Wednesday, April 30, 2014

LIME

According to Killr Punx theres a lot of hype buzzing around Lime. But I'd never heard of them- not through mags, blogs, or word of mouth. So I've no idea how they managed to bag this headline slot. The problem is that ever since Kurt Cobain went, you know... Grunge has kind of died, many of the genres best bands carried on but the genres dwindling popularity led to Nickleback, Puddle Of Mudd and other crap to take over.
Occasionally bands like Nine Black Alps, The Zico Chain, or Slaves to Gravity have threatened to bring it back but it just hasn't had any impact. LIME are grunge, very Grunge and I feel almost a little sad for them. Once Eskers had finished the teens rushed out so fast that the venue was nearly empty within minutes. Those that went back left again in just as quick a rush. So it was just a hand full of punters that stuck around to see Lime for their 'headline' slot. Those that did found that the trio played loud. VERY LOUD. Unfortunately Lime are were just that slight bit off key. Their music is very raw and gnarly, and their look is pure 90's alternative, baggy t shirts and bleached hair. 'I Don't Mind' is kind of a catchy song. But overall, I just wasn't that impressed with this bunch. If one Brummie band is gonna bring Grunge back into the limelight then it'll be Swerve. Respect to LIME for slogging it out in the little clubs but I'm not sure that they're headline material just yet.


https://soundcloud.com/thisislime

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Eskers

After the experience that SWOOPENTHEENG had just given me I said to the bassist of the next band 'your gonna have a hard time following that'. As it turns out I was completely wrong. I had a chat with  a girl in the audience (the one in the hoodie who's dancing in one of the previous photographs) and it seems that Eskers were the band she and her friends had come for. Eskers are undoubtedly the cool kids in their class, and it seemed that almost everyone from their school had showed up to see them play.
I imagine that most audiences would treat Eskers with mild contempt, but these kids gave them the sort of reception usually seen at Palma Violets gigs. The tiny space was filled with a big moving mass of teenagers moshing, jumping, crowd-surfing, dancing and singing along to every note. It was nice to have a bit of a return to reality of after the previous act and I did enjoy the music despite not getting involved in the frenzy. their key song 'Your Way' is such a fan favourite they played it twice. Musically they are not too far off from the likes of Two Door Cinema Club, or Franz Ferdinand. Were talking melodic bouncy indie here, not fuzzy lo-fi. Their frontman's singing might need a little work, but its nitpicking for such a young band. Frankly Eskers made people lose their shit, and they did it without even breaking a sweat, that's a sign that they must be onto something good.


https://soundcloud.com/eskers-1
www.facebook.com/eskers.band

Monday, April 28, 2014

SWOOMPTHEENG





Last Saturday someone spiked my can of Red Stripe. Well someone must have because I can't think of any other explanation for what I saw that night. One minute I'm watching an indie band, the next a group of about 8 guys all wearing neon coloured mops on their heads set up all their kit in the centre of the room and some how make music through video games consoles, guitars and other assorted tech, which is wired through a big electronic thing on top of a desk. on the wall behind them are graphics that abuse Neon Colours in a way that that I've not seen since 2008. It was the sort of audio visual spectacular that even Andy Warhol (famed for his Exploding Plastic Inevitable shows) would have found a bit extreme. Being anonymous gave these guys an opportunity to jump about and dance like nobody was watching. or course everyone was watching, half of us either standing still wondering what on earth they were watching the other half dancing like monkeys.
It's hard to say what kind of music they play because the whole thing felt like more like some kind of an interactive modern art exhibition than just a normal show. But it was kind of like Drum n Bass, Sort of. 
They encouraged audience participation as well, I've got photos of one of them taking a photo of me while I take a photo of him. The guy playing about with a joystick got one of the girls to play about with his joystick.* and they used props such as plastic swords and air guns. Over all the whole experience was confusing, terrifying, mindblowing and made me feel strangely nostalgic for my childhood.
Next time it's your birthday book these guys for the party, your friends will think you're insane but it'll be worth it.


*get your mind out the gutter


Click on the pics for bigger 










http://swoomptheeng.com/

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Duke (Live at Talk 26/4/14)

Hello! this is the 8th blog i've written about local lads Duke so far. It's been over a year since I last saw these guys play at my local pub (both individually and as solo artists) and yet I still feel inclined to write about them and support them  playing their gigs in the little venues across birmingham. i think mainly because they're mates, nice guys that I get along with, but also because they are a genuinely good band. one day they might just hit paydirt and i'll be happy to have supported them.

