Thursday, 27 May 2010

Indietracks interview #11: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

Okay, hot on the heels of Wednesday's new additions to the line-up, we're now thrilled to bring you an interview with Indietracks' Sunday night headliners, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart!

Since forming in early 2007, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart have become one of the most talked about pop bands in years. The New York band’s eponymous 2009 album is an instant classic, packed with brilliantly-executed pop gems that blend the rush of youthful enthusiasm with crafty arrangements, well-honed tunes and buckets of guitar noise. A host of publications and bloggers listed their album as one of the best of last year, including Pitchfork and Rough Trade. Kip from the band has joined us for today's interview.

Hi Kip, it seems like you've been touring forever - two tours of Europe, and a tour of Asia, Australia and New Zealand earlier this year. Do you get to go home much? Do you get really homesick and how on earth do you do all your laundry?!

To me, playing music, seeing new places and meeting new people are the best things ever. I'd be sad If I didn't get to do those things, so I never feel down about having a surplus of that in my life. The only hard part is not being able to stay in any one place that long - but the nice thing is, we usually get to come back so saying good bye never feels so permanent.

You've talked before about your admiration for both British indiepop and, going back, shoegaze bands. How does the UK/Europe indiepop scene compare to America, and do you feel more "appreciated" in any one particular country?

I feel most appreciated at my mom's house, which happens to be in America. Second, I'd say Marianthi and Christos' house, which happens to be in London. I can think of a few more examples of extreme appreciation, which I greatly appreciate, but it's hard to tally them up and say one is more than the other. As for how the scene's compare, I think there's always this wistful sense that, if I lived in London I could see Comet Gain, Male Bonding, Allo Darlin or Veronica Falls all the time. But just this last week I've seen Crystal Stilts, Babies, Knight School (twice), My Teenage Stride, German Measles and Big Troubles, all within walking distance of my house on warm summer nights here in Greenpoint. So yeah, I guess my thoughtful evaluation of the differences between the US and UK/EU music indie/indiepop scene is, "they're both pretty cool in their own way."

What attracted you to play Indietracks, and how do you think playing Indietracks differs to other festivals? Are there any particular bands at the festival that you're looking forward to seeing?

Indietracks has attracted me as a fan since 2007. I remember just wanting to go each year, and that feeling increased each time our friends in England or Sweden or anywhere would tell us how they went and how much fun it was. The festival's character seems totally in line with the kind of music I like most - sincere, impassioned pop. As an admirer of bands like Love is All, Allo Darlin, Blanche Hudson Weekend (ex Manhattan Love Suicides), Shrag, Veronica Falls and, amazngly enough, The Primitives and Pooh Sticks, getting to see them all will be a great time. Along with The Siren festival here in our hometown of New York, Indietracks is the show we feel the strongest desire at which to "not suck."

Since the album you've released the Higher than the Stars EP, and you're just about to release the Say No to Love single. When can we expect the new album, and can you say at the moment if it's going to be moving in a new direction to the first record?

2011. I'm really excited about all the new songs we have, and I can't wait until we get to go record them later this summer. It's hard to say what it will sound like before we've even recorded a note, and it's pretty awful when bands proclaim their own goodness. But we'll probably play a couple new songs at Indietracks this year, which I'm looking forward to a lot.

Team Indietracks were at your very first UK gig at the Betsey Trotwood in Farringdon - and now you've been on Carson Daly! In particular, it seems like the last year has been amazing for you. If you had to describe the last year in three words, which ones would you use? And what do your families make of it all?!

1."DREAM" 2. "TRUE" 3. "COME." I feel like it's amazing all our dreams about making truthful songs involving come references have happened like this. Just thinking about that Betsy Trotwood show in February 2008, which held 40 people and seeing the sign that said "Pop Show, Sold Out" our first time in London - we took pictures and were like, "our dreams are coming true."

The cool thing is, we still hang out with a lot of the people that were at that show when we come over - Marianthi and Christos, the Pocketbooks people (Ian lent me his guitar that night), I'm pretty sure Trev and Tom were there - Rocker too. It's cool that even though a lot has changed in the two and a half years since that first London show, we're still the kind of band that people that go to Indietracks want to see. It means a lot to me, and I hope it's always that way.

We're hoping for hot weather at this year's festivals - have you got any tips for summer festival attire? We hear some of you have been a bit nervous about wearing shorts in the past... :-)

I've successfully overcome such fears. I am now the proud owner of TWO pairs of shorts! I now focus my concerns on sunglasses, as I never want people to think, "Does he actually think he's in the Jesus and Mary Chain?" But it's really nice to wear sunglasses, so long as you don't wear them while you're on stage. Besides Manhattan Love Suicides and Crystal Stilts, there's not any indiepop bands that can pull off wearing them while performing.

