An artist-centric music industry coalition for new and emerging talent: Introducing Brutalist Management Agency
By Jon Milton
Formally launched this week, Brutalist is a new artist centric music industry coalition committed to the development or emerging talent across the UK and beyond. They’re kind of a supergroup too, featuring some of the leading lights of the alternative music scene. Tired of seeing growing artists being ripped off, struggling to access industry support and generally being limited in their own industry knowledge, the Brutalist team is comprised of Sam Leadbeater, Natalie White, Olivia Wells and Charlie Dancer.
I first met with Adam through his band The Howlers, who have developed a reputation for being one of the most exciting new bands to have surfaced over the last year or so, and Natalie through her association with Document, whose have undoubtedly released one of the best tunes of 2020 with their debut single ‘Pity’, part of their excellent 'A Camera Wanders All Night' EP. Natalie also manages Bleach Boy and works as a live event promotor, and has worked with bands such as Squid, Working Men’s Club, Pip Blom and Snapped Ankles for Strange Days in the North West. Both are ambitious, focused individuals who do what they say they're going to do, which is great for a blogger like me and should be great for any band looking to accelerate their career.
Adam and Natalie are joined by Sam Leadbeater who runs Brutalist Records, an independent, DIY cassette label based in Portsmouth producing physical releases for local talented musicians in the scene, Olivia White, who has worked within the Manchester music scene as Head Music Editor at The Mancunion, Co-Head Music Radio Manager at Fuse FM, a freelance music journalist (LOBF) and latterly at Killing Moon, and arguably the most experienced member of the team Charlie Dancer has worked in the music industry for over 7 years, starting out as a promoter in his home city of Newcastle for SSD, joining leading talent development organisation Generator as the Talent Development Manager in 2017.
Adam and Sam formed the venture earlier this year, and Sam says of it “Brutalist is first and foremost a space for both artists and industry members to blossom and develop. The point at which this is isn’t the priority, Brutalist no longer serves its purpose”.. Covering management, booking, record label and distribution, Brutalist provide artist services such as:
The team also work in partnership with Singing Light Music, who provide marketing and distribution solutions and bring extensive expertise from close to two decades in the music industry as well as working on recent campaigns for the likes of Pigs x 7, Martha Hill and Dutty Moonshine Big Band.
Brutalist tell us that they are always on the look out for talent, and you can get in touch with them www.brutalistmanagement.com
By Jon Milton
Life’s a funny thing isn’t it? One minute all your hopes and dreams are about to become a reality as you release your debut single and head out on tour to promote it and everyone’s wearing your pretty darn cool (if a little snug) ringer t-shirts, and the next a global pandemic has forced you and everyone else you know into lockdown, putting all those exciting plans on ice. Such is the story of Brighton’s Les Bods, who released their excellent first single ‘People’ in April, just as lockdown started to kick in and properly pissed on everybody’s bonfire.
Over the last few months, the band have been hard at work writing and refining new material and are looking forward to releasing their next single ‘Tea Stained Day’ in early 2021. Earlier this month I caught up with vocalist/guitarist Harry Mitchell and guitarist Harry Hayes to talk about People, their impeccable taste in music and their plans for 2021.
Tell us a bit about Les Bods?
Harry Mitchell: Basically we started this band about a year or so ago and it had another two people in it, Harry Sotnick and Sam Evans the drummer for DITZ. Sam had to go as he had show’s with Ditz and Harry went to work for a label in Germany, so I ended meeting these boys. It was quite a weird meet, I ended up meeting Zane in a graveyard and he knew Jacob on a different show that we were doing as we used to be stage managers and touring crew. We started doing shows, got a few nights at Concorde in support slots. But then all this shit happened!
Now we have Harry Hayes in the band it feels like we’ve got the sound, we’ve got the people, we’ve got the equipment to record it and we’ve just self-produced and it sounds so good, so you should be seeing a lot more music, interviews as we’ve been working on a lot, albums one and two!
On your Facebook page you have your influences as relatively contemporary artists like Ty Segall, Oh Sees and so on, but I kind of get an older sound coming out of you, Led Zep and those bands. What other music inspires you?
