Photo: Joe Singh
And thus, we enter into August, the final month so summer, and ultimately, the impending end of this year’s festival season. Boo. However, on the other hand, we’re now only a few weeks from the world’s best experimental and contemporary music festival, ArcTanGent. Sat atop the scenic Mendip hills between the dates of 16th and 18th of August, the festival focuses on presenting the best of what post-rock, math-rock and contemporary rock scenes have to offer, with established artists mingling alongside incredible young and emerging talent. With this years line-up being topped with And So I Watch You From Afar, Glassjaw and Shellac, it looks like we’re in for another phenomenal weekend. With that in mind, here’s part one of our list of our top 10 acts to take to the stage this year.
May of this year saw Bristol’s Svalbard release their
social-politically charged sophomore record It’s Hard To Have Hope to rapturous applause, and for good reason. Tackling issues such as sexual assault in the alternative music scene, attacks on feminism from bigots and the fashion in which young people are treated in the work place, It’s Hard To Have Hope is an emotionally and sonically devastating release that radiates intensity and passion whilst demanding much needed change In the flawed cultural we reside in. Such fervent force truly becomes forthright live, with the group manifesting a substantial and penetrating atmosphere of vigor and rage during their sets. Svalbard are the perfect portrait of a socially charged extreme act; one that isn’t
afraid to skirt around current issues before forcibly
demanding change, a fact that becomes truly evident live.
When, Where? : PX3 Stage, Thursday
Yeah, we’re all in the process of getting pumped and
psyched for a weekend of weird and wonderful music
that pushes the boundaries of music as we know it, but lets face it; pop music is rad. The melodies, the hooks, the massive absorbing choruses, there’s nothing quite like an act who can master all three in a contemporary and experimental fashion. One act that ticks all of those idealistic boxes are Brighton’s Orchards, an act who reveal in compounding sugary sweet pop sensibilities with intricate DIY and math orientated tendencies. Their recently released and fantastic Losers/Lovers EP truly showcases their musical aptitude and prowess, presenting a sound that can only be detailed as math pop in it’s truest form. Whilst their sound may be intoxicating catchy on a subconscious level, the contemporary and experimental elements have allowed them to share stages with the likes of Rolo Tomassi and Conjurer. If you’re yet to see how modern math sensibilities can dance with pop structures, don’t miss their set at ArcTanGent this year.
When, Where? : Yohkai Stage, Friday
Despite us only being approximately two third’s through
this year, 2018 has seen some acts release some incredible and ground-breaking debuts, allowing such bands to breakthrough the obstacles of obscurity. Once such act are Denmark’s MØL, who raised the eyebrows of everyone who encountered their phenomenal and earth shattering debut, Jord. Engulfing, blistering and yet euphoric, the release impacted and convulsed the global blackgaze scene in a fashion that is only comparable to the release of Deafheaven’s Sunbather. As glacially blistering winds of darkened black metal reprise into shoegaze and post-rock tinged beauty, MØL are an act that no one was prepared to face, and one that seemed like a gift, reinvigorating the extreme metal scene in a fashion unparalleled. Regardless if you’re not even educated in blackgaze, Mol are not to be missed by any means.
When, Where? : PX3 Stage, Saturday
Despite being active for over 16 years, the Massachusetts’s
instrumental math rock duo Giraffes? Giraffes! have never ventured across the pond for adventures upon the European shores. Luckily for all mental math rock aficionados, the duo will be taking the trip to sunny old Bristol later this month for their first ever European performance at ArcTanGent. Indulging in all manner of unconventional and singular musical elements, the project acknowledge the boundaries of math and post tinged rock before taking it upon themselves to break through such borders, breaking into new and exciting sonic frontiers. Sometimes sporadic, sometimes abstract but yet always hysterically fantastic, their ensuring set at this year’s installment will not only be a flexing of musical and physiological muscles, but math rock history being etched in concrete.
When, Where? : Arc Stage, Saturday
In an age where the boundaries of prog are constantly
under siege from acts wishing to create art which truly transcends the walls of contemporary art, Wigan’s Boss Keloid are a band who bypassed all struggles and created a truly progressive piece of art with this year’s Melted On The Inch. Dynamic, multi-textured and immersive, the release saw the group experimenting with a diverse palate of progressive metal styles and tastes, creating a masterclass of doom tinged psych rock. With the group spending the majority of this year establishing a solidified name for themselves within the underground doom and prog scene, ArcTanGent will see the gents arise from the murky depths of the underground for a set of curious, dense and progressive riffage.
When, Where? : Yohkai Stage, Thursday