About The Twang
Blending the big guitars and emotional swagger of Brit-pop with a subtle but clearly felt dance-friendly pulse, the Twang rose to success in the U.K. after making a splash on the club scene and earning the respect of the music press. Debuting in 2007 with the chart-topping Love It When I Feel Like This, the band continued to refine their sound on subsequent efforts like 10:20, Neontwang, and If Confronted Just Go Mad.
Comprised of twin vocalists Phil Etheridge and Martin Saunders, bassist Jon Watkin, guitarist Stu Hartland, and drummer Matthew Clinton, the Twang were formed in 2004 in Birmingham as Neon Twang. Inspired by guitar bands such as Oasis and the Streets, as well as "Madchester" acts like Happy Mondays, Neon Twang were created as a reaction to the dance music that was sweeping the U.K. at the time, and they developed a reputation for melodic but straightforward guitar-based rock and an unpretentious approach. (As Etheridge told a reporter, "I ain't going to sing about rivers, man. I don't live by a river. I live by a canal and there's bikes in it.")
Neon Twang also became known as a band not afraid to get rowdy, and as violence among fans became increasingly common at gigs, the band shortened its name to the Twang to help shake off the negative side of its reputation. The Twang became a potent live act, and in the fall of 2006 came to the attention of the U.K. music press in a big way when James Jam, a writer for New Musical Express, and Edith Bowman, a DJ at Radio One, caught a Twang show in Birmingham. Both left mightily impressed, and Jam gave the band a major write-up while Bowman began playing the group's demos on the air.
By the end of 2006, a bidding war had broken out over the Twang, with B-Unique Recordings (home of the Kaiser Chiefs and Primal Scream) signing them to a deal. The Twang's first single, "Wide Awake," was released in March 2007, with a second single, "Either Way," following a few weeks later. Both records reached the British Top 20, and the group's first album, Love It When I Feel Like This, arrived in early June. In early 2008, the band enlisted former Killing Joke member Youth to help them record their second studio album, Jewellery Quarter. Named after the area in Birmingham where they now resided, the record entered the U.K. Top 20 in 2009. The first single to be released from it was "Barney Rubble." In 2010 the band began recording and writing with longterm friend and producer Jon "Simmo" Simcox. In 2011, they announced the details of the EP Guapa. Limited to 1,000 copies, it sold out almost immediately.
Toward the end of 2012, they released their third album, 10:20. Funded by the band and recorded in their own studio, it was their most daring to date and featured a cover of Durutti Column's "Tomorrow." In March 2014, the Twang looked back to their former name for the title of their fourth album, Neontwang; for the tour supporting the album, they added guitarist Tommy Greaves (formerly of Wide Eyed) to the lineup. In May 2017, the Twang marked the tenth anniversary of Love It When I Feel Like This with a U.K. tour in which they played the album in full at every stop. Later the same year, the group dropped a pair of compilations, a collection of their best-known work titled Either Way, It's the Best of the Twang, and a set of B-sides and rare tracks, Subscription. For their fifth effort, If Confronted Just Go Mad, the band added two new female vocalists to its roster, and enlisted the help of Mint Royale for the album's mixing. Previewed with the groove-led single "Everytime," the album was released in 2019. The following year saw the band issue the four-song EP Amsterdam. ~ Mark Deming