Monday, March 29, 2010

Cultural quarter

So that's three months done, by and large, of what looks set to be a more than halfway decent year for good music. Twelve weeks gone and we've already had, for example, these ten albums of the highest quality, capsule reviews rendered, as is the modern way, in 140 characters or less:

Archie Bronson Outfit - Coconut
Blues-rock beardies go thunderous psych-fuzz with heavy riffs, desperate vocals and discordant motorik disco mania throughout.

Beach House - Teen Dream
Victoria Legrand's androgynous appelations top ever darkening woozy, hazy days of dreampop, all endless layers and new audial discoveries.

Field Music - Field Music (Measure)
Dips a bit in the second half, but long by then the brothers Brewis have made their point about luxurious melodic harmonies and pop feints.

Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can
Growing up proves a painful business but a rewarding one, Marling extending her vocal cracks, instrumental range and emotional weight.

Liars - Sisterworld
Recognisable influences for the first time in a while, but the overall air is still of dank, tense atmospherics. Don't have nightmares.

Los Campesinos! - Romance Is Boring
Growing up is very hard to do, especially when trying to reconcile what you were at first with your scree of doubts and dry self-analysis.

Owen Pallett - Heartland
Orchestrative intensity but not OTT, grandiloquent expressions of idea-filled conflict between self and creation dares you to take it apart.

Shearwater - The Golden Archipelago
The naturalist trilogy concludes with a sweep invoking beauty, modern harshness and a stately emotional sweep from howling to plaintive.

Spoon - Transference
A decade of Metacritic success on, time to take chances and get some dirt under the carefully arranged offbeat house style. Pounding.

Standard Fare - The Noyelle Beat
It's just indiepop. But then again it's indiepop at its peak, regret and defiance expressed through instant melody and three-piece energy.

So that's that tucked away. The second quarter, or at least what we know and have heard of it so far, seems to hold much promise too. Just the facts about the big album releases we know of to date:

Peggy Sue - Fossils And Other Phantoms: 5th April
Usually abrasive NYC producer Alex Newport, Blood Red Shoes' Steve Ansell and Mumford & Sons' Ben Lovett all take a production hand on the nu-folk trio.

Rufus Wainwright - All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu: 5th April
Lulu is a "dark, brooding, dangerous woman that lives within all of us", apparently. And the first part is taken from Shakespeare's Sonnet 43, one of three such sonnets Wainwright has adapted. The boy can't help himself. It's said to be his most musically stripped down work, just voice and piano, but still theatrical.

The Indelicates - Songs For Swinging Lovers: 12th April
At least that's the digital release date. Don't really like quoting direct from press releases, but it's a necessity here: "They are treating this release as an opportunity to experiment with the long-accepted norms of the recorded music market. Working with investors, web developers and artists they have built '' an innovative new digital audio platform that is free and easy to use and that allows anyone to release their recordings quickly and simply in a way that encourages the free sharing and promotion of music while giving fans an incentive to reward artists as they see fit. Songs For Swinging Lovers will initially be available exclusively from the site... the song or album will be available on a 'pay-what-you-like' basis using the share code and social networking buttons provided." Then in June there's a CD, iTunes version, special edition CD with a book of supplementary essays (and how many bands could make that sound an appealing prospect?), Extra Special Edition with an art book and customised USB version, and, it says here, Super Special Edition ("As above + Simon and Julia will come round your house, perform the album for you, record the performance and sign a contract transferring the rights in the master to you.")

Sparrow And The Workshop - Crystal Falls: 12th April
Glasgow's part-American grand ol' opry of dark storytelling are a rollicking live band, and producer Paul Savage is good at emphasising the unglamorous undertow in his work.

Lucky Soul - A Coming Of Age: 19th April
Not that The Great Unwanted was very lo-fi, but Ali, Andrew and co have gone out for the big glossy pop production big time on their second album now the pop world's swung back round to meet them.

Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences - Apologies To The Enlightenment: 19th April
Sometime anti-folk scene leader elect brings love/hate voice, odd lyrical attachments and art-mess attack to, of all things, a double album.

The Fall - Your Future Our Clutter: 26th April
Art-mess attack, you say? Studio album 28 is on Domino, which is why they'll be playing a few festivals this summer. Mark E Smith facing up the festival circuit. Can you imagine? The Quietus, obviously, has done a thorough track-by-track.

The Futureheads - The Chaos: 26th April
The problem with their last album was the absence of light and shade, every song a full throttle charge through a lesser version of the herky-jerkiness that endeared them in the first pace. With Youth and David Brewis taking co-charge we can but hope their second self-released album is more forgiving.

Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record: 3rd May
As you'd expect from such a multi-haded venture, BSS projects can veer from self-indulgence to alt-rock genius. Perhaps fearing the former there's a core of six people handling this one, albeit with a load of the usual guests (Feist, Emily Haines)

The Hold Steady - Heaven Is Whenever: 3rd May
Down to four now with black and white villain-tached Franz Nicolay having moved on, and less epic is the watchword. Tab Kubler: "I think this is a much more dynamic record than anything we've done... I really believe it exposes new elements of the band that we hinted at on other records but weren't able to fully realize until this one. Rather than just concentrate on changes in instrumentation, we made changes to the song writing process. And this helped everyone to experiment not only with their own instrument and where they should play, but where they shouldn't. This record doesn't feel as dense. It feels more spacial."

The New Pornographers - Together: 3rd May
Vancouver's most power-pop is AC Newman-heavy and features, alongside an eight-strong core, guest slots for Will Sheff, Zach Condon, Annie Clark (St Vincent) and the Dap-Kings horn section.

Holy Fuck - Latin: 10th May
The thing everyone said about their last album is the recorded output only hinted at their spectacular live sound. They seem to have solved that by conducting things towards the power and mass of their live sound, their first record recorded with the full four-piece touring setup.

Foals – Total Life Forever: 10th May
Moving up from the twelth fret, the Gothenburg-recorded second album was given to The Fly for an early listen.

The Kiara Elles - Slide Over: 10th May

Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster - Blood And Fire: 17th May
Nearly six years since their last album and with what seemed like monthly promises that an album was just around the corner, the once chart-troubling psychobilly scary men return.

LCD Soundsystem - TBA: 17th May
James Murphy's last, according to rumour and report. DiS' track-by-track

Meursault - All Creatures Will Make Merry: 24th May
Label bumf: "This album is rather different from its predecessor, and I genuinely have no idea what Meursault’s growing army of fans are going to make of it. It’s denser in many ways, dirty and noisy, and yet as sad and heartbreaking as you’d expect from the band. When we were writing all the press blurb, Neil decided to describe the album as ‘epic low-fi’ and even thought that is an almost totally meaningless term, it still seems to describe this record pretty well. With two new band members joining, there was a danger that the cello or the electric guitar would end up swamping this record, but it’s all been handled very carefully. I think the first time I heard this album through I pretty much summed up what I felt about it in a single sentence: there’s not so much as a weak twenty seconds on here, anywhere."

Club 8 - The People's Record: 31st May
We've had at least four of the same email about this record from the Labrador-dwelling Swedes, but we were going to commend it to the house anyway. Album seven saw them travel to Brazil for inspiration, use Cuban percussion and West African records as influence and get Jari Haapalainen (Camera Obscura) to produce.

Teenage Fanclub - Shadows: 31st May
The first on their own label and tenth in all, first in fifth years, and you know what it sounds like.

The Chap: May
Idiosyncratic experimental poptronica collection number four, hinted by the band to be around about then.

