Varying shades of hazy psychedelia and ragged folk come together for this nicely balanced Qu Junktions affair.  DAMON & NAOMI head the bill, returning swiftly after an Autumn tour which took in Cardiff Arts Institute and reuniting with regular collaborator MICHIO KURIHARA of Japanese psych-folk mainstays Ghost.  Twenty years and seven albums since the demise of Galaxie 500, the duo have perfected a languid, reflective folk-rock into which Kurihara’s florid psych guitar folds unobtrusively like a super-relaxed Crazy Horse.  They’ve never deviated much from the slow-build formula of 1992’s More Sad Hits, but they do it well, and that’s no bad thing.

RICHARD YOUNGS‘ questing, meditative avant-folk albums for Jagjaguwar are only one facet of a daunting, gargantuan back catalogue stretching back 20-plus years.  They’re perhaps the most celebrated area of his work though, drawing comparison to Jandek (a frequent collaborator) and Robert Wyatt among others and characterised by delicate melodic stanzas, mantra-like repetition and glorious, hymnal beauty.  Away from these mostly guitar-led works he’s delved deep into improv, minimalist composition, harsh electro-acoustic noise and acapella.  2010’s re-release of Beyond The Valley Of Ultrahits, though, was an eye-opener even by his standards; 40 minutes or so of wide-eyed, exploratory pop wonder, Youngs’ response to a friend’s challenge to write an accessible pop album delivering blissful results.  Only recently anything other than an occasional live performer, here he’ll be joined by Damon Krukowski on drums.  Pretty much the main reason for going to this one, truth be told.

Rounding off a stellar bill is, or maybe are, SILVER PYRE.  From the unlikely surrounds of Bridgewater, their hugely interesting published tracks to date suggest a Westcountry take on the digitally-rebuilt rural disquiet of Hood, albeit one where the gloomy acoustic guitar figures and fluttering pitter-patter rhythms are ramped up into a rainy, foreboding take on Fuck Buttons’ pounding crescendoes.  Highly encouraging stuff.

Damon & Naomi w/ Kurihara

with Richard Youngs + Silver Pyre

(Sat 14th May 2011 / 7pm / £8 adv)
An amazing bill of artists that have played in a bundle of sublime incarnations but have their own true voices and sounds and perfect weirdness.

Damon & Naomi are v. famous from being in Galaxie 500 as well as their pursuits in the written word and duo work. Tonight they play with stella axe man Michio Kurihara from Ghost / Boris.

Richard Youngs has one of the most naturally spectacular and irreverent back catalogue and his beautifully warped oeuvre takes in folk songs/tape noise/cosmic electronic and sheer pop and savage prog. Tonight Damon joins him on drums.

Plus Silver Pyre – the work of Gary Fawle, imbuing deep, rich westcountry drones with flickering Detroit textures, loading up rural-meets-urban anthems from his forthcoming debut album proper.

This pairing playing together is a night to stay Cubed for. A Qu Junktions / ShieldShaped / Cube OneOff

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