London Live Dates – Hope Sandoval, The xx, Lightning Dust and more…

A further batch of upcoming London live dates worth investigating, in date order with the soonest first:

Treetop Flyers
A West London folk act who sound like Mumford & Sons only with less clamour and chaos, this fivepiece can be relied on for gentle guitar strums, softly-howling vocals thick as woodsmoke and lyrics about roses, trees, dogs and other such honest things.  NME called them a 2009 Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, but I think they’re a bit less experimental and a tad darker than that, especially on standout track Mountain Song, more epic than the rest.
Tues 29 September – The Lexington, King’s Cross (EP launch) (tickets here)
Sun 4 October – The Albion, Hammersmith
Tues 17 November – The Slaughtered Lamb, Clerkenwell
Treetop Flyers on MySpace
MP3: Treetop Flyers – Mountain Song (zSHARE)


Gyratory System
If you’re really into your electro/techno, but a bit bored of the endless dance-club centred pap out there, here’s something for you.  Gyratory System make weird and wonderful tunes, like something out of a David Lynch soundtrack or the worst kind of comedown.  On Utility Music, an army of samples march along determinedly to a daisycutter beat, while Herald layers remote vocals over feverish string rips and Party Unlimited (along with others) has run around a horn solo.  This is angular, awkward and (in the right, healthy, mood) thrilling electronica
Thurs 8 October – The Lexington, King’s Cross (supporting Billy Mahonie) (details here)
Gyratory System on MySpace
MP3: GyratorySystem – Utility Music (zSHARE)

Kings Of Convenience
Shut the curtains, curl up under a duvet with a mug of hot brew, turn the lights down low, think of lost lovers and pretend Monday’s not just a few hours away… That’s approximately the ideal situation for listening to Kings of Convenience’s graceful, tranquil sound.  Full of wispy riffs, elegant string sections and velvety verses, this Norwegian duo’s sound is best described by themselves on their MySpace, as “music your parents like too”.  Folk for your folks?  Hmm.  Anyway, KOC’s Barbican show in October has long sold-out, but an additional after-party has just been announced…
Weds 14 October – Hoxton Bar & Kitchen (afterparty)
Kings Of Convenience on MySpace
MP3: Kings Of Convenience – I Don’t Know What I Can Save You (zSHARE)


AA Bondy
Awwwl this here’s real country: swirling guitars, harmonicas ho-downs and mention of girls called Delia, Doris and Delilah. Okay, so I exaggerate slightly, but you get the picture.  Once in Verbena as Scott Bondy, AA is now onto his second solo album and making concise, solid guitar songs with pretty, often nature-focused lyrics and more than a hint of Creedance Clearwater Project and other former America troopers. Note the obsession with death, too: the moodier ‘Killed Myself When I Was Young’ being particularly glum.
Weds 21 October – The Social, Fitzrovia (details here)
Thurs 22 October – Shepherds Bush Empire (supporting the equally country-tastic Felice Brothers) (tickets here)
AA Bondy on MySpace
MP3: AA Bondy – When The Devil’s Loose (zSHARE)

The xx
What to say about The xx that hasn’t been said before?  Not that they produce gloomy fairytale, stealthy pop drenched in meekness and melancholy.  Neither that they’re a XX from XXX.  Nope, but in fact this somewhat underwhelming story of how their name came about, c/o girl singer Romy Madley Croft and the BBC: “Me and Oliver (other singer) were sitting typing on Word. And I was like ‘I like X’s, I really like X’s’. I just thought it was aesthetically pleasing. X is a really nice symbol.  People always laugh at me picking out X’s in like shadows and train bridges.”  So now you know.
Weds 28 October – Village Underground (tickets here)
The xx on MySpace
MP3: The xx – VCR (zSHARE)

Grouper = Liz Harris, whom Ticketweb succinctly described as an “electro-acoustic ambient/noise musician”.  Who knows what that means; suffice to say though that as Grouper, Harris produced slow, slumberous songs, the vocals only an indistinct, distant part of the overall soundscape.  Having toured with Animal Collective and had best song Heavy Water/I’d Rather Be Sleeping featured on Skins. Harris’ star looks to definitely be on the rise.
Tues 3 November – St Giles in the Fields, Holborn
Thurs 5 November – The Luminaire, Kilburn (details and tickets here)
Grouper on MySpace
MP3: Grouper – Heavy Water/I’d Rather Be Sleeping (zSHARE)


Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions
Hope Sandoval is as annoying a MySpace friend as she is fabulous a singer.  On the social media site, she sends out approximately 944 bulletins about the same tour, and generally overdoes it; on record, she produces bewitching, tingle-tastic purrs as her band trundles on in the background.  These are small-town smoulderers, swooning along with a real air of danger and dreams.  Look into my crystal ball and I see a jazz-lounge feel: an ethereal affair in \n appropriately dim chamber.  Let’s Hope so (ahaha)…
Sun 8 November – Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, Waterloo (tickets here)
Hope Sandoval & The Warm Intentions on Myspace
MP3: Hope Sandoval & The Warm Intentions – Blanchard (zSHARE)

Lightning Dust
Side project bands have never been cooler, and here’s one of the worthier examples: Amber Webber and Joshua Well’s music is more spartan, spooky and much mellower than the rock sound of their parent group, Black Mountain.  Songs like Never Seen and Listened On make me think of mornings when no-one else is up, and the sunrise is yours alone; the ominous organ chimes, echoey vocals and slow-build structure perfect for a little sleepy poetry or contemplation.  When they end, you wonder if they were ever there at all.  
Mon 30 November – Bush Hall, Queen’s Park (tickets here)
Lightning Dust on MySpace
MP3: Lightning Dust – Never Seen (zSHARE)


~ by ripamel on 19/09/2009.

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