With Oxegen off the festival schedule for at least one summer, there was a danger the Electric Picnic line-up would lose some of its more heavy and experimental acts in favour of the usual stadium fodder. Thankfully, that appears not to be the case, with Texan post rock juggernaut Explosions in the Sky leading a small but formidable band of left field rock acts. Here’s the pick of the bunch:
‘Uncompromising’ is an oft-abused word in the world of heavy rock, but it’s hard to argue with the description of Dublin five-piece BATS, whose debut EP back in 2008 featured the brutally succinct screed ‘Death to Kent Hovind,’ which took the noted American creationist to devastating task. Their second album, The Sleep of Reason, was recorded in the States with Chris Commons of These Arms Are Snakes, and promises to be even more incendiary and, yes, uncompromising than its predecessors. To miss BATS is to miss the point, literally.
Anybody yet to check the stream of Croupier’s self-titled debut album on Nialler9 would be well-advised to stop reading and start listening right about… now. The (surprise!) Wicklow five-piece mix frenetically-paced math rock with thoughtful lyrics and infectious gang vocals in a manner that suggests a heavier, overwrought answer to Cast of Cheers. Expect them to beast it live and include some cuts from their excellent, and free, EP We, The System.
Another product of the latent post rock Mecca that is, er, Wicklow, Enemies could easily have become the biggest-profile casualty of the Richter Collective’s decision to fold. If anything, though, their star is set to soar with a sterling performance at Knockanstockan already under their considerable collective belt. New single ‘Indian Summer,’ from their upcoming second album, is a stellar example of their jazz-inflected math rock and their first effort with proper vocals.
Explosions in the Sky
Seasoned bearers of earplugs beware. There are three things you should know about Explosions in the Sky: 1) They are really loud; 2) they are really quiet; 3) they are really, really good. Predictable as their loud-quiet dynamic can be, the Lone Star Staters are one of the most ear-shatteringly awesome rock groups on the planet, and more pity the fools who have to follow their cacophony on stage on Saturday evening.
God is an Astronaut
Underappreciated in their own country but fiercely well-respected beyond these shores, Wicklow trio God is an Astronaut have been kicking around for over a decade now, mixing ambient electronica with traditional crescendo-heavy post rock. Don’t miss a chance to see them in action before they head out to Europe in the winter.