zero core music, design, photography_______________________________________summer 2012 __ free
Hello Hi there, how are you? This isn’t the first time we’ve Bright met, is Light it? Well Bright whatever, Light I think 06 we’re gonna be friends Kraffhics for a while. Welcome to issue three 10 of Zero Core. It’s like Article a third date this, but don’t fret,XX we always put out. Article XX Articlea magazine that startedXX We’re in Cardiff but is now split Article London, the Welsh capital, between XX and an imminent Articleto Toronto. As a wise man move XXonce said, life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
Made by Jen Long, Adam Chard and Marc Thomas.
In our delicious-smelling pages this summer you can find us doing just that; stopping and looking around at some of the bands making the music we love, and the people behind the scenes helping bring that music to life.
Thank you Keong Woo, Jaimie and James, Tom, Ami, Beth at EYOE, Stephen, Michael, and Rachel at Moshi Moshi, Rich Thane, Rachel at Silver, Jeffrey and Robyn at Arts & Crafts, John and Adam at SWN, Amanda Freeman, Jay and James at Prescription, Patricia Wysopal, Travis Lefebvre, J-Bro at Co-Op, Hollie Aldridge, Jodie Banaszkiewicz, John Power, Annette LOL FACE Lee, Kevin Douch, Jeff Boardman, Martin Tickner, Tim, Toby, Lilas, Little Mike and Stephen at Transgressive, Liz Hunt and Nathan at MWL.
This issue was mostly brought to you by the new Liars album. We wish you all the joys of a basket of kittens. See you soon. The Editors x
Contributors in order of appearance Phil Sharp, Sébastien Dehesdin, Sam Lee, Al Horner, Alison King, Lauren Down, Lauren Keogh, Luke Morgan Britton, John Osbourne, Francine Gorman, Dan Tyte, Andrew Backhouse, Alex Bean, Chris Chadwick, Heather Steele, Owen Richards, Anika Mottershaw.
Zero Core was created via gchat on the East and West sides of the River Severn. All rights reserved and stuff like that. Don’t rip us off. Enjoy. Printed by MWL Print. Issue four due October 2012. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertise with us: email@example.com zerocore.co.uk
New Bands 1. Among Brothers 1.
Los Campesinos! have a lot to answer for. When those seven students signed a record deal in 2006 and began jetting off to spread the word on Cardiff’s illustrious music scene, what they left behind was a group of bands, artists, and fans hungry to follow in their footsteps.
Released in 2009, their Homes EP showcases an eclectic mix of influences honed in to five tracks of thick and luscious orchestral pop, recalling the likes of Anathallo and Efterklang. Gang shouts and cascading violin all merge around lead singer Alex Comana’s thick yet tender vocals.
Among Brothers’ members Isaac and Matt openly admit the septet’s influence through the creation of their own Barely Regal imprint, a label operating out of the guys' respective bedrooms on the city’s outskirts. Over its past couple of years in operation Barely Regal has given physical life to music from the likes of Samoans, Kutosis, and even their own Among Brothers.
And it didn’t take long for people outside the Welsh capital to pay attention with the group’s most instant track, 'Sam, Isaiah and The Wolf' finding daytime Radio 1 play in the station’s BBC Introducing Playlist slot and causing many a DJ to say really nice things about how long it was. Since their brief stint in the spotlight, the band has reverted to the rehearsal room to perfect their ambitious stage show into a realised and impressive spectacle.
The Brothers have been playing together and apart over the years in a wide-variety of bands including the first formation of now Bridge 9 signed hardcore group Goodtime Boys. It’s an influence that can be seen from the very first notes of any set, Comana beating his chest with fist clenched, bassist Matt widemouthed, eyes closed and always just an inch away form taking out violinist Sophia. The group release their new single ‘Keep’ on 9 July through Kissability and Young & Lost Club. The single, recorded on an island on the Thames mixes harsh Xiu Xiu sounds with the group’s gentle multi-instrumentation and tells the story of a family seeking refuge in a bomb shelter. It marks a clear progression from their earlier work, but don’t worry Los Camp fans, they’ve still got a glockenspiel somewhere. amongbrothers.co.uk
2. FAYE In the Internet age, secrets are hard things to keep. Especially when that secret is a past pop career. Just ask Lana Del Rey; online is not the kindest of worlds to inhabit. However, FAYE isn’t about to deny her past. Having spent the best part of her adolescence touring alongside the likes of Destiny’s Child and (bites lip) Aaron Carter in girl group Play, Faye now stands in her right as a solo artist of the highest calibre.
3. Haim The single gets a release in July on the brilliant new Best Fit Recordings imprint. We don’t know what it is with these Scandinavians but if they keep being this talented and beautiful Zero Core may have to pack it’s bags and jump ship from the UK. One thing’s for sure though, until that happens we’ll be keeping our ears stuck on FAYE, even if we can’t quite Google her yet. facebook.com/listentofaye
New single ‘Water Against The Rocks’ takes Lykke Li emotion to that place in pop where you can’t help but empathise and twists it with a gleam of production slick enough to have any Swedophile quaking in their Kanken. She even sings about feeding her cat, a line so simple yet so truthful it recalls that brilliant way artists like Robyn can make any situation universal.
We’re in love with Haim, and you’re about to be too. Three sisters Danielle, Este, and Alana from LA, they not only make music that’s as instant as it is infectious, they are also three of the raddest girls this publication has ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Sparking a buzz with their incendiary SXSW performances in March, the group have since gone on to win love from the likes of NME, XFM, and Radio 1 and are now set to release their debut Forever EP on new boutique label National Anthem as a limited run of 300.
Originally playing as Rockinhaim with their mum and dad, the girls eventually ditched the Von Trapp vibes for something distinctly their own. They’re like Fleetwood Mac meets TLC, albeit on a carefully weaved tapestry of prime production and personal lyricism. Add to this a stage show that exhibits the girls’ personalities just as it does their musical talent, and you have the band ready to capture the heart of 2012 and onwards.
With songs that hook in your chest in seconds, a live show as brutal as it is beautiful, and stage banter that can take in the topic of anal sex, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world is crushing on Haim as hard as we are. haimtheband.com
Words: Sam Lee Photos: Sébastien Dehesdin blog.sebastiendehesdin.com cadenceweaponmusic.com
Rollie Pemberton is running late. It’s the day of release of his new album, Hope In Dirt City, and he’s been stuck on the tube for the best part of the last hour. Nevertheless, he’s in good spirits when we finally meet him backstage after sound check at The Garage in North London for his show with fellow Canadians Japandroids. With just under an hour to go before he goes on stage, he seems confident and at ease as he jokes and mimes “rapper hands” whilst having his photo taken.
I want to make stadium rap, ultimately. But I want to do it on my terms. Pemberton, otherwise known by his stage name of Cadence Weapon, has been busy in the four years since the release of his last album, Afterparty Babies. Not only was he appointed poet laureate for his hometown of Edmonton, Canada in 2009, but he has also been involved with countless “odd ends and weird projects” since then. These unexpected projects have included the literary debate Canada Reads, and Canada’s National Parks Project, in which a host of Canadian musicians and filmmakers set about ‘capturing the majesty of the [Canadian] landscape in music and film’. Although he identifies himself as a rapper, he is clearly very open-minded when it comes to music. He mentions Bo Diddley, name checks the likes of Roy Orbison (in ‘Get On Down’) and talks enthusiastically about how eighties guitar band The Cleaners From Venus are one of his personal favourites.
He has also recently been directly involved with a wide range of musicians, such as his tour buddies Japandroids and Grimes, who remixed his recent single ‘Conditioning’. “Genre, to me, doesn’t exist,” Pemberton explains. “Everything from Japandroids to Grimes to Bob Dylan to Kanye is all pop. I don’t see any reason why just because I’m wearing Jordans and a ball cap and I’m talking really fast I have to be ‘Mr Rap Man’ and do all the ‘rap stuff’.” Pemberton’s seeming reluctance to adhere to a certain genre, as well as the message behind certain tracks on his new record (such as ‘Hype Man’, during which he proclaims “I don’t need a fuckin’ hype man”) might lead some to question whether he is trying to hit out at the stereotypical rap cliché. However, as he explains, that isn’t quite the case. “I feel like I’m the alternative to a lot of the rap music that you might be familiar with,” he says. “I feel like that’s my way of engaging with contemporary rap culture; by deconstructing it in the way that I know how, rather than just totally admonishing it – which I feel is a tendency of underground rap.” He smiles as he slouches in the grubby sofa that fills almost half of his poky, dimly-lit backstage area. “I want to make stadium rap, ultimately.” He shrugs and pauses. Then his grin widens. “But I want to do it on my terms.”
Inside Drokk, Geoff Barrowâ€™s Mega-City wonder
Words: Al Horner invada.co.uk/drokk marcbessant.com
The world of Judge Dredd, the fictional cop whose palpably violent 2000 AD series has been entertaining comic fans one blood-drenched panel at a time since 1977, is famously bleak – a murky metropolis scorched by nuclear war, its streets patrolled by lawmen more unforgiving than the morning after a six-day tequila bender. But for a man whose lifelong obsession with this world has brought him to the point of writing an entire album about it, Geoff Barrow is surprisingly cheery. “I’ve always been a Dredd head, me,” the Portishead beatmaker rumbles, a large grin detectable down the telephone line from his Bristol home. “My Gran used to work in a newsagent. She’d buy me Topper, which was like a budget Beano, until one day I asked for something a bit more adult. I don’t think she realised how violent 2000 AD was.” Diagnosed at an early age with dyslexia, the series’ strong visuals, minimal text and bold ideas struck a chord that has resonated in him since. “The characters, the concepts, the images; Dredd is ingrained in me.” DROKK is Barrow’s tribute to Dredd and the bleak dystopia he polices, written in collaboration with Emmy-nominated film composer Ben Salisbury. A grinding thrum of analogue keyboards and clanking rhythms, it’s as dark and pulsating as Mega-City One itself. “That was the challenge, tapping into the city’s character. This is our interpretation of it,” he explains. The pair looked for inspiration not only in Dredd’s backpages but in old post-apocalyptic films, borrowing from soundtracks to The Terminator and John Carpenter flicks. ”There’s a lot of those kind of low-budget VHS, Betamax-sounding synth lines.”
