloud page, and there's also a pretty good track called double D's you can listen too.
The Making were right that the 'West Midlands is the place to be for music right now' and they've helped prove that themselves.

They've got an EP on iTunes too which I might give a listen

P.S. I'm sorry that the blogs have become less frequent, I'm finding myself adjusting to a new job and blogging around it a bit. hopefully I'll get some more live reviews in.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


It seems that barely a day goes by without some new Birmingham band coming through the woodwork.
Today I've decided to write about Leopard a band who formed in December last year and describe themselves as "4 piece post jazzcore acid baggy korean crabmetal grunge destroyers". Which isn't that accurate a description of their sound but it will give you some idea.
They've only released one song so far (listen above) but its brilliant. It fits in with the psychedelic sound of B-Town but it's a little bit darker, maybe a bit murkier. Strummed guitars are played alongside a wall of sound coming from a constant keyboard riff and as you may expect vocals are low in the mix. The drumming is pretty cool too.

The band list Tame Impala and Deftones among their influences and that makes sense considering the blissed out hazy psychedelic wall of sound that they make. Personally it reminds me a bit of 90's shoegaze (early verve?) although my dad reckons it sounds like Hawkwind. not since LACED have a Birmingham band come out with such a fully realised sound for a debut release, but then again that was only a month or two ago.

you can download it for free on the bands Soundcloud page.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Birmingham New Street Station

I should probably get back to writing about new cool bands but first I'd like to share this with you. You see I thought it would be a good idea  to take a few photos of the new station as it is an important development in our city. Frankly the place looks about half finished, there's still a section of the old station that's open as its the only way to get to two of the platforms. I am working in this station in the Starbucks which is as of today officially open and a few days before when i first got to see the station I took a few photos. As I was taking them one of the security guards started slowly walking towards me. and for a second i thought that i was going to have a stern word had with me, or get in trouble as taking snaps of a station looks suspicious. luckily i had a temporary pass on me and as soon as he saw it he walked off. phew.

Since i took a risk taking these it seems a shame not to share them.

I've learned recently that i probably look more suspicious when browsing around places than I do, during my trial starbucks shift the manager of the sunglasses store I was browsing round came in an joked that I was in his store and he thought I looked like a thief as i was looking at price labels. but seriously £150 for a pair of sunglasses? i'm not even gonna touch em unless i know i can afford them.

Reminds me of the big scaly monster from The Avengers

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Editors -Ton of Love. Review and video

 Editors are back! and the new 4th album 'The Weight of Your Love' is out on the 1st of  July. You can watch the new video for 'Ton of Love' ^^^

I remember first hearing Editors on the radio back in 2005 and being completely blown away by them. i never got round to hearing any of the albums though and by the time they'd done album 3 i'd seen them as nothing more than Joy Division rip offs. Now that they're back its time i think i gave them a proper listen. with the B-Town scene being as vibrant as it is, this is a good time for Editors to make a comeback. 

Compared with the electronic style of the last record this is more of a straight out rock song, complete with a great opening riff and strummed acoustic guitars. If anything its the most american they've ever sounded, even being slightly Springsteen-ian (I made that word up). The vocals in particular have a rough american sound and lyically its quite simple, the word 'Desire' is repeated a lot. my favorite line from the song is "I don’t trust the government, I don’t trust myself, What is a boy gonna do?"

so yeah straight forward no nonsense slightly american rock n roll. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Florence and the machine memorabila

Yesterday we got the summer clothes down from the loft and look what i found?
me and my friends made me a Florence + T-shirt while we were waiting to see her live at the newly opened 02 academy back in 2009. We were waiting from about 12:00 so we had to keep ourselves occupied somehow. 

Swing Amajig

There's a great Derren Brown TV special about luck, its brilliant and i urge you to watch it if you haven't. in this show he found a northern town and convinced them that an old statue of a dog could bring people luck. Derren tried to prove his theory that lucky people are simply those that take risks, as opposed to unlucky people who miss out on opportunities.
So if i hadn't decided to follow the mysterious Victorian hand signs with the strange title 'Swing Amajig' written on them, today's story wouldn't have happened. It's been a lovely day today and after having a short meeting with my boss decided to walk around for a bit. I spotted the signs around about Digbeth and found that the 'Swing Amajig' was a small music festival. The people at the festival had already bought tickets online, so like with the Dog is Dead incident, i'd kind of already missed out. After speaking to the staff they said that i could buy a ticket but it would have cost me £25, which was a lot considering I'd not heard of any of the Swing, Jazz, Ragtime, or DJ's playing this afternoon (Till 4:00). I'm glad i found it though, and took the risk because it gave me a nice little story. I also got some free chocolate and saw some people handing out free tote bags today. It just shows that you can never know what to expect when strolling around Birmingham.
My auto setting is crap at white balances 

