Having formed barely a year ago, the London quartet Black Midi have already accrued quite a bit of buzz in their native UK. On the strength of their live shows and one single — the tense, explosive “bmbmbm” — the band’s started to build a reputation for their hard-to-classify and unnerving blend of post-punk, electronic, noise, and hardcore. Vocal duties are split between Geordie Greep and bassist Cameron Picton, but Greep takes the lead more often: He is full of strained yawps and screams and mutters, like a wild-eyed person trying to keep the madness lingering within the music at bay but often failing to do so. It’s a distinct sound, and beyond garnering themselves fans, Black Midi have also landed a label deal with Rough Trade.
Presumably, that means more music is on the way soon. And today, we get the first taste of that via “Speedway.” The new single is technically billed as an EP, featuring three “Speedway” remixes that push the sound of the band further out into electronic waters, including one by Blanck Mass. Like “bmbmbm,” the EP was produced by Dan Carey. And apparently it will only be physically available as a limited 12″ at the band’s shows.
As for “Speedway” itself, the track is a pretty different beast compared to “bmbmbm.” Beginning more restrained, it initially opens with almost Radiohead-esque guitar flickers. But quickly a roiling, frenetic rhythm kicks up under the detached vocals, sounding almost like Talking Heads reimagined as a caustic no wave act. Like its predecessor, “Speedway” is a strange song that is hard to wrap your thoughts around at first. Then, it becomes subtly and deeply addicting. It’s accompanied by a video of found footage compiled by Picton; the video also includes the three “Speedway” remixes. Check it out below.
Black Midi will soon make their way Stateside for some dates around SXSW:
03/08 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theatre
03/09 – San Francisco, CA @ Swedish American Hall
03/11 – 03/14 – Austin, TX @ SXSW
03/16 – Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA
03/17 – Boston, MA @ GreatScott
03/20 – New York, NY @ Union Pool
03/21 – New York, NY @ Alphaville
And if you want to hear more Black Midi material/preview what they’re like onstage, they did a KEXP session at last year’s Iceland Airwaves: