Friday 13 April 2012 Drugstore + Fiel Garvie + Port Isla + Howlback Hum bands in the bar @ Norwich Arts Centre

St Benedict's, 8pm. £7.50 adv + booking fee where applicable, £9.50 door. Late bar.

YES! Drugstore, the definitive purveyors of perfect soundtracks for every heaven, hell, heartache and moment of deep joy since 1994, have reformed, have a new album and are playing an arts centre near you as one of a very limited-run of specially selected shows in support of the new single, Aquamarine: check out the video and don't miss this ultra-rare chance to see Drugstore live.



from London

"Her voice is soaked in wine and cured in smoke. It has depth and strength and yet verges raunchily on the edge of guttering out. Some songs drift like dreams, others pound like blood vessels when you're in the midst of something exciting and filthy. They're somewhere in the same crazed town as the Tindersticks, Eels, Bad Seeds and other eclectic bands." (

Drugstore is the brainchild of London-based Brazilian eccentric singer songwriter, Isabel Monteiro.

If you ask the internet the right question, you'll find that Drugstore have been, ahem, kind of a big deal in their time.

They toured with Jeff Buckley, who liked them so much he took to covering their debut single, Alive, live. They toured with Radiohead, whose singer liked them so much he sang a cello-laden duet with Isabel; El President reached the UK Top 20.

So what happened to Drugstore? "I stopped overnight," she admits today. "I fell in love, was tired of the craze touring carrousel – and overnight I just thought: 'I don't want to do this anymore.' The rest of the band were disappointed.

"I became homeless, I was completely broke, telephone went dead, but I'm sure I'm not the only artist who's experienced that sense of ‘Where's everyone gone?' and that all my connections were made out of sand."

The singer survived, perhaps in spite of herself, on wine and hope. "Love for life kept me alive," she says now, until September 2009, when a briefly reunited original band played a gig at Dingwalls in London, "just for fun". It sold out.

As this footage of an acoustic version of Can't Stop Me Now from Drugstore's 'proper return' at London's ICA in May 2010 witnesses – apart from the interruptions of somebody taking a drinks' delivery and the beep of another's incoming text message – the maximum-capacity audience was silent, enraptured, reverential, embracing the sound of a feisty, freshly harvested, heart beating on a suitably sequinned sleeve.

Everything that night was perfect: plenty of wine, pitch-black humour, plus a mixture of old and new songs. Of course, it's still all about the lyrics and use of language, the performance and passion: anger and lust remain perfect bedfellows.

And now we have a freshly stocked Drugstore – "new cowboys", Isabel calls them. "Ultimately, the outcome has been totally rewarding and really productive," Isabel says of the process. "I could have been dead now, but there was this desire to still see the sunshine another day, and I knew I just had to release those songs, tell those stories".

Anatomy's 12 stripped-and-whipped tracks are the result.

"It's painfully intimate, shamelessly simple, devastatingly sad," says a disarmingly candid Isabel. "And right in the middle of this fucked-up seascape, the twisted heart of our little Drugstore still beats pretty."

"A fine return for a band that were one of the most underrated and greatest bands to come out of the UK." (

Drugstore have handpicked two local bands to complete the auditorium line-up for this show.

Fiel Garvie

Fiel Garvie

from Norwich

"There's the hushed coolness of Kim Gordon with that childish, slightly wonky vocal delivery that Bjork loves so much, the band are loose and soulful, the ethereal quality recalling early Mercury Rev, with the bare boned attack of Shudder To Think, and the songs, well, they're just beautiful, aren't they…?" (Subba Cultcha)

Norwich's much-missed dreampopsters Fiel Garvie – last seen performing anywhere on 26 May 2007 alongside Emma Pollock and Emmy the Great, as it happens at wombatwombat, Norwich Arts Centre – reform for a one-off gig, playing main support.

The quintet's most recent album, Caught Laughing, was mixed by Geoff Allan (Camera Obscura, Teenage Fanclub, Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai) and released worldwide on various labels in 2006 to critical acclaim and an ecstatically-received Japanese tour.

"Like Low and Stereolab, they achieve more by trying to cram in less, to let the moments hold." (Vanity Project)

Port Isla

Port Isla

from Norwich

"A potent blend of Fleet Foxes, The Shins and Belle & Sebastian." (Concrete)

UEA music school undergrads Port Isla open proceedings with their irresistible harmonytastic twinkling mix of semi-acoustic summer sounds and perfect pop.

Plus Howlback Hum bands in the bar: details TBC.

Tickets from:

1. Norwich Arts Centre in person, or on 01603 660352, or from NAC's online ticketing, using the button at the bottom of the Drugstore gig page

2. Soundclash Records in person

3. UEA box office in person, or on 01603 508050, or from UEA's online ticketing

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