Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Coming attractions: Bushstock

WHAT: Communion's all-dayer over four venues in Shepherd's Bush, handpicking new(ish) folk and associated intrigue
WHEN: 2nd June
WHERE: St Stephen's Church, Defectors Weld, Shepherds Bar and Ginglik
HOW: £27.50
WHO: Daughter, Dog Is Dead, Let's Buy Happiness, Mystery Jets, Alessi's Ark, Jamie N Commons, Lanterns On The Lake, Silent Devices, Bastille, Raghu Dixit, Fionn Regan, Matthew And The Atlas, Paul Thomas Saunders

Monday, May 21, 2012

Coming attractions: No Direction Home

WHAT: End Of The Road goes north, heads to the start of the season rather than the end and reconnects with its smaller-scale roots
WHY: Because they know how to run a niche festival and have brought some of their old friends along to help out
WHEN: 8th-10th June
WHERE: Welbeck Abbey, near Worksop
HOW: Weekend tickets £105
FRIDAY: Dirty Three, The Low Anthem, Diagrams, Peaking Lights, Austra, Django Django, Veronica Falls, Lanterns On The Lake, Dad Rocks!, Wet Nuns,

SATURDAY: Andrew Bird, Gruff Rhys, David Thomas Broughton, Other Lives, Beth Jeans Houghton, The Cornshed Sisters, Joe Gideon & The Shark, Euros Childs, Woodpigeon, Liz Green, Martin Simpson

SUNDAY: Slow Club, The Wave Pictures, Richard Hawley, The Unthanks, Spectrals, Martin Carthy, Zulu Winter, Nat Johnson & the Figureheads, The Crookes

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Coming attractions: Nice Weather For Airstrikes Festival

WHAT: Post-rock (and associated genres) three-dayer as part of Brighton Fringe
WHEN: 27th-29th May
WHERE: Druids Arms, Ditchling Road, Brighton
HOW: Free. Nothing. Gratis
FRIDAY: &U&I, Fall of Messiah
SATURDAY: Three Trapped Tigers, You Slut!, Alright the Captain, Theo
SUNDAY: Her Name is Calla, Monsters Build Mean Robots, T E Morris

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Coming attractions: The Apple Cart

WHAT: The boutique, family-friendlier self-answer to Field Day
WHY: High quality handpicked music, plus comedy, art, magic and a food market
WHEN: 3rd June
WHERE: Victoria Park
HOW: £35
WHO: Scritti Politti, Billy Bragg, Josh T Pearson, Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat, Adam Ant & The Good, The Mad & The Lovely Posse, Beth Jeans Houghton, Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Penguin Café, Marques Toliver, Noah & The Whale, Jamie N Commons, Gaz Coombes, Lianne La Havas, Stornoway, Marcus Foster

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Coming attractions: Field Day

WHAT: The hip kids of East London come out to play
WHY: There may be annual grumbles about sound/food/toilets and it may have the overwhelming air of 'those sorts', plus it's the same day as the great Long Division, but that location and that bill...
WHEN: 2nd June
WHERE: Victoria Park
HOW: £45
WHO: Mazzy Star, Liars, Andrew Bird, Tortoise, Friends, Franz Ferdinand, Summer Camp, Errors, Beirut, Toy, Gold Panda, Papa M, Sleigh Bells, Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard, Austra, Django Django, Theme Park, The Men, Grimes, Peaking Lights, Outfit, Zulu Winter, Baxter Dury, Citizens!, Revere, Metronomy, R. Stevie Moore, Here We Go Magic, When Saints Go Machine, Sunless 97, The Vaccines

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Coming attractions: Dot To Dot

WHAT: The touring day-long multi-venue festival takes on/over Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester
WHY: Every year they could just book whoever major labels throw at them, but instead there's always more than a sprinkling of fascinating, usually American names
WHEN: 2nd-4th June
WHERE: 2nd: Bristol O2 Academy, Thekla, Louisiana, Trinity, Fleece and Start The Bus
3rd: Nottingham Rock City, Rescue Rooms, Stealth, Bodega and Jongleurs
4th: Manchester Ritz, Deaf Institute, Academy and Sound Control
HOW: £20
WHO: Islet, Summer Camp, Willis Earl Beal, Friends (Nottingham only), Wavves, Pulled Apart By Horses, Beth Jeans Houghton (Bristol), Clock Opera, Hooray For Earth, Dog Is Dead, Cloud Nothings, Admiral Fallow, Willy Mason, Here We Go Magic (Bristol/Nottingham), Deaf Club, Hyde & Beast, 2:54 (Nottingham/Manchester), The Drums, Neon Indian (Manchester), Two Wounded Birds, The Internet, Swiss Lips, Mary Epworth, Lucy Rose, The Men (Manchester), Bastille, Patterns, Turbowolf

