Indieterria meets Bambara

Dear Readers, 

There is certain mystery and elusiveness that surrounds Bambara. Formed in Atlanta and now based in Brooklyn, the American trio successfully avoid being pigeonholed and labelled. Their dark, moody mixture of blues, psychedelia, lo-fi, noise and punk rock brought them universal acclaim for their music. Now on their fourth album (“Stray” was released on 14th of February), Bambara is slowly breaking out from the independent circuit and into the mainstream. With their energetic shows, full of anger, passion and poetry,  they are certainly making their mark on the popular music. We sat down with the band to discuss their new album, touring with IDLES and the impact of the pandemic on their plans this year.

Bambara – from left to right: Blaze, William and Reid

Bambara is based in Brooklyn but you come from Athens, Georgia – a town that holds a special place in the American music history. The list of hugely popular artists that came from Athens includes: R.E.M., The B-52’s, Widespread Panic and Neutral Milk Hotel. Do you feel like you continue the heritage of the place, or maybe you would rather distance yourself from it?

Blaze Bateh: Athens is a beautiful, special place. I really don’t know anywhere else quite like it. I’d like to think we are continuing the heritage of Athens. Even though we left almost 10 years ago, it still feels like a huge part of us. The last 2 records, Shadow On Everything and Stray, were both mixed in Athens with our friend Drew Vandenberg and we recorded Stray with him as well.

William Brookshire: I still think of us as a band from Athens as much as New York. We still have a ton of friends that work in music there, great venues, and it always feels like home when we go back.

We remember watching “Æon Flux” on MTV Oddities back in the 1990’s. There was a character named Bambara and we heard you named the band after him. He was rather a shady figure in the series. Was there something special about him that you felt compelled to take on his name for your musical project?

Blaze Bateh: Honestly there wasn’t anything in particular about him as a character that drove us to use his name. We were just HUGE fans of the show. I’ve watched the show start to finish countless times and I still get blown away by aspects of it. But yeah, we just thought his name sounded really cool.

You cite Nick Cave, Birthday Party and Swans as your main musical influences but also, rather surprisingly, filmmaker David Lynch and Polish writer, Bruno Schultz. If that’s the case, you are probably the only musicians in existence we could discuss the “Cinnamon Stores” with! What else inspires you to create?

Blaze Bateh: It’s hard to say where inspiration directly comes from, but I know when I’m writing, I’m typically striving to create an atmosphere that I want to put myself in at that moment. So I suppose my inspiration is typically more visual.

Reid Bateh: I agree with what Blaze said. And yes Bruno Schultz is a big inspiration for me – the power of zoomed-in, specific imagery and the beauty of the underbelly. I also used an abstracted version of a character from “The Street of Crocodiles” in our previous record “Swarm”.

Bambara’s sound is hard to describe: you are being classified as post punk, industrial rock, psychedelia and gothic revival with young Glenn Danzing on vocals. Do you agree with those labels?

Blaze Bateh: Ha. Sure I’ll take it.

William Brookshire:  Sounds pretty cool.

Reid Bateh: Why not!

You have toured with Idles in October and November last year – playing over 17 dates across America. That was a mammoth tour in a magnificent company. How do you find the punk rockers from Bristol? Any fun stories from the road? (Does Joe Talbot snore? Do they do their own laundry?)

Blaze Bateh: Those guys are the best. We hit it off with them immediately and became incredibly close very quickly. We still chat pretty frequently. They’re one of the few bands I can ever imagine being excited to see play night after night for a month straight. They just give it everything they’ve got no matter what. To me, that’s what live music is about. Otherwise, what’s the point? I’ll just listen at home for free.

William Brookshire: Such a fun time. We got a free month-long Master Class in the refined tastes of chocolate milk, and the shows were great too.

The band received a lot of support from BBC6 Music. They were instrumental in introducing you to the audience in the UK: your songs have been named singles of the week, you also played an exclusive session for them. Did you enjoy your appearance at the Beeb?

Blaze Bateh: 6 Music has been immensely supportive. Specifically Steve Lamacq. We were very lucky that he happened to catch our last show of SXSW in 2019. We did a session with him back in October and we were all pretty nervous. I actually broke my drum head about 30 minutes before we went on. I looked up a music shop nearby on my phone and started sprinting there to buy a replacement. My phone died after about 10 minutes and I had no fucking idea what to do. Luckily I ran into a shop and the people there were nice enough to let me use their phone to reroute. I made it back to the studio with about 5 minutes until we went on. I was sweating buckets and probably played everything too fast from all the adrenaline.

The first single released to promote “Stray” was called “Serafina”. It was described as a love song. In an interview with Fader Magazine, Reid said that he wanted to write a song “radiating a wild-eyed hope, a youthful disregard for death itself”. Tell us more about it.

Reid Bateh: Serafina was the last song I wrote lyrics for, and by that time the record had taken form as a death-obsessed collage of vignettes dominated by a sense of doom. Looking back at all the other songs I’d finished, I felt that the record needed a vignette that would approach this topic a little differently. I wanted to make sure that some of the characters on the record weren’t afraid of death, or even felt like they could conquer it.

