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e h t h c t a Wt hrone’s slowthai



You can find new backing singers in the most unexpected of places, these days.

MAY 2019 QUESTION! In honour of cover star slowthai getting mashed in a pie shop, we ask, what are DIY’s favourite pub grub classics?



Managing Editor Despite absolutely refusing to get fish from a chippie throughout my entire childhood - big up the battered sausage! - I must say I do very much have a soft spot for fish, chips and mushy peas now. Mmmmmhmm.

EMMA SWANN • Founding Editor Veggie options can be bloody awful in pubs, which is why when all my pals once had a full Sunday lunch, I sat with a small ramekin of roasties. So hooray for whoever popularised battered halloumi!

LISA WRIGHT • Features Editor Because of my kind and benevolent nature, I am a fan of most shareable options: nachos, baked camembert etc. Top shout out to the little chicken bites in Spoons. Love u guys. LOUISE MASON • Art Director Quadruple mash, exactly as that pictured going into slowthai’s face. WILL RICHARDS • Digital Editor Scampi and chips, which has without doubt been the the toughest thing to resist in my five years of vegetarianism.

Times of uncertainty breed great art, and as we find ourselves even more confused with the current political climate, the arrival of Northampton rapper slowthai feels exciting, feels necessary. Having built a reputation on his unabashed, frenzied live shows, it’s with his next step - and debut ‘Nothing Great About Britain’ - that he’s making his bold next move, and in the process, becoming one of the vital voices for young people across this broken nation. An icon in the making, this issue we’re celebrating his innate Britishness, and how he’s truly focused on changing the fates of the disillusioned among us. Elsewhere this month, we stroll down memory lane with Whenyoung in celebration of their debut album, catch up with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes to talk album three, and witness the carnage whipped up by Amyl and the Sniffers over in Hamburg. Plus, there’s chats with Trudy and the Romance, Charly Bliss and Two Door Cinema Club - loads to sink your teeth into! Sarah Jamieson, Managing Editor

LISTENING POST What’s been blasting from speakers in the DIY office this month? PENELOPE ISLES - UNTIL THE TIDE CREEPS IN Probably not a reference to mid-’00s, jangly indie types The Thrills’ single, and admittedly probably all the better for it. The Brighton quartet’s debut instead, flits from heady to heavy with style.

PIXX - SMALL MERCIES On 2017 debut ‘The Age of Anxiety’, Pixx pricked up our ears with an album full of understated, often ambient yet unexpectedly personalitydrenched electronics. Now she’s back with follow-up ‘Small Mercies’: you’ll be thanking heaven for them.

LADY GAGA AND BRADLEY COOPER SHALLOW Mark Ronson’s got a new album out soon: undoubtedly great news for all you pop pickers out there. But will any of the tracks match his gargantuan Gaga collab, aka the greatest karaoke track since ‘My Way’? It’s a big ask, tbh. 3

CONTENTS Shout out to: Castle’s Pie & Mash, the Auld Shillelagh, Frank Carter’s cupboard of horse skulls, DIY’s new home at The Biscuit Factory - please send welcome gifts - and our dearly departing Digital Editor, Wild Bill Richards. Good luck in future endeavours, you massive legend. Founding Editor Emma Swann Managing Editor Sarah Jamieson Features Editor Lisa Wright Digital Editor Will Richards Staff Writer Rachel Finn Art Direction & Design Louise Mason Contributors Alex Cabré, Ben Tipple, Chris Taylor, Eloise Bulmer, Ffion Riordan-Jones, George Wilde, James Bentley, Joe Goggins, Louisa Dixon, Matthew Davies Lomb ardi, Patrick Clarke, Sam Davies, Thomas Hobbs, Tom Sloman. Photographers Ania Shrimpton, Carolina Faruolo, Charles Engelken, Ed Miles, James Kelly, Jono White, Mike Massaro, Patrick Gunning, Phil Smithies. Cover photo: Jono White. Photo this page: Phil Smithies For DIY editorial: info@ For DIY sales: For DIY stockist enquiries:


DIY HQ, Unit K309, The Biscuit Factory, 100 Drummond Road, London SE16 4DG







All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of DIY. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which DIY holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally.



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Wake up NEWS “I wandered lonely as a cloud…”




returned from the brink with 2016’s ‘Gameshow’, it was sink or swim. Now, they’re ready to float right to the top of the pack with ‘False Alarm’, their most experimental album yet. Words: Lisa Wright.


“We always had this feeling of not belonging, but after ‘Gameshow’ we thought: we’re allowed to be here.” - Alex Trimble


t was nervewracking for a very long time. There were about three years where we didn’t play shows and for a long portion of that we weren’t even talking. Things got bad, and if we hadn’t taken that break it definitely would have been the end,” begins Alex Trimble. “Kev [Baird, bass] and I had some really big beef; we totally hated each other. It went from shouting matches to total silence, and that’s even worse. When you’re in the same room, and you don’t even talk...” Sitting in a sunny North London pub garden, supping on his second bank holiday Guinness of the afternoon, the frankness and humour with which the Two Door Cinema Club singer deploys these bleak anecdotes of the Bangor band’s still-recent time in the wilderness seems surprising at first. Though they’ve been back in the ring since 2016’s third album ‘Gameshow’, the years preceding that were nothing if not rocky for the trio - completed by guitarist Sam Halliday. In 2014, they cancelled their Latitude headline set due to Alex’s deteriorating mental and physical health; after that, they took an extended break, from the band and from each other, that could very easily have turned permanent. But, after a series of

tentative steps back into the ring, the trio emerged with a record - one that Alex now retrospectively regards as an album that “took chances out of necessity, because we’d become different people so we had no choice”. And then they braved the potentially even bigger test of getting back in the van and taking it on the road. “Starting to tour was definitely weird; every night we’d be wondering if anyone was gonna come. Even if we were playing midway up the bill on a festival, we’d be thinking that people were just waiting for whoever’s next,” he says, “but at some point everything just flipped on its head. We’ve been a band for 12 years, and we always had this feeling of not belonging, but it only took a few months after ‘Gameshow’ came out when we thought, you know what: we’re allowed to be here.” It’s this confidence and newfound sense of freedom that forms the sparkling backbone of the band’s forthcoming fourth album ‘False Alarm’. After years of trying to find their feet and catch up with the rapid success that was thrust upon them as young men at the turn of the decade, and a subsequent period having to re-establish themselves interpersonally and to the rest of the world, now Two Door Cinema Club seem to finally be comfortable in their own skin and are reaping the artistic spoils that come with it. “There was a real tentativeness about how we approached everything we did before, but now everyone is so much more at ease,” grins Alex. “It sounds strange, but we’d never had even a hint of a conversation about what we actually wanted out of [the band] before. But now we’ve left no stone unturned and there really is no fear that we’re gonna go back to the shit.” Writing began while the band were still touring


‘Gameshow’, but it was in mid-2018, when Alex decamped to the US to work with frequent collaborator Garret ‘Jacknife’ Lee when things began properly taking shape. “We’d been working on about 10 songs, and then I sent them to Kevin and Sam. I was doing these characters, not that they have names and identities but they’re different versions of me. Sam really got into that idea and started trying to make his guitar not sound like a guitar, and Kev was moving from bass guitar onto bass synthesiser and everyone got the bug by the end of it. “There are some songs where I’m singing differently and [much lower], which I’ve always been able to do but I was scared because I thought people knew me for a certain kind of thing that I needed to stick with,” he continues. “It seems so crazy to me now that I never really tried that stuff before because a lot of my heroes growing up were people that did take on personas and create characters like David Bowie

and Mark Mothersbaugh from Devo. And it was OK that they wanted to be someone else; it becomes exciting and it becomes part of you. Having the risks on ‘Gameshow’ pay off somewhat meant that when we came back to write another record then there were no rules anymore. We could do whatever the hell we wanted and it infected everyone. Instead of being experiments that we saved for... never, pretty much all of our most ridiculous ideas made the record.” Hyper-stylised, ‘80s synth strut ‘Talk’ - with its playfully literal lyric video - might have introduced their new ‘anything goes’ approach, but it’s recent single ‘Satellite’, with its unrecognisable baritone (yup, that’s Alex) and verses that somewhat recall Macca’s famously weird ‘Temporary Secretary’, that really sets the tone for what’s to come. There’s still a massive bop-along chorus, because this is Two Door we’re talking about, but it’s cheekier, more interesting, more informed by an adulthood

of crate-digging than their early pop hits understandably ever could be. “Garret and I are both fairly obsessive record collectors and we’d be in the studio in the morning, having a coffee and playing records. We’d discover stuff and some of it ended up on the album,” continues the singer. “[Zimbabwean group] Mokoomba are on the record and Open Mike Eagle, who I’d never heard of before he played him to me, ended up [guesting] on it. It was another part of there being no rules; if it’s good, then enjoy it.” The most ridiculous idea of all? The launch of the album itself, which was heralded by literally shooting the record into space. “I’ve always been obsessed with space; that’s my number one interest outside of creating things. So we found this company based in Sheffield that will take anything you have and put it in space,” Alex laughs. “So we paid them some money and they attached our record to this weather balloon that goes 36km into the atmosphere and out to just before orbit and comes crashing down to earth. It’s something I just got a kick out of, and... we can now?! Being your own record label is kind of amazing...” “In control of their own present and future, and with a forthcoming mammoth O2 Arena show in the pipeline to show for their troubles, Two Door Cinema Club have hauled themselves out of the mire, dusted themselves off and found genuine fulfilment in finally treading the path that suits them best. “When we were making our first couple of records, we didn’t even know where we stood; we were like a mongrel band who were bred from all these different places - from Northern Ireland and playing guitars, but signed to a record label from Paris that predominantly put out dance music. People didn’t know where to put us and it was horrible!” Alex exclaims. “It was horrible not having a total sense of identity, because we couldn’t expect anyone to understand who we were if we didn’t. But now there’s been a shift, and it’s taken 10 years and a few records but people get it now. It makes sense what we do now.” ‘False Alarm’ is out 14th June via Prolifica / [PIAS]. DIY

“Pretty much all of our most ridiculous ideas made the record.” - Alex Trimble 8 DIYMAG.COM





We love dogs. You love dogs. Here are some pop stars’ dogs. This month: Laura Hayden of Anteros and her pooch, Frida.

These days, even yer gran is posting selfies on Instagram. Instagran, more like. Everyone has it now, including all our fave bands. Here’s a brief catch-up on music’s finest photo-taking action as of late.

S P OT T E D Believe it or not, pop and rock stars sometimes do normal things, too. They get lost, go food shopping, and catch buses – all sorts. This month, we clocked a fair few of them roaming around… Members of Wolf Alice, Peace, Demob Happy and more shedding a fond tear at Superfood’s farewell gig; Orlando ex-Maccabees down the front for Fontaines DC’s London show; Slaves’ Isaac and Wolf Alice’s (again) Ellie on a date to watch IDLES, and Limmy (?!) for some reason next door to DIY HQ.

Name of pup: Frida Age: 1.5 years old Breed: Frug (Pug x French Bulldog) Favourite things: People, peanut butter and stolen socks. Tell us a story about her: She loves bath time, especially hijacking other people’s bath times. Whenever I run a shower, she’s the first to jump in. One time we caught her trying to hijack a bubble bath...

Looks like Jack had a bit of a rough night… #GameOfFoals (@jackbevan)

WHAT LEDGE A true motto to live by. (@isaacbumholman)

NICOLAS CAGE OK, so - granted - we usually reserve this most coveted of spots for a proper musician, what with us being a music mag an’ all. But sometimes, we have to give credit where credit’s due and doff our caps to someone outside the biz who’s gone above and musically beyond in their own special way. Enter Nicolas Cage who, having recently had his shotgun wedding annulled, has spent the last month traversing the karaoke bars of LA, belting out a very angry version of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’. Honestly bbz, it’s what we’d do too. So here’s to you, Nic: may your next romance be fruitful, and there’s a Lucky Voice on these shores just waiting to receive you if it’s not.


Here’s Mez, trying out a new career as Joe IDLES’ chauffeur. (@lifeband)



Thursday 11 July


THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE QUEEN Wednesday 17 July

Friday 12 July



Thursday 18 July


Friday 19 July

Saturday 13 July

+ very special guest


Tuesday 16 July


Saturday 20 July

Sunday 14 July Monday 15 July




Sunday 21 July


11 − 21 JULY 2019 BOOK NOW #SummerSeriesGigs 11

After six years and two albums of giddy good times, Birmingham legends SUPERFOOD have (sob) decided to call it a day. We went down to their farewell show at London’s Scala to raise a glass to one of the most underrated bands in the game – see you in 10 years for the reunion, yeah?  Words: Lisa Wright. Photos: Emma Swann, Phil Smithies, Mike Massaro and Carolina Faruolo.

Superlove Superlove T he atmosphere at a farewell show is a strange one to navigate. On one hand, it’s a sad occasion - the final chance (ever!) to see a beloved band do their thing. On the other, there’s a kind of defiant joy involved, the need to dance it out as hard as you can and soak up every possible moment of glee before it’s too late. Goodbye gigs of recent memory have fallen somewhere within that spectrum - The Maccabees a kind of dancing, weeping mash of feelings; Wild Beasts just a big pile of tears on the floor. But Superfood, well, Superfood have never really been ones to dwell on the bleaker side of life, so it seems fitting for Birmingham’s good time party boys to go out with possibly the most giddy show of their careers. Yeah, tonight is sad, but that doesn’t mean everyone isn’t gonna have a rager.

Filling Kings Cross’ Scala to the brim, it takes mere seconds of effervescent banger ‘Where’s The Bass Amp?’ for the crowd to erupt in a dancing, moshing pile of limbs. Around the edge of the venue’s balcony, a notable cross section of indie faves (Wolf Alice, Peace, Demob Happy, Vant et al) might be testament to just how well-liked Dom Ganderton and Ryan Malcolm are among the scene, but in the downstairs standing area there’s not really time to think about these things unless you want an accidental pint in the face. Declaring that they’re gonna work their way from the old to the new, the pair – bolstered by live bassist Alice Costelloe and drummer Aramis Gorriette - launch 12 DIYMAG.COM

into a bunch of debut album faves that haven’t often seen the light of day since Superfood’s original incarnation as a fully-fledged four-piece. ‘You Can Believe’ still swaggers like ‘Leisure’-era Blur incarnate; ‘Right On Satellite’ is a jubilant thing whose bending guitar line reminds that Dom’s tendency to spaff off about a love of Kula Shaker probably wasn’t a lie, while they even hark back to early EP ‘Mam’ with the surreal lyrical jaunt of ‘Houses On The Plain’. Sure, the pair may have gotten more progressive with their songwriting over time, but it’s these weird, playful early offerings that first showcased the innate twinkle in their eye. Then we move into some of second album ‘Bambino’’s highlights, imbued with a more adventurous sonic palette but that same slight flavour for the odd that always had them happily dancing slightly on the peripheries of their indie peers. From the playground-sampling ‘Double Dutch’ to the dub-tinged ‘I Can’t See’ to the pure honey-soaked good vibes of ‘Natural Supersoul’, they’re sung back with gusto – Dom regularly letting the crowd take over his vocals, which they do with volume. Then there’s time for one final customary run through of their namesake calling card ‘Superfood’ and, after six years in the game, that’s it. Though there’s an undercurrent of bittersweet victory to tonight, the real beauty of a goodbye show is that – in a world where it’s so easy to get swept up in streaming stats and social media data - it brings together the people who give a shit the most to toast and celebrate what’s actually important about being in a band: brilliant, exciting music and having the kind of connection with people that makes them truly miss you when you’re gone. And sure, Superfood might never have headlined Glastonbury or sold a million records, but tonight is proof that in those categories, the ones that really matter, they’ve always been winners through and through. DIy


Over here at DIY Towers, we’ve loved Superfood from the word go. Let’s take a look back through the photo album, shall we?

Camera shy, October 2014


Superfood x DIY Poster zine, July 2014

A potted run through of Superfood’s biggest bangers.

‘BUBBLES’, 2013

Squad goals: on the Dirty Hit tour, Brighton, March 2017

One day we went to Lidl: Nottingham, March 2017

An early highlight from EP ‘Mam’, ‘Bubbles’’ tetchy riff was a calling card at their shows from the off. Who cares that its lyrics were about as cloaked as they come? It didn’t stop people shouting along every time.

‘TV’, 2014

Re-recorded for debut ‘Don’t Say That’, ‘TV’ was a lolloping, Britpop-esque charge out of the tracks – Dom lamenting his insomnia over bouncing crashes of guitar that made boredom sound brilliantly fun.

Brighton, March 2017


Probably the highlight of their debut, a solid gold slammer with the kind of sky high chorus that’s built for airpunching abandon.

Forever blowing ‘Bubbles’: London, July 2014


London, August 2017 Bestival, The Great Escape, Brighton, May 2017

August 2018

From the first time the DIY office clapped our ears around this irrepressible nugget of funky joy... well, it’s been a staple on the Friday afternoon good vibes playlist ever since.


We always knew Superfood could do indie classics with the best of them, but ‘Natural Supersoul’ proved their palette was far wider and warmer than just guitar hits. The aural sound of a Vitamin D sun hit. 13



“Thank you precious body for healing... you are a wonderful thing, now go create and be other once again,” FKA twigs wrote last year upon having an operation to remove six fibroid tumours from her body. Over the past year, the singer has been posting Instagram videos of herself learning to pole dance, and her expertise is shown in full form in the video for comeback single ‘Cellophane’. “Why don’t I do it for you?” she bemoans softly on the gorgeously understated return, swapping the spiky, hyper-modern beats of her 2014 debut for something more confessional. Her body has healed though, and through laying these emotions out on ‘Cellophane’, her heartbreak won’t be far behind. (Will Richards)

have you heard? Marika Hackman

I’M NOT WHERE YOU ARE .....................................

