We Say…

Photos by Cole Flynn Quirke

It might be old enough to be a grandparent by now, yet thankfully punk still doesn’t seem to be showing much sign of going out of style. Hammering home that point are the youthful London-based trio, MIDDLEMAN, who may have only played shows in a post-lockdown world, yet have already made a bit of a name for themselves on the capital’s DIY scene. Back at the start of December, the band teamed up with the delightfully named Brainrotter Records to share their first recorded material, in the shape of an EP, Cut Out The Middleman.

Consisting of vocalist and guitarist Noah Alves, alongside bassist Harper Maury and drummer Lily Pym, the band tick a lot of classic punk boxes, from the yelp-along vocals and buzzsaw guitars, through to no songs being longer than three minutes long, yet it only takes a quick scratch of the surface to see there’s something more interesting going on here. Take the excellent Turn Away, the influences here seem considerably darker, there’s some of the primal thud and bassy-swamp of Ikara Colt or the excellent Sauna Youth spin-off Monotony, while the sublime Entropy shows that even in a short sharp blast of a song, there’s room to slow things down and get experimental. Perhaps the most enticing moment is saved until the closer, One Day We Will Be Strangers, it adds a poppy quality, with perhaps even a hint of The Strokes hiding beneath the Fugazi-like squall. Raw, ragged and rather exciting, MIDDLEMAN are breathing fresh air into an old sound, proving that nobody needs to worry, punk’s future is in very good hands.

They Say…

FTR: For those who don’t know who are MIDDLEMAN?

MIDDLEMAN are me (Noah), Harper and Lily. We’re a London punk/ hardcore 3-piece and have been playing shows for just over a year. Harper and I met at a gig a few years back and started playing together. We met Lily on New Year’s Eve 2020, and she started playing with us soon after.

FTR: What can you remember about your first show?

It was at Damage is Done Fest at New River Studios in north London. We had a last-minute practice a few hours before and we played the songs much faster than normal and sped through the set but people seemed to like it. Afterwards, Lily ate a slice of pizza and had an allergic reaction and was taken home in an ambulance. Bobby who gave her the slice ended up putting out our first release on Brainrotter Records. It’s funny how things come full circle.

FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?

Music isn’t the only thing we make, Harper does textiles, Lily makes comics and I like to write. We’ve been going to DIY shows for a while and it just feels natural to start your own band. We’ve all got similar tastes in music so that’s why MIDDLEMAN sounds the way it does.

FTR: What can people expect from a MIDDLEMAN live show?

Quite a raw and fast sound. Sometimes a bit sloppy but the energy’s always there.

FTR: What’s next for MIDDLEMAN?

We’re gonna keep playing shows around England and hopefully some in Europe this year. We’re also planning to record an album later in the year, so hopefully that isn’t too far down the line.

They Listen To…

Photos by Cole Flynn Quirke

Peace De Resistance – End Of The Night

Lily – If you’re a fan of Austin punk band, Institute, this track from the album “Bits and Pieces” is the frontman Moses’ side project, and is well worth a listen.

Young Marble Giants – Brand-New-Life

Lily – This track along with this entire album is the perfect example of how the simple, short songs can be the most effective. This approach is something MIDDLEMAN takes on strongly.

The Reatards – Lick On My Leather

Harper – A perfectly straightforward garage punk track with a bit of sleaze. The Reatards are definitely a big MIDDLEMAN influence. (If you couldn’t tell by our EP artwork…)

Alex Chilton – Hook of Crook

Harper – I was torn between choosing a song by Big Star or The Box Tops so I chose the mediator, Alex Chilton.

Roky Erickson and The Explosives – Bloody Hammer (Live)

Noah – Only good things can come when you surround Roky Erickson with a backing band as good as Crazy Horse.

Cut Out The Middleman is out now via Brainrotter Records. For more information on MIDDLEMAN visit

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