OFF Festival Katowice
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Details of event
OFF Festival Katowice 2017: Out of Africa and into the Cosmos
Dancing jazz legends, psychedelic guitar roller-coasters and introspective ballads: the final batch of additions to this year’s OFF Festival lineup is as colorful as ever.
OFF Festival 2017 Artists:
- Anna Meredith
- Anna von Hausswolff
- Arab Strap
- Bastard Disco
- Boris Grają „Pink”
- C Duncan
- Carla Bozulich
- Circuit Des Yeux
- Conor Oberst with Band
- Duży Jack
- Frankie Cosmos
- Group A
- Guiding Lights
- Helado Negro
- Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
- Janka Nabay & The Bubu Gang
- Jessy Lanza
- Kikagaku Moyo
- Kobieta z wydm
- Kornél Kovács
- Kwadrofonik i Artur Rojek
- Lvl Up
- Made in Poland „Martwy Kabaret”
- Mateusz Franczak
- Michael Gira
- Mirt + Ter
- Mitch & Mitch
- Moor Mother
- New People
- Noura Mint Seymali
- Oliver Coates
- PJ Harvey
- Ralph Kaminski
- Raphael Rogiński
- Richard Dawson
- Royal Trux
- Ryley Walker
- Sheer Mag
- Silver Apples
- Talib Kweli Live
- The Black Madonna
- The Fruitcakes
- The Men
- The Oh Sees
- This Is Not This Heat
- Trupa Trupa
- Ulrika Spacek
- Wilcze Jagody
- Wolves In The Throne Room
- Wrekmeister Harmonies
She may this season’s great sensation, but she’s going to be with us for a while. Her enthusiastically received debut album Varmint and her electrifying shows at industry festivals like Eurosonic Noorderslag and SXSW leave little room for doubt: we’re witnessing the birth of a star, one whose charismatic stage presence is matched by the bold vision of her compositions. Critics have compared her to the likes of Björk and Moderat, but that hardly does her justice. A graduate of the Royal College of Music, Meredith was until recently a regular performer at the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia ViVA, before going on to redefine the boundaries of new pop with her own musical vocabulary.
Anna von Hausswolff
A Swedish vocalist and composer with vision. The titles of her albums — Singing From The Grave (2010), Ceremony (2013), The Miraculous (2015) – speak volumes about her style. It’s brooding but beautiful art pop, brimming with the sounds of keyboards, ennobled with a solemn, ceremonial, almost liturgical atmosphere. The comparisons to Kate Bush come as no surprise, but make no mistake: Anna Von Hausswolff speaks in her own artistic voice.
There’s no better way to put this than one reviewer at The Guardian did: “The demise of Arab Strap leaves the rock world a rather more wholesome place, but a slightly less profound one.” This Scottish duo delivered emotions that,though real — perhaps painfully so – were hard to swallow. But once they were gone, we all understood just how important and unique of a phenomenon Arab Strap were in British music at the turn of the centuries. In 2016 their fans’ prayers were answered: Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton once again took to the stage to celebrate the band’s 20th birthday. We’re thrilled that the party’s gone on long enough to bring Arab Strap to Katowice.
This Warsaw quartet is clearly inspired by American hardcore and noise rock, but they’ve developed their own original sound. The LP Warsaw Wasted Youth has certainly been one of the most successful guitar-driven debuts on the Polish scene in recent years. Their concerts are equal parts energy and hypnosis.
“Behold, Wisdom! Arise! Come, bow and fall before me, and thou shall hear gladness and joy, for I have loved the truth and I shall gaze into thee in my immense grace and render unto thee my mercy and love, for the first and final time this year on Polish soil,” proclaimed Христофор when asked to comment on the upcoming performance of the inscrutable ensemble Batushka at the OFF Festival. Their obscured faces and mysterious pasts may raise controversy, but their debut album Litourgiya (2015), a mix of extreme metal and traditional Orthodox hymns, made quite a ruckus on the black metal scene and beyond. As the one of the band’s musicians noted above, this will be Batushka’s only performance in Poland this year.
A Bristol-based trio featuring Geoff Barrow (the backbone of Portishead), Billy Fuller (best known for his work with Robert Plant), and Will Young. Why would the former embark on yet another musical adventure, seeing that he’s already the co-founder of one of the most important bands of our time? Just have a listen: BEAK> is a completely different set of inspirations and emotions. With its nods to Krautrock, the minimalist roots of contemporary electronic music, and British underground dance music, this English trio rises to entirely new levels. An engrossing yet irritating trance, one that throws down the gauntlet to its listeners, like any good music should.
This story starts in Nowy Secymin, a village on the outskirts of the Kampinos National Park where three guys spent the longest summer vacation in their lives putting together Plac Zabaw, an album that remained an underground secret for years before becoming a cult legend. This spring Bitamina returned with a new release titled Kawalerka: a follow-up to the dreamy post-hiphop tracks on their debut record that’s somehow more mature and contains a surprising number of potential hits. It’s hard not give in to its magic.
