Things We Love This Week: Wolf Parade, Beach Slang, Matt Berninger

Photo: Wolf Parade by Pamela Evelyn andJoseph Yarmush

It’s me again, your friendly neighbourhood indie kid, ready to put some great musical-based items straight into your brainbox. Are you ready? No? Well, it’s too late now, isn’t it.

Wolf Parade

I won’t lie to you: if the press shot (above) wasn’t amazing, this track might not have made the cut as a Thing We Loved This Week. As it stands, I can see three puppies. You do the math. Wolf Parade’s Against The Day is a catchy synth-pop number with an earworm of a main melody that it strangely reminiscent of something else, something poppy, big and bold… like if Future Islands made something a bit more stompy.

Wolf Parade are touring the UK in March 2020, and tickets are available now.

Beach Slang

Get out your gym shorts and weightlifting paraphernalia, because the new one from Beach Slang is HEAVY. Like that classic American heavy rock of the 1970s, we’ve got tightly wound distortion and simple rhythms for some storming  guitar riffage. Excuse me while I get my Harley Davidson from the garage.

Beach Slang will tour North America supporting the Goo Goo Dolls this fall.

Matt Berninger

Our dear friend Matthew Berninger has announced a solo album! Best known as the frontman of the National, he’s also worked on numerous projects over the years, like El Vy with Brent Knopf of Ramona Falls, and just yesterday put out a collab with Phoebe Bridgers. Although no date has been confirmed yet, we do know the LP will be called ‘Serpentine Prison’, and that production and arrangements come from Booker T Jones.

 

You don’t need me to tell you that the National are hitting the UK in December, because you’ve already got tickets for the Cardiff show, haven’t you!? SNAP.

Is it acceptable to be squealing with excitement? Yes.

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Things We Love This Week: Kojey Radical, Jarvis Cocker, Interpol

Hello there, and welcome to another episode of Things We Love This Week. Today on the show, we take a break from listening to the National’s new album and try to branch out into other bands. Find out how we get on after the break.

Kojey Radical – Can’t Go Back

Two years since his last full-length, ‘In God’s Body’, Hackney-born Kojey Radical has announced a new project, and even shared some new music. Announced via a social media video that shows an honest and open side of the rapper and vocalist, his latest single, like most of his work, is SLICK AF. He teams up with KZ on the production side of things to create a hip hop tune that’s brass heavy, topped up with some gospel vocals in the chorus. Hell yeah.

Jarvi Is – Must I Evolve?

Jarvis Cocker has unveiled a new project. And apparently, Jarv Is… a band featuring his lordship of Pulp, Serafina Steer, Emma Smith, Andrew McKinney, Jason Buckle and Adam Betts. From the sound of the stomping piece of indie rock, it’s going to be a BIG show when they play live at All Points East on May 25. It’s a super, trance-like track to get the crowd going.

Interpol – ‘A Fine Mess’

It’s almost as if Interpol have taken a look at my life and decided to caption it how they want. It’s a mess, but she’s fine. Their new EP (of the same name as my, erm, fictional, now-four-part documentary series, out in June…) sees five new tracks from the New York band, helmed by Paul Banks, Sam Fogarino and Daniel Kessler. If you love Interpol (and who doesn’t, am I right?), it’s time to get a fix of some new music.

One lil thing before we sign off, and that’s an advert on the London Underground for Lewis Capaldi’s debut album. Not the usual sort of thing that ends up on this blog, but I couldn’t not share the genius that came up with ‘Capalbum’ and the accompanying picture. God bless.

The lack of female representation in this week’s post is unacceptable. I’ll make up for it next week, dear readers. Promise.

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This Week’s New Releases: Lewis Capaldi, DJ Khaled And Alex Lahey

This week is a mixed bag of new releases for sure. Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi has dropped his debut album, Alex Lahey has offered up her second and DJ Khaled’s star-studded follow up to 2017’s ‘Grateful’ is finally out.

Not for you? Head below for more new records.

