DELINQUENT ISSUE 4 FEATURING PORRIDGE RADIO PENELOPE ISLES PINS CLUE RECORDS AND MORE
Artwork by Tanith Price
DELINQUENT Being independent, as much as a pain and a struggle it can be to keep yourself afloat, can be a means of bringing people together. Regardless of whether you take independent on a personal level, being a self-sufficient, independent person, or attach independent to businesses, shops, labels, magazines, you are able to draw yourself towards people in similar situations. As big chief at Delinquent, I often sit and wonder why I put myself through the torture of finding funds to print or chasing up people who weren’t necessarily committed from the get go. But, when I think about it, why should I let the troughs interfere with the peaks? Being a part of a circle full of generous, supportive, independent organisations is what makes running this magazine so enjoyable.
COVER PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER BUTTERWORTH
Perhaps it isn’t particularly easy to admit, but supporting independent setups can be difficult; paying the extra couple of quid for a record, or walking a little further to the independent coffee shop for your cuppa is often an effort. It pains me to say that on many an occasion I’ve popped into Tesco for a sandwich (which is almost always a disappointment) to save myself the £1.50. I don’t think I realised not only how important it is to support your local independents, but how encouraging it is to know that people want to go that little bit further to support what you’re doing, until I started Delinquent.
mental monologue. I’d like to thank anyone who’s written for Delinquent, advertised in Delinquent, picked up a magazine in a shop, bought any merch, come to any gigs, or donated to our print fund. Also, a special thanks to Ben (again) for not letting me wallow in self-pity when things go wrong, to Nathan for his unwavering dedication as of recent and for the start of some exciting live sessions, and finally to my brother Will for taking these mags down to Bournemouth even though he has no interest in music, magazines, or helping his sister every now and again (only joking, just wanted to see if you read this bit).
So on that note, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you, yes you, the one reading this overly-senti-
Enjoy issue #4 Jean Pavitt
Team Picture p8
Chest Pains p36
6 GET CLUED UP | RYAN MORGAN 8 TEAM PICTURE | NATHAN FOGG 10 PENELOPE ISLES | BEN SARGENT 12 INDEPENDENCE IS LOOMING | MOLLY HAYDEN 14 UNCLE BUZZARD | BEN SARGENT 16 PORRIDGE RADIO | JAKE CROSSLAND 22 REVIEWS 26 YONAKA | MEG FIRTH 28 SKI SAIGON | BEN SARGENT 30 TALES FROM THE BAR SIDE | SHELLY GORMLESS 34 PINS | NATHAN FOGG 36 CHEST PAINS | JEAN PAVITT 38 HOW HAVE I RUN OUT OF SOCKS, AGAIN? | DAISY MOREY 42 FABIAN JACK | ELLIE BOND 44 CONTRIBUTORSâ€™ CHOICE
P U D E U L C GET
The overall theme for this issue of Delinquent is ‘Independent’, so I thought what better way to explore this idea than speak to one of my favourite Leeds-based independent record labels, Clue Records, about all manner of things: why do it, how to do it yourself, and what ups and downs might come from being part of a smaller record label punching against the big guys. Here is what the chief of Clue, Scott Lewis, had to say! Ryan Morgan: What made you decide to start a record label and how long have you been doing it? Scott Lewis: I’d been in bands for years but the drummer of my last band ground me down to the point where I didn’t play guitar for around 5 years after quitting. I knew I still wanted to be involved in music 6
so got involved with Oxjam Music Festival in Leeds, raising money in aid of Oxfam. After being part of the core team running events over the summer of 2012 I decided I wanted to work with a few of the bands I’d met as part of it. Me and my mate Ste had always discussed labels and who we liked and toyed with the idea of doing something, but never really took it seriously. Then I said to him, “Right, pub next week, let’s decide what we’re doing and start it”. A proper back-of-a-fag-packet thing, but it felt like we could do something good. It started in November 2012 so we’ve just moved into our 6th year as a label. Daft. RM: What are the advantages for bands to sign to an independent label? SL: They can help you with things you don’t have time for, connect
you with people you may not have relationships with, share your energy and passion for your music and, ultimately, take away the boring shit that bands don’t want to do and usually aren’t too good at. That being said, make sure you get to know, trust, and understand who you’re signing with if you get an offer. There are still loads of sharks out there and people are getting fucked over. Understand what the label wants and what they can do before working with them, and get your contract looked at before signing. RM: To anyone that wants to be a part of your label, what’s the best thing for them to do? SL: Get to know us. Listen to what we’ve released and try to understand whether you’re making the sort of music we’ll like. If possible, come to one of our bands’ gigs and
say hello. We’ve got a demo submission form on our site so follow that and we’ll try to get back to you. RM: If you were encouraging someone else to start a DIY / Independent label, what would your top three pieces of advice be? SL: 1. Do it for the right reasons. Money-making is the last reason to start a label; you’re more likely to lose it. Do it because you want to help an artist you think is incredible. 2. Look at other labels out there and think about what they do and what they don’t. Use what they do well and put your own stamp on it. 3. Be friendly, collaborative, and don’t skimp on effort. If people can see that you give a shit, they’re likely to do the same. RM: What is the best thing you’ve done with your label?
SL: I honestly can’t pick one thing. There have been tonnes of little milestones like releasing our first vinyl, having our acts play major festivals (Leeds & Reading, Y Not, Download etc), going to Abbey Road to master a track, watching TRASH play the main stage at Y Not from the side of the stage, getting coverage from NME, DIY, The Metro, Radio 1, 6Music etc. One of the best things is meeting people that are now some of my best friends and will be for life. It wouldn’t have happened without the label so it’s done me well. RM: What is the hardest part about running an independent label? SL: It never stops and there’s tonnes to do. But that’s also because I don’t let it stop and don’t really switch off from it, so I’m my own worst enemy. The hardest thing is actually getting people to listen to what you’re putting out. That’s all I want, and it’s so
simple in theory, but there’s such a sea of distraction and other stuff for people to take in that it can be hard sometimes. When a release doesn’t get the right attention it deserves, you feel defeated. RM: Knowing what you know now, would you do it again? SL: You just try and stop me. RM: So, finally, this raises one question: how does Leeds continue to maintain its Independents such as Clue Records and help them sleep tight at night? For me, it’s simple. Go out and support the DIY scene, buy that limited press of t-shirts or vinyl, look at what gigs the smaller labels and promoters are putting on; they are the cultural glue of the city. People are always grateful for your support.
In the backroom of Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds, I met Josh and Ross from Team Picture, housemates who together combine to make one-third of the Leeds-based band. Over nearly two hours we drank red wine, talked music and creativity, and were occasionally interrupted by a jazzband performing a mic check. At another venue it could be accused of being far too pretentious, but the Book Club was a fitting venue of choice, as a place that encourages local artists to explore their art and ideas in a safe space. Recently Team Picture have been exploring their own new ideas at Nave Studios in Leeds with producer Matt Peel. The result is a 7-track mini-album called Recital, which will be released June 1st. A lot of what makes Team Picture who they are started out with the film Frank. A couple of years ago, Josh was playing solo. In his own words, it wasn’t very fruitful, “I just absolutely 8
hated it. Being on stage on your own is zero fun, for me anyway.” It was a phase that most creative folk can relate to – questioning everything you do, wondering what is missing, what needs to click. Popular culture celebrates and reveres those perverse musicians who just seemed to be birthed from difficult and interesting situations – broken homes, arrests records, days upon days holed up in isolated environments living on 50p packets of ramen and bad coffee. It’s not exactly the worst problem in the world to have, but is there much creative currency in dealing with a group of seemingly normal twenty-somethings trying to put music together on a MacBook? Where’s the life-story, the pain? Josh recalls that important moment, “I was kind of sitting around being frustrated for months, then I watched the film Frank and it made me think, actually I need to stop chasing something, just do something and collaborate. I feel like the seeds of what’s hap-
Photo by Thomas O’Donoghue
TEAM PICTURE pened since then were pretty much down to the film.”
