Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Please donate to help repair vandalised church

We're sorry to report that earlier this week six of the Midland Railway's church windows were smashed in overnight by vandals. It's likely to cost the charity over £1000 to replace the windows, and we're therefore asking if you'd like to help raise some money towards the repairs.

The church stage has been the scene for some of our favourite Indietracks memories; The Specific Heats, Darren Hayman, The Lovely Eggs, The Middle Ones, Haiku Salut, Gordon Ballboy and various versions of Pete Green to name just a few! Apparently the railway rescued and rebuilt the church, which dates back to Victorian times, from Westhouses in Derbyshire several years ago and we're really sad to see someone cause so much damage to such a beautiful and integral part of both the railway and our festival.

The appeal will run until Saturday 14 January 2012, and every donation, no matter how small, will be very much appreciated. To donate towards the appeal, please visit: 

(Photo: The Lovely Eggs by Bob Stuart, Underexposed)

Friday, 2 December 2011

Early bird tickets for Indietracks 2012 on sale!

We’re excited to announce that early bird tickets for the 2012 Indietracks festival are now on sale!

The festival will take place on 6-8 July 2012 at the Midland Railway Centre in Derbyshire. We’ve kept the early bird prices the same as last year’s prices, which means you can save £7 on every adult weekend ticket if you pick them up early.

Weekend tickets are now available at an early bird discount price of £60 (standard price £67). Single day (Saturday or Sunday) early bird tickets are available for £32.50 (standard price £35). The early bird prices are only available until 5pm on Saturday 14 April.

Tickets for children aged 5-14 are £6 for a day ticket and £10 for the weekend. Under-5s get in free!

Please pop over to the following Midland Railway link to pick up your tickets:

Or alternatively, please call the Midland Railway direct on 01773 747 674 between 10am and 4pm.

We’ll start announcing artists shortly. As always, we’ll have around 50 artists playing across four stages: the outdoor stage, indoor stage, the church and on the steam trains themselves. The festival will also host art and craft workshops for all the family and a selection of discos after the bands finish. And you can have unlimited rides on the steam railway over the weekend, as well as full access to all the other railway attractions and museums!
See you in July!
(Photo: Bob Stuart, Underexposed)

Monday, 28 November 2011

Santa Specials!

Just a quick post for anyone who's missing the steam trains and getting excited about Christmas!

The Midland Railway is running Santa Specials for all the younger members of the family in the run up to Christmas. There's a Santa's grotto on the train, so the kids can meet Santa during the train ride and receive a gift! There's also a mince pie and a miniature bottle of spirits for the adults! And there's a also a show from the Pinxton puppets in a heated marquee, as well as unlimited rides on the steam railway!

The Santa Specials will run on the following dates: 1, 3, 4, 8, 10, 11, 15, 17, 18, 22, 23 and 24 December. Booking is strongly advised.

Alternatively, there's the Festive Day Out With Thomas taking place from 27 December to 31 December. Kids can take a trip on the festive Thomas The Tank Engine train, meet the Fat Controller, recieve a gift and visit The Imagination Station with balloon modellers, DVD Shows, Thomas Play Train Table, colouring activities and temporary tattoos!

Back to indiepop-related things, we'll be putting the Indietracks 2012 festival tickets on sale very shortly. Hopefully within the next week or so. Please pop back here soon!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Dates for next year's Indietracks: 6-8 July 2012

Hello! We're SUPER excited to announce that next year's Indietracks festival will be held on 6-8 July 2012 at the Midland Railway in Derbyshire.

We have decided to hold the festival earlier than usual this year. Usually the festival takes place on the last weekend of July, but we became aware that clashing with the Olympics that weekend might have meant higher travel and accommodation prices for bands and festival-goers.

If you would like to make suggestions for bands playing next year, please visit the Indietracks thread on the Anorak forum and leave your suggestions there.

Any bands wishing to apply to to play at the festival should e-mail with a short biography and a web link to their music (no MP3 attachments please) by 30 November 2011.

Tickets will be onsale shortly, and will be available from the Midland Railway website. For the latest news, please subscribe to this blog, follow us on Twitter or sign-up to our e-newsletter.

We also have a few Indietracks canvas bags left over from this year's festival. Perfect for carrying records, nipping to the shops or as a Christmas gift for anyone who loves pop music and steam trains! You can pick one up from the Make Do And Mend Bandcamp page for just £5. This includes a free download of this year's 40-track Indietracks compilation and all the proceeds go to the Midland Railway charity:

Hope to see you next July!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Vote for Indietracks in the UK Festival Awards!

Hello everyone, just a little note to let you know that we're nominated in the UK Festival Awards for the Fans' Favourite Festival Award, and it would be great if you could vote for Indietracks!

Voting opened today and will run until 5pm on 10 October, with finalists and winners being announced at the UK Festival Awards on 15 November at The Roundhouse in Camden.

Everyone who votes will automatically have their name entered into a prize draw to win two tickets to every festival next year.

Visit the UK Festival Awards now to cast your vote for Indietracks! You will need to register your e-mail address to enter.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Bid for an Indietracks 2011 canvas bag – signed by the bands!

Ah September. As we dash about trying to keep our brollies from blowing inside out while the wind whips the leaves around our ankles, it’s hard to imagine that just six weeks ago we were bathing in glorious sunshine surrounded by steam trains, hot air balloons and our favourite bands. If only we could go back and grab a little piece of it to keep forever and ever...

Well now you can! Because while we were all going about our fun at the festival, our friends at the Midland Railway were secretly sneaking bands aside to sign their names to two very special canvas bags that YOU CAN OWN! And that’s not all – besides being autographed by the very hands of our favourite pop stars, they come filled with all sorts of goodies donated by the artists, record labels and the railway themselves!

