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.
Though they still feel like something of a new proposition, it’s actually over a decade since Warpaint first formed; subsequently releasing their John Frusciante-produced debut EP in 2007. It was 2010’s The Fool LP that cemented their major-league credentials, however, providing a sumptuous, soulful take on indie rock. A refreshingly intricate and compelling live band, the LA quartet have blossomed into one of the finest guitar bands on the planet.
Drawing from a number of differing genres including roots, folk, gospel, and psych, this LA collective is led by Alex Ebert and takes it name from a story he wrote. Releasing their fourth studio album this year, the sprawling band remain a remarkable live proposition, filling the stage and crowd with a rich swell of voice and instrumentation.
Certainly in the upper echelons of indie-rock royalty, Jason Lytle’s Grandaddy have been making weird and wonderful records since 1997’s off-kilter masterpiece ‘Under The Western Freeway’. After a near ten-year hiatus, the band recently announced a new album for 2016 and Green Man couldn’t be more chuffed to welcome this most special of bands to the Black Mountains this Summer.
Formed twenty-five years ago in Nottingham, Tindersticks have consistently released some of the most interesting alt-rock records in the UK scene. Pausing only briefly in the early noughties, their unhurried and much-loved return found them in just as fine form as before; this year’s ‘The Waiting Room’ LP heralded as a warm, elegant and triumphant new chapter.
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.
Julia Holter previously played Green Man Festival in 2013.
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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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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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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.
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.
Shaping a rich family heritage of Northern English folk music in to new wonderful pastures, The Unthanks are led by sisters Rachel and Becky; two voices that steer this beautiful folk-revival of-sorts in to the new world, adding varying genres and dashes of colour to the more familiar framework to create something beguiling and often glorious.
Though a much revered collaborative jazz saxophonist in his own right, it was 2015’s debut solo album that solidified Kamasi Washington’s reputation as one of the most forward-thinking composers on the planet. A 3CD collection, released via the much-respected Brainfeeder label, found Washington leading a multi-talented band through a series of sprawling and endlessly inventive soundscapes.
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.
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.
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.
Celebrating a decade in the game, since their inception in 2006, Sheffield duo Slow Club continue to be a sparkling jewel in the UK’s pop crown. Brash and bold from the outset, the handful of albums they’ve released thus far all mix scrappy charm and gleaming melodies with joyful abandon, creating the perfect foil for their often-biting lyrical excursions.
Pushing psychedelic boundaries since their inception in 2001, the Swedish collective returned last year with their first new album in five years. Crossing into similarly imposing genres such as prog and garage rock, Dungen have gained something of a cult following over the past fifteen years. Instilling a strong sense of Scandinavian magic in to their unique musical wanderings, they continue to sound quite unlike anyone else.
One of the most outlandish band names around, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard match this bluster with suitably offbeat music. Formed in Melbourne in 2010, the eight-piece band blend psych and surf rock influences with a new found love for the more soulful side of the coin, and channel it in to a formidable sound – and one that truly comes together on the live stage. Famed for the fiery energy of their shows King Gizzard deliver the kind of performance that simply won’t be forgotten.
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.
Known most pertinently as the other project of Geoff Barrow from Portishead, Beak> returned to prominence this year after providing the soundtrack to cult indie film ‘Couple In A Hole’. An experimental and often dark undertaking, the band’s music is an over-powering and complicated box of tricks that simply shouldn’t be missed.
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.
The most delicious concoction of musical weight and atmosphere, Canadian gloom-rockers Suuns craft a majestic strain of pop music that lends itself perfectly to one of the most sublime live shows around. Like a modern, shaded take on the Krautrock movement that feels constantly unsettling and consistently thrilling.
Suuns previously played Green Man Festival in 2011.
Perhaps the UK’s strongest entry into the current psych revival, Genghar released their blazing debut album in 2015 to a host of rave reviews. Adding a large dose of glimmering pop to an otherwise gnarly backdrop of sludgy, layered guitars, the quartet are quickly becoming one of the most heralded new guitar bands on these shores. Fresh from playing our 'Green Man Ahoy!' boat party, we're very pleased to welcome them to more furrowed lands come August.
With a couple of stellar projects already under his belt – in the form of both Woods and The Babies – Kevin Morby returns in 2016 with the third record under his own guise, and it might well be his greatest achievement to-date. With a rich antiquated voice, Morby channels his love for Dylan, Young et al. in to something markedly affecting; a ‘singer-songwriter’ in the very best of ways.
