Summertime - and the new bands are hot
So many festivals and so many bands. Elisa Bray picks the best rising acts – and highlights the unmissable big names
Friday 17 June 2011
1 Anna Calvi
One of the most strikingly original new performers on the scene, 28-year-old Calvi has been garnering five-star reviews for her live shows. Not only has the Anglo-Italian seduced critics with her intense, romantic guitar-led songs, but she has also amassed fans in Arctic Monkeys, with whom she's now played two shows, Nick Cave, who took her on a European tour as support to Grinderman, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and Brian Eno, who has said that she's the best thing since Patti Smith.
Listen out for: The intoxicating "No More Words"
At: Glastonbury, Latitude, Field Day
2 The Naked and Famous
If ever a band were poised to take the crown from MGMT for prompting the biggest synth-driven sing-alongs at a festival, this would be the one. The New Zealand five-piece have enjoyed huge success in their home country, and a growing UK following has ensured a sold-out tour in May. They won the Radar Award at this year's NME Awards and also starred on the BBC Ones to Watch poll.
Listen out for: The uplifting synth-pop hit-in-waiting "Young Blood"
At: Wireless, T in the Park, Latitude, Reading and Leeds
This four-piece was formed from the ashes of Cajun Dance Party, with the young north London songwriting duo Max Bloom (guitar) and Daniel Blumberg (vocals) at its helm. Their reflective guitar-pop, melding fuzzy guitars with a good dose of shoegaze, harks back to their American heroes of the 90s: Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Sparklehorse, Silver Jews, Red House Painters.
Listen out for: The gorgeous boy/girl harmonies of lo-fi single "Georgia".
At: Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, Bestival
4 Jenny and Johnny
Jenny Lewis and her boyfriend, Johnathan Rice, are a winning team – her sweet, mellifluous vocals a match for his lower octave in nicely crafted, distinctly catchy indie-rock songs. They've been a couple for five years and have been performing in a band together for four (Rice used to play live for Lewis when she toured solo), but they first toured their indie-rock project together back in December and it's been on the road ever since. Warm, sweet harmonies and gently strummed guitars make a counterpoint to the oft-dark lyrics that unpick the less blissful side to a relationship – and it's the perfect sing-along festival fayre.
Listen out for: the perfect harmonising of "Animal"
At: Glastonbury, T in the Park, Latitude
5 Born Ruffians
The indie-rock band's ramshackle energy, catchy, jerky guitar riffs and yelping vocals recall Vampire Weekend, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Pete and the Pirates. They have just the kind of infectious, warm melodies that win over festival crowds. The Toronto four-piece have been quietly building a following with the help of an early appearance on Skins and support from Radio 1's Zane Lowe. And they have pop pedigree in former Caribou guitarist Andy Lloyd.
Listen out for: the jerky guitar riff on their single "Hummingbird"
At: Summer Sundae, Field Day
6 Lia Ices
With a voice akin to Feist and songs recalling a more ethereal Cat Power, Brookyn-based Lia Ices has released one of the most beautiful albums of the year so far, Grown Unknown. The statuesque beauty's experimental, emotive pop is delicate and hushed, led by her lilting voice and accompanied by minimal piano and sparse acoustic guitar. Newly signed to Jagjaguwar, she's joined a rosta including Okkervil River, Black Mountain and Bon Iver.
Listen out for: the magically emotive soul ballad "Love is Won"
At: Green Man, End of the Road
7 Alice Gold
The guitar-wielding singer-songwriter is an exciting newcomer on the pop scene, and is set to open Glastonbury's Other Stage. Her debut album, Seven Rainbows, produced by Dan Carey (Hot Chip, Lily Allen, Franz Ferdinand) is released next month and boasts rock-flavoured pop gems with power-pop choruses. With a powerful voice, influenced by a youth spent listening to Janis Joplin (and Françoise Hardy, Jefferson Airplane and Patti Smith), Surrey-born Gold, in her late twenties, was named by Q as one of the acts to watch out for this year.
Listen out for: future hit "Runaway Love"
At: Glastonbury, Cornbury, iTunes Festval, Guilfest, Kendal Calling
8 Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All
The Los Angeles hip-hop collective of 17 to 24-year old MCs, beatmakers, producers, artists and skaters, were the act to cause the biggest storm at South by South West Festival in March with their anarchic shows. Formed in 2007 by their now 20-year-old leader, Tyler "The Creator", the 10-strong collective favour macabre lyrics and sinister beats over melodies.
Listen out for: "Sandwitches" is bound to be frenetic – and very loud
At: Reading and Leeds, Bestival
9 Treetop Flyers
The latest signings to Communion, the record label launched by Mumford & Sons keyboard player, Ben Lovett, and his friend Kevin Jones, Treetop Flyers play laid-back, country-soul recalling The Band, Neil Young and Fleet Foxes. Winning the Glastonbury Emerging Talent award gained the London band some much-coveted slots performing at the festival. Their debut single only came out last month, but you may have heard it on 6Music and XFM. They have a host of tunes well-suited to festival stages.
Listen out for: the single "Things Will Change"
At: London Feis, Glastonbury, Hop Farm, LemonFest
10 Marques Toliver
The classically trained violinist left his birthplace in South Daytona to busk in New York. It was there that he was spotted by TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone, who invited him to work with the band. A stint in Holly Miranda's touring band followed, and he's since worked with Bat For Lashes. Luckily for us, the 25-year-old has gone solo, showcasing his Marvin Gaye-esque voice as he plucks his violin.
Listen out for: "Deep In My Heart" from his debut EP, 'Butterflies Are Not Free'.
At: Blissfields, Lounge on the Farm, Latitude, Truck
FIVE OF THE BIGGEST
Bob Dylan at London Feis
Dylan plays an exclusive set. He performed at the same festival in Finsbury Park seven years ago, when the event was called Fleadh.
Prince at Hop Farm
The star's one UK festival appearance wraps up the starry, but sponsorship and branding-free Hop Farm festival in Kent.
U2 at Glastonbury
They had to pull out last year when Bono injured his back, but the ultimate stadium-rock band will be making up for it this year.
Pulp at Wireless, T in the Park, Reading and Leeds
Those who answered the Oasis vs Blur question with "Pulp" will be revelling in Jarvis Cocker and co's return. If you didn't catch the Britpop band at the Isle of Wight, you have three more chances.
Muse at Reading and Leeds
The rock band make their one UK festival appearance.
WIN TICKETS TO SEE BOB DYLAN
'The Independent' is offering one pair of VIP tickets worth £500 to Bob Dylan's Hospitality Marquee hosted by the mental health charity icap, at this weekend's London Feis Festival, at Finsbury Park, and six pairs of standard tickets courtesy of Tourism Ireland. For your chance to see Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and many more on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June, answer this question:
How old was Dylan on his last birthday?
Competition closes at 2pm today, Friday 17 June, at independent.co.uk/promo-competitions. The reference code is "Feis". For a full set of terms and conditions, go to independent.co.uk/legal More information at www.discoverireland.com
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