“Serafina” is followed by two other singles – “Sing Me To The Streets” and “Heat Lightning”. Each song is like a snippet taken out of a noire Hollywood blockbuster. Do you see “Stray” as a concept album?

“Stray” cover artwork

Reid Bateh: Conceptually, I see “Stray” as a sort of collection of short stories that are interconnected.

The band had incredible press on both sides of the Atlantic with reviews from NME, Financial Times, Brooklyn Vegan, The Clash Magazine, DIY, NPR, Kerrang, Stereogum among many others. But it was your long time champion, BBC DJ Steve Lamacq, that delivered the most accurate one. “For an album which deals with wild abandon and impetuous, crazed logic, it is beautifully and astutely structured” – wrote Lamacq – “And when the movie of it is finally made, the billboard strapline will read: BAMBARA – Have they come to take your souls or save them?”. So “Stray” is finally here. What happens now?

Blaze Bateh: Well, we were supposed to be leaving for a month-long European tour in a couple days, but that’s not happening anymore for obvious reasons. We’re in a kind of limbo now just waiting to see what will happen with our schedule. As of now we are planning to play the UK and Ireland in August, but we’ll see. We’re just trying to focus on what we can control right now and that’s writing more music.

Not being able to perform is putting a huge financial strain on bands. Are there any ways your fans can support you through this difficult time?

Blaze Bateh: Yes it is. It was a massive financial and psychological blow for us. Buying our shirts and tote bags is the best way so support us at the moment. We are also accepting donations via our Spotify page. Anything helps.

Bambara picture by Kevin W Condon

Last question is always a bit of fun. We do not know if you follow charts but top 40 is a very serious business in Britain. If Bambara could cover any pop song, what tune would you choose?

Blaze Bateh: Not exactly topping the charts in 2020, but “Rhythm of the Night” by Corona

William Brookshire: George Michael’s indelible “Careless Whisper” all day everyday.

Reid Bateh: A Lana Del Rey song would be just fine with me.

Bambara online:
https://wharf-cat.squarespace.com/bambara (record label)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bambara_(band)
https://www.facebook.com/BAMBARA.band/
https://twitter.com/bambaraband
https://bambara.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/bambaraband/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOhbg5_ZDMyT-sUjmImJ3zw

Or listen to them online at:

 

If the corona virus do not thwarts the plans again, the already-once postponed European tour should commence at the end of July. Some of the tour dates are already being rescheduled for December, so please keep your eyes open. Below you will find the dates as they stand at this moment:

Bambara Tour 2020

We have seen the band play in Manchester in October last year at the Soup Kitchen and we were blown away by the intensity of their performance. Backed up by two live musicians (Sammy Zalta and Bryan Keller Jr. on guitars), Bambara in their 5 piece re-incarnation is a perfect machine that cannot be stopped. IF we are lucky, we will see them in Birmingham or/and in Manchester again.

After all, who can resist the temptation of the dark side?

Rita Dabrowicz

The Kecks “Modern Girls” – single review

Dear Readers, 

When I was a young and inexperienced female music fan, the one that would cut out articles from NME to stick them to the walls, I thought that going to gigs was being part of history in the making. Discovering artists in small venues before they conquer the world, being with like minded people, falling in love with the music.

When I grew up a little bit more and actually went to gigs, I discovered that live shows could be rough or even dangerous (my first gig seen my nose being broken by a cassette tape  thrown from the stage) while some fans were rude, crude and grouping was normal.

The Kecks

I dreamed I would hang out with musicians like all A&Rs and PRs I admired.  I thought I’d have connections, be respected in the business and help artists achieve the greatness. Once again I had to revisit my plans. Women in music were scarce, bands would quit before they achieved anything, artists would not even acknowledge your input before moving on to “better things” and sexism was rampant.

In short – if you are a female in music business – you need skin thicker than that of Anna Franklyn (do see “The Reptile” if you can), determination of Rambo and patience of a saint to do your job. I will be honest, sometimes I get sick and tired of music, gigs and lads with guitars.

But then,  you encounter a band that tears your heart out, blows your mind and you fall in love with them unconditionally – from the first note. You start believing all those things about greatness, being part of something special and history in the making.  I keep telling that as a music obsessive, I fall in love with artists twice a week. Every couple of years, I lose my head. And I don’t know what’s in the water in Yorkshire, but for the third time, it’s a band from Doncaster. Well, ¼ of the band actually. The rest is from Australia, Austria, Germany and they are based in Hamburg.

Modern Girls artwork

The Kecks have been on my radar for nearly a year now. If before they were in “the best new band on the circuit” category, after their newest single “Modern Girls”, they are elevated to being inches away from my favourite band.

Man, do they tick all the boxes!  They don’t do happy sing-alongs  for the public. Leave that to Gerry Cinnamon. Theirs is rock and roll spiked with psychedelia, raw and emotional, provocative and dangerous. Sensual even.  Music  that goes straight to the soul. They know their craft. Singer Lennart Uschmann throws himself on stage like it`s his only mean of survival. He is capable of both –  serenading the audience, whispering and howling like a mad person in the attic. There is something theatrical, otherworldly about him. Think David Bowie or Richard Hell. It`s mesmerizing. The rest of the band (Samuel Telford on guitar, Joel Phillips on bass and Kai Weidle on drums) follow closely – in their coats, flamboyant shirts, make up or dresses – smashing out bangers and kicking clichés in the balls. On the indie circuit full of post punk acts that made school uniforms out of trench coats, white shirts and black trousers, The Kecks are shining with their retro attires.

