Monday, February 28, 2011

Summer places

Time for our annual at a glance guide to the bulk of UK festivals that are worth the effort, up to mid-September's arbitary cut-off point and this time without the dance events as if you cared about those sorts of bills you'd have stopped reading STN years ago. All prices are for one adult weekend camping ticket and we'll try and update as time progresses. Let us know of any worthwhile omissions.

[updated 21/4]

Live At Leeds
When: 29th April-1st May
Where: across Leeds
How much: £17.50
Confirmed: 2:54, Aloe Blacc, Anna Calvi, Breton, The Chapman Family, Cloud Control, Cocknbullkid, Dinosaur Pile Up, The Duke Spirit, Fight Like Apes, Fixers, Frightened Rabbit, The Futureheads, James Blake, Jon Fratelli, Let's Buy Happiness, Let's Wrestle, Mazes, Pulled Apart By Horses, Slow Club, Spark, Stagecoach, Still Corners, Tribes, Trophy Wife, The Twilight Sad, Villagers, The Whip, Young Knives

Camden Crawl
When: 30th April-1st May
Where: across Camden
How much: £63.50
Confirmed: Banjo Or Freakout, Beth Jeans Houghton, Bo Ningen, British Sea Power, The Chapman Family, Dananananaykroyd, Dinosaur Pile Up, Frankie & The Heartstrings, Graham Coxon, Guillemots, John & Jehn, Johnny Foreigner, Killing Joke, The Lemonheads, Let's Buy Happiness, Lethal Bizzle, Marques Toliver, Miles Kane, MNDR, OFWGKTA, Peggy Sue, The Phantom Band, PVT, Razorlight, Saint Etienne, Simian Mobile Disco, Spectrals, Those Dancing Days, Ultrasound, Veronica Falls, Villagers

All Tomorrow’s Parties – Animal Collective
When: 13th-15th May
Where: Butlins Minehead
How much: £170
Confirmed: Actress, Animal Collective, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Atlas Sound, Beach House, Big Boi, Black Dice, Dent May, Deradoorian, Gang Gang Dance, Grouper, Kurt Vile & the Violators, Lee Scratch Perry, Meat Puppets, Micachu and The Shapes, Oneohtrix Point Never, Prince Rama, Spectrum, Terry Riley, Zomby

The Great Escape
When: 13th-15th May
Where: across Brighton
How much: £51
Confirmed: ASIWYFA, Anna Calvi, The Antlers, Art Brut, Chad Valley, Cults, Dark Dark Dark, Dinosaur Pile Up, DJ Shadow, Dog Is Dead, Echo Lake, Example, Fixers, Frank Turner, Friendly Fires, Gallops, Gang Gang Dance, Guillemots, Josh T Pearson, The Joy Formidable, Katy B, Let's Buy Happiness, Marnie Stern, Okkervil River, The Phantom Band, The Radio Dept, Smoke Fairies, Still Corners, Sufjan Stevens, Three Trapped Tigers, Trophy Wife, Twin Shadow, The Vaccines, Warpaint, The Wave Pictures

Stag And Dagger
When: 19th/21st May
Where: across Shoreditch and Glasgow respectively
How much: £10
LONDON: James Yuill, New Young Pony Club, Toro Y Moi, Wire
GLASGOW: Admiral Fallow, Bo Ningen, Broken Records, The Cave Singers, Clinic, Kurt Vile, The Scottish Enlightenment, Sons and Daughters, Three Trapped Tigers, Toro Y Moi, Tribes, Warpaint

Liverpool Sound City
When: 19th-21st May
Where: across Liverpool
How much: early bird £35
Confirmed: Alessi's Ark, Black Lips, Broken Records, Chad Valley, The Chapman Family, Clinic, Colourmusic, Cults, Dinosaur Pile Up, Frank Turner, Funeral For a Friend, Funeral Party, Hot Club de Paris, Jamie XX, Kurt Vile, Lower Than Atlantis, Mona, Niki & The Dove, Pete & The Pirates, Philip Selway, SBTRKT, Smoke Fairies, Sound of Guns, Spank Rock, Steve Mason, TEETH, Those Dancing Days, Three Trapped Tigers, Veronica Falls, The View, The Whip, Willy Mason, Worriedaboutsatan, Yuck

When: 20th-22nd May
Where: Braziers Park, Oxfordshire
How much: £95
Confirmed: Dreaming Spires, Eliza Carthy, The Epstein, Holton's Opulent Oog, Thea Gilmore, Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou, Willy Mason

Friends Of Mine
When: 21st-22nd May
Where: Capesthorne Hall, Siddington, Cheshire
How much: £89.50
Confirmed: A Certain Ratio, Badly Drawn Boy, Bad Lieutenant, Black Lips, Buzzcocks, The Charlatans, Cherry Ghost, The Cribs, David Mcalmont, Detroit Social Club, Dutch Uncles, Emmy the Great, Factory Floor, The Fall, Flats, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Hatcham Social, Horace Andy, Jim Noir, Kid British, Liam Frost, Lightning Seeds, The Longcut, Mr Scruff, The Phantom Band, Puressence, Toro Y Moi, Twisted Wheel, The Wedding Present, The Whip, Young Knives, Yuck

When: 27th-29th May
Where: Glynde Place, Lewes
How much: £80
Confirmed: Doll and the Kicks, Electric Soft Parade, Foy Vance, Hot Club de Paris, John Smith, Kate Walsh, Mirrors, The Miserable Rich, Penguin Cafe, Pope Joan, Tom McRae, Three Trapped Tigers

When: 28th-29th May
Where: Gateshead Quayside
How much: £35
Confirmed: Bellowhead, Billy Bragg, Brother, Caribou, Cocknbullkid, Darwin Deez, Example, Fenech Soler, Flashguns, Gaggle, Hercules & Love Affair, Iggy & the Stooges, Jamie Woon, Kathryn Williams, Katy B, The Kills, Mount Kimbie, Pete Molinari, Plan B, Smoke Fairies, Spank Rock, Spark, Tinie Tempah, Two Door Cinema Club

Play Fest
When: 28th-29th May
Where: New Eccles Hall, Norwich
How much: early bird £55
Confirmed: Darwin Deez, Frank Turner, The Futureheads, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, The Kabeedies, Kill It Kid, The King Blues, Little Comets

Dot To Dot
When: 28th-30th May
Where: across Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester respectively
How much: £25
Confirmed: And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Becoming Real, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Braids, Colourmusic, Cults, Dananananaykroyd, Dom, Ed Sheeran, Fixers, Guillemots, Hurts, Is Tropical, The Joy Formidable, The Naked And Famous, Niki & The Dove, The Phoenix Foundation, SBTRKT, Stagecoach, Swimming, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Trophy Wife, We Are Scientists, Wolf Gang

When: 3rd-5th June
Where: Cheltenham Racecourse
How much: £115
Confirmed: The Bluetones, The Charlatans, The Christians, Cornershop, Eddi Reader, Eliza Carthy, Ian Anderson Plays Jethro Tull, John Cooper Clarke, Neville Staple, Robyn Hitchcock (playing Captain Beefheart), Roddy Woomble, Transglobal Underground, The Travelling Band, The Waterboys, The Wurzels

When: 10th-12th June
Where: Donington Park
How much: £180
Confirmed: Alice Cooper, Avenged Sevenfold, Bowling For Soup, Bring Me The Horizon, Buckcherry, Bullet For My valentine, Cheap Trick, The Cult, Danzig, The Darkness, Def Leppard, Disturbed, Duff McKagan's Loaded, Frank Turner, Funeral For A Friend, Gaslight Anthem, GWAR, The King Blues, Korn, Linkin Park, Madina Lake, Masters Of Reality, Pendulum, Plain White T's, The Pretty Reckless, Puddle of Mudd, Rob Zombie, Skunk Anansie, System Of A Down, Thin Lizzy, Trash Talk, Twisted Sister

Isle Of Wight
When: 10th-12th June
Where: Seaclose Park, Newport
How much: SOLD OUT
Confirmed: ABC, Alexandra Burke, Band Of Horses, Beady Eye, Boy George, Brother, Cast, The Courteeners, The Cult, Eliza Doolittle, Foo Fighters, Hadouken!, Hurts, Iggy & the Stooges, Imelda May, Jeff Beck, Joan Jett, Kaiser Chiefs, Kasabian, Kings Of Leon, Manic Street Preachers, Mike & The Mechanics, Nick Lowe, Pixie Lott, Plan B, Public Image Ltd, Pulp, The Script, Seasick Steve, Tinie Tempah, Tom Jones, Two Door Cinema Club, The Vaccines, We Are Scientists, Wild Beasts

Rock Ness
When: 10th-12th June
Where: Loch Ness
How much: £149
Confirmed: Beardyman, Broken Records, Brother, Chapel Club, The Chemical Brothers, The Cribs, DJ Shadow, DJ Yoda, Dog Is Dead, Example, Frightened Rabbit, Glasvegas, Kasabian, Katy B, Lissie, Magnetic Man, Nero, Paolo Nutini, Simian Mobile Disco, Sons and Daughters, The Twilight Sad, Two Door Cinema Club, We Are Scientists, The Wombats