Why now, I wonder aloud. Since a dreary Sylvester Stallone-starring Hollywood adaptation in 1995, the series has simmered quietly off the radar, a distant speck in the cultural constellation. Does the character still matter beyond its cult comic readership? “More now than ever,” Barrow volleys back. “There are similarities between Britain today and Mega-City One that really chime.” “Mega-City One is gritty, utilitarian, un-decorative. Some places in Britain are already a bit like that, where there’s a constant bombardment of lines and signs and unnatural forms,” agrees Marc Bessant, Barrow’s long-term visual collaborator who created the artwork for the release. “Plus the idea of an awful authoritarian environment resonates with a lot of people right now. There’s something anarchic, a bit punk about Dredd that flies in the face of that.”
The characters, the concepts, the images; Dredd is ingrained in me. “When I was getting into Dredd there was Thatcher, race riots and the lot. He was an idea of a future that didn’t seem that far away,” continues Barrow. As the British economy tumbles further and the Conservative Party’s grip on power continues to tighten, it’s a future that’s coming back round again, he suggests. Whatever the future of Britain, for now Barrow is just enjoying working on a disparate clutch of projects as Portishead prepare to reconvene to work on a follow-up to 2008’s Third. “I’m really lucky to be able to make music and survive, doing what I want,” he grins again, pausing. “So, yeah, I guess that’s reason to be cheery.”
Words: Alison King Photos: Phil Sharp philsharp-photo.com twofiftyfour.net
I meet the sisters, Colette and Hannah Thurlow, in the mecca of rehearsal spaces at The Premises. They’ve just had lunch from the cafe downstairs and I stumble in on them playing a mournful, swelling interlude. For a band that has moved swiftly from their online buzz status to releasing a debut album headlining a tour you would think the sisters would have something to shout about. Instead, they are quiet and reserved, speaking with a sweet humility hidden behind their gloomy goth persona. “We’ve always known what we were doing musically, what’s happening now is amazing but I think it’s all part of this natural process. When we were writing the album, we took time over making it right, it would be a mistake to rush things,” says Colette.
There’s a place for our music in the world and now we just want to share it Making brutal and beautiful tracks with a backbone of strength and femininity, the sisters love what music is able to do. Their sound ranges from grunge bursts to brazen punk riffs, shoegaze to psychedelic guitars. It is not surprising to learn then, that they love bands like Bad Brains, The Melvins, Queens of the Stone Age and The Distillers: “The name 2:54 comes from that moment, that specific moment in Melvins track, ‘A History of Bad Men’ where the music changes and it gets really slow and breaks into this moody, mind-bending guitar,” says Collette, “It’s dark but really dreamy”. 2:54’s songs are marked by that same sense of being trapped between agony and ecstasy. Creeping, their first single released online 2 years ago, seethes malevolence with its dark, distorted chords.
Punk and rock have always been at the roots of 2:54 and when Hannah helped Colette learn the guitar at 15, the first track she learnt to play was by The Distillers. “We’ve always loved punk and we’ve always wanted to play music. Growing up hearing these bands and seeing shows, we wanted to be part of that and create our own music.” Their first band, Vulgarians was a short, sharp shock of punk rock meets riot grrrl, “It was our first band, it’s like all first bands and it was fun. We were just learning and playing around, looking back we were just finding our voice. It’s all been part of the process for where we are now,” says Colette. Growing up in Bristol fed their musical needs and the girls appreciated music from an early age, “It was a great place musically, but when we left for University in London we just ended up staying here. It just felt right for us and musically it is the best place to be. You’re surrounded by all these interesting people and music and everyone is in the same boat.” As they grew up in the musical tastes of their parents jazz and soul records and into 90’s garage rock and punk, their appreciation turned to motivation and they started writing their own musical scores and lyrics, which they would show each other and collaborate on, this was the start of 2:54. They’ve supported many bands since their formation, most of them friends, including XX, Wild Beasts, Big Pink, Warpaint and Yuck, I ask if these friendships had brought about collaborations or influenced them musically.
“Music has always been an ongoing thing for us since we were young, it’s always been our passion,” says Colette. “We started exploring it together and the only influence we really have is each other. I write songs on my laptop and send it to Hannah and we work on it. There might be subconscious influence but the way we write is just us, cut off from the outside really.”
As quiet and calm as they seem, they’re clearly very sure about what they want from the band and what music they want to make. The confidence and tone of the album is mature for a debut, built deftly in both its moodiness and ecstatic psychedelia that the album cover – an image of crashing waves – suggests, “It was shot in Doolin Point in Co. Clare, Ireland, we used to spend our summers as kids.”
When it came to the album, the band worked with producer Rob Ellis who is best known for his work with PJ Harvey and mixed with the mighty Alan Moulder. They helped transform 2:54’s raw collection of songs into a thundering, romantic revivalist record filled with crisp drums, echoing vocals and 90’s rock inflections. Having been so happy with the sound Ellis produced on their first EP, they were excited to work with him on the album too. Having already completed the songs, the sisters finished the album in 13 days and 13 nights. It sounds almost biblical. “We had these complete songs and knew pretty much what we wanted on this album but [Rob] has so much experience, so he was great,” Colette explains. “I think as the album stands now, it flows naturally, not as a narrative but as a cohesive body of music.”
The theme on the record also suggests the sisters deep rooted bonds with lyrics based around love, connecting, loss and longing. The record opener, ‘Revolving’ batters you around the head with it’s speeding guitars into slow, melodic throbs and is transformed by Colette’s oozing, mesmerising vocals. On Pitchfork’s premier of single ‘You’re Early’ the girls saw 10,000 hits in 24 hours, and on the album, the track is as woozy and bewitching as the original. A buzzing guitar line rattles you through the song about obsessive love and Colette sings, “I just want to be close” with an eerie urgency.
With Hannah’s love of Wata’s insane guitar work in Japanese rock band Boris, I ask about if they experimented on the album. “I like pedals, they can completely change the guitar sound so we played around with that” says Hannah. “But it’s not really an experimental band and so the album isn’t either, we just like playing guitar music,” says Colette.
It is an intoxicating debut record and when I ask the pair what their favourite track to play live is, they don’t answer but raise their eyebrows at each other in question. Perhaps it was a rubbish question, but their simultaneous response reflects the close bond that generates those sorts of singularly coded languages. This self same instinct and bond that has provided their debut album with a clear vision and authority. “I don’t see anything wrong with a good guitar band,” says Colette finally, “There’s a place for our music in the world and now we just want to share it.”
In a digital world where everything you could possibly want is but a mouse click away and the importance of music journalism is in constantly called into question a picture really can be worth a thousand words and the photographer, well he has got to be worth a mention at least. Almost by accident Phil Sharp is one such photographer, with his pictures having graced the pages of magazines, album covers and even the odd billboard. “I always wanted to be a director really, I studied film in London for a year but I just hated going to college so I went back to my parents with my tails between my legs a little bit. This friend of mine was doing photography at Northampton and I thought ‘Yeah ok, I’ll give that a go’,” Sharp explains of his earliest forays into photography. “I learnt in a dark room which is quite important. Digital was just starting to come in a little bit and it’s not that I think one is better than the other, but I’m really glad learnt in film because I use Photoshop more like a darkroom.” “I think I still draw as much inspiration from film through DoPs like Roger Deakins who photographs all of the Coen brothers stuff or Janusz Kominsky, who does all of Spielberg’s stuff. More than anything though I think my photography is really influenced by my time in Queens and being around New York photographers, particularly the work of Philip Lorca DiCorcia. The light in New York is also really different and having a slightly outsiders look coming back into London I did see how your environment can producer a certain type of photography and I do feel like my stuff is a little bit different to that typical London vibe.”
Braving the unknown world of freelance photography he began by assisting people and eventually taking on his own shoots, sometimes fucking them up royally! “I think it is quite healthy to fuck up every now and again, its par for the course, I think diving in and actually doing stuff is the best way, fortune favours the brave!” Getting misty eyed about one such moment Phil explains how he first thought “yeah, I’m a photographer” when an unsolicited email to the editor of Total Spec magazine led to a flight out to Nashville to photograph Patti Smith and Juliette Lewis. “It was just kind of bizarre and nothing like that has really happened since. You sort of hope once one happens that this is what things will be like from now on, because all you can think is ‘I’m doing it, I’m really doing it’.”
Words: Lauren Down www.philsharp-photo.com facebook.com/philsharpphoto @pipsharp
I think it is quite healthy to fuck up every now and again It’s not money or the free trips that are the most important though.“I particularly love it when everything comes together; like it’ll turn out the location is perfect for the people I’m shooting and what they happen to be wearing is just bang on, and then like a shaft of light will come in just as gust of wind comes in and blows their hair, you click and you just know that is the shot. It is hard to make a living from though, and as I go on I think the balance might have to be more on the commercial side of things but I think you have to do it for the love first, rather than the money, I don’t think you would get anywhere otherwise.” And I don’t think any of us would.
(Main image) Bat For Lashes, 2009
(this page) 1. Patti Smith, 2007 2. Metronomy, 2010 3. Grimes, 2012 4. John Lydon, 2012 5. Slow Club, 2009 philsharp-photo.com
FRIDAY 31ST AUGUST 2012
SATURDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER 2012
Dempseys, Castle Street, Cardiff
Dempseys, Castle Street, Cardiff
£7 adv / 7:30pm / This is an 18+ show
£6 adv / 7.30pm / This is an 18+ show
VARIOUS DATES IN WALES
SUNDAY 4TH NOVEMBER 2012
Muni Arts Centre, Pontypridd Saturday 29th September 2012 St David’s Hall, Cardiff Monday 1st October 2012 Gwyn Hall, Pontardawe Friday 5th October 2012 Theatr Hafren, Powys Saturday 6th October 2012 Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth Wednesday 10th October 2012
w/AMERICAN WEREWOLF ACADEMY
SWN IS ALSO PRESENTING MUSIC AT:
DINEFWR LITERATURE FESTIVAL National Trust’s Dinefwr Park and Castle, Carmarthenshire, Wales
GREEN MAN FESTIVAL Walled Garden Stage FRIDAY 17TH AUGUST 2012
Inc. Gruff Rhys, Julian Cope, Emmy The Great + more
Glanusk Park, Wales Inc. Lucy Rose, KWES, Mowbird, Valdoinmessico, No Thee No Ess, Chailo Sim, Joanna Gruesome, Sen Segur & Greta Isaac Our 4-day annual Swn Festival takes place in venues across Cardiff OCT 18–21st
Brangwyn Hall, Swansea
Cardiff University, Great Hall * SOLD OUT * / 7:30pm / This is a 14+ show
WEDNESDAY 14TH NOVEMBER 2012 Kilimanjaro and SWN presents
FRANK TURNER & THE SLEEPING SOULS
FRIDAY 29TH JUNE – SUNDAY 1ST JULY 2012
£18 adv / 7:30pmUnder 14’s accompanied by an adult.