“Ladies and gentlemen hold on to your wigs cause this bish is back,” is how Marika Hackman opted to announce her return. ‘i’m not where you are’ introduces a bolder, more pop-ready Marika, with a track about self-sabotaging relationships and feeling cut off from the rest of the world. “Lately I’ve been trying to find / The point in human contact,” she sings, with deadpan delivery and a knowing eye-roll before ricocheting into a chorus full of winding guitars and a harmonising vocal line. It may be a track born from isolation, but Marika harnesses those feels and pushes them in an upbeat, invigorating new direction. (Rachel Finn) 14 DIYMAG.COM

BORDERLINE ..........................................

Mark Ronson ft Lykke Li


When Tame Impala went on US telly to play ‘Borderline’, it made a certain but soft impression. A disco bop with few rough edges, it was a pleasant if largely unremarkable return. On record, though, it comes to life, Kevin Parker’s vocals shining through gorgeously. Often merely a textural addition to the smorgasbord of sounds on a Tame Impala song, they take the reigns here. “Will I be known and loved? / LA really messed me up” he states over a rhythmic melody, before settling upon some kind of resolution at its end: “Shout out to what is done / RIP, here comes the sun”. It’s the life-affirming sound of enlightenment. (Will Richards)

If the massive, Mileyfeaturing ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’ set a fairly ridiculous bar for M-Ron’s latest LP, then ‘Late Night Feelings’ sends it in a totally different direction. Here, low slung basslines and a vague disco shoulder shimmy are the order of the day. It’s got more than a dash of Nile Rodgers funk, but brought up to date with the singer’s singular vocal. The fact that she is, presumably, crooning a very classy booty call only adds to the vague flutter of drama. ‘Late Night Feelings’ isn’t going to be ol’ Ronny’s big time moneymaker, but it’s a solid reminder that he can pen subtle bops just as well. (Lisa Wright)

Not gonna lie, there’s something chilling about reading ‘…with Pharrell’ these days; post the ubiquitousness of kids’ favourite ‘Happy’ his name evokes not stellar beats but felt tip-stained jazz hands. But ‘Saw Lightning’ is a triumph. A pulsating beat that’s heavier than anything he’s released in some time; grit behind Beck’s trademark white boy rap; a sense of fun in the chorus that ‘Colors’ didn’t quite manage. Complete with motifs popping up from across his catalogue notably his slide guitar - it’s like he’s been treading water for the past decade. Pharrell? Blink and you’ll miss him, tbqhwy. Bring on ‘Hyperspace’. (Emma Swann)

Tame Impala

LATE NIGHT FEELINGS .....................................

SAW LIGHTNING .....................................


24.05.19 15

NE WS of

Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest

10 years since the release of the Brooklyn quartet’s heart-fluttering third LP, ‘Veckatimest’ still stands up as the purest, most affective work of their canon. Words: Lisa Wright.


ome bands reach their peak with their first, vital statement, never to be repeated quite as successfully again; others cast aside their formative guises to reinvent themselves as ‘credible’, evolved versions of their previous selves. For Grizzly Bear, however, the road to superlative third album ‘Veckatimest’ was - suitably for a band who’ve never been ones for whistles and bells - distinctly less showy. Initially beginning life as singer Ed Droste’s solo project, he released 2004 debut ‘Horn of Plenty’ to a small amount of buzz within the local Brooklyn scene, before first recruiting bassist Chris Taylor and drummer Chris Bear, and then guitarist Daniel Rossen soon after. A second album, 2006’s ‘Yellow House’, followed, spawning an unlikely ‘hit’ in the subtle swells of ‘Knife’ - a misleadingly romantic offering that was actually about “stabbing [someone] in the back”. Yet, though these early records had established Ed and co as smart songwriters within an American alt-scene (Animal Collective, Beach House etc) already populated by clever clogs types, no-one could have expected just how far the quartet would have progressed by 2009. The beauty of ‘Veckatimest’ isn’t that it swoops in as any kind of big, showy statement; there’s little here that veers too far away from mid-tempo


The Facts

Released: 26th May 2009 Stand-out tracks: ‘Two Weeks’, ‘Southern Point’, ‘Ready, Able’ Tell your mates: The album’s title came from Veckatimest Island - a small area off the coast of Cape Cod, where the band were recording and where Ed’s grandmother owned a house.

and it’s only the plinking pianos of single ‘Two Weeks’ that stand out as an obvious radiofriendly move. But across its 12 tracks, the band created a record that was somehow meticulous in its execution while still bursting with affective moments and spine-tingling heart. From the soft, creeping bass that opens ‘Southern Point’ to the swelling orchestral majesty of ‘I Live With You’, ‘Veckatimest’ is a record that’s at once massively widescreen, combining layers of intricatelydetailed instrumentation and huge ambition, yet always intimate. Whether in the soft lament of ‘Cheerleader’, the heavenly chorus of ‘While You Wait For The Others’ or the plaintive closing sigh of ‘Foreground’, Grizzly Bear have a knack of sounding like they’re always disclosing secret information, made only for the listener, despite actually concocting the kind of sound that could - and would go onto - fill theatres and festival main stages for years to come. And, in their four members, they had a combination of voices that were goosebump-inducing at every turn. Landing them not just their first chart position, but a fully-fledged Top 10, and establishing them as one of the most respected, critically-acclaimed bands of their generation, ‘Veckatimest’ was a move of understated genius that still sounds just as lush and heartbreaking a decade later. DIY








Available via Minority Records and at online streaming services

DVA Cherries On Air (Chuchel OST) LP/DOWNLOAD

HEY!ZEUS.I &Â RADIMO Are We Now Here or Nowhere?





HIT LIST In the market for more than just music? We’ve got you covered. Here are some of DIY’s favourite new finds, worth spending your spare pennies on this month. DON JULIO 70 TEQUILA You know the wince that follows a shot of bad tequila? Never suffer that again with a sip of the good stuff: smooth, clear, vanillatinged and bloody delicious. RRP: £70 Buy it:

HOUSE OF MARLEY POSITIVE VIBRATION HEADPHONES Found a bunch of brilliant new bands in your beloved new issue of DIY? Listen to them in style and with a conscience - all HoM’s products are made from ethically-sourced materials. RRP: £69.99 Buy it: Amazon


IDLES BRUTALIST SOCIAL CLUB T-SHIRT Not content with making glorious music and bringing together a whole community of fans, IDLES are also rather good at merch - like this natty (and amusing) design. We like. RRP: £20 Buy it:


LNSOURCE In desperate need of a live music fix but can’t decide where or who? If you feel too spoilt for choice, here’s just a few of LNSource’s upcoming shows worth getting off the sofa for.

The Murder Capital Nationwide, from early May

With first single proper ‘Feeling Fades’ cementing their status as the Emerald Isle’s next big thing, these Dublin noiseniks will be stomping and screaming their way across the UK beginning in Manchester on 3rd May.

Mae Muller 28th May, Thousand

CHAMELEON CONCEALER CHIPOLO TRACKER In the habit of losing your keys, phone, wallet or mind? Attach this tracker to your chosen valuable possession and you’ll have it back in no time. *NB: cannot actually help find mind*. RRP: £19 Buy it: 18 DIYMAG.COM

Feel as ruddy as a Red Nose Day mascot now the sun’s starting to poke its head out? This guy contains SPF20, takes away pink tinges AND adapts to different skin tones, meaning you only need one per group of festival pals. RRP: £19.95 Buy it:

THORNTONS PEARLS The Easter bunny may have hopped off for another year, but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on your choccie fix. These new treats from Thorntons come in Salted Caramel or Nutty Crunch varieties; in the words of Chef, suck on their chocolate salty balls… RRP: £5 - £8 Buy it: Thorntons

Island, London The North Londoner takes cues from US standouts H.E.R and Julia Michaels ( “I won’t write a sad song; I’ll write a bad bitch thing like ‘I’m going to fuck your life up’. It’s my way of feeling strong,” she says).


Nationwide, from mid-May The Irish singer-songwriter released second album ‘Far Out Dust’ back in February, played SXSW in March and will visit Manchester, Glasgow and Bristol this month. For more information and to buy tickets, head to or








Gomez plus
















uk europe 2019 new album - out september 2019 by arrangement with x-ray














John Smith



13 sept: 14 sept: 16 sept: 17sept: 18 sept: 20 sept: 21sept: 22 sept: 23 sept:




cardiff motorpoint arena plymouth pavilions SOLD OUT o2 academy birmingham OUT SOLD leeds o2 academy SOLD OUT o2 apollo manchester london alexandra palace T SOLD OU newcastle o2 academy T OUacademy glasgow SOLDo2 T SOLD OUusher edinburgh hall







THE GREAT ESCAPE 9th - 11th May

Brighton’s annual buzz convention returns this month with a bill so jam-packed with must-see bands, it’s got more clashes than all the bootleg t-shirt stands on Camden Market combined. Current Neu besties Squid, The Murder Capital, Pottery, Talk Show and Body Type sit alongside the longer-loved Foals and Blaenavon at Transgressive’s shindig, plus artists including Yak, Black Honey, Whenyoung, King Nun and Lady Bird. What’s more, we’re returning to pier-end fave Horatio’s to host three nights of excellent music.







Q&A: Halfnoise

Halfnoise are heading to the UK for their first ever (!) festival dates this month, following the recording of an album. Frontman Zac Farro is excited to visit Brighton - but not for any of the reasons you’d expect.

What’s new in the world of Halfnoise? Well, we just finished a full-length record coming out this year. And we are about to blaze through these festivals and rip it right up. You’ve just released a photo book how did that come about, and how does it compare to releasing music? I did! I felt that since I only shoot analogue film photos they shouldn’t just be seen on social media or phones. They should be printed and displayed in the way they were intended to be seen - physically. So we compiled a book of some of my favourite photos from travelling the world the past few years, hence the title of the book ‘In Transit’. Releasing a book actually parallels releasing music a lot more than I anticipated. It’s that same feeling of releasing something personal to you out to the world. But it’s that same excitement to share it as well.


Have you much experience of innercity festivals like The Great Escape? This will actually be the first batch of festivals we as a band have ever played. We are very thrilled. Brighton’s by the sea. Are you fans of the beach? We love the beach. I especially want to go because growing up I watched Mr Bean a ton and the beach episode absolutely slays me. So I’ve always wanted to go to a beach in England from that show alone.


Squid From creating metaphor from foliage to becoming men with ven, Squid are one of the buzziest acts in a literal sea of buzz at The Great Escape. What’s new in the world of Squid? We’re buying a van this week! Something practical but speedy. So far we’ve had really bad luck and almost got ripped off because no one knows anything. How are you getting ready for festival season? We’re writing some new material so we don’t get too bored. Also I’ve (Arthur) told my job I’m leaving. It’s a big weight off my shoulders. What can those catching your set on the DIY stage at Horatio’s expect? Expect to be disappointed not to have brought a stash of 2p coins for the coin machines. Creaking floorboards and seagull poo may also feature. Are there any acts you’re hoping to catch while you’re in Brighton? We’re about to go on tour with Viagra Boys who we’ve never actually seen live thanks to a stupidly long SXSW queue so we’ll try and get to see them before the tour starts. We’ll also try and catch fellow Speedy Wunderers Black Country, New Road and Black Midi. Catching Lewsberg for a second time would be nice too. Locals Penelope Isles are a must-see too. It’s going to be a full-on time. And, since you’re named after a water-based creature, how would you all fare if you found yourselves seabound over the festival? Anton would get sea-sick, Louis would laugh while Ollie cleans it up. Laurie would make friends with the ship mates and go on adventures. I would try to find Laurie but eventually give up. 21



More stages have announced for GLASTONBURY (26th - 30th June), including appearances from Hot Chip, Mike Skinner, Jade Bird, Four Tet and so buzzy they named them thrice: Welsh newcomers Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard. Bleached, Mabel and Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers - plus a comedy bill including Josh Widdicombe, Bridget Christie and Marcus Brigstocke have been added to READING & LEEDS (23rd - 25th August). GREEN MAN (15th - 18th August) have added artists including Marika Hackman, Yak and Bill Ryder-Jones to their bill, joining acts such as Four Tet, IDLES, and Sharon Van Etten. Acts including The Japanese House, Sports Team, Trudy and the Romance and Georgia will play this year’s REEPERBAHN FESTIVAL (18th - 21st September).


THIS IS TOMORROW 24th - 26th May

From DIY cover stars Foals and The Vaccines, to newer favourites Whenyoung, Anteros and Pip Blom, Newcastle’s Exhibition Park is set to host some musical behemoths later this month, as This Is Tomorrow takes over. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Stereophonics, Johnny Marr and Ride are also among the big names playing across the weekend.


You Me At Six Last seen with sixth studio album - the appropriatelynamed ‘VI’ - You Me At Six are gearing up for another summer of festivals, including playing with Foals on the Friday of This Is Tomorrow. What’s new in the world of You Me At Six? We are gearing up for festival season. Working on music and just preparing for the next few months.

Madrid’s MAD COOL (11th - 13th July) have launched Mad Cool Talent UK, where they’re after two UK acts to play either the festival or launch party. Full details at

How are you prepared for the summer’s festivals? Putting together the different set lists that we need to have. Our set lengths will be quite varied across the summer and we’ve got a lot of material to choose from.

Iceage, Squid and White Denim are all headed to East London bash VISIONS (3rd August), alongside Black Country, New Road, Rina Mushonga and Anna Meredith among others.

Do you have any particularly memorable past visits to Newcastle? It’s an amazing city with a lot of character. The people have always been a lot of fun and the shows always go off. It’s an amazing line up and we can’t wait to be back!



POTTERY Warped and wonderful sounds from Montreal, playing with genre and super-charging the wired results with a jolt from the mains. Words: Lisa Wright.

As anyone who’s born witness to the infamous Patrick Swayze scene in Ghost will attest, the potter’s wheel is the sultriest of all the arts and crafts instruments - its function, to smooth off the rough edges and create something rounded and tactile, something easily polished. Strange, then, that Montreal’s most exciting new quintet would choose to name themselves after the practise, since Pottery are the kind of spiky, unpredictable band that would sooner break their particular lump of sonic clay into little bits and smash it back together just for kicks rather than make something in any way ordinary. First pricking up DIY’s ears over at March’s annual new band marathon SXSW, where they tore through the Austin event, emerging as one of the most visceral, eye-wateringly excellent picks of the whole damn thing, the group - helmed by bottle blond frontman Austin Boylan - are now gearing up for the release of their debut EP ‘No. 1’ via label-du-jour Partisan (home to IDLES and Fontaines DC, among others). So far, so normal a trajectory for a new artist. Except that ‘No.1’ has been sitting pretty in their locker for ages now, recorded within the first year of the band’s life in a two-day explosion of creativity. “We recorded the damn thing two years ago, so at this point we keep forgetting we’ve still got to play it for another year...” groans Austin with a chuckle, down the phone. ”It’s just the first stage in us being a band,” rationalises co-songwriter and guitarist Jacob Shepansky. “It was recorded quickly and it has this feeling of urgency, that it doesn’t have to be perfect because it’s just a snapshot of us in this time. It’s a good landmark for where we were at as a band, and future records will be timestamps of where we’re at too.” As a “timestamp” of such an early point (the pair, alongside keyboard player Peter Baylis, drummer Paul Jacobs and bassist Tom Gould, only started making music as Pottery in 2016, meeting in the classic way through previous bands and chance happenings at gigs), ‘No.1’ is a ridiculously vibrant expression of a band who’ve clearly been brimming with ideas from the off. Each member, they state, has wildly different tastes, from Austin’s love of Devo and cult Scottish 24 DIYMAG.COM

art school types Josef K, to Paul’s penchant for afrobeat and Peter’s love of, er... vapour wave? “It’s like video game music... Not like chip-tune, more fluid than that,” explains Austin. But rather than find a happy medium, the beauty of the quintet’s output is in the way a thousand thoughts are allowed to chop and change, veering off down unexpected tangents at the blink of an eye. “We’re not all on the same page musically and we all like different things, so when it comes together we get a really strange sound and that’s the way we like to operate,” the singer grins. “Genre is good in some sense, but the genre game is a way to organise music and our music is very unorganised. Whatever we wanna do, we’ll do, and maybe there’ll be a time when we make an entire techno album or a trap record, but right now we’re still in the stage where we just don’t really care about that stuff.”

Lyrically, too, Pottery’s first moves are a brilliantly-warped cross-section of their personality traits. On one hand, you have the Television-esque jangle of ‘Lady Solinas’ - a reference to radical feminist Valerie Solanas, who famously attempted to shoot Andy Warhol. On the other, you have the stop-start rattle of ‘Hank Williams’, which Austin describes as “one of the most meaningless songs in history”. “It’s about Hank Williams possibly doing speed for the first time, and it was for no specific reason except for the fact that this girl Laura tried out playing drums for us and we started playing this song and she said, ‘Oh, it sounds like Hank Williams on speed’. And we had no lyrics at the time, so we just started chanting ‘Hank Williams does speed for the first time’ and ran with it,” the singer recalls. Elsewhere however, particularly in yet-to-be-released newie ‘Take Your Time’, the band turn their eye to more prescient topics. “Mental illness and drug addiction are very omnipresent in our society today and they’re not talked about,” explains Jacob. “‘Take Your Time’ is pretty directly about [that] with this nameless character at the centre. A lot of songwriters that I really look up to like Tom Waits and Nick Cave have constantly used characters as a vehicle to portray these stories; it leaves a bigger imprint in your head and gives it a baseline.” But whether penning topical stances or total playful nonsense, the mile-a-minute torrent of creativity and excitement at the heart of Pottery is what wins through. “[The first EP] was quick and concise and raw,” begins Jacob. “But with this next one, we’re gonna take more time and make it even more of a masterpiece to us,” Austin finishes. Sounds like a plan. DIY

“The genre game is a way to organise music and our music is very unorganised.� - Austin Boylan


HEAVY LUNGS Taking cues from METZ and Oh Sees, these Bristol punks are full of grit, and in Danny Nedelko they have one hell of a frontman. Allow him to introduce himself… Words: Will Richards. You’ve probably heard the name Danny Nedelko, even if you’re not aware of the man who bears it. Immortalised in IDLES’ 2018 anthemic, pro-immigration banger, Danny is the frontman of Heavy Lungs, the Bristol punks adding yet another name to the growing list of bands showing the West Country city as a hotbed for new guitar music.


With frantic debut EP ‘Abstract Thoughts’, the four-piece - completed by guitarist Oli Southgate, bassist James Minchall and George Garratt on drums - put their stamp on a frenzied first collection that prioritised pure energy and chaos over any kind of restraint or order. Followed up by their ‘Straight To CD’ collection earlier this year, it’s not a particularly neat arrangement, but it is an exciting one. “I’ve been wanting to do this band for a long, long time,” says Danny. “I had a desperate need for artistic selfexpression, and it feels very cathartic.” Convening with friends who had been

Milk, no sugar if you’re offering, thanks lads.


popping up around the Bristol scene for a good while, the frontman sings and commands their live show with the enthusiasm and fervour of someone who, as he says, has needed to let all this out for years. If it’s cathartic for Danny himself, launching yourself into the pit at one of their gigs or power walking home with their METZ-influenced ragers in your ears proves just as much so for the listener. On ‘Straight To CD’, the group’s sound isn’t smoothed over in the slightest, but delivered with even greater intensity, and shows a band honing in to something brutal and uncompromising.

“I had a desperate need for artistic selfexpression.” - Danny Nedelko

“I wouldn’t say it’s changed me, more just granted me a sense of direction,” Danny reflects of the band’s short but propulsive existence so far, which has taken them to bigger venues across the country in support of IDLES as well as a smattering of sold-out headline shows. “More than anything, I’m just happy to be spending so much of my life hanging out and playing music with my best friends. Sometimes when we’re practising I’ll just zone out while watching them play and I’m always learning from them.” Acting on the most basic of impulses and creating heart-thumping punk music to believe in with it, it’s a recipe for future greatness. DIY


BUZZARD BUZZARD BUZZARD Joy abounds on the few delicious offerings from the new Cardiff bunch.

JUST MUSTARD This Irish five piece serve up all things creepy and enticing.

They’ve got less available songs than Buzzards to their name (two, ok), but these pair of early tracks are enough to suggest that this lot from Cardiff are something special. Joy and freedom are paramount on the psych-flecked new single ‘Late Night City’, whereas debut single ‘Double Denim Hop’, as well as having a truly brilliant title, feels like a drunken late-night wander into a dive bar.

Just Mustard have been turning heads while on tour with fellow countrymen Fontaines DC across the UK recently, and new single ‘Frank’ is set to see their star rise even further. Following a quietlyreleased debut album from 2018, the new single is already their calling card, a mesmerising slice of amped-up shoegaze, leading you down dark alleyways with a distinct sense of danger and excitement.

Listen: Wide-eyed new single ‘Late Night City’. Similar to: The disorientating glee of a messy night on the sauce.

Listen: New song ‘Frank’. Similar to: The intricacies of Warpaint mixed with Wolf Alice’s most menacing side.

MUSH Absurdly fun, fidgety guitar pop from Leeds newcomers. ‘Litvinenko’, the new single from new Leeds bunch MUSH, has you shaking a hip or two and bursting out into a wide-eyed grin whether you want it to or not. “Fundamentally we identify as music fans as much as artists,” vocalist Dan Hyndman says. “I write music that I want to hear for my own enjoyment.” Indeed, you imagine the band had a fucking ball writing this fantastically fun song, and their promise will be solidifed on a debut EP, out at the end of the month. Listen: ‘Litvinenko’. Similar to: The uncontrollable urge to dance like a dad at a wedding.


This cross-state crew melt genres together gorgeously Brooklyn-via-Boston’s Crumb mix together psych rock and jazz to create something soothing yet hypnotic. Having spent the past two years close to non-stop touring, the band have released two EPs along the way and last week offered up ‘Nina’, the lead single from their upcoming debut album ‘Jinx’. With shimmering keys, a gently pattering drum beat and Lila Ramani’s dreamy vocals, the track is a lush offering and something that’s easy to kick back to. Listen: New single ‘Nina’. Similar to: Chucking psych, jazz and indie into a blender. 28 DIYMAG.COM



BUZZ FEED All the buzziest new music happenings, in one place.

PLAY -LIST Every week on Spotify, we update DIY’s Neu Discoveries playlist with the buzziest, freshest faces. Here’s our pick of the best new tracks: PORRIDGE RADIO ‘Give/Take’



Taking time out from his day job with The Internet, STEVE LACY has shared silky new track ‘N Side’ - listen up on

This new Chess Club signing is heading for the stars. Phoebe Green has already played the massive likes of Glasgow’s Barrowlands on tour with labelmates Sundara Karma, but it looks like she has the songs to make such cavernous halls her own. “I don’t want to compromise myself for you,” she announces on debut single ‘Dreaming Of’, a thunderous pop song, immediately stating her intent as a songwriter who knows exactly what she wants. This message then proceeds to be solidified in a simply gargantuan synth-pop chorus. Watch her intently. Listen: Debut track ‘Dreaming Of’. Similar to: A bedroom pop songwriter who decided they wanted to play Wembley Arena.

These Brightonians keep improving, and their latest is a melodic, impassioned ‘90s throwback. LUCY LU ‘Crucial’ The latest one from Luke Bower is another silky, calming jazz cracker. TIÑA ‘I Feel Fine’


Soaring newcomers ANOTHER SKY have announced their biggest headline show to date - they’ll play London’s Village Underground on 24th September. Listen to new song ‘The Cracks’ and get tickets on

Speedy Wunderground keep delivering - this latest single is a breezy dream. BARRIE ‘Saturated’ Alvvays vibes are all over this new one from the Brooklyn bunch.


After a hiatus that’s felt like forever, Danish pop hopefuls LISS have returned with new track ‘Talk To Me’ hear it on 29

Like being the first to see the next big thing? Get ready to brag to your mates about watching this lot before they go big, sell out, and spectacularly break up.

BIG INDIE BIG NIGHTS Alex Bayly Two Tribes, London. Photo: Emma Swann.


Centred around gigs at The Great Escape, our fave new Aussies make their UK debut this month, also playing headline shows in London (15th), Bristol (16th), Cardiff (17th) and more.


Following on from his performance at our Hello 2019 gig series back in January, Lucy Lu - aka Luke Bower - is back with new offering ‘Crucial’ and will headline the Camden Assembly on 11th June.


Fresh from sharing new track ‘Talking Heads’, these noise-sters are playing just about every festival this summer. In the meantime, they’ll play a handful of UK headline shows from 18th to 23rd June. 30 DIYMAG.COM



very month, DIY and Big Indie Records bring our Big Indie Big Nights series to the Two Tribes Brewery in Tileyard Studios. A genre-bending series, the last year has taken us from the conceptual art-pop of Childcare to the balls-out pop of FOURS. As summer starts to peak its head above the surface, tonight’s performance seems beautifully apt. Alex Bayly is a folk-leaning singer-songwriter from London, and his warm, inviting textures sit perfectly tonight. All set around Alex and his chunky strums of acoustic guitar, the songs are fleshed out carefully and subtly via bright licks of guitar and harmonised backing vocals. A number of tracks also threaten to become anthems, with huge choruses bursting out of nowhere, showing that Alex Bayly is far from just a soft folk singer. The set highlight comes in the form of ‘I’ll Never Leave You’. The recent single, released in conjunction with tonight’s show, is a soulful take on folk canon, with swooning backing vocals backing up the heartfelt tale. Sitting well in the lane of radio-friendly singer-songwriters of the past few years, it’s his most concrete hit yet. As summer eeks its way in, Alex Bayly could prove himself a real treasure for 2019. (Will Richards)

EUT neu

Meet the Amsterdam five-piece making giddy, upbeat “postpop” that makes life’s troubles sound the most fun they possibly could. Words: Rachel Finn.

“Sometimes I wish I were dead and gone” is quite a lyric for any band to open an album with, but it’s even more surprising for a band like EUT, whose vibrant, upbeat sound on first listen is more ‘good vibes’ than a good old crushing sense of existential dread.

Yet, after starting the band at art school in 2016, naming themselves after an almost unpronounceable and mostly nonsensical word (“It actually comes from something that’s a bit of a secret,” singer Megan de Klerk does nothing to explain) and noting a mix of Blur, No Doubt, Beck and St Vincent among their influences, there’s more to the Amsterdam quintet than you might first assume. “I think actually the album is really dark, but you can’t really hear it because we really like the contrast of not putting it like, ‘Ah, everything’s fucked!’” Megan exclaims of the band’s debut album ‘Fool For The Vibes’. “It’s really nice to put that darkness in a very playful, playground kind of music. A dark album but in a light way.”

A self-described collection of “post-pop”, the band - completed by guitarists Emil De Nennie and Tessa Raadman, bass/keys player Sergio Escoda and drummer Jim Geurts - build on the anthemic choruses of previous singles ‘Crack The Password’ and ‘Supplies’ on their debut, creating 13 solid tracks that promote joy and celebration, acknowledging the difficulties of life but deciding to kick firmly back at them anyway. Importantly, they want us all to throw out the idea that there’s any particular timeline or set of achievements we have to tick off in life in order to be successful. You don’t, really, even have to ‘grow up’ at all. “I guess people should just do what they want,” Megan admits of the band’s message. “I think a lot of times people think they’re really under pressure [to achieve] and [have trouble] showing themselves for what they stand for. I think with the album it’s a bit of a middle finger, like, OK, I can do whatever I want.” That sounds like an ethos more of us could do with getting behind. diy













FRI.28.JUN.19 WED.27.NOV.19

TUE.04.JUN.19 THU.17.OCT.19






Anarchy In The Uk ANARCHY



“Fuck, I just met slowthai!” exclaims one excited teenage fan (a steady stream enthusiastically approach him throughout the day) who’s granted a street-side selfie with the rapper. Throughout their exchange, he rocks a mischievous if slightly unhinged smile, a cross between Jack Nicholson’s Joker after murdering an enemy and punk anarchist Sid Vicious after scoring a bag of heroin. In-between having his picture taken, slowthai chats about problematic faves and how JPEGMAFIA’s chaotic banger ‘I Can’t Fucking Wait Til Morrissey Dies’ forced him to rethink The Smiths. “There’s a few Smiths songs I used to like, but that track was so hard, it’s got me like: ‘Meat is murder? Nah, you’re just a fucking prick, mate!” The riveting way in which slowthai processes and translates British iconography - whether that’s Morrissey or our Queen, who he calls a “cunt” on ‘Nothing Great About Britain’’s opener - is one of the reasons why he’s got the music press so excited. His debut moves from mocking the toxic masculinity of far-right group the English Defence League to referencing the brutish Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross and Eastenders OG Phil Mitchell, all at frenetic pace. It’s a once-in-ageneration record, the kind that’s able to shine a mirror on all things good and bad about British culture, and ask Brits whether they’re ashamed or proud of their reflection. 36 DIYMAG.COM

“Some British rappers might rap in a way that’s very general, because they don’t want their regionality to get in the way of them blowing up or getting a Drake co-sign, but that’s not me,” he explains. “I want to write references that you will only get if you’re British because, growing up, I was taught to be proud of where you come from. I could aim to take over the world and fall flat on my arse. This place where I’m from, Britain, is the only place I truly understand, as that’s my home, so why would I rap about anything else? So long as I can be the King of Northampton, that’s all that matters.”

it feels to be working class, with deep government cuts making society’s most vulnerable feel like they are, quite literally, trapped. Growing up in an estate known locally as ‘the Bush’, slowthai says he was conditioned to think he was less of a person than the kids with more money and stability; at school, he’d pull silly faces and act the fool to live up to richer kids’ expectations of what a “Bush kid” must act like. “It was very much an ‘us and them’ setup, but no matter how much money you’ve got or how poor you are, we’ve all got similar problems,” he shrugs, “I want to show that with this album.” The record itself is fascinated by the idea that, even though there’s so much poverty in our country and Brexit has us staring down the barrel of disaster, we’re still sat around drinking cups of tea with our fingers in our ears, trying to preserve a carefree kind of Britishness that doesn’t really exist anymore. On album highlight ‘Peace of Mind’, he raps “I feel peace of mind, when I think about a life I’m not living” - a lyric which speaks to the idea that many Brits still see the country as a fruitful empire rather than a crumbling hotbed of social division. “It’s like, the country could be in flames and people would still be like, ‘Fuck it, let’s have a cup of tea and some scones, everything will be fine’!” he says, letting out a howl of laughter. “I really think there needs to be riots again; something has to change to wake people up.”

Anarchy In The Uk


few years back, Tyrone “slowthai” Frampton’s daily routine involved staying up all night, sometimes dealing cannabis but mostly smoking it, and then sleeping it off during the day. By his own admission, he was lost and working his way through a lot of anger, only really getting excited by the prospect of drinking a cup of tea at his Nan’s house or beating one of his mates from the estate on FIFA. Yet, on this unseasonably hot April day, we find him confidently walking around Camden looking every bit the superstar, aware that critics are hoping upcoming debut ‘Nothing Great About Britain’ will forge a new path for UK rap like Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Boy In Da Corner’ did back in 2003, and maybe even help us all make sense of the unrelenting fuckery that is Brexit.


othing Great About Britain’ bottles the chaos of Brexit, transitioning from soothing introspection (‘Peace of Mind’) to messy disorder (‘Doorman’) and veering rapidly from one extreme to the other, with the erratic mentality of our own political discourse. The already-iconic album cover depicts a fully naked slowthai locked in stocks in front of a soon-to-be-demolished Northampton tower block. Instead of attempting to prevent his demise, his neighbours are pictured watching on, intrigued by the spectacle. This is something he sees echoed in the popularity of politicians such as Donald Trump or, on these isles, Boris Johnson, calling them “two people who pretend to be village idiots, but are actually very sinister and have somehow fooled millions of people”, many of whom watch on with similarly giddy excitement. He says it’s also supposed to reflect how

The album’s smart marketing campaign has been a clever, needling comment on this. Over the past months, it’s seen slowthai erect a series of stark, black and white billboards that take a satirical swipe at the likes of Boris Johnson (who he also mocks on new track ‘Dead Leaves’, rapping: “I run my town, but nothing like Boris!”) and pronounce some of modern society’s more troubling facts: ‘Recorded offences of hate crime in the UK have increased by 123% in the last 5 years’. ‘78% of large companies in the UK pay men more than they pay women’. slowthai wants to make people take a closer look at things they might have ignored in the past. On the heartfelt ‘Northampton’s Child’, he pays tribute to his mother, Gaynor, who is half Bajan and gave birth to him when she was just 16. In it, he describes her as his “only Queen”. For too long, he believes the British media has

Anarchy In The Uk

Anarchy In The Uk






stigmatised teenage mothers, but he wants to be one of the people to help destroy this perception. “Teenage mums are stereotyped as some sort of lower tier of human being just because they chose to create a child at a young age,” he ponders. “Why is that? The reality is they are braver and have more courage than just about anyone you know. Most people wait until they’re 40 to have a baby or whatever, but teen mums give up their lives for a baby. That’s beautiful and something we should celebrate and try to understand rather than mock.” On older tracks such as ‘Ladies’, he raps from the perspective of a woman, the song turning the idea of female bodies being objectified by men on its head - in the bold music video, it’s he who is naked and being cradled in the arms of a fully-clothed woman. He says being raised in a house full of women has “taught me the value of women. Like, they are the creators, they’re the ones who breathe life into us and they’re the ones that raise us so it’s important that I champion women. For too long, men have had all the power and that needs to shift in another direction. “As a man, the reality is that the only person that really will be there for you, through thick and thin, is your mum. So that’s why everything I do is about making her proud.”


espite largely operating within a different genre, cut slowthai to the core and he’s pure punk. A fan of the Sex Pistols, he’s often found spitting “fuck the queen” during his raw live shows, stripping down to his boxer shorts and sweating buckets as he dances likes a madman during the chaotic likes of ‘IDGAF’: the audio equivalent of a rush of blood to the head. With his manic eyes and twitchy energy, he’s a lot like Sid Vicious, only with much more of a social conscience. “Sid Vicious is like my spirit animal,” slowthai proudly exclaims, happy to indulge in the comparison. “I relate to a lot of things in his personality and this idea of not twiddling your thumbs, but going out and taking action. I want to embody the punk ideals. Like, it

isn’t conscious or anything, but I am unfiltered and completely myself, and that’s what punk was all about.” He pauses to think, before joking: “But I’m not trying to murder my missus like Sid did. That was fucked up!”


ACCORDING TO SLOWTHAI There’s a very distinct attitude towards our (not so) fair isle that runs through the rapper’s debut. But what, exactly, does he thinks makes our country what it is?


We need more money to invest in the poor and help police our streets, yet we’re spending it all on this family’s wedding. There’s a certain kind of fuckery about it. What do they actually do? Everything they say is rehearsed with a PR. If you look at their history, it’s full of bloodshed. Like, [I wouldn’t be surprised if they had Diana killed], they left her out to die for loving someone else and realising her husband was a dickhead.


When I was a kid, my mum would leave me at the Sidewinder record shop. Whenever there was a house party at my uncle’s, because he was a DJ, I would just be sat there listening. On car journeys, there’d be garage, there’d be jungle; I was always around that kind of music. Going to a rave until 6AM is what being British is all about.


I saw them recently. It was kind of dry, because they’re so old now. One of them was playing a totally different song to the others. But they are like 70 now, so they’re allowed to be old! We love The Stones because they show us we can be old and still have a ball. I wanna be like that one day!


The pheromones of an English breakfast make me feel at home. When I’m on tour, I just love how Britain smells when I get back into the country. The first thing I want is one of my mum’s cups of tea or to sleep in my own bed, there’s nothing like it.


I hear The National Anthem and I feel like I’ve got to stand up and put my hand on my chest and sing it. Not because it’s like I want to save the Queen or anything, but it’s this tribal thing; it makes me feel part of something bigger than myself. It’s the one song that brings us together, even though we’re all so divided, and that’s important.

This punk ethos extends to his acerbic vocal delivery. He records all of his verses in one go, something that recalls legends such as Tupac Shakur, who urged producers during the ‘All Eyez On Me’ sessions to use his first take. Subsequently, whenever you hear a Tupac verse, it sounds urgent, his booming voice coming from the very pit of his stomach. slowthai creates that same kind of feeling, his verses wearing their imperfections like a badge of honour. When his voice strains or cracks, it isn’t a sign of weakness but something that makes him more human, more like one of us. “You hear a lot of rap songs and then see the rapper perform it live and they’re unable to keep up with the beat. It’s because it’s all been created a few bars at a time in the studio. It’s a stop and pause situation,” he explains. “This eliminates all the character, like, you can make it pitch perfect and not a breath out of place, but you sound like a robot. My whole thing is about it being new and fresh each time I perform a song, so the delivery will be different every time and have a unique edge. I’d say imperfections [in the studio] are what lead to perfection.” Recalling records such as Skinnyman’s ‘Council Estate of Mind’, which boldly humanised the so-called ‘scroungers’ dehumanised by the media during the Blair years, ‘Nothing Great About Britain’ similarly gives a voice to the voiceless and shares that record’s antipop tone. But the comparison that’s perhaps most apt could be drawn with Mike Skinner of The Streets, slowthai’s conversational rapping style sharing the same kind of colloquial wit and playful selfawareness. On The Streets’ landmark 2004 album ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’, Mike makes the mundanity of the every day - whether that’s going to a shitty nightclub or stealing a tub of ice cream - somehow 39




slowthai’s business cards were… different.


sound compelling. ‘Nothing Great About Britain’ also takes this idea of being bored in the UK, with nothing to do but shoot pigeons with an air rifle, and makes it sound like a thrill ride.


lowthai, now teetering on the edge of genuine stardom, is starting to get noticed more and more in his daily life. Sometimes, as with today’s autograph-hunters, it’s in a giddy, innocent way. Sometimes, within his small circle of close pals, his newfound fame has slightly cheekier perks. “My boy might ask me to do an Instagram post to help him get with a girl, but I’m happy to help, to be honest,” he giggles. However, slowthai claims the long-term aim isn’t just to get famous, but to actually do things for his home town that leave a lasting legacy.

On new banger ‘Grow Up’, with its industrial electric buzz that bubbles under the surface, recalling Northampton’s famous Sidewinder scene, he jokes about a 99p cone ice cream now costing £1.50. On the stirring ‘The Bottom’, meanwhile, he raps “I don’t go to the dentist because I’m poor, blud”. Throughout his lyrics, whether playful or more pertinent, there’s this sense of the rising and, in a lot of cases, increasingly unmanageable cost of modern life and all its trappings, particularly if you’re poor.

To address this worrying social backdrop, Slowthai wants to pump the money he makes from music back into his hometown so locals can once again feel a sense of community and working class kids can stay on the straight and narrow. “I want to do things that actually help kids. I want to open a boxing gym so inner-city kids can let out some of their energy. I also want to set up an initiative to help prisoners learn things so they can go on to teach kids when they’re released and it helps with their rehabilitation,” he says. Lately, he’s been reading up on the Windrush era, where thousands of people moved from the Caribbean to Britain, and trying to understand what might have inspired his great grandparents to move here from Barbados. He says the “false hope” they felt is something he wants to draw on with his debut album, particularly the idea that “the grass is greener on the other side, when it so rarely is” - a notion which also has obvious parallels to Britain’s current status in the EU. Through his music and plans to help young people, Slowthai says he wants to achieve things that might have inspired him five or six years ago to get out of bed and do something more productive with his life. He explains: “I want to do stuff for kids like me so they don’t feel like they’ve got to go and sell drugs or be the next top boy on the estate. I want to show them there’s more to life than that.”

Anarchy In The Uk

He says gentrification has already irrevocably changed Northampton with “a lot of the community-based buildings

being replaced by a Starbucks or something shiny and middle class.” He explains further: “They take away everything that you value growing up. They closed all the pubs on all the estates around my area, which were the only places anyone would congregate. A Freddo chocolate bar used to be like 10p; if I was a kid in 2019, I wouldn’t be able to afford one. It’s like £1 now!”

Photo: Sharon López

‘Nothing Great About Britain’ is out 17th May via Method. DIY


Moving from Limerick to London via Dublin, WHENYOUNG’s debut arrives as an ode to passion, togetherness, leaving smalltown thinking behind and following your dreams. Words: Will Richards. Photos: Ed Miles.

Dream a

Little Dream


‘Reasons To Dream’, a debut that serves as a handbook for throwing convention out of the window and forging your own way.


easons To Dream’ is the perfect title for Whenyoung’s debut in plenty of ways. The title, taken from a lyric in gorgeous closing track ‘Something Sweet’, serves as their mission statement of sorts, a recognition of the collective leaps of faith the trio have taken in their lives and in the band, and a nudge of encouragement to others fretting over whether to make that scary but ultimately necessary change. Moving from their native Limerick to London via a stint in Dublin a few years back, Aoife Power, Niall Burns and Andrew Flood have found a new home in the English capital, something that seemed purely a pipedream to these outcast kids in their small, insular home town. “You can give off the idea that the place you come from isn’t good enough, and you’ve gone somewhere better,” Aoife reflects today in a Stoke Newington pub in the corner of the capital that her and drummer Andrew now call home, “but it’s not that - not everyone belongs in the place that they’re born.” It’s a pertinent point, set against traditional narratives and life paths, and it’s this sense of wildheart dreaming that fuels

The pub stop comes at the end of a day-long trip the band give us around their adopted home. We begin at the notorious Cable Street Studios in an industrial part of East London, in the dingy corridors of which they created their debut, an album that broadens their musical horizons with panache. “We didn’t want it to sound like an indie record,” guitarist Niall reflects of the recording process. The band have been welcomed into the bosom of the young next generation of indie royalty, touring with the likes of Declan McKenna, Dream Wife and - most recently - DIY cover stars Sundara Karma, but ‘Reasons To Dream’ takes the trio’s sound away from any kind of scene. Ostensibly, they’re still indie-pop numbers packed with hooks, but in the soaring, almost post-rock guitar screeches of ‘Never Let Go’ and ‘Labour Of Love’ and the glistening, softened dream pop of ‘Something Sweet’ - a track that’s halfway to a Beach House song - their lack of easy categorisation rises to the top once again. “Even though [indie is] the type of music we love, and we love lo-fi music, the songs that we have and the way we play needed to go bigger,” Aoife affirms. “The choruses feel big, and really melodic. We wanted to make that work with the production, and to be a bit ballsy.”

“The three of us, we’ve always been dreamers.” Aoife Power

The most intense example of this comes with ‘Never Let Go’. A gargantuan track set around the topic of mental health, it sees the band reaching their arm further than ever before, its production lifting the band up to new heights, full of wailing guitars and Aoife’s skyscraping vocals. It has also quickly become the focal point of the band’s live shows, connecting especially well on the band’s recent Sundara tour; inciting delirium, it’s become a burgeoning anthem for holding on in the toughest of times. “We’ve struggled with [the song],” Aoife remembers, the track having travelled


through countless arrangements and rearrangements across its lifespan. “It’s interesting and maybe a coincidence because [of] the topic as well. I wonder if it’s subconsciously because the subject is so sensitive.” As with everything surrounding ‘Reasons To Dream’, the hardest decisions and the situations that fall closest to the bone are the ones that end up producing moments of real transition and connection.

“We’re existing in our own world and I’m happy about that.” Niall Burns


eaving Cable St and driving up to Stoke Newington’s notorious Irish pub the Auld Shillelagh - it serves the best Guinness in London, many will tell you - talk turns to the band’s move from their homeland to London over a pint of the (admittedly well above par) black stuff. “Limerick is small and it can be close-minded,” begins Aoife. “People can slag you for what you’re wearing, or what you’re listening to, or what colour you dye your hair - all that usual small town stuff. I guess we went through that when we were younger, and you start to resent people and the place a bit. And then we just said ‘Ugh, we’re going to Dublin’, and when you get to Dublin you get a taste for the big city, and the freedom and the anonymity. We all had that [change], and it was refreshing.” “Growing up [in Limerick] and being different, in my personal experience, was really difficult,” Niall affirms. “I just needed to escape, and coming to a massive place where no-one really knows you was the perfect answer for that. Even though people talk about [London] as a really isolating place, I finally felt accepted, because nobody was taking notice of me.” Whenyoung’s debut arrives at a time when Irish music is being celebrated more intensely than it has been in decades. The rise of Fontaines DC and a host of their peers has shone a new light on music being created


on the emerald isle, and Irishness in general. As Fontaines guitarist Conor Curley told us in a recent interview, “While the world has changed in some ways, the things that we’re trying to do are still the same, documenting Irish life. An idea of Irishness preserved in their art and the people showcased in their art. I think that’s really important for an Irish artist. You’re preserving the culture. Showing that it’s worthy, that it has value. That Irish life has value.”


hrough their base in London, Whenyoung sit apart from this scene. Yet though they’re grateful not be caught up in the media-led buzz (“Some bands get looked at too quickly and don’t have time to develop. We’re existing in our own world and I’m happy about that,” Niall affirms), they still clearly possess a huge affinity for their homeland and its culture. The band played at Shane McGowan’s 60th birthday party, walked on stage at a recent London gig to the theme of Michael Flatly’s ‘Riverdance’, have put a cover of The Cranberries’ ‘Dreams’ to tape and, well, we’re currently sitting in the best Irish pub in London. Though their origins have undoubtedly shaped them, however, they’re not ones to be entirely defined by it. “We’re Irish, and we have an innate sense of Irishness, and we’ve been brought up there, and that’s the culture that shaped us, but that’s that, and I don’t think we need to preach it,” Andrew reflects. “However it affects us and our music…” he continues before Niall finishes off: “... it’s just in us.” “We don’t want to be a token of a scene or a time,” Andrew picks back up. “We want to be a band that will transcend genres and eras, and I’d be worried about being labelled as an Irish fad or something.” “I’m glad we’re outside it though,” Niall continues, “and maybe that’s because we’re based here.” “... Or because we’re absolutely shit,” Aoife deadpans. “The world is a big place,” Niall exclaims, reflecting on those who frowned on the trio’s decision to leave their homeland. “I don’t [understand] when people have that pride that verges into nationalism, saying ‘How DARE you leave this place!’. Like, I can go wherever I want really! Borders and stuff don’t really make sense to me.”

Let’s have a game of ‘spot the copy of DIY’.

“Now more than ever, people should be outward looking, rather than insular and nationalistic,” Andrew hammers home. “What’s the point?” “I do think that that’s one of the things,” Aoife picks up, the band becoming more and more impassioned as we talk, overlapping each other in conversation. “Our reason to dream is in order to belong. That’s such a human thing - everyone wants to belong. They’d be lying if they said they didn’t. Even from Instagram, the coolest person that’s very careful about what they post, they want acceptance too. We’re all dependent on each other, and we need each other. That’s a very obvious thing, and maybe something that shouldn’t even be brought up, but for me it wasn’t obvious enough, and I needed that.” Uprooting themselves from a childhood as outsiders, Whenyoung have found their home in London, and their journey is laid out as a mission statement on ‘Reasons To Dream’. It’s an album that could inspire that same fearlessness. “It’s that whole escape thing that we’re all about,” Aoife

sums up. “The three of us, we’ve always been dreamers. Not financially or anything, but just getting lost in thoughts and hopes. We’re very honest with each other about human desires, to be accepted and loved, and that felt like a huge thing. For a long time I didn’t feel like I had that, and I felt very isolated growing up, and after finding solace in books and stuff, then you finally meet the right friends who you can talk to about these things, which for me was [Andrew and Niall] and our group of friends, a lot of whom we went to school with and have also moved here from Ireland. When I first met those people, I was able to talk openly about stuff, and…” “Not feel like a freak,” Niall interjects. “We’re quite conscious of when people are really cool and cold and fronting,” Aoife continues, “and we’re just trying to be honest. Obviously everyone does that at times, but we’re just trying to offer some kind of similarity in our music that people can relate to,” she says, before concluding: “That’s our reason to dream.” ‘Reasons To Dream’ is out 24th May via Virgin EMI. diy


New York four-piece CHARLY BLISS are revving up with new album ‘Young Enough’, a record

FIGHTING SPIRIT that takes rage and turns it into a joyous celebration of overcoming adversity. Words: Rachel Finn.



harly Bliss may have been a band for over half a decade, but the journey to their current position - on the cusp of the release of second LP ‘Young Enough’ and with a buzz following them on both sides of the Atlantic - has, at times, seemed anything but straightforward.

The four-piece - vocalist and guitarist Eva Hendricks, guitarist Spencer Fox, drummer Sam Hendricks and bassist Dan Shure - first crossed paths at high school in Connecticut. At the time, the singer was more of a musical theatre kid, but they would meet properly later, when Dan introduced Spencer to Eva at a Tokyo Police Club gig in New York. In a way, they’d been vaguely in each others’ lives for ten years or so, but it took a while for their signature pop-punk sound to fully take its shape. In 2017, after a wait that included fully scrapping one version of the album and recording a new one entirely, the band put out debut LP ‘Guppy’. “We never really felt like we fit in super well in the New York music scene, as

a band, as people...” begins Eva. “Sometimes that can feel like, ‘Oh, we should try to sound like everybody else because we’re not quite fitting in’. “I think we tried to do that [with the original first recording] and then hearing it back we were like, ‘Oh no, this doesn’t sound like us’,” she continues. “What is us is this more pop-leaning, fun-sounding approach to music. I think that absolutely this time we were just more sure of who we were and more confident in so many different ways.” Confidence is certainly something the band have in abundance on the follow-up to ‘Guppy’. Finally in a financial position to ditch their day jobs and throw themselves completely into songwriting and recording, the result is ‘Young Enough’: a record that’s sonically upbeat and joyful, adding synths and drum machines to their already-established sound and delving deeper into a landscape of emotions to create their strongest body of work yet. But, despite the album being one of both personal and musical growth, many of the lyrics came from a far more difficult place. Throughout its 11 tracks, the singer details a previous abusive relationship that led her to doubt her own sense of self-worth, these themes counteracting the deceptively perky bounce of the melodies around them. Single ‘Chatroom’, a song Eva describes as “reaching ecstatic joy through consuming rage”, comes with a video which sees her brainwashed and in a cult. Eventually, she finds the strength to overpower her captor, a metaphorical representation of the mind control she had to overcome to set herself free from her ex-partner. “Right around after the holidays this year I realised that I was eventually going to have to stand behind these songs and do interviews about them and it was really hard,” the singer explains. “I went through a couple of really difficult months where I couldn’t figure out how much I wanted to say, and it was tough because usually my method of problem solving is to bring in the people that I trust and ask their advice. [However] as much as those people in my life are there for me, it was also resoundingly everyone’s opinion that it was a decision that only I could make.”

“To me, joy and anger are twin emotions.” Eva Hendricks

Luckily, that decision has proved positive, both for Eva personally and no doubt for many of the band’s fans who’ve since reached out to thank her for sharing her story. “I think I needed to get really angry and, to me, joy and anger are twin emotions. I am someone who has benefited so much from other women coming forward and being honest about their experiences. That’s just what I kept coming back to,” she says. And, while the band’s live shows have long since been a space intended to meld together happiness and despair, and a place where audience members are encouraged to truly let go and work things through, debuting some of the new songs has allowed their sets to take on an even more celebratory message. “I really believe the more you keep things inside yourself, the more power it has over you,” Eva asserts, “and now that I’m performing [the album] on stage, wearing a massive tinsel dress and feeling super invincible, I feel like I’m in control of the narrative, not somebody else.” ‘Young Enough’ is out now via Lucky Number. DIY


From Liverpool,


Wit h Love

ro c k On debut ‘Sandman’, doe-eyed dreamers Trudy and the Romance are harking back to the nostalgia of the past to bring a slice of fantastical escapism to the present. W : L W . ords



“It’s happily innocent; a lot of bands react to the times and feel the need to give their five cents on what’s happening politically, whereas we want to give pure escapism where you can delve into your feelings.”


liver Taylor, the twinkle-eyed, wide-grinning singer of Liverpool trio Trudy and the Romance, is something of a conversational magpie. Try and steer him in the direction of a question about the band’s forthcoming debut and he’ll quickly veer off down tangents, excited by the new shiny train of thought that’s entered his mind instead. “I’ve always said I shouldn’t drive because I think I’d just get lost in my head a bit too much...” he concedes. It takes a solid fifteen minutes to even get him on to the subject of ‘Sandman’ - the strange and often beautiful ‘50s-soaked jangle of a record that they’ve finally laid to vinyl (in mono, of course) after a few years spent slowly building their name from home town Liverpool and beyond; he’d rather talk about The Beatles, or how he’s probably not suited to London, or what the DIY office is like (not that fancy, we assure him).

‘Sandman’, an overt concept album that follows the lives of fictional band The Original Doo-Wop Spacemen, their frontman Little Johnny and his lost love Sweet Emma, takes these ideas and runs with them. But there’s also enough of a knowing sense of humour beneath each fantastical tale to rescue it from the lure of the twee; these characters may exist in candy land, but their IRL counterparts still operate the strings. “It’s very tongue in cheek. I’m singing about the high school girlfriend, but if she knew I was singing about her she’d be like, ‘What are you doing?! You absolute weirdo, it’s been 10 years...’ So it’s taking those experiences and putting it into fiction,” he laughs. “In the album, the Spacemen have already made it and they’re struggling with the fame and that’s also obviously not true,” he continues with a self-deprecating sigh. “There’s that David Bowie story when he started doing Ziggy Stardust and he still wasn’t that famous at the time, where his girlfriend would go up and start screaming like he was a rock star just to get it to catch on. So yeah, it’s based on an alternate universe where that’s the case...”

The Spacemen in the story, he explains, are “never really fully understood”. Is that what it’s like being in a band like Trudy and the Romance in a climate of politically-charged young punks? “Yeah!” he says, like it’s the stupidest question in the world, “Obviously! But it’s our own fault as well though; I think we’ve been quite a difficult band. I mean, we’re talking about ‘50s mutant pop so what can you expect?! But I’m kind of stubborn and stupid like that and I do think that attitude works out. I wanna do this for life, so I wanna set up something where I can still be playing it in my 80s. Shredding guitar solos like Glenn Campbell. What else are you gonna do at that stage? You’ve made your bed, that’s your job now!”

“It’s happily innocent. We want to give pure escapism.” - Olly Taylor

But if it’s the kind of affable, inquisitive trait that means the singer probably wouldn’t last long in your standard call centre, then it’s also one that completely makes sense of his band’s uniquely wide-eyed perspective. Since they first put out early singles ‘Behave’ and ‘Baby I’m Blue’ - all heart-on-sleeve high school prom feels and hand-drawn, colour-saturated artwork - the trio, completed by bassist Lewis Rollinson and drummer Brad Mullins, have sat happily in their own out-of-step universe. It’s one filled with heroes and villains, of “the high school sweetheart that leaves a broken hearted young one, and the person making their way in a new city,” where film tropes of old are the storylines that still top the bill and all you need is love. “It wants to be like the golden age of Disney, the ‘30s and ‘40s ones like Pinocchio and Fantasia and Dumbo - a lot of the music from that is so amazing and the drawings are so cool and lovely,” Olly enthuses.

And if, as Olly decides, being cool these days is just about “being a nice person and being yourself entirely”, then the band’s debut also holds these tenets at its core; away from any passing fads and trends, Trudy’s greatest strength is that they’re unmistakeably, unapologetically themselves, in all their daydreaming, true romantic glory. “I want peoples’ imaginations to run wild,” he grins of their hopes for the record. With that idea at the forefront, maybe they’ll live to give the Spacemen a run for their money just yet. ‘Sandman’ is out 24th May via B3SCI. DIY


A normal woman, pictured at work.

‘Mothe n Sniff 50 DIYMAG.COM

A Aussie punks Amyl and

the Sniffers leave a

trail of sweaty carnage

wherever they go. Ahead

of the release of their

self-titled debut, we meet

myl and the Sniffers are a musical battering ram, a caterwauling cyclone of a band. This month, their self-titled debut finally lands: an even harder, more relentless listen than the sensationally scrappy ‘Big Attraction’ and ‘Giddy Up’ EPs that already amassed them a devoted following. But it’s the feral live sets that the quartet unleash night after night on the road that have really earned them their fearsome reputation as one of the most uncompromising bands around. A motley crew of punks, moshers, metalheads and miscellany hovering eagerly in Hamburg’s dark and dingy Molotow bar, a haven in the city’s stag do and strip clubheavy Reeperbahn district, are next in the firing line.

the band in Hamburg and

try to keep up…

Words: Patrick Clarke.

Photos: Charles Engelken.

It’s here, later on tonight, that frontwoman Amy Taylor will be scrambling atop the stage rigging, whipping mic leads and goading her crowd, tongue out and eyes fixed in a manic, petrifying stare. Behind her, guitarist Dec Martens, drummer Bryce Wilson and bassist Gus Romer summon the scorching ferocity of ‘80s hardcore punk and the freewheeling, fiery riffs of AC/DC in equal measure.

Amy is almost as manic off stage as she is on it. “Holy fuck, we’re in Hamburg! Holy fuck, I just got a free Fred Perry shirt! Holy fuck, there’s free tea in this room!” she exclaims backstage before the show, when asked how she’s finding the tour. She’s bristling with energy as she pours shots of vodka and hands them eagerly to bandmates, journalists, venue staff, and their longsuffering tour manager, but insists “I’m pretty grounded! I know when to get fucked up and when not to.” The Sniffers don’t seem to concern themselves with the cold art of establishing a narrative - they’d rather just enjoy the ride and let the stories write themselves. 2018 was essentially one non-stop tour for the band, travelling to the other side of the world and back to capitalise on the early hype of their EPs. The sheer speed of this ascent to fame meant that they were left a little overwhelmed, Dec says, perched on a windowsill. “It was pretty much like being thrown into the deep end with it all. We were still learning what sort of toll it takes on your body and your mental health, constantly moving and touring and performing every night.” It’s to be noted, however, that the guitarist makes these declarations of newfound maturity with a glazed, hungover stare into the middle distance. “I got back to the hotel at 9.30 this morning. Just… doing drugs,” he shrugs. His point is not that he’s realised he needs to tone down the excess to cope with the stresses of constant touring, he says. More like the opposite. “I’ve definitely stepped it up a little bit now that I know what it takes. I feel more comfortable being able to go out and party a bit more. I had this epiphany the other day that the van won’t leave without me.” “Fucking yes it will, cunt!” Amy steps in. “I drink every 51

night now, I didn’t last tour, I get sick really easy and I didn’t want to get sick. But this tour I’ve realised I can be sick and I can play, and it’s not gonna kill me!” She’s had her fair share of ailments - a viral infection that sent another vocalist to hospital when the two of them shared a mic, and a grizzly ‘parrot beak’ tear in her leg she sustained onstage, where fractured cartilage gradually hooked away at the innards of her knee joint. “I mean we still did gigs, but we had to cancel the first week…” she says as a fond grin begins to stretch over her face. “I dunno, I like the pain, it makes you feel alive!”


hough Amy’s volatile charisma and raw, endless energy made them explosive from the outset, Amyl and the Sniffers have also had to put in the graft. “Amy was such a good performer from the get go, just to keep up and keep my spot in the band I had to get good at guitar,” admits Dec. “So I practised a lot, just to make sure that we had more than one strength, or at least there wasn’t a weakness.” Their album, for example, is more coherent and direct than their EPs. Amy’s lost none of the brash humour that made ‘Big Attraction’ and ‘Giddy Up’ so enjoyable, but on their next release she demands to be taken more seriously. She demonstrates the full extent of her ambition, and of her abilities, lifting the Sniffers’ vicious brand of rock ‘n’ roll from scrappy punk to something more cohesive and breathlessly exciting. The riffs have got tighter, and she seizes the opportunity they present. Tonight, the live set is chaotic, but never out of their control. After ten seconds, the crowd are banging their heads, but it’s not quite the pandemonium we’ve come to expect. As Dec spins a rollicking guitar solo halfway through opener ‘Monsoon Rock’, Amy spots that the fuse has yet to be lit, and duly launches herself amongst them. If no one else is going to start the mosh, she seems to think, it might as well be her. She’s only in the audience for a few seconds, but the damage is done.


That short burst of energy is enough to put the Molotow instantaneously at her beck and call. “Get rowdy! Get rowdy!” she barks like a military general over a simmering hardcore bass line before ‘I’m Not A Loser’. This is not just chaos, but chaos helmed by an absolute master of her craft.

“It’s not ADHD, I’m just full of beans, full of life!” - Amy Taylor

An hour later backstage, bassist Gus lies drained on a couch, drenched in sweat with an arm slumped over his forehead, while Dec sits tired but content as he smokes a cigarette and tells the story of the time he and drummer Bryce were thrown out of their own gig for fighting each other. Amy, however, is just as manic as she was before the gig, pouring more and more shots of vodka and playing us her favourite Aussie punk bands on Spotify. “They fucking stranded me!” she laughs of their previous mid-show ruckus. “I just had to start rapping. Gus was in the audience, I asked if anyone could come up and drum so he came up and started drumming, then some drunk cunt came on guitar. So that was fucking shit! It went on for ten more minutes, ten minutes of fucked up noise with me fucking rapping over it, while those two are getting kicked out by security.” Is there a root to her endless energy, we ask, as the singer continues to rule the room? “I’m just an energetic person!” she says, almost offended by the question. “It’s not ADHD, I’m just full of beans, full of life! When I was working at the supermarket, I was on the deli, they asked me to do the cash register once and I was shitting myself like ‘that’s the scariest thing ever, I’m gonna fuck up!’ After I did it all I wanted to do was the cash register cos I was like, ‘Hell yeah, this is sick! I get to serve people, scan their fucking bread!’ It’s the same with this band: you get scared of shit and think ‘Why is someone talking shit about me? Why is this review so bad?’ But then you think, ‘Fuck yeah, that’s sick! Scan that bread!’” ‘Amyl and the Sniffers’ is out 24th May via Rough Trade. DIY

H E R T F O R D S H I R E : 2 5 -2 8 J U LY 2 0 1 9


















Still Living In Ecstasy

Hot Chip always opted for BYOB: Bring Your Own Backdrop.


Seven albums in, Hot Chip are already household names. Talking us through new LP ‘A Bath Full Of Ecstasy’, the electronic stalwarts explain how they’re still on the up. Words: Sam Davies.


ou’re washed up and you’re hated,” coos Alexis Taylor on ‘Positive’, midway through Hot Chip’s seventh studio album ‘A Bath Full Of Ecstasy’. Is he addressing himself? You’d be forgiven for thinking a band who first emerged 18 years ago might be getting past it by now, their frontman reduced to these kind of self-questioning musings. But in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth: Alexis and co are as vibrant as ever, still comfortably occupying their strange, unique place among today’s pop furniture. If you were a teenager in the noughties, you might remember sitting in school listening to the likes of The Rakes, The Rifles and The Rascals on your iPod Nano as the endless stream of skinny-jeaned indie bands showed no sign of abating. Sooner or later, however, you’d have been introduced to Hot Chip - plinky hooks on Casio keyboards, drum machines, remixes - and your eyes would have widened. They weren’t exactly radical - this was five middle-class white guys in cardigans - but they became a gateway band for indie kids, a rite of passage from guitar pop to dance. It began with hearing inbetweener anthem ‘Ready For The Floor’ at a house party, and culminated in vibing to the Sasha remix of ‘Flutes’ after taking your first E. The thing about Hot Chip is they never made a classic album. While 2006 breakthrough ‘The Warning’ included stone cold bangers like ‘Boy From School’ and ‘Over & Over’, it also laid the Hot Chip blueprint for records to come: a top line of genius, the rest nudging more into the background. But after nearly two decades, the best bits of their extensive catalogue - a hodgepodge of singles, the occasional ballad and a delightful remix of Gorillaz’ ‘Kids With Guns’ - still provide an intriguing window into a band whose influences (chiefly ‘00s R&B, Chicago house, Detroit techno and hip hop) open a door into a world far bigger and wider-reaching than merely the indie disco dancefloors they’ve always lit up.


oday, 15 years on from debut ‘Coming On Strong’, the band still wear their tastes on their sleeves. “We’re just trying to make music that pays homage to things we like,” shrugs keyboard, bass and synth player Owen Clarke. Over our three separate phone conversations, Alexis, Owen and guitarist Al Doyle (bandmates Joe Goddard and Felix Martin are otherwise engaged) namedrop more artists than can be counted; from Prince to Timbaland, New Order to Marie Davidson, Beverly Glenn-Copeland and Black Sabbath, via Wiley, Jackson C Franks, The Specials, Ariana Grande, Chet Baker and Moodyman, nothing is out of bounds. Finally taking this exploratory tendency and putting it into practical play, ‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy’ finds Hot Chip enlisting the help of outside producers for the first time. “Having made six albums already where we self-produced, we felt like we wanted to explore a different way of music-making,” explains Alexis, murmuring softly down the phone as though conducting the interview during a game of hide and seek. And so in came Philippe Zdar (whose previous work includes Phoenix and Fatboy Slim) and Rodaidh McDonald (The xx, King Krule, Adele), taking over desk duties. Yet, though their fingerprints inevitably helped mould the band’s seventh into what it is, you only need to listen to the singer’s instantly-recognisable vocals on warming highlight ‘Spell’ to know that we’re still dealing with quintessential Hot Chip.


“We’ve moved from working in bedrooms with keyboards on our laps to recording in studios,” continues Alexis. “But, in other ways, not much has changed. It’s got the same spirit that it had right at the beginning.” And, as ever with Hot Chip, the spirit is one of infectious positivity. In today’s social climate, does that make ‘A Bath Full Of Ecstasy’ an escapist album? “I think it inevitably is in a way because it’s not making a political statement,” he concedes, however there are still moments of gravitas that spike their way through; ‘Positive’, for example, is one of the band’s most serious tracks to date, dealing with illness, homelessness and mental health. Escapism, they’re also keen to stress, doesn’t mean that what they’re doing is flimsy or of any less substance. “I wouldn’t like to think we were flippantly writing superficial, saccharine pop music,” asserts Al. “There’s a lot of formulaic, cheesy music with quite uninteresting lyrics dominating the charts,” continues Alexis. “I think Katy Perry makes quite good pop, but I’m not a fan of Ed Sheeran and George Ezra.” Elsewhere, since Hot Chip’s early days as the indie fan’s favourite dance act, the mainstream has become obsessed with vapid impersonations of club music. “I’m not a huge fan,” Alexis admits, “although Hot Chip probably represent the kind of group that have tried to play with clubby music and do something a bit more poppy with it. Maybe that seemed wrong to some hardcore supporters...”

one half of house duo The 2 Bears and plays synth in experimental consortium A Pulse Train (also featuring Caribou and Floating Points). Meanwhile Al splits his time between Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem, balancing the album and touring cycles of both bands. “I don’t think it can go on forever or I’m gonna have to hire my own personal doctor,” he laughs. “But I can’t complain!” Now releasing ‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy’ into a totally different musical climate, with totally different lifestyles to when they first began, how long do they think Hot Chip have left in them? “I’ve been thinking about this,” Owen muses. “If there was a band in the ‘90s that had been going since the ‘80s, that’s a long time and maybe they should naff off. But I kind of think, because we’ve never really had a massive moment in the sun, we’ve never really pissed anyone off. I mean some people don’t like us and that’s totally cool, but we’ve never really annoyed enough people to make them sick of us.” That’s not to say that the quartet have had an entirely seamless ride. When the band first emerged, some critics (wrongly) interpreted their nerdy dancefloor caricatures as taking the piss. “It’s just not in our character,” says Owen. “Unfortunately we’re just very… honest. What was mistaken for artifice was our lack of artifice.”

“We’ve never really annoyed enough people to make them sick of us.” - Owen Jones


aybe there are a few rave-heads angrily shaking their pill boxes at the band’s success, but the majority hopped on board a long time ago now. Back in 2008, the band scored a Top 10 single with bona fide hit ‘Ready For The Floor’. These days, the rapidly changing way music is consumed means that’s unlikely to happen again (“I don’t even know how the charts work anymore. I don’t think anyone does,” laughs Owen) but the band’s priorities have changed over their lengthy career too. Now all approaching 40, Joe has two children and Alexis has a nine-year-old daughter. The singer has also released four solo albums, while Joe is


But now, coming up to two decades in the game, there’s no mistaking what Hot Chip are about and ‘A Bath Full Of Ecstasy’ is a solid step from a band who’ve always sat slightly apart and, over the years, made that space their home. It’s not exactly bath-time music, nor does it depend on pilled-up listening to make it make sense (in fact Alexis, who came up with the title, has never even taken ecstasy), but its title is apt in describing the Hot Chip experience: unashamedly bright, comfortable to the nth degree and a chance to lie back and forget the outside world. Let it wash over you. ‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy’ is out 21st June via Domino. DIY








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need to check it on my phone!” quips Frank Carter, before rifling around in his pocket and starting to Google. It’s a little over a week until his new album - and third with brothers-in-arms The Rattlesnakes - hits shelves and, while he’ll freely admit that nerves are starting to seep in ahead of its release, his attention has been temporarily diverted by a mention of Reading & Leeds.

Rattlesnakes have seamlessly built an army of fans, the frontman becoming almost more recognised for his current uniform of floral Gucci suits than his iconic tattoos. And while, much like he did as a teenager, Frank still wears his heart on his sleeve - and spends most shows diving straight into the crowd - this time around, things feel much clearer and more direct. Three records in, the masses are really beginning to listen.

What emerges from his nimble searching is the August weekender’s ever-recognisable poster, in all its neon yellow glory. But instead of gleefully looking up this year’s bill, it’s that from 2000 - his first time visiting the festival as a punter - that Frank’s after.

“The first album [‘Blossom’] was about trying to compartmentalise grief and loss,” he begins, recapping the emotions that have fuelled the band’s discography so far. While their opening statement played their cards much closer to their chests - channelling the heavier tendencies of the band’s previous projects - its follow-up would see them begin to become more ambitious. “The second album [‘Modern Ruin’] was about the things that happen after that; the way you experience life when you go through traumatic events. This third album is about...” he trails off. “Always in the past, I’ve talked about war with other people; my wars with other people; other people with wars amongst themselves; actual real-life fucking war. With album three, I absolutely had to face and write about the war in myself that’s been going on for 30 fucking years. If I didn’t, there’s a high chance that I would never write another album again: it was literally do or fucking die, I

“There’s Slipknot,” he says, pointing to the Iowa titans, three acts from the top on the Main Stage - the same slot The Rattlesnakes themselves will occupy this year. “[They played] after Eminem, who was after Rage Against The Machine, who were after Blink-182.” “We’re playing higher than Blink, Rage Against The Machine and Eminem!” confirms his bandmate, guitarist Dean Richardson, who’s sat by his side through the whole giddy ritual. “That [weekend] changed my life,” Frank adds, grinning, “and now here I am in the same realm as them.” It’s safe to say that Frank Carter has never really done things by halves. Having made his name as the original frontman of blistering hardcore punks Gallows well over a decade ago, his departure from the band in 2011 could’ve seen him slip into obscurity. What most people probably wouldn’t have imagined, though, is that not only would he go on to strike gold a second time - after his brief foray as one half of duo Pure Love ended in 2014, he returned with his latest project the following year - he’d somehow manage to eclipse the legend of his first band altogether.

