GO OD VS EVIL WHAT’S ON THE DIY TEAM’S R ADAR?
Victoria Sinden Deputy Editor GOOD The DIY all-dayer is less than one month away the countdown begins. EVIL When the release of an album you’re looking forward to is put back. Bah. .............................. Emma Swann Reviews Editor GOOD The new Weezer album makes my heart soar, it’s that brilliant. EVIL They’ve still not announced any UK tour dates. .............................. Sarah Jamieson News Editor GOOD Visiting New York just as a Central Perk
pop-up opened was probably the best decision I’ve accidentally made. EVIL I am not ready for it to be autumn already… .............................. Louise Mason Art Director GOOD I get paid to throw food in pop stars’ faces EVIL I’ve run out of orange pixels, can someone post me some more? .............................. Jamie Milton Online Editor GOOD I dreamt up an entire Grimes album. It was great (call me, Def Jam). EVIL I keep singing the pan pipe solos from the Alt-J album in my sleep, apparently.
EDITOR’S LET TER You might think working on a music magazine is all fun and games, and it is - until the artist on your cover puts their album back three months just 72 hours before you’re due in the printers. While writing this, steam rises from laptop keyboards, the kettle in the DIY bunker is on overdrive, and I’m pretty sure there’s someone sobbing quietly in a corner as we reshuffle this issue. But it’s fine. We forgive you Charli XCX. After all, when ‘Sucker’ finally drops it will be the undisputed Most Fun Album of 2015. This isn’t just the (delayed) arrival of a pop star, but quite probably the Queen of them all. Bow down. Stephen Ackroyd GOOD Superfood’s album is out next month and it’s really really good. EVIL Why are there spiders the size of cats living outside my house?! Argh!
LISTENING POST What’s on the DIY stereo this month? FRYARS power
Several years in the making, Fryars’ daring new album isn’t short of ambition (and interludes - so many interludes).
There Is Only You
If there was a list of ‘Scottish bands with 2014 albums which sound really huge’, there’d be no shortage of contenders. With their new one, The Xcerts probably top the lot.
EMAIL OF THE MONTH
“Thanks for posting the Volcano Choir video. I work with the agency that produced and directed the video and I was hoping you could change the name of the director to “Kyle Buckley” as it currently is wrong and says Dyle Duckley. Thank you!”
C O N T E N T S
NEWS 6 # S TA N D F O R S O M E T H I N G 1 0 P H I L I P S E LWAY 12 DIY PRESENTS TOUR 1 7 FA L L O U T B OY 19 ICEAGE 20 SIVU 22 SLIPKNOT 24 MERCURY PRIZE 26 28
38 CHARLI XCX 46 WEEZER 5 0 J E S S I E WA R E 5 4 LOWE R T HAN AT L AN T I S 5 8 B E N H OWA R D
32 GENGAHR 3 4 K I D WAV E
3 0 PA L AC E
3 6 TĀL Ā
REVIEWS 66 ALBUMS 78 LIVE
Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden Reviews Editor Emma Swann News Editor Sarah Jamieson Art Director Louise Mason Head Of Marketing & Events Jack Clothier Online Editor Jamie Milton Assistant Online Editor El Hunt Contributors: Alex Lynham, Andy Crowder, Anna Byrne, Carolina Faruolo, Charlie Mock, David Zammitt, Greta Geoghegan, Hayley Fox, Henry Boon, Hugh Morris, James West, Joe Price, Joe Sweeting, Kyle MacNeill, Liam McNeilly, Matthew Davies, Tim Lee, Tom Connick, Tom Walters, Will Moss Photographers Carolina Faruolo, Leah Henson, Matt Richardson, Mike Massaro, Phil Smithies, Sarah Louise Bennett For DIY editorial email@example.com For DIY sales firstname.lastname@example.org tel: +44 (0)20 76130555 For DIY online sales email@example.com tel: +44 (0)20 76130555 DIY is published by Sonic Media Group. All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of DIY. 25p where sold. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which Sonic Media Group holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. Cover photo by Mike Massaro
NEWS FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND, EAGULLS AND WE ARE THE OCEAN GET READY TO KICK OFF THIS YEAR’S
#STANDFORSOMETHING TOUR 2014 Bags are packed, trains are booked and the UK is preparing itself for the arrival of Dr. Martens’ #STANDFORSOMETHING Tour, in association with DIY.
FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND + GOD DAMN EDINBURGH, CABARET VOLTAIRE Having spent the majority of the year playing a smattering of shows and making a handful of festival appearances, the main priority for Welsh five-piece Funeral For A Friend has recently been making a new album. “We wanted to make a record that felt alive and organic without having too many unnecessary layers, and without sacrificing what this band is,” offers frontman Matt Davies-Kreye. For the follow-up to 2013’s ‘Conduit’, they joined Lewis Johns at The Ranch in Southampton. “Lewis really helped us to nail that ideal,” he continues. “We wanted to capture the sound of five guys playing their instruments, having fun and pushing themselves to make something different, something unique, and I really think we achieved that.” They’ve not just been looking forward either; earlier this year, the band indulged themselves in a little
04/10/14 6 6
THE DATES 04/10/14
FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND + God Damn
Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh 11/10/14
EAGULLS + Mazes
Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff 25/10/14
WE ARE THE OCEAN + Arcane Roots The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool 22/11/14
LOS CAMPESINOS! + Johnny Foreigner The Flapper, Birmingham 28/11/14
TBA + TBA
London, The Black Heart 05/12/14
TONIGHT ALIVE + Only Rivals
Cluny 2, Newcastle
bit of nostalgia when they spent three headline shows performing their second record ‘Hours’ in full. “It’s been fun,” Matt reaffirms. “We still play a lot of the older songs in the set but to actually play them in a significant context is really cool. For the longest time, ‘Hours’ has been a benchmark for me in terms of how I view our band and it was cool to get out there and play all of it, especially as there were songs that we had never even played live before. The final show of the tour was at the Camden Underworld and it was amazing, so much energy, so many voices. It was possibly the perfect show.” They’re hoping to recreate that same energy when they perform as part of the #STANDFORSOMETHING Tour, too. After all, there’s nothing like getting sweaty in a venue as intimate as Cabaret Voltaire. “I love the closeness,” he confirms, “and the feeling of being right there in the thick of it with everyone. Seeing people singing and dancing right there with you, losing themselves in the moment… that’s what it’s really about.” DIY
EAGULLS + MAZES CARDIFF, CLWB IFOR BACH Taking on this year’s Cardiff leg will be those chaos-inducing punks Eagulls. Landing in the midst of their upcoming UK tour dates, their appearance on the tour also doubles as the first time they’ll have played the Welsh capital in well over a year, thanks to their relentless schedule which has seen them spend the majority of 2014 performing abroad. “It’s great to show up to the middle of nowhere in the US or EU on a weeknight to find dedicated fans enjoying our music and expressing their love for the album,” frontman George Mitchell reveals, on the subject of their lengthy stints in North America and Europe. “The US has been a learning curve for the band and, at times, an endurance test for our own well being, but it’s the crowds’ reactions to the music each night that keeps us going and staying alive.” The band aren’t just looking forward to returning to an audience that little bit closer to home: it’s the size of the Clwb Ifor Bach which is also an exciting prospect. “This year we have been playing some pretty big stages which is always great, but it’s still the small intimate venues that we love the most as that’s where we first started out. Having the crowd intertwined with the band will always create movement and when there’s movement, there’s energy.” DIY
11/10/14 7 7
WE ARE THE OCEAN + ARCANE ROOTS LIVERPOOL, THE SHIPPING FORECAST It’s been a while since We Are The Ocean last headed out on the road, but with their forthcoming UK tour plans, and their appearance on the #STANDFORSOMETHING Tour, things are set to change very shortly. That’s not to say they’ve not been working hard; while they may not have toured in almost a year, they have been working on a brand new album. “It will have been nearly a year since we played a live show in October,” admits the band’s Liam Cromby. “In that time we’ve spent a lot of time writing and crafting new sounds which has been great but there’s nothing quite like the experience of being on stage. It’s been hard but it’ll be worth the wait. “Recently, we’ve been in and out of our local studio writing and demoing for album four. We’ve demoed over twenty songs now and are still going. We’re always looking to explore new sounds with writing, and we’re all looking forward to getting them down.” As for their show at The Shipping Forecast, the band can’t wait to get going. “I’m really looking forward to playing the show,” Liam says. “Small intimate shows are some of my favourite to play just because it’s just you and the fans: no flashing lights or giant banners, just the music.” DIY
FIRST ON The Dr. Martens #STANDFORSOMETHING Tour isn’t just about offering up the opportunity to see some of the most exciting bands crammed into intimate venues across the country: it’s also a chance to discover some new talent too, with a selection of up-and-coming bands set to open at each of the six shows. First up, fresh from forming at the start of this year, alternative rock trio Forty Four Hours will be joining Funeral For A Friend and God Damn in Edinburgh. In Cardiff meanwhile, proceedings will be opened by hometown boys Samoans. Having already played alongside No Devotion and Kids In Glass Houses, the four-piece are wellprepared for their show alongside Eagulls and Mazes. Then, joining We Are The Ocean and Arcane Roots in Liverpool, there’ll be Bad Grammar, before London three-piece Bella Figura rendezvous with Los Campesinos! and Johnny Foreigner in Birmingham. Finally, last but definitely not least, MisterNothing will be helping end things on a high with Tonight Alive and Only Rivals in Newcastle.
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR, FORTY FOUR HOURS? “There is no plan B. Live and breathe plan A.”
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR, SAMOANS? “We stand because sitting is for chumps.”
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR, BAD GRAMMAR? “Riffs & equality.”
And there’ll be that all important news of the as-yet-to-be-announced London show very soon - visit diymag.com/standforsomething and drmartens.com/standforsomethingtour to be the first in the know. DIY
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR, BELLA FIGURA? “The elderly, the disabled, and pregnant women on public transport.”
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR,
MISTERNOTHING? “Being more than what everyone expects us to be.”
WIN TICKETS 25/10/14 8 8 diymag.com diymag.com
DIY has a pair of tickets for each of the #STANDFORSOMETHING gigs to give away - to be in with a chance of winning, head to diymag.com now.
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“I still feel the need to prove stuff” With a second solo album due this month, and his other band about to head back into the studio, Radiohead’s Philip Selway is as focused as ever. Words: David Zammitt. Photo: Emma Swann.
our years on from his first unexpected forays into a solo career with the gorgeous English folk of ‘Familial’, Philip Selway returns with his second LP, the altogether more expansive ‘Weatherhouse’. A much bolder collection than its predecessor, it bears the hallmarks of the music he makes with his four mates from Oxford, and is in fact the product of an extended stay in the Radiohead studio. “It was basically us holed up there, on and off, for six months. We’ve just got so much lovely gear there that we’ve accumulated over the years. It was a very enclosed session and it was lovely for it because it gave us the freedom to try stuff out and have the confidence to try it out. It felt like a band.”
If ‘Familial’ was born of Selway’s anxiety at turning 40, ‘Weatherhouse’ finds the long-time Radiohead drummer pushing his artistic limits as he moves towards the next milestone. “I still feel the need to prove stuff - if only to myself - musically. You do have your landmarks. For me, 50 is very much on my horizon now. It gives a focus to things and you think, ‘What do I want to have done by then?’” Despite his relative maturity (think in terms of a nice aged Merlot), however, Selway is still finding
his voice, and it’s clear that the album benefits enormously from the confidence gained through that first release. “In some ways ‘Familial’ was an apprenticeship and I came out at the end of that thinking, ‘Well, I can do that.’” Modest to a fault, he has proved that he most certainly can. Having shunned percussive duties first time around, it even sees him returning to the drum stool, albeit after a fair bit of cajoling from his bandmates on the album, the diverse, multi-instrumental talents of Quinta and Adem Ilhan. And he begrudgingly admits, ”I actually really enjoyed doing it.” With live dates on the horizon and a young family at home, what about his full-time job? Work on the follow-up to 2011’s ‘The King of Limbs’ will begin soon. “We start again in about a month’s time. It’ll be interesting whenever we do come back in, with me having done this second record, and I’ve had a commission from the Rambert Dance Company. All these things feed back in, they’re all things that stretch you and you bring those skills back with you. But that’s the exciting thing about getting back together; nobody has stayed static.” Philip Selway’s new album ‘Weatherhouse’ will be released on 6th October via Bella Union. Read the full interview on diymag. com. DIY
NEWS IN BRIEF
SHE HAS THE POWER Chan Marshall is returning to the UK later this year for a pair of intimate solo Cat Power shows. The dates, taking place at London’s Union Chapel on Monday November 10th and Tuesday November 11th, follow on from her Brighton Festival show back in May and are in addition to the Scandinavian, Spanish and Swiss dates already announced.
GIVE BLOOD Brighton duo Royal Blood have confirmed a special, one-off homecoming gig. The Brighton Dome will host the chart-topping duo on 20th December, following their massive sold out UK tour which kicks off this month. Support for the date will come from Marmozets.
ALL THE THINGS THEY DID Sky Ferreira and Charli XCX are reported to be in the studio together, working on a standalone track that according to Sky “will sound very TATU”. The news came last month when Sky tweeted that the two were working together, but as of yet, the extent of Charli’s involvement in new Sky Ferreira material hasn’t been confirmed.
NO BIG DEAL
“Mr. Selway will see you now.”
Pop sensation and undisputed Sound of 2014 Sam Smith has announced another London date to top off his huge March 2015 UK tour. The singer will now play Brixton Academy three times next year, with a further date being added due to high demand. Smith’s also set to play two nights a-piece in Glasgow, Manchester and Wolverhampton. 11
Starting 22nd October, DIY is going giddy about the most exciting new music. Flyte and Shy Nature are leading the way, with a six-date run across the country for the DIY Presents Tour 2014 in association with PledgeMusic. After that, they’re joined by a flock of fresh faces for a London alldayer at The Laundry on 1st November. We’re delighted to confirm the full line-up for the London leg, with JAWS, Deers, Spring King, Bloody Knees and Palace joining the previously announced Telegram, Menace Beach and Blessa. It’s a big list to keep track of, so for anyone heading along, here’s a guide to the line-up.
MORE BANDS ANNOUNCED FOR
IN ASSOCIATION WITH PLEDGEMUSIC
TOPPING THE ALLDAYER BILL, JAWS
verywhere Jaws go, crowds seem to get bigger, more fevered for their grungy escapism. It’s been a running trend since the DIY all-dayer headliners were plucked from a Birmingham scene and given the keys to the country. They’ve toured their hearts out, played the shows of their lives,
and tried every variation of kebab on the planet. And it’s led them to the release of their brilliant debut album ‘Be Slowly’. Out now on Rattlepop, here’s a quick guide to their ace first work.
EP] ‘Milkshake’ - when that came out, we’d never done a proper tour. After that we toured with different bands, gained different experiences - that’s reflected in the album. We’ve had major experiences.
Is there anything that ties these songs together? Is it about being bored and anxious? Frustrated? Connor Schofield (vocals, guitars): The main core of each song has been written out of boredom, in my garage just playing the guitar. When it comes together, the music emphasises the feeling. Jake Cooper (bass): The album shows we’ve obviously matured a lot. [Debut
Releasing an album - does it still feel like your very, very first step? Connor: It just feels like we’re carrying on, doing what we’re meant to do. Obviously it’s exciting. It’s a massive step, doing your first album. Jake: We’ve been sitting on it for ages. Connor: For so long, that we didn’t realise it was happening. It’s been in the back of our minds until recently.
Get to know:
Flyte the DIY Tour
DON’T BE SHY - SHY NATURE ARE PREPARING TO BE HUGE
ver the past year and a half, Shy Nature haven’t backed down in showcasing songs that aim for the skies. They’re anthem penners. They want to play arenas and they’re not afraid to declare it from the get-go. Latest single ‘She Comes She Goes’ cements that - mixing the band’s customary Mystery Jets-like sway with something even more bright-eyed, and ready for the top. They’re promising to showcase songs from their new EP ‘Birthday Club’ while on the road with Flyte, who they describe as a “great live band” - “we’ve played with them a couple times before,” cites frontman William Blackaby. “It’ll be cool to do a proper run of shows together,” agrees drummer Matt Paisley. Despite being excited to land back in the capital for DIY’s all-dayer, they’re keen to play in other venues across the country. “It’s important for the experience of what it’s like to be on tour,” says Will. “And you often have some of the best shows in places you’ve never been to before.”
lyte are leading the way with their sunny-side-up pop, the kind that turns a migraine into a lullaby. It’s early days for this London four-piece, but they’re well on their way to becoming one of 2014’s most talked-about new names. First thing’s first, the DIY Presents Tour in Association with PledgeMusic. They’re joined by tour buddies Shy Nature - and it’s not the first time these two have played together. We asked Flyte for a quick rundown of why they’re worth shouting about, and what exactly they have in store for the six-date jaunt across the country. For anyone that’s new to your music, what’s the first thing they need to know about you? That we mean business. If you could instruct audience members on the DIY Tour to bring any random item with them to shows, what would it be? Lemon drizzle cake - it’s good stuff. If you could challenge tour buddies Shy Nature to a duel, what would it be in? A round of Mario Kart on N64. Intrigued to see how they handle Bowser’s Castle. If you could be any musician from any era, who would it be? Ringo Starr in 1987, just chilling in LA having an absolute ball.
If you could pick two more bands to play with you, who would they be? 10cc and REO Speedwagon - is that allowed?
What’s around the corner for Shy Nature? Any big new single plans? Matt: We recorded our new EP earlier this year on a boat, and just finished mixing it properly… you’ll hear it very soon. It’s a step up. Will: Playing Field Day, Great Escape and Radio 1’s Big Weekend over the summer was a blast, but since then we’ve been pretty occupied by recording. So we’ll definitely be doing a bunch more dates around the UK. If you could be any musician from any era, who would it be? Matt: Any band member of Earth Wind & Fire in the late 70s. The outfits, hair and tunes are incredible… you just don’t see anything like that now.
Give Flyte some lemon drizzle cake and this is how happy they’ll be. 13
SPRING KING INCAPABLE OF SLOWING DOWN
iverpool via Manchester gems Spring King have been DIY favourites for the past year. Beginning as Tarek Musa’s bedroom (bathroom, actually) project, it’s since expanded into a riotous, full-blown four-piece, fizzing with the kind of forthright punk scientists might refer to if they forget how to make a rocket take-off. What are your top three tips for tour survival? Andy: Bring a sleeping bag. Keep your music player fully charged, and master the art of sleeping in all places. What’s your best and worst habit as a band? Tarek: Our best habit is we all like playing games, whether it’s computer games or card games. I just bought a chess set for the road and me and Andy have become obsessed with Battleship. It passes the hours sometimes. Our worst habit is we hardly practice. If you could be any musician from any era, who would it be? Pete: For me, it’s Chet Baker every time.
BEWARE THE MENACE (Beach)
enace Beach pack one hell of a punch - Ryan Needham and Liza Violet formed the project, eventually bringing on board Hookworms member and go-to producer ‘MJ’, Sky Larkin’s Nestor Matthews, PABH’s Rob Lee and You Animals’ Matt Spalding. When did the project officially start? Ryan: It was just me for the first couple of months. I hooked up with Liza, and she started playing guitar over some stuff. With so many people involved, does it lend the songs a sense of chaos, do you think? Ryan: In other stuff that I’ve done, it’s been weirder. Nestor and Matt and the other guys - so far they’ve always been like ‘These are your songs, what do you want us to do?’
