Savages #6 - The Answer


January 2016 is already shaping up to be massive. Already announced are albums for Hinds, Eliot Sumner and Daughter and now throwing themselves into the mix is Savages.

It's been a couple of years since Silence Yourself and boy was I ready for more. The good news; comeback single "The Answer" is HUGE. Huge in every way. From the driving, propeller guitar riffs and dominating percussive rhythms that swarm around Jenny Beth’s crazed vocals “The Answer” is intense from first to last, “love is the answer, I’ll go insane” she cries as a crowd of moshing fans literally lose their shit in front of her. My kind of dinner party. 

Savages second album Adore Life is released January 22 via Matador. Ordering through Sister Ray gives the opportunity to attend a show at London's 100 Club on the 26th Jan, doors open at 8AM (yes in the morning) and will finish at half nine. Savages for breakfast. That's one hell of a way to wake up.

My Favourite 25 Albums of 2013: Part Three - 17-14

My Favourite 25 Albums of 2013: Part Three - 17-14

Direct Links to Albums (updated as they become live) : 25 - 22 // 21 - 18 // 17 - 14 // 13 - 10 // 9 - 6 // 5 - 2 // 1

17. Editors - The Weight of Your Love

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The past couple of years have seen more changes than any previous in Editors almost ten year long career, founding guitarist Chris Urbanowicz left the band and in have come Justin Lockey (known to me as half of Lights on Moscow alongside Lanterns on the Lake's Hazel Wilde) and Elliott Williams (formerly of Airship). The bands fourth LP The Weight of Your Love is the first with their involvement and sees a return to anthemic rock after their successful (in my opinion) attempt at electrifying synth-led work on In This Light and On This Evening.

It kicks off with “The Weight” which soon introduces a starkly produced album full of ominous soundscapes with the emphasis on Tom's baritone vocals. The track is all dark, brooding atmosphere built around strong song-writing and some luscious string arrangements, full of emotion and fragility rarely seen from the band before it highlights a maturing band unafraid of what people may have to say.

There are two obvious single moments here, "A Ton of Love" instantly grabs you with both barrels and blasts you into submission with a mix of pop-hooks, swirling synths and heavy drum beats, easily the most upbeat song we've heard from the band to date it harks more to Simple Minds than Joy Division, big, bright rock which swaggers with a stadium sized conviction and "Formaldehyde" is up there with any of the bands best hits, a non-stop adrenaline filled rush of typically Editors-esque pace and pomp.

Perhaps ironically another of my favourite tracks is an older track I heard first live when Chris was still in the band "Two Hearted Spider" combining a creeping guitar line with Tom's brooding lead, building in emotion and power amongst skittish drums and shimmering guitars."Sugar" is as sweet as the name suggests while the restrained "The Phone Book" is a very nice moment too.

I'm pretty biased when it comes to Editors but The Weight of Your Love is a fine fourth record from a band continuing to try new things and improve themselves, though in the live arena is perhaps where this album is best, the live version of "Nothing" is nothing short of stunning.

16. Agnes Obel - Aventine

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Aventine, the second LP from Berlin based Danish singer-songwriter Agnes Obel confirms an intoxicating talent with a stunning album of refreshingly pure and sparse piano led melodies backed with the odd bit of luxurious strings and a soft, expressive vocal.

Lead track "The Curse" instantly mesmerizes and is possibly the boldest moment throughout, a stark yet seductive melody with little more than twinkling piano and haunting string arrangements combining with Agnes' fragile vocal. The result is devastatingly beautiful and poignant and the good news is there's plenty more for fans of such beautiful, affecting melancholy too.

"Dorian" is impeccably constructed, weaving a similarly delicate and majestic spell under restrained, wintry instrumentation whilst the contemplative and slightly creepy "Run Cried The Crawling" hints more at the darkness. Aventine remains an ethereal, immaculate experience throughout and is best summed up by the poignant, calming tapestry of "Fuel To Fire", a beautiful piano led melody armed with an emotive narrative that, like much of the album, is guaranteed to make hearts go a flutter.

