Thursday, 11 December 2008

Reviews of Christmas Twee!

Hello everyone! Well.....have you recovered yet? Wasn't it GREAT! Who can forget the Christmassy marquee, the storming sets from all three bands, that Snowman outfit and the disco in the dark? There's already a few reviews online - check out the blog of Kris from A Smile and a Ribbon, who entertained everyone with his wonderfully chosen records - and you can see his uber-impressive playlist there too! Also, we just want to say a big thanks to reviewer Julie Weston and her young daughter Mabel who came along from Egigs- visit the site to see her fun review and pictures.

Some of our fave photos from the night are in this post - including one of organiser Stuart looking slightly crazed - but you can also see more on Emma Pocketbooks' Flickr page!

Thanks again to everyone who came and made it such a wonderful evening. From everyone at Team Indietracks, hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! xxx

Friday, 5 December 2008

Interview with Horowitz!

Only one more day to go til Christmas Twee now, and we can barely contain our excitement any more - don't forget to make your Secret Santa CDs! There's also a really useful running order up now on the website too. Good luck choosing your dancing shoes and glitzy festive outfts! In the meantime, the ever lovely Horowitz talk to us about attracting indiepop bands to Stoke, their year in music and what makes their perfect Christmas...

Hello Horowitz! You're managing to attract lots of top-notch bands to play in little old Stoke-on-Trent at the moment through your Sunny Inside nights - how's that going and what will happen in the future?

Ian: It's not going! At least, not for the forseeable future. The Glebe is closing, as far as we know, so the legendary Marillion painting may be lost forever.
Pete: Stoke's dead in the water for indiepop, so that was reason enough to have a go and do it. We got inspired by Spiral Scratch and the bands and shows around the SPC label in Sheffield and once we discovered how easy it was to make a manageable financial loss on each night, there was no stopping us! Really, it's been great and that's been largely thanks to the bands we've asked who haven't thought that playing in Stoke is a waste of their time and effort. We're very grateful! They've all been memorable popshows for one reason or another. I mean, who can forget Fairy's (Deirdres) rugby tackle on Mark Hibbett as he was about to take to the stage? Or how about all of A Smile And a Ribbon plus cases squashed into my car and me looking in the mirror, seeing a jumble of happy but tired faces crammed together. Then there was the Cloudberry records night (one of our proudest moments), where we put together a zine and Roque provided the 3"cdr. There have been the small but magical moments too, like people bursting into spontaneous applause after a Pocketbooks soundcheck; Pete Green filling in on the spot, playing a great set on electric guitar; tattooed barstaff sequence dancing to the Parallelograms. I could go on and on. The nights have been as friendly and informal as we can make them, and there's always a few tables booked at the local curryhouse for the food and get together afterwards. That seems to be a recurrent theme - the post-popshow curry and most bands seem keen on the idea! We've been very lucky in that there've been people like Marianthi, Dunc and Debbie, Trev, Popkid and Pete G who've made numerous visits. Rocker, our Sunny Inside resident DJ, travels up from Bristol for the nights - and drives back the same night! It's enthusiasm like this that sustains us - that and the "wasn't that a great night" feeling.

What are Horowitz's plans for the next year or so?

Pete: We have a raft of recording to do - a single on This Almighty Pop, a 7" single on Lost Music and a Jonathan Richman cover on a Fortuna Pop compliation album. Before any of those should be the release of a 7" single on the superdooper Cloudberry Records and a track called Drop The Hat on a WeePOP! compliation. We'd like to play around the UK in places we haven't yet played and we'd love to get over to Sweden too. Fingers crossed, we can make it to the 09 New York popfest - if we can get work permits, of course! ;)
Ian: The plan is to get those records done and dusted.

What attracted you to playing at Christmas Twee, when you were asked to step in for Cars Can Be Blue?

Ian: We would have come along anyway! I really enjoyed DJing on the train last year with my friend Jamie C, so I have lots of fond memories of Christmas Twee.
Pete: We were looking forward to coming along as spectators/drunken dancers, when Stuart invited us on to the bill to replace Cars Can Be Blue after their awful experience with customs. Naturally, we were delighted to be asked.

What can fans expect from your Christmas Twee appearance?

Ian: Beards. And a couple of new songs! We had stopped playing our cover of Jonathan Richman's Government Center, but Pocketbooks are insistent, so we're not going to argue.
Pete: It'll be fuzzy and noisy! We'll be playing both tracks from the Cloudberry 7", if we can stand up by that point (the real ale bars are a big attraction!) but if anyone's expecting us to be wearing Santa hats they'll be disappointed!

Oh no! I'm sure you would've looked great in them! What have been your fave indiepop moments from the last year?

Ian: Everytime we've played with the Manhattan Love Suicides has been pretty special. Having Zipper come over from Spain was something else.
Pete: Yes, it was an amazing time when Zipper were over. It was the first time we'd organised anything like that and to get to play shows with them was great! The Manhattans playing Heat And Panic as the last song at the Glebe was a perfect ending. I love that song! There have been so many memorable moments:- personally, helping Pete Green out with recording his Platform Zero ep was a great thrill and a lot of fun to do; joyful shows with Liechtenstein and A Smile And A Ribbon; reading Trev's (Lost Music) Pains Of Being Pure At Heart tour diary, where you can feel him getting more and more tired as the week goes on; being ecstatic at the Pains/Manhattans show in London and Pocketbooks at Indietracks; the New York popfest; Indietracks.......

What are you listening to at the moment? Are there are any new bands you're excited about?

Ian: I have been revisiting the sounds of my teenage years, so lots of Pavement, Sparklehorse and Yo La Tengo. The Give It Ups are exceptional and well worth checking out
Pete: Right now - "The Give It Ups sing" cd. I love it! The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut are a great pop group.

Tell us what makes a perfect Christmas for Horowitz..

Ian: Stilton, walnuts and real ale! I like spending time with the family.
Pete: I try to forget all about it! I like a few beers but that's normally the case!

Good luck Horowitz - we'll look forward to seeing you on the Santa train! Lovely chappies that they are, they've also give us a free mp3 for you. Called 'How to Look Imploring", it's the A side from their forthcoming Cloudberry Records 7'' due to be released early next year, and it's FANTASTIC! Enjoy!

Free MP3 download: How to Look Imploring

Monday, 1 December 2008

Horowitz join the Christmas Twee bill

Horowitz are Ian and Pete from Stoke-On-Trent. They are into all things DIY, noisy and FUN! Their infectiously catchy fuzz-guitar pop tunes have already delighted pop kids at the Indietracks 2007 festival, and now we're pleased to announce that they're back to play at Christmas Twee!

They released their debut album, Frosty Cat Songs in 2006, a must-have for any indiepop record collection, and have since released the excellent Traceyanne single.

We're really excited that they're joining us!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Secret Santa CD swap and raffle!

Cor, not long to go untl Christmas Twee now! We don’t know about you but we’re already thinking about which dancing shoes to wear. So before you become preoccupied with such things too, we thought this was a good time to remind you about a few other things happening besides the bands and DJ.

Secret Santa CD Swap
Make a mix CD of whatever you like and put it on a CD. If you're feeling particularly festive, you could even decorate it, design a cover, or wrap it up in cute Christmas paper! Be as creative as you want, or not at all – after all, it’s the thought that counts! Drop it into the Secret Santa CD box when you arrive at Butterley Station, and during the evening a draw will be made and everyone who brought a CD will take someone else’s home!

We've got some exciting prizes in the raffle, so be sure to enter and collect your ticket on the way in! Prizes have been donated by the bands playing on the night, and there might just be a few more surprises in there too!

Train rides
Chances are if you've never been to Indietracks before then you've never been to a disco on a moving steam train! Our words can't describe how exciting it is, so instead, here's some video taken of some very over-excited indie kids taken at the very first event in April 2007:

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Cars Can Be Blue no longer to play Christmas Twee

Unfortunately we've had some sad news today that headliners Cars Can Be Blue will no longer be able to play their planned UK dates, including Christmas Twee on 6th December. This is due to the band unexpectedly having to return to the United States at short notice. We're really sorry to get this news, as we're sure they are too, and we'd like to wish them all the best.

