EP Review: The Arcadians – Fools On The Road

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The music reviews continue at Brewtown Music with a look at the upcoming EP from The Arcadians known as Fools On The Road.

The article linked above on The Arcadians dates back to 2014, but of course a lot has changed for the band since then, including a new bassist, a new studio to record in and of course, new music to release.

Bassist Oscar Carrington-Porter joined the band in 2015 and since then, the band has been getting back into their groove after Jack Lenaghan left. Let’s see if the new band addition and time spent in Slough has kept this young band strong since their 2013 debut!

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Track #1: Yes

Coming with a video released onto Youtube on March 18th 2016, people got their first taste of the EP with its lead single Yes.

Starting with a simple bass-line, high hat tapping and an echoing guitar riff, Yes gives the EP a foot-tapping indie feel that the band has evoked in their previous work, only with a more polished production behind it done by Egypt Lane Studios in Slough.

Vocally, Jamie Cavanagh continues his to use his Alex Turner-esque northern twang to great effect, immediately differentiating it from a lot of music in the Burton music scene and adding their own personality to the songs. The vocalist acts at the spokesperson for the band (the voice if you will) and let’s just say they put a good PR statement across!

Also, check out the music video above directed by Boxman Media with the boys in their all-white gear and Cavanagh chilling out in a nice little leather chair. Who could say no to that promotion?

Good introduction and an ideal lead single.

Track #2: Ruckus

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No, not THAT kind of Ruckus! This kind of Ruckus is much smaller than that, clocking in at a very short 1 minute 16 seconds! Although the more hard rock/punk feel that it gives off is a good match with a shorter length of the track.

Though it doesn’t stick around too long, Ruckus leaves an impression since Cavanagh gives us his rap-rock stylings in this track which suits his vocal style very well and although it’s no Psyko Dalekhe gives us more aggression than we usually see from the band.

A short description for a short, but serviceable track.

Track #3: Lovers Apart

A more troubled romantic song graces number 3 on the EP, telling the story of a man trying to get a hold on his long distance relationship.

Cos we’re two lovers apart and the cities they are changing

As time took control.

Cos we’re two lovers apart in cities with strange ways.

The lovers in the song are distanced not only by literal distance, but also in personality and the fact that the man in the scenario has a busy life that keeps him from spending as much time with his partner as he could.

The song starts off with a gentle guitar riff but soon picks up the pace with almost a jolly and brisk pace that is, shall we say, poles apart from the subject matter. Juxtapositions never heard to have around in any form of media so let’s have one in for our love song on the EP!

A frustrated love song that gives the album a tragic slant!

Track #4: Change In The Tide

A drum roll and striking chords lead us into our penultimate track, that appears to be about a person who can’t face the circumstances of change amongst her social group whether it be a personal attitude change or a change of surroundings for where they usually meet (Is it under your skin, is it really your thing? A dirty disco with an 80s theme)

Both the person being addressed and not the singer addressing have this feeling due to the addressee’s attitude getting under the singer’s skin for not having a good night out with him and the party.

The song is punched with HEYs and AHOYs give the song a bizarre pirate-like quality that doesn’t seem to fit with the message of the song, although the song is called Change in the TIDE (Tide, sea, pirates, best I can do!) and it’s memorable so you have to give that to them!

A song for one of those awkward, unsocial nights out.

Track #5: Nightmare In London

The EP ends on a sinister note with the song Nightmare In London which takes the night out from the awkward yet still fun tone of Change in The Tide to the almost dire and hopeless feel this ending track gives off.

With the almost metallic chords, cowbell tolling and creeping keyboard riff, the untoward feeling pervades the song from the offset and continues with the words of abandonment and loneliness the singer feels in the early hours of a night out in London:

Lost friends, 4am, what a horrid situation, where could they be?

I was so scared, they were taken by the alien population!

Cos this is another world to me!

Could be worse! Perhaps eated by a looming wolf in London!

Sounds like the desperate drunk ramblings of a London town night to me, or a guy who’s watched too many John Landis movies! Whether the monster turns out to be a backpacking American or not remains to be seen.

The vulnerability of not only being out of your head, but also out of your element is clear here and ends the EP on quite a dour note despite apart from the scary intro and minor key, retains the up tempo energy from the other songs on the release.

Not one to listen to when stumbling out of the club without your friends on your big weekend away, but definitely one to listen to out of enjoyment nontheless!

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Preferably in the most philosophically looking way possible!

Despite a slight line-up change, The Arcadians continue to put out good content with this EP being a summary of such. The energy stays in each song no matter what the subject matter and it one to prepare you for the influx of indie tunes you’ll no doubt be listening to in the wake of the year’s festival season.

Fools On The Road will be released on 27th March at the launch gig in Burton Market Hall which also features upcoming Burton-based singer-songwriter LAYKES (Kyle Munsie from Between Kites), punk group The Mammoths and Midlands favourites Star From Ivy.

Until the next brew served, see you next time!

Brewtown #25: Circularity Album Review

AUTHOR NOTE

OK, before I get started with this, yes I’ve been away for a VERY long time and been away for all of 2015! The scene was unfortunately dealt a serious blow with the now permenant closure of the renowned music venue The Wetmore Whistle and thus the gigs have been sparce and the apathy factor has been aplenty.

I look to remedy that for 2016 as I realise that while the gigs in Burton may not be so frequent and the amount of bands for articles may run out, the music itself certainly isn’t. That’s why Brewtown Music will be doing music/album reviews from bands who I may or may not have already covered on this blog.

Band articles are definitely still a possibility, but this will be a different direction I’m taking and isn’t necessarily what I started the site up for in the first place sue to music reviews being an overly saturated market compared to pieces on musicians themselves, but it’s a new year and it’s been a year since I’ve written anything, so let’s get to it!

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Circle Of Life

For the long, long, LONG-awaited milestone 25th piece on Brewtown Music, we take a new approach for a new year. Not writing about a new band, but reviewing an album of a band already written about on this site. Star From Ivy‘s newest online release which is so good you could play it loop, 2016’s Circularity.

Just to recap, Star From Ivy are a Burton-based rock four-piece (Chris Baldwin, Daniel Baker, Steve Gibbs, Mark Maczkowski) who have been performing all over the country since 2001. But over the last few years, they have been putting together a big online project/album that was released one track per day since Christmas Day of 2015.

With its own website and world-famous recording studio at the band’s disposal, they set out in creating an online, multimedia exploration of the concept of circularity through positive themes of peace, love, unity and even some darker themes of war and depression.

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Maybe not quite all, but it encompasses a lot in life.

The aforementioned world-famous recording studio was that of Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales which, since 1963, has recorded albums for the likes of Black Sabbath, Queen, Super Furry Animals and Turbowolf just to name four!

