THE BEGINNING

We’ve taken our nerdy planning pencil to this year’s line-up poster. Here’s what we think the highlights will be.

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The line-up for this year’s End of the Road festival is really great. And, for the first time, we’re going to be doing some stuff with the festival in Dorset this September. We have a stage on the Friday and, after Bat For Lashes has headlined on Saturday, we’re going to be hosting ‘The Bride’s’ wedding reception. If you haven’t listened to Natasha Khan’s fourth album, read this, and you’ll understand that this will be a party with a doomy twist. BFL herself will join us to play some records. We’ll be doing some other exciting stuff there, too. So, if you’re coming, say hello, and if you’re still undecided get a move on. Here’s our pick of the acts we’re looking forward to from the broader music line-up.

Lionlimb
End of The Road fits Joshua Jaeger and Stewart Bronaugh like Download fits Iron Maiden and T in The Park fits sausage meat and strong lager. That’s musically and thematically. The New York duo formed whilst touring in Angel Olsen’s backing band and wrote their debut album, ‘Shoo’, in the back of vans and beside motorways. Needless to say, it’s a record that hungers for home and lovingly romanticises the journey, sounding not unlike Elliott Smith and resurrecting the ’70s soul sound of the Fender Rhodes electric piano. Sure, go and see Whitney too, but EOTR will be Lionlimb’s first UK show, and for something more jazz club than country barn, don’t miss it.

Bat For Lashes
Natasha Khan has recently been previewing her fourth album, ‘The Bride’ (a concept record about a cursed wedding that never was, due to the untimely death of the husband-to-be), in churches up and down the country. Her crystalline, haunted cry has wisped down every nave that seems constructed just for her broken heart. For End of The Road she’s told us: “there’ll be candles and a really sacred feel… but we might get some extra musicians on stage to make it a bit grander, and then I think we’ll do some old songs and some covers.” It’ll probably be the most atmospheric performance of the weekend. Listen to Natasha Khan chat through her plans on our podcast, Midnight Chats.

Cat’s Eyes
Faris Badwan and Rachel Zeffira were forced to pull out of an End of The Road in-store show last month after they realised that they couldn’t do their new album, ‘Treasure House’, the justice it deserved with the stripped down lineup that could fit on the stage at the Rough Trade record store. As excuses go, it’s pretty bulletproof, and bodes well for every show they do play. While their eponymous debut album in 2011 was largely inspired by Spector’s girl groups of the 60s, ‘Treasure House’ is more in the vein of ‘Paris 1919’-era John Cale, with feather light orchestrations arranged by Zeffira who then flip-flops with Badwan on lead vocal duties.

Joanna Newsom
It’s all part of Joanna Newsom’s allure that she’s also kind of elusive. She supported the release of her fourth album (2015’s ‘Divers’) with a select few interviews and scattered live appearances. Fortunately, EOTR is a place close to her heart (she returns having headlined back in 2011). Live, she’s exquisite. Not so much as playing her songs as casting spells over the audience with her orchestral harp and a small selection of accompanying performers. It’s an almost hypnotic experience and essential viewing. Plus, truth is, with Newsom, you’re never quite sure when she’ll be back again.

Margot Price
Fans of contemporary (non corny) country music don’t have to look far at this year’s festival. It’s in abundance. Karl Blau, Whitney, Julia Jacklin all put their spin on it. So, too, does Margot Price, the first ‘country music’ signing to Jack White’s Third Man Records. She’s been cast as the genre’s rebel outsider, something of an outlaw, but really she’s just being herself – a 33-year-old mother who has survived her fair share of ups and downs. She may have one cowboy boot in the traditional world of country (she’s the daughter of a farmer, moved to Nashville after college, sung in empty bars on Broadway), but Margot Price is more about the grit than the glam side of middle America’s beloved soundtrack.

Anna Meredith
You should be taking earplugs to every festival you go to anyway. At Reading it’s because people shout “bollocks” through the campsite all night; at End of The Road this year it’ll be because Anna Meredith will perform her completely unique hybrid of neo classicalism and jet-engine, twisted, loud, loud, loud electronic pop (?) music. Joined on stage by virtuoso cellists, a fierce drummer and a guitarist light-years beyond bar chords, Meredith conducts this studious racket from behind a bank of synths while usually blowing into a clarinet that sounds like something else entirely. It sounds good, right?

Flamingods
If you take one look down the End of The Road line up in search of a cosmic jam band who might just capture the daft and freeing and trendless magic of listening to music in a field for a weekend, one name will jump out, and it’s not necessarily Flamingods. We’re going to go and see Goat as well, but this collection of percussionists from Brixton are more inclusive than the psychedelic Swedes, with a charming, homespun inhibition that’s catching once you’re feet away from them and their drum collection from Tanzania, the Middle East and the Amazon Basin. More often than not, they’ll also let you get up there and join the band for the night.

Words: Stuart Stubbs and Greg Cochrane

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