Anyone lamenting a lack of singular minds in today’s musical landscape is pointed in the direction of Kiran Leonard from Saddleworth, Greater Manchester. His 2012 debut album Bowler Hat Soup, recorded when he was 15 and on which he played upwards of 20 different instruments, sounded like “Sufjan Stevens jamming with Frank Zappa in a music hall”.
His next album, Grapefruit, famously included the 16-minute single 'Pink Fruit’. Ostensibly using an erotic encounter between a woman and a squid as a metaphor for emotional freedom, it was actually a pointed and impressionistic up-yours against homophobic bullying.
On the back of that record, he was last seen in Cambridge in 2016 at a sold-out show at The Portland Arms, where he and his band served up a bewildering set of impassioned torch songs, multi-part prog epics and sprawling jazz-rock, all delivered with the precision and intensity of a post-hardcore unit that wouldn’t have been out of place on SST Records.
Following the media flurry surrounding Grapefruit’s release, Kiran disappeared to Portugal for an extended sojourn in Lisbon, before returning to take up a place at Oxford University. Due to his studies his live shows are pretty few and far between, so this one should not be missed.
Norfolk-based duo Broads peddle a line in warm, woozy, synth-led melancholia that captures the endlessly complex and fascinating space where rural and suburban England entwine themselves. New LP, Field Theory, is full of drawn-out layers of swelling, chordal drones and gently insistent rhythms, punctuated by shimmering yet plaintive melodies. Find them somewhere between Moon Wiring Club and Grouper.
Equipped with extended jazz chords, gulping baritone vocals and playful rhythms, Cambridge youths Ugly make resigned despondence sound pretty groovy, actually.