7: Top 5 bands from Birmingham

Musician, writer and improv comedian Tom Clabon joins Mark to fight about which of Birmingham’s bands are best, and possibly what the word “definitive” means.

And by Birmingham, we mean Birmingham. The proper one, in the UK.

Tom has performed in bands (like Bussy ), and like Mark knows the pain of publishing music to Bandcamp to little fanfare. But they’re both absolutely not bitter about it. Tom also presented Indie Mixtape on local station Brum Radio.

The pair share gig-playing memories, the venues they’ve nearly been thrown out of (Mark), and the ones they’ve scammed their way into (Tom’s dad).

If you’ve heard of the majority of Tom’s picks, then you already know more about Birmingham’s music scene in 2019 than Mark does. If you’ve heard of the majority of Mark’s picks, then you’re a granddad and death will claim you soon.

Also, Mark tries to coin a phrase for the pro-life movement, but doesn’t do a good job, and Tom threatens to give Mark a weird handshake.

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Honourable mentions

Tom’s picks

In order of discussion:

Johnny Foreigner

Tom saw two members of this indie four-piece play when he was learning to be a sound engineer.


This Krautrock project just about makes the definition of “band”, but deserves notoriety for interestingness and reflective lyrics.

Hoopla Blue

Expect combinations of sounds you won’t hear elsewhere, from this neo-folk five-piece.

The Cosmics

This noisy garage punk band make Tom’s list because they’re really, really good to listen to.

Mark’s picks

In order of discussion:

Electric Light Orchestra

Mark argues that Alan Partridge favourite ELO is deserving of a high place as an innovative and inspirational band. It’s worth noting that the song Livin’ Thing is not political.

Misty’s Big Adventure

Currently an eight-piece, but occasionally fluctuating in size, Misty’s are an eclectic and compelling listen, and personal favourites of Mark for the last 20 years. Also Dave Gorman likes them.

The Moody Blues

This three-piece 60s prog rock band hit the big time back in the day but don’t make a lot of noise about it, or so says Mark.

More of Tom Clabon

Check out Cat’s Cabinet of Curiosities, the podcast Tom co-hosts, and OK Stop, the improv troupe he and Mark can be found performing in, every month.


Special Guest: Tom Clabon.