Matt Beck, the brains behind This Is Tomorrow has put together his list of the top ten bands from Birmingham from the past ten years. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your top ten and we’ll add up the scores (1o points for first place, 9 for 2nd etc.) and reveal the definitive list on this blog in the new year.
10. John Napier
The only singer / songwriter in the list and one I love because of his sheer diversity. Not only are Johns solo songs bloody amazing, his side projects show equal promise and bags of ideas. John seems to be a songwriting machine and once gave out a 17 song CD with not one bad song on it out free at shows. John is also part of punk funk 2 piece Waler and ran / runs New York Noise and Jugend Klub.
Although the newest band on the list, Tantrums have been around in various guises for a while now and have now grown into a shining light for the city. The tour with Bombay Bicycle Club seems to of done them the world of good and now we have a band to take us into the next decade with a lot more faith.
No nonsense Indie music that wasn’t cheap or throw away. Although shadowed by the wave of publicity and marketing behind bands like the Twang and The Enemy, I would choose TGC’s edgy Indie any day of the week. Rumours circulate of a new project surfacing in the new year…Fingers crossed.
7. 35 Seconds
35 Seconds could of probably been higher up on this list but we only saw them live a few times and then they disappeared. Such a shame as 35 seconds had the songs. Rock electronica to rival some of the best.
SCC were / are hugely influential to some of the newer Brum bands and their club night Tropical Hotdog bought a lot of great bands to Birmingham who would of probably avoided it like the plague otherwise. I’ll never understand why Sunset were never bigger. We can’t wait to see them live again on Dec 23rd at Island Bar – “Shameless Plug”.
5. Johnny Foreigner
JoFo may have fell out of favour with some Brummies, but you cant deny that Alexei and co. have a knack for writing melodic lofi indie pop songs and the fact that first album ‘Waited Up ’til It Was Light‘ was pretty much a musical painting of the people / places of Brum.
Trying not to be biased when talking about Brum bands can be tough, but I feel with all the bands on this list I would go and buy their music regardless of where they were from. I first bought an UMP 7″ (in Brighton not knowing they were based in Brum) and loved them since. Shouty, screamy, often raucous and ramshackle with songs that were over in the blink of an eye. These were Brums best punk band and are sadly missed.
Broadcast seem to merge everything from Krautrock to Riot Grrl through to shoegaze and quite often all in one song. ‘Tender Buttons’ is one of my favourite albums of all time and ‘I Found the F’ sounds like Serge Gainsbourg (Melody era) crossed with Ladytron…Friggin sweet.
Copter and the Coldrice movement are hugely important to Birmingham. They bring soul, charisma and some serious grooves to Brum. Copter are also the best live band in Birmingham and they’ve played all over the world and had James Chance guest on their first album!
1. Calories / Distophia
As a lover of Distophia, it was no surprise that I loved the refined rawer sound of Calories…In fact the exact moment I think I realised that I preferred Calories to Distophia was at Sunset Cinema Club’s night Tropical Hotdog when I heard ‘Drugged’ for the first time. The huge tunes on ‘Adventuring’ have since become some of my favourite songs ever by anyone.