Liam Gallagher would be very pleased, little twelve year old shouting ‘get your tits out’ at girls out of the bus window, it makes me very sad. What can you do eh, just a continual cycle of silly kids turning into silly yobish men. So back to school it is after a brilliant summer the weather was there for me at all the right times had loads and loads of fun. But now it’s time to get my head down and finish my A-Levels. Thankfully I have now dropped Geography which is great no longer have to listen or talk to my favourite Geography teacher again, feels gooooooooood. I have realised thought that I should have probably visited more open days in the summer means I only have the chance to visit three more uni’s before the deadline to hand in my UCAS form, Aston, MMU and Chester. I could probably do better than the later two. School started properly today and I only had two lessons so inbetween them i spent the morning playing Pro Evo 4 and Tess… which isn’t too bad.

Last week I played football for the first time since I tore tissue and ligament in my ankle. It went well feels good to be able to play football again, missed it. Apart from the above my life has been pretty uneventful so now I will right about who deserves to win the Mercury Prize tomorrow night.

FRONTRUNNERS

My personal tip for Mercury Prize glory this year and looking at the shortlist I can’t see any other band who deserves to win it more and thats Wild Beasts. They’ve released a brilliant and highly original record in the form of ‘Two Dancers’ that both excels musically and lyrically and certainly justified the amount of critical acclaim around release.  It’s not favourite to win and personally I feel that none of those mainstream artists really should win considering the cash prize and publicity that’s on offer. Take Dizzee Rascal yeah sure some of the best pop songs of the past twelve months are on that record but he’s been here before and is a massive artist, does someone who’s been second on the bill at Glastonbury really deserve this award not just for a first time but for a second.

Other frontrunners include Paul Weller, wouldn’t have put him in this category if it hadn’t been for the obscure betting that’s gone on today, don’t feel that the songs on ‘Wake Up The Nation’ are strong enough to compete with the other acts nominated but you never know. The XX are favourite and their eponymous debut has certainly been one of my favourite records over the past year with its delicate blend of r’n’b and dream pop creating a tender album full of beautiful soundscapes. Would be great to see The XX win but I feel the hype surrounding them might not work in their favour. Laura Marling and her boyfriend Marcus Mumford (of Mumford & Sons duh) have also had brilliant years bringing their brands of folk to a mainstream audience. I hate Mumford & Sons if they win i might throw up but it’s hard to ignore the way a lot of the music buying public have felt about that record and must surely feel that their in with a chance. However could it be Laura taking the prize on her second attempt after her debut record ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’ missed out in 2008.

A real turn up for the books would be if someone a little bit under the radar like Villagers for example. I haven’t heard their record in full but from what I have heard it just sounds magical try the title track ‘Becoming a Jackal’. Everything about it is just wonderful the kind of track that just squeeze’s loveliness out of every corner. An outsider but still in with a real chance.

THE REST

Kits Downes Trio, will 2010 be the year of the token jazz act… probably not. ‘Total Life Forever’ by Foals has been another one of my favourite albums of the year and easily surpasses their debut ‘Antidotes’. It’s a record that I feel the transforms itself from summer pop record to something a lot darker later on and really surprised me by how mature and overall better the Oxford five-piece, however I don’t feel that it has a huge amount of staying power against some of the other artists nominated. Absolutely no way Biffy Clyro should win ‘Only Revolutions’ is hideously average. Then I haven’t heard much from the other two artists most recent record but then again who has seriously gone out and bought the latest one from Corrine Bailey-Rae.

James

Seriously…

Last time we spoke it was just before results day I’m sure if you know me then you’ll already know what I’ve got. But here it is anyway.

  • Sociology: B
  • English Language: B
  • English Literature: C
  • Geography: D

Pretty happy with that except I’m gonna retake one of my Sociology exams to try to get that B up to a A. Did very well in English Lit considering i didn’t read either book and quoted Morrissey as a critic. HOPE YOUR READING THIS MRS. LEA AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On the same day decided to celebrate by hitting the charity shops and I bought myself a Blackburn Rovers home shirt from 1996/97 season. Don’t support Blackburn (obvs) but you just can’t ignore the retroness and the four quid price tag. Later that evening went to a party that was fun. Not gonna write about the walk home…  The weekend came and so did my first University open day. Keele is very very lovely definitely considering going there. It’s near perfect, got a decent place on the league table, I could realistically get in, ten miles down the road and  the sociology department just looks brilliant (could study aliens and witchcraft if I wanted to). One catch though the dual-honour scheme. I would of course be looking at English Language to go alongside Sociology. So I go into the room that’s showcasing English and I ask how much of the course is language based. Of course I didn’t realise that English meant English Literature. *sigh*. The lecturer quite blatantly looking down on me for asking such a stupid question and there was my dad with a banana in his top pocket looking like a right douche. Oh well, don’t think you can afford to take these open days too seriously, especially when everyone else is.

Last week was pretty uneventful spent most of my time doing nothing, which is fine by me. Best Coast announced a tour which is pretty exciting. As always with band such like this the Manchester show is almost guaranteed to be +18 unless they announced a show at one of the smaller academies as per usual this didn’t happen.  Thankfully Birmingham is +16 so I have my ticket. Autumn/Winter gig schedule is lining up very nicely especially now that Hot Club de Paris have announce their playing Crewe. Will be taking ear plugs to the box that night. Staying with music I’ve been watching  a fair bit of the Reading highlights on the telly this weekend. SOOOOOOOOO glad I’m not there. Those people aren’t music fans, all they wanna do is get pissed etc. Can deffo tell that I’d find Reading an absolute nightmare.

Football yesterday really good overall performance by Macc yesterday, deserved the three points to be honest but I’ll take one considering we went a goal down late on. Definitely a lot more strength and physicality in the midfield, the return of Ross Draper was just what we needed. All we need now is for Sappleton to return to full fitness soon and then maybe after this poor start we could slowly work our way up the table. And it was good to see some good football being played as well for once like the ball Bolland put in for Tremarco to help create the goal was brilliant. It’s really good to see that kind of  on the floor football being played by Macc, don’t think it will work all the time but today it was near perfect. Heres my match ratings

  • VEIGA: 6, hit and miss performance went from making great save one minute to going on crazy rushes out of his area and flapping about the next
  • REID: 7, vastly improved from Shrewsbury game, much better from him
  • TREMARCO: 8, put a superb ball in to set up the goal, worked hard doing the amount of work that two players should
  • BROWN: 8, cracking performance from big Nat couldn’t have asked for more
  • MORGAN: 7, good to see the Paul come back from injury and have a good first game of the season
  • DRAPER: 9, just what Macc have been missing, someone with a huge amount of energy and effort winning every ball and completing every pass, definitely my man of the match
  • SINCLAIR: 7, would have been another disappointing game if he hadn’t scored the equaliser
  • DANIEL: 4, didn’t look like he even wanted to be there, shocking game from someone who played so well last season
  • BOLLAND: 8, great display of midfield ingenuity can’t understand why Simo would have ever wanted to release him
  • HAMSHAW: 7, another good game feel his best is still to come
  • BARNETT: 6, think Tyrone is still trying to find his feet in the league game, showed little flourish of what he can do, expect him to hopefully improve as the season progresses.

Things are looking good for this week massive band practice tomorrow got some cracking songs wrote. Well ones that I feel have potential. The Tuesday the weather is looking good for a fun afternoon of football before returning to hell again on Thursday.

James

So been a while since I last wrote anything here lets start where we left off

Must have been about two weeks ago since I went on holiday to South Wales for a week with my dad and sister. Didn’t have a bad time there weather was a bit hit and miss but it’s the same where ever you go. At least we got a day on the beach, stuck to my promise of listening to the Best Coast record while chilling in the sun on the beach. Didn’t really sound that different to be honest. Also went to Cardiff for the first time ever, not a bad city centre but it’s pretty much the same as everywhere else shops, shops and shops. Expect in Cardiff it’s a little more high brow they had some lovely arcades with expensive art shops are in. Always stop and look never buy. Got to visit apparently the worlds oldest record store which was lovely. However it doesn’t really match what Manchester has. Finally managed to get my hands on some Frankie & the Heartstrings vinyl after not being able to find any anywhere. The weather meant we stayed indoors for a fair bit of the time. This lead to a controversial game of monopoly where I gave my sister a grand to stop my dad from winning, he was cheating anyway. Towards the end of the five days we had away I finally got to see Toy Story 3. Truly a magical film and the first film i’d ever seen in 3D. Wasn’t that impressed by that but the film itself couldn’t be more perfect, thinks it’s almost certainly the best film out of the three. Just thankful I wasn’t in tears like when I went to see Up last year, came pretty close though. The last night ended with some real randomness, for some reason the town we were staying in has a fireworks display every Tuesday night, god knows why.

Felt good to come back though felt like I hadn’t seen the rest of my family or friends in ages. Spent too much time with my dad this summer I think seems like there’s sometimes a bit of clash of personalities if I spend a lot of time with him. We still went to football on Saturday though. Soooooooo glad to have football back after the disappointment of the World Cup

As always Macc failed to live up to their potential in the first home game of the season and conceded in the 4th minute. All Izak Reid’s fault, Shrewsbury player runs down the wing with a fair bit of pace for some reason he stands off rather than putting a foot in. Shrewsbury player runs into the box no problem pulls the ball back for Matt Harold to slot it home past Jose Veiga. So for the rest of the game we were just shut out. Couldn’t fault Macc for effort but Shrewsbury were so tight at the back think they might have only had a couple of shots on goal after that and even then non of them troubled Veiga. Very disappointing… as always. Heres some player ratings.

  1. Jose Veiga: 6 (barely had anything to do for the 90 minutes)
  2. Carl Tremarco: 6 (a little hit and miss for a usually consistently brilliant player
  3. Nat Brown: 6 (solid, didn’t really have much to do either)
  4. Shaun Brisley: 8 (did well to play on through concussion, didn’t put a foot wrong all game)
  5. Izak Reid: 4 (couldn’t do anything right, deserves to be dropped after that game)
  6. Paul Bolland: 6 (did what he had to do in the midfield)
  7. Matt Hamshaw: 8 (already looking like a quality signing caused plenty of danger putting balls into the box but sadly no one found the end of it)
  8. Richard Butcher: 5 (pretty much anonymous throughout)
  9. Emile Sinclair: 5 (why is he still at the club)
  10. Tyrone Barnett: 5 (really struggled to get into the game)
  11. Vinny Mukendi: 8 (great performance and effort from Vinny if anyone was gonna score for us it would have been him)

Just really hope we can go to Accrington on Saturday and pick up the three points.

Been back at my mums for all of this week so far went and had a haircut on Monday then sat back and enjoyed the Manchester United vs Newcastle game (with French commentary). Tuesday had a nice trip up to Manchester bought myself a new jumper for autumn/winter and too much music. Also had a look at drum machines, 90 quid could afford one soon. Result day tomorrow I’m predicting: Sociology: B, English Language: B, Geography: D, English Literature: D. Be so happy if I get that but who knows could be better could be worse, not long to find out.

James

BEST COAST

If you know me then you’ll know how much I adore Best Coast. How new they are is debatable but to be honest I don’t care. Debut album ‘Crazy For You’ is out and Wichita this week and since I downloaded it on Monday (4 quid on 7digital, bargain) I haven’t been able to stop listening to it. ‘Crazy For You’ is twelve beautiful slices of lo-fi pop gold filled to the brim with West Coast surfer vibes straight from the sunny beaches of California. Each song as irresistible as the next as Beth Cosentino sings about topics such as boys (mainly boys), heartache, weed and her cat Snacks. And this formula has worked for her and her band so far, featuring former child minder (yeah, seriously) Bob Bruno and former Vivian Girl Ali Koehler as recent shows in London have seen people paying extortionate amounts to get in and see them. From a recent tweet I received from Wichita it looks like Best Coast will be bringing back the sun to a grey Great Britain in late November, early December, can’t wait.

FRANKIE & THE HEARTSTRINGS

Look at British guitar music at the moment, god is it in a sorry state with the likes of One Night Only coming back for a second stab at stardom and bands like Kasabian packing out arenas to keep the needs of idiot music fans happy until Oasis reform. Finally there’s a light in these dark times and the that comes from Sunderland five piece Frankie & the Heartsrings. And by the looks of things this band have got what it takes to go all the way especially if their drummer just happens to be Lauren Laverne’s brother. Musically the band are great writing the kind of brilliant indie pop songs that the mainstream has been yearning for a long, long time. Take ‘Hunger’ for instance bellow, there’s a wonderful innocence and playfulness to it that hasn’t been seen in the charts for a long time. Live the band aren’t half bad either with front man Frankie swooning around majestically. Ethically the band are near perfect once again with putting out records in a Factory Records esque way on their own Pop Sex label and alongside that the band have been snapped up by Wichita home of sooooooo many great artists over the years. Expect to hear a lot more from these guys in the next twelve months and make sure you go catch them on their co-headlining tour with Summer Camp in September/October.

TEETH

I’m not a huge fan of Crystal Castles too much random shouting for my liking but if you’re looking for an alternative where you can actually hear the front woman sing then Teeth are your band. Teeth are a London based three-piece and consist of Ximon Tayki on laptop, Simon Whybray on drum and Veronica So singing and keyboards. Bellow is debut single See Spaces which is out on the 16th on Moshi Moshi and from the instant that synth loop drops and the beats kick in you can tell what this band is all about. There’s little else floating round the internet in terms of music at the moment but from what I’ve read of their live shows there nothing less than insane and they’ve even managed to bag themselves a support slot for M.I.A.’s proteges Sleigh Bells. Expect to see them sound-tracking the end of the world in 2012.

