Ryan's Gig Guide

Ryan's Gig Guide

Supporting live Music in Birmingham & The West Midlands since 1995

Voted Best Mag/Vlog/Blog at the Birmingham Music Awards 2019
Birmingham Music Awards Best Mag/Vlog/Blog

The Verdict

Nick J. Townsend

Nick J. Townsend

Greetings weaklings. Merry Christmas weaklings. Looks as if there is a surge of intriguing new original music springing to life judging by the CDs that bands are sending me. Keep up the good song writing and don’t ever become lazy.

Nick J. Townsend

Album Of The Month

Dinky: Open Letters

Walsall based Dinky release their second studio album ‘Open Letters’ with eleven polished indie pop rock tracks recorded at M2 Studios at Mad Hat, Coven and Park Studios, engineered by Owen Davies and Andy Taylor (Editors/The Twang) but is it any good? Tell you what; track two came on and I thought “I bet Jimmy Eats World fans would love this” and then I realised the song is called ‘Jennifer Against The World’, do doo do du Twilight Zone ah? Now that’s almost how I felt about every other song; reminiscent of another band I know already; no disrespect meant; I don’t think there’s anything here so original that it’d destroy Skynet but there is a gigantic well produced professional clean pop rock sound that you automatically associate with bands such as Ash, Feeder, Foo Fighters and before said Jimmy Eats World; that’s not a bad thing at all is it? Highlights for me were album closer ‘J.O.Y’.; sounded well deep towards the end, I liked the lyrics to ‘Lights Go Out’, the melancholy tones of ‘The Ones I Left Behind’ and riff wise ‘Overrated’ wins with it’s Pixies-like attitude. This is a brilliant album; maybe not original but I loved it and I’ll definitely listen to it again for sure.


EP Of The Month

Flashhearts: At Last

Black Country three piece punk rock band Flashhearts release a follow up to their 2018 and highly praised ‘Fears’ EP which we crowned EP Of The Month; this time they send us ‘At Last’; it’s twice as big, superior in sound; it gets the same treatment. Straight on the highlight slab is the excellent high octane tune ‘Eddie Mordrake’; best track in my opinion; soon as the intro bolted in I heard a total upper of a Nirvana-like riff worthy of the Bleach album; when the song vocals begin you’re whisked into a crazy world of rock that’s arguably very recommended for fans of Backyard Babies, The Wildhearts, QOTSA and Foo Fighters. Recorded by James Rabone at Electric Mistress Studios, all six songs cement their style which they sound confidently comfortable with indeed. No messing around just naked punk rock n’ roll tunes played with genuine passion that also demonstrate how slick they must be as a live act too. Highly commendable.


Single Of The Month

The Space: Retire From Love (out Dec 1st)

The Space

Third single from Kidderminster modern indie rock band The Space and this is the heaviest I’ve heard them play. ‘Retire From Love’ is produced by Simon Henley of Base Studios, backed by Ricky Wilson & Robert Plant (MAS Records), available from December 1st on all streaming platforms and if you download any single for Christmas then this one is a superb choice. Hats off to them for one of the best bridge sections I’ve listened to in a long time. Vocalist Jack Crutchley fires out an incredible barrage of natural sounding lyrics that are as fluid as water as if he’s reeling them off the top of his head and just speaking his mind; there’s real refreshing clever writing here and it’s a joy to listen to. The Space are tighter than Nasa’s greenscreen budget and have a fiery youthful edge that a lot of bands would kill for. Definitely a band to watch out for; I predict some interesting future developments from these guys. Exemplary indie music.


Songwriter Of The Month

Bluebyrd: Song For The Duped(out Nov 1st)

Arguably aimed at Generation Brex (It), ‘Song For The Duped’ by Wolverhampton indie folk rock act Bluebyrd is a delightful satirical single touching upon the confusion and disinformation that prevails on social media. Amusing and intellectual social commentary that at times breaks the forth wall to let the less astute listeners in on the joke. I loved this; it’s also very recommended for fans of artists such as The Humdrum Express due to the dedication to awe-inspiring lyrical storytelling and observation leaning towards truth and honesty. The band have self released this on Songwall.com and if you are miserable and sick of politics or everyone else’s expert opinion on how to run a government then you may as well download this as it’s a lot more stimulating than anything you’re considering voting for. ‘Song For The Duped’ is the first of several new releases in the run up to the second Bluebyrd album that is expected to be released spring 2020. Look out for more fun from members Chris Rowley and Gareth Pask. Fantastic work.


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