SOAK GENGAHR B U L LY EVERY THING EVERY THING THE MACCABEES
set music free free / issue 41 / june 2015 diymag.com
“Congratulations, you are officially a member of Gryffindor!”
GOOD VS EVIL WHAT’S ON THE DIY TEAM’S R ADAR?
Victoria Sinden Deputy Editor GOOD Milifandom. EVIL We’ve run out of tea bags. Someone pop to the shop, yeah? .............................. Emma Swann Associate Editor GOOD I got to visit Damon Albarn’s bar while in Reykjavik. It looks a bit like Dalston. EVIL The election of, and pretty much all plans by the new Government. .............................. Jamie Milton Online Editor GOOD Discovering a great new band at The Great Escape - Planet Vibes. EVIL Tories. .............................. Sarah Jamieson News Editor GOOD Can you believe that Cadburys made a chocolate bar with seven different flavours in there? Willy
Wonka would be so proud. EVIL I think I’m becoming addicted to getting Ubers... .............................. Louise Mason Art Director GOOD I really love Gengahr’s album, glad that falsetto is finally coming back hard. EVIL The most trouble I’ve ever been in for a photoshoot to date. Way more trouble than previous photoshoots with machetes, fire explosions, smokebombs, buckets of red paint, etc. .............................. El hunt Assistant Online Editor GOOD Festival season has well and truly kicked off. Bring on many months of bum-bags, instant noodles, and clashfinders. EVIL David Cameron’s stupid satsuma-shaped face.
E D I TO R ’ S L E T T E R The first festival of the summer is done, and what a festival it was. While Live at Leeds was all-round amazing, there was one moment on the DIY stage that stood out. Magic Gang on stage, Swim Deep, Bloody Knees, Spring King, Black Honey and so many other amazing bands in the audience. Something’s going on. There’s a scene brewing, and something tells me next month, it will have something to celebrate... Stephen Ackroyd GOOD Field Day is here! A festival within walking distance of my front door with amazing bands and great food. Win. EVIL 12 billion quid’s worth of welfare cuts to start...
LISTENING POST What’s on the DIY stereo this month? BULLY feels like Scuzzy, super catchy rock that makes everything better.
REFUSED freedom The album they said would never happen. Except it has. And it’s great.
C O N T E N T S
NEWS 6 THE MACCABEES Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden Associate Editor Emma Swann News Editor Sarah Jamieson
6 F E S T I VA L S 16 FFS 1 8 H U D S O N M O H AW K E 2 0 M A X I M O PA R K
Art Direction & Design Louise Mason Head Of Marketing & Events Jack Clothier
2 1 H A L L O F FA M E 22 DEFTONES 24 GIRL BAND 25 DESTROYER 2 6 YO UNG GUN S 2 8 P O P S TA R P O S T B AG
NEU 3 4 B U L LY 36 SLIME 37 LA PRIEST
38 THE BIG MOON
60 GIRLPOOL 64 GENGAHR 4 diymag.com
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56 OF MONSTERS
Contributors: Alex Lynham, Ali Shutler, Andrew Backhouse, Danny Wright, Euan L Davidson, Henry Boon, Jessica Goodman, Joe Goggins, Laura Studarus, Liam McNeilly, Matthew Davies, Ross Jones, Sean Stanley, Tom Connick, Tom Walters, Will Moss, Will Richards Photographers Abi Dainton, Carolina Faruolo, Mike Massaro, Sarah Louise Bennett
40 JAMIE XX
Online Editor Jamie Milton Assistant Online Editor El Hunt
ALBUMS 78 LIVE
Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which Sonic Media Group holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. Cover photo: Emma Swann
A LONDON EXCLUSIVE
BEAR’S DEN / DAN CROLL / LEON BRIDGES NATHANIEL RATELIFF & THE NIGHT SWEATS HONEYBLOOD / RHODES / TOR MILLER / THE WALKING WHO
NENEH CHERRY W/ ROCKETNUMBERNINE ROOTS MANUVA / HIDDEN ORCHESTRA / ANDREYA TRIANA SEUN KUTI & EGYPT 80 / IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE
glastonbury preview All down to Worthy Farm! Itâ€™s Glastonbury time again - prepare yourself with The Maccabees, Wolf Alice, Gengahr, Death Cab For Cutie, Young Fathers and more.
Rip it up and start again “W
e’ve been in our studio for so long, it’s very hard to imagine that there’s a world outside of it,” laughs The Maccabees’ frontman Orlando Weeks. The band have been working on the follow-up to 2012’s ‘Given To The Wild’ for a long time, and are now finally looking ahead to its release. One track is already out in the world, but it’s not been the easiest journey to get this far. “It got very claustrophobic,” he says, “to the point where it was nice to play again just to take us out of recording.” He pauses. “Yeah, we haven’t felt like time was a positive for a little while, but I think it is now.” After the release of ‘Given To The Wild’, the band settled into the regular rhythm of any other group: play shows, play festivals, begin writing another album… The snag came when the London five-piece realised that they were writing a record that just didn’t meet their standards.
From writing an album, scrapping it and starting over to seeking inspiration in the most squalid of places, The Maccabees have spent a long time holed up in their Elephant & Castle studio. Now they’re ready to emerge. Words: Sarah Jamieson.
“We thought we had written the record,” Orlando reasons, “or most of the record, within a year, but then when we started recording we just felt like it wasn’t good enough, so we sort of had to start again. That’s why it took so long; with the way that we work, it’s really important for us to get a momentum going and feel confident, and I think we just didn’t.” “We wanted to make something that was a bit more direct,” he goes on, explaining the differences between the two albums they had written. “The last one was very filmic and had a lot of space in it, but for this one, we realised pretty early on that we wanted it to sound
“We thought we had written the record…” - Orlando Weeks 7
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more like the place we were making it, and Elephant & Castle doesn’t have very much space in it, and it’s not filmic, not in a Hollywood sense. “What we thought was good about the last record was that it made a world for itself, it lived in its own skin, so we wanted to try and do that again but without using the same mechanisms. That meant really figuring out how to do that, and that was another reason why I think it took so long; trying to find that kind of language for the record. It just took a long time to help find its identity.” The world the band have created on this record sees them exploring their environment and unearthing secrets. “We were [in Elephant & Castle] for a long time,” he emphasises. “I mean, I don’t know if anyone would listen to it and, without being told, hear that place in it but it just helped [the album] to take on some kind of framework. “Anywhere - if you scratch the surface - has its own sort of fairytale or folklore. Since we started talking about it, I’ve started to have conversations with people about the area and discovered things. It’s a very nice process slowly uncovering something which you only feel you know a little bit about. “For example, I didn’t realise but a friend told me that there’s actually a hidden river that runs underneath Elephant & Castle called The Neckinger. It was in Dickens’ Oliver Twist; that was where Bill Sikes was supposed to have hung himself. Dickens called it ‘The Venice of Drains’ and it was always this squalid place. There are lots of those kinds of things, and lots of interesting people. “I think it could’ve been made anywhere, but that’s the point; our location just happened to be Elephant & Castle but really, everywhere has its stories.”
The Maccabees’ new album will be released later this year via Fiction Records. DIY
RETURN FOR ROUND TWO
The road to Glasto Orlando and co. are ready to hit the stage
On incorporating new songs into the set... “We’ll be doing three or four new songs that stand up in the set. I think that, after we’ve been away for such a long time, we’re feeling confident about it. I’m excited as, for a lot of the record, we made it in a room, playing together. Hopefully that will translate well playing it live because that’s how it was supposed to be.” On being invited back to Glastonbury... “It’s a very surreal place, isn’t it? Just to experience it, there’s nothing else like it. I almost kinda dread it a little bit, leading up to it as it feels really out of my comfort zone! But once you’re there, you’re okay and it’s amazing.”
ast year, Wolf Alice made their Glastonbury debut and, judging by what the band’s Theo Ellis has to say, it was a bit terrifying all round for the quartet... “Glasto last year was definitely a baptism of fire for us,” he admits. “It was probably the biggest outdoor stage we played all year and the first on our summer run. It was easily the most nervous the four of us have been - Joel was actually completely fine. I can remember those nerves not fading even as the set was finishing.” This year, however, they’ll be taking their set a little more in their stride. “As a mildly more experienced band it’s exciting to come back and see what we can do. “Being invited back is undoubtedly a massive honour,” he goes on. “We like to keep our festival shows up tempo and full of energy, so we’re planning a fast paced set including a solid number of album tracks. We haven’t got any mad pyro or production tricks up our sleeves.” As for what he loves about Glastonbury distinctly... “My favourite aspect of Glastonbury is the endlessness of the site itself. We only had an evening last year, so I can’t wait to explore. The idea of finally catching some other friends play is what I’m most looking forward to. That and the stone circle.”
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DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
PLAN THEIR RITE OF PASSAGE
Wolf Alice will be bringing the flower power to Glastonbury. A LITTLE ADVICE FROM
t’s no secret that times can get a little bit crazy over at the Tor and sometimes, things just get out of control, but if Gengahr’s frontman Felix Bushe can offer up any tips, it’s, well, try not to almost die by dehydration. “When we were at Glastonbury we had an amazing first night listening to Metallica and stomping around soggy fields for hours trying to find friends,” he explains. “However, in the morning I woke up to find I had spent every last penny I had. A friend - who shall remain nameless - had lost his wallet the night before and so I’d lent him half what I had. I couldn’t even buy a bottle of water so ended up just having to leave to avoid death by dehydration. “There are a few lessons to be learnt from that experience. Firstly at a festival you will definitely need water, secondly you might want to take out a load before heading to Glastonbury and lastly once you get there it’s every fucker for themselves. Being nice wont get you anywhere.”
If you see Gengahr at a festival, give ‘em a sip of your water, yeah?
fter releasing eight albums as a band, it’s hard to imagine that Death Cab For Cutie have many firsts left to tick off their bucket list. Yet, with new album ‘Kintsugi’ now firmly in their grasp, they’re planning on treading some previously unexplored territory for the band: Glastonbury. “We are very excited,” the band’s Nick Harmer reveals, during some downtime on a grey, rainy day in Detroit. “Amongst our British friends, attending Glastonbury has always seemed like a rite of passage; they all talk to each other about “their first Glasto” or who they saw when, it’s this huge cultural touchstone for all of them, so it’s incredible to be invited to share in a part of that.” As for how things are panning out for the band now their newest record is finally out in the open, the now trio are feeling positive. “I am incredibly proud of this album,” he says, “it’s one of our best, I feel, and I think the reaction has been very positive overall. The songs live are inspiring as well. The new material has definitely elevated our older material and having two new players with us on stage has expanded our energy and sound in powerful ways. “We’ll be playing some new material for sure,” he goes on, referencing their set plans, “but our final setlist is still to be determined. Playing festivals requires special attention to the song selection, you have to be careful to not play too many deep album cuts but also make sure that longtime fans have something to get excited about. I’m confident we’ll curate something memorable.” 9
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pLAN ON BRINGING THUNDER AND DARKNESS
oung Fathers aren’t shy when it comes to their performances and, after appearing at the weekender last year for two sets, they’ve been invited back for more. “The second, non-publicised show at the Greenpeace tent was fun,” the band offer up, thinking back to their time at the festival. “Kind of what you expect from the good side of Glastonbury, which is otherwise a strange tension between tourbus egos, a thinning hippy ethos, sound meters, farms, shit and the BBC.” Having released second album ‘White Men Are Black Men Too’ just a few months ago now, you might be wondering how the new songs are working alongside their older material. Needless to say, the trio aren’t concerned. “They fit,” they assure. “As if they’re made for live they weren’t. The reactions are ecstatic, of course.” As for the set itself, what’s due to unfold this time around, however, might be a little darker than the regular Glasto punter is equipped to handle in the middle of the day. “It’s good to go back to a place where there are some genuine music fans,” they continue. “Unfortunately, it will be in the blazing sunshine of a late afternoon so the voodoo will need to be delicately massaged in order to bring the thunder and the darkness. By ‘delicately massaged’, we mean by screaming technology and bass frequencies normally felt beneath the earth’s crust. If they let us.”
hOW WAS GLASTONBURY FOR YOU LAST YEAR?
“It was incredible. We went to watch Blondie and it took like an hour to get to the next stage afterwards. It was a lot of fun, though I’ve never seen so many people in one place.”
He may not be on the bill, but Bastille’s Dan Smith has clearly already paid off his ticket
OF THE HEADLINERS As ever, Glastonbury has managed to secure itself quite a selection of heavyweights when it comes to the 2015 edition of the festival, but who’s going to be drawing the biggest crowd? Who’s going to take the crown as the must-see act? And who’s going to be the headliner who has the most to prove? FOO FIGHTERS
If any band are the solid, dependable choice to headline Glastonbury, it’s the good ol’ Foos. Already nicely warmed up after a slew of massive stadium shows across the UK in June, there’s no doubting that they’ll be on top form when it comes to closing the Pyramid stage. Thanks to the inspirations behind their new album, they’ll have all sorts of different genres to touch upon – don’t forget those funky guitars on ‘Something From Nothing’ – while still boasting a hefty back catalogue of hits to lean on. No ifs or buts are necessary here: their set will be massive. KANYE WEST
From dominating the O2 Arena with his performance at this year’s BRIT Awards, to making a surprise, lastminute appearance at London’s Koko just because he fancied it, Kanye West is one unpredictable being when it comes to live shows. That’s what makes his performance at Glastonbury such an exciting prospect. Will he bring along the entire UK Grime scene to fill out the stage? Will he be covered in crystals while firing off flares? The beauty is that no one knows, and no one can predict what a musician like Yeezy will do next. THE WHO
Alright, so, The Who’s inclusion as this year’s closing act may well be a bit of a taboo subject with some festival-goers. Granted, there’s no denying that they’re a band who can take on the slot – heck, they’re already due to play at London’s Hyde Park this summer – but they’re definitely a band who speak to a different generation when it comes to the Glasto audience. Then again, any band celebrating hitting the 50th year of their career are sort of no-brainers when it comes to the Pyramid Stage. It may even – if the rumours are true - be the last time they play in the UK, so it’s sure to be an occasion whether you’re a diehard fan or not.
LA DISPUTE/ FUCKED UP
SAMM HENSHAW THE COURTYARD THEATRE HOXTON LONDON TUE 16 JUN
MINI MANSIONS OSLO LONDON TUE 30 JUN
NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY SUN 25 OCT BOURNEMOUTH O2 ACADEMY SUN 08 NOV
MANCHESTER SOUP KITCHEN WED 03 JUN
THE VICTORIA DALSTON LONDON WED 17 JUN
VILLAGE UNDERGROUND LONDON TUE 23 JUN
THE WAITING ROOM LONDON WED 08 JUL
OVAL SPACE LONDON WED 27 MAY
KOKO LONDON TUE 26 MAY
HEAVEN LONDON TUE 23 JUN
THE LEXINGTON LONDON WED 24 JUN
NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS
LONDON DINGWALLS WED 01 JUL
AT CALLING FESTIVAL CLAPHAM COMMON LONDON SAT 04 JUL
GEORGE THE POET
RESCUE ROOMS NOTTINGHAM SUN 04 OCT BIRMINGHAM INSTITUTE THU 08 OCT O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE FRI 16 OCT + 9 MORE DATES
EVENTIM APOLLO HAMMERSMITH LONDON THU 12 NOV
SEBRIGHT ARMS LONDON WED 17 JUN
WALKING ON CARS ELECTRIC BALLROOM LONDON FRI 23 OCT
TOBIAS JESSO JR.
O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE LONDON WED 25 NOV
Tickets | Exclusives | Win | livenation.co.uk 11
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Latitude reveals DIY Presents: The Alcove StagE
ots of exciting new names have been announced for this year’s Latitude, which runs from 16th to 19th July.
Not only that - we’re also very excited to announce details for the DIY Presents: The Alcove Stage at the festival, which spans across the entire weekend. Stevenage punks Bad Breeding, London trio Real Lies and Aussie newcomer Josef Salvat are all set to appear. “I hope that I get to debut a few new songs,” Salvat says of his appearance, “and maybe some new dance moves. I made a vow with myself when I came here that I wasn’t going to go to any festivals until I played them. I’m really looking forward to it.” It’s not just playing that he’s got his sights set on; there are a few bands he’s holding out to watch too. “I really, really, really want to see Portishead,” he emphasises. “They’re a big deal. Caribou will be fantastic, and Ibeyi and James Blake.”
Also set to play on the DIY stage, we’ve got headturning Londoner Nao, experimentalists Vessels, Douglas Dare, Tor Miller, C-Duncan and loads more. Elsewhere on the latest list of additions to the rest of this year’s weekender, Warpaint are leading the way as the newest act confirmed to grace the Obelisk Arena. Santigold will also be appearing, alongside The Boomtown Rats and Badly Drawn Boy (performing ‘The Hour of the Bewilderbeast’). Over on the BBC Radio 6 Music Stage, The Charlatans will be playing alongside Syrian musician Omar Souleyman and NYC-residing artist Kindness. Other additions include The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Mali group Songhoy Blues, plus DIY favourites Ben Khan and Rae Morris. These new names join headliners Alt-J, Portishead and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. DIY is an Official Media Partner for Latitude.
DIY Presents: The Alcove Stage • Josef Salvat • LoneLady • Bad Breeding • Jane Weaver • Real Lies • R. Selliog • Douglas Dare • Clean Cut Kid • Tor Miller • DMA’s • Nao • Max Jury • C-Duncan
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FIELD DAY (6th - 7th June)
estivals aren’t always about packing wellies and a tent, jumping in the car and scooting off to the nearest set of fields. Sometimes, they’re gems buried in the middle of some of the biggest cities in the UK, just like this year’s Field Day. Heading into its second year as a two-day festival, this year’s edition of the East London event will boast everyone from Caribou to Ride, Mac DeMarco to Savages, Run The Jewels to FKA Twigs. It’s even going to be the only place in the UK that punters will be able to revel in Patti Smith’s performance of her seminal album ‘Horses’ in full. “I’ve never been to Field Day, no!” Rae Morris is quick to admit. Luckily, she’ll get the opportunity to visit when she appears at Victoria Park this month. “It’s one of those events that happens in London that you definitely feel sad to be missing out on. I’m very excited to be on the same lineup as so many brilliant artists and bands. “I’m particularly excited to see Sylvan Esso live for the first time,” she enthuses. “I’ve had that album on repeat over the last few weeks. Then, Patti Smith is one of my heroes, plus my friends Fryars, Jack Garratt and Shura are playing so that’ll be fun!” Fresh from completing her first set of headline shows out in Europe, the Blackpudlian is ready and raring to go when it comes to a summer full of festivals. “My set is constantly developing and changing,” Rae explains, on what she might be including in her live show. “At the moment, since the release of my album, it’s just been wonderful Shacklewell to be playing the record Arms Stage in out to people. association with DIY “I haven’t yet played some of my newer stuff from the 6th June record at a festival so I • Astronomyy guess i’ll have to wait and • Jack Garratt see. But I have a feeling • Rae Morris ‘Morne Fortune’ will be • Fryars lots of fun. It always gets us • Ghost Culture excited on stage so hopefully • LA Priest that’ll translate to the audience.” • Jagaara • Shura And as for the fact she’ll be sharing • Sylvan Esso the stage with her good friend Fryars, • TÁLÁ it’s not surprising that fans are • Tei Shi wondering if a collaboration might be on the cards. “You 7th June know I didn’t even consider it • Allah-Las yet! Fryars has been away in LA • Baxter Dury for a while so we haven’t yet • Gaz Coombes spoken. I would always love • Ex Hex him to sing on ‘Cold’ with • Hookworms me. It’s not quite the same • Savages without his voice.” • Viet Cong
Rae takes her new net. curtains everywhere.. 13
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head up new Reading & Leeds announcement
lt-J lead the new wave of additions for this year’s Reading & Leeds Festival, taking place over this August’s Bank Holiday Weekend. The ‘This Is All Yours’ three-piece will be playing the Main Stage on Friday 28th at Reading and Saturday 29th at Leeds.
They head up the latest announcement of more than 60 new names, with the most exciting bookings including Drenge, FIDLAR, Palma Violets and Against Me! for the Main Stage. The Gaslight Anthem, Babymetal, Feed The Rhino and Modestep have also been booked for similar slots.
On the BBC Radio 1 / NME Stage, Parquet Courts, Spector and Ghostpoet have all been added. There’s also Twin Atlantic, Nothing But Thieves, AWOLNATION, Kwabs and The Skints. Elsewhere, Charli XCX and Liverpool trio All We Are are on the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage. There’s also Maribou State, Jacob Plant, LANY, MK, Oliver Dollar and Kevin Saunderson. The Lock Up Stage will host Modern Baseball, PVRIS, Ho99o9 and Black Peaks, while the Festival Republic Stage has added Gengahr, Vaults, Black Honey and Bad Breeding. See the full list of new additions on diymag.com.
Chromeo and Kendal Calling more join confirm Gaz Bilbao BBK Live Coombes and Temples ilbao BBK Live (9th - 11th July)
has added six electronic acts to its 2015 bill. Chromeo lead the additions, Julio Bashmore will bring his newly-announced debut album, and Lapalux is also appearing, alongside Monarchy, beGun and Buffetlibre.
These new names join Muse, Mumford & Sons and The Jesus and Mary Chain (performing ‘Psychocandy’). Other acts confirmed include Alt-J, Disclosure and Azealia Banks. Future Islands, Of Monsters and Men and Kodaline have recently been announced, too. DIY is an Official Media Partner for Bilbao BBK Live. The last remaining three-day camping tickets are available now. 14 diymag.com
az Coombes, Temples and Mark Lanegan Band are three of the newest additions to this year’s Kendal Calling bill. They join the likes of The Vaccines, Kaiser Chiefs, Elbow and Snoop Dogg, who have already been confirmed to perform at this year’s edition of the event. The Sunshine Underground, DJ Maribou State and Grades are also included in the list of new additions to the line-up. The full list of new additions to the weekender, which has already sold out, is as follows: Gaz Coombes, Temples, Mark Lanegan Band, The Sunshine Underground, DJ Maribou State, Grades, Kidnap Kid, Kim Churchill, Propellers, Jesca Hoop, Habitats, Francisco The Man, Gramotones, New Palace Talkies, Rhain, DRONE X VEED, Collectors Club, Steve Levine, Chadelics, Time For T, Cactus Knife, Secret Company, Bruising and Loyle Carner. Elsewhere on the full line-up, you’ll find the likes of Dutch Uncles, Bondax, The Horrors, British Sea Power, Black Honey, and Kate Tempest. Kendal Calling takes place between 30th July and 2nd August in Lowther Deer Park in the Lake District.
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F E S T I VA L
NEWS IN BRIEF
(12th - 14th June)
LA garage punks FIDLAR have been added to this year’s Download, running from 12th - 14th June at Derby’s Donington Park.
(17th - 18th July)
Clean Bandit, Temples and Public Service Broadcasting are the latest acts to be added to the line-up of this year’s Truck. All We Are, Summer Camp and The Magic Gang are also in the newest list of bill additions.
(17th - 19th July)
BEST KEPT SECRET
Positivus have announced three new names: Warpaint, Rival Sons and Ghostpoet. They join Kasabian, Everything Everything, St. Vincent, Jungle, Charli XCX and more at the Latvian event.
19th - 21st June
estival season is no longer just about dealing with drizzle in the murky depths of the UK. Now, there’s an endless list of new destinations to discover when it comes to seeing your favourite bands, and from the looks of things, this year’s Best Kept Secret is going to be one of the major highlights of this summer.
Not only will this year’s weekender be taking place in the beautiful town of Hilvarenbeek, which sits in the south of the Netherlands, but it also boasts one hell of a line-up. Whether you fancy watching Alt-J, The Libertines or Royal Blood, A$AP Rocky, Future Islands or Noel Gallagher, it’s got just about everyone covered. One of the acts most looking forward to appearing on the lineup are those Danes in Mew, who’ll be giving their newest album ‘+-’ its Dutch debut. “I’m looking very much forward to that,” the band’s Jonas Bjerre says excitedly, of their upcoming performance. “It’s been
HEVY FEST ages since we played any shows in Holland, and I’ve heard really good things about BKS. “Festivals are cool because there is a sense of being part of something bigger. And you get to play your music to people who might not already be familiar with it. Plus, we’re playing the same day as Ariel Pink, which is a show I’m hoping to see, really like his newest album. Also, Jonny Greenwood performing with an orchestra? That’s something I wanna see and hear!” It’s not just Best Kept Secret that the band are looking forward to. After spending the last few years being a little quiet on the live side of things, they’re eager to get back out on the road and throw themselves into the deep end. “Yes indeed, touring and then more touring! That’s how we like it! It’s been too long since we were on the road; we’ve been cooped away in writing and recording for so long!”
(14th - 16th August)
Milk Teeth, God Damn and Protest The Hero are three of the latest bands to be added to Hevy Fest. The event has announced another twelve acts including As It Is, Landscapes and Stick To Your Guns.
GREEN MAN (20th – 23rd August)
Over forty new names have been added to this year’s Green Man, taking place in Wales’ Brecon Beacons. Villagers, All We Are, Teleman, The Antlers and Anna B Savage are just a handful.
LOWLANDS (21st - 23rd August)
Lowlands has announced that Hot Chip, Kendrick Lamar, AWOLNATION and Ben Khan are amongst the eighteen new names added to the line-up of the Biddinghuizen, Netherlands event.
FESTIVAL NO. 6 (3rd - 6th September)
Metronomy have been confirmed as the final headliner for Festival No. 6. The band will join forces with Grace Jones and Belle & Sebastian to close proceedings at Portmeirion, Wales. 15
Franz Ferdinand get caught robbing Gringotts. How could they?
A series of unlikely events led to one of the summer’s best new pairings - Franz Ferdinand and Sparks. Words: El Hunt.
FS, the new so-called supergroup formed by Franz Ferdinand and 70s art-rock aficionados Sparks, has been brewing for over a decade. Since the former released ‘Take Me Out,’ the two bands knew they wanted to work together. They traded demos over the years, but never committed to anything concrete. It’s only now that FFS are releasing their self-titled first album - they’re very clear that this is an entirely new entity, and a debut record - and they put it down to a strange combination of circumstances. “As fate turned out, we bumped into each other on the street,” says Alex Kapranos. “Through some spectacular mishap, I’d broken a molar. I can’t go into the details, it’s too harrowing - all
we’ll say is the articulated lorry did manage to get its bump-start,” he smiles. “Our tour manager said, ‘Huey Lewis has this great dentist, he’ll sort you out,’ and then, lost in San Franscisco, I heard this voice behind me, saying ‘Alex, is that you?’ And it was Ron and Russ. If I hadn’t followed
“If it wasn’t for teeth and moustaches, where would we be?” - Alex Kapranos
my mother’s advice and eaten all those sweets, I wouldn’t have broken my teeth.” “It’s taken us twelve years of searching to find a moustache that meets the expectations of our namesake,” Alex goes on, referencing the well-groomed facial hair of the actual historical figure Franz Ferdinand, along with Ron Mael of Sparks’ iconic ‘tache. “It eliminated a lot of bands,” Russell Mael chips in. “That band Theodore Roosevelt that came to us one time....” adds Ron Mael, tongue firmly in cheek. “It just didn’t work out, you know?” “If it wasn’t for teeth and moustaches...“ Alex muses, “where would we be?” FFS is - even setting aside those teeth
and moustaches for a moment - the result of chance, largely because Franz and Sparks went into the project with no planned destination. “There was a real purity to the collaboration along the way, because it wasn’t that we were doing it for a project,” explains Russ. “It was done without any preconception of what it was,” agrees his brother and Sparks bandmate Ron. “We didn’t know how it was going to sound, either, musically,” says Alex. “Particularly, we responded to one another. I guess it is quite an unusual sound, this record.” Unusual is putting it rather mildly. Actually, the whole thing is a totally bonkers mash of melodrama and glam-rock. At times it’s a borderline parody of both Franz Ferdinand and Sparks’ respective signature sounds. ‘FFS’ boasts an epic-length rock opera song, ironically titled ‘Collaborations Don’t Work,’ and their debut single together - in a nod to FFS’ sweary textspeak connotation - is called ‘Piss Off’. “We want everyone to feel inclusive,” says Alex, faux-sincerely. “It’s nigh on impossible to plot the joining point between the two bands, and really, FFS sounds nothing like its components.” Having completely transformed their sound on ‘No.1 In Heaven’ in 1979, with the help of Giorgio Moroder, Sparks particularly know all too well the power of a producer. For this collaboration, John Congleton was the ideal match. “He was on the same wavelength in wanting to make something new,” says Russ. “He brought a sense of newness to the project,” agrees Alex, “and also an intensely crude sense of humour.”
What’s going on with…
Frank Carter? The former Gallows frontman has just unveiled his new project, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. Hello! You’ve just offered a first taste of your brand new musical foray; it must be a pretty exciting time for you right now? Yeah, very much so. Obviously it’s all been a bit quick: we’ve only put it all together in the last three months but yeah, that means it’s still very exciting for us and feels very spontaneous. It feels like we’re completely focused on it and we’re ready to go. The last twelve months were particularly quiet for you. After Pure Love drew to a close, was it just the right time for you to take a break? Definitely. Essentially, after something like that happens, you have no real plans. For me, after Pure Love finished, I just wanted to take some time and focus on my family. My wife and I had just gotten pregnant so we were just building our home and making sure that the baby was ready to come along. I was actually trying to put music as far away from me as possible. In my head, I had sort of quit completely and I had no plans of ever going back to it. The problem with that, though, is if you’re a creative person, it’s just bigger than you. Regardless of what you want, you have to do it or you feel so unsatisfied. It feels like you’ve got something in you that you’ve just got to let out, and it’s only so long that you keep that down before it boils over anyway.
So, how exactly did Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes come to life? I guess that’s what happened towards the end of last year. I was just pushing and pushing it down, then I was like, ‘Okay, I have to do something. I have to be in a band.’ I felt like I lost a lot of my identity and that’s difficult to deal with as well. I called a friend of mine, and we’ve written music together for a long time but none of it’s ever been very serious. I said I had a ton of lyrics and I needed to write more music and was he interested. He said, ‘Yeah, yeah, of course’ and I said, ‘I want to be in a fucking violent punk band because that’s where my head’s at.’ He sent some songs over and it was just like an explosion when I heard them; it was just what had been missing in my life. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes’ debut EP ‘Rotten’ is out now. DIY
“We wanted to create this third voice, and confound the listener’s expectation,” Alex concludes. “It sums up the whole approach we had to making this record, and to the band as well. We didn’t want it to sound like either band, we wanted to sound like something completely new. We see FFS as something distinct.” FFS’ self-titled debut album will be released on 8th June via Domino. DIY
Shine a light
“I’m intrigued to see what people’s reactions will be.”
From collaborating with Kanye West to dominating festivals with TNGHT, it’s time again for Hudson Mohawke’s solo offerings to take up the limelight. Words: Sarah Jamieson.
ince unveiling his debut ‘Butter’ in 2009, Glasgowbased producer Hudson Mohawke has grown infamous for his genre-bending turntable talents, becoming one of Kanye West’s go-to guys. It may have been a while since he offered up his last fulllength, but no one can accuse him of resting on his laurels. “‘Lantern’ is the first solo record that I’ve done for almost six years,” begins Ross Birchard, the man behind the name. “I’m intrigued to see what people’s reactions will be. I feel like a lot of people have become more aware of me in the last couple of years; they probably don’t know that there was a first album.” Since ‘Butter’ landed, Birchard has turned his hand to many a project. From signing up with Kanye’s label GOOD Music to joining forces with Lunice for their festival-dominating TNGHT project, he’s been a busy man. “I’d like to have put it out sooner but at the same time,” he explains, “I wasn’t consciously thinking, ‘Oh shit, it’s been six years.’ I pretty much haven’t really stopped since the first record came out, what with being involved in other projects and doing the TNGHT thing, and working on other people’s records. It hasn’t felt like that long, but obviously it kinda is.” Unsurprisingly, without those experiences ‘Lantern’ just wouldn’t have come to pass. “A lot of the collaborative work that I’ve done over the past couple of years has made an
impact on how I’ve arranged this album, and the aesthetic,” he continues. “Because that was my first record, it was a bit like, ‘Here’s loads of stuff that I’ve done, I’m just going to shove it all in together’, whereas this record is more considered and I tried to refine it a bit more. I put it together like an actual album, rather than just a collection of songs. That’s something I’ve learned through collaborating.” The result, then, isn’t so much a departure from ‘Butter’ as a honing of his talents. While his last effort was a sprawling mass of different genres and sounds, ‘Lantern’ feels to have much more of an ebb and flow. “Personally, I don’t feel that it’s that different, but my approach to music-making at that point was very much like a solo pursuit; in the middle of the night in my mum’s house. “Some of the stuff that was on that record happened around a time when I was really into turntables. That was very much about who can be the most technical, so a lot of the approach to that record was me being like, ‘How can I make this sound even more crazy, and more fucked up?’ Whereas with this record I would take it down to the core elements rather than being extra crazy and technical just for the sake of it.” Hudson Mohawke’s new album ‘Lantern’ will be released on 15th June via Warp Records. DIY
Hudson Mohawke will play Field Day. See diymag.com for details.
NEWS IN BRIEF
DESTRUCTION IMMINENT With a new album in the works, L.A. Skate-punks FIDLAR have announced details of a one-off London show. The group will play London Heaven on 23rd June, a few days on from their 14th June appearance at Download Festival.
IN THE DEEP END Swim Deep have announced plans to play a huge, one-off show in London it’s the biggest of their career so far. The Birmingham group will play Camden Roundhouse on 22nd October. Support will come from DIY favourites The Magic Gang.
Ten years ago, Maximo Park made they mark with their debut ‘A Certain Trigger’ and now, it’s about time they got to celebrate it.
M FROM THE SKY TO THE SCREEN Sky Ferreira has confirmed plans to release her own film, later this year. As yet untitled, the production has been self-directed alongside visual collaborator Grant Singer and it’s set to arrive alongside a new song. “It will be a VERY cinematic [sic]” said Sky in a Tweet to fans.
IT’LL HAPPEN EVENTUALLY Tame Impala have finally revealed plans to release their brand new album ‘Currents’. The Aussies’ third album will land across the world on 17th July via Fiction Records. Another new taste of the track – the fourth to be taken from their album – comes in the form of ‘Eventually’. 20
aximo Park have announced details of a tenth anniversary tour to mark the release of their debut album, ‘A Certain Trigger’. Taking place in November, the shows in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow will be preceded by a limited edition vinyl repress of the album, out 30th October. The remastered new edition of ‘A Certain Trigger’ will feature a “special selection of single tracks and rarities,” as well as b-sides and demos.
“WE’VE NOT REALLY LOOKED BACK UNTIL NOW.” - PAUL SMITH The real question, though, is can the band believe their debut has been around for a decade now? “Sort of, because it definitely happened!” laughs frontman Paul Smith, opening up about their plans. “In another way, if anybody tries to take stock of their life or look at a certain time period, a lot things feel very fresh in their minds. It’s really hard to quantify; in some ways it feels like [ten years]. We’ve put out five records, we’ve been constantly moving on and
we’ve made a lot of music, and we’ve not really looked back until now. It now felt like a good time to take stock and go, ‘Let’s go out and play some songs and do the first album in there.’ It’s a good way for us to rekindle that time in our minds and just enjoy the songs. “I think at the time, we enjoyed what we were doing,” he continues, “but we were also thinking very fiercely about progressing, and we were nervous; you don’t know where you are or if you’re gonna make another record. You don’t get the chance to appreciate it at all. I can probably count the amount of times I felt satisfied about it on one hand! When I think back to that time, it feels like a time of great possibility but also a time of nervousness and feeling awkward in ourselves. As we’ve gotten older, we feel a bit more comfortable, as a band and personally. I don’t feel like it was just yesterday but it still feels fresh.” DIY MAXIMO PARK WILL PLAY: NOVEMBER 17 London . Roundhouse 18 Manchester . Albert Hall 19 Newcastle . City Hall 20 Glasgow . Barrowlands
DIY HALL OF FAME
A monthly place to celebrate the very best albums released during DIY’s lifetime; the fourth inductee into our Hall of Fame is Brand New’s ‘Deja Entendu’. Words: Ali Shutler.
Brand New - Deja Entendu
n 2003 Brand New were just another pop-punk band from Long Island. Then came ‘Deja Entendu’. Smart, sexy and bleak, it didn’t just push the band into becoming the spotlightshunning superstars that we both hate and adore; it redefined a genre. ‘Deja...’ laid the groundwork for Brand New to become what they are today - a band that can sell a show out in minutes, and send Twitter into a frenzy with the prospect of new material. It’s the quintessential Brand New album, balancing the bubblegum angst of ‘Your Favorite Weapon’ with the grandness that shapes later releases, ‘The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me’ and ‘Daisy’. While ‘Deja…’’s position as best Brand New album is up for fierce debate, ‘The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me’ providing contentious opposition,
“Look, guys, a dinosaur!”
its effect on the genres that the band traversed are obvious. Matching ‘Your Favorite Weapon’s’ total sales figure of 51,000 in just seven weeks, ‘Deja...’ made an impression from the off. Over time though, its importance has swelled. If a rock band wields the heavy burden of personal, emotional lyrics, odds are ‘Deja...’ inspired them. Jesse Lacey’s ability to convey emotion through song is one of the glittering jewels in Brand New’s crown, and here he sparkles with powerful, succinct wordplay. From the obvious screams of ‘Die Young. Save Yourself’, to the mysterious charm of ‘The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows’, the band tap into a deep-seated psyche that’s relatable but open to interpretation. Ask anyone what they think ‘Jaws Theme Swimming’ is about and you’ll receive one of many personal theories. The release of ‘Deja...’ came at a critical time for alternative music. Nu-metal was in full swing, pop-punk had hit a creative ceiling and major labels - who
still dominated the airwaves - were polishing and packing as many bands with an ‘edge’ as they could get their hands on. Despite the title being French for “already heard”, its potent cocktail of youthful confidence violently shaken against the pains of growing up came at a time when people craved something real. From the sombre reflect of ‘Tautou’ until ‘Play Crack The Sky’s’ deathly finale, ‘Deja...’ painfully delivers. “Time goes by quickly, and the steps our band has taken since recording ‘Deja Entendu’ have been significant,” reads a press release from the band on the ten year anniversary of the album. “But it’s important for us to recognise that in many ways this was our first step down an important creative path. And for many of you, it was the doorway to an interest in our music. We hope that we still have it in us to create something that ten years from now, there will be a reason to celebrate and remember.” Thirteen years on, artist and audience are still trying to match it. ”Never to see any other way!” DIY
Read more on diymag.com 21
Deftones From giving themselves more time and space to becoming the most prolific they’ve ever been, the next album from Deftones is set to be just as potent as ever.
eftones just seem to get better with age. With their most recent offering - 2012’s ‘Koi No Yokan’ - they yet again proved that they possess the most brilliant sleight of hand when it comes to experimental metal, so it’s really no surprise that they’re still keeping things organic when it comes to work on its follow up. “It’s been great, you know,” begins drummer Abe Cunningham, as the band draw to a close on the recording of their newest offering. “I mean, it wasn’t much different than we’d normally go about things. We really never have
a plan, for better or worse - and we’re still here today so I guess we’re doing okay - but in terms of concept records and stuff, we kinda just go in and see what comes out. It’s all very reactionary. No one ever goes in with full songs; it’s never been that way. It’s about us feeding off each other’s ideas. The only real change that the band had made to their stellar formula was to give themselves a little more breathing room. While Deftones is, of course, a huge priority for the group, it’s no longer their sole one. Whether it be down to other musical projects, or simply wanting to spend more time with
their families, the decision was made to work over shorter periods, which led to them being more creative. “Yeah, we did things a little bit differently this time,” Abe explains. “We actually got together in little slots of time, rather than, you know, ‘Here’s your time. Here’s a month and a half, go and write a record.’ That was the way it’s always been for us. This time, there were little chunks of writing, broken up by a few shows here and there, and some time at home before going back in for a week or so. We did that over the last year and it was really a nice way to do it. We were able to live a normal life, which is very important for us to do what we do. It’s been a very creative experience, and we’re pretty happy with that, especially at this point in, you know, our learning.”