Alex Lahey – ‘The Best Of Luck Club’ (Dead Oceans)

Biffy Clyro – ‘Balance, Not Symmetry’

Carly Rae Jepsen – ‘Dedicated’ (Interscope)

DJ Khaled – ‘Father Of Asahd’ (We The Best/Epic Records)

Hilary Hahn – ‘Garca Abril: 6 Partitas’ (Decca Classics)

Institute – ‘Readjusting The Locks’ (Sacred Bones)

Interpol – ‘A Fine Mess’ EP (Matador)

Josephine Wiggs – ‘We Fall’ (Sounds Of Sinners)

Lewis Capaldi – ‘Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent’ (Virgin EMI)

Ludovico Einaudi – ‘Seven Days Walking – Day 3’ (Decca)

The National – ‘I Am Easy To Find’ (4AD)

Operators – ‘Radiant Dawn’ (Last Gang Records)

Paul Gilbert – ‘Behold Electric Guitar’ (Mascot/Music Theories)

Siskiyou – ‘Not Somewhere’ (Constellation)

Steel Pulse – ‘Mass Manipulation’ (Rootfire Cooperative/Wiseman Doctrine)

Zomby – ‘Vanta’ (Bedouin Records)

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This Week’s Top Tickets: Courteeners, The National, Richard Hawley, Little Simz, André​ Rieu, Lenny Henry and more

Manchester trio Courteeners will be joined by the Coral and Inhaler at shows in Blackpool and Leeds in June, while former Pulp guitarist Richard Hawley will hit the road in September supporting his latest album, ‘Further’.

Ohio rockers the National have added winter UK shows to their extensive 2019 tour plans and comedy legend Lenny Henry will bring his An Evening with Lenny Henry: Who Am I, Again? tour to theatres and concert halls across the country beginning in October.

British rapper Little Simz, meanwhile, has announced new UK shows for December due to demand, while Dutch violinist André​ Rieu will tour the UK and Ireland in April and May 2020.

Courteeners

The Manchester trio will warm up for their huge hometown show at Heaton Park with shows in Blackpool and Leeds, with support from the Coral and Inhaler. The band also perform in Edinburgh as part of the Summer Sessions series on August 16 and headline a huge charity concert at the O2 Victoria Warehouse on May 24. Tickets for the new dates go on general sale at 9am on May 17.

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The National

The Ohio rockers will support their forthcoming album, ‘I Am Easy To Find’ by heading to the Brighton Centre, the First Direct Arena in Leeds, and the Motorpoint Arenas in both Cardiff and Nottingham between December 7 and 10. They also have various summer festival appearances lined up through the summer. Tickets go on general sale at 10am on May 17.

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Richard Hawley

The former Pulp live guitarist will play Dublin’s Olympia Theatre on September 30, before performing in Bristol, Cardiff, Norwich, Oxford, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Glasgow, London and Brighton during October. He also headlines Wakefield’s Warehouse 23 and supports Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott at their Stockport shows this summer. Tickets go on general sale at 9am on May 17.

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Little Simz

The British rapper has lined up performances in Leeds, Nottingham, Oxford, and London, where she’ll play the O2 Forum Kentish Town, during December. Tickets go on sale at 10am on May 17.

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André​ Rieu

The Dutch violinist and conductor will be accompanied by his 60-piece Johann Strauss Orchestra in Belfast, Dublin, Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Liverpool, Glasgow, and London, where he’ll take over the SSE Arena Wembley on April 24. Tickets go on general sale at 10am on May 17.

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Lenny Henry

A total of 34 dates have been confirmed for the comic’s new tour, titled An Evening with Lenny Henry: Who Am I, Again?, beginning on October 20 and running through to the end of November. The trek promptly follows up the October 3 release of his book, Who Am I, Again?. Tickets go on general sale at 10am on May 17. Head here for pre-sale tickets.

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Also announced this week:

Madonna, Volbeat, Motionless In White, Barns Courtney, the Night Cafe, Hilltop Hoods, the Faim, Alec Benjamin, Straight No Chaser, New Model Army, Angel Olsen, Ride, Coheed and Cambria, Fangclub, Bradley Wiggins, Jah Wobble, Jack Whitehall, Jack Dee, Big Thief, Home Free and more. Head here for a full list and to find your tickets.