You join me at about 7:30 pm on Saturday the 26th of april. I walk downstairs through talk and find the guys playing their songs and nod to say it's me. I've missed the opening band Inlaws, yet might check them out at a later date. Few people are here so far, some are at the front, some just chilling  on sofas by the bar. but Duke are putting a good little set. Sounding very tight as a band and playing new improved songs with added guitar solos. The songs are mainly from the new 'Where are we Now' EP. songs such as 'one way road' and forever young sounded good as ever.  It was nice to catch up with the guys and as usual they put on a good little set. hopefully a few more people will see them next time.



This was just the start to a night i'll never forget...

http://www.weareduke.co.uk

Friday, April 25, 2014

Why I don't care If Oasis Reform.

 'Putting the beatles back together isn't going to be the salvation of rock n roll. four kids playing to their contemporaries in a dirty club cellar might'

Mick Farren said that back in the 1970's and it still stands true.
Let me explain something right now. I was born in 1992, yet it wasn't until about 2004 that I opened my eyes up to popular culture and became a little more interested in the world around me. I won't pretend that I'm a 90's kid just because it's the cool thing.  However In some ways I envy the 90's kids. Even the britpop bands the world has forgotten - The Bluetones, Echobelly, Sleeper, managed to get hits back in the 90's.  These top 40 hits probably sold enough then to get the top 10 today. I've never had a britpop, or a punk scene to say I was a part of. What I have is B-Town, being able to see these bands and meet them means the world to me. Its an amazing scene and I'm proud to sing its praises.
Yet back then rock bands like Oasis had huge cultural significance. In many ways it was a different era. The problem is that while I like Oasis I don't love them. I love 'Don't believe the truth' but the one everyone goes on about -Definitely Maybe- just doesn't resonate with me. I admire the whole 'I'm gonna take on the world' attitude of it all but for a kid who has grown up through terrorism, credit crunches and other bad stuff, the whole 90's positivity means nothing to me.
Sure it's a good album, it'll sound good in another 20 years time, but I can't be the only one who simply thinks the Gallagher's are too overrated, or just gets sick of constantly hearing about how amazing they are or how they should reform. Lets face it, that band had it's day a long time ago. I get that they meant so much to a previous generation but I want my own era defining bands rather than wallowing in the 90's past glories. If Oasis reform they will be everywhere and frankly that's not good for my generations music. In the 1970's punk was about wiping the slate clean. Rebelling against everything -including the music that had gone before it. Yet today's bands are constantly being measured up to older bands. Yannis from Foals couldn't even criticise the lack of new bands headlining festivals without a swarm of hate from Stone Roses fans. If Oasis reform and play that stage at Glastonbury then a lot of people will be very happy. But I want my own generation defining bands filling those festival slots. I'm tired of hearing how great the past was. It's time the new generation got its chance to take over.

Bear in mind this is all just my opinion, oh an The Libertines have reformed (again), now that's a band ill be happy to have back.

"Thou shalt not put musicians and recording artists on ridiculous pedestals no matter how great they are or were." - Scoobius Pip.

Beyond B-town: Eyedress, Hearing Colors Review

http://www.dummymag.com/news/eyedress-releases-new-mixtape-hearing-colours
Today's B-Town Blog comes from Beyond B-Town. Waaay Beyond B-Town, from the Philippines to be exact. I first heard about Eyedress in the NME and of course now that  he's released a brilliant d├ębut album they've barely mentioned it. Typical.  first off most might call it it a mixtape, because it's been released for free, but I'm not sure that's the right term for such a fully formed record. And I would class it as Witchhouse, or Chillwave if it wasn't for both those genres being dead by now.  i think it's best to describe this guys music as being like Crystal Castles without the anger or (as much) 8-bit bleeps, or Grimes without the drug fuelled frenzy.
Hearing Colors is a challenging listen at first. 'Saalamin' starts the record of with a mix of low key vocals, skittish beats and a sort of ringing noise. Nature Trips though is what 'Genesis' is to Grimes, an experimental sounding but actually very catchy pop song. It's the track that will make sure you keep listening to this record. The next few tracks show obvious comparison to
Crystal Castles while Lluna Llena shows a more mellow side to Eyedress' work. which contuines thoughout the next few tracks. Apart from 'White lies' which is a brilliantly heavy industrial banger. 'Mountbatten' however could almost have been written by The Cure, the guitar melodies and general laid back style recalling Robert Smith and co songs such as 'lullaby'. The last two tracks are the come down from this eclectic ride. 'Everything we Touch Turns to Gold' is a beautifully melancholy, yet euphoric ballad.  There's a lot here despite the tracks only being about two minutes long and the whole record only half an hour in total. If you love Crystal Castles, Grimes, Health or if your just a hipster who wants a new act to one up people with, then check him out, you might really dig this guy.

