Saturday 31 May 2008

Indietracks interview #12: The Starlets

Based in Glasgow, belonging nowhere, The Starlets are a melancholy pop group with ambitions to be cheerful. A wide range of influences, from the Velvet Underground via the Go-Betweens and Prefab Sprout to Judy Garland, have all inspired the band. Their debut album ‘Surely Tomorrow You’ll Feel Blue’ was released in 2002 on SL Records, inspired in part by alternative guitar pop and old string-laden movie soundtracks. It won ‘Jockrock album of the year’ and was included in the top 100 albums by Scottish artists of ‘Is this Music’.The release of the band's second album 'Further Into Night Forever' (2003) was equally well-received and featured guest appearances from various Scottish friends including Isobel Campbell. It brought the band to the attention of the Japanese label Muzak, which helped promote The Starlets' first live performances in Tokyo. A new album is now nearing completion, recorded with producer Duncan Cameron (Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits). We caught up with Craig from the band for a few quick questions...

Hi Craig, tell us a little bit about The Starlets...

We're Glasgow's greatest underachievers.

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

We once played in Coventry supporting a band called, wait for it, Gash. The posters read - " Tonight Only! GASH + the Starlets" . The audience consisted of a gang of leather clad bikers (and that was just the womenfolk). The promoter later told us we weren't "his kind of thing". Can't win them all.

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

In November we're going to tour Japan. By then we hope to have learned some Japanese. Currently all we can say is "Shunsuke Nakamura".

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

The drummer is a human cannonball

So what attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?

I like Indie pop; I like trains. What's not to like?

And finally, who are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival, and why?

A friendly bartender, by the time we arrive from Glasgow we shall be very thirsty.

Well if the frankly indecent range of drinks last year is anything to go by, that shouldn't be a problem! As always, we'll leave you with a free MP3 from the band.

Next up: From writing children's TV themes to playing dubious clubs in Rochester - it's KateGoes!

Friday 30 May 2008

Harvey Williams to play at Indietracks

We're delighted to announce that Harvey Williams has been added to the Indietracks line up!

Harvey released a string of classic Sarah Records singles under the name Another Sunny Day and was also a key member of legendary indiepop bands The Field Mice, Blueboy and, briefly, Trembling Blue Stars.

Harvey Williams has taken the place of Beatnik Filmstars, who are sadly unable to play at the festival.

Wednesday 28 May 2008

Pete Green's sparkly time at Indietracks!

It wouldn't be Indietracks without the sight of Pete Green shambling around in a floppy hat and flared jeans, a battered acoustic guitar strapped across his back and a pint of warm ale in hand. He wowed the crowds last year with two stellar performances and - even though he's not scheduled to play this time - we suspect the lure of the outdoor gazebo will prove too great for this acoustica addict. Exclusively for the Indietracks blog, Pete reminisces about the songs, steam trains, snacks and straighteners that made Indietracks 2007 such an unforgettable experience...

It was when I got off the train on the way home. And walked – no, floated, through the clear, glimmering summer air of Sheffield station. With a guitar and a rucksack and a fruit salad grin that felt like it could never fade away. Kill me now, because the rest of my life can never, ever get better than this. I'll leave the planet laughing in unsurpassable joy. This is pretty good going for a Monday morning, isn't it?

Before 2007 I had never been to a festival. Festivals sat alongside driving, going abroad, having a Myspace and full-time employment on the list of things I Officially Don't Do. Oh come on, Pete, people would say. Come to End of All Tomorrow's Leedstonbury Truckfest! Why? Who's playing? Oh, loads of great bands... Like? Er... Teenage Fanclub have reformed! And? Er... well, it's not about the bands... it's about the VIBE!

The word 'vibe' is also on the list of things I Officially Don't Do.

But the first Indietracks night back in April had been a blast of such uniqueness and perfection as to make July's two-dayer unmissable. That and the fact that Stuart asked me to play at it, and I had a debut solo single to try and flog some copies of, in the hope that Atomic Beat Records wouldn't lose hundreds of pounds for liking my songs.

It was a job and half getting there though. And you will tend to start worrying when you're due on stage at half past two and first you have to pitch a troublesome tent, on ground stonier than a stare from an audience at a Serious Acoustic Night when I play 'She's an Accountant', and then you have to find your way on foot from the camp site to the festival site a mile away, and it's about one o'clock and you're still sitting in a seven-seater taxi somewhere in the Amber Valley and all your fellow passengers are as perplexed as you are and the driver's gone to ask the farmer for directions. Still, at least I've remembered my sunhat. The one thing I know about festivals is that you have to wear a sunhat. It's a good thing too, because there isn't even time to fire up the Portable Cordless Ceramic Travel Hair Straightener that I've bought specially for Indietracks!

By lucky hap I get a lift for the final leg from Takeshi, zooming by in one of those car things, and arrive backstage at the church as the Felt Tips, on just before me, are striking up their last song. While I'm on there are a few distractions: I'm strangely mesmerised, through the far window, by a half-pitched tent flapping furiously in the wind; I have to re-sequence the set so that I can do my new train song 'Hey Dr Beeching' when Stuart Indietracks is in the room; and I'm vaguely troubled by the possible blasphemy of playing my expletive-riddled song about MySpace in a consecrated building. There are also some elementary mistakes, such as singing 'The Title Race is Over' to a room full of people who don't like football. But I'm always doing things like that. The audience is indulgent and kind and I think the set goes pretty well.

The rest of the Saturday is a blur of fabulous pop music, giddy hugs, plates of chips, and bottles of Thwaites' Lancaster Bomber. The Gresham Flyers are the best I've seen them, Rose McDowall captivating and vulnerable, and The Chemistry Experiment, still (prog) rocking after all these years, perfect on the church stage. No-one can hold a torch to The Orchids though; no-one ever could. As incomparably radiant as at their comeback gig at the Luminaire four months ago and their farewell at the Thekla in 1995. I stumble after a torchlight back to the tent, completely in the dark as to how anyone can't see it. The brilliance of The Orchids, I mean, not the torchlight.

At camp sites my cheap gear usually places me at the bottom of the outdoor pursuits pecking order. Hardcore outdoor types stride majestically by in their £180 nine-season NASAtex extreme mountain boots, peering scornfully down their noses at my flimsy tent and cagoule with a broken zip. At Indietracks on Sunday morning, however, the indiepop kids look on in awe as I brew mugs of tea and rustle up beans, veggie sausage and fried bread on my spluttering, bottom-of-the-range, one-ring gas stove. To the seasoned climber and hiker I am an effete urbanite, way out of my depth under canvas, but to the twee I am suddenly like Ray Mears and Scott of the Antarctic rolled into one. I'm off back to the festival site to see some more indiepop and I may be gone for some time.

Still knackered, me and The Parallelograms watch A Smile And A Ribbon from a prostrate position on the bouncy castle. Then Horowitz win the hearts of hundreds, as I always knew they would. Later MJ Hibbett & the Validators take effortlessly to the big stage, another band on best-I've-ever-seen-them form. Das Wanderlust challenge Bearsuit in the endearingly bonkers stakes and Persil are as relentlessly hypnotic and irresistible as ever – indie/electropop at its peak. Sean from Fortuna Pop! gets me to try and tell Martine Persil what twee means. I fail horribly.

But everyone tells me The School are the highlight of the day, and I miss them while I do an acoustic set on the train, waiting for it to stop at the far end of the line before I play the quieter songs. It's an almighty task to co-ordinate guitar and singing with foot movements to keep my balance as the train chugs along; happily, I haven't had too much beer yet and just about manage it. It's another challenge to synchronise the set with the railway timetable; this time I fail horribly again and have to play the last two songs on the platform back at Swanwick (below). Considering the competition, there's still a pleasing number of people around to listen. I mean even with the Portable Cordless Ceramic Travel Hair Straightener on full power I'm never gonna look quite as good as The School.
Sometime in the early evening, as I'm coming out of the café with a belly full of chips, my friend Dan phones. I don't see him much since he sold his vinyl and moved to Droitwich, and it's like a phone call from another world, like when Doctor Who's assistants give their mums back in London a quick bell from the Tardis. In my serene and blissful state I must sound to Dan like I am very much On Something, but the whole festival, as far as I see it, is refreshingly free from that sort of thing. Drugs make you boring, kids! Was I wrong about the sunhat being compulsory as well?

Then I'm standing by the merch table and there's a lad with my Portable Cordless Ceramic Travel Hair Straightener on his T-shirt. That's a coincidence, isn't it? Oh... and he's also got the text of a silly excited post I made on a web forum a couple of weeks earlier, about my Portable Cordless Ceramic Travel Hair Straightener, on his T-shirt. Word for word. That's more than just a coincidence: it's freaking my head out! He turns out to be one of the Pop Miwsig DJs who play out the night on a high as the new loco shed's concrete dust is kicked up into the shimmering disco lights by two hundred ecstatic popkids who don't want the night to end.

But maybe my highest light was playing second guitar in the Pocketbooks singalong on the train. Being wildly out of tune and hitting a hundred wrong chords, and just about getting away with it. Then learning 'I'm Not Going Out' in the ten seconds before we played it. Playing it spot on, turning round to Dan at the end of the song, and both of us laughing, amazed, joyful, victorious. On the train. In my sunglasses. On a sunny day. With a hundred sparkly people and more love than the world can hold.

And at the end of my life I'll remember the happiest moment it gave me. It was when I got off the train on the Monday morning. And floated through the dazzling bright summer spaces of Sheffield station. With a guitar and a rucksack and an ice cream grin that felt like it could never fade away. And I'll be back this year, not playing this time, just happy to see a load more skill bands. Just don't expect to see me at End of All Tomorrow's Leedstonbury Truckfest though, is all.

Pete Green's new EP, Platform Zero, is released in July on Lostmusic Records. To find out more, see when he's playing live, or listen to some of his other stuff, visit

Tuesday 27 May 2008

Two months to go!!!

We're really excited that it's just two months until the Indietracks festival! A couple of people have asked if they can have some posters for their local record shops and bedroom walls, and we'd love it if you would like to help spread the word about the festival. So here's Emma's fantastic poster, which you can download from the following link: Indietracks A4 poster
... and if you would like to post something on your website, blog or on a forum or anything, Emma's also designed a handy eflyer.
If you'd like to use it, here's the html code: Indietracks eflyer htmlSo please feel free to plaster these anywhere legally permissable(!). And do let us know if you've put up a poster anywhere interesting, unusual or high-profile and we might find a nominal prize for you. Write to and let us know! Thanks very much to everyone who's been postering and flyering so far! You'll have started to see Indietracks plastered all over places like Nottingham, Sheffield, London and Glasgow over the last few weeks. See you in two months! Choo choo!

Monday 26 May 2008

New Wedding Present album released!

El Rey, the long-awaited new album from The Wedding Present, is released today on Vibrant Records.

The band, who are headlining the Indietracks Festival on July 26, returned from an eight year hiatus in 2004 with the release of ‘Take Fountain’. This long awaited album brought them back into the spotlight with all the style and sophistication associated with the legendary group, but fans were also pleased to see the band had lost none of their growling angst with which they had burst onto the scene more than 20 years ago.

That intensity has been turned up even further for the new album, ‘El Rey’, The Wedding Present’s first collaboration with the legendary Steve Albini since the renowned ‘Seamonsters’ in 1991. Written while David Gedge was living in Los Angeles, ‘El Rey’ burns with West Coast sunlight - Hollywood seen through the eyes of a gritty Northerner.

Don't forget to order a copy so that you'll know all the words to the new songs come Indietracks time! Ooh, and did we mention that we can't wait to see them play?

Friday 23 May 2008

Indietracks interview #11: Dirty Fingernails

It’s Heaven versus Hell, Luke versus The Dark Side and Orange Juice versus Coke in musical form: please say a hearty (yet slightly scared) 'hello' to Dirty Fingernails!Having upped sticks from Finland to Finsbury Park, Sami and Paivi are gaining quite a reputation for their 'sexually confused, politically inclined drum-machine driven indiepop.’ Mixing heavenly synth-pop with a Scandinavian kick, haunting vocals and dark lyrics, they're destined to shake up the Indietracks festival when they rock up in July. Their first album ‘Greetings from Finsbury Park, N4’ was released in 2007 to numerous rave reviews.

Hi Sami and Paivi, tell us a bit about yourselves...

Hi! We're Dirty Fingernails originally from Finland but currently living in London. We're brother and sister but only started playing music together a couple of years ago. Incidentally, until very recently we were still using the keyboard our Dad got Paivi when she was eight years old and some of the keys haven't worked in years. (Sami's theory is: when he used to share a rehearsal studio with a punk band including an ex-member of the Wildhearts, one of them must have poured beer in the keyboard in a fit of rock 'n' roll street cred posturing. Paivi's theory is: Sami spilled the beer and is trying to blame other people as usual. We may never find out...) As a nod to modernity, and also to be able to play all the songs we've written, we have now bought a bottom-of-the-range keyboard which actually works. The funniest billing we ever had alluded to the keyboard and read: "See these Scandinavian siblings fight to the finnish over their cheap childhood christmas present instruments: every day is boxing day!"

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

Last summer we did a double whammy of shows in unusual venues. On May bank holiday we played a village fete (hogroast and all...) in Long Marston. There had been heavy rain in the preceeding days and when we got there on the day, the venue was flooded. Sensibly, a pump lorry had been called and arrived just in time for our set: we played the gig bare-footed in ankle deep water accompanied by the hum of the pump truck.. Later in the summer when we thought it couldn't get much worse we were booked to play what we thought was a festival but was actually a food market. On the plus side, we did get to play to thousands of people as they filed past admiring the ethnic food stalls...

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?
Paivi (keys & vocs) has a most stylish Marmite tattoo on her back! And as a long-standing vegan she'd like to remind all the non-meat-eating Indietracks festival-goers of the importance of regular intake of the B12-vitamin, which is only naturally present in meat and dairy products. Two slices of Marmite toast a day is an easy and delicious veggie way of making sure you're getting enough B12!

Do you have any surprises planned for Indietracks festival?

Well, we will be bringing the band KISS along with us for the benefit of anyone who might want to have their photo taken with KISS and possibly with us. Please note: if KISS are busy, we'll be bringing a life-size cardboard cut-out..

Fantastic, we'll look forward to meeting KISS! Thanks very much Sami and Paivi. And they've also left us with a free MP3 to download.

Free MP3 Download: Dirty Fingernails - Bruno

Next up: Melancholy pop with ambitions to be cheerful - The Starlets!

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Indietracks interview #10: The Rosie Taylor Project

Next up in our series of Indietracks interrogations are Leeds six-piece The Rosie Taylor Project Born through an ever-exciting mixture of boredom and whimsy, the band take country, folk, indie, and pop melodies to fill the listener with summery nostalgia. You may already know their recent single ‘A Good Café on George Street’ (a follow-up to debut ‘Black and White Films’), taken from forthcoming album on Bad Sneakers Records. We're joined by Sophie (trumpet, vocals and French horn) to talk us through people-watching and special gigs in churches. Oh, and if you're in The Enemy you might want to look away now!

Hi Sophie, you're about to play a gig on a steam railway - have you played any other unusual gigs?

One of our favourite gigs, which happened to be in an unusual setting was in the Holy Trinity Church in Leeds. We were supporting Jens Lekman and it was sold out. The Church is huge and because of the acoustics every sound is amplified dramatically. We’re used to a few people chatting through most gigs but this time everyone stayed deadly quiet, the church seemed to encourage a reverential atmosphere, and the acoustics were incredible. The vocals didn’t even really need amplifying because the natural acoustics of the church made everything echo around the walls. This gig made us want to embark on a tour of churches until we realized that people may mistake us for a Christian band.

Have you got any exciting plans for the forseeable future?

We're pretty damn excited about playing at Indietracks. We've also just welcomed into our fold two new members in the form of Jon and Joel who play lead guitar and drums, so we're working on new songs with those two involved and looking forward to unveiling them hopefully soon!

What do you think of music scene at the moment?

Music at the moment is very exciting. More and more bands are branching out and doing their own thing without any concern for what’s popular or “cool”. However, the mainstream doesn’t reflect this, but then it never seems to. Perhaps that’s why there are so many talented bands out there because they’re reacting against the norm but it just seems ridiculous that the music industry is still so concerned with turgid bands like The Enemy and Reverend and the Makers. It’s all just empty posturing.

And finally, what's attracted you to the Indietracks festival?

We love the concept of mixing rail transport and music. Mostly because train journeys are the perfect time to sit back and daydream whilst listening to music. Train journeys are some of the rare times in life where you can truly relax whilst doing a bit of nosey people-watching so a festival which mixes trains, people and music can only equal pure bliss in our minds!

Thanks Sophie! If you can't wait until the festival, the band are playing a string of dates in May and June. And if that's not enough, here's a free MP3 from the band.

Next up: Dirty Fingernails tell us all about Marmite tattoos and playing gigs ankle-deep in a flood!

Sunday 18 May 2008

Indietracks interview #9: Darren Hayman

It's been a manic old year for Darren Hayman - he's just released an album with his new bluegrass outfit Hayman, Trout, Watkins and Lee, he's been playing dozens of gigs across the country with the Secondary Modern and - if that wasn't enough - he's just reunited with Jack from former band Hefner and is planning to put on a series of Hefner songfest gigs over the summer - wow! He's obviously a very busy chappie, but we managed to catch up with him to find out what he's been up to recently, and his plans for Indietracks....

Hi Darren. How do you feel about music at the moment and the new crop of indiepop bands? Do you have any particular favourites?

I recently bought the new Breeders album, although thats not new is it? I like the Wave Pictures, but I guess they're friends so I don't know if that counts! I like Esiotrot, they're new

Does you feel as though you have inspired a new generation of bands? And does it feel any different performing solo/ with a new band, than it did with Hefner?

It's nice when bands say they liked Hefner. Its not something I expected. Gratitude and respect only go so far though, I really need these young pups to cover some Hefner songs and get some chart action, its their money I'm really afterYep, it feels different. I don't have my gang anymore - I look behind me and they're not there.

Tell us a bit more about how the reunion with Jack came about...

I wanted Jack to play on an album I'm making at the moment. The decision was more about new stuff, but we thought it was a chance to do a couple of special shows for some people. It may even signal less Hefner songs in my solo sets for a while. Me and Jack are always going to be more interested in doing something new.

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

Somebody arranged an odd tour for me and the Wave Pictures last year where we played Spanish universities in the afternoons. There were no light shows - just overhead projectors.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

It would be great to be able to release Pram Town (my proper new album) and the re-issue of We Love the City, but its hard when you do everything yourself.

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

I have a compilation of Ry Cooder that Dave T from the Wave Pictures made for me. I think its the only compilation I've got in the car, so that one.

What attracted you to playing Indietracks again?

The small tin-roofed church!

Is there anyone in particular you're looking forward to seeing play, and why?

The Wedding Present. I saw them loads of times ten years ago but have really lost touch with them and their records. I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted.

Thanks Darren, look forward to catching you at Indietracks!

Next up: The Rosie Taylor Project talk to us about supporting Jens Lekman in a secluded church and why they're looking forward to mixing rail transport and music!

Thursday 15 May 2008

Indietracks seen through the eyes of MJ Hibbett...

MJ Hibbett, everyone's favourite acoustic troubador, is previewing his "My Exciting Life in Rock!" show at Indietracks this year ahead of showcasing it at the Edinburgh Festival - proper posh, like! All those who snapped up the first 100 Indietracks tickets will be able to see the show on the Friday night before the festival. We literally can't wait, so we begged Mr H to give us a little glimpse of what he's got in store, as well as some of his favourite moments from last year's festival....

Indietracks is having pretty much all new bands playing this year - a WORTHY endeavour, one might think. It gives a chance for a whole slew of different people to play and rewards return visitors with a completely different set of bands to enjoy. Yes, it's all very worthy, except for one vital and, I would say, much more important consideration.

We played last year, and we want to play again!

Now, at first glance you might think this is slightly selfish, but I can find plenty of other people who feel (roughly) the same way - about 38 other bands, in fact, who all consider it a completely valid music booking policy with perhaps room for just one exception to be made. Only the exception differs.

Now, when Sir Stuart Mackay (it can't be long) and the Indietracks Team were inundated with bands making this (almost entirely) selfless point they decided to do something about it and open up three slots for returning bands, to be decided by a popular vote. This probably seemed like a lovely thing to do, at the time, but little did they realise that actually they were about to make life much much worse for 35 bands - not only would they not be coming back to play this year, they would know that the REASON was that not enough people like them.

INEXPLICABLY one of the bands not to be chosen was MY band - I can only assume everybody assumed that everybody ELSE would be voting for us, so wanted to give someone else a chance, right? Now, we're not exactly unfamiliar with the sensation of not getting asked to play at festivals, in fact as experts in the area go we are one exam away from Chartered Status, and normally we shrug our shoulders, have a bit of a cry, and start sending begging emails to someone else instead, but with Indietracks it was different.
Indietracks was BRILLIANT! It was, in all honestly one of the Best Weekends in ROCK I have EVER had - INDEED, over the course of the weekend, several of us old-timers were heard to mumble, gathered over our halves of mild, "It's the best thing since Bowlie!" It was THAT good, so good that in retrospect even the camping seemed delightful and I still hanker for those Cheese And Fried Onion Baps that were the main Vegetarian Alternative at the barbecue. Trains, Real Ale, Indie Discos and pretty much ALL of the loveliest people that I've met in the past ten years On The Road, all in one place? How could it BE any better? Oh yeah, BANDS!

So yes, the realisation that we WEREN'T going to be playing was too awful to bear, so we did the honourable thing: we CHEATED. Technically speaking me and The Validators AREN'T playing Indietracks this year...but we ARE doing a special pre-Indietracks show. The night before Indietracks, on the Indietracks site, for the first 100 people who bought tickets for Indietracks. I make no bones about it, it IS cheating, but it's going to be GRATE! We're so excited about it we're even going to have a PRACTICE, and as anyone who's ever seen us live will know, this is a BIG DEAL! We're going to have to, because the show, "My Exciting Life In ROCK!" is going to be a full band version of the solo show I'm going to be doing at the Edinburgh Festival, which features LOADS of songs that we've NEVER done as Validators before. We're also doing it Totally Acoustically, another thing we've never done before, and I realised that once we've paid for space for rehearsals, train fares to GET to rehearsals, and BEER to drink before, during and AFTER rehearsals, well, we'd have been better off financially PAYING for tickets and camping for the weekend and just turning up. But then, well, we wouldn't have been playing at Indietracks, and that would have been awful!

Don't forget to check out the fantabulous video for MJ Hibbett and The Validators' latest single- Do The Indie Kid. It's already more than 30,000 views!

Monday 12 May 2008

Los Campesinos! announced as Sunday headliners!

We're delighted to announce that Los Campesinos! will be the Sunday night headliners for this year’s Indietracks festival.

Los Campesinos! have received widespread acclaim for their joyful pop brilliance since their first shows in Cardiff in 2006. By January 2007, they’d been snapped up by Wichita Recordings, and went on to release a string of exhilarating singles, including the modern classic You! Me! Dancing!. Their debut album, Hold On Now, Youngster… was released in February 2008, and the band have released the second single from the album today (May 12). My Year in Lists is 1 minute 49 seconds of pure, unadulterated, pop-flecked brilliance, which mulls over the process of living out a relationship via Royal Mail!

The Saturday night of the Indietracks Festival will, of course, be headlined by John Peel favourites The Wedding Present. The final line up for the festival and stage times will be announced shortly.

Weekend tickets and single day tickets are available from We Got Tickets or by calling 01773 747 674

Saturday 10 May 2008

Indietracks headliners to be announced!

Hello everyone, Just a little note to let you know that we'll be officially announcing the Sunday night Indietracks headliners at midday on Monday (May 12), on both the official Indietracks website and here too.

Don't forget to keep checking the blog for the latest news - we've got lots coming up in the next few weeks, including articles from MJ Hibbett and Pete Green, and interviews with Darren Hayman and The Wave Pictures!

Thursday 8 May 2008

Indietracks interview #8: Town Bike

Appearing at Indietracks by popular demand, we're delighted to introduce Liverpudlian power-punk-pop heros Town Bike.

The four-piece recently became deserving winners of a recent Anorak forum vote to play at the festival, charming internet indiepoppers with their simple philosophy of 'having fun'! Their single single ‘When Good Kids Go Bad’ was released on Keith Records in 2007 and during this year they were played by Steve Lamacq on his Radio One show. Here's Sarah, Jane, Morgan and Charlie to answer a few questions.

Hi there Town Bike, tell us a little bit about yourselves

We are a band from Merseyside. We are Sarah (vocals), Jane (Bass), Morgan (Guitar) and Charlie (Drums). We play indie-pop-punk with a kiss on the cheek and a kick in the shin. We have smashing uniforms. We demand that you dance!

