As I write, the last bank holiday weekend of the year is drawing to a close. The attendant feelings of an impending long, slow, unforgiving slog towards Christmas hover grey and morose above an otherwise sunny evening. Never fear, though, for the last rites are being read to to the festival season, the gig guide is getting ever busier and those hideous bastard kids are back in school. Everything’s rosy, right? RIGHT.
Firstly, let me make myself clear: you need to see ACTION BEAT. That’s ACTION BEAT, the sweaty, topless math-noise hydra who will bring an untold number of guitarists and drummers to Buffalo on the 6th of September before pounding them into SonicYouth-shaped pieces in front of your weeping faces. I cannot stress this enough: YOU NEED TO SEE ACTION BEAT. You also need to see Brandyman and Saturday’s Kids add their galloping riffing, fever-dream narratives and blackened snail-punk in support. This is a recommendation, people.
Few people instil feelings of late-summer joy in your heart better than Cardiff’s own thirsty country-folk troubadour Sweet Baboo, and he kicks off September with a must-see launch gig for his third album with support from much-missed and purportedly reshuffled fret-tappers Truckers of Husk and bedroom pop maestro Ceri Frost (Clwb, 4th). Keep those bittersweet country feelings clutched tight to your autumnal bosom with Phosphorescent (Thekla, 7th) and Baboo’s own CSNY-style supergroup Wickes (Rockin’ Chair, 13th, with H. Hawkline) and you won’t go far wrong. Further stagger your slow withdrawal from Green Man’s bucolic mud ‘n’ folk vibes with two excellent Bristol shows; showstopping Glanusk headline turn Joanna Newsom (Colston Hall, 16th) and, even better, splendid Fairport-esque folk-rockers Trembling Bells (St Bonaventure’s, 11th, supporting Charlie Parr). Spooked Americana and gothic country from Emily Jane White (Cube, 4th or 10 Feet Tall with J.R., 5th) should do the trick too.
Sweet Baboo’s not alone in showing off what he did on his summer holidays. Twitchy post-punk scamps Joy Of Sex and freewheeling bar-room pugilists Gindrinker launch their 4-track split EP (on I Blame The Parents) at Buffalo on the 14th, and boy genius Ratatosk‘s magnificent, heartworn mini-album will be shown off in support of anti-folk tag team Diane Cluck and Anders Griffen (10 Feet Tall, 26th). Renew acquaintances with other local favourites Strange News From Another Star (Chapter, hilariously, on the 5th) and their support for that gig Circa Regna Tonat (Clwb, 24th, with Kutosis) while you’re at it.
Plenty more noisy tackle to be found to further punish your enfeebled eardrums too, not least a blinding double-header from Lesson No. 1, returning refreshed from a summer break with a lung-bursting Liverpool/South Wales doom triple bill of Conan, Spider Kitten and Pus (Buffalo, 11th) and, van disasters notwithstanding, the long-delayed appearance of Indiana scuzz-punk reprobates Racebannon (Buffalo, 20th). Get some. Unhinged, belligerent noise duo Comanechi return to Cardiff alongside ace Glaswegian No Wave newcomers Divorce and mysterious grunge supergroup Drains (Buffalo, 28th) – excellent bill, that. Clwb, meanwhile, has a third (I think) visit from Leeds tykes Pulled Apart By Horses, now remarkably a feature of the Radio 1 playlist, on the 14th; Strange News team up in support for what will be a singular evening of sweaty, crowd-bothering fun amid the gobs of shouty noise-pop and naked male torsos. There’s a theme developing here. More nudity will no doubt be afoot as Monotonix hit Bristol’s Croft (10th). You will very likely be touched by one of these people. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
This just in! Future of the Left will headline a 10th birthday show for Welsh Music Foundation at the Wales Millennium Centre (10th). It is FREE, folks. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. Also FREE, and on the same evening, head to the Riverside Tavern in Newport to get up close and damagingly personal with Science Bastard. If there’s a god, you’ll be able to catch both.
A few of those September Whirls for you to chance your arm on, now (What? We don’t just throw this together. Much). Intriguing multi-stranded stuff at the Cube on the 18th, with spooky B-movie electronica from Antoni Maiovvi, a documentary on a legendary artist-run Sydney venue and performance space, DJs and stalls. All for charity, too. If that sounds like your cup of Bristol, try these… more eccentric leftfield beats from from Paper Recordings owner Ben Davis’ down-at-heel superhero pseudonym Flash Atkins (CAI, 11th) and LA psych aficionado Gaslamp Killer (Thekla, 9th); breathless experimentation and genre-fiddling at the Qu Junktions ‘How Come’ night featuring Zun Zun Egui, Stones Throw-collaborating beatmaker Rekordah and ‘Afro-Germanic groove’ (COME ON!) outfit GNOD (Croft, 17th) and, profiled here, Deborah Withers’ Kate Bush-inspired performance/lecture piece (Chapter, 2nd).
Right, I’ve banged on long enough. Let’s wrap up with a few more recommendations from the longlist. I’ve not even mentioned the bloody Vaselines, whose rebirth not only sounds great live for indie nostalgia fans but which has led to a pretty snappy new album too (Millennium Music Hall, 19th and Thekla, 21st). What else? Oh, there’s backpacker hiphop don Sage Francis (Fleece, 15th), Wolf Parade bringing return-to-form third album ‘Expo 86’ to the Thekla (11th), way underrated indie rockers Sky Larkin giving it some Throwing Muses in support of their new LP (Cooler, also 11th), hot blog faves Cymbals Eat Guitars (Fleece, 8th) and Neon Indian (Start The Bus, 3rd), bedroom pop and electronic twiddling with Ducktails (Cube, 24th), entitled LA poppers turned 60s revivalists The Like (Clwb, 7th, with the fine El Goodo in support) and another promising Gathered in Song night with Justin Rutledge (Le Pub), 25th. Most of all, though: YOU NEED TO SEE ACTION BEAT. I’m glad we’ve had this chat. Have a good month.