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free / issue 33 / September 2014



- J


TOUR 2014

In association with
























Deputy Editor GOOD Balls. EVIL I didn’t get to break out my yellow wellies at Reading this year, there wasn’t a puddle in sight. Tragic. Sarah Jamieson

News Editor

GOOD After seeing Paramore at

Reading, all I want for Christmas is blue hair. EVIL I can’t believe festival season is over for another whole year. I didn’t even get a giant Yorkshire pudding… Louise Mason

Art Director

EDITOR’S LETTER That’s it then. Festival season is pretty much done for another year, the nights are coming in - it’s basically Christmas now. But a lack of sunshine and a nip in the air aren’t a reason to be downhearted, dear reader. As we get to the end of 2014 the big beasts start to move - prepping albums for this year or next. Alt-J are back, being all weird about crisp packets and licking. Royal Blood are storming the charts, levelling the opposition with a wave of white noise. Even Death From Above 1979 are back. You can read about all three, and loads more, in this month’s issue. Really, things are just getting interesting.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH ‘I’ve spent like an hour on this. Cherlock MUST be published’

shoot. Shame we didn’t keep them.

EVIL ”Um, Jesse, could you maybe not smoke right now, when I have 2 litres of lighter fluid in my hand?” (See left) Jamie Milton

Online Editor

GOOD Grimes is bringing back

cowboy hats and I’m down with that. EVIL Forgetting to take my Macklemore coat to Reading.

Stephen Ackroyd

GOOD Finally we can reveal the first DIY Presents Tour in association with PledgeMusic. Don’t tell, but the final line-up for the London leg is a bit special.

GOOD Alt-J’s paintings during the cover

Emma Swann

EVIL The power going on

Paramore’s co-headline Reading set was especially cruel, but don’t be downhearted. They turned it around in style. What a band.

Reviews Editor GOOD The crowd at this year’s Reading was the best I’ve witnessed in a decade. So much love for so much music. EVIL There being SO MANY bands to see, missing out on Royal Blood and Chvrches’ sets!

LISTENING POST What’s on the DIY stereo this month? CHARLI XCX - SUCKER

The best pop star in the world today. There’s no doubting that one on the strength of her new album. WEEZER - EVERY THING WILL BE ALRIGHT IN THE END

They’ve had more than their fair share of haters, but this time, they’ve got the answers. Welcome back, guys.



Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden Reviews Editor Emma Swann News Editor Sarah Jamieson









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Art Director Louise Mason Head Of Marketing & Events Jack Clothier Online Editor Jamie Milton Assistant Online Editor El Hunt Contributors: Aurora Mitchell, Bevis Man, Carolina Faruolo, Dominique Sisley, Henry Boon, Hugh Morris, Huw Oliver, Kyle MacNeill, Matthew Davies, Nat Davies, Nathan Roberts, Stuart Knapman, Tom Connick, Tomas Doyle, Tom Walters, Will Moss Photographers Carolina Faruolo, Mike Massaro, Phil Smithies, Sarah Louise Bennett For DIY editorial For DIY sales tel: +44 (0)20 76130555 For DIY online sales tel: +44 (0)20 76130555 DIY is published by Sonic Media Group. All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of DIY. 25p where sold. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which Sonic Media Group holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. Cover photo by Mike Massaro


NEWS reading &leeds 2014 Two sites, hundreds of thousands of people - Reading & Leeds may mark the end of the summer, but with a whole load of amazing bands, 2014’s festival season is going out in style. Photos: Emma Swann and Sarah Louise Bennett

Power out. Paramore conquer technical gremlins in their co-headline slot. 6

Setlist Still Into You That’s What You Get For a Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic Ignorance Pressure Decode The Only Exception Brick by Boring Brick Misery Business Let the Flames Begin Part II Proof Ain’t It Fun

Paramore reign victorious


t takes a certain strength to look a headlining slot at Reading festival in the eye and keep on marching forward to meet it. It takes a whole other level of steely determination to be faced with problems beyond your control, in the middle of that set, and still come out smiling. For anyone in doubt that Paramore weren’t the right band for the job, tonight’s show is enough to silence them. For the most part, their seventy five minutes on stage are seamless and slick. Bounding across the stage like nobody’s business, Hayley Williams is the insatiable ball of energy fans have come to know and love. Her turquoise hair bouncing as she skips from one side to the other, there’s no doubting her abilities as a frontwoman, as a leader. From the popinfused fun of ‘Still Into You’ to the prowling menace of ‘Ignorance’, her powers know no limit. They’re mesmerising to watch on stage. Then, the first wave of technical issues hit. What feels like the entire PA cuts off halfway through their ‘Brand New Eyes’ track, but nevertheless - and somewhat blissfully unaware - the trio continue on unfazed. Coming back to life, they get through two songs without issue, but as suddenly as it returned, the power cuts out once more. The next few minutes are undoubtedly a little confused - with even festival organiser Melvin Benn appearing on stage at one point - but as Williams gathers her bandmates to sit on the corner of the stage together before deciding to play ‘The Only Exception’ a cappella, they transform a could-be disaster into an intimate moment that most bands wouldn’t dare dream of. Plugged back in and back to full speed, ‘Last Hope’ is intoxicating, ‘Let The Flames Begin’ powerful and its newer extension “Paramore were ‘Part II’ incendiary. With Williams, great, and I think silhouetted against their wall of the silent part made lights, on her knees in the middle the gig better.” Ellie of her stage, her bandmates Rowsell, Wolf Alice slamming drums either side of her, they summon a potent intensity. With ‘Ain’t It Fun’ they dance around like no one’s watching. If tonight was about winning Reading over, Paramore are leaving victorious. (SJ)

“Confetti is our ammo!”


t’s amazing that we’re playing with Queens of the Stone Age,” enthuses Hayley Williams, speaking ahead of Paramore’s Reading headline set, “that’s pretty cool. There are some pretty cool bands on this bill, and I don’t actually think we fit, but that’s what I like. I like that we are not with our typical sort of bands that we normally play with.” Sandwiched in between Vampire Weekend and Queens, it’s an eclectic mix that’s not lost on them. “It’s very nice,” adds guitarist Taylor York. “It feels like our perception is starting to change in people’s eyes, and that’s cool.” Currently fresh from a massive US tour alongside Fall Out Boy, the band are at the peak of their powers, with their biggest production set up yet up their sleeves. “We’ve brought a lot of stuff from Monumentour with us the production, the lighting,” explains bassist Jeremy Davis, “which is bigger than we’ve ever had over here and that’s cool.” “It’s my favourite production that we’ve ever had,” Williams adds, before Davis continues: “It’s awesome. We’ve got a lot of confetti… we have way too much confetti! The people cleaning up are gonna be hating us, like ‘I’m never working another Paramore show!” “Confetti is our ammo!” laughs Williams. “That’s the mark that we leave in every venue and every city. I know that a lot of bands do it, but every tour, we just try to do it more.” “And now we have so much more than we had on Monumentour!” Davis laughs, “We’ve done more than double, almost triple, for this show because there are so many people so I’m pretty sure it’s going to be snowing.” As for what they hope to achieve with their sets - apart from a tough clean up job - their intentions simply lie in inviting some new fans to join the family. “Hopefully it’ll be cool,” concludes Williams, “because fans that have never seen us, that are here to just watch bands or that are here for another band in particular, will be surprised. I think that’s my favourite thing about being in this band: we hear a lot of people tell us that we’re better live than we are on CD and that’s the biggest compliment anyone could ever give us, because we work so hard to make the show great. Hopefully we’ll surprise some people and excite them and expand the community and keep it going.” DIY 7

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GERARD WAY brings ‘Hesitant Alien’ to Reading & Leeds


emember the zombies from 28 Days Later? The massed screaming horde, mad-eyed and thirsty for blood. We’re ten minutes from Gerard Way’s biggest live unveiling yet, and the Reading 2014 crowd are doing a passable impression as they leg it towards the second stage tent the former My Chemical Romance frontman has chosen for his proper solo hello. Sure, there’s been that industry shindig Stateside, and a tiny warm up in Portsmouth earlier this week, but Reading is an altogether bigger beast. Thousands of people who aren’t only here for the one set, with two songs they’ll maybe know, and an album full of Britpop influences from before many of them were born - there’s no doubt that this is the big roll of the dice. But then this is Gerard bloody Way. He’s dodged the bottles of piss before on the way to triumphantly headlining the Main Stage. He’s one of Reading’s own. This may be a bear pit, but it’s one full of his people; acolytes who fought the tabloids on the bloodied beaches of emo. The screams say it all. There’s no way this is going badly. “There’s so many of you here. I fucking love you,” he beams. It’s a set filled with impassioned statements. Opening with ‘Bureau’, a good portion of his debut solo album gets an airing. Ending with a dial-tone to ‘Action Cat’, those two singles that have broken cover (the other, ‘No Shows’ comes later) show that eventually Gerard Way live will do everything his former charges achieved and more. “I appreciate these are a bunch of songs you’ve never heard before,” he sympathises. As it is, even without the familiarity, he can still mix it. ‘Zero Zero’ has hairs on its chest already. ‘Millions’ sounds positively anthemic. ‘Drugstore Perfume’ and ‘Get The Gang Together’ show exactly what Way meant when he was name checking mid-90s British guitar pop. Finishing with a cover of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s ‘Snakedriver’, it’s hard to imagine Gerard and his ‘Hesitant Alien’ won’t be spending more than a little time this side of the pond. “I’m never going to forget this,” he admits. “We’re going to be here a lot, so we’ll be seeing you plenty more.” (SA)


Bureau Action Cat Zero Zero Millions Juarez Drugstore Perfume Get The Gang Together No Shows Snakedriver

Vampire Weekend ease themselves into the sunset slot

Running through the best parts of their three records, it’s immediately clear that despite the gems Vampire Weekend fledge, they’re not quite ready to make the step up to headliners. It probably wasn’t on their agenda anyway. The truth is, Ezra and co. are best off this way. They make delicate pop tracks suspect to a sudden gust of wind - nighttime sets can wait for another day. (JM)


finds his rhythm again

Five years out of the spotlight and the poor bastard could’ve been accused of being a little bit rusty, and there’s a slight ounce of trepidation when Jamie T takes to the Festival Republic stage and bit-by-bit asserts himself. For a guy that’s just announced two nights at Ally Pally, this was always going to be oversubscribed, but as he kicks off with an oldie and the drifting ‘Don’t You Find’, things are at risk of not quite kicking off into full gear. That’s quickly seen to. From new album ‘Carry On The Grudge’, it’s only his sweeping return track and the more raucous ‘Zombie’ that make an entrance. The rest is devoted to huge singalongs, reminders that here exists a genuine star that’s chosen to shun the forefront for some time. ‘Sticks and Stones’ - the set’s closer - cements the fact, and Reading’s going to be hard-pressed to find a bigger unifying chant than the Stella-swigging ‘Sheila’. Anyone willing enough to force themselves into this packed-out under-billing witnesses a giant in the making. His return isn’t just down to a load of chatter from oldies to forthcoming new numbers, there’s something spectacular up his sleeve, and the swagger in this returning gambit of a set confirms it. (JM)

Queens of the Stone Age


here are the new festival headliners, you’ll hear them cry. But headliners of major summer blockbusters like Reading & Leeds aren’t created in five minutes - they’re grown over time. Biffy Clyro knew it when they were called up to top the bill, but if any band has done their time on the climb to the summit, it’s Queens of the Stone Age. After all, they have the hits, but they’ve been no overnight success story. ‘No

graduate to the top of the bill

One Knows’ is hardly a wallflower. ‘Smooth Sailing’ is positively pesky in its demands for attention. As a onetwo, ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’ and ‘The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret’ are peerless. They’ve brought lasers too, just to make sure it definitely looks like a bill topping set. But that isn’t it. QOTSA have a gear - a groove - that’s made for Reading. Once they hit it, there’s a quality that’s been long muscling its way to the

highest of highs. Josh Homme knows what it takes to play Reading Festival. He’s been here with Queens before. He’s brought other bands too - notably supergroup Them Crooked Vultures a few years back. The top of the tree isn’t a gamble here, it’s a graduation. In Homme’s own words, “the first time we played here was at 1 o’clock. Now it’s 10 o’clock. That means we’re nine hours better.” You can’t argue with that logic. (SA)


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Alex Turner expectantly awaits a shoe shine.

ARCTIC MONKEYS close in style


hen is a band more than a band? A lot of people are here to see Arctic Monkeys. More so than most headliners, even. Before the band even take the stage, over-excited fans are being dragged out of the pit. Yes, picking British indie’s biggest band to headline one of its biggest festivals is hardly rocket science, but regardless, this is an event. It shouldn’t be any shock. With ‘AM’ Arctic Monkeys managed to go from the top division to the world series. This, in theory, is the end of their touring of the record. A two night last stand before heading off for who knows what: they’re going in style. ‘Do I Wanna Know?’, ‘Brianstorm’, ‘Dancing Shoes’ - across their five albums Arctic Monkeys have built up a set of material that’s equally smart and robust. Though the sound from the Main Stage might not be perfect, with a crowd firing back every word it’s hardly an issue. Flares pepper the masses, the feeling that it matters little what the band on stage does hangs in the air. Thankfully, unlike many at the end of an album campaign, Alex Turner and co. aren’t phoning it in. Arctic Monkeys are huge. They’ll stay huge. Some things are just meant to be. (SA)

Gnarwolves cause carnage with opening set

It’s been twelve months since Gnarwolves packed out the Lock Up tent before midday. This year, they’ve got a bigger challenge: opening the Main Stage. Marking their second performance at the weekender, you’d think they’d be boasting nerves, but instead, those seem replaced with glee. Muttering into his microphone, “this is madness,” before kicking headfirst into their opening track, guitarist Thom Weeks spends most of his introduction laughing in disbelief. Their time on stage is a celebration: a powerful moment for a band who have more than put the time in and toured the toilet circuit. Today may have been a surreal part of the trio’s journey so far, but there’s no doubting that it was one of the most deserved. (SJ) 10

Peace play the Main Stage in style

If you’re going to do the Main Stage, you may as well do it with flair. Harry Koisser has come dressed for the occasion, donning an all in one houndstooth ensemble, holographic glasses and a furry coat. Next year, everyone will be wearing this. They’ll probably have a second Peace album too. There are hints at it throughout the band’s set - tracks we’ve already heard like ‘Money’, ‘Lost On Me’ and ‘World Pleasure’ sit alongside the heart of their 2013 debut. ‘California Daze’ remains a woozy, summer standout that could maybe have done with a bit more sun in the sky. There’s always one way round that one, though. ”We’ll be back soon, maybe it will be night,” Harry offers before closer ‘Bloodshake’. Stranger things have happened. (SA)

Moving up the ranks Last year Chvrches played on the Festival Republic stage, a special moment for them. Returning this year to play near the top of the BBC Radio 1 / NME Stage’s bill is another, says the band’s Iain Cook. “It’s not usual that you get asked to play the same festival twice in succession, so we were delighted to be asked back. Tonight’s slot feels like a really nice progression.” DIY

Warpaint get jammy Warpaint make music that is echoey and insular, woven out of misted vocals skating over the top of vapoury lines of melody. It’s music for losing yourself to completely. Playing in the wide, cavernous expanse of the ginormous BBC Radio 1 / NME Stage, it’s hard to get lost in all the unfilled space. Still, in a more jammy sounding set ‘Disco/Very’ still sounds intriguing, if a little less minimal and more muddied. ‘Undertow’ is more propulsive and almost as irresistible, bathed in a litmus wash of blue and red. ‘Love Is To Die’ skates along with a leisurely groove and sizzles. Nothing, though, ever seems to ignite and burst into flames. Today, the tent just wasn’t right for them. (EH)

MØ takes the Dance Stage to another level The Dance Stage is home to more than just womping bass-lines and breakneck beats. Pass by at any given moment across the weekend and there’ll either be a ‘Bound 2’ remix flying out from beyond the pegs or some kind of ‘banger’ worthy of raised arms and all-out hedonism. Sometimes the spot’s reserved for a pop act, or someone from an alternative crowd worthy of testing their music in a

different environment. Two years ago it was Grimes’ time, and her absolutely insanity-filled set seemed to be a defining moment. Stepping up today, MØ is ready to rise to the challenge. The Grimes comparison stops there - Karen Marie Ørsted projects a more primal, beat-centric routine. A Spice Girls cover’s thrown in for good measure, and by the end of her Reading & Leeds debut she’s adored by a flock of sweaty - often topless - punters hunched on each other’s shoulders. (JM)

Chvrches cement themselves as the real deal A dazzling light show attacks from all sides. The giant ‘The Bones of What You Believe’ logo beams forwards, glittering next to an orange glow of a sunset that creeps through into the BBC Radio 1 / NME Stage. “All of our songs are dark, lyrically, but sonically they’re always up,” jokes Chvrches singer Lauren Mayberry before introducing the goosebump-inducing ‘Tether’, and in a way she’s pointing out that things shouldn’t be nearly as euphoric as they are. But something clicks. These dark, tense synth pop songs from their debut take on such a deft balancing act. At festivals, all of a sudden, they sound like actual anthems. The kind Ibiza might fall heads over heels in love with, not just adoring hardcore fans that fill the tent tonight. Chvrches have gone from a near-guaranteed success to the real deal. (JM)

Drenge play dress up There’s a drummer with long hair, a sort of dirty blonde frontman wrestling his guitar. It’s at Reading festival. They’re both wearing dresses. Can we all see where this one may be heading? At some point over the past year or so, Drenge levelled up. They got louder; tighter too. They already excelled in the live arena, but all of a sudden here stands an absolute beast of a band. A couple of months back they took on Glastonbury and, from the crowd stood in the tent to those watching on the telly, blew the roof off. At Reading, they go up a gear again. Maybe even two. Technical difficulties may delay them, but once they get going it quickly becomes obvious something amazing is afoot. Everything is coming up Loveless. (SA) Pi-nipples. 11

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THE HORRORS put Reading 2014 into a trance


efore their set, Faris Badwan from The Horrors tells DIY they’re better suited to tents these days. “We can control the lights that way,” he explains, and while it sounds fussy at the time, it makes perfect sense after they’ve finished their biggest slot at Reading & Leeds so far. Lasers and a dazzling light show can’t do all the talking, but they enhance the band’s to-and-fro between krautrock, electronica and all-out rock’n’roll to such an extreme it’s like witnessing a completely different band to one ending up on outdoor stages. It’s just a bit of pyrotechnics, but it goes a long stretch. The Horrors have a way of going about things that suggests they’re in no rush. They take a couple of years between albums, and songs often linger beyond the five minute mark. But there’s an urgency here. A strange sense of euphoria. Everything comes to life in this environment: it’s perfect for them. (JM)

BACK IN THE DAY Faris recounts his first experience of arriving at Reading & Leeds as a punter. “The first time I came, I arrived without a ticket. They weren’t so strict with the wristbands thing. There were loads of good bands when I first came: the Fiery Furnaces, Secret Machines.” DIY

Disclosure live up to billing with late night set


isclosure have gained such a reputation of bringing on special guests at their shows that it’s almost a guarantee for Aluna Francis, Sam Smith et al. to join them on stage. For once, on one of the biggest sets of their career so far, they stick to their own guns. And it works. Kicking off with ‘F For You’, the duo launch straight into ‘When A Fire Starts To Burn’. They promise to “get the party started” before ‘Grab Her!’, but by this point the deal’s already done. ‘Stimulation’ backs up the rhythmic, house-nodding routine, and bigger hits are scattered throughout the set. Eventually they hit their top stride, ‘Latch’ becoming a defining moment of the weekend - but they’ve eased towards it, lighting a match exactly when it’s required. The BBC Radio 1 / NME Stage couldn’t ask for a finer closing set. (JM)


Howard from Disclosure can’t find the drop. Where’s it gone?

Wolf Alice live up to the occasion “We were really scared, we played right after Royal Blood. Royal Blood are the band. We could hear people screaming from our dressing room. I could hear everyone while I was warming up; I was singing and I could still hear them. I was crapping myself! It was cool though, it was great.” Mike Duce, Lower Than Atlantis



It’s not exactly a back catalogue they possess, given the time Wolf Alice have been around, but on their Reading & Leeds debut they handpick brilliantly between the (relatively) old and the refreshingly new. All signs point forward, too - it’s in the previously unheard material that they cement themselves as a fixture of this festival. No doubt about it - this will be the first of many appearances, and they’ll only become bigger occasions along the way. As it stands, the London fourpiece still treat their mid-afternoon set like it’s the biggest of their lives, and despite Glasto triumphs and a memory-etching UK tour with Superfood and Gengahr, it probably is. There’s no stopping this band, and even if they continue to treat moments like these like the finest of their careers, they’ll be met head first by something even more incredible. (JM)

come out of the black

n case of emergencies, against all logic, Royal Blood could probably make a stab at headlining Reading Festival right now. Today. This instant. If an Arctic Monkey stubs his toe, if Blink-182 decide actually, we’re alright, we’ve had enough - Royal Blood could step up and not embarrass themselves. Yes, their debut album isn’t out yet. Really this packed BBC Radio 1 / NME Stage should only know a few singles, and yet here they are going absolutely mental for every hundred mile high riff, singing back every word. The band say little, which in itself says a lot. ‘Come On Over’, ‘Figure It Out’, ‘Little Monster’ and ‘Out of the Black’ all sound massive. ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton’ is even bigger. The circle pits rage so fierce that, by the end of their set, you’d expect to find something approaching the grand canyon sitting front and centre of the stage. In just over a week, Royal Blood will be a much, much bigger band. On Monday, they release their debut album. Seven days later, there’s every chance they’ll be sitting near the top of the charts. These are all things we can measure - dates, sales figures, near statistical certainties. And yet that’s not what it’s all about. This is: tens of thousands of people going absolutely off the chain for a British rock band. And what a band they are. (SA)

Metronomy reminisce

Wolf Alice and Metronomy arrive in the same outfit. Awkward.

“I really love Reading,” says Metronomy’s Joe Mount backstage. “The one that really sticks out [for me] was when Prodigy and Beastie Boys were headlining [in 1998] and there was a big kerfuffle about ‘Smack My Bitch Up’. Like, Beastie Boys said it was irresponsible… Anyway, Supergrass were playing. I remember sitting and drinking cider, watching Supergrass. It was perfect.”

Fun times Joel, Ellie and Theo spent the first day of the festival soaking in the atmosphere. “It’s good to see it happening. You realise that if you look like you’re having fun, everyone else will have fun too,” says Ellie. DIY

You Me At Six pop up on the Introducing Stage “It’s nice to be back,” offers You Me At Six guitarist Max Helyer, ahead of their set on Reading’s Main Stage. “And, you know, we might be darting about on some other stages. Who knows?! It should be good!” DIY 13

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bring Reading 2014 to a close


PRIDES’ road to Reading


rom announcing their first ever headline tour to performing live at the Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony, now is undoubtedly a fun time to be in Prides. Returning to the BBC Introducing stage, this year they’ve not only moved up the Reading & Leeds bill: they’re headlining it. “It is a bit surreal,” starts frontman Stewart Brock. “It seems like no time at all since we were here last year. That was really early on for us; we’d only had the one song out, it was the first time we had played outside of Scotland. So, to come back a year later and headline it is really weird. It’s very odd, but we’re obviously very flattered to be asked!” “I was thinking about it today,” joins in drummer Lewis Gardner, “and I was thinking about the songs that we play in the set now that we didn’t even have then. I thought, ‘Oh wow, we must’ve played a really crap set last year!’” “It is quite a nice way to mark it,” laughs Stewart, “it’s a bit of an anniversary.” With their set at the weekender coming to a close just as the evening’s headliners walk onstage, their appearance also marks the second time that they’ve played ahead of Blink-182. Except last time, just a few weeks ago, they were in Brixton Academy, London.


“I don’t know, I don’t think it has,” offers Stewart, on whether opening for their teenage heroes has sunk in yet. “Everything has been so busy over the last couple of weeks, but it was one of those shows that just landed right in the middle of loads of stuff happening...” “I feel a bit like there was two gigs on!” laughs Lewis. “That we did a gig, and then Blink did a gig and it just happened to be at the same place.” “It was weird,” Stewart agrees, as guitarist Callum Wiseman nods in agreement, “but obviously it was amazing as we’re all massive fans of Blink, so it was awesome to be anywhere near that line-up.” The exciting stuff just keeps coming. With 2014 now on its way out, the band are already looking ahead to their headline dates. “I am actually really excited about the headline Glasgow show,” concludes Stewart. “I think that’s another milestone for us, especially coming to the end of the year. By that time we’ll have the album finished and ready to go, we’ll have another couple of singles out, so to end the year on a high of a sold out hometown show is gonna be amazing.” (SJ)

or most attendees this weekend, Blink-182 are here to conjure up nostalgia. The trio’s music perfectly epitomises youth, and therein lies their power. Having already played two intimate warm up shows at London’s Brixton Academy, they gave fans a taste of what could be to come from their headlining stints. As it turns out, they sold themselves short. They’re no longer the kind of band who can operate on just a plug-in-and-play basis: they need to be headlining arenas, stadiums and festivals. Tonight, there’s an unrelenting energy from the word go: never have you witnessed a happier crowd. Voices are raised, everyone sings along with each and every word. There, of course, are the hits. Every song that once soundtracked a teenager’s summer day is thrown into the mix. There are the new songs, too, and they’re received just as well. Tonight is a team game, with the band and crowd aligned and while, yeah, maybe it’s time for the trio to hang up the ‘…your mom’ jokes, they’ve still not lost their charm. At least, that’s what the 60,000-strong crowd tonight would have you believe, and that’s no mean feat. (SJ)




DIY Presents

goes on the road with a UK Tour and London all-dayer, in association with PledgeMusic Flyte and Shy Nature are heading up an exciting run of shows.


his October, DIY’s going on the road with two of the country’s best new bands. Headliners Flyte and special guests Shy Nature are joining forces for a run of six free entry shows on the DIY Presents Tour 2014, in association with PledgeMusic. For Flyte’s frontman Will Taylor, this tour offers a huge opportunity for the four-piece to make a big next step. “It’s our first as headliners. And it’s going to coincide very nicely with the release of our EP,” he says, with the band’s only single to date being the sweet, head-turning ‘We Are The Rain’. “It really helps doing support tours, but you don’t want to do that forever. We did the MS MR one at the end of last year, then we did the Bombay Bicycle Club dates,” he explains. “Even on the Bombay tour, it feels like you’re 70% doing a tour, because it’s not yours. No matter what the nature of the venues are, what the towns are, it’s your tour. You’re doing it - it’s 100%, there you go. It’s very cool to be able to do it with DIY as well, it’s wicked.”


Bassist / vocalist Nick Hill stresses that Flyte “learnt so much” from support slots, but now they’re ready to go one further. “Technically there was a lot for us to steal from Bombay. Physically, too!” jokes Taylor. “We really got a lot out of it, thinking ‘Well I would do this, but I would do that differently’ - I can’t wait for our band to be like that. It’s about feeling like you’ve got a pact with the people out there. And no-one else is getting in on it. They’re your people and you feel safe on stage when they’re in the audience. ‘We’re alone together finally’. I want to have that feeling every night. Bring it on.” That’s not all though. Once they’ve toured the country, both bands are arriving back in London to join the bill of a special DIY Presents in association with PledgeMusic all-day party at The Laundry on 1st November, where they’ll be joined by Telegram, Menace Beach, Blessa and a whole load more amazing bands still to be revealed. More than just a show, we’ll be bringing all kinds of freebies, extras and surprises down on the day, as well as reporting live on A few early


with special guests Shy Nature October 22 Bristol Start The Bus 23 Reading Oakford Social Club 24 Bournemouth Sixty Million Postcards 29 Leeds Nation of Shopkeepers 30 Nottingham Spanky Van Dykes 31 Banbury Also Known As .............................................................



DIY Presents London All-Dayer

in association with PledgeMusic The Laundry, London 1st November With Telegram Flyte Shy Nature Blessa Menace Beach

The Leeds-based quartet reveal the recipe behind their brand new album, ‘Blood’.

Tickets on sale now:


James Brown: “I was listening to that a lot when I started trying to write some riffs and make some noises. It turns out that was quite a big influence on some of my guitar playing; that particular track.”


bird tickets are on sale now for the reduced price of £10 - once they’re gone it’ll be £15. For more details and a full rundown on the tour, head to DIY

Do you want to play? Every night on the DIY Presents tour (including the London all-dayer), DIY’s picking an exciting new talent to join Shy Nature and Flyte on the road thanks to Bandwagon. If you’re in a band, it could be you. Interested? All the details can be found on

Tom Hudson: “One of the days that we were recording, it was my birthday and I got a bottle of nice whiskey for it. I finished it, did a few takes and listened back - it was pretty bad...”


Tom: “Normally the longest that we spend recording an album is about two weeks, or just over, but this time we had a month and a half. Towards the end of it, we all had in-jokes that weren’t even in-jokes. We were just saying random stuff. “ Rob Lee: “It got really weird at the end of each day.”


James: “Fried chicken played a large part in keeping us full of energy. Quite literally!”


James: “At Greenmount Studio, they had this amazing coffee machine, and I remember the first time we had a coffee there, that was it. We were hooked!”


Tom: “There was a lot of amps in the mix, a lot of guitar amplifiers. There was a lot of feedback and noise.” Rob: “James smashed a lightbulb and that’s actually on there as well. He got carried away and just smashed it.” Pulled Apart By Horses’ new album ‘Blood’ is out now via Sony Red. They headline Southsea Fest on 20th September. DIY shy nature 17


Grab It By The Horns Avi Buffalo’s Avi Zahner-Isenberg is casting off his teenage years, but that doesn’t mean he’s all grown up. Words: El Hunt.


vi Buffalo’s self-titled first album was one of 2010’s most promising debuts. Wistfully romantic and packed with lusty, pent-up frustration in equal measures, Long Beach-based musician Avi Zahner-Isenberg was still a young upstart fresh out of high school when he wrote ‘Avi Buffalo’. Four years on, and ‘At Best Cuckold’, the long-awaited follow-up, might smell less of aerosol deodorant and locker rooms, but there’s still the same wide-eyed loved-up innocence right at its core. It was a relief, agrees Avi with a muffled “mmhmm”, to break free from the ‘straight out of school’ narrative that dominated excitement around his debut. “I had a lot of time between [‘Avi Buffalo’] and this album,” he adds, while wrestling with various tiny sachets on his sushi tray. “Time to have other real life experiences and enjoy them, but still be in a really intense young-feeling learning-all-the-time mode, you know?” Having four years to take his time, says Avi, was hugely important. “For my early stuff, I did everything at home with cheap microphones, and I got a really personal sound out of it,” he says. This time he wanted to expand on that – “to mix it with high fidelity. But I tried to keep it really minimal on this record, I didn’t want to overwhelm the really basic good tape audio. This [time] I really got the time to experiment with sounds on my own, any hour of the day, by myself or with other people; that was really really fun to do” Avi Buffalo has always been full of stories, namely stories about women that Avi has been romantically involved with. “You just get involved with people,” shrugs Avi while sipping from a mug bearing Paul McCartney’s face. “You get emotionally connected to them and then you think about them and write about it.” While the first album seemed sort of angry, flustered and pent up, like an espionaging semi, the second album, says Avi, isn’t as pissed off. “I’m not angry,” Avi says, “just sexually frustrated.” Avi Buffalo’s new album ‘At Best Cuckold’ will be released on 8th September via Sub Pop. DIY



A Famy Affair The wait is over: FAMY’s debut album is here.


“If I didn’t have music,

I don’t know what I’d do.” Craig Nicholls has had his fair share of ups and downs, but now The Vines are back with a new album. Words: Dominique Sisley.


t’s 2014, and The Vines are about to enter their 20th year of existence. For the majority of bands, that sort of achievement would be fairly impressive. For The Vines however, that sort of timescale is jaw dropping. Their two turbulent decades of ever changing band members, police arrests and stage storm-offs have been well documented: it’s a miracle they’re still standing. Well - Craig Nicholls is, anyway. “It’s pretty mad,” the frontman muses in singsong Australian, “I kind of feel like I did when I was 19, or in my early 20s. It’s the same things that are important to me. I just want to record and write and then play some gigs now that we’ve got some new songs.”

“Deep down, you know, I’m just following my instincts.” Craig Nicholls Because they do have new songs, as it happens. The Vines have returned this year with ‘Wicked Nature’ - an independently released double album that sees Nicholls take the helm as producer. “I’ve always been very involved... I co-produced the first [album], second album and the third one,” he remembers, “but definitely more so with this one.” The lineup has

changed almost completely, too. Since the band’s last release in 2011, Ryan Griffiths, Brad Heald and Hamish Rosser have all departed. When asked why, Craig remains cagey - “It’s not the most comfortable thing [to talk about],” he mumbles, “it’s just a shame that it didn’t work out.” It’s unlikely that The Vines will be doing a massive world tour for ‘Wicked Nature’ – though it’s not necessarily being ruled out. At the moment, the main priority for Nicholls is to be somewhere where he can keep writing and keep creating. “It’s so much [a therapy for me]. If I didn’t have the band or if I didn’t have music I don’t know what I’d do... it’s really been the thing that’s saved me.” His voice takes a more urgent tone – “I cannot overstate the importance of it. I always thought that all these songs come from isolation and desperation. There’s stuff which is like, screaming, and then there’s nice ballads,” he laughs again. “But that’s kind of what I’m like, I guess. Very extreme.”

AMY released their debut single in 2011: now, three years on and with ‘Dogg Dogg’ a distant memory, the band are finally in prime position to reveal their first fulllength, and they couldn’t be more excited. “We’re looking forward to getting it out there!” laughs frontman Bruce Yates. “We’ve been waiting a really long time. We made the album a couple of summers ago, [the delay] wasn’t the creative process: everything around it just took a while to fall into place.” With ‘We Fam Econo’ now finally prepped and ready, they’re in fine shape for its release. Calling it an “honest” album, Bruce hopes that it’ll allow them to make their own mark. “I guess everyone our age grew up listening to The Strokes, but there’s an odd aesthetic spin on the guitar music that we’re doing.” FAMY’s debut album ‘We Fam Econo’ will be released on 8th September via Transgressive Records. DIY

Read the full interview on The Vines’ new album ‘Wicked Nature’ is out now via Wicked Nature Music. DIY



Marmozets’ chicken impersonations need improving

All Things

Weird& Wonderful


As their debut album rolls around, Marmozets are stepping up a notch. Words: Sarah Jamieson. Photo: Phil Smithies

hen Marmozets kicked and screamed their way into the limelight, tearing their way through the British rock scene a handful of years ago, they had an average age of just sixteen and were met with wide-eyed awe. Their sets were carnage, their energy was unharnessed and the focal point of it all, frontwoman Becca MacIntyre’s vocals were ferocious. Three years on, the two sets of siblings – MacIntyre is joined by her two brothers Sam and Josh, alongside Jack and Will Bottomley – may be a little bit older, but they’re that much wiser too. “It’s out there for life…” begins Becca, during downtime on their most recent video shoot. The five-piece thought it right to take their time, perfecting their debut ‘The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets’, rather than rushing out a release that wouldn’t fully do them justice. “It’s our baby,” she continues. “Sometimes you over think things, but I’m glad we took our time with it.” They’re also a band with a vision. “Half of the process has been because of the artwork and getting that right,” she explains, “and then the name, and all these other things. The whole mixing process was an absolute shambles: we had to go through quite a few different people until we were happy. That’s why it’s been such a long wait. People probably think we’re just really slow writers, but no, we had the album there. It


was just a matter of getting it perfect.” “Every little thing that we do has to be to the best of our ability,” adds guitarist Sam, before his sister concludes. “That’s what we work hard for.” And have no doubt: this quintet are not your typical heavy band. Whilst maintaining that energy and aggression they’ve perfected, the MacIntyre siblings don’t want to channel that anger into their lyrics too. “I think,” Becca offers, “especially on this album, with the lyrics that me and Sam write, they’re quite positive. We like to be quite positive and then, because there’s a lot of aggressiveness, it’s almost like trying to get a point across and getting people to just listen, to believe we’ve written good things and maybe to help people. “It’s one of those things, when someone listens to a song, or sees something that they like, they put inside of them. They make it a part of their own journey in life, and I hope people can relate to it. This is our first album and we want it to be right, we want to feel good! We feel so good about the album and we just want to get it out there now.” Marmozets’ new album ‘The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets’ will be released on 29th September via Roadrunner Records. DIY

When ATP’s Jabberwocky was cancelled last month, the London music scene got together to give it a silver lining. Words: El Hunt. Photos: Emma Swann.


ondon, for all its funny social etiquette regarding eye contact on tubes and talking to strangers, has a brilliant knack for pulling together at the crucial moment. In 2012, when BLOC shut down suddenly, the promoters of London banded together to put on artists from the festival across the capital anyway. Last month, ATP’s Jabberwocky was due to go ahead at the ExCel centre, but was cancelled with just three days notice. In true spirit, the city worked its magic once again. What became known as the Jabberwocky Fallout was born, and impromptu gigs popped up across London to turn the debris into something else all together. Oh frabjous day indeed. At DIY’s last minute bonanza at 100 Club, the homemade signs expressing disdain towards Jabberwocky are the only remnants of the almighty mess that led to tonight’s dreamy line-up.

