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!

giphy

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

uncle_ruckus

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!

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Brewtown #22: The Red Monroes

Marilyn never posed like this from left to right: Fitton, Alexander, Dolman and Woods

Marilyn never posed like this from left to right: Fitton, Woods, Dolman and Holmes (Alexander unpictured, sorry!)

As we continue on through our jaunt through the acts of Brewtown, we today look at a band that had another identity through the noughties, but have reformed in a more modest sense. Boop-boop-be-do, it’s The Red Monroes!

Philip Fitton (Lead vocals, Guitar), Sean Alexander (Lead Guitar, B Vox), Rob Dolman (Drums, B Vox), Damien Woods (Keys, Synth, B Vox) and David Holmes (Bass, B Vox) make up this five piece that go back longer than the small time they’ve been around as the Ruby Marilyns!

Although starting the RMs just last year, Fitton has led with another band called The Risks who made a big impact themselves in the scene since they formed nearly a decade ago. Let’s take a look at that history up till now shall we?

Just watch out for Fitton along the way. He get's very hungry!

Just watch out for Fitton along the way. He get’s very hungry!

Just to clarify, this is still an article on The Red Monroes, so I’ll keep The Risks’ stuff as brief as I can, but to start, Fitton formed The Risks back in 2005 with Alexander, Holmes and a drummer by the name of Kev until eventually getting replaced by Dolman. Kev everybody!

Originally, they were a covers band under the pretense of securing gigs but after a couple of bookings, they started writing their own material and as Dolman came in, they were performed a Fantastik 4 hybrid set of covers and originals.

Their style of music was hard indie and punk from the main musicians and with an Elvis Costello-esque vocal performance tinged with some Bryan Ferry-like vibrato from Fitton.

Vibrating so hard he may as well have DualShock printed on his body! 2:07 onwards in particular!

Highlights for The Risks included a TV appearance on Sky Sports (Kitten Pyramid level fame here!), support slots for Little Man Tate, The Futureheads and The Rascals and a gig at the 2007 Glastonbudget. Also, they performed at Liverpool’s world famous venue The Cavern Club which Fitton and Dolman were hugely proud of being big Beatles fans.

Over a successful couple of years and some well-received gigs in Nottingham and Manchester’s O2 Academy, things fizzled out for The Risks and so they decided to call it quits in 2009.

However, in 2012, Fitton, Dolman and Holmes thought it would be nice to start performing again, but a new identity was needed. And this is where the story of The Red Monroes begins!

Finally, I've been waiting ages for you to get going with that!

Finally, I’ve been waiting ages for you to get going with that!

Though they would begin writing and rehearsals around about November 2012 and through the Winter/Spring of 2013, they wouldn’t get their first official gig until June where they started out in big style, at the Victoria Inn in Derby, a regular place for The Risks to perform.

Woods was added to the line-up on synth to further develop the sound of TRM as well as some new show slots, including a return to the Wetmore Whistle (Risks popular venue again) and performing at mini festival Hilton Party in the Park in July.

Ashby’s BUNKA venue was also on the cards for July, a venue where hip hop legend Grandmaster Flash played with Jacob ‘Jaws’ Wilshaw of Raptorial!

Why am I showing this pic? Because it's awesome and I can! MWAHAHA!!

Why am I showing this pic? Because it’s awesome and I can! MWAHAHA!!

But on topic of the article, the Autumn saw more promotion of their debut EP and two more gigs at The Vic with the first being a headlining gig on top of solo local talent in October and the second supporting The Vibe and Get Cubs in November.

Before finishing their EP, they added one last lead guitar layer provided by Alexander who made the band a quintet in December. After a private demo amongst friends and family was given a thumbs up, they looked to release the EP in Spring 2014.

Sure enough, they did release their debut self titled EP on April 4th for release on iTunes, Google Play and physical release for gigs. To further promote the EP, they decided to reach further afield than Burton. Say…Canada…yeah that’ll do!

Yep, sure I’m not stereotyping here eh?

They were actually promoted twice on Canadian radio stations! One of them being 103.7FM CFBU Brock University Student Radio in Ontario (rolls right off the tongue eh?) in April and CISM 89.3 French Canadian radio in May!

