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Desertfest 2017

London 28-30 April 2017

Friday

Vodun at Desertfest 2017

GP: It’s the one date on my calendar that I look forward to each year. Three days of having my ears pummelled by some of the heaviest bands around and a chance to see some artists perform in the UK for the first time, this is Desertfest. Across five venues in three days, Desertfest takes over Camden Town with heavy guitars and an audience with more long hair and beards than you would see in an average Viking film.

Every year the event seems to get larger and attract more and more people; this year the large cavernous space of The Roundhouse is one of the venues. Each time, the organization that goes into hosting the event gets better, even though it gets bigger. It

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Agnes Hvizdalek – Index

Nakama

Agnes Hvizdalek - IndexAgnes Hvizdalek‘s solo début Index is a 47-minute piece that explores the sonic possibilities of the human voice, recorded at the bottom of a 60 metre-high chimney in the ancient factory of Casa das Caldeiras in the heart of São Paulo, made during her residency there in 2016.

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Swans – The Great Annihilator / Michael Gira – Drainland

Young God (Americas) / Mute (Europe)

Swans - The Great AnnihilatorWith the latest phase of Michael Gira‘s Swans project drawing to a close, the bundled and remastered edition of The Great Annihilator and Gira’s solo album Drainland could hardly have come at a better time for new converts who are interested in learning about the band’s history.

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Sorrow Plagues – Homecoming

Self-released

Sorrow Plagues - HomecomingThere’s a handful of genres that, arguably, benefit most from never actually changing. Hardcore (punk), for instance, hasn’t had an idea since the ’80s. Gabber was perfect from the get to. Black Metal operates in some weird space in my head where I sort of assume it hasn’t changed since, like Xasthur or whatever…

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Kilchhofer / Hainbach – Acosta

Marionette

Kilchhofer / Hainback - AcostaInaugurating the Little Mary series of collaborative vinyl releases on Marionette, Acosta is a split LP featuring label veteran Benjamin Kilchhofer on one side and Hainbach on the obverse.

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Venn – Runes

Full Time Hobby

Venn - RunesThe core duo of Venn have been together since 2013, with the current trio format since 2014. They have released a few 12″s and a CD-R which was distributed by hand in random places like HMV, Oxford Street, Soho House toilets and on Jack Kerouac‘s grave.

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Thor & Friends / Kite Base (live at The Lexington)

Thor and Friends live May 2017

London 2 May 2017

What makes the difference between just another gig and a profoundly uplifting experience? This is the question that I am left pondering in the wake of Thor Harris‘s (erstwhile Swans) percussion and noise collective Thor & Friends show at The Lexington last night.

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Flowers Must Die / Saddar Bazaar / Stereocilia (live at The Cube)

Bristol 28 April 2017

Flowers Must Die live April 2017Stereocilia‘s haunted ambience has been hooking me in for some time now, the cinematic scope of his recent LP was blinding, but tonight’s show just blew me clean away.

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Arto Lindsay – Cuidado Madame

Ponderosa (Europe) / Northern Spy (USA)

Arto Lindsay - Cuidado MadameA culmination of a thirteen-year itch to get back to business, Cuidado Madame cuts into some of the sweetness of previous outings to revel in skittish twists of modernity.

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Flowers Must Die – Kompost

Rocket

Flowers Must Die - KompostThis is Swedish six piece Flowers Must Die‘s fourth album and the first to be made available outside Sweden. Rocket Recordings must have welcomed them with open arms after hearing the dramatic, expansive psychedelic masterclass that they have managed to squeeze into the nine tracks and forty three minutes of this LP.

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Trans Am – California Hotel

Thrill Jockey

Trans Am - California HotelOf all the so-called post-rock bands of the 1990s, Trans Am are one which can be relied upon to remain intriguing and interesting some quarter-century or so later. Completed in the week after the 2016 US presidential election, California Hotel (named in honour of the late Glen Frey of The Eagles, who died that year) still bursts with more energy and excitement than many far younger groups

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Cosey Fanni Tutti – Art, Sex, Music

Faber and Faber

Cosey Fanni Tutti - Art, Sex, MusicA long time ago, I wrote that Genesis P Orridge singing “marmalade” in Throbbing Gristle‘s “Hit By A Rock” on D.O.A. was the key moment in industrial music, a moment that most of the “industrial” artists that stomped around in the wake of TG utterly missed. You couldn’t imagine SPK or Clock DVA or Nine Inch Nails or whoever having “marmalade” in their lyrics

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The Bug vs Earth / Bong (live at Heaven)

London 12 April 2017

The Bug vs Earth live April 2017Belinda Carlisle was right when she said “Heaven is a place on Earth”. David Byrne, however, despite the superiority of his recorded output, was wrong when he said “Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens”. Although he was KIND of closer to the money when he said “the band in Heaven play my favourite song, play it one more time, play it all night long”.

Because first up on the bill tonight at Heaven are Bong, a band I have never heard, but from their name and seeing them as they come on stage, I am reliably ensured by my own experience that I will like them.

And yes. Some high fantasy stuff declaimed at the start, amps cranked up to

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Elephant House – Pony Ride

Adaadat / Drum Rider

Elephant House - Pony Ride Hypnotic and dreamlike, Elephant House‘s début LP ambles in on a calmly unfolding ride through ticking, tickling and trickling percussion that sets the scene for the strange and beguiling journey that follows.

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While She Sleeps – You Are We

Sleeps Brothers

While She Sleeps - You Are WeThe epitome of 2010s Steel City metal, You Are We will climb into your head and make itself at home. Full of rage and angst, this album is the soundtrack for modern youth’s opposition to the world right now.

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