A donation page has been set up if you'd like to help them get back some of the money they lost on their flights to the UK - every little bit helps!

We'll be making a further announcement shortly about plans for the night, so watch this space!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Some sad news....

Hello everyone, we're sorry to announce today that Mighty Mighty have had to pull out of headlining Christmas Twee due to last-minute, unforseen circumstances.

We're really sad about this - we were so looking forward to seeing them reunited once again - but hopefully they may put in a performance at next year's summer festival. However, we CAN now announce that the wonderful Cars Can Be Blue will now headlining the entire show. Yay! We're super-super excited about this one - CCBB are one of the wittiest, poppiest indiepop bands around at the moment, and we're sure they're going to get everyone's Christmas off to a wonderful start! They will now be playing in the marquee rather than in the train, so there will be lots more room to try out your best shimmying dance moves!

We'll be posting again tomorrow with detailsof our very special Christmas Twee raffle and also the Secret Santa CD swap - you'd better start hunting through your Christmas records now!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Cars Can Be Blue added to the bill!

Phew! It’s been a busy week over at old Indietracks Towers. A few of us popped over to the wonderful indiepop all-dayer at Lee Rosy’s on Sunday, held in aid of the Midland Railway where all our Indietracks events take place. It was so heart-warming to see so many familiar faces, and you can read what everyone got up to over on the Anorak forum. It’s not all dancing and cake though, we’ve also been busy finalising all the last-minute preparations for Christmas Twee, including organising the Secret Santa CD swap and raffle, sorting out band and disco arrangements and – most importantly – adding a new band to our already sparkly line-up! That’s right, we can now finally announce that the fantastic Cars Can Be Blue have now been added to the bill – hurray!

The Athens-based duo, made up of Nate and Becky, formed in 2002 after Nate’s cover band and Becky’s comedy improv group broke up, leaving them free to work together on their unique fusion of comedy and music. Their 2005 debut record, All The Stuff We Do, received rave reviews for its witty combination of humorous lyrics and pop-punk sounds, and brilliant new album Doubly Unbeatable is out now on Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records. We just can’t wait to hear all the new songs performed live – shimmying along to some cheeky lyrics in the Santa carriage surely awaits!

Don’t forget that tickets are now available to buy online at We Got Tickets – they’re very limited so you’ll need to snap one up quickly if you want a bit o-steam action this Christmas!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Interview with Mascot Fight!

Howdy there kiddas, how are you feeling today? Isn't the weather bonkers at the moment? One minute it's a gorgeous Autumn morning, the next you're sheltering under a wind-knackered umbrella with bird-nest hair and a soaked-through raincoat. I know lots of you will be popping along to this Sunday's Midland Railway benefit gig at the wonderful Lee Rosy's in Nottingham, so make sure you're armed with your brollies! Lots of Indietracks bands will be playing, such as Pete Green, the Bobby McGees and Pocketbooks, and we'll be posting up a review and piccies here as soon as we can!

Of course, also appearing at this Sunday's gig are Mascot Fight, who are playing at Christmas Twee on December 6. (Ooh, quick reminder to get your tickets now from We Got Tickets, they're selling really fast and you don't want be without a bit o' steam action this Christmas!)

The Derby-based guitar popsters, who have been all over the airwaves since they formed in 2004, join us this week to tell us about their Christmas Twee plans....

Hello there Mascot Fight - nice to meet you! The summer Indietracks festival has been going for a couple of years now, but Christmas Twee is a little bit different. What attracted you to playing there?

Well, you don't often get the chance to play a gig that combines Santa, trains and pop music! And there's a raffle- amazing! Tom also used to LOVE going to Butterley as a kid, so it's a nice nostalgia trip too.

Wow- youngster steam train-based action! And what can fans expect from your Christmas Twee appearance?

We'll do our level (crossing!) best to provide some catchy songs to rival Jingle Bells, Let it Snow et al in terms of popping into people's heads over the festive season! If you turn up expecting Pavement-lite, you possibly won't be disappointed.

Hmm, sounds interesting! What do you think of the current indiepop scene at the moment?

Scandinavia appears to have a production line of excellent pop bands right now- it's like a modern day Viking invasion. The heavy influence of old British and American bands is apparent, but it sounds fresh and exciting - perhaps more so than anywhere else right now. Much closer to home, Derby always seems to have a few good indiepop bands. We've recently sadly lost Plans & Apologies and The Deirdres, but we still have Lardpony and My Psychoanalyst (who are less poppy but still excellent).

What records are you listening to at the moment? Are there are any new bands you're excited about?

Ooh, name-dropping time........

Rich - Darren Hanlon, Hello Saferide, Billie the Vision, Future of the Left.
Sean - Frightened Rabbit, Narrator, Oh No! Oh My!
Matt - Deerhoof, Youthmovies, Of Montreal, Pete & the Pirates.
Tom - Faded Paper Figures, The Dodos, Bricolage. All these bands seem to be doing good stuff lately!

We're big fans of lots of those bands over here at Indietracks Towers, but what about your band? What are Mascot Fight's plans for the next year?

We have an album (Pantomime Hearse) out at the beginning of the year, which we intend to tour a bit before heading back to the studio to record an EP. We're constantly writing new stuff, a lot of which we demo but never play live, leading to a gazillion obscure tracks and a handful that are listenable enough to record properly! We don't like to stand still for long! That said, it took us about a million years to do the album...

We'll look forward to hearing it - sounds exciting! Just one last thing before you go - tell us what makes a perfect Christmas for Mascot Fight..

A perfect Christmas would involve a top-notch roast dinner, crackers that contain genuinely useful items, enough snowfall for snowballs..... erm.... world peace (to sneak the altruistic one in) and perhaps a glimpse of the REAL Santa Claus, defying gravity on a rare night at work.

Sounds perfect! Thanks Mascot Fight - we'll look forward to getting all Christmassy with you next month! The band have given us an exlusive mp3 of their song Haha, That's Not Anarchy - just click on the link below!

Mp3 download: Haha, That's Not Anarchy

Friday, 7 November 2008

Interview with Phil Wilson!

Hello there popkids! Not long now until the Indietracks benefit gig in Nottingham on Sunday November 16, and of course Christmas Twee on Saturday December 6 - you need to snap up tickets online quickly for this one, there's only a limited amount available! Linking both events is the lovely Phil Wilson, June Brides founder and all round indiepop god. He's been extremely busy preparing for his performances, but has somehow still managed to find time in his hectic schedule to talk to little 'ol us about the joys of playing with his new band and what we can expect from his performance at Christmas Twee.......

Hi Phil, you've been so busy since you decided to start making music again last year. What inspired you to start recording again?

There were a few things that got the ball rolling for me again. I'd lived and worked for 20 years in London, and was getting mighty sick and tired of it. The stress of my job had actually got me into hospital with a suspected stroke. It wasn't - I'd simply collapsed with stress. And then Grant McLennan died. It just hit me that life is short and precious, and that I was wasting it by being unhappy in London. So I resigned my job, and we sold our flat and moved to Devon. The natural thing to then do was to pick up the guitar in earnest again and see if I could write...

You've got a new band now - how is it that going and how does it feel to be performing alongside a band again?

It's fantastic having a band! And they whip up a storm. Arash Torabi (bass) and Andy Fonda (drums) joined me about three months ago and are terrific. I'd done a few gigs with just me and an mp3 player providing the backing tracks. They were fun, but there just isn't the spark that you get from playing live with other people. I feel rejuvenated!

What attracted you to playing at Christmas Twee?

I cannot tell a lie! The idea of wrapping up an indie night with some lovely steam trains was just too good an opportunity to miss.

Too right! And what can fans expect from your Christmas Twee appearance?

They can expect some old June Brides and Phil Wilson songs, with a few numbers of mine and one or two cover versions (strictly chosen with dancing in mind!). But it's a different sound to the June Brides, that's for sure. Expect a lot of rockin'.

You were a massive part of the C86 scene - what do you think of the current indiepop scene it has inspired? You've already played alongside many of the new bands, such as Pocketbooks and MJ Hibbett for example....