“We wrote more songs than we had ever before.” Abe Cunningham
With a more relaxed attitude, came more intuitive ideas that the band had the space to explore. “It was definitely about getting in a room together,” the drummer goes on. “It’s a brotherhood, you know? There are five strong opinions but really, it’s based upon us undergoing that process. As I said, rather than going in and having to be creative, we had a lot more time which, really, was more freeing and let us be open. We had such cool writing sessions that we wrote more songs than we had ever before.” The band also recruited Matt Hyde to oversee proceedings, after he played an integral role in their previous full-length. “So, the last two records we did with Nick Raskulinecz, but with ‘Koi No Yokan’, it was Nick and Matt, who have worked together for many, many years,” he says. “Matt was brought in more as engineer, you know?” Then, as fate would have it... “Nick was busy when we were ready to go, and we had really enjoyed working with Matt; he’s a veteran at making records, but he’s also a great person to have around. He’s easy to work with and the opportunity just fell into our laps like that.” Spread over the course of a year, it’s easy to wonder if time might work to dilute their heady mix of genres. But, while the newest effort may be their eighth full-length together as a band, there’s no risk of the quintet giving anything other than everything they can. “I mean, like I say, we didn’t really have a plan and we hadn’t discussed it,” Abe concludes, “but we’re open to anything. A long, long time ago, when we were figuring out how to do this, we just wanted to be able to incorporate any kind of sounds that we wanted, from whatever music. A lot of bands, they have their sound and they do it well so they never stray from it, and that’s fine too, but we’ve always wanted to do anything we wanted. I think there are people out there that enjoy our music for different reasons; some people like the heavier sides, some people like the lighter, more mellow stuff. We will always try to make an entire album because we come from that generation.” Deftones’ new album will be released later this year via Reprise Records. DIY
“And they called it puppy lo-o-oo-ve” - Girl Band cover some classics.
Girl Band They may have been planning to try and squeeze in recording a rock opera while in the studio to create their debut, but luckily ‘proper work’ got in the way. Words: Tom Walters. Photos: Mark McGuinness.
ublin quartet Girl Band have almost wrapped up their highly anticipated debut album for Rough Trade - but that wasn’t all they were planning to do with their recent time in the studio. “We had an idea that if we had incredible amounts of free time,” bassist Daniel Fox chuckles down the phone, “we’d write a rock opera while we were there, but we actually got distracted with doing proper work which is probably for the best!” Having self-released a handful of EPs and singles since 2012, Girl Band have rocketed in notoriety over the course of the last year, turning heads with their full-throttle post-punk that translates into ferocious, unforgiving live shows. They’re an untamed beast, a rare force of originality. “I know this is really vague, but I wanted to capture the intensity of the live show,” says Fox, who also headed up engineering duties on the record alongside two friends. “But not exactly what it’s like, you know? Mix-wise, it’s still a head trip. Purely from a recording perspective, I wanted to make it sound as good as we could make it sound.” Girl Band’s live show has been evolving over the course of the last year, with trips around Europe and America allowing the band to flesh out their set with newer material - none of which has been available to hear on headphones yet, but most of which will be featuring on the album. Fox confirms that all the material they’ve got down is brand new, and that the likes of ‘Lawman’ and ‘De Bom Bom’ will remain as singles.
Those familiar with the singles will know that Girl Band have a habit of drip-feeding material to their fans, and guesses that the album was still a way off wouldn’t have been unfounded. “It kind of just came to the stage where we had enough songs to do it, and we were all feeling good about it,” he says on the decision to head into the studio on Good Friday. “It was like, shit - actually, yeah, we’re totally ready for this. Let’s go in while we’ve got a good momentum going.” Confirming that there’s nine tracks in total - with “a good few of ‘em” stretching over the seven-minute mark - Fox says that while that doesn’t sound like a lot of songs, it all makes sense in the context of the record. “It’s like your standard album length you know,” he divulges. “We haven’t gone and done a twenty minute album or anything like that!” So when’s it out? “It’ll be this year,” he excitedly reveals. “We haven’t nailed down an exact release date yet, there’s still mastering to do and getting it sent off to press, which we’ll do straight away. Things aren’t 100% nailed down.” Whenever it comes, you can rest assured that it’ll come storming through the debut album by Girl Band promises to be one of the most exciting records of the year. Girl Band’s debut album will be released later this year via Rough Trade Records. DIY
If you’re Destroyer and you know it, clap your hands!
Destroyer return later this year with new album, ‘Poison Season’ - and once again, they’re trying something new. Words: Danny Wright.
y intention was to wait so long before putting out another record that people would forget about ‘Kaputt’ and Destroyer altogether. That’s kind of my goal: to start from scratch every time.” When Dan Bejar’s ninth record under his Destroyer alias, ‘Kaputt’, was released to critical acclaim in 2011 it brought him to a larger audience than he’d ever expected. It wasn’t hard to see why. The album’s quasi-ironic-sounding synth, drum machines and sax-filled songs along with Bejar’s wry wordplay made it an album that you kept going back to. It was a sound you could almost describe as kitsch, sliding between soft rock, smooth jazz, and new romantic pop. It was brilliant. But now four years later he’s returning with ‘Poison Season’ – and things have changed again. For one thing, the drum machines have been packed away to make way for a live band. He’s even been writing string arrangements for the first time.
“I knew I didn’t want synthesisers and drum machines. And I didn’t want to stare at a computer for 18 months like I did for that. I mean there are still similarities – a lot of the band are the same. The big difference is the rock’n’roll drummer and the presence of full-blown rock’n’roll piano player.
“There were two things I wanted to do: one was to capture a romantic but doomed quality with these strings; there’s a song called ‘Girl In A Sling’ which really crystallises this idea. And then there are a couple of songs where I really just wanted to show off this awesome band.”
“I didn’t want to stare at a computer for 18 months.”
Though it was recorded quickly, Bejar had the record brewing in his head for a long time before going into the studio. Letting it ferment helped him to make more sense of it. “When I was younger it was just non-stop activity. I was constantly writing songs and doing music and that’s not the case anymore.
“This way of working was kind of new to me. Just recording music live off the floor is not something I’ve done very much and that felt pretty good. I’ve never done much work with strings either so that was pretty interesting.” He pauses. “But I should add, none of those things have any value whatsoever unless it’s good.” And ‘Poison Season’ is very good – mixing lithe rock tracks with lounge strings and a gloomy yet tender heart.
“There are records now that I still shake my head at. Not that they were bad, just the fact I can’t believe we just went for it. I feel the more you do something the more confused about it you become – or you question things more, at least. And I think that’s useful.” Destroyer’s new album ‘Poison Season’ will be released later this year via Dead Oceans. DIY
The gift of time
With their forthcoming album, Young Guns are trying
something new - taking their time. Words: Sarah Jamieson.
n late 2013 Young Guns were about to start work on the follow-up to second album, ‘Bones’. After a trip to North America however, things started to heat up for the Buckinghamshire five-piece. Drawing attention to themselves Stateside, it wasn’t long before the album’s title track was being played across US radio, and climbed to the top of the Billboard Active Rock charts. The ball had started to roll and it was better for the band to strap themselves in than to stop the ride, so their immediate plans were adjusted. “I think at this point,” says frontman Gustav Wood, “because we recorded this album back at the end of last summer, excited isn’t the word. Now, I’m just like, ‘God, can we fucking get it
out already?!’” He laughs. “I am excited for what comes afterwards; touring again, playing festivals again. The whole process of being a band is about to start again and that is really exciting.” Over the last three years, a lot has happened for the band. Not only did they spend much of last year trying to squeeze in time to work on their new record while nurturing their rising profile over in the States, but they signed a deal with Virgin EMI for good measure. Luckily, the time that they were afforded to spend on their forthcoming effort ‘Ones and Zeros’ worked in their favour. “I think that, sometimes in the past, we’ve had to write an album in a month and record it in a month, and
we haven’t had time to reflect on anything,” the frontman offers, from the other side of the Atlantic. The band are currently pulled up outside the venue they’ll be playing later in the day, over in Joliet, IL. “You end up thinking, ‘Okay, well, I’m glad of what we did with that album but I wish we could’ve done this or could’ve done that.’ I think that’s kind of inevitable within the creative process, but it is very much a snapshot of where you are and who you are at that point, so you’re always able to look back on it. This time, it felt like we were able to take a little more time on it - not through choice, of course - but it was good that we were able to do that and that we were able to have time to figure out what we did and didn’t want to do on there. But on the other hand, no matter how long we spend on a record,
“ W e
r e a l ly
w a n t e d t o
s o m e t h i n g w e
h a d n ’ t
a l r e a d y d o n e . ” G u s
W o o d
I always hope that I’ll go back and wish I’d done something different; I think that’s the best part about growing and evolving as a songwriter.” With their newest record, the band had one objective: to tread new ground. Having spent the majority of their career so far leaning towards the classic arrangements of rock bands, ‘Ones and Zeros’ gave them the opportunity to explore different musical elements. “It wasn’t really about sitting down and going, ‘Okay, what can we add to make this cool and new?’” he says, referencing the dark electronics that have found their way embedded into the fulllength. “It was more about the idea that we really wanted to do something we hadn’t already done. We have always written around piano - I write most of my melodies on piano - and then it’d be about how to build on that with guitars. This time, we were just like, ‘Why do we need to do that so much?’ There’s
nothing wrong with it and again, it was partly down to having more time. “When we began writing, we were writing stuff that maybe could have gone on the last record and we realised that that was really uninspiring for us, and we don’t want to repeat ourselves. Mentally, we have tried to get out of that thinking and just do what we wanna do. We just decided, ‘Let’s write what we want to write and have a little bit of faith in that.’ That’s all we’ve ever done and it’s gotten us to the position we’re in now, so it was just really a logical continuation of challenging ourselves and trying to look at things in different lights to try and write in a way that was interesting and exciting for our band.” Young Guns’ new album ‘Ones and Zeros’ will be released on 8th June via Virgin EMI. DIY
THIS MONTH ON ‘THE INTERNET’ So swish.
Not even Shura herself could believe that Mumfords left the banjos out of their ‘2Shy’ cover.
Blur have gone all Magic Whippy.
Things could’ve gone so well for Rat Boy…
Remember that time Indie Pete found his way onto the set of A Peace video?
SPOTTED WHO did our News Editor quiz for directions when a bit lost at Leeds Town Hall? (He was a great help too - what a sweetie!) WHICH swimmingly good band were bopping along at the Brudenell Social Club during Live at Leeds, complete with their infamous fancy coats? WHO was it that ran around a certain East London office block spreading gold glitter just about everywhere imaginable? WHICH superstar singer was seen at the front of a recent Tobias Jesso Jr. show, laughing at all of his between-song #banter?
P o p s ta r P o s tbag Marmozets We know what you’re like, dear readers. We know you’re just as nosy as we are when it comes to our favourite pop stars: that’s why we’re putting the power back into your hands. Every month, we’re going to ask you to pull out your best questions and aim them at those unsuspecting artists. You don’t even need to pay for postage! This month, Marmozets are taking on the challenge. Is it THE Marmozets or just Marmozets, or are both acceptable? Corey, London It is just Marmozets; when we first started seven years ago it was ‘The Marmozets’ but just before we released our debut EP we decided to take away the ‘The’. Which bands have had an influence on you, from you wanting to get into the music career? Jade, Suffolk When we were growing up our parents listened to a lot of Pixies and the White Stripes and Big Black, just loads of bands like that so that has had a huge influence on us, but our parents were very musical in their own right too so they taught us how to play. Raised by wolves or marmosets? Alistair, York Or raised by Marmolves? That’s what we think. A mixture of both because we were hungry to be the best band possible, but then always trying new and weird things to make everything we do the best it can possibly be. Whether it be the live show or the music, it doesn’t matter. We just want to be the best.
What’s the worst prank that you’ve pulled on another band? Marcus, Stoke At Reading and Leeds festival last year we took all the plants in the backstage area and put them in Royal Blood’s dressing room, then set them up for a dinner for two with a mango and a bottle of red. We did it again to them at a festival in France as well. We took everything - sofas, trees, plants, tables, chairs - in this huge indoor back stage and crammed it all into their dressing room while they were on stage. They saw the funny side. What advice would you give teenagers who would like to follow in your footsteps? Tom, Suffolk Start a band but, most importantly, enjoy it. Don’t intend to ‘make it’ or whatever. That’s not the sort of thing that just happens if you force it. If you had to capture the rest of the band, Scooby Doo-style, what traps would you set? Marcus, Cardiff I’m not too sure to be honest. Oddly I haven’t really thought about it before and it’s been so long since I watched Scooby Doo so I honestly can’t
remember any of the traps or even the baddies. What I do remember though is the food... What can we expect from the Marmozets in the near future? Any news on another album? Tom, Suffolk Expect an even bigger and better Marmozets. We’re pushing everything up about 10 gears. As far as when the new album is actually coming… We’re in the early stages of writing but nothing more than that at this point. What’re the weirdest and the most wonderful things that have happened to you on tour? Alicia, Kent When the airport lost our guitars and all our luggage... That wasn’t so much weird but actually really more annoying. A wonderful thing is the venue Exeter Cavern because, for some reason, every time we play there something amazing happens. It all comes together and a good time is had by all. Marmozets will play Best Kept Secret. See diymag.com for details.
NEXT MONTH: LOWER THAN ATLANTIS Want to send a question to DIY’s Popstar Postbag? Tweet us at @diymagazine with the hashtag #postbag, or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Easy!
SEPTEMBER 2015 TOUR 16 BRISTOL O 2 ACADEMY 17 BIRMINGHAM INSTITUTE 19 GLASGOW ABC 21 NEWCASTLE UNI 22 SHEFFIELD PLUG
23 SOUTHAMPTON O 2 GUILDHALL 25 MANCHESTER ALBERT HALL 26 LONDON BRIXTON O 2 ACADEMY
DEBUT ALBUM ‘MY LOVE IS COOL’ OUT JUNE 22
DEBUT ALBUM ‘A DREAM OUTSIDE’ OUT 15TH JUNE ON TRANSGRESSIVE RECORDS.
HEALTH 9 JUNE
TUFNELL PARK DOME DEATH MAGIC OUT AUGUST 7 / FICTION RECORDS
ELECTRIC BRIXTON WEARESHURA.COM
A lot happens over the course of a month in the mad world of ace music. You’re busy people, we get that, so we’re here to help. Catch up with the most amazing, exciting or generally ‘WTF m9’ new songs that have surfaced in the last few weeks. No need to thank us. No, really, it’s fine.
Tame Impala - Eventually Something’s flowing on Tame Impala’s ‘Currents’. On the songs showcased so far from the group’s forthcoming third album, they span from emotiondrenched disco to quickfire lo-fi production, right through to straight-up R&B ballads. It’s a juggernaut in the making. A twisted take on break-up songs, this latest cut sees Kevin Parker delivering direct rejection over sweltering synths. Boiling over with regret, it’s another lesson in precision: if there’s any running thread currently swimming through ‘Currents’, it’s the sound of Parker exerting more control than ever.
have you heard
The best new tracks from the last month.
Metric - The Shade
Given the three years Metric have been away, it’d be easy for their electricallycharged sound to grow stale. We’ve gone from dodgy smartphones to iWatches during their time away - their previously modern sound has a lot of catching up to do. But as Emily Haines claims “there’s no better time” for their return, this is the sound of a group re-enlivened. Playful synths switch gears for fun, while Haines barks “I want it all!” with demanding clamour. This is a song on a mission, a bright statement of intent that puts Metric firmly back in the foreground.
Years & Years - Shine For a minute there, it looked like Years & Years might have overdone it on the pingers. From ‘Desire’ to ‘King’, this was a trio only going upwards - both in the charts and in terms of bonkers dance-pop euphoria. They’ve simmered down a touch on ‘Shine’, but that doesn’t prevent this from being any less of an allout giant. ‘Shine’ is taken from an album called ‘Communion’, but instead of togetherness, loneliness and heartbreak seem to be the overriding themes of Years & Years’ debut. Olly Alexander deals with the heavy topics better than most, flipping grim reality on its head, switching torment to triumph.
Swim Deep - One Great Song And I Could Change The World Like with the severe turn ‘To My Brother’, ‘One Great Song…’ is a bolshy, focus-shifting song possessing one simple message: things can get better, blue skies are ahead and there’s zero point in getting bogged down in reality. “Is this love?” asks Austin Williams. “Have I said why I love the sunrise? It’s ‘cause it’s only gonna get lighter.” Speaking to DIY at the turn of the year, the frontman said we might be on the brink of a “summer of love”. Sounds farcical, but if anyone’s going to force the change, it’s these guys. Hippie gear at the ready. Jaws - Bad Company It shouldn’t be a surprise that Jaws had this stashed in their locker – you need only look at their t-shirt collection to know they’re fans of something heavier – but to return with a casual, off-the-cuff statement is nothing short of ballsy. Jaws are playing with untapped versatility here – a versatility that, before their debut has even left the room, makes the prospect of a second record all the more enticing. It’s a new dimension that might not be up everyone’s street, but with the way that Jaws pull it off, it’s difficult to not sit back and think, ‘fair play lads. Fair fucking play’. Oscar - Beautiful Words Oscar Scheller’s take on pop is anything but nostalgic. He’s more likely to throw a modern-day curveball than hark back to a 90s obsession. But that doesn’t make him incapable of thinking back to at least one golden age. On ‘Beautiful Words’, he shuns emoji culture and text speak for something more poetic, crying out for some kind of Shakespeare figure to swoop in and save the world. Romance works best when it’s in fancy prose and on a crumpled up piece of paper, he claims. “I just wanna hear beautiful words returning,” Refused - Elektra he sings, hugging a Seventeen years is a hell of a thesaurus like it’s his only long time for a band to leave friend. between new material, but any suggestions Refused’s new album ‘Freedom’ is a gamble quickly disappear within thirty seconds of opener ‘Elektra’. Those explosions of noise and moments of relative quiet, the riffs, guitar lines, thumping beats all tie together into one all-out assault. A baton dropped back in the late nineties is scooped up without even the slightest break of stride. This is no reanimated corpse of a band best left buried, but a singular voice able to do what others simply can’t.