These two bags (oh, how we wish we could keep them!) are now up for eBay auction, with all proceeds from the auctions going to the Midland Railway. The two bags vary slightly, but you’ll find all the details on each of the eBay listings, here and hereHappy bidding!

Limited edition canvas bags now on sale

If you miss out on the little beauties above, then you can always buy a limited edition Indietracks 2011 canvas bag online for just £5.00 – these are now for sale along with the digital compilation of the festival over at the Make Do and Mend bandcamp pageBuy a bag and get a free automatic download of the compilation!

Winner of the festival prize draw

We’d also like to congratulate the winner of the filled goodie bag won in the festival prize draw, Lindsay Bilborrow of Heanor, who was thrilled to have won and was hand-delivered her prize by one of the Midland Railway staff. Well done Lindsay!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

2011 quiz answers!


Thanks very much to everyone who entered the quick quiz that we ran on this blog a week or so before the festival.

We tried to make the quiz a bit harder this year. However, for some reason, lots of you were able to identify the favourite crisp of John from Butcher Boy, the bass player on a 2003 Athlete b-side and the date when the first apple pie receipe was created. Seven people scored full marks on the quiz, and lots of others came very close, which was very disappointing. So next year, we're going to make the quiz fiendishly impossible. We will take it as a sign of our own failure if anyone dares to enter.

Anyway, for the second year running, it came down to a nail-biting tiebreak. Contestants were asked to come up with a fun name for a ficticious Indietracks workshop, drawing inspiration from real-life Indietracks workshops such as Knit Cave and the Bad Tweed. To be honest, it was a bit of a mixed bag. However, we're delighted to award first place and mystery Indietracks goodie bag to Lauren, who came up with "Say No To Gloves": a seminar (a) extolling the virtues of mittens as a superior hand warming garment and (b) teaching new converts how to crochet tiny ones for use as devices of propaganda. Congratulations Lauren!

The quiz answers are here: Indietracks blog 2011 quiz answers. Thanks again to everyone who took part!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

White Town - She's A Lot Like You

There's nothing we like more than one of our favourite pop stars shooting a video entirely at Indietracks, so imagine our excitement when we saw the video for White Town's new single 'She's A Lot Like You'. We LOVE it!

See if you can spot yourself and your friends!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Question Time 5: What makes Indietracks so special?

In the run-up to Indietracks 2011 we asked our panel: what makes Indietracks the special and unique and brilliant thing that it is? Having then had the time of our lives at the festival, we reckon they got it just about bang on. What do you think? See what the panel had to say and add a comment of your own...

The thing I love about Indietracks is the atmosphere of the place, the people who go there and the guys who volunteer over the weekend are all so cheery and happy-looking. You go round the site all weekend with a smile!
Toby Marshall, Birmingham (but from Wolverhampton)

Indietracks sticks to what it loves and what it believes in; it has principles. It is a festival at which indiepop bands play and lovers of all things indiepop create, participate and socialise. Just about nothing in life and in the mainstream world caters to our niche passions but here is a weekend where we have just about everything we could dream of, all beautifully packaged in a rural countryside location.
Jennifer, London (Colour Me Pop DJs and gigs)

Almost everyone you encounter seems to be a reasonable person.  The festival appears to shun corporate sponsorship and a lot of the stuff on the site is run by railway volunteers, which makes for a lovely atmosphere. Perhaps that's why people are so reasonable: it feels like we're guests at their place. Lastly, the music. Always a killer line-up.
Daniel, Sheffield (pop fan)

It's not a big corporate money-grabbing festival. It's small and has a lovely friendly atmosphere. It has ace music and you can dance in a train carriage!
Paula McCann, Nottingham (artist and superlative baker of cakes for popshows)

As far as I can tell it's the only 'proper' outdoor festival anywhere that is 100% dedicated to indiepop. There's nowhere else I can go away for a long weekend, drink real ale, ride on steam trains, see some of my favourite bands and say hello to people I don't get to see very often who love all of the things I've just mentioned.
Colin Meney, Glasgow (Half My Heart Beats DJs)

The most special unique and brilliant thing is by far and away the setting. Gigs on a train or in an old tin church are always a lot more special than anything you could see on a regular stage, and that colours the whole weekend. The bands usually being great helps, and then all that real ale business is great fun.
Josh Owen Morris, Cardiff (Grand Canonical Ensemble; Eruption Button DJs)

The location, the welcoming clientele, the fact it knows it doesn't have to try too hard, the fact that it draws people from all over the place to a specialist museum near a Midlands mining town with a low-key bill and few of the fripperies every other festival demands through reputation and taking care of the specifics alone.
Simon Tyers, Leicester (Sweeping The Nation blog and gigs, occasional reviewer/writer)

The location, the volunteers, the people who go, the grumpy campsite man, the bands, Gopal's Curry Shack, Real Ale, Dancing in a field, an engine shed, a church, trains. Oh yes and you welcome all ages....
Linda Chapman, Washington, Tyne & Wear (dressmaker and pop fan)

Every year I've been to Indietracks, I've made a new friend. Usually because I get drunk and start talking to strangers. Even if the music was pish, which it isn't, it'd be worth the trip for the people alone.
Carys Kennedy, London (The Give It Ups; Fall Out Make Up DJs)

I think of Indietracks as others might think of that special boy/girl in their life. I can't really put in to words why I love Indietracks. The obvious things like amazing pop bands, beautiful, friendly people, and beer don't seem to be enough to make my heart go 'fuck yea!' when I think of Indietracks, but it really is greater than the sum of its parts.
Ray K, Birmingham (City Sacker zine)

That it's all about the music and the friendliest weekend of the year. There's plenty of young and beautiful people there but you don't have to be either to have a great time!
Jane, London (pop fan)

