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Ravi Shankar – In Hollywood, 1971

Northern Spy

Ravi Shankar - In Hollywood, 1971Some guff you’ll read everywhere: by a large margin the best-known sitar player and largely responsible for the popularising of Indian classical music. Unfortunately, it’s still a world I don’t know a great deal about; I know there’s a difference between Hindustani and Carnatic Indian classical music, but precisely what the difference is, I’m not sure.

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Before Victoria / B-Movie Romance / Martha Makes Mistakes (live at The Islington)

Before Victoria live October 2016

London 21 October 2016

As the nights draw in in Old London Town, it seems everyone’s ill. The photographer, the replacement photographer, half the musicians… but that’s not going to stop anyone having a raucous old time at the debut live showing of Marc Burrows‘s Regency-punk outfit Before Victoria in a small though tastefully-appointed venue at the back of The Islington pub in, well, Islington.

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Frank Iero And The Patience – Parachutes

Hassle

Frank Iero And The Patience - ParachutesFrnkiero and the cellabration are reborn under a new name. Familiar and new at the same time, this album shares some things with its predecessor, but is completely different too. Rawer vocals, more chaos: Parachutes is an album that will not go unheard, and will resonate in the minds of those who hear it.

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Hypnopazūzu / The Stargazer’s Assistant (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

The Union Chapel, London 22 October 2016

Hypnopazūzu live October 2016Lovely to be back at the Union Chapel again, without doubt one of the jewel venues of London. The vivid bruises of coloured light curving all that gothic finery, spot-lit chandeliers transformed into floating pentagrams. Just looking up at the vaulted ceiling was awesome in itself. You could say this was the perfect pitch for tonight’s esoteric expectations. I saw Current 93 here a few years back and it was made all the more special because of this fact.

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Swans (live at Islington Assembly Rooms)

London 14 October 2016

Swans live October 2016Swans are a strange, beautiful and terrifying beast, a bit like that white royal waterfowl whose name escapes me but can break your arm with one beat of its mighty wing; but with shorter necks. And tonight sees the second of their London performances on the UK leg of what frontman Michael Gira says will be the last outing for their current incarnation.

So hopes are high, especially given his choice of splitting their London gig into two nights in a smaller venue, the intimate and alarmingly posh Islington Assembly Hall. Last time I saw them, at the Roundhouse, the size of the venue and some dodgy sound left me feeling faintly disappointed; although disappointment is a relative term

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Goat (live at The Coronet )

London 18 October 2016

Goat live October 2016“This is what happens when a band you love gets really popular”, my friend says to me as we enter The Coronet Theatre, which seems to be already bursting at the seams with people. The Coronet is an awkward venue anyway, with what seem like labyrinths of corridors in the building leading you to nowhere in particular, so trying to get to where you want to be can be a tad difficult.

And where I want to be at this moment is as close to the stage as possible

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Unruly Milk – Spilaggges

Blackcat

Unruly Milk - SpilagggesA suitably rumbunctious beast, Unruly Milk‘s Spilaggges combines the eclectic guitar playing of Joe Thompson (also of Hey Colossus and Henry Blacker) with the rippling interventions of Kek (Hacker Farm and Ice Bird Spiral) to make for a neatly under-produced début album. Add in occasional vocals from Elisa Thompson and some unspecified help from Stefano Giaconne and the results are a woozy wander through a West Country psychedelic mindscape

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Senyawa (live at Café OTO)

London 17 October 2016

Senyawa live October 2016It’s going to be very difficult to describe Senyawa in words. What follows will probably contain muddled metaphors, chaotic similes, idiotic expostulations, expletives, wild imagery, desperate comparisons, upholstery by Zachery, knick-knackery by Thackery, Terpsichore by Dickery and dickery by Dock. Younger readers – or those of a nervous disposition – may want to look away now.

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Guitar Wolf / Atomic Suplex (live at The Dome)

Guitar Wolf live at The Dome October 2016London 7 October 2016

Atomic Suplex are in many way the ideal support band for Guitar Wolf, having seemingly followed them right into the gaping jaws and fuming exhausts of jet rock’n’roll.

A frontman with a pilot’s helmet complete with mic, decorated with the words ROCK and, of course, ROLL, some sleazy good-time boogie-woogie cranked up to eleven

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All Them Witches (live at The Scala)

London 4 October 2016

All Them Witches live at The Scala October 2016The Man Whose Head Expanded. Not in a good Mark E Smith kind of way, though. Oh no. Sadly not. In a kids-back-at-school, viral-laboratory, I’d-like-to-just-lie-down-in-this-ditch kind of way. Taking the bus down to The Scala, I wonder how long it will be until my eyeballs just pop out due to the pressure from my sinuses. But, Freq reviewers are hopefully made of sterner stuff, and so in a bravura display of stiff upper head, I marshal myself off the 73 and into the venue.

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Goat – Requiem

Rocket

Goat - RequiemSometimes you want music you can just joyfully wig out to. For exactly these moments there is Goat, for which I am very grateful.

Goat have an unselfconscious and unflinching commitment to their music. It’s a celebration. A testament to emotionally transformational power of music, but thankfully without any underlying philosophy other than manifestly really enjoying what they do. Their euphoric delivery, which comes across in recorded format as well as their live performances, is disarmingly engaging. Its not particularly clever, but who cares? It’s so much fun to listen to.

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Felix Kubin Und Das Mineralorchester – II: Music For Film And Theatre

Dekorder

Felix Kubin Und Das Mineralorchester - Music for Film and Theatre

Starts very Steven Stapleton-like with a manic woman in full-on polka-dot phobia jabbering like some Echo Poeme cut-up, well versed in disturbing vocal spikes. The next track leaping towards some brume-like contact play, electroacoustic grit in the psychic ointment. A disconcerting churn caught on a glass-rim hum diving the industrial before dipped into a dichotomy of digitised distress.

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The Other Without – The Other Without

Heavy Rural

The Other Without - S/TThis sounds like home.

It’s slow, like Somerset. It creeps up on you, like the sunlight splitting off the top of Glastonbury Tor. It gets where it’s going in its own time; there’s absolutely nothing about this release which feels forced. Neil Mortimer (Urthona) and Michael J York (Cyclobe, Téléplasmiste, The Stargazer’s Assistant) have a beautiful sense of quietude as their music crawls majestically over the landscape.

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Luke Haines – Smash The System

Cherry Red

Luke Haines - Smash The SystemI must admit to having come late to Luke Haines. I managed to avoid Britpop almost entirely for reasons largely connected to booze, drugs and industrial rock, but my vague memory of the whole era is one of a terrible national mistake from which only Haines and Jarvis Cocker appear to have emerged with any semblance of dignity. Recent years have seen me falling in love with Black Box Recorder‘s almost-Ballardian dreampop perfection, so it’s with genuine curiosity that I approached his latest solo effort, Smash The System.

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Taman Shud – Oracle War

Trashmouth

Taman Shud - Oracle War Sweeping in on a waft of churning organ and pounding drums, Taman Shud‘s second album Oracle War has more than a whiff of classic seventies grungy acid-frazzled rock to its fragrantly-flecked switchback riffs and tight-as-you-like chops and changes. As soon as the wall of sound starts propping up their house of the holy noise, it’s impossible not to see images of dank basements, oil-wheels turning and the air heavy with sweat, drugs and the sweet-smelling waft smoke gusting under the salad lights and strobes.

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