Joan As Police Woman and My Sad Captains: the new and the new-er



While End of the Road has definitely got bigger since last year, the stages are still so close together that you can fall into a band without even realising it. If you were the band in devil outfits playing thrash metal at the Bimble Inn at 1am this morning, our photographer is dying to reach you.

One of 10 unsigned(ish) bands to win a slot on The Local stage, Fortuna Pop signings My Sad Captains' almost implausible summeriness was a gift on an afternoon as baking hot as this one. 'Here and Elsewhere' and the title track from June's 'Bad Decisions' EP showed off slacker indie pop sensibilities that singlehandedly steal back the "doo-ron-ron" from McDonalds and herald an inevitable radio takeover in the next year.


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I'm From Barcelona and The Concretes: childhood wins



One of last year's unlikelier highlights was the hyperactive Swedish multi-piece I'm From Barcelona. A less creepy version of The Polyphonic Spree, their exuberance and catchy songs resulted in a forest of copy cat t-shirts roaming the grounds for the rest of the weekend.

Things seem to have got more serious this time round: gone are the school uniforms and Smurf outfits, to be replaced with black outfits and white braces. But this is one band for whom channelling The Strokes is never going to be a viable option.


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Yo La Tengo: Romance is a prog guitar solo



Ten-minute thrash solos don't usually make the cut on romantic soundtracks so Yo La Tengo must have been doing something right during their Garden stage headline set last night. You couldn't move for couples wrapped around each other and for once the cold had nothing to do with it.

This owed a lot to the atmosphere which was dictionary-defined romantic. Miles away from the nearest large town, the sky above Larmer Tree Gardens was mapped with stars which, combined with an excellent light show and a fairly drunk audience, turned the field into a psychedelic arena, and served to spur the band on to new frenzies of effort.


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Robyn Hitchcock & John Paul Jones: Forget Led Zep, tonight was JPJ's moment



We didn't realise quite how popular Robyn Hitchcock, the bard of all things surreal, is. The Big Top Tent at End Of The Road Festival was literally packed this evening.

Or could the hordes have been there to see his sidekick, a meek man by the name of John Paul Jones? He's from some band called Led something. Anyway, this dude's hot, you should check him out sometime. Let's hope Robyn keeps him for more than one gig.


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Midlake's jet lag lets them down



With everyone tooled up on cider, rum and whatever else they've got stuffed in their pockets, the mood at End of the Road was little short of ebullient this evening: not that you'd know it from Midlake's set on the Garden stage.


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Stephanie Dosen and John Doe: The singer-songwriter paradox?



Being a singer-songwriter is a tricky business. Which route do you take? You can always attempt to bludgeon your audience into submission with the sheer power of your one act show, or you can entrance them with the ethereal magic of your fragile performance.

So far, we've seen both sides of the singer-songwriter paradox (well, as we like to call it) in just a few hours at End Of The Road Festival, first with Stephanie Dosen's disturbing, delicate folk and then with John Doe's straight-down-the-line country blues.


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End Of The Road Festival: Getting it together in the country



The Dorset countryside - lush, green and verdant. Good for dairy farming and Thomas Hardy novels, but hardly the place for one of this summer's best folk, post-rock and Americana festivals?

Well, we reckon it's perfect. Everyone at End Of The Road Festival seems to be enjoying the varied acts, relaxed atmosphere and country estate setting that equals Latitude Festival in the beauty stakes. The myriad stalls selling premium local cider are, of course, just a plus. Ahem.


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Allan Jones

Dylan To Start Work On New Album. . .



Well, it’s all going off on Planet Bob.

As if the Mark Ronson re-mix of “Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine)” and triple CD set that’s looming, plus Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There movie to follow, plus autumn dates across the US with Elvis Costello as special guest wasn’t quite enough to be going on with, there are now whispers that Dylan’s planning a new album in early 2008, and they are getting louder even as we speak.


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John Mulvey

Neil Young's "Chrome Dreams II"



Apart from a few Beach Boys and Kosmische things I picked up in America in the early ‘90s, I’ve never been much of a bootleg collector; never had the time, I guess, with so much legitimately released music to get hooked on. As a consequence, my knowledge of Neil Young’s “Chrome Dreams” was limited to hazy memories from rush-reading Jimmy McDonough’s “Shakey” until news of “Chrome Dreams II” broke a few weeks ago.


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John Mulvey

Brian Wilson and "That Lucky Old Sun"



It occurred to me last night, a minute or so into “Dance Dance Dance”, that I might have been a little blasé about this latest visitation from Brian Wilson and his band. As Alexis Petridis noted in his excellent review of the first night of Wilson’s latest Festival Hall residency, there’s a vague feeling of “nostalgia fatigue” surrounding these dates. I’ve seen him do “Pet Sounds”, “Smile”, and great further swathes of his gilded back catalogue, and I haven’t seen many better gigs in the past decade. But did I really need to see him do it again?


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Editor's Letter

D'Angelo's "Black Messiah": some first thoughts


When Thom Yorke sneaked out his new solo album a few months back, I managed to hold out for 66 hours before writing a review of "Tomorrow's Modern Boxes". Since waking up...