Long Division
When: 11th June
Where: across Wakefield
How much: early bird £10
Confirmed: The Birthday Kiss, Darwin Deez, Emma Pollock, Emmy The Great, Honour Before Glory, I Like Trains, Los Campesinos!, The Lovely Eggs, Middleman, Napoleon IIIrd, Skint & Demoralised, Spectrals, Stanley Brinks, The Wave Pictures, The Wedding Present, The Wind-Up Birds

Get Loaded In The Park
When: 12th June
Where: Clapham Common
How much: early bird £35
Confirmed: The Agitator, British Sea Power, The Cribs, Darwin Deez, Johnny Flynn, Los Campesinos!, Noisettes, Patrick Wolf, Razorlight, Slow Club

When: 23th-26th June
Where: Worthy Farm
How much: SOLD OUT
Confirmed: Battles, BB King, Beyoncé, Biffy Clyro, Big Audio Dynamite, Bright Eyes, Caribou, Chemical Brothers, Coldplay, DJ Shadow, Eels, Elbow, Fatboy Slim, Fleet Foxes, Friendly Fires, Glasvegas, Gruff Rhys, James Blake, Janelle Monae, Laura Marling, Lee Scratch Perry, Lykke Li, Morrissey, Mumford and Sons, Paul Simon, Pendulum, Plan B, Primal Scream, Queens Of The Stone Age, Robyn, The Streets, Tinie Tempah, TV On The Radio, U2, The Walkmen, Wild Beasts, The Wombles, Wu-Tang Clan

Hard Rock Calling
When: 24th-26th June
Where: Hyde Park
How much: £59
Confirmed: Adam Ant, Barenaked Ladies, Bon Jovi, The Killers, Lighthouse Family, Mike & The Mechanics, Rod Stewart, Rumer, Stevie Nicks, Train

Hop Farm
When: 1st-2nd July
Where: Hop Farm, Tonbridge
How much: £130
Confirmed: 10cc, The Bluetones, Brandon Flowers, Bryan Ferry, Carl Barat, Chrissie Hynde, Clock Opera, Death Cab For Cutie, Dry The River, The Duke Spirit, The Eagles, Erland & the Carnival, Frankie And The Heartstrings, Gang of Four, Guillemots, The Human League, Iggy & the Stooges, Kitty Daisy & Lewis, The Leisure Society, Lou Reed, Manu Chao, Morrissey, Newton Faulkner, Noisettes, Ocean Colour Scene, Patti Smith, The Secret Sisters, Stornoway, Summer Camp, Tim Booth, The Walkmen

When: 1st-3rd July
Where: Bradley Farm, Alresford, Hampshire
How much: £65
Confirmed: Andy Burrows, Beans On Toast, Chad Valley, The Chapman Family, Chris T-T, Colin MacIntyre, Delays, Dub Pistols, Fenech-Soler, Fool's Gold, Frank Turner, Gold Panda, Imperial Leisure, James Yuill, The Jim Jones Revue, King Charles, Man Like Me, Marques Toliver, SixNationState, The Sound of Arrows, Summer Camp, Tricky, Various Cruelties

When: 1st-3rd July
Where: Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire
How much: £140
Confirmed: Bellowhead, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Cyndi Lauper, Deacon Blue, Eliza Doolittle, The Faces, Imelda May, James Blunt, The Like, Olly Murs, Ray Davies, Saw Doctors, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Status Quo, Wilko Johnson

When: 1st-3rd July
Where: Hyde Park
How much: £48.50 per day
Confirmed: Aphex Twin, Battles, The Black Eyed Peas, Bruno Mars, Chase & Status, The Chemical Brothers, Chipmunk, Chromeo, Clock Opera, David Guetta, Example, Far East Movement, Fight Like Apes, Foals, Funeral Party, Grace Jones, The Horrors, Janelle Monae, Katy B, Labrinth, The Like, Metronomy, Michael Franti and Spearhead, The Naked & Famous, Nero, Plan B, The Pretty Reckless, Pulp, Roky Erickson, The Streets, Summer Camp, Tinie Tempah, TV On The Radio, The Whip, Wretch 32

Lounge On The Farm
When: 8th-10th July
Where: Merton Farm, Canterbury
How much: £105
Confirmed: Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Big Deal, Bob Log III, Caravan, Cast, Chad Valley, Cornershop, Daughter, Dry The River, Echo and the Bunnymen, Egyptian Hip Hop, Ellie Goulding, Example, Fixers, Graham Coxon, Jamie Woon, Johnny Flynn, The Joy Formidable, Katy B, Kyla La Grange, Let's Buy Happiness, Liam Bailey, Pete And The Pirates, Slow Club, Still Corners, The Streets, Summer Camp, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Trophy Wife, The Vaccines

When: 8th-10th July
Where: Knebworth House
How much: £180
Confirmed: All Time Low, Anthrax, Architects, Bad Religion, Biffy Clyro, Cancer Bats, Diamond Head, Gallows, Hayseed Dixie, House Of Pain, INME, Kids in Glass Houses, Killing Joke, Limp Bizkit, The Mars Volta, Mastodon, Megadeth, Metallica, Motörhead, Opeth, Pulled Apart By Horses, Richard Cheese, Rolo Tomassi, Sisters Of Mercy, Slayer, Slipknot, Sum 41, Weezer, You Me At Six

T In The Park
When: 8th-10th July
Where: Balado
How much: SOLD OUT
Confirmed: All Time Low, Arctic Monkeys, Beady Eye, Blondie, Brandon Flowers, Bright Eyes, Chase & Status, Coldplay, Crystal Castles, Deadmau5, Everything Everything, Foo Fighters, Friendly Fires, House Of Pain, Hurts, Jessie J, Jimmy Eat World, Ke$ha, KT Tunstall, Leftfield, Manic Street Preachers, My Chemical Romance, Noah And The Whale, Pendulum, Pete Doherty, Plan B, Pulp, The Saturdays, The Script, The Streets, The Strokes, Tinie Tempah, Tom Jones, The View, Weezer, White Lies

When: 8th-10th July
Where: Pwllheli Inner Marina and Abersoch Beach
How much: £125
Confirmed: Biffy Clyro, Chase & Status, Chiddy Bang, Ellie Goulding, Example, Far East Movement, The Good Natured, Jaguar Skills, Kids In Glass Houses, Little Comets, Nero, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, The Wombats, Wretch 32

1234 Shoreditch Festival
When: 9th July
Where: Shoreditch Park, East London
How much: early bird £15
Confirmed: Becoming Real, Black Lips, The Chapman Family, Dam Mantle, Damo Suzuki, Echo Lake, Electricity In Our Homes, Fair Ohs, The King Blues, Lydia Lunch, Rainbow Arabia, The Raveonettes, Sex Beet, Two Wounded Birds

Larmer Tree
When: 13th-17th July
Where: Larmer Tree Gardens, near Salisbury
How much: £197
Confirmed: Allo Darlin', Asian Dub Foundation, Bellowhead, Caitlin Rose, The Coal Porters, CW Stoneking, The Dodge Brothers, Imelda May, Jools Holland and the Rhythm & Blues Orchestra (feat. Sandie Shaw), Matthew and the Atlas, My First Tooth, Ozomatli, Seasick Steve, Seth Lakeman, Spiers & Boden, Stornoway, The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain

2000 Trees
When: 14th-16th July
Where: Upcote Farm, Cheltenham
How much: £59
Confirmed: And So I Watch You From Afar, Bo Ningen, Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Danny And The Champions of The World, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Ellen and the Escapades, Frightened Rabbit, Imperial Leisure, Islet, Japanese Voyeurs, Kill It Kid, Kong, Left With Pictures, Los Campesinos!, Maybeshewill, Stagecoach, Talons, Three Trapped Tigers, The Travelling Band, The Twilight Sad, The Wave Pictures, Zun Zun Egui

When: 14th-17th July
Where: Henham Park Estate, Beccles
How much: £170
Confirmed: Bombay Bicycle Club, Bright Eyes, British Sea Power, Caribou, The Cribs, Deerhunter, Dog Is Dead, Echo and the Bunnymen, Edwyn Collins, Eels, Everything Everything, Foals, Glasvegas, Gold Panda, Hurts, I Am Kloot, Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan, Jenny & Johnny, Kele, KT Tunstall, The Leisure Society, Lykke Li, My Morning Jacket, OMD, Paloma Faith, Seasick Steve, They Might Be Giants, Trophy Wife, The Vaccines, Villagers, Wanda Jackson, The Waterboys

When: 15th-17th July
Where: Stoke Park, Guildford
How much: £120
Confirmed: Erasure, James Blunt, Peter Andre, Public Image Ltd, Razorlight

When: 15th-17th July
Where: Victoria Park, London
How much: day tickets £28.50
Confirmed: 2manydjs, Architecture In Helsinki, Beardyman, Beth Ditto, Blondie, Cassius, Cherry Ghost, The Drums, Dry The River, Example, Fenech-Soler, Flying Lotus, Groove Armada, High Contrast, Hudson Mohawke, Jessie J, The Joy Formidable, Katy B, Kelis, Kode 9, London Elektricity, Lykke Li, Marc Almond, Metronomy, Ms Dynamite, Robyn, Roll Deep, Santigold, Scissor Sisters, SebastiAn, Shy FX, Skream, Snoop Dogg, The Wombats

