Welcome to our the newest chapter of Indieterria. In this edition of our blog we are hosting an act from London that is recognized as one of the brightest stars on the indie circuit in the capital – Dirty Orange. The band comes to Birmingham to play The Victoria on September 28th 2018 as part of their national tour. They will bring three established acts with them: Whitelight, ANOA and Dead Dad`s Club.
If you’d like to learn more about other acts, please see our other blogs:
We sat down with Dirty Orange to discuss their musical influences, their beginnings and the London music circuit. Hold onto your chairs and read on:
Dirty Orange George (guitar & lead vocals)
Connor (drums & backing vocals)
Official bio: Dirty Orange are a four-piece rock band from South West London building a reputation for “in your face, powerful, dance along” live shows. The band released debut EP ‘X.X.X’ in 2017 which has been described as “having that jolting early Arctic Monkey’s sound” by music scene influencers GetIntoThis. The band are touted as ones to watch in 2018 by Jack Rocks & Some Might Say among others
One of the privileges of being a music journalist is that you can interview bands with rare or very unique names. Dirty Orange seems to fall into the “very unique” name category. Quick research helped us to find a bottle of French perfumes called Dirty Orange, an Australian vegan café and a definition from The Urban Dictionary saying that Dirty Orange “can relate to either alluring fragrance with a hint of danger or someone with sweet disposition that displays violent or foul character traits”. What exactly is Dirty Orange according to you guys?
Dirty Orange: That’s brilliant about the French perfume and vegan cafe. But the name came about quite simply because George (vocals and guitar) and Connor (drums) look dirty and Scott (bass) has orange hair !
Live shows are said to be a high energy experiences
Your sound has been described as a perfectly balanced diet of Arctic Monkeys, The Clash, Nirvana and The Libertines. Do you agree with such classification?
Dirty Orange: (laughing) Yeah this list is a huge compliment as those bands are all massive influences on the music we write, but also there are some heavier rock influences on our sound from Motörhead to AC/DC.
You come from South London that is being described as the busiest part of the capital. How do you remember growing up there? Did having an easy access to cultural and artistic events helped you to reach the decision to pursue musical career?
Dirty Orange: Definitely! Growing up with such easy access to central London and famous music venues as well as art galleries has inspired us to pursue and write our music.
Every band started somewhere: at school, at a party, at football practice. Tell us more about your beginning as a group. Where did you meet and when did you know that you wanted to play together?
Dirty Orange: To cut a long story short, Connor, George and Scott all met doing this random summer job at a rugby club in Twickenham packaging season tickets when we were 17. We all got on so well. Connor played in a band at the time, Scott and George were into music but didn’t play. They decided to pick up their instruments a few years later and we bumped into each other on a night out where we decide to start this band and went from there. Fast forward a few years and we decided, we wanted to thicken our live sound by bringing in Beno (guitarist) who Connor went to school with so we managed to convince him up to come shred with us. Simple!
Your newest single is entitled “Hellraiser” and has been called an anthem for the young generation. It has a very crisp sound and it is skilfully produced. Where did you record it and who is the producer?
Dirty Orange: “Hellraiser” is a massive track and a massive step up in production and fine detail for us. We were luckily enough to work with Wolsey White who has number one albums to his names and plenty of top 10 singles. We recorded the record in various different studios, all with Wolsey of course.
You have been working really hard this summer. You had some sort of a residency at Dingwalls Camden in London with several shows, you played Shindignation Festival, Red Light Sessions at August Bank Holiday Festival, Tramlines Fringe Festival, Hazfest in Kingstone, Venture Festival in Nottingham, The Great Escape Festival in Brighton and several others. And now you are back on the road again. Where do you take your strength from? Loads of beauty sleep?
Dirty Orange: (laughing loudly) True, it has been a busy summer for us, but we never get tired from playing as it’s what we all love doing in life! We guess, we all have that extra push and energy to be playing, rehearsing and writing as much as possible! We also bounce off each other’s positivity in the band so it’s important we all have a positive mind set before every show/studio session/etc.
On September 28th you will perform in Birmingham with Dead Dad`s Club, Anoa and Whitelight. Are you planning something special for your West Midlands fans?
Dirty Orange: Oh yeah, it is going to be a massive night! It’ll be our first time playing in Birmingham so we can’t wait to see what the music scene is about and show what we got! So will be a special night!
What’s next for the Dirty Orange after the autumn tour? Are you planning to take a well deserved rest or is it back straight to the studio?
Dirty Orange: After the tour we will be taking a few weeks out as Connor is in Nashville doing some serious Dirty Orange networking! As soon as he’s back mid October, we will be writing rehearsing and gigging again. We already have November 30th planned at the Fighting Cocks in Kingston, plus 10th November in Staines with a local band that are good pals of ours.
Dirty Orange – bohemian like you
Last but very important question – if you could support any band active at this moment , whom would you choose and why?
Dirty Orange: Oooooh good question. Any band? That’s a tough question to answer so we will pick one each. For George, it would be Kings of Leon, for Scott it would be Arctic Monkeys, for Beno – Blink 182 and for Connor – Foo Fighters.
Another day, another interview! We love working with young upcoming bands on the independent circuit and nothing gives us more pleasure than to discover new talented acts. We are extremely grateful for the chance to be able to listen and see the bands in action on stage and we cannot wait for Friday. If you are in Birmingham on 28th of September, please come to The Victoria and party with us. Vanadian Avenue is teaming up with Brighton based promoters – Modern Age Music to bring some amazing talent to town, so don`t miss out!
Now, let us introduce you to our newest discovery – ANOA. This band has been touring and performing since 2016 but only recently has been flagged up on our radars. Lend them your ears and hearts dear readers, you will not be regretting it.
Poster promoting the show
Official bio: A redolent, Leicester based, Neo-Punk set up, led by frontman Alex Harris, Anoa came crashing onto the scene late 2016. Lyrically dripping with dark sarcasm, their views are caressed with riffs that pack a punch. Known for their intensely frantic and wild live performances, the band certainly declare their arrival. Mitchell Gordon, Chris Johnston, and Jared Gopal complete the four piece. December 2nd 2016 saw the release of their self titled debut EP, featuring 4 tracks of a diverse variation. In April 2017 they released two A side singles which titled the boys with a punk styled identity; “I’m Alive, Are You?” And “Rock Bottom” allowed the quadruplet to slip into the same category as bands such as; Cabbage, Slaves & and The Sex Pistols. In late October they released their debut music video for their most vicious and bitter single, When In Kings Norton. Anoa closed the year headlining Leicester infamous venue, The Cookie. Where they celebrated the release of their most recent single, “Glorious Nuisance” which was aired by Dean Jackson on BBC Introducing East Midlands.
Anoa is an interesting name. It is the smallest water buffalo on Earth and also an armoured patrol carrier vehicle used by the Indonesian army. Where does your name come from?
Anoa: Our name choice probably won’t come as a surprise to you. In our younger days we’d be discussing our tiffs and tests with girls, quite often someone would pop up and say “Oh yeah, I know her”! That “I know her” in our common accent sounds very much like “Anoa” (laughing) and that’s where we pulled the name from!
You are hailing from Leicester, the home town of Kasbian, Cornershop, Maybeshewill, Basement Jaxx among other well-known acts. Tell us more about Leicester. Was it easier to start a band on an active and diverse local scene or was the competition making your beginnings much harder?
Anoa: To answer your question about Leicester, the scenes is growing day in day out. It’s competitive, intense and frantic, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We get on with a lot of local bands well, we all want the same thing after all. Our favourite tune to come out of the city is “100% Brimful Of Aisha” by Cornershop. Legends!
Anoa was founded at the end of 2015 and you quickly gained reputation for frantic and wild performances. Rumour has it, you scared the journalists from
ANOA in their splendor
NME who came to see you live all the way from London. We are dying to know what was happening on stage that night. If you could describe your live shows to somebody who has not had the chance to see you perform yet, what words would you use?
Anoa: The story about the NME journalist seems to be a fan-favourite (laughing). We love it ourselves. We were informed a writer for the NME would be attending our slot when we opened up for Spring King in June 2017. We don’t think he’ll ever forget us, but we don’t think he wants to remember us either. Mitch dressed in fishnets, Harris smeared in lipstick, a guitar got smashed, think he got chinned in the mosh pit too… Poor bloke, seemed a decent fella. But yeah, we were well up for that gig and went out all guns blazing, was one to remember. We can’t possibly settle for one word to describe our live performances, but can take a chance on 2: fucking nuts!
You are also known for sarcastic sense of humour and eccentric photo sessions like the one where you pose half naked with “We don’t bite” written across your chests. What inspired you to choose this stage presence? Was it a conscious decision to shake and stir things a little bit?
Anoa: We think, there’s a lot of musicians out there who are too “safe” these days. Don’t get us wrong, some bands can be static and deliver a breathtaking set, but that’s not for us. Our theatrical performances are just as important as our musical ones. We like stirring things up as well, there’s not enough people doing that. It’s nice to write a good love song but not one after another, we like to get under people’s skin and surface problems their surprising.. like the cunt who’s running this country!
Let us talk about your influences. It’s the classic Manic Street Preachers, T.Rex, The Sex Pistols, The Clash meets the modern angry wave of Cabbage, The Blinders and Idles. There is a lot of glam rock in your act as well. What inspires you to create?
Anoa: You’ve nailed our influences there. We like to entwine old and new influences in order to create something fairly unique. Musically, we’re very punk inspired… but we do take the time to understudy performers such a, Freddie Mercury, Charlie Steen & Iggy Pop. What inspires us the most to create are situations full of anger. We’ve recently stepped into a political territory, god that makes us fucking angry! But that’s where our best work comes from. Heart on the sleeve sort of thing!
Anoa – vivid colors and real spectacle on stage
In December 2016, you released your self-titled 4 track EP. It got you a lot of radio play in the north and sent the BBC Introducing knocking on your door. You were played on BBC West Midlands, East and Manchester to very good reviews. Tell us more about this release.
Anoa: Our debut EP is very innocent in the ranks of our music. It drips with sarcasm but doesn’t quite take that step into analyzing issues in the world itself. Our EP displays our own issues, mainly lust related. Our latest single ‘Glorious Nuisance’ accurately portrays the quintessence of modern humanity. We were made up when that starting doing the rounds on the radio.
A year later, you returned with two A-side singles entitled “I’m Alive, Are You?” and “Rock Bottom” which are our absolute favourites. When were they written and in what circumstances?
Anoa: Our 2 A side singles were an important step in our scheme of work. We upped the anti musically, creating riffs with a lot more tempo and aggression and aimed to step away from writing about relationships. “I’m Alive, Are You” is basically a goodbye to our old self and allowed us to step into a category where we could create songs like “When In Kings Norton” and “Glorious Nuisance”. “I’m Alive, Are You?” gave us that beeline to become real fucking punks!
Calm before the storm
You will be playing Birmingham on 28th of September with Dirty Orange, Whitelight and Malvern based rock and rollers, The Dead Dads Club. Is it your first time in the West Midlands? What can we expect from you during the gig?
Anoa: To put it bluntly, this is our first time in the West Midlands and definitely won’t be our last, we’ll make sure of that!
2018 has been a busy year for you so far. What are your plans for the next months? Anything lined up for 2019?
Anoa: And finally our plans for the future seem to be taking shape. We’re going to be working on releasing a follow up to our debut music video, which will be accompanied by a very fierce new single. We’re aiming to edge our way onto Handmade festival in 2019 as well, having debuted there in 2017. Fingers crossed yay! Finally, we just want to express our gratitude regarding how well you’ve researched us. Thank you very much for getting to know us and for asking proper good questions.
