Thursday, April 1, 2010

Electric Picnic 2010: 10 Bands not to be missed


The Bristol collective are easily one of the most important and influential British acts of the last 20 years, and their Friday night set at the festival in 2006 was the stuff of legend. Mixing dark, moody trip-hop and dub-influenced electronica with stunning visuals, you can also expect some heavyweight guest vocalists (last time around Liz Frazer and Horace Andy joined them in Stradbally).

2. PiL

The Sex Pistols' appearance at EP08 was one of the most divisive in the history of the festival, but there'll be a whole lot more goodwill coming the way of John Lydon's newly-reformed Public Image Ltd. The pioneering post-punk outfit's influence has grown and grown down the years, and with an eclectic sound that draws on reggae, dub, punk and krautrock, they should go down a storm at the Picnic.


This one's going to be emotional. Scott-Heron's late 70's/early 80's spoken-word and poetry works are regarded as a formative influence on hip-hop and black activism, but his last decade has been more distinguished by prison sentences and drug addiction. That was until the 2010 release of I'm New Here, a revelatory record featuring wary, weather-beaten, Waits-ish testimonials like 'Me and the Devil Blues' and 'New York is Kiling Me'.


The solo project of enigmatic Knife frontwoman Karen Dreijr, Fever Ray played Oxegen last year to a shed of bemused dance-heads in an unfortunate example of wrong place, wrong time. Stradbally should be more up her alley. Fever Ray's dark, claustrophobic music draws on unsettling images of motherhood and post-natal depression, while in the live setting the experience becomes even more surreal: at Oxegen Dreijr donned a massive Indian headdress, her band came attired in similarly ritualistic manner, and lasers were added for good measure. Prepare to immerse yourself in a nightmarish netherworld.


According to James Murphy, this year's LCD tour-dates will be their last as he moves on to other projects, so catch them while you still can. Their much-anticipated new album comes out in May, while you can also expect to hear 24-carat classics like 'Someone Great', 'Tribulations' and 'North American Scum'. Sure to turn Stradbally into a giant, blissful dancefloor.


Essentially Massachusetts-born Luke Temple's project, Here We Go Magic's self-titled 2009 debut featured hypnotic, polyrhythmic, Afro-pop influenced tunes that burrowed their way into your subconscious. The follow-up will be released this spring, and it's already been preceded by the hyperactive David Byrne-isms of 'Collector'. By all accounts, Here We Go Magic's music is further enhanced in a live setting.


Aside from being one of the most prolific go-to remixers of 2009 and releasing sterling music under the names Memory Cassettes and Weird Tapes, New Jersey-based Dayve Hawk released the critically-acclaimed debut Memory Tapes LP, Seek Magic, last year. Frequently tied in with the chillwave craze that's also seen acts like Toro Y Moi and Washed Out become the darlings of the blogosphere, Seek Magic featured tracks like the New Order-referencing 'Bicycle', the woozy 'Pink Stones' and the blissed-out 'Run Out'. Should be equal parts floor-filling and mellow.


Jape is already one of Stradbally's favourite sons, but as part of the instrumental collective Redneck Manifesto, it's a whole other ball-game. Defiantly independent and now signed to the excellent Richter Collective label, their thrilling, dazzling brand of post-rock has arguably been the biggest influence on the domestic Irish scene in the last few years, certainly if the music of many of their new labelmates is anything to go by. Math-rock, electronic flourishes and heavy guitar assaults will be the order of the day. It's a no-brainer.


One of the most influential electronic acts of the 1990's, rumours of Leftfield's imminent reformation and festival appearances seem to have been circulating forever, and if ever there was an act who suited a festival down to the ground, then here they are and here it is. Expect their 1995 masterpiece Leftism to feature prominently - and perhaps a certain J. Lydon will be joining them onstage for 'Open Up'?


Eclectic, unpredictable and massively underrated, Daniel Victor Snaith took on the moniker Caribou after previously being known as Manitoba, but the quality of his output hasn't dropped: new album Swim will be released in April; the sublime opening track 'Odessa' has already been released and promises great things to come.

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