Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-1 Day: LCD Soundsystem

The last one to watch couldn't really be anyone else could it? Headlining the Other Stage on Sunday night, and closing their set with one of my all time favourite songs 'All My Friends, the recently reformed LCD Soundsystem will make you dance, sing, and maybe even bring a tear to your eye as they close out the festival.

Sure, they may have split up and reformed in a shorter space of time than many bands take between making albums, but that shouldn't detract from the fact that a) they've made some great tunes and b) they're brilliant live - just wait until it all kicks off in 'Movement' and see the crowd go wild.

At Coachella this year they played both Bowie and Prince covers so we should expect something special by way of tributes. But even if they don't their set will be a great way to finish the festival. I'll be there, and even if it means I miss Beyonce and Jay-z coming on with Coldplay then I'll have no regrets. Like it says in 'All My Friends': "I wouldn't trade one stupid decision, for another 5 years of life".

Monday, 20 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-2 Days: Saint Etienne

Nestling nicely on the bill between E.L.O. and Beck (if you don't mind a sprint up to the Park stage and back), Saint Etienne will provide some blissful 90s beats for your Sunday afternoon. If you're not familiar with their particular blend of indie-pop then here are a few pointers. Let's start with what is possibly the best Neil Young cover version in history, their version of 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart', which was their first single.

I always loved the bit in 'You're In A Bad Way' where they lift the melody from 'Telstar'.

How about the Italian-house inspired 'She's On The Phone'?

Or the conga beats of the filmic 'Sylvie'?

As you can see there's plenty of great songs to choose from, so make sure you try to catch some of their set.


Sunday, 19 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-3 Days: Jeremy Corbyn / Left Field stage

As you should know by know, it's not just about music at Glastonbury. The Left Field stage has been there for 10 years, and sprang out of the festival's tradition of campaigning, first for CND and then for the striking miners.

The stage is now curated by Billy Bragg and features a mixture of debates, music and comedy. And with the small matter of the EU Referendum to be decided while we're at the festival, is there a better time to listen to the thoughts of the Leader of the Opposition? I honestly expect this to be one of the most packed tents of the whole weekend so if you're going make sure you get there early.

If you don't make it for Jezza then there are panel debates on Feminism, Immigration, the junior doctors strike and more that might take your fancy. There's always a great feel in the tent and it can be a good place to escape the sun / rain / general hecticness of Glastonbury, so do stop by and see something there while you're on site.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-4 Days: Eska

ESKA cover art

Born in Zimbabwe, raised in Lewisham, Eska is a great talent who weaves together a range of genres from folk to soul to r'n'b to dance in a style that's all her own.

With support from the likes of Gilles Peterson her debut album soon came to prominence, and was shortlisted for the 2015 Mercury Prize.

There are a couple of chances to catch Eska at Glastonbury this year - midnight at The Rum Shack on Saturday or midday on the West Holts Stage on Sunday. I might well see you there.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-5 Days: St. Paul & The Broken Bones

A man with the voice of an angel (but the body of an overweight Alan Carr), backed by a stunningly-good band, Paul Janeway has come from heaven via Birmingham, Alabama to prove that proper soul music is alive and well.

If you passed him on the street you'd never imagine that he'd sound as beautiful as this, which for me is one of the attractions of this band - the unexpected strength and soulfulness will draw you right in.

If you watch the 2 live performances on here then I really don't need to say anything else, other than I'll see you at the Other Stage early on Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-6 Days: Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

Listening to Rateliff's music it can be kinda hard to work out where it stems from. What lies at it's core may well be the gospel music he grew up with in church. On tip of that there's blues, there's soul, there's r'n'b, there's rockabilly, there's classic Memphis horns, and crowning it all is Nathaniel's excellent voice.

This is going to sound so good in the Sunday afternoon sunshine on the Park Stage, the only snag being that he finishes exactly at the moment that E.L.O come on the Pyramid Stage, so tough choices will have to be made.

If you do end up missing him at Glastonbury he's back in London at Brixton Academy in November.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-7 Days: Meilyr Jones

Welsh troubadour Meilyr Jones is a one man melting pot of sounds and influences. Take a dash of Super Furry Animals, a smattering of My Life Story, a smidge of Velvet Underground, a shake of Jarvis Cocker and even a bit of Bowie and you'll get an idea of what he looks and sounds like.