A supergroup of-sorts, Whitney is Max Kakacek and Julian Ehrlich both members of much-loved indie-rockers Smith Westerns, while Ehrlich has also played with fellow GM16 attendees Unknown Mortal Orchestra. However they came to be, Whitney are indeed super. Kick-starting their new album with one of the finest tracks of the year, in the form of the brilliant brass-led, Country-esque jam of ‘No Woman’, the duo make a West Coast breeze that manages to feel both beautifully laid-back and decidedly poignant.
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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To hear the music of Missouri’s Juliana Barwick’s is to walk in its very shoes, such is the sheer weight and prowess it carries in its, admittedly slender, workings. Framed mostly around layers of her astonishing vocal, which she loops and builds to create the bulk of her beautiful songs, this is music as emotive and affecting as it gets. A unique and spectacular talent.
The Berlin-based project of Stereolab’s Tim Gane, this trio’s debut album wasn’t content with already being one of the most anticipated releases of 2016 on its own term, it went right ahead and named Deerhunter's Bradford Cox and Spacemen 3's Sonic Boom as collaborators. An experimental trip through Gane’s unique mind which remains as fascinating as ever.
We don’t tend to associate dry Scottish troubadours with jazz-tinged experimental music but James Yorkston’s new project delivers exactly that. Teaming up with New Delhi sarangi player and vocalist Suhail Yusuf Khan and Lamb’s double bass player Jon Thorne, the trio present a fusion band that combines all of their varying influences and backgrounds and still manages to produce something cohesive, interesting and endearing.
Becoming as much of an institution as the Green Man himself, prodigal son Johnny Lynch again returns to this year’s festival to spin his lovably skewed folk leaning upon the Black Mountains. With a brand new album in the works, and a consistently brilliant back-catalogue behind him, Pictish Trail remains a splendid companion come rain or shine.
One of 2015’s most beloved debut albums, Ryley Walker’s ‘Primrose Green’ was a authentic nod to the music of days gone-by. Still in his mid-twenties but peddling an outlook far beyond that, Walker takes inspiration from the likes of Van Morrison and similarly antiquated songwriters. Rich in instrumentation and sharp of eye, this is music to daydream to - in all the right ways.
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.
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.
Heralded as a prodigious talent since his breakthrough-of-sorts at the age of 17, 2016 is the year we finally get a new Kiran Leonard LP - via Moshi Moshi - and it's absolutely worth the wait. With a live show reminiscent of Jeff Buckley at his more unrestrained, Leonard is a brilliantly distinct talent, a young artist making politically-charged songs and doing it in new and wonderful ways; the lead track from his new album was a 16-minute tour-de-force unlike much else you've ever heard. Not to be missed.
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.
Fronted by Tamara Lindeman, who has led a changing band of musicians over the years, Canadian folk band The Weather Station are celebrating their tenth year of fruition with a visit to Green Man in support of last year’s ‘Loyalty’ album. Led by Lindeman’s smoky, sultry voice, The Weather Station are an entirely captivating proposition; beautifully crafted songs as soft as they are alluring.
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.
Relocating to Brooklyn from El Paso, Texas, acted as the catalyst for this much-hyped quartet led by Greg Gonzalez. Matching said intrigue with quality of song, the music they craft is wonderfully elegant, a kind of heartfelt, tender take on the slow-core movement that can, and often will, stop you in your tracks.
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.
Flying the flag for the traditional music of these shores, Sam Lee is a dedicated musician who leapt a few rungs up the notoriety ladder when his 2012 debut album 'Ground of its Own' was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize. Thoughtful, inventive music from a true champion of the folk genre.
A breakthrough artist in the early part of this decade, Clare Maguire was placed fifth in the BBC Sound of 2011 before hitting the top ten with her debut album, Light After Dark. With a striking voice that has drawn comparisons with the likes of Annie Lennox and Stevie Nicks, Maguire returns to spread more pop magic in 2016.
Missing out on last year’s festival after a severe leg injury meant the New Jersey native outstayed his UK visa permissions, we’re supremely pleased to finally see Brian Christinzio upon the Green Man stage he commands with such gusto. A strikingly singular songwriter, the BC Camplight project has spawned three wonderful full-length efforts, chock-full of warm, psych-pop flourishes.
Awash with ever-changing moods and demeanours, the music of Gun Outfit is typically difficult to categorise. Certainly moody and almost unanimously darkened throughout, the band throw a bucket-load of groove at the whole thing so that it never once feels overwhelming. Indeed, there are blasts of noisy punk and more straight-forward indie rock among their growing and ever-impressive back catalogue.
