2011 has witnessed the striking musical rehabilitation of Josh T. Pearson as he emerged from a period of personal difficulty to deliver one of the most talked about and lauded albums of the year in Last Of The Country Gentlemen. He caps it off in quietly triumphant style this week with a show on Saturday at the Barbican. Expect moments of irreverent humour to feature alongside the introspective darkness and emotionally wounded nature of his music.
Elsewhere, it is a pretty stunning week for gigs, even by London’s standards.
The pick of Monday’s shows sees Battles play from second album Gloss Drop at Kentish Town Forum. On the same night you can catch Other Lives appearing at St Giles-in-the-Fields and Explosions In The Sky playing an intimate show at the Prince Charles Cinema (the band have also chosen to have the Chris Smith directed documentary film American Movie screened before they play their 45 minute set). Can we have more gigs in cinemas please?
Monday also sees Jonathan Wilson play from debut release Gentle Spirit at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, The Twilight Sad call in at the Borderline whilst Loney Dear also performs the first of two London shows this week at St Pancras Old Church (the second takes place on Wednesday). We reviewed his show supporting John Vanderslice at the Lexington earlier in the year.
The Lexington is also the venue for what should be a great show on Tuesday by Newcastle-upon-Tyne based outfit Lanterns On The Lake who showcase the snow-covered, pristine musical landscapes of debut album Gracious Tide, Take Me Home. Tuesday also sees Baltimore grungy alt-rock duo Wye Oak play from excellent second album Civilian at XOYO whilst Canadian husband and wife combo The Besnard Lakes play the Scala with support from Suuns.
Gillian Welch brings the authentic, bluegrass-toned alt-country of current album The Harrow & The Harvest to Hammersmith Apollo on Wednesday on the same night as Gang Gang Dance & About Group play ULU. Wednesday also has Wild Beasts playing the first of two consecutive nights at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Zola Jesus appearing at Heaven whilst two seminal alternative rock acts play smaller shows on the same night – namely Urge Overkill at the Borderline and Wire at XOYO.
Thursday sees no let up in the standard as Oneohtrix Point Never (aka Brooklyn-based musician Daniel Lopatin) promotes his impressive second album Replica at St Giles-in-the-Fields. Icelandic singer Ólöf Arnalds performs at St Pancras Old Church on the same night whilst Friendly Fires and SBTRKT play a show of a much bigger nature at Brixton Academy. Recent gigs by The Fall have been rather erratic and have seen Mark E. Smith on what could be described as “interesting form” and they appear at the IndigO2 in support of current album Ersatz G.B. on Thursday.
Friday features arguably the highest profile leftfield gig of the week at the Barbican as veteran German electronic outfit Mouse On Mars perform their eagerly awaited orchestral piece Paeanumnion with help from musikFabrik, Andre de Ridder and Oval. The following evening sees an equally impressive line up of experimental electronica acts at Dalston’s Cafe OTO, with Jan Jelinek, AM/PM and Inch-Time all making appearances, the latter possibly offering tracks from latest album The Floating World a live airing.
Crossover contemporary classical also features in the London live circuit this week as the music of Steve Reich is celebrated at Wathen Hall on Saturday with the help of The London New Music Ensemble. The great man himself is also due to make an appearance. Meanwhile, Kings Place is the setting for a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the genre of minimalism as Katia & Marielle Labèque (amongst others) play three concerts that will feature the music of composers and artists such as Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, La Monte Young, Brian Eno, Terry Riley, Aphex Twin, Sonic Youth and Radiohead. The shows takes place from Thursday to Saturday and you can read more here.
Finally, this week also sees the Little Noise Sessions take place at St. John’s Church in Hackney. You can see the likes of Elbow, Chris Martin, Goldfrapp, Sinead O’Connor and King Creosote amongst others appear over the course of the week.
Phew, I think I’ll go for a lie down now.
St. Vincent – Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 17th February 2012
Lambchop – Barbican – 1st March 2012
Summer Camp – Scala – 21st March 2012
Low – Royal Festival Hall – 3rd April 2012
The Magnetic Fields – Royal Festival Hall – 25th April 2012
The NME also announced their full set of shows to tie in with their 2012 awards. London dates are as follows:
Charli XCX – Lexington – 8th February
Slow Club – Heaven – 9th February
Pure Love – Bush Hall – 14th February
Band Of Skulls – XOYO – 15th February
tUnE-YarDs – Shepherd's Bush Empire – 15th February
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Heaven – 16th February
The Big Pink – Garage – 20th February
Kurt Vile – KOKO – 21st February
Alabama Shakes – Boston Arms – 22nd February
Oh Land – Heaven – 23rd February
Little Dragon – Kentish Town Forum – 24th February
Marina And The Diamonds – Shepherd's Bush Empire 26th February
The Drums – Roundhouse – 27th February