Some might say that there’s never been a better time to be a musician. Internet gives you access to billions of users, streaming platforms are easily to set up and curators are at the stretch of the palm. You can set up professional recording studio in your own bedroom as the equipment is getting better and cheaper and it is not hard to master its use. It seems, the rock and roll dream is just around the corner and ready for grabs.
Others might argue that the technological edge is the same for everybody and it is hard to break through thousands of other bands competing for attention. There are also external factors that need to be taken into consideration: lack of funding, closure of local pubs and venues, austerity, quickly changing musical trends, constant search for something new fueled by social media and Instagram influencers. DIY musical scene can also be divided and lack of unity affects the bands and gig goers altogether. You could say that for every ray of sunshine, there is a big rainy cloud covering it.
Yet the DIY scene is holding on despite the odds. Bands are recording, exciting music is somehow making it to the national radio stations and new opportunities are springing up here and there. Indieterria sat down to speak to Mark Piddington the man behind RawSound TV to speak about the new ideas to help emerging artists, production techniques and their plans to permanently change West Midlands musical scene.
You call yourselves an “old school MTV” style music show in the Internet era. Please introduce yourselves to readers of Indieterria.
Mark Piddington: Hi. I’m Mark Piddington. Producer and Presenter of RawSound TV. Part of the reason for the idea of RawSound TV was that I could see that there was a lack of decent live music “tv” shows. Especially for unsigned artists. A show in the style of “The Tube”, “The Word” and many other iconic TV shows from the past that I felt the older generation were missing and the younger generation were missing out on.
Raw Sound TV is live music show recorded at Glass Onion Studios in Birmingham every two weeks, broadcasting on your YouTube channel on the Sundays in-between. Your shows include interviews with unsigned and new artists doing live performances and featuring videos along with interviews with the bands and occasionally live gigs. You’ve had 4 seasons so far and are currently working on a new season which is due to broadcast on the April 14th. Can you tell us how the recording and filming process works?
Mark Piddington: We invite bands and artists to our studio which is fully equipped for recording and filming. After they arrive and meet the crew, we set them up for a sound check/ rehearsal, during which time the crew get audio levels for recording and camera angles worked out. After a short break it’s on to recording. The red light goes on and we film them performing three live tracks. After a short break we then conduct a short interview. We go through this process twice as we usually have two live bands featured per episode. After the bands have gone we do our ‘bits to camera’ which includes introduction to the show and individual intros to the bands. It can be a long night! Then, once all this is done, its on to editing the show for broadcast on the follow Sunday which usually takes well over 40 hours over the week.
How long does it takes for a band to appear on Raw Sound TV? How do you select the bands? What do you look for?
Mark Piddington: We encourage bands and artists to get in touch with us if they want to appear on the show. Selection is very difficult for us as there are so many fantastic bands and artists around at the moment. We know that a lot of them unfortunately won’t get to appear on the show as we are only able to feature two bands per show. We don’t let our own personal tastes influence who appears on the show. We try to look for quality in musicianship, song writing and what/ who we feel our viewers should be seeing and would appreciate.
Besides the music show, you also offer other services: recording live performances, making and editing videos and even access to a recording studio/rehearsal space. We know many artists look for those services – so please tell us about what you also offer and how bands go about this?
Mark Piddington: The recording studio is a separate entity to RawSound TV. I established Glass Onion Recording Studio in 2003 and have been recording bands there since. As well as recording, I also offer rehearsal space, studio dry hire and also music video production. If anyone wish to use any of the studio facilities/services, they can contact me via any of our social media platforms or at RawSoundTV.com.
Money matters are hard to talk about – but essential for both businesses and artists alike. Can you tell us about the fees and other charges that artists approaching you should consider?
Mark Piddington: Firstly, to clarify, we are not a business. RawSound TV do not charge anything for bands and artists to appear on the show. It is totally free. As the crew and I do not get paid and the studio given for free, we are currently trying to get the show funded in some way so we can continue to offer this opportunity to unsigned bands without them having to pay. Having been there myself I know that young musicians don’t generally have the funds to afford what some companies charge for ‘promotion’ and what they get for their money.
You’ve featured and worked with an exciting array of West Midlands acts: Alex Ohm, The Clause, The Cosmics, The Verse, Ivory Wave, Karkosa, Lady Sanity, MeMe Detroit, The Novus, Sugarthief, Violet, Lycio, La Dharma, The Goodwater and Candid – the list is endless. If an artist or band wants to get involved, how can they reach you?
Mark Piddington: We have worked with over eighty bands and artists in the twenty months since we started. Some of whom are most definitely destined for big things. If an artist wants to appear on this show they can contact us on our website at RawSoundTV.com and navigate to the ‘want to be on the show?’ section.
You have filmed performances in many different places in West Midlands: The O2 Institute, Castle and Falcon, Square One in Coventry and The Flapper to name just a few along with outdoor festivals such as Lunar and the Bewdley Music Festival. Is it harder to record in a small, intimate club or in a large arena?
Mark Piddington: They both have their difficulties. As opposed to the studio which is a controlled environment set up for filming and recording, live venues are not. Therefore, we always have obstacles to overcome when filming away from the studio. More often than not, sound recording and lighting problems are the usual suspects as we have little or no control or influence over these.
Raw Sound TV have recorded many, many bands and concerts over the last couple of years but we are sure some of the performances must have stood out from the others. Do you have any favourites?
Mark Piddington: That’s a very difficult question. If I’m honest the ones that have stood out for me are when the whole recording process and post production has gone smoothly or when the crew have had a particularly good session and the band have performed well and, more importantly, enjoyed themselves. It is great to see the bands’ reaction to the whole process from ‘our side’ of the process. Festivals are always good fun for the crew but the days are long and can be a logistical nightmare (especially when it rains)!
Imagine that you can film any artist in the world, where and why?
Mark Piddington: Ahh, you might want to keep your eyes peeled for something exciting we “might” be doing over the summer that will answer this question. So watch this space!
Is there anyone you’d like to invite to appear on the next series or future series?
Mark Piddington: There is no one in particular I have in mind. The plan is to keep on inviting the best new, unsigned bands and artists on to the show.
Last question – we are only in April, but what are your plans for the upcoming months. Anything exciting to tell us about any what you’ll be including in forthcoming shows?
Mark Piddington: Every show is exciting for us. Being able to give young artists this kind of platform and the excitement and enthusiasm they have for the show gives myself and the crew a massive buzz and makes the whole thing worthwhile. We also get a huge lift from the positive comments on social media from the bands who have now become friends and their fans alike.
Please contact Mark if you’d like to be included in the next series of concerts. Also, if you have performed for RawSound TV in the past and you’d like to share your videos, please contact us and we will be more than happy to share your experiences.
We also have some incredible artists to showcase this month and we are thrilled to be sharing our new interviews with you soon.
Thank you for reading and see you soon!
We are in March already and it is high time to introduce another band to the never ending pages of Indieterria. We are back to the Kingdom of Mancunia to meet the wildest hard-rocking bunch in the North. And what fun gang they are! This five piece is truly international – with members coming from four different nations – all making a wonderful racket around Northern Quarter. Don`t expect the usual brit-pop-y sounds from them. This band is unlike anything you can hear in Manchester – they mix punk, hard rock, metal and even J-Rock to arrive at their own, very distinctive musical voice. A bonus is sense of humour, loyalty to their collaborators and friendship for each other. Show us another group like this in the region and we will buy you a lunch at Night & Day.
Grab your hair spray, your torn jeans and Motley Crue tees – its time to meet Shiva May Care!
Shiva May Care
Michael Morris – vox
Jet Lag (Federico Cossu) – guitar, vox
Jenny (Giorgia di Pancrazio) – bass
Raul Ochoa – guitar
Luke Thorpe – drums, vox
Official bio: Born in 2017 as an collaboration between Federico Cossu (J3T L4g) and Stefano Carbone (who left the band few months later) Shiva May Care is a five piece based in Manchester. They play hard rock with glam, punk and metal inspirations. The band is actively gigging on the local scene with sold out shows at Hula Bar, Rebellion, Night People and Pop Bar in Hyde under their belt.
You are one of the most outstanding bands that came out Manchester scene recently music wise. Please introduce yourselves to readers of Indiererria.
Federico Cossu: Thanks for calling us outstanding. We really appreciate it. Hello Indierreria, we are Shiva May Care: Federio Cossu on guitar, Michael Morris on vocals, Raul Ochoa on guitar, Luke Thorpe on drums and Giorgia “Jenny” Di Pancrazio on bass. How are you doing?
Is there any story behind the band`s name? Who is the mysterious Shiva?
Federico Cossu: Well, we liked the idea of a band with a “Devil May Care” attitude, but we needed something more exclusive than that, more personal. We are not hot-headed guys, we try to be good! For this reason Shiva takes place of the Devil.
Shiva May Care was born just two years ago as a collaboration between guitarist Federico Cossu (known on the Manc scene as J3T L4G) and another local musician Stefano Carbone. Now you expanded to a five piece. Can you tell us about the beginnings of the band and how this particular line up came together?
Federico Cossu: We all met in pubs and clubs, we were friends of friends. I met Stefano at an house party and we decided to start a band out of the blue. At that time, I used to work in the same company as our first singer, Massimo Zitti, so it was natural to ask him to join the band. We just wanted to have fun and play loud rock and roll. Stefano introduced me to Raul and I met Luke at Whiskey Jar in Manchester, amazing place, great vibes and inspiring music environment. Massimo had to leave for Canada so Michael joined the band and our sound went in the hard rock/ metal direction. Our bassist Giorgia joined us last year to complete the line up.
The band is their glamorous splendour
The band is a proper international affair – with members coming from UK, Italy and Mexico. Your work with a producer from New Caledonia. You are basically a heavier version of Superorganism! Do you think that coming from different cultures and speaking different languages is an advantage when it comes to song writing process? How do you overcome potential misunderstandings?
Federico Cossu: Oh yes, it’s definitely an advantage. But to answer your question – coming from different countries where you struggle to find good music allows you to get deeper into the genres as you are not being constantly bombed by the big hits. And we love Manchester, it’s a multicultural hive where people can express themselves as they wish.
I come from a small town where probably only me and my brother know “The Gift” by the Jam! In Manchester you hear these tunes being played every night at bars! It’s great, it`s like a dream!
Different backgrounds bring more points of view to the song writing process and, fortunately, the language misunderstandings are not present as we work really naturally on our songs. I often show a lyric or idea to the band and Michael and the guys will make their own interpretation of it, in order to make it sound personal and more to their liking.
They care a lot – about music, fans and each other
Even if we wanted to squeeze you into a musical box, we would not be able to. There is so much going on in your sound – traditional hard rock, glam, punk, metal and even visual kei (Japanese rock). If we were to summarize your style we would have to define it as Motley Crew meets L`Arc-En-Ciel at a party in Mother Love Bone`s basement. You have your own name for the genre you play: punk`n`roll. Where did your sound originate?
Federico Cossu: Wow, that sounds like a good party. No one has invited us though!
Well, the genre punk’n’roll is something I know since I was a kid, we didn’t invented it. I’m personally a big fun of Social Distortion, Backyard Babies, The Hives, Hardcore Superstar, Radio Birdman, Gluecifer, Turbonegro and Hellacopters. I’ve always known these bands as punk`n`roll bands, especially referring to all the Scandinavian rock scene.
To summarize, you pick The Stooges, Ramones, MC5, New York Dolls, Dictators and stick a distorted rocket under their asses: congrats, you`ve got punk and roll, action rock, death punk and so on.
All these influences have been probably mixed up with Luke, Michael, Raul and Georgia’s influences, such as ’80 classic rock and new romantic, metal and hair metal, blues and stoner rock. However, I wouldn’t get stuck with genres names and labels, it’s a never-ending battle, it’s only rock and roll after all.
Hopefully in the future, you will find us on the soundtrack to a new anime or a video game (laughs).
Shiva May Care – the wildest kids in Northern Town
You have just released your debut A side single “Til The Music Is Loud”/”Stubborn Lovers” produced by Mathieu Garcia at Red Sand Studio. We know Mathieu from his project Gold For Kids and incredible single he released last year “City of Your Name”. How did you find working with Red Sand Studio?
Federico Cossu: We felt at home! Mathieu is a friend and we love his solo projects. I remember he was working on his track “Plastic Guns” when we started talking about recording Shiva`s first songs. His music knowledge and skills are impressive and he has been able to catch the essence of Shiva May Care as a band. He also added effects, keyboards and backing vocals ideas to our songs.
Have you recorded any other songs with Mathieu Garcia?
Federico Cossu: We recorded together “Shiva Dance” – our live show opening track, which you will find on streaming platforms in the coming months. It is a small ethnic rock composition that became incredible thanks to Mathieu`s arrangement skills and taste. He added deep Asian and tribal percussions mixed up with modern sounds, giving it a “V for Vendetta” kind of vibe. For this song, we collaborated with two close friends: Nina Bakhshayesh on cello and Kitty “Albino” Tha Eastankittan on vocals.
Mathieu contributed to the maturing of the band and we wish him the very best in his own career.
You are also teasing release of another single in mid March entitled “Stay With Me”. Do you plan any promotional videos for this song? What can we expect?