With further gigs in the pipeline including one supporting Star From Ivy at the Whistle in mid-May, TRM will know doubt be looking to gain back that old attention-grabbing fire back from their days as The Risks. I’d say they’re on their way.

Still, regardless of this journey, what about the material? Well I’m glad you asked that. The evolution of the sound from Risks to Reds has been an interesting one and in some ways for the better so…

Come on then! Bored first person drummer is bored!

Come on then! Bored first person drummer is bored!

Their music from their Risks days did seem more raw in the sense it was more rooted in punk than anything else. Songs like Change Your Ways from their rough demos did sound like a heavier Elvis Costello number!

But with the Monroes, there’s power there, but it seems more heartfelt and romantic as well as the production being more slick and polished. Not to it’s detriment, it’s just an observation.

Songs like Don’t Waste Your Shadow and Take My Hand seem much more romantic, optimistic and catchy pop rock numbers than the punk sounds of previous times but…they are romantic, optimistic and catchy so there’s a big upside to the style change.

The first of two recommended tracks is Information was put up as a free download on their Soundcloud as a preview for their EP and it was a pretty good call.

It displays the upbeat Indie melodies that came with their style change including harmonic guitar riffs and the synth/piano featured on the whole EP that adds to the happy nature.

The lyrics are also a consistency with their new sound, with romantic themes such as a new woman coming into your life that was miserable before and the ‘Information’ being the facts needed to be heard by the singer to get him out of the slump he’s in. You can listen to it above.

The second of these tracks, Light of the Corner, is even more happy and joyous than the previous song! It’s quite the feat, but it will leave you with a bigger smile on your face!

The jangly guitars, the melodic piano, brisk drum beat and vivacious vibrato vocals (say that 5 times fast!) make it an essential gateway into the sound of TRM.

You say the words that make it all seem right

Can’t understand why I blame it on myself….

Where the light is a corner we found!

Fitton sings about that special place in private where you can just make out with your partner and not have to care about anyone around you looking. No smooth jazz needed, just happy Indie sing-alongs! If you care to check it out for yourself, by all means do so!

In conclusion, The Red Monroes/Fitton and co have definitely shifted in tone from what they were nearly ten years ago, but I’d say it’s a refreshing change. A much more upbeat approach to counter the anger in certain musical facets is always refreshing, at least to me. Either way, this has been Brewtown Music serving you a hearty brew of Midlands tunes!

The Reds’ stuff

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

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/the-red-monroes

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3k7D2tS4pWB2xzWB3r_BbQ

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheRedMonroes

The Risks’ Unsigned page: http://www.unsigned.com/therisks

The Risks’ Myspace: https://myspace.com/therisksderby

The Red Monroes 2

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 #9: The Vibe

Suspending disbelief from left to right - Stone, Benstead, Kendall, Dexter

Suspending disbelief from left to right – Stone, Benstead, Kendall, Dexter

It’s certainly feeling a little Indie in here again. Another Burton-based Indie band who have been getting around the UK with their snazzy numbers and I don’t mean their choice of attire. Let me see those eyes on The Vibe.

Max Kendall (lead vocals, guitar, synth), Ben Dexter (lead guitar, backing vocals), Matt Benstead (bass) and Scott Stone (drums, backing vocals) make a band who, like the previously talked about Get Cubs, are a prime example of how Indie music can be as enjoyable and accessible in Burton as it is all over the UK.

Aiming to combine the 80s post punk and new wave with the more contemporary Indie sounds gives people enough reason to get up and dance wherever they perform, whether it be in the most dank bar in Burton, or one of the most prestigious music venues in London. More on that later.

Originally, the band started off as D Fused in the late 2000s who twice came second (apologies if I ever repeat myself) in Staffordshire Battle of the Bands competitions. One of their recordings called Tombolas and Top Hats, which was an interlude from one of their albums, gave a clear indication of their electronic leanings and could very well have fit in a Doctor Who episode soundtrack.

How one of the jam sessions went…

After a few demos done by Kendall and a line-up change here and there, The Vibe officially came to be in April 2011 with Carl Davis on bass (‘replace the bass’ is becoming pretty common on this site!) and with a lot accomplished in their first year that a lot of bands would have to earn over a longer period of time!

For a start, Kendall and co went to High Wycombe to record their new band’s material after coming back from their respective universities. But they weren’t alone (the four of them that is!), as they had then SOS guitarist Dan Gallagher to help mix and master their work. Gallagher would go on to master The Vibe’s work from here on out.

Kendall has stated that in his time at University, he was exposed to a lot more music styles and began to bring some of that wider influence into his own music, a mix of electronica, Britpop and alternative progressive.

According to this totally official genre chart, that's between The Strokes and Coldplay. Sweet?

According to this totally official genre chart, that’s between The Strokes and Coldplay. Sweet?

Still though, with this early recording kick, they soon got an early bit of radio play on BBC Radio Stoke Introducing playlist in both July AND August! Usually a band has to wait a year before they start getting played on the radio but to be played twice only a few months into their inception was quite a big leap for them and showed that what work they put into that studio recording paid off very well. They also released their first single The House/Post It Note that month.

The next month saw some more good exposure for the band as they performed at the Melbourne Festival of Creative and Performing Arts (Holy crap, THAT FAR?!) in Derbyshire (Oh, never mind!) which was their first festival outing of many.

Towards the end of the year, the band went back to the studio to record more material and to observe dangerous wildlife on the other side of the glass!

Homo recordicus, an unpredictable and smelly specimen!

The Vibe wanted to go into their second year with even more ambitions of performing not just in Burton but all around the Midlands and a great opportunity came for them as they were put on the ballot for the chance to gain a slot at Y Not Festival that summer!

This meant that they would be sharing the bill with bands like Reverend and the Makers, Pigeon Detectives and The Wombats just to name a few! It would also be the same festival that year Great Scott would be performing at and a year later Derby-based Crushing Blows and Burton favourites Tilted Smile would grace the Derbyshire musical gathering.

But they didn't get this good a treatment in terms of marketing I can tell ya that much!

But they didn’t get this good a treatment in terms of marketing I can tell ya that much!

Leading up to that, they gained even more and admittedly better airplay in both January and April 2012 at BBC Radio Nottingham and BBC Radio Stoke respectively. The first of which garnered the attention of DJ Dean Jackson (I see what you did there Deano!) saying that they were “an accomplished band…with a sound that early Strokes wouldn’t be ashamed of!” See? The chart doesn’t lie! The second of these at Radio Stoke was the leading amount of radio plays they had with four back-to-back weekly plays! Clearly, 2012 was a prestigious year for music!

A week after playing a well-received set at YNot in August, they release their first EP Silent Souls which contains fan favourite tracks such as The Red Door and When Night Comes.

Although it probably should have been Silent Hills given the cover!

Although it probably should have been Silent Hills given the cover!

The band took a brief performance hiatus (in Burton) after the EP launch with Kendall moving to London and seeing an opportunity for them to perform and gain wider recognition in the nation’s capital. Two Autumn gigs in London that came for them were at The Green Man in Edgware which once hosted New York based folk act The Trouble Notes and in November, they performed at the legendary Camden music venue The Barfly where they would return to headline at this past month.

Now we come to 2013 and guess what? It gets even better for them! After the release of another single Sixty Two/Wise Man, they started gaining positive reviews all over, two in particular coming from independent music review website The Music Manual pointing out the very catchy and exhilarating nature of the music and a review/interview conducted by well-renowned Canadian music website A Music Blog, Yea? who said that Sixty Two was one of their favourite songs of 2013 so far! That’s nice of them eh?

But that couldn’t even compare to what happened in March 2013 with Wise Man being played by Steve Lamacq on BBC Radio 6!

With MC5, David Bowie, Marvin Gaye and Supergrass on top of them! Lucky boys!

With MC5, David Bowie, Marvin Gaye and Supergrass on top of them! Lucky boys!

May saw a change with the band when Matt Benstead replaced Davis as bassist after his departure from the band earlier in the year. Benstead’s first gig as their new bassist came when they returned to Burton from their local performance hiatus to support Get Cubs‘ own UK tour return at the Tower Brewery.

With the Summer came another bit of radio play on BBC Radio Stoke Introducing in June where they previewed some material from their upcoming second EP, along with an acoustic cover of Bastille’s Laura Palmer.

Said second EP Eyes (again produced by Gallagher) was released the following month at a rammed launch party at the Wetmore Whistle with a truck load of copies to sell. With the eye on the cover multiplied exponentially, you’d be hypnotised into having no choice but to buy one!

A music video of the title track was on September 13th a day before they returned to the Camden Barfly to headline this time and further cement a subsequent following in London along with their loyal hometown following.

Blah blah blah, fans fans fans, airplay airplay airplay! What about the music itself? Well with the reception thus far being unanimously positive, do you really expect a guy who raves about local talent to break the mould?

The music of The Vibe has the same bouncy Indie merriment that Get Cubs produces, but has a more nostalgic 80s feel to it, particularly in their early work also with a lot less ‘cheeky chappy’ sentiments and a more sophisticated, polished feel to the final product.

Whether it be from their first EP like the sunny and gleeful Little Sun or the harder-edged and foreboding When the Night Comes to their second EP’s material such as the reflective Wise Man and romantic Eyes, the sounds and subject matter have a distinctive range to really capture the ears of the listener and show how varied their sound can be.

One song that I really like from them is The Smoker which encapsulates how interesting their sound can be as well as show how well they can work with another local musician (I’m not talking about Gallagher this time, since he’s their producer and works on all their stuff so he don’t count!)

With a mix of acoustic and electric guitars, pounding bass drum, glittering synthesizers and echoing vocals from Kendall and guest vocalist George Mills of Burton youngsters 5 Days of NovemberThe Smoker gives off a, pardon this, vibe of maturity and experience with an immersive and captivating sound that pulls you into a misty and putrid night and I’m not talking about the weather.

An anthem about the momentary relief felt from the drag of a cigarette and the multiple times this has been done before and after, the song puts you in the mind-set of the smoker:

“Quietly, brightly, it all becomes a part of me

Moving to the outside where the walkways are clear

On the way, sooth your crave, you’ll have to come back again someday

Filling up the air where the people are near.”

Each band member has a key role to play in this song and are all used to great effect. The vocals from Kendall and Mills are harmonious yet uninviting, both guitars create a contrast of the simple and the mystical, the bass and drums are simple yet equally effective and the almost gliding synthesizer further adds to the addicting dizziness it creates. The deliberately disorienting music video further highlights its hypnotising nature with lyrics just to make sure you’re still with us!

To me, this song is their best work, but to you, I may be a blithering idiot, so check out their work and tell us what you reckon in the comments.

With some catchy, well-made tunes, loyal fanbases from home and from the capital and not even three years under their belt, The Vibe have made a massive contribution to the Midlands music scene and now Camden’s too. Wherever they perform, they leave an audience exhilarated and happy with their night which is a great feeling to be passed back to the band itself, at least the way I see it. Kendall’s work with The Vibe may be his crowning achievement, but he also has worked with another local band, a BIG local band who I will be doing my landmark 10th band post about! Until that momentous occasion (who the hell am I kidding?), this has been Brew Town Music serving you another fine brew of Midlands tunes!

The Vibe’s stuff

Official website: http://thevibeofficial.com/

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

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/thevibeuk

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thevibetweet

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Brewtown #2: Get Cubs

Get Cubs 2

To put it lightly – Hollier, Howard, Taylor, Gallagher with Jameson draped over them.

Seeing how Festival season is in full swing, I thought I’d give a little attention to five lads who fit right in with the spirit of a music festival. Cheeky, energetic and of course Indie, the sound of Midlands Summer that’s a hit around the country never mind Burton, Get Cubs.

Joshua Jameson (lead vocals), Christian Taylor (Guitar), Andy Howard (bass, keyboards) and Daryl Hollier (drums) formed their first band Arts&Crafts in January 2009 and looked to create a fun slice of Indie rock that looked to emulate the likes of Bloc Party and The Wombats but throw in a bit of synth into the mix as well. It took them a while to start performing live but once they had their first gig in June 2009 (you start in Summer, you’re gonna earn that stigma!), it got the ball rolling and by 2011, they had earned a record deal at , played at Birmingham’s O2 academy and had been on the bill of Leeds Festival and Europe’s largest unticketed festival at the time, FreeFest.

However, after the completion of their first album To the Mountains, high school friend and guitarist Dan Gallagher was invited by Daryl to come and jam with the band after returning to Burton from Uni. After having a lot of fun and seeing how well he worked off of his friend’s music, he was added to the band and thus, Get Cubs was got!

