In December Indieterria focused on Manchester to showcase you some of the newest artists on their local scene. We had a pleasure to sit down and talk with Witch Fever and Tin Mole. Now, we bring you third interview with a band that grabbed our attention from the first time we heard them on Steve Lamacq show at BBC 6 Music. They are called Ist Ist and we swear they belong to a different era.
Louder Than War magazine described them as “majestic post-punk, haunting and hypnotic”. This four piece blends alternative rock with cold wave elegance and they have been compared to The White Lies and Joy Division. Dark, brooding, mysterious and melodic at the same time, Ist Ist are fiercely independent with disregard for social media and all the hype about networking.
Ist Ist (classic) logo
It was a bit of a challenge to find the right questions to ask but then again music requires effort from listeners and writers alike. So we had to dig around a bit, in an old school way. We questioned mutual friends in Mancunia for tips, went reading through printed interviews in Manchester Evening News in a Central Library and searched though pages of a label that would rather quote poetry than provide you with “about us” segment.
We also went down to Picadilly Records to “argue” to get a copy of the band`s EP on vinyl.
We visited Manc several times from Worcester…
The last time we researched a band like this was when Melody Maker was still a thing. But we loved every minute of the preparations. It only made our admiration for the band stronger. In a world where artists put their entire lives and privacy for everyone to see, Ist Ist are not just a band. Their approach is an act of defiance.
Adam Houghton (vox, guitar)
Andy Keating (bass)
Joel Kay (drums)
Mat Peters (keyboards)
Ist Ist built themselves a reputation as iconic Manchester performers. Can you please introduce yourselves to Indieterria readers?
Andy Keating: We’re Adam Houghton, Andy Keating, Joel Kay and Mat Peters.
You have started out in 2014 and from the very beginning this band is synonymous with complete control of your art: no radio plugger, no label, handling all the group related matters and tours. We were told you don’t have a manager. Yet, you easily sell out such legendary and sizable venues as Gorilla or The Deaf Institute and receive air play on national radio. Steve Lamacq champions you regularly on his 6 Music shows. How important is the DIY ethos to you?
Andy Keating: The DIY ethos is very important. We don’t really know how to operate any other way, either. We seem to appeal to a fan base who don’t want any bullshit and want to get behind a band who are real people making real music they can believe in. At the same time, we’re not without a manager by design, if the right offer came along or the right opportunity to work with a genuine label presented itself, we’d take it.
Ist Ist are also not very fond of self promotion on the Internet. Your social media are limited to announcements regarding tours and upcoming music. No funny posts, jokes or behind the stages shots. You try to keep a distance between your audience and the band. Aren’t you sometimes tempted to break the fourth wall or post something controversial like Slaves for example?
Andy Keating: We’ve never felt like posting something controversial just for the sake of it. What’s the point? If it’s just for sake of it it’s just going to be contrived and unnecessary. With regards to breaking the fourth wall, we like to keep it strictly business online. Bands posting photos posing in Christmas hats? No thanks. Stick to the music. Our fans would attest to us looking after them as best we can, we’ve always got time to sign a record, have a photo, have a chat or whatever at gigs but your online presence should be a snapshot of the band and their image. We’re serious about our music so we’re serious online.
We want to ask you about the visual side of the project. Your videos and photography are limited to the monochrome and all releases feature distinct photography, often of brutalist architecture or strange landmarks. There are other bands in Manchester who also have their own artistic direction but we have to admit, what you put out is the closest thing to what Peter Saville did with releases at Factory Records.
Andy Keating: Thanks, the artwork and style should always compliment the music. The Peter Saville influences are inescapable given where we grew up and what we were listening to when we all started playing instruments as teenagers.
Sleeve and vinyl pressing of EP “Spinning Rooms”, photography by Tom Houghton
You channel FAC also in another way: Ist Ist is yet to release their debut album but your catalogue is huge and highly collectable. You released five singles: “White Swan”, “Night Arms”, “Silence”, “Strangers” and “Right Before Your Eyes”, then followed it up with a single compilation “Prologue” and two live albums “Live at St Phillips Church” and “Live at Manchester Gorilla”. Then in April 2018 you landed your first EP – “Spinning Rooms”. Each release is limited between 100 – 300 copies, on CDs or vinyl. And once the stock is gone, it’s gone. Nobody beside you and maybe Idles cares to release their materials in such collectable formats. What made you take this approach to releasing your music?
Andy Keating: Listening to music should be an experience and much of that is lost with digital streaming. Being on streaming sites like Spotify and iTunes is necessary but it’s not an experience. The art of the album is being lost because of this. Sites like Spotify suggest an artist’s “most popular” songs, so unless you really want to get into a band, you’ll likely only listen to those suggested songs and you may never find some gems which are on earlier EPs or singles.