GET THE MESSAGE? TELEGRAM ARE GOING PLACES
here’s more to nostalgia-led four-piece Telegram than a fine set of mops. Yes, fellow hair specialists The Horrors and Temples have invited them on dates around the country - but not just on that basis. They’ve kept things fairly scarce online up to now, instead refining their game on stage and becoming one of the UK’s reputed best new live bands. If people were to listen to just one of your songs, which one would you hope it was? We have a song called ‘Follow’, which, as well as being simply super, is more or less the only thing we’ve recorded. There’s not much choice. But I think it sets out our stall rather nicely. Is there such a thing as being too hyped? I suspect there’s a great degree of danger to be found in listening to, believing, and using whatever hype floats around you as a future foundation. It’s really just swathes of space dust orbiting whatever new body seems likely to sustain it for longest. Its a good test though - if the group are sturdy enough to weather that sort of initial barrage then perhaps they might have some longevity.
DARING TO DREAM - BLESSA
osed up on ‘80s staples they might be, but where Blessa go with those broad influences is anyone’s guess. Sweet, synth-lined pop is their game, but on recent EP ‘Love is an Evol Word’, they flicked a switch and turned into a distinct prospect of their own. Fronted by Olivia Neller, they effortlessly bring a timelessness to early recordings. How did you start out and eventually land on your latest EP? Olivia: Between the first couple of tracks going online and then the first single [‘Between Times’, released last year], we didn’t really write anything worthwhile... the tracks we recorded in that time were terrible! We did early sessions in order to evaluate our work and form good ideas about what we wanted to do, and the good ideas are what you’ll find on the EP. It’s been a definite learning process... but we’re happy with the results.
“I didn’t ask for hot wings!”
A Quick Q&A With The Most Talked-About Madrid Export Since Cristiano Ronaldo’s Hair Gel: DEERS
aised on the lo-fi scuzz of guys like Ty Segall and Black Lips, Deers add a Spanish twist to fuzzy, wide-eyed garage rock. And people are taking notice in their masses. The hype around this fourpiece - initially Carlotta Cosials and Ana Perrote’s bedroom project - has been sent skywards, and despite the scrappy bliss of their early demos, it’s on stage where they come to life.
WILL SOMEBODY KEEP AN EYE ON BLOODY KNEES?
here’s a reason why Brighton bunch Bloody Knees have that name. And their latest EP, ‘Stitches’ is penned with a certain incident in mind... Tell us about the ‘Stitches’ incident. Bradley Griffiths (vocals): There’s a video of it on Instagram. We were doing rock, paper, scissors. And basically, I did the dare, went out, hit my head on a McDonald’s sign. Ellie [Rowsell] from Wolf Alice was like ‘Nah bruv, let’s fucking go out!’ I genuinely thought I was gonna be alright. But the cut was so deep, I ended up getting plastic surgery.
Sum up the most important Deers facts, in a nutshell. We used to be two, but now we are four. And we all love pasta. What are your top three tips for being in a band? 1. If someone offers you food, take it. 2. If someone offers you a floor to sleep at his/her house, go for it. 3. If someone offers you a shot of vodka, DO NOT TAKE IT. What’s the best thing that’s happened in Deers’ career so far? Even if you don’t believe it, the fact that Carlotta has a van is so important to us! What do you have planned for the rest of 2014 / early 2015? We have the best plans in the world! And that includes playing as much as we can, and to write songs until our brains dry out. What’s your best and worst habit as a band? We’re very good at being on a good mood. Well I’m not sure if we can call that a habit, but it’s true. And the worst habit is our addiction to energy drinks and breadsticks while rehearsing.
SAY HELLO TO THE JAMIE T-APPROVED PALACE
his month’s DIY packs a big feature on why London newcomers Palace are worth shouting about. Their debut EP’s barely out the front door, and they’ve already picked up a support slot for Jamie T’s comeback London show, with DIY’s all-dayer next on the agenda. The music you make doesn’t necessarily get in your face. There’s a lot of space. Rupert Turner (guitars): It’s weird you say that. Loads of people have talked about the space. To be honest, I’ve never even thought about it. It’s how the songs come out. Maybe we’re just lazy. That’s become part of the sound. Leo Wyndham (vocals): Floaty. Will Dorey (bass): There’s so many different genres in there. Seventies, sixties stuff. All of our things together are so diverse. Rupert’s into his prog-rock. Leo: Different influences for each of us. Which makes it quite nice. Everything comes in from a different angle.
THE DETAILS DIY PRESENTS TOUR 2014, IN ASSOCIATION WITH PLEDGEMUSIC FLYTE, WITH SPECIAL GUESTS SHY NATURE: OCTOBER 22 Bristol Start The Bus 23 Reading Oakford Social Club 24 Bournemouth Sixty Million Postcards 29 Leeds Nation of Shopkeepers 30 Nottingham Spanky Van Dykes 31 Banbury Also Known As ...................... DIY PRESENTS: LONDON ALL-DAYER, IN ASSOCIATION WITH PLEDGEMUSIC THE LAUNDRY, LONDON - 1ST NOVEMBER Jaws Telegram Deers Flyte Spring King Blessa Shy Nature Menace Beach Bloody Knees Palace Tickets for the all-dayer are on sale now via pledgemusic.com/diy.
NEWS IN BRIEF
IN THE JUNGLE... London collective JUNGLE have announced their biggest ever UK and Ireland headline tour, taking place in early 2015. The group will play twelve shows that span from February to March, taking in the likes of Portsmouth’s Pyramid, London Roundhouse and Liverpool’s O2 Academy. Find the full dates over at diymag.com.
AY CARUMBA Mariachi El Bronx have announced that they will release their new album, ‘Mariachi El Bronx (III)’, on 3rd November via ATO Records. The release will precede their UK tour with Gogol Bordello, which kicks off on 8th December in Newcastle, and includes a stop at London’s Roundhouse.
Moving On... The Honeyblood line up has had a shake up.
oneyblood have announced the departure of drummer/vocalist Shona McVicar with immediate effect. In a statement released to fans, the band confirmed that Shona is leaving “and moving on to other endeavours.” The news followed the cancellation of two shows last month, in Newcastle and Sheffield. The remainder of Honeyblood’s UK headline tour did however go ahead as planned, with Stina Tweeddale joined by a new drummer. “All live dates and activity will remain as scheduled,” the statement read. “We are excited to welcome the awesome Cat Myers to the drums [for] all shows going forward!” DIY
Back To The Drawing Board
The wait for Grimes’ new album has got a little longer.
NO HIDING Storming newcomer Kiesza has announced plans to release her debut album on 17th November. ‘Sound of a Woman’ brings together the breakthrough smash ‘Hideaway’, follow-up ‘Giant in My Heart’, plus a brand new single ‘No Enemiez’. The thirteen-track effort lands just as she returns to the UK for two shows in London and Manchester.
FAVOURITE FANTASY FOLLOW-UP Damien Rice has announced details of his first collection of material in eight years with new album ‘My Favourite Faded Fantasy’, which is set for release on 3rd November. The album was coproduced with Rick Rubin, initially in Los Angeles and then in Iceland.
ince the tremendous success of her breakthrough album ‘Visions’ back in 2012 all eyes have been on Grimes, and when Claire Boucher unveiled her latest single ‘Go’ in June, it seemed things had finally been set in motion again. Unfortunately, that’s not the case anymore: after hopefully serving as a preview of what was to be Boucher’s forthcoming album, the track has actually ended up stalling the entire process. Speaking to the New York Times recently, she claimed a mixed response to the single led her to realise that the new record “sucked”, so she “threw it out and started again.” “It upsets a lot of my fans, and I get why it upsets them,” she explained, referring to the straight-down-the-line sound the single boasts. “Everybody was like, ‘Oh, Grimes is pandering to the radio.’” Looks like the wait for her fourth record just got that little bit longer...
On diymag.com: DIY’s comprehensive guide to Grimes. DIY
“We have an album mostly written” A year after their comeback album ‘Save Rock & Roll’, Fall Out Boy are already plotting another return. Words: Tomas Doyle.
all Out Boy have dropped their new single, ‘Centuries’, on an unsuspecting public with bassist Pete Wentz spilling the beans that a new album might not be too far behind. The track, which sticks to the expansive, widescreen formula that the Chicagoans developed on previous full-length ‘Save Rock & Roll’, was made available for download after just a couple of days of the now de rigueur social media teasing from the band. “The concept behind the track is a David vs Goliath story,” Wentz tells DIY on the day of the synth infused anthem’s release. “When we were growing up it was like, ‘We’ll never be U2 because we’re from the suburbs of Chicago and nothing happens here.’ But the idea now is to inspire that kid - you can be the person up on stage and it’s only the power of your belief that is going to get you there.” The quartet seem re-energised; it’s been a mere 18 months since they unleashed ‘Save Rock & Roll’, but the creative juices show no signs of doing anything other than continuing to flood forth. “With this song, Patrick [Stump] just put his foot to the pedal and woosh out it came,” admits Wentz. “I was like ‘Holy shit, we haven’t even finished touring the last record yet!’ But it felt like we needed to do it.” “I like the idea of people being able to have the song pretty immediately as they hear about it,” continues the bassist of the decision to announce and release the track in short shrift. “I always think, ‘If I was a fan, I would want to be able to find out about a song and then get it straight away. All that ‘Here’s three months of build up’ stuff seems a bit redundant now.” “We have an album mostly written and about halfway recorded,” he goes on to confess. My guess would be - and this is realistic, because I feel like when you say shit that is unrealistic people call you out on it – [a new album] might be done by very early next year.” Read the full interview on diymag.com. Fall Out Boy’s new album ‘Save Rock & Roll’ is out now via Island Records. DIY
Cockpit, Leeds After twenty years as a pillar of the Leeds music scene, The Cockpit has closed its doors. Words: Sarah Jamieson.
uch loved staple of the live music circuit, Leeds’ Cockpit has announced its permanent closure after twenty years. The news was revealed with a message on the venue’s website, telling visitors that the legendary space is “no longer viable to deliver you the level of service you deserve with the building in its current condition.” “We would like to take this opportunity to thank every one of you who came to watch your favourite bands, danced, stage dived, crowd surfed, found your life partner,” it continued, “and gave the Cockpit its reputation as one of the best live music venues in the UK.” Thinking back on his own memories of the venue, James Brown of Leedsbased Pulled Apart By Horses tells DIY that, while it’s an undoubtedly sad occasion for bands and fans alike, it will hopefully offer new venues the chance to make their own mark. “I am quite sad,” he explains, “because The Cockpit used to be a venue that I always wanted to play. When I first moved to Leeds, At The Drive-In played there, The White Stripes played there, so I was like, ‘Oh, I wanna play there.’ It’s got so much history, but these things come to an end. Venues don’t last forever. “It was really important to Leeds’ music scene, but now, in 2014, I’m not sure it is. Now that we’ve got an arena and an Academy, we’ve also got a venue called the Belgrave, and so The Cockpit has sort of fallen to the wayside. It’s really sad, but it had to end. Other people need to be given a chance, in Leeds, The Cockpit to start something new and it’s good that it’s has played happened now, rather than happening really host to some badly because no one is going there or it’s completely empty. They’ve bought a new venue, of the biggest so it’s ending in a positive way.” bands in the Forthcoming live dates are being rescheduled for other Leeds venues: a full list can be found at thecockpit.co.uk. DIY
Alt-J Oct 2012 Mumford & Sons Sept 2009 Fall Out Boy Feb 2005 The Black Keys Oct 2004 The Killers May 2004 Amy Winehouse Apr 2004 Biffy Clyro July 2002 The White Stripes Aug 2001 QOTSA June 2000 Coldplay June 2000
WHAT’S COOKING? THE HISTORY OF APPLE PIE
Jerome Watson offers up the list of ingredients that helped create their new album, ‘Feel Something’. CHICKY’S ICE TEA
Charles, who we recorded with, makes the most amazing ice tea that any of us have ever had. He makes it in a big jug with about 16 spoons of brown sugar and it kept us all super hyped up while we were tracking.
Z.VEX INSTANT LO-FI JUNKY
This is a pedal I bought just before we wrote the album and I absolutely love it. I didn’t realise how much I used it until we got the masters back and it features on every single track at some point. It’s designed to make everything sound like a warped record.
‘MODERN LIFE IS RUBBISH’ BY BLUR I think I only listened to this album for a month or two leading up to writing the record. I was for sure trying to get a Coxon-ish sound using the Lo-Fi Junky; he used vibrato tons in the Blur stuff. With him it was always really quiet and background-y but I thought it was cooler to make it really prominent.
RUSSIAN DASHCAM VIDEOS
This is a whole deep YouTube hole you can get into but the compilations are the best. We watched them loads in our breaks. The best thing about them is when there’s a collision or a pedestrian gets hit, they just walk away, totally casually, and carry on with whatever they were doing. Russia looks crazy!
Living in the future is awesome! On the last record it was pretty much all guitars save for a bit of Korg MS-20 in one song. This time we totally embraced technology. It’s still guitar heavy and we recorded it through a big valve console but there’s more keys and computer trickery going on. Right now I’ve started writing the third album on an iPad. What a time to be alive. The History Of Apple Pie’s new album ‘Feel Something’ is out now via Marshall Teller Records. DIY
Cold as Ice Iceage travelled from their native Denmark to Sweden for the recording of their new album. Words: Tom Walters.
ceage’s forthcoming record, ‘Plowing into the Field of Love’, might just take you by surprise. The new full-length travels to places the young Danish four-piece have never travelled before, expanding their brattish sound into more mature, fully realised punk rock. Speaking from Copenhagen a few days before the band head off to play Australia, frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt discusses his band’s natural progression, escaping from the distractions of the city by heading to rural Sweden and how he deals with overwhelming comparisons to Nick Cave.
bit from the temptations of city life.” On this third effort, Iceage’s recordings are lush and immersive, with tracks like the recent single ‘Forever’ sporting a much bolder and more revealing attitude than they’ve shown us before, something the isolation of the studio definitely helped with. “Some hippie bought it back in the 70s to live a rural life,” explains Rønnenfelt. “We found this old organ from 1890 up there that the old guy at the place collected from some church room, which we ended up using on a couple songs. That’s basically how the song ‘Against the Moon’ came about.”
“We never started talking,” he says Rønnenfelt’s presence on the record bluntly, in regards to how he and the feels dramatic and theatrical, like “There are hundreds of guys first took steps in their elaborate a character in one of Nick Cave’s references here.” Elias new direction. “The songwriting was many stories. The comparisons have done over the span of more than a been coming in thick and fast, and Bender Rønnenfelt year, and we never had any actual Rønnenfelt understands what people conversation between the four of us are going on about to an extent. “I sitting down and discussing where we’re gonna take our mean, yeah, people have been saying a lot of the new stuff sound - it was just how the songwriting naturally progressed.” sounds like The Gun Club and Bad Seeds, and I see where Indeed, ‘Plowing into the Field of Love’ is a remarkable they’re coming from,” he divulges. “They were yelling Wire transformation for the band; a record that’s littered with odds and Joy Division before, and I see what they’re getting at, but and ends such as violas and mandolins that they found lying that’s kind of watering it down a little bit. There are hundreds around an old house turned studio in the Swedish wilderness. of references here.” Recording the entire album in just seven days, the band received a tip off from some friends about a rather unique studio and decided to head out there to “get away for a
Read the full interview on diymag.com. Iceage’s new album ‘Plowing into the Field of Love’ will be released on 6th October via Matador Records. DIY 19
F Sivu’s debut album is the product of freedom, friends and serious hard work. Now James Page is ready for the next step. Words: Jamie Milton.
rom the moment he stepped out with 2013’s breakthrough ‘Better Man Than He’ single, London musician James Page announced Sivu as an album-ready artist. These songs flow, often without interruption. Instead of bursting out from the seams and demanding attention, he made music to exist in quiet corners. In his words, “some things come out and set the world on fire, but we’d prefer people to stumble across everything.”
Turning The Page
like a long process. We did the album in January, but I think we all realised it was never gonna be one of those things that, you know, smashed the charts. We thought, ‘Let’s just put it out and let people hear it’. The album says it how it is - it tells the story of Sivu. And hopefully people will like it. So you wanted to make a record without compromises? We tried to do that from the start. Everyone around me has been so amazing - they’ve let me do what I want, which is so good. And nobody put any expectations on it either. We didn’t want to put any pressure on this. You’re on the new Alt-J album how did that come about? ‘Warm Foothills’ is amazing. Joe [Newman] from Alt-J said, ‘Just come down’. And it’s unreal. To be able to sing on it is so good. I went in with Marika [Hackman] - we went together, and it was ridiculous. They’re such an inspiring band. They just do what the fuck they want. They’re the only real band now that I feel can do that.
Lyrically, are you always gravitating towards downbeat stuff? I try to get a balance. The writing of this record was in a strange time of transition for me. Moving from a small town to London... When you first start meeting and talking to people, you think the pavements are paved with gold. You think a label’s going to walk in and sign you the first time you play a gig. It’s not obviously “Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s how it works. I soon made the best album of them all?” discovered that it’s brutal and tough. I wasn’t really prepared for that. Debut album ‘Something On High’ is produced by Alt-J deskman Charlie Was there a turning point? Andrew, who also happens to be the It was actually when I met Charlie. very person that encouraged Page I used to do session work, so I met to go further with his sweet, brittle him on a session. He gave me the songwriting. Two years in the making, confidence to do this. it’s finally ready to be unveiled. This still feels like a first step, which seems weird given the album’s coming out. It really does. It’s weird. For me it feels
Sivu’s debut album ‘Something On High’ will be released on 13th October via Atlantic Records. DIY
With the amount of upheaval Slipknot have suffered over recent years, it’s a wonder they’re still going: after a protracted break, they’re back with their first record in over half a decade. Words: Sarah Jamieson.
or the better part of the last twenty years, Slipknot have built their name on chaos and carnage. A band with an undisputed reputation for destruction and pitch-black darkness, the Iowa collective have used their previous four albums to become renowned as a fearful musical force. So much more than just another metal group infringing on public consciousness, they were shocking, they were controversial, and at times, they felt almost inhuman. It was four years ago when their bassist Paul Gray passed away and everything changed for the band. Before, hiatuses had come and gone, threatening to end the reign of Slipknot but the group had never had to deal with anything like this. For the first time, the band had to take off the masks, and let themselves be human in the eyes of the public. They had to learn how to heal.
had in common when we were first coming around. For us, it was about [discovering] what this would be without him.” After Gray’s death, the band would spend some time back out on the road (“that was our language to each other; it was playing that music and being able to talk like that, and that help us to get back on our feet”) but their future was still uncertain. In fact, it was only over the last twelve months - and following the departure of drummer Joey Jordison, citing personal reasons - that the band finally felt ready to consider beginning their new record. “I think it was important on two levels,” says Corey, of the time they waited. “One, we needed the time to grieve, and to kinda make peace with the fact that this had happened, and it is what it is. We were all dealing with our own internal battles, basically. A lot of that is on the album. In one way, we just needed time to heal, and on the other hand, we’ve never done anything that we didn’t want to do. Outside forces might’ve felt like, ‘You need to go in and do something’, but we’ve never felt like that. We’ve always written our own destiny and steered our own ship in a lot of ways. We knew that we weren’t gonna be pushed positively or negatively - into doing something that we didn’t feel was time to do. At the same point, we didn’t know what story we wanted to tell. By taking that time and allowing ourselves to naturally get to the point where we wanted to go in and make this music was really important, not just for the health of the music, but for the health of the band.”