Federico Cossu: We are working with Luca de Falco on music video for Stay With Me. We tried to think out of the box, avoiding the usual hard rock clichés when it comes up to video clips. It will be great, we had such a positive feedback towards the single so far. It’s a song that everyone can relate to and for the video we are bringing in this great Manchester dancer, Aisha Clasen. You will be able to enjoy her interpretation of the song through her performance next month.
The only way is UP!
Shiva May Care is regularly playing live shows around Manchester, recently at Lock 91. And your shows are always described as very upbeat and dynamic. What`s the best part of playing on stage?
Federico Cossu: The best part of playing on stage is playing on stage I guess. There’s nothing better than expressing yourself, high on adrenaline in front of people who are waiting to have some fun. That’s the best drug ever. However, everything happens too quickly, as my ex used to tell me, so you need another gig ASAP.
We are definitely seeing you live this year. Are you planning a tour perhaps?
Federico Cossu: We won’t plan any tours at the moment, we wish to see our fan base grow locally first. We will definitely be planning some gigs to promote Stay with Me. The next show will be at Jimmy’s on the 2nd of April and we will appear at Zombie Shack on the 5th of May for Below The Bridge event.
Radio Salford described your bassist Giorgia di Pancrazio as the best bass player to come out of Manchester since Peter Hook himself. Any comments on that?
Federico Cossu: We will take the compliment with pleasure, thanks for that. Georgia is great. And we will do our best to honour her talent at our future live shows. Hopefully, love won’t tear us apart.
The band has sense of humour and doesn’t take themselves too seriously.
We love your merch. The Shiva logo that appears on your t-shirts is one of the best designs we have seen in a long time. Can you reveal who is the artist behind it?
Federico Cossu: The artwork comes from the mind of Matt Shock, Sardinian art designer. With him, just like with Mathieu, we immediately got the essence of Shiva May Care. The design was born from a photo I’ve taken in Market Street in Manchester of a girl wearing a jacket with a snake emblem on it. Matt added some Hellacopters influences and our Shiva logo was born. You definitely have to check Matt`s works, he is currently working on all our next artworks too.
Last question – but we have to ask. What are the things that Shiva may care about? Any ideas?
Federico Cossu: Shiva may care about making good music. And we definitely care about people who will listen to our songs. We want the public to have fun while we are striving to encourage people not to waste their lives, all between a jump, a shout and a good riff. We really wish to see boys and girls of Manchester (and beyond) beating depression, drug and alcohol abuse if they are suffering of any of these problems. There’s a huge potential within each of us and it would be a shame not to use it. We also care about our pets… God, we love our pets and good coffee.
Shiva May Care merch stand is colourful and very artistic
After years of preparation, and months of excitement and awaiting, the DAY OF TRUTH has arrived.
The debut album by The Blinders is finally here and now the entire world will hear the story of Johnny Dream and His Codeine Scene.
You are being watched! Johnny Dream is looking at you from the cover of “Columbia”
This musical hurricane will take you on a ride that will not be easily forgotten. To celebrate, Vanadian Avenue has opened the doors to the Columbia National Library Archives and digged out some impressive data to boast about the fruitful last couple of weeks.
The Blinders team has been working extremely hard and we would like to mention several people who made everything possible.
First of all, of course the musicians themselves: Thomas Haywood, Charlie McGough and Matty Neale. Plus Gavin Monaghan (the producer) and Joseph Wildy Murray (the engineer), who get the honorary mention as it was their experience and knowledge that created this masterpiece. They are truly the Wizards of Wolverhampton.
Second, their record label – Modern Sky UK and managers: Tim Abbott and Paul Fassam.
Third – their PR team with Caffy St Luce at the helm, their booking agent Jamie Wade and Sam Crowston – visualizer, artist, filmmaker, photographer and the man behind all graphic representation of Columbia.
Very, very special thanks to Mr Chris Hawkins and Mr Steve Lamacq – a legendary man who is the same to the new generation of musicians as John Peel was to us.
And then their families who supported them from the start, their friends and fellow bands that came to the shows, newspapers and magazines that wrote about them, journalists and DJ’s who played them, BBC 6 Music, BBC Introducing teams and BBC 1 teams, Amazing Radio, Radio X, XS Radio Manchester and other radio stations who played their music, photographers who tirelessly took millions of pictures and edited them right after the gig so people could enjoy them in the morning, promoters who booked shows and shouted on Twitter and other socials trying to sell tickets and bring crowds in, bars and clubs that hosted the band, fans for sticking with the band through thick and thin and countless of others who were there and we will never know their names.
THANK YOU to all and each one of you – you are wonderful human beings and your kindness means a world to three young lads from Doncaster.
Things would not be possible without your help.
The last three months before the album release have been very busy. You may not realize how much planning, work and extra hours go into social media, making of promotional materials or just simple PR. It is never ending job that keeps everything together.
We called this blog Columbia Library Archives as we tried to collect links, videos, interviews, and all sort of strange data that could show you what has been done and achieved.
Please feel free to scroll through this small collection and enjoy it. If you have missed something before, this is now your chance to discover it all over again.
To make it easier for you, we have divided our findings into groups:
Chart position: Columbia has debuted on the official UK Top 40 on the date of its release, 21st of September 2018. The Party has released an official statement and every woman, man and a child living within the glorious borders of our nation-state is expected to read it and celebrate the success!
The statements reads: “Having caught wind that our debut album ‘Columbia’ has entered the realms of the top 40 midweek album charts, we would just like to thank every single person who has purchased the record in the past few days. You all mean the world to us, and we really couldn’t be doing this without you. To ensure it stays there, buy it, play it, and tell all yer friends about it.”
The statement is accompanied by the special celebratory video:
And the band would like to thank everyone who ever supported them so please continue doing!
Official statistics are as follows:
Mid Week Top 40 – 28th place
Official Top 40 – 54th place
Official Record Store Top 20- 6th place
Indie Album Top 30 – 8th place
Indie Album Breakers – 1st place
Vinyl Sales of the Week – 10th place
Re-entry (Indie Album Breakers Top 20) – 15th place on 14.01.2017
Mid Week Top 40 – 28th place
Indie Album Top 30 – 8th place Indie Album Breakers – 1st place
Official Top 40 – 54th place
Official Record Store Top 20- 6th place
Vinyl Sales of the Week – 10th place
The Album returned to the charts on 14th of January 2019 at number 15th
Columbia spent three weeks on the charts with the peak position at number 1
It reads: “The self-titled debut album from Brighton rockers Black Honey opens at 22, one rung higher than Iridescence, the major label debut from hip-hop group Brockhampton (23). Doncaster group The Blinders are also vying for a Top 40 finish with their debut album Columbia (28)”.
Please check out this section often as it will be updated as new info is available!
BBC6 Music Album of the Day: On 1st of October 2018, Columbia has been named the Album of the Day by BBC6 Music. This is one of the highest recognition that can come for a debuting album and millions of people heard 6 songs from the album being played throughout the day.
Album of the Day according to the Gospel aka BBC6 Radio! Thank you so much guys!!!
Amazing Radio Album of the Week 01.10.2018-07.10.2018:
Columbia as the Album of the Week
Columbia has been chosen as an Album of the Week at Amazing Radio during the period of 1st and 7th of October. That means the album is played each day during the core hours and on Friday, the 5th of October, you will have a chance to listen to the entire album on air without interruption from 2:00 PM sharp. https://amazingradio.com/home/album-of-the-week-the-blinders-columbia
Festivals: The Blinders are in such a great demand that each day, a new gig or concert is being added. Those lucky ones who have the tickets, were able to see them performing on two festivals before they embark on a national tour.
The first festival called Neighbourhood ManchesterFestival took place on the 6th of October and The Blinders were added as a secret guest just 12 hours before the show. The band played at the YES the Pink Room and it was of course a sold out performance.
The second festival named Twisterella Festival in Middlesbrough took place on the 13th of September. The Blinders were one of the headliners along with Estrons, Avalanche Party and Bryde. As with previous performances, tickets were selling fast and it is a good indicator that many shows will sell out on the commencing tour. The Blinders played their 50 minute slot at The Townhouse, starting at 21:00 pm.
Mailing list and newsletters are very useful tools helping to keep in touch with fans and informing them about new things from the band’s HQ. Like any other marketing materials, Columbia Daily (aka the newsletter) is issued in in monochrome and contains pictures, latest news and the most important links.
Playlist: Spotify is one of the most popular streaming services on the Internet allowing billions of users to access the music. The Blinders are added to hundreds of small lists made by fans and industry professionals, but recently they came with a list of their own. And it is a pretty special list as it shows the band’s entire officially released catalog! It also looks wonderfully as you ca see at the attached screens below:
“It is guitar orientated album that is true to the live performance. Songs are fast and yet catchy, with haunting back ground vocals and hypnotizing drums. It is the fresh perspective on what music should be in 2018 – direct, poetic, enigmatic, political, tearing out your soul and different from what is happening around. And that is what Thomas Haywood, Matty Neale and Charlie McGough bring to the table” – Malicia Dabrowicz for Vanadian Avenue https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2018/08/30/indieterria-review-columbia-by-the-blinders/
“How important is this release going to be? Personally, I’ve waited for a band to make an album like this for twenty, maybe thirty years. Political albums can often deter because they are hard work, but they do endure… I’m thinking about albums by Gil Scott Heron, The Clash, Billy Bragg, Public Enemy, Manic Street Preachers, The The or Dead Kennedys. When the political scene is as warped and cruel as it is now, music should comment on it and be influenced by it. The Blinders are making music to mark their protest; there should be more like them” – Alan Neilson for BrumLive Magazine http://www.brumlive.com/blinders-columbia-debut-album-released-21-september-2018/
Signed LP on vinyl – back
“Politically charged trio The Blinders have taken the UK music scene by storm. Not only did their track ‘L’Etat C’est Moi’ get playlisted on BBC 6 Music, but they also landed a headline slot on the BBC Introducing stage at this summer’s Reading & Leeds festivals. Needless to say, these boys are destined for success” – Harriet Willis for The Skinny Music Blog https://www.theskinny.co.uk/music/reviews/albums/the-blinders-columbia
“That shamanic, compelling mood is captured perfectly in ‘Columbia’. Ably produced by Gavin Monaghan (Editors, The Sherlocks, Goldblade), the album sees childhood friends Thomas Haywood, bassist/co-writer Charlie McGough and drummer Matt Neale follow Johnny Dream on his spiritual awakening, from the coruscating swagger of the opening ‘Gotta Get Through’ to the raw, beautiful and ultimately redemptive finale ‘Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska)” – (legendary) R*E*P*E*A*T Fanzine https://repeatfanzine.wordpress.com/2018/09/18/the-blinders-debut-album-columbia-out-this-friday-uk-tour/
“It’s a really impressive debut, and we actually found ourselves feeling suitably shocked after our first listen at how accomplished it sounds. The band make indie rock music that is supercharged and political, with groovy yet raw riffs filling each song on the album. It’s raw but the production never sounds too fuzzy, with it all sounding pretty damn perfect to us” – Jane Howkins for York Calling https://yorkcalling.co.uk/2018/09/01/the-blinders-columbia/
“‘Hate Song’ is all urban noir menace, ‘Free The Slave’ a 28-second leviathanesque anthem, ‘Et Tu’ a heads down bass battering Adam and the Ants from Dante’s Inferno and, joining the quote dots, ‘Brutus’ a full seven minutes of charged rock darkness that variously encompasses Floyd, Enter Shikari, Metallica and Nick Cave. Impressive stuff” – Mike Davies for Roots and Branches Zine http://roots-and-branches.com/brum-beat–the-beat/record-reviews-september.html
“Manchester’s Blinders bring the classic rock vibes with their debut outing, Columbia. Brimming with Arctic Monkeys swagger but imbued with a subtle psychedelic edge and semi-spoken lyrical fire, these young upstarts have set a great precedent for things to come. In the meantime, this should definitely sit well in your collection” – Piccadilly Records (Manchester Independent Record Store) https://www.piccadillyrecords.com/counter/product.php?pid=123568
“Whirring riffs dominating, the war drums integral, drone sounds making you check over your shoulder as you listen. It‘s infectious, with bombastic drum beats, western twangs and jangly yet searing guitar riffs getting you ready to dance, mosh or start a revolution” – Johnny Rogerson for Clash Magazine https://www.clashmusic.com/reviews/the-blinders-columbia
“This increasingly rare concept album, coupled with their constant references to history and literature display an artistic intelligence perhaps uncommonly associated with such a heavy-hitting sound. Alongside the likes of Cabbage and IDLES, they are leading the way in creating a new brand of socially aware Punk. With the release of ‘Columbia’, The Blinders are dragging us into a dystopian future where Punk-Rock rules again” – James Booton for Boot Music Blog http://jamesbooton15.wixsite.com/boot-music/single-post/2018/09/19/The-Blinders—Columbia
“Perhaps once in a generation comes a movement that speaks for its outcasts, those who are undernourished but well read, those who see injustice, but have been fed only on a diet of apathy, and corruption. The blue generation before us were emotionally rescued by bands like the Manic Street Preachers, now, rising from the ashes of Brexitopia, (and the burned out ruins of the indie landfill) we have The Blinders” – Dizzy Spell for The Zine UK https://www.thezineuk.co.uk/single-post/2018/09/19/Stepping-into-Columbia-with-The-Blinders