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Coming attractions: Liverpool Sound City

WHAT: More than 400 acts across 30 venues
WHY: Because Liverpool has no shortage of musical outlets and keenness to foster its history and reputation. Like its spiritual precursor, Manchester's In The City, there's also talks and conferences, including Arthur Baker in conversation with Nelson George (Friday 1pm) and a DIY label panel (Thursday 1.30pm) with Rich The Line Of Best Fit, John Brainlove, Whiskas Dance To The Radio, Alex Holy Roar and Shell Amazing Radio.
WHEN: 17th-19th May
WHERE: Across Liverpool
HOW: £45 for all the gigs, £150 for everything

THURSDAY: Slow Club, Still Corners, TOY, Willis Earl Beal, Death In Vegas, Ghost Outfi t, Willy Mason, Mystery Jets, Alt-J, Django Django, Jethro Fox, Alkaline Trio

FRIDAY: Clock Opera, Niki & The Dove, Eugene McGuinness, Jonquil, Post War Years, Eleanor Friedberger, Spring Off ensive, White Arrows, Still Flyin', Bear In Heaven, Slow Down Molasses, Wet Nuns, Swiss Lips


Tall Ships, Fixers, Ghostpoet, Let's Buy Happiness, The Wedding Present, Young British Artists, Sweet Billy Pilgrim, Theme Park, Algiers, The History Of Apple Pie, Hey Sholay, PINS, Goodnight Lenin, Space (!)

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


To note: the STN Tumblr has been relaunched at, and that's where you'll find the new tracks from now on, this blog left for more general news and feature stuff. Yes, there will actually be some of that. As a sideline Music Of Quality And Distinction has been launched to act as a repository for online vintage clips of interest.

In other news, following the Great Escape preview the other day STN and nine other UK bloggers have contributed to Hype Machine's artist picks feature. To elucidate on why you should trust our judgement for once:

DZ Deathrays (Saturday, 22:15, Horatios)
The album may be a touch undistinguished and one-thrash but live the pair intuitively spark like a sub-station

Friends (Thursday, 21:15, Horatios; Friday, 21:00, The Haunt)
They've got their cool-as-Brooklyn multi-handed slender while still full arrythmic percussive synth-funk on

Maybeshewill (Saturday, 22:15, Psychosocial Basement) (hmm, same time as DZ Deathrays, I seem to have been hoist by my own petard)
Newly live-expanded instrumental powerhouse capable of turnup-flapping volume next to passages of semi-ambient emotiveness

Niki & The Dove (Thursday, 22:15, Horatios)
Layered, aereated electronic pop oddness which for once makes more sense live where the atmosphere can turn mystic

Tall Ships (Saturday, 13:00, Pav Tav downstairs; Saturday, 22:15, The Hope)
Technically tricksy, hard-pumping loop-friendly complex riffola with the odd moment of becalmed beauty

Monday, May 07, 2012

Doctrines/A Fine Day For Sailing/The Holiday Crowd/Bear Driver

Taking the opportunity of the bank holiday for a bit of a clearout of accumulated new songs, three from bands new to STN, one who've had a couple of mentions down the years.

Doctrines - Climbing Yggdrasil (Everybody Loves Ray Kay)

From the new Big Scary Monsters sampler Making Music's For Pussies #001 (free with a T-shirt, which seems almost entirely wrong given the compilation includes Tall Ships, Shoes And Socks Off and Bear Cavalry), Manchester's Doctrines have just signed to the mighty Alcopop!, bringing with them hefty amounts of Japandroids' impacted ferocity, Titus Andronicus' bar-room cluster bombing and only just enough screamo for it not to matter too much.

None of these other three sound like that.