The brothers Jarek (guitar, vocals, production) and Romek Zagrodny (guitar) are the brains behind this new Wrocław-based outfit, the latest addition to the roster of Brennnessel Records, a label run by members of KAMP! The sentimental synth pop and punchy guitars on their debut single “Aspen” won them plenty of fans, and we’re all waiting for more — including a show at the OFF Festival. You could hardly hope for a better summer band.
Boris Grają „Pink”
Watching music change and observing how artists mutually inspire each other, how it all swirls around: if there’s a more pleasant occupation in the world, then we’re all ears. The Japanese band Boris took its name from the title of a Melvins song, and now they’ve become classics in their own right, in no small part thanks to Pink, a record they released over a decade ago. The already-legendary band’s long-awaited tenth album took everyone by surprise and changed the rules of the game. “Japanese sludge trio unleash their most melodic, conventionally structured, and aggressively addictive LP to date, flirting with shoegaze and ambient,” Pitchfork proclaimed. “Pink is an hour-long record by a band that felt an urge to show their various personalities without separating those styles into multiple LPs,” added the site Consequence of Sound. Nothing more, nothing less: we’re thrilled to have Pink performed in all its challenging splendor at the OFF Festival.
This singer/composer’s debut album, Architect, was nominated for a Mercury Music Prize, while his sophomore release, The Midnight Sun (2016), merely confirmed that the title of Scotland’s most sensitive musician is well deserved. C Duncan has an unparalleled ability to combine the elegance of classical music with the sugary asceticism of dream pop. No one could possibly sound better on a beautiful summer night.
This New York-born, California-raised musician, producer, curator, and author is, above all else, the owner of a remarkable voice that can accommodate just about any context. She’s performed with the punk-country band The Geraldine Fibbers, led the improvisation post-industrial outfit Evangelista, and made guest appearances on innumerable recordings by her friends, from Xiu Xiu to Mike Watt. Carla Bozulich describes her solo work, particularly her 2014 album Boy, released by Constellation Records, as the most “poppy,” but don’t be fooled: no pop is this original, bold, and intriguing.
Circuit Des Yeux
Circuit des Yeux is the artistic alter ego of the American singer Haley Fohr, but it’s not her only one: she is also known to the world as the mysterious outlaw Jackie Lynn. In Fohr’s case, it’s impossible to determine with complete certainty the boundaries between the personal and the artistic. The intimate, disturbing songs performed in a low, dark voice pluck your most sensitive heartstrings, touching your most deeply-hidden spots and emotions. To experience this for yourself, try the album In Plain Speech (Thrill Jockey, 2015), recorded by Circuit des Yeux in collaboration with friends from the Chicago alternative scene: musicians involved in such projects as Cave, Bitchin Bajas, and Little Scream. Pitchfork calls it a “meditative and mesmerizing” album, and it’s hard to argue otherwise.
Conor Oberst with Band
It’s been well on twenty years since he started singing and playing, and we’ve listened and admired him every step of the way, from Bright Eyes and Desaparecidos to The Mystic Valley Band, Monsters of Folk, and of course his solo recordings. There are precious few storytellers on the music scene today that are as captivating as Conor Oberst and who can deliver their tales in such an engrossing format, combining folk, country, and rock, and prepending the “alt-” prefix to all of the above. The singing poet just came out with another excellent solo album titled Salutations before setting off on tour with his live band. He’ll be stopping by Katowice one August night to tell us something important and beautiful.
Originally formed as an excuse to play live covers of Starzy Singers songs, this band must have done something right, because they’re still here today. Duży Jack (“Big Jack”) is what you use to plug a big guitar into a big amp to make big noise, and that’s precisely what you can expect to hear on Uczucia, the band’s excellent debut record, and at their show in Katowice: pure, distilled hard core/noise rock/rock’n’roll.
Leslie Feist is a charismatic Canadian singer who follows her own path between tasteful indie pop and an original interpretation of American folk. She’s a favorite with audiences and the music industry for her unique character, a quality that’s most evident in her solo albums and her contributions to Broke Social Scene. Feist has been showered with trophies, including several Juno Awards and the Polaris Prize, and nominations to the world’s most prestigious music awards — the Grammys and BRIT Awards. Many of her songs have been featured in films, commercials, and the repertoires of other artists — James Blake’s career took off after he released his cover of “Limit to Your Love.” There’s a lot to look forward to this year, with new records coming out by both Broken Social Scene and Feist (her long-awaited fifth solo album), and — something we’re particularly excited about — the artist’s first performance in Poland. At the OFF Festival, of course.
