MICACHU Making new shapes
SWIM DEEP How to make the sound of a black hole
GIRL BAND “I threw a spoon” set music free free / issue 44 / september 2015 diymag.com
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B R I NG M E T H E HOR I ZON “We want to be for everyone”
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D OW N 1
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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5
Yannis is doing his best for a Brucey bonus.
GOOD VS EVIL WHAT’S ON THE DIY TEAM’S R ADAR?
Victoria Sinden Deputy Editor GOOD n/a. EVIL My family home was hit by lightning. Twice. .............................. Emma Swann Associate Editor GOOD Reading! Especially FIDLAR line checking with a smidgen of ‘Undone - The Sweater Song’. EVIL The scum who broke in to our office and nicked all my camera gear. .............................. Jamie Milton Online Editor GOOD Hanging out with Foals in Poland, the place where beer is cheapest. EVIL Not being able to light a cigarette properly and pretending to smoke it out of shame. In front of members of Foals and Wild Beasts. .............................. Sarah Jamieson News Editor GOOD Reading Festival is
always so much fun, and this year getting to see Refused, Bring Me The Horizon and Frank Carter all in one place was incredible. EVIL Did anyone else notice how September rolled around and it just instantly became autumn?! Winter is coming... .............................. Louise Mason Art Director GOOD Two goods: Girl Band on record, and Girl Band live. EVIL Richard Dawson still isn’t number one in the album charts - he was so good at Green Man. .............................. El hunt Assistant Online Editor GOOD Eastenders’ Tracey is finally getting her own storyline. Here’s hoping she starts a buzz band with Ian Beale and headlines The Queen Vic. EVIL I’ve said this once, I’ll say it a thousand times... Rihanna - where’s #R8?
E D I TO R ’ S L E T T E R Oh blimey. So, after thirteen years editing DIY - from building its first website through to the magazine you see today - this is my last issue as Editor. I’m off upstairs, like Sir Alex with fewer horses. So, in the small amount of space free in amongst the amazing bands this month, I’d like to be self-involved enough to say thanks to everyone who’s ever written a word or taken a photo for this fine publication. It’s been awesome. Stephen Ackroyd GOOD Calling it. CHVRCHES are the perfect band. EVIL The tenth Doctor’s last words had it right.
What’s on the DIY stereo this month? Swim Deep - Mothers
Off the Richter scale in the bonkers second albums takes, Swim Deep take a wild trip on ‘Mothers’. They’ve gone nuts. In a (very) good way.
Deerhunter - Fading Frontier
After a near-deathly car crash, Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox is back with a new perspective, writing the band’s sharpest songs yet.
C O N T E N T S
NEWS 6 R E A D I N G F E S T I VA L 1 6 HINDS 1 8 D E A F H E AV E N
Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden Associate Editor Emma Swann News Editor Sarah Jamieson
1 9 D I Y H A L L O F FA M E 20 BEIRUT 2 2 P O P S TAR P O S T BAG 2 6 S TA N D F O R S O M E T H I N G T O U R
Art Direction & Design Louise Mason Head Of Marketing & Events Jack Clothier
28 ANGEL HAZE 3 0 F E S T I VA L N E W S
Online Editor Jamie Milton Assistant Online Editor El Hunt
NEU 3 2 T H E JA PA N ES E HOUSE 34 HAELOS 35 OSCAR 36 DECLAN MCKENNA
38 46 FEATURES 3 8 FOALS 4 6 SWIM DEEP 5 0 MICACHU & THE SHAPES 5 4 KURT VILE
5 8 GIRL BAND 6 2 BRING ME THE HORIZON 4 diymag.com
Contributors: Anastasia Connor, Andrew Benge, Chris Rickett, Danny Wright, Euan L Davidson, Jessica Goodman, Joanie Eaton, Joe Goggins, Kate Lismore, Kyle MacNeill, Ross Jones, Tom Connick, Tom Walters, Will Moss, Will Richards Photographers Dave Ma, Jonathan Dadds, Mike Massaro, Phil Smithies, Sarah Doone, Sarah Louise Bennett
50 58 REVIEWS 66 ALBUMS 78 LIVE
For DIY editorial email@example.com For DIY sales firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com tel: +44 (0)20 3632 3456 For DIY stockist enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org 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: Mike Massaro
BRING ME THE HORIZON T H AT ’ S T H E S P I R I T ALBUM OUT NOW O R D E R AT B M T H O F F I C I A L . C O M UK TOUR NOV 2015
Yannisâ€™s bunny ears impression needs work.
