Cutting edge indie-rock meets a healthy dose of techno (with a smattering of African beats) in Victoria Park, Hackney this summer, and I could not be more excited about what tuneful delights are on offer. Now in its ninth year, East London’s Field Day Festival has well and truly established itself as an ‘a-la-mode’ musical extravaganza; pioneering the best of new bands alongside respected cult veterans, with more than its fair share of banging techno thrown in for good measure. This June will see me don my shortest denim Levi cut-offs (wait are they even ‘in’ anymore?) and my most rock ‘n’ roll fringed kimono (again, I may have missed the boat with this, maybe I should try some dungarees..?) and head to one of the UK’s coolest festivals.
This is Field Day’s second year as a double-dunter, with a line up to please the hippest of hipsters spanning Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th of June. Previous years have seen the festival graced by the likes of garage rock veterans The Pixies, psychedelic quartet Animal Collective, indie rockers Palma Violets and electronic heroes Disclosure, to name but a few. This year the big hitters come in the form of Patti Smith and her band performing the legendary ‘Horses’, Dan Snaith’s Caribou and revered shoegazers, Ride.
We have picked apart the line-up so you don’t have to and present you with Overblown’s official Field Day 2015 recommendations. As we couldn’t quite decide on a classic ‘top ten’, we’ve gone for eleven, ok?
Although this will be their third appearance, these Field Day favourites are more highly anticipated than ever. Formed in 2009, Django Django were propelled into the mainstream indie scene in 2012 with the release of their self-titled debut album. These art rockers are ideal festival material with their heavy top line bass and powerful garage drum beats sending the listener into a foot stomping frenzy. The brand new single ‘First Light’ is a cracker and there are high hopes that we will hear some long awaited new material on Saturday the 6th of June in Victoria Park.
Expect to hear cries of ‘Woo ha!’ ‘Woo ha!’ and lots of finger clicking resonating around you if you go to see New England’s Merrill Garbus perfom at Field Day (which you undoubtedly should). Sickeningly catchy and upbeat, Garbus plays drums, ukulele and executes a range of empowering vocals alongside Nate Brenner on electric bass. A cultural mish-mash of electro afro-beat meets indie-folk, tUnE yArDs latest album nikki nack, released last year, lends itself perfectly to letting go of any inhibitions in a Hackney based park and shaking it to the percussive beat of the tambourine until you can shake it no more. I think I actually attempted to unwittingly body pop (sorry, everyone) to this album. I’m not sure that’s OK, and I couldn’t care less.
Canadian rockers Viet Cong consists of three ex-members of Calgary band Women (bassist Matthew Flegel, drummer Michael Wallace and guitarist Danny Christiansen) as well as guitarist Scott Munro who was brought in to replace Christopher Reimer after he tragically died in 2012. Their 2015 debut self-titled album is a heavy journey through a distorted, electronic landscape of noise, synth and guitars. For me, Newspaper Spoons is a stand out track on the album. Gloomy, hypnotic and oppressive it makes me want to do something. About anything. Don’t try and oppress me, oppressors. Their provocative 80s goth-rock sound will make you want to throw yourself around, your head heavy and banging in time to the beat of the drum. Go and see.
Daniel Avery B2B Andrew Weatherall
The techno side of things at this year’s Field Day is looking excellent and couldn’t go unacknowledged in this run down. With sets from Ben Klock, electronic queen Nina Kraviz, Lithuanian producer and DJ Ten Walls, and Ghost Culture (of Erol Alkan’s Phantasy Label. Side note: check out his excellent remix of Django Django’s new single), if you’re after a rave, you have come to the right place. Techno legends Daniel Avery (of Fabric Residency) and DJ, Producer and all round dance legend Andrew Weatherall go back to back on Saturday 6th of June in what is sure to be a seriously unmissable set.
NB. Field Day is a bit cooler than Glow Sticks. Best stick to indoor sunnies to complete your techno look.
FKA (‘formerly known as’) Tahliah Debrett Barnett, this wonderful lady is one of those people that makes me feel bad about myself. She’s younger than me. And look at her. Last year she released her first LP, known simply as LP1, and it was received with critical acclaim. A former professional dancer, appearing on music videos for everyone from Kylie to Ed Sheeran, her live gigs are clearly those of a born performer. Both her voice and movements are tightly controlled and the dreamy electronic sounds combined with her soothing vocals make for a mesmerizing performance. One not to be missed, for sure.
A product of Leeds, these psychedelic garage rockers are sure to be a highlight of the weekend. Responsible for Pearl Mystic, one of the most highly esteemed alternative albums of 2013, this quintet are known for their noise-based live performances. The furious vocals of Matt Johnson (or MJ as he more elusively likes to be known – the whole band prefer to be known by their initials to avoid any celebrity status evolving) are sure to get under your skin, not unlike their parasitic namesake. With a drum beat that may or may not instil intrusive thoughts (*) into the listener, distorted vocals and discordant hooks, these guys are not one to go and see if you’re in the mood to chill out for an hour. They are, however, one to go and see if you want to have a fucking great time.
(*) inappropriate aggressive thoughts, for ‘example’ smashing a china bowl over one’s head.
My Brightest Diamond
Shara Worden is a woman of many talents. Not only is she a ‘lover and a killer’, as she sings in the aptly titled ‘Lover Killer’ from her fourth album This is My Hand; she is also a classically trained opera singer and composer, multi-faceted musician, the front woman of a rock band, one time leader of a processional marching band and all round good egg. Shara has worked alongside artists including The Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens and Fatboy Slim. My Brightest Diamond mixes elements of electro, opera, chamber pop, rock and folk. I know, right? A truly gifted character, Shara alone is worth going to see, never mind her talented bluesy orchestral backing band.
These Brooklyn shoegazers appear on the line-up of a few choice festivals this summer (see our Primavera guide – they’re just too good not to mention again). What started as Zachary Cole Smith’s solo recording project is now a five piece band with inspiration for the name taken from Nirvana’s ‘Dive’ (all members of the band are water signs…). Diiv are almost a juxtaposition of themselves; dreamy and melodic, indie pop-rock with rebellious unintelligible lyrics that sucks you in to the swirling guitar riffs and political messages before you know what’s going on. Their brilliant debut full length album Oshin, was released in 2012 and with their new album due to be released this summer, their Field Day set promises to deliver some new material, most likely with a message.
I am a sucker for an all-female punk band. Sorry, post-punk? Whatever, these gals rock. Formed in 2011, their 2013 debut album Silences reached number 19 in the UK album charts. Their 2014 EP featured Suicide and the aggressively brilliant ‘Fuckers’ which is in-keeping with their defiant response to society, a clear theme present in their dissatisfied lyrics. These four say they don’t write about love, but about violence, and have a ‘masculine view towards feminist issues’. Frantic riffs combined with the dulcet tones of French lead singer Jehnny Beth (aka Camille Berthomier), whip the audience into a frenzy making them a superb live band. Don your best black clobber and go get angry with them.
Unfortunately with no special guest appearance from Scrooge McDuck, these New Jersey dream poppers are worth catching when they play the Sunday at Field Day (especially if you need a well-deserved break from the all the freneticism of the techno and furious garage-rocking that seems to be going on in this list). Now on their fourth studio album these guys have been around since 2006, but Ducktails has tended to take a backseat to lead singer Matt Mondanile’s higher profile project Real Estate. Don’t let this put you off. The latest album The Flower Lane showed a massive progression in their general sound and their Field Day set is sure to take you on an easy going trip of blissful and woozy song craft.
These three London based sisters are being hailed as the British Haim (something the band themselves have referred to as ‘lazy journalism’ – awkward). With their dreamy, flowing harmonies, nostalgic nod to 70s and 80s soft rock, and clear influence taken from Fleetwood Mac’s back catalogue, the comparison really is unavoidable. Growing up sharing a three bunk-bedded room, the Edmonson sisters named their band after a female Japanese Manga warrior. (A character, disturbingly, who kills her twin sister over a dispute about a man. Wow.) Managed by the same folks as Foals and the wonderful Peace, these girls remain unsigned, for now. Catch them before they blow up.
That’s who we’ll be seeing this summer at Field Day but on top of these Overblown favourites, it would be ignorant to ignore the exciting African representation this year. Awesome Tapes from Africa, 70s Ethiopian star Hailu Mergia and father and son outfit Toumani & Sidiki Diabaté all don the bill on the Saturday. Others not to miss over the weekend include electro-R&B smooth talker Chet Faker, Baxter Dury (son of Ian) and critically acclaimed Hip Hop duo Run the Jewels. Oh, and Canadian goofball Mac De Marco. Mainly just to see what happens. Maybe he’ll tongue his Mum. Fingers crossed!