If you haven’t seen Frank, it follows two contrasting characters. Frank himself, who is a Captain Beefheart type creative genius, and Domhnall Gleeson’s character, Jon, a struggling artist trying to recreate whatever it is that works for Frank. “He’s trying to chase after that, and everything he writes he hates, it’s shit. He’s always like ‘Why? It must be that I haven’t lived, I haven’t suffered enough.’ But the film is a complete breakdown of the idea that you need to be a tortured artist, or even have life experience to write music. You fucking don’t, you can sit in your room in your pants and write songs, as long as you ignore the voice in your head going ‘what you’re doing is bollocks’”. That sort of attitude makes it possible to see how a band like Team Picture, their best song to date a
brilliant 6-minute-long psych-esque track called ‘Birthday Blues’, can then go into a studio and produce Recital, which spends the first half feeding you catchy synth-pop. It pays off well. The opening track ‘(I Have A) Little Secret’ reaches out and grabs something in the back of your mind, something primal, in the same way nostalgic shows like Stranger Things makes 18-year olds miss the 80s, a decade they weren’t even alive for. It’s followed by ‘Strange Year’, pure unapologetic pop. The synth-hook jumps out almost like an old arcade game soundtrack. Throughout the record, these call-backs are treated with care, not haphazardly thrown on. You only need to share a room with them for a few minutes to get a sense of the deep appreciation they have for the music’s roots. Ross gushes “We’ve got a massive appreciation for pop music, how hooks can unify a whole load of different sounds and it can become pop music. If you look at pop music throughout the ages, styles have changed. They’ve taken stuff from the underground. Taylor Swift’s using dubstep and all that. That’s not something that, right now, you really look at as like ‘oh wow, that’s something that’s really happening’. She’s just got hooks in the same way that Cindy Lauper did.” Both name more expected influences than Taylor Swift: Ariel Pink, Clarence Clarity,
Connan Mockasin… those artists who play with poppy-nostalgia, but expertly disguise those catchy hooks in murky waters, just short of being properly accessible to the masses. And Team Picture are masters in writing hooks. One major theme of Recital (both would rather steer well clear from the idea of there being just one unified message) could be that throw-off the shackles, let’s just do it attitude. It’s a very inspirational manifesto for anyone spending their own evenings jotting down ideas in a notepad, reworking beats, or carefully mixing paints before applying them to a canvas. Josh explains his interpretation: “The statement of intent is it’s alright to not know what you want to be doing in any given moment of time. The whole thing with us wearing the marching band costumes on stage, you’re taking a lot of stuff and putting it together in this whole melting pot of ideas that you kind of realise is your personality, or who you are, how you’re going to move forward into the future. Even after that, you’re still not quite sure what’s going on. I think the main thing with what we’ve just done at the minute is that there’s no right answer to the question of what genre you are, who are your influences, or this, or that.” “The themes of the songs almost become irrelevant” Ross adds, “it’s
like a collage idea, we come from a lot of different places.” For a 6-piece band, it’s probably the only way to make it work. No individual member is particularly interested in stamping their own message, expecting the others to follow suit. It makes for a very polished, concise, and meaningful album. It was a pleasure to spend the time with them to talk about it. Recital will be released on June 1st, the same night Team Picture are playing a highlight show at Brudenell Social Club, which promises to be a great celebration for the record, before, inevitably, they move on to the next ideas they have. And there is no shortage of ideas. Josh makes the sales pitch, “I think it’s gonna be an opportunity to get people down who have been a part of the project. Let’s put on a decent show, have a good time, and see if we can do some interesting things. There’s stuff up the sleeves”. Not happy to let the soundbite rest, Ross adds “There’s stuff up the sleeves no doubt, they just might all fall out.” The full interview with Team Picture is available on the Delinquent website. Nathan Fogg
It’s been a long time coming, but Penelope Isles are finally beginning to get the recognition they deserve. With a slot at End of the Road Festival and a debut album on the way, 2018 is looking pretty big for the Brighton band.
brought the tracks to Jack. “When she came home for holidays she asked me to produce some of the songs with her. We worked on a collection of tunes together and I guess it felt more than a solo project from then on!”
Something of a family affair, the band are led by siblings Lilly and Jack Wolter. “Lilly and I have played together in a couple of bands before in the past, so it felt nice to be working with her again,” Jack explains, “but this time working on her songs as well as mine. That felt really special.” The band stems from Lilly’s solo project, Kookie Lou. Having gigged in Brighton with Jack Sowton and Becky Redford, now Penelope Isles’ drummer and bassist, Lilly
Not long after, Jack was living in Brighton and the band was complete. “I walked straight into a practice room with Sowey and Becky not even knowing them! We couldn’t do it without them now. Their dedication to the band is huge.” It’s true, the band feel like an unbreakable unit. It’s Jack and Lilly with the blood relation, however meeting them you could be forgiven for thinking their one big family, such is the bond between them.
When it comes to their music, the connection only gets stronger. Persistent touring and practicing has moulded the band into one of the most formidable live outfits around. They can even make a dim student basement in Leeds feel like the Brudenell Social Club with swirling, feedback laden renditions of early tracks, such as the absorbing ‘Round’. There is no doubt in my mind that Penelope Isles are one of the hardest working bands I know. All you have to do is look at their merch table full of homemade Totes, T’s and CDs to know that they’re a band committed to the cause. Jack tells me, “I guess it’s just the want to get out and make it work! Homemade
merch is cool! It’s cheaper to make if you can be arsed, then you have more money for maccies.” Alongside these home-burnt CDs, you’ll see their wonderful cassette, Comfortably Swell, released by the ever-brilliant Art Is Hard. “It’s an honour to be part of the Art Is Hard family. They’re lovely people and curate some top projects!” Independent projects such as Art Is Hard are important to Jack and his bandmates. “The excitement and drive that goes into making the music happen is what’s so important right now. We are massively in the same boat, funding shows, records, and projects out of our own pockets. No one expects anything form anyone else because everyone just works really hard themselves to make stuff happen. DIY labels, small time promotors, everyone is so important because of the dedication and how much the music and art means to them. You can tell when a label or promotor loves what they do. The outcome is always something really special.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
It’s the love for what they’re doing that is now reaping the rewards. With the ambition of playing End of the Road set to be achieved, a host of other festivals including Sea Change in Totnes set for the summer, and tours aplenty, the rest of the year will be a busy one. “We’re touring all April. France, Germany, then joining Lost Horizons on their UK and Ireland tour. Those guys are awesome.” As for that debut album, that’s on the way too. “We’ve been working on some studio recordings with a producer called Dave Izumi (The Magic Numbers, Ed Hardcourt) at Echo Zoo in Eastbourne. It was really cool working with somebody else within our songs and a different experience spending time in a real-life studio!” Having in part gone into the studio looking to capture their rapturous live sound on record, the band have elected to complete the recordings by themselves. “We are control freaks” explains Jack. “I think our sound will always be different when playing live and on record. I’m excited by the idea of capturing two
different versions of the songs. It’s just two different head-spaces. We love working out different ways of playing the song to make it work in a live scenario. Radiohead are amazing at it. I’m definitely not dissing bands that record everything live! As long as the vibe is good!” In my brief career as a promotor, I have not yet met such an excitable, enthusiastic, and genuinely lovely group to work with. There’s not a band in the world who deserves attention more than this group of best mates, travelling around, having a laugh, and writing some cracking tunes. Penelope Isles’ Bands to Watch... Pictures of Belgrade Ought EERA Fai Baba Shame Lost Horizons Beak Shit Stain Ben Sargent
Artwork by Molly Hayden 12
Photo by Robyn Clements 14
...And people say that all students do is sleep and get pissed.
It’s certainly not the case for Uncle Buzzard. The Leeds-based, NorthEast born and bred lads must hardly have time to breathe between art exhibitions, plays, and music production. Uncle Buzzard may not be the first band this group of misfits have played in together, but it is the most exciting. You can tell that they love music. Every twang of bass, synth squeeze, and flurry of loose, shimmering guitar seems expertly placed within the hyperactive first single, ‘Bamzooki’. Musical influence is broad; while singer George Manson grooves to Talking Heads, Charlie Howard and Danny Blackburn might be caught playing a bit of Porches and Television respectively as they swap between guitar and drums. “I like Porches and Pond and shit like that” Manson assures me. Varied influences mean Uncle Buzzard sound unique, despite wearing the influ-
ence of the likes of Homeshake and Unknown Mortal Orchestra proudly on their sleeves.
Boy’ tells the story of a man made of paper. “It’s basically an excuse for wordplay,” George laughs.
It’s perhaps their activities away from music that help to make the Leeds quartet so exciting. Charlie and bassist Greg Lonsdale are both practicing artists and are responsible for pop-up art events in both Leeds and their home town of Stockton-On-Tees. Danny spends his days studying music production and thus obsesses over every detail to make the band’s recordings sound exquisite. Meanwhile, frontman George is taking a tea-break from his full-time philosophy course to write a play / sci-fi thought-experiment. The creative energy is intoxicating.