The Secret Garden Party
When: 21st-24th July
Where: Mill Hill Field, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
How much: £160
Confirmed: The Bees, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Blondie, Broken Records, Chew Lips, CW Stoneking, Guillemots, I Am Kloot, The Jim Jones Revue, King Charles, Kyla La Grange, Leftfield, Marcus Foster, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Matt & Kim, Mistajam, Mylo, Mystery Jets, The Phenomenal Handclap Band, The Secret Sisters, Smoke Fairies, Sparrow and the Workshop, Susan Cadogan & Dawn Penn, Tribes, The Whip

Deer Shed
When: 22nd-24th July (but mostly just the 23rd)
Where: Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, North Yorkshire
How much: £59
Confirmed: Admiral Fallow, Caitlin Rose, Erland And The Carnival, Frankie & The Heartstrings, The Go! Team, I Am Kloot, The Leisure Society, Let's Buy Happiness, Matthew And The Atlas, The Neat,Spokes, Tigers That Talked, Tom Williams & The Boat

When: 22nd-24th July
Where: Steventon, near Abingdon, Oxfordshire
How much: £99
Confirmed: Admiral Fallow, Alessi's Ark, Bellowhead, Caitlin Rose, Chad Valley, Cherry Ghost, Dean Wareham (plays Galaxie 500), Dry The River, The Duke & The King, Edwyn Collins, Fixers, Gaggle, The Go! Team, Graham Coxon, Gruff Rhys, John Grant, Johnny Flynn, Jonny, Jonquil, Marques Toliver, Mechanical Bride, Philip Selway, Richmond Fontaine, Roddy Woomble, Saint Etienne, Treefight For Sunlight, Trophy Wife, Tunng

ATP I'll Be Your Mirror
When: 23rd-24th July
Where: Alexandra Palace
How much: £107
Confirmed: Alan Moore & Stephen O'Malley, Anika, Beach House, BEAK>, The Books, Caribou, Company Flow, Doom, Factory Floor, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Grinderman, Liars, PJ Harvey, Portishead, Swans

Cambridge Folk Festival
When: 28th-31st July
Where: Cherry Hinton Hall Grounds, Cambridge
How much: £114
Confirmed: Admiral Fallow, Bellowhead, Caitlin Rose, Femi Kuti, Frank Turner, Justin Townes Earle, Kate Rusby, Laura Marling, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Newton Faulkner, Penguin Cafe, Pentangle, Raul Malo, Richard Thompson, Robert Cray, Rumer, The Secret Sisters, Villagers

Camp Bestival
When: 28th-31st July
Where: Lulworth Castle, Dorset
How much: £170
Confirmed: ABC, Adrian Edmondson & the Bad Shepherds, Beardyman, Blondie, Caitlin Rose, Clare Maguire, DJ Yoda, Easy Star All Stars, Eliza Doolittle, Frankie & the Heartstrings, Groove Armada, House Of Pain, Kathryn Williams, Katy B, Laura Marling, Mark Ronson & the Business Intl, Mistajam, Ms Dynamite, Newton Faulkner, Primal Scream, The Wonder Stuff, Wretch 32

When: 29th-31st July
Where: Midland Railway, Butterley Station, Derbyshire
How much: £62.50
Confirmed: Ace Bushy Striptease, Butcher Boy, Chris T-T, Edwyn Collins, Help Stamp Out Loneliness, The Hidden Cameras, Jeffrey Lewis, Jonny, Math & Physics Club, Pocketbooks, Ringo Deathstarr, Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, Withered Hand

Kendal Calling
When: 29th-31st July
Where: Lowther Castle, Kendal
How much: £95
Confirmed: Beardyman, Blondie, The Charlatans (acoustic), Chase & Status, The Cribs, Easy Star All Stars, Echo & The Bunnymen, Frank Turner, Frankie & The Heartstrings, House Of Pain, The Levellers, Middleman, Mr Scruff, The Whip, Young Knives

Big Chill
When: 4th-7th August
Where: Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire
How much: £165
Confirmed: 2manydjs, About Group, Ariel Pink, Buraka Som Sistema, Calvin Harris, Chemical Brothers, Chipmunk, Electrelane, Example, Femi Kuti, Flying Lotus, Four Tet, Hercules And Love Affair, Jamie Woon, Jamie XX, Janelle Monae, Jessie J, Kanye West, Katy B, Metronomy, Neneh Cherry, Norman Jay, Robert Plant, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Warpaint, Wild Beasts

Underage Festival
When: 5th August
Where: Victoria Park, London
How much: £25 early bird
Confirmed: Bombay Bicycle Club, Brother, The Chapman Family, Cocknbullkid, Crystal Fighters, Devlin, Dog Is Dead, Dutch Uncles, Frankie And The Heartstrings, Giggs, Janelle Monae, Labrinth, Miles Kane, Roll Deep, Tribes

Belladrum Tartan Heart
When: 5th-6th August
Where: Belladrum Estate, Inverness-shire
How much: £90
Confirmed: Admiral Fallow, Anna Calvi, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, CW Stoneking, Deacon Blue, Dry The River, Easy Star All Stars, Echo and the Bunnymen, Ed Sheeran, Frank Turner, Frightened Rabbit, Little Comets, Newton Faulkner, Teddy Thomson, Texas, The Webb Sisters

When: 5th-7th August
Where: Pikehall, Matlock, Derbyshire
How much: £65
Confirmed: Beans on Toast, Beardyman, Brother, Dananananaykroyd, Dinosaur Pile Up, Egyptian Hip Hop, The Go! Team, Jamie Woon, King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys, Maximo Park, Miles Kane, Pete & The Pirates, Stagecoach, Swimming, Tellison, Tribes

Field Day
When: 6th August
Where: Victoria Park, London
How much: £35
Confirmed: 2:54, Anna Calvi, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Benga, Born Ruffians, Carl Craig, Chad Valley, Clock Opera, Cloud Control, Connan Mockasin, Ducktails, Electrelane, Factory Floor, Faust, Glasser, Gruff Rhys, The Horrors, James Blake, Jamie Woon, Jamie XX, John Cale, Junip, Konono No.1, Mark Kozelek, Matthew Dear, Mount Kimbie, Oneohtrix Point Never, Sun Ra Arkestra, Tortoise, Tribes, Trophy Wife, Twin Shadow, Villagers, Warpaint, Wild Beasts, Willy Mason, Zola Jesus

When: 11th-13th August
Where: Cropredy, Banbury, Oxfordshire
How much: £90 early bird, £100 full
Confirmed: Badly Drawn Boy, The Blockheads, The Coral, Fairport Convention, Hayseed Dixie, Richard Digance, Seasick Steve, The Travelling Band, UB40

Standon Calling
When: 11th-14th August
Where: Standon, Ware
How much: £120
Confirmed: Battles, Born Ruffians, Broken Records, Egyptian Hip Hop, Errors, Gallops, Hercules And Love Affair, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, John Cooper Clarke, John Grant, The Mummers, Penguin Cafe, Saul Williams, Spiritualized, The Travelling Band, Trophy Wife

When: 12th-14th August
Where: Skipton
How much: £50 early bird
Confirmed: Admiral Fallow, Andy Votel, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Dog Is Dead, Dry The River, Ducktails, Dutch Uncles, Emmy The Great, Factory Floor, Frankie & The Heartstrings, Hudson Mohawke, I Like Trains, Islet, Jamie Woon, Jamie XX, Mazes, Mount Kimbie, Mr Scruff, Napoleon IIIrd, The Phantom Band, Polar Bear, Spectrals, Star Slinger, That Fucking Tank, Toddla T, The Twilight Sad, Willy Mason

Summer Sundae
When: 12th-14th August
Where: De Montfort Hall and Gardens, Leicester
How much: £115
Confirmed: The Antlers, The Bees, Bellowhead, Beth Jeans Houghton, Blood Red Shoes, Born Ruffians, Chapel Club, The Cuban Brothers, CW Stoneking, Dry The River, Example, Factory Floor, Graham Coxon, I Am Kloot, The Jim Jones Revue, John Cooper Clarke, Kitty Daisy & Lewis, Liam Bailey, Little Comets, The Maccabees, McFly, Newton Faulkner, Pete And The Pirates, The Phantom Band, Reef, Shonen Knife, Showaddywaddy, Teddy Thompson, Toots and the Maytals, Wilko Johnson, Young Knives

When: 12th-14th August
Where: Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
How much: £99.50 early bird
Confirmed: Antony and The Johnsons, Daniel Johnston, Dry The River, Gogol Bordello, Guillemots, Hayseed Dixie, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Laura Marling, The Low Anthem, Toots and the Maytals

Beautiful Days
When: 19th-21st August
Where: Escot Park, near Fairmile, Devon
How much: £110
Confirmed: Alabama 3, The Bad Shepherds, The Beat, Big Audio Dynamite, The Blockheads, Carter USM, Dave McPherson, Eddi Reader, Flogging Molly, Gogol Bordello, I Am Kloot, The Jim Jones Revue, John Grant, The Levellers, Oysterband, Paul Heaton, Pop Will Eat Itself, Roddy Woomble, Stereo MC's, Teddy Thompson

