Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Crime & Punishment 2011 - Clones (Official Music Video) -Featuring The B-Town Blog!

What you see below this text is the first music video from
Crime and punishment 2011. These guys have been confusing/enrapturing audiences for a few months now with their screamy mix of grime beats and bars and heavy guitars. Also on the bill was Smart Casual (who were ace) and Weatherstate. It does feel a bit odd watching a music video where another bands logo is on the wall behind them. Watching myself in a music video is also a bit of an odd and slightly cringe experience. I had a haircut earlier that day which I wasn't really happy with so you can see me wearing a red hat indoors and a 'La Priest' shirt.  I feel a little bit embarrassed at my white boy dance moves/holding of a camera. Yet none of the audience look that great. Obviously the band look really cool, but it's their video. I'm surprised at how well it's turned out.
You can check them out with me at Subside tomorrow, and read my review
of that show at the link below.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Fidgets

If you've been  in Solihull town centre at any point recently then you might have caught a glimpse of The Fidgets busking. The Fidgets are two skinny, spotty and rather nerdy looking young lads. They play classic rock n roll songs by the likes of The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Chuck Berry. Their sound is minimal, with no drums or bass,  yet the stripped back sound gives these old songs a new lease of life. The Fidgets play with a passion that makes 50+ year old Chuck Berry tunes a joy to hear. The Fidgets are a step above most town centre buskers however, and have released their own EP's and music videos as well. Their new single 'Somehow' is classic rock 'n roll. A song of heartbreak told though gently strummed guitars, piano and the lads singing that 'It'll work somehow'. It's exactly the sort of simple, yet slightly cheesy tune that The Beatles started out writing. Check out their Youtube and you'll also find the videos for 'I'm Alright'. Which finds them walking around Digbeth playing a simple yet catchy Rhythm and Blues style tune. 'She's got me' where they walk around a forest in slightly blurry black and white. It's a more relaxed, and slightly melancholy tune. It's a joy hearing young lads play this style of music without and sense of irony or pastiche. Their love for this style of music is clear and has livened up my trips to Solihull's Mell Square. Yet their own tunes show a growing song-writing talent that has won them fans far and wide. Check out their new single below.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Swerve -EP: Review

The moment I saw that Swerve had out their début EP on-line for pre-order I ordered it. For a long time I have been sure that Swerve are one of the best bands to come out of the Birmingham scene, I was happy to see that they'd not split up and bought it to support them. The 4 new tracks have been issued in a beautiful 12" Vinyl package.  The sleeve shows a sleazy, 1970's/ 80's street covered in neon lights. The best part is the disc itself, Swerve's Début has been pressed onto a slab of translucent blood red vinyl. It's a beauty to behold and one seriously sexy thing to to own. Considering that their demo was a CD placed a blank piece of card with a swirl drawn on it in highlighter, it's fitting that the music itself shows as much of a development as the format itself. This EP is a bit more mellow but also a bit darker than the previous releases. Their early demo's seemed to have nods to the classic grunge of Nirvana and rock n' roll of early Guns N' Roses. 'Afterglow' sets the scene with it's deep, echoey vocals and jangly guitars. It proves that they've got a melodic nous that their peers lack, but is a bit darker than I've come to expect from the band who once filled a whole set with Weezer covers, and introduced themselves with a pitch perfect KISS impression. 'Blue Sunset' is a bit more upbeat. It's got a touch of the lazily fucked up swagger that The Rolling Stones perfected on 'Exile in Main St', and a damn fine guitar solo to boot. 'Regress' is lush and shoegazy. Mike Ball's vocals are deep and buried in the mix. Like much of the EP his lyrics are poetic yet regretful. There is a poignancy to lyrics such as 'Forever in debt to the chemistry, fade with a smile into synthetic harmony'. The lush yet rather lo-Fi production on some of these songs reminds me of what DIIV have been putting out lately. 'Daydream' finishes off the EP and like the other tracks is it mixes, melodic guitar lines, skittish drums, jangyly riffs and poetic lyrics. It'll builds to a huge climax and Mike Ball screaming 'The Truth is a burden I can't bear'. This is a very different EP to what I was expecting. Swerve are developing their sounds and making it clear that they're not just another band of 90's loving grunge wannabees. It's their first official release, but this EP feels like a bold step forward.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