This year’s Reading had everything. Future headliners, boozy celebrations, a mysterious spinning person who didn’t get dizzy throughout an eight-minute Swim Deep song. That wasn’t the only impressive feat achieved this weekend. Exciting bands stepped up a gear. Drenge and FIDLAR conquered the main stage. PVRIS gave good on their promise of potentially being one of the biggest acts in the world. Kendrick Lamar and Bring Me the Horizon made the headlining old guard quake in their boots. Some bands literally threw up, they got so excited. This was Reading 2015.
“We’ll Be Back. It’d Be A Bummer If We Weren’t”
Foals Talk LastMinute Set
t started with a rumour from Melvin Benn, and come the start of day two, it was confirmed - Reading & Leeds staples Foals would be playing a last-minute set. With every album Foals release, they hit another level. ‘Mountain At My Gates’ and ‘What Went Down’ are showcased in their half-hour set, and with the latter, Yannis Philippakis looks like he’s overseeing the apocalypse as he’s hoisted up by fans in the first rows, gazing on circle pits opening left, right and centre. It’s chaos, and it’s the kind Foals have been accustomed to since day one, but everything here sees them hitting another level. Kicking off with ‘My Number’, they cram in every firestarting song possible. ‘Inhaler’ gives way to ‘Spanish Sahara’, each giant in their catalogue sharing space with new cuts that look set to dwarf today’s favourites. You’d be a fool to rule out Foals returning next year on the biggest platform yet - as headliners. How long have you been plotting this? Yannis: We’ve known about it for a while, maybe a couple of weeks. But it was everything I’d hoped for and more. It times nicely with the record being out - what’s the feeling with it being released finally? Yannis: It’s been a day, but you know - I was painting my kitchen yesterday so I wasn’t following everything that’s going on. I was dipping in and out, and all of the responses feel like it’s been great, overwhelmingly positive. And it feels good for people to hear it. I’m not really interested in the reviews and stuff, I’m interested in the fans, and the reception has been incredible. I think we feel really good, and we’re at Number One - which we didn’t expect. It feels like you’ve done things your way, especially with the cassettes being dropped off around the world. Jimmy: You could see it all on Instagram - it was amazing. People holding up tapes from all over the world. South America, someone in Sydney, all over Europe. It was touching, to be honest. It’s a nice touch - you don’t know if people can listen to it straight away. It makes things unique. Yannis: Long live the analogue resistance - that’s what we say. We’re showing respect to our analogue roots. This week’s been about starting small. How was the Rough Trade gig? Yannis: It was great. Sometimes those instores can be a little bit frigid. But it was really good. We’ve done it before and it’s been odd. I was actually very considerate of their stock. I decided not to tread on their Korg diatribe machine. Is Reading the end of this first stage, in a sense? Jimmy: We’ve got Leeds tomorrow, obviously. That’ll hopefully be more of the same. And then it’s back to conventional touring, which we’ve been waiting for for ages. Yannis: It’s good to get between some walls. This time next year, are you going to be back at Reading? Jimmy: Yeah. We’ll be back. It’d be a bummer if we weren’t. Yannis: It’ll be a proper show next time.
2015 Drenge’s main stage set delivers everything the band specialise in. Rory Loveless is in peak awkward stage banter - “Is everyone having a good time?” he says twice in the space of thirty seconds - and shuffling feet are toppled by the time they get playing. ‘We Can Do What We Want’ is the first hell-raiser. What follows is everything Drenge dreamt of: they’re not far from hitting the jackpot. “This is my favourite fucking festival in the world,” says Harry Koisser of Peace, and it’s not hard to see why. Something happened between albums: all of a sudden, these four look like some of the most tightly-knit musicians around. ‘Bloodshake’ is fiercer than before, and even though Harry’s still a sucker for gigantic coats, he doesn’t look like a stranger on stage - Peace are a proper unit now.
