set music free free / issue 56 / o ctober 2016 diymag.com
STAND FOR SOMETHING TOUR UK 2016
LONDON HEADLINER ANNOUNCED
26TH NOV // LONDON // DINGWALLS
15TH OCT // LIVERPOOL THE SCANDI CHURCH
29TH OCT // BIRMINGHAM MAMA ROUX
12TH NOV // NEWCASTLE THE CLUNY
LONDON TICKETS ON SALE FROM 11AM ON THE 12TH OCTOBER. OTHER CITIES ON SALE NOW. DRMARTENS.COM/STANDFORSOMETHINGTOUR
We definitely beat Honeyblood Lauren Mayberry’s Pro Skater: in a game of cover shoot chess.soon. Honest. coming to consoles
GOOD VS EVIL WHAT’S ON THE DIY TEAM’S R ADAR?
Emma Swann Founding Editor GOOD Finally getting to see more than half a mile of Hamburg - turns out it’s an awesome city! EVIL Trying a drink called ‘Korn’ because it was called ‘Korn’. It really wasn’t very nice. .............................. tom connick Online Editor GOOD Skepta winning the Mercury was perfect. Made fifty quid ‘n’ all. EVIL Winter is coming. .............................. El hunt Features Editor GOOD Harry Styles. Such a sweet prince. EVIL He’s not answering my emails asking if he’ll be the
next Indie Dreamboat. .............................. Jamie MILTon Neu Editor GOOD Everything about this year’s Mercury Prize. EVIL 1000 ‘buzz acts’ appearing out of nowhere this past month, just in time for the ‘tips of 2017’ season. Build a career instead of focusing on the one and only “next big thing”. .............................. Louise Mason Art Director GOOD Shooting the cover in a house full of skulls and hair and blood. And Jagwar Ma stealing puppies. EVIL So close to having a real tarantula on the cover, but it was sleeping.
EDITOR’S LET TER It’s probably not so secret, but DIY have had quite the love affair with Honeyblood over the past few years. It’s safe to say that with their selftitled debut they had us hooked, but now that they’re back with a second record, they’ve truly stepped things up a gear. Striking that brilliant balance between beautifully melodic but dark and gritty, ‘Babes Never Die’ is a real killer of a record, so who better to have on the cover this month?! Alongside hanging out with the Glasgow duo, we head into the studio with Gengahr to get an update on album two, meet Kate Tempest down on her home turf and pair Jagwar Ma up with a bunch of puppies! There’s also interviews with the mighty Sleigh Bells, Slaves and Danny Brown, plus much more, obv. Sarah Jamieson, Managing Editor GOOD The final act for this year’s Stand For Something Tour is reeeeeally quite exciting. Head to p12 to find out who it is! EVIL It’s only eleven weeks until Christmas. WHERE DID 2016 GO?!
LISTENING POST What’s on the DIY stereo this month?
jaws • Simplicity
It may have been over two years since they released their debut, but the return of DIY faves Jaws next month is gonna be something special.
Sad13 • Slugger
Sugary sweet pop sensibilities paired with issues of misogyny and consent are the order of the day on ‘Slugger’ and the results are brilliant. Is there nothing Sadie Dupuis can’t do? 3
Laurie hangs in wait of his big Spiderman snog moment.
Founding Editor Emma Swann Managing Editor Sarah Jamieson Features Editor El Hunt Neu Editor Jamie Milton Online Editor Tom Connick Art Direction & Design Louise Mason Marketing & Events Jack Clothier, Rhi Lee
C O N T E N T S 4 diymag.com
Contributors Ali Shutler, Alim Kheraj, Cady Siregar, Dan Jeakins, Emma Snook, Eugenie Johnson, Geoff Nelson, Henry Boon, Jessica Goodman, Joe Goggins, Kyle MacNeill, Liam Konemann, Lisa Wright, Mollie Mansfield, Mustafa Mirreh, Rachel Michaella Finn, Ross Jones, Shefali Srivastava, Steven Loftin, Stuart Knapman, Tim Cooper, Tom Walters, Will Richards.
6 GENGAHR 1 2 S TAN D FO R SOMETHING TOUR 17 THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN 18 KERO KERO BONITO 2 0 D I Y H A L L O F FA M E 24 P O P S TAR P O S T BAG
Photographers Carolina Faruolo, Cat Stevens, Duncan Elliott, Jenna Foxton, JMEnternational, Jonathan Dadds, Lindsay Melbourne, Luke Hannaford, Mike Massaro, Phil Smithies, Phoebe Fox, Poppy Marriott.
28 TRUDY AND THE ROMANCE 30 JULIA HONEYBLOOD JACKLIN SLEIGH BELLS 34 KLANGSTOF JAG WA R M A DANNY BROWN K AT E T E M P ES T S L AV E S
FEATURES 36 44 48 52 56 60
64 ALBUMS 76 LIVE
For DIY editorial firstname.lastname@example.org For DIY sales email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org tel: +44 (0)20 3632 3456 For DIY stockist enquiries email@example.com DIY is published by Sonic Media Group. All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of DIY. 25p where sold. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which Sonic Media Group holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. Cover photo: Cat Stevens. Styling: Natasha Lawes.
HOW TO DRESS WELL CARE 23.09.2016 CD | LP | Digital
DRUGDEALER THE END OF COMEDY 09.09.2016 CD | LP | Digital
SOFT HAIR SOFT HAIR 28.10.2016 CD | LP | Digital
ALEX IZENBERG HARLEQUIN 18.11.2016 CD | LP | Digital
It suddenly dawns on Felix that Brexit means Brexit.
You should feel slightly out of
your depth, because otherwise you’re not developing.
Gengahr in the studio
For the follow-up to their outstanding ‘A Dream Outside’ debut, Gengahr have shredded their self-imposed rulebook. Words: Tom Connick. Photos: Mike Massaro.
ebut albums tend to follow a similar timeline. Emerging after years of road miles and self-discovery, they’re the product of the kind of fine-tuning you can often only garner after soulsearching in the back room of a half-full toilet venue. Like the Pokémon they lift their name from (and have spent half their summer trying to catch on their phones), Gengahr emerged away from the beaten track before ‘A Dream Outside’. “When we did the first album, we didn’t tour anything, we hadn’t played live, so it was very much a studio album,” admits frontman Felix Bushe. Everything about Gengahr’s rise was back-to-front – they played the O2 Arena before a single headline show, built up a fanbase before they’d even stepped on a stage. It put a ticking time bomb on that debut, the need to get it out rising with every passing day. “The whole process on this album has been totally different to the first one,” he adds, a note of relief in his voice. With the pressure gauge dropped, album two’s been given space to breathe. Holing up in their East London home last December, they spent six months writing “pretty relentlessly”. Not content with just forming the bare bones of a follow-up, they put their road experience to good use, ensuring that everything they could do with the four of them was nailed down before heading into a Shoreditch studio for two months of solid summertime recording. Then they picked it all apart. “We kept writing in the studio, in a way,” says bassist Hugh Schulte. “Messing around with loads of changes, experimenting with tracks. We had enough time to record a track, then rerecord it differently. It was luxurious, in that respect!” 7
R OU TY E G TS T FAC AIGH R ST Title: TBC Where: Unwound Recordings, East London. With: Producers Adam Jaffrey and Nicolas Vernhes. Release date: Early 2017. Other deets: Unwound happens to be the home of a very aggro cat, named Kitler. No news on whether he makes an appearance on the record, mind.
Luxurious, perhaps, but it was a purposeful step out of their comfort zone too. Top of the ‘shaking things up’ checklist was bringing in a pair of outside producers – Adam Jaffery and Nicolas Vernhes, whose production credits boast everyone from Dev Hynes, to The Wytches, to Animal Collective. “We tried to do it ourselves the first time, really, as much as we could, and this time we’ve opted to get some really strong support in,” Felix explains. “That was important to us to grow and improve as a band - to take other people’s opinions on board more. It’s nice having two people who’ve made a lot of records, who both have their own strengths when it comes to putting together an album and use them, rather than just arrogantly assume we know what’s best for everything.”
ll the pawns in place, Gengahr then turned their shredder from their process to the music itself. ‘A Dream Outside’ provided the building blocks for their unmistakable, falsetto-buoyed sound; album two finds them taking a sledgehammer to the foundations. “We gave ourselves this weird rule, to not try and go too lo-fi with it,” explains drummer Danny Ward. “Keep hi-fi in your mind all the time.” “You should feel slightly out of your depth, and you should feel like you perhaps aren’t entirely comfortable with what’s being done, because otherwise you’re not developing,” Felix states. “We tried to do what we did on the first album, but every idea we had, we tried to push it further in whatever direction that was supposed to develop. So the idea was to have an album that had much more depth to it, and the range
was much further than what we managed to achieve on the first one. There’s some weird moments…” “John’s pedalboard has grown quite a lot,” says Danny, while the guitarist in question sits upstairs laying down the final pieces of his lauded, mind-bending six-stringing, “so there’s quite a lot of synthy sounding sounds.” “We didn’t have any keyboards or anything other than guitars, bass, drums on the first record, and there’s definitely a lot more stuff on this record,” Felix explains. “We’ve experimented a lot more. With the first record we put together, we made sure that everything we put in, we could play live. This time we’ve thrown that out the window and decided, ‘Sod it, we’ll put in whatever sounds good.’” “I think arrangement-wise, we’ve had more fun with them, definitely,” agrees Hugh. And that signature vocal? It’s been “adapted”, Danny admits. “Some more soulful moments,” says Felix. “A lot more full voice,” Hugh reckons.
t all points towards a second record that’s given Gengahr the breathing space that their debut might have hinted at sonically, but was never afforded in the real world. “We’ve had a deadline twice, and we’ve pushed it back,” Felix laughs.
“We’re listening back and making tweaks and just kind of finalising everything,” he smiles, their last week in the studio drawing to a close. “It’s the hard bit now. It’s the letting go!” Gengahr’s as-yet-untitled new album is due out in early 2017. DIY
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“A CONTEST BETWEEN TWO BLACK STARS”
NEWS in Brief
ast month, Skepta won the Mercury Prize 2016 with his brilliant album ‘Konnichiwa’. Presenting the award, Jarvis Cocker – who was on the panel that selected the winner - said the decision came down to “two black stars.” Announcing Skepta’s victory, he said: “If [David Bowie] was looking down, he would want the Mercury Prize to go to Skepta.” Accepting the award, Skepta said, “The person who’s on the mic always gets seen. I wanna say thank you to every single person that made ‘Konnichiwa’ happen. For everybody who knows what it takes to put an album together, it’s so much more than just making the music. Everyone that was there for me when I was in depressed times… We did this for us, but the love is very appreciated… We did it.” During the evening, the twelve original nominees were whittled down to a final six of Skepta, The 1975, Radiohead, David Bowie, Laura Mvula and Michael Kiwanuka, before the Tottenham star took the prize.
Service Station of the Month DEAP VALLY:
The One Near Sheffield, M1
Bands love service stations more than music itself. Snacks, bogs, time to think - it’s all there. These are miraculous places where festival headliners mingle with lorry drivers. It’s due time we paid respect to the very best.
he service station with the baby changing wall pull-out IN the ladies’ room is going to win every time. Don’t make me wait to use the disabled bathroom in order to change a poopy nappy (are you listening, Calais Ferry Departure Point?) And don’t make me have to come get a fiddly key from someone to unlock a bloody door when I already have my hands full with a wet baby! (I’m talking to you, Toby Carvery in Barnes Roundabout, Sunderland). Rock and roll lives!”
She’s already sold out London’s KOKO – where she’ll play this month – but now, Angel Olsen has set her sights even higher. She’ll be giving ‘MY WOMAN’ an airing at London’s Roundhouse on 24th May 2017.
WOAH, WE’RE ALMOST THERE
It looks like Run the Jewels’ third album may well see the light of day before 2016’s out. El-P, one half of the duo, gave an update on Twitter late last month, saying: “every word for #RTJ3 has now officially been recorded. the album is almost finished.”
Brand New are back and – of course – they’re still being a bit confusing: this time, the band – who’ve previously hinted they may break up in 2018 – have confirmed that they will not be releasing an album this year, bugger. Bad news for fans of brand new Brand New, then.
Surprise! Solange decided she’d take a leaf out of her sister’s book and has gone and dropped her new album ‘A Seat at the Table’. Featuring Blood Orange, Lil Wayne, Sampha, Q-Tip, Kelly Rowland and many more, the twenty-one track record is out now.
HITTING THE ROAD
Those noisy Northeners VANT are set to hit the road later this autumn for a headline tour, and they’ll be joined by the ace Partybaby as supports. They’ve lined up nine shows this November, including a date at London’s Scala. Head to diymag.com to find out more. 10 diymag.com
FIRSTFIFTY A UnIqUE LIvE LAUNCH OF THE FIRST ARTISTS C H O S E N T O P L AY T H E G R E AT E S C A P E 2 0 1 7 t U E S D ay 2 2 N d N O V E M B E R THE OLD BLUE
HOxtoN SqUaRe BaR & KiTCHeN
The Age of L .u.n. a R ay B L K Miles from Kinshasa
James Hersey Plaitum IDER
Klangstof N i l u f e r Ya n ya
W e D N E S D ay 2 3 r d N O V E M B E R KaMio
T hE Co u R t ya Rd ThEAtrE
TIGERTOWN Fil Bo Riva M at t M a eson MarthaGunn
BE CHARLOTTE SHELLS
THE OLD BLUE
HOxtoN SqUaRe BaR & KiTCHeN
JAMESZOO Sa r ath y Korwa r
P o t e live SHITKID GOTHIC TROPIC T H U R S D AY 2 4 t h N O V E M B E R THE OLD BLUE
DRONES CLUB CABBAGE MOSES SAINT PHNX
Zigfrid Von U n d e r b e l ly
L.A. SALAMI BRIAN DE ADY CA RYS S E LV E Y
INDIGO HUSK Abat toir blues HuSKY LOOPS E AT FAs T
THe SOUNDTRACK TO YOUR FUTURE EAST LONDON
G r e AT E S cA P e F E S t i va l . C O m
ALL TICKETS Â£5 11
STAND FOR SOMETHING TOUR 2016 R TH E TH E FI N A L AC T FO IN G H STA N D FO R SO M ET LE D ! EA V RE TO U R 20 16 IS
12 12 diymag.com diymag.com
YOU ME AT SIX WILL
BE TAKING ON LONDON’S DINGWALLS TO COMPLETE THE LINE-UP OF THIS YEAR’S TOUR.
ust last month, we revealed that Formation, Paigey Cakey and VANT were the first three acts set to get involved in the newest edition of the Stand For Something Tour. There was, however, one final artist yet to be announced, and – as promised – it’s really special.
THE DATES 15.10.16
FORMATION The Scandi Church Liverpool
PAIGEY CAKEY Mama Roux Birmingham
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR, JOSH FRANCESCHI?
I’d like to be remembered for being part of something that celebrated individuality, while encouraging people to accept and understand people for the way they are and who they are. I stand for celebrating the inner and outer beauty of all individuals.
The Cluny Newcastle
YOU ME AT SIX Dingwalls London
Fresh from completing work on their fifth album ‘Night People’, the mighty You Me At Six are the final band to be added to this year’s line-up. And not only will the chart-toppers be closing this year’s tour in the capital, they’ll be doing it in the tiny confines of Camden’s Dingwalls. “The essence of it is very punk rock,” the band’s frontman Josh Franceschi mused, when speaking to us about their playing the tiny venue. “Dingwalls has been renowned for being one of those venues where – along with the Underworld and a handful of others in London – shows there are pretty insane. It’s a venue where, if you’re a good live band and your fans are up for it, it becomes one of those shows that everyone wants to be at. This show really is for the fans; it’s gonna be a really good show and we’re all looking forward to it.” Tickets for You Me At Six’s show at Dingwalls go on sale on Wednesday 12th October. Tickets for the rest of this year’s Stand For Something Tour are on sale now – head to drmartens.com/ standforsomethingtour to get your hands on them. 13
FORMATION & PAIGEY CAKEY ARE SET TO GET THE DR. MARTENS STAND FOR SOMETHING TOUR OFF TO A MEMORABLE START. With the first half of the tour kicking off this month, we caught up with the shows’ headliners.
On 15th October, Formation are set to clatter into Liverpool’s Scandi Church bearing cowbells and dance-punk, as part of the first show to this year’s Stand for Something Tour. “We’re deconsecrating it,” jokes the band’s Matt Ritson. For a while, they’ve been a little confused about the venue, admits frontman Will Ritson; who thought the name referred to a chic and minimal décor style, at first. “Are there loads of IKEA chairs?” he quips. Currently in the process of finishing off their debut album, the twins are itching to return to the stage; all their music, they say, is written with live performance at the centre. “Music is live,” Will says. “It has to exist live. What’s the point if it doesn’t have a life of its own, and breathe, and take on a personality?” he asks. “Formation is about bringing people together, to experience something. And nothing beats that live experience, of coming face to face, and having to confront what you’ve done.” Formation play The Scandi Church in Liverpool on 15th October.
Next up, Hackney’s favourite MC Paigey Cakey is going to be returning to one of her favourite places to play in the country, Birmingham. And if her past experiences are anything to go by, her appearance at Mama Roux is going to be something special to behold. “I did this show in Birmingham, and I said, ‘Alright, I’m going to take a Snapchat!’” she recounts, reliving one of her more ridiculous memories of the city. “It was midway through my performance and I still had three songs to do. So, I took my phone out and everyone ran onto the stage and down the stairs. They had to stop the music, pull the performance and get me out of the building! I didn’t even get to perform my last songs!” she laughs. “That was the craziest thing that’s happened to me in Birmingham. It’s probably one of my craziest shows to date!” Paigey Cakey plays Mama Roux in Birmingham on 29th October.
