“This isn’t a tried and tested formula, it’s an experiment,” announced Marcus Mumford in the closing moments of this inaugural and hopefully not one-off UK version of Mumford & Sons’ Stopover festival, an event purposely held in out of the way locations which has already been successfully deployed in sites across America. In the same breath he thanked the other musicians who had chosen to accompany the group over the two-day show, including Friday night headliner Ben Howard and the unlikely but ferociously well-received Primal Scream, whose faith in his own band he welcomed.
More widely known as a popular bridging spot for outdoor sports enthusiasts and winter skiers to base themselves on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park, the village of Aviemore is also, noted Mumford during the show, where Highlands promoter Robert Hicks put the band on in a small bar while they were touring the area six years ago, in the days before their huge multinational fame. As such it’s a more capable choice than many for a huge influx of 20,000 young folk and families, although heavy rain on Friday turned part of the site to a thin swamp and derailed the summer’s day in the park vibe somewhat.
Yet the skies stayed clear for the Mumfords’ Saturday headline slot, which followed Primal Scream and other current talents like the Maccabees and Lianne La Havas. There was a true festival atmosphere, but only one band as the real focal point – some might say a canny business strategy on the London folk-rock quartet’s part to shift their Gentlemen of the Road label and events brand into festival promotions and reap the benefits which go with that.
Record Store Day 2015: Best UK exclusives
Record Store Day 2015: Best UK exclusives
1/10 The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan
Firstly, it’s naturally going to be pressed on red and white vinyl which will look super cool. Secondly, Jack White has announced he won’t be touring for a ‘long period of time’ after Coachella so this can be your reminder of his greatness and thirdly, it’s the album’s 10th anniversary, so it just makes sense. Never before released on vinyl, amazingly.
2/10 Jimi Hendrix – “Purple Haze”/ “Freedom”
It’s on purple vinyl! Limited to 1000 copies and reissued on 7” from 1967, this is a live recording of the guitar master in action. His mainstream career spanned just four years but Hendrix remains right up there in all influential guitarist lists. Hard to beat.
3/10 Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible
There are 1500 copies of this special 20th anniversary picture disc from our favourite Welsh alt-rockers. The group’s lyricist and guitarist at the time this album was recorded, Richey Edwards, went missing soon afterwards, and no more of his work has ever been heard.
4/10 Mumford & Sons – “Believe”/ “The Wolf”
Take from upcoming third album Wilder Mind and pressed on deluxe 7”, there are just 1,000 copies available of this one, all hand numbered and hand stamped. Time to decide whether you can bear the lack of banjo or not.
5/10 David Bowie – “Changes”/ “Eight Line Poem”
Finally, the “Changes” picture disc is here, so collectors can no longer bemoan its absence from the 40th anniversary series. First released in 1972, the famous song was the first of two singles taken from Hunky Dory (the other was “Life on Mars?”). The mono image on this vinyl is a previously unpublished shot from the album recording session.
6/10 Brian Eno – My Squelchy Life
Some tracks from this rare “lost” album featured on Eno’s subsequent releases after it was suddenly withdrawn in 1991. Now, 750 vinyl lovers have the chance to get their mitts on it, and will enjoy never-before-heard additional track “Rapid Eye” for their efforts.
7/10 Foo Fighters – Songs From the Laundry Room
Dave Grohl is a firm fan of Record Store Day and is joining in the fun this year. Expect a cover of Kim Wilde’s 1981 hit “Kids in America” on this four-track 10” release, that also promises early versions of “Big Me” and “Alone + Easy”. There’s a new track too, “Empty Handed”.
8/10 Brand New – Deja Entendu
The double 12” has been re-pressed on 180g black vinyl especially for Record Store Day. Fans can expect a lyric book insert, download card and sticker sheet with the purchase, which could be made to celebrate the Noughties band re-entering the studio to make some more sweet music recently.
9/10 Courtney Barnett – “Kim’s Caravan”/ “Close Watch”
This Aussie singer-songwriter is making quite the name for herself with her deadpan vocal style and witty lyrics. Her debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit was released last month and “Kim’s Caravan” is one of its best tunes. The B-side to this vinyl, a cover of “Close Watch” by The Velvet Underground’s John Cale, is pretty special too
10/10 Run The Jewels – “Bust No Moves”
This EP features previously unreleased track “Bust No Moves” ft. rapper SL Jones, alongside four other songs from past albums – “Pew Pew Pew”, “Love Again” and “Blockbuster Night Pt. 2”. EI-P and Killer Mike don’t like to disappoint, and this one will excite their fans no end.
Yet for all those who might belittle the group for their huge success, the perceived big-stage mildness of their music or even their middle-class backgrounds – all of which has happened – they put on the kind of show which smashes such preconceptions out of the water. Playing for two hours, the set is a cannily drawn emotional journey which draws heavily upon their recent and less overtly folk-driven third album Wilder Mind.
The selection of songs from the record displays a certain inherent confidence that these will all fit seamlessly into the contemporary canon sooner or later, with the opening ‘Snake Eyes’ building gradually into the kind of primal, pulse-racing beat which courses throughout one of their shows. This continues through the familiar ‘I Will Wait’ and ‘Lover of the Light’, of course, and a similar energy infects the strident, religious tone of ‘Below My Feet’ and recent single ‘Believe’, a rockier proposition than most other tracks here.
Lined up along the front of the stage, the quartet showed the newfound range their last album has given them with the steeltown guitar chime of its title track, the buoyant country tone of ‘Tompkins Square Park’ and the hushed, fragile acoustica of ‘Broad-Shouldered Beasts’ and ‘Monster’. As the show finally rang to a close, the new record’s producer James Ford fired up his Simian Mobile Disco soundsystem for a late night party. It was that kind of weekend, a gathering of like-minded friends.Reuse content