The second part of our FIB roadmap, before it kicks off this Thursday on the Spanish east coast. This time we focus on the small print: the emerging artists who have a lot to offer.
This roadmap takes you to different genres; from the electrifying and dreamy pop of Little Dragon and the groovy deep-house of young Maya Jane Coles, to the intimate folk of The Antlers. Yes, there are some really big names on the FIB bill, but this is about the ones bubbling under.
Like every year, the Festival Internacional de Benicàssim features some names written in extra bold, from the international world of music from yesterday and today, but for many fans it's the small print that leads their finger to the “buy” button at the virtual ticket office. So here's a list of artists that made us drool like Pavlov's dog for this year's edition of FIB.
1. Little Dragon
Friday, 13th July, Trident Senses Stage, 22:15
No matter how much everybody tries to put them in the underground electronic pop corner, Swedish band Little Dragon, directed by the magnetic Yukimi Nagano, have the honour of being on the Billboard and top sales charts in the UK, mostly thanks to their two last albums. Both efforts are magical pop treats; a tad off-kilter, granted, but enjoyable for many ears as their sales success shows. On stage, they have the uncanny ability to translate that magic from the studio to a live setting.
2. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaur
Sunday, 15th July, FIB Club Stage, 23:00
If you're at FIB and you're up for a party, this is for you. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs is coming to the Spanish east coast with a trunk full of synths and drum machines, his classic flowery headdress, a vocalist, and two lovely ladies ready to invite you to shake your hips with them to the rhythms blasting from the sound system. TEED gives it his all on stage; he'll put a smile on the face of everyone coming to see him to burn some calories.
3. The Antlers
Sunday, 15th July, FIB Club Stage, 19:55
The Antlers, the band commanded by Peter Silberman, come to Festival de Benicàssim with two albums under their belt, a collaborative record with the likes of Bear In Heaven and Neon Indian, and the sage lo-fi past of their early years (when Silberman was still on his own). While their music has never been easy, time and the addition of new band members led the Americans' sound to somewhat less tortuous and equally enjoyable territory, capable of surprising both newbies and veterans.
4. Kurt Vile & The Violators
Thursday, 12th July, Trident Senses Stage, 21:30
The last time Kurt Vile visited Spain, he had an unexpected enemy: the Champions League final at Wembley. So him visiting the Iberian Peninsula again, this time without any kind of distractions to keep away the audience, is something like poetic justice. Ever since he left The War On Drugs, the long-haired man from Philly has been building a solid solo career, especially after he signed with Matador Records, where he released two essential albums, “Childish Prodigy”, and “Smoke Ring For My Halo”. Rock with a lot of feeling.
Friday, 13th July, Maravillas Stage, 19:00
Disappears come to Benicàssim in order to show they're not Steve 'Sonic Youth' Shelley's band, but the band Steve Shelley joined. Although their new member landed them some extra exposure, they already had two good albums out before he signed on. The boys from the Windy City released their latest LP a few months back, “Pre Language”, on which they exercise their post-punk and Kraut-rock demons. A good way to start the day with a bit of controlled aggression.
6. Timber Timbre
Friday, 13th July, FIB Club Stage, 21:15
Though he may still be semi-unknown, Taylor Kirk, alias Timber Timbre, has released four studio albums since 2006. His most recent effort, “Creep On Creepin’ On” (2011), is a prime example of the Canadian's phantasmagorical and atmospheric chamber folk-pop, slightly reminiscent of “Yellow House” era Grizzly Bear. Playing on the same day as Bob Dylan, Friday's the perfect day to see the past and present of folk.
7. School Of Seven Bells
Saturday, 14th July, Maravillas Stage, 20:15
Without Claudia Deheza, their concert will have to show if her twin sister, Alejandra, is as good as she is on stage, like she did in the studio recently on “Ghostory”. Now that they've (partly) moved away from shoe-gaze and the dreamy stuff, in favour of 80s synth-pop and electro, their performance at the festival is like their presentation for the future; hopefully it’s able to live up to our expectations.
8. Maya Jane Coles
Sunday, 15th July, Trident Senses Stage, 05:15
This is the year of Maya Jane Coles, no doubt. Or at least it is until she releases her much anticipated debut album. Here marvellous “DJ-Kicks” confirmed her as one of the emerging stars of British electronica, something that didn't come as a surprise to those who had already heard her nocturnal and elegant releases on labels like Hypercolour, Real Tone, and 20:20 Vision. In her facet as a DJ, her sets are always exquisitely selected and executed. If you want to end the festival on a high house tip, do not sleep on this one.
9. Django Django
Friday, 13th July, FIB Club Stage, 23:00
Though they've been at it since 2009, the Scottish four-piece has become one of the neo-psychedelic revelations of this year, thanks to the brilliant “Django Django”. Natural heirs of The Beta Band legacy (one of the band members is John Maclean's brother), their music merges art-rock, African music and new wave in some radiant and infectious songs, such as “Wor”, “Waveforms” and “Default”. This is going to be their first gig in Spain, and a must-see for the lovers of the most adventurous pop.
10. Zola Jesus
Thursday, 13th July, FIB Club Stage, 19:00
Always halfway between the angelical and darkness, Nika Roza Danilova (the young woman behind Zola Jesus) is one of the most captivating voices on the American underground. Furthermore, “Conatus” was the confirmation of her constant growth. On the album, her voice sounds more confident and moving than ever, between oceans of icy synths and hair-raising outbursts of epic. Live, the petite but powerful Arizona girl's charisma is multiplied, making her concerts something like a liturgy of dark pop. Those who see it become believers.