set music free free / issue 42 / july 2015 diymag.com
STAND FOR SOMETHING TOUR UK 2015 FIRST HEADLINERS ANNOUNCED
26TH SEPT // GLASGOW // NICE AND SLEAZY
10TH OCT // NORWICH // THE OWL SANCTUARY
7TH NOV // BELFAST // LIMELIGHT
MORE ACTS AND CITIES TO BE ANNOUNCED. BE THE FIRST TO KNOW. SIGN UP AT DRMARTENS.COM/STANDFORSOMETHINGTOUR
GOOD VS EVIL WHAT’S ON THE DIY TEAM’S R ADAR?
Victoria Sinden Deputy Editor GOOD It’s multi-coloured sheep time. EVIL Still not sure about this albums being released on a Friday thing. .............................. Emma Swann Associate Editor GOOD The Strokes at Primavera. Nothing short of life-affirming. How did I forget I loved them THAT much? EVIL Festivals on concrete = really sore feet. Niche, yes, but still painful. Ow. .............................. Jamie Milton Online Editor GOOD Savages at Field Day. Sometimes playing new material at a fest is the worst idea ever. This was a stroke of genius. EVIL Getting headaches when I forget to have coffee. Definitely not addicted. Nope. .............................. Sarah Jamieson News Editor
GOOD Joff forgot his white jeans, and got creative with some toilet paper to camouflage himself... EVIL There’s a big weird drill thing that’s taken up camp outside of DIY HQ and I’m fairly sure it’s actually a Transformer. .............................. Louise Mason Art Director GOOD Love the METZ zine we made with the band Hayden’s drawings are so good. EVIL Still continuing to find glitter everywhere. .............................. El hunt Assistant Online Editor GOOD Covering Wolf Alice in glitter, and then being able to follow their footprints around DIY HQ long after they left. EVIL True Detective and Orange is the New Black are both back on telly at the same time. Super dangerous for my productivity.
E D I TO R ’ S L E T T E R In 2013, we really wanted there to be a Wolf Alice album. ‘Bros’ was one of the tracks of the year. Why not make good on it? In 2014, we really wanted there to be a Wolf Alice album. ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ - how amazing was that? They needed to get on with it. 2015. Finally, it’s here, and it’s a good job Wolf Alice never listened to me. By taking their time, Ellie, Joel, Joff and Theo have created something really special. ‘My Love Is Cool’ is the debut of the year. Wolf Alice have arrived. Stephen Ackroyd GOOD Have you seen that cover shoot? Those photos. Wow. EVIL I liked the charts on a Sunday. It just won’t be the same.
What’s on the DIY stereo this month? HEALTH - DEATH MAGIC Six years away hasn’t made any damage to the L.A. group’s nightmarish noise. And they’ve added synths. Scary synths.
FIDLAR - Too
Imagine if FIDLAR produced a second album even more brilliant than their first. Just imagine.
C O N T E N T S
NEWS 6 BLEACHERS
Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden Associate Editor Emma Swann News Editor Sarah Jamieson
10 REFUSED 1 2 D I Y H A L L O F FA M E 1 4 S TA N D F O R SOMETHING TOUR 2015
Art Direction & Design Louise Mason Head Of Marketing & Events Jack Clothier
1 6 P O P S TAR P O S T BAG 2 2 F E S T I VA L N E W S
Online Editor Jamie Milton Assistant Online Editor El Hunt
6 34 54
FEATURES 3 4 WOLF ALICE
28 BLACK HONEY 30 GEORGIA 31 BEACH BABY 32 NEU TOUR
Photographers Carolina Faruolo, Mike Massaro, Sarah Louise Bennett
4 6 L AT I T UDE : 46 DRENGE 4 8 WA R PA I N T
5 2 S AVAG E S 54 PRIDES 5 7 DIY STAG E
5 8 TA M E I M PA L A 62 LUCY ROSE 4 diymag.com
Contributors: Ali Shutler, Andrew Backhouse, Carolina Faruolo, Charlie Mock, Coral Williamson, Danny Wright, Euan L Davidson, Henry Boon, Huw Baines, Jessica Goodman, Joe Goggins, Kyle MacNeill, Natasha West, Ross Jones, Sean Stanley, Tom Connick, Tom Doyle
REVIEWS 64 ALBUMS 74 L I V E
For DIY editorial email@example.com For DIY sales firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org tel: +44 (0)20 3632 3456 For DIY stockist enquiries email@example.com DIY is published by Sonic Media Group. 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. 25p where sold. 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 Sonic Media Group 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. Cover photo: Mike Massaro
IVY TRIPP LP / CD
bEfoRE THE woRLD wAS bIg LP / CD
HEYDAYS LP / CD
MuRASAkI EP 12"
FrAnkiE & THE HEArTSTringS DECEnCY LP / CD
bEAuTIfuL woRDS EP 12"
Don’T wEIgHT Down THE LIgHT LP / CD
AL L REL E AS E S AL S o AVAIL AbL E DIgITALLY W W W.W i C H i TA- r E CO r d i n g S .CO M
“They give you 3D vision, you say?”
A i n’ t It Fu n ...
W I T H H I S N E W P R O J E C T B L E A C H E R S , F U N . ’ S JA C K A N T O N O F F I S U N C O V E R I N G A W I N D O W I N T O H I S W O R L D. W O R D S : S A R A H J A M I E S O N . P H O T O S : E M M A S WA N N .
he only thing I really think about is making records and playing great shows,” says Jack Antonoff in complete earnest. “I try to keep everything else really separate because I feel like if I put time into it, it’s like a rabbit hole and I don’t really know where it goes. I don’t know if I wanna know…” The past eighteen months – the past three years – have been a whirlwind for the New Jersey native. Once a member of Steel Train who went on to become one of that multi-million selling band fun., he’s since added Grammy Award winner and Taylor Swift collaborator to his list of accolades. That’s before you dare delve into life as an unexpected A-lister. “It is funny because in some ways,” he continues, as he sits anonymous – for at least half an hour – on a rooftop in East London, “so many things have changed but in other ways, it feels like it’s been the same thing for the past fifteen years; it’s just me being on tour.” Today he arrives, straight from the airport, still jet lagged, with one thing on his agenda: playing a show in London. “The hotel rooms are nicer and things like that, but my body still does the same thing. Take all of the emotions out of it and I’m still on planes, on a bus, in a hotel room. So, I think it’s important to realise all of the ways in which things have changed, but also recognise all the ways in which you’re still on this path that you set out on years ago. I try to keep my head down and look forward because I get a little freaked out if I think too much about things that are happening.” As of right now, his current project is Bleachers. Born in hotel rooms across the world, it was a direction he first embarked upon whenever he could get the time during fun.’s rigorous touring schedule. The real beauty of his newest musical journey, however, lay in the fact that no one knew about it until he was ready to reveal all. “I think there was a freedom that came along with this album that I felt ready to do,” he admits. “I was making it in silence. No one thought I was making it: nothing was going on besides just me wrestling with the songs in my head. That was a very rare thing. This was the first album I’ve ever made where no one else knew I was making it; every other album, I’d discussed it or been coming from another album. It was a totally different thing, it was extremely bizarre. “I tried not to focus on it,” he continues, touching upon the time during which Bleachers was created. “I was so wrapped up within the record and the only thing I can control is making great records. Everything else I can’t control. I got so stressed out about it that I just only focused on the record. It was really weird. It was really odd and mostly exciting because I didn’t know what was gonna happen. That’s great because it’s good to constantly put yourself in that position in life where you’re scared and you 7
don’t know what’s gonna happen but you’ve done something that you love very much and want to exist in a certain way.” ‘Strange Desire’ is, therefore, an album that Antonoff feels he could use to truly express his own self. “It’s sort of just me,” he confirms. “It’s my story in so many different forms. I’ve never really been the kind of writer than writes in overly poetic ways and weaves stories with other people. It’s very literal. The music may be bombastic and kind of experimental but the songs end up being often really dark and very hopeful. I dunno, it’s almost like a diary. “A big part of the production on this album,” he goes on, “was that I wanted to hear all of the sounds of my life, literally the people of my life. There’s voices all over the album. I would sample voicemails and my friends and family to create this album that sounded like my world in a very literal way.” More than anything, after all of the highs and lows of his musical career so far, Bleachers was the most natural move for him. “With songs, you just never know when they’re gonna come or why they’re gonna come so it was very intense to be flooded with all of these ideas. I really started thinking a lot about the past ten years of touring; the good things that have happened, the terrible things that have happened. I was just very inspired to write an album that is essentially about kind of moving on, and how you figure out how to move on without becoming overly complicated as a human being.” Bleachers’ debut album ‘Strange Desire’ will be released on 6th July via Columbia Records. DIY Bleachers will play Bilbao BBK Live. See diymag.com for details.
ot only is ‘Strange Desire’ a look into Antonoff’s life as a whole, but it’s an album that feels wholly inspired by the place he grew up. “It’s definitely extremely suburban to me,” Jack says. “I grew up in New Jersey and I lived there until two years ago and what’s amazing about New Jersey is that - probably similar to the outskirts of London - you’re twenty minutes from New York City but you’re in the shadow of it. There’s all this hope because you want to live up to it. You spend your whole life trying to get out of New Jersey and then you realise how wonderful it is. You’re looking in the window of the party; you wanna be a part of it. That’s why music from New Jersey sounds so grand and hopeful, anthemic. Because you have this image and underdog quality. I love that. It’s a big part of who I am. Geographically, it’s just a very special place. Everyone I met who grew up in the city is so kinda jaded and you can hear that in the music. New York City music - The Strokes, Velvet Underground - is very shoe gazey, don’t give a shit. Jersey and Long Island music is super hopeful and really anthemic.”
“ T H I S WA S T H E F I R S T A L B U M I ’ V E E V E R M A D E W H E R E N O O N E E L S E K N E W I WA S M A K I N G I T. ” J A C K A N T O N O F F
NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS
OSLO LONDON TUE 30 JUN
DINGWALLS LONDON WED 01 JUL
NOTHING BUT THIEVES
SERVANT JAZZ QUARTERS LONDON TUE 07 JUL
THE DOME LONDON WED 08 JUL
LEXINGTON LONDON THU 20 AUG
RAINBOW WAREHOUSE BIRMINGHAM SAT 03 OCT
AT CALLING FESTIVAL CLAPHAM COMMON LONDON SAT 04 JUL
OLD BLUE LAST LONDON TUE 01 SEP
GEORGE THE POET
RESCUE ROOMS NOTTINGHAM SUN 04 OCT BIRMINGHAM INSTITUTE THU 08 OCT O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE FRI 16 OCT + 9 MORE DATES
THE WAITING ROOM LONDON WED 08 JUL
HOXTON BAR & KITCHEN LONDON FRI 18 SEP
BIRMINGHAM O 2 ACADEMY3 MON 12 OCT LONDON HEAVEN TUE 20 OCT
YO LA TENGO
KOKO LONDON WED 14 OCT
BUSH HALL LONDON WED 14 OCT
O 2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE TUE 20 OCT
WALKING ON CARS
TWENTY ONE PILOTS
OSLO LONDON THU 29 OCT
ELECTRIC BALLROOM LONDON FRI 23 OCT
@L NSou rce
O 2 ACADEMY BRIXTON LONDON THU 25 FEB
Tic ket s | E xc l u s i ves | Wi n | l i ven at i o n .co. u k 9
With the removal of his hat, James Bay’s true identity is revealed.
Rather Be Forgotten Than Remembered For
giving in Refused return with their first new album in 17 years. Words: Huw Baines
ometimes the thing that draws us to a band is the very thing that scares us most about them. When Refused guttered out amid police sirens at a basement show in Harrisonburg, Virginia almost 20 years ago, the seal was set on a compelling myth. A matter of months after releasing ‘The Shape Of Punk To Come’, these days a modern classic, the band were, to borrow their own phrase, fucking dead. And people loved them for it. They became legends in absentia. Dennis Lyxzén has estimated that less than 50 people were present for their final throes, but word spread. The intervening years found ‘...Shape’ becoming an ever more frequent touchstone in hardcore, its fearless compositional quirks and radical leftist politics oft-imitated but never bettered. In 2012, Refused lived up to their reputation as provocateurs and reformed, the doomed romance of their demise struck from the record. But, even as they took to the stage at Coachella that summer, few could have predicted with any
degree of certainty that their dramatic Lazarus act would result in new music. New album ‘Freedom’ represents a bolt from the blue and, given that it royally undermines the go-out-with-a-bang story that captivated so many, places the band at odds with sections of their fanbase. That it is also a direct, fiercely individual album with little in common with its predecessor makes it precisely the sort of move Refused would consider fitting. They’re still not in this for a quick buck. “It’s a problem, the whole nostalgia circuit,” guitarist Kristofer Steen says over the phone from Seattle, where the band are a few dates into a US tour. “I feel really weird about being associated with something like that. That’s not really part of our expression as a band. We’re still searching and finding our way. Your fanbase tends to want you to sound exactly like you did last record. Be different, but in exactly the same way. You have to take risks. That’s part of the DNA of the band.”
As a result, ‘Freedom’ will twist melons. Complementing Lyxzén’s spiteful shriek are horn arrangements, gospel-tinged backing vocals and washes of acoustic guitar, with Nick Launay, of Nick Cave and Arcade Fire fame, and Shellback, hardcore kid turned pop hit machine, nestled among the production credits. It’s driven by a desire to experiment, but it’s a collection that mines classic rock and pop for inspiration in place of the ever-shifting time signatures, jazz inflections and brazen fury of ‘...Shape’. From the moment Lyxzén laid down vocal tracks on instrumentals put together by Steen, drummer David Sandström and bassist Magnus Flagge, though, it could only fly under one banner. “We could tell there was chemistry,” Steen says. “The first time we got that was when Dennis made vocal lines for a song. He presented it and we were like: ‘OK. This is Refused.’ There was no doubt about it. We worked our fingers to the bone, and it takes forever and we went crazy arranging everything, but on the other hand it was really natural.” There’s little point in skirting around the fact “ W E ’ R E that ‘Freedom’ is N O T R E A L LY going to make a lot of people angry. C O N C E R N E D That Lyxzén has been more Mick A B O U T T H E Jagger than Ian MacKaye for years M Y T H . ” won’t matter. That K R I S T O F E R anyone has the right not to be S T E E N defined solely by statements made in their 20s won’t matter. This is punk rock and iconography is king. Refused’s sticky end has, for those who weren’t there to see the vitriol and anguish that fuelled it, become public property. “I can totally understand the appeal of that narrative, that grand myth,” Steen says. “I understand that people want to print the legend. So much of punk, rock’n’roll and popular culture in general is based on fiction. Everyone knows that it’s a fiction. No band can live up to that myth-making. We’re a bunch of guys who love to make music. We’re not really concerned about the myth, even if we’ve benefited from that myth. “We can’t worry about that kind of thing. We get thrown on by the fact that we have a passionate audience that expects a lot. That’s a privileged position to be in, to have people anxious about what you do. That’s our crowd, they are very opinionated and have very specific ideas about what we shouldn’t do. I think that’s cool, when people aren’t on board.” Discussing the record with Steen is a good time. He’s clearly excited by every note of it, proud of each bold move. With, as he puts it, a “right wing plague” spreading across Europe, there’s every chance that ‘Freedom’ will make an important mark, too. He comes back to one sentiment a few times, and it’s Refused in a nutshell: “Punk should be about the present tense.” Refused’s new album ‘Freedom’ will be released on 29th June via Epitaph. DIY Refused will play Open’er. See diymag.com for details.
What’s going on with…
The Canadians have made their comeback with two new tracks and the promise of a new record, so we caught up with the band’s Jimmy Shaw to find out what’s been happening.
Hey Jimmy! How’re you doing? I’m doing great thanks. Sitting on a patch of grass outside The Enormodome in Omaha, Nebraska waiting to soundcheck and it’s gotta be 100 degrees in the shade right now. You’ve just announced ‘Pagans in Vegas’. When you started writing this record, did you know what ground you hoped to cover? Well, we had vowed to take 2014 off entirely, but by April both Emily and I realised that we’d written more than an album’s worth of material each. So we decided, in typical Metric style, to use our year off to make records. We chose one style of music that was quite apparent within the vault of songs and went with it. The result was ‘PIV’. There are other songs with different vibes. They will be alive soon too, but that’s a secret. You’ve mentioned that the album is about discovering ‘the romance of another time without falling into nostalgia’ - was that a challenge?
I think it’s more just the reality of who we are in this time. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to be nostalgic because the past is changing so fast. Nostalgia just leads to nausea. Musically, what did you hope to explore? I got a text from an old friend when we started the record saying the key to making records when you’ve made many is to stay dangerous. That word can mean a lot. Whatever is dangerous to you personally. That can be a ballad, a lyric, anything. As long as you feel like you’re taking risks. My only mantra was to not be safe. So far you’ve released two tracks from it; ‘The Shade’ and ‘Cascades’. Would you say they’re indicators of the record? Yes, I feel they are. But there are more sides that are yet to be shown and we’re very excited for them to be released out into the wild! Metric’s new album ‘Pagans In Vegas’ will be released on 18th September. DIY
DIY HALL OF FAME Bombay Bicycle Club – I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose
A monthly place to celebrate the very best albums released during DIY’s lifetime; the fifth inductee into our Hall of Fame is Bombay Bicycle Club’s ‘I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose’. Words: El Hunt.
hough they’re doing all of these things now, on the regular, Bombay Bicycle Club didn’t start up a band to release hugely popular albums, play giant arenas or headline major festivals. Actually, they first got together to play their school assembly. Dodging record label interest while they were still at sixth form, the minute Jack Steadman, Jamie MacColl, Suren de Saram and Ed Nash left formal education, they leapt straight into ‘I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose’. Greeted by divided critical reception at the time, Bombay’s debut album - a ferociously well-written, boisterous racket of songs - has gone on to become the defining, stand-out record from a rising rabble of young chancers with guitars. Bloc Party’s ‘Silent Alarm’ - which has previously had its very own turn in DIY’s hallowed Hall of Fame - paved the way for Hot Club de Paris, Good Shoes, The Maccabees, and countless other innovative new bands that Bombay Bicycle Club no doubt blasted out of their common room’s stereo. And, don’t forget Cajun Dance Party, who BBC quite literally went to school with. Bombay Bicycle Club’s combination of fidgety rhythms, wiry, darting guitar lines, and Steadman’s quaking, torsioned vocals undeniably take many cues from the whole bevy of bands surrounding them, but vitally, ‘I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose’ is something uniquely their own.
Bombay Bicycle Club, like many Hall of Fame inductees before them, have reached scaling, ambitious - and perhaps more technically complex - heights after releasing their debut record. Being technically complex, though, does not an iconic album make. Bombay’s second album ‘Flaws’ might’ve tugged the band in a totally unexpected acoustic direction straight afterwards, and on ‘A Different Kind of Fix’ and ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’ Bombay Bicycle Club became increasingly experimental and diverse. Although the years following brought along festival main stages with David Guettaproportion lighting rigs and packed crowds, this debut is
the magic sucker-punch that booted it all into action. ‘I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose,’ is Bombay Bicycle Club’s special record. It has magic beans bouncing round inside, pinging off the inside walls, and sunshine pouring out of every melody. Stick it on the hi-fi, and it’ll whizz you straight back to skiving German class on a lazy day leading up to the end of term, lolling about on freshly cut grass, and thinking this was the most perfect album you’d ever heard. Six years on, it’s still pretty darn perfect. DIY Bombay Bicycle Club will play Citadel. See diymag.com for details.
Read more on diymag.com A baby-faced Bombay Bicycle Club, kidding themselves that they’ll get served.
“A brilliantly fun pop record.”
