Yes, it's still over a month away, but now is the time to do some audio homework and check out some of the slightly lesser known acts, to the pure obscure before heading off to Electric Picnic, 2014. I'll skip over the main head-liners such as Beck, Portishead, Outkast, Chic etc. and start with 5 pretty well-known acts in Part 1 and then some more obscure ones in Part 2, the type of bands you could feasibly wind up in front of when you've been separated from the herd and had one too many, but may end up being pleasantly surprised at.
1) Mogwai - Probably the best known of this first tranche of bands. Having seen the Glaswegian post-rockers on numerous occasions, including live at Witness in 2003, I can vouch for their unique performances and they're also a group who play a great spread of tracks from their discography. The fact that they've recently re-released 1999's excellent Come On Die Young will also hopefully influence their playlist.
Mogwai - 'Hunted By A Freak'
Albums to check out: Mogwai Young Team (1997), Come On Die Young (1999), EP+6 (1999), Happy Songs For Happy People (2003)
2) White Denim - Upon first listen to a White Denim album the initial feeling is, these guys are doing something tried and tested with a little added quirkiness, why should I bother? Their debut album, Workout Holiday, was probably one of the last gambles I took when buying a cd, nowadays you have your SoundCloud and your YouTube to have a little dabble before making a commitment. I was not disappointed, in fact I'm fairly sure I murdered that album to death, it was a hectic, crazy and addictive 36-odd minutes of garage-rock in some ways Weezer and Pavement inspired, and in other ways, inexplicable. I do wonder how their music might sound live so it could be a little bit risky, but you could also probably do worse, having said that, their 6 studio albums have all been generally well received.
White Denim, 'Let's Talk About It'
Albums to check out: Workout Holiday (2008), Fits (2009), D (2011)
3) Twin Shadow - real name George Lewis Jr., born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Florida, he has the whole package, velvet vocals, rock icon look and he is blatantly talented. Another one I've seen live, this time at Crawdaddy in 2011 following the release of his debut, Forget, and it was an excellent performance. Twin Shadow will be an act you'll definitely get away with not having heard any of his music, and can just turn up and enjoy the show and songs, put this one down as a dead cert. Funky, Prince-esque with a dash of Morrissey.
Zead's Dead & Twin Shadow, 'Lost You'
Albums to check out: Forget (2010), Confess (2012)
4) SBTRKT - Aaron Jerome smashed it with his self-titled debut album in 2011, following on from remixes of music by the likes of M.I.A., Radiohead, Basement Jaxx and Underworld. The dub-step maestro prefers to remain anonymous and let his music do the talking, but who cares why he does it, it's all great, personally I'm dying for his second album, Wonder Where We Land, to come out on the 22nd September, no doubt there'll be a good dose of it played at the Picnic. Of all the acts in this list, I would be prioritising seeing SBTRKT.
SBTRKT, 'Kyoto' from Transitions II E.P.
Albums to check out: Fact Magazine Mix 66 (2009) & SBTRKT (2011)
5) Temples - Kettering band Temples are essentially a 60's psychedelic rock band, think Electric Prunes or Strawberry Alarm Clock with the latest version of Pledge polish and you'll get the idea. Temples have become something of a curio since they released their debut single, 'Shelter Song' back in 2012. Since then and up until the release of their first album Sun Structures, they've had plaudits from Johnny Marr and Noel Gallagher and supported Suede and The Rolling Stones, and their tiny vinyl catalogue is already going for insane amounts of money online for some reason. Temples will either live up to the hype or fail spectacularly, worth going to see more for the strangeness that surrounds them and their inoffensive jangly-guitar songs which are actually very catchy. These guys could be your 'Let's sit down here on the grass and have a beer and a catch-up' band. I would certainly go along for a couple of songs at least, personally, just to find out if they're actually trolling us.
Temples, 'Shelter Song'
Albums to check out: Sun Structures (2014)