you can download it  here -http://eyedress.hearing-colors.com/


and read a bit more about the man himself here.
http://www.dazeddigital.com/music/article/19165/1/24-hours-with-eyedress

Monday, April 21, 2014

Record store day.

Record Store Day. The one day of the year that up until now i've not bothered with for a few simple reasons.
  1. I don't own a turntable
  2. don't have the money 
  3. don't have the time
Dan Whitehouse
I decided that this year i would bother however as this time i had two of those things and the excellent Left for Dead shop in the Custard Factory was having live performances. The shop was stocked up full  of special edition RSD releases, Including the Tame Impala Live Album on coloured vinyl, Parquet Courts 'Sunbathing Animal' single and one or two others. i didn't buy anything however due to reason #1
Hoopla Blue
I decided to stay because of the live music. The first act i managed to catch was the solo acoustic singer Dan Whitehouse. the sparse, emotional acoustic songs were livened up using guitar pedals, including  one that allowed him to loop what he had just played backwards, giving his songs a cool psychedelic feel. 

Following this was the experimental trio Hoopla Blue. Who played 4 sets at different record stores before playing that the Hare And Hounds that night. Which is kind of impressive. I don't mean to be a little nasty but i couldn't tell for half the time whether they were soundchecking or playing their songs. Their sound isn't too far from other local experimentalists such as Deaf Inspector, or Ultimate Grand Supreme. Ultimately it wasn't really my thing. 

Schnauser were the last band I got to catch before i walked on up to work. A trio of bristol experimentalists who pay tribute to the golden era of progressive rock, as the artwork  on their 7' Vynil single and choice of cover version for the b-side confirmed. The line up includes a singer on keyboards, a guy on bass and a man with ginger sideburns banging on the drums. the have songs inspired by hatred for their singers boss, and 'the lifecycle of a wasp'. They'd just come back from some gigs in Italy, and the next day I read a review of a show in Classic Rock magazine. So they must be making waves. I decided  a long time ago that Prog isn't my thing, but these guys deserve credit, there are hundreds of bands paying homage to the Smiths, or Joy Division, Or Metallica but few evoking the sounds of ELP, King Crimson  or Genesis. I'd recommend this band  to any fans  of those  groups. 

 I had to go to work after this  so i missed a band called  Grand Union and the previously blogged about Mutes, and The Mighty Young. 

Record Store day is a great thing, anything that helps in the independant shops is a good thing, and i may get involved more next year if i get a Turntable. but if you are lucky enough to have a good local indie then use it! for me everyday is Record Store Day

Dan Whitehouse:
http://shop.dan-whitehouse.com/
https://www.facebook.com/danwhitehousemusic?fref=ts

Hoopla Blue: www.facebook.com/HooplaBlue

Schnauser: www.facebook.com/SchnauserMusic

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Curb, Leftover pics








CURB

CURB are awesome. They were the final act on the night of April 10th at the Sunflower Lounge and put on a set worthy of any headlining band.
In their own words "(we) didn't form a band just because its the cool thing to do because one Midlands band got signed to a major label....We just write songs we like and go play them live and try to put our best into it so its hopefully worth the money for the people who took the time to travel over to watch us... We're an honest band that plays music because we love music, not for cool points or for the coolest in haircut".
These are modest words considering they've got songs like  'So High'. Their hair doesn't seem to have gone near any product, and it was no question at all whether they put their best into it. I've not seen this much chaos at a show since God Damn/The Wytches at the same venue back in February. Their Bass player was almost constantly jumping about the place, (I was almost constantly trying to get an amazing shot of him doing so). The crowd got moshing like mentalists. One guy got lifted up so he could touch the light fixtures, another guy nearly got that far but fell off instead. The bloke from ANiMA was in the background head-banging, and another guy got to join the group onstage to bang a tambourine. Appropriately enough it all ended with the band smashing up their kit. This show was worth the 500 pennies I spent on entry. 