THE BR AND NEW ALBUM OUT JULY 6 FEATURING ‘OUR EYES’ AND ‘LIKE AN ARROW’ www.lucyrosemusic.com 13
#SFSTOUR15 DIY AND DR.MARTENS RETURN FOR
STAND FOR SOMETHING TOUR 2015
his autumn, DIY and Dr. Martens will team up once again for the third round of the Stand For Something Tour, and it’s set to be bigger than ever. Having already played host to the likes of Tonight Alive, Lower Than Atlantis and Young Guns during the previous two years’ events, 2015’s edition promises to be just as intimate, just as sweaty and just as chaotic. Taking place in six cities across the UK, the tour will make stops in Glasgow, Norwich, Leeds, Belfast and Sheffield, before things draw to a close in the capital. The shows are set to be some of the most raucous so far. “You can’t get lost for one thing,” says Dutch Uncles frontman Duncan Wallis, who will be leading his band through a headline performance at iconic venue Nice’N’Sleazy, which lies at the heart of Glasgow, a place Wallis has a particularly fond memory of. “I remember being in dire need of a veggie fix the last time we played there,” he remembers. “It was day 12 of a tour and emotions were running high from the long journey and getting caught in a constant sideways rain on Sauchiehall Street. The only option they had was a deep fried veggie haggis burger and in hindsight it was a refreshingly unapologetic local delicacy, but at the time all I wanted to do was cry. Now I always take my own veg to Glasgow.” Next up, those riot-inducing Lambeth lads Palma Violets will take on The Owl Sanctuary in Norwich, a city that holds some
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR, DUTCH UNCLES? “Determinedly Underrated Tricky Choruses Housed in Uncompromisingly Natured Cadenzas and Listened to Enduringly, Sort of.”
rather interesting memories for the band. “Upstairs at The Waterfront was our first show on our first tour we ever did,” relives the band’s Sam Fryer. “Including the bar staff there were three people the in the room for our show, and one was a friend. We were nervous so we didn’t say anything in between songs, it was pretty awkward. Then, during a different gig in Norwich in a moment of passion I fell and I hit my head on the drum kit then spent 4 hours that night in the hospital waiting for stitches. We love Norwich though!” Then, the tour will be hopping across the sea for its debut visit to Belfast, where Lonely The Brave will be graduating from support act – they opened up for Don Broco at last year’s London show – to main headliner. “I always used to think I’d be more comfortable on the big stages,” says frontman Dave Jakes, of playing in more intimate confines, “but I do think there is something to having the band all in close proximity to each other. It’s like a comfort blanket, for me. You can feel a bit isolated on the big stages. The last Dr. Martens show we played, supporting Don Broco, was a good ‘un!” This is only half the fun too: there’ll be another three acts – set to play in Leeds, Sheffield and London - announced shortly, alongside a slew of incredible support acts to boot. Keep an eye on diymag.com and drmartens.com/standforsomethingtour for details and ticket information. DIY
THE DATES 26.09.15 DUTCH UNCLES GLASGOW NICE’N’SLEAZY
PALMA VIOLETS NORWICH THE OWL SANCTUARY
LEEDS BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB
LONELY THE BRAVE BELFAST THE LIMELIGHT
CAMDEN OUR BLACK HEART
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR, PALMA VIOLETS? “We stand as a band alongside many others who see the earth not as fragments of lands and countries but as one single planet as a whole. And together we celebrate things that are good and pure in life. We celebrate rock’n’roll with our music.”
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR, LONELY THE BRAVE? “I really feel that, in life, you’ve got to
try and be yourself. The older I get, the more I realise this. If you’re a bit shy like me and someone tries to talk down to you because of it, just give them a death stare. They don’t like it.”
P o p s ta r P o s tbag M i k e D u c e , L o w e r T h a n At l a n t i s We know what you’re like, dear readers. We know you’re just as nosy as we are when it comes to our favourite pop stars: that’s why we’re putting the power back into your hands. Every month, we’re going to ask you to pull out your best questions and aim them at those unsuspecting artists. You don’t even need to pay for postage! This month, Lower Than Atlantis’ Mike Duce is poised with the Qs.
If you could go on tour with any band ever, alive or dead, who would it be and why? James, via email We were lucky enough to play some shows with Blink-182, who are part of the reason we’re a band. The other band that inspired us to learn to play are Foo Fighters so, them! What was it like getting gunged in your video for ‘Words Don’t Come So Easily’? Did it all feel a bit Get Your Own Back? Serena, Cardiff Dave Benson Phillips wasn’t present so it was just cold, sticky and uncomfortable! Which of your songs means the most to you? Thomas, Gateshead That’s such a hard question four albums in! That’s like asking someone to pick their favourite child! Couldn’t possibly. If you could only choose one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be? Aimee, Dunfermline That’d suck regardless but I’d probably have to choose something vaguely nutritional that covered all major food groups. Maybe a sandwich of sorts? What do you feel is your proudest achievement as a band? Isaac, Cheltenham Staying together after nearly ten years without a doubt.
Through all the hard times (too many to mention) and still staying friends. What’s been your favourite album of the year so far? Jack, via email ‘Undertow’ by Drenge probably. That’s the first one that springs to mind! Where’s the most ridiculous place that you’ve gotten to play a show? Ant, London Japan or Australia (never thought I’d even get to visit those places, let alone touring in my band!) What’s your favourite TV series at the moment? Will, Hull I’ve been listening to music with That ‘70s Show on mute if that counts? When do you think you’ll start work on the next album? Do you think you’ll wanna do much differently to this current album? Naomi, Chester I never, ever stop writing music. Wrote the first punk LTA song in years recently. Who’s your favourite new band right now? Need some recommendations! Pete, via email Oh shit! ...er? They’re not too new but probably our mates band The Hell.
NEXT MONTH: ALVVAYS Want to send a question to DIY’s Popstar Postbag? Tweet us at @diymagazine with the hashtag #postbag, or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Easy!
have you heard
The best new tracks from the last month.
A lot happens over the course of a month in the mad world of ace music. You’re busy people, we get that, so we’re here to help. Catch up with the most amazing, exciting or generally ‘WTF m9’ new songs that have surfaced in the last few weeks. No need to thank us. No, really, it’s fine.
FIDLAR 40OZ ON REPEAT While the focus on ‘40oz on Repeat’ lies in its bonkers, nostalgic dress-up video, there’s also one hell of a song for eager fans to sink their teeth into. Thankfully, though it’s been a while since FIDLAR released any new music, they haven’t grown up even a little bit. All of their carefree, straight-shooting attitude is still there, from immature sing-song hooks to balls-out raspy voiced verses; their particular brand of MAC DEMARCO - THE WAY YOU’D DISCLOSURE - HOLDING ON hyper-fun, classic garage-punk is just LOVE HER as fresh as it was on their selfThe first single from ‘Settle’’s successor titled debut back in 2013. ‘Caracal’, ‘Holding On’ sees the Surrey ‘The Way You’d Love Her’ marks a (Henry Boon) siblings step away from glitz and glamour. It divergence from ‘Salad Days’. Where that was may be a stripped back, groove driven affair, but a hazy hangover of a record, the wavering guitars it’s Gregory Porter’s soulful vocal that truly ties Disclosure here feel generally upbeat and the vocals, crisp and clean, to their influences here. Harking back to the heydays of cut straight to the front. Lyrically, though, we’re in familiar house and disco’s thumping ascent, it’s an unexpected territory, as DeMarco doles out relationship advice that’s collaboration that proves the duo’s worth in a way that even charming in its simplicity. On this evidence, ‘Another One’ the saltiest beat-counting obsessive would struggle to deny. technically an EP - might be the summer’s most blissful pop (Tom Connick) record. (Joe Goggins) FOXES - BODY TALK With ‘Body Talk’, Foxes sticks fast by her pop roots, blending summery synths with echoey guitar parts, and it’s breezy and bracing. There’s no doubt that Foxes has come a long way since 2014’s ‘Glorious’, with her shimmering production amped up about seventy notches. As a one-off release, it serves as a tantalising taster of what could come next on album number two. Pack this one in your summer suitcase. (Natasha West) BECK - DREAMS When Beck wants to be a pop star, nobody can touch him. Like the lead single from the second album MGMT’s management wanted but never received, on ‘Dreams’ there are so many ideas buzzing throughout five minutes of sugar crush vibes other acts would string them out for a whole record. Tempo changes, pseudo drops, psychedelic haze and all out euphoria all hook themselves to that trademark guitar shrug. Beck still knows where it’s at. (Stephen Ackroyd) 18 diymag.com
HURTS - SOME KIND OF HEAVEN Every Hurts song verges on the edge of a cliff, where the sky above is ‘pop heaven’ and below sits the grim abyss of failure. Half pure cheese, the other a great sense that they’re winging it, there isn’t a dull moment. ‘Some Kind of Heaven’ arrived just days shy of Eurovision, and it would have fared a great deal better than faux-swing pukeageddons. It’s not quite on a Brandon Flowers level of all-out 80s synth banger, but it ticks just enough boxes to avoid falling off the edge. (Jamie Milton) FORMATION - HANGIN’ There might be a hint of LCD Soundsystem about Formation’s newest single ‘Hangin” - and mild-registering flickers of Friendly Fires and Mount Kimbie’s percussive addictions, too - but when it really comes down to it, the South London twins have invented their own unmistakable flavour combination. Basically, Formation’s sweet, sharp-edged sound is like the pop equivalent of bacon and maple syrup pancakes. Formation are single-handedly bringing back the cowbell. (El Hunt)
DIY Live Report
PeacE PureGym, London
Last month (21st May) Peace played an intimate gig at the site of the Hammersmith Palais (the venue The Clash talk about in their song, fact fans - home to countless brilliant gigs back in the day when west London was the place to be) for DIY and Skullcandy, as part of the latter’s European #STAYLOUD series that will celebrate the memory of once great music venues in London, Paris and Berlin. The location is currently a gym, and one of the downstairs exercising rooms was reconditioned to give room for an impromptu stage, between weights and various other sports equipment. Peace’s hour-long set was mostly filled with new material from second album ‘Happy People’, with ‘Money’ and ‘Lost On Me’ receiving the biggest sing-alongs of the evening. “We’d love to stay all night and play whatever, but we gotta go!” said frontman Harry Koisser right before the bass solo of set closer ‘World Pleasure’, probably one of the best moments of the night. The roaring fans asking for an encore where redirected to the after-party at a bar next door, where the proceedings continued until the early hours. (Carolina Faruolo)
The Lexington, London On a Bank Holiday Sunday plagued by scattered showers and a stifling mugginess, it takes Tall Ships’ return to the London stage for the clouds to break and that thunder to finally roll forth. Tonight’s showing feels like a greatest hits set – remarkable for a band who’ve yet to emerge with a second album. The handful of newer cuts they preview sound ready, but Tall Ships have never been ones to rush. Instead, they tinker and embellish for months and years on end - as a result, every track sounds fuller and larger than ever before. Newest offering ‘Will To Life’ is perhaps the best indicator of this chunkier approach; thick with endlessly expansive layers, it reverberates around the Lexington’s walls from the get-go. That aforementioned thunder lays in the one-two of bassist Matt Parker and drummer Jamie Bush, whose instruments both sound stadium-sized. There’s still opportunity for intimacy amongst all the brawn, though, ‘Ode To Ancestors’ marking a twinkling interlude. Tall Ships are that rare case of a band who can shine in any setting, existing entirely outside the constraints of genre. Slow and steady might not win the race, but it certainly yields the most deserving success stories. Tall Ships may finally be about to break through. (Tom Connick)
coming up DIY Presents…
july 23 The Pains of being pure at heart The Garage, London SEPTEMBER 02 Ought Deaf Institute, Manchester 10 Mac DeMarco The Institute, Birmingham 16 Speedy Ortiz Sound Control, Manchester
The self titled debut album “a timeless, modern classic.” The Line of Best Fit – 9/10
hippo CampuS Bashful Creatures
A Dream Outside
“Young geniuses…” Nylon
“A triumph” 4/5 The Observer
12” & Download
“A remarkable debut” 5/5 DIY Magazine
The new EP, out now
CD, LP & Download
Album out now
Music In Exile CD, LP & Download
Album released 15th June
CD, LP & Download Out now
Dry The river Alarms In The Heart
Everything Is A Mess
“Gorgeous” The A.V. Club CD, LP & Download
“An album that rarely dips below being immensely enjoyable.” DIY
“Dirty and packed full of soul.” Rock Sound
CD, LP & Download
CD, LP & Download
Album released 22nd June
CoSmo ShelDrake Pelicans We EP
“Syd Barrett meets Tunng meets Pentagle... It’s great!” Norman Records CD, LP & Download Out Now
The self titled debut album
Album of the week - Bleep.com
Best New Track - Pitchfork
“A captivating album” 4/5 Q
CD, LP & Download
CD, LP & Download
The debut album out now
New single out now
FESTIVAL NEWS FESTIVAL NEWS BILBAO BBK LIVE OPEN’ER
1st - 4th July, Gdynia, Poland
t might be hard to believe, but festivals are more than just weekends filled to the brim with brilliant bands. They’re also the best excuse to head overseas and take a little bit of a break. In fact, summer festival season has been take over by stellar overseas line-ups, and Open’er is another example of a great weekend just waiting to happen.
Not only will the likes of Mumford & Sons, The Libertines and Kasabian all be topping the bill, but it’s also set to boast the mighty Drake, St. Vincent and Refused for good measure. Throw in the fact that you can buy about four pints for the same price one over in dear ol’ Blighty, and it sounds all the more appealing. “I think we always try to make every show special just by bringing it all on stage,” says Alabama Shakes’ frontwoman Brittany Howard, who will be bringing material from their brand new album ‘Sound & Color’ to the festival, “and hopefully connecting to the crowd as much as possible. We have definitely filled out the band with Paul Horton on keys and the three backing singers. Our sets have been a blend of most of the songs off the new album combined with many of the songs off ‘Boys & Girls’. “It’s really fun to get to meet and hang with other musicians,” she says, of festival season in general. “I love watching other bands perform. I have discovered a lot of great music at festivals. Golf Carts are also an exciting part of certain festivals.” 22
9th - 11th July, Bilbao, Spain
t’s not often that you find yourself perched on the top of a mountain in the Basque country, watching Muse play a monstrous closing set to mark the release of new album, ‘Drones’. If that’s an idea that whets your appetite, it can soon become a reality this summer. This year, Bilbao BBK Live will be celebrating its tenth birthday by bussing a few thousand people up into the middle of their mountain range before bombarding them with incredible music for three days straight. As if the views and promise of a little Spanish sunshine aren’t enough to book a plane, the line-up sure is. Not only are The Jesus and Mary Chain going to be performing ‘Psychocandy’ in full, but there’s also the likes of Disclosure, Mumford & Sons, Alt-J, Future Islands and the always ferocious Marmozets. “We have an absolute blast on stage with each other,” Marmozets’ Becca MacIntyre reveals, while gearing up to embark upon their jam-packed summer schedule. “It’s an amazing opportunity for us to play these festivals and for people to come and have a mosh with us. Festival season is when you can really have fun. It’s like a big birthday bash.”
30th July - 2nd August, Lowther Deer Park, Lake District
et against the backdrop of Lowther Deer Park, deep in the heart of the Lake District, Kendal Calling’s bill covers a number of musical bases. From the guitar-driven chaos of The Vaccines and the grandiose sing-alongs from Elbow, to the psychedelic wig-outs of The Horrors and the gorgeous stylings of Lucy Rose, there’s something to suit your every mood. On Saturday’s Calling Out stage, in association with DIY, we’ve got Public Service Broadcasting, Palace, and Dutch Uncles, amongst others. “It’s been great to finally enjoy the atmosphere of festivals,” says Dutch Uncles frontman, Duncan Wallis. “It’s too exhausting to let the pressure of no soundchecks get to you after a few years of doing this.” “We learned our lesson not to play too much new stuff at Live at Leeds this year,” he laughs. “That was when The Cribs fans we were playing to started Wakefield chants over our woodwind quartet samples, so we just play our ‘hits’ now.”
Calling Out stage in association with DIY
Public Service Broadcasting Dutch Uncles Palace The Bohicas Turbowolf Port Isla Seafret Remi Miles Plastic Mermaids Misty Miller
19th July, Victoria Park, London
17th - 19th July, Salacgrīva, Latvia
here exactly can you get all proggy with Robert Plant before dancing yourself silly with Charli XCX? Where’s the best place to pogo with Serge from Kasabian, after losing yourself in the sounds of East India Youth? As it so happens, you can see all that and more at Positivus Festival in Latvia.
This year’s event is due to be one of its biggest. Set against the beautiful backdrop of Salacgrīva, the weekender is also due to play host to the likes of St. Vincent, Jungle, SOAK and Placebo, along with the wonderful Ghostpoet, who is already looking forward to his performance. “It should be a fun experience,” Obaro Ejimiwe tells DIY. “It looks like a rather interesting line-up plus an opportunity to visit a country I’ve never been to before. It’s a win-win situation.” Having released his third full-length ‘Shedding Skin’ earlier this year, it’s a sure bet that his audiences are going to be treated to a few of its numbers. “It’s been received pretty well thus far, can’t complain at all really,” he continues. “Things feel like they’re going in the right direction and indeed, there will be music off the new record in my festival sets. I like playing them so in they go, mate!”
here’s something special about London’s Victoria Park; not only is it the current home to Field Day, but now, it’s offering up another festival to cater to a slightly different audience.
2015 marks the debut year of Citadel; a new one-day event taking place in the heart of East London. It’s set to host headline performances from the likes of Ben Howard and Bombay Bicycle Club – their only London live appearance of the summer too – and there have also been whispers of food stands selling Sunday roasts.
In amongst the action, DIY is also going to have our own stage alongside Communion, featuring the likes of Nick Mulvey, newcomer Leon Bridges and Scottish duo Honeyblood, who are currently enjoying a rather busy summer. “We did none last year so it’s going to be a festival-filled summer,” enthuses guitarist and vocalist Stina Tweeddale. Having already made appearances at Sound City, it’s safe to say the duo know what the crowds are after. “I guess it’s always best to play the faster songs rather than slow jams,” she says, on the subject of their set plans. “People wanna jump up and down at festivals.” COMMUNION STAGE IN ASSOCIATION WITH DIY
Nick Mulvey Leon Bridges Honeyblood Bear’s Den Dan Croll Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats Rhodes Tor Miller The Walking Who
F E S T I VA L NEWS
IN BRIEF FYF FEST
22nd - 23rd August
Bloc Party have announced plans to take “a break from recording” their fifth album in order to play LA’s FYF Fest. The festival runs from 22nd - 23rd August, and this will be the band’s first show in over two years. It will also host Frank Ocean, Morrissey and Flume.
10th - 13th September
Wiley, Skepta and Drenge are three of the latest names added to Bestival. Anglo-Japanese trio Kero Kero Bonito, Roni Size & Reprazent, Jaguar Skills, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis and Dinosaur Pile-Up have also joined the line-up, which already boasts Tame Impala, Duran Duran and The Chemical Brothers.
Spring King are already testing out a gigantic coat for Reading & Leeds.
The Bronx, Shura and Spring King confirmed for
Reading & Leeds
A new list of artists have been announced for this year’s Reading & Leeds Festival, set for 28th - 30th August, with The Bronx, Shura and Spring King leading the way. Elsewhere are the likes of God Damn, No Devotion and Mariachi El Bronx - the band will be pulling double duty once again. They all join headliners Mumford & Sons, The Libertines and Metallica, along with Kendrick Lamar, Bastille, Alt-J and Bring Me The Horizon. The full list of the latest additions is as follows: The Bronx, Shura, Spring King, Mariachi El Bronx, No Devotion, God Damn, The Struts, Twin Peaks, Baroness, Bo Ningen, Vant, As It Is, Skinny Lister, Seether, The Last Internationale, Sunset Sons, Neon Waltz, Hayden James, Ferdinand Weber, DJ Fresh, Riptide Movement, Maribou State, Petite Meller, The Six, Young Thug, Remi Miles and Star.One.
LOLLAPALOOZA BERLIN 12th – 13th September
Brand New lead the list of additions to the first ever Lollapalooza Berlin, taking place at Templehof Airport. An extension of the successful Chicago fest, the first ever Berlin leg has also added Brooklyn punks Parquet Courts. They join the likes of Run The Jewels, Tame Impala and Bastille.
26th - 27th September
Tall Ships have been confirmed as the Saturday headliner for Underground Festival, which takes place at Gloucester Guildhall. DIY is teaming up with this year’s festival, which will also host Demob Happy, Black Peaks, Crows and Brawlers.
