Monday, 30 June 2008

Indietracks 2008 - an indiepop compilation

Make Do And Mend Records are releasing a double CD of bands playing at this year's Indietracks festival - and it's available from today!

The CD features 45 fantastic tracks, ranging from dancefloor fillers and punk-pop explosions to dreamy acoustic folk and gorgeous summer harmonies.

The compilation showcases a number of bands who are already causing excitement on national radio and across this year’s summer festivals, including The Kabeedies, The Voluntary Butler Scheme, KateGoes, Esiotrot and Slow Down Tallahassee.

They’re joined on the compilation by some of indiepop’s most celebrated names. The double CD includes never-released-before songs from ex-Hefner legend Darren Hayman and and acclaimed ukulele popsters The Bobby McGees, as well classic tracks from John Peel favourites Ballboy and Milky Wimpshake.

The compilation also introduces a wave of new and exciting bands from around the world, from A Classic Education’s dreamy Italian folk pop to Punk TV – Russia’s answer to the Chemical Brothers!

You can pick up a copy now for a bargain £6 (incl. p&p) from: or


01 Slow Down Tallahassee
Baby Don't Cry
02 The Just Joans Hey Boy...You're Oh So Sensitive!
03 Shrag Forty-five 45s
04 Milky Wimpshake I Wanna Be Seen In Public With You
05 Allo, Darlin' Emily
06 Marjit Vinjerui Good Thoughts
07 The Manhattan Love Suicides Clusterfuck
08 Darren Hayman & The Secondary Modern Amy And Rachel
09 KateGoes Happy Dancing
10 The Occasional Flickers When The Sky Looks So Gray
11 Silverdrop Drown Her
12 Airport Girl Tenderness
13 Pocketbooks Falling Leaves
14 Mexican Kids At Home Female Thief
15 Lardpony Trance Anthem
16 Still Corners History Of Love
17 The Smittens Half My Heart Beats
18 The Zebras Push Our Way To The Front
19 The Good Natured How Can I Believe In You?
20 Liechtenstein Stalking Skills
21 The Bobby McGees U'r Enemies Enimy Is Yir Pal
22 Punk TV Every Minute Is OK
23 Cocoanut Groove The End Of The Summer On Bookbinder Road

01 The Kabeedies Sideburns
02 Esiotrot My Chemical Romance Saved My Life
03 The Retro Spankees Charlie's In His Garden
04 Little Things Brand New Rollerskates
05 The Deirdres Fun To Pretend
06 The Foster Kids Will We Ever Make Love Again?
07 The Mai 68s Totality For Kids
08 Tortoise Shout! Shanti
09 Red Pony Clock Don't Forget Who Your Friends Are
10 ballboy The Guide To The Shortwave Radio
11 The Rosie Taylor Project The Sun On My Right
12 Mono Taxi We Wanna Get Some Real Fun
13 Dirty Fingernails Bruno
14 The Voluntary Butler Scheme The Eiffel Tower & The BT Tower
15 Silence At Sea Come Home
16 Roadside Poppies Cute Susan
17 Strawberry Story Boys (from The Story) D&D Remix by Bernard O'Reilly
18 A Classic Education Badlands & Owls
19 Zoey Van Goey Two White Ghosts
20 The Starlets All To Make You Feel Brand New
21 Socks & Shoes And We Might Even Meet Dave Gedge
22 Amida The End Of The Affair

Friday, 27 June 2008

Heaven Is Above Your Head's Must-See Indietracks Bands!

When we saw that one of our fave indiepop blog writers, Kris from Heaven Is Above Your Head had started to compile his list of must-see bands for Indietracks, we just had to poach him for our blog! Of course, Kris is also in A Smile and A Ribbon, who charmed the pants off just about everyone at last year's festival with their delicious, sugary-sweet melodies. Now, let the boy himself guide you through some of the top names to catch at this year's shindig.....

Hello kids, I'm taking a rare break from my steady intake of bubblegum pop to write to you - I hope you appreciate the profundity of my gesture! Joining the ranks of the past witnesses heard here already, I can only agree that last year's festival was indeed the best thing that happened all year...

Like some of the previous guest writers on this blog - Pete Green, MJ Hibbett and Emma from Pocketbooks - I too had the immense honour of performing at the festival and I too wish that A Smile and a Ribbon could play again. And in fact I'm still having a hard time digesting that this year the festival will be even BIGGER and thus BETTER. How is this even possible? needn't look further than the line-up, which is what I'm here to talk about. Apparently the powers-that-be deemed my blog's list of things to see at Indietracks worthy of appearing here, albeit in an improved and slightly more eloquent guise.

We might as well confess, we've all been glancing at the line-up, eagerly circling bandnames with a Big Marker Pen For Big Matters and guiltily crossing things out with the Even Bigger Marker Pen For Things I'd Rather Not See Just Now. Priorities and allegiances - here's what i'll be tripping over my own feet to catch:

The Manhattan Love Suicides
…no words needed, right?
The Zebras
My favourite Australian band at the moment. I hope they bring their own instruments, because i wake up with their 12-strings jangling in my ears every morning.

The Wave Pictures
Can anyone have missed David Tattersall's greatness by now? If they have, it'll hit them in the face as The Wave Pictures take to the main stage on Sunday. Lines like "we get down on our knees and pray to be leather-bound black diaries" will leave you grovelling on the dusty floor.

Esiotrot (pic below)
Schmesiotrot was one of 2006's best albums and Seven Apples coming out later this year promises to be at least as good. If there's a time for nice guys, this is it.