So far, Uncle Buzzard releases have come from their own Bandcamp and via independent label Bowl Cut Records. Independent platforms are close to the band’s hearts for a number of reasons: “Independent venues are important because, not only are they the best music venues, they also support up-and-coming artists by giving them a platform,” Danny explains. Charlie adds, “it encourages diversity. In terms of labels, it gives the right people attention for the right reasons.”
Lyrically, things are less thougt-experiment and more comic-gore. “Take my skin I don’t need it anyway/ Make it into a coat and wear it every day,” is the sinister philosophy running though ‘Bamzooki’. “I just come up with a weird concept and see what I can do with it.” ‘Origami
Soon Greg will move into a house with his bandmates and the band will be united under one roof in Leeds. It can only mean one thing… Well, a few actually: more art shows, more theatre, more gigs, and best of all, more music. Ben Sargent
Photos by Peter Butterworth
PORRIDGE RADIO Porridge Radio are a pop band: ‘band daddy’ and leader of the pack Dana Margolin is sure of it. Granted, they might not be the most conventional popstars – they didn’t form via a tacky TV talent show and their songs are often a lot more complex than anything currently topping the charts – but catchy melodies and honest lyrics are at the heart of Margolin’s writing. Her music exists on the edge of tension, in the fraught, almost negligible, pause before deciding to unleash intense and long-fermenting emotion. Fashioning lo-fi pop songs from frustration, sadness and joy, debut ‘studio’ album (it was recorded in a shed) Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers is harmonious and mercurial, matching graceful guitar lines and subdued lullabies with bloodthirsty squalls and pummelling rhythms. The current opening track for in-progress album 2 is even titled ‘Pop Song’ – presumably as both a promise and a dare – and follows in a long line of starlet-indebted tracks.
For example, when ‘Worms’, a beautiful, self-effacing ode to Hollywood, is played live, Margolin often starts with a plea for anyone in contact with Lana Del Rey to bring the two together. “I love Lana and there’s so much pop music that we all adore,” Dana gushes. “I’ve listened to Lorde’s new album hundreds of times – I do a cover of ‘Loveless’ when I play solo because I love it so much. Pop is the most accessible, pure joy that I know, which is brilliant. I’m often writing songs and deciding ‘This is a pop song’.” Accessibility is something that will repeatedly emerge throughout the interview. When I speak with Dana, it’s through Skype for over an hour, after a first attempt through email. A short, 150-word email would never have captured her eloquence and thought – she regularly pauses to consider her responses, only to then get overwhelmed with excitement to get her opinions across.
One such runaway train of thought comes amid discussing rumours of turning down major label record deals and pseudonym-disguised top 10 hits. Dana’s thoughts on socalled ‘selling out’ are refreshingly honest. “To be able to be offered the opportunity to work while doing something you love, why would you turn it down?” she asks. “When you combine that with art, it suddenly becomes really complicated because art is this pure thing that you don’t do for money, you do it for love and joy – which is true, that’s why we do it. I don’t ever see myself not making music just because I’m not being paid for it. That was never the intention.” She rails against the curse of capitalism – if she has to have a job, why can’t it be something she loves? “Imagine being able to live off the thing you would spend all your time doing anyway, because effectively, music is like a third job [she already works two]. But it’s not, because I love it.” Opinions like these could attract criticism from staunch supporters from the DIY scene that have wholeheartedly embraced the Brighton 5-piece, but it’s the hearton-sleeve ethos of Porridge Radio that charms fans in the first place. And heart-on-sleeve is a catch-all term for Margolin’s lyrics. Flooding out in ferocious, emotional outpourings, Dana captures her songs in GarageBand like diary entries, backed usually only by synth and drum loops. Not every song makes it, or as she bluntly puts it: “I churn out a lot of stuff and sometimes I’ll write something that’s really amazing, and I’ll fall in love with myself as
I do it. Sometimes I’ll write complete shit.” Sam (drums), Maddie (bass/ vocals), Georgie (keys/vocals), and Josh or Jess (guitars – it depends who’s available) complete the band and help to arrange the songs. Often the call comes from them. “Sam’ll be like ‘I can hear that as a band song and I’ll usually say ‘Are you sure?’ – that’s actually happened with so many of our songs. Then someone at practice will go ‘AAH! I can think of a part!’ and at the end, I realise I was sooo wrong.” She stresses that Porridge Radio would sound completely different without her band and that she relies on the other four for reassurance and comfort. “I really couldn’t do it without them.” There’s sometimes been an emphasis throughout her career on those that surround her, and whilst she’s the first to gratefully admit the enormous support, she’s also keen to shake off suggestions that she’s entirely indebted to it. Memorials of Distinction, the band’s label, is regularly cited as the push to releasing her music, but there are others involved in the Porridge Radio origin story (good friend Daniel Raphael and Georgie are two Dana mentions). At the core of it, there’s only one person responsible: Dana herself. “I sent a lot of it to Josh [Cohen, founder of MoD] and I guess that did give me a lot of confidence, but also I don’t like saying that because then it feels like I’m taking agency away from myself,” she reasons. “I mean I write the songs, I was the one who was kind of too shy and terrified to show them to anyone, but showing them to him, and
him showing them to Georgie and them encouraging me is definitely the only reason I started allowing other people to see it.” She takes an active role in MoD herself, and single-handedly completed the artwork for RP&OF under the pseudonym ‘Daddy’, whilst in her uncle’s garden on holiday. Typically self-deprecating, she “basically learnt how to be a graphic designer – like a really bad one.” The resulting scrapbook-esque artwork, adorned with Margolin’s own handwriting, complements the musical process of clarifying half-explored emotions. The sense of working through something, clearly expressed in her music and hinted at by the artwork, takes its next steps when she performs live. “Often before a show, I do feel really frustrated or really sick or really angry or really tired but performing is what allows me to actually get over that hurdle. If I start a show feeling like that, and then sing all those songs, they do relieve that tension. It’s kind of like medicine.” She pauses. “Which is lovely.” Are the songs written with that intention? Dana responds with more thoughtful pauses: “They write themselves with that purpose, they’re inherently ways to... cure myself. They’re ways to process emotions and when I listen to them back they have this healing effect because they allow me to continue processing the feeling or the thought they were written with.” It’s interesting then that Dana and her band choose to match her personal form of therapy with the modern-day opiate for the masses. Pop
music is as much a cure for audiences as writing songs is for Porridge Radio – nothing can soothe the soul in the same way as singing along to a huge chorus in a crowd, with the lyrics letting listeners know that their personal experience is universal. In the case of Porridge Radio, Margolin is simply approaching it from the perspective of a performer. By taking her own intimate thoughts to the stage, she not only finds relief in the solace of an audience but digs into darker corners that the mainstream often neglects. I ask if she’d like to leave a specific legacy behind once the group is long forgotten, and band member vape flavours (toke of Mango Maddie anyone?) aside, a sense of openness is her hope for future generations. “What I’m always trying to learn is how to make myself more vulnerable and emotionally available. If anything, I’d want that to trickle down, an ability to talk about how you feel and an understanding of what it means like to be open.” She opines. “Those things are really difficult and really terrifying.” Dana even chooses to pursue vulnerability in an exposed fashion by doing it all publicly, be that on a stage or leaving earlier, less refined albums online. “It’s just amazing to look back and ask ‘How the fuck have I come from there to here?’
