It’s approaching that most magical of weekends that is Derbyshire’s own Indietracks Festival. The annual indie-pop gathering at the Midland Railway in Butterly is into its 11th year and is showing no sign of slowing down yet.
This year’s festival, which takes place between the 28th and 30th of July, has arguably the most impressive crop of headliners yet, with breakout DIY heroes Martha joined by the incomparable Welsh-wonder Cate Le Bon, and genuine indie-pop legends The Wedding Present. As ever with Indietracks though it’s as much about the can-crushing, local ale and owls as the headliners, and the best music is spread evenly across the stages and time slots. With so much to choose from, and some predictably hideous clashes, we thought we’d give you some of our choices of the most unmissable acts performing this year.
And even better news…there’s still some tickets HERE, so even if you haven’t made plans to attend yet, that dream can still come true.
Chorusgirl (Outdoor Stage: Friday – 8pm)
They might only be the second band on, but Chorusgirl are just rewards for the early birds who turn out on the Friday night. Indietracks veterans, the band wowed two years back on the indoor stage as they showcased their impressive debut album for the now defunct Fortuna Pop label. That record was one of 2015’s finest, fusing the textural soundscapes of shoegaze with something all-together more danceable, never better showcased than on radio friendly unit shifter, Oh, To Be A Defector.
The current incarnation of Chorusgirl have recently been camped out in the Bear Cave Studio in front-woman Silvi’s native Cologne, working on their second album. Indietracks (and the accompanying warm up tour) should give many of us a much-anticipated first glimpse of the jangle-poppers new material.
The Pooches (Outdoor Stage: Saturday – 1:40pm)
The Pooches are a Glaswegian indie-rock act, with a seemingly ever-changing amount of members. Last spotted performing as a duo at DIY Popfest, the band are the opening act on Saturday, yet they have an impressive live pedigree having previously opened for the likes of Modern Baseball, Beach Slang and Car Seat Headrest, as well as a high-profile slot at SXSW.
Like every vaguely pop-band from Glasgow, The Pooches inevitably draw Belle & Sebastian comparisons for critics, but perhaps have more in common with the jangle-pop of Boys Forever or The Go-Betweens. A band who are definitely worth getting out of bed in the early afternoon for, The Pooches should wake Indietracks up with a bang.
Crumbs (Indoor Stage: Saturday – 2pm)
Leeds’ most danceable punks, Crumbs, are one of a number acts who are putting out new music to coincide with Indietracks. The quartet, who wowed at the recent DIY Popfest, are set to release their debut album, Mind Yr Manners, on the festival’s opening day.
Crumbs have described Mind Yr Manners, as a record about, “coping with not coping”; the band’s anxious jittering post-punk serving as the perfect soundtrack to their, often humorously titled, social commentaries. Current single, Weasels Can Wait is a downbeat party anthem for those crying in the corner, Ciggy Stardust is the Jesus & Mary Chain with a spring in their step, while Hankie Herbcock brings the rage in the best way possible. Crumbs’ early afternoon slot should be just the rhythmic jolt the festival-goers need to get their feet shuffling.
Rainbow Reservoir (Church Stage: Saturday – 3:20pm)
Based out of Oxford, Rainbow Reservoir are a power-pop trio who deal in melody and angst in equal measure. First coming to our attention with Coco Sleeps Around, their excellent 2016 EP for Odd Box Records, Rainbow Reservoir played arguably the set of the day at this year’s Leicester Indie-Pop All Dayer.
Fronted by effervescent and intriguing front-woman Angela, Rainbow Reservoir deal in the music of contrasts; romantic with a dark-side, punk in spirit but musically upbeat. With a debut album set for release on Odd Box later this year, if you like the idea of Kimya Dawson fronting Magnetic Fields, then Rainbow Reservoir are a band you can’t afford to miss.
Peaness (Outdoor Stage: Saturday – 3:40pm)
Quite probably Chester’s greatest ever band, 2017 has been a huge year for indie-pop trio Peaness. Following the release of their excellent Same Place EP on Alcopop Records, their upbeat, melodic-pop has wormed its way towards to 6Music regular status, as well as sending the blogosphere into a collective hype furore.