It also has another Burton-based alumni in Kitten Pyramid, the eccentric Midlands supergroup (of which SFI lead Chris Baldwin and guitarist Dan Baker were a part of) who recorded their album Uh Oh the studio once occupied by Freddie Mercury in 2013

Their labour of rock-based love was released Twelve Days of Christmas style from December 25th to January 7th (going one step beyond, Madness style) on their Circularity Facebook event page and Brewtown Music is here to see what our true band gave to us…

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Track #1: Call To Alms

We start the cycle with Call To Alms, an anti-war song that was released by SFI on Christmas Day. A Lennon-esque move if there ever was one! Containing themes of war, human rights and peaceful protest, the album starts off on a socio-political note and a clever pun on the phrase ‘call to arms’ signifying that we should trade our acts of violence for acts of charity. War and Peace pertains to the theme of Circularity with various acts of violence instigating war and ceasefires bringing about peace in a seemingly never ending cycle depending on what area of the world you live in. That of course is a simplified version of an incredibly complex issue so I will just stick to talking about the music now. The music is forceful to match the theme of violence, but the lyrics reflect the need for peace:

Put the fire down, look into the body.
A soul so beautiful just strewn around.
Like an edifice blackening us wholly.
There is new belonging wanting to be found!

The waste of life that comes from war is lamented here and the only solution seemingly available is “A Call To Alms, and it’s all we have now…”. A strong start to the album with the contrast of a loud declaration of peace and demand of human rights.

 

Track #2: A Reason

The Boxing Day track A Reason is a much more laid back track with its ambient electronics mixed with a gentle guitar riff. The lyrics explores reasons from something as complex as the meaning of life to being kind towards others. An appreciation for our own existence and the existence of those around us:

Hold up the Sun! Cos we’re all Alive!
Hold up both hands and say you survived.
It builds us. It calls us. It saves us.
But there must be A Reason to live.

I don’t suppose you’d lend me your fears, so I’m not bold?
I don’t suppose you’d lend me your years, so I’m not old?
I don’t suppose you’d lend me your coat, so I’m not cold?

The phrase “Hold up the Sun” from the Reason article on the Circularity website “is a celebration of life, and an appreciation of being here now!” Caring for yourself and those around you is a mindset that features heavily on circularity.org and this song sums it up very well.

 

Track #3: Sounds Like Crows

You know, for a song about death, this is pretty jaunty! Sounds Like Crows is a song that has been in SFI’s back catalogue for quite a while now like a few of the tracks on this album, as in back to their Prologue days. The song, as said before, tackles death but is also a continuation of the theme of appreciating the life you have from A Reason. It’s like the song said: “Hang on! Hang on! I haven’t finished helping you to make the most of your life yet!”

Preserve time, there’s no way to rewind.
Yeah, this instance will not occur again.

All this love that echoes out disguises rage and I believe that I,
In spite of all these years, am still a child and do not think that I will ever die.

It’s good to know that in this album with a running theme, that there are sub-themes that link together as well which is the sign of great consideration and thought in your work.

 

Track #4: I Can’t Breathe

Now, here’s a track that shows no dissonance between music and lyrics! A hard rock number gripping themes of depression, inner rage and the darkness that dwells within (hard rock, not prog metal!). I Can’t Breathe is on the surface and angry song, but it’s a frustrated and scared song when dug into it a little deeper knowing that mental health is looked at here and is further explained in the song’s sub-section on the Circularity website. But the lyrics make it plainer to see in the song itself:

I don’t see no light, I just feel the fire burning me inside.
Mercury is on the rise.
Broken rage of old, swallowing the white.
Balance overthrown, compromise a waste of time

I can’t see it, it’s out of my sight
I don’t need it, get out of my mind!
Don’t believe it?!? Just wait til I fly

The song is also a great showcase of Daniel Baker’s guitar work with a soaring solo before the final chorus. A very dark song that is as much a part of Circularity as a vicious cycle more than anything else. Definitely one for those who feel trapped and need to free some of that tension!

Track #5: Imago

Faith and religion has been able to unite millions of people to a common cause which fits under the banner of Circularity, though the song Imago does appear to look at a more humanistic and secular approach to world unity as well. Deriving from the phrase ‘Imago Dei’ (Image Of God), this acoustically-driven track (with an electric solo mind) ponders whether it is better to have belief in a deity or not:

Want to wish the world away?
To draw a line to Everest?
Rid the world of sin and saint?
Rid the world of all this love?

I don’t need Imago, I just need to come back down.
For all my life I’ve waited for Him.

This could be seen as quite damning of religion, but the Imago page does include a quote from Article 14 of the UN convention on the rights of the child saying: “You have the right to choose your own religion and beliefs. Your parents should help you decide what is right and wrong, and what is best for you.” It definitely takes a more balanced approach knowing that while there are great reasons for a more secular society, it is up to the individual about their religious alignment and how it affects them personally.

Track #6: Slumberland

Sleep is a natural recurrence, unless you’re an insomniac, so of course it would be #Circularity. Sleep is needed to replenish your body and mind, but when you’re sleeping, you can be at your most imaginative, intentionally or not given the freedom you have to think of whatever you like during them. When you’re sleep-deprived, the need for rest and the avoidance of any social activity even with your partner is usually evident and is noted in this song:

I crave for a sight, and a sound, and a drink.
My decency rules in the land of OK. It’s a shame that that place isn’t here.

This time I am sleeping my dear. Do not try to wake me.
This time I am breathing my dear. Do not suffocate me.

Though this song is by no means a lullaby with its heavy chorus so it’s hard to feel sleepy (which is a good thing since you don’t want a song putting you to sleep when it’s trying to entertain you!), but the lyrics do convey the need for sleep in terms of escaping from the real world, being one with your thoughts and having the need to keep coming back which, quite frankly, is a good thing both physically and mentally.

Track #7: Wall Of Sound

Now this is a track you would have thought would have had a musical fit for Slumberland, but here is a light, solo acoustic song from Baldwin that is a song…about songs! Well maybe not quite that simplistic, but music is definitely the focus here, in a literal and metaphorical sense. With the purpose of Circularity here to be a call for unity through music, this is very much a symbol of that notion. Whether through teaching children to learn music or weaving a poetic image of love:

I’ve got a brain and I know how to use it; I’ll teach them to sing and I’ll teach them to play,
and then we can make sound til the day that we die and harmony echoes around, my love.

You’ve got a heart and I know that it’s broken; the pulse is arranged in the strangest of ways.
But we can unite and make regular tempo, and create the rhythm of life, my love.