or read back and think I wrote that down not understanding what I was thinking or feeling and now I get it. I’ll be like ‘What a fucking idiot I was!’ or ‘Oh my God, I just needed a hug!’.” Part of being a fan of the band is seeing the creative process splayed out in full, with lengthy, unpolished demos listenable on Bandcamp and Spotify. The majority of RP&OF tracks can be traced from their conception in ‘Misery Radio’ and found in an almost unrecognisable form on the album, due to Dana’s refining and input from other band members. The process takes the songs from determinedly DIY to potential pop hits. The ‘DIY’ label is one now loaded with political subtext, and whilst the quintet may not be as lyrically vocal in their political leanings, Dana hopes the process she began with Porridge Radio, and in encouraging vulnerability and awareness of mental health, is political enough to keep their place. She considers whether they should be more outspoken in their music, but decides against it: “There are bands that are like ‘We’re political and we’re going to sing a song about the power plant in our town!’. There’s a radical politicalness that you get by making and sharing and by talking about feelings and emotions”. And that doesn’t even
cover their advocacy and collections at shows for important charities such as Sisters Uncut, SOAS Detainee Support and Sussex Homeless Support. Their strange intersection of pop and lo-fi lets them infiltrate lineups for the best of both – recent support slots have found them playing amongst DIY stalwarts Garden Centre, angry emos Abattoir Blues and rising indie stars Spinning Coin – and allows Dana’s lyrics and charitable causes to reach people far from their own circle, just as good pop music should. After our discussion about the charts, and the validity of DIY as its own genre, Margolin is delightfully direct and surprisingly sardonic. “I think genre is a load of shit anyway – maybe it’s helpful to some people but it’s useless for me to say a genre. What kind of music do you like? Oh ‘rock and pop’. It doesn’t mean anything because everything is so different.” All of which sums up the band’s strange fling with the mainstream, recently topped by a mention in the Guardian and multiple festival spots: pop is diverse and Porridge Radio’s for the taking, if Dana Margolin has her way. Jake Crossland
Reviews by Jean Pavitt
EZRA FURMAN TRANSANGELIC EXODUS
INSECURE MEN INSECURE MEN
Ezra Furman, a musician renowned for frantic rock’n’roll, introduces a record more stripped back and haunting than we’ve seen from him before. Tracks ‘Suck The Blood From My Wound’ , ‘Love You So Bad’ and ‘Peel My Orange Every Morning’ are small glimpses into that sound Furman appears to be leaving behind, at least for the moment. This record broods a chilling climate with a more percussive structure and minimal, harrowing use of guitar, piano and saxophone. Furman’s voice quivers and shrieks over aggressive distorted guitars, followed by a short, mellifluous riff on the xylophone on ‘Driving Down To L.A’, whilst ‘Peel My Orange Every Morning’ exhibits Furman’s continuous lyrical melodies over simple plucks of guitar, interrupted by sporadic outbursts of distorted noise. An interesting new direction for the brilliant Ezra Furman.
Saul Adamczewski of Fat White Family and Ben Romans-Hopcraft of Childhood may have been an unexpected collaboration, but together create the nostalgic and eerie storytellers that are Insecure Men. It hardly seems surprising now, listening to the record, that the musicians knew each other since primary school. The album drifts from Beach Boys-esque melodies in tracks ‘All Women Love Me’ and ‘Cliff Has Left the Building’, to artificial paradise-synth dance numbers such as ‘I Don’t Wanna Dance (With My Baby)’. For a record that, instrumentally, seems rather exuberant, there is a lingering undertone of discomfort and sadness, present in lyrics such as “I won’t go back to Disneyland” and “Whitney Houston and I both like a hot bath”. A exellent, hypnotic record.
THE ORIELLES SILVER DOLLAR MOMENT
DREAM WIFE DREAM WIFE
The Orielles are, undoubtedly, one of the most magnetic bands around at the moment. Going to buy the record I was informed that it’d been flying off the shelves. Silver Dollar Moment is 45 minutes of kaleidoscopic riffs and contagious choruses. A true groove with a Minimoog. Standout pop singles ‘Let Your Dog Tooth Grow’ and ‘I Only Bought It For The Bottle’ are seamlessly intertwined between slower, instrumental tracks such as ‘The Sound of Liminal Spaces’, one minute and twenty seven seconds of bluesy instrumental. Final track ‘Blue Suitcase’, Esmé Hand Halford’s vocals glide over a playful bassline and distorted guitar, which fades and echoes until the album reaches its conclusion. The record fits snugly into to Heavenly Recording’s repertoire of jangly psyche-pop, and carries a charm that is inherently Orielles.
Exploding into ‘Let’s Make Out’, Dream Wife’s debut shoves us to the middle of the mosh. Alice Go’s guitar is coarse and provocative, laying a raucous foundation for singer Rakel Mjöll to play and tease atop of. The record revolves around the line between childhood and the bitter truth of reality. The album finishes how it starts: bordering on punk, fiery and cathartic. ‘Let’s Make Out’ and ‘F.U.U’ are songs from the pit of the diaphragm. It almost wears you out listening to it, if you weren’t just so bloody rock and roll. Singles ‘Kids’ and ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ are contagious pop songs, which is what ties the record together. As much fun as ‘F.U.U’ is, you need the subtler, playful tracks such as ‘Love Without Reason’ and ‘Somebody’ to balance it out. That is what makes this record so likeable.
Channeling the likes of Joan Jett, Blondie, and Alice Cooper, Starcrawler have created themselves a fuzz-laden, 27-minute rock and roll record. With members fresh out of high school, Starcrawler have a sound that is raw and primal; the young determined to save rock and roll. Pack leader Arrow De Wild struts vocals over simple, heavily reverbed chord progressions, at times resembling the great David Byrne and at others resembling Jehnny Beth of Savages. Most of the time, however, it’s chilling, audacious, and boisterous. Unsurprisingly, the Starcrawler sound is polished by producer Ryan Adams, a rock record for the modern masses. Listening to the album, it’s also unsurprising to learn that De Wilde’s live performance involves smothering herself in fake blood...
Reviews by Ben Sargent
FRANKIE COSMOS VESSEL
SOMETHING ANORAK BOWLING
Charming and good-natured, it’s hard to find nicer music than that of Greta Kline, AKA Frankie Cosmos, and her band. Vessel, the New York City-based songwriter’s new record, packs eighteen loveably charismatic tracks into a whirlwind 33 minutes. On their first showing since Next Thing, two years back, the band return with a bang. Album opener ‘Caramelize’ builds from soft isolated vocals into a synth sprinkled banger. ‘Being Alive’ is perhaps one of the best Frankie Cosmos tracks to date, flicking between slow interludes and sudden lively explosions. Simple and unrefined, ‘The End’ celebrates Kline’s DIY roots perfectly. Vessel is a step forward for a cult hero who hasn’t forgotten where she came from.
With members from across the globe, Superorganism are an international band living in an international city. London’s newest pop prodigies exploded from nowhere since their formation just last year and their self titled debut album shows just why. Humorous vocals and sludgy synth bass begin opener ‘It’s All Good’ before it erupts into a jubilant harmonised chorus. Acting as their own superorganism (a term used to describe a social unit of animals of the same species) the majority of the band live together in London. Expertly choreographed and lead by the charismatic teenager Orono Noguchi, Superorganism have a massive future. This is only the beginning.
Four years has been a long time to wait for a new Something Anorak full-length. 2015’s Ageist EP and a split 7” with Gorgeous Bully have just about kept me going but as 2018 hit, I was ready for more. Bowling, the follow up to 2014’s Tiny Island, offers everything you’d want from the Bristol band. Jittery guitars wobble over pounding drum beats. Frontman Chris Barrett’s exquisite vocals hang delicately above it all. ‘Heterochormia’, a track we first heard over a year ago, is still brilliant and is joined by new highlights: opener ‘And In The Current State’ and ‘Pretty Little Box’ to name just a few. With a sound so uniquely beautiful, its a wonder more people aren’t talking about this record.
SORRY HOME DEMOS/NS VOL II
UNCLE BUZZARD ORIGAMI BOY [EP]
They may have signed to a major record label in Domino, but Sorry are a band who seem intent on doing things their own way. It’s rare to find bands whose music falls into the broad realm we call ‘indie’ to choose the mixtape as their preferred method of release. Sorry, however, are becoming masters of this art. Home Demo/ns Vol II, as you may have guessed, is their second collection of chopped together tunes, and along with its captivating DIY visuals lives up to the hype of London’s best new band. Melancholic throughout the band, lead by the monotonous vocals of Asha Lorenz and Louis O’Bryen, at times echo Alex G. There’s no doubt Sorry are not your conventional London indie band. They’re far more exciting.