We're lucky in that we get to put together our dream festival line-up every year. If you were to run a festival, which bands would you put on - and you can have anyone, regardless of whether they've split up/died!

Manhattan Love Suicides, Exploding Hearts, Titus Andronicus, Dear Nora, Belle and Sebastian, Black Tambourine, Suede, The Pastels, Teenage Fanclub... this is basically just going to turn into a list that exceeds your bandwidth limitations and gets you in trouble with your internet service provider, so I'll stop.

And something that we ask all of our bands - what are you going to be listening to on your journey to Indietracks?

Hmm... It's hard to anticipate the playlist in the van so far out, but for some reason Saint Etienne is one of the few bands that everyone always agrees is awesome.

Thanks Kip - can't wait to see you at the festival!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

New headliners and day line-ups announced!

Slow Club and Everybody Was In The French Resistance…Now! have just been added to the line-up for Indietracks 2010.

They will join the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Love Is All, The Primitives, Ballboy, Allo Darlin, The Pooh Sticks, Standard Fare and around 50 other indiepop bands at this year’s festival.

Slow Club (pictured above) are a Sheffield DIY alternative folk-pop duo featuring Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor. Charles plays guitar and sings and Rebecca plays drums and all sorts of weird instruments, like water-filled glass bottles, spoons and the back of a wooden chair. Their acclaimed debut album, ‘Yeah So’ was released in July 2009.

Everybody Was In The French Resistance…Now! are Eddie Argos from Art Brut and Dyan Valdés from The Blood Arm. The band is single-handedly correcting the mistakes of pop songs past, including defending the belittled blue collar worker from Kanye West's ‘Gold Digger’, and dumping Martha Reeves on behalf of poor Jimmy Mack. Their album ‘Fixin’ the Charts’ was released on Cooking Vinyl in January 2010.

We're also announcing today which bands will be playing on which days at the festival, including:

Friday 23 July
Everybody Was In The French Resistance…Now! + Allo Darlin’ + Veronica Falls

Saturday 24 July
The Primitives + Love Is All + Ballboy + White Town + David Tattersall (Wave Pictures) + The Smittens + The Orchids + over 20 more bands.

Sunday 25 July
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart + Slow Club + The Pooh Sticks + Shrag + Standard Fare + The Specific Heats + over 20 more bands.

A full list of bands playing on each day is available on the Schedule page of the Indietracks website.

Tickets are available from

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Pic'n'mixx CD swapping comes to Indietracks

Pic'n'mixx is inviting everyone to take part in a massive compilation CD swap at this year's Indietracks festival. You can lovingly create the perfect mix CD, drop it in a box and pick up a CD someone else has carefully crafted! Natalie from Pic'n'mixx has dropped by to tell us more:

Pic 'n' Mixx is a London indiepop night taking place sporadically at the Buffalo Bar, with live bands, dancing and a mix CD swap available for everyone who brings one with them - it's a bundle of fun. The night has previously garnered CDs made by the likes of Amelia Fletcher, Elefant Records, Internet Forever and Everett True. Those who don't bring one with are issued with a sad-face stamp on the door, to mark out their laziness and leave them regretting their decision the whole night long! Everyone who brings a CD receives a happy face stamp and gets to take home someone else's compilation.

The Pic 'n' Mixx box is travelling to the Indietracks for festival-goers to drop off their mix CDs and collect one made by someone else before the weekend's out - a pathway to musical discovery! I'd love it as many of the bands playing could contribute one, and add a whole new level of excitement to the box.

If you'd like to contribute a CD for the weekend in advance, you can send it by post to Natalie Shaw, 4 Stainsbury St., Bethnal Green, London E2 0NF, or by email to Artwork is welcome too, and you can send any questions to that email address.

The next Pic 'n' Mixx events are as follows:

Saturday 29 May: Buffalo Bar, London - Pocketbooks, Cola Jet Set, Foxes! and The Cavalcade. Tickets:

Tuesday 10 August: Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London - Lucky Soul, The School and The Lodger with How Does It Feel To Be Loved? and Pocketbooks DJs. Tickets: (£9)

Saturday 14 August: Buffalo Bar, London: Stairs To Korea and Spaghetti Anywhere with DJ sets from Darren Hayman (ex-Hefner) and Alasdair MacLean (The Clientele). Tickets: (£7)

Thank you!
Natalie xxx

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Indietracks warm-up shows

Photo: The Cannanes
This Friday night sees the start of a series of Indietracks warm-up shows in anticipation of this year's festival. And where better to start than in stylish Madrid with some of last year's stars, Zipper and The Understudies, plus regular Indietracks DJs, How Does It Feel To Be Loved?

