Stamina levels suitably galvanised by another epic and dizzyingly fun Sŵn weekend, let’s approach this typically whistle-stop rambling tour of November’s live music highlights much as we would Sŵn; celebrating local brilliance and foraging for curiosities amongst the weird and unknown.
Nothing weird about ultra-prolific Japanese psych-rock behemoth ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE playing in a bar in Bridgend. On a Monday night (Hobos, 14th). Nope, hang on, that’s highly weird, yet fantastic. It’s cheap (£8 maximum) and has excellent support from longform psych improvisers BEAR-MAN. Oh, and Hawkwind’s Nik Turner might turn up and play because he lives down the road. Splendid. If Bridgend’s too much of a stretch, AMT play the Thekla on the 15th too. Further exploratory truffles can be uncovered in the no less unusual surrounds of Cathays’ Gower pub (28th), where the Rusty Trombone of God dudes follow up their fine Sŵn bill with prepared guitar and drum workouts from BIRCHALL/CHEETHAM DUO, manipulated feedback jams from DEAS & DENTON and R. SEILIOG. Trippy. Elsewhere, seek out multimedia polymath PEOPLE LIKE US, who turns her unrivalled skills in A/V plunderphonics to the horror genre in ‘Magical Misery Tour’ (Cube, 17th) and former PLU collaborator ERGO PHIZMIZ, who presents “electronic neur-opera” The Third Policeman, a feast of animation, music and interactive storytelling, over two nights at the Cube (9th, 10th).
More horizon-broadening stuff, again courtesy of Qu Junktions, at the same venue (16th), where Balkan themes are interpreted by The Ex’s ANDY MOOR and Cypriot electronic composer YANNIS KYRIAKIDES. Their take on Greek rembetika comes with Kyriakides’ film Varocha and support from Nalle and Scatter man Chris Hladowski’s psych trio THE FAMILY ELAN. Ace. Over at the Croft, more heavy psych treats; transcendental West African jam band GROUP INERANE, undeterred by their ATP performance going on ice, pair up with killer free noise pair FLOWER-CORSANO DUO for an unmissable night (29th). ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER returns swiftly to Bristol (Cube, 22nd) with an A/V collaboration with filmmaker Nate Boyce, an apparently career-best new set of meditative, lo-fi sampledelia and support from Planet Mu alumnus HYETAL. Finally, for now, there’s coal-black mutant jazz from Norway’s very awesome SHINING (Fleece, 6th).
There’s lots of excellent new releases about from Cardiff’s best and brightest, and on the back of some triumphant Swn shows a few of them take the metaphorical champagne bottle across the bow this month. TRUCKERS OF HUSK celebrate the release of ‘Accelerated Learning’ on Shape at Clwb (26th), and if it’s half as rumbustuous as O’Neills was last week it’ll be a treat. Not least because RIGHT HAND LEFT HAND, who slayed Swn themselves and whose ‘Power Grab’ should be bought, now, by everyone, support. As do yer Bear-Man. KUTOSIS, meanwhile, have ‘Fanatical Love’ birthed on the 14th by Barely Regal, and launch it not once but twice with a gig at Clwb (11th, EFFORT among the supports) and a playback of the videos created for each song at Chapter Moviemaker (7th). Their joint tour with SAMOANS, meanwhile, takes in the Croft (13th). Also on the 11th, SCIENCE BASTARD unveil ‘Pull Tiger Death Cord’ with a freebie show at Le Pub; they also support returning heroes FUTURE OF THE LEFT who bring forth new material at Clwb (20th). SATURDAY’S KIDS are on that bill too, one of the month’s best. Another sees LOS CAMPESINOS! touring with Ukraine-wasting nutbar geniuses STRANGE NEWS FROM ANOTHER STAR; the ensuing chaos serves to promote LC!’s ‘Hello Sadness’ album, and calls at the Globe (9th). ISLET aren’t, sadly, trailing a new album – yet – but play Buffalo (23rd) with pictish scruffs DOLFINZ and the lopsided clatter of HIS NAKED TORSO.
Away from the local heroes, it’s a bit of a cracking month for quality live tackle in the capital. THROWING MUSES are a bit of a coup for Swn, and should make the air fair crackle with intensity in the intimate setting of the Gate (8th). Watch out for the GIGCLASH though, as the same dudes bring you tender, wounded love songs and sleepy/druggy West Coast pop classicism care of San Francisco’s GIRLS (Globe, 8th) on the same night. Bummer, I believe, is the expression, a sentiment perhaps shared by Cardiff-based fans of DANANANANAYKROYD; no sooner had I plugged the Bristol date of their farewell tour than the lovable math-pop scamps had added a bonus date (Undertone, 5th) with DRAINS in tow. Top sweaty fun in prospect there, as there surely will be when MARIACHI EL BRONX swing by Clwb (27th), even if their day-job incarnation aren’t appearing this time. JOSH T. PEARSON is another whose show moves to Clwb from the Globe (24th); on sparkling, hilarious between-song form at End Of The Road, that should be a treat. Less predictable, but potentially great, is GHOSTFACE KILLAH (Solus, 6th). Such a shame that’s not in Clwb, too, but on his day he should rip it up anyway. WISE BLOOD, rescheduled from summer, brings his dextrous cut ‘n’ paste pop to Undertone (18th).
