TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB THE FLAMING LIPS EZRA FURMAN GLASTONBURY 2019 AND LOADS MORE
FREE. JULY 2019. ISSUE 87 DIYMAG.COM SET MUSIC FREE
THE HUMAN TOUCH
Marika Hackman is ready and waiting.
Laurie, trying his best to enter the Upside Down.
Yeah, Kylie was great an’ all, but Glastonbury’s most iconic moment? Dave bringing superfan Alex on stage to belt out a word-perfect ‘Thiago Silva’. So, we ask, what songs would Team DIY confidently be able to smash on the ultimate karaoke of the big stage? SARAH JAMIESON • Managing Editor Let’s be honest, I’ve probably been waiting my whole life to sing Miz Biz on stage with Paramore.
EMMA SWANN • Founding Editor Anything from ‘Pinkerton’. And I did once get laughed at for knowing all the ad-libs on Take That’s ‘Relight My Fire’. I mean, why wouldn’t I?
LISA WRIGHT • Features Editor Literally any indie song from 2004-06. I swear the reason I can’t remember anyone’s names is because my brain is full up with completely unnecessary Rakes lyrics. LOUISE MASON • Art Director It’s important that I become one of Lizzo’s backing dancers quite soon. I will also sing all of the songs as an added bonus.
ELLY WATSON • Digital Editor I keep having this recurring dream of me screaming ‘FUCK THAT GET MONEY’ into Matty Healy’s face and us falling in love, so watch me try and make that a reality at The 1975’s Reading set.
Back in September last year, when some of team DIY found themselves in Marika Hackman’s bedroom listening to songs “about masturbating” - her words (honest) - we knew her return was going to be Quite Something. Fast forward nine months to when we meet our cover star again, now on the precipice of the release of ‘Any Human Friend’, and it’s clear her third album is as gloriously dirty and straight-talking as we’d been led to believe. Taking square aim at the narrative surrounding female sexuality and subverting expectations, Marika is at her most upfront, playful and powerful yet.
In honour of cover star Marika Hackman’s cry for “more wank anthems” (see p34 for more context), we’ve been celebrating the self-lovin’ songs that have come before
Elsewhere, we find ourselves hopping on the bus alongside Two Door Cinema Club for their ‘False Alarm’ pre-album tour, making the long journey up to Glasgow to meet some of the city’s brightest new bands and hitting up Glastonbury for its scorching (literally and figuratively) 2019 return. Sarah Jamieson, Managing Editor
CHARLI XCX – BODY OF MY OWN “Yeah I can do it better when I’m all alone” sasses our Chazza on this standout ‘Sucker’ punch, before raunchily detailing her solo mission. Good luck to her next date...
DIVINYLS – I TOUCH MYSELF The original ode to getting your own rocks off, Divinyls’ pop classic is such a banger, you’re almost guaranteed to have accidentally belted it out at a wedding before realising there are kids around.
ALT-J - LEFT HAND FREE While it doesn’t pay to paint TOO much of a mental image on this one, at least it’s a mild improvement on “lick me like a crisp packet”, eh?
CONTENTS NEWS 6 GLASTONBURY 14 MYSTERY JETS 18 AFRICA EXPRESS 22 HALL OF FAME 26 FESTIVALS NEU 32 THE NUDE PARTY 34 NASTY CHERRY 39 TALK SHOW
FEATURES 40 MARIKA HACKMAN 48 THE FLAMING LIPS 52 EZRA FURMAN 56 THE GLASGOW SCHOOL 60 TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB REVIEWS 64 ALBUMS 74 LIVE
Shout out to: Distiller, Hamish and Andy for all the Glaswegian aid, James @ Dawbell for persevering, Simon EOTR for lending us his flat, Sam Levack for driving a hungover Louise round Worthy Farm in a buggy to find her possessions, and, of course, Glastonbury in general - missed u bbz. Founding Editor Emma Swann Managing Editor Sarah Jamieson Features Editor Lisa Wright Digital Editor Elly Watson Art Direction & Design Louise Mason Contributors Alex Cabré, Ben Lynch, Chris Taylor, Eloise Bulmer, James Bentley, Jenessa Williamns, Joe Goggins, Louisa Dixon, Matthew Davies Lombardi, Patrick Clarke, Will Richards. Photographers Ed Miles, Fraser Stephen, Jenn Five, Leah Lombardi, Patrick Gunning, Phil Smithies, Ronan Parks, Ryan Johnston, Sinéad Grainger. Cover photo and this page: Ed Miles For DIY editorial: info@ diymag.com For DIY sales: firstname.lastname@example.org For DIY stockist enquiries: email@example.com
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All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of DIY. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which DIY holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally.
Somebody get the poor girl a glass of water, it’s 30 degrees!
From history-making headline sets, to long-awaited legends and future superstars putting their stamp down, Glastonbury 2019 was packed full of talking points, and we were there for all of them. Here’s what went down… Words: Will Richards, Lisa Wright. Photos: Emma Swann, Louise Mason.
Y UR T S N B S NT TO E OI AS G G P G IN BTIALK
MILEY CYRUS PYRAMID STAGE, SUNDAY
The Hype: The chameleon pop star could’ve done anything on her big Glasto debut, and the excitement was in the unknowing. The Verdict: Everything about Miley’s career has been singularly interwoven. Constantly shifting in style and ideas, you never quite know where the singer is heading next, but it’s always revealed and played out superbly. She gives us a thrilling indication of what’s to come. Covering Amy Winehouse with new pal Mark Ronson, plus snippets of Led Zeppelin, Metallica and Nine Inch Nails, she nods to Glastonbury legends past and is every inch the rock star. In brilliant synergy with that recent Black Mirror appearance, it’s like she’s shedding a past skin and reawakening as a rock god. To hammer home the point, she plays the show’s two songs - one bubblegum pop, one gritty rock - one after the other. Add ‘Party In The USA’, ‘Wrecking Ball’ and a surprise cover of ‘Old Town Road’ (with her dad Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nas X in tow, obv) to that, and the set can be considered a triumph the firm next step of a true great.
PYRAMID STAGE, FRIDAY
The Hype: The first grime artist to top the bill at Worthy Farm, this polarising decision from Eavis x Eavis is the kind of risk we need our mega festivals to be taking… but will it pay off? The Verdict: In a nod to the criticism and wariness his headline booking received, Stormzy begins with a video of a conversation he had with Jay-Z about topping the bill at Worthy Farm. The US star, of course, got even more stick for his 2008 booking. He smashed it out of the park, though, and Stormzy proceeds to do so too. ‘Know Me From’ is a hugely forceful opening, and songs from debut (and currently only) album ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’ still feel fresh and vital. When Dave and Fredo join him on stage for a run through of their number one hit ‘Funky Friday’, it’s yet another nod to the peers that Stormzy has grown around and graduated to the big leagues with; as much as it’s his headline set tonight, it feels representative of the
culture as a whole. This is most clearly shown when he reels off a massive list of names in the UK rap scene, all of which feel represented tonight, from Little Simz and slowthai, to Dizzee Rascal, Skepta and Octavian. It’s a pivotal, landmark step forward.
What You Thought Toby: “It showed just how far the genre has progressed in a short space of time, and why it deserves to be headlining at a festival like this.” Gee: “Crikey, oh my god it’s Big Mikey! I thought the sound was a bit quiet but he was fantastic, and carried the stage really well.” Rating:
What You Thought
Lisa: “I’ve never seen her play before, so it was really interesting. I think it was good to have a mixture of covers and her own stuff; it was a real crowd-pleaser.” Rating:
Photo: Lamarr Golding.
Caroline: “I thought it was really good – she’s got an amazing voice, but she’s gone a bit more rocky. And she did ‘Jolene’! I was waiting for that one.”
Photo: Gavin Bond.
BIGGEST TALKING POINTS
LIAM GALLAGHER PYRAMID STAGE, SUNDAY The Hype: When you’ve got ‘Wonderwall’, ‘Roll With It’ et al in your locker, the potential is always there for a beery, weekend-defining festival moment. The Verdict: Solo careers can go different ways, with many avoiding their past glories and doubling down on only playing new material. Our Liam, though, he knows exactly what a fired up Pyramid Stage crowd want, and he obviously has the swagger, firepower and songs to utterly smash it. Between ‘Rock’n’Roll Star’, ‘Roll With It’ and swipes at “little fart” Noel, it’s absolutely classic Liam, and when he closes by dedicating ‘Champagne Supernova’ to the late Keith Flint, there isn’t a dry eye in the house. “Thanks to Michael and Emily Eavis for letting me continue my Glastonbury residency,” he 8 DIYMAG.COM
says. “See you next year for the hat-trick.” In maybe the biggest talking point of his set, did he just hint that we could see him and the little fart reunited on this very stage in 2020?
What You Thought Adam: “That was fucking epic! Unbelievable. As far as expectations go, they surpassed all of them. Last time I saw Liam was 2009 before they split up; I couldn’t have asked for more.” Jo: “Is anyone a bigger legend than Liam? Could anyone have a better time at a Liam gig? No. You could not. He’s just a fucking legend!” Rating:
KYLIE PYRAMID STAGE, SUNDAY The Hype: The Legends’ slot always has significant hype behind it, but after cancelling a scheduled Glasto set in traumatic circumstances in 2005, and, ya know, being Kylie, this one is the talk of the farm. The Verdict: Ahead of all the other notable sets at Glastonbury, Kylie had a bit of a head start: people wanted her to smash it. They turn up (in their hundreds of thousands) wanting to have an uninhibited boogie and, from ‘Kids’ to ‘Spinning Around’, Kylie has plenty enough hits to do the job wonderfully. She also has far more of a diverse catalogue than you remember; she’s joined by the enigmatic Nick Cave for their slow, creeping collab ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’, while ‘Confide In Me’ is closer to Björk than bubblegum pop. Team that with the sheer unbridled joy of ‘Locomotion’, ‘Better The Devil You Know’ and the pure emotion she
can’t hold back when talking about that 2005 cancellation, and it’s a true Glastonbury moment. We’re only knocking a star off for Chris Martin not being able to keep his nose off the Pyramid Stage during ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’.
What You Thought Lynn: “Kylie was amaaaazing! Her set was exactly what I needed to revive me from a sizeable hangover. It got me dancing again.” Nick: “It was a long overdue performance, lusciously camp but also touching at times. The highlight was her duet with Chris Martin.” Rating:
BIGGEST TALKING POINTS
FOALS PARK STAGE, SATURDAY
The Hype: Announced barely an hour before they take to the stage, there’s not even time for hype just a mad dash up to The Park before 6.15pm strikes. The Verdict: When the line-up was announced back in spring, there was a notable tiny horse-shaped gap. With ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost - Part 1’ cementing them as one of the country’s finest, and ‘Part 2’ due to arrive in September, where the fuck were Foals? Turns out Emily Eavis was keeping a rather tasty secret up her sleeve and, as half of Glastonbury piles into The Park, the field barely big enough to contain the droves of people trying to get a glimpse, the Oxford band’s covert appearance feels like a warm-up for what’s sure to be a very large slot indeed next year. Foals have always been a relentlessly exciting live band, but to have devel-
oped an arsenal of hits as popular and massive as theirs (just witness the roaring one-two-three of ‘Inhaler’, ‘What Went Down’ and ‘Two Steps, Twice’) while still keeping that edge-of-seat quality makes them a real one-off. Will they take the top spot in 2020? You wouldn’t bet against it.
What You Thought Trudy: “In my opinion, they’re the best band live. That’s probably my 9th time seeing them, and I keep coming back. I just love them.” Helen: “I saw them at Ally Pally two weeks ago, and it was the best gig I’ve been to for years. They’d be great headliners.” Rating:
BILLIE EILISH OTHER STAGE, SUNDAY
The Hype: Being upgraded from the John Peel stage to the Other tells you all you need to know about the excitement around the Glasto debut from the world’s biggest teen pop star.
closes the set in another frenzy of warped synths and pure adrenaline, and she’s absolutely on the money. The next time she comes around these parts, it may just be as a headliner.
The Verdict: As the sun sets over the final night at Worthy Farm and Billie launches into a raucous version of ‘bad guy’, even the upgraded space of her new line-up spot feels like it can’t contain the 17-yearold. Debut album ‘WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?’ is the brightest, most forward-thinking pop record of the year so far, and it’s rolled out meticulously by a star who quite clearly has the world at her feet. “It feels like the whole world is looking at me now,” she says before ‘bury a friend’
What You Thought Charlie: “I’ve been waiting to see her for so, so long and it was absolutely worth it. The album is my favourite of the year so far and she played it amazingly.” Paul & Bertie: “She was incredible, probably the set of the weekend. ‘bad guy’ is such a banger!” Rating:
GLASTONBURY BEST OF THE REST
nticipation is always at fever pitch on Thursday night, but when we haven’t been back on the hallowed turf of Worthy Farm since 2017, and it’s as Bloody Stonking Hot as it is today, things hit even greater levels of excitement. As always, there are a couple of unannounced surprises over on William’s Green. Sporting an enormous tutu and Kurt Cobain-esque white shades, The Big Moon’s Jules Jackson is her most badass self, kicking off with ‘Sucker’, while the handful of new songs the foursome debut tonight suggest they’ve been broadening their palette. The best comes last; a big, shoulder shimmy of a disco romp, it’s probably the finest song they’ve penned to date. Word has clearly got out that, ahead of their big John Peel stage slot, Pale Waves are tonight’s second special guests; predictably, there’s a crowd heaving out the door. Playing their first ever show on Pilton’s beloved soil, the band are far from newbies, instead offering up ‘Television Romance’ and ‘There’s A Honey’ like they’re firmly established classics. When they reach the big stage on Friday, they’ll be sure to cement their position as one of the UK’s recent breakthrough successes.
t’s not even midday and there’s already a right old time to be had on the Other Stage. Taking the ever-notable opening slot, The Vaccines are on fiery form. Storming through the bangers (‘Teenage Icon’, ‘Wrecking Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ and the like), the band have got enough in their arsenal to pretty much solely pump out the hits; on hyper-theatrical form, Justin Young stalks the stage, flinging his arms to the sky and generally pantomimes it up. It always felt like Fontaines DC deserved a bigger slot this year than they were originally granted. So when Sam Fender pulled out of his midafternoon set on the legendary John Peel stage, it made perfect sense for the Dubliners to step in. Embracing their last-minute opportunity, the band are being true rockstars. Three are clad in sunglasses, while frontman Grian Chatten wields a tambourine like a swaggering weapon. During ‘Sha Sha Sha’, guitarist Carlos O’Connell scales a lighting rig at the side of the stage. Closing with ‘Boys In The Better Land’ and ‘Big’, the reception from the
crowd is one of adoration. For them to be granted their Glastonbury moment feels all too perfect.
Rosalía later brings a wonderfully flamboyant show to the same stage. Cuts from her new album ‘El Mal Querer’ mix traditional music from her Spanish homeland with hypermodern, glossy beats; she looks every bit the superstar. “We’ve waited 12 years to play here, it’s the greatest place on Earth,” announces IDLES’ Joe Talbot. Playing Glastonbury - let alone slaying the Park stage to such a huge crowd - is a dream for any musician, but for these Bristol boys, it seems more significant than for most. “I’ve watched bands [at Glastonbury] that changed my life, and I hope in some way we can change yours.” From the opening bass stabs of ‘Colossus’, it’s clear tonight will be a classic; IDLES have ticked off almost every checkpoint on the way to becoming a truly big band, and on the week that they announced a show at London’s Alexandra Palace, they can add Glastonbury to the list of defining steps that are quickly making them one of the country’s greatest.
THE BIG MOON
Photo: Rob Loud.
here’s a lot to be thankful for come Saturday night. Firstly the fact that, after the hottest day in Glastonbury history, it’s finally – praise be! - a manageable temperature, and secondly the big-hitting double whammy of Liam’s Oasis-heavy set into returning heroes The Killers. First headlining back in 2007, Brandon Flowers and co are the kind of staple headliner that could easily veer into predictable territory; just how special can another set from the Vegas bunch be? Turns out, very. “At the end of the set, I don’t want you to look up to the stage and say, ‘They got away with it’. At the end of the set, I want everybody to look up to the stage and say, ‘Those are the sons of bitches that did it’,” he declares. And from the first ripping guitar riffs of ‘Jenny Was a Friend of Mine’, there’s not a moment where they dip below iconic. From ‘Smile Like You Mean It’, to ‘The Man’ – Brandon donning a cowboy hat for its intro before a huge pink confetti explosion announces the song’s glorious strut – to a huge, field-wide sing-along to ‘Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll’, it’s a set that needs no help. But this is The Killers, and so they find a way to top it, firstly by bringing out the Pet Shop Boys for ‘Always On My Mind’, and then, straight after, Johnny Marr for ‘This Charming Man’. There’s even a bizarre cameo from Jimmy Carr, who strolls out before the encore to sweep the stage. It’s celebratory, playful and absolutely masterful. Those sons of bitches did it, and then some. “Are you guys hydrated?”
questions Ezra Koenig, shorts-clad and beaming at the crowd who’ve happened to stumble upon their surprise morning sermon at The Park. “That guy’s shaking his head. Everybody, get him! He’s not hydrated!” If Sunday’s Pyramid Stage slot is set to be a grander affair, Saturday morning finds Vampire Weekend doing essentially Glastonbury’s equivalent of a pub gig. With the sun blaring down, there are fewer better ways to start the day than with an affable, gloriously low-key rendezvous with this lot. An opening salvo of ‘Bambina’ and an irrepressible ‘M79’ kick things off, before Ezra starts taking requests. We get ‘Finger Back’ and ‘Hannah Hunt’, and it’s only when someone shouts for ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’ that you’re struck with just how mad it is to be watching as beloved a band as this before you’ve even had breakfast.
slowthai’s always had a large element of the cheeky chappy about him and, at the West Holts Stage, he comes out to play in a massive way. It only takes seconds of ‘Polaroid Picture’ for the front to become a jumping, sweaty mess, and the rapper conducts the crazed masses like a cackling madman. When this much charm and charisma is evident in a set, it can be easy to forget about the music itself, but that more than holds up too. ‘Doorman’ is a grubby punk anthem, while ‘Tea’n’Biscuits’ is another chaotic rabblerouser. “Glastonbury, I’ll see you next time on the Pyramid stage love you all x,” he tweeted shortly after the set. You’d be a fool to bet against it.
Lizzo later attracts the biggest throng the stage will see all weekend. From the moment she yells “Hi bitch!” before letting out a signature cackle, it’s clear today’s set is gonna be sassy, full of love, and absurd amounts of fun. Her pipes get a good workout with stunning opener ‘Cuz I Love You’, and the set is packed full of mantras on radical self-love. The next hour is a mixture of welled-up eyes and animated dancing, more often than not at the same time. To manage to achieve both and with such confidence, Lizzo is surely on her way to becoming a megastar. LIZZO
lastonbury is, by nature, full of weird and wonderful sights (once you’ve clapped eyes on four butt-naked people playing 4am table tennis, there’s little that’ll shock you), but there’s never anything that can quite compare to Babymetal. The Japanese rockers are a mind-melting feast for the eyes. Dressed as goth warriors, the three members brandish flags and other props, canter on the spot, and rip out a series of metal tracks with a cross between nononsense deadly seriousness and Kawaii cuteness. Playing the Pyramid Stage for the first time, Years & Years’ set is a lesson in not letting a moment go to waste; pulling out every stop and then going even further, they use their platform in the most perfect way possible.
YEARS & YEARS
Kicking off with ‘Sanctify’, they flash up a series of homophobic tweets as Olly Alexander writhes gloriously in a bondage-inspired outfit; from there on in, the set is a wonderful celebration of freedom and LGBTQ+ positivity. It all comes to a head when the screen glitches, flashing up statistics about hate crimes and archaic laws. As a troupe of male ballet dancers grace the stage, Olly begins an impassioned speech. “I talk about being gay a lot because I spent a lot of time wishing I wasn’t gay so it’s like making up for lost time. But what I want to say is the only reason I am able to be up here being my gay self is because of all the people that have come before me.” “This week we celebrate 50 years since Stonewall, and since then the world has changed so much but our history is what shapes us and we make more every day. The reality is the lives of LGBT+ people are as varied and complex as everyone else’s but they’re also under threat. The future is not fixed and our histories cannot predict what tomorrow might bring and what we might do with it. Everyone here can change history and it’s up to us if we want to change the world. I don’t know how we get there but I know we can only get there if we help each other out.”
