Another day, another interview! We love working with young upcoming bands on the independent circuit and nothing gives us more pleasure than to discover new talented acts. We are extremely grateful for the chance to be able to listen and see the bands in action on stage and we cannot wait for Friday. If you are in Birmingham on 28th of September, please come to The Victoria and party with us. Vanadian Avenue is teaming up with Brighton based promoters – Modern Age Music to bring some amazing talent to town, so don`t miss out!
Now, let us introduce you to our newest discovery – ANOA. This band has been touring and performing since 2016 but only recently has been flagged up on our radars. Lend them your ears and hearts dear readers, you will not be regretting it.
Poster promoting the show
Official bio: A redolent, Leicester based, Neo-Punk set up, led by frontman Alex Harris, Anoa came crashing onto the scene late 2016. Lyrically dripping with dark sarcasm, their views are caressed with riffs that pack a punch. Known for their intensely frantic and wild live performances, the band certainly declare their arrival. Mitchell Gordon, Chris Johnston, and Jared Gopal complete the four piece. December 2nd 2016 saw the release of their self titled debut EP, featuring 4 tracks of a diverse variation. In April 2017 they released two A side singles which titled the boys with a punk styled identity; “I’m Alive, Are You?” And “Rock Bottom” allowed the quadruplet to slip into the same category as bands such as; Cabbage, Slaves & and The Sex Pistols. In late October they released their debut music video for their most vicious and bitter single, When In Kings Norton. Anoa closed the year headlining Leicester infamous venue, The Cookie. Where they celebrated the release of their most recent single, “Glorious Nuisance” which was aired by Dean Jackson on BBC Introducing East Midlands.
Anoa is an interesting name. It is the smallest water buffalo on Earth and also an armoured patrol carrier vehicle used by the Indonesian army. Where does your name come from?
Anoa: Our name choice probably won’t come as a surprise to you. In our younger days we’d be discussing our tiffs and tests with girls, quite often someone would pop up and say “Oh yeah, I know her”! That “I know her” in our common accent sounds very much like “Anoa” (laughing) and that’s where we pulled the name from!
You are hailing from Leicester, the home town of Kasbian, Cornershop, Maybeshewill, Basement Jaxx among other well-known acts. Tell us more about Leicester. Was it easier to start a band on an active and diverse local scene or was the competition making your beginnings much harder?
Anoa: To answer your question about Leicester, the scenes is growing day in day out. It’s competitive, intense and frantic, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We get on with a lot of local bands well, we all want the same thing after all. Our favourite tune to come out of the city is “100% Brimful Of Aisha” by Cornershop. Legends!
Anoa was founded at the end of 2015 and you quickly gained reputation for frantic and wild performances. Rumour has it, you scared the journalists from
ANOA in their splendor
NME who came to see you live all the way from London. We are dying to know what was happening on stage that night. If you could describe your live shows to somebody who has not had the chance to see you perform yet, what words would you use?
Anoa: The story about the NME journalist seems to be a fan-favourite (laughing). We love it ourselves. We were informed a writer for the NME would be attending our slot when we opened up for Spring King in June 2017. We don’t think he’ll ever forget us, but we don’t think he wants to remember us either. Mitch dressed in fishnets, Harris smeared in lipstick, a guitar got smashed, think he got chinned in the mosh pit too… Poor bloke, seemed a decent fella. But yeah, we were well up for that gig and went out all guns blazing, was one to remember. We can’t possibly settle for one word to describe our live performances, but can take a chance on 2: fucking nuts!
You are also known for sarcastic sense of humour and eccentric photo sessions like the one where you pose half naked with “We don’t bite” written across your chests. What inspired you to choose this stage presence? Was it a conscious decision to shake and stir things a little bit?
Anoa: We think, there’s a lot of musicians out there who are too “safe” these days. Don’t get us wrong, some bands can be static and deliver a breathtaking set, but that’s not for us. Our theatrical performances are just as important as our musical ones. We like stirring things up as well, there’s not enough people doing that. It’s nice to write a good love song but not one after another, we like to get under people’s skin and surface problems their surprising.. like the cunt who’s running this country!
Let us talk about your influences. It’s the classic Manic Street Preachers, T.Rex, The Sex Pistols, The Clash meets the modern angry wave of Cabbage, The Blinders and Idles. There is a lot of glam rock in your act as well. What inspires you to create?
Anoa: You’ve nailed our influences there. We like to entwine old and new influences in order to create something fairly unique. Musically, we’re very punk inspired… but we do take the time to understudy performers such a, Freddie Mercury, Charlie Steen & Iggy Pop. What inspires us the most to create are situations full of anger. We’ve recently stepped into a political territory, god that makes us fucking angry! But that’s where our best work comes from. Heart on the sleeve sort of thing!
Anoa – vivid colors and real spectacle on stage
In December 2016, you released your self-titled 4 track EP. It got you a lot of radio play in the north and sent the BBC Introducing knocking on your door. You were played on BBC West Midlands, East and Manchester to very good reviews. Tell us more about this release.
Anoa: Our debut EP is very innocent in the ranks of our music. It drips with sarcasm but doesn’t quite take that step into analyzing issues in the world itself. Our EP displays our own issues, mainly lust related. Our latest single ‘Glorious Nuisance’ accurately portrays the quintessence of modern humanity. We were made up when that starting doing the rounds on the radio.
A year later, you returned with two A-side singles entitled “I’m Alive, Are You?” and “Rock Bottom” which are our absolute favourites. When were they written and in what circumstances?
Anoa: Our 2 A side singles were an important step in our scheme of work. We upped the anti musically, creating riffs with a lot more tempo and aggression and aimed to step away from writing about relationships. “I’m Alive, Are You” is basically a goodbye to our old self and allowed us to step into a category where we could create songs like “When In Kings Norton” and “Glorious Nuisance”. “I’m Alive, Are You?” gave us that beeline to become real fucking punks!
Calm before the storm
You will be playing Birmingham on 28th of September with Dirty Orange, Whitelight and Malvern based rock and rollers, The Dead Dads Club. Is it your first time in the West Midlands? What can we expect from you during the gig?
Anoa: To put it bluntly, this is our first time in the West Midlands and definitely won’t be our last, we’ll make sure of that!
2018 has been a busy year for you so far. What are your plans for the next months? Anything lined up for 2019?
Anoa: And finally our plans for the future seem to be taking shape. We’re going to be working on releasing a follow up to our debut music video, which will be accompanied by a very fierce new single. We’re aiming to edge our way onto Handmade festival in 2019 as well, having debuted there in 2017. Fingers crossed yay! Finally, we just want to express our gratitude regarding how well you’ve researched us. Thank you very much for getting to know us and for asking proper good questions.
We hope you have enjoyed our little interview with Anoa- they are charming, funny and very keen on getting their music out for people to hear it. And this is what won us over in their case. We will be down in the front during their gig at The Victoria, so please expect some serious updates to this blog – with videos and pictures in the weeks to come.
For now, thanks for reading and we will be back with you very shortly for another chapter in our ongoing journey in the Indielands.
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.”
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
“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/
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
“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/
“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
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 🙂
Domestic (as per Airplay Ninja):
Please note that this list does not include local radio-stations plays, only the national ones.
This means that all BBC Introducing plays for example are not monitored and we cannot add them here.
Ballad Of Winston Smith (Amazing Sessions) – The Blinders – playing on Amazing Radio at 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.
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!
Today`s blog is very important as we wanted to conduct this interview for a very long time. It has been a privilege to watch this very special London-based band grow for nearly two years. Things are looking really bright for the trio these days: they got signed to These Bloody Thieves Records, on September 6th they will embark on a 23- dates tour across Ireland, UK, France, Netherlands and Germany. September 21st will see digital release of their new EP “Less is Better”, while physical debut will take place on October 5th at their home coming gig at Dingwalls in London. Without further delay – please welcome False Heads to our humble blog. On the eve of the release of their new single “Yellow”, we sat down with their lead singer Luke Griffiths to talk about the music, Iggy Pop and their upcoming tour.
Official bio: Hailing from the outskirts of East London, False Heads formed in 2016. Behind the energy of their live shows, the trio quickly thrust themselves into punk-rock limelight, catching the attention of Punk’n’Roll legend Iggy Pop, ex-Ramones manager Danny Fields and music taste maker Rodney Bingenheimer. Having quickly graduated from playing empty rooms in London to supporting The Libertines on a sold-out tour, the buzz around the young band is undeniable. False Heads are Barney Nash (vocals & drums), Luke Griffiths (vocals & guitar) and Jake Elliott (bass).
