London Live Dates – Bell Orchestre, The Phenomenal Handclap Band, Speech Debelle and more…

Another shedload of exciting and imminent London live dates to check out, in date order with the soonest first:

Bell Orchestre
Its six maverick members including protagonists from the Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre play lovingly-arranged and rather noirish numbers designed more for heads than hips, and all sounding a mite church-like in their intensity and elegance.  Watch out, though: according to BO’s website‘s blurb, “to say they are an instrumental band is like saying El Greco was just a painter, or Frank Gehry just builds museums: it fails to capture their essence”. Tut tut.
Wed 9 September – The Relentless Garage, Highbury
Bell Orchestre on MySpace
MP3: Bell Orchestre – Icycles/Bicycles (zSHARE)


The xx
Much discussed on this blog already, the achingly hip pop auteurs are now due to play an extra date in Camden: the darkness and odd cats of the Barfly ought to suit their fiddly, shadowy potboilers rather well.
Wed 9 September – Barfly, Camden
The xx on MySpace
MP3: The xx – Infinity (zSHARE)

Six albums – not bad for a supposed Okkervil River side-project.  Formed in 2001 by OR members Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff, Shearwater offer flightier, more angelic and existential sounds than their parent band – perhaps explaining why the band’s name honours a soaring seabird. These are graceful, grandiose melodies that go straight for those back-neck hairs of yours – and you’d do well to let them have their way.
Mon 14 September – Luminaire, Kilburn
Sat 5 December – Union Chapel, Highbury 
Shearwater on MySpace
MP3: Shearwater – Leviathan Bound (zSHARE)

The Phenomenal Handclap Band
There’s something very Shoreditch or Skins soundtrack about TPHC – edgy, scarcely connected beats; zany cheerfulness; and Weirdsville effects galore.  Initially the eight-piece are hard to get into, and their mash-up dance-pop sound difficult to love.  But slowly the irresistible spirit of songs like 15-20 or the vaguely Scissor Sisters-esque You’ll Disappear wins you over.  Think 80s disco, sugar-coated guitars, careering keyboards, the odd brass solo and, yes, lots of clapping…
Tues 22 September – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, Shoreditch
The Phenomenal Handclap Band on MySpace
MP3: The Phenomenal Handclap Band – 15-20 (zSHARE)


Trespassers William
If the London ratrace is proving a a tad too tumultuous for you, the pretty melodies of this Seattle two-piece could be just what the music doctor ordered. Matt Brown’s graceful stringwork cloaks cardigan-style around Anna-Lynne Williams’ fragile voice to create a potent serving of slumber and chill-out pop – slow-fi, if you like.
Tues 6 October – The Wilmington Arms, Clerkenwell
Fri 6 November – Luminaire, Kilburn
Trespassers William on MySpace
MP3: Trespassers William – Different Stars (zSHARE)

Speech Debelle
My reaction on seeing Speech play at the South Bank Centre last month was that her music’s very difficult to follow in the flesh.  Perhaps my ears are just full of wax, but it seemed to me that Speech’s chattering MC style and her fast-moving tales of life and strife were much more easily experienced – crying, gasping, beaming – on record.  The same can’t be said about her terrific band though, who are a treat to watch. October 2009
Wed 7 October – Scala, Kings Cross
Speech Debelle on MySpace
MP3: Speech Debelle – Searching (zSHARE)


The Cave Singers
Another Seattle act, this three-piece reminds me a little of Iron & Wine (no bad thing indeed) with their long, languid and somehow especially rhythmic melodes.  Formed out of the ashes of Pretty Girls Make Graves (they have a song called Dancing On Our Graves) and promoting their second album, the band’s sound has intent guitars and drums accompanying Pete Quirk’s pleasantly crackling vocals, with the occasional gentle samples. 
Fri 20 November – ULU, Bloomsbury
Sat 5 December – Union Chapel, Highbury (supporting Shearwater)
The Cave Singers on MySpace
MP3: The Cave Singers – Beach House (zSHARE)

Deer Tick
This Rhode Island band are as hirsute as the Fleet Foxes, but proffer a much bluesier sound.  Guitars throb passionately or chirp cheerfully, the lyrics talk of sons of bitches and old-fashioned potions, and the whole thing sweetly reeks of whisky, cowboy boots, Pontiacs and paraffin lamps. It’s very American, right down to the name of the chalky-voiced lead singer, John Joseph McCauley III.
Tues 1 December – Borderline, Soho
Deer Tick on MySpace
MP3: Deer Tick – Easy (Live) (zSHARE)



~ by ripamel on 27/08/2009.

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