FUN FUN FUN FEST 6th - 8th November
The initial line-up for Fun Fun Fun Fest 2015 has been announced. Jane’s Addiction, Venom and Wu-Tang Clan are this year’s headliners. They’ll be joined by names including Grimes, Chvrches, Future Islands, Ride, American Football, Parquet Courts, Converge, Peaches and MSTRKRFT. 24
tickets to Visions
Visions has announced Blanck Mass as the final addition to its 2015 bill. The solo alias of Fuck Buttons’ Benjamin John Power, Blanck Mass released his second album ‘Dumb Flesh’ last month. He completes a line-up that’s headed up by Shamir, Fat White Family, Ceremony and Hinds. Recent additions also include LA punks Ho99o9, Holy Fuck, The Big Moon and Theo Verney. Visions spans five locations in East London - The Laundry (aka DIY HQ), Oval Space, St John at Hackney Church, Space Gallery, Netil House Rooftop and London Fields Brewhouse on 8th August. To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets, visit diymag.com/visionscomp.
Festival No. 6 signs up Black Grape Black Grape have been added to the line-up of this year’s Festival No. 6, which takes place in Portmeirion, Wales from 3rd - 6th September. The duo, made up of Happy Mondays’ Shaun Ryder and Ruthless Rap Assasins’ Kermit Leveridge, will be taking to the festival to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album ‘It’s Great When You’re Straight…Yeah’. They join the likes of Metronomy, Young Fathers, Everything Everything, Badly Drawn Boy, Ghostpoet and Shura, who have all been previously confirmed to appear.
SUNDAY BEST PRESENTS
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NENEH CHERRY WITH ROCKETNUMBERNINE • SETH TROXLER TALE OF US • HANNAH WANTS • TODD TERJE (LIVE) • ELLA EYRE ACTION BRONSON • FOUR TET • KITTY, DAISY & LEWIS • MADLIB (DJ) DJ YODA PRESENTS BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS • GUY GERBER LEVEL 42 • JACKMASTER • GABRIELLE APLIN • JOY ORBISON BEN UFO • REDLIGHT • TODDLA T • HOSPITALITY TAKEOVER & MORE VENUES & SIDESHOWS
THE PORT • THE GRAND PALACE OF ENTERTAINMENT • FILMS IN THE FOREST CARNIVAL PARADE • THE FEAST COLLECTIVE • CARAVANSERAI • AMPHITHEATRE BOLLYWOOD COCKTAIL BAR • CLUB DADA • GRAND FINALE FIREWORKS & MORE SLOW MOTION
MEDITATION & MINDFULNESS • LLAMA KARMA • EUPHORIC YOGA • HOT TUBS SURF & KAYAKING ADVENTURES • PALM READERS & MYSTICS • NIGHT PARADE KALEIDOSCOPE STAGE AND A WONKY DISCO FINALE & SO MUCH MORE
TICKETS ON SALE NOW: BESTIVAL.NET #BESTIVAL15
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DIRECTOR’S CUT. In the vein of Black Honey’s latest single ‘Spinning Wheel,’ - which sounds like spaghetti western film noir - we asked the band to direct their own hypothetical thriller: Izzy: For us, it would be a collaborative affair, between Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch, but it would involve each of us, too. Chris: I was going straight for Pulp Fiction, to be fair. Izzy: The thing with Pulp Fiction, though.... I think I’m not as much of a fuckhead as Mia Wallace, I think I’ve got more longevity than that. I’d say I’m a bit more Kill Bill vibe-wise. Chris: I don’t know if you can handle a samurai sword. Izzy: [With slight menace] I can.
with a finished debut - not that they’re in any hurry to release it.
Words: El Hunt. Photos: Emma Swann.
ver the past few months, Black Honey have been peeking out from under their deliberate shield of mystery, bit by bit. The slow reveal started out with a secret show at fellow Brighton band Demob Happy’s cafe, and continued with a handful of demos. It escalated when they handed out their WhatsApp details to curious fans. Still, though, Black Honey kept up their guard. No matter how many selfie pleas came their way, the band kept their own identities doggedly under wraps. That said, they sexted some absolute filth to one of DIY’s very own writers when he innocently got in touch. “I was getting really bored at that point with texting people mysterious things, so I thought I’d be a bit more to the point,” remembers the band’s frontwoman Izzy B. Phillips, looking back at Black Honey’s earliest interactions with DIY. “I think that was the only dirty text I sent!” she adds “We’d been drinking all day in the office, and I was really drunk the whole day.” “That whole WhatsApp thing did just eventually descend into Izzy being sent loads of porn,” laughs bassist Tommy Taylor.
like to go, and their debut album, they claim, is “already written.” On the other hand, they’re in no hurry to do anything with it. “Maybe next year...” says Chris casually, “a long long way off. No plans. We’re not even thinking past this summer, taking it one step at a time.” Izzy nods in agreement. “We’re just enjoying it.” Instead, Black Honey are looking ahead to fulfilling something of a childhood dream - playing Reading & Leeds Festival. “‘I’ve spent my whole life as a kid going to that,” enthuses Izzy, “it’s a bit emotional. I remember being really sick one time there with these two,” she continues, pointing at her bandmates Chris and Tommy. “I was in a very bad way. I’d indulged myself...” she adds, “frivolously.” Tommy cackles. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone look so green.” “I laid down on the grass for Simian Mobile Disco,” finalises Izzy, glumly. “I can’t listen to their records any more.”
“If it was my way we’d still be a secret band.” - Izzy B. Phillips
Though Black Honey are still very new, its members have been playing together in various bands around Brighton for many years. “We’ve known each other too long,” announces Izzy, flatly. “We’ve been in various different bands...” starts Tommy, and guitarist Chris Ostler finishes, “Black Honey’s a very new thing, but us as a collective isn’t.” From their consistent visuals - TV artwork framing highly stylised scenes - to their careful roll-out, Black Honey have a clear vision of where they’d
Despite their busying schedule, Black Honey make the slightly outlandish claim that they would prefer to stay one big musical enigma forever. The internet scuppered their plans. “If it was my way we’d still be a secret band,” Izzy claims. “I’d do it old school, and just have records, do it how we would want to do it. Unfortunately it’s not the day and age for that,” she concludes. Anyway, the jig is nearly up. Fresh from supporting Superfood on tour, and with their own busy schedule of festival bookings to contend with, too, Black Honey are in Brighton today to play a hometown show at The Great Escape, and without the help of invisibility cloaks there’s nowhere to hide. They’ve brought a special pal along in tow; their lucky flamingo Jerry. “He likes crowd-
After months of careful secrecy, Black Honey are out on the road
surfing,” says Chris. “It’s only a matter of time now before someone does a runner with him,” adds Izzy fearfully. “We nearly lost him to Harry [Koisser] from Peace. He should’ve bought his own flamingo!” DIY Black Honey will play Kendal Calling. See diymag.com for details.
Drumming for Kate Tempest and Kwes, Georgia has had a key role behind the scenes. She’s stepping into the spotlight with her debut LP. Words: Jamie Milton. Photo: Emma Swann Born-and-raised Londoner Georgia hasn’t always sought out exciting musicians and neu springing-up scenes, but she does now. With years of experience drumming for Kate Tempest and Kwes, she’s been “surrounded” by bright minds, playing festivals as big as Latitude without having to step centre stage. With her solo work firmly on the agenda, she’s trying to keep things fresh by absorbing as many new ideas as possible. “In terms of going out and raving, I love my house and techno music. I’m always shopping, always getting my 12”’s,” she says, ahead of her debut album’s release. What’s emerged from the twenty-something is a bright, colourful, patchwork mentality. From the deranged and digitised ‘Be Gone’ to the more pop-rooted ‘Move Systems’, she sounds like she’s spitting out gigantic gulps of culture and where it is today. A crazed mix of R&B, dance and 5AM techno, there isn’t a single stone that’s left unturned. Despite the experience of being around the right people, Georgia mostly holed herself in a studio for her debut. “I’ve been exposed to a lot of scenes of music. A lot of incredible artists. I’ve 30 diymag.com
been surrounded by loads of musicians, and it was really nice to just escape in a studio and go back to the time before I did any of this,” she says, citing a stage in her youth where “you’re learning music and there’s no inhibitions or pre-conceived ideas of who you are, or what you want to be.” She started writing music at the age of twelve, and a sense of childish glee does thread through the record. Her solo career kickstarted when she shared music with Cherish Kaya, who plays in JUCE and runs Kaya Kaya Records. “She was so enthusiastic about what I’d done, and she was encouraging that was it - I realised I needed to get on with it.” Studio sessions were defined by “anxiety” (“When you’re working that hard, you just get quite anxious, thinking ‘I shouldn’t be doing this’”) and chain smoking. “For about three or four months there was a period where I locked myself away. I think you have to have a bit of a workaholic in you, to do this.” She’s emerged with an album that captures uptight anxiety, a youthful exuberance and London’s bright, ever-flickering skyline in one fleeting move. It’s fit-to-burst with invention, and it’s enough to kickstart a career trajectory not too dissimilar to Kwes or Kate Tempest’s. DIY
SOMETHING’S FISHY When she decided to make a record and refuse to answer her phone, Georgia’s only source of energy was fish finger sandwiches. “I know how to make a really good one now - rye bread, fish fingers, a bit of lettuce and mayonnaise. It’s either that or a little trip down to Chicken Village!” Not speaking to anyone was the only option, for Georgia. “It happens when you’re in that process - you’re feeling off the creativity, not to sound like a wanker. It’s all a bit of a blur now.”
Four guys making gigantic songs in a tiny room that smells of old cigarettes - Beach Baby are already a mix of enticing juxtapositions. Words: Jamie Milton. Photo: Emma Swann Any time a band arrives sporting songs that sound capable of neu going beyond 80-capacity shows in a local pub, they’ve got to have something about them. Beach Baby - a four-piece emerging from London with sharp pop sensibilities - do just that. Their early recordings have a bold, galloping sense of hugeness. Big venues await. That’s the initial premonition, at least. Thankfully, however, these four aren’t plotting their next ten years of stadium tours just yet. In fact, the idea of making music for thousands is something they’re laughing off. “I think anyone that makes a track and goes ‘This song is gonna sound fucking great in an arena!’ is kind of fucking mental,” quips the sports-capped Ollie Pash, who shares vocal duties with Lawrence Pumfrey. “Yeah, you have to be a bit nuts. Or Kasabian.” “It’s four guys playing in a tiny room that smells of fags,” agrees Lawrence, matter-of-factly
referring to their East London recording space, the source of these monstrously big recordings. “It looks like an old Victorian factory. It’s kind of rank. Seedy looking people. Smells of fags,” says Ollie, describing the hub. It’s here that they put together ‘Ladybird’’s sweeping anthemia and the even more statement-making ‘No Mind No Money’ single. The former was the first song they wrote together - the latter arrived at the end of a two year period where they essentially cordoned themselves off and wrote lots of material ‘behind the scenes’. Just on evidence of those two songs and the time in-between, it’s clear to see how they’ve progressed from a promising bunch to serious contenders. Following years of making music and “putting things out and seeing what happens” in different bands, Ollie describes a process of “actually spending a bit more time working on a collection of songs”. Beach Baby signalled a change in that it followed “a better plan… To make sure the band exists before you release anything.” Stirring singles have been backed up with a strong visual identity, put together by Ollie’s girlfriend Lily Rose Thomas that’s partly inspired by The Virgin Suicides aesthetic. For all of this to arrive at once - in one neat package - gives the impression that these four are more polished and pristine than the average newcomers. That’s only half of the story, though. Early Coldplay comparisons are wide of the mark - defining their anthemia is a sharp musicianship and a sense that Beach Baby could go just about anywhere. DIY
One myth about Beach Baby is that they formed at Goldsmiths College, in the same musicallycrammed halls as Katy B and James Blake. Turns out, Ollie and Lawrence met in Bristol and they rehearsed in the university just a couple of times. That hasn’t stopped them from being embraced by the institution, though. “We’ve since been retweeted by Goldsmiths Alumni - they can’t stop tweeting us,” says Ollie. “It’s all grown out of proportion.”
Beach Baby. On a beach. Geddit?!
The Big Moon, INHEAVEN and VANT to play DIY Presents the Neu Tour 2015 Exciting triple-bill takes over the UK this October.
hree of the UK’s most promising new bands have signed up for the first ever DIY Presents the Neu Tour, taking place this October.
Checking in at eleven cities, this new music extravaganza will see The Big Moon, INHEAVEN and VANT taking to a triple-headline run across the country. The Big Moon will be following their debut ‘Sucker’ single - out now on Hard Up Records - with their biggest run of shows so far. The four-piece give nods to classical songwriting, but their output is refreshingly of its time. They’ll be joined by INHEAVEN, a hyped-to-the-hills outfit who released their debut single ‘Regeneration’ via AMF Records and Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records. Following a handful of one-off dates, this will be their first ever tour. VANT complete the bill, bringing a heady, politicised pulse, straight from the mind of London-based Mattie Vant. Consider this your one and only chance to see these three bright names in the same, intimate spaces. Tickets for DIY Presents the Neu Tour 2015 are on sale now via gigsandtours.com. DIY
the dates OCTOBER
• 1 Nottingham Bodega Social Club • 2 Bristol Louisiana • 3 Birmingham Sunflower Lounge • 5 Liverpool The Magnet • 6 Manchester Night & Day • 8 Edinburgh Electric Circus • 9 Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut • 10 Newcastle The Cluny 2 • 12 Leeds Brudenell Social Club • 13 Brighton The Haunt • 14 London Dingwalls
THIS MONTH IN
REC OM M ENDED
EPS A couple of debut releases and one follow-up help make up Neu’s EP favourites this month. Get to know the below before they take over with a full-length.
. T h e Par rots Pa l a c e
Chase the Light
Palace’s second release sees their spacious, romantic pop going up a few notches. ‘Head About The Water’ and stirring lead ‘Kiloran’ are potential arena-dwellers, but they’re also night lurkers, strangers tracing back their own steps when everyone else is fast asleep.
A scuzzy Madrid force with both eyes on the open road. Let’s face the facts: The Parrots first picked up proper attention when everyone was first talking about fellow Madrid fuzz-ers Hinds (fka Deers). With eyes firmly locked on Spain’s scuzzy scene, it’s since been in the trio’s hands to prove they’re the real deal. Now signed to Luv Luv Luv, they’ve set about this by delivering drunken, shambolic but charming recordings that share more in common with The Black Lips than an everyday siesta. After a bubbling-up of hype, it’s now official - between Hinds and The Parrots, Spain is leading a charge. Similar to: The Black Lips meets Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. Listen: ‘To The People Who Showed Me Their Love While I Was Here’ premiered on DIY. A lesson in how to make a plan and stick to it.
Mag i c P o t i o n Melt
On Swedish band Magic Potion’s debut EP, ‘Melt’, every note is bent slightly out of place, every swarm of synth diverted towards another pitch. This is a band who like their songs to be slightly unorthodox, but sweet and simple enough to be enrapturing.
Oh Won de r
With a Jurassic future ahead, this Brighton producer is readying a blockbuster.
Sp e e l burg
Here’s what we know about 21-yearold songwriter Frances: she pens direct, piano-led pop songs. She doesn’t bother with unnecessary frills. And on her debut track ‘Grow’, she’s paving the way for a hugely successful future.
Oh Wonder started out when a London duo - who’ve had spells under previous guises - decided to start from scratch by releasing one song a month on SoundCloud, building up to a whole album. The only thing that’s changed since then is that they’ve landed themselves a proper deal on Caroline International - the debut’s out this September. Similar to: London Grammar. Listen: ‘Technicolour Beat’ and ‘Livewire’.
Old-school blues and future-gazing samples share the same space in Noah Sacré’s music. Going by Speelburg, he’s been in the director’s chair for a bunch of triggerhappy, frenzied pop songs. A producer who could go just about anywhere. Similar to: Film trailers that tell you the whole narrative in three minutes. Listen: His debut EP is out 6th July. Bedroom recordings that keep you up at night.
.An na B Savag e
There’s a haunting brutality to Anna B Savage’s debut EP. Schooled in literary references and grim day-today realities, these recordings are like flicking through someone’s diary. Ordered in roman numerals, the four songs show distinct maturity and the kind of ambition you’d usually discover in an artist several albums to the good. Similar to: Nick Cave, PJ Harvey. Listen: ‘EP’ is streaming on Anna B Savage’s SoundCloud. 33
Theo Ellis practises new poses for his Tinder profile. 34 diymag.com
L atitude 2015
“We’ve got the name of our band in the song! Like a rapper! Or Superfood!” Theo Ellis
A b r i g h t, e xc i t i n g pac k o f n ew b a n d s a r e r ac i n g t o t h e t o p. Le a d i n g t h e way i s Wo lf A li c e , wh o s e d e b u t a lb u m ‘M y Lov e I s C o o l’ i s r e a dy t o i n s p i r e a g e n e r at i o n . I n eq ua l pa r t s b at s h i t a n d b r i lli a n t, t h e y’r e a l s o t h e U K’s b i g g e s t h o p e . Wo rd s : Jam i e M i lto n . Ph oto s : M i ke Mas saro.
he best way to describe Wolf Alice is summed up neatly by their own drummer, Joel Amey. “I can see the family portrait,” he says, describing guitarist Joff Oddie as “the dad”, frontwoman Ellie Rowsell as “the mum”, bassist Theo Ellis as “the kid brother” and Joel himself as “the dog”. “I don’t even know what I am,” he ponders, picturing a scene where “Ellie’s got a gin at like nine in the morning. Joff’s telling Theo off continuously. Theo finds absolutely everything brilliant and shit at the same time.”
That’s Wolf Alice, if you ignore the monster of a debut album they’ve just created. On its own, ‘My Love Is Cool’ has every means of standing out as a marker - a standard-bearer for any new band looking to take over. But without this unique “weird family” dynamic that Joel describes, they wouldn’t be nearly as enticing.
heir family portrait looked radically different on day one. Ellie and Joff were the only permanent members. They performed at open mic nights, fronting what Ellie describes as a “completely different vibe”. Other names came and went, before Joel - with his experience of trying to make it in a band as blog-pop project Mafia Lights - and Theo - with his bags of enthusiasm and bizarre personality - making up the eventual fourpiece. Their involvement wasn’t quite so straightforward. “We actually held auditions for a female bass player,” remembers Joff. “Someone who could do harmonies and play the bass. But we couldn’t find anyone.” In stepped Theo. “I would have had a sex change to be in the band,” he says, only half-joking. “I would have done anything.” When he was still on the outskirts, Theo saw the group he’d always dreamed of playing in. “I was just desperate to do anything musical,” he says. Years after first meeting Ellie “on a trampoline” at a house party, he initially filled in as a back-up bassist, after playing guitar for years. “I told Ellie and Joff I’d drop everything in my life to be in this band. Even in rehearsals, I remember being excited playing those songs. It was palpable.” Joel was in a similar situation, willing to cut all ties in order to be a part of the band. “Music was all that he wanted to do,” says Ellie, remembering the time they first met. “And that was exciting. That was instantly different. He’d done the East London shows, the rite of passage.” Joel describes his spell in hometown outfit Mafia Lights as an “education on what to do and not do when you’re in a band… It taught me that if you really want to do this properly, you’ve got to be in it 100%, it’s got to become your life.”
GOOD FELLAS Joel Amey’s Mafia Lights stemmed from a Surrey scene that he describes as “stale” and essentially non-existent. But it did contain a few familiar faces. The trio itself consisted of Joel, Swim Deep keyboardist James Balmont and Alt-J’s touring bassist Cameron Knight. Also making music in the same pack was Andy Smith (now headturning producer Lxury) and Guy Lawrence of Disclosure. “There is so little to do that if you find a person that happens to like Tame Impala the same way you did, they’re your best mate now. It’s beyond dead, as a scene. It almost doesn’t want to encourage music. I went to a crap school that didn’t even have enough funding to teach music. So to do a GCSE, I had to do it after school. Music was just a joke to anyone that was around me,” says Joel. So like the rest of Surrey’s musicallyinclined, he went to London, and the rest is history.
By the time their first headline tour came round, all four were essentially in this for keeps, regardless of anything else. Joel looks back on a period when he’d be “stealing scotch eggs
â€œI would have had a sex change to be in the bandâ€? - Theo Ellis 38 diymag.com
our fans are COOL
Ramsey, Albie, Sophie, Phoebe, Leonie What are you expecting from the album? “It’s going to be amazing. I think they’re going to be one of the biggest bands in England once they’ve released this. And Ellie’s going to debut her new blonde hair. It’s amazing. It’s going to be a blonde-off between her and Theo.”