O Frabjous Day Hookworms kick it all off in strange and completely hypnotic style. MJ has the presence of a length of cheese wire inches away from being hurled catastrophically into an engine pit of cogs, slapping his microphone away like a mosquito, and erupting into screams that become part of the psychedelic wall pummelling the room. Live, Hookworms teeter between being brutal, menacing and, strangely soothing. “This is nicer than ExCel,” declares MB to widespread cheers, and although it’s clearly a shame that Jabberwocky didn’t go ahead, he’s kind of right. Hookworms, and the other two bands playing tonight, are all made for basement dives like this with tatty low ceilings and no stage barriers.

Speedy Ortiz are next, and waste no time in seizing hold of the bar and raising it to similarly spectacular heights. The venue erupts in response, and becomes a sea of headbanging, moshing chaos. Tonight is the kind of gig that seizes everyone by the collars and wrenches them into life. “This has been lovely, despite... you know... the thing,” says Sadie Dupuis, very tactfully indeed. Lovely is an understatement. Speedy Ortiz are unreal to watch. Cloud Nothings are the final band on stage, and things only get wilder and sweatier from here on in. Lighting rigs are in severe danger of being knocked down by the flailing bodies hurtling across the top of the crowd, and a hastily assembled gaggle of security guards hurry down to the front, to little avail. It’s absolute madness, and Cloud Nothings cement the show as the loud, cathartic silver lining around the events that led to tonight’s fantasy line-up. All things considered, ‘twas completely brillig. DIY




HOOKWORMS Are you afraid of

THE DARK? King Tuff runs through the supernatural TV shows and movies that twisted his brain “into the chewed up piece of gum it is today.” THE GATE A portal to hell opens up in some kid’s house. Little goblin dudes come to party and the kid grows a sweet-ass eyeball in his hand.

Having released their latest record ‘Pearl Mystic’ just last year, Leeds’ Hookworms are already back with the follow up. Words: Sarah Jamieson.


ith their debut album, Hookworms emerged as one of the most promising prospects in the land of psychedelia. A swirling mass of instrumentation, woozing and veering its way into brains across the country, ‘Pearl Mystic’ marked the five-piece as stand-outs in their field. Noisy but swooning, unpredictable yet comforting, wandering into its tracks was akin to getting lost in a musical haze, and still craving more. The challenge in releasing such an acclaimed first full-length lies in its follow-up. “When we recorded the last album, we were just doing it for ourselves,” begins bassist MB. “This time we’ve got a bit of an audience that we didn’t have before. We didn’t think anyone would care about the last one, so the fact that there’s people waiting for this one to come out... There’s definitely pressure.” Inspiration for the band’s second album was sparked somewhat unexpectedly. Following the release of ‘Pearl Mystic’ back in March 2013, they unveiled a standalone single in ‘Radio Tokyo’. “We put that to one side,” MB explains, “but then we realised, when we came back to writing the rest of the album, that that was the song we were enjoying playing most. We used that as a bit of step towards the rest of the songwriting.” “[The album’s] probably a bit more upbeat,” he continues. “It sounds like us but with the fat trimmed. The songs are still pretty long, but they’re a bit more driving, a bit more direct. It’s all stuff that we can play live; people react better to the more upbeat songs. We’ve enjoyed that and fed off that. I think, at the end of the day, we are a live band so we wanted to make it work as much live as possible.” Hookworms’ new album ‘The Hum’ will be released on 10th November via Domino Records. DIY


TALES FROM THE CRYPT I’ve always dreamed of looking like the crypt keeper when I’m old, playing a guitar made of rat faces plugged into an electric brain. DOCTOR WHO This show freaked me the fuck out when I was a kid, mostly because I had no idea what was going on and I didn’t understand why his scarf was so long. KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE This shit literally made me piss myself but I couldn’t stop watching it. THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 1 AND 2 I like any movie with punks and graveyards, and in part two there’s a decapitated zombie head saying, “Get the damn screwdriver out of my head!” It’s the best. GARBAGE PAIL KIDS A very important film about embracing ugliness. PET SEMATARY Aunt Zelda crawled into my young mind and still screams me to sleep every night. King Tuff’s new album ‘Black Moon Spell’ will be released on 22nd September via Sub Pop Records. DIY


A NEW TESTAMENT for an old soul Christopher Owens’ bunch of misfits are back, with a new album in tow. Words: Nat Davies. Photos: Annie Thornton.


rom the moment Christopher Owens’ new album artwork appeared online there was a collective furrowing of the brow. A no-frills group photo of the album’s personnel, with Owens himself front-andcentre, decked out in a leather waistcoat and pink cowboy hat. The title ‘A New Testament’ is stated unequivocally overhead. It’s a visual anomaly amongst a sea of abstract geometry and monochrome portraiture and, well, it’s not very fashionable. It’s brightly lit and crisp and they are all facing the camera, and umm... smiling? The band stand out like a pair of knock-off trainers at a high school sports day. “The Guardian said we look like the Estonian cast of a reality TV show, so that was fantastic,” laughs Christopher Owens, sat in the courtyard of the Hoxton Hotel, London. “I really wanted to do something anti-cool, y’know? I was sick and tired of everybody formulating just the right cool image and then you put on the music and there is just nothing there.” Kicking against the pricks is something Owens does instinctively. He is a natural and singular rebel: leaving the Children of God cult at 16, joining the ranks of young men under the wing of artist and billionaire Stanley Marsh III, then

running off to San Francisco to play in Holy Shit with Ariel Pink. These are the actions of a man who is able to live many lives consecutively, or to using an overwrought phrase, to reinvent himself at will. And the new record is no less contrary than the man. It is unapologetically country, with pedal steel, gospel singing, finger-picked guitar, low honky-tonk solos and tub-thumping drums. It’s a radical sidestep away from his contemporaries and a deliberate shunning of what he calls “too many 90s throwbacks”. ‘A New Testament’ is definitely anti-minimal - songs like ‘It Comes Back to You’ have the full-throttle sentimentality of a Dolly Parton heartbreaker, something Owens has been keen to develop from the off.

“The idea to focus more on the country-side was really the only idea - and it’s not really a new one,” he says. “We tried to do it on the first Girls album on the very last song ‘Darling’. We tried to do it on [Girls EP] ‘Broken Dreams Club’ on that track ‘Titular’ - there’s a pedal steel on that and, to me, it is a country song. We always kind of leaned that way, but maybe it didn’t come out too much. I brought it out on this record with the instruments. Songwriting always seemed accessible to me from listening to country music. I mean if your inbred cousin can do it, you know, anybody can do it.” Read the full interview on Christopher Owen’s new album ‘A New Testament’ will be released on 29th September via Caroline. DIY 23


Unguarded Rae Morris bares her soul on debut album, ‘Unguarded’. “It’s a depiction of me,” she tells Huw Oliver.



or years the term singersongwriter has conjured images of hirsute men wielding harmonicas, ramshackle Spanish guitars and Bob Dylan chord books. Today, however, we’re witnessing the renaissance. Or so reckons Rae Morris: “Nowadays when you say singer-songwriter to someone, it’s hard for them to make an assumption that you are one certain thing, because there’s such a vast variety of people out there,” says the sweet-toned Blackpudlian musician. “Ben Howard springs to mind – he’s a singer-songwriter, but he’s doing something quite euphoric and anthemic. There are so many different ways to be a singer-songwriter.” Starting out when she was 17 – three and a half years ago – and signed to Atlantic after an A&R got in touch via Myspace, she’s currently on the cusp of releasing her make-or-break debut album, ‘Unguarded’. Renowned for

her oh-so dramatic live performances, fluttering, feathery vocals, jangly piano chords and a Disney soundtrack-like knack for a ballad. Think Fiona Apple but with added crossover appeal. She certainly has it in her. Sat on a bench in a pastoral part of Wales, she reflects on her formative musical years. She speaks of her childhood Christmases when her uncle would whip out his guitar and her family would sit around and play old Geordie folk songs. Next, her Dad’s inculcation of Carole King and Steely Dan classics, then short-lived stints in high school rock bands, and finally her late teens when she became obsessed with Feist, Cat Power and Joanna Newsom, “women who were doing really out-there things, incredible stuff which had a message as well.”   But the influence she speaks most keenly about is televisual: Later, Live with Jools Holland, and the time fellow Blackpool singer-songwriter Karima Francis bagged a slot on the show. This is what made her realise it was possible to get out and make it. Recently, as if to cement her status as fast-rising talent with a rosy future ahead, Morris sung vocals for Clean Bandit’s ‘Extraordinary’ on the programme, an experience she describes as “really, really nervewracking, probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done.”   ‘Unguarded’ is apparently a coming-of-age self-portrait pegged with the time-old doing-itfor-yourself cliche. But with Morris, you do sense the genuineness. “It just felt like I wanted to show people who I am and this album R AE is what I’ve been working on since I was 17,” she justifies. “And I think it’s just a depiction of me, and I just wanted to try and keep it simple and not try and come up with a cool title. It just felt like, this is me, and


this is who I am.” To record the album, she decamped to LA to work with super-producer Ariel Rechtshaid (Haim, Charli XCX, Sky Ferreira), “exactly the type of person [she] wanted to work with.” Principally, he encouraged her to take a chill-pill, and not to overthink anything. “I was almost too much of a perfectionist,” she explains. “I would almost kind of do things for the wrong reasons sometimes, because I was wanting to make sure that it was the right thing to do. But Ariel very much goes with the flow.” One tune enhanced by such an approach was recent single and album standout ‘Do You Even Know?’ “I wrote that just before I went out to America, to meet Ariel, and to potentially work with him,” she says. “I think I was kind of going through that thing that every artist goes through, where there’s a pressure to kind of meet the demands of commercial music, as well as being an artist. And I think I was kind of getting slightly frustrated, and I wanted people to understand who I was. I was questioning whether anyone did know who I was. It was an outpour of frustration.”   Even if you haven’t heard Morris’ incredible punch as a solo artist yet, you may well have heard her beautifully wispy tones on recent collaborations with Bombay Bicycle Club (three tracks from ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’) and Clean Bandit (‘Up Again’). “The collaborations I’ve done have been really eye-opening for me, and I’d never expected that I’d be an artist that collaborates when you don’t have a big, like, pop voice. That’s been a really amazing learning curve, and I think writing with bands like Clean Bandit is really amazing.”   Her biggest emblem of pride at the moment is ‘Not Knowing’, the record’s epic closing bang, “the best way to summarise everything that [she’s] ever done” and something of a clarion call to other plucky youngsters stuck in the far reaches of the UK. She wraps up: “I want people to know that throughout all this, I first and foremost write the songs. I think there’s a difference between just being someone who sings songs, and being someone who writes them.” Rae Morris’s new album ‘Unguarded’ will be released early 2015 via Atlantic Records. DIY




FLYING HIGH Flying Lotus has unveiled plans to release a brand new album, titled, ‘You’re Dead’. Out 7th October through Warp Records, the nineteen-track album will feature the likes of Herbie Hancock, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat and Angel Deradoorian, formerly of the Dirty Projectors, who will all be making guest appearances. Karen O finds out she’s in Gryffindor.

The Long Road To

JUST A LITTLE CRUSH Fresh from releasing her debut solo effort ‘Crush Songs’ this month, Karen O has announced two solo shows to take place in the UK this October. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer will play two dates on 4th and 5th October at West London venue Bush Hall.

BACK TO THE FOOTURE Foo Fighters have announced details of their new album, ‘Sonic Highways’. The band’s eighth studio album will feature eight tracks and is set to be released on 10th November. The record was recorded in eight different studios across North America - Chicago, Austin, Nashville, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans, Washington DC, and New York - with each city providing a guest musician.

‘MON THE BIFF Biffy Clyro will play three shows at Glasgow’s Barrowlands later this year, during which they’ll perform songs from two of their selected albums. On 5th December, fans will be treated to cuts from ‘Blackened Sky’ and ‘Puzzle’, on 6th December, it’ll be ‘The Vertigo of Bliss’ and ‘Only Revolutions’, before 7th December boasts ‘Infinity Land’ and ‘Opposites’. 26


Originally due out earlier this year, Lonely the Brave’s debut is finally here. Words: Sarah Jamieson.


ust over twelve months ago, Cambridgeshire five-piece Lonely the Brave were still relatively unknown. They’ve since graced the stages of Reading & Leeds Festival and taken on more high profile support slots than you could throw the horns at. The band were set to unveil their debut album ‘The Day’s War’ earlier this year. Due to land in spring, everything was going to plan until another unmissable opportunity cropped up: a deal with Sony Records. “It’s been a long time coming for us,” begins the band’s Mark Trotter, as they gear up to finally release their full-length. “I can’t even begin to tell you. We just wanna get it out and get people to hear it.” With the signing of their new record deal came the difficult decision to hold back the album’s release from June until September. The band may have been cautious at first, but now they’re firm in believing that it was the best choice. “When we signed to Sony,” he continues, “those guys needed more time to do what they do, in terms of pushing the record as far as possible.

It was a real trade off for us because we want as many people to hear the record as possible. It was a really hard decision, but we still think it was the right one. We’ve been really lucky,” he affirms. “Everyone’s been really supportive. It could’ve been horrible.”

“It was a real trade off.”Mark Trotter As for ‘The Day’s War’ itself, it’s an album that bubbles with as much emotion and power as its title suggests. “There’s a definite theme; not that that was a conscious decision, it’s about things that happen to people, things that have happened to us since we joined together as a band. It’s all about a time and place, which is why we’re so keen to get it out there.” Lonely The Brave’s new album ‘The Day’s War’ is out now via Columbia Records. DIY


The London leg of this year’s Dr. Martens #STANDFORSOMETHING Tour in association with DIY will be taking over the punk rock capital of the world, set to take place at The Black Heart in Camden Town on 28th November.

“The Black Heart are thrilled to be leading the charge in the Camden fight back,” offers the venue’s promoter Danny Black. “The backstreets of Camden Town are enjoying a bit of a live music renaissance of late: over the last year and a half we’ve had some amazing bands smashing it with some awesome underplays in our little venue. Sweat pouring and ears ringing, you can just feel the sense of history oozing from the walls at these shows. “The sheer intensity and raw brutality somehow makes them feel so much more worth it, like you’ve gone in and come out the other side of a battleground or indulged in conquering the most extreme of extreme sports. It’s the proper, fullon way to experience this music we think, just not the same in the larger venues. It’s good to see Dr. Martens recognising this and bringing these bands back to the environments where these bands cut their teeth. Let’s hope the bands love it as much as we do!” As for who’ll be playing, we’re still keeping that under wraps, but you’ll find out soon enough. Tickets for the London show will be going on sale on 1st November, with the line up set to be revealed that same day. Register on standforsomethingtour to be first to know. DIY

TOUR 2014


t’s not long now until this year’s Dr. Martens #STANDFORSOMETHING Tour in association with DIY kicks off, and we’re very happy to announce the remaining support acts for the shows confirmed thus far.

Having already announced that Arcane Roots, Johnny Foreigner and Only Rivals are set to join in the fun later this year (supporting We Are The Ocean, Los Campesinos! and Tonight Alive respectively), we can now reveal that noisy upstarts God Damn will be appearing at this year’s Edinburgh show, while Mazes will be joining proceedings in Cardiff. “It’s absolutely mad,” offers God Damn drummer Ash Weaver, on what it’s going to be like to play alongside Welsh five-piece Funeral For A Friend on the opening night of the tour. “When we were contacted about the show it was a bit surreal. They’re one of those bands who were really prominent in our teenage years growing up.” As for Mazes, they’ll be reuniting with longtime friends Eagulls - with whom they released a split 7” back in November 2011 - but they’ll be keeping their wits about them for the show. “[That] seems like a long time ago...” says the band’s Jack Cooper. “[It’s] cool to see how well they’re doing. Last time we played with Eagulls, they stole Neil’s shoes. Nice guys, but we can’t afford to lose shoes.” Have no fear: we’ll be completing each bill soon, with the opening acts for each night set to be revealed shortly. Keep updated at and for all the news and line up announcements. DIY

THE DATES 04/10/14


Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh 11/10/14


+ Mazes

Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff 25/10/14

WE ARE THE OCEAN + Arcane Roots

The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool 22/11/14

LOS CAMPESINOS! + Johnny Foreigner The Flapper, Birmingham 28/11/14


London, The Black Heart


“I literally have no idea, we’re not the Manic Street Preachers...”



Cluny 2, Newcastle




It’s more than just a premonition - this London trio’s ascent is all but confirmed. Words: Jamie M i lt o n .

Vaults try to feign shock at their success. 28


aults isn’t the first experience of being in a band for any of its members, but it might as well be. Vocalist Blythe Pepino, alongside gadget-heads Ben Vella and Barney Freeman, all have googleable musical pasts which aren’t a million miles from this current project. But together they click. Their collective sound is one of simple, affecting songwriting linked with dramatic but not overbearing backdrops. Every song they’ve released so far sounds like a hit, and for everyone involved this looks like the beginning of a bright new chapter.

single ‘Lifespan’ is slightly more introverted at first, but then in sweeps the kind of chorus that couldn’t be any more expressive. Despite Freeman’s claims that they’re still “fine-tuning” their album in a studio with zero daylight (“there’s a skylight to a room above. It’s a shadow of a window,” he jokes), they’ve clearly arrived with something fully-formed, ready to share. “It’s like a concept album but with no real concept,” says Vella. “There’s just a feel to how the songs work, the intricacies, the bells and the strings. It’s sped off from there.”

