It’s that time again, for the next week or so here at For The Rabbits we’re going to be talking all things End Of The Road.
Set in the picturesque setting of Larmer Tree Gardens, End Of The Road traditionally marks the end of the festival season. With it’s date creeping gently into September, the likes of Glastonbury, Indietracks and Green Man may have all come and gone but there’s always plenty to look forward to at Dorset’s finest festival.
We’re starting our festival coverage with our pick of the unmissable acts at this years event. As ever we’ve tried to avoid nominating anything too obvious. So, whilst we heartily recommend blog favourites like Horse Thief and The Wave Pictures, and figure you’ve probably made your mind up on big name stars like St Vincent and Flaming Lips, today we’ll try and coerce you in the direction of some of the less obvious treats available.
So here, without further ado, are six bands to look forward to…
EZRA FURMAN (Garden Stage – Friday)
Chicago native Ezra Furman, was the former leader of The Harpoons. Despite the band never officially disbanding the emergence of two solo album from Ezra would certainly hint that he’s not been looking back. Vocally Ezra recalls the heart of sleeve screeching of Clap Your Hand Say Yeahs, whilst musically he paints a broad-minded recollection of indie-rock past and present. My Zero is a terrific collision of Talking Heads and Bruce Springsteen, whilst Are You Going To Break My Heart paints a darker scene recalling Sparklehorse and The Kinks in equal measure.
A set late in the day on the picturesque Garden Stage is a just reward for last years excellent Day Of The Dog album, which saw Ezra take on new levels of grouchy rage, and just the right amount of punk-rock attitude added to his ever evolving musical stew. A young man with a unique take on classic rock’n’roll, he couldn’t be more suited to the End Of The Road bill.
BRITISH SEA POWER (Garden Stage – Friday)
If most of the End Of The Road bill and most of this blog is about exciting new bands, there’s always a place for the odd well established legend. Seven albums in, you could forgive Brighton natives British Sea Power for sticking to their well worn path and putting out an album that keeps the fanbase happy without pushing any new boundaries. That’s not really their style though is it?
Ever since they first emerged, back in 2003 (yep, that debut album was 11 years ago fans of feeling very old) there’s never really been anyone quite like British Sea Power. Whether they were bringing a giant bear on stage with them, encouraging the audience to decorate the stage with pilfered foliage or singing about melting ice-caps, nobody did it, or does it quite like BSP. Take last years album, From The Sea To The Land Beyond, the instrumental soundtrack to a film constructed from footage obtained from the British Film Institute archives that explores a century of life on Britain’s coastline, looking all the way back to some of the earliest ever pieces of film making.
Expect them to be fascinating, unique and entirely themselves, whatever they decide to entertain us with this time!
LAU (Garden Stage – Saturday)
Folk music is stuffy, old fashioned and elitist. Full of bearded middle aged men, playing songs older than time on instruments they stopped making around the time Mozart called it a day, right? Bollocks…via the likes of Richard Thompson, Sam Lee and Stealing Sheep, folk’s very much to the fore this weekend, and perhaps the most exciting of all the folk tinged acts of the weekend are the Scottish three-piece Lau.
Lau are four times winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for best band, and watching them play it’s easy to see why. The combination of Kris Drever, Martin Green and Aidan O’Rourke see’s these three deeply talented chaps, take traditional folk roots, combining accordion, fiddle and acoustic guitar, and melt them into something beautifully modern with the introduction of electronic influences, if they offend a few traditionalists along the way then so be it.
Three musicians, each brilliant in their own right combining to be more than the sum of their parts, it promises to be a fantastic set and with it being a couple of years since their last release, we might get to here where these pioneering musicians are going to drag folk to next!
PERFUME GENIUS (Garden Stage – Saturday)
Seattle native Mike Haderas, aka Perfume Genius is set to release his third album Too Bright on Matador Records on September 23rd. New single Queen suggests it’s going to be quite a departure from his previous records.
Those two records, 2010’s debut Learning and 2012’s Put Yr Back N 2 It, presented Perfume Genius as a deeply emotional, singer songwriter, laying bare the raw, honesty within for all to see. They were brutally frank tales of growing up, of how life isn’t always what you want to be. For the most part they were sparse piano ballads, beautiful but fragile.
Reading his recent interviews and statements it’s clear he’d become tired of recording in the way of those records, as he put it, in typically self-deprecating fashion, “mid-tempo Adele songs, carefully plotting each chord and lyric like math.” Taking inspiration from the “powerful and raw” songwriting of PJ Harvey, Mike set out to create his own version of that. Seeing how this new, allegedly visceral sound brought about by “an underlying rage that has been bubbling since age 10” comes together, will surely be one of the most intriguing moments of the festival.
FUTUR PRIMITIF (Garden Stage – Sunday)
Futur Primitif is the new project of a very well established End Of The Road regular, Daniel Lefkowitz. A former member of The Low Anthem, Daniel left the band after their debut album. He has set about a low-key solo career ever since, but as anyone who was lucky enough to catch one of his sets at the festival last year will attest, he remains a wonderful songwriter.
Futur Primitif are currently performing as a duo, Daniel being joined by Jared Elmore on drums and all things electronic. Their sound is that of every great protest singer, as they showed on last years debut album Machineteeth, a rallying call against the current globalised landscape we are all in danger of settling for. Their sound incorporates elements of folk, old-fashioned rock’n’roll and a good slab of Bob Dylan to create a wonderful sound that’s at once deeply familiar and all their own.
DANIEL ROSSEN (Garden Stage – Sunday)
Los Angeles born and New York educated musician Daniel Rossen was the final addition to this years End Of The Road Bill, only announced last week after the unfortunate pulling out of one of our favourites Mark Kozelek. None the less, Daniel, best known as a member of Grizzly Bear, is a wonderful addition to the bill.
Daniel’s debut EP, Silent Hour/Golden Mile came about during a six month hiatus Grizzly Bear took following extensive touring of their third studio album Veckatimest. Like so many musicians before him, a break proved to be highly productive for Daniel, as he wrote and finished a number of songs. Deciding that forcing his fully formed collaboration onto the band wasn’t in their spirit of collaboration he proceeded to release the tracks under his own name, via Warp Records.
A rare, solo live performance is quite the coup for the festival and it will be fascinating to hear how he produces these recording live. On top of that with a lack of recorded material, comes the thrilling prospect of him dipping into the best of the Grizzly Bear back catalogue. Plus as one of the many special guests involved in the Gene Clark No Other Band, who knows might pop along to help him out?