DEBUT ALBUM O U T 11 . 11 . 1 6
PRE-ORDER NOW FROM W W W. I L O V E A L C O P O P. C O M
DIY’S PICK OF
In desperate need of a live music fix but can’t decide where or who? If you feel too spoiled for choice, here’s just a few of LNSource’s upcoming shows worth getting off the sofa for.
traams join JÄGER CURTAIN CALL
s we announced last month, the Jäger Curtain Call has returned this autumn to give another three new bands the opportunity to head into the studio, record a new track and play a live show, all on the same street.
Earlier this year, DIY teamed up with Jägermeister for the project, designed to lend a hand to bands at an undeniably important point in their careers. Taking place on Curtain Road, which is home to many iconic labels, studios and venues, Jäger Curtain Call is about providing bands the opportunity - whether that be through recording, making videos or playing gigs - to make their next step really count. Having already seen Bellevue Days head into Strongrooms Studio before playing alongside Menace Beach at the Queen Of Hoxton, the latest band to join in the fun are Chichester trio TRAAMS, who’ve already paid the studio a visit to record a new song. They’ll be heading at Queen of Hoxton next month too, to play on 9th November. Tickets are on sale now. Head to diymag.com/jagercurtaincall for more details.
23rd - 26th October, Nationwide Like Parquet Courts-gone-goth, this Melbourne quartet boast a sense of darkness that’s made them hugely appealing so far. Stand-outs at this year’s SXSW, the band will play four shows in Brighton, Manchester, Birmingham and London so catch them now.
Will Joseph Cook
2nd November, Dingwalls, London With his newest offering ‘Sweet Dreamer’, Will Joseph Cook’s proved that he’s got the brilliance to match the bangers - who knows what he’ll have unleashed by the time that he gets to play his headline show in London next month. He’s one to keep an eye on.
15th February 2017, O2 Shepherds Bush Fresh from releasing her ace debut ‘A Moment Of Madness’, Izzy Bizu is going from strength to strength. Her show in early 2017 proves as much: it’s set to be an unmissable opportunity to see the singer. For more information and to buy tickets, head to livenation.co.uk or twitter.com/LNSource
Dillinger Escape Plan’s escape plan fails. This is them moments after being caught.
After announcing their impending split, The Dillinger Escape Plan are hurtling towards their selfimposed finish line, spurred on by that ticking clock. Words: Tom Connick.
reaking up at the peak of your powers is a concept most bands would probably gawk at, but from day one The Dillinger Escape Plan have pushed back at expectations. “Everything was about anarchy to everything,” remembers guitarist Ben Weinman, of those early days, “to the point where we wanted to be so punk that we couldn’t play punk music. We had to put in extreme jazz interludes, and distorted grind beats, because that would confuse people who liked stuff that was already aggressive,” he laughs. The decision to call it a day came midway through the writing of new album ‘Dissociation’, adding fuel to Dillinger’s already-raging fire. Though there’s a year or so of touring still laid out ahead of them, vocalist Greg Puciato admits that oblivion is “looming”.
“We were so
insist this isn’t a case of losing the wind in their sails. “I still feel very invigorated on stage, I still feel very excited to play,” says Greg. “Even if we’re completely exhausted backstage beforehand – the second we go on stage… sometimes you can have the best show when you’re exhausted…” he trails off, half a lifetime of chaos flooding his memory.
“And then, also, you realise when you stop touring how much you need that release. At the same time, every night when you would be playing, all of a sudden you’re like, ‘Fuuuuuuuck!’” says Ben with a grin. “You’re ready to explode. But it is kinda like, how long can you combative in push the machine before it breaks down?”
every way.” - Ben Weinman
“I want people to look back at this whole Dillinger thing as one piece of art; as one statement,” explains Ben. “Not this thing that just goes until it dissipates.” It’s a feeling Greg echoes. “Not a band where people are like, ‘Don’t pay attention to these last five albums! Don’t pay attention to what they’re like now – look at this YouTube video from fifteen years ago or listen to this album from fifteen years ago.’” There’s little danger of that – The Dillinger Escape Plan have never allowed much time for nostalgia, their attentiongrabbing live show nailing its captive audience to the here and now, night after night. With the end approaching, they
‘Dissociation’ is the culmination of that soulsearching; the manifestation of a maturity that can only come after nearly two decades in the game. “We were so combative in every way, to the point where we’re now self-aware of why we do things, and what we do, and we want to learn more,” Ben explains. “So we’ve completed the circle – this album is our statement. There’s a lot of pain, but it’s coming from a place of knowledge. “That’s the ultimate complete control. I don’t know if we’re passing a torch as such, but I’d hope we’d be an influence to bands that it’s not about just doing it as long as you can get away with it. It’s about doing it with purpose.” The Dillinger Escape Plan’s new album ‘Dissociation’ is out 14th October via Party Smasher Inc. DIY 17
my Generat ion
Racing towards the release of their debut album, Kero Kero Bonito are as bold as ever.
Words: Will Richards. Photo: Mike Massaro
’m thinking about KKB all the time!” Sarah Midori Perry exclaims when asked if the band are taking some down time before the release of their debut album ‘Bonito Generation’ later this month. A month before their biggest moment yet as a band, Sarah, Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled appear deeper submerged than ever in the world of Kero Kero Bonito. They talk about the band in the third person, like an idea and a movement bigger than the three of them.
A huge summer of festivals is now behind the trio, with a London show at Scala on the horizon. Unsurprisingly, the gig - their biggest headliner in Europe to date - is set to be a real landmark for the band, according to Gus. “You can play any number of trendy, gentro underground clubs, but it’s when you play somewhere universally recognisable - the Scala at King’s Cross - that it begins to feel bigger,” he ponders. Though ‘Bonito Generation’ has been in the works for over a year, it was only completed in the beginning of August this year, a mere few weeks before it was announced with lead single ‘Graduation’. And while the immediacy of its release is a bit unusual for a band of Kero Kero Bonito’s size, it’s also
Because growing up is . boring - Kero Kero Bonito. .
2014 mixtape ‘Intro Bonito’ was the band’s first big step, a compilation bringing together everything the band had worked on until that point. ‘Bonito Generation’ still feels like a debut as a result approached as an album that needed to flow, and to have all the right elements in the right places - “a jigsaw”, as Gus calls it. “You start off with a few pieces, and think ‘oh that’s the corner’, and ‘that’s this guy’s hand’, and then as you come up with more things, and end up only needing one
more piece that looks kind of like this. It’s very much like a jigsaw, actually. It’s kind of ridiculous.” Despite this, he insists you “have to be zen about it, and let the forces be themselves”. “It’s crazy,” he continues. “Just calling it an ‘album’ gives you a totally different sense of perspective on it, and it’s definitely the first project we’ve done that felt like an album.” “One song is not enough to show off the KKB world!” Sarah interjects. ‘Bonito Generation’ is as rounded and complete as the band say they aimed for, as much of an ‘album’ as KKB needed to make their biggest statement yet. From the album’s cornerstone ‘Lipslap’, to the absurdly fun ‘Trampoline’, and previous single ‘Picture This’, it brings together everything that made ‘Intro Bonito’ such an exciting, refreshing start, and packs in double the melody, plenty more up-and-down; a whole new planet in their KKB universe.
We hide “n ot hing! We sing w h at w e see!
an opportunity they’re relishing. “The reason we’re releasing it so soon is because we feel like now is the time to make a statement,” Gus explains. “I think it’s pretty cool to be releasing records so reflectively.”
S a r a h M i d o r i P e r ry “We’d been playing ‘Graduation’ for about a year before it came out, and people already knew the lyrics and were screaming along,” Sarah exclaims, “and they’re doing it for ‘Trampoline’ too already. It’s mad.” ‘Bonito Generation’’s story is well on the way to beginning before the album’s even out. The lyrics on ‘Bonito Generation’ are as boldly presented as ever, with every song’s meaning immediately visible and digestible, from ‘Try Me’ reeling off Sarah’s capabilities on a CV to ‘Break’’s tales of “doing squat”. It’s an album made from a band who are committed to making their audience feel something. “We hide nothing!” Sarah says excitedly. “We sing what we see!” Even when singing in Japanese, as Sarah does consistently across the album, there’s enough passion in the delivery to evoke feeling in listeners who can’t speak the language. “That’s the kind of effect it has on me, not being able to speak the language,” Jamie says, and it’s clear that the band themselves are as susceptible to be taken in by Kero Kero Bonito’s power and charm as all the fans that are quickly falling under their spell.
cky my Lsu ma cot
Everybody needs a bit of extra luck when they hit the road. For some people, it’s cuddly toys. For others, it’s, er, socks. The lovely Oscar Scheller tells us the story behind his fave pair of tootsiewarmers.
These are my lucky Paul Smith socks that I bring with me on every tour. I got them on my 18th birthday and have worn them around the world and back. Whenever they get more holes I darn them. Make, do and mend.
Kero Kero Bonito’s debut album ‘Bonito Generation’ is out on 21st October via Double Denim. DIY
Panic! At The Disco are still waiting for their prom dates to show up.
Release date: 27th September 2005 Standout tracks: ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’, ‘Camisado’ Something to tell your mates: There are a whopping 82 words in the record’s song titles. It’s only 13 tracks long. How very emo. ‘There’s a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered...’ after all.
DIY HALL FAME of
PANIC! AT THE DISCO ‘A FEVER YOU CAN’T SWEAT OUT’ Mixing reality-bites with the hazy neon lights of escapism, four Las Vegas teenagers accidentally started a revolution with their debut. Words: Ali Shutler.
Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’ might remind you of teenage romance, getting drunk on park benches and feeling invincible. It might have changed your life. You’re not alone. It’s a record that defined a generation. Panic! At The Disco captured a digital moment on Polaroid and framed it for the world to treasure. They did all this without meaning to; they’re revolutionaries but in reality, they were just four kids from Las Vegas, making the music they wanted to hear in a shitty practice space. From there, they went on to change the world. Split into two halves, one doused in electronics and city lights, the other swaying with an oh-so-classical style, the band’s debut worked so well because it was never trying to be jarring. It was just everything they enjoyed, all on one record. Unaware that the world at large said you shouldn’t mix dance beats with Vaudevillian piano, this foursome knuckled down and did their own thing. Energetic yet emotional, the lyrics sang of adultery, decadence and Chuck Palahniuk novels. It felt like a secret to be shared, but only amongst those you trusted most. With its devil-may-
care attitude, raising an arm and yelling ‘do whatever you want’, ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’’s encouraging anthems of self-acceptance sat alongside the neon-soaked escape it so readily offered. The reaction to the record snowballed. Just thirteen months after it was released, Panic! found themselves headlining London’s Brixton Academy four times in the same week. Later that year they returned to America for an arena tour with bells, whistles, ribbon dancers and contortionists. Ten years on, the album’s shifted over two million copies in the US. That momentum’s still going, too. Brendon Urie may be the last man standing, but a Number One album earlier this year with ‘Death of a Bachelor’ shows that not only do people still vaguely care about Panic!, they’re listening intently. The band, with their two-fingered attitude to rock, have helped blaze a trail for the likes of PVRIS, Twenty One Pilots and letlive. to find space in 2016. The wild genre-swinging, bold theatrics and clear-cut vision of those groups are strongly theirs, but without Panic! At The Disco knocking down that (god damn) door, they might still be left out in the cold. DIY
OCT 25 THE NINES PECKHAM
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OCT 20 BARFLY LONDON
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OCT 29 THE WAITING ROOM LONDON
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THE BEST IN NEW LIVE MUSIC
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Strike a pose!
HAVE HEARD? you
BLACK HONEY – HELLO TODAY
Black Honey’s star has been on the rise all year - they’ve never shined as bright as on ‘Hello Today’, though. All those months of ever-swelling festival tents have battle-hardened the Brighton lot - feeding off the energy of those cider-drenched fields, ‘Hello Today’ soars from the off. It sounds ready for main stages; destined for top slots. It’s purpose built for friends’ shoulders and flares - a sunset soundtrack that’ll carry them right through to this time next year. Much has been made of Black Honey’s left-field cinematic desires - ‘Hello Today’ is a simpler taste, but no less refined. The bratty, bolshy, ‘fuck you’ moment of redemption that we crave for all protagonists, from rom-coms to the arthouse, it’s Black Honey’s leap into the big leagues. (Tom Connick) BLOC PARTY – STUNT QUEEN
On their latest album, 2016’s ‘HYMNS’, Bloc Party sounded more like a work-inprogress than ever. With new members Louise Bartle and Justin Harris joining after the album was recorded, ‘HYMNS’ was more like a prelude than an opening chapter to Bloc Party MK II’s story. ‘Stunt Queen’ - the first song all four current members wrote and recorded together has the same frazzled energy as the band’s best material, Russell Lisack’s saw-toothed guitars making a welcome return. It might not break monumental ground, but it has the makings of a pivotal moment for these four musicians. (Jamie Milton) DIRTY PROJECTORS – KEEP YOUR NAME
Back after four years, Dirty Projectors have returned in typically weird form. ‘Keep Your Name’ is a heartbroken, glitching farewell, privy to one of Dave Longstreth’s
most wide-ranging and theatrical vocal performances to date. Binning off the sweet orchestration and folk-leanings of ‘Swing Lo Magellan’, Dirty Projectors have opted for something harsher and in the vein of ‘The Getty Address’’ composition methods; far more processed and shuddering with static and disintegration. While 2012’s ‘Impregnable Question’ sang of not seeing eye to eye, but always holding out hope for the future, ‘Keep Your Name’ has a resigned, painful finality about it. (El Hunt) THE WEEKND – STARBOY (FEAT. DAFT PUNK)
New album ‘Starboy’ arrives just over a year after last year’s ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’, a hit factory blueprint in going for the pop jugular. Reclusive robots Daft Punk have even been coaxed out of the shadows for a title track, but that’s near enough the only surprise running through ‘Starboy’. That’s not to say it’s
painfully beige and box-ticking, more exactly what you’d expect from a ‘sound of the summer’ late bloomer. Mournful keys and an even sadder-sounding Abel Tesfaye share the spotlight with thudding bass and Daft Punk’s token ‘don’t forget we’re supposed to be androids’, Robocop sampling. For a collaboration that on paper would have stolen the spotlight on ‘Random Access Memories’, it’s arrived a couple of years late. (Jamie Milton) SLØTFACE – BRIGHT LIGHTS
When Sløtface released their single ‘Take Me Dancing’ earlier this summer, they made their biggest step yet - ‘Bright Lights’ takes their development even further. The track is composed, reigned in and considerate, without losing an inch of passion. It’s another example of Sløtface improving and surprising at every turn they’re a band with endless personalities, each as compelling as the rest. (Will Richards)
spring king We know what you’re like, dear readers. We know you’re just as nosy as we are when it comes to our favourite pop stars: that’s why we’re putting the power back into your hands. Every month, we’re going to ask you to pull out your best questions and aim them at those unsuspecting artists. You don’t even need to pay for postage! This month, Spring King are taking on your Qs. e What was your favourite moment of making your album? Alicia, Kent Tarek: We were in the studio over my birthday and we cracked open some rum that the guys got for me. That was a fun day. It was towards the end of the album sessions and I had already started mixing, it all felt like it was coming together and it finally made sense as an album. e What’s your go-to TV series to watch at the moment? Alan, via email Andy: Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares e Who is the messiest in the band? Lola, Chester James: Definitely Andy... His love of very small amounts of chaos is legendary.
e What is the strangest dream you have ever had? Geoff, via email Andy: In my house where my attic normally is, there was some stairs... I went up them and there was a note at the door from aliens, in the form of poetry warning me not to go inside the attic. I went inside and there was a double bass and a Porsche there. I picked up the double bass to play it and the Porsche told me to stop playing instantly. I apologised, and went down to the kitchen where my sister and 50 Cent were having an argument. I looked out the kitchen window to find I didn’t have a garden anymore, it was now a cliff looking over the most beautiful ocean. A herd of zebras ran across the shoreline and I could hear the voice of David Attenborough narrating the scene, he said ‘This is where zebras come to die.’
e What’s something that you’re obsessed with? Niall, Glasgow Pete: Hearthstone. It’s a World of Warcraft-based digital card game that brings me endless joy. e How do you get prepped and ready to play a show? Ellie, Gateshead James: We all have some vocal warm ups that we run through before going on stage, and me and Andy do some low grade stretches to limber ourselves up. We haven’t quite made the move over to proper yoga yet... e What was your immediate reaction when you found out Zane Lowe had kicked off Beats1 with ‘City’? Josh, via email Tarek: I stared at my computer screen in the same way I imagine I’d stare at the sky if a meteor was coming towards earth and whispered the words ‘what… the... fuck.’
NEXT MONTH: warpainT Want to send a question to DIY’s Popstar Postbag? Tweet us at @diymagazine with the hashtag #postbag, or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Easy!
Goldenvoice Presents + LIV DAWSON
28.10.16 UT SOLD O ROUNDHOUSE LONDON
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KIKO BUN 23.10.16 BIRMINGHAM RAINBOW
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ISLAND 02.11.16 LONDON SCALA
23.11.16 BRISTOL LOUISIANA 24.11.16 RAMSGATE MUSIC HALL 25.11.16 T U SOLD O COURTYARD THEATRE LONDON
HIGHLY SUSPECT 25.11.16 UT SOLD O THE DOME LONDON 29.11.16 MANCHESTER NIGHT & DAY CAFE
TOM MISCH 25.11.16 BIRMINGHAM UT SOLD&OHOUNDS HARE 26.11.16 UT BRISTOL SOLD O THEKLA
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HINDS + SWEAT
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O2 INSTITUTE BIRMINGHAM
THE 1975 22.12.2016 CARDIFF MOTORPOINT UT SOLD O ARENA
11.10.16 LONDON MOTH CLUB HACKNEY
OCT - MAR
photo: carolina faruolo
MORE MEN (AND WOMEN) IN THE MIRROR THE PARROTS A FEW SECONDS WITH…
East London all-dayer Mirrors Festival expands its bill.
he Hackney takeover has completed its 2016 bill with Martha, Holly Macve and Leif Erikson among the acts confirmed to join Bat For Lashes, Fucked Up and loads more on 29th October. Anna Straker, Keir and Marthagunn will also join in the fun, which will see venues like Oslo, Hackney Round Chapel and St. John at Hackney joined by glittering newbie, Moth Club. That last one will house the DIY stage, with acts including Miya Folick, Hoops, and last but not least, rowdy Spaniards The Parrots.
JACK ROCKS THE DIY DEN AT HACKNEY WONDERLAND
How has life been since the release of your debut (‘Los Niños Sin Miedo’ was released in August)? We haven’t stopped touring since we released it, so I guess it hasn’t been normal - we’ve been partying in a different city every night and meeting a lot of new friends. What are the best things about city-based festivals? City festivals are great ‘cause when they’re finished, you can always find a house to continue the party until it opens the next day. What can people expect from a Parrots live show? A ouija invocation party, lots of dancing and sweat.
We’re bringing the DIY Den a little closer to home this time.
That’s not all though: as a special extra, we’re getting in on the action too. Teaming up with our good friends at the festival, alongside Jack Rocks, we’ll be bringing the DIY Den a little closer to home this time... DIY HQ itself. We’re giving festival goers the chance to be part of a handful of intimate, stripped-back sessions with some of the most exciting artists on the bill. Headliners Mystery Jets and Lucy Rose will both be coming along, with the ace Hooton Tennis Club and Yuck joining in too.
his year’s Hackney Wonderland is proving to be just that - a wonderland of music to dive into head first - with artists including Mystery Jets, Swim Deep, Lucy Rose and Demob Happy all taking on the series of local venues.
Details on how you can be there will be revealed closer to the festival, so keep an eye on diymag.com. Hackney Wonderland takes place across a series of venues in Hackney on 15th and 16th October.
TRUDY AND THE ROMANCE These doo-wop loving, Liverpool-based oddballs
could reincarnate Elvis if they put their minds to it. Words: Jamie Milton. Photo: Emma Swann.
ry and slot Trudy and the Romance’s music into a current scene or wave of new bands, and they’d shuffle out of place. Last year’s debut single ‘Behave’, produced by Spring King’s Tarek Musa, was a raggedy introduction. On stage, frontman Oliver Taylor is a cross between a hyperactive Ezra Koenig or a more unkempt Elvis Presley, “uh-huh-huh”’ing his way towards superstardom. It’s a dazzling spectacle that’s hard to make sense of. The truth is, the Liverpool trio aren’t entirely sure where they stand, or why exactly they sound like nobody else around. The only definition they collectively decide on is “loose.” Oliver claims “we’re not trying to be the tightest thing,” but that does some disservice to how their unhinged, oddball pop is somehow kept under a lid. “We do it from the soul,” he says. “Sometimes it revolves around the vocals. Timing can depend on how much we slur a word.” Starting out under the name Trudy, a minor legal wrangle
forced them to add “and the Romance”, a suffix that nicely fits their loved-up, soppy and staggering early recordings. Overblown declarations of love are the trio’s calling card. The subject matter doesn’t stem from actual relationships, although Oliver once had a guitar teacher “who used to cry over his girlfriend” during each lesson. “He was bad,” he adds. “I didn’t learn much. I used to go in and be like, ‘I wanna learn a chord like this.’ He’d go, ‘None of that Radiohead bollocks!’ He just wanted to teach me AC/DC… Big goatee, too.”
“We’ve never been a band to do the thing where you talk about what everyone’s wearing.” Oliver Taylor Once Oliver binned the weeping classic rocker, he fell in love with doo-wop, which goes some way to explaining the “50s mutant pop” Trudy claim to sport. “We also pick up romantic film scores and romantic artists, like Scott Walker, doing all of these big love ballads. Burt Bacharach, things like that. That’s what we know,” he says. “We’ve never been a band to do the social commentary thing where you talk about what everyone’s wearing, like The Courteeners. Or Kasabian talking about fights.” There’s no ‘let’s av’ it!’ vibes here. The only thing they might need to work on, going forward, is their Twitter game. Drummer Brad Mullins and bassist Lewis Rollinson hold the ropes, but their sarcasm-stained statements (eg. “We’d just like to be first to say woop diddy woop to the new PM all uphill from here #comeon brits”) don’t sit well with everyone. You live and learn. “We might just need to get a social media manager,” admits Oliver, as Lewis grimly pictures the future. “Hashtags everywhere!” he cries. On the surface, Trudy and the Romance don’t seem at all serious about what they’re doing. That’s a good thing. But Oliver is adamant there’s more to them than regrettable tweets and foot-shuffling pop. “I think the music stands up for itself, really,” he says. “If you listen, it’s quite complex. It’s tongue-in-cheek. But most good music has a sense of humour about it. We know what we are.” DIY
“I need to feel worried to make music.”
Trading in essential oils for quick-smart songwriting, this Aussie is taking the world by storm. Words: Emma Snook.
It’s the hottest September day in the UK since 1911, and Julia Jacklin is feeling the heat. Sweltering in a Peckham burger joint, the Australian - who grew up in the Blue Mountains and now lives in Sydney - jokes that her father’s British genes are to blame.
This is a rare moment of calm for Julia. It follows a two-week stint which has seen her gigging in America, the UK, and around Europe, then travelling back to the UK before she embarks once more to Canada and the USA. “I was feeling super wrecked when I finally got in, so I just went to my hotel room and watched all of Stranger Things,” she says, recalling a regrettable binge. “It was such a bad idea because I was in this really tiny room by myself and it was really dark - my hotel was really dingy - and I just had nightmares all night.” Recent events are all the more dream-like considering Julia had been holding down a “very monotonous” day job for two years on a factory production line until just two weeks before this tour. Swapping essential oils for music has been liberating. “Honestly, I never thought I’d be able to do it full-time, so it’s really cool,” she gushes. Fears familiar to a ‘quarter life crisis’ generation permeate her debut. After studying Social Policy at university in Sydney, the feeling of time slipping away became an acute source of concern. The answer was to set herself the goal of recording an album before she reached the age of 25. Julia’s anxieties provided food for thought. “It’s a nice way to be productive with them and not just whinge about them all the time!” 30 diymag.com
she reasons. Sure enough, before she hit the big 2-5, Julia’s restlessness spurred her on to achieve the target she’d set. “I need to feel worried to make music,” she confesses. “It’s shitty but I do need to feel a little inadequate in some way to drive me to produce I guess.” Lyrically, ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’ veers from funny to heartbreaking. One moment she’s slating the basketball abilities of three year-olds, the next she’s confronting the regret of never being able to say goodbye to a grandmother because of a “cheap trip to Thailand.” She certainly knows how to toy with emotions. “I grew up listening to a lot of folk music and you think you have to sing about rivers and mountains and stones and bones and stuff that doesn’t really mean anything to you, but you’re just kind of using the same tropes,” she points out. “But then I started listening to some artists that inject a bit of humour into it and it just felt a lot more natural for me. I realised that I was allowed to do that. I didn’t just have to sing pretty words.” Despite her sharp wit, Julia’s talent is no joke. Earlier this year she caused quite a fuss both sides of the Atlantic at SXSW and The Great Escape. At the end of August, she sold out her headline show at The Lexington. It took a pre-set pep talk from her manager for her to grasp the reality of her fanbase. “He was just like, ‘Julia, these people are here for you! So stop being a little idiot and being like, ‘Who are these people?’” With the release of ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’, Julia Jacklin will soon have even bigger audiences to comprehend. Julia Jacklin’s debut album ‘Don’t Let the Kids Win’ is out now via Transgressive.DIY
An unstoppable talent. The energy of 22-year-old MC Flohio is a knockout blow. Think back to M.I.A.’s debut, Dizzee Rascal’s first steps - her early tracks share the same headrush sensation, a mix of untameable belief and sharp sense of purpose. So far, her finest moments have appeared alongside Merseyside production duo God Colony. Their ‘SE16’ track - named after her South London postcode - is a straight-for-the-gut shot in the arm. And the more recent ‘My World’ is another sign these collaborations are reaping rewards. Whatever she does next - solo, with God Colony or through her local Truluvcru - Flohio has unstoppable momentum. Listen: ‘SE16’ is one of the year’s best tracks, hands down. Similar to: Being rudely awakened by your neighbour’s fancy new sound system.
Sälen Blog pop without the bullshit.
There’s something special about Sälen’s slick pop. They first caught the world’s attention with the simple but cutting ‘Diseasey’ (any song including the word “bint” in its stream-of-consciousness diatribe gets extra points, so well done there). They recently followed it up with ‘The Drwg’, another smart spin on addictive immediacy, with a big chunky bassline, shiny synth parts nabbed from a 80s tribute act, and some typically no-bullshit vocals from Ellie Kamio. Listen: ‘The Drwg’ is such a hit. Similar to: A hit machine with a vengeance.
Fort h Wan de r e rs
Sprawling, enthralling indie - not to be confused with non-league football sides. New Jersey band Forth Wanderers share their name with a Scottish non-league football club, but thankfully their music is much less obscure. Saying that, there’s a distinctly ramshackle around the edges, tinnies-on-the-stands feel to their early material, vaguely in the vein of thoughtful riff-meanderers Built to Spill, Pavement, and a roughed-up, muddier Guided By Voices. Backward-looking Forth Wanderers’ influences may be, but true to their forward-peering name, the group draw on previous decades like a pick ‘n’ mix jumble, surging determinedly forward with their own agenda. Listen: ‘Slop’ is a delightfully weird introduction, out now on Marathon Artists. Similar to: Classic songwriting given a new dose of life.
All the buzziest new music happenings, in one place.
A norm-shunning, boundary-pushing producer that’s worth the hype. Brixton-born producer GAIKA perfectly captures every nook, cranny and alleyway of SW2. Latest mixtape ‘SECURITY’, which landed him a deal on Warp, is a dizzying trip from Electric Avenue and beyond, circuiting night buses, market stalls and people rooted to the district. His inyour-face, jagged electronics are one thing, but backing everything up is a constant desire to shift the norm. Listen: Hear ‘BLASPHEMER’ and watch its devilish video while you’re at it. Similar to: London’s dark nights and blaring sirens contained in song.
THE MAGIC GANG ARE SIGNED NOW! RIP ‘The UK’s Best Unsigned Band’™ The Magic Gang have inked an actual record deal with Warner Music, two years after they self-released their debut single. They’ve also just released ‘The Second EP From’, their (wait for it) second EP in the space of a year. And to complete an unforgettable month, they just headlined their biggest show - so far, obvs - at London Scala.
THE BIG JAPANESE MOON It’s a Class of 2016 knees-up: The Big Moon are joining The Japanese House on her upcoming US tour! The run is set to take place in November and December - it’ll be Japanese House head honcho Amber Bain’s first time in the States since that massive set of dates supporting The 1975 earlier this year. The Big Moon, meanwhile, just released their amazing new single ‘Silent Movie Susie’. The 7” came backed with a cover of Madonna’s ‘Beautiful Stranger’, too, and the group are currently recording their debut album. It’s due out next year via Fiction.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN Loyle Carner has plotted his own personal Brexit by announcing a European tour.
Dates include stopovers in Amsterdam, Berlin and Zurich, by which point all the talk will be around early 2017, when he’s due to release a debut album. It’s been a packed summer for Loyle, who wowed us with a show-stopping Latitude set a few months back, and recently sold out a headline London Koko show, all before he’s even announced an album. Blimey, etc. The dates follow new single ‘No CD’ in pushing Loyle into the colder months. 33
“I can’t work
“I heard the word “Klangstof” and I thought it should sound like this,” Koen remembers. “Then the artwork came, and it felt to me like, ‘This is me’. I was almost inspired by my own name and artwork, which was really weird.” In some ways, it’s a similar process to how Stanley Donwood paints Radiohead artwork while listening in on their studio sessions, or how Frank Ocean put together a great big magazine while making ‘Blonde’. Radiohead happen to be a big reference point for Klangstof. When Koen was fifteen, he moved from the Netherlands to Finland. Thrown in the deep end, “all of a sudden” he was “in this country where nobody speaks my language and I don’t have friends anymore.” ‘OK Computer’ was the only CD he had on him at the time, and it turned into “my best friend for a year,” he says. “I wouldn’t feel that lonely, or I’d at least hear the voice of something thinking the same things that I did. They were the only band who really helped me feel the way I felt.” That’s not to say ‘Close Eyes To Exit’ is all doom and gloom. There are hints of Chromatics and the Stranger Things soundtrack in his meticulous synthwork, and the gigantic ‘Sleaze’ could easily slot into M83’s arena shows. The main source of inspiration Koen turns to is the weird spaces he records in. First there was the Vondelbunker, a planned bomb shelter that instead became a nightclub. Now, he makes music in a disused warehouse previously belonging to a local newspaper. “It’s really inspiring. I can’t work at home or in a normal place,” he admits. And these strange spots go a long way in explaining his debut’s gloomy, wide-eyed beauty. Klangstof’s debut album ‘Close Eyes to Exit’ is out now. DIY 34 diymag.com
in a normal place.”
In the middle of making a record, it’s tempting to ignore the extra stuff that goes alongside music. Artwork, titles, how to play songs live - these are often afterthoughts. With Amsterdam-based Klangstof, however, he had everything in place before the sound. In Dutch, the band name translates into two parts; ‘Klang’ meaning ‘Reverb’ and ‘Stof’ meaning ‘Dust’. As far as summaries go for Koen van de Wardt’s music, these two words do the job. Reverb-drenched, light as dust, spacious pop rules the roost on debut ‘Close Eyes To Exit’, out earlier this year.
Amsterdam-based musician Koen van de Wardt records his ghostly, spacious pop in former Cold War bunkers and abandoned warehouses. His debut album is a slowburning triumph. Words: Jamie Milton.
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Words: Will Richards. Photos: Cat Stevens.
“Hmm, you don’t quite look like your pic on Tinder.”
came up with the chorus, and triumphantly thought, ‘Oh my god, I’ve nailed it!’,” Stina Tweeddale remembers. “I took my headphones off and thought, ‘Holy crap, it’s SO creepy down here’. I’m pretty sure I saw a shape at the window, and then bolted upstairs shouting ‘CAT! Are you asleep?!’” When Stina and drummer Cat Myers decamped to an old water mill turned cottage in the middle of Scotland at the end of their extensive tour for Honeyblood’s self-titled debut, they found inspiration for its follow-up from much stranger, darker places than they had anticipated. “In the basement where we set up, there was this little room where the mill was, and there was a little window in the door, and we joked about a face being in the door all the time,” Cat remembers, equal parts joking and genuinely fearful. “We’d be jamming and it’d be really really loud, in the dead of night, and we’d keep looking at this door, paranoid that there would eventually be a face there.” Vocalist and guitarist Stina, a self-confessed fan of overblown horror narratives, feared the worst. “You know how it goes,” she begins in a drawn out Stateside accent, “there’s a band on tour, driving to a weird gaaaas station…” “The drummer’s always gonna get taken out first though,” Cat hits back. “Look at Spinal Tap!”
peaking in a significantly brighter, sunnier South London the day before the band head off to take one last holiday before beginning rehearsals for their soon to be never-ending tour, the people, places and moments that helped sculpt the band’s new album are clearer than ever. The wheels have been turning for Honeyblood’s second age ever since Stina called on Cat, an old friend from the insular Scottish gigging scene, to fill in on drums for a fastapproaching series of tours after the departure of Shona McVicar towards the end of 2014. Cat was on holiday in Croatia at the time, with a series of theatre performances coming up, but threw herself into the challenge. One rehearsal room jam later - and the thought of
It’s about having
your own mantra. Stina Tweeddale
angry, though,” Stina says, optimistically. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being angry. You shouldn’t just lay down and die.” It’s that sentiment that makes the album “a chaotic empowerment”, free of the fear of “being wrong and being messy and being angry. So many people are so caught up with doing things the ‘correct’ way, and there comes some inner power from rejecting that, and not having any fear, regardless of if it’s the socalled right way.” “Just make it your way,” Cat concludes.
Cat’s got 99 problems but the bishop ain’t one.
