Stalwarts of the UK musical map for nigh-on twenty years, Glasgow’s Belle & Sebastian continue to defy ageing expectations by delivering some of their most sprightly songs to-date. Latest album ‘Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance’ adds disco beats and driving pop songs to the wholesome and poignant blueprint that has made Stuart Murdoch and co. one of the true success stories of the country’s independent scene.
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The golden boy of the bedroom-producing generation, Blake has risen from one of the most celebrated underground UK producers to a bonafide popstar after winning the Mercury Prize for his 2013 album, Overgrown, not to mention a Grammy nomination that same year. His third album, rumoured to feature both Kanye West and Bon Iver, is expected this year. Returning to the Green Man festival site for his first performance here since 2011, let’s all welcome him with the open arms his beautiful pop songs deserve. We're looking forward to hearing some tracks from what we hope will be a new album for 2016.
With four of the most versatile albums already under their belts, Kendal’s Wild Beasts have risen through the ranks of the UK indie scene thanks to an unnerving knack for creating smart, sassy and brilliantly captivating pop songs. Led by the flawless falsetto of Hayden Thorpe, Wild Beasts creepy but endlessly playful demeanour is beautifully and powerfully unique - and we can’t wait for it to fill the surrounding Black Mountains at this year’s festival.
Try and classify White Denim and you’ll probably end up with a genre-list longer than one of their blistering sets. Probably best then to simply describe the Texan rockers as one of the fieriest and fiercest rock and roll bands around. With their seventh LP set for release this year they continue to blaze a momentous trail all of their own making.
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Widely regarded as one of the most formidable and exceptional live bands that, frankly, ever existed, Battles turn their rugged and playful math-rock into the kind of experience that reminds you why live music even exists. Angular guitars, inventive song structures and some of the most jaw-dropping drumming you’re ever likely to see.
Crafted with as much human soul as adventurous exploration, UMO’s ‘Multi-Love’ was a break-up record centred around frontman Ruban Neilson’s polyamorous relationship. But what was perhaps most striking was the Portland band’s effortless grace. With a heady canvas of sound of colour UMO continue to deliver some of the brightest and boldest guitar records of their generation.
Though his six years spent with American rockers ‘Drive By Truckers’ powered the collective to their most consistent run of records, it’s Jason Isbell’s subsequent work that has cemented his status as one of the finest Americana songwriters of his time. Blessed with a dusty and rugged voice, Isbell’s weather-beaten songs continue to strike a wonderfully evocative chord.
Grabbing ‘album of the year’ accolades like they were going out of fashion, Julia Holter claimed 2015 as her own with her widely-lauded, greatly loved new record ‘Have You In My Wilderness’. Soft and tender with an absorbing and somewhat eerie undercurrent, it was a record full of intrigue and genuine wonder, matched by an equalling arresting and captivating live show.
Perhaps best known as a founding member of seminal German experimentalists Neu!, Michael Rother is a leading light in the world of all-things Krautrock and has spent the best part of four decades honing his diverse talent. Leaping back into the limelight in 2010, Rother joined forces with Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley and Tall Firs guitarist Aaron Mullan to play live renditions of Neu! songs as well as choice cuts from Rothers’ other, much-loved, project, Harmonia. He continues to make new music; penning two scores for German film and TV in 2015.
Not content with being a neuroscientist, Sam Shepherd also creates some of the most fluid and flowing and flexible electronic music that the UK is currently producing. Releasing his brilliant debut album towards the end of 2015, Shepherd’s work is inventive and intuitive but always retains a sense of joyful, welcoming inclusion. A very bright prospect indeed.
Returning to Green Man after last year’s momentous performance, Mali’s Songhoy Blues will once again bring their famed brand of “desert blues” to the festival and it promises to be one the most spectacular of sets, once again. With a backstory as raw and extraordinary as the music they make, there simply isn’t anyone else quite like them. Welcome back!
Songhoy Blues previously played Green Man Festival in 2015.
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Though he’s been making records in various forms since the mid-noughties, it was 2015’s Perpetual Motion People LP, his first release for the wonderful Bella Union label, which catapulted Furman up the ladder of success, peaking at number 23 in the UK charts. A cross-dressing bisexual who revels in the face of criticism, Furman is a brash and brilliant performer, with a wonderful lyrical talent, who is as wholly important to the musical world as he is refreshing.
Now based in the UK, this Sydney trio burst on to the scene with the psych-fuelled debut album, Howlin’, which won great acclaim from the likes of NME and Pitchfork back in 2013. Earning their stripes with a solid string of touring since, they’re radiant pop songs make for a blistering but eminently danceable encounter.
Though she’s now mostly based in LA, Cate Le Bon stays very true to her Welsh roots with a string of songs performed in her native tongue across her brilliant and diverse back-catalogue. Now working with brilliant Cardiff label Turnstile, Le Bon writes joyous pop songs shaped by her thrilling and formidable guitar skills all delivered with a fizzing energy that often feels unmatched.
Cate Le Bon previously played Green Man Festival in 2012.