15. Lady Lamb The Beekeeper - Ripley Pine

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Lady Lamb The Beekeeper (the recording name of Ally Spaltro) released her debut studio album Ripley Pine early in the year (a release that contains a few tracks that had been previously released on her earlier bedroom recorded releases but I can ignore that as I'm late to the party. Ripley Pine devastates with an incredible range of songs that hit right at your soul, one minute stripped back electric guitar solo and then the next complex full-band arrangements with a running length that equally varies, from three minutes to seven yet the dozen tracks here are always rich and sophisticated, it is simply an incredible record from a lady with a versatile voice and a raw, expressive talent..

At her most vulnerable on the exquisite "Florence Berlin", a stark, intimate heart-breaker and on "Little Brother", a soft delicate beauty that transports you to a world of soulful dreams with her lone electric guitars twangs sending shivers down your spine. "Bird Balloons" feels like it should be Ally's breakthrough track, as dynamic and powerful as a St Vincent and as epic and emotive as Patti Smith, it bursts with venom and anguish in equal measures and is as affecting as any song you'll hear this year.

My Jim Steinman roots mean I'm a sucker for long tracks and the two on Ripley Pine are possibly my favourites on the record, "You Are The Apple" is one of those rare tracks that brings you to a stand-still on first listen, progressing from a bluesy opening to a full band stomper with an eruption of raw emotion. Ally made a comment during a live show I saw about alienating her early fans with the 'polish' of the recorded album and thus also releasing a demo album via her Bandcamp yet, for me at least, it's the rough aggression that I find so powerful and astonishing, when the orchestra comes in; goosebumps all over.

"Crane Your Neck" closed the same live set and is likewise the sort of track to bring an audience to a stand-still, even those at the back who come to gigs to chat to their mates stop to pay attention as Ally howls and shrieks with her typically unpredictable voice, resonating with a fiery intensity that perfectly sums up Ripley Pine, hot, rich and passionate throughout - do yourself a favour and order Ripley Pine via Ba Da Bing here.

14. Savages - Silence Yourself

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Savages soon found themselves at the centre of the music industry's attention, the London based quartet ended a fine debut year with a place in the BBC's Sound of 2013 long-list after taking people by storm with their ferocious post-punk soundscapes and a live show full of the most blistering intensity and entrancement, their debut full-length Silence Yourself did not disappoint.

Taking the sound perfected in the live setting into the studio to make a faultless record driven by uncompromising bass-lines and pounding drums, with brutal guitar lines adding distortion and noise while Jehn's shrieking vocals command and possess, it makes you want to play it louder and louder, again and again.

Much of the album is the same tracks I heard in the Shacklewell Arms or The Old Blue Last in early 2012 from the searing, terrifyingly beautiful "City's Full" to the propulsive energy of "Shut Up" or the shimmering textures that open "She Will". Silence Yourself remains hypnotic and contagious throughout, brimming with repressed energy which explodes with a juddering climax on "Husbands", Savages calling card with strong-venomous vocals, prominent bass, fierce guitar and clear tight drums - each of the bands individual members come together and the result is a potent, brutal and brilliant combination.

A special note must go for the albums wonderful closing track "Marshal Dear", the most beautiful moment on the record with twinkling piano leading Jehn's restrained vocals with occasional guitar soars the only indication Savages true form. A gentler beast that indicates Savages will be around for many, many records to come.

End of the Road Festival 2013 - Friday Review

End of the Road, in its seventh year, confirmed itself as the best festival of its size in the UK this year, the idyllic weather definitely helped (though it sure did get chilly overnight on Saturday) but it was the glorious atmosphere and near-on perfect combination of musical acts and artistic crafts that makes the festival what it is. Basking in sunlight Larmer Tree Gardens had everything you could want, arts & crafts, decent festival food, a real ale festival and an impeccable selection of music from the delicious folk harmonies of The Staves to the brass-laden success of David Byrne and St Vincent and the imposing, wide-eyed Savages. The next few posts will be my trip through the weekend, the things I did and the bands I saw. Hopefully you'll pick up on a few nice things if you follow it through...