Rose Elinor Dougall - Without Why: May says here. The album was originally scheduled for late last spring and has gradually moved back and back since but it seems Rose, band and producer just kept on redoing and rewriting bits. We're assured it's now been mastered and is awaiting... something. This is the date she told Under The Radar magazine, anyway.

The Acorn - No Ghost: 7th June
Recorded in a cottage in deepest Quebec, leader Rolf Klausener says it sounds like Crazy Horse. Lordy. (Alright, he also cited Yo La Tengo and Talk Talk)

Johnny Flynn - Been Listening: 7th June
Laura Marling's on it. Of course.

The Magic Theatre - London Town: 7th June
Here's a curio. Active only in name since 2006, Ooberman singer Dan Popplewell has kept his hand in with orchestrated projects. One such is this, with bandmate Sophia Churney, described as a time travel concept record, "Sgt Pepper era Beatles meets Tchaikovsky", West Coast meets English folk in a 60s pop battlefield with a backing choir. It's been available in very limited formats since the end of last year but Elefant have picked it up for further distribution.

The School - Loveless Unbeliever: 7th June
The newest salvo in the 60s girl group revival, the presently octet Cardiffians brought their own indiepop hooks and harmonies to bear with producer Ian Catt (Saint Etienne)

Allo Darlin' - Allo Darlin': 14th June
So much excitement from those who've heard it already about Elizabeth Morris and her ukelele of indiepop power, released on indie of the moment Fortuna Pop!

Belle And Sebastian: June
According to Melvin Benn, of all people, explaining how come they're headlining Latitude. We know they began work on it at the tail end of 2009.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Catching up

Sorry about the break. We have a gig on Sunday night - you may have caught our moaning about its chances - and there'll be some halfway decent stuff up next week. In the meantime, here's a little light music.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dance party

If we pretend the Pigeon Detectives were an anomaly tax writeoff, Leeds' Dance To The Radio label is proving a pretty good testing ground for interesting and eclectic new music. Grammatics are their second biggest hitters, and they've also put out work in various forms by the likes of ¡Forward, Russia! (Whiskas co-founded the label, although he hasn't been directly involved for a while), Sky Larkin, Napoelon IIIrd, iLiKETRAiNS, This Et Al, The Lodger, Shut Your Eyes And You'll Burst Into Flames and so on and so forth.

The label turned five this month, and celebrates by putting out a special 12" for Record Store Day on April 17th. Still Occupied Though You Forget features thirteen friends, labelmates and countymen, and £2 of every purchase through the DTTR store goes to UNICEF.

We're telling you all this stuff you could read elsewhere were you arsed at all because they've also stuck the whole thing on Bandcamp for full streaming. There's quite a few new names, but some we know too. The very much southern Rose Elinor Dougall, for one. No, still no sign of her album despite nearly a year of promised imminent release - did she give it to the Avalanches to mix? - but she's putting out the latest in a long line of preview singles through DTTR in May and offers a 'version' of one of her other defiant slices of sophistipop. Whiskas' own Honour Before Glory offers up the wracked digital reverberations of Lions, still as intriguing as it was when we first wrote about him/it a couple of months ago. I Like Trains, as we must boringly refer to them now, are in the studio, When We Were Kings suggesting a less post-rock, more Chameleons-ish swirl of wiriness. The Sunshine Underground exist. Three Trapped Tigers name all their songs in numerical order, and this one goes up to 11:


Some fascinating new names to us, and hopefully you, too. Heavy on the electro keys as the collection is, we see things especially ahead for Club Smith, who do the sort of dark, nearly anthemic synth-laden Editors failed to pull off last year. NY's Bear In Heaven got an 8.4 for their album off you know who if it's an 8.4 mark we're quoting. This splashy, far reaching power-psych deserves further investigation. Just Handshakes (We're British) issue a playfully New Wave-derived indie-pop with a singer who is nearly the vocal spit of Young Marble Giants' Alison Statton and an air of Sky Larkin gone Labrador Records. Of the new names our standout is Paul Thomas Saunders, based in Leeds but seemingly originally from a Leicestershire village and recently supporting Blue Roses on tour. The Death Of A Sports Personality finds a desolate spot in the obtuse singer-songwriter category full of reverberating wrackedness, edging close to post-rock soundscapes in the backing.

Which is all very well, and shows that there'll always be someone to do the A&R legwork for you if this is the sort of thing they're still locating and facilitating half a decade down the line. Five more years! Five more years!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Digital wrongs

Haven't done a sortie through the darker corners of Spotify for a while, which is timely as just in the last week or two a record approaching legendary status, one we've mentioned before in this feature, has appeared. (As has two albums and an EP short of the Half Man Half Biscuit back catalogue, come to mention it.) In the meantime...

Morecambe & Wise: EMI Comedy Classics
All the family favourites - Positive Thinking, Boom Oo Yata-Ta-Ta, a nascent Grieg's Piano Concerto, obviously Bring Me Sunshine - but also a lot of obscure silliness and music hall adaptation, not to mention sketches which involve Ern punching Eric's face in, a sketch in which much of Morecambe's sketch involves the phrase "I'll smash yer face in" and the ultra-meta song The B Side. And an answer song to Who Put The Bomp. Suspect much of this comes from their pre-Christmas colonising ITV phase, much like this triumph of improvised crosstalk:

Mary Schneider: Yodelling The Classics
Oh, and she does alright. Clarinet Polka Yodel may be her personal Mexican Whistler, but the last track Yodelling Comedians is worth your time for how it sees her start phrases in some remarkable octaves.

Bobby 'Boris' Pickett and the Crypt Kickers - The Original Monster Mash
Variations on a theme of Pickett's Halloween classic, mostly on how the success of his and the Crypt Kicker Five - make your mind up, Bobby - had affected various players in the extended story and on the whole idea of partying the crypt down.

St Winifred's School Choir - Children's Party Time
No idea whether this is the classic Grandma line-up - it's not on the album, St Winifred's were very much singles artists but contracts are contracts. They have a solo shot at the school's other vocal choir hit, Matchstalk Men And Matchstalk Cats And Dogs, as well as a miniature Yellow Submarine, an unnecessarily electro Zip A Dee Doo Dah, a fully emotive bordering on sickly in those numbers Bright Eyes and a spirited for their age Dancing Queen. If You're Happy And You Know It, Old McDonald, London Bridge and Simon Says restore the schoolkid equilibrium.

Chartbusters Go Pop!! 16 Legendary Covers From 1969/70 As Sung By Elton John
Elton was a staff songwriter and session pianist - he's on He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother, Back Home and a Barron Knights record - with a sideline in sub-Top Of The Pops albums PRS-avoiding 'recreation' compilations. In The Summertime (with raspberries), Yellow River, Spirit In The Sky and Signed Sealed And Delivered are among the few that have survived time's cruel mistress ways. Hearing him having a shot at Young, Gifted And Black is a proper eye-opener.

Van Morrison - Payin' Dues
It's the contractual obligation album! Fantastic! All you need to know is that in 1967 Morrison was contracted to a final session with Bang Recordings, the US label he hated, so he went in and made up 31 stupid songs on the spot with an out of tune guitar. The label still released them. Ring Worm is on there. Want A Danish ("no, I just ate") is on there. The Big Royalty Check is on there. The Wobble. Here Comes Dumb George. Blow In Your Nose. Nose In Your Blow. You Say France And I Whistle. The lot.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Seeing the signed

There's a lot of talk these days about the major label system and whether new artists really need it at all in an age where the internet has democracised the methods of getting your music out there. This is to an extent balls, of course, given the support network a third party can provide, and if you're really desperate the promotional man-hours a major can give you. VV Brown's put some records out, you say?

