Happy New Year! There’s plenty going on in the Cambridge live music scene this month to encourage you out for that post-Christmas slump.
Our top Cambridge Junction pick this month is The Cribs show on the 10th. Hailing from Wakefield, Yorkshire, The Cribs are twins Gary and Ryan Jarman and their younger brother, Ross. The trio began playing together at an early age, debuting at a family party in the late ’80s when twins Gary and Ryan were nine years old and Ross was just five. The brothers grew up with similar musical tastes, blending quintessentially British influences like the Beatles, Sex Pistols, and Smiths with American indie rock like Beat Happening and Bobby Conn. They were subsequently joined by ex-The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr who joined the band for 3 years in 2008.
2017 saw The Cribs celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the bands much lauded third album ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’. The celebration tour saw them headline their largest show to date at Leeds First Direct Arena. Not ones to sit around and revel in nostalgia though, 2017 also saw The Cribs release their ’24-7 Rock Star Shit’ album. The record marked a return to the bands early roots with it’s raw, rough-around-the-edges approach and sonic aggression.
Over the last ten years and three albums, This Is The Kit – the musical project which holds exceptional Paris-via-Bristol songwriter Kate Stables close to its heart – have earned the adoration of peers including Guy Garvey, The National and Sharon van Etten. Their fourth album released in July last year and Rough Trade debut, ‘Moonshine Freeze’, is undoubtedly their most compelling and accomplished to date. Kate and co bring the mesmerizing record to the Cambridge Junction on the 26th.
The J2 venue at the Cambridge Junction has a couple of shows we reckon are worth attending. Firstly on the 20th is Martyn Joseph, a guitar player who has developed a unique percussive style, which teamed up with a powerful show stopping voice that has led him to be dubbed “The Welsh Springsteen”. There are also shades of John Mayer, Bruce Cockburn and Dave Matthews in his Joseph’s music but he stands in his own right, built on a reputation for giving what thousands have described as the best live music experience of their lives. Secondly, on the 30th is Martin Carr, the former songwriter, guitarist, and creative force behind The Boo Radleys and Brave Captain. The Boo Radleys mastermind returned with a suave, sophisticated, rhythmically robust solo pop record in October, ‘New Shapes of Life’ was Carr’s third solo output. After a period of writing songs for pop stars, Carr was jolted into action after the death of David Bowie, realising how important it was to take his art seriously, the result is a record that marks a new era for a wonderful songwriter.
Fast rising saucy warbler Isaac Gracie plays The Portland on the 27th. The 23-year-old London-raised singer-songwriter sent the music industry into a fever with his debut track ‘Last Words’ — a song so finely-wrought, so tenderly poetic, as to mark him out as Britain’s brightest young thing. Since then Gracie has performed at Glastonbury and Latitude festivals, opened for Michael Kiwanuka on his tour last year and spent weeks last Autumn nestled neatly on the Radio 1 playlist. With a debut album firmly in the pipeline the show on the 27th is a great chance to catch Gracie before he becomes a household name.
Another option on the 27th is Suggested Friends and their bittersweet, melodic DIY pop with heartfelt lyrics and plenty of dad-rock guitar solos which they’re bringing to the Blue Moon. Fresh off the release of their eponymous debut album and third UK tour, the band are knuckling down in 2018 to get their second LP done, and their touring/festival calendars filled. Support comes from the ever reliable Model Village and one of our favourite new Cambridge acts, DOYOUTHINKHESAURUS? specialise in clattery fuzzy songs with an emphasis on animals both extinct and extant.
Staying at The Blue Moon, The Anteloids play on Saturday 13th. Hailing from Rugby, The Anteloids are natives of the sleepy town that produced two of the most notable driving forces in British psychedelia, J Spaceman and Sonic Boom. Operating in a similar far-flung space rock territory, The Anteloids arrive at their cosmic destination by hitting upon a killer groove and mining it for all it’s worth. Support on the night comes from Threshold Entities, a fresh new project from two of Cambridge’s most recognisable faces, dishing out fat sax and dank drones.
In a massive, massive coup for the city, Green Mind Gigs have gone and snagged the booking of Hot Snakes, with them playing The Portland on the 31st. Featuring Drive Like Jehu’s John Reis, is the critically acclaimed post-hardcore quintet Hot Snakes. Having released three full length studio records, a live album and even a Peel session since their formation in 1999, Hot Snakes return to the UK to exhibit their own blend of raucous garage punk for the first time in years.
Staying at The Portland there is A Grave With No Name on the 24th. Alexander Shields has been recording music under the moniker A Grave With No Name for a number of years now, creating collections of songs that encapsulate the longing, desolate feeling of his namesake. Shields carefully crafts voice, ambient noise, thoughtful acoustics and field recordings to create an atmosphere that is at times both distant and intensely intimate.
On the 20th we recommend heading to the NCI, yeh a new venue for us too but it’s easy to find on Holland Street which is off Victoria Road. Self Love‘s amazing debut album, “no”, came out at the end of October last year, yet only now have they been able to fix some kind of “release” gig. Now split between Cambridge and Nottingham, Self Love are a willowy thrash bass & drums duo who mix breakneck beats, fuzzed-out riffs, and deadpan, self-deprecating vocals to thrilling effect. No guitar, no middle 8s, and barely a tune that lasts over 2 minutes. Debut tape, “no”, released in Oct ’17, is a swift dive into an oddly diverse, self-contained musical world made with the simplest of components. It’s an essential slice of sub-urban English D.I.Y., applying 21st century self-reflection to the finest traditions of Messthetics-esque self-adventure. Support on the night comes from poly-influential bloop raconteur Pete Um, wholesome lo-fi clatterers General Waste,
We end with a shout out to a show happening on the 1st February, a show so good we don’t want you to miss out on booking a ticket. The feedback-strafed, guitar-shredding INHEAVEN make Pixie styled, riotous, anthemic and bristling pop music. They released their debut album last year to a flurry of praise which cemented them as one of the most exciting emerging bands around. Their Portland Arms gig on February 1st will be their first headline appearance in Cambridge having previously opened for Circa Waves at the Junction last year.