MEMORYHOUSE

Wait… I didn’t know Beach House had gone chillwave. Well you wound’t be surprised by the sound of this. Memoryhouse make the kind of woozy dreamy pop that you’d only thought could be made by my favourite Baltimore two piece. And if your fan of Beach House then there is no way you could not possibly like melancholy synths and repetitive drum patterns that this Canadian two piece have to offer. Their sound is equally perfect for rainy days indoors or warm summer evenings spent outside. Each song I’ve heard by them is utterly spellbinding and that’s why I’ve been scouring the internet to find some sort of U.K. release but sadly nothing of theirs out over here yet. However their debut EP is available as a free download from this site http://www.arcadesoundltd.com/downloads.html.

James

The holidays are well and truly in full swing now, seems crazy almost half way though and where is the good weather. Seriously sun can you please come out for a little bit getting bored of day after day of cloud. Shame I can’t control the weather… So last time I wrote a blog about my life it was before Indietracks which was loads of fun. Coming back wasn’t. On the Tuesday my gran went to hospital cos’ she was suffering from heart problems so she stopped in hospital over night found out all was fine came back home the next day. My dad of course got stressed by all of this, probs wasn’t the best idea to have her over for tea then. This wouldn’t have happened if the lift was working in her apartment. So she came over and my dad instantly started questioning her about why she went to hospital because him and my uncles just think she’s making her heart condition up. They seem to think that’s she’s doing it to test the system in the sheltered accommodation she’s just moved into. My gran of course won’t answer his questions just to be awkward. So then both of them are equally stressed and then all this leads to my gran phoning for a taxi to go home because of the way my dad had been acting. So then I’m expected to go and try to persuade her to come back home. How am I expected to choose sides when both of them are acting as bad as each other. So I tell her not to come back and go home because my dad isn’t thinking straight. Don’t understand why my dad acts the way he does sometimes he only ever thinks about himself but I know he only does it because he cares. So by the end of this everyone was in tears, what can you do eh. Bad stuff happens at the best of times

So apart from the above summer hasn’t been to bad so far apart from the fact that my dad has changed the date we’re going on holiday so I can’t go play football on Friday. Last week played a lot of FIFA, had two FIFA tournaments knocked out in the first round in one and then lost in the final in the second. Nothing better than playing a bit of FIFA with my bros during the summer. On the subject of football went to watch Macclesfield’s final pre-season friendly against Rhyl on Saturday. Wasn’t too bad for a fiver and Brian was there always a plus hadn’t heard his crazy ramblings in so long. Have to say Macc are looking in good shame for the new season and really loving Gary Simpson’s tactics. Good to finally watch us play some football rather than just hoofing it up and hoping for the best. The new signings all looked good especially Jason Beardsley and my man of the match Sam Wedgebury. Just hoping this season we won’t be sucked into yet another relegation dog fight and looking at the squad I really can’t see that happening to be honest. Just hoping we can start the season in winning ways against a tough Stevenage side on Saturday.

This week has been pretty nice so far went into town on Monday I bought myself the new Arcade Fire record which to be honest after about five listens I have to say is a little over-rated. There isn’t one song on it that evokes the same sort of passion that either ‘Funeral’ or ‘Neon Bible’ do. Don’t get me wrong it’s a good album and there are some quality tracks just maybe a little too much filler. Also bought the Best Coast record on Monday doesn’t it just have the best artwork ever. LOOK!!!

It’s also made me want a pet cat really bad specially as one as cool as Snacks. Really good record too ‘Boyfriend’ has gotta be one of my favourite songs of the year so far. Seriously can’t resist American girls singing about how much they want a guy. Just hoping I get to spend some time listening to this on the beach next week. Weather permitting of course, not gonna go out and lie in the rain and get all wet am I, that would be shit.

That’s all for now going on down to Wales on Friday should be good, gonna visit Spillers, yay

James

London scares me and so do the people who are there… Well especially those who turned up for Underage Festival this year. Just looking over everyone in the queue I could tell that I was probably not gonna enjoy myself as much as I did last year or as much as I had done at any other festival this summer.