Unfortunately there is only one song you can hear of theirs online at the moment. It's the Aforementioned, 'So high'. One guy reckons it sounds like "Oasis without the suck" I say it mixes the good bits of the 90's -baggy/shoegaze/grunge but with a huge chorus.
http://www.soundcloud.com/curbsaysmile

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Swerve

I've kept an eye on Swerve ever since I saw the last 10 seconds of a gig of theirs  at the actress and bishop, and nabbed a copy of the EP (complete with pink highlighter artwork). This was a nice opportunity to see how they've progressed. Now second on the bill on what was more or less a joint headline with CURB. Their front man is without a doubt one of the coolest (and Beardiest) guys in the scene. He wore a pair of cheap plastic sunglasses* throughout the gig, a big beard, a t shirt of a band I've never heard of and an African style poncho, which he wore as protest to Nigel Farage. Swerve's music is grungey, in fact I've compared them to both Nirvana and Guns 'N Roses in the past. By now the lounge was packed and I was right up against the speakers. At one point they played a Ballard which reminded me of Peace's 'Float Forever', and showed a surprising laid back melodic side to this band which I was not aware of. However this was a rare occurrence, and the rest of the set was full throttle grunge-y Rock n Roll. They even had a little light projector, giving the place a colourful disco feel. I even had 'Honeydripper' playing in my head for days afterwards.  Overall it was a confident and captivating set, I had a feeling that Swerve were a good band from watching those 10 seconds, and it's nice seeing how they've developed into a confident band. if the night had stopped there, then Swerve would have been great head-liners. Swerve owned the Sunflower Lounge, but things were still about to get better...






*good thing, I didn't feel so guilty about using the flash because of this.

https://www.facebook.com/swwwerve
https://twitter.com/swwwerve
https://soundcloud.com/swwwerve

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Noir

That Rock N Roll eh? attempting to smash through the glass ceiling, but smashing its nose, looking bloodier than ever. Okay i exaggerate but seriously why are all the bands splitting up? RNR's not gonna break through if everyone just gives up after 6 months.
Half way through the gig Noir's singer casually announced that this was the bands last gig. Which is a shame as these guys showed a lot of promise. It didn't seem like there was any animosity or tension between them all, or any sadness either. Despite it being a last show it just seemed like a few lads  having a good time, spreading positive vibes.
Rarely has a band ever been so suited to the Sunflower Lounge, and its moddish retro image.
Noir are/were a bunch of young and incredibly skinny West Midlands based lads who play indie rock n roll that evokes both summers of love. They probably idolise The Stone Roses, as there was a definite baggy influence on the bands sound. Their shaggy haired frontman danced and jumped about, while singing and kept on throwing his tambourine into the crowd, where one guy would pick it up and pass it back to him, before said tambourine would be dropped again. By this point the audience had finally started to fill out the room, and Noir's set definitely lived up to expectations


If this is the end for Noir, then I'm sure they'll all go onto other projects, a bunch of lads this talented will obviously go on to find other bands to play in. and while they were a very promising young band, they don't win points for originality. I look forward to seeing what they do next.

Check out their song 'Feel' here https://soundcloud.com/wearenoir-1
www.facebook.com/wearenoir
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFazbIBeg3c

Monday, April 14, 2014

ANiMA

Next up was ANiMA, who's music is a mix of Goth, Grunge, and Metal. The main focus point of this set, or at least of my photos was the singer. Dan Sheridan, Dan seems like the sort of guy who lives and breaths this music. He has long thin jet black hair, pale skin and he wore a T shirt with 'HIPS TITS LIPS POWER' (whatever that means) and set up all his pedals and mic just that little bit closer to us than the rest of the band. His voice reminds me of another singer but I can't remember who (it'll come to me), he was headbanging almost constantly and at one point writhing all over the floor. 
After the first song he said 'Thank you, this is Awkward Silence' to which I turned to my friend and said '...is that the song or?..' It's safe  to say that this is not really my thing. But I still spoke a bit too soon making fun of them there. I reckon I'd have loved these guys during my teenage emo years. But I actually kind of like them now, I really enjoyed the show. They are all obviously talented musicians and they've got good songs. I'd say that grunge is probably quite an influence e.g. Smashing Pumpkins, L7.  'You are not Alone' stood out as being a really good song as did 'The Sun and the Moon'. Good songs as well as obvious passion and love for this music separate ANiMA from your usual Emo posers.
 https://animanoise.bandpage.com/