We wanted listening to music to be fun and something you commit to. Getting hold of a vinyl record and putting it on whilst you look at the artwork and cover notes should be special. Receiving a new record in the post should be special. Streaming sites serve a purpose but they’re not particularly fun.
The limited edition thing works well because people like to be part of something exclusive. There’s some people who’ve bought everything we’ve released and there’s some who maybe came on board around “Spinning Rooms” and missed out on the initial limited runs of singles and want to get their hands on them but can’t.
Ist Ist`s upcoming EP “Everything is Different Now” sleeve and red vinyl pressing. Photography by Tom Houghton
Ist Ist`s upcoming EP “Everything is Different Now” bundle: red and black vinyl pressing and CD. Photography by Tom Houghton
Ist Ist was for most of the time a three piece but recently you added Mat Peters as a permanent member of the band. Do you think your sound changed because of introduction of keyboard into the mix?
Andy Keating: Barring “White Swan” and “Right Before Your Eyes”, every song we recorded in the studio had keyboards or extra on, but we either didn’t use those elements live or we occasionally used backing tracks. After the tour in early 2018 it felt right to bring an extra member in to play keyboards because the new songs demanded them. So the older songs haven’t lost their fundamentals and Mat gave them a lift – but we’ve really developed our sound with him. The new EP will show that.
The release of “Spinning Rooms” was followed by an extensive tour that took you around the country and abroad (playing in Berlin). It also received rave reviews. Nigel Carr wrote in Louder Than War: “This EP will stand as one of the best debut releases by any band; simply stunning”. Are you satisfied with what you accomplished with the record? Would you change/ correct anything on it?
Andy Keating: It’s always a bit of a wasted exercise to deliberate over something which has already been committed to record. We’ve sometimes discussed what sort of impact Mat would have had on the record if he was in the band at the time, but we love “Spinning Rooms” and it perfectly encapsulates who and where we were when we recorded that in early January 2018.
Promotional poster showcasing sleeve to single “Exist”. Photography by Tom Houghton
Your sophomore EP “Everything Is Different Now” will see the light of the day on Friday, 25th January 2019. What can we expect?
Andy Keating: It’s a progression from “Spinning Rooms.” It still sounds like Ist Ist but it was the natural progression. It’s probably actually slightly more accessible. “Spinning Rooms” was relatively niche in places but there’s two definite “singles” on “Everything Is Different Now.”
“Everything Is Different Now” is being promoted by a single “Exist” and a video filmed in France. It was created and directed by Natalia Bedkowska and Matthew Boone. Can you tell us more about the idea behind this video? It seems to follow the same concept as “Right Before Your Eyes”, showing ordinary life and streets of urban dwellings.
Andy Keating: Our keyboard player Mat knows Natalia so he got in touch with her and the only brief really was that it needed to fit in with our style, we left the rest up to her. She was on a trip to Paris so decided to film it there, she sent it across and we were happy with it. Boone shot the live footage at our show at St Philip’s Church back in August 2018.
We want to ask you about your label – Kind Violence Records. They seems to share your interest in high art and dislike of social media hype. Their website is minimalistic and quotes “Darkness” – a poem by Lord Byron. We noticed that photography on the record label’s page is done by Tom Houghton whose images also can be found on the covers of your releases. It’s hard not to notice that Tom bears the same surname as Adam, your vocalist. Is it a coincidence or rather a family owned enterprise?
Andy Keating: Someone’s done their research… Adam created Kind Violence to use as a label to release our EPs and to potentially release other music he and we liked. The surname isn’t a coincidence either. Tom is Adam’s brother. He takes some really cool photographs which always seem appropriate for our artwork.
Artwork showing a brutalist landmark that can be found on Kind Violence Records website Photography by Tom Houghton
Surely after the EP is out, a tour will follow. Where can we see you playing live next?
Andy Keating: Yes, we’re heading out on tour soon after the EP is out. We’re playing:
So there you have it. Ist Ist`s new EP “Everything Is Different Now” will be out on 25th January. Get your copy before its gone! The only thing we could not do while preparing this chapter of Indieterria was to see the band live. That may change in the coming months!
We hope you enjoyed our first interview of 2019 and we will be coming back to update this blog in the future.
