The UK does some things better than anywhere else – and festivals is one of them. Since the 60s, British music festivals have been smashing it, whatever the weather. Recent years have seen an explosion of new events eager for a foothold on the annual calendar but Green Man has well and truly earned its reputation and carved its place as an ‘unmissable’ festival. Little wonder it sold out in record time for its 15th birthday this year.

Green Man gets everything right. The location is a bucolic dream; open, verdant and just the right size to wander between stages without it feeling like a schlep. With the dramatic Black Mountains of the Brecon Beacons as a back drop to the main stage, and rolling tree-filled hills in all directions, it’s a beautiful place to call home for a few music-packed days.

And what music Green Man delivers! The line-up is unfailingly stellar, year-in, year-out. This year the headliners are Ride, Future Islands, Ryan Adams and the peerless PJ Harvey, with hundreds of eclectic acts carefully curated to fill each day.

– – –

– – –

Friday gets going with a lively set from Mercury nominated newcomers, The Big Moon. These four twenty-something women from London had just arrived back from touring in the US and made their appearance something of a homecoming, winning the hearts and ears of the Far Out tent within the opening few numbers. Their old school indie hoots are instantly infectious, as is the enjoyment they have banging it out. They nailed the set and a tent load more people will be checking out the debut album, ‘Love in the 4th Dimension’.

Australia’s shy but immensely talented D.D Dumbo keeps the tent packed and gets heads bobbing to ‘Walrus’, ‘Satan’ and other stand-out tracks from last year’s ‘Utopia Defeated’ album. Heavily influenced by various foreign musical forms, such as Tuvan melodies and African rhythms, D.D Dumbo create a world-music sound with loops and 12-string guitar driving it on. If you were being mean you might compare it to Sting, or you could simply enjoy the exotic undulations.

British Sea Power are redoubtably brilliant as always on the Mountain stage – in defiance of the rain they raise the spirits of the cagoule-clad hordes. The on-stage foliage and giant furry bears sway along to a set-list of belters from new album ‘Let The Dancers Inherit The Party’ and their impeccable back catalogue. The caustically brilliant ‘Remember Me’ from the 2003 debut ‘The Decline of British Sea Power’ still sounding as relevant and powerful as ever. Long may they make that first album name sharply ironic.

As darkness fell on Friday night a sense of palpable anticipation passed like a current through the assembled masses in the shadow of the black mountains. A festival exclusive is imminent as the Texas trio Lift To Experience is following up their June reunion show at London’s Royal Festival Hall. Comprised of Josh T. Pearson, drummer Andy ‘The Boy’ Young and bassist Josh ‘The Bear’ Browning, the band were much loved by John Peel who recorded three sessions with them, and latterly Guy Garvey, who selected them for the Meltdown Festival this year.

Over the next hour they play selected tracks from their only LP – The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads – a concept album about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, with Texas as the Promised Land, which was remastered and reissued for its 15-year anniversary by Mute Records in February this year. “If you were camping and you woke up after a heavy night, naked and with a sore asshole, raise your hand if you’d tell anyone about it” Pearson asks the crowd. “Who wouldn’t tell anyone about it?” The rustle of waterproofs accompanies scores of hands being lifted. “Y’all wanna go camping?” It’s a lighthearted moment in stark contrast to the intense, guitar-wailing juggernaut songs. The hour is up in no time and more fans are safely added to the legion of admirers of this one-monumental album act.

– – –

– – –

Future Islands close the Mountain stage with ninety minutes of synth-driven rock. A divisive band for sure, many curious people drifting away after a few tracks, others lingering, clearly held by the compelling histrionics of front-man Sam Herring. His particular brand of showmanship lumps together Cossack dancing, ballet and mime, with some sporadic death metal bellowing lobbed in for good measure. Love it or hate it, they demonstrate real conviction regardless.

The evening is rounded off by Kate Tempest, who never hesitates nor missteps once as she unleashes her crucial, lyrical masterpiece ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’. The groove pounds and Tempest regularly rouses the capacity crowd into roaring applause as she proffers core messages. “Indifference is complicity” and “the myth of the individual” linger in the mind and Tempest implores people to love one another as she closes a flawless performance.

Saturday and the weather doesn’t know what to do with itself. It’s four seasons in an hour but there are plenty of places to seek shelter from the rain. In one such search for refuge I stumble into a dimly lit tent and find people sitting quietly listening to stories presented by inthedarkradio.org. When Laura Buxton was ten she released a balloon with her name and address written on it with a request to return to sender. Said balloon didn’t pop in a tree, come down in the sea or a field, but drifted 140-miles cross country and came down in the garden of a ten-year old girl called… Laura Buxton. Who returned the balloon to the first Laura and then subsequently they arranged to meet.