Green Man
When: 19th-21st August
Where: Glanusk Park, Powys
How much: £135
Confirmed: 2:54, Admiral Fallow, The Antlers, Bellowhead, Benjamin Francis Leftwich,The Burns Unit, Dry The River, Ellen and the Escapades, Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo, Explosions In The Sky, Fleet Foxes, Gruff Rhys, Holy Fuck, Iron And Wine, James Blake, The Leisure Society, The Low Anthem, Noah and the Whale, Robyn Hitchcock, The Travelling Band, Treefight for Sunlight, Ute, Villagers, Wild Nothing

V Festival
When: 20th-21st August
Where: Hylands Park, Chelmsford/Weston Park, Staffordshire
How much: £175
Confirmed: Arctic Monkeys, Bellowhead, Big Audio Dynamite, Bruno Mars, Cast, Chase & Status, The Courteeners, Dizzee Rascal, Duran Duran, Ellie Goulding, Eminem, Example, Fun Lovin' Criminals, Hurts, Imelda May, Jessie J, Kaiser Chiefs, Katy B, KT Tunstall, Manic Street Preachers, N-Dubz, Olly Murs, Pendulum, Plan B, Primal Scream (present Screamadelica), Razorlight, Rihanna, The Saturdays, Scouting For Girls, The Script, Squeeze, Tinie Tempah, The Wanted, You Me At Six

Reading & Leeds
When: 26th-28th August
Where: Little Johns Farm/Branham Park
How much: £192.50
Confirmed: 30 Seconds To Mars, Beady Eye, Crystal Castles, Dananananaykroyd, Death From Above 1979, Deftones, Elbow, Frank Turner, Frankie & The Heartstrings, Friendly Fires, The Horrors, Interpol, Jane's Addiction, Jimmy Eat World, Madness, Muse, My Chemical Romance, The National, Noah & The Whale, OFWGKTA, The Offspring, Patrick Wolf, Peter Doherty, Pulled Apart By Horses, Pulp, Seasick Steve, The Streets, The Strokes, Two Door Cinema Club, UNKLE, The Vaccines, The View, Warpaint

When: 26th-28th August
Where: Tarnside Farm, near Aspatria, Cumbria
How much: £89
Confirmed: Cast, The Damned, Kanda Bongo Man, Kate Rusby, The Saw Doctors, Sharks Took The Rest, The Stranglers, The Travelling Band, Wilko Johnson

When: 2nd-3rd September
Where: Hainault Forest Country Park, Redbridge
How much: TBC
Confirmed: TBA

Moseley Folk Festival
When: 2nd-4th September
Where: Moseley Park, Birmingham
How much: TBC
Confirmed: TBA

End Of The Road
When: 2nd-4th September
Where: Larmer Tree Gardens, near Salisbury
How much: £145
Confirmed: Beirut, Best Coast, Bob Log III, Bo Ningen, Caitlin Rose, Emmy The Great, The Fall, Gordon Gano, Gruff Rhys, HEALTH, James Yorkston, Joan As Policewoman, Joanna Newsom, John Grant, Jolie Holland, Josh T Pearson, Kurt Vile, Laura Marling, The Leisure Society, Lykke Li, Micah P Hinson, Midlake, Mogwai, Perfume Genius, The Secret Sisters, Timber Timbre, Tinariwen, Treefight For Sunlight, tUnE-yArDs, Twin Shadow, The Walkmen, White Denim, Wild Beasts, Wild Nothing, Willy Mason, Wooden Shjips

When: 8th-11th September
Where: Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight
How much: SOLD OUT
Confirmed: 65daysofstatic, Big Audio Dynamite, Brian Wilson, Crystal Castles, The Cure, DJ Shadow, The Drums, Fatboy Slim,, Graham Coxon, Grandmaster Flash, Islet, James Blake, Katy B, Kelis, Los Campesinos!, The Maccabees, Magnetic Man, Max Tundra, Metronomy, Mogwai, Ms Dynamite, Noah and the Whale, Paloma Faith, Patrick Wolf, Primal Scream play Screamadelica, Pendulum, PJ Harvey, Public Enemy, Robyn, Santigold, Toots and the Maytals, The Unthanks, Village People, Zola Jesus

When: 10th-11th September
Where: Newstead and Annesley Country Park, Newstead, Nottinghamshire
How much: early bird £50
Confirmed: TBA

Tracklist: Trash Kit - Paper

Trash Kit's album from last May sounded like a mess, in a good way. (Not an oxymoron in our world) Their haywire punk-funk rhythms and clipped female semi-cryptic sloganeering seemed torn from some discarded plans left under the stairs in the Slits' Edgware Road squat. If this new track is slightly more organised it's not because it's much more commercial, confrontational and fully arrhythmic in the best sense of upset rhythm and following its own trail of girl gang wordles vocals, minimally seasick bass and morse code for chordal breakdowns. This is half of a split 7" with Woolf on the club MILK label, which our cult podcast department would like to note seems to be run by someone called Andrew Collings. It's launched on 12th March at Lambeth Women's Project in Stockwell Road SW9, which seems about right.

P A P E R by R4GGS

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Reeling In The Years: 1997

by Joe Mahon

This list took me longer than I expected, and only partly because I’m a terrible procrastinator. Basically, I spent far too much time picking over the middle ground between what I wish I’d been listening to and what I was actually listening to. I turned 16 in 1997, as Britpop bloat was setting in, and – if you want a horribly mixed metaphor – my musical taste was still losing its milk teeth. Put simply, I was listening to a fair amount of music that nowadays just makes me laugh, or shudder.

The obvious over-polished turd in the punchbowl is Be Here Now, which like every Oasis fan I bought on the day it came out. I don’t really listen to Paul Weller’s Heavy Soul any more, or Fatboy Slim’s Better Living Through Chemistry, or Do It Yourself by the Seahorses, or Word Gets Around by the Stereophonics (although it’s a decent first record about growing up in a small town). Or Urban Hymns by the Verve – at any rate, I don’t bother with the singles on it, which I still feel like I’ve heard enough times over a decade later. Or Maverick A Strike by Finley Quaye, which gave rise to an amazing argument at sixth form where someone defended it by saying, “It’s a great album. There’s a song on there he co-wrote with Bob Marley.”

An alternative list could draw from Belle and Sebastian’s first three EPs – which I like at least as much as any album they’ve made – as well as Yo La Tengo’s I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One, Let’s Get Killed by David Holmes, New Forms by Roni Size (1997’s Mercury winner), Mogwai’s Ten Rapid collection and Big Loada by Squarepusher, as well as IPC Sub-Editors Dictate Our Youth by Clinic, Come To Daddy by Aphex Twin, Deftones’ Be Quiet And Drive, some Sleater-Kinney and maybe some Built To Spill. Some of these were bands I was aware of and just hadn’t checked out yet, while others I didn’t discover until I went to university two years later. But truthfully, I wasn’t listening to any of them, and it seems a bit dishonest to try and pretend I was a cool 16-year-old. I mean, the photos speak for themselves.

Pavement – Transport Is Arranged
Brighten The Corners was the album that changed everything, given to me on tape by a cool uncle.

Blur – Beetlebum
Is there a name for the genre of songs where heroin is referred to as a lover and vice versa?

Sneaker Pimps – Six Underground

Beck – Deadweight

Radiohead – Climbing Up The Walls
In June 1997, they headlined the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury; in September 1997, I saw them at Gloucester Leisure Centre. It was incredible. And when they played this song, the bass was so heavy that a girl I know actually puked.

Portishead – All Mine

The Divine Comedy – Everybody Knows (Except You)

Laika – Prairie Dog
Supported Radiohead at the aforementioned gig in Gloucester. Two bands united by a love of percussion and texture, among other things.

Supergrass – Late In The Day
In It For The Money is a perfect blend of sophisticated songwriting, stylish arrangements and youthful exuberance. Gaz Coombes was still only 20 when they recorded it.

Cornershop – Sleep On The Left Side

Master list

Tracklist: Range Rover - There’s Nothing For Me Here

There's something almost accidentally modern about the sound of Range Rover, the unpromising band name of three teenagers from San Diego. Built on a bed of beach haze-soaked pulses and topped by vocals heavy on the reverb unit, over coming up for seven minutes it shifts subtly into space beats, and indeed spaced out headspaces, that Arthur Russell would nod knowingly at. Despite that beach haze bit, rather than chillwave's imagining of shapes and mirages in the desert, it sounds like sun rays striking and glistening off the ice, hypnotic in its circular structure and taking care of every last detail, layered with tambourine rhythms and buried distortion.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Reeling In The Years: 2007

by James Keen

2007 was a good year for a few reasons. Aside from going to uni, I also turned 18, which meant a) I saved enough money from my birthday and part-time job in a local pizza takeaway to be able to afford to go to Leeds Festival, and b) I could actually produce ID when challenged in the Birmingham Bar Academy, on the rare occasion that the tried and tested ‘not having a shave for a few days’ technique failed.