Released last year, Frankie Cosmos’s newest album bears the title Next Thing, but The Next Big Thing would be more apt: the record launched this talented young girl from her quiet bedroom and the remote corners of the internet where she published her songs, onto the stages of the world’s leading music festivals and into the spotlight of the most influential music media. That’s when it turned out that Frankie Cosmos was actually Greta Klina, the daughter of famous actors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates. But she owes her success to no one but herself and her smart songs, which mix wit and melancholy in equal proportions. Today, Frankie Cosmos is more than just her stage name, it’s the full-fledged band she started two years ago. Frankie Cosmos will be playing at the OFF Festival in place of LVL UP, who canceled their music festival appearances across Europe this summer.
It all started when Achim, their Silesian cover of Adele’s hit Hello, went viral on YouTube. The girls kept the ball rolling with more and more videos of their songs, and soon started performing under the name Frele, a local Silesian word meaning “girls.” Marcelina Bendarska, Marta Skiba and Magdalena Janoszka met during their stint with the band So What and their time at the Katowice School of Stage Singing. What can we expect from from Frele at the OFF Festival? One thing is sure: you can look forward to plenty of hits with a Silesian twist.
This Berlin-based Japanese duo combines avant-garde music with poetry, performative art, and painting. Since 2012 the indomitable Tommi Tokyo (synthesizers, voice, percussion) and Sayaka Botanic (violin, tapes) have been exploring the borderlands of industrial, contemporary improvised music, techno, and noise, transforming every show into a musical and visual experiment.
A Warsaw trio that plays an American variety of garage rock. Just the thing for fans of East Coast punk and all those cool bands from Seattle that never landed a major label contract: Guiding Lights have got energy, a message, grime, and catchy choruses. They’ve also got a new album, New Ways to Feel Bad, that’s been getting enthusiastic reviews since its release this spring on Instant Classic.
“Nobody sounds like him, in any genre.“ If sentences like these crop up in reviews of your album, then you know you’re getting somewhere. And true enough, Roberto Carlos Lange, the Florida-born son of Ecuadorian immigrants, proves on his last album Private Energy that he’s much more than a fleeting novelty: he’s one of the most original voices on the music scene in America today. His eclectic blend of the rich musical tradition of Latin America, dreamy electronic pop, and political activism produces captivating results. “It almost feels like he’s casting a spell on you” writes one Pitchfork reviewer. Yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like.
This won’t be Jamie Stewart’s first appearance at the OFF Festival, and like last time, the cult film director David Lynch is involved. Xiu Xiu, Stewart’s main band, showed up in 2015 to perform an audacious reinterpretation of the soundtrack to the TV show Twin Peaks. This time, get ready for something less catchy: Jamie has teamed up with the Australian artist Lawrence English to compose a score for a photography exhibition by David Lynch. The title itself offers a big clue as to the nature of the pieces involved, and HEXA delivers on that promise with music that’s raw and abrasive yet peculiarly poetic: perfect for an abandoned factory.
There isn’t much to talk about here: this is a band you just have to hear and see. Idles hail from Bristol and are said to have formed just to dance on the grave of the local independent music scene. They play post punk that they themselves describe as occasionally unlistenable, but they’re wrong about that. Their full-length album Brutalism is a solid LP of excellent music, but it doesn’t tell the whole truth about the band. They only reveal their true faces at their wild, shameless and fierce live shows.
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
African grooves have faithful devotees here at the OFF Festival: all they need to know is that Idris Ackamoor and his Pyramids are coming to pump out some funky music. Here’s the breakdown for the rest of you: Idris, aka Bruce Baker, is a Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and community activist. Started in the 1970s as part of Cecil Taylor’s Black Music Ensemble, Idris’s band eventually matured and, over the course of numerous African tours, developed its own signature style that combined afrobeat and free jazz. Since the late 70s, The Pyramids have been an on-again, off-again project, but they came back again last year with the excellent politically-charged record We Be All Africans.
Janka Nabay & The Bubu Gang
Bubu music has always been part of the identity of the Temne people of Sierra Leone and an important component of their rituals. Performed by large ensembles of bamboo flute players, this art remained largely unchanged until Janka Nabay burst into the scene, revolutionizing the tradition with the addition of a hypnotic rhythm and by translating the language of this music into the vocabulary of guitars and synths. The end result is a live show that’s brimming with energy, plus excellent studio material, particularly En Yay Sah and the freshly-released Build Music. Your feet are going to move.
A Canadian singer and producer whose adventures in music began with the piano, clarinet, and jazz, Jessy Lanza entered adulthood (and musical maturity) with songs that charm you with their poppy catchiness while intriguing you with their modern, exploratory form. Her latest album, Oh No (2016) is yet another result of her creative collaboration with Jeremy Greenspan of Junior Boys and evidence of the fact that Jessy’s voice is enchanting as it is original.
The name Kikagaku Moyo, as we all know, translates to “geometric patterns.” And there’s plenty of irony in that name, because while the music played by this Japanese band is full of elaborate but disciplined art-rock structures, they bend and dissolve in psychedelic acid. The musical references range from Krautrock to Indian ragas to their own local psychedelic traditions, chief among them being Acid Mothers Temple. You’ll find a sample of their sound in the OFF Festival Katowice 2017 promotional video.