You have been making a name for yourselves on the indie circuit since 2015 yet we still wonder, who are False Heads? Would you be so kind and introduce band members to the good citizens of West Midlands.
Luke Griffiths: I’m Luke and I sing and play guitar. Jake plays bass and Barney plays drums and sings as well. Thank you good citizens of West Midlands.
You chose an interesting name for the band. The term “False Head” has several meanings rooted in the theory of communication, journalism and psychology. Our favourite definitions include an informal name for the news caster or a political TV commentator coined in the 1950’s; a social mask worn by an individual hiding their true feelings and an incorrect belief in one’s superiority based on an economic or class advantages (so called “False Head” start). So where does your name really come from?
Luke Griffiths: That’s pretty fucking awesome, that you’ve got that from the name and I always thought it was evocative. Originally, I just misread “False Hood” on a list of names scribbled down and I thought I’d written “False Heads”. I just got an image of all the people I despised from where I grew up – the fake, benign, mediocre, sleep walk through life type then die whilst mocking and turning their nose up at anyone different or creative type moron. I also got the image of irritating “talking heads” on TV of politicians spouting the same drivel they’d had written for them by the same script writer. So, it just conjured up a lot of different things for me. The name seems to be more relevant now, people are carbon copies of each other and base their belief system on what they think won’t get them in trouble. It’s nonsense.
You have been championed heavily by punk rock icon, Iggy Pop himself. He has played your songs on his show on BBC 6 Music. How does it feel to have his backing? It surely seems to be a dream come true.
Luke Griffiths: Yeah, “Raw Power” was and is one of my favourite punk albums. Iggy was a huge inspiration for me and emailing him is slightly bizarre. Him naming us as one of his favourite bands in the UK was crazy. It’s an amazing honour. He’s an incredible person and he still gives a shit about new bands.
Iggy Pop is not the only radio personality who gave you an outstanding review on air. We could mention several others such as John Kennedy of Radio X, Steve Lamacq of BBC 6 Music or Hew Stephens from BBC 1. Do you feel you are on the right track to the rock and roll greatness?
Luke Griffiths: (laughing) I guess so, but I try not to think about it too much. We just try and write the best songs we possibly can and put on a great show. But all of those people, those huge names, we are extremely grateful for the support from them.
You also won a die hard fan on the other side of the Pond in form of senior KRCQ and Sirius FM DJ, Rodney Bingenheimer (and an owner of his own star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame!) Rodney expressed sentiment that you are Nirvana-reborn and the best British act that came out of London scene in the last decade. Are you off to conquer the olde US of A anytime soon?
Luke Griffiths: Yes! Another mad surreal one! He’s a living legend, he helped break bands in America and says things like that about us. It’s crazy. He’s another one we need to thank. There’s been some initial conversations about it, yes but we will see.
Tell us more about your beginnings. You met at the secondary school in Upminster and you played in several bands before separating to attend university. Do you still remember the names of the early projects you were involved in? Did they have any influence on your current sound?
Luke Griffiths: We were all born in East London and then moved out to Upminster which is like half East London, half Essex. Just an odd place, really. Barney and Jake were in a band called FiftyFours and I always operated under the name False Heads. I just could never get a proper band going (laughing)! It was extremely frustrating for me, but gave me a lot of time to write until the band finally did happen. I wouldn’t say there’s much influence from those early days, although I did write the “Twentynothing” riff when I was 15. Although, the chemistry between us comes from school. I think Jake and Barney being in the same band helped the chemistry between them and Barney recorded some demos for me to go to uni with to try and make a band, so it was probably inevitable!
New Single entitled “Yellow” is debuting this Friday, 24th of August
False Heads has been going on for three years now and from the start, you have received a strong support from audience and other bands from the capitol circuit. in November 2015, you played a memorable gig at The Black Heart in Camden and you attracted the attention of Danny Fields, the former manager of The Ramones. He became your mentor and a friend. We are sure you have learnt a great deal from him.
