July is of course Folk Festival month, but fear not if you haven’t managed to get hold of a ticket as there is plenty else going on outside Cherry Hinton Hall this month.
Brooklyn indiepop stalwarts The Pains of Being Pure At Heart top our must see list this month. The four-piece warm up for their headline slot at the Indietracks festival this month with a show at The Portland Arms on July 21st, tickets here.
Ostensibly a creative vehicle for singer and guitarist Kip Berman (and musical friends), The Pains have been crafting supercool soundscapes since 2007 via a plethora of coloured vinyl 7″ singles and a multitude of love letters from the blog community. Last year’s third album, ‘Days of Abandon’ came off the back of two critically acclaimed records – 2009’s self-titled debut and the 2011 follow-up, ‘Belong’ – that demonstrated the group’s ability to shift musical registers from bedroom pop daydreams to Alternative Nation anthems. ‘Days of Abandon’ saw a departure from the exaggerated roar and clamour that defined the Flood-and-Alan-Moulder helmed ‘Belong’.
Opening for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are local outfit and one of our ‘ones to watch’ for 2015, Lunacre. Split between Cambridge and London, the enigmatic electro-indie quintet Lunacre recently released their excellent debut EP, ‘Troupe’. The EP is a multifarious listen, which blends a number of influences and calls to mind the sounds of Vondelpark, Radiohead and at times the soft ambience of Mount Kimbie. Their sound is a unique sonic amalgamation that kicks up a gear in a live setting.
Sheffield four-piece Best Friends will play Cambridge’s The Portland Arms on July 5th, the show which also features Prison Whites and The Saps is a launch party for Bad Luck Media and will also be raising money for CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably) tickets here.
Best Friends came together whilst at University and bonded over their love of WWF, Mario Kart and slacker garage-pop songs. They are fast-gaining attention for their infectious melodies, faced-paced guitars and sunshine soaked pop songs. Latest single, ‘Cold Shapes’ is taken from their forthcoming debut album, ‘Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane’ and is an effortlessly slack slice of sunshine soaked guitar pop, full of dawdling chord changes and hazy vocal harmonies. The debut LP is all set for release on July 4th.
Melodic pop punk threesome The Murderburgers, fresh off a tour with Masked Intruder and touring en route to Wonk Fest roll into Cambridge this month, playing the Corner House on the 22nd, support comes from The Kimberley Steaks.
Legendary rocker Nick Oliveri is performing in Cambridge on July 16th, headlining The Portland. Nick has grown to notoriety throughout his 20+ year career, playing in bands including Queens Of The Stone Age, Kyuss, Mondo Generator, Turbonegro & featuring on Slash’s (Guns N’ Roses) debut solo album. Nick will be performing his solo ‘Death Acoustic’ material on this short UK Tour as well as songs from the various bands he’s been a part of; Queens Of The Stone Age, Kyuss, Mondo Generator and more.
Support for July 16th comes from Cambridge blues-rockers Buzzard King, who have reformed for a special one-off show. Tickets here.
Young Guns follow the Pains of Being Pure at Heart festival warm up approach by also using The Portland Arms this month as a pre-festival destination. The quintet warm up for their T in The Park and 2000 Trees appearances by bringing their stadium ready sound to The Portland Arms on July 9th. The British rockers are bolstered by their recently released and much anticipated third album, ‘Ones and Zeros’ a record that sees them embrace a more electric effect style without abandoning their distinct style, tickets here, warning this one is close to selling out…
On July 28th there is an evening of musical explorations talking folk beyond instrumental, sonic and geographical boundaries. Bad Timing presents a showcase of some of the most innovative internationally recognised musicians currently based across East Anglia.
The show centres on a new collaboration between C Joynes & Dead Rat Orchestra. As well as several contrasting sets and collaborative performances by C Joynes and Dead Rat Orchestra there is a chance to see Laura Cannell for the first time in Cambridge. Cannell’s unique musical approach using ‘over-bowed’ fiddle and double-barrelled recorders combines early and medieval traditions with contemporary and improvised music.
Hailing from the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York, The Felice Brothers blend folk, Americana and revivalist roots rock into a uniquely earthed sound and they bring this sound to the Cambridge Junction on July 13th. Known for their sincere and intelligent lyrics, there are few bands capable of bettering their rousing combination of bucked-toothed roots-rock and effortless, old-fashioned songwriting. Tickets here.
Staying at the Cambridge Junction, 70’s prog outfit Camel take to the J1 stage on July 22nd. The band’s zenith was arguably the first half of the seventies, purveying a particularly English brand of Prog rock. From the late-seventies the band’s history is chequered featuring a revolving door of keyboard players and a hiatus in the late-eighties. Revitalized in the 90s, Camel’s recent tours are filled with their superlative newer material and better known numbers from their earlier years. Tickets here.
Offering a nimble mesh of indie rock and vintage computing, Cambridge-based six-piece The British IBM play an acoustic set at Relevant Records this month, hosting the evening on Saturday 25th. One of our favourite singer-songwriters Annie Dressner will also feature on the 25th. Noted for her conversational delivery and intimately personal lyrics, Annie’s music tempers willfully twee instrumentation with a frank emotional sincerity and some thoughtful pop arrangements.
We end our July round up with a nod to a release, not a gig. The wonderful Cambridge outfit Mammoth Penguins release their debut album on the 10th. With their debut album “Hide and Seek”, Mammoth Penguins have created an exhilarating collection of indie anthems, with Emma Kupa’s candid songwriting and heartfelt vocals at the fore. Chugging away like the a great lost Weezer record, the songs are bold, loud and outrageously catchy, with lyrics that hit just the right chord, exploring the burgeoning responsibilities of being in your late 20s/early 30s.