acb: (icelandic post-rock)
I'm once again in Reykjavík, for the second time this year. There currently are strong winds howling outside. Maeve is here with me; it's her first visit to Iceland.

Last night, I saw Kraftwerk at the Harpa concert hall. On the way in, we were handed a pair of 3D glasses each; these were not the red/blue ones, but some other type (possibly polarising filters?). Our seats were in the third row, when we sat down, the curtain (on which a Kraftwerk logo was projected) looked far too close. Soon, though, a vocoded/synthesised voice announced “Damen und Herren, Ladies and Gentlemen...”, and the curtain fell slowly to the ground revealing the four members (Ralf and the three “new” guys, who've only been in the band for some 20 years) in position at their consoles, with video projections behind them; we had a great view. They played most of their big hits, the entirety of Die Mensch-Maschine, almost all of Computer World, a somewhat shorter version of Autobahn, and various tracks off Radioactivity, Trans-Europa Express, Tour de France and Expo 2000. The 3D visuals worked really well; in The Robots the rendered Kraftwerk robots' hands reached out from the screen (the effect only slightly compromised by the Kraftwerk members standing in front of the screen, ostensibly behind the projections); in It's More Fun To Compute, areas of colour in planes projecting from the screen, 3D musical notes flying into the audience, and more.
acb: (buttons)
I saw Loney Dear play at Majornas Missionskyrka, a small (Swedish state Lutheran?) church in the Gothenburg neighbourhood of Majornas. It was great; well worth flying to Sweden for.

The gig started early; doors opened at around 7, and people filed in and took their seats on the pews. It was sold out, so the church was full; I managed to get a seat somewhere around the fifth row, which meant not quite enough of an angle to get any good photographs, though given Loney Dear's dislike of stage lighting, that point was somewhat moot anyway. At about twenty past, the musicians filed in; shortly afterward, a woman went on and made an announcement (in Swedish), and the music started; Emil (the frontman of Loney Dear) playing 12-string guitar through a battery of loop pedals and singing, with the orchestra accompanying him. The accompaniments started subtly, but became more complex and intricate, adding a cinematic swirl to the intimate psychodrama of Emil's songs; they worked really effectively.

The musicians played for about an hour, before taking a bow and walking off stage, to which the audience responded with the tightest, most synchronised pre-encore clapping I had ever heard at a gig; I wonder if it's a Swedish thing (perhaps the pervasive music education programmes they have here stamp out sloppy timekeeping?), a large number of musicians in the audience or both. Anyway, the musicians returned and played two more songs.
acb: (indie rock)
Yesterday was the first day of Primavera. I saw:


  • The last 30 seconds or so of Wild Nothing; I arrived at the venue a good 15 minutes before they were due to start, but hadn't factored in the ticket exchange queue. They were OK from what I could tell.

  • about half of Savages set. They were doing the post-Joy Division dark-cathartic-post-punk thing, only with more danceable grooves. Is it time for another Goth micro-revival in the hipster hotspots yet?

  • About half of the Tame Impala set, from some distance from the stage. Not to worry; the visuals on the big screens were pretty trippy. I imagine they'd have been even better to see whilst on psychedelic drugs, or at least not surrounded by the ever-present hipster social chatter.

  • Do Make Say Think, from right near the stage. They were pretty good, being part of the post-rock generation of a decade or so ago, alongside GY!BE, Explosions In The Sky and such.

  • A bit of the Dinosaur Jr. set; I wasn't really into them the first time around (my dislike of grunge and its aesthetic of shittiness sort of left large areas of 90s alternative underexplored for a while; I never got into Pavement either). I recognised one song they did (it seems to have been a GenX slacker anthem of sorts), and then they went into their cover of The Cure's Just Like Heaven. They must have made a lot of early-middle-aged people wistfully happy.

  • Part of The Postal Service, who were better than I expected. Their material works better with live drums, guitars and such added; one song (This Place Is A Prison) sounded like, if you only added 2-3 minutes to the end, it'd be a Cure song; another one (a new one perhaps, seemingly about tagging things on social media) sounded a bit like New Order minus Hooky (or perhaps The Other Two plus Barney). They, of course, did all the crowd-pleasing romantic-comedy-for-robots songs they're loved for. Is the female vocalist in the duet Zooey Deschanel, by the way?

