Here’s a list of the artists playing at Indietracks in 2016, with biographies further down the page. We’ll announce the exact days and stages nearer the time.
Saint Etienne, The Aislers Set, The Spook School,
Emma Pollock, Darren Hayman and the Secondary Modern, Comet Gain,
The Lovely Eggs, Flowers, Po!, Red Sleeping Beauty, Seazoo
¡Ay Carmela!, Boys Forever, Charla Fantasma, Chrissy Barnacle, City Yelps, Expert Alterations, Falling & Laughing, Helen McCookerybook, Humousexual, Iko Cherie, Jessica and The Fletchers, Lorna, Maggie8, Nervous Twitch, Pete Green, Prizefighter, Simon Love and The Old Romantics, Soda Fountain Rag, Songs for Walter, The Charlie Tipper Conspiracy, Trust Fund, Two White Cranes, Vacaciones, White Town, Wintergreen, Witching Waves
Saint Etienne are a much-loved British trio made up of Sarah Cracknell, Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley. Their debut album Foxbase Alpha was released in 1991, when their love of techno, the Beach Boys and classic English pop marked them out as something charmingly unique. Since then they have released eight albums, two of which reached the top ten of the UK album charts. During their career they have collaborated with a range of artists including Kylie Minogue and Tim Burgess of The Charlatans. Their most recent album Words and Music, produced with acclaimed music producer Richard X, received numerous glowing reviews, with Pitchfork calling it their “best LP since 1994 masterpiece Tiger Bay” and the NME saying “this record is the soundtrack to your life.”
The Aislers Set are an American indiepop six-piece much loved by the late BBC Radio One DJ John Peel, with a huge cult following. Their three albums received wide critical acclaim from publications such as the NME, Pitchfork and Mojo, and they have toured with a myriad of bands including Yo La Tengo, Sleater-Kinney and Belle and Sebastian, with Stevie Jackson from Belle and Sebastian saying “They are one of the best groups in America as far as I’m concerned”. The band went on hiatus in 2003, reuniting briefly in 2012 and again in 2014 for a handful of shows on the west coast of America to celebrate the reissue of their albums. They haven’t played the UK since 2012 and Indietracks will be their only UK show this year. We’re hugely excited to welcome them to the festival!
The Spook School’s latest album, Try To Be Hopeful, is brim full of noisy, tuneful and triumphant queer pop songs about identity, sexuality and being awesome. The Spook School are Anna Cory (bass and vocals), Adam Todd (guitar and vocals), Nye Todd (guitar and vocals) and Niall McCamley (drums). Since forming in 2012 they’ve become increasingly involved with the DIY queer punk scene, taking inspiration from the passionate, like-minded people they’ve met along the way, and from bands such as Martha, Joanna Gruesome, Trust Fund and Tuff Love. Citing influences including Buzzcocks, T-Rex and the noisier end of C86, the new album is louder, bolder, fuller-sounding and captures more of their live sound—aided and abetted by producer MJ of Hookworms.
Emma Pollock is the founder member of hugely popular Scottish indie rock band The Delgados. She released her first solo album, Watch the Fireworks, to critical acclaim in 2007 and since then has continued to build a successful career as a solo artist. She has been widely praised for her “ability to write convincing pop songs and straight-up beautiful tracks” (BBC), and for having “a lovely sense of melody, and a beautiful voice” (The Guardian). Emma released her third album, In Search of Harperfield, in January this year and we can’t wait to welcome her to Indietracks!
Darren Hayman is the former singer-songwriter of the phenomenally successful and much-loved Hefner. A hugely prolific artist, he has released 14 solo albums since 2006 and will be performing at Indietracks with his band The Secondary Modern. His solo records have covered a variety of topics, ranging from Essex life laments for lost lidos, to re-imagined 19th century political chants and, most recently, thankful villages – villages in England and Wales where every solider returned from World War One. The Guardian have described Hayman’s profoundly English songwriting as “the match of Ray Davies”, whilst Drowned in Sound consider him a “nationalised treasure.”
