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Feature | The hidden gems of Green Man Festival ’14

by Tom Johnson

If the headliners alone weren’t enough to convince you that this years Green Man Festival boasts the best line-up these shores have to offer, then the under-card almost certainly will. Nestled away in the countryside somewhere in the Brecon Beacons, this years line-up offers an array of talent from the more-measured side of the musical atlas, but it was more than enough to convince GoldFlakePaint to finally make the journey in to the Welsh hills for the very first time – and we couldn’t be more excited.

To further emphasise the majesty of this years Green Man parade, we’ve rustled through the A-Z list to pick out some of the lesser-known gems that will be appearing over the course of what promises to be a very special weekend indeed. Have a look and a listen below and we’ll see you for a dance-off during Caribou on Friday night, if not before.

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East India Youth

Walled Garden stage, Saturday

William Doyle might well be a much-praised outfit in his own right, but he’s up against some pretty hefty competition – playing at the same time as both Slint and Mercury Rev. Before you make that horrifying decision, you should know that Will’s shows in his East India Youth mold are some of the most vital and hedonistic shows around. We just made that decision all the more difficult, right? Sorry.

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Joanna Gruesome

Far Out tent, Sunday

Early promise has turned into constant delivery of some of the best slabs of guitar music of the past year or so. Layers of fuzzy guitar, beautifully endearing vocal hooks and an energy that is utterly contagious. Don’t miss them. Just, don’t.

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Hockeysmith

Far Out tent, Sunday

We’ve followed the creepy, haunting pop music of this Cornwall duo since they first appeared last year – and they’re yet to put a foot wrong. Their music is emphatic but shaded, casting images of the stark and spectacularly landscapes from which it was borne. Yet to tour the UK properly (they’ve played the occasional stellar support slot) it’ll be a great opportunity to see if the live show matches the brilliance of their recorded sound.

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Julie Byrne

Walled Garden stage, Saturday

One of the finest songwriters of her generation arrives in the UK for her first set of live performances on these shores. Her new album ‘Rooms With Walls & Windows‘ came out on Owen Ashworth’s (Casiotone For The Painfully Alone) label and is one of the most beautifully raw albums of the year. Folk structures with occasional psych flourishes, it’s an evocative and atmospheric collection of songs that takes on even greater meaning in the live environment. Miss her at your peril.

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Gengahr

Green Man Rising

Signed to the brilliant Transgressive label just last week, Gengahr are quickly becoming the most talked about new band in the country. Their moody, hypnotic take on indie rock is winning plaudits across the board and it’s no surprise to see them signing to such an established label. They’re playing a slew of festivals across the Summer so should be in tip-top form come Green Man.

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Babe

Walled Garden stage, Friday

Babe’s ‘Volery Flightly‘ LP, released back in March via Moshi Moshi, has been one of the mainstays on the GFP stereo and the five-piece, who hail from Glasgow, could well provide one of the most celebratory sets of the festival, come rain or shine. The band make immediately-endearing pop songs which bury themselves under your skin, and we can’t wait to awkwardly shuffle along to them. Be sure to join us.

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Alice Boman

Walled Garden stage, Friday

The kind of artist who can break your day in two with one softly-sung line, Alice Boman makes delicate and deeply-affecting folk songs – and nowhere is that better identified than on this years ‘EP II’; a passionate and moving collection of songs from Sweden’s most alluring of exports. Her set promises to be a much-needed moment of reflection and you shouldn’t miss it.

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The Phantom Band

Far Out stage, Friday

Is it fair to call Glasgow’s finest purveyor of skewed-folk-pop perennial underdogs? Possibly not, but their perfect back catalogue should have thrust the band far higher than they’re currently situated. Which isn’t to say that they’re under-achieving, it’s just that we love everything they’ve ever done and we want the world to follow suit. So hurry up and meet us at the front to watch this quite-brilliant band come alive. You can probably have a wee dance too, y’know.

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Happyness

Walled Garden stage, Saturday

Ah, Happyness, you little rascals. Flying the flag for British scuzzy guitar rock, the trio make gnarly but brilliant slack indie rock and latest track ‘You Come To Kill Me?!’ is no exception, marrying Weezer-esque vocals with contagious melodies and a sense of spirit that never gives up. Currently playing a bunch of dates with the brilliant Speedy Ortiz, and with an impressive number of tracks already under their belt, they’re certainly worth taking a chance on.

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Eaves

Walled Garden stage, Saturday

We only discovered Eaves recently, despite the Leeds-based singer-songwriter having already gaining quite the reputation and following, thanks in no small part to his somewhat mesmerising way of combining subtle guitar lines with grainy and affecting vocals. Gorgeously melancholic folk, Joseph Lyons wears his heart on his sleeve and his set will almost certainly be worth checking out.

Memory Palace

Nope, no musical accompaniment here but Memory Palace is a new joint-venture between Mark & Emma Daman Thomas of Islet fame – and given that they’re one of the most consistently brilliant bands in the land, it’s almost certainly worth checking out. The performance is also part of Mark’s Shape Records showcase which will be roundly rewarding.

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Green Man Festival takes place 14th – 17th August.

Full line-up and ticket info can be found here:

greenman.net

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Photo of Julie Byrne by Tonje Thilesen

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