Julia Holter - Howard Assembly Rooms, Leeds
Julia Holter - Howard Assembly Rooms, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Julia Holter - Howard Assembly Rooms, Leeds

Tonight we are in the elegant surroundings of the Howard Assembly Rooms, a Victorian music hall that plays host to a wide variety of concert performers.  Jazz, classical, electronica and world music all find their place here and it seems an entirely appropriate venue for Julia Holter to play. 

charles filtness
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James Holden and The Animal Spirits - Royal Exchange, Manchester
James Holden and The Animal Spirits - Royal Exchange, Manchester
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

James Holden and The Animal Spirits - Royal Exchange, Manchester

James Holden has been releasing music since the early 2000s.  His initial success as a Trance producer and DJ was huge and included being responsible for a series of high profile remixes for the likes of Britney Spears and Madonna.  More recently his output has been less informed by the dance floor and more exploratory in nature. 

charles filtness
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The Mysterines & Casino Rockets, The Lantern, Halifax
The Mysterines & Casino Rockets, The Lantern, Halifax
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

The Mysterines & Casino Rockets - The Lantern, Halifax

Halifax is very much on the cultural map these days. The Orielles continue to make waves whilst the town itself has benefitted over the last few years from various regeneration projects, arts initiatives, and new music venues opening.  The Lantern is one such space, a 150 capacity first floor room that opened its doors for the first time a little over a year ago.  

charles filtness
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Preoccupations & Protomartyr - The Record Bar, Kansas City
Preoccupations & Protomartyr - The Record Bar, Kansas City
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Preoccupations & Protomartyr - The Record Bar, Kansas City

I’ve managed to catch the Calgary post-punk band Preoccupations on three separate occasions. Twice now at the same venue (though the physical location has changed). Back in 2015, they swung by the Record Bar while running their victory lap as the buzzy new band Viet Cong. Back in May, they swung by The Firebird in St. Louis, right after they hit a bad streak with their van being stolen which housed all their equipment. A GoFundMe later, and they were playing with new equipment that they’d yet to become accustomed to.

Tim Sentz
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Mother Feather - Knitting Factory, Brooklyn
Mother Feather - Knitting Factory, Brooklyn
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Mother Feather - Knitting Factory, Brooklyn

People living in New York City, from time to time, need catharsis, a release. Some folks choose to yell at bicyclists, some assault hot dog vendors, some read from the Bible, out loud, on the subway. All these methods are stopgap, however. Simulacrums of the Real Thing. If one seeks true catharsis, one must look no further than a Mother Feather show.

paul_guyet
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Sly & The Family Drone - The Golden Cabinet, Shipley
Sly & The Family Drone - The Golden Cabinet, Shipley
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Sly & The Family Drone - The Golden Cabinet, Shipley

Nothing puts you in the festive spirit (too early?) quite like torrential rain and train strikes. Tonight is the very last Golden Cabinet of the year and nothing short of Cthulhu, rising from his subterranean Lovecraftian lair and laying waste to West Yorkshire, is going to stop me from going. Earplugs, raincoat and monster slaying kit all packed and ready.

Andy Brown
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The Soundcarriers - The Victoria Dalston, London
The Soundcarriers - The Victoria Dalston, London
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

The Soundcarriers - The Victoria Dalston, London

If the 1960s had The Zombies, famous now for releasing their masterpiece Odessey And Oracle before promptly splitting up, then similarly the 2010s could have had The Soundcarriers. Between 2009 and 2014 they released four astonishing albums before seemingly disappearing.   

charles filtness
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The Fernweh, Headrow House, Leeds
The Fernweh, Headrow House, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

The Fernweh - Headrow House, Leeds

The Fernweh's debut album is an instant pleaser.  It's a record soaked in nostalgia and indebted to many influences. essentially a modern day psychedelic folk-rock album in the mould of many of the classics of the genre from late 60's and early 70's.

charles filtness
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Szun Waves - Headrow House, Leeds
Szun Waves - Headrow House, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Szun Waves - Headrow House, Leeds

Szun Waves are a three-piece comprising saxophone, drums and electronics/synths, it is a side project of sorts being that the members are all involved in other bands or collaborations.  This years follow up to their 2016 debut LP has been a critical success and will doubtless be featured on plenty of the more interesting best of the year lists.

charles filtness
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Thom Yorke - Kings Theatre, Brooklyn, NY
Thom Yorke - Kings Theatre, Brooklyn, NY
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Thom Yorke - Kings Theatre, Brooklyn, NY

I like Thom Yorke’s solo stuff better than his work with Radiohead.* Leave now if you’d like.

paul_guyet
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Evil Blizzard - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Evil Blizzard - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Evil Blizzard - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

I look to my right and see someone dressed as a cross between a pink poodle and Geri Halliwell, a blood-soaked surgeon and someone in one of those bird-like plague masks. A scary looking clown, a Nun, and Dracula himself. They’re all out tonight. Right in front of me, there’s a guy who looks remarkably like a young Nick Cave (although I think that’s just a coincidence). This, dear reader, is just the audience.

Andy Brown
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Low - Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, Chicago, IL
Low - Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, Chicago, IL
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Low - Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, Chicago, IL

For the last 25 years or so, I’ve been pretty ignorant of the Duluth, MN band Low. Their brand of not-quite-shoegaze, affectionately dubbed “slowcore” by their fans, has never been my forte, but earlier this year the band released what will go down in the history books of 2018 as the possible album of the year with Double Negative.

Tim Sentz
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