Conquer In the four short years since their emergence, Frank Carter & The


didn’t have a choice.”

message is actually one of hope.

With anyone else, it’d be easy to call their bluff, but one listen to ‘End of Suffering’ proves the singer’s not in the mood for messing about. From the creeping parable of opener ‘Why A Butterfly Can’t Love A Spider’, to ‘Crowbar’’s violent call-to-arms, the Pixies-esque existential crisis of ‘Anxiety’ or the raw, to-the-bone ‘Angel Wings’, it’s an album that very much documents Frank’s own dark journey.

“The whole point of it is that life goes on, life moves on,” the frontman explains of the record’s concluding sentiment. “That’s why ‘Angel Wings’ is in the middle of the record. If we were to put that right at the end of the record, that would be a fucking dangerous thing to do; after hearing the record in its entirety, and then to have it finish on that... The whole point of that song is that it’s about the bleakest moment of my life to date, but I’m still here.” Much like the track itself, the moment passes, and life continues to play out. “Life goes on, with or without you, and that’s what we’re trying to remind people.”

“When we sat down to start putting this together, lyrically I had gone really in on myself in a way that I never had before. I always try to keep things current, but the stuff that I’ve written about on ‘End of Suffering’ is current as fuck. Some of it was written in the studio and a lot of the lines were written about things that were happening weeks, days before,” he explains. The marked difference going into this latest record also came with the music Dean was bringing to the table. “I had my lyrics and Dean had his music and the minute he played it to me, I was just like, ‘Fuck, there’s space that I’ve never had’,” Frank continues. “I had gone more internal and dug as deep as I could to try and drag it out, and Dean was almost doing the opposite, thinking vast and trying to build the biggest world for me to exist in, because he knew the problems that I was dragging up were gonna suffocate me otherwise. Between us together, we were able to be exactly what each other needed.

It’s this sense of hope which has permeated The Rattlesnakes so far and continues to convert even more followers to their cause. Having become renowned for their cathartic live shows, the record’s announcement was ample excuse for them to hit the road once more and, in doing so, gave them a glimpse into just how far they’d come.

“I absolutely had to face and write about the war in myself.” Frank Carter

“‘End of Suffering’ is about one thing: the pain and turmoil that I’ve gone through,” he says, plainly, “and my quest to find wholeness, to try and [amalgamate] all the different sides of myself that I know I am, and I have, that you can’t always celebrate. But they exist and to repress them is an absolute false economy.” That’s what makes ‘End of Suffering’ such a tale of two halves. An album stacked with claustrophobic internal tribulations and personal admissions, it’s undoubtedly the boldest, most outward-facing musically that The Rattlesnakes have been so far. And while, on first glance, its title may sound like more of a warning clarion call, its 60 DIYMAG.COM

“I think it was just what we needed to realise what we were made of,” confirms Dean. “It’s one thing playing songs to people who spend six months learning all the words, but we played five tracks that no one had heard every night - I don’t even know if we’ve ever really played unknown songs before so it was a proper test. By the end of the tour, legitimately some of them were going down better than songs that had been released for five years.” “It was a bit like, what the fuck is going on here?!” adds Frank, jokingly perplexed but pleased.

And now, on the precipice of the release of ‘End of Suffering’, they’re headed straight towards the dot on the horizon of that looming Reading & Leeds slot, about to firmly enter into the realms of their heroes. Logo on the poster, and all. “We’ve played every year we’ve been a band,” explains Dean, cataloguing the last four years in his mind, “so it’s become the easiest way to see how crazy things are getting for us.” “I think about it at least once a day,” concludes Frank, with that trademark glint in his eye that can only mean chaos is about to ensue. “I’m so excited.”

“Life goes on - with or without you and that’s what we’re trying to remind people.” ‘End of Suffering’ is out now via International Death Cult. DIY - Frank Carter

“Life goes on - with or without you - and that’s what we’re trying to remind people.” - Frank Carter





f we’d have followed the natural trail that Vampire Weekend seemed to have laid in their time away, the follow-up to the impeccable ‘Modern Vampires of the City’ should have sounded very different to what we get on ‘Father of the Bride’. In the years since their last record, frontman Ezra Koenig has (among other things) relocated from New York to Los Angeles to settle down with an A-List actor, collaborated with SBTRKT on a fizzing, leftfield dance song and floated album titles such as ‘Mitsubishi Macchiato’, all which could reasonably have led fans to expect an album rife with experimentation and hip hop influences, a tearing up of the band’s script. 62 DIYMAG.COM

Father of the Bride (Columbia)

Cue ‘Hold You Now’, ‘Father Of The Bride’’s first track, a lovelorn folk ditty and duet with Danielle Haim. What now. Across its mighty 18 tracks, ‘Father Of The Bride’ shuns expectation, just not quite the ways we may have expected. In ‘Harmony Hall’ and ‘This Life’, Ezra Koenig has written two of the best ‘Vampire Weekend songs’ - in the traditional sense - and elsewhere has pushed his band’s sound to unexplored territories. ‘Sunflower’, one of two collaborations with The Internet’s Steve Lacy, is one of the most fascinating, creative pop songs of the past few years, while ‘Bambina’ is pure ecstasy. ‘Sympathy’ also surprises, shuffling its way through verses that could soundtrack a chase scene in a cowboy movie, before

turning on a sixpence and harking back to Ezra’s SBTRKT collaboration ‘New Dorp. New York.’ on a propulsive dance breakdown. The most striking thing about ‘Father Of The Bride’, especially when thinking back to the painfully preppy Columbia kids who emerged a decade ago, is its gleeful lack of pretension or traditional sense of ‘cool’. Danielle Haim pops up again on ‘Married In A Gold Rush’, another twangy folk number. It’s sickly sweet, and halfway to soundtracking a barn dance, Ezra singing “I just wanna go out tonight and make my baby proud.” But it’s delivered with such tenderness and feeling that your first reaction is to blush and grin. Having said this, when Danielle’s final guest spot comes on ‘We Belong Together’, the


saccharine levels tip just a tad too far (10 points for rhyming “Keats and Yates” with “bowls and plates” though, Ezra).

Easy to laugh at, and all the more brave for it, ‘Father Of The Bride’ is a joyous, fearless listen that builds on Vampire Weekend’s steeped history while simultaneously paying less attention to it than ever. As a sample at the start of ‘Sympathy’ states: “I think I take myself too serious… it’s not that serious.” (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Bambina’, ‘Sunflower’



 INTERPOL A Fine Mess (Matador)

New Interpol records have often been welcomed with trepidation rather than conviction. 2014’s ‘El Pintor’ steadied the ship, but the 15th anniversary tour of ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’ in 2017 still could not have come at a better time. It was at these monumental concerts that ‘Real Life’ was first debuted - apparently the first track written for 2018’s ‘Marauder’. Curiously, it didn’t make the cut, and yet it appears here at the centre point of EP

‘A Fine Mess’. Immediately there is a suggestion, then, that perhaps this short-play is merely a collection of offcuts. Yet while these dense songs are occasionally marred by too many layers of guitar twiddling, there is plenty to latch on to. “You and me make a fine mess” is a lyric that gets right under the skin as it’s repeated like a mantra in Paul Banks’ vampiric baritone. And at every other corner there are the bustling drums and screeching, angular riffs that have been the spine of the band since its inception. Textbook Interpol, then. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘A Fine Mess’



Nothing Great About Britain (Method)

slowthai: top musician, health and safety nightmare.

slowthai says he knew the title of his debut before he wrote a note of it. As such, ‘Nothing Great About Britain’ permeates everything about this fantastic first record from the soon-tobe-star that is Tyron Frampton. “Bottle of bucky in Buckingham Palace”, he spits to open the album, and across its length, shots are fired at the monarchy, police and almost every national institution you can think of, all delivered with bags of personality and eloquence, packed with more iconic lines than you could mention. Oh and he calls the Queen a cunt. All this feeling is transmitted via thumping instrumentals, from grubby, frantic punk (‘Doorman’) to minimal, foreboding strings and sharp beats (‘Dead Leaves’), and epitomised on the album’s stunning cover, which sees slowthai naked in the stocks on a council estate draped in union flags. ‘Nothing Great About Britain’ is the clear message on the record, but though it fights against tradition and nationalism, it finds hope and solace in community and togetherness: there might just be something great about Britain, it’s just not what we’re brought up to think it is. slowthai is an icon in waiting. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Doorman’, ‘Dead Leaves’ Photo: Jono White




(Question Everything, Inc / RCA)



Reasons to Dream (Virgin EMI) When Whenyoung emerged towards the end of 2017, the Irish trio cut the figures of indie-pop darlings, all sweet choruses and saccharine melodies. Fast forward just under two years to their debut album, and they’re a whole different beast. The hooks remain on ‘Reasons To Dream’ - there are bucketfuls of earworms - but there’s an added bite and emotional weight to their make-up. Lead single ‘Never Let Go’ is a gargantuan statement - both in message and sound - with swirling guitars and Aoife Power’s astonishing vocal range lifted above swathes of reverb as she delivers a hammerblow message to those suffering with their mental health, repeating the track’s title. ‘Future’ treads the same path, bravely detailing the suicide of a friend and the emotional recovery that followed. Team this heavy emotional resonance with the gorgeously catchy skips of ‘You’re Grand’ and ‘In My Dreams’, and ‘Reasons To Dream’ sees Whenyoung come good - better than good - at exactly the right time. On their debut, they’re a band to believe in. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Never Let Go’, ‘In My Dreams’

The lightning-fast rise of Brockhampton across two years and four albums made the LA boyband one of the buzziest musical concerns on the planet in 2018. Their fourth album ‘iridescence’, recorded at Abbey Road and released last September, was a punishingly heavy listen, punctuated by band members leaving and albums being scrapped, the aftermath of its release taking the wind out of the group’s sails. Consequently, taking a sidestep back to solo music serves main man Kevin Abstract well. ‘ARIZONA baby’, released in fragments across the past month, is a significantly lighter and breezier listen. Jack Antonoff helms the production alongside Brockhampton’s own desk wizard Romil Hemnani, and his pop sensibilities shine on horn-flecked highlight ‘Joy Ride’. There are still meditations on self-worth and loneliness on ‘Corpus Christi’, but this collection of leftfield, hyper-modern rap songs are all delivered with a little more hope and joy, and a sense of emerging out the other side. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Joy Ride’


LIZZO Cuz I Love You


In an age where the same brands that once fed off our insecurities are now preaching messages of self-love, there’s something refreshing about Lizzo’s charismatic approach. The message of ‘Cuz I Love You’ is clear: love yourself, have faith in your abilities and don’t be afraid to call out the people that don’t treat you how you deserve to be treated. From the power ballad of the title track and immature ex-bashing ‘Jerome’ to the exuberance of single ‘Juice’ and femininity-celebrating anthem ‘Like A Girl’, power and confidence run through the record. Ecstatic party starter ‘Soulmate’ takes it to a new level, with its witty refrain of “Look up in the mirror, like damn she the one / I’m my own soulmate / I’m gonna marry me one day,” whereas the Missy Elliot-featuring ‘Tempo’ is a trap-tinged command to let loose on the dancefloor. It also manages to veer away from feeling gimmicky, Lizzo’s vibrant personality and humour shining through a set of tracks that switches through elements of funk, pop and R&B with ease. Lizzo’s ascent to stardom has been a slow burn, building her music across three albums and multiple EPs and collaborations, but now almost a decade in, her star has finally been allowed to shine as bright as it should. (Rachel Finn) LISTEN: ‘Juice’, ‘Tempo’



 FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES End of Suffering (International Death Cult)

Ever since the release of fiery debut ‘Blossom’, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes have focused on pushing their own musical boundaries. While follow-up ‘Modern Ruin’ saw them eschew more of their earlier hardcore-infused tendencies, it’s on ‘End of Suffering’ that they’ve grown into fully-fledged rock titans. In Frank Carter, the outfit have always had an effervescent and chaotic frontman, yet it’s with their third album that his brand of cathartic storytelling manages to be both intensely personal and explosively extroverted. The devastating one-two punch of ‘Anxiety’ and ‘Angel Wings’ – which sits exactly in the middle of the record - takes his fraught tales of existentialism and transform them into a rallying call-to-arms, tailor-made for giant stages and lighters-aloft singalongs. A bold, brave effort that’ll continue to see them rise through the rock ranks. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘Crowbar’, ‘Anxiety’


CHARLY BLISS Young Enough (Lucky Number)


“I think joy is the most powerful tool by which to communicate with people,” Charly Bliss vocalist Eva Hendricks told us, and this mission statement forms everything around the band’s excellent new album ‘Young Enough’. Circling around Eva’s sharp, twangy vocals, the band’s second album is a gargantuan step forward, and one packed full of iron-clad mantras. Lyrically, it goes deep into topics ranging from abusive relationships to killing your inner people-pleaser, but it’s all delivered with huge slabs of defiance and hope, not to mention bags of wit delivered with tongue firmly in cheek (“It’s gonna break my heart to see you blown to bits,” goes the hook of the opener). “In my opinion, the two best emotional releases are crying and dancing,” Eva says of the album, and there’s plenty on this cracker of a record to inspire both. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Blown To Bits’


THE NATIONAL I Am Easy To Find (4AD)

The National’s eighth didn’t come together in any usual way. Written and recorded alongside a short film from director Mike Mills, ‘I Am Easy To Find’ is a scrapbook of the band’s last few years. The main change here is vocally, where Matt Berninger delegates nearly half of the album’s lyrics to female voices, both adding new textures, as well as allowing the frontman to write from different perspectives, turning the lens outwards for the first time. The band have always been part of a large creative family (guitarist Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon have recently created the PEOPLE streaming service/community), and they’re brought to the fore on a National LP for the first time. Lisa Hannigan shines on ‘The Pull Of You’, while long-time David Bowie collaborator Gail Ann Dorsey pops up across the record. Team that with live favourite ‘Rylan’ and ‘Not In Kansas’, simultaneously the funniest and most heartbreaking song the band have written in years, there’s plenty here to push The National’s sound forwards and stave off stagnation. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Not In Kansas’ 66 DIYMAG.COM


MAC DEMARCO Here Comes The Cowboy (Mac’s Record Label)

When Mac DeMarco first broke through back in 2012 with debut album proper ‘2’, it was the cheeky-chappy twinkle in his eye that set his simple, heart-on-sleeve warm balladry apart. Over the years, Mac has understandably grown up a bit - from getting naked and boozy on stage, he now spends most interviews trying to distance himself from that former rep. But, while we’re not expecting the Canadian to be Peter Pan forever, there’s something of that early charm that’s also been lost along the way. ‘Here Comes The Cowboy’ is by no means bad, and there are moments of grin-inducing greatness in the warm lilt of ‘Finally Alone’ or the playful funk of ‘Choo Choo’, but the moments of personality that punctuate the mid-tempo amble that’s always been the singer’s go-to are fewer and further between. The result is an album that’s pleasant but kind of passes you by, and for a singer that was always so charismatic, being just ordinary feels like a bit of a bummer. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Finally Alone’



The Best of Luck Club


Amyl and the Sniffers have left a trail of destruction in their wake over the past year, and amid all the chaos, somehow the Aussies managed to fit in the recording of their debut album. If fast-and-hard punk is the order of the day then Amyl and the Sniffers are full of it. In just under half an hour they cram in 11 songs that are bursting with Oi! beats and searing guitar solos, all headed up by firebrand vocalist Amy Taylor. Previously released single ‘Cup of Destiny’ remains a stand-out - a burst of explosive energy packed into a two minute eruption. ‘Punisha’ emulates Motorhead at their most furious; ‘Monsoon Rock’ sounds like The Cramps on speed. ‘Got You’ is one of the few tracks that gives Amy space to tell a comprehensible story: “buy me a drink and my eyes glaze over”, she drawls, on a record that is often overpowered by its own thrashing intensity, but no less vital for it. A great advert for Australia’s most incendiary live band. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘Cup of Destiny’, ‘Monsoon Rock’

(Dead Oceans)

Alex Lahey’s debut ‘I Love You Like A Brother’ was jampacked with hooks, wit and charm, a standout first effort from the Melbourne songwriter. Follow-up ‘The Best Of Luck Club’ largely treads the same path; choruses burst out with exuberance, vocals are delivered with knowing winks, and, in particular on self-care anthem ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’, it’s largely a sensitive, caring listen. However, while ‘I Love You Like A Brother’ was littered with memorable choruses that would be lodged in your brain after one listen, it takes a good while of digging into ‘The Best Of Luck Club’ to find something that sticks. Alex has said that the album tracks “the highest highs and the lowest lows” of her life so far, but upon listening - despite an overall likeability and affable sheen - it’s a little flatter than that. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’


A concept album about the heartbroken singer of a fictional doo-wop band is probably about the least likely pitch for success you could think of. But it’s this steadfast refusal to play ball with the modern world that makes Liverpool’s Trudy and the Romance such an endearing proposition. On debut ‘Sandman’ they go all in; from the “shoo be doo” backing vocals that adorn opener ‘My Baby’s Gone Away’ to the Disney-esque twinkles of ‘The Crying Girl’ to the barbershop harmonies of ‘The Hopeless Romantic’ (a track which very much does what it says on the tin), the trio create an allenveloping universe that harks back to a more innocent time, all helmed by singer Oliver Taylor’s swooning, crooning vocal. It’s a tonic in an age that sorely needs them, and one executed with the unwavering dedication of the kind of guys who’d stand outside your window for a serenade. You wouldn’t put it past them. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘The Crying Girl’ 67

 

TEN TONNES Ten Tonnes (Warner Bros.)