With the addition of Gallagher and the release of Mountains in 2012, Get Cubs managed to build on their already impressive following by gaining national radio play on Radio 1 when lead single Delilah (Why, why, why? Cos it’s fun so nyer!) was named song of the week during Christmas time, featured twice on Huw Stephens’ podcast and was part of the Official Radio 1 live playlist for a week in February 2013!

With this airplay and already built nationwide reputation on their side, the Cubs decided to set out on a month-long tour promoting their new EP Canada. But instead of actually going to Canada (maybe since they didn’t want everyone to make a crappy Inception joke!), they started from The Finsbury in London to the Music Box in Brighton having travelled to cities like Derby, Bristol, Manchester and Gillingham. The week after this tour had ended, they celebrated their success with a headline spot at Burton’s Tower Brewery on May 18th with acts that will no doubt be covered here in the future such as The Vibe and Black Wolf Catch. From here, they continue to perform all through their favourite season at Festivals like Cockrock and Strawberry Fields (Must remember for an album name!)

But taking all the achievements, publicity and overall fun that these guys have had, how does their music hold up to your humble narrator? Pretty well actually!

In a genre such as Indie, there is a danger of conforming to trends and sounding very much alike (ask Beardyman!) a bit like alternative did in the 90s (How ironic that ‘alternative’ music came to all sound exactly the same!). While Get Cubs don’t necessarily break new ground in terms of the genre, they certainly have an infectious sincerity about them that you just can’t help but love especially since an air of hipster disingenuousness can seep into the genre every so often.

A lot of their songs do have a theme of love and relationships with songs named after girls like Delilah, Lucy and Amelia (add those to the list Stewie and Brian)…

…but each song has a catchy and enjoyable flavour to them backed up by a great mix of guitars and synths which matches their sunny disposition. Plastic Parade is a particular highlight from Mountains thanks to its great acoustic riff at the start, mixture of pounding drums and clinking tambourine, a magical synth riff in the chorus which almost sounds like you’re being transported to another dimension if you listen to it closely and well-sung lyrics which deal with the subject matter of trying to fit in with people you can see are fake but being pressured into making a pass at that one fit girl by your mates, we’ve all been there of course (“Your friends think you should stay, try your luck…your feet are stuck to the floor, you’re not dancing anymore in this Plastic Parade.”). This is accompanied by a silly and cheap as all hell music video (and I mean that in the best way possible) that displays the band’s carefree attitude for the world to see!

Another song of note is the title track from their EP Canada (Canada on Canada…Dammit I said no Inception jokes!). This is probably one of the most complex songs they’ve made so far. Starting off with a guitar that almost sounds like a pipe organ (what is the pedal that can do that and where can I get one?) and a slow drum build-up backed by a horn section which was also featured in the first track on the first track of the EP Heartstrings, then exploding with a Franz Ferdinand-like rhythm a minute and a half in before a frantic finish with Jameson’s now screamed vocals and forceful guitar harmonies. It’s not a track to be taken lightly and really shows a raw energy behind the cheeky chappie image of the band!

If I’m being brutally honest here, I didn’t get the appeal of these guys at first. I knew them from school sure, but I didn’t really latch onto them straight away and just heard them as another Indie band in the local scene. But after hearing Plastic Parade on the compilation album Never Mind the Burtfest, Save the Whistle! and seeing them live a couple more times, I started to appreciate their musicianship, charisma and overall likeability to a point where they’re one of the first bands to be featured on my blog (you can take that as a compliment or an insult, either way though, you’re getting noticed!)

If the weather’s nice…OK that’s pushing it a bit in this country! Hell even if the weather’s shit, you can still find a lot of enjoyment in Get Cubs as a band for the Summer. Bright, cheerful, energetic and all of what I’ve repeated from the start ad nauseam! If you can’t catch them at a festival, see them live at a regular pub/club venue as the same good lads will be there, just without the mud and creeping corporate influence. This has been Brew Town Music serving you another fine brew of Midlands tunes.

Lion’s share of the Cubs’ stuff

Bandcamp: http://getcubs.bandcamp.com/

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

Canada EP Soundcloud (NEW!): https://soundcloud.com/getcubs/sets/canada-ep

To The Mountains Soundcloud (old): https://soundcloud.com/getcubs/sets/to-the-mountains

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Get Cubs 3