“So where does ‘Columbia’ place The Blinders? It’s an impressive debut, one that captures the essence of what they’re about and as much of the live performance as is possible within the constraints of a studio recording. It doesn’t compromise their personalities and the real core of what they’re about in search of a hit radio-friendly album, but it’s that which has caught the ear of those that champion them. They have influences but not too overt, their songs observe rather than preach, talk of politics in its social context attacking ideologies and beliefs rather than directly attacking individuals which give it more gravitas. But most important of all they remain true to themselves” – Even the Stars Blog http://www.eventhestars.co.uk/2018/09/the-blinders-columbia.html?m=0
“In the age of distraction, it’s hard to craft an album that grips you for a full 40 minutes and doesn’t have you reaching for the skip button, but ‘Columbia’ is a rare breed, as are The Blinders themselves. This is one to not only cherish, but to lose your voice and mind to in equal measures” – Richard Cobb for Little Indie Blogs https://littleindieblogs.blogspot.com/2018/09/album-review-blinders-columbia.html
“Of the lineage of politically charged and anti-establishment albums, The Sex Pistols’ Never Mind The Bollocks and Pink Floyd’s The Wall, stand out as the two that most inform Columbia, which is without doubt an astounding achievement and a seismic debut for the band that labelled their sound in 2016 as ‘a spellbinding punkadelic-esque Roman orgy’. Columbia, the ‘alternate world informed by reality’ reverberates with the sound of the temple’s foundations being rocked to their very core” – Andrew Gutteridge for Words For Music Blog https://wordsformusic.blog/2018/09/21/album-review-the-blinders-columbia/
“An outstanding debut, The Blinders have caused an itch with Columbia, an itch I hope they can scratch with a follow up. We sacked off the ratings system a long time ago, but Colombia feels like an Eight from a band who have the potential to deliver a Ten. Far from a classic, but ever so close. Thoroughly enjoyable and a real kick up the ass for the alternative rock scene who should take notes from this excellent piece of work” – Josh Bell for RGM: Reyt Good Magazine https://www.rgm.press/review-the-blinders-columbia/
Vinyl copy of “Columbia”
“It’s impossible to fully appreciate this album in word form and I cannot stress enough how much you have to listen to it for yourself. The Blinders have truly changed the game with ‘Columbia’. They’re going to take over the world” – Lottie Catrin forLet It Happen Music Blog https://letithappenmusicblog.com/2018/09/21/the-blinders-columbia/
“If The Blinders were trying to get a message across, they couldn’t have achieved it in any more clarity if they’d tried. It’s poetical perfection. This, 12-track, just-under-40-minute album is, at it’s core, just a piece of music. But at it’s best, it’s a statement; a concept; it’s meant to provoke a reaction. And it does. Even during the live shows, the band, clad in face paint and dark clothing, embrace the ideology and the theme of the album entirely, immersing themselves in this make-believe world that they truly believe could become real sometime soon. The hype around this album has been second-to-none amongst independently released albums in the past ten years. But we’re here for it” – The Indie Room Blog https://theindieroomblog.wordpress.com/
“But it is impossible not to be sucked into this scary world of slithering bass, straight-for-the-throat guitars and Thomas Haywood’s cool without being an annoying snob popular cultural references. The deliciously snarling guitars that pave the way of ‘Et Tu’ and then again on the outro to ‘Brutus’ while Haywood screams ‘Et tu, Brute?’ over the top are the stuff of genius. This isn’t songwriting, this is atmospheric musical theatre” – Leigh Sanders, Senior sub editor for the MNA portfolio and entertainments at Express and Star and Shropshire Star. https://www.shropshirestar.com/entertainment/music/2018/09/22/the-blinders-columbia—album-review/
“Doncaster trio The Blinders’ Columbia is a dystopian-infused, literary-inspired social critique on modern day society, comparing our own world to those created by Orwell and Huxley. Before listening I was apprehensive, afraid the ferocious punk sound that has dominated their early works and live shows would become too repetitive, but Columbia’s highlights are the tender moments. Acoustic number ‘The Ballad Of Winston Smith’, and Nick Cave-inspired ‘Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska) are the album highlights as Tom Haywood, under his persona of Johnny Dream” https://therodeoblog.blogspot.com/2018/09/on-trend-future-is-bright.html
“If ever there were a time for heroes, it be now. A band to speak to and for the disaffected, disenfranchised youth about to be trampled on by the aftermath of us adults screwing up their future by withdrawing from the EU and leaving them with a “no deal” Britain that ensures they’ll be working until they drop and the word ‘pension’ will become as obsolete as pronouncing the letter “H” as it is spelt” – James Auton for God is in the TV blog http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2018/09/24/the-blinders-columbia-modern-sky/
“Emerging from Doncaster as new bastions of explosive live music, The Blinders have become a must-see band on the UK live circuit in the past two years. Fusing punk politics, gnarly hooks and psych-lyricism, the band have found the perfect algorithm to live success. Picking up support from 14 influential playlists, including Indispensables and Walk Like A Badass, The Blinders have enjoyed a 132% increase in their playlist following in the past 7 days, taking their total to over 3.5 million. With a 5.45% increase in their artist following, the trio also seem to be building a solid fanbase” – FRTYFVE Blog, powered by Instrumental https://www.frtyfve.com/new-music/hottest-artist-in-the-world-the-blinders
“On the back of the game-changing album ‘Columbia’, The Blinders have now cemented themselves as one of the hottest bands in the UK. The album itself is racing into the UK top 40 after rave reviews from fellow bands, fans and press – we’ve had it playing constantly since last Friday, and trust us – believe the hype!” – Mock It (the Best in New Music) Blog https://mockitmusic.wixsite.com/mockitmusic/features/tenement-trail-the-blinders
“In tracks such as ‘Hate Song’, ‘Where No Man Comes’, the scintillating power of expression in ‘Ballad of Winston Smith’, ‘Brave New World’ and ‘Orbit (Salmon of Alaska)’, The Blinders have found the right series of buttons which makes, which demands of the debut a sense of the calm, collected, and ready to light the beacons in the anticipation of fighting a bigger battle ahead. It is a battle in which the generations above had better be wary of standing in their way ” – Ian D. Hall for Liverpool Sound and Vision http://www.liverpoolsoundandvision.co.uk/2018/09/25/the-blinders-columbia-album-review/
“Influenced by Arctic Monkeys and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, there’s also a hint of Kasabian in their groove-laden alt-rock sound. This brooding collection of 12 songs is loosely based around the concept of Columbia as ‘an alternate world informed by reality’. It demands your attention from the off with a wonderful brace of singles, the insistent ‘Gotta Get Through’ and ‘L’Etat C’Est Moi’ (it means I Am The State). Like most of the album’s best moments, they’re propelled along by delicious post-industrial bass lines reminiscent of Peter Hook in his Joy Division pomp” – Gary Welford for Hartlepool Mail https://www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk/whats-on/music/album-review-the-blinders-columbia-1-9365505
“The album provides a unique and enjoyable listen, leaving you feeling fully involved with the dystopia that is Columbia, all helped by the vivid imagery of the lyrics. This band is essential to 2018, and with this album they have literally pulled a blinder” – Katie Macbeth for Rock Chic Blog https://rockchicme.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-blinders-columbia.html
“For a young generation on the cusp of a new political awakening, their debut will no doubt act as an accompanying soundtrack to their cause. After a few years of honing their craft and some impressive slots on the UK festival scene this year, ‘Columbia’ will be taking The Blinders places – so catch them while you can” – Ceri Saunders for ON: Yorkshire Magazine https://www.on-magazine.co.uk/arts/music/album-reviews/columbia-the-blinders/
“The Blinders are a band worth experiencing live. Enrapturing, politically injected lyrics enable the gig-goer to encounter an alternative to what is seen in mainstream media. Catch them on their headline tour alongside White Room and Calva Louise this October and November, you won’t be disappointed” – Sahar Ghadirian for Forge Media http://forgetoday.com/2018/10/02/review-the-blinders/
“Despite clocking in 12 songs in just over 42 minutes, ‘Columbia’ never rushes its narrative. Constantly proving that rock and roll is most definitely still alive and well, The Blinders have returned the hope that rock and politics can go hand in hand. With hints of the ‘Stones, The Smiths and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, it’s quite hard to not deem ‘Columbia’ as one of the most influential albums of 2018. It’s a definitive, well-polished record from a young, promising band who stand for something much more” – Paige Smiths for Not Enough Notes Blog http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2018/10/review-the-blinders-columbia-rock-debut/
“The stunning debut album from Manchester underground band, The Blinders” – Amazon UK/Amazon.com
Official advert for Columbia on Amazon UK
A new review from K Production
“Energetic, goth-tinged Yorkshire three-piece The Blinders take their influences from great lyricists, poets and writers such as Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Nick Cave, John Lennon, Rimbaud, Allen Ginsberg, George Orwell and William Burroughs, but also count Charles Manson and the devil among their influences. Their debut album, Columbia, therefore, is a bit different to the run-of-the-mill indie bands around today. LP and CD on Modern Sky Entertainment.” – KProduction https://www.keyproduction.co.uk/blog/2017/latest-releases-manufactured-by-key-production-group_september-round-up/
Columbia review by Jack Saunders of BBC Radio1. Picture by Sam Crowston
“Delivering an LP of fierce dystopian rock n roll loosely based around the concept of ‘an alternate world informed by reality’, The Blinders are an example of a new breed of guitar band who are noticeably far less complacent than many from earlier on in the decade. They bash out an exciting blend of punk, indie and psychedelica, listing their influences as Dylan, Cohen, Mark E Smith, Lennon, Cave, Kerouac, Rimbaud, Orwell, Ginsberg, and S.Borroughs” – Rewind/Forward Blog https://rwffmusic.blogspot.com/2018/09/album-review-blinders-columbia-2018.html
“Throughout the album, the influence of the works of George Orwell is ever clear, especially on acoustic ‘Ballad of Winston Smith’ named after the protagonist in the novel 1984. The tracks speaks of the mainstream media reporting and building stories out of nothing, whilst letting those in charge get away with whatever they wish” – Katie MacBeth for RawMusicTV https://www.rawmusictv.com/review/2018/The-Blinders-release-debut-album-Columbia
“One of the most anticipated British debuts of 2018, The Blinders deliver a fully rounded rock statement with ‘Columbia’ but leave their future open. The Blinders have created something cohesively packed not only with raw energy and rage also with knowledge, chemistry and the profound. To say Columbia an impressive debut would be an understatement, but it’s also apparent there’s more to come. 8/10″ – Sandie Garland for The Student Playlist https://www.thestudentplaylist.com/review-the-blinders-columbia/
“This increasingly rare concept album, coupled with their constant references to history and literature display an artistic intelligence perhaps uncommonly associated with such a heavy-hitting sound. Alongside the likes of Cabbage and IDLES, they are leading the way in creating a new brand of socially aware Punk. With the release of ‘Columbia’, The Blinders are dragging us into a dystopian future where Punk-Rock rules again” – James Booton for Boot Music Blog http://jamesbooton15.wixsite.com/boot-music/single-post/2018/09/19/The-Blinders—Columbia
“The Blinders debut album ‘Columbia’ is a raw, loud and punky piece of dystopian-themed indie rock that makes you fall in love with rock music, all over again. 🎸👨🎤 🤘” – Roxi for RoxiPicks Twitter Channel https://twitter.com/roximusicsystem
“The album has lots of energy but settles into your standard swampy/punk sound, with odd high spots: I Can’t Breathe is similarly retro to the opener and stands out, as does the slower, and Levellers-ish, Ballad Of Winston Smith. Even the more ‘routine’ tracks are far from predictable: Hate Song speeds, to give the moshpit a reason for frenzy, Where No Man Comes opens with an arty disco beat and jagged guitars” – Review Corner https://reviewcorner.org/2018/12/21/the-blinders-columbia/
Indie For Bunnies Italian Blog – The Blinders review
“The debut album for The Blinders is finally here. Three youngsters from Doncaster who now live and study in Manchester, have been mentioned for a long while now in various English magazines and it seems that everybody has been eagerly awaiting the release of ‘Columbia’. What can be said – it was worth the wait. This is an interesting, magnetic, 100% rock and roll album. Almost two years passed between the releases of their debut album and their first EP ‘Hidden Horror Show’ that saw the light of day back in 2016. The EP showed much potential and maturity and working with legendary producer, Gavin Monaghan on their debut album allowed the band to produced a real magic that will satisfy hundreds and thousands of new fans. Gavin Monagham is called the Wizard of Wolverhampton for a reason. It is worth adding that Columbia was recorded fully at Monaghan’s recording studio, The Magic Garden in Wolverhampton, West Midlands. From the opening chords of ‘Gotta Get Through’ to the magnificent closing track ‘Orbit (Salmon of Alaska)’, The Blinders prove that they have a maximum control over the listeners. They take them on a journey filled with distorted guitars, haunting vocals and protest songs against controlling political systems. Several songs are highlights of the album. ‘Ballad of Winston Smith’ will make your hair stand on its end. It is hauntingly beautiful, mature, with a nostalgic bow and background chants that remind us of a movie soundtrack. It could be a great theme song for the next James Bond movie. ‘Et Tu’ brings us back to reality with aggressive rhythm and ‘Brutus’ flirts with multiple layers of percussion and pulsing bass line that sounds like Arctic Monkeys, Drenge and Slaves mixed together. So, here are The Blinders. Three different people, three amalgamated elements, that made one truly interesting album filled with innovative ideas, mature lyrical themes and classic rock and roll. Columbia is so good, it will withstand the passing of time” – Ben Moro for IBF (Indie for Bunnies) Italian Blog Translation from Italian by Vanadian Avenue http://www.indieforbunnies.com/2018/11/05/the-blinders-columbia/
End of Year Reactions: 2018 is now a history! To celebrate the last 12 months, Vanadian Avenue has prepared Columbia Advent Calendar! We have our own # (hashtag) on Twitter and each day we will be posting really cool things relating to the album, tour, merch or the band! To access all tweets please use the following link: https://twitter.com/hashtag/ColumbiaAdventCalendar
We also have a proper Advent Calendar as well! Please click on each day to reveal something extraordinary about the band!
