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March 2015

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SCROOBIUS PIP JAWS LUCY ROSE SWIM DEEP ERRORS ZUN ZUN EGUI GOGO PENGUIN FYFE AMERIIE PLUS: OUR GUIDE TO FLATPACK FILM FESTIVAL 2015 / ARTS & SCIENCE COLLIDE IN BIRMINGHAM / WIN TICKETS FOR A WEEKEND FESTIVAL OF CLUBBING / THIS MONTH’S BEST ALBUMS / YOUR FULL GUIDE TO WHAT’S ON THROUGHOUT MARCH March 2015

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Sun 5th Apr • £6 adv

Sat 16th May • £27.50 adv

Fri 10th Apr • £17 adv

Marcia Griffiths & Friends

Box Of Light 6pm - 10pm

The Wombats 10.30pm-3.30am • £4 / £5 adv

Over 18s only - Proof of age required £3 early bird tix available Thurs 5th Mar • £18.50 adv

Yellowcard & Less Than Jake

+ Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!

Mon 9th Mar • £19.50 adv

Clean Bandit

+ Jess Glynne + Whilk and Misky

Thurs 12th Mar • £10 adv / £25 VIP

Room 94

Fri 13th Mar • £13 adv 6pm - 10pm

Modestep + Big Narstie Sat 14th Mar • £23 adv

The Stranglers Tues 17th Mar • £20 adv

Papa Roach

+ Coldrain + The One Hundred

Weds 18th Mar • £29.50 adv

Placebo

Sat 21st Mar • £8 adv

Daft As Punk Daft Punk Tribute

Sun 22nd Mar • £19.50 adv

Dropkick Murphys

Celtic Punk Invasion Tour + The Mahones + Blood or Whiskey + Resistance 77

Mon 23rd Mar • £12.50 adv

Logic

Weds 25th Mar • £40 adv

Chic ft. Nile Rogers

Sat 11th Apr • £39.50 adv

Simple Minds

Sun 12th Apr • £20 adv

Bars and Melody Sat 18th Apr • £15 adv

Insane Championship Wrestling: Insane Entertainment System Tour ft. Paperboy

Sun 19th Apr • £25 adv

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic Tues 21st Apr • £15 adv

Prong

The Smyths

Celebrating 30 years of Meat is Murder plus the Hits

Earls Court ‘75 Revisited

Fri 19th June • £18.50 adv 6pm - 10pm

The Movielife Tues 23rd June • £17.50 adv

Dead Kennedys Sat 27th June • £25 adv

Weds 30th Sept • £16 adv

Annihilator

Sat 3rd Oct • £28 adv

Weird Al

Sat 21st Nov • £22.50 adv

From The Jam

Sound Affects 35th Anniversary Tour

Weds 2nd Dec • £12.50 adv

Electric Six

6pm - 11pm

NOFX & Alkaline Trio

FOR FULL AND LATEST LISTINGS CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE

Weds 11th Mar • £7 adv

Sat 2nd May • £7.50 adv

LostAtHome

Beholder

7pm - 10pm

6.45pm - 11pm

+ Morgue Orgy + Haerken + Destroyed Beyond Belief

Weds 29th Apr • £15 adv / £40 VIP

The Qemists

+ The Algorithm + E of E

Sat 9th May • £13 adv

Damage

+ Rough Copy

6pm - 10pm

Sat 14th Mar • £6 adv 6.45pm - 11pm

Fri 1st May • £26.50 adv

Martyr De Mona

Mobb Deep

Sat 21st Mar • £15 adv

6pm - 10.30pm • Rescheduled - original tix valid

“The Infamous...” 20th Anniversary Tour

Sat 2nd May • £18.50 adv

Pentatonix

Sun 3rd May • £15 adv

6pm - 10pm

Twin Atlantic Sat 9th May • £7 adv

The World of Pandora

Modern Minds

9pm - 5am • over 18s only

6.30pm - 10.30pm • Rescheduled - original tix valid

+ Light You Up

Fri 3rd Apr • £16.50 adv

+ Shooze + Deco + Chase The Deer + SLTP

Of Mice & Men

Tues 12th May • £31 adv

+ Eyes of the Raven + Aceldama

6.30pm - 10.30pm

Ultimate Genesis Fri 15th May • £12 adv 6.30pm - 10pm

Cloudbusting (Kate Bush Tribute)

Mike Peters presents The Alarm

Sat 16th May • £6 adv

Strength - 30th Anniversary Tour

+ Trivax + Decimate + Paraletica + Toward The Grave

Weds 25th Mar • £9 adv

6.45pm - 11pm

Eradikator

The Coronas

Sat 23rd May • £10 adv

Thurs 26th Mar • £8 adv

(The Ultimate Nirvana Tribute)

Walking On Cars & Port Isla Sat 4th Apr • £8 adv

Novana

Weds 3rd June • £5 adv

There & Back Again

Arron Erskine

Sat 18th July • £15 adv / £25 VIP

+ Elektric + Heinz Sight + Sam Ostler

Jake Quickenden

Weds 22nd Apr • £8 adv

Thurs 20th Aug • £17 adv

Echosmith

Fri 24th Apr • £7 adv 6pm - 10pm

Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats

Swamp Delta

Fri 18th Sept • £11 adv

Boyz II Men

Sat 25th Apr • £6 adv

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?”

Fri 15th May • £15 adv

+ Shynne + Cause To Effect + Deathsex Bloodbath + Venomous Addiction

6pm - 10pm

+ Tides + White Clouds & Gunfire

Boot Led Zeppelin

UK Foo Fighters

The Interrupters

Sat 28th Mar • £10-£25 adv / £30 VIP

In Hindsight

Sun 24th May • £12.50 adv

Sat 19th Sept • £12.50 adv

Fri 13th Mar • £10 adv

Sun 26th Apr • £14 adv

Fri 8th May • £16.50 adv

6pm - 10pm

Rx Bandits & Circa Survive + From Indian Lakes

perform David Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ + Morgan Visconti & Jessica Lee Morgan

6.30pm - 10pm

Four Year Strong

Sat 4th Apr • £10 adv

Sat 23rd May • £13.50 adv

Tony Visconti & Woody Woodmansey with Glenn Gregory

Fri 24th Apr • £12 adv

Fri 27th Mar • £14 adv + Light You Up + Forever Came Calling + Hit The Lights

ft. Bob Andy + Judy Mowatt + Tanya Stephens + special guest Richie Spice backed by the 809 band - Hosted by Daddy Ernie & DJ Daddy Fridge

Mon 29th June • £20 adv

+ Steak Number Eight + Hark

Motion City Soundtrack

6pm - 10pm

9pm - 3am • over 18s only

6pm - 10pm

Swervedriver

6.45pm - 11pm

Lovebite

6.30pm - 10pm

Definitely Mightbe Fri 25th Sept • £24 adv 7pm - 10pm

The Burlesque Ball UK Tour

16-18 Horsefair, Bristol St, Birmingham, B1 1DB 2

Doors 7.00pm unless stated • Venue box office opening hours: Mon-Fri 12pm-4pm, Sat 11am-4pm • No booking fee o n cash transactions

Brum Notes Magazine

ticketweb.co.uk • seetickets.com • gigantic.com • ticketmaster.co.uk


March 2015

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CONTENTS

The Cribs, live at The Oobleck. Turn to P36 for the review. Photo by Daisy Blecker Brum Notes Magazine Unit 12 The Bond 180-182 Fazeley Street Birmingham B5 5SE info@brumnotes.com 0121 224 7363 Advertising 0121 224 7363 advertising@brumnotes.com Distribution StickupMedia! 0121 224 7364 Editor: Chris Moriarty Reviews editor: Dan Owens Arts Editor: Dan Cooper-Gavin Contributors Words: Jody Ann Bickley, Lyle Bignon, Daron Billings, Tom Clabon, Lauren Cox, Debbie Gayle, Andrew Gutteridge, Guy Hirst, Sam Lambeth, Saima Razzaq, Amy Sumner, David Vincent, Matthew Way Pictures: Daisy Blecker, Rob Hadley, Andy Hughes, Jonathan Morgan, Sam Wood Design: Adam Williams, Andy Aitken Connect Twitter: @BrumNotesMag Facebook: www.facebook.com/ BrumNotesMagazine Online: www.brumnotes.com

Regulars News6-7 Fresh Talent 8-9 Food & Drink  32 Live Reviews 33-35 Album Reviews 36-38 What’s On Guide 40-45 Music and Features Jaws pick their Ones to Watch  10 Caroline Devine: Poetics of (Outer) Space 12-13 Flatpack Film Festival 2015 14-15 Ameriie16 Fyfe18 Zun Zun Egui 20-21 GoGo Penguin 22-23 Scroobius Pip 24-25 Errors  26-27 Lucy Rose 28-29 Wolf Alice 30-31 The Last Word: Swim Deep 46 All content Š Brum Notes Magazine. Views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Brum Notes Magazine. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of content, Brum Notes Magazine will not be held liable for any errors or losses claimed to have been incurred by any errors. Advertising terms and conditions available on request.

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Brum Notes Magazine


March 2015

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SLAM DUNK FESTIVAL BRINGS BANK HOLIDAY PUNK EXTRAVAGANZA BACK TO WOLVERHAMPTON

news SLÁINTE! CITY COUNTS DOWN TO ST PATRICK’S DAY Digbeth is set to be transformed into a sea of green once again for Birmingham’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations, with a host of live music, entertainment, markets, food offerings and more planned to complement the city’s annual parade, starting this year at 11am on Sunday, March 15. Highlights marking the Irish cultural celebration include a free early afternoon gig from Birmingham ska bands Kioko and 360 plus a DJ set from Amazing Radio’s Jack Parker at The Institute, while the family-friendly Shamrocks Festival, running in The Custard Factory complex from 11am – midnight, serves up live music, films, children’s entertainment, food stalls and much more. A series of events such as an Irish literary evening, race night, traditional music sessions and photographic exhibition are planned in the week leading up to the 2015 parade, which is themed around the Irish community’s contribution to Birmingham’s development. Activities are set to take place this year but follow confirmation that Birmingham City Council is to withdraw funding from the parade in 2016, despite record attendances of up to 90,000 visitors, which prompted a crowdfunding campaign to ensure the future of the event – one of the biggest of its kind in the world – is secure. Visit stpatricksbirmingham.com for full timings and programmes.

Foodies Festival heads to Birmingham Cannon Hill Park will be transformed into a little corner of foodie heaven this May, when the UK’s biggest celebration of food and drink rolls into Birmingham. Foodies Festival will take over the Edgbaston park from May 15-17, serving up Michelin star chefs, pop-up eateries, tasting theatres and street food stalls galore. And we’ll be teaming up with the festival over the coming weeks to offer exclusive giveaways and discounts – and of course you’ll be able to pick up the latest copy of Brum Notes right from the festival site. Among the star attractions will be appearances from local food heroes including Glynn Purnell, Matt Cheal, head chef at Simpsons, and Lasan’s Aktar Islam. You’ll be able to sharpen up on the latest craft beers, get a taste for bubbles at the New Wine and Champagne Theatre, learn more on everything from beekeeping to oyster shucking and sample the delights from more than 200 artisan producers. Tickets from £10 are on sale now at www. foodiesfestival.com.

Slam Dunk Festival storms back into Wolverhampton this May, bringing with it a packed out lineup of the best in punk, pop punk, hardcore and ska. Brit rockers You Me At Six will headline the 2015 edition, which takes place across the Civic and Wulfrun Halls and three outdoor stages on Bank Holiday Monday, May 25. Alt-rockers Don Broco and hardcore US punk stars Mariachi El Bronx are amongst the latest bands announced for the city centre festival, which also includes veteran US ska-punk acts Millencolin, Reel Big Fish and Goldfinger, hotly-tipped US band PVRIS, Australian deathcore merchants Thy Art Is Murder and Sheffield metallers While She Sleeps. Festival Director Ben Ray said:“Now in its third year, I hope the festival is well established as one of the best in the Midlands, and is firmly in everyone’s diaries. Although I think everyone still has a bit of a shock when they get to the festival site to find roads closed with stages in them. “Being from Sutton Coldfield it was always important for me to establish a Midlands leg of the Festival and Wolverhampton seemed the perfect place when I first saw the site.” Tickets priced £39-44 are on sale now from www.slamdunkmusic.com.

BRUM SET FOR FEAST OF COLOUR Without a doubt, the most colourful festival around, Shaanti's Holi Rave Feast-IVAL marks the beginning of spring and the religious festival of Holi with 11 hours of music and entertainment on Saturday, March 21. Among those making their way to intimate clubbing space Amusement 13 in Kent Street are Londonbased producer My Panda Shall Fly, whose LP Too is due in April. He’ll be joined by 1Xtra and BBC Asian Network’s presenters Punjabi Hit Squad, Bhangra pioneer Surinder Rattan and MC Cheshire Cat, local heroes Swami, and Asian Dub Foundation and Minstry of Dhol associate, Prithpal Rajput. Adding to the proceedings will also be sitar players, colour-powder celebrations, glitter-bombs, free Indian Goddess and God face-painting, henna, various DJs, live drummers, and Indian food courtesy of street food vendors and local restaurants. Shaanti’s Holi Rave and Indian Street Food Feast-IVAL is on March 21 at Amusement 13, Kent Street, from 3pm until late. Tickets are £10-£15 from www.holirave.com. 6

Brum Notes Magazine


FRANK TURNER SURPRISES FANS WITH SECRET GIG AT REDDITCH RECORD STORE Things may seem to have gone quiet from Frank Turner since selling out the O2 Arena this time last year, but he's kept himself busy – recording a new album, touring with his hardcore side project Möngöl Hörde and playing discreet shows at unlikely venues. In regards to the latter, he recently popped up at Redditch’s Death or Glory Records’ to celebrate the store's first anniversary and its dedicated support of the town's independent music scene. And whilst he may have cornered the arena-folk market, he evidently hasn't lost the common touch – this solo performance to 70 people on February 21 seeming as natural as playing to 20,000. Placed on a bill that also featured local heroes The Hungry Ghosts, who took things deep into swampy and dark electric beatnik territory, Electric headlined with a bright, eclectic mix of nutstight alternative party rock, proving that it’s not just Frank that still believes in the power of Rock & Roll to save us all. Photo by Rob Hadley

CITY BAND IN FMAUK FUNDRAISER

WIN TICKETS TO THE RAINBOW’S BIRTHDAY FESTIVAL Digbeth clubbing mecca The Rainbow will celebrate its 11th birthday in style, with a fullon festival across all of its unique spaces. The Rainbow Venues Festival - Chapter XI will be a 14-hour dance music marathon taking place on April 4, featuring the likes of Desolat’s Loco Dice, king of Berghain Ben Klock, Brum’s house music honcho Steve Lawler, Daniel Avery and many more. Tickets are on sale now - but we’ve got four to give away, worth £140. For your chance to win, simply tell us: What German city is home to infamous nightclub Berghain? Send your answers, age and contact details to competitions@brumnotes.com by March 31.

Eclectic six-piece The Bluebeat Arkestra have announced a fundraiser show at Wolverhampton’s The Newhampton Inn on Saturday March 7, after the band’s violinist and singer Leonie Rainbird-Tilson was diagnosed with the condition Fibromyalgia. Entry to the evening gig, which also features crossover act Snooty Bobs, is free with all monies collected to be donated to Fibromyalgia UK (FMAUK). Visit facebook.com/ thebluebeatarkestra for info.

The Real Sound of Brum Local composer Bobbie-Jane Gardner is setting out to write 40 original pieces of music inspired by Birmingham’s 40 electoral wards. Entitled for-Wards, the project aims to collect and record sounds and stories from each neighbourhood. Live performances of tracks from the pilot project take place on March 20 (Small Heath Library), March 21 (Balsall Heath Library) March 26 (Aston Library) and March 28 (Library of Birmingham). Visit for-wards.co.uk.

