A Festival Mixtape: Latitude (Side B)
As England’s football team slide out of the World Cup in disgrace and the UK’s Emergency Budget tugs at the purse strings of the poorest, fear not, for Side B of our Latitude mixtape should provide at least temporary escapism. But before you spin this fine selection of pop, rock, post-punk and folk numbers, here’s the pick of Latitude’s non-contemporary music programme for you:
Highlights in the theatre arena include showcases from artistic stalwarts like the RSC and Sadlers’ Wells, but be sure to check out Cartoon De Salvo’s satire Pub Rock and improv theatre group Tangled Feet.
The Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra are a London-based big band ensemble that don’t seem to play any fax machines. However, they do have a jolly good brass section, strings and even a harp. Mixing up Scott Walker, Kurt Weill and Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, they’ll be playing live and unplugged in Latitude’s Faraway Forest, which sounds like a beautiful place to be.
In the literary arena, it could be interesting to see if journalistic firebrands Julie Burchill and Gary Mulholland get into a heated debate, be it with the audience or each other. Other book tent highlights include a reading from Hanif Kureshi and appearances from sex diarist Zoe Margolis and Tristam Stuart, author of Waste And The Global Food Scandal.
If Mark Thomas’ community pub quiz (also in the literary arena) doesn’t take your fancy, then the Cabaret Arena plays host to musical bingo and the Sounds Familiar Music Quiz. Be warned, however – if it’s as fiendishly hard as the Great Escape’s music quiz, you’ll be glad if you get one answer right (even if that answer was the rather shameful ‘Ricky Martin’). Rich Fulcher will be bringing Eleanor the Tour Whore (who has previous form with Motel faves The Answering Machine) to the Cabaret, and Showstopper! present an improvised musical that sounds a bit like Choose Your Own Adventure for the cabaret age.
Oh, and if you only see one thing in the Comedy Tent, make sure it’s Josie Long, otherwise we will hunt you down and tell you off.
1. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Come Saturday
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are the kind of band that the Motel would try and form if they did form bands. Taking their lead from The Smiths’ simultaneously upbeat and melancholy melodies and Ash’s big bouncy basslines, they make music which oozes NYC cool out of every pore, but still manages to be oh-so fun. Come Saturday’s relentless refrain is guaranteed to make anyone feel at least ten feet tall.
02. Come Saturday by DJmadam
2. Islet - Iris
This band first came to the attention of half a dozen of the Motel’s finest at In The City 2009, and as a result all six (good) eggs were stunned into complete and utter silence. Cardiff’s Islet are a mysterious bunch - so mysterious, in fact, that they haven’t even left much of an official trail on the internet. Possessing an innovative spirit that should be treasured and encouraged in today’s music industry, instrument-swapping and crowd invasions (as opposed to stage invasions) are par for the course with Islet.
Islet - 'Iris' by LukeSlater
3. The National – Mr November
The National are electric live. Having spent three years previously despising them, some hard work and dedication by the Mancunian end of the team in particular led to your correspondent slowly falling in love. A combination of their passionate performance and deeply devoted fans meant that their Green Man 2008 performance was already going to be one of the greatest moments of my life – but nearly being killed off by a flying Matt Berninger during this song means that I will certainly never ever forget the first time I saw them.
4. Race Horses – Man In My Mind
The multi-lingual Race Horses, formerly known as Radio Luxembourg, finally released their debut album Goodbye Falkenburg at the start of the year. Man In My Mind is a big, expansive, psychedelic, slightly bluesy track that’s the perfect accompaniment for sunny summer days. If you’ve got time, make sure you have a look at their YouTube channel – they also know how to turn out rather stylish indiepop music videos.
5. O. Children – Ruins
Post-punkers O Children had a pleasant chat with our very own Andy Fairclough at the start of last year, and it’s great to see them starting to make headway at long last. There’s plenty of opportunity for you to be similarly captivated by them on this year’s festival circuit – they are playing Glastonbury, Lovebox, Green Man, Offset and Bestival in addition to this festival. Ruins’ soaring synths and moody guitars offer the perfect setting for bandleader Tobias’ impossibly rich baritone, so turn it up and lose yourself. That’s an order.
6. Florence and the Machine – Howl (live on The Late Show with David Letterman)
Florence Welch is everywhere, in a succession of ethereal-looking outfits, as last weekend’s Glastonbury coverage ably demonstrated. However, she is everywhere for a reason, namely being impossible to resist. Listening to last year’s debut album Lungs from start to finish proves that in spite of exposure-verging-on-overkill, it’s impossible to hate her. Howl, one of many complex, atmospheric tracks on said debut, forms concrete proof.
7. First Aid Kit – I Met Up With A King
Yeah, so First Aid Kit are young, and they obviously possess a collection of adorable folk-pop numbers that would walk all over the dignity of any previous Swedish Eurovision entries. However, they stand out from the rest of the nu-folk slag heap by singing, writing and performing with a sensibility beyond their teenage years. I Met Up With A King shows that Johanna and Klara Söderberg are more than capable of making a sincere genre sound like the best headphone party you ever had.
First Aid Kit – I Met Up With A King by Wichita Recordings
8. Laura Marling – Blackberry Stone
Laura Marling did something remarkable this year – she produced an album that was almost as good as her mind-blowing debut, and apparently there’s another one on the way. Blackberry Stone, one of the tracks on this year’s longplayer I Speak Because I Can, has been around for some time. This video of Laura performing the song on Channel M (with one Marcus Mumford on drums and backing vocals) shows it was no less haunting back then. The moment where she sings “# I’m Laura now, and Laura still #,” be it live or on record, is so spellbinding.
words and picture of The National: Kate Goodacre
Latitude takes place from Thursday, July 15th to Sunday, July 18th. It is completely sold out. The campsite will open at 14.00 on Thursday, July 15th and close at 17.00 on Monday, July 19th. Please check the ‘Things You Can’t Bring’ list on the website for lists of things that aren’t allowed in the campsites or arena areas. Timetables for shuttle buses and other useful information, including the festivals superb environmental policy, are also available on the official festival website.