One of the most exciting aspects of music in the UK is the DIY scene: those bands who tour on shoe string budgets, release splits and EPs for zero profit, and resist all elements of compromise and corporatization. They have a commitment, passion, and integrity, unrivalled by any other UK music scene.
No Seatbelt DIY, an Exeter-based promo collective specialising in punk, emo, and grunge, are amongst the vanguard for this scene in the South West. Since 2014, they’ve been putting on regular shows, compiling compilations, and generally promoting South West bands in those genres. Despite this, and despite so many of the bands they represent being of a genuinely astounding quality, they’re vastly underappreciated by the student music scene. In fact, there’s too big a divide between the student music scene and the local music scene in general. Both parties are missing out. Student media (including PearShaped) bears some large responsibility for this, and we are committed to making it change.
There’s no better time to start rectifying the balance, and getting into No Seatbelt DIY than now. They’ve just released their 2017 compilation showcasing the best of the bands they currently represent and promote, including Muncie Girls, The Fairweather Present, Shit Present, Splitsville, and American Enthusiasm. If you’re into alternative and punk music and are ever stuck for new or local music then it’s the perfect place to start. However, despite the quality of the music in this scene being better than ever, the scene itself has been dealt a number of blows over the past year, with venue closures across the South West, not to mention the tragic fire which occurred at Cavern. Attending their shows, and listening to, buying, and spreading their music, is vital to keep the scene rolling through these difficult times.
The compilation has been released in CD format, as well as digitally. It’s completely free and comes alongside a mini DIY fanzine, featuring info about the bands involved, as well as local record labels such as Specialist Subject and Circle House. Keep an eye out for them in some local shops or, if you live in Exeter and you message the No Seatbelt DIY Facebook page, they’ll even deliver both to you for free.
While I encourage you to check out the compilation in full, here are some of the bands to get you started:
Probably the biggest name under the No Seatbelt DIY’s banner is Muncie Girls. Their 2016 debut album From Caplan to Belsize picked up a substantial amount of music media buzz, including a coveted 5K review in Kerrang! Magazine. Evoking the likes of Sleater-Kinney and Hop Along, whilst remaining self-assuredly unique, the biggest attraction of Muncie Girls is their no bullshit approach. If you’re a fan of political lyrics, fist pumping melodies, and perfectly balanced blends of pop, punk, and indie rock, then they may just be your next favourite band. After a show at South by South West festival in Texas, America, in March, they hit the road in the UK. Be sure not to miss them.
Comprising of members of Gnarwolves, The Computers, and Great Cynics, the wonderfully titled Shit Present make music which is consistent ear candy. Their 2016 EP Misery + Disaster explores poignant themes such as mental health and anxiety, whilst simultaneously managing to be infectiously fun, and effortlessly catchy.
“Grubby little snotty brats from a boring town playing fast hardcore,” reads their Bandcamp. That description’s not far off. Fall Children are an angry bunch, evoking the best of old school hardcore and skate punk. Their 2016 EP A City Warning is seven tracks, 10 mins long, and the aural equivalent of a nose bleed. I’m yet to see them live, but I imagine they’d be brutal.
Some Sort Of Threat
If hardcore punk ain’t your thing, then try Some Sort If Threat, the acoustic project of Rory Matthews, lead singer of the Fairweather Band. Blending folk and punk in the vain of Frank Turner, Chuck Ragan, and a dash of Andrew Jackson Jihad, Some Sort of Threat stays unique with the emotion of his lyrics, and his exceptional guitar playing.