Columbia was released on 21st of September and is being counted among the albums released in 2018. Its name is appearing in many “End of year” summaries and we thought it would be good to show how well received the album is. Please see the screenshot from Twitter where users are posting their Best albums of 2018!
End of Year summaries – fans
Louder Than War magazine has always been very supportive of The Blinders and we have to thank them for their continuous faith in the band. Columbia has just been called the second best album of the year by their readers and journalists and the editor, John Robb has only the best words for them! Please see the screenshots attached and read the short interview with Thomas Haywood! You can buy the Issue 19 online at: https://vivelerock.net/product/ltw19nickcave/
Editor’s note – Louder Than War, issue 19, December 2018, page 5
Louder Than War, issue 19, December 2018, page 73 – second place (The Blinders lost only to IDLES!) and an interview on the right
The online version of this article can be seen below:
Album of the year 2018 online article from Louder Than War
We are pleased to let you know that Columbia has been placed on yet another “Album of The Year” list! According to Rewind/Fast Forward Blog, the Blinders’ debut album is so good that it went straight to number 24, overtaking The IDLES and Slaves! You can visit the page at: https://rwffmusic.blogspot.com/2018/12/2018-albums-of-year.html
The Best Albums of the Year
Long Live Vinyl Magazine has been incredibly kind to put The Blinders on their list of The Top 100 Albums of 2018! Columbia was not only included on the cover of the magazine (bottom left) but also landed at number 48, almost in the middle of the countdown! This is phenomenal achievement for the band taking into account that the album was released merely 2 months ago and faced heavy competition form established acts such as IDLES and Shame.
Industry praise is hard to achieve but The Blinders managed to convinced almost everybody in the music business that they are the next best thing. Josh Cooper, owner of the popular independent label RoadKill Records gave the Doncaster trio a gloving recommendation and a place number 4. He wrote: “These guys came out of nowhere for me and seem to have had a big a year as any band could, book-ending 2018 with an amazing 300 cap gig at Borderline and then in front of a sold out Garage following the release of ‘Columbia’. A dystopian concept album full of garage-rock anthems, Cramps style beats and hook after hook”.
In August, the Blinders paid a visit to XS Manchester Radio to speak to Jim Salveson and play two acoustic songs live on air. They were “Brave New Wolrd” and “Orbit (Salmon of Alaska)”. The 17 minute interview was a fan favourite from the start and now it has been officially named the best live session at XS Manchester of the year! You can see the results on a screen below, The Blinders scored 39% of all votes!
XS Manchester online voting results for the “Session of The Year” of 2018
Getintothis list of 100 Best Albums of the Year – The Blinders ended up at number 58
Another day and another recognition for the band! Manchester Music Forever (MMF) have chosen their favourite songs from last year and created a nice Spotify list for you to listen to. The Blinders have been placed at number 2 with “Brave New World” and the top spot went to The Slow Readers Club with “Lunatic”. Congratulations to all
GigsandTours.com is the official website of one of the UK’s leading promoters, SJM Concerts. They are also one of the most popular websites in the UK that reports on upcoming shows, music news and everything else music related. With nearly 100k followers on social media, their voice is something of a blessing in the industry. And now the blessing has been given to the Blinders! On 12th of December, Gigs and Tours released their official selection for Gigs and Tours: Best Albums of 2018 and of course, Columbia is mentioned. The reviewer, Jordan Garner wrote: “A concept album about a dystopian future and Johnny Dream (singer Tom Haywood’s on-stage persona), The Blinders give dark commentary to society on Columbia, incorporating influences of protest songs to give a cry for change on negative aspects of today’s world. A snarling whirlwind of indie-punk, The Blinders second album cements them as one of the most exciting new bands to come out of the UK. Standout tracks: ‘Gotta Get Through’, ‘Brave New World’, ‘Et Tu’” – What else can we add?
Gigs and Tours chose Columbia as one of the best albums of 2018
Manchester online service, Flick of The Finger created their own end of the year list, simply entitled “Album choices 2018”. No surprise there – The Blinders ended at number 4 and they received a glowing reviews that says: “Columbia is pure, unadulterated rock and roll. Make no mistakes about that. It is the type of album that does gets you wondering about what the band are all about on the live stage. But whether it’s at your local venue, or at home on your stereo system, they will blow your fucking heads off. And that is fine with me”. This review was written by senior journalist, Mark Sharpley and we cannot agree more!
On 14th of December, Forkster Music Promotions, published their annual FAB Singles chart from new, unsigned and emerging artists. The Blinders were mentioned at number 3 with Brave New World. The review was absolutely fantastic: “We absolutely loved this tunes music definition. It suitcases a mesmerizing rock n’ roll from ‘walloping & swinging’ bluesy riff soaring sockets, ‘thumping and pumping’ rhythm jubilations alongside a magnetic vocal promise that radiates forth with a snarling affection and rebelling attitude brilliance, loved the harmonious chorus fronts too, which brought a wicked industrial rock presence to their music table too, sensational song!”.Thank you so much!
Except the ginger-men with warpaint, the day also brought us a new new list of The Best Albums of 2018. This time it is from Captain Sound Blog who placed Columbia on the top spot! The highest place on the chart was awarded after the contributors and the readers voted. Thank you!
On 17th of December Live4ever website published their own list of the best albums of the passing year. The Blinders’ debut album landed at number 18 overtaking such well known artists as Low, Car Seat Headrest and Johnny Marr. Being included on this list is again a true honour, Live4ever Media LLC was founded by 3-time Emmy Award winning cinematographer and concert photographer Paul Bachmann, who previously spent a big part of his career working in music video production for some of the world’s top acts. Paul is partnered by The Mic, who brings a tenured background in finance and a keen knowledge of the Irish and UK music scene. Their senior editor is Dave Smith, a professional journalist who worked for The BBC, The Guardian and many other mainstream media. The review read: “Columbia doesn’t beat you over the head with its allegories. Brave New World might not be about Trump’s America, it could be about an ‘idiot king building a wall’ (although the Kardashians reference makes it hard to avoid), and Rat In A Cage doesn’t have to be about the migrant crisis, it could be a straight-forward call to arms, as Dream tells us to ‘come together, we need each other’. The politics is there if you want it to be, but it’s oblique enough to ignore should you choose to. The Blinders join Cabbage, Shame and Idles as pioneers of a movement we’ve needed for some time, giving us faith in rock music again”. Amen to this!
On 19th of December Eudaemonia Blog published their own Album of the Year compilation. The Blinders landed the top spot after the readers voted for their favourites. This only shows that each voice truly counts! Thank you to those who voted and please continue doing so as the more people know, the better.
20th of December turned out to be a great day for The Blinders. The band’s debut album was placed on two Album of the Year lists! The first mention came from Manchester Music Forever of (Mancunia) and Columbia climbed all the way to number 2. The popular website wrote: “An outstanding debut album from these adopted Mancunians. Live band of the year? The Blinders are incredibly hard working and deserving of their success to date and more in 2019”
Second mention of the day came from Luton community radio station Diverse FM and their indie rock show called “Transmission”. Columbia wno the top spot with a rave reviews from the presenters and the audience – so it is a double win for the Doncaster trio!
Indie show Transmission on Diverse FM picks the best albums of 2018
On 21st of December, VMPE blog published their own list of Best Albums of the Year and The Blinders made it to number 12! The moderator of the blog, Andy Von Pip, is a radio plugger at Amazing Radio, moderator for BBC 6 Music, DJ Tom Robinson’s Fresh on the Net and a former member of “BBC’s Sound Of” panel so his praise is not just an empty declaration. This man knows the music business inside and out! Thank you Andy!
On 22nd of December, the loveliest of people at Jimmy’s (our spiritual home in the Northern Quarter!) will play the entire Columbia album to celebrate The Blinder’s success in 2018. After all, it is one of their favourites albums of the year. The party starts at 4:00 pm sharp so if you can be there, please come. (and don’t forget to take some pictures). Oh, and have fun of course!
Jimmy’s will be playing Columbia in full on 22nd of December
On 23rd of December Jon Sidwell a staff writer for Music Liberation Blog published an official list of the best albums of 2018 according to readers and contributors. The Blinders’ debut album finished at number 10 and we are truly grateful for each vote that helped the album go so far! Thank you to all who voted and contributed!
24th of December is a Polish Christmas Day and we couldn’t wish for a better present! Yorkshire Evening Post newspaper published their list of The best of 2018 in Music and yes, you have guessed – The Blinders are mentioned as The Best Album of The Year! Journalist David Hodgeson wrote: “Listeners to the Yorkshire band’s debut album need peak physical fitness, such is the relentless and unceasingly intense energy emitted throughout the breathless opening half, drawing breath at Ballad of Winston Smith, before taking the reins back up again until Orbit (Salmon of Alaska) brings one of the freshest, most invigorating albums of the year to a close. The Blinders demonstrate a level of self-confidence and swagger that belies their young age, the bass line of stand-out track L’Etat C’est Moi forever cerebrally lodged in all affected by it, Brave New World the entry level song. The perfect foil to the similarly unrestrained live set”.
On Boxing Day (26th of December), the kind people at Forkster Music Promotions, published another FAB Singles chart, this time the final rankings for 2018. And what do we have at number 8? The Brave New World by The Blinders. The review: “A magnificent diversity of alternative rock muscle, blues rock beauty, indie rock thrust and industrial rock atmosphere charm”. Great achievement for the band and it only shows how good the Doncaster trio truly is.
On the same day, surprisingly The Blinders received a very positive review for Columbia from a popular Italian music blog called IFB (Indie For Bunnies). Columbia was listed at number 8 on the list of their best albums of the year and this is the first Italian mention for the band. Thank you guys! We have translated the review into the universal speak (aka English) so here you have it: “What a debut album for The Blinders. Three, very young English lads, doing what they do best – playing and creating their music. The record is entitled ‘Columbia’ and belongs to the garage rock genre but has everything you look for in an alternative music – great style, good taste and each member of the band brings his unique personality into the mix. It is not an exaggeration on our part. It is truly a rock and roll album that takes the listener to various musical landscapes, nearly pushing us to the edge. The vocals are raw and hoarse and they fit the pressing, duelling rhythm section. For us – almost a perfect album”. Nothing else to add!
Indie For Bunnies Blog – Columbia was placed at number 8
So we had a small break for Christmas and now it is business as usual! 27th of December and we have four mentions for the Blinders in one single day. The first End of Year summary comes from Traveller’s Tunes blog where the trio ended earning the number one for The Album of The Year. Thank you kindly for fantastic review in September and now for the top spot on your list!
Traveller’s Tunes – Columbia is on the top of the list
The second mention is by the loveliest of people at the Flick of the Finger (again). They gave The Blinders’ single “L’Etat C’est Moi” an honourable mention on the list of Best Singles of 2018, right next to Sly Antics (“Sunday Fear”), Black Honey (“I Only Hurt The Ones I love”), Johnny Marr (“Hi Hello”) and Our Fold (“Don’t You Want A Lover?”). Thank you guys! An honorable mention from you means the world to the band!
Flick of The Finger’s Honourable Mention List of 2018
The third mention belongs to Paste Magazine who just published their list of the new bands to look out for in 2019! The Blinders are their band number 3 and this is what the magazine had to say about the boys: “The Blinders released their highly-anticipated debut album, Columbia, earlier this year via Modern Sky. Originally from Doncaster, this Manchester-based trio takes lyrical inspiration from dystopian science fiction, beat poets, modern-day political turmoil and societal outcasts while echoing the doomy musical mannerisms of Nick Cave and the sinister desert rock of Humbug-era Arctic Monkeys. One of their earliest tracks “ICB Blues” commemorates the brutal killing of Eric Garner by police while “Brave New World” pays homage to the Huxley novel of the same name and pokes fun at Trump’s ludicrous border-wall proposal. Frontman Tom Haywood’s clever, offbeat growls position him as prophetic town crier while vigorous guitars circle around him like a pack of hungry wolves. Columbia is what you get when a young rock band grows up on Bob Dylan, but decides to make something saltier and with an added pinch of danger”. Can we add AMEN to this praise?