A Fine Day For Sailing - Little Places

Big melodic Sarah Records-like summer smash from indiepop bill mainstays with extra heroic solo trumpet voluntaries, out in limited numbers on May 16th.

The Holiday Crowd - Never Speak Of It Again

From Toronto, a moody jangle flitting somewhere between Cats On Fire's post-Smiths doomed romanticism and Echo & The Bunnymen-ish big room introspection.

Bear Driver - Enemy

Dialling back their previous reliance on strength in mini-grandiosity numbers Broken Social Sceneisms, the new single ahead of their June 11th self-titled debut album following more the Apples In Stereo/Built To Spill route of psyched out power-pop via a dense folky intuition.

Cantaloupe - Hubbub

From the Teapot EP, out June 25th, but more pertinently from the ashes of Nottingham local heroes Souvaris, comes a pulsing electro-Krautrock workout where the keyboard sounds might as well have come beamed direct from Tomorrow's World in 1982 but aren't retro-futurist at all, squelching and circuit board rewiring their way towards Holy Fuck-style crests of carefully textured countermelodies.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Coming attractions: The Great Escape

WHAT: Up to 15,000 people, 300 bands, 30 venues
WHY: It's become a one-stop shop for big names with something to prove to themselves, up and coming acts getting set for big summers and the little men fighting their corner
WHEN: 10th-12th May
WHERE: Across Brighton
THURSDAY: Maximo Park, Friends, Niki & The Dove, Jonquil, Toy, Mystery Jets, Eugene McGuinness, Zulu Winter, Django Django, Willy Mason, Cloud Nothings, Fever Fever, Deaf Club, Jamie N Commons, Bastille, Ben Kweller, Francois & The Atlas Mountains, White Arrows, Weird Dreams, Gross Magic, Cut Ribbons, Shabazz Palaces, Sunless 97, Gemma Hayes, Tribes, Gaz Coombes
FRIDAY: Friends, Jonquil, Rolo Tomassi, Clock Opera, The Twilight Sad, Grimes, Yacht, Alt-J, Chris T-T, Django Django, Weird Dreams, We Were Promised Jetpacks, The Temper Trap, Lianne La Havas, Cymbals, Citizens!, Stay+, Boxes, Hatcham Social, Dry The River, Friska Viljor, Tiny Ruins
SATURDAY: Willis Earl Beal, Perfume Genius, Maybeshewill, Slow Club, Micachu & The Shapes, Errors, Beth Jeans Houghton, Tall Ships, DZ Deathrays, Echo Lake, Booka Shade, Loney Dear, Hooded Fang, Admiral Fallow, Antlered Man, Hyde & Beast, We Are Scientists, The Crookes, Eagulls, Theme Park, Porcelain Raft, Hey Sholay, Alabama Shakes, Virals, Fanzine
HOW: £49.50 for three days

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Joanna Gruesome - Sweater

Yeah, they're called Joanna Gruesome. No, we didn't get over that whole name-almost-like-someone-famous motif. But that's beside the point when they sound like this Cardiff quintet who... well, who we're genuinely surprised to find we hadn't already written up on here, as they take the gloriously ragged 1997 post-Thurston sex-is-noise-is-confusion guitar sound and turn it back on the lo-fi hordes to rub their face in the dirt especially, indiepop vinyl bags (and indeed they're Indietracks-bound) close at hand for extra impact. This will be on an Art Is Hard records split 7" in June with Playlounge, Gum and KEEL HER.

Young British Artists - Salad Days

First thing: listen to that drummer go. Right from when we spotlighted them as tips for, cough, 2010 it's been evident they had a dark post-post-punk angle to bring to the nu-gaze party, and on this new single out on the 28th it feels like a constant pushing battle against the grain, more than a hint of The Walkmen subsumed in swirling pedal-pushing guitar textural swarms, sounding like they're racing against nothing so much as the passing of time.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Pris - A-Bomb In White Heat

It's been a while since we've heard from the sarkmistresses general, largely due to lineup changes. They're back and they've found a happy medium between their gradually creeping in bubblegum pop shapes and their back bedroom Waitresses ragged glory, big martial drumming, stripped back flashes of guitar and burbling synth, military jackets and not that much else going caustic hammer and tongs on East London scenesters. Just as you'd want.