We hope you have enjoyed our little interview with Anoa- they are charming, funny and very keen on getting their music out for people to hear it. And this is what won us over in their case. We will be down in the front during their gig at The Victoria, so please expect some serious updates to this blog – with videos and pictures in the weeks to come.
For now, thanks for reading and we will be back with you very shortly for another chapter in our ongoing journey in the Indielands.
We are truly excited to announce that in a couple of days a special show will take place in Birmingham! Yet again, Vanadian Avenue is teaming up with London-based music management & promotion team, Modern Age Music to bring you the best new music, the best new bands and the rock and roll carnage to the venue near your home.
To celebrate, we have sit down with three bands that will play on Friday, 28th of September and we asked them few questions about their beginnings, their music and what can we expect on the big night. And those quick interviews are capturing the unique quality of the DIY music scene – they are short, sweet and very open. And that’s what we like about the independent circuit. There is no beating about the bush or tiptoeing around – quick question, honest answer and very, very raw emotional music.
Our first interview is with Birmingham based duo, The WhiteLight. Enjoy!
Official bio: Whitelight are Birmingham based duo formed in early 2018 by James Watton and Stasys Sliauteris. They have recently released their debut single ‘Shiver’, taken from their soon to be released self titled debut EP. Their music is influenced by Paris Monster, Jack White, Pixies, Yak and Queens of the Stone Age. Their unique sound gained attention from This Feeling who put the duo on tour with Mint and The Wholls in March 2018, with a sold out show at Sunflower Lounge on March 30th. James and Stasys are both experienced musicians with many year of gigging and touring experience and also multi-instrumentalists able to produce their own recordings.
At Indieterria, we like to theorize about our guests’ names and you must be the first band ever we interviewed that seemed to choose a fully scientific moniker! According to technical definition, WhiteLight is a light that is composed of wide range of electromagnetic frequencies and that appears colourless to the human eye. Are we correct?
WhiteLight: That seems to be the definition! Pretty interesting right? Imagine that- there are certain colours we can’t see, there are frequencies we can’t hear. We find all that stuff pretty interesting. There’s so much we can’t perceive. We wonder what we’re missing?
You are a little bit of enigma and there is not much information about you on the World Wide Web except for that you are a duo named James and Stas and you have been making music for over a decade (sadly not as a team!). Be so kind and introduce yourselves to our readers.
WhiteLight: There’s not a load to say, we’re like-minded musicians and we love making music. We’ve both been a part of (and still are involved with) other projects, but this band is a really good outlet. If something is on our mind we can talk about it, if we feel a certain way we can try and convey that with a sound or the way we play or something.
James and Stas of WhiteLight
WhiteLight supported a great number of well-established bands such as The Lizards, Lice, The Hungry Ghosts, Me Me Detroit, Kim Logan to name just a few. You play festivals (Swansea Fringe Festivals) and sold out events. Your career is picking up a pace. You must be really excited about it.
WhiteLight: We’re just trying to put ourselves out there and we’re fortunate that we’ve been offered these opportunities at an early stage in our career. We feel really grateful for the support so far. Hopefully we can keep growing and working with other great artists.
We have to ask about the tour with the Wholls and Mint you did for This Feeling earlier this year. Both bands receive rave reviews for their performances and being on a tour with them must have been a huge opportunity for you. Tell us how many shows you played together and where?
WhiteLight: We’ve played two shows with Mint in the Midlands and we’re heading to Grimsby to support them in their hometown next month. Unfortunately the gig with The Wholls was a one-off, but those guys were really good and we’d love to play a show with them again!
Let’s talk about your single “Shiver”. It has an interesting structure and is easily recognizable. Can you tell us more about it? What’s the inspiration behind this song?
WhiteLight performing live
WhiteLight: The song was really written out of frustration. After spending a couple of years living in the city, we could see this massive divide between rich and poor and it’s like there’s always distraction from what really matters. Major corporations demand that everyone consumes their products and the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
WhiteLight have been compared to the Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks, The Clash and the Sex Pistols with very strong cold wave influences. What are your musical heroes and what inspires you to create?
WhiteLight: We haven’t heard some of those comparisons before! We are not sure how close we are to The Kooks or The Arctic Monkeys, but we definitely have an underlying punk thing going on. The cold wave thing is interesting, it’s not a genre we’re massively familiar with, but it makes sense as we are using synths and stuff in a kinda punk/rock way. Artistically we look up to artists like Paris Monster. They’re not necessarily that similar in genre, but in terms of sounds and drumming synth players, Josh Dion is the boy! Yak are another great influence, they lean towards psychedelic rock. We saw them play in someone’s living room in Brighton a few years ago. What a night! Jack White is another one; the tones that guy gets are killer and obviously with him being in a pretty successful two-piece, we can’t overlook that! Speaking of interesting two pieces, we are really digging the ‘Sleaford Mods’ at the moment too. In terms of creating music, so much can inspire you. It could be a feeling, a thought, a word/sentence that resonates, a sound, a set of chords or an interesting melody. Anything really!
You come from Birmingham so you know your local scene like a back of a hand. On 28th of September however, you will be playing with bands visiting the Second City for the first time. What would you like to tell them about Brum?
WhiteLight on stage (again)
WhiteLight: Go to the Meat Shack for a burger… Or if you’re vegetarian or vegan check out the Warehouse Café (laughing).
Imagine, you can book a gig with any band in existence, anywhere in the world. Where do we go and who is playing with you?
WhiteLight: We recon, it would be Sting in our mums living rooms… They love Sting!
2018 was a busy year but let’s look to the nearest future. Where can we see you live and what’s in store for you? New music, new opportunities? Confide in us
WhiteLight: We’ve got the Fringe festival in Swansea and our team up with Mint just after that but we’re focusing on sorting some releases and some merch for the near future. We’ve not got many gigs booked for the end of the year but who knows, we’re ready if something right for us comes up.
Birmingham is a great city to be a musician in so we’re looking forward to seeing what’s to come.
It is true that good AnR falls in love with a band at least once a week. After all, this is what we do – our job is to find a new talent, recognize its potential and bring it to the public/record label/press attention. We are constantly on the move. From one venue to the other, from Soundcloud to Youtube to Bandcamp. Our feelings change like a kaleidoscope. A band we saw few weeks earlier and we thought were rubbish will win our hearts at the next gig. A singer we heard today and we thought was excellent, will be deemed pale and stale next week when somebody better comes along.
Panta Rhei, a great philosopher once wrote. Everything has to flow, change and improve. In normal circumstances, we will come to see a band several times before we make up our minds. One bad gig will not cross our your chances, several good ones will only strengthen our resolution to help. Sometimes, however, magic happens. This is what we wait for, why we roam the darkest, smallest dive – bars and open mic nights. Very, very rarely, a band will enter the stage and within 10 seconds we know we have found a gem. It happened to us with The Blinders, The Americas and Children of the State. And with Raptor.
Raptor self titled EP
The first time we saw them live, it was an electrifying feeling. Like a thunderstruck or a solid punch in the guts. Your hair stands on ends, there is a chill running up and down your spine. You gasp in an absolute awe, with your mouth open and you watch the pretty colors and listen to the most beautiful music in your life. We exaggerate a bit, but the feeling of surprise and amazement is real – this is an act you know you will be working with. Call it a sixth sense – we can spot a good material for rock and roll greatness from a long way and assess them in a matter of seconds.
And once we are in love, we do everything what’s in our power to help. In majority of cases, we invite the chosen act to sit down with us and talk about their beginnings, music, influences and plans for the future. We learn more and more about the band. We research, gather links and materials about them. We become experts. This is the only way we can help – you need to know the band like a back of your hand. Talking to Kurt and Adam Fletcher was a pure pleasure – another proof that our intuition was correct.
Ladies and gents, please welcome the masters of psychedelic rock to our humble blog.
We give you, Raptor!
Brothers Adam and Kurt Fletcher
Raptor are a psychedelic rock trio comprised of brothers Kurt (guitar/vox) and Adam Fletcher (drums) and Nick Osborne (bass) based in Bristol. The band formed in the quiet depths of rural Herefordshire, released their first offering simply entitled “E.P” on Friday, 13th February 2015 to critical acclaim, showcasing their fuzz driven guitar grooves and hard-hitting drums. June 2017 saw the release of Raptor’s double single “Ultraviolet/Haight Street” that has since received raving reviews from BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester, Bristol Live Magazine, Bristol 24/7 and Rock Radio UK among others. Their electric performances won them acclaim from Scott Holiday (Rival Sons) and Verden Allen (Mott The Hoople) and allowed the band to open for Robert Plant, Mick Ralphs (Bad Company) and Dr Feelgood. In May 2018, the band signed to Don’t Tell Anyone Records (DTA1) and their new single “Dynamite (is Freedom)” was released on 31st July 2018. Raptor have currently completed writing of their full-length debut album and the record is set to be released this autumn via DTA1.
According to your biography, Raptor is a trio consisting of two brothers and a friend. You formed in 2014 in Leominster but currently reside in Bristol. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of our blog.
The sleeve to Raptor`s debut single Double A side Ultraviolet/Haigh Street
Kurt Fletcher: Hi guys! We are Raptor and the band is made up of me (guitar/vocals) and my brother Adam (drums), currently we’ve got our friend Nick Osborne on the bass.
Psychedelic rock seems to have a certain fondness for reptiles. There was T.Rex, Thin Lizzy, Tuatara and now, there is Raptor. Did you chose the name to fit right into this trend or was there any other reason to come up with it?
Adam Fletcher: I’ve never really though of that! Kurt once told me the name appeared one lunchtime in his alphabetti-spaghetti (laughing)
2015 saw the release of your 5-track extended play curiously entitled “E.P.”. To make it even more unusual, you have decided to publish it on Friday the 13th. It received very favourable reviews. Can you tell us more about it?
Kurt Fletcher: We spent a long time searching for a studio and decided to record at The Forge in Warwickshire with Tom Gittins. Tom’s place is really cool and was haunted by a friendly ghost called Millie! She’d mysteriously move the camera that was facing Adam whilst we were recording drums on Get Down…. Spooky!
Raptor fans must have the patience of a saint, as you made them wait for nearly two years before you released any new material. Your next double single “Ultraviolet/Haigh Street” was very different than your debut. It was more aggressive, more edgy and less bluesy. Your style also evolved considerably and we can hear obvious prog-rock inspirations such as early Genesis or even Van Der Graaf Generator! Where were you doing during the break? Practicing, getting better and recording?
Brothers Adam and Kurt Fletcher
Kurt Fletcher: Thank you! To be honest it has all felt like a really natural progression as both before and after our EP release we were gigging hard. We were only 17 and 19 so Ad was starting college studying studio engineering and I was about to go to the BIMM Bristol Uni studying all aspects of music performance. Because we had such a gap between recording we listened to so much different music – we made a conscious decision to really push what we were doing in the studio, Adam was getting more into production while I was getting more interested in songwriting.
Your new sound has been compared to King Gizzard and Lizard Wizard, Jefferson Airplane, King Crimson with a lot of Oasis and psychedelic Arctic Monkeys thrown into the mix. Are those your influences? What type of music are you listening to at this moment?
Adam: I’ve been listening to some Queens of The Stone Age, Tame Impala, Joe Walsh(Eagles), Nirvana and a little funk like James Brown and The Meters… lost of very different genres.. all far too loud.
Kurt: I’ve blasting a lot of Frank Zappa, Uncle Acid and David Bowie. Tom Waits, Demob Happy, The Stones and Santana are favourites of ours.
Raptor received praises from the biggest names in the industry such as Scott Holiday of Rival Sons, Verden Allen of Mott The Hoople and even legendary Robert Plant. He invited you to open for him. Do you remember this gig well?
