Monthly Archives: September 2011

Feist Offers Up Album Stream (In Exchange For Your Email)

Feist - Metals

It’s fair to say that Feist’s career has gone from strength to strength. After the critical and commercial success of her second record Let It Die, her surprise breakout hit ‘1234’ lead to third album The Reminder going on to reach an even wider audience. She’s taken her time coming out with the follow up, but now you can finally wrap your ears around it – Metals is available to stream now on Feist’s website – all you have to do is part with your email address.

And to be honest, I’d highly recommend you do that, as Metals finds the Canadian singer-songwriter on typically beguiling form. ‘The Bad In Each Other’ opens the record with dusty, desert-worn guitars, before a tasteful, restrained orchestral arrangement swells up in the song’s chorus – a chorus that sees Feist lamenting the fact that good people can sometimes bring out the worst in each other. Tracks like ‘Caught A Long Wind’ maintain a sparse, almost cinematic atmosphere – by contrast, ‘How Come You Never Go There’ feels like a more straightforward pop song, with a chirpy, upbeat feel that’s juxtaposed against the feeling of weariness that comes through in the lyrics.

Elsewhere, ‘A Commotion’ is driven along by an urgent string section, while ‘Undiscovered First’ ends with a punchy, bluesy stomp – but the real draw is Feist’s skill in chronicling human emotions. The beautifully melancholy ‘Bittersweet Melodies’ sees Feist emotionally trapped in a moment in time (“can’t go back, can’t go on,”) while ‘Comfort Me’ brings with it the guilty admission that “When you comfort me/it doesn’t bring me comfort, actually.” Overall, Metals is an accomplished album of great depth and beauty – Feist has done it again.

Metals is released on 3rd October on Polydor records.


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Zola Jesus Releases New Album, Listen To It Now

Zola Jesus - Conatus

Ok, I’m a little slow here (as seems to be the norm recently), but as this is one of my most anticipated records of the year, I pretty much had to do a post about it. Conatus, the new record from Zola Jesus, is out right about now, and the Guardian have been streaming it for the past few days. There’s also a neat little track-by-track from the lady herself, which is worth a read.

Personally, I’m loving the album. Instrumental track ‘Swords’ sets the scene, before ‘Avalanche’ ramps up the atmosphere – and from thereon out Danilova’s vocal is as distinctive and powerful as ever. Glitchy, oppressive tracks such as ‘Vessel’ and ‘Shivers’ contrast with the more upbeat, almost poppy vibe of tracks like ‘Hikkomori’ and ‘Ixode’. There’s even a poignant, emotive piano ballad in the form of ‘Skin’ – eat your heart out, Adele.

Conatus is available now on Souterrain Transmissions records.

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Let’s Get Cynical’s Lazy September Stream Roundup.

This is basically a collection of stuff that I probably should have talked about before now, so it’s a bit of a ‘something for everybody’ sort of post. And if there isn’t anything here that’s to your liking then, y’know, sorry and all that.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent - Strange Mercy

First up, an album that has been the recipient of pretty much universal critical acclaim – Strange Mercy, the third record from St. Vincent (otherwise known as Annie Clark). It’s been streaming over on for the past couple of weeks, and it’s well worth a look if you haven’t already had a peek. It continues in the vein of 2009’s Actor, juxtaposing sweet singing with dark lyrics and throwing up musical surprises at every turn – from woozy, sadistic opener ‘Chloe In The Afternoon’ all the way through to fearful yet perfectly poised album-closer ‘Year Of The Tiger’. Other highlights include the surprisingly poppy ‘Cruel’, and the mesmerising title track – it might take a few spins to really settle in, but Strange Mercy is proof that St. Vincent is as intriguing as ever.

Also, if you want to see her live, she’s touring all the way through October and November – check out her extensive list of tour dates here.

Strange Mercy is available now on 4AD records.

