Ones to Watch at Green Man 2018

Green Man 2018It’s not every festival that offers showings of Czech New Wave classic Daisies, separate listings for performing and visual arts, and an invitation to help build a vagina museum. The Green Man 2018 edition certainly does, though. As you can probably glean from that, the Brecon Beacons-based, proudly non-corporate festival is certainly among the more grown up of the multiday pop music events in the UK.

That’s very much reflected in a guitar-orientated lineup; suffice to say, this is not the festival for grime enthusiasts. Green Man 2018 is headlined by a shampoo-and-condition full house of War on Drugs, Fleet Foxes, and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.

Of course, the really good stuff lies slightly further down the billing. At Green Man 2018, we’re particularly excited about…

Snail Mail

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Kylian Mbappé wasn’t the only 19-year old to make an impact this summer. Snail Mail’s debut long player Lush has been one of the revelations of this year. It has all the hallmarks of a teenage guitar album – yearning, bittersweet, personal. To consider it solely in this light, however, is to do Jordan a huge and unfair disservice. Because Lush is a melodic masterpiece, somewhere in between Camera Obscura and late-80s Wedding Present. She joins the ranks of Stef Chura and Soccer Mommy in the pleasing new wave of female indie rock artists coming out of the US.

Jane Weaver

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Jane Weaver, in contrast, has been making music with various groups since 2002, though only really breaking into the mainstream consciousness in the last few years. 2017’s Modern Kosmology represents the high point of her efforts – a wonderful meeting of concept (references to Swedish conceptual art, a spoken word section from an ex-member of Can) and funky compactness. Broadcast would be the obvious comparison, though Weaver is distinctly more of the magic dancefloor than the magic forest.

Cate Le Bon

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Cate Le Bon (no relation to Simon) has been putting out a steady stream of unpredictable arch jazz-tinged folk over the past decade, both under her own name and collaboratively with Tim Presley under the moniker Drinks (Hippo Lite, their latest, is one of the most interesting things you’ll hear this year). Often weird, always wonderful, this is definitely music for grownups – though her last solo album was named after an alternative to April Fools’ Day, where we just draw crabs instead. Her next project? Producing the latest from Deerhunter, cementing her status as musical royalty.

Floating Points

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To call the music of Floating Points ‘cerebral’ takes on a whole other aspect when you take into the account the man behind the name, Sam Shepard is a fucking neuroscientist. Well, there’s no getting around the fact that the Floating Points’ recent output – ambient-noisescapes, built from bubbling electronics and screeching guitar, not uncommonly pushing through the 10-minute mark – is definitely on the more chin-stroking end of the musical spectrum, albeit not at the expense of some solid post-rock dancing material. It’s like being trapped inside the middle section of a Zeppelin-referencing Mars Volta number – in the best possible way.

Frankie Cosmos

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We mentioned the very pleasing female-led indie rock renaissance currently taking place in the States above. No doubt we owe some of the credit to Greta Kline, who performs as Frankie Cosmos. While it’s only been four years since the release of her debut Zentropy, released when she was a teenager, she’s something of a veteran. Her whimsical, self-deprecating, narrative songs – delivered in an almost-whisper above the buzz of melodic lo-fi guitar lines – span comedy and tragedy, aloofness and deep feeling, in a way that only the strongest songwriters can. She doesn’t even sound like she’s trying – punk as fuck.

Outside of this top five, we’re also hoping to catch – among many others – the baroque grandeur of John Grant, the otherworldly accomplishment of Grizzly Bear, the angular art pop of Dirty Projectors, the blissed-out retro sounds of Whyte Horses, the band that Kurt Cobain declared were the best in the world: indie legends Teenage Fanclub

…take a breath…

…the sophisticated blips and swells and Kelly Lee Owens, the slick post-punk of Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, the psychedelic folk-rock of Kevin Morby, the majesty of a peak-era Mount Kimbie, and the guitar-swinging-around-the-head antics of Japanese hard rockers, Bo Ningen… Phew!

Green Man 2018 takes place between 16-19th August, in Wales. Find out more on the festival website.

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