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free | i s s ue 18 | may 2 013
little boots After Dark
EDITOR’S LETTER Writing an Editor’s letter is hard. With a digital magazine, this print doo-dah and a website, there’s no time for a life to think up amusing anecdotes. Apparently 250 words full of cheap gags about footballers eating each other ‘isn’t appropriate’ either. So, here is a list of things we would like. For free. Please send them to us.
1. A cat. 2. Pizza. 3. The complete discography of Deacon Blue. 4. An office stereo that actually works. 5. Puppets. We always need more puppets. 6. A fridge full of mineral water and energy drinks, like proper media offices have. 7. Another cat. So the first cat doesn’t get lonely. 8. An original Time Crisis arcade machine. 9. A case of Lambrusco Bianco Light. 10. Cake. You’ll find the address over the page somewhere. Amazing. Thanks guys!
GOOD: Little evil: At the time of
Boots is on the cover. Her new album really is quite brilliant.
press, I have yet to hear the Daft Punk album. Struggling to cope.
GOODVSevil What's on the DIY team's radar
Victoria Sinden Deputy Editor GOOD: DIY Weekly is available on iPhones now, dontchaknow. evil: First Vampire Weekend, then Jai Paul; I’m not sure how many more of these are-they-real-or-aren’tthey news stories I can take.
evil: Accidentally enjoying a
jazz record. I’ve lost my way and I’m sorry.
Jake May Staff Writer GOOD: New music editor Jamie Milton’s increasing tendency to wear vests in the office. evil: New music editor Jamie Milton Jamie Milton’s increasing Neu Editor tendency to wear vests in GOOD: HEALTH are back. the office. I am seeing HEALTH in Jack Clothier June. Everything is great. Marketing & Events evil: Excitedly invaded GOOD: Picking up the my wardrobe to find a ‘Zaireeka’ 4 x 12” box set HEALTH t-shirt only to on RSD. One of the most discover it covered in coffee glorious things I own. stains. evil: The pricks doing
Louise Mason exactly the same thing and Art Director immediately listing them GOOD: The ever improving on eBay. No soul. standard of James Blake impersonations in this office.
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members scary times we’ve festivals diy o’clock in of team diy puppets kept played is preparing the morning. who took on louise’s the new stages for The time (bad) food desk, to keep daft punk this may. our recent advice away visiting song (and catch us Phoenix from a neighbours. counting). at both interview buzz band the great took place. on twitter. escape and it’s in diy liverpool weekly, go sound city. find it.
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Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden Reviews Editor Emma Swann News Editor Sarah Jamieson Neu Editor Jamie Milton Film Editor Becky Reed Games Editor Michael J Fax TV Editor Christa Ktorides Staff Writers: El Hunt, Gareth Ware, Jake May, Sam Faulkner Art Director Louise Mason Head Of Marketing & Events Jack Clothier
Alex Lynham, Alex Yau, Aurora Mitchell, Colm McAuliffe, Coral Williamson, Danny Wright, Dave Rowlinson, Greg Inglis, Hannah Phillips, Ian Paterson, Jay Platt, Martyn Young, Matthew Davies, Matthew Putrino, Nathan Standlee, Sam Cornforth, Shefali Srivastava, Simone Scott Warren, Tim Lee, Tom Doyle, Tom Morris, Tom Walters
28 So h n 34 l i t t l e b oo t s
Alex Maddalena, Carolina Faruolo, Jonathan Simpson, Mike Massaro, Sam Bond
42 y o u t h l a goo n
46 g h o s t p o e t 48 c h i l d o f l o v 52 ! ! ! 56 n o a h a n d t h e w h a l e
r eg ul ars 6 n e w s 26 n e u
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r e v i e w s 60 a l b u m s 70 l i v e
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“It’s been a funny couple of years.” 6 thisisfakediy.co.uk
E D IT O RS
t’s been four long years since we were last graced with new music from Editors, and it sure has been an interesting ride. Back in 2009 they released their third full-length ‘In This Light And On This Evening’, marking their most ambitious and unexpected offering to date; the Flood-produced record went on to split opinions across the board, but that was its charm. Debuting at Number One in the charts, the full-length was set to mark a whole new chapter in the band’s career, and after two years of touring the Birmingham four-piece were all set to begin work on another album with their previous producer. In late 2011, they admitted to having seven tracks all ready to go. Then something changed. In the first quarter of 2012, guitarist Chris Urbanowicz announced his departure and things ground to a halt. “It’s been a long time since we released
the last record,” begins frontman Tom Smith, when we meet at West London’s RAK Studios. “Well, with ‘In This Light And On This Evening’, we toured it from 2009 right to the back end of 2010 really. So, from that point on, it’s been a funny couple of years. Our guitarist has gone and that event manifesting itself was obviously a hard time. There was tension and things weren’t right. We had been in a band for a long time and we were mates, so the period has not been without tension and conflict.” Delving further into the band’s down time, it seems as though the musical differences cited for Urbanowicz’s departure almost had a fatal effect on the band. “If it didn’t pan out, and if that hadn’t happened, there wouldn’t have been another Editors record. Simply, me, Russ [Leetch] and Ed [Lay] wanted to take the songs in a direction, or the band in a direction, that Chris didn’t want to, basically. The path that led us to realise that was
tense and horrible; feeling the machine not working properly anymore, but once that organ had been removed… “There’s a whole shit storm that surrounded Chris going. It’s funny, there was pressure and there wasn’t. More pressure from ourselves just to make sure, and to realise, that we wanted to continue the band and working on the songs.” To make matters a little more complicated, it was around the same time as the guitarist’s departure that the band had a rather large festival appearance planned: a headline spot at Belgium’s Rock Werchter. “My instinct was to cancel the show, deal with what Editors is, or can be, or needs to be or wants to be, and think about playing live later. We didn’t do that and I was outvoted in that and it made us pull it together.” The remaining three members drafted in not one replacement, but two: Justin 7
in the studio editors
Lockey and Elliot Williams. “Luckily, Justin and Elliot coming in has made the whole thing come together. So, it was for that show. To start with, we didn’t really expect work on the new songs to really happen. We were gonna work on the old songs for that gig and see what happened. In an ideal world, we’d start throwing new songs around and that’s what happened and here we are. We just continued with that momentum that we had from coming off stage in Belgium.” Finally coming to the end of their rather tumultuous period, work quickly began on their forthcoming album and by the sound of it, it’s set to be a different beast entirely. “This is, compared to our last record: it didn’t really feature any guitars and I’m immensely proud of that record, and I’m glad we did it that way. It felt like, for Editors, an artistic statement and people can turn their nose up, but for us, it was quite a daring and experimental thing for us to do. Some people like the record and some people don’t. That’s the way it always is. “But, we didn’t want to do that again. This is more of a rock record. It’s just straight down the line, really; we’ve just gone for the throat with the songs. Tried to put them across in a way where we’re not covering them up with any self-indulgence, or whatever that is. We struck away any experimentation and tried to deliver these… We’ve always tried to make emotional kind of songs in a rock world, I guess, but this feels like the closest we’ve ever got to that.” Packing their bags, heading to Nashville and beginning work with Jacquire King – the man behind albums from Kings Of Leon, Modest Mouse and Tom Waits – the band set out to create something much more true to the original vision of Editors. Allowing their surroundings to seep into the music, they focussed on creating a much simpler but more profound record. “It is more natural and less fussy than things we’ve done before, I think to the benefit of the record really. For the first time, I feel like the songs represent the power of the band. I think, as a live band, we’ve never quite captured that on record. A lot of people have said that we’re better on stage than we are on CD, and they’ve said that all throughout our career really, so I feel like this record has gone further to capturing the power but at the same time, not losing sight of what the songs are and what they need to be to get their thing across too. “I listen to these songs and what we’ve done with them and it fits in when I think about us when we were signing. We’d written the songs for ‘The Back Room’ and I think about us there and then, and the things that I thought the band were gonna be. I feel like, with this record, if you draw a line from that band, it just makes sense.” Editors’ new album will be released later this year.
“There’s a whole shit s t o r m t h at surrounded Chris going…”
1 ticket, 14 hours of live music across each city’s best venues
dry the river // tom odell lucy rose // the 1975
beans on toast // bo ningen // chaPel club deaP vally // little green cars // london grammar mØ // ruen brothers // swim deeP // wave machines a Plastic rose // best friends // black books // blackeye // biPolar sunshine blue hawaii // the bots // candy says // dan croll // the family rain // findlay Golden fable // Heart-sHips // HoundmoutH // cHlöe Howl // Gavin James // billy lockett matthew & me // mausi // middle class rut // night engine // only real // Pins random imPulse // satellite stories // skaters // snakadaktal // story books ady suleiman // syron // teleman // wildflowers // wolf alice // Plus many many more
manchester Friday 24th May
Saturday 25th May
nottingham Sunday 26th May
fb.com/dottodotfestival • #d2dfest • dottodotfestival.co.uk • alt-tickets.co.uk manchester & nottingham only
bristol & nottingham only
news The Dillinger Escape plan
“We t r i e d to pu s h ours e lves i n mor e uncom fortab le sce nar io s .”
The Dillinger Escape Plan have had a different approach to their forthcoming fifth album. The Dillinger Escape Plan are renowned as one of the most accomplished heavy bands of our generation. Having created a hybrid of highly technical metal and explosive hardcore, they began their careers by uniquely carving their own niche, managing to cross over into the realms of universal respect in the process. Now they’re set to follow-up their criticallyacclaimed 2010 album ‘Option Paralysis’ with their fifth studio full-length, ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’. “We’ve always tried different things and tried to stay true to our sound at the same time,” says Ben Weinman, when we meet the band’s guitarist and primary songwriter in London, ahead of the album’s release. “That’s the most difficult thing; to stay true to the sound we’ve developed throughout the years, whilst always pushing ourselves.” “This time,” he continues, “we tried to push ourselves in more uncomfortable scenarios. Some of the rhythms and things like that are just really not natural to me. There was a lot of anxiety in working with that stuff. But when you’ve been doing something for years, you definitely have to try some new avenues, as far as creative things go.” Pushing themselves in new musical directions isn’t the only change that the band have made this time around. While some tracks go even further to solidify their place as titans of math-metal, they’re also exploring some rather different avenues, displayed perfectly by the album’s title track. “It’s funny because that track was the easiest song,” reveals Weinman, surprisingly. “So much of Dillinger is so calculated, but that song was a perfect example of the side of Dillinger that’s not. The thing that is different about Dillinger than other technical bands, is that it’s such an even pull of pre-meditated and happy accidents; jamming things out, feeling things and not thinking too much. It’s a total combination of that that makes us what we are.” The Dillinger Escape Plan’s new album ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’ will be released on 17th May via Party Smasher Inc. 10 thisisfakediy.co.uk
news Frankie and the heartstrings
n Things We’ve Learnt About The New Frankie & The Heartstrings Album
We met up with the band in a Newcastle cafe for the low-down on their new release.
1 2 3 4 5
During recording, the band couldn’t get a hotel room for less than £600, so they ended up in an apartment in Wood Green. In the words of guitarist Michael McKnight, “We lived like The Monkees! It was quite good fun!” There was one particularly good night when, as drummer Dave Harper explains, they “took poppers, watched Road House and ate crisps out of a saucepan. We’d had a drink...” Dave asked Bernard Butler to sign two of his Suede albums “and he fucking ruined them! He drew pictures of me necking on on the first one, and drumming on the second one!” As Frankie explains, “Peter from Field Music was involved in a couple of the tracks on the record; he’s done a string arrangement and he sings on it.” “You do not want to end up in Cockfosters...”
Frankie & The Heartstrings’ new album ‘The Days Run Away’ will be released on 27th May via Pop Sex Ltd.
b r i e f jessie ware has unveiled a brand
new video for ‘Imagine It Was Us’. Taken from the deluxe version of her debut album ‘Devotion’, released last month, you can check out the visual clip for her bonus track over at thisisfakediy.co.uk now. kendrick lamar has announced
three headline shows for when he visits the UK this July for Wireless Festival. He’ll be playing: O2 Academy Birmingham (08), O2 Manchester Apollo (09) and O2 Academy Leeds (10).
beady eye plan to release their brand new album ‘BE’ on 10th June. The follow-up to their 2011 debut ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’ was produced by Dave Sitek and recorded in London. jimmy eat world have confirmed
a one-off headline date, set to take place at London’s KOKO on 16th June. The band will be celebrating the release of their eighth album, ‘Damage’, due out on 10th June.
white denim are currently hard at
work on their fifth album. The band have teamed up with Jeff Tweedy to work on the follow-up to 2011’s ‘D’ in Wilco’s very own Chicago studio, The Loft.
news primal scream
t’s kind of like a perfect slot for us. We’ll have a lot of fans out there. It’s gonna be a motherfucker.” We’re chatting to Bobby Gillespie the day after it’s been announced that Primal Scream will be playing before the Stones at Glastonbury. It seems the perfect occasion for the band to celebrate their place as one of rock’s most enduring modern bands. They’re now on the verge of releasing their tenth album ‘More Light’, yet Gillespie seems just as energised and excited about music as he did 30 years ago. In contrast to the drab, bland de-
politicised music makers of now, his anger and passion is refreshing from someone who could be considered an elder statesman of rock. It feels odd to call him that. He certainly doesn’t sound like a man considering taking early rock’n’roll retirement. Indeed ‘More Light’ feels like a band refreshed, cherry picking moments from their past - krautrock, gospel and, of course, political anger - and fashioning them together to create something that rivals their best work. The result is a sprawling, psychedelic journey, following the relatively lacklustre nature of their last album. “On ‘Riot City Blues’ and ‘Beautiful Future’ they were short concise rock’n’roll songs,” Gillespie
explains. “This time we knew we had to do something new and different.” That’s where David Holmes’ production skills came in. “He’s incredible and really encouraged me with my lyrics. I’ve noticed that the songs that mean something to me are the ones that I’m almost scared to sing. And there’s a couple of songs like that on this record.” Joining Holmes on ‘More Light’ is a veritable rock hall of fame, including Robert Plant, Kevin Shields and Mark Stewart and the Sun Ra Arkestra. But Bobby is keen to stress that this album is about the band. “Most of the album is me and Andrew with Darrin – and then we
“We knew we had to do something different” Words: Danny Wright
got in Jason Falkner. So right there you had the fucking band. Then we layered everything else on top. We’re not getting them in because they’re famous. If we were directors we’d pick a certain actor to play a certain part and that’s the way we look at making records. I mean of course it’s a total fucking thrill to have Robert Plant in your studio. When we recorded ‘Elimination Blues’ Andrew was in the control room and the song didn’t have an arrangement then so I was just scat singing the track and I had to count Robert in. It was amazing.” Gillespie, it’s obvious, is in a much happier place. He’s now quit drugs and getting clean seems to have reenergised him. “The thing with taking drugs is you cut off any emotional
attachment to the outside world. Not having that means that you feel more. I don’t think I could have written songs like ‘River Of Pain’ and ‘Walking with the Beast’ ten years ago.” But clearer and cleaner doesn’t mean he’s any less forthright with his opinions. He’s not surprised that few bands are kicking up a political storm. “Guy Debord had a whole critique of how consumer society was created to distract people from the effects of capitalism, and I can understand why people become distracted and don’t really care what’s going on. But, you know, I’m only a singer in a rock and roll band but I’ve got an opinion. The government know exactly who they’re hurting – the most disadvantaged, helpless people in society.”
There’s no sign, then, of Gillespie easing up and we ask him if he can believe the band have made it this long. “I don’t look at it like that. The fact that we could record and do gigs – that’s basically been the purpose of our lives. When we do gigs we put a lot of good energy out there and we get a lot of love back every time we take the stage. That’s our art.” The Rolling Stones are going to have a tough act to follow. Primal Scream’s new album ‘More Light’ will be released on 13th May via First International / Ignition Records. Read the full interview in the 29th April issue of DIY Weekly, available via Apple Newsstand.
news The D.o.t.
“It’s artists t h at wa n t t o b e different who are successful.”
Mike Skinner Talks New The D.O.T Album Words: Tom Doyle
t’s really important to give the music some context, I’ve always thought that everything comes with a story,” reveals Mike Skinner, talking about The D.O.T’s stylishly realised video diaries which document the globetrotting exploits of him and bandmate Rob Harvey (formerly of The Music). In fact, these visual memoirs are where the duo’s new album ‘Diary’ take its name from. “To say that our album is more of a diary than anyone else’s is a bit much,” he continues, “it was more of an aesthetic decision.” Nevertheless, there is something of a Renaissance Man philosophy to Skinner’s approach that renders all aspects of what the band do almost as important as any other: “I think it’s important to have creativity that surrounds the music and so for me making videos and 14 thisisfakediy.co.uk
taking photos and having a blog is a good way of doing that.” Skinner’s singular vision for the art he makes comes through on tracks like ‘Blood Sweat And Tears’, replete with a beautifully soulful vocal performance from Harvey but also featuring a jacked up (yet subtle enough) hip hop drum beat. “It probably comes from ideas in my teenage years of how things should be,” Skinner explains. “Ideally it should sound like a great song but one that was made by Just Blaze and DJ Premier, or one of those old producers.” The D.O.T is not a band that will necessarily appeal to fans of either The Streets or The Music, but then both men have long been advocates of mixing things up. “I know a lot of musicians who have been doing it a very long time,” says Skinner, “but
they don’t have that sort of attitude to be really different and I think it’s artists that want to be different and aren’t willing to compromise on that who are successful.” “It’s also about quality control,” he reveals, “once you’ve recorded 30 songs it’s really hard to stop you releasing an album and there’s a lot of pressure, but I think if you can just take your time a bit and be hard on yourself you do a lot better.” There’s no need for The D.O.T to be too hard on themselves though, they are in fine creative fettle and delivering music of both craft and genuine integrity that, crucially, lives up to both their preexisting legacies. The D.O.T’s new album ‘Diary’ will be released on 6th May via Cooking Vinyl. Read the full interview in the 29th April issue of DIY Weekly, available now via Apple Newsstand.
“A Debut Album Is The Most Important Statement A Band Can Make.”
aving begun life as a slightly different incarnation back when they met in college, threepiece alternative rock band Arcane Roots began making waves when they met their current bassist Adam Burton in early 2009. The trio have been working on their debut proper ever since. “The last few years have been the real making of us,” explains frontman Andy Groves. “Before the album was even started, one of the biggest decisions was deciding what we actually wanted to be as a band. We had toured [2009 mini-album] ‘Left Fire’ for two years and now had the opportunity to move on. I’ve thought about my band’s debut album since I was 15 and it couldn’t be more important to me.” Embodying their love of progressive rock, the trio have tried to create an album that encompasses what the band is about; no mean feat. “For me, a debut album is the most important
statement a band can make and the pressure was immense. Writing ‘Blood & Chemistry’ was easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and now I am so very proud of it.” And of course, progressing was immensely important: “I really wouldn’t want to be in a band that hadn’t evolved between releases. The most exciting part is striving to be better, reinventing yourselves and your music each time; the satisfaction alone is worth every second. “We put everything into making the best record we could and endured a lot of pain, doubt and tragedy to get there, but we made it. ‘Left Fire’ was the sound of three boys, eager to prove their worth and make the first mark on the world. ‘Blood & Chemistry’ is the sound of three friends only just beginning to understand exactly what that means.” Arcane Roots’ debut album ‘Blood & Chemistry’ will be released on 6th May via PIAS Recordings.
b r i e f frank ocean will make two headline appearances in the UK this July. Ocean will perform at London’s O2 Academy, Brixton on 9th - 10th July, before heading to Kinross-shire to appear at this year’s T In The Park.
Remember when cat power had to cancel her European tour? Well, it’s back on: Chan Marshall will be visiting the UK to perform at London’s Roundhouse on 25th June. She’ll also be appearing at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. warpaint are set to return this October, having announced a fourdate UK tour. They’ll be playing Leeds O2 Academy (27), Glasgow O2 Academy (28), Manchester Academy (29) and London O2 Academy Brixton (30). spectrals will release their brand new album ‘Sob Story’ on 3rd June through Wichita Recordings. Following on from 2011’s ‘Bad Penny, you can get a taste of what to expect with new track ‘Milky Way’. Listen to the song on thisisfakediy.co.uk. daft punk will finally be following
up their 2005 effort ‘Human After All’ this month, when they release ‘Random Access Memories’ on 20th May.
news thirty seconds to mars
Thirty Seconds To Mars Follow Their Dreams DIY speaks to frontman Jared Leto, as the band gear up to release their most surprising album yet. “It feels like we’ve just reset in every way.” Jared Leto sits opposite us, sipping green tea. “The music’s different, we’re different. It feels fresh, new and exciting. It doesn’t feel like we’ve just continued on from the past, or made another record. It feels like it’s a brand new beginning.” For Thirty Seconds To Mars, it really is a new start. Having finally closed the door on a rather infamously difficult record contract, following the release
of their previous effort, ‘This Is War’, the trio are now facing future-ward. Completing a world record breaking run of tour dates in late 2011, it’s taken no less than fifteen months for the brothers Leto, and Tomo Milicevic to return with their brand new album, ‘Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams’, and it’s set to mark a whole new journey for the band. “It’s always going to be Thirty Seconds
To Mars, but if you try hard enough and challenge yourself, you can break into new territory and I think we did that on this album. It’s going to surprise a lot of people.” And surprise, it will. Their fourth effort is a more conceptual beast that sees the band push their own musical boundaries. As you may, or may not expect, ‘Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams’ is, quite literally, split into four pieces.
“It is, in a way, but not sequentially. The four parts are to be figured out. It’s a puzzle. Each of the songs are connected to either love, lust, faith or dreams. Sometimes, they connect to more than one of those themes or quadrants. We do have a graph on the album that shows where we think the songs go, but people can... So, it’s conceptual and I think that part is really fun. It makes it a more engaging thing.” And, in true Thirty Seconds To Mars, style, it’s not simply about the music. The conceptual angle of the record also sees itself bleed into the album’s artwork and video treatments, an aspect that attracted the attention of a certain Mr Damien Hirst... “It’s about art too. I don’t think things have to be narrative in an obvious way to have a concept. It’s the visual art. I really love conceptual art, which is
why I love Damien Hirst. It’s about the idea, that yes, anyone can paint spots on a canvas, it’s what you impose upon it.
from the conceptual side of the album. Leto has even gone so far as to lyrically deal with his themes, in a very literal sense.
“It’s about the idea and the execution; the process and then, the result, and actually doing something. Everyone can think it, but actually doing something about it.... The consistency and then, the repetition of it; taking something mundane to make you think of art in a really obvious, conscious way. It’s fun. I always like to think that there’s something more than music, more than just a collection of songs. That there’s more thought put into what’s going on there. That was the case with ‘This Is War’ which is an album about conflict - and that certainly is the case with ‘Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams’. There’s a bit of inspiration from modern art.”
“I also use each of those [words] at least once in every single song, and sometimes more. I think they’re deep and meaningful words and are really important themes, so much so to me that they’re the four cornerstones of a fulfilling life. I think that without any one of those four, you cannot have a rewarding life. So, on the road, on this path of life, I think that love, lust, faith and dreams are all essential components.” Thirty Seconds To Mars’ new album ‘Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams’ will be released on 20th May via Polydor Records.
That’s not all that we should expect
“I always like to think that there’s something more than music.” 17
h, we do like to be beside the seaside. Except when it’s raining. Or overly windy. And, let’s face it, this is Britain. So it’s just as well there’s a lot going on during The Great Escape to distract us from the inevitable weather woes. If it’s not Dome headliners and former DIY cover stars Bastille, there’s the impending return of mid-00s dancefloor kings Klaxons to ponder - and that’s before looking at any of the gazillion brand new artists descending on the south coast this May. Because if it’s new acts you’re after, during this particular mid-May weekend, there’ll be one around every corner. Almost literally. From DIY favourites CHVRCHES, Drenge and Jagwar Ma to band of the moment Parquet Courts via the no less buzz-worthy London Grammar, Chlöe Howl or Wolf Alice, for every one-in-one-out set during the four days the event covers, there’ll be another three. Deap Vally will bring their LA rock n’ roll to less sunnier climes, while Charlie Boyer And The Voyeurs bring their post-punk yelps and Unknown Mortal Orchestra some 60s-style fuzz. And if all that wasn’t enough – there’s the small matter of DIY’s own stage. We’ll have Swim Deep (and any sea-based puns that entails), their Midlands compatriots Superfood, and Merseysidebased singersongwriter Dan Croll. Phew.
we have Swim Deep, Dan Croll, Superfood, concrete knifes, parlour @ audio, 18th May.
iverpool will once again be taken over by live music on 2nd May for three days, as the UK’s biggest international music, digital and film festival begins. Liverpool Sound City is set to host over 360 artists in more than 25 venues. Headlining the three nights are Dexys, The Walkmen and – due to bring their new album, ‘Heart Of Nowhere’ to the live stage. The city will host various industry panels, film screenings and arts events alongside live performances, which feature the likes of former DIY cover stars AlunaGeorge alongside Savages, TOY, Splashh and Egyptian Hip Hop, plus Neu favourites Lulu James, King Krule, Brolin and Loom.
we’ll be hosting two nights at The Shipping Forecast, with Big Deal, Drenge and PINS among many others.
we’re taking over kendal calling’s Calling out stage on saturday 27th July. Stay tuned for more details soon.
summer of tourists taking in the stunning scenery of the area might await the Lake District (though try being caught in a storm while on a boat on Lake Windermere – that’s one childhood experience we don’t want to repeat) but for one weekend in late July, things will get noisy. Basement Jaxx and Primal Scream are just two of Kendal Calling’s headliners – and let’s face it, neither act are known for ‘taking it easy’. Nor – and we’re really pushing the understatement card here – are the three-day event’s ‘special guests’, Public Enemy. But it’s not all riot-on-the-green-fields, as there are some slower-paced artists on show: Dutch Uncles’ twisted pop will make an appearance, as well as the increasingly slick Mystery Jets. Then, of course, how could we forget? There’s the small matter of the area’s finest export since mint cake and the infamous pencil museum, British Sea Power. 20 thisisfakediy.co.uk
f only every alcoholic beverage rhymed with a suitably musical term. Super Bock Super Rock takes place just outside Lisbon in Portugal for the 19th time this year, and the line-up looks set to match giant riffs with blazing sunshine. Queens Of The Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys and The Killers are set to headline the event, which takes place from 18th - 20th July this summer. Super rock indeed. Also featured on the bill are Azealia Banks, TOY, Owen Pallett and Efterklang, plus everyone’s favourite three-symboled post-punk-funk party outfit, !!!. The weekend is additionally set to appearances from Kaiser Chiefs, Ash and Johnny Marr.
eeds will once again be overcome by a slew of artists and industry alike this May bank holiday weekend, with Live at Leeds taking over the city’s live venues en masse. After Friday’s Unconference hosting a variety of industry-based seminars and talks, and before Sunday’s one-off gig featuring The Vaccines performing live in Millennium Square, over 100 bands will appear at venues city-wide.
Former DIY cover stars Peace are due to play, as well as the newly re-launched Sky Larkin, plus artists including Darwin Deez, The Staves, The 1975 and Melody’s Echo Chamber, plus sometime Neu favourites Syron, Troumaca and Luke Sital-Singh. If that wasn’t enough – and you’re still around on the following Monday – there’s also the annual 5-a-side football tournament starring both industry types and many of the bands who’ve played during the weekend.
Glastonbury Line Up: Rolling Stones, Arctic Monkeys, Mumford And Sons
lastonbury has been making headlines of late with their first line up announcement of the year. Sure, we already knew a few of the acts - Alt-J, for example, confirmed themselves during an interview at the BRIT Awards (naughty boys) - but now the wait is finally over. So what are they tempting us to Pilton with?
Well, for around the same price that you would would have spent to see The Rolling Stones at the O2 last year, you can now catch them on the Pyramid Stage. Also heading up the bill are Arctic Monkeys (for the second time - let’s hope they’re not plagued by sound issues this year), and Mumford And Sons. Arctic Monkeys, of course, are also rumoured to be returning with a new album soon. The follow up to 2011’s ‘Suck It And See’, drummer Matt Helders’ Mum confirmed via Twitter that the boys were recording in the desert late last year. There’s little else known about the forthcoming release, however. When asked recently if she knew the record’s title, she simply replied: “No I can’t be trusted with that sort of info!” Elsewhere on the Pyramid, you’ll find Vampire Weekend, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, Primal Scream, Dizzee Rascal and (ummm) Kenny Rogers (we’re guessing that’s the Sunday afternoon slot sorted). Other acts on the bill include Peace, Steve Mason, The Weeknd, Toro Y Moi, Melody’s Echo Chamber, The Hives, Amanda Palmer, The Horrors, Django Django, Bastille, Palma Violets, Haim, Foals, Toy and Jagwar Ma (phew). Tame Impala, Alt-J, Calexico, Cat Power, Tyler The Creator, Villagers, Toy, Solange, King Krule, Ed Harcourt, Everything Everything, Dinosaur Jr, Alabama Shakes, Two Door Cinema Club, The Vaccines, Rufus Wainwright and The xx also find themselves heading down to the Tor this summer. Find the full line up on glastonburyfestivals.co.uk. The event will once again take place at Worthy Farm in Pilton, from 26th - 30th June.
Announces James Blake, Savages & More
Bestival has announced a few more rather special additions for this year’s event, including James Blake, Savages and Parquet Courts. Joining them will be Courtney Pine, Max Romeo, Willy Moon, The 1975, Clean Bandit, London Grammar, The Child Of Lov, Musical Youth, Evian Christ, Molotov Jukebox, Moulettes, ‘Introducing’ Recreate ‘Discovery’ Live, Filthy Boy, Wheelchair Sports Camp, Ady Suleiman, Hudson Taylor, Champs, Woodpecker Wooliams, Lloyd Yates, Barbarossa, The Keepsakes, Isaiah Dreads, Parlour Flames, Charley Macaulay and Devilman. This year, as they celebrate their 10th anniversary, the Rob Da Bank curated festival features a nautical theme, with attendees encouraged to dress up in their finest sailorthemed garb. Bestival takes place from 5th - 8th September at Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight. Tickets are on sale now, via bestival.net.
Slam Dunk Reveals Final Additions
It’s not long now until Slam Dunk Festival finally rolls around, so they’ve confirmed the final slew of acts set to appear. Itch - the ex-frontman of The King Blues - will be making his Slam Dunk debut, alongside Devil Sold His Soul, who will be appearing for the second time. In addition, a number of exciting ‘solo’ists are set to join a more acoustic-based stage: The Blackout’s Gavin Butler, The Academy Is’ William Beckett, The Early November’s Ace Enders, Lightyear’s Chas Palmer Williams, Class Of 92 (Matty from A Loss For Words), Sophomore (Alex From Decade) and Hey Vanity’s Marc Halls. Slam Dunk takes place from 25th - 27th May, in Leeds, Hatfield and Wolverhampton respectively. Tickets are on sale now, via slamdunkmusic.com.
My Bloody Valentine To Headline Hop Farm Festival
Hop Farm Festival have announced that My Bloody Valentine are to headline this year’s event. The band, who reformed in 2007, recently released the much awaited follow up to 1991’s ‘Loveless’, after a twenty year wait. Since the arrival of ‘mbv’, they’ve played numerous dates, and are also playing this year’s Primavera
Festival in Barcelona. Also joining Kevin Shields’ band on the bill at the Kent event are The Horrors, The Cribs, Edwyn Collins, Rodriguez, First Aid Kit, Dinosaur Jr, Toy and Tall Ships. After suffering from financial difficulties since last year’s event, the festival has been scaled back to a two day event (5th - 6th July), rather than its usual three. Tickets are on sale now, via hopfarmfestival. co.uk.
Field Day Confirms More Names
Ben Pearce, Feathers, Clean Bandit and Todd Edwards are among the latest list of artists confirmed to appear at this year’s Field Day, along with Jen Long and Jon Hillcock, who are both DJing. They’re joining a strong bill, which already contains Solange, TOY, CHVRCHES, King Krule, Fucked Up, Metz, Jagwar Ma, Palma Violets and Animal Collective, amongst others. The one-day event takes place at east London’s Victoria Park on 25th May. Tickets are on sale now, via fielddayfestivals.com.
Jessie Ware & Katy B Added
Wireless 2013 To
The line-up for this year’s Wireless Festival was already looking mighty impressive, and now they’ve added a whole other array of artists to the bill. Having already confirmed that both Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z will headline the Sunday evening (as a preview of their US Legends Of The Summer tour), Jessie Ware and Katy B are now also set to appear. The full set of artists added to the Sunday 14th July alldayer is as follows: Jessie Ware, Katy B, Magnetic Man, 2 Chainz, Porter Robinson, Angel and Daley. Wireless Festival will take place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, having moved from Hyde Park, from 12th 14th July. Tickets are on sale now, via wirelessfestival.co.uk. 23
Win festivals 2013
A Trip To EXIT Festival
Who here is in need of a holiday? The lovely people at EXIT Festival have given us a trip to this yearâ€™s event for two people to give away to one lucky DIY reader - including return flights to Belgrade from London Luton! So, if you want to catch the likes of Atoms For Peace, Snoop Dogg (aka Snoop Lion) and Bloc Party, go enter now at thisisfakediy.co.uk/winexitfestival by answering a simple question. EXIT will take place from 10th â€“ 14th July, in the Petrovaradin Fortress overlooking the river Danube.
Win T In The Park Tickets
Scottish weekender T in the Park will host sets from Mumford & Sons, Rihanna and former DIY cover stars The Killers, plus Kraftwerk, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Frank Ocean and Tyler, The Creator; and DIY is giving away a pair of weekend tickets to one lucky reader! To be in with a chance of winning, simply visit thisisfakediy.co.uk/wintinthepark and answer a simple question. This year the event - which takes place from 12th - 14th July in Kinross - will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. Find out more at tinthepark.com.
“Fuck that if you don’t hit the right notes.”
ow do you sympathise with a singer who’s freaking out about performing on national television, when you haven’t come close to doing anything similar? Karen Marie Ørsted is at home with her parents in Ubberød and pre-interview she’s caught a first glimpse of the mid-week airing of P3 Guld Live, which is essentially the Danish equivalent of a big, showy awards ceremony. Not the Brits. More the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party, when it was still around. “I was very scared”, she says. “Because I’d seen so many bad live performances on TV, you know? I was so frightened to be one of those.” The reason why this is all happening is down to a few smash hits of MØ’s own. She’s under no illusions. She’s not “super-famous,” but this career is already shaping up to be a little different to what Karen’s used to. Still studying Art in Denmark, she has to contend with being signed to a major in her home country, while touring the world, appearing in awards ceremonies, all that lark. Scandinavian pop does seem to be taking a bold next step. Icona Pop were on the US’ ‘Dancing With The Stars’ last month, replete with the customary neon necklaces. And Elliphant, another emerging act from Stockholm, experienced a similar big-deal, awards ceremony shindig to MØ.
With the countless opportunities she’s already mentioned, Karen took singing lessons in college, or Gymnasium, as it’s referred to in Denmark. But it didn’t quite work out. “At that time, I was smoking cigarettes and drinking a lot and partying a lot so my voice was very errrgh,” she jokes. Still to kick the habits, she was never born to be a conventional singer-type anyway. “I think it’s very important when you perform to just be yourself and let go and give the audience exactly who you are. Fuck that if you don’t hit the right notes.” When she left school she aimed to go to a music college, applying by sending through some self-penned songs. She was promptly rejected. “I got so angry,” she recalls. But taking a different path and going to an Art Academy and being part of a punk band that was “kind of famous in the underground” - that’s when MØ, or at least the ideals of the project, were set in motion. Punk ideals might be hinted at in Karen’s music, but MØ’s music is distinctly open-armed, universal to the point of being a potential Eurovision-winner. Now that’d be a spectacle. As a performer, she’s definitely cut out for it. “When people are at gigs, when you go up on stage and the audience is already there and smiling, I feel like hugging everybody,” she says. “Maybe it’s because when I perform, I try to be myself, so in some way I’m giving myself to them. So I feel very honoured and happy - I feel like we’re connecting.”
MØRE THAN A SIGN
What makes it all the more fascinating is that these artists - MØ included - aren’t your standard-fare worldconquerors. Karen describes her music as “something vulnerable and edgy and superficial”, comparing it to “the youth”, both in Denmark and the rest of the world. Confessing to be a “troublemaker” when she grew up, she started out in punk bands, and still holds some of the ideals that shaped her early years. Her songs are about “feelings” and “stupid stuff ” too, she admits, but “there is some part of me that is against society,” she says.
“We’re so spoiled in Denmark, everything is there for us,” Karen explains. “The only thing that’s wrong here is there are so many opportunities, and we’re so free, so we get depressed and have all kinds of diseases in our heads. It’s so pathetic in a way. But on the other hand, no matter how great you feel your brain will always make trouble for you.” Which in a way ties into how MØ’s feeling about performing through millions of people’s television screens. While “right now I’m living my dream scenario,” she says, she remains self-critical, constantly aware that a debut album’s yet to be finished, and with “the business and the industry, it changes so quickly.”
This projection of ‘self ’ is often complex and riddled with risks. Her debut single ‘Pilgrim’ had bold synthetic horn sections, sharp hip-hop beats and MØ’s own, unconventional, in-yourface vocals. It shouldn’t have worked. But then it all benefits Karen’s belief that “everything’s possible” in music. She doesn’t get away with everything. Invention has its limits, at least where producer Ronni Vindahl is concerned. “If I come with a very sensitive song, I’ll try to smack it up with very heavy, trashy beats and he’s like ‘we can’t do that, it’s not possible’,” she jokes. “I really trust him.” Now it’s just a case of trusting the taste of the Danish population, those who’ve just watched her perform at the awards. We revert back to the television gig: “Ahhh, I just don’t like listening to it live. It’s very different from when you record your vocals,” she says, slightly panicked. “I don’t care if I don’t hit the right notes. That’s ok to be shaky. But I just get a little embarrassed...” There’ll be no time to face embarrassment the way things are heading. Singles ‘Pilgrim’ and ‘Glass’ are the start of something special. Everyone knows it - so does Karen, even if she’s a little coy in saying so. “One day you’re in, the next day you’re out,” she offers. “You know, you have to always be careful. Just relax and be who you always have been.” ( Jamie Milton)
“I never really feel the need to project happiness.”
Re-inventing The Wheel:
hen London via Vienna songwriter SOHN asserts “I’m not really constructing anything,” he’s quite frankly fibbing. There’s a reason why, amongst an influx of new acts at the tail-end of 2012, he’s one of the few still standing, becoming even more intriguing rather than folding up and taking refuge. A song like ‘The Wheel’ gaining 300 thousand plays online might act as another factor, but there’s more to it than mere happenstance. Mentally and physically bruised from the recent SXSW in Texas, SOHN’s returned from performing five shows straight. But these were some of the first dates he’s ever played. With that hideaway mentality - considering he’s been chased to play shows for eight months or so - comes added expectation, but with said retreat from the spotlight, he’s managed to hone in his live set, and apparently it’s gone down a storm. “You shouldn’t really plan for live when you’re writing. The possibilities should be endless. Do the music, whatever comes,” he says. “But Albin, the band’s synth genius - he’s been involved all along. So it’s always been a conversation.” If you’ve caught any footage of SOHN’s initial shows, you’ll have noticed his ‘experienced’ backing band. “That’s a nice way of putting it,” he jokes. One’s a live bass player and the other - Albin - decks the stage with four synths. Sometimes it looks like he’s playing all of them at once. What emerges is a “wall of synth.” But on record, the intention’s been to apply less, rather than more. “Somehow by leaving more space you allow the listener to get involved,” he states, “and somehow it gets you much closer to what’s going on.” This songwriting technique is less conscious than it is pure default. SOHN says he has this habit of “not following things through.” But with impatience breeds immediacy. Subject matter isn’t always distinct or easy to pick out from SOHN’s tracks. “A lot of the time it’s conversations with myself,” he states. ‘Bloodflows’, we’re told, is about a lyric hitting you right in the gut; a line or snippet of song that draws up a personal experience. But the song keeps playing. “It’s masochistic music listening,” he explains. While these tracks aren’t necessarily dealing with dark and grizzly emotions, they’re not joyous beings. “I never really feel the need to project happiness. Happiness comes out in your regular life,” he says. “It’s funny, half the time you don’t know what you’re writing about until it’s already written.” Happy accidents - audible doodles, then - have had their way on a number of listeners. But SOHN’s trying to keep his cool. He’s yet to announce a London show because “there has to be a really good reason,” and he’s only just penned a deal with a record label, 4AD. All this rejection seems to have benefited this project. Like a plot twist that only reveals itself at the very end, it’s the suspense that hangs. Intrigue is the most flattering form of attention. ( Jamie Milton)
One Step Closer: Lulu James
ny number of musicians will try to make the difficult transition from promising underground artist to fully-fledged superstar in a given year. And very few, if any, succeed. But Lulu James is different.
“I’ve certainly put in the work for it,” she says of her upcoming single, ‘Closer’. “I spent a lot of time writing and in the studio, just trying to make myself better.” You get the impression that most of the pressure to improve has come from Lulu herself, something she readily admits when asked. “I really am my own worst critic. I would never put out something that I wasn’t 100% confident in.” But that doesn’t mean she’s immune to how it’s received. “I’m dead nervous and just hoping that people like it. I know that everything I’m putting out there I’m happy with myself, and I’m just hoping that other people click onto it.” The fact that the video for ‘Closer’ has already racked up over 250,000 plays on YouTube certainly bodes well. It’s quite a transformation from the early promise of debut EP ‘Rope Mirage’, released in April of last year. It introduced the world to her soulful, post-dubstep leanings. But it was only a brief glimpse of what was to come, setting in motion the discovery of her true sound that now, nearly a
year later, she lovingly describes as “21st Century Soul.” “Soul is a huge part of it, and electronic music as well. I’m a massive fan of James Blake and Jamie xx so they’ve been a big influence. But at the same time, it’s just honest soul music.” She continues: “It just means that I can express any type of music I want, in any way that I want, combining soulful and electronic elements.” A perfect fusion of human emotions and robotic precision, then; a balance only musicians with the deftest touch can successfully pull off. This is exactly what she achieves on ‘Closer’. A mix of 80s R&B and early 90s dance. Yet it still nods towards something entirely contemporary, somehow managing to sound neither sentimental nor futuristic, as if it exists in a Tarantino-esque universe where various time periods merge into one, glorious, alternate reality. Accomplishing a feat such as this takes a hell of a lot of confidence. “I just feel like I’ve got a lot to give,” she says. “Seeing the success of ‘Rope Mirage’ and then ‘Be Safe’ back in November, that really built up my confidence. Now, I’m just making those final steps of being able to say ‘Right, this is me’ and putting myself out there. But I’ve got a good feeling about it all. I think it’ll go well.” With a debut full-length set to drop in September, there’s no better time to unveil the new, improved Lulu James to the masses. “I’m just ready to tell people, ‘This is what I’ve got to give, this is me,’” she says. “And hopefully they’ll love it as much as everything they’ve heard already.” (Nathan Standlee) 29
neu cover recommended fall out boy
IN D IA
Y O UTH
22-year-old multi-instrumentalist William Doyle is no stranger to making music. Having previously starred as the frontrunner of Doyle And The Fourfathers, he played brash, in-your-face pub rock. But now he’s playing under the guise of East India Youth; trading in his musical parka for a signature – yet subtle – Dalston look that has far more substance and style than your average hipster. As for his tracks, there’s the bubbly, synth-pop floater ‘Dripping Down’; ‘Song For A Granular Piano’ is a brooding, classically-indebted singer-songwriter track caped in mystery; whilst ‘Heaven, How Long’ is a beautiful piece of progressive electronica. Get excited, folks. (Tom Walters)
For every compliment being dished towards Purity Ring and their illuminating future-pop, across an entire album came the nagging sense that for all the groundbreaking work they were doing, they couldn’t sport anything but their celebrated, trap-filled R&B. Now: IYES sound a fair bit like Purity Ring - there’s no escaping that. Melis Soyaslanova’s candy cane vocals are a nice contrast to the bold, ever-changing synthetics that so define these ‘demo’ tracks they’ve emerged with. But it’s the striving for something previously unencountered that sets IYES apart from the rest of the sorry competition. Give these guys an album to work with and they’ll deliver something remarkable: we promise. ( Jamie Milton)
If I could be any musician in the present day, it’d probably be someone like Mac DeMarco. Strapped for cash, sure. But there’s always a beer can in your hand, always a great new song flickering about in your head. It seems as if young’un Jackson Scott’s taken it upon himself to be that very same individual. In debut LP ‘Melbourne’ he shifts sporadically between different styles - different characters, even. He always ends up landing as someone slinging his guitar on his back with a four-pack of cheap beer in hand. That might be a gruesome stereotype to fling at someone we don’t actually know that much about. Jackson keeps himself to himself. But you can imagine this guy, down the line, being the musician sorry sods like myself look up to. ( Jamie Milton) 30 thisisfakediy.co.uk
4 H O L Y
ES Q UE
There are few cities that can rival B-town of late for producing noteworthy new bands. One such place however is Glasgow. Scotland’s largest city has seen its music scene rejuvenated this year, with much of its fresh talent - CHVRCHES, PAWS, Honeyblood and Father Sculptor - hitting the pages of Neu in recent months. Glasgow shows no signs of letting-up either, as we continue with Holy Esque, another of its finest new bands. There’s a striking boldness about Holy Esque’s sound, rendering them unmistakable upon the backdrop of current music. Recent singles ‘St.’ and ‘Tear’ both come injected with pounding rhythms and driving synthetics, creating an all encompassing sound. Then there’s Pat Hynes’ discernible vocals - out-quivering even the likes of The Undertones’ Feargal Sharkey - adding a unique and potentially iconic finishing touch. (Ian Paterson)
5 J O E L
CO M PA S S
The trend for melancholic, introspective R&B has been one of the defining themes of the decade so far. It’s incredibly easy for music that falls within any current vogue to sound contrived, but this is not something that could ever be said about 19-year-old Londoner Joel Compass. On his stirring debut track ‘Back To Me’ there’s a palpable sense of emotion and yearning, the realisation that he’s compelled to make this music. It’s incredibly sparse, built around intermittent beats and a ghostly-echoed synth swirl, providing an understated backing for Compass’ stunning tremulous vocal. By the end, he’s lost in ecstatic rapture, his vocals layered on top of each other before climaxing in an exultant falsetto. (Martyn Young)
What the heck were Visuals thinking releasing ‘Goodbye’ at the tail end of Autumn 2012? The song sounds like Beck sipping on a Capri Sun and going gospel: this might even nudge Jagwar Ma off our recently composed ‘bands most likely to soundtrack this coming summer’ list. The Brooklyn band up the ante with flipside ‘Levitation’, another ferocious, tapping number that couples together with ‘Goodbye’ to form what’s most likely the most unsung single release of the year previous. No matter: the group are finding themselves in full moon as double-figure temperatures finally arrive and dodgy khaki shorts sell by the thousands. ( Jamie Milton)
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NEU Not content with giving you a free magazine, we’ve put together a free mixtape full of our favourite new bands; download from thisisfakediy.co.uk/mixtape
mixtape Jono McCleery Painted Blue
Ninja Tune-signee Jono McCleery flips string samples inside out on this B-side for his ‘Fire In My Hands’ single, released on 6th May. A follow-up to 2011’s ‘There Is’ LP, we’re sensing something of a breakthrough for this guy.
With a musical CV that reads like an over-zealous statement of intent - “performer”, “actor”, “writer” MRWIZE lives up to his high billing, ‘X’ being a stop-start, head-spinning track, defined by a club-ready glow.
To make your debut track self-titled suggests at least some vague self-assurance, and as it proves Superfood’s first effort is a bold opening statement, with big, frank nods to eras previous.
Ancient Mariner In Solitude
Gabriel Jorgensen’s Ancient Mariner project is one of meticulous construction. The Denver resident has seemingly given years into putting his debut EP together, this title track being a haunting acoustic-led welcome mat.
‘Teleportation’ is Antonio Elia Forte’s way of seeing in the summer in the most excitable of ways. This track from his ‘Trees’ debut, out now on Enclaves, is bike rides in the blistering sun, dives off a high point into the deep blue - it’s escapism in its finest form. 32 thisisfakediy.co.uk
Los Porcos Jesus Luvs U Baby
From ex-members of WU LYF and current alumni of FAMY, Los Porcos are the direct opposite of what we’d expect from the musicians involved. Fun and eye-opening, with the odd Talking Heads reference thrown in, ‘Jesus Luvs U Baby’ is an undying love song for the modern age.
Halasan Bazar Sometimes Happy, Sometimes Sad
Taken from the ‘Space Junk’ album via. Crash Symbols, Denmark’s Halasan Bazar don’t rest in their quest to redefine our premonitions about scrappy rock music with harsh guitars and psych influences.
Father Sculptor Lowlands
‘Lowlands’ is the sound of Morrissey giving into the tasty delight of a delicious beef burger while reforming The Smiths and announcing a residency at the O2 Arena. It’s temptation seizing the agenda. Father Sculptor’s music is gloriously sinful, all the better for it.
Travis Bretzer Hurts So Bad
Taught in the Mac DeMarco slash Jackson Scott school of sending hazy guitars through a catchy pop complex, Travis Bretzer is another beer-slugging, chain-smoking musical delight. Or at least, that’s what a song like ‘Hurts So Bad’ suggests.
Fossil The Times They Never Change
Using an age-old Pinback song as its backdrop, mysterious Texas-based Fossil sends spoken word to new, more fascinating territory with ‘The Times They Never Change’. Taken from the new ‘Mexico City Midnight’ EP.
NEU n e w s
swim deep have announced that their first full-length ‘Where The Heaven Are We’ will be released on 29th July. Just Handshakes have announced their debut album, ‘Say It’. The Leeds group signed up to San Diego’s Bleeding Gold Records for the release, due out 20th May.
BR I S TO L In Sounds From My City, Neu asks some of music’s creative talents to tell us all about the most exciting bands on their doorstep. Tom Johnson is a regular Neu contributor as well as the founder of the music site Gold Flake Paint. He runs a boutique label - Night Talk Records - and has released the likes of Henry Green and Team Morale.
OLIVER WILDE is the man. Seriously. He’s slowly edged his way
through the wall of noise that surrounds Bristol to stand above everything and everyone. With just an acoustic guitar, some soft, looped samples and a meticulous song-writing craft, he’s made one of the best debut albums I’ve heard in a long, long time. Yeah, that good. And not even ‘Bristol’ good, world-wide good. Imagine Deerhunter teaming up with Mark Linkous in a bid to try and break your heart instead of your face. Beguiling, beautiful, compelling and any other synonyms you can think of. His album is out later this Summer.
EMPTY POOLS have been taking the slow-and-steady approach
thus far; a handful of enticing singles here, the odd stellar support slot there. Latest single ‘Small Talk’ was another captivating blast of wonky-indie rock that combined jazzy guitar lines and spiritied vocals to heart-pounding effect. If they can stretch their early promise out over an entire record then we’re all in for something very special indeed.
Waxahatchee project has announced plans to release her ‘Cerulean Salt’ LP in the UK on 1st July through Wichita. Woman’s Hour have been
announced as the main support for Still Corners’ forthcoming UK tour, which kicks off this month. Visit thisisfakediy.co.uk for dates.
Former ‘Hello 2013’ headliners Wolf Alice have announced details of a
new single, the follow up to January’s ‘Fluffy’. ‘Bros’ is released on Chess Club Records, 20th May.
Devon Welsh aka Majical Cloudz has announced details of his new full-length, ‘Impersonator’. Out on Matador on 27th May, the album contains the lead track on his previous EP ‘Turns, Turns, Turns’. splashh are releasing their debut album ‘Comfort’ through US label Kanine Records on 4th June. 33
cover little boots
Four years since her debut, Little Boots is back and this time sheâ€™s doing things her way. Photos: Mike Massaro
cover little boots
hat is success? Trying to measure the difference between a loss and a win is easy if someone is keeping score, but often it’s more complicated than that. A top five debut album for a solo artist, for example. That has to be a good thing, right?
Of course it is. But everything is relative. At the start of 2009, Victoria Hesketh had the world at her diminutive feet. Under the Little Boots pseudonym she’d just topped the influential BBC Sound Of poll, and was nominated for the BRITs Critics’ Choice award. In the former she’d bested Florence + The Machine, La Roux and Lady Gaga. Expectations were stratospheric. Anything but a chart topper and world domination was going to feel like a missed opportunity. So, when ‘Hands’ didn’t hit the top spot, and dropped quickly out of the top forty altogether, many feared the worst. The fact that it spawned two top twenty singles and, since then, has been certified gold in the UK barely makes a footnote when the world of pop passes judgement. Those same acts critics had backed Little Boots above at the start of the year were quickly becoming major superstars. In a world where everything is distilled to a list, the comparisons were inevitable. So far, so downbeat. There’s no need for long faces, dear reader. For a start, ‘Hands’ was actually a brilliant record immediate, clever and harder to box than many would like. But more than that, the events around it can only have led to what we’re presented with now; Little Boots is back, and she’s brought along a second album that’s even better. With a title like ‘Nocturnes’, it’s no surprise that Hesketh’s new full-length is a more mature affair. Not only does it suit her well, but it firmly casts aside the baggage that surrounded her debut. On her own terms, Little Boots is simply a talented artist with a great record and control of her own destiny. The difference is there for all to see.
like banging my head against a brick wall.”
here were times in the last few years where, if I’m honest, I was completely depressed. I’m a creative person; to keep creating things, and then having to keep them vacuum packed in a bubble, and no one to hear them, you start going crazy. Questioning what you do, questioning if you’re any good. It was really difficult. I was so frustrated to not be getting the album out, and I felt the pressure from all the fans who’ve been waiting for ages. I was as frustrated as the people waiting for it.”
When we meet Hesketh, she’s in a confessional mood. It’s obvious she’s been through a lot to get to where she is today, though it’s firmly behind her now. At the heart of the issue seems to be a need for control; something that isn’t always easy to find when you’re another cog in the hype machine. “It was like banging my head up against a brick wall with the label situation,” she admits. “They were really good, but they never really shared a vision. I think they just got excited when I started getting hyped. Ultimately, it was holding me back, although I didn’t see it at the time. It wasn’t until I parted ways that I thought, shit, well, I’ve got to have faith in myself now. It made me get the guts to follow my own instincts, to realise that actually, I could do it.”
An artist isn’t supposed to see their label as a millstone, but 37
cover little boots
not many are as obviously creative as Hesketh. As we talk through the four years between her debut and its follow up, it’s her decision to work by her own rules, releasing ‘Nocturnes’ via her own label, that provided the platform for what followed. “It has been a complete new lease of life, it’s made me realise that there are other ways to do it. It’s harder work, because I’m doing it all my own way. There’s a lot more nuts and bolts work, which does take up a lot of your time where you could be being creative. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to be successful or have a good career, or create good things, but ultimately you get a lot more control. It’s definitely a lot better. The whole move was really scary, but I feel a lot more empowered now.” Rightly so. If there’s one thing Little Boots is definitely not lacking, it’s self-awareness; you get the impression that there’s little need for industry analysts to tell her what’s going on. As bright as the future looks, it would be impossible not to cast an eye back on the past. Few artists experience the whirlwind she encountered and come out the other side to tell the tale. Certainly, most would be a lot more jaded. Despite it all, there’s little bitterness to be found. “The BBC thing helped me hugely. Not just that; the whole hype thing. It’s enabled me, especially internationally. You don’t realise the impact that it has. We haven’t stopped touring, all over the world, ever since. Even in years when I released no music, I was doing huge South American tours. It’s really positive, but the pressure on home ground, in the UK, before the record was even finished in my case; it’s good and bad, obviously.” So far, so balanced, and it isn’t long before she’s nailed both the reason we love her, and quite probably why ‘Hands’ never hit the heights it should have.
“A lot of people’s problem with me as an artist is, ‘you’re not Kylie Minogue, but you’re not Hot Chip. We’re confused, can you tell us what you are please, because otherwise we can’t figure it out.’ They’re probably my two favourite artists, but if you can’t decide which one I am, fucking great, be confused. I realised that I don’t have to answer to anyone like that anymore. I don’t have to decide. “I’m not being like, ‘oh, you can’t put me in a box!’ I really hate that. But it’s just about not worrying if you don’t live up to other people’s expectations. Because the first record was all about everyone’s expectations, and a lot of people’s problems stemmed from that I didn’t necessarily live up or fit, in terms of the record, or what the project was about.” “One time I was playing at Trump Towers for the launch of his daughter’s diamond range,” she continues, “and getting paid in diamonds. It’s like, what the fuck is going on here? Even though that’s amazing, how the fuck does that relate to what I’m doing? “It spun out of control. Not in a bad way. It’s just it didn’t feel like it was about music, and I hadn’t written a song for eight or ten months because I’d been living on planes and in airports. It’s just unsustainable; I should’ve kept going, but it was so intense. And when I got back, everything just stopped. “People like Florence, she’d kept writing on tour and when she came back she had another album to put out, but I find it really difficult to be touring and writing at the same time. I really kick myself now for not keeping up writing when I was touring. But you’re so busy. I ended up a bit detached from my art. “I’m a lot more comfortable in my own skin now. Where I fit or where I don’t fit. I don’t have to live up to someone else’s ideals.”
he road back to our ears has been a drawn out one. Over the past year or so, we’ve all known Hesketh has been at work. The odd 12” here, a track appearing there. Each showed an artist that was going back to her roots; more concerned with the art than simply the charts. “I did a few things last year. Part of me thinks, would I have been better not doing anything, and sitting on it all until now, when it’s totally ready? That’s what a lot of people do. But I was finding it really hard, like I say, being in this vacuum, having all these songs and no one hearing them. But now people are saying, what’ve you been doing for four years, like I’ve just been on holiday. Having a pina colada in Tenerife or something. And it’s like; no, I’ve been working my arse off. “I did become a bit of a night owl. Seeing the night as escapist. Because the first album, a lot of it was escapist, but it was very safe, bouncy, dreamy. And this album, I really wanted to make it more of a reality. More relatable, more realistic. Your own time, you go crazy, get away from your obligations and really see what it is that sets you free. And music is part of that. There are songs that feel like going out clubbing, and songs that feel like 3am, coming home, or crying your eyes out. Or just getting ready to go out. All these different characters that inhabit night time.” ‘Nocturnes’ certainly achieves all of that. It’s born of the club but is, crucially, wonderfully tempered. The infectious hooks of her previous works are obvious for all to hear, but they’re matched alongside the kind of light and shade that removes any suggestion that this is simply throw away, disposable fare. This isn’t day glo, hands in the air abandon, but a rounded, considered work that captures everything that’s brilliant about electronic music. And yes, it’s pop, but like all great pop records
“Fucking great, be confused.” 39
that’s no dirty word - it’s simply intelligent enough to relate. Part of the plaudits have to go to the album’s producer. Not that Hesketh ever really believed DFA co-founder Tim Goldsworthy would be interested. “I think my manager put me in touch with him originally. The Hercules And Love Affair album he produced, I’m a huge fan. But I didn’t really think the guy who started DFA; he’s never going to take me seriously, he’s never going to produce my silly pop songs. When I met him, he totally got it, and I was like, wow. Because he got all the influences, and he knew that I was taking it seriously, that I was musical, that I wasn’t just trying to jump on some bandwagon. He just got me, and I never really expected that. It was a really amazing surprise. “I actually worked with him a year and a half ago, and I curse myself for not saying at that point, this sounds great, let’s do the whole record together. I got distracted by my A&R, I listened to my record label, saying this is too weird, it’s not commercial enough, keep trying. And it wasn’t until I broke with the label that I was like, these songs are great, and they sound immense, I’m going to give Tim a call and grovel. ‘Are you still up for this? I know I should’ve made this call a year ago... I’m in charge now though, will you still do it?’
every week for six weeks, and we just went through every track and stripped it back down, before building it back up again. Every track was done in the same room, with the same instruments, the same time period, and I think you can really feel the cohesiveness. I’m so pleased we did that. “It doesn’t sound overproduced. I’ve written with a lot of pop writers, but it’s not been chasing radio play. I’ve just tried to shut that out and follow what I think it should be, and what I think would work musically. It’s quite hard not to buy into that pressure, and it’s that pressure that was, I think, blocking me musically. Trying to please other people.” Like a phoenix from the flames, it’s that that’s made the return of Little Boots so perfect. In not trying to please others, she’s made the record we always knew she could. She isn’t Kylie, nor is she Hot Chip - she’s not even Alexis Taylor in gold hot pants - but by simply being herself she’s recorded one of the standout albums of the year. If that isn’t a success, we don’t know what is. Little Boots’ new album ‘Nocturnes’ will be released on 6th May via On Repeat Records.
“It was wicked because he’s got an amazing studio in Bristol, with literally the most analogue synths you’ve ever seen. I went down there
"I feel a lot more empowered.” 40 thisisfakediy.co.uk
interview youth lagoon
wo weeks before my flight to Boise, Idaho I’m watching Trevor Powers and his band Youth Lagoon make a music video. We’re in a small studio in Brooklyn filled with taxidermied animal heads and old Penthouse magazines, and even though it’s just midday, almost everyone in sight is nursing a drink. The band is beat from a show the night before, but spirits are high. Mostly because this is a celebratory trip to New York, and the gig was the official release show - save for a secret hometown warm up gig at local club called Neurolux - for their second LP, ‘Wondrous Bughouse’. The next time I see Trevor we’re in his hometown at that same club. This is a strange time to talk, and not just because we’re spending the lunch hour in a dark bar. His initial press cycle for the album is largely over, and without naming names, he’s got some frustrations about the tired narrative of being cast as a loner living in an isolated city. After only a few hours I can tell where he’s coming from. Powers is anything but a loner, and the isolated city of Boise is actually one of those overtly friendly places that catches bigcity-dwellers off guard, where one can’t walk down the street without greeting half a dozen acquaintances. What was the first show you saw here at the Neurolux? I don’t know about the first show, but this was the first bar I came to as soon as I could legally go to bars. I don’t remember what the first show was, but this was actually when Fat Possum came to hang out. Before anything had been signed, this was the bar where they saw the very first show. Good memories. I love this place. Seems like the people of Boise hold this place in high regard. They do, it has a lot of history. Supposedly it used to be even more booming than it is now. Back in the 90s, it used to be packed every weekend. What was your thought process for choosing a label for ‘Wondrous Bughouse’? Was it a natural choice to stay with Fat Possum? I was on a two record deal with them already, but after the first record we became really close. They’re such a tight knit group. With this record, I wasn’t sure how it was going to come across. There was some... not friction, but everyone expected it to be something that it’s not. I was talking to the main guy I always talk to at Fat Possum, Steven Bevilaqua, and we’re really close. I was talking to him on the phone before going into the studio, and he was like, “Cool, cool,” but it still didn’t click with him that it was going to be that different. So when the record was done and I sent it to him he was like, “What?” texting me all these question marks and exclamation points. But they dug it from the beginning, all of them did. It caught everyone by surprise. They have a reputation for being a really hands on label. Super hands on. I’ve flown out to Mississippi multiple times to hang out or for meetings. If there’s a huge thing they want to talk about, they’ll fly here or I’ll fly there. And any 42 thisisfakediy.co.uk
big show, any show I’ve ever played in New York they’ve been at. It’s awesome, I love those guys.
“It’s complete bullshit when people want a backstory.” Your upcoming tour has an arena show with The National, and festivals like Coachella and Treefort here in Idaho. What’s it like playing huge shows in the middle of a club tour? Sometimes it affects it in a good way, and sometimes it affects it in a really negative way. Most festivals are pretty unorganised - even down to parking. Some festivals have it down, and some don’t. You’re scrambling to find parking, everything’s stressful. You barely get a soundcheck. It depends. I love festivals when things are set up in a very organised fashion. You would expect that it would be [organised], so much time gets put into festivals, but so many times it’s utter chaos. Especially the parking. Everyone’s always coming and going. It sounds like you’ve had some traumatic experiences with parking. It’s a big deal! Especially if you have a trailer. SXSW was madness. There were five showcases, and every
single time was so stressful. For a while you toured with just your guitarist Logan Hyde. How long have you been playing with him? After ‘The Year Of Hibernation’ was done, there were some shows that followed, some local shows, like the one I mentioned that Fat Possum came to. And there was another guy I’d been working with, Erik Eastman, and he didn’t want to tour or anything. I’ve known Logan probably for the last five or six years from just going to shows in random places. I called Logan up and I was like, “Erik doesn’t want to tour and I really need someone to play guitar.” He was instantly down. How long did you tour that record? Do you remember how many shows you’ve played? I don’t remember exactly how many shows, but a little over a year. That’s not that long, but the album’s only eight songs. So to play eight songs for over a year... You didn’t want to test any of the new material on the road? I couldn’t. There was too much going on. The way I wrote the new record, it made it physically impossible to do it live with two people. Ah, I didn’t realise that. Sometimes there are certain things you can try out before recording, but for me, the way that I was writing it was already so far beyond the capabilities of doing it live, I thought, “After I record it, I’ll worry about [the live show].” Do you ever want to start playing guitar on stage?
B o ise Just Wa n t T o H av e F u n Matthew Putrino visits Youth Lagoon in his Idaho hometown. Photos: Alex Maddalena.Â
interview youth lagoon
Totally, yeah. Eventually it’s going to happen. Right now there’s not really a need for it. All of the stuff that needs to be covered live now is keys. Logan is manning guitar. It almost happened on this tour, but it’ll happen soon. I love guitar just as much as keys. There was a point in my life where I didn’t touch piano at all. I just played guitar. Then I ended up going back to both.
saying, “Oh I should change the sound of this synth to fit better in a commercial.” A lot of people do that, and it’s absolutely insane to me. “People responded well to this part of this record, so I’m going to try do it kind of like this...” They go into it with a whole strategy. With me, I would wake up so unhappy if I’m not doing what I want.
At this point, ‘Wondrous Bughouse’ has been out for about a month and you’ve done dozens of interviews. I noticed that you approach each one from a genuine place. A lot of bands don’t seem to want to talk about their records and just kinda make jokes. Because I did so many interviews for ‘The Year Of Hibernation’, I got really sick of the way people already have a preconceived notion of who I am. I’ll talk to someone on the phone for half an hour, and it’ll be this amazing conversation, and then I’ll go back and read it and they took what I said and twisted it into a little mould or their preconceived notion of me. I can’t read interviews after the fact because I get so mad.
