Run by The Coral’s James and Ian Skelly alongside another unrelated Skelly (Nev), Skeleton Key Records is an imprint with an already impressive roster, with the likes of Blossoms and Cabbage amongst their alumni. Primarily focused on psychedelic folk and rock music, SKELETON COAST FESTIVAL is a kind of offshoot of the record label, part showcase of the artists on the label’s impressive roster, part playground for the collective and their mates.
Taking place on Saturday 5th August at Hoylake Parade on the sunny side of the Wirral, Skeleton Coast is a freaky meeting of minds (or meeting of freaky minds, depending on your viewpoint). Split between two stages in Hoylake Community Centre, the festival features a headline set from CABBAGE, a DJ set from the label’s recent breakout stars SHE DREW THE GUN, as well as some brilliant acts from Merseyside’s fertile DIY underbelly (THE MYSTERINES are a must-see) who ascribe to the festival and label’s madcap ethos. Here are our recommendations for artists and Skeletal goings on to get your teeth stuck into…
Psycho Comedy at Skeleton Coast 2016 by John Latham
Skeleton Key Stage, 9pm
With eight albums already under her belt, JANE WEAVER has firmly established herself as one of the most prominent figures in the recent psych revival. With the release of her 2014 breakout album, The Silver Globe, Weaver has become a favourite amongst critics, praised for bringing something light and breezy to an often fuzz-filled, overpowering genre. Her latest album, Modern Kosmology, was released earlier in 2017 on Fire Records, further showcasing her strengths as a guiding light in modern psychedelic folk.
Skeleton Coast Stage, 8.30pm
MARVIN POWELL is an up-and-coming star in the psychedelic folk scene, with a sound reminiscent of Nick Drake, Bert Jansch and Ryley Walker. With beautiful lyrics gliding in between delicately fingerpicked guitar strings, his debut EP, Sand, was met with critical acclaim. His forthcoming EP, Wind Before The Train, released on 22nd August via Skeleton Key Records, further explores his now trademark Drakeian style folk. His music is honest, tender, and intimate.
Watch the video for Wind Before The Train‘s lead track here.
JOSEFIN ÖHRN + THE LIBERATION
Skeleton Key Stage, 7.45pm
Taking their name from the idea of ‘Liberation Upon Hearing In The Between’ from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, JOSEFIN ӦHRN + THE LIBERATION are one of the most forward-thinking bands in psychedelic rock today. With their second album, Mirage, released on Rocket Recordings late last year, featuring a range of avant-garde pop tracks. With influences ranging from Serge Gainsbourg and Françoise Hardy to Broadcast and Saint Etienne, and live sets are rarely short of pulverising, JÖ+TL are a force to be reckoned with. Get a glimpse of what the magic is like with this live session they performed
Skeleton Key Stage, 6.45pm
As well as co-hosting the event, homegrown five-piece THE SUNDOWNERS bring their own brand of psych rock to Skeleton Coast. While having one foot firmly planted to in the world of modern psych music (read Goat), the band also take inspiration from krautrock heavyweights Neu! and Can, as well as the electronic sounds of Air and Portishead. The Sundowners have released two albums via the Skeleton Key imprint, with a self-titled debut arising in 2015, followed by Cut The Master in April of this year. The band worked with Finders Keepers label guru ANDY VOTEL on elements of the LP’s production, and he brings his overflowing record bag to the festival this year for what will be an enlightening DJ set.
Skeleton Coast Stage, 6.15pm
Cork-based, Wirral-raised LAURIE SHAW has quickly established himself as an alt rock aficionado, having already made around 57 albums under various names (we’re guessing at the exact number). His latest, Felted Fruit, released late last year, is inspired by the idea of 30 7” records been left in the heat to melt and merge into one another. The result is 30 tracks’ worth of rapid-fire garage rock, psych folk, alt pop and fuzz, delivered in sharp, two-minute bursts. Laurie Shaw is a man to look out for!
THE CORAL: DISTANCE INBETWEEN
In conjunction with the great variety of music on offer over the course of the day, Skeleton Coast Festival is also host to The Coral‘s Distance Inbetween exhibition, documenting the music and artwork behind the band’s 2016 album, Distance Inbetween. Designed by drummer and co-songwriter Ian Skelly, the album artwork was derived from Victorian-inspired cut and paste collages and surreal illustration, resulting in a nomination for Best Art Vinyl 2016. This exhibition features unseen artwork and special edition prints from the album, as well as artefacts that inspired the album itself.
Skeleton Coast Festival takes place on Saturday 5th August at Hoylake Parade, Wirral. Tickets are £20 and are available at eventim.co.uk.