A Letter From… Birmingham #7

The year in retrospect...

Usually at the end of the year, things slow down to a snail-like pace while every thinks about how great the last 12 months have been. No time for nostalgia in Birmingham this December however, things are moving at a snail-on-steroids like pace round these parts. Whether you are from around ‘ere or not, this letter is getting delivered straight to the post-box of your mind with what you should be listening to and taking note of in the town of B.

Troumaca (pronounced TRU-MUH-KUH) have gone and done something that they should’ve done a long time ago. They got signed. Gilles Peterson snapped them up and chucked them under the wing of his Brownswood Recordings label. The first thang to have sprang up is ‘Lady Colour’, the lead single from their forth-coming EP on the label. It’s one heck of a shlow-ja-ham and shows of a smoother side to their very modern take on R’N’B. You could practically hear the excitement blipping up on everyone’s Facebook pages as the news spread and congratulations were made. Nice one lads.

While we are on the subject of EPs, Midnight Bonfires released their first EP earlier on in the year in style with a launch party at the Hare and Hounds. It’s a corker of a first offering and you can hear the promise in every mandolin strum and every falsetto-infused hook. Get your hands on their EP from the band themselves at their shows. They’re keeping it real.

Birmingham’s love for Britpop has become apparent in recent times with Black Market Empire leading the lads onwards and upwards by throwing parties at The Victoria and Adam & Eve to name but a few. The names to check out if you are a lad or lad-ette who loves their pop sang by blokes with guitars are The British Kicks, Bipolar Bears and The Culture. Not forgetting The Van Cortlandt Rangers and Deceptions Pocket. It’s all kicking off and you are spoilt for choice.

If you’d rather get pleasure from the pain of loud and abrasive guitar music then it’s the likes of Them Wolves, Shapes, Bovine and new-comers Youth Man that you need to go and head bang to and The Flapper is the pub to do it at. Female-fronted Youth Man are especially interesting as their disillusionment with the world is expressed in a way that will appeal more to the post-punk-rockers out there. Bombers are another name to Google if the style of punk that came in the post after punk’s original wave is your forte. Birmingham is one versatile beast.

It’s not all about the geezers with their guitars however, Birmingham artist Laura Mvula has made her first musical flourish with the ‘She’ EP. It appeared like the musical equivalent of finding a tenner under your sofa cushion. Her debut LP ‘Sing To The Moon’ is set for release in March of 2013. She’s pretty special, and has already been thrown onto the Sound of 2013 list, compiled by the BBC.

P.S – If Birmingham’s Wide Eyed, Heavy Waves and Caves make you feel warm and fuzzy inside with their warm and fuzzy guitar-scapes, then your ears will no doubt prick up upon hearing the demos from Bad Moon. They are the new kids on the block setting the phasers to fuzz and are most likely to be caught up in the buzz around all this fuzz.

Tweet me about Birmingham – @SecretAdmirer60

Words by Jack Parker

Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.