Kubichek! – Nightjoy
Lead single off their sole album, released in this year. Regularly seen playing in front of sparse crowds at the aforementioned Bar Academy, as well as to a surprisingly large one at Leeds Festival.

goFASTER>> - She Starts Monday
At least Kubichek could draw in tens of people. I went to see this lot play a charity gig in Sheffield with my girlfriend. We were the only people there. Now on the same label as...

Johnny Foreigner – Another Ghost Another Planet
Most of the middle section of 2007 was spent with the I Like You Mostly Late At Never collection of demos on repeat, from which the above is drawn, before the Arcs Across The City EP was released towards the end of the year.

Situationists – We Are Weightless
The decision to go to university in Sheffield was made a lot easier by local bands of this quality coming through.

Ripchord – Lock Up Your Daughters
Signed to Sony imprint 1965 Records, whose entire budget went on promoting The View, meaning this lot never got to release their album. I still maintain that Ripchord were better, though it’s all relative. I also saw them play live in a strip club for a Channel 4 programme, an experience which can only be described as surreal.

Snowfight In The City Centre – Six Seconds
Shortly after releasing this single, they split up, and not long after became Delphic. This ‘wasn’t the music they wanted to make’; I doubt they care that they lost my interest after the change of direction.

GoodBooks – Passchendaele
Like a musical Freddy Adu, they never quite fulfilled expectations. We were left with one stellar album, with this bittersweet single a reminder of what might have been.

Future of the Left – adeadenemyalwayssmellsgood
Happened upon the album from which this is taken by chance, after being sent it to review. Probably the third best album of 2007, behind that of…

The National – Fake Empire
As undoubtedly brilliant as this, and the rest of Boxer, was, it was beaten to my personal top spot by...

Meet Me In St. Louis – All We Need Is A Little Bit of Energon, And A Lot of Luck
Which was probably the best album of that decade.

Master list

Tracklist: Alessi's Ark - Wire

The only time we've seen Alessi Laurent-Marke live was supporting Mumford & Sons less than two years ago in a two-thirds full 200 capacity room. How times change. Downsizing, while also trading upwards, from Virgin to Bella Union suits her, as does the production switch from Mike Mogis' fussiness to a Wilkommen Collective member. This first taste of April 25th-released second album Time Travel feels freer from production drag, here developing a swing born of still being able to play live in a room among friends with no fear of what may happen next to your work, sounding more immediate and stripped to basics. Maybe it's her vaguely Scandinavian enunciations that helps this remind us of the best of Emiliana Torrini, but it's certainly more grown up, while not duller for the wising up, from the teenager indulging in vaguely vogueish floaty fairytelling of Notes From The Treehouse, underlying notes of anxiety colouring in the clouds.

Alessi's Ark - Wire by Bella Union

Alessi's Ark - Wire from Bella Union on Vimeo.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tracklist: Thomas Tantrum - Cold Gold/Sleep

A two for one deal today with the recent emergence of two new songs from Southampton's gleeful rush of quirky, unpretentious guitar pop. Cold Gold is the more radio ready, sounding like it could have stepped straight off CD2 (or cassette 2 side 2) of a 1996-7 Shine compilation, where they put the less immediately graspable stuff that clearly was just there because a compiler liked it. The new wave streamlining is a little like what Those Dancing Days have done on their new album, only without the unwelcome 80s synth bits.

Thomas Tantrum - Cold Gold by Music Week

The single Sleep, out March 27th on download, is more slippery, dialling down the self-conscious madness of their debut album for something that sounds naggingly familiar without actually being so. For some reason their own official Soundcloud stream is ripped from Marc Riley's show.

Sleep by ThomasTantrum

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tracklist: Exlovers - Blowing Kisses

If you're anything like us, and by god we hope you aren't, Exlovers is a name you'll have seen about without quite grabbing on to. They've been playlisted by 6 Music, championed by Zane Lowe, supported Pete'r' Doherty and Emmy the Great and been released through Chess Club, but this fourth single is where they hit their harmony decorated Cure-on-a-freeway stride. Not too far from Sky Larkin all told, if they were American the blogs would be salivating heavily. This is out now (despite other official sources claiming end of March, which is why we nearly missed this window of opportunity) through Young & Lost. Here's the embedding denied Soundcloud.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fully detached

More has emerged hot off the presses - no, that's wrong, mastertapes? wav files? - from what we like to imagine is the underground radar station somewhere in wildest, dampest Prestatyn established as home base by Under Alien Skies. Their third home cooked EP, Detached, was made with minimal input from the chief vocal member (away working, apparently) and with influence from Vangelis' Blade Runner soundtrack. While it still comes across as loose items from Panda Bear's box of beatification placed under a powerful microscope, there's still all sorts - folky acoustic plucking, disembodied future soul, washed out soundscapes - that make this world of their own one worth visiting. You can do such for free via Bandcamp (or £3.99 for a cassette, a limited edition of 50), or just by listening below. The tracks run together here are, in order, To Part To, Takewon, Be Better and Ritethru.

detached01 ep by underalienskies

Tracklist: Sean Rowe - Time To Think

New Yorker Sean Rowe, last seen in this country touring with Noah and The Whale in late 2009, is the possessor of one of those deep baritone, warm while sonorously expressive voices that can never be put to use in light, carefree songwriting. Guesses as to who it's most resonant of range from Bill Callahan to Gil Scott-Heron - his US label Anti- reckon Leonard Cohen, but that's clearly just the first deep voiced singer they could think of. Anyway. Rowe would have made a great soul singer, but his chosen oeuvre on debut album Magic, out now in the US but not til 25th May in the UK (and it's been hanging around tiny labels since mid-2009), is detailed storytelling songwriting with blues and Springsteen echoes, recorded rewardingly close to the strings and voice, expressively creative even when raking over those old love and displacement chestnuts again. It's a tremendous, tremulous album that rewards repeated listening to delve deeper into the gothic heart of darkness.

Sean Rowe - Time To Think by antirecords

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reeling In The Years: 1982

by Peter Climie

I was 10 in 1982. Unintentionally half of these tracks would be recognised by the 10 year old me at the time, and the other half are more recognised by the 38 year old me.

New Order - Temptation
One of the most enduring New Order songs, and a perennial live turn. For me, the stand out track from in 1982.

Adam Ant - Goody Two Shoes
Adam, for all his troubles, is a great performer, and his turn on Top Of The Pops where he takes over the whole set is a fine example of this. This was his first Ant-less outing, as a solo performer. Adam and The Ants were the first band whose posters went up on my bedroom walls.

The Jam - Beat Surrender
Released as I was just starting to browse the 7" singles in Boots and Woolworths, and then they split up!

Depeche Mode - See You
Depeche Mode showing that there was life after Vince Clarke, with Martin Gore taking over song-writing.

Yazoo - Only You
Vince Clarke showing that there was life after Depeche Mode. Not to be confused with the Flying Pickets cover version the following year!

Dexys Midnight Runners - Come On Eileen
Dusted down and danced to at every family party I attended for the rest of the decade.

Willie Nelson - Always On My Mind
Also covered with great aplomb previously by Elvis and later by The Pet Shop Boys.

ABC - The Look of Love
Trevor Horn cutting his teeth with the production technology that would spawn the hits of Frankie Goes to Hollywood over the next few years.

Soft Cell - Say Hello Wave Goodbye
Seedy torch song sing-a-long from Marc Almond.

Robert Wyatt - Shipbuilding
Oh, and the Falklands war took place in 1982 but was rarely sung about.

Master list

Tracklist: Chapter 24 - All Them Selves

Something less approachable for the unwary marks Tracklist number fifty. The more we hear of Chapter 24, who have an eponymous album out next week, the more we find ourselves drawn to the idea that the Raincoats and Slits might have funny nephews worthy of the name after all. For a good while this track off said EP exists only in splinters and bits caught in the wind, waiting for some heavy machinery to come along and sandblast it into a more lasting shape. Instead, they make you wait a good two and a half minutes before sticking the constituent parts of tropical punk-gasm in a cement mixer, playing Jenga with the remains and hoping the bits might make sense when eventually thrown together. By the end Claire Smith's not so much run out of gas as been placed under emergency heavy sedation. It's clearly not something we're going to commend for the strength of its pop crossover melodies, but the madness inherent is just as winning.

All Them Selves by chapter24band

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tracklist: Slow Down Tallahassee - Curly Cuh

Sheffield bands seem to have a much shorter lifespan than most, two albums seeming like a decade and a half's service to most. As such, Slow Down Tallahassee are splitting up after the release of their sophomore collection today, from which this is the title track. Apart from a certain prevalent sense of world-weariness it's pretty much taking up where the first left off, girl group harmonies plus burbling synths and classic hook-laden pop undercut by wantonly dark and frank lyrical content. Something about it feels more isolated and lonelier even as Claire and Nicola pledge allegiance to companionship for ever, plausibly in memorial. A fitting epitath.

Slow Down Tallahassee "Curly Cuh" by Thee SPC

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Stream Sunday

This week, the reverberating, wire-framed melancholy (apart from the couple of blues stompers) of The Low Anthem's Smart Flesh, out tomorrow.