But still they come. Wading through pools of management contract-aimed competitions and battle of the bands manque, we get the feeling that there's a certain cult of the 'unsigned band' around these days. 'Unsigned band' as a promotional tool is the big lie of modern live music. All new bands are unsigned. Some are more ambitious than others, some will get spotted under their own steam, but nobody has a god-given right to be 'signed', whatever that means. Even at the top of the competitive mountain, T4's MobileAct Unsigned produced two winners who shone for, ooh, about a month before commencing the slow slide into realisation that the pot of gold was always going to be a mirage, something for someone else while you were expected to get on with things (we know Tommy Reilly sells loads in Scotland, but we're talking full UK coverage) Could you be the biggest unsigned band in Britain? No, because that's Radiohead. All else is people who are too naive to understand that there is really no such barrier between 'unsigned' and 'are happy where they are in musical life', and more often than not tickets for friends and fee/performance restrictions where the financial leverage is only heading one way, and it's not towards you. (This is not necessarily a pay to play thing, although obviously there's little to commend that, it's about the idea of 'unsigned' as a desirable trinket) Outside London, where bands think they're it because they sold out a 200 capacity room in their home town and will soon be playing third on the bill at the Monarch, Borderline or 229 - even worse, Monto Water Rats - is where it thrives. Moves have been made - check up on the Birmingham scene's battles with Surface Unsigned - but as long as teenage Arcticalikes think there's something in it for them, they'll be around.

There's nothing honourable about being 'unsigned', it's just the state 98% of artists are in and most of those don't give it a second thought as a status. 'Unsigned' night promoters that make a virtue of those that go with this falsehood are for the majority those out for their own credentials. Everyone else just puts those bands on as support if they're good enough without making it an issue, or bands put their own nights on to get their name around. If the industry is dying as you get told so often, 'unsigned' as a status symbol is its cash for gold and needs to stop.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Sunday film

We Dreamed America, a 2008 documentary directed by Alex Walker about British Americana and the cultural exchange between British and American roots music, specifically featuring Alabama 3, Kitty Daisy and Lewis, Hey Negrita, Matt Ord, The Broken Family Band and The Barker Band.

We Dreamed America
Uploaded by bigbraintv. - See the latest featured music videos.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sweeping The Nation Presents... #5

Still looking to break the magic twenty-through-the-door barrier, we present our fifth night at Leicester Firebug with a bill we're particularly proud of, and one that Tim Daily Growl told us was surely the best the city has put on recently (admittedly he's not from round here and doesn't take much interest in the Midlands gig scene, but even so).

Offsetting this, at the moment the Facebook event has seven confirmed attendees, three of whom don't count. Hard sell time.

On the 28th March at the aforementioned Firebug, from 8pm or whenever the soundcheck overruns til, these:

"...strong on existential angst, Arab Strap rage and self loathing...equally capable of the lovelorn misery of King Creosote or James Yorkston... Meursault do it uncommonly well:completely absorbed and unselfconcious, they vitally don't use the noise as an excuse not to write any tunes" (The Word)

Stairs To Korea
"Reassuringly miserable and realistically optimistic, this dude from the Brainlove Records stable of excellent weirdness is another fine addition to the music stratosphere." (Huw Stephens, Kruger magazine)

Penfold Gate
"Brilliant, exciting and energetic... I can't wait to see them live" (Artrocker)

It's a fiver on the door or £4 online. Here's the and Songkick registers. That's all.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Where the streets have some names

Last Thursday Google Street View went national, covering an estimated 95% of the country. And yes, yes, privacy and all that, but what's a few loitering people and zooms into people's windows when it gives us the opportunity to accurately map out Britain in gig venues?

And it's all there somewhere, from Inverness Ironworks down to Southampton Joiners Arms and all points in between. Yeah, you could search out the O2 Arena or the MEN Arena, but that's no fun when also out there on sidestreets and next to takeaways are the great names from the touring longeurs. The former Oxford Zodiac had been turned into an Academy by the time the camera car and big tripod had visited, but some stand proud, and had you ever wondered, you now know what the locale is like around actual former public toilet Tunbridge Wells Forum, Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms, Northampton Roadmender or the daddy, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. The time it's taken to send this national also means a few that have just bitten the dust get in - here's Leicester Charlotte, finally closed Saturday just gone and about to become affordable student housing. (Although obviously it's at Firebug where everything happens in that city) And this is the less than cliche-welcoming location of Kingston-upon-Thames' celebrated New Slang nights.

Thanks to everyone on Drowned In Sound and Twitter (especially Eddie Another Form Of Relief for Tunbridge Wells) for locating some of these.
Any further, especially in London (or Bedford Esquires, for which Street View pointed to a chartered accountants, are welcomed. But if you're leaving comments, please use or tinyurl or something.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

'sault good

You're aware we're putting Meursault in Leicester Firebug on the 28th? Yes? Good. Come, then, fuckers.

In the meantime, they played three new songs for Marc Riley last night. Peenko has them up individually, or listen to the whole thing for the next week. Second album All Creatures Will Make Merry is out on 24th May.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Days in the sun

Advance heads up for our bum chums Brainlove Records, whose Brainlove Festival sprouts a second day for the first time this year. "Distinguished by a carnival atmosphere, a packed out crowd and a cavalcade of sonic creativity" it's on Spring bank holiday, 29th and 30th May, at Brixton Windmill - here it is, you can tell we've been playing with the newly upgraded Google Street View all evening, though you can't see the famous roof dog - and tickets are £20 the weekend, £12 the day. The Line Of Best Fit have been roped into this, and we might well be expanding on it more nearer the time.

Bands? Oh yeah. Disturbingly sonorous man of Otley and recent European touring guest of Shearwater's David Thomas Broughton headlines the Saturday alongside Bleeding Heart Narrative, Mat Riviere, Bear Driver, A Scholar & A Physician and others, plus TLOBF overload Rich Thane DJing. The Sunday is headed up by Drum Eyes, the percussive doomy post-rock assault led by DJ Scotch Egg, plus Napoleon IIIrd, Stairs To Korea (playing our night at Leicester Firebug on March 28th supporting Meursault, don't forget), sometime Dulok Abi Makes Music and more of those nebulous 'others TBC'.

Oh, while we're about it - Northerners! Stockton Calling takes over three venues in Stockton-on-Tees on Saturday 3rd April and brings with it The Chapman Family, The Kiara Elles, The Heartbreaks, White Belt Yellow Tag, Bicycle Thieves and Little Comets (and Detroit Social Club, but never mind, there's clashes) Plus the last weekend of the month, or more accurately the one that turns into May (30th-2nd, to be precise), sees British Sea Power and friends colonise Tan Hill Inn, Swaledale, North Yorkshire as they first did two years ago.

Ben Parker - a history

Let's get all this down in one place for posterity.

Superman Revenge Squad we've covered often, and at the moment, now joined by an occasional cello, he's writing and recording an EP, currently trading under the title Dead Crow Blues, that may well get picked up by a label close to our hearts. He's playing Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences' album launch at Brixton Windmill on April 17th, as are David Cronenberg's Wife and Tim Ten Yen among others. Even though both ourselves and MJ Hibbett suggested him to the organisers, we don't think he's playing Indietracks. Were the lineup not already looking pretty impressive - that man Hibbett, David Tattersall, Ballboy, Standard Fare, Fanfarlo, Internet Forever, Allo Darlin', Shrag, Jam On Bread, White Town, loads of others, and they've not even announced headliners yet, and we're doing a warmup gig too - fate would make them pay for this.

Before that, he and drummer brother Adam were Nosferatu D2. For our sins we haven't written about them as much, at least not on here, but their album is magnificent and anyone with a yen for brutally direct fucked up ferocious two-piece art-rock. When you want to write a review and come up with a set of influences that they can't possibly have heard when they split in 2006 you know you're onto a big thing. Buy it, buy it, buy it.

And before either of those came Tempertwig, Ben and Adam plus an unrelated bass player. And yeah, basically it's up to a thousand desolate words per minute plus relentless drumming, only with bits of bass and piano added and less wordy song titles, so it's pretty much backdated business as usual. Although we've had these knocking about for a while, it now turns out their sole five track gift to the world is freely downloadable from

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Not the same old show on my radio

Here's something you may not recognise these days.

Yeah, it's a magazine cover shot of leading female singers of the day - for something called New Musical News in 1979 - and all of them are fully dressed (see also). From left: Chrissie Hynde, Debbie Harry, Viv Albertine, Poly Styrene, Siouxsie Sioux, Pauline Black. The latter hosted a Radio 4 documentary on the strong female artistic and often challenging inclination in punk and new wave/post-punk, interviewing Styrene, Albertine, Sioux and Gaye Advert, as well as Jean Jacques Burnel for balance. It's up until Sunday 21st.

Woman Of The New Wave

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dead lounge

A band known for its twenty minute fuzz-heavy feedback flecked noise-pop outbursts in acoustic mode? How could this ever possibly work?

The Manhattan Love Suicides - Veronica (Acoustic)

Like that.

Reputedly The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart's favourite British band, the Manhattan Love Suicides are now deceased, but their six track Dandelion Radio Session, from which this comes, is a fitting epitath. Released on 29th March - in both stereo and mono, just because - it can be preordered from Oddbox Records, as can a new 7" from lead Suicides Caroline and Darren's new band The Blanche Hudson Weekend. The other half formed The Medusa Snare and put out an album last September.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fields of dreams

This is something we did for TLOBF last year, as both an attempt to catch hold of the ever blossoming UK festival circuit and provide a handy all-purpose one-stop shop to see what's actually available for your decreasing spending money. All prices are for one adult weekend camping ticket, price comparisons are given where they can be fairly applied, and we'll try and update as time progresses.

(Last update: 29th March)

When: 3rd April
Where: six venues across Glasgow
How much: £15
Confirmed: British Sea Power, Hot Club De Paris, Is Tropical, Jeffrey Lewis, Johnny Foreigner, Mystery Jets, The Wave Pictures

Bang Face Weekender
When: 23rd-25th April
Where: Camber Sands Holiday Centre
How much: SOLD OUT
Confirmed: A Guy Called Gerald, The Bug, Ceephax Acid Crew, DJ Food, General Levy, Hardfloor, Kid606, Killa Kela, Luke Vibert, Matthew Herbert, The Orb

Live At Leeds
When: 30th April-2nd May
Where: seventeen venues across Leeds
How much: £15
Confirmed: 65daysofstatic, Blue Roses, Blood Red Shoes, The Bronx, The Drums, Egyptian Hip Hop, Erland and the Carnival, Everything Everything, Frankie And The Heartstrings, Gold Panda, Hadouken!, Honour Before Glory, Hurts, I Concur, The Invisible, Islet, Jesca Hoop, Johnny Foreigner, Kill It Kid, Lightspeed Champion, Mariachi el Bronx, Napoleon IIIrd, Rolo Tomassi, Sky Larkin, The Sunshine Underground, Swanton Bombs, Tubelord, The Twilight Sad, Wild Beasts, Wonderswan, Woodpigeon

Camden Crawl
When: 1st-2nd May
Where: seventeen venues across Camden
How much: £57 (up £2.29 on last year)
Confirmed: Billy Childish, The Chapman Family, Chew Lips, Cornershop, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Dead Meadow, Delays, The Drums, Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, Gang Of Four, Gold Panda, I Blame Coco, Joe Gideon & The Shark, Lightspeed Champion, Lonelady, Ms Dynamite, New Young Pony Club, Pulled Apart By Horses, Roots Manuva, Slow Club, Speech Debelle, Stornoway, The Sunshine Underground, Teenage Fanclub, Young Marble Giants

All Tomorrow’s Parties – Matt Groening
When: 7th-9th May
Where: Butlins Minehead
How much: SOLD OUT
Confirmed: Amadou & Mariam, Boredoms, Broadcast, Built To Spill, CocoRosie, Daniel Johnston, Danielson, Deerhunter, Hello Saferide, Hope Sandoval, Iggy & The Stooges, James Chance And The Contortions, Joanna Newsom, Juana Molina, Liars, Panda Bear, The Raincoats, The Residents, She & Him, Shonen Knife, Spiritualized, Toumani Diabate, The XX

All Tomorrow’s Parties – Pavement
When: 14th-16th May
Where: Butlins Minehead
How much: SOLD OUT
Confirmed: Atlas Sound, Boris, Broken Social Scene, Calexico, Camera Obscura, The Clean, The Dodos, The Fall, Faust, The Fiery Furnaces, Mark Eitzel, Mission of Burma, Monotonix, Pavement, Quasi, The Raincoats, Spiral Stairs, Surfer Blood, Terry Reid featuring Matt Sweeney, Times New Viking, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Wooden Shjips

The Great Escape
When: 14th-16th May
Where: thirty venues around Brighton
How much: early bird £45 (up £6.50)
Confirmed: And So I Watch You From Afar, The Big Pink, Blood Red Shoes, Broken Social Scene, Chapel Club, Chase & Status, Codeine Velvet Club, Delphic, Egyptian Hip Hop, Ellie Goulding, Everything Everything, The Fiery Furnaces, Frankie & The Heartstrings, Gold Panda, Groove Armada, Japandroids, Lucky Soul, Marina and the Diamonds, The Ruby Suns, The Slits, Slow Club, Stornoway, Summer Camp, These New Puritans, The Walkmen, Warpaint, White Rabbits, Wild Beasts

Liverpool Sound City
When: 19th-22nd May
Where: thirty venues across Liverpool
How much: £45
Confirmed: Archie Bronson Outfit, British Sea Power, Chilly Gonzales, Delphic, Egyptian Hip Hop, Esben and the Witch, Everything Everything, The Fall, Field Music, Gil Scott-Heron, Gold Panda, Is Tropical, Los Campesinos!, The Maccabees, Paloma Faith, Speech Debelle, The Sunshine Underground, You Say Party! We Say Die!

Stag And Dagger
When: 21st-22nd May
Where: across East London and Glasgow respectively
How much: £12 early bird
LONDON: The Bug, Clock Opera, Django Django, Filthy Dukes, Frankie & the Heartstrings, Is Tropical, Peggy Sue, The Radio Dept, Sky Larkin
GLASGOW: A Place To Bury Strangers, The Antlers, Chapel Club, Erland & the Carnival, Esben and the Witch, Frankie & the Heartstrings, My Latest Novel, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Wild Beasts

When: 21st-23rd May
Where: Braziers Park, Oxfordshire
How much: £70 (£15 up)
Confirmed: Danny and the Champions Of The World, Fionn Regan, Frank Turner, Martin Simpson, Peggy Sue, Tunng, The Unthanks

When: 30th-31st May
Where: Gateshead Quayside
How much: £25
Confirmed: Beardyman, Calvin Harris, Dananananaykroyd, Danny and The Champions of The World, Dawn Landes, De La Soul, Delphic, Donovan, Egyptian Hip Hop, Ellie Goulding, Everything Everything, Example, Field Music, Filthy Dukes, Frankie And The Heartstrings, The Futureheads, Hadouken!, The Horrors, I Blame Coco, King Creosote, Paolo Nutini, Scratch Perverts, Slow Club, Tinchy Stryder, The Unthanks

Dot To Dot
When: 29th-31st May
Where: across Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester respectively
How much: £25
Confirmed: Beach House, Blood Red Shoes, Chapel Club, Daisy Dares You, Egyptian Hip Hop, Ellie Goulding, Liars, Lonelady, Los Campesinos!, Mystery Jets

When: 4th-6th June
Where: Cheltenham Racecourse
How much: £110
Confirmed: Adrian Edmondson & The Bad Shepherds, Dreadzone, Happy Mondays, John Otway, King Creosote, The Leisure Society, the Levellers, The Lightning Seeds, Piney Gir, Seth Lakeman, The South (as in Beautiful South), Toumani Diabaté

When: 11th-13th June
Where: Donington Park
How much: £170 (up £45)
Confirmed: 30 Seconds To Mars, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Billy Idol, The Blackout, Bullet For My Valentine, Coheed & Cambria, Deftones, Dillinger Escape Plan, HIM, Megadeth, Motorhead, Rage Against The Machine, Steel Panther, Stone Sour, Stone Temple Pilots, Them Crooked Vultures, Wolfmother

Isle Of Wight
When: 11th-13th June
Where: Seaclose Park, Newport
How much: £150 (up £30)
Confirmed: Biffy Clyro, Blondie, Calvin Harris, The Courteeners, Crowded House, Devendra Banhart, Doves, Editors, Florence & the Machine, Friendly Fires, The Hold Steady, James, Jay-Z, La Roux, Local Natives, Marina & the Diamonds, Mini Viva, Mr Hudson, N-Dubz, Noah and the Whale, Orbital, Paloma Faith, Paul McCartney, Reef, The Saturdays, Shakespears Sister, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, Spandau Ballet, The Strokes, Vampire Weekend

Rock Ness
When: 11th-13th June
Where: Loch Ness
How much: £149 (up £10)
Confirmed: 2 Many DJs, Chase & Status, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Doves, Enter Shikari, Fatboy Slim, Friendly Fires, Ian Brown, Leftfield, Plan B, The Strokes, Vampire Weekend, Vitalic

When: 11th-13th June
Where: Hope Farm, near Ashford
How much: £79 (up £24)
Confirmed: Eliza Carthy, Goldie Lookin' Chain, Jairus, Johnny Foreigner, Kids Love Lies, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Liam Frost, Polka Party, The Qemists, Reverend & The Makers, The Rumble Strips, Sugarhill Gang, Tom Middleton

When: 24th-27th June
Where: Worthy Farm
How much: SOLD OUT
Confirmed: Andy Williams, Blood Red Shoes, Corinne Bailey Rae, The Courteeners, Dizzee Rascal, Empire Of The Sun, Example, Jack Johnson, MGMT, Muse, Orbital, Ray Davies, Squeeze, Stevie Wonder, U2, Vampire Weekend, Willie Nelson

Hard Rock Calling
When: 25th-27th June
Where: Hyde Park
How much: between £47.50 and £62.50 depending on the day
Confirmed: Ben Harper, Corinne Bailey Rae, The Gaslight Anthem, The Hives, James Morrison, Jamiroquai, Paul McCartney, Pearl Jam, Stevie Wonder, Wolfmother

Hop Farm
When: 2nd-4th July
Where: Hop Farm, Tonbridge
How much: £125
Confirmed: Bob Dylan, Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons, Peter Doherty, Seasick Steve

When: 2nd-4th July
Where: Bradley Farm, Alresford, Hampshire
How much: £55 (up £14)
Confirmed: Beans On Toast, Charlotte Hatherley, Chris T-T, Dub Pistols, Fenech Soler, James Yuill, Kill It Kid, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool

When: 2nd-4th July
Where: Hyde Park
How much: £47.50 per day
Confirmed: 2manyDJs, The Big Pink, Bowling For Soup, Chase & Status, Chipmunk, DJ Shadow, Friendly Fires, Gossip, Mr Hudson, Jay-Z, LCD Soundsystem, Lily Allen, Missy Elliott, Pink, Plan B, The Temper Trap, Tinie Tempah, The Ting Tings, UNKLE

When: 2nd-4th July
Where: Pwllheli Inner Marina and Abersoch Beach
How much: £120 (up £5)
Confirmed: Chase & Status, Eric Prydz, Los Campesinos!, Maximo Park, Mr Hudson, N-Dubz, Norman Jay, Plan B, Roll Deep, Scratch Perverts, Sub Focus, The Ting Tings, Wiley

When: 3rd-4th July
Where: Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
How much: £115 (up £25)
Confirmed: The Blockheads, Buddy Guy, Candi Staton, David Gray, Dr John, The Feeling, Jackson Browne, Newton Faulkner, Noisettes, Reef, Squeeze

T In The Park
When: 9th-11th July
Where: Balado
How much: SOLD OUT
Confirmed: 30 Seconds To Mars, Biffy Clyro, Black Eyed Peas, Broken Social Scene, Calvin Harris, The Courteeners, The Cribs, David Guetta, Dirty Projectors, Dizzee Rascal, Ellie Goulding, Eminem, Empire Of The Sun, Faithless, Florence & The Machine, Four Tet, Frank Turner, Goldfrapp, Gossip, Groove Armada, Hot Chip, Jamie T, Jay-Z, Kasabian, Kate Nash, La Roux, Madness, Mumford & Sons, Muse, Newton Faulkner, Paloma Faith, The Prodigy, Paolo Nutini, Stereophonics, Vampire Weekend

Lounge On The Farm
When: 9th-11th July
Where: Merton Farm, Canterbury
How much: £95 (up £10)
Confirmed: Cats & Cats & Cats, Circulus, Courtney Pine, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Don Letts, Fionn Regan, Gaggle, Jesca Hoop, Kitty Daisy & Lewis, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Toots & The Maytals, Tunng

When: 15th-18th July
Where: Winchester
How much: £135 (£10 up)
Confirmed: Orbital, Simian Mobile Disco, Tricky

2000 Trees
When: 16th-17th July
Where: Upcote Farm, Cheltenham
How much: £50 (up £3)
Confirmed: 65daysofstatic, And So I Watch You From Afar, Bombay Bicycle Club, Chris T-T, Frank Turner, Kill It Kid, Maybeshewill, Metronomy, The Subways, Three Trapped Tigers

When: 16th-18th July
Where: Henham Park Estate, Beccles
How much: £155 (up £5)
Confirmed: Archie Bronson Outfit, Belle & Sebastian, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Dirty Projectors, Empire Of The Sun, Florence & The Machine, Frank Turner, Grizzly Bear, The Horrors, James, Jonsi, The Maccabees, Midlake, The National, Noah and the Whale, Richard Hawley, Rodigo Y Gabriela, Spoon, The Temper Trap, Vampire Weekend, Wild Beasts, The XX, Yeasayer

When: 16th-18th July
Where: Stoke Park, Guildford
How much: £110
Confirmed: Chase & Status, Hadouken!, Hawkwind, The Human League, Just Jack, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, N-Dubz, Orbital, Status Quo