The people, both involved in putting it on and attendees. It’s lovely to be able to walk around and know pretty much everyone in one way or another. It has such a wonderful temperament and an honest personality that you don’t get with a lot of festivals. Plus real ales and none of that Carling malarkey ­– that’s always a winner.
Robert Fairs, Derby (Seas of Mirth; Alice Ferguson; Dayglo Tokyo; Apples For Discos gigs)

I think it's the combination of a relatively small sized festival, lovely, unpretentious people, amazing bands and a special atmosphere with the trains and countryside that makes it feel like you really are a million miles away from the 'real world'. I think there's a general mood of happiness everywhere and in all the years I've been going, I've yet to witness any aggression or weirdness that can happen at bigger festivals. I think steam trains are still a bit magical for a lot of people, and they're not something we see or experience every day so it feels like a little escape. I guess there's still a childish glee to it for a lot of people (including me!) and when you add in bands and happy people, it's something you just don't get anywhere else.
Sandy Gill, London (Stolen Wine Social DJs)

In no particular order it is: the odd location, the brilliant music, the lovely people who attend and run the festival/railway museum and the real ale.
Dan Hartley, Sheffield (The Sweet Nothings; Pop-o-matic DJs)

Beautiful location, beautiful music, beautiful people.
Tim, Belfast (Words and Smiles blog)

The trains! It wouldn't be the same without the trains. And everyone is lovely without exception – it's welcoming to even the less indiepop-inclined like me – and the atmosphere is so friendly and brilliant. Plus there's always loads of lovely little babies to coo over.
Hayley, Nottingham (A Fog of Ideas gigs)

It has to be one of the (if not THE) most open, welcoming and non-judgemental festivals in the country. Aside from having the relaxed feel of an oversized village fete with great music and steam trains, it's also one of the most sociable environments I've been to. If you haven't made friends by the end of it, then the only logical conclusion is you've stayed in your tent for three days. Seriously.
Gareth Ware, Anglesey (pop fan)

I'd say it's a combination of atmosphere, friendly folk and the way the festival's run in general. Obviously, indiepop doesn't have a monopoly on DIY culture, but Indietracks certainly feels like a triumphant display of the potential of DIY music, with no greater goal than people (be they friends or friends they haven't met yet) sharing great music over the course of a weekend. If putting on a great show feels like you've managed to pull something off against the odds, imagine how the Indietracks organisers must feel. The best thing is that no-one is ever made to feel like just another punter – everyone's involved and important, on some level. That's kinda what the ideal of DIY means to me, and Indietracks encapsulates it.
Will Fitzpatrick, Liverpool (The 255s)

I'm sure everyone will say this, but it's just so friendly! We've moved towards smaller and smaller festivals over the years, but our first Indietracks (in 2008) was a complete revelation. It feels tailor-made for us, and for everyone else who goes!
Dan and Hannah, Sheffield (Pull Yourself Together gigs/label/DJs)

It takes place in a beautiful field where old trains are restored, it is filled with friendly volunteers, wonderful indiepop people of all ages, amazing bands, real ale, free train rides and not a sign of any corporate sponsorship or heavy-handed security. It's like another planet: the most heartfelt coming together of everything that's good about the world and undeniable proof that we can have fun and still be true, like you once said.
Marianthi Makra, London (Atomic Beat Records; Spiral Scratch gigs and DJs; Team Indietracks member)

Too many things to mention. The opportunity to discover new and amazing bands that you've never heard before, gorgeous steam rains, the lovely railway staff, delicious cheesy chips, crazy blue-coloured real ales, meeting people that you've previously only ever talked to on the internet, the beautiful surrounding countryside – I could go on... Indietracks has and always will be much more than the sum of its parts.
Nat, London (A Little Orchestra; Team Indietracks member)

The fact that it brings so many of my favourite bands together in the one place and the fact that that place just happens to be beautiful countryside that is also filled with steam trains and the nicest people you'll ever meet. 
Chris Gillies, Glasgow (The Hermit Crabs)

So, did they cover everything? Did you have a good time at Indietracks 2011? Post a comment, share the love, stay in touch. We'll make a better world one day.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Thanks for coming!

(Pic: C86ish)
Can it really be Monday already? How did the weekend fly past so quickly? It seems like only five minutes ago since we were perusing the real ales and readying ourselves to watch the opening bands.

First off, we want to say thank you to all the bands, DJs, workshoppers and merchandise tent volunteers who worked over the weekend - you did such a brilliant job! Secondly, we want to say a huge, huge thank you to all the Midland Railway staff and volunteers who worked so tirelessly over the weekend to make the festival so fantastic. We really can't thank you enough for all of your work - you're amazing!

And, most of all, we want to say a massive thanks to YOU for coming. We really value all the support that you continue to give us year after year, and also for all the helpful suggestions and feedback that you continue to give us. Thanks in particular for being so patient and understanding when we had a technical hitch with the Outdoor Stage on Saturday night - we really appreciated it!

You will have hopefully noticed the interior renovations to the station building at the Indietracks site, which were funded by the money you donated after last year's festival. If you would like to support the Midland Railway again, the best way is to make a donation when you download the Indietracks 2011 compilation, which features 40 fantastic songs by artists who played this year's festival. All proceeds from the compilation go to the railway.

We're currently sifting through the huge amount of photos, videos and reviews currently being uploaded, and we'll bring you a selection of some of our favourites over the next few days. Do keep popping back here over the next week or so.

In the meantime, do share your Indietracks photos with the Indietracks Flickr pool. And if you'd like discuss your thoughts and memories, why not visit the Anorak forum and tell everyone about your personal highlights?

We really hope you enjoyed the weekend! If you would like to keep up-to-date with future news about the festival, please follow us on Twitter or join our Facebook page. Alternatively, please sign up to our newsletter by e-mailing

Team Indietracks x

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Last minute reminders!