What has been terrific, and a little surprising, is that the legacy of what was a small UK scene seems to have become such a worldwide phenomenon. It actually feels healthier and stronger than it did in 1986. Which is bizarre! I've played with a lot of great new young bands this year who clearly have record collections full of sixties jangle and C86. It's great to see so many people playing and enjoying this music, and embracing the ideals (chiefly of independence and mutual support) that were important to myself and many of the bands who were active in the 80's scene.

What records are you listening to at the moment? Are there are any new bands you're excited about?

I'm listening to much the same type of music as I always have - sixties pop, sixties soul, reggae, Krautrock, punk rock, country, new wave and, of course, indie pop! There are some really good new (ish) bands out there on the indie scene. Summer Cats, the Tartans, POBPAH, Pants Yell! and Let's Wrestle spring to mind. And Davy Henderson (Fire Engines/Win/Nectarine No. 9) is doing fantastic stuff with his new band the Sexual Objects. And let's not forget the lovely MJ Hibbett....

What are your plans for the next year?

I'm hoping to get together enough songs to record a new album for Slumberland Records. And to get out and play a lot more concerts. We have a small German tour in February...and are open to offers after that!

Phew - sounds like you're going to be extremely busy! Just one final question - tell us what makes a perfect Christmas for you..

A frosty Christmas morning with that beautiful, soft, winter sunlight. Then out for a walk and hot soup at the seaside. Then home to a roaring fire and stuffing myself stupid with too much food and booze.

Sounds perfect to us Phil - Christmas can't come too soon for us over at Indietracks Towers! See you very soon...Phil has very kindly given us an exclusve mp3 - "I Own It", which is an unreleased demo of a new song - enjoy!

Free MP3 Download: I Own It

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Indiepop DJ announced!

It looks like winter has well and truly set in. The hats and mittens have come out, and some of us have even had snow already! But don't worry, it'll be warm at Christmas Twee, and it's looking to be a very exciting night with the addition of Kris from Malmo's finest indiepop club Don't Die On My Doorstep as this year's DJ!

You might remember Kris from earlier on in the year when he appeared on this blog telling us about his must-see bands at this year's festival. When he's not spinning the indiepop tunes, he also writes the excellent and essential music blog Heaven Is Above Your Head and is a member of A Smile And A Ribbon. Where does he find the time? Luckily for us, he's managed to find some of it to come over to Butterley, and if his recent set at London's How Does It Feel To Be Loved is anything to go by, we're in for a real treat!

If you haven't got your tickets yet, don't forget you can now buy them online as well as over the phone. Just go to or phone 01773 747 674. There's a limited amount available, so book early!

Friday, 17 October 2008

Christmas Twee tickets available online!

Hello everyone, just a note to let you know that you can now buy your Christmas Twee tickets online from We Got Tickets!

Christmas Twee is being held on Saturday December 6th at the Midland Railway in Butterley., Derbyshire. It's being headlined by C86 legends Mighty Mighty, who have reformed after more than 20 years to play our show. Also playing are June Brides singer and founder Phil Wilson and Derby popsters Mascot Fight. There will be a Secret Santa CD swap and lots of festive fun, including dancing in the disco carriage and platform! We're just finalising details of our DJs, but we'll be revealing disco details very soon!

You can also still buy your tickets by contacting the railway office directly on 01773 747 674. Details of how to get to the event and where to stay can also be found on our official website at

Look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Indietracks shortlisted for Best Small Festival award!

Just when the dark nights and rubbish telly schedules were starting to get us down, what should happen but Indietracks only goes and gets shortlisted for a flippin' award!

We found out today that we've been shortlisted for the Best Small Festival in the 2008 UK Festival Awards, alongside other brilliant events such as the legendary Cambridge Folk and End of the Road festivals - wow!

Thanks so much to everyone who voted for us - you've really made our day over at Indietracks HQ. However, even if you've already voted, you can now cast a second vote - and you've got until midday on October 20 to do it. If you enjoyed the festival and would like to vote for us, you need to visit the Indietracks nomination page before then. Everyone who votes is automatically entered into a prize draw to win a pair of tickets for every festival!

The final winners will be announced on October 30, and we'll of course let you know if we're lucky enough to win!

Thanks again for all your support - do keep checking here and on the official website for the latest updates on November's Indietracks benefit gig and our Christmas Twee event in December!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Vote for Indietracks in the UK Festival Awards!

"And the winner is..."
We woke up this morning to discover that Indietracks has been nominated in five categories in the 2008 UK Festival Awards! Hurray!
If you enjoyed the festival and fancy helping us out, it would be great if you’d like to pop over and cast us a vote or two. Maybe we have a fair chance of coming away with Best Small Festival, Best Family Festival or Best Grassroots Festival. Just imagine how much fun it would be to see our festival pick up an award!
And just think what a brilliant thing it might be if we could subtly drop a festival award into the conversation when we’re asking some of the bigger indiepop names if they want to play at the festival next year!

We’ve just tried it (yes we voted for ourselves…), and it only takes 20 seconds to vote. You can also win a pair of tickets to every winning festival next year!

If you’d like to help us out, please visit the Indietracks Nomination Page before 13 October. Thank you!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Christmas Twee bands announced!

Hello there Indietrackers! It’s that time of year again - the shops are starting to stock Christmas goodies, you’re daydreaming about gift wish-lists, winter coats are demanding to be worn and – most importantly – it’s time for us to announce the bands playing this year’s Christmas Twee event! (Saturday 6th December, 2008). We know you’ve all been eagerly waiting to see which top indie-poppers will be tickling your festive fancy this year and now (fanfare here please) we can finally announce that the headliners will be God-like C86 legends Mighty Mighty. We’re doubly excited about this over at Indietracks Towers because this is the first gig the band have announced since their split in the late 1980s – and on a steam train too!

Mighty Mighty were formed in the early 1980s by Mick Geoghegan and Hugh Harkin out of their shared love of soul music, Postcard Records, The Velvet Underground and Socialist Worker Party politics. Birmingham-based, they built up a small but devoted following playing local venues and came to prominence when featured on the NME's C86 compilation, and at around the same time they released their debut single "Everybody Knows The Monkey". This was soon followed by a 12" single - "Is There Anyone Out There?" - before the band signed to Chapter 22 Records, releasing a string of well-received singles and the album "Sharks" in 1988. Continuing interest in the band then saw the reissue of "Sharks" in 2000 and the release of a compilation of BBC session tracks in 2001, which seems far too long ago for us, so we just can’t wait to see them play all our favourite songs at our favourite ever railway site!

Mighty Mighty will also be joined by former June Brides singer and founder Phil Wilson. Phil has been playing a number of gigs across the country this year with bands such as Pocketbooks and MJ Hibbett, all of which have been fantastically received. We loved his "Industrial Strength" EP released in August this year, and we’re looking forward to seeing him in action on the fabulously retro Butterley platform. Phil is the founder of indiepop gods The June Brides, formed in London in 1983. Also influenced by Postcard-label bands, their mix of guitar pop with viola and trumpet formed a blueprint for many of the C86 bands that would follow. In 1986 they opened for The Smiths on their Irish tour dates and were honoured in 2006 by tribute album "Still Unravished", which featured covers by bands such as Manic Street Preachers and the Television Personalities.
The third band to join the bill are Derby popsters Mascot Fight. This four-piece indiepop/ alternative band formed in 2004 and have released one EP so far, If Cooks Could Kill. The band have received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and BBC6 Music, and an album called Pantomime Hearse is planned for late 2008/early 2009.

And, of course, Christmas Twee wouldn’t be Christmas Twee without some bopping along on the disco carriage and railway platform. We're just finalising details of our DJs, but we’ll be revealing disco details very soon!

Sooo….that’s your lot for now pop kids but we’ll be back soon with details of the timetable and Secret Santa CD swap, as well as interviews with the bands and much more besides! Don’t forget, Christmas Twee takes place on Saturday 6th December 2008 at Butterley Station in Derbyshire, between 6.30pm and midnight.
Tickets cost £15 (+£1 booking fee) and can be bought from We Got Tickets or by phoning 01773 747 674. Details of how to get there and where to stay can also be found on our website:

Monday, 1 September 2008

Christmas Twee - Saturday 6th December 2008

It's September, which means all the decorations go up in Woolworths, so it must be Christmas, right?

Well OK, perhaps we at Indietracks HQ are getting a bit ahead of ourselves, but how can we not when we've got Christmas Twee to look forward to?

It's all happening on Saturday 6th December at Butterley Station. There will be three fantastic bands (details of which will follow in a further announcement), indiepop DJs, steam train discos, and loads more festive fun besides!

Tickets are £15 (+ £1 booking fee) and are available now! To book, just phone 01773 747 674. You'll be given a booking number which you should bring with you to the event.

If you're not sure how to get there or where to stay, then just head on over to our newly launched website for all the travel and accommodation information:

Watch out for more details coming soon!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

New website and details of next event!

Hello there pop kids! You didn't think we were going to leave you 'til the end of the year without any top pop action did you? If you're anything like us, you've been spending the tail-end of the summer wailing into your (non real) ale and thinking fondly about llamas, wishing upon a star that it could be Indietracks time again. Well, your dreams will be soon coming true, 'cos we've got loads of exciting news about the next event coming up very soon!

Along with the details of the next event, our BRAND SPANKING NEW website will be launched into cyberspace on Monday 1st September, decked out in groovy new colours and with all sorts of fancy features. It's got a handy new FAQs section, where you can discover all sorts of top-notch Indietracks information from travelling to the Midland Railway to where to find the finest food and drink. You can even send your own burning questions into Indietracks HQ! There are also better ways to contact us, more detailed local travel information and this year there’ll be an Indietracks shop for all those pop-aholics out there!

Just visit the usual website address on 1st September and have a look around. And, don't forget, we always want to hear your thoughts and suggestions for the blog and website - so keep on sending your ideas to Look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Benefit gig for the Midland Railway!

Well......we couldn't expect you to last until December without any Indietracks-related gossip now could we? If you're like us and craving some railway-themed fun, but you just can't wait until the Indietracks Christmas event (more information on this to come, kids), then we've got some exciting news which is sure to tickle your fancy!

Still bowled over by the hospitality of the lovely Midland Railway staff, those kind-hearted folks over at the Layer of Chips and A Fog of Ideas fanzines have decided to put on an all-day benefit gig for the railway. It will be held at Lee Rosy's Tea Shop in Nottingham on November 16 and bands already confirmed as playing are (in no particular order):

The Bobby McGee's
Milky Wimpshake (pictured above)
Phil Wilson (ex-June Brides)
MJ Hibbett
Frankie Machine
Pete Green
Gregory Webster (ex-Razorcuts/Sportique)

Tickets cost £7 and are available from We Got Tickets. Doors will open at 3.30pm and the gig will finish at 10.30pm.

And, in other news, we discovered today that Indietracks has starred in a music video for The Just Joans, who played in the church at this year's festival. Part of the video for their new single, Hey Boy, You're So Sensitive, was filmed at the railway and features some indiepop band members - see how many you can spot!

The video was made by Mark O'Donnell, who also produced this fantastic Indietracks video montage, soundtracked by a beautiful late-night performance by Let's Whisper on the station platform.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Indietracks reviews!

Hello everyone! How are you all feeling? If you're anything like us, you'll still be a little tired but at the same time also massively excited about all the new music you discovered over the weekend! We still can't believe how many great bands there were in one place, and we're already hoping some of our favourites have got Autumn tours lined up soon!Anyway, we've been keeping an eye on all you busy bees writing for fanzines and magazines, and have rounded up a selection for you to check out, along with our favourite quotes from the reviews!

A great review of the weekend. As it's a magazine, there's no full online version to link to, but here's a lovely excerpt:

Our fave quote: "...Indietracks is actually completely ace. We ride minature steam trains and talk to llamas. We sit on a hill in beautiful countryside and watch bands as the sunset explodes into crimson. We sit under clouds as big as spaceships and drink cider and the sky unexpectedly fills with hot air balloons and I think: "This is actually amazing. The best festival I've ever been to.""

A comprehensive day-by-day review that covers many of the bands, as well as the overall festival atmosphere.

Our fave quote: "...without doubt the most enjoyable and civilised festival we've ever been to in our lives. No wonder [Los Campesinos!] frontman Gareth Campesinos! looks humble and overwhelmed at the end. DiS is too – here’s to Indietracks 2009!"

Review of the entire weekend which also features a brilliant section where you can turn your favourite festival photos into e-cards!

Our fave quote: "Would I like to go back next year? Hell yes! A festival punter's paradise!"

A full-page review in the October issue (it can't be October already?!). It's just in the mag, so there's no link to the full thing we're afraid. It includes lovely reviews of Shrag, Mai 68s and Los Campesinos! among others.

Our fave quote: "...this is an event set up to please and surprise... a charming little gathering."

Review complete with daily diary section too!

Our fave quote: "Over two days, this quiet and secluded area of Derbyshire became an indiepop haven shaking to the sounds of good music. Add to this the heritage of the railway, and this unique little festival is on the right tracks."

A whopping three posts so far (and probably another to follow) from the hyper-productive indiepop website: Highlights Friday reviewSaturday review

Our fave quote: "It wasn't all about the music - but the music I got to hear was mostly wonderful. Indietracks is so much more than this -but it's hard to find the words that can sum it all up. The steam trains, the smiling people and location make it something I was just happy to been a part of."

Dean Jackson's The Beat show features interviews with popstars and festival-goers alike - click on the "Listen Again" button. You'll need to hurry though, as this will change on Sunday August 3.

Small news review featuring interview with organiser Stuart Mackay.

Our fave quote: From Stuart himself - "It was a tremendous success, my team, the railway, the bands and the audience were all delighted with the way it went – many people saying it was the best festival they'd ever been to."

Detailed reviews of Saturday and Sunday which incoporates loads of bands- we can't believe they managed to see so many- phew!

Our fave quote: "The location, the bands, the clientele, the organisation, the whole essence of Indietracks has seen an increase in publicity and numbers from last year and ridden it out spectacularly. It may not be the coolest to the Vice subscribers, but who cares when there's something uniquely special about Indietracks already."

A charming review from the Manchester indiepop club and fanzine.

Our fave quote: "Indietracks was a load of fun. Setting a festival in a railway museum - great move. Lovely band/fan run merch stand - brilliant. Ace bands and great people watching them - our favourite festival of the year!"

Fantastic two-day review from the Wales-based website, who DJed at last year's festival.

Our fave quote: "Oh, I don’t know what it is, this feeling I’m left with, there’s the huge buzz from seeing some of the most amazing bands, the pure-sugar abc sweets that will surely keep me awake for the next 4 weeks as well as the previous week, and then there’s that lonely feeling, no Darren Hayman to look forward to tomorrow, no party with the best of friends going on and on. It’s a sad feeling but a kind of sadness that the end of such a great event deserves."

A review of the Saturday, including The Wedding Present, Shrag, Comet Gain and more...

Our fave quote: "Sunburn is a small price to pay for this year’s event with its collection of British, Scandinavian and a few North American bands. The larger number of punters than last year brings additional security but doesn’t affect the sense of community, which is palpable and pleasing. It has just the right degree of amateurism, like stepping into a giant fanzine."

A lovely photo diary of the weekend's events.

Spiral Scratch promoter Marianthi's heart-warming pen portraits from her weekend.

Our fave quote: "I don't know how we can get away with Indietracks. It's so removed from everything we know real life to be and even further removed from what escapist fun is to most people. It can't even be called escapism because there is no real attempt to create a separate reality. It just is what it is in the most effortless way."

A review of Saturday featuring Shrag, Liechenstein, Red Pony Clock, The Kabeedies and more...

Our fave quote: "The ‘truly indie scene’ is right here at Indietracks hidden away in the middle of Derbyshire, having the time of its life, ignoring the irrelevance of the mainstream, ducking commodification, doing things its own way, getting on with stuff just like its always done. There are nigh on a thousand people here and nothing that even approaches being landfill indie. We are the popkids, we are the winners!"

Another comprehensive review which enjoyed Silence At Sea, The Just Joans, Darren Hayman, KateGoes, Little My and The Bobby McGee's, among many more...

Our fave quote: "An idyllic site -- complete with its own railway station -- was the perfect place for indie-pop fans to hop on board the train to Indietracks."

We'll keep adding reviews as they appear, so do keep checking back occasionally. Sadly, we'll be posting a little less frequently now, but we'll be back soon with news about the next Indietracks event in December. As always, we'll keep you updated with the latest news and gossip from Indietracks HQ - thanks for reading and keep sending your comments and ideas for the blog to

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Indietracks in seven minutes!

Phew! Does you feel as tired as we do? How can just two days of jangly indiepop and sunshine frolicing leave you feeling so exhausted? If anyone knows the answer do let us know, 'cos frankly we're baffled!

Anyway, in between catching up on naps, we've been hunting down the best photos and videos from the weekend and this short film, made by Chris Gilmour from Last Night from Glasgow Indie EyeSpy, is frankly ACE. It tells the story of Indietracks 2008 in seven minutes - see how many bands you can spot and give yourself a prize of some sleep and/or a healthy snack! (You'll need those vitamins after the weekend burger-fest!. You'll probably have to click through to YouTube to hear it with sound....

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Thanks everyone - see you next year!

Photo: Lostmusic
Hello everyone! Wasn't it FANTASTIC?

Phew! We'd been in such a high state of over-excitement for so long we just couldn't see how it was going to live up to all our expectations......but it did, and much, much more besides! From MJ Hibbett's hilarious My Exciting Life in Rock in the tea tent on Friday, to Los Campesinos' storming performance on Sunday evening, the whole weekend was just a perfect concoction of wonderful new music, glorious weather, steam train fun, friendly faces, enthusiastic dancing, impromptu singalongs and fruity real ale!

Congratulations to Stuart for organising such a perfect festival, and thanks to all the bands, volunteers, railway staff and everyone else who's helped with the organisation and helped spread the word. And most importantly, thanks to everyone for coming along and helping make Indietracks one of the most friendly and welcoming festivals around.

No doubt you're itching to upload your photos, videos and reviews from the festival, so here's a few things which might be handy:

Anorak forum: there's a special area where you can discuss your favourite highlights from the festival:Anorak Indietracks discussions

Indietracks Flickr group: share your photos with other Indietracks festival-goers here:

Videos: if you made any videos, it would be wonderful if you could send them, or your YouTube link,

Reviews: no doubt many of you will be writing for your own fanzines, but for those who would like to write for a piece for our blog, e-mail us at

We'll be posting up reviews, photos and videos over the next few days, but in the meantime here are a few of our favourite photos posted up so far........

Ballboy on the outdoor stage. Photo: Emmlpop

The crowd at the Church stage dancing along to Darren Hayman. Photo: Smith of Smiths

Over-excited KateGoes fans go POP! Photo: Sweeping the Nation

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Greetings from Indietracks!

Hello there pop kids! By the time you read this, we'll be on our first train journey of the weekend, travelling up to Nottingham clutching our dancing shoes, train whistles and festival survival kits! If you're anything like us and you've left everything to the last-minute, here's a few final pieces of info to help you on your way:

Quick guide: If you're looking for information on accommodation, tickets, transport, food and Friday night's MJ Hibbett show, there's a handy last minute guide on the official Indietracks website.

Weather: According to the BBC 5-day forecast, it should be pretty fine, so don't forget to pack your suntan lotion and sunglasses as well as maybe an umbrella, just in case. With its indoor and outdoor stages, and of course the train rides, the festival is perfect for all weathers!

Merchandise stall: If you have any CDs, t-shirts, mugs or anything for any of the bands playing at the festival, please pop over and say 'hi' at the merchandise stand, by the main stage, and they'll be happy to help. Please sticker the stuff with the price though, so the volunteers know how much to sell it for!

Anorak forum: if you have any last-minute questions, want to share a lift or need emergency fashion advice for the festival, the Anorak forum is a good place to start.

Warm-up gigs: You've a choice of three warm-up gigs on Thursday 24th:
- Leeds: Rosie Taylor Project @ Holy Trinity Church
- Nottingham: Airport Girl + The Zebras + Pocketbooks + Fists @ Junktion 7
- London: Even As We Speak + Mexican Kids At Home + Hong Kong in the 60s + The Give It Ups @ Jamm in Brixton

And a couple on Friday 25th:
- Indietracks: MJ Hibbett's "My Exciting Life In Rock" + Penny Broadhurst + HDIF DJs @ Midland Railway Butterley
- Leicester: Punk TV + Mai 68s @ The Charlotte, Leicester

Tickets: there's still weekend and day tickets available - you can buy them on the door, through We Got Tickets or by calling the railway direct on 01773 747674 (9am-5pm, 7 days a week).

We'll be back after the festival with all the gossip, reviews, photos, videos etc. We'd love to hear from you, so please send your fave youtube links, embarassing pictures and everything else to

See you in the disco carriage!

Indietracks interview #29: Ballboy

Ballboy’s love affair with independent music began in 1999 with the release of their first EP ‘Silver Suits for Astronauts’ on SL Records. Since then, four further albums have followed - ‘Club Anthems 2001’ (An EP compilation,) ‘A Guide for the Daylight Hours,’ ‘The Sash My Father Wore and Other Stories’ and ‘The Royal Theatre.’ A fifth album is now in the pipeline. They have toured the UK umpteen times as well as the USA and Sweden. John Peel was a huge fan and they recorded four Peel sessions, including a live Christmas broadcast from John’s house, the ultimate honour.

Hello Ballboy! Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourselves....

Gordon: We are 3 boys and a girl from Edinburgh, Scotland. We make music, but not the kind you have to write down with squiggles on fancy paper (apart from Pete the Cello Genius).
Alexa: Two girls if you count Veronica the melodica.

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

Gordon: Nothing springs to mind from the last year, but the most unusual one ever was either by the side of a primary school swimming pool or on a makeshift stage on a front lawn in Sweden.
Alexa: Birmingham ;-)

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

Gordon: We have a new album "I worked on the ships" out in August and I have a play with music that I have cowritten opening in November.
Alexa: I need to get 2 more rabies boosters

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

Gordon: I can juggle, Nick can cure headaches, Gary can make whole new worlds out of PVC glue and old hair, and Alexa has rabies.
Nick: I can also cure hiccups.
Alexa: I would like to point out that I don't have rabies in case they don't let me in at the English border. But I can make puffin noises.

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

Gordon: iPod on shuffle so it could be anything really, but the new Wave Pictures album will be on there at some point.
Alexa: Roxette - which may mean I get kicked out of the van before Newcastle.

Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?

Gordon: Any surprises will probably be a surprise to us too.
Alexa: for health and safety shouldn't we mention that Nick is planning on jumping off a crane onto a car bonnet?

What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?

Gordon: Independent the the summer...with trains!
Alexa: Two words - steam train

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

Gordon: The Wave Pictures because they are the best new band (ie new to me) that I've heard in the last few years.
Alexa: The Smittens

Thanks everyone! We'll look forward to catching you on the main stage on Saturday....

Indietracks interview #28: The Candy Twins

Hello everyone! Hope you've been enjoying our regular updates! We're off to Nottingham tomorrow for festival fun and a preview gig with Airport Girl, Pocketbooks and The Zebras, but, in the meantime, here's an interview with late Indietracks bill addition The Candy Twins....The Candy Twins - hmm ... there seem to be more than two of you and you don't look very similar!

Why don’t you tell us a bit more about yourselves?

Yes, we started as a duo - the Ear Candy Twins. But we're not twins, or related, and we couldn't keep time to the backing tracks so decided to become a band, and cut our 'ear' off. But I guess The Candy Twins works ok for indiepop which is what we seem to have been labelled as. We're from the London area and we mostly gig round there though we did tour Germany earlier this year. Our bassist Mat Durrance is possibly the best known of our number - Wedding Present fans may know him from his acoustic covers of Weddoes songs on YouTube. Mat met David our lead singer and songwriter after being lured along to a Candy Twins gig by others who said we sounded a bit like the Wedding Present, who David - to his shame - had at that point never heard of. Since then he's become a Take Fountain addict.

How do you feel about music at the moment and the new crop of indiepop bands?

We're pretty much virgins in the indiepop world. We played a warm up gig at Gramaphone in London recently where St Christopher were headlining - that was fun. But we're looking forward to catching up with more bands at the festival. Indietracks is held at a steam railway.

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

Our gig in Leipzig on our German tour was bizarre. It was basically an apartment above a cafe - Noch Besser Leben - in one of the city's suburbs. It was like playing in someone's back room. It WAS someone's back room. The organiser was very apologetic before we went off to our accommodation to tune up because only two people had turned up. We came back in a few minutes later to start and the room - a big room - was packed out. For the sound check they just wanted it quieter and quieter so as not to annoy the neighbours. It started off as our worst gig on the tour. David broke a string (as usual), didn't have a spare guitar and it was all going belly up. But at the end the crowd asked us back to do an acoustic set, requesting songs, and giving us a great reception. That was sweet and such a turn-round!

Gosh – that all sounds really exciting! Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?

We're completing our second album (again it's likely to be a self-release) bit by bit. Sad-Glad Songs is its working title. It will include our download single A Younger Crowd which The Sun (no less!) gave a 4/5 rating to in their hot tracks of the week when it came out. And then all the German venues we played earlier this year invited us back so we hope to repeat that tour either later this year or next. It would be nice to do some more British out of London gigs too.

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

As previously mentioned, Mat our bassist is a Wedding Present addict. He'll be at their set on Saturday night. He's probably lost count of the number of Weddoes gigs he's been to. David is a big (fair weather) Hull City fan so looking forward to their debut premier league season in August. Mat once appeared on Master Chef. David once wee-ed in Hannah Hawkswell's barn. It was a two-storey barn. He didn't realise Hannah was underneath milking the cows and therefore got a surprise golden shower. And our tribute song 'Edwyn Collins Is Back' is a big YouTube hit - Edwyn loved it and put us on his guest list for his first comeback gig, but we were too shy to go and say hello afterwards. We've tried to blag a support slot with him but failed so far.

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

El Rey I guess for Mat! The rest of the band are borrowing a Scout minibus that doesn't have a music system.

And what attracted you to playing Indietracks?

We got a lovely review on the Indie-MP3 blog run by Lost Music and spotted the banner on their site and decided that was where we wanted to be, and we are thoroughly looking forward to it.

As ever, we have a free MP3 to give away, click on the link below to hear it!

Free MP3 Download: Start to Believe

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

The Bubblegumkillers guide to festivals...

What? It’s Wednesday already? That means Indietracks is in three days time… We’re so not ready…

We hope this last-minute panic-attack of an article might be of some help to all Indietracks goers. Welcome to the BubblegumKillers DJ Team guide to festivals (well, this one) and that…

PETE GREEN IS WRONG! (about one little thing)

Now, while we absolutely, genuinely, completely and utterly adore the “everything is going to be sparkly” song-smith, it must be pointed out that myspace really doesn’t suck. It’s how we first heard the brilliant TOWN BIKE, and many of the other bands on the bill. Why not have a flick around the myspace pages of all the artists you’ve not heard of. You might discover the genius of a band with a slightly rubbish name, that you weren’t gonna bother with, all because a so-called friend of yours said they were crap, and they’re the first band on. We missed so many great bands at festivals in the dark pre-internet days that we really regret now (Kenickie in ’96 being the worst example), so check them out before you kick yourself in years to come…


We’ll forgive The Wedding Present if they don’t play all the hits, what with them having had 12 Top 40 singles in one year, lest we forget. But as for the rest of you, please play all the singles, ‘cos that’s what festivals are about, huge bombastic greatest hits sets. Blow us away with your 7” pop lasers please!


A notebook; for writing down all the bands you see. Then divide the cost of the ticket by the number of bands you’ve watched and you’ll see how much value for money IndieTracks is for you. Challenge your friends!
A cigarette lighter; sellotaped securely to a length of string, affixed to the belt-loop on you corduroy flares. No more of those “scrabbling-around-and-emptying-all-your-pockets-and-getting-all-stressed-cos-you’re-sure-you-had-it-earlier-but-did-you-lend-it-to-that-bloke-with-the-hat-during-Pocketbooks?” moments guaranteed! Even if you don’t smoke, you will have a valuable tool to make new friends.
A Musical Instrument; especially if you can play one. This is even more important if you’re in one of the bands playing. Please note, that the bongos, or variations thereof, are not musical instruments. Kazoos, however, most definitely are.


An MP3 digital music walkman thing. Why would you? The Parallelograms are on RIGHT NOW!
Too much money. You’ll only spend it all on doughnuts and pin badges on the first night and end up scrounging off your mates for the rest of the weekend.
A set of bongos. Not a musical instrument.


We’re DJing on the S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y… NITE! and we’re not bringing our combined record collections with us. And not any vinyl at all. So if there’s a song you want us to play, please send your request to bubblegumkillers AT – then we can find it and make it go on a CD if it’s on a record. Or send us MP3’s (completely legally like…).

Normal Terms & Conditions apply.

Helen Love’s BubbleumKillers Attack Squad DJ Team Formation reserve the right not to play any songs that a: aren’t pop enough, b: we don’t have, and c: aren’t by the Ramones.
See you there (for giggles and that watch us run between Town Bike, Silence At Sea and Slow Down Tallahasee, while still bleary eyed from the magical Penny Braodhurst and the ace MJ Hibbett the night before). And do say hello. We’re quite nice…

Indietracks interview #27: Roadside Poppies

We're just about to fly back from Stockholm, but there's still time to post another pre-prepared interview for your enjoyment. There's lots to squeeze in over the next few days before the festival begins, so keep popping back!

Roadside Poppies play slapdash jangly pop songs. They started as a one-man project by Matloob but blossomed into something far greater. Currently a six piece, split between the UK and Denmark, they play songs about “summer, flowers, cycling, falling in and out of love and murderous neighbours- the usual indiepop fare!”

Their first official CD release was the now sold out ‘Cycling and Crying’ EP on WeePOP! Records, the first release on the label. They also recorded an entire album in 28 days as past of the RPM challenge and this is available for free download from their website.
After a smattering of gig across the UK, they headed off to Denmark and Sweden in September 2007 on their first European tour.

Hi Matloob, we’re big fans of t’Poppies over the Indietracks blog, but for the uninitiated - tell us a little bit about yourselves!

Roadside Poppies started as a bedroom recording project in Cambridge but became a band once Martin and Duncan joined. After seeing bands like the Suburban Kids with Biblical Names and Sambassadeur sounding great with mp3 backing tracks, we decided to ditch the idea of a drummer in favour of being able to travel to gigs by bike or public transport. We've played a few gigs in Oxford, Cambridge and London and also in Denmark and Sweden. I ended up moving to Copenhagen this year so we're now an Anglo-Danish band. Indietracks will be the first gig we'll be doing with members from both countries so it should be jangly, poppy fun.

You mentioned Suburban Kids with Biblical Names and Sambassadeur - how do you feel about music at the moment and the new crop of indiepop bands?

There is some great music around at the moment, it's good to see the British scene catching up with Swedish and American bands. There are a couple of great indiepop bands in Copenhagen and I can heartily recommend all popkids check out Ampel, De Agtige and Northern Portrait.

You’re about to play at a steam railway - tell us about an unusual place where you've played a gig in the past.

Well, if it counts, we did an extended pop jam at Jarn Torget (Iron Square) in Gothenburg to try and work off a hangover before playing a gig at a nearby bar. It was great fun playing to a mixture of amused teenagers, bemused passers-by and sarcastic drunks. Oh, and we've got a plan to play a tree gig in Copenhagen in August. We've checked out a tree in Norrerbro that we think we can climb and play in.

Now that is surprising! Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?

We'll be fielding our new full line-up of British and Danish musicians and playing some completely new super-poppy songs. We'll also have a very limited number of exclusive and completely unique CDs for sale. The band has members representing all three sciences, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and there will sweets for anyone who can identify all the band scientists (and their discipline) on stage.

Hee, sounds like fun! Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Indietracks festival, and why?

I'm particularly looking forward to seeing Pocketbooks, the songs just keep getting catchier and more moving as time goes on. We're on the church stage just before they play so we'll be running from straight from the church stage clutching our instruments to catch their set.

Free MP3 Download: Roadside Poppies - Erosion

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Indietracks interview #26: The Smittens

Less than a week to go, and we're still on holiday in Sweden. Today we strolled around Stockholm's beautiful Gamla Stan district, visited the Skansen heritage site and tried to go to a trendy bar with a table tennis table and French boules. Which was shut. We haven't forgotten about you though, so here's an interview we prepared earlier...

The Smittens are a DIY pop explosion!! Half of the Smittens couldn’t play their instruments when they first formed their band in 2002 but they didn’t let that worry them. They grew from their name, which existed before the musicians did, and a desire to fill the twee void in their home town of Burlington, Vermont, New England, USA.

The Smittens bring a warm fuzzi-wuzziness to the stage and like to emphasise the importance of all being friends. The sentence “Being nice is a political act” has featured in the notes of their first two albums. They are made up of The Dashing Smitten, The Charming Smitten, The Lady Smitten, The Littlest Smitten and The Greek One.

Their first album ‘Gentlefication Now!’ was released in 2004 on Dangerfive Records. Its follow up, ‘A Little Revolution!’ followed 18 months later on Dangerfive/North of January. The next album should be released in 2008. They have shared the stage at previous shows with the likes of Kimya Dawson, The Mountain Goats, Stars, Boyracer, The Besties and Bunnygrunt. Today, we're joined by Colin!

Hello Colin, great name for a band – the names seem to be getting better and better! Tell us how you feel about music at the moment and the new crop of indiepop bands.

It’s an incredibly exciting time to be making indiepop music! There are so many fantastic new bands and labels popping up everywhere and our entire community seems to be rallying together – especially in the UK! That’s why we’re coming over – and we’re thrilled that folks have been so nice already with helping us to line up shows and share gear and stuff like that – the pre-arrival hospitality has already made us feel more than welcome! After reading up on many of the new bands (and older ones, too) and seeing flyers for past shows online, it will be so fun to see so many of them live! Indietracks should be extra fab because we’ll have the opportunity to hang out and meet new folks over the course of two days – a nice lil’ holiday in the middle of our tour!

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

Well, this year we played at a Junior Iron Chef competition! It was a local eccentric event, in a huge indoor space with us playing in the corner and pausing between songs for the MC to make announcements about the goings-on. We even got to goof around with Champ – the mascot for our local minor league baseball team the Vermont Lake Monsters! It was pretty surreal! Hee – indiepop and sport combined – that sounds like so much fun!

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

Well, our new album, The Coolest Thing About Love, is coming out here on July 29 so, after our UK tour (which may be the most exciting thing we’ve ever done!), we are heading down to Athens, Georgia for the Happy Happy Birthday To Me/Athens Popfest 2008. Happy Happy Birthday To Me is releasing the album and we’ll be celebrating the release with a Saturday show at the famous 40 Watt club during the festival there. After that, we are doing a hometown album celebration in Burlington and then in the fall we are planning to head out to the west coast for some dates. If we are lucky we will be able to coordinate some shows with Tullycraft and some of our other long-distance penpals – we’ve never done any shows on the West Coast before and we are going to make it happen this year on the heels of the new album release! It’s definitely gonna be a pretty busy year for us all-around.

Phew! With all this activity going on, have you had time to plan any surprises for the festival?

Well, we’ve been getting together and working on our festival set, and I think there will be a few surprises in there – it depends on what constitutes a surprise, but we are hopefully going to play some new material and we have a couple tricky tricks up our sleeves, too! David proposed one awesome surprise that we are going to try and pull off and Max and Dana have a couple other ideas as well, so at this point almost anything could happen! In general, though, our goal is to come out and play well and enjoy the other bands and people there – it’s like we’re heading into indiepop shangri-la or something! I bet we spend some late-night time singing and playing and taking turns trading songs with other folks there. If anyone wants us to play or sing anything - well, if it doesn’t happen during our set, well, we’ll sing it round a campfire! Full festival immersion – I think that’s our plan, but it’s not really a surprise, I guess.

The Smittens have very kindly donated Half My Heart Beats, a lovely tracks from their new album – click on the link below to hear it!

Next up: Matloob from the Roadside Poppies chats about Anglo-Danish relations, playing gigs in trees and his love for new Copenhagen indiepop! Unfortunately there’s no mentions of plans to hide in booze in bushes!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Darren vs Dave: The Indietracks Interview!

Hi kids, we're currently on location (and stuffed full of Plopp bars) in Sweden after enjoying the wonderful Rip It Up festival in Saffle, where new Indietracks addition Darren Hanlon put in a particularly fine performance for a friendly crowd of Swedish indiepoppers. We love this little festival and, with less than week to go now, we couldn`t be any more in the mood for Indietracks. We`re know you`re excited too, and so this week we`ll be cramming in more last minute fun than you can shake a llama`s tail at! Coming up, we`ve got interviews with The Smittens, Silverdrop and Roadside Poppies as well as Helen Love's guide to festivals, crucial information about merchandise and last-minute weather predictions - who says we don't treat you well?

But, in the meantime, we thought you might like to check out this rather fab interview on Drowned in Sound, where indiepop legends Darren Hayman and Dave Gedge met for a head-to-head interview. Part love-in, part Spanish inquisition, these two sure know how to chat! Here`s hoping for a duet come Indietracks time!

Friday, 18 July 2008

Indietracks interview #25: A Classic Education

Well, today we're off to Sweden for the Rip It Up festival - just to check out the indiepop festival competition, like! It sounds amazing, although we can't help but notice that they won't have any steam trains there. Anyway, sadly we won't be able to update this blog until we get back after the weekend. But don't panic, we're leaving you with a lovely interview and song from A Classic Education. And if that's not enough, please feel free to skip back and read some classic posts from the Indietracks Festival blog archive (who could forget the accommodation quiz or picture bingo?), and maybe download all the free MP3s while you still can!

But before you trawl through the blog archives, please let us introduce
A Classic Education, all the way from Italy. Jonathan, Paul and Luca recorded the band's first songs over four nights around Christmas 2006 in the middle of the mountains in northern Italy. They recorded mostly at night, with the wind blowing and dogs howling in the distance, using a myriad of instruments to adding layers over layers, ending up with the dense orchestral sound you can hear today.

The band recently released a one-sided 12" - First EP - with five of their early recordings and they've played shows with Arcade Fire and Lightspeed Champion among others. You can find them playing on the Church Stage on Sunday afternoon at Indietracks.

A Classic Education sounds like a very posh name! Why don’t you tell us a bit more about yourselves?

Well, we've been around for a short time, we are based in Bologna in Italy, but all six members live scattered across the country, and one member is Canadian. I guess we have a nice mix of people. It's crazy in terms of the way we organise our practices! It seems like we are always planning nice weekends together to play and have some good, proper meals.

How do you feel about music at the moment and the new crop of indiepop bands?

I feel like it's a really nice time to be playing music. There is a bunch of real exciting bands playing the festival. We’re really keen on seeing The Wave Pictures, Liechtenstein, Pocketbooks and Darren Hayman, as well as Comet Gain and The Wedding Present - that will just about make our day! In general though I think it's been a good two years for releases, not only in the indiepop "world".

Indietracks is held at a steam railway. Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past.

Well, we have just played this self-organised festival in the Italian countryside, which was in an old converted farm house. The crazy thing is the people that run it are hugely into design and house furnishing, so it was like playing in the old countryside with a neat Berlin twist to it. Last year we brought Fanfarlo on tour in Italy and we did play one really, really strange place way up north called Bus Del Colvera. I think they couldn't quite grasp why on earth we would be playing there but the show turned out really well. While Fanfarlo were playing, the local mayor jumped on the stage and danced away on a few songs. I also forgot to mention it's a grappa drinking area! So there you go...

Gosh – that all sounds really exciting! Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?

Well, it's basically playing and playing. We're self releasing a 12" that puts together all our first things. We just also recorded a few new things with Jeremy Warmsley and hope to have those out on a 7" after the summer.

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

One of us does not have a name. He is only called the "Maestro". Giulia is an ace photographer. The rest of us are avid film, book and record collectors!

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

I know we are going to be fighting about this one...I would say there will definitely be some old Motown and soul going on, and some of us are in quite a Phil Spector mood lately. Maybe some Dylan, a little Minutemen, definitely some Jesus & Mary Chain, Felt, and if our pal Enzo is coming along I'm sure there will be a ton of Swedish pop.