Another thing that wins me over in an artist is their ethics. I`m always in the corner of the underdogs, those who come out of the underground, the self made and the struggling.  And The Kecks have enough bravery and attitude to fill an ocean. Their press release mentions that the band “religiously preserved their DIY ethos”, they film their own videos, they support independent venues such as Molotow (including playing a special gig for the venue during lock down), they release on AWAL – a platform that functions as an alternative to traditional record labels.

Then there is the video to “Modern Girls” where the band put themselves in the shoes of every woman to protest double standards and hypocrisy. You can see The Kecks being violently forced into skimpy outfits, strong make up and then paraded out to be judged  – only to find out they do not meet “the standards”. The video hits home and is a powerful reminder that unrealistic expectations destroy lives, and not only those of women. Think the whole culture of machismo, toxic masculinity with its narrow views on gender, sexuality and identity. Although musically situated far away from IDLES, The Kecks proudly place themselves on the same side of the barrier when it comes to fighting injustice and social stigmas. Like it or not – it is a political statement of sorts. And such statements takes guts in the era where alt -right runs amok and you are branded a “snowflake” for being kind and civil.

The Kecks (again)

In these trying times, it is the artist’s duty to speak up and take action. It’s a test and The Kecks have passed it with flying colours. They know their art and their songs well, as Bob Dylan once observed.

We listen to music for many reasons, but if you strip all the layers down to one thing, it will be to find others who are just like us. We follow artists and we hope that they will be our tribe, with similar outlook on life and values. Even reviews are done from that point of view. In our naivety, we entrust strangers with a part of ourselves. Maybe selfishly, we want them to be at our disposal so we can enjoy the music, the art and the illusion of not being alone.

I can only hope The Kecks will continue for many years to come.

Please follow the band online:
https://www.thekecksofficial.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thekecksofficial/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm0wdB5kpFtz5VjJlblmlIQ
https://www.instagram.com/thekecksofficial/
https://twitter.com/the_kecks

or listen to their music on Spotify:

 

The Kecks will be streaming their concerts online in the next weeks, so please visit their social media out to find more details.

Malicia Dabrowicz

crush – “All My Plants Are Dead” single review

Dear readers,

We keep on saying that Manchester has one of the strongest music scenes in the UK and they continuously prove that they do. Every single time a new band appear on our radar, they usually come from Greater Manchester area or from Yorkshire. Somebody better check what’s in the water over there and get it bottled, so we can enjoy the same amount of talent in other parts of the country.

Jokes aside but Mancunians seem to be really good at promoting and encouraging young bands to take risks. And it really pays off – musicians are experimenting, looking for new sounds, creating things that stand out from the rest. Innovatory music is also presented in an innovatory way – singles and albums have unusual packaging, covers are often self made, CD’s are printed or painted by hand, sleeves are turned into mini zines. Collectors of independent releases cannot complain – maybe only when they run out of space on their shelves or funds to buy everything that appears on the market.

One of those unusual and experimental releases ended up in our mailbox a couple of days ago and made a very big impression. We mean they had as at “female led” and “shoegaze” but we never expected to hear something that would channel the brilliance of Wolf Alice, Alvvays and The Sundays. Ladies and gents – we give you crush!

crush picture by Joe Hudson

Official bio:

crush are Manchester based shoegaze/alternative pop four piece consisting of Amber (guitar and vocals), Arthur (lead guitar), Will (bass) and Fotis (drums). Taking inspiration from artists such as The Cure, Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Alvvays, controlled ambience is paired effortlessly with cascading noise and chaos. Wowing audiences at numerous shows across the North of England including Stay Fresh Fest and a triumphant headline at Yes Manchester, their live input has cemented them as ones to watch. Presented is an experience that immerses you into an equally intimate and cathartic psychedelic state. Their BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio backed releases have seen them go from strength to strength, and you can be assured the new year will see them put forth their most daring material yet.

crush (written in lower cases to distinguish themselves from the American band Crush) formed at the end of 2017 at the Manchester University and quickly gained a strong following. They released three singles (“How Come”, “Rinse” and “Glue“), toured extensively and supported Peaness, Far Caspian and Low Hummer. Now they return with a brand new track called “All My Plants Are Dead” and it is a bitter sweet serenade, full of perfect harmonies, echoes and ethereal guitars.

Picture by Joe Hudson

“The song focuses on the idea of the cold human race and an increasingly insular society” – writes the band in their PR release. “It’s about struggling to look after yourself as much as it is struggling to look after your houseplants. Really just a message of looking after and understanding each other a bit better, and a critique of how modern living at times can make this an unattractive and hard to achieve concept.”

The band is working on a video to the song and it will be released as soon as it is possible.