Is it way too early to start thinking about the next record? Oh I’m already thinking about the next record. I see things visually sometimes, almost like movies in my head. I play things out the way I want things to feel, but I’m not ready
You feel like it’s a different person being presented. Totally. I do take it seriously, there’s a certain way that I’m trying to speak through music. And probably 5% or 10% of the people who hear either of the records really understand it, and the other 90% don’t get it at all. In that same sense, I can’t imagine it’s fun to read your own record reviews. Oh I don’t do it at all. Isn’t it interesting though because music is so relative. Same with film or any other form of art. You can say your opinion or give some kind of rating, but you can’t be generalised with it because everyone receives things differently. I think it’s complete bullshit when people want a backstory, and they make that more focus than the record. That’s another reason why I’ve been sick of interviews, the music should speak for itself. What’s your position on “The Business” of Youth Lagoon? Things like, can I put a track in a commercial, what’s the best time to tour, should I stream my album for free? I put a lot of focus on that, but when approaching a record, something that’s my art and what I create, I approach that without an agenda. If I feel like I have any sort of agenda other than trying to express myself, then I feel like I’m in the wrong place. That’s when I don’t do it. With this last record, my whole mentality was like, “I want to create something that I want to make. Period.” The whole marketing plan, how many people would buy it, none of that entered my mind. I made something that I wanted to make. After that was done, there is the whole business standpoint where fans are your employer. Fans are how I can do what I’m doing. They have to buy albums, they have to go to shows. In order for me to even keep doing it. But I can’t focus on that stuff first, or else you start to do things for the wrong reasons. I feel like I am very businessminded, but it’s always secondary for me. That would be a conflict of interest if you were in the studio 44 thisisfakediy.co.uk
“ G ood m e m o r i e s . to talk about it about yet. This is something phone interviewers don’t get to do, but do you want to talk about your tattoos? Totally. Which do you want to talk about? Which ones are the most significant? I get a lot when I travel. This one [says] “Be Still,” it goes back to my mind being too overactive. It doesn’t really turn
off. When I was in Boston, I wanted to get something to always help me remember to be quiet. [Then] I got this skull after I recorded ‘Wondrous Bughouse’. There’s a lot of strong imagery with skulls, and the ideas behind ‘Wondrous Bughouse’, the mortality, and all that kind of stuff. I wanted something really psychedelic, and the colours fade into each other. This was marking the end of ‘Wondrous Bughouse’, so as soon as I got home I got this tattoo. So that one’s from Boise? Yeah, this [octopus] is from Boise too. I had done some
They all mean something different. This one is in memory of my uncle, he passed away from a drug overdose. We were super, super tight, my mom’s brother. It’s a mini journal just to get things on your body. When did you get your first one? My first one actually is this one, it says, “The Lord Is My Shelter.” I got this during my last year in high school. I went through this really bad depression, super-bad depression, thinking of all kinds of weird shit. So I wanted something to really ground me. Do you think you did get a little peace from the first one as a reminder? Oh yeah, completely. We’re in Boise, and you’ve got a big show tonight. I imagine a bunch of family is coming out. How many times do you think they’ve seen you perform? Well, my wife has seen me perform for a really long time. We got married in September, and we dated for six years before that. So in high school I was in different garage bands, and jamming with friends, so there were always shows she was going to. It’s crazy to fast forward years and think about loved ones like that, and think about how many shows they’ve actually seen. My parents are really supportive too. They come to shows all the time, probably most local shows my parents have been there. That’s awesome. Does your wife ever come on tour? She goes on like one-off dates. ATP fest outside of London, the one curated by The National, she came to that one. It was beautiful. Is that where you first met those guys? Yeah they watched the set and we hung out. That was cool. She goes to different festivals, she went to Treasure Island fest, because that was like four days. She could get off work for that long. Anything that’s like short periods of time, she goes. But for the weeks in the van... No way. The way she puts it is, I don’t go to work with her, she doesn’t come to work with me.
I lov e t h i s pl ac e . ” research and the reason sailors used to get octopus tattoos, is because they represent the unknown. So this was from the first time I went overseas. I got this last year right before I went to Australia. Australia was the first international show? Yeah, and after Australia, we went right to Tokyo. Then right to the UK and the rest of Europe. Australia was the very first time I’ve ever been overseas, so I got the octopus.
Any places you’d like to play that you haven’t had the chance yet? I’d like to play in China. Like rural China or Hong Kong? Everywhere in China. I’ve always wanted to go to China and explore. I’ve always found it fascinating. Eventually it will happen, but it takes a while to go to China. I think eventually it will happen. Maybe. Youth Lagoon’s new album ‘Wondrous Bughouse’ is out now via Fat Possum.
t’s been as good a start to a career as anyone could hope for; beginning in earnest from a bedroom in Coventry, Obaro Ejimiwe has flourished as a producer. After impressing Gilles Peterson, Ghostpoet signed to his Brownwood Records and released debut album, ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’. The combination of Ghostpoet’s personable lyrical observations, set upon a fusion of too many genres to mention, earned critical acclaim including DIY’s Album Of The Year accolade - and a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize 2011. It wasn’t solely the critics that were impressed however; ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’ slowly seeped into the national psyche. With his second record, ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’, just around the corner, we met Ghostpoet at his label’s offices, to reflect on his achievements thus far and find out all about the new full-length. So, 2011 was quite a year for Ghostpoet. It was a good year; I was on cloud nine for most of it. I got an album out and touch wood if I die tomorrow; I made an album and I never thought that I’d do that. It feels almost like yesterday when your first album came out. Yeah, people keep saying that; it’s been two years! To me, it’s a long time but perhaps in musical terms, it’s not very long – I don’t know? Well, early on, there wasn’t really a Ghostpoet explosion... Yeah, the first album came out in February 2011 and was definitely a slow burner. In retrospect, what do you think the Mercury nomination did for your career? I guess more doors have opened up to me, and I don’t know if people take me more seriously or whatever. It was great to be nominated but that’s not going to define my career. I have to keep pushing forward and achieving new things. 46 thisisfakediy.co.uk
Thinking back to the first record; it was quite melancholy in its sound and even the title. Is that mood reflective of what you were going through at the time? It’s reflective of me in general, really. I do have times of happiness and I’m quite positive these days, but maybe that’s me. I guess it was more magnified around the time of making that record. It’s a reflection of me everything is a reflection of me and my world that I live in. With your forthcoming record ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’, was there a change in approach? Well, it’s a studio based record, where as the first album was made in my spare bedroom in Coventry. This one is definitely different in the way that it’s been created - this one was quick. We were in the studio for two or three weeks, I’ve never done that before. There’s much more experimentation due to me being exposed to that analogue world. It’s helped my evolution. I want to keep evolving and changing from record to record and I hope that people hear that. It sounds like the process was very different; what about the personality in the album? The personality is still me; but I am older. You change with the experiences you go through. It’s definitely a record of the moment; it’s me now – and in a few years time, it will be me then. It’s a mixture of emotions - good, bad, happy, sad – and the people that I interact with in my life. I soak up an allusion and put that in my records. One of the most outstanding aspects of your first album was your observational lyrical style. Is that maintained on the new record? Yeah, it’s what I know. It’s what I seem to be comfortable doing observing the world and talking about it – be it about other people’s lives, my own life or what I see, hear, taste around me. Having been so successful with your first album; does that put pressure on you for this album? Initially – in the first day or two – when touring came to an end and
it was like “right, I’ve now got to sit down and make a record. How am I gonna... What am I gonna...” Then I thought, “all I can do, is what I’ve already done” and when I made the first record, it was just fun. Obviously, when I made the first record there was no pressure at all, but I tried to remember my mindset, creatively at the time. It’s been a great experience to make another record. How it does and so on and so forth, doesn’t bother me. I just want to be creative, which sounds very cliche but that’s what I feel. I just hope that I can keep being creative as long as possible. You’re going to be hitting the road to tour Europe and the UK. How is the live show shaping up? The live show’s changed in terms of; it’s all a new band - I have an extra member who’s providing backing vocals and keys - so there’s more scope for experimentation now. It’s all live now too - as opposed to a mixture of live and backing tracks – which brings with it its own kind of pressure and the potential for things to go wrong, but I feel it’s the way forward for what I want to do. I noticed you tweet about a record by Lower Dens. What else is on your stereo? Oh yeah ‘Nootropics’ – I love that record. I listen to loads of different stuff; today, I was listening to Actress’ first album ‘Splazsh’; I’ve been listening a lot to this desert blues band called Tinariwen; Cream’s record ‘Wheels Of Fire’, I’ve been revisiting that one again; and lots of old school garage – I seem to be obsessed with that at the moment. Very eclectic... Yeah, music’s a way of life for me. There’s so much music in the world, it makes no sense to stick to one particular route and I guess subconsciously, that’s how I go about making my music. Forget about genre; it’s about immersing myself in different sounds. Then it all gets mashed up in my brain. Ghostpoet’s new album ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’ will be released on 6th May via PIAS.
Back i n 2 01 1 , Ghostpoet’s debut album t o p p e d D IY ’ s Album Of The Year l i s t. N o w h e ’ s back with the f o l l o w u p. Wor d s : Ian Pat e r s o n .
“Music’s A Way Of Life.” 47
interview child of lov
DIY meets the new soul kid on
O x y g en the
V o l t a g e
wo r d s : s i m o n e s c o t t wa r r e n
“I don’t listen to a lot of music.” 49
interview child of lov
“I was too young to listen to music when Blur was around, and I don’t listen to them nowadays either. I like Gorillaz though…” Cole Williams, the man behind The Child Of Lov, is doing his best to explain to us how it is that, despite no one knowing who he actually was, a certain Mr Damon Albarn has ended up with a couple of credits on his debut album. It turns out that his manager – to whom he was introduced by a mutual buddy – put him in touch with one Brian Burton; better known to the rest of the world as Danger Mouse. And it was he who hooked Cole up with the King of Britpop. “It’s not like it was through a friend of the family or anything,” he chuckles, “not like I was friends with ‘The Albarns’. “I look at him in a very different way to most English people, I think,” Williams considers. “To me, he’s a guy that makes music, instead of being the rock star that he is around here. Even then most people [from the Netherlands] only know ‘Song 2’. He’s quite soulful, in his own way. It’s been good.” Another artist might have seen the connection to Danger Mouse and stopped right there, but it seems like Williams wasn’t ever tempted to work with Burton himself. “I don’t really like Danger Mouse,” Cole admits. “I like Gnarls Barkley, but mainly Cee Lo. Danger Mouse as a producer is very neat, if you know what I mean. It’s very obsessive, it doesn’t work that well in music.” Listening to the eponymous debut The Child Of Lov album, you can hear some traces of a Cee Lo Green influence. Cole describes what he’s creating as soul music, although the sound is far more contemporary than that might suggest. There’s a definite sense that if, in a fantasy recording studio kind of way, Gorillaz, Prince and James Brown were able to get together in 2013 and make an album, this would probably be it. Cole himself, lights up at the 50 thisisfakediy.co.uk
comparison to Prince. The purple guitar god is a massive hero of his, and every time it’s suggested that he sounds something like him, he takes it as a huge compliment. “He’s a big influence.” Williams grins, “The first time I heard that, I was happy.” He’s reticent to consider who else might have influenced him musically though, confessing that he’s not a big consumer of other people’s work. “I don’t listen to a lot of music,” he points out, “It’s basically just a few albums I listen to obsessively. I listen to ‘Voodoo’ [by D’Angelo] every few days. A lot of Sly And The Family Stone. ‘The Black Album’ by Prince... and that’s about it.” Which probably goes some way to explain how, despite holing up in his room creating his debut, his own family had no idea that he was actually interested in music, much less pursuing any kind of career. “I used to make music when my mum and my brother were away from the house. It was too much of a self conscious thing,” he tells us. “I mean, they would’ve liked it, but I���m not that kind of person.” Was it shyness, that caused the secrecy? “No... I actually liked hearing myself, but other people hearing it would’ve been weird, I thought.” When the time came to break the news to his family that he was (gulp) a musician, they took it pretty well. “My mother was very proud I think. I’m not really sure how she really feels,” Cole says, admitting that he only got around to telling them after he’d secured a record deal. “My brother understands it more. But when you’re not that person in someone’s eyes, it’s very hard for those people to adapt to that.” Still, at least his family can comfort themselves with the knowledge that they weren’t the last people to know. In a tactic that’s been employed by a number of new artists recently, Williams initially kept his identity a secret; although he’s insistent that the move wasn’t designed in any way to drum up publicity.
“I just wanted to focus on the music basically. I didn’t really think about it, I just really hate image first. It is important I think, in the end... Like Hendrix, he had the best image ever, the best face ever, but you never get the feeling that the music isn’t coming first. Because it’s so good, it still has so much focus on that.” But Hendrix, we remind him, sadly didn’t live long enough to become a creaking rock dinosaur, he didn’t get the chance to fuck it up by trying to do it as an old man. “Right, right,” he laughs, “Now he’d be a Johnny Marr kind of thing. Like, stop already. Take off that jacket as well. I mean, come on. Just leave, please.” He pauses momentarily to consider
why it was that he even decided to reveal himself, before explaining that after a while, hiding out became “an image as well. That’s image first in a different way. You can’t really avoid it. It’s just day to day, I have a vague idea what I’m supposed to do, but I trust my own instinct to determine what to do at any given moment. If it works, it works.”
halfway into his follow up album. And the debut itself is apparently only half the story. Well, actually, make that a third. “Actually there’s going to be a triple album,” he confides, “Originally all the songs were for a triple album, ‘Light, Oxygen, Voltage’. What’s on this album is a selection of those songs. It’s going to be a big special edition, I’m really happy with it.”
As he stretches out on a sofa in an east London bar, nursing a fizzy water and looking earnestly at us across the table, you can’t escape the feeling that Williams would rather just be concentrating on making music, than all this. He is, he tells us, already
Which isn’t to suggest he’s not happy with his debut. “It sounds quite coherent to me; it wasn’t intended that way, but I’m very happy with the coherence. From the beginning, making music, I always try to recreate the anger, the full love, with the
crappy means that I had. I used to play keys on my computer keyboard. So that was the way that I used to do things, I didn’t have many control over things... “The big thing is that it comes from this very solitary place. I was alone in my room making these songs, and that shines through in the music as well. Not in a negative kind of way, just soulful image. But apart from that,” he grins, “it’s just music.” The Child Of Lov’s self-titled debut album will be released on 6th May via Double Six.
“I have a vague idea what I’m supposed to do.” 51
!!! Chk Chk Chkinâ€™ It Out
Ian Pat e rs o n talks ‘ THR ! ! ! ER ’ with dance punk-ers !!!
W interview !!!
ith more past members than current, !!! is a rare beast; a musical project not only able to survive a revolving door membership, but creatively, thrive from it. “There’s definitely more of a collective spirit to it. Anyone can get involved and everything goes through everybody,” singer Nic Offer tells us. “Sometimes I would rather it was a dictatorship, but we feel that this kind of spirit is important to us and that kind of openness is important to the band’s creative process. That way, anything can happen and things don’t get too bogged down into one person’s ideas. “ Of all the group’s line up changes
concept. “Nic drew ‘THR!!!ER’ on a napkin and I liked it… then we made our ‘THR!!!ER’.” Quantifying this, Nic tells us; “It’s a really varied record. Every record you make, you try to make sound different from the last and you try to make it sound different from itself. We’ve tried it in the past but in the end people have been like “no, it all sounds the same”. This is the first time people have been coming back to us and saying ‘it’s really different’, so we feel like it’s successful in that.” In contrast to their last album - the self-produced ‘Strange Weather, Isn’t It?’ - !!! brought in Spoon drummer and producer in his own right, Jim Eno, to work with them on the new record. As well as producing Spoon’s records, Eno had worked with Gayngs
they were like, ‘Kip has a band and they’re doing really well, oh wow!’” Nic explains. “So, as far as I know, they might not even like the music and might just like us as people. They might just want to see us at the afterparty, but we’re looking forward to it.” Modesty aside, the energy injected into their shows with Offer’s striking dance moves is reason enough to see the band live. As !!! has grown, so has the outlandishness of the routine, culminating in a fitting live performance trademark for a ‘dance’ band. “Well, the singer is front and centre at a show and is supposed to command attention. I’ve definitely always been inspired by the great frontmen,” Nic says. “It’s grown fairly organically – trying to get better and better at it and
“ So m e t i m es , I wo ul d r at h e r i t was a d i c tato rs h i p. ” however, the most impacting must have been the untimely death of their drummer, Jerry Fuchs. Fuchs – who had also played live with MSTRKRFT, Massive Attack and LCD Soundsystem – died in tragic circumstances in 2009. The final LCD Soundsystem album, ‘This Is Happening’, was dedicated to his memory. In the aftermath of Fuchs’ passing, and as !!! prepare to release the Michael Jackson referencing ‘THR!!!ER’ - their fifth studio effort - there’s indication that the collective have made an album of renewed passion. “Over the course of many long van rides and post-coffee verbal riff sessions, ‘Thriller’ didn’t merely come to represent the selling of a lot of records…it became synonymous with an artist(s)’ and/or genre(s)’ artistic high-watermark.” Guitarist, Mario Andreoni has said of the 54 thisisfakediy.co.uk
and the associated Poliça on last year’s highly rated ‘Give You The Ghost’. “I think they [Spoon] have got a real attention to detail in their songwriting and also the space in their records. Space is something that’s really important in dance music – one of the most important things – so even though they haven’t made a dance record, we thought that Jim would get excited in trying to work with a new sound, focus us on our songwriting and help us get something original sounding. I think it was a pretty magic pairing.” With a European tour lined up for May, they’ve also been invited to play the forthcoming All Tomorrow’s Parties at Camber Sands, curated by TV On The Radio. “Those guys are ‘New York’, so we’ve known them a while. The others knew Kip before he was in the band, so at some point
be an engaging performer – and I’d go to a dance class here or there and try and pick-up something new, but even that has barely helped me. When you’re up there and the adrenaline is flowing, you’re pretty much just doing anything you can!” There’s a palpable sense of comingof-age building, as we approach the release of ‘THR!!!ER’ – whether self-proclaimed or otherwise - and it certainly has all the ingredients required to become an album that would feature as a career high. What’s most certain and clear after my conversation with Nic Offer however, is that after 16 years and four albums, they’re a band to have never lost their passion for what they do. !!!’s new album ‘THR!!!ER’ is out now via Warp Records.
Words & Pictures
interview noah and the whale
Bands Bands donâ€™t have donâ€™t have to be just to about be just about the music, theas music, Coral as Williamson Coral Williamson finds out finds out with Noah with Noah And The And The Whale. Whale.
interview noah and the whale
t’s Easter, but while everyone else in the UK is stuffing their faces full of chocolate, Charlie Fink of Noah And The Whale is refusing to take a break. Today he’s working on sound design for his upcoming short film, which will accompany the band’s newest album ‘Heart Of Nowhere’. It sounds complicated.
“I always wanted to do a film with this album,” he reveals. “The idea was obviously that you want the film to evolve the same themes and ideas as the record. My initial idea was to have it about a band’s last show. So it was a teenage band, a coming of age story, and then I went through various ways of trying to imagine where it could be, where that could take place.
“In a film, say, you have someone who knocks down a door,” he explains, “and the actual sound of knocking down a door that you get on set doesn’t sound like knocking a door down in a movie, so you have to create that sound. And it’s making sure you can hear everything the actors are saying, that kind of thing.”
“The thing about an album, what’s great about it is, your imagination builds the set for the stories in the songs. I didn’t want to set it anywhere that was too familiar, so I got this idea of setting it in this kind of fictional world. And once I started that, the idea just evolved and evolved.”
Most people might assume that the frontman of a band as big as Noah And The Whale would enjoy being in the limelight, but it seems Charlie relishes being behind a camera far more than he does being up on stage. In fact, we spend so much time talking about his film that we have to cram in the questions about the accompanying album at the end. This isn’t the first time Noah And The Whale have had a film linked to a record; 2009’s ‘The First Days Of Spring’ also came with a cinematic counterpart. “I guess it’s because I just wanted to be doing both,” Fink muses. “It’s so exciting, and I think it’s interesting. It’s something our band likes to explore. We’ve tried to do it live a little bit too, combining music and film and having it be part of the show.” Charlie speaks with a ridiculous amount of enthusiasm. Everything’s interesting, or amazing, or cool; but he’s also occasionally vague, often going off on tangents that make it hard to get a straightforward answer. It seems this tangential thinking is all just a part of his creative process.
“i always wanted to do a film with this album.” For those who haven’t seen the video to newest single ‘There Will Come A Time’ - which doubles as a trailer to the short film - the plot revolves around teenagers being quarantined until they are deemed mature enough to live in normal society. According to Charlie, “the film’s about two things: it’s about memory, and it’s about friendship. I don’t want to give too much away but there’s other heightened reality, science-y bits of the film.” It’s not going to be too science-fiction, although we chat about brain scans and the “insane” concept of brain imaging for while. “For me, the main purpose of sci-fi is to tell a human story. The times when sci-fi is effective is when it’s used to communicate
something that happens to people every day. So for example, ‘ET’ is a film about divorce, that happens to have an alien in it.” The film and the album tie together thematically, as you might expect. “A lot of the album is about the end of adolescence, and becoming a man,” he explains, “I wanted something that, to me, serves as a metaphor for that, and that’s just an experience I’ve had, of being in bands that end. In fact, I remember the initial idea was that I wanted to make the last waltz for a teenage band no-one gives a shit about. I thought that would be really cool, and it kind of went from there.” Noah And The Whale fans, don’t panic – this most definitely isn’t a sign of the band gearing up for their own final hurrah. Charlie’s very positive about it all: “I’m still enjoying playing in the band a lot, I don’t envisage wanting to do it anywhere else.” And when we point out that the band’s big breakthrough, ‘5 Years Time’, coincidentally came out a whole five years ago, he seems pretty confident that he wouldn’t change much. “I try not to think about things like that. The funny thing is, I see my friends who have careers in music, and see things change so quickly; you start out very young and you live a pretty long life. The things that feel significant at one time, another time won’t be. That was when we started getting opportunities. It was a great moment for us. There’s no way we’d have had the opportunities to make the albums and films that we have if we hadn’t had that. I feel good about it.” Noah And The Whale’s new album ‘Heart Of Nowhere’ will be released on 6th May via Mercury. Read the full interview in the 8th April edition of DIY Weekly, available now from Apple Newsstand.
“The film’s about t wo things: memory and friendship.”
review vampire weekend
-picking elements from different genres, cultures and times; making them their own. You always thought there was something more in them, something less arch and which aims for the heart as much as it does the head. This is that record; it delivers in every way. It’s been three years since ‘Contra’ and the passage of time seems to be something that’s been on the band’s mind.
Modern Vampires Of The City (XL)
As you could imagine with a release focused on time, this is a more grown up collection of songs. It’s certainly more emotionally developed. Whereas in the past, if there’s one thing you could have levelled at Vampire Weekend, it’s that there was no emotional resonance, that everything felt a little too detached. Here they’ve created an album which mixes their sonic trickery with a beating heart.
Listening to ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’ you start to recognise what a singularly odd band Vampire Weekend are. Their first two full-lengths have sold nearly 1.2 million combined copies, yet theirs was always a sound delightfully out of sync with everything else. This third album opens with ‘Obvious Bicycle’, whose percussion sounds like someone jumping up and down on a pogo stick. You wouldn’t put it past them that it’s not. It’s an album where weird flourishes are the norm: whether it’s ghostly choirs, elephant herd blasts of horns or frog choruses. There’s also Ezra Koenig’s pitch-shifted Elvis-like curled lip vocal delivery on ‘Diane Young’. And later there’s the spoken word narrative on the, up until then frantic, ‘Finger Back’. But then Vampire Weekend have always followed their own idiosyncratic path. They create their own world, cherry 60 thisisfakediy.co.uk
The double side single they released shows both. ‘Diane Young’ is a million miles an hour, hyperactive, cardboard box percussion monster. But it’s ‘Step’ which really stands out, both rich and muted, a sepia-filtered doo-wop track with harpsichord and piano giving a splendour to Koenig’s observations. Lyrically it shows the focus of the album: that of holding on to youth and growing up. “Wisdom’s a gift, but you’d trade it for youth,” he acutely observes. There are references to Croesus and Jandek but it’s the emotional
fragility and poignant contemplation that are at the core of the song. “I can’t do it alone,” he gracefully swoons, and it’s heartbreaking. This understated emotion is shown most brilliantly on ‘Hannah Hunt’. Beautifully melancholic, it’s built on a gorgeous piano melody and delicate vocals. It’s a touching capturing of a moment in time. ‘Obvious Bicycle’ blooms magnificently, a choral chorus that sounds like a sunrise, with twinkling piano underneath while the Outkast shout-out of ‘Ya Hey’ is a slower affair than its namesake as Koenig sings “America don’t love you” with cartoon character backing vocals and a Pet Shop Boys-style choir before it fades away to nothing and emerges again riding on the wave of a piano. But what makes this album is that they haven’t forgotten to match this intellect and emotion with giddy, unabashed fun and mile-wide smiling. They throw everything at it and pull it off. There’s more of everything: more ideas, more odd time signatures, more weird vocal effects – and it’s all boldly beautiful. You can’t say they’ve not challenged themselves, but they’ve maintained the spirit of their sound. The result
TRACKLISTING Unbelievers Step Diane Young Don’t Lie Hannah Hunt Everlasting Arms Finger Back Worship You Ya Hey Hudson Young Lion is a record which pulls off the trick that many fail at: it’s the right amount of the old Vampire Weekend and the right amount of bold experimentation. As we finish with the desolate but hopeful ‘Young Lion’, we’ve arrived at the album’s core focus: time. Its passing weighs heavily, and Koenig acutely observes the frustrations and hopes that come with it. It makes ‘Vampires Of The Modern City’ their most complete record. Full of heart and full of ideas, it’s big, clever and brilliantly odd. (Danny Wright) 61
Little Boots Nocturnes (On Repeat / Kobalt)
Back in 2009, Victoria Hesketh was pop’s great new hope; Little Boots was expected to flourish. Instead, the debut album that emerged that summer, ‘Hands’, was a record that sounded slightly unsure of itself. Four years later and free from any expectation, she has now delivered a far more definitive statement. ‘Nocturnes’ is the sound of Little Boots re-born. It’s a record informed and influenced by dance music in its purest form. It throbs and soars, bounces and sways. It mirrors the overpowering delirium of dance floor abandon. It’s all about giving yourself over to sound and desire. A true example of Grace Jones’ ‘Slave To The Rhythm.’ A classy album that brims with euphoria. This is the record that Hesketh always wanted to make. (Martyn Young)
Crawling Up The Stairs
(Merok / Acephale) If ‘Pleasure’ was Pure X’s storm, follow up ‘Crawling Up The Stairs’ is the cutting aftermath. Sound wise, anyway. While their debut saw vocals swept up in a gust of guitar-drenched haze, barely audible for the most part, ‘Crawling’ sees Nate Grace’s cries emerge through a calmer sonic backdrop. But these are more tortured cries of exhaustion than of relief. The Texan band still carries that hauntingly dark energy. It’s the sound of a band staring down the invasive drag of their own instruments and winning. It’s possibly not to everyone’s taste, but it’s more confident and upfront, less immersed in background noise. (Hannah Phillips)
Noah and the Whale Heart Of Nowhere (Mercury)
There are few mainstream chart propositions that have managed to subtly – though no less effectively – re-imagine themselves over each successive record quite like Noah And The Whale. And in a sense, fourth album ‘Heart Of Nowhere’ presents itself as an evolutionary rather than revolutionary development, in this case one which takes its predecessor’s penchant for the instant and injects an enormous dose of FM-friendly American power-pop from days of yore. The record sets out its stall from the get-go courtesy of the muscular title track, with Tom Petty influences in full swing and bolstered by stabs of strings straight off an ABBA record. It’s both designed and destined for big and bold things, be it festivals, stadiums or road trips. It’s also – whisper it – fun. (Gareth Ware) 62 thisisfakediy.co.uk
Praxis Makes Perfect (Lex) Chirpy, dancey, electropop concept albums about fascist architecture, dictators and Italian revolutionaries are, obviously, pretty two-a-penny, so it’s refreshing to find one that finally rises to the challenge and does something new with the themes. Yep, Neon Neon are back. Of course, concept albums only work if the tracks can stand on their own, and ‘Praxis Makes Perfect’ achieves this with consummate ease. ‘Dr. Zhivago’ rejoices in the luxury of exuberant chorus, ‘Hoops With Fidel’ sways with woozy ease, and when, in ‘The Jaguar’ Gruff Rhys croons “I will always remember you smiling” it transcends any concept and leaves you with simple endearing pop moments you just can’t help but fall for. (Dave Rowlinson)
Silence Yourself (Matador)
Savages arrived as a band seemingly already fully formed. Concise, austere and ferocious. Everything very black and white. ‘Silence Yourself’ is a record consisting of the tautest of post-punk with barely an excess note. It’s a lean and ferociously dark statement of intent. Black, as we all know, is an absence of colour. A perfect absorber of light. But this light which is absorbed ultimately becomes heat. And ‘Silence Yourself’ burns with its intensity. It’s jagged and angular. Savages take all their influences: Stooges, Public Image Ltd, Magazine, Siouxsie And The Banshees and Joy Division and meld these sounds into something that is uniquely them. Yet for all this fierce conviction and concision, this is an album about cracks and worries; flaws and shattered ideas. About taking imperfections and injustice
and gaining control again. The album’s first track ‘Shut Up’ opens with an excerpt from the 1977 John Cassavetes film, ‘Opening Night’, itself a mesmerising study of anxiety and identity crisis. It’s a mirror to this album. The words give way to low bass and wiry tension and clangs of percussion thunder. It’s got that inimitable swagger that the best bands have, with Jehnny Beth singing “Speaking words to the blind.” The urban dread of ‘City’s Full’ is equally forceful. Fuzzy guitar and a rattling rhythm section soundtrack a narrative where we hear about loving “the stretch marks on your thighs… the wrinkles around your eyes.” The intensity doesn’t drop very often. ‘Dead Nature’ is the stillness at the centre of the album, a brooding, slow and atmospheric instrumental, it’s the sound of a city in the dead of night. Clocks tick and the wind blows through it. But before you can catch your breath the album launches off again. ‘She Will’ is all towering guitar and the repeated refrain of the title and ‘No Face’s’ spiky bass line and massive guitar make it the most visceral thing on here, before an almost otherworldly torch song moment brings it to a close as Jehnny sings “Don’t worry about breaking my heart.” That this is their debut album seems astonishing. It’s an album which demands you listen, an album about experiences, when the familiar becomes alien, when things slip away. And, most importantly, this album is about taking control back. This might not be a new idea, but Savages make it sound vital. (Danny Wright)
TRACKLISTING Shut Up I Am Here City’s Full Strife Waiting For A Sign Dead Nature She Will No Face Hit Me Husbands Marshal Dear
The Child of Lov
The Child Of Lov
(Domino) The Child Of Lov is just your textbook funk revivalist who spends his time hanging out with Damon Albarn and Doom when he’s not carefully crafting his double identity. Ten-a-penny aren’t they? After a string of mysterious and varied singles, he’s opening the shutters, ever so slightly, just enough to confidently pass through his self-titled debut album and whisper his name, Cole Williams. And somehow, he’s crafted an album from disparate parts into the same satisfyingly disruptive shock of Ghostpoet, Battles or TV On The Radio. It’s at once timeless, decidedly retro yet oddly futuristic, a true album of contradictions enjoyable on a completely shallow level but also offering depth often lacking in a debut. Perhaps it suffers from lapses of concentration or sometimes pushes slightly too far down a dead end, but as an introduction to the man and a myth he’s already constructing it’s a very enticing and exciting one, if there’s more to come at this level from him true classics await. (Matthew Davies)
Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs
Strange Pleasures (Sub Pop)
If you listened to Still Corners’ debut you could find - behind the monochrome beauty and shimmering sheen of their shoegazed infused electro – a very really haunting heaviness. Thankfully they’re now in a happier place. ‘Strange Pleasures’ is that debut lit up and coloured in; there’s a lighter touch and an exploration of new sounds. Yet it’s so indebted to the 80s that for the first half, it’s hard to distinguish it from the many peers who create similar sounds. Thankfully in the second half things begin to step out of the shadows: the songs are given more life, the emotions are more resonant. ‘Strange Pleasures’ is an album of cinematic charm. (Danny Wright)
Monomania: when the mind becomes obsessively concentrated and fixated upon one special symbol of passion. Deerhunter may not be not running melodramatically across the Yorkshire moors wailing “Heathcliff, it’s me, Cathy, I’ve come home” (admittedly some slight embellishment there, but wouldn’t a bit of Kate Bush liven up Wuthering Heights?) but they still buy into a popular sort of hero, bound to his art. Chasing a singular aesthetic, ‘Monomania’ is a strange album of pop turned entirely on its head and scrambled through a triple encoder filled with cherry Coke. Deerhunter have laid a foundation of fuzz, and thereby hangs an absolute stonker of an album. There’s a rich amount of texture and ambience, but you’re so carried in the melody that you barely notice that everything is perfectly aligned like a winning game of tetris. It all manages to feel so simple, yet no-one other than Deerhunter could produce an album quite like it. (El Hunt) 64 thisisfakediy.co.uk
Clarietta (Heavenly) There is something very ‘70s New York proto-punk about ‘Clarietta’. ‘I’ve Got A River’ opens with the distinctive, tight-toned pulse of guitar before being swept up into an all-encompassing scuzz and a vocal that could easily be mistaken for Tom Verlaine’s own. And that influence only weaves its way in further as the album progresses. See the circling arrangement of ‘You Haven’t Got A Chance’ and the perfected yelp of title track ‘Clarietta’. Yet there’s modernity to these songs that give them that extra bite. These boys know how to structure a song: big verses, even bigger choruses and a raucous instrumental. (Hannah Phillips)
She & Him
Volume 3 (Domino)
With a frenetic combined itinerary that spans sitcoms, solo material and alt-rock super groups it’s surprising She & Him have any time to corner a recording studio. And as with their previous records, M Ward’s singing input is kept to a minimum, left to provide guitar and production foil. Whilst innocence pervades the album, Zooey Deschanel is equally convincing in coquettish mode, delivering such lines as “I never think before I run to the good and the wicked things you do” with a knowing smirk. It’s fair to say that there are no real surprises here but what we do get is a solid collection of retro tinged songs that will appeal to fans of their previous work. (Greg Inglis)
The Pigeon Detectives We Met At Sea
(Cooking Vinyl) In many ways, The Pigeon Detectives’ ‘We Met At Sea’ isn’t awful. Except lyrically. Lyrically it is definitely awful. On ‘Light Me Up’ there’s the implicit suggestion that way to a girl’s heart is via a decent GPS (“I’ll take you all of the places that you never could find”) while on ‘Day And Month’ the chanted “You’ve got something / everybody knows now” sounds less an affectionate nod to your special je ne sais quoi and more like your medical history has just been shared on the internet. By the end the words don’t even matter; it’s basically just a man shouting in one ear while indie landfill is shoved in the other. (Tim Lee)
(RCA) The twelve tracks on ‘Secondhand Rapture’ are effectively pop songs, but with a slightly darker twist as a result of the dreamy sounds MS MR - that’s vocalist Lizzy Plapinger and producer Max Hershenow - create. ‘Fantasy’ demonstrates this ability well; its catchy melody is sung with the delivery of a club classic. At times the combination starts to irritate, as if the pair are awkwardly straddling the line between dark and light, but here it works. The same can’t be said for ‘Think Of You’, which is frankly annoying. As a whole, this feels more like a collection of unrelated tracks rather than an album. ( Jay Platt)
The Dillinger Escape Plan One Of Us Is The Killer
(Party Smasher Inc. / BMG) Defined by angular chord stabs over the mathematic, shredding riffs usually expected from The Dillinger Escape Plan, lead single ‘Prancer’ turns out to be a pretty good representation of ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’ as a whole. Though there are plenty of technical riffs written large and small across this record, the overall feel is of something sharp but flat, a knife rather than a needle. ‘Hero Of The Soviet Union’ is a prime example; though there is an escalating motif that pulls up short of collapsing entirely, the bulk of the work is done with hyper-aggressive guitar rips and stabs. Absolutely essential, and maybe their best album yet. (Alex Lynham)
20/5/13 The National Trouble Will Find Me 27/5/13 CocoRosie Tales Of A GrassWidow crystal fighters Cave Rave Frankie & The Heartstrings The Days Run Away Laura Marling Once I Was An Eagle Majical Cloudz Impersonator Mount Kimbie Cold Spring Fault Less Youth Sean Nicholas Savage Other Life 3/6/13 Big Deal June Gloom Camera Obscura Desire Lines City and Colour The Hurry And The Harm Queens of the Stone Age ...Like Clockwork Spectrals Sob Story Splashh Comfort 10/6/13 Beady Eye BE Jimmy Eat World Damage Smith Westerns Soft Will 17/6/13 Austra Olympia Tunng Turbines
‘Thr!!!er’ is !!!’s fifth full-length and it’s seen the band claim that producer Jon Eno told the band to forget their quest to recapture their famous live performances in the studio. Instead, for the first time, they went in with everything written and a greater focus. That’s not to say the funk (and fun) has been surgically removed. Far from it; you only need to listen to first single ‘Slyd’ - it sees the band creating their own ‘samples’ to act as a backdrop as Nic Offer purrs suggestively over rolling drums, and an ass-jiggling beat. That’s not all. Teresa Eggers and Molly Schnick provide sultry vocals and it even has handclaps. HIT. Elsewhere the results are more varied but almost always there’s a precision here that you couldn’t really accuse !!! of having before. When the choruses hit and the earworm hooks enter your brain is glorious. This is an album which sees the band taking new sounds and crafting songs in new ways - but sometimes to the detriment of the songs. After all, you don’t really want your favourite party band showing restraint do you? (Danny Wright)
(Epitaph) From second one of ‘YPLL’ it becomes apparent that Retox are as focused as they have ever been, as their scintillating no-frills punk swirls around the listener in a miasma of rage and frustration and middle-finger-up attitude. Sure, they blur the line of punk, hardcore, metal, thrash and the surrounding sphere of genres but so much more than that, they are the musical embodiment of a nihilistic and genuinely dark manifesto. Ostensibly a total headache of a record, ‘YPLL’ clocks in at just under 20 minutes and pulls you from pillar to post throughout. If you enjoy your rock n roll with a nasty strain of misanthropy shot through it, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here. (Tom Doyle)
The Land Of CanAan
(Bella Union) Marques Toliver’s debut album ‘The Land Of CanAan’ combines inspirations from the autobiography of black abolitionist Fredrick Douglass and the Bible tale of Noah cursing his own grandchild. Unsurprisingly, then, sadness features commonly throughout. ‘CanAan’ is a sorrowful opener, Toliver’s poignant coo being swept into a flutter of frilly, antiquated orchestration, and ‘Weather Man’ channels the joyous optimism of John Legend. The mix of warmth and sorrow here sees the multi-instrumentalist finally create an accomplished and whimsical sound that we only had glimpses of in other artists’ work. (Alex Yau)
Hubcap Music (Fiction)
From the distorted fuzz of ‘Self Sufficient Man’ to the grunge of ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’ and ‘Down On The Farm’, ‘Hubcap Music’ cuts a mighty fine groove. Accentuated further by the good old-fashioned tape recording, a raw cut is given to the ripping guitars, one of which gives the album its title, having been formed out of two old hubcaps. Adding to his already thriving collection of custom-made guitars, Steve’s creativity with his instruments is testament to the fun and vigour of his playing, as he glides between the foot-stomping funk of ‘Home’ and the ragged euphoria of ‘Coast Is Clear’ so effortlessly that it’s easy to forget that he is now 72 years old. (Hannah Phillips)
(Little Record Label) Post-mortems are never welcoming events and this compilation veers from the ridiculous (‘Dejalo’) to the quite beautiful (‘A Town Called Luckey’). But what ‘Rkives’ really does display is a band caught between indie experimentalism and the lure of stadium pomp. ‘Bury, Bury Another’ is a swirling, slide guitar driven lament which wouldn’t sound out of place on The Execution of All Things; ditto ‘Well, You Left’. It doesn’t shed any light on Rilo Kiley, there’s no standout defining track that was flippantly consigned to a b-side or the vaults. Instead, it’s a collection which provides more satisfaction than surprise. Which, for a post-mortem, is no bad thing. (Colm McAuliffe)
Primal Scream More Light
(Ignition) ‘More Light’, Primal Scream’s first album in 5 years, is the sound of a band who still have a lot to say and are conceiving ever more sonically disparate ways in which to say it. Opening track ‘2013’ is their new manifesto. Built around an audacious distorted saxophone hook, its 9 minutes see Bobby Gillespie working his way into a frenzy as he delivers his state of the nation address promising, “teenage revolution” and a “rock and roll nation,”. He sounds more righteous and furious than ever. It helps, of course, that the song is a dissonant and mesmerising piece of punk rock wild abandon, the glammy overtones rubbing up against abrasive guitar provided by long-time collaborator Kevin Shields. It’s the sound of a band teeming with ideas. The Britain of 2013 may be a place full of dread in Primal Scream’s world but that sense of anger has prompted them to deliver an extremely impressive return that’s brash, bold and often brilliant. (Martyn Young)
albums from the last 3 months
palma violets 180
If scratchy guitars and lolloping drums could give hugs, these would be the sweatiest, messiest, yet most kind-hearted type. (Emma Swann)
Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood Black Pudding (Heavenly)
Duke Garwood might be considered Mark Lanegan’s ‘spiritual cousin across Atlantic waters’, but the London-based multi-instrumentalist masters a folky, textural depth through his fingerpicking, laying the foundation for Lanegan’s growl. Lyrically, we get the usual talk of death rides, mescalitoes and, erm, black pudding. But when the duo do click, it’s masterful. ‘Pentecostal’ is perhaps the best marriage of voice and rattling acoustics while the instrumentals bookending the album are gorgeous in their sparseness, suggesting that Garwood ultimately outshines his companion in this bout with the deep shade. (Colm McAuliffe)
Foals The DOT
Diary (Cooking Vinyl)
Not content to revert to the type of their previous musical endeavours Mike Skinner and Rob Harvey have put together a record that defies any attempt to pigeonhole it whilst retaining a distinct character which, while a little less playful than either The Streets or The Music, certainly keeps a glint in its eye. It’s a veritable sonic smorgasbord: there’s soulful numbers that feel like the aural equivalent of a walk in the countryside (‘Blood Sweat And Tears’), there’s bluesy tones (‘Most Of My Time’), there’s shuffling dance vibes (‘Wherever You May Be’). It’s an album of remarkable completeness that feels like a genuine coming of age for two musicians who are growing a little older with a significant degree of grace. (Tom Doyle)
‘Holy Fire’ doesn’t so much wait patiently for acclaim as kick the door down. If third time really is a charm, Foals are nothing short of magic. (Stephen Ackroyd)
The Chronicles of Marnia
The sort of album you want to place in a velvet lined box and present to everyone who visits. It’s loveable, thrilling and properly innovative. Plus, she can totally shred (Tim Lee)
El hunt tracks down The Neighbourhood’s bryan sammis. you’re quite fond of black and white... We’re really big on having a whole experience for people. We feel like when you buy a band’s album, and you see the artwork and their logo and their colour scheme or whatever, and then you go listen to the song, you have a feel for it. If everything we put out was in colour, there would be a different vibe, you know? there’s previously been a lot of mystery surrounding the band. We just wanted people to hear the music and decide how they felt about it. We didn’t want people to have any preconceived notions of what our band was about before hearing any music.
Ghostpoet Some Say I So I Say Light
(PIAS) The first single off Ghostpoet’s second album ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’ - ‘MSI MUSMID’ - is a track based on a dream he had where, to quote the man himself, “dim sum and noodles were life-long friends who kept squabbling all the time... I try in vain to make sense of it all.” That just about sums up the charm and magnetism of Obaro Ejimiwe. An auteur who takes the minutia of every day and creates a universe where tales of regret and fear of a wasted life sound mesmerising. An intelligent and, most importantly, cathartic album it allows him to shed his worries in the most eloquent and interesting ways. On closer ‘Comatose’ over a swirling beat he sings that he feels “lower than he’s ever been.” But there’s hope: “I feel like the whole world has turned its back on me, but I don’t feel that it’s a tragedy.” As it builds into a clatter of off kilter Gameboy noises and strings, there’s a touch of gospel warmth to it, something that feels even optimistic. You know that everything is going to be ok. (Danny Wright) 68 thisisfakediy.co.uk
The Neighbourhood I Love You (Columbia)
With their 2012 emergence, The Neighbourhood sported black-as-tar, film noir imagery, chock-full of Alfred Hitchcock odes. Turns out they’ve stayed true to the cinema-bred darkness, ‘I Love You’ having one of the most misleading album titles of all time. When Jesse Rutherford spits lines like “it hurts but I won’t fight you / you suck anyway”, you can sure as hell bet he’s not reciting his wedding vows. Aligning all this hate and melodrama is a ridiculously glossy sheen. It’s a little like the gleaming whitetoothed smile we so associate with Los Angeles, as it gleefully distracts from its troublesome undercurrent. It’s a smarter beast than it gives off, this. Its thick, heavy-going entirety might grate, but songs like ‘Sweater Weather’ are hard-totame pop juggernauts. ( Jamie Milton)
THE BEST OF
TRACKS Her Parents Happy Birthday
(Alcopop) While one hesitates to ever describe a band as ‘witty’, the 12-track whirlwind that is Her Parents’ ‘Happy Birthday’ is like the sonic equivalent of a Chris Morris TV show. Songs like ‘Cunt Dinosaur’, ‘You’re Dead’ and the brilliantly bizarre-o ‘I Live In A Tree’ drag you in to the band’s surreal little world with expeditious style. That said, this is far from just a grindy joke record, there are catchy choruses to go alongside the frenetic pace, ‘Lithuanian Mercedes’ in particular sounding like the Arctic Monkeys might if they had taken a load of class A’s and were totally uninvested in society. An album full of charm, verve and jocular spirit. (Tom Doyle)
Queens of the Stone Age My God Is The Sun
Beginning with a majesty that heralds QOTSA’s return like alternative rock royalty, and some deafening sticks-work courtesy of one Dave Grohl, ‘My God Is The Sun’ quickly re-establishes their trademark of ‘robotic rock’: heavy riffs, heavy hits, and a heavy dose of the sleaze factor – classic QOTSA. (Shefali Srivastava)
The National Demons
‘Demons’ is part of what Matt Berninger has called a ‘fun death record’. The National’s version of fun anyway. There’s certainly some mordant humour here as, in his luxuriant baritone, he intones “I am secretly in love with everyone that I grew up with.” It’s a track which demonstrates the mix of what The National do so effortlessly: a cocktail that recognises the impending doom but also realises the ridiculousness of trying to take it too seriously. (Danny Wright)
Wolf Alice Bros
Arcane Roots Blood & Chemistry
(PIAS) The first album proper from these post-hardcore rockers from Surrey serves as a lesson in how a British band can unashamedly appropriate a genre more linked to 90s American bands, and make it completely and comfortably their own. And in the tradition of three-pieces that make one helluva racket, Arcane Roots sound much bigger than the sum of their parts, thanks to distortion, dense riffing, and a few big ol’ screaming seshes. With a sound that’s generally pitched between poppy alt. rock and heavy melodic rock, there’s plenty of scope for varying it up. Quasi-schizophrenic, ‘Blood & Chemistry’ jumps around like a toddler on E-numbers who can’t decide what he wants to play with. (Shefali Srivastava)
‘Bros’ is Wolf Alice’s clearest sign yet that they belong on festival stages, and big ones to boot. This song is roadtrips, sunsets and late nights. All the cliches you could conjure up when thinking about a hedonistic escape: ‘Bros’ fits the bill. “Jump that 43 / Are you wild like me / Raised by wolves and other beasts,” goes the refrain, and you’re right there with Ellie Rowsell, risking everything for the sake of escape. ( Jamie Milton)
daft punk Get Lucky
‘Get Lucky’, the official first single from Daft Punk’s forthcoming new album, ‘Random Access Memories’, is a complete joy. A wonderful piece of prime cut disco, buffed, shined and polished with flair and flourish. The vocal hook provided by Pharrell Williams is almost perfect. Loose, louche and swinging, his soulful tones repeat the vocal hook in mantra-like fashion. (Martyn Young)
live photos: emma swann
The Men &parquet courts T h e g ar ag e , lo n do n
he Men and Parquet Courts on the same bill, on our shores is a mouthwatering proposition; the kind of modern-day billing that temporarily soothes the lingering jealousy over missing the Sonic Youth, Nirvana and Dinosaur Jr tour of 1991. Both bands are hot property, with Parquet Courts currently topping the US buzz band charts, and The Men having recently released their most mature record to date. Together they share the same ability to fire out unhinged and frenzied garage rock. And as far as a debut UK gig goes, Parquet Courts’ is a resounding success. The appropriately-named 70 thisisfakediy.co.uk
‘Master Of My Craft’ sees them catapulting to top gear with its frantic delivery and lasting hooks, before they transition in to the already anthemic ‘Borrowed Time’. Over as quickly as it began, it’s clear those smart aleck kids are just as good live as everyone hoped. The Men showed signs of greater diversity and emotional scope on their latest effort ‘New Moon’. Fear not - they’re still brutally loud live and more than capable of ruining eardrums. Their notorious ‘no one is frontman’ policy serves them well, as all five members show an unrelenting energy that the devoted crowd feed off. The noise is intense and uncompromising. ‘Electric’, ‘Open
Your Heart’ and ‘Turn It Around’ provoke a sweat-ridden riot at the front of the stage, while the band doggedly give it their all. At times it almost feels too much, as if the walls are about to collapse and brains explode under the pulverising volumes, but this is when they masterly steer away from the sludgy noise towards their alt-country wanderings. Most rousing of these is the joyous series of “la”s in ‘Half Angel Half Light’. The Men do raw, no-thrills rock at its heartfelt best. Both tonight’s performances better the sky-high expectations that have been set; maybe those names printed on the tickets will go down in folklore and leave a new generation full of envy. (Samuel Cornforth)
60 Seconds With
t h e men
e’ve heard you’re already working on a follow-up to ‘New Moon’... That’s an exaggeration! We’ll write when we have time, and we’ll record when we have time. It’ll come out when it comes out, there’s no plan. When there’s something to record, we’ll record it. You took yourselves out of the city to record ‘New Moon’, is that right? We went to the side of a mountain, two hours north of New York City. It was a house, it had bedrooms and a basement, and stuff ! And a hot tub. We’re not supposed to say that one [laughs]. Was it good to take yourselves away for the recording? Oh yeah, to isolate yourself. It was something we’d wanted to do for a long time, it was a really good experience. I’d like to do it again. I
always love working in new studios that I haven’t worked in before, because you pick up a vibe off the walls, and the record almost sounds different if it’s a new place, when you’re learning new gear and stuff. Any expectations for tonight? We haven’t even been inside the venue yet! I think it’ll be a fun gig. Allegedly it’ll be a packed show, so I think it’ll have a real ‘show’ vibe, I’ll get a lot of back-and-forth from the crowd. Hopefully there’ll be some crowdsurfers. It’s so fucked that the only surfing at gigs is people surfing the internet. You’ve got Parquet Courts playing their first ever UK gig. Do you know much of them? A little bit. They played our album launch show in New York, they were pretty good.