Early singles have shifted in with most of the work, but it’s live where things get taken up a notch. Pepino throws shapes, surrounded by string players, a live piano, with her It started with a cursory upload bandmates collectively plugging of the song ‘Cry No More’, an away at obscure wood instruments arpeggio’ed, bell-chiming debut and a sea of electronics. Think a that led - within weeks - to a record more chart-friendly Portishead, in deal. “It was bizarre,” admits structure and shape. “To be honest Vella, “but we just knew there was I’ve gigged for years,” begins something a bit special happening Blythe, “and I’ve got to the point between us.” where getting on stage in front of people is about expressing and showing people a certain authenticity “ I t ’ s a r e l e a s e f o r that you have in m e - t h at ’ s p r o b a b ly yourself. At the same time there’s always w h y I ’ m wav i n g m y a moment where you go, ‘Maybe they a r m s a r o u n d l i k e a n think I’m a twat...’ But that’s what you’re i d i o t.” B ly t h e P e p i n o facing. Half of the time I don’t know what I’m doing, but it’s a real release for me. That’s probably why I’m By this point, Vaults had half waving my arms around like an a dozen songs waiting to be idiot.” unveiled, but Pepino cites ‘Cry No More’ as the game-changer, “the The live show was always going one that came alive”. She says that to be the ultimate end-point, from that point on they’ve created for Vaults. Strings were essential “these songs that share this world (“right from day one, we were - If you have a central image or gonna make it hard for ourselves,” feeling and you keep going back to Ben jokes), and proof of all the that, you have a body of work that effort they’ve put in, it clicks. Their has a certain continuity.” festival debut at Latitude remains one of the live highlights of the Songs unveiled so far share a very year. It’s rare and exciting to see a similar space. There’s melancholy band arrive this fully-formed - what and triumph walking hand in happens next will only affirm this hand, in a strange, beautiful great beginning. dance. ‘Premonitions’ is - without any hyperbole - the closest thing Vaults’ new single ‘Lifespan’ is to Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrops’ out now. DIY that’s arrived in years. New




Winter’s a charm

YUMI ZOUMA Ready new material After delivering one of the year’s defining EPs, this

Something in Yumi Zouma’s debut worked its charm in the beginning of 2014. Bittersweet dreampop arrived at the perfect time, claims Kim. “Some people are saying it’s warm and summery and I think you guys were having a terrible winter in the UK and that EP took them to someplace tropical. It’s cold in some ways, as in some of the lyrics are bittersweet. We’re pretty complex, as humans. There’s an ability to feel multiple emotions at once, and it’s a bizarre thing. Life’s pretty complicated.”

i ntern et- fo rm ed tri o a re r acki n g u p n ew s o n g s ( a n d th e a i r m i l e s ) . W o r d s : J a m i e M i lt o n . P h o t o : P h i l S m i t h i e s .


he name Yumi Zouma (given to Kim Pflaum, Charlie Ryder and Josh Burgess’ project) was chosen because “we needed some kind of name for our gmail account,” says Pflaum, who pens the lyrics and fronts the band. That sums up how this whole thing kickstarted. One night Kim decided to lend lyrics to one of several tracks Charlie and Josh had been working on. The latter called it a night, while Charlie stayed up and sent ‘A Long Walk Home for Parted Lovers’ to a few contacts, just “for kicks” says Kim. The next morning he was calling up his bandmates saying, “‘We’re in a band and we’re famous - we’re signed.’” By that point they’d found an immediate


home with Cascine. A few months later out stepped a self-titled EP, rinsed in bright ideas and a novel take on pop. It’s a record that ignores the thousands of emails and rough ideas exchanged to make it happen. When the project started, Kim was in New Zealand, with Josh working in New York and Charlie studying in Paris. “Our gmail accounts are a mess, pretty much,” jokes Kim. “We were all on different time zones and different schedules. I was studying, Charlie was studying, Josh was working. But we managed to do it somehow.” Since then, attention’s turned to translating a blog friendly beginning into something tangible. Debut gigs in the UK turned heads in unison, and

these shows have served as a short break between songwriting sessions. The tracks are ready for EP number two, Kim confirms, and the three of them are already considering what it’ll take to put an album together. She cites “skeletons of songs” as the starting point. “There’s a whole lot more of those,” she says. “Some are a lot worse than others!” 2015 will see at least one further release, and the logistics are slowly being solved when it comes to getting three different people in separate countries to become a band. “Charlie and I will be finished studying soon, which’ll make it a lot easier.” DIY

LIVE Photo: Phil Smithies




SWEET SALVATION After locking the doors and committing everything towards a debut album, Josef Salvat’s come out the other side with a sweeping new single ‘Shoot and Run’. Listen on


GEORGIA The Waiting Room, London


ollowing stints drumming for acts like the similarly-breakout Juce, Kwes and Kate Tempest, GEoRGiA is finally taking centre stage, and comfortably so. A rapt audience awaits at the Waiting Room in Stoke Newington, prior to the second stint of her two week residency at the venue. Huddled together, the crowd raise themselves - and each other - onto chairs and the venue’s steep stairs to catch a glimpse of this rising star, and rightfully so. Her five song set that formally unveils the excellent debut EP ‘Come In’ - which is performed in full alongside a pointedly new track - shows great promise for her undoubtedly limelight-hogging future. ‘Be Ache,’ the first of her tracks to surface, is a primal tour-deforce in the flesh, anarchic drums colliding with blaring psychedelica while the room moves against a flurry of flashing lights. With further EP highlight ‘Hard Lie This’, it’s evident that the exuberant, tongue-in-cheek spirit of Mike Skinner’s The Streets has modernised whilst passing down a generation, emphasised even further by GEoRGiA’s playful and engrossing stage presence. Though musically more reminiscent of an M.I.A. or a Santigold, it’s hard to deny a quintessentially British attitude, as well as a performer on stage who looks like she’s having a lot of fun simply being herself. It’s a short and sweet set that suggests GEoRGiA’s cracked a formula all of her own making. (Nathan Roberts)

London newcomer Kwabs is releasing a new single, ‘Walk’. Out 28th September, it packs simple piano chimes, military drums, as well as the most immediate chorus to be bellowed out from Kwabs’ distinctive voice so far.

HEY QT A. G. Cook, head of the PC Music camp - this year’s defining new label - has started a new project with enigmatic producer SOPHIE. Together they’re calling themselves QT, and their debut single, ‘Hey QT’, is out now on XL Recordings.

WE ARE READY Liverpool bunch All We Have have finished mixing their debut album, they’ve told BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens. In a Maida Vale session, they also debuted two new songs, ‘I Wear You’ and ‘Stone’. Listen on 31

NEU Saint Pepsi’s allergies are put to the ultimate test.


saint pepsi

Dosed up on Twitter, PC Music and e v e ry t h i n g g r e at t h e i n t e r n e t ’ s ever given us, this blog triumph is stepping out into the real world.


t all started when clued up musician Ryan DeRobertis left his instruments in school during “winter break” and decided to try something new. Saint Pepsi, a “joke thing”, arrived in the form of some cursory uploads. It ran against a more serious project at the time that’s since been “buried, left for dead”, and since then this prolific producer hasn’t had a chance to look back. He’s about to head off on his first break for several months. In between now and his ‘Gin City’ EP from 2013, he’s been whisked off to an “overwhelming” SXSW, compared to Toro Y Moi, inked a record deal and opted to become a “proper songwriter.” Initially he was seeing success with releases on Bandcamp, but Paypal wasn’t getting on board and he was unable to actually sell his music. He gave everything away for free. “It sucked, because I was trying to explain to my parents that people were actually interested in my music when I didn’t have any revenue to back that up. For a while people thought I was living in this fantasy land where I’m my own superstar.” Beyond early productions, a real breaking point came when Ryan shared a remix of


Carly Rae Jepsen’s ultimate earworm, ‘Call Me Maybe’. It arrived in good time, but the New York-born musician claims he “grew up around a lot of pop music.” He’s keen to say that “people don’t need to refer to songs as guilty pleasures anymore. There’s no superior intellect that they’re trying to defend or anything like that.” Already in his initial string of songs, there’s this welcoming, all-encompassing, universal quality to what he’s doing. Cynics and snobs aren’t welcome here - it’s very much the sound of someone who’s absorbed the past decade and a half of music, readily projecting everything he’s learned in the most scatterbrained, excitable way possible. First on the agenda is this wellearned break. “I’m in this point where I’ve exhausted myself to the point where I feel like I don’t have any original thoughts left in my brain,” he sort-of jokes. “Having a good week to get away will hopefully rejuvenate some of that. If it doesn’t, then I’m done! I’m gonna have to work in fast food for the rest of my life.” DIY

Ryan DeRobertis gives Neu a run for its money when it comes to music recommendations. Here’s a selection of his favourites. SOPHIE / PC MUSIC “They take the arrangements and they bring it super leftfield. You can take one of their songs and make it sound like it’s by Selena Gomez. But they wrap it up in very different foil, I guess.” CHARLI XCX “She’s super cool. Her first album was really good and I love how she talks about changing her sound in the future. It seems like she has a really good idea of her career trajectory.” RICKY EAT ACID “His music is the work of a net artist, but you can also see him live and it transcends the pejorative term that comes with being one of those.”

A good deal’s been made about the people Ryn Weaver’s working with, and not the plain-sighted fact that she’s responsible for some of the biggest pop songs this year’s had the pleasure of witnessing. Yes, Michael Angelakos and Charli XCX have had a hand in the process, but the title-track on her ‘Promises’ EP goes one step further. It captures the giddy energy of someone on the up and it soars towards the skies. Ryn delivers hard truths in the form of glossy, glitter-doused songwriting. ‘OctaHate’ might be about really despising someone, but it still comes off as triumphant. This is striking, undeniable pop music - there’s zero breathing space, and that’s the best part.

RYN WEAVER Forget the entourage, this pop sensation boils down to one brilliant individual.

LISTEN ‘The ‘Promises’ EP is out now. FOR FANS OF Robyn, emotional roller coasters.




Faces are masked, identities hidden: it’s with good reason that new trio Mysteries have landed themselves with this band name. A debut LP on the horizon, they’ve arrived a fully-formed act, giving the impression that there’s been a flurry of activity behind the scenes, a perfectionist streak. The band’s label, felte, still claims to not know a single thing about the band’s beginnings or the names behind the project. A debut full-length ‘New Age Music is Here’ comes out on 28th October, and it’s being led by the hypnotic, attention-swerving ‘Deckard’.

South London duo Formation released their debut ‘White Label’ EP this summer, and it’s already an essential. The slick siblings have a habit of bringing together alt-pop staples - DFA pads, LCD-nods, the odd bit of Hot Chip, too - and making near-decade old gems sound fresher than ever. They’re keeping things physical too - the new video for ‘A Friend’ sees a record player perched next to scribbles of all the places likely to stock the EP. It’s a band planning the first steps of their domination.

LISTEN ‘Deckard’ premiered on FOR FANS OF The Acid, Cluedo.

LISTEN Stream ‘White Label’ on FOR FANS OF Everything James Murphy puts his name to - even the coffee.


Reference points that link up to make Kero Kero Bonito’s sickly, giddy Gameboy Colour pop are fairly obvious. Crap consoles, J-pop, PC Music - throw it all into a pot, put it in the hands of a South London trio and it’s a winning formula. ‘Sick Beat’ - a highlight from the newcomers’ debut mixtape - can even be traced back to early M.I.A. But approaching KKB in a standoffish, seenit-all-before way saps out the magic. Sarah Bonito’s vocals hop-scotch from Japanese to English like the two were designed to combine: a big, exciting prospect. LISTEN ‘Sick Beat’. FOR FANS OF The original Pokemon series, PC Music.


Charlot te RutherforD.

p o p s t a r i n t h e m a k i n g . W o r d s : E l H u n t. P h o t o :


Hones t y’s the b es t policy for this ris ing


Are You Shura?

Given her interest in espionage, we put Shura’s lying skills to the test. She had DIY completely fooled.


nogs were really hot that week,” concludes Shura, on the runaway success of breakthrough single ‘Touch’. It started out as a quietly self-released demo. The video was a group effort made with friends, mainly serving as a processing tool to get Shura through the break-up that inspired her song. ‘Touch’ ended up on radio waves and being whistled by total strangers on the street; completely out of nowhere. It’s probably because Shura’s music taps into feelings that everyone can recognise: honesty at the centre, with a treatment of delicious, straight-up pop gold. Love might be a popular topic, but Shura isn’t into laying it on with a trowel of vapid, poetic faffing. She’d much rather tell it how it is. “I think I am quite matter of fact,” agrees Shura without hesitation. “I’m not flowery. The whole mystery thing wouldn’t work for me. Talking about how shit relationships are; that’s just a boring fact. Maybe it is the directness of me as a human, or the bolshiness of youth - assuming people want to hear what you say. My directness is the hangover from that.” Love has been Shura’s topic of choice since she played open mic sessions as a teenager ”talking about love as if I even knew what it was,” she says. “I wrote loads of love songs, like, ‘Isn’t my life shit’, but then that’s the kind of music I was listening to: PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, Alanis Morissette – all the music any teenage girl listens to.” The idea of being interviewed and photographed, she openly admits, still bemuses her no end, and Shura also hesitates to call herself a musician. “I don’t know if I believe it yet, that’s the thing,” she says. Talk turns to the future. “I’m still writing [my debut album],” she reveals, and it’s due for release “definitely next year. Autumn or Winter, so I can do the tour in my puffa jacket. There will be shows this year, too. I’ll be doing a lot of travelling, adventuring, exploring. I’m excited for it. I guess it’s the spy in me.” DIY



I spent one month tied to a puma in the Bolivian Amazon. TRUE “The puma I was looking after grew up in captivity. I walked him every day for a few hours. It was like Tomb Raider.”


My mother’s pregnancy with me and my twin was blessed by Pope John Paul II. TRUE “My Dad was making a documentary with the Pope when my mum was pregnant. That’s obviously why things are going well for me. I am not religious.”


I used to play football for Manchester City Ladies. TRUE “I was left back. I had a mean slide tackle. I’d slide for miles.”


I got an A* in every single GCSE that I took. LIE “I got a B in Maths.”


Neu takes a look at the record labels responsible for breakthrough releases, big or small.



EPS September hits the spot when it comes to brand new acts releasing their first mini-release before angling their way towards January’s ‘Sound Of’ excitement. DIY’s highlights of this month, mind you, arrive from lesser known gems. Here’s our pick of the bunch.

Cloud Castle L ake Dandelion

Anyone remotely absorbed by the click-clack percussive blast of modern day Radiohead will find ample distraction in this debut from Dublin’s Cloud Castle Lake. ‘Dandelion’ is meticulously constructed, obsessed by its own experimentation. It packs huge tunes, ‘Sync’ being the best example. It’s out 22nd September on Happy Valley Records. FOUNDED: 1999 KEY RELEASES: Alice Boman, ‘II’ (2014), YAST ’S/T’ (2013) Sweden’s musically best known for dark and pensive Scandi-pop, or the ilk that dives straight towards the charts. But in slightly quieter, more unassuming corners, there sits Adrian Recordings, a label that brings out more unlikely sounds from the region. Most notable is Alice Boman (pictured), one of this year’s breakthrough names - her drifting folk is just a tiny flavour of what the label’s offering. They claim to be “as interested in minimal dark electronic business as in an acoustic guitar. It doesn’t matter.” Answers from Magnus Bjerkert. What’s the biggest challenge in helping Swedish acts break out internationally? The biggest problem with running a label in Sweden is actually just that it is in Sweden. I feel more and more that I need dedicated people all over the world that live in the territory and can be present in person. You should not forget about that perspective. Internet is all good but still it’s nice to have a beer with someone. If someone reads this: we need label managers in different parts of the world! Apart from the foundation of the label, what’s been the most exciting moment in the Adrian Recordings’ history? It’s a very hard question, since I rarely look back. For example: I forgot the ten year celebration! I am also bad at collecting items, press material and other staff related to the past. I look forward. So the answer must be that they lie ahead of us. Adrian has just signed two new artists, and I’m very excited in getting to work with that. You should check out RA and Hey Elbow. DIY

BenZel men

This production duo first billed themselves as mysterious Japanese girls with a dab hand at penning blog hits. Turns out they’re relative veterans: Ben Ash (Two Inch Punch) and Benny Blanco. Aside from being chief producers on the new Jessie Ware album, they’ve set aside time for their bleep-y bloop-y first work, ‘Men’. It’s out now via PMR / Friends Keep Secrets.

Spring King Demons

Tarek Musa’s hit a prolific stride - in the last issue of DIY, the Manchester producer promised two whole full-lengths for 2015. Let this serve as a taster. ‘Demons’ boasts a rowdy, gang mentality: the kind of raucous rock’n’roll only the Black Lips tend to get away with. This packs a similar charm, coming off like a rogue wantaway in need of a cup of tea.




Different Strokes A lt- J b e n din g s nif f y

t o

p o p u l a r

b l o g

b o y s:

a r e n’t

r e a c tin g

d e m a n d, t h e y’r e

o r

t o

t r yin g

j u s t

d oin g

t r e n d s, t o

p l e a s e

t h eir

o w n

t hin g. W o r d s:

E l

H u n t.

