dea Lesson No.1: THE IN SWN FROM WAY OUT

Monday, October 18


It's that time of year again: welcome back the Swn festival, aka the biggest collection of bands to hit Cardiff annually. Lesson No.1 have sticky thumbs and wandering fingers in three shows this time around, something of a record contribution for us, so without further ado...

We peak earlier than a schoolboy spying on the girls' changing rooms on Thursday 21 October with this noisy beggar of trans-European scale.

Bellini allow us to break with blurb-style traditions. "This band should not be confused with the German dance act, 'Bellini', comprising two producers and three singer/dancers and famous for their football based hit, ‘Samba de Janeiro’ (1997)." We don’t make a habit of using Wikipedia to write our band blurbs, but on this occasion it comes correct. Bellini are a powerful and emotionally resonant band who play what could be described as ‘math-rock’, especially considering that they feature one member of Don Caballero and two of Uzeda – but there is none of the fiddly dryness sometimes associated with the genre, just wicked slicing riffs and lyrical word salad. Their newest member is Alexis Fleisig, who used to play drums for Girls Against Boys, and if you know that band you’ll know you’re gonna witness supreme sticksmanship. If you don't know any of the bands above, you should probably get to know.

Årabrot make an overdue Cardiff showing. A duo (sometimes a trio) who live in Oslo, they make what they call True Norwegian Noise Rock. Their albums – the finest of which are ‘The Brother Seed’ and the brand new ‘Revenge’ – combine scraping metallic fury and tortured vocals, harking back to the glory days of labels like Amphetamine Reptile and Skingraft. They have a personality and drive all of their own, though. Gonna get loud. And over this way it already is loud.

Wounds are a youngish crew from Dublin, in Cardiff for the second time and promising to rock in the manner of their debut mini-album ‘Dead Dead Fucking Dead’. Ballpark-wise, we're talking nods to Dischordian post-hardcore, At The Drive-In’s anthemic qualities, Drive Like Jehu’s expanses and olde tyme Three One G bands. This show, which Wounds are coming over just to play, is also notable for being the band’s first show since James, the band’s guitarist, fell a really really long way off a balcony and ended up in intensive care. Having recovered a treat (that’s his torso top left of their MySpace), they’re back and “raring to go”. Get Wounded.

Goodtime Boys dispense frantic hardcore energy. They're a Cardiff-based band fronted by Pennie, who you may know from the altogether poppier concern Decimals (and previously - although they prefer not to mention it - The Automatic). His full-tilt performance provides the focal point of Goodtime Boys’ compact, fierce yet melodic songs. This venue should have lots of places for him to...explore. Split mini-album with fellow Cardiffians Solutions out now. Listening fun in this direction.

Goodtime Boys 7.15pm-8pm
Wounds 8.45pm-9.30pm
Arabrot 10.15pm-11pm
Bellini 11.45pm-12.30am

The Model Inn, 14-15 Quay Street, Cardiff
£8 on the door (also includes admission to see the Shape Records night with Sun Drums, Attack + Defend and Munch Munch downstairs)
£10 for one-day Swn wristband (buy one-day wristband here)
£45 for three-day Swn wristband (buy weekend wristband here)

Next up, on Friday 22 October, we have...

The Ex formed at the end of the 1970s in Holland, inspired by Crass and the early wave of UK anarcho punk bands, and have spent the following three decades absorbing a matchless range of global influences, while remaining an unquestionable and self-evident punk band. These influences have come from, to name some, Eastern European folk, Ethiopian dance-party jazz, Euro/US free improvisers (their UK tour performing with various jazzers earlier this year was whooped up by basically everyone who saw it) and Spanish protest songs of the Franco era. They are absolutely not ‘world music’ as it is often understood and marketed in the West; they are merely receptive to sounds and scenes that most ‘rock’ bands never even get to hear. It is a genuine honour to have them playing here. Musical evidence here.

Truckers Of Husk have been alive in some form or other in Cardiff since 2004, going through multiple lineup/instrument changes, but each one has been a consistent live draw in this roadworks-filled city. They play complex but danceable rock, more often than not instrumental and with lots of tapping and groovy repetition. For fans of Battles, Tortoise, Deerhoof and so forth. New single ‘Awesome Tapes From Africa’ (named in tribute to a blog which unearths just that, and actually released on tape) is out now. Trucking great tunes on this link.

Brandyman star former and current members of bands including Truckers Of Husk (yes, the ones we just mentioned), Joy Of Sex and Gindrinker, becoming a Band To Go And See despite being yet to release anything. They’re less than a year old, mind, so it’s no disgrace, you understand. They have two guitars and no bass, and will klang their way into your heart with riff-centric blooze noise. ZZ Top, Melvins, The Jesus Lizard and Dazzling Killmen seem like names worth mentioning if we wanted to get a certain sort of person’s attention. So are these songs.

Brandyman 7.15pm-7.45pm
Truckers of Husk 8.30pm-9.15pm
The Ex 10pm-11pm

Clwb Ifor Bach, 11 Womanby Street, Cardiff
£10 on door (also includes admission to see the Artrocker show with Fiction, We Are Animal and O Children downstairs)

£15 for one-day Swn wristband (buy one-day wristband here)
£45 for three-day Swn wristband (buy weekend wristband here)

Lastly, but certainly not least, are one of this year's Swn headliners: the mighty reformed Swans, supported by James Blackshaw. As we actually have had minimal input to this one it would seem slightly cheeky to take the credit away from John Rostron, Swn co-organiser, who pretty much nailed the show without our help! Full Facebook-shaped blurbs are over here though and for biographical details on this show/the full Swn lowdown head to the official Swn website.

Big ups to Hannah Truran (Bellini poster), Dan Lazenby (The Ex poster) and Carl Rylatt (Swans poster) for all their banging artwork efforts. And get ready to wear earplugs for three days straight (or be deaf for a good deal longer, no doubt).


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