Paste Magazine places The Blinders at number 3 for the bands to look out for in 2019
The last and fourth mention for the day is given by another super supportive blog – Even The Star. They printed a lovely review of Columbia on 20th of September and supported the band from the very beginning. On their End of Year List, The Blinders were listed at number 20, but it is always a great achievement for a debuting band. Cheers guys, it means a lot!
Even the Stars blog – The Blinders are on the place number 20!
As a bonus entry, we have information from our friends at Indie Rocks Radio, that their internet pool for the Best album of The Year has just finished! And The Blinders vote by overwhelming majority! They were competing against their label mates, The Slow Readers Club and won 65% to 35%. congratulations to both bands!
Columbia won the Internet audience vote for the best album of 2018
On 28th of December (we are nearly at the end of the year!), Words For Music blog published their own Top 10 of the Best Albums of The Year. This is a real banger of a list with “Joy as an Act Of Resistance” by Idles at number one. The list also contains many acclaimed albums such as “High As A Hope” by Florence and the Machine (number 5), Arctic Monkeys “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino” (number 3) and Shame “Songs of Praise” (number 7). And you may already guessed that number 2 belongs to Columbia. Congratulations to the band (yet again) and thank you to all contributors!
Words for Music blog – Columbia earned a second place
It is always nice when you are appreciated by your own label 🙂 On the same day, Modern Sky UK sent their last newsletter of the year to their subscribers and The Blinders received a heartfelt thank you’s from them and a rave review.
On 29th of December, Columbia was voted the second best album of 2018 by the staff and readers of The Fat Angel Sings blog. The writers explained their decision with a great review: “Columbia is what you get when a young rock band grows up on Bob Dylan, but decides to make something saltier and with an added pinch of danger. It is bracingly thrilling debut which firmly places The Blinders at the vanguard of a new generation of politically engaged British guitar bands. Loosely based around the concept of Columbia as “an alternate world informed by reality”, on the album The Blinders display a ferocious intelligence, as influenced by history, literature and art as they are by Britain’s current political and economic woes”. We cannot add anything else!
The Fat Angel Sings review of Columbia is simply amazing!
For the last few weeks, BBC Introducing in Sheffield were revealing their Top 50 Tracks of 2018 and finally on 29th of December we learnt who ended up in the 3rd place. Since this blog is entirely dedicated to The Blinders, there is no surprise here! BBC Sheffield DJ, Christian Carlisle wrote: “No. 3 is The Blinders and ‘L’Etat C’est Moi’. After an incredible year that saw the release of their outstanding debut album, The Blinders have becoming one of the most exciting and promising new bands to ever emerge from the UK”. So true and thank you BBC Sheffield. You have been championing the best emerging artists for a long time and we are so grateful for your help!
A day later, on 30th of December, BBC Radio 1 honoured The Blinders by featuring the band in Huw Stephen’s last show of the year. It summarized the best albums and the best tracks of 2018. Brave New World has been Huw’s beloved track for months now but it was still a very big surprise! Thank you Huw, you are a star!
BBC Radio ! with Hew Stephens chooses The Blinders among the best songs of the year
And on the same day, The Blinders were also featured on Amazing Radio’s Chart of The Year, taking the amazing 2nd place! Amazing Radio has been one of the biggest supporters of the band and it is lovely to see that they continue to do so. Roll on 2019!
Amazing Radio Chart on their website – mentioning The Blinders
Amazing Radio The Blinders are mentioned in a Tweet
And we reached the 31st of December! What a year it has been! We are looking forward to the next 12 months that will take The Blinders to Europe and beyond. We will finish off the End of Year summary section with a beautiful blog from Sahera Walker, a fellow PR lady, blogger, zine editor and music promoter. Sahera prepared a list of bands we have to listen to in 2019 (pay attention to her selection!) but she also prepared a short list of her absolute favourites from 2018. Of course, The Blinders are listed at number 7 in Sahara’s Top 10 Albums of 2018. Thank you!!
Indie Underground Top 10 of the Best Albums of 2018.
So far we have received a lot of nods and approvals for the album but a long written praise just for a single is not that common. Luckily Steve, the owner of SteveForTheDeaf blog came to the rescue with his last review published on 31st of December. The review for “Brave New World” is the second single he has written about (the first being “L’Etat C’est Moi” in June) and he had some fantastic words for the band: “The Blinders? Played up to their name in 2018. I’m expecting big things in the next 12 months, I just hope they can stay this lean and mean and keep the clutter their inevitable success will bring out of their sound”. Thank you Steve!
The last recognition for the band in 2018 (and probably the most important one) came from the legendary BBC DJ, Steve Lamacq himself. Steve has been championing The Blinders for many years and he was the one who brought them to Maida Vale Studios in London in April to record their session for BBC Introducing. Only few emerging artists can dream of such honour, but when you are called the most important new band in last three decades of rock music… well it is a different story! The Blinders recorded the session, spoke to Steve on air and of course their performance was chosen as one of the best in the last 12 months. The boys cannot do anything wrong, can they?
Steve Lamacq`s Best of Guests on his drive time show on 31.12.2018
You can listen to the show on the voice clip below:
2018 may be over but the “End of Year” and “Best of 2018” lists will continue for at least another month or so. Here is a very nice mention of The Blinders from the JoyZine Magazine published on 2nd of January 2019. The reviewer, Paul Maps wrote: “One band who are beginning to look as though they might do just that are The Blinders whose rabble-rousing psych-flecked anthems on debut LP Columbia has propelled the Doncaster trio onto plenty of ‘ones to watch’ lists”. Thank you so much guys!
JoyZine puts the Blinders on their Best of 2018 lists.
On 7th of January, CG Music Blog published their “Review of Music in 2018” and we have to say, it is a truly interesting read! The Blinders scored number one in the “Best Album” category and they beat Shame, Black Honey and Bodega on their way to the top. Columbia review read: “I’m a big fan of their live sets, and even more so of their first full long player. It can be difficult to translate the sort of performance the Blinders excel at onto a recording but kudos to Producer Gavin Monaghan. You get the same sense of the upcoming apocalypse listening on your earphones as you do when aurally assaulted at one of their incendiary gigs. The bass sound is truly terrifying. This is an album of it’s time and if we do have to go through this nonsense at least we get glorious work like this as a by product. It’s a stunner”. No complaints from us here – the album is a blinder!
On 10th of January, A Spanish blog “Peace, Love and Bananas” (a very unique name!) published their own lists of The Best Albums of 2018. Columbia has received a rave review: “Álbum debut de esta banda. Potente sonido, punk en las guitarras, político en los temas, indie en los estribillos, gótico en el estilo… con algún tema más relajado… una montaña rusa de emociones que promete un buen futuro para ellos.”
It translates to: “Columbia is a debut album for The Blinders. It is a powerful record, with strong punk guitars, indie melodies and political lyrics. We can describe it as dark, almost Gothic in places. Roller-coaster of emotions promises a great future for the trio”. Muchas gracias!
Peace, Love and Bananas. Columbia is one of their best albums of 2018
On 2 of November, the band was played by the legendary American radio station, KEXP 90.3 FM and they chose a rather unexpected song from “Columbia” – “The Hate Song”. Next stop for the lads? Top 20 on Billboard charts 🙂
And yet another play for the band on 13th of December! Thank you!!
KEXP played The Blinders again!
We may not have all the plays but we will keep on adding them as they come:
I Can’t Breath Blues – The Blinders – playing on KEXP Radio at 11:05 on 13-Dec-2018
Hate Song – The Blinders – playing on KEXP Radio at 06:12 on 02-Nov-2018
Did you know that The Blinders are getting big in Japan? A famous club, Organ Bar located in Shibuya in Tokyo, organizes a monthly rock parties where the best new British artists are being introduced to Japanese audience. The Blinders were featured on each party since the beginning of the year, but on the 16th of December, the last party of the year will be dedicated entirely to their music! If you’d like to do your own research online – the Japanese spelling for the band’s name is ザ・ブリンダーズ. Individual names for each members are as follows: トーマス・ヘイウッド（Thomas Haywood)、チャーリー・マックゴー(Charlie McGough)、マシュー・ニール（Matty Neale).
This is the last Astile Party for the Year! Let’s have a great rock bounenkai*!
Make sure you are free to attend. We will be playing music from our new favourite band, The Blinders.
Do not mistake them with the Breeders!
*a special kind end of year party in Japan that lets you forget about troubles and problems and concentrate on starting anew
Thank you Emmy Ishida for your help with translation!
Domestic (as per Airplay Ninja):
Please note that this list does not include local radio-stations plays, only the national ones.
This means that all BBC Introducing plays for example are not monitored and we cannot add them here.
Rat In A Cage – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 12:59 on 10-Apr-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:40 on 08-Apr-2019
Rat In A Cage – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 12:00 on 05-Apr-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 07:27 on 04-Apr-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 03:40 on 04-Apr-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:37 on 01-Apr-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 02:00 on 28-Mar-2019
Rat In A Cage – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:35 on 27-Mar-2019
Rat In A Cage – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 10:57 on 26-Mar-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 05:13 on 26-Mar-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 08:23 on 24-Mar-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 00:26 on 24-Mar-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 00:36 on 22-Mar-2019
Rat In A Cage – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 20:32 on 21-Mar-2019
Rat In A Cage – SXSW Festival – RX 14/03/2019 – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 16:26 on 19-Mar-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 03:06 on 19-Mar-2019
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:11 on 18-Mar-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 05:13 on 17-Mar-2019
Rat In A Cage – SXSW Festival – RX 14/03/2019 – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 17:24 on 15-Mar-2019
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 15:57 on 14-Mar-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 03:28 on 13-Mar-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:13 on 12-Mar-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 05:24 on 10-Mar-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 06:37 on 07-Mar-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 05:00 on 06-Mar-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 00:28 on 03-Mar-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 02:38 on 02-Mar-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 15:18 on 01-Mar-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 00:30 on 25-Feb-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 04:25 on 22-Feb-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 00:19 on 19-Feb-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 07:35 on 17-Feb-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:11 on 16-Feb-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:42 on 14-Feb-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 01:45 on 12-Feb-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 00:22 on 11-Feb-2019
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 01:57 on 10-Feb-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 04:25 on 08-Feb-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 01:49 on 07-Feb-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 23:48 on 04-Feb-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 05:53 on 03-Feb-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 03:15 on 01-Feb-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 23:00 on 30-Jan-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 04:22 on 28-Jan-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 01:44 on 27-Jan-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:31 on 24-Jan-2019
L’E tat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 05:42 on 24-Jan-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 02:17 on 23-Jan-2019
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 01:40 on 21-Jan-2019
Brave New World (Live From Eurosonic 2019) – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:04 on 20-Jan-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:16 on 09-Jan-2019
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:13 on 08-Jan-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 04:23 on 07-Jan-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:46 on 06-Jan-2019
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:50 on 04-Jan-2019
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:21 on 04-Jan-2019
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 12:03 on 03-Jan-2019
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 17:24 on 01-Jan-2019
Brave New World (Introducing Session, 20th Apr 2018) – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 18:10 on 31-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through (Introducing Session, 20th Apr 2018) – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 18:05 on 31-Dec-2018
Brave New World (Introducing Session, 20th Apr 2018) – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:37 on 31-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 18:50 on 30-Dec-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 19:56 on 29-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 13:18 on 30-Dec-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 23:00 on 29-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 20:20 on 27-Dec-2018
Brave New World (Introducing Session, 20th Apr 2018) – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:51 on 27-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:07 on 25-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 21:39 on 23-Dec-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 23:53 on 20-Dec-2018
L’Etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 17:04 on 20-Dec-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 12:03 on 18-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 13:18 on 16-Dec-2018
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 06:22 on 16-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 00:23 on 16-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 20:18 on 13-Dec-2018
I Can’t Breathe Blues – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 16:19 on 13-Dec-2018
Rat In A Cage – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 06:41 on 13-Dec-2018
Brave New World (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:33 on 10-Dec-2018
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 06:31 on 08-Dec-2018
Brave New World (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:33 on 07-Dec-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:39 on 06-Dec-2018
Brave New World (Introducing Session, 20th Apr 2018) – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 18:19 on 05-Dec-2018
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 03:25 on 02-Dec-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 17:58 on 29-Nov-2018
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions 2018) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:13 on 28-Nov-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 23:29 on 27-Nov-2018
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions 2018) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 18:13 on 25-Nov-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 17:52 on 24-Nov-2018
Brave New World (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:33 on 16-Nov-2018
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 05:21 on 12-Nov-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 17:31 on 11-Nov-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 00:51 on 11-Nov-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 16:59 on 10-Nov-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 10:24 on 07-Nov-2018
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 01:41 on 07-Nov-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:26 on 06-Nov-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 01:50 on 06-Nov-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 17:25 on 04-Nov-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 04:24 on 04-Nov-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 23:51 on 03-Nov-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:32 on 01-Nov-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 09:07 on 31-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Radio X at 22:54 on 29-Oct-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:05 on 28-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 16:07 on 28-Oct-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 03:26 on 27-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 10:30 on 24-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:39 on 22-Oct-2018
L’Etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:26 on 21-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 17:30 on 21-Oct-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 03:22 on 20-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 13:57 on 18-Oct-2018
L’Etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 12:22 on 17-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:11 on 17-Oct-2018
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 12:52 on 16-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:14 on 15-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:56 on 15-Oct-2018
I Can’t Breathe Blues – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:46 on 14-Oct-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:34 on 14-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:10 on 14-Oct-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 02:19 on 13-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 09:54 on 12-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:13 on 10-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:42 on 10-Oct-2018
L’Etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:32 on 08-Oct-2018 Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 18:43 on 07-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 19:07 on 06-Oct-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 12:00 on 06-Oct-2018
Orbit (Salmon of Alaska) (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:36 on 05-Oct-2018
Rat In A Cage (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:33 on 05-Oct-2018
Brave New World (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:30 on 05-Oct-2018
Brutus (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:23 on 05-Oct-2018
Et Tu (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:21 on 05-Oct-2018
Ballad of Winston Smith (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:19 on 05-Oct-2018
I Can’t Breath Blues (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:16 on 05-Oct-2018
Free the Slaves (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:14 on 05-Oct-2018
Where No Man Comes (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:10 on 05-Oct-2018
Hate Song (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:07 on 05-Oct-2018
L’Etat C’est Moi (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:03 on 05-Oct-2018
Gotta Get Through (LP Version) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:00 on 05-Oct-2018 Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:57 on 04-Oct-2018 Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:26 on 04-Oct-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:46 on 03-Oct-2018 Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:34 on 02-Oct-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 12:34 on 02-Oct-2018
I Can’t Breathe Blues – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 17:27 on 01-Oct-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 15:09 on 01-Oct-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 13:16 on 01-Oct-2018
Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska) – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 12:26 on 01-Oct-2018
Rat In A Cage – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 08:54 on 01-Oct-2018
L’Etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:27 on 30-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 18:46 on 30-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 06:51 on 30-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:54 on 28-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 04:12 on 28-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:22 on 28-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Radio X at 23:02 on 26-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 18:57 on 26-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 11:09 on 26-Sep-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 23:28 on 25-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:16 on 25-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 17:16 on 24-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 18:10 on 23-Sep-2018
Rat In A Cage – The Blinders – playing on BBC Introducing Manchester at 21:52 on 22-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 17:52 on 22-Sep-2018
Et Tu – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 16:23 on 21-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 12:26 on 21-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Radio X at 00:31 on 21-Sep-2018
I Can’t Breathe Blues – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 00:18 on 21-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 19:19 on 20-Sep-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 22:32 on 18-Sep-2018
Hate Song (Introducing Session, 20th Apr 2018) – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 16:26 on 19-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 13:46 on 18-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Radio X at 22:52 on 17-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 06:44 on 15-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 12:47 on 13-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 00:42 on 11-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 17:21 on 10-Sep-2018
Gotta Get Through – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 23:42 on 08-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 06:45 on 07-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 17:03 on 06-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 23:20 on 04-Sep-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 20:56 on 04-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 14:12 on 04-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 16:55 on 03-Sep-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 17:00 on 01-Sep-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 17:06 on 31-Aug-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 15:51 on 31-Aug-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 6 Music at 17:42 on 30-Aug-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 04:53 on 29-Aug-2018
L’etat C’est Moi – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 20:59 on 28-Aug-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 18:28 on 28-Aug-2018
Brave New World – The Blinders – playing on BBC Radio 1 at 14:59 on 26-Aug-2018
Photo-session and Exhibition
The Blinders by Paul Husband (copyrighted)
Professionally taken pictures are the heart and soul of each marketing campaign. For the new album and new tour, The Blinders worked with renowned photographers to ensure that their live images (such as taken by Manchester based photography wizard Trust A Fox) or the ones taken in the studio, are of the best quality.