Greeted with huge cheers throughout, it’s a genuinely powerful moment. Then, back to the music and, from contortionists to vogueing dancers to a podium that rises Olly up into the air, it’s a smorgasbord of thrills, the band throwing everything at the opportunity and coming up triumphant. They finish with ‘King’ as a burst of rainbow confetti explodes into the crowd. Fun, celebratory and important, this is how you do a main stage set.
Dave at sunset on the Other Stage is compelling, thoughtprovoking and, at times, downright funny. In ‘Hangman’, he ruminates on life with exceptional precision and nimble rapping, and his knack for poetry is shown on a following a cappella section. The standout moment, though, is when he picks out a fan with a Thiago Silva PSG shirt for his song of the same name. The suitably squiffy Alex then proceeds to absolutely smash it. “I’ve realised I’m going for the award for the person who says the least at Glastonbury,” giggles Robert Smith halfway through The Cure’s epic set. But he doesn’t need to. Beginning with some of their more atmospheric, conflicted wares (a dark, wonderful ‘A Night Like This’, an introverted, intimate ‘Lovesong’), theirs is a set that still feels something of a cult concern despite their highest of slots, yet builds into one of the most joyful, unifying moments of the weekend. Serving up ‘The Caterpillar’, ‘The Walk’, ‘Friday I’m In Love’ (changed to Sunday in the intro, of course), ‘Close To Me’ and a final ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ in quick succession, the calibre of the band is inarguable; these are legitimately some of the finest tracks our shores have ever produced. You would imagine, after more than 40 years in the game, that The Cure would be pretty unfazed by anything. But, as Robert uncharacteristically leaves the mic stand to wander the edges of the stage, looking overcome with emotion, it’s a touching reminder of just how special Glastonbury is - even to the most seasoned of music’s stalwarts. DIY
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In The Studio with... Spot the Rod!
NE WS Fifth album ‘Curve of the Earth’ found shape-shifting indie faves Mystery Jets invigorated with a new member and a new lease of life. We catch up with the band in their characteristically bizarre new digs as they round off the final touches to its “hard-hitting” follow-up. Words: Lisa Wright. Photos: Jenn Five.
ack in July 2017, Mystery Jets - the band formed by Blaine Harrison and Will Rees in the early ‘00s, alongside drummer Kapil Trivedi, Blaine’s Dad Henry and the more recent acquisition of bassist Jack Flanagan - embarked on a bittersweet tour, an emotional yet powerful run in support of friends and peers The Maccabees as they decided to call it a day. “We really started at the same time as a band, and our trajectories had always gone in parallel to one another, and we felt very humbled to be there on their last waltz,” says Blaine now of the shows, “but it also made us take a glance in the mirror and think, what does it mean to be a band now? Because it means something very different to what it did when we were 17 or 18 and starting this as an act of rebellion, this way out of having to follow a conventional existence.” Having released fifth LP ‘Curve of the Earth’ the year before, an album that rejuvenated them not only internally but externally, gaining the band a fresh set of young faces in the front row and a notable one to mirror them up on stage, the answer that greeted them was hearteningly, unanimously positive. “Jack joining, being that bit younger and the excitable, joyous being that he is, kind of
reacquainted us with the feeling of what we got into this for in the first place, which was really just about being a gang and living and breathing music. You almost need reminding every once in a while the wider purpose of what made you want to do it at the start, and on ‘Curve...’ that was the moment for us,” Blaine explains. Though already more than a decade into their career, the Jets finished the tour more certain than ever that they weren’t ready to choose the same situation for themselves any time soon. “We’re really proud of the stuff we’ve done in the past,” he continues, “but there’s still such a hunger to plough forward.” “We did Jetrospective [playing their first five albums in full across five nights], and gave ourselves that moment to look back as a way of seeing where to go next. And I was slightly hesitant that we’d play the ‘Twenty One’ night and realise that was the bar and we’ve never reached it again, but it was kind of the opposite and the ‘Curve of the Earth’ show was the best. That was really encouraging and we were back in the studio...” He laughs: “I was going to say the next day, but I think it took us three or four to recover...” Spending a solid 14 months, from the tail end of 2017 through the whole of 2018, bunkered down in their new studio - a “rabbit warren of tunnels” in the basement of an old tram shed in Clerkenwell (“In the ‘80s and ‘90s, it was a bit of a legendary hang out,” informs the singer. “I bumped into Bobby Gillespie the other day, and he said he went to some pretty sordid parties there back in the day...”), the recording of Album Six sounds a wholly fulfilling one. For the first time, the band solely took production duties on themselves, bolstered by the new confidence of having learnt the ropes together, co-producing their last.
The sessions themselves, meanwhile, were just as creative and semi-ridiculous as you might expect from the bunch of Eel Pie Island natives who’ve always operated one slightly eccentric step left of the mainstream. “We always seem to end up in these bizarre spaces; our first studio was a boat shed, and then we were in a button factory and now we’re in a tram shed,” chuckles Blaine. “We set up different spaces in different parts of the basement and a lot of the rooms have tie lines between them, so if you want, people can be in different rooms and still communicate. We’d be working on different parts
of a song and running between spaces, swapping ideas.”
However, if the recording itself was an excitable, collaborative thing, then the route to that point was born from purposefully starker circumstances. Having learnt over the years that periods of solitariness were the key to “coaxing the songs out”, Blaine decided to test the theory further. “I thought, well how can I take that to the extreme? Where can I go that I’m not gonna have any signal, and no one will get hold of me? Iceland. I thought, I’m gonna go up a glacier and find a cabin. So I went and had a really social experience hanging out in Reykjavík, and then for the majority of the trip I circumnavigated the island. I rented a car at one point, I did some hitch-hiking, caught some buses, basically working my way around. “The conduit for where the music came from was being cut off from outside influences,” he continues, “however, whereas on the last record it had been about escaping as a means to having an inward journey, this time, escaping to this very remote environment actually reminded me that maybe where I should be is in the middle of it all, in the thick of it. It was a long way to go to realise that actually I should be at home.” By the time this issue hits shelves, the band will have dropped the first single from the new batch in the slowburning epic of ‘Hospital Radio’. Blaine is remaining cagey for now about how it and the rest of the album relates to his epiphany although, he notes, “thematically, in terms of the bigger picture, it’s something quite different [to their last work]”. Sonically, however, the addition of “rock god” engineer Alan Moulder into the mix (who’s previously upped the ante on records by the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Foals, Smashing Pumpkins and more) probably gives as much of a statement of intent as any. “I think the last album had quite a grand palette to it; we wanted to make something that felt like it had a lot of air in it - quite a widescreen, expansive sense of dimension,” says Blaine. “But I think with this record, even though it was made in quite a similar way, it’s much more direct, much more hard-hitting. The guitars sound like they’re right there in front of you. We wanted to make something that sounded like it was slamming against your ear drums.” Heading into the second half of their second decade together as a band, Mystery Jets could easily be resting on their laurels, but instead they’re gearing up for a sixth album bursting with ideas. You sense they might really only just be hitting their stride. “I think, with us, we just feel like we’ve still got so much of our story left to tell,” says Blaine. We’re all ears. DIY
“We’re really proud of the stuff we’ve done, but there’s still such a hunger to plough forward.” - Blaine Harrison
Damon Albarn’s super-project Africa Express returns with ‘EGOLI’, an exploration of Afro Futurism that celebrates names both legendary and new and explores the unique kinship that occurs when you reach outside of your own cultural bubble. Words: Jenessa Williams. Photos: Denholm Hewlett.
even days isn’t a long period of time. It’s a working week, a package holiday, something easily whiled away in routine and habit. But, if you’re determined, it can be something quite life-changing. If you’re Damon Albarn, it’s plenty long enough to gather some pals, decamp to Johannesburg and make an album. Now in its 14th year, Africa Express is thriving as a crosscultural force, the musical equivalent of an exchange student project. Founded by Damon and friends as a direct response to the lack of African representation in the 2005 Live Aid anniversary concerts, it serves not only as an opportunity to raise the platform of marginalised artists, but as a reminder that the West isn’t everything. Each year, its roster grows bigger, and for 2019, its names are among the most eclectic to date - Mr Jukes and Sibot, Ghetts and Nick Zinner, Georgia and Otim Alpha, Mahotella Queens and Moonchild Sanelly; all making different music, but all pushing for the same goals. “My first visit to Africa was a transformative experience for me personally,” says Damon. “Music is so entwined in the culture, language is no barrier. And that’s the whole point of music, as a metaphor for positive action. People have to be prepared to leave any sense of ego at the door, you never know what’s going to happen. That’s the joy of it; it always feels like magic.” Having experimented with all different kinds of African music over the years, this year’s recording had its eyes firmly on the future. Taking inspiration from the up-and-coming
Gqom scene in the Durban suburbs, ‘EGOLI’ actively embraces the technological, whether that be by including the production skills of London-based Georgia or the unique perspective of the South African natives crafting music from their laptops. “I had never heard much Gqom and felt very lucky to be immersed in it,” explains Mr Jukes - aka Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jack Steadman. “It was very hypnotic and repetitive, and I loved that it was being made on FruityLoops, a piece of software that I grew up making music on. All the music we made that week was so spontaneous and impulsive, and ‘Become The Tiger’ is a good example of that; Sibot and I clicked right from the start, improvising different melodies. Damon just happened to walk past and there was a microphone ready for him.” Every project needs a leader, and most within the group would corroborate that their driving energy was often Moonchild Sanelly. One of South Africa’s most outspoken artists, Damon refers to her as “a superstar of the future,” and it’s not difficult to see why; her contributions are evident right across the record, fuelling the energy needed to work to such a tight schedule. “I met everybody, started working with Mr Jukes and then hopped onto the next session with Blue May within twenty minutes,” she recalls. “There were ten songs to be worked on and it was like being a kid in a candy store, hopping between each hut; whatever people were working on, you’d just become a part of it. Some things you’d be on from the beginning and others you’d just jump in and kill it, just pure expression. It was a very beautiful, motivating space rather than a pressured one.”
“PEOPLE HAVE TO BE PREPARED TO LEAVE ANY SENSE OF EGO AT THE DOOR, YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN.” Damon Albarn 18 DIYMAG.COM
With so many different perspectives and cultural sensitivities at play, the need for respectful collaboration wasn’t lost on Georgia. A longterm fan of the project, it was this that led her
The Africa Express advent calendar was a daily delight.
to pursue African music study following a chance stumbling upon an Africa Express performance at Glastonbury when she was 18. “My friend asked me if I’d be interested in getting involved and I was like, ‘yeah kind of, this project only changed the course of my entire development?!’,” she laughs. “I felt quite strange as an English person going to South Africa - I didn’t want to feel like one of those western producers going in and just appropriating. I built up this really amazing relationship with Hilda (of the Mahotella Queens) and ‘City In Lights’ is all about her life: what it was like in Johannesburg in the 1960s, leaving her family in Soweto to try and make it as a singer in the big city. I went back to my hut and the melody just flowed. When I played it to her and she thought it was great and wanted to sing on it, it was just the best feeling.” From ‘City In Lights’ to ‘Becoming The Tiger’, ‘EGOLI’ is a record that pulses with positive, aspirational energy, painting South Africa in a joyous, celebratory light that is rarely seen in western culture. It’s a lasting one too; many of the gang got matching tattoos to commemorate the experience, and there is potential for further collaboration within the group. “The image that will stay with me forever is of the cluster of huts that we all stayed in,” says Jack. “Popping your head into each one, you would see a group of people who only met days ago excitedly working on new music, inviting you in, throwing an instrument your way. So much great music was made that week by an incredibly diverse group of strangers... and that’s what Africa Express is all about.” ‘EGOLI’ is out now via Africa Express. DIY
SHOW ME THE PUPPY
WE LOVE DOGS. YOU LOVE DOGS. HERE ARE SOME POPSTARS’ DOGS.
This month: Standon Calling’s in-house hound, Finn.
Name: Finn (aka Fabulous Finn The Police Dog) Age: 10 Breed: German Shepherd Favourite things: Swimming and chasing his favourite ball. Tell us a bit about him: Finn has been a busy boy, leading a campaign to pass a new law that makes it a criminal offence to cause unnecessary suffering to a service animal after being injured in the line of duty. Reaching the finals of Britain’s Got Talent this year, he’ll be picking up the first Calling For The Community Award at Standon Calling this month (with entry to the festival for life to recognise his bravery). As handler Dave puts it: “Finn is the most loyal friend I could ever have asked for, he is my hero. Without him by my side I wouldn’t be here today.”
ALEX (AKA #ALEXFROMGLASTO)
It’s a risky business, putting your set in the hands of an unknown entity. High on the endorphins of a triumphant performance, many artists have handed the mic over to an excitable fan in the front row, only to realise they’ve got about as much talent as a Love Island also-ran, and have taken twice as many pingers. But when a musician picks the right person… that way legend lies. Such was the case when, during a huge Glastonbury Other Stage set, Dave decided to haul a young man called Alex onto the stage for ‘Thiago Silva’. His logic? Our boy was wearing a Thiago PSG shirt and the desperate look of a man trying to heckle for the last life jacket. Turns out he was also a superfan and actually a pretty good rapper to boot, spitting out a word-perfect version of the lyric-heavy track as the entire crowd went bonkers. Well done Alex, we salute you.
S P OT T E D
These days, even yer gran is posting selfies on Instagram. Instagran, more like. Everyone has it now, including all our fave bands. Here’s a brief catch-up on music’s finest photo-taking action as of late.
Finn Wolfhard a fan of the Bristol punks? Stranger Things have happened…(@idlesband)
slowthai: always up for a Deadmau5 collaboration. (@slowthai)
Believe it or not, pop and rock stars sometimes do normal things, too. They get lost, go food shopping, and catch buses – all sorts. This month, we clocked a fair few of them roaming around Worthy Farm…
Kevin Parker, staying true to form and still living it up at the bar two days after Tame Impala’s set, Louis Tomlinson having a wavey time watching Mark Ronson, Tilda Swinton looking like the only cool person in the heatwave and Jimmy Carr in a car, pootling around before his bizarre Killers cameo. 20 DIYMAG.COM
And the award for this month’s most unlikely supergroup goes to…(@shame)
HOLLOW THING .....................................
On one hand, you have perhaps the best proof of the Hull quartet’s eyeballroll of a playful streak to date; “I look much better than you / I look so good in black… I always do!” declares Mez Green, voice dripping with the ritzy sarcasm of a posturing no-gooder. On the other, you’ve got a hint towards the more personal side that the band have said is set to come within their second effort. It’s all wrapped up in the kind of immediate, fists-aloft slammer that’s, as ever, halfway between the mosh pit and the dancefloor. It’s a good place to be. (Lisa Wright)
Girl Band were never going to come back quietly, were they? After taking some time off, the Dublin foursome are ready to rattle your bones again. ‘Shoulderblades’ is everything they do best: pounding drum beats, push-and-pull shrieking guitars and that unsettling low growl that’s enough to turn the space between your ears into soup. By the time they start clanging what sounds like a hollow metal pipe with an angry wasp’s nest, it’s like they’ve never been away. (Chris Taylor)
The video for Black Honey’s first single in eight months is preposterous, sure, an ostentatious tale of pink wigs, pastel shades and crustacean romance, but the music comes close to matching its almost cosmic levels of camp. Swooning crooner strings weep over everything with opulence, lending that trademark melodrama that this particular foursome have always been so brilliant at handling. Not that it’s all just silliness, this track finds frontwoman Izzy B. Phillips on perhaps her finest form yet. (Patrick Clarke)
We’re not one to take sides but, if we were ranking ice cream flavours, salted caramel would definitely be God Tier. Joe Mount clearly agrees. OK, it does sound a lot like Lipps Inc’s ‘Funkytown’ but isn’t that glee exactly what we need to cool down a summer heatwave? With that special charm that Metronomy instil into everything they touch, ‘Salted Caramel Ice Cream’ glides along with a breezy bop as carefree as can be. Suddenly, conditions are perfect; the sun’s shining bright but your ice cream is never melting. (Chris Taylor)
I DON’T EVER WANNA LOVE .....................................
SALTED CARAMEL ICE CREAM .....................................
Bat For Lashes - KIDS IN THE DARK
................................................................................................................................................................................... Natasha Khan - aka Bat for Lashes - has always existed in something of a mystical land of her own creation, her songs full of celestial imagery and a kind of proto-Florence sense of the magical. On forthcoming LP ‘Lost Girls’, however, there seems to be a more sinister element creeping in; referencing classic ’80s film The Lost Boys, the announcement of the record was full of nods to vampires and rebel gangs, Natasha the leader of her own troupe of dark-hearted women, taking back the night. Which is all very well and good, however, lead single ‘Kids In The Dark’ sounds more like an icy, cool take on Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’ than anything else: a good thing by any account, but also… not that haunting. (Lisa Wright)
HAVE YOU HEARD? 21
NE WS of Florence + the Machine - Lungs These days, Florence is a globally-conquering hit machine, with a massive BST headline on the cards this month. Ten years ago, however, she released her debut to a sea of hype - not all of it altogether friendly... Words: Lisa Wright.
efore Twitter and Instagram fully clamped their iron grips, making everyone a voyeur of everything, the tabloids’ gossip columns weren’t just a place of Kardashians and Love Island rejects, but somewhere that the more party-loving end of the indie spectrum would regularly find themselves. And so, when Florence Welch was discovered by Mairead Nash of DJs Queens of Noize while singing pissed in a toilet and then catapulted into the public eye, the hedonistic young Londoner became ripe fodder for the critical glare of the media. Playing shows barefoot, hammered and in various kooky outfits, the singer was the Manic Pixie Dreamgirl stereotype, turned up to 11 and given a row of tequila shots; polarising to the nth degree, people either fell in love with her immediately or rolled their eyes and pointed her in the direction of the nearest Shoe Zone. With the early stomp of debut single ‘Kiss With A Fist’ and the still-massive ‘Dog Days Are Over’ (a more emblematic sign of the belting pop that would become her trademark), Florence and her Machine had landed themselves a huge swell
Released: 3rd July 2009 Stand-out tracks: ‘Dog Days Are Over’, ‘Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)’ Tell your mates: The leather lungs that adorn the sleeve were handmade by none other than OrlandoformerMaccabees! What a multi-talented man.
of hype, but it was with the release of debut ‘Lungs’ in July 2009 that the band really had to prove themselves as more than just a quirky flavour of the month. And, as the record celebrates its 10th anniversary, Florence now a bona fide, Glastonbury-headlining, worldwide star, it’s fair to say they succeeded. Though, in the three albums that have followed, Flo’s style (both sonically and aesthetically) has shifted into something more poised and mature, the grandiosity that’s always underpinned her output is clear to see even from these first moves. There’s bugger all subtlety to be found in tracks like the witchy, mystical ‘Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)’ or the gothic excess of ‘Drumming Song’, let alone her hugely successful take on Candi Staton’s ‘You’ve Got The Love’, but then Florence + the Machine have always been about maximalism. At a time when all eyes were on her, the singer’s commitment to her own excessive vision was a commendable command to take her or leave her. Most people went for the former, and, ten years later, Florence remains one of the country’s biggest, most acclaimed talents. DIY
HEALTH, CROWS, LADY BIRD & more storm All Points East at DIY & Jäger Curtain Call’s Jägerhaus takeover.
