Brass Against | 1 Jun | O2 Academy 2
A New York brass band playing covers of Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Beastie Boys and more? It could so easily be just a novelty, but Brass Against’s mix of cold-steel conviction and reverence for the classics will have your neck snapping by the time the trombones are cranking out the ‘Bulls on Parade’ riff.
Snail Mail | 3 Jun | Hare & Hounds
On her attention-grabbing debut album, ‘Lush’, new indie-rock superhero Lindsey Jordan turned a love of 90s Midwestern guitar bands into a spellbinding, pristine and brutally honest record. Vulnerability and crystalline hooks never really go out of style, and Jordan’s deft hand at both catapulted her to well-deserved acclaim.
Billie Marten | 5 Jun | Hare & Hounds
Speaking of 19-year-old singer-songwriters, Yorkshire’s own Billie Marten made the sophomore album look easy this year with ‘Feeding Seahorses By Hand’. Marten’s hypnotic voice and rootsy, whispered folk is rarely short of stunning; ‘Seahorses’ expands her palette with Laura Marling-esque invention.
Femi Kuti | 8 Jun | O2 Academy 3
Seems like time has done nothing to dim the Kuti family’s fire. With last year’s ‘One People One World’, bandleader Femi Kuti is more straight-talking than ever, peppering his loose Afrobeat grooves with on-the-nose revolutionary slogans. It’s a hard time to find much hope in politics, but Kuti’s still punching upwards, and promising catharsis with every saxophone blast.
Foals | 15 + 16 Jun | Digbeth Arena
It’s hard to remember that Oxford’s (other) arena-slaying behemoth were once a weird, cult math-rock band, but Foals have turned their obsessive, rhythmic precision into a radio mainstay, leaping from big stage to bigger stage with relentless confidence. We’re halfway through their planned double-album drop this year, and it increasingly seems like Foals have no limit but their own ambition.
The Black Dog | 16 Jun | Blue Orange Theatre
Legendary electronic pioneers the Black Dog touch down in the Blue Orange Theatre for music, film and Q&A – including a highly rare live performance. Having created genres of their own alongside Aphex Twin and Autechre in the 90s, the Black Dog exist in their own orbit, always at an arm’s length from any given ‘scene’, often unknowable and otherworldly – making this face-to-face meeting a genuine steal.
Nick Cave | 17 Jun | Symphony Hall
‘Conversations with Nick Cave’ is, as the man himself describes it, “an exercise in connectivity” – where the legend of gothic rock takes questions from the audience and performs stark, gorgeous performances with nothing but piano and that iconic baritone. After a sold-out run in Australia and NZ, this promises to be a truly special moment.
Hoopla Blue + Odmansbox | 21 Jun | Castle & Falcon
Freaky indie-futurists Hoopla Blue make a magical brew of twisting guitar lines, baroque harmonies and sheer buzzing noise – as perfectly captured by last year’s ‘Fire Alarm’. Don’t miss one of the tastiest acts the Second City has to offer – with support from Odmansbox’s punchy art-rock.
Mutes (‘Pareidolia’ release show) | 22 Jun | Sunflower Lounge
If lead single ‘Men of Violence’ tells you anything about Mutes’ upcoming album ‘Pareidolia’, it’s that all bets are off. A song-structure-defying mix of lo-fi grunge, drifting ambience, and crunching riffs, it feels like all of Mutes’ experimental tendrils coalescing into one unsettling whole – a post-punk masterclass from one of Brum’s best.
Flat Worms | 29 Jun | Hare & Hounds
LA’s Flat Worms can boast Ty Segall among their mates, but there’s nothing of the glam-rocker’s excess on this year’s ‘Into the Iris’ EP, where skeletal drums compete with coagulated guitars in an unpolished, apocalyptic blast of raw energy. Might want to bring a towel or two with you.
Published on: Mon 20 May 2019