Live he's an endearing performer (I saw him at Field Day last weekend) who will fill the William's Green tent on Saturday afternoon with his wit and melodies.

If you've a penchant for great tunes, as well as the odd bit of cornet and viola, then seek him out.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-8 Days: Beck

Beck's albums are many and varied with his style changing seemingly with every release. It's now 20 years since his biggest hit 'Odelay', something he seems to be acknowledging in the genre-splicing new single 'Wow', which hops from Major Lazer style beats to horns to lyrics about a 'Lamborghini Shitzu' (whatever that is).

It's a continuation of the upbeat nature of his one-off release last year, 'Dreams', which was a big hit at the festivals he played last summer.

If you've never seen him live then you're in for a treat. He picks and chooses cuts from across his back catalogue, mixing them in with the odd choice cover version (I think he's currently doing Donna Summer). I've seen him a few times, the last being last year in Hyde Park where he was a million times more entertaining and fun than headliners The Strokes.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-9 Days: Car Seat Headrest

This band, headed by Will Toledo, hit the headlines recently when their new album 'Teens of Denial' had to be pulled from the shelves due to a last minute wrangle over a sample from the Cars' track 'Just What I Needed'. That song (originally called Not What I Needed / Just What I Needed' and now more succinctly revised to 'Not Just What I Needed') will no doubt feature in a set that's bound to lean heavily on the new record but also pull from their previous releases.

Their guitar heavy sound, which veers from The Strokes to Kings of Leon to even (unbelievably) Status Quo on current single 'Fill In The Blank' seems to tailor-made to kick start your day, so head up to the Park Stage on Saturday morning to catch them.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-10 Days: Blackalicious

This West Coast rap duo have been making records for nearly 20 years and their new album (the first in a trilogy no less) will be out in September. From it comes this track:

If you're not familiar with them but like rap acts such as Jurassic 5, Pharcyde or even De La Soul then it would be worth your while checking them out. They're on in the Pussy Parlure at half past Midnight on Saturday - I'll see you there.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-11 Days: The New York Brass Band

 When they started they were new and from York, rather than being from New York. One of Glastonbury's best party bands, their spirited mix of covers can be found at numerous times of the day or night, in sunshine or in darkness, in heaven or (literally) on the Hell stage

I distinctly remember bashing the shit out of the bar in The Rocket Lounge  in 2014 as me and the barman sang along loudly to 'Take On Me'.

There's plenty of times to catch them, especially on Wednesday and Thursday before everything really kicks off, so if you're looking for a party you know where to find me.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-12 Days: Michael Kiwanuka

Kiwanuka's latest single 'Black Man In A White World' is quite possibly my favourite song of the year so far. The production, courtesy of Dangermouse, is spot on and the whole thing just exudes a quality 70s vibe. Just imagine this washing over you in the sunshine on the West Holts stage on Sunday afternoon, it'll sound so good.

His new album 'Love & Hate' will be out a couple of weeks after Glastonbury so I'm sure that he'll play a few tracks from it - here's the title track.

But there'll also be a lot of stuff from his Mercury Prize-nominated debut album to get your teeth into too. I saw him at a special Mercury gig when he was nominated and he's a fantastic live performer, so if you don't mind missing E.L.O. then make sure you catch him.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-13 Days: Beak>

Geoff Barrow's krautrock-loving offshoot from Portishead fuse different genres and styles with ease, and whatever they do they do it loudly.

There's a new album due from them soon, so expect tracks from that (like the one below) as well as some old favourites when they play William's Green on Saturday evening.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-14 Days: Jack Garratt

Already a recepient of a Brit Award and the BBC's Sound of 2016, Garratt's music sits somewhere between the balladeering Ed Sheeran and the soulfully electronic James Blake.

As you can see from the live videos on this page he's a one-man tour de force, playing guitar, keyboards and drums and using pedals and loops to keep things going.

It all looks a bit frantic, like he's doing about 6 things at once (which he is) but it should make for a good experience on the John Peel Stage on Friday.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-15 Days: Jagwar Ma

Jagwar Ma, Village Underground London 31/5/16
One of my highlights from Glastonbury 2014, Jagwar Ma are now back playing live shows while also recording a new album.

If you were a fan of the last album, especially the Time & Space Dub Remixes of it, I'm pleased to report that their new songs now extend their sound from Screamadelica-era Primal Scream to also cover the Swastika Eyes and Get Yours Rocks Off periods as well.