Their studio session has been shot by Paul Husband, another very talented photographer. And the session went so well that The Blinders’ pictures were used in Paul’s international exhibition that opened on 20th of October 2018 at the Manchester Bar in Montpelier in France! How cool is that!!
Although it is not a part of the meet & greet tour, HMV Worcester receives a honorary mention for displaying this by the main doors. You guys are amazing!
Also, we have heard that Glasgow branch had to be re-stoked twice on the premiere day! Oh me, oh my oh Roy… (but it is the wrong band!)
HMV in Worcester knows the best music when they hear it!
Columbia banner is ready to be taken to the barricades
Close up number 2
And close up number 3
Works of Arts; We all know that “Columbia” is a true work of (musical) art and it is nothing shocking that other artists are being inspired by it. If you have seen the band performing on Kendall Calling Festival, you may have noticed two beautiful artworks displayed near the tent. They were made from broken vinyl records and the pieces were assembled into the Columbia’s cover artwork, or the face of Johnny Dream. The artist behind this very unique work is Kirk Whitehouse and his art is known as the “Smashed Hits” artworks. Kirk has been working with pieces of old vinyl records for years and his artworks have been exhibited many times in the UK and abroad. They were also featured in magazines, press and in hundreds of other publications (digital and print). Kirk is not only a very successful artist but also a volunteer and regional manager for Musicians Against Homelessness charity. His work took him recently to London where he spoke to the Parliament about the growing homelessness crisis. He managed to convinced several MP’s to their very worth cause! Kirk lives in Birmingham with his wife and two daughters. He is open for commissions so please contact him if you’d like your own smashed hits piece of art.
You can see the picture of the Blinders posing with the Columbia artwork at the festival and with the artist in tow):
Another artist inspired by The Blinders is the excellent Nick Dillon! Manchester native, Nick is a pop (culture) artist that specializes in portraits using embossing and debossing techniques. Each artwork he makes takes about 100 hours and everything you see is done by hand. Nick’s works have been exhibited numerous times and the biggest rock stars and football clubs are among his clients. The Columbia artwork is very unique as Nick decided to emboss all lyrics on one canvas – that’s staggering 7500 letters! We don’t know how long this piece took him but it must have been twice the usual amount of time. The artwork will be displayed on The Blinder’s London gig on 7th of November in London.
And here you can see the artwork being prepared. It looks simply breathtaking!
Fanarts: The Blinders’ artistic vision is encouraging fans to create as well. The first fan-arts inspired by the dystopian tale are starting to appear and we are sure, there will be more and more coming up soon. Just last month, we only had two artworks created by Polish graphic designer, Marek Zbrozlo and they feature the lead singer (Thomas Haywood) in a traditional style and his alter ego (Johnny Dream) as a comic book character. In the next few weeks, more and more artists joined in and we now have a small art gallery on the blog!
In July 2018, two friends, Mark and Nick had a genius idea – why not merge bands and musicians’ logos with the logos of their favourite football clubs? After all, it is a common knowledge that there is nothing better under the sun than football and the music. This is how Bands F.C. was born and it quickly took over the world! At this moment, Bands F.C. have nearly 400 logos, badges, prints, t-shirts and one of their design is that for The Blinders! The design merges Doncaster Rovers Football Club logo with the character of Johnny Dream (the make up obviously) and the three Ouroboros joined together (logo of Nasty Men Creations, the visualization company behind all The Blinders videos, pictures and merch).
The Blinders Bands F.C. design
You can also see the design Bands F.C. did for the upcoming Blossoms, The Coral, Fuzzy Sun and Cabbage concert at Edgeley Park (the home stadium of the Stockport Country F.C.) on 22nd of June 2019! We hope to see the bands were their respective t shirts while performing!
The success of Bands F.C. made it possible for other artists to start something similar. Another artistic initiative called Bands as Beer is trying to merge bands logos with their favorite beverages! Simple but genius! The artists behind the Bands As Beer are working as a collective under the 67 Inc brand. The Blinders have been merged with their favourite beer, The John Smith’s and the results look like this:
“Dream the most dangerous of dreams” – The Blinders “Columbia”
So, I have got copy of “Columbia” – the debut album by The Blinders. When I am writing this review (or rather an essay), it is exactly three weeks to physical release of the album and the world is buzzing. Tickets to upcoming tour start to fly out, the performance at Leeds and Reading festivals put the band on radars and lips of thousands of people, series of record store performances and signing sessions has been unveiled for September. Their songs are Radio 1 and 6 Music singles of the week, Guardian mentions, 300-400 tweets generated a day, real talk among A&Rs and business insiders that the album may go into top 40, every indie band I know looks up to them – you get the picture.
This is a young, promising act on the edge of great things to come. They are the new Manic Street Preachers – throwing intellectualism, poetry and art at the world, loudly commenting political reality, wearing war paint and messages on their instruments.
They are once-in-a-generation band, a trio of working class lads from Doncaster with vision, balls and talent to offer the jaded, over-saturated world of pop music something fresh. And people are drawn to it. You will see more and more fans jumping on The Blinders bandwagon as the time goes by. I`m old enough to see this happen several times in the past. It is exciting and scary, both for the writer and the band. I`ll get to that scary part at the end of this essay.
But back to the task at hand. How do you review “Columbia”? A deeply personal record for me for myriad of reasons. Do you do a regular review about the music and the cover and lyrics? Do you do a more in-depth account throwing some of your personal experiences into the mix?
I`ll write the emotional account – because I can`t do otherwise. It would not be honest. Especially since I have been championing and shouting about The Blinders daily for the last 2,5 years. And I don’t want this review to look like it`s written by a PR person for the band.
This review is done because The Blinders won me over.
Because we share the same background and love for high art.
Because we have similar determination in life.
And because we have “met” in a “right” moment.
In store appearances scheduled after Columbia comes out on 21st September 2018
“Columbia” is an angry album. It`s written by musicians who come of age in a dark period – full of corrupted figures that divide not just people but the world with walls and borders, planet full of CCTV cameras and reality shows, party identities, wars, destruction of the environment, zero hours contracts and social media aka Big Brother.
The band grew up in a post industrial town with outdated architecture (“granite building and 1960s concrete bridges and the factories – they were just making electric fridges” from “Orbit”), read Orwell at school (1984 is a constant motive though out several songs on the album such as “Where No Man Comes” or “Ballad of Winston Smith”) and looked carefully around to witness modern poverty (“men and women worked to death”, “darkness seems to take its hold over both the poor and old”), saturation with news (“forgotten stories on the news”), refugee crisis (“fox hunt the refugees”) and general hopelessness (“feel so helpless all time”).
This will lead to righteous anger at previous generations and the state of the world. “Who will stand against them all?” ask The Blinders in “Ballad of Winston Smith” and follow up with a passionate soliloquy in “Free The Slave” against religious leaders, political figures and society in general.
Bleakness takes the center of the stage next to anger on “Columbia”. “They gonna build the Berlin Wall, divide us in two, and kill me and you” – screams Thomas Haywood at one point and this is not the only violent moment. Police brutality is referenced on “I Can`t Breathe Blues,” dragging people in the middle of the night from their beds is mentioned in “Where No Man Comes” and there is talk about having your throat slit in “Brutus”. “Rat in a Cage” goes as far as to offer us an apocalyptic vision of devastated earth (“polluted and poisoned and dying race, our god doesn’t want to see the end of days”).
Columbia Tour poster for Autumn 2018
It is enough to make any young man pick up an instrument and scream into the void. And this is what The Blinders are doing with exceptional skills. Their younger listeners will agree, but what about you older, more established members of society? Do you feel the same anger and hopelessness? Do you remember yourself from the way back when you were twenty – something and you too wanted to change the world? What do you see and what do you feel when you listen to “Columbia”?
I almost forgot how it felt when I breathed anger at lack of prospects, walls and crazed political heads. Until “Columbia” arrived in its 12 track glory and hit me right in the chest. The album caused me physical pain – at the memories of growing up in a rundown mining town (to which I hate to return even now), living in a Grenfell Tower like building in the middle of a council estate. In a world behind the Iron Curtain at a time when Berlin Wall was still standing and people were shot for trying to get to the other side. Give or take, The “Orbit” or “The Ballad of Winston Smith” can be about me – for I too read 1984 in class, as art and literature were the only forms of escape. In desperation to have an impact on the world I even picked a tool of trade, but it wasn’t a guitar. It was a camera…
“Columbia” was recorded in winter of 2017 at the Magic Garden studio with Gavin Monaghan as producer. It is the final stop in a long journey the band went though in the last two-three years. It captures the spirit of their live performance to the last sparkle. If you have seen The Blinders live you will notice immediately that “Et Tu”, “Brutus” and “Berlin Wall” come one after another on the record, in the same order as they come on stage. The band likes to use all three compositions to end their shows with a proper punch. Two older songs “Brave New World” and “I Can`t Breathe Blues” albeit in newer versions made it onto the record. “ICB Blues”originally appeared on the 2016 EP “Hidden Horror Dance”, while “Brave New World” was previously released as a stand-alone single in 2017. If one follows the band, there is very little new material you can hear on the record. All three main singles “Gotta Get Through”, “L`Etat C`Est Moi” and “Brave New World” have been on the radio since March. “Brutus” and “Hate Song” are in regular rotation during live performances since last year. If you watch Pirate Studios performance from 2017 you can see early version of “Hate Song” being named “March March March” (19:00 mins mark). “Rat in a Cage” and “Orbit (Salmon of Alaska)” appeared in live versions on socials in recent weeks, so the only new compositions that have not been heard are “Where No Man Comes” and short “Free The Slave”. Is it bad? Not at all in my eyes. I regard “Columbia” as crowning achievement of the bands potential so far. They evolved so much in such a short time that it is incredible to observe. “Columbia” brings and ties all the ends from their career so far in one spectacular album.
