James Blake at Bestival © Kate Goodacre, 2011

Take Five: Benjamin’s April tour special

The clocks have gone forward, the days are getting longer, and although the weather forecast may suggest otherwise, spring is finally upon us. With the long-awaited festival season ahead, your favourite musicians are slowly emerging from hibernation like so many woodland creatures. So, without further delay, we bring you a selection of carefully chosen tracks by artists touring the UK in the coming weeks.

1. Team Ghost - 'Dead Film Star'
Just as you should never judge a book by its cover, it's perhaps wise to avoid taking a son's title too literally. 'Dead Film Star', from Team Ghost's recent second record Rituals, is far less macabre than you might imagine. Anybody expecting a gory metal anthem or an insincere tribute to a departed celebrity will undoubtedly be left disappointed. Led by former M83 member Nicolas Fromageau, the French quintet's style is typical of the rich, dramatic synthpop made famous by their more celebrated compatriots.


2. James Blake - 'Retrograde'
Also returning with a second longplayer is James Blake, pioneering explorer of dubstep's darkest depths. His trademark minimal electronica has grown so much warmer and more soulful in the time that's passed since his self-titled debut. This, the title track of his latest release, is a brilliant blend of sublime computer generated noise, handclaps and bleeding heart vocals.


3. Darwin Deez - 'You Can't Be My Girl'
If you've never had the incomparable pleasure of witnessing Darwin Deez and his band of fellow eccentrics perform live, then be sure to make amends when they take their latest album Songs For Imaginative People on the road. It's worth the price of admission just to catch a glimpse of the magnificently coiffured NYC singer-songwriter's awkward, angular dance moves, and 'You Can't Be My Girl' is the perfect soundtrack if you're in the mood to throw some shapes. Even those of a less than creative persuasion are guaranteed to enjoy the experience.


4. Archive - 'Interlace'
Archive don't have a reputation or a fanbase proportionate to their long history and extensive discography, but their overdue breakthrough might just be imminent. The complex 'Interlace' is just one of many hidden gems waiting to be unearthed on their recent album With Us Until You're Dead and the eight studio albums which preceded it.


5. White Hills - 'Pads Of Light'
Long hair, long tracks, long guitar solos and a long tour. White Hills are not for those who like to keep things short and simple. Clocking in at a mere four minutes, 'Pads Of Light' is by far the shortest track on their recent release Frying On This Rock, and as such offers the perfect introduction for those afraid to to step into an infinite parallel universe of Black Sabbath and Kyuss-inspired stoner rock.


words: Benjamin Thomas
image of James Blake: Kate Goodacre