Tag: Birmingham

  • Tom Petty+Steve Winwood

    On the surface, the two rock legends don’t have much in common. Petty has made a name for himself with his jaunty folk-rock and hard-rock, the buoyancy of which is counterbalanced by melancholic lyrics that speak to the poetics of Middle American existence; Winwood, on the other hand, is known for his transition from precocious […]

  • ‘The Bunker’ w/ Regis+Lee Gamble

    As founder of Birmingham label Downwards and revivified as a member of depressive collective Sandwell District, Regis has left an unremittingly bleak mark on twenty years of electronic music. Tonight, he headlines the most floor-friendly contribution to PAN_ACT, the ongoing festival organized by Berlin-based experimentalists PAN and the Issue Project Room. Also featured are Lee […]


    Following the New York Philharmonic’s performance of Gruppen for three orchestras in July, and August’s Birmingham, England, rendition of his sky-high Helicopter String Quartet, our year of Karlheinz Stockhausen spectacles continues apace with two works from each of the flabbergasting German composer’s final epic operas. Percussionist Stuart Gerber will perform Heaven’s Door—written to show that […]


    The Sandwell District techno collective announced last December that it was suspending regular vinyl releases, but it promised to continue in print and through installations (with audio accompaniments, naturally). Its members, meanwhile, are making plenty of live performances individually and jointly: Function played the Bunker a few months ago with Silent Servant and returns to […]

  • Ruben Studdard

    The portly American Idol alum’s commercial moment may have passed, but he’s still doing fine work: His cover of Extreme’s “More Than Words,” from 2009, was a gorgeous country-soul gem, and the upcoming Letters from Birmingham includes a luscious version of “Rock Wit’cha” by Bobby Brown. The cabaret look could be a good one for […]

  • ‘Mr. Saturday Night’ w/ Mark E

    When Birmingham interior designer Mark E moved into house music, he quickly made a name for himself by doing weird and wonderful things to samples from divas including Diana Ross, Mariah Carey, and, most memorably, Janet Jackson. He seems to have tired of edits, but the chopped-loop new tracks on his full-length debut, Stone Breaker […]


    “Can I take you to a restaurant/That’s got glass tables?/You can watch yourself/While you are eating.” Hard to resist that kind of solicitation (“Mirror in the Bathroom”), even three decades later. The Beat (or, as we colonialists more commonly refer to them, the English Beat) were the fulcrum of 2 Tone ska in Birmingham, England, […]

  • Editors

    In the post-post-punk sweepstakes, this Birmingham foursome has trounced most of the competition, easily stepping over Franz Ferdinand and Interpol but still trailing behind the Killers. Like most Joy Division-influenced bands, the key missing ingredient is Ian Curtis—but then again, most Factory Records bands couldn’t live up to that, either. Tom Smith’s baritone groan is […]

  • ‘The Bunker’

    Birmingham’s Surgeon crafts techno that takes as much from Coil and Faust as from Jeff Mills and Kraftwerk. His sets are dark and hard but more cathartic than intimidating. 430 West Records founders the Burden Brothers (a/k/a Random Noise Generation, a/k/a Octave One) provide a sharp contrast. From their classic “Blackwater” to the new “I […]

  • Streets Is Watching (PBS)

    Mike Skinner’s 2002 bedroom-rap debut, Original Pirate Material, presented life in Birmingham, UK, as a dreary fluctuation between grinding boredom and self-destruction. His subsequent efforts were suitably pessimistic: The second was a druggy day-in-the-life concept album; the third, a dour dissection of fame. Now, on Everything Is Borrowed, he sounds relieved. But it creates a […]