Born out of Birmingham’s original punk group The Prefects, The Nightingales have stubbornly ploughed their own furrow in the field of alternative rock n roll for three decades.
Described in John Robb’s definitive post punk biography ‘Death To Trad Rock’ as “the misfits’ misfits”, the band has constantly garnered praise and respect from other artists and received endless glowing press reports, particularly for their live shows.
Led by singer/lyricist Robert Lloyd (‘The most underestimated songwriter of his generation’ according to Ben Thompson in the Independent) the latest incarnation of The Nightingales – the best batch yet – release their new album No Love Lost on Cooking Vinyl in April 2012. To coincide with the album’s release The Nightingales will be touring the UK and mainland Europe. The UK shows follow their May 2011 tour 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, which Mojo magazine called “Astonishing” and “Gig of the year”.
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 ’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 singles (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, which features Lloyd, Apperley, Andreas Schmid (Faust Studio engineer) on bass, ex Violet Violet drummer Fliss Kits and guitarist Matt Wood.
Since restarting the group have been more productive than ever – releasing five 7″ vinyl 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 and SXSW. 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 live shows.
In 2008 the band recorded “Insult to Injury” produced by Hans Joachim Irmler of krautrock legends Faust which was released in 2009 on Irmler’s Klangbad label and “The Lost Plot”, an Irmler produced 10″ EP was released to coincide with the band’s Euro tours in 2011.
No Love Lost the newest Nightingales album – their finest yet and first for Cooking Vinyl – was also recorded at Faust Studio in Germany but this time self produced and was released in April 2012.
The group toured the UK in May, followed by dates in Europe, a bunch of festivals during the Summer and another U.S tour later in the year.
In addition to the group’s own activity there is a Nightingales ‘tribute’ album planned featuring ‘Gales covers by punk and post punk legends (Raincoats, Mekons, Subway Sect, others), young contemporary bands (Art Brut, Lovely Eggs, others), stand up comedians (Stewart Lee, Phill Jupitus) and academic/author Greil Marcus.