Same Place showcased both Peaness’ way with an effortless vocal harmony, as well as their quietly gritty lyricism which cuts through the melodic sweetness. With a seemingly down-to-earth DIY approach, Peaness don’t seem likely to let their success go their heads, but none the less their potential seems limitless, don’t expect to see them popping up this far down the bill again anytime soon.
The Hayman Kupa Band (Indoor Stage: Saturday – 6pm)
He: the former frontman of Hefner, turned solo star, collector of Arts Council funding and officially music’s, “hardest working artist”. She: former front-woman of Standard Fare, turned solo artist, Mammoth Penguin and Indietracks festival organiser. Separately they’re Darren Hayman and Emma Kupa, together they’re The Hayman Kupa Band.
Joined by drummer Cat Loye (Fever Dream) and bassist Michael Wood (Woah Melodic), The Hayman Kupa band are this week putting out their self-titled debut album on Fika Recordings. The band will be bringing their live show to Indietracks to celebrate. With songs that deal with relationships and all the accompanying, “fears and paranoias”, these two idiosyncratic musical visionaries make for a surprisingly effective pair. Musically, expect to hear the influences of The Beatles, 60’s pop, and as the band themselves put it, “a friendship being made”.
Frankie Cosmos (Outdoor Stage: Saturday – 6:50pm)
Now expanded to four a piece live band, Frankie Cosmos started life as the solo-project of New York-based bedroom-recording star, Greta Kline. Recently signed to Sub Pop, Greta’s come a long way since her days on the New York’s All Ages DIY scene, yet some of the lo-fi sensibilities and relatability of her songwriting still bares the hallmarks of those formative years.
Frankie Cosmos deal in short, sharp indie-pop songs, heavy on memorable lyrics and unforgettable hooks, with more recent output adding some increasingly complex instrumentation into the mix. With work underway on an upcoming album, expect to hear a smattering of new material alongside tracks from their most recent album, 2016’s Next Thing, as well as their extensive back catalogue. While Indietracks is a festival largely dominated by homegrown artists, the smattering of overseas stars add to the intrigue, and this year they don’t get more intriguing than Frankie Cosmos.
Charmpit (Church Stage: Sunday – 2:20pm)
Charmpit have come a long way since they formed to play the First Timers festival at DIY Space for London back in early 2016. The trio, hailing from South London via the parking lots of California, have just put out Jelly, their second EP, and first for the Keroleen Records label.
Their music, a blend of indie-pop and lo-fi punk, translates into an effervescent, harmony driven live show. The twin vocals of Rhianydd and Anne-Marie are the stars of the show as they fall in and out of sweet harmonies and angsty yelps, while the whole thing is held together by Alex’s riotous drum beats. As good as they are on record, there simply isn’t a band operating currently who make being on stage look more fun than Charmpit.
Baby Arms (Church Stage: Sunday – 5:20pm)
While one of the lesser known acts featured here, Baby Arms is none the less a very exciting prospect. The solo project of Colour Me Wednesday’s Jennifer Doveton, Baby Arms moves Jennifer’s music into more personal territory, citing influences such as Mitski and Alisson Crutchfield.
The Baby Arms live band is something of a supergroup; Jennifer joined by a backing band featuring Faith Taylor (Suggested Friends/ Chorusgirl), Jaca Freer (CMW/ ¡Ay Carmela!) and Laura Ankles (Emma Kupa, Chrissy Barnacle, Daniel Vs The World). There’s currently limited recorded material to go on, but with an album due soon on Dovetown, Baby Arms is an artist with a hugely bright future.
Monkey Swallows The Universe (Outdoor Stage: Sunday 5:45pm)
Originally formed back in 2004, Sheffield’s Monkey Swallows The Universe originally parted company back in 2008. This summer see’s the band temporarily reforming to play a couple of shows marking ten years since the release of their second album, The Casket Letters, thankfully one of them is at Indietracks.
The band, co-fronted by Kevin Gori and Nat Johnson, deal in wistful, folk-tinged pop. Their acoustic guitars joined by an array of violins, cello, drums and even every primary-school’s favourite, recorders. At the very least this is a rare chance to catch this most intriguing of bands, at most it might be your last chance, Monkey Swallows The Universe are simply unmissable.
Click HERE for more information and tickets to Indietracks Festival.