“WE NEEDED THE T I M E T O G R I E V E .” C O R E Y TAY L O R
“There was a time when there was no guarantee that we were gonna carry on,” begins the band’s frontman Corey Taylor, ahead of the release of their long-awaited fifth record ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’. “Not because we didn’t want to, but because we weren’t sure what it meant without him. He was the heartbeat of this band, and in a lot of ways, he was the gel that kept this band together. We’re all so different, in so many different ways, not just with musical tastes but as people, that the music is one of the reasons that we stay together and we’re as strong as we are, and Paul was a huge part of that. He was the one thing that we all
Read the full interview on diymag. com. Slipknot’s new album ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’ will be released on 20th October via Roadrunner Records. DIY
From Bombay Bicycle Club to FKA Twigs, from Jungle to… GoGo Penguin? Here’s who’s in the running for the 2014 Mercury Prize. Words: Sarah Jamieson.
In The Running... It’s that time of the year again: albums have been scrutinised, votes have been cast and a list has been drawn up, all in an attempt to unearth the best full-length to come out of the UK and Ireland over the past twelve months. From debut albums that have sold over 100,000 records in just a few weeks, to second efforts from relative unknowns, 2014’s Mercury Prize list has proven itself anything but predictable. And the nominees are... The winner will be announced at the Barclaycard Mercury Prize Awards Show at the Roundhouse, London on 29th October. DIY
YOUNG FATHERS DEAD “‘Dead’ is every bit an evolution of Young Fathers’ sound as it is a deconstruction of hip-hop. Beating the genre down to its very foundations, there are no boundaries. Young Fathers’ music is as bewildering and terrifying as getting lost in the deepest, darkest cave, their abrasive tendencies warding off those not up to the task. A confident and gorgeously composed debut.” (Joe Price, DIY) 24
ANNA CALVI ONE BREATH “While ‘One Breath’ still has some up-anddowns, it succeeds in mixing them up with a bunch of side-to-side bits. Anna Calvi has maintained the theatricality and the exaggerated, torch singer flounces of passion, but has allowed it to become slightly frayed around the edges. It makes for a noisier, odder and more interesting experience.” (Tim Lee, DIY)
DAMON ALBARN EVERYDAY ROBOTS “I was terrified of some of it. I thought, God, do I feel comfortable singing this? But now there’s a distance, I love it - it’s so personal. It was difficult when the first press came out; it was this stupid headline ‘Heroin and Witchcraft’ [in Q magazine] quite an emotive starting point. That wasn’t what it was about at all, the record was about what I’m about.” (Damon Albarn)
FKA TWIGS LP1
“Clarity is shunned for something more confounding, more intoxicating. Throughout, FKA twigs is deceptive. Dead ends, rough edges - it’s a fitting debut. Especially so, given that at points it sounds like Barnett’s throwing every inch of her upbringing into an album at once, that she’s as nonplussed as the rest of us as to what’ll emerge from the melting pot.” (Jamie Milton, DIY)
ROYAL BLOOD ROYAL BLOOD “The only real agenda was to capture what we sound like. It wasn’t like we had a huge concept; that all felt too contrived. We just wanted to write the best songs we could, whatever they were or whatever they sounded like, and to make sure that the best songs went on the record. It’s as simple as that.” (Mike Kerr, Royal Blood)
NICK MULVEY FIRST MIND “Nick Mulvey is one of four names from this year’s BBC Sound of 2014 longlist to have made the Mercury Prize cut. At the time, he was arguably the least known of a pack of twenty, but he’s since gone on to play Glastonbury’s Main Stage, with debut ‘First Mind’ showcasing delicate but perfectly-formed alternative folk.” (Sarah Jamieson, DIY)
JUNGLE JUNGLE “Jungle aren’t stuck sweating in the Amazon. They explore environments, and test out their immediately familiar pop in dynamic settings. Then there’s the choruses - Jungle sure know how to write them. ‘Busy Earnin’’ is a lonesome tale that morphs into a glittering giant. Even ‘Lucky I Got What I Want’ - the record’s sombre counterpoint - delivers a singalong.” (Jamie Milton, DIY)
KATE TEMPEST EVERYBODY DOWN “From the off, months before the nominees were announced, street poet Kate Tempest was widely tipped as a potential winner. That hasn’t changed one jot, with ‘Everybody Down’ one of two records released on Big Dada to receive a nod. Tempest’s storytelling is constantly sharp, and it’s offset with distorted, unconventional production.” (Sarah Jamieson, DIY)
EAST INDIA YOUTH TOTAL STRIFE FOREVER “Everything going on in my life at the time really contributed to the sound. It’s quite dour and noisy and a bit aggressive at points but it all fits in. At the time I felt like I was under immense stress, so as the pressure built it forced me into making music to express myself. There’s some light at the end of the tunnel on some of the tracks though.” (William Doyle, East India Youth)
POLAR BEAR IN EACH AND EVERY ONE “Polar Bear’s fifth LP isn’t their first to pick up a Mercury nominee, but it’s been nine years since their last. ‘Held on the Tips of Fingers’ was a crossover success - pipped to the post at the time by Antony and the Johnsons - but since then the jazz fusionists have settled into a relatively cultadored groove. ‘In Each and Every One’ feels like a long time coming, in some senses.” (Sarah Jamieson, DIY)
Bombay Bicycle Club So Long, See You Tomorrow Despite already having four albums to their name, 2014 marks the first year that Bombay Bicycle Club are in the running for the Mercury Prize. It’s about time too! “To be honest, I was completely surprised,” the band’s Jack Steadman reveals, after getting the news of ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’’s nomination. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think we deserved to be nominated. I think the Mercurys is all about making interesting music, but I always thought that people might think we were too poppy, or that we’re a band who are just on Radio 1 all the time. “In our case, there are so many impressions that have already been made of us,” he goes further. “We’ve been doing this since we were very young and a lot of the music that we made when we were younger maybe isn’t us anymore. So personally, for us, it was a bit of a surprise, but it’s great.”
WHO THE HECK ARE
here always has to be one outsider when it comes to award nominations and this year, well, it’s kinda obvious who’s taking on that role. Not so much an elephant in the room as a trio of penguins, GoGo Penguin are less 2014’s token jazz act and more an amalgamation of classical and electronic influences. And don’t worry; their nod came as a surprise to them too... “Probably the same way as everyone else,” laughs the band’s pianist Chris Illingworth, on how they reacted when they heard their name called. “It was a complete surprise. I had forgotten that it was around that time that it was all happening, and I was trying to have a day off, ignoring emails and that stuff, so I ended up getting a call from Nick [Blacka, bass] after he’d had an email from our manager, and he was asking if I had checked my inbox. It was a real surprise; it was unbelievable, but we’re really excited.” Read more from the band on diymag.com. DIY
As for how they heard the news themselves, they were given a heads up, but that led to its own problems... “We’re just relieved that we can finally tell everyone! We found out about a “It was a bit week before the official of a surprise, announcement but it’s and it was torture. We were great.” in the middle of a rehearsal and our manager took us out of the room and told us, but then said we had to keep it completely secret for the next seven days. We had to go back into the rehearsal with all our crew and just keep a completely straight face! We were so happy to finally text everyone and share that celebration.” DIY 25
It may have taken Johnny Marr over twenty years post-The Smiths to release his debut solo album, but now the floodgates are open. Words: Sarah Jamieson.
ohnny Marr has never been short of a project or two. Even when he was just 23 years old, with the demise of The Smiths still fresh in his mind, he collaborated with Paul McCartney, joined The Pretenders, threw himself into The The and formed Electronic, all over a matter of months. In fact, the only real surprise from Marr – who has also played in both Modest Mouse and The Cribs, while acting as a session musician, producer and occasionally, working on the odd film score - lay in the fact it took him over twenty years to release his solo debut. But when ‘The Messenger’ was finally out, the gates had been opened, and there was no stopping Marr’s creative flow. That’s why, less than eighteen months later, he’s offering up a second. “Adrenaline is a very appropriate word,” Marr begins, during a phone call taking place amid a hectic rehearsal schedule. It’s just a matter of weeks until ‘Playland’ hits shelves, and Marr heads out on a UK-wide tour to celebrate. He’s referencing the energy – the adrenaline – that inspired him to begin writing his new album all the quicker. “That word pops up in a few of the songs on both albums, and adrenaline is a big part of what me and my band are doing. I don’t know if it’s because it’s not on the agenda of a lot of musicians - which is fine - but it makes me want it to be even more a part of our agenda. Adrenaline was one of the reasons to carry on making this record, that celebration of energy.
“That energy inspired me to write some more stuff. A couple of the songs were about energy anyway. The first song, ‘Back In The Box’, sets that idea up a little bit, in that I’m singing about transcendence and euphoria and ecstatic states, either hearing a record you like, waking up on a sunny morning, being in love. Or schizophrenia, drugs, all these things that can make you have a euphoric experience.” That’s a theme that continues throughout the whole album. “The whole idea of ‘Playland’ really is looking at what it is about culture that we’re chasing, whether it’s sexual gratification, consumerism, commercial gratification, money. Of course, there’s a price to pay for those things, but I’m making an observation about that and in many ways, I’m celebrating that. I’m asking questions about that. It’s an idea that had energy anyway and I had all of those notions at the end of ‘The Messenger’, so I just wanted to get on with it.” Primarily written on the road while touring in support of ‘The Messenger’, there was no messing around with this full-length. “The sort of band that I’ve got, and what we’re doing,” he assures, “we’re not one of those outfits that needs to go away and spend a year in the Amazon to find ourselves or any of that business. This is just the thing I’m doing now, and I don’t see any reason to go away. Sometimes, in fact, Marr had barely stepped off stage before deciding to play around with new songs. “I wrote a couple of songs - ‘Easy Money’ for example - with my ears literally still
LIVE & KICKING
To celebrate the release of ‘Playland’, Johnny is going to be doing what he does best: heading out on the road. “For a start, I just like plugging into an amplifier and playing with a very, very good band. So, letting people be involved in two hours of that is always interesting,” he says. “I like the people who come out to see me, and you never really quite know how a gig is gonna go. When you’ve got some new songs, there’s nothing better. Our gigs are getting more and more unique and I’m hoping to have one of the best live bands around. We want to be one of the best live bands ever and we have that ambition, and that keeps us interested and I think the audience knows that.” Johnny Marr’s UK tour kicks off on 13th October in Lincoln - visit diymag. com for the full list of dates. DIY
“I J U S T WA N T E D T O GET ON WITH I T.” JOHNNY MARR
ringing from the gig that night. The feeling of the audience and the travelling and the sound of the band ringing in my ears from the show, that’s a good place to be when you’re writing upbeat rock or pop music. If you go away from that, it’s a state of mind. You’re already three quarters of the way there if you’re dealing with sound checks and gigs and doing encores and playing very loud, you’re already rocking!” Johnny Marr’s new album ‘Playland’ will be released on 6th October via Warner Bros. DIY
Peaking Lights begin their career as interpretative dancers.
In The Cosmos Peaking Lights’ new record is a little different from their previous efforts… Words: Sarah Jamieson.
eaking Lights are a productive outfit: there’s no getting around that. Having released something pretty much every year since their formation in 2007 – whether it be selfreleased CDRs or creating companion dub albums to match their full-lengths – they know how to stay creative. What’s a more strange concept to the husband-and-wife duo, is the idea of taking their time. “Well,” starts one half of the two-piece, Aaron Coyes. “With the record ‘Lucifer’, we wrote and recorded it in three weeks.” For their latest album, they finally decided to give a more patient approach a try. “It was really quickly done, and we just wanted to develop.
We wanted to have some time to develop the sound and what we were doing, to reconfigure our music a little bit. We wanted to try some new things out and build a library of songs. With all the drum sounds, they’re all sounds that I made from mixing regular drums and synthesisers I had built. It was just a really detailed recording and we wanted to have time to develop the songs and work on our songwriting. It was to really further our art form.” Having spent the last eighteen months working on ‘Cosmic Logic’, they also decided to steer clear of touring. Whilst previously their live shows had worked as an arena to debut new material, this time
they wanted to iron out the kinks in the studio. “We weren’t touring at all, so we were analysing and we did a few different mixes of the album, changing things around and arranging it, before we finally had a version where we wanted to take it into the studio to finish mixing it. Before, with other records, we had already been playing those songs live before we even recording them, so that gave us time to develop them. Even though we weren’t playing these songs live, we had time to listen back to them and to hear the different parts and to make those necessary adjustments.”
“We really wanted to explore going in a more pop direction.” Aaron Coyes
Their new full-length feels the difference: no longer do they boast dreamy psychedelic journeys, it’s that much more succinct. “We really wanted to explore going in a more pop direction,” Aaron assures. “I think we just really wanted to do something that people could relate to. We were definitely working on changing the structure. We were really experimenting with a lot of different things; a lot of changing the structure, a lot of different aspects of sound. The pop thing was definitely a big influence, and we tried to have that come out that little bit more.” He laughs, “we wanted it to be real catchy.”
We Were Promised Jetpacks
ead over to diymag. com, and you’ll find an exclusive stream of We Were Promised Jetpacks’ new album, ‘Unravelling’. The band’s drummer Darren Lackie takes a break from doing the dishes and watching The Hobbit to explain a little about the release.
As for what they hope listeners might take away from the record, it ties in perfectly with their new venture into pop. “I really hope that people just enjoy it and listen to it,” he offers, “have fun with it, dance to it, move to it, make love to it, sing to it. Just to have good times with it. After all, we wrote it to try and be light and to bring some positivity into whatever people are doing.”
‘Unravelling’ is a pretty ominous title - is everything ok? We’re all super depressed and falling to pieces. I jest! Everything is going swell in the WWPJ camp. Morale is high and everyone is looking forward to getting this album out for people to hear. We’ve had the final mixes since April so we’ve been sitting on it for a while. I don’t think you have to necessarily look at the title in a ‘I’m losing my shit, everything is falling to pieces’ kind of way, you can also look at it in terms of relaxing or getting comfortable and I think that’s where we are as a band at the moment. We’ve got our new member, Stuart [McGachan], and we’re getting comfortable playing these new songs together and getting used to be a five-piece band. That’s how I see it.
Peaking Lights’ new album ‘Cosmic Logic’ will be released on 6th October via Weird World. DIY
What prompted the addition of Stuart to the mix? Stuart is a good friend of ours who
we’ve all known since school so it was very easy for us to integrate him into the band. I feel like we got to a point about two years ago where we were all looking for a new sound, something fresh and exciting that would help us start writing the new album. Stuart can play guitar, keys and he’s also got a not too shabby wee voice on him too so it seemed like a no-brainer. Has he added a new dynamic within the band? Definitely. I think with the addition of Stuart (I can’t call him Stuart anymore, it’s strange... we know him as Hairy) it has allowed the songs to breathe a lot more. There are sections in some of our new songs where, with Hairy playing keys or guitar, Adam is able to just sit back and sing. It sounds like nothing but it is something that we’ve never been able to do as a band and it creates a whole different sound for us. He’s also a lot of fun to play with live, he has some good stage moves. To quote Mike (our other guitarist’s) Dad: “He’s bringing back open-leg rock.” Read a track-by-track of We Were Promised Jetpacks’ new album ‘Unravelling’ - released on 6th October via FatCat Records - on diymag.com. DIY
This hyped-up London four-piece live, breathe and record in a musical squat, but their converted space might as well be keys to the kingdom. Words: Jamie Milton. Photo: Phil Smithies.
alace aren’t in any hurry, but the stars are aligning to suggest they should get a bloody move on. One gig to their name, they were being spoken about in whispered, excitable tones. A couple of songs online, everyone wanted a piece of them. One EP under their belts, and they’re asked to support Jamie T at his London comeback, one of the gigs of the year. But one listen to their part-bluesy, woozy embrace helps explain why they’re the types to take their time. Straddling arena-ready indie with something more subdued and mellowed out, the songs on the four-piece’s ‘Lost in the Night’ EP inhabit their own space. They don’t burst into view. There’s no desire to get heard right here, right now. It’s a subtle kind of routine. Anthems by those who’ve stumbled upon them. Relaxed to the bone, the four of them spend most of their spare hours hanging out in a North London rehearsal space. In this Tottenham studio of theirs, artists
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come and go. Instruments are scattered, taking up more sofa space than the inhabitants themselves. It’s a strange glimpse of bohemia in a ruthlessly expensive city. “This place has helped a lot,” admits bassist Will Dorey, who sometimes grabs a sleeping bag and spends the night in the studio, just so he’s up nice and early to practise the next day. “We’ve had the freedom to rehearse wherever we want. There’s nearly always a room free here. We can turn up last minute for the next day and it costs virtually nothing. And it’s so rare in this city.” Given near-unlimited space for
the first time (they cite hours and precious pounds spent on crummy Camden studios, back in the day), they’ve settled into their groove. “It’s a complete saving grace to have this place,” says frontman Leo Wyndham. “In the beginning, we hardly practised. We’d be doing one rehearsal every two weeks.” “It was all pretty relaxed,” joins guitarist Rupert Turner. “Like our music.” Starting out, they played their first show in a converted South London pub. “There was a fireplace there. It felt like we were just playing in someone’s living room,” remembers drummer Matt Hodges. But people turned up, and everyone’s attention was duly diverted towards Palace. “A part of us thought we might be the shittest band in the world,” jokes Leo. “And the moment we started playing, we could see it in people’s faces. They liked it.” It’s been a strange sight, seeing a band this easy on the senses get so far, so quickly. Jamie T, champion of rowdy rock‘n’roll, saw something in their softly-softly side and asked them to join his comeback trail, which was the opposite of what they’d anticipated as a band. “These kids arrived in the queue, all topless, absolutely fucking hammered. I thought: ‘We are fucking dead,’” says Leo. Given closer inspection, Palace’s music might not assault the senses, but the way it latches to the conscience is frighteningly effective. On ‘Bitter’, their simmering away standout, they sound like Wu Lyf brought up by a planetsaving cult. ‘Lost in the Night’ doesn’t give a great deal away, in sum. Instead it points towards a group that are winning people over when they least expect it. “There’s lots of staring at our gigs,” cites Matt. “Some bands get crowdsurfers and stage invasions, we just get open mouths!” If quiet conversion is their game, Palace are going about it the right way. Palace’s new EP ‘Lost In the Night’ will be released on 20th October via Beatnik Creative. They play the DIY Presents in association with PledgeMusic all-dayer at The Laundry, London on 1st November. DIY
ready new material and a
debut album for “early next year”
O n e o f t h e m o s t a n t i c i pat e d f i r s t wo r ks o f 2 0 14 c o u l d b e j u s t a r o u n d t h e c o r n e r , ac c o r d i n g t o vo c a l i s t F e l i x b u s h e . p h oto : e m m a s wa n n .
ime’s speeding by at a ridiculous rate for Gengahr. Weeks after signing to Transgressive Records, they’ve returned with their first single “proper”, ‘Powder’. It follows on from a string of demos that eventually landed them a deal and heady claims that they were next in line to the throne, hot on the heels of fellow UK gems Wolf Alice and Superfood. ‘Powder’ affirms this notion by being the London four-piece’s sharpest turn to date, a more frenzied take on their softlysoftly songwriting. Felix Bushe labels it “a step in a different direction” - “I’m sure we’ll keep people guessing with the next single we put out as well.” The band worked with Spring King’s Tarek Musa, who mixed the single. “It just sounded really raw and edgy. The vocals sounded great. Maybe it sounded a bit more like how we play it live - that’s what we liked about it. It’s definitely heavier than what people expect it to be.”
‘Powder’’s also serving as Gengahr’s first single since signing with Transgressive. Felix describes the deal as a “huge relief”. He explains, “you know the people you want to work with very early on, and it’s a funny old game trying to keep your cards close to your chest. You don’t wanna give away too much, because you could end up being stung I guess. Luckily with the Transgressive guys, it’s never going to be the case. They’re as good as they come, in the industry.” A debut album isn’t too far away either, he insists. Felix says it’s going to come down to “logistics”, and he’s aiming for an early 2015 release. “I’m pretty sure it’s gonna get released early next year. And if it doesn’t, it won’t be down to the fact we’re not ready, it’ll be down to the fact we’ve been touring so much and there wasn’t time to get into the studio,” he says. “We’ll fit in what we can, and if we have to work every day of the week then we’ll do it.” Gengahr’s new single ‘Powder’ will be released on 27th October via Transgressive. DIY
Soph Nathan play DIY Presents ‘It’s All Neu’ at the Old Blue Last, London on 13th October.
Some waves of noise slipstream past the conscience. They add to the background, the familiar fuzz. Others go straight for the gut. They lock their target and swing. Brighton trio Soph Nathan strike gold on their debut ‘Our Girl’. This is the kind of track that quite simply doesn’t have time to fret or dither - there’s noise to be made, waves to crash. This one comes produced by Kristian Smith of The Magic Gang. LISTEN ‘Our Girl’. FOR FANS OF DIIV, Kid Wave (see page 34), endless summers.
Details are scarce on BEA. She’s a 22-year-old from Amsterdam, born to British parents. She specialises in subtle, playful pop, consisting of barely-there percussion, easy-does-it pianos and vocals that layer on top of each other forming a monstrous swarm. Everything unveiled so far suggests big things without showing off to the point of collapse. The best thing she’s released so far? A video for ‘We’re Like the Hard Born’, complete with an animated, talking dog and a selfie stick. Could we be witnessing 2014’s ultimate pop breakthrough?
Don’t be surprised to see Modern Vices tread a similar path to Chicago’s Twin Peaks, a raucous bunch who are only just making their mark on the UK with the release of second LP ‘Wild Onion’. Both bands share the same foundation label, Autumn Tone Records, and there’s also a kinship in their love for spiky, ultra-forthright guitar jams. Saying that, Modern Vices are less about the ‘jams’, more about direct calls to arms. ‘Taller in the Sunshine’ is devilish in approach, soured by its own experience - there’s a bitter taste to this track, which previews the band’s forthcoming debut album.
DJ’ing since the age of 14, Kaytranada has since built up a rep as one of the most sought after producers in the game. Beginning with beat tapes and cursory SoundCloud uploads, he’s readying himself for a release proper on XL Recordings. It’s been a long time coming, but recent track ‘Leave Me Alone’ suggests he’s only just getting started. Bass wobbles and house notes line the seams, but this is also a song devoted to empty space, the tiny crevices found in an otherwise allgiving production. His new ‘So Bad’ EP is out now.
LISTEN ‘We’re Like the Hard Born’. FOR FANS OF FKA twigs, saunas.
LISTEN ‘Taller In The Sunshine’. FOR FANS OF The Orwells and Twin Peaks - Chicago’s finest.
LISTEN ‘Leave Me Alone’. FOR FANS OF Staying up ‘til dawn watching Boiler Room sets.
WAKE, BAKE, SKATE
S ay i n g n o t o j a z z h a n d s , w h e n K i d W a v e m a k e e s c a p i s t m u s i c , t h e y r e a l ly m e a n i t. W o r d s : J a m i e M i lt o n . P h o t o : C a r o l i n a Fa r u o l o .
hampions of escapism don’t always make their music in pressured circumstances. Ernest Greene from Washed Out wasn’t exactly begging to get out of Georgia or South Carolina when he started out. Cole from DIIV penned music for parties, not out of some effort to get out of New York more as a means of getting more involved in the very scene. Kid Wave are different. For Lea Emmery, she had her heart set on being in a rock band, and she knew she couldn’t achieve this specific dream in a small Swedish town. So she moved to London, and two years to the good she’s about to release her first single as Kid Wave through esteemed label Heavenly Recordings. There’s an urgency to first work ‘All I Want’, which comes produced by Rory Attwell. Lea’s vocals glaze over a dreamy wall of melodic fuzz, but there’s a severe sense
of purpose. “There’s a lot of good music coming from Sweden, but at the time it felt a bit dead,” she says. “I had friends playing in bands that I really loved, but no-one picked up on it. It was a brick wall. And I just wanted to move away, do something else.” Time spent training as a classical and jazz pianist didn’t suit her one bit - “I wanted to make rock music!” - so she packed her bags pronto. Her first step was a move to the UK capital back in 2011. “I always knew that I wanted to move away. The UK has so much history, and for me it was quite natural,” she says. But she landed in a city where she knew no-one and had infinite time on her hands. “I was on my own for quite some time, coming home sitting in my room and doing nothing,” she remembers. “It was obviously a good time to write.” A cursory Bandcamp upload gave the project some speedy attention, but
Kid Wave’s first ever video is the epitome of cool. Directed by Steve Glashier, the fourpiece look like they’re vibing by on the California coast, but that’s not quite the case. “We shot that outside Brighton, in Bexhill,” remembers Lea. “Some people didn’t even realise we were on a skate park. It looked so summery and it was the warmest day. I got sunburnt - my poor Scandinavian skin couldn’t cope with it. Even though we came in the afternoon, up until seven it was so sweaty. The video’s shot in slow motion, so you do these takes quite a lot faster. You have to play and really rock out.” DIY
by this point she didn’t have a band to play with. Eventually things came together. Guitarist Mattias Bhatt is an old friend, and Serra Petale taught drums at a music school where Lea was studying. Bassist Harry Deacon arrived slightly later down the line, with Lea stressing that it’s “so important for you to get the right band members, and we’re a really tight group
LIVE R E P O R T
“I WANTED TO MAKE ROCK MUSIC!” LEA EMMERY of friends as well.” Bhatt seems like a vital glue to Emmery’s sunshine-soaked vocals - his guitar lines swerve past conventional structure. Shoegaze stalwarts are given a quick nod, but together, Kid Wave sound like a band intent on taking an established sound someplace else. “I dream away a lot - I do alot of daydreaming,” admits Lea. “And that’s definitely something that comes through.” Kid Wave, she says, is always trying to “translate the vibe of wanting to go somewhere else.” Whether it’s itchy feet or a passport burning in the back pocket, everything they’ve released so far doesn’t just project escapism, it encourages those listening in to take a bold step of their own. Emmery definitely doesn’t have plans to settle down. “It’s tough in London, but having this vision really helps. My parents suggested I might be better doing something else - definitely not jazz piano though, they thought I was shit.” Kid Wave’s new single ‘All I Want’ / ’Young Blood’ is out now via Heavenly Recordings. DIY
“A unique thing to witness” - Deers.
Corsica Studios, London
verybody wants to be part of the Deers gang. Becoming a fifth member might be a tall ask, so a roadie will do. Someone to pick up beers before a show. A tag-along, a forgettable part of the entourage - anything. This Madrid band boast an unbounded enthusiasm that isn’t just infectious, it’s jealousy-inducing. ‘How are these people having so much fun? Why are they laughing so much? What’s so funny?’ - not one jot of their beaming routine is rehearsed, which makes just their second London headline show to date even more enjoyable. Deers claim to have never had a music lesson between them, and the four-piece live up to that notion by slap-handedly stumbling between sections, giving gnarly rock ’n roll a whole new platform. Within it all, they showcase two halves of a forthcoming new single. Whereas ‘Bamboo’ and ‘Trippy Gum’ rinsed out boredom and malaise with the audible equivalent of a stampede, these new efforts sound sharper. Melodically on-point, Carlotta Cosials and Ana Perrote’s vocals overlap with complete freedom, almost like they’re inventing hooks on the spot. It’s a unique thing to witness - a band diving headfirst into the future with brilliant intent. Wanting to be a part of this is just basic instinct. When they return this November, all eyes will be on their ascent. Deers play the DIY Presents in association with PledgeMusic all-dayer at The Laundry, London on 1st November. DIY
“I HAVE WAY TOO MANY IDEAS.” TĀLĀ
TĀ L Ā i s t h e p r o d u c t o f t r i p s a r o u n d t h e w o r l d , s i t a r j a m s es s ions and Michael Ball . Meet 2 014’s nex t one- of-a-kind p r o d u c e r . W o r d s : J a m i e M i lt o n , P h o t o : P h i l S m i t h i e s .
hether it’s in the “crazy house” she grew up in or the culture shocks she experiences today, new producer TĀLĀ absorbs madness and applies it to her own scattershot sound. The songs tucked under her belt put the “kitchen sink” approach to shame. Her first work, ‘The Duchess’, feels like going around the world in ten minutes: a fusion of dance and pure-pop that sounds like the kind of music aliens might produce if they had just a couple of days to explore planet Earth before guessing where it’s headed next. There’s method behind TĀLĀ’s alleverything approach. “I have way too many ideas - I have to sieve them,” she jokes. “Usually I try and visualise a song when I’m writing it, to see where it’s going. A song like ‘Black Scorpio’ feels really warm. It feels like you’re in a hot country. And that’s why it’s bigger, brighter.”
Her background involves growing up in a house where in one room, her “food connoisseur” / music-obsessed father would “pick up a sitar, have a little jam in our kitchen,” while in the room next door “my mum’s got something like Michael Ball on.” She admits that “now when I think about it… Our house was a big cultural source.” TĀLĀ says her unusual musical upbringing is “probably something I wasn’t aware of, but it’s had a massive effect on me.” She hasn’t stopped absorbing, either. Titles in ‘The Duchess’ point to specific travelling experiences, like watching a wedding procession in Thailand (for ‘On My Own in Hua Hin’). “Sometimes I’ll be somewhere and I’ll hear something that interests me, and I’ll record it. When I come back, I’ll have these random audio recordings. And they’re gems. They’re one of a kind,” she says. “And you don’t know if anyone will like it, or if it’ll make sense to anyone else. I just know I’m feeling this, so I hope
that other people will gravitate towards it. It’s more real than something coming from your computer.” The rest of 2014 is all about laying ambitious plans for how to figure out this ultra-excitable sound - compared to both Jai Paul and Grimes in recent months - in a live environment. There’s also the release of her second EP, ‘Alchemy’, and she’s just set up residency in her own Soho studio. Top of the agenda, however, is another visit back to Thailand. “I’m going to go back the day after Boxing Day to Thailand. I need a holiday,” she says. “You know when you’re somewhere different? The scent, the colours, the sound - everything. It’s like a sonic soundscape that you’re absorbing, and then you take it back with you.” The distinction between a typical traveller and TĀLĀ is she isn’t just being struck by something new, she’s using culture shocks for her own purpose. DIY
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THIS MONTH IN
Neu’s monthly round up of EPs focuses in on the exciting debut releases, the album teasers and the off-the-cuff Bandcamp gems that everyone should take note of. October brings a mix of producers, pristine pop projects and underground triumphs.
Yo u n g K a r i n no.1
For better or for worse, Purity Ring are responsible for starting something massive. Their distorted, trap beats-meets-pure pop embrace has been absorbed by blog-friendly acts in their masses. But Young Karin might be the first since those innovators to strike gold. Like Lorde if she was raised solely on hip-hop, ‘Hearts’, from the Swedish duo’s first EP, ticks every box. ‘no.1’ is out 27th October on Pannonica Records. FOUNDED: 2013 KEY RELEASES: Sudakistan, ‘Dale Gas’/’S.S.S.’ (2013), Alexandria, ‘Laid Back 4 Ever’ (2014). London via Stockholm set-up PNKSLM is a fine example of what it’s like to be a record label in 2014, releasing records out of sheer enthusiasm, instead of a solid base of industry knowhow. Like the more dance-oriented Numbers, PNKSLM started as a music blog. It’s since fledged out into a party-bringing, 7”-releasing monster of its own. Thrashing, excitable punk seems to be its calling card, although a recent release from Swedish band Alexandria showcases a desire to expand. Luke from the label happily answered DIY’s questions. You’ve been working on the label for a year and a half has it been everything you dreamed of? Have some initial fears been confirmed? It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s been pretty awesome. Every single release we’ve put out has been something that I’m incredibly proud of, and people seem to be digging what we’re doing. Doing the SXSW showcase and all that stuff have been some great experiences. So far, so good. Why is it that a few music blogs end up branching out or even becoming labels, do you think? I guess it’s a natural step. For me and the other PNKSLM boys, we had a blog for a while, and always talked about doing the label, but never actually got around to doing it. Being a “blogger” means you get a LOT of music sent to you constantly. I’d say 90% of it sucks, but when you find that great 10% and it’s unsigned, you feel a need to do something about it. That’s how we started the label. If you could offer one piece of advice to anyone starting a label today, what would it be? Please don’t. The turn-around time for vinyl is really pissing me off, and getting worse every week. You’ll just make it worse for us! DIY
William Arcane Reckless
He’s just collaborated with Nalepa from The Acid, and now attention’s turning to South London producer William Arcane’s own release. ‘Reckless’ is his most assured to date. Loaded with complexities, each song still manages to cosy up with melancholic pop staples like Thom Yorke and Caribou. It’s out via Pictures Music.
Post Louis Uptight
It’s been several years since those nearly days, but Post Louis guitarist Robbie Stern was once a member of Cajun Dance Party. He’s come a long way since - this project, between him and vocalist Stephanie Davin specialises in beautifully intricate, shape-shifting alternative rock. They’ve since expanded the band, too, making ‘Uptight’ (their second EP) especially in-your-face and fully-formed. It’s released on 6th October.
FUCK YOU SUCKERS SAY HELLO TO THE UK’S BEST NEW POP STAR, CHARLI XCX. WORDS: EL HUNT. PHOTOS: MIKE MASSARO.
ver spotted a pop star? They’re pretty unmissable. Entourage in tow or not, they carry an aura on their person at all times, with star-shaped sprinkles orbiting around the edges. The people turning round and double-taking might not quite recognise them yet, but in a few months’ time they’ll see them again on tube adverts and hear their songs on every radio station. Casually strolling down one of London’s grey streets of taxi ranks and takeaway sandwich bars in a fairly impractical feathered gown and sunglasses, surrounded by a small, importantlooking team, Charli XCX has created a stir of this exact variety. A city worker freezes, and then remembers he’s half way through taking a bite out of a baguette. A pair of tourists are frantically taking photos of her crossing the road, and they don’t really know why. Disappearing through a door in a way that seems somehow business-like and razzmatazz, Charli XCX is a pop star, alright. It hasn’t always been this way, but with Charli XCX it has never been a question of if, but rather when. Most 14-year-old girls circa 2006 were busy frittering their pocket money away in Tammy Girl on diamante slogan t-shirts and camouflage trousers; Charli XCX was far too busy convincing her parents to give her a loan so that she could make an album. She did just that, and made ‘14’, along with her own record label, which she called Orgy in typical haughty style. All of a sudden Atlantic snapped her up. There were two mixtapes in 2012, with a Brooke Candy writer credit, and enough buzzy sampling to “PEOPLE COME UP TO ME ON short circuit a bumblebee. There was PLANES ASKING ME TO SIGN her first major label studio album, SHIT. I’LL ALWAYS OBLIGE, BUT too, the highly-glossed alt-pop IT IS STRANGE FOR SURE.” CHARLI XCX world of ‘True Romance’. Charli XCX wrote and featured on ‘I Love It’, and Icona Pop made it one of the biggest songs of last summer. She wasn’t a pop star at that point, though, not on your nelly. By her standards, Charli XCX was just getting started. “A couple of days ago I was in Washington airport getting a Wendy’s, and this Belgian girl came up to me,” explains Charli, having absconded from the street to take refuge in an Americanstyle diner. “She was like, ‘Oh my god, you’re Charli XCX, can I please have a photo?’ I was literally so fucking tired with my chilli cheese fries,” she laughs, pulling out her best impression of jetlag and recreating the moment vividly. “Shit like that happens to me more now; since ‘Fancy’ [Charli’s collaboration with Iggy Azalea] I suppose. People come up to me on planes asking me to sign shit. I’ll always oblige because I want to make my fans happy, but it is strange for sure.”
“Even just last week I was in three countries in one day,” she says excitedly. “We took a private jet which was fucking crazy. We were all very excited, and probably really annoying to the flight attendant. We got there an hour early so we could just take photos of ourselves outside it and shit.” Being busy, these days, is the norm. “This year has been totally hectic,” she concludes. With a one-off show at London’s Heaven pencilled in for 30th October, and endless promotional duties leading up to the release of ‘Sucker’, it’s a frantic schedule that shows no signs of letting up, but Charli feels ready to meet it all head on. “I’ve been doing this for quite a long time now and I can really feel it; I’ve become more sure of myself as an artist and I feel my music has just got better,” reasons Charli in response to the question ‘Why now?’ It’s certainly a confident answer, but then again, considering ‘Sucker’ bursts into life from a bratty launch-pad of bubblegum popping in a teacher’s face - accompanied by the decidedly radio unfriendly announcement “Fuck you, sucker!” - her matching gustiness doesn’t really come as much of a surprise. Reflecting on her previous output though, she’s her own harshest critic, and it wasn’t really until ‘I Love It’, she says - “which was literally just me writing a song in a hotel room alone” - that she actually believed herself capable of penning massive pop songs. “I feel like throughout ‘True Romance’ I was quite insecure as a person, as an artist, and very unsure of myself in terms of songwriting, still,” Charli admits. “Even though it was my voice, I feel there were a lot of other voices on that record, too. When I grew up I was really worried about being cool,” she adds. “I felt that pressure. I was never the cool kid in school, and loads of people told me that I was weird, that I dressed uncool and did uncool things, that I was too nice, too happy, all this. All of
“I THINK THE BEST ARTISTS ARE THE ONES WHO CONSTANTLY CHANGE. MADONNA, BOWIE.” CHARLI XCX
that made me a bit ‘ugh’, and made me want to compensate for my personality by making quite a muted and shy album, really. That was the outcome on ‘True Romance’. Now I really don’t care what people think,” she shrugs. “ I’ve made this album because it’s what comes naturally to me. I feel less afraid to say that now, y’know?” This time round, Charli is far less bothered about how people perceive both her and her music. “I’ve already started reading ‘oh, she’s sold out!’” she laughs, “and I’m like, but you haven’t heard the album! The first song says ‘Fuck you’ about 25 times and it’s a two minute song!” They’ll have to wait a little longer to hear ‘Sucker’ before making up their minds, though. Following this interview Charli announced that she would be pushing back her album release date to January next year, citing the unexpected success of ‘Boom Clap’ as the main reason. “I’m overwhelmed by the love for boom clap & the support from all u angels,” she wrote on her twitter account, “I need to put the date back so I can launch the album properly...”
‘Sucker’, after all, is an album that Charli XCX seems determined to get XCXCXCXCXC completely right, and she repeatedly emphasises the importance of releasing something that is “100%” her. Above and beyond anything else she’s put her name to, ‘Sucker’ does feel and sound unmistakably like an album that on ly Charli XCX could write. The sheen and polish is gone, making way for something rawer around the edges, exuding more attitude than John Bender with his feet defiantly on the desk in Breakfast Club detention. Her influences range from infectious French yé-yé pop from the 1960s to ‘Feeling Alright’ by The Vibrators, which Charli discovered on a punk compilation she bought in WHSmiths for two quid. “I think I’ve always been very inspired by Paris,” she states. “With my first record I was very inspired by [dance label] Ed Banger. With this, it was 60s pop, and this whole idea of Lolita; the way that the music all sounds so child-like, but really sexy and feminine at the same time.