COMPOSING: ELECTRIFIED FEATURING:

Philippe Hurel and Ensemble Court-circuit Xenia Pestova Decibel New works from the groundbreaking Integra Lab and Birmingham Conservatoire Composition Department

March 2015

/BirmCons

@BirmCons

www.bcu.ac.uk/frontiers 7


fresh talent

Dead Sea Skulls are intent on world domination and nothing is going to diminish their fierce tenacity. With their third EP, Life’s What You Make It, due for release on March 18, two London festival slots and a second trip to Los Angeles ahead of them, this drummer-fronted DIY trio from the Midlands are determined to make 2015 their breakthrough year. “We write what we want to hear, hard tunes with immense pop choruses, songs that get straight to the point and get your blood racing,” guitarist Nick Crutchley says. “We want to get our music heard by as big an audience as possible, keep pushing forward, writing material and eventually get this band on a global level. The sky really is the limit. “Our first EP, Fortune Favours The Brave, demonstrated the impact we could have with a basic recording approach and set the precedent for Eau De Kitchen (which was recorded in a kitchen and hair salon). We were able to take our time and really find our strengths, which helped us develop. We carried this onto the Life’s What You Make It EP, having spent time crafting the songs in the same way – in the kitchen – and set out to write high-impact pop tunes about topics close to our hearts.” Recorded in an amatuer boxing club in Walsall, the video to their new single Nothin’ In The World (Hate Song) sees Jimi (Crutchley, bass) go toe-to-toe 8

Dead Sea Skulls facebook.com/deadseaskulls

with the club’s owner in a Snatch-like gangster scenario – all for Rolex watches, of course. “Jimi had some real bruises but Pete’s a good friend and fan of the band,” Nick continues. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously and we wanted something that reflects that as well as our music. We turn up, smash the place to pieces and leave sharpish! It’s about three lads who’re hustling through life by fighting prize fighters for Rolex watches. Our secret weapon, Jimi, never loses.” The trio’s dynamic is somewhat of rarity as Ash Sheehan takes on both drums and lead vocals simultaneously, he refuses to take a seat at the back of stage and firmly fronts the band standing, only breaking with spontaneous trumpet outbursts for good measure. “What’s the point in another vocalist or drummer?” Nick retorts. “He does it so effortlessly, you really have to check us out live and see it for yourselves. We’d never find a drummer as good as Ash anyway. “The musical heritage from the Midlands is amazing and has influenced each of us, we would love to carry the baton as another successful act from this neck of the woods.” And indeed, they’re going to fly the Midlands flag in America this year. “LA has always been a place we all love. It’s as hard to make it out there as anywhere else, but we’ve been there in previous bands and have a close network of friends. It just

seemed like a place where we could get really involved. Dead Sea Skulls seems to be a breath of fresh air wherever we go.” They exude almost a refreshing air of confidence, at a time when personalities in music seem to be few and far between. “What does rock‘n’roll mean to me? Standing up for what you say and what you stand for. There aren’t many renegades left in rock‘n’roll and everything is becoming a bit too safe. Stand out from the crowd and make a different noise.” Fans and newcomers alike will get the chance to see their rock’n’roll swagger up close when Dead Sea Skulls unleash their new EP in style at The Victoria in Birmingham on March 18. “We’ll be playing the new EP as well as some older favourites. Our live shows are something we’re very proud of and we don’t want to cut too much out,” promises Nick “We try and keep it fresh. We’ve started to carve out our path and we’re going to make this life ours. We’ve been to some really awesome places, met amazing people and played some great shows all in space of two years, and we’re by no means finished.” Dead Sea Skulls launch their five-track EP Life’s What You Make It live at The Victoria, Birmingham, on March 18. Brum Notes Magazine


Words by Guy Hirst

NATIVE WRECK

PLAYLIST

facebook.com/nativewreck1

soundcloud.com/brumnotes

Anti-commercial, anti-glitz-pop and brimming with piss and vinegar, Native Wreck are a young fourpiece from Birmingham who fuse anarchic hard rock with the sublime and angst-ridden voice of singer Jodie Robinson. Shortly after their genesis in late 2013 the ensemble signed to independent label M.A.S Records, started gigging and released a self-titled two-track EP at the end of 2014. This year sees them polishing off their debut album due for a late spring release. “I think when people hear those dreaded words ‘female fronted’ the band are immediately put into a small confined box with tits on it,” says vocalist Jodie. “It’s important to change people’s opinions about what it means to be a frontwoman and not conform to that gentle stereotype and shock ‘em by being totally uncompromising and raw. “It’s infuriating that more people are sat at home watching Eastenders and X Factor than going out to local music shows to discover new music. A lot of people just can’t be bothered, I really hate that, watching money-absorbed and selfobsessed TV wannabes. We have leather pants and feather boas, 45 minutes of original new

music, and a few surprises up our sleeves. Come watch us instead.” It seems a far cry from X Factor and the Syco stable, but Native Wreck – made up of Jodie on vocals alongside Tom Kuchta (guitar), Tim Gilks (bass) and Lee Harris (drums) – are relishing the support from their own record label. “M.A.S are awesome for young bands like us,” Jodie continues. “They’ve really helped us listen to and discover ourselves. They’ve given us handson practical advice so we’ve cut and gutted material. They’ve given us professional photoshoots, given us the chance to record professionally, helped us chill out a little bit more and concentrate on social media plus other promotional aspects that go hand-in-hand with starting out as a band. “We’ve love to go further afield with our gigs, do some summer festivals and travel a lot more in general. We just wanna do more gigs, everywhere, all over the world!” Native Wreck are live at The Flapper, Birmingham, March 14. Their self-titled EP is available at soundcloud.com/native-wreck.

The Box Night Movements This young Birmingham hip hop collective seamlessly merge Nirvana’s Heart-Shaped Box with their own raw emotion to create a powerful and misanthropic anti-love tune, divided neatly by the impeccable vocal hooks of Clementine Douglas, singer for Brighton electronica outfit Kudu Blue. Rainy Days EP available for free via Bandcamp. nightmovements.bandcamp.com

Run Away Lion Art & Friendly Fire Band Bringing his conscious fire-and-brimstone lyricism, vocalist Lion Art stands at the helm of the tune firmly embedded in a classic dub and roots style. Too good not to mention, the latest single features Birmingham reggae stalwarts Friendly Fire Band and is sure to become an anthem at their mighty live shows. Run Away is an essential for all reggae addicts. www.friendlyfiremusic.com

Thunderbugs In My Beard Fauxchisels Thunderbugs are slender insects with fringed wings. They’re also a failed girl band from 1999, so naturally the title is baffling, vexing even. But the single and the accompanying video don’t fail to be equally far-out. It’s a sonically abrasive, jittery noisepunk affair that’ll alienate your grandma, and because of this…it rocks. Due for official release April 14. www.fauxchisels.com

ONES TO WATCH

Photo by Rob Hadley

Kaleidoscopes

Dong Fang

Enquiry

Hoopla Blue

Trio Kaleidoscopes fuse tripped-out shoe-

Gnarly grit-your-teeth riffs strung togeth-

Enquiry play on the razor’s edge with

London trio Flowers headline with a mini-

gaze with unsympathetic fits of intense

er by an onslaught of garage rock. An

unnervingly tender melodic verses,

malist indie-pop sound akin to “Madon-

guitar abuse. Anticipate your heady trip

incredible lead player, turbulent frontman

created only to be violently bulldozed

na through a broken tape machine,”

to turn into a chaotic one when you catch

and a solid set of tunes in their arsenal,

by scream-your-bleeding-lungs-out

while Birmingham support act Hoopla

them supporting critically-acclaimed

Dong Fang are exceptionally tight up-and-

climaxes. They’re playing with Notting-

Blue bring a more progressive brand of

Leeds grunge-alt band Allusondrugs.

comers. They play alongside Brum breth-

ham noise-grunge merchants Tigercub,

mellow and jangly indie-innovation. It’ll

Recommended tracks: Summer Daze,

ren Crawlin’ Hands in support of Drag

Kagoule and Manchester’s Bad Gram-

be a perfect exploration of the genre and

What To Say and Coming up.

City’s Purling Hiss. Recommended tracks:

mar. Recommended tracks: Glaze, Image

its future. Recommended tracks: Ritu-

The Flapper, March 21

Motel Mahina, Bumblebee and Killer

Burn and Euphoric. The Flapper, March 2

als, Oranges and Holy Ghost. Hare &

Wave. The Oobleck, March 22

March 2015

Hounds, March 8

9


JAWS’

ONES TO WATCH Jaws enjoyed being tipped as Birmingham’s ‘ones to watch’ for quite a while. But with their acclaimed 2014 debut album Be Slowly now under their belts and their biggest UK tour to date coming up this month, they’re almost elder statesmen of the scene these days. We speak to frontman Connor Schofield and drummer Eddy Geach about the new bands getting them excited in 2015.

LIME Connor: They remind me of The Cribs. Very cool band. I’ve known Clark for as long as I can remember, we even live on the same street. I met Will and Ry at all the mad crazy birthday bashes us youngsters used to have. soundcloud.com/thisislime

RAT BOY C: Essex based...I think? Their track Sportswear has been doing the rounds online and on the airwaves. Its so cool, its raw and got a real energy. I think there’s a lot more to it than just comparing it to Jamie T. Hopefully people will hear that when some more tracks come out. Expect big things. soundcloud.com/ratboyratboy

MILK TEETH

Eddy: We took these guys out on our September tour last year and they smashed it as far as I’m concerned. When me and Connor were discussing what bands to take with us we agreed that we’d want something heavy, a) because we like heavy music and b) it would kind of wake up the crowd and introduce that side of music to the people who come to our shows who may not be

into that. Milk Teeth have that attitude and that confidence that a punk band should have. They’re loud. They don’t give a fuck and their songs are catchy and get stuck in your head. What more could you want? I think they’re heading out on tour with Title Fight which I’m super happy for them about and slightly jealous! They’ll go far so keep a keen eye on them. milkteethpunx.bandcamp.com

GODA TUNGL E: I know some bands get annoyed when some fans hand them their EP and say ‘please have a listen and tell us what you think’, but I don’t because I was one of them before and it pissed me off when a band would be a dick to me when all I was trying to do was get some helpful advice. Anyway, Goda Tungl came up to me in the Deaf Institute in Manchester and handed me this CD in a plastic cover with the track names on. So after the show I whacked it on in the van and it’s fair to say we all loved it, it was something fresh and new and different to the usual kind of bands that we see emerging. It had a kind of dark element to it. The kind that the Arctic Monkeys had but with a different spin on it. I immediately tweeted them telling them how much we enjoyed it plus some constructive criticism, and I think Alex (guitar) did too. soundcloud.com/g-a-tungl

COLD OCEAN LIES

THE JACARANDAS

C: Haven’t actually caught these guys live yet but their tunes are pop gold. They sound free, alive and young. soundcloud.com/the-jacarandas Jaws are live at The Institute, Birmingham, on March 7

C: Real moody sound, but that’s cool right? I like it anyway. They are opening for us in Birmingham so I can’t wait to catch them live. soundcloud.com/cold-ocean-lies 10

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March 2015

11


arts & culture

SONNETS FROM OUTER SPACE

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has discovered more than a thousand ‘new’ planets over the past six years. This month, a new audio installation in an historic pocket of Edgbaston draws on the data from the remarkable mission. Dan Cooper-Gavin speaks to sound artist Caroline Devine about Poetics Of (Outer) Space.

Just off the Hagley Road lies Perrott’s Folly, a 29 metre-high tower with a fascinating history. Constructed at the whim of eccentric landowner John Perrott in the 1750s, it’s claimed that the folly was one of the inspirations for local resident JRR Tolkien’s fabled Two Towers. Since 2008, the folly has found an unlikely new lease of life as a satellite venue for the Ikon Gallery, hosting a number of exhibitions – with the latest, Poetics Of (Outer) Space, surely the grandest of the lot. Part of the University of Birmingham’s Arts & Science Festival, Caroline Devine’s audio installation is derived from the natural acoustic resonances of stars, as observed in NASA’s groundbreaking Kepler data. “Pressure waves within stars cause them to oscillate at specific frequencies,” explains Caroline, “and these natural resonances can be observed as changes in the brightness of the stars. The NASA data provides information on these natural resonances, which are way slower than audible waves. From a list of these frequencies, I scale up the data to bring the frequencies within the range of hearing. I am fascinated by these tones that can be thought of as the sound of a star.” The Kepler mission is significant due to the discovery of a huge number of exoplanets – planets that orbit a star other than the sun. The first confirmed detection of an exoplanet didn’t occur until 1992 – at time of writing, Caroline notes the Kepler mission has detected 1,018 of them. “I like the way that exoplanets are a presence that is detected as absence,” she says, “the absence of light from a star when the exoplanet causes the light to dip in brightness as it transits. I am interested in hidden voices and signals that may be imperceptible or absent in some way. 12

The findings have such implications for us, and I like the relationship between the enormity of the discovery and the near-imperceptible traces of the exoplanets.”

the top floor of the folly is derived from data on Kepler-444, the newly-discovered – but ancient – star system with five exoplanets that was widely reported a few weeks ago.”

“Art and science seek to understand more about the world around us and to describe it. For me, they are not so far apart.”

Interestingly, Caroline sees her role as composer of the piece as being as much about consumption as it is about creation. “For me, there is a poetry about these strange tonal relationships, and I felt compelled to be able to hear them. The work is about developing my own understanding. I would say it is more a case of seeking to inject my own way of listening into the works rather than my own voice.”

Caroline worked on the idea for Poetics Of (Outer) Space during her Leverhulme Artist Residency with the University of Birmingham’s Solar and Stellar Physics Group, with Ikon suggesting Perrott’s Folly as the potential venue. “It’s a great space for a sound installation,” says the artist, “as well as being an exceptional space to be in generally. With its curious geometry and antique character, it provides a poetic space for the work. The folly has an extraordinary acoustic, and the way that the individual floors are so small and connected by the resonant staircase provides lots of scope for a multi-channel work.” Indeed, the particular geometry of the tower had a direct influence on her arrangement of the installation’s audio channels. “I have responded to the tower by making what I think of as a vertical composition. The stars are organised in the folly according to their age, frequency range and the number of exoplanets they host. As you climb the tower, you hear frequencies from older stars that host more exoplanets. The composition on

Caroline’s musical career began in the rather more conventional dynamic of a band in the 1990s, before her experiments with Cubase and deepening fascination with the sonic potential of the natural world led her to take a degree in sound art from the London College of Communication. Far from being polar opposites, in Caroline’s work the worlds of art and science are inextricably intermeshed. “I’ve always been inspired by the transformation of space through sound that great performances or installations can achieve. My practice is concerned with many phenomena that I find by listening to the natural physical world, and much of that is connected with physics and acoustics. Curiosity and questioning motivates both artists and scientists – art and science seek to understand more about the world around us and to describe it. For me, they are not so far apart.” Poetics Of (Outer) Space is at Perrott’s Folly, Edgbaston from March 18-22, and forms part of the University of Birmingham’s Arts & Science Festival. For more details, visit www. birmingham.ac.uk/artsandsciencefestival. Brum Notes Magazine


An Eclectic three day music & arts festival set in the spiritual home of Nick Drake

FESTIVAL

TANWORTH IN ARDEN • WARWICKSHIRE

Near Solihull

BBC RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP / ALLAH-LAS / THE AMAZING SNAKEHEADS / BART & BAKER JULIAN COPE / PRETTY THINGS / ANDREW WEATHERAL / ELECTRIC SWING CIRCUS PSYCHEMAGIK / CLAUDIO SIMONETTI'S GOBLIN / RICHARD NORRIS / PRETTY THINGS SYD ARTHUR / ORLANDO JULIUS & THE HELIOCENTRICS / MIKE HERON & TREMBLING BELLS MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND / ROBYN HITCHCOCK / JANE WEAVER / MIDNIGHT BONFIRES MARK RADCLIFFE'S GALLEON BLAST / SYLVAN ESSO / NICK DRAKE RECORD PLAYER

Tickets on sale now via

Photo by Tony Hisgett and NASA

March 2015

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arts & culture

Flatpack Film Festival 2015 The Amusement Park

A towering highlight of Birmingham’s cultural year, Flatpack Film Festival’s mind-expanding cinematic pick’n’mix is set to take over the city once again. Dan Cooper-Gavin investigates the festival’s growth and appeal, and looks ahead to Flatpack 9’s highlights.

Japanese silent films, archive BBC Birmingham documentaries, days dedicated to the wonders of slime mould and 8-bit gaming – Flatpack have put together a typically diverse and improbably adventurous programme for the ninth iteration of their film festival. Yet as uncompromising as the programme is, one of the secrets to Flatpack’s success is the warm welcome that accompanies the artistic integrity. “I like to think of it as less esoteric, but more in terms of people not knowing that they’ll like it yet,” says festival programmer Sam Groves. “Of course, not all of it is going to be to everyone’s tastes, but with such an eclectic programme there is definitely something for everyone to get their teeth stuck into and enjoy. We try and keep as much of the festival free, allowing people to take a chance on something without having to fork out for it. The quality is always good too – it’s not like the free stuff is the crap stuff. Our Colour Box strand for families is definitely one of the most enjoyable. Kids are often more willing to let you know what they think to something, whether they like or not, and seeing them laughing at a Chaplin skit or entranced by an abstract Japanese animated short is a total joy.” The festival has grown to approximately four times its original size, with Flatpack 9’s 120 events 14

stretching across 30 venues and 11 days. But it’s clear that the expansion has been very carefully managed. “I came on board in 2009,” says Sam, “and things have definitely evolved and grown quite a bit since then, but lots of things have stayed the same too. “Most importantly, the general ethos of the festival, to explore the ever-expanding parameters of film and bring things to people who wouldn’t see them anywhere else. There are plenty of festivals around the world which are showing over 200 features, and I quite often find it a bit impenetrable when I look at a brochure with that many films – I mean, where do you start? Hopefully, our programme is less overwhelming, and more enticing, and perhaps a little more curated.” The festival carries with it a strong sense of collaboration, relying on cooperation from across the city. “The support from the venues we use is always terrific,” says Sam. “People bend over backwards to help us create pop-up events in their spaces. With any festival, the place in which it happens should play a significant role, and Birmingham is such an interesting city in terms of its history, architecture and culture. “Brummies seem to have taken the festival to heart too – it seems there’s a collective Brummie pride

about it all, which is great. It’s the perfect city for Flatpack, I can’t really imagine the festival happening anywhere else. And because Birmingham is so big and sprawling, there’s so much more to uncover and explore.” Nowhere is the spirit of collaboration and exploration more apparent than in the festival’s Swipeside strand. Based at Birmingham City University’s city centre campus, Swipeside is co-curated by students at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. Launched as part of 2014’s festival, the strand presents screenings and events that highlight particular artistic ingenuity and innovation. But naturally, the bulk of the festival’s programming falls to Sam and Flatpack director Ian Francis. “Finding the stuff is the fun bit,” says Sam. “We do a vast amount of digging – going to festivals, exploring their programmes, and, of course, we spend more than a healthy amount of time trawling the internet, trying to uncover those hidden gems which haven’t had much of an outing yet. And every year we have hundreds of short films sent our way from all over the globe. The range of subjects and styles is just about as diverse as it can get, and it always throws up some brilliant films. This year, the standard was higher than it’s ever been.” Brum Notes Magazine


Flatpack 9: Nine Unmissable Events Tomorrow Is Always Too Long

Heart Bypass

The Amusement Park

March 16-28, BCU Parkside & Millennium Point

March 28, Flatpack Palais @ The Bond A triple bill of films focussing on Birmingham’s more dubious charms, including a 1960s publicinformation film about the construction of the much-maligned Inner Ring Road.

