Glastonbury: A Preview

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Glastonbury festival 2015. Photo by Luke Liddle.

With the biggest music festival in the world rapidly approaching, The Black Wax writers take a look at the vast line-up and give our picks for which acts to fit into your packed festival/BBC iplayer schedule.

Friday:

Skepta – Pyramid Stage – 13:45 – chosen by Matthew Fowler

Tottenham Grime kingpin and Boy Better Know co-founder hits the Pyramid Stage on Friday afternoon, a huge step up from the moderate sized stage he played last year. Expect Skepta to bring a full span of biggest hits, as playing the Pyramid Stage is no small feat, it’s highly likely there will be an accompaniment of Boy Better Know members too, with the chance of hopefully getting ‘Serious’ (crossing our fingers for that last part). No matter who he brings out though, this is a killer way to kick off Glastonbury and also refreshing to see Grime getting acknowledged, be prepared for black tracksuits galore, an array of ‘That’s Not Me’ chants and the possibility that the festival might get ‘Shutdown’ on the first day.

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Skepta performing live. Photo by Ollie Millington.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Park Stage – 15:30 – chosen by Chris Herbert

As a significantly less hyped up alternative to Tame Impala, this year at Glastonbury you could also go and see UMO fly the flag for New Zealand on the Park stage. This is a band with the obscure musical talents of Ruban Nielson at it’s core and they are also set to make their Glastonbury debut this year. Lo-Fi beginnings attracted the attention of independent music blogs globally including Pitchfork Media with strangely enticing melody’s supplied by ‘FFunny Friends’ as a track that gave them a respectable platform for their output. Since then the band has grown massively in popularity with 2 more albums under their belts as well as recently stepping into much more of a commercially accessible sound with last year’s full length Multi-Love and it’s distorted take on disco. It seems at this point in time the production wizard and company are more than ready to storm Worthy Farm with material such as ‘So Good At Being In Trouble’, ‘Multi-Love’ and of course the floor filler that is ‘Can’t Keep Checking My Phone’.

Savages – Park Stage – 21:30 – chosen by Luke Liddle

The London-based outfit are sure to bring an all-black aesthetic and a set full of atmospheric, post-punk influenced songs to their appearance on the Park stage. Led by the slightly menacing Jenny Beth (who is not averse to walking across the top of an assembled crowd, Iggy Pop style), Savages have established themselves as one of the most intense and compelling live acts in the country. With two albums worth of empowering and at times emotional music, including standouts such as Adore and The Answer, this has the potential to be one of the most cathartic sets of the whole weekend.

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Jenny Beth of Savages. Photo by TIM.

Saturday:

Tame Impala – Pyramid Stage – 20:00 – chosen by Sam Rye

It’s been an amazing couple of years for Kevin Parker and Tame Impala. 2015 saw them release their 3rd studio album, ‘Currents’, which quickly garnered many accolades after it’s release, winning ‘Album Of The Year’ at the ARIA Music Awards, where Tame Impala were also named ‘Best Group’. It’s not hard to see why the album received universal acclaim, as ‘Currents’ is one of the strongest pop albums of recent times, with synth hooks and vocal melodies to die for, Kevin Parker showed us that not only can he perfect loner psych rock a la Solitude is Bliss and Why Won’t They Talk To Me?, but is also a dab hand at writing euphoric pop songs such as Let It Happen, The Moment and Yes I’m Changing. A penultimate Saturday evening slot before Adele is the perfect setting to give these Australian sun-soaked moments of pop bliss their deserving stage.

New Order –Other Stage – 22:30 – chosen by Luke Liddle

Manchester legends New Order will bring a touch of the Hacienda to the Other stage on Saturday, their first Glastonbury appearance in over a decade and their first without former bassist, Peter Hook. Even without the truculent Hooky’s irreplaceable stage presence, New Order have crafted a reputation as a premier festival attraction and can be expected to deliver a set packed with generation-defining anthems. Along with the hits and Joy Division material, last year’s disco-heavy comeback Music Complete is likely to be well represented. No word yet on whether they will accede to the demands of a recent petition and invite John Barnes on stage for a rendition of World in Motion in honour of the ongoing Euros.

