Clash's pick of the fest's music bill...
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Heading to the Green Man Festival this summer? We sure hope so, as the Welsh three-dayer features one of the finest bills of any domestic fest, and is chuffed right up to here to support the event as online partner.

The festival is held in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, on August 21-23; its line-up flits from irresistible electro to affecting art-rock, the purest folk to the most fiendishly clap-along indie-pop, and is structured in such a way that there’s always something to fill the ears. With a variety of stages offering far more than just bands – there’s comedy from the likes of Josie Long and Ian Cognito, a literature tent featuring readings from Howard Marks and Will Hodgkinson, and a cinema tent – there’s entertainment on offer from dawn ‘til well beyond dusk.

But here we’re focusing on the musical talents, presenting Clash’s top ten must-see acts playing the festival…

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Animal Collective
To not begin with the mesmerising melodies and intoxicating envelopment of Animal Collective would be criminal, as the band – headlining Green Man’s main stage – is responsible for one of Clash’s very favourite albums of the year so far and, indeed, the past five years: ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’. The three seem to play as much for each other as they do for the crowd, each finding their own space in the sound but interweaving buzzes and hums with primal beats and shimmering textures, while a light show plays out with hypnotic designs. Impossible to pigeonhole, Animal Collective are one of Green Man’s most irresistible propositions.

Animal Collective – ‘Summertime Clothes’

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Andrew Bird
Celebrated – and rightly so – for his studio releases though he is, Chicago musician Andrew Bird is the sort of live performer whose investment in the development of song structures always results in a memorable experience. Such is his reputation in the field that he’s released four live LPs – only one fewer than the number of solo albums he’s notched up. Classically educated in the Susuki method, and a masterful violinist, Bird utilises a series of loops to build his arrangements, which can flirt with the most gorgeously pretty instrumentation while also bordering on the boisterous with no little irregularity. What’s roughly indie-rock on paper is so, so much more on stage.
Download ‘Fitz And The Dizzyspells’ HERE

Andrew Bird – ‘Imitosis’

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Beach House
Every festival needs its share of bands to relax to; to slip into and sooth whatever burn – be it self-inflicted, or a product of inclement weather – that’s previously been endured. Green Man has a number of blissful bookings, but few can transport the listener to such a place of perfect relaxation with the elegance of Baltimore duo Beach House. Some call their material dream-pop, and ethereal is certainly a term that’s been tagged to their releases before now; but, really, setting aside all thoughts of boxes, neat genre classifications and where-to-rack conundrums is the only way to approach this effortless, understated sonic splendour.
Download ‘Astronaut’ HERE

Beach House – ‘Master Of None’

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Blue Roses
Should you overhear any other punters on site talking up “this year’s Laura Marling”, chances are they’re referring to Yorkshire-born Laura Groves, a.k.a. Blue Roses. Her bewitching eponymous album of earlier this year has received a wealth of great coverage, and Groves’ tender-yet-stirring tones are of the kind seemingly engineered to tug at the heartstrings and melt the soul into a puddle of sweet, sticky goo – ewww, but ahhh, too. Expect to be charmed, but don’t be surprised if you walk away absolutely smitten.

Blue Roses – ‘Does Anyone Love Me Now?’

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Camera Obscura
If the sun shines – and the druids say that it will! – then a wonderful soundtrack to an afternoon’s basking and pint supping is present and correct at Green Man in the shape of Glasgow outfit Camera Obscura. While lyrically bittersweet, the band’s arrangements bubble with seaside charm, spilling nostalgia from their sides as our protagonist seeks out adventures in love, life and explorations outside of their known world. Tracyanne Campbell has one of the most affecting voices in British pop, and as she leads her band through songs sweetly upbeat and melancholy-laced with emotional weight their audience is sure to respond with appreciative smiles and maybe even a little hip-swinging movement.

Camera Obscura – ‘Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken’

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Dirty Three
Australian trio Dirty Three have been enrapturing audiences since their inception in the early 1990s. Warren Ellis’ frenetic violin work, Mick Turner’s guitar control and Jim White’s dynamic drumming setting them apart from so many meandering instrumental outfits – while some aim for the slow-burn but never quite reach their intended heights, this lot go for the throat straight away. As their releases have developed, the direct acerbic aspects of the band’s sounds have become rather more refined, but they still pack a proverbial punch in the live arena. Previous curators of ATP, the band is highly respected for the right reason: not exclusively for just surviving, but for continuing to carve out new niches for their sound that point the way for other bands to follow.

Dirty Three – ‘Authentic Celestial Music’ (live on Australian TV, 1998)

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And now for something completely different… While Green Man retains something of a reputation as a folk festival with indie overtones, its rarely shied away from booking acts of a more electro bent, and this year the event welcomes Glasgow four-piece Errors. Think LCD with added acid squelch and Aphex buzzes, ‘80s synths battling 8-bit circuitry while attempting to combat rushes of head-spinning euphoria. The band’s debut album, ‘It’s Not Something But It Is Like Whatever’, was an underground hit on its release via Rock Action last year, and since then the band has worked hard on a live set that goes beyond just a few blokes stood behind keyboards – there’s a visual energy at play that’s every bit as engaging as what’s filling your ears.
Download ‘National Prism’ HERE

Errors – ‘Pump’

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Golden Animals
But should the floor-filling beats of Errors prove a bit much for you, and you need a bit of a sit down, there are fewer better bands for such a rest on the Green Man bill than NYC-formed and California-based psychedelic-blues duo Golden Animals, who channel substance-snaffling acts of the past in their heady, soulful sounds. Tommy Eisner and Linda Beecroft released their gently rollicking debut album ‘Free Your Mind And Win A Pony’ last year, and its contents were just as pleasingly off the wall as its title. Their festival set is sure to be a highlight of baffling weirdness latched to superior retro rock.

Golden Animals – ‘The Steady Roller’

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Grizzly Bear
There are a handful of contenders for album of the year already, and it’s only (almost) August, and among them is ‘Veckatimest’ – the third album from Brooklyn avant-folk-cum-indie-rock four-piece Grizzly Bear. With unanimous praise for their latest LP, sights are now set on elevating the band’s live standing – last year’s support slots with Radiohead have helped increase their audience, and the quartet is sure to be a big draw at Green Man with so much interest surrounding the distinguished, detailed sounds of their recorded material. Delightful is a word sure to summarise their performance, so if it’s a little aural escapism you’re after, head their way.
Download ‘Cheerleader’ HERE

Grizzly Bear – ‘Two Weeks’

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We Aeronauts
Winners of the festival’s Green Poll competition – read details HERE – Brighton/Oxford-based collective We Aeronauts spend much of their writing time across the Channel in France, but provide a quirky, ever-so-English take on modern folk whenever they grace a stage. Think Los Campesinos! mixed with Broken Records – it’s certainly something special. The newcomers will open Green Man’s main stage on the Friday – the prize for triumphing in the come one, come all talent contest – so early arrivals, do please drop by.

We Aeronauts – ‘Chalon Valley House Band’ (Truck Festival ‘session’)

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Get more information on the Green Man Festival at its official website, HERE.

Listen to, and download, tracks from further Green Man artists including Gang Gang Dance, Joe Gideon and the Shark and Pivot at our Track Of The Day archive, HERE.

Read about further Green Man attractions HERE.


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