Kikagaku Moyo was founded in Tokyo in 2012, but they’ve already put out four albums, the latest of which, House in the Tall Grass, is a truly untethered flight into the stratosphere. Do you have the guts to get on board?
Kobieta z wydm
The name might be new, but the faces will surely be familiar to OFF regulars. Błażej Król is practically a resident artist at the festival: he’s performed with Kawałek Kulki and UL/KR, as a solo artist, as Król, and as part of Lauda, a collaborative project with his wife Iwona. And there’s a third member in Kobieta z wydm: Mateusz Rychlicki, the drummer for Kristen, who’s also part of the Król live band. Kobieta z wydm’s debut album Bental was no surprise to anyone familiar with the work of the above artists: it’s a collection of dark and disconcerting yet lyrical songs about what happens when that taste stays in your mouth until the very end…
A Hungarian by heritage, a Swede by birth and upbringing, and a global citizen by choice, DJ/producer Kornél Kovács combines dance music influences from across the globe, from Africa, through the Balearic Islands, to Detroit. In 2010 he joined Axel Boman and Petter Nordkvist to launch Studio Barnhus, which released Kovács’s debut album, The Bell (2016), an unpretentious collection of cheerful yet intelligent music. We’re going to dance to this.
Kwadrofonik i Artur Rojek
Whatever it was that brought together Kwadrofonik, one of the most original and visionary bands on the Polish music scene, and Artur Rojek, the artistic director of our festival and a singer who draws inspiration from a range of alternative music traditions — it must have been extraordinary. Indeed: Industrial Symphony No. 1, composed by Angelo Badalamenti in cooperation with David Lynch (and featuring references to his films), is truly remarkable. This melancholy story of love, loneliness, and darkness is told through a dark musical transcribed by Kwadrofonik into the sounds of their own trademark instruments (piano, drums, marimba, synths). Artur Rojek lends his voice, replacing the original vocal parts by Julee Cruise. You’ll hear Industrial Symphony No. 1 at the OFF Festival, but be prepared for it to haunt you in your dreams…
These guys have a way of surprising you. They’ve had three different incarnations: indie rock, surf rock, and a brief stint with country. The latter, which culminated with the mini-album You Gotta Move, happened in 2013, meaning they’ve had a few years to come up with their next move. And here it is: the fascinating, original, multi-threated concept album L.Story, composed to lyrics by Konrad Dworakowski, director of the Pinocchio Theater in Łódź, in cooperation with the choir known as Wielki Chór Młodej Chorei. We can’t wait to see this performed on stage.
Last year’s sensation Lor are coming into their own on the Polish independent music scene. These four extraordinarily talented teens from Krakow met in music school and got together to make magic. This story opens with the charming song/video “Windmill” and continues with a series of enthusiastically reviewed shows. And their fascinating tale is only getting started…
Return to Love, LVL UP’s third album and Sub Pop debut, is the quintessence of guitar-driven energy and sets the standard for American indie rock. It’s clear that Pavement, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Dinosaur Jr. have some talented students. The New York quarter has also earned a reputation as an excellent live band, a title they defended most recently at this year’s SXSW Festival in Austin.
The long-awaited return of a Polish band whose name translates to “racket,” one of the leading acts in the homegrown genre known as yass. Łoskot is back with a lineup that features Mikołaj Trzaska, Olo Walicki, Piotr Pawlak, and Macio Moretti. Some might brush it off as a harmless trip down memory lane for those of us who experienced the yass revolution as it happened and a history lesson for younger audiences. But we all know how ruthless Mikołaj and company can be, and that means that anything can happen at this show—and is unlikely to ever happen again.
Made in Poland „Martwy Kabaret”
A Kraków-based band that evolved out of the punk crew known as Exhumacja. One of the leading representatives of the Polish cold wave, i.e., sulky, hypnotic post-punk. Revolutions in guitar rock took a while to seep into the Polish People’s Republic, so it’s no wonder that Made In Poland achieved cult status: they were among the few contemporary acts that actually responded to what was going on on the international music scene. Unfortunately, the lyrics to their planned mid-80s record Martwy Kabaret were rejected by the censorship bureau and the album was never recorded. It was ultimately released in 2008 as a collection of archival recordings which turned out to have retained every bit of their original power.
Published in 1998, Fudo, Mapa’s first and only album so far, has rightfully earned a cult following. Marcin Dymiter (at the time a guitarist with the bands Ewa Braun and Mordy, now a sought-after producer and musician who works on the edges of electronic and improvised music) and Paul Wirkus (a Cologne-based drummer with roots in the famed punk town of Słupsk) created an enthralling masterpiece that explores the realm between electronic music and post rock. Though it earned rave reviews from live audiences and critics (including The Wire), the project soon ceased to exist. Now Mapa is back to prove that good music never becomes irrelevant.