“Did you see me gagging?” Tarek Musa
spring king : For years Spring King have been playing industry-heavy, huddled whisper gigs where it’s about impressing the right people, and static audiences are standard. Here, it’s the complete opposite. Something’s clicked, and all of a sudden Spring King are Reading gems. “It’s a dream come true,” says Tarek Musa from his drum kit, exhausted after a round of pit-inducing songs. “Me and Pete started this band and we couldn’t find a drummer, so I did it.” Without pause, someone in the crowd shouts: “I’ll be your drummer!” The demand for this band has skyrocketed. The band’s go-to mascot, Pete’s Dad (‘Saxophone Dad’) makes a welcome appearance, greeted by chants of “Steve-o!”. Tarek looks flabbergasted, every member of the band bouncing off energy from the crowd. It’s a watershed moment for a group who deserve it more than most. A few hours after their set, Spring King’s Tarek Musa described it as the “best show of my life.” It was definitely a moment, seeing these do-it-yourself types adored by an army of screaming fans after years of hard work. Shortly after it happened, we spoke to Tarek and co. to get their verdict. Did you hear the person in the crowd shout “I’ll be your drummer?” Tarek Musa: I didn’t personally, but I 8 diymag.com
read it from you guys! James Green: If anyone’s being a drummer, it’s me. I’m the second drummer, ok? So let’s just sort that. I keep telling him we need two drummers - all the best bands have two drummers! Tarek, you looked like you were going to be sick at one point. Tarek: Did you see me gagging?! I put my t-shirt over my face when I’m about to throw up. It’s a psychological stop. I was gonna go off stage, chuck up and come back on, but I decided to sing ‘V-V-V-Vampire’ as low as possible. The lower I sing, the less I wanna throw up. Has it been a while since you’ve spewed? Tarek: FIDLAR! We played with them and as soon as we got off, they were all side stage going ‘Great show!’ and I just went ‘Bleuuurgh’ right next to their shoes. They were fine though. Pete Darlington: It’s always about the crowd. If you feel the crowd responding, it picks everybody up. Sometimes you have to encourage it to happen, but it happened quickly today. James: I mean I know that Lorde will get a pit at Leeds Fest, but it’s still great. I’ve watched LCD Soundsystem with pits before at Leeds - it’s bizarre.
“I sometimes feel weird playing in another country,” starts the ever-active El-P of Run the Jewels, always with a one-liner on the end of his tongue. “But then I remember that this place is run by the same war-mongering paedophile motherfuckers,” he declares, followed by the loudest cheer of the night. Joined by Killer Mike, these two thrive on their own unhinged anger, and they’re in the form of their lives. Since the start of 2015, Swim Deep haven’t just been trying to convince cynics that they’ve properly changed, shifting from hazy youthful numbers to driven krautrock stormers. Tonight, new cuts hold pace with old favourites, and a positive response to these shamelessly weird songs is tangible. Austin Williams is beaming, bouncing off the walls. Approaching the NME / BBC Radio 1 Stage, it’s easy to assume - as ‘Rollin” rings out - that nothing much has really changed since 2000; that is, aside from Fred Durst’s choice of headwear. Having traded in his infamous backwards red cap for a more straightforward blue number, he may be showing off his more grown up side but his crowd aren’t quite ready to. There’s no denying it: they’re an iconic band, and that’s the power of Limp Bizkit . Bastille ’s set packs in tracks from
WILL JOSEPH COOK
THE LEXINGTON LONDON MON 14 SEP
SOUND CONTROL MANCHESTER MON 28 SEP SCALA LONDON WED 30 SEP
RAINBOW WAREHOUSE BIRMINGHAM SAT 03 OCT
NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY SUN 25 OCT O 2 ACADEMY BOURNEMOUTH SUN 08 NOV
COLUMNS CATHEDRAL SAT 30 OCT LEADMILL SHEFFIELD SAT 31 OCT TRINITY BRISTOL MON 02 NOV LIBRARY BIRMINGHAM TUE 03 NOV
OSLO LONDON THU 29 OCT
EVENTIM APOLLO HAMMERSMITH THU 12 NOV
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EXCHANGE BRISTOL TUE 27 OCT SOUND CONTROL MANCHESTER SAT 31 OCT THE DOME LONDON THU 05 NOV + 5 MORE DATES
O 2 ACADEMY BRISTOL TUE 10 NOV RITZ MANCHESTER WED 11 NOV THE FORUM LONDON SAT 14 NOV INSTITUTE BIRMINGHAM SUN 15 NOV
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MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2 THU 19 NOV MARBLE FACTORY BRISTOL TUE 24 NOV O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE THU 26 NOV + 4 MORE DATES
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GORILLA MANCHESTER THURS 03 DEC BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB LEEDS SUN 06 DEC RESCUE ROOMS NOTTINGHAM TUE 08 DEC
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Ti c ket s | Exclus ive s | Win | live nat io n.co.uk 9
across their past four years as a band. From debuting brand new material to offering up their well-honed classic cover of ‘No Scrubs’, their set list has a pace to it that keeps the audience enticed throughout. Hits like opener ‘Things We Lost In The Fire’ and ‘Laura Palmer’ garner singalongs, but it’s when frontman Dan Smith dons his infamous grey hoodie for ‘Flaws’ - during which he dives straight into the audience as if he’s back in a tiny venue - that the crowd really goes into overdrive.
quiz Marks To Prove It The Maccabees have bagged a Number One album, and a main stage slot at Reading and Leeds Festival, but have they really got the ‘Marks To Prove It’ in a gruelling exam about their own band? We put Orlando and Felix to the test. How many kisses are there in the video for ‘Toothpaste Kisses’? Orlando: Erm, 25. Felix: I’ll say 17. Nuh-uh! There are 13 snogs in total, unlucky for some. How many times have you played Reading & Leeds? F: This’ll be our fifth time. Or the sixth time. Good save, Felix, this is your sixth time at the festival. Who did the cover art for ‘Wall of Arms’, and for a bonus point, what colour shirts were you both wearing? O: Boo Ritson! I was wearing a green shirt. F: Yellow for me. I’ll never forget that, because I regret the yellow massively. Correct on all counts, two marks to The Maccabees.
Tick! The Maccabees played an early show in a working men’s club, and Orlando, you kept shouting the name of the local footie team. One of your musician pals also got ejected for being too drunk. For two more marks to prove it, who got booted out, and what was the football club? O: I don’t know who the friend was, but the team was Brentford FC. It wasn’t a high point for music, I don’t think, and it wasn’t really a statement of any kind. It was more rabbit in the headlights. Long live Brentford FC! Your drunk mate was Jamie T, though. Maybe he’d had too many Stellas? And finally, a bit of new albumrelated trivia for you - why is Elephant and Castle called Elephant and Castle? O: There’s opposing theories, but I think it’s because that’s where all the elephants are kept; in the Faraday Memorial. Someone told me their mum used to tell them that on the bus as they went round the roundabout. F: A point for imagination I think. Everyone says it’s because of the local boozer, but alright, we’ll give you that one.
A couple of years ago, Felix, you went to watch Surrey vs Sussex play cricket with a fellow pop star. Who Marks To Prove It? Felix and Orlando was it? got six points out of a possible eight. F: I know the answer to this, Not bad at all. Florence Welch. 10 diymag.com
Alt-J are playing a lot of festivals this year. Loads. All over the place. From headlining Latitude through to a tour of Europe’s biggest events, by and large you’ll find them up the top of the bill. And yet of all these major events, tonight is probably the biggest challenge of the lot. Opening with the Miley sampling ‘Hunger Of The Pine’, their opening salvos deploy their standout moments. ‘Fitzpleasure’, ‘Something Good’ and ‘Left Hand Free’ follow in a row. ‘Matilda’ isn’t far behind either. From Festival Republic tent to main stage sub-headliners - Alt-J have what it takes to make that final step. “We’ve gone from that tent, to that tent to here,” notes The Maccabees’ frontman Orlando Weeks from the main stage, mapping out his band’s journey to the top. And to put a neat ribbon on their journey, the best of their mid-afternoon set dives back into the good old days of ‘Latchmere’ and ‘Precious Time’. That’s no detriment to ‘Marks to Prove It’. These finitely-built songs have their place, even if they’re not instant festival giants. ‘Something Like Happiness’ gets re-jigged for the occasion, while the LP’s title-track bursts out all guns blazing. Pop stars don’t have the best history of playing Reading. Generally, they’ll end up copping a few pint glasses of warm yellow fluid, maybe even a wheelchair. But then Charli XCX isn’t your usual pop star, and while this may be her first Reading since she became a Genuine Mainstream Star, she’s done this before. She knows what it’s about. There’s as much punk in her snotty, bratty recent material as can be found in any number of main stage bands. In your face, unrelenting; this makes far more sense for her than a V Festival ever would. Reading will never be jollier than in the
IVY TRIPP LP / CD
bEfoRE THE woRLD wAS bIg LP / CD
HEYDAYS LP / CD
FrAnkiE & THE HEArTSTringS