This special exhibition gives a rare chance to experience a group of Finnish animators whose work extends beyond the screen. Included are Garbage Whirl, a life-size zoetrope made from a carousel, and Electric Soul, which gives you the chance to create an electronic film soundtrack.

Cross Frequencies



March 26, Electric Cinema “It’s a really exciting time for short filmmaking,” says Sam Groves, “the room for experimentation creates some truly inspired work.” This particular selection of shorts includes a nextlevel mashup and innovative examinations of the power of broadcasting.

Making Shadows Internet Cat Videos



March 27, Flatpack Palais @ The Bond

The quintessential genre of the YouTube age, this hour-long selection of funny cat videos has been hand-picked by a group of under-fives, in association with family-centric arts outfit F A M A L A M.

One of several events celebrating benshi, the narrators of silent film in 1920s Japan. Here, ultrainventive theatre makers Stan’s Cafe try their hand, before participating in a discussion with the University of Warwick’s Japanese film specialist Alastair Phillips.

Time + Motion

Citation City

A mind-boggling evening of live animation and performance featuring the audiovisual cutups of Sculpture, the DIY real-time visuals of Japanese duo Usaginingen and “knitted cinema” from Sam Meech.

Inspired by the philosopher Walter Benjamin’s ambition to map out Paris in fragments, this is a dizzying cut-up of over 300 films set or filmed in London, pieced together by multimedia artist People Like Us.

March 21, Old Joint Stock Theatre

March 25, Millennium Point

March 2015

March 28, Flatpack Palais @ The Bond

Sex & Broadcasting



March 28-29, Electric Cinema The first UK screenings of an inspirational and thought-provoking documentary on WFMU, New Jersey’s legendary freeform radio station. The night before the premiere, station manager Ken Freedman presents the drivetime show live from the Flatpack hub at Minerva Works.

Tomorrow Is Always Too Long March 29, Electric Cinema

A captivatingly odd film from artist Phil Collins, chronicling life in Glasgow via the music of Cate Le Bon. Flatpack Film Festival runs at various venues from March 19-29. For more information, visit flatpackfestival.org.uk. 15


Doing her thing Her 2005 smash hit 1 Thing catapulted her to global pop success. And 10 years on, American-born, Grammy-nominated artist Ameriie is still making music and is back touring this month, including a date in Birmingham. She talks to Debbie Gayle ahead of the show.

What have you been up to since your last single, What I Want (which sampled hip hop classic Apache by The Sugarhill Gang), dropped last year? I’ve been in the studio creating my projects Cymatika and BILI, as well as writing fiction. How do you think your sound has developed since your smash hit 1 Thing back in 2005? I rarely look back so it’s hard to say exactly, but whenever I’m working on an album, the sound continues to take shape and since I go where it leads me, the songs I work on toward the end of a project tend to sound different from the ones in the beginning. For instance, things can become more rock or New Wave-influenced. One thing that hardly changes, though, is a very aggressive drum pattern. I like strong drums. Your husband [Lenny Nicholson] produced What I Want – how you do you think working together helped with the creative process? He just knows me, both personally and as an artist. He knows what I’m looking for sonically and also is able to help me make sense of the madness that exists in my brain. He really is my other half… 16

You come from a very academic background, how do you think that helped you on your musical career path? Thanks to my parents, I’ve had a lot of practice at being disciplined. I think I have a tenacious approach to everything I do. I tend to only do things I’m passionate about, and since I’m passionate about learning new things, about music, and about reading and writing, I can get pretty intense. I think it can be taxing on my family, honestly – I’m told I can be a bit neurotic. You’re back in the UK touring this month – what made you decide it was the right time to tour? I love coming out and meeting my fans and I’m especially excited whenever I’m in the UK because it feels like a second home to me. You’ve started your own YouTube channel, Books Beauty Ameriie – what made you decide to start that? I just wanted to have a place to geek out, really. I’d been watching BookTube (the name of the YouTube community of readers) for about two years and I wanted to join in. I also have general videos and videos about beauty and skincare but

my channel is about 70 per cent book-related, since that’s what I like most. Carrying on the skincare and beauty theme, what products could you not live without? I love Boscia’s Cool Blue Hydration Essence, and I’ve been sampling Dr Jart+ Water Fuse WaterMax Sleeping Mask and, I must say, it’s pretty incredible. You slather it on at night just before sleeping, but this moment I have it on my forehead, nose, and eye area, as I’m about to head to the airport for a 16-hour flight. What do you know about the city of Birmingham? I love watching that series called Peaky Blinders, I heard it was based on areas in Birmingham – its an awesome show and I’m looking forward to meeting my fans in the city And finally, what’s next for Ameriie? Whatever the universe has in store.

Ameriie is live with full band at The Drum, Aston, on March 28.

Brum Notes Magazine


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BACK IN CONTROL

Fyfe is the latest musical persona of Paul Dixon, whose forthcoming debut album under his new guise marks a return to the foreground. David Vincent meets the man behind the moniker.

Getting thrown off a major label looks like being the making of Paul Dixon. As David’s Lyre, he was heralded as a male Florence & the Machine, but Mercury failed to capitalise on the growing buzz and ditched him without releasing an alreadyrecorded album. Jump-cut five years and a swift identity change later, and Dixon’s now poised for his breakthrough as the paint-splattered Fyfe. “At first some people weren’t sure whether Fyfe was Fyfe Dangerfield’s new project but pretty quickly they worked out it was two separate things,” says Dixon, commenting on the occasional confusion with the Brummie-born Guillemots frontman. “I think our sounds and voices are quite different so it hasn’t happened to me for quite a while now, although I’m not sure if it has ever happened for him…” As to why he chose the moniker Fyfe, he says simply: “I really don’t have a good answer for that – I wanted to launch the project but I didn’t have a name so I wrote a long list of possibilities and just started crossing them out until I was left with Fyfe, as I really like the way Fyfe sounded and looked as a word.” For those who did manage to catch David’s Lyre, Fyfe is connected. “The fact that it’s me behind both projects means there are many similarities, for example, in the way I go about writing songs and the sounds that I get drawn to. I had changed the soundscape and way I write songs a bit, but I’m not running away from who I am. If anything, Fyfe is probably a more honest representation of myself now.” Keen not to fall into the same traps as his previous persona, Fyfe initially sent out tracks anonymously to various music sites accompanied by a photo of the back of his head, covered in paint.

“I guess that could well have been a reaction to the more personality driven side of the industry that I had been a part of, but it wasn’t designed to be a big statement,” 18

“My main concern was that people listened to the music for the music’s sake. I guess that could well have been a reaction to the more personality driven side of the industry that I had been a part of, but it wasn’t designed to be a big statement,” he says of the move. Released on March 9, Fyfe’s debut album is Control. Recorded away from the glare of the spotlight, it’s a seductive and addictive collection of thoughtful, soulful electro pop, coloured with Dixon’s deft arrangements (reflecting his classical

background). The album’s calling card is Solace, which opens with the line ‘Living isn’t easy when you’ve been free…’ “Solace is the song that brought Fyfe into being,” he says. “Before that point I had written quite a few songs but didn’t have a clear direction for them. After Solace was finished everything slotted into place musically.” Another Control highlight is For You, which concludes with a blistering sax solo from David Turay of London soul act The Hics – a track tinged with sadness. “Very sadly David Turay passed away recently. He was so talented and the solo in For You is a testament to that. He also played the solo live a few times with us in London, which was really special.” An instrument once favoured by pop, disco and even punk acts, but now little heard, the sax revival starts right here. “I think the saxophone is starting to be used more in the last couple of years,” he comments. “I think the massive overuse of it in the 80s has meant that it’s taken a while to return.” Despite Turay’s appearance, the majority of Control was performed by Dixon. “There are a few players and singers here and there but apart from that I enjoy writing and working alone, so I guess the credits list reflects that,” says Paul, although he points out that he’s not adverse to collaborations. “I produced it all and mixed it with a talented friend of mine called David Oversby-Powell so I’m interested to see if people think it sounds as cohesive as the process was.” Dixon says his main influence is beats and tunes rather than particular artists. “I really love songs, but I also really love beats. My favourite album of all time is The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – maybe it’s because that album has both that I love it so much. I love songs with interesting sounds and voices throughout.”

Fyfe is live at The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham, on March 28. Debut album Control is out on March 9, via Believe. Brum Notes Magazine


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Town Hall renovation also funded by

Funded by

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March 2015

Image © Andy Hughes

Town Hall renovation also funded by

19


BRIT ROCK SURPRISE For their second album, Zun Zun Egui have produced a ‘British rock record’ like no other. David Vincent hears more. Since the release of their acclaimed self-titled debut, Katang, back in 2011, Zun Zun Egui have undergone a change of personnel, with bassist Adam Newton and second guitarist Stephen Kerrison now joining drummer Matt Jones and co-founders Kushal Gaya and keyboard player Yoshino Shigihara. Their arrival, reckons frontman Kushal, has had a profound effect on the group. “Absolutely, I feel it’s a totally different band in a way because humanly, and the place where we come from musically, are in tune,” declares the Mauritian guitarist/singer. “We have a similar attitude when it comes to what we like and dislike musically. Still, diverging opinions exist but we have a shared vision of what things should be. “Steve and I have spent a lot of time around small DIY gigs, putting them on or playing them – that builds a certain kind of camaraderie and understanding of each other. We can talk about Slayer, Slint, Owls, Bob Marley, James Brown and Supersilent in the same conversation. I don’t get bored hanging out with him because we have this common love for music researching and listening. I love him so much. “Adam is like a brother to me and whatever brotherly love contains, with the whole gamut of emotions involved in family affairs, is very much present in our relationship. He too is a massive lover of music, and he seems to really get off on 60s music and we can talk about that a lot. I had a dream about him where he was on top of a tree channelling the energies of George Harrison, RIP. 20

“To be honest with you, most of my relationships revolve around music and music worship, it’s a compulsion and a self-inflicted form of autism.” Released in January, Zun Zun Egui’s second album, Shackles’ Gift, is a leap forward for the band, pulling together a myriad of influences, from tropicalia, punk funk, Afrobeat and reggae, to no-wave, new wave, stoner rock, Ethio-jazz and psychedelia, with lead single, African Tree, sounding like a euphoric, pumped-up, fuzzedout Talking Heads. Looking at the difference between the two longplayers, Kush’ says: “Shackles’ Gift seems to be a more focused and less turmoil-fuelled piece of work. There was no real concept we were working from during the inception and creation of Katang. For Shackles’ we had a clear vision of what we wanted it to be, and I also think that vision could inform what we do on the next record to some extent. I feel that each album is a work in itself but also work in progress.

“To be honest with you, most of my relationships revolve around music and music worship, it’s a compulsion and a selfinflicted form of autism.”

“We are always learning and trying to push ourselves. I think I started in music with very meagre musical tools and assets, [it] took me a long time to learn things, I am a bit of a late bloomer you see...and so, really, making music is an exercise in bettering my own competence and artistic focus, and most of all getting better at communicating emotions through the craft of songwriting and sound manipulation research and development.”

A multicultural band with a rich, international, spread of influences, their label biography states proudly that Shackles’ Gift ‘… is a British rock record made by a British group.’ “Well I think John Doran from the Quietus said that, yes,” responds Kushal. “I guess I have lived here in the UK for 15 years, and the band has two UK born and bred people, one person from the Isle of Man, a Japanese [person], and me. Brum Notes Magazine


The thing is, Britain is not only [a] white country anymore, Britain is this intercultural meeting point. The identity of this country is changing naturally through immigration and all the great things that it brings to this country. The future of this country is definitely brown and beautiful! I really feel part of this country, especially in London. Hence, yeah, I guess we did a British rock record!” When it came to selecting a producer, Zun Zun choose Andrew Hung, one half of electro Bristolians Fuck Buttons. “I think this was one of his first producing jobs, and I think he did it justice,” says Kushal, adding his involvement came about by chance. “I saw him at Brixton Electric with some friends and his manager. We chatted about the time when we went on tour with Fuck Buttons. And also I was telling him, without knowing he had an interest in producing, that we wanted to get a producer to do our record. Without March 2015

batting an eyelid and with utter in-the-moment sincerity he said: ‘I’ll produce your next record!’ I just went with that feeling, and never questioned it again.”

really bluntly and beautifully. I like people like that. I am quite blunt myself, I would say, so I relate. Good way to open the record.” It’s not the only track to feature field recordings.

Addressing what Kushal describes as “very human questions” about “survival, expatriation, sexual frustration, retaining our utmost wild qualities and instincts,” the album begins simply with a field recording – birds, someone speaking, some building work in the background… “Bindumathi Babooram is the person talking,” Kurshal interjects. “She is stating where she lives, who she works for and what she does. She says she works in the village of Mon-Repos in Mauritius, and in a very colonial inherited way she says that her ‘proprietor,’ the person she works for, is Mr Gentil. She also says she is a gardener and sweeps the floor. I thought to put it there because this person was just completely open, and direct about who she was and [described] her identity

“At the end of Sweetest Part of Life we also added a field recording by [sound designer] Michal Kuligowski, it’s the birdsong of the local ‘Serin du cap’ [a canary] gathering at dusk and conferencing with huge passion on a ‘Pied la fouche’ – you know the kind of tree Tarzan swings around from? Their sound was so brutal and noisy to my ears, I loved it so much and wanted to use it. “Natural white noise.” Zun Zun Egui are live at The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham, on March 14, supported by The Courtesy Group and Fauxchisels. They’ll also be at Lunar Festival, June 5-7. Shackle’s Gift is out now via Bella Union. 21


Manchester jazz trio GoGo Penguin have found strength in equality. David Vincent finds out more about Mercury nominations, electronica influences and where they got that name. Regardless of who actually wins, the annual Mercury Prize always throws up a few pleasant surprises. The 2014 shortlist didn’t disappoint, with a typically eclectic collection notable for its inclusion of Manchester’s forward-thinking jazz trio GoGo Penguin’s breakthrough second album, V2.0. Looking back at the announcement, pianist Chris Illingworth still can’t quite believe they were nominated.

us. That overlap you get with the other acts… the Mercury didn’t put a focus on jazz, on labels. We’ve built a following since then. Unbelievable.”

“I got a call from Nick [Blacka, bassist], until then, I had no idea. It was unbelievable,” Chris recalls of the moment he heard back in September. It’s clear that the whole experience, which concluded at the end of October with Young Fathers victorious, is something the Penguins are still coming to terms with.

“Did I put a bet on us winning? No!” Chris smiles.

“To be part of something like that…” Chris stutters, “we’ve got people who never listen to anything under the label of ‘jazz’, opening their ears to 22

In the run up to the ceremony, bookies William Hill had GoGo Penguin’s chances as 10/1 (along with Anna Calvi and Polar Bear), Young Fathers were still outsiders at 8/1, while Royal Blood and Damon Albarn were favourites at 4/1.

“My dad did though, which he unfortunately lost. I told him beforehand not to bother,” he laughs. “I thought FKA Twigs might possibly win, her producer is unbelievable. But it’s always a tough call. There are so many great musicians, it’s tricky to know how the panel will vote.” Chris, Nick and drummer Rob Turner are a product of Manchester’s currently vibrant music scene.

Rob and Chris were at the Royal Northern College of Music in the city, with Nick studying jazz in Leeds, and when they eventually started to play together, something just clicked. They quickly found a common aim, what Chris describes as “a collective direction,” which shaped the way they played and composed together. “Each of us comes up with separate ideas, that may be a couple of chords, or a simple melody, to something more complete. But we always write with the others in mind. There’s a definite vibe in the back of my mind, something I’m aiming for,” says Chris, who explains that they’re always pushing the material in rehearsals to ensure they get the best possible results. “We push through every permutation before we say [a track is] finished, even if we think it’s right the first time – we try things out, push it, until it just feels right and we know we’ve tried everything.” Brum Notes Magazine


“When you give something a label, it becomes limiting. If you only think within the jazz world, it’s harder to break out when you do something different.”

– that doesn’t sound like jazz, so we can’t do it! We want to be as open as we can. “Electronica is one of the biggest influences on us, there are so many variations, you can go from Bjork to Death Grips. Jazz has evolved, there’s so much history to look back on, so many different areas to pull things in from too. We just use elements of all that’s useful and combine them – that’s what it feels like to us.” Keen to pick a name that had no obvious genre associations and reflected their ethos, the moniker GoGo Penguin actually came about by chance. “It [came from] a prop for an opera at the college that a friend bought at a charity auction. We were struggling to come up with a name and had just been asked to play a gig by another friend. Up until then, we’d just been trying out ideas, playing together, but not with any gigs in mind, so it was a panic decision. I noticed the penguin just hanging on the wall.

