This coming weekend will mark the 10th edition of the annual Indie-Pop extravaganza, Indietracks, and the line up looks as wonderfully eclectic, noisy and fun as ever.
If you missed it we’ve already started the excitement with an interview with the team behind Indietracks, which you can read HERE. However continuing the anniversary spectacular we thought we’d up our normal six picks, to a bumper crop of 10 unmissable acts playing at this years event.
As ever we’ve skipped the headliners because Saint Etienne, The Spook School and The Aislers Set speak for themselves, and there’s obviously a whole array of other bands performing who are either entirely new to us, or just haven’t grabbed out attention yet.
¡Ay Carmela! (Indoor Stage – Sunday – 16:00)
¡Ay,Carmela! is an award winning 1990 comedy-drama about a trio of vaudeville performers during the Spanish Civil War; it ends when Carmela, infuriated with the Nationalists mocking her beliefs, refuses to play along with a sketch parodying the Republic, exposes her breasts in defiance to the crowds chanting of whore and is shot in forehead.
¡Ay,Carmela! are also a three piece band from Uxbridge, and we’re quietly confident their Indietracks set won’t end is quite such tragedy. The band, who are fronted by Colour Me Wednesday’s Carmela Pietrangelo, might however be just as memorable. The band will release their debut album, Working Week, just in time for Indietracks. A collection of eleven indie-punk gems; the album explores social anxiety, unsatisfying jobs and relationships. Recent single Crying In Public gave us a taste of what to expect, its clattering distorted-guitars, stop-start drums and downbeat vocals bring to mind the likes of Allo Darlin’ or Mammoth Penguin. Elsewhere on the record Birds incorporates a surprising Tinariwen-like North African melody, while Dog Tired has all the stomping-attitude of Elastica and Brother takes their sound into darker, more foreboding territory. Basically they’re the perfect band for Indietracks, expect shuffling feet and broken hearts all round.
Songs For Walter (Church Stage – Saturday – 16:20)
Song For Walter is the nom de plume of Mancunian songwriter Laurie Hulme. The name is lifted from Laurie’s late-grandfather, who serves as both muse and in some ways story-teller for the tracks here, which explore Walter’s life. The stories are constantly fascinating whether he’s reflecting on his time in World War II, reminiscing about first dates at The Empire or most bizarrely of all being painted with iodine on his wedding day; we’ve heard of Smurf themed stag-dos, but that’s a new one on us.
These fascinating stories would make a great book, but does it work as music project? Thankfully yes. Set to a soundtrack of lo-fi folk, and some more driving electric numbers, it’s a delightfully minimal backing, reminiscent of Bon Iver and Trust Fund in equal measures. These songs might be about Laurie’s grandfather, but in their universal themes and beautifully judged arrangements, these aren’t just songs for Walter, they’re songs for us all.
Seazoo (Outdoor Stage – Sunday – 15:40)
Coming with a personal recommendation from Indietrack joint head-honcho Nat, and having a name that’s very similar to our cat, we were always going to give Welsh quintet Seazoo a fair shot to impress us, and thankfully impress us they have. Seazoo deal in upbeat electro tinged indie-pop, bringing to mind the joyous good times of, exclamation mark happy bands that came before them, Los Campesinos! and The Go! Team.
Seazoo started off as little more than a bedroom recording project, but via support slots with Grandaddy, Yo La Tengo and Super Furry Animals, as well as support from radio big-hitters Huw Stephens, Lauren Laverne and Marc Riley, things are all getting a bit out of hand for this lot. No surprise for a band who seem very good at music, but very bad at naming records, their EP’s to date include Ken, Car Deborah and JUMBO, a crime we consider just about forgivable.
The Lovely Eggs (Indoor Stage – Saturday – 19:50)
Quite possibly Lancaster’s greatest ever band, The Lovely Eggs have recently marked ten years as a band; they celebrated with elaborate vinyl re-releases of their first three albums, and extensive touring. Whilst these anniversaries tend to have bands looking back upon their early material with damp-eyed nostalgia, as they showed with last year’s release, This Is Our Nowhere, The Lovely Eggs remain as relevant and as exciting as ever.
They may use little more than a drum kit, a vintage amp, one guitar pedal and a guitar, but The Lovely Eggs have managed to pretty much perfect their sound. These are fierce punk rock songs that exists in a lawless musical world, surrealistic imagery battles with catchy choruses, calls for the ordinary people to unite against the ruling class share space with songs about goofin’ around, and life is only taken seriously as long as that doesn’t get in the way of everyone having a good time. Sure life out the eyes of the mainstream might sometimes feel like nowhere, but at least that nowhere is ours.
Haiku Salut (Outdoor Stage – Sunday – 17:45)
We’re long term fans of Haiku Salut, Derbyshire’s premiere unclassifiable instrumentalists (you can read a really interesting Q&A we did with them HERE) The instrument swapping trio are genre hopping magpies, borrowing ideas from neo-classical, dream-pop, folk and electronica, and the melding them into a sound truly their own.
Their most recent album, 2015’s Etch And Etch Deep, was a bold evolution from their earlier material, a record that showed progress and consolidation, they sounded at once more adventurous and yet even more like themselves. The album received mass critical acclaim, and not even just from daft online wafflers, proper people like The Guardian and Uncut loved it. The band’s clash with Trust Fund might just be the weekends most painful decision, but for the sheer originality of their music, Haiku Salut are unmissable.
Girl Ray (Indoor Stage – Sunday 17.00)
Endearingly angular North-London trio Girl Ray only formed at the beginning of last year, but have already made some impressive strides into the musical landscape. The band, who cite influences from Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci to ABBA, may have only released a handful of singles to date but they’ve already caught the ear of Marc Riley who had them in session earlier this year. They’ve also supported the likes of Let’s Eat Grandma, Chorusgirl and Meilyr Jones.
Girl Ray deal in wistful twits on the lo-fi pop formula, their music sounds initially fragile; incorporating little more than jangling guitars, drums and vocals. But in a similar vein to the anti-folk movement there’s more to the band than is initially clear. Think the Moldy Peaches covering Pavement with Cate Le Bon on lead vocals and you won’t be far off how good this sounds.
Chrissy Barnacle (Church Stage – Saturday – 14:20)
The tricky part of not missing Chrissy Barnacle might well be packing yourself into the somewhat intimate Church Stage, a slot on the pew though will be worth the effort for this modern day troubadour. Blending fluttering acoustic guitar with her stunning voice that will draw inevitable comparisons with Joanna Newsom, but also has touches of Joni Mitchell or even Kate Bush, it’s not a complicated formula but a very effective one.
We’ve not had the pleasure of seeing Chrissy live but as everyone who has seems to be utterly mesmerised, amused and blown away, we’re entirely confident that it’ll be worth the wait. Plus as a recent article on the 405 showed, 75% of all bands asked highly recommend watching her – good enough for us.
Deerful (Church Stage – Sunday – 16:20)
We’ve already dedicated numerous column inches to the talents of Deerful , aka Emma Winston, (you can read our review of her recent EP HERE) but we couldn’t pass up this opportunity to recommend her beautiful electronic-pop music one more time.
The Deerful live show may just be one person, but it’s anything but minimal, building layers of sound on mini-synthesisers, laptops and what looks suspiciously like a pocket calculator, Deerful’s music floats from minimal folktronica soundscapes to dance floor bangers, whilst lyrically dealing with anxieties, self-doubt and the joys and pitfalls of running from your problems. Deerful also wins the award for being the person most likely to get a decent tune out of keyboard function on the Indietracks app!
City Yelps (Indoor Stage – Sunday – 13:00)
If these picks have all been seeming a bit quiet and tuneful so far, City Yelps are here to change all that. The Leeds-trio make the sort of fabulously noisy dirge that hasn’t been heard much since the early days of post-punk. Sludgy, thick guitars, droning bass and drums that aren’t so much played as battered into submission. City Yelps are going to the band to wake Indietracks up on Sunday morning and drag them kicking and screaming back to life.
The band rather brilliantly described their sound as “like marbles in a Quality Street tin” and whilst we’d argue there’s something a bit more rhythmic and a smidge more like a tune to it than that, along with the likes of Monotony and Witching Waves – City Yelps are bringing raucous punk back into the world one record at a time.
Expert Alterations (Indoor Stage – Saturday – 18:00)
Baltimore jangle pop trio Expert Alterations founded back in 2013 and have been making some seriously impressive fuzzy-pop songs ever since. The band released their sparkling debut album, You Can’t Always Be Liked, last year via Kanine Records, to near universal acclaim.
Expert Alterations’ sound is built around deliciously dead-pan vocals, rapid drums and bright chiming guitars. They nod in the direction of Teenage Fanclub and The Fall but also recall their contemporaries such as as Literature and Crystal Slits. Not only are Expert Alterations great, they’ve also come all the way from Baltimore especially, so frankly it would be rude not to watch them.
Tickets for Indietracks are still available – CLICK HERE to join all the fun