  • Computer Magic; a female singer playing keyboards (or one keyboard; the other one, the big synth with lots of knobs, seemed to be controlled by the MacBook, though she tweaked the knobs from time to time), along with a drummer. They were fairly decent, though not life-changing; I seem to recall their material having more rough edges a few years ago, but here it was polished electropop.

  • A few songs by Dead Skeletons. A new Icelandic band, sort of like a gothier Singapore Sling.


And also a bit of Deerhunter, Grizzly Bear, Fucked Up, Four Tet (who sounded more housy and less noodly than I remember) and Simian Mobile Disco. I left before Fuck Buttons and Animal Collective, though.
acb: (buttons)
Tonight, I went to the Veronica Falls gig at the Islington Assembly Hall. When I arrived, I was surprised to find that the first band on were “Debsey and Rachel”.
p1300379
It did turn out to be Debsey and Rachel from Dolly Mixture, much to my pleasant surprise. They only did about five songs, playing guitar and singing, taking turns on verses and doing harmonies in the choruses. I imagine they would have been an influence on The Softies (though Debsey seems to have had leanings towards a mid-1960s style).

(Debsey's more recent (i.e., 1990s) band, Birdie, are playing late in May; I won't be able to go, though I hope that they will play again.)

The other support band were Comet Gain; I'm not the biggest fan of them, but they played a few good songs (they opened with their answer to Orange Juice's You Can't Hide Your Love Forever, which one hears in DJ sets a fair bit). (I imagine those brought up on 1980s Scottish indie might get more out of them.)

Veronica Falls were great. They played a full set, and then did a 3-song encore. Right now, they'd be one of my five or so favourite London bands to see; they play a sort of angular indiepop, with influences in the Brooklyn C86 revival (think Vivian Girls/Crystal Stilts), surf rock and post-punk. They have two albums, and played songs from both; the new material sounds a bit sharper and tighter.

p1300395
acb: (buttons)
This weekend, I went to the London edition of the Chickfactor 20th anniversary gigs. The zine was founded in 1992, and consequently they've been organising commemorative gigs throughout this year. I had already attended (two nights of) the Brooklyn ones in April, largely because it was quite possibly my only chance to ever see The Softies play live (and it was worth it and then some, but that's another post). Anyway, Chickfactor had for a long time had a connection to London; it was founded by American indiepop kids, a subculture with an inherent Anglophilic streak (often coloured by a stylised, mildly anachronistic swinging-60s aesthetic; witness the summer dresses and severe Mary Quant bobs favoured by girls in the scene). One of the founders, Pam Berry (also of Black Tambourine) married an Englishman and ended up in London, while the other, Gail O'Hara, spent some time living in London in the early 2000s, and had a weekend festival, Mon Gala Papillons, at Bush Hall in 2004 (one of whose nights I ended up attending). So a London festival was only a matter of time.

I didn't go to the film screening (of Take Three Girls, the documentary about post-punk girl band Dolly Mixture, which I had seen before) on Friday, largely because I had already bought a ticket to the Rodriguez gig at the Roundhouse (which was great, incidentally). I went to the Saturday evening gig (back at Bush Hall, around the corner from where I used to live, but inconveniently far from everywhere else), and to the Sunday afternoon/evening gig, which was held at that haunt of London indiekids of a certain age, the Lexington.

Saturday's gig started off with Amor de Días, Lupe from Pipas' new project with her partner, Alasdair from The Clientele. It was as one might imagine; more languid and dreamy than the indiepop of Pipas, and redolent of the psychedelic folk of the Sixeventies in its languor. They were followed by the Would-Be-Goods, a band started by the teenaged Jessica Griffin in 1987, launched with a mildly saucy song about modelling for photographs, which they followed with some highly literate pop songs. The Would-Be-Goods have kept to the jangly indiepop formula for the most part, though have matured somewhat in their themes; whilst some songs are set in the language of youthful friendships and crushes that is the idiom of indiepop (Temporary Best Friend, for example), others anticipate old age and its miseries (Too Old, for example, a song which sits next to Platinum by their fellow él Records alumnus Momus in the canon of starkly, heartrendingly beautiful meditations on the passing of time and all of its crimes). Shortly after the Would-Be-Goods' set finished, the room started to pack out in anticipation of The Aislers Set. They did not disappoint; they tore the roof off the place, much as they had done in Brooklyn. The evening was rounded off with The Pastels, who played a mostly mellow set.