Slow Club

Slow Club - Paradise

Another stream that’s been around for a little while comes courtesy of NME.comSlow Club’s second record, Paradise. The Sheffield two-piece have refined their indie-pop sound – at times, forming it into something truly luscious, as on the sassy yet longing ‘Where I’m Waking’ and the cautiously optimistic ‘If We’re Still Alive’. On the other side of the coin, the duo also present some touching, stripped down numbers such as ‘Never Look Back’ and the poignant ‘You, Earth Or Ash’. Rest assured, this is a very confident follow-up.

The band are also currently in the middle of a UK tour that includes a show The Duchess on the 21st September, for all you York-based people. Full details of the remaining tour dates can be found here.

Paradise is available now on Moshi Moshi records.

The Duke Spirit

The Duke Spirit - Bruiser

Next up, Gigwise have got a 5-track sampler of Bruiser, the new record from The Duke Spirit – and from the scintillating ‘Surrender’ through to the menacing buzz of ‘Procession’, there’s not a bad track among this little selection. ‘Don’t Wait’ bristles with bittersweet yearning, ‘Bodies’ packs a weighty punch, and ‘Cherry Tree’ sees vocalist Leila Moss at her sassiest – “I don’t look back/why would you?” I’ve been looking forward to Bruiser for a while, and on this evidence it’s not going to be a disappointment.

The Duke Spirit are heading out on a European tour next week – unfortunately, they’ve had to postpone their date at The Cockpit in Leeds on the 19th (due to their appearance on Later With Jools Holland on the 20th), but you can find all the remaining dates here.

Bruiser is available on 19th September on Fiction records.

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Los Campesinos! News Roundup: New Album, Free Download, Tour

Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness

Hot on the heels of the announcement of their new album Hello Sadness last week, Los Campesinos! have today unveiled the first track from it. And it’s literally the first track as well – ‘By Your Hand’ will kick off the record when it’s released in November, but you can watch the video for it right here, right now. Even better, you can get your hands on a free download of the track by heading over to the band’s blog.

‘By Your Hand’ is a surprisingly restrained return for the band – bouncing along on a pair of cheery synth lines, it provides a poppier take on some of the more mellow tracks from previous record Romance Is Boring. Of course, Gareth’s lyrics are still as brutally honest and emotional as ever, setting out the record’s theme of loss and heartbreak by painting a picture of a relationship that’s nearing its end – “I’m not sure if it’s love anymore/but I’ve been thinking of you fondly for sure.” The album itself is released on the 14th November, and you can get it directly from the band’s website here. They’re offering some pretty sweet pre-order bundles with t-shirts, DVDs, demos and the like, with discounts available to subscribers of the band’s Heat Rash fanzine.

Also coming up in November are new live dates in the UK and the US (well, the east coast at least), as well as a show in Japan. Full details of those below – to book tickets, head over to this page.

  • November 7th – King’s College, London
  • November 8th – The Haunt, Brighton
  • November 9th – The Globe, Cardiff
  • November 10th – Oran Mor, Glasgow
  • November 11th – The Cockpit – Leeds
  • November 16th – Bowery Ballroom, New York
  • November 17th – Music Hall Of Williamsburg, Brooklyn
  • November 18th – Union Transfer, Philadelphia
  • November 19th – Black Cat, Washington DC
  • November 24th – Unit Daikanyama, Toyko

With Hello Sadness and the new Johnny Foreigner album coming out within the space of two weeks, November’s shaping up to be a pretty awesome month. Personally, I can’t wait.

Hello Sadness is released on Wichita Recordings on 14th November.

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Pioneering Physical Format #2: JoFo’s ‘Stingle’ (Also, New Album!)

Johnny Foreigner - (Don't) Show Us Your Fangs

In the early hours of Friday morning, Birmingham three-piece and Let’s Get Cynical favourites Johnny Foreigner finally unveiled the first details of their upcoming third album, as well as streaming two new songs from it. I was tempted to post a gushing response right then and there, but I held off in favour of doing a more objective analysis of ohwhoamIkidding

Johnny Foreigner – ‘(Don’t) Show Us Your Fangs’

This is ‘(Don’t) Show Us Your Fangs’, and it has rapidly become one of my favourite Johnny Foreigner songs. It offers a slightly mellower take on the band’s typically hyperactive sound, with an acoustic guitar driving the track in between twinkling xylophone breaks. Of course, there are the typical JoFo elements that we’ve come to love – the perfectly-placed moment when the electric guitars kick in, the emotionally arresting, bittersweet lyrics (“we caught fire but fire burns bridges best”), and Junior’s relentless drumming (though in this case, it’s also tastefully restrained).