We gather that all of them will be appearing on the Julio Ruiz radio show on Radio 3 RTVE.ES in Madrid tomorrow afternoon between 4pm and 5pm. We're not sure if he UK contingent (The Understudies and Ian Watson from HDIF) will conducting the interview in Spanish, but some of them have promised to talk about Indietracks! If you get a chance, do listen in!

And if you can't make it to Madrid, we've provided below a list of all the Indietracks warm-up gigs that we currently know about. We're keeping this list updated on the Warm-up Shows page of the Indietracks website, so do check in there occasionally for the latest. If you are an Indietracks performer or a gig promoter and wish to appear on this page, email and tell us your contact details, when/where you'd like to play or offer a slot, and we'll do the rest!

Friday 21 May 2010
Sgt. Peppers Club Café, Cuestas Altas 6, Getafe, Spain
Indietracks Presentation Night
Featuring bands & DJs from the 2009 festival including: Zipper + The Understudies + DJ How Does It Feel To Be Loved?

Monday 31 May 2010
The 78, Glasgow
Half My Heart Beats
Bands: The Middle Ones + Morgan Orion

Thursday 27 May 2010
Saki Bar (upstairs), Rusholme, Manchester
Pull Yourself Together
Bands: Foxes! + Curly Hair + 1 more tbc + You! Me! Dancing! DJs

Saturday 29 May 2010
Buffalo Bar, London
Pic 'n' Mixx
Bands: Pocketbooks + Cola Jet Set + Foxes! + The Cavalcade

Friday 11 June 2010
Pivo Pivo, Glasgow
Bubblegum Records
Bands: The Just Joans + Social Services + The Belle Hops + Half My Heart Beats DJs

Saturday 19 June 2010
The Chameleon, Long Row, Nottingham
A Layer of Chips
Bands: Standard Fare + Allo Darlin + Pocketbooks + Mascot Fight

Friday 2 July 2010
Betsey Trotwood, London EC1R
Spiral Scratch and OddBox Records
Bands: The Cannanes + Sarandon + Humousexual

Saturday 3 July 2010
The Chameleon, Long Row, Nottingham
A Layer of Chips
Bands: The Cannanes + Sarandon + 1 more tbc

Saturday 10 July 2010
The Flying Duck, Glasgow
Half My Heart Beats
Bands: Standard Fare + Kid Canaveral + Water Wolves

Saturday 17 July 2010
RoTa, Notting Hill Arts Club, London (Free admission)
Oddbox Records
Bands: The Monorals + The Hillfields + Sock Puppets + 1 more tbc

Monday 19 July 2010
Venue tbc
Half My Heart Beats
Bands: The Smittens + Boy Genius + Gordon McIntyre + Springfactory

Tuesday 20 July 2010
The Autumn Store
The Victoria, Birmingham
Bands: The Smittens + Lime Chalks + 1 more tbc

Thursday 22 July 2010
2nd Floor Cafe, London Fields, London
Baby Honey "Indietrash - An Indietracks warm-up in that London!"
Bands: Burning Hearts + The Felt Tips + Onwards Chariots + The Give It Ups + The Sock Puppets

Thursday 22 July 2010
The Musician, Leicester
Sweeping The Nation
Bands: MJ Hibbett & The Validators + Standard Fare + Lime Chalks

Tuesday 27 July 2010
Pivo Pivo, Glasgow
Bubblegum Records
Bands: Onward Chariots + The Felt Tips + Always Me Me Me

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Indietracks interview #10: Love Is All

Here at Indietracks Towers, we’re usually awoken by the sunlight streaming through the curtains, the morning call of bluebirds, squirrels foraging for nuts, the sound of bicycle bells frightening pedestrians off the pavement, the joyful screech of a joyrider’s tyres, cats fighting viciously for territory (well, we think that’s what they’re doing!) or the next door neighbours watching horror movies at 3am in unnecessary surround sound. Mostly the last one. Today, however, it was the brutal knock of the postman. After several attempts, it became clear that the only way to cease this cruel interruption was by actually answering the door, where, lo and behold, we were presented with the first instalment of Indietracks flyers! Beautifully designed by our Emma in this season’s hippest colours (it’s all about yellow and black this year), we think these are going to adorn many a fridge door, scrapbook or those cork boards that you see in student halls of residence for years to come. Keep an eye out for them, they’ll be coming to a gig, record shop or street near you soon!

And, of course, one of the names on the aforementioned flyers is today’s interviewees, Love Is All!