bEAuTIfuL woRDS EP 12”
Don’T wEIgHT Down THE LIgHT LP / CD
DECEnCY LP / CD
Too LP / CD
MYTHoLogIES 2LP / CD
A LL RE LE AS ES ALS o AVAILAb LE DI gI TALLY
W i C H i TA’ S 1 5 T H A n n i V E r S A r Y pA r T i E S 2 9TH o C TobER
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ALL R ELEASES ALSo AVAIL Ab LE DIg ITALLY ISLIngTon ASSEMbLY HALL. LonDon THE SCALA. LonDon W W W.W CEHTS i TArE CO in gDSb.CO M n C E R TS .Co M T I Ci K : ww w. R orCd Kf EE AC KCo W W W.W i C H i TA- r E C O r d i n g S .CO M
t’s been a momentous summer for Wolf Alice. From covering DIY HQ with supernatural amounts of glitter, to crash landing into Glastonbury with their stand-out debut ‘My Love Is Cool’ just out, Theo Ellis and Ellie Rowsell drop by for a chat not quite sure what year it is. “It’s almost like this is the next festival season,” ponders Ellie. “This feels like a big one for us. Glastonbury feels so far away.” There’s no question that today’s show is another huge milestone, Reading & Leeds being a festival close to Wolf Alice’s hearts. Making their way up the ranks, with the backing of their squad all the way, today is one of the last glimmering jewels to go onto their crown; a gigantic sold out headline show at Brixton Academy being the fuckoff diamond capping it all off. “Cos the album’s out now, it’s a big deal,” agrees Ellie. “Playing Reading feels a lot bigger this year, like a celebration.” “We’re all on the same wavelength,” says Theo, gesturing towards an AWOL Joff Oddie and Joel Amey, “very excited.”
“This feels like a big one for us”
back-to-back blast of ‘I Will Wait’ and ‘Little Lion Man’, two songs which encapsulate the most loved and loathed sides of Mumford & Sons. Impassioned banjo-led brodowns are easy to diss on record. When it’s here, in the company of thousands, it’s impossible to resist. A decade ago, banjo cuts might be met with bottles of piss at Reading. Here, they’re embraced like a long lost friend. “There’s fucking nothing like a British music festival,” says frontman Marcus Mumford mid-set. They’re still beasts this band are trying to master. FIDLAR have been on stage for around a minute. Zac Carper is filling, riffing on Weezer’s ‘Undone - The Sweater Song’, while someone runs out with a set list. These West Coast punks may not be a well oiled, shiny machine, but in their own way they’re ready for the main stage. ‘Cheap Beer’ leads the committed front rows in a chanted back chorus, new cuts ‘40oz on Repeat’, ‘West Coast’ and ‘Drone’ all striking a chord. Fuck it, dog by now, we all know how that one goes. A slot that’s been billed as an integral one for the band, Bring Me The Horizon’s appearance on the main stage this evening was always going to be a gamble; by the time their hour is over, there’s no doubt that it’s paid off. From the opening hugeness of ‘Happy Song’ through to the urgency of their back catalogue, they feel like a truly vital group. Tonight, the Sheffield five-piece prove themselves as more than just another heavy rock band breaking down the boundaries: they’re destined for huge things. You know what you’re going to get when it comes to a Metallica show. Bombast, riffs and ridiculous drum faces courtesy of Lars Ulrich, there are few surprises in store. Introduced by the ominous sounds of Ennio Morricone’s ‘The Ecstasy of God’, things are quickly turned all the way up to the eleven as they plough into the quick-fire stomp of ‘Fuel’. They’re a solid, dependable headliner that will always be able to appease the masses; but it’s probably time to give someone else a go. So much has happened for Wolf Alice in the last few months, but there’s still room for another pinch-yourself experience. It doesn’t strike straight
