By Jon Milton
Some bands in my mind will be forever associated with lockdown. Yard Act and TV Priest both released their excellent debut singles just after lockdown began, and Home Counties had their debut single ‘Redevelopment’ out just before. All of them incorporate smart social commentary into their lyrics, with their thoughts becoming ever more resonant in these times of immense social and political change. Less politically charged but with tracks like ‘Emergency Song’ focusing on how lockdown affected them, Midlight also emerged out of this period too, but similarly to the others continue to maintain an upward trajectory. But what are their plans for 2022?
What a time to be alive for Yard Act. Last year they signed with Universal, recorded their debut album, and headed out on tour to rave reviews. They even got the nod of approval from Elton John. The rave reviews of the live performances were all justified too IMHO. It's very rare to see a frontman command the audience in the way that James Smith does with his banter and when its done well it can completely transform the gig experience, as I found out when I saw the band play last year at the Lexington. 2022 sees Yard Act release their debut album ‘The Overload’ with the signs being that its going to be a bit of a doozy. Each of the singles on the album released so far avoid following a standard formula, which suggests that they are aware of their limitations and work that bit harder to counter them.
The band had a few gigs lined up as part of a DIY magazine tour this month but have postponed them for now amidst the accelerating level of omicron infections. They were also keen to ensure that anyone attending their gigs last year was able to show vaccination and test status as a condition of entry so its obviously a real concern for them and I guess may affect future gigs too. Those other gigs start early next month across Europe before the band begin their sold-out UK tour in London on the 17th. The band then head stateside in late March and into April, before returning for another UK tour beginning in Liverpool on 30th April. Then there’s the festivals and more European and UK gigs later in the year. One wonders when James will get the time to tend to his cauliflower. I also wonder how they will evolve their music too, because I’m pretty sure that they will.
See https://yardactors.com/ for tour dates and other stuff
What a time to be alive for TV Priest too. 2021 saw them release their cracking debut album ‘Uppers’ and tour for the first time. Their gig at London’s Oslo in July was only their second ever, and whilst they were good that night, the difference in confidence and performance three months later on their tour was palpable. They also appear to be a lovely, grounded bunch of people who just seem to be enjoying the position that they’re in.
When we spoke to them this time last year (just before Uppers came out) they suggested that their second album could get its release in 2021, but in the end their single ‘Lifesize’ was the only other recording to emerge. They do tell me that there is more new music on the way very shortly however, and they hope to have that second album out in this Summer. The band play Yes in Manchester on January 29th before heading out to the states with A Place to Bury Strangers in February. After that they’re back to Manchester in April and they appear at the Wide Eyed Festival and expect to have more dates lined up for later in the year.
See https://www.songkick.com/artists/10135351-tv-priest/calendar for tour dates.
This time last year Home Counties were on the front foot with a new single ‘Modern Yuppies’, which gave a glimpse of the new direction that the band had hinted at in their interview with us the year before. ‘White Shirt/Clean Shirt’ followed a couple of months later, and then the band found themselves extensively gigging before releasing ‘The Home Counties’ single in late October. The Home Counties is also the lead track from their forthcoming EP ‘In A Middle English Town’ which comes out next month on Alcopop Records.
Ahead of the EP coming out there will be another track ‘Village Spirit’ released at the end of this month, and the band begin their first headline tour on the 16th February in Oxford, moving on to Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Southampton and Brighton before their biggest show so far at the Lexington on the 24th. The also play at the Wide Eyed Festival in Leicester in April.
See https://www.songkick.com/artists/10126739-home-counties/calendar for tour dates.
Midlight also head out on tour in March and find themselves headlining The Lexington as part of a run that also includes Newcastle, Manchester, Brighton, and Dublin. The band have steadily released a string of quality tunes over the last 18 months or so, the most recent of which being ‘Consume Me’ last month. The band plan to take things up a notch too when they release their debut EP which they hope to have out in Spring.
If you're not too familiar with the band, have a read of our interview with them from last year.
For tour dates and other stuff, go to https://www.midlighthq.com/live.