Dear B-Town Boys and West End Girls (of Clash Music’s readership),
2012 so far has been such a great time for Birmingham that you may be led into believing that the end of the world is taking place this year. I mean, how could it get any better for music? Well I’ve grown five extra fingers to keep on various new pulses in the town of B.
Troumaca are being as elusive as ever, playing here, DJing there, but keeping their world domination plans on the D.L. However, they recently revealed on the Unsigned/New Music show on Birmingham station Scratch Radio that they are hard at work on new material. Eventually you will be able to stop spinning The Gems EP. Jaws are becoming more and friendlier with the radio. They have sensibly given in to their inner pop sensibility and are now reaping the rewards. Huw Stephens premiered one half of their upcoming Double A-Side single ‘Surround You / Stay In’ on his late night show which will be released through Rattlepop on 3rd December.
Midnight Bonfires, whom I mentioned with a lot of enthusiasm last time, have dipped their collective toes into the pool of blogging. Their blog is a well written tour de force of their nights out, their shows and their general shenanigans around Birmingham. They are in a world of their own but you can glimpse into this world through their blog: http://midnightbonfires.com/ London loves loud noises and so it has obviously fallen for Birmingham’s newest noise-nerds Heavy Waves and serial pedal abusers Wide Eyed. Both have been making an impression on part of London’s sprawling music scene/scenes. Soon these two bands will no longer belong to B-Town and will fly the nest just as Peace and Swim Deep have done. Oh how they grow up so fast!
Something is obviously in the air in Birmingham. Normal people have been breathing it in and suddenly rushing home and recording demos. An excitingly large amount of bands have popped up on my radar that I would like to share with your radars. Paving the way for the acceptance of experimentalism are Skull TV and The Rookers Five. Skull TV are making voice-less but not soul-less noise-scapes, crafting distortion and aural-abstractions into audio dy-na-might! The Rookers Five conjure up songs that are perfect for those with short attention spans. They throw whatever seems to come to mind into each of their songs. It’s not easy listening but who needs easy when you have crazy?
Speaking of un-easy listening; God Damn have made themselves a little more known with the release of ‘Fought In The Mirror’. It’s a lurching beast of a song complete with wits-end vocal howls and keys that pound as hard as the drums. They have been pedalling their full-throttle musical assaults for a wee while but it seems like ‘Fought In The Mirror’, their call to arms, is calling in a lot of new fans. They have been represented by Distorted Tapes, a back to basics record label based in the Midlands. A label that release tapes, CDs and puts on shows with their favourite bands. You have to admire the way they stick it to the man by releasing cassette tapes instead of downloads. Why exactly? Well, in their own words: “Because you can’t hug a download.”
Liquid Silver Records are a far more up to date prospect if you’d rather tune into people doing very modern things with their free time. Stephen John, former front man of Birmingham based band Silver Souvenirs, seems to be the head honcho behind Liquid Silver. They put out bangers from the shiniest producers, hidden within Birmingham’s vast expanse. Keep an eye on this venture; it’s sure to turn into warehouse raves and collaborations between producers within no time.
Two is the new three in terms of magic numbers. One man plus one woman duos The Mourning Suns and The Problems have recently blipped up on the old radar. Both sound rather down in the dumps but through expressing their sadness, they create music that will soon have you expressing joy. The Mourning Suns are wickedly haunting and subtly brilliant. The Problems are a lot more rough and ready with a bluesy twang. If you still feel as though you need more Birmingham exports to explore then cop for this: Enigma Dubz. This one-man producing wonder puts out the kind of jams that are long enough, dark enough and hypnotic enough to count as perfect late night listening.
Frank Lindsay and his crew of hip hop heads have not forgotten the importance of the beats and the verse. They throw parties under Fantastic Damage where they bring the big names from the underbelly of hip hop and rap to Birmingham. They also throw tribute parties to their favourite names such as their recent Ghostface Halloween party. They keep the mics open and the decks spinning at every night. The collective also make music and release exceptional albums under the moniker Abes Oddysee. Odd Future eat your heart out.
P.S Symfonyah, a band from Birmingham have sprang up from nowhere with some very promising demos. Harmonious and filled with the love of melody, the fruits of their Soundcloud page suggest wonderful things.
Photo Credit: Luke Halliley
Words by Jack Parker