The Low Anthem - Smart Flesh by Bella Union

Reeling In The Years: 1992

by Popty Ping Records

I was 16 in 1992, the age when everything seems to change for a teenage boy.

It was a year of odd times, at least with regards to growing up. I lost my virginity, got served a pint in the pub for the first time, went to my first gig. I somehow scraped through my GCSE’s, entered sixth form and began the process of failing my A levels. My reading literature changed from Amiga User to the NME, I fell in love with Gaby Roslin on the Big Breakfast, and secretly stayed up late to see Jennifer Ehle get her boobs out in the Camomile Lawn. Thankfully it was to be the year I went on holiday with my parents for the last time.

1992 was the year the nineties finally seemed to get going, thanks to Kurt Cobain, grunge was at its height and people were discovering guitars once more and the farcical events with the Happy Mondays in Barbados finally brought Manchester, dance and the initial love affair with ecstacy to a lull. And so, this is was what you would have found in my tape deck :

The Lemonheads - It's A Shame About Ray
Evan Dando’s masterpiece album, of which this single was always the highlight to me. Every sixth former had this in their walkman, or their 1.0 litre 1984 Ford Fiesta tape player. I had a massive crush on Juliana Hatfield (secretly I still do), I’ve seen him play this album three times and it still never bores me, simply a lovely little song, and before drugs began to take their toll, which it would seem Dando’s output and creative tendancies never really recovered from.

Manic Street Preachers - Little Baby Nothing
Generation Terrorists sounds like it’s been recorded in a shed, is far, far too long and has way too much filler. However this single remains utterly fantastic. They wanted Kylie to sing it, they ended up with Traci Lords the porn star. Jacqui and Carrie Shampoo feature in the video, and the song contains one of the band's finest ever lyrical snippets ("Rock 'n' roll is our epiphany. Culture, alienation, boredom and despair").

Senseless Things - Homophobic Asshole
Discovering the NME in 1992 exposed me to the word homophobia for the first time. In those days homosexuality was still significantly less open and acceptable then it is today. Back then the NME was far more political and controversial then the mainstream major label tainted remnant you can still buy in WH Smiths today. Steven Wells was the propelling force behind a lot that activisim, and this four minutes of pop punk is a brilliant example of raising anti homophobia issues. I seem to recall the video features everyone from John Peel to Boy George in a pro homosexuality view. The Senseless Things went on to soundtrack the next two years for me, The Things' Mark Keds wrote most of the Libertines' Can’t Stand Me Now, sadly his involvement with Doherty also brought about a heroin habit he too sadly cannot seem to shake. It would be nice to see him healthy and performing once more.

Sugar - The Act We Act
Sadly these days everything associated with Creation Records is overshadowed, possibly tainted even by the Oasis brand. But way before the Burnage boys knocked everyone for six, McGee and his cohorts were already signing quality band after quality band. Clearly everyone knows about Teenage Fanclub and Primal Scream, but these days Sugar seem to be quietly forgotten. Licensing Bob Mould’s post-Husker Du outfit Sugar for a UK release was a wise move, and NME voted this the album of 1992 in their end of year polls. A truly fantastic album, and possibly the perfect mix between pop and grunge, I never ever get sick of it, even to this day 19 years later. I went to see them once, downstairs in the Newcastle Uni student union, sadly they were truly awful. Shame really. If popty-ping ever sign anything like this I’d be the proudest failed record label boss in the world.

Spiritualized - Run
I was born and grew up in Rugby, and as a child remember Spacemen 3 posters plastered all across the town. My dad taught Jason Pierce, and my mum and gran bought their wool from Websters, Sonic Boom’s family wool store in Dunchurch. So when Spiritualized produced their first album at the same time as I discovered the NME, my love of Spiritualized was born, made more so my father's acknowledgement that Pierce has become his most successful ever former student (even last year Dad was impressed to see an interview with Jason in the Guardian). Lazer Guided Melodies is a beautiful album, highly rated as a post E comedown soundtrack, and at the time was considered ambient. NME reckoned it no. 72 in the greatest albums ever released, and still nearly 20 years later appears in such polls. The fact that it took two years from recording to final mixing and mastering shows just how much drugs they must have all been consuming at the time.

U2 - Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
Ah ok, Bono. Theres not that much that can be said about U2. Bono is a dick, and they’ve become the new Rolling Stones. But to me at least, Achtung Baby was their creative peak, before they started attempting to go all disco, and ripping off The Sun Always Shines On TV by A-ha. I’d have loved to see U2 tour the Achtung Baby/Zoo TV tour, but theres no way you’d find me paying £100 to see them now. His voice is on its way out for starters. I do like this album though, and this is the only single from 1992 I could fit in. Richey Edwards once said he hated U2, but loved this single. I kind of agree with him.

REM - Man On The Moon
Every so often an album appears which literally everyone you know will buy, listen to and play over and over again (eg Definitely Maybe, or more recently the xx). The sort of album which appears on tv adverts, voice overs, promotional breaks, films, the lot for the entire year. In 1992 it was REM’s Automatic For The People, and this was my favourite single. During aforementioned last family holiday with the parents I discovered MTV Europe for the first time and they hammered this song, closely followed by The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight again and again.

Carter USM - The Only Living Boy In New Cross
Seems odd to think now, but in 1992 Carter USM were the Saturday night Pyramid stage headliners at Glastonbury. Needless to say they managed to cock it up, went on stage late, insulted Michael Eavis and were promptly banned from ever playing again. The band got so big their album (funnily enough entitled 1992 : The Love album) hit the number one slot for several weeks, and this was their biggest pop hit. On a Radio 1 show even Kylie said it was her current favourite song. When the Arctic Monkeys first arose people refused to believe Alex Turner could actually write such lyrics, and the common belief was that it was a manufactured pop act and the actual lyricist was Jim Bob from Carter USM. I hope both gentlemen are quite impressed with that tale, it’s actually really rather credible.

The Beautiful South - 36D
The popular image of the Beautiful South is one of sweet saccharine pop, but people often completely miss the somewhat harder imagery often hidden in their lyrics. Messers Heaton and Rotheray often picked somewhat more challenging topics for their lyrics, and reportedly it was the issue of this song which resulted in Briana Corrigan leaving the band and ending possibly their finest line up. The song targets glamour models for using their physical assets to promote themselves when in reality possibly it’s the media itself which should be criticised for utilising such women. Either way, it's got a bloody brilliant singalong chorus.

Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Intact
Everyone at school had a Ned's Atomic Dustbin T-shirt and both the God Fodder and Are You Normal? albums. The Neds played De Montfort Hall in Leicester in November 1992 and pretty much my entire sixth form went to watch, and the next day the annual sixth form photo featured some 20+ people in Neds t-shirts from the night before. I can’t wax lyrical enough about this band, Are You Normal? is still an album I can listen to again and again. If only their imagery hadn't tied them to fraggle and they toured God Fodder a little longer they’d have completely broken America big style like their mates EMF.

Master list

Tracklist: The Voluntary Butler Scheme - To The Height Of A Frisbee

Rob Jones' first new pieces of pocket symphonic oddball pop since 2009's At Breakfast, Dinner, Tea album comprise The Chevreul EP, out 18th March (stream, preorder, whatever). It's a very English kind of sunshine in the mad scientist's basement for all the careful arrangement of instruments, that intangible sense of something homebaked with both ambitions of and no requirement to use bigger studios as much as Jones retains the touches of Motown underpinning the big drums, Lennon multitracked vocals and obtuse lyrics.

To The Height Of A Frisbee by Voluntary Butler Scheme

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Reeling In The Years: 1979

by Sam Pegley

1979: Rubbish is piling up in the streets, hospital entrances are being picketed, gravediggers are on strike, there are power cuts, fuel shortages, cuts in public services and sharp rises in unemployment. Add to this a brooding anxiety about the Cold War, heightened in December by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and you get the impression that Britain was a fairly grim place to be.

It was against this backdrop that the songs on this playlist were written and in their own way, capture the mood of the time. There is apocalyptic imagery (The Clash), commentary on the violence in Northern Ireland (Gang of Four), pre-new man blokiness (Squeeze) and The Specials, who were actively confronting racism and raising awareness of the dangers of the National Front.

Musically, 1979 was a time of innovation and experimentation following the landscape clearing of punk (though Buzzcocks proved that there was still life in the catchy three chord thrash). The mysterious Unknown Pleasures, with its vast space and eerie clicks and whirrs was released in July, while the year also saw a glimpse of the synth-driven 1980s via the cold futurism of Gary Numan and OMD. Wire released third album 154, and The Cure continued their early run of spiky pop singles before moving off into a grey, bleak period culminating in 1982's unremitting Pornography.

As with any year, it's impossible to sum everything up in one playlist, and these songs are only a fraction of what was happening at the time. You could choose plenty more obscure songs, and certainly plenty from other genres, but this I think is a pretty good representation of (at least part of) 1979.