Love Is All have picked up plaudits for their blend of art punk and indie rock since they formed from the ashes of indiepop group Girlfriendo in 2005. Pitchfork included their debut album 'Nine Times That Same Song' among their favourites of 2005, while NME named their song 'Make Out Fall Out Make Up' as a single of the week. The band’s new album ‘Two Thousand and Ten Injuries’ is an unconstrained and celebratory affair, combining punk guitars, saxophones, disco beats and melodic harmonies and is already being hailed as one of the best albums of the year.

Josephine from the band has joined us for today’s interview.

Hi Josephine, tell us a little bit about Love Is All

Hum, we're five people from Gothenburg, Sweden who have been playing together for a small eternity. We are very much in to doing things ourselves and have mixed and recorded all our music in our own space together with Wyatt Cusick. I'm making all the artwork myself and most of the videos. It's not so much a statement as it is us just being bad with trusting outside ideas. I think we can be a pain to work with sometimes.

We haven't toured Europe nearly as much as we've toured the US and therefore we are really excited to play Indietracks this summer.

What music are you enjoying at the moment?

I'm really digging the new Ariel Pink record. Such perfect music for the summer.

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

I feel like we haven't played anywhere too exotic or unusual. We did a small tour of Brazil, that must be the most unusual place we've played. We managed to combine the tour with two weeks of vacation, which made the whole trip amazing.

Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?

Exciting... I don't know. There will probably be plenty more touring and some recordings. Right now I'm mostly excited about summer being around the corner, I can't wait to go swimming and grilling and all those summery things.

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

Johan and Markus know pretty much every Beatles song ever recorded and will sing them to you in perfect harmonies if you buy them a couple of glasses of Pastis.

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

Ariel Pink. That's all I can think of right now, sorry.

What attracted you to play at Indietracks?

Last year some of my friends went and they came back talking about what a great festival it was, insisting that we should try to play there. Of course I forgot all about it, but when the Indietracks festival asked us if we wanted to play I got really excited and instantly knew that I wanted to do it.

Thanks Josephine!


Sunday, 16 May 2010

Simon Tyers of Sweeping the Nation looks back on the history of Indietracks...

Simon Tyers, author of the Sweeping the Nation blog, reminisces about his first ever Indietracks experience in 2007...

But for unprecedented precipitation, I might never have gone to the first Indietracks in 2007. For a period of several days, starting on 20th July, flash flooding caused more than 900 homes in Oxfordshire to be evacuated as rivers rose by up to twenty feet, postponing the local Truck Festival for two months.

As someone planning to go to Truck, I was left at home for a weekend wondering what there was to fill the festival gap, when I alighted on this small time DIY event which was taking place on the following weekend, and at a place just an hour down the motorway. It took place at a venue that looked unusual enough, featured new bands that I was interested in and was at a price that, having other stuff to do on the Saturday, meant I could at least afford a day there.

At this time, although I'd long since started blogging and seeking new artists out, I wasn't connected to the indiepop scene. I'd briefly been on the Sinister mailing list a decade before but I knew nothing of Bowlie (the online hub of the time for indiepop activity) or the popshow community. More to the point, I personally knew nobody there. This was going to be interesting.

And it genuinely seemed like nothing else, a little secret thing in the middle of nowhere where a few bands had decided to pitch up on a warm day. There was no outdoor stage then and pretty much all the food option was the transport cafe. Day trippers looking round the museum grounds would pitch up wondering what was happening. And....was that a farm just there? With llamas? The clientele was as small as all that implies, only getting smaller through the day as bands went home, but that added to the cosiness and community spirit of it all. There was clearly a sub-culture at work waiting to be let out of the bottle.

Friends Of The Bride brought their postmodern, well dressed mod-soul croon, and the Indelicates played their bloody-minded blunt agit-indie-folk. The Victorian English Gentlemens Club (VEGC) went for it in the chapel with their Pixies/Wire/Sonic Youth scree, and singer/guitarist Adam Taylor ended up in the pulpit. And it was all great. That still left plenty of scope for falling in love with completely new names - the Chiara L's, in hock to the Popguns and Calvin Johnson without looking like they knew who either really was. And Wake The President, crisp Orange Juice janglepop led by two bickering twin brothers who end by covering Talking Heads' Psycho Killer. It stands to reason you'd want to tell people about all this, with the Pocketbooks singalong on the train with lyric booklets and shakers, and MJ Hibbett and the Validators inviting rousing audience participation, or the way Darren Hayman virtually got a moshpit going right at the end by doing Hello Kitten and Pull Yourself Together, before presenting Stuart with a signed programme "to remind him of the wankers who lost him so much money".

