Thursday, 30 April 2009

MJ Hibbett imagines Indietracks in 2057....

Greetings from THE FUTURE! I'm sending this from Indietracks 2057, where we're celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Nation's Favourite Festival!

A few things have changed since your time - ever since the rail network was completely rebuilt the Midland Railway has become a Car Museum. Every weekend, volunteers get together to restore old 4x4s and children come to gaze in wonder at the strange transports of the past. Similarly, there's now an area for The Campaign For Real Lager, where you can try out the strange, gassy liquids that our fore-fathers seemed to enjoy. Put down that pint of Ale and try a taste of history!

Some things are still very much the same though. The food is still fried, the church stage is still really hot (although it's now expanded into a Corrugated Cathedral) and, of course, the bands are still GRATE. Sir Peter Green, First Lord Of The Admiralty, is playing on Saturday afternoon and there's a stand-off between Pocketbooks (UK)and The Original Pocketbooks on Sunday.

I'm hoping to have an impromptu set on one of the Antique Lorries,which will be driving to Butterley and back every hour or so, and I've still got a few copies of "Regardez, Ecoutez et Repetez" left if anybody wants one - if I'd known CDs would turn out to give you Swine Flu back in 2009 I wouldn't have made so many!

Thanks Mark! Hmm, makes you think doesn't it? Let's hope steam train enthusiasts haven't died out by 2057, or Indietracks could be looking very different!

MJ Hibbett will be playing at this year's festival, and his fantastic new album "Regardez, Ecoutez and Repetez" is available now to order. To quote the man himself, it's GRATE! "Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid", one of our fave tracks from the album, is now available as a free download - make sure you have a listen!

In the meantime, do check out the hilarious video for MJ Hibbett's "Do the Indie Kid", which is also on the album:

And, just because it's one of our favourite ever MJ Hibbett songs, here's the video for Gay Train:

You've got to love those cuddly animals!


Anyway, next up: Ste McCabe talks about his one-man mission to provoke the Daily Mail....

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Indietracks interview #4: Little My

It's nearly May, and everything's shaping up nicely for this year's festival. In the last few weeks Camera Obscura and Butcher Boy have released new albums to rave reviews, and the press are beginning to publish their festival previews (here's an Indietracks feature in last Friday's Guardian). We popped in to see Camera Obscura at the Shepherds Bush Empire last Thursday, and closed our eyes and imagined how amazing they're going to be on the playing as the sun sets over the Outdoor Stage in July.

Today, we're joined by Cardiff pop supergroup Little My, who you may remember from their fun-filled impromptu slot in the tea tent at last year's festival. The band is a collection of 8 to 19 people, stolen from various Cardiff bands. They're best known for wearing animal ears onstage onstage, playing the shortest songs in indiepop and releasing a prolific series of EPs (helpfully titled in numerical order), which include releases on the fantastic WeePOP! (UK) and Little Pocket (US) labels.
Hello Little My! Tell us a little about yourselves...

Well, we come from Cardiff, we vary in number, our members can tessellate and we want you to have fun!

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

Nine of us once managed to fit into the back of a transit van to play some some songs - while it drove around! It was great! There could have been more incidents of glock stick in the eye, or stylophoners cramp, but we escaped relatively injury free!

Phew - sounds exciting! Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?

As a group of peopole we cover quite a broad skill range. We can search for gravity waves in deep space, build you anything you wanted from salvaged electrical goods, mend your ailing pet, speak Russian and climb up a pylon - all at the same time!

Sounds like you're full of suprises! Do you have any surprises planned for Indietracks?

Hmm, we have a rather extravagant line-up planned - hopefully our biggest band to date! It is going to be a challenge to fit us all on stage - perhaps we should begin our human pyramid training classes. We are also planning for some other Indietrackers to join us for some collaborations!

Human pyramids and gravity waves - sounds like Little My are going to be livening up Indietracks with their own special range of fun! We can't wait!

If you can't wait until then, you can watch this video of Little My performing their van gig.

