Tuesday, July 30, 2013

OMG --- End Of The Road 2013

The scale of this challenge, both on decision making when it comes to clashes and also stamina, is only just dawning on me.
The problem is not "Who do I want to see?" but neither is it "Who do I care not to see?". The additional problem is all the acts /artists that I simply don't know if I want to see or not. The default position, which is listening to all of them, is simply not an option.
It is true that I have seen both Sigur Rós and Belle and Sebastian live before but that is not to say that I don't want to see them again.
Oh dear!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

More from Truck Festival 2013 - Part 1

After a week of cogitation my thoughts about Truck Festival 2013 have started to gel somewhat. Finding myself in The Wheatsheaf, Oxford on Friday evening and listening to one of the acts that I saw at Truck, Swindlestock, helped to further refine that thought process.
Whilst I always try and ensure that I see the support act(s) at a concert I hold even more store in the idea that some of the best discoveries are to be made by catching the opening acts on festival stages. It doesn't matter, in fact it is more revealing, if one has not even heard of the act or artist, let alone in what style they perform!

The band to open Truck Festival 2013, on the Market Stage at noon on Friday, was Candy Says. They describce their music as lo-fi chic pop and I wouldn't argue with that. It reminded me at first of a slightly less numerous ¿Los Campesinos?, which having seen the latter at Deer Shed Festival last summer is certainly no bad thing. The lo-fi ethic extends to their liking for Farfisa electronic organs, releasing their music, physically at least, only on cassette tape and making videos on a Spectrum 64 . Here they are, live at Truck 2013.

Now, as a lover of vinyl, I can't complain of their choice of cassette except to say that, unlike the former, I currently have no reliable means of playing such things! They can be found and streamed/purchased on-line: Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Amazing Tunes and elsewhere.

For my money the song 'Kiss Kill' sums up what they do very well indeed. It certainly served to get the festival off to a fine start as far as I was concerned. First impressions matter; I think part of my enduring love for End of The Road Festival was that the first band I ever saw there, back in 2009, was Canada's Ohbijou, of which I was completely unaware until the moment they appeared on stage.
Opening the main stage on Saturday at 12:30 pm was another artist about whom I have to admit I knew very little - Candice Gordon. Here she is performing 'Before The Sunset Ends' last weekend.

This is the title track from her début EP, which was recorded with Pogues front-man Shane MacGowan.
It is of course impossible for one person to see the opening act on every stage at a festival with multiple stages but here is another one that opened the Market Stage at midday on Saturday. Oxford-based six-piece Marvellous Medicine.

Two of the tented stages at Truck were interestingly coloured. This is the Market Stage, the larger of the two, and gives some impression of the ambience that the venue creates. One slightly unusual aspect of reggae and rap infused Marvellous Medicine is that its sole female member is the band's regular drummer. That is except for one song in this set when she handed the sticks to the bassist/rapper Rob Yates and Holly Manners took over lead vocals instead.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Truck Festival 2013 - The Saloon

Until last weekend I had only been to Truck Festival once before, in 2011. I had a good time there then but this time I fell in love with it. This is one of the reasons why.
Most festivals lack a venue quite as fit-for-purpose as the 'Great Western Whisky Saloon and Soul Blues Kitchen', otherwise known as 'The Saloon', and I know I am not the only one to feel this way. I know that I will not finish this post this evening... It will have to await my return to blogging sometime on Saturday afternoon after venturing to see one of the acts, which I saw there last Saturday, tomorrow evening!
It was always intimate, sometimes it was packed to bursting point, but it was always worth the effort to be there and it was underwritten by independent label Clubhouse Records. Here are a few pictures that might explain why that is so:

Pete Greenwood (early on Saturday evening).
Troubadour Rose, late Saturday afternoon.
Don't even dare bet against the forthcoming album - Find An Arrow (2 September).

Swindlestock, live in 'The Saloon' @ Truck Festival 2013. You need 'Pilgrim Blues'. Really.
Probably these too.
Stevie Ray Latham, same stage but on Friday afternoon.
This one, however, pretty much sums it all up...
Redlands Palomino Company and ad hoc guests performing on Saturday evening.

Truck Festival 2013 - the indefinable aspect...

It has been three weeks and more since I last posted but that is not to say that I have vanished!
Far from it in fact and I have been listening to more, both recorded and live, then ever before (well, probably that is actually true).

More to follow very soon, but let's just start with this one photo from Truck Festival 2013, last weekend.

This is not the most obvious place to start, but then Truck is not the most obvious of festivals. It is all the better for that. This is London-based five-piece Arrows of Love on the main stage early on Saturday afternoon. Their début album is well in the works and its current working title is 'Everything's F****d'. That is not to say that Truck is anything other than a polite, well-behaved festival, for it is. It is however not entirely conventionally so. It isn't like Latitude and it isn't like End of The Road either. I can't yet quite say exactly why that is or how it manifests itself. On the other hand it is all the better for that indefinable distinction.

Monday, July 01, 2013

New Music - Part 24 - festivals, oh festivals!

Not having been to Glastonbury Festival 2013 myself, I have been wading through some of the comment, review and footage that is freely available. This has already made me look ahead to the festivals that I am attending this summer.

When End Of The Road Festival booked London three-piece Daughter it was on the basis of a couple of EPs (those EPs again and why they matter). Since then they have released an album, 'If You Leave', and I think that the band's appearance at EOTR will be an absolute must for me. The album is certainly good, and they were already on my list of ones to see, but having seen their performance on The John Peel Stage at Glastonbury cemented this desire in my mind.

Other footage also reminded me of highlights of festivals that I have attended over the last couple of years.
I noticed that for the final song of their headline set on Sunday Mumford and Sons (Latitude 2008) were joined on stage by First Aid Kit (EOTR 2009 and 2012) as well as The Staves (Deershed Festival 2012 and EOTR 2013).
Otherwise, whilst navigating the cat's-cradle that is new music, I came across this collaboration, Sylvan Esso, and immediately thought that I recognized the vocalist as Amelia Randall Meath and one third of Mountain Man (EOTR 2012). I was right too, which pleases me as I never used to be able do this by ear. 
Her co-conspirator is Nick Sanborn and, on the face of it is an unlikely pairing but fear not. It is released in the US (Trekky Records, TRK043) on July 16 as double A-side 12" Hey Mami/Play It Right. Here is the track Hey Mami.

I don't think it means the demise of Mountain Man; this pleases me too as the 2010 album 'Made The Harbor' is excellent and reminds me rather of The Staves' album 'Dead & Born & Grown' (2013).