Ah, gigs. For most bands, it's the best way to advertise their wares; what better way to experience a record than to hear it performed in front of you by flailing piles of flesh and bone? It's the human element that we crave in music, unfolding before your eyes. Fortunately, instead of gambling on the day of an event or tossing and turning at night fretting over which band to see, Last.fm have provided a lifeline. Their gig guide assembles all the events across your city, putting the listings into a neat'n'tidy order so you can see the who, what, where, when (but probably not why) on any given evening. To make that decision process even easier, here's our recommendations for the week ahead. We're nice like that.


London Grammar: 12/02/14 - O2 Academy, Leeds

London Grammar have had a meteoric rise to stardom this past twelve months - and it's a rise that shows few signs of abating. Combining the ecclesiastical 4am afterparty aftermath vibe that The xx peddle with electropop and trip-hop, the Nottingham three-piece have been at the forefront of Britain's musical consciousness for longer than most. It'll be a reverent set, an emotional wave that will scar your heart indelibly, so that in years to come you'll look back, miss a breath and think "Damn, I was there." Not only are they a crucial headline act to witness, but they're bringing Bondax and Say Lou Lou with 'em - can it really get better than that?

(NB: bring hankies)


Speedy Ortiz: 13/02/14 - Hare and Hounds, Birmingham

O'er-pond Northamptoners Speedy Ortiz are arguably one of the most essential guitar band of this decade (a mighty claim indeed). Spewing a potent elixir of Sonic Youth-tinged noise-rock and lo-fi indie sensibilities, their raw timbre, bombast and ethos is a breath of brutal air; expect a healthy dose of distorted axe flailing, torrents of sweat and Sadie Depuis' idiosyncratic Pixies-howl. Oh, and Joanna Gruesome'll be there opening the show. How rockin'.


Parquet Courts: 14/02/14 - Concorde 2, Brighton

One of last year's hottest acts, Parquet Courts aren't likely to disappoint when they breeze through Brighton. Channelling the art-rock and garage influences of their home city - NYC - the foursome have described their debut LP - which pretty much everyone seemed to love as "The Fall meets Neil Young." A pretty winning combination in our books!


PAWS: 15/02/14 - Start The Bus, Bristol

Head on down to Start The Bus this Saturday for your weekly ration of chainsaw-flavoured math-punk. They take themselves about as seriously as Dananananaykroyd do (*did, RIP), just as real proper good rock does - none of this sour-lipped stony-facedness. The band mingle pop, lo-fi garage, indie and rock and also punk to make ballsy noise that'll leave your post-Valentine's lull battered'n'bruised, and your dimples aflutter. What you can be sure of is a salty bollocking upside the ears - and plenty of beards.


Thumpers: 17/02/14 - The Soup Kitchen, Manchester

Thumpers appeared, quite rightly, on a vast number of Ones To Watch lists at the butt-end of 2013. They spin a vivid concoction of post-pop glee. There's candied guitar riffs twinkling like Everything Everything's noodly-hooks, moodswing anthemics and plenty of stoic beats to instigate a boogie furore. It's party music first and foremost, with a visible m.o. being Thumper's desire to make everyone involved perky, peppy and smeared with hedonistic smiles. They're going to drop their debut LP around May, just in time for festival season - which they're sure to be staples of this year.