The band have also very kindly given us mp3 Leaves Nothing, which you can download for free.

Next up: Ste McCabe talks about his one-man mission to provoke the Daily Mail....

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Indietracks interview #3: Hong Kong in the 60s

Hey popkids, I think it might actually be 'officially summer', as Lauren Laverne once sang - or Aidan from Arab Strap if you prefer your summer holiday fun laced with some licentious drunken chaos. Either way, we've been wearing sunglasses to work all week and remembering watching the sunset over Ballboy at last summer's Indietracks.

And to add to that summery feeling, we're joined by Mei Yau from classy electro-Casio-popsters Hong Kong In The 60s. The band formed in London in 2007, and take their cue from old Oriental pop, classic AM radio, and the baroque melancholy of groups like Blonde Redhead and Broadcast. The band play hypnotic lullabies through a filter of cheap keyboards and guitars.

Tim and Mei Yau met at school in Berkshire in 1996. They lived for two years in Japan before returning to Southern England. Mei Yau met Christopher in Summer 2005 at an Oxford library. The trio moved to London at the end of 2006. Christopher has lived in Africa, Brazil and Cambridge. His band Too Many Zeros released a split 7" with The Oedipus (Steven Ansell, now of Blood Red Shoes) on Running Riot Records. While at university in Brighton, Mei Yau was invited to play bass in Electrelane, but declined. Their loss is Indietracks' gain!

Hi Mei Yau, tell us a little bit about yourselves.

We're Mei Yau, Tim and Christopher - we all sing and play guitar and keyboards in Hong Kong In The 60s. Our name is a reference to the Wong Kar Wai film "In The Mood For Love" which is a beautiful story of repressed love in, yes, Hong Kong in the 60s. We loved the atmosphere of the film and all the little period details and textures - lush greens, the humid air, cracking walls, the balletic cinematography. And we try to evoke the same vibe with our music - but using old Casio keyboards.

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

We'll be putting out our first EP "Willow Pattern Songs" in June (on Proper Songs) and it's really exciting to have a release of our own! Earlier in April an Italian filmmaker contacted us about appearing in one of his short films and he's making it into a video for the EP's lead track, "Footsteps". It was pretty cool doing the film shoot and we can't wait to see the finished article.

What music are you enjoying at the moment?

I'm listening to a lot of Chinese music from the 1940s to 1970s on Spotify these days - it's amazing what they have on it. The synthesis of stuff like cha cha rhythms or garagey guitars with traditional Chinese melodies and vocals is quite hard to beat. I also like the Cantonese version of YMCA, I must say.

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

We were thrilled to hear that Au Revoir Simone are playing on the Friday as they're one of our favourite bands and, of course, we're excited to see BMX Bandits and Camera Obscura too. The Marshmallow Kisses will be amazing - with Peter based in Hong Kong and Edine in London, we're never had a chance to see them play live. Festivals are all about discovering new music and I am looking forward to seeing lots of the international Elefant bands.

Thanks Mei Yau! And the band have left us with a free MP3 to download: You Got Me Into This

Next up: Little My talk glockenspiel injuries and human pyramid training classes!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Paul Richards’ top five bands to see at Indietracks

This morning we woke up to find that Indietracks has been selected as one of the Sunday Times’ 12 hottest cool festivals of 2009. How cool (and hot!) is that!?

Today we’re delighted to be joined by this year’s first special guest contributor to the blog. Paul Richards writes for indie-mp3, DJs at Lostmusic events and runs the 'Indie pop' Facebook group, putting out mixtapes and writing about indie pop old and new. He’s selected his five must-see bands from the line-up announced so far. Take it away Paul...

Butcher Boy

Without doubt the brightest spark in the British indie pop music scene, Glasgow’s Butcher Boy play Indietracks in support of their stunning second LP, React or Die. Constructing the most heartbreakingly beautiful pop songs you’ll hear all year with such subtlety and elegance, HDIF’s flagship band are fronted by the National Pop League’s John Blain Hunt. They released their debut Profit In Your Poetry in 2007, with standout tracks such as ‘Girls Make Me Sick’ and ‘There Is No-one Who Can Tell You Where You’ve Been’ garnering positive reviews with The Guardian calling it a ‘promising debut’ whilst likening them to The Smiths and Lloyd Cole.
Their recent mini-tour saw them play a spectacular show at the Brixton Jamm in March whilst they play later this month at The Luminaire with support from fellow labelmates Cats on Fire and Pocketbooks. React or Die features ‘Carve A Pattern’ (Record of the Week on The Radcliffe and Maconie Show on Radio 2), new single ‘A Better Ghost’ and ‘This Kiss Will Marry Us’ with The Times giving the album 5/5 let’s hope they go on to bigger and better things. Just make sure you don’t miss them.

Camera Obscura

Headlining the Outdoor Stage on Saturday will be Scottish indie poppers Camera Obscura. Since their charmingly understated debut album Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi in 2001, they have released Underachievers Please Try Harder in 2004 and Let’s Get Out of This Country which followed two years later to critical acclaim. The latter includes the dance floor hit ‘Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken’ and the enchantingly sweeping ‘Come Back Margaret’. One of the best songstresses in the business, Tracyanne Campbell’s vocals are warm, gentle and above all achingly tender. That’s not to say they can’t have fun too. Check out ‘Anti-Western’ from their debut, ‘Number One Son’ and ‘Let Me Go Home’ from Underachievers Please Try Harder. Recent radio sessions on Radio 2 and 6 Music has seen them promote new material from the forthcoming album My Maudlin Career, released on the 4AD label. The LP features the single ‘French Navy’, arguably up there with ‘Lloyd…’ as their best song, along with other highlights ‘Swans’ and ‘James’. They’ll be playing a number of European and North American dates prior to Indietracks.

Bonne Idée

Formed in a Gothenburg basement in 2006, Bonne Idée are an unsigned band with a modest but promising output. They haven’t released an EP or album yet, whilst there are only a few songs on their MySpace page which are sung in Swedish and English. ‘Glassbåten’, which can be found on the Birdsongs, Beesongs... Volume A compilation, has an intro that sounds like it could have been lifted straight from Nico’s Chelsea Girl LP as the song has a wonderful melody and delightful accordion. ‘It Will Be Back’, their strongest song, soars with a delightful chorus sung in French complete with ‘ba-ba-ba-ba’s’ bouncing along until the songs end. They are playing a handful of London dates before Indietracks at the Goonite Club, Fortuna Pop and Twee as F***.

The Manhattan Love Suicides

Leeds quartet The Manhattan Love Suicides play fuzzy noisy pop reminiscent of the C86 scene. They cite Sonic Youth, The Velvet Underground, My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain as influences some of which you can hear in their own sound. Personally I can hear The Shop Assistants and a touch of The Primitives too. Their self-titled debut album was released in late 2006 complete with a cover of the Beat Happening classic ‘Indian Summer’. With few of their songs ticking over the three and a half minute mark, tracks such as ‘Things You’ve Never Done’ and ‘Suzy Jones’ are choice picks for first time listeners. Singer Caroline has a fragile yet confident voice whilst musically expect to hear lots of feedback. They released a compilation of singles, EPs, radio sessions and four new recordings entitled Burnt Out Landscapes on their own Squirrel label last year and comes highly recommend.

The School

The School play infectious indie pop with a strong 60s girl group sound. Like Lucky Soul, they sound like they could have been produced by Phil Spector in his heyday, in fact their debut single ‘All I Wanna Do’ has THAT drumbeat intro. There’s a hint of Tracyanne Campbell’s forlorn vocals although they are possibly more indebted to The Crystals and The Marvelettes.
Their debut Let It Slip EP came out last year on Elefant Records. The titled track jangles along with airy vocals of pure innocence whilst there are nice touches of trumpet just at the right moments. ‘Shoulder’ is a great slice of swaying pop with stomping drums much in keeping with their girl group sound. Definitely worth checking out when the sun shines bright.

Thanks Paul! If you’re nodding sagely in agreement or tearing your hair out in bewilderment at Paul’s choices, we’d love to hear from you. We’re encouraging lots of people to write pieces for this blog, and it’s a great opportunity to get your thoughts heard by more people than you possibly expect! Please get in touch at if you have an idea for a blog piece.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Indietracks Interview #2: Help Stamp Out Loneliness

Hi there, and welcome once again to the Indietracks blog experience as we whip ourselves into a dizzy frenzy in anticipation of this year’s festival. Every few days we’ll be getting you intimately acquainted with another of the Indietracks ‘Class of 2009’, and today it’s an opportunity to get to know sophisticated krautpopsters Help Stamp Out Loneliness that little bit better.

The band started when old flatmates Colm McCrory and Bentley Cooke from twee heroes Language of Flowers decided to take a sabbatical from the drug fuelled ultra-violent world of C86 and start a lounge-gaze-krautpop band instead. They were soon joined by Ben Ambridge and Louise Winfield on drums and organ respectively and a little later by Katherine McMahon (piano) and finally D. Lucille Campbell (vocals). Fresh from charming the socks off the London Popfest crowds, here’s Bentley from HSOL to tell us all about gigs in trees and how to shop for records in the credit crunch

Hi Bentley, tell us a little bit about the band...

We’re Help Stamp Out Loneliness. We’ve been described as being a little bit like Marmite. You’ll either love us or you’ll hate us . . . and we taste like yeast extract. Ha, ha, ha. We’re just joking of course. However, on a more serious note we are aware that there has been some level of dissent amongst the C86/Twee/Indie-Pop community in regard to our brand of pop music but we are hopeful that they will ultimately come to accept us fully and without resistance. With that in mind we’ve called in a PR Agency who’ve advised us to become more pro-active in our quest for CWNN dominance.

Any suggestions on how we can serve you better as a band should sent direct to our email at with your GP’s address and level of susceptibility to hypnosis / mind control.

What music are you enjoying at the moment?

Because of the credit crunch and subsequent recession we’ve all had to cut back on our record spending and poor Colm has even had to resort to scuttling through service station bargain bins for tapes by Perry Como; Matt Monro; James Last; and Shed 7.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though – we have had some surprises recently . . . I’ve just discovered a band called Stereolab who are kind of avant-garde / kraut-rock influenced with French vocals. Also, our singer Dee has just unearthed a woman called Nico – she’s got a really deep voice like Alison Moyet – or her out of the Communards. We’re thinking about incorporating various elements of our new discoveries into our music in the near future.

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

We once played a gig not too far from Ripley. Believe it or not it was held inside the original oak tree that Robin Hood and his Merry Men supposedly lived in. It was promoted by an old couple from Mansfield and their middle aged daughter, Susan.

To be honest – even though it was a novelty - it was rather disappointing. There was no PA and we couldn’t even plug our amps into any electrical output source on account of the gig being in Sherwood Forest. We had to do the set acoustic, next thing you know the forest dwelling folk started groaning and throwing acorns at us. It was just awful, I could have died. I know a few of us were close to tears. To top it all off the backstage area was just a hollowed out trunk full of used condoms. Charming!

What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?

Without wanting to sound soppy (I know I’ll get a ribbing from the guys in the band about this) but I think the essence of Indietracks is this: it’s the chance to see some great bands; meet friends new and old; share stories around a campfire late into the night; and heckle Gav from Camera Obscura; and all this in some of Britain’s most beautiful surroundings. What more could you ask for?

Also, it’s dead close to Gulliver’s World in Matlock

Thanks Bentley! And here’s a free song from the band...
Free MP3 download: Parma Violet
Next up: Alaska

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Indietracks interview #1: Zipper

Hello! Welcome to the Indietracks blog, where we'll be interviewing lots of the bands, giving away free songs and keeping you up to the date on all the latest news in the run-up to the festival. Can you believe it's still 15 weeks away? We wish the summer would hurry up!