With his self-titled debut, Ten Tonnes more than delivers. Debut single ‘Lucy’ sounds as fresh as it did on first listen, swooping you up in adrenaline from the word go. On ‘Too Late’, dawn breaks gently before the sun shines on a chorus that will get arms in the air at festivals the world over, while the frantic ‘Silver Heat’ tells the tale of a complicated relationship, begging the person in question to “forget that boy, come on now drop it”. Centrepiece ‘Nights In, Nights Out’ examines the mundanity of staying in the same place for too long. Throughout the album he refines his rock ‘n’ roll flair, bringing about moments that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Arctic Monkeys record. He manages this without once sounding too self-aware. This is a crisp collection of songs, and one that is sure to serve him well on the festival circuit come summer. (Eloise Bulmer) LISTEN: ‘Too Late’

THE NINTH WAVE Infancy Pt. I (Distiller)


So much do The Ninth Wave ooze ‘80s electro-goth, it’s a wonder they don’t spend their downtime queuing outside the former Blitz ‘just in case’. This is no matter of style over substance, mind, as the stomping ‘Half Pure’ does more than enough to back it up, Haydn Park-Patterson’s croon making like Depeche Mode covering Tears For Fears’ ‘Shout’. And while the more dystopian, paredback moments do echo close to the early work of Glasgow neighbours Chvrches, it’s less a case of copycats than mirrored record collections. Releasing a debut in two halves is a strange move - even in our year of double albums™ - but ‘Infancy Pt. 1’ does well to tease a band with a crystal-clear vision. (Louisa Dixon) LISTEN: ‘Half Pure’


Q&A Ethan Barnett talks of working with a “solid gold ledge” and finally having his debut album out in the world. An album! Finally! There must be a mix of excitement and fear now it’s (almost) out in the world? Yeah it’s getting very real all of a sudden! I’ve spent so much time making it and listening over to it endlessly so I’m super chuffed it’s finally (almost) out and people can hear it. What was it like working with 3/5 of the Maccabees on some of it? Yeah it was super cool, I have an older sister and she was a massive fan growing up so I got into them through her CD collection. They’re lovely guys and Hugo who produced some of the record is a solid gold ledge. You’ve also worked with a few songwriters too, how have they helped you with your own songwriting? It’s so useful having someone to bounce ideas off and to help finish songs with. They’re all brilliant songwriters and that encourages me to bring my best when I’m with them. 68 DIYMAG.COM

FILTHY FRIENDS Emerald Valley (Kill Rock Stars)


The first album from Filthy Friends - the band (don’t call them a supergroup) featuring both SleaterKinney’s Corin Tucker and R.E.M.’s Peter Buck among others - saw a fascinating meeting of minds. On follow-up ‘Emerald Valley’, they connect in a way far beyond the confines of a star-studded one-off. Peter’s signature jangly guitars collide with Corin’s despair and worry over climate change (“don’t give up the earth this time,” she urges on ‘Pipeline’) harmoniously, while single ‘Last Chance County’ channels full-on punk grit, transmitting this anger most forcefully. On this showing, Filthy Friends are here to stay in their own right, and they’ve got a hell of a message for you. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Last Chance County’





HAYDEN THORPE Diviner (Domino)


Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker is skilled at making music about the duality of everything and the lack of permanence in pretty much anything. The band’s third album - their first for 4AD - wrestles again with that anxiety, a work that’s strange and constantly moving. Last year’s solo record ‘abyss kiss’ was full of the acoustic, bare bones of Adrianne’s songwriting, and two songs from that record - ‘Terminal Paradise’ and ‘From’ - get full-band reworkings here. It’s a darker offering than some of their earlier work, more textured and full of otherworldly sound effects that often only become obvious on multiple listens. ‘Jenni’ is a foreboding, dirge-like work that’s as interesting as it is unsettling, whereas ‘Strange’ is a spacey, almost psychedelic track that’s peppered with bursts of noise that sound almost like gunshots. Title track ‘UFOF’ is full of rhymically tight finger-picking and overlaid with flashes of studio warbles, like an extra-terrestial reaching out from another dimension. “There will soon be proof that there is no alien / Just a system of truth and lies / The reason, the language and the law of attraction,” Adrianne sings, lyrically cryptic, but moving all the same. (Rachel Finn) LISTEN: ‘UFOF’, ‘Jenni’

On fifth album ‘Boy King’ - Wild Beasts’ last before the Kendal kings decided to call it a day at the start of 2018 - frontman Hayden Thorpe spent his time rutting and thrusting through the most lascivious material of the band’s decade-long career. Regularly clad in leather trench-coat and black shades, his new vibe was less decadent dandy of old and more a kind of sexy Neo from The Matrix. On the cover of solo LP ‘Diviner’’s title track, we found the singer topless and monochrome, staring into the middle distance like a Calvin Klein model; so far, so hot under the collar. However, far from continuing the prowl of yore, the record itself sees Hayden digging further inside than ever with a sparse, haunting and frequently stunning set of largely piano-based ballads that frame his inimitable falsetto in stark, affective style. On its titular opener, a flutter of keys and a slow, pulsing beat feel familiar yet different - more direct, less layered than his former outfit, while ‘Love Crimes’ showcases the album’s other side: a tense, gently propulsive thing built around its cold central line, “I’m giving up on us”. From the more electronic, pleasingly idiosyncratic ‘Earthly Needs’ (“emotional ju jitsu / your finishing move”) to the gentle, dappled ‘Anywhen’, ‘Diviner’ is an intensely intimate album that leaves Hayden with nowhere to hide. Thankfully, stepping fully into the spotlight and laying himself bare, he’s resplendent. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Love Crimes’

Missed the boat on the best albums from the last couple of months? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

 BILLIE EILISH WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? If you’ve not had this on repeat for the past six weeks, where have you been?



Visceral punk wrapped up in Dublin’s poetic lore, what’s not to love?




Dark and incisive in equal measures, Dave’s debut is nothing short of stellar. 69




ALASKALASKA The Dots (Marathon)


(Wolf Tone)

Rosie Lowe is still fuelled by doubts but there’s a brighter light at the end of the tunnel than on debut ‘Control’. She’s now not afraid to write pure love songs. A highlight comes in ‘Birdsong’, with Jamie Woon, Jamie Lidell, Jordan Rakei and Kwabs her smooth backing chorus. Meanwhile on ‘Mango’, her silky vocals float over bright dreamy guitars. Some moments do verge on the edge of cringe - Jay Electronica’s verse on ‘The Way’, and ‘Pharaoh’ rhyming “Nefertiti” with “titty”. But while love is still a mess, Rosie Lowe sounds ready to face it now. (Chris Taylor) LISTEN: ‘Mango’


HONEYBLOOD In Plain Sight (Marathon)

South London’s ALASKALASKA have quickly built a name as serial genredodgers, and on debut ‘The Dots’, their multi-faceted sound has never been more cohesive. A percussive arpeggio that sounds like it was developed in Silicon Valley opens the title track. Later, the heavily warped guitar melody of the grunge-tinged ‘Tough Love’ sounds impressively out-of-this-world. Singer Lucinda Duarte-Holman’s compelling lyrics give the album a keen focus. On ‘Bees’ she confronts consumer society, singing “It’s a shark working for great white men… let’s go shopping,” while the animated ‘Moon’ explores the emotional impact of the menstrual cycle. Her chirruping delivery adds further musicality to songs that are already full of expressive bass lines, bright synths and experimental drum patterns. ‘The Dots’ is an outright success, combining forward-thinking sound design with complex songwriting, and an astute taste for pop hooks with rich, intelligent lyrical content. It’s a joy to experience. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘Tough Love’

Q&A Setting up shop in a ‘proper’ studio - for some of the time at least ALASKALASKA’s Lucinda Duarte-Holman and Fraser Rieley want you

Honeyblood’s second album to enjoy the “weirdness” of the group’s debut. Interview: Will Richards. ‘Babes Never Die’ saw a duo racing out of the blocks with You’ve changed a lot as a band but do you still see ‘The Dots’ as a exuberance on a record full of succinct representation of ALASKALASKA up until now? fierce choruses. On follow-up Lucinda: Yeah, I do. With the EP, it was a case of just needing to do it. We had very ‘In Plain Sight’, with the band limited supplies and space, and we didn’t yet have a clear vision of what we wanted us now the solo project of Stina to sound like. Now when I listen back, it’s like seeing a high school photo of yourself. Tweeddale, the only thing Fraser: Because we knew we were going to do it ourselves, we knew it was only going to be to say is: ‘Where did it all go as good as we could possibly make it. We decided not to worry too much about what another wrong? ‘In Plain Sight’ is an producer would do, or what would fit into music at the moment. We had a firmer idea, and overwhelmingly dour listen. think it sums us up. Stina’s voice slides in on opener ‘She’s A Nightmare’ A lot of the album used recordings from demos or first recordings with what sounds like barelywas it a deliberate decision to leave things a bit rough’n’ready? concealed boredom, and Fraser: It’s fun [to be in a ‘proper’ studio], and you learn a lot from doing it, and it’s cool being things rarely get more inspired. able to set up and play live and do whatever you want in a nice expensive room, ‘cause it’s a ‘Take The Wheel’ lifts things fun day out. But I don’t think that gets the best results necessarily unless you’re Bono and you slightly, her voice carrying a can afford to be there all the time and play with all the equipment; every time we did that, it just creepy snarl over distorted thuds, but moments of such became a bit sterile. interest are very few. Team that with tinny, disconnected It seems like you feel very strongly about the messages that anchor the album - is there production, and you’ve got a a particular message that you want to hammer home with it? huge, surprising misstep from Lucinda: I want people to actually listen to the words and what I’m talking about, a band who you thought were and actually think about it. There’s topics about love and depression and the world, just hitting their stride. (Will and they’re all quite rounded topics, but I also want people to enjoy it, and have Richards) fun with it, and be surprised, and find things weird, and enjoy that weirdness. 70 DIYMAG.COM


NICK MURPHY Run Fast Sleep Naked (Future Classic)


“This is next”: these were the words Nick Murphy used when killing off alter-ego Chet Faker. Abandoning the identity which had already delivered a platinum album might seem a risky move, but with the first album under his own name, he seems to be making brave and unusual a trademark. Recording vocal pieces all over the world, he delivers a nomadic, illusive album that never stays still enough to give away any sort of fixed certainties. A swirling maelstrom of thoughts, feelings and ideas, it’s as contradictory as it is revelatory. Ironically for this open-book conversationalist some songs can be deceptively impenetrable, yet others can seemingly travel miles on the most minimal drops of fuel. Highlight ‘Sunlight’ provides a restless fusion of soul, electronica and bluesy crescendos. There’s a sparse airiness that pervades - the album is evocative of open spaces and an occupied mind as Nick wrestles with just about every question he could face. For an album that demands a rare level of faith and trust in the artist, and his erratic creative vision, ‘Run Fast Sleep Naked’ more than anything drives home an inescapable point about the expansiveness of the world around you, but also the world inside your mind. (Matthew Davies Lombardi) LISTEN: ‘Sunlight’





Fool For The Vibes (V2)


If there’s a unifying characteristic that links indie rock’s current crop it’s that they create as they consume: in a playlist era there’s increasingly little room for preset aesthetics. EUT feel like proof positive of that. The Dutch five-piece’s endearingly playful debut, ‘Fool For The Vibes’, careens wildly across genres, from the giddy skewering of garage rock that opener ‘Look (Who Has Decided After All)’ represents to the gentle country of ‘Ping Pong Ball’ and the weirdly danceable ‘I Came to Be Gone’, which subtly revolves around an infectious beat. The moments that linger in the memory are the irrepressibly fun ones closer ‘How Did You Know’ is a true earworm, and the measured swagger of ‘Bad Sweet Pony’ lingers, too. EUT have turned out an album scored through with their own idiosyncrasies; crucial, now, is that they hang on to them. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Look (Who Has Decided After All)’

Morningside (Hand in Hive)



Eternal Forward Motion



There’s a strong emotion of nostalgia on ‘Morningside’. Recorded semi-live in a tiny studio behind a Haggerston pub, Swimming Tapes’ debut shines with the lilting sounds of clean-toned guitar arpeggios and cooing vocal harmonies. Their charm is present right from the opening bars of ‘Passing Ships’, as two tender melodies intertwine much in the same style as American indie devotees Real Estate. Meanwhile Louis Price and Robbie Reid’s wistful vocals channel The Shins. The gentle, relaxed aura is maintained across all 11 tracks; ’Morningside’ is as peaceful as they come. In their own words it is a record best-suited to “drives along the Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland in the height of summer”, and that sounds just about right. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘Say It Isn’t So’

Three albums in and Woking’s self-described ‘nasty hardcore’ five-piece are bleaker than ever. Intertwined in their ferocious barrage is a broken society, one that favours the false portrayal of social media over the often-more-troubling reality. ‘Eternal Forward Motion’ is a rallying cry for awareness and change. Employed To Serve lay out the plagues on society, yet the record insists on action. “There’s hope for tomorrow,” the band offer during the climactic ‘Bare Bones On A Blue Sky’. “Open your eyes” they implore with a palpable urgency. These words close an album littered with moments of positivity. ‘Eternal Forward Motion’ pushes onward with a clear mission and unrivalled force, and much like their two previous albums, it places Employed To Serve firmly at the forefront of innovation in British hardcore. (Ben Tipple) LISTEN: ‘Reality Filter’



PATIENCE Dizzy Spells (Night School)


In keeping with her new stage name, Roxanne Clifford has not rushed to put out a debut record as Patience - her first singles under the moniker, ‘The Church’ and ‘The Pressure’ (both included here) are almost three years old already, not to mention the fact that this is the first full-length that Roxanne herself has been involved with since the last one from her old band Veronica Falls in 2013. ‘Dizzy Spells’, for what it’s worth, couldn’t be further removed from the sound of her last outfit. It’s not just that she’s sold her guitars and bought keyboards and drum machines - it’s that she’s also imbued the album with an air of icily cool detachment as she embarks on a whistlestop tour of all the influences she didn’t get to nod to before. ‘The Girls Are Chewing Gum’ plays like a low-key tribute to Frankie Knuckles, ‘Living Things Don’t Last’ is a sharplyrealised ‘80s throwback, and on the deceptively upbeat ‘No Roses’, she wrestles with the disorientation of swapping London for LA. Roxanne wears her inspirations firmly on her sleeve but does so with assurance and panache; the only question remaining is why she never turned her hand to this dark dancefloor fare sooner. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Living Things Don’t Last’ 71









(Mexican Summer)

(Arts & Crafts)

‘Levitation’ is the fourth album by Flamingods, and the now-quartet sound as colourful as you’d imagine. ‘Paradise Drive’ is a phantasmic kraut number that’s rooted by a disco bass line and funky guitar licks. ‘Koray’ is a playful slice of psych-pop full of saccharine synths and nursery rhyme vocals. And single ‘Marigold’ sounds like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on magic mushrooms. It’s full of the kind of ecstatic whoops and screeching guitars that wouldn’t feel out of place in an advert for a quirky sports car. With riffs built around Eastern scales and an assortment of percussion, ‘Levitation’ proves a dense musical journey. It has a tendency to be superfluous but ultimately it’s a fun record that’s clearly born of love and dedication. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘Marigold’



‘Reward’ was written in isolation, a process that began when Cate Le Bon spent a year living “sequestered in the Cumbrian mountainside”. That isolation has left a melancholic imprint, seeing her ruminating on dead flowers, tragedy and unrequited love. And just as songs land on sweet melodies, they segue into something more challenging, with discordant guitars or droning sax, as on ‘Mother’s Mother’s Magazines’ and ‘The Light’ respectively. With all this going on, ‘Reward’ could feel like a slog, too bleak and weird to be truly enjoyable - but it doesn’t. It’s entirely captivating, with just enough moments of optimism to keep you hanging on. (George Wilde) LISTEN: ‘Magnificent Gestures’

Let’s Try The After Vol 1&2 ........................................

It’s still less than two years since ‘Hug of Thunder’, and it’s worth noting that ‘Let’s Try the After’ - a collection of two separately-released EPs - is a different proposition entirely. ‘Let’s Try The After’ swivels back to the songwriting axis that has sustained Broken Social Scene - Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. Kevin in particular hangs heavy over proceedings, taking the lead on the standout ‘80s fuzz throwback ‘Can’t Find My Heart’. Elsewhere, there’s typical experimentalism - the electro swirl of ‘Remember Me Young’, for instance - but the whole thing is brought together, as is so often the case with this band, less by sonic cohesion and more by an emotional throughline. Broken Social Scene are still optimistic. Perhaps we should be too. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Can’t Find My Heart’

Levitation (Moshi Moshi)


The Sleepwalk Transmissions (Holy Roar)


When it comes to heavy music, it’s easy to assume power always resides in screamed vocals or thundering guitars. Brighton quintet We Never Learned To Live have proven that’s not always the case. Having already garnered a cult respect around debut ‘Silently We Threw Them Skyward’ for their balancing act of heavy riffs and melodic vocals, it’s with this follow-up that they grow even stronger. From the hardcore metallics towards the outro of ‘Permafrost’, to the more intricate moments within ‘Human Antenna’, they’re a band who evoke emotion and make crashing impact without being overly heavy-handed. Packed with engaging structures and impressive production, ‘The Sleepwalk Transmissions’ is an album that sees them soar skyward once again. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘Retreat Syndrome’


It’s only taken a decade for Jack ‘n’ Brendan to get the gang back together. Released 21st June.

