Rock preview: April 12-18

The Camden Crawl, London | Ether Festival/Harmonia, London | We Are Scientists, on tour | The Breeders, on tour

The Camden Crawl

As every band knows, popularity may come and go but the road goes on forever. With the Camden Crawl, it's a philosophy that the event even extends to its audience members. Not for them the cosseted privilege of staying in one place. Instead, the annual event asks its punters to sign up for a night's dedicated musical orienteering around NW1, traveling around Camden's pubs and venues in search of gold. What we understand by "indie" has changed almost beyond all recognition since this event began over a decade ago but some qualities - not least the enterprising spirit, and a slight inclination towards the cutesy among those appearing - remain constant. New Zealanders Operator Please have both qualities in abundance, while the weekend will be enlivened by Crystal Castles, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, Ipso Facto and "secret headliners".

· Various Venues, NW1, Fri 18 & Apr 19

Ether Festival/Harmonia

Generally, the noise of a crowd gives you an idea of the popularity of a band. On the latest release by Harmonia, it's the silence that speaks volumes. Not that the album, capturing the band live in 1974, finds them on poor form; the audience were apparently too stoned to applaud. Really, it's a fine response to this great krautrock band. Harmonia did their thing with minimal percussion, building up huge webs of trancey synthesizer, which formed a bridging point between the ambiences of Eno and the guitar drones of Michael Rother and Neu!. Rother, Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius will be here for the band's first gig for 32 years. The audience, meanwhile, will be probably be there in spirit.

· Queen Elizabeth Hall, SE1, Fri 18

We Are Scientists
On tour

If the Monkees started as a TV show and grew up to be a band, We Are Scientists are a sitcom in waiting, currently forced to make their living as a rock group. A duo of clever individuals from New York, they seem at some point to have realised that if you can't be cool, you should try to be funny, and if that doesn't work, then there's always indie rock. Their debut album, With Love And Squalor, having blended their aptitude for wry, occasionally spiky songs, it's in their extra-curricuar activities - their amusing videos, the advice column on their website - that the band have created a real identity for themselves. Now bringing a second album, Brain Thrust Mastery, the goodwill remains, and there's no real sign of the joke wearing thin.

· Barrowland, Glasgow, Sat 12; Music Hall, Aberdeen, Sun 13; Northumbria University Students' Union, Newcastle upon Tyne, Mon 14; Manchester Academy, Tue 15; Octagon, Sheffield, Thu 17; Carling Academy, Birmingham, Fri 18

The Breeders
On tour

After starting life as an indie supergroup (Kim Deal from the Pixies! Tanya Donelly from Throwing Muses! Josephine Wiggs from the Perfect Disaster!), the Breeders have continued life as a microgroup. Now simply based around the talents of Kim and her sister Kelly, with assorted hired hands and kindred spirits, the band have run to only four albums in the last 16 years, with the apparent scaling back of the project also extending to the sound of the music. Current album Mountain Battles is a far cry from Cannonball, the group's addition to the indie disco repertoire, but their urge to evolve keeps them interesting in a way the Pixies couldn't sustain.

· Leadmill, Sheffield, Sat 12; Academy 2, Birmingham, Sun 13; Manchester University, Mon 14; Koko, NW1, Wed 16 & Thu 17


John Robinson

The GuardianTramp

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