WHAT THE CRIT­ICS SAY ABOUT BREW

What started as a hobby for two men with a love of noisy rock bands is now one of the UK’s hippest la­bels, as Mark Casci found out.

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - MUSIC - CASTROVALVA: “You can imag­ine their live shows to be a tan­gle of noise and right­eous poses” – Rock a Rolla Mag­a­zine CHICK­EN­HAWK: “Crazed gui­tar rock from Leeds…. fea­tur­ing the ‘Becher’s Brook’ of gui­tar so­los” – Steve La­macq on I Hate This Do You Like It.

IN the past 12 months Tom Bell­house and Simon Glacken have over­seen the re­lease of four al­bums on their record la­bel, em­barked with their bands on tours both na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally and helped bring some of the world’s most in­ter­est­ing and ac­claimed bands to Leeds.

Their la­bel Brew Records was named as one of the most ex­cit­ing in the coun­try by NME mag­a­zine and their bands’ re­leases have re­ceived near uni­ver­sal praise.

How­ever, far from op­er­at­ing from an ivory tower with an army of min­ions to do their bid­ding, the pair run the la­bel from their bed­rooms in the Hyde Park area of Leeds, do­ing vir­tu­ally all the work by them­selves.

Brew Records, named af­ter the pair’s love of York­shire tea and beer, is home to five acts, all of whom play com­pletely dif­fer­ent mu­sic but are united by one com­mon fac­tor; the will to be dif­fer­ent.

Among their charges are Castrovalva, a three-piece who some­how bridge the gap be­tween punk rock and gang­ster rap, These Mon­sters who per­form largely in­stru­men­tal psy­che­delic sax­o­phone-driven sound­scapes and Kong, whose pri­mary aim seems to be to ter­rify lis­ten­ers with har­row­ing yet al­lur­ing punk rock drama.

Ar­guably the two best known acts how­ever are Leeds-based Chick­en­hawk and Hu­man­fly, who can best be de­scribed as how John Coltrane would have sounded if he was into heavy metal. The mu­sic is un­likely to ap­peal to the ca­sual lis­tener but has found it­self a size­able cult fol­low­ing.

“It tends to be noisy rock we re­lease, as that is the kind of mu­sic we lis­ten to,” says Simon. “But none of the bands sound the same. All of them have strong iden­ti­ties”

The la­bel’s first re­lease was a sin­gle by Leeds shoegaz­ing band I Con­cur be­fore they re­leased a 16-track com­pi­la­tion called Brew Records Vol­ume One in 2008. Fea­tur­ing three of the bands who would even­tu­ally re­lease full-length al­bums with the la­bel, it set a tem­plate for the pair’s vi­sion.

“I started get­ting into the mu­sic pro­duc­tion side of things when I was at uni­ver­sity,” says Tom. “I hated it there and felt it was hold­ing me back from what I wanted to do – which ul­ti­mately was this. I knew Simon wanted to do some­thing sim­i­lar. We got a lit­tle bit of money to­gether and did the com­pi­la­tion. Since then we have been slowly adding bands.”

“It is not so much sign­ing a band, it is more of a gentle­men’s agree­ment,” says Tom, winc­ing. “It is based on friend­ship and trust. We are mates with the bands be­fore any­thing else.”

Simon, a mu­si­cian him­self who played in Leeds bands Johnny Poin­dex­ter and

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