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” (COOKCD557) 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 new Nightingales album – their finest yet and first for Cooking Vinyl – was also recorded at Faust Studio in Germany but this time self produced and will be released in April 2012.
The group will be touring the UK in May, followed by dates in Europe, a bunch of festivalsduring 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.
From Southbank web site:
Birmingham’s indomitable punk survivors fuse Beefheart licks and pulverising rhythms with a strangely sensitive cynicism, and arrive at Southbank Centre in advance of imminent National Treasure status. ‘One day their excellence will be confirmed, as other, infinitely better known, bands stand revealed as charlatans.’ (John Peel on The Nightingales)
Small selection of recent press:
Nothing could have prepared for the astonishing revelation of Robert Lloyd’s Nightingales… 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 – MOJO, UK
The Nightingales have always been simply a great rock ‘n’ roll band and 32 years on they’re right at the top of their game – THE STOOL PIGEON, 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
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 audience 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, USA
The Nightingales have been responsible for some of the most genuinely innovative minority music of the past three decades. – THE QUIETUS, 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
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
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