First act of the day were Lightspeed Champion a band whose first album I adore but personally I’m not a fan of his whole rock opera thing for album number two. So thankfully he played about a 50/50 split of new and old  but for some reason all the moronic kids insisted on clapping at inappropriate moments which ruined songs like the nine minute epic of ‘Midnight Surprise’. His live show isn’t all that exciting either and it certainly didn’t help that his piano wasn’t set up right. Would have probably been a lot better in more intimate surroundings. Darwin Deez was next on the fizzy pop stage and seriously as soon as Peanut Butter Jelly Time came on the PA I knew I’d be in for half an hour of pure hell. What I was witnessing in front of me was more like the house band to a rich kids birthday party. How can any true fan of all that is good within modern music enjoy this drivel. O.K. synchronised dance routines are one thing but it’s not even like his songs are any good. Sure if I was 14 again I’d probably love this but I’m not I have no interest in a band who have to reference going into space in every fucking song. “You are a radar detector” what does that even fucking mean. The music is equally unintelligent as lyrics nothing less than average at best. And Darwin himself is such a douche I mean come on does he really think people are impressed with his whole look at me I’ve got krazy hair and a krazy moustache, you got to be some kind of severe moron to think thats is actually quirky or krazy cos’ it’s all been done before. Now you could say that I don’t have a heart and that or just plain cold but I gave this guy a chance by sitting through his set and seeing what the fuss was about and that had to be seriously one of the most awful bands I’ve ever seen. Let’s just hope I never have to witness that monstrosity every again.

Redemption came in the form of Los Campesinos! who were spot on as always just what I needed after sitting through that crap. However although LC! are awesome I have seen the same set three times in a row now but that can’t take away the pure joy that songs like ‘Miserabilia’ give me. Wish the crowd were up for me as much as I was but instead of dancing there was just crushing instead. New drummer Jason looked good and played well but I’d much rather see Ollie up there still to be honest. An all-round decent set the they brought out the hits and the band did what they did best so can’t complain. But dear Underage why did you insist on putting a DJ who played nothing other that hip-hop and drum ‘n’ bass before hand. You could tell this guy had never hear of the band before surely it would have maybe made sense to play some relevant bands that fans of LC! would probably like. Might wanna throw in some Frankie & the Heartstrings or Xiu Xiu but no instead we were treated to the likes of Tinie Tempah. What happened Underage why did you loose your cool. It used to be all about interesting new music and not satisfying the needs of the mainstreamer’s.

Now came the wait spent two hours sitting under some trees watching some metal bands had a bit of a laugh at this one band whose synth player kept taking his synth of the stand and playing it in weird positions. It wasn’t even like Rough Trade had a stall this year that could have kept me occupied. No one worth meeting at the signing tent well unless I wanted to wait and punch all the guys in Hadouken!

So after waiting two hours decided to sit in a tent and watch New Young Pony Club, didn’t really do much for me their lead singer woman was a bit too yelpy for my liking so we went over to see upcoming Manchester four piece Everything Everything who weren’t bad. Wish the sound in that tent was better cos’ it really couldn’t cope with the falsetto and harmonies of the band which worked really well in the same way it does for Wild Beasts. Feel like there’s a good album on the way from these guys as their eye for a pop song came across well in-front of a relatively small audience. Deffo a band to watch out for in the next few months (but I’m sure you knew that already).

After this I saw Professor Green sounded like every other pop hip-hop rappy thing that’s in the charts at the moment. Didn’t want to see him of course I was just waiting to see Ellie who I choose over the scary, noisy Crystal Castles, really wasn’t in the mood for experiencing this afternoon. She came on twenty minutes late so me and my friend spent the time confusing people by sort of sounding a little sarcastic but then mixing that by saying that I’m a hardcore Ellie fan whose seen her once before. Ellie wasn’t bad not great but by no means bad. She rattled through hits from her début record to a packed tent but I left at the wrong moment to go and see if M.I.A. had come on the main stage yet. Didn’t even get to see her play ‘Starry Eyed’…

So in the wait to see M.I.A. I thought I’d go and catch the end of Crystal Castles, glad I didn’t go. Don’t really get the all the hype surrounding Crystal Castles sure from the song I saw it looks like they put on a quality live show but it’s just all noise and Alice Glass screaming. Not for me. Think everyone was coming on late during the day the question being was the wait for M.I.A. worth it. I’d say no I left feeling unimpressed by her performance would have expected so much more from someone whose come out and done a video like ‘Born Free’ and then go on to say what she has done about the government, google etc. There was no such craziness today and the crowd weren’t that great either all just there to see one song I presume. Maya came out and started on ‘Galang’ before jumping into the crowd for a bit. That’s all the excitement I got from her show (had to leave before she rolled out the hits cos’ of how long it would take to get back). Really did expect so much more from her but I suppose this sort of sums up Underage this year. A festival with so much promise but delivers nothing but averageness and nothing to satisfy the need of young music fans like myself who look for something a bit different from your Tinchy Stryder’s and Chiddy Bang’s. But what do you expect eh, I am 17 now and I have been to Glastonbury this year. Sure the majority of people who came had a great time this year and that’s important in terms of making sure that youth feel inspired to go out there and try music for themselves. Whether that be making it or going and to experience live music in the future. As for me I think it’s safe to say my time for this sort of festival has definitely been and gone.