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Things We Love This Week: Bear’s Den, Lizzo, The National

Another week has rolled around agai- oh no wait, IT’S A FOUR DAY WEEK. Happy Easter, you crazy animal. Thank you Jesus for blessing us with two bank holidays.

Bear’s Den – O2 Academy Bristol

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to witness Bear’s Den live, you’ll know it is one hell of a special occasion. They’ve been touring lately in support of their new record, ‘So That You Might Hear Me’, which is due to arrive at the end of the month. This Tuesday saw them hit Bristol’s O2 Academy, and it was sensational.

Although, yes, incredibly sad, there’s something about Bear’s Den’s folk-tinged, finger-picked masterpieces that can both break and mend a heart, simultaneously taking away your breath and bringing tears to your eyes. What an emotional time. As well as churning out the new material, they still took the time to play fan favourites, including Isaac, Above The Clouds of Pompeii and of course, closed the performance with the foot-stomping, flannel-wearing, banjo-wielding Agape.

This band are at their best when cutting out the synths and their new-found War On Drugs aesthetic, and stripping their gorgeous songs right down to the bare bones. A trademark at their live shows, Andrew Davie, Kev Jones et al turned off the amps and played Sophie fully acoustic. Later on saw them ascend the stairs that frame the audience in the O2 Academy to play a new one. It was pretty epic. The girl behind me cried. 10/10 would recommend. Tickets for the remaining dates of the tour are available here.

Lizzo – Juice

Lizzo doesn’t half release some bangers! Juice is easily one of the best pop songs to come out of 2019 so far, with catchy melodies and a whole load of personality to match. The single dropped in January to widespread acclaim, and got its own ‘70s-flecked video too.

This week a second video was shared — because after all, you can never have too many music videos for the same track. The new release sees the incredible vocalist dancing with some of the competitors from RuPaul’s Drag Race — A’keria Davenport, Asia O’Hara, Detox, Mariah Balenciaga, Morgan McMichaels, Soju, Sonique, Mayhem Miller, and my new favourite, the brilliantly named Silky Nutmeg Ganache.

Among the bright colours, wacky hairstyles, and suggestive dance moves, there is a lot of fruit involved. Squeezing grapefruits, crushing lemons with bare hands, and even *ahem* deep throating bananas. At least they’re getting their five a day, eh?

The National on BBC Radio 6 Music

Oh look, it’s me again, your friendly neighbourhood National-fanatic gushing about our Ohio boys. The National are currently on tour in the UK (despite not heading anywhere near the South-West or Wales, cry), and made a brief stop off at Maida Vale Studios in London for a live set.

Introduced by Mary-Ann Hobbs, the lads kicked off proceedings with Rylan — a song that’s been in the works for a long time, played at live shows for years, and has lots of rumours associated with it among fans on social media. Then came Oblivions, accompanied by vocalists Mina Tindall and Kate Stables. My. Heart. Aches. They closed things up with Light Years, their latest single.

The album, ‘I Am Easy To Find’ is due for release on May 17 via 4AD. On Thursday night they headlined the Royal Festival Hall in London, and I’ve heard some EXCELLENT things. Head here to get tickets for the rest of the shows. You should.

Things start happening about an hour in to the show. Listen here.

Enjoy copious amounts of chocolate, and don’t even THINK about setting an alarm until Tuesday. Over and out x

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Things We Love This Week: the National, Loyle Carner, KOKO

It’s St David’s Day and I’ve got a suitably Welsh Chinese takeaway on the horizon. What have you got planned? This. You have this. And that beats everything. Dydd gŵyl Dewi hapus.

The National

Rumour has it, the National have finished recording their new album. And for most people, that’s enough for a simple mutter of “Huh. Cool.” For me, it means an outpouring of garble about how they are the best band in the world. But maybe I’ll save you the eye roll, and simply let you know that Matt Berninger, the Dessners, the Devendorfs and co have announced a handful of special Evening With shows for April. What will happen at these shows is a little vague for now, but more info will be revealed in the coming weeks. Whatever they have planned, I’m sure it will be special.