When: 16th-18th July
Where: Victoria Park, London
How much: £99 (up £24)
Confirmed: Chase and Status, Chew Lips, Chromeo, Cut Copy, Dizzee Rascal, Ellie Goulding, Empire of the Sun, Grace Jones, Hercules and Love Affair, Hot Chip, Hurts, Joy Orbison, The Maccabees, Mark Ronson, Mystery Jets, New Young Pony Club, Noisettes, Paloma Faith, Peaches, Roxy Music, Shy FX, Toddla T, Wild Beasts, Yeasayer

The Secret Garden Party
When: 22nd-25th July
Where: East Anglia – it’s officially a secret until just before the event
How much: £142 (up £5)
Confirmed: Gorillaz Sound System, Marina and the Diamonds, Mercury Rev, the Skatalites, The Whip

When: 23rd-24th July
Where: Kirkcarswell Farm, Galloway
How much: £85 (up £5)
Confirmed: N/A

When: 23rd-25th July
Where: Steventon, near Abingdon, Oxfordshire
How much: £80 (up £10)
Confirmed: DJ Zinc with Ms Dynamite, Esben And The Witch, Egyptian Hip Hop, Future Of The Left, Good Shoes, Los Campesinos!, Mew, Stornoway, This Town Needs Guns

When: 23rd-25th July
Where: Midland Railway, Butterley Station, Derbyshire
How much: £55 early bird, £60 regular (up £5)
Confirmed: Allo Darlin', Ballboy, David Tattersall, Internet Forever, MJ Hibbett & the Validators, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Shrag, Standard Fare, Veronica Falls, White Town

Cambridge Folk Festival
When: 29th July-1st August
Where: Cherry Hinton Hall Grounds, Cambridge
How much: N/A
Confirmed: N/A

Global Gathering
When: 30th-31st July
Where: Long Marston Airfield, Stratford-upon-Avon
How much: £115
Confirmed: 2manydjs, Andy C, Armin Van Buuren, Booka Shade, Carl Cox, Chase & Status, Dizzee Rascal, Faithless, Goldie, Josh Wink, Joy Orbison, Judge Jules, Tall Paul, The Count & Sinden, Timo Maas

Camp Bestival
When: 30th July-1st August
Where: Lulworth Castle, Dorset
How much: £155 (up £25)
Confirmed: Beth Jeans Houghton, Billy Bragg, The Blockheads, Calvin Harris, Chas And His Band, Chipmunk, DJ Yoda, Example, The Fall, Field Music, Friendly Fires, George Clinton & Funkadelic, Gold Panda, The Human League, Hurts, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, James Yorkston, Joy Orbison, Lee Scratch Perry, Madness, Marc Almond, Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick, Pete And The Pirates, Stornoway, William Orbit

When: 30th July-1st August
Where: Knebworth House
How much: £157.50
Confirmed: Alice Cooper, Anthrax, Bring Me The Horizon, The Cult, Fear Factory, Henry Rollins (spoken word), Iggy & The Stooges, Iron Maiden, Mötley Crue, Papa Roach, Placebo, Rammstein, Slayer

Kendal Calling
When: 30th July-1st August
Where: Lowther Castle, Kendal
How much: £85 (up £15)
Confirmed: N/A

Field Day
When: 31st July
Where: Victoria Park, London
How much: £33.33 (up £3.83)
Confirmed: Beth Jeans Houghton, Caribou, Chapel Club, Chilly Gonzales, Esben & the Witch, The Fall, Flower–Corsano Duo, Gold Panda, Hudson Mohawke, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Lightspeed Champion, Max Tundra, Memory Tapes, Mouse On Mars, No Age, Phoenix, Silver Apples, Simian Mobile Disco, These New Puritans

Underage Festival
When: 1st August
Where: Victoria Park, London
How much: £29.50 (up £3)
Confirmed: Chase & Status, Daisy Dares You, Egyptian Hip Hop, Ellie Goulding, Gold Panda, Hadouken!, Is Tropical, Lightspeed Champion, Los Campesinos!, M.I.A., Micachu & the Shapes, New Young Pony Club, Stornoway, Sub Focus, Tinchy Stryder, Tinie Tempah, Unicorn Kid

Big Chill
When: 5th-8th August
Where: Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire
How much: N/A
Confirmed: N/A

Belladrum Tartan Heart
When: 6th-7th August
Where: Belladrum Estate, Inverness-shire
How much: £85
Confirmed: N/A

Standon Calling
When: 6th-8th August
Where: Standon, Ware
How much: £95 (up £6)
Confirmed: N/A

Summer Sundae
When: 13th-15th August
Where: De Montfort Hall and Gardens, Leicester
How much: £113.50 (up £4.50)
Confirmed: Erland & The Carnival, Errors, The Fall, Fanfarlo, Fionn Regan, Frightened Rabbit, The Futureheads, The Go! Team, Goldheart Assembly, The Invisible, Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit, Laura Veirs, Liam Frost, Local Natives, Los Campesinos!, The Low Anthem, Mumford & Sons, The Sunshine Underground, Tinchy Stryder, Turin Brakes, The Wave Pictures

Beautiful Days
When: 20th-22nd August
Where: Escot Park, Devon
How much: £100
Confirmed: Billy Bragg, Easy Star All Stars, Fairport Acoustic Convention, James, James Yorkston, the Levellers, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, New Model Army, Newton Faulkner, The Wailers

Green Man
When: 20th-22nd August
Where: Glanusk Park, Powys
How much: £126.50 (up £11.50)
Confirmed: Alasdair Roberts, Beirut, Billy Bragg, Field Music, Fionn Regan, First Aid Kit, Flaming Lips, Joanna Newsom, The Unthanks

V Festival
When: 21st-22nd August
Where: Hylands Park, Chelmsford/Weston Park, Staffordshire
How much: SOLD OUT
Confirmed: Amy MacDonald, Calvin Harris, The Charlatans, Chase & Status, Cheryl Cole, The Courteeners, David Guetta, Editors, Ellie Goulding, Faithless, Florence and The Machine, Goldfrapp, Groove Armada, Kasabian, Kate Nash, Kings Of Leon, The Kooks, La Roux, Madness, Mika, Newton Faulkner, Paloma Faith, Paolo Nutini, Paul Weller, Pet Shop Boys, Pixie Lott, Plan B, The Prodigy, Scouting For Girls, Stereophonics, Sugababes, The Temper Trap, White Lies

Reading & Leeds
When: 27th-29th/28th-30th August
Where: Little Johns Farm/Branham Park
How much: £180 (up £5)
Confirmed: Arcade Fire, Biffy Clyro, The Big Pink, Blink 182, The Cribs, Dizzee Rascal, Enter Shikari, Foals, Frank Turner, The Gaslight Anthem, Gogol Bordello, Guns N' Roses, Kele Okereke, Klaxons, LCD Soundsystem, The Libertines, Limp Bizkit, Lostprophets, The Maccabees, Modest Mouse, Mumford & Sons, Nofx, Queens Of The Stone Age, Paramore, Phoenix, Pendulum, We Are Scientists, Weezer, Yeasayer

When: 27th-29th August
Where: Tarnside Farm, nr Aspatria, Cumbria
How much: £89 (up £4)
Confirmed: Alabama 3, From The Jam, The Lovely Eggs, The Magic Numbers, The Mummers, New Young Pony Club, The Wailers

When: 28th-29th August
Where: Daresbury Estate, Cheshire
How much: £100
Confirmed: Alex Metric, Anne Savage, Annie Mac, Armin Van Buuren, Audio Bullys, Axwell, Benga, Calvin Harris, Caspa, Crookers, David Guetta, Deadmau5, Eddie Halliwell, Eric Prydz, Erol Alkan, Fenech Soler, Ferry Corsten, High Contrast, Jaymo & Andy George, Judge Jules, Kissy Sell Out, Kutski, Leftfield, Lisa Lashes, Major Lazer, Ms Dynamite, Paul van Dyk, Pete Tong, Richie Hawtin, Sasha, Sven Vath, Tiesto, Tom Middleton