Please follow the band on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/crushbanduk/
https://twitter.com/crushbanduk
https://www.instagram.com/crushbanduk/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/09SorScmrKs8yZMG9hdr6N

Listen to the new single online:
http://hyperurl.co/7bua47

crush are unable to tour at this moment but several shows are rebooked for September. Please grab your tickets now and come to see the band playing live. You will not be disappointed.

“All My Plants Are Dead” are 9 out of 10 in our books. 2020 may be a bad year for the music business but it’s pretty damn good for the music tself.

Rita + Mal Dabrowicz

Chloe Mogg and Amy Crouch – In the service of the 7 Arts

Dear Readers,

Number 7 always had magical prosperities. It was the lucky number in many Western and Eastern cultures. There were 7 Wise Men in Greece, River Styx encircled Hades seven times to protect the underworld. 7 principles of higher education in the ancient times were known as Artes Liberales. Christianity introduced the concepts of 7 Deadly Sins and 7 Heavenly Virtues. Modern times are also filled with all things seven: Seven Up (we are only kidding!), 7 Samurai, The Magnificent 7, seven books in the Harry Potter series and of course the seven pillars of the modern art: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Literature, Music, Performing and Film.

The world of art is not always appreciated as it should be. With rampart capitalism on the loose and omnipresent everything-has-to-bring-profit attitude, one has to argue and fight for the funding of concerts, exhibitions, museums and libraries. But when tragedy or unprecedented event happens, such as the corona virus pandemic, everyone turns to the arts for comfort. Music and films are helping millions to get through and we really hope the calming nature of art will not be forgotten once the dust settles.

The 7 Arts Still Exist Online Festival small poster

In the meantime, artists of any kind are doing what they have always done – they make the world more bearable with their craft. And on local level, we have two young girls who are proving that the seven traditional arts are alive, well and kicking even in the digital age.

Chloe Mogg and Amy Crouch organized the first West Midlands Online music and arts festival last week. It took place on 18th – 19th of April and brought together performances from 36 musicians and more than 20 artists. As you can imagine, it was a great success. More than 24.000 people tuned to watch the performances, the event was shared more than 200 times, hundreds of comments were posted on social media and the online art exhibition was seen more than 1000 times. 24 thousand people is enough to fill a big stadium, so if it was a real gig, the festival would have been a sold out affair.

We want this blog entry to serve a specific purpose. To show that artists can do very well online performing from their own bedrooms, and those who are organizing such events, should know how much they are able to achieve. And hopefully the success of  The 7.A.S.E Online Music & Arts Festival will be a great example how to go viral while streaming.

Pretty in Pink – the big poster with all performances listed

1. Organizational team:

As, we have mentioned that the online festival has been the brainchild of two young women. Best friends, collaborators and both equally talented:

Chloe Mogg – Singer, songwriter, journalist and producer. Delivering a mixture of musical influences, Chloe Mogg creates a spacious journey that will take you through all the emotions of music. As a young singer-songwriter with “parrot” hair, she brings life and colour to her performances. Known for her quirkiness and smile, she haunts the audience with her ability to tell a story with only her voice, guitar and ‘strange’ effects. With influences from Jeff Buckley, Nick Harper, Alanis Morissette and Marika Hackman to name a few, Chloe showcases a wide range of inspirations. Supporting artists such as Nick Harper, Jon Gomm & Quill, and playing hundred’s of festivals all over the UK (including Lakefest, Moseley Folk & Arts Festival, Avebury Rocks, Leamington Peace Festival), Chloe’s in her natural habitat on stage. With debut EP “Thalamus” getting radio play on BBC Radio 6 & BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester, the songwriter has recently released her first single in 2 years “Judgement Day” which sees her experiment in an electronica/trip-hop world. Currently the songstress is in the recording process of her debut album due for release October 2020, the debut album will see all her influences in one place and will become her most diverse work yet.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chloemoggmusic/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChloeMogg
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chloemogg/

Chloe Mogg with her festival make up on

Amy Crouch – Artist and designer. “My work challenges the traditional conventions of painting. The visual elements of the paintings are geometric and abstract in creation however, the physical form of the canvas is manipulated and changed in order to affect how these simple geometric shapes look. In doing this, the focus is always still on the fact that it is a painting and when I’m pushing the boundaries of the canvas, I’m always thinking about how far I can push those boundaries without it no longer being a painting.”

Amy graduated from University of Worcester in Novembert 2018 and won the Meadow Arts Prize 2018. Her exhibitions have included the Degree Show 2018 at University of Worcester and the Parallax Art Fair in Kensington, London. Current exhibition is entitled “Nothing is Square pt2” and is based at Shipton Street Gallery.

Website: https://www.amycrouchart.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amycrouchart/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amycrouchart/

Amy Crouch – with one of her artworks

2. Radio stations:

Everyone of us knows the song “Radio GaGa” by The Queen with its most famous line: “And everything I had to know, I heard it on my radio”. In times of corona virus, except for the internet, radio is the most important source of information, music, news and everything else. And being mentioned by popular DJ’s or being interviewed on air is a huge boost for any event.