The second track they’ve unveiled brings the pace back up to more usual levels – ‘The Hand That Slaps You Back’ barrels past at 100 mph in a hail of screeching guitars, rapid-fire rhythms and the stick-it-to-the-man attitude of a band burned by the record industry (“Don’t take heart it’s just company policy/you shake the hand, but the hand just slaps you back”).

Johnny Foreigner – ‘The Hand That Slaps You Back’

Continuing their penchant for unconventional physical formats, the band are releasing these two songs on 12th September as a ‘Stingle’ – that is, a ‘Sticker Single’. Yep,  for £1.50 (including postage anywhere worldwide), you get two ace stickers as well as the mp3s of the songs. Said stickers look a bit like this:

You can get your hands on them from the fabulous Alcopop store – they’re limited to 500 pairs though, so be quick about it. The band are also offering prizes for people who find interesting public places to stick their stickers – more details regarding that (and lots of other stuff besides) on the band’s blog.

It’s also very much worth mentioning that the band’s new album will be entitled Johnny Foreigner vs Everything, and will be released on the 7th November on Alcopop records. Full details will be forthcoming shortly, but if these two tracks are anything to go by, this self-recorded LP will be every bit as good as the two that came before it.

Check the brand spanking new Johnny Foreigner website here.

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Let’s Get Cynical About Leeds Festival 2011, pt III: Sunday

Leeds Festival

This may be indicative of my mildly anti-social nature, but going to Leeds Festival on my own this year has actually been just fine. Sure, there have been moments when I’d have liked a little company (mainly when freezing my ass off while watching bands on the Main Stage), but not having to worry about anyone else has had its advantages. I don’t have to wait around for people and miss bands in the process, and I can also have everything packed up and in the car by about 10 o’clock on Sunday morning – leaving me free to saunter over to the arena for the final day of music, knowing that I can make a quick getaway afterwards.

As the eventual winners of the Futuresound competition, The Coopers bagged today’s opening slot on the Festival Republic Stage. This is, perhaps, both a blessing and a curse – a blessing because they don’t really clash with anyone, but a curse because they’re on at 11.30 in the morning. But as I’m up early enough, I may as well check them out. Turns out they’re purveyors of fairly harmless, twee indie pop – there’s a section where they all crowd round the vocalist’s mic and play handbells, and they end the set with a kazoo ensemble. Hmm.

The day’s action proper starts with The Joy Formidable on the Main Stage. Though they have to fight to overcome both the blustery conditions and the half-asleep crowd, they’re feisty enough to get the audience on their side – and their sound is big enough that it manages to avoid being blown away by the wind. They may only get through about five songs thanks to copious extended instrumental sections, but what they do play sounds tight, hard-hitting and ambitious – if it weren’t already evident before today, this band are going places. Hopefully places that aren’t quite as windy.

After that, I wander across the site to the NME/Radio 1 Stage, where Funeral Party are currently opening proceedings. After failing to be moved by them in any way whatsoever, I decamp to the Festival Republic tent, where She Keeps Bees prove to be a far more attractive proposition. They ply their trade in simple but effective bluesy stompers, helped along nicely by vocalist Jessica Larrabee’s arresting tones – a fine way to spend half an hour on a Sunday afternoon.