The title of his debut solo album is Long Story Short, so we’ll make this quick, though Franczak’s musical resume has more than enough material for a longer tale. This multi-instrumentalist and improvisational musician is best known for his work with the bands Daktari and HOW HOW as well as his collaborations with Hugo Rac, Piotr Kurek, Maciej Cieślak and Karolina Rec. On his solo release, he swaps his trademark saxophone for a guitar and reveals his vocal skills. Prepare to be charmed.
Michael Gira will be serving triple-duty in Katowice: he’s performing with his band Swans, curating one day’s lineup at the Experimental Stage, and putting on a solo show. Unlike the wall of sound you’re bound to hear from Swans, the artist’s solo performances are a very intimate affair. “I am Not Insane,” he assures us in the title of one of the albums he recorded under his own name, and true enough, he’s exceptionally concentrated and muted – but no less fascinating — in this incarnation.
Michael Gira will be performing at the festival as part of his curatorship of Mouth to Mouth.
Mirt + Ter
Electronic music made without laptops or computers. Musician, illustrator and publisher Mirt is a co-founder of XOAC, Poland’s first modular synthesizer manufacturer. He’s released over a dozen albums, and you’ve seen and heard him perform if you showed up for one of Mike Patton’s shows in Kraków last fall. Ter is one of the few women in Poland who play modular synthesizers live. She performed with Brasil and the Gallow Brothers Band for years before debuting in 2013 with a solo album titled Fingerprints. Together, Mirt + Ter flow with the river of improvisation, carried on a dense, dark stream of disquieting sounds.
Mitch & Mitch
This allegedly Warsaw-based band sounds suspiciously Brazilian. Their faces might ring a bell, but they’ve still got plenty of tricks up their sleeves. Mitch & Mitch have been an OFF Festival mainstay from the start. They’ve played everything from country music and cover songs that you wish they had composed, to Zbigniew Wodecki classics that (luckily) he composed and they helped him dust off—and it’s always been top notch. They recently released a new album featuring the Brazilian producer Kassine, titled Visitantes Nordestinos, which will certainly find its way into their setlist. But who cares: we’re going to dance to whatever they play.
Looking for some intense sensations? Don’t miss this show by Moor Mother, a.k.a. Camae Ayewa, an interdisciplinary artist from Philadelphia. We consider her debut album Fetish Bones one of last year’s most important records, though it’s too radical for broader audiences. Part chronicle, part complaint and rebellion, Fetish Bones is a stream-of-consciousness flowing from the collective and individual memory of an African-American woman. Critics have likened it to Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” Matana Roberts’ Coin Coin, and even Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly — all well-deserved comparisons — but Moor Mother’s message and music are much more vehement, vivid, and furious.
A seven-person post-pop act that performs a blend of 1970s musical flavors rarely tasted in Poland: soft rock, disco and soul. Their sound is melodic, multifaceted and challenging, but New People haven’t found an audience yet. The band comprises musicians best known for their work with other groups: Alicja Boratyn (Wicked Giant), Jakub Czubak and Piotr Piechota (The Car Is On Fire), Aleksander Orłowski (Magnificent Muttley), Natalia Pikuła (Drekoty), Jakub Sikora (Crab Invasion, ZaStary) and Hubert Woźniakowski (Eric Shoves Them In His Pockets).
Noura Mint Seymali
Hailing from Mauretania, this folk musician uses her powerful and phenomenal voice to tell the story of the nomadic people of north Africa, enhancing her message (and paving the way to a Western audience) with arrangements that balance her native traditions with musical references to psychedelic rock. Her debut album Tzenni took the year-end lists by storm in 2014, while Arbina, released in the fall of 2016, further cemented Noura Mint Seymali’s reign as current queen of the Sahara.
A British cellist, composer and producer whose work you may have heard on the recent Radiohead album A Moon Shaped Pool, as well as on recordings by artists such as Massive Attack and Actress. Luckily this Royal Academy of Music graduate and member of the illustrious London Contemporary Orchestra still finds time for solo projects, and his latest album Upstepping is a singular blend of classical and dance music, from deep house to footwork. They say his live shows can leave you confused: do you focus and listen or let your body follow the rhythm?
A Russian music collective that draws on Bön, the mysterious magic-steeped religious tradition that was common in Tibet before Buddhism arrived from India. This haunting, mystic music is performed using ritual instruments and a special tantric vocal technique known as aliquotic singing.
She’s an outstanding composer, poet, multi-instrumentalist, and singer with a charismatic stage persona. She’s the one-of-kind Polly Jean, an artist whom we’ve admired for years in all her incarnations, from her early rough post-punk days to the more refined and intimate work on White Chalk and the inspired political folk-rock anthems on Let English Shake and The Hope Six Demolition Project. We’re impressed by PJ Harvey’s ambition to change this world by singing, and we’re sure she’ll convince many of us to join the cause in Katowice.
