BRUM RUNNERS!

The golden age of Birmingham post-punk is celebrated with a new compilation out next month.

Un-Scene! Post Punk Birmingham 1978 – 1982 surfs a revival of interest in the era following on from recent archive releases from scene leaders TV EYE and THE HAWKS, a brand new album from the reconfigured CULT FIGURES and the success of Stewart Lee and Michael Cumming’s excellent NIGHTINGALES documentary King Rocker.

With sleevenotes by Lee and album compiler (and former Hawks, TV Eye and current Black Bombers drummer) Dave Twist, the album brings together legends of the Brum scene like Nightingales, Swell Maps, The Prefects and Au Pairs, as well as lesser known acts such as Fast Relief, Joe Crow, The Pinkies and The Nervous Kind.

The album also sheds light on the city’s role in preaging the New Romantic boom, with a track from John Taylor’s early pre-Duran band DADA (pictured), also featuring Twist, and one from Fashion Music, later to hit the charts in ’82 as Fashion.

“The lockdowns of a year or so ago provided me with the space to pull together a notion that had half-formed around the time – pre-pandemic – that I’d met up with John Taylor to film our contributions for King Rocker,” Twist explains. “Our conversation centred on the important part that Robert and The Prefects had played in setting us – and so many others in the city – off on whatever path we’d go on to take. That there were strong, but pretty much unknown, connections between such disparate artists seemed to call for some kind of document, or celebration, or whatever… so here it is. At last.

“I’d also been using Instagram to share my own archive…” he adds. “Memorabilia of my fandom from the glam age and the punk and post-punk eras. I’d established a design aesthetic in the construction of that and so the artwork for the album just fell into place.”

Released through Easy Action on 25 March, Un-Scene! is available to pre-order here.

Check out The Hawks’ ‘Big Store’…

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TALES FROM THE BULLRING!

Long-lost Birmingham post-punk band THE HAWKS premiere a rare archive video exclusively with Vive Le Rock! ahead of the release of their album at the end of the month.

Lauded during their brief existence and accruing semi-legendary status over the years, The Hawks were formed out of the ashes of seminal Birmingham garage band TV EYE along with former pre-fame members of DURAN DURAN, carving out a savage reputation on the city’s club scene and releasing one single and recording several cassette EPs over three years.

With the band splitting by the end of ’81, the cassettes had languished for decades, with guitarist Dave Kusworth (who in the interim had found success with Dogs D’Amour, The Jacobites and others) petitioning the band’s singer/songwriter Stephen Duffy (former Duran Duran frontman, Lilac Time founder and the tapes’ custodian) to make the songs available.

Following Kusworth’s sudden passing in September 2020, Duffy moved to make the release a reality in tribute to his friend. Restored to the best condition possible by Grammy-winning LA-based producer/engineer John Paterno, the tracks are now to be released on the album Obviously 5 Believers (the band’s original name) through Seventeen Records and Easy Action.

“We didn’t make demo’s, blue prints for future single or albums, we played live and I sang over the top, just to see what we sounded like,” says Duffy today. “These are like field recordings from a much simpler time. Simple in that we had no lust for fame and fortune, we had no manifestos beyond our fringes. We wanted to sign to a small label and play some shows but somehow we couldn’t fulfil even those modest ambitions.”

The video features the song ‘Bullfighter’, originally earmarked as the band’s second single…

Set for release on 27 August, the 10-track Obviously 5 Believers is available on limited edition vinyl here and CD here.

The Hawks on Facebook

Pic by Brendan Jackson

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