Tag Archives: Scarlet Harlots

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


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)

Scarlet Harlots Recording at Blue Whale

Scarlet Harlots are currently recording a number of demos at Blue Whale with Dom James.

Geoff works on backing tracks with Dom

Sam showing Jim how it's done

"Can you make it more Future Dub, Dom?"

Lyrical inspiration from The Birmingham Post

Keep them peeled for more details.

Birmingham Has No Music Scene by @JeffStuka

Blimey, off he goes again. Watch out, Jeff Stuka has the grumpy and he isn’t afraid to use it….

Man, sometimes people fuck me off.  When I come across people who claim Birmingham has no “scene” my rage gets thunderous.  An overreaction I know, but as I look at all the people busting their nipples till they explode to make things happen in this great forsaken city, I can’t help thinking, “WHAT A FUCKING INSULT!”

What people can’t grasp with this city is it’s eclecticism.  I mean there’s so much going on.  Every night there’s some kind of show from hot plesiastic bands, DJ sets of microbasic cleboticism or some specialistic night of supercool human herbaceous border trunt that is low key, sexy and unique. There isn’t a common thread through the Birmingham music scene and that’s why people don’t see a scene.  But, you bunch of wrongform spelliasticle gunterbiscuits, it doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

The traditional view of a scene has been for too long dictated by the idea that there should be a local style of music that a “scene” can shoehorn itself into. A kind of mould that allows ignorant people to turn around and say, “Oh, they come from Bumsquitterton, I know because they have the Bumsquitterton sound.” That may be ok for other cities but Birmingham isn’t like that. The centre of the country is a melting pot of everything the UK has to offer. Where other cities have in the past been influenced by imports, Birmingham has always seen the world through a filtered view and this is where it’s brilliant unpredictability comes from.

The punk DIY ethic is alive and well here. As you read this you are at the site of the Blue Whale, a Birmingham based recording studio and promoter of local music staffed and managed by Brummagens.  At the same time as shouting about the depth of talent swimming about this city, the Blue Whale has had no qualms about promoting other Birmingham based endeavours.  Gigs from Birmingham Promoters and This Is Tomorrow are trumpeted.  Excitement is generated for acts at the Basement Bar or the Flapper or The Rainbow.  This pleasure in local music is reciprocated by these organisations.

At the same time, we have Chicks Dig Jerks, The Autumn Store and Coffee and Cake, all locals pushing their own local designs for the music they love.  And then there’s Bigger than Barry, which started as a club night and has now expanded to include a record label, championing such homegrown indie heroes as the Scarlet Harlots whilst pushing a dance music agenda and stretching tendrils well beyond this city.

Scarlet Harlots

Birmingham is also served with an eclectic audible mix by Rhubarb Radio.  Broadcast from the Custard Factory, highlights include Brumcast, Birmingham’s very own answer to John Peel.

Not enough for you?  How about Brumnotes, a magazine for the general public with information about the local scene and the bigger acts to visit Birmingham.  A vital link between the underground and the overground that reaches a wider audience and a much needed asset for the second city.

This is just skimming the top of the cream.  There’s not enough space to celebrate what’s going on in Birmingham. Silent Noize, Oxjam Brum’s You’re A Sister, Jason Pegg’s Acoustic Lounge.  I could go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on but you get the point.  Birmingham has a “scene”.  And it’s a fucking great scene.  Something for everyone.  It may not fit some nice music press criteria about what a “scene” is but fuck it, what an exciting place to be!

Jeff Stuka

Review: Scarlet Harlots / Tantrums @Biggerthanbaz

Scarlet Harlots / Tantrums
Bigger Than Barry Records Showcase
The Rainbow
5th March 2010

Tantrums by Tom Nicolson

As enjoyable as it is being ejected from a venue into a piss wet corridor filled to the brim with confused crowd members, it often leads to a strange pre-gig atmosphere. This is the price of having two events in the same night at the same place. As a result, both bands tonight must sound check in front of the crowd and issue instructions to the engineer over noisy heads.

However within two seconds of Tantrums taking to the stage, the crowd’s collective memory is erased. It’s all about the skyscraper sized songs careering at high speed towards our ears. As well as onstage antics like guitar biting and laps around the crash barriers, we are treated to a perfectly executed show featuring recorded spoken word interludes, heavy dub beats, primary coloured visuals, two brass players and the perfect melding of vocal harmonies thanks to new member Anna.

All the signs are there that Tantrums new E.P is going to melt from over playing as soon as it’s released on Bigger Than Barry Records. But it is live that this frenetically brilliant band excel. The crowd is unable to take its eyes off the stage as Tantrums unleash killer guitar work that is beautiful in its technicality and lethally catchy. Every second is high adrenaline joy. Anna doesn’t need to ask us to dance – we already are.

It might be the fact we’re well into Saturday before The Scarlet Harlots are able to get started on stage but it takes a few minutes for them to hit their stride. When they do, the reason why this band continues to dominate the local scene becomes clear.

‘Backlash’ is bursting with beat squelch and high guitar flecks, all wrapped up in Sam Baylis’ voice and punctuated by a chorus chant which our voices throw back. The combination of climatic build ups and danceable rhythms means the kids at the back slip half finished roll ups into pockets to better manage bouncing on tip toes.

Onstage, The Scarlet Harlots move as though the music controls them as much as it does us, with arms stretched out to conduct the electric currents. They certainly feel like a much bigger band than the low ceiling-ed Rainbow can contain tonight.

