Sunday, August 15, 2010


Don't. Save up, there's some very busy weeks ahead (hello, w/b 13th September). If we must fill this with something that catches the eye, Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan have a third volume of their protracted hawk-like encircling each other (it's even called Hawk) out, but those have been variable quality so far.

"The last four and a half years have been a tumultuous ride to say the least; we've both eclipsed our early expectations and had to face a seemingly infinite series of difficult setbacks. It's been both fun and utterly maddening, inspiring and crushing. We now finally face a set of circumstances that are truly impossible to overcome and realise that the only logical way to continue to move forward with our lives is to put Grammatics to rest." And there goes one of Britain's most intriguing and promising (if that isn't too shallow a word for a band who've long had an album out, but the sense was they could have gone much further into their particular darkness) bands. They have a final EP coming out soon but are currently on a farewell tour, tonight at the Manchester Deaf Institute. This week they then head through Glasgow Captain's Rest on Monday, York Stereo Tuesday and Barnsley Walkabout on Thursday before they go very ungently into that good night at home in Leeds at the Brudenell on Friday, with Blue Roses and These Monsters supporting.

Plantagenet 3 - there's one, sometimes two, of them - refer to him/themselves on Facebook as "post-surf: hopefully the most ridiculous genre name you'll hear this year." Hypnagogic pop proves that wrong but not the whole surf-but-something-other approach, sounding like a Labradford windy minimalism/Chicago scene style post-rock outfit attempting to reconfigure the Ventures at their own speed, minimal drumming against half speed reverberating guitars. The influences list mentions Morricone, which seems about fair, though for an umbrella we'd go with 'tonight, playing live, Dick Dale is John McEntire'. Go and buy their single, should you so wish.

While 4Music and its coterie of failed Hollyoaks actors takes in the surface venality of V, us snobs are off to Green Man. We've never been before and are worried that, unlike most festivals, they haven't sent any maps, opening details or parking arrangements with the ticket. Once there, though, much is on offer: Joanna Newsom, the Flaming Lips and Doves are your headliners in reverse chronology, with other names standing out including Billy Bragg, Laura Marling, Tindersticks, Mumford & Sons (might get a bit of peace around the rest of the site while they're on, judging by Latitude), Field Music, Fuck Buttons, Wild Beasts, Beirut, Islet, The Wave Pictures, Felix, Johnny Flynn, Fanfarlo, Steve Mason, These New Puritans, DJ Yoda, First Aid Kit and Summer Camp. Throw in nicely booked comedy (Josie Long, Milton Jones, Robin Ince), literature (John Cooper Clarke, Stuart Maconie, David Quantick) and film (Nuts In May, Ponyo, 200 Motels), plus an on-site competition in which Bella Union invoke Kit Williams' Masquerade, tents and that just about all seems worth the hassle of not knowing where anything is in advance. Elsewhere, Beautiful Days is run by the Levellers with all that implies and is one of British Sea Power's stop-offs on their way to playing every single festival that ever wanted them. This a band who played not only Zoo Thousand but were also billed for celebrated non-starters Red List Live (in the same location as Zoo8) and Indie Guitar Festival. The Wailers, Billy Bragg, Fairport Convention, Wilko Johnson, Thomas White, Thomas Truax and John Cooper Clarke also show up amid your New Model Armys and Shoogleniftys. For substantially less, by which we mean free, Morton Stanley Festival is a weekend event at, um, Morton Stanley Park in Redditch, attracting Hot Club De Paris, Tubelord, the only fitfully active nowadays Sunset Cinema Club, Shapes, Youves, Boat To Row and those all-important "others". Or, y'know, there's always 80s Rewind Festival (near Henley on Thames, £100 the weekend) with Boy George and, we quote verbatim, 'Tony Hadley with ABC and Go West' headlining. Mother! The Weather Girls, Imagination and Johnny Hates Jazz together, in 2010! Oh, by the way, organisers, 10cc, Odyssey and Chesney Hawkes don't count as 80s acts, and booking Bjorn Again is just silly.

Indietracks, as you'll be aware by now, takes place amid the restored engines, abandoned stock and pastoral workshop of the Midland Railway Museum in Butterley, Derbyshire. The effort all concerned put in to make it such an evocative weekend is genuinely tremendous, so now the festival is corralling people to give something back to them after a year in which the famed llama petting zoo had to be closed for financial reasons. The Swanwick station building, where people enter the site from the main museum hub via steam train, has been a work in building progress since the first event in 2007, and while nearly complete they need an extra push to finish the internal and external building and furnishing. Contributions are sought before September 10th.

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