Pere Ubu is a rock band that considers itself to be working within the mainstream of the genre.

Pere Ubu make a music that is a disorienting mix of midwestern groove rock, “found” sound, analog synthesizers, falling-apart song structures and careening vocals. It is a mix that has mesmerized critics, musicians and fans for decades.

The Pere Ubu project was supposed to be an end, not a beginning. Assembled in August 1975 to be the Crosby Stills Nash & Young of the Cleveland music underground, the plan was to record one, maybe two singles and exist no more. Within months, however, those first self-produced records were being snapped up in London, Paris, Manchester, New York and Minneapolis. Pere Ubu was changing the face of rock music.

Over the next four decades they defined the art of cult; refined the voice of the outsider; and inspired the likes of Joy Division, Pixies, Husker Du, Henry Rollins, REM, Sisters of Mercy, Thomas Dolby, Bauhaus, Julian Cope and countless others.

“Ubu are generally regarded as the missing link between the Velvets and punk. From the beginning they obviously understood the nuts and bolts of popular music, and then loosened them”. – Joe Cushley, MOJO.

In 2014, Pere Ubu renounced its ‘US citizenship’ and applied for creative asylum in Leeds, England, after a cabal of the American Federation of Musicians and a clique of government clerks in a small town in Vermont determined that Pere Ubu was unworthy of being granted permission to perform in America.

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Pere Ubu Website

Portico Quartet still sound like nothing you ever heard before. The Mercury nominated, East London-based outfit’s unique brand of hypnotic minimalism has expanded to embrace new sonic territories. Drawing on the inspiration of electronica, ambient, classical and dance music, they take their strange, beautiful, cinematic, future music to exciting new vistas where the inspiration of Burial, Mount Kimbie and Flying Lotus rubs shoulders with the textures of Arve Henriksen and Bon Iver and echoes of Steve Reich and Max Richter. But all underpinned by a shared joy in collective music making as the band push their inimitable music into the future.

Their journey over the last five years has seen them rise from gritty street performances on London’s Southbank to countless international shows from Berlin to Paris, London to New York and beyond. Their self-produced debut album Knee Deep In The North Sea was nominated for the 2008 Mercury Music Prize (alongside Radiohead, Robert Plant and Elbow), and they subsequently signed to Peter Gabriel’s Real World label.

Expanding their sound to embrace electronics was a natural progression in an age where integrating effects, real time looping and samples is second nature to many musicians. In the process Portico Quartet maintain an authentic acoustic core sound that’s magnified through skilled electronic manipulation.

Portico Quartet Website

Denny is recognized for her pivotal involvement with the British folk rock movement, a sound she was instrumental in creating. She has the distinction of being the only guest vocalist on a Led Zeppelin album, performing the duet ‘The Battle of Evermore’ with Robert Plant on Led Zeppelin IV. In a short 13-year career Sandy Denny left behind an extensive legacy that has seen her reputation continue to grow.

In the years since her tragic death in 1978, folk icon Sandy Denny is now widely regarded by musicians and critics alike as Britain’s finest female singer songwriter and one of the greatest singers this country has ever produced. Her signature song Who Knows Where the Time Goes has been recorded by a diverse range of artists including Cat Power, 10,000 Maniacs, Eva Cassidy, Nina Simone, and most famously Judy Collins. The song was voted “Favourite Folk Track of All Time” by listeners of BBC Radio 2 and is also played at the close of Jez Butterworth’s Award Winning play Jerusalem.

The comprehensive re-issue of all Denny’s recordings in recent years, has seen her reputation continue to grow, at a time when more and more of today’s rising stars are acknowledging Sandy Denny’s contribution and significance as both a singer and songwriter: artists such as Laura Marling, Joanna Newsom, Florence Welch and the Unthanks.

Sandy Denny Website

Youngest son of the late, great Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, Seun Kuti is a true ambassador of the the afrobeat movement.

The young Seun took over the reins of his fathers legacy in 1997 as leader of his father’s band Egypt 80 after Fela’s untimely death, having performed with the band from the young age of 9.

Ever since, Seun has followed the political and social ethos of his father. Along the way digging deeper into various African traditions to reflect the continent’s struggles and cultures.

About three-quarters of the current Egypt 80 line-up consists of musicians that not only played with Fela Kuti, but often were arrested and harassed alongside the founder of the Afrobeat movement.

Connecting his roots in Indian music with a bold, progressive attitude, Soumik Datta is considered ‘one of the biggest new music talents in Britain’ (Vogue). Soumik has collaborated with Beyonce, Jay Z, Bill Bailey, Nitin Sawhney, Anoushka Shankar, Talvin Singh and Joss Stone bringing the ancient Sarod (fretless lute) into a global arena.

Soumik has performed in over 40 countries as a soloist. He has released seven albums and scored three film soundtracks. In 2017, Channel 4 broadcast Soumik’s television debut, a six series titled ‘Tuning 2 You: Lost Musicians of India’ on the fading traditions of folk music in rural India (available to watch on 4OD). The British Film Institute has commissioned him to compose new music for film to celebrate 70 years of Indian Independence. Presently, Soumik is developing his first opera in partnership with Royal Opera House exploring bridges between vocal traditions in India and the West.

Soumik is supported by a board of trustees that form Soumik Datta Arts – a charity formed to support his creation of innovate, new work.

Soumik Datta Website

Tindersticks released their first album in 1993, an audacious seventy-nine minute sprawling double album that paid little if no attention to the prevailing musical scene. Self-produced, it broke many supposed rules of how albums should be made. It was released to huge critical acclaim and established the band on a path of musical adventure that they are still feeling their way down today. Success for Tindersticks has never been about swimming in the mainstream of trend.

Original and distinctive then, Tindersticks craft songs that are rich and multi-layered both musically and lyrically. “Atmospheric”, “brooding”, “nicotine-stained”, “melancholic” give us some sense of the Tindersticks vibe but really you just have to listen to know what they sound like. As Pitchfork would have it, “the group filtered the dark romanticism of Leonard Cohen, Ian Curtis, and Scott Walker through the bizarre pop songcraft of Lee Hazlewood and the aesthetics of indie rock”.

Their work has scored TV and film from pivotal scenes on The Sopranos to whole scores for French art-house filmmaker Claire Denis.  In 2016 Tindersticks turned the music and film process on its head and handed 11 songs from The Waiting Room album to acclaimed filmmakers as the inspiration for short films, as Stuart Staples put it, “with the idea of creating visual spaces for the music of the album to inhabit – To commission films, not to try and describe the songs but to ‘hold’ them.”

Music Beyond Mainstream admires Tindersticks for their originality, restlessness experimenting and the possibility of creating immersive experiences with live music and cinematic scale projection.

Tindersticks Website