John Mulvey

Citay's "Little Kingdom" and Concentrick's "Aluminum Lake"

A while back, someone at Uncut pointed out to me that one of the words I overused when writing about music was “feral”. He was right, too: I’d got into a habit of using the term whenever the psychedelia and crypto-primitive folk jams that I listen to so much got a little wilder and smellier, became a bit more instinctual, or at least convincingly pretended to be instinctual.


Dipping into Johnny Flynn, Malcolm Middleton and The Young Republic

With the Bimble Inn tent's balladeer crown going to Emmy The Great last year, it's deservedly up to multi-instrumental troubadours Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit to nab it in her absence this time round.

One of the strongest members of the alt-folk scene in London at the moment, Flynn's country-tinged songs showed off the band's versatility, with Flynn alone rapidly switching between ukelele, banjo, guitar and violin during the course of an excellent set.


Drizzled on in between Pete and the Pirates and Euros Childs

After yesterday's blazing sunshine, the near-continuous drizzle has come as a bit of a shock. Lunchtime open mic sessions at The Local got the last of the dry weather, with covers of Herman Dune and Ace of Base's 'The Sign' alongside jazz and some godawful wailing from a man who seemed to have confused Americana with Bon Jovi.

In the Big Top tent, London's Pete and the Pirates gave cause for the crowd to start telling their favourite pirate jokes, despite the indie-rockers looking about as seafaring as milk. Singer Tommy Sanders was unimpressed by a heckler's suggestion that the band meet up with The Local stage's similarly-named Peggy Sue and the Pirates - "Who is she anyway?" "My mum," was the guitarist's helpful suggestion.


Super Furry Animals downsize but still shine at End Of The Road

The second time we saw Super Furry Animals was on their 'Rings Around The World' tour in 2001. They had complicated visuals, mostly taken from the album's accompanying DVD but screened in perfect time with the music, and a quadrophonic sound system all the better to transmit their electro wigouts.

It was also at a large venue, resulting in an overwhelmingly loud and grand psychedelic AV feast. Seeing them last night at End Of The Road couldn't really have been much more different.


Flitting between King Creosote, Vandervelde and Reigns at End Of The Road

The great thing about small festivals is that you can flit between stages in less time than it takes an I'm From Barcelona balloon to be passed around the crowd. That's what we did this afternoon at End Of The Road.

After taking in some of Swedish oddballs I'm From Barcelona and Joan As Policewoman with a trusty cider in hand, we decided to stick around for Scottish folky King Creosote.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



Editor's Letter

Robert Wyatt interviewed: "I'm not a born rebel..."

Today (January 28, 2015), social media reliably informs me that Robert Wyatt is 70, which seems a reasonable justification for reposting this long and, I hope, interesting transcript of an interview I did with him at home in Louth back in 2007, a little before the marvellous “Comicopera” was...