But even when a track seems as perfect as it can be, it may still morph and change over time. “We’ve played the tracks from V2.0 a lot since we recorded it, and some have really changed, the music has evolved. When you improvise, it’s going to evolve and change. We keep testing all the time. You have to be completely comfortable. We say there’s no fear in the rehearsal room. You have to have no fear in rehearsals, no embarrassment, something might be worth doing. It’s always worth trying.” While the band admit they play what can broadly be described as jazz, their instrumental sound pulls on a myriad of influences, from Polar Bear and Acoustic Ladyland, to Lamb, Squarepusher, John Cage, Shostakovich, Burial and Radiohead. “We try not to think about being part of any one particular genre,” Chris explains. “When you give something a label, it becomes limiting. If you only think within the jazz world, it’s harder to break out when you do something that’s maybe different March 2015

“We ended up sticking with it as we wanted a name that was different to the clichéd jazz names. We wanted to avoid ‘The [someone] Trio’ type name. I had The Chris Illingsworth Trio, and it seemed important to us as the music was more important than one of us – we wanted it to sound completely like a collaboration, it’s the three of us and our sound engineer is the fourth member. We’re all equal, individual components, it’s not about one person – no one person is more important than the other.” Sadly, the penguin prop has since vanished. “I have no idea where it got to,” confesses Chris. “It’s a weird mystery. It’ll probably pop up on eBay at some point.” Could that be the cue for chancers uploading penguin toys to eBay? “But we’ll know for sure if it’s the real one, we’ll know!”

GoGo Penguin, with support from Mammal Hands, play the Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, March 13.

PAWS FOR SUPPORT Heading out on tour in support of the re-promoted V2.0 (now with a couple of bonus tracks), GoGo Penguin are supported by Gondwana Records label mates, Mammal Hands. “They’re a fantastic trio,” Chris enthuses. “We first saw them at Moseley Jazz Festival a couple of years ago. We were sat backstage and just heard them and they sounded really interesting. Nick recommended them to Mathew Halsall at Gondwana Records, our label, as a band he might be interested in – and he signed ‘em. They seem to be doing well. They’re great guys to travel around with too. “Moseley Jazz Festival was beautiful. It was an incredible day. I remember Snarky Puppy were on after us and there was a good party vibe. We didn’t seem to stick around for long, I think we had Love Supreme at the same time and it had been a mad rush to get there from Brighton. We don’t seem to be able to party as much as we’d like. But we did get to see Snarky Puppy. We’d been playing before them, I don’t know how many times, but we’ve never got to sit through their set before.” 23


HAPPY TALK Spoken word star, DJ and hip hop adventurer Scroobius Pip brings his own club night to Birmingham’s Hare & Hounds this month, promising a veritable mash up of party music, with help from some heavyweight DJ friends. Fellow poet Jodi Ann Bickley gives him a grilling…

Sit down, what drink would you like? We have everything! I’ll just have tap water, thanks. And don’t get mad. I enjoy tap water. And I’m trying to force myself to enjoy it even more as it really is the best for you. And I don’t drink hot drinks so it’s definitely a wise choice really. You’re coming back to Brum on March 27 to the lovely Hare & Hounds with your excellent club night, We Are Lizards – what keeps you coming back to our fair city? Birmingham just always feels like a second home to me. I love it. The only place I have lived other than Essex is Wolverhampton and that included many trips to Brum. We get asked to take the club night on the road regularly, from Newcastle to Milton Keynes…but I generally pass on it as it’s REALLY hard to tour a club night. But every now and then I can’t resist the chance to come back to Brum. What is making you the most excited about 2015? Not touring! Which sounds odd since I’m bringing the club night to y’all. But I’m taking 2015 off from all live performances (that doesn’t include DJ sets). Since I started doing this eight or so years ago there hasn’t been a single year where I’ve done less that 100 shows (often nearer or over 200). So this year I have decided to have a year of zero shows to reset, write, create and generally keep crazy busy with stuff off of stage. I’m no good at 24

time off so it’s certainly not a break, but it’s a nice little change and kind of experiment to see how it affects my output. Your podcast (Distraction Pieces) is doing ever so well, you’ve had some incredible guests so far – if you had no limitations on who you could interview who would you choose? I’d choose Jodi Ann Bickley! But I already got to live that dream – available now for free! – so I guess I should pick another. I’d probably go for either Prince or Kate Bush. An hour-long chat with either one would be fascinating. Oooooh or Cyndi Lauper. All that said, and all joking aside, the people I have had on have been amazing. From Russell Brand to Simon Pegg to Sage Francis to Zane Lowe to Killer Mike to Frank Turner to Nick Frost…the list really does go on and on. I think you’re one of the best humans so we’re sending you to a new planet to populate and nurture a new species. You are armed with five golden bits of knowledge, what are they? 1. Keep an eye out for the idiots. They will try and crop up again on this new planet but we really need to watch out. 2. Remember we are just another animal. Not gonna explain that any more. Just remember it. 3. Take it easy with the babies. Seriously. Every problem that is likely to end the human race can be traced one way or another back to overpopulation. That’s the real issue we all ignore. The planet wasn’t made for this many of us. There are laws Brum Notes Magazine


all over the world where people are legally bound to keep the population of animals in their area or on their land to a manageable level. See point 2. 4. Fitness, both mental and physical are important. We should all spend a lot of time trying to improve both. 5. Ice cream and pizza are super awesome. You are pretty clued up when it comes to all things film related. What is your go-to film on a cloudy day, a date night and the film that makes you feel like a badass? On a cloudy day it’s Harvey. That’s my favourite film of all time. It makes me feel happy about everything. It’s so great. On a date…probably Say Anything. Another wonderful movie that HAPPENS to be a kind of teen rom com type thing. Then I’d probably go with Dead Man’s Shoes for feeling like a badass. Paddy Considine is the boss. Who makes you want to stand on top of a real tall building and shout about them because they are so awesome? Loads of people! I’m lucky enough to have people like Sage Francis, Warrenpeace, Jackamo Brown and Birmingham’s very own Polarbear on my label (Speech Development Records)…but then I also have B Dolan – who Brummies LOVE – who is releasing his album with us this year, so that’s one I will literally be shouting about a lot. He’s constantly inspiring and this album is the one to back up his legendary live show. My label aside, imma quickly reel off a few: Open Mike Eagle, Young Fathers, Jean Grae, Kate Tempest, Rob Auton.

“ICE CREAM AND PIZZA ARE SUPER AWESOME.”

Photo by John Gallardo

March 2015

When are you at your happiest, writing, performing, on the radio or DJing? I’m so damn lucky to get to do all of them. It’s genuinely nuts. What people don’t realise is that when your passion becomes your job…it becomes your job. And jobs aren’t always fun. So getting to rotate and jump between so many different passions is amazing. What’s next for Scroobius Pip? Well, this year I’m focused on writing for my next, and possibly last, album, several non-music based writing projects, the B Dolan album, my monthly job of talking about MMA/UFC on BT Sports (Fighting Talk), my podcast which seems to be growing and growing to outrageous levels every week, and probably about 10 things I’ve forgotten to mention. So I REALLY need this night in Brum to let off steam, have a drink, have a dance, meet some lovely people and play some loud, loud music.

Scroobius Pip brings his We Are Lizards club night to the Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, on March 27, featuring DJ sets from Scroobius Pip, DJ Destruction, Push Music and more. 25


Ghosts in the Machine

Glaswegian synth wizards Errors are back this month with a new album and a UK tour. Ahead of their stop-off in Birmingham, Guy Hirst talks to keyboard player, guitarist and vocalist Stephen Livingstone about art school, working in bars and recording a new Scottish national anthem. “I can listen to a track and as soon as the synth comes in, within a split second I can decide whether I like it or not. Whereas rock music doesn’t really do that for me. There’s a greater sense of immediacy in a synth. It’s something that’s built into us I guess, like hearing Kraftwerk for the first time when I was a wee guy. I didn’t realise music like that existed. Aphex Twin, Radiohead, Bjork – that was all stuff that got me started. I found myself in another world of computerised music.” The circle of fifths, semiquavers and the phrygian and mixolydian modes matter not, or at least not on paper – as Stephan accounts himself among the extreme-spectrum of the musically illiterate, not even recognising the names the notes on the keyboard. “Yeah that’s still true, unbelievably. It’s been 15 years, it’s mad, I don’t understand. I just can’t get my head around it. I know that whatever keyboard I go to it’ll be the same. I just think playing by ear has become a big part of my style of writing. I’m not setting out with the intention to make chords related or technically make sense. I was thinking I’d go into further musical education…but I went to art school and made that mistake instead.” A lack of formal musical education, however, has not got in the way of his musical output, with 26

Errors having just chalked up their fifth studio album, Lease of Life. And he is confident that this is the band’s strongest LP to date – even if he prefers to leave it to others to discuss what the album ‘says’ to its listeners (“You’ll need to tell me what statement the album is making,” he counters, when asked).

“I don’t know how many more records we’ve got left in us,so I think that this release was a really important one to nail.” “Lease of Life works more as an album than anything we’ve ever done before,” Stephen continues. “On previous releases I’ve often thought it’s sounded like a lot of different bands featuring on the same record.”

This time around, Errors also blur the line between reality and illusion to excite the listener’s perception of what they’re consuming. “That was a definite decision in the making of the record, our intention was to play with the idea of what’s synthesis and what’s acoustic, what’s real and what’s not.” Fellow scots and founders of Rock Action Records Mogwai saw the talent in Errors more than a decade ago, took them on tour, signed them and effectively helped them break through. Errors similarly use their modest position of influence to raise the profile of lesser known bands. Groups such as Le Blanca, who’ll be touring with them this year, for example. “Yeah, we always try and help out because the more shows you do when you’re starting out the better. We got a name for ourselves touring with Mogwai, so it worked for us. “Le Blanca are good friends of ours, their setup is just synth and drums, which is really intense live. I think it’s a great idea to take a band on tour. It helps it feel more like an event rather than having two local bands that have nothing to do with us.” Birmingham’s Victories At Sea, however, who are also on the bill, aren’t one of these bands. “They’re Brum Notes Magazine


cool man, I think it’ll work really well. I hear they’re really keen to play with us as well which is awesome,” says Stephen. “Sometimes you never know what you’re gonna get with support bands.” Back to the new album and it seems the suitably-titled Lease of Life exudes a new-found confidence for Errors. “Things like having a 20-piece choir and a saxophone were always things we had discussed but never had the balls to do. Having a 13-minute track like Through the Eyes of Those Who Observe Us is quite a statement for us as well. “I don’t know how many more records we’ve got left in us so I think that this release was a really important one to nail.” Frustratingly, like many creatives who deserve to earn a living from their work, Stephen and the band currently have to fit touring and recording around their day jobs. “For two years we didn’t,” he recalls, “we were in a good position where we could survive off the music, but we knew it wouldn’t last forever. I went back to working in different pubs, which is fine because it’s like, you know, easy. That’s pretty much what everyone in a band in Glasgow does. You can go into any pub in Glasgow and meet somebody who plays in a band.” It’s doubtful, however, that many other Glaswegian synth bands get asked to make a national anthem by their fans on Twitter, as Errors have been. “I’d struggle with that actually,” Stephen insists, “because everybody wants The Proclaimers 500 Miles to be the Scottish national anthem, which I agree with by the way, it’s a great tune, much better than Scotland the Brave. But I’ve got some really good bagpipe settings on my keyboards.”

Errors are live at The Rainbow, Birmingham, on March 27. New album Lease of Life is out on March 23, through Rock Action Records. March 2015

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ROSY FUTURE

Warwickshire songstress Lucy Rose is about to release her second album. But before that can happen, there’s the problem of picking tracks. “I love all the songs I’ve recorded,” she tells David Vincent. She’s supposed to be enjoying a short holiday away from it all, but Lucy Rose is more than happy to take time-out to give Brum Notes a call.

“I always feel a little weird walking around the woods on my own, so it’s nice to have a dog – it’s like an excuse, yeah,” she laughs again.

“I’m walking in the Cotswolds, so if I sound a bit out of breath, it’s because I’m walking up a mountain,” she laughs down the phone. “I’m taking a little break before it gets busy and busier, just for a couple of days, with a little dog, walking.

The release of Lucy’s debut album, Like I Used To, resulted in widespread acclaim for the Warwickshire lass back in 2012/13. She quickly outgrew the ‘Bombay Bicycle Club backing singer’ tag to establish herself as a singer-songwriter of

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surprising maturity and skill. But the last year or so has seen her slip from view, emerging only for a few choice appearances, such as supporting Neil Young & Crazy Horse at Hyde Park, London, in July. “Neil Young is amazing!” she cries at the mention of the great man’s name. “Neil Young was one of the biggest references for my first record, of Brum Notes Magazine


capturing character over perfection. I was madly impressed by him. My booking agent was so excited to tell me when it was confirmed – to be playing on the same stage as Neil Young at Hyde Park! There was so much about seeing him and seeing him on that stage…” Despite being a major fan, Lucy opted to stay clear of the influential Canadian legend backstage. “I was definitely not brave enough to speak to him – I’d never have been able to do that. I met [Pink Floyd’s] David Gilmour recently and I just talked at him for five minutes solid and walked off. I don’t know what I said! So I’m banning myself from talking to my heroes. “At Hyde Park, I was just perving over Neil Young’s guitars, just standing there for ages, looking at them thinking, ‘so many great songs have been written on those guitars’. That was great.” She also found herself opening for 90s US arena rockers Counting Crows across the UK and Europe. “It’s been almost two years since I did a headline tour, which is quite a long time, [so that] was helpful getting the new songs into shape to play live for my tour,” she says. “I felt lucky to play in those big venues – Counting Crows are one of those bands that are so enthusiastic about music and so enthusiastic about new music. It’s unusual to find a band like that, that’s so supportive. For me, some shows like that, financially, they might not work, but they understood that and were very helpful.” The main reason for Lucy’s semi-seclusion was her impending second album, the first taster from which – Cover Up – was released as a freebie download way back in July. “For the new record I wrote about 50 songs and did tons of demos, which I had to whittle down. I recorded 17 songs in the studio and the album will have 11-12 on it, with the deluxe all the songs on it. We’re just trying to decide if Cover Up will be on the deluxe version or the normal album. That’s the

most difficult part, what goes on, and what’s the sequencing. I love all the songs I’ve recorded… all of them, so it’s more about the overall mood of the album, mixing light with dark. “Cover Up is such a big song, it has to be on there somewhere,” she says of the jittering synth track, quickly adding that it’s far from indicative of the rest of the record. “Cover Up is the most extreme song. Part of me wanted people to hear something first that was so different to anything on the last record. I thought the best song to put out was to pick the most outrageous and put that out as a track. The majority of it is not like that. If anything, there’s more electric and acoustic guitar.” While she won’t get drawn into discussing specifics just yet, she does reveal that travel is a recurring theme. “A lot of it was written on the road while I was touring the last album, which was one of the most inspiring places I could have been. Every day, we were playing music, every day we were meeting new people, and that ended up with me writing every day. “There’s a song called Cologne, which was written while we were in Germany, in Cologne, and there’s another about Sheffield, so that experience of travelling, being on the road, runs through some of the songs. And also there’s songs about people I’ve met at gigs, people who’ve handed me a letter to tell me how I’ve inspired them or what a song meant to them – I’ve inspired them and that’s inspired me.” She fleetingly mentions a “terrifying” planned video shoot, but won’t say more. At this stage, even the long-player’s title is very much TBC. “The album is still work in progress. I have a few ideas for a title and rough date in my diary for when it’s out. I’m not sure if I can say just yet… but I think I can say that it’ll be out in the summer, it’ll be a summer album!”

“The first album was recorded in my parents’ living room, so it was quite interesting to go and do this one in a studio.”

Is that a ‘summer album’ as in a summery sounding album? “I don’t know if it’s a summery album, but some of the songs feel summery and festivaly and positive, but there are also some songs that feel more wintery,” she answers, adding that it was recorded at Snap, a studio famed for their vintage equipment. “The first album was recorded in my parents’ living room, so it was quite interesting to go and do this one in a studio. I was thinking as I went in, I’d never done this before, I’d never recorded music in a proper studio before. It was recorded [at studios based] in Manor House, North London, and it was kinda perfect. But it felt quite surreal to go into a studio – most people forget that I recorded at my parents’ house, and suddenly I was in this studio with lots of history and it felt properly surreal.” Famed for her own contributions to other records, predominantly a slew of cuts for Bombay Bicycle Club, album number two sees Lucy calling on a few of her pals for assistance. “There’re a couple of collaborations on my record,” she admits. “Rae Morris and Sam Brookes are on a couple of tracks – it’s nice to have a couple of contrasting, different voices on there.” Alongside her own stuff, she also found time to work with Ghostpoet, contributing a track to his third album, Shedding Skin (out this month) having previously contributed to Some Say I So I Say Light’s Dial Tones. “I’m very honoured to have been asked to do it. The song – Sorry My Love, It’s You Not Me – is brilliant and his album is so brilliant. “Ghostpoet got in touch with me after he was nominated for the Mercury Prize for his first album [Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam], and just said he really liked my voice – it was very surreal!” With the untitled album looming, it seems unlikely there’ll be time for other team-ups, though Lucy prefers not to look too far into the future. “The year ahead? To be honest I’m so bad at looking at what’s going on this week, but there’s the March tour, in April there’s some dates in Europe, lots of festivals over the summer including Kendal Calling, which is one of my favourites, and then the autumn tour, which they’re booking now. But really, I’m just looking forward to getting the record out and just seeing what happens.”

Lucy Rose plays The Institute, Birmingham, on March 25. March 2015

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From lounge to arena

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Brum Notes Magazine


In two short years, Wolf Alice have graduated from bars to far bigger venues – and they haven’t even released an album yet. Lauren Cox finds out more. With a hotly anticipated debut album due out in June, and a must-see UK tour underway, Wolf Alice continue to leave a storm of excitement in their wake. From the release of their debut single, Fluffy, back in 2013, to spring’s EP Creature Songs, (featuring huge live favourite Moaning Lisa Smile), the buzz surrounding the band is still on the increase. Winning Best Breakthrough Artist at the UK Festival Awards, they continue to attract some pretty influential fans, including Alt-J, who invited Wolf Alice to join them at London’s massive O2 Arena in January.

“When we got invited to play America, that was also really exciting. I’ve never been to America so that was a double whammy that I got to go to America and play shows.”

So how did the North London four-piece bag such a prestigious slot? “In all honesty we have the same manager,” laughs modest frontwoman Ellie Rowsell. “Although, we did fill in for one of their supports once when no one could do it.”

“We don’t stick to one thing and instead just do whatever feels natural. We all go by that mantra.”

But they didn’t automatically get handed the gig, as Ellie explains. “We met them, and got along with them, and they really enjoyed our show, so it wasn’t all tricks of the trade!” Known for her on-stage confidence, Ellie says she felt more excited than nervous about the huge show because “when it’s a support show you don’t have so much pressure.” The quartet – vocalist/guitarist Ellie, bassist Theo Ellis, lead guitarist Jeff Oddie and drummer Joel Amery – have come so far so quickly. Born out of open mic nights in the nation’s capital, it was less than two years ago that Wolf Alice played a headline set at Birmingham’s Sunflower Lounge, with support from Hoopla Blue and the now disbanded Brummie band Wide Eyed. “Oh wow, that was a great show,” she reminisces. “I really enjoyed it.” From the Sunflower Lounge to the O2 Arena in just two years, before an album has even been released seems a pretty damn good achievement. But despite their relatively short lifespan, Ellie says there have been many highpoints, with an invitation to play Glastonbury a teenage dream come true and a real breakthrough moment. “It was the first festival we played and we had such a huge stage,” she recalls. “I went to Glastonbury when I was like 17 so I was like…ahh, this is so exciting to be here myself.” Another highlight for the band, who took their name from a story by author Angela Carter, was their first jaunt Stateside. March 2015

Though they have no real connections to the city, Wolf Alice have repeatedly teamed up with many of Birmingham’s leading names. They previously supported both Peace and Swim Deep, while Superfood have opened for them. Ellie is full of admiration for how well all three bands are now doing.

“I’m sure there are other cool bands coming out of Birmingham too,” she continues. “There’s definitely been a spotlight on Birmingham since the likes of Peace and Swim Deep started. People started hearing more so that’s really cool. Now it feels like when we play a show in Birmingham that they’ve paved the way for a big gig culture. All the kids seem more excited.” But wherever they are in the country, Ellie is always keen to keep her ear to the ground when it comes to exciting new acts. “I went to a really good gig the other day which had a great lineup with a band called Our Girl, Crows and Bloody Knees. That was a great line up of new music.” Ellie and company will be back in Birmingham this month as part of their current touring schedule, which includes European dates opening for mates Alt-J, sliding into their own headline UK gigs, taking in London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire (their biggest headline show to date), as well as The Institute in Brum – with the band choosing their own support acts. “We have to find someone who’s going to get the crowd excited, but not so excited that when

we come on the crowd are bored,” Ellie laughs. “Also if you’re going on long tours, you need people that you get along with that aren’t going to be dicks. We’ve been lucky in that everyone we’ve ever toured with has been absolutely lovely.” Since their official formation in 2013, Wolf Alice have embraced long tours and shows of all sizes. And for Ellie, life on the road is a mixture of both pleasures and hardships. “The moment I come off stage and we’ve had a good show and everyone’s really excited and there’s a great atmosphere. I get to speak to the people after the show and they’re always really nice. Yeah, I like that moment,” she confirms. “My least favourite part is when I wake up in the morning and have to pick out dirty clothes from my suitcase so I look like a piece of shit, but there’s nothing much I can do about it.” As for the band, it seems a fairly simple formula behind Wolf Alice – a group of friends making music with no rules. “We don’t have any specific influences but there are things that tie us together,” she says. “We all like different things but [it’s] more our way of working that ties us together. “We don’t stick to one thing and instead just do whatever feels natural. We all go by that mantra.” That work is set to culminate in the release of their just-announced debut album, My Love Is Cool, this summer, with the finishing sheen just being applied. “It’s all been recorded, we’re just mixing it now,” says the singer. “We had six weeks in a studio in London and everything went really smoothly. There are some old songs in there and some new songs, so it should be good. “[It’s] a firm snapshot of who we are as a band now, and then a little hint of what’s to come in a couple of years.” Whatever it eventually sounds like, it’ll no doubt be invigorating, exciting, and sound perfect in arenas.

Wolf Alice are live at The Institute, Birmingham, on March 31. 31


THE SUNFLOWER LOUNGE 76 Smallbrook Queensway, Birmingham, B5 4EG www.thesunflowerlounge.com

0121 632 6756 Photos by Andy Hughes

Cuisine: American Price: Mains, 2 sides and pudding for £15 Service: Atmosphere: Food: Overall:

Best known as one of Brum’s finest underground music venues (literally…the gigs all happen in the cellar), perhaps The Sunflower Lounge isn’t the first place you think of if you fancy a nibble. But after a swanky £100,000 refit and with soul food aficionados Big Papa doing their ‘thang’ in the kitchen, that might be about to change. After a particularly friendly welcome (it has to be said, all the staff here seemed genuinely, authentically, not just ‘doing it for the money’ nice) we were recommended a couple of bottles of Blind Pig cider, a newish brand infused with a variety of spirits and flavours, in this case whiskey and honey and rum and poached pear. Well worth snuffling out. The menu itself is a love letter to the Deep South with some classic starters, mains and sides. We plumped for the Pulled Cola Brisket Bun with Cajun Sweet Potato Fries, Mac and Cheese and Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Greens and – heck it had to be done – some more of them Fries.

Served up on wooden trays just a few minutes later there’s just a touch more elegance than you’d get in the Deep South with neat little tin pots of garlic and paprika mayo and habanero sauce with a heat that creeps up on you gently before smacking you round the chops with a quick burst of fire. A great excuse to order another bottle or three of Blind Pig. The Fries were little slices of heaven. Hallelujah brothers and sisters! Clearly hand-cut, they were crispy on the outside, soft and squidgy on the inside and sweet enough to hold their own against the main dish. Having spent 12 hours or so cooking low and slow, the Brisket was tender but pleasingly still retained a little meaty chew. The cola marinade adds a rich sweetness with hints of caramel on the outer layer, fresh slaw provides the crunch and a warmed brioche bun bravely battled to keep the whole mouthwatering mix in place. Mac and cheese can be a bit of a hit and miss affair but this version’s just about right, perhaps a little more cheese is needed to balance out the richness of the pork, but then again you’d probably need a whole dairy to do that.

spots. Not sure if there were chunks of chocolate in there or whether the mixture hadn’t quite baked right…by this point the taste buds were a little overwhelmed. That might have been why the Bourbon Cream lacked much of a punch, if you bill something as Bourbon Cream hell, you want a lip-zinging hit of spirit in there. These are minor quibbles though, this was a mighty fine meal all round, cooked and served by people who, frankly my dears, do give a damn. Daron Billings

The Buttermilk Fried Chicken was equally as good as the pork. A crispy and lightly spiced coating yields to marvellously moist meat (try saying that after several bottles of Blind Pig). It’s enough to make Colonel Sanders hang his head in shame. The Greens were, well, green but pleasant enough and tasted freshly cooked. Screw Lent, the puddings sounded too tempting to resist. The Blueberry Pancakes lived up to expectations with a neat little trio of the beauties stacked on top of each other, smothered in maple syrup and vanilla butter, with a generous fistful of berries on top. The Mississippi Mud Pie was warm and gooey in places but a touch cold in other

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Brum Notes Magazine


live

Photo by Rob Hadley

SLEAFORD MODS Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath 20/02/15

Youth Man proudly nail punk vulgarity and cause headaches by punctuating bouts of applause with feedback and sharing accounts of curry-induced diarrhoea, confrontational frontwoman Kaila Whyte spitting out the words “everyone in this room can eat me” before commandingly thrusting the Birmingham trio back into a set of hardcore punk that throws melody, subtlety and everything elegant about music to the dogs. A destructive onslaught of welcomed rage that gets everyone in the mood for hatred. The play button of Sleaford Mods beat-maker Andrew Fearn’s laptop is seemingly attached to a direct feed in the rabid frontman Jason Williamson’s nervous system, which means that, with a single click, Williamson animates into a nipple-rubbing Tourette’s sufferer terrorising an anger management class. It’s incredible. His talent for unsuppressed futile-rage-ranting about rockstar pomposity, government, shit jobs and trendy fanzines is enough to make 99-percent of all music feel irrelevant, in the same vein as the punk bands of yore. During hate-anthems Jolly Fucker, A Little Ditty, Job Seeker and McFlurry, fans shout along to every emphatic profane outburst, which is near impossible as Williamson’s performance is the antithesis of friendly. Carrying out the most ironic encore ever, which consists of crouching March 2015

behind a pair of speakers for 10 seconds, as the night rages to a close, the duo play Tweet Tweet Tweet before Williamson- sweaty and most likely nipple-chafed- abruptly leaves to the sound of rapture. Going...going...gone. Guy Hirst

The Cribs The Oobleck, Birmingham 17/02/15

Tonight’s obscenely sweaty 90-minute scuzz-pop barrage – punctuated by a nearconstant moshpit – represents a triumphant return to garage band territory for The Cribs. This much clear from the very first minute – it takes approximately 40 seconds for feedback-fried opener Mirror Kissers to give birth to the night’s first crowd-surfer – every chord of the Wakefield trio’s 18 songs squirms with the ferocity of a band aiming to re-awaken a guttural intensity made dormant by the onset of fame. An outfit swimming in anthems both old and new, the conscious lo-fi of first album cut What About Me, snarled out by bassist Gary in a richly-accented drawl that has endured despite his now-permanent Portland residence, soon mellows into the deliberatelyunpolished blare of forthcoming sixth-album track An Ivory Hand. Pink Snow, a protracted

seven-minute further addition to their live repertoire, mixes placid verse and colossal hooks with more acidic brio than post-Nevermind Nirvana. Careful not to oversaturate with upcoming material, the Jarmans leave enough space for their contrary-rock classics to make an impact. I’m A Realist bristles along on wild call-and-answers vocals whilst Hey Scenesters’ perilous gust tempts the number of crowd surfers into double figures. Demand for early gem Another Number audible from the get-go, with numerous attendees bellowing its lullaby-like riff out loud upon entering the venue, when the band finally does kowtow to these not-so-subtle wishes, the room’s reaction is as intimidating as that of a lairy football chant at a local derby. As the crowd disperses after a scorching finale of City of Bugs, the alcohol-sodden floor and aching limbs tell their own story – The Cribs are back with a vengeance, and more incendiary than ever. Dan Owens

The Decemberists The Institute, Birmingham 18/02/15

Touring in support of What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, a seventh album 33


that marks the end of a four-year pause that saw bandleader Colin Meloy join forces with his illustrator wife to work on children’s books and the remainder of the baroquefolk quintet fuelling their musical energy into bluegrass-inspired group The Black Prairie, The Decemberists crown their second-ever appearance in Birmingham with another sell-out show. Greeted by a rapturous applause, Meloy opens fittingly with The Singer Addresses His Audience – the song a cheeky reassurance to fans who may have been disconcerted about the band’s future during their hiatus. Moving into a set jam-packed with the group’s extensive back catalogue, the band ensure that audience participation remains key, performing the likes of Sixteen Military Wives and O Valencia! before letting Philomena entwine into a powerful performance of The Island: Come & See. Also central to proceedings are the band’s official, latest album-featuring backing singers – the dreamy harmonies and doo-wop vocals of Kelly Hogan and Rachel Flotard bringing a fresh and uplifting charm to The Decemberists’ sound. Though a little predictable, no Decemberists show would be complete without a rendition of the legendary Mariner’s Revenge Song, which brings the curtain down on the second of two encores, the five-piece’s latest Birmingham outing proving them a well-oiled musical machine. Their newest release may not stand up to its predecessors but, on the strength of tonight’s performance, their back catalogue can more than ably speak for itself. Saima Razzaq

Echo & The Bunnymen The Institute, Birmingham 15/02/2015

Catcalls abound from still-bitter fans as the blackened high priests of post-punk, Echo & The Bunnymen – of which prodigious guitarist Will Sergeant and enigmatic, aloof frontman Ian McCulloch are the only original members that remain – finally assume the Institute stage two months late. Point proven and apology surrendered after racing through a devastating opening salvo of Crocodiles, Rescue and Villiers Terrace – a harder-rocking trio of cuts that belies their punk roots – the latest incarnation of the Bunnymen, crowd now eating firmly out of their crystalline hands, proceed to play out a hit-stacked set comprised almost solely of the radiant, elephantine cuts for which they’re most revered. The first of these titans to arrive is Seven Seas, which, though partially derailed by McCulloch’s slowly diminishing rasp, doesn’t 34

really lose any of its luminescent hymnal chime. The Cutter, buoyed by a sitar-resembling coda, engenders a queasy hat-tip to The Beatles, a debt to the hippie decade further driven home by a disarming mid-set cover of The Doors’ People Are Strange and the precious snippets of Don’t Let Me Down and In The Midnight Hour that feed into Nothing Lasts Forever’s tender finale. Anyone doubting the longevity of the band’s best-known track, the ice-cold Killing Moon, need only glance at the amorous young couple exchanging saliva as its nocturnal sigh perishes into nothingness. Maturing over the decades into one of the country’s most esteemed acts, in spite of the declining quality of their songcraft (new songs Constantinople and Holy Moses bore rather than enthral on appearance this time around), tonight Echo & The Bunnymen display both the mysticality and flair that, in McCulloch’s own self-aggrandising on-stage words, ‘sets them apart from every other band’. Nothing lasts forever, eh Mac? Your music stands a pretty good chance. Dan Owens

Blossoms The Oobleck, Birmingham 19/02/2015

With the foppish curls that sit atop his skeletal frame preened to perfection, Blossoms frontman Tom Ogden would surely be hot favourite to scoop the top prize at a Mick Jagger look-alike contest. Fortunately though, Stones impressions aren’t the only thing that this fledgling Stockport-based five-piece look like they’re starting to master. Rolling out a natty line of dreamy, opalescent pastel-pop ditties across a set that doesn’t scrimp on the swagger, the quintet’s inaugural Birmingham headline slot fervently

demonstrates that they’ve got the psych chops to freak it out with the best of them. Played out over a sickly-sweet union of rich Al Kooper-like organ and shimmering guitars, the giddy rush of opener You Pulled A Gun On Me gives the night’s first glimpse of the lysergic promise that forced Coral frontman James Skelly to court the band, eventually deeming them worthy of a release on his own record label. Taken under the wing of a man who knows his Byrds from his Beatles, Ogden and company’s sub-40 minute set proves a cocksure Mancunian answer to Temples’ shrill retro call. Bolstered by swathes of Northern bravado, the band’s leather-jacketed leader sucks nonchalantly on a Stella bottle as The Urge’s acid-kissed fuzz sweeps through the air, almost drawing blood from his hands in providing the rambunctious Baggy groove of Cut Me And I’ll Bleed with flashes of Liam Gallagher-esque tambourine. Dialling down the pomp for dusty campfire warble My Favourite Room – a live staple sung back by a growing mass of adoring fans assembled at the barricade – the latter half of their set reveals a defter, more subdued string to their bow. Saving the best until last, the thunderous gallop of future chart-slayer Blow ends the night on a spontaneous small-scale stage invasion that leaves Blossoms seeming every inch the latest brush stroke on Manchester’s rich musical mosaic. Keep watch. Dan Owens

Naomi Punk Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath 08/02/2015

Starting things off, Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam rifle through a set that keeps a fine balance between old and new material, the

Blossoms Photo by Jonathan Morgan

Brum Notes Magazine


Naomi Punk Photo by Sam Wood

Alvvays + Moon King Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath 27/01/15

Toronto’s Moon King – childhood friends Maddy Wilde and Daniel Woodhead – keep March 2015

Styled as an acoustic tour, despite being divested of electricity – and thus consigning showy guitarist Steve Cradock to a bitpart role – pints are raised early into sleepy opener Better Day, which tumbles from the stripped-back stage on a cloud of bittersweet harmonies and gleaming piano keys. From thereon out, the band, aside from occasionally swapping instruments, rarely threaten to move from this leisurely, pleasant pace – turning a new-found eeriness to Village Life, injecting a spritely rush into the string-dappled pulse of She’s Been Writing and compressing the pastoral Have You Got The Right and Another Time To Stay into a sensitive, yet tantalizing, medley. Their low-key, seasick odes to precious memories and winsome feelings too often slapped with critical derision, this sold-out hometown residency, bereft of the posturing that overwhelmed their early years, also stresses the unique understanding that OCS have maintained with their fans. Audibly screaming out entire couplets to the bashful Moseley Shoals B-side of Robin Hood, the boozed-up cohort are unerring in their contribution to the quarter-century festivities – merry clusters of onlookers obliging One For The Road’s call to ‘get up and dance’, every voice matching Simon Fowler’s own fleeting roar on Profit In Peace’s pacifist cry. The flickering Riverboat Song questionably omitted, the band’s second chart-bothering juggernaut, The Day We Caught The Train, is the inevitable crown on a glorious fivesong encore. Nonsense verse building into an unbreakable wall of ‘woah-oh-la-la’s’ as the curtain falls, cooler circles might now consider Ocean Colour Scene an unnecessary heritage act, but, on tonight’s evidence, theirs is a resounding appeal that’s very far from being on the wane. Dan Owens

Ocean Colour Scene Symphony Hall, Birmingham 21/02/2015

Believed by most of the music press to have bitten the dust along with Britpop as the 90s wound to a close, it might come as surprise to some that Moseley’s own Ocean Colour Scene are still very much alive and kicking. Having released, on average, an album once every two years since their commercial heyday, tonight they fill out Symphony Hall for the first of two unassuming 25th anniversary celebrations, an embarrassment of starryeyed folk material in tow.