The Lodger
I keep forgetting these boys are actually English. On their new second album they're climbing those Highlands Peaks that the sun has trickled orange juice on. It's like the good old days, indeed.

The Voluntary Butler Scheme
The School aren't playing, but drop-out Rob is, which is nearly as deserving of an A. When he gets a record out it'll be among the best of the year - any year. No sniggering at the back!

Gregory Webster (pic below)
Just one question: who'll stand in for Elizabeth on the carousel tunes? I can't do it! Razorcuts / Sportique and Saturn V songs he should be able to handle though.

Comet Gain
I've only seen them once, and that is NOT enough. Will they play "The Kids at the Club"? They'd better!

Red Pony Clock
Another American band...where does Stuart get his money from? Especially since I've heard this band has so many members they're falling off the stage half the time. As the title of their new album testifies, they've seen a lot of the ground.

The Wedding Present
How fast is David Gedge's wrist these days? You know those gadgets that count your steps which you can strap to your legs? I'm putting one on David's guitar, and anything below seven strums per second will be unacceptable! The new album is great and all, but SOMEONE is bound to be twisting his arm for the hits.

ballboy (pic below)
A band after my own heart - no capitals here. They may not speak in lower case, and they may be from the capital of the country they hate, but Gordon won’t need to teach me the art of kissing.
The Just Joans
Somehow i managed to live in Glasgow for a year without catching this duo live once - a grave mistake soon to be amended. I’ve pre-ordered the new Weepop! EP – have you?

I doubt I'm allowed much more space here so i'll just cram the rest in here: Still Corners, The Smittens, Pocketbooks, Liechtenstein, Milky Wimpshake, The Deirdres, The Occasional Flickers, The Good Natured, Zoey van Goey, Cocoanut Groove. There! Ooh, and everything’s been ordered in its eeeeeeeee-factor, did I forget to say that?

Thanks Kris! We'll be sure to check out some of your hot tips - and we'll be sure to say you sent us!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Indietracks interview #19: Red Pony Clock

From the sun-kissed shores of San Diego comes Red Pony Clock, an ever-changing musical collective with a penchant for jubilant horn arrangements, effervescent vocal harmonies and confessional song-writing. Primarily a recording project based on the songs of Gabe Saucedo and Tony Prudhome, the live Red Pony Clock line-up can at times swell to double digits. Members switch back and forth between a variety of instruments, including trombone, banjo, accordion and vibraphone. Their latest release, God Made Dirt, on Happy Happy Birthday To Me records, marks their first foray into professional recording. They're clearly a very bus band, but we managed to catch up with them to find out how their preparations for Indietracks are coming along...

Hello there Red Pony Clock, nice to meet you! Hope your Indietracks preparations are going well! Soooo...what are your thoughts on music at the moment and the new crop of indiepop bands?

It's a great time for music, the internet has put so much of it at our fingertips, and it seems to be causing more and more bands to try a little harder to stick out. It's finally becoming OK for bands like us who use less traditional instruments. When we first started out, people made fun of us for employing accordions and clarinets, but it seems a lot more acceptable now. Easier access to music from all over the world means there are more diverse influences seeping in, and it's very exciting to see what people are doing with them.

Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?
Upon our return from Europe, we'll begin recording our second album, "Whatever Forever". This one's going to be taped almost completely live, with the already 12 piece band being augmented by even more horn and string players. The sound we're going for is that of a classic 60's orchestral pop record.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?

Our bassist Gerry is actually an aspiring Hollywood filmmaker who recently made a video for our song "My New Best Friends". You can find it on Youtube.

Sounds interesting! One last question: what attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?

We love the choo-choos!

So do we! If you just can't wait to see Red Pony Clock at Indietracks, we've got a free song for you to download in the meantime - enjoy!

Next up: Indietracks braces itself for the "Russian Chemical Brothers" - Punk TV

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Win Occasional Flickers goodies!

It's encouraging to know that we're not the only ones getting all over-excited about Indietracks goodies. Those rather lovely Occasional Flickers, saviours of the Greek indiepop scene no less, are now looking to give away a copy of their whole discography to one lucky indiepopper! Their fantastic prize includes the following:

Rain Until Monday 7" (2002, Help Ever Hurt Never Records)Scattered Songs CD (2007, Plastilina Records) When the Sky Looks So Gray 3" CD (2007, Cloudberry Records)

All you have to do to win is answer the question "How many paperbacks can you fit in a rucksack?" (hint: there is not only one right answer, it can be anything!) If you're getting really stuck, their song Rucksack - available to download below - might also help you out!

Answers should be sent to by midnight on Sunday June 29 - please send your address details too. The winners will be e-mailed directly and also announced on the blog.

The Occasional Flickers will be playing at the Church stage on Sunday 27 July and at the Pre-Indietracks special at Henry's Cellar Bar, Edinburgh with Amida and The Just Joans on Saturday 12 July. See and for more details.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Indietracks interview #18: The Wedding Present they are at last, the glorious Weddoes in all their pre-Indietracks glory. Their recently released album El Rey, their first record to be produced with Steve Albini since the legendary Seamonsters LP, has been getting fantastic reviews all over the shop and music critics have seemingly been lining up to lay homage at their guitar pop altar. Dave Gedge may have been spending most of his time in America, but there's none of the tragic mid-Atlantic about the new record. Don't forget, he is the man for whom the words were "gritty" and "Northern" were invented and, if anything, America seems to have made him even more so, despite the scattered references to Seinfeld, Santa Monica and Hollywood throughout the album.

