Sunday, December 3, 2023

Blog: 14 bands I want to break ‘b-town’ in 2014

Photograph by Andy Hughes
B-Town. West Madlands. The Birmingham music scene has been subject to its fair share of labels, and no one involved really cares for them. Does it really need a name? Is it even a scene? From where I stand, it looks like more of a collective. People who love music – be that playing it, or watching it played – and who love to go out and lose their minds together every once in a while (alright, fine, more than once in a while). It’s people tied together by location and interests. But that doesn’t make any of the bands under its collective banner any more similar.
So why not tarnish the reputation a little? Crack through the name that has turned so many eyes towards the city, disregard Peace, Swim Deep, and JAWS (for the moment, at least). Let’s not think about the quest to ‘make it.’ Let’s focus on who’s going to break it, and have a world full of fun in the process. Here are some of the bands I want to see causing riots in the city over the next twelve months:
They’ve come a fair way since their first shows under the name Sugar. Now, with the equally soft and sweet moniker of Babypink, they’re, well, doing pretty much what they’ve always done. The difference? More people are paying attention. They’ve had their name in NME, played gigs across the country, and are generally gearing up to take things to the next level. They’ve an unreleased track named ‘Cellar Door’ ready to go, and you know what? I can’t wait.
Your new favourite ‘underground’ artist. Their first show was heralded as “the best debut show I’ve ever seen” by pretty much everyone who saw it. And they haven’t let down since. Never before has a group prompted more maraca and/or tambourine solos from their crowds. They’ve already generated a lot of interest around their single-syllable name (you’ll find a few of those on this list), and there’s no doubt that they’re going to achieve a lot over the next twelve months. With a new single in the works, they’ve already taken the city by storm. This could be the year they start to go stratospheric.
Liam Gallagher told this band’s guitarist that he has a drinking problem. Ergo, they’re already living the rock’n’roll lifestyle. Can’t stop, won’t stop. They’ve played shows all across the country, including at the Royal Albert Hall in London, and are already surrounded by a decent amount of hype. With a new single and music video in the imminent future, I can’t wait to see these guys really spread their wings and soar.
There’s something insanely comforting about the music these guys make – which is a delicious slacker grunge sound you’ll be desperate to wrap yourself up in. They played their first gig in a friends garage (dubbed ‘The Graj’ in brilliance), and they’ve come a fair way since. Their EP, Soak, made them the name on the tip of a fair few tongues last year. I’m thrilled to see what follows.
If ever a band were capable of literally breaking B-Town, this would be the one. As anyone in a band in Birmingham will tell you, these guys are the best band in Birmingham – even though they’re not from there. I don’t care. Based in Wolverhampton, this group have the adoration, love, and respect of everyone who encounters them. Get to one of their live shows. Quick sharp. It may well change your life.
They have an orb. If you were wanting something completey different, these would be your guys. Dark, sinister, everything you probably shouldn’t seek out but are drawn towards anyway, these guys are incredibly unique. Add to that a live show quite unlike any other, and you’re just about getting what these guys are about. Did I mention they have an orb?
With only a 40-second teaser online, Juice are the least heard on this list. They also show the most promise. Of all the bands you see named here, this four-piece are my bet of who’s most likely to break out of the city’s scene and to success beyond. They’re fun, they’ll appeal effortlessly to the masses, and they’re bloody good to boot. Keep your eyes peeled for this four-piece in the new year: no doubt they’ll go far.
They’ve just announced their debut EP is set for release through Rattlepop. Already muchly anticipated, this is a group set to go far. Of all the bands on this list, they’re the one that’ve shown the most growth through their time together thus far. Now, they’re primed to conquer. All we can do is wait for it to happen. Take it away, guys.
And now for something completely different. Mirrorhall have changed a lot since their demo days. With a burst of live shows just as the year drew to a close, they’ve paved the way for some truly great sounds. Currently taking time out to write and record, I can’t wait to hear what this three-piece will bewitch and beguile us with next.
Not many bands can pull off a fully-fledged ballad in a rock set. Somehow, this five piece make it work. Energy and enthusiasm have won them the affections of crowds all across the city. There’s a real sense of enjoyment within the band that proves impossibly infectious time and time again. Simply put, they’re good fun. The ballad may have been dropped from their live show (can I hear an ‘awww’?), leaving room for more developed material that you can’t really fault. Take it away lads…
Everyone loves a bit of ska. Or everyone should, at any rate. If you want to know what Tempting Rosie are like, see them live. They’re a gang, a mob, a rabble, they’re loud, they’re bursting at the seams with laughter and energy, and they’re pretty great dancers too. They’re often overlooked in lists like these – estranged from the mainstream of the local scene as they are, but they’re easily one of the most enjoyable bands on this list. Gentlemen, take a bow.
They have a song that’s six minutes in length, and it doesn’t let down once. Beautiful and aggressive, hear it and you’ll instantly fall in love. When a bands talent can speak in such volume, you know they’re onto something good. And in the case of Victor, it really is B-E-A-U-tiful.
This is a band that have firmly established themselves on the local scene. And rooted themselves there. They’ve played with The View, The Cribs, and The Twang. In fact, their guitarist now plays with The Twang. They’ve released songs, deleted songs, played secret shows, support shows, and headlined the hell out house parties. It all sounds so good, doesn’t it?
Fantastic female-fronted madness. Raw and ruthless, this three-piece are capable of powering their way across any stage you place their feet on. Punky and powerful, this is a group worthy of all the alliterative compliments you can care to convey. Give ’em a listen, ‘ey?