South West Four Weekender
When: 28th-29th August
Where: Clapham Common
How much: £72.50 early bird
Confirmed: Armin van Buuren, Fatboy Slim

Moseley Folk Festival
When: 3rd-5th September
Where: Moseley Park, Birmingham
How much: £77 (up £12)
Confirmed: Beth Jeans Houghton, The Divine Comedy, Donovan, Erland & The Carnival, Fyfe Dangerfield, High Llamas, John Renbourn, Johnny Flynn, The Low Anthem, Sparrow and the Workshop, Turin Brakes, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, The Unthanks

When: 4th-5th September
Where: Hainault Forest Country Park, Redbridge
How much: £55 early bird
Confirmed: N/A

When: 10th-12th September
Where: Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight
How much: £150 (up £10)
Confirmed: Archie Bronson Outfit, Beth Jeans Houghton, Chase & Status, Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Delphic, Dizzee Rascal, Echo & the Bunnymen, Ellie Goulding, Everything Everything, Example, Fever Ray, The Flaming Lips, Four Tet, Gil Scott-Heron, Hot Chip, Howard Jones, Joy Orbison, LCD Soundsystem, Marc Almond, Mumford & Sons, Nile Rodgers & Chic, The Prodigy, Rolf Harris, Roxy Music, Simian Mobile Disco, Summer Camp, Tinie Tempah, Tricky, Vitalic, The Wailers, Wild Beasts, The XX

End Of The Road
When: 10th-12th September
Where: Larmer Tree Gardens, nr Salisbury
How much: £130 (up £15)
Confirmed: The Antlers, Black Mountain, Django Django, Felice Brothers, Iron & Wine, The Low Anthem, The Mountain Goats, The New Pornographers, The Ruby Suns, The Unthanks, Wilco

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

One last note from our Indelicates gig, because there are photos.

Now playing

- Recommended albums! Archie Bronson Outfit's Coconut, in which their guttural blues-fuzz gains psychedelic wings. We did a TLOBF review, look it up. Mat Riviere's Follow Your Heart, out yesterday, messing up dark digital loops and electronics overlaid with stentorian commanding vocals. Takes a while and some effort, but the bedroom whirl like a darker Casiotone For The Painfully Alone reaps rewards. Love Ends Disaster!'s City Of Glass, only out through their own auspices at the moment, sounding much like what the second Bloc Party album should have done. Tindersticks' best and most cohesive album in years, Falling Down A Mountain. Sambassadeur's European, much like Camera Obscura but little the worse for that. Pavement's Quarantine The Past, because we're sensible.

- Funny how, when it was revealed, the identity of Summer Camp took people like us by surprise when on reflection and close listening (especially Round The Moon) that of one member should have been blatantly obvious. Here's the video to their forthcoming Moshi Moshi 7".

Summer Camp - Ghost Train (viral) from Paddy Power on Vimeo.

Note one of the increasing prevalences of 'Viral' in the video title there. You can't just make a clip go viral through willpower. (Although being a secretive retro-modern blog band helps, s'pose)

- The Deirdres' post-twee pop cacophony came to a close early last year, since when two friendly but seperate camps have emerged. Of Mice And Mental Arithmetic, who also include factions of the less widely lauded Lardpony, have taken on a Canadian hue, so while there's still evident joy and gang vocals there's newly hidden depths to the way everything is arranged. Meanwhile Haiku Salut are three of the female members, an accordion, keyboards and lots of instrumental intrigue.

- Random Myspace find of the, er, period: Cocos Lovers, a Deal based octet of family members and spouses bridging the gap between the rousing nu-ness of your Noahs and Mumfords and the traditional folk end of the Spiers & Boden/Lau/Carthy family type, all reels with modern twists and warm harmonies.

- Christ alive, look at this.

Lone Wolf - Keep Your Eyes On The Road from Bella Union on Vimeo.

Our quasi-Gabriel is Lone Wolf, a project of Leeds' Paul Marshall, recently signed to Bella Union and with Napoleon IIIrd and members of Grammatics and Duels in his live band.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Italian men* in New York

South By South West gets underway again next Wednesday, and among the many, many bands playing (none of whom we can really link to tracks from this year as they're all streaming rather than downloadable, bar the torrents) are our old Bolognese friends A Classic Education. They're active too in their second trip to Austin, playing the Music For Listeners showcase on the 17th at Red House Pizzeria (also featuring Standard Fare), the official showcase at Friends Bar on the 18th (Kissaway Trail, Surf City, The Crookes, Laurel Collective)
and possibly The Music Gym on the 20th (Warpaint, Anti-Pop Consortium).

As well as playing last year's SXSW they seem to be going down well in US music conference world as they did CMJ last October where they played five shows in five days, including Brooklyn Vegan's party. They also took a few photos of themselves and what they saw and experienced in and around New York, which they've given to us as an exclusive. Except a few phone shots, all are taken by band member Giulia Mazza.

A Classic Education also play three shows in New York - Piano's on the 13th with Casiokids and Banjo Or Freakout, Bruar Falls on the 14th with Darren Hanlon and Cameo Gallery on the 15th with nobody we've heard of. Then they go back home and continue working on an album. The free single What My Life Could Have Been is still available from Holiday Records.

(* And a Canadian, we know)

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Bird noises

It's not Paul Ackroyd of The Wind-Up Birds' fault that his vocal sounds strangely like that of Niall O'Flaherty from Sultans Of Ping FC, but it's not something you want to have playing on your mind throughout. So sorry for introducing it to you at the outset. The Leeds band boast that they "write songs about car parks, and songs about pubs, and songs about work, and songs about escape." Theirs is a raw, caustically passionate clatter with Fall overtones especially on this track we've been cleared to post, although further listening reveals less often cited but still more than worthwhile reference points. Fans of mid-90s smart shambles Animals That Swim definitely need to look this way. They have a 7" out on Sturdy Records on 19th April. This isn't on it.

The Wind-Up Birds - The Night Soil

Donen dusted

Hostage to fortune, this whole heading scheme.

It must have been a week when we felt poetically and sardonically inclined, as we've been listening a lot to Adam Donen's new album Immortality, released this week. This is Donen's third release to be featured here; the first, in August 2007, was as leader of Alexandria Quartet, the first band to send badges with their CD, a record which we described as something that "either deals in poetic folk balladry or... trousers-on-fire railing against the day's ills in a style that reminds us of the Pogues and Whipping Boy." By October 2008 he'd formed Adam Donen and the Drought, whose As Our Parents Slowly Turn To Clay album came packed in a 32 page poetry booklet and we thought "clearly has a way with an elliptical allegories, equal parts cathartic howls and brooding mea culpas... and arranging it into a judiciously powered ragged folk-rock that variously recalls Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, the Waterboys, Whipping Boy and latter day British Sea Power... For something created with such exacting standards for what seems to be being painted as some sort of Coleridge of lit-rock setting, it's well worth investigating."

It's rather a surprise, then, that Immortality is post-grime ringtone R&B with a guest sixteen bars from Tinchy Stryder and co-vocal appearances from N-Dubz' Tulisa and an ex-Sugababe.

