The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Mon 22 Oct – The Leadmill, Sheffield (Sold Out)
Tue 23 Oct – The Forum, London (Sold Out)
Wed 24 Oct – Concorde 2, Brighton (Sold Out)
In many respects, The Brian Jonestown Massacre can be viewed as psychedelia’s answer to The Fall. Like the late and much lamented Fall, The Brian Jonestown Massacre are led by an idiosyncratic leader with a singular vision, boast a back catalogue that’s as long as Mr Fantastic’s arm and have had enough members to pass through its line-up to form a football squad plus an impressive subs’ bench and b-team. And of course there is the material, which ranges from languid and opiated bliss, through to lysergic wonder and euphoric workouts. Fine support comes from URF (Sheffield), The Hanging Stars (London) and Frankie Teardop Dead (Brighton).
Sons Of Kemet
Tue 23 Oct – Koko, London (tickets)
Thu 25 Oct – Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds [Sold Out]
Fri 26 Oct – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham (tickets)
Sat 27 Oct – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff [Sold Out]
Sun 28 Oct – Band On The Wall, Manchester [Sold Out]
As evidenced by the likes of Melt Yourself Down, Polar Bear and The Comet Is Coming among others, Sons Of Kemet aren’t the only British artists to have taken jazz out of its corner and to the attention of a greater audience. Widely derided in certain quarters, it’s certainly taken a while for the genre to shake off its image as music for musty gentlemen of a certain vintage, and for its numerous variants, styles and impact to start gaining recognition once again. And you can expect Sons Of Kemet to reinforce the notion their current album, the socially conscious Your Queen Is A Reptile, should have won this year’s Mercury Prize.
Tues 23 Oct – Village Underground, London (tickets)
There’s been a bizarre re-writing of electronic music history that’s seen the emphasis placed on the kosmische music that emerged from Germany in the 70s while leaving out the hefty contribution that emerged from France during the same period. Whither the likes of Space, let alone Jean-Michel Jarrre? Picking up the thread of this venerable lineage are French synth-pop duo Agar Agar, whose debut album, Dog And The Future, blends retro-futurist styling with a love of Roland TR-808s and surrealist cover art. This is the fourth date of a massive European tour so you can expect Agar Agar to be as finely tuned up as their oscillators.
Wed 24 Oct – Roundhouse, London (Sold Out)
Thu 25 Oct – Albert Hall, Manchester (Sold Out)
Fri 26 Oct – Concorde 2, Brighton (Sold Out)
Texan trio Khruangbin have been making waves since the release of their eponymous debut EP in 2010. Since then they’ve released two albums in the shape of The Universe Smiles Upon You (2015) and this year’s Con Todo El Mundo. Refusing to be pigeonholed in one particular genre, Khruangbin touch upon a variety of influences including soul, psychedelia, funk and surf music to cook up an interesting stew of their own making. You can see why the likes of Father John Misty and Massive Attack have taken them on the road. Did you know that Khruangbin means “airplane” in Thai? You do now and you can insert your own “expect them to fly” gag here.
Robert Plant And The Sensational Space Shifters
Thu 25 Oct – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff (Sold Out)
Fri 26 Oct – The O2, London (tickets)
Of all the surviving members of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant’s solo career has been the most satisfying, especially with the music he’s been making since the turn of the century. A restless journeyman, Plant’s musical curiosity has seen him leave behind the bombast of the past while exploring his former alma mater’s influences to dig up some real truffles. Consequently, he’s one of the very few artists of his generation to create new music that’s actually worth checking out as he joins the dots between drones, roots music, electronica, psychdelia and rock music. And top of that, the Sensational Space Shifters are undoubtedly the best set of musicians he’s played with since he last trod the boards at the O2 in 2007 with you-know-who.
Mon 22 Oct – Ramsgate Music Hall, Ramsgate
Tue 23 Oct – Broadcast, Glasgow (tickets)
Wed 24 Oct – The Tin At The Coal Vaults, Coventry (tickets)
Thu 25 Oct – Rough Trade, Bristol (tickets)
Fri 26 Oct – The Shacklewell Arms, London (tickets)
Hailing from Athens, GA and transplanted to – where else? – Brooklyn, Bambara have thus released three incendiary albums in the shape of Dreamviolence (2013), Swarm (2016) and Shadow On Everything from earlier this year. And to add to their credentials is the knowledge that the band’s Bateh brothers – that’s guitarist Reid and drummer Blaze – have been part of Liars’ more recent touring incarnation. Playing and singing the dark in a lineage that recalls Nick Cave and The Gun Club, IDLES frontman Joe Talbot was recently moved to opine: "Bambara are one of the best bands we’ve seen in fucking age. We’re humbled to go on after a band like that.”
All the way from Soweto, South Africa, BCUC are an explosive live experience that has left a series of devastated venues and breathless audiences in their wake. Fusing a combination of indigenous ritual songs with fire hood songs, shebeen songs and church songs with rap and rock’n’roll attitude, this is consciousness music of the highest order. Telling stories of where they’re from with where they are and where they’re going, BCUC never lose sight of creating an explosive and inclusive live experience that’ll leave you reeling. Oh, and the initials in their name stand for Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness, which should nab you some extra points at your next pop quiz.
It’s absolutely no understatement to say that David Byrne is performing the most intriguing and electrifying shows since Talking Heads shot Stop Making Sense, one of the high water marks of concert films. Eschewing anything resembling a conventional band set-up, Byrne is in an unconventional mode as he’s augmented here by a 12-strong band that refuses to stand still. Individual drums are played instead of entire kit and the whole thing frequently resembles an American marching band, albeit one kitted out in Kenzo suits. This may well be the tour that defines David Byrne’s long and illustrious career.
Thu 25 Oct – Howden Park Centre, Howden [Sold Out]
Fri 26 Oct – CCA, Glasgow [Sold Out]
What should have been a triumphant run through Teenage Fanclub’s Creation Records year will now be tinged with sadness in the knowledge that vocalist/bassist Gerry Love is leaving the band at the end of this tour. Yet that said, Teenage Fanclub remains a band worth celebrating. You can see why Bandwagonesque knocked the likes of the likes of Nirvana’s Nevermind, My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and REM’s Out Of Time into a cocked hat to be declared ‘Album Of The Year’ by Spin magazine. Or why Grand Prix stands the test of time and why later albums such as Songs From Northern Britain were among their best: this is music infused with humanity.
Quite probably the most Marmite of British bands, you either love Sleaford Mods or you hate ‘em. To the converted, they are the howling voice of rage of a trampled underclass that’s been ignored, vilified and left to fester for far too long. This is the articulation of the inarticulate, the ones whose voices have been silenced with an arrogance that’s set to explode. To their detractors, Sleaford Mods are a one-trick pony that comes across like a Tourette’s-driven Pet Shop Boys after a three-day bender consisting of cheap supermarket cider and cheaper bathtub speed. And much like Brexit, you’re never going to reconcile these opposing views.
Sat 27 Oct – O2 Academy, Bristol (tickets)
Sun 28 Oct – O2 Ritz, Manchester (tickets)
So you fancy some 90s-inspired East Coast rap mixed with heavy, puff-friendly atmospherics and properly dense lyrics? Then step right this way because Brooklyn’s Flatbush Zombies are just the thing that you’re looking. They certainly made some serious waves round these parts when our reviewers were blown away by their performance at last year’s Reading Festival: “From their bizarre costumes to their garish animated visuals, Flatbush Zombies have already crafted an inimitable aesthetic off the back of a single studio album.” And now they’ve released their second album in the shape of Vacation In Hell, you can expect the same but twice as much.
Such has been the length of Ash’s career that you take them for granted at your peril. But let’s not forget that the Northern Irish trio’s first releases in the early 90s were unleashed when they were first at school. Since then, Ash have gone on to release eight studio albums. This includes this year’s Islands, which deftly displays that Ash haven’t lost their ability to craft hard-edged, melodic rock. Indeed, as exemplified by the ace ‘Buzzkill’, they’re just as explosive as they’ve ever been. And that can only be a good thing.
Tue 23 Oct – Sebright Arms, London (tickets)
Austrian synth-poppers Léyya bring their gossamer beats and bleeps to what will be an undoubtedly appreciative audience in the heart of Hackney. They’ve spent the best part of the summer playing festivals across Europe and they’re now making their way from Greece via the Netherlands and Germany so you can expect a band on match fit form with plenty to offer as they attempt to woo a London crowd to their cause.