Twitter can be a polarising place - amongst the trolls and troublemakers there are subcultures of all walks of life - none more vibrant that ‘Indie Twitter’ - a collection of likeminded accounts championing new music that interact with each other in their own community on the micro-blogging platform. One account has stood out - Brits & Pieces - with their sharing of band merchandise and stories of the heyday of Britpop and the 1990’s.
Inspired by the compilation albums of the 90’s such as the Shine series, Brits & Pieces have curated an eighteen track album that showcases some of the best up and coming bands and artists in the UK right now. Released this Friday, the 11th of December, The Brits & Pieces Album is available to pre-order on physical CD via Rough Trade here.
Mastered by legendary producer and engineer Nick Brine (Oasis, Ash, The Stone Roses), all profits from the CD will be distributed amongst the artists involved- a magnificent gesture during a time when bands are unable to perform live and streaming revenue can be very low.
Those with their finger on the pulse of new indie music in the UK will be well aware of some of the bands here - The Capollos, The Shed Project and The Van T’s are certainly on our radar but perhaps the most exciting thing about this CD is the anticipation of discovering new bands and their music.
Brits & Pieces kicks off with ‘Otherside’ by Spyres - a song with tones of both punk rock and new wave, the chorus is raucous, full of energy and launches the CD with a bang before we move on to the aforementioned The Capollos and their tune ‘Electrify, a single release itself earlier in the year. Having supported Cast and The Snuts, The Capollos are perhaps the most well known band featured here.
Hailing from Elgin, Scotland and fresh from a pilgrimage to the music hotspots of the USA, New Mode supply ‘Victim To The Culture’ which is a pretty standard inoffensive rock tune with the same but with more edge and attitude from scouse lads Columbia and ‘This Life’ - which does have a cracking guitar on it.
Theatre Royal gives us a break from the noise with a softer ‘Locked Together On The Lines’, an honest song that is perhaps the best written song here so far. With full melodies and 90’s pop guitar, this is one of the stand out tracks on Brits & Pieces.
Recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios and taken from their debut EP, ‘They Don’t Know Me’ is by Wolves lads Citylightz - an alternative rock song that has gritty, in your face verses and a more direct chorus. Monza Express are veteran musicians, and after a meandering beginning, ‘Crying On The Radio’ reaches where it needs to be when we get to the chorus.
The Shed Project are one of the best new bands around at the moment. Each single release has been incredibly impressive, such as the one that makes its way here, ‘Lucky Number’. This is a song that was released not long after Our Sound was launched and at the time made me feel like yes, there is a wave of new indie bands making great music and more people need to hear about it. The whole thing is spot on - the melody, lyrics, the whole sound - a chilled out love story.
Ry Byron, a Brighton based singer songwriter and a former student at BIMM, has written ‘Humans’ - a jaunty stomper of a song meanwhile from the other end of the UK, Joshua Grant (on tour in January and February) has given contemporary acoustic-pop single ‘Edinburgh’ to the compilation. It’s a charming ode to his hometown and vocally this really stands out; there is a clear authenticity to Joshua’s voice.
Wigan band Stanleys and their debut single ‘A Better Life’ is song number eleven here and not having heard this before, it is fair to say i’m blown away. The lads release their debut EP in 2021 and if this song here is anything to go by it is going to be a belter. A former track of the week on X Radio, ‘A Better Life’ is the poster song for the new wave of indie bands. I wouldn’t mind a T-shirt to model either, size large please boys if you’re reading.
Backspace’s ‘Letting Go’ starts with a solid drum pattern before almost jazz style guitar appears; a song that peaks in the chorus. The Lutras are more traditional rock on ‘Run & Hide’, complete with a strong rock vocal. This is middle of the road radio rock. Can I say rock any more?
Kid Violet brings the album back around to a more modern indie sound. ‘Lights Out’ is in that Joy Division mould with the lyrics and vocals while The Van T’s, who have been hotly tipped for what seems like forever, are ‘Seeing Stars’, a single release from earlier in 2020, it’s dreamy alt rock done pretty smartly.
If it’s an anthemic tune you’re after you can’t ask for much more than ‘Over The Moor’, The Killers inspired song from Glass Violet. Some lovely synths on this and an overall great sound, which can also be said about Joe Astley and ‘Anthem For The North’, though there aren’t any synths. Joe has built a huge sound on this. Rounding off the collection of songs on Brits & Pieces is ‘Don’t Ask Once’ by The Mariners. A song that is exclusive to the CD, it’s a short yet sweet The Beatles sounding song.
Overall, this Brits & Pieces Album is impressive. There isn’t a poor song to be found and more importantly, there’s more than a handful of really great songs such as the contributions from The Shed Project, Stanleys and Joshua Grant to name a few. Highly recommended. ****