After another quick transfer between stages, it’s time for Yuck. I’m not sure if Daniel Blumberg is stoned or just a little bit awkward on stage – but despite his dazed demeanour, his band deliver a perfect set of their fuzzy, shoegaze-influenced indie-rock. Critics of the band may argue that they haven’t got an original bone in their collective bodies, but that seems overly harsh to me. Besides, you could say the same about, I dunno, Oasis – and Yuck ape their heroes (Pavement, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine) in a far more refined way than any number of clumsier bands before them. Songs like ‘Holing Out’ and ‘Georgia’ are, simply put, gorgeous.

I return to the main stage just in time to see Seasick Steve play his last song, join in with trashing his drummer’s kit, then bow down to the crowd and thank them “for giving me this great job.” You’re welcome, I guess. Two Door Cinema Club are up next, and while they might not seem like the kind of band likely to inspire ‘ker-azy’ festival behaviour, it only takes a casual suggestion from lead singer Alex Trimble for the crowd to start playing along. After mentioning that he’d like to see lots of people sat on each other’s shoulders, the crowd throws up a veritable sea of them, before subsequently attempting to out-do itself at every turn. People start standing rather than sitting on the shoulders of their unfortunate friends, almost every girl who appears on the big screen takes the opportunity to flash her bra for the camera, and I swear I see a three-person shoulder-ride stack at one point. Oh, you want me to talk about the music? Well, it’s infectious, guitar-and-synth-pop with a knack for a catchy hook… that’ll do, this paragraph’s too long as it is.

Back on the NME/Radio 1 Stage, The Kills are providing their usual lesson in effortless, enviable cool – although I have the same minor gripe with their set as I did with Patrick Wolf’s performance yesterday, in that it leans too heavily on their most recent record. That said, there are some pretty great tracks on Blood Pressures, so it’s not a major tragedy – ‘Future Starts Slow’ and ‘Heart Is A Beating Drum’ are The Kills at their slinky, minimal best, while ‘Baby Says’ shows off an unexpectedly tender side to the band. In the end, they only play one track from each of their first three albums – ‘No Wow’, ‘Kissy Kissy’ and ‘Tape Song’, if you’re interested. As they close their set with keyboard-led ballad ‘The Last Goodbye’, a guy behind me asks if they’ve played ‘Sour Cherry’ yet. I tell him they haven’t, and then we collectively realise that they’re not actually going to – to be fair though, perhaps singing “G-g-g-go home, go home, it’s over” at quarter past four in the afternoon would’ve seemed a little disingenuous.

I briefly head over to the merch stand to see if they’ve got a Warpaint t-shirt in my size (they haven’t), and spy that, in a truly cynical move, OFWGKTA (Odd Future) have still got t-shirts for sale despite pulling out of Leeds. Good effort guys. Still, Tyler did win a VMA, so I guess that makes it all ok, right?

I did rather enjoy the debut album from NY duo Cults, but I can’t quite say that their set on the Festival Republic Stage wins me over in the same way. The band may be expanded to a five-piece in their live incarnation, but that can’t disguise the fact that lead singer Madeline Follin only seems to have two settings when performing live – ‘shout’ or ‘barely audible’. I don’t know if she’s just having an off day though – I’d be willing to give the band another chance, but I still walk away a little disappointed even after sticking it out to the end of their set.

I figure I may as well switch tents again in the interim in order to catch a bit of Everything Everything, whose quirky, intelligent music has never failed to impress me before today. Turns out I’ve missed ‘Suffragette Suffragette’, but I do get to see ‘MY KZ, YR BF’, ‘Schoolin” and ‘Photoshop Handsome’ – three out of four ain’t bad. I think I also have this set to blame for getting a little bit obsessed with the minimal, atmospheric ‘Leave The Engine Room’ some time after the event…

Aussie four-piece Cloud Control make yet another dash between tents worthwhile with their spellbinding harmonies and blissed-out, psychadelic-tinged indie rock. Then, in the happiest of accidents, I make it back to the Main Stage just in time to catch Jimmy Eat World playing ‘the hits’ circa 2001. They roll through ‘Salt Sweat Sugar’, ‘The Middle’ and ‘Sweetness’ in quick succession, and all of a sudden it’s like I’m 16 again.