Maddie, Frank, Ria, Lucy How much are you looking forward to the album? “We’re so excited!” Who’s your favourite member of Wolf Alice? “It feels like picking between my children. Ellie’s so pretty though. Theo’s got that swagger.”
from Marks & Spencer service stations just to stay alive.” Penniless and with barely any experience between the four of them, they still threw themselves into the band with the hope that it might go somewhere. “The motivation this time seemed different. There was a sense of ‘Let’s make this happen,’” says Joff.
ff they went, kickstarting a wild and unpredictable trip that hasn’t stopped picking up momentum. With every sold-out show and milestone they cross, they look to be at their peak. But they keep going. The only real chance for reflection took place at the beginning of this year, when studio time ran dry and they emerged with a debut album. The only rational response was to collectively sob. “It was emotional, yeah,” says Joel. “Ellie cried!” shouts Theo, dobbing in his bandmate. “That was a fucking intense day,” he says. “It was a bit of a cheesy moment, to be honest,” says Joff. “Ellie just went into the recording space, we were all sat at the control room and she did this hidden track in one take. It sounds like one of those bullshit ‘behind the music’ stories. Then we all popped champagne. It was scary,” he says. “There was this big sense of relief at everything being done, but then there was this ‘Fuck. I hope everything’s alright’. Praying all the bits are there and that we haven’t played like complete dickheads.” Hours later, they were playing the O2 Arena with Alt-J. No time for distractions. To be fair, ‘My Love Is Cool’ isn’t the kind of debut that lends itself to indifference. Even when they were haphazardly patched together and taking on the road, Wolf Alice seemed different. Their songs were introverted things, coated in darkness, but they also had the potential to convert thousands. Big without being brash, anthemic without ticking boxes and sitting neatly outside of standard genre constraints, they were anything but ‘the usual bunch’. Their first work affirms this premonition and goes several steps further. Each song is steeped in nuances; together they kick and scream with the same feverish excitement. Oldies like ‘Bros’ and ‘Fluffy’ are reupholstered and transformed into bigger beasts. Previously discarded off-cuts like ‘Lisbon’ evolve into juggernauts. It’s easy to overdo the hyperbole when a new group points the way forward with such assurance, but this really does strike as a classic record. It’ll provoke and inspire anyone listening in, up there with ‘Silent Alarm’ and ‘Antidotes’ in the game-changing debut stakes. Somehow, it goes beyond the expectations they laid out from the beginning. Having a good cry at the end is probably doing it a disservice. 39
For those who’ve been following their every move from the start, Wolf Alice’s debut has been a long time coming. Two EPs (‘Blush’ and ‘Creature Songs’) sport enough songs to make up a record, but the demand’s been there for something bigger. “We weren’t ready, really,” admits Ellie. “You think you’ve got loads of songs but then you realise some of them are skippers. I don’t think there are any skippers on this record.” “It’s such a fickle day and age for music,” says Joel, with Theo in agreement. “It’s because of the internet. You put out a song or a single, just because you want people to hear it. You don’t have any pre-conceived idea of an album at that stage. But everyone’s like ‘Oh, it’s the hot new band - have you got twelve more of these?’ We wanted to take some time and make sure we were proud of what we ended up putting out. That’s more important than rushing something. We’re lucky, to be fair. It’s great that people are still holding out for it. “ “I can listen to the album and think, ‘Everyone fought fucking hard for this,’” says Joel. “People were up in arms about ideas and everyone stuck to their guns. You have to be passionate about it.” It’s the small things that matter on ‘My Love Is Cool’. The way the sky sounds like it’s falling in after ‘Lisbon’’s first verse, the sudden thrash of ‘Swallowtail’’s climax, the calming clatter of ‘Soapy Water’ - it’s a debut of huge, uncompromising songs, but they’re all built from the ground up. Each member has their own attachment to a track on the record. Theo falls for ‘Silk’’s hip-hop drums, but he also can’t stifle manic giggling when it comes to ‘Freazy’, which contains the words “Wolf” and “Alice” in the chorus. “We’ve got the name of our band in the song! Like a rapper! Or Superfood!” Rough cuts from the early days sneak into the final recording, home demos made in Ellie’s bedroom or Joel’s mum’s house have been recorded over. “You seem to be quite brave when you’re in a room yourself recording,” starts Joel. “The word ‘quality’ gets misused a lot. There’s polishing something, but when someone wants that result, you’re making something sugary and perfectionist. But when you look at Bon Iver’s first album, he buried everything in this room and it’s all crisp and crunchy. That starts a whole genre of music after it.” A mix of baby steps and triumphant finishing touches, this is a debut that sums up Wolf Alice’s journey from chancers to pros.
he character of ‘My Love Is Cool’ stems from the four, wildly different individuals piecing it together. Across a handful of dates on a sold-out UK tour, they all get on with their own thing. Ellie perches on a bench in-between soundchecks, rifling through a dusty book that looks like it’s been nabbed from a library. Joff likes to stay on stage for as long as possible, practicing songs through a vast collection of guitar pedals. Joel gets to work with upkeeping his tradition of trying to write one new song a day. “Honestly, I can’t remember what I used to do. It’s been like that for so long. Even if it’s shit, you can throw it away tomorrow. It keeps your brain active. It’s like sudoku but a bit more fulfilling.” And Theo spends two solid hours trying to kick a football into a trolley. Theo describes Joel as “one of the most prolific songwriters” he’s ever met. “I’m very, very jealous of him. He’s not only my best friend, he’s also insanely talented. It’s actually
Ellie and Joff meet while he’s studying for a teaching degree at Roehampton University. They play open mic nights with bassist Sadie Cleary.
Theo and Joel join the band. They put out ‘Leaving You’ online and Huw Stephens plays a rough demo version of ‘Bros’ on Radio 1.
major label in the world. They’d all come to the gigs and seen us mess up,” remembers Joel.
Play an unforgettable tour with support acts Superfood and Gengahr, including a sold-out London Scala, before releasing second EP ‘Creature Songs’ on Dirty Hit.
Ahead of a free DIY Presents ‘Hello 2013’ show at The Old Blue Last, they share ‘Fluffy’. It’s released the next month as a debut single on Chess Club.
DIY features the group in March 2013’s Neu section. “People in the industry seem to know about us more than just people who listen to music. If we can get real people it’d be quality,” says Joff.
Play their biggest run of shows as support on Swim Deep’s UK tour, culminating with a show at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
2014 eAppearJune on the front of DIY alongside Jungle and Peace as one of three covers. Debut ‘Giant Peach’ as a “jam” for Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 Rocks show at Maida Vale - Zane promptly loses his mind. Three weeks later, they play the John Peel stage at Glastonbury.
2013 Debut EP ‘Blush’ gets its release on Chess Club.
Picked out in DIY’s Class of 2014 - alongside Jungle and Royal Blood - where they paint themselves red for no apparent reason.
Sign a deal with Dirty Hit Records after a “revolting” meal in Cambridge. “We were playing with Swim Deep here, and these guys came to meet us. We weren’t sure who they were. And that was after we’d met every fucking
August 2014 Play the Festival Republic tent at Reading & Leeds.
September 2014 Support Lenny Kravitz, of all people, at London Roundhouse for iTunes Festival.
Headline a sold out London Heaven.
Shortlisted in the BBC’s ‘Sound of 2015’.
Following their first dates in Australia, they complete the recording of ‘My Love Is Cool’ and play
main support for Alt-J’s sold-out gig at London’s O2 Arena on the same day.
eFebruary 2015 ‘Giant Peach’ is played as a Hottest Record by Zane Lowe and they announce their debut album.
Ellie masters the flute and that bloke from ‘My Parents Are Aliens’ makes a cameo in the video of the year, for ‘Giant Peach’.
Headline their biggest show to date at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire, complete with confetti cannons. Two weeks later, they announce a gig at London’s Brixton Academy.
“You can’t regret anything if you do whate ver c omes n at u r a l ly ” - El l i e Rowsell
astounding. Him and Ellie can put together some demos where you’re just like, ‘What the fuck?’” Joel’s motive is mostly to stay on his toes. “I know it’s going to happen - we’ll tour this album for a long time and someone will say ‘We need the next one now’. And I don’t want to be caught off guard.” He gets his moment on ‘Swallowtail’, a barreling up of emotions and easily the debut’s most direct track. “I remember feeling really shit, probably the lowest I’ve ever felt,” Joel says. “I made this demo of it, all constant noise. It was more like METZ. Lyrically, it’s a bit cliched but it was how I felt at the time. It’s someone giving up, seeing a reason not to, but you’ve already jumped. I think I probably write most songs when I am sad,” he admits. “I’m still an emo at heart. I love sad music. Sad music makes me happy. If I hear a happy song I’ll usually start thinking that whoever’s singing it is a bit of a dick.” There’s always been a darkness lurking behind each of Wolf Alice’s songs, but the formula’s switched on this first work. Ellie is the first to admit that her songwriting is “personal but exaggerated” - “maybe I wrote ‘The Wonderwhy’ about being confused and sad, but I made it way more confused and sad than I actually was,” she says. “The time I wrote the most and was really in love with writing words was when I was in my late teens,”
“If I hear a happy song I’ll
Everything Joff Oddie touches turns to gold. Even his vomit.
u s ua l ly s ta r t thinking that whoever’s singing it is a bit of a dick” -Joel
says Ellie. “And I always say this - that’s the time when your brain’s the most naive but charming. Your thoughts are so interesting. And you’re the most influenced by what you read and see. And you project that in a really interesting way. Now I’m a tiny bit older, I have less of that and I take influence from other people or their stories.” Her role in the band transforms on their debut. Within the space of ‘Giant Peach’, she growls, chants and screams like she’s playing different characters, and it’s intentional. “I’m always apprehensive to say this because I know nothing about it, but I started listening to hip-hop,” she says, citing Outkast’s ‘Speakerboxxx’ as an unlikely inspiration. “The voices are used in so many different ways. It’s like they have multiple personalities which they choose to use in different songs. I don’t know why that hasn’t translated into indie music. Singers tend to use their voice in the same way. I find that a little bit boring.”
There’s a newfound confidence within the band surging forward in 2015, and it’s most evidenced in Ellie. With every show they play, she’s more willing to jump out of her own comfort zone. “I do whatever comes naturally to me now,” she says. “When you first start out, you either hold yourself back or you put yourself out there too much. You think ‘I’m the front person, I have to be really interesting.’ You can’t regret anything if you do whatever comes naturally.”
he measure of a band going from underground favourites to actualreal-life champions is when they gain a gang of followers. Not just casual fans with a pint at the back of a venue - we’re talking about loyal diehards. From the queues outside their free London shows back in 2013 to the hordes huddled next to Shepherd’s Bush Empire in the early afternoon, these obsessives have followed not just Wolf Alice, but all the surrounding acts. Two years back, everywhere Peace or Swim Deep went, they’d take relative newcomers with them. To this day, new bands are just as central a focus as the headliners themselves. And Wolf Alice’s recent run around the country sees them taking on a similar role. It doesn’t strictly matter who’s on stage - these wide-eyed fanatics follow every move. And it’s led Theo to a rare moment of serious thinking. “The one thing we’ve been worried about gauging is are we really good in a critical musicianship way?” he asks. “Because the kids go so mad, you can’t help but think it’s gone really well. So you imagine yourself sitting in the balcony and asking if it was everything it could be. Does it flow really well? Does it sound right sonically?” He pauses. “And then you think fuck it - I couldn’t give a shit, everyone’s jumping around.” Picking up the baton from bands who gave them a leg-up, Wolf Alice are now leading the charge. The Magic Gang, Crows and Bloody Knees are lapped up when they’re just taking their first steps. “We’ve played support shows where people’s fans are just like, ‘Nope’. But people have been coming down for the opening acts,” says Joel. “I’m so proud that we’re associated with a bunch of people who are willing to give everyone a shot and be supportive.” From day one, Wolf Alice have been lucky enough to surround themselves in a bright scene where everyone’s trying new things. Theo remembers the house he shared with Joff and Swim Deep frontman Austin Williams, over in London’s Seven Sisters. It quickly turned into the de-facto space for late nights and after-parties. “There’d be times where I’d turn around and think ‘There’s literally nine different bands in this room right now,’” he jokes. “In that environment, I realise it’s exciting and cool to be a part of that. But then I might just be fucking drunk.” Ellie connects the feverish, uncompetitive spirit of the old days to what’s happening now. “On those first tours, local bands we knew would let us stay. Best Friends would put us up in Sheffield,
band bros Harrison Koisser, Peace “I think the best thing about Wolf Alice is that they’re a real band. They don’t feel put together to do whatever’s hot. You can tell they’ve been together for a long time & that the chemistry is all organic which is why their tunes are so good. “I admire that they don’t need to pretend to be dangerous or unstable. They’re young & fun & living the dream & you can smell the happiness a mile off.” James Balmont, Swim Deep “Joel and I have been in bands together since we were 14 years old so when we get to tour together it feels like a fulfilment of the dreams we set out to achieve when we were kids. It’s an incredible feeling! Our bands are really close so there’s a huge sense of pride whenever we watch each other play… usually followed by a huge sense of drunkenness and occasionally a huge sense of toplessness when Theo’s let off his leash. When you’re on the road with your best mates it’s literally the greatest party on earth – there’s never a dull moment.” Paeris Giles, The Magic Gang “Gus had known them for a little while - we’d met Ellie a few times before but the tour was the first time we’d really all hung out.” Felix Bushe, Gengahr “The Wolfies took us out on our first ever UK tour and we have all been friends ever since. I think we have a lot in common (mostly going out drinking etc) and when we both toured with alt-J earlier this year in Europe we ended up sharing a tour bus. This is probably every tour manager’s worst nightmare but i can truly say it was one of the funnest months of my life!” Christian Wilkes, Bloody Knees “They truly are a lovely bunch and it’s been fab to trundle round the country with such fantastic musicians and friends. We’ve kind of formed a little community of legends thanks to Wolf Alice!” 43
that kind of thing. I see that happening now with Crows and Magic Gang. Everyone stays at their houses. There’s no competition, it’s just helping each other out.” No matter what anyone thinks about the past decade, whether or not UK bands have gone through a stale patch, there’s no denying the bright years ahead. Couple ‘My Love Is Cool’ with Drenge’s latest LP (“that’s a huge step up,” says Joel), Swim Deep’s drastic change in direction and head-turning debut singles from Yak, The Big Moon and The Magic Gang - things are on the up. Wolf Alice’s debut barges in and stakes its claim as the flagbearer of an exciting future. What felt like a possibility is now a certainty - there’s a crop of bands waiting to be adored.
hat’s both triumphant and slightly terrifying is that ‘My Love Is Cool’ is just the first step. All the build-up and landmarks that define Wolf Alice’s past couple of years should - if everything goes to plan
- be a blip on the radar. “That’s the scary thought,” admits Joff. “It’s literally just beginning now. “I always think about when bands start, and you look back to their first album. There’s so much still left to do. Shepherd’s Bush was a lot more than just a gig, but it’s not a Brixton Academy at the end of a cycle.” Rummaging through pebbles on Brighton beach, he peers round to the Concorde 2, hours before showtime. “We did very similar gigs to these when supporting Swim Deep last year - we played here. And it almost feels like school years. You’re asking yourself ‘what are GCSEs gonna be like?’ and everyone’s telling you to not piss yourself. This is probably SATS in our timeline. Year 6 SATS. I hope it’s that.” “Everything else is practice, in a way,” agrees Ellie. “I think those early years are so important. When we look back to our first few tours, when it was playing to ten people in Warrington, that’s really special to me.” What’s led
“Everything is possible if you approach it in t h e r i g h t way ” - J o f f Oddie
them here, though, is a sense of belief. Even when members were coming and going, when Theo wasn’t taking to his chosen instrument and when Joel was playing live drums for the first time, Wolf Alice only happened because every member realised it was going somewhere. Joff sums it up with the kind of mentality that any aspiring new band should embrace. “I knew we had the potential,” he says. “When you’re younger, you have dreams and a lot of people will say ‘You can’t do that’. Even if it’s a city job or a life as a footballer. ‘You’re not superhuman,’ they tell you. But everything is possible if you approach it in the right way.” As their exceptional debut finally arrives, confidence is only going upwards. They’re on the brink of seizing their role as the UK’s most important band in an age. Wolf Alice have arrived. Wolf Alice’s debut album ‘My Love Is Cool’ is out now via Dirty Hit Records. DIY
Wolf alice are one of the amazing bands p l ay i n g L at i t u d e this year, but they’re not alone. Over the nex t few pages we’ll run you through some
“Maybe we should
of the musical
have some safety
rules at the side of the
stage.” - Eoin Loveless
fes ti va l .
L atitude 2015 DRENGE BBC RADIO 6 MUSIC STAGE, SATURDAY 18TH JULY
ast time Drenge appeared at Latitude, p l ay i n g by t h e they were witness to their very first mosh pit. ‘ K eep C a l m , D o n ’ t It wasn’t a tame one, either. B e A D i c k’ m ot to Flailing limbs all round, it set a in 2015. precedent for what’s become almost obligatory at the Derbyshire duo’s raucous shows. “That was the biggest one. And it was a real shock,” remembers guitarist/vocalist Eoin Loveless. D r en g e a r e
Since then, Eoin and brother Rory have stuck to one simple rule when it comes to moshing - don’t be a prat about it. Things weren’t nasty at Latitude, but they’ve had their fair share of hairy experiences since. “We’re pro-mosh but we’re anti-violence,” explains Eoin. “Because you should be able to have fun in a pit, but you shouldn’t get hit.” As festival season gets into full gear, he’s contemplating potential measures to enforce “anti-nobheads” rules. “ Maybe we should have some safety rules at the side of the stage. Or maybe some kind of in-flight safety video to run before we come on” 46 diymag.com
So for anyone expecting Drenge to embrace Latitude’s rowdy side, diving headfirst into the lake’s gorgeous waters - think again. Eoin’s excuse isn’t a particularly convincing one, mind you. “I rarely have a towel on me. I usually rely on hotel towels,” he says, getting all A-List on the occasion. “But today, even this morning, I spilled coffee on my t-shirt and had to buy another because we were being filmed. A lot of effort goes into our appearance. And to jump into a lake would ruin that. It would sabotage what we’ve worked so hard to maintain.” If anyone’s embracing the lake this year, says Eoin, it’ll be the one and only Noel Gallagher. “I can imagine Noel in some speedos, complaining about something but still jumping into a lake.” Friday night headliners and Drenge buddies Alt-J have climbed up the ranks to top bills for fun. Will these two be next? “The take-up for tickets at a music festival with Drenge headlining would be severely lower than the year before,” Eoin says, bluntly. “The lower down the bill, the safer you are, really. You’re not going to upset anyone.” Shy on plans for world domination, Drenge are still one of the must-see bands on this year’s bill, whether you’re a mosher or not. DIY
DJANGO DJANGO BBC RADIO 6 MUSIC STAGE, FRIDAY 17TH JULY
Hows your festival season going so far? Jimmy Dixon (bass): Great, although I forgot just how many people go to them. Can’t wait to play more though. You last played Latitude in 2012 - how did that show go for you? I remember that it was raining but everyone was in a really positive mood. We were rowed out across a lake to a little stage in the woods somewhere and the whole place was totally packed out. I’m pretty sure we played about 4 or 5 years ago at Latitude and ended up getting drunk with Keith Allen in some tent somewhere. Happy days. How are you looking forward to returning to play there this year? We jumped at the chance to play at Latitude again. Personally I much prefer playing smaller more intimate festivals. There’s these amazing little parties going on tucked away everywhere. You always end up rambling about until the sun comes up the next day... Are there any bands on the line-up you’re definitely going to see? Caribou, Portishead, Warpaint, Omar Souleyman, Songhoy Blues, Tim Key, Sounds of the Cosmos… definitely gonna see if we can find Keith again. Do you have anything special planned for your set? Yeah, we’ve got five or six new songs on the go and we’ll have time to get another one or two up to scratch before Latitude. I guess it depends on which songs work within the set, but we’ll definitely playing new songs. Hopefully we’ll be able to bring our light show along too.