Kurt Fletcher: It’s always amazing to meet people you respect so highly and it’s an honour to play with them! Scott and Verden are good friend of ours, we’ve had some great nights out with Verden, he still parties as hard as back in the day! Go check him out playing blistering Hammond organ in the All the Young Dudes vid on YouTube.
Adam Fletcher: The Robert Plant gig was so fun! He lives relatively close to where we grew up, there were rumours all the time about Planty showing up at someone’s gig. I remember on the night half way through a drum solo turning around and seeing Robert Plant watching me through the curtains… I lost my mind. He graced the stage after us and opened with When The Levee Breaks.. it doesn’t get any better than that! I spoke to him after and he was so kind and great conversation…. what a night!
Cover of Dynamite (Is Freedom) – Raptor`s current single
Just last month, you have been signed to a proper independent label. Congratulations! How did your co-operation began?
Kurt Fletcher: Alex Andrews, who runs Don’t Tell Anyone Records (with his business partner Sam) asked us to play a show with his band Stone Cold Fiction in Bristol this April and we got on great! After meeting with Alex again we started making plans. DTA1 is an independent label and is all about helping one another out – He put out King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s record last year and released our new single ‘Dynamite (Is Freedom)’ in July this year.
You have new record deal and a brand new single “Dynamite (is Freedom) out right now. What is the song about?
Kurt Fletcher: It’s difficult to give Dynamite (Is Freedom) a direct meaning as it was written over a period of months – soaking up different inspirations along the way. There are cynical parts to it as well as elements of dystopia, it talks about accepting the situation you are in and learning to come to terms with things.
Did you have fun recording it?
Adam Fletcher: Recording this record has been some of the most fun we’ve ever had and we are extremely pleased with what we’ve done. It was recorded at Bink Bonk with Mat Samson (Turbowolf/Kasabian) in Bristol with analogue and digital gear… We chose to track live without a metronome to capture the sound and energy of our live show. Mat is as mental as we are which meant for a lot of sonic experimentation using a collection of vintage amplifiers, effects and audio rarities including vocal mics owned by The Beatles used on their last three albums (and the rooftop gig), guitars amps owned by Motörhead and a Reverb unit owned by Pink Floyd and used on The Wall!
If we’d like to see you live, where do we go? Do you have anything lined up?
Kurt Fletcher: We’re going on tour at the end of September with Stone Cold Fiction & Don’t Tell Anyone Records so you can catch us across the UK! Here are the dates:
Wed 26th September – London – The Lighthouse
Thur 27th September – Bradford Upon Avon
Fri 28th September – Leeds – Verve Bar
Sat 29th September – Newcastle – Little Buildings
Sun 30th September – Manchester – Wangies
What can we expect from Raptor in the next few months. Go on and surprise us!
Kurt Fletcher: We’re set to release an album this September, other that that we’ll be collecting strange gear, drinking around Bristol and working on new songs!
We are going to see Raptor play live in Manchester on the last date of their tour, so please be prepared for an massive update to this interview. There will be pictures, filmed performances and maybe a flash video-interview!
We love coming back to the Kingdom of Mancunia and we know we will have a fantastic time.
Please join us and have a good day .
Until we meet again,
After years of preparation, and months of excitement and awaiting, the DAY OF TRUTH has arrived.
The debut album by The Blinders is finally here and now the entire world will hear the story of Johnny Dream and His Codeine Scene.
You are being watched! Johnny Dream is looking at you from the cover of “Columbia”
This musical hurricane will take you on a ride that will not be easily forgotten. To celebrate, Vanadian Avenue has opened the doors to the Columbia National Library Archives and digged out some impressive data to boast about the fruitful last couple of weeks.
The Blinders team has been working extremely hard and we would like to mention several people who made everything possible.
First of all, of course the musicians themselves: Thomas Haywood, Charlie McGough and Matty Neale. Plus Gavin Monaghan (the producer) and Joseph Wildy Murray (the engineer), who get the honorary mention as it was their experience and knowledge that created this masterpiece. They are truly the Wizards of Wolverhampton.
Second, their record label – Modern Sky UK and managers: Tim Abbott and Paul Fassam.
Third – their PR team with Caffy St Luce at the helm, their booking agent Jamie Wade and Sam Crowston – visualizer, artist, filmmaker, photographer and the man behind all graphic representation of Columbia.
Very, very special thanks to Mr Chris Hawkins and Mr Steve Lamacq – a legendary man who is the same to the new generation of musicians as John Peel was to us.
And then their families who supported them from the start, their friends and fellow bands that came to the shows, newspapers and magazines that wrote about them, journalists and DJ’s who played them, BBC 6 Music, BBC Introducing teams and BBC 1 teams, Amazing Radio, Radio X, XS Radio Manchester and other radio stations who played their music, photographers who tirelessly took millions of pictures and edited them right after the gig so people could enjoy them in the morning, promoters who booked shows and shouted on Twitter and other socials trying to sell tickets and bring crowds in, bars and clubs that hosted the band, fans for sticking with the band through thick and thin and countless of others who were there and we will never know their names.
THANK YOU to all and each one of you – you are wonderful human beings and your kindness means a world to three young lads from Doncaster.
Things would not be possible without your help.
The last three months before the album release have been very busy. You may not realize how much planning, work and extra hours go into social media, making of promotional materials or just simple PR. It is never ending job that keeps everything together.
We called this blog Columbia Library Archives as we tried to collect links, videos, interviews, and all sort of strange data that could show you what has been done and achieved.
Please feel free to scroll through this small collection and enjoy it. If you have missed something before, this is now your chance to discover it all over again.
To make it easier for you, we have divided our findings into groups:
Chart position: Columbia has debuted on the official UK Top 40 on the date of its release, 21st of September 2018. The Party has released an official statement and every woman, man and a child living within the glorious borders of our nation-state is expected to read it and celebrate the success!
The statements reads: “Having caught wind that our debut album ‘Columbia’ has entered the realms of the top 40 midweek album charts, we would just like to thank every single person who has purchased the record in the past few days. You all mean the world to us, and we really couldn’t be doing this without you. To ensure it stays there, buy it, play it, and tell all yer friends about it.”
The statement is accompanied by the special celebratory video:
And the band would like to thank everyone who ever supported them so please continue doing!
Official statistics are as follows:
Mid Week Top 40 – 28th place
Official Top 40 – 54th place
Official Record Store Top 20- 6th place
Indie Album Top 30 – 8th place
Indie Album Breakers – 1st place
Vinyl Sales of the Week – 10th place
Re-entry (Indie Album Breakers Top 20) – 15th place on 14.01.2017
Mid Week Top 40 – 28th place
Indie Album Top 30 – 8th place Indie Album Breakers – 1st place
Official Top 40 – 54th place
Official Record Store Top 20- 6th place
Vinyl Sales of the Week – 10th place
The Album returned to the charts on 14th of January 2019 at number 15th
Columbia spent three weeks on the charts with the peak position at number 1
It reads: “The self-titled debut album from Brighton rockers Black Honey opens at 22, one rung higher than Iridescence, the major label debut from hip-hop group Brockhampton (23). Doncaster group The Blinders are also vying for a Top 40 finish with their debut album Columbia (28)”.
Please check out this section often as it will be updated as new info is available!
BBC6 Music Album of the Day: On 1st of October 2018, Columbia has been named the Album of the Day by BBC6 Music. This is one of the highest recognition that can come for a debuting album and millions of people heard 6 songs from the album being played throughout the day.
Album of the Day according to the Gospel aka BBC6 Radio! Thank you so much guys!!!
Amazing Radio Album of the Week 01.10.2018-07.10.2018:
Columbia as the Album of the Week
Columbia has been chosen as an Album of the Week at Amazing Radio during the period of 1st and 7th of October. That means the album is played each day during the core hours and on Friday, the 5th of October, you will have a chance to listen to the entire album on air without interruption from 2:00 PM sharp. https://amazingradio.com/home/album-of-the-week-the-blinders-columbia
Festivals: The Blinders are in such a great demand that each day, a new gig or concert is being added. Those lucky ones who have the tickets, were able to see them performing on two festivals before they embark on a national tour.
The first festival called Neighbourhood ManchesterFestival took place on the 6th of October and The Blinders were added as a secret guest just 12 hours before the show. The band played at the YES the Pink Room and it was of course a sold out performance.
The second festival named Twisterella Festival in Middlesbrough took place on the 13th of September. The Blinders were one of the headliners along with Estrons, Avalanche Party and Bryde. As with previous performances, tickets were selling fast and it is a good indicator that many shows will sell out on the commencing tour. The Blinders played their 50 minute slot at The Townhouse, starting at 21:00 pm.
Mailing list and newsletters are very useful tools helping to keep in touch with fans and informing them about new things from the band’s HQ. Like any other marketing materials, Columbia Daily (aka the newsletter) is issued in in monochrome and contains pictures, latest news and the most important links.
