In terms of albums, one of the under-the-radar successes last year was Past Life Martyred Saints by EMA (South Dakotan singer Erika M Anderson). It seemed to receive praise from all quarters and those that were taken by its dark beauty will have a chance to hear selections from it when she appears at the Scala on Tuesday. Support comes from the excellent Still Corners (who also impressed with their Creature Of An Hour album last year). There’ll be a review and some photographs on musicOMH in the days after the gig.
Meanwhile, it seems strange to think that it has almost been three years since The xx released their debut album on to a largely unsuspecting public. This week they play three small shows ahead of the highly anticipated release of their second album (hopefully) later this year. If you were one of the lucky few to get tickets you’ll be able to squeeze yourself into either Electrowerkz on Monday, Chat’s Palace on Tuesday or Battersea Arts Centre on Friday to see them in action.
Three gigs of a slightly larger scale will take place from Friday to Sunday at the O2 Arena as Jay-Z and Kanye West unite for the first UK date of their Watch The Throne tour. It should be quite a night. As it should be at XOYO on Thursday, where hotly-tipped Seattle hip-hop outfit Shabazz Palaces play from their Sub Pop released debut album Black Up. Speaking of hotly-tipped, 27 year old Chicago singer Willis Earl Beal also arrives in London this week to play a show at the Tabernacle on Wednesday. Read what we thought of his debut album Acousmatic Sorcery here.
It seems to be a week where the London gig scene is dominated by acts from the other side of the Atlantic. Baltimore five-piece Lower Dens are over for two shows – at Madame Jojo’s on Tuesday and the Lexington on Wednesday. The impact that their second album Nootropics has created has already resulted in these both selling out but it shouldn’t be long before they are playing bigger venues. Sharon Van Etten also returns to London this week after her show at Cargo earlier in the year. You can catch her at the Scala on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Zulu Winter, a homegrown London act play the Boston Arms on Thursday in support of debut release Language.
Finally, the Barbican’s excellent contemporary music series continues this week with a show on Friday featuring three of the most highly regarded artists from the modern classical genre – Icelandic player-composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, American pianist Dustin O’Halloran and German experimentalist Volker Bertelmann (Haushcka).
Other gigs taking place this week:
Hunx & His Punx – Birthdays
Sly & The Family Drone – Power Lunches
Dylan Carlson (Earth) – Black Heart
Electric Guest – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
Esmerine & Eric Chenaux – Lexington
Gossip – XOYO
Alan Wilkinson, Steve Noble & John Edwards – Power Lunches
Milk Music – Birthdays
Niki & The Dove – XOYO
A Whisper In The Noise – Cafe Oto
Fairport Convention – Borderline
Scissor Sisters – Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Gringo Starr – Windmill
DZ Deathrays – Barfly
Spector – Electric Ballroom
Bass Clef – Power Lunches
Charalambides – Cafe Oto
Trust, Visions Of Trees & The Haxan Cloak – Birthdays
Talk In Colour – Floripa – 23rd May
Friends – Dingwalls – 6th June
THEESatisfaction – Birthdays – 6th June
Gonjasufi – Village Underground – 16th June
Rokia Traoré – Wilton’s Music Hall – 18th June / Barbican – 22nd June / Village Underground – 23rd June
The Psychedelic Furs – Garage – 5th July
Grimes – Heaven – 6th September
The Futureheads (a capella & acoustic) – Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 19th September
Ray Davies – Royal Albert Hall – 4th October
The Walkmen – Forum – 1st November
M83 – Brixton Academy – 8th November
First Aid Kit – Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 20th November
The Wedding Present (playing Seamonsters) – KOKO – 23rd November