Black Hats have arrived with songs about telephone calls and changes in life and they want to tell us all about it.

After three years with only a handful of appearances Mark Franklin, Ian Budd and Nick Breakspear are back at The Library in Cowley Road, Oxford, tonight with more of what they call, their ‘Intellipunk’ madness. And they are joined by local buzz band Ciphers.

Nick says the band have been busy writing and recording and didn’t want to gig until they were 100 per cent happy with the music.

“We are so happy with the new sound and how we are playing, the time is right to get back out on the scene,” he says.

While they have been away, they have watched a new crop of bands spring up, and they are keen to get involved.

“We’ve been watching bands like Ciphers, Candy Says, Emma Hunter and Self Help and we want to be on the same bill with them,” says Nick. “This is why we have booked the Library with Ciphers. It makes sense for us to create a night and a style with the bands we play with and we also want to help some new acts get shows. Last month we had Anouska join us at Fat Lils in Witney, and when we play Truck Store we’ll have Aphra Taylor.”

That Truck Store gig, on Thursday 18 July, will see Black Hats officially release new record Bad News Telephone. Other tracks include: Just A Time, All We Ever Wanted and Sleep Patterns.

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“The songs are about mental health, bad dreams, factory smoke, time going fast and difficult telephone calls,” he says. “I am pretty well known for never speaking on the phone. I’m not shy, I love talking to people in person, but for some reason I feel trapped when I am on a telephone call. Over the years family and friends have figured this out, so this means when I do get a call it’s often bad news of some kind.”

The band are an exciting live act and they sweat and strut their punk-pop with a sound that has one foot in the past and another in the current.

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“We love bands like XTC, Buzzcocks and early Police,” says Nick. “But we also watch acts who play the Radio 1 Big Weekend and get just as excited. There are some amazing bands out there and guitar music is very much alive.”

Black Hats play The Library tonight at 8.30pm. Tickets £5 on the door. See live show online at