Festival Preview: MENT 2020 | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, February 21st, 2020  

Black Country, New Road

Festival Preview: MENT 2020

Under the Radar's 15 picks for next week's Slovenian showcase

Jan 30, 2020 Photography by Shaun Gordon Web Exclusive
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Even in a calendar overrun with showcase festivals, Slovenia's MENT stands out for its uncovering of esoteric new talent and shows in unique settings.

Taking over multiple venues across the historic, postcard-perfect vistas of Ljubljana, MENT attracts talent from all over Europe, eschewing trends and industry foibles to present a bill that gets more intriguing the further you delve in.

This sixth edition, taking place between the 5th and 7th February, features 81 acts across 14 locations, that definitely don't fit the festival norm. Alongside the historic venues of the city, and the majestic confines of Ljubljana Castle, this year also adds Dijaški dom Tabor, a student hall of residence with a charming dance hall, and record shop Big Nose, to the venues list.

Before the music, the MENT conference 2020 will tackle some of the big issues facing music such as the sustainability of festivals and musician's careers, innovations in PR and booking and a look at streaming income.

Fuelled by the idea of discovering some new European talent, Under The Radar is setting up camp at MENT to see what we can find. These are the acts that have caught our eye (hear?) before we set off:

52 Hertz Whale

Named after the world's loneliest whale, Bratislava's 52 Hertz Whale revel in the sound of isolation and gothic intensity. There are obvious hints of Interpol and Preoccupations in the mix, but with an Eastern European starkness that makes them stand out. Famed for their visceral live performances this should be one not to miss.

All Strings Detached

A Slovenian duo re-framing classic folk songwriting into a haunting modern context, dwelling in minimalism but intricacies of strings, electric bass and an expanded full band, they have just unleashed latest album Septet. If their live performances are as mesmerising as the recorded material, this will be special.

Black Country, New Road

Part of a new wave of acts embracing complexity and avant-guard influences to push the "indie" envelope, Black Country, New Road are a mesmerising live experience. Off-kilter, weird and willing to let the music be the driving force at their most vital they reach truly epic heights and at their most considered, beautiful moments of contemplation.

Body Says No

Ljubljana locals Body Says No are somewhat of a supergroup of the Slovenian underground, or so we are told! Regardless their driving post-punk rhythms mixed with abrasive noise rock and stoner rock haze sounds MASSIVE.

Decibelles

Lyon based Decibelles has been laying waste to Europe's noise rock scene for years, and with the Steve Albini produced album Rock Francais in tow their melodic aggressive and pure energy is bound to produce one of the shows of MENT.



Gnoomes

Recorded Russia's Gnoomes create a transformative sound beamed directly from the outer reaches of the cosmos. A hypnotic blend of krautrock, shoegaze and psychedelic pop and sprinklings of space-age electronics they make an all-encompassing noise. Rumour has it they deliver this perfectly live - we can't miss that!

It's Everyone Else

What is this noise? Electronic hardcore, pop-industrial-core, synth-screamo? Fuck knows but it is captivating. Leipzig duo uses the power of electronics to blast hardcore energy and political anger with pure power. Their shows are "wild and untamed". This is a sonic sermon not to miss.

Molchat Doma

Recently signed to Sacred Bones to reissue their first two albums, Russian darkwave band Molchat Doma take post-punk to its darkest, most gothic place. Their recently announced London shows have been upgraded twice due to demand. Goths everywhere just found their new favourite band.

My Ugly Clementine

Uniting members from other established East European bands, My Ugly Clementine has serious momentum leading up to the release of their debut album this year. They make lush, intelligent pop with a post-punk edge. This could be the next big accessible indie-rock crossover band - just saying.

 

Neighbours burning Neighbours

After catching The Sweet Release of Death lay waste to Rockaway Beach festival a few weeks ago, the chance to see sister band Neighbours burning Neighbours (with who they share a member) fills us with delight. Another shining light of Rotterdam's incredible art scene, they revel in dragging melody from walls of obscure noise. Fans of Sonic Youth, Girl Band and The Ex need to get on this immediately.

People Club

A global quintet based in Berlin, People Club play soul thorough a fog of dream pop. Cocteau Twins do soul or something. They battle sexism, addiction and anxiety in their forthright lyrics which is at odds with the pop sweetness of their sound. This is going to be interesting.

Slift

Slift is a psych-rock colossus - reckless abandon, garage rock energy, psych fuzz, motorik rhythms and free jazz ambitions. All in a single song! Sounds good right? This three-piece is one of rock's most visceral prospects in 2020 and need to be seen.

Solo Ansamblis

There's a glitch in the Matrix! Vilna's Solo Ansamblis sounds like an electronic invasion of nostalgia. Goth synths permeate post punk rhythms and a classic sense of retro-futurism. It sounds like the idea of the future as viewed from the past. There's a new album coming this year. Their set at MENT is bound to be some sort of enthralling death disco!

Trupa Trupa

Words fail to describe Poland's Trupa Trupa, just ask anyone who has witnessed them live! There are all sorts of rhythms, grooves and ideas packed into their walls of noise, even lush vocal harmonies. This is rock music, recognisable and unrecognisable at the same time. Sub Pop realised they are special and signed them up. Everyone needs to see this band.

Wooden Whales

Russia's Wooden Whales make indie as if shoegaze had been the dominant influence on the 90s! Hazy guitars, epic waves of noise, floating vocals but all with an unbounded pop sensibility. Live we expect them to be loud but reassuringly lovely.

Discover more about MENT at: https://www.ment.si/

 

 

 



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