It feels like it was only last week when I was writing my last column in the midst of festival season and the usual summer gig drought, but it’s most definitely autumn now and we’re swimming in gigs and new releases so I won’t waste any more time, and get straight to previewing what’s coming up…
I’ve been waiting a while for Post War Glamour Girls to come out with a release after they quickly built a solid reputation with their live show. They finally announced plans to release a double A-side vinyl on Sturdy Records, which came out this Monday, and features the tracks 'Ode To Harry Dean' and 'Spitting Pearls'. The band are blessed with two characteristic vocalists; Alice provides a serene, calming element to the music, and is the perfect counterpart to James’ booming, dominant voice, which I struggle to comprehend is produced by such a young man. On 'Ode To Harry Dean' they battle it out over a stormy post-punk racket akin to The Pixies or Modest Mouse, which explodes under the aggressive rage. Whereas the two vocalists are in a more harmonious state on ‘Spitting Pearls’, a more sombre and broodier affair, which gradually ascends towards a swirling electric crescendo. Both tracks twist unpredictably and are more than capable of leaving a mark upon the listener – I’m looking forward to hearing lengthier releases from them. There’s a celebratory launch gig on Wednesday 12th at the Brudenell Social Club with a top line-up that also features Heart-Ships and Moody Gowns.
The weekend of 14-16th October is a busy one thanks to the sixth Brainwash Festival which has constantly offered great line-ups for a fair price. This year is no different and begins with Dananananaykroyd, playing The Library one final time as part of their funeral march, and also features Castrovalva playing beforehand. The Saturday and Sunday sees the Brudenell Social Club inundated with great bands such as The Phantom Band, The Icarus Line, Lite, Tubelord, alongside many of the finest local names such as Paul Thomas Saunders, Shark Teeth (formerly known as Blood Oranges - blame Dev Hynes), and Idea Shower. There’s far too many great bookings for me to do the weekend justice in one paragraph, so take a look at the wide-ranging line-up and ticket details here.
Hunting Bears who play the Sunday:
Lively Wakefield four-piece The Spills release their debut LP Occam's Razor at the end of October on the reliable Philophobia Records. The punchy 10 song album was tracked predominantly live to vintage analogue equipment, and the compelling drumming is prominent in the mix. They've obviously been keen admirers of Malkmus' back catalogue and along with an abundance of riffs, there’s enough healthy fuzz to generate create some cerebral pins and needles. Inspiration could also be linked back to recent releases from the likes of The Antlers, The National, and local cohorts Runaround Kids, so if that sounds like your bag there's a special launch gig at Wakefield's Chantry Chapel on October 28th.
Another new band that have emerged with a strong debut single and an impressive launch gig to boot are Cave Birds, who release ‘Some Lighting Thrill’ through Plumpton Presents on 7th November. It is a slick piece of glamorous rock and roll, complete with big choruses that flash slivers of light onto the dark, moody verses whilst demonstrating knowing pop sensibilities. The launch gig takes place on November 9th at Oporto where Cave Birds will be joined by Arthur Rigby & the Baskeryvlles, Me & My Friends, and Belleville, plus it’s free!
Constellations Festival returns for a second birthday on November 12th in it’s Leeds University Union home. The top of the room hopping all-dayer features Wild Beasts, The Antlers, Yuck, and Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks. Further down the line-up are plenty of decent local bands at the louder end of the spectrum that have been mentioned on this column before, such as Double Muscle, Hookworms, and Eagulls. Also look out for Stalking Horse, the new band of ex-This Et Al frontman Wu, who I heard played a fantastic set of textured rock last week. Full line-up and details are here.