Led by songwriter David Feck, Comet Gain have released a string of critically acclaimed records on Kill Rock Stars, Track & Field, What’s Your Rupture? and Fortuna Pop!, establishing the band as one of the most fearlessly passionate and fiercely intelligent British bands around. Unapologetically literate and emotional, Comet Gain seek out inspiration as much in the music of girl-group era pop, heartfelt Americana, British post-punk, and 60s psychedelia, as in the words and images of the beat poets and in the cinema of both the British and French new-wave of the late 50s and early 60s. The aesthetic they have made their own has chimed with and galvanized a slew of iconic bands and musicians; from artists like The Make-Up, The Yummy Fur, Jens Lekman and Herman Dune, to a younger generation of DIY musicians like The Cribs, Let’s Wrestle, Male Bonding, Love Is All, Veronica Falls, and Crystal Stilts, Comet Gain’s influence remains a traceable and tangible thing.
The Lovely Eggs are an underground punk rock duo from northern England. They have a fierce punk rock ethos that music should have no rules. For Holly and David being in a band is a way of life. True to this, they live the way they play. Fiercely, constantly in search of the good times. With observational and often surreal lyrics about life The Lovely Eggs have a powerful stripped down sound: one vintage guitar amp, one Big Muff distortion pedal, a guitar and a drum kit. They have produced three albums. 2015 saw The Lovely Eggs return with their fourth self-produced and self-recorded album ‘This is Our Nowhere’: a title which sums up their celebration and love of a scene which doesn’t exist in the eyes of the manufactured mainstream. Ironically the record received 8/10 in the NME.
¡Ay Carmela! is a three piece DIY indie / punk band based in Uxbridge, west London. Inspired by 90s indie rock and punk, they sing about jobs, relationships, and social frustrations. Their single ‘Dog Tired’ was released in December 2014, and they have since toured the UK three times. Their first full length album will be released in spring 2016.
Boys Forever is the new recording project from Patrick Doyle. Written in his South London living room and recorded in Glassell Park, LA the music of Boys Forever marks an exciting new chapter for Doyle, formerly of acclaimed doom pop quartet Veronica Falls. Effortlessly infectious yet spiked with bruised melancholy, these are sparkling, off-kilter gems for those who like their perfect pop with a bit of bite as well.
Charla Fantasma is a three-piece girl gang from London playing ghostly tunes while trying not to freak themselves out.
Chrissy Barnacle is a singer-songwriter hailing from the grimey shores of the Clyde whose yearning and often fantastical lyrics are brimming with turmoil and optimism.
City Yelps are a three piece low budget psychedelic punk band from Leeds playing a mix up of discordant UK DIY, ’83 Mod Revival and Byrdsian jangle with a less-is-more approach to songwriting and recording. Their debut LP “The City Yelps Half Hour” has just been released by Odd Box records.
Expert Alterations are a jangle pop band from Baltimore, USA, founded in March of 2013 by Paul Krolian, Alan Everhart and Patrick Teal. Deadpan vocals mingle with sparkling, chiming guitars and an insistent rhythm borne out of the tenacious, nervous energy of The Fall. Expert Alterations’ influences range from the well-trod (TVPs, The Wedding Present) to roads less traveled (Yeah Yeah Noh, Close Lobsters) and they process them into songs that can stand side-by-side with such standard-bearers. The band has played shows with The Clean, Crystal Stilts and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.
Falling and Laughing are a Birmingham-ish two-piece who must be at least 10 years old by now. Along the way they’ve played popshows, toured, and released songs – including a semi-recent series of four track EPs that started with a release on Odd Box Records. Their occasional jangles invite more frequent comparisons with bands like The Wedding Present, but alongside a love of melody they introduce busy drumming, alternative guitar tunings, and have fun playing with the dynamics of a two-piece to create a mix of indie-pop and something-elses.