Bright Light Bright Light
Words: Marc Thomas Photos: Lauren Keogh laurenkeogh.com brightlightx2.com
Not too long ago, Rod Thomas (Bright Light, Bright Light) saved me from a lengthy jail sentence. Not usually given to road rage, I found myself with blood pumping viciously in my temples and round my eyeballs as I sat in an eternal bank holiday traffic jam. As a family man in an estate annoyed me by slowing and speeding up at all the wrong times, I felt I might just snap and play a game of bumper cars on a west Walian motorway. Fed up, I cracked open the envelope that Rod’s PR sent me, whapped his new album Make Me Believe in Hope into the stereo and within 50 seconds of opener ‘Immature’, I got an audio lobotomy. Completely placid. Lovely. “I used to work for PIAS. I did that for a couple of years. In 2006 I started releasing 7” and then I did this,” he says when we speak. “I’ve always liked electronic and dance music. When I was growing up I liked listening to lots of the hits like Livin’ Joy and Black Box. I wanted to learn how to do it – have a bit more fun when I’m still young.” And that’s exactly what he did and he has produced what, I think, is the best electronic album that I’ve heard in years. I’m not alone – he’s been getting a lot of air time on radio stations over the past six months. “When you’re making music by yourself alone in a room, you don’t have any concept of what kind of people are stumbling across your music. It’s really interesting to see over the last few months how they’ve stumbled across my music and how it gets out there,” he says, a Welsh accent still hiding beneath the years he’s spent in London.
It’s the time he has spent away from the place that he grew up which has really changed his music. The electronic sound, with a bright, exciting pulse followed by a somber second half about loss. That’s what this album is really about. “All the songs are about connections to people and places,” he explains. “What really interests me is how meeting a person teases out different parts of your personality or makes you feel a bit optimistic or pessimistic about your situation. This album is about how you connect with everything around you and whether it’s a connection, disconnection or some kind of faulty connection.”
I’m not a confessional song writer. I’m more of a story teller. I told him that I thought that was really interesting given the amount of songs from this album that are about relationships. “Yeh, I’ve been a slag for five years,” he laughs. “Not all of the songs are about me. I’m not a confessional song writer. I’m more of a story teller.” From the upbeat 90s inspired hot disco sound of tracks 1–5, through to the balladesque sounds of tracks like ‘Disco Moment’ to the ever so slightly romantic feel of ‘How to Make A Heart’ this album is significantly brighter than a night in the cells.
Words: Luke Morgan Britton Photos: Adam Chard croatoandesign.co.uk japandroids.com
Catching up with Japandroids before the evening’s show at London’s Garage, they hardly appear a band feeling any strain (bar a slight hangover perhaps). Surprising, given they’ve played three dates in the capital over a seven day period. “Tonight’s the last show of this mini-tour, so it’ll be a total blow-out,” frontman Brian King says as he cracks open a beer. “We know we can just give it everything and not worry about saving anything for after that.” So how does a band such as this keep things fresh, not only for fans but for themselves?
“Every night has something that differentiates it, even just how the crowd can respond to one song over another,” says drummer David Prowse as he opts for the water, not starting the party quite yet. “That’s what makes it fresh,” King interjects. “The way the crowd is feeds back to us and so you get a whole different performance out of us.” This is at least true of the Camp Basement show the band played a week prior, where members of the audience tried crowd-surfing, no thought for the low ceiling and pipes that hang above.
“We have seen pockets of people who know some of the new tracks, and you think ‘Hmm, I wonder how you know this one’,” King jokes. “But these are the fans that will buy our t-shirts and come night after night, so it’s fine with me.” But while some bands – especially bedroom solo projects – seem like they’d be happier just uploading tracks online if it paid for their rent, Japandroids are the complete opposite of this. They seem like they’d be alright if they didn’t have to sell any records at all, as long as their endless touring paid for food and a roof over their head each night. “The recording aspect isn’t something we particularly enjoy,” Prowse says as his bandmate nods in agreement. “We were actually thinking about the live aspect of things when writing [Celebration Rock]: What we’d want to stroll out on stage and play every night for the next year or two, and what the fans would want to hear too.”
“But it’s all worth it now that it’s done and it’s allowed us to travel the world and play shows in places we never thought we’d ever visit,” Brian states before reflecting for a millisecond. “I mean, my friends are still back at home and here I am playing London for the third time in a week!”