Luke Griffiths: Yes, we’ve learnt so much from him, so much. He’s done so much for us, we’re so grateful for what he has done for us. The advice he gave and honestly it is so true. He said to get a lawyer or someone to help you deal with contracts and dealings at the very least (who knows about law). The stories that guy tells us over a few drinks are unbelievable and his company is brilliant. He can outwit anyone, trust me – do not try and mug him off (laughing). A truly wonderful human being.
Your new EP “Less is Better” will be released very shortly. Tell us more about it. How many songs can we expect on the EP? Where did you record it and who’s producing?
Luke Griffiths: It was recorded and produced by the wizard named Jonathan Hucks and mastered by Tonalex (who are also incredible). Jonny is like our Nigel Godrich at the moment. There’s four tracks on the EP. It was recorded very DIY, sort of all over the joint – some in his room, some in a little studio near Stanstead and some in the epic Grand Cru Studios. It’s a follow on from our first release, “Gutter Press”. The themes and things I wrote about on that have only got worse. The echo chamber, social media culture is extremely damaging. We’re completely fine with censorship, we can’t tell the difference between a joke and a bigot. We have created an environment where people are scared to say what they think, then we wondered how such fucking awful things like Brexit and Trump happened? But at times, it’s also more personal than “Gutter Press”. “Retina” sort of came about from an acid trip, but every song has a few different themes going on. It’s difficult to just pin point one and I also don’t want to sound like a broken record (laughing). It’s a scary world we live in man and the hope shrinks every day, without sounding too bleak. The cover art for me was like there’s this beautiful open blue sky/colour/whatever you want to think it is and there’s so much space there for discourse. Life and building relationships and changing peoples minds yet we’re just sucked into this horrible black hole or echo chamber and people are scared to step out of it, even though it’s much more beautiful.
You also have a brand new label, These Bloody Thieves Records so congratulations are in order! We are interested to hear how your co-operation started.
Luke Griffiths: Thank you! Rob Hirst, the owner, is an incredible guy. He has been a big supporter of us for a long time. He spoke to our manager, Cargo Records, got involved and we built an amazing team around us. It’s all gravy. Rob deserves some serious credit. He is an amazing bloke with an amazing work ethic.
Tour poster – please check the dates and buy your tickets before the gigs sell out
This Autumn we will have a chance to see you on your first European tour. You will be playing UK, Ireland, Germany and France. Are you excited?
Luke Griffiths: Well, our first European tour was early on this year. Sorry to be pedantic (laughing)! We haven’t played in Ireland or Germany before yet and we cannot wait. We played France and Belgium on our last tour and played Rock Olmen Festival and InMusic Festival in Croatia. Europe is amazing for bands so we can’t wait to get back. And we fucking love Guinness so can’t wait for Ireland either. Whelans in Dublin is so iconic as well. All amazing stuff, really!
The famous last question and this is going to be hard! Name a song you wish you have written that was released in the last 12 months.
Luke Griffiths : “Blind Faith No Future” by Strange Bones
These Bloody Thieves Records logo
After speaking to Luke and hearing the praise for their new record label, we decided to approach Rob Hirst himself and ask him few questions as well. We didn’t think he would agree to do it, but he was more than happy to speak to us. This way, instead of just one interview, we got two! And that’s why we absolutely adore the DIY scene. Musicians, record label people, PR teams, fans – they are out there for each other. It is more than just everyday kindness. This is a genuine friendship, a true interest, that can only come from those who really care. People are taking care of one another, they look out for others, they participate and support. It is amazing to see it happen! As our good friend keeps saying: “What a time to be alive!”. We at Vanadian Avenue, are extremely privileged to be a part of that movement.
But coming back to Rob and his record label. This is what he said:
Rob, your dream is coming true. You are now an owner of an independent record label! Can you tell us more about These Bloody Thieves Record. Is there any rock and roll history behind its name?
Rob Hirst: The name of the label was actually the name of the very last band I was in. A very short-lived band that I believe was the best I was in and certainly the best band name I had come up with. I just thought it would be a good way for me to continue my past into the future and I couldn’t be bothered with spending hours of thinking of a label name and branding.
How did you set it up?
Rob Hirst: As you know I already work with bands & my Spotify playlist gets hundreds of submissions a month. I was scouting for other management companies and labels. I just woke up one morning and just thought ‘I’m going to start my our label’ and I did (laughing)! I must admit I have been very fortunate with the support I have had around me, especially coming from Rich (False Heads manager) & Ditto Music.
