SLEIGH BELLS, Whelan’s, Dublin, Sunday 19th, €19.
One of the early decade’s biggest buzz bands, Sleigh Bells’ first two albums Treats and Reign of Terror were clashes of maximalist electronics and hyper noise-pop, and the blood-spattered white plimsolls on the Reign of Terror LP is their visceral calling card.
Fourth album Jessica Rabbit smooths out some of the edges, with singer Alison Krauss’s vocals steamrolled to the front for an arena pop home run.
They still make more sense in a club, though, so Whelan’s is perfect.
GIRL BAND, Vicar Street, Dublin, tonight, Friday 17th €30
Girl Band have just been confirmed for this summer’s Castlepalooza, but for a maximalist, head-clanking, visceral punch, you should try to catch them indoors.
Their debut album Holding Hands With Jamie is a snarling, writhing mission statement filled with crippling self-doubt, dark humour and oblique discord you find in all your favourite post-punk bands.
This show is a fundraiser for suicide and self harm crisis centre Pieta House, and also features trad act Lynched, hip-hop trio Rusangano Family and DJ sets from James Vincent McMorrow, Jeanette Lee, Alison O Riordan and Geoff Travis of Girl Band’s label Rough Trade.
THE BUG, Opium Rooms, Dublin, tomorrow, Saturday 18th, €12
English producer Kevin Martin aka The Bug is the sick mind behind some of the most intense electronic releases of the last decade or so — a claustrophobic clatter of dub, grime, breaks, noise and wired-up freak-outs.
On his albums Pressure, Angels and Demons and his churning, squalid masterpiece London Zoo, Martin’s guns for hire include gutter-mouth MCs like Flowdan, Warrior Queen and Death Grips’ MC Ride, and old-skool ragga toasters like Ricky Ranking, but he’s got Israeli MC Miss Red in Opium Rooms tomorrow.
Expect your insides to be chundering with the bass — maybe go easy on dinner beforehand.
ALEX SMYTH, Bello Bar, Dublin, tomorrow, Saturday 18th, €6
Dublin musician Alex Smyth hits a minimalist sweet spot somewhere between The xx and Emeralds’ Mark McGuire, with his melancholy guitar lines and subdued electronic tics a welcome dose of introspection.
Smyth is presenting a new audio-visual showcase and launching his new EP The Utopian Dream, the follow-up to the shimmery CCXVII EP.
Support is from Cinema, Kevyn and VLLNS.
TEGAN AND SARA, Vicar Street, Dublin, Sunday 19th, €33.50
Emerging in 1999 as a lo-fi alt-rock and wonky grunge duo, Canadian twins sisters Tegan and Sara ditched the guitars in 2013 on their seventh album Heartthrob, for a sweet, sleek synth-pop sound that just leap-frogged them into the mainstream.
As sell-outs go, it was the right move, and their new wave pop sheen is further honed on their 2016 album Love You To Death, with shades of Twin Shadow, Robyn and blockbuster chart pop like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.
There were too many indie guitars knocking around anyway.
PLEASURE BEACH, Whelan’s Dublin, Thursday 23rd, €14
The hyperbole over Pleasure Beach’s debut single Go has subsided a bit, but its Arcade Fire/Springsteen epicness is still their calling card nearly two years later.
In no way a one-trick pony, though, the Belfast five-piece have been racking up impressive support slots with bell X1 and Noel Gallagher, and singles Magic Mountain and Dreamer to the Dawn were indie-pop gems.
New single Burning Up sounds like Neon Bible-era Arcade Fire, which sounded like Arcade Fire doing Bruce anyway, so that’s ticking quite a few boxes for Irish fans.
- Published in Irish Daily Star