The Guardian Indie

Latest news and features from theguardian.com, the world's leading liberal voice
  1. Brighton Dome
    Gomez’s psych, funk and electronics should be a mess, but on tour to celebrate the 20th-anniversary edition of their Mercury-winning debut it’s clear their songwriting really stands up

    Gomez’s debut album Bring It On has had a curious afterlife. It was the most commercially successful iteration of a post-Britpop musical mood that also informed the Beta Band’s early EPs: a reaction to gloss and bombast involving a stoned melding of rootsy music with lo-fi electronics. The album went platinum and won the Mercury prize, but Gomez never quite scaled those heights again. They endured a critical backlash, became a live draw in the US and quietly split in 2011.

    But Bring It On occupied a longer-lasting place in the public affection than one suspects even Gomez realised. It topped a 2016 BBC 6 Music poll of listeners’ favourite Mercury winner. Now this 20th-anniversary tour has sold out. And as the quintet take the stage for its first date, the midweek album chart reveals that their four-CD deluxe reissue is in the Top 20.

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  2. Bush Hall, London
    The Virginia songwriter has added funk and soul to her swooning ballads and 60s pop, fired up by ‘all the crap that’s going on in our country right now’

    ‘My whole life I’ve been compared to Karen Carpenter, pretty much on looks alone,” says Natalie Prass, whose thick, dark fringe and fresh face do impart a passing resemblance to the late singer. “When I found out who she was, I became obsessed.” The extent of her obsession is made plain in the new song that follows, Far from You, a lovelorn response to the Carpenters’ Close to You. Although Prass, seated behind a keyboard for this number – she’s normally upright, often with a guitar – sings in a higher register, her purity of tone and perfect diction mirror Carpenter’s.

    Mostly, though, the Virginia-based songwriter sounds like herself during this show, the first of a tour promoting her second album, The Future and the Past. The forthcoming record has its work cut out for it; following up a critically adored debut would daunt anyone. Prass tackles that challenge by changing direction. Out, for the most part, goes string-filled, 60s-inspired lushness, and in come loping, bassy grooves that have her shuffle-dancing across the stage.

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  3. We asked you to share your experiences from the weekend’s orgy of events and special edition records – here’s what our readers managed to bag

    The alarm went off at 4.45am to allow me time to get to Rough Trade East on Brick Lane in London. I caught the first train in and was the only one on the carriage! I arrived just before 7am to a queue already several hundred people long. Great atmosphere, people of all ages, genders and haircuts. Two hours later and I’m in! I managed to grab everything I was after – The National’s Boxer, Ride’s Weather Diaries remixed, some Cure albums, a Steven Wilson 12” and a rather lovely remix of Yazoo’s Situation. Getting up early and getting involved in RSD is becoming something of a yearly ritual... but, when the oat latte at Rough Trade East is this good, what else can you do?

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  4. (Drag City)

    Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon first hooked up with California psychedelicist and former member of the Fall Tim Presley for 2015’s Hermits on Holiday. On that album they made the sort of circa 1979/1980 post-punk that was easier to admire than to enjoy, all awkward song structures, self-conscious experimentation and – at times – grating repetition.

    Disappointingly, the follow-up doesn’t offer much in the way of progression, with the same flaws still very audible. There are moments of cohesion, most notably Corner Shops, where gorgeous melodies transcend the off-kilter rhythm and the two voices complement each other. Some of the instrumental interludes, particularly the ghostly lo-fi piano piece When I Was Young, impress too. And then along comes the painfully discordant Ducks, with its lurching beat, wilfully tuneless singing and idiosyncratic deployment of percussion. It lasts less than three minutes but seems like an eternity. Leave the Lights On is little better. While Hippo Lite does have its moments, well before the end you find yourself reflecting that Young Marble Giants, Rosa Yemen and the Raincoats did this far better almost 40 years ago.

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  5. (Republic Records)

    For all the appeal of Lord Huron’s elegiac, ethereal Americana, Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver were ahead of them in a very crowded field. So after two albums of hymnal beauty with acoustic guitars – and a track, The Night We Met, popularised by Netflix – the Michigan band led by Ben Schneider have changed course.

    Now on a major label, the songs no longer conjure up vast rural or mountainous landscapes but the even more widescreen spaces of the cosmos. The title means “black void”, and vast swaths of reverb and echo (sculpted by Flaming Lips’ producer Dave Fridmann) create a celestial wall of sound; many of the songs have astral themes or metaphors. Writing on bass guitar has given the music a more powerful chassis, from Killers-like throb to subtle funk. Any remaining acoustic guitars have been blasted beyond recognition.

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