I'd spent the previous three days in West Lulworth with the family (a beautiful place, you should go) before packing up early on Friday and heading to Larmer Tree Gardens. We met no traffic at all and were soon in the car park. People scared of Glasto like experiences with travelling from the car park to the tent areas, fear not, you are through wristband exchange and into the camping areas in no time at all. A quick set up (thank you pop-up tents - I'd still be there now trying to put up the impressive yurt tent we were pitched next to) and we headed straight to Big Top stage to catch Widowspeak.

An incredible start to the festival saw clashes happen as early as midday. Widowspeak were a worthy selection though, as breathy, beautiful introduction as you could hope for. Playing as a duo they played songs taken from both their albums and were heavily based on the spaghetti western influenced guitar twangs and Molly Hamilton's seductive vocal purr (there is a small drum box providing some beats). A large audience lapped it up, hazy sweet and creeping mood - what more could you want. My five year old enjoys it too and pulls some dance moves more suited to the nearby silent disco which makes me worry what my future may hold!

We head outside and after spending a few minutes waiting for our eyes to adjust head to the nearby main stage to check out Landshapes. A band signed to Bella Union whom I really should have given the time of day sooner than this.

The quartet weave dreamy, upbeat melodies with funky bass, wonderfully percussive rhythms and superb harmonies that perfectly match the need of the audience sitting primarily in shorts and t-shirt with beers from the nearby bar in hand. The sun soon makes a welcome appearance, peaking from behind clouds to close a perfect summer show, the band are appreciative to their early audience and the feeling is mutual. A mental note is made to check out their record on my return (which I shall do shortly!)

As my weekend was one of balance with two young children with me (aged five and eight months) I had to ease my usual insatiable appetite to hit front row centre for as many bands as possible with their needs so we grab some food (the first of three stops at the wonderful Pizza stall) and then head to the circus area.

There are plenty of things to pass kids time there, on this stop my little one plays hula-hoop, juggles and does some other things I have no idea what they are called. Half an hour soon passes and we head for a drink.

I have ale, there's more choice than I can cope with but I find Viking an early winner and we also grab a Frank Water bottle, a brilliant and cost-effective way of keeping supplied with cold, fresh water throughout the weekend - do check out their website and support their great cause.

I get to do a solo trip next as my partner takes the children off, I head back to the big top for Pins. They deliver a set which has developed incredibly since I last saw them yet still oozes with the same raw attitude. The quartet are tighter and slicker than ever, the vocals uncompromising amongst darkly,  metronomic rhythms and guitar thrills. It's high energy and relentless (with the exception of "Eleventh Hour" which has been slowed down with languid shimmers), older tracks like "Say To Me" stand equally alongside new ones "I Want It All", "To You" and the title track from their forthcoming debut "Girls Like Us". That, like this set, promises to be electrifying.

I head straight outside to meet up with my family who have taken residence at the back of the Woods stage for Allo Darlin', the weather Gods haven't read the script and dark clouds form above, the rain keeps away but the quartet's beautiful, warming indie pop is not played out to glorious sunshine as it should have been. It matters not as the combination of tracks from their two albums (and new ones from a seemingly nearly complete third) keep the crowd smiling and singing along, Allo Darlin' seem in the rightful place and are the perfect festival band.

More family time and a change into evening wear follows before heading to the festivals most picturesque stage for the first time, we find Serafina Steer just walking onto the beautiful garden stage.

Her fluttering harp and beautiful vocals feel right at home here and when she's joined by a guitarist and percussionist her set comes alive, soaring peaks and sparser tracks sit side by side amongst her amusing banter. "Night Before Mutiny" is saved for the end of her hour long set - a length Serafina seemed not quite accustomed to - but it was sure worth the wait, just lovely.

Time for another beer next before we grab dinner and settle down at the back of the Woods stage to watch Eels. Not my pick but as I picked most of the weekend I can hardly grumble. What I can grumble about was the rain which briefly followed, perhaps only ten minutes or so but enough to make everyone reach for their waterproofs. We were treated to a double rainbow though so I won't complain. Once the kids are asleep I venture out solo and return to the Woods stage for the evenings headline act David Byrne & St Vincent. I wasn't sure what to expect, if you've followed this blog for a couple of years you may know I'm slightly obsessed with Annie Clark but I didn't connect fully with last years' Love This Giant album. Until now.

