Isolation Radio (Part 14): Mad Cool Festival Edition

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© Andres Iglesias

A relative newcomer to the European festival scene; Mad Cool Festival has been bringing the biggest names in indie rock to Madrid since 2016. Previous line-ups have included The Who, Tame Impala, Queens of the Stone Age and Jack White.

The good news for the postponed festival is that the line-up remains relatively unchanged for 2021 with Mumford & Sons, twenty one pilots, and The Killers taking the headline slots. They will be supported by other huge names like Placebo and Pixies as well as the below bands.

1. Sea Girls – All I Want To Hear You Say

It’s not a secret that IINAG love Sea Girls but in our defense we have good reason to. The British four-piece are riding a wave of success as we await the release of their debut album in August and a headline tour in the autumn.

The reason for their success? Having one of the best live shows out there. Lead singer Henry Camamile spends his time in the crowd (whether they’re in the wings, centre stage or upper tier seating he makes it to them) whilst lead guitarist Rory Young attacks every song with floppy haired enthusiasm. All this culminates in a raucous cacophony of noise bringing the crowd alive to feed off their sound.

2. Nothing But Thieves – Sorry

Nothing But Thieves also have a new album due for release with the teaser singles showing a more matured musical style from the Essex five piece.

Melodic ballad, Sorry is probably their most famous song and whilst one of their slower hits, it certainly gets the crowd going. One of those songs that can’t help but drive an emotional resonance with the listener, it packs a punch whenever it is performed live.

3. Foals – Black Bull

Easily one of the best bands in the world at the moment, Foals have achieved a level of greatness with their last two albums; Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 & 2. Taken from Part 2, Black Bull is a 3:07 sound riot with ripping basslines, scorching vocals and addictive beat.

Having cemented their live reputation early in the career, they’ve spent the rest of the time perfecting a seamlessly, passionate act. Having missed two opportunities to see them tour in the last 12 months, I’m literally counting down the days until the resumption of the postponed tour.

4. Shura – Touch

If you’ve never heard of Shura, you might recognise this single from Netflix Original Sex Education which let’s be honest has one of the best TV soundtracks in recent years. Synth pop artist Shura has been seamlessly blurring the mainstream idyllic of pop-stars for nearly a decade.

One of her first singles Touch is a beautiful, simplistic song. Two parts sexy to two parts romantic, her vocals throughout are hauntingly delicate and work to build a level of intimacy with the listener. Drawing on 90’s beats and ‘80’s synths Touch is quite simply just chilled.

5. Blood Red Shoes – An Animal

Brighton two-piece Blood Red Shoes know how to be loud. Despite always being adventurous with their musical styles, there is always consistent with the band and that’s the sheer level of heavy noise they produce.

Taken from their 2014 self-titled album, An Animal is a relentlessly pacy riff. Drummer Steven Ansell thunders as guitarist Laura-May Carter blisters in an intense three minutes of driven, hard noise.

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Indie is not a genre

Indie is not a genre