How to buy Vinyl records

What with all the fuss about the revival of records, somebody had to write a straightforward essay about the pro's and con's of buying LP's and what beginners need to know about them. Unlike those old blokes on BBC 4 (I'm looking at you Danny Baker)  I will tell you about how to buy records without getting all whimsical and nostalgic. The first step is the most obvious really (1) Always buy Independent Now that Tesco, HMV,  and Urban Outfitters are selling LP's it might be tempting to pop into one and get yourself a few records, and you have every right to do so. You won't find the new Ty Segall album amongst the grocery's however. Independent store's have been making a come back recently, and it's due to the revival of LP's, as well as a bit of a leg up from 'Record Store day'. While you may have to walk to the outskirts of town. You can have an actual conversation and discover music that you'd not have heard otherwise. While HMV may like you buying LP's as it makes them an extra £5. The money you spend at an indie will put food on the guy's table. (2) Avoid re-issues if you can. If you are lucky to live near a good second hand store such as The Diskery then you will find it so much easier to get first, second or third pressings. (3) Always buy 1st pressings if you can, the sound will be so much better and you will have the nice smug feeling that your favourite albums were all the first out the factory. However don't forget to (4) Set a budget, don't spend over £25 on anything unless you are an actual collector. (5) Get 70's and 80's records rather than 60's or 90's. Mint 90's indie records are as rare as early 60's classics. Both will cost a fortune. Although 60's 7" singles can be bought for anything above 10p. (6) Be wary of new releases, and (7) Avoid gimmicks. Modern day records are not always pressed to the same quality as older ones. My copy of Jamie XX's In Colour plays so quiet I can hear bees buzzing in the background over it. (7) Charity Shop's can be a goldmine for records. Oxfam may have jumped on the bandwagon and upped their prices, but you can still find the odd Gem. As a general rule older records can be warped and covered in scratches. You'd be amazed how well they can still play though. (8) Buy a decent cleaning kit and you can make old records look new again. (9) you don't need a fancy turntable, if you are just starting out then you're probably better off with a Crosley than a Bose. My Crosley Cruiser cost under £100 and while many snobs hate them, I love mine dearly. Most important of all, you need to (10) make space. Find an old bookshelf and move the books somewhere else. You may only want to buy the occasional Record Store Day collectible but you will find your collection grows very fast very quickly.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Scuzz UK Throwdown Tour. Press To Meco, ALLUSONDRUGS, Max Raptor at the Rainbow, Review. (22/2/16)

The first band to play at the very first Scuzz TV Throwdown Tour was Orca. Scuzz is 'The UK's Favourite Rock and Metal TV station'* and the UK Throwdown tour consists of three bands touring up and down the country. Press to Meco, ALLUSONDRUGS, and Max Raptor, all get to headline different dates, and no one knows until the night of the gig who goes last.
Not only were Orca playing the first night on this tour this was also their first ever gig. The local lads played a decent set of originals and covers. Which I didn't watch. Sorry lads.
The last time I saw Press To Meco was also the last time I saw ALLUSONDRUGS live at the flapper last year. For some reason I liked them a lot more this time around than I did the last time I saw them. What I do really like about them is that they seem like a band completely free of ego. They all dressed completely in black, they all sung together. unlike most bands  Press To Meco  are an autocracy, everyone plays an equal part. I'm really impressed at their musical ability, such  as their guitarist's double tapping. They remind me a lot of Biffy Clyro, both the crazy early Biffy Clyro and the massive stadium ready Biffy. Press to Meco are the best of both worlds. Their songs are both huge, with massive rock riffs but also a technical skill and melodic touch that their peers can't match. Their set was full of energy and rock star poses. The best thing about Press to Meco is how much fun they make it all look, and how much fun they are to see live.

I often wonder why ALLUSONDRUGS are not huge. They might be wondering themselves because the band I saw this time round seemed just a bit more professional. They no longer look like they climbed out of 1969, a few of them have had haircuts. They've got some new threads and they can now (almost) make an entire show without falling over or pretending to give each other blowjobs. While watching them play with a metal bar separating them from the audience did feel a bit like watching a lion behind a cage.  But the upside is that they now look and sound like a band who can take on the world. Their lead guitarist looks fantastic with his new blue hair, and vintage threads. Their grungey tunes are still really loud. Sunset Yellow, I should Have Gone To Uni and Am I Weird, were all standout tunes, though I still feel that their first single ' Nervous' is their best song. They may have cleaned themselves up a bit but their sound is still as dirty and as loud as ever.

What's new in Birmingham? asked Will Ray, singer of the brilliantly named midlands rockers Max Raptor. A typically apathetic murmur followed, until I shouted 'New Train Station!'. That's been there for ages, he replied. 'But were not here to talk about public transport'. He was right, Max Raptor were there to rock. I had come to watch ALLUSONDRUGS  but within Minutes Max Raptor had earned the right to headline the rainbow. Their no nonsense, no frills, loud as fuck, punk rock show was exactly what Birmingham wanted. People sung along, moshed, jumped about and obeyed commands as Will leaned on the metal bar and shouted at us all. All three bands were equally great, the Scuzz Throwdown tour might be the start of something very special.


*according to their facebook

**He later told me that this was a highlight of the show