Do yourself a little favour and listen to very early demos from Thomas Haywood`s SoundCloud account. Songs such as “Ballad of Johnny Dream” and “Wither” (or even “Death of Narcissist”) had a huge influence on “Orbit” and “Ballad of Winston Smith”. There is also a very early demo of “Ramona Flowers” and “You`re So Cold” aptly entitled “The Darkest Thing I Ever Did Feel” on the account for those who are familiar with band`s older repertoire.
It is a privilege to see any band develop, less alone a band that will define the voice of a generation. I`ve been very lucky to discover The Blinders in May (?) 2016. Music Business is a cut throat industry, there are more bands that break up than those who make it. It takes determination, sacrifices, and being single minded to stick with being in a band.
I recently interviewed The Blinders and asked them what profession they would pursue if they haven’t been making music. “We’d probably all be butchers or something” came an answer. And then they added: “At the end of the day without signing a deal [with label Modern Sky UK] we wouldn’t be talking to you about our debut album. We’d still be scrapping around trying get Brave New World recorded. We were given the chance and we took it, and we can’t more grateful for that. We are now in a situation where we can pursue art and writing for a living, so you can’t complain”.
Those words stayed with me and returned to me when listening to “Columbia”. The band put everything what they had into their music and stayed on course despite heavy odds. Both Thomas Haywood and drummer Matthew Neale left university without a degree. They were also lucky to land a recording deal. Without it, who can say how things would turn out?
If I can be very personal for a short moment again. Here comes another reason why I have such an emotional relationship with “Columbia” and the band. I mentioned that we “met” in a “right” time. Like them, I was pursuing a dream despite heavy losses, ridicule and scrapping by. In ten years I did not manage to break into the industry I loved despite being ready to sacrifice everything for it. Even my personal safety. Even life. Then trauma came and put the end to my chosen career. I relocated to UK in February 2016 with a life long illness and lack of direction. I put together whatever was left of “old” me and started all over again slowly building up a path as an A&R on the indie circuit. Another country, another career with apologies to David Bowie. The Blinders were one of the first bands I took notice of. And their music stayed with me since. In an ironic twist of fate our paths seem to cross on the indie circuit. If I seen them live at a venue, the next week one of the bands I worked with would be playing the same stage. To me and to me only “Columbia” is not just an album that shows true talent of three young lads. It is a soundtrack to my own personal journey to where I am now. The record entangled itself (or maybe I made it this way) with what happened in the last years and will always remind me of the bleakest and most victorious moments. That’s my own “concept” behind the record.
Thomas Haywood (“Johnny Dream”) performing with The Blinders (“Codeine Scene”) at The Sunflower Lounge on 16.02.2018
To anyone else it can be a striking concept album telling a story of a dystopian state of Columbia, where people disappear at nights, where police is free to murder and oppress, where population live in poverty and the young feel anger and solitude. Where Johnny Dream is calling to break out from mental cages and to support one another. Where despite the evil and the suffering there is still place for compassion, love and will to survive.
It can also be a set of twelve songs without any story behind them that try to make sense of the messed up world we live in.
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. Sometimes there`s spirit of Jim Morrison there in the spoken parts, sometimes you will hear Oasis or The Beatles or even Pink Floyd flirting with David Bowie. You can hear Mark Bolan`s groove. There are some oriental musical themes that make me think of Kula Shaker. But mostly, mostly 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.
The album may be bleak as the abyss but I can see The Blinder`s future in quite a positive light. At the end of this review I`d like to refer to one single thing I find worrying. Here`s a small appeal to fellow music press folks – please do not treat the bands members and especially the vocalist as some sort of rock gods. I find the comparisons to “messiahs” or “Jim Morrisson” absurd and dangerous. Stage persona is not necessarily how artists are in real life. Please enjoy the show and leave the whole rock god icon in the past. 4REAL.
Columbia is out on 21st September 2018 via Modern Sky UK.
1. Gotta Get Through
2. L’Etat C’Est Moi
3. Hate Song
4. Where No Man Comes
5. Free The Slaves
6. I Can’t Breathe Blues
7. Ballad Of Winston Smith
8. Et Tu
9. Brutus/Berlin Wall
10. Brave New World
11. Rat In A Cage
12. Orbit (Salmon of Alaska)
We continue our series of interviews with musicians we think shape music scenes and sonic landscapes around us this year. They don`t have to be spring chickens leading revolutions and tearing roofs off the venues. They can be experienced artists, wiser in their business ways and accompanied by a trusty guitar. And they are still relevant, on point and powerful in their expression. Today, we present you Ian Passey, who is the force behind The Humdrum Express. Ian will be one of the artists that will rock Worcester for Musicians Against Homelessness. Read on, dear friends. This is as we say: banger of an interview and an artist you have to know.
An esteemed artist, Ian Passey, has built a solid fan base in the West Midlands under his moniker, The Humdrum Express. Championed by BB6 Music and sharing stages with the rock and roll greatest, Ian is returning to his home turf this September to support Worcester Music Festival and play a charitable show for the national campaign, Musicians Against Homelessness. We have met Ian to discuss his many achievements, stardom and new music he is currently working on.
BBC describes you as “One man, a few instruments and a thousand things to worry about”. Who exactly is Ian Passey?
Ian Passey: I’m a singer/songwriter based in Kidderminster. I’ve been writing songs for as long as I can remember, firstly as a member of various bands (Smedley, Jackpot, Swagger). After a bit of a break, I decided to do my own thing, initially bedroom recordings, before taking the plunge back into gigging. Ten years later, I’m still here – writing and performing with as much enthusiasm as I’ve ever had. I suppose the “thousand things to worry about” tag came from the underdog slant of the lyrics, attempting to fear the worst in a humorous way. Either that or it’s a good guess!
The Humdrum Express is your solo project. You write your own music, produce your albums and play all instruments – you are a one man band. Do you prefer to work alone?
Ian Passey: Although that was the case a few years ago, in more recent times, I’ve really enjoyed working with other people. My last couple of albums and most recent EP has been produced by Mick Lown. Not only is he fun to work with, but also has a great knack of suggesting ideas and instrumentation to suit a particular song. It’s a refreshing way to work which helps to prevent getting stuck in a rut. As far as videos go, I’ve been teaming up with Nick J. Townsend pretty regularly. Again, he’s someone I really enjoy working with to help expand on some of my ideas. I love to get as many people involved as possible with the videos and I’m always amazed by how many love being a part of them. I’ve also got several musician friends, who have enhanced some of the recordings for which I’m extremely grateful. Long may these collaborations continue! I’m always on the lookout for new ones if anyone’s interested…
Ian Passey performing – photo by Arthur Passey
It is hard to categorize your music. Some journalists put you into spoken word or singer/songwriter category; others consider you to be a prime example of what experimental music should sound like. How do you feel about the constant need of squeezing artist into existing genres? Is there any style that could comfortably describe what you are doing or do you avoid being labelled at all?
Ian Passey: The need for genres is something that has bugged me for years! I always put lyrics ahead of any particular musical style and I’m quite happy to change it when the need arises. I love the spoken word style as much as the classic verse/chorus/middle eight structures. It all about getting the maximum impact from a phrase, I suppose.
Your lyrics, an important part of your music, are complex and straightforward. They’ve earned you a reputation of a “bespectacled observationist, casting a cynical eye over exasperating times”. Where do you look for inspiration?
Ian Passey: I don’t really look anywhere for it, but always seem to stumble across something. That being said, this is proving to be my leanest year, writing wise, for some time. Perhaps I should start looking?! Like most artists, I work better when there’s a deadline looming so maybe I should start thinking about album number six…
The Humdrum Express album “(Failed Escapes from the) Clones Town Blues” received great reviews from leading music journalists such as Steve Lamacq. Your newest release “The Day My Career Died” has been championed on BB6 Music. Has the exposure helped you to advance your career outside of West Midlands?
Ian Passey: It’s been fantastic in so many ways. Being pitched alongside artists I admire has helped improve and focus my writing. The thought of being found out as an impostor drives me on to write stuff worthy of the airplay! The knock-on effect is obviously the new people all over the world who suddenly have access to your music.
You have shared stages with many legends: performance poet John Cooper Clarke, Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü), Ian McCulloch (Echo & the Bunnymen), The Wombats, Half Man Half Biscuit, The Wedding Present, Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers) and Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff) to name just a few. If you could choose another person to perform with, who would that be?
Ian Passey: Tricky question! Billy Childish would be nice as it would mean he was back playing live again. I did three dates with John Cooper Clarke around 2010 and I’d love the opportunity again, although the venues he’s packing out these days are much bigger than back then. I was due to support the Sleaford Mods a couple of years ago until the promoter in Leamington opted for a more local act instead. That would have been great, but it wasn’t to be.
You are probably the only person from Kidderminster to ever play at Glastonbury festival. How do you remember this experience?
Ian Passey: Hazily! I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one from Kidderminster either! It was hardly the Pyramid stage but it was great fun. I seem to recall the act on before me end with a cover of “Take on me” by A-ha which the crowd lapped up. I’m not sure why, but I thought I’d end my own set in similar fashion… by tearing through “Gather in the mushrooms” by Benny Hill! Unless my memory is playing tricks, I received a standing ovation!
We have to ask you – was “Worcester Woman (Forgate Me Not)” written about a real person linked to the city or is it licentia poetica?
Ian Passey: I’ve always viewed that one as a bit of general daftness! It’s a fictional tale that attempts to mix romance with political terminology. It doesn’t get played too often but I’m tempted to give it an airing on 22nd September, particularly as The Marr’s Bar gets a mention.
The Humdrum Express has many faithful supporters on the local scene. You have played Worcester Music Festival several times, always coming back by popular demand. This year you will also support Crisis charity by performing at Musicians Against Homelessness event on 22nd of September. You will appear on the acoustic stage.
Ian Passey: I’ve been lucky enough to play at every Worcester Music Festival apart from the very first one. As it happens, I’m not playing this time but will be promoting an evening as I have done for the past three years. My event will take place at The Firefly on the Sunday, featuring several of my favourite grass roots discoveries.
What are your plans for the autumn? Any upcoming tours?
Ian Passey: I’ve got some great gigs on the horizon… I’m playing my biggest headline show to date at The Rose Theatre in Kidderminster on 7th October (tickets available from their website!) It’s a near 200 capacity all seater venue and, without giving too much away, will be much more than the usual gig format. I’ve also got dates with the likes of CUD, Mark Morriss and Half Man Half Biscuit to look forward to, so it should be a fun few months. I’m releasing a brand new single early in November with an accompanying video, so I’m pretty busy until the end of the year.
On September 22 2017, Worcester will be rocked by Musicians Against Homelessness campaign. The town will host an annual gig to raise funds for Crisis, an NGO that help vulnerable people. This year yours truly are involved and our role is to bring to light and attention of general public the amazing artists who will be playing for the fundraiser. We have already profiled nth cave for this blog. It`s time to meet Lost Tiger To The Wild.
Believe us or not, we found them via Twitter when they were still under a different name around a year and half ago, we have been in the first row on their debut gig, we may have passed a word about them to a DJ or two. It was a pleasure to watch this duo grow into confident artists. Now it is a pleasure to present them on this blog.
Hear us roar
Jokingly referred to as the rock and roll version of the Thompson Twins (who were not real twins mind you!) brothers Alfie and Zack Jeavons-Fellows are on the straight way to stardom. Their sudden appearance on Worcester music scene less than a year ago was a true musical knock out. Powerful riffs, rhythmic beats combined with talent for writing songs you cannot get out of your head, proved to be a winning combination. We have caught up with the skilled duo to speak about their early success, getting noticed and their upcoming music.
You are identical twins, we are not seeing double, are we?
Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: (laughing) Yes, we are identical twins; born a minute apart. I’m the older of us both.
Lost Tiger to the Wild is an interesting name for a band – half poetic and half cryptic. Can you explain where it came from?
Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: We found the phrase in a book. The quote read “We have lost a tiger to the wild”. We liked the way the words worked together, so we went with ‘Lost Tiger to the Wild’. For us the name is about being free and independent.
Zac, you normally play the lead guitar and sing, while your brother Alfie is wreaking havoc behind his drum kit. However, you are known to switch places or play different instruments such as ukulele or keyboard during your performances. Is it hard to play only with your brother as a duo or do you prefer to keep it simple?
Zac Jeavons-Fellows: Playing as a duo is easier for us. We get on really well, have similar mindsets and share an approach to our music. Decision-making is much easier. And of course sorting rehearsals is simple. We are keeping it simple; it works for us at the moment.
Are you working with any other local musicians? Do you have a backing band that is supporting you on stage on special occasions?
Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: Yes, we do. We’ve added a bass and lead guitarist for a recent live gig, which was really good for us because we were able to experiment with the solid guitar sound that Lost Tiger is about.
Many young bands look up to your own musical heroes such as Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks, Kasabian, Oasis or Catfish and The Bottlemen and their influences can easily be heard. The music you make is hard to categorize – it is rhythmic and energetic, yet very original. What inspires you to write?
Zac Jeavons-Fellows: Song writing is all about the riff for me. The lyrics come after. I can’t really tell you where the inspiration comes from. We probably draw from blues, a bit of soul and plenty of guitar rock, although we do listen to lots of different music. Lyrics generally come from experiences – some of my own and some that I see other people going through.
