Black Midi

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Black Midi
Black Midi performing in Helsinki in 2019. From left to right: Cameron Picton, Geordie Greep, Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin, and Morgan Simpson.
Black Midi performing in Helsinki in 2019. From left to right: Cameron Picton, Geordie Greep, Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin, and Morgan Simpson.
Background information
OriginLondon, England, UK
Genres
Years active2017 (2017)–present
Labels
Associated actsBlack Country, New Road
Websitehttps://bmblackmidi.com/
Members
  • Geordie Greep
  • Cameron Picton
  • Morgan Simpson
  • Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin

Black Midi (stylised in all lowercase) are an English rock band from London, formed in 2017. The band currently consists of Geordie Greep (vocals, guitar), Cameron Picton (vocals, bass guitar, synths) and Morgan Simpson (drums), with guitarist and vocalist Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin currently on hiatus from the band as of 2020.

Their name is derived from the Japanese music genre black MIDI, though their own music has no relation to it. Their sound has been described as experimental rock,[1][2][3] math rock,[4][5] progressive rock,[5] noise rock[6] and post-punk.[7]

The band began on producer Dan Carey's record label Speedy Wunderground, through which they released their debut single "bmbmbm" in 2018. They released their debut studio album Schlagenheim, produced by Carey, on 21 June 2019, through Rough Trade Records. It received critical acclaim,[8] entered the top 50 of the UK Albums Chart, and was nominated for the 2019 Mercury Prize. An anthology album including several recorded jams and spoken word tracks, The Black Midi Anthology Vol. 1: Tales of Suspense and Revenge, was released on 5 June 2020 exclusively to Bandcamp. The band's second studio album, Cavalcade, was released on 26 May 2021.

History[edit]

Formation and first singles (2015–2019)[edit]

Prior to the formation of the band, Geordie Greep had separate jam sessions with Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin and Morgan Simpson, all of whom (alongside Cameron Picton) were attending BRIT School.[6] Simpson was an accomplished drummer, winning the "Young Drummer of the Year" award in 2014. In 2016 Greep and Kwasniewski-Kelvin enlisted Simpson to form a band, with Greep and Kelvin on guitar and vocals, and with Simpson on drums. Picton joined later, on bass guitar, to complete the line-up.[9] The band played their first gig at Brixton's venue 'The Windmill', on 12 June 2017.[10] They would go on to earn a "residence" on the venue and perform there regularly.

On 8 June 2018, the group released their debut single titled "Bmbmbm" released on producer Dan Carey's record label Speedy Wunderground.[11] On 26 September 2018, a cassette was released featuring segments of a performance with Damo Suzuki which took place on 5 May 2018 at 'The Windmill'. On 9 November 2018, Black Midi performed five songs from their then untitled upcoming album, live at Kex Hostel in Reykjavik, Iceland, during the music festival Iceland Airwaves.[12] The eccentric performance, which was recorded for the Seattle radio station KEXP, was praised online and became popular on YouTube, exposing the band to listeners internationally.[13][14] The band contributed the song "Ice Cream" featuring Jerskin Fendrix on vocals for a Brixton Hillbilly compilation album, released 7 December 2018.[15] On 23 January 2019, the group released their second single, "Speedway". A 12" vinyl record was released featuring remixes by Proc Fiskal, Kwake Bass, and Blanck Mass.[16]

Schlagenheim and other projects (2019–2020)[edit]

In January 2019 the group announced that they had signed to Rough Trade Records. The group released two singles on the label in March and April 2019, "Crows Perch" and "Talking Heads" respectively. On 14 May, the group announced their debut album titled Schlagenheim, which was released 21 June 2019. The album was recorded in 2018 with producer Dan Carey, who became impressed by the band at an early live show.[17] Instead of merely recreating their live show, they chose to augment their sound with piano, accordion, synthesisers, banjo, and drum machines. "The idea was to do stuff that's impossible to do live", frontman Greep explained. "If the album and the gig are just the same, it's a bit sad."[14] The majority of the album was recorded in just five days.[18] At Metacritic, a website that assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, Schlagenheim received a score of 82, based on 20 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[8] The album was later nominated for the 2019 Mercury Prize.[19] The band performed "bmbmbm" at the award ceremony on 19 September 2019. During the performance, Kwasniewski-Kelvin sustained injuries after performing a frontflip on stage, which resulted in his absence from their UK tour in February 2020, in which saxophonist Kaidi Akinnibi and keyboardist Seth Evans briefly joined the line-up [20]

On 7 March 2020, the band performed live at the BBC Radio 6 Music festival in Camden.[21] On 5 June 2020, the band released a jam and spoken word album via Bandcamp entitled The Black Midi Anthology Vol. 1: Tales of Suspense and Revenge, consisting of four short stories read by the members of the band over jam instrumentals as well as three instrumental mixes mostly taken from the same recordings as the spoken word tracks.[22][23] On 16 June 2020, the band began hosting a monthly radio show called The Black Midi Variety Hour on NTS Radio. Six episodes have been produced so far.[24] On 10 December 2020, the band performed a show with the group Black Country, New Road under the alias Black Midi, New Road as a charity gig for live venue The Windmill, Brixton. The show was livestreamed from The Windmill's Bandcamp page with an entry fee of £5. The group have performed under the Black Midi, New Road moniker at the venue before.[25]

Kwasniewski-Kelvin's hiatus and Cavalcade (2021–present)[edit]

On January 15, 2021, Black Midi announced through social media that their guitarist Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin had been taking time off from the band due to mental health issues and that he is not featured on forthcoming material from the band.[26] The band announced their second studio album, Cavalcade, on 23 March 2021, which was released on 26 May 2021.[27] On the day of the announcement, they also released the album's lead single, "John L", backed with the non-album track "Despair".[28] Kwasniewski-Kelvin appears on the album only as composer on a couple of tracks; he was not part of the recording process. Touring members Akinnibi and Evans were a part of the album's recording sessions.[27] A second single, "Slow", was released on 28 April and corresponded with a second KEXP performance released the same day. This performance contains Evans and Akinnibi as well as a small brass section.

Members[edit]

Current members

  • Geordie Greep – vocals, guitar, bass (2017–present)
  • Cameron Picton – vocals, bass, synths, samples, guitar (2017–present)
  • Morgan Simpson – drums (2017–present)

Former members

  • Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin – guitar, vocals (2017–2020)

Touring members

  • Seth Evans – keyboards, synths (2020–present)
  • Kaidi Akinnibi – saxophone (2020–present)[29]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions
UK
[30]
AUS
[31]
BEL
(FL)

[32]
JPN
[33]
SCO
[34]
US
Indie

[35]
Schlagenheim 43 113 211 40 41
Cavalcade
  • Released: 26 May 2021
  • Label: Rough Trade
  • Format: CD, LP, cassette, download
60 81 62 18 48
Hellfire
  • Releases: 2022
  • Label: Rough Trade

Collections[edit]

List of collections
Title Album details
The Black Midi Anthology Vol. 1: Tales of Suspense and Revenge
  • Released: 5 June 2020
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: Download

Extended plays[edit]

List of extended plays
Title Album details
Live at KEXP
  • Released: 21 June 2019
  • Label: Rough Trade
  • Format: CD
Live on Canal St, NYC
  • Released: 29 November 2019
  • Label: Rough Trade
  • Format: LP, CD

Live albums[edit]

List of extended plays
Title Album details
Damo Suzuki Live at the Windmill Brixton with 'Sound Carriers' black midi
(with Damo Suzuki)
  • Released: 28 September 2018
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: CD
Black Midi Live in the USA
  • Released: 21 March 2020
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: Download
  • Featuring: Fat Tony

Singles[edit]

Title Year Album
"bmbmbm" 2018 Schlagenheim
"Speedway" 2019
"Crow's Perch" N/A
"Talking Heads"[36]
"Ducter"[37] Schlagenheim
"7-Eleven"
"Sweater" 2020 N/A
"What Christmas Means to Me / Jingle Bell Rock"
"John L / Despair" 2021 Cavalcade
"Slow (Loud)"
"Chondromalacia Patella"
"Cruising"