Another Canadian addition to our lineup, Preoccupations debuted in 2015 with the then-self-titled album Viet Cong. The band later discovered that the reference to the name of the Communist forces of Vietnam was too much for some people, so they rebranded themselves as Preoccupations and followed up with a sophomore release in the fall of 2016, the once again eponymously-titled Preoccupations. It was every bit as good as the debut, but much richer: a post-punk roller coaster with new loops and corkscrews, from industrial and noise rock to ambient and shoegaze. As one Pitchfork reviewer points out, Preoccupations is a nod to both Swans and Echo and the Bunnymen, yet the band communicates with its audience in its own vivid language.
Anyone who saw their mind-blowing performance two years ago was probably willing to bet a hundred bucks they’d be back. And that would have been a winning bet. But no one could have predicted that the nostalgic yet urban vibe of their debut album Art Brut would be reforged into the dystopian futuristic visions assembled on their follow-up concept album. Simply titled PRO8L3M, the record reinforced Oskar and Steez’s presence on the scene while proving that the horizons of hip-hop go on forever.
We’d like to see more debuts like Ralph Kaminski’s mature and original 2016 Morze on the Polish pop scene (but we’ll settle for its alternative fringes). This talented young artist began his musical journey with the violin, but ended up graduating in Vocal Performance at the Gdańsk Academy of Music, with an assortment of bands, contests and even a successful appearance at the Polish Song Festival in Opole happening along the way. But we decided that the OFF Festival and its audience’s taste is a better fit for Kaminski’s passionate, melancholy music.
We’ve already confirmed Raphael’s slot on this year’s OFF Festival lineup with the duo Żywizna, but he’ll also be performing as a solo artist. This brilliant and original guitarist seamlessly combines a variety of techniques and musical traditions, from blues and jazz to surf rock. He lay the foundations for new Jewish music in Poland with the bands Shofar, Cukunft and Alte Zachen, and explored the musical roots shared by all people, across all eras and continents, with the ensembles Wovoka and Shy Albatross. With Żywizna, Rogiński revives traditional Kurpian music. But when he flies solo… let’s just say that anything’s possible.
Some have lauded this madman from Newcastle as the UK’s answer to Captain Beefheart, while others trace his musical roots up from ancient Celtic hymns, through the blues, to songs supposedly sourced from the Asiatic steppe. One thing is sure: Richard Dawson is an absolutely unique voice on the music scene today, and he proves as much with the album Nothing Important, published by Weird World/Domino. One reviewer at The Quietus hit the nail on the head, describing the record as “at times deeply, painfully intimate, but also witty, bawdy, surreal, disquieting, nostalgic, brash and fearlessly individual.”
A band’s dissolution doesn’t have to spell bad news: the breakup of the punk act Pussy Galore, for example, led to the formation of two more excellent groups. The first was The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion; the other was Royal Trux. The duo formed by Neil Hagerty and Jennifer Herrema spent the entire 90s exploring their own vision of noise rock (or rather noise rock’n’roll). This year at the OFF Festival, we’ll be celebrating Royal Trux’s comeback following a nearly two-decade hiatus. And we hope they’re back for good, because they’ve got the kind of energy the world needs.
Joining us from Rockford, Illinois is Ryley Walker. He’ll be bringing his guitar, an instrument he’s fully mastered and uses to compose intricate and charming songs. Ryley’s music combines two traditions: that of psychedelic hippie music that rambles on and on, and that of folk music, or perhaps blues storytellers who sing it raw and simple, like life itself. His latest record, Golden Sings That Have Been Sung, contains (as the title suggests) plenty of gold that’ll shine beautifully in the August sun.
The latest discovery from Nextpop records. Released in April, Matronika features the kind of fragile, poetic and emotional music the label is known for. SALK (the band’s full name is Selkie & Lighthouse Keepers) is Marcela Rybska (voice, ukulele, piano, guitar), Michał “Mamut” Sarapata (bass, producer) and Mateusz “Majster” Sarapata (percussions, electronics).
With their compelling music, political awareness, and highly-charged stage presence, this London-based group has revived our faith in young guitar bands. Cheeky and catchy at the same time, they nod to the rich heritage of British punk while incorporating the street sounds of recent years, from The Streets to Sleaford Mods. Their fall 2016 debut EP The Lick / Gold Hole earned an enthusiastic reception, and everyone’s looking forward to their full-length debut. And we’re looking forward to their show in Katowice.
Take one listen to this Philadelphia band’s EPs and you won’t have any doubt in your mind: you’re dealing with a band that could have easily opened for MC5, Stooges, or New York Dolls if they had only made it big in time. The fact that Sheer Mag wasn’t founded until 2014 changes nothing. This great a blend of early punk and hard rock that makes nods to Led Zeppelin and Thin Lizzy is something you can’t come up with. You just have to live it.
