East London's annual bash has a state-of-the-art new stage this year and takes place this Saturday, June 3. Here's what we're looking forward to.
1. Death Grips!
Crack Stage, 4.50pm
In 2015 Death Grips announced they were splitting via a note on a paper napkin, but then the Sacramento noise-core duo came back with a new album. Provided they don’t keep playing with us, they should be a festival highlight. Last week, they put out the first taste of their sixth album – a 22-minute epic called ‘Steroids (Crouching Tiger Hidden Gabber Megamix)’ – so we’re expecting the unexpected here.
Eat Your Own Ears Stage, 7pm
At the other end of the spectrum is Chicago seven-piece Whitney, who released their incredibly lovely debut ‘Light Upon The Lake’ last year. Formed by two former Smith Westerns guys (Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich) they make soulful, falsetto-topped folk (with added trumpet) and live they’ve been known to cover the likes of Lion’s ‘You’ve Got A Woman’ and, yes, the Golden Girls theme.
3. The Aussie contingent
Shacklewell Arms Stage
On the Shacklewell Arms stage, Australian music gets prime representation. Melbourne’s prolific psych weirdos King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard (8.15pm) are highest up the bill. Right now they’re in the middle of a mammoth task – putting out five albums in 2017 – of which they’ve almost managed two so far. There’s also the Sydney-based folk star Julia Jacklin (3.15pm), who impressed with last year’s debut ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’, and finally Perth lot Methyl Ethel (2pm), whose recent album ‘Everything Is Forgotten’ is one of the best of the year so far. Pond’s Nick Allbrook recently described them to NME as “one of the sickest bands to come out of Perth”.
4. Aphex Twin playing the new venue
The Barn, 7pm
Not only will this be Aphex Twin’s first UK date in almost five years – the enigmatic producer last played London’s Barbican Centre in October 2012 – it’s also the first time he has livestreamed one of his sets, so people who can’t make it to the festival can catch it via London’s NTS. The festival has created a new indoor area called The Barn to house the electronic pioneer: it’s described as “a gigantic hangar-like construction with a state of the art high-powered sound system and one of the most technologically advanced lighting rigs around.” Should be, uh, lit.
5. Abra’s only UK date this summer
Resident Advisor Stage, 2.20pm
The Atlanta singer, who calls herself the Darkwave Duchess, has no other UK dates scheduled so far this year. She’s a member of Atlanta’s Awful Records family and put out an ace EP last year called ‘Princess’.
6. HMLTD being HMLTD
Crack Stage, 2.30pm
An avant-garde glam group with a penchant for the weird, HMLTD have to be experienced to be truly understood. They have an incredibly loyal following, who will no doubt be chanting along to unreleased material alongside the likes of their four releases to date – ’To The Door’, ‘Music!’, ‘Is This What You Wanted?’ and ‘Stained’.
7. S U R V I V E, aka the Stranger Things soundtrack guys
Shacklewell Arms Stage, 7pm
If you still haven’t yet consumed Stranger Things, or its incredibly ‘80s soundtrack, you’re missing out on S U R V I V E, its Austin, Texas-based creators. These synth-loving electronic musicians are experts in crafting an atmosphere.
8. Mura Masa… and guest?
Crack Stage, 7.40pm
Last year Mura Masa played the Moth Club tent and the crowd was so big that people were spilling outside on all sides. This year he’s been bumped up to the Crack stage. The young Guernsey producer aka Alex Crossan has an incredible guestlist on his forthcoming self-titled debut album – Christine & The Queens, Damon Albarn, Charli XCX, Desiigner, A$AP Rocky, Bonzai, NAO, and even A.K. Paul, brother of the reclusive Jai. Could any of them be making an appearance? Here’s hoping.