Playlist: Spotify is one of the most popular streaming services on the Internet allowing billions of users to access the music. The Blinders are added to hundreds of small lists made by fans and industry professionals, but recently they came with a list of their own. And it is a pretty special list as it shows the band’s entire officially released catalog! It also looks wonderfully as you ca see at the attached screens below:
“It is guitar orientated album that is true to the live performance. Songs are fast and yet catchy, with haunting back ground vocals and hypnotizing drums. It is the fresh perspective on what music should be in 2018 – direct, poetic, enigmatic, political, tearing out your soul and different from what is happening around. And that is what Thomas Haywood, Matty Neale and Charlie McGough bring to the table” – Malicia Dabrowicz for Vanadian Avenue https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2018/08/30/indieterria-review-columbia-by-the-blinders/
“How important is this release going to be? Personally, I’ve waited for a band to make an album like this for twenty, maybe thirty years. Political albums can often deter because they are hard work, but they do endure… I’m thinking about albums by Gil Scott Heron, The Clash, Billy Bragg, Public Enemy, Manic Street Preachers, The The or Dead Kennedys. When the political scene is as warped and cruel as it is now, music should comment on it and be influenced by it. The Blinders are making music to mark their protest; there should be more like them” – Alan Neilson for BrumLive Magazine http://www.brumlive.com/blinders-columbia-debut-album-released-21-september-2018/
Signed LP on vinyl – back
“Politically charged trio The Blinders have taken the UK music scene by storm. Not only did their track ‘L’Etat C’est Moi’ get playlisted on BBC 6 Music, but they also landed a headline slot on the BBC Introducing stage at this summer’s Reading & Leeds festivals. Needless to say, these boys are destined for success” – Harriet Willis for The Skinny Music Blog https://www.theskinny.co.uk/music/reviews/albums/the-blinders-columbia
“That shamanic, compelling mood is captured perfectly in ‘Columbia’. Ably produced by Gavin Monaghan (Editors, The Sherlocks, Goldblade), the album sees childhood friends Thomas Haywood, bassist/co-writer Charlie McGough and drummer Matt Neale follow Johnny Dream on his spiritual awakening, from the coruscating swagger of the opening ‘Gotta Get Through’ to the raw, beautiful and ultimately redemptive finale ‘Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska)” – (legendary) R*E*P*E*A*T Fanzine https://repeatfanzine.wordpress.com/2018/09/18/the-blinders-debut-album-columbia-out-this-friday-uk-tour/
“It’s a really impressive debut, and we actually found ourselves feeling suitably shocked after our first listen at how accomplished it sounds. The band make indie rock music that is supercharged and political, with groovy yet raw riffs filling each song on the album. It’s raw but the production never sounds too fuzzy, with it all sounding pretty damn perfect to us” – Jane Howkins for York Calling https://yorkcalling.co.uk/2018/09/01/the-blinders-columbia/
“‘Hate Song’ is all urban noir menace, ‘Free The Slave’ a 28-second leviathanesque anthem, ‘Et Tu’ a heads down bass battering Adam and the Ants from Dante’s Inferno and, joining the quote dots, ‘Brutus’ a full seven minutes of charged rock darkness that variously encompasses Floyd, Enter Shikari, Metallica and Nick Cave. Impressive stuff” – Mike Davies for Roots and Branches Zine http://roots-and-branches.com/brum-beat–the-beat/record-reviews-september.html
“Manchester’s Blinders bring the classic rock vibes with their debut outing, Columbia. Brimming with Arctic Monkeys swagger but imbued with a subtle psychedelic edge and semi-spoken lyrical fire, these young upstarts have set a great precedent for things to come. In the meantime, this should definitely sit well in your collection” – Piccadilly Records (Manchester Independent Record Store) https://www.piccadillyrecords.com/counter/product.php?pid=123568
“Whirring riffs dominating, the war drums integral, drone sounds making you check over your shoulder as you listen. It‘s infectious, with bombastic drum beats, western twangs and jangly yet searing guitar riffs getting you ready to dance, mosh or start a revolution” – Johnny Rogerson for Clash Magazine https://www.clashmusic.com/reviews/the-blinders-columbia
“This increasingly rare concept album, coupled with their constant references to history and literature display an artistic intelligence perhaps uncommonly associated with such a heavy-hitting sound. Alongside the likes of Cabbage and IDLES, they are leading the way in creating a new brand of socially aware Punk. With the release of ‘Columbia’, The Blinders are dragging us into a dystopian future where Punk-Rock rules again” – James Booton for Boot Music Blog http://jamesbooton15.wixsite.com/boot-music/single-post/2018/09/19/The-Blinders—Columbia
“Perhaps once in a generation comes a movement that speaks for its outcasts, those who are undernourished but well read, those who see injustice, but have been fed only on a diet of apathy, and corruption. The blue generation before us were emotionally rescued by bands like the Manic Street Preachers, now, rising from the ashes of Brexitopia, (and the burned out ruins of the indie landfill) we have The Blinders” – Dizzy Spell for The Zine UK https://www.thezineuk.co.uk/single-post/2018/09/19/Stepping-into-Columbia-with-The-Blinders
“So where does ‘Columbia’ place The Blinders? It’s an impressive debut, one that captures the essence of what they’re about and as much of the live performance as is possible within the constraints of a studio recording. It doesn’t compromise their personalities and the real core of what they’re about in search of a hit radio-friendly album, but it’s that which has caught the ear of those that champion them. They have influences but not too overt, their songs observe rather than preach, talk of politics in its social context attacking ideologies and beliefs rather than directly attacking individuals which give it more gravitas. But most important of all they remain true to themselves” – Even the Stars Blog http://www.eventhestars.co.uk/2018/09/the-blinders-columbia.html?m=0
“In the age of distraction, it’s hard to craft an album that grips you for a full 40 minutes and doesn’t have you reaching for the skip button, but ‘Columbia’ is a rare breed, as are The Blinders themselves. This is one to not only cherish, but to lose your voice and mind to in equal measures” – Richard Cobb for Little Indie Blogs https://littleindieblogs.blogspot.com/2018/09/album-review-blinders-columbia.html
“Of the lineage of politically charged and anti-establishment albums, The Sex Pistols’ Never Mind The Bollocks and Pink Floyd’s The Wall, stand out as the two that most inform Columbia, which is without doubt an astounding achievement and a seismic debut for the band that labelled their sound in 2016 as ‘a spellbinding punkadelic-esque Roman orgy’. Columbia, the ‘alternate world informed by reality’ reverberates with the sound of the temple’s foundations being rocked to their very core” – Andrew Gutteridge for Words For Music Blog https://wordsformusic.blog/2018/09/21/album-review-the-blinders-columbia/
“An outstanding debut, The Blinders have caused an itch with Columbia, an itch I hope they can scratch with a follow up. We sacked off the ratings system a long time ago, but Colombia feels like an Eight from a band who have the potential to deliver a Ten. Far from a classic, but ever so close. Thoroughly enjoyable and a real kick up the ass for the alternative rock scene who should take notes from this excellent piece of work” – Josh Bell for RGM: Reyt Good Magazine https://www.rgm.press/review-the-blinders-columbia/
Vinyl copy of “Columbia”
“It’s impossible to fully appreciate this album in word form and I cannot stress enough how much you have to listen to it for yourself. The Blinders have truly changed the game with ‘Columbia’. They’re going to take over the world” – Lottie Catrin forLet It Happen Music Blog https://letithappenmusicblog.com/2018/09/21/the-blinders-columbia/
“If The Blinders were trying to get a message across, they couldn’t have achieved it in any more clarity if they’d tried. It’s poetical perfection. This, 12-track, just-under-40-minute album is, at it’s core, just a piece of music. But at it’s best, it’s a statement; a concept; it’s meant to provoke a reaction. And it does. Even during the live shows, the band, clad in face paint and dark clothing, embrace the ideology and the theme of the album entirely, immersing themselves in this make-believe world that they truly believe could become real sometime soon. The hype around this album has been second-to-none amongst independently released albums in the past ten years. But we’re here for it” – The Indie Room Blog https://theindieroomblog.wordpress.com/
“But it is impossible not to be sucked into this scary world of slithering bass, straight-for-the-throat guitars and Thomas Haywood’s cool without being an annoying snob popular cultural references. The deliciously snarling guitars that pave the way of ‘Et Tu’ and then again on the outro to ‘Brutus’ while Haywood screams ‘Et tu, Brute?’ over the top are the stuff of genius. This isn’t songwriting, this is atmospheric musical theatre” – Leigh Sanders, Senior sub editor for the MNA portfolio and entertainments at Express and Star and Shropshire Star. https://www.shropshirestar.com/entertainment/music/2018/09/22/the-blinders-columbia—album-review/
“Doncaster trio The Blinders’ Columbia is a dystopian-infused, literary-inspired social critique on modern day society, comparing our own world to those created by Orwell and Huxley. Before listening I was apprehensive, afraid the ferocious punk sound that has dominated their early works and live shows would become too repetitive, but Columbia’s highlights are the tender moments. Acoustic number ‘The Ballad Of Winston Smith’, and Nick Cave-inspired ‘Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska) are the album highlights as Tom Haywood, under his persona of Johnny Dream” https://therodeoblog.blogspot.com/2018/09/on-trend-future-is-bright.html
“If ever there were a time for heroes, it be now. A band to speak to and for the disaffected, disenfranchised youth about to be trampled on by the aftermath of us adults screwing up their future by withdrawing from the EU and leaving them with a “no deal” Britain that ensures they’ll be working until they drop and the word ‘pension’ will become as obsolete as pronouncing the letter “H” as it is spelt” – James Auton for God is in the TV blog http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2018/09/24/the-blinders-columbia-modern-sky/
“Emerging from Doncaster as new bastions of explosive live music, The Blinders have become a must-see band on the UK live circuit in the past two years. Fusing punk politics, gnarly hooks and psych-lyricism, the band have found the perfect algorithm to live success. Picking up support from 14 influential playlists, including Indispensables and Walk Like A Badass, The Blinders have enjoyed a 132% increase in their playlist following in the past 7 days, taking their total to over 3.5 million. With a 5.45% increase in their artist following, the trio also seem to be building a solid fanbase” – FRTYFVE Blog, powered by Instrumental https://www.frtyfve.com/new-music/hottest-artist-in-the-world-the-blinders
“On the back of the game-changing album ‘Columbia’, The Blinders have now cemented themselves as one of the hottest bands in the UK. The album itself is racing into the UK top 40 after rave reviews from fellow bands, fans and press – we’ve had it playing constantly since last Friday, and trust us – believe the hype!” – Mock It (the Best in New Music) Blog https://mockitmusic.wixsite.com/mockitmusic/features/tenement-trail-the-blinders
“In tracks such as ‘Hate Song’, ‘Where No Man Comes’, the scintillating power of expression in ‘Ballad of Winston Smith’, ‘Brave New World’ and ‘Orbit (Salmon of Alaska)’, The Blinders have found the right series of buttons which makes, which demands of the debut a sense of the calm, collected, and ready to light the beacons in the anticipation of fighting a bigger battle ahead. It is a battle in which the generations above had better be wary of standing in their way ” – Ian D. Hall for Liverpool Sound and Vision http://www.liverpoolsoundandvision.co.uk/2018/09/25/the-blinders-columbia-album-review/
“Influenced by Arctic Monkeys and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, there’s also a hint of Kasabian in their groove-laden alt-rock sound. This brooding collection of 12 songs is loosely based around the concept of Columbia as ‘an alternate world informed by reality’. It demands your attention from the off with a wonderful brace of singles, the insistent ‘Gotta Get Through’ and ‘L’Etat C’Est Moi’ (it means I Am The State). Like most of the album’s best moments, they’re propelled along by delicious post-industrial bass lines reminiscent of Peter Hook in his Joy Division pomp” – Gary Welford for Hartlepool Mail https://www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk/whats-on/music/album-review-the-blinders-columbia-1-9365505
“The album provides a unique and enjoyable listen, leaving you feeling fully involved with the dystopia that is Columbia, all helped by the vivid imagery of the lyrics. This band is essential to 2018, and with this album they have literally pulled a blinder” – Katie Macbeth for Rock Chic Blog https://rockchicme.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-blinders-columbia.html
“For a young generation on the cusp of a new political awakening, their debut will no doubt act as an accompanying soundtrack to their cause. After a few years of honing their craft and some impressive slots on the UK festival scene this year, ‘Columbia’ will be taking The Blinders places – so catch them while you can” – Ceri Saunders for ON: Yorkshire Magazine https://www.on-magazine.co.uk/arts/music/album-reviews/columbia-the-blinders/
“The Blinders are a band worth experiencing live. Enrapturing, politically injected lyrics enable the gig-goer to encounter an alternative to what is seen in mainstream media. Catch them on their headline tour alongside White Room and Calva Louise this October and November, you won’t be disappointed” – Sahar Ghadirian for Forge Media http://forgetoday.com/2018/10/02/review-the-blinders/
“Despite clocking in 12 songs in just over 42 minutes, ‘Columbia’ never rushes its narrative. Constantly proving that rock and roll is most definitely still alive and well, The Blinders have returned the hope that rock and politics can go hand in hand. With hints of the ‘Stones, The Smiths and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, it’s quite hard to not deem ‘Columbia’ as one of the most influential albums of 2018. It’s a definitive, well-polished record from a young, promising band who stand for something much more” – Paige Smiths for Not Enough Notes Blog http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2018/10/review-the-blinders-columbia-rock-debut/
“The stunning debut album from Manchester underground band, The Blinders” – Amazon UK/Amazon.com
Official advert for Columbia on Amazon UK
A new review from K Production
“Energetic, goth-tinged Yorkshire three-piece The Blinders take their influences from great lyricists, poets and writers such as Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Nick Cave, John Lennon, Rimbaud, Allen Ginsberg, George Orwell and William Burroughs, but also count Charles Manson and the devil among their influences. Their debut album, Columbia, therefore, is a bit different to the run-of-the-mill indie bands around today. LP and CD on Modern Sky Entertainment.” – KProduction https://www.keyproduction.co.uk/blog/2017/latest-releases-manufactured-by-key-production-group_september-round-up/
Columbia review by Jack Saunders of BBC Radio1. Picture by Sam Crowston
“Delivering an LP of fierce dystopian rock n roll loosely based around the concept of ‘an alternate world informed by reality’, The Blinders are an example of a new breed of guitar band who are noticeably far less complacent than many from earlier on in the decade. They bash out an exciting blend of punk, indie and psychedelica, listing their influences as Dylan, Cohen, Mark E Smith, Lennon, Cave, Kerouac, Rimbaud, Orwell, Ginsberg, and S.Borroughs” – Rewind/Forward Blog https://rwffmusic.blogspot.com/2018/09/album-review-blinders-columbia-2018.html
“Throughout the album, the influence of the works of George Orwell is ever clear, especially on acoustic ‘Ballad of Winston Smith’ named after the protagonist in the novel 1984. The tracks speaks of the mainstream media reporting and building stories out of nothing, whilst letting those in charge get away with whatever they wish” – Katie MacBeth for RawMusicTV https://www.rawmusictv.com/review/2018/The-Blinders-release-debut-album-Columbia
“One of the most anticipated British debuts of 2018, The Blinders deliver a fully rounded rock statement with ‘Columbia’ but leave their future open. The Blinders have created something cohesively packed not only with raw energy and rage also with knowledge, chemistry and the profound. To say Columbia an impressive debut would be an understatement, but it’s also apparent there’s more to come. 8/10″ – Sandie Garland for The Student Playlist https://www.thestudentplaylist.com/review-the-blinders-columbia/
“This increasingly rare concept album, coupled with their constant references to history and literature display an artistic intelligence perhaps uncommonly associated with such a heavy-hitting sound. Alongside the likes of Cabbage and IDLES, they are leading the way in creating a new brand of socially aware Punk. With the release of ‘Columbia’, The Blinders are dragging us into a dystopian future where Punk-Rock rules again” – James Booton for Boot Music Blog http://jamesbooton15.wixsite.com/boot-music/single-post/2018/09/19/The-Blinders—Columbia
“The Blinders debut album ‘Columbia’ is a raw, loud and punky piece of dystopian-themed indie rock that makes you fall in love with rock music, all over again. 🎸👨🎤 🤘” – Roxi for RoxiPicks Twitter Channel https://twitter.com/roximusicsystem
“The album has lots of energy but settles into your standard swampy/punk sound, with odd high spots: I Can’t Breathe is similarly retro to the opener and stands out, as does the slower, and Levellers-ish, Ballad Of Winston Smith. Even the more ‘routine’ tracks are far from predictable: Hate Song speeds, to give the moshpit a reason for frenzy, Where No Man Comes opens with an arty disco beat and jagged guitars” – Review Corner https://reviewcorner.org/2018/12/21/the-blinders-columbia/
Indie For Bunnies Italian Blog – The Blinders review
“The debut album for The Blinders is finally here. Three youngsters from Doncaster who now live and study in Manchester, have been mentioned for a long while now in various English magazines and it seems that everybody has been eagerly awaiting the release of ‘Columbia’. What can be said – it was worth the wait. This is an interesting, magnetic, 100% rock and roll album. Almost two years passed between the releases of their debut album and their first EP ‘Hidden Horror Show’ that saw the light of day back in 2016. The EP showed much potential and maturity and working with legendary producer, Gavin Monaghan on their debut album allowed the band to produced a real magic that will satisfy hundreds and thousands of new fans. Gavin Monagham is called the Wizard of Wolverhampton for a reason. It is worth adding that Columbia was recorded fully at Monaghan’s recording studio, The Magic Garden in Wolverhampton, West Midlands. From the opening chords of ‘Gotta Get Through’ to the magnificent closing track ‘Orbit (Salmon of Alaska)’, The Blinders prove that they have a maximum control over the listeners. They take them on a journey filled with distorted guitars, haunting vocals and protest songs against controlling political systems. Several songs are highlights of the album. ‘Ballad of Winston Smith’ will make your hair stand on its end. It is hauntingly beautiful, mature, with a nostalgic bow and background chants that remind us of a movie soundtrack. It could be a great theme song for the next James Bond movie. ‘Et Tu’ brings us back to reality with aggressive rhythm and ‘Brutus’ flirts with multiple layers of percussion and pulsing bass line that sounds like Arctic Monkeys, Drenge and Slaves mixed together. So, here are The Blinders. Three different people, three amalgamated elements, that made one truly interesting album filled with innovative ideas, mature lyrical themes and classic rock and roll. Columbia is so good, it will withstand the passing of time” – Ben Moro for IBF (Indie for Bunnies) Italian Blog Translation from Italian by Vanadian Avenue http://www.indieforbunnies.com/2018/11/05/the-blinders-columbia/
End of Year Reactions: 2018 is now a history! To celebrate the last 12 months, Vanadian Avenue has prepared Columbia Advent Calendar! We have our own # (hashtag) on Twitter and each day we will be posting really cool things relating to the album, tour, merch or the band! To access all tweets please use the following link: https://twitter.com/hashtag/ColumbiaAdventCalendar
We also have a proper Advent Calendar as well! Please click on each day to reveal something extraordinary about the band!
Columbia was released on 21st of September and is being counted among the albums released in 2018. Its name is appearing in many “End of year” summaries and we thought it would be good to show how well received the album is. Please see the screenshot from Twitter where users are posting their Best albums of 2018!
End of Year summaries – fans
Louder Than War magazine has always been very supportive of The Blinders and we have to thank them for their continuous faith in the band. Columbia has just been called the second best album of the year by their readers and journalists and the editor, John Robb has only the best words for them! Please see the screenshots attached and read the short interview with Thomas Haywood! You can buy the Issue 19 online at: https://vivelerock.net/product/ltw19nickcave/
Editor’s note – Louder Than War, issue 19, December 2018, page 5
Louder Than War, issue 19, December 2018, page 73 – second place (The Blinders lost only to IDLES!) and an interview on the right
The online version of this article can be seen below:
Album of the year 2018 online article from Louder Than War
We are pleased to let you know that Columbia has been placed on yet another “Album of The Year” list! According to Rewind/Fast Forward Blog, the Blinders’ debut album is so good that it went straight to number 24, overtaking The IDLES and Slaves! You can visit the page at: https://rwffmusic.blogspot.com/2018/12/2018-albums-of-year.html
The Best Albums of the Year
Long Live Vinyl Magazine has been incredibly kind to put The Blinders on their list of The Top 100 Albums of 2018! Columbia was not only included on the cover of the magazine (bottom left) but also landed at number 48, almost in the middle of the countdown! This is phenomenal achievement for the band taking into account that the album was released merely 2 months ago and faced heavy competition form established acts such as IDLES and Shame.
Industry praise is hard to achieve but The Blinders managed to convinced almost everybody in the music business that they are the next best thing. Josh Cooper, owner of the popular independent label RoadKill Records gave the Doncaster trio a gloving recommendation and a place number 4. He wrote: “These guys came out of nowhere for me and seem to have had a big a year as any band could, book-ending 2018 with an amazing 300 cap gig at Borderline and then in front of a sold out Garage following the release of ‘Columbia’. A dystopian concept album full of garage-rock anthems, Cramps style beats and hook after hook”.
In August, the Blinders paid a visit to XS Manchester Radio to speak to Jim Salveson and play two acoustic songs live on air. They were “Brave New Wolrd” and “Orbit (Salmon of Alaska)”. The 17 minute interview was a fan favourite from the start and now it has been officially named the best live session at XS Manchester of the year! You can see the results on a screen below, The Blinders scored 39% of all votes!
XS Manchester online voting results for the “Session of The Year” of 2018
Getintothis list of 100 Best Albums of the Year – The Blinders ended up at number 58
Another day and another recognition for the band! Manchester Music Forever (MMF) have chosen their favourite songs from last year and created a nice Spotify list for you to listen to. The Blinders have been placed at number 2 with “Brave New World” and the top spot went to The Slow Readers Club with “Lunatic”. Congratulations to all
GigsandTours.com is the official website of one of the UK’s leading promoters, SJM Concerts. They are also one of the most popular websites in the UK that reports on upcoming shows, music news and everything else music related. With nearly 100k followers on social media, their voice is something of a blessing in the industry. And now the blessing has been given to the Blinders! On 12th of December, Gigs and Tours released their official selection for Gigs and Tours: Best Albums of 2018 and of course, Columbia is mentioned. The reviewer, Jordan Garner wrote: “A concept album about a dystopian future and Johnny Dream (singer Tom Haywood’s on-stage persona), The Blinders give dark commentary to society on Columbia, incorporating influences of protest songs to give a cry for change on negative aspects of today’s world. A snarling whirlwind of indie-punk, The Blinders second album cements them as one of the most exciting new bands to come out of the UK. Standout tracks: ‘Gotta Get Through’, ‘Brave New World’, ‘Et Tu’” – What else can we add?
Gigs and Tours chose Columbia as one of the best albums of 2018
Manchester online service, Flick of The Finger created their own end of the year list, simply entitled “Album choices 2018”. No surprise there – The Blinders ended at number 4 and they received a glowing reviews that says: “Columbia is pure, unadulterated rock and roll. Make no mistakes about that. It is the type of album that does gets you wondering about what the band are all about on the live stage. But whether it’s at your local venue, or at home on your stereo system, they will blow your fucking heads off. And that is fine with me”. This review was written by senior journalist, Mark Sharpley and we cannot agree more!
On 14th of December, Forkster Music Promotions, published their annual FAB Singles chart from new, unsigned and emerging artists. The Blinders were mentioned at number 3 with Brave New World. The review was absolutely fantastic: “We absolutely loved this tunes music definition. It suitcases a mesmerizing rock n’ roll from ‘walloping & swinging’ bluesy riff soaring sockets, ‘thumping and pumping’ rhythm jubilations alongside a magnetic vocal promise that radiates forth with a snarling affection and rebelling attitude brilliance, loved the harmonious chorus fronts too, which brought a wicked industrial rock presence to their music table too, sensational song!”.Thank you so much!
Except the ginger-men with warpaint, the day also brought us a new new list of The Best Albums of 2018. This time it is from Captain Sound Blog who placed Columbia on the top spot! The highest place on the chart was awarded after the contributors and the readers voted. Thank you!
On 17th of December Live4ever website published their own list of the best albums of the passing year. The Blinders’ debut album landed at number 18 overtaking such well known artists as Low, Car Seat Headrest and Johnny Marr. Being included on this list is again a true honour, Live4ever Media LLC was founded by 3-time Emmy Award winning cinematographer and concert photographer Paul Bachmann, who previously spent a big part of his career working in music video production for some of the world’s top acts. Paul is partnered by The Mic, who brings a tenured background in finance and a keen knowledge of the Irish and UK music scene. Their senior editor is Dave Smith, a professional journalist who worked for The BBC, The Guardian and many other mainstream media. The review read: “Columbia doesn’t beat you over the head with its allegories. Brave New World might not be about Trump’s America, it could be about an ‘idiot king building a wall’ (although the Kardashians reference makes it hard to avoid), and Rat In A Cage doesn’t have to be about the migrant crisis, it could be a straight-forward call to arms, as Dream tells us to ‘come together, we need each other’. The politics is there if you want it to be, but it’s oblique enough to ignore should you choose to. The Blinders join Cabbage, Shame and Idles as pioneers of a movement we’ve needed for some time, giving us faith in rock music again”. Amen to this!
On 19th of December Eudaemonia Blog published their own Album of the Year compilation. The Blinders landed the top spot after the readers voted for their favourites. This only shows that each voice truly counts! Thank you to those who voted and please continue doing so as the more people know, the better.
20th of December turned out to be a great day for The Blinders. The band’s debut album was placed on two Album of the Year lists! The first mention came from Manchester Music Forever of (Mancunia) and Columbia climbed all the way to number 2. The popular website wrote: “An outstanding debut album from these adopted Mancunians. Live band of the year? The Blinders are incredibly hard working and deserving of their success to date and more in 2019”
Second mention of the day came from Luton community radio station Diverse FM and their indie rock show called “Transmission”. Columbia wno the top spot with a rave reviews from the presenters and the audience – so it is a double win for the Doncaster trio!
Indie show Transmission on Diverse FM picks the best albums of 2018
On 21st of December, VMPE blog published their own list of Best Albums of the Year and The Blinders made it to number 12! The moderator of the blog, Andy Von Pip, is a radio plugger at Amazing Radio, moderator for BBC 6 Music, DJ Tom Robinson’s Fresh on the Net and a former member of “BBC’s Sound Of” panel so his praise is not just an empty declaration. This man knows the music business inside and out! Thank you Andy!
On 22nd of December, the loveliest of people at Jimmy’s (our spiritual home in the Northern Quarter!) will play the entire Columbia album to celebrate The Blinder’s success in 2018. After all, it is one of their favourites albums of the year. The party starts at 4:00 pm sharp so if you can be there, please come. (and don’t forget to take some pictures). Oh, and have fun of course!
Jimmy’s will be playing Columbia in full on 22nd of December
On 23rd of December Jon Sidwell a staff writer for Music Liberation Blog published an official list of the best albums of 2018 according to readers and contributors. The Blinders’ debut album finished at number 10 and we are truly grateful for each vote that helped the album go so far! Thank you to all who voted and contributed!
24th of December is a Polish Christmas Day and we couldn’t wish for a better present! Yorkshire Evening Post newspaper published their list of The best of 2018 in Music and yes, you have guessed – The Blinders are mentioned as The Best Album of The Year! Journalist David Hodgeson wrote: “Listeners to the Yorkshire band’s debut album need peak physical fitness, such is the relentless and unceasingly intense energy emitted throughout the breathless opening half, drawing breath at Ballad of Winston Smith, before taking the reins back up again until Orbit (Salmon of Alaska) brings one of the freshest, most invigorating albums of the year to a close. The Blinders demonstrate a level of self-confidence and swagger that belies their young age, the bass line of stand-out track L’Etat C’est Moi forever cerebrally lodged in all affected by it, Brave New World the entry level song. The perfect foil to the similarly unrestrained live set”.
On Boxing Day (26th of December), the kind people at Forkster Music Promotions, published another FAB Singles chart, this time the final rankings for 2018. And what do we have at number 8? The Brave New World by The Blinders. The review: “A magnificent diversity of alternative rock muscle, blues rock beauty, indie rock thrust and industrial rock atmosphere charm”. Great achievement for the band and it only shows how good the Doncaster trio truly is.
On the same day, surprisingly The Blinders received a very positive review for Columbia from a popular Italian music blog called IFB (Indie For Bunnies). Columbia was listed at number 8 on the list of their best albums of the year and this is the first Italian mention for the band. Thank you guys! We have translated the review into the universal speak (aka English) so here you have it: “What a debut album for The Blinders. Three, very young English lads, doing what they do best – playing and creating their music. The record is entitled ‘Columbia’ and belongs to the garage rock genre but has everything you look for in an alternative music – great style, good taste and each member of the band brings his unique personality into the mix. It is not an exaggeration on our part. It is truly a rock and roll album that takes the listener to various musical landscapes, nearly pushing us to the edge. The vocals are raw and hoarse and they fit the pressing, duelling rhythm section. For us – almost a perfect album”. Nothing else to add!
Indie For Bunnies Blog – Columbia was placed at number 8
So we had a small break for Christmas and now it is business as usual! 27th of December and we have four mentions for the Blinders in one single day. The first End of Year summary comes from Traveller’s Tunes blog where the trio ended earning the number one for The Album of The Year. Thank you kindly for fantastic review in September and now for the top spot on your list!
Traveller’s Tunes – Columbia is on the top of the list
The second mention is by the loveliest of people at the Flick of the Finger (again). They gave The Blinders’ single “L’Etat C’est Moi” an honourable mention on the list of Best Singles of 2018, right next to Sly Antics (“Sunday Fear”), Black Honey (“I Only Hurt The Ones I love”), Johnny Marr (“Hi Hello”) and Our Fold (“Don’t You Want A Lover?”). Thank you guys! An honorable mention from you means the world to the band!
Flick of The Finger’s Honourable Mention List of 2018
The third mention belongs to Paste Magazine who just published their list of the new bands to look out for in 2019! The Blinders are their band number 3 and this is what the magazine had to say about the boys: “The Blinders released their highly-anticipated debut album, Columbia, earlier this year via Modern Sky. Originally from Doncaster, this Manchester-based trio takes lyrical inspiration from dystopian science fiction, beat poets, modern-day political turmoil and societal outcasts while echoing the doomy musical mannerisms of Nick Cave and the sinister desert rock of Humbug-era Arctic Monkeys. One of their earliest tracks “ICB Blues” commemorates the brutal killing of Eric Garner by police while “Brave New World” pays homage to the Huxley novel of the same name and pokes fun at Trump’s ludicrous border-wall proposal. Frontman Tom Haywood’s clever, offbeat growls position him as prophetic town crier while vigorous guitars circle around him like a pack of hungry wolves. Columbia is what you get when a young rock band grows up on Bob Dylan, but decides to make something saltier and with an added pinch of danger”. Can we add AMEN to this praise?
Paste Magazine places The Blinders at number 3 for the bands to look out for in 2019
The last and fourth mention for the day is given by another super supportive blog – Even The Star. They printed a lovely review of Columbia on 20th of September and supported the band from the very beginning. On their End of Year List, The Blinders were listed at number 20, but it is always a great achievement for a debuting band. Cheers guys, it means a lot!
Even the Stars blog – The Blinders are on the place number 20!
As a bonus entry, we have information from our friends at Indie Rocks Radio, that their internet pool for the Best album of The Year has just finished! And The Blinders vote by overwhelming majority! They were competing against their label mates, The Slow Readers Club and won 65% to 35%. congratulations to both bands!
Columbia won the Internet audience vote for the best album of 2018
On 28th of December (we are nearly at the end of the year!), Words For Music blog published their own Top 10 of the Best Albums of The Year. This is a real banger of a list with “Joy as an Act Of Resistance” by Idles at number one. The list also contains many acclaimed albums such as “High As A Hope” by Florence and the Machine (number 5), Arctic Monkeys “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino” (number 3) and Shame “Songs of Praise” (number 7). And you may already guessed that number 2 belongs to Columbia. Congratulations to the band (yet again) and thank you to all contributors!
Words for Music blog – Columbia earned a second place
It is always nice when you are appreciated by your own label 🙂 On the same day, Modern Sky UK sent their last newsletter of the year to their subscribers and The Blinders received a heartfelt thank you’s from them and a rave review.
On 29th of December, Columbia was voted the second best album of 2018 by the staff and readers of The Fat Angel Sings blog. The writers explained their decision with a great review: “Columbia is what you get when a young rock band grows up on Bob Dylan, but decides to make something saltier and with an added pinch of danger. It is bracingly thrilling debut which firmly places The Blinders at the vanguard of a new generation of politically engaged British guitar bands. Loosely based around the concept of Columbia as “an alternate world informed by reality”, on the album The Blinders display a ferocious intelligence, as influenced by history, literature and art as they are by Britain’s current political and economic woes”. We cannot add anything else!
The Fat Angel Sings review of Columbia is simply amazing!
For the last few weeks, BBC Introducing in Sheffield were revealing their Top 50 Tracks of 2018 and finally on 29th of December we learnt who ended up in the 3rd place. Since this blog is entirely dedicated to The Blinders, there is no surprise here! BBC Sheffield DJ, Christian Carlisle wrote: “No. 3 is The Blinders and ‘L’Etat C’est Moi’. After an incredible year that saw the release of their outstanding debut album, The Blinders have becoming one of the most exciting and promising new bands to ever emerge from the UK”. So true and thank you BBC Sheffield. You have been championing the best emerging artists for a long time and we are so grateful for your help!
A day later, on 30th of December, BBC Radio 1 honoured The Blinders by featuring the band in Huw Stephen’s last show of the year. It summarized the best albums and the best tracks of 2018. Brave New World has been Huw’s beloved track for months now but it was still a very big surprise! Thank you Huw, you are a star!
BBC Radio ! with Hew Stephens chooses The Blinders among the best songs of the year
And on the same day, The Blinders were also featured on Amazing Radio’s Chart of The Year, taking the amazing 2nd place! Amazing Radio has been one of the biggest supporters of the band and it is lovely to see that they continue to do so. Roll on 2019!
Amazing Radio Chart on their website – mentioning The Blinders
Amazing Radio The Blinders are mentioned in a Tweet
And we reached the 31st of December! What a year it has been! We are looking forward to the next 12 months that will take The Blinders to Europe and beyond. We will finish off the End of Year summary section with a beautiful blog from Sahera Walker, a fellow PR lady, blogger, zine editor and music promoter. Sahera prepared a list of bands we have to listen to in 2019 (pay attention to her selection!) but she also prepared a short list of her absolute favourites from 2018. Of course, The Blinders are listed at number 7 in Sahara’s Top 10 Albums of 2018. Thank you!!
Indie Underground Top 10 of the Best Albums of 2018.
So far we have received a lot of nods and approvals for the album but a long written praise just for a single is not that common. Luckily Steve, the owner of SteveForTheDeaf blog came to the rescue with his last review published on 31st of December. The review for “Brave New World” is the second single he has written about (the first being “L’Etat C’est Moi” in June) and he had some fantastic words for the band: “The Blinders? Played up to their name in 2018. I’m expecting big things in the next 12 months, I just hope they can stay this lean and mean and keep the clutter their inevitable success will bring out of their sound”. Thank you Steve!
The last recognition for the band in 2018 (and probably the most important one) came from the legendary BBC DJ, Steve Lamacq himself. Steve has been championing The Blinders for many years and he was the one who brought them to Maida Vale Studios in London in April to record their session for BBC Introducing. Only few emerging artists can dream of such honour, but when you are called the most important new band in last three decades of rock music… well it is a different story! The Blinders recorded the session, spoke to Steve on air and of course their performance was chosen as one of the best in the last 12 months. The boys cannot do anything wrong, can they?
Steve Lamacq`s Best of Guests on his drive time show on 31.12.2018
You can listen to the show on the voice clip below:
2018 may be over but the “End of Year” and “Best of 2018” lists will continue for at least another month or so. Here is a very nice mention of The Blinders from the JoyZine Magazine published on 2nd of January 2019. The reviewer, Paul Maps wrote: “One band who are beginning to look as though they might do just that are The Blinders whose rabble-rousing psych-flecked anthems on debut LP Columbia has propelled the Doncaster trio onto plenty of ‘ones to watch’ lists”. Thank you so much guys!
JoyZine puts the Blinders on their Best of 2018 lists.
On 7th of January, CG Music Blog published their “Review of Music in 2018” and we have to say, it is a truly interesting read! The Blinders scored number one in the “Best Album” category and they beat Shame, Black Honey and Bodega on their way to the top. Columbia review read: “I’m a big fan of their live sets, and even more so of their first full long player. It can be difficult to translate the sort of performance the Blinders excel at onto a recording but kudos to Producer Gavin Monaghan. You get the same sense of the upcoming apocalypse listening on your earphones as you do when aurally assaulted at one of their incendiary gigs. The bass sound is truly terrifying. This is an album of it’s time and if we do have to go through this nonsense at least we get glorious work like this as a by product. It’s a stunner”. No complaints from us here – the album is a blinder!
On 10th of January, A Spanish blog “Peace, Love and Bananas” (a very unique name!) published their own lists of The Best Albums of 2018. Columbia has received a rave review: “Álbum debut de esta banda. Potente sonido, punk en las guitarras, político en los temas, indie en los estribillos, gótico en el estilo… con algún tema más relajado… una montaña rusa de emociones que promete un buen futuro para ellos.”
It translates to: “Columbia is a debut album for The Blinders. It is a powerful record, with strong punk guitars, indie melodies and political lyrics. We can describe it as dark, almost Gothic in places. Roller-coaster of emotions promises a great future for the trio”. Muchas gracias!