The show was phenomenal, any doubting concerns the crowd may have about the slightly unusual pairing is cast aside after about two minutes. They walk on stage, David Byrne impeccably dressed (like a happy Johnny Cash as Annie herself says) and St Vincent with hair dyed bleach-blonde armed with her guitar.

They are accompanied by a brass band (seven or eight members deep) an immediately launch into as quirky and commanding set as you'll see this year, synchronised dance moves from the full ensemble of musicians, the band playing their part and not hidden from the audiences view as the pair take it almost in terms to lead the songs.

Byrne's questionable dance moves remind me of Kryten from Red Dwarf with karate chops and robotic movements but it works in an equally baffling and amusing way. St Vincent's art-rock guitar playing is as electric as ever, her skills unquestionable as brass trumpets et al add a funk-laden backing. There are solo tracks from both careers too, "Marrow" an early highlight and "The Party" a sombre mood changer in the encore sandwiched between the two big singalongs of the evening, Talking Heads hits "Burning Down The House" and finally "Road To Nowhere".

Marching jazz bands, St Vincent's tiny tiny steps, robo-Byrne and fantastic music, this show had it all - I don't think anyone even noticed it rained.

It was going to be hard for anyone to top that if you could pick an act you'd want to be following it, Savages would be quite high on the list. I had time to grab a beer (I hope you're noticing a reoccurring theme) and heading somewhere near the front. I'd not seen them for a little while and what was a tight-tight set is now even more so, as slick and polished as any live act today. Jehnny Beth is imperious and a genuine front of the band, she stares out to the crowd wide-eyed in between her imposing lyrics. The music masterful, rumbling rhythms and colossal soundscapes ring out and a few people at the stage seemingly lose it as they bounce around in delight.

About as good as close to an evening as you could ask for. End of the Road day one - you've treated us alright.

End of the Road 2013 - Festival Preview Part Two

Straight on with part two of my acts to see at next weeks End of the Road festival. If you landed on this page and are interested in seeing the first part - you can do so here. I'll keep the writing on the brief side as every act is one I've covered previously. If you want to hear more click on the labels link at the end of the post.

This year the organisers are promising some exciting secret shows (most likely in the woods), so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for them. Also worth checking out amongst the other activities and Comedy/Cinema tents is the Rough Trade stall. They normally have some great others on releases of bands playing the festival, some exclusives and some signings too (can't say I remember any performances last year). There was a pretty cool music art stall last year too.

Caitlin Rose - Facebook
Woods Stage - Sunday

I'll start the second part of these tips with the most obvious pick of all, Caitlin Rose. Her first show in the UK since early Spring and I can't bloody well wait.

I recently got asked by a friend to describe Caitlin in one word, I replied 'flawless'. I've mentioned her here countless times already, the most recent just the other day so I'll keep that short. Flawless about sums it up to me.

The Staves - Facebook
Woods Stage - Sunday

I've not seen The Staves live since last years Latitude festival when they played a beautiful set to a packed tent as rain threatened outside.

At EotR they play the main stage on Sunday afternoon, it seems the perfect setting to grab a couple of beers and to enjoy some of the sisters heart-melting harmonies from last years exquisite Dead & Born & Grown.

Savages - Facebook
Big Top Stage - Friday

I was lucky enough to see Savages four times before the hype really took over and have been smitten since. Silence Yourself delivered on my every expectation and hope, an album of exhilarating brilliance underpinned by darkly atmospheric rhythms, soaring guitars and Jehnny Beth's unique vocal delivery. It's raw, full of passion and utterly compelling throughout.

Live? Well Savages are even better -  you'll be wanting to add them to your list of must see artists then.

Broken Twin - Facebook
Tipi Tent Stage - Sunday

Broken Twin originally featured here back in June after discovering her via the End of the Road initial line-up, I  had this to say about her track "Beaches":

"The sparse, uncluttered instrumentation, little more than gentle acoustic and piano chords, of the opening track “Beaches” instantly send shivers down your spine as you are introduced to the beguiling tone of Majke’s pure, fragile vocals, wrapping you in a calming yet melancholic state of beauty".