Sibling duos are a rare commodity but they’re often an intriguing one, and such is the case with Thee Oh Hellos, the folk-rock project of Tyler and Maggie Heath who discovered their skills when joining forces to pen a song for their mum. Based in San Marcos, Texas, the duo keep one eye on the tender side of things and one on lovable sing-a-long pop songs.
Releasing their debut album as an initial one-album project, The Magnetic North returned in 2016 with a brand new concept album built around the people and places from frontman Simon Tong’s hometown. Experimental, orchestral compositions with a keen eye on the weird and wonderful facets of human behaviour, the trio remain a striking and singular proposition.
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Exactly what it says on the tin and even better than you can imagine, Awesome Tapes From Africa is the project of Brian Shimkovitz who, after visiting Ghana on a scholarship, took all the myriad local music tapes he discovered and turned it in to one of the most engrossing, riveting and exciting DJ sets you’re ever likely to experience. Bring your dancing shoes.
Starting life as a fictional band isn't the most obvious of routes for bands to take but it's exactly how The Moonlandingz came to be. Far more established than that might suggest, The Moonlandingz is the project of Sheffield's audio taxidermists, the Eccentronic Research Council & Lias & Saul from the mighty Fat White Family.
Though this Nashville psych-rock collective retired to a remote cabin in the woods to piece together their new material, there’s still a striking sense of bluster to their work; hushed, Bon Iver-style tenderness this ain’t. Like some colourful dream that lifts you a long, long way from home, their music is a dreamy, otherworldly vision unlike much else you might discover this year.
Already one of 2016's most well-received records, Emma Pollock's first solo record in six years is a beautiful addition to the Scottish troubadour's truly exemplary back-catalogue. Informed by her work with the much-loved Scottish indie-rock heroes The Delgados, Pollock remains a sharp, insightful and truly affecting songwriter; blessed with the kind of compelling voice that simply demands attention and infatuation in equal measures.
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.
Having recently joined the ranks of the ever-great Play It Again, Sam label, US/Swedish four-piece FEWS are making some serious waves ahead of their debut album, produced by the acclaimed Dan Carey (Bat For Lashes, Hot Chip, Django Django et al.). Moody and brash, layered and luxurious, their own brand of rock and roll is dense, stormy completely brilliant.
A quick list of the artist that cellist Oliver Coates has worked with is enough to solidify his talent: Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood? Yup! Massive Attack? You bet! Also famed for his own compositional shows, Coates is a genre-bending artist of the most captivating persuasion, delivering everything from quiet orchestral movements to inspired re-workings of more traditional indie/electronic pieces.
Amber Arcades is Annelotte de Graaf; a dutch musician who has just joined the much-loved Heavenly Records family for the release of her 2016 debut album, which features members of Quilt and Real Estate in her recording band. Also working with producer Ben Greenberg, who has made records with the likes of The Men and Beach Fossils, de Graaf channels the restless energy of said bands and imbues it all with the ethereal grace of her own captivating lead vocal. One of 2016’s most enticing new artists.
Being billed as a “Country-pop troubadour” could go either way but there’s more than enough rustic charm in his soothing sounds to make Illinois’ Trevor Sensor an endlessly compelling proposition. Signed to the much-loved Jagjaguwar label, and shaped by the unrefined meanderings of Waits, Dylan et al, this young songwriter crafts stories far beyond his tender age.
As the frontman of cult indie band Let’s Wrestle, Wesley Gonzalez already cemented himself in the UK scene’s folklore, however his new project under his own name looks set to further this already-stellar reputation. More experimental and fleshed-out than his previous creations, but with a keen eye still trained on the punk ethos, Gonzalez continues to cut a defined path that is very much his own.
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.
Flamingods own biography is a simple one. “We like to make noise with instruments collected from around the world,” they say, and while that’s ostensibly true it doesn’t get close to unravelling the Labyrinthine sprawl of their psychedelic pop. Shaped mostly by African influences
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!
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.
Perhaps the hottest prospect from Norway’s consistently excellent outpouring of specially tender bands, this now UK-based trio make the kind of indefinable Scandinavian magic that instantly catches the eyes and ears. Part-folk, part swooning pop songs,
“We wear the badge of loudness with pride,” so say this new Welsh trio who deliver a psych-rock sermon full of weird, distorted vocals and swelling layers of guitar that drift between subtle waves and something far more fractious. A very new band but one certainly worth keeping an eye on.
It’s probably safe to say that you’ve not seen anything like Baba Naga before. Hailing from Sheffield, this psych/doom trio apparently inspired by shamanic teachings while peddling some seriously transcendental soundscapes. “The gods are dead, but the people need to worship something,” the band say. And this ain’t a bad place to invest your faith.
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