“let’s just see if I can rearrange my life one second!” - the pair headed out on the road. The rushed nature of this coming together meant Cat - with her roots in “straight-up rock”, and a Foo Fighters devotee - was able to put her stamp on the band’s live show immediately. The result was a significantly beefed-up incarnation of Honeyblood, taking the band’s live show away from the roots of their debut, self-described by Stina as a shoegaze record, “even if I didn’t write it as one.” It was after this extensive amount of touring though - which the pair try and fail to tally up on their fingers - that they began to venture into new territories. “I’d never had to write an album in a specific amount of time before,” Stina says, explaining how pressure started to show. “We would come home from tour and people would constantly say, ‘So, have you written any songs?’ and I’d say, ‘Fuck no!’ I was being told to write songs from every angle, because the time to record the album was coming up quickly, and we found ourselves with just two months to go.” It was that tension that birthed the album’s first song, and title track; its self-confessed “cornerstone”. “I kept on thinking about how good I had to make this song,” Stina remembers. “It’s a built-up frustration, and exactly how I was feeling when I was trying to get my head around the fact that we had to write a second album - it’s literally kicking and screaming.” It then didn’t take long for the rest to flow more freely. And with more experimentation came more anger. “I think it’s a good
Indeed, the ‘right’ way to introduce ‘Sea Hearts’ to its protagonist - one of Stina’s closest friends - probably wasn’t to accidentally, drunkenly play it to her one night, but the messiness gives ‘Babes Never Die’ its charm. “Then she just turns around and says, ‘Ah, this song’s shit!’.” Luckily for us, she didn’t take it to heart. “Someone,
BIT OF A BLUR Stina and Cat are preachers at the altar of ‘listen to Blur for five hours a day and then you’ll write a bloody great album’, it seems... Stina: Writing this album got me back on the bandwagon of being obsessed with Blur. They’re one of my favourite bands of all time, and when I got frustrated about songs, and couldn’t find a formula for them, I just went into a Blur hole, where I’d listen to Blur for like ten hours. I didn’t get the song done, but that was my work for the day! Stina: We also went on tour in America and listened to a LOT of Queens of the Stone Age. Those two bands contributed a lot to the sounds we were going for. Cat: I’ve always got my Queens of the Stone Age head on, so there was this weird collision of sounds going on in my head. Imagine Dave Grohl playing drums for Blur, with...who singing? Stina: Kathleen Hanna! That’s exactly it.
at every step, tells you that you’re doing something wrong, or that you’re constantly living in this world of uncertainty. The only person you can really depend on is yourself, to keep on going and believing in you, because a lot of people won’t. It comes with the uncertainty of releasing a second album. You don’t write albums for people to tell you something about them - you write albums because you need to write them.”
n first heading to the isolated cottage, the freedom allowed Stina to explore a few different methods of songwriting, all firmly character-based. “When we went to the mill, and saw that it was so creepy, it just filled me with absolute fear,” she says. “The spookiness of that place fed into the songs.” The results - including some of the album’s highlights, ‘Justine, Misery Queen’ and ‘Hey Stellar’ - marked the conclusion of a new approach she’d been itching to test. “Every song on this album, the characters are there, fully formed and completely individual from each other. I can see them - they’re actually people. Sister Wolf is a person. Justine is a person. Stellar is a person. Pretty much everyone who writes their first album writes it from a personal perspective - it’s a rite of passage as a songwriter but for this second album, I wanted to try and write about characters, and distance myself from being so personal. I love imagery, and painting a picture, so every song on the album ties in with all these themes. The more and more I listen to it, though, I think ‘Oh, fuck, I’ve just written another album about me’.” The initial blueprint for the album was to pen a more visual, imagery-based record -
You are the only
one who can empower yourself.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK Cat remembers her first gigs in the North East, paving a path that saw her leave school at 16 to go to music college and never look back… Cat: I started gigging when I was like 13 - all the other guys in my band were in sixth form, so we’d play pubs and smuggle me in and put me behind the drum kit. My Dad would drive me to the gig, wedged in the back seat in amongst my whole drum kit. We used to get paid in beer and I’d slyly sip it behind the kit, trying desperately to seem like I was of age.
I don’t think there’s anything
wrong with being angry. You shouldn’t just lay down and die. Stina T weeddale
“going to that mill just completely changed its course.” That wasn’t all. Bringing Cat into the fold has been an interesting and revelatory step for Stina, who describes herself as “an absolute control freak.” “I can sometimes be a bit intense,” she admits. “I want to simplify everything. It doesn’t have to be so simple that it’s boring, but if it’s good and effective and simple, that is the key to songwriting. I will always believe that. That’s what I wanted to make, and that’s why Honeyblood is the way it is.” Cat’s introduction has seen more layers emerge in the band’s sound, and a rebirth of a live set-up that the pair remain tight-lipped about, despite clearly bursting with excitement. Behind all of the unexpected twists and turns that the album took, the heart of ‘Babes Never Die’ still lies in its title track, a motto so strong that it’s branded on Stina’s skin. “I always said I’d never get anyone’s lyrics tattooed on me - I could never decide on them.” It just turns out that this particular one ended up becoming one of her own. “You are the only one who can empower yourself, you can’t wait around for someone else to do it. And when people try and drag you
down, only you can do that,” she begins, explaining her decision to get inked (on Valentine’s Day of all days), before crafting an album that cuts to the heart of what she believes. “I’d been saying it for years - the first time I went to London as a band, we bumped into loads of amazing, creative people and I thought, ‘Wow, these people are total babes - they’re totally nailing life’, and that’s where it came from at the start. I’ve been drunkenly yelling it at the end of nights out for two years,” she explains, before Cat interjects, revealing “she’s been trying to turn it into a hashtag” to fits of laughter. “It’s about having your own mantra, and sharing it with the people that like your music. All of my favourite bands did that. All the riot grrrl stuff - that influenced me so much, because you feel included, and part of something. Because I’d been saying this for years and years as my girl scout motto, that was what I wanted to do. I thought ‘I can make something out of this’, and use it to show other people.” It’s the sign of a band who have gone above and beyond in every sense on their second album, with each piece relating back to those three words. “That’s me, lying on the street. I’m that guy, shouting at the top of my voice. Babes never die.” Honeyblood’s new album ‘Babes Never Die’ is out on 4th November via FatCat. DIY
At tempting to make their fourth album in just five years, Sleigh Bells hit a wall , and then the brake pedal . With â€˜Jessica Rabbitâ€™ they return three years l ater, bolder, brasher, and totally re-energised. Words: El Hunt.
Bap tism S
ince they first emerged in a shower of screeching guitars and rill-rilling firecrackers six years ago, Sleigh Bells have always had a pop itch there to scratch. That’s not to say that Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss have been waiting in the wings for their big ‘Call Me Maybe’ moment – their brains are hot-wired for too much weirdness, after all – but still, their boldest and best moments to date have thrived on a collision of wincingly sweet and snarlingly sour. From the juddering sawtooth beats propelling debut cut ‘Kids’ to the defiant follow-up ‘Comeback Kid’ – a slab of bubblegum pop being burst by glass shards – bold, brash, loud, colourful pop music lurks in Sleigh Bells veins just as much as dirty, scuzzy rock. In the past, it’s been a balance they’ve grappled with no end, suspicious of self-confessed, gimmicky genre-hoppers. On ‘Jessica Rabbit’ however, they embrace it all.
“I like a lot of independent underground music but I also love a great pop song,” says Alexis, just back home from touring the West Coast of the States, speaking on a crackly phone line from her Brooklyn apartment. “I think we were definitely a bit bolder in writing songs. I guess a good example would be ‘I Just Can’t Stand You Anymore’,” she says, referencing one of the album’s finest stand-outs. “That song to me feels like a true pop rock song, in the vein of 80s bands like Roxette,” she adds, before cackling loudly to herself.
I thought we
get this fucking record out. Alexis Krauss
Though the guitar solos may squall with added swagger, and the bass-thuds may be bordering on rib-shattering at times, there’s more than just showmanship to ‘Jessica Rabbit’. Home to Alexis’ most aggressive vocal performance to date, Derek’s production is sparser, clearing room for a new desperation and drive in response. That hunger to succeed, Sleigh Bells readily admit, is very real, and it was very nearly fatal, too. The stakes were sky-high going into ‘Jessica Rabbit’, the risk of failure felt more keenly than ever before. Perhaps that explains the triumphant, fingerflipping results.
In early visual sneak-peeks – their video for ‘It’s Just Us Now’ being one example – the same mantra flashes up again and again. The penalty of failure is death. It might sound dramatic (“and it is,” concedes Alexis) but for Sleigh Bells, that’s really the case. “The thought of not being able to make the type of records I want to make, quality-wise, feels like death,” says Derek. “I’ve been in a fairly epic battle with alcohol for about 15 or 16 years,” he adds, “failing to stay sober feels a lot like death.”
Alexis may be amused by her flippant reference to some of Sweden’s finest pop banger purveyors (along with Robyn and ABBA, obvs), but it’s a telling one. Though ‘Jessica Rabbit’ doesn’t quite approach the melodrama of ‘It Must Have Been Love’ (thank goodness) – there are still distinct hints of the over-the-top, along with killer choruses a-plenty. “There are very self-indulgent moments on this record,” admits Alexis, “and I’m okay with that.”
“When I do a bad job I can’t just brush it off,” he continues. “The fact that I have enough time on my hands to sit around and worry about this stuff means I’m not busy enough, right?“ he asks, rhetorically. “Probably. I wake up, read about [the war-torn Syrian city] Aleppo, and feel that my concerns are petty and small, but by the end of the day they are still on the verge of killing me.”
“There were times where I feel like [Derek] felt like the record wasn’t going to come out for one reason or another,” says Alexis, “just because there are obstacles and
challenges. There’s this idea that he might not succeed in getting this out there that was so debilitating. It almost fucking killed him, in a literal way. Not having this band... he would have died.”
he obstacles that Alexis refers to are sizeable ones. After releasing their third record ‘Bitter Rivals’ on Mom + Pop three years ago (“a wonderful experience”) Sleigh Bells found their contract up, and their band without a record label. They had next to no money in the coffers either. With no conventional options left, they opted for a new approach, founding their own label Torn Clean. It proved a revelation. “Starting our own label and paying for everything ourselves means that we assume all of the risk,” reasons Derek. “I like that idea. It’s comforting. It’s ours to win or lose. And by win,” he clarifies, “I mean being able to do everything on our own terms and make a living.” So, what the hell is this ‘Jessica Rabbit’ thing all about, then? We asked Sleigh Bells to explain that cartoonnodding album title. They gave rather different answers… Alexis: We’ve had this ‘we’ll never tell’ mentality about it, and we’ll just leave it up to the imagination. I’ve got to keep that one a secret. Obviously there’s the character, Jessica Rabbit. You can think about it in that context, or you can think about it in a more abstract context. Whatever you want to make of it.
“I thought we would never get this fucking record out,” hoots Alexis, “but we’ve made it happen.” Up until their last record ‘Bitter Rivals’, Sleigh Bells were rock’s own Rihanna, releasing albums like clockwork, with barely any time to catch their breath between. The run-up to ‘Jessica Rabbit’ saw them take – by their
standards - an extended gap of three years, as perfectionism and practical difficulties got in the way. Despite the struggles the pair faced getting to this point, though, they’ve emerged the other side stronger and louder than ever, and today, they’re eager to emphasise the positivity hidden in their all-or nothing mantra. “Ultimately I think it’s inspiring,” says Derek. “Don’t do a good job, do a great job.” “I think people can also look at it as a motivational thing,” agrees Alexis. “It doesn’t have to be dark. We’re only here for a finite period of time and we should be constantly motivated to do our best work.” On ‘Crucible’ – a jarring, speed-meshing jumble of noise-guitars and defiant calls to arms – Alexis’ gradual transformation from self-confessed “session singer” to bonafide front woman is evident. “Hunt sheep in my sleep, I don’t count them,” she threatens with audible menace, as Derek’s punchy, barbed-wire beats drive the point home. “I remember when he said those lyrics to me,” she remembers, “there’s always a line.... he does these really violent but colourful, heart-wrenching lyrics,” she adds. “I wanted to make something that matched it, that brings out this desperation, and hunger, and drama; but also make it pop and saccharine. That’s something we’ve always done well,” she reckons, fairly accurately. With ‘Jessica Rabbit’ finally finished, Sleigh Bells are still fighting; in Derek’s case quite literally. Boxing is “something Derek is still doing, 2, 3 times a week.” And as for Alexis, she’s busy scaling new heights in her own way. “Now I’m rock climbing,” she says nonchalantly, as if referring to a recent episode of Bake Off. “But,” she jokes, “I think boxing is lyrically more interesting than rock climbing. That’s now what I do when I have time off – I go climb walls outside, in beautiful places.” With their fourth album reaching new peaks, and opening new doors in the process, it looks like Sleigh Bells have limitless summits to conquer yet. Sleigh Bells’ new album ‘Jessica Rabbit’ is out 11th November via Torn Clean / Lucky Number. DIY
Derek [who obviously didn’t get the ‘we’ll never tell’ memo]: I had a crush on her when I was about 7 or 8. At age 35 I still have not accepted that she isn’t real, so I think it has something to do with denial and optimism. It’s aspirational and deluded.
Admit it Alexis, you’re pissed off you didn’t get a BMX
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HON E YB LOOD.CO.U K 47
to the hills Jagwar Ma locked themselves away in the deepest, darkest French countryside to follow-up on dancefloor-smashing debut ‘Howlin’’. They found inspiration - but no phone signal . Words: Henry Boon. Photos Jenna Fox ton.
Following seven months or so holed up there, sleeping on mattresses in the studio (Bon Iver eat your heart out), Jagwar Ma found themselves with debut album ‘Howlin’’. Four years later, the pair, along with new addition Jack Freeman - who got the call up to join because, as Jack puts it, “I was the only bass player Gab knew in Europe at the time!” - have just completed its follow up, ‘Every Now & Then’. So what’s changed? Technically, not much. The process and set-up is more or less exactly the same; they’ve lugged a few extra synths up those French hills and, as Jono puts it, “this one maybe has slightly more of a soul thing” going on, but apart from that they’ve stuck with what worked for them last time, cutting themselves off. What is different, though, is the band themselves.
made a fucking record!
ack in 2012, Gab Winterfield - at the time one vague half of what would eventually become Jagwar Ma - decided to go all in. With producer pal Jono Ma having just completed construction of a DIY studio in a barn in the middle of the French countryside (as you do), he emailed the boss of the shoe shop he was helping to manage at the time. With just 24-hours’ notice, he put it simply. “Look, something’s come up and I have to go see this out”.
“The greatest change was born out of our experiences”, explains frontman Gab.“The mental space we were in when we were making ‘Howlin’’, there was no band. I assumed that after we made that record, that I’d just go home and pick up a cash job, but now it’s like, ‘Well, what’s next?’” ‘Howlin’’ started life, after all, as a studio project; an album put together for fun. Suddenly, Jagwar Ma became a fully-fledged band, and ‘Every Now & Then’ is written as such. “I was conscious of how things would work in the live arena” Jono says, “not technically, but as far as having bits that people could sing and that kind of stuff. Not in a tacky way but actually like, this will be a thing that I can imagine, there’ll be some camaraderie.” There are good and bad sides to this secluded process. Though they do draw on their experiences touring ‘Howlin’’ around the world, the band are very much in their own bubble in France. They’re 40 minutes from the nearest shop, the internet boils down to perching on a hay-bale (the one spot where they get a modicum of signal) and if any equipment breaks, it’s usually easier to just find something else to use than it is to wrestle with French shop opening times and laid-back approaches to ordering things in. This being said, there’s also plenty of inspiration up there. “It’s amazing how when you’re in that environment, just throwing rocks at a tree for like two hours is so good! There’s something really magical about that,” an easily pleased Gab says, while Jono notes the way in which “it’s healthy, because it strips you back to bare essentials like friendship, communication… and cooking. You’re not obsessed with all these social stresses.” There are movie nights, mind. “We pop a big bowl of popcorn and run the laptop through the speakers so you get like, mad sound,” recounts Gab, who brought a hard drive stacked full of movies to use as wind-down time as well as inspiration; something they’ve used in their writing process both times around. “It’s also great and inspiring in a way, just seeing a finished body of work when you’re in the middle of
Gab mate, you wear it round your waist!
something,” says Jono, “especially with films, because at any point in the making of a film they can go from being good to terrible. It’s amazing how this beautiful film can be shot, and then editing just screws it up because a producer said it’s too long.” Film is a passion the group all share, and whether it’s the elements of their self-imposed exile they see mirrored in Withnail & I or their attempts to capture James Brown’s energy in The Blues Brothers, it’s clearly something that’s a big influence on their music; music that has always been colourful and visual in its nature. 49
Such Jagwar! Much Ma! Wow! .
hat fear of wrecking something in the editing stage is something Jono in particular shares with film directors, too. It’s also one of the biggest problems he faces while hidden away. He speaks of the difficulty of actually finishing an album when it’s basically self-produced, and therefore completely in his control. “We’d booked in a mastering day, and in the four days leading up to it I was just like a panicking mess trying to finish everything,” he says. “The more you mess with things the worse it gets; it gets to a certain point where it goes backwards.” It’s at this point that it was time to return to society and, in this case, London. Again, this is a lesson learned from ‘Howlin’’. Both times, the band found packing up, taking a breath and returning to a place with, y’know, other people and stuff, hugely productive. This time around, a return to civilisation sparked additional last-minute tracks, created spontaneously right at the end. “On ‘Don’t Make It Right’, I just played a synth, played it to Gab, he threw a vocal down and it literally took a couple of hours and we didn’t over-analyse,” says Jono, adding that while this is something they are capable of, more often than not he’ll find himself poring over tracks to the point of madness.
The ability to work in this way drew inspiration from some unlikely sources, namely Noel Gallagher and Andrew Weatherall, who happened to be sharing their London studio. Gab recounts a time he was chatting with Noel (casual! - Ed). “Obviously it’s Noel Gallagher, and it’s easy for him to say this, but he said, ‘You know, when you get to my age you just don’t over-analyse - I made a Gab Winterfield record, I put it out, I’m gonna go touring and then I’ll probably make another one and then go touring again!’ The way he said it was so relaxed, but then he did write ‘Wonderwall’, so he’s okay!” Gab figures. Andrew too, was a big influence. “He puts out a remix every two weeks, and quite often they’re white label, and no one even knows they’ve come out,” says Jono, “he’s like, ‘Cool, done!’ then just moves on, doesn’t look back.” For Jagwar Ma though, it was more a case of Euan Pearson, who mixed the record, coming in and saying “look, it’s great, it’s done” before they were ready to surrender the finished piece.
rocks at a tree for
like two hours is so good!
ive days before this interview, Jono got his hands on the first test pressing of ‘Every Now & Then’, and it wasn’t until then he was able to finally relax. “Listening to it on a physical piece of wax and going, ‘Oh, we’ve made a fucking record!’” he says, “It wasn’t until that point that I could actually listen to it and enjoy it.” It’s this odd combination of meticulous, rigorous re-hashing of the methods they know worked the first time around, coupled with the steps outside of their comfort zone into spontaneity, that gives ‘Every Now & Then’ life. From giving a little control over to the likes of Stella Mozgawa (“a phenomenal drummer and a good friend”), James Ford and Euan Pearson for the live recreation of the samples used by Jono early on, to the possessive, no meddling nature of their time alone as a band, this record is more varied than it may first appear. A sporadic yet fully-formed statement that Jagwar Ma now know exactly who they are, the result is at once worlds apart and a close continuation of where ‘Howlin’’ left off. Jagwar Ma’s new album ‘Every Now & Then’ is released on 14th October via Mom + Pop/Marathon Artists. DIY
eputations rarely come as raucous as Danny Brown’s. A supposed party animal with an insatiable appetite, he’s been defined by his excess and wrong-side-of-the-law run-ins from day one. It’s not a strictly accurate billing, though. He’s spent much of the time since releasing 2013 album ‘Old’ at home in suburban Detroit. “When I’m at home, I’m chillin’!” he says, bookending the statement with that unmistakable hyena’s cackle. “I’ve been doing this for a long time,” he goes on. “Anything you do for a great amount of time, you get used to it. I know how to live, I guess – I know how to pace myself a little better than probably what I did in the past.” With a house in the upper echelons of Detroit and a daughter now well into her teenage years, it’s probably for the best. That’s not to say his domestic downtime pulled the plug on his creativity – if anything, it fostered more.
For new, Joy Divisionreferencing album ‘Atrocity Exhibition’, Danny Brown pulled things right back, finding solace in uncharacteristic peace and quiet. Words: Tom Connick
“That’s how I was able to work on music - being able to chill. Living in Michigan, we have winters,” Danny stresses, almost shivering as he says it. “We have a lot of snow – a lot of time, you can’t even go outside, so I like that. So I guess that’s what’s happened, you know? I’m in the house alone; like a caged animal once I’m let out. I’ve been caged up for a nice little time…” he says with a smirk that finds his diamond encrusted grills catching the light.
iving in self-inflicted confinement allowed Danny to spew forth ‘Atrocity Exhibition’ – undoubtedly his most mind-bending release to date, it takes the ethos and storytelling of 2011’s breakout ‘XXX’ and shunts it into sixth gear. Jarring and industrial, it’s a world away from the hip hop records of his contemporaries; the sonic manifestation of an outsider ethos that Danny has relished from day one. “Sometimes it’s not bad to be an outsider,” Danny shrugs. “For me, being able to be on the outside, I guess that means you’re doing something that not a lot of people are doing. I’m able to take that much time to be able to make an album because there’s not really nobody in my lane that I have to compete with. So I can be able to take my time and be patient with my music.” Being allowed time to dissect things fed directly into ‘Atrocity Exhibition’’s most maddening moments. Picking up leftovers from sessions for ‘XXX’ initially deemed too complex, Danny ditched the all-or-nothing bravado, indulging a newfound, considered confidence instead. “A lot of these times you want to be creative, but you still want people to like your music too!” he smiles. “You can’t just go that far out there! But now I’m confident enough to go that far out there. I guess at the end of the day, it’s like progression. Pushing rap music as far as possible.” Citing Joy Division, Talking Heads and Björk as key influences on ‘Atrocity Exhibition’ – the record even taking its name from a song of the first – that desire to evolve rap meant looking outside the boundaries often imposed on the genre. “There’s
n spite of all the confidence Danny Brown exhibits today though, there’s a darker heart to ‘Atrocity Exhibition’. Referencing Joy Division was no off-hand name-check or attempt to gain ‘indie points’ – “that song I feel is just like a soundtrack to my life right now,” he reveals.
I look at the world like they’re my therapist.
only so much rap music you can get influenced by if you make rap music,” he shrugs. “Every genre should get influenced by other genres – I’m pretty sure a lot of bands get influenced by rap.”
Penned in the run up to Ian Curtis’ suicide, ‘Atrocity Exhibition’’s bite back at what was expected of the frontman resonated with Danny, himself forced to combat expectations that border on parody every time he steps foot on stage.
Indeed, it’s his art that bears the brunt of Danny’s dark side. Dig deep beneath the supposed party anthems that make up the latter half of ‘Old’, and you’ll find a man battling his own depressed psyche at every opportunity. “There’s a lot of times I keep a lot of stuff to myself,”
“’Kush Coma’ was about depression!” he stresses of the single that still soundtracks a thousand drug-packed parties. “If I wanna entertain you when making a sad song, I can do that. That’s the goal in life – taking your pain and turning it into a joy. You putting a negative out that turns into a positive, and with that it comes back to you as a positive. That’s the greatest way to live.”
trocity Exhibition’ is undoubtedly Danny Brown’s masterstroke. Harnessing dark and light like never before, it’s both a jarring musical odyssey and an eye-opening account of his real character – a takedown of those larger-than-life attributes he’s been pinned with over the years. It’s a record to relish; which is exactly Danny’s plan.
“One thing about me, I know that whatever you want the world to be, it will be,” he ponders when asked how those expectations affect him. “I live in my own world, so whatever I want my world to be, it is. I’m fortunate enough to be able to live like that…” he trails off. “Some people, if you’ve got 9-5s and stuff, everybody can’t just be able to live like that,” he says, snapping back into action. “But I live in my own world – my world is videogames and internet and rap music. I still live the same way I lived when I was thirteen years old!” comes the cackling conclusion to his moment of reflection. “So I don’t let none of that get to me. Never grow up!” he giggles.
he admits. “So in some sense I look at the world like they’re my therapist. A lot of shit that I probably wouldn’t talk about with my friends, or somebody in a normal conversation with, I’ll probably put it in my music and talk about it to the whole world.
All my friends
On ‘Really Doe’, Danny Brown links up with a who’swho of modern rap’s greats. Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt and Ab-Soul all feature on the collaboration – one that Danny insists “was nothing” to pull together. “We all came up together, so we all met around the same time. We was all on the up rise, and right now we still homies, and that’s rare in rap. A lot of people are so competitive with it. I’m pretty sure we all still got our competitive edge with it, too, but I feel like we’re all together and just fighting against each other. We’re like our own little Justice League.”
“I’m on a break,” he later admits, clearly mentally sidestepping that huge touring schedule he’s lined up. “I don’t like to write my brain out to exhaustion. I look at rap and it’s just like any other thing, or any sport. It’s like boxing, or like an MMA fighter – I fought. How many fights do they have a year? Like one, two? I might have one album a year, or whatever. I ain’t fought for a minute, cause I’m a champ!” he splurts with laughter – “So now the champ is back up. I had this fight; we’ll see when the next fight comes. I’m back in training!” Danny Brown’s new album ‘Atrocity Exhibition’ is out now via Warp. DIY
A BRAVE NEW WORLD
When Kate Tempest got Mercury nominated for her debut, she was relatively unknown. Follow-up ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ sees her even more ambitious; she’s crafted a whole blimmin’ universe on one record. Words: El Hunt. Photos: Emma Swann.
56 diymag.com 56 diymag.com
If you sit down “ to write a political song, it’ll be bullshit.
disconnected in a city so full of life, and people, and other people’s purpose,” she clarifies. “They are kind of paralysed in this moment which will not move, this 4:18am moment.”
s that a smile that plays across her lips, or is it a tremor of dread?” asks Kate Tempest slowly in the opening moments of new record ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’, studying the hard-to-read face of Planet Earth herself, flinging the doors open. It’s a theatrical, traditional, narrative beginning to an album that – as with everything Kate creates – is totally infatuated with storytelling. Pressing the zoom button on Google Earth, flying from space at lightning speed towards an imaginary South London street, the pause button clicks itself at 4:18am, as seven sleepless strangers wander their houses, frozen and static in time. They’re terrified by the state of the world outside. Pete’s spending every single paycheck getting pissed. Zoe’s surrounded by bin bags, asking herself ‘what the fuck is all this stuff?’ Pious has been staring at the blinds for hours, unable to love. They’re all equally apathetic. Stacked high with big ideas, and held together by a single paralysed alarm clock, ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ is a hugely ambitious record. It stacks strange little observations – nicotine-stained wallpaper, 2-for-1 drink deals – underneath a big grey cloud of paranoid drudgery that’s nearimpossible to flee. In this world, nothing is colourful, and there’s no escape. “Even the drugs have got boring,” Kate quips on ‘Europe is Lost’, adding “but sex is still good, when you get it.” “This is a big story,” she says of ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ today, sat in a boat-shaped boozer, slap-bang in the middle of her home territory of Brockley, South East London. “It’s big story about seven strangers, feeling so lost and so
he very real, non-fictional world outside these pub windows is also paralysed. Kate’s insistence that we are living in the “end-times” might seem a tad dramatic at first glance - “I’ve been banging on about this for ages, and every year that goes past, it’s like, fucking hell, we are,” she reiterates – but in many ways, things just can’t get any worse. Turn on a news channel at any given moment, and it’s like a screen into a dystopian novel. Though she didn’t necessarily write this album, or indeed lead single ‘Europe is Lost’ – which was instantly seized on as a reaction to the current refugee crisis – as a conscious political statement, she’s a firm believer that politics have an uncanny knack for creeping into everything. “I never intend for a song to be anything other than what I think it wants to be,” she starts, “if you sit down to write a political song, it’ll be bullshit. You’re giving your idea no space to stand up, and walk around... but of course, though, my politics will be in the music that I make,” she goes on. “In this particular moment in time, for an artist to make music that doesn’t speak of the times they’re living in, it makes no sense. I don’t think it’s possible for an artist to make music right now without the music being full of this particular pain, anxiety, struggle and terror that we’re in the grip of.” That said, for all its shadowy anxiety, ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ is also hopeful. Not to give any spoilers – Kate’s albums thrive on their last-minute, climactic revelations, after all – but the idea that we’re all stronger together eventually wins out. “I think it has a positive message in it,” she agrees, “it’s about human beings.” Along with the art of storytelling itself, Kate is fascinated by humans, and the tiny quirks of
their existence. She willingly crosses into craniums, and enters into rambling, exposing internal monologues from each of her seven characters, noting down microscopic details along the way. “It’s things I notice,” she says, pondering why she finds herself drawn to making universal collages out of little fragments, again and again. “For example, the way you just picked up your cup with both hands, and put it down fully before moving your hands back to your lap,” she observes, pointedly. “These things, they speak really loudly to me, and I don’t know why. I suppose that’s what makes a writer need to write, because all the little things about life are so loud.” she adds. “They fill you up so much, and you need to write them down, to celebrate them, or make sense of them, or expel them from your system...”
hen she was making 2014 debut ‘Everybody Down’, Kate was equally fixated on what she calls “the mythology of the everydaytt” - it’s just fewer people were paying attention to her in return. How things have changed. A surprise Mercury Prize nomination thrust her name into the limelight. Kate’s modern version of an epic poem, ‘Brand New Ancients’, won the Ted Hughes Award (a big-shot prize for living poets), and her first play, Wasted, was similarly lauded. Kate Tempest – the South Londoner who always wanted to be a rapper – suddenly found herself being piled high with weighty titles; novelist, playwright, poet, artist, musician. It felt strange to her, she says, because she simply sees herself as somebody who creates ‘things’.
montage of heck
et Them Eat Chaos’’ artwork is by the political photomontage artist Peter Kennard – a perfect fit for Kate Tempest’s spliced-together narratives. Apparently the whole partnership came about thanks to a bit of good luck. KT: “It was a sequence of fortuitous circumstances. I have huge respect for him, and I feel very lucky and humbled to be working with him on this campaign. Strangely, there’s a meeting of minds there between what we’re seeking, I think, in terms of people’s emotional response. I feel very happy to be working with him. There’s a guy called Harris who’s my art director for this campaign, an amazing guy, and he met Peter by accident. He’s a huge fan of Peter’s work, and he was the matchmaker of this relationship.”
“I don’t really think of myself in those ways,” she says, “I’m just doing what I do. It’s not really very healthy, I don’t think, to step outside of yourself and try to explain yourself to yourself,” she adds. “Back in the day, a composer of music for example...” she adds, “it would not be unusual for that composer to be writing some kind of fussy, jolly dance piece for one person to pay the rent, but to also be working on a longer, deeper symphony, and at the same time, thinking about writing a practice piece for children. These ideas of how an artist wants to express themselves, and push themselves, it’s only recently it has become so surprising that an artist would want to do something other than fit into a strange little bracket we construct around artistic identity. And the strange thing about it is it goes against creativity so much,” she concludes, “this classification of a poet. An idea is so fluid and free, that your job is to facilitate it as best you can – by being open to it, the idea.” Inviting you to delve into the complicated, criss-crossing world of ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’, and filling a single street with endless detail like she’s overseeing an IRL game of Sim City in essence, that’s what Kate Tempest is. She’s a composer of stories. Kate Tempest’s new album ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ is out now via Fiction. DIY
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DECEMBER 2016 BRISTOL NOTTINGHAM LONDON
MORE to PROVE Never ones to waste time, it’s taken Slaves just over a year to return with a whole new album. With ‘Take Control’, the pair are doing just that.
Words: Steven Loftin. Photos: Phil Smithies.
huffling about on a bench halfway down London’s Brick Lane, Slaves’ Isaac Holman is quick to offer an explanation for his peculiar fidgeting today. “We spent all day on a tandem bike yesterday, [for the pair’s ‘Lose Control’ music video] and both of our gooches are in pieces,” he announces. “Yeah, my arse! I’ve never had saddle sores before,” he insists. “But saddle sores are real.”
months on from dog-fronted debut ‘Are You Satisfied?’, who can blame Isaac for being a bit restless. But while he continues his seated twitching, bandmate Laurie Vincent explains the reasoning behind the pair’s lack of hanging about. “I don’t think we achieved everything we wanted to achieve with our first album,” the guitarist admits, “and we had more to prove. I feel we’ve got much closer with this album - there’s always further to go - but for now we’ve achieved what we’ve wanted to.”
With the release of second album ‘Take Control’ just twelve 61
What Slaves have created is a fully-formed record that pushes forward, while retaining exactly what drew crowds their way in the first place. From opener ‘Spit It Out’ - a calling-out of those who moan about the world but do nothing - to the watching-the-world-go-by chops of ‘People That You Meet’, the record is a walk through the world Slaves have lived in for the past year.
pivotal character in this story is Mike D, best known for being one-third of New York hip hop kings, Beastie Boys. In a curveball act of recruitment, he ended up producing ‘Take Control’ as well as collaborating on album track ‘Consume or Be Consumed’. Isaac talks about this experience with fondness. “[It was] very surreal, but only when you stopped and thought about it,” he says. “He’s just so nice, and down to earth, and we got on so well. It was only when you stopped and thought, ‘Actually, we’re working with Mike D….’” Infamous for prompting dust storms in front of Reading & Leeds’ main stage, and pounding the hell out of their instruments like they’re playing a high-stakes game of whacka-mole, ‘Take Control’ also sees Slaves exploring - whisper it - quieter moments. “We love melodic music, and we’ve done two albums of high energy aggressive music, but we’ve got other things to say,” Laurie explains. Picking out a specific example of a newer, softer Slaves, he elaborates. “That comes from being in the industry, like, everyone in a band knows someone like Angelica.” He’s referring to a track from the record, which sees the duo spitting “Angelica, she’s a blood sucker!” in vicious unison - “she’ll do whatever it takes, bend over backwards for you, oh and she’s climbing and climbing, anybody will do.”
Those restrictions (or lack thereof) reflect the sheer energy Slaves put into their live show. Looking back, Isaac recalls the shoulder issue which caused the cancellation of tour dates late last year. “It’s kind of annoying because I don’t fully trust my body anymore,” he admits, “whereas before I’d just smash the drums as hard as I could, and just throw my arms everywhere. I feel a bit more restricted now, so it’s little bit gutting in that sense.”
aurie is the far more talkative of the pair, Isaac only speaking when he knows he has something to say. He’s no more scathing than on ‘Rich Boy’ - a new track concerning a certain class of people, and one individual specifically. So far, they’re to remain nameless, mind. “There’s a lot of that bloke that we’re referring to in that song,” Isaac laughs. “There are many of them. That was a song where we wrote all the lyrics together as well, and it was nice writing it and just going back and forth. It felt very relevant for
“It was also physical restraints,” he points out. “Isaac just had shoulder surgery, and I’d got a broken wrist but I didn’t realise,” he discloses, casually. “I couldn’t play my guitar very well. We were just jamming out, and Isaac jumped on a bass because it was easier. I was like, ‘Why not put it on the album?’ We got a lot of confidence out of the song ‘Are You Satisfied?’ from the first album; we play that live, and it’s the biggest crowd singalong, and getting the crowd to sing along feels just as good as getting them all to jump into each other,” he adds. “I think it was a conscious effort to not restrict ourselves. Anything we wrote was viable to go on the album.”