Sunday:

Jeff Lynne’s ELO – Pyramid Stage – 16:00 – chosen by Chris Herbert

This year’s Sunday afternoon slot plays host to Birmingham brilliance in the form of Electric Light Orchestra, a legendary act that have never played the festival in the history of its existence. Frontman, multi-instrumentalist, producer and notable genius Jeff Lynne will guide his collective to the Pyramid Stage for a career spanning spectacle set to rival the performances of Dolly Parton and Lionel Richie that have played the same slot in recent years. With their unique blend of classical music infused with massive riffs and groove ladened baselines still oozing with 70’s nostalgia, this is going to be a truly unmissable slice of the weekend at Glastonbury this year. With stadium approved hits such as Ma-Ma-Belle, Livin’ Thing, Turn To Stone and Evil Woman to name just a few, ELO’s set will showcase just how many anthems they have in their arsenal. Let’s just hope the rain stay’s away for the beautiful moment in which Mr. Blue Sky finally gets played on the almighty Pyramid Stage.

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Electric Light Orchestra. Photo by David Miller.

PJ Harvey – Other Stage – 19:50 – chosen by Sam Rye

Making her first appearance at Glastonbury in over a decade, PJ Harvey will take to the stage on the Sunday night to showcase songs from her latest output, “The Hope Six Demolition Project”. Expect a set that ranges from the reflective, ethereal arrangements that document her recent visits to poverty-stricken countries still reeling from the aftermath of civil wars, to the brooding garage rock blues of earlier albums ‘Rid of Me’ and ‘To Bring You My Love’ that represent the fundamental blueprints of her musical identity. With each subsequent album release comes a juncture for PJ, as she treats us to an aesthetic shift in direction, often changing her on-stage look to fit the theme of said album, making each performance a unique snapshot of her musical pilgrimage. With 9 albums under her belt now, we’re hoping for a career-wide set that takes each of these multiple album personas into account and melds them together, culminating for the special Sunday night spectacle. Here’s to the performance being exactly like eating a good old bag of pic ‘n’ mix (minus the liquorice).

Mac Demarco – John Peel – 20:30 – chosen by Matthew Fowler

Everyone’s favourite cigarette smoking Canadian will be bringing some hazy jangle pop madness to the John Peel tent on Sunday evening. Mac Demarco and his band of ruffians will be sure to lighten any mood and give you the pick-me-up you need as the last day depression sets in. The prestigiously crowned goofball prince of indie rock will be bringing a vast array hits from his four albums, with maybe a surprise cover here and there (Enter Sandman, hopefully). Make sure you haven’t smoked all your cigarettes and you can ‘Ode To Viceroy’ right along with him.

Earth, Wind & Fire – West Holts Stage – 21:45 – chosen by Sam Rye

Closing the Sunday night on the Other Stage, Earth, Wind & Fire offer an exuberant alternative to the safe humdrum of neighbours Coldplay who headline the Pyramid Stage. Put on your best pair of wellies and groove to some of the greatest funk pop to grace the airwaves in the heydays of the late 70′s/early 80′s. Hits such as Shining Star, Let’s Groove and September are sure to induce a jovial, celebratory reply from the crowd, trying their best to counter the looming last night, end-of-festival blues. It may not be all song and dance though, as the big occasion could present an opportunity for the band to remember the late Maurice White, former singer/songwriter and bandleader for Earth, Wind & Fire, who sadly passed away in February of this year. However, i’m sure Maurice himself (and the band) would want his memory to be honoured the only way Earth, Wind & Fire know how; a get down of the highest caliber.

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Members of Earth, Wind and Fire, including the late Maurice White performing live in the 80s. Photo by Tony Barnard.

More sets not to miss: Adele, Grimes, Underworld, Sigur Ros, Cat’s Eyes, Foals, Kurt Vile, Craig Charles Funk ‘n’ Soul DJ set, Desperate Soundsystem with Jarvis Cocker + Steve Mackey, Jagwar Ma, Art Garfunkel, Beck, Fatboy Slim, Wolf Alice, The Last Shadow Puppets, Disclosure, Mark Ronson & Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker.

Others to watch out for: Yak, Night Beats, Blaenavon, Floating Points, Oscar, The Big Moon, Vant, The Parrots, Bugzy Malone, Maceo Plex, Palace, Shura, Bad Sounds,  Four Tet, Stormzy, Hot Chip Remembers Prince.

The Wytches – Home Recordings: Listen

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Brighton surfdoom trio The Wytches are back with short seven song EP ‘Home Recordings’.

The EP is on sale as digital download here, with a pre-order of limited edition cassettes, you can also stream the album on Spotify (see below).

The lead song ‘Who Rides’ has also been accompanied by a music video full of calcium.

With this EP being so short, I would still expect to see their second album later this year, which we know has been produced by Bad Seed Jim Sclavunos. Other than that though, there isn’t much we know about the album, or even if it has a name yet. Although there are a handful of songs the band have been playing live that did not appear on this EP and have not surfaced yet in any tangible format, leading me to conclude there is definitely more Wytches on the way.

The Wytches ‘Home Recordings’ stream: