READ: Line-up for Longitude 2015
The line-up for Longitude 2015 is among the strongest in the (admittedly short) history of the festival. Still, with dozens of performers vying for your attention across a multitude of stages, sorting the must-sees from the inessentials can be a chore. To assist, here is our countdown of the Longitude artists you owe it to yourself to check out across the weekend.
1: Young Father (Friday, Heineken Stage)
The stern-faced Edinburgh hip-hop trio were shock winners of last year's Mercury Music Prize for best UK album. True to their forbidding personas, they declined to smile as they reluctantly paraded before the British press. In an age when artists often seem to regard fame as a prize worth chasing for its own sake, it was refreshing to encounter musicians with an instinctive distrust of the spotlight. Of course, such an outlook might be dismissed as mere adolescent sulkiness if they didn't have the tunes to back it up. As they made clear on both the gong-grabbing Dead and recent follow-up, White Men Are Black Men Too, Young Fathers's angst is assuredly matched by musical chops.
2: The Vaccines (Friday, Main Stage)
It would be easy to write off The Vaccines as merely another meat and veg alternative band. That was certainly the face they presented to the world across their first two LPs. With this year's English Graffiti, however, the London quartet crawled out of the indie-boy ghetto, with assured forays into shiny-eyed psychedelia and clanging post-punk. More than that, across their five year career, they have demonstrated a talent for throwaway anthems – big, silly songs that will doubtless make sense booming across Marlay Park Friday evening.
3: Caribou (Saturday, Main Stage)
A gleaming dance rock album inspired by parenthood, the trials of marriage and the challenges of growing old? It sounds like the worst idea this side of Kim Karadashian on the front of a once-respected music magazine. Somehow, however, Caribou's Dan Snaith made it work on last year's Our Love – a record that engaged at a deep emotional level while simultaneously functioning as thrilling clubland fodder.
4:Jungle (Saturday, Main Stage)
The "modern soul collective" from London are a great deal less pretentious than their billing may suggest. On their self-titled first album, they came across like Michael Jackson fronting Wild Beasts and were duly nominated for the Mercury. Though their profile may not be the highest among the major bookings at Longitude, they've found their audience, as a sell-out gig at Dublin's Olympia last February testified.
5: Years and Years (Saturday, Main Stage)
Years and Years apply a wistful indie makeover to Sam Smith style soul-pop. And while there are issues with their debut album Communion, which has long passages of free-form wishy-washiness, who can doubt that the band are super-buzzy right now? Single King was a British number one and Communion itself shot straight to the top of the charts last week. There's never been a better moment to catch them.
6: Girl Band (Saturday, Whelan's Stage)
All the attention is on Friday headliner Hozier. However, it is arguable that the hottest Irish performers on the bill are Dubliners Girl Band, whose fine-tuned guitar chaos has won the love of bloggers, journalists, taste-makers etc across the world. A much-awaited first LP, Holding Hands With Jamie, is released in September on storied Rough Trade.
7: Everything Everything (Sunday, Main Stage)
According to the Big Book of Indie Cliches, Everything Everything ought to be running low on inspiration. After all, by album three most alternative bands are out of ideas and beginning to repeat themselves. Not so with these skinny, angst-slathered Mancunians – latest LP, Get To Heaven, is a divine mash-up of New Order, Talking Heads and Coldplay having a breakdown. What's not to love?
8: Wolf Alice (Sunday, Whelan's Stage)
Our advice is to arrive in advance for bruised indie underlings Wolf Alice, whose slot may be one of the most anticipated of the weekend. Fronted by the charismatic Ellie Rowsell, the North London quartet churn out a cathartic racket – ear-drum-troubling yet shot through with heart-on-sleeve earnestness.