*fangirls*

Loyle Carner and Jorja Smith

Loyle Carner has shared a new track featuring Jorja Smith. Loose Ends has those silky smooth bars from Carner, that we love so, so much, accompanied by the soul vocals of the recent BRIT winner for British Female Solo Artist.

It. Is. Great.

London’s KOKO

KOKO is shutting down! BUT it is getting a redevelopment. And not just any redevelopment, a £40 million redevelopment!

The venue began as the Camden Hippodrome in 1900, and since has seen legendary performances from the likes of the Rolling Stones, the Clash, Spandau Ballet, Blur, Madonna, Prince, Kanye West, Amy Winehouse and Coldplay.

On March 6, the iconic venue will close its doors temporarily. Having acquired the two adjoining buildings, the new site will see an additional 20, 000 square feet of space to play around with. Designed by Pirajean Lees and architect David Archer, it will be made up of six performance areas, a radio station, broadcast studio, three new restaurants, rooftop conservatory and terrace, and even a penthouse space where artists are able to rehearse and record. It sounds incredible, and I can’t wait to visit the new site.

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This Week’s New Releases: Deafheaven, Dirty Projectors And Wet

Things have picked back up and there’s loads of new releases to wade through this week. Deafheaven have followed up 2015’s ‘New Bermuda’, Wet have offered up a new LP, and Dirty Projectors have released an album with an impressive list of guests, including Haim, Rostam, Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold, Syd of the Internet, Empress Of, Amber Mark and Dear Nora.

Still want more? Head below.

Amy Shark – ‘Love Monster’ (Sony)

Between The Buried And Me – ‘Automata II’ (Sumerian Records)

Body/Head – ‘The Switch’ (Matador Records)

Bury Tomorrow – ‘Black Flame’ (Sony)

Chastity – ‘Death Lust’ (Captured Tracks)

Chelsea Grin – ‘Eternal Nightmare’ (Rise Records)

Cowboy Junkies – ‘All That Reckoning’ (Proper Records)

Deafheaven – ‘Ordinary Corrupt Human Love’ (Anti)

Dirty Projectors – ‘Lamp Lit Prose’ (Domino)

Jason Isbell – ‘Sirens Of The Ditch’ (New West)

The Jayhawks – ‘Back Roads and Abandoned Motels’ (Sony)

Jim Gaffigan – ‘Noble Ape’ (Comedy Dynamics)

Jimmy LaFave – ‘Peace Town’ (Music Road Records)

Luluc – ‘Sculptor’ (Sub Pop)

Mikaela Davis – ‘Delivery’ (Virgin EMI)

The National – ‘Boxer – Live In Brussels’ (4AD)

Obscura – ‘Diluvium’ (Relapse Records)

The Ophelias – ‘Almost’ (Joyful Noise)

Rayland Baxter – ‘Wide Awake’ (ATO Records/UMGD)

Real Friends – ‘Composure’ (Fearless Records)

Rick Astley – ‘Beautiful Life’ (BMG)

Rodney Crowell – ‘Acoustic Classics’ (RC1 Records)

Save Face – ‘Merci’ (Epitaph)

Simon Love – ‘Sincerely, S. Love X’ (Tapete)

Slightly Stoopid – ‘Everyday Life, Everyday People’ (Stoopid Records)

The Vamps – ‘Night & Day (Day Edition)’ (Virgin EMI)

Wet – ‘Still Run’ (Columbia)

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Things We Love This Week: PEOPLE, Public Service Broadcasting, Idles, Interpol

Oh, hi there. I see you’re looking for some great new music? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

PEOPLE

Seemingly coming out of nowhere on Wednesday, there is now an entirely new streaming platform in the world.

PEOPLE is based around a collection of artists, including Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, members of the National, Kate Stables from This Is The Kit, Lisa Hannigan, Phoebe Bridgers, Sufjan Stevens and loads more (you can check out the full list of people involved here), all working collaboratively “for the benefit and development of the artists involved and just as importantly, for those who would like to access and enjoy the output.” Put simply, an enviable group of people who you’d love to be friends with. Wouldn’t it be great to nip to the pub for a cheeky pint with Justin?

