Saturday, June 22, 2013

In too deep, beyond b-town

The term ‘second city’ has become a millstone for Birmingham of late, it emphasizes a healthy inferiority complex and the self-effacing nature of the general population but it’s far from brash and shiny and does little they reckon to encourage tourism.

People in marketing circles have taken against it and started using things like ‘The Business City’ as a catch-all phrase, probably as it has a lot of conference venues. What we’ve needed for some time is a thriving music scene that shouts beyond the boundaries of the city, it seems that we may now have that but the name it’s been given won’t do the city many favours.

B-town just sounds a bit naff to me, hardly reflective of a city this size with a vibrant culture and arts scene. Like Madchester it possibly encompasses a range of acts who share a certain ‘sound’ and ethos but whenever I hear b-town I think of b-team (again the second string) and toytown which hardly seems fitting.
Like Madchester which had the Roses and the Mondays at the vanguard b-town is spawned by the successes of Peace and Swim Deep with Jaws possibly in the Inspiral Carpets role!

If we’re waiting on new guitar heroes to liberate the charts from the evil grip of pop then we could probably do worse. Peace have opened the door – or at least pushed it ajar, maybe Swim Deep can take that next step?



 



 
Jaws clearly have less spend behind them (at present) so Gold is not much to look at but has a great sound that is redolent of bands they may never have heard of, let alone heard.


 

In a similar vein if not geography, Jagwar Ma seem to have been earning high praise, I’m not sure I see it – or hear it – but there’s a definite vibe to tracks like The Throw. Again, and as ever, it’s a question of whether the songs are strong enough. No doubt they’ll be great at certain festivals.



 
Moving into unsigned and unchartered waters, this lot have also been getting a lot of love:

Seasfire - Oh Lucifer



And finally think Mumford meets Lumineers in Canada…….

 



Birmingham may not be as well rated for its music scene as once was the case but things are changing and the city is very well represented at Glastonbury. Big city, smalltown mentality, b-town for the time being.

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