City-based festival Live At Leeds returns for its ninth year 1-4 May, with the main stay of acts – 200 in fact – playing on the Saturday (2). Festival booker Ben Lewis has made us a Playlist of his personal picks.
George The Poet – If The Shoe Fits "Tipped by the BBC Sound Of 2015 list for big things, George The Poet is a very exciting new artist. His insightful, socially minded lyrics have made him into one of the most interesting artists around and could possibly usher in a new generation of protest singer, with something really relatable to say."
Hookworms – Radio Tokyo "Radio Tokyo has been received some heavy rotation over at Live At Leeds HQ as well. Hookworms are one of the most exciting and visceral live bands to emerge in years, melding their noise rock, krauted out, wall of sound with the energy and spirit of early Dischord hardcore bands."
Gaz Coombes – 20/20 "Everyone knows Gaz Coombes for his work with Supergrass but his new record Matador is a total revelation, it’s original, forward thinking, exciting and sounds like the record Radiohead could have followed In Rainbows with if they hadn’t immersed themselves in walls of synthesisers – not a bad thing!"
Ekkah – Last Chance To Dance "Ekkah have been doing the rounds on the blogs throughout 2014 and are a real prospect to make it big this year. This Brummie duo have sleek production, funk tinged basslines and the kind of hooks Mariah Carey would be proud of."
Flo Morrissey – Pages Of Gold "Starting out from humble stripped back acoustic origins, Flo Morrissey has developed into something seriously exciting. The first time I heard this song I presumed it was either new Florence + The Machine or new Lana Del Rey, so pretty big comparisons. Beautiful, melancholic, chamber pop."
Joanna Gruesome – Psykick Espionage "Joanna Gruesome are one of the UK’s underground successes of the last 12-18 months garnering themselves a reputation for furious live shows and killer hooks. Brutal punk rhythms, Mascis guitars and sweet choruses to boot, they are great fun."
Menace Beach – Tastes Like Medicine "One of the most exciting bands coming out of Leeds right now, a lot has been made of Menace Beach’s cast of guest appearances (Hookworms, Pulled Apart By Horses, Sky Larkin) - But the real success here is the brilliant fuzz pop at the bands core. Debut record Ratworld is 33 minutes of riffy, hook filled, brilliance."
Tobias Jesso Jr – How Could You Babe "Writers have compared this Canadian singer-songwriter to Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman and Bob Dylan. To me it’s just superbly crafted, beautifully vulnerable, piano balladeering that sounds classic already, it could have come from any decade of the last 60 years and still sound timeless."
Bully – Brainfreeze "Bully is the brainchild of Steve Albini’s protégé Alicia Bognanno, who is one seriously talented musician and engineer. With her band behind her she has perfected the art of the scrappy, fuzzy punk pop hit. Probably the act I’m looking forward to catching the most across the weekend."
Pinkshinyultrablast – Holy Forest "Pigeonholed as Shoegaze, Russian noisemakers Pinkshinyultrablast have proved themselves to be much more than just that. Archetypal walls of fuzz meet killer riffs and dreamy hook laden vocals to create something quite special."
Vitamin – For You "Another local act making quite the name for themselves. Vitamin have been gigging solidly, honing their craft, landing on meticulously crafted, shimmering guitar pop, these guys could easily be the next 1975 or Peace, and they dress great too."
For the full line-up and more head to Liveatleeds.com.