We can give it everything and not worry about saving anything for after that “But I think the majority of bands see things the other way round and are forced to tour endlessly because that’s where the money is in the industry now.” In an age where stardom can fall into your lap without you being prepared for it (see: many a tv talent contest winner), it’s refreshing to see a band with such a carefree outlook on things. “You either love it or you don’t, and just so luckily we do.” And anybody who’s ever seen them live will surely be able to tell. 23
BEACH HOUSE BLOOM
14.5.12 CD - DL - LP+CD
Zero Core Killed The Radio Star Words: John Osbourne johnosbornepoet.blogspot.co.uk See John at the Dinefwr Literature Festival dinefwrliteraturefestival.co.uk
I’ve been obsessed with music since Steve Lamacq played ‘Girls and Boys’ on the Evening Session in 1994. It was one of those ‘What the hell is this?’ moments, which I’ve had many times since with all the hours spent, headphones on, guitars in my ears. Then one night instead of switching my radio off when The Evening Session finished, I carried on listening and heard John Peel for the first time. I didn’t really like his show at first, it was a bit too loud; there was too much drum and bass and reggae. But then he played The Smiths, and without wanting to sound like the ultimate teenage cliché, that changed my life forever. There was a lot of speculation about whether anyone would ever be a natural successor to Peel. British radio is lucky to have people like Stuart Maconie, Mark Radcliffe and Lauren Laverne, all passionate and engaging and incredibly likeable, but it turned out not to be a presenter who replaced John Peel. His personality and influence and tastes were so immense that it took an entire station to leave the gap he left behind. 6Music, winner of Station of the Year at this year’s Sony Radio Awards is made for those of us who listened to Lamacq playing Blur in the mid-nineties while we were doing our homework. It is now a part of people’s lives. It is an identity, shorthand when describing yourself. A couple of years ago I wrote a book about radio and as such a lot of my Twitter followers are radio fans, and pretty much each new follower I get has the same profile. ‘6Music listener. Guardian reader. Likes dogs.’
With presenters such as Jarvis Cocker, Huey Morgan and Marc Riley you don’t ever really need to play with your dial. But if you do there are other equally good music shows. Radio 1, a much different place to how it was in the days of Lamacq and Britpop, has one of the best little shows hidden away at midnight on Wednesdays. The enthusiastic and adorable Huw Stephens plays the best in new music and continues the rich heritage of good indie shows on Radio 1. Another show which I find annoying to miss is Geoff Lloyd’s Unknown Pleasures on Absolute Radio on Sunday evenings. It gives him opportunities to play Velvet Underground, Pixies, Belle and Sebastian as well as up and coming bands in the too often stale world of commercial radio. His daily Drivetime show, 5–8pm is another way to hear good music, there are regularly bands in session, recently, Slow Club, King Creosote and Jonathan Coulton have all appeared recently and been interviewed by Geoff in his own imitable way. His conversation with Jeffrey Lewis was largely centred around which is the better name out of Jeff and Geoff. But it is 6Music where most people turn. In its early days there was a definite feeling that you were the only one listening. But a combination of high profile recruitment and the publicity thanks to the controversial decision to close it down has meant the station will be around for a long time. As I sit down to listen to Tom Ravenscroft’s show, opening a bottle of wine as he plays surf guitar, I know that thousands of other listeners are doing the same. They’re finishing the Guardian crossword, 25 and have just taken their dog for a walk.
Reviews 1. Dirty Projectors Swing Lo Magellan Domino Records 10 July 1.
A sixth album is never an easy construction to produce. Or so they say, anyway. Six albums in, it can be tough for artists to find new territory to explore. And will there be any kind of hunger greeting another album from the band anyway? Where Dirty Projectors are concerned, neither inspiration nor interest have ever been prohibitive problems, if the almost hysterical reaction roused by first single ‘Gun Has No Trigger’ was anything to go by. Recorded in the A-frame attic of a Delaware County house, the twelve tracks to have made the cut for the album were whittled down from an impressive collection of seventy specially crafted tunes. And the result? A highly accomplished record drawing on influences from far and wide.
As playful as it is off kilter, and as light as it is shaded, Swing Lo Magellan is an energetic celebration of traditional American songwriting peppered with that all important, fearless Dirty Projectors slant. Opener ‘Offspring Are Blank’ offers all of the musical twists and turns that we’ve come to expect from the Brooklyn collective over the past few years. One moment, we’re sunk into a hazy embrace of angelic harmonies and pitch perfect notation, before a rattling guitar melody introduces a distortion pedal, allowing the track to venture, spiral and flourish. ‘Gun Has No Trigger’ showcases the band’s soaring, trademark vocal work, with Dirty Projector mastermind Dave Longstreth’s howling, haunting chime emanating energy, clarity and a complete sense of artistic defiance.