Mike D’s just so
Isa ac Holman
right now.” Laurie’s in firm agreement. “A lot of well-off people are just pillaging the world at the moment,” he says, “which is a bit grim, and we let them do it.” They were an audience the band were faced with while playing at an exclusive East London members’ club earlier in the summer. But, unsurprisingly, Slaves took it as an opportunity to stick it to them all the same. “I showed them my ball bag”, Laurie says with glee.
“I think that was the only time we’ve really played to that crowd,” adds Isaac, “one that you know is really wellto-do. How much do you pay for a Shoreditch House membership?!” he asks noone in particular. “You just know that everyone there is like... It’s generalisation, but they deserve to be shown bollocks.” One thing’s for certain, though; Slaves might flash private club go-ers, but
he future is something that’s often at the forefront of any band’s mind, and surviving on such a notoriously tricky playing field, it’s no place for the weak. “I think we’re a bit more hardened to the music industry,” Isaac says, “it just feels more relaxed. You’ve got to be smart about it; it’s not as simple as just putting a record out now. There’s more to it than that.” “I guess we’ve just started playing the game,” Laurie adds.
We’ve done high
they’re incredibly thankful for their fans. “The thing I really appreciate is that people are still interested,” says Laurie. “The first time ‘round, you kind of think that’s just what happens, but the second time, after you go quiet and you don’t do press and stuff, you realise you rely quite heavily on outlets. It’s quite interesting,” he observes.
music, but we’ve got other things to say. L aurie Vincent
“It’d be wicked if we could do what we do by just giving our music away for free,” he continues, “but we wouldn’t be able to afford to go into studios and stuff. We have to be clever about actually trying to sell records, and maintain what we want to do. It’s fine for producers and people who just sit there on GarageBand, but we actually need soundproof rooms to do what we do. We can’t just sit up in our bedroom, and play our music because we’d piss a lot of people off,” he grins. “So the new musical wave is brilliant, but I think there is something to be said for guitar bands that really do need that space and the old fashioned way of doing it.” With such a fully-formed second album, Slaves know their work here isn’t done. For now, though, they want to keep it simple going forward. “I want to make some records we’re proud of and play some big fucking shows,” summarises Laurie neatly, with a smile, as Isaac concurs, “I agree.” Slaves’ new album ‘Take Control’ is out now via Virgin EMI. DIY
Our Laurie’s a big fan of solo peek-a-boo. 63
22, A MILLION (Jagjaguwar)
Thes e s o ng s d i s cover a new
or all its numerology, symbols and oddities, ‘22, A MILLION’ is a relatively simple record. A few years back, Justin Vernon would shape these songs into gloomy acoustic triumphs. On his third album, he combines samples, complexities, abstractions and endless vocoder as a means of veiling otherwise straightforward recordings. Remarkably, instead of getting caught up in devil-eyed deception and silly distractions, Bon Iver sound more emotionally-charged than ever.
‘29 #Strafford APTS’, whatever the hell that means, is a poignant example. Justin makes an acoustic guitar snap like logs on a burning fire. At one point, there’s a crackle of distortion, like somebody fiddling with an aux cable. Deep down, this song could exist on any of Bon Iver’s three records. But it belongs on ‘22, A MILLION’, because these songs collectively discover a new form of expression. Without sacrificing the magical formula behind the music, Bon Iver have progressed beyond ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’’s beestung, cabin-fevered misery and ‘Bon Iver, Bon Iver’, which made full-band arrangements from the debut’s blueprint.
U ◊K, HUN?
Bon Iver’s new album throws out some ‘interesting’ lyrics. We’ve tried to decode them. “I’d be happy as hell, if you stayed for tea” (‘33 “GOD”’)
fo rm of expres s i o n . There’s signs of evolution at every turn. ‘10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄⚄ ’ drives Arcalike, skizzing electronics into a fiery pit. ‘8 (circle)’ somehow makes parped horns and shameless 80s synths sound palatable. Closer ‘1000000 Million’ is the closest Justin comes to sounding like his old self, cooing “it harms me, it harms me, it harms me like a lamb” next to a sample from near-forgotten Irish songwriter Fionn Regan (obviously). That’s the trick - just when he looks to have settled into one state, he’ll throw a curveball. More often than not, musicians determined to avoid old tropes are exhausting. But ‘22, A MILLION’ stands out as Bon Iver’s finest moment yet, a cross between invention and beauty that’s delivered without compromise. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘33 “GOD”’, ‘29 #Strafford APTS’
Justin Vernon is Mary Berry. He has shortbread in the cupboard. He made it himself. “there isn’t ceiling in our garden / and then i draw an ear on you” (‘22 (OVER S∞∞N)’) Justin Vernon has fallen in love with Van Gogh and he desperately wants to fix him. “I been sleeping in a stable, mate” - (’10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄⚄’) Justin Vernon is a horse. 65
eeee THE RADIO DEPT.
Running Out of Love (Labrador)
‘Running Out of Love’ arrives following a disenchanting stretch of time for Swedish stalwarts The Radio Dept. Unsuccessful lawsuits with their label and a fully-scrapped record have led to this release, so it’s not unexpected that the main focal point behind it is on current context. Yet the group don’t just approach things from a personal slant - there’s a much broader perception on offer. It’s a significant return, one that channels personal strife into a wider statement. (Ross Jones) LISTEN: ‘Committed to the Cause’, ‘Swedish Guns’
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB gameshow (Parlophone)
Few chart bothering records this year will emerge from a bleakness that could rival ‘Gameshow’’s. It’s from that rocky standing that Two Door Cinema Club stake their claim to return as indie-pop royalty. Certain elements fall short, but, unashamed to admit to their chart-pop core, Two Door Cinema Club finally feel comfortable in their own skin. It’s packed with positivity - “nothing quite like this ever has existed,” beams Alex, before soaring to the skies. It encapsulates ‘Gameshow’ as a whole – perhaps not perfect, but a recovery position from which Two Door Cinema Club look primed to soar once more. (Tom Connick) LISTEN: ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’, ‘Lavender’
WHAT THEY SAY
“There’s an overall sentiment this time around with us generally trying not to take things seriously. We’re trying to enjoy it a bit more.” - Sam Halliday
eee AMERICAN FOOTBALL American Football (Wichita
17 years in waiting, American Football’s selftitled second album comes with more than a few preconceptions. The result manages to simultaneously stick to their existing blueprint while working towards pushing boundaries. The first inevitable difference comes in Mike’s voice - on ‘Never Meant’ and ‘The Summer Ends’, it was gravelly, youthful, bordering on vicious. Here, it’s reflective and soothing. This follow-up is hardly lyrically bright and fun-filled, but the anguish that’s released - most notably ‘I’ve Been So Lost For So Long’’s cry of “I feel so sick, doctor it hurts that I exist” - is done so with a knowing look, from a band acutely aware of their past. It’s turned out to be a record that could well hit many young hearts once more. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘I’ve Been So Lost For So Long’
eeee HOOTON TENNIS CLUB
Big Box of Chocolates (Heavenly)
With their second full-length, Merseysiders Hooton Tennis Club have expounded on what made their debut such a delight: taking a diary-style approach, penning songs about their own lives, and writing about their friends – fictional and real. Having their own quirky characters come to life through an effervescent brand of jangly-pop. ‘Big Box of Chocolates’ digs beautifully into themes of joy and the bittersweet, of both love and loss. There’s a heightened audacity to their lyricism. In this way, Hooton Tennis Club have composed an enchanting, charming open love letter about those close to home. (Cady Siregar) LISTEN: ‘O Man, Won’t You Melt Me?’, ‘Lauren, I’m In Love!’
Don’t Let the Kids Win (Transgressive)
Hailing from Australia’s Blue Mountains, just a few syllables apart from Dolly Parton’s own beloved smoky blue mountains, Julia Jacklin has a few things in common with country music’s most glamorous flag bearer. Before turning her hand to music, Jacklin worked 9 to 5, oddly enough, in an essential oils factory. And though you’re unlikely to catch her storming around in rhinestone-clad cowboy boots any time soon, her debut ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’ exhibits the sort of instant ear for melody which would have ol’ Dolly thigh-slapping with pride. A witty writer, Julia melds hyper-specific observations with familiar ache. “Zach Braff you look just like my dad,” she sings on ‘Small Talk’, “back when I thought I had the best one.” From Scrubs fandom and childish idealism to the realities of growing up, with a single comma. Her songs follow neatly unpacking structures, guitars reverberating with all the pains of growing up and running out of time. Above all, ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’ shines brightest for its clear, and charismatic narrative voice. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Small Talk’, ‘Same Airport, Different Man’ Julia Jacklin isn’t happy at .being banned for playing music in a library.
Q&A THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
Julia Jacklin chats through her very good debut. Interview: Emma Snook. For the album you worked with the producer Ben Edwards in New Zealand and you were living and working in his house for a month. How was that experience? It was really cool. I think it could have been really bad because I’d never met him and we’d never talked before, we’d just emailed and then I arrived and he picks me up and we go to his house for a month. But he’s a really cool guy, he’s crazy but in a great way. He’s just very full of life. Very keen for experimenting. And his daughter wasn’t even one yet, so he had a very young child around all the time which was nice but also quite challenging for him. He would be mixing with her on his lap. She’s going to be your number one fan...
Or really sick of it because she’s already heard it so many times! Rumour has it you were once in an Avril Lavigne covers band? Anonymous, that was the band name. Do you think Avril was quite inspiring, in the sense that she played guitar and was kind of different to the other pop stars at the time? She was a bit rebellious and cool. I think in retrospect, you can kind of see that was also a bit of a marketing ploy! I think it was quite refreshing to see, regardless of what she’s chosen to do in the future musically. That made me and a lot of my friends want to pick up guitars and skate. I remember trying to skate for like two months.
eeee NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS
Skeleton Tree (Bad Seed LTD)
There’s a heartbreaking moment during documentary ‘One More Time With Feeling’ where Nick Cave says he was reluctant to tinker too much with the songs on ‘Skeleton Tree’ because they “have Arthur in them.” This album was written between two sides of trauma, stretching across the chasm of the frontman’s son’s sudden passing, but it’s near impossible to tell which parts were written before or after the event. It’s the raw nature of the tracks themselves that hit harder than usual – the aptly titled ‘Skeleton Tree’ is a bare bones record with its heart on its sleeve. ‘I Need You’ seems especially vulnerable, as Nick’s voice wavers and cracks around the edges in a way it hasn’t done before. The hoarsely whispered vocal of ‘Distant Sky’ and Danish soprano Else Torp’s soaring verses feel shatteringly intimate, too. ‘Skeleton Tree’ fractures genres and style, but always seems to snap back to that sense of fragility. (Liam Konemann) LISTEN: ‘I Need You’, ‘Distant Sky’
TOY, with their blend of krautrock, psychedelia and copious amounts of hair, came long before the current ridiculously exciting scene in Brighton. With their self-titled debut released in 2012, and the follow-up coming mere months later, they’re the seaside’s old heads. They’ve worked on ‘Clear Shot’ for three years, and the longer wait has paid off. Standout ‘Another Dimension’ is an immediate classic, fantastically switching between a Magazine-esque twangy riff to a blissful chorus. All in all, this is a melodic, sprawling record to wig-out to; ‘Clear Shot’ hits the mark indeed. (Kyle MacNeill) LISTEN: ‘Another Dimension’, ‘I’m Still Believing’ 67
eee THE NAKED AND FAMOUS imple Forms
(Somewhat Damaged / Kobalt)
The powerful, fist-pumping pop bangers that have littered sunny festival stages, TV show montages and no doubt countless teen road trips throughout The Naked And Famous’ career are more instantaneous than ever on ‘Simple Forms’. Opener and lead single ‘Higher’ bursts into being with the sudden impact that makes up any good popsmash. There are moments of deviation from the overriding formula, such as the bizarre, almost nu-metal-channelling ‘Backslide’ and the shuddering desperation of ‘Losing Our Control’, and although this is their most emotionally attainable album to date, the band might be served better drawing on what makes this record unique, rather than striving for pop perfection throughout. (Henry Boon) LISTEN: ‘Higher’
eeee TOVE LO
eee CONOR OBERST
Conor Oberst released a second Desaparecidos album last year, his viciously political post-hardcore outfit as fuelled by discontent then as on its 2002 predecessor, showing the Bright Eyes man’s fire still raging bright. There’s none of the bright breeziness of Bright Eyes here on this latest solo effort, ‘I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning’’s revolutionary gusto feeling miles away, but the melancholy that sweeps through ‘Ruminations’ isn’t tired - it’s a sideward step that Conor deserves to take. It could easily seem like an ending of sorts for the singer-songwriter; it’s often difficult to remember that he’s still only 36. There’s inevitably plenty more thunder left in him, and these ten beautifully crafted examples of his bare bones more than earn their place in his world. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch)’
Pop music’s shift away from the club and into the darkness of humanity was inevitable, as recession and conservatism has helped sway public consciousness away from the light into the shadow. Enter, then, Tove Lo, the embodiment of millennial angst, rage and uncertainty. Her debut album, ‘Queen of the Clouds’, is a melancholic and almost anthropological examination of the human condition, so it’s no surprise that with ‘Lady Wood’, the Swedish singer’s second effort, you’re drawn deeper into the same, dark, desperate, rebellious and destructive world. Dressing desire and relationships up in cotton wool isn’t Tove Lo’s mission d’entreprise. In fact, ‘Lady Wood’ isn’t an album made for radio or easy digestion. The hooks are there but, like Tove herself, they aren’t succumbing to expectations. (Alim Kheraj) LISTEN: ‘Cool Girl’, ‘Flashes’
Fidgety and anxious, like Brown himself. eeee
DANNY BROWN atrocity Exhibition (Warp)
“I gotta figure it out,” Danny Brown yelps on ‘Atrocity Exhibition’’s opener, “It’s the downward spiral.” More than just a hark back to breakthrough record ‘XXX’, it’s a knowing nod to the quick descent into the darker passages of Danny’s psyche; wrestling with his outsider status at all times. His ability to wrangle any sound into his warped world of hip hop is exhilarating. Angsty and introspective though it may lyrically be, ‘Atrocity Exhibition’’s not without its lighter moments. ‘Really Doe’ is the closest he’s ever come to the ‘Radio Song’ he once snorted at, the pile-on of Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul and Earl Sweatshirt no doubt aiding Danny Brown’s sidestep into the mainstream. Elsewhere, though, it’s fidgety and anxious, much like Brown himself. As his unmistakeable half-screech pulls everything along, he’s a hip hop auteur like no other. A record that does more than just pitch him leagues ahead of anyone else in the game, it’s a portrait of a man who’s more than happy to invent a whole new one. (Tom Connick) LISTEN: ‘Pneumonia’, ‘Really Doe’, ‘Ain’t It Funny’
KINGS OF LEON Walls (RCA)
Kings of Leon’s last outing, 2013’s forgettable ‘Mechanical Bull’, had the band on autopilot, the imagined result of pressing some kind of denim-clad Stadium Rock button. ‘WALLS’ is an odd one. It lacks the immediate bombast of either that last LP or 2010’s ‘Come Around Sundown’, but neither is it straight-up boring. There’s a tiny hint of the irresistible garage rock that broke them back in the early 00s with ‘Eyes on You’. Closer ‘WALLS’ broods prettily in its nighttime melancholy. Driving anthems in the making, these are not. Then again opener ‘Waste A Moment’ sounds tired, and ‘Wild’ nothing more than filler. Refreshing as their attempts to break the monotony may be, what are Kings of Leon with no lighter moments, after all? (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Eyes On You’
, SIR le UITS YOnU S have had quite the ‘sty Scruffy chaps Kings of Leo evolution’. Let’s take a
closer look .
Taking a leaf out of Anna Wintour’s. book, the band work block colours
Requiem (Sub Pop)
Masters of secrecy, Swedish experimentalists Goat have remained a uniquely unidentifiable prospect across two records, allowing their music to be a solitary voice. While their eccentrically engaging live show has frequently been the forefront of acclaim, their recorded output can perhaps be considered outshadowed. But with new record ‘Requiem’, these oddballs have delivered an album worthy of the same status. (Ross Jones) LISTEN: ‘Temple Rhythms’, ‘Try My Robe’
ee JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN & BENJAMIN LAZAR DAVIS Let It Be You (Reveal Records)
As musicians, Joan Wasser - or Joan As Police Woman - and Benjamin Lazar Davis have always sought out unique individuals to collaborate with. Joan has worked with everyone from Antony and the Johnsons to David Sylvian, while Benjamin still performs with Okkervil River and Cuddle Magic. But it was an unlikely source that brought the pair together: the musical patterns of Central African Republic Pygmies. On the surface, the pair’s collaborative album ‘Let It Be You’ doesn’t have too much to do with tribal rhythms and is more a blend of what the pair are accustomed to creating. It’s a curiously unbalanced album, however, frontloaded by the brilliant ‘Broke Me In Two’, which is never matched across the rest. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘Broke Me In Two’
Super Low (Bayonet Records)
Only one Followill got the ‘coordinate. with the backdrop’ memo..
even Kings of Leo jacket shorta n need to deal with ges from tim e to time
As Elaine Edenfield launches into her guttural snarl on opener ‘Oscillator’, Warehouse make it clear they’re a unique proposition. Their music juxtaposes the sort of vocals that could be expected from a grizzled 40-a-day punk veteran, with bright jangling post-punk guitars and the lo-fi production of garage rock. The Deerhunter-approved Atlanta group’s second record is far more coherent than its disparate parts might otherwise suggest, and ‘Super Low’ requires several listens to fully appreciate the strange blend of jangly guitar rock, mixed with spit and sawdust punk. (Stuart Knapman) LISTEN: ‘Audrey Home’
eee DOUGLAS DARE Aforger (Erased Tapes)
The dodgy car
die phase .