If we were to put together a list of the artists most requested by OFF Festival veterans, Shellac would definitely have a spot on the podium. We’re not in the least bit surprised: headed by the charismatic musician and producer Steve Albini, this trio is in all respects a perfect match for our OFF Festival philosophy: they play their own music on their own terms, and they don’t care what anyone else thinks. Shellac upholds the best traditions of independent American guitar rock, but this is no museum of hardcore and noise rock; just listen to their latest album, Dude Incredible (2014), to find out how alive their sound is! And their live shows can be a real kick in the ass, too.
A duo that’ll leave you puzzled yet enthralled with their raw form and uncompromising lyrics. In their own words, “SIKSA is an infantile and antisocial nightmare that emerged from the punk rock, theater, and literature scenes.” It’s “loud-mouthed literature shouted over vulgar bass marches, spat out here and now by a non-actress and non-musician…” And to make things easier for their lazier listeners, they offer the following comparison: “SIKSA is part Britney Spears and part Geurnica y Luno.” The best part is that they’re right.
This band has spent half a century in the musical avant-garde without taking a single step back. Put on their 2016 record Clinging to a Dream, their first new material in nearly two decades, to find out just what Simeon Coxe can conjure up in his electronic lab. We’ve already featured Krautrock heroes and the visionaries of exploratory electronic music here at the OFF Festival, and now it’s time to go back to the source and find out where it all began.
We always roll out the red carpet at the OFF Festival for representatives of the tri-city scene, because they’re guaranteed to be bearing gifts of intriguing and original sounds, and Spoiwo is no exception. Their trademark take on post rock has garnered attention from audiences in Poland and abroad. But that’s just what you’d expect from music that crosses genre boundaries.
Everyone knows that straying from marked routes when you’re hiking in the mountains could end in death. So this band risked a lot, aiming high and never sticking to the beaten path. Yet they’ve not only managed to outlive their peers, the remaining pioneers of New York’s no wave scene, but they’ve even reinvented themselves — twice — each time creating new musical phenomena that others were quick to pick up. Their 2016 album The Glowing Man was yet another surprise, if only due to the unexpected juxtaposition of massive, torrential sounds next to hushed, intimate pieces. Still, this is no easy listening: most contemporary vocalists scream with less fury than Michael Gira whispers. But the triumphal march of Swans’ current incarnation, which opened with the release of the monumental My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky, is drawing to an end. The band is coming to the OFF Festival to say goodbye in its current form. But we’re not crying: we’re celebrating, because Michael Gira is sure to come up with something that’ll shake us to the core. Especially since the Swans Apocalypse will go on longer than your typical festival set: get ready for at least a two-and-a-half hour show. Are you ready to be devoured?
Talib Kweli Live
This Brooklyn-based rapper/activist first appeared on our musical radars as one half of the duo Black Star, which also featured Mos Def. Fifteen years ago Talib Kweli debuted as a solo artist with the album Quality, an apt title considering that the artist’s technical finesse and musical awareness are equalled by his social and political involvement. He has worked alongside the likes of Kanye West, The Roots, and Madlib, and contributed to the success of the young Kendrick Lamar. The ever-exploring Talib Kweli is among the most important and original names on the American hip-hop scene. This approach doesn’t always guarantee you a smooth ride to the top of Billboard charts, but we’re certain he’s going to feel right at home at the OFF Festival.
The Black Madonna
When The Black Madonna takes the stage, you know it’s about to go down. We’ve invited one of the world’s most popular and respected female DJs, one whose sets rest on the delicate balance between dependable hits and bold new discoveries, a well-regarded producer, to name but Exodus and A Jealous Heart Never Rests, and a resident host at the legendary Smart Bar in Chicago, which — under her curation — has been lauded as one the best clubs in the US. “Dance music needs riot grrrls. Dance music needs Patti Smith. It needs DJ Sprinkles. Dance music needs some discomfort with its euphoria. Dance music needs salt in its wounds. Dance music needs women over the age of 40. Dance music needs breastfeeding DJs trying to get their kids to sleep before they have to play. Dance music needs cranky queers and teenagers who are really tired of this shit. Dance music needs writers and critics and academics and historians. Dance music needs poor people and people who don’t have the right shoes to get into the club,” says The Black Madonna, a woman who’s transforming club culture before our very eyes. We’re confident that her OFF Festival performance will be a transformative experience for us, as well.
They’re from the Tri-City area, but their sound is mostly from the 60s. The band just recently put down tracks for their debut, The Fruitcakes 2, produced by Maciej Cieślak and inspired by The Beatles and the psychedelic rock of that era. The record is set to drop in June on Let’s Hope Aliens Are Vegan Records / PIAS.