It also boats zero commercial interest or sponsorship, which is great. Independent artists making music for making music’s sake. *Sighs dreamily*

One of the featured projects on the site comes from Vernon and Aaron Dessner from the National, Big Red Machine. The only trouble is, I want to be able to download or have physical copies of this four track EP because it is brilliant. With the guitar expertise of Dessner and the iconic vocals of Vernon, both of their creative minds work in harmony to make perfect rainy-day music. Listen hereThere so much music to get your ears around. Good job I have zero weekend plans…

Public Service Broadcasting

J Willgoose Esq. and Wrigglesworth, plus full band, have announced they’ll finish touring their latest album, ‘Every Valley’ with a string of intimate Welsh shows.

Based on the coalfields of south Wales, the record follows the story of the rise, progress, fall, and strikes of the industry, from the perspective of workers, women, and politicians. It’s such an interesting idea. There’s no place better for such a tour than in the valleys themselves, but they’ll culminate with a huge show at the Royal Albert Hall in November. You can check for dates here.

Idles – Danny Nedelko

We’ve got the second cut from the Bristol post-punks’ new album! Danny Nedelko is fun, fast and perhaps too catchy, with a singalong chorus that goes “yadda yadda yadda yadda ay ay ay ay” – something you might not expect from a band who are used to pissing in the kitchen sink. But it’s great fun. I’ve just listened to it four times in a row and would advise you to do the same.

Idles have confirmed details of their sophomore LP, ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’, out on August 31 through Partisan Records.

Interpol – The Rover

I’M SO GLAD INTERPOL ARE BACK. After missing their ‘Turn On The Bright Lights’ 15th anniversary shows last year, this news gives me hope that I will one day be able to cross off seeing Paul Banks and co. from my bucket list. They’ve announced a new album, and have shared the first cut. ‘Marauder’ is due for release on on August 24 via Matatdor Records, prior to a world tour – which includes a stop at the Royal Albert Hall.

The frontman has stated:

“’Marauder is a facet of myself. That’s the guy that fucks up friendships and does crazy shit. He taught me a lot, but it’s representative of a persona that’s best left in song. In a way, this album is like giving him a name and putting him to bed. This record is where I feel touching on real things that have happened to me are exciting and evocative to write about… I think in the past, I always felt autobiography was too small a thing for me to reference. I feel like now, I’m able to romanticise parts of my own life.”

Over and out. 👋

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Things We Love This Week: Bjork, The National, Ms Lauryn Hill

It’s been one hell of a week. I managed to get in to Snail Mail’s sold-out (nay, sweaty) Bristol show on Monday, sort out attendance to All Points East, and bribed my friends with cake to let me stay with them in London all weekend. While you read this, I’ll probably be sipping an overpriced cider and chilling out in the sun (update: potential thunderstorms) watching some awesome indie-electro band at the festival. So, to cleanse the FOMO, here’s some other cool stuff that went on.

Bjork on Jools Holland

A few episodes in to the 52nd series of Later With… Jools Holland, BBC viewers were treated to a rare performance from the legendary Björk. In her first television appearance in eight years, the Icelandic singer, artist, and all round hero definitely gave us something to talk about (as all of her performances do). Surrounded by a jungle of green plants and leaves framing the set, a masked Björk and her army of flautists played dressed in all kinds of surreal outfits. It’s so wacky, and so magical, and so awesome. Watch her play Courtship, from last year’s ‘Utopia’, and The Anchor Song from the 1993 album ‘Debut’ at either end of the programme.

Like what you see? Of course you do. She’s the coolest lady in the world. You can catch her play a bunch of shows across Europe over the summer, the Eden Project in Cornwall in July, or headlining All Points East festival this weekend. I’ll be at the front – say hi (-perballad).

The National – ‘Boxer Live In Brussels’

If you’re not a vinyl type, Record Store Day must’ve been a total bummer. This live recording of the National’s 2007 album was pressed on limited edition clear vinyl for the event, but luckily your favourite boys have come through.

The album is set for both CD and digital release on July 13 through 4AD. To celebrate, they’ve given us a sneak preview of the opener, Fake Empire. Check out that brass section. Phwoar.