James

Another day, another ‘yummy’ full English this time i got an extra pig’s testicle sausage instead of a hash brown, I was very disappointed. Same routine as yesterday as we went to the church to find out what are all important stewarding duties for the day were going to be. I had the pleasure of stage managing the church stage. Well by managing I mean sitting in the pews and watching all the artists. First up was the delightful Winston Echo whose songs about being a robot or going to Dracula’s disco party was the perfect early afternoon soundtrack to all the bleary eyed festival goers. Really enjoyed Winston his sort of anti-folk twee pop was just lovely inside such intimate surroundings. Heres a pic with Laura Wolf from Internet Forever and the guitarist guy from Frankie & the Heartstrings sat in front of me.

Next on in the church were the very nervous looking Cavalcades and I’m sure if they were a lot less nervous then maybe their performance would have been a hell of a lot better. I personally found them a bit boring their woozy indie pop didn’t really have much effect on my ears. Nice enough but sooo much better than what was coming next. I don’t think this guy up next on the church stage was what the programmed described. ‘Socialist Leisure Party are an English-French band… that will remind you of Orange Juice… jangly, nice and concise’. Instead we got this random Scottish guy singing about god knows what at however loud he was, didn’t sound like what the programme described. Mass evacuation of the church then followed and rightly so this guy was awful. Would have rather have spent another two hours at the instrument store than listen to him for another five minutes.

Needed to do some severe comfort eating after that monstrosity so I grabbed myself a burger from the cafe and went down the barn to watch Internet Forever a band who I’ve wanted to see again for ages and ages. Duly I took my spot front and centre for a disappointing short twenty-five minute set by the noise-pop three-piece. But in this time they managed to pack a pretty big punch rattling through singles ‘Cover the Walls’ and ‘Break Bones’ to a packed crowd. Highlight of the set came when the band played the flippin’ awesome ‘Walk of Life’ by Dire Straights which pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day perfectly. Yet another band whose debut record I seriously can’t wait to hear especially if it sounds as equally fun as the band are live.

Seriously couldn’t be bothered with whatever duty I had next so I went and bought myself an Internet Forever t-shirt and watched a little bit of Standard Fare. They weren’t bad but it started to rain and I couldn’t be bothered standing there watching a band who once again found a little bit of a boring live prospect even if they have got a couple of indie-pop gems in them. So I paced it back the camp site grabbed and jumper and took a spot backstage to watch Shrag a band who I find unbelievably annoying on the record. A little bit like a post-punk Bis. What I could see through the little stage entrance is that Shrag are quite a compelling live act. To be honest though I would much rather watch Charles and Rebecca from Slow Club take funny pictures of themselves backstage.

Slow Club of course were the penultimate band of the weekend and I’m sure that they just keep getting better and better. Would have been nice if the sun was shinning on everyone’s favourite Sheffield duo but how can the miserable weather affect the beauty of their songs. The band played a similar set to what they played last I saw the back in May. So this meant a mix of new and old which really wasn’t a problem when the new songs sound even better than they did last time out. The likes of ‘Gold Mountain’ and ‘Hackney Marsh’ sound like potential classics alongside the likes of the furious ‘Giving Up On Love and ‘Trophy Room’. Nothing less than perfect apart from the minor technical issues that are almost always apparent every time I see Slow Club.

Finally the band I’d been waiting to see all weekend. Kip Berman opened the show with a solo rendition of album opener ‘Contender’ before inviting the rest of the band to join him for ‘This Love Is Fucking Right!” Everything was not fucking right though don’t wanna have a fifteen minute delay and then have another five-minute delay because of technical problems. The band carried on regardless of all the technical bollocks and was worth it to see the band play the likes of ‘Young Adult Friction’ to huge crowd who were hooked by every note played and every word sung. The atmosphere was eclectic to say the least and all this for a band who’ve only got one album and a couple of EP’s under their belt. The band was clearly in their element playing to such a large audience and the party really started by the time a mini-moshpit was created during my favourite ‘Come Saturday’. Like Slow Club before them the band brought out a few new songs tonight but for the moment which may show a heavier even noisier side to Pains… on LP number two. But hey for the time being who needs LP number two this is about the hits tonight and every song played was met with the same reaction from start to finish whether it be b-sides like ’103′ in which everyone around was singing along to every word, or the likes of ‘A Teenager In Love’ in which everyone was singing along to every word. The band finished on ‘The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’ and at this rate of ascent up the indie hierarchy then there is no way that were gonna see these guys ‘die’ any time soon and rightly so. No way these guys could have left with out an encore and so they came back on again played another decent new track before ending on ‘Gentle Sons’. A brilliantly noisy end to a lovely weekend. Dunno if I’ll come back next year but if you’re looking for a relatively small festival that’s brimming with a mix of great people and great bands (both new and old) then this is the place for you.

James

(COME) SATURDAY

Anyone like the pun I did there? So Saturday began with a trip to the cafe at the station/festival site where I had possibly one the most down right hideous and artery clogging breakfasts of all time. But hey how can you complain when you get all this food for free. It had hash browns, I never have hash browns. Later that morning me and the guys reported to the church where we would receive are duties for the day. Oooooh instrument store that sounds like it could be fun. WRONG! Possibly the most boring thing I have done in my entire life just sound there for what felt like hours staring blankly at the faces of the festival goers that went past making sure only authorised personnel were allowed to get in there. Thankfully I didn’t have to do that job too much and got what was probably the best of the rota’s out of me and my friends over the weekend. The only other thing I had to was take over the ticket desk for a while which was a hell of a lot better than working the instrument store.

All of this meant I didn’t have much time to experience the festival so first band of the day was a bit later on than what I would have liked. Saw a little bit of Antarctica Takes It! they were a little boring, then saw a bit of The Smitten’s who were more than a little bit twee and didn’t really take my fancy. So instead of watching bands thought it would be more fun to go and visit the model railway club.

That brought back some memories to say the least. After this I sat by myself and watched some more bands on the Outdoor Stage (as the guys were working). Now I don’t care how legendary or influential you may find The Orchids or Ballboy but I found both bands incredibly dull and boring. I sat thinking while watching both their equally average brands of indie pop how maybe this festival is far to specialist for my liking. Indietracks while being a great underground festival it can often alienate those like myself who have a reasonable knowledge of the genre but not one that is as in-depth as those for who the festival is aimed at. This could possibly prove to me the festivals main downfall as how many bands will continue to create music like this in years to come it’s hard to tell as many of these bands playing are pretty obscure apart from those playing late in the day. But for now the festival works a treat and caters for this market really well and not one person I met throughout the weekend had a bad word to say about it.

Final band I saw of the day were easily the best and that was Tender Trap who replaced Love Is All at short notice to headline the Indoor Stage. From what I saw Amelia Feltcher + band played through a selection of songs from their new record (which I hadn’t heard anything from at the time) to a packed audience. This was the first time I’d seen a band in the converted barn all weekend and the sound in there was easily the worst of any festival or venue I’d ever been to. This meant that although Tender Trap from what I could hear were pretty damn good the sound their sort of ruined what was a solid performance from an indie legend. Picture equally as awful as sound

Day two ended pretty much the same as day one as we sat back after a hard days of ‘work’ with some fine locally brewed ale. However the best (and worst) was yet to come…

James

FRIDAY

The day began well, left the house soon after booking tickets to see Belle & Seb in December. The train journey to Alfreton was pretty fun and successfully managed to annoy the majority of people on the train, especially this one guy where we accidentally sat in ‘his’ seat. He could have had it back if he’d ask but instead of telling us to move he decided to complain to the staff on the train and the glare and us from where he was sitting for most of the journey. Really don’t get some people. Alfreton remind me a lot of Winsford in the way that is well and truly miserable. Continued to cause more disruption on the bus to the camp site some elderly woman behind us complaining about how long it took us to get on the bus. The bus driver however had more sympathy and was very helpful and friendly. The campsite was brill it had everything and it was all for free plus we were put in the stewards, bands and other festival worker people field. Used the same tent we had for Glastonbury some how it had a pole missing in these times of missing poles we had to make do. This meant making do and almost destroying the tent every time I tried to get in.

Reported to the church stage for stewarding duties later that afternoon where we given all the free food and drink vouchers we could possible ever want. As well as finding out that I would be working backstage later that evening. Three bands were playing the festival on Friday and I thankfully had the pleasure of seeing all three of them. Veronica Falls sadly only played six songs. This was down the fact that the morons working the sound desk had still had them in sound check mode playing to themselves for ten minutes. It had looked like the band had stormed off stage but they came back on to play some of the finest indie pop songs around at the moment starting with recent b-side and personal favourite ‘Stephen’. Songs that hadn’t been put out yet sat equally as well along side the likes of ‘Beachy Head’ the perfect song about suicide for a sunny afternoon. Snooping around backstage I found out that the band are now going off to record their debut record and to be honest it couldn’t come soon enough, guaranteed to be awesome. Here’s a photo of them from where I was standing wish I could have gone done the front but stewarding got in the way.