Harry Hayes: Black Sabbath, Stooges, Crosby Stills and Nash and I’m a huge Grateful Dead fan, all the old hippy shit! We try and merge all the old and new stuff. Mitch is a bit more aware of the new stuff than I am, so creatively we like to take inspiration from the old stuff but have it in a modern format in terms of structure and production, really phat and big and our new single (Tea Stained Day) is sounding wicked.
Harry Mitchell: (Tea Stained Day) kind of stemmed from one of those days when something fucked happens, and then something else happens, nothing goes right and you’re just pissed off. Toward the end of the track it’s about what’s been going on with all the bullshit I see - just be a nice person, don’t be a dickhead, so many people are just treading on people, there are too many arseholes in the world!
When’s Tea Stained Day coming out?
Harry Mitchell: Next year – we want to get all the branding, artwork and PR right and get Christmas out of the way
How pleased were with the reception that People got?
Harry Hayes – Well happy!
Harry Mitchell – Buzzing! We hadn’t expected it to get through to so many countries, Its gone all over, like 62 different countries, Peru and other parts of South America, Poland and we’re sending merch all over the world. Its like this song that I wrote at Uni in my bedroom and is getting all this reception – its really nice! And that’s our old stuff – the stuff we’ve been doing as a four piece is way up there compared to People, so I’m looking forward to the future of our music.
What was it like releasing the single in lockdown?
Harry Mitchell – That was tough. Normally you release a single, put on a show and you promote through that. Having to do it online and at a time when I was looking for a job was tough. I was learning how to use social media and the internet (we’re pretty old school dudes!). It was weird, although it was good that we got it to so many people outside of Brighton.
If lockdown hadn’t happened, how would you have promoted it?
Harry Mitchell – we were going to be going out on tour. We wanted to get a load of merch out and then go onto some support slots but obviously everything stopped and venues started closing down.
The Brighton scene seems to have a lot of good bands – Egyptian Blue, Public Body, Laundromat, bands like Compliments are up and coming – what other bands are around?
Harry Mitchell: There are loads of great bands – our friends Youth Sector are fantastic, Shame (not from around us but we’re really into them), Talk show, Feet, Do Nothing, Lice, and in Brighton – as you say Egyptian Blue, CLT DRP, Lime - four girls that just smash it, really cool and clever.
You’ve got loads of stuff written, what are your plans once its all got back to normal?
Harry Mitchell: Our plan is to get on to the Festivals and work with Scruff of the Neck, and get on to some support slots for larger bands and get singles out and get our first EP out and play as many shows as we can. And talk to people, we love to chat to people!
And by larger bands they mean 'King Gizzard, Oh Sees (that would blow our minds!), Ty Segal, Shivas, Skinny Milk (another Brighton band)' so for anyone associated with those bands, make it so!
By Jon Milton
Lockdown part 2 and it’s all about getting by really isn’t it? As if to sum up that mood Edinburgh four-piece Ghost Dance Collective have just released their second EP called just that, with four stripped-back songs that perfectly soundtrack this second phase.
Put together during the first lockdown period, the ‘Getting By’ EP brings together an assortment of oddities and rarities, sweet harmonies sung over 6 and 12 string acoustic guitar with just a tambourine to help them along them. Its music to stare out of the window to and forget your troubles to.
In some ways Getting By feels like quite a departure from their debut album, although the sixties psychedelic influence is still clear and apparent – like The Byrds doing an unplugged session. The band urge us to approach the EP ‘with an open mind and an accommodating ear’ – sound advice, although once you get used to the pared back vibe you’ll likely just appreciate the beauty of each song.
Listen / Buy via Getting By EP | Ghost Dance Collective (bandcamp.com)
What We've Been Listening To This Week...Mush, Shame, Farfisa, Dois Padres, Epilogues, Public Body, Do Nothing, Premium Leisure
By Jon Milton
2021 is already looking like its going to be a good one for albums. So far Black Country, New Road, TV Priest and Lice have announced their debut album are coming out, and this week there’s been news of second Mush and Shame albums.
By way of introduction to their forthcoming album ‘Lines Redacted’, Mush have released Blunt Instruments, which follows the same snappy path they trod with Dead Beat and Fear Index from their excellent Great Artisanal Formats EP earlier this year. Its very recognisably Mush, but with a noisy chorus interwoven with their trademark intricacy. Shame released ‘Water in the Well’ and gave us news of their album ‘Drunk Tank Pink’ also this week with both theirs and Mush’s albums slated for a February release. I came a little late to the party on Shame and have to say that I wasn’t massively impressed with their debut album apart from the odd track or two, but this new single and its predecessor Alphabet are fantastic. Both songs sound so fresh, and confident too.
Manchester’s Farfisa have followed up on previous singles Onwards to Albion, Out of My Mind and Bravado with a new six-minute psychedelic jam ‘Sunrise’. There’s a definite nod toward Led Zeppelin on this, particularly in the direction of ‘In the Light’ when it gets to its guitar wig out moment half way through the song. Lovely stuff. Also giving the Zep some respect this week are Dois Padres with their new single ‘The Hustle’, which has a bit of a ‘Moby Dick’ feel about. There’s bit of Little Barrie in there too, always a good thing.
Also, out this week was Ready for Forever by Premium Leisure, which reprises that glam T-Rex sound that they kicked off with previous single ‘Remedies’ and on a far more chilled front, ‘Me’ the new EP from Epilogues which you can listen to here. Similar to Felix M-B’s wonderful album ‘Chunk’ Epilogues EP has that hushed, understated vocal over a very simple but effective acoustic accompaniment.
Lastly this week a couple of honorary mentions for tracks released the previous week as we didn’t run a feature last Sunday. These are for Glueland, the latest from Do Nothing and Table Manners by Public Body. Both tunes are excellent, and if you haven’t heard them already, make sure you give 'em a listen.
What We've Been Listening To This Week...Yard Act, Mush, Courting, Human Pet, Perspex, Cross Wires, White Flowers
By Jon Milton
What a great week for new music! There’s been some absolutely immense tunes out this week. Leading the pack is ‘Peanuts’ the new single by Yard Act. A song about a woman killing her imaginary nut allergenic husband by sprinkling peanut dust on his food ‘It takes real guts to fake being nuts, and it takes real nuts to break fake guts’. The clever wordplay and unique subject matter of Peanuts, alongside its prime musical backing show just why Yard Act are one of the most exciting new bands out there at the moment, with the music press regularly gushing and a host of top DJ’s like Steve Lamacq and Jack Saunders singing their praises.
Another band fast becoming everyone’s favourite are Courting, who’ve just released Popshop! Taken from their debut EP Grand National released in April next year (why so long chaps?) it’s their third single this year after the excellent David Byrne's Badside and Football, Last year’s Not Yr Man’s not too shabby a song either. Popshop! has a bit of a Velvet Underground feel about it, very upbeat and very good from the Liverpudlian teenagers who are always on twitter.
Also with an impressive back catalogue of singles is Perspex, who’ve also released just released the excellent Soft. Its backed by the sixties psychedelic tinged Double Recovery ‘a lockdown gift from the plastic band’ by all accounts, which we’ve gratefully received.
Earlier this year when gigs were a thing you could do, we got to see White Flowers support TOY at Bedford Esquires, just after they released their debut single Portra. This week sees a new single ‘Within a Dream’ taken from their forthcoming EP of the same name out on Tough Love Records. Its another track that kind of sounds like the Cocteau Twins but with subtle elements of electronic music entwined to give it its own identity. We like.
Just over a year ago Cross Wires released their debut ‘A Life Extinct’, with a subsequent flow of singles released from the album including stand out Distraction Technique. Their new single Hall of Mirrors is another good tune that has a bit of Hard Fi feel about it, and shades of the Jam from their early stages. Hall of Mirrors was written and recorded in the space of a day at The Control Room, and it’s the first in a series of tracks from an EP likely to be released next year.
Mush released their Great Artisanal Formats 7 inch a few months ago for Record Store Day 2020 and gave us the full digital release on Friday. The EP has 5 tracks in total including Dead Beat and Fear Index and they’re all excellent. There’s still some vinyl available (just) if you’re quick. Here's the link.
Last but by no means least this week is S.F.U., the new single by Human Pet. It is a belter, pure and simple. It’s the sound of a band that are clearly confident in their ability and know who how to put a song together. Each component part complements each other perfectly, with tight drumming, incisive guitar, driving bass and dueling vocals colliding to make sweet post-punk music. Read about it here.