Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit
Ten Bands to See at End of the Road Festival

Ten Bands to See at End of the Road Festival

23 August 2013, 16:00


We’ve made no secret of our long-term love affair with the magical, enthralling world that blooms in the North of Dorset with the coat-tails of summer: End of the Road festival.

Founded in 2006 by Simon Taffe and Sofia Hagberg, the charm of this boutique beauty has evolved far past being just a autumnal milestone, and now represents an essential contribution to the festival summer, and in the words of our founder Rich Thane: “the best small festival in the world, without exception”. We’re thrilled to be working with the festival as their online media partners, and as previously reported, will be curating a series of secret shows in all the nooks and crannies we can find.

With only a week to go before the festivities kick off, we’ve taken a break from welly-polishing to try and work out the ten acts we’re most excited about catching. With the festival’s strong curatorial sense, and tip-top taste, it’s no easy mission, but you’ll be certain to find us at any, and all, of the the below.

10. Braids – Big Top Stage, Friday

They may have lost a member, in the shape of co-founder Kate Lee, in the interim period between debut Native Speaker and this year’s sophomore Flourish // Perish, but 2013 has proven Braids to be as strong as ever. By cutting their drowning, depthless quality with a sharp attention to detail, their wash of abstract ellipses, glitchy loops, and caterwauling melodies that intersect and intertwine gains in maturity and poignancy, and bolsters their lush conclusion with slow-burning subtlety. It manages to be simultaneously alien and challenging, at the same time as exuding a hypnotic quality and tempered restraint that’s totally irresistible. Watching them break down the boundaries between live and organic, with their intelligence and innate knack for a catchy hook, promises to be an early highlight.

9. Deptford Goth – Big Top Stage, Saturday

Daniel Woolhouse has come a long way since riffing off Mariah Carey tracks. With the release of Life After Defo this year, he proved himself defo-nitely (I apologise) worthy of occupying the upper echelon of the recent spurt in bedroom artists treading turf between soul and system, melding personal intimacy with cloudy electronica. It’s a lonely cage for a Woolhouse’s tender heart, and a world of digital devotion we recommend as a mellowing calm before your Saturday night antics.

8. Ethan Johns – Garden Stage, Saturday

Judging by the records he’s worked on, Ethan Johns should need no introduction. Behind a bristling beard and a mixing desk, this man is to thank for some pioneering records country and folk records of the last 15 years – amongst them Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker and the last three Laura Marling records. He’s got some pretty impressive pipes on his own, shown off along his enviable talents as a multi-instrumentalist on last year’s solo album If Not Now then When. Back home on British shores after a stint in LA, we’re thrilled to join in the mid-festival welcome for this production legend. We were lucky to grab Ethan for a session earlier this year, which you can watch below.

7. Warpaint – Woods Stage, Saturday

Absent since the release of 2010’s The Fool, this pre-headline main stage slot marks a welcome return to the fold for the haunting gloom of this LA four-piece. Although details around their second album proper are scant, the critical acclaim and extensive touring that surrounding their previous effort assures the anticipation around it. If the epic grandiosity of Sigur Ros that follows them is more an bombastic emotional skyrocket, Warpaint exude a ghostly, enigmatic quality that acts as a perfect shadowy prelude. It may pique with a slower release, but it always promises to be worth the wait. Don’t miss this chance to hear a preview of new material.

6. Eels – Woods Stage, Friday

Despite their occasional, possibly accidental slips into the mainstream, the near-two-decade old project of Mark Oliver Everett (better known as “E”) must rank amongst the best-loved cult icons still making music. Born into alienation, and influenced by the non-relationship with his millionaire physicist father, E’s constant dealing with dark, morbid subjects, and personal tragedies that have plagued his adult life, have led him towards being figured as the tortured songwriter, forever misquoted as the purveyor “a beautiful day”. Those who know him better, however, are privy to the trauma behind the brave face, and the incredible oeuvre that it has inspired. Often known to indulge a bluesy raucousness live, it’s always a rollicking show, injected with E’s stark honesty, which does just what it does on record: bridge the ground between heartbreaking and heartwarming.