The Clash - London Calling
Gang Of Four - Ether
Joy Division - Disorder
The Specials - Gangsters
The Cure - Jumping Someone Else's Train
Buzzcocks - Harmony In My Head
Gary Numan - Cars
OMD - Electricity
Squeeze - Cool For Cats
Wire - I Should Have Known Better

Master list

Tracklist: Shy And The Fight – How To Stop An Imploding Man

There's not been a lot of country hoedown in the modern folk revisiting, maybe tainted by thoughts of the raggle-taggle element of the Levellers. The first Chester band we've come across since Mansun, Shy And The Fight throw a lot of instrumentation and a big vocal crescendo at it in order to break down such preconceptions, not to mention a way with earwormish hooks and a sharp lyrical ire aimed at old home town ways. You may think of early Frank Turner, possibly Bright Eyes when Conor's in the jig mood.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Reeling In The Years: 1980

by Tom Jenkins

In 1980 I was merely a twinkle in my newly betrothed father's eye (I would arrive two years later). As a result, these songs do not represent a particular period of my life. They are, put simply, the ten songs from 1980 I could happily listen to on repeat, from here to eternity. Notable absences include Joy Division, The Cure, Siouxsie and Dead Kennedy's, but to be honest, I'd much rather listen to Abba and Dolly...

The Jam - Going Underground
Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime
The Clash - The Magnificent Seven
Motorhead - Ace of Spades
David Bowie - Ashes To Ashes
Ultravox - Vienna
Abba - Lay All Your Love On Me
Dolly Parton - 9 To 5
The Ramones - Baby I Love You
John Lennon - Watching The Wheels

Master list

Tracklist: Colourmusic - Tog

Colourmusic are based in Oklahoma, and with the psychedelia weave of the guitars, reworking of skew-wiff elements into anthemic status and crackpot ideas - they once attempted to combine their five beings into one amorphous human and claim to write based on Isaac Newton's theory of colour - they may remind you of some more currently celebrated Oklahomans. Overdriven glam would be another way of condensing it, taking an acid road trip through wired melodies, headphone listening rewarding layers and metronomic overdriven beats. Two further points: their album, out on 4th April through Memphis Industries over here, is called My _____ Is Pink (style guidance needed on that one), and yes, if their press release is any judge in the video it probably is (meant to be) what it looks like.

Colourmusic - Tog by baldryan

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

"I read pages and pages of people shouting in all caps "I'VE NEVER HEARD OF THEM!" as if that's a valid musical critique, as if that's anything but a braying declaration of proud ignorance. As if somehow the prefab pop royalty whose handlers dropped the most money on promotion are promised a Grammy as a kind of birthright, the way that Will Smith's kids are guaranteed hit singles and blockbusters if they want them; the way that Gwyneth Paltrow is apparently allowed to show up anywhere at any time and sing, whether or not we want to hear her. I've never heard Esperaza Spalding either, but now I'm excited to."
- Will Sheff

By now you'll be aware of the fallout from the Grammys, for our purposes the late-catch-up crowning of The Suburbs as album of the year. As expected on the ever rotating hype cycle, the hipster-than-thou declared it a hollow so-called victory for the corporate stadium-succour concensus middlebrow mainstream... only to be stopped in their tracks by proof that actually, most people don't know who they are. Moreover, those people aren't prepared in this Web 2.0 age to give any time to finding out who they are, but they have the gift of aimless rage into the void and by god they're going to use it. Or at best assuming they're typical Grammy fare. Even given time to think it through and research Female First, responsible for 2010's lamest end of year journalism (that's "the last twelve months of 2010", and Belle & Sebastian posited as "an experimental band" "sending shockwaves through the industry"), had a shot with the deathlessly memorable summation "I don’t want to sound politically incorrect, but they didn't seem 'all there' really did they?"

While The Suburbs winning was a surprise, what seems more unlikely is a band who followed a number two album with a number one, have played Saturday Night Live and all the talk shows and have sold out Madison Square Garden twice could be so far off so many pop fans' radar. But then think about the size of America, the subcultures of east and west coasts, the lack of a unifying national radio presence and the very idea of safety first Top 40 and Classic Rock radio being king. Arcade Fire's music in essence isn't immediate, so it would confuse the youth of middle America. But still, as Win artfully responded on Tuesday night: "We're called Arcade Fire - check it out on Google".

Oh yeah, Tuesday night, the Brits. After Best Female had provoked the focused ire of Cheryl Cole fans (christ, look at that most recent one), the night built up to one award apex, and when it happened...

Mumford an what? Who are ya'll
- @LilyTyley

Okay.. So I have never heard of mumford and sons, laura marling or arcade fire yet they still win an award! What a load of shit!
- @lozmeff

So I need to start listening to capital fm again, cause who are Mumford n sons are they an insurance company
- @Djmessiahpro

I am the only one who has never heard of Arcade Fire, Manford & Sons and Plan B
- @kevinrafferty1

OK, this might sound dumb to you but I didn't know who Mumford & Sons was till tonight...
- @JustGot2Belieb

haha nd don't blame no ones heard of en x but they are pretty good x
- @Charlie__xxx responding to the above


Mumford & Sons. More than 800,000 albums sold (a lot these days, we assure you) with 71 weeks on the album chart at time of writing, and given the post-Brits bounce likely to be back in the top five or so this weekend. Seventh most played on Radio 1 (The Cave fourth most played song), fifth most played artist of 2010 on Absolute (Roll Away Your Stone number one). Their radio play stats take in as much local commercial radio as XFM and 6 Music. All over the festival coverage. All over all press, so much so that mocking and sneering reference points/straw man building is now the industry standard among journos ("If that's the best we can muster, the feeling is that the industry really is broken"). Hell, they won an award for the album of 2010 for a record released in 2009. And yet the above was not just the odd few responses seen on Twitter search, but quite prevalent lack of opinion except in themselves. A lot of people, bemused adults as much as illiterate kids, plain haven't heard of artists who've sold a shitload of records and been all over daytime populist national radio with a sound that at its very core puts them distinctively aside to the casual listener from mainstream pop contemporaries.

I've never heard of this. Ergo, it cannot be worthwhile. Therefore, everyone else is wrong and I have the only sane voice. HOW AM I EVER SUPPOSED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS BAND (THAT WAS DEEMED WORTHY OF EVEN BEING NOMINATED FOR THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS PRIZES IN BRITISH MUSIC). The idea that 'I don't know them, it must be shit' is dispiriting and simultaneously fascinating as as examination of self-belief driven insularity and the desire to never learn anything for yourself when it can be spoonfed by language instead. At its extremes you get Isle Of Wight Festival announcing Neil Young as a headliner a couple of years ago and a popular petition being run among attendees urging the festival to cancel his booking as he wasn't a young student-indie-populist choice. Those people, of course, would more than likely share the opposite but no more laudable view: people have heard of it, or is it pop, thus it is shit. That's why poptimism, for all its flaws (no, Since U Been Gone was no good and let's hear no more about it), was something that had to sandpaper down the nascent blogosphere's walls before it got ideas above its station.

It does also shine a spotlight on the idea that a lot of people's exposure to music seems to be narrowing. You could argue this was long flagged up by the paucity against popularity of local commercial radio and the reductivism to entirely pre-programmed daytime stock, but also see how the tabloids on Wednesday all led with Rihanna and Cheryl - glam girls for the photos, of course, but also what they see as two of the only points of crossover with the mass market that runs on US megastars, one-off club bangers and Cowellites. Outside the box would be fallacy. That's something Tinie Tempah is only just managing, while someone like Bruno Mars, with three number one singles and a number one album, is still practically invisible to the majority of people.

Maybe it turns out in the fallout that we're living in parallel bubbles all along - the one blogs like this represent, where Arcade Fire and Mumford & Sons aren't worth discussing any more, the youth middle ground of fashion spreads and Pendulum, and the mainstream set, where they're radical challengers from out of leftfield. whoisarcadefire and the Mumford anti-effect are not really about laughing at the deliberately ignorant, they're the moment when one bubble is exposed to the other, and everyone reading this must have had moments when they've given up trying to explain their taste to others when faced with blank faces, and we realise that none of these stances is typical or, in lasting crossover terms, workable.

Celebrity Playlist: Maybeshewill

At this moment, the emotionally pummelling DIY arthouse post-hardcore electronically foundated post-rock powerhouse collective Maybeshewill are finishing off work on their third album, due some time in late spring/early summer and featuring guest spots for members of Her Name Is Calla. Before then they release a new single on 7th March, titled Critical Distance and sounding and looking like this:

Maybeshewill - Critical Distance from Robot Needs Home on Vimeo.

Before even that they start a European tour tomorrow, the UK leg of which is listed under the Playlist. And before any of the above, in fact logically in the recent past, we held guitarist John Helps down and got some preferred songs out of him.

Jeniferever - The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky
This song pretty much defines the phrase 'unbearably pretty', the whole EP is great, but the first two tracks in particular are astonishing.

Youthmovies - If You'd Seen A Battlefield
We've been recording the drums for our new record in the same studio Youthmovies recorded this album. Their earlier EPs are so unusual that they kinda blew my mind when I first heard them - really influenced the way I thought about music. The album is much more accessible, but still pretty unusual.

Portishead - Glory Box
Dummy is one of the first albums that's still lodged in my consciousness that I remember listening to on loop as a teenager - it was tough to choose anything off it as a stand out track, but this is as good as any.