Read to Rock! Photo from band archives.
BBC Introducing gave you one of the best recommendations we have seen in years. “Great guys, great melodies, great live shows, great future ahead of them”. It is not easy to impress people who listen to music for a living.
Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: (laughing again) People who listen to live music for a living are our best critics. Honest feedback is what helps us drive forwards. The BBC Introducing chaps were really good to work with, funnily enough we bumped in to Andrew Marston after our Coventry University gig and we see Andy O’Hare all over the place. Good blokes.
You are represented by prestigious Coalition Talent Entertainment Agency in London, responsible for shaping careers of well-known acts such as Shoala Ama, Pixie Lott, The Wombats or Artful Dodger. How did your partnership begin?
Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: Once our social media started to kick off, we found several agents were getting in touch. Rather than leap at the first offer we have received, we waited for a proven talent management team that could help push our careers on. Coalition got in touch in February, making some really positive noises so we met with them in London and soon agreed to work together. Being part of the Coalition stable gives us a chance to perform with lots of other professional artists.
We have to ask about our favourite track, Remember to Breathe. You played it at the BBC session at the Railway in Redditch to rave reviews and great compliments from the crowd. It is a powerful track with thoughtful lyrics. Tell us more about this song.
Zac Jeavons-Fellows: I have had the chorus riff for ages and loved the way it sounded with a decent fuzz pedal. Alf developed the song without lyrics a lot and it still sounds exactly the same. Coming up with lyrics to compliment the gritty sound was a struggle until I heard a bluesy song called “Remember to Breathe” written by Australian busker, Owen Campbell. It just clicked. With a little bit of tweaking, the lyrics fitted perfectly over my verse and chorus. We love it. Hope Owen will too, when he hears it.
Lost Tiger to the Wild – performing at the Marrs Bar on 5th May 2017 – their debut gig
Debut gig on May the 5th 2017 – force was definitely with the band
Lost Tiger was only founded in November 2016 and you have been performing extensively ever since. Your achievements are most impressive: on 17th of May you played at the sold out CUSU Summer Ball 2017 at the legendary Coventry University Students’ Union supporting Tinie Tempah; on the 10th of June you supported Lethal Bizzle at University of Essex and recently you headlined a gig for UNCOVER sessions night in Worcester. Where are you going to play next?
Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: Our next gig is the Monmouthshire Filthy Girl Mud Run After party at the beginning of September. We played the sister event in Derbyshire about a month ago which was great fun. The crowd was really up for it. Top gigs are all about the audience.
On 22nd of September you will return to Marrs Bar in Worcester to take part in Musicians Against Homelessness initiative in support of Crisis (charity combating homelessness). This nation-wide musical event is championed by Alan McGee, the founder of Creation Records and manager of Primal Scream, Oasis and The Libertines. Are you preparing anything special for the night?
Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: The Marrs Bar is the home of original music in Worcester so we’ll definitely be playing our own music. If everything goes well, we’re hoping to debut a couple of new tracks. We’re really pleased to be part of the event.
Debut gig at the Marrs Bar.
Outside of your musical careers, you are very keen on sports, especially rugby. You both play for Stourbridge RFC, also with great success. We hope you are not thinking about a sudden career-change.
Zac Jeavons-Fellows: No, don’t worry! We’re really into music; it’s what we really want to do.
Last but not least – the fun question. Tell us the most rock and roll thing that has happened to you so far.
Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: I think it’d be best if we keep that one to ourselves… if you ask us face to face we may answer differently.
Since we are already in July and the days are longer, we will have a double (or maybe even a triple) portion of Indieterria this month. So much music to listen to and great bands to tell you about. This episode is all about Thomas and Mary Yaman, known professionally as TommyandMary. This is our pleasure and privilege to introduce you dear readers to punk rock duo that is building themselves a cult following in London. Based in Brixton, they work hard, play even harder and have won their fans not only by the strength of their music, but also because of the affection and respect they show each other.
We have sat down with Tommy and Mary to speak about their new album, busking, being independent artists and song writing.
Forget about Sid and Nancy, we have got better couple in town! And they rock!
The Angels of Brixton
The Angels of Brixton
You are described as British answer to The White Stripes. Like Jack and Meg White, you are married and until recently, you have played exclusively with each other. You also divide band duties in similar way as Mary plays drums whilst Tommy concentrates on guitars and vocals. Do you consider comparisons to The White Stripes to be a badge of honour, lazy journalism or perhaps you just don’t care?
Tommy: I think people will always compare us to The White Stripes and many other duos. I personally don’t think we sound like The White Stripes at all. I grew up when The Strokes, Kings of Leon and The Libertines and off course The White Stripes all came out at the same time. But Jack and Meg were never my cup of tea. Mary didn`t even know who they were until someone mentioned them to her while we were busking.
Can you remember the moment when you two decided to form a band together?
Tommy: Yes, very well. We were outside my old apartment where Mary and I lived for a while. The band I was in at the time and Mary joined had split. I wanted to play solo as I found it difficult to cope with all 5 personalities I had to play with at the time. And Mary thought it would be cool if we played just us two and carried on our musical journey together.
The fondness you show for each other is unparalleled on the indie scene. Band bio says “TommyandMary are one word because we are that close”. You wear matching attires (“I prefer the drummer” – Tommy, “Unavailable” – Mary) and then there is “Angels” – powerful love song about yourselves released as a single. We have to say – it is incredible to witness such affection.
Mary posing in her signature “Unavailable” tee
Tommy wearing his “I prefer the drummer” shirt
Mary: Music is a very sensitive and fragile form of art and the fact that we are married and are in a band together just makes it even more personal. We grow together as individuals and as musicians and the love that we have for each other makes everything seem possible. I hope it shows in our music!
Another thing that sets you apart from other acts is your working ethics. For the last two years you have combined regular gigs with extensive busking. It seems the life on an independent artist is pretty intensive.
Tommy: We’ve stopped busking for now. We couldn’t stand it anymore (laughs) but I think we learnt a lot from it. It built our confidence.
Your busking escapades quickly turned into a permanent residency at the Oxford Circus attracting hundreds of people each time you played. Can you tell us how does it feels to be playing on Britain’s busiest street?
Tommy: Busking gave us an opportunity to meet some amazing people from all over the world and acquire some professional contracts. Mary got sponsored by Underground and we both got sponsored by company called W.S.Studio. Not to mention that we had once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to record our latest album “Authority” at Rupert Cobb’s Gun Hill Studios with the AMAZING Gary Wallis. So I think the goods outweighs the amounts of times we were harassed by the public and judged for being beggars by some clothing companies that had no idea about our passion for performing and playing music.
Tommy at The 100 Club
Mary posing for the Underground brand
Is it safe to be a busker in London? And a question that must follow the first one – is it profitable in the times of everlasting rush and gripping austerity?
Tommy: I think anything is profitable when your passion for something is bigger than the price. And to be honest, no it isn’t safe. Especially when there is still a minority of crazy, ignorant people in the world and as a busker you are exposed to it.
Your regular gigs took you to some of capital`s most celebrated venues. Among many 100 Club, Nambucca, Camden Assembly and now 229. How is club circuit responding to independent acts?
Tommy: We’ve definitely been to some amazing venues like 100 Club and 93 Feet East. It gave us a chance to meet some bands and musicians that have been in the game for a while longer than us. It’s inspiring but also feels overwhelming.
Mary at The 100 Club
TommyandMary supported number of prolific artists, most recently The Telescopes. How do you recall that particular show?
Tommy: Having been on the same stage as some legendary acts, we both felt like we really had to step up and not let our ancestors down.
Mary, you are known for very technical and powerful style of drumming despite downsizing your kit to bare essentials. Something similar was practiced by Palmolive (original sticks woman of the punk heroines The Slits). What inspired you to hit things for a living?
Mary: I can’t agree with saying that my drumming is technical at all. In fact loads of drummers criticised me about the way I sit, hold sticks and set up my drum kit. But yeah, I prefer aggressive style of drumming as it allows me to feel the songs and it is just boring otherwise. Tommy suggested busking one day and I just went with it.
As a band`s chief tunesmith, you don’t shy from tacking contemporary topics such as corporate/precarious work (“My manager is a prick”), obsession with celebrities (“Rich acting Rich For The Poor”) or going though existential crisis (“Red”). Do you believe that it is important for artists to be socially and politically active?
Tommy: I believe if an artist is only writing about ego or their own spoilt opinions, he or she is avoiding the honesty that lays in each person’s heart. Whether this is political or not, the truth is that we are all in this journey together and being ignorant, self indulgent or judgmental isn’t something that I encourage. But being empathetic to both worlds, the ego and the selflessness give me an insight into what lays in-between inaction and people’s willingness to ensemble, and this is something worth writing about. Contradiction is something that is often reflected in my thoughts and actions and I want to learn more about psychological and philosophical aspects of writing. So I don’t think politics is really my strength.
The band is on their third independent release. “Authority” was debuted earlier this year and was recorded at Gun Hill Studios in London. It is a significant change in sound compared to “The Things we love” (2015) and “Smoke Break -Side A” (2016). Your songs are layered, elaborate even. Are you satisfied with this new direction?
Sleeve to debut release Together We Love
Smoke Break -Side A – collage and pins, this record is in our musical archives and is signed!
Authority – third release
Tommy: For our first album “Together We Love”, I had written all the songs and Mary didn’t have much of a say or creative input. But as we grew musically together, we began to think collaboratively on our sound and direction. Our experiences started to reflect in our music and we really started to learn more about our sound and what we wanted to write about.
“Authority” is accompanied by three promotional videos (“Angels”, “Authority”, “The Rich acting Rich For The Poor”) and an alternative DIY video to “The Rich…” directed by the band, a fan documentary and a video interview. That’s an enormous amount of work put into promoting the album. Do you enjoy collaborating with others?
Tommy: We have made a lot of friends from our music and we absolutely love spending time with them. The DIY videos that we made are all about the collaboration that we can have with our friends and using their talents to make things happen. But also it is important for us to have a great time making something together.
We heard though a grapevine that you are planning to introduce a new guitarist to the fold.
Tommy: A lot of bands add members after a while to create a wider range of sounds. We decided that this isn’t the direction we want to take. We want to keep it as it is. We don’t want to change. Although we were thinking of bringing a friend in for our next show as he is an amazing guitarist and writer. I know for sure that he will be very successful with his music in the long run. But no, we won’t be adding another band member.
Random. Last. Question. If you could travel to the golden years of rock music with whom would you tour?
Tommy: The Clash did a lot of busking in their days. So I would have liked to play a few shows with them. I think Mary’s drums would have been a huge factor in pushing boundaries in the late 70s (laughs). Or perhaps I could be in New York playing a few shows at CBGB`s with The Dead Boys, that would have been amazing, having been given the opportunity.
Mary: I would have played with The Rolling Stones and Queen.
Poster for the Absent Kelly indie night on 7th July 2017
TommyandMary played a very well received gig at 229 Venue in London on 7th July 2017 as part of Absent Kelly`s indie night series. So good was the night in fact, that they were given a rave review in Louder Than War magazine and photographer Marcus Jamieson-Pond dedicated them a whole gallery on his website!
Louder Than War review in full, 16th July 2017
You can see the kick ass review online at Louder Than War (which happens to be this blog`s fav music mag!)
Folks, we`d love to tell you to hang onto your seats, but you will be floored anyway, so find yourself a comfortable spot and listen up. Tommy and Mary had just finished headlining gig last night at The Cellar/The Finborough Arms in Kensington and were so generous to share with us a very cool collection of their concert posters. Exclusive for the blog! We are very lucky. Eye candy those posters are but also serve as a proof that the band played a string of cult venues in half a year: The 100 Club, Nambucca, 93 Feet East, Camden Assembly and The Cellar. All those years of playing and busking and persistence certainly paid off. Nothing builds a brand for a band like doing their own thing and pushing at the boundaries.
Poster for The 100 Club gig on 25.01.2017 while supporting legendary The Telescopes
Poster for the gig at Camden Assembly on 25th March 2017
Poster for gig at Nambucca on May 3rd 2017
Poster for the gig at 93 Feet East gig on 11.08.2017
Poster for a gig at The Cellar/ Finborough Arms in Kensington on 2nd September 2017
Another achievement of the band is even better than playing all the venues in the capital. Tommy and Mary debuted on BBC 6 Music on 18th August 2017 as part of 6 Music Recommends. Picked by the legendary DJ and broadcaster Steve Lamacq himself, they were hailed for being “nicely uncompromising” and tacking a myriad of topics from having annoying housemates to precarious work. If you don’t know who Lammo is, let us tell you this much – he is recognized as one of handful other DJs (with Mary Ann Hobbs and Jo Whitley) to fill the gap left by John Peel and is often regarded as a trend setter. Being on his show is a stamp of good quality and a sign that band is on the right way.
Personally what we found exciting is that Tommy and Mary`s Insecurities were played right after Paul Draper`s new single (yes, the man from Mansun!) and received the same amount of introduction on air.
Here is a screenshot of the BBC website
Screengrab from BBC 6 website
And here`s a (very) bad quality recording of the song and what Steve said: