Black Midi’s live show is insane. It’s one of the biggest reasons we made the British experimental rockers a Band To Watch and invited them to play our SXSW party among other honors. However, the quartet’s off-kilter blitzkrieg is not the kind of thing you … More »
When this decade began, MP3s still reigned supreme. Now, at the end of it, a song is no longer even a file — it’s ephemera, on every streaming service and available to hear in myriad ways. For better and worse, the song (and the single) have become the norm for the general public’s music consumption. More »
Black Midi supported their friends in the band 404 for a charity gig at the Shacklewell Arms in London last night. They did it under the name “Black Mini.” And their brief four-song set consisted entirely of covers — “Hey Joe,” Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Give It Away,” Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff,” and Rage Against … More »
Every autumn here at Stereogum, we look long and hard at the last 12 months and pinpoint which new artists make us excited about the future of music. We then organize those artists into our annual Best New Bands list, celebrating what they’ve already accomplished and highlighting them as someone to keep an eye on … More »
Black Midi love an unconventional release. The British upstarts shrouded their debut album, Schlagenheim, in mystery, refusing to share any of its song titles until it was actually out, though they did end up sharing one proper single, “Ducter.” … More »
Every year since 1992, the British Phonographic Industry and British Association of Record Dealers have awarded the Mercury Prize to the best album out of the UK and Ireland. Recent winners have included Skepta’s Konnichiwa in 2016, Sampha’s Process in 2017, and Wolf Alice’s Visions Of A Life in More »
In the short amount of time Black Midi have been a band, they have stirred up a frenzy of hype in their native UK primarily on the strength of their live show. Up until this year, after all, they had barely any music available online, and they kept their debut album Schlagenheim — which ranked … More »
[Rough Trade; 2019]
Katamari Damacy is a video game about replenishing the cosmos by rolling a sticky ball — a katamari — all over the planet, gathering objects along the way until the katamari is a hulking mass that can suck up buildings, streets, even lifeform. In effect, if you are caught by the Katamari, you have reached the event horizon unless shaken by a similarly large body; no amount of gravitational force can pull you out. black midi have a similar omnivorous effect, but instead of corporeal objects, it’s bands and particular influences. It might be lazy to describe their music through their influences, but for this four-piece, there’s a nigh impossibility of not comparing them to a particular 80s post-punk group or 2000s math rock outfit, whichever comes to mind first.
The following is a list of artists that came to mind while listening to Schlagenheim: Pavement, Polvo, Hella, Tera Melos, Alt-J, The Pyramids, Muse, This Heat, The Fall, White Lung, Pere Ubu, 13th Floor Elevators, Don Caballero, Idles, Liars, NEU!, Daughters, Deerhoof, Wire, Battles — you get the picture. black midi will get the usual targeting of any Rate Your Music aficionado for their undeniable usage of copy and paste (filtered through Photoshop), but the craft and unpredictably oozes off the record. Schlagenheim is about the riffs, that indelible meat of guitar rock. All of the members excel to this end, but Morgan Simpson’s ludicrously excellent drumming sticks out. You can tell the man’s a prodigy; he is the heart and soul of black midi, and what seals their contained universe tightly shut before bursting open uncontrollably.
One of the more interesting tidbits of Schlagenheim is that it was produced by Dan Carey, most known for his work with Franz Ferdinand, Sia, and Fatboy Slim. Judging by the premier clientele, it would be assumed black midi is similarly polished, and you’d be correct in some ways. Carey’s presence acts as a stabilizer of the band’s most explosive impulses, collecting the fission and synthesizing it in every track. The odd couple works through this vein, combining the major label production more associated with one Bombay Bicycle Club and evening it out alongside a healthy smattering of jam-session entropy. Instead of quiet-loud, it’s messy hi-fi.
Ultimately, the music reflects the total package that black midi are producing. Consider the cover by David Rudnick, a design wunderkind who’s collaborated with Oneohtrix Point Never, Nicolas Jaar, and Evian Christ. The kitchen-sink mentality lays itself out in front of our very own eyes, symbiotic metalworks mutating and taking on new forms. It’s the sinister Katamari Keita Takahashi never wanted made flesh. Fascinatingly, black midi have become a buzzband. That term might be an oxymoron in an era wherein Hipster Runoff is long dead (RIP) and major labels have all but ixnayed the indie-act push, yet their media hype is startlingly real. And it’s fitting too: black midi aim to dazzle and perform, and with Schlagenheim, their mammoth ideations never cease to thrill, the product of a boundless creative spirit and unwavering technicality.
When we named London quartet Black Midi a Band To Watch back in March, they had only released two singles. With “BmBmBm” and “Speedway,” they garnered a level of acclaim that very few acts can with such little material. Two more singles followed, titled “Crow’s Perch” … More »
We named UK sonic explorers Black Midi a Band To Watch off the strength of their constantly evolving live show and a small pile of fascinating singles like “Crow’s Perch” and “Talking Heads.” The next step on their slightly unconventional path: They just announced their debut album Schlagenheim, and … More »