Meredith Graves - Took the Ghost to the Movies The momentum’s still going for Perfect Pussy’s gut-wrenching debut ‘Say Yes to Love’, but frontwoman Meredith Graves is wasting no time in going it alone. Solo debut ‘Took the Ghost to the Movies’ is a twisted and tangled take on loneliness and desperation. It borrows aspects of Graves’ day-job - searing guitars, a faintness that can’t quite be grasped - but for the most part, it rips up the rulebook. Set to a driving, relentless pulse, it has more in common with a My Bloody Valentine piece than storming, blink-and-you-missed-it post-punk. Fittingly haunting, this is an exciting debut that sets Graves apart as a genuine star. Disclosure - Bang That As an interim between records, Disclosure’s ‘Bang That’ is the sound of the UK’s biggest dance duo embracing their shameless side. Built around an obscure sample (Detroit producer Shamou’s 2002 track ‘Pass Out’), it’s a no-stringsattached, twerking and shaking blast of dirty house. By no means the best track in the Lawrence brothers’ locker, it still has them finding influence in unlikely sources and lending a spotlight to something different. And regardless of how it came together, it’s set to be a dramatic staple of Disclosure’s 2015 live shows, culminating at their very own Wild Life festival. HEALTH - New Coke ‘New Coke’ is stark, yet glistening. With hi-hats that sound like machine gun fire, there’s a knowingly frantic sound. “Let the bombs explode” is sung so casually - laconically even - over brassy synths and tribal snare, and like Fuck Buttons on ketamine, it’s propelled by Death Grips-esque production, and careers wildly from relative calm to utter panic. This is a nightmare over two minutes; urgent and screaming with flicked spit and neck veins like ropes. This, fundamentally, is HEALTH at their most frenetic, which is an achievement in itself.
MENACE BEACH BRING RECORD
STORE DAY TO A ROWDY END AT THE OLD BLUE LAST
eeds two-piece Bruising are on first, bulked up by the addition of two extra members, and their head-rattling scuzz is much more potent for it. The vocal harmonies cut through their noisy rhythm with finesse, acting as a constant pendulum swing that grounds the whole affair. It’s a rowdy marriage that fits the Old Blue Last like a glove. Simmer on the other hand keep the crowd at arms length. With a four tap count in, the Cheshire four-piece dive into ‘Douse’ and don’t really come up for air until they finish. As they bring things to a close, they haven’t wasted a second of their time onstage and they’re not going to start now.
It’s a feeling that’s echoed as Menace Beach take to the stage and fall into ‘Tastes Like Medicine’. From its opening kick, the mood of the packed Old Blue Last changes into one of celebration and Menace Beach are in their element. Their debut album ‘Ratworld’ is only a few months old but already the band are straying from its beaten track. The tightly wound pace is relaxed in a live environment as the band toy with contrast, giving the polished, jangling abandon some teeth. A closing one-two of ‘Drop Out’ and an extended ‘Lowtalkin’’ sees the band lead the room in an eye-closed wander through atmosphere before they explode with screaming vocal loops and bratty reckless snarls, highlighting their dynamic wonder and bringing Record Store Day to an end in superb fashion. (Ali Shutler)
ICEAGE CAPTIVATE BIRMINGHAM WITH
ENTHRALLING PACKED-OUT SHOW
fervent excitement litters the street outside the Hare & Hounds on a Friday night. The reason? Danish punks Iceage are about to play to a packed-out room. With a capacity of only 150, as the venue fills out it’s impossible to ignore the sense of the show’s oncoming storm. As Iceage take to the stage, it’s as if everything else evaporates. The only thing that matters is the here, the now, and the shambolically melodic punk that emanates from the front of the room. As the first chords resound through the speakers, the atmosphere becomes electric – people screaming along to every word. Frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt takes it all in his stride – pacing and swaying across the stage front, glaring out from under his fringe, and stepping up on the speakers to howl his lyrics closer to the audience. The crowd lap up every moment. Iceage cast their spell over the Hare & Hounds barely even breaking a sweat, and with barely a word it’s over, leaving the room both entranced and exhausted. (Jessica Goodman) DIY PRESENTS Coming up… MAY 24 Tall Ships, The Lexington, London SEPTEMBER 02 Ought, Deaf Institute, Manchester 10 Mac DeMarco, The Institute, Birmingham OCTOBER 16 Speedy Ortiz, Sound Control, Manchester
25.05.15 SEBRIGHT ARMS
YEARS & YEARS
12.06.15 SOLD OUT 02 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE 13.06.15 SOLD OUT 02 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE
OSCAR & THE WOLF 16.06.15 UNDERWORLD 26.05.15 HOXTON SQUARE BAR & KITCHEN
26.05.15 POWER LUNCHES
MATT AND KIM
+ GET INUIT & IRIS GOLD 28.05.15 HEAVEN
02.06.15 MIRANDA AT ACE HOTEL
02.06.15 BOSTON MUSIC ROOM
02.06.15 BOURNEMOUTH O2 ACADEMY
09.06.15 DOME TUFNELL PARK
09.06.15 SOLD OUT SERVANT JAZZ QUATERS 10.06.15 SOLD OUT SERVANT JAZZ QUATERS
09.06.15 SOLD OUT GLASGOW BARROWLAND 10.06.15 SOLD OUT BLACKPOOL EMPRESS BALLROOM 11.06.15 SOLD OUT LLANDUDNO VENUE CYMRU ARENA
06.10.15 BRIGHTON KOMEDIA 07.10.15 BRISTOL EXCHANGE 08.10.15 SCALA 13.10.15 NORWICH ARTS CENTRE
ALL WE ARE T
11.06.15 SOLD OU BRISTOL O2 ACADEMY 12.06.15 SOLD OUT THE FORUM 13.06.15 THE FORUM 18.06.15 SOLD OUT MANCHESTER ALBERT HALL 19.06.15 SOLD OUT GLASGOW BARROWLAND
WHILK & MISKY 08.07.15 BIRTHDAYS
02.05.15 BRIGHTON BLEACH 17.09.15 BRIXTON ELECTRIC
16.09.15 BRISTOL 02 ACADEMY 17.09.15 BIRMINGHAM INSTITUTE 23.09.15 SOUTHAMPTON O2 GUILDHALL 26.09.15 BRIXTON 02 ACADEMY
01.10.15 CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION 02.10.15 BRIGHTON CONCORDE
13.10.15 EVENTIM APOLLO 16.10.15 BIRMINGHAM O2 ACADEMY 21.10.15 SOLD OUT CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION
21.10.15 DOME TUFNELL PARK
+ THE MAGIC GANG 22.10.15 ROUNDHOUSE
ALABAMA SHAKES 18.11.15 SOLD OUT BRIXTON O2 ACADEMY 19.11.15 BRIXTON O2 ACADEMY
PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING 29.11.15 BRIXTON 02 ACADEMY
+ SWEDISH DEATH CANDY 24.05.15 OLD BLUE LAST
MAY – NOV
bul Honesty is the only policy for Alicia Bognanno. Her Nashville-based band deal exclusively in upfront shocks to the system. Words: Jamie Milton. Photo: Emma Swann.
ully’s album ‘Feels Like’ is a lesson in uncompromising force. Going for the gut, giving absolutely no breathing space, it’s the result of two solid years where Alicia Bognanno and her Nashville based group have been nothing if not direct.
“It’s a personal, honest record,” says Bognanno, midway through the band’s first ever UK tour, where they convert cynics to enlivened new fans in a matter of minutes. “Writing
that way comes with age, for me. I used to hide behind my lyrics all the time. It’s not like an ageing thing, but as I’m maturing as a songwriter, I’m finding it more important to say what I mean rather than hiding behind it. There’s nothing to lose. And I guess I appreciate it more. It’s harder to be honest and open - it’s easier to avoid that.” The project started when Bognanno - who at the time spent spells in another band, King Arthur, while engineering at local studio Battle Tapes - showed her own material to drummer (and boyfriend) Stewart Copeland. Everything spiralled from there, bassist Reece Lazrus and guitarist Clayton Parker backing every bolt of upfront energy with similarly unrelenting noise. It’s been a staple since day one. Bandcamp’s go-to band for 2014, a couple of self-released 7” singles were compressed into a debut EP by Sony offshoot Startime International. Copeland cites conversations with other labels “where it was like ‘Yeah great, we’ll get another
single, work it with another EP’,’” whereas Startime founder Isaac Green recognised the sheer momentum backing Bully. “They were just like, ‘Guys, go make the fucking record. Let’s do it. Let’s put it out’. And that was exciting to us. Alicia knew she had a record,” says the drummer.
With that, Bognanno went to familiar territory to record ‘Feels Like’. She booked three weeks in Chicago’s Electrical Audio, a studio owned by the legendary Steve Albini. Previously, she’d spent a summer there interning, in-between working the sound desk for venues, getting the knowhow for production and engineering that’d end up contributing hugely towards the self-produced debut. “It was a shit-ton of work,” she readily admits. “Even preparing for it. I went down with all my mics I was gonna use. Everything was planned out. There wasn’t a lot that was easy about it. But the process itself went pretty smoothly. No horror-story road bombs that happened along the way. Except for the last week where I felt like I was
“It was a shit-ton of work.” - Alicia Bognanno
losing my mind a little bit, just from being in there. “I really love everybody that works there,” she says of Electrical Audio, where the band holed up for a freezing cold November. “The studio in Nashville that I’m most comfortable with - I could have done it there. But I just wanted to get out of town. I didn’t want to have to take a break for lunch and run into people I know. I’d think about my dog all the time, too. I mean, I still did. But there’s nothing I can do about it when I’m ten, twelve hours away.” The end result is a record that takes Bully’s initial rush and goes several steps further. Thrashing, no-bullshit punk remains the game, but these initially-adored rough cuts have been reshaped into something bigger. Bognanno pierces every fuzz-drenched storm, breaking through the clouds with serious meaning. Every note is sung like her whole life depends on it. It’s the making of a genuine star. DIY 35
“ I D O N ’ T T H I N K A N YO N E M A K ES M U S I C FOR OTHER PEOPLE.” - WILL ARCHER
Will Archer has been turning heads with disorienting electronic music for years, and now he’s putting his name to a debut LP. Words: Jamie Milton.
Sitting somewhere on the outskirts of Gold Panda’s sample-heavy early recordings and Bonobo’s lulling horn-led material is Slime, a neu lesser-known but equally exciting producer. Real name Will Archer, he put out a handful of exciting early tracks back in 2012. And despite a swell of attention, he decided to retreat, re-emerging years later with a debut album, due out this summer. Archer’s relationship with electronic music doesn’t exactly take the standard route. He used to stand nearby a local record shop in Newcastle, with a placard pointing customers the right way. In return, he received payment in white labels and LPs. A group of friends in the area started putting on nights, but Archer swiftly left his hometown for a degree in Sound Design, when he turned eighteen. Right now, however, he’s stuck in Paris. “There’s fuck all happening here,” he quips. “That’s probably my complete ignorance. But I’m counting down the days to go back to London.” A move to France’s capital came about because he “fancied a change,” but since relocating he’s been handed a “solitary
slime deal.” Few friends for company, he’s used the time to make music that’s “less formulaic” than the material on his debut. Already thinking several steps ahead, isolation has left him recording “pots and pans” sounds as field recordings and making music that’s “all over the place.” The record he’s about to put out is otherworldly enough. Horn sections splatter, hushed vocals simmering in and out of consciousness. It’s an album that places soul inside electronic music, rather than bridging any kind of gap. “I’m not a recluse or anything,” Will
says, “but I make music for myself. I don’t think anyone makes music for other people, unless they’re in it for a different reason. Anyone who’s artistic in any way, they do it for their own self-gratification. It’s their source of well-being. It’s a necessity rather than a job. It’s just a way of feeling good. It’s one of the very few things that makes a big effect. If that’s not going well, then nothing’s going well. They’re completely dependent on each other.” Slime’s new 12” ‘My Company’/’In One Year’ is out now via Weird World. DIY
“I DON’T THINK WE’LL EVER REACH M AT U R I T Y. ” SAM DUST
La Priest Years on from Late of the Pier’s mind-flipping debut, Sam Dust is making up for lost time on his own terms. Words: Jamie Milton. Photo: Emma Swann.
“I don’t think you can just make a new sound on your own. You have to develop that with an audience. They need to build up a context neu for the next thing,” says Sam Dust, the brains behind LA Priest. And few new projects arrive with quite so much context. Dust was - and still is, depending on how you view the situation - a member of Late of the Pier, beloved post-nu rave gems with an eye for flipping pop on its head. Their debut album ‘Fantasy Black Channel’ remains their only effort to date, and the group are up there with Jai Paul in the ‘where did they bloody go?’ stakes. Dust doesn’t see things as quite so black-and-white. “We’re all doing our own things,” he claims, his thing being an experimental project that tests the boundaries of dance and pure pop. “So we can come and work together on things which we have done a lot. We kind of did it for fun really, since that record. Maybe people will be cool with it, if we keep releasing our own things and showing that we’re actually making some of this together.” As LA Priest stands, it dives way further into oddball extremes than Dust’s previous day job. The night before speaking to DIY, he plays his first show in a tiny converted shed, housing thirty people. Samplers and otherworldly pedals sit atop a dancefloor that mimics his every move with unpredictable flashes. The walls are decorated with glow-in-the-dark cave paintings, and outside sits a hot tub which, if the show ended up going any longer, would have been filled to the brim with dance-ravaged punters. His set begins in a timid, stop-start fashion, but it finishes as an enlivened beast, more
James Murphy or Simian Mobile Disco-stamped than anything LotP. “I saw some fans from six or seven years ago, and a lot of them haven’t really grown up,” he enthuses, the next day. “They’re eternal teenagers. And that’s something we all share. I don’t think we’ll ever reach maturity, a lot of us. I think this would have been different if everything was happening in the 70s or 80s. Styles and tastes were changing so fast. What I’ve done is only possible because of this strange cyclical process. It’s somewhat static. But if things are like that, then you’ve got something to push against.” LA Priest’s ‘Inji’ debut is round the corner, and it combines newly-penned numbers with tracks halfformed some five years back. It’s an album that’s taken Dust from London to Greenland, where he
studied a region’s “electromagnetic” frequencies. In future, he wants to make records that “study a certain discipline,” Brian Eno-style, but for now he’s reintroducing himself to loyalists and giving himself a platform to experiment further. Regardless of how this project evolves, it carries a flavour of fun-first abandon that’s been missing even since Late of the Pier ignored demand and quietly faded out. “When I see people that are treating themselves as clones, that upsets me,” he says. “One of the worst sides of humanity is that we seem to copy each other a lot, for social reasons. I’m just trying to battle against that.” LA Priest’s debut album ‘Inji’ will be released on 29th June via Domino. DIY LA Priest will play Field Day. See diymag.com for details.
The Big Moon Fresh from a ‘Eureka Moment’, this London group are howling their way to the top. Words: Jamie Milton. Photo: Emma Swann. “We’re not wasting time / I’m with you for life,” sings The Big Moon leader Juliette Jackson on her band’s debut single, ‘Sucker’. neu It’s a neat, fitting mantra for the group’s first steps. Two songs to the good, the London four-piece capture timelessness in a way few newcomers achieve. Faster than lunar patterns tend to change, they’ve swiftly become a huge prospect. Back in February and initially going by the name The Moon (presumably they added a ‘Big’ because they’re going to be massive), debut track ‘Eureka Moment’ flew into the spotlight. “It’s a good song to put out first because we’re like, ‘Kaboom! Eureka! The Big Moon’s here!’” jokes Jackson. “It’s choppy, weird - it’s so silly.”
pipes in bassist Celia Archer. “But I suppose if you’re a make-up artist, that’s kind of your way to do it. It’s not cool, but they’re gonna jump on a female band,” says guitarist Soph, who also plays in Neu favourites Our Girl.
The response was instant - and a bit overwhelming. “I had to turn off my emails because I was freaking out a bit. Having a little bit of a panic attack,” says Jackson. “It was two days of people saying ‘Who are you? Where have you come from? Do you need a manager? Do you need someone to do your hair and make-up?’”
Besides the outlandish, somewhat offensive offers, the very idea of putting themselves out there was almost a bit much. “Showing anyone what we sounded like was kind of weird,” says drummer Fern Ford. “It’s all so precious and tentative in those early stages. We wanted to handle this in the right way,” backs up Jackson.
Day one of being a band and they were getting hair and make-up offers? “It’s like ‘What, do you think we look ugly?’”
Following the revelatory ‘Eureka Moment’ is
‘Sucker’, a more precise and structured glimpse of what to expect from The Big Moon. It boasts the kind of stone-cold classic songwriting Alex Turner wouldn’t sniff at, and it’s enough to spur them on to a full-length. Soph Nathan says there’s one in the works. “These songs work together. We wrote them all in a similar time. It feels like a set. We have enough to choose from.” Expect this heady rise to continue at a ridiculous rate. The Big Moon’s new single ‘Sucker’ will be released on 15th June via Hard Up Records. DIY
THIS MONTH IN
EPS Three Neu favourites return with some key releases this month. From soul-skewed R&B to manic synth-pop, June has it all for exciting next steps. Here’s a roundup of our favourite EPs demanding attention right now:
Future-R&B newcomer NAO started out by collaborating with Jai Paul’s brother, but she’s since gone it alone with dazzling results. Before playing DIY’s Alcove Stage at Latitude, she released ‘February 15’ - out now on Dummy and her own label Little Tokyo Recordings.
Ben Khan 1000
22-year-old DIY favourite Ben Khan goes for broke on his second release. A lesson in meticulous pop, the followup to breakthrough ‘1992’ trades the pure pop of his debut for something more unorthodox. He remains a ridiculously exciting prospect. ‘1000’ is out now.
R EC OM MENDED
Ok ay K aya Gravity-defying New York talent, on Jamie xx’s speed-dial. Signed to XL’s Hot Charity imprint, Okay Kaya pens dusky, free-thinking pop songs. Existing somewhere between the Deep South’s open roads and New York’s busy, lit-up skyline, her ‘Damn, Gravity’ was the first to catch attention. Since then, she’s been asked to provide music for this month’s cover star Jamie xx and his score for ballet ‘Tree of Codes’. Listen: ‘Damn, Gravity’ is music for astronauts. Similar to: The Twin Peaks soundtrack re-interpreted for 2015. Vocoder-hugging Londoner who made Zane Lowe’s last ever Hottest Record.
The Japanes e Ho us e
Fuzz-addled force giving distortion a new name.
.in h eaven
Alex Burey Family Stone
The smoky soul of Alex Burey’s early work can’t be replicated. Never quite ready to come to terms with reality, his is a space-age take on songwriting. Second EP ‘Family Stone’ arrives ahead of dates on Soak’s UK tour.
Amber Bain is a 19-year-old songwriter whose ‘Pools to Bathe In’ EP reinterpreted gloomy pop. Her glitchy first tracks like to stop, start and run in circles before getting to the point. And that’s the fun with The Japanese House - she seems to exist on a different planet. Her ‘Still’ track was also Zane Lowe’s last ever Hottest Record. It’ll forever remain searing-to-the-touch. Listen: ‘Pools to Bathe In’ is a highlight from the EP. Similar to: Imogen Heap if Kanye was at the production desk.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that INHEAVEN pen simple, easy-on-the-ear pop songs before coating every last undying second in distortion. Their debut ‘Regeneration’ single is a lesson in force, and it arrives faster than those empty, glossy blocks of flats that seem to be hogging up London’s skyline. Listen: The ‘Regeneration’ 7” is out now via AMF Records. Similar to: (Whisper it) The Big Pink, with more spite in their locker. Hardcore will never die if these guys have anything to do with it.
.Show Me The B ody.