False Heads are your first release. How did you convince them to join you?
Rob Hirst: They approached me. I’ve known the band for a while and I’m a huge supporter. As soon as they asked I knew I had a label & a solid foundation to show that this label is serious. What a band for a first release.
Besides “Less is Better” EP, do you plan any other future releases linked to False Heads?
Rob Hirst: Er! Really, everything has gone into this release. The band has a great team around them and at the moment it’s all about this release. I’m sure there will be as the band have been in the studio with legendary producer Jonathan Hucks and have a bank of unreleased material in their locker. It’s very exciting times! False Heads have nowhere near reached their potential as a band. Pretty exciting really when you consider how great this EP is.
Are you accepting submissions from an unsigned acts? If so, what are you looking for?
Rob Hirst: I am always searching and always accepting submissions. It’s one of the most exciting aspects of running a label. Nothing better that discovering a band that you instantly gravitate towards and fall in love with everything about them. I don’t have specifics for what I’m looking for. I don’t really know until it comes along and slaps me in the face and says to me ‘Here I am, love me’. The label has a couple of other acts on the radar, one close to signing who I have been following for the last four months and a single deal out next month that is due for announcement anytime now.
You can follow False Heads and These Bloody Thieves Record on social media:
Thank you Luke and thank you Rob for speaking to us! This week is fantastic for so many great new bands and we are happy to be able to witness the revolution in popular music. False Heads will release their new single entitled “Yellow” this Friday, so please come back as we will have a full review for you to enjoy.
Until then, we bid you farewell.
Keep on rocking in the free world and make sure you listen to your vinyls/cds/digital albums loud. Very, very loud.
Please forgive us if we will be acting like complete fan girls. We absolutely and dearly love Rita Lynch – our next featured artist on Indieterria. We have seen her live on January 1st, 2017 in Worcester, have her records in our musical archives and can hardly wait to see her perform at Musicians Against Homelessness on 22nd September. Read on, this is one of our favorite interviews yet!
Rita Lynch performing at NYE party at Pig and Drum in Worcester , 31 December 2016 – January 1 2017
First Lady of punk
Don’t believe when they tell you that punk is dead. The genre is not only very much alive and kicking; it is going through a period of renaissance. It may be a bit older (and wiser), less drunk and more philosophical at times, yet its message against austerity, social alienation and economic devastation rings loud and clear. Political climate is certainly helping to bridge the age gap between new audiences and the underground legends and helps deliver a musical middle finger exactly where it hurts the most. Yet, looking for rebellion is not the only reason why the kids turn to punk rock. Its biggest strength definitely lies in the authenticity and originality, constant re-definition and self-discovery. We have teamed up with Rita Lynch, the first lady of punk to speak about her career, surviving the odds and her plans for her rock and roll future.
You were first introduced to music when attending a Catholic school. Apparently, a nun has taught you how to play a guitar. Were the nuns really that supportive? Catholic schools in 60’s and 70 were rather known to suppress any form of artistic creativity.
Rita Lynch: The nun who taught me guitar was one of the better ones. She obviously enjoyed playing guitar herself and, as teachers go especially all those years ago, she was slightly more interested in creativity. She had already put one of my stories in the school magazine. She also had given me the cane, a couple of times, once for laughing in church. None of the teachers back then were that interested in a shy child like me who was always getting ill. So she was a bit of a hero to me all those years ago.
As soon as you graduated, you found yourself in the middle of London`s punk rock revolution. You founded one of nation`s first all-female rock bands – Rita & The Piss Artists, playing mostly squats and small venues. Can you recall some of the wild days and tell us who were in the band beside you?
Rita Lynch: With Rita and the Piss Artists we did a lot of drinking. We were a 4 piece band. I played bass and helped write the songs, but I did not sing. During our time we had 2 different singers. The first was a woman called Caspar; she had a brilliant voice but left us quite quickly. The next singer, Jo, wasn’t a good singer but had enough front to do it. The guitarist was not very good but the drummer had played before so we, the bass and drums, mostly held it all together. One squat gig, we played at the Demolition Ballroom on Stokes Croft, Bristol and somebody pulled the plug on us, we were so bad. We would all get very drunk, maybe take some speed and get up on stage. If we had taken it a bit more seriously, we could have done well, maybe. It was more of a sideline to the serious job of drinking. But we were doing it for a while when few women were.
