Review: Scarlet Harlots / Tantrums / Bronze Medals / The Carpels

As part of the Moseley Festival, The Bulls Head is buzzing with the atmosphere that tonight’s gig is not going to disappoint as two of Birmingham’s’ biggest local bands are taking to the stage. The Gutter Skank DJs are dropping some awesome tunes whilst the first band are setting up.

The Carpels are first on, and their blend of dubstep beats, spiky indie riffs and two differing vocals draw us in. The energy from the band is injected into the crowd and they set a really high standard for the rest of the bands for the night.

Bronze Medals take to the stage next, with their more mellow sound, chilling out the crowd that had been revved up by The Carpels.

The eagerly anticipated Tantrums are up next and the room is crammed with people who want to witness their impressive performance. The mix of heavy dub sounds and haunting vocals shouldn’t work on paper however it sounds incredible and the crowd really soak it up, with many people singing along. How these guys haven’t been snapped up is a question on many people’s lips.

The final act of the night is Scarlet Harlots, who have people dancing as soon as they grace the stage. Their confidence on stage shines through and the progression within their music shows that these lads are moving with the times and should go far.

Overall the bands and DJ’s work well together to create a fantastic gig which is over too quickly.

Perri Ross


@MoseleyFolk Festival Headliners Goodnight Lenin to release debut single on Static Caravan @sttccrvn

by Charlotte Payne

Birmingham boys Goodnight Lenin have only been at it a year or so but they caught the eye of the Moseley Folk team back in December after releasing a YouTube video of a simple acoustic performance in which they sat perched on the counter tops of their kitchen. In the last eight months or so they have supported a host of top folk and not so folk acts including First Aid Kit, Features and Darwin Deez.

On the 6th August they will be releasing their debut single ‘Crook in the Creek’ on local label Static Caravan. 500 limited edition 7 inch singles will be available featuring beautiful folk artwork by Clare Rojas and it will also be available to download via iTunes.

'Crook in The Creek' out 6th August

Liam and Matt from the band were kind enough to answer a few questions and here are the answers we got:

First things first, what’s the reasoning behind the name Goodnight Lenin? What’s the association with the film ‘Goodbye Lenin’?

Liam – “We did not want to be another generic ‘The’ band. The band loves the film, its imagery, and the mise-en-scene. We were slightly worried about the communist connotations of ‘Lenin’ but we don’t think people have taken too much notice of that really.”

When you’re on stage you often talk about your love of travel (or John does at least); how come you have all ended up back in Birmingham?

Matt – “It’s not a case of ending up back in Birmingham. We’ve chosen to be here. We have a lot of pride in our hometown and are determined to play our part in putting Birmingham back on the map, in the musical sense.”

If you could fly off tomorrow where would you go, and why?

Matt – “South America is a place we would jump at the chance to visit. It would be an unforgettable experience to tour there, taking in the major capitals like Bogota, Rio, Buenos Aires, Santiago etc but also getting off the beaten track and exploring places like Cartagena and Mendoza. There’s something mesmerising about the continent and the people.”

What music did you grow up listening to and how has this influenced your sound?

Liam – “We grew up listening to a lot of 60’s music, mainly through our parents with the likes of The Beatles, The Faces, Hollies, The Zombies, and Simon and Garfunkel. I also think 90’s Brit guitar music was still fresh when we were young and if it wasn’t for Noel Gallagher I personally would not have picked up a guitar.”

If you could cover any song, what would it be, and why?

Matt – “There are a whole range of songs we would love to cover but above all else ‘Changing of the Guards’ by Dylan is a track we always seem to be drawn to whether it be rehearsing in the lock up or driving to a gig listening to music. At over six minutes long it would be audacious to say the least but if we could nail it, it would be spectacular. That or B*Witched’s ‘C’est La Vie’. It’s a toughy.”

Are there any other bands or records you’ve encountered recently that you think people should know about?

Liam – “As well as Bob Dylan’s 70’s live bootlegs such as ‘Rolling Thunder Revue’, we’re big fans of First Aid Kit with their fantastic harmonies, The Crookes from Sheffield, and a bit closer to home the likes of Boat To Row. Spoken word artist Jodi Ann Bickley is also someone we have a lot of respect for and are very excited to see her and Boat To Row at our debut single launch on August 6th (at The Hare and Hounds).

“Yes that’s a plug!”

Over the rest of the year what are you looking forward to most?