That inspired me a lot, and even the way that the vocals are cut in those songs; the gang-like chants. That was something I was thinking about pretty much straight after ‘True Romance’ came out.” She pauses. “Following ‘I Love It’ I pushed away from all pop music and felt very inspired by punk. I remember towards the end of last year I was in Sweden, with [collaborator] Patrick Berger, and we were writing songs. Both of us felt angry and aggressive about being asked to replicate ‘I Love It’, and we both wanted to fuck everyone off for a while; not tell people where we were, what we were doing. I was just covering songs from his band, Snuffed By The Yakuza, to get out our aggression, and I think through that I was able to fall in love with pop music again.” The roll call for ‘Sucker’ is a diverse one, featuring the likes of Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, and Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend. She nearly did a song with Pelle from The Hives, too, she adds; “it was cool, but didn’t work out in the end.” Having the freedom and confidence to work with whomever she likes, and write however the hell she fancies on any given day, Charli agrees, is hugely important. “I’ve always been in control of everything that I’ve done, but now so more than ever,” she nods, “I feel 100% confident in my own vision. I have discussions and ask for opinions, but at the end of the day it’s me making the calls and calling the shots. This wasn’t something curated by my record label. If I wanted to do a session with someone, I’d reach out to them and go do it. I do feel more confident, though, yes, and it comes across on the album,” “I think the best artists are the ones who constantly change,” adds Charli. “Madonna, Bowie. This idea of building a brand seems to have come about super strong in the past ten years, but I don’t understand that so much. I don’t think it makes for interesting art, I think it
If you could get yourself a time machine, and travel back to star in an iconic music video, which one would you choose? Charli: “It kind of would’ve been cool to be in one of the Robert Palmer music videos, just cos those videos are dope. I understand they’re very objectifying of women, but stylistically I’m blown away. I’d kind of like to have been Robert Palmer, actually. Just get him out of the suit and put me in it.”
makes for selling a product. I’m less interested in that, and more interested in challenging myself and my audience.” ‘Sucker’, for all intents and purposes, is huge. It’s also a self-aware pop record, and stomping its own path through a chart already crammed full with stars and big names, ‘Sucker’ seems to clear a new space. Having previously informed DIY that this is an album written for “for girls, and for everyone on the planet with a pussy,” Charli is delighted at the suggestion that ‘Sucker’ is sexy, albeit in a way that feels honest and real. “Absolutely!” she exclaims slapping a hand onto the table in agreement, startling a nearby customer. “I think it’s a feminine album, and a sexy album,” she expands, “but when I think about what the stereotype of sexy is, to the average person, I don’t think it is that. I feel sexy singing these songs, and I hope that inspires other girls and other women, because you can totally be confident and feel amazing in your own skin without having to try and conform to what Heat magazine, or FHM or any guy says is sexy. I think what women think is sexy is what is sexy.” “Girls eating pizza is massively sexy,” she announces abruptly, “that turns me on.” She pauses to offer round the onion rings, clearly pleased with the appropriate comic timing. “I really just want to change the way that women think about themselves,” she continues. “A lot of young girls are quite lost. I was. In parts I still am. I think it would be cool for women to feel like they connect to someone who is also a bit scruffy. I’m not clean-cut and perfect, I say dumb shit and I fall over, and I want girls to know that’s cool.” Not afraid to speak her mind, Charli XCX isn’t going to pass media-training for the Disney Club, and she doesn’t especially care for celebrity culture. “It’s all about rules, and what you can say, and what you can’t say,” she sighs, ”gossip, reality and celebrities. It’s not about iconic moments in music history.” Talk turns to the MTV Music Video Awards. “I was kind of bored,” she puts it, quite bluntly. Riff Raff and Katy Perry’s denim homage to Britney Spears’ and Justin Timberlake’s matchy blue ensemble from 2001, she says, in the interest of fairness “was the best thing about them! That’s exactly what I’m talking about.” Charli has a plan to up the ante, however. “I’d like to arrive on my school bus with an army of punk ten-year-olds spray painting the step-
On supporting Katy Perry next year... Charli: “It’s going to be interesting cos it’ll be super young kids. Part of me is really excited to bring something totally new to that kind of space, and other parts are apprehensive. From doing the Coldplay tour I’ve learned you get a lot of shit being the support. It’s just the internet and something you have to deal with and not read, but I am a bit worried about that. It’s fine, though, I’m going to just do my thing.”
and-repeat [red carpet backdrop],” she laughs. “That’d be tight. That would be amazing, like the ‘Break The Rules’ video, but permanently. My band would hate me, though, there’d be no beds, they’d be just sat up the whole time. I’d love to roll around in a school bus, though, uh huh.” Although she jokes that she’d love to blow everything on making her live show like a “Japanese gameshow,” Charli recently bought a house, instead, which you’d think would make her feel rather sensible and adult. “It makes me feel grown up, the fact that I have a house,” she grins, “but when I think about how I’m doing it up it, makes me feel like a child. There’s carpet all over the walls and hanging chairs and glitter curtains with tiny mattresses and dens on the floor, so it’s like a playhouse. That makes me feel about 12. My neighbours are all super old and they’re like, oh god, who’s this girl who knocked down all the walls in her house on day one?” Will Charli XCX be hosting elaborate parties at her new madcap pad? She looks a little sheepish for a moment; “Um…” she hesitates, before laughing. “I mean, probably. Yeah. It’s going to be hard not to.” Private jets, VMA parties to attend, and Hot 100 billboard topping singles to her name, Charli XCX must surely feel like a pop star by now? “It’s funny because I guess I’ve just really shut myself off from the idea of that now,” she reasons. “I feel like an ice cube floating around in a sea of chill. It’s not something that interests me. I really do just want to be in the studio or on tour all the time, and everything else is just beginning to freak me out.” She looks around and a nearby punter quickly looks away, pretending not to be at all affected by the fact that Charli XCX is sat in a feathery dressing gown eating onion rings on the next table. “I guess that’s what being a pop star is, you know?” Charli XCX’s new album ‘Sucker’ will be released on 26th January via Asylum Records. DIY
“I FEEL LIKE AN ICE CUBE FLOATING AROUND IN A SEA OF CHILL.” CHARLI XCX
When even your fans are offering you a million dollars to pack it in, most bands would wonder if it was worth continuing at all. Not Weezer though. Rivers Cuomo explains why going back to their roots has resulted in their best album in a decade. Words: Emma Swann.
will be alright 46 diymag.com
ou can’t, as popular wisdom has it, be all things to all people. Try and please some, and others will hate you for it. Weezer, over their twenty-plus year existence, have become a lot of things to a lot of people. Once described as the ‘most mainstream alternative’ band to Radiohead’s ‘most alternative mainstream’, they’ll cover Pixies in a heartbeat, and sing about their “favourite rock group, Kiss” the next. Throughout their back catalogue is the lingering feeling that frontman Rivers Cuomo grew up with every intention of being an American Bruce Dickinson – his eyesight and vocal cords just didn’t want to play ball. They’ve spanned college (or ‘slacker’) rock, emo and pop-punk without ever really being any of them at all. And yet, somehow, they remain one of the most criticised bands, well, ever. The golden rule of the internet may be ‘haters gonna hate’ – but Weezer suffer more than most. At the extreme end, there’s the 2010 petition offering the band $1m to stop making music altogether, but even from some calling themselves fans you’ll get an immediate sniff at any new material post-millennium. That’s seven whole albums dismissed with little more than a click of the mouse.
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WANT Rivers is delighted at the in-flight film options.
“WE TO HAVE IT ALL”
So it’s no wonder the band – that’s Cuomo, guitarist Brian Bell, bassist Scott Shriner and drummer Patrick Wilson – have a love/hate relationship with the Internet. It wasn’t until they were offline, in a boat miles off the coast of Florida, that they began to think about the ninth record that would become ‘Everything Will Be Alright In The End’. “In the pre-internet days we could play our new material at shows before it was recorded,” Rivers explains. “Get that instant feedback, a sense of what’s working and what’s not and let the song develop in that communal setting. But around 2000-2001 we tried
to do that, and any new song we played would instantly get circulated around the world and judged as if it were a finished product.” “It’s difficult for a work of art to grow in that kind of environment,” he adds. “It needs a little more privacy and a safe womb in which to develop. So we stopped performing works in progress at our shows, and ended up feeling separated from our audience. Then a few years back we went out on a giant boat with a couple thousand hardcore Weezer fans [for the Weezer Cruise] with no internet connection and for five days all we had was each other. It was
all face-to-face real-life contact, and there was an incredible feeling of love and support and passionate enthusiasm for the band, that was much more beneficial than the types of interaction we’d been having online.” Their approach is easily heard in the first single from the record, ‘Back to the Shack’ – which Rivers himself describes as “about coming back to the fan community and our audience.” It’s there in the literal returning-to-theirroots lyrics and the tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation. “We forgot that disco sucks,” Rivers sings, all-bar admitting that 2009’s pop-infused ‘Raditude’ was
somewhat of a failed experiment. After all, he says, should an artist find themselves adrift from their peers, they can “either totally close off the whole world, or end up surrounded by well-meaning advisers who weren’t there when the band first started, who might be pulling and pushing the band in not the most helpful directions.” It’s also one which has kept online leakage to a minimum, allowing the band to tease the record via their own self-styled ‘Weezer Wednesday’ clips. “We put a lot of thought into how we wanted to gradually reveal the album,” Rivers explains. “I think we’ve found a perfect balance. Giving the audience a taste of what’s to come enough to get super excited and to get a sense of what the album’s gonna be about, what it stands for - and at the same time holding back most of it, so that when they finally hear the whole thing in its entirety they’re going to be blown away.” When describing the clips themselves – which veer between live video and strange acted-out scenes – Rivers mentions “the story that runs through the album.” Indeed, one of the first clips to be shared involved a small bespectacled boy; another a similarly-attired teenager – not a stretch to imagine them both as depicting younger Rivers. Weezer’s personal lyrical content has always been part of their draw. When ‘I’ve Had It Up To Here’ throws out lines like “I don’t want to compromise my art for universal appeal” and ‘Foolish Father’ follows later with the sentimental “you are his daughter / he’d do anything for you,” wondering whether a title like ‘Eulogy For A Rock Band’ is autobiographical, well, doesn’t take too much of a leap. Not that Rivers is going to be called on it. “I don’t want to say too much about it,” he offers when quizzed about whether there’s a concept at play, “I think fans should hear the record first, and see the artwork and live with it and then slowly discover
what it all means and put the pieces together for themselves.”
eturning to the figurative ‘shack’ didn’t only mean talking to their fans. The band regrouped with producer Ric Ocasek of The Cars, who they’d worked with on both the ‘Blue’ and ‘Green’ self-titled albums. A man who is, as Rivers puts it, “an essential ingredient in our recipe.” “We knew we wanted to make a classic Weezer-sounding album, and there’s no-one on earth who can help us get that sound better than him. In fact, even when we know he’s just on his way down to the studio, we already start changing the way we play. We actually step up our game because we all grew up Cars fans, and he was a legend to us, so when he walks in the room he has this instant power and authority over us. No matter how big we get, he’ll always be a few levels above us in our minds.” And yes, ‘Everything Will Be Alright In The End’ is quintessential Weezer. Place your stylus, whether literal or metaphorical, anywhere on its eleven tracks, and this is an album that couldn’t be by anyone else. “It’s hard to know exactly what it feels like for other people,” Rivers responds, “because we’re right in the middle of it, this is who we are. But I think it’s true that this is, more than anything else, a purely Weezer record. We’re just digging deep in to ourselves and you’ll hear a lot of classic Weezer elements, but you’ll also hear us trying things we’ve never tried before. In the end it sounds like it could be nobody but Weezer.” It’s true. All those magic chord changes, faltering vocals, guitar sounds and song structures. It’s all there. A Weezer who know and play to their strengths, comfortable in their own skin. Aiming to please nobody but themselves. There’s ‘Da Vinci’s adorably candid chorus refrain beginning “even Da Vinci couldn’t
paint you / and Stephen Hawking can’t explain you”; the sweet-andsour ‘Go Away’, co-written with and featuring Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino; ‘Cleopatra’ with its skittering between song parts that really shouldn’t match, but work brilliantly. “One of the strengths of Weezer is a sense of balance,” Rivers muses. “Especially over the course of a long album, we’re able to have some intensely personal songs, some more universal songs, and enough that’s common in between that they work as an album. We strive for that balance, not just in the lyrics, but in every way. We want to have heavy rock guitars, but we also want to have beautiful melodies, bombastic drums, but also gorgeous three-part harmonies, shredding guitar solos, but also other textures like small piano melodies and glockenspiel. We basically want to have it all.” Having it all inevitably involves the bizarre. So closing the record is the building, near-eight-minute ‘Futurescope Trilogy’ that’s at parts batshit crazy as anything Muse have put to tape; imagine Bill and Ted’s Wild Stallyns taking on ‘Only in Dreams’ and you’d be halfway there. “We wanted the album to build towards a climax,” says Rivers. “And by that point in the album, we’d used all the tools a normal artist would use. And so we have to go to the extreme and come up with something that’s, as you put it, batshit crazy.” He laughs. “I’ll be curious to see how people reacts to those seven-and-a-half minutes of music. For us it’s one of the most thrilling pieces of music we’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. We’re so excited about it. It’ll be interesting to see how the audience responds.” Weezer’s new album ‘Everything Will Be Alright In The End’ will be released on 6th October via Island. DIY
“The album could
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j e s s i e wa r e
NEVER SETTLE A celebrated star, married, happier than she’s even been - Jessie Ware isn’t letting the good life get in the way of her being the UK’s specialist in bittersweet pop songs. Words: Jamie Milton
t this year’s Glastonbury festival, a party-ready Jessie Ware got landed with a Sunday afternoon slot on the John Peel Stage. She could’ve been handed a better draw. “I was like, ‘Ah fuck, I’m on a Sunday’. I’ve left Glastonbury before on a Sunday,” she remembers. “I thought people would be like ‘Fuck this’.” But despite gloomy eyes, heavy heads and burning car keys, people stayed on site and turned up in their thousands. And they did the thing most Jessie Ware concert-goers tend to do. They had a good cry. “I even had my boyfriend crying. He was probably exhausted from the weekend of partying…” This is the gist of it - Jessie Ware is still writing bittersweet, tear-strewn songs. People emote in their masses. Handkerchiefs are at a discount. There isn’t a non-smudged selfie shot in the house. But now there’s the chance that she might be too happy to maintain this killer hitrate of tearjerkers. ‘Tough Love’, her new album, doesn’t pretend that relationships are an easy ride (clue’s in the bloody title), but by the time it’s out, Jessie will be a couple of months into married life. It’s a subject she’s broached plenty of times, and she doesn’t mind questions because she’s “been quite open about it - I can’t really expect people to not ask about it.” But is marriage going to hinder the melancholic side she specialises in as a songwriter? Fat chance. “I’ve been pretty happy for the last four years, you know,” she begins. “But my voice lends itself better to bittersweetness. I want to stay true to myself. That’s the music I wanna make. And I hope being in love and being a married woman won’t change that.” ‘Tough Love’ sees Ware going one step further in trusting her emotions. These lend themselves to playful soul numbers like ‘Sweetest Song’ and album standout ‘Champagne Kisses’, but they’re also unafraid about
getting down to the bare details. ‘Say You Love Me’, co-written with Ed Sheeran, sounds like a classic love song in the making. “It’s got that familiarity that you can’t put your finger on,” she agrees. “He’s so comfortable with being a songwriter. I don’t think I’ll ever be as comfortable as him. It was amazing to watch. I didn’t want to deny myself a song that’s so beautiful. And it was so easy to write, which makes it even sweeter. It wasn’t this thing where we were sitting down going, ‘How are we going to pull at people’s heartstrings?!’ You know. It was literally instinct and that’s so brilliant.” A couple of times, speaking ahead of ‘Tough Love’’s release, Jessie says she’s not the most confident of song-penners. It’s strange, in a sense, given that ‘Devotion’ had her standing out in the crowd. The soul of that record and the depth arrived with the ‘Not Just Any Other Songwriter’ tag. On this follow-up, she’s kept pretty much the same team. Close friends pick up production credits, like BenZel (Two Inch Punch and Benny Blanco) and Dave Okumu from The Invisible. And beyond the supporting cast, the singer at the front is still trying out batshit ideas. Probably more batshit than before. Going back to ‘Say You Love Me’, it packs a closing section that sounds like your everyday gospel choir. Rousing, ready for a confetti curtain sendoff, it’s actually just one small flock of familiar faces. Stuff the choir - this is Ed Sheeran’s voice layered again and again and again. A few more layers belong to Jessie, and the rest to Benny Blanco’s own family. The same goes for the rest of the record, where vocal notes entangle and aim for foolhardy heights. “Yeah, all the high stuff,” is how she refers to it. “I’ve really fucked myself with this album… “Sometimes it’s easy to forget it’s your voice that people are wanting to hear. If it’s tired, or if you’re tired, it’s not the same. It’s the instrument but it’s so reliant on you looking after yourself. I’m really strict on looking after myself when I’m on tour. I’m not reckless with my voice. I don’t drink that much. I’m pretty sensible.”
j e s s i e wa r e
“I was like, ‘Mate, I’ve got mud on me.’” Jessie Ware
Recklessness was embraced just a couple of times in the past year. That included the immediate aftermath of her successful, sob-centric Glasto set. The only issue - she was invited back to the studio with Chance the Rapper the following morning. He’d met her side-stage while they were watching Sam Smith, and he extended an invite. “I was feeling so rough. But I didn’t want to say no. He was like, ‘Come on, we’ve just met.’ I was like, ‘Mate, I’ve got mud on me.’” Eventually, the next morning Jessie “got in the shower, pinched my cheeks” and they ended up working on something exciting. Collaborating is second nature for this musician. She started out guesting on Joker and SBTRKT numbers, becoming an anomaly in the electronic sphere. “Me and Sampha - we had things like ‘Valentine’. Songs that probably didn’t make sense with the rest of the music that was about. But it felt good,” she remembers. “It was always the music that I wanted - big pop but with more soul.”
She ended up going back into the studio with SBTRKT earlier this year, after they initially “lost touch” following careers that took off in separate paths and parallel lanes. In the end, Aaron Jerome asked if she’d work on a track; the playfully disjointed shuffle of ‘Problem Solved’. “That guy really started everything for me. He gave me my first break as a solo singer,” she cites. “And I’m never going to Jessie convinced some huge turn down working with someone I consider to be a pioneer in the electronic names to help out on ‘Tough world. Lots of people have looked to SBTRKT and that first album. I knew it Love’. In her own words, would be exciting, and there was a history with us there.” here’s a guide to the guests; some fresh faces, some old Whether it’s Chance or SBTRKT - or even Miguel, who guests on two ‘Tough heads. Love’ tracks - the collaboration process is completely reciprocated. “I didn’t have people banging down my door, if I’m honest,” she claims. “But yeah, DEV HYNES “He’s been a I got to ask and see if people would be up for it. It definitely helped that friend of mine for years. I love I had an album under my belt.” Sessions were often wrapped up quickly what he does and I love Blood Miguel’s two contributions came about in two days. And they’d be defined Orange.” by a “comfortable” studio environment, an anything goes atmosphere. In JAMES FORD “We’ve the least rock ‘n roll anecdote in living memory, Ware and Sheeran’s sessions worked together previously were defined by quick trips to Whole Foods. “I mean, do I seem like a very and I knew that was a relarock and roll singer to you? Let’s be honest. Does Ed seem rock and roll? I’ve tionship I wanted to revisit. been on a wedding diet!” she jokes. For me it’s all about being comfortable in a studio.” To make emotional juggernauts, in this case, there didn’t need to be a great MIGUEL “That was me calling deal of soul-searching. Some songwriters seek within for inner turmoil, in a favour because I’d sung get reflective enough to unleash their inner demons. But on ‘Tough Love’, on his UK release of ‘Adorn’. Jessie sticks to the truth. She lends her strengths to a record that’ll likely He definitely didn’t need me send her stock skywards. No false intentions, no desire to break free from an on that song, but I thought I’d already successful team, she’s about as honest as they come. “I’m laughing, ask if he’d be up for helping I’m being self-deprecating, I’m taking the piss out of myself, which I’m good me write my record.” at,” she admits. In the beginning of her career, she was “so serious”, but ED SHEERAN “Ed was just she’s since broken out. “People thought I was moody, mysterious. I guess I coming over to New York - he wanted to add a bit of mystery because if I showed too much, guys would was probably jetlagged. And be like ‘Who the fuck is this?’ So it was easier to hold back at the beginning. he had to do Saturday Night But now, you get an audience where people are paying money to see you. Live. He didn’t have to work I wanted to show them a bit of personality.” with me, he didn’t have to do it. But I’m so, so happy that Since then, that personality’s run amok. It’s as big a contributor to Jessie he did.” Ware’s success as the versatile, flooring voice she helped set the world alight BENZEL “Two Inch Punch with. ‘Tough Love’ might be the result of a happy few years - with plenty I’ve been friends with for more to come - but this star remains devoted to prompting a good oldyears. He’s on my label. And fashioned, cathartic sob. Let that never change. the other one is Benny [Blanco]. He’s the pop hitmaker. Jessie Ware’s new album ‘Tough Love’ will be released on 13th October But he’s also been my mate via PMR Records / Island. DIY for a couple of years. And we worked on stuff for fun.”
“ I ’ v e r e a l ly fucked myself with this album…” Jessie Ware
“Do I seem like a very rock and roll singer to you?” Jessie Ware
lower than atlantis
B o y s
When their third album
d o n e
g o o d
didn’t quite go to plan, Lower The Atlantis very nearly called it a day. But despite it all, they’re back with the follow up. Words: Sarah Jamieson, Photos: Phil Smithies.
“WE FELT FREE TO DO WHATEVER THE FUCK WE WANTED.” MIKE DUCE 54 diymag.com
he music biz is a difficult place: bands are sucked in and spat back out on a daily basis. It’s a tough world out there, when push comes to shove. Watford four-piece Lower Than Atlantis know this better than most. For their third album – their cleverly titled ‘World Record’ – the band signed to a major label and prepared themselves to dominate the charts. Everything was meticulously mapped out, but it didn’t quite go to plan and they quickly had to learn who their real friends were. “We weren’t sure what was going to happen,” begins the quartet’s frontman Mike Duce. “We didn’t have a label, we didn’t have a manager. Everyone had kinda jumped ship and it was almost as if no one had the faith in us anymore. It was as though we had something to prove.” Lower Than Atlantis have never been ones to just roll over and give up, and so the band made light of their new circumstances and continued on their own terms: their new self-titled record was born. “We weren’t even sure if we were gonna be a band anymore, or if we were, if we were gonna take it seriously. But now,” he continues, “there was no pressure, there was no time limit on anything that we were doing. We felt free to do whatever the fuck we wanted because it might not have even seen the light of day. It was just for us, it was just for fun. All you can ever do when you’re in a band is write music that you would like to hear yourself. We did that, and we had a lot of fun with it and then, it came out well.
a lot of pressure, being this little punk rock band signed to a major label too early - or at least, I think, too early - in our careers. We were never going to achieve what people were asking of us. Then, as soon as that pressure was taken away, it became fun again immediately. We’re all mates anyway, and we’re really lucky that even if we weren’t in this band, we’d still all be best mates hanging out so that makes it fun.” Having returned to their home town, their first plan of action was to build their own studio. A task that proved as hands on as that implies, it did become a key part of bringing the four-piece back together. “We really got down to the nitty gritty,” he assures. “We had a couple of builders but we were like labourers really, we did the stuff like the painting together. It was great to just hang out outside of the band atmosphere and to all be working towards a common goal; to have our recording studio at the end, which is the fucking coolest thing ever.” With their own working space now a reality, the band were free to write and record as they saw fit. In fact, it was only much later in the process that they were given any sort of time constraints, when they signed a new record deal with Sony RED. By that time, it worked as more of a blessing. “It’s hard to say when something’s done,” Mike shares. “I always imagine that an artist or a
“Before, we felt a hell of
lower than atlantis
painter, they know when [their piece] is done, but I guess you kinda don’t. There was no time or pressure on anything until the end, until the album had to be delivered. We’d signed when the album was finished in semi-form, but when it came to re-recording stuff in the demo sessions, it was nice to have something to push against. They were like, ‘We need the album by this date’, and if we hadn’t had that, we’d still be going now I think.” Thanks to their lack of inhibition, the band have managed to produce arguably their best album to date. Still packing the rough punch of their previous records, their latest effort comes packed to the brim with huge hooks and massive choruses. A rock full-length throughand-through, it’s also not shy to dally with the boundaries of the pop mainstream; an area that Duce himself has become more aligned with, thanks to his recent experience in the songwriting world. “I’ve definitely learned a lot from doing the pop writing,” he readily admits. “I’ve gotten to work with a lot of prestigious people who have done a lot of crazy shit, so it was more of just taking what I’ve learned from that and applying it in ways. I mean, when I’m writing pop stuff, I feel a lot more free because, at the end of the day, as long as the artist is happy with it, that’s the main thing. It’s a lot harder writing for yourself, than it is for other people. “Even then, there was no particular mindset of, ‘We’re gonna do this’, ‘We want to sound like this.’ We’ve never had that. If ever a song came out sounding like something we hadn’t done before, no one would ever say it didn’t sound like our band. If it sounds good, it sounds good.”
“WE WERE NEVER GOING TO ACHIEVE WHAT PEOPLE WERE ASKING OF US.” MIKE DUCE
If their successes so far are anything to go by, there should be few worries ahead. Even the first song to be revealed from the album was a runaway success - ‘Here We Go’ boasted a staggering five weeks on the BBC Radio 1 A List. “For that song,” Mike laughs, “after the album was done, we went to record four b-sides and had three written, but ‘Here We Go’ wasn’t. We went in, and I told our producer Dan, ‘I’ve written a bunch of riffs, the chord progression and the top line, but I haven’t stitched it together yet.’ He was like, ‘For fuck’s sake, man! Be prepared.’ “So, we wrote it and did the demo that day. The second day, we recorded it properly and laid down some real drums. Then, we sent it to our manager and radio plugger. Our radio plugger was like, ‘This is a single.’ We were just like, ‘Really?! We wrote it yesterday and just boshed it out…’ She was like, ‘No, seriously, it’s a single.’ We re-tracked the vocals and then the day after that it was sent to radio. On the Monday, it was written, on the Tuesday, it was recorded and on the Wednesday it went to radio. It was crazy!” Therein lies the beauty of their latest record: despite being born amidst chaos, it’s so far managing to prove all those who lost faith in the band wrong. “With this album, and with this band as well, that one song has surpassed any of our expectations so anything from now is just cool. We’ve been in this band for seven years and the way we see it now is to just enjoy ourselves. All of our crew are our friends so we just wanna have a laugh and see what happens. Like I said, we’ve already surpassed our expectations, so...” Lower Than Atlantis’s new self-titled album is out now via Sony RED. DIY
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ou can’t see the horizon at all, it’s like the end of the world. It feels like the Truman Show, you know that bit when he’s knocking on the glass?” Ben Howard is describing the scenery as he walks along a “never ending” beach in Vlieland, Holland. He’s preparing to play Into The Great Wide Open Festival and it seems an ideal location for him to be speaking about his new record, given his laid-back attitude and his Devon roots.
The night before, he played a sold out show at Hackney Empire, surprising fans by playing the whole of his new album, ‘I Forget Where We Were’. “I don’t think anyone realised that we were going to do that either, so it was quite liberating and nice to play the new stuff and not have to worry about entertaining people with the old stuff,” he comments. The new album arrives just over three years since Ben released his debut ‘Every Kingdom’. The platinum, Mercury Prize-nominated album also helped him on the way to winning two BRITs for Best British Breakthrough and Best British Male Solo Artist. Since then he’s also played the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, and sold out numerous shows on a global scale. Ben admits there was ”definitely an underlying pressure” going into starting work on album number two. “We never predicted the success of the first record and that just kept going and going and we kept touring and touring, and we knew one day that we’d have to make another album,” he recalls. “There was also pressure in feeling that it was actually the right time to get in the studio and start making some different music.”
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‘I Forget Where We Were’ has a title very much influenced by themes riled up in the wake of the first record. “It’s kind of about being aware of what is current and what is now after spending so much time in the music world,” he says. “No-one really has a clue what’s going on musically or anything like that really, and it’s only with hindsight that you start to realise what has happened and what were the definitive moments in your life or in what’s going on around you. That was one side of it, but the other was my complete lack of understanding for anything over the winter. I struggled with a lot of stuff and just sort of lost my mind a little bit, so it felt like a fitting title and a kind of glimpse of madness.”
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The album visibly pushes boundaries and conventions attached to the compelling indie/folk crossover that cropped up through ‘Every Kingdom’ – especially in the crowd pleasing ‘Only Love’, ‘The Wolves’ and ‘The Fear’. ‘I Forget Were We Were’ is a spiralling mind map of intricate melodies with real focus on experimentation at its heart. Ben’s emotive tones and imaginative lyrics still lurk to connect with fans that fell in love with the first record. Like ‘Every Kingdom’, the record is ten tracks long, though it still manages to rack up 55 minutes, with more than half the songs passing the five-minute marker. ‘End Of The Affair’ is a particular highlight, which goes off on a haunting reverb-drenched tangent with pained vocals and is just shy of eight minutes.
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The album was produced by Chris Bond, a long-term
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collaborator of Ben’s, who also plays drums “and lots of other stuff.” Ben quips, “It’s always quite funny when you read the small print of who played what and Chris ends up having a hefty list under his name.” Though Ben makes a point that they were “all in it together”, along with Mickey Smith and Chris’ brother, Bear. They all helped to influence Ben’s ideas with him admitting, “the whole album could’ve been songs like ‘End Of The Affair’, if it hadn’t been for the guys and everyone else. I was very much hooked into the delayed acoustic guitar sound that I was really enjoying.” He also got very involved with bass parts and drum patterns on the album. “I think that’s why the whole album is quite scatterbrain because there are so many different ideas and styles out there because I had quite a part in just working on instinct and things I felt, rather than having to stick to a definitive style.” Just like the first record, ‘I Forget Where We Were’ was made in Devon, the place Ben grew up in. The timing, place and season when recording an album is important to him as he describes the process as “a long adventure of about eight months.” He explains, “One thing is the practical side of it as you have a lot of time which means you come out with a lot of different stuff that perhaps you wouldn’t do if you had to go in to the studio for a short amount of time. It’s almost like the first version of a song that comes out is the definitive version. So, we had a lot of time to rework things.” Nature and the feeling of wilderness have always crept up in Ben’s music. Whether that’s in the breezy rhythms, canoodling finger picking or more obviously, visuals set in the great outdoors. Who hasn’t thought about how fun it would be to set up a makeshift flume like the one in the ‘Keep Your Head Up’ video? Devon’s murky winter weather also made some sort of mark on some tracks. “It was a very epic season down in Devon and we were very much part of all those crazy storms coming through. There were trees in the road most nights and there were these really epic nights when we’d come home at 4am and the whole world felt like it was blowing over.” Growing up by the sea, Ben has previously spoken about another passion that rides alongside his music,
surfing. A hobby that has now been “mostly neglected’ this past year. “Surfing has been having an extreme identity crisis at the moment, so I’m staying out of it. It’s sort of been so saturated by the culture that I think I’ve lost the joy of it recently and found music a lot more interesting. There are times to go surfing but mostly when there’s no one there,” he says with an air of mystery. While the Devon backdrop did play a part in influencing the album, Ben was listening to an eclectic range of music while making the album. Names including Neil Young, Talk Talk, Radiohead, Angel Olsen, John Martyn and Phosphorescent crop up. However Ben makes it clear he doesn’t know if any of them inspired anything in particular on the record. There’s something slightly bothering Ben though. While he says he’ll never be locked to one thing musically, he discusses the absence of a particular guitar tone in his music. Bringing up the subject of some obvious guitar heroes who have nailed their strict sounds like BB King and Clapton. Ben continues, “I just feel like I’m really not very good at that. So it depresses me sometimes that I don’t have the strict sound that I’m trying to achieve all the time, but maybe I’ll get there and hook into something one day and I’ll be like ok, cool, there’s the sound. But I’m playing around with some different guitars at the moment.” Ben has plenty of time on his side for finding his style. He’s recently sold out a UK tour for December, which includes two nights at Brixton Academy. “Everyone has grown up a bit now and it’ll be interesting to see what people’s reactions will be like. I mean Brixton Academy is such a momentous venue and such an epic place.” While there were “no great ambitions” for album number two - he was just intrigued to see what another album sounded like - Ben does reveals how he wants to eventually take it to the Royal Albert Hall. With his live shows sounding bolder and louder - Ben feels like he’s got slight tinnitus from the show the previous night - and ‘I Forget Where We Were’ elevating Ben’s passion for experimenting with music, he’s well on the way to cementing a sound for himself. “It feels like the new record tests our fanbase a little bit, and I find that a really interesting place to be.”
“I t’ s o n ly w i t h h i n d s i g h t t h at yo u r e a l i s e w h at w er e t h e definitive moments in yo u r l i f e .” B en H owa r d
Ben Howard’s new album ‘I Forget Where We Were’ will be released on 20th October via Island. DIY
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t the turn of the year, Bondax’s rise to the top was pretty much written in the stars. One year on from fellow production duo Disclosure’s hype-topping success, Adam Kaye and George Townsend were clearly next in line to the throne. They formed part of DIY’s Class of 2014, future-stars waiting for their turn. But instead of being an easy ride, this year proved a big test.
It’s the kind of experience every laptop-hugging producer has nightmares of. A near album’s worth of material, lost. Just like that. Post-playing the Bansko Ski Resort in Bulgaria, both members arrived at the local airport, ready for their flight home, completely unaware that one of their pieces of luggage wasn’t in their possession. Townsend recites the events, listing them off. “We took all our bags downstairs, had everything, left those in the lobby just to go to the shop to get a drink. And we came back, got in a cab, thought we’d put all our bags in there, travelled to the airport, got out, and realised we had no bag. We phoned the hotel, asked them to check CCTV, everything. But there was nothing.” This bag contained a big chunk of material. None of it was backed up.
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“That was definitely the lowest point of our four years as a band. Just walking around the airport with the longest faces you’ve ever seen,” remembers Kaye. “I’ve got to admit, on that flight back I thought Bondax was over. I thought we’d fucked it.” This could’ve been their downfall, but the two of them are relaying this drama six months on. They’re quite literally back on top this time round. Speaking from a jacuzzi, perched on god knows what floor of a skyscraper in Seoul (seriously), with perfect views of the skyline, anyone would think Bondax had well and truly hit the jackpot in 2014. “We’re not the types to get carried away. I know it sounds weird, us sitting here,” they cheekily grin. But this has been a year of trial and error, a case of re-defining what they’re all about, while probably having the odd pang of terror thinking about the material that disappeared. “We didn’t lose our album. We just lost a very important step we’d made,” stresses George. “We’d just started to crack the sound we wanted
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the album to be based around. And then it just… everything was lost.” What followed wasn’t easy. It wasn’t just a silver lining case of rediscovery and maturing. A switch couldn’t be flicked, and it’s only in talking about the immediate aftermath of the incident that Townsend hesitates and tenses up. “I mean, we could get into more details about what the fuck happened after that point. But let’s leave it.” The two of them claim they’ve “got back to basics in a musical sense.” The past few months hasn’t been full of shortcomings. They’ve become a go-to band of 2014’s festivals. Stumbling teens flocked in their thousands to see them at Reading & Leeds Festival, and Latitude’s Lake Stage peaked in popularity with their sunset slot this year. Partly that’s because they’ve recruited a drummer for shows, and both Townsend and Kaye have started applying live bass and pianos to their bubbling up dance tracks. It’s still just a taste of what they have to offer, mind you. Out steps ‘Bondax & Friends’, a “compilation” which in layman’s terms acts as an intermediary. Fans who wondered where the hell Bondax had buggered off to have summer single ‘All I See’ to wrestle with. But Townsend also speaks about the release like the duo owe this to their fans. “We want to give them something to keep excited about,” he says, celebrating a birthday drink a few hours ahead of their gig. “In the meantime, we’ve been getting our album almost finished now. I mean, it’s not finished. But we have about fifty tunes. We’ve got tunes there, it’s just about wrapping it up and picking our favourites. Ensuring that the piece of music has some coherence.” George labels ‘All I See’ and ‘Giving It All’ as the “commercial” side of Bondax, and with their ‘Bondax & Friends’ mix, and the eventual full-length, he says they’re aiming to showcase several
Bondax practically invented the word “banter”. 64 diymag.com
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different sides. “‘All I See’ is probably the most commercial piece of music we’ll ever make. We hope so, anyway. We know it’s commercial and we know it has a certain place. We’re trying to work out how to create original music while still attaining that accessibility,” he says. Adam backs that statement up: “We’re very much into jazz and soul. That’s what we listen to. We don’t feel like we’re fully achieved that yet in our music.” “We’ve only released singles really. There’s never been the right moment to release a lot of these tunes,” says George. Within the compilation, there’s the appearance of Karma Kid, and less familiar faces like Canadian producer Shagebond. “Without being harsh to anyone, a lot of the things we get sent on SoundCloud are absolute bullshit,” admits George. “We almost gave up, because we got sent so much rubbish. I remember thinking, ‘Yeah Shagebond, I bet this is wank!’. But it’s amazing. Still nobody really knows him, he needs a bit more of a push in that direction.” With this release, they’re also set to take to a DJ tour across the country. It’ll be their last for a while. Bondax have taken up residency in a London house, where they’re building their own studio. It remains a collection of bit-parts, objects and instruments that don’t quite have their place, and that’s largely due to a festival schedule that’s swept them up, dreaded Bulgaria onwards. George claims they’ll have “everything required” to finish the record, with Adam chiming in that “hopefully it’ll be ready for next year.” There’s an urgency in how they address the album - there would be, given what happened - but if there’s anything to be learnt from their experiences, it’s that they needn’t rush things. The demand’s still there. ‘All I See’ keeps their place on the map as one of dance’s bubbling up, chart-ready names.
FRIENDS FOR LIFE
Outside of the new compilation, Bondax are aiming to take a big team out on the road, including fellow producers Karma Kid and Star Slinger. “We always try and take Sam and Darren, Karma Kid and Star Slinger,” says George. “Our girlfriends like each other and our mates all get on with them. They are pretty much our best mates. That’s in a non-musical sense. We do actually go round and have dinner with Darren’s girlfriend and their daughter - we’re on that level with a lot of people. And we say ‘Bondax & Friends’ but it really is our mates. And I think we just happen to love their music.” DIY
“We feel like we’re in a good position, because hopefully we’re not too old yet!” claims George, half-joking, half-nervously approaching a make or break 2015. There’s an anxiousness to get something out there, but given the setbacks, and the desire to keep going, there’s every chance that Bondax’s first full-length will be a special one. Bondax’s new album ‘Bondax & Friends: The Mix Album’ will be released on 27th October via Relentless. DIY
...AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD / ALLO DARLIN’ / APHEX TWIN / DAD ROCKS! / FLYING LOTUS / FOXYGEN / ICEAGE / JESSIE WARE / JULIAN CASABLANCAS / NEW BUILD / PEACE / PEAKING LIGHTS / PHILIP SELWAY / PIANOS BECOME THE TEETH / / THE HISTORY OF APPLE PIE / THE T WILIGHT SAD / THE VASELINES / THURSTON MOORE /
It all sounds definitively Weezer in the best possible way.