YOUNG FATHERS BBC Radio 6 Music Stage, Sunday 19th July
So Young Fathers, you’re playing Latitude… Alloysious Massaquoi: We’ve got a better stage this time. We’ve built our way up. Graham ‘G’ Hastings: This is the third time we’ve played it. We played a stage in the woods, a small but good show. And then obviously the guys that worked there, they asked us to come back a play a bigger stage. It’s a great festival, we’ve always enjoyed it. I like the layout. You can swim in the river? Kayus Bankole: But the leeches! In terms of performance, what sets you guys apart from the rest of the pack? Alloysious: It’s a new mindset that we’re bringing to the table. Like being able to do what the fuck you want in the studio. Without any rules. You hear so many bands who say they’re different, but when you listen to the record, they’re not any different from so and so. We’ve got a mindset where anything’s possible. Anything. You’re talking about using that violin string. Just using a bottle top. Or anything. It’s DIY and industrial. And it’s this vibe that’s carrying us through. It’s making it less razz-ma-tazz for some people. This is work. The general perception of artists and musicians is that you’re living some lavish life, that you don’t really care. You do a little bit and then you relax. For us, this is work. We take this very fucking seriously. We’re not gonna muck about. And people see that in the performance, because we care. That comes across. And whether you like the music or not, you feel it. A lot of people say they don’t like rap or anything like that, but they like us. And you feel it.
Photo: Mike Massaro 47
WARPAINT OBELISK ARENA, SUNDAY 19TH JULY
YE ARS & YE ARS The Lake Stage, Sunday 19th July
Years & Years, you’re gearing up to release your new album. How are you feeling about it at the mo? Olly Alexander (vocals): We’re so happy to have it finished. We’re really proud of it. Just before it gets released we’ll all be really terrified but at the moment we’re excited. What’s your favourite part of playing festivals? Mikey Goldsworthy (synths, bass): The best part are the crowds! They are totally up for it and it seems to multiply by the thousands when you are not playing in a venue. Do you have anything special planned for any of your summer festival sets? Are you going to be playing a lot of new songs? Emre Turkmen (synths): We are working on some new songs to play as well as some covers that we hope people will be into. Which of your songs do you most enjoy playing to a festival crowd? E: Probably ‘Real’, because it’s one that everyone seems to know and enjoy. What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you at a festival? M: I dropped my wallet in a Metallica mosh pit...
e learned a lot from what happened last time; people kept making us offers, so we kept extending the tour, and it wasn’t really a good idea.”
Ahead of their biggest UK tour to date back in March, Warpaint announced a fairly radical break with convention; there were no firm plans on the horizon for a third record, with the decision instead being made to release new songs as and when they were ready. “It feels like a more natural way to approach things,” says drummer Stella Mozgawa. “Everything’s winding up on the touring front now. You need to take a few months to actually live your life after being on the road for so long, and make sure that you only come back once you’ve got something important to say, and to write about. “ The excellent double A-side of ‘No Way Out’ and ‘I’ll Start Believing’ provided a statement of intent right around the time they headlined Hammersmith Apollo earlier this year, and Mozgawa is confident that the new approach is one that will prove workable in the long term. “We’ve been lucky enough never to have been under too much pressure from anybody,” she explains. “We’re not a massive band, we’re not a poppy band, and it makes sense for us to take our time and do things the way we see fit. As soon as you feel like you’re being forced into a certain way of working, it ends up breeding resentment. It’s never going to be healthy creatively.” There’s still a handful of summer dates on the horizon, though; on top of shows in Toronto and Latvia, Warpaint make what is - incredibly - their Latitude debut. “I don’t think we’ve ever played it before, but maybe I was just emotionally unconscious for it!” laughs Mozgawa, “By the end of the first album cycle it got to the point where we were kind of flogging a dead horse, and in that situation you start to lose track of where you are. It looks like a beautiful festival, though, and I know there’s a few of our friends playing. I’m not sure how long we’re going to be able to stick around; hopefully, we can sort ourselves out time zone-wise, get out there and see some of the wonderful things that are going to be on offer.” (Ross Jones)
CL ARENCE CL ARIT Y The Lake Stage, Friday 17Th July
Clarence Clarity, if you could give punters one bit of advice for when it comes to festivals, what would it be? Don’t worry too much about watching bands. Unless of course I’m playing, in which case get down the front and get ready for the time of your life.
Photo: Mike Massaro 48 diymag.com
L atitude 2015
NOEL G ALL AGHER Obelisk Arena, Sunday 19Th July
K WAB S Bbc Radio 6 Music Stage, Sunday 19Th July
Hey Kwabs, you’ve just finished a tour with Sam Smith – how was that? I couldn’t really have imagined a better tour to be on. The crowds were great - really kind and welcoming... plus Sam and his band are just good people and that really makes all the difference. That tour ran through all of March and then I started my own tour through mainland Europe and UK…that’s only just finished so I’m still sort of getting used to being at home! In a band? Human? Noel doesn’t like you. Latitude headliner Noel Gallagher isn’t a shy chap, and there’s a lot of stuff he doesn’t like. Like, a proper lot. Loads. Most things, actually. Here are a few acts he should probably avoid over the weekend, presented in an ever-more-tenuous spiral. ● ALT-J (+ ANYONE WITH A MOUSTACHE)
Earlier this year, Rolling Stone asked Noel about new music he actually likes. “Do you know that track by Alt-J, ‘Left Hand Free’? That is a great track,” he answered. So far so good. “But Alt-J can fuck right off as far as I’m concerned. It’s a great tune, and I paid 79 pence for it, but I am in no way a fan of Alt-J. One of them’s got a moustache, and that’s unacceptable.” Oh. ● YEARS & YEARS + SBTRKT
In a “vignette” the High Flying Birds released on YouTube in 2011, Noel lamented: ”Dance music sounds like a walk in the park now. Any fucker can do it – and quite frankly, every fucker is doing it.” That’ll learn ‘em. ● MANIC STREET PREACHERS
Noel labelled the band “cynical cunts” after they met Fidel Castro and it was broadcast on telly in, um, 2001. “Here they were face-to-face with one of the
most influential leaders of the 20th Century, and all Nicky Wire could think to say was, ‘Noel Gallagher shook hands with Tony Blair and we’re meeting Fidel,’” he laughed to HotPress. ● YOUNG FATHERS
Your debut album is due soon… I guess I’m just eager for people to hear it because it’s been a long time coming. People ask me if I’m nervous about it, but the truth is that I’ve spent plenty of time creating my own relationship with the music - knowing how I feel about the songs. I want the fans to have that same experience. Also I’m looking forward gigging once the album is out there. I think once people know the songs. That’ll be a game changer. You performed at Latitude last year? I’ll never forget last year. It was stupidly hot, I had to take a boat across a lake to get to the stage. I think I’m playing on a bigger stage this time so I hope that we manage to get a good crowd. I would also like to have the sunshine and the boat again, please.
“I despise hip hop. Loathe it,” Noel said to the Observer in 2005. ● THE VACCINES
He made fun of One Direction - who Vaccines frontman Justin Young has written for (you see?) - at the Brit Awards the other year, with former rival Damon Albarn: “We both got fucking roaring drunk and told One Direction to fuck off in unison.” ● THURSTON MOORE BAND
Moore’s Sonic Youth bandmate Kim Gordon tried (and failed) to steal Oasis’ Jack Daniels at a Live 105 gig in 1995, the radio show claims. The younger Gallagher was having none of it - “No she can’t have any,” was Liam’s apparent response.
R AE MORRIS The Lake Stage, Sunday 19Th July
Hello Rae, what’s your favourite part of playing festivals? I just love arriving there in the morning and having the day to wander around and catch bands that you’ve been meaning to see. Getting falafel wraps and sitting outside somewhere. The simple things. Us musicians are so lucky we get to go to so many festivals. I just like to appreciate that. What one item do you take with you when you’re on the festival trail to make life more luxurious? This year it will be my lovely little flask I’ve just bought! My band think I’m crazy for loving it so much but it’s definitely my favourite purchase of the year so far. I’ve always got a lovely little hot brew in my bag no matter where we are. That’s all you need in life right? 49
L atit u d e 2 0 15
be asts OBELISK ARENA, FRIDAY 17TH JULY
Hello Hayden! Wild Beasts are Latitude veterans, and this’ll be your sixth time playing the festival. What keeps bringing you back here? When we were first starting out they showed great faith in us. They’ve done that throughout our career. We always want to repay that faith. They’ve always been very daring in supporting innovative music, and sticking their neck out a little. We’ve always felt this is the place for us. Who else are you looking forward to seeing play? Jon Hopkins and Caribou! They’re on the same day as us, so we’ll get to see those guys. It’ll be phenomenal no doubt. Also, the last time I saw Alt-J they were supporting us at a little show in Falmouth, so I’m expecting a different atmosphere. What is Wild Beasts’ most dramatic festival memory? Goodness me! Our first Latitude we hired a man with a van, and the man with a van turned out to be a man with an ambulance. We loaded our gear in there and set off... half way down the ambulance broke down. The engine had overheated, and I fancied myself as a bit of a mechanic. It was the first time I’d ever seen an engine, to be honest, and I burned my hands on the radiator. So yeah, I played our first Latitude with skin falling off my hands. At Latitude, which wild beast or animal would you least like to bump into in the woods? If I was going to bump into a creature and be terrified, it’d probably be Noel Gallagher. This year the health and safety shackles have been lifted, and swimming is allowed in the lake. Will you be taking a dip? Well, we’ve spent the whole year in the studio so far, so I wouldn’t want any human to have to see my pale withering flesh. Talking of which, how is the new album going? It’s going well! It’s been a very interesting, life affirming game.
MARIK A HACKMAN Iarena, Saturday 18Th July
Hey Marika, are you excited for Latitude? Yeah, I really, really enjoyed it last year. This year I’ve made the commitment to go for the whole weekend and really enjoy it. Now that the album’s been out for a while, it must be nice to be play able to play lots of the newer tracks too? It’s really fun. It’s nice to come back and have a more fresh set, plus, I’m able to adapt the set for each show. When I started touring, I only had enough songs in existence to play a forty minute set every night that had to be the same every night because I didn’t have enough songs. Now, I can change it each night and I can make it completely different. Do you find that festival sets present a bit more of a challenge? I think it’s not so much a challenge as a different kind of set. When I talk about it with my band, we create a set that’s a bit more upbeat and with songs that maybe people know a bit better. I deliberately put together a set that’s all the bigger, more lively songs which is really fun to play. Plus, you’re an artist that can experiment quite a lot anyway, in terms of playing live. There’s a whole different way of doing the set that I’ve experimented with over the past year. It’s fun to be able to do that, and I’m not getting bored of doing the same thing every night which is very important I think. MARIKA HACKMAN ON ALT-J I’m very excited to watch them again. I’ve been a huge fan since the first album came out and they’re the reason I started working with Charlie [Andrew] in the first place. That’s why we went to him. They’ve had a big effect on my career in that sense and it’s just lovely that I’ve had the chance to work with them and I’ve toured with them. To see them headline a festival like Latitude is gonna be just a really nice experience. We’ll maybe get to hang out and catch up and all that.
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savages BBC RADIO 6 MUSIC STAGE, SATURDAY 18TH JULY
GENG AHR iarena, Friday 17Th July
Gengahr! You’re playing Latitude again this year. Felix Bushe (vocals, guitar): That was one of the first times when people seemed to know the songs and be responding to what we were doing. After Glastonbury, that was a real step. It felt like the ball was really rolling. We’re playing the iArena in the middle of the woods, this time. I remember seeing Fat White Family there last year. It’s a really nice stage. Really cool backdrop. Our music fits in quite well in that environment. Hugh Schulte (bass): I won’t be jumping in the lake, though. Felix: Hugh and John are the two least likely people to jump into the lake. How do you compare your own headline shows to festivals and support slots at the O2 Arena? F: Headline shows are way more fun. H: And the most terrifying! It’s much more scary than supporting Alt-J at the O2 Arena. You just do it, you don’t think about it. F: We’ve got the bug for headline shows now. Even if it’s a fifty cap venue. We’ve been playing for so long without having that kind of thing - now we want it. For over a year, you’re playing to other people’s crowds and you’re trying your best to persuade them that you’re not shit. And now you get to the stage where you can suddenly say you’ve got some fans. That’s a better experience than doing any of the support stuff.
ith a “beast” of a second record apparently in the works, and on the evidence of the monstrous new songs they’ve debuted live recently, Savages are becoming more savage still. Following their Bo Ningen collaboration ‘Words To The Blind’, the band now have a summer of festivals lying ahead - including a slot at Latitude - and there’s a new audiovisual project at The Barbican fast approaching, too. Oh, and Savages have virtually finished their second album as well.
“One song on the second record, ‘I Need Something New’ - it was literally written on stage. At some point during the tour it felt like we needed,” she laughs, “something new.”
Besides their new record, Savages have also been working on a new, separate project for The Barbican’s upcoming Station To Station installation series. “The Barbican is a building that has a real kind of spirit to it that means quite a lot to us,” enthuses Gemma. These other projects help to fuel Savages, Gemma and Jehnny Beth agree, and “I think the first record, art has always been an [‘Silence Yourself’] we integral part of the band, “There’s not one treated very much like too. Today Jehnny goes science for living a document of the several steps further. and one science performance,” explains the “Well,” she starts, “it’s for creating, band’s guitarist Gemma not really about life or Thompson. “The little art, I think the two are I think they’re ideas that we hinted at connected. It’s not one both the same.” on the first record, we science for living and Jehnny Beth wanted to push as far as one science for creating, they could go with this,” I think they’re both the she continues. While the band’s debut same. The experiences that you have album was about quickly bottling the influence everything else.” explosive live show energy Savages were in possession of at the time, this And as for festival season, Savages second one is more about... can’t wait to get back out on the road. “Sometimes,” laughs Gemma, “it’s a “Honing it,” Gemma smiles, finishing relief to play a festival! You have to the sentence. “I think so, yeah,” chimes accept a lot of the situation that’s there. in frontwoman Jehnny Beth. “Also, from Not having that control, touring and stuff, we became better and dealing with musicians, and a better band. In various what you’re different things.” given is kind of exciting.” (El Savages approached this new record Hunt) in much the same way, with many of the songs finding their shape on the stage. “The idea of going straight into writing a record and recording it just like that just seemed like a really alien process,” admits Gemma. “It’s funny though,” adds Jehnny Beth.
Jehnny Beth’s new robot dance moves don’t get off to a good start.
iArena, Sunday 19th July
Are you excited to play Latitude, Shura? I am super, super excited. Any festival where Warpaint are playing is going to be a good one for me, so fingers crossed I get to actually see them. I think Caribou are playing as well, so I’m really excited to catch his live set.
For the first time, people are allowed to go in the Latitude lake. Are you planning on ‘doing a Kanye’ and diving in midway through your set? I feel like if I tried to do that, it would fall flat on its face. I would totally think I was as cool as Kanye, but then people would just be like, ‘why are you a bit soggy? Finish ‘Touch’ or get out!’ I’m definitely going to investigate afterwards though. I’ll have to wear something that covers my modesty. I think SOAK told me she’s already doing it. That’s already confirmed, that can enter the gossip sphere. Speaking of gossip, have you heard any whispers about a secret set from Chicken Lizard and the Antlered Creatures? You know what? It’s still super early days for Chicken Lizard, and I’m not sure whether Latitude is going to be the moment that they strive forward into the limelight. When it happens and I totally haven’t made it up - it’s going to be marvellous. I’ve heard early demos. Watch this space. Are your Instagram-famous kittens Winnie and Flump going to be making a guest appearance with you at Latitude? No, because of the lake! I don’t want kittens drowning in the lake! That would be awful. I wish I could take them on tour. I want to carry them round with me, but I feel I’d look a bit too much like Paris Hilton, and that’s not alright. I’m obviously going to be on tour all summer, so I feel like they don’t even like me that much anymore. And last but by no means least, what is your best festival survival tip? For people who don’t like mud, I tend to tell them that normally the BBC do pretty good coverage. Staying at home is always an option. My main tip, though, is to not get really drunk on the first night. And if you do, don’t eat wasabi peas. That makes the next day’s vomiting that bit more interesting. That’s most definitely a personal experience from my first Glastonbury. I made damn sure I never made that mistake again.
SHURA ON PORTISHEAD I’m a massive Portishead fan. I think the first time I heard Portishead, I was working in a record store when I was 16, and I was terrified. I heard the opener to [their debut album] ‘Dummy’ and I was like, what the hell is going on? It really inspired me. Portishead and Massive Attack were the first electronic artists who made me want to make that kind of music, or explore that side of music.
n a surprise turn in 2015, the big piano power ballads are making a comeback. Sort of. “It’s a bit of a dead art,” sulks Stewart Brock. With his band of dream-pop merchants Callum Wiseman and Lewis Gardiner, who make up Prides, he’s trying to spearhead the piano ballad revolution. With little success. “There’s not many ballads out there. That was why I was really keen to get some on the album. I love ballads,” he gushes. “I’ve grown up playing the piano, and listening to Elton John, and Billy Joel - and all these guys who are the kings of ballads. It’s nice to throw my hat into the ring.” Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, he goes in for the headline: “We’re going to exclusively do power ballads from now on!”
S c ot t i s h t r i o P r i d e s w i l l b e v i s i t i n g L at i t u d e fo l low i n g t h e r el e a s e o f t h ei r d eb u t a l b u m , ‘ T h e Way B ac k U p ’. Wo r d s : A n d r e w B ac k h o u s e .
Stewart’s infectious laughs are a mix of excitement and dread, but it’s understandable. Like a groom’s pre-wedding nerves, however neurotic you wind up being – from legging it from the altar, to smashing up a wedding cake - it’s all entirely justified. It’s Prides’ debut album, after all! Even if you don’t believe in luck and jinxes, or that pride is a dangerous thing, it’s not worth the risk.
Photo: Mike Massaro
The Lake Stage, Saturday 18th July
It’s a niche market, but if anyone can capitalise on it, it’s Prides: they’re throwing down the gauntlet to be arena conquerors. “Well, I don’t know about arenas!” Stewart erupts with laughter. “But we’ve naturally always written songs that we want people to be involved with, and we want people to enjoy live. I think, as soon as we started playing songs live – because it’s such a big thing for us – when we were back in the studio, we were naturally thinking, ‘How are we gonna do this live? How is it gonna come across?’ You start writing parts for the crowd!’ We also love that element of what we do. Maybe not arenas, but we definitely wrote it with the audience in mind! How many of them remains to be seen!”
But at least we’re in the green: ‘The Way Back Up’ is a continuation of form for a band who are already at the top of their game. It boasts enough lofty skyscraper anthems to qualify as a greatest hits, married with the amateur schoolboy charm of a debut. “We produce and record everything ourselves, so it’s not so much that we went into the studio for a couple of months and recorded the whole thing. There’s some songs, like ‘Out of the Blue’, which is one of the first songs that we wrote.”
Either way, at least they have their fans at their side. At any show they play – be it big fishes headlining the BBC Introducing Stage at last year’s Reading & Leeds Festival, or tadpoles playing in the ocean of the Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony – Prides always stand out from the crowd. Which is ironic really, because the crowd are practically recruited into the live show. “We wanted to have a section of a song where everyone could sing along to it – even if they’d never heard it! I really love the fact that people can sing along to our songs, even if they’d never heard it.” Finally, Stewart confesses to their arena-sized ambitions. “Having played live, I guess ‘Messiah’ was the first song we wrote with that in mind.”
“I can’t wait for L atitude.” - Stewart Brock
Either way, despite never having stepped foot in Henham Park for Latitude before, they’re more than qualified to headline Huw Stephens’ Lake Stage. “I cannot wait. I’ve had friends go every year, and they always say I have to go.” Recruiting loyal followers, both across the globe and on Twitter. Prides will be the pied pipers of this summer’s festivals. But even if you’re a die-in-thewool Prides anorak, there’s still so much to be uncovered on ‘The Way Back Up’. “There’s some that we wrote in the last... erm... month!” The newest songs in question are the modestly titled ‘It’s Not Gonna Change’ and ‘Same Mistakes’, which Stewart believes are “definitely pushing the Prides bracket as wide as we can push it with this album.”
But, as the album’s name suggests, this is ‘The Way Back Up’, and there’s no gain without pain. It may eventually translate into arena-ready to tender pop bliss, but before that - as you can only imagine - crafting your debut album takes hours of agonising, fretting, and painstaking perfectionism to make. “Not at all!” Stewart chortles. “It’s been a joy!” “I think...” He pauses. “When we started, I was in a bit of a writing dry patch.” If Prides sound itchingly familiar from somewhere before, it may have been in their former incarnation of pop crooners Midnight Lion. Having signed a deal to Island Records, it all looked promising. “It never really came together, and we didn’t know what to do with it, so we were in the major label black hole, of just artists that were just sitting there. And that’s when we started writing with Callum, and became Prides.” “Once we started Prides, I don’t think we’ve written anything that hasn’t gone on the album. We’ve constantly had to bump songs off - we’re writing better and better tracks. We’ve always had loads of songs, and we’ve always been putting our best foot forward. I mean, hopefully we’ll get through this one,” he chuckles, “and be able to make a second, and when we get to the notorious difficult second album - maybe by the next time I speak to you. I might regret saying this, but the first one was easy!” DIY
HE SHOULD WIN AN
It’s difficult to imagine a festival better suited to Oscar than Latitude. The North Londoner could successfully serenade the multicoloured sheep, if he fancied. Hello Oscar. You’ve been putting songs out online for a while - do you feel like you truly understand that blog world? Not at all. That’s why it’s fun as a challenge. Trying to understand algorithms and patterns, research on why things make an impact on the internet - I guess there’s a lot of R&Binfused electronic stuff that’s super popular. It ticks boxes and it’s sad and sexy. The music I’m making - I don’t think you could call it sad and sexy. Well, maybe. I don’t really understand that world. I don’t think I ever will. What’s the key to happiness? Music and meditating. And scrubbing the kitchen floor, picking up your own dog shit. Keeps you grounded. My dog is the best thing in the world. Never had a brother but that dog is the closest. He looks like a human a lot of the time. When my mum goes out, he’ll sit on the table looking out the first floor window, staring into space and at the cars. He’s very philosophical. I’d love to know what dogs are thinking. Listen: The ‘Beautiful Words’ EP is out now on Wichita. Similar to: Eating ten ice creams a day and not regretting a thing. Oscar plays The Lake Stage on Saturday 18th July.
L at i t u d e
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F O R M AT I O N
Formation write songs about the best parties of your life, the times when nothing mattered and new friendships were formed. With that, they want to soundtrack the next generation of all-out hedonism. They’re achieving this with quickwitted pop songs, stuffed full of cowbell. Hello Formation. What informs the music you’re currently making? Will Ritson: We wanted to make pop songs, but every element would be improvised. Drums, bass, vocals - it would be exactly three minutes long. So it could be really mad, but it’d still have the pop technicality. But we only got as far as bass and drums, and we realised it was really fucking good. So we started making actual music. Listen: New single ‘Hangin’ is out now. Similar to: LCD Soundsystem going clubbing for the first time. Formation play the Lake Stage on Friday 17th July.
r at boy LEADING THE WAY at DIY’S ALCOVE STAGE
Get to know the guy behind what’s fast becoming one of the UK’s most exciting new acts. Hello Rat Boy. When did you start putting together and producing your own songs? It was last February. I was just trying to make stuff on my computer, but not really set to any ideas. I used to pitch up the vocals, because I was embarrassed to hear them. And I don’t know what I’m doing either. Just guessing it. It’s all out of time, too. No metronomes and shit. That makes it harder when you’re trying to put it into the live show. When do you tend to record? 56 diymag.com
It’s non-stop always. Now I’m doing quite a lot of meetings in London, I’m still making music. Same laptop, in my bedroom. It’s all built-in stuff. I’ve got an interface that I put into my guitar, and I made the drums on my computer. I’m gonna keep that rough quality. Do you think about the lyrical side a lot? My next mixtape - I want it to be a story. I’ve got massive ideas, diagrams on the walls, trying to work it out. I’m trying to get my mum to shout at me just so I can record it. I asked her for a tenner the other day - she’s like ‘I ain’t got no fucking money’. I’ve got two hours’ worth of stuff now.
At first glance, Liverpool’s Gulf stem from the same school of smart, tightlyformed alt-pop bands like Outfit, Dutch Uncles and Wild Beasts. More and more however, they’re beginning to sound like their own unique entity. It’s all in the groove for this group. Live, they’re a hugely-assembled, all-enveloping force, getting by to their own beat. Listen: ’Ocean’ is their best track to date. Similar to: Psych music with pop ambition. Gulf play the Lake Stage on Sunday 19th July.
HIGHLIGHTS O N T H E DIY ALCOVE STAGE Get to know these amazing acts before the rest of the world catches up. BABY I CAN SEE YOUR
HAELOS Gloomy, effect-drenched pop has pretty much had its day, but Hælos bring a new spin. The London trio signed to Matador - have a curious, Massive Attack-nodding take, giving hints of hugeness. Their debut EP is a showcase in heady production and tight, straight-to-the-gut songwriting. Listen: Debut EP ‘Earth Not Above’ is out now on Matador. Similar to: Taking blog-pop to church. Haelos play the iArena, Saturday 18th July.
● Clean Cut Kid This Liverpool fourpiece give nods to Haim with their funk-lined debut single ‘Vitamin C’. Worth a daily dose, they make their Latitude debut this year. See them: Friday 17th July In five years’ time they’ll be: Working with Nile Rodgers, surely.
● Bad Breeding These Stevenage punks are angry. Before the Tories won a majority, they were pissed off. Now the politically-charged group are like Hulk with guitars. Vicious, scathing punk with a serious cause. See them: Sunday 19th July In five years’ time they’ll be: Still really fucking angry.
● Real Lies This London trio claim to be cleaning up the capital’s stale band scene. They achieve it by giving nods to New Order with wide eyed, up-til-6am electronic pop. See them: Saturday 18th July In five years’ time they’ll be: Soundtracking every house party going.
● Nao The time is Nao for this London newcomer, who’s worked with everyone from Jai Paul’s brother to hyped-up producer William Arcane. It’s all crazed, future R&B. See her: Friday 17th July In five years’ time she’ll be: A fixture of the charts.
Ben Khan is a studio obsessive, and only now is he breaking out into the live game. Sold out shows have followed his every move, but festivals will be another challenge for a producer who was initially compared to Jai Paul but has since formed his own territory. Hello Ben. Are you someone to obsess over tiny details? It can come quickly, but the thought process behind, there’s depth there. Whether it’s just a simple lick... the thought process might have been ages, but the best stuff comes quick. Listen: New EP ‘1000’ is out now. Similar to: David Lynch with more synths. Ben Khan plays the iArena, Saturday 18th July.
VES SELS The Alcove, Sunday 19th July
Can you remember your first festival? What was it like? My first festival was Monsters of Rock 1994 in Donnington with Pantera, Sepultura and Aerosmith. I was 15, not very big and decided it would be a good idea to go near the front for Sepultura. I almost died, though it didn’t put me off. I think my first experience of camping at a festival was at Glastonbury 1999, it was still possible to climb the fence which meant that although it was considerably cheaper, you were much more likely to have your entire tent stolen! What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you at a festival? Arriving at Glastonbury late-Friday evening in the rain and mud. Walking into the site with all my luggage and arriving in a noisy and busy Dance Village. Trying to find my friends on the other side of the site. Finding them and getting overenthusiastically wasted. Spending the rest of the night mostly face down in the mud. Spending much of the rest of the festival trying to get the mud out of my ears! 57
When I firs t wrote ‘ F e e l s L i k e W e O n ly G o Back wards’ I thought it was a Backs treet Boys song . - Kevin Parker
With new album ‘Currents’, Tame Impala have allowed themselves a greater creative freedom than ever before. Words: El Hunt.
evin Parker’s brain isn’t wired up for taking breaks. Before Tame Impala even put out their breakthrough debut ‘Innerspeaker’, Kevin was already hard at work on the follow-up, and it’s a similar story when it comes to the Australian band’s third record, ‘Currents’. “I guess it started congealing when I finished ‘Lonerism’,” Kevin says. “As soon as I switch my brain off, it starts coming back. It’s just that amount of creativity I need running in my brain.” After several years of living in Paris, Kevin returned to a familiar spot in Western Australia to create ‘Currents’ “the shack-mansion”. “I always find myself wanting to go back there,” he says. “It overlooks this amazing bay, and it’s a ridiculous house. It’s falling apart. I set the drums up on the balcony, actually,” he laughs. If the band’s Instagram is anything to go by, it’s also filled with absolutely gigantic spiders
as well, not that it fazed them. Returning to the place where Tame Impala first recorded ‘Innerspeaker’ made perfect sense. “I didn’t have my own house, I’d come back from Paris, and I didn’t have anywhere to stay, or a recording space,” he explains. “So I thought I’d go back to Wavehouse. I just set up all my stuff from home there.“ Like every Tame Impala album before it, ‘Currents’ charts completely new sonic territory, and is its own distinct entity. While ‘Lonerism’ was clouded, uneasy and isolated, on the follow-up, the haze of humid reverb has lifted. “That feeling that I’m traversing new terrain, or I’m in unknown territory is the most exciting part about making music,” Kevin enthuses. “The idea I’m uncovering some new building, even if it’s just for me.” Kevin readily admits that in the past, he’s restricted himself by refusing to fully embrace his natural inclination towards pop. “I grew up as a grunge rocker,”
he laughs. “so there were always things that, inherently, I thought were kinda naff. If I ever had pop elements in my music, I would consider them guilty pleasures, and I would take the steps to discard them.” His mindset, these days, is completely different. “When I first wrote ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ I thought it was a Backstreet Boys song,” he says, being entirely serious. “I drenched it in reverb and I distorted the drums and made it into this rumbling boulder. I’m proud of it, and I’d never change that, but I guess I realised there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure. Pop music is not a taboo thing.” “Put it this way, when ‘Lonerism’ came out I thought that was a pop album,” he says, laughing. “I was convinced, I thought it was pop with a psychedelic pinch to it. I guess I have the same sentiment with this album.” “Every melody I’ve ever written is a pop melody,” he goes on. “For me, pop is a flavour that
With Kevin’s pop epiphany came a whole new realm of possibilities. The result is clearest in songs like the strutting, Hall & Oatesy ‘Reality in Motion’ and ‘Less I Know the Better’ - a track which he dubbed “dorky, white disco funk” earlier this year. Previously, they wouldn’t have made it anywhere near Tame Impala, and probably would’ve wound up in Kevin’s funk band AAA Aardvark Getdown Services, or his glam-rock side project
about loving solitude,” says Kevin, looking back on Tame Impala’s second record. “For me it was about trying to connect with people and go out into the world, and being rejected all the time. This album,” he continues, “is about someone that is now able to join the rest of the world and be a part of things. Someone who wants to evolve as a person.” While the band’s previous albums were heaped high with unanswered questions, ‘Currents’ is Tame Impala’s most self-assured record yet. On ‘Eventually,’ Kevin sings the distinctly confident line “I know just what I’ve got to do, and it’s got to be soon, cause I know that I’ll be happier”.
you can bring in and out of a song, it’s like an ingredient. If you’re a chef, you sprinkle in a bit. In the last few years, being in the music game,” he says wryly, “it makes you realise those ‘rules’ are boundaries.”
Does it get easier? God no. ‘No’ in capital s. -
Kevin Spacey. This time round, though, anything went. “I was a lot more open minded,” he says. “On previous albums I’ve been interested in making old albums sound new, or trying to redirect new elements into the old. This time I felt that might be restricting my arsenal. I bought one of those giant workstation synthesisers, you know, like a Justin Timberlake-type artist, just to see what would happen,” he says, pausing. “I thought, fuck it.” Strong narratives and themes soon started to emerge as ‘Currents’, gradually fused together, with realisation, acceptance and connection tellingly cropping up at every turn. “I think people thought ‘Lonerism’ was
Down to the last melody, the entire record is bright, vibrant, and clear. “‘Currents’ is about someone realising that there’s a current within them to become someone else,” he concludes, “and they have no choice but to be the person within them.“ The album artwork - a diagram of vortex shedding - Kevin explains, is how he sees the lifeblood of ‘Currents’ visually. “It shows an object moving through fluid, or the air, kind of like an aeroplane wing, showing the direction of the air around it,” he clarifies, doing fairly well at giving a scientific explanation even though it’s still “early in the morning.” “The air in front is all flat, and calm, and straight,” he says, “and then when the object moves through, it disrupts the
air, and rips it apart and leaves this train of mangled flow lines. I love that idea. It describes the album really well, because I think it disrupts the air around it as you move through it.” Besides working on ‘Currents’, Kevin Parker has collaborated with Mark Ronson on his recent album ‘Uptown Special’. He appears on three songs one of which, ‘Daffodils’, was originally written for his own AAA Aardvark Getdown Services. “Mark’s an inspiring guy,” says Kevin. “I definitely learnt some lessons from being around
him when he was making [‘Uptown Special’]. If nothing else, how openminded he is about how a song can come together. I always thought a song has to be conceived from deep inside you, but for him an idea can come from anywhere - the engineer can come up with the whole thing.” Despite having three albums under his belt now with Tame Impala, every album is a totally different challenge for Kevin Parker, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. “Does it get easier?”
he asks. “No! God no. ‘No’ in capitals. This one for whatever reason drove me craziest, which is something I told myself last time that I definitely wouldn’t do. For me, making an album is such an intensive process, and it takes everything out of me. By the time I’m finished with it, as long as it’s good, and it accomplishes what I had in mind, I have that feeling where i don’t need to redo it. It’s like when you play a video game and you get to the end,” he laughs. “There’s not much drive to play it again.”
“Finishing ‘Lonerism’, I said to myself, right, next time I make an album, I’m going to keep it simple,” he says, evidently amused. “I guess I was kidding myself anyway. Making music, the whole point is being completely confused by it. It’s a ridiculous idea to think I can stay on the surface, I have to go a bit crazy. The confusion is the best part.” Tame Impala’s new album ‘Currents’ will be released on 17th July via Fiction. DIY
“I just wanna keep going forwards, even if i t ’ s o n ly a t i n y s t e p.” Lucy Rose
Get In The Van
From a corrugated iron hut in Salt Lake City, to being back in her bedroom, Lucy Rose’s new album has seen her embark upon all sorts of adventures. Words: Sarah Jamieson. Photo: Emma Swann
fter the release of her first full-length - and following appearances on not one but two Bombay Bicycle Club records - Lucy Rose soon found herself touring the world. Unsurprisingly, getting to travel so far away from the bedroom where she had written those first songs had a lasting effect. “I think I’ve always enjoyed the road part of making music, the playing the actual songs,” she says, three years after the release of ‘Like I Used To’. “Maybe that’s why it’s taken me so long to put out another record. I was just so desperate to heavily tour the last one as much as possible.” Listening to the stories of the young, now London-based musician, it’s not difficult to see the appeal. “A lot of the time on the road, I was feeling super inspired,” she admits, between sips from a cup of tea. “It was the first time ever that I was doing what I’ve dreamed of, travelling, playing gigs and meeting people. I was getting calls to go play in Singapore or Manila or Kuala Lumpur and I was just like, ‘Let’s just do all of these things!’ “I think a big part of this record is meeting people on the road. There are just moments that stick out, like in Salt Lake City, we played in this sort of corrugated iron hut. There were maybe only fifty people there but afterwards, I said, ‘I’ve got some merch, I’ll be at the van’ because there was nowhere to sell merch in that corrugated iron box. I remember I was outside,” she reminisces, “and everybody that had come to the gig, all fifty people, were all outside chatting about the record. There were people even who’d talk to me a bit more deeply about what the record actually meant to them and then I’d feel so lucky. First you’re playing but then you’re actually meeting people who are coming to gigs to talk about [the album] and I found that all very inspiring for writing. I guess it was a confidence I had never had before, with the first record. It was an acceptance that some people are going to like what I’m doing and it helped me a lot.” Her second effort ‘Work It Out’ therefore primarily came to life in the back of Rose’s van. After grappling with technology, and setting her acoustic guitar aside - “I’d drive my band mad if I was trying to play an acoustic guitar in the van for ten hours straight!” - she soon found
there was more room for musical experimentation than she had perhaps anticipated. Take lead single ‘Our Eyes’ with its almost tropical-feeling synths, or the layered introduction of ‘Cover Up’, which sees Rose stepping into completely new territory. “I wish I could say that it was a conscious decision to go in this direction and do this,” she admits, “but it just kinda happened. A lot of the songs are a bit different on the album because they were just written as random times over the last three years. Some songs have just turned out the way they have, but each song was treated individually. “I think a lot of it is down to what I was writing on that’s given that feel. When we were touring so much in America, there are a few songs on there which had been written on an iPad, on a BeatMaker, so they’re very much beat-driven and bass-driven instead of so much acoustic guitar. There’s that side of the album, which has that part of it, but then when I came home and the album wasn’t finished. I had all of this material that I’d been writing on the road, so it was important to also have ‘Lucy back at home’ writing. That’s when I wrote songs like ‘Like An Arrow’, when I was back at home with an acoustic guitar and it wasn’t so restricted.” More than anything, progression was one of the pillars upon which her new album was built. Whether that meant taking her extensive touring experiences and transforming them into songs, or simply locking herself back in her bedroom to indulge her senses, the album became all about the balance. “I wanted to have light and shade in this album,” she confirms. “I didn’t want the whole thing to be written on the road or the whole thing at home. I did just want it to have variety. As long as it feels like something different and a progression, as though I’m not going backwards from my last album, that’s all I want as an artist. I just wanna keep going forwards, even if it’s only a tiny step. Even if this album only sells one more record than the last one, then I’d feel happy.” Lucy Rose’s new album ‘Work It Out’ will be released on 6th July via Columbia Records. DIY Lucy Rose will play Kendal Calling. See diymag.com for details.
A $ A P R o c k y / B e s t F r i e n d s / B l e a c h e r s / B u l ly / C h r i s t o p h e r O w e n s / C r e e p o i d / D e s a p a r e c i d o s M e g B a i r d / M S M R / M u s e / P r i d e s / P r i m av e r a S o u n d / R e f u s e d / S a i n t R ay m o n d / S l a m D u n k /
WOLF ALICE My Love Is Cool
The debut album that felt like it would
or a band, as in life, it can take a while to find comfort in your own skin. Nobody comes fully formed, most remain perpetual cookie dough. Years of experimentation, mistakes, missteps and false dawns can pass before finally finding a real identity; one that not just the fans, but the band themselves truly believe in. It’s not something that’s often crystallised by the time debut albums come along. The biggest acts around may have been wildly successful with their early steps, but it’s only much later they firmly cement that style. Most never get there at all. And then there’s Wolf Alice.
Remember the first time you heard ‘Bros’? Tugging the heartstrings without ever being mawkish, even on its hundredth listen it sounded magical. And yet this was still early days for them. If there was ever one marker for what this band could be, that was it. But even in the face of something so remarkable, the London four-piece have been deliberate in their lack of haste. Playing chicken with the hype train, they’ve taken their time - each step a perfect move down a path to something special. From the initial explosion of opening statement ‘Fluffy’ to the ‘how do you leave that off an album’ brilliance of ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’, nobody would have blamed them if they’d simply collected their recent past glories together and called it a full-length. It would still have stood out. They’d still have been huge. The fact they didn’t is exactly why this is no normal band.