Last year, DIY and Jäger Curtain Call descended on the inaugural year of All Points East to take over the Jägerhaus for a day of forward-thinking new music with The Big Moon, Sports Team, YOWL and more along for the ride. This year, we’re back and there’s an altogether buzzier vibe going on within the stage’s wooden walls. Words: Lisa Wright, Sarah Jamieson. Photos: Emma Swann. LADY BIRD
t might only be 2.30pm on a Friday, but, as Talk Show take to the stage, there’s already a sizeable throng gathered. Taking post-punk’s dark heart and taught, spiky riffs but adding slabs of ferocity and drama, theirs are songs that grab you by the throat and demand you pay attention. With bezzie pals IDLES soon to be on the main stage, it’s perhaps no surprise that Heavy Lungs have the stage at capacity with fans eager to see the next in line. But, while the Bristolians may have been given a spotlight because of their popular pals, they’ve got more than enough charisma and raw, cathartic power to shine on entirely their own merit. Increasingly whipping up justified buzz wherever they go, Squid have got wonky, wonderful songs coming out of their ears
and a live show that picks you up and takes you for a spin through krautrock rhythms, English eccentricities and weirdo art rock. Perma-pink-haired fireball GIRLI might come from an entirely different sonic school but it’s an equally charismatic offering. She’s part Lily Allen, part Peaches, part Mike Skinner at his most irreverent: an unapologetic force with a twinkle in her eye and a middle finger up to the world’s dickheads. Following a whirlwind 12 months that’s taken them on tour across the continent and with an increasing gaggle of adoring fans, Lady Bird are back and an even more confident and singular proposition. The crux of the band’s conscientious punk with a heart lies in the dynamic between the trio; it also helps that they’ve got cheeky bangers to spare.
On to the night’s penultimate stars Crows and, rather than a hyped flash in the pan, their scorching, satisfying walls of sound have built up a genuine proper group of fans and tonight they’re out in force; the result being a glorious purge of big, brilliant noise. And, speaking of unholy noise, headliners HEALTH are certainly experts in that field. Having built their incendiary reputation based on being notoriously loud, there’s no holds barred. Through walls of feedback and squalling guitars, it’s clear that, even over time, they’ve lost none of their aggressive vigour, making them as fierce a prospect in 2019 as they’ve ever been.
NEXT UP! Following an already-legendary return to Victoria Park, this year Jäger Curtain Call will be heading to London, Liverpool and Bristol with three of our favourite new artists in tow. London will find lovable punks Lady Bird making the short hop from Tunbridge Wells to rip the city a new one, while in Bristol, the city’s own Heavy Lungs will be playing their biggest ever hometown show, and Scouse charmer Zuzu will be playing her own native city. Tickets for both London and Liverpool on sale now! SEPTEMBER 11 Lady Bird @ Moth Club, London 19 Zuzu @ Phase One, Liverpool
HIT LIST In the market for more than just music? We’ve got you covered. This month, we’re celebrating the season of festival boozing and tinnies in the park with some summer drinky tips.
Put a few hairs on your chest with a shot of Scotland’s finest. Made in the Speyside distilleries, Copper Dog whisky is traditional enough to keep the purists happy, but with enough of a fruity note to turn into a mighty fine summer’s day cocktail. Get yourself a drink that can do both. RRP: £27 Buy it: Amazon
Water giveth life and now Life giveth water. The official aqua supplier for Glastonbury, this lot are fighting the plastic-free fight and bringing you sweet, sweet hydration in can form - just as simple for you; butt-loads better for the planet, and available at loads of other events this year. RRP: £1.50 Buy it: Independent stockists and festivals
Cider: delicious, but bloaty and - let’s be real - not the best for you. Cranes’ delicious bottled and canned brews, however, contain 30% less calories (if that floats your boat) and come in pomegranate, blueberry and other fruity flavours. They’re basically one of your five a day. RRP: £2.20 Buy it: Asda, Morrisons
DIY’S PICK OF LNSOURCE
In desperate need of a live music fix but can’t decide where or who? If you feel too spoilt for choice, here’s just a few of LNSource’s upcoming shows worth getting off the sofa for.
No Vacation Nationwide, from late July The San Francisco dream pop purveyors tour the UK after an appearance at Latitude - and a massive North American tour that began all the way back in May.
Olympia The Old Blue Last,
London, 22nd July This London date forms part of the Aussie pop singer’s biggest tour to date, and follows the release of new album ‘Flamingo’, out earlier this month.
BRITA FILL&GO There is literally - LITERALLY - nothing worse than a dodgy tummy in a festival portaloo. Don’t take any chances and make your H2O is as pure as the driven snow with BRITA’s new portable filtration bottles. Mmmm... sanitary. RRP: £13.20 Buy it: brita.co.uk 24 DIYMAG.COM
FLAGINGO We’ve done some scientific research, and flamingo’s are officially the most ‘hols by the pool’ of all the birds. No wonder there’s now a pink, fruit-enhanced gin dedicated to the colourful birds, then; it’s totally tropical, and Instagram-ready, to boot. RRP: £19 Buy it: zymurgorium.com
LONGTAIL MIXERS Tonic? Boring! Coke? Been there, done that. Freshen up even the most daggy of supermarket own-brand spirits with these far more interesting mixers - featuring blood orange, ginger and lime, and ‘Island Spice’ options. RRP: £1.45 Buy it: Amazon, Selfridges
JNR Williams Camden Assembly, London, 25th July The Hackney singersongwriter’s latest single ‘Healer’, released in June, features a guest spot from Theophilius London - casual. It follows a cover of Dinah Washington’s ‘What A Difference’, and comes ahead of this London headline.
DOMAINE 23 24
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11th - 13th July, Valdebebas-IFEMA, Madrid
With headline spots from Bon Iver, Smashing Pumpkins and The Cure, plus massive sets from even more huge names like Vampire Weekend, The 1975, Iggy Pop and The Chemical Brothers alongside DIY faves such as Demob Happy, Black Honey, and Parquet Courts, the Madrid event has once again smashed it with their lineup. And that’s without taking the festival’s welcome party into account: Bring Me The Horizon, Metronomy, Viagra Boys and pop sensation Rosalía all play on 10th July.
Q&A: MILK TEETH The Gloucestershire trio head to Madrid shortly after a tour with US rockers La Dispute - and before going full Gallagher. Vocalist Becky Blomfield tells us more. Hello, Milk Teeth! What’s new in your world? We are just chilling In Amsterdam eating pancakes. You’re currently on tour with La Dispute and Petrol Girls - how is it going? We’ve played one show so far in Luxembourg which was a lot of fun and today Petrol Girls join so we are very excited to hang with them. La Dispute have organised for local charities at each show to represent across a whole different board of organisations and causes 26 DIYMAG.COM
which is awesome. We sorted Abortion Network Amsterdam to come and represent at Melkweg, as we stayed at a house where they do a bunch of work supporting those In need of legal care where they don’t have access and laws are different such as Poland. It’s essential these women have these charities to support them at a time when they are often vulnerable and can feel isolated or trapped in a situation where they face legal consequences for making decisions about their own bodies which isn’t right or just.
Have you ever played in Spain before? We have - in Barcelona and Madrid! The weather was great and I got given a weed leaf ring and a can of Monster by a fan which was very sweet. We are excited to go back it’s been a while and the lineup for Mad Cool festival is crazy. I hope we get to watch The Cure. Mad Cool was very - very - hot last summer. How do you all deal with the heat? Oli [Holbrook, drummer] moans a lot, I tour manage everyone shade and trees to sit under but I’m a bit of a sun worshipper and will happily lounge out in the park.
You’re also playing an Oasis cover set later this year - what are your favourite Oasis songs? Oli: ‘Stand By Me’ for the chill vibes. Em [Foster, guitar]: ‘Champagne Supernova’ because it’s a builder and the melody is good. It’s got the emotional weight to it and is super well written. Becky: ‘What’s The Story (Morning Glory)’ holds a place in my heart as it comes with good memories of learning guitar as a teenager with my friend who lived down the road and playing along to his mini disc player! And do you have your parkas ready? The parkas will be out in full force.
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11th - 13th July, Trenčín Airport
Liam Gallagher, The 1975 and Skepta are the big names at this year’s event, with Mac DeMarco, Death Grips, Sofi Tukker, LIFE and Show Me The Body also all Slovakia-bound for a festival that also includes panels with titles such as ‘Humorous Backstage Talk’, ‘When You Want To Get Off Your Skin’ and ‘Adventure of a Flax Seed’.
Q&A: DREAM WIFE The ‘Wives have been hard at work in the studio after a Really Quite Busy year - now they’re excited to return to the road. Hello, Dream Wife! We’ve seen you’ve been in the studio - how is the new material coming along? Yes we are! Last year started with us releasing our debut album, and we pretty much toured the whole year. It was a whirlwind. I think we counted it at Christmas, in total we’d played 150
shows all over the world. We met many people that we connected with through music and were inspired by conversations, experiences and just living this road life. We’ve now taken time off from touring to be able to put these ideas into songs and also to relax, see family and friends. When you can pause, breathe, that’s when the creative flow can start again. Writing again has been a pure joy and we’re excited for the next phase. We’re gonna keep on writing a bit more though, it’s too fun to stop just right now. Presumably it’s been exciting to return to the stage? Even though we’ve been enjoying writing and
staying still we’re beyond excited for the summer festival runs to start! The live show is how we started and nothing really beats the energy, freedom, thrill of connecting with a live audience. Playing some of the new songs that are still in the early writing stages live for the first time to the crowds, testing out the feels, it’s a rush! We know it’s a good song if the audience is already singing along to it even though they’ve never heard it before, or a mosh pit has started and the energy levels are high! It’s the best way to see if they’ll make the cut to a record. The reaction we’ve had so far has really taken us by surprise, in a very good way.
Have you ever played in Slovakia before? It’s our first time! Have always wanted to, so we’re thrilled we got invited. Bring it! Because we sure will. The word ‘pohoda’ roughly translates to ‘relax’: what are Dream Wife’s favourite ways to relax? We love hanging in parks with friends. There are so many nice green spaces around London. And of course the old graveyards. That’s a very nice way to relax: going to the graveyard for a picnic.
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10th - 14th July, Dour
A$AP Rocky, Vince Staples, Action Bronson and Skepta are among the names headed to the Belgian event this month which also boasts BATTLES, Fontaines DC, Death Grips, Octavian and Tirzah - plus DJ sets from Disclosure, Bonobo and Objekt among others.
Q&A: METRONOMY Main man Joe Mount talks returning to Belgium, and why you should never go near the rum and raisin *anything*. You’ve already played a few festivals this summer - it must be nice to have been able to bring new songs along. It’s amazing. Sometimes it’s not very cool to play new songs, like it’s not very fair on the crowd, but they’re going down really well, so yeah, it’s nice to be doing it. ...and as we speak you’re literally at a festival! Yes, a festival called Jazzablanca, guess where it is?! Where’s the strangest place you’ve played a festival? The nicest weird place is probably here, it’s a racecourse in Casablanca which I guess is quite unusual. What has been your previous experience of playing in Belgium?
It’s funny because you’ve got two different parts of Belgium, the French bit and the Flemish bit. The first part we played was the French bit, near Brussels, and the first time we went there it was the biggest show we’d ever done, so they’ve got an odd liking for us, the Belg-ers. And we’ve played at Dour before, and we associate it with playing some of the best, fun shows. Obviously your new single is about an ice cream flavour - what are your other favourite ice cream flavours? Where to begin...? I always instinctively go for chocolate, but as a child I went through a massive mint choc chip phase, I used to find it absolutely delicious. So chocolate is the top one, I like coffee, and obviously salted caramel. However, I detest rum and raisin. It’s just the raisins to me that seem odd. I used to work in a fudge shop, and we’d sell rum and raisin fudge and basically all the crumbs of fudge would get put into the rum and raisin. So for me, you hide things in rum and raisin-flavoured stuff.
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26th - 28th July, Hill Farm, Steventon
With headliners Wolf Alice, Foals and Two Door Cinema Club, Oxford’s Truck is definitely the most indie of all the festivals this summer. IDLES, Shame, Whenyoung, Sports Team, The Japanese House, Heavy Lungs, The Murder Capital… when the times get announced, it’s bound to be clash central. And that’s before Barry from Eastenders - actual Barry from Eastenders - takes on Barryoke (no, really).
Q&A KATE NASH
Q&A: SPECTOR Frontman Fred Macpherson spills on what the Londoners have been up to - and why he won’t be going near any agriculture any time soon. Hello, Spector! You’ve not-long released a new single: tell us about it! It’s called ‘I Won’t Wait’ and people seem into it which is nice. We’ve released a couple of EPs over the last year or so but now it feels like we’re warming up to something. I’m not sure what yet but I feel something on the horizon. I’ve even heard it on the radio which is a bit of a surprise. …we assume there’s more to come? Yeah we’re in the studio right this second actually working on the next one. Rich Turvey’s producing - this Scouser who’s so into making indie bangers he’s almost getting us back into it. What else have you been up to? I’ve been writing with other people and doing a project with Cav from Swim Deep called Low Spirits. And trying to complete Dark Souls. And
going to Glastonbury to watch the Bootleg Beatles. You’ve also announced a pretty massive UK tour - any towns/cities you’re particularly looking forward to returning to? There are places on this tour like Plymouth and Falmouth that I’m not sure we’ve ever even played. But there are a few places like York, Hull and Bath that we haven’t been back to for years which should be fun. And Leicester has this crazy prog rock mailorder place called Ultima Thule that you have to go to by appointment only. Always a tour highlight. Judging from this year’s lineup, Truck is the indiest of all the festivals: how indie are the respective members of Spector, on a scale from one to Alex Turner’s perpetually lost train of thought? Hmmm. I’d say I’m the most indie. It’s a blessing and a curse. Then probably Shaun [Paterson] who plays bass with us now ‘cause he plays bass with Jamie T and Baxter Dury too so that’s pretty indie. Then Jed [Cullen] who’s not that indie but he’s third because Danny Blandy’s by far the least indie. Despite being from the steel city like Turner himself. It’s on a farm - are any of you equipped to chip in if there are any agricultural chores needing doing? I’ve milked a cow before, but to be honest I met a girl at uni whose boyfriend died in a grain mixer during the Christmas break. After that ‘Groovy Train’ is about as close as I get to the farm. 29
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10th - 14th July, Standon Lordship
Disco vibes are quite literally the order of the day in Hertfordshire as Nile Rodgers & Chic are one of the event’s headliners on a bill that also features Friendly Fires and Róisín Murphy. Wolf Alice, IDLES, Echo & The Bunnymen and The Big Moon are also among those appearing across the weekend. Plus, Finn The Police Dog - responsible for a law protecting service animals - is receiving the first ever Calling For The Community award.
Q&A: KATE NASH Not content with being a top music ledge and telly star, Kate Nash is now the star of her own documentary: Underestimate The Girl is streaming on BBC iPlayer. Ahead of her slot at Standon Calling, she tells us more.
Your documentary is now out! What period of time does it follow? 2014-2017 or 18. Was that when you began self-releasing? Yeah, it’s kind of explaining my journey with what happened to me during those years. I won’t say too much about it... …so shit gets dark? Doesn’t it always in the music business?! Yeah, but it’s not a tragic story or anything - I mean I’m fine! I’m doing well! The BBC were really excited about it because they were like ‘there are so many female tragedies’. I mean, most female music documentaries are tragedies. It’s definitely 30 DIYMAG.COM
[a story] of triumph, and of determination. And it shows vulnerability as well, talking about some issues that happened, the way the music industry is at the moment, things that’ve happened many times over. I think most people are afraid of showing - it’s not the right word, but failure. Things that go wrong, when stuff gets fucked up and you’re not feeling it. You’ve got to show behind the curtain for any change to happen. You’re also playing a lot of festivals this summer - that’s got to be fun now you’ve got so many songs? I get so nervous about festivals though! More nervous than I used to be. We rehearsed like 60 songs or something in rehearsal for our American tour and we were like ‘fuck, we need to nail this down’. But it is quite exciting, a festival is about doing a hit list, and you can have an hour and it’s how do you structure it? You want to take the crowd on a journey, but it’s a quick one. You don’t know what you’re walking in to each time - it’s not your show, you can’t curate anything about your set. The sound is usually shit, you have to completely let go of having control of anything and work the audience.
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NEWS IN BRIEF
14th July, Gunnersbury Park, London
If the expectation to hear a little more of Friendly Fires’ forthcoming third ‘Inflorescent’ wasn’t enough, then massive sets from Fontaines DC, Dream Wife, Squid and Bastille should be to drag Londoners across the city to Gunnersbury Park, where Citadel returns for a second year. There’s also a Space Quiz, comedy including Bridget Christie, and a whole stage for spandex, apparently.
THE MURDER CAPITAL Between leaving tour managers behind and seeing heroes in the flesh, drummer Diarmuid Brennan reflects on the Dubliners’ festival season so far. Hello, The Murder Capital! What’s new in your world? We’re just back from playing Rock Werchter and Metropolis Festival which were both great experiences. We really enjoyed the new Paul Thomas Anderson [and Thom Yorke!] short ANIMA. That opening sequence is what it’s like trying to get some sleep in a tour van. We’re knee-deep into festival season now - what’s the best and worst thing to happen during it so far? Seeing Tony Allen and
Paul Simonon up close at Rock Werchter. I’m a big fan of both Afrobeat and the music of The Clash, so seeing two musicians known from two different worlds making music was fantastic. It’s a very unique and understated rhythm section that Damon Albarn has curated for The Good, The Bad and The Queen. The worst thing was probably the van breaking down returning from The Netherlands. It turned out to be a bigger job than expected so we had to leave our tour manager behind in Stafford to get it fixed while we got the train to the ferry to Dublin home. He might still be there? Which member of the band is most likely to participate in Citadel’s ‘Mass Yoga Stretch’? All of us do like a good stretch. You can expect Irv [guitarist Damien Tuit] there, he can manage to touch his toes.
The Big Moon, Sports Team, Lady Bird and Just Mustard are among the first names for this year’s NEIGHBOURHOOD (12th October). Ten Tonnes, Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard and Bloxx are also on the bill for the Manchester event. JUNGLE and Johnny Marr have been added to Nile Rodgers’ MELTDOWN (3rd - 11th August) at the Southbank Centre. Kero Kero Bonito, Nakhane and Viagra Boys will also play. Talk Show, Orville Peck and Wooze have joined the VISIONS (5th August) bill, joining acts including SQUID, ICEAGE and Black Country, New Road. ICELAND AIRWAVES (6th - 9th November) have added artists including John Grant, Just Mustard, Snapped Ankles to a bill which already boasts Shame, Georgia, Boy Azooga and Whitney.
The Nude Party: ready for their big break.
North Carolina’s Southern-fried rock’n’rollers are doing it the old fashioned way, picking up some notable mates in the process. Words: Lisa Wright.
“I would be so scared if we’d just met and put out one single that hit, and then we were on a big fucking stage,” theorises Patton Magee, The Nude Party’s oh-soSouthern singer, with a drawl. “I would be terrified. I’m glad to have had six years together of forming tightly and having horrible times and really great times. Man, we’ve probably played maybe 1,000 shows together... We’ve played So. Many. Fucking. Shows. I feel a lot more comfortable doing big things now.”
Today, we find the band – completed by guitarist Shaun Couture, keyboardist Don Merrill, Alec Castillo (bass), Connor Mikita (drums) and Austin Brose (percussion) - soaking up the sun at Victoria Park’s All Points East, about to soundcheck ahead of their set playing before the likes of The Strokes, Interpol and Parquet Courts. They’re undeniably on a pretty “big fucking stage” today but, as the singer notes, though their twanging, Stones-meets-Velvet-Underground swagger is only just starting to land on
UK shores, back home they’ve been at this shit for years. Meeting at college in their hometown of Boone, the group of pals barely had any musical experience between them but bonded over a mutual love of ‘Bad Moon Rising’ country-tinged ‘70s gang Creedence Clearwater Revival. “We all got together at this lake house that Alec’s parents had one summer,” recalls Shaun. “Connor had never played drums before, Alec had never played bass, Don was just learning keys and we all bought instruments at the same time, put them in a room and thought, well cool, a band sounds fun.” “We’d only have four songs written, but four songs meant we knew four riffs and we’d just play them loud and quiet and get really drunk,” Patton grins. “We started as really low-brow entertainment for parties.” Like a particularly naughty mirror to humanity, the sextet first emerged into the world naked and howling; unlike most, however, they were also hammered and pissing off a load of techno DJs. “We thought it would be funny [to play shows in the nude]. And it made people pay a lot more attention to us,” explains the singer. “Business owners tended to react more negatively. Homophobes didn’t love it.