Swing Lo Magellan is an album which focusses on pockets of warm melodies and textures, but in true Dirty Projectors style, the rhyme and reason of the tracks is only immediately apparent to its creators, often leaving the listener trailing behind in a haze of slight confusion and wide eyed awe. Ever inventive and continually striving to create challenging yet melodically attachable music, Longstreth has achieved something truly special with Swing Lo Magellan, proving beyond doubt that Dirty Projectors are certainly a band worth keeping up with, even sixth time around. Words: Francine Gorman dirtyprojectors.net
3. Friends Manifest! Lucky Number Music 4 June
2. Fang Island Major Sargent House 24 July There are many reasons to admire the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: firstly, Gene Wilder. He’s so cool his best friend Richard Prior set fire to himself when he was in a wheelchair. Now I’ve got friends who like to party but none that hard. Secondly, the Oompa Loompas. The midget acting community had to wait 40 long years since the Yellow Brick Road for this chance and boy did they take it. Thirdly, for showing up our chocolate bars as dull, uninspiring and in-the-box. We had Kit Kats, Wonka had everlasting gobstoppers, we had Twixs, they had Three-CourseDinner Gum. Imagine a gum which tasted of starter-maindessert. Now we could. Fang Island are that musical gum. Mash-ups aren’t without their potential perils. Imagine putting ketchup on ice cream (wrong).
Now imagine a song which starts off a bit Van Halen then goes a bit Bee Gees before sounding like the band off School of Rock (I know you’re imagining the fat Chinese kid doing keyboards). How does that sound? AWESOME is how it sounds. This is Fang Island’s Major. Get chewing kids. Words: Dan Tyte fangisland.com
Friends are the epitome of cool. In the last whirlwind of a year, they find time between having dinner at Elton John’s house to peddle sass-talking, big-city pop sounds. Like fellow New Yorkers Darwin Deez, it feels like the hype has built on UK soil and is rippling back, but Friends are taking it all in their stride.
It’s a mesmerisingly happy song, but it’s on the pedestrian funk of ‘A Thing Like This’ that Friends really hit their strut. They have to allow this its own release.
Not unlike the TV show, after repeated plays, our crush on Friends is as strong as the day we first laid ears on them – but has Manifest! been worth the wait?
Words: Andrew Backhouse afriendszone.com
Opener ‘Friend Crush’ you’ll know already; a hedonistic ESG-esque stalker anthem that turned heads a good year ago, but as Samantha purrs seductively, ‘I wanna to be your friend,’ it’s as if it was only yesterday, while ‘Sorry’ heralds the record like a fresh morning in the jungle, all sun-through-thepalm-trees keys, rousing bongo drums and tweeting birds.
Forgive the odd party-pooper and Manifest! is a great record. Yes, Samantha, Lesley, Nikki, Oliver and Matt, you can be our Friends.
4. Digitalism DJ Kicks !K7 Records 25 June The legendary DJ Kicks series has been running for what’s now nearing two decades, and yet still their releases sound as fresh as ever. This latest mix comes from the German house duo of Jens Moelle and Îsmail Tüfekçi, better known as Digitalism. The two met while working in a record store where, as fate would have it, they would lovingly sell these !K7 compilations to their customers. In terms of longevity and accomplishment it seems Digitalism are on par to follow in DJ Kicks footsteps while smoothly becoming a part of it.
5. Purity Ring Shrines 4AD 24 July Through their mix Digitalism gives a nod to some of the most established figures in their scene while introducing newer artists to the mix. WhoMadeWho’s ‘The Sun’ is a snap of familiar, while The Sneekers’ ‘Teddy’ warrants a second listen and subsequent search. But these are the moments that make the DJ Kicks compilations so special. As well as being a preparty gift they act as a reliable vehicle for discovering some of the freshest and most intoxicating sounds around. Add to this four new tracks and a couple of remixes from the duo themselves and this is a mix that fits nicely into the Kicks’ legacy. Words: Jen Long thedigitalism.com
I'm not ashamed to admit that it was the Jonas Brothers that first introduced me to the concept of Purity Rings. Not in person unfortunately, but through their status as poster boys for the teensagainst-sexy-times movement in the States and once that connection was made in my head, it was hard to shift. But you'll be unsurprised – and probably relived – that musically it's pretty tough to draw a line between the Jo-Bros and the band, Purity Ring. However both acts can be accused of being online buzz over-achievers before even reaching their 20s. And it's also fair to assume that in the light of this much anticipated debut album, Shrines, that's not likely to die anytime soon. Following on from the excitement of their early releases, the Halifax/ Montreal duo took their considered time to deliver this album.
Their previous singles 'Ungirthed' and 'Belispeak' are deservedly present here, nestling between new offerings of adolescent longing driven by eerie lyrics and teenage knowing. It's Megan James who lights up this album up with wistfully confident vocals, which ride and compliment Corin Roddick's soundscape of chopped beats, lush samples and subtle hip-hop influences. It's dramatic, sophisticated and yet devastatingly delicate. It seems that the 'future-pop' tag is getting rejigged every couple of years and wherever the current perimeters are drawn right now, Shrines feels like its benchmark. Words: Alex Bean purityringsongs.com
Words: Chris Chadwick bsmrocks.com
Founded in 2002 in the dusty corner of a teenager’s bedroom, Big Scary Monsters has since earned a reputation for putting complexity over accessibility and cult classics over commercial concerns. A decade on and with BSM delicately courting mainstream success with a roster boasting Radio 1 renegades Pulled Apart By Horses and Andrew W.K, Chris Chadwick talks to label founder Kevin Douch about his favourite releases and the future for one of the UK’s most innovative labels. You started Big Scary Monsters whilst you were still at school, what’s changed since then? Since those days I’ve upgraded from the corner of my bedroom at home, to the corner of my bedroom in a disgusting shared house, to the dusty loft of a house with my girlfriend, and finally to a tiny office in East London. Apart from that, not a whole lot has changed! Still working with awesome bands, still finding things to complain about, just a bit hairier now. Do you have a particular ideology or ethos? I like to try and do things ‘the right way’. I only work with bands I genuinely love and we try our best to retain an honest and open relationship throughout, with everyone putting in 100% from both sides. A lot of things have changed inside and out of the music industry since BSM began, so there always needs to be room for improvement and a willingness to learn and evolve.