We’re attentive observers of the new punk scene emerging across the pond and we jump at the opportunity to invite its representatives to the OFF Festival, so it was only a matter of time before this happened. Coming to Katowice straight out of Brooklyn’s best garages, it’s The Men! A band that’s just as respectful of tradition—from The Velvet Underground to Fugazi—as it is willing to veer off into noisy realms as distant as country music. And as you’ll hear on their outstanding records Open Your Heart, New Moon, and Devil Music, as well as their live shows, The Men take their noise seriously. We’ll find out just how seriously soon enough.
Thee Oh Sees
We’ve featured Thee Oh Sees at the OFF Festival before, but we’re not just repeating ourselves here. The band has managed to release a full four albums since their last visit to Katowice: Drop, Mutilator Defeated at Last, A Weird Exits, and An Odd Entrances, all while changing their lineup and basically reinventing themselves. But one crucial aspect remains the same: there’s no greater expert on genre-agnostic psychedelic garage rock than this California act.
This Is Not This Heat
That’s right: This Is Not This Heat is not This Heat. But the band does follow in the footsteps of the legendary British band, with Charles Bullen and Charles Hayward at the helm. In their day This Heat was was among the few British bands to offer a meaningful response to Europe’s Krautrock revolution, and in doing so nudged the punk scene in a more avant garde direction. Their two albums—This Heat and Deceit—were enough to inspire an entire generation, from Sonic Youth to Massive Attack, from Radiohead to Caribou. And we’re proud and happy to announce that they’ll be playing at the OFF Festival this August.
Released in 2015, the album Headache made quiet a storm in Poland and especially abroad. It garnered universal praise, from The Quietus, through Sub Pop’s Jonathan Poneman, to Sasha Frere-Jones, who, in a post for the LA Times, hailed Headache as one of the year’s top records. The band played a few shows (including one at the OFF Festival, of course) and soon decided to follow through with another album. We now know that their upcoming LP, titled Jolly New Songs, is even better than the last one. Slated for release this fall/winter, the record is an international collaboration between several labels. We’ll have a preview performance of the new tracks, along with material off of Headache, at the OFF Festival. What a treat!
Though they hail from London, this quintet’s sound includes few of the features you’d expect to hear from members of the British rock scene. In fact, reviewers of their debut album The Album Paranoia suggested influences ranging from trancey Krautrock to American noise rock. The band’s sophomore record, titled Modern English Decoration, is slated for release ahead of this year’s festival, so anything could still happen.
“Feminism with a vintage groove,” or simply “songs about broken hearts.” Close friends offstage, Ania Włodarczyk, Nela Gzowska and Zosia Hołubowska (whom you might remember from such projects as Kobiety, Ryby, Prison and Fallow Ground) share a love of synth pop, shoegaze-tinged alternative rock and the sound of the East in the 1980s. Their music brims with the energy of queer all-girl bands and is clearly steeped in the DIY ethic. Their debut record is in the works.
Wolves In The Throne Room
Extreme metal has a way of provoking strong emotions and controversies: some people are enchanted by it, others find it revolting. And that’s precisely why it’s been a constant feature of the OFF Festival. But there’s another, more important reason: metal, in its radical forms, has been one of the most creative scenes in music for many years, not just just building upon its nearly half-century-long heritage, but also borrowing from 20th century avant-garde and experimental electronic music. This is particularly true of the American group Wolves in the Throne Room, founded by the Weaver brothers in 2003. Nearly a decade and half and five albums later, the artists behind Celestial Lineage consistently prove that black metal has about as much respect for boundaries as it does for anything sacred.
“I wanted to sonically convey the idea of slow, creeping change. When I came up with the title I was thinking of how when daylight turns to night time it’s a very gradual process. You are lulled into watching this slow, peaceful sunset but then all of a sudden you look up and it’s dark,” says JR, the frontman of Chicago’s Wrekmeister Harmonies, explaining how he draws listeners into the group’s latest album, Light Falls. But perhaps “collective” would a more appropriate term: JR and Esther Shaw mix and match their musical collaborators depending on the needs at hand. Past guests have included David Yow of The Jesus Lizard and Marissa Nadler, while the latest release features members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. What doesn’t change is the music’s dense, ominous mood, straddling post rock and metal.
Him and her. Raphael Rogiński: a composer and extraordinary guitarist who lay the foundations for new Jewish music in Poland with the bands Shofar, Cukunft and Alte Zachen, and explored the musical roots shared by all people, across all eras and continents, from Chopin to Coltrane, with the ensembles Wovoka and Shy Albatross. Genowefa Lenarcik: daughter of the Kurpian vocal legend Stanisław Brzozowski and the acclaimed torch-bearer of her father’s oeuvre. Żywizna is the collaborative project by Rogiński and Lenarcik, whose crowning joint achievement is the album Zaświeć Niesiącku and other Kurpian songs, one of the best Polish records of 2016 — and not in the narrowcategory of “folk music.”
Źródło: Materiały promocyjne organizatora.
- Dolina Trzech Stawów, , Katowice