Next on were the very lovely Allo, Darlin’ starting with the ultra twee ‘Henry Rollins Don’t Dance’ a song that throws about it’s fair show of Grease references . By this point everyone had put their dancing shoes on and from that moment they’d pretty much stayed on all weekend. Still stuck watching from afar though but enjoyed as myself as they ploughed through a set of tracks from their long-awaited debut album. Front woman Elizabeth was clearly relishing the opportunity to play on the main stage with some severe Ukulele moshing on the go . Overall a great set from a band who I sometimes feel are a little hit and miss but tonight they disproved all doubts and played a wonderful set from start to finish.

Headlining the Friday night were one of many of Eddie Argos’ project’s Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now! I of course working backstage got a little bit star stuck  with Eddie Argos constantly walking in out of the area. Also learnt a little bit about his toilet habits went twice in ten minutes before coming on stage to the sound of the French national anthem. The ridiculousness then continued by playing a song about the French resistance. The great thing about this project is that they really couldn’t take themselves any less seriously Eddie playing the jester in the court of the other indie pop titans headlining this weekend. Eddie himself couldn’t be more pleased to be there creating hilarity with his onstage banter throughout describing the formation of each one of his so called ‘response’ songs. Including ‘responses’ to ‘Jimmy Mack’ by Martha Reeves and a song called ‘Billie’s Jean’s’ in response to Jacko in which Eddie declared himself the illegitimate son of the dead superstar. Other stories included one about the time when Eddie worked in a chippie and stupidity reached a climax during the encore in which they played ‘Formed a Side-Proeject’. Think that pretty much sums up Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now! definitely one of my favourite bands of the weekend and was so great to finally see Eddie Argos. Heres a really crap picture.

Me being me though was far too shy to go up and talk to him at the merch stall after the show so I went and got my free beer and me and the guys sat listening to some tunes at the campsite and reeled over how surreal and brilliant the opening day of the festival had been.

James

I can now say I’m 17 doesn’t really feel that much different to being 16. Had a good birthday though got to play croquet at school and almost smashed the staff room window cos’ I just couldn’t hit the ball. You can’t blame me  for not coming from an upper class background (and thank god I don’t). Looks like I’ll never me a world-class twat croquet player after all. Then one of the teachers started patronising me since I couldn’t do it, go die. 17 and I still can’t stand people telling me what I should and shouldn’t do. Spent the afternoon at my nans watching some classic Come Dine With Me and eating sandwiches. Got home opened presents… oooooooooo an Ipod didn’t know I was getting one of them… Stupid apple meaning that I have to spend £1.23 on a new cable cos’ the one that came with it doesn’t work. Got Super Mario Galaxy 2 as well and it really is just brilliant. I think maybe a little bit of  it’s charm has been lost but the new levels are superb think there’s any been one that I haven’t liked. Must be about 2/3 of the way through at the moment. Job well done again Nintendo. Later went out for a curry but that’s nothing new. Do that all the time.

So summer started Friday and I didn’t do anything in the day, party in the evening (not mine). Drinking however puts me in two moods. Friday was the self-deprecating one. Not good. Had a nice walk home though. Actually the party was on Saturday my memory fails me. Wednesday thought it would be a good idea to go the cinema with of course we get there and like everything was sold out. And of course I couldn’t go to the later showing of Inception cos’ my dad had done a ‘nice tea (incidentally it was a nice tea). So bought new LCD record and some classic Beach Boys both of which are great records. Afternoon was spent having a Pro-Evo tournament came second, very disappointed in myself. Today my dad thought it would be a fun idea to go to the place where they make Morgan cars. The journey was fun listened to a bootleg of LCD at Glasto, brought the memories flooding back. When we got there got to watch people building cars. Found it a little creepy how this one guy took photos of everyone working in every workshop. So yeah, that was fun.

Mum and rest of family of gone to Portugal, I decided not to so I’m sitting at home waiting to go to Indietracks this weekend. So many bands looking forward to seeing, finally getting to see The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Veronica Falls. And no harm in of course seeing Slow Club and Internet Forever. However not looking forward to navigating the Derbyshire bus network should be fuuuuun. Made a mix CD to put in the mix CD swap thing. I wrote the URL to the blog on the side of this so whoever gets it I hope you find this and enjoy the music I put on it. Will write a review of the weekend once I’m back.

James

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