Chloe Mogg has an impressive musical resume having been played at BBC 6 Music, BBC Introducing in West Midlands and BBC Hereford and Worcester many times. Her work at the online festival has been quickly spotted and that led to her being invited to speak to Kate Justice at BBC HW twice to discuss the event. Sadly we were unable to find the first interview which took place around the 1st of April (not an April’s Fool joke, we assure you!), but we had secured the second one from 15th of April. Chloe was also mentioned by legendary BBC6 Music DJ Steve Lamacq during his BBC Recommends show on 17th of April and finally appeared on BBC Introducing HW with Andrew Marston on Saturday 18th of April during Jack Cattell set being streamed live! You can listen to all clips below:

 

3. Newspapers:

Establishing a proper relationship with press is vital for any artistic endeavour. Local journalists are always on the look out for an interesting topic to cover and an online music and arts festival during a full country shut down, proved to be a real hit.

Worcester News, the leading newspaper in Worcester, has been especially supportive towards the festival. They printed two large articles: one on Saturday 18th of April 2020 in their online edition and another one on Monday, 20th of April in their printed version of the daily paper.

 

You can read the main article at: https://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/18386422.online-music-arts-festival-promote-artists/
PDF version is available at: Worcester News_page 4 20.04.2020

And once the happy news got out, the sister titles of “Worcester News” around several counties, re-printed the story as well.  In this way, Chloe and Amy went viral from Wales to East Midlands. They appreared in Bromsgrove Advertiser, Kidderminster Shuttle, Tewksbury Magazine, Malvern Gazette, Halesoven News and Droitwich Advertiser among others.

https://www.bromsgroveadvertiser.co.uk/news/regional/worcestershire/18386422.online-music-arts-festival-promote-artists/
https://www.kidderminstershuttle.co.uk/news/regional/18386422.online-music-arts-festival-promote-artists/
https://www.tewkesburyadmag.co.uk/news/regional/18386422.online-music-arts-festival-promote-artists/
https://www.malverngazette.co.uk/news/regional/18386422.online-music-arts-festival-promote-artists/
https://www.halesowennews.co.uk/news/regional/18386422.online-music-arts-festival-promote-artists/ https://www.droitwichadvertiser.co.uk/news/worcester_news/18386422.online-music-arts-festival-promote-artists/

On 23rd of April, another article appeared in Worcester News and Kidderminster Shuttle! This time the journalists praised the festival’s success, attendence and the atmosphere!

Both articles are available at:
https://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/18400222.worcestershires-online-music-festival-saw-24-000-viewers-tuned/
https://www.kidderminstershuttle.co.uk/news/regional/18400222.worcestershires-online-music-festival-saw-24-000-viewers-tuned/

And as last time, the story has been picked up by number of other titles such as Hereford Times, Droitwich Advertiser, Ledbury Reporter, Malvern Gazette, Halesowen News, Bromsgrove Advertiser and Dudley News. You can see the links to each article below:

https://www.herefordtimes.com/news/regional/18400222.worcestershires-online-music-festival-saw-24-000-viewers-tuned/
https://www.droitwichadvertiser.co.uk/news/worcester_news/18400222.worcestershires-online-music-festival-saw-24-000-viewers-tuned/
https://www.ledburyreporter.co.uk/news/regional/18400222.worcestershires-online-music-festival-saw-24-000-viewers-tuned/
https://www.malverngazette.co.uk/news/regional/18400222.worcestershires-online-music-festival-saw-24-000-viewers-tuned/
https://www.halesowennews.co.uk/news/regional/18400222.worcestershires-online-music-festival-saw-24-000-viewers-tuned/
https://www.bromsgroveadvertiser.co.uk/news/regional/worcestershire/18400222.worcestershires-online-music-festival-saw-24-000-viewers-tuned/
https://www.dudleynews.co.uk/news/regional/18400222.worcestershires-online-music-festival-saw-24-000-viewers-tuned/

Additional mentions came from SLAP Magazine in Worcester and New Noise Magazine:

Slap Magazine screenshot

https://www.slapmag.co.uk/the-7-a-s-e-online-music-arts-festival/

New Noise Magazine screenshot

https://newnoisemagazine.com/news-the-7-a-s-e-online-music-arts-festival-is-set-to-take-place-18th-and-19th-april/

4. Founding:

The 7 Arts Still Exists Festival hoped to raise £250 for future artistic projects. And they managed not only to hit the target by mid Saturday, but collected a round £300 to date – a whooping 122% of their original target! This will help Chloe and Amy to cover their production and advertising costs of another edition of the festival. Hopefully, we can get a real 3 dayer next time!

Fundraiser

5. Arts Gallery:

More than 20 artists participated in the Art Exhibition curated by Amy Crouch and hosted on her personal website. It featured a wide range of styles (graphic design, photography, abstract and mixed media) and attracted more than 1000 views during the weekend. If the opening took place not online but in a traditional art gallery or a museum, people would have been queuing outside of the doors!

We dont think we have a venue that large in Worcester. The exhibition would have to be probably held in the Guild Hall, on both floors!

6. Aftermatch:

With the event completed, comments exchanges, links shared, streams finished and fundraisers reaching their targets – it’s now time to relax and enjoy the festival memories. Luckily we have no wellies to clean and tents to wash! To summarize what has been achieved during those two days, Chloe has created two playlists that contain the majority of the acts that performed.