Flowers started with guitarist Sam Ayres posting an advert stating he wanted to make pop songs like “early Madonna through a broken tape machine.” This led him to Rachel Kenedy, and their first batch of songs, polished up by none other than Bernard Butler, turned into debut Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do released in 2013. Created during a period of illness for Ayres, the result is an album that whilst receiving great critical acclaim, was necessarily subdued. Flowers have now returned in 2016 with their second album, For Everybody’s Dying to Meet You, produced by Brian O’Shaughnessey (The Clientele, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine). The album strikes a perfect balance between the sweetness of Kenedy’s voice and Ayres’ abrasive guitar stylings. Their musical inspiration from shoegaze, C86 and New Zealand’s Flying Nun label is now evident.
Helen McCookerybook was bass player with punk band Joby and the Hooligans in 1977 before forming The Chefs in 1979, who had an indie hit with ’24 Hours’ and who were loved by the late John Peel. He also loved her next band, Helen and the Horns who recorded three sessions for his show. After a 20 year break, she is back as a solo artist, with three solo CDs (Suburban Pastoral,Poetry and Rhyme and the latest, Take One) and a co-release with Martin Stephenson (Hamilton Square). She wrote the Lost Women of Rock Music under the name of Helen Reddington, about the women who played instruments in punk bands in the late 1970s. Also look out for ‘Records and Tea: the Best of The Chefs’ on Damaged Goods and ‘The Cafe of Tiny Kindnesses’ out now on Barbaraville.
Boitel & Victor are Humousexual. They’re based in the UK and Germany and play very rarely, so come and see them at Indietracks while you can! They’ve releases on Everard Records, Odd Box and Riots Not Diets. Rainbow Network described them as “a pair of pals who sing songs about friendship, love, boredom, and other everyday things. they use guitars, keyboards and very little else. to say that their style is unflashy is the understatement of the century, it’s completely laid back, lacking in ego, pomp or pretentiousness. what i like about their songs is the quiet humanity in them; this is a version of queer life that i can relate to, made by people who are disenfranchised by the whole muscle-mary-on-e generation. it’s emotionally literate, friendly, upbeat and, well, i can’t think of a better word than “charming” to describe it”.
Former Monade member Marie Merlet released her first solo album as Iko Chérie on Elefant Records (Camera Obscura, Le Mans) blending sixties soul sensitivity with French yéyé influences and fuzzy guitars. Now playing live as a girl trio, Iko Chérie’s sound is glazed with layers of honeyed atmosphere, sweet and hazy with surf overtones. They create a blissful nebulous ambiance, alternating hypnotic teenage ballads with indie pop gems, at times bringing to mind Olympia punk aesthetics, at times reminiscent of brazilian tropicalia.
Jessica & the Fletchers is a noisepop/c86 band from Barcelona. They released their debut album, Connecting People, on Discos de Kirlian in 2015 and have previously played shows at Primavera Sound and NYC Popfest.
Lorna, are a 6 piece who operate out of Nottingham UK formed in the late 1990s and release music on the US-based label Words on Music. They have been compared to the likes of Teenage Fanclub, Stereolab, Yo La Tengo and The Velvet Underground. Lorna have released 5 full length albums, several ep’s and singles and have also appeared on many compilations. They have members from England, America, Norway and Israel.
Maggie8 are an indie folk band from Leeds, featuring guitarist Mark Wright and singer Nivedita Pisharoty. Their sound juxtaposes Eastern harmonies, elements of Bollywood and Western sensibilities. Norman Records described their song ‘Hussain Bolt’ as “an absolute pop blast of a tune which puts the best bits of Cornershop, Animal Collective, Gruff Rhys, Cocteau Twins and (yes) Lily Allen into a mixing bowl, stirs rapidly and comes up with the kind of feel good summer tune that should be all over the airwaves if there was any justice in the world”.
Nervous Twitch are a four-piece from Yorkshire described as “a winning, fuzzy blend of garage-punk and pop hooks” mixing bands like The Ramones, Au Pairs, The Cramps, Talulah Gosh, Blondie and Thee Headcoats and pumping out “catchy songs full of hooky heartbreak, rumbling twang, post-punk-ish attitude and warm bouncy rock n’ roll”. 2016 has seen Twitch perform a live session for Marc Riley and live acoustic tracks for Mary Anne Hobbs’, both on BBC Radio 6 Music. Since 2013, Twitch have played gigs with some familiar names including Sleaford Mods, Fat White Family, The Lovely Eggs, Shopping, Flamin’ Groovies, Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds. Recent releases include two albums on Odd Box Records, “Get Back In Line” (2015) and “Don’t Take My TV” (2016) and two 7” singles on Punk Fox Records.
Pete Green is a Sheffield-based singer/songwriter, poet, ineffectual layabout and king of the impossible. His career highlights include a minor internet hit in Germany with a song about MySpace (ask your parents), and making the sound go funny when his debut solo single ‘Everything I Do is Gonna Be Sparkly’ received airplay on BBC Radio 1. Pete also fronts indiepop underachievers The Sweet Nothings and wishes he was Scottish. He writes about coasts and islands, walking, getting lost, underachievement, love, railways, whisky, and rubbish football. His new solo album, a follow-up to 2013′s The Glass Delusion, is out this summer.
This classic indie-pop band played a big part in the world of fanzines, DIY record pressing and worldwide mail order before the Internet was a thing. Ruth PO! started the band as well as being the founder of indie record label Rutland Records. Ruth PO!’s songs are great pop tunes but often there’s a barbed edge in the lyrics. Songs such as ‘Sunday Never Comes Around’ and ‘Appleseed Alley’ are indie-pop gold, and the band will be playing some of the music that gained them a John Peel Session in 1994 and NME single of the week in 1997.
Prizefighter are from Derby and they play noisy indie pop songs about family and personal relationships, life experiences, dreams and failures. With big drums. Live performances walk the fine line between sublime and shambolic with Ben Walker’s distinctive vocal style a perfect foil for the gentle melodies the band weave around his words. Over the last three or so years they have been lucky enough to support many of their indie heroes including the Jeffrey Lewis and Peter Stampfel Band, Tim Kasher, Lach, The Burning Hell, Withered Hand and Scott and Charlene’s Wedding.
2016 is a big year for Swedish indiepop legends Red Sleeping Beauty. They’ll not only perform their first live concerts in 19 years, but they’ll also release their first album in 19 years! Red Sleeping Beauty formed in Stockholm in 1989 by singer Kristina Borg, singer/guitarist Niklas Angergård (Acid House Kings), guitarist Mikael Matsson (The Shermans), and bassist Carl-Johan Näsström. They made a huge impact on the international indiepop scene with two fantastic albums and a series of singles and EPs, on labels including Marsh Marigold, Somersault, Motorway, Grimsey, and Sunday and Siesta Records.
Seazoo are an act that started out as nothing more than a bedroom-recording project in 2013. Surprising momentum built however, as their Grandaddy / Yo La Tengo / SFA-inspired recordings began to gain support from the BBC. Huw Stephens, Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq, Mark Radcliffe have all played previous tunes from the Ken and Car Deborah EPs. Rather excellently, Marc Riley invited them to perform a live session for his 6 Music show in March 2015. They accepted, ferociously. Seazoo are currently busy promoting the new single ‘Telephone Jones’, taken from their EP ‘Jumbo’.
Simon Love writes songs about girls, love, hate, Elton John and chopping off his penis. His LP “It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time” came out last year and was hailed as a breakthrough for modern living. This year he’s touring the world playing songs and getting lost in equal measure. He might/should have a new EP “Tennis Fan” out by the time he plays Indietracks.
