Swans, Battles and more for Off Festival 2012

Swans’ 2010 return to the studio and stage was inevitable. Few bands in rock history have had as much influence on guitar-driven music from the mid–90s onward: from My Bloody Valentine, Godflesh, Neurosis, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor to Sunn O))); from shoegaze and post-rock to industrial metal and drone — the Big Bang that took place in New York in the mid–80s left its mark on innumerable projects. Many years have passed since Swans’ full-length debut Filth, and the term No Wave is now familiar mostly to avid readers of popular music history textbooks, but one thing hasn’t changed: the inspired determination and divine insanity with which noise prophet Michael Gira and his bandmates perform their onstage ritual. It’s likely that OFF Festival audiences will hear tracks off the group’s upcoming album, currently in the works, titled The Seer. If you do decide to venture up close to the stage — Swans’ magnetic pull is hard to resist — take our advice: don’t forget your earplugs.

Rare is that band that can worthily be called a leader and a true innovator on the alternative scene after the release of just two albums. This New York group, which is celebrating its 10th birthday this year, has succeeded in this difficult art. On the one hand, the musicians in Battles have brought in their virtuosity and the experience gained in previous projects (such as Helmet and Don Caballero), and on the other hand, they’ve assumed an attitude of complete openness to new challenges, as made evident by Battles’ second release Gloss Drop (2011) and the concerts that followed, including the latest edition of the legendary festival All Tomorrow’s Parties, curated by Battles.

Kurt Vile and The Violators
No, “Kurt Vile” isn’t a cheap pseudonym. Hailing from the suburbs of Philadelphia, this long-haired bard owes his perfect combination of first and last names to his music-loving dad, who also gave him his first instrument: a banjo, so that Kurt could play bluegrass and country. But while the influence of these genres is still evident in his music, Kurt’s latest work is more reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen. Not literally — the similarity lies in their eclectic approach to music. On the one hand, Kurt has remained faithful to folk traditions, but on the other, his arrangements and styles reveal sounds more rooted in the world of alternative guitar music. No wonder his latest album, Smoke Ring For My Halo (2011, Matador Records), won universal acclaim from fans and critics.

Baxter Dury
Perhaps things would have been easier if he had just followed in the footsteps of his famous father, Ian Dury, but Baxter isn’t one to take the easy way out. His latest and third album, the critically-lauded Happy Soup, is an intimate confession by a mature and sensitive guy. Maximum results with a minimum of means. “With each listen you’re more and more absorbed by and into his own world,” warns one BBC reviewer.

After the disbanding of the cult group Spacemen 3, one of the most important projects in the history of psychedelic rock, Jason Pierce went his own way under the name Spiritualized, while Peter Kember began recording and performing under such names as Sonic Boom, Experimental Audio Research, and Spectrum. The OFF Festival will host that last incarnation. The group’s noisy yet colorful sound and astonishing formal range — from catchy pop tunes to improvised drones — led My Bloody Valentine to choose Spectrum as the perfect support band for their 2009 comeback tour.

Ren Schofield has been sparking the interest of astute experts on American underground music since he launched his own label, I Just Live Here, to self-release cassette tapes filled with original, lo-fi electronic music, but it wasn’t until until he came out with an album, simply titled LP (Spectrum Spools), that the whole world took notice. Ren hails from Nashville, but he sounds like a native of Detroit. If Burial’s far-out sounds were a distant echo of rave, then Container offers a similarly detached reminiscence of Detroit techno. It’s hard music to dance to, but it’s easy to forget where and whom you danced with.

Pre Party
Unfortunately Diamond Rings will not be performing at the August 2 before party and taking their place will be Nils Frahm, the Berlin-based composer and producer known for his melancholy, meditative music based on austere piano sounds. True nighttime listening for fans of ambient and contemporary music.
Pre Party Line Up: Matthew Herbert (One Pig) + Alva Noto (Katowice Centre of Culture), Nils Frahm + Sleep Party People (Hipnoza Club). Please note that the capacity of the Hipnoza Club is limited and entry is on a first come first served basic.

Four Day OFF Pass – 32 EUROS
Pass for all concerts (2nd-5th August 2012 – no camping)

Four Day OFF Pass + Camping – 41 EUROS
Pass for all concerts (2nd-5th August 2012 – including camping)

Pre Party – 18 EUROS

Pass for all concerts on 2nd August only. Matthew Herbert (One Pig) + Alva Noto (Katowice Centre of Culture), Nils Frahm + Sleep Party People (Hipnoza Club). Please note that the capacity of the Hipnoza Club is limited and entry is on a first come first served basic.

Buy tickets here http://off-festival.pl/en/2012/shop.html

Standon Calling first artists announced

SpiritualizedStill to announce one more headliner, the initial acts to top the bill are Spiritualized and Battles! A perfect fit for a theme that combines the divine and devilish, Spiritualized are making their only confirmed UK festival appearance so far at Standon Calling, headlining the Main Stage on Saturday night. With their first album in three years due for release in the autumn, the seminal rockers are likely to treat the crowd to a mix of new material and music from their genius back catalogue, which includes classic albums Songs in A&E and Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.

battlesBattles will take to the stage on Friday night, armed with new material from their much-anticipated new album Gloss Drop. Released on June 6th it’s their first album since 2007! With a new vocalist to announce, Battles are a band likely to be on everyone’s lips this summer and it’s an honour to have them rock the Standon stage. Like Spiritualized, Battles deservedly enjoy a reputation for stretching sonic boundaries and they’ve promised a jaw-dropping live show.

We’re really thrilled to have such exciting live headliners. Both Spiritualized and Battles’ sets are going to be something special,” says Festival Director, Graham Macvoy. “But further down the bill we’ve got some other real gems when it comes to live performances and this is only the start. We have lots more artists still to announce.

Recently formed Penguin Café are on board, a faithful continuation of the original Penguin Café Orchestra founded by the late musical visionary, Simon Geddes. His son Arthur is behind the reincarnation of the signature Penguin Café sound, with the new line-up also featuring Suede’s Neil Codling. There will be live spectacles aplenty. Spoken word will vie with electro-swing and a whole host of other entertaining antics yet to be revealed.

On chief dialectic duties is legendary punk poet John Cooper Clark who has opened for various rock royalty including the Sex Pistols and the Buzzcocks. Alternative hip hop MC Saul Williams is also performing with a full live band. A prolific, multi-faceted artist, Saul has collaborated with Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails); acted in independent movie, Slam; and released four collections of incredible poetry. Standon Calling know its revellers love to dance and have invited electro-swing scene torch bearers The Correspondents along, who are joined by all-singing, all-dancing, all electro-swinging extraordinaires Caravan Palace.

Also on the bill are Scottish post-electro band, Errors, who can name check Mogwai as a mentor; one of India’s best-selling artists, Raghu Dixit; and Canadian indie rock trio, Born Ruffians, who have an adventurous approach to covers, paying homage to acts as diverse as Grizzly Bear and Aphex Twin. They won’t be the only band playing eclectic covers at Standon. The East London eight-piece, New Orleans-style horn extravaganza, Brassroots put their own twist on classics like ‘Karma Police’ and ‘Seven-Nation Army’ and are an unmissable live act.

Standon Calling enjoys a reputation for showcasing emerging talent and this year’s buzz bands include Trophy Wife and Various Cruelties, alongside a rare appearance from Malachai, who will mix up their DJ set with live performance. More emerging talent will be on show in the form of Silver Moths, Tripwires and Maddox. The 17 bands announced are just the start, with many more acts and another very special headliner due to be revealed in the coming months.