On another note this is pretty cool, one of my co-workers at the store i'm working at is the girlfriend of the guitarist of one of Birmingham's biggest bands.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mr Hudson - Fred Astaire - Lyric video

Ben Hudson is releasing a new single! its called Fred Astaire and its his first proper Mr Hudson release since Love Never Dies (technically just a collaboration with Caspa). Im loving this new song, hes moved away from the electronics of 'Straight No Chaser' and also from the reggae style of his early roots. Its every bit as classy as a song called 'Fred Astaire deserves to be called its a stomping love song, where quirky electronics bounce along with a retro, jazzy horn led backing track. Lyrically its as simple a love song as you can get Ben sings lines such as 'Your the song stuck inside my head, your the ghost here in my bed, there's no other'. of course it may start off as a simple love song but towards the end it just gets quirkier as more keyboard sounds get added to the song. As usual Ben shows himself to be a great singer, his vocals are soulful yet understated.
This new direction suits Mr Hudson nicely as he's always been a classy guy and it bodes well for his long overdue 3rd album, this style will age better than the synth/rap based songs on Straight No Chaser and I'm looking forward to seeing where he will go with it next. A lot of the hyped acts from 2009 haven't fared so well when they've come round again but I'm hoping that this track and whatever comes next is enough to push Mr Hudson into the limelight he deserves to be in.

The official video will be shot soon so for now we will have to settle for this lyric video. Which is complete with a montage of clips from the golden age of cinema. The song itself will be officially released in early June.

The video share thing isn't working so please follow the link.

Here is my other blog on Mr Hudson.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Electric Cinema

Screen 1 Panorama
The Electric Cinema in Birmingham is a special place, its officially the oldest working cinema in the country  and Its got a detailed history. Its special for many reasons, whether it be the simple fact that you can buy a beer or a nice slice of cake rather than the usual cinema rubbish or that the seat are amazingly comfy, with special sofas at the back that you can pay extra for if you want an even nicer experience. The electric also has a varied range of films, from Hollywood blockbusters which will be shown a week or two after the usual cinemas have stopped showing them or art-house and foreign films. Or you can go there to watch cult classics or films that are just classics in their own right. I was going to go there a while back for a special valentines day event where we were due to see Casablanca. it would have been brilliant but unfortunately we were not able to do it. The good thing though is that they let us swap the tickets that we had bought for another showing of 'The Artist'. Seeing such an amazing film and a loving tribute  to the silent era was even more special  in a cinema that was as old as the films it homaged itself. There was about 2 minutes of awkward shuffling silence as everybody tried not to make a sound until the music kicked in in the film. I loved the film and so did my date too, which  is odd as most girls from 18-20 are not usually into silent French films.
The first time I went to the Electric it was a trip as part of my film studies class. We all went to see the Imaginaruim of Dr Parnassus (Short review: About an hour of surreal brilliance, followed by an hour of surreal nonsense) but before that got a tour of the place and a lecture by the cinemas owner. He's an interesting bloke with a passion for film and the venue that he runs and he was able to tell us about the history of the venue and the history of Hollywood. We were able to see the massive reels of film that are still used today to show the older films as well as the digital projectors they also use. a friend of mine even ended up getting a job just by talking to the owner, I wish I'd got a job at the electric.
The real treat was afterwards some of us were lucky enough to see the cinemas secret. The guy who runs the place does a lot of soundtrack work, partly for a documentary he was making about the cinema itself at the time, as such the place was packed full of guitars all over the walls, from Fenders, to Gibson's to 1950's slide guitars. Its a musicians heaven.
Its been a while since I've been there and I'd love to go back, I've also been to one f the UK's biggest Imax screens yet its the electric, I'd pick to go to any time. The electric has more character than just about anywhere else I've been.
As usual they're doing loads of events there at the moment such as a 'Film Food club' screening of High Society and a bad film screening of Miami Connection. there is also a Trek night and Live comedy.