P h o t o s:

Mik e

M a s s a r o.




icture this scene. There’s a slushy romantic film on the telly, probably involving montages of reunited couples jumping into each other’s arms in the airport, along with Colin Firth taking up a new role as a stuttering, awkward Englishman in love. He’s probably eating blue soup, omelette and marmalade with an American woman who has inexplicably decided to holiday alone over Christmas in a cottage in the Home Counties, and it’s the clichéd scene at the very end where he has put his heart on the line. Taking her by the hand, shaking, he looks into her eyes and says: “I’m gonna bed into you like a cat beds into a bean bag. Turn you inside out and lick you like a crisp packet.” The credits roll. Everybody in the cinema cries. Only a band like Alt-J could direct a romantic comedy this strange, soundtracked by spliced five-way vocal duets, wonky, slightly sordid declarations of love, a Miley Cyrus sample and a gaudy, twanging Southern Rock anthem called ‘Left Hand Free’ for good measure. There are slow, plaintive, weirdly lust-filled laments, and even a lyrical nod to KRS-One’s ‘Sound Of Da Police’. Not only have Alt-J ignored any outside pressure to stick to a template; they’ve gone a step further, and totally defied it. Repeatedly, Alt-J are adamant that far from being removed from their debut sound, their second album ‘This Is All Yours’ isn’t taking them to a drastic new place; experimenting has always been in their blood, and a number of songs on the record have been kicking around for several years. The bat-shit crazy lyrics to ‘Every Other Freckle’, for example, have been floating around frontman Joe Newman’s cranium since the early days of playing local pubs in their university town of Leeds. “Thom was talking about how a spider was bedding into his brain,” explains Joe, gazing across the park. “I was like… wow, bedding. I was telling my ex-girlfriend about this song two years ago, because it was written then, and she said it reminded her of this poem [‘I Wanna Be Yours’]. ‘I want to be your park bench, I want to be your heater while you sleep’ - that one. So, anyway, it sounds like I took that idea and went in a different direction, but I didn’t. So actually,” he laughs, “I’m as good as [John Cooper Clarke]”. Since the early days of faceless press photographs and their wily, evasive approach to genre that persisted


“ B e i n g t o from the very start, Alt-J have been a band that escapes concrete definition. It’s given them the freedom to follow up the Mercury Prize-scooping ‘An Awesome Wave’ with the weird, unpinnable, ‘This Is All Yours’. “People can’t define our sound, so we play with other people’s uncertainties,” Joe says, sipping coconut water on a bench. “Not coke,” observes his band mate Gus UngerHamilton, laughing, “just coconut water.” “Being able to do what we like is the best position to be in,” adds Thom Green, “because you don’t have to prove anything.” In contrast to the countless bands that push forward a strong persona, but have very little to say musically, Alt-J prefer to let their music do the talking. One of the band could politely bump into you on the street without raising a flicker of recognition, and indeed, the only person to notice Alt-J today so far is a small child intent, not on commending them for their latest single, but on getting past them and into the park.

d o

l i k e

w h a t i s

p o s i t i o n

t h e t o

a b l e w e b e s t b e

i n . ”

........................................................... T h o m

G r e e n



With a record that has a personality as varied and unpredictable as ‘This Is All Yours’, it’s certainly music able to make a statement alone. “It was kind of a statement,” agrees Gus, referring to the first new song the band released from the record, ’Hunger of the Pine’. “We went with it because it was an unexpected thing to start the ball rolling with,” says Joe. Unexpected, of course, because of a certain sample provided by a young woman best known for riding giant metal demolition balls and rolling down sculptures of wagging tongues. “It’s quite funny,” says Thom, who initially started talking to Miley Cyrus through remixing work that he was doing outside of the band. “We’ve met her once and I speak to her now and again.” Sampling Miley, say the band, was natural; they liked her vocal hook, so they used it. “If we all loved the song, that’d be the case with any band,” says Joe. “If Gary Barlow came up to me and was just like, ‘I’ve written a song’, I’d be like, alright Gary, calm down, but email it to me. If I liked it, I’d be in.” The triangle association found in Alt-J’s keyboard-shortcut styled name has always attracted a few rumours, and the connection now shared with Miley has only added fire to forum speculation that the band are members of the Illuminati, the shady, and perhaps fictitious secret society that supposedly manipulates us all through popular culture to move towards a New World Order. It’s an accusation that amuses Alt-J no end. “Is that even a thing?” asks Gus incredulously. Joe, however, plays along. “I’m not going to say yes, I’m not going to say no. You know, fuck it, I’m not going to say if it’s true. I might be in it. I might not.”

“ W e ’ r e

n o t

t r y i n g

t o Fa m i ly Business

s u b v e r t

a n y t h i n g . ”

................................................................................ G u s

U n g e r - H a m i l t o n

Moving from conspiracy theories to illumination, ‘This Is All Yours’ could have easily been an album to come from a place of drama and tension, but for Alt-J, a change in their line-up proved productive. The departure of one of a band’s original founding members can often lead from ripe to ruin, but when Gwil Sainsbury left the band, there was little time for squabbling, apparently, and in fact it all went down very amiably. “There’s no ill will or regret,” explains Joe. “[Gwil’s] completely happy with the decision he’s made and the life he’s living without the band looming over him.” Gus agrees. “He knew he was leaving at a good time that wouldn’t disrupt us,” he adds. “If he’d left now it would be hugely confusing, and we would’ve felt a lot more resentful; financially, emotionally, all kinds of fuck-ups. This way it was easy to draw a line under his involvement and move on.” Riding on the momentum left over from the massive, runaway


Who would be your dream person to join Alt-J for one song? Joe: Gwil? Nah, I think my dad would be the fucking best, playing his guitar in the way he plays it, slap guitar. Gus: All of our dads. All of our dads are musical so that could actually happen. It’d be really good. Joe: And all of our mums just dancing on stage.

Alt-J bed into each other like a cat beds into a bean bag.




G a ry

c a m e

u p

wa s

t o

lik e, G a r y,


lik e,


b e

a l rig h t

c a l m

d o w n,

e m ail

m e.

a n d

w rit t e n

s o n g ’,

b u t

m e

j u st

‘I’ v e a

Ba r l o w





t o

lik e d

b e

i n .”

............................................................................... J o e

N e w m a n

success of ‘An Awesome Wave’ made that transition easier, no doubt. “We felt vindicated by the success of the first album,” nods Gus. “I think it gave us the right kind of boost of confidence that didn’t tip into cockiness,” adds Joe, “and I think that made us play better together. We refined our chemistry, and it matured into the second album because we understood that people liked what we’d done.” The process of inducting the band’s new touring guitarist Cameron is currently underway, and Alt-J agree, unanimously, that he’s fitting in rather swimmingly, and if anything, he’s


pushing them even harder. “He’s got a better work ethic than everyone else,” laughs Gus. “He’s trying to not look lazy, but he’s probably shitting himself, to be fair. He’s going straight into playing Ally Pally and doing American TV appearances, so it must be absolutely bizarre. It’s terrifying enough for us!” Alt-J might have healthy levels of self-belief, but their second album does come with one extra swaggering anthem, too. It sticks out, noticeably. It sounds like Alt-J if they were the sort of band who made headlines for inciting riots and slagging off other bands constantly in interviews,

and it is derivative and cock-sure almost to the point of satire. “We’re not trying to subvert anything,” states Gus, but despite his insistence otherwise, ‘Left Hand Free’ sounds like a song that knows exactly what it’s doing, from its almost tongue-in-cheek sense of twanging swagger, to the cliché-riddled music video that comes with it. “We really don’t do that intentionally,” insists Joe, “we really just go with what feels right when we’re playing together. ‘Left Hand Free’ was a leap into a completely different world for us, but we were enjoying it, so we kept doing it, we thought it was funny, we thought we could play characters. That’s what we do with all of our music, we do it because it sounds good.” Mention of the record label’s supposed involvement in pushing it forward as the lead American single however, receives a less cheery response. “We wouldn’t have necessarily chosen ‘Left Hand Free’ as the single,” answers Gus, choosing his words carefully. “We just sent everything to the record label, and they said, ‘That’s the single’. But,” he adds, suggesting it wasn’t quite that civil after all, “we’ve patched things up with them now.” Despite the irresponsible lake jumping and campfire dancing in the video for ‘Left Hand Free’, Alt-J say that they’re wellbehaved in comparison. “You don’t want to end up like The Stone Roses,” laughs Joe, glancing down at his rather eye-catching socks bearing bright green marijuana motifs. “I think we enjoy recreational drugs just as much as anyone else…” he starts,

“but we’ve agreed that we don’t talk about it in interviews,” finishes Gus with a pointed look. “I’d so much rather that was our reputation than the opposite.” “We’ve got a good life where we write music but we never get recognised,” says Joe, and, he admits, “we’re not one of those bands that likes being involved in interviews. They’re a good thing for us, of course, but it’s not why we make music. We just really love writing the songs that we write, we love working together, that’s the joy of the whole thing, the core of all it is that we do and who we are.” Thom agrees. “We don’t want to make a point of having a persona. There’s no point, it’s only ever been about the music that we make. Some people feel the need to put out an image, but we don’t care.” Alt-J prefer to keep the limelight firmly on their music, and persistently, it’s an approach that appears to be winning out. ‘This Is All Yours’ is a record that absorbs and plays with traditional genre, like a cat toys with a mouse, before mangling it out into a painty spew with little regard for convention. They might insist that nobody can define them, but still, the same misty, triangular essence that shrouded their debut floats round their second album. Playful, experimental, and ever so slightly arch in places, only Alt-J could write an album quite like this. Alt-J’s new album ‘This Is All Yours’ will be released on 22nd September via Infectious Music. DIY


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here’s that special aura of the modern classic that surrounds Death From Above 1979’s sole LP to date. It’s trickled down through a generation, feeding an offspring of younger musicians with its influence and leaving elephantine footprints across music fans’ collective consciousness. Whether it’s the record’s brazen stampede of influences that have defined the last decade’s foray into increasingly bent genre boundaries, or simply their stripping down of members to a band’s two key rhythmic components; once their impact is noted, it’s impossible to miss. “I’ve never really noticed that phenomenon actively,” claims drummer and vocalist Sebastien Grainger. “It’s flattering if I think about it objectively, in the way that we’re on a level with the bands that influenced me - that’s how I relate to it.” Indeed, in spite of their now well-publicised disbanding, the sounds that Sebastien crafted alongside his bass-wielding partner Jesse Keeler on 2004’s ‘You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine’ brought them not only a gold album status in their native Canada, but also an abundance of famous fans, with almost every rising band since claiming to have taken inspiration from the record at one point or another. They seem such unlikely figureheads for a borderline cultural revolution, these two self-proclaimed “weirdos” who interject their wistful ponderings on their work with equal parts giggling and “looking at boobs on the internet.” But it’s an artistic pairing that they each seem destined to be a part of, despite their less-than-amicable split. “There was part of me that was just ignoring what we had in common for so long,” confesses Sebastien when quizzed on the inevitability of their couple’s reunion after five years of the cold shoulder. “Maybe

“The band exists separate from us: we didn’t want to do anything that would take away from that legacy.” Sebastien Grainger


there’s certain things that happen in your life that send you down a certain path. When you’re a musician type you go through a long phase of your life looking for the people that you relate to. You think you have them when you’re a kid and then all of a sudden all these people turn out to be normal. If you still keep being weird past the age of nineteen, twenty, twenty-one… it’s harder to find the weirdos. It’s kinda the search for the lost tribe in a way - you’re looking for your people. We were from two different sides of the city, and two different social circles, but we were both weirdos. It kinda makes sense that years and years later, we go ‘oh yeah, you’re weird’, ‘oh, you’re weird too!’ “You get into some funny stuff, just because you’re comfortable being your own person and you’re comfortable having ideas that no one else around you might share, and you live like that for your entire adult life. And you get real comfortable with your own decision-making process - it creates a type of confidence that I guess is a punk thing, that ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude. I would never normally put it into those words, but that’s part of where it stems from: being comfortable not included.” Of course, this outsider ethos is somewhat at odds with the band’s nowlegendary stature, but they remained cautious once the bridges were rebuilt and the 2011 reunion tour announced. “We needed to see if there were real fans out there; real, active, excited people, and not just people talking about us on the internet,” continues Grainger. “It was sort of an experiment initially,” says Jesse – the first of many occasions in which the band refer to their actions as experimental. “When we

started playing together… does anyone actually want to see us when it’s possible to, or is it something people just talked about? We didn’t know. We were just sort of following along and seeing what happened.” And once the reunion proved to be a success? “We knew we could just keep playing the same songs!” he jokes. “At that point we’d just be the best Death From Above covers band ever; not an actual living band, making music. We wouldn’t have been interested in continuing if we weren’t making new music; if the band still wasn’t a living thing. I wanted to make more music. There was an unfinished business creatively.” But the duo were hardly creatively void in their half-decade apart. Sebastien fostered a relatively successful solo career, and they both dabbled in electronic and dance music, most notably with Jesse’s work as one half of MSTRKRFT. “For me, one of the greatest things in terms of the evolution of this band is that we’ve gone off and done different things and had separate compartments for those ideas,” admits Sebastien. “When you’ve just got the one outlet, there’s this desire to bring all those different ideas into the one package and lose focus.” Jesse agrees: “It keeps Death From Above pure in a sense, because we’re not gonna contaminate it with all our other impulses – those impulses have other homes. So Death From Above can retain this pure form.” Maintaining the purity of Death From Above is something the pair seem to see as a duty. Sebastien sows the seed: “After all that time, and having so many people tell us that the record that we’d made, it meant so much to them, what we really learned when we did this reunion tour of sorts

is… the band exists separate from us, and we have evidence in all those years that that was the case. So then, when we were working on this new record, the pressure – if there was any pressure apart from the pressure we put on ourselves in general - was that we didn’t want to do anything that would take away from that legacy. We didn’t want to do anything that would cheapen it or ruin it for people who cared so much about it. In a sense they cared more about it than we did, because they kept going with it when we hadn’t. Maybe that was us realising that the band is this other thing.” So as Death From Above approach the release of their second record ‘The Physical World’, they speak of their legacy as if they’ve taken on another member. ”In this era, the script is kind of half-written. The feeling of it is very different - like we mentioned before, the concept of the band being a third, separate thing. But also, people trust us. The labels we work with and even the fans. We were a weird band - there weren’t a lot of other two-piece bands going around when we started, even The White Stripes were out of my consciousness. So this band has always been a bit of a fight for us, and now we don’t have to fight so hard.”

“The benefit of time on the perception of what we’re doing now is massive,” continues Jesse. “If we had released this record and had never gone away, I don’t know if it would have been received as it is now, which is incredible for us… but I’d prefer not to have to go away in order to keep it interesting!” he laughs. “I think it’s a matter of also continuing to be objective about it,” Sebastien muses. “There’s a lot of bands that just should have stopped a while ago. And then there’s bands like Spoon that keep putting out records, and the

records are always good. If we can do that, that’s cool. I’ve seen bands since our reunion take our template and go ‘fuck, can we do that? Can we break up for a few years and then come back bigger than we were before?! Let’s try it out!’” he concludes, finally allowing admittance to the band’s influence in perhaps the most cynical of ways, “but I don’t think you can replicate this experiment.” Death From Above 1979’s new album ‘The Physical World’ will be released on 8th September via Last Gang Records / Caroline / Fiction. DIY


jaw s

Fix Up, Look Sharp JAWS are jumping hype band hurdles to release an almighty debut album in ‘Be Slowly’. Words: Jamie Milton, Photos: Emma Swann


rom the outside, Birmingham band JAWS are as laid back as it gets. They collectively coin lazy day songs about being “bored”. Early days saw them pegged in as “tropical”, sporting “beach pop” like that was some natural instinct for a group coming out of the Midlands. The truth is they’re four guys wanting to escape. They’re in debt to this frustrated urge to break out of a pattern of dead ends. And it’s this spirit that’s gradually developed their recordings, from an initial batch of easy-on-the-ear indie pop to the grungy, fuzz-fused leanings of debut album ‘Be Slowly’. In this gradual process of going from chirpy to charged, they’ve also become


more expressive and honest as songwriters. One song on the record, ‘Home’, is about frontman Connor Schofield suffering a panic attack the moment the band’s tour van parked up in Sheffield for a show. “I thought ‘I need to go home’,” he recalls. “With anxiety, you have to get through it no matter what. So I just wrote some songs about it.” That same night, JAWS dressed up as Star Trek characters for a Halloween gig. They’re the type to pull through difficult circumstances with beaming smiles on their faces. This time last year they weren’t exactly embroiled in trouble, but they were on the brink of being struck by the ‘hype’ curse. Initial chatter had them talked up to the heavens, tag-alongs to a B-town scene that was only beginning to bloom (it swiftly deflated, in some senses, because its stars departed the city at the earliest opportunity). JAWS have avoided the London life, for starters. They’ve also ridded themselves of a ‘hype’ tag, either by default or through sheer will, depending on who you ask. “When you’re a hype band you’re trendy at the time, and you don’t just wanna be that band at that time,” says bassist Jake Cooper. “You want people to connect to you and follow your music. You don’t want to be old news.” The past twelve months has witnessed this transition, from bigged-up Birmingham boys to a mini-national treasure. Every time these guys tour, the crowds get bigger, the atmosphere more intense. “The difference is we can play in London, sell loads of tickets and it’s all our fans, not a load of blokes that do A&R,” sums up Connor. ‘Be Slowly’ tops off a period that’s seen a shiny selection of songs given a new spin. Gems from their early days, like ‘Gold’, haven’t been scrapped, but they’re jostling for space in a new environment that contains more amped-up, frenzied takes. At times they could be compared to a US college rock band. A sense of longing lines the seams in songs about girls, dreams, quick escapes. “When we first started, the idea was to do Smashing Pumpkins-style music,” says drummer Eddy Geach. “That fuzzy sound. Borderline grunge. And I don’t know what happened, we kind of just bought a synth,” he jokes. Today they verge on linking up with Brooklyn fuzz fiends DIIV and Beach Fossils, especially on the title-track. And Connor is a selfprofessed fan of hardcore music. It’s a


jaw s

curious concoction. With this debut it feels like they’ve just about landed on the sound they’ve been seeking, but it’s still a journey that’s developing. “We’re writing new songs at the minute, jamming through pieces we’ve got together. And immediately it seems different to anything on the new album,” claims Jake. “We’re changing the way we play.” Connor admits the album’s been a long time in the making. It’s been completed for so long, “we didn’t realise it was happening,” he says. “It’s been in the back of our minds until recently.” The speed with which it’s come along might not have been possible without a good chunk of PRS for Music money that they received at the tail end of 2013. Similar schemes in other countries assist with giving bands an international platform, but this one simply gave JAWS a chance to get to grips with recording. “We’d released ‘Gold’ as a single and then it was like, ‘What’s the next step?’ We had a few songs and a few demos, but not really any money to do an album,” Connor remembers. “I always had a bit of an anxiety about us having all this build-up, getting a few fans and shows and then the band having to stop, because we couldn’t afford to carry on. PRS let us carry on basically, gave us a chance to do an album.” ‘Be Slowly’, as a title, insists that taking time’s the best way to go (“A lot of people live in a constant rush, and you need to sit for a second,” says Connor), but last year the band were at a crossroads. “We had to make a decision either way on whether to rush it or not,” recalls Jake. “At the time [debut EP] ‘Milkshake’ was still going, we were still touring. It was a matter of time until we had to make an album.” This first work, in that sense, carries an urgency. It’s the sound of a band fighting past initial hype status, shunning hyperbole, ignoring pressure and simply becoming an actual band. A group with fans and something tangible to hold onto. “Releasing an album is refreshing the hype, but it’s a different kind,” claims Eddy, and there’s a definite sense that JAWS are riding a wave of their own now. It’s one free of “beach pop” nonsense, and it’s one that has a long way to go. Perhaps they’ve been surfing it this whole time. JAWS’ debut album ‘Be Slowly’ will be released on 15th September via Rattlepop. DIY