Ooh, and did I mention that we're still bowled over by the fact that they're playing Indietracks? Some days it just seems to be too good to be true! But it must be true, because The Boy Gedge (Copyright John Peel) has found a few moments to spare in his hectic schedule to talk to little old us......although unfortunately we're still clueless about whether there are any Cinerama covers in the offing - we're still keeping our fingers crossed on that one!

Hi Dave, thanks for taking some time out to speak to us. There's around 50 completely new bands playing Indietracks - how do you feel about music at the moment and the new crop of indiepop bands?

I like the Ting Tings... but I've been living in America for the last few years and so I've lost touch with the more underground indiepop bands. I'm fond of some of the ones we've played with recently such as St. Jude's Infirmary, The Victorian English Gentleman's Club, Sons And Daughters. One thing I have found since I've been back in the UK is that the quality of indie bands making it on to Radio 1 seems to have gone down quite sharply. The latest 'big things' just seem to be recycling tunes from a couple of years ago. Where are your White Stripes? Where are your Strokes?

But you mentioned the underground indiepop bands.. do you feel like you've inspired a new generation of bands in this area? And how does it feel to be a reformed band, in the context of all these new indiepop groups?

It's not for me to say, even if we have! Anyway... whenever I hear a band who sounds a bit like The Wedding Present it always turns out to be someone who's never actually heard of us. We haven't actually reformed. The Wedding Present is just a name that we're using at the moment because the type of music that we're releasing at this point sounds more like The Wedding Present than it does Cinerama. In answer to your question, though... it was an interesting coincidence that just after we decided to be the Wedding Present again, a lot of new exciting bands like Franz Ferdinand seem to appear, with links to the era when The Wedding Present first started.

Indietracks is on a steam railway - tell us about any unusual places the Wedding Present have played in the past.

We played on a pier in Lowestoft once... with another great band from Leeds called The Age of Chance. That was quite amusing. At one point they caught me staring out to sea and said: "There he is... getting inspiration for the next album... staring all melancholy, out over the waves!"

What are the Wedding Present's plans for the rest of the year?

We're doing a couple of other festivals... Bestival on the Isle of Wight and Lemon Pop in Spain, and then we're pretty much touring for the last three months of the year across Europe and North America. I also want to fulfill a long held ambition and release a bona fide Christmas single!

Ooh, sounds exciting! You mentioned that you're playing other festivals, what specifically attracted you to playing Indietracks? And is there anyone in particular that you're looking forward to seeing?

The location and the free rides on the trains. I'm always up for doing stuff which is a bit out of the ordinary... oh, and a lot of the bands look good, too! I'm looking forward to seeing Airport Girl and Comet Gain. I was hoping to see Darren Hayman but I think he's on a different stage to us at the same time. Town Bike sound interesting too!

You sound as excited as us! OK - one last question - what's going to be on your compilation tape as you travel over to Indietracks?

I'll be sticking my iPod on shuffle. Let me do that right now and see what it comes up with. OK... Chicory Tip, some American TV themes, The Magic Numbers, Doris Day, Dinosaur Jr., Johnny Nash, Wire, iLIKETRAINS...

Hee....we like trains too! Thanks Dave, I hope you manage to take advantage of some of those free train rides. In the meantime, why not pop over to the Wedding Present's Myspace and have a listen to Santa Ana Winds, from their new album El Ray...

Next up: Red Pony Clock chat about Hollywood aspirations and their love for unusual instruments, 60s pop sounds and - of course- choo choos!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Indietracks interview #17: Shrag

Another week nearer the festival, and if you're anything like us, you've been staring blankly out of the window at work/school/college dreaming of steam trains and clicking on the stage times bit of the Indietracks website just to marvel at the spectacular number of bands Stuart's managed to book this year.

We're sure female-fronted Brighton five piece Shrag don't need too much introduction. In fact, if memory serves, their latest single Lost Dog got a glowing write up in the Guardian Guide among other places recently. (As indeed did the festival itself, hee! We're in their The Guardian's top ten things to do at this year's music festivals, next to The Mighty Boosh!) Anyway, SoundsXP described Shrag as fantastic post-punk pop with an extra crunchy pop topping. Formed in the summer of 2003, this art collective side-project write songs about their love for Mark E Smith and their hate of the Teenage Pregnancy scene. Their singles ‘Talk to the Left’ and 'Lost Dog' are out on Where It’s At Is Where You Are Records, and a mini-album ‘Six Songs’ was released in 2007. We're delighted to be joined by the band's singer Helen...

Hi Helen, Indietracks is a pretty unique venue - have you played anywhere unusual in the past? .

We went to America and Canada once as a kind of holiday and to play some gigs. We had some shows booked in NY but when we got there they were cancelled 'cos of the other bands being ill or something. We got all depressed and desperate 'cos we really wanted to play NY, and so we somehow managed to get ourselves on the bill for a Brooklyn show and a Manhattan one. They were two of the strangest shows we've ever played. The Brooklyn one was in a disused diner which only had two walls and was next to a sewage treatment plant, and the Manhattan one was at the Cake Shop which is lovely but we were 'headlining' an acoustic singer-songwriter night where everyone sat in silence along the walls while we played the worst show of our lives.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?

Shrag once appeared on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In the audience. Also, we are very good at fitting lots of people into one Travelodge room.

What's going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?

Crazy in Love by Beyonce.

What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?


Thanks Helen. Here's hoping the good people at Travelodge don't catch up with you anytime soon. And as ever, we're very pleased to offer you a free song from the band.

Free MP3 download: Shrag - Hopelessly Wasted

Next up: As controversial as ever... Dave Gedge from The Wedding Present!

