April Gig Guide

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The Independent Culture

José González, On tour until 13 April

González, a Swede of Argentine descent, gave up a career in biochemistry for spare, Latin-tinged folk. This jaunt sees him step out in support of his second album, In Our Nature. At times, his music packs a quietly commanding intimacy reminiscent of Pink Moon era Nick Drake, but his liking for Cuban guitarist Silvio Rodriguez adds a unique twist. Idiosyncratic cover-versions of songs by artists such as Joy Division and Bruce Springsteen are also a speciality.

Paul Vickers & The Leg, Glasgow 13th Note, 17 April

Formerly frontman with Dawn Of The Replicants, Vickers here parades his new venture, a typically outré collaboration with Steve Albini-approved alt-poppers The Leg. Topics perused on debut album Tropical Favourites include sinister coffee percolators and the car horns of Rio, Vickers leading a gleeful charge of boisterous guitars, seasick cello and crazed banjo. He and The Leg’s previous gigs have utilised sparklers and a shrunken Tina Turner voodoo doll.

Frightened Rabbit, On tour until 15 May

Far from being shrinking violets, Glasgow’s Frightened Rabbit tell it like it is, their fervent, folk tinged indie graphic at times, but never gratuitously so. “Yeah, I feel the general FR weirdness is still apparent in the lyrics,” says linchpin Scott Hutchison of new songs such as “Head Rolls Off”, which begins, “ Jesus is just a Spanish boy’s name.” Musically speaking, imagine a distinctly Caledonian re-jig of mid-period REM.

Björk, On tour until 4 May

Her mention of Tibet while on stage in China recently raised hackles, but Björk’s first UK tourin four years should gain column inches for purely aesthetic reasons. Rarely one for the “one spotlight, one microphone” approach, she here steps out with an all-female Icelandic brass ensemble, programmers Mark Bell and Damian Taylor, sometime Sonic Youth drummer ChrisCorsano, and a truly wondrous array of visuals. Don’t miss it.

Harmonia, London Queen Elizabeth Hall, 18 April

Potential Krautrock heaven as the veteran trio bring their motorik grooves to the UK for the first time. For the uninitiated, Harmonia formed from ex-members of Kraftwerk, Neu! and Cluster, making two acclaimed but lesser known albums between 1973 and 1976. Back in the day, they would perform with their backs to the audience, their gigs more laboratory experiment than rock show. Not that that stopped Brian Eno declaring them the world’s most important band, mind.

The Breeders, On tour until 17 April

Blood being thicker than water, it was only natural that Pixies bassist KimDeal should again take up with her twin sister Kelley in The Breeders post-Pixies reunion tour. Gone are the days when a drug-addled Kelley hawked Kim’s guitar effects-pedals for fix money, with the siblings back on top form and tackling everything from Spanish-language ballads to garage rock on their ace new album, Mountain Battles.

Goldfrapp, London Royal Festival Hall, 18 April

Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory’s Seventh Treemarks their first ever use of an acoustic guitar. Out go the perved-up glam and Krautock grooves that busied US dancefloors post-2003’s Black Cherry, the duo trading instead in a trippy pastoral sound with shades of Edward- Lear-like surrealism. It’s a typically ambitious, super-sensual record with a seductive power that Ms Goldfrapp is sure to harness live.

Joan As Police Woman, London Roundhouse, 17 April

For some, Joan Wasser’s debut album Real Life was a guilty pleasure. An indie album with occasional concessions to easy-listening textures, it nonetheless packed an emotional heft that even the cooler- than-thou were wowed by. Now Wasser is back with To Survive, a second album of quietly affecting songs. This one off gig should see Wasser’s multi-instrumentalist talents in full flow as she road tests the new material.

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