EP: Five Songs – Youth Man 29.06.18

Five Songs – Youth Man 29.06.18

Words by Emily Doyle / Pics courtesy of Youth Man

When asked to review Youth Man’s newest release, Five Songs EP, I was apprehensive.

I’ve been a fan of Birmingham’s premier sex-punk outfit since my uni days. I mean, a turn up to every show wearing the t-shirt kind of a fan. Since I first heard them, they’ve toured with Sacramento’s Trash Talk. They’ve appeared on festival bills both home and away, and are set to play Afropunk Brooklyn 2018 this summer alongside Janelle Monae, Tyler The Creator, and Erykah Badu.

Youth Man‘s previous Venn Records release, Wax, went down in the Midland’s heavy history, along with its ode to Jeremy Corbyn. They even got the director of The Prodigy’s ‘Nasty’ music video, Oliver Jones, to animate the stop motion short for ‘Look/Wait’, which sees the then-trio abducted by aliens. (This inspired some clumsy questioning from Drowned In Sound’s International Women’s Day 2017 Round Table, resulting in guitarist Kaila Whyte telling them she wished she had “suction pads attached to (her) extremities.”)

I’ve also been impatient for the new EP, but my gut feeling was that I’d struggle to be a balanced, impartial listener. I mulled it over. If I review Five Songs I get my hands on it before the release date…

Five Songs begins with ‘Mainland’. Considering both Youth Man’s blistering live reputation, and the fact that this EP clocks a duration of under fifteen minutes, you’d expect them to come in all guns blazing. The opening melody of ‘Mainland’ is disarmingly fragile. It’s not long before Marcus Perks kicks in with a metallic beat on the drums, though. Familiar growling bass underpins Whyte’s vocals, which progress to a Gothic wail.

The majority of Five Songs was thoroughly road-tested, so anyone who’s seen Youth Man live in the last six months or so will recognise ‘Valley Girl’ as soon as they hear its frantic, one note guitar line. Dissonant as it may be, tracks like this showcase the group’s appreciation for a good old fashioned hook.

Stuttering, sing-a-long choruses, hand claps, and a committed middle-eight breakdown hold your hand through the textured math rock sound. The record’s lead single ‘I Don’t Know’ takes a similar approach. Doo-woppy backing vocals triumph over fuzzed out guitar to make this their most accessible track to date.

Five Songs represents a crystallisation of the Youth Man sound. Hardcore-punk snobs could be forgiven for thinking this means they’ve softened with age, but the heft behind their music is present as ever. ‘Constantly’ is one minute forty of primal ¾ noise that echoes the density of their 2013 Bad Weather EP, while the capricious ‘Statuesque’ seems to close the record with less of a exclamation point and more of an interrobang.

Youth Man have expanded their musical horizons; Five Songs is less abrasive than their back catalogue, but every bit as outspoken. It may feature gospel flavoured backing vocals and the odd homemade percussion instrument, but each track on the EP still twitches with punk rock venom.

‘I Don’t Know’ – Youth Man (from Five Songs EP) 











Five Songs EP by Youth Man is out on 29th June, released via Alcopop! Records. To order a copy direct from the label, visit  www.ilovealcopop.awesomedistro.com/products/youth-man-five-songs 

For more on Youth Man, visit www.youthman.bandcamp.com

For more on Alcopop! Records, visit www.ilovealcopop.awesomedistro.com

BREVIEW: Peaness @ The Sunflower Lounge 13.03.17

BREVIEW: Peaness @ The Sunflower Lounge 13.03.17 / Courtney Blount - Birmingham Review




Words by Khryssy Blount / Pics by Courtney Blount 

Normally I say, “On a warm spring evening, I am going to review…” However I believe this will work much better: I am going to review a band named Peaness. Yes, you are reading that correctly.

I choose to sit on the sidelines, rather stickily on the stairs, peeking through the stair rails. The crowd assembles as the first band, Maybe Don’t, steps onto the stage; the audience falls silent. We are all suddenly blasted with a heady mix of loud, slightly out of tune, singing and melodic guitar playing. The band (after this rather loud introduction) present themselves, “Hi, we’re Maybe Don’t and we have politics…”

BREVIEW: Peaness @ The Sunflower Lounge 13.03.17 / Courtney Blount - Birmingham ReviewHowever no political statements were to be seen, apart from the lead singer/guitarist having to tune his guitar before playing another song and trying to say “Peaness”. The crowd is a mixed bag of folks, some moving along to the music eagerly and others looking bemused.

I am feeling like a wild caged animal at this point, grabbing onto the bars of the stairs, and I find myself subconsciously nodding my head along to the loud riffs as Maybe Don’t finish up their set. A small interval happens, taking a small proportion of the crowd back upstairs, before Mondo Royale take to the stage as six piece group.

Unfortunately I don’t catch the names of the band members apart from a keyboard player called ‘Ben’, but Mondo Royale launch into a soulful and jazzy tune, guiding the crowd to clap along with them to the beat, and the audience oblige. It is almost as if they own the stage and their song ‘Sonic Boom’ certainly gets things going.

BREVIEW: Peaness @ The Sunflower Lounge 13.03.17 / Courtney Blount - Birmingham ReviewBoth singers jive and dance along whilst harmonising with the funky soulful jazz infused beats. ‘Day and Night’ turns up the levels and the room comes alive (at one point it’s pointed out that it is getting just warm enough for one of the lead singers) but the song that really sets everything on fire though is ‘Run, Run, Run’. A brilliant set; Mondo Royale are hard to put into a box, with styles ranging from Abba to Depeche Mode.

Time for tonight’s the headline as act Peaness start setting up; the stage and the audience are, by now, all nicely warmed up. Without introduction they begin playing and launch into a series of Pea-pop chord progressions and toe tappingly good harmonies.

BREVIEW: Peaness @ The Sunflower Lounge 13.03.17 / Courtney Blount - Birmingham ReviewNow they introduce themselves, “Hi, we’re Peaness and we’re from Chester”, and get stuck into another one of their songs off their No Fun E.P. Unlike the other two bands tonight, Peaness seem to have some microphone issues. The audience seems to have calmed down too, until Peaness go into a new track called ‘Ugly Veg’ off their upcoming debut album, set for release later this year. A few people attempt to jump up and down to the track with limited success.

Peaness also have their guitars slightly louder than the vocals, so you can’t really hear the words – which is a shame as the trio appear to be a tight knit gang.

The rest of the gig goes by in what seems a flash, including moments of laughter at the drummer having a “spa day” in Birmingham while the singer and other guitarist had to slog in from Chester, “These guys had to come all the way from Chester while I was getting a back rub”. Peaness are young, genuine and in parts comical, and not just due to their name.BREVIEW: Peaness @ The Sunflower Lounge 13.03.17 / Courtney Blount - Birmingham Review

The gig winds down, and without a set list the audience have nothing to squabble over. Except perhaps the merch store which has cute and cuddly stuffed toy peas with googley eyes. But it’s the music I came for tonight and if I get the chance I’ll be back to see Peaness again.

For more on Peaness, visit www.peanessband.tumblr.com

For more from The Sunflower Lounge, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.thesunflowerlounge.com

For more from Counteract, visit www.counteract.co


BPREVIEW: Peaness @ The Sunflower Lounge 13.03.17



Words by Ed King / Lead pic courtesy of Alcopop!, No Fun artwork by Sara Thielker 

On Monday 13th March, Peaness perform at The Sunflower Lounge – with support from Mondo Royale + Maybe Don’t. Peaness come to Birmingham for the penultimate gig on their national tour, before their Chester homecoming show on 23rd March.

Doors open at 7:30 with tickets priced at £6adv, as presented by Counteract. For direct gig info, including venue details and online tickets sales, click here.

Formed at the tail end of 2014, Peaness ‘started messing around, writing and practicing, bedroom style’ before getting onto the live circuit in July the following year. Penning their self described ‘pea pop’, Peaness released their No Fun EP in 2015 – a four track debut of ‘three-minute melodic pop songs’, running no more than 15minutes start to finish. So FM friendly you could… hang on, what’s their name again?

But as the joke snowballed like some kind of sphere made of frozen water, demand for Peaness grew. Now there’s a sentence that works better written down… A slew of festival gigs, media attention (including some healthly radio plugging) and distribution deals pushed them further into the limelight, before the Chester based three piece signed to Alcopop! Records.

The following is a suitably effusive/supportive statement from Alcopop! Records about signing Peaness – to read the full press release, click here:

Alcopop! Records overlord Jack Clothier enthuses: “To put it frankly, Peaness are pretty much THE best band I’ve heard in the last few months – and working with them already has been a total joy! They’ve achieved stacks already, and we’re really excited to get on board and help out. The EP hasn’t left my head for weeks. It’s infectious, brilliant, DIY-influenced indie-pop genius, if you ask me – which you probably didn’t.”

Peaness also had their latest double A-side single, ‘Same Place’/‘Seafoam Islands’, released on 27th January via Odd Box Records, with their previous ‘Oh George’ making its way onto various BBC playlists (and possibly the back benches).

There was even an international release of two tracks from debut EP via the Vancouver based Kingfisher Bluez label, sending their ‘I’m Not Your Problem / Fortune Favours the Bold’ double a-side out across the northern colonies and digital record stores.

Peaness have further announced plans to release their follow up EP – Are You Sure? – through Alcopop! Records later this year.

‘Summer Song’ / Peaness

Peaness perform at The Sunflower Lounge on Monday 13th March, with support from Mondo Royale + Maybe Don’t – as presented Counteract. For direct gig info and online tickets sales, click here.

For more on Peaness, visit www.peanessband.tumblr.com

For more from The Sunflower Lounge, including full event listing and online ticket sales, visit www.thesunflowerlounge.com

For more from Counteract, visit www.counteract.co