Soda Fountain Rag is Ragnhild Hogstad Jordahl from Bergen, Norway. An indie-pop blast of naive, sharp and bittersweet lyrics for songs that rarely last over 3 minutes. From the rainiest city in the world straight to warm your heart. They are in the process of recording a third album. The previous ones, “It’s Rag Time!” and “Reel Around Me” are available on Spotify. The band are joined live by Alessando Paderno and Fabio Benni from Italy, and Moa Paulin from Sweden.
They say youth is wasted on the young. It’s something Walter, the late grandfather of guitar-wielding and song-writing troubadour Laurie Hulme, would probably have agreed with. As nom-de-plume Songs For Walter, Laurie recounts his grandfather’s curious tales with a musical backdrop referencing Smog, The Magnetic Fields, Nick Drake and The Lemonheads. After releasing his eponymous debut back in January to critical acclaim, Laurie has brought Songs For Walter to life with shows up and down the country.
The Charlie Tipper Conspiracy have a long Bristolian pedigree, with members previously playing for bands such as The Groove Farm, Flatmates, Five Year Plan and Beatnik Filmstars. Influenced by those with a strong song-writing tradition such as The Velvets, Go-Betweens and Shack, the band release their second long player “Ten” in April.
Trust Fund are an indie rock band from Bristol, now living all over the place, who try and make pop-punk as little fun as possible through lyrical self-absorption and having quiet bits where they aren’t needed or wanted. They released two albums last year, one of which was critically acclaimed, the other of which received fair to middling reviews. Their single ‘Football’ was described by the press office of Heart of Midlothian FC as “a really cheery song”, and by the press office of Ross County FC as a “weak song” with “weak vocals”. Decide for yourself!
Two white cranes is a project from Roxy Brennan (Joanna Gruesome, Grubs, Towel) describing everyday objects with delicate and dynamic songwriting. Aims to be wonky yet satisfying.
Vacaciones are a 5-piece band based in Murcia (Spain), featuring Ruth (vocals), Rafa Skam (guitar), José Alberto (drums), Maria del Mar (keyboards and backing vocals) and Carlos 77 (bass). Formed in 1998, their sound is halfway through energetic, vibrant sixties pop and the sweetest indie pop with female vocals plus some punk-pop tantrums. They have released two seven-inches, two cd-singles and their first album, ‘Sonreir’, on Elefant Records; an EP, ‘Suelta los problemas ¡ya!’, on Discos de Paseo, and their second album, ‘Emmaboda’ on Discos Imprescindibles. Their third album, ‘Soy tu fan’, has just been released on the Discos de Kirlian label, and there will be soon an vinyl LP version on Hurrah! Música & Discos Para Getas.
White Town is best known for the song ‘Your Woman’ which became a surprise international hit in 1997. A mix of 1980s’ synths, 1930s’ jazz and sexually ambiguous lyrics, it was an unlikely chart-topper. After getting a very nasty rash from EMI, Jyoti Mishra used his filthy lucre to build his own studio and start a label, remaining insanely DIY ever since. Last year White Town released two iTunes singles, a 7″ on Golly Jane Records and an EP about lonely sailor astronauts. 2016 White Town goals: rock Indietracks, play house shows across the US, meet William Shatner.
After headlining the church stage at the first Indietracks in 2007, Wintergreen took a short break, did some grown-up stuff, built a studio and helped make some ace records for people like the Leaf Library, Cosines and Simon Love. In the midst of all that, they got around to finishing a proper full-length album of their very own. ‘The Rule of Small Things’ is out in April, and we’re really looking forward to it!
Witching Waves are an atmospheric noise-pop band from London, featuring Emma Wigham, Mark Jasper, and Ed Shellard. They’ve so far released two albums on Soft Power records in the UK and HHBTM Records in the US, including their new album, Crystal Cafe. By the time they reach Indietracks, they’ll have already wowed crowds at New York Popfest and Wales Goes Pop.
Line up subject to change.