The Wall of Sound recording technique as popularised by Phil Spector could be an ironic reference here given that the recording technique itself was meant to give free range for artists to include large orchestral accompaniments in their music. That is not the case here with just one man singing and playing his acoustic guitar being as far removed from that vision as you can get. Still, well worth a listen to for appreciating the power of music in a stripped-down fashion.

Track #8: Soul

A hard and heavy song in the same vein stylistically as I Can’t Breathe, but thematically is much more defiant and empowering. We all need to find ourselves and our own identity at some point in our lives and be true to ourselves in the face of adversity. Now whether you want to interpret ‘soul’ as being a religious connotation or a personal connotation would probably depend on which side you took on Imago, but either way, the song fits both sides well.

I am a liar and you are on fire yet all I inquire is ‘I got Soul’.
I am the wire and you are on fire and all that I know is you’re my heart’s desire.
I’m raising the ocean. I’ll cause a commotion and all that I know is that ‘I got Soul’.

This is more of the Circularity of oneself and feeling whole in oneself rather than a collective unity. Play this one when you’re feeling doubt in yourself.

Track #9: Blood

Don’t worry, this isn’t a gothic vampiric anthem dropped into your album about unity and togetherness! It’s a song that fits right in with the theme of charity and good deeds with the image of blood flowing without a heart and that’s just a mess right? A call for empathy and compassion reigns true in this number. Blood without the heart has no use and therefore, poetically speaking, has no real feeling behind it.

What is Blood, an emptiness of heart?
What is Hope, I need it from the start.
We wait in line for security but we are one and all eternally.
Cos I can feel it in my heart.

And oh, my, we went too far.
We didn’t know to be with it.
And I know that you pray to God cos you don’t wanna deal with it!

That last line, while continuing the religious undertones set by Imago and Soul, is not necessarily a jab at religious thought processes, but more of a way of saying that people must show that they care about those in need rather than just saying they do because they don’t feel that they can themselves. Another track that calls for more care for others.

Track #10: The Only One

Now here’s one that will be very familiar to people who have seen SFI perform live for the past ten years! The Only One has been the opening song for their live sets for quite a while now, but is track ten of fourteen here. Regardless, it’s great to hear it get an album release! While there have been religious-themed songs on this album, there hasn’t been one that has looked at the concept of there being an afterlife for us when we die specifically. The idea of an afterlife is a source of comfort for many who fear death so it’s nice to have a comforting and melodic song giving that notion some thought.

And we wait for love, and we break for love and find the only one is opening a door.
As we fake for love, we erase the loving of the only one who’ll catch us where we fall.

Cos we won’t be around forever, and we won’t be around til Kingdom Come.
So we live here in this moment – The Only One.

And when we understand this notion that everything that’s ever been will go.
Our impermanence is only. The Only One.

A subtext of true love could be found in these lyrics with not realising that as we wait for love, someone has always been there to catch us when we fall and that we should cherish the moments that we have with the ‘Only One’ and the use of the word ‘impermenance’ shows the idea of wanting to stay in that moment because it won’t get better than right now. It’s a multi-layered song in lyrical content and musical production with the ‘REV phrase’ (reverse sound engineering) created by bassist Gibbs that produces a backwards instrumentation that can be heard at around 2:30. It’s trippy and provides a celestial and astral feel to the song that’s already existential enough as it is! Definitely recommended to hear a long-standing SFI song given the full Rockfield recording treatment!

Track #11: Proud

Pride in your own or someone else’s accomplishments and creativity is great feeling especially if you are a parent trying to encourage the potential that your child has or if you yourself need to find a way to unlock your own potential on your own whether it be through practice of a certain skill or inner/outer exploration.

The quiet came to aid our thought, we focused on the emptiness.
And you came like you had no choice, and you screamed til you had no voice.

So release the fire, betray the night – come on we’re trying to save your life in the fire.

You wonder why you’re changing.
And you wonder why we’re changing.
You wonder why it’s changing.

A slow, yet joyous and passionate song that will be sure to fan the flames lit after that first creative spark. Welp, this is sounding more like an advertisement than a review isn’t it?

Track #12: Circularity

And so we come to the title track! A title track should be seen as the representation of the album, a condensed and abridged version of the album. The track Circularity does this very well, featuring a change in musical style from verses to chorus to reflect varying styles (the lighter style of Slumberland to the harder style of Soul) to the lyrical content which looks to call for unity amongst our fellow man out of personal belief of a better tomorrow and the fear of global disharmony.

I believe in clarity, a simple singularity engaging.
Where everyone believes that everything perceives all.
A radiance outside of me, a chance to see that all of this inflaming is borne of all a blurred and discontented soul.

But there’s a kind of elation that’s transcending us to perfect bliss.
Yet there’s a sense of frustration that’s corroding everything!
Yeah, I know that I’m ‘only’, but I just can’t perceive myself.
There’s a sense of a longing; that we need circularity.
Yeah, we know that we’re lonely, but we’re losing our sense of ‘self’.
There’s a sense of foreboding that we need circularity.

The screamed lyrics of the second paragraph contrast with the softly sang lyrics of the first paragraph and create a piece that summarises just how close, yet so far away we are from creating a better world. #Circularity indeed!

Track #13: Lifelines

The penultimate track on this cycle talks/sings about how we could always use a little help despite knowing how much we already know currently in our life. Even if we’ve decided we don’t need our Imago or we have each declared “I GOT SOUL!”, there’s still uncertainty felt in our lives so just in case, give us a lifeline to fall back on just in case it all goes tits up, to put it a bit more bluntly than usual in this article!

I commit to a lifestyle, a creed and a brand of submission.
There’s a paradox somewhere that I will believe.

Now it’s time for us to get higher. Yet I do not know if I can see it, but I will in time.
In this life, yeah we’ll be all right – just as long as there’s Lifelines.

Heavy, but with a calmer pace than tracks like Sounds Like Crows, this track provides a good final release of energy before our finale, which is…

Track #14: Answers

Who can provide the answers that we need? Though they vary greatly from person to person, the need for answers and guidance is a universal need whether spiritual or physical. This slow, piano-driven final track shows us that we can either wait for answers or we can find them ourselves through individual journeys or journeys with others that we take.

And I’ll wait ‘til Heaven’s stars can tell me where you are.
And I’ll wait ‘til all the skies point to where you lie.
And the oceans drift apart to lead me to your heart.
And golden autumn leaves fall into our dreams.


Yeah, I wish to see you grow into fire, into soul!
Yet I’m standing in these shoes just to warm them up for you.
Because you can see it real, and you can see it clear.
And I can hold my heart on offer from my palm.


Can you give me Answers, please?

“We’ll get some answers…soon.”