Leeds is a proven breeding ground for exciting new talent. Bands like Drahla, Mush, Party hardly, Glass Mountain and Magick Mountain are making waves in their respective scenes. Now Leeds has a new sound to add to it’s already impressive roster, the erratic funk-glow of Uncle Buzzard. After just a handful of shows and a few tracks online, the band have already begun to make a name for themselves in the region and further afield. New EP Origami Boy is the first chance to sample the four-piece’s brand of synth-laden, shimmering pop. Singer George Manson’s often comical vocals melt over warm rhythms and glistening guitars. It’s a taste of the summer we’re so desperately longing for.,
YONAKA One listen to Yonaka and you’ll be empowered to strut into any challenging situation in cinematic slow motion; the confidence and power of an unapologetic rebel child, your Docs thumping down the corridor, a snarl on your lip, and the capacity to do anything. The Brighton fourpiece burst onto the scene in 2016, and their seminal EP Heavy supplies you with the sass to smile down the barrel of a gun. It all started about three years ago in a basement in Brighton; “We all knew of each other but never played together,” reminisces drummer Rob Mason. “I was playing with [guitarist and vocalist] Theresa in a project that she had, and she really wanted to start a band. Us two were living together at the time, and [guitarist] George overheard us practicing. He
messaged T and just said ‘yeah I really want to jam with you’ and that’s how it came around really, just writing stuff in our basement. [Bassist] Alex was on tour with another band and he was meant to stay for just one gig but ended up sticking about.” “When we first got together we were just playing in our basement working on stuff through crappy amps and a box as a bass drum; a lot of songs came out of that basement.” Despite their DIY roots, Yonaka’s sound oozes with snarling sophistication and depth. Each track on their recent EP Heavy has the strength to stand alone, and rings with utter power. The bite of ‘Run’ particularly stands out, with its thundering earworm hooks and Theresa’s immense vocal abilities on full show. “That was
the first song we released,” George tells me, after recalling the songwriting rush before their first ever show together; “It was at a venue called Sticky Mike’s. Theresa booked us the show before we even had a set together, so we had four weeks to write like 5 or 6 songs. It really came together in that time and it was good to have that pressure to just get our shit together. I don’t think any of the songs we did back then are out - they were at one point. The oldest song we have out is probably ‘Run’.” Brighton is long-renowned for being a honeypot of quality bands. From The Magic Gang to Royal Blood, and from Our Girl to The Kooks, the seaside town is an incubator for DIY musical talent. Yet, Yonaka seem to fit into a category of their own making. “There’s a lot of really good
bands coming out of Brighton, but in our case we kind of went against a lot of the music that was coming out at the time. We always want to keep our DIY ethos and an element of ourselves in our work. We started out that way and we still do a lot of production ourselves, but with the EP we worked with Roddie McDonald [The xx, Sampha]. It was great to work with him; he taught us a lot.” An EP that certainly encapsulates Yonaka’s refreshingly original songwriting, Heavy saunters through with a permeating darkness that is driven by Theresa’s compelling storytelling. “I’ve been waking like a newborn baby / Replacing milk with cold beer,” hypnotises Theresa on the title-track, vocals so seductive you feel like you’re a snake being charmed. “Theresa’s writing style is very personal; quite a lot of [songs have] really sensitive topics for her.” Rob tells me. “It’s very cathartic for her to get it out. It’s hard for her to do that with such personal things but it’s such a good way of dealing with it. I think naturally there’s an element of, not necessar-
ily anger, but just a massive energy behind our music and it’s quite intense. The subject matter is always quite intense and we just sort of latch onto that and channel it through the songs.” “Writing together is something we just naturally want to do - T’s always writing down lyrics in her phone.” Live, the four perform as if it’s the final time they play together. They put all their energy into the song, thrashing across the stage and engaging the audience with their captivating magnetism. “It’s therapeutic for me,” says George. “It’s a strange experience being on tour - you’re in a van for hours and hours and then you suddenly play a show and you get this adrenaline rush. When it comes to show time, no matter to how many people, you’ve got to give it your all.” It’s this compelling live performance that built up a well-deserved respect and following around Yonaka, despite their shortage of music online. “There was a period where we didn’t
really have any music out and just a few singles; the EP has really filled the void for now. We’ve got a lot of songs that could make an album up but we’re continuously writing and getting better and better at what we do and developing our sound. Writing together is something we just naturally want to do. It’s a very natural process. George is always messing about with loops in soundcheck and T’s always writing down lyrics and melodies in her phone. It’s a constant process.” So what’s the 2018 goal for Yonaka? “We’ve got this bottle of champagne that we’ve all signed and we’re not going to drink it until we play Brixton Academy.” With their mind-blowing potential and refreshing energy, it won’t be long until the four-piece are playing to academy crowds. Just keep topping up the ice bucket. Meg Firth
SKI SAIGON The transition from historical art project to band is a pretty rare one. This is the route of one of the most intriguing and exciting new bands around. It was Art Is Hard Records who helped to craft a “fictional history of the world’s first indoor ski slope, built by French colonists in the tropic city of Saigon in the 1930s,” into a real life band. Starting as a solo project, front man Rhys sent his concept along with some artwork and the story’s soundtrack. The result was an illustrated book accompanied by the debut EP by Ski Saigon, a book that is now the basis for the Ski Saigon project. “I don’t think many other labels would have supported such an unusual release.” Rhys ponders. The flexibility to experiment and push the boundaries of what music releases 28
can be is one of the beautiful things about independent record labels like Art Is Hard. Since that first foray into Ski Saigon back in 2016 the band has been through something of a transition, much like that of the colonists who set up this first indoor ski slope. From modest solo project to a captivating whole-band project, full to the brim with sinning synth, cool rhythm guitars, and melodies to which those French troops could sing all day long. As the band progresses, so does the way they work. “I’ve found it really interesting to see the process of songwriting change over the past year.” Drummer Jake explains. “People bring different ideas together. Over Christmas we did some songwriting practice evenings where the four songs were written by
four different people. We work them out and somehow it still sounds very ‘Ski Saigon’”. Most recently the band have been joined by Laura from Tigercats to add synth and vocals to the group. “This is the only band I’ve ever been in where I’ve been actively encouraged to bring my own songs to the band and help write lyrics and vocals.” She explains, “it’s really nice to be asked to sing as much as possible and to turn the synth up for a change”. It’s the band’s interesting song topics that make Ski Saigon such an interesting and rewarding band to listen to. Rhys hopes that, despite the new faces, this will develop as the band continue to write. “‘Who Smiled at Me Last Night’ is about a very famous Cambodian singer who died in unclear circumstances during the Khmer Rouge,” Rhys says of the last song from that first EP, Brings the Stormcloud, a name that references Greek mythology. Recent track ‘Iran Tourist Dream’ is about
exactly that, a desire to visit a preWorld War I Arabian Gulf. “I want the songs to be super evocative. It’s important to me to have a strong theme to a record. I hope the next album will be loosely about Antarctic exploration, but I’m not the only one writing songs anymore.” Between listening to the new Hookworms album on repeat and getting excited about Frankie Cosmos’s new record, Ski Saigon have been preparing an album of their own. With ten tracks written the band are now set to record soon and Jake is excited by how it’s sounding. “We want it to sound kind of weird. As the only person who hasn’t written any of the drums, I think I’m allowed to say that they’re really good. I listen to the demos often and feel quite proud of my friends.” I’ll be listening out for those drums, and what those skiing colonists are up to now when the album is released later this year. Ben Sargent
TALES BAR SIDE: FROM THE
It’s around half eight in the evening and the paracetamols have definitely worn off. I’ve been kidding myself for two very long hours now. Perhaps longer. My hangover has followed me to work and there are not enough pain killers in the world to deny that. Plus my burps still taste of Sambuca and cucumber. Cucumber? So, after night out I came home to realise all I had in the fridge was some mouldy jam and a cucumber. It’s not the prettiest of images. I didn’t plan to sit on the floor of my kitchen at seven this morning, eating a whole cucumber, humming Shania Twain while writing in my diary by the light of the open fridge. It just happened. Interestingly, my diary entry this morning reads like this: Luke hates Jesus but it’s all good now. I like cucumber. Have you seen my voice? Too much sleepy-face. Where did Shania Twan (sic) go? Cucumber. None of this is ideal. I was late for work because I spent twenty 30