Plenty of big stuff happening over the bridge. DOOM returns to Bristol with another showcase of his multifarious pseudonyms; the best rapper of his generation appears at Motion (15th), while over at Start The Bus there’s a chance to see SHABAZZ PALACES, capping a remarkable rebirth from Daisy Age obscurity with Digable Planets with his first UK tour (22nd). EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY take their textbook quiet-loud post-rock to the big stages (o2 Academy, 20th), a big step up considering that WILD BEASTS are only playing the Anson Rooms (19th). Both ought to be good, of course. OKKERVIL RIVER have slowly become rabble-rousing main stage gold in a way Bright Eyes never really managed; they’re at the Trinity (21st), while BESNARD LAKES’ slow-burn rootsy indie-rock should sell well at the Thekla (21st) the same night and BON IVER will have the 4×4 crowd going wild in the aisles at the Colston Hall (11th). Rather than the latter, spend the 11th in the company of ST VINCENT, whose US jaunt with our own CATE LE BON in support crosses the pond; they’re at the Fleece (11th) for the nearest thing to a triumphant homecoming. Also recommended: redoubtable gentle giant of folk-blues WILLIAM ELLIOTT WHITMORE (St Bonventures, 15th), wrought, emotional indie-rockers THE ANTLERS (Thekla, 9th), Belle & Sebastian guitarist and total chap STEVIE JACKSON’s solo debut (Thekla, 11th) and Constellation’s SISKIYOU (Cube, 12th, with SILVER PYRE).
More Cardiff stuff! Gathered In Song have landed a bit of a coup with American Music Club’s MARK EITZEL’s return to Cardiff alongside alt-country troubadour RICHARD BUCKNER (Buffalo, 9th) and they also have ex-Grand Drive man DANNY & THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD (Globe, 14th). Italian garage/shoegaze dudes THEE PIATCIONS have their postponed show rescheduled at Buffalo (21st) with Laura Bryon of King Alexander’s new band TENDER PREY opening. Ace Fence Records folkster ROZI PLAIN returns (10 Feet Tall, 28th) as do decidedly un-folky Leicester sociopaths DIET PILLS (Gower, 18th, with SPIDER KITTEN and more). Satisfy your noise jonesing further in the company of sludgy Londoners PALEHORSE, skronky mathrock types NITKOWSKI and those STRANGE NEWS fellows (Clwb, 3rd) or TALL SHIPS (Undertone, 10th), or for something a little danceable check Kitsune’s CITIZENS playing 10 Feet Tall with the ace HEMME FATALE (16th) or indiepoppers WAKE THE PRESIDENT (Undertone, 19th).
What else? Lots. Sleek electro-pop goodness from NEON INDIAN (Cooler, 19th), or maybe thumpingly direct polyrhythmic Animal Collective fun from FIXERS (Start The Bus, 19th). PURE X offer a pretty intriguing amalgam of gluey shoegaze guitars and airy 60s pop structures which could either be great or an indulgent mess live, decide for yourselves (Thekla, 7th). There’s supercute gossamer indiepop from CULTS (Thekla, 17th), shuddering mathy hardcore from ICE, SEA, DEAD PEOPLE (Croft, 19th), neon Fairlight disco classicism from AZARI & III (Blue Mountain, 3rd), woozy falsetto lo-fi from GARDENS & VILLA (Thekla, 5th) and hearty stop-start indie-rock care of PORTUGAL. THE MAN (Louisiana, 19th). There’s also some preposterously strong bills over at Motion, with EROL ALKAN, HUDSON MOHAWKE, JON HOPKINS, WASHED OUT and more (12th) and JOKER, MARTYN, NATHAN FAKE and JAMES HOLDEN all on one bill (25th). That’s before we even mention a slew of perma-touring types making swift returns to Bristol, namely MELVINS (Thekla, 4th), DJ SHADOW (Academy, 28th), BILLY BRAGG (Anson Rooms, 28th), JESSE MALIN (Fleece, 29th), WIRE (Thekla, 29th) and JAMES BLAKE (Anson Rooms, 29th). Ridiculous. Frankly, there’s loads more – see the listings section for ample proof – but that should be enough to keep you going. Word to the wise: December’s dead, so make the most of it.