photo: Carolina Faruolo
shepherd’s b u s h e m p i r e , Lo n do n
utotune can be somewhat of a dirty word. It reached saturation point in recent years, and still now, for some reason, creating a mask to hide behind and turning those with good voices to start with ‘perfect’ is somewhat desirable when in fact it often just comes out as robotic, devoid of all emotion. However, it can be great when used appropriately. Despite its bad reputation, Poliça’s record ‘Give You The Ghost’ showcased autotune in a way that breathed life into it and gave it real emotional impact – thanks to frontwoman Channy Leaneagh. Tonight at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, its emotional resonance is tenfold, as an excited but nervous Channy flits about the stage. Poliça’s performance is in a whole different league, Channy’s fragility when not performing and the power and control she possesses when performing is a testament to how music can completely transform someone. She’s unable to stay still for very long, except to briefly engage with the crowd – seeming shocked throughout at the amount of people she’s playing to. Two brand new songs are played this evening, one in the form of the encore – showing the dexterity of her voice without everything behind it briefly before beckoning her band back to the stage. At one point she mumbles “I’m feeling all out of sorts,” and once the show finishes, she’s not the only one. (Aurora Mitchell)
paramore t h e g a r a g e , Lo n do n
y the time the promised stage time of 8.30pm rolls around, excitement hangs thick in the air, with chants resounding well before the lights dim. Then, as the three-piece emerge, that everrecognisable tiny, flame-haired singer appears and the chaos begins. Ripping straight into the brand new ‘Now’, Hayley Williams stomps and dances around the stage. And when that the chorus kicks in, the crowd are singing above her vocals and it’s already quite clear that she’s not the only one in demand of a clearer future. The full set itself sees the trio guide us through their back catalogue with true style, visiting each of their albums in turn – more predominantly their break out second album ‘Riot!’ and 2010’s Number One record ‘brand new eyes’ – along with an array of more recent tracks. Showcasing a handful of numbers from the band’s more recent Singles Club project, we’re also treated to a beautifully simple acoustic rendition of ‘In The Mourning’, which bleeds nicely into the fragile love song that is ‘The Only Exception’. The final two songs of the set are the most boisterous of all: ‘Still Into You’ is a bouncy pop haven that is insatiably fun live and, when coupled with closer ‘Misery Business’, finally makes a lot more sense in the big picture. Running offstage to, self-admittedly, go and watch their stint on the Graham Norton show, Williams jokes that the band have finally made it, but, after this performance, we’re simply left to wonder what they could possibly ace next. (Sarah Jamieson)
photo: jonathan simpson
london grammar e l e c t r ow e r k z , Lo n do n
onight is all about London Grammar. A band that have managed to rack up over half a million plays on SoundCloud after only releasing two tracks and are making their live debut proper tonight. To say this show was hotlyanticipated would be a massive understatement, and this is evident from the now packed to capacity venue. Plenty of heavy hitters in the music biz are undoubtedly casting their critical eyes over this one, and it would be easy for anyone to collapse into a quivering heap under this sort of scrutiny. From the moment they take the stage, however, it’s obvious that they are embracing the pressure and attention currently being thrust upon them with open arms. They take to the stage with the confidence and self-assuredness of a band that have toured the world six times over, and as they launch into their set opener, it’s clear that they have the musical chops to match. Hearing singer Hannah Reid’s vocals on record doesn’t even compare to experiencing them live. Her voice is stunning, soaring over the backdrop of reverb-drenched guitars and ethereal synths, it almost feels as though the venue isn’t big enough to contain her. Comparisons to Jessie Ware and Florence Welch will come in abundance, but even they don’t seem to do her justice on tonight’s evidence. Yes, she is THAT good. Now, if any other band were to play an encore at their first ever show, it would reek of arrogance and pretentiousness. Tonight, it seems completely necessary. No new band is better prepared to deliver the goods than this one. (Nathan Standlee) 73
photo: jonathan simpson
king krule t h e g a r a g e , Lo n do n
ossessing a deep, soulful, emotionally-charged voice that seems the opposite of his diminutive frame, King Krule is baffling to the casual observer. And his music likewise. Jazz-tinged guitar riffs play over drum and bass heavy beats, and his powerful, schizophrenic vocals can jump from pure anger to complete despair in the blink of an eye. You get the impression he’s throwing down a gauntlet, offering up a challenge to the crowd. He has no desire to make things straightforward or easily accessible for anyone here. But for the time being, his sound is neither here nor there, showing brief moments of extreme pop sensibility before almost instantly diverting back into free form emotional madness. Both have their merits, but at the moment it’s as though they’re in a constant fight with each other, unable to decide a winner. Ultimately, over time, more of a balance between the two will emerge, which is when King Krule will truly have found his unique sound. (Nathan Standlee) 74 thisisfakediy.co.uk
Icona Pop e l e c t r ow e r k z , Lo n do n
ight from the blocky drum beat of set-opener ‘Manners’, Icona Pop make it joyfully apparent that despite their Swedish roots, this is very much a homecoming gig. Aino Jawo’s sultry vocals are soon joined by the room’s all-round chorus of “Ba-ba-baaba-baa” and the track eventually builds into a dubstep crescendo that the crowd laps up like mad. As the track winds down, she reaches out into the fans at the foot of the stage, gets up and announces, “We’ve been away for a year. It’s so fucking good to be back.” This is soulful pop flawlessly executed by two people who are having tremendous fun doing it. When they aren’t thanking the crowd for supporting them and coming along, they’re telling us how good it is to be back and, on the verge of being almost too grateful, grab a beer from the crowd, throw glow-sticks about and launch into all-out party track ‘Ready For The Weekend’. Coming on for breakout hit ‘I Love It’ as an encore is the final flourish and with one last thank you, they’re gone. (Tom Morris)
Candy Cane C a n d Children
y C a n e Children
Fashion weeks worldwide saw the catwalks awash with lines of all shapes, sizes, directions and colours. So why not tease in summer with this selection of suitably stripy goodness.
Striped sneakers £29.99 zara.com Stripe print satchel £34 topshop.com Candy stripe short £28 missselfridge.com Striped belt £22.99 zara.com Stripe mono bow band £8 missselfridge.com Grin through stripe pocket t-shirt £40 Original Penguin Blue dash striped shirt £28 topman.com Striped t-shirt £35 Lyle & Scott Vertical stripes dress £44.99 mango.com Mono stripe brow sunglasses £16 topshop.com Reverse stripe knitted shirt £75 Fred Perry
Aaron Eckhart T h e O ly m p u s H a s Fa l l e n s ta r o n p l ay i n g the president and becoming Frankenstein’s monster.
ollowing his outstanding film debut in Neil LaBute’s Company Of Men, Aaron Eckhart’s gone from good-hearted greasy biker (Erin Brockovich), sly tobacco lobbyist (Thank You For Smoking), blockbuster antihero (The Dark Knight) to grieving father (Rabbit Hole). Currently in cinemas as the US President in Antoine Fuqua’s deliriously OTT action thriller Olympus Has Fallen, we catch up with Harvey Dent himself in a London hotel. As Eckhart enters the room, he cracks a presidential joke about the group being seated. What was he like going home after being called Mr President all day? “I was impossible,” he laughs. When terrorists attack the White House in Olympus Has Fallen, Eckhart spends most of the film chained up while Gerard Butler’s lone wolf Secret Service agent attempts a rescue mission. “I felt I was done a disservice in the film,” he grumbles, “not being able to beat the shit out of a couple of those guys.” Eckhart suffered for his art, spending eight hours a day with his arms tied above his head. “I lost all the feeling in my arms. It helped me as an actor gather energy, as I had to keep up that intensity.” One of the most refreshing things about Fuqua’s film is Melissa Leo’s tough Secretary Of Defense, who suffers greatly at the hands of Rick Yune’s terrorist. “We’re cut from the same cloth. When she was being dragged with her skirt above her head with blood and snot coming out of her nose, it was all real. Everyone would rush in after the take and pull her skirt down, and she was like, ‘Get away from me!’” Eckhart is inspired to talk about an actor’s commitment. “A lot of actors don’t think that way. It’s laziness. It’s Hollywood saying, you can get away with less. That’s why you get these stories of Daniel DayLewis - who I don’t know, but I think he’s the greatest actor alive - practising a year to touch his eye with a knife. That resonates with me. When I see Heath [Ledger] in a corner talking to himself before a scene, I think that guy’s got balls. I wanna be like him.” So does he think his best work is to come? “Yes, 100%. I feel like I’m asking permission less, and doing what I want to do more. I look for a challenge as an actor. I feel like I still have to find my voice, and I think audiences don’t really know what I’m about.” We just have time to mention his next film I, Frankenstein. “I play Mary Shelly’s monster sans bolts in the neck. It’s a very physical movie, with a lot of stunts and flying around.” Despite the action slant, Eckhart picked the film for a reason. “He was called an abortion, an aberration, a miserable wretch, but he was poetic, sensitive and very knowledgeable. The monster of Frankenstein is about an adolescent’s insides the scars and the insecurities, the doubts and the unworthiness you feel. It’s about kids seeing this movie and finding some self-worth. I felt that way as a kid; thank God for Pink Floyd! They got me through.”
Despite coming from Interview With The Vampire director Neil Jordan, Byzantium is like the anti-vampire film - there’s nothing remotely sexy about the lives of our two leads Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) and her mother Clara (Gemma Arterton). When they arrive in an unnamed seaside town, Eleanor meets Frank (Caleb Landry Jones) who makes her think it’s time to speak the truth, but doing so brings them to the attention of the sinister Brotherhood. Jordan takes the vampire myth and knocks it out with a potent left hook; there are no fangs, no sensitivity to light, no super strength and no fun, with Clara having to prostitute herself to make ends meet. Closer in tone to Let The Right One In than Twilight, Ronan is sweetly moving as the sheltered vampire and Arterton is phenomenal when displaying her fierce instinct to protect. A somewhat joyless but fascinating film. (Christa Ktorides)
Take Shelter writer-director Jeff Nichols follows up his bold, engrossing drama about mental illness with a disappointingly conventional and nostalgic coming-of-age drama in the vein of Stand By Me. Two Arkansas boys from the wrong side of the tracks encounter Matthew McConaughey’s fugitive killer hiding on an island and get swept up in the romanticism of protecting him. Reese Witherspoon co-stars as one of the many women to blame for the world’s ills in this paean to masculinity. (Becky Reed)
6 21 & Over
The Hangover writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore make their directorial debut with the familiar story of an uptight student’s wild night out, saved by the irrepressible charm and genuine chemistry of terrific lead actors Justin Chon, Miles Teller and Skylar Astin. However amusing the typically sexist but goodnatured shenanigans are, all the good work by casting an Asian-American lead is undone by shocking character racism against Serbs and Hispanics that has no place in throwaway comedy. (Becky Reed)
8 Our Children Released: 10/05/13
Emilie Dequenne is staggeringly brilliant as a school teacher married to A Prophet star Tahar Rahim’s Moroccan immigrant in an uncompromising look at a marriage strained to the limit by traditional values; gender politics rather than religion is used as the greatest weapon against the vulnerable wife and mother. Joachim Lafosse’s fragile, sensitive film film opens with four small white coffins, and the knowledge this gut-wrenching Belgian drama is based on a true story makes for painful viewing. (Becky Reed) 79
R e t ro Game Of The Month
(Kalypso Media) Xbox 360, PC Release Date: 31/05/13 Slip into the role of the ultimate killer. No, not Piers Morgan – a vampire. Called Eric. With the ability to stalk your enemies from the shadows and unleash powerful abilities to silently dispose of them, DARK is an odd mixture of stealth action and RPG that concentrates on delightful supernatural assassinations and character upgrading.
Lost Planet 3
(Capcom) Xbox 360, PS3, PC Release Date: 30/08/13 The third outing for the snow-tipped E.T. blaster acts as a prequel, with the planet EDN III still an ice-covered mess plagued by monstrous Akrids. As colonist Jim Peyton, you must help mine the planet, sending minerals back to Earth in, what Capcom promise to be, a more story-driven adventure harking back to the original.
out now and coming soon
(Capcom) Xbox 360, PS3, PC Release Date: 07/06/13 Mix up memories like a Jive Bunny of the mind in this combat-based, glitchy, futuristic adventure that sees you in the boots of Nilin, an amnesiac memoryhunter. Customisable combos and memory modification all sit alongside a thrill-packed story of conspiracy and... wait... can’t remember... nope, it’s gone.
The Last Of Us
(Sony) PS3 Release Date: 14/06/13 Clamber your way around a hostile United States after a cordyceps-type fungus has killed millions of people and turned the rest into dribbling infected z-words. Gun-play, melee combat and an interesting new ‘balance of power’ AI system delivers a tense and fraught third-person adventure. Think Uncharted versus I Am Alive, plus zombies.
Zak McKracken & The Alien Mindbenders (LucasFilm) Commodore Amiga, 1988
A huge part of our childhood was stabbed in the gut when it was announced last month that one of the industry’s true greats was shutting down. LucasArts, home of such classics as Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, is no more, folks. And if it hadn’t been for them, there’d be no Zak McKracken. This absolutely bat-shit mental story of a journalist’s attempts to stop Elvisadoring aliens dressed like Groucho Marx from turning the world stupid shaped our view of all games to come. ALL GAMES. Spoiled only by lengthy travels through labyrinthine tombs in the latter portion of the game and infuriatingly nonsensical puzzling, Zak McKracken was, and is, a revolutionary masterpiece. Its perfect mixture of comedy, self-referencing and knowing winks at pop culture paved the way for Monkey Island and everything LucasArts did after. Admirably, the whole thing still stands up today, with its legions of fans creating their own sequels, updating its primitive and hefty interface with a more sleek, refined and modern feel. LucasArts, we salute you, and we’ll never forget how much money we spent in those pre-internet days calling up your helpline to get tips on how to distract the air hostess with an egg in the microwave.
DARK SOULS II
Prepare To Die... A Lot... Again
romSoftware’s 2011 surprise hit Dark Souls has developed somewhat of a cult. There’s likely a remote compound somewhere housing some of its most obsessive players as they sit there 24/7, continually discussing strategies and methods to take down its most cantankerous beasts at an altar of pain. At odds with the babying nature of today’s modern gaming, Dark Souls was difficult, vague and incredibly frustrating to the point of self-flagellation. So, naturally, everyone loved it. Its old-school style gameplay rewarded logical thinking, persistence and strategy, prompting discussion on internet forums and between buds. Its aloof nature wasn’t
welcoming to newcomers and it was a tough shell to smash, but once it accepted you, that was it – it had you, and you’d end up clocking hundreds of hours creeping through its dank dungeons for reasons indeterminable. There was no padding; Dark Souls was all game, and possibly one of the best of the generation. Said it. So, it’s with enormous excitement and equal trepidation that we’re looking towards a straight-up sequel. Dark Souls II isn’t far off – it’s expected to release this year, on this generation of consoles. But, what’s most droolworthy about it? FromSoftware aren’t insulting the fanbase; the sequel
intends to streamline the original’s most annoying facets (the clunky menu system) and underlining what really matters – that solid, perfect gameplay mechanic. Twice the size of the original world, Dark Souls II intends to make better use of Covenants too, but new series director Yui Tanimura insists that it’ll retain its most distinguishable feature. “We do not plan on having an Easy Mode since we are creating this game with a thought that challenge and difficulty are core elements of the game.” Prepare to die.
Terraria Be Sure To Download
(Re-Logic) – PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PSV
First released on PC in 2011, this peculiar mix of open-world exploration and crafting within a cutesy 2D pixelated world has finally arrived on consoles, with a PS Vita release promised this summer. Think Minecraft, but as a platformer on the SNES, packed with evil night-time terrors like bouncing blobs and the undead as well as unprecedented freedoms that see you dig deep beneath the earth to uncover new worlds and materials for crafting bizarre new objects. You’re unlikely to find something quite as layered as this anywhere else – completely unique. 81
back page uncle eddie
E ddie A r g o s i s h e r e t o h e l p w i t h a l l y o u r p r o b l e m s . Dear Eddie Argos, What causes hiccups? - Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards (Deap Vally), Los Angeles Hello Deap Vally. I’d just like to begin by saying that I am not a scientist, well not an accredited one, and am predominately here to give guidance and not medical advice. My answer to this question will be based mainly on guesswork, however I am 95% certain that I am correct. Hiccups are caused by living on a diet that consists solely of Kit Kats, toast and gin. On a more urgent note, I don’t suppose you girls know the cure for hiccups? I have had them for about 7 years. ..................................... Most of pop music is really boring, how can we not become boring, and still become successful? How can
we become successful but keep ‘us’. - Harry Koisser (Peace), B-town And where do you find love, as well? Where do you find love on the road? - Dominic Boyce (Peace), B-town So basically what you are saying is that you want to be successful and interesting yet have noticed that interesting bands don’t really become successful. Unfortunately this is mostly true. The general public are a bunch of straights, anything interesting terrifies them. HOWEVER Harry you have made the school boy error of confusing “staying us” or as it is more commonly known “keeping it real” with being interesting. These two things do not go together. Coldplay and Alt-J are both very successful due to being incredibly boring. I don’t think they are putting on an act though. I would be surprised if a member from either one of those bands had done
a single thing in their entire life that I would be interested in. This is reflected in their music. They have kept it real, stayed true to themselves and made music that sounds every bit as banal and bland as I imagine their lives are. Selling millions of copies of their albums in the process due to the fact that, as we previously mentioned, the population are a bunch of straights, dim witted, slack jawed, dullards. Staying true to yourself does not make you interesting, it makes you honest. My advice to you would be to worry less about your success and more about sticking to your “sense of us”. If there is one thing the public hate more than interesting people, it is fakers. It is a cliche but you should make the music you want and stay true to yourselves. Hopefully you are boring enough to be successful. What was your other question, where do you find love? I don’t know maybe try OK Cupid.