POP&JAZZ

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Mogwai play Hull Room (01482 323154), 21 May; Bath Moles (01225 404445) 22 May; Tunbridge Wells Forum (01892 530411) 23 May; Bedford Esquires (01234 340120) 24 May; Brighton Essential Music Festival (0891 230190) 25 May

Mogwai's cherubic guitarist Stuart Braithwaite's voice on the phone swings between giggly hysteria and sombre dread. You could assume he's a bit nervous: in 15 minutes Mogwai are to be broadcast live on Radio 1, as the band kick off gigs for London Music Week at The Garage in Islington. The Mogwai sound is prone to vast emotional moodswings, so those listening at home are due for an unpredictable half hour, to say the least. But Braithwaite is getting used to big challenges. They've played to thousands in the last few months and Mogwai's prestigious slot is just the latest step in their rapid ascent.

The Scottish lads, all aged around 20, now somehow find themselves courted as the new cool in dishevelled indiedom, even though they don't create the easiest sounds to click into. One minute they float along in an ambient dream world, the next they ambush you with white-heat guitars which create a fearsome, if still ravishing, racket.

Demand for their vinyl is so strong they presently have on relaese a mail order album, Ten Rapid, which brings together all their early material. So taking on the wider pop world is their easily achievable plan this year. "We are as ambitious as you can be in an experimental noise band," laughs Braithwaite. "It's nice that people are beginning to understand what we are doing. The music is quite morose, but I'm quite outward when I'm around people. I'm not a wall watcher. I like watching horror films like The Exorcist, Hellraiser and Evil Dead II - I like the atmosphere to them."

Recently Mogwai signed to the former Scottish home of Bis, Chemikal Underground, and now head out on a 22-date megajaunt around Britain, melting ears as they go. "Live we are very loud and turbulent. My mind goes completely blank, or sometimes all I see is just different colours." Hellraisers, indeed.

EYE ON THE NEW Nick Cave chooses suitably grand surroundings to turn on the graceful charm much in evidence in his last album, The Boatman's Call. The seasoned alternative crooner is all romantic palpitations on new single "(Are You) The One I've Been Waiting For", but doubtless some of his older, darker material will also get a look in.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds play London's Royal Albert Hall, 19, 20 May

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