First up is Zipper, who played a fantastic set at London Popfest recently. The pop punk trio from Madrid, who have released singles on WeePOP! and Cloudberry, are sure to get everyone at Indietracks shimmying along to their special brand of sunshine pop. Bassist and singer Maria tells us about the band's plans for the year and an unusual restuarant gig!

Hello Maria! Tell us a little bit about the band...

Oscar plays the drums and sometimes sings. David plays the guitar and sings backing voices. And me, Maria (Maria del Mar) play the bass guitar and sing the main voice. When we rehearse, Oscar loves eating "kikos" (fried corns), David drinks beer and I always tell my new illness of the day. We never argue and when someone plays something wrongly, we smile at each other, but never shout.

Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past
We played once in a convention of "Ford Capri" cars. We were invited to play at the end of the race, in a restaurant, for lunch!! When we arrived with all the equipment, the waiters didn't know anything about us playing there, but they allowed us to play in the garden (it was like a terrace). The guests started to complain about our noise, so they decided to close the windows and finally we were playing alone for ourselves on the grass with trees behind us, while 200 people were eating inside the restaurant. At least, we got our steak at the end...

Sounds interesting - I'm sure you'll be getting a much better reception at Indietracks! Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?

Do you mean anything more exiting than playing at the Indietracks? We've booked Wembley for 2015 (it was harder than booking the Spanish church "Los Jeronimos" for a wedding....)

What attracted you to play at Indietracks?
Last year was the first time that we heard about the Indietracks and we found it very charming, with the steam-train and the lots of great, although sometimes unknown, bands that played there. We wanted to be part of it. We had the chance to play at the London Popfest and we loved the atmosphere, which we think must be similar or even better at Indietracks.

Thanks Maria! We'll look forward to seeing you at the festival - I'm sure your audience will be much bigger than the restaurant gig!

Zipper have very kindly given us a free song, A Good Man - which you can download below. Enjoy!

Free mp3 download: A Good Man

Next up: Help Stamp Out Loneliness talk about their similarity to yeast extract and their quest for indiepop dominance...

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Au Revoir Simone announced as new headliner!

Hi everyone! We can now announce that lovely New York synth-popsters Au Revoir Simone are the third headliners for this year's Indietracks, alongside Camera Obscura and Emmy the Great.

Au Revoir Simone, who formed in late 2003, consist of Erika Forster (vocals/keyboard), Annie Hart (vocals/keyboard) and Heather D’Angelo (vocals/drum machine/keyboard). Their first full-length album, The Bird of Music, was released on the Moshi Moshi label in 2007, and their new record, Still Night, Still Light, is due to be released in the UK in May. The band have toured US, Canada and Europe with We Are Scientists and Peter, Bjorn and John, and have recently played at the SXSW festival.

The following bands have also just been added to the Indietracks bill: Gordon McIntyre of Ballboy, MJ Hibbett, Roy Moller, Let’s Whisper, Alaska, The Marshmallow Kisses, Loyal Trooper and Moustache Of Insanity.

Over 50 bands will play the festival in total, and other bands announced so far include BMX Bandits, Lucky Soul, The Frank and Walters and The School. Also playing are hotly-tipped Butcher Boy, scuzzy guitar-lovers The Manhattan Love Suicides and sophisticated chanteuses Help Stamp Out Loneliness. More headline acts will be announced shortly. For the full line-up, please visit

Weekend tickets cost £55, day tickets cost £30 and both are available to buy from Ticketweb or by calling the railway direct on 01773 747 674. Remember - there is only one £3 booking fee to cover multiple tickets if you buy through the railway, and buying your ticket this way also helps to ensure more money goes towards the festival next year.

We'll be kicking off the blog properly on Thursday with interviews with all of your favourite Indietracks bands, so do keep watching this space!