Sunday started with The Starfolk, a husband and wife duo from the US, who played a guitar-driven pop. They were followed by Harvey Williams and Josh Gennet (who had been in a band named Holiday in the US), who played a selection of songs (mostly Harvey's, with some of Josh's and some covers of female singer-songwriters; their version of Broadcast's “Colour Me In” was lovely). Harvey hadn't been busy at work on new material, though had one recent song (“Quiet Domesticity”, a paean to staying at home) and had updated The Girl From The East Tower with a verse about the aforementioned girl losing her job (which turned out to have been at the BBC, where Harvey also works) due to not willing to relocate to Salford. The Real Tuesday Weld played a set a bit later, and had morphed into a more swing style in the years between their initial dealings with Chickfactor and now. They were followed by Pipas; it was great to see them, and hear them play their new song, though their set was somewhat more shambolic than the one in Brooklyn. The night was rounded off with The Tender Trap, Amelia Fletcher's band, who rocked harder than I expected; stand-up drums, skronky guitars and female vocal harmonies, backing vocals themed with the old youthful themes of boyfriends and girlfriends and such; Amelia seems to do such pop better than the more grown-up themes and mellow sounds of her previous Tender Trap albums.

One thing that was inescapable at the Chickfactor gig was a sense of the passage of time. It was the 20th anniversary of a zine from the golden age of zines (after desktop publishing made them cheap and quick, but before the internet made them redundant as a means of communication) and arguably of a certain type of indiepop, and many of those who were involved back in the day are approaching or well into middle age, often with children. (The drink coasters printed for the US dates read “doing it in spite of the kids”.) It was interesting to see how the indie kids of yesteryear squared their love of and identification with an intrinsically youthful genre with their age and adult roles in life. Harvey Williams wrote a song, with the dry wit familiar to those who remember Another Sunny Day and his solo album on Shinkansen, about the mild joys of not going out (a contrarian stance which parallels the anti-machismo of his youthful work, along with that of his peers). Jessica Griffin, who (whilst presumably still in her 30s) wrote a sad song about the ravages of aging, commented that she doesn't expect to be still doing this sort of thing in ten years' time, while Amelia Fletcher has taken the opposite route, embracing the formalism of indiepop as ballads of youth in the vinyl record age (her band's previous album was titled Dansette Dansette, after a 1960s-vintage record player), said that she can see herself singing songs about boyfriends and girlfriends when she's 80.

Anyway, photos are being posted to the usual place. I managed to get some video with my iPhone, which is currently in the slow process of being uploaded to YouTube. (At time of writing, the first day's up.)

acb: (jukebox)

Last night, I made a return to putting gigs on. So far, a once-off, though there may well be more gigs in the future.

I put on a gig by Laura Macfarlane (of Ninetynine), as well as Hong Kong In The 60s and Hissing At Swans, at the Betsey Trotwood in Clerkenwell. It went splendidly, despite getting off to an inauspicious start.

We had a sound engineer, a woman named Cynthia, whose presence had been organised by the venue. Whilst setting up, she noticed that the cables were dusty, and having heard that the pub had had asbestos taken out of a wall elsewhere in the building, refused to go on just in case the dust was asbestos. (Which was unlikely, as that had been elsewhere in the building, and furthermore had been completed by professionals.) So we found ourselves without a sound engineer. Luckily, the venue owner was able to get the guy who fitted the sound system to come down and set things up, after which Laura (who has done sound engineering in studios) and Tim from HK60s took turns at the mixing deck.

The bands all played excellently. Hissing At Swans had ukuleles, a drum and video projections, as well as a few new songs, and were lots of fun. Hong Kong In The 60s played what may have been their best set so far (the rendition of the intricate instrumental Garma off their free Places EP was breathtaking). And Laura was brilliant; playing a borrowed guitar, glockenspiel and Casio keyboard, she put on an amazing show, playing songs from throughout Ninetynine's career, from Super 8 and Wöekenender to the new album over beats from her iPhone. Seeing her play The Process was one of the highlights of the year for me; it instantly took me back to the Punters' Club in 2002.

Between sets, I DJed, spinning a choice of tunes falling in the spaces between indiepop, exotica, understated electropop and similar. In the middle of the set, the girl who works behind the bar asked me what my night was called; she said that she liked the sort of "twee electronica" (her words, though I'm not disputing them) I was playing. Which led me to start thinking that perhaps I should make a regular night of this.

my DJ set )
acb: (melbourne tram)
I saw what will almost certainly be my last ever Lucksmiths gig last night.* And my second-last-ever one the night before.

They played at the Luminaire on Tuesday night, and the Scala last night. The audience was a mixture of expatriate Australians (not the bogans you find here who consider JJJ to be "alternative", the good ones) and the usual indiepop kids from London and all over England. They played a lot of their songs, and I was chuffed to hear my favourite one, Transpontine, on Tuesday.

I took my cameras, of course, and also took an audio recorder I recently bought. The nice thing about it is that it fits into a top jacket pocket with only the twin microphones unobstrusively protruding, and can get quite passable recordings. Anyway, here's a video from the Luminaire gig, with audio from the audio recorder.

There was an afterparty at the Lexington (a bar/pub/venue where a lot of the twee pop kids and Upset The Rhythm lo-fi noise hipsters hang out these days); I went there, and stayed until 3am, getting home as it was getting light.

Anyway, it was great to see them again, and a bit sad that a Melbourne institution is coming to an end; it's like the Punters' Club all over again.

* Well, not counting the possibility of my finding myself unexpectedly in Australia in the next few months, or indeed the possibility of them reforming in 20 years' time and playing a tour for former Fitzroy/Carlton coolsies, now working as executives in publishing firms and managers at arts institutions.
acb: (buttons)
One thing you can do more easily in Britain than in Australia is hop on a train to see a band in another town later that evening; partly because Britain has trains which run at more or less reasonable frequencies and partly because there are other cities with interesting music scenes within two hours' travelling time. Anyway, this is what I did last night, going up to Derby to see The Deirdres' possibly last ever gig. (Well, last before three of their members go abroad for some months.)

Having heard about it at somewhat late notice, all the cheap tickets for the direct train were long gone, and so I booked a ticket on a cheaper route, which involved catching a train going towards Carlisle, getting off at Tamworth (a small town in the Midlands where two railway lines cross each other at a split-level railway station), and catching the next train to Derby. I did this, arriving at about 20:30, and catching a cab to the B&B I was booked into. (The B&Bm, incidentally, was alright; I booked a small attic room for £20, and this was good enough. Though the wireless internet they advertised seemed to be switched off at night, and the "full English breakfast" included in the cost took so long that I ended up leaving without it to catch my train.)

Anyway, the Deirdres gig was great. It was all themed around things that hibernate, and at the door, one had to name something which hibernates, which would then be drawn on one's wrist in lieu of a stamp. The band members were all in appropriately themed animal costumes; there was a caterpillar/butterfly, a hedgehog, a bear, and a few others. (One member, Keir, was out of costume; his costume was meant to be a computer, but apparently broke; he said it was because it was a Windows PC and not a Mac.) Their performance was much like the others I have seen; on the surface, it looked ramshackle and chaotic, but the musicianship holding it together was impressively tight, and, of course, there was the usual exuberantly ecstatic vibe to it, not too unlike I'm From Barcelona (only without the balloons or confetti).

They also screened the debut of the video of Milk Is Politics, between the second and third support bands. The video's theme has little to do with the song title or its lyrics, instead being a somewhat twee, slightly silly adventure concerning eggs. It's pretty much what you'd expect a Deirdres video to look like, and is rather ace.

Btw, Gemma and Sophie of the Deirdres are going to be in Melbourne for two months (from January to the start of March); hopefully they'll get to do some gigs then. (I could totally see them on a bill with, say, Aleks & The Ramps or The Motifs.)
acb: (Default)
This evening, I trekked out to deepest darkest Richmond to see Momus' performance at the Richmond Lending Library. (This was the second ever performance in a public library I had seen; the previous one was also by Momus, only somewhere around Balham or Tooting, in the southernmost reaches of the Northern Line.)

img_8989
This performance, which I only found out about yesterday, was ostensibly about the restless spirits trapped inside books. Momus (attired all in black, including a hood) introduced himself as "Hieronymus Proctor", a Scottish spiritualist, and then invited attendees (of whom there were perhaps 10) to choose books at random and read a sentence from them, which he then would spin into a tangent, philosophical reflection or evidence of eldritch and unholy things beyond the veil between worlds. Oh, and he also performed a few songs, including Beowulf, and a new piece he's working on with one of the chaps from Gay Against You. The new piece sounded really good, btw; a bit like Talkshow Boy or something. I look forward to hearing the album.