We hope you’re looking forward to the festival this weekend! Here's some last-minute information.

Getting In!

When to arrive: The gates will open at 5pm on the Friday and at midday on Saturday and Sunday (unless you’re coming to the 11am yoga session on the Sunday morning, in which case we’ll let you in early!).

Tickets: weekend tickets and day tickets (Saturday or Sunday) will be available on the gates. They’ll also be on sale online until at least Friday lunchtime from the Indietracks ticket page.

Getting to the site: You’ve hopefully sussed out how to get there by now, but just in case, there’s some advice on bus, rail, taxi and car-sharing options on our travel page. If you’re coming by car, please park at Butterley station and catch the train to the festival site (unless you’re in a band or crew, in which case you can park at Swanwick station).

Advance preparation!

Schedule: the timeslots for the bands, DJs and workshops will be printed in the festival programme and are also listed on the Indietracks schedule page.

IPhone and Android apps: For iPhone and Android mobile phone users, there are exciting, free-to-download Indietracks apps with a full guide to the festival. Download them here iPhone / Android.

Indietracks 2011 compilation: If you’re planning your music for the journey to Indietracks, don’t forget to download this year’s compilation. There’s 40 fantastic tracks featuring bands playing at this year's festival. All proceeds go to the Midland Railway charity: Indietracks 2011 compilation

Weather: the BBC five day forecast currently says ‘sunny intervals’ on Friday and Sunday and ‘sunny’ on Saturday. So it could rain or shine - please come prepared for sunshine on a rainy day or vice versa.

Moss Cottage: We've been informed that Moss Cottage is now closed until September for refurbishment. All guests who booked rooms for Indietracks should have been notified of the closure by the hotel. There’s more details here: Moss Cottage

Mixtape swap: There will be a mixtape swap. If you’d like to join in, please make a compilation CD and drop it in the box in the merchandise tent from Saturday afternoon onwards. Please return later and pick up a CD by 5pm on Sunday.

Cash: There isn’t a cash machine on site, so please stock up on money beforehand. There will be real ale, fine foods and inevitably tons of band merchandise and we wouldn’t want you to miss out!

Follow us on Twitter: we'll be tweeting during the festival @indietracksfest, so please come and follow us!

See you at the weekend! Choo choo!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Indietracks interview #29: Suburban Kids With Biblical Names

For today's interview, Paul from Scared To Dance has been chatting to Johan from our Friday night Indietracks headliners, Suburban Kids With Biblical Names!

Suburban Kids... is a Swedish band formed in December 2003 by Johan Hedberg and Peter Gunnarsson. They put two songs on an internet site in 2004 and soon after were signed to Labrador Records. The duo combine intelligent, often darkly humorous, lyrics and a bewildering mix of musical styles from skiffle through African hi-life and electronica to produce infectious DIY pop.

Their debut album #3 - following their first two EPs #1 & #2 - was released in 2005 by Labrador Records and subsequently released in the US by Minty Fresh and in the UK & Ireland by yesboyicecream records, receiving widespread critical acclaim.

Hi Johan, how excited are you about playing Indietracks this year? What do you know about the festival?

It’s going to be great fun. Peter played there with his and Linas other band Springfactory last year. I know it’s a big festival for music lovers who are into indiepop and various smaller genres. I haven’t had the time to look up on all of the other bands playing; hopefully I will be surprised and discover different new bands.

You haven’t put anything out for a couple of years now but I read recently that you have new songs you are working on. Will you be releasing new material soon?

I really hope so. It’s a long process. We released an EP (#4) back in 2009 and we also released a new song on a small label (Sound of Young Lötkärr Vol 2) last year. We’ve been working on different songs for quite some time now and some of them are pretty much finished. Now it's summer and we will probably start to work on the songs when we’ve had our vacation.

Tell us more about the songs. What are the ideas behind the music and lyrics?

The ideas behind the music and lyrics are pretty much the same. Depressive and funny at the same time. This time some lyrics lean towards more serious things too.

Labrador have an amazing roster at the moment with Acid House Kings, The Radio Dept., Sambassadeur, Pelle Carlberg. How important are they in promoting Swedish indiepop? Will your new songs be put out by them again?

Labrador is pretty big outside of Sweden. They are one of the biggest indiepop labels in Sweden and they are very good at putting out things in the world. They have helped us by being on their roster to get through to the rest of the world. Apart from that I don’t think you can call it a sound and I like that. AHK and The Radio Dept. have very different approach towards music but it’s always a certain quality to most of the things they put out. Our new album will be out by them if they have the patience to wait for slow guys like us.

Your EPs and album have all been numbered like Led Zeppelin used to. Why did you decide to do that? Will you be giving your releases titles from now on?

I don’t know why we decided on that, the first one we entitled #1 and then it was easy to follow on that concept. We’ve been talking about changing that theme but time will tell.

How do you find it with just two of you in the band? Do you ever get sick of each other on tour or does having a backing band with you help?

Having a backing band does help but we haven’t had that much trouble throughout the year. I think all people tend to get a little crazy when being on a tour because it’s such an intense thing. If you only have that in mind and let people have their space then things will work out fine.

Do you have plans to tour Europe this year?

We don't. We've only been planning this show.

You played recently Huset ved Sjøen festival in Norway. It looked like a unique festival with just nine bands on the bill. How was it? How much will your set differ at Indietracks?

It was a really magic festival. Set in an old Greek temple on a fjord outside of Oslo which was pretty sick and we played on a boat. With the audience standing on land in the temple. There were a lot of good bands playing that day. The setlist from that show will probably be pretty the same, I hope we can cram in some new stuff in there as well and some more old songs.

Will you be staying for the entire weekend? Are you camping or going upmarket and staying a hotel?

