London four-piece Mellow Gang are set to become your new faves, trust us. Dropping their debut EP, “Play”, earlier this year, their take on psychedelic pop is deliciously dark and totally refreshing to hear. Speaking about the glistening record, lead vocalist Harriet Joseph says: “It really had to provoke something that not everyone might be comfortable with. In a backlash period where I shut down creatively, I not only became aware of the effects on me but recently some nearest and dearest. Fears develop of boredom, complacency, stillness, imitation, opposition, addictions and then even nothing at all. I felt it across people I knew, but no one went there or talked about it.”
Now getting set to play Oxford’s Ritual Union Festival (you didn’t really think Bestival was the end of the season, did you?) the fabulous foursome are counting down the bands they’ll be off to see once they’ve finished wowing the crowds themselves. Here they give us a glimpse at said amazing bands, as well as spoiling us with an acoustic version of EP fave “Mirrored” Check it out.
Flamingods – “Mixed Blesssings”
Shen: After listening to Flamingods’ latest release “Mixed Blessings”, this strikes me as a classic festival band. I get the impression through the music that this is very much a band that has to be witnessed live. I can already tell that these guys are tighter than a duck’s arse and I thoroughly look forward to tapping my foot to these top musicians.
TOY – “Lose My Way”
S: I discovered TOY back in the good old uni days. Finding out they’re a Brighton based band, I was surprised I hadn’t heard or seen them play before as I love boogying in Brighton. Playing on the same bill as them has definitely got my blood pumping. I’m also looking forward to the likes of Ulrika Spacek and Flamingods. Two new bands I discovered earlier this year which have got me very excited.
Ulrika Spacek – “Mimi Pretend”
Joe: When I first found out we’d be playing Ritual Union Festival, besides being dead excited I was also keen to check out the other bands. I am aware of bands such as TOY and Peace, and also The Vryll Society but I’d been tipped off about Ulrika Spacek and I loved it as soon as I listened to the first track “Mimi Pretend” on the album Modern English Decoration. It somehow manages to blend the fuzzy side of things with the more subtle psychedelic sounds…plus some great riffs.
The Vryll Society – “A Perfect Rhythm”
J: The Vryll Society is another corker that I’m excited for. Structurally, the band write very interesting songs, and being a drummer I thoroughly enjoy the creative playing on tracks such as “A Perfect Rhythm”. I don’t see this band a million miles away from ourselves and I imagine there live sets to be sonically quite coloured and vivid, and I plan to participate in some exploratory dancing.
Baba Naga – “Odimeńce”
Nick: I’ve never seen them live, but have high hopes for Baba Naga. I love the way they sort of feed pure noise through the reductive lens of pop songwriting, though it doesn’t all quite go through and the result is quite exciting. I really admire any band that makes a brave sonic statement be it harmonically, vocally, compositionally, or whatever. Plus I reckon they’ll be really loud.
Her’s – “Marcel”
N: I suppose Her’s inhabit the other end of the spectrum: densely composed pop songs, tight arrangements and zero fat… A few less people on stage too. I like the chemistry that has to exist in a duo, and there are some gems on their latest album. I missed them in London last month so I’m looking forward to catching them at RU.
Black Honey – “On Your Time”
Harriet: Being our first festival, it’s pretty cool to see bands like Peace and Black Honey on the bill. I saw Peace do a great show at Earl’s Court, three years ago but had heard Black Honey echoed before so started listening to their EP “Head Spin” from last year. My favourite track so far has been “Mocking Swing”. It’s a delicious track of theirs and has an amazing vocal take. I like that there’s a slight Best Coast vibe to them too but pushed with more energy and some shameless slick pop hooks, like on “On Your Time”. So I’m really looking forward to seeing how they drive a live show.
Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation – “Rushing Through My Mind”
H: The act I’m anticipating the most for the day though is Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation. I hadn’t been too aware of them at all up until now, but just listening to their album Mirage and I get the feeling it’s one of those records that translates originally from an incredible live performance first and foremost. They’re a combination of some of my favourite dream pop styles, shoegaze electronic, but with some extra grit for what you’d expect at a good rock gig. Top tracks for me at the moment are “Looking For You” and their single “Rushing Through My Mind”. Reminds me straight to Temples‘ Sun Structures weirdly, which is always good. I wouldn’t be short of surprised if they’re mind- blowing to be honest.