Live music in Liverpool this week: 19-25 Oct
With visits from punk-funk survivors, alt country mavericks and transcendental hardcore heroes, you won't run short of live music in Liverpool this week
We dive into the listings to bring you the essential guide to gigs in Liverpool this week – plus the latest news on festivals, tour announcements and more. Think we've missed something? Hit up email@example.com with the details...
Difficult to believe it's been 12 years since Keith Murray and Chris Cain's breakthrough album With Love and Squalor, but New York's We Are Scientists returned this year with Helter Seltzer – "their most solid and replayable record since Brain Thrust Mastery", we said. Indulge yourself in a little noughties nostalgia and catch 'em playing effeortless catchy new efforts alongside dance-punk favourites like It's a Hit and Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt.
Arts Club, 7pm, £19
In 1968, Scott Fagan released his debut album, South Atlantic Blues. It should have cemented the reputation of the young singer, barely out of his teens and working as a songwriter at the legendary Brill Building; instead it became chiefly famous as the centre of one of Jasper Johns' pieces, while Fagan's music career became more of a sporadic affair. Following the album's reissue late last year, Fagan is finally receiving the critical recognition his work deserves.
Philharmonic Hall, 8pm, £15
What does alt country mean to you? The term's largely redolent of breezey Americana types like Whiskeytown, Uncle Tupelo and The Old 97s, but at the weirder end of the scale are the likes of Johnny Dowd. The 68-year-old's music draws from the same well as the aforementioned trio, albeit with gothic undercurrents, chaotic discordancy, minimalist electronic pulses and an idiosyncratically dark sense of humour. This rare visit to Liverpool represents an unmissable chance to catch a maverick who's pursued his own unique vision since the 70s: we strongly advise you to take it.
DROP the Dumbulls, 8pm, £8
Largely famous for his writings on politics and the environment, in 2014 George Monbiot turned his attentions towards a 21st century epidemic of loneliness – "a post-social condition our ancestors would have believed impossible." Now he's taken the unlikely step of teaming up with folk singer Ewan McLennan to write a collection of anthems on the subject; tonight they'll perform the songs and discuss the themes, before taking the audience to the pub.
Philharmonic Music Room, 8pm, £18.50
Continuing the evening's rootsy theme, local folk-rockers Lunacorona bring their acoustic balladry to everyone's favourite pizza-punk spot Maguire's. Their influences are impressively wide-reaching (the psych swells of Love; Nick Drake's brass-inflected Bryter Layter; the mournful simplicity of The Sundays), and tonight they're bringing Birkenhead's similarly-minded Shoes4Brakes along for the ride.
Maguire's Pizza Bar, 7pm, Free entry
The sunny jangle of Drowners' self-titled debut was an unexpected treat; British indie as executed by four residents of New York City. Second album On Desire was released in June this year, but contains markedly less summery sounds than its predecessor, and the band's growing sense of maturity suggests they're well on their way to carving out a niche of their very own. Catch this star while it's still ascending.
Studio 2, 7pm, £8
Punk-funk beats drive the socially-conscious raps and grimly wry obersvations at the heart of Interrobang's infectious racket. They're backed up by a trio of local punk acts: Last Reserves take influence from Black Sabbath and the Ramones, while Red Winter's Millencolin-esque bounce and Meet the Robots' effervescent hooks present different sides of the same pop-punk coin: thoroughly complementary rackets.
Maguire's Pizza Bar, 7.30pm, £4
If it seems like rawk trio FOES have been around for a while, it's only because they've been bubbling away under the surfance. Tonight's show represents the launch for debut LP The Summit Lies Skyward, which brings their prog elements to the fore while retaining their riff-heavy sense of melody, and they're joined by Danish noisemakers Siamese, the starkly cinematic Vukovar and nu-post-rock types Kusanagi.
Magnet, 7.30, £7 tickets/£10 OTD
Also hailing from Merseyside are The Wicked Whispers, whose psyched-out jangle recalls a starry-eyed Colin Blunstone in the middle of a chemical awakening, particularly on latest double A-side single If I Set You Free/Zodiac Girl. For devoted party types, the fun continues at Newington Temple, where DJ Carl Combover of The Go-Go Cage spins the best in 60s garage nuggets.
>Buyers Club, 7.30pm, £5
Still got the bug for modern-day takes on the Merseybeat? If you answered 'yes', then The Hummingbirds are the band for you. Their familiar Northern shuffle powers recent album Pieces of You (released on their own Gladstone Records) in spades, and tonight's triumphant homecoming promises to be a treat for fans of good old-fashioned guitar pop.
Arts Club, 7pm, £11.50
...Speaking of which, you could always head along to check out one of the masters of the genre. Robyn Hitchcock first gained notoriety for his work with psych-garage types The Soft Boys in the late 70s, before going on to become one of the UK's most revered cult acts. Still going strong following 2014's The Man Upstairs LP (his 21st), his soft-focus folk and remarkable wordsmithery remain more than worthy of your time and money.
Philharmonic Hall, 8pm, £15
Slow Club's One Day All of This Won't Matter Anymore is a further refinement of the subtly sophisticated pop they began to develop a decade ago – a timely reminder that their lyrical smarts and way with a windswept melody were always talents to treasure. Tracks like In Waves see them coming full circle to the folk-soaked sounds of old, while elsewhere they contine to indulge their ever-wandering muse with an impressive and endearing grace.
Magnet, 7.30, £12.50
Having left straight-up hardcore punk behind long ago, Toronto's finest Fucked Up have blazed a trail through immersive, murky noise and increasingly lofty ideas since their inception in 2001. On this tour they're marking ten years since their astonishing 75-minute debut Hidden World, which introduced the themes that would later be explored at length by concept album David Comes to Life – they're still one of the most soul-soaring live experiences you could ever wish for, due in equal parts to the livewire presence of frontman Damian Abraham and their exhilarating songwriting.
Heebiejebies, 7.30pm, £15
Fusing kraut-tinged repetition with an addictive melodic finesse, the hotly-tipped The Vryll Society continue to ride their upwards curve with an appearance at the Invisible Wind Factory on 2 Dec, ably backed up by RongoRongo, Zuzu and The Mysterines. Pick up tickets here.