And people did tell others.

Time moved on. Friends Of The Bride split sometime last year, Wake The President sometime this year. The VEGC made an even more warped second album, and the Indelicates continued on their own singular course. By 2008 quite a few people I knew, some even without my cajoling, came to the festival. Moreover I'd discovered the depths of the scene and got into the message boards and blogs, and - ah, why not get the plug in while I can - am putting a warm-up show featuring that self same MJ Hibbett and the Validators, Standard Fare and Lime Chalks on at Leicester Musician on 22nd July.

Indietracks, despite its increase in size and profile, remains a friendly coming together of those disenfranchised by what some now call guitar indie, a clear bijou labour of love and gratitude. And we're continuously grateful for it in return.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Indietracks interview #9: Onward Chariots

Today we're interviewing Brooklyn-based Onward Chariots, formerly known as Chariots of Tuna. The band originally started out as Ben Morss's solo project in 1999, before he met pop-hybrid group The Infinite Orchestra in 2008 and together they decided to form a new band. The band's carefully constructed tunes, delicate falsetto harmonies and solid beats take in a wide range of references, from the Beach Boys and the Shins to The Decemberists and Beck.

The band are currently running a campaign on to help raise funds for their trip to Indietracks. People can use the site to contribute a small sum of money to the cause, and in return they will receive awards ranging from a free single to having their name included in a song the band will play at Indietracks. Unless the campaign reaches its funding goal, no money changes hands. To help Onward Chariots on their way, visit their online fundraising campaign at which also features a video of the band singing a very special Indietracks plea song!

Today we're interviewing Ben, who has also played keyboard on albums by Cake and Wheatus in the past and also written two children's musicals! Also in the band are Rus Wimbish (Scurvy) on bass, Shawn Setaro (Martin Bisi, Dresden Dolls) on guitar, and Dan Davine (Avenue Q) on drums.

Hello Ben! So, where are all of you from?

Hello, or, as we say here in the United States, "Buenos Dias."

We come from a small town called Brooklyn in a distant and strange land called America, where we all grew up on farms and learned to play instruments by copying old ABBA records. Oh, and Rus was raised by wolves. To this day he has copious facial hair.

Didn't you once have a more colourful name like "Chariots of Tuna"?


OK - we won't ask any more! You're a pretty new band - how did it feel to be invited to play Indietracks?

Mostly, we just feel very fortunate! After starting this band last year and putting our first songs up on Myspace, I had a great time wandering the internet and discovering the many manifestations of indie-pop around the world. When I ran across a festival that put on pop groups in the English countryside and offered rides on vintage trains, I was quite charmed, and I wrote a friendly email saying what a nice idea I thought this was, especially coming from a country that worships the car. Imagine my surprise when I got a polite response offering to perhaps book us the next year, which is now this year.

I'm always pleasantly shocked to read a nice new review from Italy or discover that someone wants to play our music on a radio station in Spain - hopefully it means that putting effort into making nice songs can pay off!

What music are you enjoying at the moment?

Luis at Elefant Records was recently kind enough to send me a whole box of their CDs, and so I've been playing two Camera Obscura singles every day for the last week. When I'm not playing them out loud, they're playing repeatedly in my head.

Indietracks takes place on a steam railway. Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past.

The first bands I played in were punk band, and I used to balance my cheap Yamaha keyboard on garbage cans or piles of used tires. My first band's drummer was a local homeless man who used to fall asleep during rehearsals after the crack wore off. This band is more wholesome. We started the group right around the time my baby son was born, and I recorded the vocals to "War Hero" around 1 a.m. while holding him in the Baby Bjorn.

Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?

You already know that we will be playing our Eardrums collaboration with Sebastian from Cineplexx. You may not know that we'll also be playing a short song inspired by contributors to our Kickstarter campaign.

And do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?

Look for us at pre-Indietracks and post-Indietracks shows around the U.K, outside a lovely post office in Queens for the Make Music New York festival, at the Athens PopFest in August, and at various small places in Brooklyn.

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

I'm really looking forward to seeing bands like The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Standard Fare, White Town, and so many others... but honestly I'm mostly looking forward to getting a chance to finally meet all the amazing people from across the world who I've been corresponding with since starting this group last year!

Thanks Ben - and the best of luck with your fundraising campaign!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Two chances to save BBC 6Music

Back in March, the BBC announced proposals to close its fantastic 6Music radio station. Their consultation on these proposals runs until 25 May, so there's still time left if you'd like to add your voice to those trying to save the station.

