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.
Described in John Robb’s definitive book on ‘post punk’ (Death To Trad Rock) as “The misfits’ misfits” and comprising 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. 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.
After fucking about with various part timers, starry eyed wastrels, precious sorts and mercenaries the group arrived at it’s current line up, which features Lloyd, Andreas Schmid from Faust on bass, ex Violet Violet drummer Fliss Kitson and on guitar James Smith, who Lloyd had spotted playing with Damo Suzuki.
Since restarting the group have been more productive than ever – releasing five 7″ vinyl singles, a 10″ EP and six studio 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.
The group’s most recent trio of albums – “No Love Lost” (Cooking Vinyl 2012), “For Fuck’s Sake” (no label 2014) and “Mind Over Matter” (Louder Than War 2015) were all produced by bassist Schmid at Faust Studio in Germany, where he is the house engineer.
“No Love Lost” was described by Mojo as “Brilliant. One of the fiercest and most exhilarating rock records in ages” and the record features guests, Hans-Joachim Irmler, founder of krautrock legends Faust, on keyboards and, semi regular collaborator, U.S avant-garde composer, Katherine Young on bassoon.
Their next album “For Fuck’s Sake” was a self released, limited edition vinyl only LP available on no label, with no barcode, with no distribution and only at the bands gigs. Described as “a minor masterpiece” by Uncut the record quickly sold out.
In 2015 following the release of “Mind Over Matter” – an album that many consider their best ever – the group played an extensive tour of UK and Ireland prior to a bunch of dates on the U.S West Coast and a tour of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Hungary.
This year the Nightingales again toured the UK in Spring and Autumn and played a series of festivals over the Summer. They also recorded a new six song mini album for release in early 2017. This new 10″ EP will be followed by a 7″ single featuring a special guest collaborator and a new album will be recorded for their latest label Tiny Global Productions.
The band will be co-headlining a UK tour in February with Membranes prior to another tour of mainland Europe in March.