“We started as really low-brow entertainment for parties.” Patton Magee Other than that, responses were very positive... I remember a few times though, dudes would want to start DJing house music at these parties. There were multiple times when we’d be playing and a DJ would be like, ‘Yo, I’m setting up my stuff’ and we’d just be like, ‘Cool’ and then play one riff for an hour just to rile them up.” “We were just smart asses. We wouldn’t leave the stage. None of our friends at these parties wanted to hear fucking dubstep anyway...” chuckles Shaun. Learning simultaneously from the ground up - whether that be how to play their wares or how not to get punched clearly fused them together strongly from the start. Now, all looking like they’ve been spat out from a vintage thrift shop and finishing off each others’ sentences, The Nude Party are unmistakably a gang - a band, in its truest sense. “It’s like when you grow a vine around a stick. If you planted five vines around a pole, it’d all grow that way,” theorises Patton. “That’s nice, man,” nods Shaun, patting his friend on the back. Despite their unshowy beginnings and lack of calculated game plan, progress has slowly and then increasingly quickly come their way. Last summer, the band released their self-titled debut LP, spawning an anthem for any young, broke creatives sticking two fingers up to The Man
in the sarcastic ‘Chevrolet Van’ (“You’ll never make enough money / And no one cares about the things you say/ You’re gonna wake up someday / And you’ll wish you got a job”). “The song to me is like looking at the very real possibility of failure and saying, ‘So what?’,” explains Patton. “It’s better to strike out than not to play at all.” And a pretty impressive roster of new fans have gone up to bat for The Nude Party in response. Earlier in the year, the band went on tour in support of Jack White, while one Mr. Alex Turner recently named ‘Chevrolet Van’ as one of his favourite songs. “I think Alex did us a big solid in saying that because I’ve had like, 150 English people bring that up to me,” laughs the singer. “So big ups to Arctic Monkeys.” Going from playing “literally everywhere, in so many shitholes” (“We opened for karaoke in El Paso, Texas one time,” Shaun grimaces, “a karaoke night that no one went to. It was just us singing karaoke drunk after we played to nobody”) to travelling across the Atlantic and getting the nod from some of modern music’s biggest icons, The Nude Party are testament to the power of working hard, playing hard and giving a little cheek when necessary. “Now, we’re anything but grateful for the bigger things that come to us,” nods Shaun solemnly. “Anything but?” quizzes his friend. “Shit, I meant only grateful,” laughs the guitarist. “Yeah, this sucks!” DIY 33
The Charli XCX-masterminded girl band, out to take over the world. Words: Elly Watson. If you’ve been anywhere near Charli XCX’s socials for the last few months, you’re likely to recognise the name Nasty Cherry. Having teased them on her Twitter and Instagram, the four-piece transatlantic group came about following Charli’s master plan to create a girl band. Calling on her musical mates, she recruited her own former drummer Debbie Knox-Hewson and fellow Brit bassist Georgia Somary alongside US pals Gabriette Bechtel and guitarist Chloe Chaidez to put her scheme into action.
Instantly bonding as soon as they met and with tons of hype online - so much so that even Halsey took to Twitter to ask “Who the fuck are Nasty Cherry?” - the group sold out LA’s Moroccan Lounge before any music had even been heard. “People really got behind the project and the concept,” singer Gabi says, detailing the fortunate side effect of having one of the biggest pop artists in the world openly stan your band. “And also with Charli, I think when she hit me up about the idea of the band and the fact that she had a vision for it, I knew that it would be cool. It made me want to get involved; if she gets behind something, people expect it to be good.” And so Nasty Cherry was officially born, introducing themselves to the world on New Year’s Day with a tweet proclaiming “WE’RE NASTY CHERRY AND WE’RE THE BEST BAND OF 2019”. With only two tracks released to date – the snarling pop of debut ‘Win’, complete with Gabi’s take-no-shit vocals and lyrics about not being a walkover, and sultry shoegaze bop ‘What Do You Like In Me?’ - it might be a slightly lofty assertion, but with each small milestone, they’re inching closer to that goal. Yes, they might have the backing of a few famous mates, but there’s audible talent behind the Twitter frenzy too. Both of these early releases are hard-hitting songs that pack a punch; with them, the girls explain, they’re aiming to empower people through their music. “I completely opened my internal diary and wrote about things that I probably told no one about,” Gabi nods. “That was a freeing experience for me, and maybe it helped other people listening to the music feel that way.” Keeping quiet about what’s next (bar the fact that it’s “really exciting”), Nasty Cherry might be staying cagey for now, but there’s little doubt that the self-styled ‘band of the year’ have got some equally big plans. If you’re still questioning who the fuck they are, it’s time to start cribbing up. DIY
“People were already keen to get behind it before they even knew they liked it!” - Gabriette Bechtel 34 DIYMAG.COM
Imperial Teen Now We Are Timeless
Gauche A People’s History of Gauche
Titus Andronicus An Obelisk
Fruit Bats Gold Past Life
The Mountain Goats In League with Dragons
New albums from Merge Records
Undone at 31
More from Merge: Superchunk Acoustic Foolish | Apex Manor Heartbreak City | Ex Hex It’s Real Ibibio Sound Machine Doko Mien | Telekinesis Effluxion Bob Mould Sunshine Rock | A Merge Group Plays “Heroes” mergerecords.com | Available wherever records are sold 35
OSCAR LANG Dirty Hit’s newest has also made his mark with Beabadoobee and girl in red. Always ones to discover some of the most youthful musical talents out there, Dirty Hit have done it again with 18-year-old Oscar Lang. Not only has the Londoner already racked up two albums (‘Teenage Hurt’ and ‘Silk’), as well as working with Beabadoobee and girl in red. But he’s now offered up the rather wonderfully titled ‘bops etc’ EP, which is full of exactly those: immediate earworms, delivered with a cheeky wink, which are more than enough to make you crack a wry smile. Listen: The warped synth pop of ‘Hey’, feat. pal Alfie Templeman Similar to: Rex Orange County’s next in line.
FAMILY TIME Country-hopping duo, making smooth grooves to woo wherever they go. London duo Family Time first came to our attention at the tail end of last year with the release of ‘Magic Abyss Hotel’ - a track they’d demoed while posing as a covers band at a Mallorca holiday resort. As you do. More recently (and now splitting their time between London and Berlin), they’ve unveiled follow up ‘The Grand Collide’ - a swooning, swooping slice of Mac DeMarco-esque honeyed good vibes, and proof that the charm of their debut was no one-off. Playing a sporadic string of shows in the UK capital, catch them before they upsticks again. Listen: ‘The Grand Collide’, on a deckchair, whilst cracking open a tinny. Similar to: The heady, hazy sound of a sun-baked summer romance.
JOHN EATHERLY Former Public Access TV singer, turned solo crooner. Best known as the frontman of strutting New York indie kids Public Access TV, the return of John Eatherly as a doe-eyed, more electronic-leaning crooner might surprise some, but there are threads and bridges between the two guises to be found in every sparkling hook. ‘All My Love’ might have slowed down the tempo by half, but there’s a sleepy romance reminiscent of prime time Smith Westerns at its core; this is still music for the indie disco, it’s just the end-of-night slow dance instead of the rowdy bop. Listen: ‘All My Love’ is music to grab your crush to and hold them close. Similar to: The sweetest bits of PATV, given room to breathe.
RECOMMENDED THE PARANOYDS LA-based garage-rock quartet, striding through life with a riff and a wink. Throw back to near the start of the decade, when a host of infinitely unfuckable-with types with guitars were ruling the roost. From Dum Dum Girls to Crocodiles and more, theirs was a sound that mixed no frills garage rock with a darker heart: stupidly cool, but not all that fun. Skip forwards to LA’s The Paranoyds, and you get the result of if those sonic ingredients were doused with some colour and pizazz. Riffy, prowling but with a twinkle in its eye. Listen: Forthcoming debut ‘Carnage Bargain’ lands in September; for now, try ‘Girlfriend Degree’. Similar to: Cherry Glazerr x The B52s. 36 DIYMAG.COM
All the buzziest new music happenings, in one place.
PLAYLIST Every week on Spotify, we update DIY’s Neu Discoveries playlist with the buzziest, freshest faces. Here’s our pick of the best new tracks:
BUZZARD BUZZARD BUZZARD ‘Daffodil Hill’ AC BLISS
South London’s Jerkcurb - aka Jacob Read - has announced plans to release his debut album ‘Air Con Eden’ later this year: his first fulllength is set to be released on 13th September via Handsome Dad.
Trippy Liverpool quartet with
YELLOW DAYS ‘Just When’
a bag full of glitchy bangers and a nod from Jai Paul. Remember when you first heard JUNGLE and you knew there was something there that could (and would go onto) be massive? That’s the same feeling you get upon hearing Liverpool quartet Chinatown Slalom. They don’t sound anything alike - this lot have more in common with The Beta Band, or Superorganism, a kind of trippy, glitchy take on psychpop - but there’s a similar sense of excitement there, bubbling under both. Take recent single ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ - probably the only track to clear a Jai Paul sample (rare) and bring to mind Chris Tarrant that you’re likely to hear. Listen: Debut album / mixtape / whatever ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ is out in full now. Similar to: If Superorganism got rid of the gimmicks and just streamlined the good bits.
Commissioned by actor Michael Sheen to record the official song of the upcoming Homeless World Cup, ‘Daffodil Hill’ packs a suitable sense of joyfulness.
PRETTY HANDY Aussie quartet Body Type have shared a new video for ‘EP2’ standout ‘Insomnia’ in the form of a low-budget tour diary, as filmed on “an old film handycam” that Sophie McComish found “at the local junk shop.” Watch it on diymag.com now.
Another smooth, soulful offering to land from George Van Den Broek, ‘Just When’ finds the singer throwing some damn funky bass into the mix. FLOHIO ‘Hell Bent’ Flohio’s hard-hitting new single comes produced by JD. Reid, the man behind slowthai and Skepta’s ‘Inglorious’ and Mabel’s ‘Finders Keepers’. KING PRINCESS ‘Cheap Queen’
THE FEAR The Chats - they of ginger mullets, thudding punk and the viral sensation that was the mighty ‘Smoko’ - have announced plans for a fourteen-date December UK tour. Check out the dates in full on diymag.com.
She may still be yet to release a debut LP, but Mikaela Straus’ latest offering is another slice of self-aware, thoroughly modern brilliance. 37
NEU/LIVE COMPUTER MAGIC, THE MUCKERS, NYSSA The Broadway, NYC. Photos: Emma Swann.
t’s a wet Thursday night on Brooklyn’s less-infamous Broadway, and tonight marks the first results of DIY’s collaboration with New York-based collective Alt Citizen to host three buzzy new acts. If you can picture Savages’ Jehnny Beth giving her best death stare while possessing the pipes of an ‘80s power ballad queen, that’s somewhere in the ballpark of Torontonian producer Nyssa. She’s a compelling presence on stage, her impassioned vocals often adopting a slight country twang - and it’s hard not to crack a smirk as she sings “start your story with a dead girl” over a brief adoption of the Twin Peaks opening theme. Word is most definitely out about The Muckers, meanwhile, as they
MUST-SEE SHOWS Like being the first to see the next big thing? Get ready to brag to your mates about watching this lot before they go big, sell out, and spectacularly break up.
arrive on stage to screams and wolf whistles. There’s a dedicated throng at the front giving it their all to the Brooklyn group’s psych-influenced sound, which both occasionally comes filtered through a ‘90s lens - there’s a hint of baggy to be found- and features a King Gizzard-style wig out to close the set. Which, naturally, is followed by calls for an encore. The final inter-band playlist was curated by headliner Computer Magic’s Danielle Johnson, and her choice of both Italian horror soundtracks and Depeche Mode is, well, pretty spot on. Joined by a live drummer, she’s almost dwarfed by her keyboard stacks - it’s her first time playing with multiple synths, she tells us, during a few technical issues. Still, her sugary vocals float above the atmospheric sounds she fills the room with. (Emma Swann)
SQUID & YOWL
Yelping Brightonian houseplant fans Squid and South London twisted post-punk storytellers Yowl are teaming up for a co-headline at Rough Trade East on 13th July.
The all-singing, all-dancing Aussie trio will be bringing their infectiously giddy live show to Brighton’s Hope & Ruin on 24th July. Expect bizarre headgear, club-worthy moves and bangers to spare.
The Hackney all-dayer (3rd August) boasts a veritable smorgasbord of Neu faves, with Talk Show, Westerman, Black Country, New Road, Squid and Rina Mushonga among those appearing across its various venues. 38 DIYMAG.COM
From Manchester to South London, these Yala!-affiliated young antagonists are causing a stir wherever they land. Words: James Bentley. Photo: Emma Swann.
It’s midday on a Tuesday morning and Harrison Swann is at the laundrette. “I’m staying at my grandparents’ house in Lewisham and the washing machine’s broken. I had to sublet my room ‘cos I’m skint,” the frontman explains. Talk Show have played “something like 20 gigs in 30 days” in the spring, so it’s no surprise the quartet (completed by guitarist Tom Holmes, bassist George Sullivan and drummer Chloe MacGregor) haven’t seen a fiver in weeks. But Harrison’s not the kind of guy to linger on his struggles; “Nobody’s he’s absolutely buzzing at the moment.
Single ‘Fast and Loud’, a jagged postpunk bop inspired by the punk rock poetry of John Cooper Clarke and ‘80s New Wave heavyweights Echo and the Bunnymen, was released in April on Yala!. Harrison and his manager got tattoos to celebrate.
to release your first single’. I was just like, ‘Great! Where do we sign?!’” Brought up near Manchester’s Old Trafford football ground, Harrison spent his teenage years fawning over used vinyl in the Northern Quarter and soaking up the city’s “unavoidable” musical heritage. “I’m a massive fan of The Smiths, but it’s not just Manchester bands that inspired me - it’s the uplifting Scouse indie bands like The La’s, Pale Fountains and Shack, as well.
“Guitar music needed to re-learn a lot of that stuff I think, ‘cos it got so shit when everyone started saying ‘indie’s dead’. There’s ever offered always going to be a core of die hard fans sitting in a dirty corner with an me a better career out-of-fashion genre who just want to alternative than music.” do their own thing, and I think I was one of those people.” - Harrison Swann
“I was talking to my barber Danny who told me his mate runs a label, so he said he’d bring him down to one of our shows,” the singer explains. And the mate in question? “At the end of our set [label-founder and former Maccabee] Felix White just walked straight up to us and said, ‘I want
When he moved to London, it was with the sole intention of starting a band. “Nobody’s ever offered me a better career alternative,” he shrugs. And now? “We’re working on the next single, we’ve just been in the studio. “But for now we’ve got six weeks off to do some life admin,” he nods. “It’s a good time to go to the laundrette and put a wash on.” DIY 39
From difficult break-
ups to unapologetically brilliant romps in the
bedroom, â€˜Any Human Friendâ€™ finds Marika
Hackman with her
heart on her sleeve
and her hand down her pants, digging deep
into the possibilities of love and sex.
Words: El Hunt.
Photos: Ed Miles.
Creative direction: Louise Mason.
few months ago on a leafy street in Peckham, Marika Hackman caused quite a stir. Concerned residents crowded around their doorways, watching in mild horror as the unflinching musician was walloped across the face by a long procession of spurned lovers, her underwear hung nearby from a tree after being hurled out of an upstairs window. Later on, she was seen trudging wearily down the middle of the road drenched in tomato juice. To an unsuspecting onlooker, it must’ve resembled the messiest break-up of all time - either that, or a strange remake of the noughties music video for Frankee’s middle-finger-up pop anthem ‘F U Right Back’. “Someone tweeted ‘Marika Hackman is being slapped on my doorstep right now’,” the slappee in question laughs today. “People started coming home from work around 5pm. They were all standing in the street, like, ‘what is going on?’” Thankfully, they were witnessing the video shoot for Marika’s first single - the twanging emotional-detachment banger ‘i’m not where you are’ - rather than an episode of EastEnders rendered real. Since her game-changing second record ‘I’m Not Your Man’ - a riff-slathered gear shift from an artist with previous groundings in intricate, pastoral folk - Marika Hackman has played the role of the swaggering, egotistical fuck-boy very well. On ‘My Lover Cindy’ (named after a minor character from lesbian TV show The L Word) she boasted of being a “greedy pig” who’s gonna get her fill, self-deprecating and aggrandising at the same time. ‘Boyfriend’ saw her copping off with an anonymous man’s girlfriend, and sardonically reciting the myths of heteronormativity in a cool, piss-taking drawl. “It’s fine ‘cause I am just a girl, it’s just a dream,” she beams angelically. “A woman really needs a man to make her scream.” It was quite the sideways swerve from her delicately-spun 2015 debut ‘We Slept At Last’ - at first glance. However, in truth, Marika’s always had a fixation with the grotesque. Return back to the strange hungry mouths that lingered on her debut, and a similar darkness hangs in the shadows. If the deliciously sarcastic chorus of ‘Open Wide’ - “What’s your favourite game to play / Lying on your back all day?” - isn’t intended as a jab at pillow queens and selfish bedfellows, then it certainly should be. It’s not that Marika Hackman keeps continually changing; rather, she becomes ever more direct in her approach. “‘I’m Not Your Man’ was a very important album for me to make,” she says of her second record. “The growth in confidence
on the last record was definitely a huge thing. I’ve stepped up again on this one.”
hink of a guitar-wielding lothario, and a pouting Mick Jagger type will probably spring to mind: they will almost certainly be male. That’s because the cocky, exaggerated, sexually-free persona with a creased suit and popped collar is rarely inhabited by women, at least in the sphere of rock. It’s also a role that ‘Any Human Friend’ playfully embraces and questions at the same time. “It’s a real dig in, looking at the old ego,” Marika says of the record. “There’s a sense of liberation, a sense of sexual freedom, and being a solo entity again - and working out what that means.” It’s an exaggerated reflection of Marika Hackman’s own life; over the last year or so, she’s been piecing herself together after her break-up with fellow musician Amber Bain (otherwise known as The Japanese House). Ending their four-year relationship felt like a “big upheaval,” Marika says. “Moving house and everything, and then having to write a record and actually do this, with my head all over the place...” she continues, gazing down into her mug, “I was feeling so anxious all of the time. It got quite a lot.” Some people bounce back from a break-up by listening to Robyn’s ‘Dancing on my Own’ at full pelt, necking whiskey shots, or chopping themselves a wonky new fringe with kitchen scissors. Marika? She took up swimming. Every morning before sitting down to write - rain or shine - she would walk for an hour down Regents Canal, and go for a dip at London Fields’ outdoor lido. She prefers the chilly days best; hard as nails, she’s even swum in a snow blizzard. “The pool was just empty, and it felt so still,” she says. “That’s my favourite time. I think it kept my brain on track.” Intensifying the process even further, Marika also switched up her approach to the album. Treating the studio like a second swimming pool, ‘Any Human Friend’ was recorded in multiple dives. After a short burst of deep-digging, she and producer David Wrench would take her material into the studio; a week later, more writing, more excavation, more burrowing right to the bottom. “There was no brain respite through the whole thing,” she says. Going through all the shades of the last year, it’s about peeling back, and digging in and in. “That incredibly hot summer [last year] was spent alone in my bedroom, or in a windowless studio with David. I hate hot weather anyway,” she groans, “so last year was just killer. I’d be in my room in a vest and boxers, sweating at my desk and stealing my housemate’s fan. I had to turn it off for vocal takes, and the room would heat up again,” she adds, looking pained.
