Latitude 2014


For those of you who were tuned into the blog when we ran our preview pieces and who have read our thoughts on the festival over the years you will know just how much we love it. How that year after it has become a ritual. A ritual made up of wooded raves, forested rambling, canopied dancing, open air dancing, lakeside sprawls, teenage crowd surfing, Poetry laced naps and a general feeling of wonderment and contentedness. In the more recent years I must admit we have found ourselves not so much crowd surfing to CSS and New Young Pony Club and nipping across the site for improvised interviews or tweeting pictures of 3D glasses. This year we

 

Even though our tastes change Latitude is always there catering to the highest quality. In 2007 all 8 of us went straight to the main stage as soon as it opened on Sunday to wait for Arcade Fire’s headline slot. That day I saw for the first time bands that would go on to be some of my favourite acts around today  including The National, Au Revoir Simone, Cold War Kids, The Rapture and Andrew Bird. Even if any festival could book a run of acts as fantastic as that I don’t think I could enjoy it more than I did aged 17. Latitude has always been the festival where I experienced and got to know my music as a teenager and you can never get that sensation back (although you can get pretty close).

It was a funny thing to look at the thousands of kids packed out to see Haim this year and going absolutely berserk for every song whether they knew the words or not. The buzz of seeing great new music in an immediate crowd of friends who in turn are surrounded by many thousands of like minded individuals is huge and should be a seminal part of every teenagers life. It was an odd moment of perspective noticing that we have these annual music institutions where kids can do exactly that whether those bands are The Rapture, CSS and The Hold Steady or Haim, Crystal Fighters and Catfish And The Bottlemen.

The year that Hold Steady played we had all been packed into the Obelisk Stage crowd for hours having the time of our teenage lives. The security guys were handing out water to everyone at the front which was filtering back providing momentary hydration or ammunition to throw at the girl you fancy. The band each had a bottle of beer by their side and every time Craig Finn took a swig it was almost torture to watch, especially when all you could hope for that weekend would be a smuggled Lucozade bottle of underage whisky or something equally gross when you got back toy our tent. This year I accidentally bought some prosecco with a raspberry in it before putting my head inside a tree to enjoy a small piece of installation art. In the process I realised that I had indeed grown older and my tastes had changed. But this was no issue for Latitude and its arsenal of the extraordinary and the unexpected of entertainment I would’t have thought twice about in my formative years.

But the festival really has not changed despite almost being 10 years old. Granted it has grown and is now at a very stately 35,000 capacity with each stage/tent sprawling accordingly. But rather than pile us all into 1 bigger pot Latitude caters for an increasingly diverse crowd with more focus going in to the late night parties, heritage acts and the genuinely stunning Thursday/Friday night performances carried out on the lake surface. Everything from the post exam youngsters to mid 20s hipsters to families of 6 to elderly couples come to Latitude and have an extraordinary time. Indeed they could easily spend the entire weekend at Henham Park unaware that there are entire other demographics a stones throw also having the time of their life but rather than creased up to WitTank in the Cabaret Tent they are in fact being stunned by the extraordinary Nils Frahm playing in the woods or just maybe they are watching Damien Albarn being joined on stage by Graham Coxon under a sky filled with thunder and lightning.

I’ve done a few festivals now and, sentimental and biased though I am, I don’t think there is another one out there that books acts and artists of such a high calibre across such an incredibly diverse range of the arts and I hope that doesn’t change

 

Our highlights of this year (in no particular order):

The Meridian Brothers

Editors

Lone

Ilotopie

Rag N Bone Man

The Acid

Agnes Obel

Booker T Jones

A short film about a boy and a girl who share a flat in Glasgow

Tom Vek

Wit Tank

Nils Frahm

James (1000 times James)

Parquet Courts

The War On Drugs

Haim

Tame Impala

 

Huge thank you to the festival and to all at Midas PR for being so wonderful as ever.

Marcus

The opening words to an interview with Hella Better Dancer in Summer of 2013

You’re getting close to something golden good that doesn’t diminish through time. The Bob Dylan the parents like, the vinyls etched in atemporal vibration, you need no fresh up-to-dateness when everything’s about the good rather than the new.

So here’s an interview I did 1 year ago to this month with one of this blog’s favourite bands, and one of the few indie artists whom we’ve followed consistently with an insatiable interest, Hella Better Dancer (above).

 

Sitting down…

what’s happened in the last year for you guys?

we’re a lot less nervous
I used to almost feel physically sick
Lot more comfortable, a lot more confident
with writing as well

our sound’s changed, though it’s hard to know how
we’re more punchy, more direct, a lot better at communicating things in our brain through music, articulating things

more pedals, more effects, more controlled

totally. + we’ve set up our set to make it as anxiety free as possible
it’s a different world to writing
when you’re writing and it’s good, you’re like “THIS IS SICK”
but when you’re playing live, it’s like “Ah, no”

Farao asked me ‘when do you know when the lyrics are finished?’

the lyrics are finished when I’m not embarrassed to sing them
when you’re working with other people, you have to say them to people, almost without the music, have to be prepared not to be shy

it’s a different world performing, you kinda change in a good way

… And so, you’re being lead down a stready sporadic excitable stream of agreement with band Hella Better Dancer, I talk to them after their performance at Leefest 2013, 1 year after I first saw them for the first time, with my brother for his first time as well, at the very same festival. These guys speak like a river, this time I’m the guy on the river bank, counting my peace, chilling but also trying to get a hold on similar aged heads with my microphone and my own nerves. The drummer Josh turned up half way through the above stream seamlessly, interjecting with ‘totally’ and his own version of the conclusion we’re all steadily arriving  at before a pause and they ask themselves what else they’ve done in the last year. I’m really engaged and my ears are tuned; this band are instantly golden on stage, and I’m over-excited to find they’re similar off stage as well.

HELLA BETTER DANCER 

to be continued…

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Succeeding Oblivion

Introducing the two-part transitive listening experience of songs by Aimee deBeer (above).

Her singing voice would be the sound that would meet you if you were to unlock an old forgotten box you’d randomly found buried in the back garden of the Highlands; the box would open and the concentrated heartache of ghosts would clamber high / elegantly / far off into the sky / filling in the clouded gaps / leaping the grey rumble / towards somewhere else / unseen and unreal /not without leaving you with a something of the here and of the now / the seen and real / aftermath /the pleasant light sting of salt-water all-over.

Oblivion

The curtains billowing open for a second and the sun shining through. This voice is covering me, I’m restless in bed. The head billows open for a few seconds and the bed opens up. This bass guitar is holding me, I’m restless I said. The train door billows open for three seconds and the eyes slam shut.

Persephone and the Devil

The two songs would help me slumber drift down a half-conscious river wherever I be; the window, the bed, the train. And the sound of the riverflow is bruised and slowed with countless kneecap-shaped rocks, drums, not at all out of control, despite the current of strings that lightly splashes over.

At the end of river, one is flumed into a sea of unforgettably faced wash… Yet nothing to show of the descent other than the soft-pounding mark of purple on my knee, and “It’s okay not to be real” [Oblivion], a voice ghostly aching of the buried box in the heart. It’s a quiet, filled with neutrality and all the sad energy that neutrality might have implied before, back through cracks in the curtains and blank open beds, back in the old days of rivers and riverflows.

Intentional juxtaposition between pictures

And so, it’s this song, especially Oblivion that was my first listen, but not without its seamless follow-up, Persephone and the Devil, that, that has taught me how, in reflecting upon music and songs, one should sometimes focus less on the song itself, and rather on the silence that immediately succeeds the song’s ending [And, surely that would work neatly for a listener who listens best in half-daze]. Because, to murmur moreover, the silence succeeding both these two songs of an upcoming EP, Strange Fiction, from Aimee deBeer is one filled with something substantial, really okay, solemn, relaxed, dim-truth-realised feelings, no longer restless, charged with nothing more neurotic than neutral, an uplifting uniqueness of sound that keeps your feet on the ground and your head in the right position. I feel distilled. I feel the lightly pleasant sting of salt-water all over.

deBeer’s Facebook

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On Waves Onwards

There’s a back-story to the word Valkyrie, the meaning of the word, the world it comes from (if you follow that link you also find awesome on-it music blog that informs the back-story of Curxes). Before the back-story, it’s the word of Valkyrie that you’re congregated here to apprehend, and it’s the word of Valkyrie that Curxes, as musicians, have spent time on, composed, they present their new single this month upon the internet and we, as listeners, are spending time thereupon, composed, we carefully tune in.

