10 of the best new bands we saw at latitude
Dedicating three of the six music stages to emerging artists, Latitude is the perfect festival to discover new music. i-D caught up with fresh talent we knew we loved, and found unexpected gems under the canopy of Henham Park's magical pine forest.
Latitude is a strange and beautiful festival. Spread across a leafy green site at Henham Park in Suffolk, it feels a little wilder than other festivals -- aside from watching bands in tents, you can swim in a reed and bulrush lined lake, watching artists zip across with their kit in a speedboat, and dance under the tall canopy of a pine forest.
Yes, it may be a festival where middle aged men dock a fern in their caps and watch their favourite TV panel show comedians, but they also book acts like Christeene, the spectacularly avant garde American drag queen, and dedicate three stages to emerging artists. Here are 10 of the best new artists and bands we saw...
Let's Eat Grandma
Hidden among the ferns in a pine forest, the magical Sunrise arena was the perfect location for Norfolk locals Let's Eat Grandma's whimsical, multi-instrumental psych-pop. Moving from sax to synth, keys to mandolin, and from drums to a xylophone, the talented doppelganger duo are at once supremely confident and unnervingly cutesy with their intermittent dance routines and pat-a-cake hand claps -- surely a wry challenge to anyone who would dismiss them as little girls playing around. Go on, they double dare you!
Having supported Grimes on her European tour and played as part of her band (a role she reprised just a few hours after her own Latitude set), comparisons are inevitable, but tucked away in the unassuming Alcove tent -- where some of the freshest new artists introduce themselves to a more musically intrepid festival goer -- HANA firmly stuck her own flag in the ground. She is -- like Grimes -- her own DJ, but her incredibly pure voice, over which she has Mariah Carey-like control, is the stand out, unwavering through occasional 90s boyband dance moves and accompanied by her own backing vocals, which she plays in sequences with a drumstick on a sample pad.
Also in the Alcove, Petite Noir inspired a whole-tent singalong with the chilled but euphoric 'noirwave' anthem Down. The Belgium-born, Camden-based artist -- by way of Cape Town and Congo -- has collaborated with Mos Def and featured on Solange's first Saint Heron mix. Of his eclectic sound, Yannick Ilunga told i-D in January, "there's no loyalty to any existing genre… I'm influenced by metal, screamo, jazz, kizomba music".
Taking to the Sunrise stage on Saturday afternoon was Pumarosa, a London-based five piece fronted by the mesmerising Isabel Munoz-Newsome, above, who threw angular shapes around the stage with her white electric guitar during the sexually charged opening track Cecile. The band's heavy pop hooks, throbbing drums and ecstatic psych grooves are impossible not to dance to, and by the time they play debut single Priestess the crowd are mirroring Munoz-Newsome in an ocean of swirling, waving arms.
Four teenagers from Denmark, Liss brought their retro-tinged soul pop to the open air Lake Stage on Saturday afternoon. Heartthrob singer Søren Holm has a truly unique voice, somewhere between quality of Frank Ocean's and the delivery of the Backstreet Boys, with lovelorn lyrics that inspire a screaming pit of fans. Floating along on a wave of woozy synths and calipso guitars, they have found a formula for shimmering pop perfection.
Skinny Girl Diet
Already well known names on the London DIY scene, Skinny Girl Diet packed out the Alcove tent, inspiring riotous dancing down the front while a wall of the presumably uninitiated stood and stared in awe from the back. Delilah Holliday is an electrifying frontwoman, dressed up like a showgirl in a white sequin bra top with matching armbands, she slurs out the grungy intro to Wasted Smile before the screaming crescendo sets her wheeling around the stage with her guitar. Additional screams from bassist Amelia Cutler and crashing drums by Ursula Holliday (Delilah's sister, Amelia's cousin) make them one of the most fun / ferocious acts on the bill.
Christine and the Queens
Though not strictly a new band -- her 2014 album Chaleur Humaine having gone seven times platinum in France, Héloïse Letissier really broke through in the UK quite recently, after the record was released here in February. "There is only one rule here: this is a free zone, no judgement," Christine told a packed out crowd in the 6 Music tent on Friday night. "You can be anyone you want to be," she added, launching into iT, which she finishes with a cheeky rendition of Tame Impala's 'Cause I'm a Man. Her dancers, the Queens, are thrilling to watch during the club tracks, while she is joined onstage (for the first time ever) by Perfume Genius for their delicate collaboration, Jonathan.
Hannah Rodgers brought her doomy pop stylings to the Lake stage on Sunday, her gold glittering Maranello Italia guitar flashing in the afternoon sun. Though technical issues plagued the set, her foreboding, Lower Dens-esque guitar and dreamy vocals on A Way To Say Goodbye still sounded great.
Welcoming revellers to the festival in one of the first slots on Friday afternoon were Flamingods, whose excellent new album Majesty streamed on i-D at the start of June. The five piece band have treasure trove of intriguing instruments from around the world (such as the mesmerising taishogoto from Japan), which they swap around at regular intervals. Their unbound energy whipped the Sunrise tent into a joyous frenzy.
Taking to the cosy Alcove stage just before Petite Noir were Peluché, a London three piece who sort of look like they could all be in different bands, and sound like they are each in many more. To say their sound is eclectic is an understatement, often seeming to move between two or three genres in the space of one song, with wonderfully strange lyrics like "I want to see your face / It's not a hilly place" on the Vampire Weekend-esque Ohio.
Text Charlotte Gush
Photography courtesy Latitude