One of the few acts I'm listing I've not seen before, Broken Twin promise to deliver a set that should be something pretty special.

Serafina Steer - Facebook
Friday - Garden Stage

One of my early year highlights was Serafina Steer's album launch show (and the album of course). I doubt Jarvis Cocker will be joining Serafina on stage this time around but what I do know is her set will combine fluttering harp solos with soft, delicate melodies that sporadically burst into life with eccentric, left-field instrumentation and soaring highs.

If that sounds good to you too then you'll want to head to the beautiful garden stage on Friday. Leave your chairs at the back.

Pins - Facebook
Big Top Stage - Friday

Last but certainly not least in this little preview are Pins who are gearing up to release their debut album Girls Like Us. I've been following the Manchester quartet right from their debut to their most recently single "Get With Me" and live their show is the perfect continuation of an electric sound combining searing vocals, incessant rhythms and raw, brooding intensity.

Pins will hold your attention like a magnet - make sure you don't miss them.

Savages #5 - Shut Up

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Before the much anticipated release of Savages debut album we've been treated, and I really do mean treated, to another track taken from Silence Yourself - due May 6 via Matador and their own Pop Noire label - "Shut Up" comes as a short film with a  minute long monologue by Jehn, the premise of which I've seen quite a bit of press coverage about recently - turn your phones off at gigs...

My view is fans taking pictures (and increasingly 'professional' photographers with DSLR's standing directly in front of the artists) is fine in limited moderation, and by that I mean three of four pictures during the first song or two, any more than that and you detract from the experience you are meant to be experiencing. I could re-count numerous examples where I've be pushed out of the way by people eager to get a better shot or where my view has been blocked by someone with their arms in the air snapping what will be a terrible photo for Instagram or where I've had the sound of a DSLR 'clicking' in my ear literally throughout a whole set because a photographer is taking literally hundreds of pictures that will know doubt never see the light of day. It's a problem for you but I also think people should be allowed to have a memento, picture, memory of a gig if they so desire - a sensible, polite balance is what is needed. Unfortunately sense is something that seven pints of of Stella wipes away!

I listened to the bands earlier EP I Am Here whilst I was running on the treadmill yesterday, it was the perfect experience (I'm sure the band wouldn't like to hear that!) where the propulsive energy of the bands rhythm section and the raw, intensity of the venomous vocals literally propelled me forward and raised the tempo of my heart-beat as I progressed with the run, "Shut Up" could do much the same, ferocious, assertive and instantly Savages. In other words, brilliant.

Savages #4 - Silence Yourself

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Savages, a band written about by approximately 80% of music blogs over the past 24 hours I am sure. I'm joining in because the news announced yesterday was pretty darn excellent. Their debut album Silence Yourself will be released on 6th May (via Matador and their own Pop Noire) and we've also been treated to a taster from it in the form of the frankly amazing "She Will". (I won't repeat the track-listing and further details - if you want that head to Pitchfork).

"She Will" is a song that's been a staple of the bands live show the past year or so. It's a sentiment to the bands initial brilliance that the songs they started off with make up a vast majority of the album. I've included a picture of the set-list from their show at The Shacklewell Arms last May, twelve months on and all of these tracks will have now see the light of day ("She Will" scrawled out on the set but was played as a riotous conclusion that hot, barmy night). It's quite unusual I think to have so few (if any) initial tracks discarded but I suppose that's one of the things that have made Savages stand out since their debut last January, their quality.

The recorded version of "She Will" is slicker than we've heard from their recorded output before with Gemma's shimmering, sheening guitar texture at the fore but it doesn't lack for intensity or emotion as Jehn's shrieking vocals come to a furious conclusion amongst punishing backing. Assertive, brutal and brilliant, "She Will" is Savages' calling card.

I'm not one for copy and paste but I do love the statement posted to the bands website:

SAVAGES is not trying to give you something you didn’t have already, it is calling within yourself something you buried ages ago, it is an attempt to reveal and reconnect your PHYSICAL and EMOTIONAL self and give you the urge to experience your life differently, your girlfriends, your husbands, your jobs, your erotic life and the place music occupies in your life. Because we must teach ourselves new ways of POSITIVE MANIPULATIONS, music and words are aiming to strike like lightning, like a punch in the face, a determination to understand the WILL and DESIRES of the self.

Make sure you pre-order the CD / Vinyl via Savages own site - initial orders on clear vinyl.

Tips For 2013 - Part Four

The final part of my 'Tips for 2013'. If you've landed on this page and are interested in the other parts, you can find them at the following links: Parts One // Two // Three.

Savages - Facebook

Perhaps one of my most predictable tips ever for Savages have been just about everywhere (to a degree, they are hardly One Direction) over the past nine months. I almost left them off because the band hardly need the added acclaim of a small music blog, but that's not the right thing to do as Savages are easily one of the most exciting in music today (a thing they first proved to me at the Shacklewell Arms some time ago). Who'd of guessed twelve months ago when we all did our tips for 2012 lists that three of the newest bands to come through (Savages, Pins & Haim) would have been completely unknown to everyone - it goes to show these sort of lists aren't exactly gospel, but I like to think they're a bit of harmless fun and give a bit of added press to great new bands, which is hardly a bad thing.

Savages sound has been much talked about this year from the lazy 'female Joy Division' often branded around. The ferocious post-punk soundscapes of the London based quartet feature the most blistering intensity and entrancement, Savages music makes you want to play it louder and louder, again and again. Savages live show is almost faultless, driven by uncompromising basslines and tom heavy ponding drums, with brutal guitar lines adding distortion and noise while Jehn's shrieking vocals command and possess their sound brims with repressed energy which explodes with a juddering climax on the searing "City's Full", it's hypnotic and terrifyingly beautiful.

They are currently recording their debut full-length and seem set to conquer in 2013. Surely a spot on Monday's BBC Sound of 2013 will be confirmation of that.

SeaWitches - Facebook

This time with my 'ones to watch' posts around I've gone with acts who I think are a lot closer to releasing an album than on previous occasions (the fact that five of my thirteen tips are actually re-appearing on my tips list points to me being a little premature), this could certainly be one of those cases but the band in question, SeaWitches are one of most exciting new bands I've heard this year and with any luck you'll all find that out in 2013.

My love affair started in the summer of 2012 with two early tracks which I got hot under the collar about, saying this: "Another Clown Fight" with progressively flamboyant swirling guitar twangs, unsettling bass lines and skittling percussion, I can guarantee the twisted rhythm of the melody will get in your head as bewitching vocals sing haunting, sharp harmonies. "Red Light" sounds rawer as breezy guitar echoes with distorted harmonies, part 60's / 70's psychedelia. Then a live set (their London debut) blew me away before another track had me salivating again.

That track "Space Gun" is eight and a half minutes long and almost made up of two parts (please listen to it as a whole) and I'm not just say this, it will literally blow your mind, easily one of the best tracks I've heard in forever. It is that good. Starting with deep, hypnotic bass, hollow drums and swirling guitars the addictive, rocking groove gradually quickens in pace as the song progresses and it takes until a small bridge and bass lead for Jo's vocals to actually start at around the mid point of the song. The captivating, theatrical nature of her vocals is bound to lead to Siouxsie comparisons being made (for it seems everything has to be compared to something else for some reason), I'd rather call it SeaWitches, for this dramatic, slightly disturbing take on pysche-pop is a sound very much their own.

When SeaWitches make their way to a town near you, make sure you go...

September Girls - Facebook

Another of my long time (relative blog duration) favourites are September Girls, with 2012 delivering two wonderful 7"s and some well received trips to the UK following up from last years rough around the edges fuzz-pop introduction, 2013 promises even more as the Dublin quintet record their debut album.

Their majestic lo-fi garage pop rhythms and heavenly harmonies blend hypnotic, swirling psychedelia with fuzzy girl group pop, spacey korg and rumbling guitars goodness. A soon sold-out debut cassette "Wanting More" and a 7" single Green Eyed" doing likewise a perfect summation of Dublin's finest increasing popularity with fans and fellow blogs alike. They deserve all of it and more. One of the first bands I wrote down in preparation for these posts I can't wait to listen to the album next year.

