Guest writer for On The Beat, Erin Cullinan, tells us about the emerging B-Town scene and her own run in with its out and out success story Peace.
For the first time in a while a new wave of bands and artists have arisen from outside the capital. Much like the Madchester scene that took off all those year ago, brummy bands such as ‘Peace’, ‘Swim Deep’ and the lesser known ‘Jaws’ have really made the rest of the country sit up and listen. The most refreshing thing about this emerging ‘B-Town’ scene is that it doesn’t appear to be aiming to ‘revive’ guitar music or start any sort of punk-like revolution. Instead, it manages to maintain the feeling of being all about groups of mates who formed bands to play at each other’s parties and wrote their music on the back of ‘empty’ days partying in Birmingham. These three particular bands from Birmingham are a welcome change from London-based privately educated guitar bands that have been seemingly omnipresent in the music industry of late. However, that’s not because it matters if bands are ‘posh’ but the B-Town scene provides hope for those wondering whether guitar music had solely become a profession for the privileged.
Out of the aforementioned B-Town kings Peace are probably the most successful, having already travelled across the country on their own promo-tour for their EP ‘Delicious’ as well as joining the NME Tour with the likes of Django Django and Miles Kane. 2013 looks set to be a massive year for Peace as they secure spots at some of the summer’s most high-profile festivals such as Glastonbury, Bestival and Primavera to name but a few. With their debut album ‘In Love’ hot off the presses and a loyal following in the bag, there’s a real sense that now is the time for Peace to make a lasting mark on the industry.
I first came across Peace via their cover of Binary Finary’s 1998 on BBC Radio 6, immediately I was drawn in by their interesting and dream like take on a trance classic. Following this I attended one of their shows in The Kaizmier, Liverpool; The Kaizmier is an extremely intimate venue and it seemed fitting for their slow-paced surfy sounds to be played in such a small space to a packed out audience. Peace truly delivered as all the dreamy qualities that so appealed to me in their 1998 cover came through in their own tracks too. Lovers of past guitar music may be sceptical as their tracks draw heavily on influences as popular as The Beatles, (‘Higher Than The Sun’) and Oasis, (the lyric ‘we gon’ live for-evahhhhhhh’ rings constantly in your mind after hearing ‘Follow Baby.’) but what Peace do is take these influences and somehow make this past still seem extremely current.
On the whole, they are really quite refreshing. Their music rediscovers a sense of romance and as individuals they seem so caught up in their own youth it’s almost frightening. A new and almost-niche take on guitar music feels inherently different and totally exciting compared to some of the guitar bands that the rest of the country has offered us of late. After their show in Liverpool I bumped into the band partying in a few bars on Liverpool’s Seel Street, I commended their Binary Finary cover and rather than get caught up in ego or pretence their bassist climbed a lamppost and they simply proceeded marvel over the length of my hair, which makes me think they’re as much of a dream as their music is.
Erin Cullinan, @meganellisisgod
Thanks for reading On The Beat. What are your views on the B-Town scene, how are you finding Peace’s new album? Feel free let us know what you thought of this piece; you can tweet us, facebook us or leave a comment below.