Monday, 16 June 2008

Ten Fab Things To Do At Indietracks

OK, we know it's, like, a MUSIC festival. People come along, watch bands, have a little singalong, jig about a bit and then go home to their tents/homes/hotel rooms for a little sleepie. But were you aware of all the other fab things there are to do in and around the festival area? Would you know what to do if you needed a little breather from watching bands, or simply fancied a wander round the site? With so many great bands playing, you may not even get chance, but just in case we've compiled a handy list of alternative activities sure to keep you entertained....just don't blame us if you get lost in the 26-acre woods - we warned you!

1. Visit the Brittain pit farm
Furry llamas, gentle goats, cute chickens and more exotic birds that you can shake a stick's the festival site farm area! Do visit it if you get chance, and if you don't have a child in tow then release your inner-toddler anyway. Stroking all that fur and inhaling country air is a fab way to unwind after a exhausting train or car journey, and the views across Amber Valley are fantastic.

2. Visit the railway memorabilia shop
This shop was a sure-fire hit with me last year, and I'm sure many a band will be visiting it to stock up on railway-themed attire. You can buy proper train driver caps, "choo choo" kazoo-style whistles and all sorts....and they're all as cheap as chips! The choo choo kazoos come in particularly handy for steam train sing-alongs....there's nowt like a well-timed "choo choo" to beef up an indiepop classic!

3. Take advantage of the free steam train rides
Of course, you will get free rides when you see bands play on the train, but it's also worth taking a proper sit-down train ride, where you can stare dreamily out of the window at the glorious countryside and pretend you're living in the 1950s. And, if you ask very nicely, you may even manage to persuade one of the drivers to let you pull on the cord that make the real "choo choo" noise". Do remember to ask nicely though! Here's a Youtube clip of one lucky Indietracks punter doing just that...

4. Gatecrash the Acoustic Gazebo/The Grassy Knoll
There is rumour of a grassy area being set aside for some impromptu acoustic appearances, so the time is ripe to start practicing at home. Brush up on your guitar, ukelele, bongos or whatever, and get ready to let loose at the gazebo! (Personally we refer The Grassy Knoll) Or, if you're feeling less-than-confident, creep along to the gazebo for an after-hours sing-along with people who are too tipsy to care how rubbish you are! Yay!

5. Sample the railway barbecue food...
Real burgers made on a proper barbecue, yeah! Perfect for when all that indiepopping has left you ravenous. It only made one appearance last year, but it was muchos, muchos appreciated by all the hungry indiepoppers. Who says fey kids don't eat much....hmm?

6. ...or the campsite cafe veggie tomatoes on toast
If you're a squeamish camper like me, then the Golden Valley Campsite Cafe is an absolute delight. Situated in a log cabin, it serves fresh, home-made breakfasts, including the all-time classic tomatoes on toast. They have telly if you're that way inclined, and all of the trashy Sunday papers. Ooh, and the prices are pretty flippin' purse-friendly too. Easily one of my fave things about the festival last year!

7. Visit the town of Ripley
There's the usual couple of pubs, including The Pear Tree and The Moss Cottage Hotel, as well as some small shops, but you could check out some of the 19th-century architecture such as Butterley Hall, which is now the headquarters of the Derbyshire Police Force. There is also the rather impressive Church of All Saints, erected near to the market place in 1820-21, and which has a distinctive tower. If you were feeling uber-adventurous, you could even visit the Denby Pottery Visitor Centre.

8. Lead a campsite sing-along
Fashion an ukelele out of some nearby twigs and leaves - or bring your own like a normal person - and lead an after-hours campsite sing-along! Last year, some folk took it to the max with a soft metal-athon that went well into the early hours, but we're looking forward to seeing what people come up with this year! Over at Indietracks Towers, we're still obsessed with the idea of Pete Green leading such a campsite sing-along, so when we heard that he wasn't even planning to bring along his guitar we were pretty taken aback. We're planning to start some kind of campaign, or something.....Pete - if you're reading this - the sing-along needs you!

9. Go for a walk in the woods
INDIETRACKS FACT: Did you know The Golden Valley campsite is actually set in 26 acres of gorgeous woodland, nestling alongside the Cromford Canal? No? Neither did we! Apparently the canal was once used to transport coal and iron from the area, but now it provides a handy route guide through the woods. It really is very scenic, and worth a peep if you have time - don't get lost though!

10. Visit the Matthew Kirtley Museum
There's just so much steam train memorabilia around, you may even find yourself becoming a bit of a choo choo geek. If this is the case, then you should definitely take a peek at this museum. We've not visited it yet, but apparently it houses a huge collection of locomotives and rolling stock covering steam, diesel and electric power from the 1860s to the present day, as well as the steam and diesel locomotives currently in use. Choo-choo-tastic!

Hmmm, well that's all we can think of for the time being, but we'd love to hear your suggestions too, so do write in and tell us if you think there's anything we've missed! Write to or just leave a comment here!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Indietracks interview #16: The Kabeedies

Last Sunday night, a hushed throng of indiepop kids gathered in north London, in spite of the Victoria Line going AWOL, to witness the first of many pre-Indietracks gigs. Last year's hero Pete Green (how many times can we mention him on this blog?) kicked things off with a triumphant set, augmented by his brand new band, and Indietracks regulars The Bobby McGee's left the audience stunned by a spellbinding set of ukelele anti-folk. However, squeezed inbetween were the fantastic Kabeedies, who tore the roof off with a hyperactive, relentless pop assault that left the room spinning and swooning. We've never seen a band dance so wildly whilst also playing their guitars flawlessly and singing their hearts out, and they're sure to take Indietracks by storm this year. Remember to bring your dancing shoes on the Saturday afternoon.