They are bold, they are loud and they are young. They don’t care what anybody thinks and they are not interested in pleasing anyone. Our today’s guests are truly special. Very rarely, our blog has the pleasure to host a full female band, and we are really happy we can introduce you to WITCH FEVER. The group is known for its strong feminist/equality message, beautifully crafted dynamic shows and excellent music. We caught up with the quartet on the eve of their charity gig, Manchester Punks for West Papua at Alphabet Brewery in Manchester and we spoke about their influences, being catcalled at gigs and playing at the legendary Granada Studios.
Official bio: Manchester based all girl punk grunge band. Angry and honest, bringing grungey riffs, a heavy beat and an eclectic mix of clean and shrieking vocals.
“They are raw, in your face and making a glorious and beautiful racket, are full of explosive and kinetic energy and collapsing new riffs and are going to make a noise musically and culturally” – John Robb for Louder Than War
“Imagine the Slits meet Black Sabbath partying with Pussy Riot in Kim Gordon’s angry neighbour’s basement. Drunk. Witch Fever are wonderful.” – Legendary Hacienda DJ, Dave Haslam
“All girl grunge punk band from Manchester with unhinged feral vox and a ramshackle approach yes, but supercool sonics, this band display an undeniable rough-hewn charm.” – Bug Bear Promotions
“For a band who were catcalled onstage in Bristol for not being proper punk, they’re near as dammit the epitome of its sound and attitude. So, to paraphrase another great punk band: get outta their way or they’re gonna shove.” – Nightshift Magazine
Amy Walpole (guitar, lead vocals)
Alex Thompson (bass, backing vocals)
Alisha Yarwood (lead guitar, backing vocals)
Annabelle Joyce (drums)
Louder Than War magazine announced Witch Fever`s arrival with the words “deep inside the claustrophobic music scene of Manchester, there is something happening”. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria.
WITCH FEVER: We’re Alisha, Alex, Annabelle and Amy. We are WITCH FEVER. We play punk, we’re all women, and we don’t take any shit!
The band describes themselves as punk – grunge but we see your sound as being much broader than that. Would it surprise you if we qualified you as the heavier end of the indie circuit, boldly crossing into metal scene at times? We have been listening to your material and Val.i.um of Pist.On, Karyn Crisis, Jack off Jill or Tura Satana come to mind almost instantly.
WITCH FEVER: We totally see the cross over into metal – a lot of our riffs are pretty doomy and evil. The indie thing, not so much, but we’ll take your word for it! (laughter).
Not only musically, but also lyrically you seem to be much bolder, going further than many of your peers on the circuit. The Blinders use dystopia/literature to deliver their political message. Cabbage, Shame or Strange Bones are known for their strong opinions but none of them are as direct as you. In “Toothless” you scream out “I`m a force to be reckoned with” and everyone knows you mean business. Was it a part of the plan to become such a heavyweight act or did it come together naturally in the rehearsal room?
WITCH FEVER: We didn’t plan it. When we started, we knew we wanted to be on the heavier side of things but didn’t really have a specific direction.
Amy found that lyrics are the only place we can be totally honest and angry about anything we wanna be angry about. It’s important to us to dispel any myths about women only being pretty or quiet or delicate – of course women are these things at times but they are not ONLY these things. On stage, we make femininity about anger, power and strength.
All the members of the band come from different parts of the country but study in Manchester. Do you think that being “out of town” gives you an edge of being different and fresh on the scene that is dominated by local lads with guitars?
WITCH FEVER: We’ve all had quiet different upbringings and lived in totally different places so we suppose the experiences from that come together and make us what we are. We all moved to Manchester expecting it to be amazing for music but it was quite underwhelming. There’s a significant lack of women/non-binary people being given opportunities that men are. We’re here to change that, and hopefully inspire others too.
You have recorded incredible session for Stay Fresh/CITY LIFE at the Old Granada Studios playing two tracks: “Toothless” and “Creeper”. It must have been an experience to play the same room in which the Beatles gave their first ever television performance in 1962.
WITCH FEVER: We loved doing that, however we had no idea about the Beatles thing! Maybe people will be saying that about us in 60 years
John Robb of Louder Than War/Membranes is not the only fan of your music. Dave Haslam – legendary DJ and journalist also is impressed. In his piece for I Love Manchester (Women in Manchester music: are the times a-changin’?) Haslam mentioned you and Liines as the groups he recommends to other music journalists and your image illustrated the article. Did you expect to have such important figures in your corner when you started out?
WITCH FEVER: Not at all! We’re still surprised by things like that. It’s really encouraging to have prominent men in music on our side, and Dave really is lovely! He’s always championing female artists which is great!
You have toured extensively nationally (Leeds, London, Oxford, Birmingham among others) and internationally (The Netherlands). You have appeared with Cabbage at their Glamour At Thee Ritz. You seem determined to bring your music to the masses. How important is touring?