Saturday, April 12, 2014

Only Shadows

 -- 10th April 2014 --
Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham 



Last Thursday, when the singer of Only Shadows pointed out that he could have a conversation with everyone in The Sunflower Lounge - individually- he wasn't joking.  In fact The Sunflower Lounge seems to get smaller every time I'm there. Only Shadows did their best to get the party started. With their melodic Indie rock, lively stage presence and sarcastic banter. Their music isn't far from the likes of Bombay Bicycle club (their guitarist looks a little like jack Steadman) they put plenty of energy into their short performance. The guy on bass jumped off the stage and played right in front of us, while the singer lifted his guitar up like a machine gun (both giving me the cool photos you see here) it’s just a bit of a shame that so few were around to see them. But that’s the way it goes.
They’ve also got plenty of good songs. Which you can hear on the rather good ‘Forest Fire’s EP which I nicked a copy of. This was the start of a great night of live music with some brilliant performances to come


This post is Part 1 of 5. next I'm writing up ANiMA, Noir, Swerve and Curb. 
soundcloud.com/only-shadows
 www.facebook.com/onlyshadowsuk

Friday, April 11, 2014

Why Said the Moon to the Earth. Live at Talk (Killr Punx show) + Video!

And now the last chapter of Saturday's Killr Punx show at Talk.  Where the very wordy WSTHMTTE were launching their debut EP, which I got a free copy of it for coming along early (although I'd not known if if it wasn't for the little card that came with it. There was no cover and the CD was spray painted black) WSM (as I'm abbreviating them to) are shoegazers both literally and figuratively.  They spend more time looking down -with long hair covering their faces- than facing the audience. In fact a lot of the time they didn't even hold their instruments. For some songs The bassist let his instrument hang over his back while facing away from the crowd.
 Their songs are all slow paced numbers that mix gentle melodic guitar tones with droning guitar noise and pounding drums. They don't tend to do an awful lot other than just stand there while playing them, but at the end did invite us all to come and stand right next to them at the front of the 'stage'. WSM got the biggest audience of any of these bands and they seemed to enjoy it, even if this music doesn't lend itself to moshing and cheering.  
This is less music of songs, more about mood and ambience. And i'm sure any fans of Mogwai or Devil Sold His Soul will love them. See if you do by watching the video below. 

https://www.facebook.com/whysaidthemoontoearth

You can buy your own black cd at the link below
http://whysaidthemoontoearth.bandcamp.com/


Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Mighty Young, Live at Talk (Killr Punx Show)

The Mighty Young are my kind of band, two lads playing raw rock n roll, that thanks to the likes of Royal Blood and Drenge could not be more in fashion at the moment. The sound is obviously indebted to The White Stripes (in fact i think they did a cover of them) which is just as well as this might be as close as you'll get to seeing jack n co at the moment.
Much like the aforementioned bands there is an obvious blues influence on this band.  I've always felt that the best bands are those who respect the blues.  They were jumping around and thrashing about this blues rock riffage for a good 20+ minutes
They were by far my favorite band of the night. A huge amount of energy went into their set, even the very last drum note involved the drummer launching himself off the stool onto the wall behind him.
The Mighty Young. They live up to their name.

https://www.facebook.com/ruttingdevil
https://twitter.com/TheMightyYoung

Ultimate Grand Supreme. Live at Talk (Killr Punx Show)


Once the rockers had a go it was time for the nerds. Ultimate Grand Supreme make very strange experimental music. Their singer was mostly either on the floor messing with pedals and keyboards or playing his guitar. The resulting music was just totally bizarre. The experimental nature of it all inspired me to experiment with the functions on my camera, hence the strange photos you see here.
I spoke to one of them afterwards  and i told them that they reminded me of BATTLES and while he understood the comparison he felt that his music is even looser and even more experimental. I see what he means. He's also happy that none of the photos show their faces as they like to stay a bit anonymous.
The drums provide a constant rhythm, which makes a backdrop on which you'll find droning guitar noise, keyboards making sounds like you've never heard before, while the bands main man presses all sorts of pedals to make it even weirder. Theres no catchy songs, just experimental freak outs. I found that I had to just respect them for going all out and making this crazy noise.


If you want some idea  of what all this sounds like then check out this video for 'A Tribute to BJorn Again'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sbCdm_Cms0
Photo: Last nights set list. Pick your favourites.
https://www.facebook.com/ugsmusic