â€œI think we need more wank anthems, especially for women.â€? 43
A striking mental image, and very far removed from the smooth-operating seducer who prowls through the record’s raunchiest numbers (more on those very shortly). “That’s the dark side of rock n’ roll,” deadpans Marika in response.
rowing up, Marika always knew she wanted to make music: “In my heart of hearts I always knew I wanted to be a musician and I got a bit embarrassed to say it,” she admits. As a kid, she and her brother spent their days running around the countryside in elaborate costumes; during one more memorable phase, Marika had a habit of carrying a black suitcase everywhere she went. “There was a fully black outfit inside, and a BB gun. A compass, a little penknife, and lots of documents that I printed off with loads of gibberish written on there. I made an ID card. I really wanted to be a spy.” But can you keep a secret, Marika? “Umm…” she pauses, mulling it over. “I can keep a secret, but I can’t tell a lie,” she decides. “I’m the worst liar in the world, which is quite nice.”
Marika’s pitch at the jumble sale wasn’t going so well…
Perhaps that goes some way to explaining why Marika Hackman’s music is so searingly honest. Nothing - not even its creator - escapes examination. Take the bouncy stabs of ‘come undone’ as one example. “I mean, the lyrics are quite disgusting - I’m not proud of myself,” she says, typically candid. “I think that I love her, but I’m fucking another,” she adds, reciting the chorus. “That’s not a nice thing to write, sing, or hear, but it’s still a reflection of human experience. The record isn’t all ‘ooo, sexy sexy sex!’” Marika protests. “Sex can be this passionate moment, but also something that’s treated with derision, or a bit gross. Gross sexy. Funny sexy. I can’t wait to sing some of these lyrics live,” she comments, “and really inhabit that role.”
“Yep,” she concurs, smiling.
‘Any Human Friend’ often gets a bit hot under the collar. Unlike the metaphoric throbbing howls of her previous record’s “saucy” number ‘Violet’, the grunge-laced ‘all night’ leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. “We go down on one another, you’re my favourite kind of lover,” she sings, “With your kissing, fucking / Kiss it, fuck it.” That’s a chorus that certainly, er, stands out.
That second lightening-quick line introduces a familiar comment that many LGBT+ people will recognise - the damaging myth that women’s sexuality ‘doesn’t count’ for anything unless it actively involves and gratifies men. “This idea that you haven’t lost your virginity unless you have sex with a guy…” Marika nods. “Well, how do you define having sex? What actually is sex? A line like that is definitely
And ‘hand solo’, if you hadn’t already guessed, has nothing to do with Star Wars. Instead, it’s a song about having - and let’s not mince our words here - an absolutely massive wank. Besides the surreal imagery painted across the song (much of it is abstract and fleshy: “My finger touch / I’ve been feeling stuff / Dark meat / Skin pleat / I’m working” she sings) the song also introduces the shame usually associated with women’s self-pleasure, before tearing it down with wry accuracy. “When I go blind, will you keep in mind I had fun?” Marika asks in one verse, referencing Victorian attitudes towards masturbation. “I gave it all, but under patriarchal law I’m gonna die a virgin.”
“I mean, the lyrics are quite disgusting - I’m not proud of myself...” 45
political. There, I know exactly what I’m doing,” she says, sticking up her middle finger and blowing a forceful raspberry. Message received.
“I’ve only watched it a couple of times,” she adds with a chortle. “I can’t do it too much. My mum was like, ‘don’t watch it anymore’. It’s intense!”
“I think we need more wank anthems, especially for women,” she adds cheerily. “The more the merrier, that’s how I feel.”
“Amber’s heard the whole record, and I know she struggled with ‘send my love’ for a bit, because it’s quite sad. Seeing her shows, too, it can be hard to hear particular songs. But the reason it’s emotional is because it’s achieving what it set out to achieve. That’s incredible. We both feel that about each other’s work,” she concludes.
Though ‘Any Human Friend’ is a deeply personal record - unpicking everything from being a straight person’s experiment, to the bleak and final intimate moment of ‘send my love’ - Marika also acknowledges that, standing shoulder to shoulder with an outpouring of other queer experiences told by numerous other musicans’ work, her music becomes part of something larger. “Power in numbers is a thing,” she agrees. “This is my life. But sharing that, and knowing there are people out there who maybe haven’t heard that voice before - I certainly didn’t, growing up - is a nice feeling.” “We’re not in a happy, perfect place by any shot,” she adds, pondering further. “Things are getting better, maybe, but then two women get beaten up on a bus for not kissing and being performative for some male fetishisation of their sexuality,” she says, referring to an attack that took place in Camden this year. Carried out by a group of teenage boys, aged between 15 and 18, the assault hit national headlines, and highlighted exactly why children should be taught about LGBT+ issues in schools. “There has to be a push back, and you have to force that pendulum the other way.”
n the run-up to finishing ‘Any Human Friend’, Marika shared more of herself than ever before. Around six months after she and Amber split up, The Japanese House began work on the visuals for her own single ‘Lilo’. A brutal dedication, the song charts the pair’s relationship from start to finish: the excitement of their first meeting through to a slow, fizzling, falling out of love. Amber’s initial plan for the video was to act out specific moments from their relationship alongside an actor; “The whole time,” Marika says, “I was thinking it should be me”. When the original casting pulled out, she didn’t hesitate to get involved. It’s an incredibly bold owning of a personal narrative, from both artists. “I think afterwards, we both felt quite shellshocked,” Marika says. “It was maybe a step back emotionally for both of us. We still hang out all the time, and we felt like we were doing fine, and then you spend three days on a shoot having to act like you’re in a couple. That’s quite triggering. We spoke about it, and a month later it was fine again,” she says. The pair have remained friends. “To go through that was hard, but I’m really proud of what Amber achieved. I think it’s a really powerful video. It was a rare opportunity, I reckon.”
Emerging the other side, after a muddled year of freezing swimming pools, self-examination, and learning to be alone, ‘Any Human Friend’ craves connection. By the end, it settles on a sort of rebirth, and a curiosity for everything that life has to offer, instead. “I want to be a newborn,” hums the morose orchestral wave of ‘hold on’.”Reprise of the child, I’m tired.”
A PIG LOVE-IN
Here’s a fun fact you might not know about Marika Hackman: a pig called Chessie once gnawed at her eyebrow, and she’s still got the scar. Is ‘Any Human Friend’’s cover star any relation to the OG? This is a fresh pig that I’ve never met before. Six weeks old. We actually had two they don’t like being alone, so we had two little piglets hanging out together. The one that’s on the cover is the girl pig. She fell asleep in my arms, and the pig handler had to try and wake her up. Yes, there was a pig handler! It’s quite an elaborate process getting a pig for a shoot. They were really well behaved, though one did wee on me. I think they pooed on me as well, but they can’t help it! They like to be warm, too, otherwise they get a bit stressed. Me and the little pig became friends. She was coming up to me and trying to get on my lap, and biting my toes. I think I made a connection with her.”
On the sleeve of ‘Any Human Friend’, Marika is standing in nothing but Y-fronts and a pair of bunched up socks, clutching a tiny piglet in her arms. It’s inspired by the Dutch photographer Rineke Dijkstra, best known for her images of new mothers holding their tiny babies. “They’re really stark shots, warm at the same time, and kind of funny, too - just these knackered mums holding their weird, gnarled babies, who always look like aliens-slash-old-people. They’re in post-labour pants with the pads and stuff.” “Obviously this isn’t about me being a new mum,” she adds. “It’s about my album and what that is. Having a little piglet represents a lot of that. Pigs are super clever, they’re really clean, they’re quite sexual beasts, but we treat them as if they’re gross and dumb, and we eat them, and treat them really badly,” Marika says. “Pig is an insult.” “I really didn’t want to create an image that was sexual in any way - even though it’s a sexual record,” she adds. “The sexuality of the record is from a very raw, open perspective. Yes, I’m in my giant pants, but I’m just going to stand here,” she states. “That’s exactly how the record feels to me. Take it or leave it.” Take it or leave it also feels like a fitting mantra for the art that Marika is creating as a whole. Unafraid of examining her own flaws with scalpel-like dissection (she refers to herself as “arrogant” three seperate times in conversation) and playing the hammed-up villain to magnify them even further, the brilliance of ‘Any Human Friend’ lies in how it captures mangled, messy emotion, and dollops it up without a filter. ‘Any Human Friend’ is out 9th August via AMF. DIY
They say you should never meet your heroes, but we say balls to that – surely only good things can come from some of music’s wise older owls passing on their experiences and teaching the next generation a thing or two. That’s why, on the cusp of releasing 15th album ‘King’s Mouth’, we decided to loop The Flaming Lips’ leader Wayne Coyne up with Swim Deep (themselves re-entering the ring with new album ‘Emerald Classics’ on the way) for a chat. Here’s what happened when we handed our interviewing baton over to the Birmingham quintet...
Interviewed by Swim Deep They say you should never meet your heroes, but we say balls to that: surely only good things can come from some of music’s wise older owls passing on their experiences and teaching the next generation a thing or two. That’s why, on the cusp of releasing 15th album ‘King’s Mouth’, we decided to loop The Flaming Lips’ leader Wayne Coyne up with Swim Deep (themselves re-entering the ring with new album ‘Emerald Classics’ on the way) for a chat. Here’s what happened when we handed our interviewing baton over to the Birmingham quintet...
Wayne Coyne [The Flaming Lips]: I’m driving at the moment so I just need to pull over so the police don’t think I’m endangering some family driving through Oklahoma City. James Balmont [Swim Deep]: Sounds like a good idea. We’ve just got back from Birmingham where we were playing some shows this week and I managed to crash the van on the way back so yes, definitely pull over. Wayne: It’s so hot, it’s like OH MY GOD SOMETHING’S GONE WRONG it’s so hot. But anyway: BLAM! Lets do this! Cav [McCarthy, Swim Deep]: You’ve been in The Flaming Lips for over 35 years now, what advice do you have for a band like Swim Deep who have only been together for a measly 8 years? Wayne: Well that’s already quite a long time. In the beginning, it’s very much like being in a gang with your buddies, like a street gang or a motorcycle gang. But at the end of the day it’s really got to be about the music. All that camaraderie and stuff is fun, but you have to really be in love with creating music. And if you’re not, you might get to fulfil all those fantasies, but it won’t be enough. Being with the lads and going on all these adventures is fun but it wears off -
you can’t keep doing all these things and get the feeling that it’s something new every time. Cav: Maybe it’s about getting older as well? Wayne: Yeah, well, when you’re in your early twenties there’s probably about a thousand elements that make up your personality and a thousand elements that make up your friend’s personalities, but by the time that you’re about 40, you’ve only got about 50 things. You’ve become more saturated and ‘you’. If there were things when you were younger that you felt you didn’t really like, you’d
the decision making along every step, but it does get very hectic sometimes when people have different ideas about what the best thing to do is. What is it like in The Flaming Lips? Wayne: Yeah, well I think as we went along I gradually became the leader of The Flaming Lips, but that’s only because they want me to be. I never stood up and said ‘I want this role’; it was just one day that everyone else was like, ‘we don’t want to make all these decisions, you do it!’. But for us, when stuff is going really well there doesn’t really need to be a leader. It’s only when things are going badly that you need a leader and that
“Connection is more important than anything else, that’s what makes music the greatest experience ever.” - Wayne Coyne tolerate them, but when you’re 40 you’ll be like, ‘I FUCKING HATE IT!’. It’s definitely bad for a democratic band because some personalities are stronger than others, but that’s the nature of all friendships.
someone’s gotta pick.
James: Swim Deep is very democratic and we’re all involved in a lot of
Wayne: When you’re young and you have new music come out there’s
James: We wanted to ask you about the new album ‘King’s Mouth’. What does new music feel like at this stage of your career?
THE FLAMING LIPS
always that feeling that it’s got to eclipse everything you’ve done previously. It’s not like that anymore. I view it as if you’re an architect and you have a big building in a cool part of town. You can walk through the city and see that there’s this building that people really like, but there’s also this other building down by the river, and that building that houses some families as well. All of them can be powerful and equally meaningful. We’ve always got a couple of albums of stuff on the go at all times. There’s always one song that we’ve finished with and then six months later we’ll get it out again and change it a little bit. It’s like the bird and the egg. An egg looks nothing like a bird, but one day you’ll turn back and the egg will suddenly have hatched and there it is. But inside that egg it’s always working, and it just takes time and small changes can have big outcomes. James: In this age of Spotify, how important do you think it is to make a statement with your musical releases? I almost feel that albums are like chapters of your life. Wayne: The bottom line is you’ve just gotta do
what you like. If people wanna just pick one song then let them; if people want to hear the whole thing then let them. I’m compulsive - I want to make a story because I see the characters and the storylines. And at the same time, it’s just a dumb song! None of that really matters! People get so caught up with the importance and preciousness of their ideas, but Steven [Drozd, co-songwriter] and I don’t care so much. Tom [Tomaski, Swim Deep]: I’ve got a tattoo of The Clash. When I was 15, I would spend all my Sunday afternoons with my best mate pretending we were in the band. Why did you get Mick Jones to narrate the record - has he always been a big influence? Wayne: I’ve always loved Mick Jones and The Clash. When we were first starting off, they were already getting ready to break up. We really love that last record ‘Combat Rock’ - when you think how stupid that title is and how perfect it was for that time. I like how they just sang about their own life; it wasn’t the rock star thing to do. They were dorks, I could really relate to that. They were rock stars and then they went home to their mums and stuff. It was punk rock! I love how their records evolved and became all psychedelic and they were really long and weird. They weren’t just trying to make hits.
Illustrations: Wayne Coyne.
Robbie [Wood, Swim Deep]: I came to see The Flaming Lips in Portsmouth when I was 17 and you guys were
my favourite band. We were up by the barrier so we got to come up on stage and dress up and be part of the performance. I was a giant salamander. It was amazing. How does it feel when you hear stuff like that from fans? Wayne: [laughs] That’s awesome! I feel like a lot of the time our audience is musicians and artists and then it feels especially like we understand each other and that it’s all real. I love that feeling. It’s like a drug. It would always be this great fucking troupe of people up there, and often they’re so nervous about being up there that it just adds this energy to it. I can remember when I’d be up there singing, the audience would just be staring at these freaks in these suits ‘cos it’s so fucking real. It’s not Beyoncé’s dancers up there, it’s real fans and real freaks and you can’t fake that excitement. And I think it’s contagious! At the end of the day it’s all about the music and that connection to people that love the music. Because we love the music! And that connection is more important than anything else, that’s what makes music the greatest experience ever. James: Thanks so much for this Wayne, it’s been really great to talk to you. I feel like we could keep going for hours. Wayne: Yeah! Good luck with Swim Deep! ‘King’s Mouth’ is out 19th July via Bella Union. ‘Emerald Classics’ is out 4th October via Pop Committee. DIY
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E Stripping things back to their rawest, most unfiltered form, ‘Twelve Nudes’
finds tackling the world and himself head on, and coming out fighting. Words: Patrick Clarke. Photos: Emma Swann.
ast year, Ezra Furman released ‘Transangelic Exodus’ - a sprawling, shimmering concept record. With it, he set out to provide solace and strength, a voice for the disaffected, and a promise that things will get better. A year later, however, things have only got worse. That sense of resistance has turned to despair; a more primal sense of anger that we cannot simply weather this storm. It's this climate of sheer desperation that informs new album ‘Twelve Nudes’. Where ‘Transangelic Exodus’ was acrobatic and refined, its follow up is searingly raw. It's not even half an hour long, its lyrics doing away with the conceptualism and allegory of its predecessor in favour of direct political missives. Musically, he and his band stay true to relentless punk, his voice a hoarse and uncompromising scream. To put it simply, it gets right to the point. “I never spent as long on anything as I did on 'Transangelic Exodus',” he says. Dressed in pearls and a floral blue dress, Ezra is distant, shy and measured in contrast to the unswerving aggression of his new material. He paints his nails and reads the weekend papers as he speaks, barely making eye contact. “But toward the end of making that I started to listen to punk rock all the time and I was craving a more visceral process, a more thoughtless and body-based process, something less intellectualised or thought over.” The musician’s two most recent records are both political to their core, but in very different ways. His outlook has not exactly changed between the two, but it has intensified, he says. “Even more than before, I feel a sense of emergency about a number of different things - first and foremost in my mind being climate change,” he explains. “Before, I felt like I was spending a lot of time trying to be a voice of consolation to others and myself, saying ‘Hey, things are gonna get better'. But I think I was neglecting the need to really enter the depth of my fear and anger and urgency about how it feels to live in our world. I think there’s merit to really admitting how bad it feels and to then start reacting from there. “In 2016 and 2017 I was seeing so many voices expressing despair and like, an apocalyptic kind of thinking and a ‘give up’ mentality. I felt like being this voice of ‘we’ve got to be positive, we’ve got to be anti-despair’; now I’m feeling the merits of despair.”
zra has dropped the frills, and not just musically. His band, formerly The Visions, The Boy-Friends and The Harpoons, are now unnamed. While in interviews around ‘Transangelic Exodus’ he spoke about a desire to depart from the ‘cartoon character’ version of Ezra Furman that he’d been lumbered with by sections of the media, today he couldn’t care less about the way he’s being presented. “I’m bored with overthinking self-presentation. I mean like, I’ve got records to make and songs to write. That’s how I feel,” he says pointedly. “Our work is writing the songs, doing the records and the performances, not visual gimmicks or cute names and stuff like that.” The urgency and fear that has given rise to ‘Twelve Nudes’ leaves little room for much else. It was recorded quickly in Oakland, purged out as much as it was planned, then made even louder in post-production. “I was screaming out the horror, getting the horrors out, the panic and fear and especially the frustration,” he explains. “A song like ‘My Teeth Hurt’ is just about feeling bad; the release the record provides is admitting that you’re hurting.”
“I think there’s some hope that comes out of confronting a feeling of desperation.” That's not to say, however, that it lacks nuance. On ‘Evening Prayer’, for example, he directs this vitriol at his past self: ‘I wasted my 20s in submission / I thought I was outside the system’. It’s a staggering roar of a vocal, but one beholden to reflectiveness and maturity, as well as rage and despair. “I thought maybe that I could be an artist, and that could be my act of rebellion or nonparticipation. I thought I could skate by,” he reflects. “I really like being older than I used to be.
My 20s were kind of a wreck, especially the first half. I was very unsure about everything and unsure of myself, and hoping I was not making anyone else uncomfortable, just putting all that shit on my soul essentially.”
“I was screaming out the horror, the panic and fear, and especially the frustration.”
Ezra is an artist that has long since done away with the gender binary, but so too does ‘Twelve Nudes’ dismantle other unhelpful polarisations that have become a fixture of modern discourse. On ‘I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend’ - a crooning moment of relative respite - he was influenced by questions he’s been asked about his Jewish faith. “I’ve been noticing that question, ‘Do you believe in God or not?’ I don’t like the question and it took me a long time to realise that I’m kind of insulted by it. It seems to assume a pair of categories that I think I’m maybe like, off to the side of. I feel that way about the gender binary, and a lot of other binaries too. Political binaries as well, I see a lot of ‘Which side are you on?’, and I’m like, ‘No, this is not the way!’” The conflict between Israel and Palestine, to take another example, informed one of the record’s most blistering moments, ‘Rated R Crusaders’. “It’s another heavily binary and polarised issue,” he says. “I see people with refugee trauma, people who have been forced from their homes. That’s the experience I think about. I have a strong sense that there’s an urgent need for depolarisation of that situation. It has to be possible for people who are pro-Israel to be pro-Palestine. I mean, it has to be possible because if you can only support one of them, you’re asking for war. If you can support all these people living together, you’re asking for peace. The polarisation of it is quite brutal and unproductive in my mind and I just want Palestinians to stop being killed, basically.” It is perhaps the greatest quality of ‘Twelve Nudes’ that, for all its exasperation and anxiety, it's a record in which we can still find hope. Ezra talks too of the progress that actually is being made, of the “explosion of people coming out as gender non-conforming,” for example. “It's an album that enters the feeling of panic and despair,” he surmises, “and I kind of think there’s some hope that comes out of confronting a feeling of desperation. You can’t really change a thing if you don’t admit to yourself that it needs to be changed. We’re digging down into the muck of our negativity. To me it’s a way of waking up. It’s a way of waking up, to admit how bad it feels.” ‘Twelve Nudes’ is out 23rd August via Bella Union. DIY
THE NINTH WAVE INFANCY
PART 1 OF THE DEBUT ALBUM ‘INFANCY’ IS OUT NOW DIY MAGAZINE THE SKINNY THE LINE OF BEST FIT
“Stunning doom-laden post-punk” - BBC News “The most undeniably alive thing we’ve heard” - The Guardian “Exactly what the future of British rock and roll should sound like” - Radio 1 “Unforgettable” - NME
Journey up north past the border, and there’s a group of increasingly buzzy new bands injecting a
vibrant, theatrical new lease of life into Glasgow’s music scene. We necked a Buckfast and went to see what all the fuss is about... Words: Lisa Wright. Photos: Ronan Parks.