Peace, Love and Bananas. Columbia is one of their best albums of 2018
On 2 of November, the band was played by the legendary American radio station, KEXP 90.3 FM and they chose a rather unexpected song from “Columbia” – “The Hate Song”. Next stop for the lads? Top 20 on Billboard charts 🙂
And yet another play for the band on 13th of December! Thank you!!
KEXP played The Blinders again!
We may not have all the plays but we will keep on adding them as they come:
I Can’t Breath Blues – The Blinders – playing on KEXP Radio at 11:05 on 13-Dec-2018
Hate Song – The Blinders – playing on KEXP Radio at 06:12 on 02-Nov-2018
Did you know that The Blinders are getting big in Japan? A famous club, Organ Bar located in Shibuya in Tokyo, organizes a monthly rock parties where the best new British artists are being introduced to Japanese audience. The Blinders were featured on each party since the beginning of the year, but on the 16th of December, the last party of the year will be dedicated entirely to their music! If you’d like to do your own research online – the Japanese spelling for the band’s name is ザ・ブリンダーズ. Individual names for each members are as follows: トーマス・ヘイウッド（Thomas Haywood)、チャーリー・マックゴー(Charlie McGough)、マシュー・ニール（Matty Neale).
This is the last Astile Party for the Year! Let’s have a great rock bounenkai*!
Make sure you are free to attend. We will be playing music from our new favourite band, The Blinders.
Do not mistake them with the Breeders!
*a special kind end of year party in Japan that lets you forget about troubles and problems and concentrate on starting anew
Thank you Emmy Ishida for your help with translation!
Domestic (as per Airplay Ninja):
Please note that this list does not include local radio-stations plays, only the national ones.
This means that all BBC Introducing plays for example are not monitored and we cannot add them here.
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 15:18 on 01-Mar-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 00:30 on 25-Feb-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 04:25 on 22-Feb-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 00:19 on 19-Feb-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 07:35 on 17-Feb-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:11 on 16-Feb-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:42 on 14-Feb-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 01:45 on 12-Feb-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 00:22 on 11-Feb-2019
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 01:57 on 10-Feb-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 04:25 on 08-Feb-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 01:49 on 07-Feb-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 23:48 on 04-Feb-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 05:53 on 03-Feb-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 03:15 on 01-Feb-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 23:00 on 30-Jan-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 04:22 on 28-Jan-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 01:44 on 27-Jan-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:31 on 24-Jan-2019
L’E tat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 05:42 on 24-Jan-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 02:17 on 23-Jan-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 01:40 on 21-Jan-2019
Brave New World (Live From Eurosonic 2019) – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:04 on 20-Jan-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:16 on 09-Jan-2019
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:13 on 08-Jan-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 04:23 on 07-Jan-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:46 on 06-Jan-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:50 on 04-Jan-2019
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:21 on 04-Jan-2019
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 12:03 on 03-Jan-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 17:24 on 01-Jan-2019
Brave New World (Introducing Session, 20th Apr 2018) – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 18:10 on 31-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through (Introducing Session, 20th Apr 2018) – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 18:05 on 31-Dec-2018
Brave New World (Introducing Session, 20th Apr 2018) – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:37 on 31-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 18:50 on 30-Dec-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 19:56 on 29-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 13:18 on 30-Dec-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 23:00 on 29-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 20:20 on 27-Dec-2018
Brave New World (Introducing Session, 20th Apr 2018) – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:51 on 27-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:07 on 25-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 21:39 on 23-Dec-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 23:53 on 20-Dec-2018
L’Etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 17:04 on 20-Dec-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 12:03 on 18-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 13:18 on 16-Dec-2018
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 06:22 on 16-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 00:23 on 16-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 20:18 on 13-Dec-2018
I Can’t Breathe Blues – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 16:19 on 13-Dec-2018
Rat In A Cage – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 06:41 on 13-Dec-2018
Brave New World (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:33 on 10-Dec-2018
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 06:31 on 08-Dec-2018
Brave New World (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:33 on 07-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:39 on 06-Dec-2018
Brave New World (Introducing Session, 20th Apr 2018) – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 18:19 on 05-Dec-2018
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 03:25 on 02-Dec-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 17:58 on 29-Nov-2018
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions 2018) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:13 on 28-Nov-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 23:29 on 27-Nov-2018
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions 2018) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 18:13 on 25-Nov-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 17:52 on 24-Nov-2018
Brave New World (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:33 on 16-Nov-2018
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 05:21 on 12-Nov-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 17:31 on 11-Nov-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 00:51 on 11-Nov-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 16:59 on 10-Nov-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 10:24 on 07-Nov-2018
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 01:41 on 07-Nov-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:26 on 06-Nov-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 01:50 on 06-Nov-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 17:25 on 04-Nov-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 04:24 on 04-Nov-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 23:51 on 03-Nov-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:32 on 01-Nov-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 09:07 on 31-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Radio X at 22:54 on 29-Oct-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:05 on 28-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 16:07 on 28-Oct-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 03:26 on 27-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 10:30 on 24-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:39 on 22-Oct-2018
L’Etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:26 on 21-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 17:30 on 21-Oct-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 03:22 on 20-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 13:57 on 18-Oct-2018
L’Etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 12:22 on 17-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:11 on 17-Oct-2018
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 12:52 on 16-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:14 on 15-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:56 on 15-Oct-2018
I Can’t Breathe Blues – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:46 on 14-Oct-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:34 on 14-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:10 on 14-Oct-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 02:19 on 13-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 09:54 on 12-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:13 on 10-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:42 on 10-Oct-2018
L’Etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:32 on 08-Oct-2018 Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 18:43 on 07-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 19:07 on 06-Oct-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 12:00 on 06-Oct-2018
Orbit (Salmon of Alaska) (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:36 on 05-Oct-2018
Rat In A Cage (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:33 on 05-Oct-2018
Brave New World (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:30 on 05-Oct-2018
Brutus (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:23 on 05-Oct-2018
Et Tu (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:21 on 05-Oct-2018
Ballad of Winston Smith (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:19 on 05-Oct-2018
I Can’t Breath Blues (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:16 on 05-Oct-2018
Free the Slaves (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:14 on 05-Oct-2018
Where No Man Comes (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:10 on 05-Oct-2018
Hate Song (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:07 on 05-Oct-2018
L’Etat C’est Moi (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:03 on 05-Oct-2018
Gotta Get Through (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:00 on 05-Oct-2018 Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:57 on 04-Oct-2018 Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:26 on 04-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:46 on 03-Oct-2018 Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:34 on 02-Oct-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 12:34 on 02-Oct-2018
I Can’t Breathe Blues – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 17:27 on 01-Oct-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 15:09 on 01-Oct-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 13:16 on 01-Oct-2018
Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska) – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 12:26 on 01-Oct-2018
Rat In A Cage – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 08:54 on 01-Oct-2018
L’Etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:27 on 30-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 18:46 on 30-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 06:51 on 30-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:54 on 28-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 04:12 on 28-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:22 on 28-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Radio X at 23:02 on 26-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 18:57 on 26-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:09 on 26-Sep-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 23:28 on 25-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:16 on 25-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 17:16 on 24-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 18:10 on 23-Sep-2018
Rat In A Cage – The Blinders – playing on BBC Introducing Manchester at 21:52 on 22-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 17:52 on 22-Sep-2018
Et Tu – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 16:23 on 21-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 12:26 on 21-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Radio X at 00:31 on 21-Sep-2018
I Can’t Breathe Blues – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 00:18 on 21-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 19:19 on 20-Sep-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:32 on 18-Sep-2018
Hate Song (Introducing Session, 20th Apr 2018) – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 16:26 on 19-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 13:46 on 18-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Radio X at 22:52 on 17-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 06:44 on 15-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 12:47 on 13-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:42 on 11-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 17:21 on 10-Sep-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 23:42 on 08-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 06:45 on 07-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 17:03 on 06-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:20 on 04-Sep-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 20:56 on 04-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:12 on 04-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 16:55 on 03-Sep-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 17:00 on 01-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 17:06 on 31-Aug-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 15:51 on 31-Aug-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 17:42 on 30-Aug-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 04:53 on 29-Aug-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 20:59 on 28-Aug-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 18:28 on 28-Aug-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 14:59 on 26-Aug-2018
Photo-session and Exhibition
The Blinders by Paul Husband (copyrighted)
Professionally taken pictures are the heart and soul of each marketing campaign. For the new album and new tour, The Blinders worked with renowned photographers to ensure that their live images (such as taken by Manchester based photography wizard Trust A Fox) or the ones taken in the studio, are of the best quality.
Their studio session has been shot by Paul Husband, another very talented photographer. And the session went so well that The Blinders’ pictures were used in Paul’s international exhibition that opened on 20th of October 2018 at the Manchester Bar in Montpelier in France! How cool is that!!
Although it is not a part of the meet & greet tour, HMV Worcester receives a honorary mention for displaying this by the main doors. You guys are amazing!
Also, we have heard that Glasgow branch had to be re-stoked twice on the premiere day! Oh me, oh my oh Roy… (but it is the wrong band!)
HMV in Worcester knows the best music when they hear it!
Columbia banner is ready to be taken to the barricades
Close up number 2
And close up number 3
Works of Arts; We all know that “Columbia” is a true work of (musical) art and it is nothing shocking that other artists are being inspired by it. If you have seen the band performing on Kendall Calling Festival, you may have noticed two beautiful artworks displayed near the tent. They were made from broken vinyl records and the pieces were assembled into the Columbia’s cover artwork, or the face of Johnny Dream. The artist behind this very unique work is Kirk Whitehouse and his art is known as the “Smashed Hits” artworks. Kirk has been working with pieces of old vinyl records for years and his artworks have been exhibited many times in the UK and abroad. They were also featured in magazines, press and in hundreds of other publications (digital and print). Kirk is not only a very successful artist but also a volunteer and regional manager for Musicians Against Homelessness charity. His work took him recently to London where he spoke to the Parliament about the growing homelessness crisis. He managed to convinced several MP’s to their very worth cause! Kirk lives in Birmingham with his wife and two daughters. He is open for commissions so please contact him if you’d like your own smashed hits piece of art.
You can see the picture of the Blinders posing with the Columbia artwork at the festival and with the artist in tow):
Another artist inspired by The Blinders is the excellent Nick Dillon! Manchester native, Nick is a pop (culture) artist that specializes in portraits using embossing and debossing techniques. Each artwork he makes takes about 100 hours and everything you see is done by hand. Nick’s works have been exhibited numerous times and the biggest rock stars and football clubs are among his clients. The Columbia artwork is very unique as Nick decided to emboss all lyrics on one canvas – that’s staggering 7500 letters! We don’t know how long this piece took him but it must have been twice the usual amount of time. The artwork will be displayed on The Blinder’s London gig on 7th of November in London.
And here you can see the artwork being prepared. It looks simply breathtaking!
Fanarts: The Blinders’ artistic vision is encouraging fans to create as well. The first fan-arts inspired by the dystopian tale are starting to appear and we are sure, there will be more and more coming up soon. Just last month, we only had two artworks created by Polish graphic designer, Marek Zbrozlo and they feature the lead singer (Thomas Haywood) in a traditional style and his alter ego (Johnny Dream) as a comic book character. In the next few weeks, more and more artists joined in and we now have a small art gallery on the blog!
In July 2018, two friends, Mark and Nick had a genius idea – why not merge bands and musicians’ logos with the logos of their favourite football clubs? After all, it is a common knowledge that there is nothing better under the sun than football and the music. This is how Bands F.C. was born and it quickly took over the world! At this moment, Bands F.C. have nearly 400 logos, badges, prints, t-shirts and one of their design is that for The Blinders! The design merges Doncaster Rovers Football Club logo with the character of Johnny Dream (the make up obviously) and the three Ouroboros joined together (logo of Nasty Men Creations, the visualization company behind all The Blinders videos, pictures and merch).