Just joking, it's yet more highly accomplished, poetically charged, mini-chamber orchestral brooding about love - it's mostly a breakup album underneath all the lyrical allusive qualities - and against modern nature. This time Donen has shrugged off the band set-up and makes his cracked vocal and folky guitar the very centrepiece no matter what range of instruments surround him, a fine work of self-production. And there's very little wrong with any of that.

Adam Donen - It's Over Now

Better to know

Thanks to everyone that came down on Thursday night for an excellent night's entertainment, for which we've been receiving some very appreciative feedback. Short of numbers through unavailability they may have been, but the Indelicates acoustic power trio still shone despite technical problems (and an impromptu late display of crash gymnastics) with a set mostly of highly promising material - here's a full band version of one - from their forthcoming second album Songs For Swinging Lovers, which has been mastered (they were in Berlin first thing that morning having picked up the master tape) and will be self-released in the very near future. They're next out and about at Manchester Ruby Lounge on the 18th March, with Chester and Bristol on the horizon as well as an appearance at Feeling Gloomy at Islington Academy 2 on 17th April. The Indelicates at a melancholia night? Really? Either they're going to improvise around Stars for half an hour or someone's taking a chance on booking. Cheers also to One Cure For Man and The Falling Leaves for sterling support.

For our part, the indieing refuses to stop. Three weeks tonight we're doing this, returning to the illustrative powers of Indiehorse:

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Music That Made... Standard Fare

Sheffield has been a fertile hunting ground for indiepop in the last couple of years, and here might well be its breakout band. Standard Fare are a trio who take inspiration as much from Orange Juice and the Lemonheads as your C86 brigade, and their debut album The Noyelle Beat, released March 29th on Thee SPC (preorder here), is capable of making you move and ruminate simultaneously, already a highlight of a not especially fallow year. They're playing a couple of shows at SXSW; later in the summer they're at Indietracks, and days before that they're playing our Indietracks warm-up show, of which more nearer the time. For the meantime, here's how they grew:

First single bought
Danny (guitar/vocals): Suggs - Cecilia
Emma (bass/vocals): Eels - Beautiful Freak
Andy (drums): I think the first single I bought was Nelly - E.I. Hah! oh dear, which is horrendous, completely different to what I listen to now...

First gig voluntarily attended:
Danny: The Stereophonics supported by Feeder; it was in Feeder's rock-ier days with Jon drumming and I thought they were the better band on the night. My two mates missed them 'cause they were too busy trying to get served for beer, they were pretty gutted.
Emma: I think it was Embrace in Sheffield and me and my best friend were being pushed around by all these big men with beer - not a nice experience.
Andy: I went to see Blink 182, in Birmingham. All the standing tickets had gone so we had to get sitting tickets instead, still really enjoyed it.

The record that most made you want to get into music:
Danny: Green Day - Dookie
Emma: Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
Andy: When I was young my mum played a lot of 80's rock around the house, really loud! Alot of AC/DC, I think the song I remember most is You Ain't Got a Hold On Me.

The three headliners at a festival you were curating:
Danny: Can they be from the past? If so then The Clash, The Buzzcocks and Nirvana. If not then The Lemonheads, Alkaline Trio and The Distillers ... I'm pretending they're still going.
Emma: From your blog it looks like we can take artists from the past in which case it would be Janis Joplin, Fleetwood Mac Tusk era and Sam Cooke. Contemporary artists would be The Cardigans, The Be Good Tanyas, and Blondie (on a Parallel Lines reissue tour).
Andy: The Clash, Jimi Hendrix and The Eagles

A song not enough people know about but everyone should hear:
Danny: Lemonheads - (The) Door; it's easily the pinnacle of epic rock songs, if people discovered it then there'd be air guitar battles going on everywhere, in the streets, in the supermarket, on the playground. It's honestly that good!
Emma: There's too many! I can't think of one song everyone should hear. The song 'Passing Through' by Dick Blakeslee (Pete Seeger version) was sung at my Grandfather's funeral and he sang it to his children and we sing it every year as a family where his ashes were buried. It's a very good song about life and death and makes me feel a lot.
Andy: The song is called William and it's by a band called 'The Others. The album was a strange find really, it was the artwork that attracted me to it, I'd not heard of them before. And now so glad that I decided to buy it.

A song you'd play to get people dancing:
Danny: Jimmy Eat World - The Authority Song
Emma: Candi Staton - Young Hearts Run Free
Andy: It would have to be Stevie Wonder - Superstition, you can't help but want to dance to this song.

The last great thing you heard:
Danny: Nat Johnson playing acoustic guitar live and using a loop pedal to layer up guitar parts, vocals and finger clicks, it was pretty damn impressive!
Emma: I've been listening to Electrelane again and their records are truly great! Especially No Shouts No Calls for the more accessible needing like me. And yes, Nat's pretty amazing too!
Andy: A d'n'b song produced by Netsky called I Refuse. I absolutely love this song, it's really well produced. The beat is what I'm most interested by, its not the usual generic d'n'b beat, and I think that's why I like it so much.

Your key non-musical influences:
Danny: Musical influences are a pretty huge part but otherwise, for me, it's probably still living in the small town I was born in and working in the quarry where generations of my family have worked; sometimes it's a great feeling of security, but other times it feels quite claustrophobic.
Emma: The past and the present. Richard from the Poison Girls gave me my first guitar and taught me the (Sex Gang Children) song I've Done It All Before. (Emma's mother was an early member of the anarcho-punks)
Andy: Will Ferrell, William Morris and William Shakespeare

Your favourite new artist:
Danny: The Runaway Kids. We saw them play the other day and the guy's voice and the whole early 90's punk-grunge sound they've captured, gave me that 'quick! I need to phone my brother! He needs to know how good these guys are!' feeling.
Emma: Allo Darlin' are fantastic live, I'm really loving seeing them.
Andy: I saw Exlovers last weekend, and I really enjoyed their set, really nice melodies!

Apparently recorded all of two and a half years ago, and at the mercy of a student TV director, recent single Fifteen:

Friday, March 05, 2010

Get your Rocks off

We appreciate this isn't the most pressing matter concerning British music broadcasting at this present moment, but it cannot pass without comment.

MTV2, bludgeoned over the years as it has been from heavily eclectic see-what-stickathon to Viewer's Choice adorned brouhaha to, oh, put some guitars on it and see what happens, has been renamed.



Of course MTV2's not been worth bothering with at all for a while, since 120 Minutes was taken off air apparently as a cost cutting measure, because cueing up two hours of videos at 1am was singlehandedly ruining the balance of trade. Zane Lowe's Gonzo, already long passed into for the sake of it cutting and editing with bells and whistles, is also going to be Loweless after its current run, so now you have the same channel as every other guitar-based slot. (Not counting the moment when NME TV seemingly thinks Mini Viva are as alternative as they come)

They might as well have called it MTV REAL MUSIC.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The last significant statement to be made for our next gig

Sweeping The Nation's fourth live outing is this Thursday, Leicester Firebug, £5 on the door (say hello), and we're very pleased to say The Indelicates are headlining. Reports from their gig last week in Liverpool say they're on good form, previewing songs from their imminent second album and playing family favourites from American Demo, like these two:

Two local bands support: One Cure For Man offer woozy, powerful melodic indie-rock, while, in a change to the published (on the poster) schedule, The Falling Leaves, who played Summer Sundae a couple of years ago, are power-pop with hints of shoegaze. Things kick off at 8pm. State your intentions on Facebook or

And coming up very soon, a couple of Sunday evenings out at Firebug:

28th March: Meursault, Stairs To Korea, Penfold Gate
11th April: Ice Sea Dead People, TBC, Logfox