Greg Haines of the super sexy Sunset Cinema Club has joined in the fun and given us his top 10 Brum bands of the decade below. Fancy having a pop yourself? Comment below or mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org cheers.
10. Gentle Friendly
Gentle Friendly say they’re from London and basically never play Brum, but I know these elitist bastards are from Brum so therefore they make my list…Piles of analogue synths and distorted drums keep you pinned to the ground whilst haunting, askew melodies wash over you and tickle your every orifice. They’ve finally got their album ‘Ride Slow’ out in shops all over, so buy it.
Basically, I’m jealous of Editors, but in a nice way; They’re a reminder that you CAN come from Birmingham and be successful, you CAN make it without sucking up to the NME, you CAN make dark, moody pop music that transcends the generation gap and *pant* you CAN achieve all of the above and still be a lovely bunch of people
Basith’s tortured poet-isms next to Simon’s camp deadpan-isms make up a carnival of musical contradiction that, like a good Wes Anderson flick, seems different every time. They sound sort of like early Pavement sneaking into My Bloody Valentine’s lock-up with cute shouty bits and some token girly singer trying to hold onto her dignity amidst all the pseudo-pubescent chaos. No other band can make me laugh and cry in equal measures
I’ve seen Miles Perhower activate his bassist’s distortion pedal during choruses and mute his girlfriends guitar strings whilst she was still playing during a middle-8…To call him a control freak would be an understatement, but you have to admire him for what his regime has produced; beefy, sludgy pop rock with lyrics that have a lot of fun with the West Midlands and all that might entail.
Tantrums should be much closer to the top spot here but the fact that they keep getting better and better with every new track makes it impossible to judge them objectively. Just like their mates Scarlet Harlots (who would be in my top 11), Tantrums are a band who have outgrown their Libertines-influenced beginnings and mutated into this gloriously jangly post-prog mutant bastard with urban-punk sensibilities.
If you’ve never been in a crowd shouting “Everything is beautifuuUUL-IN-IIIITTTTSSS-OWN-WAY!” then you don’t know anything about Birmingham bands and need to sort it out ASAP. Calories are to this scene what Darth Vader is to Star Wars, there’s just something awesomely simple and intimidating about their current set of massive pop songs. Pete’s harmonic bass-chords and general beast-riff tendencies also make him the only fellow four-stringer in Brum to make me feel inadequate in the plank department.
I used to live with 2/3rds of the band and now it’s kinda awkward because I want to say “hey guys how’s life at the moment” but I also want to say “omigod I love ‘I woke up on a beach in Aberystwyth’ and I love the way your new track listing reads like an argument between the band”… 2 x awesome albums into their career of not-being-able-to-pay-the-rent, they’d better not let the shittiness of being a musician in 2009 get to them because I need to hear that “difficult third album” like a menopausal middle-aged woman needs Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.
FYI, Little Dipper were basically the best band to have come of the early 90’s post-hardcore/pre-grunge wave – but in a cruel act of jealousy Courtney Love had them kicked 15 years into the future, leaving them economically displaced amongst the pilled-up neon twats of Birmingham in the naughties. Rob Allen’s guitar riffs shimmer and his lyrics make couples in the audience look awkward and uncomfortable with each other. They’re currently playing with the original (and best) line-up – Just Rob. If you want to hear what heartbreak sounds like in real life, go to the myspaz address and click on ‘The Move On’.
2. 35 Seconds
I followed them as a fan and I played for them as a fan. You couldn’t find a more eclectic mix of characters in any band; it’s a miracle that they ever sat down and wrote anything together, but the end-result was obviously what 35 Seconds were all about. Not many bands can juggle “forward thinking”, “epic”, “heartfelt” and “choruses” without folding up into their own arseholes but 35 Seconds achieved just this with EVERY. SINGLE. SONG. The fact that they were never snapped up by a label of any kind is a good case for having the entire music industry sent to a concentration camp to keep them from spreading their idiot genes any further into the populace
Because I’m still having to convince some people of the genius of Bryn, I will bludgeon you all over the head with how great I think he and his mates are for as long as I live. And one day, when I’m dead, you’ll be wearing T-Shirts that say “Greg Haines Was Right”, and an aged Bryn will be huddled up in some Norwegian log cabin, stroking his beard at a mountain of cash and wondering what the hell to do with it. ‘Sturt Logic’ is ‘Lo-Fi’ done right – turning any limitations of home-recordings on their head, The Shalfonts swing from 50’s crybaby doo-wap to jagged, early Modest Mouse weirdness before boiling down to vulnerable, personal mini-ballads recorded directly into dictaphones. In Bryn’s head he’s somewhere in-between Lil’ Wayne and Bruce Springsteen, but in real life he’s just Bryn, and he’s the only person in the whole world who can pull that off.
Honourable mentions; Shana Tova, Falling & Laughing, Augustine, Kidnapper Bell, Mr Nobody, The Traps, every band JP has ever played in and loads more that I’ll kick myself in the face for forgetting right now.