There are good gigs, and there are great gigs. Then there are ones that are so ridiculously packed with talent that it defies belief, and Manchester’s Now Wave certainly know how to book the latter. Wild Nothing playing alongside Porcelain Raft should be unavoidable, as is also the case with The Twilight Sad and Errors double headlining. However, neither compare with Women and Zola Jesus playing on the same bill, as the two combine their European tours for one night that should be utterly spellbinding. However, the bill is somewhat of a triple threat – opening up proceedings will be a man called James Friley, who performs under the name Idiot Glee.
Coming from the wilds of Lexington, Kentucky, Friley inhabits a genre almost completely of his own. As the name of his work suggests, their is a choral feeling to the casio-backed musings that goes far beyond the usual stripped back, fuzzy vocals that this age seems to demand for a burgeoning artist. The electronic keyboard aside, much of the backing tune is done acapella, which, it being a solo project and everything, means that Idiot Glee’s vocal harmonies are purely the work of Friley layering self recording upon self recording. The end results is a bizarre ghostliness, a barber shop quartet made up of clones or puppets, awkward but, unsurprisingly, shimmering with brilliance. There has already been almost universal acclaim from the hipper corners of the internet, and it’d be no surprise if Altered Zones was to win over a few more haters by premièring a new track by the young man.
For those who live outside Manchester, Idiot Glee will be touring with Women throughout their sojourn, whilst Nika Danilova and her crew will be taking Zola Jesus elsewhere after their joint show. The layered, one-man choir of his recorded work means that live shows are more stripped down than the songs that have been floating around the internet, but that shouldn’t take away much of the magic – these are pop songs that would shine through no matter the medium of delivery, and you’d be well advised to show up early enough to see the entirety of James Friley’s set if he’s playing close to you this summer.
Idiot Glee – I want to stay the night [download from vice]
Idiot Glee – All packed up [download from i guess i’m floating]