TO those who revel in discovering new talent, this month’s Oxfringe is a glittering buffet of earthly delights.
Along with such iconic local bands as Little Fish and Black Hats, right, there is a wealth of local and visiting acts who, we guarantee, will be making a splash before the year is out.
Among the tastier nuggets on offer is Boxes – a mysteriously secretive set billed as a new project from a very special guest, who will be supporting Little Fish.
While we are sworn to secrecy over the artist’s identity (okay, we don’t actually know…but can hazard a guess...), we can reveal that he or she comes from south-east London and will be serving up indie-electro-pop – with synths, guitars and punching beats.
Compared to a delicate balance of The Postal Service, Bright Eyes and The Killers, this groundbreaking set comes ahead of the release of Boxes’ debut single Throw Your Stones, next month. Get in on the buzz at the start.
Other names to watch out for include Matt Winkworth – best described as an indie Noel Coward, who tells wry tales from the piano about worker bees, tragic celebrity Lola Ferrari and zombies – and folkie-melodic local rising stars Samuel Zasada. (All play the Jericho Tavern on June 25) What else? Well there’s Brighton singer songwriter Chris T-T, whose outspoken intelligent lyrics have energised folk and earned him a healthy following as an underground national treasure. He launches the whole festival at the Wheatsheaf at 8pm, tomorrow, accompanied by a clutch of Oxford’s most prodigious talents.
They include the gorgeous-voiced Tamara Parsons-Baker – whose dark alternative folk oozes blues and hidden depths – and local ‘electrokraut’ post-rock supergroup Listing Ships, which boasts members of Witches, Sunnyvale and From Light To Sound.
They are accompanied, appropriately, by the renaissance man that is singer-songwriter and acoustic genius Matt Sage – a solid Oxford institution – kind of like Magdalen Tower, but, er… less square (oh come on!) The punchy Black Hats headline this Saturday’s proceedings at the Jericho Tavern, but the best of it is that they are joined by the startlingly dark, angular post-punk tornado that is The Cellar Family (who have previously supported the 1990s, UK Subs, and The Vibrators), Leeds new-pop act Sketches and local indie rising stars Very Nice Harry.
More fabulous local talent is on show back at The Wheatsheaf next Friday, in a night headlined by Inflatable Buddha – a raucous bunch of art punk folk poets fronted by the outrageous (and very funny) performance poet Steve Larkin and wonderful jazz-folkster Su Starling on upright bass.
How to describe them? Well, imagine a manically sleep-deprived anarchist gypsy-folk band fronted by Vic Reeves, gatecrashing a drunk Jewish wedding and you’ll be somewhere close.
They are supported by pop-folk act Mustard and the Monocle, Mephisto Grande’s hugely impressive Liam Ings Reeves, and the heart-flutteringly beautiful melodies of folk singer Jess Hall.
And if you can’t find something you like among that lot… I don’t believe you!