Photo by Sam Wood

early prog shimmer of King of England sharing space with the more recent likes of Paradise Telephone and storming psychedelic folk-punk number Neighbours. Strong new songs and intensity in check, if tonight is anything to go by, it’s going to be a big year for one of Birmingham’s brightest bands. Acclaimed for their abrasiveness, the jarring sound that’s become synonymous with headliners Naomi Punk takes on an even more explosive edge in a live setting. As a noise-punk trio that hail from the US Northwest (Seattle to be more precise) they’ve often been subject to many easy critical comparisons to Nirvana. But this labelling isn’t something that they’ve spurned, particularly on the merits of tonight’s lo-fi display. Propelled by resonant chord changes and no-nonsense drum patterns, the threepiece’s rudimental attack is given bite by frontman Travis Coster’s consistently zonedout drawl, ascribing every track that features in their career-spanning set, whether plucked from Television Man or The Spell, the same brutal, hacked-off-at-the-world spirit. As the set concludes, it’s clear to see that Naomi Punk’s grunge identity is beginning to morph into a much more distinctive, even signature, sound. If you missed them this time around, make sure that you don’t make the same mistake again. Dan Owens

it just the right side of loose to impress on the grungy roar of opener Impossible. Unfortunately struck down by a technical hitch shortly after, Woodhead brandishes his nowunplayable guitar like a weapon for the remainder of the duo’s storming performance, the set ending on a high with the droning Krautrock of new single Roswell, powered by Wilde’s fierce strumming, instigating a sweaty climax that mixes flailing hair and zealous headbanging. Matched with singer Molly Rankin’s enthusiasm and charm, Alvvays’ well-crafted surf rock tunes give the crowd exactly what they came for. Hailing from the “small island of Nova Scotia”, the five-piece focus on playing songs from their highly-rated 2014 selftitled debut album, making for a set that mines a similarly kaleidoscopic sound to that of fellow jangle-pop enthusiasts The Drums. Your Type and Next of Kin get things started before Rankin turns to the crowd to wax lyrical about her band’s three previous visits to Birmingham, spinning tales that involve genial landlords, sour apple shots and grooving to Sheryl Crow on the jukebox. Her gushing claim that these were by far the best nights of each tour is met by guitarist Alec O’Hanley’s gleeful shout of “let’s make it four!” A rush of excitement ushers in Archie, Marry Me – a catchy sure-fire anthem in waiting – whilst a cover of Deerhunter’s Nosebleed has more than a sniff of The Buzzcocks to it, bouncing along on a new wave chug. Alvvays’ heart may be found in the mid-paced dalliance of tunes like The Agency Group and Dives, adorned by Kerri MacLellan’s keys, but it’s in the more energetic tracks (the Blondie-with-pigtails Atop A Cake and the chiming Adult Diversion) that they really come into their own. A cover of The Primitives’ Out of Reach and new track Haircut serve as an encore, proving that they are a band who know where they have come from and, more importantly, where they are heading.  Andrew Gutteridge

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album reviews

Matthew E White Fresh Blood Out March 9 (Domino)

On 2014’s Big Inner, Matthew E White distilled the diverse ingredients of funk, country, gospel, soul and psych-rock into such an astonishing record that it was difficult to see how the Richmond VA singer-songwriter could deliver a follow-up of equal value. Happily, Fresh Blood is a clear continuation of White’s exploration of songwriting, bound together by the same solid backline and balanced effortlessly with plush strings, warm female vocals and discordant brass stabs. At the centre of the band’s always majestic, often-familiar and occasionally cosmic sound is the voice of the man himself; molasses-thick, 36

low and soothing, gliding from a gruff whisper in Circle ‘Round The Sun to slightly urgent exhortations on Feeling Good Is Good Enough. There are times where White’s fathoms-deep vocals render his words barely audible over the swell of backing vocals and instruments but these occasions rarely detract from the mesmerising flow of songs like Tranquillity or the outstanding Burt Bacharach-meets-John Grant number Golden Robes. The clearest words on Fresh Blood are often the weightiest, attesting to the singer’s relationship with Christianity through couplets like: ‘Wrap your arms around me Jesus / Move the wind across the sea / in the morning when the sun is up / I keep your company’, amidst themes of love, peace and rock’n’roll. White’s other interests as a jazz bandleader, producer (taking credits on the exquisite debut from label-mate Natalie Prass) and arranger/

engineer shine throughout the album, from the boogie-woogie saunter of Rock & Roll Is Cold to the drama of Fruit Trees via the worship funkrock of Vision. Overall, Fresh Blood is Americana reimagined for the Father John Misty, Bon Iver and Midlake generation, imbued with soul sensitivities and aglow with sounds old and new. A true musical blessing. Lyle Bignon Brum Notes Magazine


Houndmouth Little Neon Limelight Out March 16 (Rough Trade Records)

Little Neon Limelight is so American that it could pass for Huckleberry Finn strapped to a red, white and blue firework with ‘FREEDOM’ etched onto the side. It’s a perfectly-recorded, perfectly-performed, picture-perfect product that jovially blends the original sounds of bluegrass, folk, rock‘n’roll and country and western into a hip amalgam for younger audiences. Opening track Sedona has that Grateful Dead vibe of going coast-to-coast with a catchy Casey Jones chorus, only minus the cocaine, whilst 15 Years mixes a Johnny Cash love affair with the railroad and prison up against Little Richard’s trademark ‘ah-woos’. But most uncanny of all is For No One, which features a Bob Dylan, or rather, Baawwb Deeeleeeaaantype vocal that adds legitimacy to the song’s cryptic Dylan-esque lyrics (‘All the notables and their spine wives, three hipsters, two merchants and a contiki / They saw the black dawn of the midnight skies, man you should’ve seen ‘em’, being but one example). It’s a fair listen that, granted, may be about as gritty as a Furby, but when you’re eating soggy chips on Blackpool Pier and in need of some American optimism or honky-tonk heartbreak, it might just succeed in turning you from an English cynic into an American patriot. Yee-haw! Guy Hirst

The Pop Group Citizen Zombie Out Now (Freaks R Us)

With their politicised floor-fillers and primal shrieks forewarning of a fast-encroaching Conservative government in greying strikestruck Britain, musical firebrands The Pop Group imploded long before the shattering consequences of Margaret Thatcher’s appointment could really become apparent. Making amends for their lengthy absence by reforming as a hefty portion of the country stews in a similar-to-the-70s disenfranchisement, the vehement Leftists have returned to take issues both familiar and new to task on Citizen Zombie – deftly training their electro punk-funk crosshairs on politics, warmongering and technology, with their first record in 35 years. Hanging heavy with an industrial fug, the album’s on-edge opener and title track March 2015

resurrects a common Pop Group trope, the plight of the individual whose identity has been swallowed by a ruthless central authority, whilst also suggesting that time has done little to strip Mark Stewart’s urgent, crunching vocals of their sour grate. His visceral bark ransacking the mellower, buttoned-down Shadow Child’s cosy electronic bed, it’s not long before this gruffness turns to dread – The Immaculate Deception’s caustic drone exhuming and re-imagining Bowie’s desolate Cold War-era anxiety as internet-age paranoia. At times abstruse, Citizen Zombie is mostly as danceable as it is didactic, with Mad Truth’s insistence that ‘it’s time to make a stand’ bellowed out in collusion with a crisp Nile Rodgers groove and Box 9 following a smooth fusion of disco drums and bruising basslines that goes some way to justifying the group’s place alongside the just-as-funky Gang of Four in the pantheon of post-punk. With their initial trio of albums, The Pop Group became central to the development of a political consciousness within the late-70s music listener, and Citizen Zombie manages to carry this ambition forward into the new century, sanding down the group’s gleefully-abrasive sound in order to engender a revolution in the body and mind from the heart of the dancefloor. Dan Owens

THE CRIBS For All My Sisters Out March 23 (Sony RED UK)

Most bands releasing their sixth album a good 15 years into their career would start to sound like they were running out of energy. Indeed, under the usual circumstances, many of them barely get halfway through their second record before putting their feet up and bringing in the cellos. But The Cribs are just not the type to phone it in for an easy life. Their latest LP, For All My Sisters, is, refreshingly, as high-octane as any of their other releases and sounds like a band unfamiliar with the aging process. Perhaps there’s a ravaged portrait of the Kaiser Chiefs hidden somewhere in their attic. Packed with all of the standard Jarman features – a joyfully fuzzy production, restrained guitar heroics, cryptic lyrics yelled at full volume, and pop melodies which occasionally drift around of their own accord – For All My Sisters certainly feels like a natural progression from its predecessor, only with the lo-fi echoes dialled down and the power-pop factor upped. As with its forerunner, the record opens with a brief blast of chaotic noise before settling into

opening track Finally Free, a swinging stomper of an indie pop-punk tune. From then on, standout tracks include An Ivory Hand, which sounds like a Weezer song briefly interrupted in the middle by a nursery rhyme, Different Angle, a conscious throwback to their Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever days, and Mr Wrong, which has many more of the hallmarks of a typical Cribs single compared to the downbeat vibe of actual lead release Burning For No One. Like all other Cribs albums, the second half of the record suffers somewhat by virtue of sounding a mite too similar to the first. But, such is the mercurial quality of the songwriting, this is unlikely to bother the Jarmans’ dedicated followers. A slightly slower-burner compared to their earlier material, For All My Sisters nevertheless remains compulsory listening for both the strident Cribs fan and appreciators of unfathomably good lo-fi pop music alike. Tom Clabon

Circa Waves Young Chasers Out March 30 (Virgin Records)

Guitar music has always, rightly or wrongly, been a key area of debate in sonic circles, with critics in recent years asking the same old batch of questions – is it dead? Has it reached its limits? Is it in decline? But despite the perpetual naysayers, it seems that, with its current crop of acts (think Peace or Catfish & the Bottlemen) this style is one that’s certainly in rude health. Now bringing their own giddy rush of preppy indie to the axe-wielding table, Liverpool’s Circa Waves have released a debut to remember. Already making ripples with the mid-paced majesty of 2014 single Stuck In My Teeth, they’ve carefully ensured that its album version, despite lacking the zesty appeal of the original cut, remains one of their strongest suits. Kieran Shudall’s reedy voice is complemented by Born Ruffians-esque indie jitters and Sian Plummer’s gently pulsating drums. Opener Get Away zips along on a danceable chorus, feeding off a bullish attitude that bleeds straight into new single T-Shirt Weather, a pounding indie anthem that should get the festival crowds ditching their anoraks. Fossils changes tack with a more downbeat motif that’s still just as catchy, whilst Lost It and My Love have the detuned drone of long-lost grunge revivalists Yuck. Throughout Young Chasers, Circa Waves soak every song in summer sweat, a winning formula that sees them combine Phoenix-esque hooks 37


with Strokes-ian sensibilities, this union reaching full fruition on the pounding urgency of So Long and the Britpop yelp of closer Talking Out Loud. All in all, on their debut, the embryonic Scousers have created an LP that brims with summery delight. Come on in, the water’s lovely. Sam Lambeth

The Go! Team The Scene Between Out March 24 (Memphis Industries)

The Go! Team’s first record in more than four years sees bandleader Ian Parton going back to the group’s beginnings, writing, producing and performing all of the songs himself. The result is a raw, DIY-sounding record that’s saturated in sweetness and chock-full of appetising melodies. Beginning with the sugar-coated What D’You Say?, imbued with a Sesame Streetlike jingle that harks back to the playful tones of 2004 debut Thunder, Lightning, Strike, Parton’s admission that he wanted to make an album “driven by melody and songwriting…permeated with a kind of wobbly VHS feel”, is, to an extent, achieved in the album’s opening bars. The production still recognisably lo-fi, with garage rock broached on Blowtorch before Waking the Jetstream makes the switch into surf-pop territory, there’s a noticeable dip in energy as the album moves towards its end – a bright opening vigour dulling in the latter stages as the once-sparkling melodies fall a little flat. Those hoping for a return to the brilliance of the band’s Mercury-nominated debut will, despite numerous nods in its direction, be hard-pressed to find it here. With Parton himself suggesting that this may be the last album released under this moniker, The Scene Between makes for a fitting, if not entirely satisfactory, farewell to the Go! Team – their fourth record a noble attempt at rewinding the wobbly VHS back to the start. Matthew Way

DUTCH UNCLES O Shudder Out now (Memphis Industries)

You don’t have to work very hard to apply a Freudian interpretation to this record, the fourth from Manchester’s Dutch Uncles. From the circle-stick artwork calling to mind those crude playground gestures we all used to make, to 38

tracks Babymaking, Drips, and In n Out (“a grammatically poor approach to breaking down the friendzone”), O Shudder just weeps sexual frustration. But it’s not all scenarios of the cunnilingus kind. Upsilon is a cryptic reference to giving Facebook the ol’ heave-ho and call and response segment Decided Knowledge charts the proceedings of a failed job interview. Yes, it’s more a fretting about settling into a meaningless rhythm, related from the tail end of the 20s. Grandiose orchestration interlocks with electronic minimalism and 80s new wave pop so that O Shudder has one foot firmly with Tears For Fears and Talking Heads, and the other nipping at the heels of Hot Chip. With eponymous 2008 debut, Dutch Uncles started out with atypical time signatures and then cemented their niche to the point where that word probably wasn’t taking it far enough. O Shudder, however, is the olive branch to, if not quite the masses, then 6 Music listeners at the very least. Academia funk anyone? You’ve got it. Amy Sumner

GHOSTPOET Shedding Skin

Diagrams

Out March 2, 2015 (PIAS)

Chromatics (Full Time Hobby Records) Out March 2

There’s undoubtable genius at work here. Sheffield composer Sam Gender, aka Diagrams, takes what could technically work as a collection of good, honest acoustic folk songs and renders them through an unfathomably detailed electronic hinterland. The result is a cohesive, intelligent and soothing set of accessible tunes contained in a relaxing chamber of uplifting synth-pop. Boasting a whole imaginarium of subtle, masterfully-employed audio mixes, Chromatics manages to make the complex sound effortless. The emotional tones conveyed in Gender’s vocals, however, appear a lot narrower. Attempting to capture emotion in all of its vibrant technicolour, the album’s voice fails to settle on a feeling, edging between melancholia and euphoria with no real resolution, even the so-titled Desolation neglecting to go to extremes. A dissonance largely determined by a gentle and pacifying vocal approach that doesn’t budge throughout its 11 tracks, the album, albeit technically masterful, often runs dry of vocal variation. But, in spite of this, Chromatics is without doubt a highly relishable experience worthy of an extended listen, with a refined attention reserved for Gentle Morning Sun, Shapes, Chromatics, Brain and Dirty Broken Bliss Guy Hirst

Back in 2013, Obaro Ejimiwe – aka Ghostpoet – told us how he preferred to work, not on individual tracks, but within the album format, on a body of unified songs. He also spoke about his desire to push forward in new directions – two ideas which clearly underpin Shedding Skin, his third album, second for PIAS and first to be recorded with his live band set-up. Recent single Off Peak Dreams opens the 10-tracker and sets the scene for a collection that creeps, winds and grasps. Nadine Shah (The Spot and That Ring Down The Drain Kind Of Feeling), Maximo’s Park’s Paul Smith (Be Right Back, Moving House), Melanie De Biasio (the title track), Etta Bond (Yes, I Helped You Pack) and Lucy Rose (Sorry My Love, It’s You Not Me) all lend their talents. But often low in the mix or used economically, their presence at times barely registers alongside Obaro’s upfront semi-spoken vocal delivery, a constant demanding presence, narrating the album’s claustrophobic episodes. Obaro has described this as his ‘guitar record’, and while it’s true that it’s peppered with guitar flourishes, riffs, and effected lines, it (thankfully) trades indie song clichés for a more textual approach. An interesting move on from Some Say I So I Say Light, that nonetheless continues to draw the listener in. David Vincent Brum Notes Magazine


POETICS OF (OUTER) SPACE A SOUND INSTALLATION BY CAROLINE DEVINE 18–22 march

12–5pm

admission free

PERROTT’S FOLLY, WATERWORKS RD, EDGBASTON, BIRMINGHAM, B16 9AL Presented as part of University of Birmingham Arts & Science festival.

