Spread over six locations in Wakefield, Long Division is the brainchild of ambitious promoters and fanzineists Rhubarb Bomb, whose raison d'etre is simple enough - get a load of bands they love, set up in a few gig spaces (including the cathedral) and set up a day's worth of discerning entertainment on a low-key basis so the place doesn't get flooded with day trippers. It looks like the best of the year's newcomers, and as they've tempted us up north with the power of the bill alone all credit to them.
You know, off the advert. And so phase four of the LC! experience is underway, the band having spent last month with reliable old John Goodmanson in Catalunya recording a new album, their first in the octet line-up, as well as working further on their snail's pace but excellent Heat Rash project. Says Gareth of his new set of lyrics "I’ve been in a fairly ‘dark place’ of late... It’s great to have this new album to channel ‘my shit’ into, but in turn it’s also often difficult to want to address these things when really they’re the sort of things you’d rather move on from and deal with." Business as usual, then. Here's one of the new songs played live, just muffled enough to keep its subtleties secret for now.
The Wedding Present
As seen on Gareth's T-shirt occasionally. No new material as known about yet from David Gedge and this year's colleagues, but it marks a summer of decently busy touring after last year's 21st anniversary tours for Bizarro. Whatever, a Wedding Present gig is still a buzzing affair as large men bash into each other in front of a man who still recognises the power of a jangly guitar and a sardonic lyric.
The Wave Pictures
There's on the surface very little bother about a Wave Pictures gig - the three of them get up on stage, dip liberally into David Tattersall's ever growing back catalogue and enjoy themselves bruising everyone's hearts. Except, of course, what would be a post-Hefner literate bedsit band are lifted into something else whenever a solo settles in, particularly some of Tattersall's coruscating Neil Young-like extemporising. Also on the bill are longtime friends, recording partners and sometime backing band actors Stanley Brinks and Freschard, so they're going to have a day as busy as the 100 capacity room they're playing in. Maybe if we're fortunate they'll get Jonny to sing one.
Emmy The Great
Generally Emmy The Great gigs progress thus: a clutch of fine, astute songs, a moan about the quality of her guitar, the odd cover version, some mocking of some member of her backing band and a lot of little girl lost in her emotions. With her second album Virtue out two days later this is a good time to be catching up with an understated talent.
The Lovely Eggs
Who knows what goes on in Holly Ross and David Blackwell's collective minds. This year's second album Cob Dominos is as wide-eyed and wayward as they come, finding its metier in the conflicting areas of distorted guitar screes, twee DIY accroutrements, celebrating the mundane, swearing and a whole new dimension of quiet-loud. Imaginative, individual and completely ridiculous.
ALSO: We'd put Napoleon IIIrd among the top five without any hesitation too, except we covered him when we previewed Brainlove Festival. Darwin Deez plays, but there's plenty of good stuff. Having said that, Kate Jackson's demos so far have hovered around the ropey end, but this will be her third solo gig so we should get a better idea of whether working with Bernard Butler has turned her individual style completely to mush. Emma Pollock made a good go of going solo, maybe tips could be shared. Other picks: the now plainly named I Like Trains, The Birthday Kiss's first gig, The Wind Up Birds' satirical ire, Spectrals' surf noir, Fonda 500's oddness, noisy new wave locals Runaround Kids and toured indiepop Leodensians Just Handshakes (We're British).
Calendar: 11th June, though there are events on the 10th (free gig at The Hop headlined by Shrag) and 12th (free local bands across town)
Tickets: £12 - see website
EDIT: Quasi-review here