Friendly Fire Band (Feat. Tomlin Mystic) – Live As One
That message of love, peace and unity seems more essential than ever wherever you get it. If you become exhausted from xenophobic-tabloid-rhetoric, consumerist pornography or political warmongering then Friendly Fire Band’s undying optimism, rootsy basslines and quintessential reggae can definitely offer some relief. And while this track is aimed at everyone it’s cool to think of it as an anthem for Birmingham itself. We are all colours, all nationalities and all religions – we are living as one.
Free School – Love Calling (Feat. Tomlin Mystic)
An incredible, unexpected and contrasting collaboration from two of Birmingham’s most active groups. This tune puts Tomlin Mystic’s earthy vocals into Free School’s electronic futurist sound, it’s a wonderful clash. Again, that message of love is prevalent, powerful and always appreciated. But the question is if they play this live together, does Tomlin get a gnarly lamb mask?
Lumi HD & Yogisoul – Sleepwalker
So much soul, groove and feeling but so low key and cool. It’s an r ‘n’ b lullaby, it’s laid back, easy and sweet. Lumi has one of those voices to fall in love with, it’s so expressive and playful and the instrumentals match all of this perfectly with a calm rhythmic subtlety.
Howl – Take Me Down
It’s electrified blues filth from Birmingham. It’s straight to the point – here are some beat-your-chest-manly-gruff-vocals, a handful of party-hard riffs, some pentatonic super-fuzz, and boom, there’s a song to drink hard whiskey and smoke Marlboro reds to.
Psyence – Hyde
Stoke-on-Trent’s Psyence have that blend of psychedelic chaos, aggressive back beats and sly vocal nailed completely, but when it all comes crashing down together (0:54) in one succinct riff it becomes an a whole other beast, definitely worth checking out.
Last Light – 86
This track arrives on the heels of Last Light’s Waves EP that became free to download last month. Vocals are heart broken, clean and evocative but the guitar chemistry between Paul Green (rhythm guitar, vocals) and David Bentall (lead guitar, Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam) is what really shines through. It’s a great example of how guitar can emotionally drive a alt-rock tune as much as (if not more) than the vocals. Keep ’em on your radar.
Torous – Dried Bones
This one’s for the guy or girl necking Guinness with one hand and holding up devil horns with the other. It’s hard rock with a Celtic vocal vibe, music apt for slam-dance-merry-making or potentially head banging near a rainy Irish glen. But more importantly they’re tight players and if you ever catch ’em live this is what will hit you first, it’s like they’ve got a play-or-die manifesto between them. The Dried Bones EP is out now.
Rob Lane – It Feels Like 5000 Miles
“I miss my wife and my daughter, I miss the way, they don’t do what I say,” sings Birmingham songwriter Rob Lane. It’s a lovely tune, charmingly acoustic, about the unconditional love of one’s family, and because of this, it’s a sincere expression as gentle as it is personal.