At that first meeting they both wore a pink jumper with jeans and both brought along a guinea pig, which also was the exact same colour. The two are 18 now, firm friends, and care little about the theories of coincidence that abound. This tale was one of many fascinating snippets and typical of the treasures waiting to be found bumbling around at Green Man.

The sun stuck its hat back on for Aldous Harding in the pastoral setting of the Walled Garden. An enigmatic performer, Harding’s facial expressions twist and gurn as she pours unbridled emotion into every note of every song from this year’s ‘Party’ and 2015’s eponymous debut. Her gothic folk is haunting, with glints of light making it soar out of the melancholic mood she conjures.

The itinerary is packed and bouncing from stage to stage I catch the emerging brilliance of distorted post-punk H. Grimace on the Rising stage. The London-based four-piece, who draw comparisons with Sonic Youth and Savages, soon amassed a swelling crowd with their assured delivery of this year’s solid LP, ‘Self Architect.’ Lambchop and This Is The Kit are reliably accomplished and laid back and lead up to a real festival highlight performance from Michael Kiwanuka.

The set eases away with the atmospheric majesty of ‘Cold Little Heart’ and various influences seep into mind… Pink Floyd, Terry Callier, Bill Withers, but Kiwanuka is swiftly moving beyond comparisons and warrants the praise heaped on him from all sides. His incredibly tight and talented band and his timeless soulful voice elevate the evening. ‘Black Man in a White World’, ‘Tell Me a Tale’, ‘Home Again’ and ‘Love and Hate’ are standout tracks in a rapturously received set.

– – –

– – –

After such smooth sailing the Oh Sees (they recently dropped ‘Thee’) are a hail of electric bullets. Turning around to look at the audience from the photographer’s pit is a picture in itself. A lake of stunned faces with wide eyes and gaping grins meets the volcanic force emanating from the stage. The two drummers, big fellas, are hypnotic in their perfect synchronicity, smashing the shit out of their kits with metronomic precision while singer John Dwyer gleefully charges head-long into every song. Explosive, unhinged and possessed of Herculean sonic power – let it be known – Oh Sees do not fuck about.

Although it’s a UK festival exclusive, Ryan Adams is tame in comparison. For long-standing fans his one hour and 45-minute set must have been a bit disappointing. Not enough tracks from his early classic albums like ‘Gold’ and ‘Heartbreaker’ are played, losing out to lesser known recent material, some of which veers towards the downright Bon Jovi. There’s very little rapport with the audience and although he works up a sweat, it’s ultimately underwhelming.

As well as the abundance of bands there is the usual spread of talks and comedy acts that always draw huge crowds. Irvine Welsh, Charlotte Church, Jason Williamson of Sleaford Mods (who also deliver their standard vitriolic set) all entertain but Billy Bragg is essential. The Bard of Barking is heart-warmingly down to earth and high-minded as he discusses politics past and present and his new book ‘Roots, Radicals and Rockers’ about how skiffle music is the bedrock of rock music as we know it.

Bragg drives home the message that it is the audience that has the power to hold authority to account and we shouldn’t expect the artist do it alone. Asked where protest music is found these days Bragg says it’s clearly with grime artists. It’s not white boys with guitars any more, he notes. The undercurrent to his always rousing appearances is a call for more empathy, which he states is an antidote to cynicism. “You mix empathy with activism and you have solidarity” he says.

The whole wonderful weekend is closed in exultant style by PJ Harvey. No one can fill David Bowie’s shoes, but Polly’s thigh boots are equally formidable. She is unrivalled… from 1992’s debut ‘Dry’ through to last year’s ‘The Hope Six Demolition Project’, Harvey has innovated, explored and experimented… and always created something of real value every time. With long-time collaborator John Parish and a nine-piece band, the show is meticulously choreographed and cherry picks songs from that unblemished discography.

In 2013, Harvey was awarded an MBE for services to music, but the real recognition is evidenced in performances like this, where what feels like most of the 20,000 Green Man festival-goers are transfixed. Dressed in an haute couture outfit, Harvey prowls and slinks across the stage, playing saxophone, falling into formation with the band, singing passionately, marrying showmanship and sincerity.

The only thing that can follow PJ Harvey is the burning of the Green Man effigy and a torch-lit procession leads to his feet. As the flames lick at his brambley beard and the firework spectacle pops, it’s another triumphant event in the bag. Fiona Stewart, Director of Green Man Festival concludes:

“Our fifteenth Green Man has been the most unforgettable weekend and a celebration and testimony to the hard work, love and dreams that the Green Man team and our incredible audience. Here’s to the next fifteen years filled with even more magic, dreams and unforgettable moments. See you next year”.

– – –

– – –

Words + Photography: Nick Rice

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

East London group KYLYPSO emerged last year, releasing a flurry of hazy, hallucinogenic pop songs.