I’ve seen a lot of labels desperately trying to cling onto old ideals and they almost always end up bitter and off to find a boring day job. The motivation not to join them is a big part of what keeps me going. What has been the high point for Big Scary Monsters to date? There’s been a lot of them, luckily! I signed artists such as Pulled Apart By Horses and Get Cape Wear Cape Fly after only a couple of live shows, so it was great to see them grow as they did. Meet Me In St Louis were one of my favourite bands to work with because I dearly loved their album and everyone worked so hard on it, so it’s awesome that they still hold such a cult status. Putting out a single from Andrew WK was as surreal as it was brilliant and I’m really excited about the way Tall Ships are progressing! What challenges are you facing at the moment? Attempting to find more hours in the day, trying to stop myself signing every new band I fall in love with and finding a gap in my diary this summer between festivals, weddings and stag dos. That’s an answer I definitely didn’t have to give 10 years ago! What new releases can we look forward to? We’ve just released the new Cursive record on 12” picture disc and a re-issue of Crash of Rhinos debut album on cassette. These will be followed by new albums from Shoes And Socks Off, Joyce Manor, Girlfriends and Tall Ships. 29
WATER AGAINST THE ROCKS The new single. Out June 25. “Overflows with emotion... spectacular” THE GUARDIAN “Heart-flipping” PITCHFORK “A formidable creative force” THE INDEPENDENT “Extraordinary” POP JUSTICE “Cathartic pop for when you’re feeling abandoned” THE FADER
—AMONG BROTHERS— KEEP — THE NEW SINGLE — 9 JULY 2012
Splashh All I Wanna Do
Fever Fever The Chair
Live Words: Heather Steele Photos: Owen Richards owenrichards.co.uk
Field Day Victoria Park, London, 02 June “Is everyone ready to have the best day of their lives?” Friends’ Samantha Urbani begins before launching herself into the masses. Nestled in the outwardly expanding Shacklewell Arms tent the Brooklyn five-piece’s rhythmic funk proves a popular Field Day starting point for many, before the crowds head to watch the electronic splendour of Com Truise, where they’ll later emerge blinking from the tent’s hazy club-like darkness, startled by the realisation that it’s only 2pm. Today, Victoria Park witnesses more electronic acts than usual – a contrast to last year’s lineup of Wild Beasts, The Horrors and Warpaint – but Nashville native R. Stevie Moore is on hand to provide a lengthy, lo-fi guitar led distraction as Tim Burgess joins him on stage for a tambourine solo. Yet, shining through the plethora of electronic artists, including Gold Panda and SBTRKT, is Warp’s Hudson Mohawk. Beginning with his recent ‘Virus’ remix, Björk’s vocals soar across the stage and the enormous crowd explodes with movement that doesn’t let up. Unfortunately Rustie’s highly-anticipated set is pushed back into the same clash-laden slot as Grimes, When Saints Go Machine and Kindness. We opt to watch Claire Boucher, enthralled to see Grimes work her magic on a festival crowd, but this proves to be a dire decision, as the tent quickly becomes vastly overcrowded, resulting in no views and shocking sound.
Despite this disappointment, we continue to catch flashes of greatness from the Laneway stage, notably Errors, who draw heavily on their recent album Have Some Faith In Magic and the sonic splendour of Brooklyn duo Sleigh Bells and their layers of amps. On the main stage, we’re treated to Liars, playing new material two days before the release of their sixth album XIWIX, and Metronomy, their record The English Riviera perfectly suited to the summer sun that briefly starts to trickle through the clouds. Beirut’s Zach Condon impresses with his ever-expanding repertoire of instruments and complements the band’s collective uplifting orchestration, even if their songs about New Mexico sunshine are overcast by the London drizzle. The evening finishes with The Vaccines, before old festival favourites Franz Ferdinand close the main stage. While their commerciality doesn’t really glue with the ‘emerging talent’ quota of the majority of the festival’s line-up, Field Day still continues to astonish with its pull and popularity. Although it always delivers an eclectic line up, with an expanding capacity of 20,000 Field Day is clearly more prevalent than ever, making previous years’ stage swapping ease and ‘village fête’ feel a thing of the past.
Luc y Wea ri n g of t he B e d He a d S t re e t S q u a d f o r t H e 1 2 3 4 S H o r e di t cH ww w.be dhead .c om /s t r ee t s q u ad
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Third issue of Zero Core, a free quarterly magazine produced in Cardiff by Jen Long (Radio 1), Adam Chard (Croatoan Design) and Marc Thomas...
Published on Jun 19, 2012
Third issue of Zero Core, a free quarterly magazine produced in Cardiff by Jen Long (Radio 1), Adam Chard (Croatoan Design) and Marc Thomas...