The Blinders Bands F.C. design
You can also see the design Bands F.C. did for the upcoming Blossoms, The Coral, Fuzzy Sun and Cabbage concert at Edgeley Park (the home stadium of the Stockport Country F.C.) on 22nd of June 2019! We hope to see the bands were their respective t shirts while performing!
The success of Bands F.C. made it possible for other artists to start something similar. Another artistic initiative called Bands as Beer is trying to merge bands logos with their favorite beverages! Simple but genius! The artists behind the Bands As Beer are working as a collective under the 67 Inc brand. The Blinders have been merged with their favourite beer, The John Smith’s and the results look like this:
Writing reviews is not always as glamorous as it looks – most of the times you have to sit though excruciatingly bad demos or records that offer very little, even to a die-hard music fan. After a while to save your ears, you start to develop a skill to spot good material without hearing a note. Pro-tip: look at the name. You can learn quite a few things from the way a band named themselves. It can be poetic (“Collective Soul”), abstract (“Talking Heads”) or can hint at close ties among the members (“The Ramones”). So if you see an original and intriguing name – grab that release. Nine times out of ten you will be right.
So, last week when I found in my inbox a single by Portsmouth based duo Drusila, I knew I had quality material for the blog. Just by their name alone. Pop cultural knowledge is your friend when you review music. And a band that chooses a name after a prominent female figure from ancient times will surely indicate an ambitious project.
Drusila: these charming men
I can hear the moans – Drusila is just an old fashioned name. What is there to get excited about.
A little bit of history lesson for you then, before we get to the music.
Drusila (Greek for “morning dew”) was a young and tragic figure in the times of Roman Empire, boasting of incredible political heritage. Her father was famous general Germanicus (seen by his people on par with Alexander the Great for his military conquests) and her mother was Agrippina The Elder (grand -daughter of Emperor Augustus and a powerful persona of Roman society). Drusila`s siblings included: Julia Livilla (“princess of Lesbos”), Agrippina The Younger (empress), emperor Caligula, Nero Julius Caesar and Drusus Caesar (heirs to emperor Tiberius). Her grandmother was empress Julia Augusta. Pomponia Graecina (venerated in Catholic church as St Lucy) was her aunt. After the death of Germanicus at the age of thirty three, Agrippina The Elder returned to Rome with six of her children and started a series of complex political and military intrigues against Emperor Tiberius, whom she blamed for poisoning her husband. The power struggle was so bloody and so intense that it took lives of all six children of Agrippina The Elder before any of them reached age of forty.
In her life Drusila was a prominent member of the royal family and skilled political player. She was also known to be more beautiful than legendary Cleopatra. She had such a close relationship with her brother Caligula that she was seen as his wife and a lover. She divorced twice at Caligula`s request and shared his household. During his illness Caligula named Drusila as the only hair to all his possession and titles. Had he died, Drusila would inherit the throne and would become the first woman to solely rule Roman Empire.
Melancholic visuals are part of the band`s charm and carefully crafted image.
However, it was Drusila who perished first, during a famine at the age of 22. She would not witness executions, assassinations and starvation of all her other siblings. Caligula who was obsessed with his sister to the point of naming himself her husband (and probably marrying her against all rules of the empire) – proclaimed her a goddess and reincarnation of Venus and buried her in a huge public ceremony. Drusila`s death changed Caligula into a tyrant, who pillaged public funds and drove Roman Empire on the brink of collapse.
If you find this somehow familiar – you are right. Drusila and Caligula serve as a blueprint for Cersei and Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones.
You see – a good name can squeeze volumes of information for a reviewer to decode and it is such a intellectual pleasure to meet a band who are ambitious and dig history and even have a good taste in picking up a TV show. They would surely be great to interview and maybe that`s what we will do in the coming weeks.
But now – to the point. The single, “Want You” just came out and I am more than happy to lend my ears and my pen to review this song.
“Want You” is a sultry electro-pop ballad for the romantics on the indie circuit. You can clearly imagine a club night full of kids on the floor dancing to it, and maybe using it to let their secret crush know how they feel about them. But the single is so much more than a perfect Fresher`s Week club filler. Drusila are very clever – they take elements from their contemporaries (like Hurts) but also from older genres: cold wave, 80s synth wave and electronic music to forge their own unique sound. It is hard to believe that George William Robert and Hugo Seckington (who form the duo) started out this year. They sound like a band with at least two-three years of touring and recording experience with a good understanding where they want to be in five – ten years time.
Single cover for Want You – red roses and suits, some very clever references to Morrissey and Depeche Mode. We approve.
Judging from previous singles and videos (“Forget”, “Something For Nothing”) Drusila have a liking for theatrics on stage and spiky hair that would make Robert Smith right at home. Combine that with ability to write beautiful pop melodies and you have a very interesting mix.
Forget single cover – we do love the spiky hair (and eyeliner!)
On reviewer described Drusila as a “strange affair between The Cure, Hurts and Pet Shop Boys” and I am a bit jealous that I didn’t come with this line myself. It summarizes their sound so nicely. From my end I will definitely add that they have ambition and talent to back up their impressive influences. So it seems we have a duo that we need to keep an eye on. Those boys will be here for a long while. Lucky us.
Something For Nothing single sleeve – bringing to mind the 80s cult series The Twilight Zone. We said. we love the references Drusila envoke in their visuals.
That`s all for us this time around. I will leave you with one more stunning visual from Drusila – in the studio. As this blog goes live, the band has been featured on BBC Introducing and has a session at Rough Trade. The only way up for them boys is up.
On August 23rd, we have published our along awaited interview with False Heads. We wanted to do it for such a long period of time so we were truly happy when our plans finally materialized. And today, we would like to add the part deux to the interview in form of a review of their EP entitled “Less Is Better”.
Working with False Heads is incredibly simple. They are very communicative, easy going and open. Listening to their music is almost the same – it gives you some kind of liberty and freedom. Their music is heavy, full of emotions and raw, yet it has healing capabilities. It frees you of bad thoughts, gives you a respite from the world filled with large amounts of everything: bad news, information, cruelty. Even if this is just for a little while, but it helps.
We all know the popular expression “May you live in interesting times”. At first glance, it looks like a thrilling adventure. Interesting times are just that – interesting. You are not being bored, there is always something going on. Moving from place to place, travelling all over the world, an unexpected event here and there. A true bliss for adrenaline addicted folks. Yet, look closely at those “interesting times” and you may find out they mean something more sinister. War, economic troubles, racial tensions, lack of understanding, lack of prospects, industrial and cultural decay, and political oppression – the list could go on forever.
The saying is supposedly a translation of a Chinese curse and it does feels sometimes like we have been cursed to live through the worse. The last decade is certainly an interesting one. It took a lot of things from us that we have taken for granted and gave back nothing but kicks in the teeth and serious headaches. Trump, Brexit, instability, conservative and outdated outlooks on life, austerity, poverty – throw it into the mix and you have a recipe for long lasting troubles. It is not dark yet, but as the bard proclaims, it is getting there.
The times are not easy, money are tight yet silver lining is always there. People are organizing, communities are forming and the art is back on the streets where it belongs. We are experiencing a real renaissance of guitar driven, angst-filled scene with excellent bands popping all over the shop. Idles, The Blinders, Children of the State, Shame, The Surrenders, The Americas, The Wholls – again too many to list them all in this article. There is something special happening in Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield and in other cities. It is almost like some barrier has been removed and all those tamed feelings and frustrations suddenly found their release in music. We are literally drowning in sound and if this is the end, then it is the beautiful way to die.
We are not dead yet, as a lady keeps reminding us in one of the most important books of the 20th century. And if we are not dead yet, then we can enjoy whatever life throws at us. And today, my rock and roll existence offered me a chance to review a 4 track EP by False Head. And boy, it was a right smack in the face.
False Heads are a trio from South London that shook and stirred the rock and roll scene with such force that Iggy Pop had to stop and watch them. And so did the legendary manager, Danny Fields. You know the one who discovered and gave us The Ramones. With such a strong support from industry’s greatest, False Heads quickly conquered the capitol and large parts of the UK, gaining a truly faithful fan base. The EP is called “Less Is Better” and has been released by These Bloody Thieves Records to fantastic reviews from other bloggers and A&R’s.
The first song (and the second lead single promoting this release) “Yellow” starts as suspected with heavy riffs, catchy melodies and powerful drumming. Luke Griffith’s voice is well matched to the music and this is one of the most important qualities of the band. He knows how to use his voice and does it perfectly. When the music slows down, Luke’s singing technique is almost classical – clear and smooth. Second later, accompanied by fuzzed guitars, his voice is dripping with sarcasm or turning into scratchy, angry scream. His ability to vocally adapt to sudden tempo changes are well known and you need to see him live to fully appreciate how good he is. He is also a skilled guitarist and it needs to be noted that he can sing, play and roll around the stage in a frenzy simultaneously without losing any of his abilities. It is easy to understand why Iggy Pop is praising False Heads so highly. I’m sure he can see a younger version of himself in their stage act and again, this is something worth celebrating. Not many musicians can fall to their knees, crawl, jump and throw themselves off the stage and still deliver without dropping their Fender Cyclone in the process.
Praising Luke’s talents, let’s not forget about Barney Nash (drummer) and Jake Elliott (bassist) who are match made in heaven. These two seem to communicate telepathically as they are perfectly tuned to each other and nothing seems to distract them or break up their musical unison. Their thunderous bass-drum coalition rolls you into the ground like a steam roller and you don’t know what hit you. You only know it came fast, out of nowhere and it was really, really heavy.
In the lyrics department, False Heads are no poets and frankly, nobody expects them to be. You will not find any literary or artistic references in their words. They are street-smart, boyz-from-the-hood, type of lads that talk straight from their hearts, yet they do it with wit and intellect. “I let my hair down” sings Luke Griffiths in “Yellow” only to add playfully in the next line “So you can tear out”. The songs touch on serious topics such as alienation, living with constant stress (“Better let me down, better let me down. You can shoot away, we’ve all seen better days”) and trying to find a way of reducing what we have or what we know (“The less I know, the less I’m beat”).
The second song on this EP (and in a strange twist of things, the first single released to promote it in February) “Retina” is by far my favourite track and will probably end up in the top 5 on my personal list of the bests songs released this year. It reminds me of Nirvana, Green River and early Screaming Trees with its heavy bass line, repeated loops and catchy choruses. It is also the most commercially and radio friendly song the band has released so far and a massive crowd pleaser. Please check the video to this song as it is very nicely done as well.
“Help Yourself” and “Wrap up” bring traditional rock and roll mayhem to the center of the stage. Both compositions are everything we love in this genre: chaos, lo-fi distortions, unpredictability and creativity. Yes, creativity may not be the word you have expected to be used here but there is a serious structure to the songs and a calculated method in this madness. They may sound like an outcome from the strangest jamming session in the studio, but they are neatly written and produced to the highest standard. And they serve a specific purpose, I recon. They are long and wild and allow the band to trash their equipment or create as much noise pollution as possible at the end of the gig. Sonic catharsis, anybody? Here you go, sweat your souls out, dance until you collapse and you can happily march home whistling on your way back from the venue.
How do we rate this EP? 5 stars out of five and a hand shake to Jonathan Hucks who produced this absolute beauty. If you haven’t ordered your copy yet, do it as it is an essential addition to your record collection.
False Heads are currently on their UK/European tour and we will hear great things about this band in the future. If the music continues to be as good as it is now, then I hope to live in interesting times for a little bit longer.
And you will be wishing to do that as well.
EP Less is better is out on 23rd of September (digital) and 5th of October (physical copy) through These Bloody Thieves Record/Cargo Records