The Kabeedies have already captured the hearts of those hip folk at BBC 6Music, and have recorded sessions for Huw Stephens and the legendary Steve Lamacq on Radio One. You might have picked up their free EP 'Your Woman', or their recent single 'Lovers Ought To' on Cherryade Records. Chances are they'll be even bigger by the time they get to Indietracks, especially with a Glastonbury appearance also on the cards. We're delighted to be joined by the band's drummer Fab for a few questions.

Hi Fab, tell us a little bit about The Kabeedies

We're a suspicious gathering of some boys and a girl who like to concoct new ways of baffling the human ear. Our slightly damaged minds dream up gleeful pop tunes and a live show that leaves audience members dying. Hopefully of happiness. We like to put a lot into our live show, play the songs faster; but our backs into it and let out our pent up weirdness.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?

Evan killed a guy once I think. Aside from that we're all useless.

What's going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?

Well we listen to lots of varied different music in our BluesMobiles (aka my Vauxhall Corsa and Craig's Mazda thing). Usually I prefer listening to Death From Above….so a couple of tracks will be on there, as well as lots of Chuck Berry. There'll be some Strokes I'm sure, and if Evan gets his way some Kissy SellOut or some other Breakbeat stuff. Rory will want Noah and The Whale and Katie will scream until Blur gets put on. Don't ever get in a car with us.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Indietracks festival, and why?

We absoloutley adore the Bobby McGee's and we've seen them once before in a tiny room in The Hope in Brighton, so it'll be great seeing them on a bigger stage or on a weirder one – with all their trimmings. Craig (our manager) will be wetting himself to see the Wedding Present too, because he remebers their glory days so well.

Thanks very much Fab. And if you can't wait to see them, here's a free song.

Free MP3 Download: The Kabeedies - Adhesive Stick

Next up: Find out how Shrag did a gig in New York and appeared on a top US satirical TV show

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Indietracks interview #15: Pocketbooks

Ah, as Indietracks edges ever nearer, our blog interviews continue - wave after wave of indiepop chat and free music for everyone. We've still got some classics to come, including some gems from The Wedding Present's Dave Gedge, and some lovely songs from the likes of Shrag, Lardpony and many more. Stick around!

And today we're joined by London's delightful Pocketbooks. This five-piece has been charming audiences up and down the country ever since meeting on the dancefloors of London's indiepop and northern soul clubs back in 2006. Their debut 7" ‘Cross The Line’ and EP 'Waking Up' combine melodic boy/girl harmonies, spiralling guitars and delicate pianos, alongside lyrical tales of modern life and love. Having headlined the first Indietracks event in April 2007 and hosted a chaotic singalong on a steam train at last year's festival, they're no strangers to the joys of the Midland Railway. We're very pleased to be joined by the band's guitarists, Ian and Dan...

Hi Ian and Dan, how do you feel about music at the moment and the new crop of indiepop bands?

Dan: I reckon that music's in fightin' form at the moment, there are new labels and nights popping up left, right and centre. It's great to finally see some indiepop in Newcastle in the shape of Popklubb. I think Ian'll confirm that there was naff all up there in days gone by. From the current crop of bands it's almost impossible to choose a favourite, there are so many fab acts, some harking back to the so-called 'golden era' and others really forward looking. Personally I'm all for the looker-backers and I'll leave it up to everyone else to decide which ones are which.

Ian: I feel really optimistic about the current indiepop scene but then I always have done. The difference for me now is that its really happening in the UK whilst before I'd always be looking to Sweden or the US for most of my indiepop fix. Like Dan said, it's great to see things like Popklubb happening and this feeling of community around the country in Stoke, Sheffield, Nottingham etc. It's great to see people putting on bands and having a sense of belief in the music and not being scared of failure.

Any exciting plans for the rest of the year?

Ian: Yeah! We're playing at the Rip It Up festival in Sweden which is going to be amazing. I've been to festivals in Sweden before and the location, people and music has always been amazing. So I can't wait for that! Other than that we just want to write more songs and try to record an album after the summer.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?

Dan: I can rip a Yellow Pages clean in half, as some previous Indietracks visitors will undoubtedly recall, much to my shame.

Ian: I was once an extra in a Faithless video which seems quite funny to anyone who's ever met me.

What's going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?

Ian: Well, i'm super excited about seeing The Wedding Present so I'll be playing their Seamonsters' album on repeat the whole way - it's my favourite record of all time. I've still got a playlist on my ipod I made for Indietracks last year, that'll get a nostalgic spin as well I reckon. The journey home from last years Indietracks festival was so sad because the weekend was over so quickly. So, it's important to have a happy mixtape for the travel home to keep the spirits up.

Dan: My Walkman's bust, so it'll have to be an i-pod playlist (very futuristic, I know). It'll probably feature my favourite discovery of last year - The Felt Tips, along with the obligatory Fall and Captain Beefheart tracks.

And finally, what attracted you to play at the Indietracks festival?

Dan: The general aceness. Along with Stuart's belief that he could make it happen and the fact that it was a nice antidote to the usual summer boredomfests. It'll be nice to see Slow Down Tallahassee and Tottie back to round up the classic, vintage Indietracks line-up and I'm dead excited about the Wedding Present.

Ian: Because I still can't quite believe this Festival exists and I'd do anything to be a part of it. Popfests just haven't really been much of fixture in the UK, you never thought there'd be much interest - especially not outside London. But Stuart Indietracks proved it can happen and on a much bigger scale than anyone thought and I'm eternally grateful to him for that. I'll finally get to see The Smittens which I'm really looking forward to. Milky Wimpshake, Ballboy and The Weddoes are amongst my all time favourite bands so I can't wait for them. And I'm completely in love with Liechtenstein.

Thanks Ian and Dan. And the band have left us with an exclusive new song!

Free MP3 dowload: Pocketbooks - Summertime

Next up: Pent-up weirdness from The Kabeedies!

Monday, 9 June 2008

I Could Be Dreaming: Deciding Where To Stay At Indietracks

Still trying to decide where to stay for Indietracks? Torn between casting caution (and your hair straighteners) to the wind at the campsite, or living it up in the (comparative) glamour of a Travelodge? Wondering whether you’d prefer the cosy home comforts of a Bed and Breakfast or… fact…...home? Well, worry thee no more, for you’ve come to the right place my friend! A quick squiz at our shambolic Cosmo-style mini-questionnaire and you’ll soon be taking care of all those niggling accommodation woes….just remember to be honest! Good luck!

1. The one thing that makes a festival perfect for you is:

a) Being able to fix your make-up and/or hair under PROPER LIGHTS every day
b) A late night Hefner sing-along with ukeleles, guitars and tins of tomatoes for drums
c) Meeting all the local characters who live near to the festival site and listening to them reminisce about when "it were all fields round here", even though it still is
d) Getting away from it all at the end of the day, in time for late-night Big Brother

2. Your perfect “festival look” is:
a) Immaculate hair and perfectly pressed clothes, you've got a style reputation to maintain
b) A floppy hat, all-weather/terrain shoes and a guitar strapped across your back; an acoustic appearance on the grassy knoll could beckon at any time
c) Clean clothes and smelling fresh, even if your ‘The School’ t-shirt smells of mothballs after hanging in the antique wardrobe
d) Travelling light, no sleeping bags to weigh you down!

3. Your idea of creature comforts for a festival is:
a) A late-opening bar and a room big enough to party in (and rip Yellow Pages in half)
b) An inflatable mattress and a portable stove - the caff is cheap as chips but you're enjoying your reputation as an outdoorsy expert
c) Finding quaint little pubs nearby where you can sink a pint in peace until your next favourite band comes on
d) Someone there to welcome you home at the end of the day, and to tell you what you missed in Coronation Street

4. Dave Gedge of The Wedding Present tells you he’s got nowhere to stay for the night and begs your help. Do you:
a) Say “We’ve got a family room and you’re part of the family, Dave!”, as long as he promises to bring booze
b) Invite him to share your abode as long as he agrees to play Cinerama covers in the sing-along
c) Blush at the thought of how you’re going to explain away a strange man in your room to the landlady, when you’ve already got a partner in tow
d) Call home and tell them to get some extra pies in, you've got a northerner coming home

5. It’s 1.00am on Saturday, you’re merry on indiepop and cider (but mainly cider) and you need your bed – FAST! Do you:
a) Fumble for that cab number in your bag, you know you had it somewhere? You really want to crash in someone's tent but can't bear the thought of kinky hair in the morning
b) Magically produce an X Files-style torchlight from your rucksack and start looking for that trail of stones you left somewhere, as well as the stash of booze you hid in a bush for late-night sing-alongs
c) Stumble towards the exit with a map in one hand, and mobile phone in another, trying to sober up so you don’t make too much noise when you get in
d) Phone home and leave a tipsy message on the answerphone for someone to come and get you

6. You decide to fix yourself a snack. Do you:
a) Reach for the free shortbread biscuits next to the complimentary tea and tiny kettle
b) Place a can of beans over a cigarette lighter and wait for half an hour
c) Run downstairs and ask nicely if they can rustle up some cheese on toast
d) Raid the fridge and hope someone hasn’t snaffled all your vegetarian sausages.

7. When you wake up in the morning, you write down all your dreams. Were you:
a) Wandering down an endless nondescript corridor knocking on infinite identical doors looking for a party that sounds close by, but never gets any nearer
b) Running free in the wildness under the stars to the soundtrack of owl twoots and soft metal acoustica
c) Transported back to the 1950s drinking multiple cups of tea and eating Digestive biscuits as a Gramaphone plays Cliff Richard tunes
d) Back at school, watching that time when you tripped and fell during the school play over and over again.

8. You feel the need for some entertainment. Do you:
a) Stick on the cable TV and feel guilty watching Hollyoaks, before considering paying for wi-fi
b) Fashion a rudimentary ukulele from some branches and stray twine and lead a Jonathan Richman singalong
c) Challenge a fellow guest to a game of chess or draughts
d) Browse through your entire CD and DVD collection or pick a book from your bookshelf

9. The Indietracks genie appears and grants you a wish. Do you wish:
a) That the party next door will stop playing “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken” on repeat and go to bed
b) That the stray cow that’s appeared two feet from where you’re sleeping will get distracted and leave
c) That the random guest you’re chatting to will stop trying to get you to explain what an indiepop festival is. “It’s a kinda like The Beatles, okay?”
d) That you were coming back for the next day of the festival and joining the overnight fun!

10. You meet someone special at the festival. What are you most worried about when they get back to your accommodation?
a) That the romance will fade when they find an aspiring Scandinavian indiepop band sleeping on the pull-out sofa
b) That the appeal of sitting out under the stars will drop sharply if it starts to rain
c) That there was actually a curfew, and the landlady is up waiting for you with a stern look on her face
d) That they don’t stumble across the framed photos from your Britpop phase, when you tried to look like Jonny from Menswear

Wondering how you got on? In true Cosmo style it should be fairly flippin’ obvious but, if you need your scores, here they are.