Please note access to the Tower is via a steep staircase.

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

www.ikon-gallery.org

carolinedevine.co.uk

In a band? Want to sell t-shirts to your fans with no upfront cost?

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The Roadhouse Birmingham, Wharfside Leisure Complex, Lifford Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham, B30 3DZ | 0121 246 2273 // www.theroadhousebirmingham.com

SUN 1 WED 4 THU 5 FRI 6 SAT 7 SUN 8 TUES 10 WED 11 THU 12 FRI 13 SAT 14 SUN 15 WED 18 THU 19 FRI 20 SAT 21 SUN 2 TUES 24 WED 25 THU 26 FRI 27 SAT 28 SUN 29

BIRMINGHAM MUSIC WEEK + LEVITATE SHOW: INPUT HAVANA + THE FIX + THE NATURAL EMOTIONS + ELLIE POOLE & AMY ELLIS (£4) Live Lounge: “ALL-STAR VOCALS” Group singing lessons for 7-18 yrs old Main Room: HOTTER THAN HELL + EUROPEAN KISS TRIBUTE Plus Support from SILENT JACK Live Lounge: RH ACOUSTIC OPEN MIC w/ AIDAN BYRNE (£5 | Lounge: Free) THE BORN AGAIN BEATLES (£6 ADV | £7 OTD) THE BIG BANDAGE LIVE + BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL FUND RAISER Ft: Midlands godfathers of SKA-FUSION “360” headline plus DALE HANSON + KEVIN NICHOLSON + JME BROWN + MERKAGE + NATZ + PLASTIC FACTORY (£5) ENDOR PROMOTIONS Presents a unique show raising funds for the SPINAL INJURIES ASSOCIATION + “TREVOR BURTON – 50 YEARS ON THE ROAD” (£6 ADV | £8 OTD) THE LENE LOVICH BAND w/ Special Guests HER MSCHIEFS (ex-Fuzzbox singer VIX + band) (£13.50) Live Lounge: “ALL-STAR VOCALS” Group singing lessons for 7-18 yrs old Main Room: THUNDER & LIGHTENING + WINTERS EDGE + CHEMIKILL Live Lounge: RH ACOUSTIC OPEN MIC w/ HELEN JONES (£4) U2UK perform the ‘best of U2’ + support act TBC (£8) HOT RED CHILLI PEPPERS plus support from ONDAHWUN (£5 ADV / £6 OTD) “LADIES SIGN THE BLUES” MOTHERS DAY SPECIAL Ft: REBECCA DOWNES + ZOE GREEN + BONNYLOU + KIM GOWERS + CHRISTINA WING + ESTHER ROWLEY + SUZI DINGLE + SARAH WARREN & HANNAH DALLAS (£4.50 ADV / £5 OTD, 3PM Doors) Live Lounge: “ALL-STAR VOCALS” Group singing lessons for 7-18 yrs old Main Room: WD MANAGEMENT Presents: A night of pop punk Ft: VICTORY LANE + IMPARTIAL ADDICTION + THE VECTORS + FEET FIRST UK | Live Lounge: RH ACOUSTIC OPEN MIC w/ TIM WALKERDINE (£2/3 Lounge: Free) SACK SABBATH & MEGADETH UK Heavy Metal Double Header! (£7 ADV | £8 OTD) SEX PISTOLS EXPERIENCE plus support from COMPLETE DYSFUNCTION (£8) METAL Vs PUNK ALL-DAYER Ft: ENEMO-J + MEMORIES IN TORMENT + ARAMANTUS + KADARIDRIS plus more TBA (3pm Doors) “ALL-STAR VOCALS” END OF TERM SHOW METAL 2 THE MASSES – BLOODSTOCK FESTIVAL (HEAT 1) Ft: KILLING W/ VENGEANCE + SWAMP DONKEY + OPHEON + ARAMANTUS (£3) Main Room: BIG BOY BLOATER & THE LIMITS + support comes from DARK CIRCUS | Live Lounge: RH ACOUSTIC OPEN MIC w/ IAN BEVAN (£8 | Lounge: Free) GUNS Vs ROSES + support TBC (£5 ADV / £7 OTD) SOULED OUT 2 FUNK + support TBC (£6) Fundraiser All-Dayer featuring bands and acoustic acts in aid of Ideopathic PULMONARY FIBROSIS RESEARCH Ft: DEMI + FIDGETS + COREY YOUNG + MATT NUTT + JOE MORTON + more TBA (£5, 3pm Doors)

LIVE LOUNGE OPEN MIC COMEDY ACOUSTIC OPEN MIC EVERY MONDAY W/ EVERY THUDAY HANNAH SILVESTER

MAIN GIG ROOM OPEN MIC EVERY MONDAY W/ BEN DALBY

All listings are correct at time of print, however, they are subject to change at any time so please check website or call the Roadhouse Team before you travel. Please note: We are strictly 18+ on Friday & Saturday Nights

March 2015

39


gigs

Joan Armatrading

PICK

Town Hall, March 25

One of Birmingham’s most cherished homegrown acts, it’d be wrong not to consider Joan Armatrading a living legend. From modest beginnings in Handsworth, her brooding, blues-inspired and heartfelt songcraft have garnered her many a Grammy nod and seen her scoop an Ivor Novello for songwriting excellence. Said to be winding down after a remarkable 42-year career, she returns to her home city for what may well be her farewell tour. Give her the send-off she deserves.

BC Camplight

Chic

Iconoclastic Bella Union songwriter BC Camplight knows a thing or two about crossing boundaries. Raised in New Jersey but based in Manchester, he’s released three albums worth of genre-bending sound since signing his first record deal 10 years ago. Skilled in low-key piano pop but an equally dab hand at penning psychedelic scorchers – a chameleonic style influenced by his association with both Sharon Van Etten and The War On Drugs – his latest record How to Die in the North has already provided 2015 with a worthy contender for album of the year. A must see.

Disco pioneers Chic have enjoyed something of a revival of late due to leader and sparkling guitarist Nile Rodgers’ shining contribution to a certain pair of recent Daft Punk tunes. Turning a new legion of fans onto the slick, mellowed-out vibes of mid-70s dance music with Get Lucky and Lose Yourself To Dance, Rodgers is now taking his legendary outfit on a whistle-stop tour of the UK. With a new Chic album just announced, expect a smattering of new songs dotted around the disco-floor classics.

Hare & Hounds, March 9

North Atlantic Oscillation The Oobleck, March 19

Of all things to be named after, the fluctuating change in atmospheric pressure that occurs somewhere in North Atlantic Ocean ranks amongst the more curious. But it’s a perfect descriptor for the sound and style of this so-named Scottish trio. Soaking up the ethereal edge of The Flaming Lips and early-70s Pink Floyd alongside the whimsical folktronica of fellow Scots the Beta Band, the band’s five studio releases all reveal an overwhelming hunger to explore untapped, disparate and unexpected sonic territories. Three albums to the good, they float into The Oobleck this month on waves of psychedelic goodness. Dive in. 40

O2 Academy, March 25

Puppet Rebellion The Flapper, March 13

Hot property in their home city, back-to-basics indie rock band Puppet Rebellion seem to have the whole of Manchester under their spell. Since forming two years ago, they’ve built a fiercely loyal fanbase, dropped two post-punk inspired EPs and sold out many a sweat-soaked venue. Fresh from touring with the likes of Reverend & the Makers and Catfish & the Bottlemen, they’re now taking their angular, arty indie (think Bloc Party meets Interpol) on the road, calling into The Flapper in the middle of the month.

the release of her under-the-radar self-titled debut in 2008, Calgary kid Kiesza has since shapeshifted into one of RnB’s most promising new stars. As well as trading in guitars for loops, she’s also become the modern pop and club star’s go-to collaborator and has worked for clientele as diverse as Diplo, Skrillex and Rihanna in the past few months alone. Taking her high-tempo, dancefloor ready sophomore album Sound of a Woman on tour this spring, you’d better dust off your dancing shoes for this one.

Raglans

The Rainbow, March 23 With a name ripped from Patrick Kavanagh’s Irishas-Guinness poem On Raglan Road and taking The Clash and The Pogues as two very clear points of reference, Raglans’ guttural indie rock has helped the Dublin-based four-piece to make a considerable splash on the other side of the Irish Sea. Counting Haim, The Libertines and The Courteeners amongst their previous tour-mates, expect a barrage of high energy and anthemic indie rock as this mob take over The Rainbow at the end of the month.

Kiesza

The Institute, March 23 Starting out as an acoustic-wielding folkie with Brum Notes Magazine


club nights

Magic Door

PICK

Boxxed, March 6 “Magic Door is not a sex party,” the Facebook page reads. Though it is certainly sexy, it also carries that colourful and care-free festival vibe that stems from the freakish imaginarium of oddities it boasts. Expect to be greeted by mystical guardians, to become drenched in glitter by the crafty girls, to collect magic beans and see alluring quirky costumes adorned with feathers, masks, capes, wigs and moustaches. It’s as much about exploration and discovery as it is the music, which has been appropriately coined as spooky house by resident DJs Jukes of Hazard and Deano Ferrino. Just leave reality at the entrance.

Dubgasm

Club PST, March 28 A huge bill of of socially conscious DJs from Jam Jah Sound, Leftfield, Young Culture Sound, Positive Vibrations, Ruff Neck Ting, Jam Hott, DubSoc and more are set to spearhead Dubgasm’s sophomore event. Soundsystem culture and rootsydub music is humbly used to incite positive social action and awareness as Dubgasm gives 100 per cent of its profits to the Birmingham Food Bank in aid of fundraising campaigns. This bass heavy allnighter at PST is sure to unify both reggae fanatics and social activists.

Huey Morgan

Hare & Hounds, March 14 Award-winning BBC Radio 6 DJ and Fun Lovin’ Criminals founder Huey Morgan returns to the Hare & Hounds to share his most treasured funk, hip hop, jazz, disco and soul records. With support from Birmingham’s Sam Redmore, an artful turntablist with a wicked flair for ingenious cross-genre fusions, this is an opportunity to discover new artists while simultaneously celebrating legendary ones.

Loft & Sound present: Maxxi Soundsystem Alfie Bird’s, March 14

Kicking off a new series of parties taking place in March 2015

the intimate loft space at Alfie Bird’s overlooking the Birmingham skyline, Loft & Sound gets underway in style with globetrotting, Brighton-based DJ Maxxi Soundsystem. Accompanied by 3D mapped visuals making full use of the 200-capacity space, this promises to be one unique night for real dance music afficianados.

Young Culture Sound Meets Positive Vibrations Wagon & Horses, March 20

Far, far away from the neon allure of Broad Street’s chaotic main strip resides a strong, vibrant and incredibly welcoming reggae scene that it would be criminal to ignore. Embracing lo-fi digital riddims, dancehall and roots, Moseley dwellers Young Culture Sound and Bromsgrove’s Positive Vibrations play a well-rounded, classic and uplifting array of reggae music that guarantees skanking in friendly atmosphere.

Atomic Jam

NextDoor and Spotlight, March 20 Atomic Jam has been running underground techno nights since 1995 and now resides at new alternative Digbeth venues NextDoor and Spotlight, below the area’s old railway arches. This event sees Berlin ambient and dub techno artists Rodad embark on a three-hour set of dark atmospheric and brooding dystopian sounds alongside

Manchester’s industrial-techno experimentalists AnD, He/at and UK DJ Stephanie Sykes. The venue’s rough elegance is sure to accentuate the brutalist nature of the music and vise-versa.

Drum & Bass Awards 2015 Gatecrasher, March 7

The Drum & Bass Awards presents the biggest household names across four different stages at Birmingham’s hyper-glam venue Gatecrasher. Celebrating all different forms of the genre, expect big name artists such as Fabio & Grooverider, New Breed Showcase and a barrage of more than 50 intense DJs and MCs. With a state-of-the-art lighting rig and and more than 2,000 revellers, this is for the drum’n’ bass obsessive who doesn’t know the meaning of half-measures.

Vacuum Boogie And Leftfoot Present: Romare Hare & Hounds, March 27

With a name inspired by the collages of mid-century American visual artist Romare Bearden, this British electronic producer succeeds in constructing music to the same effect. He harvests and transposes expressive jazz outbursts, seemingly random vocal samples and snippets of the unidentifiable into an intelligent amalgam of lively, sinister and glitchy mixes. This is music for the mind as much as it is for dance. 41


Thallein Ensemble

arts & culture

Frontiers Festival Of Contemporary Music Various venues, March 16-27

PICK

The 2015 edition of Birmingham Conservatoire’s celebration of sonic experimentation. This year’s programme, subtitled Composing: Electrified, has a special focus on the role of technology in music, with highlights including a showcase of the radical new keyboardlike instrument the ROLI Seaboard, and the work of the Conservatoire’s own Integra Lab, a research facility focussed on human/ computer interaction.

Flatpack Film Festival Various venues, March 19-29

The ninth annual feast of off-kilter film and special events. Spread across more than 30 venues in and around the city centre – including cafes, theatres, pubs and Birmingham Cathedral – the dizzyingly eclectic programme encompasses cutting-edge animation, rare documentaries, inspired archive selections, live performances and a whole lot more. Highlights include a special programme dedicated to the Swedish auteur Roy Andersson, encompassing his famed ‘Living’ trilogy, and a selection of BBC Birmingham archive documentaries from the celebrated filmmaker Philip Donnellan. See P14-15 for our full preview.

The Lower Depths Stryx, March 7

The third of three special screenings at the Digbeth art space showcasing innovative theatrical productions. Here, Lithuanian director Oskaras Koršunovas presides over a radical take on Maxim Gorky’s drama, in which the plot is abandoned and the actors create their characters based on their own experience, only referring to the original text where appropriate. The strong sense of humanity in Gorky’s play comes through with the audience seated in extremely close proximity to the action.

42

Two Destination Language: Near Gone Mac, March 14

An award-winning, genre-busting performance piece in which two protagonists use a range of communicative methods to articulate their harrowing story, including the English and Bulgarian languages. Under the tutelage of choreographer Charlotte Vincent, the performers deliver an experience that is at once thought-provoking and life-affirming.

All My Sons

The Rep, March 24-28 In the words of the Guardian, a “flawless production” of Arthur Miller’s breakthrough 1947 play, directed by Michael Buffong of Talawa, the UK’s foremost black-led theatre company. It follows the Kellers, a prosperous American family whose son is missing in action after World War II, presumed dead by all but his mother.

Ross Sutherland: Stand By For Tape Back-Up Mac, March 25

An astonishing, unmissable one-man show from the Edinburgh-born writer/performer, brought to Birmingham as part of the Flatpack Film Festival. Sutherland attempts to come to terms with the death of his grandfather by memorising the

contents of an old videotape on which he and his granddad had recorded films and TV programmes, ultimately gleaning deeper meaning from the assimilated and manipulated images. Oscillating between the harebrained and the genuinely profound, it’s a hypnotic, audacious, moving show.

Francesca Millican-Slater: My Dearest Girls Mac, March 26

One of Brum’s most exciting theatre makers, Millican-Slater presents the lives of six real Shropshire women, resurrected via the letters they exchanged with each other during the First World War. Through their lively correspondence, rendered here in stories and song, their daily trials and tribulations are brought back to life.

