We’ve mentioned it already, however it bares repeating that this year’s Indietracks might just be their best line-up to date. There’s big-name headliners in British Sea Power and Honeyblood, returning heroes like Darren Hayman and The Lovely Eggs and some high-profile sets from the likes of Girl Ray and Amber Arcades.
Today we’ve scoured the line-up and picked out seven acts away from the biggest names (and people we’ve mentioned loads already) who we’re excited about seeing perform this weekend. We could easily have picked twenty or thirty acts though, so go explore the line-up yourselves and pick out your own favourites.
Worst Place [Outdoor Stage – Friday – 7:00pm]
The Friday night at Indietracks always serves as something of an appetiser for the weekend to come, just a handful of bands at a working day appropriate time, and often only about half the festival attendees in place. The Lovely Eggs and Sacred Paws are the headline grabbing names this year, but well worth getting down early (if you can call 7pm early) for, are Worst Place.
Formed back in 2016, the East London-quartet, released their debut single, Dreamer, as part of the ever-intriguing Art Is Hard Records postcard club. The track was a winning blend of driving rhythms, soaring guitar lines and easy, hushed vocals, like the little explored middle ground of My Morning Jacket and Camera Obscura. The band have spent much of the year hauled up working on their debut EP, and gracing some of London’s finest small stages, with the entire festival’s attention they should kick the whole thing off in perfect style (if you’re in London you can actually go see them tonight with the equally wonderful Tugboat Captain at Wonderbar, and it’s FREE)
Mighty Kids [Church Stage – Saturday – 1:00pm]
It’s a big weekend for Derby’s own Mighty Kids, not only are they on home soil for their Indietracks performance, they’ve also got the small matter of an EP release date, the day before they take the stage. That record, Won’t You Reconsider, is their first for new label, Reckless Yes, now home to the likes of Grawl!x, Chorusgirl and Fight Milk.
In many ways, Mighty Kids might be the most classically Indietracks band on this year’s bill. Their winning mix of electro and indiepop tapping into that sweet-spot of melody and melancholy that the festival has always championed. Across Won’t You Reconsider’s four tracks, twitching beats collide with ukuleles and bassy rumbles are contrasted with singer Shelley Jane’s wistful vocals, pitched somewhere between Sarah Cracknell and Molly Rankin. Mighty Kids have got plenty to celebrate this weekend, and you won’t want to miss out on celebrating with them.
Eureka California [Outdoor Stage – Saturday – 2:40pm]
For the obvious financial reasons, much of Indietracks’ line-up has something of a homegrown feeling to it, yet when they do decide to bring bands in from outside these shores, you can be pretty certain it’ll be well worth your time. The likes of Anna Burch, Linda Guilala and Amber Arcades are all appetite whetting, but possibly our favourite of the lot are the Athens, Georgia, two-piece, Eureka California.
The band recently put out their excellent album, Roadrunners, on Happy Happy Birthday To Me. The band’s fourth LP was made much closer to the festivals home, recorded in Leeds with Hookworms member turned super-producer, MJ. It was an album that reflected on ten years of being a band; touring hard for no money, working hard to go back on tour, and repeating the cycle time and time again. If that sounds like it should be jaded, musically it sounded anything but, the drums were hit harder, the vocals screamed with more conviction, the guitars more frayed and energetic than ever. This is a band living the reality of their musical dreams; it doesn’t hold back, it doesn’t pretend, it’s just raw and very, very real. As anyone’s who had the pleasure will attest, seeing Eureka California in their natural habitat, stalking the stage with ferocious abandon and frenetic energy is a thrilling prospect, that should certainly not be missed.
Spinning Coin [Indoor Stage – Saturday – 6:00pm]
They’re signed to an imprint of Domino Records run by The Pastels, they’ve toured with Alvvays and Real Estate, they’ve recorded with Edwyn Collins, yet somehow Spinning Coin still feel like a band who exist just outside the gaze of the limelight. After three years of hard gigging and not much releasing, they released their debut album, Permo, to plenty of acclaim at the end of the year.
In many ways the band fit a neat lineage of Glaswegians acts; arty and wistful, melancholy escapists looking at the world and finding themselves torn between chronicling their discomfort and wanting to find a way out of it. Musically, their jangling guitar-lines and way with a pop melody would have made them an obvious fit with the Postcard Record crowd, had they only been born thirty years earlier. Not that this is some nostaliga-fest; this is a band with a sound of their own, making the sort of timeless pop music that’s not all that popular anymore, and making it as well, if not better, than anyone ever did.
Life Model [Outdoor Stage – Sunday – 1:40pm]
Staying in Glasgow, opening proceedings on the Outdoor stage on Sunday are dream-pop quartet, Life Model. The band leapt to our attention with their excellent Lucky EP, released last year on the excellent Frux Tape, since then they’ve not ventured outside of their native Scotland all that much, so this marks a rare chance to see them South of the border.
We declared Lucky one of our favourite albums of 2018, and it was easy to see why. The band’s melding of the sonorous experimentation of shoegaze with the undertones of a perfect pop song was a winning mix. For fans of Night Flowers or Amber Arcades, they’ll surely be unmissable. Sunday morning (okay technically afternoon but festival rules), cup of coffee, bit of sunshine, a band making the most tuneful of rackets in the background, we can just picture it now, and it looks pretty darn close to perfection to us.
Rebecka Reinhard [Train Stage – Sunday – 4:30pm]
Indietracks doesn’t just talk a good train game, it also backs it up with a handful of acts actually performing on actual steam trains. It’s an experience nobody attending should miss out on, and this year you’ve got plenty to pick from. The wonderful Panic Pocket are the first band on the Saturday, however as you should already have them on your list of must-sees, we’d also like to point you in the direction of Rebecka Reinhard.
Originally from a rural village outside Stockholm, although a former resident of London, Rebecka caught the ears of many with her debut EP, Cherry Trees, which drew comparison to the likes of Angel Olsen and Mitski. With a new EP in the pipeline, Rebecka recently returned with the excellent single, Nonsense In Your Sleep, a reflection on the difficulty of break-ups in the social media age. Bringing a slice of sun-drenched Swedish Americana to a train chugging through the Derbyshire countryside, a multi-cultural treat not to be missed.
Happy Spendy [Church Stage – Sunday – 7:20pm]
Glasgow’s Happy Spendy consist of the three members of Marble Gods alongside Siobhain Ma of Sister Collective. The quartet have just released their second EP, Take Care Of Yourself; a collection of tracks that vocalist, Eimear Coyle wrote about growing up gay in Northern Ireland, recollections of her father’s death and eventually finding love.
Musically, Happy Spendy are far removed from Marble Gods sound, muted vocals drift atop waves of fuzzed-out synths and processed beats. It has a similarly understated, lo-fi beauty as acts like Florist or Elvis Depressedly. Their set on Sunday might be the perfect oasis of calm from the festivals more noisy, punky tendencies, half an hour to take stock before heading back for one last blast of the joys Indietracks can bring.
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