So welcome to our Indietracks special, for the next week or so this blog is going to become all Indietracks, all the time in honour of Derbyshire’s finest Indie-Pop at a Train Museum Festival (please do let me know if there’s a better one!)
So kicking off proceedings we thought we’d bring you our pick-of-the-pops (Tony Blackburn reference entirely intentional) and talk you through some of our most anticipated, and completely unmissable acts.
As a slight caveat, we’ve avoided all the headliners because it’s pretty obvious that you should watch Hidden Cameras, Allo Darlin’ and Gruff Rhys right? We’ve also decided for the sake of not repeating ourselves not to mention Nat Johnson or Night Flowers as we’ve talked about them recently, so we can but assume that you’re not stupid enough to miss either of those two!
We were going to make this a classic top five list but couldn’t decide between two of them so without further ado here’s our list of 6 Band You Shouldn’t Miss at Indietracks this weekend.
LAURA J MARTIN (Saturday – Church Stage – 17.20)
Now some of you won’t ever have been to Indietracks (more fool you) and some will be coming for the first time (clever you), so you might not know about their lovely church stage. It’s officially a Victorian tin tabernacle, but for the less architectural amongst us, it’s a small (sometimes too small for everyone who wants to get it it) church and it’s rather old; 1898 to be precise, though it was rebuilt on the site of the Midlands Railway Centre at a later date.
As well as being a charming venue, it’s home to many of the best bands of the weekend, not least our old fave Nat Johnson, but our first pick is another stunning singer-songwriter of the female persuasion, Laura J Martin. Laura is from Liverpool, but now spends her time between the former culture capital and the actual capital, London. Uncut described her most recent album Dazzle Days as having “limited parallels with Dreaming era Kate Bush and the work of Camberwell harpie Serafina Steer” excellent jumping off points, but in reality Laura’s pretty unclassifiable. She floats between instruments, often going back to her weapon of choice the mighty flute. She’s also rather nifty with the old loop pedal, which is always a terrifyingly, thrilling experience. It all adds up to a beguiling mix of folk, pop and a whole lot of individuality!
SWEET BABOO (Sunday – Outdoor Stage – 18.40)
The outdoor stage is the main stage at Indietracks, in terms of how many people can gather around it (though the indoor stage has been known to cram a fair few people in when it rains), which is a sign of the continuing growth of Sweet Baboo aka Stephen Black. At my best estimate his recently released The Marc Riley BBC Sessions full length album is his fifth full length release, and his second for the brilliant Moshi Moshi label.
Hailing from North Wales he’s one of the most recognisable singer-songwriters currently on the scene; his influences are wide, and he floats between styles frequently. With Sweet Baboo though, you come for the music and stay for the excellent lyrics. It’s hard to pick a favourite so here’s a few.
From If I Died… “And Daniel Johnston has written hundred of great tunes, and I’ve got six, so guess that’s some catching up to do.”
From Cate’s Song “You hate all of those folk bands, Cause they rip off my albums, And I’m glad that we are friends”
From Twelve Carrots Of Love “And now I must confess that I am in the best band ever, and I make the best love ever, last for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks.”
Plus there’s a song about Bumble Bee’s and if those facts don’t make you want to go see him, you’re reading the wrong blog.
JOANNA GRUESOME (Saturday – Indoor Stage – 19.00)
The indoor stage is an old locomotive shed, and is pretty much exactly what you would imagine an old locomotive shed would look like. It’s also home to both beer and merchandise, so it’s a good place to get accustomed to! One band who are pretty certain to pack it to the rafters (though it doesn’t have any rafters) are Joanna Gruesome.
Sadly Joanna Gruesome are not a metal tribute to Joanna Newsom, but far less sadly they’re brilliant. Signed to the Indie-pop double header that is Fortuna Pop! and Slumberland, they released their debut album Weird Sister last year to pretty much universal critical acclaim, and it’s easy to see why. On the Indietracks website they are rather wonderfully described as “a five-piece noisepop/C86-ish/punk/riot grrrl/whatever band from Cardiff.” Apparently they formed at an anger-management group, and if the idea was to channel that anger through the music then it’s a roaring success. The key to their charms lie in the melding of stunning melodies and pretty hazy bits with really bloody loud bits that hurt your ears in a good way. Their sound is somewhere between Los Campesinos and Veronica Falls.
Wikipedia also notes they have “forthright feminist and anti-homophobic views” or as it’s also known “not being a moron”.
LINDA GUILALA (Saturday – Outdoor Stage – 16.40)
Due largely to the influence of Elefant Records on the Indie-pop scene, Indietracks gets more than it’s fair share of Spanish bands. The presence of Linda Guilala alongside The Royal Landscaping Society and Axolotes Mexicanos continues the theme this year.
Linda Guilala are my favourite of the bunch, the two-piece make an impressive racket that takes it’s influence from The Jesus And Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine in equal measures. The band are ex-members of Juniper Moon and have produced a number of other well known Spanish artists, including my favourite Spanish band of all time Los Bonsais. Linda Guilala’s most recent album Xeristar is their most exciting release to date, and a good slot on the main stage is a well deserved reward for the pair.
LONELY TOURIST (Saturday – Train Stage -12.15)
Apparently, one thing you must do at Indietracks is watch one of the bands who play acoustically on the train. We say apparently because in two previous visits we’ve never managed to make it onto the train yet, just like my train to work in the morning I’m always either late or it’s too busy. The likes of Bill Botting of Allo Darlin’ and Lisa Bouvier are sure to draw a lot of people along, but for me the one act you can’t miss on the train this year is Lonely Tourist.
Lonely Tourist is the pseudonym of Bristol based Glaswegian, Paul Tierney. To my ears he’s a bit like a Scottish Jeffrey Lewis, or perhaps King Creosote dancing at a Ceilidh on his own. His latest, and third album the brilliantly titled, Shouting At Weather, contains songs about subjects as broad as the life of fly’s, your neighbours playing DJ Sammy at a party in the middle of the night and of course Shouting At Weather, hopefully not needed this weekend!
Best of all though is the Steve Lamacq supported The Ballad Of Paul Tierney, which see’s the singer compare his life to that of his namesake, the ex-Manchester United youngster and lower-league journeyman Paul Tierney. Sample lyric “the gaffer wants a word with you, we’re sending you on loan to Crewe. You can get some first team games, you can forget about the fame” before concluding “would he say honestly, he would rather have been me, I would rather of have been him because I’ve never heard the fans sing” before ending with a chorus sing along of “OH OH OH OHOH PAUL TIERNEY, PAUL TIERNEY” if it’s not the anthem of Indietracks, it will at least be in our heads for the whole weekend.
LET’S WRESTLE (Sunday – Outdoor Stage – 19.40)
Our final recommendation is another Marc Riley favourite, and another signing to the ever brilliant Fortuna Pop! Let’s Wrestle are a 4-piece rock band from London who blend ramshackle, heavy, scuzzed-up punk, with a knack for writing a catchy chorus.
There most recent album saw them take a more mature approach to song writing, drawing influences from the classic pop of Fairport Convention and The Kinks. I have to admit part of the appeal of watching Let’s Wrestle will be seeing how they blend their very varied back catalogue into a coherent set. A challenge, but one we’re sure the boys are more than up to, and with a back catalogue as impressive as their’s it promises to be a thrilling set as the weekend draws towards a close.