Momus will be back in London in late June, when he will be wandering the south bank of the Thames and telling tourists that they're in Tokyo or something like that. Which should be worth going along to.
acb: (buttons)
The Pikelet gig went really well. We didn't sell out, but we filled the room comfortably, and there was a very good vibe there. People were really enjoying the music, both the support acts (Red Bulldozers and The Crisps) and Pikelet herself (the room was completely silent as she played, and when she finished each song, there was mass applause).

The acts themselves: Red Bulldozers (aka local singer-songwriter Ken Chu) was pretty good, in an understated way, though played a rather brief set, not being able to get his laptop working for some of the backings and thus doing mostly guitar-based numbers. He played quite skilfully, and should be one to watch. The Crisps were pretty good, in a slightly folky sort of way. And Pikelet was amazing to behold; she would sit down in front of the microphone, grab a floor tom, tap out a rhythm, and when the loop pedal played it back, tap out something else on a snare, or add some guitar or accordion or vocal harmonies (often in several layers), thus building up a wall of sound, which she would then sing a song over. As you can imagine, all conversation had stopped as people watched what she'd do next.

[livejournal.com profile] teamwoolf came by and did an ace job at the door/merch table; thanks. Meanwhile, I spent most of the gig in the DJ booth, spinning tunes between sets.

here's what I played )

But yes, it was a great night. Anyway, for those who missed it, Pikelet's playing support for Darren Hanlon on Wednesday night; if you want a ticket, hurry, as it's going to sell out.
acb: (ukelele)
Here are details of the gig I'm putting on:

16/5/2007: a night of electropop in North London )
acb: (Default)
This evening, I went to see the DJ/VJ duo Coldcut's tribute to Robert Anton Wilson.

It was at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, a 1960s-vintage concert hall near Waterloo Station. The audience filtered into the theatre, where one of the members of the outfit (the chap who, with his shaved head and vermillion robes looked somewhat shamanic) DJing on a set of decks on stage, just playing a DJ set. Then the lights went down and the curator of the Ether series (a series of electronic-music performances of which this was a part) went on and gave an introduction. He then introduced an older gentleman with splendidly bushy eyebrows, who turned out to be Kenneth Campbell, the author/producer of the original 1977 (or so) play of Illuminatus!. He recounted a number of anecdotes: how the play came about (after another chap found the part of Liverpool which Carl Gustav Jung dreamt of, acquired a property there and established the Liverpool Science Fiction Theatre), how his old Latin master, quite a character in himself, ended up doing much of the scripting, and more. He was an entertaining raconteur.

Then he left the stage and the music came on: it was a mix of ambient electronica, with elements of dub and shoegazer, and fragments of Wilson's lectures/recordings dubbed over that, along with topical visuals, processed, layered and mashed up in quintessential Coldcut fashion. The music was divided into four segments, with different themes: Wilson's life, conspiracies, reality tunnels, Timothy Leary's 8-circuit model of human consciousness, Aleister Crowley, Terence McKenna's 2012 singularity, and so on.

In between the segments, Campbell came out and talked more, introducing other guests. The first was the set decorator of his play, who legendarily went out to get some Araldite and then disappeared, and who was none other than Bill Drummond. He went on, seeming perhaps a bit drunk, and talked about how Illuminatus! seems to have affected his life despite him not intending it to; he mentioned rereading it recently (after getting the commission to appear tonight), and finding it a different book than when he read it in the 70s and 80s.

Then on came Alan Moore, who sat down and read a passage from Masks of the Illuminati (the drug trip at the end, where Crowley doses Joyce and Einstein with some psychoactive substance), and later a poem about Wilson and his life and work (which, I presume, he wrote for the occasion).

Anyway, it was very interesting, both the talks and anecdotes and the music and visuals. Now I'm thinking I should reread my copies of Illuminatus! and Cosmic Trigger. (The fact that they're in storage in Australia doesn't help, though.)
acb: (buttons)
I'm From Barcelona were ace.

It was much as the previous gigs, only with a few more new songs. They had the whole spectacle: the entrance to the sound of a Queen sample, the several enormous balloons inflated and thrown into the crowd, who kept them flying like a game of volleyball, the bags of confetti. The band were attired in their slightly cartoonish hipsterwear, and Emanuel was his usual charismatic self, even crowd-surfing on one occasion. The new songs were pretty good; there was one (just performed by 3 members) about making friends with grizzly bears (influenced by the film The Grizzly Man), and one inspired by The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou; and the band got up to their old tricks and broke into reggae towards the end of one song.

There was lots of audience participation, with the audience being invited to sing certain words, clap, and play kazoos, as well as batting balloons around. There was a really friendly vibe.

The support band, Irene, were excellent as well; somewhat smaller, and not quite as over-the-top, but in a similarly joyous indiepop vein.

I want to know what they put in the water in Sweden, and where I can get some.
acb: (indie rock)
This evening, I went to the Piano Magic/July Skies/Epic45 gig at the Luminaire. It was great; all three bands are really good (if you like atmospheric shoegazey music).

July Skies played some songs from The English Cold, their concept album about the shadow of war over the English countryside in 1939, as well as some new songs which will end up on a new album, due out next year (finances permitting). The new songs were pretty good, and I look forward to hearing the new album.

The Piano Magic set was great. They started off with I Am The Sub-Librarian, following into No Closure, and taking it from there. Think driving grooves, vocal harmonies and the odd wall of oddly melodious howling guitar. One new song they had was titled England's Always Better (as you're pulling away), which started off sounding a bit like Black Box Recorder and then went into somewhat darker Piano Magic territory; it was basically their attempt at that classic theme, the malaise-at-the-heart-of-Englishness song. As this was their 10th anniversary gig, there was a brief interruption between songs as some members of the audience presented the band with a chocolate cake (which, after the gig, was cut into slices and made available at the bar) and sang Happy Birthday. Then the band resumed, playing Password (complete with its massive buildup of an ending).
acb: (Default)
Ninetynine live in Reykjavík:
Polar Angle, and Wöekenender.

They look less blurry in real life.
acb: (passionate subscriber)
Apparently Jens Lekman is playing in Melbourne at the St. Jerome Laneway Festival on the 26th of February.
Update: He's also doing a gig at the Northcote Social Club on the 11th of March.
acb: (indie rock)
I went to the Bull and Gate last night, as a friend's band (Suzerain) were playing. I caught the last two bands: Veto Silver were pretty good; they call themselves "electro fuelled art pop" sound like something from the early 80s; Duran Duran meets Depeche Mode or somesuch, and looked like a more fashiongoth Interpol. Their songs, music and stage presence were consistently strong, with a good grasp of the (synth-)pop sensibility. Anyway, I've ordered their EP (from this label), and also ordered the "Robopop Volume 1" compilation the label has, which has among others Alpine Stars, Client and Baxendale.

Suzerain were pretty good too; they're somewhere between Bowie, Duran Duran and Hot Hot Heat or something. They played mostly new songs (well, newer than the last time I saw them, which was a while ago).

I took my camcorder with me to film the gig, though ran out of batteries so didn't film much of it. I have about 1 3/4 Veto Silver songs and 3/4 of the first Suzerain one, waiting to be pulled off a DV tape. I haven't looked through it properly, but the video and sound seems to have turned out remarkably well; it's good that they're putting proper microphones in camcorders (as opposed to the piece-of-shit ones they put in still cameras that do video).

The 'Lab

Dec. 21st, 2005 01:14 pm
acb: (buttons)
It looks like Stereolab are playing at Koko on the 14th of April. No word on tickets yet; it appears to be their only UK date.

They're doing a lot of US dates before that, followed by Berlin and Paris. No word on Australia.
acb: (buttons)
I trekked down to Brixton last night to see Suburban Kids With Biblical Names. They were really good; classic indie pop with jangly guitars, trumpets, bongos, catchy melodies and harmonies, and sufficiently unusual/tricky rhythms and arrangement to keep things interesting. I picked up one of the 3 copies of their CD they had with them, and am listening to it now.

(There are so many good bands coming out of Sweden these days. Let's see: SKWBN, Jens Lekman, The Radio Dept. and Sambassadeur, to name just four.)

The other bands were OK too; Farfarlo were decent indiepop circa Sounds-of-Leamington-Spa, though some say they're in danger of turning Coldplay-smooth* and bland (I only saw a few of their songs, though). The Bleeding Hearts were OK though unexceptional; the most remarkable thing about them was that the frontman looked like Nosferatu crossed with Marilyn Manson, which didn't at all go with the music. Michaelmas were fun again, reminding me a bit of The Rumours.

The DJ also played the new Belle & Sebastian single. To my ears, it sounds a bit like the New Radicals' "Get What You Give" Toploader's "Dancing In The Moonlight". Which, for a released single, is probably a good thing.

* Talking point: Are Coldplay, Keane and Badly Drawn Boy are the inevitable logical consequences of C86/Sarah Records-style twee/non-macho indiepop? Discuss.

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