Mostly As: Yup, you’re a Travelodger alright. You know the campsite has showers, but it’s just not the same, right? You need to be able to sit down properly to fix your hair and, anyway, you quite fancy late night drinking shenanigans in a family room with no wet grass to bother you. Rooms in Nottingham, Derby and Alfreton are getting booked up quickly, so visit the Travelodge website soon!

Mostly Bs: Hello campers! For you, festivals just aren’t the same unless you’ve got a tin o’ beans on the go, and a campsite sing-along to look forward to. Are you Pete Green? You might want to check out the wonderful Golden Valley Caravan Park campsite.

Mostly Cs: You consider yourself a discerning festival-goer, fancying the unique, ramshackle charm of a nearby Bed and Breakfast. You like nothing more than meeting the locals and sampling real ale in nearby pubs, and so Moss Cottage in Ripley might be ideal for you.
Mostly Ds: ‘Cos you’re a daaaaaay-tripper, etc etc. You’ve got a day ticket and you’re not afraid to use it. You’re there for a while, but you’re looking forward to curling up in your own bed while everyone else is remembering that vital bit of kit they left at home. Erm, there’s not really a website I can point you to, but it's probably wise to check the festival site location on the Indietracks website before you sort out travel arrangements.

If you still can't make up your mind, don't forget to check out the accommodation page of the Indietracks website for more details...see you there!

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Indietracks interview #14: Esiotrot

Maths was never our strong point here at Indietracks Towers, but having taken off our socks and shoes and roped in some bemused passers by to do the same, we've eventually calculated that it's just 50 days until the festival! Including today, which is nearly over. Plus weekends don't really count, and nor do the days when there are Indietracks warm-up shows, of which there are maybe a dozen. Plus there's there's the Darren Hayman And Jack Hayter Play Hefner shows, which aren't proper 'waiting' days, the Indietracks Blog Summer Vacation, and the days watching Glastonbury on TV thinking "wouldn't this be better if it was on a steam railway and all my favourite bands were playing". And summer days always go quicker somehow. So really it's only a couple of days until the festival begins. Eeeek!

Anyway, there's still just about time to bring you a few more interviews, starting with Brighton's Esiotrot. The band take their name from a Roald Dahl novel (it's Tortoise spelled backwards - surely a fact begging to be included in last week's Indietracks quiz). Their first release was a self-titled EP in 2005 made of pretty much the first songs they ever made up. This was followed up by album 'Schmesiotrot' and a mini CD EP ‘The Dirtiest Birthday Present’ , both released in 2007. You might have heard their recent session on Huw Williams's Radio One show and the band are now working on a new album. Drowned in Sound have described them as ramshackle and charming and loved their horn section, and Indie MP3 praised them for their blend of indiepop with folkish undertones.

Hiya, tell us a bit about the band...

We formed in Brighton in late 2003/early 2004, no one can really remember. Every now and then somebody joined the band, and now there are seven of us: Matthew and Duncan on guitars, Adey on bass, Cat on drums, Tom on keyboard and glockenspiel and things, Thom on trumpet, and John on trombone. We've got a new record coming out soon, its called Seven Apples and it's got nine songs on it, one of them is called Tammy is Lez.

Do you have any unusual claims to fame or interesting hobbies?

Cat's hobby is mountain climbing. She climbed Snowden and she took me and Tom up Scafell Pike, in the Lake District, in a blizzard. I thought we were going to die. we've all got pretty good skills on the football pitch, apart from Adey but his background is in basketball. Thom used to be known as "Famous Thom" after he played trumpet on the Big Breakfast to mark the British invasion of Afghanistan.

What's going to be on your mixtapes on the way down to Indietracks?

Nobody listens to tapes anymore! Get over it! But if I could, I would like to listen to some Neil Young, maybe play it over someone's mobile phone, so everyone can enjoy it.

Who are you looking forward to seeing at the festival?

There's a lot of bands I want to see at the festival.The Wedding Present, because last time I saw them I drank too much and can't remember a thing. Rock and roll. Ballboy are great, as are Darren Hayman and the Wave Pictures, and Little Things are a very attractive band, I will not miss them.

Thanks very much. And finally here's a free MP3 from the band...

Free MP3 Download: Esiotrot - Bowling Song

Next up: Pocketbooks talk about the joy of Stoke and appearing in Faithless videos!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Indietracks interview #13: KateGoes

From bleeping, to squarking, to squeaking, to rapping, to gorgeous triple girl harmonies, KateGoes are a band full of surprises. A different theme at every gig (Kate goes swimming/to the farm/to a tea party..) ensures a unique experience every time, often with a specially arranged theme song. Plenty of tunes, plenty of smiles, plenty of fun and bags of talent, Kategoes comes highly recommended. A limited edition ‘Happy Dancing EP’ was released for sale in 8 Fopp shops around the country in February 2008, preceded by 3 track CD ‘Hi, How Am I?’ which was available at gigs. They recently recorded a Huw Stevens Radio One session and did we mention we're dead excited about seeing them play?

Hello Kate Goes! We're not sure you need much introduction, but tell us a little bit about yourselves anyway..

Bird loves the blues, Beth loves guinea pigs but is not allowed to have one, Joe loves fruit and veg, Kate loves catherine wheels and Susie loves Sweets.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?

Here are some factoids..

Bird’s auntie and uncle used to work at Air studios and were great mates with George Martin the producer of "The Beatles". Beth was once pulled from the audience at a gig by Jeff Lewis, who requested that she accompany him for the rest of their set. Joe appeared on the front cover of a Pakistani newspaper after attending the first sitting of Nawaz Sharif’s new government. Kate has very recently been chosen to write, perform and record the theme for a new BBC teenage series. Susie’s brother is the drummer extraordinaire from the fantastic Misty’s Big Adventure and her father was a member of 70’s prog rock trailblazers Gentle Giant.

Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past

We were once asked to play in Hastings at what turned out to be a sex club. The owner booked us after reading one tongue in cheek review of a gig we’d done where we’d dressed up as doctors and nurses. It wasn’t until we saw the rider that the penny dropped.

Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?

Each time we play we go somewhere else like KateGoes Swimming or KateGoes Down the Rabbit Hole and usually Kate writes a theme tune to fit in. We will definitely have a theme tune for Indietracks although we may not be entirely sure how it goes until we’re actually up there playing it.

Free MP3 download: KateGoes - Heartbeat

Next Up: Esiotrot talk mountain climbing and breakfast TV appearances!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Stage line-ups announced!

Hi there, we know you've been dying to find out which bands are playing on which stages on which days at the festival, and today the waiting is over.

There's going to be four stages this year - the main stage, the outdoor stage, the church stage and the steam trains themselves!

There's over 60 acts there by our reckoning. We've already printed out our schedules (not using the office printer of course) and highlighted far too many bands - goodness knows when we're going to have time to tour the museum, visit the farm and sample the canteen food!

Anyway, without further rambling, here's the link to the stage details: Indietracks Stage Line-Up! See you down the front!

Monday, 2 June 2008

Indietracks - The Quiz!

Hello everyone! As you can imagine, we're getting increasingly excited over at indietracks Towers now, can you believe it's less than eight weeks away? How on earth are we going to contain our excitement until then? We're already making our compilation tapes, acquiring kitsch raincoats, dreaming about the perfect sunglasses and stocking up on camping/Travelodge essentials, not to mention trying to decide which bands to see!

We'll be announcing the final, full line-up and running times very shortly, but in the meantime here's a little Indietracks mini-quiz to get those old grey cells working. Some of the answers are lurking in our band interviews on the blog but, if you're very sad like me, you might like to save it for the communal train/car journey........there's nowt like a quiz to start off a heated debate!

But the fun doesn't stop here - oh no, sirree. Look out for our "What type of Indietracks-goer are you" and "Indietracks Picture Bingo" features coming very shortly...........bonza!

1) What is the name of the Indietracks organiser?
a) Stuart Mackay
b) Stuart Murdoch
c) Stuart Little

2) Which Brighton Indietracks band have been described as "Dostoyevsky doing Lonnie Donnigan" by Everett True?
a) Esiotrot
b) Bobby McGees
c) Bobby Brown

3) Which overseas Indietracks act has a band member sporting a Marmite tattoo on their back?
a) Liechtenstein
b) Dirty Fingernails
c) Punk TV

4) Which two bands won the Anorak forum vote to play the festival?
a) Retro Spankees and The Smittens
b) Town Bike and A Classic Education
c) The Occasional Flickers and The Occasional Flickers

5) Name three Indietracks bands with food in their name.

6) Which Indietracks band has a different theme of dress for every gig?
a) The Roadside Poppies
b) Little Things
c) KateGoes

7) Name three Indietracks bands with animals in their title.

8) Which children's TV hero has a life-size replica at the Indietracks site?
a) Superted
b) Bananaman
c) Thomas the Tank Engine

9) Which Indietracks band once appeared on the Antiques Roadshow?
a) The Deirdres
b) Voluntary Butler Scheme
c) The Wedding Present

10) What does Los Campesinos mean in English?
a) The tramps
b) The peasants
c) Choo chooooo!

11) What is the average temperature in Ripley in July?
a) 13 degrees celsius
b) 17 degrees celsius
c) What does celsius mean?

12) Approximately how many girls will perform on stage at this year's Indietracks?
a) 20
b) 101
c) 75

13) Who is the youngest performer at this year's Indietracks?
a) Rory Hill
b) Katie from The Kabeedies
c) Winston Echo

14) Which band headlined the Christmas Twee Indietracks event, back in December 2007?
a) The Icicles
b) Darren Hayman
c) Pocketbooks

15) What is the best thing about Indietracks?
a) the music
b) the firm but friendly railway staff and the petting farm
c) the tomatoes on toast veggie breakfast from the campsite canteen
(clue: there's more than one answer!)

1 - a;
2 - b;
3 - b;
4 - b;
5 - You could have Colliding Lemons, Milky Wimpshake, Strawberry Story, Cocoanut Groove and Lardpony;
6 - c;
7 - You could have Red Pony Clock, Je Suis Animal (just about!), Brontosaurus Chorus, Lardpony, The Zebras and Tortoise Shout!;
8 - c;
9 - a;
10 - b;
11 - b;
12 - c;
13 - a;
14 - a;
15 Everything - a), b), c) and beyond!

How did you score?

1-5 Get thee to the Indietracks website STAT youngstrel! Do you even know which festival you're going to? Now then....sit up straight, stop slacking and start swotting up, otherwise you'll be lost in the railway canteen when you should be watching the Weddoes!

5-10 Hmm, not bad, you'll do! You've obviously been paying attention but don't get cocky - you obviously need a little bit of extra tuition. Start boning up on your minor indiepop bands now, and you could be an Indietracks maestro come festival time!

10-14 Top of the class, and triple Boots points to you! Very impressive indeed - you certainly know your Kabeedies from your KateGoes! I've no doubt that you'll be expertly dashing from stage to stage like some kind of Indietracks supremo.

15 Stuart - step away from the computer and do some WORK! I've heard there's an outdoor stage to be built.....