Madlands, The Musical

Erin Grace of The Cosmics by Psychedelic Eye

How are TheZineUK team telling so many tales of DIY’s punky secret stars?

By excitement from fresh feisty thrills which are zapping the millenium’s teen years with artful, youthful, 2020 vision, already.

You couldn’t invent the ways in which remarkable new talent is being driven to new heights by astronomical ambition and psychedelic imagination. Here’s another.

The Midlands have interacted with other parts of the country for centuries. Perhaps take the HS2 gravy train budget and give it directly to young talent for better social impact. Why? Well, read on.

The Pagans S.O.H. played their debut London gig at SOMAfest and left jaws dropped. A poetic rock force.

We don’t need fake news to tell so many tales. Despite surviving in an age of basic budgets, some new artists are taking off to career worthy heights. It’s about the songs, the audiences and so much more. Like the interaction and mutual respect of the new music and art community. The real news is unbelievable for all generations and backgrounds. Against the odds, guitars are rocking foundations like crazy…

SOMA Festival loves Madlands Music Lovers

During an era when just being alive is a political act, the rock scenes under the radar are rebelling with love. Friendship fandom as alternative finance works. Often with elements of charity profile or fund raising.

The kids are alright, on and off stage scenes from Muthers (Birmingham) captured by RawSound TV

After half a year, things have already moved on since our January to March picture diary (which includes The Cosmics and Ivory Wave winning Central London – The Heavenly Social and Modern Age Music’s “2019 Ones To Watch” – respectively).

Ivory Wave headline 2019 Ones To Watch 2019

London is not the capital of British music, but much of the national media is located here. They’re missing out if they don’t look beyond the M25 (or even in small venues inside it). Other parts of the country embrace and nurture their stars. Loads of TheZineUK team from anywhere love Midlands artists.

From Surrendering backstage at Isle Of Wight Festival to having it big time live on stage at Transmusicale’s Festival in France!

What the actual?

…The last few years, especially, have seen seeds sewn that are impacting at grass roots level. England’s second city, Birmingham is a location that sussed new best bands call into, if they’re serious.

Members of Strangebones and The Assist down the front for The Blinders at Magic Garden Studios gig at The Wagon & Horses. (2017)

With a new music industrial (r)evolution, urban and otherwise, on and off line, digital technology fuses with analogue performance where rhythm trumps alogorithm. Since the fourth of July a #PaganPilgrimage is in full effect, courtesy of The Pagans S.O.H.

Shaun Ryder (Black Grape/Happy Mondays) and Elbow, Coronation Stars streets make cameos in Paul Husband’s video for the band.

They are another band that the national word of mouth events network have taken to their hearts.

The crowd connection and euphoric escapism at many of these artists’ underground rock shows is a social collusion blueprint.

Never forget Danny Boyle‘s 2012 vision of GREAT Britain opening The Olympics. In a parallel dimension, these bands are widely respected and adored. Dig Meme Detroit‘s ‘De Moe’, created at Birmingham’s local Pirate Studios.

Recent headliners for Modern Age Music, one of the nationwide independent promoters that call into The Midlands on tour.

What a time to be a rock and roller. Living the dream. Skint.

Life under the living Blue Meanies (with the intimate independent venues that many of us come to life in, being culled) is bad news. Rich theft from poverty (“Austerity”/arse-terity) adds raw rage to the rough reality of what passes as real life. Gets fuelled into self expression, brilliantly.

The smaller spaces are where fresh artists, and the documentarians who support them, forge and develop individual stories. It’s where the audience can become part of the next industry/media or just exchange feedback about the show face to face. The independent venue circuit is a-buzz with possibility. This documentary would not work, otherwise. Our subjects and readers are on to something worth enjoying.

I still think that Brum looks like a load of parallel dimensions held together by magic and chips

There’s something very driven in Brum. Independent, while interdependent and mutually supportive of others.

Look at The Clause (who have just hit No.1 on the iTunes rock charts, and No.46 in their main chart). They played a show at HMV Merry Hill with RawSound TV then tripped down to London for This Feeling, another of the independent live music promoters that make The Midlands part of their set up. The video for Disco-Biscuit-Rock anthem, ‘In My Element’, by Sam Crowston was filmed at Snobs, Birmingham.

Suave promo – and so much enjoyment. Despite the mainstream media (we’re supposed to be hostile), many gig goers rebel with love and fun around Britain and Ireland. Still. These scenes are definitely exportable, too.

The Assist have just got back from an unbelievable (6 gigs in 5 days) trip to Russia… “It’s because we want so much more that we forget what we have achieved…”

Documentarian: Luke Jones, a stalwart of the Midlands Madlands creativity and reporting

Poptastic punk power keeps breaking out, under radar of a mainstream denial that new guitar bands can be exciting. The Midlands / Madlands wealth of scenes is a strong case in point.

In the East Midlands, the Two Tone music movements are still a force for social positivity (Los Angeles even has a Specials day). The Enemy and Kasabian laid paths for the future, which the likes of easy life (new single ‘Earth’ about to pop!) and Arcades (UK and European tour dates announced) taking up the reins.

Nationwide, counter culture is apopletic with a rage of popular music styles exploding at street level and a catwalk’s worth of fresh pop stars to perform them.

Arcades, this Spring, at the highly happening Some Might Say/Nambucca London

The Midlands is no exception. The vast area is a counter culture music world ring leader, in fact.

When The Brits TV show was yawning on in February, our twitter was lit with chat about the Birmingham Music Awards. Loads of FuturePicks nominated and winners. The Madlands also have a Black Country Music Awards and a wealth of networking opportunities. (Black Country is an area of the Midlands not as in ‘Old Town Road‘ by Lil Nas X!)

At the BMA Summer Party, headliners, The Novus will spill the beans on their 20th September secret location show, of which they say; “This is for you. Anyone who has joined the noise. You in the pictures. You at home listening to our music. All of you that make this possible, this is us giving you and our hometown what they deserve”

It’s not surprising how widely and rapidly this is developing. There is a vast and varied musical heritage that includes Led Zeppelin, Peace, Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac, Steel Pulse, Black Sabbath, The Spencer Davis Group, Judas Priest, Swim Deep, UB40, The Moody Blues, Cleopatra, King Adora, Editors and The Twang.

ArtBeat inspirations, Duran Duran, started their story amidst local fetish fashion and clubbing scenes (The Rum Runner, Khan & Bell). Now they are a national pop treasure. In 1985 they performed at Live Aid USA and t ‘A View To A Kill’ is the only James Bond movie theme to get to No.1 on the Billboard charts. They still sound NOW, and like new music on the up, ‘All You Need Is Now’

In 2019, they get to sing the line “this is Planet Earth” at Kennedy Space Center’s historic “Apollo 11, 50th Anniversary” spectacular. Kudos for keeping the flag for art and style flying high, while remaining a hot ticket and anthemic creative force. Now give the new music credibility for being career worthy, also.

Tim Abbot (the creative Creation Records man, Robbie Williams manager etc) is also Midlands based. Just a fraction of musicians have been mentioned here. Potentially, the sky is not the limit for some of the latest artists coming through, now, also.

On tight budgets, potential household names are living some different dreams, carving their own future counter cultures to add to their music and moments to their own parents and grandparents record collections.

Another tip, recently interviewed on BBC Introducing Shropshire, Young Braves follow their ‘Hot Bands’ playlisted single, ‘Sleep It Off’ with a new single, ‘Lunatic’, and an August headline show.

It’s no coincidence that since 2017, major festivals like Glastonbury feel “perked up” as rocking, street level newer wave stars soak into the heritage.

BBC Music – The Cosmics at Glastonbury FEstival

The Cosmics‘ debut EP has helped to set 2019 alight. Awed feedback, international tour dates, hot playlists and radio for the band prove that The Midlands “Madlands” vibrations aren’t waiting for the national media to get over the 90s and 1975, and are anything but a fad. There’s deeper substance in the composition, performance, connection, style and ideas, happening.

Music media and industry mover shaker Harley Cassidy

With healthy competition consistently raising the bar, there’s an all important infrastructure of highly supportive audiences and allies who push and promote the artists as much as they do each other.

Friendship uses the 21st Century Jungle Telegraph, Twitter etc., as a force for good. Gotta love (and follow) tweetmeisters, City Lightz! Watch them GO! (new music ‘Victims and the Victors’ released in August). Look out for the Sonic Gun Weekender events and and and…

The creating and performing talent know writers, radio presenters, promoters etc. – fans who are as much of this happening as they are and a multitude of talents in their own right. Ivory Wave‘s pre January London headline interview with Louise Schofield TV tells it;

Touring and gig swaps mean that reputations are spreading where it counts these days, word of mouth. Fuelled by the above mentioned supporters (Raw Sound TV, Tim Senna, Alex Noble, Leigh Sanders and DIY’s promotional wonder women, Vanadian Avenue, to name but a few. Like hanging at The Sunflower Lounge, they are all routes into at least 66 more Ones To Watch blossoming in (highly) Central England. What has started is almost magic. No, actually IS magic. One of the keys is The Wizard Of Wolverhampton.

Gavin Monaghan, Magic Garden Studios for TheZineUK documentary

Firstly, if you are Living The Stream, it’s worth following and listening to producer, Gavin Monaghan‘s *Magick From The Magic Garden* Spotify playlist for an idea of how much influence he has on the sounds of now from all over! Fwar, the line up on there! For instance Gavin worked his magic on Paper Buoys eponymous debut album, which got amazing reactions and went on to win at the first Birmingham Music Awards in 2018. DIY as feck video for arena-punk tune, ‘Had Enough’, made by the band on their phones;

Like a Midlands Mecca, Gavin’s Magic Garden Studios is a creative spark of a gift that keeps on giving. Musically and socially.

In Spring, along with Musicians Against Homelessness local rep, visual artist and Pagan punk, Kirk Hendrix Whitehouse (that’s him in a pic with The Novus, above) the Magic Garden night returned to the Wagon & Horses in Digbeth (which also appears in the ‘Pagan Pilgrimage’ video). Bands travelled from around the UK to be part of it. There’s a lot of love for award winning, Gavin and respect for his creative talent. What’s happening in the Midlands just wouldn’t be the same without him.

Happening is the word. Brooklyn Beckham has made his directorial debut (in Coseley!) with the music video for their power chorded ‘End Of The World’ by Jaws which was premiered by Vogue and articled in NME…

I’m probably a bit biased, having moved to London from the Midlands years ago, but this is just a fraction of the action – for whats ON and going on in Birmingham, check out local media including Ryan’s Gig Guide, https://counteract.co/ – Twitteratti can follow
https://twitter.com/UKMadlands and tag #madlands with their Midlands favourites, tips and news

The above tip of the iceberg may not be Sheeran sized money rakers, but they’re high quality music makers. Worth investigating.

Just gonna leave this here. The Specials (with their own day in LA, No.1 album ‘Encore’ this year) have just played live at Coventry Cathedral. Relevant FOREVER. Right NOW. In fact: ‘Vote For Me’. (Saffiah Khan gets my vote, by they way)

All kinds of awards for The Midlands Music world, please.

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