Yippie. DiS is off to All Tomorrow’s Parties’ Sonic Youth- and The Stooges-headlined and Thurston Moore-curated The Nightmare Before Christmas three-dayer on Friday morning, and we’re mega excited. We’re so excited, in fact, that we’ve been thinking of little else but ATP for the past 48 hours, and when our train tickets arrive we’re likely to shift into meltdown. That, or we’ll realise it’s time to pack our bags – we’re DJing at the festival, so we’d best take some records.
This article, though, isn’t an excuse to simply plug our Friday night, nine ‘til midnight DJ set. Whoops. It’s also, and primarily, an excuse to preview six of the bands we suggest you check out if you’re also heading to Minehead’s Butlins this weekend for the sold-out festival. Some bands we’ve already interviewed properly, so check out the features on Deerhoof, Comets On Fire and Six Organs Of Admittance after our chosen sextet of must-see outfits.
Those six, then…
Centre Stage, Friday December 8, 8.15pm
Formed way back in the ‘80s, at a time when most male DiS writers were pulling their trousers all the way down to take a piss, The Melvins are one of those bands; the sort that you have to see, at least once, before either dying or becoming bored with rock music. Although if you ever fall into the latter state of being, you might as well kill yourself. Capable of a noise noisier than a really noisy noise, The Melvins’ take on sludgy grunge may seem outdated by today’s spiky guitar standards, but what do today’s bands know, anyway? Why opt for all things minimal when you can rock to the max? This, ATP-goers, is The Melvin’s M.O. perfectly and succinctly outlined.
Crazy Horse (Stage 3), Friday December 8, 11.30pm
Formerly a trio, but now performing - arguably better than ever - as a duo, Charalambides produce some of the most genuinely haunting, beautiful music conceivable. The band's most recent album A Vintage Burden has earned plaudits from previously untapped corners and the band have been leading the freak-folk movement alongside Espers et al. If you're not being battered by the aural joys of Sonic Youth, take a break somewhere between a nightmare and a dream with Charalambides.
Crazy Horse (Stage 3), Saturday December 9, 5.30pm
From Brooklyn they come, instrumentalists of chattering electronic clicks and crisp crackles, fuzzing drones and impenetrable sonic fug. Do we like it, or ‘like’ it? We’re still not sure, but Double Leopards – with a reputation for avant-everything founded upon a series of CDR releases – are sure to be a spectacle to savour at this weekend’s noise-dominated ATP event. Whether or not we’ll be singing in the aisles or dribbling blood from our ears come their set’s climax, though, remains to be seen.
MV / EE + Bummer Road
Reds (Stage 2), Saturday December 9, 9.45pm
Matt Valentine and Erika Elder's ever-evolving and obliquating MV / EE outfit hits Minehead for an equal dose of psychedelia and eastern-infused rhythms and melodies. Having been the leader and cornerstone of seminal psych group The Tower Recordings, Valentine's constantly rotating roster of musicians and collaborators makes for a genuinely different and interesting performance on every outing.
My Cat Is An Alien
Reds (Stage 2), Sunday December 10, 6.15pm
Italian duo My Cat Is An Alien probably possess the oddest name of any band playing this Nightmare Before Christmas – formed in Torino, brothers Maurizio and Roberto Opalio craft electro-acoustic soundscapes that ebb and flow like the tide lapping against Minehead’s beach; it’s introspective and ambient, yet scintillating in a way that few of the band’s peers – those with a penchant for rather too much repetition – rarely manage. It’s emotional, sustenance for the soul as much as it is food for thought.
Centre Stage, Sunday December 10, 6.45pm
Do you value destruction over love? Do you have little regard for those around you? Is noise your idea of heaven? Wolf Eyes are the band for you. One of the better-known outfits at All Tomorrow's Parties this Christmas, Wolf Eyes often gain praise from some unexpected corners. To experience the Eyes live though, is to learn a little more about yourself and your limits in hearing, self-loathing and inverted joy. Just don't fucking miss it, right?
Charalambides, MV / EE + Bummer Road and Wolf Eyes previews by Colin Roberts.