BBC 6Music and many of its DJs have been really supportive of the festival as well as past and present Indietracks bands. Loads of bands from this year's Indietracks line up (including Allo Darlin', Standard Fare, Veronica Falls, MJ Hibbett, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, The Loves and more) have all appeared on the station, either as session guests, album of the day or on the playlists. The station plays the best new and upcoming music and would be sadly missed.

If you'd like to see 6Music continue, it's not too late, there's lots you can do, including:

a) Complete the BBC Trust's BBC Strategy Review Online Survey - a consultation on the proposals. It's just 11 questions, you don't need to answer them all and you can be done in five minutes if you're a speedy typer. The Trust can decide to overturn the proposals if enough people show their support. The consultation runs until Tuesday 25 May 2010.

b) On Saturday 22 May at midday, there will be a friendly and peaceful protest outside Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA. There will be some busker style performances and speakers. We're not sure who, but Allo Darlin' popped up at the last one so it could be someone special again this time! For more info, there's a Facebook group here.

We'll leave you with a video of Allo Darlin' busking 'Kiss Your Lips' at the last protest back in March.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Indietracks interview #8: The Hillfields

Hello! With all the election excitement of the past few days, we hope you remembered to pick up your early bird ticket and save yourself a few pounds! If not, don't worry - tickets are still available from the Indietracks website.

We're feeling pretty chipper tonight. Not only has Indietracks just been named as one of The Observer's Top Ten festivals, but we're also interviewing the lovely Hillfields on the blog today. The Hillfields are an indiepop three piece living in London, who released their debut LP "It'll Never Be The Same Again" on Underused Records last year. Made up of vocalist and guitarist Rob Boyd, bassist Grant Wilkinson and drummer Carlos Russell, they play a mixture of mellowed out lo-fi with bursts of noisy guitar pop.

They released their first EP, "A Visit", on Cloudberry Records in February 2008 and later that year their song "Spoon" was voted number nine in the Festive 50 chart hosted by Dandelion Radio. The band have been described as ‘Pavement scoring a Hal Hartley film’ or ‘Mojave meets Frusciante’, and are due to release a six-track EP, just before Indietracks.

Hello Hillfields! You seem to be very busy - what music are you enjoying at the moment?

Rob: The Mary Onettes, lots of The Chills, lots of Nick Cave and lots of weird stuff with strange instruments.

Grant: Just getting into the Mountain Goats, surprised myself by listening to 69 Love Songs by the Magnetic Fields more than once in 2010, and I've also been listening to Roy Smeck, the ukulele wizard!

Carlos: I'm currently revisiting Violent Femmes, Morphine and Guadalcanal Diary. I'm also a big Medeski, Martin & Wood fan... shhh!

Grant: Might have to get Rob to make Carlos a mixtape!

Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year after Indietracks?

Rob: I think playing at Indietracks will be the highlight in my view.

Carlos: Indietracks, and our new EP, Come Outside, coming out just before then.

Grant: After Indietracks, I’ll be spending the rest of the year building my first two ukuleles…

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

Rob: Motorhead mainly, I need something to steel myself for driving plus a little bit of Gruff Rhys, Gorky's, Sonic Youth, Wire - a bit of a post punk mix is coming on I think.

Grant: I will hide the Travelling Wilburys cassette inherited from the outlaws, and go for a bit of AC/DC, Fleet Foxes and The Wave Pictures if I can get my iPod off shuffle…

Carlos: Probably Ramones and Replacements

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

Rob: I'll be looking forward to seeing Secret Shine, the last time I saw them was in 1992 at the Camden Falcon and they look like they've aged a bit better than me! Plus Ballboy are a long standing favourite of mine so it will be great to see them again

Grant: Very excited to see the David Tattersall solo slot, and playing with the same bill as the Pains again will bring back happy memories of when we opened the Lost Music Cloudberry night a couple of years ago.

Thanks Hillfields! Enjoy making your mixtapes and we look forward to seeing you later this year!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

DJ line-up for this year's Indietracks!

Every night at Indietracks after the bands finish, we host not one, but two! discos. Here’s the line up of superstar DJs for this year’s festival. You can find out more about each of the DJs on the Artists page on our website.

Friday night

Main Shed: Offbeat
Sheffield’s friendliest and most adventurous indie disco. From Sonic Youth and Slow Club to Hefner and Elastica!

Tent: Come Out 2Nite
London’s sporadic and slightly random indiepop / pop / indie club night with different themes each time.

Saturday night

Main Shed: Astrogirl
International pop, indiepop, trashpop and sleezy electro from Greece’s top indiepop DJ!

Tent: How Does It Feel To Be Loved?
A soul and sixties special from the Indietracks regulars!

Sunday night

Main shed: Feeling Gloomy
A celebration of all that is melancholic and marvellous in the world of pop.

