Preview: This week's gig guide
Simon ParkinKRISTIN HERSHNorwich Arts Centre, TuesdayStill occasionally of indie legends Throwing Muses, American acoustic singer/songwriter Kristin Hersh arrives in Norwich for a solo show.Simon Parkin
Norwich Arts Centre, Tuesday
Still occasionally of indie legends Throwing Muses, American acoustic singer/songwriter Kristin Hersh arrives in Norwich for a solo show.
Hersh place in the canon of underground rock is already guaranteed. Throwing Muses, like their contemporaries The Pixies, Breeders and Sonic Youth, belong to that semi-mythical era in the late-1980s and early-1990s when lo-fi launched itself into the mainstream and paved the way for the ascent of grunge.
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She remains very much the living spirit of the genre, releasing a series of powerful, grungy solo albums that vary from reflective poetry to full on pop.
Besides Throwing Muses get-togethers she plays with the power punk trio 50ft Wave, while her solo material is released on CASH Music (Coalition of Artists and Stake Holders) a co-operative that allows fans to download music for a financial contribution of their choice.
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'I'm now entirely supported by fans,' she says. 'It's such a nice elegant response to a very ugly business that got even uglier when it fell apart.'
Support comes from singer-songwriter Christopher Rees.
t Further listening: www.kristinhersh.com
Patrick Wolf is a veritable one man band playing amongst many other instruments, the harp, clavinet, harpsichord, guitar, piano, autoharp, harmonium, accordion, theremin, ukulele, viola and violin. He uses samples of these mixed electronics to form dark and twisted avant-garde electro-folk.
This unusual brew of sounds brought him to the attention of Fat Cat Records, and after studying composition at Trinity College of Music, he released his debut album, Lycanthropy, in 2003.
His second, Wind in the Wires, was inspired by his Cornish and Irish roots. The single Tristan, based on the Cornish legend, Tristram of Lyonesse, received critical acclaim and remains a fan favourite. His third album, The Magic Position, featured collaborations with Marianne Faithfull and Edward Larrikin of Larrikin Love.
He left his label last year with a plan to sell �10 shares in a new album on bandstocks.com: 'Basically, you can invest in the finishing of the album and the production of it, and you get a share in the album. So you almost become part of the record company, like a co-owner of the album.'
The result is a two-disc album titled The Bachelor and The Conqueror, proceeded by an EP called Vulture.
t Further listening: www.patrickwolf.com
HOT CLUB OF COWTOWN
Norwich Arts Centre, Wednesday
It takes considerable bravery to name your band after one of the greatest jazz ensembles of the last century. This hard swinging trio get away with it thanks to a decade of constantly inventive live music with its roots of the Hot Jazz era, Americana music, vintage pop and folk.
They arrive in Norwich just as their first studio album in seven years, Wishful Thinking, hits the shops. It features all original members in Elana James (violin and vocals), Whit Smith (guitar & vocals) and Jake Erwin (bass & background vocals); plus their sound is augmented with drums courtesy of Damien Llanes.
The group draw on musical influences from gypsy music to rags, to the Hot Club Of France and western swing which leads to a more contemporary, international sound. This is their first album to draw on influences directly from Indian music on the track Reunion. They also dip their toes into the contemporary songbook with an arrangement of the Tom Waits penned The Long Way Home.
The result is like a montage of characters and perspectives, a rock opera with longing, dreaming, despair and optimism. Sophisticated, elegant and joyful.
t Further listening: www.hotclubofcowtown.com
SUBLIME FREQUENCIES TOUR
Norwich Arts Centre, Thursday
Dubbed 'the coolest record label on the planet', San Francisco-based globe trotting reissue kings Sublime Frequencies dip their toe into live promotion with their first ever tour.
Since 2003, Sublime Frequencies has been releasing music from around the world. It is one of a number of reissue labels - Analog Africa being another - that are mining far-flung lands for gems to turn on western cool kids while at the same time dodging the dreaded 'world music' tag.
So what we get is everything from Burmese folk to Saddam-era Iraqi pop and 'commie funk' from North Korea - sounds terrible until you hear it on the dancefloor, then you just cannot stop moving.
And this tour couldn't pick two better examples in the legendary Group Doueh from the Western Sahara and Syria's extraordinary Omar Souleyman.
Omar (pictured) is a genuine cult figure in the middle east. To date he has issued more than five-hundred studio and live-
recorded cassette albums. His style has been described as 'Jihad techno', mixing classical Arabic mawal-style vocals with breakneck Syrian electronics. His Leh Jani - a glorious example - has already been championed by Damon Albarn on Radio 1.
t Further listening: www.sublimefrequencies.com
SOUNDS IN THE CITY
Glenn Tilbrook (rock/pop) - Arts Centre
Fight To Live: feat. Six Degrees of Separation + more (rock/charity) - B2
Andy Kierkham (acoustic) - Cider Shed
Floating Greyhounds (rock) - Brickmakers
Maybeshewill + more (pop) - Marquee
Rock Doctors (rock) - King Edward VII
Emma Hall Band (soul/funk) - Blueberry
Against The Grain (rock) - Reindeer
Fourplay (rock/blues) - Walnut Tree Shades
Just Rach - The Nelson
She/Sez (rock/pop) - The Firs
Buster James (rock/blues) - Brickmakers
Taken (indie/rock) - Marquee
In Rapture (rock/indie) - Club Sanctuary
Dogwood (blues) - Boundary
Live N Loud (rock) - King Edward VII
Rada - Silver Road Cottage
The Acoustics (acoustic) - Mustard Pot
Maximo Park (electro/indie) - UEA
Michael McGoldrick band (folk/alternative) - Arts Centre
The Groove Doctors (blues) - Cider Shed
Murphy's Lore (Irish) - King Edward VII
Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) - Brickmakers
The Carpet Monsters + more (indie/funk) - The Stanley
Bank Holiday Bash: feat. World's Apart + more (rock/charity) - Brickmakers
Bank Holiday All-Dayer: feat. Big Black Cadillac + more (rock/punk - from 3pm) - King Edward VII
Black Haven (hardcore/punk) - Marquee
Jam With Jazz (jazz) - Blueberry
UB Marley (reggae) - Mustard Pot
Metronomy (electro/pop) - Waterfront
Zombina & The Skeletons (rock'n'roll) - Marquee
The Hectors (indie) - B2
Game Plan (indie/rock) - Brickmakers
Heather Small (soul/pop) - Theatre Royal
Into The Depths (metal) - Marquee
Barry Wallace (acoustic) - Queen Charlotte
The Session (Irish) - Cider Shed
Pure Acoustic (open mic) - Brickmakers
Blaze Bayley (rock) - Brickmakers
Kapok (indie/rock) - Marquee
Centaurs (rock/experimental) - B2
Treeface (punk/rock) - King Edward VII
Freefall (indie/rock) - Blueberry
Egypt (rock) - Walnut Tree Shades
Rum Brothers (alt-country) - Rumsey Wells