Whether you see this as a hopeful or a somber note to end the album on, it’ll definitely leave an impression with what songs have preceded it. Like the title track, there are also combinations of themes from other tracks such as the consideration between humanism and religion “Faith and Science fused” (Imago) which seems to bring Circularity, shall we say, full circle.

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Well that killed the mood!

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

To conclude, SFI have produced an excellent album in Circularity. Each song is well-performed, well-recorded and written with a lot of care and precision as to really give the project a sense of focus on the one true goal which is the one true goal that they wish everyone from all walks of life to get on board with, you guessed it, Circularity! Personal recommendations would be I Can’t Breathe, The Only One and the title track but that is just me. You will find what you’re looking for I’m sure!

Be sure also to check the feed of SFI’s Facebook page as their posts since each track has been posted have article links to world events that match the theme of a song name with a hashtag of said song name, like an article on Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s battle with depression is followed by #ICantBreathe. It’s a good way to promote the album and start a productive discussion.

Anyway, that is all from this landmark first of a piece on Brewtown Music! Let us know whether you enjoyed the review, if you enjoyed any of the tracks you may have listened to and we will see you next time for another hearty review brew of Midlands tunes.

 

LINKS

Circularity Website: http://www.circularity.org/

Star From Ivy Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/starfromivy/

VultureHound interview on Circularity by Thomas Miller: http://vulturehound.co.uk/2016/01/star-from-ivy-circularity-the-interview/

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CREDIT FOR PHOTO: KIMBERLY BAYLISS

Brewtown #21: Wet Lettuce and the Magik Bean

Colourful characters from left to right: Wyatt, Hutchings, Jordan, Houlbrooke and Waddell

Colourful characters from left to right: Wyatt, Hutchings, Jordan, Houlbrooke and Waddell

Hey, we’re back with Brewtown once again and to start off this next order of local music, we’re going to look at a hard rock/metal act with a slightly psychedelic/naughty name. If you know what I mean, it’s Wet Lettuce and the Magik Bean!

Kyle Jordan (Vocals), Gaz Waddell (Drums), Lewis Hutchings (Bass), Dan Houlbrooke (First guitar) and Sam Wyatt (Second guitar) are the five ingredients for this strange-sounding recipe that provides a lot of suggestion and hard rock…and more suggestion!

These lads, like other young acts such as Mario’s Nicotine Parlour and The Arcadians have only been around for less than two years but have been working their way into local favour and into our heads with their bizarre and did I mention suggestion?!

Yes you did! Now get on with the article!!

Yes you did! Now get on with the article!!

Four young men (no vocalist yet and bassist then was Robin Nichols) were part of a music course at Burton college who decided to test out some of their instrumental tracks that they had written together and formed the band on May 22nd 2012. Instrumental because they didn’t have a vocalist yet.

Their first gig was, oddly enough, something to do with college with a music evening at the Brewhouse Performing Arts Centre called Pick ‘N’ Mix organised by the college that also featured Lucida Scroll and Great Scott.

However, they didn’t make their official live debut until October where they opened the Deafbox Promotions launch night at the Star and Garter pub on a card which also featured The Distancing and 5 Days of November.

Dah! I thought I erased that image from my brain!

Dah! Dammit Millsy, I thought I erased that image from my brain!

In the midst of this debut, they were busy uploading demo tracks to Soundcloud and searching for a permanent singer. The latter wouldn’t come just yet, but it did come later in the next year.

The first two gigs of 2013 for the Wets were both in the same month, April to be exact with the 13th giving them a support slot once again alongside Lucida Scroll and put on by DeafBox and on the 20th at Branston’s Gate Inn with CURV and Double Helix put on by Septic Sounds. Unfortunately, the latter gig was cancelled due to Nichols breaking his wrist. Damn!

Their first festival date came in July the day after another gig at the Star and Garter. This was at the Grass Roots Festival at Appleby Magna in Leicestershire which would also feature acts as diverse as Them Deviants, Theia and The Vibe.

The ideal landscape for electric funk and vagina innuendos.

The ideal landscape for hard funk and vagina innuendos.

The next couple on months would be a very brief public hiatus for the Bean to prepare for the announcement of their next few gigs and the arrival of their fifth member, which would be that ever so mysterious lead singer I was on about earlier. To hype up the singer’s debut, they announced they had laid down some vocal lines for their EP on Facebook.

At the end of October, they supported Theia this time for an acoustic set at the Dog Inn and with it, introduced Jordan to the mix as permanent vocalist! As November rolled round, they got themselves a support slot with Star From Ivy of all bands at the Wetmore Whistle which was also the first time they performed at the famous Burton venue.

In mid November, they would hype up a big gig in Crewe supporting Birmingham-based Indie act Dumb at The Box, so much so selling physical tickets for the event! They would also play at The Shed in Leicester which would become a favourite venue for them outside of Burton.

Though it’s not from The Shed, here’s a performance clip of theirs of a track called Dissonance. Appropriate given the video quality!

Come 2014 (we’re already in the current year? Jayzus!!), they were ready to unveil their material in recorded form for the launch of their debut EP Bad Llama. It took place at The Shed, appropriate given the great reception they had the last time they performed their, with support from Swad band Genziani’s Jukebox.

With performances at the Musician in Leicester and further performances at the Whistle alongside The Arcadians, they gained a bit more online attention when reviewer Theguywithastick posted a positive write-up about their EP and the band in general.

They have recently done another gig at The Shed alongside French rock act Eyes of Verona hosted by Dreaming in Colour Productions and encouraged fans to vote for them to be a part of Slam Dunk Festival hosted by Kerrang. Best of luck to them for then, but for now, that’s about it. The history of Wet Lettuce and the Magik Bean everyone!

Huzzah! Here's an anthropomorphic bikini-clad llama for your troubles!

Huzzah! Here’s an anthropomorphic bikini-clad llama for your troubles!

Despite the short history, there’s still the music to listen out for. So, how does THAT fare? Originally, I didn’t think much of these guys, what with them having formed through a college music project and all, but with time I’ve come to appreciate their performances seeing what they can do with more than just one music genre.

Wet Lettuce are an act with an eclectic inspiration ranging from the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction and Biffy Clyro and show that they aren’t willing to be seen as just one style, though still classed as alternative.

The music itself can show no-nonsense aggression (Bad Llama title track), psychedelic clashes of harmonies (Dissonance, oddly enough!) or laid back funk (Translation) which vocalist Jordan adapts to pretty well, either by a smooth croon or a Max Raptor-like scream!

