About The Cribs
Blending quintessentially British influences like Sex Pistols and the Smiths with American indie rock like Beat Happening, the Cribs became one of the U.K.'s cult favorite bands in the 2000s and beyond. Their tuneful songs, raw production, and guitar heroics made them outliers when their self-titled debut album appeared in 2004, but their authenticity -- and constant gigging -- soon earned them critical acclaim and chart success with 2007's Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever. With 2009's Ignore the Ignorant, the band kicked off a string of top ten selling albums that found them taking their music to its poppiest and noisiest extremes as they worked with star producers ranging from Ric Ocasek on 2015's For All My Sisters to Steve Albini on 2017's 24-7 Rockstar Shit. By the time of 2020's Night Network, the Cribs were more in control of their music than ever without sacrificing any of their integrity.
The Jarman brothers -- vocalist/guitarist Ryan Jarman, bassist/vocalist Gary, and drummer Ross -- grew up in Yorkshire, England and began playing together while they were still children. When they made their debut at a late 1980s family party, twins Gary and Ryan were nine years old and Ross was just five. The brothers formed the Cribs in 2001, playing shows with acts including Subway Sect, Bobby Conn, and Calvin Johnston. The band recorded a demo that piqued major label interest in 2002, but issued a split single with Jen Schande on the decidedly indie Squirrel Records in 2003 before signing to Wichita Records. Ahead of the band's debut album, the label issued "Another Number" in late 2003 as a limited edition 7". Recorded largely with engineer Ed Deegan at London's Toe Rag Studios, The Cribs appeared in March 2004 and won praise for its mix of hooky songwriting and rough production values. The album's singles "You Were Always the One" and "What About Me" were both top ten hits on the U.K. Independent Singles Chart.
After touring in support of The Cribs with Conn, the Datsuns, and the Libertines, the band started work on their second album but continued to play one-off shows for their fans. The Cribs worked with Orange Juice's Edwyn Collins at his West Heath Studios on June 2005's The New Fellas, which continued the lo-fi sound of their debut. The album spawned three top 40 U.K. singles -- "Hey Scenesters!," "Mirror Kissers," and "Martell" -- and was certified Silver by the BPI. The band scored another charting hit in 2005 with "You're Gonna Lose Us," which was produced by Bernard Butler. The Cribs toured the world extensively in support of The New Fellas, and issued Arigato Cockers, a Japan-only rarities and B-sides collection, ahead of their performance at the Fuji Rock festival.
Following The New Fellas' success, the Cribs signed to Warner Bros. Records (but stayed on Wichita in the U.K.). For their next album, they worked with Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos, whom they befriended while they toured the U.S. with his band and Death Cab for Cutie. Mixed by Andy Wallace and featuring a collaboration with Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo, Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever appeared in May 2007. A deluxe version of the album included the documentary Leave Too Neat, which chronicled the shows the band played before Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever's release. The Cribs' most polished effort to date, the album debuted at number 13 on the U.K. Albums Chart (in 2018, it was certified Gold by the BPI). Lead single "Men's Needs" reached number 17 on the U.K. Singles Chart, while the subsequent 2007 singles "Moving Pictures" and "Don't You Wanna Be Relevant?" were both top 40 hits. Along with making their debut at Coachella, the Cribs' live dates that year included playing with with Sex Pistols for three dates at the Brixton Academy to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols. The band closed out the year with a trio of shows that were captured in the concert film Live at the Brudenell Social Club.
Early in 2008, the Cribs earned NME Award nominations for Best British Band, Best Live Band, and Best Track, while Ryan Jarman was nominated for the Hero of the Year award. The band also headlined the NME Awards Tour and performed at the ceremony with new guitarist Johnny Marr, who they met in Portland, Oregon and brought on as a touring member. Though the Cribs initially planned to collaborate with Marr on an EP, their creative chemistry led them to write an album's worth of songs. Recorded with producer Nick Launay in Los Angeles' Seedy Underbelly Studios, September 2009's Ignore the Ignorant debuted at number eight on the U.K. Album Charts, making it their first top ten album. After an extensive world tour that saw them play festivals as well as dates with Franz Ferdinand and Aerosmith, the Cribs issued a split single with the Thermals for 2010's Record Store Day in April and the single "Housewife" in August.
In April 2011, Marr left to work on solo material, and the Cribs started work on their next album. That year, they also played their first shows in Brazil and contributed a cover of the Dishrags' "Death in the Family" to the Mint Records compilation Busy Doing Nothing!. Released in May 2012, In the Belly of the Brazen Bull was recorded in New York, Chicago, and London, and featured production by David Fridmann and Steve Albini. Like its predecessor, it was a top ten hit in the U.K. The band's lengthy tour in support of the album saw them play dates and festivals around the world, including a Belfast show with Foo Fighters. Late in the year, the Cribs won the Spirit of Independence award at the 2012 Q Awards. In March 2013, the band released the best-of collection Payola, which covered the first decade of their career and featured their final collaboration with Marr. A deluxe edition added B-sides and rarities to the collection.
After spending much of 2013 on the road, the Cribs started work on their sixth album in 2014. Produced by Ric Ocasek, March 2015's For All My Sisters added some of the Cars' frontman's new wave sheen to their sound. The band's first album on their own Sonic Blew imprint (the album was released by Arts & Crafts in North America), it became their third full-length to debut in the top ten of the U.K. Album Charts. One of the highlights of the Cribs' world tour in support of the album was their show at the Pop Montreal festival, which featured Ranaldo performing his spoken-word part of the Men's Needs track "Be Safe" in person for the second time since the album's release.
Once the For All My Sisters tour concluded in 2016, the Cribs reunited with Albini that November to expand on a batch of songs recorded with him during the Brazen Bull sessions. What started as an EP became August 2017's raw full-length 24-7 Rockstar Shit, a set that harked back to the band's early days. The album debuted at number eight on the U.K. Album Charts, making it their fourth consecutive top ten hit in their homeland. Also in 2017, the band commemorated the tenth anniversary of Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever with a U.K. tour and were given their own exhibit at the Wakefield Museum.
After the release of 24-7 Rockstar Shit, the Cribs parted ways with their management upon discovering the rights to their early material was owned by other parties. The legal battle to regain the rights to their work took over a year and a half, but during this time, Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl allowed the band to record in his Los Angeles studio in 2019. In 2020, the Cribs participated in two of Tim Burgess' social media listening parties, where they discussed the creation of Men's Needs and The New Fellas. That November saw the arrival of Night Network, a joyous and cathartic set of songs that marked the Cribs' first time producing their own music. ~ Heather Phares