THE BEGINNING

It’s the line-up of the summer, so we’ve recruited some guest writers to supply their tips.

Primavera-Sound-Festival-2016

It’s not far away now. The line-up for this year’s Primavera Sound in Barcelona is just as boss as always. It all officially kicks off on Wednesday 1 June. Already we’ve had GOAT and Beirut make preview playlists themed around this year’s edition. All the artists we’ve encountered have always talked about the prestige and thrill of playing Primavera – principally because it regularly turns in the best line-up of the summer.

We asked some of the acts playing to pick another artist on the bill they want to catch, and tell us why. Pantha Du Prince, Tortoise, Chairlift, Protomartyr, Julien Baker and Daughter contributed their thoughts.

Pantha Du Prince on The Chills

The one I’m looking forward to the most is The Chills – this 80s band from New Zealand. I’m a big fan of their work and their approach to guitar music. It was quite revolutionary what they did in the beginning of the 80s. ‘Pink Frost’ is from ’82, they’re still in school, and this song is one of my all time favourites. I’m really happy that they’re playing again because they were really quiet for a long, long time. I’ve not seen them before. It’s normally not my generation listening to The Chills, it’s an older generation. They were a remarkable band at that time. They’re on the same stage and the same day as us. I’ve been waiting to see them since I heard ‘Pink Frost’ for the first time which was probably in the mid-90s. I would never have guessed that they would play again – it’s like Slowdive or other favourite bands of mine from that time. It’s really important that young people can follow up on these projects because its something that’s not existing at the moment. A certain atmosphere and a certain way of composing music. It’s definitely ‘Pink Frost’ I want to see them play – for me it’s an all-time classic. They have this drive, these chords. It’s a little bit like a southern hemispheric The Smiths. It picks you up and puts you in a psychedelic state of mind.

Tortoise (Doug McCombs) on Mudhoney

I don’t think I’ll be able to but I’m interested to see Mudhoney. They’ve been able to transcend the black hole of “grunge” by not really being part of it. I admire musicians who can be serious about playing music without taking themselves or the things that happen around them too seriously. Mudhoney manages to be heartfelt, irreverent, catchy, sloppy, powerful, noisy, ugly and beautiful all in the course of a song. These are the things that make great rock ‘n’ roll. I’d like to think that they still play together because they love to play together. They seem to.”

Protomartyr (Joe Casey) on Vince Staples/Downtown Boys

A festival of this size means but one thing for me: too many people. So I usually don’t bother trying to venture around. I hope to fritter away my day under some sparse shade, pleasantly drunk and untroubled. But I can’t hide behind a cluster of dumpsters the whole time, so I will have to muster the strength to “festival” at some point. I can represent the whole band in saying we are most looking forward to seeing Vince Staples on Thursday. He is performing right before us on the same day due to some lucky quirk of arcane festival scheduling – so fortune has smiled upon us. Sadly, we won’t be around on Sunday to catch another of my preferred bands: Downtown Boys. Just because we’ll be far afield doesn’t stop you from checking them out. Victoria Cruz is the best frontperson going today. Seriously, my own attempt at frontpersoning is but gargling and sputtering in comparison. Downtown Boys are righteous – in the best possible definition of that word. And they have a saxophone.

Daughter (Igor Haefeli) on Kiasmos

Kiasmos makes the kind of minimal techno you won’t be surprised to hear stems from Iceland, the Faroe Islands and, from time to time, Berlin: soulful yet cold, sparse in its use of space but richer than you would first expect, blurring the lines between organic and electronic seamlessly.

The people at work here are Janus Rasmussen from the excellent Bloodgroup and Òlafur Arnalds, composer extraordinaire going from strength to strength in the past few years, both no stranger to electronic-influenced music. Putting out their records through the equally brilliant Erased Tapes label, they sound exactly like what they are: two talented musicians in their own right embracing together a genre they love, bending its codes and twisting its textures with their recognisable sensibilities in the most tasteful of ways.

Repeating loops of intimate piano and strings serve as emotional counterpoint to sampled acoustic sound bites and pure sonic synthesis. This is the kind of fusion you can easily loose yourself to – contemplative and exciting at the same time, slow-burning and dynamic with the steady pulse of techno carrying you along. If you haven’t already, have a listen to ‘Swayed’ or ‘Looped’ make sure to discover more by seeing them close the Primavera stage Friday night, a slot so perfect for them it would be a shame to miss the planets aligning and abstain from an introspective dance.

Julien Baker on Sigur Ros

One act that everyone at the festival should definitely plan on seeing is Sigur Ros. Their live performance is absolutely life-changing. Sigur Ros albums already sound like a soundtrack to the most triumphant and heartbreaking moments of life, and that’s just the record. When I finally saw them play live, I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer intensity that couldn’t be captured in a recording. Everything about this band is powerful, even the vocals, which ignore lyrical boundaries and are more or less employed as another instrument, forgo complexity and rely on pure sound to pierce straight to the audience’s soul, giving their music a unique quality that is universally poignant, and undeniably beautiful.

Chairlift (Caroline Polachek) on Radiohead

The Primavera line-up this year is incredible, so it’s hard to pick just one act to recommend (PJ Harvey, Current 93, Sigur Ros, argh!). But since they were such a huge part of my inner world as a teenager, and their work is just as relevant and fresh now as it was then, our pick would be to see Radiohead. They’ve been elusive lately until dropping ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ earlier this month, so the air will be quite charged. People have been waiting a long time to see them again. Radiohead deconstructs their songs in their live arrangements, so it’s extra thrilling to see them if you’re familiar with their catalogue, and can hear the changes they make. We’ll be getting in the night before our set on Saturday, and will be running straight to the festival from the airport to catch their set.

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