In the couple of years leading up to this second record, London-based Douglas Dare has gone through ‘a bit’ (coming out to his father; breaking up with his long-term partner). ‘Aforger’ could easily have been cast as a break-up album. Instead, Douglas’ new record plays with the idea of forgery, with a dizzying impact. There is at least one moment of clarity. ‘Oh Father’ is simply heartbreaking, a sombre examination of his strained relationship with his dad. These fleeting moments of transparency help give something to grasp onto within an album that’s sometimes a little too abstract to truly connect. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘Oh Father’ 69
eeee D.D. DUMBO
eee LEWIS DEL MAR
It’s taken Australia’s D.D Dumbo – real name Oliver Hugh Perry – two long years to follow on from the tribal stomp of 2014’s soaring, Yeasayer-esque banger ‘Tropical Oceans’, but debut LP ‘Utopia Defeated’ suggests an artist doing the opposite of backing down. And in the end, really, what’s two years between friends? The thread that primarily ties ‘Utopia Defeated’ together is inquisitiveness. One moment Oliver is lamenting about his dog dying over harp flourishes and bassoon belches on recent single ‘Satan’, the next we’re transported to the Orient with the intricate percussion of ‘Alihukwe’ – a made-up word with no meaning except that of the song. It’s a record that’s well-travelled, that’s absorbed a whole myriad of influence and taken two years to digest it into something cohesive. But, impressively, it’s one that still holds its identity despite all the ideas it’s binding together. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Satan’, ‘Walrus’
KERO KERO BONITO
Bonito Generation (Double
What you see is what you get with Kero Kero Bonito. Instant sugar rush pop with extra icing on top, they’ve perfected the quick fix formula, throwing a dozen giant would-be singles into their debut album. True to the title of lead single ‘Graduation’, they’ve been studying. Like being waist-deep in a How To Make Bangers rulebook, KKB have mastered the art of pure, don’t-givea-fuck pop. It won’t be for everyone, mind you. Nods to game soundtracks, J-Pop and a supply of knowing winks prompt questions over whether the trio’s genuine pop ambition is shadowed by irony. But Kero Kero Bonito aren’t fooling around. The one fault with this first work: It crams together a bunch of massive singles, melted into a sometimes grating dose of glucose. But that’s the compromise for penning twelve monster hits. And these really are hits. They’re not songs to skirt the pop fringes. They could and should soundtrack kids’ toy commercials, and clog up radio playlists for years to come. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Trampoline’, ‘Graduation’
Lewis Del Mar
Lewis Del Mar’s self-titled debut was recorded entirely at home in Rockaway, NYC, the bedroom and living room studios giving this first work an edge. Max Harwood and Danny Miller are an experimental duo, at heart; theirs are smooth pop songs given a twist at every opportunity. Single ‘Loud(y)’ is the stand out; charismatically sharp vocals from Danny bundled with hefty bass, gaunt guitars and delicately plucked melodies. (Mustafa Mirreh) LISTEN: ‘Loud(y)’
eee JAMIE LIDELL
Building a Beginning
Since 2013’s self-titled album, Jamie Lidell made a foray into co-writing, earning him a Grammy nomination through his work with Lianne La Havas. He’s chosen to collaborate widely on this latest set of songs, too, right up to the point of penning the lyrics alongside his wife. Anybody yearning for reinvention or experimentation is going to be let down, but the fact that ‘Building a Beginning’ remains so in thrall to Lidell’s soul heroes suggests that perhaps such drastic action wouldn’t be a good idea anyway. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Julian’
LA Priest’s Sam Dust and Connan Mockasin originally crossed paths at a party in 2007 that culminated in them, er, fighting over the robbery of a fibreglass pig. Luckily, the duo managed to get over that beef (or ham) and join forces. The ridiculously extensive list of their recording locations reflects the pair’s chameleon-like musical styles: a council house in St. Anne’s, a Nottingham factory, Paris, a Leicestershire bungalow and above a car repair garage in Wellington, New Zealand – ‘Soft Hair’ is almost worthy of an accompanying travelogue. Somehow, it manages to work – for the most part. There is the odd point where it becomes just a tad self-indulgent. ‘A Goood Sign’ never really goes anywhere and gets a bit lost in its murky pool of synths, while ‘i.v.’ doesn’t add much. But overall, Connan’s falsetto and Sam’s synthwork marry perfectly to become something stunningly weird; the kind of wedding where you’d wear multi-colour suits and dresses and tuck into an inflatable cake. (Kyle MacNeill) LISTEN: ‘Lying Has to Stop’
WHAT THEY SAY “[Our music] is personal to some extent but the rest of it you just make up. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” - Isaac Holman
Soft Hair: the best musicians at hide and seek since Jai Paul.
SLAVES Take Control
Since the release of their breakthrough ‘Are You Satisfied?’, the ascent of Slaves has been blistering. Stirring up carnage wherever they go, there’s no denying that the duo have the frenzied, white-of-your-eyes side to their sound down. Unsurprisingly especially considering its quick birth - it’s a facet that still plays a bold role in their newest offering ‘Take Control’, a record that, as the title suggests, still possesses the sense of raw necessity that dominated their previous full-length. It’s the coupling of their driven punk with the stylings of producer Mike D, however, that provides the most interesting new element, adding a new depth to their dark humour and chaos. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘Hypnotised’, ‘Consume or Be Consumed’
HAIR WE GO, HAIR WE GO, HAIR WE GO! Connan Mockasin, and Sam Dust of Late of the Pier and LA Priest fame have made an album. As you’d imagine, it’s a bit weird. Words: El Hunt. Photo: Louise Mason So, you two first met because of a conflict, concerning the theft of a model pig at a party... Sam: A stuffed pig, and microphones, yes. We were accused of both thefts. The pig was real; the microphones, we still don’t know who took those. But the pig was just a joke. The pig thief was then obviously the first suspect for the microphones... Connan: Ten years ago we met. Those were boring days. What conditioner do you use? Sam: Anything that’s going. Connan: Hotel conditioner is good, cos you can use loads. Sam: It’s good to get a good foam, when
you condition. Always read the label, always do the research. Avoid Parabens. Given the obvious depth of knowledge you possess regarding conditioners, would you ever consider bringing out your own range of Soft Hair haircare products? Sam: We’re about more than just hair. That would be selling ourselves short a little bit. We’d like to be seen as more of an umbrella, for a whole range of products, eventually. Connan: Conditioner would be the classic, though. It could be called On One Condition. I don’t know. It’s taken us enough time to put out a record. Let’s see how that goes first. 71
eee GOD DAMN
(One Little Indian)
Thick, sludgy noise lines every seam on Black Country duo God Damn’s new record. Their Ross Orton-produced second work takes the vicious spite of 2015 debut ‘Vultures’ and evolves into an altogether more beastly bird of prey. On ’It Bites’, vocals threaten to pierce through tame speaker systems and come alive. Like a hunter on the prowl, give them the slightest opportunity to wreak havoc and God Damn will pounce. This boundless, no-prisoners mantra can’t be contained. And in truth, thirteen tracks of blood and sweat-soaked noise is a step too far. Acoustic-led closer ‘Easily Misled’ arrives too late, like a rescue team surveying the scene of an apocalypse. That said, when face deep in God Damn’s unrelenting call to arms, the exit door isn’t an option. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Fake Prisons’
Let Them Eat Chaos (Fiction)
To say that Britain has gone through a tumultuous time since Kate Tempest released debut ‘Everybody Down’ in 2014 would be an understatement. In the wake of the Brexit vote in particular, the country is more divided, in a state of unnerving flux. Never one to back away from difficult subject matter, the poet, rapper and author seems like the perfect candidate to analyse it all - giving new meaning to the phrase ‘difficult second album’ in the process. Like ‘Everybody Down’, ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ presents an extended, narrative-driven polemic on modern Britain. This time, though, Kate sounds even angrier and more confrontational, injecting the delivery of her words with particularly poisonous venom. This isn’t always an easy listen. It’s not meant to be. But the blunt, often bleak social commentary is tempered by a final hopeful plea: “wake up and love more.” Only time will tell if the nation can do that. In the meantime, Tempest has delivered compelling, thought-provoking insight into our troubled times. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘Europe Is Lost’, ‘Perfect Coffee’
THE LEMON TWIGS Do Hollywood (4AD)
The Lemon Twigs’ forceful declarations that they were born into the wrong era dominated their arrival. The ‘information age’ might not be for all, but on the evidence of ‘Do Hollywood’’s saggy offering, they’d do well to take influence from some of its pace. ‘Baby, Baby’ is a meandering attempt at a psych epic; the closing seconds of ‘Haroomba’ are an almost direct rip of yer da’s karaoke go-to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. It’s a tick-box, who’s-who attempt at a bygone era, more concerned with its pretence than its presentation as it constantly succumbs to its lack of direction. That’s not to say it’s without its moments - all manner of ideas are here, and there’s promise buried deep. But for every moment of cohesion there’s a thousand half-baked ideas limping about the place. In an age where any era of music is within a second’s grasp, The Lemon Twigs’ reliance on nostalgia is at best dated; at worst, pure laziness. (Tom Connick) LISTEN: ‘These Words’
A tick-box, who’s-who attempt at a bygone era. 72 diymag.com
eee SAVOY MOTEL
eeee EMPIRE OF THE SUN
eeee SWET SHOP BOYS
(What’s Your Rupture)
With artwork taken straight from Saturday Night Fever’s cutting room floor, a wardrobe seemingly robbed from The Osmonds and a frontman possessed with the kind of wobbling falsetto that suggests he could harmonise quite nicely with old man Herbert from Family Guy, it’s sometimes hard to take Savoy Motel entirely seriously. But this is 2016, baby, and these days our 70s references come slathered in so much pomp and preposterousness, they’re one pair of platform shoes away from a pisstake. Listening to Savoy Motel’s debut can leave you struggling, wondering if you’ve accidentally left the album on loop and yearning for something – anything – that doesn’t begin with a bassline boogie. Sometimes it’s nice to come back to 2016. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Sorry People’
It was Passion Pit who noticed that, under the right circumstances, “everything is going to the beat.” Since that 2006 lyric, few bands have pursued the synesthesia possibilities of a rhythmic universe more relentlessly than Empire of the Sun. The Australian duo’s debut single, 2008’s ‘Walking on a Dream’ brought the world into melodic order – a track powerful enough to make the footfalls of daily life come into alignment with the downbeat. On ‘Two Vines,’ the band continue to make glossy retro-futurist pop, creating a world of synthesizers and keyboards that feels both primeval and modern at once. Across this third record, they delightfully subsume themselves into a world apart; a world of their own. (Geoff Nelson) LISTEN: ‘High and Low’, ‘Before’
You don’t need to be South Asian to enjoy the Swet Shop Boys debut, but it helps. It helps with parsing the double meanings and multiple identities that are scattered throughout the record, it helps with getting the cultural references to India and Pakistan via Brooklyn/Southall/ Durban. Whilst Heems’ verses amble along with wry humour and charmingly lazy wordplay (“Inshallah, mashallah, hopefully no martial law”), Riz MC’s (actor Riz Ahmed) are typified by a razor-sharp flow, as fast as it is furious. What Swet Shop Boys have done is to affirm a collective identity: people like them can see themselves reflected back. Most of all – it’s really, really fucking good. And it’s the real deal. (Shefali Srivastava) LISTEN: ‘T5’, ‘Tiger Hologram’
New Skin (37 Adventures)
For the most part, Londoner Jones’ debut leans further towards the realms of big pop ballads than earlier, buzzy releases might have indicated. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As a pop album, ‘New Skin’ delivers on all fronts; from the catchy, forceful ‘Indulge’ to the meandering, dexterous closer and title track, it’s interesting enough to stand out but doesn’t try too hard to be something it’s not. Missing, though, is her grittier, more subdued side, showcased occasionally in the build up to this album (for example in the excellent ‘You’, a single missing from ‘New Skin’), for the most part discarded as a direction that could have been. (Henry Boon) LISTEN: ‘Indulge’
eeee RICKY EAT ACID
Talk To You Soon (Terrible Records)
Sam Ray’s work as Ricky Eat Acid has always been as hypnotic as it has been hard to unpack. Take his beautiful 2014 record ‘Three Love Songs’, which took current pop, slowed it down considerably and then stretched the fabric of songs until they reached near ambience. But ‘Talk To You Soon’ is the first time Sam’s music instills the urge to get up and dance. The more you dive in, the more there is to pull out and love. ‘Fucking to Songs on Radios’ at first comes across like a Danny L Harle tune spliced up and played in reverse, but it then reveals lush layers of mesmerising analogue synths. ‘On the Floor Beneath the Cross’ starts off gently, before exploding into one of the more fully-realised tracks on the record - bits of Burial bleakness, crashing breakbeats, soaring strings and even a slight J-Pop influence all come together for a golden moment. This is Sam Ray’s world, and it seems to be getting bigger and better with every release. (Tom Walters) LISTEN: ‘Fucking to Songs on Radios’, ‘Spinning Under the Light in Bliss’ 73
eee WHITE LIES
JOYCE MANOR Cody (Epitaph)
Joyce Manor have always thrived on immediacy. The entire debut was shorter in length than most post-rock epics, and their to-the-point, thrashing, grubby sound has always done its best work inside a minute and a half. ‘Cody’ still fits on one side of a C60, but it’s less of a headrush than anything the band have produced before. This is the funniest Joyce Manor have ever been, largely thanks to Barry Johnson’s frustration at merry-goround conversations about the pros and cons of Kanye West, but it’s also the cleanest. When they breach the seemingly unattainable four-minute mark on ‘Stairs’, it’s done with grace and sky-high ambition, while ‘Make Me Dumb’ jangles like the best of REM. Four full-lengths in, this is the most comprehensive record Joyce Manor have ever released. From a band who threatened to become one-dimensional after three albums of crashing their way through twenty minutes of intensity, ‘Cody’ sees Joyce Manor branching out and excelling every way they turn. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Make Me Dumb’, ‘Do You Really Want To Not Get Better?’
White Lies have forever been renowned for their harrowing Joy Division-nodding take on brooding, and their repetitive, fullycharged guitar lines. But this time they’ve taken it to a different space. ‘Friends’ finds the trio messing on a synthesizer with one arm tied and both eyes blindfolded. In a way, the record sounds like the same old White Lies-jukebox, just hooked up with some brand spanking-new wires. The ‘To Lose My Life’ days have well and truly been modernised. (Mollie Mansfield) LISTEN: ‘Swing’
You can’t fault Oscar Powell for trying something different. The darkly humoured, almost troll-like producer has been crafting increasingly challenging dance music for the best part of a decade, drawing influences from the most experimental of post-punk and the headiest of techno. He most famously ‘broke the internet’ with a Billboard of an email rant he received from Steve Albini on club culture, and news of debut album ‘Sport’ arrived via emails he’d sent to fans. The record has its moments. The Slits-esque guitars of ‘Jonny [feat. Jonny]’ are a joy and perfectly marry postpunk with hazy club music, but when Powell pushes his boundaries further than they’re willing to stretch – such as on the grating bleeps of ‘Getting’ Paid to Be Yourself [Al’s ‘Kick Ass’ Mix]’, or the erratic jam-band sensibilities of ‘Her Face’, only the diehard fan is going to find themselves not punching above their weight. (Tom Walters) LISTEN: ‘Jonny (feat. Jonny)’
eeee JAGWAR MA
Every Now & Then (Mom + Pop/Marathon)
Jagwar Ma’s music is best suited to loose feet and an even more fluid sense of consciousness. Their live shows are just as disarming; songs that might sound structured become house-inflected juggernauts that could roll on for hours. But instead of wandering off down Neverland, the Australian trio’s next move is surprisingly direct. Sometimes it falls flat. Gabriel Winterfield’s vocals tend to be static and over-earnest, and Jono Ma’s dense electronic constructions often feel contained. When not going for the pop jugular, however, ‘Every Now & Then’ comes into its own. ‘Don’t Make It Right’ is a gorgeous, glistening piece, landing before an Ibiza-ready endpoint in ‘Colours of Paradise’. It’s proof that Jagwar Ma thrive when they’ve more room to explore. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Slipping’
The most comprehensive record Joyce Manor have ever released.
eee HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER
Heart Like a Levee (Merge)
DC Taylor’s sixth album as Hiss Golden Messenger finds him expanding his musical and emotional horizons even further from his country-folk baseline, inspired by a sense of growing conflict between the competing demands of his music and his family. Recorded with his regular band of collaborators in North Carolina, these songs deal with themes of leaving and returning, belief and trust, guilt, honesty and life on the road. While so many albums today are front-loaded, this one saves many of its treasures for the final stretch, ending on a high with ‘Highland Grace’, an appropriately elegiac closer that takes ‘Heart Like a Levee’ to new heights. (Tim Cooper) LISTEN: ‘Highland Grace’, ‘Like a Mirror Loves a Hammer’
eee GREEN DAY
Revolution Radio (Reprise
The spectre that looms dark over Green Day’s discography isn’t - or shouldn’t be - ‘Dookie’. No, it’s 2004’s ‘American Idiot’ that’s this trio’s watermark; a record which channelled their not-so-adolescent rage in ways both incisive and incendiary. While there’s hints of the same in ‘Revolution Radio’ - ‘Bang! Bang!’ with its nods to both celebrity and gun culture most notably - where this record shines is in showing Green Day’s existence as pop-punk’s elder statesmen. They’re faring pretty well. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Outlaws’
eeee PWR BTTM
Ugly Cherries (Big Scary Monsters))
A non-stop race through a scribbled diary of wry observations and searches for love, PWR BTTM’s debut – all glitter-daubed drag and fuzz-covered confusion – is far more than a record of well-crafted rock songs about boys. Queerness in music is no new phenomenon, granted, but with these New Yorkers, there’s an unaffected honesty to their songwriting. Roughed-up, off-balance, and at times very messy, PWR BTTM’s music channels all the swerves and turns of navigating the world as an outsider. Sad, hilarious, love-struck, and – to use Bruce’s own words - “gaymazing.” (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘New Hampshire’, ‘Dairy Queen’
ee DANIEL WOOLHOUSE
eeee C DUNCAN
The Midnight Sun (FatCat)
His Mercury Prize-nominated debut ‘Architect’ was a light and airy number where classical met dream-pop. Only a little more than 12 months down the line, C Duncan is back with a new LP that’s equally elegant, but more willing to experiment. He experiments with electronica on ‘The Midnight Sun’ in ways that were only vaguely explored before, layering sparkling electronic loops and beats with harsh synths. And it’s hard to believe ‘The Midnight Sun’ has once again been produced by a bloke in his flat. Despite its curiously downbeat nature, it’s thoughtful and packed with intricacies waiting to be revealed. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘On Course’
•••COMING Up••• THE WEEKND
Abel Tesfaye is churning out massive chart-bothering records for fun. This time, he’s been working with Daft Punk. It’s out 25th November.
