Indie lovers will no doubt be thinking that Christmas has arrived early this year, with a bucket load of festivals for them to get their teeth sunk into. One highlight of the hectic summertime schedule is Latitude Festival, a banquet of the finest outfits the genre has to offer. Suffolk’s Henham Park has had eleven months to rest, and will now be stormed once again between 12th and 15th July by people in their thousands for one hell of a feast.
Taking a look at the menu, it’s hard to see how this festival can be beaten by its competitors for versatility with its big names. The headline slots are occupied by: Alt-J, Solange, The Killers, Wolf Alice, The Charlatans, to only name a few! Beneath the headliners, the line-up isn’t too shabby either, with legends such as James alongside upcomers such as Boy Azooga merging together to create the ultimate jiving cocktail, so you can ditch the pornstar martinis for this one.
As I struggled to list the entirety of great acts on show, it may be a daunting task to organise who to see in such a short space of time. Three days seems like a rather cruel time frame. But no need to fear, there may be almost 100 acts to spectate but being the Samaritans that we are, we have ever so kindly narrowed in down to just five acts that it is paramount that you see this July.
Falling just short of a bold headline slot are Brooklyn punk-friendly rockers Parquet Courts. The band have continued their creative rampage this year, having released their 6th studio album in just 6 years! Their thirteen-track instalment ‘Wide Awake!’ has been labelled the bands most ‘fully-realised’ album to date by NME, and has been blessed with wider positive feedback by critics. Although the high quality of the album comes as no surprise.
It’s a while before Parquet Courts return to the UK on their world tour, they have a few stops across America and Europe before we are blessed with their presence locally. Keeping this in mind, it seems that we have a duty to seize this opportunity to watch the band before they embark on their explosive ride. Parquet Courts are a completely idiosyncratic band, in the way that they make you feel nostalgic, free, youthful, joyous and reflective all in the space of a 12 song setlist. A perfect band to tap toes to at latitude festival. Plus, missing the chance to hear them play ‘Borrowed Time’ live would be criminal.
Sometimes in the industry, a band comes along that establishes themselves with their audience and can play sold out shows across the country without having released an album. Black Honey are a prime example of this. Their talent alone has carried them to notoriety, with a loud garage-pop swagger and the grandiose appearance of lead vocalist Izzy Baxter. They have released the single ‘Bad Friends’ earlier this year, that continues in the same vain from their other singles ‘Hello Today’, ‘Somebody Better’ and ‘Headspin’. It does seem evident that the trajectory is heading towards an album, so fans are left gagging for it to arrive.
The band are in for a busy summer as well, with a UK tour starting on June 12th, including festival dates at Tramlines, Kendall Calling and Electric Fields. It only takes one listen to their back catalogue to see what the hype is about, and the future is undoubtedly bright for the outfit. If surf guitar riffs and a whole lot of headbanging isn’t your satisfactory summer fix, then you may need to have a word with yourself.
One of the more veteran groups to make the shortlist, are alt-rock innovators The Breeders. Born from ex pixies bassist Kim Deal and Throwing Muses guitarist Tanya Donnelly in the 90’s, The Breeders have only steered forwards in the last two decades and their appeal shows no signs of retracting. The band have enjoyed success on each stage of their journey, from their first, critically acclaimed album ‘Pod’, all the way through to their fifth studio album ‘All Nerve’ which fans revered as it demonstrated their quality and originality once more. It also features some vocals from Courtney Barnett, which is a winner in anybody’s eyes.
Their ability and influence knows no bounds, and Latitude Festival is one slot of hundreds the band are poised to play over the next couple of years. With their angst, experience and anthemic tracks, The Breeders clearly have the capabilities to be playing shows for years to come. For a band that has been on the circuit for this long to be doing the rounds with the heavyweights in 2018 is commendable, and even more reason to catch them at Latitude.
Now to a band that could viably have originated in another world, five-piece Phobophobes. These doom-mongers have provided one of the talking points of 2018 so far, with their haunting and wonderfully dark interpretation of pysch-rock in debut album ‘Miniature World’. The band set sail for earth from a distant world and have enjoyed a brewing underground success in their new terrain.
The band have come a long way since their first single ‘No Flavour’ was released in 2016, and their spookily crafted hits such as ‘Where is my Owner?’ and ‘The Never Never’ orchestrate this journey of the town criers perfectly. The baritone vocals of lead singer Jamie Taylor, complimented by the elongated, dreary twangs of guitarists Christo Mccracken and Jack Fussey offers something that most bands struggle with, an authentic identity. And originating from the same scene as Goat Girl and Fat White Family can only be promising.
It may be easy for a band like Phobophobes to slip under the radar, with such a wealth of well-established talent on the line-up, but you can’t rightfully call yourself an indie fan if you don’t dedicate some time to the new emerging talent. The talent that Phobophobes are blessed with.
The final band barging its way past the competition into the handpicked bunch is loud punk rock band IDLES, hailing from Bristol. The band have endured a rip-roaring 2018, and probably their most emphatic year since they formed in 2012. The release of debut album ‘Brutalism’, accompanied by the single ‘Danny Nedelko’ and ‘Colossus’ have paved their way to take audiences across the world by storm. If that wasn’t sufficient, the band are about to release their second album ‘Joy as an act of Resistance’ later this year. There is almost too much for fans to digest, but we aren’t complaining.
Whether it’s the politically charged, and often satirical lyrics of Joe Talbot or the sheer awesomeness of classic punk found in their instrumentals, the world have gobbled up IDLES and have no room left for dessert. The band are about to embark on a world tour, and still in the midst of 2018, there is a guarantee that IDLES will be in peak condition. Alas, with Latitude only a mere month away, how can we not indulge ourselves in the best bands in the business? IDLES are exciting, irresistible and socially relevant. What more can you desire?