/ D u c k ta i l s / E z r a F u r m a n / F i e l d D ay / L A P r i e s t / L e o n B r i d g e s / L i t t l e B o o t s / L u c y R o s e / S o n L u x / S o u n d C i t y / Ta m e I m pa l a / T h e G r e at E s c a p e / W o l f A l i c e / Y e a r s & Y e a r s
never come is here, and boy, was it worth the wait. From winding, bewitching opener ‘Turn To Dust’ onwards, where other bands would turn right, Wolf Alice go left. Ellie Rowsell’s vocal cuts like diamond, not glass, opting for ethereal swirls, not basic verse / chorus / verse mundanity. No haste, no bombast, just a quiet, sure confidence. It’s no gamble. ’Bros’, retooled to fit the flow of the record, is soon on the scene. From there on in, there’s no doubt. ‘My Love Is Cool’ isn’t simply a great debut. It’s not just a great album full stop. It’s, in no uncertain terms, a remarkable one. The furthest from route one they could ever get, Wolf Alice aren’t just sure of who they are; they own it. There’s no one simple trick to what they’re doing here. The atmospheric early moments of ‘Silk’ sit next to the earworm of ‘Freazy’. ‘Giant Peach’ and its heavy rock riff off leads into ‘Swallowtail’ - a Joel Amey lead vocal that sparkles and lilts before ending in a wave of fuzz and noise. ‘Soapy Water’ may be approaching sparse electro-pop, but it still doesn’t jar when bookended against the raw force of ‘Fluffy’, still able to punch through the fog as well as it ever did. For most, it would seem like too many ideas, but for the perpetual buzz band
who always seemed to have a sparkle in their eyes, it makes perfect sense. Each one is threaded with their unique DNA. Every one is definitively Wolf Alice, instantly recognisable from the first note to the last. It’s the personality that makes them great. That’s Wolf Alice’s special power in one word. Personality. This is no last gang in town, more leaders of the pack. Each member has their own identity, but together they work in perfect harmony, like cogs in an organic machine. Not cold, not metallic, but real - feeling their environment and pitching perfectly. The exciting part: ‘My Love Is Cool’ isn’t just their calling card. It isn’t just the best debut album in years. It’s the flag waving spearhead for a whole wave of young British bands. Not that they ever applied for the job, but when you’ve got it, you’ve got it. Bands like Wolf Alice come along once in a generation. After years of the slow build, the release is here. Believe the hype. (Stephen Ackroyd) Listen: All of them. Every track. Seriously. Wolf Alice will play Latitude. See diymag.com for details.
Lighting a spark on pop Years & Years.
A bright-eyed, bushytailed joy of a debut. eeee YEARS & YEARS
Since heading up DIY’s Class Of as fresh-faced cover stars at the beginning of 2015, Years & Years’ light-speed rise has been stratospheric. From early single ‘Real’ - which the band released on early-adopting French label Kitsuné - to their major label debut ‘Take Shelter,’ and breakout radio hit ‘Desire,’ it’s all chronicled on ‘Communion,’ a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed joy of a debut album. ‘Communion’ finds togetherness and unity in its dancefloor euphoria, but Olly Alexander is frequently torn-up, pained, and lonely instead. It takes an incredibly deft touch to steer around cliche, and make the popular lyrical fodder of heartbreak sound all shiny and fresh, but hitting like a teary end of night snuggle, or an strobe-drenched night of putting hurt to one side, ‘Communion’ has nailed it. Broaching love, lust, power-dynamics, jealousy, and heartbreak along the way, Years & Years bring that all important human touch to their massive pop anthems. (El Hunt) Listen: ‘Without’
eee LEON BRIDGES
Coming Home (Columbia)
‘Coming Home’ starts with a smoky aesthetic and a sense of longing, and it doesn’t shift one jot. There’s a sense of cohesion, but only because each of Leon Bridges’ songs are about falling in love, doing anything to get the girl. “I’ll swim the Mississippi river,” he promises on ‘Better Man’. On ‘Smooth Sailin’, he wants his special someone to “let me be your passenger.” And on ‘Twistin And Groovin’, he’ll be catching the first train “to Louisiana in the morning,” in pursuit of his true love. Choking on desire, this obsessive sense of commitment is no doubt part of the debut’s charm, but it does grow old very quickly. That’s a dampener on what’s otherwise a glistening, gorgeously-constructed record. Bridges voice isn’t one-of-akind, but it’s enough to stop anyone in their tracks. If he opts to take more risks next time round, we’ll have a unique talent on our hands. (Jamie Milton) Listen: ‘Better Man’ 66 diymag.com
eee LA PRIEST Inji (domino)
Give Sam Dust a time machine and he’d always head towards the future. As a teen, he was making provocative and berserk pop music with Late of the Pier. With the project since disbanded, Dust’s attention has turned to discovering the unknown. Spanning five years and several countries, debut LA Priest album ‘Inji’ is the product of his own weird-pop fascinations: the sound of Dust finding his own identity. And to achieve this, he tries just about anything and everything that crosses his path. Still, it’s in the straight-up funk pop of ‘Lady’s In Trouble With The Law’ and the ballistic ‘Oino’ that things fall into place. Direct and prone to showing off (like in the latter’s Prince-nodding solo), this is a pop artist finding his feet, not some musical scientist solving an impossible puzzle. The sooner LA Priest realises its future-pop intentions, the more effective that time machine will prove. (Jamie Milton) Listen: ‘Oino’
CHRISTOPHER OWENS Chrissybaby Forever (SelfReleased)
My God – it’s almost like hearing Girls again. ‘Heroine (Got Nothing On You)’ recalls the finger-clicking brand of doowop and surf guitar that made the band fab, while ‘Waste Away’ re-discovers the vintage tone with enough reverb to take out a small herd of cows. There’s a real sense of optimism and summer to Christopher Owens’ new solo record – ‘Out of Bed’ oozes with sunny charm with its tape-recording and birdsong samples – while the stingy running time of ‘Lysandre’ has been usurped for a gorgeously generous trove of sixteen tracks. The greatest track, though, is the opener – ‘Another Loser Fuck Up’ – an incredibly poignant return to form. A re-discovering of what made Owens’ music so great in the first place. (Kyle MacNeill) Listen: ‘Another Loser Fuck Up’
Sweeping, colourful indie-pop.
St Catherine (Domino)
By now, we can agree that Matt Mondanile deals in bliss. As well as playing in Real Estate, his Ducktails project goes from strength-to-strength, enjoying the fruits of touring with Big Troubles as a backing band and releasing a slew of records since 2006. ‘St. Catherine’ is unlikely to shock any fans, as Mondanile turned Ducktails from a disparate sonic landscape into a sweeping, colourful indie-pop outfit a while back. Instead, the LP just illustrates his propensity to write beautiful music. The remarkable ‘Heaven’s Room’ showcases the luxuries Ducktails can now afford; a transcendent string arrangement builds on big, chorus-y guitars and pitter-patter ride cymbals. ‘St. Catherine’ is a quasi-nostalgic LP that’s sonically soothing, while exhibiting finely-woven musical textures. It’s clever, without being intimidating or pretentious. (Euan L Davidson) Listen: ‘Heaven’s Room’
Strange Desire (Columbia)
Having collaborated with everyone from Lorde, to Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti on joint project Sisyphus, ‘Bones’ sees Son Lux stepping back to centre-stage, stamping his own voice on every square foot of post-rock concrete. Drawing on last record ‘Lantern’s frayed threads of invention, Ryan Lott truly hits his stride on the uneasy ‘You Don’t Know Me,’ and the haunting, “heavy cage of bones” of ‘Flight’. This is a haunting, arresting record, and most importantly, it’s thoroughly unique. (El Hunt) Listen: ‘Flight’
Spanning from preppy college rock to weirdo electronica, Bleachers is Jack Antonoff with the shackles off. Where fun. were bombastic, Bleachers is explosive, where they were theatrical, this is stripped bare. ‘Strange Desire’ may be Antonoff defining himself on his own terms, or it may just be yet another perfectly poised step on his ladder to the top, but with earworms as addictive as ‘Rollercoaster’, frankly, who gives a damn. (Sarah Jamieson) Listen: ‘Rollercoaster’
Against The Grain
Desaparecidos guitarist Denver Dalley discusses the band’s new album. Words: Tom Doyle.
he simplicity with which Desaparecidos guitarist Denver Dalley explains why they haven’t made an album for 13 years almost makes you feel silly for asking - or it would if his Nebraskan lilt wasn’t such a calming joy to behold…
on the head.” It was an against-the-tide swim which made total sense for a band whose MO is to constantly push against received knowledge with no small amount of political savvy.
“If you look at it, America was founded by people who did anything and everything “We did a ‘comeback’ show back in 2010 they could to progress and get the best though and from there people’s schedules possible thing for themselves,” offers just managed to align,” he continues, Dalley. “They cheated the natives out of amiably. “And you know what, it really the land to get what they could. That’s still feels like we’ve picked up where we left off. a very American business model - Andy We’re old friends who really did grow up Warhol talked about 15 minutes of fame together so it’s maybe simpler for us to get but these days it feels like 15 seconds of back into the swing of things than it might fame with everyone just wanting to go viral be for some other with no concern for bands.” how or why. That’s not what we are about as “Ultimately, we’ve Those childhood a band.” always done things friends, who most famously include What Desaparacidos on our own terms Bright Eyes’ Conor are and have always and as soon as it Oberst in their been about though is became laboured or casting an unflinching number have been much-missed in the forced we walked eye on the things that interim. 2002’s ‘Read ail modern society, a away…” Music/Speak Spanish’ trend that persists on resonated across indie, their ironically titled punk rock and emo but viscerally acerbic scenes and became, for want of a better new full length ‘Payola’. “We come from phrase, a touchstone record for Oberst a country where we have the freedom to obsessives who enjoyed seeing him in full criticise the things around us which are howl-at-the-moon mode. From there, as perhaps not as we feel they should be,” Dalley will tell you, things got pretty hectic. grins Dalley. “Lots of the things we were talking about when we did the first album “We were getting all these tour offers and are still absolutely relevant now. In fact, I MTV even sent a crew round to do a ‘You would say it feels as though a lot of that Hear It First’ thing about us, which was stuff is almost more relevant now than it mad. But we didn’t feel right about it which has ever been. It’s almost a fluke that we’re is why I had no qualms with knocking it still relevant, I suppose.” DIY
eeee DESAPARECIDOS Payola (Epitaph)
‘Payola’ is a full-length that punches with one hand and offers help with the other. It shapes noise, aggression and disillusionment – of which, lyrically, there’s plenty – and gives it a platform, a chance to be heard. Granted, there are recognisable offerings – the Sheriff Joe Arpaio-inspired ‘MariKKKopa’ was one of four tracks Desaparecidos released on EPs within the past three years – but their familiarity doesn’t dull their bite. The music itself is gut-wrenchingly satisfying; guttural guitars and pounding drums punctuate most of the songs while Conor Oberst’s raw screamed vocals transform him into the perfect carnage-provoking ring leader. Yet, even within the chaos, there are shimmers of light. While Desaparecidos are unrelentingly boisterous, they somehow manage to make it feel completely joyous. This is an album designed to move people, and ‘Payola’ manages to do so in so very many ways. (Sarah Jamieson) Listen: ‘The Left Is Right’
As potent as ever. eee LITTLE BOOTS eeee REFUSED
From the first moments of opener ‘Elektra’, ‘Freedom’ is spine-tinglingly good; but it’s in the screamed sentiments of Dennis Lyxzén – “Nothing has changed!” - that really hit home. While Refused might have technically been out of this game for the better part of two decades, they don’t fall short. From the jarring metallic stabs of guitars on ‘Old Friends / New War’ and the under-your-skin chanting of ‘Francafrique’ to the stomachturning drop in the middle of ‘Thought Is Blood’, here are a band still as potent as ever. Persuasive, pummelling, precise, Refused set the agenda with ‘The Shape Of Punk To Come’, and here they’re proving that they can still translate the blueprints. This may be their biggest gamble yet, but they’ve got a winning hand: Refused are no longer fucking dead. (Sarah Jamieson) Listen: ‘Thought Is Blood’
Working Girl (On Repeat)
It’s all too easy to get swept up in the dream-laced pop of Little Boots’ third album. From the hypnotic bop of the title track through the sky-baiting sway of ‘Help To’ until the skipping animation of ‘Better In The Morning’, ‘Working Girl’ is full of effortless, glittering dance. However, as Victoria Hesketh’s aerial vocals on ‘Real Girl’ pull away from the sonic shimmy, “I didn’t promise I’d be perfect, I didn’t promise I would play the game,” the realisations hit like a wave. Little Boots is standing up to the game afoot with a powerful sense of self. There’s something about this evolution that just works. (Ali Shutler) Listen: ‘Paradise’
eeee EZRA FURMAN Perpetual Motion People (Bella Union)
There’s a feeling throughout ‘Perpetual Motion People’ that Ezra Furman is ‘in the moment’ – and that he knows it. There’s a ramshackle magical confidence that tumbles throughout all the songs, a sense that Furman has created his own unique, captivating world. If there’s any justice, this could be the moment Furman becomes a star, spilling out his thoughts about depression, love and his faith. It’s this glorious cocktail that makes him such a rare, unusual and alluring talent. This is a messy, disorderly but beautifully blissful and idiosyncratic record. (Danny Wright) Listen: ‘Tip of a Match’
The start of something bigger.
Q&A Bully’s Alicia, Reece and Stewart fill us in on the recording of their debut album. It’s exciting to have the album here so quickly. Was it created in the same sessions as your EPs? Alicia: We did it in November, around that time, at a studio in Chicago. Some of the old songs that we kept on it - they’re all re-recorded and reworked. I booked like twenty-one days there. We did full band tracking, then they went home while I did vocals. We took a break and had it all, listened to it, and I went back before Christmas and re-mixed two things on it. After Christmas, everything kind of shut down. That EP was done at Battle Tapes in Nashville. Did the initial response to the EP spur you on to put together the LP quickly? Alicia: I think for us, it feels like it hasn’t been very quick. We’ve really taken our time with everything. We were always going to make the album, whether or not we’d sign the contract. It doesn’t feel super quick to us. Reece: I think it might look super quick, though. The record label put out that EP in October. And there’s a record in June, now. It was by no means that fast. Alicia: But either way, because that did well didn’t strike us to make a record. We would have done that either way. Stewart: There was something about Startime and something we really liked about them as a label. We met with other labels and had these conversations where it was like ‘Yeah great, we’ll get another single, work it with another EP’. Whereas Startime - they were just like ‘Guys, go make the fucking record. Let’s do it. Let’s put it out’. And that was exciting to us. Alicia knew she had a record. Sometimes they’ll just want to product test you. But Isaac was much more like ‘Fucking make a record’. 70 diymag.com
BULLY Feels Like (Sony)
Honesty. It’s not something every band places high on the agenda when it comes to songwriting. That’s not the case with Bully, though. On opener ‘I Remember’, Alicia Bognanno’s lyrics don’t back off telling it like it is - and not in a mean way either. It’s great. It’s just one of the traits that make the Nashville four-piece something different. Direct, scuzzy, catchy gems litter ‘Feels Like’. From ‘Trying’, with its hundred mile high chorus, to the runaway train of ‘Reason’, every one marks it out as a debut album of note. The kind of record that marks more than just a first full-length release; the start of something bigger. Bully don’t feel like just another band. Bully make you believe, without ever trying. (Stephen Ackroyd) Listen: ‘Trying’
A brilliantly fun pop album. eeee
LUCY ROSE Work It Out (Columbia)
While Lucy Rose’s debut showcased her ability as a potential-filled songwriter, it’s on Rose’s second record that she truly steps out and forges ahead with something quietly inventive, and, to be frank, far bolder. Lucy Rose has openly admitted that radio favourite ‘Our Eyes’ in particular took her outside of her comfort zone, but really, the sparse basslines, and unpredictable melodies she’s carved out fit her writing like a memory-foam mattress. ‘Till The End’, swerves off into new territory, too, and Rose’s voice unexpectedly finds its context in big, bolshy beats. Consistently, across the whole of ‘Work It Out’, Lucy Rose is pushing herself, exploring new sonic possibilities, and experimenting with influences well outside of her folky roots. The pay-off? She’s stepped out on the trail alone, left her tag-line of ‘Bombay Bicycle Club backing singer’ well behind, and she’s written a brilliantly fun pop record in the process. (El Hunt) Listen: ‘Till the End’
MS MR How Does It Feel (RCA)
Something that gradually becomes clear across ‘How Does It Feel’ is that this is an album of uncertainty, from the voyeuristic rhetoric of the album title to Lizzy Plapinger’s “what did you think would happen?” (‘Painted’) and “should I even stay?” (‘Tripolar’). Sadly the pair’s new output is diluted with the more recognisable trappings of their last few years in service; even the title track falls somewhat short, with hits of “how does it feel?” never quite reaching their heady destination. (Charlie Mock) Listen: ‘Painted’
Don’t Weigh Down The Light (Wichita)
‘Don’t Weigh Down...’ is a beautifully emotive listen, steeped in convention whilst eliciting a heavily relatable and contemporary narrative and tone. Meg Baird’s ability as a musician can only be matched by her enveloping songwriting that, thankfully, is something that comes handin-hand. A record that you know deserves to be heard, yet want to keep all to yourself. (Ross Jones) Listen: ‘Past Houses’
Recommended from the past few months
eeee Blur - The Magic Whip “Their magic remains as strong as ever.” (Stephen Ackroyd)
eeee Brandon Flowers - The Desired Effect “Brandon is still the star of this show.” (Sarah Jamieson)
Everything Everything - Get To Heaven “Everything Everything have sculpted a masterpiece.” (Andrew Backhouse)
The Way Back Up
While ‘The Way Back Up’ offers all of the highlights from Prides so far - including the likes of bubbly opener ‘I Should Know Better’ and the reflective ‘Let It Go’ - somehow the fulllength doesn’t quite reach the tremendous heights that first feel possible. The warm synths and giant choruses of the opening tracks get the album off to a shimmying start, but things soon feel to take a more mid-paced turn. Still, if Prides have achieved anything with ‘The Way Back Up’, it’s being unafraid of experimentation. That’s the beauty of a debut record, after all; it opens up a band’s strengths and teaches how to play to them, and that’s an invaluable lesson for any band. (Sarah Jamieson) Listen: ‘Let It Go’
eeee TAME IMPALA Currents (Fiction)
Every record Kevin Parker releases has its own distinct voice and personality. ‘Currents’ - his third Tame Impala album - continues that trend with aplomb. While ‘Lonerism’ was uneasy and alienated, hiding its pop chops behind misty shower curtains of humid reverb, ‘Currents’ dives off into bold and optimistic new waters. The experimentalism is still everywhere - there’s a 7 minute glamopera-epic, ‘Let It Happen,’ for goodness sake - but instead of fighting the sensibility that fueled songs like ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ on previous albums, Parker seems to have finally accepted his pop core. It doesn’t so much improve Tame Impala’s sound as it steers the tension in new directions. The giddying, rampaging brick walls of distortion have shrunk to picket-fences on ‘Currents,’ and in stark contrast to ‘Lonerism’ and ‘Innerspeaker,’ Tame Impala’s third album is their first that looks outwards. Kevin Parker has already proved he can ace introspective psychedelia - with ‘Currents’ he’s hopeful and acceptant instead. It might not hit with the sit-up-and-listen immediacy of previous albums, but make no mistake, ‘Currents’ is just as accomplished. (El Hunt) Listen: ‘Let It Happen’
eeee BEST FRIENDS Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane. (FatCat)
Best Friends have long perfected the art of creating music that makes a crowd bop until they’re bruised. Since they first formed, their garage punk has become a staple of the UK DIY scene. With an astute sense of mischief and a knack for snazzy hooks, their debut offering is as endearing as they come. Consisting of songs about everything from video game marathons to drinking toxic waste, ‘Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane.’ is a snapshot in time. “It’s crazy but I’m having the time of my life,” they chime on ‘Dr Mario’ – with such enthusiasm, it won’t take long for that to become widespread. (Jessica Goodman) Listen: ‘If You Think Too Much Your Brain Will Fall Out’
Bold and optimistic new waters.
eee A$AP ROCKY At.Long.Last. A$AP (RCA)
How do you solve a problem like Muse? To many, there’s nothing wrong in the first place. Hundred storey riffs, dramaticised posturing; that’s exactly what they want from the Teignmouth trio, right? But there’s an elephant in the room. At some point over the past decade Matt Bellamy’s penchant for the political went into overdrive. And so we find ourselves here, with ‘Drones’. A concept album about.... yeah. You guessed it. Drones. On the surface, Muse do what Muse do best. Operatic, aggressive, often vicious, occasionally poignant - musically their Marmite is as strong as ever. Those that are fans can add marks, those who aren’t, never will be. But the lyrics. Oh, the lyrics. “Your ass belongs to me now,” Bellamy wails on ‘Psycho’. And it’s not alone. Kill, drones, kill, death, drones. The stench of the conspiracy nut reigns supreme. This isn’t comment, but caricature - a cartoonish politics. On ‘Drones’, that’s what Muse have become; a hyper-realised version of themselves. For a band who divide so strongly, that’s not always a good thing. (Stephen Ackroyd) Listen: ‘Reapers’
First thing’s first - ‘Better Things’. Hours after its early release, ‘A.L.L.A’’s big talking point was a verse on this track, where A$AP boasts about a relationship he had with Rita Ora, and not in the most subtle of terms. There’s honesty - the likes of which he deals out on the regular throughout this record - and then there’s the kind of nasty “bitch”-hating delivery that doesn’t have a place anywhere in 2015. It’s hard to look beyond misgivings of this ilk on ‘A.L.L.A’, but the rest of the record stands up as a truthful, dayby-day account of A$AP’s journey from homeless kid to multi-millionaire. He’s a man of serious contradictions. (Jamie Milton) Listen: ‘L$D’
Cemetery Highrise Slum
With Creepoid, there is a sense that all roads have led to ‘Cemetery Highrise Slum’. Leaving aside the fact that the record represents a shift in circumstances for the Philadelphia quartet - it’s their first as a full-time band - it is a fine encapsulation of their alluring, unsettling blend of melody and misanthropy. Disorienting and satisfying in equal measure. (Huw Baines) Listen: ‘Worthless and Pure’
Young Blood (Asylum)
Kill, drones, kill, death, drones.
At just 20 years old, Callum Burrows aka Saint Raymond is already making waves. The challenge he faces however is a difficult one. Up until now, Saint Raymond has relied on his ability to churn out feel-good summery anthems with ease, his euphoric montage-ready singles resulting in heavy airtime and endless festival slots. Now he needs to deliver an album that stands up in more than just three and a half minute cuts but as a full-length record as a whole. Sandly, the result is a mixed bag that comes alive only through its singles. (Henry Boon) Listen: ‘Wild Heart’
FIELD DAY victoria park, London Photos: emma swann
live i fka twigs
El-P tries to order mac & cheese via the crowd.
run the jewels
t takes minutes for Field Day to transform Victoria Park from peaceful haven to people-filled madness. Between a packedout tent for Tei Shi and Owen Pallett’s celebratory set on Saturday afternoon, there are human pyramids and sack races. Enigmatic producer SOPHIE ups the ante with visuals, while Shura has her tent under swimmy hypnosis. Here, it might take some convincing as Rat Boy’s jagged, trigger-happy indie rolls in, but the likes of ‘Carry On’ and ‘Sign
On’ are instant charmers. Some bands take months to win over a small pack. Rat Boy has this immediate appeal, one that can’t be underestimated. Nothing can get close to Run The Jewels when they’re on form, though, and it’s only for a split-second that they even threaten to stumble. Every show they play is like a victory lap. They absorb each moment like it might be their last. But there’s limitless stamina to the project, which is rocketing by at an unstoppable speed. For the past year, FKA twigs has been refining her live show to the point where she’s now able to put on one-off spectacles, where the emphasis is on performance, not just the music. It’s more dangerous ground in festivals, where the resident East Londoner doesn’t have everything in her control. And control is the be-all-and-end-all of twigs, from her commanding ‘LP1’ to the meticulously crafted imagery. Closing out the Saturday, tonight she faces one of her sternest tests in both living up to a big billing and achieving her own finely-tuned goals. What follows is an exercise in restraint and otherworldly force. Under a blaze of strobing lights, and red smoky washes, Caribou’s Dan Snaith is a slick operator guiding his live band - and he hits a rare electronic sweet spot in the process. As golden sunray lights beam out of the stage, and an epic ‘Sun’ closes, it’s a euphoric end to the first day of Field Day. “Hi, we’re called DIIV, we’re from New York City,” drawls Zachary Cole Smith for approximately the seventh time between songs in his band’s effortlessly heady main stage set on Sunday afternoon. Mac DeMarco’s turn
isn’t so smooth, beleaguered by tech issues, but his shows are actually better when stuff goes wrong - all impromptu covers and between-song quips. Sticking resolutely to material from his first three releases - when things go well, Mac and his pack are on fire. When things go terribly, they’re just as enamouring. They can’t lose, really. “You are all my Hyde Park”, beams Patti Smith, as she and band work their way triumphantly through ‘Horses’. She’s a legend, a pioneer, and the punk poet laureate, and today feels like yet another landmark moment in her phenomenal artistic life. Meanwhile, Savages have already claimed a “beast of a record” is in the works. Tonight’s set suggests that’s an understatement. Bigger, braver, bolshier - if the fourpiece seemed assured and exciting first time round, just wait for the next step. Jehnny Beth fronts everything with more confidence than ever, crowdsurfing and holding a packed-out tent in her palms. Sunday is the unofficial day of returns, and Ride kick off underneath a gold and purple haze of lights with ‘Leave Them All Behind,’ the opener from 92’s ‘Going Blank Again’. Until this year, the shoegaze-staples had only toyed with the odd acoustic appearance, and a proper reformation was not an option. This summer, though, they’re playing together as a full band for the first time in twenty years. No biggy, then. It’s towards the tail end of the set during ‘Vapour Trails’ that the band really hit on magic. That unmistakably baggy drum beat, and those washy, quivering guitar lines sound absolutely massive blaring out into the night in potent combination. (El Hunt, Jamie Milton)
spotted at the festivals WHO’S that coming over the Dock?! Is it a Crouchy, is it a Crouchy?! Which Stoke footballer wasn’t too difficult to see at Sound City when he paid a sneaky visit to check out Fucked Up. mac demarco
WHO managed to find his way onstage during Mac DeMarco’s brilliant set at Field Day, by pretending to be one of his family members? Honestly, we’re not all that convinced that it was an act of kindness...
WHICH quarter of a multi-gazillion selling boyband found himself in the midst of the crowd during The Black Keys’ set at this year’s Primavera? Here’s a clue: it wasn’t necessarily the one you’d expect. WHICH brilliant pop star was spotted having a rather lovely time under the clear blue sky at this year’s Field Day? Seems as though night time isn’t her only time.
Bramley-Moore Dock, liverpool . Photos: emma swann & sarah louise bennett
he formula’s been switched for Sound City 2015. A tradition of cramming as many great new bands as possible into Liverpool’s countless venues has been dropped in favour of something more out-of-theordinary. The city’s historic BramleyMoore Dock has been transformed. An early evening slot on Thursday doesn’t prevent Yak from pulverising their instruments. Everything Everything later offer up a potent display; the Manchester group are all about performance and showmanship, providing the perfect introduction to their brilliant new album. It’s hard to imagine a better environment for Swans than a bleak, unforgiving warehouse. There’s nowhere to hide quietly in the DIY Baltic stage. “Liverpool!” bellows The Vaccines’ Justin Young in introduction for their Friday headline set. Whether during their bombastic opener ‘Teenage Icon’ or the cool-oozing sway of ‘Dream Lover’, it’s no real wonder that they’ve grown so much over the past five years. By the time Unknown Mortal Orchestra take to the Baltic Stage, they’re greeted with an incredibly busy
and baying warehouse. It’s all elaborate jazz notes and thrashing. Fucked Up arrive in stark contrast, and Damian Abraham is as formidable as ever, clutching at his head, swinging his mic in dangerously wide circles.
On Sunday, Honeyblood treat us to a couple of brand new songs. There’s the snarling, pounding ‘Love Is A Disease,’ as well as ‘Babes Never Die’. The pair’s live show is fast growing into a furiously fine-tuned powerhouse. Gengahr, meanwhile, don’t seem to have a clue how the reverb-drenched surroundings are shaping their sound. But make no mistake - there’s a genuine, feverish atmosphere. The reaction’s palpable. Whether they’re pulling debut album favourites out of their glittery, foil adorned hat, or closing things up with the jaunty hacienda-flavoured ‘World Pleasure,’ Peace have hit a new stride lately. Even when Doug Castle has a few guitar issues, Harry Koisser - ever the seamless frontman - swans about overseeing an improvised jam until it’s all fixed. When they step up on stage to the biggest screams of Sound City so far, they own it like they’re established arena hard-hitters already. (El Hunt, Jamie Milton, Sarah Jamieson, Sean Stanley)
PRIMAVERA SOUND parc del fòrum, barcelona. Photos: Emma Swann.
before Sleater-Kinney bring things right back up again across the festival. It’s left to Alt-J to bring the night to a head, though, and on a ginormous stage, they step effortlessly into headlining boots.
The next day kicks off with Ex Hex. The rock tunes never let up, Mary Timony and bassist Betsy Wright playfully stalk the stage, bouncing solos off each other and grinning like Cheshire cats. Later on, Perfume Genius switches things down several gears from rock tunes, to sandblasting emotional pop songs,
Mac DeMarco is playing one of the biggest stages of his career today, not that he seems especially intimidated. Bringing similar amounts of archness to the main stage, it’s Foxygen, and theatrical madness ensues. They’re untouchably good. Speaking of untouchable, that’s The Strokes tonight to a ‘t’. In the past Julian Casablancas and co. have seemed like they might be going through the motions, but clattering straight into ‘Machu Picchu’ and ‘Someday’ without a pause they’re headliners tonight. Departing after the encore to end all encores, The Strokes are pure magic. (El Hunt)
n an absolutely heaving stage overlooked by a monstrously proportioned solar panel, Brand New are giving Primavera Sound its sudden, strobey awakening after six years away. Across the site, meanwhile, Spiritualized are under a wash of white lights. Sticking largely to older material, they play prism-skewed gospel and blues, and the crowd falls into a spacey cosmo-haze. Starting - Sound of Music style - at the very beginning of his career on the main stage, James Blake’s ‘CMYK’ skitters and splutters into life.
SLAM DUNK 2015
Various venues, Leeds. Photo: Sarah Louise Bennett
eturning to its original home for the tenth edition of the festival, this year’s Slam Dunk North was always set to be one of the event’s biggest occasions yet.
There’s hype, and then there’s PVRIS. For a band who admit they want to be one of the biggest in the world, they do a remarkable job of suggesting that might not be such a ridiculous statement. For anyone unaware of the pulling power of Wrexham-based five-piece Neck Deep, their mid-afternoon set leaves no room for doubt. They’re in a fine position right now. Appearing as the penultimate act on today’s Main Stage, Taking Back Sunday are as sharp as ever. There’s a reason this band are still able to draw such massive crowds and tonight shows it perfectly. Tonight is huge for You Me At Six. Delving in and out of their back catalogue – from ‘The Rumour’ to ‘Lived A Lie’ - the fivepiece provide enough nostalgia, while still showcasing the flair of their newer work. The result is incredible, with each and every turn stoking a different set of memories for both band and crowd. (Sarah Jamieson, Stephen Ackroyd) 77
the cribs Ibeyi
THE GREAT ESCAPE various venues, brighton. Photos: Carolina Faruolo & Emma Swann
righton’s The Great Escape is all about the one-offs: The only time you’ll see the biggest musicians of the next few years playing in tiny spaces; the only opportunity to catch already-established giants playing impromptu sets on the street; the only way to see hip-hop/punk-meshers and softly-softly blog pop in the space of ten minutes. Sam Dust’s LA Priest project has been going for a few years, but 2015’s the first real test for his furtherest imaginations. Debut track ‘Engine’ closes his set at The Haunt in a bonkers display of unorthodox dance, but everything that arrives before is fresh out of the musician’s crazed space explorations.
Bully, to be entirely blunt, are the real deal. Of every band playing The Great Escape, this scuzzy four piece mix the hype with the talent better than possibly any other. A packed crowd, featuring more than a few of their peers, strives for a glimpse of Alicia Bognanno as she stands at the mic, owning the stage. There’s no extravagant movement; bells, whistles or unnecessary fluff - Bully simply carry themselves like a Very Important Band. Completely disarming, no arrogance, just an ease in their own skin, every track feels quietly confident in its brilliance.
Over the past year, Låpsley has topped every ‘ones-to-watch’ list going, carving out a unique niche in minimalism. With her label-mates Shamir and Ibeyi looking fondly on from the sidelines at XL’s Coalition, Holly Fletcher effortlessly translates her unmistakably sparse production into something that feels entirely live and present. No mean feat.
“Why don’t you tell the truth sometimes, you know you should?” sings Tobias Jesso Jr in between awkward giggles and pained expressions. He’s struggling with a detuned guitar, one that’s been left on stage for a quick detour from the traditional piano routine. Here’s the truth: If Tobias Jesso Jr didn’t have this goofy side, the purpose of his work would be too heavy-going. As it stands, he’s a star, a unique and fun personality in a world of dreary, energy-sapped songwriters.
Undoubtedly one of the most exciting acts at this year’s Great Escape, the Las Vegas star quickly introduces himself with a swift, “Hey, I’m Shamir and I’m probably too American for you”, and then he’s diving headfirst into his funk-doused set. Whether he’s bounding around the stage or performing vocal acrobatics, it’s impossible to take your eyes off Shamir Bailey.
Theatricality is at the core of Ho99o9’s show. Eaddy stalks the stage, psyching out and eye-balling his front row, while wedding-dress and Pussy Riot-esque blue bandana wearing TheOGM flings himself at the barrier, howling and spitting. Like your music raw and aggressive like sushi on a rampage? Ho99o9 only have one setting; all out destruction.
Drenge are fresh from power naps, and if anyone’s in need of a refresh turn midnight at Patterns, the Loveless brothers know how to provide just that. After watching L.A. group Ho99o9 bring a new, twisted meaning to thrash, it’s up to Eoin, Rory and bassist Rob Graham to up the ante even more. Drawing on their two records in equal measure, they achieve it with chaotic, fuzz-encrusted results. It might be the early hours of the morning by the time that The Cribs hit the stage, but there’s no lagging in energy levels over at Wagner Hall. Currently in the midst of their festival run, the Wakefield trio are well-practiced in the art of causing chaos; it takes mere seconds for the room to explode into life, with the first beer flying across the room just thirty seconds in. Menace Beach are potent. All scuzzed-up guitars paired with infectious
melodies, the ‘Ratworld’ quintet may still be in the early throes of their career but they’re still taking on the world and winning. With tracks like set opener ‘Tennis Court’ - with its balance of satisfying crunch and gorgeous pop hooks - it’s no surprise really. Another show down, another crowd converted - they’re a highlight on DIY’s stage at The Arch. It’s the surest test yet of Girl Band’s potential over at the Corn Exchange. For years now, the Dublin group have been circuiting small venues and bit-bybit building their rep. But the precise, hypnotising sound they sport has always been destined to floor crowds in the thousands. Tonight’s flat, wide open space plays into their hands. When it comes to putting on a show, look no further than Spector. As stage entrances at The Great Escape go, theirs is brilliant: while the full band take to the stage to begin their intro, in struts frontman Fred MacPherson, from the front door of the venue before meandering his way through the crowd to join them. Tonight there’s no doubting the four-piece are going to have some fun. (Stephen Ackroyd, Jamie Milton, El Hunt, Sarah Jamieson)
SEPTEMBER 2015 24 STOKE KEELE UNIVERSITY 27 NORWICH UEA 28 NOTTINGHAM ROCK CITY 30 SOUTHAMPTON GUILDHALL OCTOBER 2015 01 LONDON ALEXANDRA PALACE 02 CARDIFF UNIVERSITY 21 MANCHESTER APOLLO 23 LIVERPOOL GUILD OF STUDENTS SEETICKETS.COM TICKETMASTER.CO.UK ALT-TICKETS.CO.UK NEW ALBUM ‘GLITTERBUG’ OUT NOW THEWOMBATS.CO.UK A METROPOLIS MUSIC, SJM CONCERTS, KILI LIVE, DHP & PVC PRESENTATION BY ARRANGEMENT WITH PRIMARY TALENT INTERNATIONAL 79
HOXTON SQUARE BAR AND KITCHEN GIG LISTINGS
THU 18 JUN 8PM 18+ £6
FRI 10 JUL 7:30PM 18+ £8
(NOAH & THE WHALE/ LITTLE MAMMOTHS)
THU 16 JUL 8PM 18+ £6
MUJERES SPECIAL GUESTS
BAD FOR LAZARUS SAINT AGNES + PINK LIZARDS
MY GREY HORSE
SAT 20 JUN 7:30PM 18+ £5
BLANK BIBLES SPECIAL GUESTS
SUN 19 JUL 8PM 18+ FREE ENTRY
FRI 26 JUN 8PM 18+ £8
TAHUNA BREAKS SPECIAL GUESTS
TUE 22 JUL 8PM 18+ £12
RODRIGO AMARANTE SPECIAL GUESTS
SUN 28 JUN 12PM 18+ £12
HOXTON MOD ALL DAYER SPECIAL GUESTS
THU 23 JUL 8PM 18+ £17.50
TUE 30 JUN 8PM 18+ £10
JIM JONES AND THE RIGHTEOUS MIND SPECIAL GUESTS THU 02 JUL 8PM 18+ £15
ERIC HUTCHINSON SPECIAL GUESTS THU 09 JUL 8PM 18+ £7
LITTLE GRIM THE HACIENDA + THE LIMITED
KAWESHI SPECIAL GUESTS
WED 26 AUG 8PM 18+ £7
KASSASSIN STREET FACE THU 27 AUG 8PM 18+ £11
BROKEN BRASS ENSEMBLE SPECIAL GUESTS
+ NAPALM BETTY
FRI 12 JUN 10PM-2AM 18+ £10
FRI 19 JUN 9PM-2AM 18+ £5
SAT 13 JUN 9PM-2AM 18+ £5
SAT 20 JUN 9PM-2AM 18+ £5
SCRATCH PERVERTS PAUL WHITE (LIVE) + FRAU DJS DJ FLEX SIREN DIPITY
SIREN DIPITY AARON WALKER
LAURENT SCHARK & FRIENDS
DJS EVERY WEDNES DAY – SUNDAY UNTIL LATE Hoxtonsquarebar
2-4 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NU Tickets from hoxtonsquarebar.com or 0844 847 2316 (24hr)
2015 E 22 UK N U J CO. ASED RELE ACQUES. J E W.TH
INDIE DREAMBOAT Of the Month
Jack K aye T h e Magic G ang
Full name: Jack Aaron Kaye Nickname: My school friends still call me Pancho after the guy from Dirty Sanchez because I used to be really short. Star sign: Aries Pets: No, but my Mum has a Staffie called Trixie who is super fast and strong. Favourite film: I have two American Psycho and Twilight Zone: The Movie. Favourite food: I’m really into Aldi brand muesli at the moment. Drink of choice: Kronenbourg or vodka and cranberry. Favourite scent: The last time I had one it was Davidoff Cool Water. Favourite hair product: Sometimes Paeris will let me use some of his Shockwave via me rubbing my head against his. Song you’d play to woo someone: ‘If I Fell’ by The Beatles is a good ‘woo riddim’. If you weren’t a pop star, what would you be doing now? Working in a charity fundraising call centre. Chatup line of choice? ‘Let’s get married’.
DIY 82 diymag.com
THE MAGIC GANG 10.07.15 BOSTON MUSIC ROOM
RAURY 13.07.15 VILLAGE UNDERGROUND
YAK 18.07.15 LANGHAM WORKING MEN’S CLUB
LEO KALYAN 29.07.15 THE WAITING ROOM
HUNTAR 10.08.15 ELECTROWERKZ
WAND 09.09.15 ELECTROWERKZ
SHURA 17.09.15 BRIXTON ELECTRIC
22.09.15 ALEXANDRA PALACE 24.09.15 ALEXANDRA PALACE
JP COOPER 15.10.15 KOKO
25.09.15 ALEXANDRA PALACE
21.10.15 DOME TUFNELL PARK
26.09.15 BRIXTON 02 ACADEMY
+ THE MAGIC GANG 22.10.15 ROUNDHOUSE
01.10.15 2 7.1 0.1 5 CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION VILLAGE UNDERGROUND 02.10.15 BRIGHTON CONCORDE 2
SLEAFORD MODS 02.10.15 FORUM
THE STRYPES 02.10.15 KOKO
VAULTS 11.11.15 KOKO
LUCY ROSE 18.11.15 FORUM
06.10.15 THE LEXINGTON
18.11.15 SOLD OU BRIXTON O2 ACADEMY
18.11.15 BRIXTON O2 ACADEMY
EDITORS 13.10.15 EVENTIM APOLLO
PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING 29.11.15 BRIXTON 02 ACADEMY
WHILK AND MISKY
21.09.15 ALEXANDRA PALACE
ALL WE ARE
08.07.15 OSLO HACKNEY
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE
JUL – NOV
Latitude special, featuring Wolf Alice, Drenge, Warpaint, Savages, Django Django, Young Fathers and more. Plus Tame Impala, Lucy Rose, Bleac...