Being on the dole is horrible for many reason – the fear of wasting your life, the sense of uselessness, the isolation, feeling at one with teenage mothers – but the main thing is the money, or lack of it. £100 every two weeks is a lot of money just for applying for jobs, but to the real world, it’s pretty much nothing. So, for this year at least, the ‘big summer festivals’ will be experienced by proxy, through the bodies of Lauren Laverne, Phil Jupitus and whoever else the BBC send to tell you what a laugh you’re missing out on. But there’s still hope for most people, and here’s a small guide to a few of the bands that you should probably try to see in between fighting torrential rain and drinking:
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The Northern Irish three piece were on the BBC’s Sounds of 2010 shortlist, and they’ve really kicked on from there. Released on French label Kitsuné following appearances on their influential sampler CDs, Tourist History is the band’s debut and perfectly illustrate what they do best, mixing jaunty indie pop with electro to produce this years most danceable record. Have spent the last few months playing the US, impressing pretty much every one along the way. Almost without peers in the modern music industry, they’re certain to put on an unmissable show
Playing: Thursday – Queen’s Head, Saturday – Other Stage
DON’T SEE: U2
Irish four-piece certain to put on a thoroughly missable show.
Raised in Illinois, her debut EP was put out by Fat Possum last month and, to be honest, it’s wonderful. It’s not only the arrangement from the arrangement of the songs, but the voice itself. Tender, with a hint of vulnerability but backed with conviction, her music is centred around it and with good reason. It soars, and though it comes as no surprise that she’s most comfortable with a ’smoke between her fingers’, with a raspy undercurrent giving an edge to her delivery
Lissie – Little Lovin’
Playing: Friday – The Park Stage, Saturday – The Queen’s Head
DON’T SEE: Paloma Faith
A poor marketing exercise from a subsiduary of Sony Records.
Universally loved by the critics, it’s probably about time that the mainstream started to cotton on to what it’s been missing. With Fleet Foxes making a breakthrough in recent years, there’s surely room for a band with the scale and subtle complexity that Grizzly Bear bring in the British musical consciousness. Veckatimest was their version of an acceptable pop record and were duly rewarded with #8 in the Billboard top 200 and got to 24 in the charts in the UK, and another record of that quality will surely see them hit the big time.
Playing: Sunday – Other Stage
DON’T SEE: The Courteeners
Being Mancunian and on the front cover of the NME doesn’t make you a good band.
Hipsters might have swarmed on garage rock in swarms during the past 3 years, but that can’t take away from the quality of Strange Boys. Ridiculously talented and constantly brilliant, the band released a clutch of EP’s before 2009’s long player ‘…and Girls Club’. With 16 tracks and 37 minutes, the sextet managed to prove themselves as the natural successors to Vice magazine favourites Black Lips, whenever they decide to pack it in. Now featuring members of the sadly defunct Mika Miko, there is absolutely no way they won’t put on one of the shows of the weekend.
Playing: Saturday – The Park Stage
DON’T SEE: Jack Johnson
Actually, he’s alright if you’re a Mum listening to commercial radio and your idea of good new music is usually Take That.
2009 saw them become one of the most blogged about acts in history as their Summertime EP swept to rave reviews on every wannabe-tastemakers pages in a swirl of hype. 2010 is the year they have to actually prove their potential, but positive early reports on their album show that actually, maybe, this time it could all be true, and an act could live up to the high hopes pinned on them. Their last single on managed to chart at 110 which shows there is still work to be done, but with their eponymous debut on the horizon, the bands trademark surfer-rock inspired brand of pop should be on everyone’s lips this summer.
Playing: Sunday – The John Peel Stage
DON’T SEE: The Big Pink
Purposely anthemic and have managed to bang out the odd good tune. Well, one (Velvet), but the irritating, verseless ‘Dominos’ manages to more than erase that memory.
Even if, as we’re all hoping, this doesn’t prove to be their last album and, thus, last tour, would you want to miss them? And if it does all end with ‘This is happening’, do you really want to have to tell your children in two decades time that you purposely missed one of the best and most influential acts of this millenium? Don’t be stupid, James Murphy and friends are going to knock it out of the park, and you definitely shouldn’t risk missing it.
Playing: Sunday – Other Stage
DON’T SEE: The Magic Numbers
Are they even still going? Unfortunately, it looks so.
Since Arcade Fire made the step up to apparently being suitable to headline Leeds/Reading festival, the mantle of the medium-sized ensemble band has been passed on to Broken Social Scene. 2002’s You Forgot it in People is regarded by many as one of the best albums ever made, whilst their eponymous follow up in 2005 has one of the most evocative singles around with the phenomenal ‘7/4 (shoreline)’. Band members may have splintered for solo projects, most notably Feist, but they’re at their bizarre, brilliant best when they’re together. Utterly spellbinding.
Playing: Sunday – John Peel stage
DON’T SEE: Turin Brakes
The band themselves would rather not be there, either.
Formed from the still-warm ashes of Snowfight in the City Centre, Delphic have managed to do what very few bands from Manchester have and moved on. Not only from their own past, but from that of the city as well, taking the best bits of it’s heritage but making it their own. Another Sounds of 2010 alumni, they’ve built up a fanbase as well getting their song ‘Halcyon’ on a Samsung phone advert. Their slant is more electronic than lads with guitars, but with their debut Acolyte they’ve managed to show they’ve got both brains and the ability to sell records, hitting number 8 in the UK charts
Delphic – Counterpoint
Playing: Friday – West Dance, Saturday – John Peel Stage
DON’T SEE: La Roux
Surely there can’t be anyone left who’s not sick of the sound of them?
Hype by the bucketload and with songs as good as their haircuts, it’s probably the best way to warm up for the festival proper. They’ll be there in 2011, but you’ll probably have to stand a lot further back on a lot bigger stage. The NME are all over them, as is pretty much everything else. Supremely talented, they’ve recently put their first single out on Hit Club records, there’s absolutely no chance that they are not destined for very big things.
Egyptian Hip Hop – Heavenly (download available through the Sounds from the Other City mixtape here)
Playing: Thursday – The Queen’s Head
DON’T SEE: N Dubz
Don’t you miss the days they were most famous for an appearance on Nevermind the Buzzcocks?
Glastonbury will be running from Wednesday 23rd – Sunday 27th of June and is sold out. So if you’ve not got a ticket yet, it’s probably too late. However, you can drool over the full line-up here and take a look at the many wonderful bands that aren’t on this list, such as Local Natives, Kele and Pheonix: