A Carefully Planned is one of many UK rapidly expanding metropolitan festivals but very few offer as many delights for so little money as Manchester’s weekender that celebrates its 5th birthday in 2015. Offering up 150 artists over two days for £17.50 (or £12.50 for a single day ticket) across seven venues, it presents a line-up of such quality and quantity that it’s almost frustrating. And all of this is before considering how much time you’ll want to spend working through the choice of real ales and whiskeys at The Castle Hotel or the cocktails at Cord, and choosing whether to eat at the Night & Day Cafe or at The Soup Kitchen.
Amongst all of the pop, indie, indie-pop, rock, post-rock, math-rock and Lord knows what else, here are five bands anyone attending the weekender should check out, and their own recommendations on top of that.
Alright The Captain
A three-piece who sound like a nine-piece, they have slowly but surely redefined their sound throughout their career and stand as one of the most fresh and vital sounding bands in the British math-rock scene. They throw more riffs into one song than most bands do into an album, and each one will make you want to bang your head, move your feet or both. Marty of Alright The Captain recommends: “You should totally go and see Bearded Youth Quest at Carefully Planned because they’ll make you feel like you’re a kid again, watching Saturday morning cartoons with their arsenal of weird time signatures and massively fun riffs.”
Nottingham’s Eyre Llew may have only played a handful of gigs, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more powerful band at any level of the touring circuit. They build soundscapes similar to Sigur Ros and Elbow but avoid the trap falls of many similar bands by rooting their songs in deep earth and keeping pretensions to a minimum.
Sam of Eyre Llew recommends: “Daudi is darn good. He’s like an Iron & Wine, early Bon Iver kind of thing. I can see that with the right production, he’ll go far.”
One of those bands that are impossible to describe but easy to adore. Their latest album Etch And Etch Deep saw them add billowing and bright electronics to their eclectic mix of instrumental folk, post-rock and baroque neo-classicalism. But their real strength is in their euphoric live performances, as wordless as they are wonderful.
Sophie of Haiku Salut recommends: “Emma Kupa makes songs for anyone who feels anything, ever. The first time we saw Emma she was playing alone in an anarchist villa in Sweden and all Haiku members wept internally or made sweat out of their eyes. Her words are excruciatingly honest and we carried the weight of them in our bone marrow for days. The tunes are so damn catchy that they eat away at your brain until the only course of action is to ban the record from your house and listen to Mammoth Penguins instead. You should see Emma Kupa; she’ll make you feel.”
As a member of Standard Fare, Mammoth Penguins (who will also play Carefully Planned festival) and as a solo artist, Emma Kupa has a penchant for writing wry, heartbreaking indie-pop gems. Whilst there are many others that plough the same field as Emma, few do so with the same intimacy or ear for an unforgettable hook. Emma
Kupa recommends: “The Tuts are what a punk band should be – exciting, energetic, accessible and so much fun. You will leave the gig feeling like the world is a good place and will get better the more the Tuts’ world domination progresses. Haiku Salut are an instrument-swapping trio who manage to create tender moments and pumping electronic beats within the same song. There is also a lot of fast paced glockenspiel. The dynamic of the band and the music they make is enthralling and envelopes you in their beautiful world of sound. They are like no other band you’ll see.”
Napoleon IIIrd’s triumphant kaleidoscopic retro-pop is just the kind of music you want to hear after a few ales, which makes him perfect for Carefully Planned. He makes music to swing your arms about to and shout out slightly out of tune to, and if you don’t want to do that then Napoleon IIIrd will do it for you. James Mabbett, who is Napoleon IIIrd, recommends:“Bastardgeist, AKA Joel is over from New York and his music and performance are both mesmerising. The way he can hold an audience with just his voice and a kalimba… and the voice. I mean, wow! He contributed vocals to my forthcoming record and we’re planning a few shows together whilst he’s in the UK.”
Tickets and further information about Carefully Planned can be found HERE.