The Nightingales
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The Nightingales

| INDIE

| INDIE
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Nov
08
The Nightingales @ B 72

Wien, None, Austria

Wien, None, Austria

Nov
07
The Nightingales @ Weekender Cafe

Innsbruck, None, Germany

Innsbruck, None, Germany

Nov
04
The Nightingales @ Kulturverein KINO

Ebensee, None, Austria

Ebensee, None, Austria

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Music

Press


During this morning's trawl through the bank holiday weekend email spam I spotted a plea for support from divisive stand-up comedian Stewart Lee.

"Dear all," it read, "Overlooked National Treasures The Nightingales (and Subway Sect) are closing my SOUTH BANK CENTRE AUSTERITY BINGE on Monday 30th May. Here are two great reviews from the current tour. Please twat this if you are a tweeter."

It was a plea for attendance and cultural support on a wet night when most of that London were journeying back from their renovated Cornish fishing village, or still apologising for inappropriate behaviour at the Sunday night barbecue. I'd turned up out of a sense of duty (I'd written a preview piece for the magazine) and curious nostalgia (the Nightingales were one of my teenage indie-kid obsessions) and, truth be told, signs weren't good. With less than ten minutes to go, there were barely ten supporters visible amidst the school-hall fluorescence of The South Bank's Purcell Room. One female punter muttered ominously, something about having "seen him recently, and he looked broken, ruined."

But by the dimming of the lights the hall was healthily half full, and Subway Sect effortlessly dispelled any fears of ruined reunion, the acerbic, attenuated Vic Godard leading his 2011 model band through a nervy set of cheese-wire sharpness, spitting out peculiar pop songs, rich in political anger and English scorn.

Yet nothing in Subway Sect's admittedly excellent return could have prepared for the astonishing revelation of Rob Lloyd's Nightingales. Formed out of the ashes of blackly-comic Birmingham punk upsetters The Prefects, Nightingales Mk. 1 existed from 1979 to '86, Black Country Magic Banders spinning Daedalian indie skronk around Lloyd's slashing gnomic utterances. Since reforming in 2004, Nightingales Mk 2 have survived - like post-punk fellow-travellers The Fall - as an ever-shifting cast of players, a tightly schooled all-ages boot-camp in the employ of one man's absurdist poetic invective.

Recently retrained at Jochen Irmler's Faust Studio, tonight Lloyd and founder Prefects guitarist Alan Apperley field a side barely three weeks old. Bassist Andreas Schmid, a Faust Studio apprentice, is suitably young and severe, the possible leader of some Marxist-Leninist '70s student cell, in academic black suit and socialist haircut. Skinny in black jeans and black western shirt, hair like squid-ink candy floss, rhythm guitarist Matt Wood resembles a teenage Horrors offcast, while from behind her own heavy witch-black fringe ex-Violet Violet drummer Fliss Kitson pounds out the glam-kosmische bin rhythms. As Lloyd takes the stage - stout, bespectacled, wily smile flickering between joy and contempt - the image is complete; it is the embittered Marxist history teacher fronting the school band, the academy in peril.

With no time for nostalgia, tonight The Nightingales ignore any notion of greatest hits in favour of joyous reinvention. Feeding off the hard-drilled energy of these junior initiates, Apperley spins frayed Bo Diddley riffs around Lloyd's tumbling psychedelic eavesdroppings, allowing the singer to recycle, reinvent and repurpose thirty years of vituperative notebook aphorisms, constructing an intense, breathless narrative from the recycled past to the scorched present. And, like some Christ-like curmudgeon, newly risen to grouse again, Lloyd feeds off the audience fervour, growing stronger, yet ever wary; grinning broadly, flicking the Vs, and mouthing "What the f---?!"

With every repurposed song - plus a combative cover of Gary Glitter's I Didn't Know I Loved You (Till I Saw You Rock & Roll) - the band become yet more powerful, Apperley and the kids locked in a heavy zig-zag groove as Lloyd bellows out caustic images from his mordant world-view, like some Black Country Stuart Staples, holidaying in the window of an Arndale Pound Shop. The cumulative effect is one of euphoric delight, of old knowledge in the hands of new disciples. "Dig the depth of the furrow of mirth that I can plough," sings Lloyd on The Overreactor. Tonight The Nightingales hit an epic new low. Catch them when they're at it again.

Andrew Male
- Mojo


Well, Nightingales crowd filled out and band were astonishing! Contender for gig of the year! - MOJO, UK

The Nightingales - they're back and they're marvellous - MARC RILEY/BBC 6 MUSIC, UK

Nightingales are unreal. The level of playing and songwriting after their post-punk hiatus is unparalled by any of their generational comeback cohorts - TERRE T/WFMU, USA

With The Fall getting Lifetime Achievement awards and Gang Of Four canonised it is long past time the wayward genius of Robert Lloyd and his cohorts was recognised - RECORD COLLECTOR, UK

Rock & Roll at its best - SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, GERMANY

Consistently excellent, the Nightingales are back, as ferociously sardonic as ever. Nice to see them still mad, still funny, still wrecking the furniture after all these years. - DUSTED, USA

Shows just how poor these skinny jeaned little shits currently doing the rounds really are. - TASTY, UK

Lloyd is the most underestimated songwriter of his generation - THE INDEPENDENT, UK

The Nightingales in Southend on Friday jetted in to my top ten gigs of all time - PHILL JUPITUS/BBC 6 MUSIC, UK

Forget all these NME Band of the Week types, who make out they don't care, they won't compromise, etc, whilst wearing the same indie uniform and churning out the same tired old riffs. They don't need your attention. The Nightingales do. Because rock 'n' roll rarely gets as uncompromising as this - PLASTELIN, SERBIA

The Nightingales revisited their past and offered up the future. Still stunningly relevant - LONDON EVENING STANDARD, UK

The Nightingales subjugate a rapt and breathless Spitz with a performance of sinewy magnificence - DAILY TELEGRAPH, UK

Tuesday night at the Cake Shop in NYC. One of the best shows I've seen in years. Jangly, angsty, angular, punk, post-punk, just rock and roll, whatever, they destroyed - DAN SELZER/ILXOR, US

The Nightingales have been responsible for some of the most genuinely innovative minority music of the past three decades. What's more with the release of Insult To Injury they have significantly raised their game. In fact, this is undoubtedly their finest moment - THE QUIETUS, UK

Boozy and deranged, Insult to Injury is how the new Franz record ought to sound - VICE, UK

This is a living, breathing beast of an album - ARTROCKER MAGAZINE, UK

This is their fiercest, most lacerating album yet, better by a good margin than the mid-1980s Pigs on Purpose...and that was excellent - BLURT, USA

Their freshest and most subtly intoxicating work to date - OBSERVER MUSIC MONTHLY, UK

They sound wired, edgy, boozy and as dangerous as ever, like a new band full of that energy that comes with those first moves and not a band who’ve been doing this since the start of punk. Robert Lloyd really shouldn’t be this good after all these years, should he? - THE ORGAN, UK

The new album from the 'Gales is their finest for 27 years. Start here and work backwards - SUNDAY TIMES, UK

Unlovable as ever. The Nightingales remain hard work for precious little gain - MOJO, UK
- Various


Discography

2011 Release:

THE LOST PLOT EP
10" Vinyl on Big Print Records

Recent CD Albums:

INSULT TO INJURY (2009)
www.klangbad.de

WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE? (2007)
www.carolinetruerecords.co.uk

OUT OF TRUE (2006)
www.ironmanrecords.co.uk

CD Reissues:

PIGS ON PURPOSE, HYSTERICS and PISSED & POTLESS
www.cherryred.co.uk/cherryred/artists/nightingales.php

IN THE GOOD OLD COUNTRY WAY
www.carolinetruerecords.co.uk

Photos

Bio

Birmingham's original punk group The Prefects had been part of The Clash's 'White Riot Tour', recorded a couple of Peel sessions, released a 45 on Rough Trade and, years after splitting up, had a retrospective CD released by NY label Acute Records to all round glowing reviews - from Rolling Stone to webzines.

The Nightingales was formed by former members of The Prefects following that band's demise in 1979.

With an ever fluctuating line up, based around lyricist/singer Robert Lloyd, the Nightingales enjoyed cult status in the early - mid '80's as darlings of the credible music scene and were championed by John Peel, who said of them - "Their performances will serve to confirm their excellence when we are far enough distanced from the 1980's to look at the period rationally and other, infinitely better known, bands stand revealed as charlatans".

The group recorded a bunch of critically acclaimed 45s (Almost always 'Single Of The Week' in the music press) and three albums, plus many radio sessions for their great supporter Peel - more than any other band bar The Fall. They also regularly toured the UK and Northern Europe, as headliners and supporting acts as diverse as Bo Diddley and Nico.

In the late Eighties the Nightingales stopped working but, following the occasional gig between times, they re-grouped in 2004, with Lloyd being joined by original Prefects guitarist Alan Apperley. After fucking about with various wastrels, precious sorts and mercenaries the group arrived at it's current line up - the best batch yet - which features Lloyd, Apperley, Andreas Schmid (Faust Studio engineer) on bass, ex Violet Violet drummer Fliss Kitson and guitarist Matt Wood.

Since restarting the group have been more productive than ever - releasing a 10" vinyl EP, five 7" singles and three studio albums (Plus two live 'bootleg' albums), touring England, mainland Europe and USA numerous times, recording many radio sessions along the way. They have been invited to play various festivals in Europe and the States, including Glastonbury (2009) and SXSW (2005). Their "Let's Think About Living" 45 was 'Single Of The Week' on BBC 6 Music and they have continued to receive regular rave reviews for their records and gigs.

In 2008 the band recorded "Insult to Injury" with Hans Joachim Irmler of krautrock legends Faust. This record was released in February 2009 on the Klangbad label and is largely considered the finest 'gales album yet. Another Irmler produced session was recorded in 2010 which resulted in the 10" vinyl EP "The Lost Plot".

In addition to the band's recorded output there has also been a book published of Lloyd's lyrics for the Nightingales' three most recent albums which sold out of it's first print run, plus there are currently two bootleg books of other Lloyd/'Gales lyrics on the market.

The group toured Austria, Germany and UK in May 2011 which culminated in a headline performance at the Southbank Centre in London as part of Stewart Lee's Austerity Binge and the Festival Of Britain (The only rock band invited to play). Mojo magazine said of the Southbank show - "Astonishing. Contender for gig of the year!".

The Nightingales are again touring the UK and parts of mainland Europe in October/November 11 prior to recording a new album for release by their new label Cooking Vinyl in April 2012. The group will also be playing more gigs than ever before in Europe and the U.S during the next year or so.

Next year, in addition to the 'Gales own new studio album, there is a 'tribute' album due for release featuring covers of Nightingales songs by various artists from Europe and USA -Including artists such as Freakwater, Pram and Luke Haines, post punk stars The Raincoats and the Mekons, young UK bands such as Art Brut and the Lovely Eggs, top UK stand up comedians Stewart Lee and Phill Jupitus plus author/academic Greil Marcus and many others.