Tent: Atta Girl
DJ duo with a love of predominantly female vocalists. Think Le Tigre, Bikini Kill and Kenickie!

And the late-night fun on the campsite:

Crimes Against Pop
In 2003 a crack DJ unit was sent to prison for crimes against pop they didn't commit! Expect indie, pop, electronica, r&b and eclectica.

Plenty of opportunities to have a bit of a dance then! Any requests?


Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Last chance to buy early bird tickets!

Just a reminder that our early bird Indietracks ticket offer runs out at midnight this Friday (May 7), so you need to be quick if you want to grab a bargain for this year's festival!

Weekend tickets cost £55 and day tickets cost £30, rising to £60 and £32.50 after the offer ends. To buy your tickets, visit the Indietracks website at

This year's festival is headlined by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and features around 50 great indiepop bands including Love Is All, Ballboy, The Primitives, Allo Darlin', White Town, Standard Fare and The Orchids.

Ticket-goers also have unlimited free steam train rides and access to the station museum and farm over the weekend!

Hope you'll be able to join us in July!


Sunday, 2 May 2010

Indietracks interview #7: Ballboy

One of our highlights of the 2008 Indietracks festival was Ballboy’s heart-stopping show on the outdoor stage as the sun set on the Sunday night. It was so fantastic that we remember hot air balloons flying over the field trying to catch a glimpse, as well as Gareth from Los Campesinos! being so intent on catching the whole Ballboy set that he nearly ended up missing his own headline slot! We’re so pleased that they’re coming back to play at the festival again this year.

Ballboy are Gordon McIntyre (singing, guitar, words), Nick Reynolds (bass), Alexa Morrison (keyboards) and Gary Morgan (drums). The Edinburgh band formed in 1997 and signed to SL Recordings in 1999. They released a string of EPs, and tracks from these were collected on 2001’s Club Anthems.

Their ‘proper’ debut album, A Guide for the Daylight Hours, was released the following year. This was quickly followed in 2003 by the acoustic and often melancholy The Sash My Father Wore and Other Stories, virtually a solo record by Gordon. In 2004 Ballboy returned to full band mode with their third album, The Royal Theatre. It took a change of record label (to their own Pony Proof Records) and another four years before the fourth Ballboy album was released, entitled I Worked on the Ships.

The late great John Peel on BBC Radio One was a great fan of the band and he invited the band to record sessions for the show five times. Tracks from the band featured in the Festive Fifty for five consecutive years. 

Hi Gordon, you've just started working on the next Ballboy album. Any hints about what it'll be like?

It has taken me a long time to settle on how I'd like it to sound. I always have a lot of ideas about what I could and would like to do and it can be hard to narrow things down and find a sense of coherence, but then sometimes it just clicks for you. The session we did with They Shoot Music Don't They was just so enjoyable and fun that it settled something in me and so I think the album will be a quieter, more acoustic affair than some other Ballboy albums. Having said that, it will be a full band album. The last album - I worked on the ships - was (in my head) about boats in some way, shape or form. This one will be less about being at sea and more about being by the sea. The sound of it anyway - not necessarily lyrically. And if you can make any sense of that answer then I salute you.

In short - it'll kind of sound like lighthouses.

We gather you're living in the serenity of a former church by the sea now. Has this affected the new songs at all?

Well they will be better recorded because the new house is much quieter than the last one so there will be no traffic-noise drone in the background! I don't think the church aspect will have a huge impact, but the by the sea aspect definitely has. I just find it impossible not to think about things when I look at the sea

How do you go about making the album - do you let the group freestyle and experiment in the studio or are you dead strict with them?

It can be different for different albums. The process is roughly this. I write the basic song and we practise it and play around with it and keep the bits we like lose the rest. Sometimes I know exactly what I want before we start so I'm more prescriptive, but other times I only know what I want when we discover it. I'm fond of the phrase "I don't know where I'm going, but I know how to get there" which Alexa Ballboy dismisses (probably correctly) as nonsense, but it sums up how I make music better than any other words I know.

What's happenning next with Midsummer (the 'play with songs' written with David Grieg)? And do you have any plans for any more plays?

Midsummer has been a huge pleasure and a huge success for me. I am thrilled that it turned out so well and has done so well. Currently it is on a break. There are plans for it to run again later in the year, but I can't say where yet until dates and venues are confirmed. It has been translated into Portuguese, German and Korean and it looks like it has quite a bit of life in it yet. The Midsummer team are very keen to get together and work on another play with songs so it looks like that will happen at some point over the next couple of years depending on when everyone can fit it in.