The drummer from the Piss Artists, Justine Butler, just lives around the corner from me now. She went on to get a Master’s degree and had a child who is grown up now. She is a lovely woman. We meet up now and again and she has come to loads of my gigs over the years – she’s very supportive.
Once your band folded, you permanently moved to Bristol. At that time, the town had a vibrant scene with bands such as The Cortinas, Social Security and The Pigs. How did the mostly male scene react to outspoken female artist from the capital?
Rita Lynch: When I first started playing my own gigs as Rita Lynch, I was a solo acoustic performer. The sexism was terrible, the things men in the music world said to me were often rude, insulting and so misogynistic. Stuff like women dingers are always late for gigs, have tantrums at sound checks, and generally talked about as if they were spoilt children. Some of the graffiti in back stage rooms really shocked me. I was, at the time, going out with a woman and mostly socializing on the gay scene. It kind of removed me from the heterosexual world which really helped in those first few years. I was never late and always professional and built up a defence against this sexism by dressing outrageously and, with my height being nearly 6ft I kind of must have struck quite an intimidating figure. It put a wall around me and inside that I happily wrote my songs and tried to perfect and develop my own music.
You also made yourself a name as a performer/protest figure marching around in a mutilated wedding dress. What was the protest about?
Rita Lynch: I went on a lot of demos back then. But the wedding dress was mostly just for wearing in the day time. So, every day was a personal protest. I bought it for 50 pence in a charity shop and ripped it up, and would wear it just to get attention, like I was living art, walking down the street. But loads of people would stare and, as I was always barefoot in the summer, I must have looked very unusual. Apparently a young child saw me from a window and told her mum there was a real live fairy walking down the street. This was all in St. Paul’s. It was a vibrant place with big reputation for race riots. There was a lot of prostitution on the street corners and police would not go down the frontline. It had lots of drugs, crime as well and racism. It was a cool place to live very freely, if you had the nerve.
You joined cold wave outfit God Bless You as a bassist. At that time, the band consisted only of Simon Black and Dave Ryan. Within a year, you were not only a full time member, but also a co-vocalist. With you in the line up, God Bless You released several singles such as “Sugar” which are considered the beginning of your career as an artist and performer. How do you remember the collaboration with Simon and Dave?
Rita Lynch: God Bless You was amazing musically. Dave had a fantastic voice and Simon was genius with inventing simple but amazing tunes and riffs. I was with them as backing vocalist for nearly 2 years. I learnt a lot from watching them put songs together. They also introduced me to countless good bands and artists like Iggy Pop and Roxy Music. Dave was a poet and a great thinker, his lyrics were brilliant. He was hugely pivotal in inspiring me to sing and write songs. I loved being in God Bless You. Dave and Simon were my heroes.
In 1991 you released your first solo work “Call me your girlfriend”. The LP became very popular and music press compared you to Kirstin Hersh, Patti Smith, PJ Harvey and even Nico. Channel 4 made a documentary about you. Was it hard to copy with the attention of the media?
Rita Lynch: I loved the attention I got from the “Call me your Girlfriend” album but it was scary as I had been underground for so long and I also found it intimidating. It validated me but made me nervous as well. I had to write another album and I was unsure how to go. I personally thought that I could do so much better than this first album. The album got me a lot of attention on the gay scene but the record label I was with, Moles in Bath, did not promote it very well elsewhere. So, I became a ‘lesbian’ singer increasingly which was not what I wanted and I still had to make the cross over to the mainstream. Also, the record label did not distribute the album properly so people could not easily get hold of it. As a result, I was still ‘underground’ but big on the gay scene. Then both, me and my girlfriend, we got beaten up for being gay. These were harsh times to be ‘out’, I found all this very difficult. The music was getting lost and I felt uncomfortable with being heralded as a ‘lesbian icon’. I was a singer/songwriter but all the other identities were becoming more important. Being an artist, I was feeling misunderstood.
Cover of What am I – anther record from our sonic archives and also signed by the artist.
What am I – sleeve and inside of the record
Your background and lyrical themes also drew comparisons to Sinéad O’Connor – another female figure that could not be easily squeezed into a box. Looking back, do you think there were really similarities between you?
