Birmingham Sound

20 Birmingham Bands You Need To Hear Now

Thursday 24th November 2016

Birmingham's Youth Man (photo by elmorephotos.com)

From trailblazers such as The Beat, Duran Duran, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, to the recent crop of Digbeth indie-pop bands dominating festival line ups over the last couple of summers. The list of musicians and music to come from Birmingham is a varied one. Following on from our look at the new music scene in Sheffield, we look to the West Midlands, to see what the England's Second City has to offer.

Youth Man
First on the list are Youth Man. A Birmingham three-piece with a great mix of punk ethic, punk aesthetic and modernity that scored them a slot at Afropunk Festival, London, in September this year. It would be a waste of time to try and describe them by likening them to other guitar bands so watch the video below and check out their EP, 'Wax'.

Kioko
It's great to see that the city that gave birth to bands like The Beat is still producing new reggae and ska orientated music. Kioko are currently touring with Lee 'Scratch' Perry and supporting Dub Pistols - support slots in this genre don't come much better than that. Listen to their 'True What They Say' EP below.

Kioko

Cut Glass Kings
With an indie/Britpop sound that would suggest they hail from the same city as Oasis, Cut Glass Kings are in fact from Brum and appear to be one of the leading indie-guitar bands on the emerging Birmingham scene. Watch their video for 'Only A Daydream' to see what we mean.

The Cosmics
A punky rock'n'roll song about teenage infatuation that lasts under two minutes. Do you need any more reasons to listen to The Cosmics? 'Johnny' is a near-perfect, fuzzed and reverbed guitar song. If you were hoping that the Lush reformation was going to last longer - then this may be for you.

The Assist
Another home grown indie-pop band doing well on the Birmingham gig scene, The Assist show off some very original guitar treatments and a superbly energetic frontman in their current lead song 'Love'. They've already been noticed by the likes of This Feeling, playing their stage at Y Not Festival, and with their Madchester-esque energy that's sure to be a winning combination.

Grim Disco
Post-punk band, Grim Disco have a great Factory Records kind of sound that can be instantly recognised and enjoyed on their debut track 'Give & Go'. The four-piece recently supported NME cover stars, Blossoms on the Birmingham date of their tour.

Field Harmonics
Following in the footsteps of Birmingham's own Synthpop pioneer, Nick Rhodes perhaps? Wolverhampton electronic duo Field Harmonics make ethereal shimmering pop songs. Their album 'Corners' was released in May. Check out their latest song 'Heron' below.

Swerve
Swerve's recent EP was produced by Theo Verney (who topped our list of Brighton bands in Spring 2015). With shades of The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Cure, and the occasional Manic Street Preachers guitar solo thrown in, there is a definite early 1990s feel to Swerve, but it is a very authentic sound that suggests the substance runs deeper than the superficial likenesses. Listen to the EP below.

Last Light
Digbeth's Last Light list their influences to include Deftones, Nirvana and Manchester Orchestra. They recently played Waveforms (a showcase for Birmingham talent) alongside Swerve and Semantics.

Semantics
As mentioned above, Semantics also performed at Waveforms recently. The stand out feature of this indie band is undoubtedly the quality of Rob Lilley's haunting voice, which is at once brutally minimal yet velvety smooth in its delivery.

Paper Buoys
Forming in early 2016, indie rockers, Paper Buoys released their latest single 'After Dark' in November of the same year. Check out the video below.

HANKKS
Named in honour of their favourite American actor, Tom Hanks. Forming in 2015, their debut EP also takes its name from the world of Tom Hanks - 'Wilson'. Watch the video for 'Love Shy' below.

Breeze
Dreamy indie pop that conjures up feelings of breezy summer days. This Birmingham band produce a more chilled out version of the B-Town sound associated with Peace, Swim Deep, Jaws et al.

Riscas
The classic formation of four boys and self penned indie tunes. It's early days for Riscas but an EP is on the way. Until then, watch out for them supporting other bands around the city.

Hannah Brown
Originally from Nottingham but currently based in Birmingham, Hannah Brown is a singer/songwriter whose style should appeal to fans of Lucy Rose or Laura Marling.

Handwaxx
A notable 2016 live slot for three-piece indie band, Handwaxx, saw them supporting Diet Cig, one of our favourite bands from Dot to Dot Festival in the same year. Revelling in guitar effects, their sound is nice mash up of influences with the odd moment of The Who, Shed Seven and others along the way. Irreverent but never aggressive. Check out their latest, 'In My Mind'.

Sugarthief
A small band with a big indie sound. With songs such as their recent 'Joy Affair', Sugarthief sound like they will have festival audiences singing along in no time.

Harry & The Howlers
Fronted by singer-songwriter Harry Jordan, This band sound as though they could originate from Birmingham, Alabama, embracing the rockabilly culture, blues and skiffle, both musically and visually.

LCKD
Describing themselves as a new grunge band, you'd be right in assuming there's an American feel to LCKD's music, but this is much more Gin Blossoms and Blind Melon than it is Nirvana.

Spilt Milk Society
With the B-Town formula well established now, it's good to see new bands are still emerging to fill the spaces left by bands like Peace and Swim Deep, now that they are national and international bands. If Spilt Milk Society play their cards right they might be joining them one day.


Huge thanks to all of those who made suggestions or got in touch to be involved.

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