“I don’t know what happened, we kind of just bought a synth.” Eddy Geach


perfume genius


SCREAM i f yo u wa n n a g o fa s t e r Be afraid, be very afraid, says a newly enraged Mike Hadreas. Perfume Genius - a project known for its tear-jerkers - has just become fully-charged. Words: Jamie Milton, Photos: Emma Swann.


he obvious route, for anyone sitting down to make slightly more commercial music than the kind they made before, is to lock themselves in a room and scream. There’s a moment in Mike Hadreas’ third album as Perfume Genius, ‘Too Bright’, when things go from powerful and ecstatic to all-out frenzied. ‘Grid’ - a terrifying standout on the LP - gives the game away that this isn’t the same songwriter that broke hearts with his stories on a piano. Elvis-style delivery (“Maybe baby,” he turns, in a like-for-like impersonation) is interjected with the kind of high-pitched siren sound that tends to rattle a war zone. It pierces and flies by far out of sight. And it’s a sharp call to arms that belongs to Hadreas. All this without mentioning the “goblin-y sounds”, in his words, that arrive within the same song. Previously Perfume Genius’ music could be equated with whiskey, tears, heart-to-hearts, sudden pangs that life might be a little tricky - not anymore. Through sheer force, a different side’s emerged, and it barks and bites at anyone who so much as stares oddly in its direction. It’s funny that things turned out this way, considering the initial aim of this third album was to soften things down a touch. Compromises weren’t necessary, but a polite word in Hadreas’ ear had him encouraged to change the subject slightly. Songs from the first two albums didn’t shy from tough realities. ‘AWOL Marine’ is about a homemade pornography scene where one of the men tells the other that he’s 53

perfume genius

getting medication for his wife. Other tracks carry a little more hope, but all the same - they’re tackling deep, troubling subjects that sometimes brought a strange comfort. This wasn’t poorly-intentioned advice that he was receiving. “It was like, ‘If you did this, if you toned it down, or talked about more pleasant subject matter, so that it’s just pretty and has less of an unsettling undercurrent...’,” remembers the 32-year-old. “And I’m getting older - this is all I have going on, my music. I thought I would have to take it more seriously. But I just ended up having to take it more seriously in a different way.” An initial goal of softening things down, creating more commercial music, isn’t totally outlandish. In their own very different ways, both St. Vincent and Future Islands have gone from niche concerns to Really Big Deals in 2014, despite retaining every speck of their individual extremes - if not more, actually. The same goes for Perfume Genius. Even if he wound up rebelling against his original aim, cinematic elements creep in, and this does sound like his biggest-sounding, perhaps biggest-spanning record to date. “I was more just rebellious about worrying so much about what other people think,” Mike claims. “It was rebellion against overthinking.” Then came the screams. On the album, ‘Grid’ links into ‘Longpig’, which boasts a devilish, X-Files-style synth line and tribal chanting. “When I was recording it, I didn’t know if it was good enough. But I just let myself do it anyway,” he remembers, citing the running thread between every song on the record. Fearlessness is the biggest factor. The real breakthrough moment came in ‘I’m A Mother’, where Hadreas’ vocal is hushed but heart-breakingly pained. He sounds like a previously dead spirit emerging from the ground. It’s the song that “broke the pattern,” he says. “It just felt right. I was infinitely more inspired by the weirdness and the darkness of that song than what I had been doing before. It just was much more exciting. And there was a wild feeling about it - it just felt really creative. I felt that thing you want to be close to. I finally felt trustworthy of it. And then I just started going in [the studio] every day. I made


tons and tons of music.” This dark-as-sin breakthrough moment gave away to a prolific streak, not that it’s evident on ‘Too Bright’. Three minutes of ‘I’m A Mother’’s silent screams were cut, Mike claims (“It went on for a while!”) and the rest of the record has this strange ability to bring completely wild ideas together. A cinematic theme rings true, but each song comes off like a different scene in a film. Hadreas cites himself to be a very visual songwriter. “When I first started making music, I would make a song and then immediately make my own video for it,” he remembers. And with ‘Too Bright’, not for the first time, he considered every element around the record, from striking imagery to the oddly euphoric video for ‘Queen’. “I wanted to take every element around the album very seriously. I wanted to step up a little bit. So I was a lot more thoughtful this time about videos and the press photos. I had this idea of a woman dressed as a man - that kind of look. I liked that toughness. I thought it was interesting.” In ‘Queen’’s make-up strewn video, Hadreas stars alongside a cast that break into secret rooms, rip up office papers and wreak terrifying havoc. It’s a powerful song to the extreme, an undoubted highlight from ‘Too Bright’. “That song says that everything you’re scared of is true. It’s me. I’m coming for you! There’s humour in it.” “I’m getting It’s the most forthright account of his own older - this is homosexuality that he’s penned to date. all I have goin Not only is it him being more upfront, it’s also on, my music.” the sound of Perfume Genius seizing the Perfume Genius agenda. With every song on the record, there’s “a catharsis”, he says. “Some of the songs require a lot more performance now. And there’s a lot more songs where it’s just me singing. I’m not behind the piano. I’m standing up,” he pauses. “I might need to think about it more though. Because I’ve been playing these new songs and I completely freak myself out - I have these adrenaline rushes and then I’ll go to sit down and play a really quiet song, and I’ll


be shaking and wigged out.” By turns industrial, bass-heavy and electronically charged, ‘Too Bright’ also possesses the same piano-led beauty displayed in previous records. The heart’s still firmly on the sleeve, only this time, the rest of Hadreas is breaking into action, forcing himself into the spotlight. “I think a lot of this album was about trying to gain some confidence. And I’m not fully there yet, so I had to pull from acting as if I was confident,” he says. “Even though the root of me feels the way that I do, the roof of me believes that I’m as good as everyone else, in my daily life I don’t really feel like that fully. This album is demanding respect and acceptance instead of just looking and hoping for it. I’m giving it to myself.”

Ever get the feeling you’re being watched by A GIANT FUCKING PEACOCK?

Perfume Genius’s new album ’Too Bright’ will be released on 22nd September via Turnstile. DIY



Here’s To The

Transgressive Records turns 10 this year. Home to Foals, Dry the River and a new breed of names, its founders are celebrating by looking ahead. Words: Jamie Milton. Photos: Emma Swann.


he story of Transgressive is “well documented,” admit founders Tim Dellow and Toby L, but it’s one worth repeating. With a combined fund of two grand between them, in 2004 they joined forces to put out 7” singles from some of their favourite bands because nobody else was doing it. The Subways, The Pipettes, Mystery Jets - these names run off like a who’s who list of the bands blue-tacked to teenagers’ walls circa-2005 in the form of giveaway posters. Little did they know at the time, but both founders were immersed in a wave of excitement that was running straight off a New York scene, diverted towards London. “The 7” singles just kept selling,” remembers Toby. “My cat was living on them at home in High Wycombe and then suddenly the next week they were gone. We had press interest saying we were the next Creation Records and stuff like that - we just found it hilarious.”

“The moment you’re at a

comfortable stage, you

Since then, the label’s ambitions have changed. No longer chancers frog-hopping their way from one release to the next, they’re more interested in a narrative and the career of an artist. Ten years probably feels like forever for both involved, but in the grand scheme of things it’s no time at all. Still, they’ve successfully managed to oversee the good times and the bad with bands like Foals, The Noisettes, Johnny Flynn and Dry the River. “To start with, I was obsessed with records, physical records. But as you grow, you get two types of people in the music industry, and the best labels are the ones that care about people and the bands,” says Tim. “Very early on we did a few one-off

produce your worst work.” Toby L



Proudest Moments Asked to whittle down their top three highlights as a label, Tim and Toby enter quite the discussion.

1 23 FOALS’ Radio 1 Maida Vale session, 2010.

Tim: “In between tuning up they were jamming because they just play non-stop. Zane was like, ‘This is incredible. Is this a new song?’ He suddenly put the guys on air, said, ‘What are you doing now? Can you just have a bit of a jam for us?’ It obviously ends up sounding amazing, Zane was broadcasting to the nation saying, ‘This is what bands should do’... They know each other so well, there’s so much chemistry and they can start making music just by messing around. So many bands will go in and be stiff and scared.”

Johnny Flynn at London Scala, 2009.

Tim: “Now he’s gone on to headline Shepherd’s Bush and beyond, one of the greatest moments of realisation was when Johnny Flynn played the Scala. It’s the first one, as management, where we put on a show in a big venue. People were singing back the songs. It was magical.”

FLUME’s remix of Arcade Fire’s ‘Afterlife’, 2014.

Toby: “A lot of my proudest moments are from the last few weeks because it’s most of what I can remember. Even a week ago, we got all of our Flume and Arcade Fire records. It’s such a progressive, challenging piece of music, both by his own repertoire, also for remixes, also for Arcade Fire. I was just thinking ‘Fucking hell, what an amazing record.’”



“We as a music culture and we as an industry aren’t patient enough.” Toby L



No Transgressive birthday goes off without some kind of party. This year, they’re going the whole hog. “Some people celebrate their anniversaries with one day on one party, but we’re just having a year of parties,” jokes Toby. “We’re going to do more events but we wanted to put the Barbican out there as this centrepiece for now. It felt like a big posh thing to do. It’s so proper and prestigious, and when we approached Barbican they offered to promote it themselves, put everything towards it, which is amazing.” Johnny Flynn, Mystery Jets, Marika Hackman and more play London Barbican on 30th September. DIY


singles and we thought it was great, but we saw bands that we loved going off and being ruined.” Toby agrees. “These bands were being chewed up and spat out the other end - they were ending up disillusioned or making albums they didn’t want to make. And we were into an ideal, ethical approach to making music.” It’s no surprise that these two are in no mood for looking back. They’ve a handful of exciting new artists on their books - the likes of Gengahr and Marika Hackman - and it’s this faith in ‘what’s next’ that’s held them in such good stead. “You sign bands you love. You hear stuff in formative stages and you think about people losing their shit over it,” Tim declares. “We never try and sign the same thing again. We never want one band to be an imitation of another on the roster. We started and we were all about being a punk label - that changed as soon as we saw The Pipettes, thinking they were the best pop band around.” Anyone taking notes on how to start a label might not be fortunate enough to get an early run as rich as the one that struck Transgressive. They’re also sitting here celebrating the big one zero for a reason. Before the label, Toby was running club nights under RockFeedback. Tongue placed firmly in cheek, he’d make ludicrous offers on the off chance he had a decent response. Graham Coxon attended one of his nights when he was just seventeen, postBlur’s split. “He was out the press, God knows what was going on with him,” Toby remembers. “I cheekily said ‘Oh it would be amazing if you ever wanted to do a secret gig at my club night,’ he was like, ‘Yeah alright’. I gave him my email address - the next day he emailed directly and he played there the next month for our 1st anniversary. The first night he’d

ever played without Blur. He debuted ‘Freaking Out’. That was that.” They eventually ended up putting out 2009’s ‘The Spinning Top’. It’s this kind of outlandish but deadly serious ambition that’s been a running thread in their run of form. When speaking about how bands work best, Toby claims that “everyone learns more and works better when they’re out of their depth. The moment you’re at a comfortable stage, you produce your worst work.” And that’s an ethos worth applying to a label - aim big, prepare to fail and act against adversity. Then the results come. Often they’ll sign bands due to chance happenings, friends of friends. One of the few “disappointments” they’ve encountered, they say, is the lack of good music submitted through a form on the Transgressive site. “Oh yeah,” stops Toby. “Except the time At The Drive-In wrote in saying they wanted to re-release ‘Relationship With Command’ via our label.” So there you go. “We as a music culture and we as an industry aren’t patient enough,” says Toby about the nurturing of new bands. “We need to be a lot more fucking patient and supportive.” Tim cites Radiohead’s rise to the top as an example. “They made a perfectly good debut album. They then made an incredible second album. A groundbreaking third album, an even better fourth album. They were nearly dropped. The same with Blur. Those albums nearly didn’t happen.” Gengahr, he says, were signed “because of the band they’re going to become.” It’s worth taking note of this leap of faith, because a lot of bands are still left hung out dry before they’ve even made a first step. ‘Sound Of’ polls and January-led expectation place pressure on a group for it to be ‘their year’, for a debut to be their ultimate statement. Given the long-term ascent of Foals and the gradual growth of Johnny Flynn and Dry the River, there’s little doubt that Transgressive aren’t the types to judge everything on the present day. Toby says it was “idealism” that motivated them in the early days. Now Transgressive oversee several companies, with management, promotions, publishing, live streaming all on the agenda. They’re not small fare, but they’re also avoiding being tarnished by businessoriented ambition. “With indies you have idealism but you don’t have the resources. With us, we’re getting further to having the idealism, the ambition and the means to build on it. That to me is so fulfilling. To go from speculation to actual attainment,” he continues. Back in the day it was “papercut central,” where records were being hand-stamped, printed and sent out to plucky, excitable punters. That’s still going. “Every record that turns up, you get that glow. But it’s all momentary. The pride comes in succession.” All eyes ahead, Transgressive’s 10th Anniversary is less a means of looking back, more a reason to press on. DIY



Transgressive’s guide to things to look out for.

Marika Hackman

“She’s grown up in public. She’s done a mini-album, two separate EPs. She’s just finished the full-length with Charlie Andrew. It just stands alone as a brilliant record.”


“I [Tim] met with them and we got on really well. They’re massive film geeks. One of them has a history of playing in crap Ska bands. Straight away these guys were great. We saw them at the London Scala [supporting Wolf Alice] and it was astonishing.”

Songhoy Blues

“We’re doing the album. It’s not like a world music record, it’s a great fucking rock record.”


royal blood


R oya l B l o o d a r e s t o r m i n g v en u es a n d fes ti va l s worldwide, but they’re not here to rescue rock’n’roll: “It d o es n’ t n eed s av i n g ,” explains Mike Kerr. Words: Sarah Jamieson.

t’s been a little under twelve months since Royal Blood unleashed their first offering. A thrashing, brutal effort that saw heads turn and eardrums explode on all fronts, their opening mark on the world was one of deliberate intent. This was a band unafraid to sound huge, and their progress has followed suit. It should come as no surprise really; from their homemade t-shirt that Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders donned for the latter’s headline slot at Glastonbury, to their acceptance across all realms of rock’n’roll, theirs has always been a future destined for massive stages. The speed at which they’ve covered ground, though, is something no one could’ve predicted. From incendiary sets at SXSW, to headline shows across America; from causing frenzies in the city festivals earlier this year, to somehow managing to sound blisteringly loud even on the radio, there’s nothing Royal Blood can’t do. “It’s been overwhelming,” offers one half of the band, Mike Kerr. He’s currently in the midst of a run of US headline shows that land in the middle of a summer of huge festival appearances. “It feels like every other day, we’re doing something where we’re on the other side of the world and we’re playing a huge show. If anything, right now kinda feels like the first UK tour that we did; we’re playing in a bunch of towns and cities that we’ve never played in before, and we’re putting in the groundwork here. We’re having a really good time.”

Royal Blood do the best Walter White impressions.

It may be less than a year since they embarked on that first set of headline shows, but there was more than enough preparation in the lead up. For the Brighton duo, it took time to perfect their techniques. There was no rushing out of the gates, or getting too ahead of themselves. With every track they’d release came the utmost precision and effort. Their sound had been practised, perfected until they were really ready to let all hell break loose. Then, with ‘Out of the Black’ – their first single, released back


royal blood

in September 2013 - they did. Locking themselves away in the studio, they began work on what would be their current ‘greatest hits’; tracks were written, recorded and re-recorded. With every burst of sound, the duo worked hard to make it louder, stronger, more powerful. “The album took us from when the band first started to about three weeks ago today,” Mike assures, with confidence in his voice. “I feel like we wouldn’t have closed the lid on it if we weren’t 100% ultimately satisfied and happy with what we’ve made. There are no real nerves, because however it’s received by anyone, that’s their job, you know? That’s not our responsibility. We’re happy with what we’ve done and what we’ve made, and I hope that it’s a good enough release, but we’ve done it. Taking their time to get things right was key for the duo. “It’s just a matter of quality control,” he explains. “It feels like the latest song we write is better than the one before, so I think it’s been important to write the material from as early as possible to as late as possible… With this being our first record, the only real agenda that we had for it was for it to capture what we sound like as a band. It wasn’t like we had a huge concept for the record or anything; that all felt too contrived. We just wanted to write the best songs we could, whatever they were or whatever they sounded like, and to make sure that the best songs went on the record. It’s as simple as that really. “There’s always that thing, particularly with a two-piece where there are obviously fewer elements and [it’s more difficult] to get things to have more dynamics, or slower moments, or pauses but that felt contrived and it felt like we would be doing that for the sake of doing that. I think the way that it’s come out just comes from the fact that we didn’t really have an agenda, and we just wanted to capture the best songs that Royal Blood have in this moment in time.” The band’s simple approach to writing is something that’s been cemented through their relationship. Having known each other for years before even beginning the band, both Mike and drummer Ben Thatcher share a connection that’s hard to describe: their writing always begins instinctually. “Absolutely,” agrees Mike. “I mean, there’s always going to be something quite primitive about two people writing and playing together, so instinctual is definitely the right word.


“The crowd stamped a hole in the floor, and we’d never even played there before…” Mike Kerr 63

royal blood

“I think from the b eg i n n i n g u p u n t i l n o w, i t ’ s b e e n o v e r w h e l m i n g .” Mike Kerr

It’s the same way we write music; we’re in the same room together and we just have fun and play around until we stumble across ideas that we find funny or interesting but also have some worth in a song somewhere. Then we keep building from that.” As for their unmistakable sound, as something that has taken them time to hone, they have clear intentions when it comes to laying down the songs themselves. “We’re quite hands on with the recording process. We have a very clear understanding of how we want each element to sound. Ben knows what he wants and we just, in quite an old school traditional sense of recording, don’t really hit record until it’s going to sound how we want it to. We’re so used to playing and recording with the two of us in the studio that it’s just a well-oiled machine. The last time that we went in the studio we were in there for two days and we had the drum sound ready to go in about two hours; everyone’s on the same page. “You know, again with there being two of us, it’s important to us that everything sounds true to our band live. I don’t think there’d be anything more heartbreaking than someone liking our band and coming to the gig to find out that there’s a backing track, or there’s extra members, or that we don’t add anything but it just sounds rubbish. To me, it was a no-brainer that the record had to be a true representation of what was possible live, and that’s why it’s like that.”