Please give them a listen. You may discover your next favourite artist.

Soundcloud:

 

And on Spotify:

 

 

Please visit the events socials:

Festival Main Page:
https://www.amycrouchart.co.uk/the-7-a-s-e-online-music-and-arts-festival/music

Festival Arts Gallery:
https://www.amycrouchart.co.uk/the-7-a-s-e-online-music-and-arts-festival/exhibition

The 7 Arts Still Exist group has more than 1200 members already! It can be accessed at:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/the7artsstillexist/

Main event page on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/events/2616013701977211/

The event was free but you can still donate in lieu of tickets at:
https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/the-7-arts-still-exist

This of course is not the end! Chloe and Amy are thinking about new editions of the festival. Bigger and better, with more attractions for everyone to enjoy. We will keep an eye open and our hand on the pulse to cover any future events, streams and shows that this dynamic duo will be involved in. Our West Midlands scene is doing very well, despite lock downs, isolation and closures.

See you down the (virtual) front row,
R+M

Indieterria meets The Psycho Relics

Dear Readers,

We wanted to have something special to celebrate a band that means a lot to us. Not only because we are following their career from the very beginning, but also because we call them friends. We will even go as far as to name them some of our favourite people on the planet.

Sometime in 2017 we walked into a gig not knowing who was on the bill and found ourselves mesmerised by a duo called As Mamas – consisting of a drummer and a guitarist. They produced some of the grooviest psychedelia we ever heard and that was a love at the first notes.  Since then we have seen them at least ten times across West Midlands and hosted them on our blog in 2018.

In 2019 the band moved to Brighton, expanded to a five piece and returned with a banger of a single – “Rocking Chair”.  They are The Psycho Relics.

Official bio: The Psycho Relics are a garage rock n roll five piece formed and based in Brighton. Taking influence from the classic rock and psych bands of the 60s and the new age of fuzzed out garage revival. The band  consists of  Harrison Baird-Whitman (vox/guitar), Joseph Devine  (guitar), Daniel Stirrat  (bass), Ed Prideaux  (keys) and  Sam Morley  (drums).

“Rocking Chair” may not re -invent the wheel  but it ticks all the boxes for a great rock and roll song. It brings together all elements that make guitar music so appealing  – the soul, the groove, the beat. It grabs you by the collar and shakes you out from the haze of indifference. You  thought rock was dead? Well check again!  The underground is bursting with talent, revitalized by the youth who picked up instruments and have something important to say.

The Psycho Relics brought psychedelic revival from Birmingham and made sure Brighton noticed. Their first gig sold out on the spot. The reviews for the single are only favourable. The word on the street is that the band has more material and gigs planned in the future and once the lock-downs are over they will hit the stages.

The buzz around Psycho Relics is undeniable. We wanted for a while to sit down with the band and ask them about the relocation, the new line up and the new material. After we sent the questions to Joe Devine and Harrison Baird-Whitman – they came back to us with a whole video instead.

So first time in the history of this blog we have a visual interview – and with people we truly adore to make things even more exciting! Please have a watch. It`s one hell of a ride. Joe and Harrison have wicked sense of humour, they love what they do and they have utmost respect for one another. Actually, they finish each other`s sentences. These are two childhood friends who went on to play the music and make history. And we will be tagging along on that journey, you can bet on it.

You can follow The Psycho Relics on socials:

https://www.facebook.com/thepsychorelics/
https://twitter.com/EdPrideaux
https://www.instagram.com/psychorelics/
https://soundcloud.com/thepsychorelics
https://thepsychorelics.bandcamp.com/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1BLADGwneSC9u72vsnpHma?si=DZ0vyolkRgmtVqpEEZWxUg

“Rocking Chair” has received favourable reviews from blogs and music magazines:

https://www.badluck.co/music/2020/4/3/bl-premiere-the-psycho-relics-share-rocking-chair
http://www.indiemidlands.co.uk/reviews/the-psycho-relics-rocking-chair
https://moggblog.com/2020/04/11/the-psycho-relics-rocking-chair-review

We will be trying to catch The Psycho Relics live this year.  And boy, this is gonna be legendary.

Big thank you to Joe and Harrison for being awesome. And without sounding cliche – we miss you like crazy.

Mal+ Rita

Indieterria review Brain Food – Brain Food EP

Dear Readers,

We are absolutely gutted that we can only review this EP good three weeks after its release (came out on March 13th 2020) but the world has been in chaos lately. Maybe you noticed… However social isolation has good sides  – you can sit on your ass and listen to a lot of music. We will not complain too much about being four weeks into a self imposed exile then. After all this is what music scouts do anyway if not attending gigs: typing away mountains of text about artists they seen or are about to see.  Plus, the fridge is stocked and we have 24 pieces of toilet roll…So without any more ado, here is the record we will be ranting about on this blog today. Meet the band.

