Of course July is all about heading outside at Cherry Hinton Hall for the Folk Festival. There is however still plenty going on in our cities music venues and here are some of our tips…
Hugely influential indie rock outfit Pixies at the Cambridge Junction has to be our best pick for July’s action. One of the most influential bands of all time they released their latest album Head Carrier earlier this year and play the Junction as one of only a handful of dates in the UK this summer. The latest record has a welcome dose of bracing, old-school Pixies urgency to it. Unfortunately this one sold out pretty sharpish, but the Junction is operating a waiting list. Another sold out one to check for last minute returns is Future Islands who play the Corn Ex on the 1st. If you’re new to Future Islands their music is built around rippling synths, propulsive basslines and vocals determined to plough all of his rawest emotions into the lyrics.
Mode9’s Hidden Rooms appearance on the 6th is another top pick. Formed and fronted by Cambridge based vocalist Ollie Lepage-Dean, Mode9 features some of the regions most talented young jazz musicians, playing music with a refreshing fusion of neo-soul and jazz with just a hint of funk. Playing almost exclusively original compositions and arrangements written by Ollie himself and James Brady, Mode9 mixes smooth melodies and unique harmonies with a fiery horn section.
Over at the Blue Moon 75 Dollar Bill on the 3rd is a must. 75 Dollar Bill have mastered stripping down rock & roll to its elemental parts and rebuilding it in their own image. The duo’s electric, richly patterned music can shape shift from joyful dance tunes to slowly changing trance minimalism, an uncategorizable hybrid which draws on early electric blues, the modal traditions of West Africa, India and the Middle East, Sun Ra’s space chords and the minimalist and No Wave histories of their home town.
Staying at the same venue there’s a great night in store on the 27th when Mammoth Penguins and The Hearing play. Mammoth Penguins are a three-piece indie rock band based in Cambridge. Composed of members of other bands including Standard Fare, The Pony Collaboration and Puncture Repair Kit, they got together in spring 2013 and put out their debut record in 2015. This show will see the trio show chasing new material from their upcoming album, John Doe. The songs tell the story of a man that fakes his own death, only to return to his family years later. The Hearing is Finnish musician Ringa Manner. She makes perfectly formed electro-pop with warm vocal harmonies, pop melodies and moving rhythms. The Hearing is coming to the UK especially for the Indietracks festival and this Cambridge show is a special one off warm up appearance.
Another Blue Moon tip goes down on the 14th with Moonstrips and Newts both performing. Moonstrips are a heavy psych rock outfit whilst Newts bring superb noisy rock from folk who were in Econoline and Hey Colossus.
Woven Skull play the Boathouse on the 26th. Expect wild, repetitive, psychedelic music that denies categorisation although we’d say probably somewhere on the psych-folk/psych rock continuum. Meanwhile Bouquet of Dead Crows and Goldblume at the Corner House on the 22nd is another we reckon is worth your time. Bouquet bring big riffs and melodies whilst Goldblume are more on the fuzzy and raw spectrum.
Over on Chesterton Road Airways (5th) start a busy line up for The Portland Arms. Four-piece indie/alternative rock band from Peterborough, Airways have had an exciting 2016; supporting high profile bands such as Sunset Sons and Nothing But Thieves, playing Neighbourhood Festival, and releasing their first single ‘One Foot’. 2017 has seen the band showcased in America at SXSW 2017.
British singer, but based in the States, Callaghan’s return to the UK this month includes a Portland on the 6th. The tour coincides with the release of Callaghan’s latest EP ‘The Other Side’ which came out last month and is the first of a trio of releases planned for this year. The Whybirds return to the Portland Arms this month (7th) for a very special – and the last for the forseeable future show. The band are all singer/songwriters, giving the group a diverse range of songs and vocal styles, but without straying from their moving brand of Americana. Other shows of note at The Portland this month is Beguiled on the 13th and Chasing Cadence on the 12th.