I’m really here for The National though, who should be a highlight of the weekend for anyone with a brain –  but it turns out mental capacity is in short supply among the main stage crowd. And so, while I’m having my own private, teary-eyed epiphany as they play ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’, I reckon there can’t be more than 100 other people who appear to give a shit – at least, not where I am, right in front of the stage. I can vaguely hear the strains of the chorus echoing from the rear of the crowd, but the audience’s future attempts at participation seem half-hearted. It’s hugely frustrating, particularly as their performance is nothing short of brilliant – ‘Mr. November’ and ‘Terrible Love’ in particular should be utterly triumphant, but are let down by a lethargic response. By the end of the set, I’m so disheartened by the crowd’s apathy that I decide I want nothing more to do with them at this precise moment in time. Yes, that means I’ll miss The Strokes. No, I don’t really care – I’ve got my mind set on some catharsis in the form of Crystal Castles.

For some unknown reason, I decide it would be a good idea to check out Little Roy on my way across the site. In case you’re not aware, his schtick is that he does reggae covers of Nirvana songs – as I reach the tent, he’s halfway through his version of ‘Come As You Are’. I’ve heard that one already though, so I stick around to see what’s next – only to be ‘rewarded’ with a flaccid, lifeless take on ‘Heart-Shaped Box’. DO NOT WANT. I quickly depart, and arrive at the NME/Radio 1 Stage just in time to see Glassjaw play their last song – unfortunately, it fails to make any sort of lasting impression on me. Oh well.

An announcement comes over the PA that Jane’s Addiction have been forced to pull out due to illness, which leaves Crystal Castles as the stage’s de-facto headliners. They certainly take advantage of the fact that they can take their sweet time, and I start to wonder whether I should be kicking myself for not at least watching the beginning of The Strokes. After some pointless dicking around with the strobe lights, and with the crowd getting increasingly fractious, they finally make it on stage a full 15 minutes after their scheduled stage time. Very shortly afterwards, they launch into ‘Intimate’, and all is immediately forgotten.

What follows is absolutely the most fun I have all weekend, and an opportunity to just totally lose myself in the music – I think I might have had some sort of transcendental experience during ‘Suffocation’, and that’s only three songs in. There’s something about these 8-bit sounds that strikes a chord with me in a big way – ‘Baptism’ sounds as colossal as it ever has, ‘Celestica’ is jaw-dropping, and ‘Alice Practice’ inspires utter chaos among the crowd. By the time the sublime ‘Not In Love’ rolls around, my arms are so tired I can barely hold them above my head at all – and yet, as the band leave the stage, we howl for more, knowing full well that they may as well grant our wish. And so they do, with Alice Glass on truly riotous form during ‘Yes/No’ – JD bottle in hand, spraying the front rows with whiskey, shouting like a lunatic and finally launching herself into the arms of the crowd for one last time. I stagger away euphoric, sweaty, and utterly satisfied. So what if I missed The Strokes? I regret nothing.

I have just enough time to catch a few minutes of Three Trapped Tigers, whose scintillating math-rock is as ace as ever, before heading over to the Main Stage for the last time to watch Pulp close out the festival. I must admit to only having a passing familiarity with their back catalogue, so for me tonight’s set is educational as much as it is entertaining – and much of the entertainment comes from Jarvis Cocker’s hilarious banter and stage presence throughout. After opening the set with ‘Do You Remember The First Time?’, be begins by quipping about the cold, pointing to a small electric fire on stage and telling us “we’ve got the fire on.” He also makes deadpan remarks to all of the following: the person holding a sign saying ‘I need a shit’ (“I think the toilets are over there, please don’t do it anywhere else”); the people on the fairground rides (“You’ll remember this, the time you threw up at a Pulp concert”); and the audience in general (“anybody want a half-eaten pear?”). Later, he’ll run around the front row waving some sort of camera on a stick in their faces (in order to get footage for the big screens), and during ‘This Is Hardcore’ he lies down across two of the monitors and begins lewdly thrusting. To be honest, it’s worth showing up just to watch Jarvis alone.

