Prepare thyself, the world’s premiere celebration of math rock, post rock, noise rock and general weird contemporary rock is nearly among us. Since it’s humble beginnings in 2013, ArcTanGent Festival has grown in an utter behemoth of a weekend, one that attracts connoisseurs and fanatics of all things weird, wonderful and intense from all across the globe due to it’s consistently fantastic lineups, flawless organisation and intimate atmosphere. Now in it’s seventh consecutive year, the festival has fully pulled out all the stops, with this year’s lineup being their most impressive thus far. With Meshuggah, Battles and Coheed And Cambria topping one of the biggest contemporary alternative music lineup’s the word has ever laid eyes on, it’s set to be a weekend for the history books. With that in mind, we present the first half of our top ten picks for this years event.
Given their line of work, it’s rather surprising that Cultdreams are still yet to grace Fernhill Farm. Thankfully, the shoegazing dynamos will be rectifying that mistake later this week. Ever since forming in 2014, Cultdreams have raised eyebrows and turned heads aplenty with their deeply intricate and voluminous work, hybridization of genres and unflinching, deeply personal explorations of mental health issues, sexual assault and rampant misogyny.
Even with their debut full length Seafoam being a fantastic amalgamation of unique styles and genres, their forthcoming sophomore release Things That Hurt (keep those peepers peeled for our review) see’s the duo taking their craft to new heights, with the release seeing the group flawlessly and effortlessly unionise shoegaze, low-fi, riot grrl and despondent dreampop for terrific effect. With the group abound to premiere new material at this year’s festival prior to the records official release, this isn’t a set to miss if you wish to see poignant and bold contemporary punk being performed at it’s very best.
FFO: Slow Crush, Cassels, Petrol Girls
When, Where; Bixler, Thursday
Geographically, Raketkanon are from the picturesque Belgian city of Ghent. However, sonically, the group sound like they’re from another dimension entirely. Communicating via sequels, screams, howls, synths and screeching noise, Raketkanon have become internationally renowned as entirely both entirely unique and somewhat dangerous. The group present noise rock at it’s most warped, engaging and deranged, with the band’s latest release, the phenomenally engaging RKTKN #3, being their most alien, sporadic and haplessly arresting work to date.
We’ve previously stated that on record, Raketkanon are the sonic equivalent of a surreal body horror art house film; pop music from an unfathomable realm where our laws of physics don’t apply. However, the stage is where such sonic depravity becomes frankly inescapable. Live, the band become unchained acrobats, sonic athletes who disregard the safety of themselves and their equipment for the sake of their unparralared craft. The quintet previously laid a radioactive trail of destruction across the nation earlier this year before irradiating 2000 Trees last month, and if these sets where anything to go by, their set at ArcTanGent is set to be one that will go down in scene history. If you value sonic insanity, do not miss this.
FFO: Heck, Three Trapped Tigers, Korn
When, Where; Bixler, Thursday
With ArcTanGent predominately focusing on math, post and noise, it’s somewhat understandable that punk is often is overlooked. However, one such artist that demands attention is Brighton’s Clt Drp. Laughing in the face of the notion of genres and convention, Clt Drp are a thrashing, untameable entity of pure energy, one that bridges the gap between jubilantly obnoxious punk and seizing, twitching EDM whilst diverging empowering and explosive energy.
Despite only having a handful of unrelating tracks to their namesake, including the recently released ‘Speak To My’, Clt Drp have spent the last year or so barreling and crashing their way though the live scene. With a focus on providing empowerment to those seeking refuge in the DIY scene, Clt Drp are an utterly feral force live. As their previous shows attest to, Clt Drp provide a showcase that’s authentically fresh, genuinely exciting and irresistibly captivating. Antics aside however, one of the reasons that makes Clt Drp so exciting to witness is the fact that they’re currently birthing a whole new genre and movement, one that is sure to set the DIY scene ablaze.
FFO: Big Lad, Peaches, The Prodigy
When, Where; Bixler, Friday
As with any festival, ArcTanGent has it’s own live stapes, artists that can perform year in and year out only to praise and commendation. One act that is destined to join such ranks is the brilliant Sugar Horse. Birthed from the same scene that is responsible for acts such as Idles, The St Pierre Snake Invasion and Memory Of Elephants, the Bristolian quintet present suffocating progressive sensibilities at their most captivating. With a flawless and effortless understanding of volume and timbre, the group utilise their skill in order to present a textured tapestry of sound that’s simultaneously jarringly unsettling and wondrously beautiful.
Dark and ominously foreboding at their most melodic, Sugar Horse simply gleam with artistic majesty, with their deeply intricate output presenting musical elegance at it’s most callous. With their stellar debut EP DRUJ now under their belts, the south west collective have wasted no time in establishing a name for themselves within the live scene. Thus far, the group have performed with the likes of Vennart, John, Frauds, Pijn and have appeared at Camden Rocks and other groundbreaking events. Anyway, on Saturday morning make sure to wake up early, get a coffee, get some breakie and get yourself down to the PX3 to have sonic animosity casted upon you.
FFO: Vennart, The St Pierre Snake Invasion, Pijn
When, Where; PX3 Saturday
For the first several years of their existence, Ithaca sat waiting within the underbelly of the national melodic hardcore scene. However, this period of placidness came to an abrupt end at the beginning of year. Like a viscera soaked chestburster, Ithaca erupted violently into the spotlight with their widely anticipated and equally impressive debut full length The Language Of Injury. Since it’s release, the group have been relentlessly cutting around the continent, performing with such bands as Bleeding Through, Annal Nathrakh, Svalbard, Napalm Death and even having just performed at this year’s Boomtown Festival.
As those who have experienced the band can attest to, Ithaca present lacerating melodic hardcore at it’s very most fierce, with the group using their platform to lacerate the social issues that plague our culture. Whilst this years instalment of ArcTanGent is set to play host to a whole plethora of acts specialising in sonic intensity, Ithaca will be manifesting such violent intensity both physically and musically, with the group prepped to annihilate the PX3 stage just hours after its opening. If you like your melodic hardcore authentically seething, diverse and culturally poignant do not miss this set by any means whatsoever.
FFO: Employed To Serve, Venom Prison, Svalbard
When, Where; PX3, Thursday