Joking aside, a Jagwar Ma live show is something you should all experience, as it's a full-on rave-disco-rock mash up of epic proportions.

Although I've always thought of them as very much an 'after dark' kind of band I'm sure they'll cope just fine with being on the Park Stage in the middle of the afternoon on Saturday.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-16 Days: Christine and The Queens

Heloise Letissier is something of a superstar in her native France, where the original version of her album 'Chaleur Humaine' has spent nearly two years in the charts and she plays to packed out audiences in massive venues. And since the revamped version came out this year, with some English lyrics and new songs added, the rest of the world is also taking her to their hearts, as you can see from this brilliant performance of 'Tilted' at Coachella a couple of months ago.

Her cool electronics and Gallic chic blend perfectly together, and she manages to combine some fascination and thought provoking lyrics with some proper full-on pop melodies.

It's a tricky thing to have an intelligent message to get across while at the same time wanting people to dance and have fun but it's something she pulls of with aplomb. And if you want just one example of how effortlessly cool she is take a listen to 'Paradis Perdus' below, in which she takes a 1973 track by French singer Christophe, splices it with 'Heartless' by Kanye West' and makes a track that sounds totally her own.

Tough calls will have to be made as she's on the Other Stage on Friday while Skepta is on The Pyramid, but I think mon coeur est avec la femme Francaise.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-17 Days: Blaenavon

I've been writing about Blaenavon in the pages of this blog for nearly three and a half years now. Over the course of that period they've grown-up, grown a moustache or two, and put out 3 releases.

Following the intelligent indie-rock trail blazed by the likes of Foals, as their hair has got longer so have their songs become more complex and involved (although judging by their latest video below, they haven't spent much time practising their lip-syncing skills),

Having just completed a full tour of the UK they've also developed into a great live act and will be an ideal opener for the William's Green stage on Friday.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-18 Days: Khruangbin


This three piece from Texas eschew traditional down-home boogie for the esoteric delights of Thai funk and drifting, dream-like grooves, as in the video below.

As you can see, they're not short on talent (or, for 2 out of 3 of them, hair) and when their music find its groove it's a real treat.

Their album 'The Universe Smiles Upon You' was recently released on the Late Night Tales record label, which gives you some idea of the kind of vibe they create. There are a couple of chances to catch them on Sunday this year at Glastonbury - I'll probably see you at the Park first thing in the morning (before drifting over to Four Tet's early morning DJ set in the Stonebridge bar, which will follow this perfectly).

Friday, 3 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-19 Days: Oscar

Indie-pop has somewhat fallen out of fashion these days. Fear not though, as the man to bring it back to sartorial superiority is here, and that man is Oscar Scheller.

With a deep and melancholic voice, the former Central St Martins art school student matches his words with infectious melodies that bring to mind the hooks that 90s Brit-poppers Space used to write. Making 'happy-sad vibes' (his self-confessed favourite form of music) this bedroom-based balladier will definitely ease your hangover into the last day of Glastonbury.

Having seen Oscar live at Visions Festival last summer I can confirm that he's great to watch live, so make sure you head down to William's Green on Sunday to see him.

Oscar at The Laundry, Visions Festival 8/8/15

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-20 Days: Vince Staples

Vince Staples debut album 'Summertime '06' got somewhat lost last year in the general swell of mass appreciation for 'To Pimp A Butterfly'. While it doesn't consistently hit the heights of Kendrick's masterpiece it wasn't without merit, and a slot on the West Holts stage late on Friday afternoon should go a long way to raising his profile in the UK.

Hailing from Long Beach, California, his early friendship with Odd Future helped to propel him into the limelight, something that his current tour with A$AP Rocky is only adding to.


While he might not grab such a large audience as Run The Jewels did in a similar slot last year he'll still be worth seeingon the brilliantly eclectic West Holts lineup.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - The Ones To Watch - T-21 Days: Ezra Furman

With last year's album 'Perpetual Motion People' Furman produced a record full of wit, warmth and energy while mixing musical styles from 60s do-wop to garage rock and beyond.

In the flesh he's even more energetic, an unpredictable force teetering on the brink of anarchy but just about managing to rein it in.

So let your hair down and join the perpetual party with Ezra and his band.