Oh and the tunes? Yeah, they’re pretty damn good too. There’s the more obvious hits like ‘Disco 2000’, ‘Sorted For E’s And Wizz’ and ‘Babies’, but tonight gives me a welcome introduction to a broad cross-section of Pulp’s back catalogue. Particular highlights are the heartfelt ‘Something Changed’, and the way that ‘Sunrise’s trippy intro eventually gives way to a wall of guitars. I’m getting pretty cold at this point, but I promise myself I’ll stick around until the send of the set – predictably, they save ‘Common People’ until last, but even at this late stage it still gets everyone singing along in unison. I decide that this is as good a way as any to round of the weekend – other people may be raving late into the night, but I’ll be home by just after half past midnight. I’m so rock ‘n’ roll. But I’ve enjoyed myself – and you never know, I might be back next year if the lineup is any good.

Find a Spotify playlist with some of the day’s highlights here.

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Let’s Get Cynical About Leeds Festival 2011, pt II: Saturday

Leeds Festival

On Saturday, I awake to find someone in a nearby tent is playing Adele’s ‘Rolling In The Deep’. Why would you do such a thing? Anyway, it’s onwards to the arena again for day two of Leeds Festival.

Out of morbid curiosity, I stick my head in the Festival Republic tent while Cherri Bomb are playing. Turns out they’re basically a cock-rock band – except without the actual cocks, being as they’re one of only two all-female bands on the entire festival bill (to my knowledge, anyway). Moving on, Pulled Apart By Horses proceed to tear up the NME/Radio 1 Stage despite it being only midday. They play three vicious-sounding new songs among the more familiar material from their debut record, and all four members dive into the crowd after set-closer ‘I Punched A Lion In The Throat’. Leeds, that was your wake-up call.

I’m a little disappointed to have to miss Islet, but one my cousins is playing at the same time, and I’d feel like a bit of a dick if I didn’t go support him . Thankfully, he’s actually in a decent band; upcoming Leeds four-piece Circles. Playing on the BBC Introducing Stage, they carry themselves well for a band who’ve not even been together a whole year yet, delivering bursts of wirey, energetic post-punk to a receptive crowd.

I decide I can’t really be bothered to trudge back through the mud for Miles Kane, so I stick around to catch The Bronze Medal. I figure any band that shares its name with an Idlewild song can’t be all bad, and my suspicions turn out to be correct – although they don’t sound anything like that band, the Bath-based group craft a fine line in mellow, spacious post-rock, with floaty guitars and luscious harmonies.

Over on the Dance Stage, Mount Kimbie are crafting intriguing slices of ambient dubstep, but despite the name of the stage it seems it’s a little early in the day for them to really get the crowd going. Crystal Fighters, on the other hand, have no such trouble – despite starting late due to copious dicking around during their soundcheck, they quickly have the crowd moving with their quirky electro-rock. They eventually get chucked off the stage for overrunning – I guess everyone involved was just having too much of a good time.

Back on the NME/Radio 1 stage, Patrick Wolf is as fantastic as ever, even if his set does lean very heavily on his newest record, Lupercalia. There are excursions for ‘Damaris’, ‘The Libertine’, and a pretty much obligatory run-through of ‘The Magic Position’, but other than that it’s all his most recent stuff. Not that that’s really a bad thing – ‘Armistice’ provides a suitably stirring opener, while ‘Bermondsey Street’ and ‘The City’ are both moments of pure joy – but the selfish part of me always wants to hear more of his older material. He also invites Katie Harkin (of Sky Larkin) on stage to perform backing vocals on ‘Together’ – and to be honest it’s a shame they don’t take the opportunity to perform ‘The Future’ as well, because she’s got a gorgeous voice. (As an aside, you should definitely check out Sky Larkin if you haven’t already.) Regardless of my gripes, it’s always enjoyable to spend time in the company of Patrick Wolf and his music.

Next up on the same stage are Metronomy, who also play a set that favours tracks from their most recent album – but by contrast, I think it’s pretty much perfect. They cherry-pick the best tracks from The English Riviera – ‘Love Underlined’, ‘She Wants’, ‘The Look’, ‘The Bay’ – as well as playing rejuvenated versions of older songs such as ‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘Radio Ladio’. It’s amazing what a few years can do to your opinion of a band – I recall being bored to death when I saw Metronomy back in 2007, and yet today they don’t put a foot wrong.

Rather than hang around as the inevitable swarm of festival knobheads descends on the tent to see The Vaccines, I head over to the Festival Republic Stage to gain first-hand experience of Mercury-nominated bellower Anna Calvi. Much to my surprise, I don’t find her powerful voice to be as excruciating as it easily could be – by the end of the set I seem to have developed enough of a resistance that even the dramatics of ‘Jezebel’ and ‘Love Won’t Be Leaving’ don’t hurt my ears. And fair play to the girl, she can definitely play the guitar as well – her set won’t go down as an essential part of my weekend, but I enjoy it far more than I thought I would.

White Denim are introduced by the DJ/Compere as “one of the best live bands in the world” – and then proceed to spend the next 40 minutes putting a hell of a lot of weight behind that claim. Their experimental rock feels like it sits in the place where garage rock and math-rock collide, its breezy, upbeat feel combining with some utterly exceptional musicianship to create something that’s instantly spectacular. Colour me impressed.

Like DFA1979 the day before, Tom Vek is another artist who passed me by when he was first around in the mid-2000s. Back with his first album in 6 years, he’s not showing any signs of rustiness during a slick set of his infectious electro-indie. When he drops ‘A Chore’ and ‘I Ain’t Saying My Goodbyes’ back to back, the crowd respond in a big way – cementing the fact that Tom Vek’s performance is a highly enjoyable experience rather than just a hipster box-ticking exercise. “That was a lot of fun, Leeds!” he says at the end of the set – and the feeling’s mutual.

On the other hand, Digitalism seem like they might better off on the Dance Stage, with the likes of ‘2 Hearts’ and ‘Circles’ passing by without things really kicking off. It’s clear that they’re not used to having to work this hard to get a rise out of the crowd, as evidenced by the fact that an imposing, bearded German man has to tell us to “MAKE SOME FUCKING NOISE!” three times before getting a reaction he deems satisfactory. “ARE YOU READY FOR JUMP?” he shouts, to a fairly tepid response – and so his wirey, blonde-haired counterpart takes matters into his own hands and leads by example, finally getting the whole tent jumping along with him.

Unfortunately, the result of that particular piece of audience interaction is that the crowd at the front of the tent (myself included) are now packed together like sardines – a situation not helped by the fact that The Horrors seem to have attracted enough people to fill the tent to bursting. I try not to let the cramped conditions affect my enjoyment of the band’s set – and to be fair to them, they absolutely nail it. ‘Changing The Rain’ opens the set with a widescreen, woozy swagger, ‘Who Can Say’ and ‘Endless Blue’ both get the crowd moving in full force, and ‘Sea Within A Sea’ is just as glorious live as it is on record.

Everything seems to be going swimmingly – until an abrupt power outage cuts ‘Still Life’ short. But then, after a brief chorus of boos, something a little bit magical happens – as the band defiantly light cigarettes on stage, the crowd spontaneously break into the song’s chorus of “When you wake up/when you wake up/you will find me.” Power is eventually restored, and the band roar back into action – ‘Mirror’s Image’ cements this moment as a triumph in the face of adversity, with the band’s pent-up frustration being unleashed in a snarled, furious storm of noise. Proceedings are ended in spectacular style with the expansive, pulsating ‘Moving Further Away’, and Faris Badwan’s reaction seems genuinely humble – “thank you Leeds, you’ve been the best crowd we’ve had for a long time.” The chants for an encore are thoroughly deserved – but at 10 minutes past the 11pm curfew, they will remain sadly unfulfilled. Sunday, you’ve got some work to do if you’re going to top that.

Find a Spotify playlist with some of the day’s hightlights here.

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