5. Julianna Barwick – Tipi Tent Stage, Friday

Barwick’s 2011 album, The Magic Place, felt perfectly titled. The open-ended, sublime textures of her looping, cyclical washes were the ideal environment to lose yourself in. As vocal layers build upon each other, the scopic detail of her cosy foundations swell to reach overwhelming sonic and emotional crescendos on a plane far more than the sum of its parts. Drenched in luscious reverb, her critically lauded latest release, Nepenthe is a welcome step on a similar path, and another mass of swirling beauty. In the close quarters of a smaller tent, her gorgeous din comes magnified with a soothing proximity, with the remarkable product of Barwick’s slender frame all the more impressive.

4. Matthew E. White – Garden Stage, Friday

White’s return to these shores comes backed by a new addition to this year’s breakthrough album Big Inner. Lavish and tender, his touching blend of jazz-inflected, Gospel indebted Americana comes expanded with bonus EP Outer Face. He’s hirsute enough to fit in at this beardiest of festivals, and the genuine emotion behind his intimate sermons shows off the expanses of his gentle heart. His live show is a heartwarming extension of this, delivered with his humble affectations and amusing crowd interactions perfect for the proverbial festival afternoon.

3. MONEY – Big Top Stage, Friday

If there’s a new guitar band this year with more to say than MONEY, we’re yet to hear them. With debut album The Shadow of Heaven, the Mancunian four-piece have been injecting a much need boost of intellectualism into the current clime, with maverick frontman Jamie Lee half-challenging, half-coercing a new fire-brand of philosophical Romanticism that wilfully grapples with weighty intellectual opposition. Sonically though, it’s a beautiful, fragile, glassy atmosphere that swirls and re-sets itself into morphing, abstract shapes in the live arena. Lee’s troubadour poeticism extends to the confidence and theatre of the band’s show – you’re just as likely to find him writhing on the floor in conflicted passion as you are to find him snogging someone in the front row. Near-guaranteed to big things, don’t miss this opportunity to catch this unique proposition before they become an even more valuable proposition.

2. Savages – Big Top Stage, Friday headliners

In a year of big-budget show-stealers and unstoppable tide of returning golden oldies, Savages have fearlessly marked out their own turf from the bottom up. If you’ve yet to see them live (where have you been?) or been swept up by the extent to which they’ve universally arrested the world’s music press (where have you been?), then this headline slot is unmissable. Their razor-sharp, politicised take on a classic post-punk sound is shot through with an immediate modernity – manifesting itself in the band’s darkly ferocious take on feminism, technology and communication. It’s a brutal demanding for silence in a never-quiet world, and commanding call for solidarity in the face of proliferating distraction. A word of warning: leave your smartphones and small talk at the door, as anything less than full focus is strictly forbidden.

1. Belle & Sebastian – Woods Stage, Sunday headliners

From darkness to light – as Belle & Sebastian take to the main-stage to close the festival on Sunday night, treading the same boards as their impressive company (David Byrne & St. Vincent round things off Friday, and Sigur Ros headline Saturday). Since 1996, these indie-poppers have found international super-stardom, winning hearts over the world round with their wistful, winsome and enchanting spin on lo-fi pop music. Their nostalgic quality now carries a double edge – as their gentle ascendancy pays tribute to the enamour of their back-catalogue, boasting a huge brace of hits sure to strike a series of heartstrings at the festival’s close. Led by Stuart Murdoch’s deftly observed and eccentric vivacity, their stylish take on lush chamber pop (don’t say the t-word) never strays completely from the frontman’s sense of tension. Brush up on your choruses – who’s feeling sinister?

Check out the full line-up, and the day-by-day band split, on the poster below. There are still a very small amount of tickets remaining for the festival, available here, but with them likely to sell out within the next couple of days, we suggest moving very quickly.

End of the Road Running Order Poster

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