A Festival Mixtape: Beacons 2011
Some of the bands featured in this mixtape - including Dutch Uncles and The Phantom Band - are distributed by PIAS. The independent labels whose music is released by the company lost swathes of their stock in a warehouse fire in the early hours of Tuesday morning following riots across England. Please support the artists and PIAS by purchasing their work digitally and attending their shows in the coming weeks and months. Thank you.
Out on the wiley, windy moors (well, there or thereabouts) as Kate Bush once said, Beacons Festival has been born out of Ilkley's Moor Music Festival. Promising an intimate gathering amidst beautiful scenery, the lineup brings together indie-rock, electronic, dubstep, downbeat, upbeat and sheer noise. There'll also be local food, art, theatre, debate and a host of entertainment. Here's our pick of the soundtrack:
1. Dutch Uncles - 'Cadenza'
The title track from the band's first album for Memphis Industries, 'Cadenza' has a dizzying piano riff and is packed with plenty of guitar counterpoint. It's a track that manages to be instantly captivating and memorable without resorting to overly earnest three-chords-and-the-truth claptrap. Their live shows are the perfect choice to start your Saturday night party.
Saturday August 13, 20.00, Stool Pigeon stage
2. My Tiger My Timing - 'I Am the Sound' (MAY68 remix)
One of those two birds with one stone moments that often feature in festival mixtapes, My Tiger My Timing and MAY68 will both perform on Friday. The original is capable of making you lift your arms aloft like it's 2007 and The Rapture have had their cowbells confiscated, but this remix is more urgent - perhaps down to some well-placed kick drum. Everyone loves a good kick drum beat, don't they? A fact about MAY68's forthcoming debut album for you: the last guitar chord they recorded for the album was in B minor. Answers on a postcard...
My Tiger My Timing: Friday August 12, 14.30, Heslaker stage
MAY68: Friday August 12, 13.00, Heslaker stage
3. Summer Camp - 'I Want You'
Summer Camp did the long, hard festival slog last year and it has paid off. They made real progression live last year from a tame set at The Great Escape, and their support slot for Wild Beasts at the Brudenell Social Club had your correspondent swooning at the very least - and not just on account of the heat. It's great therefore that 'I Want You' is closer to their heavier, more sultry live sound. Here's the synth-heavy soundtrack to steamy summer evenings.
Friday August 12, 18.40, Stool Pigeon stage
4. Islet - 'Ringerz'
Islet finally appear to have an internet presence! Remember back in the day when they didn't and we all got ourselves in a bit of a tizz about it? From a mini-album released in autumn 2010, 'Ringerz' is a glorious mess of pot-and-pan bashing, call-and-response vocals and exceedingly good electronic noise. Last time I saw them at In The City in 2009, they were partial to a bit of instrument swapping and merrily bashed ten bells out of their drumkits (plural). Oh, and they invaded the crowd (instead of the other way round). Hopefully old habits die hard.
Friday August 12, 17.30, Stool Pigeon stage
5. Mount Kimbie - 'Baves Chords'
Another In The City highlight - this time from 2010 - Mount Kimbie specialise in basslines that go SQUELCH and WOMP-WOMP-WOMP-WOMP and that make your insides judder and leave you unable to form coherent sentences. Forgive the cliche, but you do leave their live shows feeling like you've changed. It's amazing how two men in sensible sweatshirts hovering over enough electronics to overload the national grid can put on such a show. This is but a small sample of their interesting output.
Friday August 12, 19.50, Stool Pigeon stage
6. Napoleon IIIrd - 'Rough Music'
The serene Napoleon IIIrd rightly received acclaim for his second album Christania last year, and 'Rough Music' is majestic, ambient, and joyful. The production on it is truly amazing, as it slowly shifts to a more upbeat mood for the final third without becoming disjointed. James Mabbett's voice is just as fine live as it is on record too, and he's equally at home playing alone with a myriad of samples or complemented by a live band.
Sunday August 14, 22.40, Heslaker stage
7. Blood Oranges - 'Alone by the Waltzers'
Blood Oranges hail from Leeds, and 'Alone by the Waltzers' - your writer's introduction to them - is a rather cutesy (in an entirely good way) indie-pop number. There's nods to Art Brut (by dint of scuzzy guitar melodies), Los Campesinos! (in the male/female vocal interplay and tales of indiepop heartbreak at the fairground) and Belle and Sebastian (casual employment of light percussion). They also give good tweet (with a particular fondness for acronyms), so expect their between-song chatter to be top-notch.
Saturday August 13, 12.50, Heslaker stage
8. The Phantom Band - 'Into the Corn'
A six-strong proposition from north of the border, The Phantom Band are signed to Chemikal Underground and have performed under a variety of names in the past (which apparently include 'Robert Redford' and 'Tower of Girls'). They already have two albums out, and were described as "a more direct Earlies" by our very own H Bayfield when she saw them two years ago at Green Man. They are not to be confused with the Australian group of the same name, who sound nothing like them.
Saturday August 13, 23.20, Stool Pigeon stage
9. Paper Crows - 'Fingertips'
Here follows strong evidence of Paper Crows' credentials. The haunting 'Fingertips' sits neatly in a metaphorical Venn diagram which intersects Zero 7 and Bat for Lashes, and if Hugo Blick was considering a Shadow Line spinoff, he'd probably do well to get them to pen the soundtrack. File them under 'end of the night ambience', if you get my drift.
Saturday August 13, 17.30, Heslaker stage
10. Frankie & the Heartstrings - 'Tender'
The observant Motel reader will of course notice that Frankie & the Heartstrings are fast becoming festival preview mixtape regulars, and who can blame 'em? 'Tender', with its opening acapella sentiment, catchy melodies and references to your editor's favourite novelist F Scott Fitzgerald, is a prime example of why turning up on Thursday to see them is a most sensible idea.
mixtape by Kate Goodacre
Beacons takes place between Thursday, August 11 and Sunday, August 14 at Heslaker Farm, North Yorkshire. The site is a short cab ride from Skipton station. For last-minute ticketing information please visit the festival website (Friday day tickets are sold out online, although a few may be available from independent stockists).