You can sit with us: L- R Millie & Haydn, The Ninth Wave; Lucia; Dave Morgan, Walt Disco.
ead down the hall of a nondescript building in a relatively industrial corner of Glasgow city centre and you’ll find a door. It’s actually No. 3, but that’s been daubed out and replaced with ‘666’; inside the belly of the beast meanwhile, walls are covered in neon yellow tape, the ceiling strung up with rows of grimly tactile red rubber gloves. “That was our backdrop for TRNSMT festival. We literally emptied Screwfix for them - they’re chemical disposal gloves,” explains Millie Kidd of The Ninth Wave aka the owners of the gloves. “Or they’re good if you’re birthing a cow,” notes bandmate Haydn Park-Patterson, with a thick, deadpan Glaswegian ring.
GET TO KNOW...
Currently sporting red lipstick, a spivvy suit and wide-brimmed hat, Haydn doesn’t look like a man who’s particularly built for farm labour, but then all manner of surprises have been coming out of Studio 666 of late. It’s the space The Ninth Wave share with pals and fellow flamboyantly-attired countrymen Walt Disco; around the corner, Lucia - fronted by the singer of the same name, today dressed like a punk Poison Ivy - have their own practice room, close enough to pop over for a pint. We’ve nabbed members of the three bands for a whistlestop tour around some of their main haunts to try and get a sense of exactly what’s fuelling this new gaggle of theatrical, hyper-visual bands, excitedly emerging arm-in-arm from the Scottish hub. Having met around four years ago, the three bands originally buddied up in the classic way, from meeting at shows. “I’d seen [some of the other guys] about but never spoken to them because they looked really cool and intimidating,” laughs Millie. “Then when I started doing music, I got to know them and they were lovely people.” We’ve arrived at St. Luke’s - a beautiful church venue where Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan is currently loading in, but all three bands have previously graced the stage of - The Ninth Wave recently selling
GET TO KNOW...
THE NINTH WAVE
here’s an element of the Jack’n’Meg Whites to The Ninth Wave’s Haydn and Millie. Not sonically of course - their anthemic, stadiumready new wave is about as far away from bare-bones garage riffs as you can get - but in the ambiguous interplay and mirrored aesthetic between the two. “It’s good to keep people thinking,” chuckles Millie. “Maybe we’re brothers, maybe we’re lovers... Actually the idea of that is like, ‘bleurgh!’” she decides, making a gagging sound. Having met as kids, when the two would perform tracks by Iggy Pop and Neil Young as part of an annual festive showcase put on by their
parents’ friends, it’s no surprise the idea of romance isn’t exactly appealing. Back then, Millie was being raised on a strict diet of Nick Cave and The Cocteau Twins by her musical mother (“It’s lucky I didn’t try and rebel or I could have turned into a wee arsehole,” she notes), while a 12-year-old Haydn was already known as ‘Haydn from The Ninth Wave’ (“I don’t remember why it started. I don’t even like the name!” he cringes). Several years later, when Haydn wanted to start a band properly, he called up his old mate, coaxed her into learning guitar and The Ninth Wave finally had its second member. That was back in 2017 and now, with an album half out in the world (‘Infancy Part 2’ comes later in the year), they’ve “just mould[ed] into the same person”. “What would be such a strange, lovely thing to happen is if there was an interview like this in 10 years time, and people were talking about the Glasgow scene and they were like, ‘Oh yeah, Glasgow’s had bands like Franz Ferdinand, CHVRCHES, The Ninth Wave...’ and we were one of those bands in that list,” says Millie of their ambitions. Seems plausible from here.
riginally starting life as the solo project of frontwoman Lucia Fairfull around five years ago, the singer soon realised that “having constant pals around you, cheering you on” was far more fun and thus was born Lucia, the band. Influenced by the strong women of the ‘70s (Joan Jett, Debbie Harry et al) and grunge’s female protagonists, as well as more pop-leaning stars such as Lana Del Rey and classic girl group The Crystals, it’s in the way the group combine these influences with more cutting take downs of life’s harsher truths that sets them apart. “When we write together, we end up talking a lot about films and the feeling you get from watching something,” explains co-writer Hamish Fingland. “Lucia talks about all these ‘90s chick flicks and slasher movies like Carrie; we wanted to write something that would soundtrack Cruel Intentions or a film like that.” In early singles ‘Melted Ice Cream’ and ‘Best Boy’, this playful strength shines through. It’s earned the singer a slightly fearsome rep (“When I’m on stage, I’ve had people say I’m quite intimidating...” she laughs), but it’s also starting to pay off for the people that really matter. “I want to show a sense of power, especially to all the younger girls that go to our gigs,” she continues. “I had this real connection with these girls at a gig in Oxford who were right at the front. I was cheering them on, but it was like they were cheering me on too, saying that I should get up and be doing this thing.”
THE GLASGOW SCHOOL
it out for a victorious homecoming. “I don’t remember anything apart from the circle pit; it was all a blur,” says Haydn, shaking his head. “It was by far the best I’ve ever seen you play,” praises Walt Disco’s Dave Morgan. “That felt like a special night.” Over the years, the groups have had more than a few special nights, from formative, ambition-changing early moments (“The Ninth Wave and Lucia both had a year or two on us, so when we started hanging out with them we were like, oh fuck - this is how a band should be done,” chuckles Dave) to messy gatherings around the flat several members of the bands share. There’s a sense of togetherness that feels genuine and supportive here. “Because Glasgow is such a small place, it’s built more like a community and people are really warm,” explains Lucia. “Scottish people latch onto things that are from Scotland, so you’ll have people come to your gigs who’re like, ‘Ah Glasgow! I lived there for two weeks once!’,” laughs Millie. You can see why people would want to stake their claim on this lot. As we walk into The Laurieston pub - a favourite haunt - a local spots them; “Aye, look at them ‘80s lot! Have you seen that?!” he points to his mates before calling over: “You look fantastic!” “You get a lot more of [people pointing appreciatively] than any badness,” Dave says, cheerily. “Glasgow, out of everywhere we’ve ever been, probably has the least assholes in that way. It’s the kind of place where you can do what you want." DIY
GET TO KNOW...
think the word punk gets used too loosely. Going out there and saying something new is a lot more punk than just writing a song saying ‘Theresa May is bad!’,” begins guitarist Dave Morgan. “There are a lot of bands with five guys making post-punk music, whereas we want to set ourselves apart because we’re flamboyant and androgynous and we want to embrace that as well.” Walt Disco’s genesis might be fairly standard - friends meet in a small town, head to uni, decide to form a band - but it’s what’s emerged since those first days of being “five guys stood in a line playing songs” that’s truly begun to excite. Helmed by striking frontman James Potter (so striking, in fact, that he’s actually off strutting down a catwalk for posh designer Celine and unable to make today’s summit), the group channel
punk, new wave and pop, landing on a middle ground that’s somewhere in the seedy, slinky world of a Glaswegian HMLTD. “James loves musicals and things like that; when we’d started the band he’d probably been in more musicals than he’d played gigs,” laughs Dave. “And then Finlay our bassist, his favourite artist is Charli XCX.” Together, it’s a fabulously theatrical melting pot that’s resulted in the likes of recent single ‘Strange To Know Nothing’ and a series of increasingly hyped gigs up and down the country. From average beginnings as a standard Joy Divisionindebted group of indie boys, now Walt Disco are striding into something so much more. “Everything from the music we write to the way we dress has become more confident,” nods Dave. “It’s like we’re becoming who we want to be.
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TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB
On the campaign trail for new album ‘False Alarm’, we join Two Door Cinema Club as they traverse the UK for a series of sweaty club show stop-offs (and an altogether larger Glastonbury crowning)... Words: Lisa Wright. Photos: Jenn Five.
TWO DOOR ON TOUR!
t’s 7:59pm in the normally ropey surrounds of Kingston’s Pryzm nightclub - a place of carpeted floors and varying colours of WKD, and a gaggle of early teens are getting twitchy. The clock ticks over to eight and, without missing a beat, the excitable chants begin; a few moments later, three men clad in turtlenecks and primary colours step out to a stage kitted with painted red microphones and a cobalt blue backdrop to a roar of cheers. This kind of pandemonium and these boyband-level squeals of enthusiasm have greeted Two Door Cinema
Club regularly throughout their career; since first emerging nearly a decade ago, the trio have always maintained a consistently strong live following, their success built on graft, frequent trips in the tourbus and grassroots fandom. But, since those early days as “little kids with our hoods up, just staring at the ground,” recalls singer Alex Trimble, much has changed. They’ve very nearly broken up, come back from the edge and, now, pushed forward with a record in their newest ‘False Alarm’ that’s built in a far more stylised, idiosyncratic world than anything their first album fans might have come to expect.
Yet, though the band (completed by bassist Kev Baird and guitarist Sam Halliday) stand today as a barely recognisable group of confident, engaging adults - hoods nowhere to be seen - their crowds have barely changed. “It’s been totally blowing my mind. When we put our first album out, the front row was 14 to 18-years-old and you expect that if those fans are gonna come with you, then they’re gonna get older,” begins the singer. “But what seems to be happening is those kids are growing up and moving further back in the room and there’s new kids filling up the front.” “The front row stays the same age and we get older...” nods Kev. As more and more bands that first came through alongside the group fall by the wayside or putter slowly into irrelevance, Two Door have managed a rare feat, not just of transitioning into indie semi-stalwart
territory but of fostering an everrenewing fanbase alongside their longstanding old supporters; against all odds, at a time when guitar music is arguably at its least mainstreaminfiltrating, young kids are finding the band and claiming them as their own. “You have to be fashionable to go out of fashion, and I don’t think we’ve ever been fashionable,” suggests Sam, sat in their dressing room, by way of explanation. “I think people are still surprised by us. Like, ‘Two Door Cinema Club are doing The O2?!’” picks up Kev. “I think the people who know, know and there’s a tight-knit community of people who really care about the band, and as much as when we were younger it sucked a bit, it’s given us the kind of staying power that we have because it was never built upon bluster.” Far from bluster, the group have
“You have to be fashionable to go out of fashion.” - Sam Halliday 61
actively been working their collective arses off over the past few weeks. Check their socials and you’ll find all kinds of playful, semi-preposterous stunts going on to tee up the tongue-in-cheek language they’ve concocted for their fourth record. When the album was announced, they strapped a test pressing to the back of a rocket and launched it into space; more recently, they’ve had a 35-ft, blimp-like red fire extinguisher touring around London on the back of a truck after an announcement that the specially-commissioned stage prop had been ‘stolen’ (it was, we would hazard a guess, an ahem... false alarm). Backstage at those first Kingston shows, meanwhile, the band are visibly knackered. Alex is on vocal rest having lost his voice “three times in the last month”; Kev has a swollen eye that’s ballooned up as though he’s been punched - actually, it’s the result of an exhaustion-based infection. “I woke up at 4am this morning in Calais,” the bassist shudders between shows (they have an hour or so for a sit down while the first group of sweaty kids pour out and the next batch of slightly rowdier adults shuffle in for the second performance; both gigs are very much sold out). But if all that sounds like a recipe for disaster then, on stage, you’d never know. Bounding onto the springy keys of recent single ‘Talk’, both sets tonight are impossibly tight, high energy things that cherry-pick a couple of already-classic newies but primarily treat the rowdy masses to the hits. “We’re not a very self-indulgent band; we understand what people want,” Kev shrugs after. “There’s nothing worse than when you’ve heard one track from a new album and the artist plays the whole thing in its entirety. No one gives a shit! That happened when we went to see The Mars Volta and that’s why we’re adamant that we’ll never do it,” Sam jokes. “Being in bands when we were teenagers that tried to be about being clever and feeling like you’re making something that’s superior... that’s not fun.” “That’s the lesson we learned: that thing is not fun because no-one likes it,” Kev nods. “That was why, when we started Two Door, it was purely about writing songs that were accessible, having a laugh and not taking yourself too seriously.”
f this lack of pretence has always worked in the band’s favour sonically - the earworm hooks of breakthrough singles ‘What You Know’, ‘Something Good Can Work’ et al sending them straight into radio A-lists - then historically there’s been something more tentative and cautious about the slow reveal of Two Door, as people. As Alex recalls, those early shows found them hiding in plain sight, slightly lost among the increasing madness they’d inadvertently caused around them. “It was like
TWO CENTS ON TWO DOOR
ELEANOR (15), AMELIE (15) E: I’ve seen them three times already, and the smaller venues are always better. The first time, I got hauled over a barrier, the second time I was pretty far away and this time I almost could touch them so I’m beyond pleased.
ELLA (16), ANNIE (16) E: They were amazing, properly good. A: The guitar bit [sings ‘What You Know’] is really catchy and it feels familiar. E: They’re really big so seeing them at the Rescue Rooms which is a small venue is an amazing opportunity. I got in the pit on the last song, that was really sweaty but good. Half my hair felt like it was getting pulled off.
DECLAN (22), WILL (20) W: The set was just banger after banger. The new stuff was good, I’ve just not heard it before. D: I got into them aaaages ago; some of my mates were into it when the first album came out and I’ve been listening since then. They keep diversifying; if you listen to the first album and then the last one, it’s like they’ve evolved just from an indie band into something more.
MADDY (15), TONY (14) M: This is the first I’ve seen them. We got told by friends before that they were great and they were totally right. They’re the best band I’ve seen so far out of all the gigs I’ve been to.
you were just waiting for people to find out that you weren’t supposed to be there. You’re waiting for people to say they’ve made a mistake and they actually meant to book Three Door Cinema Club and you’ve ended up there by accident,” says Kev as we rejoin them backstage at Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms the following week, ahead of another soldout warm-up show. “[We were] trying so hard to be accepted, and to be cool and to be liked - which is all the wrong things you can do...” continues Alex. “And for us, that was just by not showing anything of ourselves. We thought if we let our real selves out then we’d just be dismissed and kicked out the door.” As time went on, the gigs got bigger, the production more confident and “like a proper rock show”, but the band had other problems. Talking now about their first time headlining London enormo-dome The O2 back in 2013 following second LP ‘Beacon’ and in the middle of a fractious period that would soon lead to an extended break, Alex describes the experience as “horrible”. “We weren’t talking to each other and it was such a weird night,” he continues. “It was depressing, because everyone asks how it was and I can never lie, and I always say it was awful. It was shit.” This autumn, however, they’ll return for a second slice of the pie as part of their forthcoming arena tour; the other venues they’re playing across the country are also the largest they’ve graced. “It’s nice, six years down the line, that we get to try it again,” he nods, smiling. “You’ve got to be grateful for that.” This time around, you sense that everything will be different for the band. Not only are they all actually friends again, but there’s a palpable sense of enjoyment and ease both on stage and in the dressing room (“I certainly wouldn’t have been sitting here with a glass of wine [on tour for the last album],” notes Alex, pouring himself a 5pm vino and puffing on a vape). These days, a million miles away from the nervous performer of old, the singer has become a true frontman - one who eyeballs the audience, commands the stage with posed, poised movements and has developed a bright, eye-popping uniform built for lovingly-doodled fan art. “It’s made it easier to become that guy on stage,” he grins of his natty new garb. “I’m not terribly extroverted in day-to-day life and so there’s always had to be an element of creating this alternate persona when you go on stage because you’re there to entertain people. Whereas I find these days, when I put that suit on, I feel like I know what I’m doing and I’m becoming that person.” “It’s a strange suit of armour - the
turtleneck...” Kev adds, sagely. Another night, another massive gig. There’s full on mosh pits for the oldies, while the Franz Ferdinand strut of recent single ‘Dirty Air’ threatens to eclipse even the biggest hits for the title of Best Two Door Track to Date (“It wasn’t even a single; we’ve been taken aback by the reaction,” says Kev). It’s an arena-ready show that’s been dreamt up with the aesthetic care of the theatre, and in tiny venues like these it feels huge. On Glastonbury’s Other Stage, where they’re co-headlining with Tame Impala and where we round off our Two Tour, however, the show is in its element. With sharp, geometric visuals - some of which are pigmented to perfectly match Alex’s mustard and blue suit for ultimate satisfaction - adding to the carefullycurated world they’ve constructed, and a field full of fans dancing it out in the evening sun, the band are on the form of their lives.
“We’re not a very self-indulgent band; we understand what people want.” Kev Baird
When they take to some of the UK’s biggest venues in October, it’ll right a few historical wrongs in the group’s career. More than that, though, it’ll cement Two Door Cinema Club as a band that were never just a fad, but have seen out several phases, emerging more triumphant, creative and successful than ever. “Going back to talking about other bands that aren’t around anymore, we’ve always thought when you chase that big moment and that big success, that’s when you start to make mistakes,” says Kev. “Who knows where we’ll be in a year or five years, ten years? But you just have to go at your own pace and it’s not a competition. You just have to follow your own path.” ‘False Alarm’ is out now via Prolifica / PIAS. DIY
THE BLACK KEYS
Let’s Rock! (Eyesound / Nonesuch)
he ascent of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney - the Ohio blues duo behind The Black Keys - to their early-decade period at the top of rock’s chain was a strange one. Both just turning 30, the pair had trucked along with a relatively cult fame for the best part of ten years and five albums, until 2010’s ‘Brothers’ rapidly and unexpectedly elevated them into mainstream success. Following it up just a year later with the huge, global smash of ‘El Camino’, the pair had gone from niche concern to genuine transatlantic phenomenon. For perspective, on their previous 2008 UK jaunt, the band had played London’s now-defunct 2,000-capacity Astoria; by the end of ‘El Camino’, they were headlining the O2.
Having built their career so far on two-man, garage-flecked old-school blues stomps, forever in the shadow of that altogether more popular two-piece, The White Stripes, all of a sudden the spotlight began to swing their way. By the time, they reached 2014’s ‘Turn Blue’, they were being nominated for GRAMMYs and garnering acclaim largely across the board. But, after several summers of high visibility, and three records in four years, there was the sense that both the band and the public’s stamina had started to wear thin. They disappeared from the public eye. The break continued on. And so now, five years after their last, we’re presented with
a new album from the pair. This time around, they’ve gone it alone on production after working with Danger Mouse across all of their most successful work. First alarm. For their first new material in half a decade, meanwhile, the band - previously dubbed regressive and formulaic by their detractors - have decided to call their comeback... ‘Let’s Rock!’ The exclamation mark feels like the point of no return. If the punctuation could be interpreted as self-referential, playful humour, then the music contained within does nothing to support this argument. Opener ‘Shine a Little Light’ kicks things off with some promising, hefty riffs, but from thereon The Black Keys’ return is a depressingly unimaginative thing. It’s all perfectly serviceable meat’n’potatoes blues rock, but almost all of it could have been scraped off the cutting room floor from the sessions
of their previous successes. ‘Eagle Birds’ hand jives along like the cut-price cousin of ‘Gold On The Ceiling’, while ‘Tell Me Lies’ might find its home at festival dusk, but sinks flat on record. Even comeback single ‘Lo/ Hi’ and its back bar-room guitar slink basically only serves to make you question what year we’re in. If the tried-and-tested recipe that the band had honed by the mid-‘10s was one that eventually saw them rise to the top, the chances of ‘Let’s Rock!’ continuing the trajectory seem less guaranteed. It’s as close an approximation of before as they could possibly get - the result of 12 tracks being plopped out of a Black Keys song generator - but, five years down the line, you hope that people will demand more than that. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Shine a Little Light’
THE SAME TOP BOY WE FELL IN LOVE WITH.
SKEPTA Ignorance Is Bliss (Boy Better Know)
Skepta has spent the best part of 20 years at the helm of contemporary British culture. Constantly moving to secure his relevancy, his maturity within grime demonstrates a story of growth rarely seen in the genre, carrying him right through the fatherhood and ‘no fake friends’ attitude that fuels his fifth album. In a manner not dissimilar to the likes of Drake, he balances vulnerability in his lyrics with the kind of fire braggadocio that connects, inspires and perhaps most importantly, amuses. The music may be slicker (‘Bullet From A Gun’, ‘What Do You Mean?’), but the inimitable sense of Britishness remains intact; from ‘Love Me Not’’s ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ sample to ‘You Wish’’s quip “must have been talking about sex if I ever said I was gonna come second”, there’s no doubting that this is the same top boy we fell in love with all those years ago. Grime is bigger than ever, and having been the force that provided the platform for many younger artists to come through and thrive, 2019’s Skepta finds himself in a position where he has the opportunity to step out of the melee and secure the next stage of his future. On ‘Ignorance Is Bliss’, he more than succeeds, displaying ambition in a way that feels both authentic to his roots but reflective of the global audience that his music now affords. Don’t be surprised if he’s still around in another 20 years. (Jenessa Williams) LISTEN: ‘Bullet From A Gun’
THOM YORKE Anima (XL)
Thom Yorke’s third solo LP comes following a period of writer’s block and anxiety, as well as a self-professed “obsession” with dreams. The title refers to Carl Jung’s theories of a “collective unconsciousness,” and it’s full of twitching, paranoid electronica. No surprises there. Partly inspired by the tape loop experiments he witnessed at a Flying Lotus performance, much of the music is made up of sprawling ideas cut into short samples and repeated. This is particularly evident on the seven-minute ‘Twist’, which seems to bubble like a cauldron of eerie electronic effects. The album is best experienced with Paul Thomas Anderson’s 15-minute accompanying film - a dystopian fantasy that sees Thom pitted against an army of shuffling commuters on a train. But sans-visual accompaniment, the album can feel meandering and unfocused. Fortunately, the experimental production and dark atmosphere are compelling in their own right, and ‘Anima’ is ultimately a trip down the rabbit hole worth taking. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘Dawn Chorus’
THE FLAMING LIPS King’s Mouth
OF MONSTERS AND MEN Fever Dream (Island)
The Flaming Lips’ fifteenth album is compiled of tracks created for Wayne Coyne’s immersive art installation of the same name. ‘King’s Mouth’ was first conceived in 2015 as an “Immersive Head Trip Fantasy Experience” partially inspired by a Japanese game show where ham-laden contestants had to face a hungry kimono dragon. The musical accompaniment to the installation works perfectly as a concept album, where heady instrumentals and psychedelic pop nuggets are intertwined with swelling strings and a nursery rhyme story narrated by The Clash’s Mick Jones (‘Giant Baby’). ‘How Many Times’, meanwhile, features a chorus of pitch-shifted voices cyclically counting from one to eighteen as a piano twinkles and acoustic guitars strum. The album climaxes with layers of piano and guitar on the elated closing ballad ‘How Can A Head’ with not a step misplaced on the journey to get there. Long live the king! (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘Giant Baby’
Of Monsters and Men have long proven themselves masters of the dark arts: at least of echoing their native Iceland’s volcanic landscape in song form via the dual vocal powerhouses of Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdottír and Ragnar Þórhallsson. ‘Alligator’, the first track revealed from ‘Fever Dream’ followed this pattern perfectly. Unfortunately, the rest of this third album doesn’t. Both the fluffy ‘80s production of ‘Ahay’ and the backing vocals on ‘Vulture, Vulture’ borrow heavily from Haim (and not particularly well), while ‘Wars’ is a halfbaked attempt at a euphoric dance banger, and ‘Waiting For The Snow’ has so much forced sentimentality it belongs in a festive John Lewis advert. Channelling pop is by no means a bad thing; but when omitting the earwormy choruses it needs - and removing your own personality in the process, it’s only ever going to fall a bit limp. (Louisa Dixon) LISTEN: ‘Alligator’
AFRICA EXPRESS EGOLI
EGYPTIAN BLUE Collateral (YALA!)
The latest to join Yala!’s increasingly exciting fold, Brighton post-punk outfit Egyptian Blue have the same fizzing energy and immediacy that seems to categorise the label’s scouting policy. In debut EP ‘Collateral’ it’s deployed across four tracks that propel relentlessly forwards, built on barking vocals courtesy of frontman Andy Buss and the kind of fretwork that jabs and twitches, crescendoing into choruses that’ll leave you gasping for air. The skulk of its title track or jerking art-rock highlight ‘Contain It’ nail the niche, but, if we’re being honest, there’s not a whole lot of variety to be found, even within barely 15 minutes of music. What they do, Egyptian Blue do very well. Now they need to work out how to do some other things, too. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Contain It’
Damon Albarn sure likes to keep himself busy. Having had a brief sit down after Gorillaz’ world tour, he returns with Africa Express, his cross-cultural exchange of music’s best and brightest from around the world. And if you’re after a party playlist, look no further: a celebration of the house music scene growing in South Africa, ‘EGOLI’ is a force of energy, from the pulsating ‘City In Lights’ to the slower groove of ‘Johannesburg’. It’s rough around the edges, but that’s part of its charm - a testament to the energy and ideas thrown about in such a short space of time, and the vibrancy of collaboration. Gorillaz fans will be kept happy with the abundance of Damon’s funky vocoder (‘Becoming The Tiger’), but it’s no offence to say his star shines only equal to that of Moonchild Sanelly’s, Georgia and Sibot. Whether you’re familiar with ‘EGOLI’’s makers or not, a trip on the Africa Express is quite a ride. (Jenessa Williams) LISTEN: ‘City In Lights’
Bleached’s Batman & Robin costumes needed some work.
Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough (Dead Oceans)
Three years on from second LP ‘Welcome The Worms’, Californians Bleached are stripped back to a duo - sisters Jennifer and Jessie Clavin - and newly-sober. That’s not all that’s changed on the self-exploratory ‘Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?’ - where previously they found themselves revelling in a giddy brand of scuzzy punk, this time they’ve got a tad more polish. The funky strut of lead single ‘Hard To Kill’ feels like a 2019 take on Blondie, ‘Somebody Dial 911’ boasts a Smiths-like haziness, before the disco funk of ‘Kiss You Goodbye’ strolls in. And while their new guise has them in a more experimental mood injecting doses of nostalgia all over the shop - it also doesn’t quite possess the same level of clout as before. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘Somebody Dial 911’
Jessie and Jennifer Clavin reflect on writing and recording sober for the first time, support from like-minded pals and taking cues from live performance kings The Hives.
Were there differences in putting the record together that you didn’t expect? Jessie: I didn’t expect to learn so much this time around. On the technical side of things, I felt more focused and eager to try new things. Jennifer: There wasn’t the all night writing sessions fueled by booze and then the next morning not remembering what you even wrote until you hit playback. That was fun but ultimately super self destructive. So this time I was just more present. Obviously former tourmate Hayley Williams has been somewhat of a cheerleader of yours: has having a community of like-minded musicians around you been important? Jessie: It’s amazing to have that; our band right now feels very like-minded. I also feel that it could go the other way, if you weren’t so like-minded with someone it may help you jump out of a comfort zone and try new things. Jennifer: Yes, it pushes me to do my personal best having such supportive, talented, like minded friends. Being able to reach out and ask one of them a question if I’m struggling I am beyond grateful for. 68 DIYMAG.COM
And you’ve not long finished a tour with Refused and The Hives - both powerhouses - have you taken anything from them? Jessie: Oh my god yes! Their performance level! They were so entertaining and it felt so natural to them. Jennifer: I agree, especially The Hives’ performances every night were super inspiring. Refused reminded me that we’re super lucky to have made it to this level and it’s not something to take for granted. What did producer Shane Stoneback bring to the record, and what made you decide to work with him? Jessie: Having Shane a part of this brought out the best in me. I just felt really comfortable and it didn’t feel limiting on how something was going to be done. I honestly didn’t expect to be playing as much synth and organs as we did and he tastefully added those in! Jennifer: I love how Shane really took into consideration what I wanted and envisioned as well. A lot of producers just wanna take over and run the show. Shane just really wanted to work together and bounce ideas off of each other.
TY SEGALL First Taste (Drag City)
For those young enough to only know Ricky Wilson as a judge on The Voice, let us hammer the point home: upon their mid-‘00s arrival, Kaiser Chiefs were genuinely exciting - a cheeky group of next-gen Britpoppers with a twinkle in their eye. So to bemoan their seventh LP for the confused stinker that it is is not an easy pop, but a real lament for a band that used to be so much more. Alas, ‘Duck’ remains just that: an album that attempts beery chants (‘People Know How To Love One Another’), rasping rawk (‘The Only One’), hand-jiving brass sections (‘Wait’) and something we’re guessing they thought sounded a bit like New Order (‘Record Collection’), all with fairly unconvincing results. There are a couple of fleeting moments (the chorus of ‘Wait’ is a hooky, soaring thing) that remind you of the earworms they can produce at their best but, for the most part, ‘Duck’ is actually a bit of a turkey. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Kurt vs. Frasier (The Battle for Seattle)’
KIM PETRAS Clarity (BunHead) .
The eleventh album by the chameleonic California songwriter finds him combining a broad range of instruments in a way that only a true maverick could. Japanese koto, Bouzouki and mandolins are mixed with fuzz bass grooves and choral vocals to create a debauched orchestra of technicolour garage rock on an album that finds the prodigious artist enjoying himself yet again. Superb introductory track ‘Taste’ opens with a drum solo before blasts of horns, throes of bass and timpani rhythms catapult it towards a fuzzed-out peak. Later, ‘When I Met My Parents (Part 1)’ is an almost Can-like jam of rumbling drums and Eastern melodies, while a cappella interlude ‘Ice Plant’ finds a chorus of Tys singing “let your love rain down on me”. The album draws to a close with the marauding grooves of ‘Lone Cowboys’, and once again Ty can claim victory - his latest musical endeavour is a winner. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘Taste’
Guy Walks Into A Bar... (Fiction)
Known for her bright and bold pop, Kim Petras’ latest sees her leaving the bubblegum synths behind in favour of adorning her usual big hooks with sounds more reminiscent of hip hop and trap. ‘Clarity’ is definitely still a pop record, just dressed differently, pinballing between genres while maintaining her knack for melody and glittering soundscapes. There’s no post-breakup emotion that hasn’t been scoured for melodies and rhythms and given the full pop treatment: from the dark pulse of ‘Icy’ and the resigned heartbreak of ‘Broken’, to the celebratory yet detached ‘Meet The Parents’. With a buoyant and self-aware use of slang that will have you opening up Urban Dictionary, paired with the one-trackper-week release schedule and the songs to back it up, Kim proves herself to be a true millennial pop princess in waiting. (Eloise Bulmer) LISTEN: ‘Icy’
One thing is clear on ‘Guy Walks Into A Bar…’: Mini Mansions really, really like trying to get laid. Which is ironic, really, as there’s more sex in Alison Mosshart’s guest spot on ‘Hey Lover’ than in the trio’s combined attempt across the rest of the record’s eleven tracks. Other things, though? Not quite so obvious. ‘Bad Things (That Make You Feel Good)’ sounds like a sped-up take on wholesome pop king Bleachers, while opener ‘Should Be Dancing’ features a halfarsed attempt at pal Alex Turner’s croon. “I wonder how you touch yourself when you’re alone,” squeaks ‘Don’t Even Know You’, while sounding like an MGMT album track. ‘I’m In Love’, meanwhile, is jingle-worthy in its cheesiness: “[love is] sweeter than what you might blow up your nose,” we’re told. Like its title’s proximity to a well-worn comic trope, a little more humour on Mini Mansions’ third, and they might’ve pulled it off. (Louisa Dixon) LISTEN: ‘Time Machine’
Missed the boat on the best albums from the last couple of months? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB False Alarm
It combines a newfound sense of experimentation with the band’s triedand-tested way with a hook.
THE RACONTEURS Help Us Stranger Full of the timeless joy of hearing two worldclass songwriters.
TYLER, THE CREATOR Igor
Full of glittering moments that just might change your mind. 69
A People’s History Of Gauche (Merge)
Described by Daniele Yandel, also of Priests, as “an account of events from the perspective of common people rather than leaders, the story of mass movements and of outsiders,” ‘A People’s History of Gauche’ captures both the rotten societal traits and inspiring persistence that is often associated with people on the ground. Tackling topics from colonisation (‘History’) to state surveillance (‘Surveilled Society’) and objectifying women (‘Rent (v.)’), they take no issue with exposing some of the less desirable features of modern life, projected through their own lens of yelping vocals and tight post-punk riffs. Tracks such as single ‘Running’ best reflect this, and prove timely reminders that, regardless of how bad things get, there’s always time to have some fun. (Ben Lynch) LISTEN: ‘Running’
Congolese collective KOKOKO!’s debut, ‘Fongola’, builds a snapshot of an incredible creative scene thriving in a place that wants to crush it. Priced out of the expertly-crafted guitars and tightly-skinned drums that only the local evangelical pastors could afford, they built their own instruments. And from the opening twang of ‘Likolo’, it’s a sound that’s dynamic and exhilarating. It constantly surprises, creating dancefloor rhythms from pieces of junk. ‘Malembe’ shows off the group’s club-readiness. A fourto-the-floor beat and Makara Bianko’s throaty vocals lead the way with an almost bubbling tension, before a great release. ‘Tongos’, on the other hand, is more indebted to the no wave movement with its off-kilter riffs jumping in and out of sync. These songs are grounded in the familiar, but put through the lens of a group who’ve had to be clever about how they bring them to life. Through veiled political lyrics and body-contorting rhythms, ‘Fongola’ reveals a place where music is still an act of defiance. This is punk disguised as dance; fighting against the powers that be and wearing their DIY aesthetic like a badge of honour. Endlessly creative and euphoric, the MacGyvers of music have created a record that’s not only politically charged, but brimming with the joys of life and creativity. (Chris Taylor) LISTEN: ‘Malembe’
Smooth Big Cat
If you want to understand the world that Dope Lemon - the new project from Aussie folkie Angus Stone - inhabits, you need only take a peek at the video for ‘Hey You’. A stoned hallucination of drunken animal mascots propping up the bar, it’s the kind of thing you might make if you’d got a bit of sunstroke, and fallen asleep after too many wacky backies. Shot throughout with a sleepy acoustic strum, from the honeyed coo of ‘Hey Little Baby’ to the bongo-laden ‘Dope & Smoke’, it’s a record that takes Mac DeMarco’s way with a hazy coo and sends it to Glastonbury’s Stone Circle for a sit round the campfire. You’ll either fall into Dope Lemon’s drugaddled, resolutely mid-tempo world, or you’ll dismiss it as hippy nonsense, but for those in the former camp, it’s an enveloping, blissed-out jam of a listen. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Hey You’
In Banks’ time away, it feels like nothing has changed: ‘III’ still puts style first. ‘Gimme’ continues the attempt to mark her out as ‘dangerous’, despite the delivery of any biting remarks dampening the overall effect: her cry of “You can call me that bitch” is toothless. The lowest point is ‘Look What You’re Doing To Me’, a song that actively fights against itself; the chorus a chaotic mess that sounds like ten browser tabs left open, each playing a different track. Luckily, when she breaks from her norm, as with the unusually jittery and jazzy ‘Alaska’ which takes some fun and intriguing turns, we get an exciting glimpse of just what she could be if she just let go of her past. For the most part, though, it just feels like Banks-by-numbers. (Chris Taylor) LISTEN: ‘Alaska’
A quick glance over the track listing for IDER’s debut is enough to give you an idea where they’re coming from thematically; ‘Clinging to the Weekend’, ‘You’ve Got Your Whole Life Ahead of You, Baby’ and ‘Saddest Generation’ all seem to hint at different facets of the millennial experience. They’re also a touch on-the-nose, and make you wonder exactly how subtly the London duo go about deconstructing it all. The answer? With real verve and conviction. ‘Emotional Education’ is a thoughtful, carefully constructed synth odyssey, based around the vocal harmonies of Lily Somerville and Megan Marwick. They have a real knack for crystallising the concerns of their generation with a sharp turn of phrase - “I can’t remember what I’m good at,” says opener ‘Mirror’. IDER speak to 2019’s anxieties, all the while running the stylistic gamut from CHVRCHES to Glasser, via Imogen Heap. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Saddest Generation’
There’s always been something endearing about just how unabashedly Dude York wear their influences on their collective sleeve: Jimmy Eat World, Weezer, Third Eye Blind, maybe early Paramore in places. The Seattle trio remain in that gear with their second album proper; big guitarpop at fizzing pace is again the order of the day. Perhaps their secret weapon is the fact that guitarist Peter Richards and bassist Claire England have split vocal contributions between them on this album; it allows them to subtly switch up their palette. Claire is front and centre, while Peter’s guitar work seems to become more freewheeling, as if he wants to compete for the limelight. When he himself steps up, meanwhile, things become more measured - see reflective ‘How It Goes’, or the softly yearning ‘:15’. Dude York are doing absolutely nothing new on ‘Falling’, but when they do it this well, the throwback is a welcome one. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘How It Goes’
The follow-up to 2016 debut ‘So Long Forever’ finds London’s Palace in solemn mood. Their songwriting is mature and poignant, and pervasively sombre - as clearly signposted by the titles of the opening and closing tracks, ‘Life After’ and ‘Heaven Up There’. Both provide standout moments, with the former’s grandiose strings providing a foil to Leo Wyndham’s yearning lyrics: “after she’s gone I’m fragile like porcelain, I’ve been writing this song to help you breathe again.” The latter, meanwhile, floats through dynamic peaks and extended plateaus for a brave seven minutes. Elsewhere, ‘Running Wild’ is the most carefree offering on the record - a midtempo pop nugget that even features a guitar solo at its climax. However, ultimately ‘Life After’ feels bogged down at times by its laboured pace and all-too-epic dynamic builds. There’s light and darkness in the mix, but the balance feels tenuous. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘Life After’
FRIENDLY FIRES Inflorescent
The party-starting returning heroes sure took some time with their third - but if the already-released singles are to go by, it’s gonna be bop central. Out 16th August.
Her Glastonbury thunder might’ve been stolen by her ‘Pride Nuns’, but Shura’s second still sees the singer take centre stage, exploring “all that love is”. Released 16th August.
SLEATER-KINNEY The Center Won’t Hold
Newly down a member after the departure of drummer Janet Weiss earlier this month, the now duo’s ninth album is out 16th August.
THE FUTUREHEADS Powers The Sunderland foursome’s first electric album in a decade, they’re back to their blistering punk best, all sharp riffs and gang vocals. Hooray! Released 30th August. THE S.L.P. The S.L.P.
Obviously being one half of Kasabian’s core, Serge Pizzorno couldn’t go solo by halves - his self-titled debut features both slowthai and Little Simz. Out 30th August.
Until The Tide Creeps In (Bella Union) Brighton quartet Penelope Isles – centred around the brother / sister duo of Jack and Lily Wolter - have never been particularly ‘cool’. Favouring pure melodies, and the classic, harmonyladen sensibilities of bands like The Thrills over the grungy riffs of many of their town’s fellow bands of note, it’s a viewpoint that’s made them hard to place in 2019. Yet, on their debut, shying away from any kind of pigeonholing is a trait that works in their favour; moving between the heady sonic embrace of early track ‘Round’, ‘Not Talking’’s fragile, swelling croon and the bigger, denser build of ‘Gnarbone’, it means the band can go wherever they like. What holds it all together, meanwhile, is this sense of something insular and emotional, of unashamedly bright melodies that throw you into the sunlight and make the darker moments even more striking. ‘Until The Tide Creeps In’ is a record totally out of step with any modern music scene, and all the more timeless and special for it. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Cut Your Hair’
JESCA HOOP Stonechild
Can You Really Find Me
It’s interesting to hear Jesca Hoop talk about stepping out of her comfort zone on this fifth full-length. After all, you wouldn’t think she had one. Instead of heading home to record as she used to, she instead made the considerably shorter trip to Bristol to cut ‘Stonechild’ with John Parish. The appeal should be obvious to anybody who’s heard what he’s done with Aldous Harding on her last couple of albums. He does a fine job here too, but truthfully, all of the triumphs here are Jesca’s own and a long time in the making. It means that there’s room for new, handsome flourishes, like the choir bursting forth on ‘Red White and Black’, or inviting new collaborators like Lucious, Rozi Plain and This Is the Kit to back her. The latter two come to the fore on the sumptuous ‘Outside of Eden’, a sharp deconstruction of the burgeoning reliance of children on smartphones. ‘Stonechild’ is an exercise in top-level songwriting, stately and intelligent. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Outside of Eden’
As Night Moves were in the process of putting together this third LP, singer John Pelant apparently mused, “wouldn’t it be great if we could make a record that sounded like it has a lot of singles on it?” You wonder if that’s where things began to go wrong, because at the heart of ‘Can You Really Find Me’’s difficulties is a marked lack of cohesion. Night Moves drift stylistically across these ten songs, meaning that we continually make jarring jumps like between tracks one (‘Mexico’, a slow-burning synthpop number) and three (‘Keep Me in Mind’, a lightweight alt-country cut). Later on, the pair briefly threaten to revive chillwave with ‘Coconut Grove’, before waferthin balladry (‘Angelina’), more glacial electropop (the title track). Running through is a sense of inertia, a sort of slow-paced rut that the pair never quite snap out of, with the possible exception of the satisfyingly panoramic ‘Ribboned Skies’. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Ribboned Skies’
Back to the
With Penelope Isles
Q1: Where did you record the album?
Q2: What does an ‘Underwater Record Store’ look like?
Q3: What does the Garden in ‘Through The Garden’ look like?
Q4: What do you all do after the tide creeps in?
THU.03.OCT.19 MON.04.NOV.19 THU.28.NOV.19
LIVE LIVE 74 DIYMAG.COM
LET IT HAPPEN PATIENCE THE MOMENT MIND MISCHIEF NANGS ELEPHANT APOCALYPSE DREAMS THE LESS I KNOW THE BETTER LOVE/PARANOIA YES I’M CHANGING EVENTUALLY IT IS NOT MEANT TO BE BORDERLINE WHY WON’T YOU MAKE UP YOUR MIND? ................. FEELS LIKE WE ONLY GO BACKWARDS NEW PERSON, SAME OLD MISTAKES
The O2, London. Photos: Emma Swann.
uitar aloft, teetering on the edge of the enormous stage at London’s O2, Kevin Parker resembles some sort of psychedelic Jesus, the long-haired, spot lit focal point for a sea of adoring subjects. Except instead of prayer and ritual, tonight’s Tame Impala gig is the setting of an alien encounter complete with more lights, lasers, and synth goodness than you can shake a stick at.
love,” he beams, after ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ turns the cavernous arena to a skin-to-skin sweatbox. A brief interlude prefaces ‘The Less I Know The Better’, a storm of monumental, rumbling funk.
The Aussie outfit aren’t new to this scale of performance; in April they headlined Coachella, one of the most prolific slots on the music calendar, and a run of equally prestigious billings are set to follow in weeks to come. Cram a festival field-worthy show into one room, mind, and the result is something of a spectacle, especially when said show opens with the zippy staccato synths of ‘Let It Happen’, plus a blizzard of rainbow confetti.
Nothing unreleased gets aired, but recent single ‘Borderline’ is enough to whet 20,000 appetites as a halo of lights descends from the heavens over the band like a flying saucer. It seems there won’t be long to wait, though: “One thing I can tell you London,” he starts, “the next time we’re here we’ll have a whole bunch of new songs to play”.
The night overflows with sensational moments; from 2012’s ‘Lonerism’, ‘Elephant’ heaves itself up in almighty form, accompanied by a dazzling display of smoke and lasers. A huge screen above the stage provides trippy visuals, one second a desert landscape, the next abstract shapes or Kevin’s face soaked in wild colours. “There’s the London crowd I know and
Cuts from 2015’s outstanding ‘Currents’ make up the bulk of the setlist. Kev’s glossy vocals ooze over ‘Yes I’m Changing’ like a lava lamp, ‘Eventually’ kicks the energy back up.
For an encore, the shimmering vintage crackle of ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’, as fresh tonight as it was seven years ago, followed by ‘Currents’’ closing number ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’, not necessarily the type of show-stopping banger an arena show might usually close on, but then again, this is no ordinary arena show. A fresh shower of confetti and that’s that the ‘Currents’ world tour wrapped up in a spellbinding fusion of music and visuals. (Alex Cabré) 75
FOALS Alexandra Palace, London. Photo: Patrick Gunning.
xiting Wood Green station and hopping on the shuttle
bus behind a sea of floral Hawaiian shirts and lads necking gin tins on a sunny Saturday evening can only mean one thing: Foals are about to play a show at Ally Pally. Heading into the iconic London venue for the group’s second of two special sold-out headline performances, the ten thousand-strong crowd have their double-pint cups at the ready as the lights are lowered and the band take to the stage asking whether or not the crowd can beat the rowdiness of the previous night. And, tbh, they don’t disappoint. Celebrating March’s fifth album ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost - Part 1’, Saturday sees Foals mark the second of their biggest headline shows to date with an unflinching 18-song setlist comprising of banger after banger. Playing tracks spanning their entire discography in front of an ever-changing backdrop of dreamlike landscapes and waving palm trees, the night is one big triumphant party honouring the group’s undisputed reign as one of the UK’s most beloved bands for over a decade. With the excitement both on and off stage palpable, they have the crowd hooked from the first strokes of recent drop and show opener ‘On the Luna’ through to thumping follow-up ‘Mountain at My Gates’. When the iconic riff of fan favourite ‘My Number’ starts, pints are thrown metres in the air, and there isn’t one person stood still and not chanting the chorus, before the emotional anthem ‘Spanish Sahara’ flickers with the same electricity as when it first dropped in 2010. Soaring between older classics and songs from the latest record, Foals don’t take their foot off the accelerator for the whole 90-minute set. When ‘Holy Fire’ lead single ‘Inhaler’ comes around just before the encore, it doesn’t take much persuasion from Yannis Philippakis to convince the entirety of Alexandra Palace to kneel on the floor before jumping up in unison as soon as the drop comes. After a brief moment offstage, they reemerge for the encore, kicking things off with a glimpse into ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost: Part Two’. Introducing new track ‘Black Bull’ as “just a teaser, a taste” of what’s to come, Yannis tears through the opening guitar riff before the electrifying and tumultuous chorus hits the crowd like a tidal wave. But it’s staple closer ‘Two Steps, Twice’ that is the highlight. As Yannis climbs over the crowd during the extended interlude and the song’s iconic chant begins to build around the packed (and now very sweaty) room, it’s the perfect embodiment of the unfaltering fun and exhilarating excitement that Foals have kept at the forefront from the very beginning. Over the more than 10 years that they’ve been performing, their momentum has not once slowed down and if the ten thousand people singing every single word are anything to go by, it’s not going to anytime soon. As streamers shoot out during the song’s crescendo and the whole of Ally Pally dances along, there is no question that Foals really are forever. (Elly Watson)
ONE BIG TRIUMPHANT PARTY. 76 DIYMAG.COM
ALL POINTS EAST: BRING ME THE HORIZON Victoria Park, London. Photos: Fraser Stephen.
ver since Bring Me The Horizon’s headline appearance at this year’s All Points East was first announced, it was clear that eclecticism was a major part of their mandate. A bill that broadened the band’s musical associations, their curation of the day would boast acts spanning all sorts of genres, proving just how the band have side-stepped throughout their time so far.
Stepping out into the burning sunshine of All Points East’s second weekend, former Crystal Castles frontwoman Alice Glass is as electrifying as ever. Striking the perfect balance between intensely industrial and tooth-achingly sugar-coated, the set sees her dart around the stage, an uncontrollable ball of energy. Meanwhile, Employed To Serve receive a heroes’ welcome on the North Stage, proving that the windbreaker-clad quintet are leading British metal in a truly enticing direction. IDLES may, today, look like a bit of a sore thumb on a line-up mostly made up of ‘rawk’ bands and their peers, but their brand of chaotic yet empathetic anthems strikes a perfect chord. Again proving themselves as one of the finest - if most unpredictable - UK live acts on the touring circuit right now, their sets have become a real celebration of self-love, and today is no different; their Main Stage slot is a jubilant occasion
to celebrate togetherness. Continuing with the feel-good mantra of the day so far, Run The Jewels’ return to the UK is once again fuelled by their sense of infectious playfulness. Blitzing through a slick introduction of ‘Talk To Me’, ‘Legend Has It’ and ‘Ticketron’, the duo are still a force to be reckoned with, the addictive swagger of their offerings answered in force by the throngs of gathered fans. Bring Me The Horizon have never been afraid of a bit of bombast, but their headline set tonight sees them really go all out. From almost the word go - in this case, ‘amo’ lead single ‘Mantra’ - there’s pyro, fire, a troupe of dancers and a selection of questionable outfits. Almost the complete opposite of their previous arena run for ‘That’s The Spirit’, which was all slick, seamless video screens - their slot packs in the ambition, but somehow never quite clicks into place. There are, however, some immensely special moments - the larger-than-life Dani Filth strutting out on stage in his huge platform boots to sing ‘Wonderful Life’, Architects’ vocalist Sam Carter joining them for ‘The Sadness Will Never End’ - and, rather than the over-the-top stage show, it’s those points that stand out most. (Sarah Jamieson) 77
Messing up the intro to ‘Woods’ didn’t go down well with Justin…
ALL POINTS EAST: BON IVER Victoria Park, London. Photos: Emma Swann.
fter two weekends of glorious bands, too many pints, sporadic floods from the heavens and one slightly sad sound issue that we’ll try not to dwell on, All Points East is almost ready to bow out of East London’s Victoria Park for another year. But not before Bon Iver and some of music’s more cerebral faves (and Mac DeMarco) give its final Sunday a suitably soothing send off. But before people get too comfortable, Congolese troupe KOKOKO! are here to bring an altogether more visceral party to the main stage. Uniformed in matching yellow boiler suits, with varying degrees of impressive eyewear on show, the band tout homemade percussion and instruments welded together from rudimentary materials, conjuring up a storm of celebratory beats and almost punk attitude. ‘Azo Toke’, with its exuberant call and response cries, is basically the perfect unifying festival tune. A quick stop over to the Jägerhaus and, before the warm croons of Westerman can swaddle us, we end up caught in the strange mania of a psych-addled DJ set from Steve Davis - yep, that Steve
Davis. “How many snooker titles have you got mate?!” heckles one punter as the six-time world champ leaves and poor Will Westerman replaces him. The answer, we assume, is none, however what the London singer does have is a timeless, Paul Simon-esque way with a melody and the kind of pure, soft vocals that could bring grown men to tears. Back over on the main stage, the skies may be threatening to erupt, but John Grant is exactly the man to command the heavens to his mercy. Weirdly, he seems to do just that. The early swoop of ‘Grey Tickles, Black Pressure’ and the crotchety, sexually frustrated ‘Preppy Boy’ are delivered as dark clouds gather above, but by the time the gloriously contrary singer dips it low for ‘He’s Got His Mother’s Hips’ before uniting the crowd in a soaring piano sing-along of ‘GMF’ (“I am the greatest motherfucker that you’re ever gonna meet…”) the sun’s poked his head through and John’s grinning like the only bearded leader we’ll ever really need. While Bon Iver’s last appearance on UK soil saw him take on the ambitious feat of playing seven shows at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, his headline slot
closing All Points East feels much more grandiose. And despite the precious folklore that’s surrounded the band, there’s little of that here tonight: even the delicate build of ‘Woods’ - another revered 2009 track comes punctuated with an easy humour after Justin messes up creating his own loop. “Fuuuck, I fucked it up!” he yells, reminding the audience that Bon Iver are still a very human outfit, even with the now-infamous vocoder. Unsurprisingly, ‘Skinny Love’ is a collective highlight, with the crowd welcoming its falsetto with a joyful singalong. And while the warm familiarity of their classics reign supreme here, as they close their set with a preview of two new, previously unheard tracks, it’s clear that Bon Iver are still very much facing towards the future. (Lisa Wright and Sarah Jamieson)
THIS IS TOMORROW Exhibition Park, Newcastle. Photos: Sinéad Grainger.
amed for an exhibition featuring the late pop artist Richard Hamilton, Newcastle’s This Is Tomorrow is a varied one, the first day dominated by the rockier end of the spectrum. After the straight-down-the-line rock of local boys The Pale White, Anteros find themselves back on UK soil for their first homeland show in a month.The quartet shimmy their way through a selection of highlights from debut ‘When We Land’, frontwoman Laura Hayden being her vivacious self through ‘Bonnie’ and the Blondie-esque ‘Call Your Mother’. Foals’ headline set, meanwhile, is cut short due to safety concerns thanks to
a broken main stage barrier. The festival is, however, given the thumbs up to continue into the weekend. Fresh from the release of their soaring debut ‘Reasons To Dream’, whenyoung are growing in confidence by the day. Boasting a sense of contagious enthusiasm, the likes of ‘Never Let Go’ and ‘The Others’ are even more powerful prospects on stage. The rain may have been coming down for the most of the afternoon, but The Vaccines pack more than enough punch to chase away any dampness. There’s something insatiable about the pace of their set; from the near-iconic sway of opener ‘Your Love Is My Favourite Band’ to the still-chaotic frenzy of ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’, Justin and co. are showmen par excellence. As the final day gets under way, the presence of this evening’s headliner can be felt throughout. With a walk-
way jutting out the stage in prep for Stereophonics’ epically-long closing slot, it becomes the focus of many a performance. While Yonaka’s Theresa Jarvis struts out onto it confidently, it’s chart-topping champion Lewis Capaldi who audibly wonders if he’s actually allowed on it. And despite the array of huge acts who grace the bill, it’s indeed the Glaswegian singer who attracts the weekend’s biggest crowd. It’s up to Johnny Marr to cap things off. Diverting between solo tracks and Smiths anthems, his is a set packed with a giddy sense of nostalgia, without being too overwrought. He may not boast the vocals that we’ve become so used to over the years, but there really is something special about hearing ‘This Charming Man’ and ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ so many years on, and having them still sound so enchanting. (Sarah Jamieson)
CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS
PARKLIFE Heaton Park, Manchester. Photos: Leah Lombardi.
anchester’s Parklife is more than capable of offering unique treats in an impressive array. Man-of-the-moment slowthai delivers an exhausting, exhilarating set of pure bombast on Saturday. By the time he arrives at ‘Doorman’ the crowd is a shaking, coiled spring, ready for the frantic, agitated explosion to follow. It’s succeeded by a hypnotic, intricate set from Earl Sweatshirt, and some old-school flavour from the decidedly new school Loyle Carner. Plus, another bonus, the tent has a roof, which the Saturday deluge really calls for. Layering introspective soul-searching like ‘Streatham’ with the earth-shaking ‘Thiago Silva’, Dave passes what could be a headliner-audition with flying colours. He even does it all with torn ligaments, he notes, seemingly in comparison to Cardi B’s last-minute pull out. Down Cardi B, but up precisely no one as Mark Ronson fills in from lower down the bill, the night instead ends with Christine and the Queens.A theatrical and impeccable set delights the small group of hardcore fans, yet will have done little to convert those after something to fill the Cardi void. When hundreds of people arrive, excited, for glitch rapper JPEGMAFIA in early Sunday afternoon, it underlines one of the most notable facts of Parklife. The crowds are all or nothing: either raucous or utterly dead. The sink or swim, livewire atmosphere brings the most out of acts who can 80 DIYMAG.COM
cope with the demands. JPEGMAFIA can certainly cope with it. He even makes a point to reintroduce the previously retired ‘I Cannot Fucking Wait Until Morrissey Dies’, just to let the contentious singer’s hometown know exactly his views, to which they proudly cheer. By most counts a full playthrough of an album as good as ‘Daytona’ would be a treat, but Pusha T brilliantly orchestrates the party of the weekend on Sunday. Opening with three tracks from it, Pusha drops verse after verse from older favourites before closing out the record and hitting on bigger and bigger collaborations. Small groups of youngsters who’d been carefully, if frantically, avoiding the rapidly forming and dissolving moshpits are eventually lost to the all-out chaos of Kanye collab ‘Mercy’. The whole tent becomes a mosh pit. Every last drop of energy is expended and Pusha plays out another bouncing goodbye with Future team-up ‘Move That Dope’. It’s a strange transition from Mike Skinner to Solange, two not particularly similar artists. The Knowles sister delivers a slick set, with choreography, jazz breakdowns and velvet vocals. Having a left a lot of energy in the mid-afternoon mud, its sobriety is welcome. It’s all so tasteful, that it makes it odd to reflect back to only 24 hours earlier where the same stage was the scene for slowthai, at this point only in boxers, to have the audience shout from one side “fuck off” for the other to respond, “you cunt”, over and over again. But maybe that’s what makes Parklife so much fun. (Matthew Davies Lombardi)
quiz of sor ts, we’ll A big inter-band pub es one by one. be grilling your fav
IT’S YOUR ROUND
ON, SQUID ANTON PEARStheir tour bus Location: Outside Free Drink: Pint Cost:
SPECIALIST SUBJECT: FLAGS 1. What is the only flag to feature an assault rifle? [Straight away] Mozambique. Correct! Off to a flying start. 2. The flag of which US state has a Union Jack on it? Errrr, I have no idea. I didn’t learn about the ones for States. Unfortunately it’s Hawaii. 3. Which flag features three legs in the shape of a triskelion (aka a sort of three-part pin
wheel)? Is it the Isle of Man? Wrong. It’s Sicily. More regional flags... I can’t do regions... 4. When was the most modern update of the US flag implemented? Is it 1834? It was 1960, when an extra star was added for Hawaii. 5. In which year was Dido’s ‘White Flag’ released? Ooh... we’re gonna go for 2003. Correct! Yes!
Verdict: “Five out of 10? That sounds pretty shit to me. But they were pub-quiz level questions. It was pretty hard.” Never mind pal, now go and drown your sorrows with a nice listen to Dido.
6. A cob is a male version of which animal? Lemme ask the group... one second. [Comes back] Is it a seahorse? No, it’s a swan. You’re in the right aquatic area. That’s us!
These are quite hard questions. Is it Anne of Cleves? That’s correct! Yes!!!
7. Ag is the chemical symbol of which element? We’re gonna go for gold. It’s silver. Oh, we’re looking like right idiots.
10. What name is Robert Zimmerman better known by? Bob Dylan. Correct.
8. Who was the 4th wife of Henry VIII?
9. Donnerstag is German for which day? Thursday. Correct again!
August 2-3 2019 - hull marina 30,000 people enjoying The very best emerging acts from across the UK playing friday...
Autosuggestion • low hummer • the quicksilver kings playing saturday...
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Hull Business Angels
Marika's back - and filthier than ever: she spills on third album 'Any Human Friend' on the cover of the July issue - which also features al...