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Brum Notes are fast gaining a rep for throwing some of the best monthly parties in town. So when they announced their latest issue launch show, featuring a kicking set of rock groups and a DJ set from one of the city’s most popular exports JAWS, they pretty much cemented their name alongside the word ‘unmissable.’
First up were Caves – a.k.a. Joe Daly, accompanied by Jaws/Spearmint 6’s Eddy Geach. As for what happened to the other band members? “Jason’s a heroin addict, Adam’s a prostitute, I’m just trying to keep this going.” And we’re certainly glad that he is. Tight drum rhythms and sprawling guitar riffs enthralled the crowd as they were treated to new songs, songs from past groups “for nostalgia’s sake,” and even “an actual Caves song,” before the set drew to a close.
Whilst some bands wear the hearts on their sleeves, and others are prepared to show you their souls, when Bad Moon took to the stage, they were prepared to show the whole room what they had inside of them. Literally. Frontman Jordan Crawford threw up mid-set (“there’s a first time for everything”). To choruses of “what you gonna do?” from the crowd, the band blasted through tracks old and new, thoroughly entertaining (and momentarily repulsing) those gathered before them.
“This set is dedicated to the contents of Jordan Crawford’s stomach!” And so Bad Apes began their set. The three piece wasted no time in winning over their audience, powerful distorted guitars swirling and entwining with heavy percussion, and rough and rowdy vocals. Pausing briefly to congratulate Bad Moon on their choice of “chunky” breakfasts, and to pass a slice of pizza amongst themselves, they played with an undeniable energy to an audience who lapped up every note.
Then finally, it was the turn of God Damn, who had the crowd in uprawr and crowdsurfers in the air before the first song was over. Dark and dirty refrains resounded around the room along with heavy heart-thudding drumbeats and screeching spine-tingling vocals, as various members of Wide Eyed swung from the rafters. After a bit of self promotion for their Nirvana-logo-stealing merchandise and a plea for a lawsuit – because “what better press can you have, really, than Courtney Love taking a dislike to you?” – all too soon their set was drawing to a close. Ignoring shouts of “five more!” “six more!” “twenty more!” they ended with raucous riffs, pounding rhythms, and heaps of feedback, which continued to echo as they cleared the stage.
After a show as action-packed as this one, Brum Notes have left themselves with a hard act to follow. Only time will tell if it lives up to expectations, but at this rate, we doubt anyone will be disappointed.
There’s something incredibly powerful about solo performances. When a single person in a spotlight can hold the attention of an audience as well as (or even better than) a group of performers, you know you’re on to something good. And for that, you need look no further.
Two Fathoms is the alias of Neil Ward – a solo artist from our very own city of Birmingham. He’s made his name performing in towns and cities from here to New York and back again. Armed with nothing but an acoustic guitar, he’s found his fair share of fans, friends, and followers. Infectious melodies and ingeniously woven lyrics define his sound, telling stories that can either charm their way into your heart or win you over with their witty sense of humour (see ‘Who Gives A F*ck About Love?’ in the player below for your new favourite knees-up sing-a-long).
We’re as excited by free music as the next person, so if you like what you hear, why not take the time to download Two Fathoms’ mixtape EP here.
Band Members: Dom Ganderton (vocals/guitar), Ryan Malcom (guitar), Emily Baker (bass), Carl Griffin (drums)
Sounds Like: early Blur, Pavement, Peace
Online: Facebook | Twitter | Website
If you’ve had your ear to the ground, or the radio, or pretty much anywhere else recently, chances are you’ll already be aware of this four piece. Starting out as Baby100, before being briefly billed as Junnk, Superfood unleashed their debut track – after months of live shows that did everything to build the hype – live on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 show. Not bad going for a band who were still playing pub venues.
And they certainly prove themselves worthy of the hysteria. Debut single, also entitled ‘Superfood’ (below), features loud and distorted guitars, baggy drum beats, and possibly the catchiest chorus you ever will hear. Whether you play it once, or you play it a hundred times (and we do recommend playing it a hundred times), you’ll soon find it impossible cook anything without singing-a-long. Superfood picnic, anyone?
