What you know you’ve never been is really just a shame…

I’ve been casting envious glances at the End of the Road festival line up this year, and with new acts added daily it seems (latest being Phosphorescent), my Green Man ticket with its implicit promise of rain has at times looked a little thin this week…I know, I know, it’s all about the people really, and I’ll certainly have a good time, but Green Man’s line up of established bands does look a bit meagre this year.

It only takes a look back at PP posts over the last year to remind me, however, that GM is really all about the bands you will be getting into next year; and with no Flaming Lips or Wilco to be distracted by I can concentrate on new stuff. I remember, last Autumn, enthusing about a whole string of bands on these pages that it turned out I’d missed that August, whilst my gaze was otherwise diverted.

With these and other heartening words ringing in my ears, I’ve been stepping up my GM homework, and with the aid of (the similarly unfairly maligned) emusic I’ve been hoovering up some new stuff, and making some new friends that I hope to see this summer. Recently, the Turtles-y Treefight for Sunlight are making their way onto my list of wanna-sees, alongside Bleeding heart Narrative, H Hawkline, Y Niwl, the Low Anthem the Antlers and all the obvious stuff.

Elbowing all aside, however, are this lot…

Suuns

I’m getting fed up of silly names and daft spellings to be honest, but that aside Suuns are sitting pretty atop my list right now. I’ve bought their record, Zeroes QC (apparently they used to be called Zeroes) and it’s a really interesting, odd release, full of prancing rhythms, metallic drones and garage punk leanings. At times they sound like Clinic, and others Holy Fuck and Neu.

Lyrically, they’re pretty hard to follow, sometimes appearing to sing nonsense and others so muffled as to wonder what language they’re speaking at all. To be honest the word I’d want to use about their manner would be “alien” if it didn’t conjure all sorts of silly Bowie / Numan-esque images of daft young men who should know better. So I won’t be doing that. Oh no.

Watch this, instead…

And if you’re still here, this…

If I’m talking to you, Mister, then you best be writing down what I say

Seems like everywhere I look at the moment, I see posters and tweets asking me to vote for our very own Guildhall as small venue of the year. I can’t be arsed to vote in things like this of course, but if I could I wouldn’t be voting for the Guildhall, love it though I do. My favourite small venue is, without doubt, Thekla.

Monday night was still only my third visit to Thekla, but it’s definitely one of the coolest places I’ve been to for music. I like the fact it’s a boat, I like the tiny little balcony that’s barely six feet above the main floor. I like the sound and the clumsily decorated industrial walls and pipes. It’s all very functional, but someone, somewhere is booking all the right bands there. If it was on my doorstep, I’d be there every night…

Phosphorescent

This night it was Alabama’s finest troupe of rednecks, Mathew Houck and the latest incarnation of Phosphorescent. I bought Pride a while ago and recently bought the new record but found it hard to link the two, very different pieces; so I was intrigued to see how the two sounds worked.

I needn’t have worried. Strolling loose-limbed onto the stage looking like a 21st century Flying Burritos they ran through 12 slices of bluesy country that had me grinning inanely for an hour and a half from start to finish. They played most of this year’s Here’s to Taking it Easy, played a few from Pride and few earlier songs I hadn’t heard. One of the encores was aNickCave song I didn’t know, called “Right Now I’m a-Roaming”. It was fine stuff, with Houck’s soul-filled vocals and languorous guitar style accompanied by a nice line in finger pointing and languid gesticulating. His Taking It Easy Band were great too; from the showy keyboard work of Scott Stapleton to the accomplished beardy guitar of Jesse Anderson Ainslie, they played an effortless seventies-inspired backdrop to Hauk’s lyrics. They clearly listen to a lot of Little Feat, the Allmans, Gram Parsons…

You may have detected a certain impatience over the last few posts with my old iRiver bootlegging set up. Well the old feller’s now Taking It Easy in a home for senile gadgets and has been replaced by a spanking new Zoom H1, which made its debut on Monday, and I’m glad to say had a good start. I recorded the whole set and it’s come out pretty well, doing some justice to a stonking set.

It’s Hard to be Humble (when you’re from Alabama)

Mermaid Parade

I am not a Heel / Wolves

Right Now I’m a-Roaming

Phosphorescent, Thekla, May ’11, p1

Phosphorescent Thekla, May ’11, p2,

A great evening, one of the best this year…