CULTURE

Indie acts liven up domestic music circuit this week

Following a failed attempt to make it here for a show in the not-too-distant past, American cult band Sparklehorse, marveled by fans for their dreamy noise-pop sounds, are scheduled to perform their first ever Greek show this Thursday in Athens. The act, now active and touring with a new album after a lengthy break due to near-tragic circumstances, are one of three worthy indie-scene concert prospects lined up for the Greek capital over the next dew days. Also performing will be the enduring Australian musician Hugo Race with Italian collaborator Marta Collica, who call their project Sepiatone. The pair, who had performed in Athens a couple of years ago, play the capital this Friday. Jack or Jive, another musical pair, from Japan, bring their ambient dark folk to Athens for the first time tonight. Meanwhile, Sparklehorse recently released its first album in five years, «Dreamt For Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain,» and are making their way through a 30-date European tour, following years of inactivity. Frontman Mark Linkous has always taken time to deliver new work. There was nearly a four-year gap between the preceding two albums, «Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot» and «Good Morning Spider.» But that intervening period was the result of a near-fatal overdose of what were reported to be prescribed substances by Linkous. The frontman nearly died following a show in London several years ago when he apparently mixed Valium with prescription anti-depressants and spent more than half a day lying unconscious in his hotel room. The subsequent prolonged loss of blood circulation nearly left Linkous crippled. Following his gradual recovery, Linkous collaborated with PJ Harvey and the Cardigans’ Nina Persson for 2001’s «It’s a Wonderful Life,» a very radiant-sounding album following the near disaster. The latest delay for this year’s «Dreamt For Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain,» which features contributions from Tom Waits and the Flaming Lips’ Steven Drozd, seems to have been linked to both the creative process and side-project activity. Between albums, Linkous provided songs for the soundtrack of the film «Laurel Canyon» and production work for others. Sparklehorse’s Athens show is the last on the band’s European itinerary. Meanwhile, Hugo Race and Marta Collica will perform material from Race’s extensive solo career as well as tracks from their joint project, Sepiatone. Race originally emerged in the early 1980s as a guitarist for the now-legendary post-punk band the Birthday Party just prior to its demise. Shortly after, the project evolved into Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Race remained on board for a few albums before launching an intriguing career of his own. Over the years, Race, who has divided his time between native Melbourne and various European bases, has crafted an elusive sounding brand of the blues. It has alternated from a spacey and ambient feeling to more industrial-type sounds. Japanese act Jack or Jive’s dark folk and ambience carries a theatrical quality. The duo from Osaka has recorded a series of projects since forming in 1989. They include music for theatrical productions and art exhibitions. Sparklehorse, Thursday at the An Club (13-15 Solomou, Exarchia, tel 210.330.5056); Hugo Race and Marta Collica, Friday at the Small Music Theater (33 Veikou, Koukaki, tel 210.924.5644); Jack or Jive, tonight at the Small Music Theater.