Brain Food:
Liam Mckeown (vox, guitar)
Jakob Cusp (guitar, keys)
William S Carrott (bass)
Connor Doyle (drums, percussion)

Official bio:

Brain Food are a four-piece cosmic psych outfit originally hailing from the suburbs of East Birmingham. Forming in the dying embers of 2017, the band have been making waves with their energetic, spaced-out and shimmering live set. In their brief history they have supported the likes of Insecure Men, Froth, Stonefield, Boy Azooga, Frankie & The Witch Fingers, Dead Coast, Man of Moon and Public Access TV. August 2018 saw the release of debut EP “Get One On”, a DIY project of five tracks recorded, mixed and produced by the band, on their own makeshift record label, Room 15 Records.

Birmingham is known nationally (and internationally if you ever poked your nose outside the disunited kingdom) for having a vibrant psychedelic and garage scene. If you are local we don’t necessarily have to introduce you to the likes of DOXA, Table Scraps, Cherry Pickles, The Cosmics or The Lizards. Chances are you drink with members of those bands more often at The Sunny than we do. However if you don’t hang around Digbeth too often, Second City may be uncharted musical waters. Then you are cordially invited to have a look at this BLOG we did for the scene and check out the playlists. It`s worth it – we will tell you this much.

Brain Food – photography by Psychedelic Eye
https://www.facebook.com/psychedelic.eye.photography

Brain Food are part of the vibrant Brummie scene and their new, self -titled EP is exceptional, in many regards. It is first time in aeons that we had a pleasure to listen to a space psychedelia record. For those who are not into musical genres: space psychedelia (also known as “space rock”) originated in the late 1960`s and is recognised by lengthy compositions with distorted, other-worldly vocals. Hypnotic drums and keyboards often accommodate poetic, mystic and science-fiction themed lyrics. This sub-genre of psychedelic and progressive rock came to prove itself to be very influential, inspiring every musical movement from the 80s onward: grunge, stone rock, shoe gaze to post rock. Early enthusiasts of the space sound were Jimmy Hendrix, Marc Bolan, The Beatles and Pink Floyd. The ground breaking “wah wah” sound was born out of the genre. But we digress…

The band sticks to a very traditional definition of space psychedelia – this record is full of wonderful riffs, mellow if minimal drumming, ethereal vocals and lyrics that evoke emotional and  spiritual sides of humanity. It`s 27 minutes that should be spent lying in the grass on a summer day with your eyes closed and  enjoying the sun on one`s face.

The Brain Food EP cover

Opening the record  is “Poseidon” – although not a leading single – it is a perfect introduction to the EP. The song greets us with a powerful riff and the words “Wake Up – what do you see?”. The low bass and heavy drums giving this track such a groovy, trippy feeling.

Then comes “Canyon Crawler” with its oriental theme and deep, echo like effects. The song changes tempo several times over the course of seven minutes but does not feel too dragging or boring. It is very Beatles-que in nature (meant in the best way possible).

“That Feeling” could give Pink Floyd a good run for their money had Brain Food been born few decades into the past. For some reason we love how the vocals sound  – there is no indication that they have been reinforced but it feels like there is more than one voice singing.

“Cosmic Jones” starts with a wah wah motif to explode into a distorted, quietly beautiful love song. It may be a strange observation but this is the only song that brings outthe fact that Brain Food are a British band. You can hear the strong West Midland accent clearer than on other compositions. Though out  the record you can`t place where the band comes from – they could easily pose for American quartet or  anywhere else in the world. Which adds to the charm of the EP – anyone from any corner of the world could relate. But on “Cosmic Jones”  the band is undisputedly  British. Also its our favourite track from the record. Not related to the fact that we are Anglophiles.

The EP ends with “Forbidden Tongue”. What we really love about this track are those long  guitar solos that are the central part of  composition. Vocals are here relocated to the back seat and treated  alongside with other instruments. Very clever idea.

It`s hard to rate this record. Brain Food do not reinvent the wheel. But  it`s such a strong  space psychedelic release in all its classical glory. And we have a soft spot for all things psychedelic!

This is a kick ass* release and if you can get your hand on it – do so. Hopefully we will get a physical release sooner than later.

*Kick ass is equivalent of at least 4.5 out of 5.

You can follow Brain Food on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/brainfoodofficial/
https://www.instagram.com/brainfoodofficial/
https://brainfoood.bandcamp.com/
https://soundcloud.com/brain-food-650656456
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt6TgF0ITsxJjDf3MuNMJKg
https://open.spotify.com/artist/4HqwUXaBaTJafihMSgeRsQ?si=JJ7P8nqqTFqjR5j9Dp6QeA

There is so much happening on the Brum scene we need to possibly consider a larger piece. Brain Food is one of those bands that you need to know if you want to know what`s hot on the indie circuit.

Big thank you to Sophie Hack (Bread Birmingham) for helping us with this review. Apologies for the delay.

M/R

Indieterria meets Rob Hirst

Dear Readers

We may live through hard times for the dreamers (as mighty Welshmen Trampolene observed) but we definitely need visionaries and cultural catalysts – perhaps now more than ever. Hard times call for movers, shakers and people who will push things forward when everyone is looking back at nostalgia.