We are staying in a hotel and we will be there for the whole festival. Coming up on Friday.

Which bands are you looking forward to seeing the most at the festival?

Edwyn Collins, The Garlands, Jeffrey Lewis, Crystal Stilts.

Thanks! Suburban Kids With Biblical Names headline the Outdoor stage on Friday night at 9:15pm

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Moss Cottage

We've been informed that Moss Cottage, on Nottingham Road in Ripley, is now closed until September for refurbishment. All guests who booked rooms for Indietracks should have been notified of the closure by the hotel.

However, if you have booked a room there and have not received any information, you can contact the head office on 07739 339419 to discuss alternative options for accommodation. Alternatively, if you made your booking through Infotel, please contact 01775 843413 and they will be able to help.

Indietracks interview #28: The Sweet Nothings

The festival is sooo close now, and to ramp up the dizziness even further we thought we'd interview the most excited band we could find! The Sweet Nothings play indiepop songs that are sparkly, catchy and unfashionably sincere. Songs about love, trains, football, happiness, sadness, trains, opting out, and winning. And trains. They're a Sheffield band made up of Pete Green (singing and guitar), Vinnie Ransome (keyboard and more singing), Dan Hartley (bass) and Tim Boyd (drums). Their first single is released this summer in time for Indietracks: a double a-side comprising 'She's an Accountant' and 'Subterranean Moseley Blues'.

Hi, tell us a little bit about yourselves

Hello Indietracks! Veterans of the 2009 festival may remember our appearance in the church, in our previous incarnation as The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut. We remember it as possibly the best moment of our entire lives so far. The train whistles still haunt our dreams.

Who are we? We're four people in Sheffield giving it all we can, because the alternative of a life without pop and this passion is too unbearable to contemplate. Welcome aboard the 16:45 Sweet Nothings service to Happiness Central, calling at Wistful-on-Sea, Idealism Junction, Revolution Parkway and Leamington Spa. A trolley service will be providing a selection of train songs, protest songs and last-gasp love songs.

Has anything changed since 2009? We're still full of pop and sparkle and catchy tunes and mild desperation. And we're still obsessed with trains. But this time around we're a bit more kick-ass, a bit more political, a bit more having a GIRL and a Microkorg, and hopefully a bit less going to break a guitar string during our first song.

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

HELL YES! In fact we are having an Indietracks Tour Of Awesomeness to coincide with the release of our first single. And it is so insanely exciting that we've barely slept for the past three months. Though part of that might be tinnitus from Tim's drumming.

The Sweet Nothings were born for life on the road. Living for a week off chips, toast and Subway. Arguing over which voice on the hire car satnav sounds the sexiest. Treating the life-threatening ailments of our notoriously sickly keyboard player and bassist with Buttercup Syrup and Strepsils. Trying to get back to the promoter's house after the gig in time for the Shipping Forecast. We love it all.

The single is She's an Accountant/Subterranean Moseley Blues and it came out on Precordial Catch Records on 25 July. We confidently expect it to obliterate the entire system of global capital and sell about 162 copies.

Most of the tour is also the Math and Physics Club/Very Truly Yours tour, which makes it even more exciting. Ethan from MAPC saw us a few months ago supporting Eux Autres (who he was guesting with) and very generously invited us along. Pocketbooks are playing on those dates too. Pocketbooks would never be anything less than thrilling if we watched them every day of the rest of our lives. Not that we're stalking you or anything, Pocketbooks. But we do know what time you all left the house this morning.

The tour takes in Birmingham (Saturday 23 July), Manchester (Tuesday 26), London (Wednesday 27), Nottingham (Thursday 28) and Sheffield (Monday 1 August). Oh, and Indietracks. There's more about it on our website if anyone fancies a look. After all that we'll probably spend the rest of 2011 in bed to recover.

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

Vinnie speaks four languages. Tim can carry four pints of beer at the same time. Pete makes the best vegetarian fried breakfast in Sheffield. Dan is an amazing DJ and runs a brilliant night called Pop-o-Matic – they're on at the campsite disco on the Sunday of Indietracks. If you've ever wondered how it feels to dance to Jamelia right after The Aislers Set, you should get along.

What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?

Oh, we were just passing, you know. No, wait – we were just wanting to be part of the whole reason pop music exists in the first place. Part of a world where music is made for love and anger alone, and your first D chord on fresh strings never stops shimmering, and rockstar sexist bullshit can't reach and the pluggers can't plug and Brandon Flowers followed plan A and became a golfer instead, and James Blunt never even existed, and the corporate sponsors don't put banners up at festivals because nobody even sees them, and the X Factor means the love at a tipsy singalong on a dusty railway platform in the middle of the restless striving night.

And when all that noise is cleaned off the track, we can hear the pop music again. It's fresh and beautiful and it's as pure as a sine wave. It's the singing on 'Heart of Glass' and the guitar on 'The Red Door' and the organ on 'Hey Hey Girl' and the drums on 'Be My Baby'. And the 1-2-3-4 on the first Ramones song you think of. And all these years it's been waiting for us to come back.

Thanks for having us – we'll see you in Butterley. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Workshop interview #5: Rubberband Rockets

Today, we're chatting to Gareth and Jeanie from Rubberband Rockets, who will be explaining all about their workshop on the Saturday afternoon at Indietracks!

Hi, what's your workshop all about?

Our workshop this year will be about runaway trains. Visitors will design and build their own rubber-band powered wind-up locomotives from a big box of bits and bobs. At the end of the workshop, we'll race our creations in a wind-up steam train Grand Prix. There will be prizes galore!

Haven't we seen you somewhere before?

Yes! Last year we ran the Stop Motion Commotion workshop where we made an animation in an hour. You can see the results here:

How was Indietracks last time? Any interesting stories?

It was brilliant. Our highlight from last year was doing our workshop, the people who joined in were ace – we wish it could have been longer! Other highlights include: Allo Darlin on Friday, who were ace; Steve (Jeanie’s husband) becoming a known felon to the security guards for trying to sneak some cans of Guinness in – they checked him every time he went past, and Indiepop bingo (we’ll teach you how to play if you like)...

Can't wait to see the rockets - see you at the weekend!

Question Time 4: Tips for Indietracks?

Welcome back to Indietracks Question Time, pop fans. Last time we asked our panel which artist gave the best performance they've seen at Indietracks so far, and why? For this edition we're pooling their experience for the benefit of festival newcomers. The question is: what tip would you give to anyone coming to Indietracks for the first time this year? See what they reckon and post a comment below.

Don't be shy. Everyone's really friendly and nice at Indietracks.
Tim Hall, Belfast (Words and Smiles blog)

Say hello! We're all friendly here!
Carys Kennedy, London (The Give It Ups; Fall Out Make Up DJs)

Speak to anyone you feel like. Everyone at Indietracks is your new best mate.
Ray K, Birmingham (City Sacker zine)

I hope you don't feel like you have enough friends, because you're about to make a lot more. Also, a mac-in-a-bag is only about a fiver from Primark and they're quite handy.
Will Fitzpatrick, Liverpool (The 255s)

Bring spending money, as you will want to buy tons of records. You will discover loads of bands who you have never heard of before, who will have limited edition CDs/vinyl/merch with them that you will NEED to buy. Oh, and you will also need a fair chunk for the ale as well, because the selection of beers is always SUPERB. And a must know bit of inside information – if you drop Sean Price's name into any conversation you have with people you don't know then they will accept you as an old friend.
Dan and Hannah, Manchester (Pull Yourself Together gigs/DJs)

Make sure you leave some time to see the trains, and do make the most of the railway! There's lots of little brilliant things to discover around the site, from the souvenir shop and the big shed full of old engines, to the Golden Valley Light Railway and the model railway museum. Ooh, and don't forget to try the cheesy chips in Johnson's Buffet. They're HEAVENLY.
Nat, London (A Little Orchestra; Team Indietracks member)

It would have been to book the Premier Inn or Travelodge months ago. That's really unhelpful, isn't it? Maybe to find out about the train times. If you turn up at the end of the track, you may have to wait for quite a while before you can reach the main festival site by train.
Daniel, Sheffield (pop fan)

Have a gander at some of the bands beforehand and get an idea of who you want to see. There are some real good 'uns at this festival and it would be a shame if you missed them and heard about them afterwards. I did the same thing with Red Pony Clock and was a bit annoyed that I missed them.
Robert Fairs, Derby (Seas of Mirth; Alice Ferguson; Dayglo Tokyo; Apples For Discos gigs)

It's absolutely essential that you put the running order into a spreadsheet and highlight all the bands you want to see, flagging up any potential clashes to avoid undue disappointment. What do you mean, that's just me? If they’re camping I would highly recommend bringing earplugs so that they get a good night’s sleep.
Colin Meney, Glasgow (Half My Heart Beats DJs)

Don't get too attached to any of the beers – they may run out! Start a conversation with anyone you like if you're that way inclined.
Chris Gillies, Glasgow (The Hermit Crabs)

If you're camping and don't like queues, get up really early if you want a shower. And stay away from the real ale. The Sweet Nothings want to drink it all.
Dan Hartley, Sheffield (The Sweet Nothings; Pop-o-matic DJs)

Don't be afraid to say hello to people, everyone's lovely! Also if they have that orange atomic cider again this year, get in there fast because it sells like liquid gold.
Toby Marshall, Birmingham (but from Wolverhampton)

Advice that I ignore on a regular basis – the beer won't run out by Friday night so you don't need to drink your own body weight on the first night; drink lots of water, plan your trips to see bands in the church; bring healthy snacks and, if you're camping, earplugs.
Jane, London (pop fan)

Bring cocktail-making equipment, and then stuff to make Martinis. That way, when I run out we can share. Also camping is more fun, the dancing is better.
Josh Owen Morris, Cardiff (Grand Canonical Ensemble; Eruption Button DJs)

If you're gonna go dancing in the tent, amongst the rocks, DON'T wear your favourite white patent maryjanes. They will be destroyed forever and hanging on to them in the hopes that they'll be 'fixed' won't bring them back from the dead.
Sandy Gill, London (Stolen Wine Social DJs)

Go and sit on the train next to people you don't know and talk to them. The stationary bar carriage next to the loco shed is especially brilliant for that. And make the most of the free train rides. And tell the railway volunteers how much you love them at every opportunity. And the bands.
Marianthi Makra, London (Atomic Beat Records; Spiral Scratch gigs and DJs; Team Indietracks member)

Get to the church on time!
Linda Chapman, Washington, Tyne & Wear (dressmaker and pop fan)

Book the Premier Inn or the Travelodge if you don't like camping, and try the Sainsbury's cooked breakfast at least once. Also take a fan and lots of fluids if you're planning on sitting in the church for more than five minutes. It gets hot!
Hayley, Nottingham (A Fog of Ideas gigs)

Indietracks is so stress-free that thankfully you don’t have to worry about when you’re going to take a shower, use the loo or eat. All of those necessities really are available and accessible. If someone was attending for the first time, I would recommend really digging in and investigating the line-up in advance, particularly the bands they don’t know. Don’t just stick to watching the bands you do know because there are lots of incredible international gems of bands that don’t perform together any more or never in the UK or are just playing a one-off gig. This year, you can’t miss Sloppy Joe and Next Time Passions!
Jennifer, London (Colour Me Pop DJs and gigs)

I'd recommend talking to people in toilet queues.
Paula McCann, Nottingham (artist and superlative baker of cakes for popshows)

By Sunday, make sure you allow a good five or ten minutes extra to get anywhere in order to allow for bumping into the lovely people you'll INEVITABLY meet over the the weekend.
Gareth Ware, Anglesey (pop fan)

If you've been to Indietracks before, what's your tip? If you haven't, what do you want to know? Shout up in the comments and we'll get all the world's problems solved by teatime.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Indietracks interview #27: Just Handshakes (We're British)

Hailing from Leeds, Just Handshakes (We’re British) formed on a dingy industrial estate and bonded over their shared love of gin and Swedish pop. As well as being chosen as Steve Lamacq’s unsigned feature of the week and receiving radio airplay on BBC 6 Music from Tom Robinson, JHWB have enjoyed support slots with bands such as The XX, Theoretical Girl, Hjaltalin, Blue Roses and The Kabeedies. 