What’s that sound? A gruesome, sludgy jolt to the system, delivered by Queens, New York punks with a big mission on their hands. On early recordings, they blister the senses with a combination of Death Grips-like howls and grimy, earpiercing guitars. It’s thrash, delivered with a vital new spin. Listen: ‘SMTB’ is out now via Kaya Kaya. Similar to: Fingers-in-the-mains fear.
x r a
‘I o -
here isn’t anybody else remotely like Jamie xx. This 26-year-old - real name Jamie Smith - is in one of the world’s most adored bands with The xx. And at the same time, he’s a go-to voice in the electronic world. Few take on this kind of balancing act, and barely anybody embraces the challenge quite like this man. Obsessed with niche movements and revivals, he’s just as happy DJing a new night to thirty people as he is closing out a stage at a gigantic festival. He wouldn’t have it any other way, but it’s taken one hell of a journey to get here.
more normal lives - his friends were starting university. Alone, he’d lose track of time immersing himself in the sounds coming out of dingy London clubs. He remembers “weird spaces with loads of dudes stood around, hoods up.” Was he ever one of those? “Occasionally…” Jamie’s discovery of electronic music was a reclusive one. And from the beginning of The xx, he’s been the guy at the back (“it didn’t really matter if I looked miserable or not”). Debut album ‘In Colour’, however, is his way of getting personal. A manifestation of the way he thinks and feels, some songs have been hanging around for years, lurking from his early twenties to where he is today. “Going from being 17 to 26 - that’s one of the biggest parts of your life, in terms of how you shape as a person,” he says, and ‘In Colour’ documents this coming-of-age story, one that’s impossible to replicate.
“Not a lot of people get to be where I am,” he admits, jet-lagged and trying to count the hours since he last slept. Two days back in his beloved London haven’t provided any sense of routine. Post-Coachella he’s been in a daze, and his only response - ignoring sanity altogether - has been to go out more, see more things. That’s been the case since the age of 17, when his shy, stage fright-struck band were whisked off with a
arti s t s
oing it alone, early days were spent at these stranger-filled club nights. But he wasn’t clubbing, strictly speaking. Instead of stuffing himself full of uppers,
debut album that helped shape one of the most surprising success stories in a decade. Any time off from touring, he’d spend nestling up next to a speaker somewhere in a dark corner of the capital. Nobody else was around because they were all leading boring,
yo u r
ordering two WKDs for £4 and making a new best friend every ten minutes, he was listening. At nights like Plastic People, he’d wait for Four Tet’s set to finish before approaching Kieran Hebden and having a conversation. “I wouldn’t take drugs or anything like that. It was just about going to these nights and discovering
new stuff,” he remembers. “It just felt like a really exciting time to be missing out on, if I stayed at home.” When things went stratospheric for The xx, the Londoner would spend his spare hours getting homesick. Not just in the sense of checking Facebook and sending sentimental messages - he’d dose up on UK garage documentaries, videos of kids skating in the capital, episodes of the Top Boy drama (which ends up being sampled on one of his tracks, ‘Girl’). “Being away from London that long every year and the people you grew up with - it’s hard,” he says. Fragments of home appear in everything he does. Last year’s ‘All Under One Roof Raving’ was a forthright tribute to the country and all the musical movements it’s spawned. With his recent ‘Loud Places’ video, he and bandmate Romy-Madley Croft ride skateboards while getting covered in confetti. “Before we made music together, from the age of like 13, Romy and I used to go out and skate,” he remembers. London was the source of ‘In Colour’ actually happening in the first place. In summer 2014, with The xx’s third album beginning to shape, Jamie had a dozen half-thoughts swimming around in his head. He “had to finish it,” he says. “I felt like I needed to get rid of it. It was lingering, and I wanted to have a fresh head. It was just ideas, not even songs at the time. And I needed the force of an album to make me finish it.” Instead of launching back towards club culture for inspiration, he locked himself inside, in 30 degrees heat. The city’s scene was a “little stale” at the time, he felt. “But that might have been because I was also trying to make my album.” The breakthrough moment hit when he made opening track ‘Gosh’. The last song he started from those sessions, he can pretty much be heard bouncing off the walls. All those UK garage videos he’d watch while on tour burst out in full bloom, and a hook that wouldn’t look out of place on The xx’s debut floats in from another dimension entirely. It’s a song that sums up the producer at his best, melding opposite worlds that few would think to combine. It might be raised on a diet of revivalism, but it’s also inviting and all-inclusive. He says the title ‘In Colour’ is a play on people’s perception of The xx as dark, gloomy figures. But this full spectrum approach also represents inclusiveness, the notion that nothing should be ruled out completely. He might be a know-it-all, but few producers have this ability to invite strangers into their world.
His solo break, in many ways, arrived through another collaboration. After The xx’s debut, he was asked by XL’s head honcho, Richard Russell, to rework Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘I’m New Here’. “I wasn’t thinking about even the fact somebody else would hear it. I was just so excited to be able to make this music,” he remembers. Between days where he simply hung out with the Chicago legend, he was let loose on a bank of material with which he could do just about anything. New tools at hand, he was a kid in a sweet factory. “If I was doing that album now, I would drive myself mad,” he says, in-part referring to Scott-Heron’s death - he passed three months after ‘We’re New Here’’s release. “It kind of felt like it was going to happen, when I was hanging around with him,” he admits. “The gravitas was already there: just being able to sit with him and hear his stories, and when it did happen obviously it was very sad. But by that point I’d realised it was a very special thing to be a part of, that record.” If there’s one thing Jamie xx learnt from those two distinct experiences - working on his own terms, or being surrounded by big-wigs - it’s that he’s more in his element when he’s close to home. That’s partly why a third of ‘In Colour’ consists of collaborations with Romy and Oliver Sim. The results were so good, his bandmates wanted to nab songs for their own, third LP. “I have the same problems,” he says. “Every time you make something that you like, you worry that you’re not going to be able to make anything else like that.” He had the option of flooding the debut with high-profile guest spots. “But I think it’s an easy way out, to get other artists to appear on your record,” he claims. “It’s something a lot of people have been doing recently. You get their fans and they get your fans. But I just wanted to make something that I was comfortable with and that represented what I was doing.” One song on ‘In Colour’ breaks this rule. At first, ‘I Know There’s Gonna Be Good Times’ is so drastically out of place, it sounds like guests Young Thug & Popcaan barged into the record without getting Smith’s permission. “That’s me
j us t
t’s hard to think of anyone less-suited to the glamour-clad, rich and famous Hollywood lifestyle, but that’s essentially where Jamie xx ended up before making ‘In Colour’. He worked closely with Alicia Keys (they’re buddies on WhatsApp) and Drake (“We’d hang out. But I don’t know if I know him that well”), where he’d be in the production chair for high-profile collaborations. “I loved doing some parts,” he says. But “that world”, as he refers to it, wasn’t exactly his
scene. “When you’re actually in the studio, it’s amazing. But there’s so much other shit that you have to deal with - record labels and other producers. Everybody just thinks the more producers you have on a record, the better the record’s going to be. I would love to do a record with Drake, just me and him. But I don’t think anyone else in that world sees it that way…”
showing that I can do that kind of thing, if I want,” he says, this pill-popping, berserk hip-hop outlier being the perfect example of where Jamie xx exists in the big picture. Nothing’s out of limits. “But I wanted it to be a quite personal record,” he says. “I would send [Romy and Oliver] music and then ask them to write something, or ask them about a demo they’d already
AND WE KEPT IT BALLET
ost-’In Colour’ and with the small distraction of a new xx record, Jamie xx is turning his attention to ‘Tree of Codes’. A contemporary ballet - think Billy Elliott, and then think of the complete opposite - Smith is on scoring duties. Time’s been spent meeting choreographer Wayne McGregor and visiting rehearsals. “I didn’t think I would be as moved by the dancing as I am,” he says. “It might be because I’m literally in this small rehearsal room with twelve very muscular people, dancing around me and so close to me they’re almost on me. “I started listening to weirder music on purpose, but a lot of it isn’t that weird - which I’m ok with. I didn’t want to be making weird music for the sake of it, just because I have seventy-five minutes to fill. I wanted to make music that I’d still listen to.” As well as ‘Tree of Codes’, Jamie’s also getting arty by working alongside the National Portrait Gallery. “I’ve chosen a painting that’s hanging in the gallery and I’ve got a room to make my own sound installation for the painting. It’ll be there for three months. People can come and go into the room, look at the painting and listen to what I’ve played.”
sent me. We’d go into the studio together and talk about it, one on one. And then I’d finish it on my own. It was different, but that’s also ended up influencing how we did things as a band again, this time round.”
e’s supposed to be focusing on his solo release, but it’s clear attention’s already turned swiftly towards the next xx record. It’s three years since their last work, ‘Coexist’. The year before making the LP, Jamie was in the midst of his partying stage. “I went pretty hard,” he says, squirming slightly. “It probably didn’t help me creatively…” Talk turns to a “glorious summer” in 2011 where he’d go out, night after night. “It’s good to have done that, to know my limits; what inspires me and what doesn’t. It’s great to have fun, but those were fleeting moments of fun, rather than satisfaction and being happy.” What followed was the period around ‘Coexist’. 2012’s summer was “terrible”, he says, “basically a comedown from that last year.” The band locked themselves away and didn’t share new music with anyone. “That was really intense,” he says. “But looking back, we sort of did it to ourselves. We were bouncing it off each other, getting a bit lost. We were probably too focused on a certain aim. We should have been a bit more free.” Cut to the present day, and the experience is “a lot more fun.” This time they’re sharing material. “There’s less rules and we’re being a lot more open about it. We’re playing it to everyone. We’re happier, too,” he says. “We know ourselves a lot more. And also musically, our tastes have broadened so much. Most of the music I listen to now is super cheesy disco. Whereas before I was a moody teenager.” ‘In Colour’ spans across those wildly different years, from all-black-sporting beatsmith to acclaimed electronic staple. He doesn’t take on disco (unfortunately), but ‘Loud Places’ and ‘Gosh’ represent where he is today. On the flipside, ‘The Rest Is Noise’ a track that’s been hanging around since the xx debut days - seems to stampede across the entire period, from mopey youth to an established voice. At the end of a bonkers journey sits this record. Each song represents a different stage in Smith’s strange, unpredictable career. And now he’s finished, he never wants to hear the thing again. “I last listened to it when I finished mastering it, and even then I didn’t listen to the whole thing,” he quips. Safely strapped in for the next chapter, he’s ready for anything. “I’m happy to be here - it’s a unique place,” he admits. “I get to take influence from the underground - and play a lot of small clubs, play with my favourite DJs - and then I get to play Coachella on a big stage. It’s awesome.” Finally it looks as if Jamie xx understands where he exists - at a strange in-between that nobody else can get close to. Jamie xx’s debut album ‘In Colour’ will be released on 1st June via Young Turks. DIY
WHAT’S NEXT FOR LONDON?
amie xx spent years going to Plastic People with Four Tet and Floating Points, but it’s one of many nights and clubs that’ve had to close in the last year, due to London’s drastic regeneration. Instead of getting bogged down in what’s been lost, however, the producer’s looking at things from a positive perspective. “With all the added security… It had to go eventually. And it’s left a gap for loads of things, actually,” he says. “Because it was such an eclectic place. You’d have a psych rock night there, a dubstep one the next, a techno one after that. Now that it’s gone, there’s room for lots of places, and hopefully one place that can bring that sort of eclecticism back. These places being closed, it’s definitely making me go to places that aren’t clubs. I’m more excited about going to them. London’s such a creative city, it’s not going to get stale.”
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“Honestly lads, Quidditch practice starts in five minutes.”
With their new album, Every thing Every thing are standing firm. “We wanted to sound angry,” they tell Sar ah Jamieson. Photos: Mike Massaro.
wanted to go really far into One Direction territory.” If there were any words that you wouldn’t expect to fall from the mouth of Everything Everything frontman Jonathan Higgs, it’d probably be those. “So I could join One Direction.” He stops, laughs, and continues, “and I hoped
these guys would accept it and make it into a band thing, because I knew what I had made wasn’t but I really liked it.” Thankfully for Everything Everything fans, Higgs isn’t talking about replacing Zayn Malik, but the band’s “club banger” single ‘Distant Past’. “I think,” assures guitarist
Alex Robertshaw, “it was unashamedly, a club banger.” “Yeah, the original demo was,” Higgs continues his train of thought, “and I knew it just wasn’t gonna fly. But, you know, we wanted to say we’re not afraid of being like this.” If the band are anything on their new record ‘Get To Heaven’, it’s unafraid. Unafraid to try new things, unafraid to tread new ground, the boundaries were well and truly broken by the time work was completed on their third album. Like all good things, though, it wasn’t without hard work. “I think we were probably a bit too relaxed after ‘Arc’,” explains Alex, on the point their second album ended and the third picked up. “We should’ve kept writing a bit more. Getting back into the swing of it was quite difficult; it took us a while.” “It was easy enough to do,” throws in Higgs, “but the material was just crap for ages.” “Yeah it was,” the vocalist relays, nodding. “We wrote an awful lot and improved, rejected, reworked, demoed things.” “Argued.” “Yeah, lots of arguing. Lots of different lives for everything. There were lots of new things really; just new ways of doing things.” After an album like ‘Arc’, it seems unsurprising that the band craved change. Granted, their second effort saw them garner more fans and play bigger live shows, but it was towards the end of its campaign that the four-piece began to feel restless with the musical direction they had headed in. “We knew off the back of touring that we found that record - to tour - wasn’t always…” Higgs pauses. “It’s hard to put into words.” “It was good,” his bandmate adds in, “it was great...”
They pause to think before Jonathan picks back up. “But it was always a certain type of show that we gave,” he explains, “because there was such a lot of slow songs on ‘Arc’. Not necessarily slow but quite steady, hip-hop tempos. That’s what we’d set out to do with that record but we found that our live shows needed more energy. We were scrabbling around to find things that had enough energy to keep ourselves going live, rather than making everything into these big, rather majestic sad shows, we wanted it to be fiery.” “I think the impulsive nature that we had writing this record is a really strong thing,” adds Robertshaw. “We’ve laboured over music a lot in the past and for the first time, we’ve used very instinctual behaviour in terms of writing and I think it shines through. Even as the songs become more and more complicated, there’s an impulsiveness, wanting to move to it and I think that cuts through.” “We set out purposefully to make the new record have no downtime at all and just be as up as possible. It’s eleven tracks; we didn’t wanna stick around for too long. All the tracks needed to be high energy, basically, and that’s what we did in the end. We wanted to sound angry and we wanted people to react to it rather than close down. We want it to be a great live album, and be fun and bright and colourful and powerful.” It’s not just the music that the band wanted to be high octane; the lyrics see Higgs digging his teeth into more honest, more brutal songwriting about the current state of the world. “Well, I mean,” he starts, on his decision to use this set of songs to really say something. “On the first record I was very obtuse.
For the second record, I was probably too acute and I felt like I sounded a bit vague; too all-encompassing. I knew I wanted this to sound like I was angry and I wanted to say lots of things without being preachy or alienating. I think all of the things that I learned from the second record, about addressing the listener - asking questions rather than trying to answer them - all of that stuff brings people in more. It feels a lot more honest that way.” Whether it’s the current troubles in the Middle East, or the ripples of unrest marching through North America, if it’s been in the world news over the past
eighteen months, it’s gone into informing ‘Get To Heaven’. “It surrounds us, it surrounds everything all the time,” Higgs says, on the violence and turmoil that news outlets are reporting every day. “We didn’t do anything for a year apart from writing, and I read a lot of media and that media’s skewed in a certain way that makes you feel bad and makes you feel just awful. I do have an interest in world news and what’s happening. A lot of what came out of me was a reaction to that. A lot of last year was just so intense in terms of the violence and horrible events so it was very
“ T h e m e d i a’ s s k e w e d i n a way t h at m a kes yo u feel bad; a lot of l as t year was j u s t s o i nten s e .” -
J o n at h a n H i g g s
“It’s easy to forget lots of the things that are going on in the world; a lot of people do, but there’s no possible way that you can take it all in. If you try, you end up getting torn apart and I think that’s what’s happening on the record. Someone is trying to comprehend all of the stuff and becoming quite tainted by it. It’s about trying to get through it, trying to get above it, without ignoring it.” Yet, even through its impulsive nature and political sentiments, ‘Get To Heaven’ is – at its core – still an Everything Everything record. While they’ve not shied away from politics or experimentation in their previous offerings, this seems their most distilled, more complete effort and it’s exactly the step that the band need to take next. “I feel like we’ve finally found our feet on this record,” Alex agrees. “I think it’s really exciting to play for us, and I can imagine we could tour it for a long time. It’s kind of edgeof-your-seat. I think we learned from ‘Arc’ and we’re making things more direct, maybe more understated. It’s interesting: I don’t know if I could go back to making a record ‘Arc’ or maybe even ‘Man Alive’. I think this is the right balance. “I don’t think we could have ever released an album any different than this. I don’t think we’d have let ourselves do anything not confrontational or provocative.” “It feels really, really right,” the frontman concludes. “Friends of mine who have heard it have said it’s the most Everything Everything record we’ve ever done and that’s a really good thing to hear. I don’t think that means we’re repeating ourselves but it means we’ve found where we sit best, and what we do best.” Everything Everything’s new album ’Get To Heaven’ will be released on 15th June via Sony RCA. DIY Everything Everything will play Positivus. See diymag.com for details.
I t ’ s b e e n a w h i r lw i n d y e a r f o r S O A K . “ I ’ m r e a l ly l u c k y t o b e i n t h e p o s i t i o n t h at I ’ m i n ,” s h e t e l l s L au r a S tu darus . photos: mike mas saro.
o w to e d r a m
014 was big one for SOAK. With only a scant three songs and a Chvrches remix to her name, Bridie MondsWatson was signed to Rough Trade and appeared in countless ones to watch lists. For some that could point to flash in the pan, overnight success, or perhaps the product of a legacy musician with rich industry parents. Monds-Watson is none of those things, but rather just another teenager from Derry, Northern Ireland with a penchant for skateboards and dinosaurs. (“Oh, I’m a big fan of the stegosaurus,” she jokes. “I appreciate a good Tyrannosaurus Rex, but I feel like that’s too easy of a choice”).
Biographical facts fall away when listening to her music, a blend of soft-spoken folk that has garnered comparisons to everyone from Lykke Li to Cat Power. Her light touch on tough subjects, from identity, to love, to bitter fights, is the basis of her debut full-length ‘Before We Forgot How to Dream’, a collection of fourteen tracks that sounds like the work of someone who has been there, done that, while still managing to skirt bitterness. On album track ‘Reckless Behaviour’, an ode to youthful living and advice stolen from online poetry, Monds-Watson is self aware enough to even take herself to task, singing, “I know better.”