Poetics Of (Outer) Space Perrott’s Folly, March 18-22

Part of Birmingham University’s Arts & Science Festival, this sound installation from artist/ composer Caroline Devine translates data from NASA’s Kepler mission into sound – in Devine’s words, “reimagining the Music of the Spheres in the age of the exoplanet”. The audio channels are arranged vertically up the Edgbaston landmark, ordered according to the stars’ age, frequency range and number of exoplanets. Check out P12 for our interview with Caroline. Brum Notes Magazine


WHAT’S ON

KEY TO LISTINGS: M = LIVE MUSIC CN = CLUB NIGHT C = COMEDY

BIRMINGHAM: O2 Academy, Horsefair, Bristol St B1, 0844 4772000; The Institute, High St, Digbeth B5, 0844 2485037; NIA, King Edwards Rd B1, 0121 7804141; LG Arena, NEC, Solihull B40, 0121 7804141; The Flapper, Kingston Row B1, 0121 2362421; The Victoria, John Bright St B1, 0121 6339439; Hare & Hounds, High St, Kings Heath B14, 0121 4442081; The Actress & Bishop, Ludgate Hill B3, 0121 2367426; The Sunflower Lounge, Smallbrook Queensway B5, 0121 6327656; Symphony Hall, Broad St B1, 0121 7803333; Town Hall, Victoria Sq B3, 0121 7803333; Kitchen Garden Cafe, York Road, Kings Heath B14, 0121 4434725; Alexandra Theatre, Station St B1, 0844 8472302; Bull’s Head, St Marys Row, Moseley B13, 0121 2567777; Island Bar, Suffolk St B1, 0121 6325296; The Jam House, St Pauls Sq B3, 0121 2003030; Ort, Moseley Rd, Balsall Heath, B12; The Asylum, Hampton St, Hockley B19, 0121 2331109; The Rainbow, High St, Digbeth B12, 0121 7728174; Adam & Eve, Bradford St, Digbeth B12, 0121 6931500; The Rose Villa Tavern, Warstone Lane, B18, 0121 2367910; The Yardbird, Paradise Place B3, 0121 2122524; The Glee Club, The Arcadian, Hurst St B5, 0871 4720400; MAC, Cannon Hill Park B12, 0121 4463232; Nightingale, Kent St B5, 0121 6221718; Scruffy Murphys, The Priory Queensway B4, 0121 2362035; The Wagon & Horses, Adderley St, Digbeth B9, 0121 7721403; Lab11, Trent St B5, lab11.co.uk; The Moseley Arms, Ravenhurst St B12, 0121 7668467; Alfie Bird’s/The Oobleck, The Custard Factory B9, 0121 270 6665; Suki10c, Bordesley Street B5; Gatecrasher, Broad St B15, 0121 633 1520

M M

Sunday, Mar 1 Shrapnel

The Oobleck

Birmingham

Input Havana + The Fix

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

The Flapper

Birmingham

Gatecrasher

Birmingham

Bull’s Head

Moseley

The Library @ The Institute

Birmingham

C

Ort Cafe

Balsall Heath

The Library @ The Institute Hare & Hounds

Birmingham

Hal Cruttenden + Patrick Monohan Thursday, Mar 5 Edd Donovan + Dan Harland + Jayne Powell Yellowcard + Less Than Jake Judith Owen

The Glee Club

Birmingham

M M M M

Coves + Lusts + Holy

Monday, Mar 2 Tigercub M CN Ultra! CN Jam Jah Reggae

M M M M C M M M M M C M M M M CN CN CN

Tuesday, Mar 3 Tinashe Wednesday, Mar 4 Diverge The Veronicas Impact ft Steady Hands

Kings Heath

Balsall Heath

O2 Academy

Birmingham

The Glee Club

Birmingham Birmingham

Jim Causley

The Sunflower Lounge Hare & Hounds

Comedy Carousel

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Kings Heath

Friday, Mar 6 Jon Gomm

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Grim Disco

The Rainbow

Birmingham

Covenant

Birmingham

Hawkwind

The Temple @ The Institute Wulfrun Hall

Dirty Edit

Amusement 13

Birmingham

Magic Door

Boxxed

Birmingham

The Bounce Factory: The Spring Slammer

Suki10c

Birmingham

March 2015

Wolverhampton

info@ brumnotes.com All details correct at time of going to press. Check with venues before setting out.

CN Seedy Sonics pres DJ

The Rainbow

Birmingham

CN

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Bull’s Head

Moseley

The Glee Club

Birmingham

The Slade Rooms

Wolverhampton

CN CN C

EZ From Late To Great - An Evening of Reggae Welcome to the Jungle ft Ed Solo + Deekline PROsepc ft Skeptical, J-Dok, M-Pathy & Auzi Best In Live Comedy ft JoJo Smith Romesh Ranganathan & Suzi Ruffell Saturday, Mar 7 Jungo Boogie

Ort Cafe

Balsall Heath

Collie Buddz

O2 Academy 3

Birmingham

Jaws

The Institute

Birmingham

Little Comets

The Library @ The Institute The Sunflower Lounge

Birmingham

The Temple @ The Institute Hare & Hounds

Birmingham

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

The Slade Rooms Boxxed

Wolverhampton

Gatecrasher

Birmingham

CN CN Moschino Hoe, Versace

LMG Warehouse

Birmingham

Spotlight

Birmingham

CN

The Rainbow Warehouse Hare & Hounds

Birmingham

Bull’s Head

Moseley

M Ort Cafe

Want your gig or club night listed in our monthly guide? Send details to:

M M M M

Miss Halliwell + Signs Of Fire + The Crooked Hooks The Handsome Family Karl Monroe The Big Band Age Live: 360 + Dale Hanson Grant Nicolas (Feeder)

CN Secondcity pres Yousef CN Drum & Bass Awards 2015 Heroes of House

CN CN

Hottie vs New Hype Cream Birmingham ft Erick Morillo Bruk Up ft Lord Byron + Kwai An Evening with Sam Redmore

Birmingham

Kings Heath

Birmingham

Kings Heath

43


C M M M M M M C M M M

M M M M M M M C M M M M M M CN

Birmingham

The Institute

Birmingham

Birmingham

CN

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Kings Heath

CN Best In Live Comedy ft C

Bull’s Head

Moseley

The Glee Club

Birmingham

C

The Slade Rooms

Wolverhampton

Birmingham

Bleach Blood + The Kenneths + Kioko Bohemian Jukebox Sunday Social Flowers + Hoopla Blue

The Sunflower Lounge Hare & Hounds Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Trevor Burton

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

Fozzy + The Dirty Youth

The Slade Rooms The Glee Club

Wolverhampton

Rough Works - New Material Night Monday, Mar 9 Bc Camplight + John Joseph Brill Clean Bandit BC Camplight + John Joseph Brull Ultra!

Birmingham

Birmingham

Hare & Hounds

Birmingham

O2 Academy

Birmingham

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Gatecrasher

Birmingham

Bull’s Head

Moseley

Tuesday, Mar 10 Idlewild

The Institute

Birmingham

The Lene Lovich Band

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

M M M M M

M M

Civic Hall

Wolverhampton

Thursday, Mar 12 Room 94

O2 Academy 2

Birmingham

Architects

The Institute

Birmingham

M M

Pharoahe Monch

The Oobleck

Birmingham

Benjamin Yellowitz

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

M

Shiver

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Steel Panther

Civic Hall

Wolverhampton

Comedy Carousel

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Friday, Mar 13 Modestep

O2 Academy 2

Birmingham

The Qemists

O2 Academy 3

Birmingham

Mahalia + Bear

The Rainbow

Birmingham

Cymbals + Batsch

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

GoGo Penguin

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

The Charlatans

Civic Hall

Wolverhampton

Leftfoot & Shadow City present Medlar (Wolf Music) For The Love

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Bull’s Head

Moseley

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Saturday, Mar 14 The Stranglers

O2 Academy

Birmingham

Martyr De Mona

O2 Academy 3

Birmingham

Kodaline

The Institute

Birmingham

Ward Thomas

The Library @ The Institute The Sunflower Lounge The Temple @ The Institute Civic Hall

Birmingham

The Drum

Aston

Alfie Bird’s

Birmingham

Zun Zun Egui

M

Sunset Sons

Europe M CN Legends of Legends CN House Motion ft James Hype

Birmingham Birmingham Wolverhampton

ft Charlie Sloth + BBK Freestyle presents Huey Morgan (DJ Set) Hot Wax

George Zach Lloyd Langford: Old Fashioned Sunday, Mar 15 Vessels

Hare & Hounds

Birmingham

Duke Special

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Aaron Keylock

The Slade Rooms

Wolverhampton

The Library @ The Institute Hare & Hounds

Birmingham

Broad Street

Birmingham

Bull’s Head

Moseley

O2 Academy

Birmingham

Monday, Mar 16 Andy Jordan Cloud Castle Lake + Chartreuse Paddys Block Party

CN CN Jam Jah Reggae

Wednesday, Mar 11 Royal Blood

M

44

Birmingham

LMG Warehouse

The Glee Club

CN George Zach C M M M M

Alfie Bird’s

The Glee Club

CN CN Jam Jah Reggae M M

CN Maxxi Soundsystem CN Le Grand Cabaret CN Sun City Music Festival

Best In Live Comedy ft JoJo Smith Sunday, Mar 8 Soul Acoustic

M M M M M M M M C M M M M

Tuesday, Mar 17 Papa Roach

Eban Brown (The Stylis- The Glee Club tics) Wednesday, Mar 18 Placebo O2 Academy Nervana Only Shadows + Little Dynamite Steven Wilson Thursday, Mar 19 Flatbrush Zombies & The Underachievers North Atlantic Oscillation Kingsland Road

The Library @ The Institute Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Birmingham

Birmingham Birmingham Kings Heath Wolverhampton

The Library @ The Institute The Oobleck

Birmingham

Birmingham

Echo Lake

The Temple @ The Institute Hare & Hounds

Mad Dog McRea

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Victory Lane + Impartial Addiction Cold Ocean Lies + The Rubikons Comedy Carousel

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

The Slade Rooms The Glee Club

Wolverhampton

The Institute

Birmingham

The Library @ The Institute The Oobleck

Birmingham

The Slade Rooms Alfie Bird’s

Wolverhampton

NextDoor + Spotlight Risa

Birmingham

Wagon & Horses

Birmingham

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Friday, Mar 20 Warpaint The Answer Hang the Bastard Black Tongue Messiah

CN Astrx Loft Sessions CN Atomic Jam CN Pendulum (DJ Set) CN Young Culture Sound

meets Positive Vibrations High Fidelity

CN CN Soulvation

See more at www.brumnotes.com

Birmingham

Kings Heath

Birmingham

Birmingham

Birmingham

Birmingham

Brum Notes Magazine


CN The Last Ever Habit Stephen Grant C Tony Hawks C M M M M

Saturday, Mar 21 The Little Unsaid + Chris Tye Mike Peters presents The Alarm Cinema + Habitats + Honey Moon + Oceania Blues Club with Andy Bennett (Ocean Colour Scene) Dave Warehouse Rave

Bull’s Head

Moseley

The Glee Club

Birmingham

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Ort Cafe

Balsall Heath

O2 Academy 3

Birmingham

The Sunflower Lounge Hare & Hounds

CN CN Hospitality CN Circles CN M O D O with Miguel

Lab11

C M M M M M C M M M M

Verde Stephen Grant

C

M M M M M M M M M M

The Rainbow

Birmingham

The Temple @ The Institute Hare & Hounds

Birmingham

Big Boy Bloater & The Limits Dr Hook

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

Wulfrun Hall

Wolverhampton

Comedy Carousel

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Mostly Comedy

Ort Cafe

Balsall Heath

Friday, Mar 27 Four Year Strong

O2 Academy 2

Birmingham

Ren Harvieu

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Hoodie Allen

The Institute

Birmingham

The Rainbow

Birmingham

M

Errors + Victories At Sea + Ubre Blanca MiC Lowry

Birmingham

M

Kill It Kid

The Temple @ The Institute The Slade Rooms Boxxed

M M M M C C

Kings Heath Birmingham Birmingham

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Bull’s Head

Moseley

M M M M

The Glee Club

Birmingham

Sunday, Mar 22 Dropkick Murphys

O2 Academy

Birmingham

Purling Hiss

The Oobleck

Birmingham

Trust Fund

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Metal vs Punk All-Dayer ft Enemo-J + Memories in Torment Sam Smith

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

Civic Hall

Wolverhampton

Richard Herring: Lord of The Dance Settee Monday, Mar 23 Logic

The Glee Club

Birmingham

C

O2 Academy 2

Birmingham

Kiesza

The Institute

Birmingham

Raglans

The Rainbow

Birmingham

M M

The Subways

The Temple @ The Institute Civic Hall

Birmingham

Gatecrasher

Birmingham

Bull’s Head

Moseley

Sam Smith M CN Ultra! End of Term CN Jam Jah Reggae

M M M

The Rainbow

Birmingham

M

Wolverhampton

Marika Hackman + Charlotte Carpenter The Ramonas New Street Adventure

Birmingham

CN

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Bull’s Head

Moseley

The Glee Club

Birmingham

CN

gie present Romare We Are Lizards Club Night ft Scroobius Pip (DJ Set) & Friends Relative Residents Party ft Leon Garcia Best In Live Comedy ft Jonny Pelham Saturday, Mar 28 Celebrating Sanctuary

Ort Cafe

Balsall Heath

The Institute

Birmingham

The Rainbow

Birmingham

The Bad Flowers

The Temple @ The Institute The Slade Rooms Club PST

Birmingham

The Library @ The Institute The Nightingale

Birmingham

O2 Academy

Birmngham

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

CN CN UBER Best In Live Comedy ft C

Hare & Hounds

Kings Heath

Bull’s Head

Moseley

The Glee Club

Birmingham

M M M

Soley Mourning + Hightale Dubgasm

CN CN Hot Wax

Balsall Heath

The Devil Makes Three

The Rainbow

Birmingham

Chuck Ragan & The Camaraderie Cave Comedy Radio - The Last Podcast on the Left Wednesday, Mar 25 The Bonfire Radicals

The Temple @ The Institute The Glee Club

Birmingham

Ort Cafe

Balsall Heath

CHIC ft Nile Rodgers

O2 Academy

Birmingham

The Coronas

O2 Academy 3

Birmingham

Lucy Rose

The Temple @ The Institute Hare & Hounds

Birmingham Kings Heath

M M M

The Roadhouse

Stirchley

C

The Slade Rooms

Wolverhampton

O2 Academy 3

Birmingham

CN Jam Jah Reggae

The Institute

Birmingham

Tuesday, Mar 31 Wolf Alice

The Oobleck

Birmingham

Thursday, Mar 26 Walking on Cars + Port Isla FUSE ODG Andrew Montgomery

March 2015

Kings Heath

Catfish & The Bottlemen Fyfe

Ort Cafe

Lotte Mullan + Jazz Morley Bloodstock Festival Heat 1 Gun

Wolverhampton

CN Ouse 90s Rave CN Leftfoot & Vacuum Boo- Hare & Hounds

Tuesday, Mar 24 She Makes War

Birmingham

Kings Heath

CN Charli XCX (live) CN The World Of Pandora CN Proper presents DJ Pierre Sweat Funk Club

M

M

Jonny Pelham Sunday, Mar 29 Bars & Melody

Wolverhampton Birmingham

Birmingham

O2 Academy 2

Birmingham

Hidden in Plain View

The Oobleck

Birmingham

Raymond Frogatt

The Slade Rooms The Glee Club

Wolverhampton

The Slade Rooms Bull’s Head

Wolverhampton

The Library @ The Institute

Birmingham

Desi Central ft Mickey Sharma Monday, Mar 30 Axis Of

Birmingham

Moseley

45


the last word

THE LAST WORD:

SWIM DEEP Brummie dream pop darlings Swim Deep are back with a brand new single and a homecoming gig – not to mention some rather natty new outfits. Frontman Austin Williams answers the questions. It’s last orders at the bar, what are you drinking? Fireball whisky – blow your duke off that will. What was the last thing you ate? Tuna and sweetcorn. What a treat that was. What was on your last rider? God knows, riders are often quite bland, it’s all beige foods, even the beer is beige. We’ve been pushing for poppers and scratch cards on our rider since we started, just as a marker for when people take us seriously – Oobleck? How was the last gig you played in Birmingham [at The Oobleck last May]? It was electric, weird though because I didn’t recognise many of the crowd, it was quite raucous, we all put up a fight. Mikey Dee [guitar tech] said it was the best he saw us, that counts for something. He was well drunk. My favourite thing about it? The energy I felt, I didn’t have to think about doing anything physical, it all just happened, I had the fuel and my body did the driving. [The next gig] is gonna be a lot better, hopefully – that’s the plan anyway. We’re much more focused on bringing a big show to the crowd, bigger, better sounds, more precise, more rehearsed and a lot more attention. When was the last time any of you fell out on the tour bus? Me and Mikey Dee had a full-on scrap in 46

Europe, we both went in for the kill and at that exact moment I realised he was definitely the winner. We both had a cry and a DMC [deep meaningful conversation, for those who don’t know their acronyms] after and kissed each other’s asses. All good friendships come from peace in war. What was the last song you listened to? I’ve been bypassing music with podcasts at the moment, I’m listening to one called Serial. It’s so addictive, she’s trying to crack this case of this murder that doesn’t add up, it’s making me anxious. What was the last piece of music you bought? Bob Marley’s Greatest Hits. I used to listen him loads as a kid, when I didn’t think to hate – it’s like reuniting with an old friend who’s infectiously happy. I like buying vinyl, it’s a materialistic thing, but I buy records on my phone mostly, you feel less regret if it’s shit and you got the vinyl ‘cos it’ll make a nice present. If you were playing your last ever concert, what’s the last song you would play? Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it, reaper mate. When was the last time you thought, ‘Damn, I wish I’d written that song…’? Probably Chris Issak’s Wicked Game, it’s not my

favourite song but it could be twisted in lots of different ways. What was the last tweet you sent? I’m not sure, nothing to worry about. What about the last text message? Me and Cav [McCarthy, bass] send voice notes, he started it. It’s great. What was the last song you wrote? I’ve been writing and recording these few songs in my bedroom, I’m really buzzin’ about writing them at the moment. It’s fun! What can you tell us about your new single, To My Brother? There’s a lot of nods to the album in that song, that’s why it’s the first output, and it’s a big hook. It’s about a war of words that I have with myself, preaching to myself about preaching, I’m writing about what I feel and that feels good. Any last words for those fans coming to see you live next month? Thanks for putting your hand in your pocket for the shows, we really can’t wait to play in front of people again.

To My Brother, the new single from Swim Deep, is out now, via Chess Club / RCA. They are live at The Oobleck, Birmingham, on April 2. Brum Notes Magazine


March 2015

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Brum Notes Magazine

Brum Notes Magazine - March 2015  

The March 2015 edition of Brum Notes Magazine, featuring Wolf Alice, Scroobius Pip, Lucy Rose, Errors, Jaws, Swim Deep, plus more music, lif...

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