Green Man Festival 2018: Who To See At The Brecon Beacons Gathering

For festival-goers around the country, it’s ultimately the headliners that draw us in. Of course you’ll fork out to see the War On Drugs, Fleet Foxes and King Gizzard over three consecutive days. Duh, that’s a no brainer. But if they’re the main course, then it’s the other dishes on the table that make the meal: smaller artists dotted around, good eats and a great setting. Green Man is again set to tick all those boxes.

The camping chair and Berghaus fleece will be set up in time for John Grant’s set, and of course the trip to the Goan fish curry stand will be scheduled perfectly around the inimitable Grizzly Bear. And what of those new names and fresh faces? These gems are the heart of a festival. Bands on the rise get a new audience to build a fanbase from, showcasing their craft on a bigger stage, and the audience get to discover brand new music that otherwise they may have missed.

But how do you know who to check out? Well, I’ve done the hard work for you. Here’s a short guide for who you simply must see at Green Man.

International Teachers of Pop
Thursday, Far Out

NERD DISCO! Always the best kind of disco. This band only formed at the beginning of 2018 – out of the still hot ashes of the founders, producers and co-writers of The Moonlandingz – and so far they’ve only released one single. Age of the Train channels some serious Kraftwerk vibes in the opening few bars, and what’s not to love about that? You can be certain you are on the cusp of genuine new music here. How exciting.

Whyte Horses
Friday, Far Out

“Empty words are haunting you.” Sounds bleak, right? Try it again in the sing-song, sunshine-filled tones of lead singer Andrey Pic. Oooh, interesting. Their 2018 release ‘Empty Words’ is a 16-track whopper full of pop hits. Dubbed the perfect psychedelic pop album by the usual outlets, one track even features guest vocals by La Roux. Maybe she’ll give us a surprise appearance. Or maybe not. Who knows?

Phoebe Bridgers
Saturday, Walled Garden

This girl has got it. Whatever it is, Bridgers has it by the bucket load, and is definitely an act to catch this weekend. Normally better suited to small, intimate venues where her haunting voice is given the attention it deserves, her melancholic, heartbreaking songs may flip the positive Green Man vibes on their head, but in the best way possible. It’s good to be sad sometimes.

Tunng
Sunday, Walled Garden

Here’s something totally different – intricate, experimental, electronic folk-pop. Tunng is for you. You think you know what a time signature is? Think again. These guys have been re-defining folk-tronica since their debut back in 2005. Their sixth LP ‘Songs You Make At Night’ is out on August 17, so expect jubilance from Mike Lindsay and the gang. (P.S. Have you listened to his side project, LUMP, with Laura Marling? You really must.)

Lucy Dacus
Sunday, Walled Garden

Dacus returned with the biggest bang in March with her second LP ‘Historian’, after her debut won unanimous acclaim. Tackling the huge subjects of death and loss, crumbling relationships and self crises, it was no small feat. Tying up clever, witty lyricism with growling guitars and a huge sound, you better not miss her.

Big Jeff
TBC

If you’ve ever been to a gig in the south west of England or over the bridge in south Wales – be that Bristol, Exeter, Cardiff, or wherever – you’ll have seen Big Jeff. You know, that tall dude with the curly hair standing in the front having a great time? That’s him. A regular on the live music scene in this neck of the woods, he’s only managed nab himself another DJ slot at the festival, after the success of last year’s performance. Expect the widest possible variety you can think of: free jazz to metal, hip hop to post punk, and anything else you could fathom in that vast (and frankly, brilliant) collection of his.

Photo: greenman.net

On looking back at said not-to-be-missed-acts, it seems the best smaller performances of the weekend will be in the Walled Garden, a stony square host to an intimate stage, lots of grassy sitting room, and of course the Green Man Pub, offering 50 different craft ciders and beers to choose from. See you at the front.

Green Man will return to the Glanusk Estate in the Brecon Beacons between August 16 and 19.

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Things That Were Pretty Weird This Week: Sam and the Womp, Superorganism, Aphex Twin, Jake Shears

Time for a mix up. Instead of things we loved this week, for one edition only you lucky lot are going to be treated to things that we found to be on the spectrum of odd, weird, mesmerising, surreal, farfetched and just plain RANDOM. Kicking off the bunch of quirky things is Stefflon Don channelling farfalle pasta in one magnificent hairdo.

Sam and the Womp – Ice Cream Man

With a dancehall resurgence in our midst, it’s no surprise when new and revamped reggae beats flood the inbox. But something entirely different seems to have found its way through the cracks. Your life will be exactly 2.7 x better for this.