Band: Carousel Circus
Band Members: Craig Gould (vocals/guitar), Aimee Strange (vocals), Kevin Bishop (guitar), Craig Francis (piano), Becky Walker (saxophone), Liam Marley (bass), Eddie Clifford (drums)
Sounds Like: Beautiful South, Fleet Foxes, The Levellers
Online: Facebook | Twitter | Website
When a band describe themselves as “a travelling, working circus full of adventure and camaraderie,” you know to expect something a little extraordinary. And that’s exactly what Carousel Circus are. Their music takes a dash of country and a sprinkling of blues, before placing it over a solid folk base. Dual harmonious vocals craft pleasingly enticing melodies,
In their time together, Carousel Circus have supported various names – from Ocean Colour Scene to N-Dubz, and from Bez (of Happy Mondays fame) to Hawkwind. With a number of shows and festival appearances set for the summer, Carousel Circus are well on their way, “drowning in imagination, yet sailing with a fresh solitary charm.”
When the imagery’s this grand, it’s hard to turn away. You can listen to Carousel Circus below.
Band: The Making
Band Members: Dan Oakey (guitar/vocals), Matt Pownall (guitar/vocals), Scott Ridgway (bass), Tom Lowe (drums/backing vocals)
Sounds Like: Antics, Biffy Clyro, Drenge
Online: Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter
The Making are a band that have been, er, making (excuse the poor wordplay) music for a few years now. They’ve come a long way since their early days. What started out as a fairly typical home-brewed guitar group has grown into something a little more multi-layered. Think grunge laden riffs, punky vocals,
indie-infused melodies, and you get The Making.
The band’s latest offering, ‘Signals’ (below), sees dirty and distorted guitars combine with heavy and steady drum beats, accompanied by a hefty and hooky sing-a-long chorus. Chiming refrains meet melodic backing vocals that continue to echo long after the track ends.
You can next catch The Making at the Numa Bar in Wolverhampton, on May 10.
If you were to look up ‘hype band’ in the dictionary, what would you get? Ignore, for a moment, that dictionaries don’t explain phrases, and most don’t contain pictures. Instead, think of Palma Violets. We all know who they are by now – since making the front cover of NME before releasing any material, they’ve since recorded and unleashed their debut album to a mixed set of reviews (read our thoughts on it here). When it comes to their latest single, however, there hasn’t been much debate.
There’s an infectious guitar riff that you can’t help but feel slightly lifted by, distinctive organ melodies that are typical of the band’s sound, along with the crooning/coarse dual vocals that have already won over so many hearts. What makes ‘We Found Love’ so (for lack of a more appropriate description) loveable, is its instant sing-a-long vibe.
The track’s got enough “la la la”’s to make it accessible to even the drunkest of crowds. Which is ideally what you want to be a part of when you hear it; darkened venue, sunny (okay then, rain-drenched) festival field, it doesn’t matter – anywhere you can hold a pint in one hand and your dignity in the other, swaying like a loon whilst you try to remember the words you’re shouting along to. That’s ultimately what Palma Violets are all about. And when they do it well, they do it very well indeed.
As they hit the road on their first official tour of the UK, the brothers Loveless – a.k.a. Drenge – have recorded something brand new, uploaded it online for your listening pleasure, and made it free to download and keep. It’s certainly sounding good so far.
‘Necromance Is Dead’ is a potent punch of purring power. Clocking in at under two minutes, it doesn’t exactly have long to make an impact, but make an impact it does nevertheless. A vigorous drumbeat combines with snarling guitars, forming a dynamic background to frontman Rory’s raw and rough vocals. Half way through the tracks short duration, it transforms into a steadily surging rock and roll rhythm, which soon gives way to screeching and anarchic energy.
Whilst they may only have a few recordings to their collective name, what we’ve heard of Drenge’s repertoire so far practically reeks with promise. Catch the duo as they continue to tour the country to hear more of what they’re made from.
Download ‘Necromance Is Dead’ here:
With plans for a debut album set for later this year, their first EP set for June 10, and a free show at The Yardbird late next week, Evil Alien are certainly a band that have been keeping themselves busy. And it’s not just their music that’s occupying their time. “I’ve said it a few times; we’re a bit like Fleetwood Mac with all of the line up changes – but without the love interest, or hair do’s!” Thankfully, they seem to have settled firmly within themselves, and they took time out of their busy schedule to talk to us about the band, Birmingham, and actual aliens.
