So highlights from Stag & Dagger? Turbowolf ripping up the Macbeth like some kind of Bristolian Bronx (albeit with a slightly thinner veneer of credibility), Cursive, Ungdomskulen’s return to the fray at Cargo, but most of all – despite sound problems that saw them call on the crowd to hold the wires in place – Phantom.
They played at the back of Café 1001, a dark venue off Brick Lane I’ve only wandered into once for the loo and scuttled out of shortly afterwards when the sound of two men doing a combination of all the things you might be imagining two men to be doing came from the cubicle next door.
The band comprises one guy called (according to MySpace) TIC, who’s an A&R for XL and plays guitar for Jack Penate on bass/baritone, and SPD (no idea) on drums/synths. The latter was getting some ridiculous noises out of his drum pads and basically driving the song while TIC leapt about in the darkness on a carpet of balloons to what sounded like (in the ten minutes my itinerary offered me) a kind of spacey Foals. It was pretty special; head to Phantom’s MySpace to get a feel for it.
Anyway, this blog is about Cougar, a pan-American instrumental collective that deal in the best two types of rock: post and math. Although they only flirt with the two, rarely reaching the volumes of the former or getting wound up in the intricacies of the latter. It’s all much more strung out, like Three Trapped Tigers let loose to roam and finding life a lot more relaxed.
Signed to the esteemed Ninja Tunes, they’re releasing the sub-two minute frantic Pivot-esque ‘Thundersnow’ (which should be a set text for any aspiring drummer) backed by evangelical choral-propelled ‘Rhinelander’ on June 6th. If you’re reading from the States, they’re touring with Maximo Park in September (16-25). Cougar’s MySpace here.