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cubbison, Jeff. "Review: Black Midi at Zebulon". Impose. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  2. ^ Enis, Eli (23 March 2021). "black midi Announce New Album Cavalcade, Share "John L": Stream". Consequence. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  3. ^ Kinnett, Tristan (23 March 2021). "black midi Announces New Album Cavalcade for May 2021 Release and Detail the Demise of a Cult Leader in New Video for "John L"". MXDWN. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Black Midi Share New Track 'Talking Heads' | Gigwise". Gigwise.com. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  5. ^ a b Russell, Scott (26 May 2021). "Listen to black midi's New Album Cavalcade, Surprise-Released Early". Paste. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  6. ^ a b Leas, Ryan. "Band To Watch: Black Midi". Stereogum.com. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Black Midi – "Talking Heads"". Spin. 30 April 2019. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Schlagenheim by Black Midi Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  9. ^ Connick, Tom. "Inside the buzz of Black Midi". Crackmagazine.net. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  10. ^ https://www.windmillbrixton.co.uk/events/d32026b8-18c7-4947-8857-c5e96f0bd399
  11. ^ Renshaw, David. "Get ready for Black Midi to blow you away with "bmbmbm"". Thefader.com. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  12. ^ "black midi – Full Performance (Live on KEXP)". 28 January 2019. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  13. ^ "KEXP Live at Iceland Airwaves 2018, Day 4: Black Midi". Kexp.com. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Get to Know black midi, a New Type of British Guitar Band". Pitchfork. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  15. ^ https://thequietus.com/articles/25458-black-midi-jerskin-fendrix-brixton-christmas-compilation-ice-cream
  16. ^ Connick, Tom. "Black Midi are back with 'Speedway' – and the UK's weirdest band are only getting weirder". NME. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  17. ^ "Get to Know black midi, a New Type of British Guitar Band". Pitchfork. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Black Midi Announce Debut Album Schlagenheim". Paste. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  19. ^ Bloom, Madison; Monroe, Jazz. "Mercury Prize 2019 Shortlist: The 1975, slowthai, Black Midi, More". Pitchfork. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  20. ^ https://www.instagram.com/p/B8HwiVxnqA3/
  21. ^ https://camden-live.com/review/black-midi-nadine-shah-and-brittany-howard-6-music-festival/
  22. ^ Martin, Josh (6 June 2020). "Black Midi share jam spoken word album The Black Midi Anthology Vol. 1: Tales of Suspense and Revenge". NME. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  23. ^ Kaye, Ben (5 June 2020). "black midi Read Classic Short Stories on New Album Tales of Suspense and Revenge: Stream". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  24. ^ "The Black Midi Variety Hour". nts.live. 16 June 2020. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  25. ^ "Black Midi and Black Country, New Road cover Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen and more in livestreamed gig". nme.com. 11 December 2020. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  26. ^ "Black Midi's Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin shares statement explaining recent absence from the band due to mental health issues". NME. 15 January 2021. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  27. ^ a b Yoo, Noah (23 March 2021). "black midi Announce New Album Cavalcade, Share Video for New Song: Watch". Pitchfork. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  28. ^ Kenneally, Cerys (23 March 2021). "black midi announce second album Cavalcade". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  29. ^ "black midi 2020 tour". black midi. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  30. ^ "Black Midi | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  31. ^ "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing 7 June 2021". The ARIA Report. No. 1631. Australian Recording Industry Association. 7 June 2021. p. 6.
  32. ^ "Discografie Black Midi". Ultratop. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  33. ^ "ブラック・ミディの作品". Oricon (in Japanese). Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  34. ^ Peaks in Scotland:
  35. ^ "Black Midi Independent Albums Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  36. ^ "black midi Announce New Album Schlagenheim". Pitchfork. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  37. ^ "black midi – Ducter". Retrieved 23 August 2019 – via YouTube.

External links[edit]