Elbow | Wed 1 + Thu 2 Mar | O2 Academy | £39
Beloved indie-pop statesmen and benevolent Northern emissaries Elbow are well-known for their slow-building, yarn-spinning, enveloping music; story-driven songs that, at their best, repay the listener’s patience with transcendent surprises. On the heels of their seventh album, ‘Little Fictions’, Elbow seem invigorated and on form, the band recalling the past peaks of ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ while Guy Garvey rails on the state of the Union in the guise of an irritable and erudite uncle. We’ve never needed them more. See our full preview here.
Cosmo Pyke | Wed 1 Mar | Sunflower Lounge | £5
It’s another SE London youngster with the hype machine set to ‘stun’, but there’s something undeniably charming about Cosmo Pyke’s stoner-rock summer jams. It’s all hazy and loose, but bubbling with ideas, as if Frank Ocean dropped the pristine R&B and got high with Mac Demarco’s ramshackle garage-rock band. Actually, we’d listen to that. Put another way, if that Earl Sweatshirt and King Krule collaboration never materialises, this might be the next best thing. Birmingham Promoters
Trash Talk + Youth Man | Fri 3 Mar | The Flapper | £12
It’s a rarified delight to have Trash Talk back in our lives, as the Sacramento thrash punks drag their downright notorious live show to English soil. A taut, wiry ball of dirty low-end noise and discordant chaos squeezed out of screaming guitars, the band are on unstoppable form on their latest, free EP ‘Tangle’. With the sleazy trash anthems of our favourite Brummie afropunkers Youth Man in support, after this you’ll probably be having potent flashbacks every time you set foot in a sweaty pub cellar. See our full preview here.
De La Soul | Fri 3 Mar | O2 Institute | £29.95
De La Soul never disappoint, whether they’re roaring through absurdist cuts from their earliest material, melting minds with ‘Stakes is High’-era lyrical backflips, or cruising through their underrated pop gems. Backed by a powerhouse band, or letting Maseo run the stage, they’re nothing short of a life-giving, positive force. With their long-awaited ninth album ‘and the Anonymous Nobody…’ out in the wild, expect the golden age vibes to ring out clear. See our full preview here.
Hoopla Blue, Mutes, Grain Death + Matters | Sat 4 Mar | Blotto Studio | £5
FOMA can humbly boast some of the finest futurist bands this side of the Watford gap: top of the bill on this outstanding showcase is the psychedelic baroque-indie of Hoopla Blue, who recently released their stunning ‘Itch Be Still’ EP. Hoopla Blue’s brain is a rumbling volcano, spewing out a thick lava flow of rich influences: Grizzly Bear, Adult Jazz, Adebisi Shank, the Beach Boys. On tape, it’s rustled drum shuffles, guitars pitch-shifted to breaking point, cavernous melodies and songs so tastefully avant-garde they could be served at a Michelin restaurant. Mutes, on the other hand, have slowly mutated, Fly-like, from drifting ambient dreamscapes into a thundering shoegaze racket. With a knack for understated melody that recalls an early-noughties J Robbins project, this is flesh-and-blood music where the room hums and the reverb-laden guitars battle for supremacy. Skiddle.com
Published on: Wed 1 Feb 2017