Interview with Anna Palmer on joining Tantrums here.

Lindsey Kent

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‘They are sickening creatures’ – Anna Palmer on joining Tantrums and her Bigger Than Barry release

After receiving swathes of attention for her bellowing voice and nimble ivory tinkling, Anna ‘Little Palm‘ Palmer has not only joined math-pop upstarts Tantrums, but is the focus of a forthcoming release on Bigger Than Barry Records.

Two of her signature tunes, ‘Rag Doll’ and ‘Run Little Rabbit’ have been recorded at Blue Whale Studios and shipped off to various producers for them to slice, splice, remix and re-fix for the burgeoning Brum based label.

We caught up with Anna after her session at The Whale to see how she feels about being chopped up by a load of filthy producers:

“As long as they do a good job of the chopping I don’t mind how filthy they are… But seriously, I’ve always been open to working with other artists, producers or genres so I’m very excited to hear what they come up with.”

How did the project come about?

“Well, I was on the same bill as Scarlet Harlots at a BrumNotes magazine gig at The Vic around Christmas time and I got chatting to (lead singer and BTB Records string puller) Sam about Bigger than Barry and their future plans and he just asked if I’d be up for letting them remix one of my tunes. The rest is history.”

It certainly is an interesting collaboration, are you into much dance music yourself?

“Yes, well I’m not the type who’d sit at home listening to it but on a night out it’s what you need really. I’m not going to try and name any artists as I’m not down with the times at all. I’m partial to a bit of drum and bass but most recently the Tantrums lads have shown me the wonders of dubby wub step.”

Jumper-in Jack Flash - Anna with her new Tantrums team mates - by Rhianon Jones

Anna recently joined forces with the notoriously boystrous post-genre Brummies, Tantrums, adding a soulful vocal and textured synths to their already comprehensive sound, which has been widely received as an inspired move for both parties and according to Anna, came about due to a mutual appreciation of their work.

“I met the lads at the Coffee and Cake Summer Festival. We’d both done acoustic sets and had both commented on how much we enjoyed each others’ music and performances. Later on the conversation shifted to Alan Partridge, Will Farrell and all the other loves we had in common. We had a good laugh that night and said it would be cool to hang out again and maybe write a tune. So we did. We collaborated on ‘Steal it Back’ and played a few gigs with the track. Then around Christmas they called me up and asked me to join the band and I squealed at them!”

Are the boys well behaved around you? They can be quite uncouth at times.
“Well behaved?! Ha! They are sickening creatures. I have to issue a few clips round the ear from to time but they’re harmless really. Bless ’em.”

Not only are Bigger Than Barry Records arranging for Anna to be nipped and tucked by the heaviest producers around, they are currently working on a release by the afore mentioned Tantrums (details to be announced shortly). Sam from BTB explains the three reasons behind choosing to work with Anna: “Her voice, her voice, her voice!”

However, he is more tight-lipped about who will be working on the two tunes recorded at Blue Whale; “I don’t want to give the game away but in the past we have worked and have releases with Enigma, Dub Melitia and Shorterz, who I work with on the label, which are all available to download from Beatport. We have releases lined up with local legends Will Bailey and Mickey Slim and Welsh wizards Chesus and Rodski to name but a few. So hold tight for these future releases!”

Sam from Bigger Than Barry Records in Scarlet Harlot mode

You’ve straddled genres with previous Scarlets’ remixes and pending Tantrums and Anna releases, I assume the Bigger Than Barry brand is big enough to be a genre-less label with a strong enough identity to succeed with its releases whatever sub-section they fit into?

“When we started the parties it was never about genre, it was about the party and that idea is at the heart of what we are trying to do with the label.”

And what is it that you want to achieve with the record company?

“To be canonised in the annals of musical history! No, it feels good to form a community through things that you love and we are doing the things we love. The fact that we are doing this on a shoestring probably means that nine times out of ten, the artists we put out won’t reach a wider audience, unfortunately. But it’s something we don’t dwell on because we are doing it for the love and hopefully people have faith in what we are trying to achieve and help in what ever way they can.”

Are there any plans to release Scarlet Harlots material through BTB?

“My lips are sealed at the moment. Hold tight though!”

Anna is thankfully slightly more forthcoming about where she sees herself in the next few months; “I’m going to be working on Tantrums mainly, trying to push the band as much as possible. I’ll still play the odd gig as Little Palm so I can moan away my thoughts from time to time. The next one is at the end of March at the Arcadian Kicks club night at Sound Bar, but yeah, me and the lads are going to be working very hard on getting a few EP’s out.

“In September I’m due to be going to the Conservatoire in Brum but who knows what the future may hold! I’m really chuffed to be in a band with some brilliant musicians and what makes it even better is how well we get along, they’re such a great bunch of lads and I’m so glad we crossed paths. I’ve got quite a bit to juggle though as I’m working full time at a school but I’m really looking forward to the upcoming releases on Barry, cheers Sam! And all the live shows – should be a great year!”

Keep them peepers peeled on this very blog for more details on Bigger Than Barry Records output.

Andy Roberts

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Upcoming – Scarlet Harlots / 10 Guitars / Barnesy / The S.P.G. @TheBullsHead

Tonight: We Love Wednesdays at The Bulls Head

We Love Wednesdays

Check out the video for ‘Backlash’ by Scarlet Harlots below:

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