Arts & Culture

Pick of the month for me is an obvious one, as the always brilliant The Coral ride into town after five years off brandishing a brand new album Distance Inbetween.

This band of happy-go-lucky scouse scamps have been responsible for some of the most infectious indie tunes of the last 15 years – Dreaming of You and In the Morning are stone cold classics so I am really looking forward to this new record, their eighth believe it or not. Initial reports on the album describe it as being more rough-hewn and visceral than earlier material and if this translates into the live show it is going to be right up my street. Audiences on 15th March are in for a treat for sure.

Another top gig takes place 2 days earlier on 13th March again at the O2 in the form of the stunning Wolf Alice, one of the most exciting new bands out there, in my humble opinion. Their post-grunge music is alternatively visceral (used that word twice in one preview page) and reflective. Beautiful at times, savage at others – like a proto-Smashing Pumpkins with far better vocals or the band Hole wished they had been.

Meanwhile, the Bullingdon have managed to blag the brilliantly named US band Ringo Deathstarr (March 10th). Any band that it is claimed can channel Fugazi, The Cure, the Smiths, My Bloody Valentine and The Velvet Underground into a coherent whole just have to be checked out. Another one that looks worth a go is Martin Harley & Daniel Kimbro who return to the Bully on 13th March for the first time in over 2 years, bringing their “Live at Southern Ground” set of Bluegrass & Roots music. Support is notable and in the fine shape of dark folk band Little Red who weave haunting fairytales through their music.

In fact, with other shows through the month from the likes of Submotion Orchestra, Black Honey, October Drift, Girls Names and While She Sleeps, to name just a few, I would go so far as to suggest we all just take up residence at The Bullingdon!

But then we would miss some of the cool stuff going on elsewhere. The Cellar have the incredible Anchorsong on Saturday 12th, an artist who has become globally recognised for his unique live shows, often described as “like watching a painter drawing on a white canvas”, as he creates electronic music completely live using a sampler and a keyboard; yes, from scratch, right in front of the you. It has to be seen.

The Jericho, meanwhile, have a belter on 25th March headlined by The Aureate Act, a band blending prog stylings with more contemporary indie and electronic vibes. Main support comes from Cherokee, a two piece punk band known for intense high energy stage shows culminating in rants about tea, climbing on the drums and megaphones. Also appearing are Indie-Folk band Midnight Run (think Dry The River, Sufjan Stevens etc) and Luke Almond, a high energy singer-songwriter bringing all the sounds of a full punk band with just a guitar and voice.

And finally, a highlight at The Wheatsheaf will be the regular appointment with Gappy Tooth Industries. We cover it in more detail in a couple of pages but it takes place on 26th March and will feature three very diverse and very brilliant acts and a bloke talking in between. Trust me, it works.

Oxford’s looking pretty good this month.