â€œPeople get surprised when young people talk coherently about anything.â€? - Bridie Monds-Watson
At the moment though, she sounds more like an eighteen-year-old than wise troubadour. “I think it’s a super lazy tag. It’s classic,” Monds-Watson moans. Here she’s talking that descriptor, the one that manages to worm its way into nearly every review and interview - and could potentially be tattooed across her forehead until she hits 30 if she’s not vigilant. “‘Oh we’re writing an article about a teenage singer-songwriter: ‘Wise beyond their years!’’” she continues. “It automatically gets added on. It’s a bit boring to write that. I do get where people are coming from. But I do think people should just write ‘wise’. Young people can be wise! I think I’m a bit wise. When I’m with my friends, people wouldn’t say that. When I’m with my friends we’re pretty stupid and immature and hyperactive. Lyrically, with my songs and stuff, people call me wise.” At this, she pauses, her mild annoyance transforming into amusement. “People get surprised when young people talk coherently about anything,” she muses. “I think that’s where that comes from.” For Monds-Watson, childhood and music were intertwined. After all, she points out - when your father gives you a guitar at thirteen and sign your first deal at sixteen, not much time is left for playing what-ifs or mapping out a plan B. She approaches any discussion of the past with a good-natured incredulity. “This just happened for me,” she says. “I’ve kinda been doing it since I was in school and would have been choosing other occupations. So I never really followed up with anything else. Now I have no idea what I would do. I would be a bit stuck.” Given how quickly her music took off, it would be easy to paint Monds-Watson with a broad brush - perhaps assigning her a role as the preternatural, poetry-
toter. Her single ‘B a noBody’ practically declares her as the kind of student who mainlined both Emily Dickinson’s verse and e e cummings’ casual relationship with capital letters. But she assures that’s not the case. If anything, it was the exact opposite. “I was a pretty hyperactive kid,” Monds-Watson admits. “I spent a lot of time making videos and stuff with my friends. I hung around with the emo kids, but I didn’t have an emo phase. I had a phase of searching really hard on YouTube and stuff to try and find really obscure and weird music, in order to be to my friends, like, ‘Have you heard of blah blah blah?’ ‘You’ve never heard of them probably. They’re really cool.’ I did that.” Youthful angst, she says, did play an active role in her songwriting at first. But soon the process opened up to everything she was experiencing. From her parents’ fights - a topic she breezes over in conversation but documents in the heartbreakingly upbeat single ‘Sea Creatures’ - to questions of identity, to growing up surrounded by an army of friends, everything served as fertile creative soil. Where other kids spent time with their journals, she confessed to her guitar. “I started writing in a way that was the easiest way to explain and understand things myself,” she says. “And also a way that when I wrote a song and shared it, that’s the way I could express myself and share thoughts and feelings without having to directly sit down and have a conversation about it. The whole idea of that made me, ugh, I just didn’t like that at all.” Monds-Watson describes her home town, where she still lives with her mother, as an idyllic hamlet. In realty, Derry is the second largest city in Northern Ireland. But to hear her tell it, the village vibes, from living five minutes from the city centre, to being within arm’s reach of her friends, heavily informed her musical development. It still continues to be a factor. Despite
logging extensive touring miles, with no end in sight, she has no desire to move to a larger city. “I gigged extensively since I was fourteen in the city,” she says. “A lot of people have helped me out. I’ve made a lot of really good friends. The small town vibes have done me good. I’ve played pretty much everywhere. I think they’ve really watched me grow and helped me along the way. Every time I go home, my friends are pretty much waiting in my room for me to get there. I have ten or fifteen really close friends that I’ve grown up with. So we just mess around. We’re all really fun together. So we mess around and have parties in my basement and chill in my room. It’s really good.” It was that forward momentum, being taken seriously as a musician at home, and the support of the people around her, that inspired Monds-Watson to move forward with her career. Sure, she still looks the role of a skater kid - her arms covered in tattoos and her ears stretched with black plastic rings. But she’s seeing the world a lot differently these days. “I feel when I was in school and stuff I matured really late,” she admits. “Then I feel like from sixteen onwards I matured really really quickly, just because I’ve been in this industry and surrounded by adults. Signing contracts that are going to decide the next 20 years of my life… I think I’ve been really lucky and really blessed being able to do what I’m doing as a career. All the opportunity itself. I’m really lucky to have the friends and the family that I do. And to be in the position that I’m in all together. There’s not much I could fault. It would be ignorant not to acknowledge it.” SOAK’s debut album ‘Before We Forgot How To Dream’ will be released on 1st June via Rough Trade. DIY
SOAK will play Latitude and Positivus. See diymag.com for details.
Of Monsters and Men celebrate the hottest day of Icelandâ€™s history in appropriate clothing.
deep 56 diymag.com
Of Monsters and Men exploded with their debut album, b eating chart records s et by their Icel andic compatriot Björk in the progress. But as we meet them in their home
cit y of Reykjavik, they couldn’t be more chilled. Words & Photo: Emma Swann .
e were playing Sasquatch!,” reminisces Of Monsters and Men guitarist Brynjar Leifsson. The band are sat in an impossibly cool hostel in the band’s home city of Reykjavik, Iceland on what’s nominally the first day of summer here – something the locals take very seriously. (“It’s a reason to celebrate, when it’s cold all year long, but everyone pretends it’s hot,” laughs vocalist Ragnar ‘Raggi’ Þórhallsson, “and throws outside concerts and wears t-shirts although they’re freezing really and everyone gets pneumonia…”) “I got this ‘what the fuck’ moment. It’s an outside festival in Washington, in the States, and there were maybe four or five thousand people already watching us play, and then we began playing ‘Little Thoughts’ or something, and there was a hill in the distance, and people just kept coming running over the hill, and I was like ‘what the hell is happening?!’. It was a funny moment, and for me that was when I realised were were probably doing something good.” ‘Probably’ could well be an understatement. By this point, the band’s debut album, ‘My Head is an Animal’ had reached #3 in the album charts here in the UK, and #6 in the US – where their first week sales amounted to achieving the best chart performance for an Icelandic act in US history, usurping that of Björk’s ‘Volta’ in 2009. “We didn’t experience it as everybody would think,” suggests bassist Kristján Páll Kristjánsson. “It just kinda happened, and we were in the middle of it.” “We were busy,” adds Raggi. “So the tour just got bigger and bigger, and longer, and the shows started piling up, and all of a sudden we were getting TV spots and stuff like that.” Kristján finishes his sentence. “We went with the flow.”
eneath the Skin’ is nothing if not a different beast to its predecessor. While there is a smidgen of glockenspiel to be found under the multiple layers of ‘Human’, and for the most part it’s all still heavily percussive (take the closing moments of ‘Thousand
Eyes’ or opener ‘Crystals’, for example), if ‘My Head is an Animal’ was made in glorious Technicolor, this second record is shown in grainy, contrastheavy monochrome. Iceland’s endless winters might be the cause of constant references to wind, cold, storms and water – but the guitars are amped up, the rhythms more ominous and then there’s the brutal intimacy of ‘Organs’, Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir’s vocals given minimal backing as she sings lines like “I cough up my lungs ‘cause they remind me of how it all went wrong”. Unsurprisingly, Nanna describes the lyric-writing process as “very weird”. “It’s just me and Raggi,” she explains, “we figured out that in order for us to take it all the way, we had to go all the way, we had to allow it to be what it is, and not hold back, and we definitely did that, and it was weird but kind of nice. It is weird, though, working with someone and being so personal. We write it all together. Sometimes there’s an idea or whatever, but we go and sit down for hours, or days, and sometimes we’re completely quiet for a while, and other times we talk and talk and talk. Nobody else can be around us, because it’s probably very weird for someone to be there and hear someone like ‘LUNGS’!” She laughs. “More mature” is how Kristján would describe the new record’s sound, and at almost the same moment he says that, Raggi spills water over himself. “Not me, obviously,” he laughs. “I’m still doing this.” “It’s been almost five years since many of the songs were written on the last album,” he adds, with a slightly more straight face, “so maybe to our fans it feels like the first album is us, but we’ve been doing stuff for five years so we think about music and writing differently to then, you know?” “We know our fans wouldn’t want anything totally different,” says Drummer Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson, “that is in the back of our heads, we can’t just go and make a techno album or something!” ‘Beneath the Skin’ was recorded partially in Iceland – between Sundlaugin, the former swimming pool converted by Sigur Rós in Mosfellsbær, on the outskirts of Reykjavik, and Alex Somers’ studio in the city itself – and at Rich Costey’s Eldorado studios in California. “I think it was very helpful,” says Nanna
of splitting the work between locations. “It got us to think differently,” adds Brynjar, “we were getting too focused and too isolated in one studio, and we got to LA, ripped out of our natural environment, and it gave us a new perspective on the recording process.” “Even when we were going back and forth to Mosfellsbær,” continues Nanna, “and then we went to Alex’s studio, even that was a big part. We only spent a week at Alex’s, but there’s so much sound [on the record] from there, because we went in, and there were all these new instruments and we started to think differently. “I think it’s a good trick,” she laughs, “I think next time we’ll do it in ten different studios! It totally makes sense to do that.”
“We love this album and that should be enough.” Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir
Their intention had been to finish the album in a month in LA, but unlike the rest of the process, which all say went smoothly, they spent twice as long there – and only finished hours before they had to leave. “It definitely dragged on a bit,” confesses Raggi. “The last night, you [he points at Arnar] had to be at the airport at like 8 or something, and we were there until 6.” “I hadn’t packed my bags,” laughs Brynjar. “We were in the studio going ‘No, it should end like this, and not like this!’,” adds Nanna. “It was crazy, and we had to figure it out right there, it was just ridiculous.” Brynjar continues, “It was a big moment
for us, because it was probably the first time we’d argued as a band.” “Yeah, we didn’t argue about anything on this album, we just trusted each other to know what’s good. I think it was also the pressure of, you know, you’re leaving the album. It could’ve been anything, it was that moment of ‘my god, we have to catch a flight!’. And I wasn’t ready.” “It’s really hard to stop,” agrees Kristján. “There’s always something that somebody thinks needs tweaking,” continues Brynjar, “like sometimes there are guitar parts and I hear something I don’t like and the others don’t hear it, so I have to go, if they don’t hear it then it’s probably OK.” “It’s probably not there,” adds Nanna. “Like, when we were mixing it, we got to a stage where we had listened to it so much that we started hearing things that seriously weren’t there. It’s a dangerous process, because you can’t over-analyse your work, you have to allow it to be what it is. So it’s important, I think, not to have all the time in the world, because you’ll censor yourself too much.”
t’s weird,” says Nanna. “I didn’t feel pressure. Of course there was pressure, but we just ignored it, because you can’t let it affect you too much. And if you start making something because you’re afraid of what people... then you’re just catering to what you think people want to hear, and you’re not...
“You’re not being honest with the songs,” Brynjar continues. “You can’t let it affect you, people’s opinion. You can’t have it affect what you’re doing.” “And it’s good to freak out about later!” laughs Nanna. “Like right now, and it’s done, and like, pow!, and you guys come over to listen to it and then I’m like... fuck! I forgot how hard it is to make an album. If we were gonna make a new album tomorrow, I’d be like, ‘oh what the fuck, god!’. But we at least feel like we did something that we love, we love this album and that should be enough.” Of Monsters and Men’s new album ‘Beneath The Skin’ will be released on 8th June via Island Records. DIY Of Monsters and Men will play Best Kept Secret, Open’er and Bilbao BBK Live. See diymag.com for details.
s if 2015 – the year in which Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker are to release their debut album and take it around the world on tour – wasn’t going to be big and transitionary enough for Girlpool, the two Los Angeles-bred friends decided to kick it off by relocating to the other side of America. Since moving to Philadelphia at the beginning of January, Tividad and Tucker’s debut ‘Before The World Was Big’ has been completed, polished and recorded by Kyle Gilbride of Swearin’, and is due for release in June. Speaking on the phone during a gruelling car journey from their new home to New Mexico, where they begin an extensive tour with new Philly neighbours Waxahatchee, the pair are trying to take all this change in their stride.
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“We thought it’d be cool to try something different,” explains Tucker. “It’s not a complete jump into the unknown, as we’ve met a lot of people from this area previously while on tour, so we knew it would be a positive move for us before we actually did it. It’s hard to fit straight into an established scene when you’re moving across a whole country, but we’ve met a lot of brilliant people and have been made to feel very welcome.” While the final two songs from ‘Before The World Was Big’ were finished in the week of their arrival in Pennsylvania, Tividad soon plays down the influence of geography. “I feel like, with Cleo and I, there’s always a similar tempo and route to our songwriting, 61
regardless of circumstance or location.” The group’s debut EP, released on Wichita in November of last year, was lauded for its painfully personal, honest lyricism, and while Tividad and Tucker can pick out differences between the release and the upcoming full-length, its honesty is something they hope they have recreated. “Harmony and I’s relationship is always changing and evolving, but the intention is always the same, which is to be present and honest with each other. We feel the album shows a change of emotional taste, representative of the growth Cleo and I have experienced emotionally before and during the writing of the album. I couldn’t pinpoint one reason for any change that comes about in our lyrics, it’s a combination of everything that’s happened to us inside and outside of this band.” Addressing any potential pressure they may be feeling ahead of the album on the back of such a successful debut release, the pair cite only one reason to feel nervous. “The only thing that matters is internal fulfilment. The catharsis is very real.” The pair constantly finish off each other’s points, consistently on the same wavelength, weaving in and out of conversation. It’s a sign of a duo
who, although constantly changing and evolving, are tackling everything together. “In the past, there was a little bit more in the way of us bringing separate ideas to the table that were more developed, but currently we almost exclusively work together”, explains Tucker. “Within the past eight or so months, the writing process has become intensely collaborative”, finishes Tividad. “But it’s taken us time to get to that point with each other.” Since meeting, forming and playing their first shows in Los Angeles’ DIY scene, Girlpool has taken the pair all around the world on tour, including two trips to the UK inside the last six months. “We were overwhelmed by the hospitality of everyone, and that we
“We thought it’d be cool to t ry s o m e t h i n g d i f f e r e n t. ” Cleo Tucker
were asked back so soon after playing here. Being so far away from home stirs something up in us internally, and helps us explore other parts of ourselves which come out when we’re out of our comfort zone and somewhere unfamiliar.” After playing their first UK show in support of Alex G in November, the pair then headlined (and sold out) London’s Lexington in February, with two more shows in the capital set for June, and a regional tour to follow in September. “To be asked to play anywhere other than LA was amazing for a while, and now we’ll have been to Europe four times in a year!” “We’re constantly taking in our environment in a way that’s very absorbing. We’re like sponges! We’re constantly talking about our experiences in our songs, and I don’t think anything that we do can be ruled out from potentially forming ideas for new songs. Everything is happening around us and we’re always conscious of every last bit.” With countless months of touring ahead after they roll into New Mexico, Girlpool are set for countless new experiences to soak up and ring out into whatever comes next. Girlpool’s new album ‘Before The World Was Big’ will be released on 1st June via Wichita Recordings. DIY
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engahr h ave playe d to hund thousand reds of s of stran gers in th lifetime. eir short But the o n ly thing o London fo n the ur-piece’s wishlist is tiny head in short su line gigs. a few pply for a Th ese have group wh route wit been h their fir o’ve take st steps. n the unu play a sh O sual nly this M ow of thei arch did r own. Th and Wolf they at follow Alice, plu ed tours s high-pro Glastonb w it h file slots ury. For a at Latitud Alt-J handful o one of th e and fo e most ex citing ban nlookers, they ’ve for quite been ds to com some tim e e. For oth out of th thought, ers, they e UK that ban ’v e d been a se playing in drinks ord con th ers and a quick fest e distance bet wee d ival lie -d n o w n. Perhaps that comes ou ’s why debut albu t all guns m ‘A Dream blazing. aligning Outside’ It ’s the so their star und sw word in. Such is th ithout letting anyo of a group e n sheer forc e else get this LP, Fe e behind lix Bushe a the majo and co. h track last rity of ad to mak minute, ju e an st even then to give ev instrumen , the tigh er yone a tal tly-woun breather d ‘Dark St . ar ’ deman And ds
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Words: Jamie Milton. Photos: Mike Massaro.
attention. “Instead of trying to win people over, it’s gonna be a different thing,” claims drummer Danny Ward. Before, says frontman Bushe, they could “get away with murder, do whatever we want,” because nobody was paying too much attention. This is a full-length that goes for the gut, however. Zero warning, no time to get a quick cup of tea - it’s a ferocious statement of intent. Gengahr are making their introduction. The prospect of being the centre of attention is “more nerve-wracking,” says bassist Hugh Schulte. Headline gigs are “much more scary than the O2.” Everyone’s in agreement. John Victor - the band’s guitarist, whose razor-like technique has him compared to Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood - lets out a slight tremor of fear at the very thought of having all eyes directed at his band.
“S o m e t i m e s yo u can te ar apart a song ten times a n d s ta r t ag a i n b e fo r e yo u g e t anywhere” - Felix Bushe
“We’ve got the bug for headline shows now, though,” says Bushe, the opposite of a reluctant frontman. “Even if it’s a fifty cap venue. We’ve been playing for so long without having that kind of thing - now we want it. For over a year, you’re playing to other people’s crowds and you’re trying your best to persuade them that you’re not shit. And now you get to the stage where you can suddenly say you’ve got some fans. That’s a better experience than doing any of the support stuff.”
f it hadn’t been for one effortless recording session two years ago, Gengahr might not even be considering this dilemma. Going by the name RES, they met up for the first time to put down rough ideas and see if there was anything worth keeping. “We had three or four strong songs from the very start, and that allowed us the confidence to carry on,” says Bushe. With those early efforts, they had a blueprint, which might explain why an album’s come round so quickly. “That first demo session was the benchmark for us. Having those tracks rather than just one, where everyone’s like ‘We really like that song’, then you might not have anything else to offer. We had at least a couple, and that gives you that respite to not really feel too much pressure. When we were writing, we had a relaxed attitude.” What followed was a game of probability. Month by month, they’d visit the studio with new songs at the ready. If just one sounded complete by the end of that session, it’d be tallied up towards the album. “And luckily, every so often two or three of those songs ended up working,” notes Ward. It’s a pattern that continued right up into the final days of LP recording in a remote South Devon studio. Album closer ‘Trampoline’ stepped out from nowhere. As did the re-worked ‘Dark Star’, a glitchy, Battles-channelling exercise in restraint. It sounds like child’s play, few brick walls to contend with. Although Bushe admits that “sometimes you can tear apart a song ten times and start again before you get anywhere.” The only stumbling block arrived when it came to mixing the record. “It was only difficult at the end, because our own lack of ability made us have to make loads of mistakes,” says
On their recent tour with Circa Waves, Gengahr were joined by Essex upstart Rat Boy. He spent the entire time tweeting the band and trying to make their acquaintance. Was he a pest, or a future best mate? “I think it’s a bit like what kids do at school, when they fancy a girl. They’re constantly trying to get their attention,” jokes Bushe. “But we actually really like those guys. Everyone was like, ‘They’re going to be so annoying, you’ll hate them’. But they were just nice. They’re very young and excitable. That was their first ever tour. And I think we all agreed that we’d be more annoying and worse than them if we were in that situation.” “They were charming,” says Schulte.
Bushe. “As soon as we got past that exciting stage, it was just that final little bit…” Gengahr don’t possess a perfectionist streak (their ‘see what sticks’ approach will attest to that), but from day one they’ve had a big sense of control. Schulte designs all the sleeves, and each of their videos - ranging from child stars to witch hunts and seances - have been put together with the band involved. “I think there’s the worry that the further you go down the line, the inevitable will happen where you end up with less control, and you
have less time to do these things,” explains Bushe. “While you have the opportunity, it feels important to do what we want to do. And hopefully we can create enough of an identity where if we did, god forbid, end up having less time, then we could work with people who knew what we were aiming for, instead of random artwork and random videos for a band. If there’s one mantra Gengahr go by, it’s summed up by Bushe when saying: “If we feel like we can do it, we’ll do it ourselves.” Without getting distracted by the O2 lights or playing second
fiddle to the big guns, quietly - without giving too much of the game away they’ve forged their own path. If ever a new band needs an example of how to start off the right way, this should be it: Perfect the live game, have enough songs to make a go of it, and keep everything on your own terms. Gengahr’s debut album ‘A Dream Outside’ will be released on 15th June via Transgressive Records. DIY Gengahr will play Best Kept Secret and Latitude. See diymag.com for details.
Hugh! Mate! Camera’s this way!
