Peter Keevil, reviews the year that was for 9 Midlands bands and explores what 2013 has in store.
By Peter Keevil (with a little help from some friends…)
The turn of the year is a great opportunity to review the journey of the previous 12 months and also to look ahead with renewed hopes and dreams. So I took up the challenge of contacting a number of Midlands bands to ask them how 2012 had faired and what they expected the Rock n Roll Gods to deliver them in the year ahead.
Ellis Wilde – Vocals / Acoustic Guitar
Harry Colley – Lead Guitar
Jamie Downes – Bass Guitar
Austin Miller – Drums
2012 saw Diamond Lil continue to find their feet since having formed in 2010. Headline dates at The Robin, Slade Rooms and O2 Academy 3 helped them cement their fast rising reputation. Their debut ‘official’ video for Bottom Of A Glass can be viewed above.
The biggest plans for 2013 centre around the release of their 6 track EP ‘Misfits of Society’ E.P. The launch party of which is to be at O2 Academy 3 on 23rd February. That sets the tone for the year, as they freak out the postman with scores of press packs and line up live dates across the country.
“Keep your ears pulled back as Diamond Lil are planning to make the largest sound ever created in 2013. All the hype, passion and power will be realised as we plan to make it our most successful year to date. We’re expecting big things to occur and want to take you all along for the wild ride with us. Come to some shows, bang some heads, shout till your lungs bleed and we promise to never disappoint, bringing our fire onto the rock circuit and burning it into your brains.”
JD & the FDCs
Jamie Delerict: Vocals and Guitar
Dazmondo: Lead Guitar and Vocals
Joey Strange: Lead Bass and Vocals
Danny Gunn: Lead Drums
2012 was a rollercoaster of a year for the boys from Nottingham, they held tight and pulled the Gs to deliver their debut album ‘Recognise’. It was a fully independent self-release, back mainman Jamie worked his contacts to get it mastered by none other than Howie Weinberg (Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Ramones, U2, The Clash, et al). The album was rightfully acclaimed by critics and fans alike, being voted album of the year by Uberrock.co.uk and ably backed by some 50 gigs across the UK, including the 100 Club in London.
2013 looks to see them continue on that ride as they scream to go faster. They’re hoping that all the hard work of 2012 will begin to see dividends, with the intent to bring quality over quantity to the grand plan. Plans are afoot for a new single and video in February.
“Thankyou to everybody reading this who buys CDs, records, shirts and goes to not just our gigs, but ANY underground rock and roll shows. Trust me, without you lot there wouldn’t really be much point in bands like us existing. To the bands: Try helping other groups and musicians out. It’s not a fucking competition and there’s plenty of room at the top. We can ALL be more successful if we support and help each other.”
Shaun Richards – Vocals Josh Pritchett – Guitar
Matt Nickless – Guitar and backing vocals
Adam Stevens – Drums and backing vocals
Adam Howell – Bass Guitar
2012 was a BIG year for the Black Country’s Liberty Lies. February saw them tour across Europe with Shinedown and Halestorm, including a sold out show in Birmingham’s HMV Institute. The summer saw them begin to write for their debut album with recording taking place during September and October with sort after producer, Romesh Dodangoda. (Not forgetting an excellent performance at the Midlands Rocks Xmas Party!!).
So they head into 2013 on the cusp of a debut album, Reflections, another of those self-financed, self-released but ‘in full control’ albums that so many fledgling acts are having to do in this musical climate. First single, Someone Else, will be released soon accompanied by a full video. Dates with mates, Heavens Basement, will see their live season kick off.
“Thanks for the support throughout this year, to the people who have queued in the cold and spent money that they didn’t have to see us play, or to those that have recommended us to a friend and help to spread the Liberty Lies name. 2012 has been so great for us, but we know that 2013 can be better! Keep spreading the word and beg, steal, buy or borrow our album when it comes out. Hopefully we can see you all at the Slade Rooms for our album release show!”
Martyr de Mona
Louis Hale Vocals/Guitar
Ant Rickett Guitar/Vocals
JJ Wooldridge Bass/Vocals
Ash Leatherland Drums
March of 2012 saw Stourbridge’s Martyr de Mona (MDM to their friends), issue the video above before 3 members of the band up-sticks and leave on the eve of a UK tour. Not to be beaten, Louis spent 3 months recruiting new people around him and MDM returned in August and promptly issued a double A-side single, ‘Memento/Contagion’. December saw the year close with the announcement that they signed to In At The Eye Records.
Much of 2013 will be spent writing and prepping for a first album for In At The Eye – expected early 2014. But they will also be spending time recording a video for Memento and playing dates across the UK, kicking off on Jan 26 at O2 Academy 3.
“We hope to see the readers of Midlands Rocks at our shows this year. There is so much quality live music out there and it’s the fans that make the gigs as much as the bands. Keep an eye out for more news on the progress of our album and release dates. Have a great 2013.”
Chris Topley (vocals)
Jon Topley (Drums)
Rob Shaw (Bass guitar & backing vocals)
Rich Shaw (Lead guitar)
Hailing from Heanor Derbyshire, NG26 have been force-feeding their brand of rock metal to the public since 2006. 2012 saw plenty of highs with tours supporting Girlschool and also Sparzanza. As they signed a new deal with Glasstone Records they also secured a publishing deal and recorded a new single for release in 2013. Which is nice.
That single will be If We Fall Tonight and will be hitting the download stores on February 11th with the video expecting heavy rotation on Kerrang and Scuzz TV.
“We wish you all a very happy New Year. We hope to see you in 2013. When the single is released on February 11th, let’s show all these X Factor wannabes! Please download it (itunes, etc), and put a Midlands Rock Band in the UK Charts!”
Paul Minihane – Vocals
Ralph Cardall – Guitar
Mark Richardson – Bass
Stevie H – Drums
Bill Carroll – Guitar
Birmingham’s Rattlesnake Kiss are the oldest of the gaggle of bands featured in this article, having formed in 1989. Not that they have been dormant recently, having released albums ‘Demons In The Dust’ in 2010 and ‘Goodbye God’ last year. Goodbye God had a theme running through it relating to an old mining town in USA called Bodie that is said to be deserted and in a state of arrested decay and forsaken by God. “Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie” is a well coined phrase in the West.
Plans for 2013 include touring the album and also working in a feature film around the same concept as the album. You can catch them at Route 44 in Birmingham on Feb 15.
“In a word… THANKS! Thanks for your support, for buying music, for coming to gigs… and for keeping real music alive and out there!”
The Whiskey Syndicate
Anthony Wright – Lead Guitar and Vocals
Mike Davies – Guitar
Rich Corry – Bass and Backing Vocals
Stu Adams – Drums
The Whiskey Syndicate are no strangers to readers of Midlands Rocks, they may sure that we have something to write about them most months and none more so than with their debut album release in 2012 – The Right Side of Crazy. TWS are another act signed to In At The Eye Records who are sharp on signing and championing Midlands talent.
The band launched their album at an infamous gig at The Slade Rooms before promptly going on tour with a string of dates across the UK.
2012 ended with the arrival of baby boy for frontman Ant Wright, who is now being trained as a roadie as we speak.
Early in 2013 will see the release of the 4th single of the album, Dark Side of your Mind, along with plans for a full tour that will feature dates further afield, possibly returning to the USA.
“KEEP READING MIDLANDS ROCKS! It’s the people who read this website who come to the shows and buy albums and without you people we’d just be stood in a room making noise!”
Dave Gandon – Lead guitar and vocals
Ralph Corns – Rhythm guitar and vocals
Stu Reynolds – Drums
Luke Hudson – Bass
Twisted Species operate in that groove-funk, rock indie vibe and have been plying their trade since early 2009. 2012 saw them bringing in a manager to handle day-to-day stuff, leaving the band to focus on what they do best – be creative with the rock n’roll. This lead to the recording of their debut album which should see the light of day in March 2013. Despite plenty of studio time they still crammed in 40+ dates and have another summer tour lined-up already, with plenty of plans to work the album as hard as possible.
“Don’t be sitting in at the weekend, we live in the Rock’n’roll Capital of Britain, embrace it! See you at the bar!”
Mat Shutt – Vocals
Andy o’Brien – Bass
Rig – Guitars
Ron – Drums
J.D – Guitar
Valous re-formed in 2010 after a 15 year layoff. That ‘break’ has done them good as they have returned with a fire in their bellies that cannot be quenched and is forcing its way out of Birmingham. 2012 saw them play gig after gig, including a headline show for the SOPHIE Foundation and slots for Emma Scott Presents, BasementFest and Twitrfest. Between live work they hit the studio to capture that hard-driving sound and form it into a debut album.
February sees the release of that album – ‘The Things You Once Knew’ – with a special album launch show at Eddies on Sat 16th. Then, guess what, its more live dates as they join ‘Left For Red’ on tour as well as playing ‘Hell Below Zero Festival’ in Wolverhampton.
“To All the readers of Midlands Rocks, thankyou for continuing to support the thriving Midlands Scene, exciting times are ahead and we thank you all for being a part of it! See You At a Venue in 2013, and let’s make this the biggest year ever for Midlands Rock n ‘ Metal! Valous Wish You Well \m/”