That concludes my tips for 2013. Sorry to the acts who came close and missed out, there are plenty of you. The blog will now take a few days off due to a family addition (I finished this post in a baby ward so sorry for the bad English, rush job - I'm sure you understand) and return with my favourite releases of the year next week.

End of the Road 2012 - Festival Preview Part Two

Without any further ado, part two of my End of the Road 2012 preview, this post concentrates on the rest of the weekend after part one's focus on the Bella Union Friday:

Savages - Facebook
Sunday - Big Top Stage 12.15

Savages, the band of 2012 for many, many people. Everything they've done has found plaudits glaore and they've been called the saviours of post-punk / guitar bands ever since the rumbling "City's Full" hit early this year, the single Husbands / Flying to Berlin did little to settle the hype.

With it's ferocious, blistering intensity the four piece are the very definition of entrancement, with dark rumbling bass lines, menacing drum rhythms and Jehn's venomous vocals which hit you like a ton of bricks, Savages music makes you want to play it louder and louder, again and again.

Dark Dark Dark - Facebook
Saturday - Garden Stage 15.00

Dark Dark Dark haven't been featured here for a while, since 2010's Wild Go came to my attention through its luscious pinnacle, "Daydreaming", a real treat of a track, where vivid landscapes created by the beautifully complex yet delicate and well-crafted instrumentation, soulful vocals and soaring melodies sooth your mind and transport you to a beautiful place, somewhere like a field in Dorset towards the end of the summer....

The band have a new album Who Needs Who due in October and I'm interested to hear that in a live arena beforehand.

Perfume Genius - Facebook
Saturday - Garden Stage 16.45

Another festival and another recommendation to see the wonderful Perfume Genius, his recent show at St Pancras Old Church an indication of his talents, simply sublime, it managed to leave the entire crowd in utter awe, bruised, plaintive and compellingly beautiful, just like his two albums so far. Those wanting an intimate, captivating experience to light up their Saturday afternoon / early evening should look no further.

First Aid Kit - Facebook
Sunday - Garden Stage 16.45

As with Perfume Genius, First Aid Kit and I seem to be sharing festivals this year, that's no bad thing at all as far as I'm concerned. I wrote a preview for the band about five weeks ago, so I apologise in advance for this mainly regurgitated post.

Another of the year's finest records so far is First Aid Kit's second full-length The Lion's Roar. The Swedish sisters have long been a favourite folk-leaning act of mine, since I first saw them at back at Glastonbury 2010. They've grown since and now backed by a full band have a full, deep sound that perfectly suits their breathtaking harmonies and (cliché time) mature-beyond-their-years lyrics. Sincere and heart-felt, latest single "Blue" the perfect insight to their beguiling balance of sweet voices and rich production.

Guaranteed to leave those in attendance spellbound.

Islet - Facebook
Saturday - Big Top Stage 13.00

Welsh noise-makers Islet treated us to an early year album highlight with their debut Illuminated People, single "This Fortune" is everything I've come to expect from the Cardiff experimental act, unconventional and shambolic (in a good way) melodies, propulsive rhythms and clattering drums.

The drums really are amazing, for the all the chaos the band bring to their records (and even more so their live show) they are incredibly tight musicians, I love the vocals here too, trademark yelps a plenty. This set is a must-see, Islet really do live up to their live show reputation, with totally bonkers on-stage antics, exuberant energy and also more importantly, some bloody brilliant tracks. It'll be sweaty, hypnotic and lots and lots of fun.

Toy - Facebook
Saturday - Big Top Stage 15.30

I've not got too much to add to what I've said a couple of times about Toy in the month or so, displaying almost as much hair as talent, the London five piece summed up the buzz with "Left Myself Behind", an eight minute runaway rollercoaster that combines the best bits of psyche, krautrock and shoegaze in one glorious track, gorgeous shimmering guitars duel with the korg keys and consistent drum beats, to keep it simple, it's one of the essential tracks of the last six months from one of the UK's hottest new properties. Truly superb, hard, dense, melodic, brilliant, just like latest single "Dead & Gone".

The album is due in September and promises to be one of the year's essential purchases.