You seem to like surprises – do you have any planned for the Indietracks festival?

I think we would like to play some surprise acoustic sets!

And what attracted you to playing Indietracks?

Just the fact of being simply able to play with so many good bands. When we heard about the "church" stage it seemed so appropriate!

Thank you! Wow, we really can’t wait to see you guys now – we’ll have make sure they’re stocking grappa in the loco shed bar!

Free MP3 Download: A Classic Education - Stay, Son

Next up: Messing about with baseball mascots, indiepop penpals and plans for “full festival immersion” – it can only be The Smittens!

And don't forget: The Indietracks warm-up gigs continue with The Smittens, The Parallelograms and The Seven Inches in Sheffield on Monday (21 July). You can read more on this
Anorak forum thread.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Indietracks interview #24: Allo, Darlin

Just over a week to go! Even as we speak, the indiepop collective is already swinging into gear in anticipation. The Indietracks warm-up gigs kicked off in earnest last week: from Sparklemotion in Sheffield to Lostmusic in London; from The Gentle Invasion in Edinburgh to The Autumn Store in Birmingham. Things are happening everywhere. You could call it a scene, but that makes it sound a bit trendy. After all, it's just fun and exciting! Come and grab a tambourine and join in!

But first, pop over and say hell to Allo, Darlin. They play beautiful acoustic girl-pop with an alt-country tinge. They formed in the back of a cab in 2006 and released now sold out EP ‘Photos’ in 2007 on WeePOP! Records. They'll be playing on a steam train on Saturday afternoon, as it glides through the Derbyshire countryside.

Hello Allo, Darlin – we love your name – it’s ace! You have an unusual name and Indietracks is an unusual festival. Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past.

Hmm, well I've recently started having gigs on my rooftop, which has the best view of London I've seen. Does it count as a gig if there are only two people there? I think so! The last time I did it, my boyfriend filmed it and I put it on MySpace. It's definitely something I'd like to do more of. I'm really happy playing anywhere – the laundromat, Hampstead Heath, in friend's kitchens! We've had some awesome gigs in London the last year or so but my favourite ones are in the really tiny spaces, where the audience are literally in your face and it feels more like a party than a show. We played at the Betsey Trotwood recently just as a two piece, and the stage was so tiny that there was no room for us on there, so we just played in the crowd. I love that. Sounds great!

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

Yes! I'm going to record another EP which I'm really excited about. This time we'll go to a proper studio, rather than a church, which is where we did the first one. I'm doing some of the arrangements for the songs at the moment, which is really fun. I can't wait to record the samba drums – or at least to see what they sound like anyway. It may all fall over when we realize we can't play in time when we do polyrhythm…

We’re sure you’ll do just fine! You mentioned using samba drums….will that influence what is going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?

Hmm, I've been listening to a lot of surf music recently, which is quite summery and festival-ly. Beat Happening and the Surfaris - that'll be it!

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

I can't wait to see all of them! If I had to pick a few, I'd say Esiotrot because I've never seen them, and they're friends of friends and are really, really good. Also The Occasional Flickers because my friend Bart from Eagleowl is playing guitar with them and they're great, and The Zebras because they're from Brisbane aren't they? Like me, almost. Oh and of course The Wave Pictures. Scoop – Dave Tattersall's dad - really likes Allo, Darlin. I don't know if that's cool or not though! It makes me feel a bit funny. We're Dad Pop!

Thanks for your time Elizabeth, we can’t wait to hear what Dad Pop with a indiepop tinge sounds like!

Free MP3 download: Allo, Darlin - Henry Rollins Don't Dance

Next up: A Classic Education tell us about making music to make Italian mayors dance to!

And don't forget: If you're in London tomorrow (17 July), there's an Indietracks related gig taking place at the Miller, near London Bridge station. It's a WeePOP! Records night featuring today's interviewees Allo, Darlin, Let's Whisper (Dana and Colin from The Smittens) and Electrophonvintage. There's more details on this Anorak thread.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Indie Eyespy: Memories of Indietracks 2007!

As regular blog readers will know, we’ve had a whole host of ‘Tracks “experts” reminisce on their favourite experiences from past Indietracks events, including MJ Hibbett, Sam Metcalf of Tasty Fanzine, Kris from Heaven Is Above Your Head, Emma from Pocketbooks and Pete Green.

Next up, we hear from avid gig goer and all-round music obsessive Chris Gilmour, who writes the ever popular Last Night From Glasgow Indie Eyespy music blog – a must read for indie-poppers everywhere! Read on to find out why Indietracks 2007 was such a memorable experience for him…..

Hi, my name's Chris I go to gigs in London and Glasgow, whilst awkwardly avoiding eye contact with people I've seen at other gigs, I scribble about them in a notebook for a website called Last Night From Glasgow Indie Eyespy. Indietracks summer '07 was the first 'tracks I went to...

Indietracks, Indietracks. I'd heard the name before, or read it online, on music messageboards. A one day gig/festival thing, something to do with trains. But summer '07 was different, it was bigger, two days, there was a vibe, there were rumours. Maybe it was just the same forum post I glanced at several times over several weeks, or I read the same thing in lots of places, but what I heard was that the chap organising it had become unstoppable in his quest to book bands.

Every band I'd heard of or read about was being snapped up to play at Indietracks. Dozens of them, maybe hundreds. Friends were going, acquaintances, people off of the internet, everyone was going. I didn't know where I was going to be, I was unemployed and homeless, but I knew I had to be there.

Thinking back, I can't remember, I had all my possessions in the back of my car, I was driving round motorways under blazing sunshine. Road signs said Alton Towers, but I said no, there were far more interesting delights and trains to be found. I'd glanced at a map on a website, something to do with having to get a train to the festival site. My car lay abandoned in a supermarket car park, my rucksack full of clothes and vodka, then there was this wee train station, with a real stream train, and one or two indiekids stood on the platform. They wore coloured clothes and had quirky hair, there were children running about too.

In one carriage of the train was a small drum kit, a gentleman accompanying a girl with a guitar and duck whistles. Hang on, I'd read about there being bands on the train, but this wasn't any band. I recognised the girl, I recognised the accent. I'd seen her play in Glasgow years before - Angelika, Teenage Girl Crush. And here she was, playing to me and a pair of indiekids in a steam train.

A four song set and we arrived at our destination, a dusty sunbleached station in the middle of the wilds with not a cloud in the sky, and there were people, all heading to the big diesel shed where something was happening, there was music. Not just any people, not like the usual cannon fodder zombies you get in the street - at Indietracks everyone is like a real, proper person. MJ Hibbett spotted me, I'd last seen him playing an acoustic show in a Glasgow tea room in 2006 and he gave a me a manly hug. A few yards away was Waz from The Gresham Flyers, I'd last seen him playing at The Pleasure Unit in Bethnal Green in 2004.

A queue was forming at the diesel shed, inside it was dark and cool, the folk in front in the queue I recognised from the iconic photos of the How Does It Feel club night. Inside were folk I'd seen in Glasgow the night before at the National Pop League. There were even folk there I didn't recognise, but they were probably from some band, or a fanzine, or that website, or just those guys who always go to that club.

I got really drunk. After it was dark, bands were still playing on the diesel shed stage or the church stage. Me and Robbie were wandering. There were still trains arriving and leaving the station, big steam trains, driven by enthusiasts, passengers not required. We got on anyway. I'd bought a secondhand train drivers jacket for a pound from the shop, and the driver of the train seemed happy enough for us to ride in the cab.

“Hey, who are we missing on stage?”
“You've seen them before.”
“It doesn't matter anyway, we're driving a steam train!”
“Choo! Chooooooooooooooo!”

Thanks Chris! We’ll be expecting to see you proudly wearing that £1 stationmaster’s jacket this year then!

Next up: Allo, Darlin talk about playing rooftop gigs, samba drums and why they’re re-inventing Dad Pop!

And don’t forget: Tonight (14 July) is the press launch of MJ Hibbett’s Exciting Life In Rock show. It’s at the Cross Kings in that London, and he’s supported by indiepop troubadour Pete Green (details).