“Evil Alien is just the two of us,” Glenn Smith explained. “Myself and the mercurial David McCabe. We write and record the tunes, deal with the videos and lay down all of the groundwork. We then have two other alien soldiers; Kristian Smart (synths) & Sebastian Maynard- Francis (drums) who play out live with us.”
As for the name, they certainly chose one that tells a story. “I’ve always been fascinated by conspiracy theories, so the David Icke one that there was evil alien’s amongst us running the world was of particular amusement.” The theory in question states that a reptilian (or alien) race once interbred with the human race, and that the decedents of this bloodline continue to rule the world to this day. The deciding factor in the band choosing this as their moniker? “I remember an ex-girlfriend derogatorily saying I looked like one… I guess it was fate.”
Hailing from our own city of Birmingham, the band feel very much connected to their home-town “It’s a huge influence, we’ve got a really industrial vibe from being stuck in our bunker studio in Digbeth.” “There used to be a galvanising plant across the road. The steel used to echo down the street.” But it’s not all positive comments. “The one thing I do hate is the term “B Town.” It sounds like a midland comb amateur football side or something.”
One of the most striking things about Evil Alien is their focus, not only on their music, but on the aesthetics – the artwork and videos that accompany their tracks. “Visuals and artistic freedom are major factors,” they discussed. “It’s all a big piece of art so it’s important that it comes out the way we want.” “Everything we put our name to we try to make it as good as we possibly can, but without compromise. Sometimes to our detriment.”
As well as creating their debut EP, ‘Factotum,’ Evil Alien have also been working on a film score. “It’s a short film, directed by Tom Werber (who also directed the music video for the bands single, ‘Higher Than The Sun’). It’s called ‘FUMES’. The film is nearly done now & we’re buzzing to be involved. It’s got sort of a bleak armageddon, break down of society vibe. Which, to be fair isn’t as far fetched as it sounds. Especially in the current climate.”
You can next catch Evil Alien at The Yardbird, performing a free show alongside The Grafham Water Sailing Club (“The name is mental, in a good way though. It sounds like they should all be decked out in Paul & Shark!”) on May 5. Their EP, ‘Factotum,’ will be available via the bands website and as a digital download from June 10.
As far as the cost to value ratio is concerned, five pounds for five bands is a pretty stellar deal. So at the O2 Academy on Wednesday night, whilst Frank Turner packed out a show in the main room, the smaller room filled with fans and friends alike, eager to see and hear some of the best new music the night had to offer.
Stereojets were first under the stage lights, mixing covers of Fall Out Boy and Blink 182 classics along with their own originals, inciting mini-moshes from members of the crowd. With their drummer aptly dressed in an Animal t-shirt, The Sunset Limited were next, their rocky refrains and echoing vocals drawing smokers in from the cold and drinkers away from the bar with ease.
It wasn’t until the third band, however, that the audience really became engaged. If you’re a fan of Peace, then you’ll definitely want to keep your eyes on these guys. Taking to the stage for their debut show to the tune of TLC’s ‘No Scrubs,’ Sugar performed their set with an all-natural swagger. Delicious sounding guitars wasted no time in winning over the audience, whilst the band wasted no time in adopting rock star personas, sharing on stage kisses and throwing items of clothing into the crowd (which were promptly caught and worn).
Leopard followed, suitably equipped with leopard print guitar straps, headbands, and wristbands. Their set centred on debut single, ‘Breathe,’ and included a bizarrely enjoyable mash-up of Jay-Z’s ’99 Problems’ and Will Smith’s ‘The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air,’ complete with heavy guitar riffs. Whilst they might not have been on the circuit long, they certainly know how to entertain.
Headlining the night were Lovats. Whilst a number of the compliments floating around the room through the bands set may have had more to do with their frontman’s distinctive hair colour, the group played a set that proved them to have more than appearance in their favour. New single, ‘Over,’ and old favourite ‘Fiction,’ were clear highlights, and the band drew the show to an impressive finish, as people piled out the venue in search of more cheap drinks.