Algiers / Drenge / Everything Everything / FFS / Florence + The Machine / Four Year Strong Deck / Hudson Mohawke / Jaakko Eino Kalevi / Jamie xx / Kid Wave / Live At Leeds / Major Lazer / Dance School / Rolo Tomassi / Sauna Youth / Shamir / Slaves / Soak / Summer Camp / The Darkness
‘How Big...’ couldn’t feel any more
hink of Florence Welch, and you’ll think of that voice. As trademarks go, being able to belt it out isn’t a bad one, but with ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ that’s not the only thing going large. While our Flo has never been a retiring character with her music, on her third album - even for a bona fide superstar - she’s turning everything up a notch, not just the volume.
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (Island Records)
When talking to Zane Lowe earlier this year, Florence spoke of “a bit of a nervous breakdown” during her year off between records, while a press statement talked of an album about “trying to learn how to live, and how to love the world rather than trying to escape from it.” For most artists, that would mean a low key, introspective album, but ‘How Big...’ couldn’t feel any more massive if it tried. Instead of turning in on
/ Fucked Up / Gengahr / Ghostpoet / Girlpool / Hit The No Joy / Of Monsters and Men / Outfit / Pins / Prinzhorn / The Story So Far / The Vaccines / Young Guns
massive if it tried. herself, her trademark scale is mixed with moments of raw emotion. It’s a brave move, but one that works. Take ‘What Kind Of Man’. One of the first tracks to drop, if you’ve had your radio on at any point in the last month you’ll already be well acquainted. A song that draws the listener in with what feels like an understated beginning, within sixty seconds it’s thrown it all on the bonfire and gone full on stomper - it’s huge. Elsewhere, ‘Delilah’ thunders with its tale of “a different kind of danger”, already feeling like another future hit. Whatever the lyrical content, musically every move feels like an affirming one. You’re never more than a short skip from something gigantic. Occasionally though, the personal and bombastic meet. The
brass and strings outro of the title track, for example - a rising, stratospheric moment that feels both absolutely gigantic, and oddly intimate - like a triumph on a personal level. ‘St. Jude’ and ‘Various Storms & Saints’ always feel as if they may be about to explode, but never go for the kill - they’re stronger for it too. ‘Long & Lost’, taking the vocal volume down and setting it against a lilting, sparse guitar groove, is possibly the strongest moment of all. It’s there that Welch’s true self really bleeds through, and where the heart of the album lies. Getting personal in her own way, on her own terms, ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ could well be Florence’s finest hour of all. Things are only going to get bigger from here on in. (Stephen Ackroyd) Listen: ‘Long & Lost’, ‘Delilah’, ‘What Kind Of Man’
eeee ROLO TOMASSI
Grievances (Holy Roar)
To describe ‘Grievances’ as a return to Rolo Tomassi’s roots would be a misrepresentation of the changes the band have gone through; the riffs and melody lines alone are far removed from what came before, but what has perhaps returned is a greater vigour, a more raw approach that’s reflected in harsher mixes that nevertheless feel less compressed and more dynamic than those for previous album, ‘Astraea’. No doubt some old fans will continue to decry this latest chapter in Rolo Tomassi’s seemingly endless search to scratch their inner itch, but make no mistake; this is a confident return to form. (Alex Lynham) Listen: ‘Stage Knives’ “‘Grievances’ is, by a long way, the darkest record we’ve ever made. It’s something that just seemed to emerge right from the very beginning of the writing process; we knew we wanted to release something that, for the first time, we felt prioritised emotional engagement over the technical stuff we’ve been known for in the past. I’ve often felt like that sort of thing comes across as just being for show, and as a result, it sometimes doesn’t have a meaningful impact on the listener. I was listening to a lot of stuff that’s very different to our own music, like Grouper and Nils Frahm, but also certain hardcore bands that are very different from us - Planning for Burial and Wreck and Reference, especially. It’s not like I wanted to rip on those bands or make our music sound exactly like that, but the feel and atmosphere is something I find compelling, and that’s what we’ve tried to replicate on this album, in our own way.” - James Spence (keyboards and vocals), Rolo Tomassi
Not for the faint-hearted. eeeee GENGAHR
A Dream Outside (Transgressive Records)
Gengahr have an eye for the fantastical. Frontman Felix Bushe will swamp sentiment in metaphors, doing his absolute best to ditch reality. Across their first work, they cover all sorts - witches, phantoms, poltergeists and deep sea animals. ‘A Dream Outside’ threads together this free-flowing outward thinking. And it’s easy to detach from the fact that across this debut, Gengahr might exist on another planet, but they have a habit of sounding soaringly, vitally real. A record worthy of catapulting these talents into the stratosphere, it’s a first step that never compromises. It’s a remarkable debut. Just when Gengahr look to be settling into a rhythm, they showcase something different. By no means a ‘something for everyone’ full-length (it’s too devilish for the faint-hearted), it’s still a work that’s defined by its own dynamism. Anyone following these guys from the start won’t have doubted their capabilities, but that doesn’t stop ‘A Dream Outside’ from dwarfing expectations. (Jamie Milton) Listen: ‘A Dream Outside’
The fact that ‘Wild Nights’ was recorded in quick-fire fashion augured well from the off, but it ultimately isn’t quite the freewheeling punk effort it might have been - instead, it’s a brilliantly crafted run through both the noisier side of Pins and the unabashed pop influences that have been at their core from the very beginning. There’s no shortage of catchy hooks - notably on ‘Curse These Dreams’ and ‘Young Girls’ - but there’s experimentation, too. This feels like a step forward for Pins; they’ve played to their strengths in genuinely self-assured fashion. (Joe Goggins) Listen: ‘Oh Lord’
‘FFS’ plays like some kind of musical Breakfast Club. Who knew that a detention could bring different cliques together? Who knew that shoving alliterative phrases like “paranoid paratrooper paramedics” into tightly wound riffs could sound so cool? While some moments are clearly domain of a single entity - Franz or Sparks - the six-headed monster don’t always make it that easy, blurring their sensibilities into a playful, dance rock smear. Let this be a lesson for all of us: we’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all. (Laura Studarus) Listen: ‘The Power Couple?’
eee NO JOY
It’s no accident that the release of No Joy’s third studio album ‘More Faithful’ coincides with (hopefully) the start of summer. Instantly conjuring images of rolled down windows and Instagram filtered sandy beaches, ’More Faithful’ knows its market. The majority of the album is the band’s fastest, heaviest and most complex to date. The intricate layering of warped guitars and echoing vocals is all well and good, but for No Joy to go further, ‘More Faithful’ relies on its intimate moments. They’re sparsely scattered throughout, and they’re just enough to take ‘More Faithful’ beyond the status of being a half listened-to soundtrack for road trips. It’s an album with heart. (Henry Boon) Listen: ‘Everything New’
Stempeding into the future.
eeee JAMIE XX
In Colour (Young Turks)
The sleeve for Jamie xx’s first full-length has a lot to say about the producer’s career so far. In five years, Jamie Smith’s work has spanned from convention-shunning remixes to star-studded studios. He’s produced for Drake and aligned himself with the UK’s underground, without over-committing to one particular world. Each shade on ‘In Colour’ is meant to represent the various strands to Jamie xx’s work, and it’s no surprise that this debut is a wildly varied introduction. But above anything else, it’s an arrival. From the moment he picked up a steel drum and strung out parts for ‘Far Nearer’, there’s been a thirst for this LP. That doesn’t stop it from being a revelation. Across eleven tracks, Smith hot-foots from tense electronics (‘Hold Tight’) to wild hip-hop (‘I Know Where’s Gonna Be Good Times’). Familiar numbers like ‘Girl’ slot in alongside 2015 anthem ‘Loud Places’, and the thread running through is the man himself, an ability to stamp his trademark in any environment. Pinch yourself, but at times it sounds like Jamie xx is showing off. A showcase of his ability and the things he loves most (Romy and Oliver Sim’s guest spots are a vital part of the LP), it’s the most confident he’s ever sounded. Neatly tying together his early years, ’In Colour’ also pushes forwards. ‘The Rest is Noise’ in particular gives the impression of progression, stampeding into the future. No producer around can match the momentum backing Jamie xx’s every move. (Jamie Milton) Listen: ‘The Rest is Noise’
eee JAAKKO EINO KALEVI Jaakko Eino Kalevi (Weird World)
With layer upon layer of vocal, groove, and percussion, ‘Jaakko Eino Kalevi’ is a reminder that pop can be both for your head and your feet. The cocktail strut of ‘Say’ and the infectious bop of ‘Night At The Field’ are just two examples, though ‘Hush Down’ neatly ties the concept together best. Album opener ‘JEK’ is a coronation of Jaakko’s own kingdom, a celebration of the self delivered in his native tongue. The reality is that Jaakko Eino Kalevi is never in danger of being lost in translation, because it is only him that occupies this realm. (Sean Stanley) Listen: ‘Night At The Field’
eeee MAJOR LAZER Peace is the Mission
What Major Lazer has created in his third outing is no mere concept, no experiment - it’s a damn blueprint. Returning to the eternal springs of reggaeton and dancehall, Diplo has added half his enviable phone book and a thick smoothie of the best bits of Baauer, TNGHT and Crookers. On paper it’s a fairly easy sell but in practice it’s an even more forceful proposition. It’s so ludicrously colourful and loud and just the right side of ridiculous and whatever the mission may be, domination is the likely result. He may be leaving Diplo behind to be a major, but Thomas Wesley Pentz is still the king in this game. (Matthew Davies) Listen: ‘Be Together’
An Awesome Wave Vocalist Lea Emmery discusses Kid Wave’s debut album, ‘Wonderlust’. Words: Sean Stanley.
It’s hard to believe that ‘Wonderlust’, the debut album from Kid Wave, was recorded in the depths of a dark English winter. A bright, shimmering album, the band explore the worlds of 90s indie rock, shoegaze and dream pop over the course of eleven tracks that are full of youthful yearning and glistening guitar lines. They succeed the most when they go huge on the hooks and choruses. ‘Gloom’ for example is straight out of the Pavement textbook, but there’s a lush quality to Lea Emmery’s vocal and a scale to the driving melody that makes it sound poised for bigger things. ‘Sway’, one of the more tender tracks, nails that nostalgic feeling of longing for escape. With ‘Wanderlust’, Kid Wave are proposing a summer that lasts all year long, but they’re willing to enjoy a few nights of twilight along the way. (Tom Walters) Listen: ‘Gloom’ 72 diymag.com
n 2011, an 18-year-old Lea Emmery left her home town, Norrköping, Sweden for London. With a one-way ticket to the UK, Emmery’s story reads like a familiar tale of rock’n’roll folklore; in a sense, the beginning of Kid Wave is as inevitable as most teenage dreams, and just when she was about to give up, a series of small serendipities caused her to stay put. “I definitely considered giving it up. The record deal was a turning point for me,” she says. “I was pretty lonely and going through a rough patch.” Prior to this decisive moment, Lea sent demos to Heavenly Recordings (and nobody else), as a possible ultimatum, while her family continued to ask “when are you going to start your real life?” on the brief occasions she visited home. Fortunately, Heavenly liked what they heard and signed Lea immediately. All that Lea needed now was others who shared the same dreams: enter Mattias Bhatt, a guitarist from back home, bassist Harry Deacon, and drummer Serra Petale, who Lea met at a music college. Recorded in November 2014, Kid Wave’s album ‘Wonderlust’ was produced by Dan Austin (Cherry Ghost, Doves). Staying at the Eve Studio commune near Stockport, Emmery et al nailed “ten songs in twelve days”, though singles ‘Honey’, ‘Gloom’, and ’All I Want’ were written and recorded prior to the sessions. “They were
really long days but Dan was always so on it. When we were stuck he could see the different options when we were so blind to it,” she says now. “It was that third view that can hear the quality and draw it out of the demos that gave the album its point of difference. He totally understood what we wanted for the sound.” With its whimsical lyrics and swelled sound filled out with guitars and analog equipment, a cursory listen to debut album ‘Wonderlust’ indicates that Kid Wave’s sound is a formula rooted in early90s alternative rock. Favourably likened to Lush, The Breeders, and Dinosaur Jr., the irony of the comparisons is that sonically the album was a found sound. “I don’t mind the comparisons, but I’ve never listened to any of them,” Lea laughs. “I was asked by someone to state my favourite album by Dinosaur Jr. and I had to Google them - I was so ashamed.” She states that her family have no musical persuasions, that she arrives from a punk background, a seemingly obvious start heard in ‘Wonderlust’’s upfront lyrics and fizzing sonic energy. “I was aiming for experimental noisiness but it came out a little differently. I’m probably more influenced by my friends’ bands in Sweden... if anything, I was probably aiming for Sonic Youth.” Read the full interview on diymag. com. DIY
More than another brick in the wall: Soak.
Wry, everpresent humour.
Before We Forget How To Dream (Rough Trade)
In everything that SOAK does, a wry, self-aware and ever-present touch of humour prods at the ribs of even the most serious first intentions. ‘Sea Creatures‘ reluctantly tries its hand at loved-up sun and moon cliches, lyrically reprimanding itself by the time the first verse is out. ‘Before We Forget How To Dream’’s opening track is a one minute haze of faint crackling sounds and discordant notes. Rather amusingly, she’s titled it ‘My Brain’. Bridie Monds-Watson is in possession of a potent and distinct voice. For all of ‘Before We Forgot How To Dream’’s subtle touches of production, it’s SOAK herself who stands out the most. She understands what it’s like to grow up, experimenting with wearing phoney clothes and navigating boredom, confusion and love, and she writes astutely about it with believable, all-absorbing honesty. (El Hunt) Listen: ‘Sea Creatures‘
eeee HUDSON MOHAWKE
eeeee FUCKED UP
As opener ‘New Air’ ends, Outfit have already submerged the listener in some artfully flowing keyboard lines and disembodied floating vocals. The album meanders stylistically, between an icy pop aesthetic, more abrasive textures and a straight up dancefloor shimmer and the song structure reflects it. The thrilling excursions of ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘Genderless’ are arguably the album’s two greatest highlights beyond ‘New Air’. ‘Slowness’ doesn’t surrender its wonders easily. But when it does, and there’s no guarantee it will for everyone on every listen, it can be perfect. (Matthew Davies) Listen: ‘Happy Birthday’
Having crafted beats for the latest and greatest in modern hip-hop, Hudson Mohawke seems to be the producer du jour, and it’s no wonder why. HudMo is making some of the most progressive yet accessible beats out there at the moment, each track equally as suited to the dancefloors of Fabric as they are to a night spent in with a pair of cheap headphones and your laptop. ‘Lantern’ is this duality between experimental and easily-grasped embodied. Unsurprisingly, it is the more left-field elements to the production that are the most intriguing. Coming soon to a discotheque near you. (Will Moss) Listen: ‘Lil Djembe’
‘Year of the Hare’ is punk-rock in the extreme: a swaggering, expansive, wandering record, which - at half an hour long and consisting of two tracks - picks apart the construct of song writing. Parts of this record sound like a piano suite. At other times, it’s acoustic guitars riffing off of each other playfully. Even then, when it’s not blasé prog, it’s the typical Fucked Up sound (if there is such a thing) – caustic, visceral hardcore bleeding out of every pore. This is a record that doesn’t make sense. This is Fucked Up having a shitton of fun, and making no apologies whatsoever. (Euan L Davidson) Listen: ‘California Cold’
Slowness (Memphis Industries)
Lantern (Warp Records)
Year of the Hare EP (Deathwish)
An album looking inwards. eeee OF MONSTERS AND MEN
from the past few months
Beneath The Skin (Island)
Drenge - Undertow “A band finding their feet before taking to the skies.” (Jamie Milton)
“In despite of all my fears, I can see it all so clear,” sings Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir on the unfurling album opener of ‘Crystals’. All self-discovery and lit exposure, Of Monsters And Men go straight for the chest. From ‘Human’s’ pleas of “Let the human in” to the wrenching internal mutilation of ‘Organs’, ‘Beneath The Skin’ is an album looking inwards. “We set the fire and we let it burn,” they admit as the curtain falls, fear, pain and glorious self-belief lighting up their own endless horizon. It’s not a cry for attention but Of Monsters And Men can’t help but demand it. (Ali Shutler) Listen: ‘Organs’
Are You Satisfied? (Virgin EMI)
The Cribs - For All My Sisters “For everything that’s come before, this feels like another step up.” (Stephen Ackroyd)
Starting with the familiar notes of ‘The Hunter’, Slaves’ opening gambit is strong. Already a fan favourite, the satisfying crunching of guitars teamed up with Isaac Holman’s screamed vocals introduces ‘Are You Satisfied?’ with a frenetic energy. The real charm of this record though comes in its additional moments of character; from the sarcastic advice of ‘Cheer Up London’ to the ridiculous high notes of ‘Feed The Mantaray’, there’s a humour that sets the pair apart from their peers. (Sarah Jamieson) Listen: ‘Cheer Up London’
eeee PRINZHORN DANCE SCHOOL Home Economics (DFA Records)
Metz - II “Terrifyingly effective and immaculate in execution. You’d be foolish not to buy in.” (Matt Davies)
Recorded as the band bounced between numerous flats in their hometown of Brighton in a bid to capture the moment rather than recreate it, the third album from Prinzhorn Dance School is awash with motion. Six tracks long but never feeling rushed; ‘Home Economics’ is a bolshie swagger through the urban landscape that shaped it. The streets of home are always going to stir emotions but rarely does that cocktail of loneliness and belonging get articulated with the gutfelt precision that Prinzhorn manage. And while that tug of war dictates the majority of ‘Home Economics’, it’s the gritted teeth demand of “I’ll survive, I’m alive,” on ‘Education’ that defines the journey. (Ali Shutler) Listen: ‘Education’
Before The World Was Big (Wichita)
Girlpool’s debut album doesn’t find its impact in immediate, visceral punch like you’d perhaps expect. Instead it quietly confounds expectations, sneaks into view, and certain lines stick like emotional superglue. The Moldy Peaches, Daniel Johnson and their musical antecedents Beat Happening all tinker around in the background of ‘Before The World Was Big’ as influences, but Girlpool are firmly leading their own new wave of anti-folk. With a sourcebook as infinite as personal experience, Girlpool are an unstoppable force. (El Hunt) Listen: ‘Cherrypicking’
eeee SAUNA YOUTH
(Upset the Rhythm)
Accomplished, left- field pop.
Having developed a distaste of modern life and the “technology age” as we know it, Sauna Youth return with their second record and a point to make. ‘Distractions’ is a tense and utterly incensed album, a controlled racket that doesn’t hang around for a second longer than it needs to. Each hook and strained vocal withholds a considered approach that is testament to the brittle nature of the music that Sauna Youth create. The record begins as it could finish, ‘End Loop’ typifying life stuck on repeat, displaying the cleverness in their delivery before they’ve even begun. (Ross Jones) Listen: ‘Abstract Notions’
eeee FOUR YEAR STRONG
Four Year Strong (Pure
Ratchet (XL Recordings)
Fittingly for a personality so erratic, Shamir Bailey’s first solo album is best described as a patchwork. Stitching together the furthest threads of dance and pop music’s numerous incarnations, ‘Ratchet’’s greatest achievement is maintaining its identity amongst all the madness - but in doing so, Shamir and his production cohort Nick Sylvester have created one of the year’s most accomplished, left-field pop albums. It’s considered but charming, the intricacies of Sylvester’s production adding to the fun-factor, rather than drowning it in technologically minded bore. It’s not hard to imagine the studio awash with balloons and party poppers, bunting and discarded Haribo packets. Tambourines, horns and that ‘On The Regular’-defining duo of cowbells all make frequent appearances amid the neon electronics, lifting things off the studio screen and onto the makeshift dance floor. It’s crossover appeal which forms ‘Ratchet’’s ultimate success. In a year that’s seen the heavyweights of the industry fannying about with abstract release plans and bickering over streaming services, Shamir has swept through and delivered a record that schools every one of them in the art of purest pop. (Tom Connick) Listen: ‘Hot Mess’
Self-titled records are becoming a genre of their own but from opener ‘I Hold Myself in Content’ it’s painfully obvious why Four Year Strong have named their fifth studio album after themselves. It sees the Massachusetts four-piece at their most refined, eleven tracks that not only succinctly sum up their fourteen year history but confidently remind the world at large that they’ve still got something to offer. Conviction and assurance, this is something to live by. (Ali Shutler) Listen: ‘I’m A Big Bright Shining Star’ 75
The audition for gogglebox was going well.