Liam – “It has to be our festival dates. The big one is obviously headlining the Lunar Stage at Moseley Folk Festival before Donovan – it’s something we’ve been working towards for a long time now and it’s personally very rewarding for us to be playing before someone who has had a  massive influence on our music. We can’t wait to see him live. It will also be a nice moment for our family and friends who have got behind us from the outset so they can see how their support has helped us progress. Other festivals we’re really looking forward to are Bestival on the Isle of Wight and Shambala.”

Why should people listen to you if they haven’t already?

Matt – “Because Stone Cold said so.”

What was your favourite toy as a child?

Liam – “I had the Bat Mobile which was the dog’s bollocks. You could fire rockets out of it. Amazing.”

What TV programme do you wish they still made or aired?

Matt – “‘Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?’ purely for the theme tune. Superb.”

If you could travel back in time and meet yourself what would you talk about or do?

Matt – “I think I’d most likely try and come up with some elaborate criminal master plan that involves me always having a stone cold alibi elsewhere. I’d plunder millions. On an unrelated note, the question for some reason reminds me of Bernard’s Watch, the ITV children’s programme where Bernard finds a stopwatch at the end of a rainbow that can stop time. I always detested the little clown as he used it for purely boring purposes like sleeping in late on school days or at his most extreme cheating on an exam. I’d like to think if I had Bernard’s watch I would pillage and steal till my heart was content. Probably wouldn’t make parentally friendly children’s telly mind.”

“I think Hermione Granger had a similar device that was vastly superior to Bernard’s.”

Do you have a lucky charm? If so, what is it?

Liam – “John Joe’s shirt. Whenever he wears it we seem to play well. He always wears it.

Which fictional character would you like to have in the band, and why?

Matt – “Prince… What, Prince is real????”

As it’s festival season, if you had your own festival who would headline, and why?

Liam – “We would take Bob Dylan and his band from the ’75 ‘Desire’ period. Truly amazing. Neil Young would support and Chris Moyles would compere the festival but only so he could be hung, drawn, and quartered on stage post Dylan’s performance.”

You can catch Goodnight Lenin’s Official Single Launch Party at the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath, Birmingham on Friday 6th August. Support will be provided by Boat to Row, The Young Runaways and Jodi Ann Bickley. This is Moseley Folk Festival’s Lunar Society offering for August and so advance tickets can be purchased for £5.00 + booking fee from here.

Win 2 Tickets to see First Aid Kit, Goodnight Lenin and Mr. Bones & The Dreamers

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit play The Hare and Hounds on Thursday 15th July and the kind hearted souls at Birmingham Promoters (in association with Miss Perry) have given Blue Whale Studios two tickets to give away so a couple of  you lovely readers can get in gratis. Plus Goodnight Lenin and Mr Bones and the Dreamers are supporting, completing a very tasty line up indeed.

In the comment box below just tell us what the nastiest accident you’ve had that required medical attention and the person with the most toe curlingly gruesome experience, will get themselves two tickets to help them through the traumatic ordeal.

If, like me, you’re an unlucky sod and don’t win the coveted prize, tickets are £5 via the cheaplist, just email with your full name.

Good luck!

Review: Hot Monocles @TheFlapperBrum by @JeffStuka

Hot Monocles
The Flapper
9th July 2010

Hot Monocles?  What kind of a name is that to put on the lips of unsuspecting people.  Or in the eyes for that matter.  Dirty boys. It’s a long time since I’ve seen a band on stage that has this amount of… well, wow factor isn’t quite the way to describe it.  I suppose polished commercialism is nearer to the mark.

First impressions from their dramatic Muse tinged opener is that they could shift a lot of units. The last occasion on which I experienced such a resonance was a certain band called Snowfield and we all know what happened to them don’t we.  The brick walls of The Flapper struggle to hold in an expansive progressive sound, reminiscent of the pomp of Led Zeppelin and Queen. It would be better placed belting out of 50 foot stacks to a baying arena sized crowd.

Sadly though, the quality of the early part of the set peters away towards the middle, with the descent towards rock pastiche doing little to sustain interest. Unprocessed padding slipped in to fill time.  Perhaps a shorter, tauter set would suit better until they have enough quality material to achieve a consistent standard. Sadly, having started with such potential they fail to sustain it and by the time they’re doing encores I’m looking at my watch and wondering when to leave for the bus.  Shame.