However, carefully tuning in is not the apt description for any kind of listening process that relates to these genes of music, for this song, I mean. This is hardcore electro. This is so full of energy. The beats are big, the instruments are loud. The girl sings good, and with gusto. It all tunes you in, let alone your carefulness.

I mean that as much as possible. For a listener like myself, this song is the kind of experience that transports me at the speed of hurricane gusts in the direction of strong metaphor, array of figurative scenarios, explosion of feeling, dreams, exhilarations of mental state. Indeed, I have had to force my fingers and my head to construct a really coherent introduction here. I’ve wrenched my imagination out of its delerium and forced it through filter paper, before my bedtime sleep, crunched it down into coherence, comprehendable construction, three paragraphs of solid eye-contact. Something of the song allows me that challenge, something of its own solid eye-contact, something of its own clear cut comprehension. The girl beats and belts her biceps around my own throat and squeezes, the band bind upon my legs and squeezes. The music itself infiltrates my head and I’m yet to see it emerge from anything other than the breathes I steal in between the lyrics, in between the breaks, the fills, the keys, the soaring synthesiser synthesising something absurdly real and electro rock-n-roll in my heavy eyelids.

Let’s let go and get giddy: I’m falling through air at 103 mph and veering around corners till suddenly I’m standing on the corner of the motorway and I’m punching a policeman, he’s telling me be more inconspicuous, ordering me to backtrack sharpish, backtrack to whatever pub I came from. I eventually obey, but make sure to stamp my hiking boots as loud as possible on the old broken tarmac. Later, gymnasts enter the pub and I’m going over to them with a good mind to tell them what’s what, kiss their heads and wish them well, before initiating a kickfight. I’m kicking their hands, they’re kicking my head, I pass out. I wake up planted as a 50 ft high painting on the train platform, stopping the suits from boarding their train home, they relate me to that guy they just saw outside on the city square, that guy with the camera lens so long they couldn’t walk past. Indeed, one suit mumbles how he couldn’t walk past the cameraman without giving a password. The password he reports is all my pain, in capital letters. In fact, I even hear him thinking how I look like the capital letter P; a horrible P painting. I am the capital P and I’m inanimate for all they care.

I’m a creature waiting to teach you a different game.
These lyrics, some of the few I catch from the swirling weird shining dark distorted rainbow water of crashing words, they’re plucked hard out of a low heavy heart, the depths of whole and healthy diaphragm, out of the high weightless head, but mostly from the steady weighting of sturdy feet on the ground and the solid eye-contacts by whom they are dictated.

I’m excited, I’m a bit terrified. The feeling of being, navigating, riding, being on waves, with the sound of a wild wild world inside, floating, fighting but altogether feeling utterly onwards, eyes dead set forward, with a pipe wedged in my mouth. This band’s release is something to apprehend later this August, my feelings are here to be shared, so share them!

catch your breathe first probably though

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Say It Ain’t Still Sunday

  

It’s still Friday. It’s still.

Mo Kolours is an artist my friend saw at Latitude Festival in the early hours of the morning this last Sunday and now I’m listening to this song Biddies, having not heard the artist or song before today, and it’s cool because this is the first thing he’s uploaded onto the Bandcamp (2011), and I can move forward through time over time, explore through the discog, get my daily movements of truth, make my acquaintance with innovation, assemble my endorphins, feel well exercised, well inspired. Alive there, all still there. All still.

But, basically, I am actually dancing. I’m dancing, dance routines, and the song’s the thing I dance to, it’s all filling the room foreign, the bedroom, the dancing’s startings today, today it’s daze, it’s long short daze, and dust, and gleaming, and diamond, and gushing. It’s let go, Its lets go. Let’s go. Let’s go. Shades on, lights off, arms up, makes criss cross, arms down, flex shoulder, twist and turn, makes figure eight, fingers clench straight, point twards heaven, knees bow, tied hips, eyes still, head stern, and sway, and swap sides, and now lets try symmetry, now disassemble, the fingers tingle, relax and catch, tense and drop, eyes still, mouth a purse, firm like leather, thighs manoeuvre, swerve twards chest, toes tip toe, kneecaps before, then back, then forward, now I’m loosening, now i’m tuning, i’m fuelling, the nylon’s damp, the dark hair mocks a rhythm, the shades fell off a few minutes ago, the lights have adjusted, i’m turning up, on time and twisting, never stop now.

