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Festivals have become an industry and new ones are glorified cookery shows attended by the prime minister and his pals, so we sometimes forget why we do them and why we are there: for moments of togetherness. At real festivals we are brought together by the spiritual connection of music under a starry sky, an antidote to the aloneness of the modern age. And there's one band the represents and revels in that power, one of the great acts of our era, and that is Spiritualized, and they will be closing the Truck Stage on the Saturday night. Jason Pierce and co have been wished for many times over the years and now they are on their way to Hill Farm. We are very excited!
Another force of nature to be welcomed back to Truck is The Joy Formidable, who blend thick sonic textures with strong melodies and metallic rhythms. They are touting their second album "Wolf's Law" and since they last appeared at Truck they've gone global, appearing on Letterman and the Twilight soundtrack, and even headlining Truck America.
We Are The Ocean will close the Barn on Friday night, back with their 3rd album and first with their new line-up, "Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow", in what will no doubt be another spectacular Truck moment, if you can get a space in the trusty and refreshingly pungent cowshed. Frankie and the Heartstrings follow in the footsteps of many great acts from Sunderland, and even had a member of Kenickie in the band for a while, though perhaps a more relevant comparison is Edwyn Collins, who produced their first album. The second is being produced by Bernard Butler, but it probably won't sound like Suede, judging from "I Will Follow You", the single.
Another popular favourite band coming back to Truck are Treetop Flyers, whose singer Reid Morrison will be familiar to Truckers from his old band Morrison Steam Fayre. The debut album from the Flyers was recorded in Malibu and you will literally feel like you're in California as you listen to them, I promise.
We have had many types of band at Truck, but we have not yet had a Japanese four-piece acid punk band - a situation to be rectified by Bo Ningen appearing in the barn, in what will no doubt be a frenzied highlight of this year's festival. To quote one-time Truck DJ and BBC journo Mike Diver, reviewing their debut album: "Bo Ningen sound... like their absolute lives depend on their crowd having the best possible time - and having seen them in the flesh (and hair, all over the place), it's an emphatic yes from the other side of the barrier."
The History of Apple Pie create a sound that Pitchfork calls "prime indie rock ear candy", and that sounds good to me, using the sounds of the 90s as source material. Yes, it's 15 years since the first Truck Festival and those early days are now ripe for nostalgic rediscovery! Kimberly Anne is supporting Lewis Watson on tour, and in her own words: "i sing and play the guitar - music is my imaginary friend - i'm left handed like Hendrix but I can't play like him". Maybe not, but who can? Bath's Pylo have a good dose of Bends-era Radiohead about them, which ain't a bad thing, right? Cheltenham's Harbour also make epic-proportioned rock sounds. Some of these artists new to Truck were probably at playschool when Truck 98 took place, and now no doubt one - or more - of them will will create a moment to be remembered for 15 years to come at Hill Farm, all through the power of music. Amen, as the vicar would say.
The actress spoke about raising her 11 year old daughter Matilda in the wake of Heath Ledger's death eight years ago.