Rita Lynch: I saw Sinéad play at Gay Pride in London, I can’t remember the year. She blew my mind; I had never seen or heard anything like it before. It was one of the most important gigs I have ever seen in my life. Unforgettable. I was humbled by the experience. There are similarities in that we both grapple with sexuality, Catholicism and politics. She is Irish born, I am Irish born to immigrant parents in London. Being Irish/Catholic is an identity made more personal and volatile due to the racism of the English and the weight of the ongoing war and domination of Ireland by the English. Sinéad was and is one the most important musical influences of my life.
You have been a successful solo artist for the last 25 years. In that period you released thirteen albums under your own name, three with other bands, appeared on over thirty compilations and scored several productions (Vampire Diary, Channel 4`s Rosebud), you toured nationally and around Europe. That`s an incredible body of work. Were you expecting such a long run in this dog eat dog industry?
Rita Lynch: No. I never expected to do music in the first place, let alone to be doing it for so long. I love writing songs, I love singing and putting a good lyric together. But my love of these things has developed hugely with the passing of time. I don’t actually see myself as ‘successful’ artist. Over the years, with all the egos and vanities and nonsense that comprise much of the music business, I have tried to focus on the writing of songs and developing my particular style. I was heartbroken when my first album did not go as well as I wanted and as I got older tried to ‘give up’ music and get a proper job. I never did get a proper job. I am dedicated to making music. It is my job. I want to write as many songs as I can. My ambition with music has altered from wanting fame in a vanity way when I was younger to a true hard working attention to song writing. The music business or industry is vile. I don’t think about it much anymore, like it has nothing to do with me. I admire people who dedicate themselves to their art, even when they do not get success, I have aspired to this. I try to work hard at writing songs. I don’t go out much, whenever I get time, I do music. My son is severely autistic and it has been a challenging experience. My life is dedicated to the care of my son and music. I do a lot of gigs, solo and with my band. I am still hugely ambitious in that I have yet to write my best song. I need to communicate through music; it is my take on the human experience.
Cover of Good Advice record, from our own archives. Yes, it is signed and we treasure it.
In 2006 you reinvented yourself yet again by joining The Blue Aeroplanes. You recorded three albums with them (Skyscrappers, Good Luck Signs and Anti-Gravity). In return, John Langley and Mike Youe back you up on your tours. You seem more like good friends than just musical collaborators.
Rita Lynch: Being in The Blue Aeroplanes was amazing. I admire their music. Also that was how I met my drummer, John Langley. This has been the best musical collaboration since God Bless You. John is the best drummer most people will ever see. He makes every song better with his drumming. When we first teamed up, I wrote the album “Good Advice”. He is massively inspiring and also introduced me to new music. We were a 2 piece for a few years. He upped my game, I had to get better so I practiced more and more and worked harder at my guitar playing. We developed hugely as a band. We sometimes make up songs on stage – improvising with John is a dream. We understand each other musically. It’s like magic. When Mike joined us a few years ago, he fitted in easily. He is a very good musician and picks stuff up very quickly. It felt just right straight away. John and I have been good friends for years and Mike is a lovely easy going person. We have a laugh as well.
In 2016, an anthology of your music “Story to tell (1988-2011)” has been released to celebrate your career and involvement in Bristol music scene. Can you tell us more about this project?
Rita Lynch:Mike Darby used to be my manager about 25 years ago. He had the idea to put out this anthology. It is a cross section of songs spanning 3 decades. I want to bring out another anthology but will do this one myself through the record label I work with now. Also, I am currently setting up to release all my future albums with them and re-release all the previous ones.
You played Worcester on New Year`s Eve at Pig and Drum. You will return to Marrs Bar this September to take part in Musicians Against Homelessness event. Will there be a chance to hear some of your new music?
Rita Lynch: Yes, I will be playing a lot of my new songs. My new album entitled “Backwards” will be released in January 2018. You will have a chance to hear some of my new material for the first time on 22nd of September.
Please note that due to a serious hand injury Rita will open the gig and her set will be shorter than expected. But it may be also streamlined on Facebook and it will be different than her usual sets, so you better be at Marr`s Bar 8:00 pm sharp! 😉
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: