Wednesday, 28 March 2012

New videos

To celebrate the fact that it's 100 days until Indietracks, we thought we'd post up a few videos that some of our 2012 bands have made recently. It was either this or building a big countdown clock in Trafalgar Square!

First up, here's the video for 051107 by Standard Fare, which is set rather appropriately on a train!

Next up, here's the fabulous animated video for Full Moon Reggae Party by Tigercats:

Slightly less recent, but still just as fantastic, here's Capricornia from Allo Darlin':

And finally for today, here's the video for My Heart Beats, the new single from Veronica Falls:

Hope you enjoy these - see you in 100 days!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Go Sailor, Standard Fare and Gordon McIntyre join Indietracks 2012

Go Sailor, Standard Fare and Gordon McIntyre of Ballboy have been added to the line-up for this year’s Indietracks Festival, which takes place on July 6-8 at the Midland Railway in Ripley, Derbyshire.

Go Sailor are the early indiepop supergroup of Rose Melberg (The Softies, Tiger Trap, Gaze) and Amy Linton (The Aislers Set, Henry’s Dress) and this will be their first ever appearance in the UK. They recorded three 7" singles and a full-length album in 1996 but, after the band broke up, their songs "Ray of Sunshine" and "Together Forever in Love" were made famous when they were included on the soundtrack to the film “But I’m A Cheerleader”. The band reformed in 2010 to critical acclaim and released a compilation album on Slumberland Records in 2011. Singer Rose Melberg will also be giving a solo performance at Indietracks.

Indiepop trio Standard Fare released their second album “Out of Sight, Out of Town” in January this year. They have been described as having the “The best and most loveable aspects of indie guitar music” by The Guardian, and were voted Sound XP’s Live Act of the Year in 2010. Gordon McIntyre is singer with John Peel favourites Ballboy, and co-author and composer for the widely praised play Midsummer.

Indietracks are partnering with American indiepop label Slumberland Records for this year’s festival, and Girls Names and Liechtenstein have also been added as part of this collaboration. Also announced today is White Town, whose song “Your Woman” reached number one in the UK charts in 1997. Other bands added to the bill include The Rosie Taylor Project, Joanna Gruesome, Proper Ornaments, Velodrome 2000 (a one-off reunion show for the John Peel darlings), September Girls, Mikrofisch, The Silver Factory and The Making Of.

Artists already announced include Allo Darlin’, Veronica Falls, The June Brides, Tender Trap, Evans the Death and Tigercats. For the full line-up announced so far, please visit the artists page on the Indietracks website.

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

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

To pick up tickets, please visit: 

Monday, 19 March 2012

Indietracks interview #2: The Sunbathers

Formed in 2007, The Sunbathers are Paul and Julie, an acoustic duo who write short, simple and sometimes wistful songs about love, life and staring longingly out to sea. The pair are influenced by early 80s pop, indiepop and The Marine Girls. Their debut release, a split CD with Los Lagos de Hinault on Cloudberry Records, was followed up by their new EP 'January, February, March, Ely, Cambridge' on Dufflecoat Records.

How do you know each other?
Paul: We go back a long way. When I was playing in The Artisans I got to know Mark from the Fat Tulips. This one time we needed another band for this gig we were doing so I contacted Mark who suggested his other band Confetti (of which Julie was the vocalist) – and we’ve been friends ever since.

How do you write the songs? Does Paul provide the music and Julie write the lyrics? If so, how does that process come together?
Paul: Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Once I’ve got a few chord sequences together that I think will make a good song, I’ll make a rough recording so Julie can fit some lyrics to it. We’ll then combine our efforts and structure a song from it all.

You’ve listed the Marine Girls as your biggest influence. How would you describe The Marine Girls to a newcomer?
Julie: The reality, which is they were three schoolgirls playing dodgy instruments in a shed probably doesn’t do them justice! It was their DIY spirit coupled with fantasic pop songs that made them so important. They were also from a landlocked County (Hertfordshire) and wrote many a song about the sea so we feel a particular affinity with them. Maybe if we came from somewhere with a coastline we’d find the seaside really boring and write songs about industrial wastelands!!