A prime example of this and recommended number is Take Wing. Starting off with brisk drum beats and dirty guitar riffs that are reminiscent of the beginning of The Strokes‘ track The Modern Age, the track leaps from your headphones and looks to give you a sense of what the band has to offer in terms of musical merit.

It shows that they have a knack for a hook if they push for it, since they had to make do without a vocalist originally and be an instrumental act to start off with the main riff mentioned earlier giving the song an almost menacing and sneaky texture.

Lyrically, the song seems to suggest a free and easy lifestyle, whether that involve going out and looking for a wild night out or just doing whatever the guy wants to, with the title alluding to flying away from it all.

Maybe I will, maybe I won’t…

I guess I can tell, I’m under your spell

Cos it’s a situation I’m not willing to sell

Whether it be about sex (the band name, come on!) or having a hedonistic time with your mates, it gives off the ‘don’t give a damn’ vibe that we’ve come to expect with rock n roll music, which they pull off quite well.

It is just a taste of their discography, seeing how they have only been around since 2012 and a lot of that time was moving on from just being a college project to being a legitimate band. But it’s a sweet taste for now!

Below is the studio EP version if you found the live version above a bit rough, so I suggest checking it out for yourself as I always suggest seeing how I could always be talking a load of bull!

To finish, Wet Lettuce and the Magik Bean could prove to be dark horses in the Burton music scene. Though starting off from the classroom, their new material has proved they can perform alongside the bigger acts and carve out their own unique identity. Watch out for them, Leicester certainly has anyway!

But from Burton, this is Brewtown Music serving you another fine brew of Midlands tunes!

The Bean’s stuff

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WetLettuceandTheMagicBean

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/wet-lettuce-magik-bean

Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/wetlettuceandthemagikbean

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClldCchMUgT4XCrZBQwOncw

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Magik_Bean

Wet Lettuce

Brewtown #16: Mario’s Nicotine Parlour

This is not how they usually look from left to right: Chester, Mines, Knight and Skellet

Sadly, this is not how they usually look from left to right: Chester, Mines, Knight and Skellet

We return to regular Brewtown programming here with a young quartet that have made a decent impact in their first year of being part of the Burton music scene a la 5 Days of November. It’s-a-them, Mario’s Nicotine Parlour!

Jack Mines (lead vocals, lead guitar), Rhys Knight (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Jack Skellet (bass guitar) and James Chester (drums) have brought a solid punk alt rock sound that comes as an interesting addition aside the Indie and hard rock that is common in the scene.

MNP describe their sound as “Arctic Monkeys meet Half Man Half Biscuit.”

"I bet that you'd look good in those Joy Division Oven Gloves!"

“I bet that you’d look good in those Joy Division Oven Gloves!”

The story for MNP starts in May 2012, despite not officially starting to do gigs as a band for nearly a year. Mines and Knight had always been playing music as a duo either at open mics or at friend’s parties.

The original line-up consisted of Mines and Knight in their usual roles with Luke Mousley on bass, Richard Bates on drums and Skellet as a deputy bass in case there was any hang-ups.

They spent the good part of 2012 and early 2013 writing material and practising said material, as you do, getting it ready for their awaiting public. Well I should say they were waiting after their first music video was released!

A video budget bigger than Texas, on a US map.

During the Spring of 2013 is when they started performing live officially, in April when they performed at the Navigation Inn in Swadlincote and at the Victoria Inn in Derby supporting Get Cubs and Great Scott. In May they would perform at the Wetmore Whistle for the first time as well as The Royal Oak supporting Sam Garrett, Fantastik 4 and Lucida Scroll.

In June, they would end up on the bill for Soundcheck’s Best of Burton event that took place at the National Brewery Centre run by Burton College students for their final course so their grades were in the band’s hands! Not really, but they were helped out by Star From Ivy, Phoenix Salvation and Fantastik 4 again.

The next month they would return to the Whistle to support The Vibe‘s Eyes EP launch along with 5 Days of November and support Kitten Pyramid and Lady and the Tramp for the Moira Beer Festival. In August was a major break for them as they performed on the main stage at the Rosliston Forestry Centre for Gladefest which also featured Tilted Smile, Wildfire Folk and The Roz Bruce Infusion. Knight would pull double duty that night (no typing error there) as he would also play percussion in folk band Green Fortune with Ma and Pa Knight, Kay and Mark.

Though nobody does a family band like the Partridges!

Though nobody does a family band like the Partridges!

MNP got their first bit of radio play with Knight and Mines being interviewed on Radio Ashby (Internet radio but hey it’s a start) where they were also promoted by Green Fortune. Family musicians helping each other? Take notes Oasis! (Dated I know but still)

October and November would bring them a line-up change with Chester and Skellet replacing Bates and Mousley on drums and bass respectively and a number of big gigs including a return to both the Glade for a Food and Drink Fair/Farmer’s Market, the Victoria Inn supporting Nottingham-based Indie rock act The Steady Sound and back to the Whistle once again, this time for their OWN EP launch!

Done on Hallow’s Boxing Day (Nov 1st), they launched their first EP Proof of Identity (produced by Dan Gallagher, yes him again!) and because it was the day after Halloween, they all daubed black and white makeup on their faces and that explains the first picture so…yeah there’s that.

But does that explain this genius editing job? Probably!

But does that explain this genius editing job? Probably!

The night after their EP launch, they were down to Kidderminster and pretty soon they were performing in Leicester, Derby, Sheffield and wherever else wanted their hands on them! In between these gigs going into 2014, a new demo track Organism was released in December and have attempted to be a part of the 2014 YNot Festival. Go for it!

Time for the actual music! Though they have only been around for a short time, behind the scenes and before officially performing live, their music has made a connection with a good number in the Brewtown scene as well as helping them go down a storm in the outer reaches of the country.

Their music is a hybrid of alternative, indie and punk which seems like a no brainer of styles especially from a rock band their age in this generation or music. Still, they own their music in both instrumentals and vocals with Mines and Knight showing some gruff and cig-ragged singing on their tracks. Speaking of, let’s look at two I recommend.

The first is the third track off their Proof of Identity EP, Time Will Wait. It starts off like a grunge track with the slow start and rough yet restrained vocals. But at about the 1:40 mark, it kicks into a higher gear like it literally should be a song that you speed up to along the highway while listening on the car radio. Definitely one to check out if you’re looking for some really up tempo and gritty music, coming out of Burton-on-Trent at least!

The second is, oddly enough, the second track from the EP, Crumpton Blues which sounds like something a depressed Chippy Minton would sing, if he could speak of course! Although there’s Blues in the title, you wouldn’t take that from the song itself as it is an up tempo, dare I say, jolly sing-along track. Oh it still keeps the rough vocals and dirty rock sound, but it is a pretty catchy tune itself.

It does appear to be in the lyrics though where the downer blues lyrics come in so it’s not an entirely misleading title. While tinged with the optimism the song does seem to give off, there’s definitely an acceptance of bad things happening to the singer:

Alcohol stained, it’s like a bullet to my brain and I know

These long, long days, they make me feel whole again and I know

I’m on a freight train and I’m just singing again oh!

Granted there’s a na-na-na sing-along refrain to step into give us a chorus as well as some trumpets thrown in which Bates himself is known for playing, but it isn’t without it’s slightly depressing moments. It’s a good mix of the downers and the uppers (don’t take that mix literally kids, drugs are bad mkay?), but that’s just me. As always, see for yourself.

Mario’s Nicotine Parlour are ones to watch out for, in terms of newer and younger acts. They show great promise in both their music and entertainment value and are being received well wherever else they go. If they’re round your way, drop by their parlour and smoke the night away, I mean put on your Nicorette patches! I wouldn’t want to upset anyone would I? Still though, this has been Brewtown Music serving you another fine brew of Midlands tunes.

MNP’s stuff

Official Website: http://mnpofficial.webs.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mariosnicotineparlour37

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/marios-nicotine-parlour

Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/mariosnicotineparlour

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MNPofficial

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/mnpofficial

MNP

MNP 1

Brewtown #8: Dave Ball

A piece of Procul Harum in Burton on Trent

A piece of Procul Harum in Burton on Trent

Most of the acts I have covered and will cover on this blog are, for the most part, from the UK Midlands and have built their legacy in said area. But this next musician has a rich history, all around the world with various acts, while gaining a place in a widely known and respected prog rock who had a UK number one hit! From the Midlands to New Zealand and back again, Dave Ball.

With a career that spans five decades and hundreds of thousands of miles, Dave Ball brings a wealth of experience to the Burton music scene which he has said to liking and has enjoyed being a part of it. That’s quite the compliment!

Born in 1950 in the West Midlands, Ball, like a lot of musicians on here and in general, started off from childhood playing his first instruments which were a banjo and a drum kit which was part actual drum kit/part two brass ornaments with knitting needle drumsticks. Improvisation is an important trait to have!

THE essence of rock n roll!

THE essence of rock n roll!

After starting to learn the guitar from the age of 13, he left school at the age of 15 to pursue his desire to become a professional musician. Where do you go from home-made drum kits and two years of guitar? Well into a band with your two brothers is a decent enough place to start! Their band The Deadbeats were formed in 1963 and went for two years before breaking up and Dave of the Balls moved on.

He played in too many bands to count! 22 in 45 years according to Musician’s Olympus! One of these being Ace Kefford Stand (With brother Denny) who, for a gig at the famous golf club The Belfry, were seen and supported by members of the Move as well as John Bonham and Robert Plant.

But his big break came when in 1971, he was made the new guitarist of chart topping prog rock legends Procol Harum (You know, the Whiter Shade of Pale guys!)

And I might I just say that is "EXCELLENT!" No need to mimic a guitar riff since he's already got one!

And I might I just say that is “EXCELLENT!” No need to mimic a guitar riff since he’s already got one!

Despite not being a part of the band for that famed number one single in 1967, he did have a big role in the song Conquistador from the Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra album from 1971 which hit peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 22 on the UK Singles Chart. No wonder it was released as a single because it sounds as amazing as it is accessible and Ball provides a great solo halfway through.

Check 2:34 for the solo. Add orchestra for instant awesomeness!

After 18 months of touring non-stop with dates in Europe, Japan, America and Canada and recording some of the tracks for the 1973 album Grand Hotel, Ball left the Harum in 1973, he went on to form the short-lived but impactful group Bedlam. This band had quite the reputation in their short time in the spotlight as Ball was joined by brother Denny (bass), Frank Aiello (vocals) and legendary rock drummer Colin ‘Cozy’ Powell (Black Sabbath, Rainbow and Whitesnake were just three of his highlights! What did YOU do today?)

The strongest memories that Ball had of his time with Bedlam was the laughs, the fun had writing and recording tunes and just sheer noise in the studio. That was probably the reason why their resulting album cover was of a hand punching up from the ground! So loud it could wake the dead!

And spontaneously combust don't forget that!

And spontaneously combust don’t forget that!

But Brewtown Music, you’re probably wondering, where the hell does Burton come into it for Mr Ball? Well after a living a life which encompassed touring with bands round the world, joining the army in Britain AND Australia, going through a wide variety of jobs and living in many exotic countries including Germany, he moved to a small rural Midlands village called Tatenhill in 2012 where he continued to write new material among the hundreds of songs he had on demos for years. He formed his own company ‘WorldSlump Limited’ around this time to keep his music and art going and intact.

According to an interview with the Burton Mail, Ball didn’t even realise there was a music scene in Burton until he had a meeting at Arch Recordings Studio with Scott Marson (another Burton-based musician who you’ll be hearing from again soon no doubt!) who introduced him to the local talent. Along the way, he did the regular musician thing of going to gigs as a performer/spectator and meeting new colleagues and mates whilst getting some free drinks along the way (celebrity status is a high commodity, even in Burton!)

One major highlight of his first year back in the Midlands was his half an hour set on the Sunday of BurtFest 2012 where he, along with four other musicians (one of them being Chris Baldwin on keyboard, get used to that name here!) formed Dave Ball and the Burton Ball Breakers! (Yes I’m giving them official band italics, what of it?)

Clip of The Ball Breakers covering Crossroads at Burtfest

This though isn’t the one night only performance of the Ball Breakers. It’s a spur of the gig band which is made up of musicians who just happen to be in the area (one being in Norway of all places!) and strike up a set usually at short notice. The BurtFest performance was like that but still proved to be a great set and Ball had ingrained himself into the Burton scene on his own merits, not just his famous past.

He can work the crowd outside of his music too. His role as ‘Ringmaster’ compere in a Burton Circus night was the glue that held what could have been a chaotic night together, even doing a guest solo on one of the act’s songs. Who’s song it was is for another time!

Oh and duck hat! Your argument...it is not valid!

Oh and duck hat! Your argument…it is not valid!

To this very day, Ball has provided his massive presence in person (figuratively and literally being 6ft 3in!) and an abundance of material in song to great effect. His own music is a mix of blues, rock, folk and some R&B thrown in there for old times sake. His guitar work is obviously up to standard having specialised in the damn instrument most of his life but his deep, throbbing voice gives his work even more of a bluesy feel, even with the touch of humour in some works.

An example of where a bit of humour comes into his work is Don’t Forget Your Alligator. This song, from the album of the same name, evokes images of a devil-may-care attitude in a 1930s French Jazz club…what? Why are you looking at my words like that? With the leisurely acoustic guitar and drums, soon backed up by an accordion refrain. And the lyrics are…well I’ll just let the clip music video below show you the scenario, with Ball himself providing some neat little drawings.

Literal Music Videos channel, take heed!

One song that is quite a feast for the ears of his is Who Really Cares? (Off the Don’t Forget Your Alligator album as well) There’s a Ball-busting guitar solo, an orchestral backing and throwbacks to his Harum days, particularly their ballads. I did think it sounded like Comfortably Numb at first but I guess that’s how uncultured I am!

The lyrics of each verse have a simple alliteration about them (‘Enticing / Evolving / Engaging / Encouraging / Exciting’) which gives off an impression of not giving a damn but still keeping yourself together and bringing others together with you as you get older. He keeps up this ‘Screw it, who cares?’ attitude by performing a three minute solo which takes up more than half the track before the end. It’s quite a piece of work that shows that as long as you still have the desire to do something regardless of what anyone says, you can carry on being a great musician for years! Still though, this a short summary of just two of his many original songs. Check them out for yourself and see what you like.

The Midlands-born, New Zealand raised giant of an axe-man has made a firm impact on the Burton music scene with his presence and tales from his past and has shown that he can still hold his own against even the most brash and energetic of young acts out there. Even if living and performing in a small Midlands town doesn’t beat being a part of one of the most famous prog rock acts of all time, it looks like it’s been a good experience for him and certainly for those around him. And on that sentimental note, this has been Brew Town Music serving you another fine brew of Midlands tunes.

Dave Ball’s stuff

Website: http://www.worldslump.com/

ReverbNation: http://www.reverbnation.com/daveball

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dave.ball.9212

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/worldslump

Dave Ball 2

Brewtown #4: Sam Garrett

From left to right...Oh there's only one this time. Never mind then, it's just Garrett!

From left to right…Oh there’s only one this time. Never mind then, it’s just Garrett!

Since my last three posts on here have been about rock bands, I thought it would be good to step back, take it slow and look at a solo musician who is on the more spiritual and philosophical side. Say Namaste for Sam Garrett.

With an acoustic guitar, meaningful lyrics and a buttload of multi-armed deities to think of, Garrett brings a musical mix of Bob Marley, The Beatles and a bit of Jason Mraz to create a chilled atmosphere even in the most dank and aggressive venues.

Originally hailing from Cotton in Staffordshire, Garrett was inspired to become a musician by his parents’ different tastes in music:

“My mum and dad met in a recording studio, as my mum used to be a singer and my dad played in a punk band in the 70s–80s. I used to root through all his vinyl and just go crazy.”

From this vinyl rooting came a desire to write his own lyrics and music whilst teaching himself to play the guitar. As someone who was in this guy’s year in High School I can tell you that the image at the top of this post is NOT how he looked like in school. Think more 70s Johnny Rotten with pipe cleaners for legs! (Seriously man, how tight were those damn jeans!?)

But since leaving High School, he underwent a transformation from punk to hippy as he stepped out into the world of gigging in pubs and clubs across the Midlands, as do a lot of the acts I have mentioned so far and will continue to mention. But unlike his peers that were mainly based in hard rock or indie, his music seemed like a cool breeze that would calm the most aggressive barfly, if the incense he had lit before his set didn’t do the job already! He along his brother Tom who occasionally duets with him would be a chill out staple in Burton on Trent.

His ability to really impress onlookers came to a head at the 2010 Live and Unsigned event held at the O2 Arena in London. His laid-back hippy charm was enough to win him the Urban category at what he described at the time as ‘the biggest gig he’d ever played.’

The buzz from his victory caught the attention of Flavour Magazine CEO Leonard Foster who promoted Garrett who soon ended up becoming his Manager. This was clearly a massive boost for him as he was put on the bill of the 2011 Live Fest, the largest indoor festival in London where he graced the same stage as the likes of Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip and The Hoosiers (Also Tinchy Stryder and NDubz were there but who gives a fork about them?)

Along with live gigs and festival success, he released his EP Be Easy in October 2012 which was produced by multi-platinum producer Jake Gosling who produced albums for Ed Sheeran and Paloma Faith (hopefully Sam’s music won’t be as divisive as those two are!) He was given another public boost that year as X Factor (Must refrain from saying that too much here!) reject Frankie Cocozza promoted the EP on his Twitter saying:  “check out @samgarrettmusic absolute class.”

Well he's got some taste, I'll give the little bollocks that!

Well he’s got some taste, I’ll give the little bollocks that!

To this day, he continues to gig becoming a mainstay at the Free Love Club weekly festival in Birmingham and has become a Hindu, hence the Namaste and reference to their gods at the beginning. I’m not THAT random!

But as I’ve said before, all accolade pimping and national recognition aside, how does the music fare? Well, as I have been mainly concentrating on heavier, harder and more energetic music to start this blog with, this reggae inspired acoustic stuff is a good change of pace, if a much calmer pace.

It may look like I exaggerated the way his music can chill you out earlier in this post…and I suppose I did but that doesn’t mean his music isn’t effective at doing so anyway. The acoustic picking combined with his soulful vocals is a pretty good antidote for a stressed mind.

Besides doing the odd cover of One Love or Three Little Birds (Marley inspired so it’s inevitable), his older sets had one particular song that stood out to me called Butterfly which is played at the start of his Flavour Mag interview video I linked above. While it does sound a lot like Jason Mraz’ I’m Yours, it is far from a cheap imitation. The happy vocals both lead and backing along with the brisk percussion are what really make this song shine and show Garrett at his most cheerful. I’ll leave a link to the song below so you can judge for yourself.

https://myspace.com/samgarrettmusic/music/song/butterfly-81735982-90045674?play=1

His recent EP work is pretty good too. The minimalist production by Gosling works in Garrett’s favour to let him BE as EASY as he wants! (subtle Elltell!) The songs can be just Garrett singing whilst playing the guitar to him being backed up by piano, percussion and vocal harmonies that is probably as complex as he wants it. No orchestras needed, not that this kind of music would usually call for it! The title track sets the mood talking about how great it is to be just like a tree just blowing in the breeze and being as relaxed as possible. The best track, in my opinion, is The River which just makes you want to turn off your mind, relax and float downstream showcasing Garrett’s best qualities: Great guitar work, superb vocal harmonies and steady bongo percussion backing up the introspective, nature-inspired lyrics.