WITCH FEVER: Very important! We love getting to play new places and meeting so many people. We’d rather not have to do the Megabus thing though!
When speaking about touring, we cannot not ask you about a certain gig in Bristol where you have been though some horrible experience. Would you like to revisit the story for readers of our blog – because in 2018 there are still people out there who do not believe that gigs can be harrowing experiences for artists and the public, especially women.
WITCH FEVER: So, regularly we experience misogyny, sexism and harassment, but Bristol was a gig in which it was so bad that we had to formally complain and ask for CCTV footage. We were being constantly leered over and undermined before and during our set. Men grabbed us, a guy from one of the bands shouted at us to take our tops off, a woman asked us to strip for her friend etc. Throughout the set, we kept repeating that we felt uncomfortable and needed space but nobody listened. Now at most gigs, we make a point of saying that we do not tolerate it at our shows.
On 30th November your debut release double A-side single “Toothless”/”Daddy pt.2” will be released via Brassneck Records. The red vinyl 7” looks magical on promos that we have seen. Can you tell us more about this release?
WITCH FEVER: Its blood red, has a sleeve with 4 individually designed sides, and you summed up the rest! We love it!!!
You will appear at the fundraiser Manchester Punks for West Papua on 1st December 2018 at Alphabet Brewing Company, alongside The Membranes and Modern Family Unit. What can we expect from the set?
WITCH FEVER: Every gig is different and mad in some way! We haven’t played for a couple of weeks so it’ll be a lively one!
You can say that 2018 was a very good year for Witch Fever. What are your plans for the upcoming 12 months.
WITCH FEVER: More records released, new songs, more videos, LOTS MORE GIGS, and a big fuck you to the patriarchy!
The interview wouldn’t be complete if we haven’t had a quick word with the band’s manager, Debbie Ellis. Debbie has been working as a professional photographer and manager for many years and her experience is very valuable. And we are truly proud to have the ability to highlight the wonderful work that women in music do!
Self portrait – picture by Asupremeshot (Debbie Ellis)
How did you start working with Witch Fever?
Debbie Ellis: A few years back, I took up photography. I started out doing gig photos and met a young female photographer who was also in a band. She asked me to go see her band WITCH FEVER and take some pictures. So I did, as I suppose, I’m more intrigued by female artists in general as I was in a band myself and enjoy the dynamic of working creatively with women. I thought they were great and a friend of mine suggested I manage them. The band said yes and now we are here, 3 singles in and there’s a real buzz about the band. They are so talented and driven. They exceed any expectations live. You really have to see them to appreciate their unadulterated power.
Manchester music scene is dominated by guys. Witch Fever are doing an excellent job causing some ripples and showing that all female bands can be successful as well.You are the only female manager we know! Being a woman, does it make your job harder? Are there any other female managers out there we need to mention?
Debbie Ellis: I know The Moonlandingz have a female manager, which totally makes sense.
From day one of being in a band to present day of working as a band manager and a music photographer, I have experienced a lot of, mainly negative remarks. Usually with regard to my ability to use technology, write a song, play an instrument, perform on stage. I feel as a manager, my authority is questioned regularly. At quite a few gigs, whether in the role of manager or photographer, I have been asked am I one of the bands mum.
Although on the upside organisations like “Girls I Rate“, “Women in Music” and PRS 4 Music are some I know of that have good support networks. I recently heard about the Keychange initiative set up by the PRS Foundation, which is to encourage festivals to achieve an equal gender balance of performers by 2022 by signing their pledge. To date, many of the big named festivals have signed up, so it will be interesting to see if it comes to fruition. I know Sound City Festival has a lot of women in influential roles and are part of the Keychange Initiative.
Personally for me, the one thing I have always done, is to support and champion other female artists. I love working with women and to be able to give a little back means the world to me, and it goes a long way.
Debbie Ellis photographing Witch Fever
You are not only a manager but also a photographer, again one of only handful of female photographers in rock music. Your pictures are part of the successful “There is a light that never goes out” photography exhibition at Manchester Central Library. Tell us more about it.
Debbie Ellis: The exhibition has been curated by the renowned music photographer, Jill Furmanovsky. She had the foresight to leave one wall of the exhibition clear so she could gather a selection of more recent photographs of contemporary Manchester bands. As the majority of the exhibition features phenomenal images of iconic Manchester bands, such as Oasis, Joy Division, The Stone Roses, The Buzzcocks etc, which have been taken by herself and other acclaimed photographers as Kevin Cummins, Ed Sirrs & Paul Slatery.
As you can imagine I am absolutely thrilled to have two of my images (Blossoms & Witch Fever) included in the exhibition.
I totally think the fact I have been in a band and I’m female works in my favour when working in my photography role, too. I can be so tuned in to how the artist / bands are feeling. My approach is much more creative than technical. Photography to me is a creative process that cannot be rushed, you need to take time to get to know the people you are photographing before you get the results that make for a great image. Irving Penn, the 1950’s master of portraiture, would take over 200 photos on a contact sheet to tire out the subject before he would find ‘truth’ in their face!
The time has come! The great tour of Columbia is almost upon us and for the next month, we will be following The Blinders as they deliver their sermon of raw emotions, rock and roll fire and spiritual awakening to a venue near you! Vanadian Avenue will attend two concerts on our own turf. We will bring you the exclusive coverage from Birmingham and Bristol so be prepared for live streams, videos and pictures from the front row.
This entry will be dedicated to the tour exclusively. We will try to collect all materials that will be published on various social media to keep everything tour-related in one place.
For the next month and a half, The Blinders will be travelling all over the UK bringing their music to their fans and shaking the old walls of Columbia until they crumble into a pile of dust. The tour starts in Manchester on 15th of October and will end up with the Last Battle of Bristol on 11th of November. The 22-date tour is the second this year and already several shows are sold out or running very low on tickets. The Blinders will be supported by White Room and Calva Louise on alternative dates so please consider coming to the shows twice as both support acts are incredibly good and it is worth seeing them both live.
And at the beginning of week two – 7 shows sold out and 7 running very low on tickets (less than 20 tickets left)
Third leg of the tour and 9 sold out gigs. Out of 22 shows, that’s nearly 40% of the tour being sold out! Nice!
Merch: It is not possible to go on a national tour without a whole range of t-shirts and other memorabilia. This time, the band prepared coasters, stickers, three different shirts to choose from, bags, lighters, posters and many other items. Some of them you can see on the pictures below:
Some of the good and their prices.
Thomas Haywood signing posters that will be available in the shop
Stage: There is a new scenography for the tour and it is in the darkest shades of crimson! The colour of blood is visible on posters and stickers, the Columbia banners that are proudly displayed on both sides of the stage and the lighting. You can see the picture of Charlie standing on the stage just before the last rehearsal. There is apparently a shocking beginning to the set too but you will not hear any spoilers form us!
Home-coming gig! It was mad and tightly packed. Half of the local scene was there so claustrophobic conditions, mosh pit of epic proportions, blood, sweet and tears were to be expected. Manchester Academy 2 has capacity of 800 people and all tickets have been sold out which signals a new chapter in the band’s development. From small and medium sized clubs, they are quickly moving towards large arenas. After the concert, everybody were invited to the official after party where the band once again played the DJ’s and tormented their guests with their favourite songs from Nick Cave, Bob Dylan and The Doors to The Arctic Monkeys to Abba (Oh, does your mother know you are out?)
The Blinders’ guitar tech, Max Grindle, (@maxgrindle) captures the moment when the champagnes are being opened to celebrate a huge success!
02. Newcastle Upon Tyne – 16 October (now completed)
After triumphant beginning in Manchester, The Blinders played Newcastle on Tuesday night. The doors opened at 8:00, the show started 30 minutes later with local 4 piece band called Baltic opening. Calva Louise played their 45 minutes set at 9:15 and then The Blinders took to the stage at 10:00 PM. This venue has capacity of 275 people and was nearly sold out (only 30 ticket short from being full)!
The New Adelphi Club may be small but it is very popular in Kingston. The tickets sold out hours before the gig and many were left desperate when this screen appeared around 14:00 in the afternoon:
Tickets are now sold out!
To those who will be seeing the band in the coming days, please buy the tickets now as they are running very, very low on entire tour and many venues will sell out. Birmingham is down to 6 tickets, Bristol we are told is down to about 30, the same in other venues. Please don’t leave it to the last minute as there is no reprint of tickets. The venues cannot accept any more people beyond their capacity limits! Thank you! Now, having the announcements behind us, we are pleased to report that Calva Louise and Faux Pas played excellent shows and the
The Blinders will play twice in Cardiff during the SWN festival. On Friday, they headlined the main stage in popular bar, O’Neills and their set took place between 11:30 pm – 0:30am. Early bird tickets are now sold out and the entire festival is down to 200 tickets so it no doubt the two shows will again be sold out/nearly sold out events for the Doncaster trio.
You can see the schedule as a pdf or jpg below:
As you can see from the song list, two fan favourites are making a big come back: “Swine” and “Ramona Flowers”. They might not be on the record but their place among the best songs are confirmed. This tour is a massive punch in the guts and if you haven’t been punched yet, please stand in line!!
05. SWN Festival Cardiff – 20 of October (now completed)
Saturday is always one of the busiest days at SWN festivals. The schedules are packed absolutely mad and Cardiff was be bursting at the seams in the evening. The Blinders played a 45 minute set at the Old Market Tavern starting exactly at 6:00pm. The crowd was wild, welcoming and ready to rock. What can we say, another day in the office, isn’t it? 🙂
Poster advertising Huw Stephens show with the Blinders hanging outside the venue
The band had a day off on Sunday 21st of October to recharge their batteries and came back to the stage on Monday at the Sugarmill. This is a popular venue and The Blinders played there on their last tour in the winter. To thank their fans for being so welcoming (by the mid-day on 22nd of October, the band learnt that 7 shows have fully sold out and 7 additional ones were down to last tickets!), the lads along with their management offered 4 free tickets to the show. You can imagine that they were snapped in a matter of minutes. As usually, the gig went perfectly well with Calva Louise and local act, Saint Ivy on the supporting bills.
The first gig on Vanadian Avenue’s turf! Birmingham was selling well from the start and it is our greatest pleasure to announce that we have a second sold out show for the band in the Second City, following the gig at Sunflower Lounge on 16th of February 2018. We will be doing an extensive coverage and a concert review so please be on a stand by!
Instagram picture advertising the nearly sold out show in Birmingham!
On the 8th day of tour, The Blinders visited Nottingham to play at nearly sold out gig at the popular club, Bodega. The doors opened at 7:00 pm and the show finished exactly at 10:00 pm, very early for a mid week night! We cannot complain as the concert was an excellent one, with massive mosh pit and a fantastic crowd reaction. Young 4 piece Those Howling Sounds opened the show,followed by a well received performance by Calva Louise. We don’t have to tell you that The Blinders of course stole the show, but nobody would bet on something that obvious!
Starting in Birmingham, the tour is becoming more and more relentless. There are shows now every day without any breaks but the band truly enjoy being on the road and playing a gig in new town each day. More and more gigs are also selling out, so please don’t wait until last minute. On 25 of October, The Blinders returned to the Venue in Derby for the second time this year, after their sold out debut in February. Another venue and another, nearly sold out show. It was very intense, or sources confirmed that Matty broke one of his drumsticks and he threw it into the crowd!
We are almost in the middle of the tour! On 26 of October, The Blinders played in Sheffield in a fantastic place called The Plug on Matilda Street. The doors opened at 7:30pm, the curfew was at 11:00pm and Calva Louise and The Varletts were supporting. It was considered one of the best shows on the tour so thank you to those who came and made it such a fantastic experience for everybody involved. We love you all!
After a day of rest (for Halloween parties), The Blinders are now back on the road. On 28th of October, the band arrived to play at the lovely Brudenell Social Club in Leeds and it was again a sold out affair. Doors opened at 7:30, Household Dogs were the first support for the night, followed by the wonderful Calva Louise just before the Doncaster trio. As expected, it was a beautiful gig, with massive mosh pit, great response from the crowd and a fantastic feedback.
Liverpool was the 12th gig on this tour and right now we are exactly in the middle! It is true that the time flies when we are all having the time of our lives. The Liverpool concert introduced some massive changes in the line up: Calva Louise finished their leg of the tour and the new support slot was now filled by White Room. Liverpool concert was also be supported by the mega popular local quartet, The K’s. It was the 6th sold out show for the trio and as you can imagine, it was a blast! The crowd was mad, the band again gave it all and everybody loved each second!
The lucky, 13th gig took place in Aberdeen! A long, long way from the Kingdom of Mancunia (about 6 h by car), but only an hour by plane. The band was travelling by air to reach the next destination and luckily it was a sunny (yet very cold day) for such a long journey. As with other gigs before, the show was spectacular and the club was tightly packed. The Blinders were joined by the White Room and local 5 piece, Swym.
The concerts are going so well that Sam Crowston (The Blinders’ official photographer and visualizer) posted this on Twitter. The merch has nearly sold out and again. That is a very, very good news indeed! Time to order so more.
14. Preston – 1 November 2018 (now completed) – sold out
Preston poster – sold out!
After a day of rest for the Halloween festivities, the show number 14 is a sweet deal for The Blinders. Preston was one of the first shows to sell out, even before Manchester, Birmingham or London. The show will take place in a club called The Ferret. The doors opened sharp at 7:00 pm and the party lasted until way past the curfew at 11:00. White Room and Manchester trio Sweet Deals on Surgery were supporting to universal acclaim. Of course, The Blinders again stole the show, but it happens every night so nobody is surprised.
