Nottingham’s best music venue strikes again, playing host to three bands pushing the boundaries of their respective genres.

California’s The Growlers have been around since 2006, have released four studio LPs and arrive in the UK in support of their most recent effort, Hung At Heart, an album that pushes their psychedelic, garage-rock sound to its limits, incorporating elements of Americana and traditional country. Tomorrows Tulips, on the other hand, are also a Californian band, but focus on the dreamy, Velvet Underground side of the spectrum.

First on, however, are Nottingham’s Kagoule. Moving away from the standard seven song set that has become so familiar with gig-goers across the town, the trio include a couple of new songs. The first new one, provisionally entitled ‘The Bastard’,  simply serves to hammer home Kagoule’s position as the best band in Nottingham right now, all melodic grunge and distorted bass.

Moving away from the standard seven song set that has become so familiar with gig-goers across the town, the trio include a couple of new songs.

The second, ‘It Knows It’, instead veers away from the previously unavoidable 90s grunge comparisons, showing that Cai and co.’s iPods stretch past The Smashing Pumpkins and touch on classic krautrock and 60s psychedelia. Final song, ‘Encave’, is once again the band’s stand-out song. The perfect opening to the evening.

Tomorrows Tulips soon take to the stage, beginning with songs that The Jesus and Mary Chain would have been proud of; distorted guitars and slow, rhythmic drumming. However, as the set progresses, their real influences make themselves known. The bass gets higher in the mix and the guitar evens out into a chilled, ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’-esque groove. Tomorrows Tulips create the kind of washed-out landscapes that Swim Deep‘s pretentiousness prevents them from doing so.

Having arrived at the venue late, forcing a quick reshuffle of the night’s times, The Growlers‘ set is a little shorter than they would’ve liked. Despite this, the band’s distinctive sound quickly comes across. Imagine The Walkmen being produced by Phil Spector, and you won’t be far off The Growlers.

 I suspect that The Growlers’ true beauty lies in deeper, further listening.

Their inherent ‘American’ sound, touching on anything from The Beach Boys to The Gun Club, is mingled with a pop-y wall-of-sound that big Phil himself would be proud of. ‘One Million Lovers’ and ‘Someday’, both singles from Hung At Heart, have choruses that immediately stand out, yet I suspect that The Growlers’ true beauty lies in deeper, further listening.

Bodega just keep hitting the spot. There’s rarely a bad gig here. With happy hour running until 9pm, there really is no reason not to head down for a Bodega gig soon.

Alex Neely

…Alex is listening to The Velvet Underground – ‘The Gift’…

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