Hi, tell us a little bit about yourselves
We are Clara, Michael, Edward and Jim. We live in Leeds and play indie pop music.

Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?
This year has been pretty exciting so far, we’ve played with lots of great bands like Pete and the Pirates and Allo Darlin’ and in April our new single came out on Elefant Records as part of the New Adventures In Pop Collection. We’re playing some festivals over the next few months and then after the Summer we are going to start recording our first album, which we are all really excited about.

What's going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?
We listen to lots of different stuff when we’re driving to gigs. I guess it depends what we’re in the mood for. Apparently Edward has made a special driving compilation which includes the following tracks:
‘Road to Nowhere’
‘On the Road Again’
‘Thunder Road’
‘Road to Joy’
‘Long and Winding Road’
‘Stanley Road’

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Indietracks festival?
There seems to be lots of Elefant bands playing this year so it will be nice to go and watch some of them, especially Papa Topo. We’ve played with Help Stamp Out Loneliness and The History of Apple Pie before and they are both great bands and lovely people, so we’ll definitely be going to see them too. We’re also looking forward to seeing Jeffrey Lewis and Herman Dune. When all the bands have finished and it’s time to have a dance I think we’ll head over to the DJ tent for our friends Pull Yourself Together & Underachievers Please Try Harder!

Thanks, see you on the dancefloor!

Indietracks interview #26: Apple Eyes

Apple Eyes is an electro pop band formed in London in 2009. Taking their influences from the likes of Deerhoof, of Montreal and the Flaming Lips, they make catchy slices of pop that twist and turn unexpectedly beneath the surface. Their recent single, 'Wild Beasts' received radio play from BBC 6music's Tom Robinson, and the band have played shows with Allo Darlin', The Electric Soft Parade, The Puncture Repair Kit and the mighty Ooberman! Today we're chatting to Claire and Matt from the band...

Hi Claire and Matt, tell us about Apple Eyes

We're a female fronted indie/pop/electronic band from London. We started writing songs together in 2009, while we were playing in the indie band The Hidden Messages (together with our guitarist Kenny). We recorded a lot at home and had songs played on 6Music, but it wasn't until earlier this year that we started gigging with the full band – Claire, Matt, Kenny, Alex and Dan. We released a download single Wild Beasts last week. We're influenced by the likes of Phoenix, the Flaming Lips, Cornelius, Deerhoof and Elliott Smith, to name a few - you might hear bits of all of these in our songs.

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

This isn't strictly a gig, but we were invited to one of Tom Robinson's parties a while ago after he played our song on his 6Music show – it had a masquerade theme, so it was all slightly surreal with everyone wearing masks, but really good fun. In the early hours of the morning we were corralled into playing a few acoustic versions of our songs – we'd never played them live before, but we got through them and the audience seemed to like it. Of course, they were all wearing masks so there was no way of knowing for sure...

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

All of us are also members of A Little Orchestra, who are playing on Sunday evening – Claire & Matt on violins, Alex on bassoon, Dan on percussion and Kenny on all sorts of stringed instruments, including his newest acquisition, the harp(!). We haven't quite incorporated the bassoon or harp into an Apple Eyes song yet, but it can only be a matter of time. Members of ALO are also collaborating with Pocketbooks and Haiku Salut over the weekend which we're really excited about.

Claims to fame... Kenny and Matt were a couple of years above Aston Villa and England striker Darren Bent at school... they taught him everything he knows about the beautiful game. Also, Claire's cousin's husband's sister's ex-boyfriend used to drum for Ozzy Osbourne... does that count?

What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?

Indietracks combines our two loves of indie-pop music and locomotion! When Matt was small his Grandpa built a little steam engine and railway line at the bottom of the garden, so he's going to spend the whole weekend talking about steam pressure and heat transfer. The rest of us are going to enjoy seeing the bands – particularly Pocketbooks, Model Village, Chris T-T, Edwyn Collins and The Hidden Cameras. This is our first time at Indietracks but we've heard great things about it. This is our first festival appearance and we're really excited that it's going to be at Indietracks!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Sunday afternoon pop quiz with Gordon Ballboy!

Gordon McIntyre is enjoying an illustrous musical career: five ballboy albums, five John Peel sessions, sell out tours across Europe, America and Japan and a hit Musical 'Midsummer'. And next weekend, he'll be able to add Indietracks 2011 quizmaster to his CV when he and Katey from Spiral Scratch host our Sunday afternoon quiz in the workshop tent! They've both joined us today to tell us a bit more about it...

Hiya, how's this quiz going to work then?
It will be an indiepop quiz in the style of a traditional pub-quiz. It takes place in the traditional Sunday "hungover tae fuck" slot of 1pm so have your Bloody Mary's and Hairs of the Dog beside you for comfort. There's no charge, we are part of the Socialist Collective of Pub Quizzers. We provide our questions for the common good.