What’s That Sound?
Without a moniker that sounds a bit like a fashion tag on Tumblr to hide behind, Daniel Woolhouse has traded in Deptford Goth’s staple glitchy beats for something else entirely. Though ‘Oh These Landscapes’ twinkles with imagination, and ‘Map on the Moon’ drifts and ebbs – a left-leaning intergalactic ballad, hung with melancholy stars and synthetic comets – such affecting or introspective moments are few and far between. Every time an idea looks to take off, it’s lost in the mist of yet another generic chorus line. ‘What’s That Sound?’ is a brave move from an artist who built his name on enigmatic electronica, and not necessarily a successful one. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Oh These Landscapes’ ‘Map on the Moon’
SUNDARA KARMA .Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect
Planning ahead, indie anthem-penners Sundara Karma’s first work is out 6th January 2017.
DUA LIPA .Dua Lipa
Another dead cert for 2017 stardom, Dua Lipa’s debut lands on 10th February.
Reeperbahn Festival Various venues, Hamburg. Photos: Emma Swann.
the lemon twigs
he area might be best known for its hedonism, but behind the glaring neon signs advertising sex shops and strip shows, the Reeperbahn is a thriving hub of creativity – a fact never more evident than during the annual Reeperbahn Festival. With so many places to explore it’s almost impossible to know where to start. In a venue surrounded by the bright lights of the strip, Jeanne Added’s vocal-driven performance weaves a spell of enchantment on a room futile to resist. It’s the dancier numbers that really stand out – the marching rhythms and rallying cries of ‘A War Is Coming’ rousing the crowd into body-swaying, limb-flailing action. Inciting the same rambunctious energy they’re famed for displaying, Yak stir up a ruckus the way only they can. Sliding across the stage and pushing into the crowd from the get go, taking a photographer’s camera mid-set, screaming through the venue window
to the crowd spilling onto the street outside; the band are as engaged as their audience, who continue to scream, jump, dive, and mosh their way through the set even after a venue official signals the band are out of time.
“We’re all going to get pissed tonight, aren’t we?” Spring King ask, mid-set. “That’s what we’re doing.” Bounding with contagious energy, the whole performance is seeped in enthusiasm for the moment, exploding with the clean-cut vitality that’s become synonymous with their character. The next night it’s up to The Lemon Twigs to energise the crowd – and the outfit don’t miss a beat. Singles ‘These Words’ and ‘As Long As We’re Together’ are reinvigorated. Larger and louder than on record, switching instruments with each other between songs, covering The Beatles in German, and scissor-kicking their way around the stage, the band infuse their 60s leaning stylings with ferocious energy.
way along tidal waves of energy as storming as they are engrossing.
A last-minute addition, Biffy Clyro’s intimate showcase at The Docks draws out their fans with resounding force. Performing a seventy-five minute set, the trio navigate through their most celebrated hits, charting their progression into the stadium rock giants they are today. From ‘Wolves Of Winter’ through long-favoured ‘Machines’ to recent single ‘Animal Style’, and storming classics like ‘The Captain’, the trio stomp and sail their
Deap Vally later draw the festival to a close. The pair’s snarling lyrics and scathing feminist anthems have long proved a potent combination, but tonight they perform with a spark so vivid it practically sets ablaze. Addictive hooks and exhilarating instrumental breakdowns flood the venue, keeping people dancing all the way out the front door. In the words of Deap Vally themselves, there really is “no time like the present” after all.
Dilly Dally bring their resounding garage punk to the Molotow on Saturday night. Laced with an electric vitality, the Toronto outfit’s sound is both sharp and all consuming. Katie Monks’ gut-wrenching cries and shiverinducing screams keep things tethered on the edge of ferocity.
We headed up to the clouds at Hamburg super-venue Molotow’s Sky Bar.
hat better way to kick a festival day into full swing than with intimate live performances? Which is why, overlooking the Reeperbahn, we hosted our own showcase in the sky. Up first were Dutch band Afterpartees, who with their unique take on garagepop, offered a turbo-charged start to Day One. She Drew The Gun were decidedly more subdued, but what they retain in energy is more than made up for by the magic of their poetic words and intricately woven refrains. With people crowding outside the door straining to peek in, Izzy Bizu’s popularity is inescapable. With a stripped back performance, her staggering vocal talent was given room to flourish. Soaring vocals then
met rock and roll as Danish trio The Entrepreneurs took to the stage. Aussies Holy Holy’s melodic indie pop brought Day Two to an engaging start. Bounding through a short set of new material, the band’s buoyant energy is both refreshing and engrossing. Later, tearing punk back to its roots, Shame put on a show unlike any other. Smoking a cigarette mid-set, dousing the stage (and themselves) with water, the band’s larger than life character proves as thrilling as it is captivating. Bringing the festival’s final day to a close, Jamie Isaac’s smooth grooves echoed enchantingly in the sunlit room. Fusing jazz with soul and electronic rhythms with live drumbeats, he presented three songs worth of indulgence at its most enjoyable. (Jessica Goodman) 77
Bestival Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight. Photos: Carolina Faruolo.
irst up to draw an impressive crowd at Robin Hill Country Park is Danish pop sensation MØ at the Big Top stage, providing the perfect warm-up to everyone’s Friday night. ‘Final Song’, with its catchy chorus and giddy instrumental, is one obvious crowd-pleaser, but it’s closer ‘Lean On’ that inevitably sets the Isle of Wight crowd going. On Saturday, Black Honey perform a strong early evening set, starting on a infectiously energetic rendition of ‘Spinning Wheel’ before ricocheting into a set of squeals and sprawling guitars. Izzy B Phillips has all the makings of the leader of a band set for bigger and better things. On the main stage, Wolf Alice prove themselves a band going from strength to strength. Bassist Theo Ellis screams “Is everyone still with us?” mid set before diving into a delightfully heavy duo of ‘Storms’ followed by ‘Giant Peach’, but really, there’s no need. Everyone’s enraptured throughout. Saturday night headliners The Cure play a mammoth two-and-a-half hour set, Robert Smith’s hair still as backcombed and eyes still as kohl-smeared as ever. With a back catalogue stretching back four decades, there’s plenty of material to pick from, and they hold off until mid-set before playing some of their favourites (‘Friday I’m In Love’, ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, ‘Lullaby’). It’s to the confusion of some younger fans here, but when they finally do, it’s worth the wait. (Rachel Michaella Finn)
Larmer Tre e Gardens, Dorset. Photo: Luke Hannaford.
End of the Road
King Gizzard & The Lizard wizard
nd Of The Road is summer’s last pit stop for almost all its attendees; a calming comedown from the months before. No such luxuries are afforded to Weaves, though, whose Friday afternoon slot marks the start of yet another European tour. There’s not a whisper of fatigue to be found though – bounding about the stage, they’re only upping the energy with every passing second. Dilly Dally take that and punch it in the gut, the almost pitch-black surrounds of the Big Top tent proving to be the best place for their gargled-gravel grunge. The sun clouds over slightly as Jehnny Beth and co take to the main stage, but it’s a gloomier setting that Savages settle into with ease - ‘No Face’ prompting a stage-wide mosh pit the likes of which Larmer Tree Gardens have surely never seen before. Animal Collective, on the other hand, fail to live up to their headline billing, with a garbled mess of a top spot set. Julia Jacklin stirs a rainy Saturday morning, while The Big Moon take an entirely different tack. Charming their way through problems with a few dodgy electrics, closer ‘Nothing Without You’ proves the festival’s shining moment. The rainfall proves the perfect backdrop to Bat For Lashes’ ‘The Bride’’s tales of love and tragedy, but an on-stage proposal and a clearly beaming Natasha Khan keep spirits high right into a surprise showing from Wild Beasts. All leather jackets and sunglasses, it’s a set that finds their new dressing taking the fore, ‘Tough Guy’ a sea of hip thrusting and sneering. As the weather breaks and people begin their final descent into festival fever on Sunday, it’s King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard who light the fuse. A shoulder-to-shoulder Big Top nevertheless manages to find the space for a little bit of a shimmy, ‘Nonagon Infinity’’s spiralling tension prompting more than a handful of crowdsurfers. As Sunflower Bean’s rollicking post-punk takes over the tipi, this year it’s the noisier spectrum that ruled End Of The Road’s roost. (Tom Connick)
The Cribs Oval Space, London. Photo: Lindsay Melbourne.
005: when MySpace was at its prime and when Twitter was but a glint in the milkman’s eye. Indie kids wore waistcoats, and Hard Fi were non-ironically nominated for a Mercury Prize. Suffice to say, the majority of 2005 has not aged well. But tonight, in a corner of Hackney, The Cribs are here to remind us why 2005, at its peak, was the best time of our god damn lives. Because The Cribs are still as passionate, playful and downright perfect a punk band as they were 11 years ago. In keeping with the evening’s theme, the set is cribbed (ahem) entirely from the band’s 2004 self-titled debut and 2005 follow-up ‘The New Fellas’. The hipster-bashing anthemics of ‘Mirror Kissers’ kick off proceedings, while fan favourite standalone single ‘You’re Gonna Lose Us’ and an acoustic singalong of ‘It Was Only Love’ come early. The biggest perk of a set harking back to the band’s beginnings is, naturally, the chance to dig back into the archives. Rarely played album tracks rub shoulders with old B-sides, while ‘Hey Scenesters’ and ‘Another Number’ are elevated into bona fide life-saving anthems. It’s to be noted, of course, that the reason The Cribs can throw a party like tonight, indebted to the joy of their early glories, is because they’re still glorious in 2016. Unlike waistcoats and MySpace and Hard Fi, the band have managed 12 years and counting without ever falling out of favour or giving into the humdrum treadmill. Tonight can nod to nostalgia, because when the Jarmans get off stage, they’ll be heading back in the studio to cook up something new and equally as exciting. And as the final peels of ‘The Wrong Way To Be’ ring out, it’s a glorious reminder of how, since even before 2005, The Cribs have slowly become one of our dearest national indie treasures. (Lisa Wright) 79
LI VE Sundara Karma Heaven, London. Photo: Phoebe Fox.
Kicking off with ‘Indigo Puff’, a slow, sleek tune in which vocalist Oscar Lulu’s captivating repetition of “you’re the one, you’re the one, you’re the one” has the crowd dancing from the first note, tonight’s show is one that’s packed, energetic and totally sold-out. Sundara Karma are yet to release an album – debut ‘Youth Is Only Fun In Retrospect’ is due early next year – but with almost half a year before it drops, by the dedication of the crowd, it’s hard to tell. They play two unreleased songs from the record tonight, the energy they create barely dropping below that of their better known songs. From ‘Vivienne’, an infectious anthem of young love, to the giddy sing-it-back chorus of new single ‘She Said’, to the pummelling guitar-line of ‘Loveblood’, there’s plenty of promise here. (Rachel Michaella Finn)
The Garage, London. Photo: Phoebe Fox.
es, these Californian punk rockers count Billie Joe Armstrong’s offspring among their number – but even if this wasn’t the case, though, one would imagine comparisons to Green Day would surely still be drawn.
After all, SWMRS share many sonic traits with the arena-conquering band they’re so often associated with. A punk band at their core, their sound borrows a lot from out-and-out pop – LP ‘Drive North’ offers rousing choruses with as frequent a nod to The Beach Boys as to Ramones, The Clash, or Stiff Little Fingers. Highbury’s Garage is an ideal location for a sweaty punk gig, and while they don’t quite pack out the room there’s an abundance of super fans who know every deep cut, B-side and interlude – turns out that if you’re into SWMRS, you’re really into SWMRS. Thankfully for those less familiar with the band they justify such adoration with a rousing, politically-charged performance. The band make their punk ethic clear early into proceedings, leading the crowd in a chant of “Fuck Donald Trump, fuck Boris Johnson”. More impressive, though, is their set-list – hook-heavy but possessing a hardcore edge that brings them to life in such an intimate environment. About an hour in and the venue has become a bonafide sweatbox. It’s a triumphant performance – if you’re after gritty, adrenaline-inducing punk, SWMRS are right up there. (Dan Jeakins)
Deap Vally Islington Assembly Hall, London. Photo: Emma Swann.
t’s release day for Deap Vally. ‘Femejism’ may be less than 24 hours old as they take to Islington Assembly Hall’s elevated theatre stage, but there’s already a feeling within the audience that the record marks the beginning of a new chapter.
Having earned their reputation as a thrilling live act, Deap Vally are still the exhilarating rock and roll band that set the world alight four years ago. Guitar-wielding frontwoman Lindsey Troy brings tremendous energy as the duo rattle through early cuts ‘Gonna Make My Own Money’ and ‘End Of The World’ to the delight of the crowd. Far more impressive, however, are numbers from the new release. Lindsey describes the album as a “creative explosion” and it shows tonight on countless occasions. ‘Grunge Bond’ highlights their love of melodic pop while ‘Royal Jelly’ makes for a triumphant encore finale. There’s newfound depth to their latest material that’s brought to life in this live environment. By the end, the two-piece are truly in the mood to celebrate. There’s more than a few crowd-surfers – including Lindsey herself taking a dive during the encore – and at one stage they bring out their tour manager on backing vocals and tambourine. Deap Vally were already known as an excellent live band but tonight they feel a life-affirming, vital one. (Dan Jeakins)
Lindsey Deap Vally spots Donald Trump in the distance, wearing the exact same leotard.
Sunflower Bean Scala, London. Photo: Poppy Marriott.
ith a sound that slots somewhere between 90s grunge and shoegazey indie, Sunflower Bean’s name may sound suited to a band making mellow music for yet mellower crowds, but their live show confirms the New York City three-piece as anything but. On stage, they’re more rough, raw and a hundred times louder than they ever sound on record, to the delight of fans who delve in and out of mosh pits throughout their Scala set. Bassist / vocalist Julia Cummings’ voice is an enigma, with the unique ability to switch from near-angelic falsetto to furious scream in an instant. A few songs in, her energy getting the better of her, she makes a dive for the crowd, held aloft by a sea of hands for mere seconds before she falls. “We tried!” she laughs, climbing back on-stage, but she’s already started a chain-reaction. From then on out, whenever their songs break down into extended, sprawling guitar solos (especially in heavier numbers like ‘Wall Watcher’ and ‘I Was Home’), the crowd is a sea of copycat crowdsurfers. There’s an eager audience ready and waiting for Sunflower Bean in London - their “biggest headline show yet!”, as Julia exclaims as the show draws to a triumphant close - and tonight they prove why. (Rachel Michaella Finn) 81
INDIE DREAMBOAT Of the Month
Full name: Tom Dewhurst Nickname: Dewboi / Dewdini Star Sign: Aquarius Pets? A cat called ‘Cat’ Favourite Film? Space Jam Favourite Food? Crisps Drink of choice? A big delicious beer Signature scent? All day barefootedness Favourite hair product? Sleep What song would you play to woo someone? Cyndi Lauper - ‘Time After Time’ If you weren’t in a band, what would you be doing? Selling antiques and building a treehouse Chat up line of choice? Hi I’m Tom, it’s a pleasure doing business, have you tried the cheesecake? Did you know I was DIY Indie Dreamboat of the Month once?
OUT 14 OCTOBER
THE NEW ALBUM INCLUDES ARE WE READY? (WRECK), BAD DECISIONS & GAMESHOW AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW AT TWODOORCINEMACLUB.COM