Another evening nearly sold out and a fantastic, active crowd singing every word! Thank you so much York! You were fantastic and this show will be remembered for a long period of time. The doors were opened at 7:00, Faux Pas played first, followed by White Room and The Blinders (or Los Blinders as they are recently known) came to the stage at 10:00. Their 50 minute show left people drenched in sweat and wanting more. And more shall come as the tour continues!
16. Lincoln – 2QFestival – 3 November 2018 (now completed)
2Q Festival – Presented by the crew of Badlands Festival, the Liquor stage will present: Ducking Punches, The Blinders, OCTOBER DRIFT, Queen Zee, Madonnatron, No Hot Ashes, The Ultraviolet, tiger warsaw
2Q Festival is a one celebration festival happening in Lincoln. 80 bands, 9 venues, a whole city dedicated to rock and roll – what else can you ask for? The festival is an award winning event and is known for it’s fantastic and safe atmosphere. The Blinders played their slot at The Liquor exactly at 19:45 pm as a first support before the headliner, Ducking Punches.
How can we describe their show? Well it was MADNESS! People shouting, jumping, Thomas being lifted in the air and walking among the crowd, Charlie playing like a demon and Matty just driving everyone and everything into the ground with his drumming. Only handful of shows left so please come and see them if you haven’t had the chance yet!
The band arrived in Oxford to play at the legendary Bullingdon Club on the 5th of November (remember, remember…). The doors were opened exactly at 7:00 pm but many people were waiting outside of the club for at least several hours despite the cold weather. They were singing “Rat In a Cage” and sharing teas – this is what real dedication and true fandom looks like! Thank you to those who provided the free cuppa to the half frozen fans! Due to a mistake on the ticket vendor site, the show was marked as 14+ when in fact it was 16+ so fans had to show their ID’s to the gentleman at the door. Local Oxford heroes, Brixtons were the first opener, with White Light playing at 9:00 and The Blinders at 10:00. The show finished around 11:00. What can we say? The show was nearly sold out – only 11 tickets were left at the doors so that says a lot about the reception this tour is getting. The crowd was mad, the band finished drenched in sweat and Thomas’ make up was washed clean by fourth song. Another fantastic night!
18th day of the tour had the band arriving in lovely Cambridge! Lets hope the lads had some time off to do a bit of sightseeing as Cambridge is simply breathtaking. As for the show: opening times were pretty standard. Doors opened at 7:00 pm, first support, Ugly performed at 7:30 (please give them a spin as they are truly excellent band!), The White Room went on stage at 9:00 and The Blinders again exactly at 10:00. The show was finished by 11:30 pm. Again, the requirement for all attendees who were under 18 was to have an accompanying adult with them and an ID. According to the reports, the crowd was mad as a hatter, the mosh pit was truly impressive (though not as big as in Birmingham) and everyone had time of their lives.
London gig advertised in Time Out Magazine, London. Picture by by Artbeat Promo
London!! The Columbia tour has finally reached the capitol! For one night only, at the amazing venue The Garage, we had a chance to see The Moses, Calva Louise and The Blinders on one bill. It was a dream come true and the show will remain in our memories for a very long period of time. The doors were opened at 7:00, Moses played at 7:45, Calva Louise at 8:30 and Los Blinders at 9:20. The mosh pit was extremely tight and several people have to be removed from the venue but the security guys did a splendid job. Everyone was safe and sound, had a great time and nothing could spoil the fun! Thank you once again guys! You are truly amazing!
On the 20th day of their journey, The Blinders went down to Southampton. It was one of the earliest sold out dates and the band is always welcomed in the city. The place, The Heartbreakers Bar and Venue has a fantastic reputation and is known to deliver great events. Moses and The White Room went along for the wild ride and we have to say that the night went smoothly and everybody were perfectly happy. As usual, doors were opened at 7pm, Moses played at 7:45pm, The While Room at 8:20 and The Blinders went on at 9:30. The curfew was 10:30 pm. There was a secret after party at one of the city’s night clubs and fans had a chance to take pictures and speak to the band. All in all, the night was greatly intense and long will be remembered (there was just one causality, the amp backed up and exit the stage left, but it didn’t spoil anything!)
Brighton, the next step after Southampton (aka day 21) also sold out several months in advance and is considered one of the best shows on the tour. The band was incredibly focused and energetic. Each song was played with additional strength, dedication and with an extra layer of what can only be described as a “rock and roll” spirit. In plain words – there was more sweat, more theatrics and more swagger. The public loved every second of it and so did the band.