Mad Sounds Summer Camp share their recent listening.
eeee SUMMER CAMP
Letters To Cleo - Cruel To Be Kind We’re about to put out our third album, the writing of which was heavily inspired by teen horror movies and Point Horror books from the 90s. While this cover of the Nick Lowe classic is more famous for its use in 10 Things I Hate About You which isn’t a horror film (although it does make us very sad to watch Heath Ledger), the darker lyrics over a poppy guitar-led melody are definitely a combination we’re always trying to write. This song is about a very dark relationship.
Bad Love (Moshi Moshi Records)
You know what ‘they’ say. To keep ‘em keen, leave ‘em hanging on something huge. ‘Bad Love’’s closer, the claustrophobic, runaway train of ‘Keep Up’ comes from absolutely nowhere. Sure it’s still obviously Summer Camp, but with a wicked streak. A challenge to not loop straight back for another play, it’s the moment that best encapsulates just why musical trends and quick burning fads will never diminish the quality of a bona fide indie pop hit. And that’s what Summer Camp are all about. From the pleasingly woozy synth of the title track through to the driving ‘Catch Me’, even their most cutting jibes have a spoonful of sugar. For those of the correct persuasion, their slightly fuzzy, often fearsomely smart earworms still do exactly what they should. You can’t ask for any more than that. (Stephen Ackroyd) Listen: ‘Keep Up’Tony Levin.
YOUNG GUNS Ones and Zeros (Virgin EMI)
While their second offering saw Young Guns ruffling the fringes of stadium-sized rock, ‘Ones and Zeros’ sees them taking a much bigger leap towards those huge stages. Within its eleven tracks, dark electronics creep their way into songs and synthesisers are no longer looked down upon. Their effect sees the band sounding bolder, with the textures of songs like ‘Daylight’ and ‘I Want Out’ working in harmony with their earworm choruses. With an album sounding this insatiable, it shouldn’t take long for those massive venues to become a reality. (Sarah Jamieson) Listen: ‘Speaking In Tongues’
Nick Cave - Red Right Hand Did you know, readers of the excellent DIY, that this song is used on the OST of the first three Scream films? It wasn’t used on the most recent one, the FOURTH Scream film and personally I think that is why that film is really bad. That and they got into using little webcams everywhere so people could see the murders happening. I think webcams should have stayed where they belong, in the American Pie franchise.
D’Angelo - She’s Always In My Hair Another Scream 2 OST track (sorry) but we love D’Angelo. The man is a genius. His second album ‘Voodoo’ is one of the best albums ever written, it’s perfect, and its success freaked him out so much it took him fourteen years to release his third LP. Good news is that he is exceptionally consistent, and his latest album ‘Black Messiah’ is well worth a listen. Or a Spotify account. I don’t know how you hear music. Probably with your ears.
Everything Everything find a new gear.
eeeee EVERYTHING EVERYTHING Get to Heaven (RCA)
From the snarling rage of ‘To The Blade’ to the ecstatic bliss of ‘Warm Healer’ – pop explorers Everything Everything have finally discovered their utopia. With music this innately hypnotic, EE could get away with singing in Simlish. It seems, since their international tour with Foals, they’ve returned to their experimental roots - only this time, there’s a new-found swagger. ‘Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread’s sassy semi-rap of “you did it to her, and you did it to him” isn’t a world away from the barbershop Destiny’s Child vocals that adorned their debut. And yet this is in a new gear. Forget everything you’ve just read – Everything Everything have sculpted a masterpiece. ‘Get to Heaven’ may well have slipped from the clouds. (Andrew Backhouse) Listen: ‘To The Blade’
eeee THE STORY SO FAR
e THE DARKNESS
‘Algiers’ is a foreboding, uncomfortable listen, doom-laden choirs filling what empty space dares to exist between the pounding bass and scattered drum machine work. Never is this more clear than on ‘Blood’, a track which drips with classic menace lifted straight from a Hammer horror film, handclaps and booming percussion stabbing through the droning backdrop. The record’s constant hums and oohs at times whitewash even Algiers’ loftiest intentions, but the moments of clarity amongst all the murk mark the trio out as something staunchly individual. (Tom Connick) Listen: ‘Irony Utility Pretext’
The Story So Far (Pure Noise
The Story So Far at once embrace the pop-punk stereotype and turn it on its head, they know exactly what the fans want and give them ten times more. Every line is memorable, frontman Parker Cannon’s crisp, clean vocals ringing out over fast-paced, gritty riffs with all the passion and assurance of past outings. The pace is fairly relentless, racing around wildly, retaining a chopping and changing yet always rapid pace for its majority. With The Story So Far continuing to write unapologetic good time bangers, poppunk is very much alive. (Henry Boon) Listen: ‘Scowl’
Last Of Our Kind (Canary Dwarf
Everything on ‘Last Of Our Kind’ is a straight rip of something executed far better elsewhere - from guitar tones that at times evoke the reverbier moments on ‘Undertow’ (sorry Drenge lads, still big fans of what you’re doing) during ‘Open Fire’, through to Pantera’s cutting room floor being swept up for ‘Mighty Wings’, it’s an audible timeline of every teenage garage band and their shoddy imitations of influences. The Darkness were always a pastiche, but fifteen years into their career, there seems to have been a conscious removal of tongue from cheek. (Tom Connick) Listen: ‘Open Fire’ 77
live LIVE AT LEEDS
various venues, leeds photos: emma swann
bully 78 diymag.com
not the only one. It’s early days for these four, but they have a bright spark, a dynamic that doesn’t strike mere humans. They even manage to transform Madonna’s ‘Beautiful Stranger’ into a rabid beast. Nothing’s standing in the way of these curious, howling newcomers.
s is the yearly tradition, it’s impossible to go five minutes in Live At Leeds without hearing a chorus of “Leeds! Leeds! Leeds!” or “Yooooorkshire!” (and repeat). Local pride swells up in the streets and couple-of-dozen participating venues. The surest test of success at the event, then, is if these customary chants get replaced by band names. 2015 sees familiar faces and baby-faced newcomers getting the treatment, from “Cribs! Cribs! Cribs” to “Yak! Yak! Yak!” By the end of play, bands are sharing the spoils with the city’s very own rep.
Yak’s Oliver Burslem wouldn’t stop playing if he had the choice. Like a puppy wading through a sea of chewy treats, he’s never more at home than when he’s on stage. A beaming grin spreads wide across his face throughout, while bassist Andy Jones and drummer Elliot Rawson follow the frontman’s every move. Half the time it looks like Yak are making it up on the spot. Spontaneity serves them well, in that case. They deliver one of Live At Leeds’ defining sets. The hype machine is only really getting started in earnest with Black Honey, but from the looks of today, they’re ready for it. After a 2014 shrouded in secrecy, in 2015 they’ve arrived. More
Leeds Beckett, Leeds Met, whatever we’re calling it these days, it isn’t long before it’s packed for Menace Beach. On their own turf, it’s easy to see why. A year before, they played the same venue, prealbum, and smashed it out of the park. With a full-length
now behind them, they’re even better - scuzzy but catchy rugged gems at every turn. The clue’s in the name for The Big Moon. Every one of their tightly-wound songs contains at least one werewolf howl, Juliette Jackson letting out an “ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh!” without warning. If Jackson’s gone a bit doolally, she’s
robust live than on record, Izzy B Phillips’ occasional pitch perfect yelps showcase the kind of talent that most bands would fall flat with if they dared try it on stage. Bloody Knees, on the other hand, just want to get on with it. Demanding the Brudenell crowd gets closer, they’re determined to start a party. As if that wasn’t enough, they’re back in the audience, starting a pit to make sure it goes off for The Magic Gang too. The fact that The Magic Gang aren’t the sort of act to strictly need a pit matters not. Fresh off the back of touring with Wolf Alice, both bands find themselves front and centre of a scene of new bands itching to break through. Elsewhere in the audience are members
of Swim Deep, Crows and Black Honey. Every song sounds like a not-too-far-inthe-future anthem. Nashville group Bully are a must-see May festival staple. A stopover in their first ever UK tour, tonight’s Beckett set is a lesson in force. There’s purpose in Alicia Bognanno’s every move, her voice seething with as much venom as the band’s thrashing power chords. ‘Brainfreeze’ and ‘I Remember’ are maniacal bursts of energy, but Bully have a brilliant habit of making the extreme seem effortless. There’s no time for a breather by the time Spring King arrive at the Brudenell. Not even after frontmanslash-drummer Tarek Musa’s desperate requests. “Can we do a jazzy one or something?” he asks his band as they relentlessly race through bratty garage punk like there’s some kind of timer that’ll self-destruct instruments if they play any slower. Usain Bolt would have trouble keeping up with this. Straight out the blocks and surging to the finish line, jazz numbers will have to wait. There are no ifs or buts about it: tonight, really, all that most of Leeds want to do is watch The Cribs. That much is evident from the one in-one out queue alone. There’s magic in the air tonight as the brotherly trio take to the stage at Leeds Town Hall for the first time in a decade. Unsurprisingly, they’ve come prepared: whether showcasing yak new material or running through the golden oldies, the crowd meet their every turn with roars of approval. It says a lot about the reception for Slaves’ Brudenell-closing set when Laurie Vincent can ditch his guitar and crowdsurf between songs. No music and just rabid chants of local pride would do the job, but that doesn’t stop the two-piece from living up to headliner status with a relentless set. Twenty seconds in and Isaac Holman’s decided it’s too stuffy for a puffa jacket, so it’s sleeves up, drum sticks out and off they fly. A mix of the theatrical and outrageous, this is a set that proves these two are where they deserve to be. And it can only end one way - in a boozy, celebratory medley of “Yorkshire!” “Leeds!” and “Slaves!” chants. (Stephen Ackroyd, Sarah Jamieson, Jamie Milton)
Electric Ballroom, London Photo: Emma Swann
iding high off the release of their DIY 5-star rated second album, Drenge are brimming with confidence as they fill Camden’s sold-out Electric Ballroom with the menacingly reverberating riff of ‘Undertow’’s opener ‘Running Wild’. Eoin Loveless barely conceals a grin as he delivers the first echoing vocals of the night and the first of many delighted crowd surfers tumble over the barriers. With ‘Undertow’ under their belt Drenge have fully arrived as a staple of British live music, and they know it. Drenge have always been flawless live, at times perhaps overly so; their live show recreating the record down to every crashing symbol and crunching riff. Post-‘Undertow’, with new bassist Rob Graham in tow and a increased vocal split between the Loveless brothers adding depth and body to everything, Drenge now have both the confidence and the freedom to ‘do what they want’. The freedom to tinker with tracks both old and new brings subtle changes to pitch, tempo and composition adding a new dimension. Despite the more than enthusiastic reception for new material the set ends as always in the one-two-punch of ‘Fuckabout’ and ‘Let’s Pretend’, the singalong appeal of the former combined with the slow, commanding build of the latter too perfect to be sacrificed as of yet. With no encore the resounding feeling is one of assurance, Drenge know how to deliver a flawless live show and with an arsenal of new material behind them are as good as they’ve ever been. (Henry Boon)
Justin Young from The Vaccines gets down to introducing his hip-hop project.
Electric Brixton, London Photo: Carolina Faruolo
rixton on a Wednesday night,” smiles Justin Young onstage at Brixton Electric, sixteen songs deep into the evening. “Who’d have thought it, eh?” From the baiting introductory cry of “Brixton,” and the thundering romp of ‘Teenage Icon’ that surges forth, The Vaccines are flush with assurance. Hands aloft, pints airborne and every corner of the room bouncing, their swagger is justified. The impatient stomp of ‘Bad Mood’ manages to find a new level of chaos within the crowd while the looming ‘Post BreakUp Sex’ sees the band wide-eyed and direct. It’s the weight of ‘Handsome’ that leaves the biggest impression. Welcomed with the excitable embrace of an old friend, its frantic drive is already a cause for celebration and as Freddie Cowan joins the front row for its fraught conclusion. Taking to the stage before a sea of spotlights and deafening roars, The Vaccines leave under the same circumstances. Voices exhausted and answers found it seems impossible that this is just the start, but scrawled on to the 1800-strong crowd is the phrase ‘English Graffiti’ and it means one thing; The Vaccines are back. (Ali Shutler)
Electric Brixton, London Photo: Abi Dainton
pener ‘Better Not Butter’ maps out Ghostpoet’s new trajectory in the finest of fashions, positively soaring with the all the potential that a full live band affords. In short, it sounds pretty enormous, and there’s no doubt that what’s to come is his most expansive voyage to date. As he relishes in the time away from his control panel and the new streamlined simplicity that his vocal delivery is afforded, Ejimiwe’s given himself an inch, but taken a mile for all its worth. Ghostpoet’s renewed focus is as clear as it could be tonight, and in a set dominated by ‘Shedding Skin’ material it comes as a bit of a surprise when the first emergence of the string quartet is for ‘Peanut Butter Blues’ cut ‘Survive It’. A mid-set lull is a tiny blotch on an otherwise stunning showcase, and serves to make everything that sits either side of it all the more impressive. It’s no truer than of ‘Cash And Carry Me Home’, another glimpse into the Ghostpoet of old as he comes leaning across the barrier in his signature mumble. “There was a lot of nonsense going on in my head, I wondered if I could make a third album,” he says in a touching address, visibly moved before embarking on the vanquishing ‘Nothing In The Way’. Any prealbum self-doubt seems resoundingly washed away and with good reason. On tonight’s evidence his “Nothing in the world can stop us” mantra has never been more fitting. (Liam McNeilly)
HIT THE DECK
Various venues, Nottingham Photo: Sarah Louise Bennett
estival season may just be stirring from its slumber but from the jilted dance of Canadian four-piece JPNSGIRLS to the fiery passion of frnkiero andthe cellabration, the Nottingham leg of Hit The Deck, bringing together a heady mix of off-kilter rock, wastes no time in setting the circuit off in style. The likes of Allusondrugs and Black Peaks both put in charged, visceral performances that should echo throughout the summer while the slanted pop smirk of Tellison’s return is more refrained but no less cutting. Brawlers’ gruff, glittering punk is delivered with frantic energy and gleaming grins, holding the packed crowd in their clenched fist. With third album, ‘There Is Only You’ behind them, The Xcerts have never looked more at ease on stage and they soon find themselves screaming from the top of a podium. It’s a position Cancer Bats are used to as they discover polish in their abrasion, commanding the room with their metallic punk while a headline slot from frnkiero andthe cellabration is less defined, less considered but absolutely glorious. There’s energy and chemistry around every gnarled turn, resulting in stunning moments of togetherness that overflow into the evening and set an intimidating precedent for the upcoming festivities to try and match. (Ali Shutler)
INDIE DREAMBOAT Of the Month
TAREK MUSA, SPRING KING Nicknames: My family used to call me Taz because I was a right cheeky little kid. I was a bit manic like the Taz the Tasmanian Devil cartoon. Star sign: Libra. Apparently I like to be around people, which is very true. I also just did a Wikipedia on Libras and it came up with “What it’s like to date a Libra man” which is good reading if you want to laugh at how ridiculous horoscopes can be. Pets: Not anymore - but in the past I’ve had pet parrots and dogs. I’m a dog person for sure. I’m also a dolphin person but I don’t have any. Favourite film: Difficult question. Somewhere between Naked Gun and City of God. So basically nowhere. Favourite food: Thai Fried Rice - I love Thai and Vietnamese food. Drink of choice: Havana Club Rum and Coke (lime if possible). Favourite scent: Lavender. Favourite hair product: That crap stuff you’d get as a kid. It was always blue or green hair gel. This kind of stuff that would make your hair super spikey. Man, 90s hairstyles were shit. I had curtains for a long time. Song you’d play to woo someone: If I had to perform one it would be ‘Crazy Love’ by Van Morrisson but I’d have to do it with the band because I definitely can’t woo anyone on my own. Chatup line of choice? Hello.
DIY 82 diymag.com
LA TI FO TUD R EF LI E N E ST -U IV P AL SO .C FA O.U R K
SET IN HENHAM PARK SUFFOLK
16TH - 19TH JULY 2015
MANIC STREET PREACHERS
PERFORMING “THE HOUR OF BEWILDERBEAST”
NAOMI SHELTON & THE GOSPEL QUEENS
LAURA MARLING LIANNE LA HAVAS JOSÉ GONZÁLEZ BADLY DRAWN BOY
WILD BEASTS SANTIGOLD FEMI KUTI & THE POSITIVE FORCE
WARPAINT SEASICK STEVE THE BOOMTOWN RATS
BENJAMIN BOOKER / JP COOPER BBC RADIO 6 MUSIC STAGE
CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN
PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING OMAR SOULEYMAN TORO Y MOI / KING CREOSOTE UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA BLACK RIVERS / THE DISTRICTS / SOAK
YEARS & YEARS YOUNG FATHERS KWABS / KINDNESS A WINGED VICTORY FOR THE SULLEN
SAVAGES THE CHARLATANS WOLF ALICE / SUN KIL MOON THE THURSTON MOORE BAND DRENGE / TOM ROBINSON AND BAND PRESENTS
BAD BREEDING / C DUNCAN / CLEAN CUT KID / DMA’S / DOUGLAS DARE / JANE WEAVER / JOSEF SALVAT / LONELADY MATT WOODS / MAX JURY / NAO / R.SEILIOG / REAL LIES / TOR MILLER / VESSELS ALSO PERFORMING ACROSS THE ARENA
THE LAKE STAGE
ADMIRAL FALLOW / ADULT JAZZ / AQUILO / BEN KHAN / BOXED IN / CHARLIE CUNNINGHAM / CLARE MAGUIRE CLARENCE CLARITY / CLARK / CURTIS HARDING / DENAI MOORE / DM STITH / DOLORES HAZE / DUKE GARWOOD / EAVES EZRA FURMAN / FORMATION / GRANDBROTHERS / GENGAHR / GULF / GWENNO / HÆLOS / HONNE / IBEYI / JACK GARRATT KIASMOS / KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD / LEON BRIDGES / MAN MADE / MARIKA HACKMAN NADINE SHAH / SHURA / NEON WALTZ / OUTFIT / PETITE MELLER / PRETTY VICIOUS / PRIDES / RAE MORRIS SONGHOY BLUES / SUNDARA KARMA / SUSANNE SUNDFøR / THE 2BEARS / THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART THE TWILIGHT SAD / TIMBER TIMBRE / TO KILL A KING THE LATE NIGHT ARENA ALEXANDER NUT / BEN UFO / BRAND NEW / WAYO / DJ EZ / MONKI / NÉRIJA / THE BUSY TWIST THE FOUR OWLS / UNITED VIBRATIONS / WERKHA (Live) FILM & MUSIC
RONI SIZE REPRAZENT: LIVE / MATTHEW HERBERT
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS
/ MAX COOPER / GEORGE THE POET
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MARK LAMARR’S GOD’S JUKEBOX WITH HORACE ANDY, SISTER COOKIE, GERAINT WATKINS & THE MOSQUITOS & MORE SPECIAL GUESTS:
CHILLY GONZALES & KAISER QUARTETT
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