Do you have a favourite seaside place?
Paul: Probably Scarborough or Whitby – classic British seaside resorts!
Julie: Bacton in Norfolk. – It has a gas works so nobody goes there!!

What’s the music scene like in Northamptonshire?
Paul: It’s never really had a great music tradition, certainly not indiepop. Apart from Anguish Sandwich there aren’t many bands around here.
Julie: I’m from Leicester which is slightly better – there are some good promoters like Twesta and Sweeping The Nation both of which we’ve played gigs for.

Tell us about the new EP on Dufflecoat Records?
Julie: Indirectly it came about through Indietracks! A couple of years ago we bumped into Paul from The Werewandas who reintroduced me to the infamous Clare from  Ripley. She recommended us to Gary from Dufflecoat who came and chatted to us after we supported Allo Darlin’ in Cambridge and we stayed in touch. We sent him some of our new recordings and the rest is history.

There’s about 20 songs listed on your website. Do you have plans for further releases after the EP?
Paul: There’s nothing in the pipeline at present, but we are of course open to offers!

Do you have any other exciting plans for 2012?
Julie: As well as the EP and Indietracks we’re playing at the inaugural Leicester Indiepop Alldayer (24th March). On a personal level completing my PhD. Paul is busy doing up his kitchen – a job he wishes he hadn’t started especially when the ceiling fell down!!

Have you been to Indietracks before? What are you most looking forward to?
Yes, we’ve been every year since 2009. Highlights will be meeting up with old friends and hopefully making some new ones. Everyone is so lovely  – Oh and drinking lots of beer – and of course the music!

Brilliant, thanks guys, see you at the real ale bar! 

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Indietracks interview #1: The Birthday Kiss

Today we're kicking off our series of 2012 Indietracks interviews! Between now and the end of July we'll be chatting with as many of this year's line-up as possible. We're starting with The Birthday Kiss, a brand new band from Leeds featuring a couple of familiar faces; Ben from The Lodger and Sarah from The Research. Their single Choking was recently released as a free download, and they're currently working on their debut album. Here's our chat with Ben from the band...

Hi Ben, how did you come to form a band together?

We're a bit of an “indie supergroup” for want of a better phrase – we're made up of bits of West Yorkshire based groups The Research and The Lodger. Those two bands toured together quite a bit and friendships were born and ultimately this new band emerged from the ashes. I'm trying to make sure we sound like neither.

Please tell us a bit about Choking, your first single? 

This song was borne out of my love of the arpeggiated synth bass line and the disco beat. The kind that appears in songs like I Feel Love by Donna Summer and Like A Motorway by Saint Etienne to name but two. I just looped the bassline and wrote a song over it.  I wanted that inhuman and robotic feel alongside emotive and pure Karen Carpenter-like vocals. I also wanted to rip off Blondie. I did OK I think!

How is the album coming along, and what can we expect to hear when it arrives?  

I have written several songs for the band so far, demos of which are on the Soundcloud, but I am currently unsure which ones will make the album. I'm hoping that the album will be finished by the end of the summer but I don't want to rush it. Musically at the minute I'm really inspired by repetitive electronic music like Italian Disco of the early 80s, early House and also Kraftwerk. I also love the clever pop songs of XTC, The Magnetic Fields and The Cure and I'm listening to a lot of Bach at bedtime, like Goldberg Variations.

You're self-producing your records, and you've previously produced several bands including Just Handshakes. Does your experience of producing records change the way you now approach the songwriting? 

I think producing your own records changes everything, hopefully for the better. It gives songwriting some extra new layers and the possibilities become endless. Thankfully I've got friends who can be critical and tell me what's good and what's bad so I know where to draw the line. You have to know when to stop, when you've finished. Opening my studio and working with lots of ace bands such as Just Handshakes and also This Many Boyfriends has been great fun. I've recently started playing guitar for This Many Boyfriends live too, we just did a UK tour with The Cribs and Allo Darlin too.

Which do you enjoy most: writing and recording or playing live shows? Would you enjoy going out on another long tour again? 