I remember listening to your Peel sessions as a student. Any stories or memories from Peel mansions?

We played live at Peel Acres as part of his Christmas broadcast in 2003 (I think) with Laura Cantrell. I remember running back and forth through the house to alternately record session tracks (in the study at one end) and Christmas Carols (in the living room at the other). I remember how warmly we were treated and I remember being more nervous than at any other performance. Our final Peel session took place a couple of days after John died. It was at Maida Vale and it was a strange and melancholy experience. I still miss his voice and his openness.

There's a whopping 25 free songs to download on your website. Is the future going to be all free file-sharing and Spotify or are record labels and radio play still as important as when you started out in the mid/late 90s?

Really? That many? I'm going to have to sort that. I'll be single-handedly destroying Scotland's reputation for meanness! To be honest I'm really undecided about the whole Spotify debate. I think your guess is as good as mine. My ideal is that you provide some stuff for free and if people like it then they buy more from you. I have no idea what Spotify's business-model is and I think it's going to come under a lot more scrutiny in the near future. We are on it because it is an outlet that it seems like a good idea to be part of at the moment. I wouldn't rule out withdrawing from it in the future.

As for file-sharing/illegal downloads I think that, if you like a band, especially a small band then pay them a bit of money. Their downloadable eps and albums usually cost about the same as a couple of pints - you'd buy a band you like a couple of pints wouldn't you?

I still think record labels and radio play are redundant though, but my advice to bands would be to be careful who you sign to and ask questions about how they are run. We have our own label now as a direct result of being badly, badly let down by our previous label and it is the best thing for us by far. I think in the near future we will put out some other bands and that will be another new experience for us.

Aside from previous Indietracks appearances, what's the most interesting or unusual place you've played a gig in the past?

Our acoustic show at the Reid Hall in Edinburgh with hundreds of little candles and a string quartet backing us was pretty special. I also played an acoustic show on the front lawn of a Swedish band called Esther on a little gazebo-like stage with an audience sitting on sofas and chairs that had been brought outdoors. I also sang during the church service of the producer of our first two albums - which was pretty scary to be honest. Basically a church full of other Edinburgh musicians most of whom I had probably offended at some point when I was drunk.

Any plans to release the Ballboy documentary, 'Trying not to f--k it up'?

Yes! This has been a casualty of Midsummer doing so well and me moving house. I was aiming to have it out last Christmas, but I moved house in the middle of December and that was that. Keep an eye out in the future.

You're an Indietracks regular now, any favourite memories from our last few years?

2008 - The Heat!!! Darren Hayman in the church, Pete our cello player standing in the middle of the throng in his Rush t-shirt, bugging Stuart to let us play outside in the sunshine instead of inside the Hangar (The Wave Pictures started it!), seeing the Wave Pictures play, speaking to random Swedish indie-kids (who were sooo unimpressed with my fledgling Swedish), playing Leave the Earth as the sun went down, my friend Niki dancing....

2009 - The drive down playing Hit, Miss or Maybe and Band Name World Cup (winners Hong Kong in the 60s) with Indietracks bands, my useless stint on the merchandise stall (customers: "can you tell me x, y or z?" me: "nope, I pretty much don't have any idea about anything here, sorry"), getting drunk on steam trains with pretty girls, getting drunk on steam trains with pretty girls (it was so good I typed it twice), surprising my friend Niki with her best friend Arpitah, Emmy the Great!, playing in the church (one of my all-time favourite shows), ending up in places (ie the campsite) with no idea how I got there, Nickballboy standing in a puddle waiting to catch falling drunk girls (chivalry is not dead), the Specific Heats, the quiz where everyone beat my score of three, getting shushed in a tent for talking too loud (I was), Teenage Fanclub in the rain, dancing, drinking, drinking and dancing, and Alton Towers the next day.

Thanks Gordon! Here’s the They Shoot Music Don't They video of the band playing ‘I’m an indie pirate and I will skuttle ye’.

Indietracks gets hip to The Beat!

Just posting to say a massive thanks to Dean Jackson from BBC Nottingham's The Beat, who interviewed our Natalie on his radio show last night. The Beat is a fantastic weekly show which features new and upcoming bands, and is well worth a listen if you have time! They have always been enormously supportive of Indietracks and this year they're hoping to feature some of our bands live in session in the run-up to the festival, so watch this space for more news!

If you want to have a listen to last night's show, it's available on this page for the next week. The Indietracks interview is three hours and eight minutes into the show.

In other news, some of Team Indietracks made it over to see The Primitivies at the Scala last Thursday. As this review on Kitten Painting describes, it was a fantastic show, and we're now even more excited about seeing them at our festival in July!