Howler – America Give Up (Jan 16, Rough Trade Records)
Howler are the next big thing, this year’s Vaccines, NME cool list characters and cover stars, the saviours of guitar music, the ones who are going to single-handedly solve the economic crisis, save the world and discover a inter-consciousness arena in which a war-free future can be enjoyed by one and all. Okay, we might have got carried away their with that last one or two, but Howler are all about now, and with their debut album, America Give, Up, due out on Monday, it’s time for them to live up to the hype.
Their sunny, Strokes-meets-Libs-meets-Beach Boys stuff has won them admirers, from their hometown Minneapolis to London and beyond. And in frontman and songwriter Jordan Gatesmith – the band was formed of the best of the rest who matched up to his specifications – they have an indie-pin-up. It’s make or break time for the guys.
Tribes – Baby (Jan 16, Island)
Camden’s Tribes debut Baby is finally here. “We were children in the mid-Nineties,” they proclaim on breakthrough We Were Children (video-gig performed on a Camden rooftop no less) which goes a long way to explains the Pixies-Lemonheads alter-rock influences they proudly wear on their sleeve. Nineties nostalgia is de rigeur these days, but Tribes have the energy and songs – killer hooks, choruses and sing-along-ness – to succeed.
Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood of Colour (out Jan 16, Ambush Reality)
Crudely bashing hardcore and electro together in to a self-defined trancecore, Enter Shikari’s sound was abrasive and crudely put-together, when they brokeout in 2007. But what it lacked in musical dexterity it more than made up for with energy, passion and a riotous live reputation. It’s been three years since their sophomore record Common Dreads but the boys are back and, judging from lead single Sssnakepit, with its hardcore meets drum n bass, as hungry as ever.
The Big Pink – Future This (Jan 16, 4AD)
The Big Pink are not big, not clever, not particularly original, but their electro-rock offerings are sublimely infectious, the sort of thrre-minute ditties that get under your skin and in your brain and refuse to budge(all you have to do is think of their breakthrough single Dominoes and it’ll be stuck in your head for the rest of the day). It’s time for album two, Future This, and business very much as usual.
GIGS: highlights for the next week.
Nada Surf (Rough Trade East, Mon Jan 16)
The longstanding alt-rockers bring their new album The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy, to Rough Trade East.
Enter Shikari (Mon Jan 16, Borderline)
This noisy-bunch of hardcore-metal-heads-meets electro-dubstep drum n’ bass-ers, lay waste to this up close and intimate show.
Lianne La Havas (The Social, Tues, Jan 17)
The soul star in waiting starts a four night residencey at this Soho club – every Tuesday for for weeks. Catch her now so you can say you were there first.
Ben Ottewell (Bush Hall, Thurs Jan 19)
The Gomez man with a voice like a grizzly bear getting shoved face first through a shredder – only nicer and better at harmonies – plays a solo show in the sumptuous surrounds of this exquisite London concert hall.
Heaven 17 (Metropolis Studios , Sat Jan 14)
The Eighties, the decade that fashion forgot until its resurgence in the Noughties and subsequent rise to retro-cool, has given rise to many reunions and stage returns of acts that were big back then. Some good, some bad, and synth-popsters Heaven 17 are a little of both (and have been recording and performing off and on since their Temptation heyday anyways). Be warned though, the show’s being recorded for DVD/CD, and price is £195. Yes, you read that right. Nostalgia doesn’t come cheap these days.