I enjoy all aspects of it really but I really do like writing and recording. They're both tied in together for me. As it's getting so cheap to make your own records I can have all the equipment I need at home to produce an album from scratch without worrying about spending £hundreds a day on studio time.  It's ace. I do want The Birthday Kiss to do a proper tour when our album comes out though.

What became of The Lodger and The Research, and would you consider reviving them?

The Research broke up in late 2008 after two albums. No acrimony, it just came to a natural end really. With The Lodger I've put that on hold for a bit because I felt like I'd done three albums I was proud of but wanted to try something else with a different singer singing the songs instead of myself. So I nicked Sarah and so far so good.

Is The Birthday Kiss a natural continuation from those two previous bands, or a complete fresh start musically? 

The Birthday Kiss is totally a fresh start for me. I really needed to reformat my creative brain and think of this as a new blank page. I hate talking about songwriting, makes you sound incredibly pretentious! But I did want to try something different. The Lodger was all about the music I'd loved as a teenager and in my early 20s like The Jam and Buzzcocks and the Housemartins, and while I still love those bands my tastes have changed a lot in the last few years. I think as you get older you become more open and patient with different styles of music. I do anyway, and I don't understand people who exclusively listen to what they liked as a teenager for the rest of their lives in some kind of weird nostalgic bubble. I want The Birthday Kiss to be able to do a northern soul style stomper one minute, a disco pop song the next and a punky garage song the next. I want it to be like all your favourites rolled into one.

The Lodger played at Indietracks in 2008. Do you have any happy memories from that weekend? 

I have a stressful recollection of realising I'd forgotten the capo for my guitar mere moments before we went on so I had to run around the site asking people if they happen to be carrying a capo. Every single song by The Lodger uses one.  Luckily I found a chap from Leeds called Owen. If you're reading Owen – thanks. All of the live band apart from Sarah went to the festival last year actually and camped. Had a great time! Favourite moment was Edwyn Collins' set I think.

You're apparently an obsessive of Sherlock Holmes and detective stories. Any thoughts on the recent Sherlock revival, and the Stephen Moffat and Guy Richie interpretations?

I've warmed to the BBC1 version, it is definitely good telly but my personal favourite is the ITV adaptation from the 1980s with Jeremy Brett. I also like the Basil Rathbone film versions from the 1930s, apart from the daft ones where is relocated to America in the Second World War and such nonsense. There's also a really good BBC Radio series from the 50s with John Gielgud playing Holmes. I basically like it when it's faithful to the original stories because they're faultless. The less said about Guy Richie the better. Hateful.

We're teaming up with Slumberland for this year's festival. Do you have any particular favourites from the Slumberland back catalogue?  

There's a bunch of reprobates from Leeds you might have heard of called The Lodger – Slumberland released all three of our albums on 12” vinyl. Mike organised and drove us around the East Coast of America in 2007 while we did a tour too. We're good friends. It's the coolest label around isn't it really? Looking forward to hanging out with the Slumberland massive at this year's fest!

Thanks Ben, see you in July! 

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Indiepop bands wanted for live video sessions

Fancy recording live footage of your indiepop band in a professional studio? Well look no further, because we know the perfect place!

A&M TV is part of the online magazine Art & Music, which features live music sessions by up-and-coming bands alongside established names. It's very indiepop friendly: Allo Darlin’, Fanfarlo,  The Lovely Eggs, Darren Hayman, Owl & Mouse and Pocketbooks have all recorded video sessions there. You'd also be following in the footsteps of some pretty famous names, including Edwyn Collins, Silver Apples, The Charlatans, The High Llamas, Scroobious Pip and Steve Mason.

The live sessions are researched and produced entirely by media students at Blackburn Art College, and directed by Jamie Holman. In addition to live sessions and interviews, A&M TV also produce short documentaries and profiles of artists and musicians. If that’s not enough, once the footage has been edited, you get to keep it to use as you wish!

We think it’s a brilliant opportunity, so if you’d like to take part just drop Jamie an email on, and if you still need convincing, take a look at their promotional video, visit the Facebook page, or have a look at some of the sessions!