Flower/ Corsano Duo
When you think "rock", perhaps "Japanese banjo", aren't the two words which spring most readily to mind. That, however, is the strategy being followed by this teaming of drummer Chris Corsano and instrumentalist Michael Flower. The latest of Corsano's collaborative projects - he's done stuff with Six Organs Of Admittance, Jandek, and could happily improvise with a hole in the ground - this duo make a hairy and psychedelic free rock noise. Much of that is down to Vibracathedral Orchestra man Flower's way with the shahi baaja (an electric dulcimer meets auto harp), which forms the basis of upcoming album The Radiant Mirror. Creating a series of bizarre drones and unexpectedly melodic Byrds-like passages, it creates the perfect environment for Corsano to bring his unpredictable free percussion prowess into play.
· Star And Shadow Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne, Sat 10; Sacred Trinity Church, Salford, Sun 11; The Red House, Sheffield, Mon 12; The Maze, Nottingham, Tue 13; Portland Arms, Cambridge, Wed 14; The Luminaire, NW6, Thu 15; The Cooler, Bristol, Fri 16
The Black Keys / The Black Angels
Some folks were happy to learn that the Jesus And Mary Chain would be reforming in 2007; others were completely unaware that the band had ever split up. One would expect that The Black Angels, resident in a kind of ongoing psychological 1986, were happily in that number. In the same nexus of cider, hairspray and black jeans as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, this is a band who, if they're not exactly re-inventing the Velvet Undergound's wheel, are riding it for all they're worth. From Ohio, tour headliners the Black Keys are on a slightly different mission. Even if they may find it tough to top last year's excellent Junior Kimbrough covers album Chulahoma, the pair's combination of blues and Stonesy rock remains a reason to celebrate.
· Liquid Room, Fri 16
The Hold Steady
Hard to get a word in edgeways with the Hold Steady. A sort of collection of short stories with incidental guitars, the band are to be found walking in the landscape created by Bruce Springsteen, with all the dead end jobs and drunk women that one finds in that part of the world. As self-consciously literary as they can appear, however, the group are proof that being hard done by, slightly past your prime and having a tendency to drink too much doesn't necessarily mean you have to be in a country-rock band. With more than a nod to late-1980s/early-1990s acts like Hüsker Dü and Buffalo Tom, songs like Chips Ahoy make them sound as if they've been through alt rock the hard way, and wisdom granted by the experience is part of their grizzled charm.
· Jabez Clegg, Manchester, Tue 13; Cathouse, Glasgow, Wed 14; Hoxton Square Bar, N1, Thu 15; Koko, NW1, Fri 16
Once, bands wanted to be on Top Of The Pops. The Twang, however, sound as if it's their ambition to be on CCTV: while labelmates the Kaiser Chiefs write about being hassled by yobs in the town centre, this Birmingham band sound as if they may actually be those yobs. In this, of course, the band are not exactly alone - new boys the Enemy, not to mention the Fratellis, are both evidence of ladrock's recent rise - but the borderline insanity of their swaggering suggests that they may be taking things more seriously. Perhaps it's this attitude that's at the bottom of their often-touted current status as "Britain's best new band", but as yet their music seems lagging behind. Whether it's the Mondays, Oasis, or the Monkeys, the best British bands transform their experiences into extraordinary music - at the moment the Twang's moderately trippy indie rock seems content with being simply ordinary.
· Lucorum, Fri 16