If there’s a bit of room in your music collection for a bit of acoustic reggae done by a white kid from Derbyshire, I’d say give Sam Garrett a go. If the lyrics about love and nature aren’t your thing, you can still appreciate the guitar work and rough yet soulful vocals. He’s no Ravi Shankar, but he’s the best Hindu musician the Midlands Scene has to offer, at least who I’ve seen so far! That’s good karma right? Either way, this has been Brew Town Music serving you another fine brew of Midlands tunes.

Garrett’s stuff

Official website: http://www.samgarrettmusic.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/samgarrettmusic

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/samgarrettmusic

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/samgarrettvideos

Twitter: www.twitter.com/samgarrettmusic

Garrett

Brewtown #3: Tilted Smile

DSCF1739

Tilted boys from left to right: Poxon, Tunnicliffe and Matkin

To keep the Festival feeling going, I have chosen a band who have had a lot of experience with festivals and gigs ranging from Staffordshire to Tennessee! A blistering trio that even the birthplace of rock n roll couldn’t ignore, I present Lee Matkin On bass guitar! Or as they’re more commonly known: Tilted Smile.

Jack Poxon (vocals, guitar) and Lee Matkin (bass) and Jason Tunnicliffe (drums) make up one of the most hard-working hard rock bands that the Burton Music scene has to offer and their hard work has paid off in a lot of ways both in and outside the UK.

Jack and Lee started the band with ex drummer Ben Edmonds in 2005 with the intent to create a massive sound that would sound as if there were twice as many of them performing. A sound that was “Fast, Visual, Edgy, Rock & Roll.” Personally, I don’t feel that an act should label themselves as ‘edgy’ because it is a very subjective term. What is edgy and new to someone may be old hat to another. I’m not holding that against these guys because they are a talented band, it’s just a pet peeve of mine I wanted to get out the way. Moving on…

With the original line-up, Tilted spent their first year doing the regular new band thing of getting and doing gigs in their town, then to other towns, to cities and then all round the country gaining a decent following along the way and putting their blood, sweat and tears into every performance they did.

Jack Poxon Sweaty

Quite literally in Jack’s case. WARNING: The front row may experience a slight cascading!

But it wasn’t until 2006 that their journey was kicked into overdrive with one competition. The Jack Daniels’ Best New UK Band of that year was awarded to Tilted with a grand prize (and boy was it grand!) of being able to perform and record an album live at the legendary Sun Studio! You know the place that Elvis guy recorded an album or two.

To this momentous occasion, the band took advantage of their time in Memphis and Nashville to promote their music with live performances at Nashville’s Exit/In (past performers include Muddy Waters, The Ramones and Elvis Costello) and Memphis night club  Hi Tone (that once housed Kang Rhee, Elvis’ karate teacher!) The recording session at Sun Studio itself lasted for 6 hours and was explained further in the Live at Sun Studio album sleeve notes:

With adrenaline pumping we played through the whole night on a battered drum-kit and without guitar amps in a room that hadn’t been altered since the 50s. From November 2006 to January 2009 we have been working hard on these recordings to get them to a standard we feel proud of.”

Even with the handicaps of some of the old recording equipment, the album was released in April 2009 with alterations here and there to the sound to make the final result sound more polished but still keep that live feel and that IS important as I’ll explain in a bit.

If you have a bit of time and want to see their journey through Tennessee, check out the playlist  below!

But this trans-Atlantic trip is not the only achievement they have under their belts. In eight years as a band, they have toured extensively in the UK, performed on radio stations like KERRANG! FM, Nashville Scene and BBC Radio Bristol, played at festivals all over Britain and even in Norway whilst sharing bills with bands such as Maximo Park, Feeder, Echo & The Bunny Men and Hayseed Dixie to name only four! Norway is not the only European country they have performed in though as they have spent a week of Spring of 2013 touring Poland where they soon gained more continental fans! This tour is in preparation for a new album that is set to be released in the near future.

However, putting aside the history of the band and knowing how much effort and hard work has been put into making Tilted a band that can not only breach their country lines but their continent lines as well, how does their music fare up? Decent in terms of music, but they really shine through live!

The musicianship between these three is tight, crisp and loud which is just what you want with rock n roll. Poxon’s guitar and vocals are equally as loud and penetrating as each other and Matkin’s bass with Tunnicliffe’s drumming add to the frantic sound. I may have ranted earlier about their use of the word ‘edgy’ but I can’t deny the fast and raw power behind the music. Lyrically, there’s nothing majorly new about Tilted’s work with songs like You’re not the One, Black Heart Fever and 3AM which do sound like they belong on a Black Keys album. I will leave links to their music at the end of this article so you can judge for yourself so you can say what the hell do know?!

But seeing them live is what really sets them apart from a lot of acts in the Midlands music scene. This is the ‘visual’ part from their bad description really comes into play (not that it would on an audio track anyway but you know what I mean). Poxon’s lean guitar and vocal work is combined with a storming physical presence with slamming power chords, the inability to just stay in one place, more ‘guitar o faces’ than Jimmy Page and a one leg pose that has become a trademark for Poxon’s live performances.

Copyright © 2013 Jack Poxon at Tilted Smile Inc. All rights reserved

Copyright © 2013 Jack Poxon at Tilted Smile Inc. All rights reserved

Of course if a still photo of what could easily look like Jack falling backwards after tripping on a discarded beer can doesn’t convince you, then observe the clip below of the band performing a new song Voices at this year’s Y Not Festival.

This is a prime example of Poxon doing what he does best, providing a visual performance as well as an aural performance (‘Au’ no ‘o’ you dirty buggers!) which is what a live gig should aim to do. Either expand on the listening experience that a fan already has or introduce a newcomer to the band in the most energetic and charismatic way possible.

Even with Poxon on full display for everyone to see, Matkin and Tunnicliffe are do their job with gusto of their own. Matkin having his own time to shine with a bass solo here and there and his own chemistry with Poxon on stage which borders on bromance if you know how long they’ve been together in this band playing with their instruments in front of each other…I’ll go stand in the corner.

Am I allowed to come back now? OK, good!

Tunnicliffe’s drum work provides a pounding beat to a lot of the songs that jacks up the energy to 12 and even though Poxon does not partake in a drum solo war with Tunnicliffe as he used to do with Reynolds when he was in the band, the powerful drum work still cannot be ignored.

If you want straight-forward, well-performed, raw rock n roll with a leader whose energy could power the Hadron Collider, check these guys out. Though I would say they are better seen live simply because of Poxon’s charisma and extreme mobility as well as his great chemistry with his band mates. People over 4000 miles away have seen them, so what’s your excuse? This has been Brew Town Music serving you another fine brew of Midlands tunes.

Tilted’s stuff

Official website: http://www.tiltedsmile.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tiltedsmile

Soundcloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/tiltedsmile

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/tiltedsmiletv

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tiltedsmile

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