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

As always, the current music scene is a source of some hope and some despair! Daytime Radio 1 corporate "indie" makes us want to kill, but it's been cool to travel the country and meet real bands playing exciting music.Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the pastWell, our EP launch was in a club which looked like it was dressed in a toga! It had deeply unreliable electrical wiring which frequently cut out, and often threatened to catch fire...

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

We just want to do the same, but more so! Write more songs, play more, travel further, make more records - that kind o' thing!
Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?

Sarah is a star of stage and sgreen, and knows the entire dance routine to B*Witched's classic "C'est La Vie". Jane has a side project called Metal Beryl, which recorded the worlds greatest ever Death Metal christmas album. Charlie's widespread infamy is perfectly summed up by his nicknames - "Guns" and "Five Times". I'll leave it to your imagination! Morgan was the subject of a regular column in Mother And Baby magazine circa 1979/80. Really.

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

Helen Love, Andrew WK, Girls Aloud, Ramones, Josie And The Pussycats, Go-gos, High School Musical OST... All the classics!

Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?

We're considering numerous possibilities: elaborate stage sets? High-wire stunts? Experimental new jazz-funk direction? We don't want to give too much away - you'll just have to watch us to find out!What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?Loads of awesome bands in a great setting. Plus everyone we met on tour told us we should play there, which was encouraging!

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

We're particularly looking forward to seeing Airport Girl and Comet Gain, and dancing to the Bubblegum Killers, but to be honest, there's so much splendid stuff happening, it's hard to single anything out.

Ah, couldn't have put it better ourselves! Thanks guys. And here's a free MP3, taken from their EP 'When Good Kids Go Bad'...

Free MP3 Download: Town Bike - Bad Girls

Next up: Darren Hayman tells us about his reunion with Jack from Hefner and why he's excited about playing Indietracks!

Monday 5 May 2008

New albums from Darren Hayman and The Wave Pictures!

The musicians are long-standing friends who often collaborate and play gigs together, so it seems only natural that they're releasing records in the same week. Darren's album is from his new bluegrass band, Hayman, Watkins, Trout and Lee, which features - who else - Dave Tattersall from The Wave Pictures. The self-titled record, released on Fortuna Pop tomorrow (May 6th), includes covers of songs by Townes Van Zandt and The Mountain Goat, as well seven of the band's own songs - ukeletastic! For the unitiated among you, Darren formed the band with Dave Watkins back in 2005, as an antidote to their "career bands", with the idea that this would be a band with as little ego as possible, with everybody taking vocals and submitting material.The album was recorded in two days at Darren's house, and on a diet of fruit and teacake. Judging by their recent live performances, it looks set to be a stormer of a record - so get it while you can!

Instant Coffee Baby, the new album from The Wave Pictures, is released on Moshi Moshi records today (May 5th). We're mightily excited about seeing this Loughborough three-piece at Indietracks, and we'll be listening hard to the new record to ensure we're prepared for the inevitable festival sing-along! Although the Wave Pictures have only recently released their first proper single, they're not really a new band, having been playing together in various incarnations since 1998. This forthcoming album, ostensibly their debut, is in fact their sixth or so record, the others having previously been recorded on CD-R and sold at gigs. Combining the lyrical nouse of Jonathan Richman with the melody sensibilities of Herman Dune (who various WP members have also played with), they have already built up a devoted cult fanbase and are nothing short of fantastic - we heartily recommend you snap up this record asap!

You can catch Hayman, Trout, Watkins and Lee playing live at the What's Cooking night on May 23 at The Sheep Walk in Leytonstone on May 23 and at the Buffalo Bar on May 28. The Wave Pictures are playing around 20 dates between now and September, so check their Myspace for details.

In the meantime, you can download a track from the new Hayman, Trout, Watkins and Lee album completely free from the following link: Sly And The Family Stone (right click to download).

Thursday 1 May 2008

Kabeedies competition winners announced!

Congratulations to Craig Podd, Tom Hartney, John Quarmby, Kyle Soo and Scott Knowles for being first out of the hat in the draw for our Kabeedies competition. We've sent you all emails and the CDs will be in the post shortly.

We had quite a few entries and everyone successfully named Cherryade as the name of the indie record label which The Kabeedies are on.

We'll have another competition soon, and in the meantime, here's a free Kabeedies song to download. Hurray!