Superorganism – The Prawn Song

“Have you ever kissed a prawn and got a cold sore?”

No comment.

If you wanna see these particularly super organisms live, they’re hitting up venues all over the UK in October.

Aphex Twin – T69 Collapse

After teasing fans with cryptic posters dotted around European cities, Aphex Twin has finally announced new material. A new EP, ‘Collapse’ gets a release on on September 14 through Warp Records. Richard D. James has also released the first cut from it: T69 Collapse.

The whole thing is your typical Aphex Twin attack on the senses with bleeps, clicks, lights and coding. It sounds like the future. But not the good kind with hover-boards and commercial space travel. The bad kind with evil robots that take over the human race.

Jake Shears – Big Bushy Moustache

All you fellas, don’t be jealous. Jake Shears has a great moustache. And he wants you to know it. But he wants to take it further – “a pornstar handlebar” really is more him. Double take – is that Josh Homme sporting a pornstar handlebar all of his own? Why yes, yes it is.

Shears’ debut solo album is out now, and he plays UK shows next week.

I hope you feel a totally weirded out by this huge blob of outlandishness.

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Things We Love This Week: Sports Team, Wild Nothing, Alaskalaska, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker Gossip

It’s August. Already. Time is slipping away. Life is fleeting. Spend it wisely. (Listening to these songs and watching these videos).

Sports Team – Margate

In the past nine months, this band have gone from “Who?” zeros to indie-post-punk heroes. They’ve got a massive buzz around them – and this is why.

Margate is an energetic track with some ridiculously catchy guitar riffs and an invigorating rhythm. The video alone will have you itching to get up and dance like good ol’ Alex Rice there. Margate celebrates summertime and Englishness in all its lacklustre glory, as the band note.

“Margate’s a song about English summers. Hosepipe bans. Overgrown hedgerows. Frayed tempers. The season of Reeling in the Years and tailbacks on the A303. We went in to record it with Burke during the first group stage games, when things were looking up. Some of that optimism rubbed off.”

It’s a shame the World Cup is finally over and we don’t have to talk about it ever again. A real shame.

Wild Nothing – Letting Go

New single Letting Go airs a nod to the War On Drugs in its vast production and reverb heavy vocals. But the video is why we’re really here. Mourning a dummy, growing mushrooms like pets, hundreds of snails, bodybuilders and a vampire-esque widow… it’s all over the place. You’ll love it.

Alaskalaska – Monster

This perfectly named band followed up April’s offering of Meateater, a synth-pop triumph, with the more sedate and leisurely Monster. It oozes just the right amount of alt-pop, hazy, sickly sweet and a just a little bit sad.

Additionally, there seems to be a running theme of glitter-tassle backdrops lately. I want more.

Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker

SUPERGROUP ALERT! The three musicians, who have released some of the best female-indie-folk-rock that 2018 and 2017 has to offer, including ‘Stranger in the Alps’, ‘Historian’ and ‘Turn Out The Lights’, have a collaboration in the works. Suspicions have been confirmed. YES!

While on the panel at NPR’s Turning The Tables Live event in NYC, Bridgers spoke to Ann Powers, divulging the rumours to be true. No more info as of yet… Keep those peepers peeled.

In the meantime, enjoy watching a video of the three musicians as Sims that a YouTuber has painstakingly made. There’s three parts, each over an hour long. Watch the entire thing. I dare you.

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Things We Love This Week: Mercury Prize noms, Doe, Wolf Girl

The biggest thing to happen in music this week was, without a doubt, the announcement of the Mercury Prize nominations. You’ve probably read way too much about it already, so here’s some more opinions (and also two fun songs you might like).

Mercury Prize Nominees

There is SO much to say about this, but I shall rein it in. Firstly, here’s full the list of nominees:

Arctic Monkeys – ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’
Everything Everything – ‘A Fever Dream’
Everything Is Recorded – ‘Everything Is Recorded’
Florence + The Machine – ‘High As Hope’
King Krule – ‘The OOZ’
Jorja Smith – ‘Lost & Found’
Lily Allen – ‘No Shame’
Nadine Shah – ‘Holiday Destination’
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – ‘Who Built The Moon?’
Novelist – ‘Novelist Guy’
Sons of Kemet – ‘Your Queen Is A Reptile’
Wolf Alice – ‘Visions of a Life’

Last year Sampha won with ‘Process’ – unsurprisingly one of the best albums of the year. We all have a lot of re-listening to do this weekend, but for now here are my preliminary bets.

Nadine Shah’s politically-charged album was awesome, tackling the refugee crisis, a “fascist in the White House” and a lack of empathy in human beings. It’s a touching record from a woman with an INSANE voice. Love it.

Jorja Smith’s debut as been storming its way across everything. It’s vibey, smooth and delicious in every way, with some serious Lauryn Hill vibes. She wrote Teenage Fantasy at the age of 16, and has a Mercury Prize nomination at the age of 21. The songs can get a bit samey, and often I find her voice a little cringey. But we will see.

The Everything Everything record has some absolute bangers. Catchy and clever synth pop is everyone’s favourite blend of synth pop, and Jonathan Higgs’s exceptional vocals truly are something to behold.

Finally, Arctic Monkeys probably have a good chance. I dislike the album (sorry). But, they’ve been nominated four times before, winning with their awesome debut ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’. People just can’t get enough of ‘em.

Doe – Heated

I’m loving lots of stuff on the Big Scary Monsters label at the moment. Doe, an indie-punk band from London, shared a new single Heated this week that comes alongside news of a fresh new album, ‘Grow Into It’. More than anything, to be honest I think I just love the colour scheme of the video. Hello new interior design project…

Wolf Girl – Toast For Dinner

I love toast. I love toast for breakfast, and also for dinner. To be honest, any meal of the day works for me. The DIY vibes of the video combine with a fun kids-disco-esque backdrop and a whole magician theme going on. FUN. The track comes from ‘Every Now & Then’, the band’s sophomore album, scheduled for October 19 through Everything Sucks Music. Get your eyes and ears on this.

Till next time, pals.

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Things We Love This Week: LCD Soundsystem, Bully, Liam Gallagher

School’s out for summer! Maybe I should’ve gone into teaching for my share of those sweet, sweet six week holidays. Instead, I’ve gathered a list of things that I think you’ll love as much as I have, and will bask in the glory of the weekend.

Side thought: how awful is that new Muse track? Awkward.

LCD Soundsystem – ‘American Dream’ Remixes

‘American Dream’ came out last September after a five year hiatus from the New York group. It was awesome. The album reached #1 on many Albums of the Year lists, had loads of critical acclaim and even won a Grammy. It was also just really fucking good.

James Murphy and co. have now announced that they’ll be sharing some remixes as 12″ vinyl singles on August 10, with re-works from Dixon and Lovefingers.

While we wait, have a listen to this banger.

Bully – Guess There

Look at this video! It’s a little snail going about his day! Making coffee, going for a walk (?), playing video games, riding a skateboard, having dinner, then chilling with his whole snail family. All the usual things snails do. It’s so cute and I love it. Have a watch.

Liam Gallagher’s Use of Grammar and Punctuation in his Tweets

His spelling really is the BeZarist thing I’ve ever seen. 

As you were x

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Things We Love This Week: Big Red Machine, Frontperson, Beak>, Interpol

We’re already over halfway through the year. Scary right? Time, would you mind slowing down a bit please hun? To avoid existential crises, have a listen to some lovely new music things that dropped this week.

Big Red Machine

…is now on Spotify! The four track EP by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Aaron Dessner of the National and a long list of collaborators was initially only available on the new digital platform PEOPLE, but is now ready and waiting to be added to all of your playlists and collections on the go. Dream!

In even better news, Big Red Machine have announced they’ll release a FULL LENGTH ALBUM on August 31 across digital and physical formats! I can’t wait.

For now, listen to my favourite track from them so far, Forest Green (which also happens to be my favourite colour – double win).

Frontperson – Tick-Tock (Frontrunner)

Here’s a nice little throwback to your school Sports Day, except everything is in reverse and kaleidoscopic. That definitely would’ve made the day more interesting.

Frontperson, a duo made up of the New Pornographers’ Kathryn Calder and Mark Andrew Hamilton of Woodpigeon, give us a bright track with cutesy guitar patterns that might remind you of a floral countryside in the sunshine in the verse, and a more airy, wider soundscape of a chorus.

It comes from their debut album ‘Frontrunner’, out on September 21 through Oscar St. Records.

Beak> – Brean Down

I’m not quite sure what’s going on here, but I want to know more. Brean Down opens with an eerie sample and some shadowy vocals. The whole thing is pretty shady, if you’re looking for a soundtrack to some shenanigans.


Brean Down comes as the first cut from ‘>>>’, Beak>’s forthcoming album, due on September 21. How do you even pronounce that?

Interpol – The Rover video

In other news, make sure you don’t miss Interpol’s latest video, featuring actor Ebon Moss-Bachrach going on an adventure in Mexico City, interrupting a press conference, and becoming a cult leader. All in a day’s work.

Shot in one take at a real press event for the band’s new album, Mexican media were given no explanation as to why a sweaty, scraggly haired man got on the stage and grabbed Paul Banks’s head before the band carried on answering questions as if nothing had happened.

Directed by Gerardo Naranjo, watch below.

Happy Friday one and all xo

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Things We Love This Week: Self Esteem, Stormzy, BLANc, Francobollo

The heatwave is here to stay! Get out your factor 50 and de-fold your rusty garden chairs, because I’ve got some sizzling hot music news treats just for you. *Tsss*

Self Esteem – Wrestling

The latest track from Rebecca Lucy Taylor beings with some edgy electronic cuttings, before her silky voice slips in, a tone we recognise from her first (Django Django produced) single Your Wife. Rhythm-wise, something she does extremely well, in the chorus are smooth and addictive. It’s a banger, and is going straight on my playlist.

Self Esteem have also announced a London show at Omeara in September, which you can grab tickets for here.

Stormzy – #Merky Project

Stormzy has started a project with Penguin Random House called #Merky Books. The new publishing imprint will give young writers the opportunity to become published authors, or at least get their work out there.

Stormzy said through Facebook:

“Reading and writing as a kid was integral to where I am today and I from the bottom of my heart can not wait to hear your stories, your poems, your novels, your sci-fis and then getting them out into the big wide world. Proper proud of this!”

It’s such a brilliant thing for a musician to take part in, so I applaud his selflessness and willingness to help young writers. There’ll also be an internship scheme available – which anyone in the writing game will know is a huge deal because many publishing internships – albeit in any field –  are so difficult to get on to. Good for you, bro.

On a side note, I just found out Stormzy’s real name is Michael Omari, and I’m kind of disappointed that it isn’t just Stormzy. I’ll get the deed poll form for you now hun x

BLANc – ‘Only One’

Will White is a former touring member and songwriter with the Maccabees, whom I love. He’s started a new solo career under the moniker BLANc, and surprised released a debut EP, ‘Only One’  today. The title track is soft and intimate, and recalls some sort of early Sting vibes with his wispy voice and a delicate underlay that could fit nicely in a soundtrack to a hazy, wistful evening walk.

Francobollo – We’re Dead

There’s a lot of commentary at the moment about the state of our environment. And about time too. But this is the first instance (that I know of) of musicians actively criticising the world’s plastic consumption in video form. Yay for the environment! Check out the video below, which features members of the band eating coffee cups, straws, and other surplus plastic, then throwing it all back up again. Lush.

He’s what they said about it:

“As a band of anxious cynics and surfers, we are concerned that we are all satisfied thinking that putting things into recycling bins is ‘job done’. Us the consumer could reduce our demand for products, but when are we ever going to do that? We love stuff! Can’t get enough of that good good stuff. It will take a massive shift in environmental policies at the top and a willingness to not profit from something to help us all help ourselves. Like your mother kicking you out and into nature away from Heroes of Might & Magic 3. It’s hard. But for the best. This is our attempt to raise awareness and join campaigners who we admire for their ceaseless work in trying to slow down our circling of the cosmic drain.”

Have a nice weekend in the sun kiddoes, and try not to use a single-use straw for your g&t x

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Things We Love This Week: The Joy Formidable, Sun Kil Moon, The Kinks

Good afternoon friends, what fine weather we’re having. Your Friday now comprises of reading this fantastically informative article before going to play in the sun. So, what did we love this week? Read on dear explorer…

The Joy Formidable – ‘AAARTH’

The Welsh alternative rockers have announced a new album, and while I’m not particularly fussed about the newly released first single, The Wrong Side, the rest of the details are great!Firstly, the album title. ‘AAARTH’ translates as the welsh word for ‘bear’, or ‘BEEAAR!’ which is basically is the best way to name anything.

Secondly, the artwork. Look at it! It’s beautiful. I wish I’d created that. ‘AAARTH’ will arrive on September 28 via Hassle Records.

Sun Kil Moon – Come On Get Happy

This brand new track from Sun Kil Moon sounds like a nursery rhyme you’d sing to a three-year-old when they’re a bit tired. But I like the sentiment. AND it comes from a new album called ‘This Is My Dinner’. Yes to dinner.You can listen to Come On Get Happy here, and the album is due on November 1 through Caldo Verde Records.

The Kinks

According to Ray Davies, frontman of the classic rock band, the Kinks are reuniting for the first time in 20 years. Inspired by the Rolling Stones, who are still touring the globe, Davies and co. will utilise a handful of songs he’s got from when the band parted ways to create a new album. More news as we have it, but for now this is exciting!

I sincerely hope you enjoy your sunny afternoon.

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Things We Love This Week: Mothers, Deerhoof, Underworld & Iggy Pop

Happy Friday one and all. For those of you who are new to the class, this blog is a lovely list that features cool new musical things that happened this week – all of which will be far more relevant than the announcement of an eighth studio album from the Plain White T’s.

Mothers – Blame Kit

Fancy something to catch you off guard? Listen to this. Blame Kit starts off with fast guitar patterns and complex rhythms that, although they sound all over the place for the first few seconds, fall into place quite neatly. A perfectionist’s dream.

Just over a minute in – right when you’re getting the hang of it – the song drops to ¾ time and has a completely different, more serene feel. Maybe I’m reading to much into it, but it’s wacky and pretty awesome in a psycho-genius kind of way.

They’ve also got an album on the way: ‘Render Another Ugly Method’ is due on September 7.

Deerhoof – Ay That’s Me

More indie-pop for you! Just what you always wanted. Deerhoof have shared a video for one of the tracks from their latest album, ‘Mountain Moves’, which dropped last year. They have been described as “sugary” and that’s the perfect word to tag this song, which is buoyant and fun. Additionally, I chose this track because of its fantastic title. Ay!

The animated video runs a bit like one of those flip books you’d draw as a kid, with landscapes, mushrooms and dancing people. Was I the only one who drew tiny stick men on skateboards? This, though, is far better than any of my school book corners. Have a watch.

Underworld & Iggy Pop – I’ll See Big

Having worked together on the soundtrack for T2 Trainspotting, Underworld and Iggy Pop had some leftovers that didn’t quite make the final cut, which they’ll release as a four track EP titled ‘Teatime Dub Encounters’. The first track, Bells and Circles, is hilarious and random and awesome. All Rick Smith, Karl Hyde and Iggy want to do is smoke cigarettes on an aeroplane. The new one, out today, is far more ambient, sounding a little like the soundtrack you’d have while travelling through space.

Iggy recounts how his dysfunctional  friends “saved him from a lifetime of bad decisions”, inspired by a conversation he had with Danny Boyle about friendship. So wholesome. So lovely. The full EP is due for release on July 27.

Till next time, music lover. FYI, ‘Parallel Universe’ by The Plain White T’s will arrive on August 24 through Fearless Records.

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Things We Love This Week: Patti Smith, The War On Drugs, Courtney Barnett

Photo: Raquel Garcia

Hello! It’s me. Did you miss me? Here’s your weekly helping of music news, with a side order of mini live review. Grab a spoon and dig in.

Patti Smith at Cardiff’s Festival Of Voice

On Monday, more than half of the Stereoboard office went to see the legendary Patti Smith. Performing poetry and acoustic songs in the intimate setting of a small church just outside Cardiff, this truly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

As well as still having a fantastically strong voice at the age of 71, reading us snippets of poetry and performing classics Because The Night, she also came across as the loveliest human being – letting the audience in on an old crush she once had on a baseball player, informing us of a little bubble she gets in her throat sometimes while singing, and the heartfelt, particularly poignant statement about her late husband Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith: “He was my boyfriend, and he will always be my boyfriend”. She managed to bring a tear to everyone’s eye and I desperately want Patti to be my best friend forever.

Photo: Matt Wright

The War On Drugs at The O2

Adam Granduciel and co are doing pretty well at fighting this war. Formed back in 2005 as a collaboration with Kurt Vile, they’ve released a bunch of albums, each a conquest, including last year’s acclaimed ‘A Deeper Understanding’. Every album is another step forward in the battle, striking down contemporaries with melodic synth lines and striking guitar chords.

So where will the band’s next crusade take them, aside from a handful of massive festival performances this summer? They’re only heading to the O2 Arena in December!

With a capacity of 20,000, they’ll be treading the boards of a stage already graced by giant artists such as Queen, Britney Spears, 50 Cent and Demi Lovato.

The War is still going strong. Good for you lads.

Tickets go on sale next Friday at 10am. Get ’em here.

Courtney Barnett Tour

Honesty alert: I was fully prepared to attend Barnett’s Bristol show last week, but totally forgot about it and missed it. *Facepalm* How do I really feel? Gutted, Courtney. If, like me (but hopefully for a more viable reason) you didn’t get to go to any of her recent May/June tour, you’re in luck!

‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’ is getting a whole new batch of tour dates, especially for you!

The Aussie songstress will head to Dublin, London, Oxford, Brighton, Cardiff, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newcastle between November 12 and 21. Yay!

See you lot next time for another striking rendition of Things We Love This Week.

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