Spectrals will also be playing:
October 16th – Leeds Met Uni – The Horrors + Toy
October 22nd – Empire – Humanfly + Double Muscle + False Flags + Normal Man + more…
October 22nd – Jumbo Records – Lanterns on the Lake + Ellen & the Escapades + Serious Sam Barrett
October 27th – Brudenell Social Club – Lucid Dream + Dead Sons + Buffalo Bones
October 29th – Nation of Shopkeepers – Fucked Up
November 2nd – Irish Centre – The Melvins
There are not only great gigs going on, Leeds International Film Festival takes place throughout November and at the time of writing they have announced intentions to screen Pulp documentary, 'The Beat Is the Law – Fanfare For The Common People', as well as Sigur Rós concert film 'Inni'. The full programme can be viewed here.
Brudenell Social Club
There’ll be very few people in Leeds who can claim to having seen as many decent local and touring bands in the last 10 years than Nathan Clark, manager/promoter of Hyde Park’s Brudenell Social Club, so I thought it’d be wise to grab a few words from him. For those unfortunate enough to be unfamiliar with the Brudenell Social Club (hello freshers!), it’s a venue famed for it’s diverse but high calibre gig listings, and loved for it’s cheap yet well-kept bar. Many household names have cut their touring teeth on the venues’ (recently enlarged) stage, and October and November’s listings are no exception – one week in November sees the legendary Thurston Moore playing in the same week as an 80s extraordinaire night, which has Black Lace playing live and also features some Bullyseye and Stars in their Eyes! Here’s what Nathan had to say about the local scene…
Who are your favourite local artists in the Leeds scene and why?
Admittedly I don't have any particular local artists that represent 'favourites', but generally feel that the standard of music output is very high in Leeds across the board and more diverse than a lot of other cities at the moment. It is a true melting pot of genres, which has possibly made it hard for outsiders to give it a tag, or align it to a particular genre, which is definitely a good thing. Look at the entire spectrum across the board, from more progressed stalwarts such as Bilge Pump, That Fucking Tank and Vessels, to the consistency of artists such as Cowtown, I Concur, Hope & Social, Eureka Machines, Humanfly and so on, whose standard is always high. Newer outfits like Hookworms, Eagulls, Circles, No Guts and the very young Hunting Bears are ones to watch also. As I say, it’s a true mix, and even if I personally don't 'love' each band, I can clearly see that the quality and musicianship is there.
With your job you must've seen a lot of local bands live this year, which ones have you enjoyed the most?
It’s so difficult to pick, but locally in 2011 a few people have stood out such as Paul Thomas Saunders, who has been pretty amazing every time he has played, and his performance with Low earlier in the year was spellbinding. Hookworms have exploded on the scene, and are one of my personal favourites as they tick all the 'kraut-psych' boxes I love. Sam Airey never fails to capture the attention and definitely deserves to be heard by everyone. Lone Wolf captivated a virtually sold out Brudenell in January, definitely a special evening for him. The Rent Boys have possibly provided us with the most 'fun' gig, RIP those giant teddy bears.
What has been your favourite release by a local artist this year, and are there any forthcoming ones that you’re looking forward to?
Why such difficult questions?! I'm looking forward to the Stalking Horse album being released. I've already had the opportunity to hear it, so I can tell you it’s something to look forward to. Also, the new That Fucking Tank album is genuinely powerful. Nope is another super combo featuring Andy Abbott and John Nash and also Gus of Mucky Sailor, they've been recording, and live it has two drummers, so its sure a visual band with rhythmic beat patterns that make you want to groove. Honour Before Glory's 'Broken Lines' released in July. Spectrals’ debut LP ‘Bad Penny’ is released this month on Witchita, so fingers crossed that comes good also. I've not heard the full album as yet, but it’s promised a lot since they sprung up on us a while ago and have gathered good national momentum. Lots of great EP's released by so many of the names already mentioned, but overall there isn't one I'm going hang my hat on, all I can safely say is that it’s been a productive and fruitful year for Leeds musically.
Finally, for this column I’ve put together a little streaming playlist featuring a bunch of the artists mentioned above and some other recent bits and bobs from around the city including a new track from the new Juffage EP ‘Small Fires’, some dangerously addictive riffage from Idea Shower, and a sample of Harry Johns’ awesome new solo project.