Needless to say, the ferocity that the band possess has won over fans and critics alike during the past twelve months, but if anything, their presence is only going to grow. Having already been named ‘the saviours of rock and roll’ back during their appearance on the BBC Sound of 2014 poll (“That, to me, is mental. It doesn’t need saving!”) before going on to perform in front of 50,000 people at Finsbury Park back in May, it’s all been a bit of a whirlwind. As they finally hit the home straight, with a slew of European festival appearances and release of their debut in sight, the duo are beginning to embrace the madness. “Like I was saying,” he says, “every other day, something very surreal happens. There’s a point where you do start taking it in a bit more and that’s when I think you properly start to enjoy it. It was great to play on that stage and it was a real memorable experience. The festivals have been very enjoyable too; we’ve got to go to countries that we’ve never gone to before. For me, a personal highlight was Poland. That was a great experience: the crowd stamped a hole in the floor,” he concludes, with a hint of nonchalance. “And we’d never even played there before…” Royal Blood’s self-titled debut album is out now via Warner Bros. DIY

plus guests


Monday 20 October

Sunday 26 October

Tuesday 21 October

Tuesday 28 October

Cambridge Junction 2 Liverpool Kazimier Friday 24 October

Birmingham Institute Saturday 25 October

Newcastle Riverside Brighton Komedia

Wednesday 29 October

London O2 Shepherds Bush Empire

LD OUT Social Club Tickets: Leeds SO Brudenell New album ‘Atlas’ out now on Domino



The ballsiest move imaginable.



The Physical World

(Fiction / Last Gang / Caroline)



he perfect band. That’s what you’ll hear those bloodshot-eyed veterans say. It may only have been ten years since Death From Above 1979 unleashed their classic ‘You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine’ upon the world - not so long ago none of us can remember it - but it feels like a lifetime ago. In musical terms, it is. Since then we’ve seen countless bands step up to take their throne. None of them really did. Instead, the chair lay empty. Waiting, like the sword in the stone, for the true kings to pull it free. It’s no slight on others to say they never scratched that itch. Death From Above 1979 were - and evidently are - special. You’ll know the image well. Jesse F Keeler and Sebastien Grainger, hand drawn, black on white, back to back, blank eyed with trunks. The bat signal for mayhem, shine it in the sky and the devoted will flock. So why risk it? Even stepping back into the front line to play live shows in 2011 felt a gamble for DFA1979. In their absence, they’d grown. Unable to disappoint, the story was passed down - this was that band, the one who could save us all. They needed to be harder, louder, more intense than ever. A second record would be the ballsiest move imaginable. It couldn’t not be a disappointment, could it?

/ D E A T H F R O M A B O V E 1 9 7 9 / FA M Y / F L O W / G E R A R D WAY / / K E N D A L C A L L I N G / L O N E LY T H E B R AV E / L O W E R T H A N A T L A N T I S R YA N A D A M S / S B T R K T / T H E D R U M S / T H E V I N E S / T R U C K

TRACKLIST 1 Cheap Talk 2 Right On, Frankenstein! 3 Virgins 4 Always On 5 Crystal Ball 6 White Is Red 7 Trainwreck 1979 8 Nothin’ Left 9 Government Trash 10 Gemini 11 The Physical World

You can put that one down right away. One blast of ‘The Physical World’ and BANG, the doubt is gone. Opener ‘Cheap Talk’ emits a snarl before hitting the beat, coupling that trademark fury with rapid-fire cowbell. Disco punk wielding a satanic chainsaw, DFA1979 have evidently been grafting on limbs of the dismembered Rapture. ‘Right On, Frankenstein!’ goes even deeper into the underworld. “I don’t wanna die but I wanna be buried, meet me at the gates of the cemetery,” the refrain demands. This monster has no intention of staying six feet under for another ten years. But it’s what comes next that really sets out what’s changed. ‘Virgins’. A traditional, huge rock riff; a chorus that demands to be sung back - whisper it quietly, but this is a band who could actually take the mainstream. In a world where Royal Blood tear up Radio 1, the harder, cooler, classic equivalent has invested in some tasty new flavours. Take ‘White Is Red’. If someone had told you Death From Above 1979’s new album

would feature a ballad, you’d quite rightly deem them the missing village idiot. But this - slower riffs, echoing sentiment, building momentum - might fit the bill. It’s even sort of moving, in its own weird way. Everything is relative. But as ‘The Physical World’ hits its mid point, it audibly tenses up. Stiff back, rock stance, ‘Trainwreck 1979’. The temperature drops, flames rise, eyes narrow. “I want it all, I can’t get enough,” it demands again and again. From here, it’s business time. ‘Nothin’ Left’ drops right back into the trenches, stalking for prey. A claustrophobic horror show, ‘Government Trash’ plays to strength too before giving way to ‘Gemini’, echoing ‘Pull Out’ with its squealing riff. As the title track moves from beeps and bombs to its almighty doom laden, city levelling refrain there’s barely a beat been missed. Time may have moved on, but Death From Above 1979 remained in constant motion with it. Two for two, flawless victory - this is still the perfect band.  (Stephen Ackroyd) LISTEN: ‘Virgins’, ‘Gemini’ 67


Wonderfully intimate. eeee eeee


The Weird and Wonderful marmozets


Marmozets’ Becca MacIntyre’s voice is gloriously smooth, and pitch-perfect. When not occupied by guttural screaming, it soars over her bandmates’ brilliantly energetic riffs, creating a killer combination that’s at its best when creating great big anthemic pop-rock choruses, like those on opener ‘Born Young and Free’, or follow-up ‘Why Do You Hate Me?’. It’s a mixture that’s most potent during the danger-tinged ‘Is It Horrible’ and ‘Love You Good’ – both employing the same dual vocals and post-punk rhythms as Blood Red Shoes, albeit with a little more sheen. ‘The Weird and Wonderful’ is bold, confident, accomplished – and most importantly, fun. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Is It Horrible’


CHRISTOPHER OWENS A New Testament (Turnstile)

With this second solo record, Christopher Owens is bold and uncompromising, setting a wildly different tone to either Girls or debut ‘Lysandre’ from the off. The short and sweet ‘My Troubled Heart’ is a rip-roaring, old school call and response affair that thoroughly ruffles the feathers. It also sounds, at times, like the kind of music from which the Coen Brothers could hinge a plot, a track like ‘A Heart Akin In The Wind’ coming instantly to mind. While a fun record, one issue remains, the fact that it’s often hard to connect with something so unabashedly honest; Owens all-too-frequently sounds as if he’s singing tongue in cheek, and it’s hard to tell if you’re in on the joke or not. He’s a consistent master of his craft, but does he want to show that off, or hide it under artifice? (Nathan Roberts) LISTEN: ‘It Comes Back To You’


KAREN O Crush Songs (Cult Records)

Demos are funny things.Microcosms of what was, will, or might be, and even what never transpired. Evidence of potential realised and others lost. A bit like crushes, if you will. So in a world where it’s possible to create a studio ‘proper’ with little more than the right computer software and a decent microphone, it’s apt that the “bedroom recordings” of ‘Crush Songs’ share so much more with those scratchy sketches of songs than the work of producers who just happen to work at home. So this doesn’t feel like a solo debut. Not least because Karen O’s unmistakeable vocals are one of the most iconic of the 21st Century – but also because they’re snippets, like a sneak peek in to her songwriting process. And because they were recorded as long as eight years ago. ‘Crush Songs’ is, essentially, charming. The scratchy recordings suit the dreamy 50s-lite melodies; the guitars are rough, the vocals imperfect; these are pretty, sweet, gorgeously simple songs which have come, been and gone. A bit like crushes themselves, really. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Body’


Going for gold.

GERARD WAY Hesitant Alien (Warner Bros.)

Gerard Way has it all to lose. The former My Chemical Romance frontman, a tabloid-baiting, main stage-stalking superhero, this first solo album is firmly on his own terms. All lo-fi and packed with magpied influence from the best of 90s alternative music on both sides of the pond, there’s every chance the majority of Gerard’s existing fans won’t be old enough to draw the line from ‘Hesitant Alien’ to somewhere inside Camden’s Good Mixer circa 1997. ‘Get The Gang Together’ has snarl and edge, ‘Drugstore Perfume’ is all falsettos, strings and kitchen sink tales - when Way goes Britpop, he does it with a love and knowledge most revivalists lack. It’s not all Steve Lamacq’s greatest hits, either. ‘Millions’ is a huge FM pop juggernaut, ‘Juarez’ a screaming, rumbling beast of a song. Unashamed scuzzy brilliance, the risk was worth it. (Stephen Ackroyd) LISTEN: ‘Get The Gang Together’



Wooden Aquarium (FatCat)

After the release of a mini-album last year, Mazes are now back with their most polished effort to date, ‘Wooden Aquarium’. Recorded to thick two-inch tape with Parquet Courts-affiliated producer Jonathan Schenke, it’s without a doubt the trio’s most triumphant LP to date, and sees frontman Jack Cooper mostly returning to his off-kilter pop roots. The one-two punch of ‘Astigmatism’ and ‘Salford’ is up there with Parquet Courts’ ‘Master of My Craft’ and ‘Borrowed Time’, whilst the immediate swan dive into ‘It Is What It Is’ channels the best krautrock-y bits that ‘Ores & Minerals’ nailed so well. Whether you come for the hooks and melodies found on the stampeding ‘Stamford Hill’ and ‘Letters Between U&V’, or the rougher jam sessions of ‘Explode into Colo(u)rs’ or ‘Ripp’, Mazes confirm themselves as one of the most exciting British bands around. (Tom Walters) LISTEN: ‘Astigmatism’



Beautifully batshit.



We Fam Econo (Transgressive)

Until late 2013 it looked as if Famy had dropped off the map. A vow of silence lasted over 12 months, while Bruce and Arthur Yates diverted their attention to more of a joke project, the equally hype-gaining Los Porcos. That big chunk of nothing that defined Famy’s output last year might have damaged them in the short term, but if as suspected they spent their time perfecting ‘We Fam Econo,’ it was time well spent. This is a collection of spirited songs that given their gung-ho mentality sometimes come out flawed, but charming all the same. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Ava’


LONELY THE BRAVE the Day’s War (Columbia)

Powerful: if there was one word that encapsulates the debut effort from Lonely The Brave, it’d be that. From the band’s musical talents to the songs’ lyrical content, this is an album which bubbles with frustration, anger and passion, threatening to burst through its seams at any moment. Recorded around the same time as their initial offering, the ‘Backroads’ EP, the newcomers might not be treading much new territory with their full-length, but they are pinning their colours to the mast. This is a band unafraid to try to move people, and they succeed. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘Trick of the Light’




This Is All Yours (Infectious)

With ‘This Is All Yours’, Alt-J have become even odder. Blame it on second album pressure, cabin fevered recording sessions, their obsession with crisp packets - something’s clicked, and they couldn’t give one flying fuck about being a big deal. The obvious route would’ve been for them to pen a crop of instantly memorable numbers that run hand-in-hand with their success. Instead, they make crazed claims like “I’m gonna bed into you like a cat beds into a bean bag”. Not even Radiohead went this weird when they had hundreds of thousands waiting on their every move. Behind every batshit idea is a wealth of beauty, and given this was the vital appeal of ‘An Awesome Wave’, Alt-J have struck gold second time round. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Warm Foothills’

THE COLLABORATORS Ezra Koenig’s vocal contribution on ‘NEW DORP. NEW YORK’ is great – but we already know him, Jessie Ware and long-term collaborator Sampha. Who are these others on ‘Wonder Where We Land’?

Caroline Polachek

Best known as the vocalist for DIY faves Chairlift, Caroline’s also released experimental stuff under the name Ramona Lisa, and both wrote and co-produced Beyoncé’s ‘No Angel’.


Having already worked with fellow Young Turks labelmate Sampha (it’s one big love-in ‘ere), Welsh DJ Lewis Roberts released his debut EP, ‘Yügen’ back in May last year.

A$AP Ferg

As his name gives away, Ferg (that’s Darold Ferguson, Jr.) is part of Harlem’s A$AP Mob, having befriended A$AP Rocky in high school. He released debut album ‘Trap Lord’ in August 2013.


This young Atlanta singer-songwriter is already mashing up influences from 2Pac to Death Cab via Bon Iver and Linkin Park – and gets to support local heroes Outkast at their giant homecoming festival this month.

A blindingly brilliant album. eeee


Wonder Where We Land (Young Turks)

Aaron Jerome is something of a maestro when it comes to sampling different genres. Not much has changed on ‘Wonder Where We Land’ in this respect – his hands are constantly snatching at multiple influences like he’s been given five minutes to cram down dishes in an all you can eat tapas bar. He’s also got a talent for selecting the right guests to help him out. Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig is the perfect match for the strange, jittering jazz-beat backing of stand-out ‘NEW DORP. NEW YORK’, while Denai Moore brings liberal helpings of soul to stuttering ‘The Light’. Chaotic, experimental, but oddly refined, SBTRKT has released one of 2014’s most exciting albums. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘New Dorp. New York’



Lower Than Atlantis (sony red)

If ‘Lower Than Atlantis’ was a plane, it would be a bomber – a B-52 in a world of model spitfires. Not only have Lower Than Atlantis put together one of the most brilliantly conceived releases of the year so far, they have done so in such a way which comprehensively retains your belief in every single note they sing and every middle finger they stick up. And that’s the real joy here: that LTA have made their most commercial album to date, but done so without compromising any of the attitude that sets them apart in the first place. (Tomas Doyle) LISTEN: ‘English Kids in America’’





El Pintor (Soft Limit)

Within a minute and a half of ‘El Pintor’, Interpol find a gear they’d not risen to in over a decade. Paul Banks’ lyrics have found a directness and storytelling eloquence that sees some of his fondness for linguistic absurdity left behind. The now trio have mapped out a stunning marriage of the intensity and depth of the first half of their career with the grandeur and drama of the second. The strongest vocal performance from Banks is perfectly showcased in the chorus for ‘Same Town New Story’ which offers possibly the most delicate chorus the band has ever created. The band who could once do no wrong returns, doing a hell of a lot of things exactly right. (Matthew Davies) LISTEN: ‘Ancient Ways’


BANKS Goddess

(Good Years / Harvest)

At the core of Banks’ sound is a lyrical honesty that colours every cool, trickling twist with unmistakable ownership. While the strongest songs on ‘Goddess’ remain the ones we’ve already heard; ‘Brain’ lurks in the shadows, skittering and smouldering, and ‘Waiting Game’ burns in slow-motion like a fuse slowly crackling towards final implosion, the more minimal moments show her in a different light; it’s clear Banks shares as much in common with the likes of Feist and Fiona Apple as she does with smooth-operating pop sheen. A bewitching, and surprisingly diverse debut, it looks like Jillian Banks more than lives up to the hype. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Waiting Game’

Bewitching, and surprisingly diverse.


BANK ON IT With this page alone boasting records from the completely unrelated (as far as we know) Jillian of the mononymous Banks and Paul Banks of Interpol, here are some other Banks of note. Azealia Banks Was there ever a point we wondered whether the New York rapper’s oft-postponed ‘Broke With Expensive Taste’ was also going to feature on this page? Er, no. Carlton Banks The world’s bestloved prep, smartass and undefeated (and undefeatable) king of dancing alone to Tom Jones, Carlton also single-handedly designed Vampire Weekend’s stage attire. Fact. The Banks family from Mary Poppins The best-behaved mischevious children in film, their angry and aloof father and suffragette mother all failed to laugh on camera at Dick Van Dyke’s ‘Cockney’ accent. Amazing. Banks. You know, the ones on the high street. With slow queues, overdrafts and charges, and pens on chains for all those cheques that still exist.



An allabsorbing slice of sheer mastery.