WEEZER Everything Will Be Alright In The End
hat’s left to say about Weezer that hasn’t already been said? Well, probably for one, that they’ve gone and released a new album – and it’s really rather great. See, Rivers Cuomo and co have a bloody good case for being the most unfairly maligned band in history. Back in 1996, the now seminal ‘Pinkerton’ was written off on release; “juvenile”, “aimless”, and “a bit much”, they said. Yes, that’s the same ‘Pinkerton’, that five years later, the self-titled ‘Green’ album couldn’t, apparently, hold a ‘Hash Pipe’ to, and just about everything bar the equally deified self-titled ‘Blue’ album have been benchmarked. Despite, you know, the ‘Green’ album being really very good. And ever since, that’s been the pre-written script. Whatever Weezer do, however great ‘Green’ and ‘Maladroit’ are, whatever flashes of genius ‘Red’, ‘Hurley’ and even ‘Make Believe’ hold within – Weezer’s new work is dismissed. “It’s not as good as...,” and so it goes. Of course it shouldn’t go. Bar the massive mis-step of 2009’s ‘Raditude’, Weezer
ARCTANGENT / BECK / BEN HOWARD / BESTIVAL / BONDAX / CARIBOU / COLD WAR KIDS / + THE VOIDZ / KELE / KINDNESS / MARK LANEGAN BAND / MUSEUM OF LOVE / MYSTERIES SCOT T WALKER + SUNN O))) / SIVU / SLIPKNOT / ST. VINCENT / THE 2 BEARS / THE BOTS ULTIMATE PAINTING / WAMPIRE / WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS / WEEZER / ZOLA JESUS
TRACKLIST 1 Ain’t Got Nobody 2 Back to the Shack 3 Eulogy for a Rock Band 4 Lonely Girl 5 I’ve Had It Up To Here 6 The British Are Coming 7 Da Vinci 8 Go Away 9 Cleopatra 10 Foolish Father 11 The Futurescope Trilogy i. The Waste Land ii. Anonymous iii. Return to Ithaka
haven’t ever released a bad record. And ‘Everything Will Be Alright In the End’ is fucking brilliant. In short, it sounds like Weezer. Those magic chord changes, the wiry guitar licks, Rivers Cuomo’s awkward, faltering vocals – these may be brand new songs, but they’re all so immediately familiar that, as the title may suggest, they create one almighty aural comfort blanket. There’s even a point during ‘Eulogy For A Rock Band’ that’s so immediately evocative of that moment your favourite band first made sense that it’s near-on tear-inducing. There’s ‘Go Away’, the adorable collaboration between Cuomo and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino; ‘Da Vinci’ with its killer chorus line “even Da Vinci couldn’t paint you / and Stephen Hawking can’t explain you”; the heartfelt ‘Foolish Father’; the rather odd ‘Cleopatra’; the gloriously familiar tropes on which at least part of their reputation was built (‘Ain’t Got Nobody’, ‘Lonely Girl’). There’s more than a few nods to their past creative climates
(“don’t want my music to be less well known than my face,” he sings on ‘I’ve Had It Up To Here’, see also ‘Back to the Shack’, and, we’re told ‘The British Are Coming’). And it all sounds definitively Weezer in the best possible way. And then there’s the ‘Futurescope Trilogy’. Eight minutes of largely instrumental bombast isn’t the usual way to end an album brimming with stellar power-pop. But here, what could quite easily have become boring self-indulgent guitar wankery somehow makes complete sense. Because it makes no sense at all, yet forms some strange, Wyld Stallyns-esque counter-point to ‘Blue’ closer ‘Only In Dreams’. They climax in a not dissimilar way; where one is introspective, the other, ‘Return To Ithaka’, explodes in the most brilliantly batshit way. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Eulogy for a Rock Band’, ‘Ain’t Got Nobody’
ee THURSTON MOORE The Best Day (Matador)
‘The Best Day’ propels along nicely, classic Thurston Moore riffs scarpering over an urgent, dirgey swamp trying not to tread water. The vocals are rather Thurston, too, like a chain-smoking Scrappy Doo, and structurally each song here follows a specifically Thurstony pattern; all shimmery build-ups and thrashing bar chords, and deadpan vocals thudding solemnly along the top of it all. When Moore is good, he’s astoundingly brilliant; ‘The Best Day’ is often more like a blankie or battered up bear that a kid refuses to let go, and it’d be so much better with a good old experimental shake-up ‘Washing Machine’ style. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Speak to the Wild’
JOHNNY MARR Playland (New Voodoo)
Johnny Marr spent over twenty years waiting to release his debut solo album proper and then, less than eighteen months later, he bounces back with a second record. The good news is that despite having admitted to writing most of the material during his touring schedule for ‘The Messenger’, it’s not simply just an extension; new effort ‘Playland’ goes above and beyond the workings of his first full-length. While Marr may have used ‘The Messenger’ to lay his foundations, his new effort boasts more of the flair - more of the finesse - of his previous projects. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘Easy Money’
Expect this to be the first lap of a stampede.
A scientific calculation of what Ed Sheeran will look like in fifty years’ time. 68 diymag.com
eeee APHEX TWIN For someone who’s always been ahead of the pack, Richard D. James doesn’t break his back to change the game this time round. ‘Syro’ still delves into the nagging, tense electronica of ‘Drukqs’ - beats still gnaw at the conscience and refuse to settle - only this time the producer’s using, y’know, actual robots to play drums. Introverted but all-encompassing, somehow ‘Syro’ achieves everything Aphex Twin’s previous records succeeded in doing, and then some. Faint hearts won’t rest, and despite ‘aisatsana’’s gorgeous lull of an ending, it still closes the album with the impression that James might put more sleepless nights to use. Expect this to be the first lap of a stampede. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘minipops 67 [120.2] [source field mix]’
We Come From The Same Place
Allo Darlin’’s third, ‘We Come From The Same Place’, is a delightful record, catchy enough to keep the listener’s attention, and with enough substance for them to return to it time and time again. Gone are the softly sung bedroom songs of their debut. In their place are confident, mature tracks, accentuated by the quality of the musicianship. This is the work of a band going places, and deservedly so. (Joe Sweeting)
WAMPIRE Bazaar (Polyvinyl)
2014’s sparked a debate about what exactly makes a ‘psych’ band. It needn’t be outward-thinking melodies or a sea of self-indulgence guitar parts - if any psych pointers need dishing out, it’s towards a group like Wampire. Opening with a Halloween-ready Dracula laugh, their fangs are shown in the form of this album’s dagger-sharp, borderlineinsane pop. Produced by fellow champion of psych Jacob Portrait (from Unknown Mortal Orchestra), ‘Bazaar’ sticks to its title in being truly bizarre. (Jamie Milton)
eeee JESSIE WARE Tough Love (Island)
Jessie Ware’s confidence really shines throughout ‘Tough Love’. Her vocals are at the forefront, no longer hidden amongst a cloud of heavy electronics; it’d be easy to be distracted by the loops of 80’s synths and snares on stand-out track ‘Cruel’, and the arcade-style sound of ‘Keep On Lying’ if it were not for them. Every syllable is uttered with meaning, as if she truly believes in her lyrics for the first time - she may still be writing about relationship insecurities, particularly on the power-ballad-like ‘Pieces’ and disco anthem ‘Want Your Feeling’, but her voice suggests she is ready to overcome them. Ware also proves she can do a ‘proper’ love song too with dreamy number ‘You and I (Forever)’ and closing track ‘Desire’, a hint of even better things to come. If Ware’s confidence in her talent continues to progress, then we can expect something really special in the future. (Greta Geoghegan) LISTEN: ‘Cruel’
More confident than ever.
WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS Unravelling (FatCat)
Picture the North Sea crashing into rugged coastline, and it’s a bit like the epic drums that smash themselves all over ‘Unravelling’. It wasn’t a broken one, so that We Were Promised Jetpacks’ formula – that’s a little bit mathy, a little bit epic, and a whole lot of impending doom – hasn’t been contorted on this third full-length is no bad thing. (Emma Swann)
eeee EX HEX
Leather jackets, guitar licks, attitude and equal splashes of the Ramones and surf, ‘Rips’, the suitably-titled debut from Mary Timony’s new home, Ex Hex, is brimming with Joan Jettesque rock ‘n roll attitude - which will come as welcome delight to those of us still clutching 2011’s ‘Wild Flag’ hoping in vain for a follow-up. (Emma Swann)
103 minutes of sheer brainvomit. Tensions are already beginning to form in The Voidz between the ‘no sleeves’ and the ‘long sleeves’ camps.
eeee PEAKING LIGHTS
Cosmic Logic (Weird World)
Peaking Lights have a tendency to get absorbed in their own psych patterns, and that’s been of no real detriment in the past. But on new album ‘Cosmic Logic’, they fight against what might feel natural. Structure - whether forced or otherwise - lends the tracks on ‘Cosmic Logic’ an urgency. In the ultra-playful ‘Breakdown’, Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis land on their smartest, most hook-packed song to date. There must have been temptation to settle into a groove but by rebelling against themselves, the duo has been handed the ultimate lease of life. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘New Grrrls’
eeee MARK LANEGAN BAND Phantom Radio (Heavenly)
A man never far from a surprise change of direction, Mark Lanegan focuses the latest album from the Mark Lanegan Band around his love of krautrock and British post-punk. The whiskey-soaked blues is dialled back slightly and replaced with all manner of keyboard tones from relatively cheerful to icily bleak. Sitting neatly in the middle of ‘Phantom Radio’, ‘Seventh Day’ is a perfect example of this, marrying an almost extinct staple of a 70s funk bassline to Moby-like stabbing strings. He’s seen a lot and he’s been to a lot of places but this proves there’s not just mileage in him still, but that he’s going to lead us many more places yet. (Matthew Davies) LISTEN: ‘Floor of the Ocean’ 70 diymag.com
eee JULIAN CASABLANCAS + THE VOIDZ Tyranny (Cult Records)
When you’re a guy whose opening gambit to the world soundtracked a generation (or two), changed the fashion sense of anyone within hearing distance and the direction of alternative music for at least a decade, then it’s fair to say you’re allowed to do what the fuck you want. ‘Tyranny’, the first record for Julian Casblancas with new pals The Voidz is precisely that: The Strokes frontman doing what the fuck he wants. In short, it’s 103 minutes of sheer brain-vomit, awash with rough beats, bleeps, bloops, Christ knows what and then the odd, nonsensical slither of those iconic vocals peeking through - bar ‘Where No Eagles Fly’, which is a 18-carat diamond in the rough, its industrial post-punk scuzz as sublime as anything from Casablancas’ last decade or so. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Where No Eagles Fly’
MUSEUM OF LOVE Museum of Love (DFA)
The DFA label, and LCD Soundsystem name attached to Museum of Love is unsurprisingly indicative of the direction Pat Mahoney is taking with this solo moniker. On the whole, the self-titled debut carries its creators’ knack for a damn precise beat pattern, sharing it largely with smooth, soulful vocals and a tinge of melancholy. (Emma Swann)
THE 2 BEARS The Night Is Young (Republic of Music)
A dazzling result. eeee CARIBOU Our Love (City Slang)
The hubbub around Dan Snaith is that he’s a qualified mathematician. Conclusions are drawn that because Snaith’s toppled calculus, he’s just as capable of applying this theory to production, suggesting his work is cold. For someone so confident in exploring new territory, that description doesn’t fit. And on ‘Our Love’, the theory’s thrown out the window. Mathematicians might argue there’s heart to their own work, but it’s not the kind that’s found in Caribou’s fourth full-length. Here, feelings swell up at once in overwhelming rejoice, manifesting themselves into scorching string sections for ‘Silver’, or combining to create 2014’s go-to summer anthem, ‘Can’t Do Without You’. On ‘Our Love’, Caribou sees past sense, instead opting with an instinct that tends to produce dazzling results. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Can’t Do Without You’
eeee ZOLA JESUS Taiga (Mute)
Sometimes, you just know when you’re going to like something. ‘Taiga,’ the fifth album from Zola Jesus is one of those times. Nika Roza Danilova’s smooth, instinctive vocals assure within seconds and with her taking a more bubblegum approach than usual, there’s little left not to enjoy. With echoing, astral vocals, opener ‘Taiga’ is an almost celestial launch into a record which impeccably intertwines so many faultless layers. From ‘Dangerous Days’ and its shiver breeding chorus to the more dulcet tones of ‘Ego,’ Zola Jesus fuses the sentimental and sparkling. (Charlie Mock) LISTEN: ‘Dangerous Days’
‘The Night Is Young’ is one disparate record. Huge piano riffs are exchanged for tight reggae stabs within the space of a track and elsewhere it flits between funky pop numbers and deeper atmospheric house. There’s nothing groundbreaking on offer here, but there’s no way that groundbreaking was ever the intention. Instead, The 2 Bears have once again triumphed at what they do best, serving up a vibrant and joyous take on the music that has shaped them. (Liam McNeilly)
THE BOTS Pink Palms (Fader)
Live, The Bots are a blisteringly brilliant ball of garage-rocking fuzz, the Lei brothers’ pent-up frustration all the more believable given the fact they’re not even of drinking age back home in California. On this full-length debut, ‘All I Really Want’, with its spoken-word verse and Wavves-esque slacker-punk shows their best off in gloriously frenetic fashion. It’s just a shame the rest of the album – bar perhaps the endearingly scuzzy ‘Alanna’ – doesn’t sit quite as pretty. (Emma Swann)
NEW BUILD Pour It On (Sunday Best)
‘Pour It On’ absorbs every fragment of electronic music it can get its mitts on. A veritable pick and mix, it’s an album that somehow manages to mush up all sweet flavours, turning the final product into something tasteless. The vocals are dry, free of tone, and float over a bet of chilled-out synthetics like a passer by surveying the scene. New Build are missing a purpose of their own on this overly reverent release. (Jamie Milton)
Plowing into the Field of Love
‘Plowing into the Field of Love’ turns everything Danish troublemaking punks Iceage have already established upside-down, on its head, and pulls it inside-out for good measure. No longer concerned with the shock factor or their teenage misdemeanours, Iceage have produced a country and western album that Nick Cave would cook up if he were possessed by Ian Curtis’ ghost. It’s sweeping, grand and majestic; dark, theatrical and dramatic. Iceage have grown up, albeit rather suddenly, and we’re all the better for it. (Tom Walters) LISTEN: ‘On My Fingers’
THE HISTORY OF APPLE PIE Feel Something (Marshall Teller)
On ‘Feel Something’, The History of Apple Pie have marginally diversified their sound, opting this time to go for the long, jangly riffs of ‘90s indie and songs that verge on psych-pop. There’s even a bit of Britpop in the mix, and credit where credit’s due to the band - every track is taut and tight with shimmering guitar lines and pitch-perfect vocals. But that’s the thing. Clearly well rehearsed, the finished product feels a bit too squeaky-clean and could definitely do with being a bit rougher overall. (Tom Walters) LISTEN: ‘Keep Wondering’ PHOTO: MIKE MASSARO
eeee BEN HOWARD
I Forget Where We Were (Island)
On the surface Ben Howard may seem a little soft and straightforward. Yet, there is an incredible amount of talent within his weathered soul. Opener ‘Small Things’ twangs into audibility with a more aggressive, edgy sound than the sweet, simple riffing of his debut. This seems to be the general tone of ‘I Forget Where We Were’; it’s a sensitive and technically more profound outing. For those looking for more of the same it may then be easy to see ‘I Forget Where We Were’ as a lesser version of ‘Every Kingdom’ and for those who didn’t care for ‘Every Kingdom’ it may also be easy to write off ‘I Forget Where We Were’ as just another lame indie-folk album. On closer inspection however, it actually forgoes both attitudes; this is more complex, more imaginative and technically worlds away. (Henry Boon) LISTEN: ‘She Treats Me Well’
Sensitive, and more profound.
SCOTT WALKER + SUNN O))) soused (4AD) The collaboration between an avantgarde doom metal band and one of Sixties sensations The Walker Brothers does, on the surface, not sound like a proverbial match made in heaven. Yet, it’s precisely this juxtaposition that makes the pairing work, with Scott Walker and Sunn O)))’s ‘Doused’ sounding straight from the darkest depths of Hades’ underworld. (Will Moss)
COLD WAR KIDS Hold My Home (Sony Red)
Nathan Willett’s vocals have an innate skill, that when at their best, make any of Cold War Kids’ tales of woe, strife, and generally rather sad things connect beautifully. Unfortunately, ‘Hold My Home’, the Californians’ fifth album, isn’t their best, and they’re left competing with overly slick instrumentation, jaunty melodies and the idea that The Black Keys have gone and done this kind of thing better anyway. (Emma Swann)
MYSTERIES New Age Music Is Here (Felte)
A clusterfuck of a freakout record.