Bubbling electronics with opaque vocals, the three-piece are a sort of mobile pop laboratory, conducting bizarre yet infectious experiments as they go.

New cut 'Skies Are' opens with production that could be pulled from a Caribou record, before erupting into a vital indie pop song.

Think a more lysergic Glass Animals and you'd be close. KYLYPSO tell Clash…

"'Skies Are' was written as a nostalgic look back towards a relationship, post breakup. In the daydream-like journey from the high points to the low points, the freefall is embraced and the demons are exorcised."

Tune in now.

Catch KYLYPSO at London's Paper Dress Vintage on September 9th.

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

Joey Negro and his Z Records imprint have been a dominating force in disco, long before its recent resurgence.

Better known for his remixes and edits of the likes of Roxy Music, Diana Ross and Grace Jones, ‘Produced With Love’ is David Lee’s first original album in over 20 years.

His ear has clearly matured with age – it’s an impeccable ode to the golden age, with beautifully recorded strings, soulful vocals octave basslines. It’s not all pastiche — elements of house, electro and post-disco pulsate throughout.

Although perhaps too polished in places, it’s still a class above, cementing the disco don’s legacy.

8/10

Words: Declan McGlynn

– – –

– – –

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

BBC Introducing is set to toast its 10th birthday with a special show later this year.

The service launched in the summer of 2007, and since then has been instrumental in breaking countless new acts.

Celebrating its 10th birthday in style, BBC Introducing will host a very special gig at London's Brixton Academy on October 4th.

The all-star line up includes sets from George Ezra, Blossoms, Nao, Slaves, and The Big Moon, with more set to be announced closer to the show.

Bob Shennan (Director, BBC Radio and Music) says: “I’m incredibly proud of the work that BBC Music Introducing has done over the last 10 years to bring talented UK artists, from all musical backgrounds, to a national and international audience – whether it’s through playing their music on the BBC’s national and local radio networks, or through giving them opportunities to perform at UK and international festivals.”

“So many of the musicians supported by BBC Music Introducing have gone on to achieve great success and this gig will be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate all that is special about new music in the UK.”

Blossoms say: “The BBC plays a significant part in everybody's lives in one way or another, but BBC Music Introducing (specifically) has certainly played a colossal part in ours, especially in our embryonic stage, and has continued to support us throughout. They provide a service like no other and are at the forefront when it comes to championing and nurturing new talent."

“We're absolutely thrilled and honoured to be a part of the anniversary celebration and even more thrilled that it's being held at such a prestigious venue, Brixton Academy. Thank you."

BBC Introducing hits London's Brixton Academy on October 4th.

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

North London talent Suzi Wu is currently approaching her debut EP.

'Teenage Witch' drops in just over a week, a select of taut, edgy pop songs that recall fellow capital dwellers King Krule and M.I.A..

New cut 'Taken Care Of' is a barbed introduction, and it comes equipped with some woozy visuals that traipse around London in the wee small hours.

Suzi explains: “The video is a surreal look at an early morning walk home through London. I wanted to show a disconnect between youth and their parents – what does your little darling get up to at night? I came across a brilliant film maker called SHINY who understood what I was trying to do and really helped to bring my idea to life.”

Tune in now.

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

BLESSED is based in Australia, but he hails from Accra, Ghana, where the rising artist's family named him a blessing.

Adventurous future soul with crisp production and astute songwriting, each track feels like a real gift.

'My World' is the latest to emerge, and it finds BLESSED crafting a mission statement of sorts, one based on fresh ideas and universal empathy.

Tune in now.

Photo Credit: Visualsbyrazak

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

Follow Clash Magazine on Vero True Social for more content.

Initially, S4U caused a bout of confusion with Clash’s creative team. Although their ghostly R&B has been floating around corners of the Internet and airwaves for some time, Google Images didn’t help to clarify the group’s identity. In the few pictures that exist, they’re a gaggle of galdem wearing retro sportswear. At their core, it turns out, they’re the mythologically-named duo Prinz George and Rosita Bonita (which, we suspect, aren’t their birth names). “We used to turn up to shoots and there’d be a rack of clothes for six girls,” laughs George.

Their ethos, however, is as a collective. And it’s “expanding all the time,” says George. On our Next Wave shoot, the pair urge a throng of onlooking construction workers to join them in front of the lens (unfortunately, they come over a bit shy).

S4U, they stress, isn’t just the pair of them. “Our managers are S4U as much as we are,” Rosita explains. “Any link in the chain that’s cracked is gonna affect everything. It’s really important to make sure everyone feels a part of it. It’s a story.”