Too Bright (Turnstile)

For his third album as Perfume Genius, Mike Hadreas seems to have found what the fragrance-marketing people might refer to as his Signature Scent. Heady and potent, ‘Too Bright’ is an astonishingly brilliant album. There’s an intoxicating power to it, which is especially apparent in ‘Queen’, his haughty, sashaying anthem about possessing an identity that causes destruction by simply moving through the world. Lairy post-punk clatters and drizzles through ‘Grid’, while ‘Longpig’ is euphoric and musky. The title track is so delicately constructed that it seems to float on air with papery wings. ‘Too Bright’ is a diverse, multifaceted and all-absorbing slice of sheer mastery. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Too Bright’



Ryan Adams (Pax-Am / Columbia)

‘Ryan Adams’ is very much a continuation of the path last trodden by 2011’s ‘Ashes and Fire’, a heartening mix of sombre country rock (the desolate sounding ‘Shadows’) and the catchy Adams of old featured on the lead single ‘Gimme Something Good’. Thematically this is the Ryan Adams we have grown to love, all dusty highways, smoky bars and moments of gentle personal introspection spread across 11 tracks. Yet comforting familiarity aside, occasionally it sounds as though Adams is on cruise control, with brief flashes of rehashed older melodies from his back catalogue making an appearance. Equally, whilst there are no real lows on the album, the highs are equally not of the sky-scraping variety. (Bevis Man)



Encyclopedia (Republic of Music)

The Drums’ past few years have, with label and line-up changes, been a little turbulent. Though liberating in some ways, the hardships this brought formed the basis for their third fulllength, ‘Encyclopedia’. It treads largely the same boards that The Drums have become accustomed to, albeit with a slightly darker edge to their now-token summer vibrancy. They sound torn, split between the success of their early years and where to head next. Their changes have knocked them fractionally off course, and while it is only slight, it is noticeable. This is the sound of The Drums trying to find their feet once again, an endeavour not yet fully accomplished. (Will Moss) LISTEN: ‘Face Of God’



A welcome, if mixed, return. eee

JAMIE T Blood (Sony/Red)

Only the second most eagerly awaited comeback of this month’s issue, Jamie T seemed to have disappeared completely following 2009’s ‘Kings & Queens’. Five years later, ‘Carry On The Grudge’ shows the twenty-something south-west Londoner is back - and best when at his most vulnerable. There’s standout ‘Mary Lee’, taking more than a small cue from the solo output of one Graham Coxon’s, the prettily sweet (and not a Steps cover) ‘Love is Only a Heartbeat Away’ and the glorious pin-drop moment in waiting that is the stellar single ‘Don’t You Find’. But then, nestled among Jamie’s nowstandard early-hours inner-city tales (‘Turn On The Light’, ‘Limits Lie’) falls the bizarre and confusing ideas dump that is ‘Trouble’: brass, gospel backing, kitchen sink (probably)... An undoubtedly welcome, if mixed, return. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Mary Lee’




Be Slowly


The depth of ‘Be Slowly’ proves that JAWS slack about as much as a full-time lawyer that hates oversized shirts and music from the 90s. Opener ‘Time’, for example, has been injected with a new dimension through staccatoguitar hooks and ‘Reflektor’-esque bongos, while closer ‘NYE’ feels suitably elephantine with its thick coating of reverb and carefully crafted guitar pieces. ‘Filth’ slinks through grimy guitar hooks and trash-cans of fuzz, and ‘Home’ fizzes with its acidic plunge pool of a chorus, before culminating in a guitar onslaught. Sure, those looking for 24/7 simple, saccharine sun and smiles may be jarred in a few odd points; but the rest of us can enjoy the added punch and intensity that ‘Be Slowly’ brings to the table. (Kyle MacNeill) LISTEN: ‘Time’


THE VINES Wicked Nature

(Wicked Nature Music)

With sixth outing ‘Wicked Nature’, The Vines are back on form - for the most part. Right from the opener, punchy riffs and catchy choruses snap weary heads to attention. From slow grungy musings to electrified rock anthems cut up by characteristic, tantalisingly short blasts of energy, ‘Wicked Nature’ is both exhausting and exhilarating. This could be a flawless garage rock album. Unfortunately while there is one of those hidden away in here somewhere, it’s buried within an unnecessarily long double album constituting of 22 not dissimilar tracks. At least ten too many. There are very few instances in which a double album is necessary and this is not one of them. (Henry Boon) LISTEN: ‘Metal Zone’



At Best Cuckold (Sub Pop)

‘At Best Cuckold’ is intended as a hopelessly romantic album. It’s hopeless in that the lyrics read like exerts from a scribbled diary hidden under a mattress, and there’s something deliberately overwrought about the amount of lofty texturing going on at every turn. While ‘Avi Buffalo’ was a creepy, frustrated and self-indulgent debut in a way that felt believable, its successor doesn’t quite sit right. The crackling lo-fi unease is largely ousted in favour of a cleaner, more confident sheen, and the offshoot is that ‘At Best Cuckold’ is so highly polished that it feels a little lacking in the kind of blindsided naivety that comes hand in hand with romance. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Overwhelmed With Pride’



Gnarwolves (Big Scary Monsters / Tangled Talk)

It’s weird to think that Gnarwolves are only now putting out their debut album. Since the release of EP ‘CRU’ back in 2012 they’ve been one of the hottest bands in UK punk. Now they’ve finally managed to find time enough to record an album – and boy, is it a good one. Sure, there’s nothing on ‘Gnarwolves’ that exactly tears up the rule book – but what it lacks in originality it more than makes up for in execution. From the first seconds of opener ‘Prove It’ there’s barely a chance to stop and catch a breath. What really impresses, though, is that they’ve managed to more or less capture the essence of the live shows on which they’ve built their reputation. 28 minutes of thrashy, unadulterated skate punk that’s a knockout from start to finish. (Stuart Knapman) LISTEN: ‘Day Man’


Gnarwolves frontman Thom Weeks discusses their debut with DIY’s Sarah Jamieson. You returned to The Ranch in Southampton to record ‘Gnarwolves’: how was the recording process? Max completed Assassin’s Creed while were there! We spent a lot of time feeling a little bit lost, in the middle of nowhere, because it rained a lot so we were stuck in the barn a lot of time. But it was awesome. Lewis [Johns, producer] made us feel really comfortable and we didn’t have to rush, and we’ve never been able to not rush before. I think it shows in the recording quality. It was great, it was really nice. If you could have listeners take anything away from the album, what would you hope it to be? I’m still trying to work it out for myself at the moment. I’m hoping that the overarching theme is the freedom to not necessarily have everything worked out and the freedom to be able to feel and think what you want, and not be judged for it. DIY

A knockout from start to finish.


live Photos: Carolina Faruolo



-Darkside of the gloom. beaty heart

Beacons Heslaker Farm, Skipton


stone’s throw from Skipton, a quiet market town recently voted the best place to live in the UK, Beacons sticks out like a sore thumb. Forward thinking and eclectic, the site is a vibrant microcosm of new music nestled amongst the sleepy rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales. While British Sea Power gently stir their surroundings with a live soundtracking of coastline documentary ‘From The Sea To The Land Beyond’, it’s Nai Harvest who ultimately serve as Friday morning’s wake up call. The duo storm through initial tech problems to showcase half an hour of earworm indie-pop, the hazy melodies of latest single ‘Buttercups’ a perfect antidote to the bleary-eyed aftermath of Thursday’s bitterly cold night. On the Noisey stage, the mounting technical difficulties delay East India Youth’s arrival, but he eventually brings forth a set that - while perhaps less fluid than most in his jam-packed summer schedule - is no less impassioned a presentation of a debut that’s surely a definite for Mercury Prize nomination. Later, Daughter’s flawless, shimmering soundscapes are a little lost amongst the chatter of those who’ve come straight from the surrounding tents’ house and techno. Saturday brings with it the sun, and a perfect soundtrack in a supporting cast of indie-pop high hopes. It’s JAWS who take the early afternoon crown. Instilled with a clear confidence by the hype surrounding them, they recut their own material seemingly on the fly – a particularly frantic version of ‘Gold’ the standout – and drop their biggest hints yet that their upcoming debut full-length is one to watch. A last minute cancellation from Charli XCX leaves the pure pop vibe solely in Years & Years’ hands, and they take to the role on the DIY stage with aplomb. Soundtracking the warmest rays of the day, their silky R’n’B is remarkably accomplished for a band so new. Hookworms, on the other hand close out the day with a searing white heat. From the moment they take to the stage, their furious psychedelia incites mania, the frantic screams of enigmatic frontman MJ a million miles from the sun that greeted the morning. It’s a fury that’s carried through to the festival’s closing day, as Hurricane Bertha takes aim at the site. Tall Ships’ crowd is sparse as a result, but the newly expanded fivepiece are every bit as unstoppable as the carnage outside. 65daysofstatic’s usually mind-bending post-rock is a little flatter by comparison, and as they present almost solely new material the Sheffield quartet make little impact. But as the winds pick up and the site begins to collapse around itself, it’s Darkside who close out proceedings in the most fitting manner. It’s a far deeper offering than on record, with tracks from last year’s ‘Psychic’ holding less of a swagger and more of a techno feel, but it suits the festival’s end perfectly – a kaleidoscope of influence which echoes even the furthest of Beacons’ corners. As the duo evacuate and the hurricane tears through the site - taking tents along with it - the festival’s slate is wiped clean, the hills return to their slumber and Skipton to its usual idyllic state. The best place to live in the UK? For one weekend a year; absolutely. (Tom Connick)



KENDAL CALLING Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria

Mint (cake)

frankie and the heartstrings woman’s hour


Throughout its nine-year existence, Kendal Calling has shaped up to be more of an experience than the regular warm-beer-powered festival, from a special on-the-move acoustic performance by Jimi Goodwin on the Kendal Express train to the exciting yet intimate stages and tents plus a few secret sets, 2014 was a milestone in terms of line up, size and identity. By the time Suede are due to close Friday evening, everyone’s been fighting with mud and rain for twelve hours, but none of that matters, with the sea of hands pointing at the lively as ever Brett Anderson during the chorus of ‘Trash’, or by the energetic mosh-pit for ‘Beautiful Ones’. But it’s really the encore with an acoustic version of ‘She’s in Fashion’ that brings the biggest and most sincere cheer of the evening. The place to be during the weekend was of course Tim Peaks’ diner, with their late night music entertainment and delicious range of food. The daytime line up of bands isn’t too bad either with Frankie & The Heartstrings making a stellar appearance on Saturday, playing songs from both of their albums plus some brand new tracks instantly captivating their fans and steaming up the cabin’s windows. Happy Mondays might just be the ultimate festival band. While nothing particularly exciting happens on stage, bar Bez’s ridiculous dance moves, the atmosphere of the whole field changes into party-mode only a few songs in with people dancing even from the top of the ferris wheel. Sunday is all about the DIY stage, starting with Hull indie-punk newcomers Life, whose familiar sounds fall somewhere between Skaters and Parquet Courts, Jake Isaac’s charisma and folk pop songs make him future main stage material, but it’s Breton who brought the biggest crowd and collective bounce of the day. Woman’s Hour’s polished songs and stunning stage set up are then the ethereal calm before the storm. While Example and some serious fireworks close the weekend at the main stage, we stay indoors for a heart-warming performance by Frightened Rabbit. Opening with the soon-to-be-a-classic new track ‘Holy’ the Scottish band keep the energy flowing during their entire career-spanning set, and show that it takes more than heavy rain to put off Cumbria’s music enthusiasts. (Carolina Faruolo)

MØ decided to embrace the state of the portaloos.

POSITIVUS Salacgriva, Lat via


Belle & Sebastian

Katowice, Poland



magine the following scenes: Andrew WK is blasting out what sounds like a CBeebies’ theme song as rain comes tumbling down around his party-goers. Jeff Mangum is playing solo; gearing everyone up for a solemn tearjerker in ‘Oh Comely’. Belle & Sebastian play a headline set that’s like a joyous stroll through the field of their greatest hits. The prices are beyond reasonable (although this boils down to the Polish economy, ultimately), the curation is eclectic and exciting (You want to see Cerebral Ballzy and Perfume Genius in the space of a couple of hours? Sure, go ahead) but most of all the atmosphere is utterly electric. These are just a few highlights of many at OFF - Poland’s most unsung hidden gem - and after this year’s scenes, it deserves to be one of the biggest festivals on the planet. (Tom Walters)

ituated on the Latvian coast in Salacgriva, a two hour drive from capital Riga – the Positivus site is a forest/beach combo, perfect if you want to swim in the stunning Baltic Sea in between bands. And after a brief walk around the site on arrival, it’s time for Laura Mvula’s pre-sunset slot. There’s no doubt that Mvula’s technical vocal skill and slick, velvet tone are enviable and her majestic stage presence complements it, commanding the audience’s attention fully whilst barely lifting a limb. The intimacy grows even stronger as Baltimore’s Future Islands grace the stage as a fitting end to the night, undoubtedly the most anticipated performance of the whole weekend. Samuel T Herring ducks, dives and grinds on the stage – alternating between his ferocious chest-thumping and signature dance moves. On Saturday afternoon Daughter provide an apt mellow set that’s goose-pimple inducing, with Elena Tonra remaining a seemingly shy but decidedly powerful force. Later, the time comes for Positivus’ attendees to sport their 3D glasses and get into the Kraftwerk mindset. Reunion shows are oversaturated and often embarrassingly disappointing at this point but Kraftwerk reside in the middle, their live show isn’t a triumphant masterpiece but it’s not snooze-inducing either. After it having rained heavily during the day on Sunday, everyone is having mud wrestling matches by slamming each other into the murky pond formed by the main stage instead of hiding inside the cinema tent. One of those getting involved in the mud dancing is the bratty child of Scandi pop, MØ. Her silky, piercing vocals are offset by an odd but entirely engaging stage presence, clunking her limbs around in staccato motions, with ‘Maiden’ a particular highlight. A festival more about atmosphere and feeling rather than the music works in the right setting, and it’s not hard to see why people come from all over to enjoy the seemingly never-ending sun, beautiful sunsets by the Baltic Sea and a lounge in a hammock in the forest amongst admiring Kraftwerk. (Aurora Mitchell)



Helsinki, Finland



s one of the most highly anticipated festivals in Europe this year, Finland’s Flow Festival has an extraordinary weight on its shoulders as it opens its gates on Friday. Described as an urban haven that delivers on its design and food as well as its music, the expectations are that it’s a refreshing and original festival. Thankfully, it’s immediately clear passing through the festival gates that this isn’t just any other festival - this is Flow, and it’s without a doubt one of the most unique experiences in live music today. Set in an old power plant in the centre of Helsinki, the site is raw, gritty and unlike anywhere you’ve ever seen live music before. Pusha T, Jessie Ware and Mos Def all provide entertaining moments throughout Friday’s shorter evening, but it’s Darkside’s midnight slot that really defines the day. Playing in a smoke-filled Lumia Blue Tent that’s low-lit and looming, the brooding duo of Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington are mesmerising to watch despite there not being much to actually see due to the fog. Saturday is absolutely sweltering, and it’s hard not to feel woozy inside the Black Tent’s tropical climate when How to Dress Well takes to the stage after a morning of excellent Finnish acts (Siinai, Shivan Dragn and Mopo are ones to check out). Despite a few volume issues the set is soon in full swing, and Krell sways charismatically on stage, sending chills down otherwise boiling spines with ‘Face Again’ and the beautiful ‘Words I Don’t Remember’. The National go on to give a trademark show in their headline slot with a performance that’s far

from disappointing, but is lacking in the usual energy and oomph that they’re known for. Sunday beckons clashaggedon. Real Estate are bewildered as they walk out on to the Balloon 360 stage, which is essentially an amphitheatre situated underneath a giant balloon. Running on over to the Lumia Blue Tent for the end of Blood Orange, things are in full swing. His band’s performance is so tight and his performance so serene that it delivers serious goosebumps, and those who opted to stay rather than running to Jungle’s exotic Black Tent performance are truly rewarded. Röyksopp and Robyn confirm that Flow fans are all about the beats this weekend, as the Blue Tent is absolutely rammed by the time they come on to the stage. the lasers and lights are as amazing as they say, and for those indulging in this two-hour marathon, it’s without a doubt the highlight of the weekend. Not even Outkast pull a bigger crowd, and while the Main Stage still fills out for their headline set, the majority of people are enjoying it from afar. Donning a weird white wig, André 3000 is right at home up there next to Big Boi, and the pair deliver a crowd-pleasing set that’s littered with the odd cult favourite or two. The great thing about Flow is that it doesn’t feel like you’re at a festival. You’re at an event that feels exclusive, and above all else, exciting. (Tom Walters)

Röyksopp and Robyn


Go with the flow.

Royksopp’s own attempt to make Google Glass doesn’t go too well. 80

Photo: Chris Blizzard


Black Mountains, wales



Hill Farm, Steventon



t may come as a surprise but this year’s Truck is the festival’s 16th outing. Founded in 1998 on the same farm in Oxfordshire it has been held on since, it’s a fine-tuned operation, growing in ingenuity and strength year after year - yet still manages to exude a sense of youth, energy and innocence. The site is small and walked from end to end in minutes, taking in a number of stages and tents in the process, so there are no 20-minute dashes to mitigate line up clashes or forgotten booze. Everything is done at a stroll. The same sense of calm could not be said of the crowds. Band after band on the main stage on Friday is met with eager whooping and dancing. As the vicious sun loses its smart in the early evening, Kids in Glass Houses harness the crowd’s eager sense of liberation, kicking out an array of super-

charged adolescent ballads, before Peace adopt a cheerier line of Friday night party tunes. At this point, watching the unbridled joy and freedom of the crowd is as much fun as watching the bands. The bands sense it, too, and give all in return. This is certainly true of headliners The Cribs who tear through an hour set of punchy anthems. More of the same on Saturday, with impressive and well-received sets from Swim Deep and Stornoway on the main stage. Elsewhere, a brilliant and varied line up in the Barn curated by Big Scary Monsters and Alcopop! labels provides a breathtakingly beautiful acoustic performance from Kevin Devine, frenetic garage rock from Johnny Foreigner, and the most insane and unexpected stage show a field in Oxfordshire has ever hosted – Andrew WK. (Hugh Morris)

Brecon (not) bad. mac de marco

Photo: phil smithies

Keep on truckin’.

ou know you’re at the right festival when the first must-see act is a man in the literary tent matching beers to bands. He’s 2012’s top beer writer, apparently – and he’s currently claiming the local Growler ale smacks of London band Toy’s sweet melodiousness. Whatever, nestled in a cwm in the Brecon Beacons is this microcosmic idyll – Green Man, or ‘Dyn Gwyrdd’ – and it’s brimming with madcap bookings. “Waaassuuup”, he bellows, bumbling on stage in a Simpsons tee and swigging from the bottle. It can only be Mac DeMarco, who brings his exhilarating live show to the Far Out tent. Swerving carelessly from warmly bedroom synth-pop to charging garage funk (or “jizz jazz”, as he’d have it), replete with glammy guitar solos, bumpin’ bass and the trademark loveable slur, Montréal’s Ought, meanwhile, are the most exciting new band we see, and the most triumphant set of the weekend comes courtesy of First Aid Kit. Four years on from their appearance on the modest Walled Garden stage, Johanna and Klara play to the biggest crowd the main stage welcomes all weekend. As the notoriously cranky Jeff Mangum puts it a little later: ‘[Green Man] is a beautiful festival. Very humane.’ (Huw Oliver)



SAM MCTRUSTY Twin Atlantic NICKNAMES Trusty, baby Sammy, the Skipper. STAR SIGN Libra. PETS All cats belong to me. I am their zen. FAVOURITE FILM One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. FAVOURITE FOOD Rowntrees fruit gums. DRINK OF CHOICE Right now Red Stag. Usually Budweiser. FAVOURITE SCENT Fresh laundry. FAVOURITE HAIR PRODUCT Red Dax Wax. SONG YOU’D PLAY TO WOO SOMEONE Dante’s Inferno. IF YOU WEREN’T A POP STAR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING NOW? I AM A ROCKSTAR! An artist, a painter. CHAT- UP LINE OF CHOICE “Hey honey... Brilliant choice of location. Do you like eggs?”





THIS IS ALL YOURS a celebration of everything but normality ★★★★Q


DIY, September 2014  

Featuring Alt-J, Paramore, DFA 1979 and Royal Blood.

DIY, September 2014  

Featuring Alt-J, Paramore, DFA 1979 and Royal Blood.