Sunday, October 10, 2010


Busy week this week, including Nosferatu D2's album which we only wrote about last week but the digital release got delayed until tomorrow, and Mitchell Museum's The Peters Port Memorial Service, which gets a delayed CD issue this week and hopefully we'll finally be able to get hold of it, not wanting to sign up to iTunes or owt like that just for one album. No excuse, we know. (Ice, Sea, Dead People's Teeth Union also gains physical form this week) In proper new releases there's Belle & Sebastian, Shrag, Islet's new EP Wimmy (yes, it's got the reggae one on)... but, like the rest of the world, everything stops for Sufjan. Your key to understanding The Age Of Adz, or at least what we've heard of it so far, is the track he contributed to the Dark Was The Night charity album last year, which threw his Neil Young/Gershwin/American folk field recording/showtunes mix into a wall of electronics and saw it emerge remarkably unscathed considering, albeit spread over a wide/long area. Be interesting to see how this does in the universal end of year lists. Be interesting to see how it does as a full listening experience, too.

Last December we put on the third of our occasional money-haemorraghing but enjoyable nights of live music in a city with no proper gigging scene. (Oh, they try, with their Academies and their Oxjams getting to close off an entire road for a day, but you should see the paucity of bands they put on. Seriously, we've had to reconsider some live plans as we don't have a clue who could support them among known local talent.) This was a particularly epic fail, as bringing up 4 Or 5 Magicians on a fractured, and indeed fractious, tour brought in five punters. Three of those were other local promoters. All five were people we knew. People got less for Christmas from us than they might have been banking on. By the end of the openers' set, for further indignity, one person had turned up, and he during the last song. That band were the falling apart raucous pop shapeshifters Ace Bushy Striptease, and at least something came out of that night as they and the Brighton post-Pavement acerbic if-it's-Dan Ormsby-and-your-granny-on-bongos-it's-a-4 Or 5 Magicians-gig headliners met, got on swimmingly and as an eventual result start a joint tour on Thursday. That's at Big Chill House, followed by Brighton Hobgoblin on Friday, Bournemouth Green Room Saturday, Bristol Mother's Ruin next Sunday, then Birmingham Victoria, Manchester Tiger Lounge and Nottingham Spanky Van Dykes (where we once saw Silver Columns playing Upwords) in the following days. Go and see them if you can, make them less lonely.

Staying in Scotland, as fertile as it is at the moment, and to the very Scottish monickered The Douglas Firs - not the one from Bournemouth we first stumbled into when trying to find this Myspace URL again, but the one from Aberdeen that is by and large the work of one Neil Insh, also drummer with Song, By Toad band Jesus H Foxx. The recent Haunting Through EP, on a name-your-price deal from Bandcamp, is all over the place while keeping to a certain uncomfortable tone. Just its opening track, nearly seven and a half minutes long, veers from field recording to Irish folk to gospel vocals to to lushly dulcet singer-songwriter fare with discordance to a reel to an ambient close, like an even more distracted Phantom Band. The range is all over the place but coalesces to a certain point of cut and paste effected folk atmospherics that are Sufjan-like in its scope and ambition, plenty of carefully plotted instrumentation unafraid of following a big chorus with floaty ambience. Hypnotic and entirely fascinating. There's been an album in the works for more than a year; their next gig is a Pakistan flood relief benefit at the Roxy Arthouse, Edinburgh with Alasdair Roberts and Eagleowl on the 18th.

In The City isn't so much a conference and gig coming together as a cultural ecosystem. Based in a four hotel campus around Manchester’s Northern Quarter between Wednesday and Friday, by day there's a selection of keynote speakers - the president of Jay-Z's Roc Nation, Epic's MD, REM's manager, former BPI and Warners chairman Rob Dickins, Nick Mason, Paul Morley, Mike Pickering - and panels with hard hitting guests - Guy Garvey, Helienne Lindvall, Mark Gardener, John Robb, Trevor Dann, Joe Muggs and everyone's fantasy matchup in an industry bare knuckle fight, Ryan Schreiber and Sean Adams. And by night, a whole horde of bands, from the unsigned to the internationally acclaimed. Deep breath - No Age, Sky Larkin, Standard Fare, Pulled Apart By Horses, Let's Buy Happiness, Dog Is Dead, Still Corners, Male Bonding, Calories, Spectrals, Gallops, Honour Before Glory, Young British Artists, Yuck, HEALTH, Clock Opera, Is Tropical, This Many Boyfriends, My First Tooth, Dutch Uncles, These Monsters, Worriedaboutsatan, The Woe Betides, Egyptian Hip Hop, The Neat, T3ETH, Tim And Sam's etc, Chad Valley, Chickenhawk, Brontide, Orphan Boy and hundreds of others that we're currently trawling for future new band linkage.

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