Heaps of worthy music to report on from Coventry & Warwickshire this month; it really is a struggle to choose who to feature. But we thought we’d give you a flavour of just how diverse our music scene is around here. Sometimes even within the same band, the styles and inspirations are so numerous that it’s very hard to pin down what the sound is.
Rosetta Fire are one such band. You may recognise the name, as band member Jimmy (James) Lapworth featured on the recent GIITTV ‘Shine (Again)’ Brtipop compilation with his cover of Love Spreads.
Following the release of their debut single, ‘Against the Odds’, produced by George Shilling (Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub, Paul Weller), the band from Warwick continue their busy gig schedule this year, taking their eclectic sound – a mash of pop melodies, 40s jazz inspired hooks and folk rock vibes – around the UK, including a date at The Bedford in Balham in August.
Anthony Gliddon (vocals) and James (guitar, vocals) have played together as Rosetta Fire since 2009. The full band line up, including Emily Knight (bass) and Darron Price (drums), have been gigging since 2012, with Kev Stanley joining Anthony and James on cajon for acoustic sets.
With an independently released EP (‘Eighteen’) and single already under their belts, the band are playing new material in their live shows and are honing their sound, with a view to going into the studio once more with George Shilling to record their debut album later this year. On 20 May, they play Leamington’s Zephyr Lounge alongside two other local buzz-makers at the moment, Shanade and Bunsen Honey.
Listen to Rosetta Fire’s track ‘Eighteen’ here: https://soundcloud.com/rosettafire/eighteen
Ok, now for something completely different…
Jonny Concrete are a band from which to expect the unexpected and, once again, the sound is problematic to pin down… but we’ll do our best. One thing is certain: anyone who says “young people don’t do politics” should listen to Jonny Concrete. This six piece hip hop/rock/punk band from Coventry were voted ‘Best live band of 2013’ by Room Thirteen website and named best local band in a recent competition we held on the Plug & Amp website. We weren’t at all surprised.
Comprising of two vocals (Dean Ingram, Becky Lawless), two guitars (Sam Clay, Nathan Gummery), bass (Edward Gulliver) and drums (James Connelly), the band cites Rage Against The Machine, Beastie Boys and The Roots as influences, but comparisons don’t do them any justice or favours. Jonny Concrete are a breath of fresh air and are worth checking out live, as they always bring something a little different. Their brutally honest lyrics are a mirror on life in the UK for many right now and their agenda to ‘tell it like it is’ certainly makes this band stand out from the crowd. No raps about bitches and hos here; there are much bigger issues to tackle. 2014 includes festival appearances and an album in the works. Watch this space.
In the meantime, probably the best thing you can do is check out this live take of ‘Obey’ (listen out for the David Cameron name check): https://soundcloud.com/jonny_concrete/jonny-concrete-obey-live/s-h9f8J
So we’re going to continue the punk/politics theme here a little…
Huffy (aka Ian Hough) describes himself as a solo acoustic punk with folk influences. He reckons his musical style attests to him hearing a lot of jazz, country and Irish folk growing up (plus the Beatles, Old Grey Whistle Test and a weekly fix of 70s Top of the Pops).
In his own words, “David Bowie freaked me out, heavy rock was exciting, glam rock and then at last punk reached Birmingham via John Peel and from listener I wanted to be a music maker. Years of bass playing in various bands, writing poems, anarchist activism, Union activity, alcoholism, suicides, life changes led a path to ditching the bands and picking up a proper guitar.”
Seven years and hundreds of compositions and gigs later, Huffy continues to write about and campaign for causes close to his heart and is a regular face at anti-fascist and anti-racism events. He consciously never play the same set twice and says he never will.
“Art like life must evolve and move. Many songs are a minute long, why go on for 10 minutes if you’ve said it in 1?”
Upcoming dates for Huffy include Dudley Town Hall for Love Music Hate Racism on Saturday 26 April, support for former John Peel punk favourites, The Shapes, in June, Woodfest in August and many other local gigs.
A broadcasting highlight was a feature on Radio Warwickshire when, we’re told, DJ Tamsin Rosewell particularly enjoyed announcing, “This is Huffy with I Hate You Tory Bastards”. That led to a whole show interview and song selections, which you can to listen here: http://www.mixcloud.com/RadioWarks/tamsin-rosewell-my-folk-and-their-friends-on-political-folk-music/
And finally for this month, Coventry’s The Prophets. Demonstrating just how incestuous any local music scene can be, the band shares a member with Jonny Concrete (Nathan Gummery) – but don’t let that fool you into thinking they are anything alike.
The Prophets are a four piece pop punk band, currently venturing off to play shows in different towns across England. Made up of one girl upfront and three guys, they’ve just finished recording their debut EP, which is set for release this summer, followed by a music video later in the year.
Their main inspirations include We Are The In Crowd, The Story So Far, We Start Partys and Neck Deep, which is convenient, because they will be opening for Neck Deep at the Kasbah in Coventry on Friday (18 April), a gig that the band are calling “the biggest show of our lives”. Personally, we don’t believe them. We reckon that there will be much bigger shows to come.
Listen to The Prophets on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/the-prophets1/got-me-so-bad
Don’t forget to visit our website www.plugandamp.co.uk, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/plugandamp and follow us on Twitter @PlugandAmp. I promise you, Coventry & Warwickshire is where ‘the next big thing’ is going to come from!
Louise Ali, Plug&Amp