What are you most looking forward to this year at Indietracks?
Drinking, meeting up with pals watching bands we know (Jeffrey Lewis, Hidden Cameras, Withered Hand and especially Suburban Kids) and hopefully discovering some we don't.

Have you been to Indietracks before? Any interesting stories to divulge?
We've been to Indietracks many times between us. Have had some of our best weekends ever there.

Do you have any festival or camping tips?
Yes - make sure if you are camping that your tent is pitched securely within a larger structure with an en-suite bathroom such as a Travelodge or Premier Inn.

Thanks - see you next weekend!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Workshop interview #4: Knit Cave and the Bad Tweeds

Eek, we've quite a few blog things to get through before the festival starts next weekend! Let's press on with the next in our series of workshop interviews. Today we're chatting to Rachael who's running an impressively-named knitting workshop on the Sunday afternoon at Indietracks.

Hi Rachael, tell us about the workshop
We're Leeds Guerilla Knitting Group 'Knit A Bear Face' presenting 'Knit Cave and the Bad Tweeds'. Our workshop is going to be a knitting one, where we will be showing people how to knit instruments and various other objects. Or even a scarf.

The workshop is free. Wool and needles will be provided, but people are also welcome to bring their own.

What are you looking forward to at Indietracks?
We will be looking forward to knitting on a train and of course the workshop and all the amazing bands and atmosphere of Indietracks.

Have you been to the festival before?
I went to Indietracks in 2008 to play on a train with my band The Seven Inches and I liked twirling people in the disco.

Finally, any camping tips?
Take a nicely baked cake!

Thanks Rachael. You can find out more at the Knit A Bear Face Facebook page.

Indietracks 2011 Quiz!

Okay, it's Friday and its only one week until Indietracks begins. Hopefully, you've sorted out all your travel, accommodation and tickets, in which case you can relax and have a go at our Indietracks 2011 quiz!

We've a special and exclusive Indietracks goodie bag for whoever gets the most answers right. Please send your entries to by 2pm on Wednesday 27 July. We'll stick up the answers and announce the winner shortly after. Okay, here goes:

1. Which of the following is a Stars Of Aviation song about one of our Indietracks 2011 stars:
a) Herman Dune slept on my floor
b) Edwyn Collins lent me his phone
c) Norman Blake stole my car

2. Suburban Kids With Biblical Names are headlining our Friday night. Which of the following is not a Biblical name (as far as we can tell from the internet)?
a) Chloe
b) Bethany
c) Amanda
d) Naomi

3. When is the Midland Railway Centre open?
a) Every single day, including Christmas Day specials.
b) It’s not open in December or January in case of leaves and snow on the lines
c) It closes on August Bank Holidays for ‘essential engineering’ works
d) Every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day

4. Which of these is a song by Math and Physics Club?
a) April Showers
b) June Brides
c) November Rain
d) December Boy

5. Name this Indietracks 2011 band

6. Who played on the b-side of a song by indie-rock stars Athlete in 2003?
a) Brad Hargett from Crystal Stilts
b) Philippa Bloomfield from Dignan Porch
c) Graeme Elston
d) Paul John Sarel from Heroes of the Mexican Independent Movement

7. Which Indietracks 2011 artist writes a weekly column on the arts for national left-wing newspaper The Morning Star?
a) Withered Hand
b) Chris T-T
c) Remi Parson
d) Frances Mckee

8. Colm and Bentley from Help Stamp Out Loneliness used to be in which indiepop band?
a) Amida
b) Language of Flowers
c) Strange Idols

9. Name three Indietracks 2011 bands with names that involve parts of the human body

10. How many bands are featured on the Indietracks 2011 charity download compilation?
a) 20
b) 25
c) 35
d) 40

11. For which of the following bands did Joel Gibb from the Hidden Cameras recently contribute backing vocals?
a) The Decemberists
b) REM
c) Sonic Youth
d) Weezer

12. Based on our minimal research and geography knowledge, which band are based the furthest distance away from Indietracks?
a) Math and Physics Club
b) Sloppy Joe
c) Zipper
d) Haiku Salut

13. The History Of Apple Pie play at the festival this year, but when is the earliest recording of an apple pie recipe in the UK?
a) The fourteenth century, in the days of Chaucer and Richard II
b) The sixteenth century, as enjoyed by Shakespeare and Henry VIII
c) The nineteenth century, created especially for Queen Victoria

14. Who were Indietracks' first ever DJs? (HINT: they wrote a piece for the Indietracks blog this year!)

15. Name three bands from the 2011 Indietracks line-up who have food in their name?

16. According to their biography on the Indietracks website, which band describe themselves as originating from a message in a bottle?
a) A Fine Day For Sailing
b) Very Truly Yours
c) The Sweet Nothings
d) Guatafan

17. How many museums are there at the Midland Railway Centre?
a) Museums? Eugh!
b) The whole site is one single living museum of indiepop past, present and future!
c) Four – with everything from historic fork-lift trucks and buses to locomotives and much more!

18. What is Withered Hand’s real name?
a) Dan Popplewell
b) Dan Chapman
c) Dan Willson
d) Dan Johnston

19. What is the favourite type of crisp of John Blaine Hunt from Butcher Boy?
a) Red Hula Hoops
b) Pickled Onion Monster Munch
c) Worcester Sauce flavoured Wheat Crunchies
d) Spicy Nik Naks

20. Which of these is the name of an Indietracks 2011 workshop?
a) Knit The Nine O’ Clock News
b) Amy’s Origami Army
c) Theatre Of Sock
d) The Felt Tips’ Felt Tip Top Tips

Tiebreaker: please come up with your own fun name or idea for an Indietracks workshop – in the unlikely event that two or more people enter this quiz and score the same, we’ll pick the person with the best unique name as the winner!

Remember, please send your answers to by 2pm on Wednesday 27 July.

Good luck!!