Joe-John Coxhead

13:48 15th August 2006

Howling Bells are not like the 'put another shrimp on the barbie' Australians we're used to from the soap opera's. Like Nick Cave, Howling Bells are cut from a more goth cloth..."Promises are empty in a world of empty bliss". The band are better than the derivative and dumb Aussie success stories of recent years' Jet and Wolfmother. It's a pity the Howling Bells guitarist and bassist were pulling the silliest rock poses this side of 1980's Los Angeles. Dudes, the 'LA' in La route du rock means 'the' in French, not Los Angeles.

The Why? singer sure has some true love waits baiting lyrics... "Children should practice fucking each other on school trips" He doesn't hold sex up on a pedestal, though: "There are no clouds to lie on afterwards" There wasn't any to lie on after Why?, either, but it was great. They are a most dextrous trio, playing both far-out post-rock and simple country. The crowd duly hip hip hooray, so we get a hip hop encore, in a return to Why?'s Anticon roots... "Play this when I'm dead, in 2060, with the roof down on your moon cruiser, wind through your hair, even though there's no air".

Islands are another good band from production line-like Montreal. They look like a band from the future, with their striking uniforms. You might expect Islands to sound like Kraftwerk, if they didn't have violins and guitars. As the singer put it, they are on a "hoe-down" tip. They sound like Lynryd Skynryd. Calexico singer Joey Burns said on their recent DVD that Calexico's 'All systems red' reminded him of Lynryd Skynryd, in a bad way. Joey should be proud of how his song nestled so snuggly alongside Calexico's choice cover versions. Love's 'Alone again, or' was dedicated to our Arthur, of course.

In a band of just three, Liars have two drummers. As their fellow New Yorkers, We Are Scientists say. It's a hit. Times two. Singer Angus is like Frankenstein's scary brother. How are the Knicks struggling, with Angus at large in their city? His lyrics are just as crazy as Buck Wunderlick's, the hero of Don deLillo's New York set Great Jones Street. "Mosquito's, castles, saucisson. SAUCISSON". Preach that, Angus. Sadly, Liars scared nearly all the crowd back to their tents.