MARK RONSON Late Night Feelings

He’s called it a collection of “sad bangers,” so Kleenex at the ready, kids. Out 21st June.

MATTIEL Satis Factory

Mattiel Brown and band are popping up their blue collars for LP2, released 7th June.





Stop a second. Tense all your muscles really tight. Feel the burn. That slightly tingling sensation of everything being wound as taught as possible and then - ahhh, sweet relief - is a bit like what it’s like listening to Montreal quintet Pottery’s debut. Frenetic and relentless, with nary a pause for breath, the likes of driving post punk jangler ‘Spell’ or the dizzying ‘Hank Williams’ set a pace. Then, you get a brief pause of respite in the ‘60s howl of ‘Lady Solinas’ or Parquet Courtsesque ‘The Craft’, but at any point - mid-song or whenever they damn please - the band are prone to veer off down unexpected tangents and send your heart racing all over again. Fuck exercise, one listen to this is all the endorphin rush you need. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘The Craft’




Aussie four-piece Body Type emerged as an instantly likeable new force on their hooky debut EP, packed full of reckless fun, and this promise soars on its charming follow-up. Taking musical cues from their peers Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and the wicked, grinning youthfulness of The Big Moon, they’re a band to slap a big ol’ grin across your face. Led by ‘Stingray’, a song about an immaculate conception at Sydney Zoo, these are five songs that burst with personality and make us fall even deeper in love with these newcomers. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Stingray’



Useless Coordinates (Captured Tracks)

Taking their cues from great artists over great musicians, Drahla could well be the next band to make good on the tried and tested art-school-to-post-punk-stardom trope. Debut ‘Useless Coordinates’ is spiky, moody and tense, and if Luciel Brown’s vocals can seep through the noisy blasts for long enough she’s usually effortlessly exercising one of the most hypnotising vocabularies around. “Ancient Egypt in the palm of my hand,” starts ‘Pyramid Estate’. “Expiration date on tangible existence”. As ever, Drahla’s abstract perspective leaves you scratching you head as to what’s just been discussed. Philosophical and heavily textured, it makes sense that the trio are aiming not just to take over gig venues, but galleries too. Already boasting some impressive early singles and a fantastic EP, it’s a testament to Drahla’s quality that so little of their pre-existing back catalogue makes it onto ‘Useless Coordinates’, leaving this young band already with more than enough killer tracks for any set. This opening statement from a band emerging as one of Britain’s most inspired and uncompromising, could just be a strong starting step in a vivid and unconventional journey. As an opening statement from a band emerging as one of Britain’s most inspired and uncompromising, it’s a strong starting step in a vivid and unconventional journey. More in thrall to Francis Bacon and Cy Twombly than any musician, their trajectory is both apt and essential. (Matthew Davies Lombardi) LISTEN: ‘Pyramid Estate’

Back to the

Drawing Board With Drahla*

Q1: Where did you record ‘Useless Coordinates’?

Q2: What are the most useless of all coordinates?

Q3: What might a ‘Gilded Cloud’ look like?

Q4: Draw Drahla ‘reacting’ and ‘revolting’.

*who cheated by taking photos, we know. Drahla. Cheats. 73



Set List



Alexandra Palace, London. Photos: Patrick Gunning. In the eight years since Robyn’s last London show, the Swedish singer has slowly and near-silently risen to becoming one of pop’s most authoritative figures. Without releasing a note of music herself she’s become a touching point for any teenager aiming to make heart-thumping pop. Returning last October with ‘Honey’, the new breed rushing up behind her, Robyn tore up her own script. “I can’t be writing sad love songs for the rest of my life,” she told us, “that’s just gonna be pathetic!” Tonight, at the first of two nights at the Alexandra Palace, she melts these two worlds together perfectly. ‘Honey’ is a softer, more caring album than the robotic, iron-fisted lust of 2010’s ‘Body Talk’. It’s also fuelled by a crate-digging mentality, and that’s something that seeps into tonight’s show: songs from ‘Honey’ are melded together with the feel of a DJ set, as ‘Send To Robin Immediately’ gives way to the album’s gigantic title track when Robyn emerges down a set of stairs. As with the release of ‘Honey’, her return to the stage sees her greeted as a much-missed hero. There are also plenty of people here who were too young to see her last time around, and as much as it’s a nostalgic evening for many, her return has seen her embraced with just as much love and passion by a younger generation. Joined by a dancer for a lusty run-through ‘Because It’s In The Music’ and pulling her own flamboyant shapes in a clubby extended ‘Between The Lines’, tonight’s show flows impeccably, punctuated with ‘Body Talk’’s huge, throbbing hits (‘Call Your Girlfriend’ and ‘Dancing On My Own’ are predictably massive) but carrying a malleable feel. She also nods to artists she’s worked with across the set, covering tracks by the likes of Mr Tophat and Kindness, both of who worked on ‘Honey’ with her, and though she obviously remains the focal point, there are constant odes to collaboration and community throughout. From dropping her own voice away to allow the crowd to lift the first chorus of ‘Dancing On My Own’ to dancing her way across the stage in extended, techno-fuelled jams, it’s almost as if she becomes just another crowd member across parts of the set, getting even closer to a fanbase that already feels such an iron-clad connection to her. Robyn’s back, and everyone’s invited. (Will Richards) 75



ast summer Two Door Cinema Club closed the lid on ‘Gameshow’, their woozy, disco-slanted third album, in a massive blow out at London’s Community Festival in Finsbury Park. Just down the road and nine months later, the setting for tonight’s intimate comeback performance is Oval Space, packed to the rafters and with some familiar faces in tow, as part of Annie Mac’s AMP London event at venues across the capital.

“Ah ha ha ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive…”

Wrapping up that day at Community, Two Door had a stage production to match the huge audience they’ve built over a decade of making great records. Tonight there are no lasers, streamers or fireworks, just four guys, their instruments, and a back catalogue most bands would kill for. ‘Talk’ gets its first outing, joining the ranks as an instant classic if the number of shoulder-surfers is anything to go by, but surprisingly no more new material is aired all night. The band’s outfits - suits in primary colours that match the red stage furniture - are the only other hint that there’s even a new ‘era’ coming at all. Instead, Alex, Kevin, and Sam breeze through a set of classics more akin to a Two Door-themed club night than a live gig. The first chord of ‘Undercover Martyn’ has the place in a frenzy. Fifteen minutes in, they’ve already ticked off ‘I Can Talk’ and ‘What You Know’. “Thanks for coming down,” says Alex with a smile, as if a thousand cap Two Door gig wouldn’t sell out in seconds. Even with non-album tracks like ‘Changing Of The Seasons’ in the set, it’s far from selfindulgent; they’re just giving the people what they want. There’s the odd respite, like the heady groove of ‘Lavender’, but the rest of the night consists of wall-to-wall mania, ‘Sun’ concluding a glorious night celebrating one of these shores’ most beloved groups. (Alex Cabré) 76 DIYMAG.COM

TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB Oval Space, London. Photos: James Kelly.


JAMES BLAKE Hammersmith Apollo, London. Photo: James Kelly.


oving to Los Angeles before writing ‘Assume Form’ and settling down with actor girlfriend Jameela Jamil, James Blake’s fourth record is packed full of new beginnings, and plenty of nods back to his time in London as an evasive, minimalist producer who hid from the spotlight any chance he got. The record removes this cloak and tonight sees him return to his former home as a very different performer. As ever, he’s joined on stage by the dynamic duo of Ben Assiter and Rob McAndrews, and they continue to tinker with songs from his back catalogue. ‘Voyeur’, from 2010’s ‘Overgrown’, is stretched out into a ten-minute techno behemoth, nodding to James’ 1-800 Dinosaur collective who his bandmates both DJ under, while the likes of ‘Timeless’ and ‘Life Round Here’ are picked apart and melded back together in fresh ways. Every pre-‘Assume Form’ song played tonight - though great - feels stylistic, slick and distant, and it’s the songs from the new record that form the set’s emotional core. Not only the focal point because it’s the album he’s currently promoting, ‘Assume Form’ has, in the few months since its release, become James Blake’s beating heart, and tonight he’s learning to share it. For the encore, the trio emerge and play the final two tracks from the album, single ‘Don’t Miss It’ and ‘Lullaby For My Insomniac’. The latter is a drone-like bedtime story for which James insists on silence so the many vocal loops he makes aren’t tampered with due to crowd noise. “It’s designed to help people fall to sleep, so I thought it’s good to close a gig with,” he states. It’s the smallest gesture, but one that’s indicative of ‘Assume Form’ and of James Blake at large right now, finding his peace and using it to stretch out a hand to others. As he says to the crowd before ‘Mile High’: “It feels different this time.” (Will Richards)

SUNDARA KARMA Academy, Bristol. Photo: Ania Shrimpton.


undara Karma have come a long way from 2014’s fresh-faced ‘Indigo Puff’ teens: following the release of anthemic debut ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’, this year’s follow-up, ‘Ulfilas’ Alphabet’, saw the Reading outfit explore whole new territories. And, as the euphoric chimes of ‘Higher States’ begin, the quartet are flung into their groove, and the crowd are swept up in the flamboyant synths. Meanwhile, frontman Oscar Pollock cuts an intriguing figure: his vocals have been compared favourably to those of David Bowie - and there’s more than a hint of the Starman in his sartorial choices this evening. Crowd favourite ‘She Said’ is welcomed by deafening screams, while ‘Loveblood’ leads the pit into a frenzy. They round off the main set with the tongue-in-cheek look at toxic masculinity, ‘Symbols of Joy and Eternity’, and marry it with rainbow lights. As the last notes of closer ‘One Last Night On This Earth’ ring out, Sundara Karma have delighted Bristol with a mix of old and new. (Ffion Riordan-Jones)



FONTAINES DC ....................................................

The Garage, London. Photos: Emma Swann.


hen IDLES landed in the Top Five with last year’s ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’, it felt like a rare and beautiful thing - not quite once in a generation perhaps, but enough of an anomaly to feel like a victory for more than just the Bristol band themselves. It seemed unlikely, just six months ago, that another grassroots success story from the punk world would follow so soon after, and yet here we stand as the star of Irish quintet Fontaines DC continues to rise further by the day. Cynics could state that it’s a second wave ripple effect of the former band’s influence, people merrily latching on to the next in line. But really, aside from the fact that the two groups are friends and have toured together, there’s a world and not just a country border that separates the pair; Fontaines, with their blunt Irish brogue and literary romanticism have quickly honed a truly enticing niche of their own and it’s this that’s steered them to where they arrive tonight: at the London date of their headline tour, sold out months in advance, mere days away (as they’ll learn later) from debut LP ‘Dogrel’ scoring a Top 10. Maybe it’s the awareness that the music world’s eyes are very much all on them that means the band begin with something of a tentative start tonight. The opening bass rumbles and spinning guitar lines of ‘Hurricane Laughter’ still sound urgent, singer Grian Chatten doing his usual stage prowl - somewhere between a caged animal and a surly schoolboy waiting in the hall to be given a detention - but the energy in the room isn’t quite there yet. Three songs in, however, and the stream of consciousness rant and buoyant riffs of ‘Chequeless Reckless’ tip things over the edge and suddenly it’s all bouncing limbs and exuberant excitement: it’s almost as if the gig was so anticipated, the gathered crowd had to remember they were there to actually have fun instead of just witness a ‘moment’. This is, for Fontaines DC, undoubtedly a moment though. With the album only out in the world for mere days at this point, its wares are already greeted like classics. ‘Boys In The Better Land’ pings around the room like a rousing clarion call; ‘Liberty Belle’’s sing-song chant is sung back with variously terrible attempts at a Dublin accent, while calling card ‘Big’ is as huge as its title.


Fontaines DC’s ascent has been rapid, and within that there’s always the risk that these still early-twentysomethings are climbing the rungs of the ladder while still finding their footing. But, judging by tonight, all they need is a quick deep breath and then they’ll be ready to go and claim what’s rightfully theirs. It’s for the taking. (Lisa Wright)



THE NATIONAL Royal Festival Hall, London. Photo: Emma Swann.


he National have been taking new album ‘I Am Easy To Find’ - alongside director Mike Mills’ film of the same name and a Q&A session featuring them all - across the world this month, and tonight at the Royal Festival Hall, their vision comes into focus wonderfully.

IDLES Electric Ballroom, London. Photo: Emma Swann.


ast year IDLES released magnificent second record ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’ to a fanfare that could only be described as biblical. The record was a 40-minute respite to all the bullshit of 2018: a divided country eating itself, toxic leaders spewing falsities and a rallying cry for hope in the face of cursed circumstances. After a solid few months of touring, the band return to London for three highly-anticipated sold-out shows at Camden’s Electric Ballroom.

Every track is greeted with the same frenzied energy from the crowd, a barrage of crowd surfers hauled to the front, riding a wave of sweaty ecstasy. During these moments, guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan bob in and out joining the throng, leading them into a higher level of frenzy.

Towards the end of a joyous rendition of the (very-much-needed) antixenophobia anthem ‘Danny Nedelko’, Joe asks the crowd, “are you having a nice time?”. It’s at this point a punter stops, grabs his mate to the They begin with a weighty, molasses- left of him and yells back “YES, I’M thick ‘Colossus’, the bass notes FINDING IT VERY CATHARTIC”. He sending pulses of anticipation nails it. through the crowd. Before the track kicks into its rapid-fire ending, one Finishing on the spectacular one-two that causes the mosh pit faithful to punch of ‘Well Done’ and ‘Rottweiler’, collectively lose their shit, frontman Joe departs during the middle of the Joe Talbot urges the crowd to “look final number, knowing his work as after each other please”. It’s these ringmaster for the evening is done, moments which define IDLES both leaving the rest of the band to rip the live and on record: moments of circus down set to the backdrop of tenderness belying outright ferocity. blinding strobes. As the set progresses through ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’, ‘I’m Scum’ and ‘Great’, it only cements the knowledge that IDLES’ rise is richly deserved. 80 DIYMAG.COM

Not only is tonight’s performance brilliant, it highlights how IDLES have achieved what only most bands can only dream of: the creation of a community. (Tom Sloman)

The band are joined on stage by Eve Owen, Pauline de Lassus and This Is The Kit’s Kate Stables, and it helps push their sound in new directions. Early tracks ‘Quite Light’ and ‘Roman Holiday’ are gorgeous piano-based cuts, and live favourite ‘Rylan’ is greeted like a favourite among an hour of unheard material, but a few tracks really stand out from the run-through. First up is ‘Where Is Her Head’, which skips its way towards already sounding like a classic to rival ‘Mr November’ and ‘Graceless’. Then there’s ‘Not In Kansas’, which opens an encore. Simultaneously the funniest and most heartbreaking song the band have written in years, the six-minute behemoth finds Matt Berninger at his most esoteric, lamenting the fact that he’s “scared [he] won’t have the balls to punch a Nazi”. It’s the clearest indication yet of the affable goofball shining through in the band’s recorded output. They then round things off with a thunderous run through a handful of greatest hits, giving the patient crowd the pay-off. Expectedly, they immediately rise to their feet, and by the time ‘Fake Empire’ closes the set, the reception is riotous. Fuelled by collaboration and a fearlessness that bands of The National’s age and stature often wouldn’t put themselves through, it’s set to see them glide into a totally new era. (Will Richards)

EP1 and EP2 Out now on Partisan Records

On tour in May 07 08 09 10 12 15 16 17 18


Glasgow Manchester Brighton Brighton Dublin London Bristol Cardiff Southampton

Broadcast Yes The Great Escape The Great Escape Eastbound Moth Club Crofters Rights Clwb Ifor Bach Heartbreakers

EP No. 1 Out now on Partisan Records

On tour in May 11 12 14 16


Leeds Glasgow Manchester London

Gold Sounds Festival The Hug and Pint The Castle Sebright Arms 81

quiz of sor ts, we’ll A big inter-band pub es one by one. be grilling your fav




h, New York Location: Max Fis ur beer. Cost: $5 Drink: Happy ho

SPECIALIST SUBJECT: Pickpocket, directed by Robert Bresson 1. Easy one to start with: When was Pickpocket first released? 1959! Correct – off to a flying start. 2. Bresson directed four films before making Pickpocket – name two. Diary of a Country Priest and A Man Escaped. Again correct! You could have also had Angels of Sin and The Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne. I’m doing good so far, but I’m nervous... 3. In the film, a book about pickpocketing plays a key part – who


wrote that book? George Barrington! Correct again. Maybe this quiz is too easy... 4. Which director, whose work includes American Gigolo, has cited the film as a formative influence? Paul Schrader! Four out of four... 5. In the film, there is one repeated musical motif. Who composed that motif? Fischer? And that’s a full house for Pickpocket. Well done.


Verdict: “I feel like an imbecile for being bad at the general knowledge...” Don’t worry Ben, you know bloody loads about a niche French film that no one else has heard of though!




6. What is the collective noun for a group of ferrets? Ferrets?! I don’t have the slightest clue... is it just... ferrets? They’re called a business of ferrets. 7. Which film won Oscars for Best Actor, Director and Cinematography in 2016? I always get confused as to how the year cut offs of Oscars work... was it Moonlight? Alas, it was the bear-sheltering The Revenant. Damn.

8. What’s the only bird that can hover and fly backwards? Mockingbird? No! I mean, hummingbird! We’ll give you that one... 9. Who is the female lead in Othello? Desdemona. Doing Shakespeare proud there – correct. 10. In which country to Venetian blinds come from? Italy? Or is it a trick question? Um... [very long silence] Turkey? Japan! It’s based on a fan.


18TH - 21ST July 2019








Plus cinema, workshops, delicious food and festival fun for the whole family Cranborne Chase, Dorset / Wiltshire border 83

Reasons To Dream The debut album Out 24th May


Profile for DIY Magazine

DIY, May 2019