Adebisi Shank - International Dreambeat
This is a firm van favourite at the moment - It's just a ridiculous amount of fun.

Blakfish - Jeremy Kyle Is A Marked Man
Of all the songs by all the noisy British post-hardcore bands over the past five years or so, this one is far and away the best - just an incredible idea from start to finish, brilliant melodies and an insatiable sense of urgency.

Reuben - Stuck In My Throat
Me and Jim (Maybeshewill's drummer) totally bonded over Reuben, and I think they've been a big influence on a lot of the bands, certainly from around Leicester, that we sort of align ourselves with. They had tonnes of personality which was perhaps a bit distracting on later albums, but Racecar Is Racecar Backwards is perfect from start to finish.

Mew - Am I Wry? No
Everything Mew have released sounds absolutely incredible, and the only time I've managed to see them they were almost unbelievable. This is perhaps a cop out choice of track, but it is undeniably brilliant.

Jetplane Landing - There Is No Real Courage Unless There Is Real Danger
These guys were a big influence on me musically and from a DIY perspective - Andrew Ferris runs his own label (Smalltown America) which has released some of our favourite bands, but that aside this is an incredible song from a great album.

You Slut! - Mybloodyjesusexploreronfire
I don't think there's been an instrumental band that's bettered this song. Four minutes of magic.

Peter Wyeth - Spring
I promised myself I wouldn't pick anything from Leicester for this, but this, and pretty much everything Pete touches to be honest, is brilliant.

Those dates:
24/2 Southampton Joiners
25/2 Cardiff Buffalo Bar
26/2 Nottingham Rock City
27/2 Manchester Moho Live
28/2 Sheffield O2 Academy
1/3 Glasgow Stereo
2/3 Newcastle O2 Academy
3/3 Camden Barfly

Tracklist: The Lionheart Brothers - The Desert

There's a name we haven't come across for a while, not since the Norwegians made a brief press splash early in 2007. Then they tipped hats to Brian Wilson and chamber pop. There's still echoes of something if not strictly Wilsonian then more Byrdsian, but filtered through pretty much the whole of Dan Snaith's career at once - shoegaze's hazy vocals, programmed warped beats, rhythmic pulsing and tribal percussive breakdowns. The psychedelic hidden depths are dizzying, a general eclectic wash through a baroque glass darkly.

The Lionheart Brothers- The Desert by Anorak London

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reeling In The Years: 1990

by Adam Hepton

I'll be honest: the only reason I went with 1990 is because I wanted Betty Boo to feature.

England New Order - World In Motion
The Soup Dragons - I'm Free
Dream Warriors - Wash Your Face In My Sink
A Tribe Called Quest - Can I Kick It?
MC Hammer - U Can't Touch This
EMF - Unbelievable
They Might Be Giants - Birdhouse In Your Soul
Betty Boo - Where Are You Baby?
Wilson Phillips - Hold On
Scorpions - Wind Of Change

Spotify playlist

Master list

Tracklist: Hymns - A Punch To The Temple

Sam Manville, once of Blakfish, now the vocals and guitar half of Big Scary Monsters' newest roster members, says Hymns - or, to get technical, †Hymns† - are an interpretation of contemporary classical music and in particular the mood and spaciousness Arvo Part through the medium of guitar and drums. We'll have to take his word for it, as taken on their first recorded output what it's transmuted into is leftfield razor wire riffage, noise too clean for post-hardcore yet sharing a determination to crash through walls through unreasonable force. There's a touch more self-control than the haywire frontman of old but the raw self-belief remains intact. This debut single is out on the 28th.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Celebrity Playlist: Let's Buy Happiness

It takes a band with big, forefronted ideas to justify Sundays/Cocteaus comparisons, and Newcastle's Let's Buy Happiness are that band judging by their first couple of singles, all crystalline chiming guitars and clarion vocals, "iceberg monoliths in a sea of calm without stillness" as we called them in the year preview. These are their forthcoming live dates:

25/2 Leeds Cockpit 3
26/2 Newcastle Riverside
1/3 Glasgow Captain's Rest
3 Sheffield Plug (with Frankie & the Heartstrings for that Topman CTRL thing)
9/3 London Old Blue Last
10/3 Bristol Start The Bus (free!)
11/3 Brighton Hope
12/3 Southampton Unit

This, should you need reminding, is their new single, out on the 28th and produced by them Heartstrings' Mick Ross:

Fast Fast by letsbuyhappiness

And these are their songs:

Radiohead - Videotape
Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
Death Cab For Cutie - Brothers On A Hotel Bed
Bright Eyes - Lua
Arcade Fire - Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
Field Music - In Context
Minus The Bear - Absinthe Party At The Fly Honey Warehouse
Animal Collective - Grass
Four Tet - Hands
Ray Lamontagne - Jolene

Tracklist: Das Wanderlust - Fish Necklace

You can understand why Teesside's Das Wanderlust split opinion so much, given their modus operandi is clatteringly shrieking 'wrong-pop' (their description) with a tendency to wander off the point if left without supervision for too long. New album Bones, Hooves & Horns, a free download, isn't too different from yore, putting playfully odd pop alongside moments when you wonder what the hell they're playing at. They're best when they do both at the same time, as on its opening track wherein Laura Simmons skirts all round the place before landing on the passing concept of friendship amid pointed indiepop with a glockenspiel and cheap keyboard breakdown interrupted by distorted dirty riffage. As we say, clatteringly wandering.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Always Check The Label: Thee SPC

They may for the most part deal with Sheffield bands alone, but Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation has still put together an enviable trail of success in its own sphere, from the Long Blondes, Monkey Swallows The Universe (and Nat Johnson's subsequent solo/with the Figureheads career) and Slow Down Tallahassee to more latterly Standard Fare and This Many Boyfriends, with plenty of interesting stuff in the middle. Label boss Darren Chuck talks us through it.

Why start a label?
That’s a question I continue to ask myself every day. I mean, on the small level that Thee SPC operates, bands could probably do a lot of it themselves. On the other hand, I guess I’ve got some expertise in the business side, whereas bands have the ability to pen tunes! So in answer to your question, start a label if you love a band and want them to get more exposure and they can’t do it themselves.

What's your ethos?
Try no to lose your bank balance.

Have you been influenced by any labels?
Pre-Sony Creation and Sarah Records have been a big influence. The former for their unconditional love and enthusiasm for their releases and the latter for their DIY-as-political-statement manifesto!

What do you initially look/hope for in a prospective signing?
I have to totally love their music for a start. Distinctive vocals are also very important to me. In so much new music the vocals are indistinguishable! I guess that’s mainly ‘cos of triple tracking and autotune, but even the more respected indie bands sound samey. Yawn. Give me Dave Gedge any day. It also helps if the band can get out and tour. You’d be surprised how difficult this can be for a band, especially if they’re older and have job/family responsibilities.

What else should people looking to send you a demo know?
Well, I’m currently booked up for releases and not looking at the moment!

If push comes to shove, what would be the most satisfying thing you’ve done through the label to date?
Putting out 7” singles is a joy, if risky financially. Watching bands develop is great. Without wanting to sound self-aggrandising, the simple fact that we’ve taken an interest in a band can build their confidence, which feeds back into their music. I guess some artists just need a bit of encouragement to blossom.

What's your biggest selling release to date?
The Monkey Swallows The Universe album we put out a few years ago sold really well and continues to sell, but I expect the Standard Fare album will eclipse it.

Anyone notable that you’re willing to admit you passed up on?
Gawd, where to begin! We were really interested in a young Sheffield band but took ages to bother contacting them. Eventually we approached them but by that time they had a manager with bigger plans. They were Arctic Monkeys. We did the same trick with an ace Sheffield band called Umlaut who signed to Fantastic Plastic while we twiddled our thumbs. One of us wanted to chase up Slow Club early on, but I didn’t think they were any good. Stupid me.

Do you still believe in the physical product?
As Sean Price said in a previous article, it really depends on your goals. I think nowadays you either have to go for a very niche, micro-label approach or spend large quantities of cash on PR, pluggers, tour support, etc. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground! Thee SPC has sorta shrunk a little and we’re deffo on the micro-label side of things. But we’re still around and that’s an achievement itself.

What is the future of the common or garden record label?
Yeah, I do. I listen to tons of music on the web, but I still prefer the audio quality of CDs. I suppose one day that’ll be the standard on the web. And vinyl is great fun, of course. Also, you can’t beat having a physical product to handle, with lyrics books, liner notes, inserts, artwork. There’s no denying that the market for physical records has shrunk, but it’s nowhere near disappearing completely.

One thing you've learned about being a label boss and can pass on to anyone looking to do likewise?
Things always take a lot longer and cost more than you expect!

What have you got coming up?
Slow Down Tallahassee release their second album Curly Cuh on the 21st February. Standard Fare have a new single Suitcase out on the 21st March, with an album to follow later this year, fingers crossed. Latest signings Japanese Sleepers have an EP out hopefully in March. We’re releasing a new EP from Cats For Peru in April and Champion Kickboxer have a new album called Thumbs which will be out in a couple of months.