This bulging preview might as well have the subtitle ‘If You’re Not Going To ATP That Is’. Quite a few of these bands are squeezing in additional UK dates around their trips to Desolation-On-Sea (aka Minehead) and you’d be an utter dillnut to miss them: step forward Bristol gigs for sweet Japanese bubblegum garage girls Shonen Knife (Thekla, 6th), bone dry, Slint-y Yanks Enablers (Croft, 14th) and freaky cosmic sisters CocoRosie (Trinity Centre, also on the 6th). The massive doozy is Konono No.1 and Omar Souleyman though, a gigantic serving of loud, raw Congotronics and Syrian fuzz guitar that hits Bristol’s Metropolis on the 11th like a wigged-out bomb. QU Junktions promotions, as always, take a bow.
But there’s more. Young clowns riding hype waves are here: see for yourself whether the snotty guitar US/UK touring team of Surfer Blood and Male Bonding cut mustard in both Bristol and Cardiff (Thekla, 4th and Clwb Ifor Bach, 6th); also whether Bethany Cosentino’s lo-fi surfer girl tunes as Best Coast are worth pushing through the male part of the audience’s puppyish eyes (Bristol, Louisiana, 5th). Odds look good to be honest. Cardiff’s Islet have been through their own cloud of fevered press; they are also genuinely fantastic, and playing this month with a tasty support bill of Yuck and Team Brick (Clwb Ifor Bach, 26th).
Let’s be patronising and say the old guard are treading boards too. Dub fogeys Llywbr Llaethog play a rare live set, and in a graffiti-ed warehouse to boot (The Boiler House, 1st); Chuck Prophet drags his ballsy American Rock to Clwb Ifor Bach on the 9th, while Damon & Naomi, possibly sick of being called ‘ex-Galaxie 500’, pop up in Cardiff and Bristol (Arts Institute, 6th and Fleece, 7th). And these lot aren’t necessarily old, just well toured: Chrome Hoof bring ace progfunkdisco to Bristol (Thekla, 21st), Dead Meadow the lysergic scuzz (Cardiff, Barfly, 25th) and Thomas Truax the, er, homemade percussion instruments (Cardiff, Buffalo Bar, 2nd). Don’t forget Doozy#2 though – Rangda comprise Richard Bishop of Sun City Girls and Sublime Frequencies, Ben Chasny of Six Organs Of Admittance and Chris Corsano of avant-improv drums fame and their appearance with Japanese heads Acid Mothers Temple on the 28th will rearrange your internals (Bristol, Croft – Rangda also playing Cardiff’s Norwegian Church 2nd of June).
What else? Dig Kimya Dawson and Jeffrey Lewis restarting their old band The Bundles (Bristol, Trinity, 18th); get electronically knotted at the Cooler with Holy Fuck (Bristol, 23rd) or at Start The Bus with Sisters Of Transisters (1st); shimmer to the global sounds of the Ruby Suns (Cardiff, Buffalo Bar, 26th); get lost in the intensive sweeping indie hits of Parenthetical Girls and, featuring Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu, Former Ghosts (Cardiff, Ten Feet Tall, 17th) and discover that if you want mysteriously named support bands hiding familiar faces, Gungadin are probably a better bet than The Sissy Hits (Cardiff, Buffalo Bar, 3rd). As is traditional, a horrible gigclash to end with: it’s the 13th of May and your choices are great US songman Ted Leo (with the Pharmacists, Cardiff, Buffalo Bar), grizzled motorik loons Trans Am (Bristol, Fleece) or the sodding amazing line up of prepared piano nut Hauschka, 12 string genius James Blackshaw and folk diamond Nancy Elizabeth at St George’s in Bristol. Go to at least one to stay on my Christmas card list.