As divisive as they're untamed, this London six-piece have been making incessant waves with a series of songs and gigs that are simply unflinching. While the music itself - a kind of snarling hybrid of punk/psych/disco noise - is readily and resolutely abrasive, it's the bands demeanour, especially on the live stage, that causes the biggest stir. Outspoken and unflinching, the Fat Whites are a becoming a bonafide cult phenomenon - just be sure to tread carefully.
While singer-songwriter Mark Mulcahy would go on to make a name all of his own, his career actually started with Miracle Legion; one of the original ‘college rock’ bands who formed in 1983 and became something of a cult hit following acclaim from the likes of NME and Melody Maker and the release of their debut album on Rough Trade Records. Almost two decades since their last full-length release, Green Man is very excited to have the band back together on UK shores.
Dark, foreboding and endlessly intriguing, Montreal quintet The Besnard Lakes have crafted some of the most imposing and grandiose records of the past decade. Now on to their fifth full-length effort, the band’s hypnotic brand of dense psychedelia feels ever-more sharp and concise; an added level of light and space making for even greater levels of wonder.
Drawing comparisons with some on Neko Case’s earlier work, Nikki Lane rose to greater prominence when she teamed up with Dan Auerbach of Black Keys’ fame to record 2014’s ‘All Or Nothin’ LP. Now based in Nashville, where she also owns a shop called High Class Hillbilly, this is country music done the good ol’ fashioned way.
Having cut his teeth with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon in his previous bands, as well as being a central figure in the much-loved Megafaun, Phil Cook continues to carve out a name all for himself with a couple of wonderful solo albums tucked firmly under his belt. Playing both banjo and piano, Cook draws upon a wide-range of inspirations to create an endlessly interesting sound.
Another folk traditionalist in the loosest sense of the term, Joan Shelley is constantly playing with and tweaking the blueprint of the genre she finds herself classified within. So while there is guitar, strings, banjo and her captivating voice at the heart of it all, the music itself tends to go places unexpected; a wonderful songwriter bringing folk very much in to the 21st century.
A singular talent if ever there was one, Meilyr Jones writes loose and spacious folk songs, inspired by his travels around various European locations, and constructs them with all manner of instrumentation - from guitar and banjo to thirty-piece orchestras and Glaswegian community choirs. The result is a wonderful and unique debut record that comes to life on the live stage - adding a jubilant sway to his brilliant concoctions.
A Swedish singer-songwriter who already has seven LPs to his name, Daniel Norgren makes a beautiful blend of folk and blues, and even recorded much of his breakthrough debut album on homemade instruments. Playing live drums on-stage, Norgren is a captivating and unique proposition who simply demands further exploration.
Such was the brilliance of Trader Horne's one and only record - Morning Way, released in 1970 - the duo have long remained in the public consciousness; the album became a bonafide cult hit and is now regarded as one of the lost gems of that era. Led by the beautiful vocal of former Fairport Convention singer, Judy Dyble, their experimental folk remains a truly immersive and poignant experience and Green Man is both honoured and delighted to bring them back to a festival stage.
Perhaps best known for their remixes (for the likes of Shura and Tobias Jesso Jr) this pair of brothers from South London bring the ultimate party with a sound that sits somewhere between LCD Soundsystem at their most fluid and the best Northern Soul act you’ve never heard. A meticulous and invigorating blend of disco and funk with some of the cleanest production around.
Quickly striking a claim for ‘best new band of 2016’ Mothers were reportedly chased around NYC by their new label Wichita until they signed on the dotted line, such was the legendary labels fascination with their poignant and dramatic pop songs. Their excitement was placed, too; Mothers debut album is one 2016’s most awe-inspiring documents.
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Creating brilliant noise with a wave of distorted guitars, newcomers Sunflower Beam might well be the coolest new kids from Brooklyn, which is certainly saying something. Sounding something like The Velvet Underground for a new generation, their restless swagger is matched by an undercurrent of melancholy that might well leave you feeling like you’ve just discovered your favourite new band.
Featuring prominently in a number of 2016’s ‘Hotly tipped’ lists, Kelly Lee Owens looks set to build on the quick gathering of platitude that met her brilliant debut single last summer. Drawing comparisons with Bat For Lashes’ sense of cinematic otherworldliness, Owens pens dark and simmering pop songs all led brilliantly by her richly alluring vocal tones.
An Australian/Danish duo with a knack for writing hazy, laid-back guitar jams reminiscent of both Kurt Vile and The War On Drugs, Palace Winter blossomed in 2015 with some serious love from the blogosphere and even the Guardian falling for their scrappy, psych-leaning slacker jams. As ambitious as they are engrossing.
In other situations, the fact that Ardyn are a real-life twin Brother/sister duo might be the biggest talking point, but it's the soft-centred, wistful pop songs they craft which leaves the biggest impact. Though their first EP only arrived in December they carry a sense of effortless grace that belies their tender age. The instrumentation is rich and plush but it's the gorgeous lead vocal that steals the show; charming pop songs to get very excited about.
Back for their third year in a row, Hackney’s wonderful Deep Throat Choir continue to charm and delight with their two simple elements – the human voice and drums. Covering a wide range of songs - from old school classics to the more unexpected of pop song – they bring brilliant rays of light to even the dullest of days. Welcome back!
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