Introduced to the world by forward-thinking London label Limited Health, the current ’90s revival has made the biggest impact on the S4U sound, with echoes of bubbly garage and faded hip-hop permeating their vibe. “The ’90s sonically was very, very adventurous. It was way ahead of its time,” states George, who used to be a metal drummer, and counts Slayer and post-hardcore band The Blood Brothers as inspiration. “I love percussion,” he says, “finding interesting things and putting them with things they shouldn’t really go with.”

‘Breathe’ borrows the hook from the Blu Cantrell cut of the same name, throwing it over a dusty hip-hop beat, while ‘Too Much’ deploys the kind of hyperactive vocal chops you’d find on a Pure Garage compilation.

Though the word ‘DIY’ is thrown around to describe almost any artist these days, S4U can wear that stamp with pride. From choreography to graphic design, to producing their own videos and events, the pair have dirtied their hands in all creative aspects. “We have input on everything,” says Rosita, adding: “Everyone’s been doing so much work for us out of the love of music. It’s been humbling as fuck.”

WHERE: London
WHAT: Ghost-like hip-hop/R&B that resurrects the ’90s
GET 3 SONGS: ‘Twice’, ‘Isle Of Dogs’, ‘Too Much’

FACT: Despite naming their track ‘Isle Of Dogs’, Prinz George has a phobia of the animal. “I hate dogs,” he sighs, pulling out a photo of a recent shoot in Berlin with one in the pic. “See how far away the dog is from me? He knows I don't like him.”

– – –

– – –

Words: Felicity Martin
Photography: Sophie Mayanne
Fashion: Josh Tuckley
Hair stylist: Zateesha Barbour

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

 

London newcomer Dom McAllister feels remarkably fully-formed.

Perhaps that's his innate confidence, the way he approaches each note, or perhaps it's the sheer strength of the songwriting that has fuelled his opening singles.

Whatever it is, it's turning Dom McAllister into a sought after name, someone whose fresh, soulful approach is really turning heads.

New single 'Only One' airs first on Clash, and it finds his velvet vocal intermingling with some hazy yet beautifully uplifting electronics.

It's a digital romancer, a heart-on-sleeve hymn that pushes you up into the heavens…

Tune in now.

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

The Fedz could only come from London.

A tumbling collective that draw on everything from hip-hop to soul to pop and R&B, the group's standpoint is hewn from the city walls.

Tipped by 1Xtra and spending summer smashing through festivals across the land, The Fedz have stopped just long enough to release a new single.

'Urban Tales' is a gritty return, a slice of everyday life that refuses to sugar-coat the truth while also acknowledging the warm, empathetic aspects that keep us moving forwards.

Rugged beats with a slightly soulful edge, 'Urban Tales' has received the full video treatment and it's set to air first on Clash.

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

Given that we can now create our own playlists with little more than a few clicks of a mouse, it’s not unreasonable to question the point of releasing albums by various artists. However, trying to breathe life back into the idea of the compilation while simultaneously giving recommendation algorithms the middle finger is the latest instalment in the long-running ‘Late Night Tales’ series. This time round, it features tracks hand-picked by the phenomenally talented and disgustingly young Canadian post-jazz quartet.

Unsurprisingly, their taste is impeccable; Latin rhythms sit alongside the slinky soul of Delegation, pared-down disco rubs shoulders with the Marxist-flavoured krautrocking bleeps and bloops of Stereolab, and ‘Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)’ from Pet Sounds cosies up next to the glacial R&B of BadBadNotGood acolyte Charlotte Day Wilson. But to what end? Whichever streaming service you favour has a raft of themed playlists to suit every time and emotion, so why bother with such a collection?

The answer lies in the story this album tells over time. ‘Late night’ might be a nebulous concept when it comes to matching mood and music, but BBNG clearly understand this. The compilation ramps up slowly before bringing the party, but never in a way that’s too abrasive or intrusive. The front half features songs which, while they’ll never be dropped by David Guetta mid-set, can lift the mood and get your feet moving.

The appearance of Thundercat halfway through is the cue to turn down the tempo and we get a window into some more reflective moments. As well as the aforementioned Beach Boys track, we get Donnie and Joe Emerson’s peerless ‘Baby’, plus BBNG themselves, covering Andy Shauf’s ‘To You’.

As all ‘Late Night Tales’ collections traditionally do, the set is closed with a spoken word piece. In this instance, it’s post-punk firebrand Lydia Lunch who, with a voice that suggests she gargles with gravel before breakfast every morning and has been on 20 Benson & Hedges a day since her early teens, growls her way through a piece called ‘You, Me and Jim Beam’. It’s a captivating – if slightly unsettling – way to finish a stellar record.

With this expertly curated and brilliantly sequenced collection, BadBadNotGood have demonstrated that there’s still life in the compilation, and have shown the benefit of getting professionals on board to create them. However your night turns out, BBNG have the soundtrack.

9/10

Words: Joe Rivers

– – –

– – –

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine