Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Mugstar / Thought Forms / Vertical Slum @ The Louisiana, Bristol, Friday 4th February


Tonight’s three band art-rock pile-up arrives courtesy of Rocket Recordings. Vertical Slum’s Ian Green spatters volatile, Byrds-gone-garage guitar work over vacuum-tight rhythms in the style of Hendrix and The MC5. If Green’s singing packed the punch of his guitar playing, they’d be something else.

Superficially, Thought Forms recall My Bloody Valentine, but where that group used sensory derangement to connect with the world of dreams, the Bristol trio seem to be using it to invoke the spirits. Their stomp-box sorcery, ritualistic drum patterns and sparingly used female vocals bring to mind everything from North African desert music to the cosmic rock of Acid Mothers Temple. They could easily be Bristol’s best shoegazers, but they’re at their most thrilling when they kick off the footwear and wade into the deep.

Psychedelia of a groovier kind, Liverpool’s Mugstar were John Peel’s last great discovery, and they remain the best kept secret in British rock. Tonight they’re devastating – vintage psych guitar lines and whacked out Radiophonic synths probing deep into the universe; bass and drums locked in relentless forward motion. Irresistibly weird, yet fiendishly danceable –Mugstar are the house band at the end of the world.

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