At My Door by hotmonocles

Jeff Stuka

‘What You Need’ by Aquila on Blue Whale TV – @AquilaLovesYou

Here is one of several acoustic tunes Aquila filmed at Blue Whale, taking time out from recording new material for their forthcoming album.

Read an interview with lead singer Rich and listen to his top ten tunes that have influenced the bands’ sound here.

More exclusive live performances at Blue Whale Studios can be found at

@Counteract Magazine Presents… @SeaFieldsUK, @TheScholars and @SpeechFewapy DJs @HareAndHounds

The relentless Richard Franks is promoting the first Counteract Magazine showcase at The Hare on Hounds featuring Sea Fields and The Scholars with tunes from the Speech Fewapy rascals on Thursday 15th July.

Tickets are just £2 advance from Ticket Sellers here. Those who attend this showcase will get money off August 12th’s showcase featuring the hotly tipped Minnaars and the ferocious Hold Your Horse Is.

Please be aware that Cake will be available at this event. Sounds like a lot of fun doesn’t it? If you want to be part of the summer of death.

Go to the newly refurbished the latest music news and reviews.

Off The Cuff @TheFlapperBrum Tickets On Sale

Off The Cuff Festival 23-25 July

Tickets for the three day Off The Cuff Festival at The Flapper are now available form

With the line up boasting of the likes of 35 Seconds, Pulled Apart by Horses, Dead Lights, Tubelord, Adebisi Shank, Chapel Club, Malpas, Boat to Row , &U&I – the new band from the remnants of Blakfish and a debut show from the much talked about Victories at Sea, the event promises to be outstanding value for money at only £18 for a three day ticket.

For more information, got to

Ben Calvert, Creature of Simplicity – Video in Production

Post / Anti-Folk friend of Blue Whale Studios, Ben Calvert is currently working with illustrator Louise Wright on a video for ‘The Creatures of Simplicity’.

Still from 'The Creatures of Simplicity'

The video, accompanying the single taken from The Broken Family Daysaver, according to Ben; “tells the story of a mis-demeanor in a wooded area.”

More info can be found at the Bohemian Jukebox blog here.

As well as stirring up a grand old hoo ha about Putting A Price on Art, Ben recently popped into Blue Whale to record and film a few tracks –

More of this sort of thing can be found on Blue Whale TV here.

Listen to Episode 7 of In The Belly feat. Scarlet Harlots, 35 Seconds, Jamie Clayton, Johnny Foreigner & Miss Halliwell

Below is Episode 7 of In The Belly for your listening pleasure. Guests joining Andy Roberts this week are Greg Bird & JP White from This is Tomorrow and John Napier from Jugend Klub.

In The Belly 24th June by In The Belly Radio Show


1. ‘Halcyon’ by Scarlet Harlots

Geoff from Scarlet Harlots working with Dom James at Blue Whale Studios

2. ‘Causers of This’ by Toro Y Moi

Toro Y Moi @ The Hare & Hounds, Monday 12th July

3. ‘Amblecote’ by Miss Halliwell (Back catalogue now available from Amazon)

4. ‘Ever Cloakroom Every’ by Johnny Foreigner

Alternative version of the JoFo classic

5. ‘Summertime’ by Jamie Clayton

Jamie Clayton, prepping for recording at Blue Whale

6. ‘Wall With Your Face On’ by Of Pandas and People

7. ‘Chew’ by 35 Seconds

8. ‘One Track Lover’ by Dr. Lucian Sanchez (Synthia Remix)

9. ‘Fresh’ by Devo

10. ‘Indie Medley – (Love Will Tear Us Apart/How I Wrote Elastic Man/Take the Skinheads Bowling/Bigmouth Strikes Again)’ Frank Sidebottom (RIP)

RIP Frank Sidebottom (and Chris Sievey as well of course)

The Best Band of the Noughties, 35 Seconds, Return @ThisisTmrw 12th July


The greatest Birmingham band of the last decade as voted for by readers of The Blue Whale Blog return to play at The Hare and Hounds for This is Tomorrow on 12th July.

35 Seconds support the hotly tipped Toro Y Moi with help from Of Pandas and People featuring ex members of Hero Machine, Alex ‘The King Singh’ McIntyre and Tom ‘Grease Boy’ Rees.

A free 35 Seconds Mix CD is available to the first 30 people through the door.

More info can be found on Facebook here.