Still, you can Like the facebook; it’s a good way to show appreciation and to keep up to date with this mesmerising moving organism, pure movements and limb cures, music for battlers, bouncers, for bolstering the maids and the driven, the present tense and the muscle pegs. I’m feeling fine; thank-you Mo Kolours, thank-you friend, thank-you internet and thank-you Latitude Festival. Thank-you thank-you thank-you thank-you.

G.

Darling and I Grow by Alexandra Stewart

Introducing shoes and bench and Alexandra Stewart. Intra-space-shake-inducing Alexandra Stewart.

Bosh, binoculars on the bedside table and beats for backnots, heartknocks. Gosh. Onwards. Introducing two songs from 2 different releases (moments of), an artist’s name and her band accomplice, hailing across oceans from the brightest sparks of internet… catchin’ my drift?

Darling

Bouncing back to post-summer, 2013,

… Darling is a song that, for all its contents and instruments, you would apprehend as a cutescape, itsy plastic cups clasped, full of something directed toward something simple, those electronic flaking lofi indie numbers; affected piano, the drum machine, the oos and the girl’s spritely interjections. And, for all its appearances it does indeed somewhere bear the benefits of this little genre: it sounds fresh and nice and endearing and pocket-sized,  a blush, it’s a 2 minute moment of smile…

But it’s more than that,  it’s wondrous and worthy. It’s a handshake heartshake, cutescape but landscape, expansive, plush and painted upon solemn railway drum-stations, rickety rhythm, not just summery, not just sweet, but also gravity, but awesomely falling leaving, blooming beats sad; those feelings that fly fairies deep in the hollows of stomach tingles, but also down south west where it’s serious and fairly sad. Somehow in two places at the same time; the fluent fort of lyrics & the danced disrupting tempo, the two moment smile all the time a waining-wondering, and working.

I Grow

Fast-forward to the shores of pre-summer, 2014, (if Alexandra Stewart would allow us the juxtaposition…)

… I Grow is instantly standing high tall. It’s a different approach to music, it uses different muscles, it hits considerably more frequencies hard, Alexandra’s voice arises in its sombre actuality, it’s beautiful, its bindings, bound in the tied tight chords so smooth, soft, yet completely unquestionably stuck on the right notes, the right words, the right way to come in and to go out. This voice, this song, it’s upon that next level, that older, that new stonking air-pressure of altitude; it conducts the music and the music billows underneath, upholding, huffing, hitting the heart really really hard. When the drum comes in toward the end, when it all falls walls down, crashing over, I’m marching to heaven with my hiking boots on, I’m walking to my end off a cliff, toward the border to the country I never came upon, my futilities are falling away and flying off behind me, my trail of footsteps are blowing up hurricanes in the dirt, I’m heading towards heart, I’m heartened towards head, I’m, I’m basically slightly flustered and basically troubled for words, breathes, okay breathe,

Oh, goodness my good toes, this song is filling me with —%uuuuu&*^@£%&@k— energy, and it’s impossible not to stop, until the song does so, it leaves, and it all feels a bit difficult. But thank gosh it’s not actually real life, and I can just press play again, and carry on the unfoldingness of feelings and whatnot. All the fluster so steadily sturdily contained in 6 minutes, albeit on repeat; this music is allowing me all kinds of controlled euphoria, controlled respiration, controlled growing, all coming together on the high altitudes.

Epilogue

Apart from these two songs, I am filled with urgency to tell you that the artist updates her Facebook page and if you scroll down this Facebook page, there is all manner of time-swilling buzz of videos and interviews and songs, links to other vital places, and yes, head over, get to know it all and enjoy.

In terms of the very above, Darling is buy at name your own price and I Grow is One American dollar or more.

Leaving you with flowers and painting and Alexandra Stewart, unbelievable ing you with Alexandra Stewart.

Borderline

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