There’s a real feeling of darkness that underpins Mysteries’ debut. ‘New Age Music Is Here’ may not be the pioneering sound its title suggests, but rather than encouraging disconnection, the mystery of its makers actually serves to drag you further in to the intrigue, and to what becomes an uncertain yet intense embrace. (Liam McNeilly)
eeee FLYING LOTUS You’re Dead (Warp)
There’s a moment in ‘Descent into Madness’, wedged midway through Flying Lotus’ clusterfuck of a freakout record, ‘You’re Dead!’, that things actually begin to get funny. The psyche is pushed to its limit here. It’s poked, prodded, burned at the stake - there isn’t a moment’s peace, and there isn’t a single second where things threaten to calm down. Ellison’s work carries all the usual staples: Bass lines that backflip their way towards immortality; jazz fusions built from family treasures; any semblance of normality thrown to one side. But that doesn’t warrant the level of batshit that borders this entire album. FlyLo’s gone where even FlyLo wasn’t supposed to go, and once he awakens from the most almighty of freakouts, he might discover his finest record yet. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Never Catch Me’
PIANOS BECOME THE TEETH keep You (Epitaph)
Pianos Become The Teeth’s ‘Keep You’ is more than listenable. In instances it’s perfect. It encapsulates the forward thinking and progressive attitude of a thriving and self-aware music scene. But throughout ‘Keep You’, you can’t help but feel that something, somewhere is missing. (Andy Crowder)
Something On High
eeee PHILIP SELWAY Weatherhouse (Bella Union)
Philip Selway’s 2010 debut ‘Familial’ felt very much like a solo record, a tentative take on mellow, acoustic-based folk. But where its predecessor lacked, ‘Weatherhouse’ gives off a strong sense of chemistry, with Selway’s musicianship pushed to its creative potential by those around him to create a sound which combines the hauntingly atmospheric with the poignantly delicate. Not to say that the acoustic-based foundations of ‘Familial’ have been completely abandoned, but there’s an added dimension at play here. Owed to a great extent to orchestral elements that feature prominently throughout, familiar patterns are taken to a new level, one that transforms the simplistic in to something fantastically eerie and equally memorable. (Liam McNeilly) LISTEN: ‘Don’t Go Now’
Steadily growing in following for the last couple of years, Sivu has graced ones to watch bulletins and introducing stages aplenty; no longer the new guy, he’s got something to prove and ‘Something On High’ does exactly that. One minute, you’re a sceptical bastard moaning about singer songwriters and how really, they can’t do anything new, the next you’re swaying around the room with your eyes closed and your arms wide like a convert that’s just experienced awakening. It’s a beautiful record. Don’t let that fool you though, it’s also bleak as hell. But here, bleak is used in the best possible sense of the word. ‘Something On High’ is earnest, intelligent and more than anything, sincere. (Charlie Mock) LISTEN: ‘Bodies’
Hauntingly atmospheric; poignantly delicate. PHOTO: EMMA SWANN
‘Trick’ is something of a nostalgia trip; and old-school soul, retro club music and electronic R&B is a much more comfortable setting for Kele. It’s mesmerisingly peaceful and confidently minimal with a stripped back sound that is both simple and elegantly cool; harking back to the late 90s but with just enough of a modern twist to remain fresh and interesting. Sure, it’s a sound that at times can be guilty of slipping into little more than a background beat; the kind of thing you’d half listen to at two in the morning on Kiss100 cruising down a deserted motorway. Unfortunately closer ‘Stay The Night’ leaves a bitter taste. On the surface a relatively harmless mediocre love song but lyrics like “Just roll another J, and be cool” are so jarringly out of place within an album that finally stops trying so hard to be cool. (Henry Boon) LISTEN: ‘Year Zero’
...And Star Power (Jagjaguwar)
Even with a pupil-popping twenty-four tracks, Foxygen’s ‘... And Star Power’ rarely feels repetitive. In usual Foxygen style, most of the tracks comprise of several parts that twist-andturn and helter-skelter like a piss-up at a playpark. ‘Cold Winter / Freedom’, for example, shape shifts from a distortion sludge into a full-out wig-out, while ‘ Cosmic Vibrations’ morphs from a Doors-y feel into a Stones-y ending and ‘Everyone Needs Love’ rollercoasters through every sound of the album like a musical safari. Even better is how goddamn classic everything sounds. Sure, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Mick Jagger and Jim Morrison watch over the record like a golden-gated community of musical deities, but it ain’t just some cheap faux-vintage trick. (Kyle MacNeill) LISTEN: ‘Cannibal Holocaust’
Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado dishes the Star Power dirt to DIY’s Jamie Milton. Are you calling yourself a new band? What’s the deal with ‘Star Power’? It’s the first record - and probably the last record - as Foxygen and Star Power. But I think the idea behind it - and all the records up to this point - is to have an element of surprise. It’s still mainly me and Sam doing the instrumentation. But we had a lot of friends come play on it, a bunch of surprise guests that maybe I don’t wanna reveal just yet. It sounds different. It’s not that ‘60s anymore. How’s it separated into a double album? We’ve divided it into different sections, there’s a lot of fun stuff. Sam and I have extreme, extreme love for records that give you more than just the music. Things that give you a setting, a story - or even just to have physical material. Stuff to read or look through, little stuff to find within a record. I just bought this record, ‘Out of the Blue’ by ELO. There’s a cut-out spaceship in it. You can make your own ELO spaceship. I just bought that yesterday and thought it was the best thing ever. I can’t believe someone had this idea and they just executed it. We just didn’t want to make an eight song record. ‘21st Century’ had nine on there. It’s just like, here’s more songs. It’s quite a daring thing to do, to put out something this big in scope in the hope that people will pay attention. Within the record there’s a range of songs. Some are a minute long, some eight minutes. We sort of invite the listener in. And then it deviates into something else and deviates into something else again. And then it comes back to that ‘70s feel. DIY
Audacious as hell.
THE TWILIGHT SAD
Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave
The Twilight Sad have the Midas touch. Only instead of everything they touch turning to gold, everything they touch turns its back on the world, darkens, wilts and burns with a hollow and tormented anguish. ‘Nobody Wants to be Here but Nobody Wants to Leave’ is the Scots’ most complete album yet – it’s stripped back and assured in its simplicity, yet operatic and beautifully composed. Oh, and it really is truly miserable. (Hugh Morris)
eeee ULTIMATE PAINTING Ultimate Painting (Trouble In Mind)
Ultimate Painting is the side project of James Hoare of Veronica Falls and Jack Cooper of Mazes, a pairing that combines Hoare’s knack for bubblegum indie pop and Cooper’s off-kilter guitar licks brilliantly. Coming almost out of nowhere with their self-titled debut, this is a pleasantly surprising record of straightforward yet gorgeously constructed pop songs that breeze by as elegantly as the inevitable cool autumn wind. (Tom Walters)
Otherness (Female Energy)
His vaguely mysterious aura, that artistic sponge aesthetic and even the model-worthy daydream stare that emblazons this one’s cover art - all of these reel anticipation around a Kindness release. Yet despite a few flashes of brilliance, his second full-length is uninspired and leaves an emptiness in the gut. ‘With You’ featuring Kelela is a classic culprit, a synthesis of honeyed crooning and pitchy strangled brass that is instantly forgettable, and worlds away from the magnificence of teaser track ‘World Restart’. This may feel like a more unified and cohesive listen, but in truth we’d swap all its hollow posturing for his patchy debut album’s wow moments in a heartbeat. (James West) LISTEN: ‘World Restart’
.5: The Gray Chapter (Roadrunner)
Slipknot are a band that have become infamous for many things over the past two decades, but sentimentality has never really been their strong suit. For any group, the first record written after the death of one of their key members would be an enormous challenge; for Slipknot, it felt even larger. Getting its release four years after the passing of bassist Paul Gray, ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’ stands strong as their ode to him. A mix of deep-seated anger and still-fresh confusion, it’s a record that rumbles under the surface before ripping open its own stitches. At moments, it delves into the carnal, snarling elements of their former selves before returning to the slicker melodies of their newer works. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘The Negative One’
eee THE VASELINES
V For Vaselines (Rosary Music)
It’s been just over 25 years since The Vaselines first released an album. As time tells us, though, patience isn’t always a virtue - The Vaselines’ most senior effort is, unfortunately the in one ear and out the other of albums. Opener ‘High Tide Low Tide,’ is as good as it gets; a shamefully catchy chorus entangled in all the trappings of a bubbly surf rock song that holds your attention about as fast as it lets it go. (Charlie Mock)
eee DAD ROCKS!
Year of the Flesh (Father Figure)
Under the pseudonym Dad Rocks!, Snævar Njáll Albertsson creates uplifting tracks that talk of seeing the world through a father’s eyes. And as becoming a dad necessitates some children, the influence of his kids is just about everywhere on his latest album. Together with folky guitar and some sensitive work from master producer Addi 800, this is another thoughtful album from Albertsson. (Anna Byrne)
eeee ...AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD IX (Superball Music)
Trail of Dead have pretty reliably been churning out experimental alt rock for the last ten years. In fact, since last album ‘Lost Songs’ they’ve been playing up to their former mantle of punk experimental mavericks with more determination than ever. ‘Sound Of The Silk’ is surely one of the better tracks they’ve ever done, both instrumentally, where it’s a storming, drum led drone rocker, and lyrically, where it’s Conrad Keely’s wistful narrative proves infectious. Bottom line - if you’re new to Trail of Dead, this might be a good place to begin your investigations, and if you’ve lost track of them since their critical and commercial peak, then ‘Sound Of The Silk’ and ‘IX’ as a whole is as good a way as you’ll find to rediscover this consistently fantastic band. (Alex Lynham) LISTEN: ‘Lie Without A Liar’
LAST RECORD I BOUGHT....... By Jason Reece, Trail of Dead: St. Vincent St. Vincent
Science fictional, lead guitar’s intertwined with reflections of modern existence. Machinery with a soul. Trans-humanism cyborg ghosts in a music dystopian novel. What was once the future is now our own Bladerunner Runner movie.
IN THE FRIEND ZONE Bondax have given us a quick guide to the bessies on their first compilation. Karma Kid “He’s kind of obvious for us now - we support everything he does. We love him and we love his music, so it’s a natural thing for us.” Bo Saris “We were just fans of him. We found him on Soundcloud. We managed to get in the studio with him - he was actually gonna sing ‘Giving It All’ and it didn’t work out, but we made another tune with him. We’re really proud of opening track ‘Let Me Be’ it’s ‘90s R&B done our way.” Olsen - “He’s got an amazing tune on here (‘Together’) that we’re trying to bring to the limelight.”
Bondax & Friends: The Mix Album
Bondax’s first ever compilation has several purposes: First, it’s a means of tiding fans over towards the production duo’s eventual debut album. Second, it’s a showcase of something more than the earworm, hook-stuffed dance numbers that’ve set the past two summers alright. Third, it’s their way of turning heads to a number of new - mostly unheard - names. There’s Darius (not that one), a French songwriter specialising in coo-tastic R&B. Stwo lends a headrush with his ‘Quiet Life’ song, and Reva Devito’s ‘Kisses’ wins out through a smooth aesthetic. At times it feels like Adam Kaye and George Townsend are throwing everything in plain sight into a melting pot just to keep people happy, but it’s not shy of its odd golden moment either. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Let Me Be (ft. Bo Saris)’
GET EXCITED! Here’s what’s gonna be worth squealing like a guinea pig over in the coming weeks.
SUPERFOOD Don’t Say That
(Infectious Music, 3rd November)
If the Birmingham indie kids’ ‘MAM’ EP, brimming with 90s attitude and more hooks than a whole fishing village didn’t whet your appetite, then there’s probably no hope. Debut full-length ‘Don’t Say That’ will feature the band’s live staples alongside some brand new instant classics – and with opener ‘Lily For Your Pad To Rest On’ – its fair share of crazy beats.
HOOKWORMS The Hum
(Weird World, 10th November)
MJ and cohorts’ debut ‘Pearl Mystic’ was one of 2013’s growers, a steady word-of-mouth success that by the end of the year had the Leeds-based fivesome’s name on the lips of just about anyone with a penchant for noisy, Kraut-ish rock. ‘The Hum’ already has them teasing a whole new level, with ‘The Impasse’ and ‘On Leaving’ already making waves.
RUN THE JEWELS RTJ2
(Mass Appeal, 27th October)
After the runaway success of the pair’s debut, El-P and Killer Mike are returning with another collaborative collection of cutting (and cutting-edge) tracks – this time employing the not inconsiderable skills of Travis Barker, Zack de la Rocha and Beyoncé producer Boots. Plus they’re heading over for their first UK live dates this December.
live Bestival Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight
More like Beast-ival, right Hayden?
t’s not every day that you see a glimmering disco ball the size of a small house hoisted up in the air with a blaze of fireworks and a disco freakout for good measure. Then again, it’s not Bestival every day, either. Transforming the Isle of Wight’s Robin Hill Park into an alternate universe for the eleventh year now, Josie and Rob Da Bank are dab hands at the festival game. Round every corner there’s a surprise giant drum machine or a caravan town kitted out with a brass band playing Daft Punk covers. Beck, making a rare return to UK shores, is among the richest pickings. Grabbing party spirit by the bedazzled jumpsuit collar, it’s a smooth-sailing set of huge hits, and dropping into ‘Loser’ just two songs in, is a statement of intent. Cate Le Bon is on top form the following morning. “The smoke’s getting in my eyes,” informs Le Bon in a thick Welsh accent, “I’m not being emotional and weird.”
Madrid’s Deers make their UK festival debut the other side of the site. Sound problems and a broken guitar delay their set. The midst of chaos that seems to accompany Hurricane Deers, though, makes their live show stand out. All grins wild beasts and raucous, slightly haphazard shouting, what Deers lack in polish, they make up for in sheer charm. Tune-Yards, meanwhile, has bought along every percussion instrument in Oakland to commemorate her final show on this summer’s festival circuit. The Big Top is brimming: it feels like being trapped inside a Nintendo’s motherboard.
Photos: Matt Richardson
Friday headliners Outkast are largely carried by the huge hulk of crowd nostalgia for the likes of ‘Ms. Jackson’, ‘Roses’ and the infamous ‘Hey Ya’. Outside of that sphere, things do, undoubtedly, dip a little bit. “We’re not gonna talk y’all to death,” they quip in response, “if you don’t know us by now you never will.” Carrying festival-goers through to dawn is a duty best left to Caribou, and he does so blissfully. After the storming success of ‘Smother’, Wild Beasts soundtrack another muggy evening, hooting and howling the sprawling hill facing the Main Stage into a dreamy state. It’s the last chance for a moment of reflection before taking up residence in The Big Top for Darkside. Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington’s staging criteria was probably a sheet of paper with the words ‘mad-intense atmosphere’ written on it in marker, and silhouetted by billowing dry-ice. The pair’s record, ‘Psychic’ transforms into a fearsome beast live. A painful clash between Foals and Bonobo has been a hot campsite topic all weekend, and revellers flocking to the latter leaves Foals’ headline set slightly depleted, but no less stunning. Representing boundary-hopping with roots in dance and rock respectively, these two billings are what Bestival is all about. (El Hunt) 79
Photo: sarah louise bennett
Tall Ships saw a sine. Photo: leah henson
Annie, are you OK? Are you OK? Are you OK, Annie? 80 diymag.com
Tellison are perhaps closest to the mark, but the more warped perspectives on the genre really shine. Olympians’ choral twist are the perfect addition to a cloudy Friday morning, their on-stage jubilance cheering hearts while their morose musical output hits home amongst the hungover throng. If they can iron out the kinks of their incredibly long-awaited upcoming full-length, they’re sure to grace such stages again. Amidst this summer’s festival horror stories of cancellations and missing paychecks, ArcTanGent is a successful beacon for a scene which – for as long as it sets foot on this farm - no longer has to lurk in the shadows. (Tom Connick)
Fernhill Farm, Bristol
hursday begins and ends with a short offering of last year’s ArcTanGent highlights, almost all of whom return to the site with new material and a headlinerworthy crowd. TTNG and Three Trapped Tigers lay the progressive groundwork for the weekend, and it’s picked up quickly the next day by Suffer Like G Did, whose jazzlaced instrumental offerings draw an early morning audience that leaves all members visibly humbled. Mutiny On The Bounty are another left-field offering that draw a sizeable crowd, laying claim to Saturday afternoon with a frantic thrashing of tangled, electronicaindebted riffs. There’s pop, too – but not as we know it.
ST. VINCENT O2 Academy, Liverpool
hat can you say about Annie Clark that hasn’t been said? Her St Vincent alterego has grown beyond all proportions, into a cloud of critical acclaim that’s visible from outer-space. This particular night in Liverpool, Annie and her band kick off with the jittery ‘Rattlesnake’ before upping it a gear for the roaring ‘Digital Witness’. The next portion finds Annie atop a podium and the aching beauty of ‘I Prefer Your Love’ and ‘Actor Out Of Work’ is joined by her dramatic writhing on the steps. Bizarre, charming, disruptive and a victory of staging, it sums up the whole performance. The remarkable guitar-talents of St Vincent take centre stage as ‘Birth in Reverse’ and the outrageously chaotic ‘Huey Newton’ reinvigorate the crowd. It’s a pleasure to see St Vincent earn her status with aplomb. (Matthew Davies)
Beck in black.
Tunes Festival gigs are funny things. Admission by price of only a ticket lottery and lengthy queue outside, there’s every chance what’s broadcast worldwide will be confused competition winners’ faces as the artist in question decides to play material only from their weekold release – or worse, songs that aren’t yet recorded. That’s no issue tonight, as Beck’s opening gambit sees him leap theatrically from ‘Devil’s Haircut’ to ‘Loser’ via ‘Black Tambourine’. ‘Hell Yes’, ‘The New Pollution’, a clever twist on ‘I Feel Love’ tacked on to his own ‘I Think I’m In Love’. Tonight’s gig could have ostensibly been him touring latest album, ‘Morning Phase’. Instead, he’s brought his festival-headlining game, and it’s mesmerising. He darts around the stage a man possessed, whether it’s contorting himself like Rob Tyner of the MC5, punching the air as if he’s a Beastie Boy, or twirling like Michael Jackson – all the while spewing out favourite after favourite – it’s a Greatest Hits set nailed on. Only two songs feature from this year’s release. ‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Heart is A Drum’ sandwich ‘Sea Change’’s ‘Lost Cause’ and together provide a natural lull – it’s the only time Beck is nailed to his mic stand all night. So it’s ‘Sexx Laws’, an extended play on fellow ‘Midnite Vultures’ cut ‘Debra’ – with added quip to R Kelly’s ‘Trapped in the Closet’ as if the switch between sublime and ridiculous needed pointing out, and quicker than it’s possible to wonder what he’s actually left out by this point – ‘Where It’s At’. Drawn out, with crowd interaction, plus a band introduction that cuts to the Rolling Stones, Chic, and the tiniest slither of Rod Stewart’s ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’, if any proof were ever needed that Beck can, and will do anything he wants – and do it spectacularly well it’s somewhere here tonight. (Emma Swann)
Photo: carolina faruolo
Taking the Peace.
100 Club, LondoN
here’s one thing that Peace and their fans have in common: they both love small, sweaty, unpredictable shows. Tonight is so loaded with hits that the front row quickly becomes one of the most dangerous places in West London, not giving the audience a break with even B-Side ‘Scumbag’, and forcing a few stage invaders to be escorted out from the side of the stage. The perfect blend of 90s vibes and contagious funk beats of new track ‘Lost On Me’ is a guaranteed bet for every top-singles-of-the-year list, a few people even recreating the choreography from the video. You can only finish a show like this with the warmest of all forms of fan devotion: a massive stage invasion. For some moments Peace might look like they’re taking 90s revival too far, but on the verge of their second album, the question isn’t if they become leaders of the pack, but when. (Carolina Faruolo) 81
INDIE DREAMBOAT Of the Month
OLLY ALEXANDER years and years STAR SIGN Cancer. PETS Me and Mikey have a cat called Stewie, he’s a chunky hunk. FAVOURITE FILM I’m always in the mood for Labyrinth, I’ve seen Spirited Away a hundred times too. FAVOURITE FOOD Anything you can eat at breakfast. DRINK OF CHOICE I usually just drink lager or anything with gin in it if I’m in the mood for a cry. FAVOURITE SCENT Play-Doh, think about it, it smells really good. FAVOURITE HAIR PRODUCT Haha, um I usually use other people’s. I have a Frizz-Ease curl cream but it does not do much to ease my frizz at all. SONG YOU’D PLAY TO WOO SOMEONE That’s a good question, maybe ‘Morning Theft’ by Jeff Buckley, it’s a bit emotional though. IF YOU WEREN’T A POP STAR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING NOW? Probably working on my Come Dine With Me menu. CHAT-U P LINE OF CHOICE Baby, if you were a fruit you’d be a fineapple.
DIY 82 diymag.com
Death From Above 1979 Mogwai . DJ Harvey Liars . Black Lips . Actress . Zomby Nightmares On Wax . SOPHIE . Kode9 The Haxan Cloak . How To Dress Well DJ Sprinkles . DJ Nature . Onra Eagulls . DVS1 . Laurel Halo Hidden Orchestra . Amazing Snakeheads . Greys . Rejjie Snow . Turbowolf Ron Morelli . Dark Sky . Scratcha DVA . Max Graef . Seven Davis Jr Esben & The Witch . Redinho . Cooly G . Happa . Damiano von Erckert Svengalisghost . Futureboogie . Terekke . The Fauns . DJ October . God Damn Mirel Wagner . Eugene Quell . Volte Face . The Kelly Twins . Idles . Eaux Thought Forms . Cuts . Menace Beach . Pardon My French . Shapes DJs Studio 89 DJs . Stamp The Wax DJs . Lovepark . Scarlet Rascal . Gramrcy Bad Breeding . Seka . Dickon . Twin Picks Tickets from ÂŁ35 - tickets.crackmagazine.net Saturday 25 October Various Venues, Bristol 83
S I VU _ SO M E T HIN G O N HI G H OUT 1 3 TH OCTOBER
THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED DEBUT ALBUM “HEAVENLY... L IK E A ONE-MAN W ILD BEASTS ” G UARD IAN 84 diymag.com
“ T H E R E S U LT S AR E Q U I T E I NS P I R I NG” CLA S H
“IRRESIST IBLE” NME
SI V USI V U.C O.U K