Through our blog we tend not only to support new and upcoming artists but also those who tirelessly work behind the scenes in labels, music websites, venues and radio stations.  Today`s entry is dedicated to a man who will be seen by future generations as Sheffield`s answer to Tony Wilson – Mr Rob Hirst.

Rob has dedicated years to build a network and to promote bands from across the country in conditions that would make others throw the towel in. His strength, persistence and  vision are shining though and elevated artists to better things.

Rob Hirst – a man for the job

We had a real pleasure and privilege to speak to Rob about his label, music industry and his dream band.

Musician, label owner and a walking encyclopaedia of great new bands – please introduce yourself to readers of Indieterria.

Rob Hirst: Hi, I’m Rob the owner and founder of Fans for Bands and These Bloody Thieves Records! (laughs)

It`s been a year since you have founded These Bloody Thieves Records. In that time you worked with artists such as False Heads, The Howlers, C33`s among many others. That is a truly impressive accomplishment. Tell us where did the idea for a label come from and how did you manage to make this a reality?

Rob Hirst:  I guess it was just a progression from all the other things I was doing. I was working with a lot of bands via Fans for Bands, discovering new bands via my Spotify playlists and I was scouting for others management and labels. When Ditto approached me about the label in the box within a few hours I had the branding, put a post on social media and Luke from False Heads was keen to work with me. It was up and running in 24 hours.

2020 started with a bang at the label. You just announced Singles Club – a very ambitious plan to release 24 singles this year. Can you give more information as we are sure many bands would love to get in touch.

Rob Hirst:  Yeah, I wanted to do something different this year after a frustrating end to 2019. I was bored on Boxing day and the idea just popped into my head. I put a post out on social media and the submissions and support came flooding in. By end of Feb 2020 the label will have put out five singles already with artists all over the UK.

You are the man behind the Fans for Bands project. Please tell us more about it. What exactly is Fans for Bands and how does it work? How this platform can benefit  unsigned artists?

Rob Hirst:  The name itself kind of explains what it is. This is my freelance side to my career and the also the PR/marketing brand that supports the label. The idea is to have a budget marketing (PR/Spotify and Social Media Growth) that gets excellent results based on my passion, knowledge and contacts without ripping a massive hole in the artists pockets.

At the end of December 2019, These Bloody Thieves welcomed Matthew Stockman as head of A&R and Live Events. His presence will surely invigorate the label. We are very curious what live events are in the pipe line? Showcases or maybe even a festival?

Rob Hirst:  Matt is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to discovering new bands and was an active figure on the London scene before moving to Sheffield and then joining the label. Matt will be looking to discover new artists and then give them a slot at our stages in Sheffield and looking to actively promote to new artists to a Sheffield crowd.

We know its maybe a cliché question but what are you looking for as a label? What qualities should an artist/band possess to grab your attention?  And how prospective artists can approach you?

Rob Hirst:  It’s all about the quality of the artist. Preferably discovered as early as possible and to help to support their releases. Obviously, we want to play our part on breaking a band. But the label has never been about making money. It’s about putting out and supporting great artists and to encourage people to listen to something other than Lewis Capaldi (laughs)

Music Business is not the easiest of industries – and we are sure that running a label is not a walk in the park. But it also offers some valuable lessons to us all. If you were to share some of your experiences with those who want to set up their own labels – what would you say to them?

Rob Hirst:  Yeah of course. Success will definitely not come over night. Don’t sign too many artists at once and don’t invest too much money that you will not see back. I have no regrets about the levels on money invested and lost in the first year. It was all about been taken seriously and getting a reputation so that we could then attract the best artists in the UK – Which has definitely worked.

Last (in)famous question – imagine you can create a super group consisting of any musician from history. Who is in the band, what instruments do they plan and what`s their name?

Rob Hirst:  Wow! Depends what mood I am in! I have to reform my old band and have a mid life crisis. Those musicians I played with played a huge part in my life and all led me to working in music full time. But off the top of my head!

Crispin Hunt (Longpigs) – Vocals/Rhythm Guitars
Nick McCabe (Verve) – Lead Guitars
John Entwhistle (The Who) – Bass
Reni (Stone Roses) – Drums

These Bloody Thieves Records logo

You can follow These Bloody Thieves on socials:

https://www.thesebloodythievesrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thesebloodythieves/
https://twitter.com/TBT_Records
https://www.instagram.com/thesebloodythievesrecords/

 

Fans For Bands logo

and Fans For Bands:
https://www.fansforbands.com/
https://www.facebook.com/fansforbandsuk/
https://twitter.com/fansforbandsuk
https://www.instagram.com/thesebloodythievesrecords/
https://open.spotify.com/user/dbjph28w55odrz4ehj79ckorm?si=IwmniJg1SgmpfxN20g6QSQ

 

Indie radar Logo

Rob Hirst is also the man behind Indie Radar – a mammoth play list for all things indie. If you want to know what is hip on the indie circuit – this is your place to start.

Indie Radar
https://www.facebook.com/weareindieradar
https://twitter.com/weareindieradar
https://www.instagram.com/indieradaruk/

Big thank you to Rob for his assistance and patience. Please support your local scene during this time. We will emerge from it as better, stronger industry.

Mal/Rita