In a month which often offers lazy sunny days and balmy Mediterranean evenings, where better to spend your time than squalid darkened rooms with sticky floors and the vague scent of last nights Jagerbombs? Here is a pick of where to be and what to see.
3/5/16 – Jeffrey Lewis – The Wheatsheaf
Off the back of his latest release “Manhattan”, Lewis brings his Southern drawl, subversive lyric book and compelling anti-folk to The Wheatsheaf, the calibre of booking I’m sure we’d all like to see more of from a venue very much part of the Oxford establishment. Multiple albums into a career spanning two decades, Lewis still has a lot to offer musically and even more to say.
5/5/16 – Chad Valley – St Barnabas Church
A firm favourite with many locals, Hugo Manuel, the brainchild of CV, comes home to Oxford after a rigorous schedule across the Atlantic, bringing with him his electro induced, avant-garde brand of pop. Think Postal Sevice, Hot Chip and Porches then ignore all comparisons and just come see what’s cooking for yourselves.
7/5/16 – Robot Swans – Modern Art Oxford
With only snippets out in interweb world, this is something of a wildcard and it should make for an interesting night at a venue I’m always happy to go and see just about anything at. The band are keeping their upcoming release “The Tyranny of Robot Swans” firmly under wraps but expect delicate subtlety in both vocals and guitar work with a style incorporating folk, dream pop and prog.
18/5/16 – September Girls – O2 Academy
Specialising in a strange brand of dysfunctional noise rock comes September Girls. The band are currently touring new record “Age of Indignation” an unpredictable but thoughtful album with plenty of discordant, atonal strangeness and ethereal vocals. With such a slickly produced album, it will be interesting to see if they can recreate the depth of noise live that resonates throughout their most recent offering.
21/05/16 – Yak – The Bullingdon
Although a London trio, forget all about your trilbies and drainpipes, Dickensian street urchin, Camden mafia. With wonderfully messy and fragmented guitar parts and stoner rock vocal lines, Yak share more in common with Sonic Youth than The Libertines. Yak have been there or there about for some years, hiding from the mainstream behind a wall of chaos and reverb and with the always impeccable sound quality at the Bully, this has all the hallmarks of a special night.
…and with Common People and Wood festival coming up this month (which will be covered at greater length in a forthcoming festival preview) if I hear anyone say “There’s just nothing doing in Oxford these days, wasn’t it great back in the 90’s though…” I will personally perform a wet willy and tell them to fuck riiiiight off.
18-20/5/16 – Father John Misty – The Roundhouse, London
Last year’s release of “I Love You, Honeybear” was one of the highlights of 2015 and represents a real glut of incredibly talented singer songwriters currently on the planet. Go for the beautifully melancholic songs of a modern life sceptic and stay for the brutally cynical but honest lyrics of a musician who deserves every ounce of hype that is bundled upon his person.
Nobody mention Radiohead please. As I was unable to get tickets, I’m pretending it’s simply not happening.
Thoughts, etc? @RichardBrabin