minutes looking for my keys. They were in the fridge. My smile is so forced it’s hurting my face and I still have no idea who Luke is, or why he hates Jesus. So I sip gently on a glass of soda water and lean against the coffee machine. A lady sits at the bar in a dangerously beige jacket and a laugh that could skin rabbits. I contemplate asking her if she wouldn’t mind holding a bucket while I throw up over her face. She sits with a guy whose aftershave is so loud it’s giving me indigestion. He chews gum with his mouth open and begins and ends every sentence with ‘like’. I catch something like a cartoon UFO pass the front window and try to ignore it. I think I’m hallucinating. It all became clear as a man walks in with what can only be described as the hat that mocks all other hats. It’s so big he has to duck under the doorway to get in. His hat is wrapped in lights and strange neon baubles that spin. Think of the hat-lovechild between Dr Seuss and Jamiroquai after a cheap and dirty weekend at Mardi Gras. Then stick a miniature
fairground on it built out of Lego and spite by death-row zealots. Then cover that in radioactive lollipops and chillies and tiny flamencos and you’ll still be nowhere near. It’s the hat equivalent to sun stroke. It’s Christmas, only Mum’s basted the turkey in LSD. His smile and his hat reach the bar before he does. I continue leaning against the coffee machine while we exchange our hellos. I say I’m feeling great and thank him for asking. He wants a cup of hot water and asks if that’s alright. I nod and turn around. I ask if he would like a slice of lemon in his hot water. He no thanks’ me and in the reflection of the mirrors around the coffee machine, I see him produce a small transparent bag from his back pocket. I place the cup of hot water in front of him and watch as he ruffles through his small bag of used teabags. He chooses one and smiles at me as it plops into the water. He asks if it’s alright to have a tiny splash of milk and a teaspoon. I try not to look at his hat while I pass him the milk. It’s making me nauseous. I
Artwork by Tanith Price 31
Artwork by Tanith Price
give him a teaspoon and compliment him on the colour of his nail varnish. He tells me his daughter done it. He asks what time the open mic starts and who to ask. I point to the lady tuning her guitar and tell him any minute now. He pulls out a handful of change mixed in with what I hope are chocolate raisins and asks how much. I squint and tell him not to worry. He curtseys and leaves with a trail of thank-yous. I am baffled that neither of us mentioned the hat. The bar is reasonably quiet tonight. I haven’t had a chance to look at the list of performers for open mic, but I count four regulars and a guy I’ve never seen before, plus the hat. In these fuzzier moments, when the laughter is molten, when the soft-bellied moochers are occupied, I like hang back and pour myself a 32
dribble of something over ice and watch the open mic host run through her opening songs in peace. She receives her usual generous applause and a solitary whoop from the other end of the bar. The lady with the pile-driver laugh and the aftershave leave waving in my direction. I wave back. I’m in no rush to clear their empty glasses. Not tonight. The host introduces someone called Albatross and we applaud an empty stage. The host looks around nervously. She walks back to the microphone and calls once more for Albatross. This time a voice can be heard and from the darkened end of the toilet’s passageway comes a distinct glow. The hat approaches the microphone with his cup in hand and curtseys to the audience of twelve. He adjusts his glasses and
introduces himself as Albatross, the metaphorical bird hanging from the neck of society. He calls himself a travelling poet. Says he can live in anything, anywhere. Says he’s travelled far and wide. He calls England his drooling hinterland, full of unforgivable schmaltz and shop-bought ghastlies. He talks too fast, but I like him. He wants everyone in the bar to take just two minutes out of their lives – just two minutes apparently – and meet him on the Cathedral green at midday tomorrow. He wants to discuss peace and he wants us to join him in something called a pavement pact. He anyways us loudly and says he shall begin and end with a poem he wrote dedicated to a homeless man he met in Sheffield. He begins:
What rattles inside their polystyrene hearts? What is that lyric they sing? Among these brine and sinewy organs. Among these weaponised follies. Folding themselves into every insult. What gives? What keeps you here? Clem’s moustache growls nicotine. He pushes past the grey and disappears into clouds of second-hand smoke. From the dark side of his inhale he watches a world dragged down by desires reduced to stray teeth. But what say you, Clem? What grips your silence while the soft rebels shriek you down to vein embers? What keeps you among the fuzzed out jibber jabbed safari and their fatty ballads? Clem smiles like he’s swum lengths in all that yukky gabble, all that freelance anxiety. Like he knows their truth is just as dirty as their lies. Like he can taste their panic, arm deep, down the gullet of another vanity. So why don’t you chew these tweakers down to their squeaky clean skeletons? How can you stay quiet while the ballet of tongue mongrels glide along switch blades of hardy laughs? Clem sees decency as just a beartrapped sequel to pride, like marzipan made of knives, Clem says he’s happy to be washed up if all they can do is make frothy snow fairies in all that yummy gore.
He curtseys and thanks the crowd who continue to applaud. He raises his mug and leaves the stage. Past a man who puts his hand out to shake his. The hat doesn’t see it and the guy pretends to wave something away with his ignored hand. I raise my glass and gently tap the side. The hat stands among the audience and repeats that he’ll be on the Cathedral green at midday tomorrow. Says he’ll be reciting poetry and eating biscuits all afternoon. He asks us to leave our preconceptions at home. He says we should turn off the lights and throw stones at the voices. He’s losing me. But apparently we should join him in a frank discussion about peace, poetry and politics, but we should bring our own biscuits. There is another small applause. He thanks the audience once more before turning to leave. I wave and thank him as he passes. I watch him duck under the doorway while pushing the door open. He stands by the front window for a moment, before walking away, mumbling something to himself as he goes. I think about chasing him down and asking for my mug back. I really do. But as I think this, a customer, who looks like Richard Madeley, comes to the bar to tell me that the hat’s just walked out with our mug. I smile at him, or at least something similar, before walking away. Shelly Gormless
Because Clem knows this city. Knows there’s no difference between a hope and a lie. He knows when and where to melt into his own ghost, or someone elses, someone deader, much, much deader than them.
Photo by Francesca Tirpak
‘THANK YOU!’ Faith Vern’s microphone is turned up loud. Her voice pierces through the room, an exclamation point at the end of every song. Turning her back to the audience, she stares towards drummer Sophie Galpin. The next song kicks off with a change of gear to an electric drum kit. Vern’s microphone is cradled in her right hand as her left shoulder drops up and down to the music. PINS are treating fans at Belgrave Music Hall to a taste of their new material. The pulsating bass comes straight out of the old New York punk/new wave scene. Guitarist Lois Macdonald hunches over her guitar, intensely staring down individual members of the audience. Vern leads off the chorus... “you say I’m bad like it’s a bad thing”. She picks up a drumstick and smashes it into a cymbal. The new tracks are from the Bad Thing EP, released through their own HAUS 34
PINS OF PINS label and a perfect complement to the strikingly visual on-stage presence of the five-piece. They are at heart a DIY band, but PINS don’t do the typical DIY aesthetic - all basement VHS-style music videos, baggy slacker jumpers, nodding heads pointed down towards effects pedals. This is extroverted punk. Towards the end of the set they walk into the crowd pumping their fist into the air and to the side, bringing girls to the front and then on to the stage, in Kathleen Hanna style. Fashion is an important part of who PINS are. Leather clad with faux-fur coats (vegetarian friendly), the band have a distinctive look that preaches the PINS manifesto almost as much as the music. It may have earned them some early attention when, in their own words, they were still figuring things out musically. “There were people who had come to our first ever show because they already
knew we were a band before we knew we were a band” Macdonald tells the story over a beer before the gig. One of those early shows was at Kraak art gallery in Manchester, “there were like a million people on the guest list and we didn’t know most of them”. It’s hardly the usual inauspicious start most bands face, probably spending several nights warming up in small bars in front of friends. For lots of artists looking to make a name for themselves, getting that much attention from the first few gigs could only be a dream. A shortcut to success. PINS don’t quite see it that way, “people came asking if they could manage us, it’s just a bit creepy though. It’s like ‘how do you even know we exist?’ It was just a show that we’d put on by ourselves.” They can’t quite put their finger on what exactly it was that filled up guest lists and gig rooms before they ever touched a mixing board, but when asked if the look
helped, Vern adds her own perspective “if you mean do I think it was to do with it being a girl band then sort of yeah, because there really wasn’t any in Manchester, at least at that point. I couldn’t really have named one that was an active band. There were thousands of guy bands.” PINS elected to go their own way, rejecting label interest and embracing the DIY ethos from the very start. “One [label] wanted us to go and do some recording with them and maybe put it out. We just thought, we don’t wanna go and do a shit job and then never work with anyone again.” Macdonald searches for the words as she retells the story, “we were more nervous and maybe didn’t feel that we... we were still learning what we were meant to sound like and what we wanted to be as a band. Although I understand that it’s amazing that people were interested, I don’t think we felt any of them were the people we wanted to work with.” Instead, the band decided to put out their debut single ‘Eleventh Hour’ through their own label, originally released on cassette. “We just thought let’s do what we’re doing, get it how we wanna do it, and then see where it takes us”, Faith explained. Where it took PINS was to legendary independent label Bella Union, who eventually released their first album Girls Like Us in 2013, followed by their sophomore record Wild Nights in 2015. With that came radio airplay, a growing fanbase, and headline tours around the world. Despite the help, PINS maintained their DIY attitude. Through their rise they’ve had a hand in it all, funding their heavy tour schedules by selling hand-crafted merch; designing and
printing t-shirts, buttons, and anything else they can get involved with. “Merch is still massively important to us”, Faith remarks “you need stuff to sell at your shows, that’s how you make the money. We went on tour with The Breeders a few weeks ago, and we were only the opening band so the fees are really low, but we made loads of money on merch and so did they. I mean they made about 10x the amount we did but you know, they must have tripled their fee.” Even now, on their too-manyto-remember numbered headline tour (“it’s all a hazy memory, we’ve got memory loss”, Faith remarks) PINS are still making their own merch. And they’re no stranger to print. The band used to sell a zine called HAUS OF PINS PRESENTS for two pounds. Macdonald still enthuses about the medium, “one of my friends does one called Fanzine La Raya, they’re Spanish but they live in London. They’re always doing fairs and stuff like that. I guess it’s a really simple, cheap way of getting your ideas out there. You can do so much with them as well, and there’s riso printing that’s made it really easy to do. There’s always been a bit of a scene... a scene for zines, hasn’t there?” The PINS story is one of many, many hours of toil behind what the fans see on stage – it’s the grinding nature of trying to make it in the music industry. Ten years ago shows like X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent commodified the sale of the aspirational dreams of bedroom singers hoping for a quick road to stardom. Now, instant gratification can be an even easier find thanks to YouTube and the proliferation of smartphones
which put a camera into everybody’s pocket. But to create DIY art worth anything is tough work. At its best it’s completely honest and endearing. It also happens to be cool, an important capital for any musician wanting to stand out from the crowd. But it can also be isolating and exhausting; it can take from your wallet and offer little in return. These are the sacrifices that for a lucky few will bring an incredibly rewarding and empowering experience, and for most will be unsustainable and short-lived. The gig ends with an encore of ‘Aggrophobe’. Originally recorded with Iggy Pop, bassist Anna Donigan takes over the vocal duties. Half-talking, half-singing she moves from one side of the stage to the other. Head tucked over a microphone, brooding over lyrics that fall out to that electronic drumbeat again. It’s a marked departure from the sound of the last album, a fun rock-record, but a little clean in parts. The new energetic sound of PINS fits them so perfectly it feels familiar instantly. The next album promises to be a watershed moment for the band. It’s the music their identity demands. ‘Aggrophobe’ features on the Bad Thing EP, and with their latest offering PINS have gone back to the label where it all started, HAUS OF PINS. Asked why the move, Vern makes the point a succinct one. “To take back the reigns!” The full interview with PINS can be found on the Delinquent magazine website. Nathan Fogg
CHEST PAINS Jean Pavitt: Could you tell us a little more about who Chest Pains are and how you all met?
CP: We met through the Leeds circuit really. Callum and Sammy met through Uni and I (Calum) knew Sam (Alan) through a friend. I’d done sound for the old Chest Pains, they knew I was into it and asked me to join. We needed a bassist and I thought Sam would be a great addition. We all bonded really quickly which made the transition nice and smooth. We all share a mutual love for Joy Division so I think that’s the anchor we started writing from. Although we do have a lot of bands that we love, we all like really different music. We’ve tried to embrace that recently and pull inspiration from all over to write more dynamic music. We don’t want to be one thing, we don’t want fast song after fast song or whatever. 36
JP: You recorded your first EP with MJ in Suburban Home Studios. MJ seems a bit of a hero in Leeds, how was it working with him?
CP: MJ is a hero. He’s such a nice, talented man. He’s produced so many good bands it’s ridiculous. We knew his style would work well with what we were writing and hoped he’d have input on our songs. He did, and we couldn’t be happier with them. I’ve been following Hookworms from very early on and I’ve looked up to him/them since I first heard ‘Teen Dreams’ hoping one day I could be in a band like them. When he asked us to work with him we were over the moon. The new Hookworms album is insanely good as well. It’s so inspirational to see a band of normal guys from Leeds writing proper songs with substance but keeping the punk ethos and grit which is what I like to think we’re doing with
a different sound. I haven’t stopped listening to Microshift since it came out and I’ve been playing the beats in practice, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it seeps into my playing like the others have.
JP: Does Leeds as a city, and a community, influence your approach to writing, playing or promoting your music? CP: Yeah for sure. It’s got to be unconscious, we’d be a different band had we formed in London. Whether it’s the community aspect that Sammy talks about in ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ (off the new EP) or other bands around that we like, we’ll be taking it in. In ‘Love Thy Neighbor’, Sammy talks about the separation between generations and class systems and how this can cause such divide. Treat everyone the with equal respect no matter what, innocent
until proven guilty, love one another. I think in our community, that’s the way most of us think and it’s really great to see everyone trying to evolve and be more thoughtful and compassionate to everyone. That said, we do experience people outside of that circle that are pretty offside and that can be what fuels us. We never set out to be a political band, and we didn’t want to, but we ended up writing a few songs out of frustration and thought fuck it, people should hear it, that’s how we feel. It has definitely influenced the promoting as well with us picking out Leeds charities to donate to from Sammy’s fundraiser all-dayers.
money to put on bands for a good price. They’re also usually run by genuinely nice people that want you to succeed. We’re all members of Chunk so we’re all responsible for an Indie venue. All the venues support each other and there doesn’t feel like there’s any competitive vibes between us. It feels great to be part of a thriving scene with such great, conscientious people. I would have thought that if it weren’t for these indie venues, it would be much harder for us to get gigs and for a scene to develop properly.
JP: Leeds is spoilt for great venues. As a band, or individually, how important are independent venues to you?
CP: We really want to get over to Europe for a tour but we want to wait for the EP to come out so that’ll probably be the autumn tour season. We might do a live session at some point. We’re always writing so we’ll churn out as many as we can towards our next release. We’ve all got different bands so that’ll take a lot of our time.
CP: Indie venues are very important to us because that’s where we pretty much always play. They allow people like us that have very little
JP: What handful of bands should we be listening to? CP: We’ve all been smashing loads of IDLES. Hookworms. Ought. Cattle are the best live band going. Treeboy and Arc are the best boys. Curfew are a new band from London that we all love. We just brought them up to play with us at Nation of Shopkeepers last week actually. There’s so many current bands killing it at the minute I’d be here for hours.
JP: Aside from the EP, what’s in store for Chest Pains this year?
HOW HAVE I RUN OUT OF SOCKS, AGAIN? The reality of independence comes as a bit of a shock. When I first started thinking properly about what it means to be independent, I was probably about 16 and it went something along the lines of: “I don’t want to live here anymore, I can’t be in this house, I feel so trapped, I just want to be by myself, I need space, I can’t wait to leave,” etc etc. This would have been followed with some bullshit inner-monologue about how when I was living by myself everything would be better; I’d be tough and I’d never need help because I’d have my shit together. Everything would fall into place once I was out 38
on my own. I wouldn’t manage, I’d thrive. Everything would look and be exactly as I wanted. I wouldn’t need anyone. So 16-year-old-me evidently had things figured out in a way that has become completely unfathomable to the 20-year-oldversion. Addressing these issues one by one: I very much do want to live here anymore, I continually return to this house, I miss the freedom of living with my family, I’m pretty shit at being by myself, I miss the countryside, there’s no space in the city, and I can’t wait to come back. It all backfired somewhat.