As usual, the gig was opened by a local support, this time by Brighton quartet, Swoon with the amazing vocalist Alice Guala at the helm. The White Room were next at 8:30 and then at 9:20, the Blinders took to the stage. The gig ended at 10:30 with all three bands meeting fans and signing records and posters. After everything was said, done, sang and signed, the entourage went off to a local night club for the after party that lasted, if you believe the report, till the dawn.
Bristol gig (aka The Last Battle of Bristol) took place on the 11th of November and it was the last show on this tour. What was happening, you may ask? The band has long promised to finally kill off Johnny Dream persona, but the show was rather peaceful and nobody was hurt. There was no murder on the (dance) floor and no blood streaming down the walls. The doors were opened at 7:00 and the fans were treated to a cloak room, two upstairs bars, one main bar at the ground floor and a viewing gallery (aka the upper deck) on a real boat! Thekla is quite famous for its unique interior and it was a pleasure to see it with our own eyes. Gum Sole, a young quartet from Bath were quite impressive and we took some videos and pictures so please be on the look out for a review! The White Room are not our cup of tea, but we have to say their music is of excellent quality and the lead singer knows how to charm a crowd! Sadly, we had to leave the venue quite early and we only saw the Blinders for a couple of songs but as usual they were amazing. We missed a very cool thing though – Thomas (or rather Johnny Dream) came into the audience and sat on the floor surrounded by the crowd during one of the songs and everyone commented, it was a truly magical moment. Oh well! You cannot see everything but there is always another gig to attend!
So how can this tour be summarized? Was it a success?
The answer will be a simple one – it was a huge success for the young Doncaster trio! 22 concerts, 10 sold out shows, 7 nearly sold out gigs (leaving 10 or 20 tickets at the doors), 4 concerts with more than half venue capacity filled out. Please note that we are only relying on press reports, venue press releases, our own calculations and the reviews available online and those of our friends who came to the gigs. Maybe the official results will be even better. In any case, Columbia tour has to be called a success. The attendance was way above the average, we have found more than 50 videos on Youtube, hundreds of pictures, 20 articles, 21 reviews and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
The merch stand was almost empty in Thekla and the gentleman behind the counter was apologizing that the band ran out of t-shirts again! Apparently the shop had to be restocked twice before. This is a very good news and thank you so much for your amazing support for the band! Buying tickets and merch provides necessary income to keep the bands going. We are sure all sales will be dutifully counted and the stock will be much bigger on the next tour, to meet the demand.
Was there something missing?
There is always room for improvement and we have collected the best fans suggestions that were posted all over the Internet:
– A gig in Norwich! Many fans called for additional gig to be added to the tour. The last time The Blinders played Norwich was on 17th of October 2017 along with Queen Zee and Cabbage (Norwich Arts Centre). Maybe 2019 will see the band returning to the capitol of East Anglia.
– More variety at the merch stand – fans asked for more t-shirt designs to choose from (there were only three available) and for female versions of the tees to be added as the unisex ones (even in S and M sizes) were simply too big. Also, please bring back the lighters! – Festival appearances – some festival appearances were added at the last minute or were not advertised on the social media in advance, not allowing fans to purchase the tickets.
– New material/song order – in short, can at least one new song be added to the set? If it is not possible, please play “Murder at the Ballet” and “You Are So Cold” from the first EP to add some variety. Those who attended multiple concerts wished that the song order was changed a bit as it was identical for the majority of the tour. Some fans also called out for the mysterious “Acid Bath” to be finally added to the set!
– More security and safe spaces for female attendees – this one is tricky as the band has absolutely no control over the behavior of the concert goers. When Thomas saw a rowdy fan trying to start a fight at the London gig, he stopped the concert and made sure the gentleman was escorted out by the security. The band also posted an appeal on their social media asking fans to take care of one another afterwards. Fans suggested teaming up with Safe Gigs for Women (https://sgfw.org.uk) a non profit organization trying to provide women with spaces where they could enjoy concerts without being harassed or being endangered. The charity also caters to the needs of the vulnerable people of both sexes, people with disabilities (including wheel chair users) and underage or young teens. There are other organizations doing similar work as well. It is something that can be taken into consideration.
Please remember that after all, we are responsible for the safety at gigs so if you see something worrying, suspicious or wrong, please let the stewards or security know. Thank you!
So what’s next? The band is now resting and working on new material. There are many gigs already booked for the rest of 2018 and for the 2019 and we will follow them in a separate blog entry as this one is very, very long already!
Please stay with us and enjoy the music, memories and the extensive library of links, pictures and videos!
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.
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
Mid Week Top 40 – 28th place
Indie Album Top 30 – 8th place Indie Album Breakers – 1st place
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.
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.
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