The Duke Spirit
On a credible indie, then signed to a major, now back on an indie again, the last three years have seen the Duke Spirit going up and down more than a postman's trousers. In their way, however, this is all additional power to the group's elbow. Dealing in the kind of dark-hearted, black jeans rock that has traditionally been practised by the likes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the London band have traditionally made a kind of heroic embrace of draining experience. Occasionally, this has sometimes tended towards the theatrical, but material from the group's forthcoming LP Neptune - courtesy of desert rock behemoth Chris Goss - suggests a grounding in some fearsome rock, which may prove a decisive way forward.
· Korova, Liverpool, Sat 10; Cockpit, Leeds, Sun 11; ABC2, Glasgow, Mon 12; Fleece, Bristol, Wed 14; Night & Day, Manchester, Thu 15; Barfly, Birmingham, Fri 16
Thrill Jockey 15th Birthday
If "post-rock" was a musical genre that sounded like an academic discipline, then Chicago's Thrill Jockey records was the university at which it was most prominently studied. A label that was seemingly formed as much by a close-knit community of like-minded musicians as it was by hip owner Bettina Richards, Thrill Jockey built its foundation on musicians who most likely had a pedigree in punk rock but had since cultivated a serious interest in jazz and out-there folk. In this regard, Tortoise (playing on Mon 12) not only provided the label's lodestone but also, in musician/engineer John McEntire, a kind of unofficial curator. Thrill Jockey has since spread its wings, taking on bands such as Fiery Furnaces (playing Sun 11), and going beyond Chicago and jazz into weirder dance and techno, finding the halting Adult. These are often sounds from way out - Thrill Jockey has helped bring them in.
· Koko, NW1, Sun 11, Mon 12