I went to two gigs tonight: first up, I went to the 4AD showcase at ICA (mad pr0pz to the lovely somethingforzoe who got me on the guest list). I saw the last number by the first band (whose name I forgot); from that, they seemed like a stereotype of a recent 4AD act; three guys with guitars strumming and singing a folk ballad in unison, whilst another guy inserts glitchy laptop noises into the mix; from time to time, one of the guys would play his guitar through a reverse delay box, creating a long-attacked noise, which reminded me of Dandelion Wine's Light Streaming Down. Then the dance beats kicked in, with the processed experimental folk strumming going on.
After that, there was Cass McCombs (see photo gallery here), which was nothing like what I expected. I was expecting a singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar; I got a band who sounded like the Jesus and Mary Chain, with bits of Yo La Tengo, Slowdive and The Cure's more floaty moments thrown in. Not that I'm complaining, of course...
Then (after briefly meeting Zoë and Ian), I made my apologies and caught the Tube back to Camden, to see Swedish indiepop group The Radio Dept. (whose CD will probably be one of my albums of the year, so when I found out that they were playing around the corner from my new place, I had to go and see them). I managed to pack into the small, black-painted room despite it being sold out (I promised to leave right after the Radio Dept. and they let me in), and even managed to get a decent view of the band. And they were excellent: four members, with guitars, bass, keyboards (a synth with a "THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS" sticker and a toy electronic piano), a laptop and a conspicuously unused drum kit. They did a somewhat brief set, playing mostly tracks off their album (though they didn't play Bus, which I'd have liked to hear), and one new track soon to be released on a single in Sweden. For those who haven't heard them, they're a combination of sweet, jangly indiepop, shoegazer (with judicious use of reverb, skronky guitar feedback and vaguely Slowdive-esque basslines) and subtly distorted vintage drum machine loops. Anyway, there's a photo gallery here.