The National will play an All Points East Presents show next week before heading to Dublin for two nights at Donnybrook Stadium.

Ms Lauryn Hill – 20th anniversary of ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’

Everyone in the office was making fun of me because I’m too young to remember this album. I listened to it, and it is pretty great (and I did actually know some of the songs, so there!).

Ms Lauryn Hill will embark on arena shows around the UK, Ireland and Europe in December to celebrate two decades since the album’s release. Two decades! Where does the time go?!

Ms Lauryn Hill isn’t playing All Points East this weekend, which is a shame because it would have rounded off the whole column quite nicely.

I may have accidentally mentioned All Points East a little too much in this week’s episode of your favourite blog. But c’est la vie. I’m excited.

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Festival Preview: What To Expect From All Points East

The festival market is HUGE. There are hundreds to choose from in the UK alone. So, taking a huge leap and starting a brand new one in the current landscape is a risky decision. How do you stand out?

Well, it helps to be backed by the organisers of Coachella, and to slot in at a venue that’s been part of the scene for a while. All Points East will take place in London’s Victoria Park this weekend, and it’s being pitched as a fest for discerning music fans.

It arrives complete with claims of the best sound the park has ever heard, along with the obligatory fairground rides and hipster street food vans. But the real answer to standing out? Same as it ever was. Get the right line up.

On paper, the All Points East bill is forward-thinking, eclectic, and most of all cool. Just like you, right? First up, comeback kings LCD Soundsystem take over the East Stage on Friday night. Last September saw the release of their critically acclaimed comeback ‘American Dream’, the first new material from the Brooklyn dance-punks since their 2011 Madison Square Garden sign off.

Frontman James Murphy will be hitting the decks throughout the weekend too, with his side project Despacio – a collaboration with David and Stephen Dewaele of Soulwax and 2manydjs.

The Saturday night headliners showcase smooth laid back beats, distinctive vocals, flawless productions skills and even a Mercury Prize – it could only be the XX. The idea will very much be to lose yourself in a concoction of Jamie XX, Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim’s vocal plaits, delicate reverb and ambient backgrounds.

Sunday’s headliner might be one of the most eclectic singers of a generation, and one of the few genuine legends we have left. Björk will draw a line under things with colourful art-pop and avant-garde everything. There’s a decent gender balance on the bill – no, it ain’t a 50/50 split, we’re a long way off that yet – but it is far more diverse than some.

Across the weekend, expect to see performances from genre-spanning giants like Sampha, the international-pop-band-of-the-moment Superorganism, the returning shimmering indie band Friendly Fires, as well as the hugely popular Lorde, Father John Misty, Glass Animals, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Stefflon Don, Soulwax… you get the picture.

Thankfully, there isn’t too much overlap in terms of stage clashes – a sticking point often met with disappointment from die-hard festival-goers. On this bill, the most difficult decision you’ll make will be between Flying Lotus 3D and Father John, or Rex Orange County and Laura Misch.  

Possibly one of the most interesting parts of All Points East is the accompanying side shows. They make the festival feel like more of a sprawl, with an eclectic list of big names set to step in. On June 1, indie types Catfish and the Bottlemen like will be joined by fellow indie types Blossoms and the Hunna, while the National take over on Saturday June 2 with their biggest headline show to date.

Support there comes from from the War On Drugs, Public Service Broadcasting, This Is The Kit and loads more, while Nick Cave and some particular Bad Seeds close the entire event – after sets from none other than Patti Smith, St. Vincent and Courtney Barnett – on June 3.

All Points East is an interesting proposition. It could be big, judging from the organisers and stellar line up. By the time Björk is done with us, it might be one of those events that elicits a response of jealousy and awe from your mates.

But it if it sounds like an overload of great bands all in one go, you’re also possibly on the money. Like most festivals it’ll likely be chaotic, expensive, and difficult to see past the tall guy in front of you while Matt Berninger does his thing or the many colours of Beck pass you by.

These are the risks, but early suggestions are that All Points East will hand you some of the best around on a historical-park-shaped platter.

 

When? May 25 – June 3

Where? Victoria Park, London

How much? £39.95 – £169.95

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