I’m at university in London, so obviously, I do not live by myself. There’s that first naive imagining out of the way. There is absolutely no way that I could afford to be financially independent if I were living out my teenage hermitage dreams in the big city. I share a house with six other people, which switches between being fantastic and an utter fucking nightmare about eight times a day. We watch films together at night; the kitchen floor is always sticky. They check on me if I hide away in my room for hours on end; they are incapable of using a bin. There’s always someone for company; they can’t clean dishes properly. We cook for each other; there are beard trimmings in the bathroom sink. We continually share ideas and critique each other’s work; they forget to lock the doors at night. Like, cool if you all want to get murdered in your sleep, you’re going about it in the most efficient way possible. Tough, I would definitely say that I am, but perhaps more so because my opinion on what that entails has changed dramatically in the last four years. I’ve come to realise
that the image of perfect, happy isolation that I had fabricated was nonsense. Isolation is not the key to strength. In making and nurturing real friendships I’ve created a network of people to lean on when life inevitably gets shit. I have absolutely no shame in my collection of trauma-specific advisors. I’ve got friends for art inspiration, friends for emotional ego boosting, depression related enquiries, pep talks, relationship advice, general venting of anger, homesickness, and hysterical sobbing. Then I have a further, and arguably even more valuable, collection of miscellaneous mums with whom to discuss and advise on: sex, contraception, medical stuff, friends who are doing damage to themselves, and future-related panic. Human beings are sociable banks of empathy and experience, and being able to talk to each other alleviates so much unnecessary upset. Asking for help is an act of independence and functionality, and I’m glad it finally dawned on me. Saying that I’m thriving would probably be a bit of a stretch. I am consistently surprised by my ability
to run out of clean socks on a weekly basis. I have resorted to eating sweet potato and peanut butter for breakfast more times than I care to admit, and I have unintentionally gone upwards of four days without a shower on more than one occasion. Keeping my head above water might be more accurate, as such I’ve taken to celebrating the victory in remembering to wash my sheets, or submitting my work for an exhibition. Maintaining any semblance of a balance between coursework, money-making, personal hygiene, eating habits, and sleep has proven to be decidedly more difficult than I had expected from my cushy viewpoint circa 2012. I’ve started just prioritising whichever aspect of my life has fallen the most dramatically off the wagon this week. Currently, I’m working on making any kind of artwork and feeding myself a balanced diet. I’m yet to win the Turner Prize, but there’s always third year. I don’t know where I’d imagined myself living post nest-fly but let me tell you now it was going to be aesthetic AF. Cut flowers in every room, waxed hardwood floors, framed artwork, an unnecessary
amount of occasional crockery, and a faint scent of bleach and lavender pervading the bathroom. Unfortunately, that shit has been shot down in flames by housemates and landlord. Crockery-wise I gave up on the dreams of ceremonial tea-sets in place of four plates which can be hidden safely in my cupboard, away from a group of twenty-year-olds who seem completely perplexed by the concept of washing-up liquid and the advantages of using hot water to remove grease and chunks of vegetable. Flowers, hardwood, and frames are probably going to have to sit on the backburner until I’m around 40 and have the money to blow on a house that boasts design features other than just being watertight. And the cleanliness thing may need to hold tight too; I’m currently dealing with people who stack their plates the eating way up on the draining board and leave piles of dirty socks dotted around the living room. Bleached surfaces seems a bit out of the question. What I have created, however, is a bedroom that, main road and sever-
al bus routes aside, is a sanctuary so peaceful and tidy that people are actually surprised by it, “oh it’s so clean” has been said more than once. I feel like this is more an act of defiance against the rest of the house than anything else; like fuck am I going to let people think the detritus filled shithole that is our kitchen in any way represents me. This little eleven by six-foot box is probably the closest I have come, in any way, to fulfilling my inane ideas about being a grown up. I’ve got an enamelled aluminium topped desk which I found and restored, which is now home to framed photos, some wilting roses and an ancient octagonal mirror that my flatmate found for me last year. There are ever-growing stacks of books on every possible surface and my cameras are dotted around in about as many places. I am fully living the middle-aged woman’s dream, if in more of condensed space than I may have previously envisaged. The idea of independence is nonsensical, oxymoronic; as social creatures to the point of our own
demise, we are highly unlikely to succeed in choreographing a life of total seclusion without becoming entirely miserable. Not to say that I don’t spend an increasing portion of my waking hours toying with ways to systematically ship every one of my housemates to Antarctica without any thermals, but I do love and need them. The only way that I’ve been able to find, so far, of playing the functioning adult is to cohabit with, rely on, and relate to other people. Words and artwork by Daisy Morey @daismorey
FABIAN JACK Ellie Bond: What should we know about Fabian Jack? FJ: We’re a new band on the London gig scene, rocking pop tunes until we cook in our own sweat wherever and whenever we can. We want people to get involved in our shows. Dance, sing along, or wave a glowstick at us. You’re as much a part of the gig as we are! EB: How did you guys meet? FJ: We’ve all been good friends for ages. Obviously, myself and Piera (brother and sister), who front the band, have been close since birth. We’ve worked in bars and shops together, whilst playing covers to scrape some dough to get by. I guess Fabian Jack could have happened a while ago, but let’s just say we’ve earned our stripes and we’re putting it all right here. EB: What/who are your inspirations? FJ: Too many to mention. We have a healthy contrasting mix of influences personal to us that adds to the melt-
ing pot, but if we were to describe our sound, then these bands may help you get an idea of where we’re coming from: Police, The Cure, Flaming Lips, Killers, We are Scientists, Blondie, Bloc Party. EB: What’s the hardest part of being a DIY band?
cause we’ve been friends for ages, but as a band I’d say when we’re in the band room together, we’re always able to have a giggle no matter what. We’re all very honest with each other, but we never take it personally. It’s a bit cheesy, but we’re a team and creating the tunes as a band is a memory and bonding experience that becomes even more amazing when you play them live.
FJ: There’s just a lot of work to do, and just when you think you can relax, there’s more. It would be nice if somebody could help manage gigs, social media, doing interviews like this one etc. Not that I hate it! It’s interesting talking to people in the industry and listening to their advice. I would say that things are going well and it’s all very positive so far! We’re playing great shows and our contacts are building up. We’ll be outside the M25 SOON! Woohoo!
EB: What song should everyone listen to?
EB: What’s been your favourite memory with the band?
If you go to our website, www.fabianjack.com, and subscribe, we’ll send it to you for free!
FJ: I think a lot of our memories come from outside the band be-
FJ: Well, we released our first single in November 2017, so I think everyone should probably listen and buy it, probably. It’s the first song we ever wrote together and it’s called ‘It All Starts Here’. The song is about the start of our journey with Fabian Jack. It’s about starting fresh, turning over a new leaf and going for it! It’s pretty uplifting!
Photos by Paul Clarke 43
WHO: OSCAR JEROME CHOSEN BY: MOLLY HAYDEN WHERE: LONDON FOR FANS OF: EZRA COLLECTIVE WU-LU BLUE LAB BEATS
WHO: LICE CHOSEN BY: TANITH PRICE WHERE: BRISTOL FOR FANS OF: HMLTD FAT WHITE FAMILY ABATTOIR BLUES
WHO: BREWER CHOSEN BY: DAISY MOREY WHERE: LONDON FOR FANS OF: TY SEGALL OH SEES MEATBODIES
WHO: STORNOWAY CHOSEN BY: ELLIE BOND WHERE: OXFORD FOR FANS OF: VILLAGERS NOAH AND THE WHALE SLOW CLUB
WHO: FEDERICO ALBANESE CHOSEN BY: SHELLY GORMLESS WHERE: MILAN / BERLIN FOR FANS OF: JÓHAN JÓHANSSON NILS FRAHM JULIEN MARCHAL
CONTRIBUTORS’ CHOICE’ 44
WHO: JW RIDLEY CHOSEN BY: NATHAN FOGG WHERE: LONDON FOR FANS OF: ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN JOY DIVISION
WHO: NILÃœFER YANYA CHOSEN BY: MEG FIRTH WHERE: LONDON FOR FANS OF: LAURA MVULA IZZY BIZU NAO
WHO: HOTEL LUX CHOSEN BY: RYAN MORGAN WHERE: LONDON FOR FANS OF: YOWL BLOODY KNEES GOAT GIRL
WHO: INLAND TAIPAN CHOSEN BY: JAKE CROSSLAND WHERE: MANCHESTER FOR FANS OF: CHASTITY BELT BETH JEANS HOUGHTEN
WHO: KAPUTT CHOSEN BY: BEN SARGENT WHERE: GLASGOW FOR FANS OF: DUDS OMNI PARQUET COURTS
WHO: PINK KINK CHOSEN BY: JEAN PAVITT WHERE: LIVERPOOL FOR FANS OF: DREAM WIFE THE ORIELLES HMLTD
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Delinquent Magazine @delinquentmag delinquentzine
This issue celebrates our independents, from record labels to living on your own. Featuring Porridge Radio, Clue Records, Penelope Isles, Yo...
Published on Apr 7, 2018
This issue celebrates our independents, from record labels to living on your own. Featuring Porridge Radio, Clue Records, Penelope Isles, Yo...