away at their NME / BBC Radio 1 Stage set, but it kicks like a raging bull by the end. ‘Giant Peach’ was made for this festival and this tent. This has been Wolf Alice’s year. All-out hedonism doesn’t arrive with their Sunday mid-afternoon Festival Republic set, but bit-by-bit Gengahr become more magnetising as they progress. ‘Embers’ sees frontman Felix Bushe shifting from his traditional falsetto into something sharper and more pronounced, and the band’s calling card of precision gives way to berserk crescendos with ‘Bathed in Light’ and ‘Powder’. Pits don’t open up, but then that would be odd, even at Reading. Gender Is Over. That’s the message Laura Jane Grace has chosen to wear as she takes to the main stage. And while in no way should the significance of what her, and Against Me!’s, presence on the biggest platform in British rock music be even slightly ignored, it’s a statement that works on more than one level. Against Me! aren’t only important because of their frontwoman: they’re a really, really, really good band. And today, they’re not going to miss out on the opportunity to show it. From opener ‘True Trans Soul Rebel’ onwards, they’re a blistering, challenging force. With last year’s album ‘White Noise’ still riding high on excitement, inside The Pit it’s pure, unadulterated mayhem for PVRIS . Every word sung back, every song a single - regardless of if it actually is or not. There are acts playing the main stage this weekend who will struggle to pull half as many excited festival goers. If the festival was being booked this weekend, they’d have been playing it no questions at all. Whatever that magic touch that takes a band right to the top of their genre is, they have it. There’s always going to be a limit to
The Big Moon & VANT play DIY’s
‘How Much Do You Know About Me’ quiz
This October, The Big Moon, VANT and INHEAVEN join forces to play the Neu Tour. We bumped into two of these three while they played Reading, and we decided to ask them questions about their future tour buddies. The twist? They had to guess each other’s answers. This could either make for the beginning of a blossoming friendship or the start of a brutal tour war… Drinks order
The Big Moon’s guess: “JD & Coke.” VANT’s answer: “I do like a good scotch actually. That’s more of a night-cap though. I’ve got a really good hangover cure that they’ll never guess. Black coffee, followed by an orange juice, glass of water, bloody mary and a Guinness. And then you’re fine.” (Incorrect) VANT’s guess: “I think they’d be into a lager.” The Big Moon’s answer: “Lager.” (Correct - a good sign for the tour!) Favourite colour
The Big Moon’s guess: “Green. No wait, red!” VANT’s answer: “It changes through life. Probably red at the moment.” (Correct - and another!) VANT’s guess: “I reckon they’ll go avant-garde and say white.” The Big Moon’s answer: “Purple. He said white? Interesting! White is all of the colours mixed together when viewed through a prism.” (Sort of correct but let’s be honest, not really) Favourite animal
The Big Moon’s guess: “Aardvark. It could be a polar bear though.” VANT’s answer: “Elephant.” (Incorrect) VANT’s guess: “I’m gonna say alligator. Maybe a monkey though, ‘cause they send them to space, the closest thing to The Big Moon.” The Big Moon’s answer: “I’d love to be a baby lion, or maybe a tiger. He’s giving some very intelligent guesses
though” (Incorrect again, come on guys) Pizza topping
The Big Moon’s guess: “Veggie supreme.” VANT’s answer: “I’m gonna say Four Cheese.” (Incorrect - please note The Big Moon were informed of Mattie being vegetarian) VANT’s guess: “I’m gonna say ham and pineapple.” The Big Moon’s answer: “Oh god that’s crap. If there’s one thing we can teach him about, it’s pizza.” (Painfully incorrect) Tour soundtrack
The Big Moon’s guess: “Foreigner. It’s gotta be that, right?” VANT’s answer: “Tame Impala.” (Not Foreigner, sorry) VANT’s guess: “Mac DeMarco.” The Big Moon’s answer: “Oh yeah, we have that on our playlist. We have a playlist called The Big Zoom.” (Correct!) First album
The Big Moon’s guess: “Backstreet Boys! The Vengaboys! 5ive! *NSYNC!” VANT’s answer: “This is embarrassing. The Hear’say album.” (Incorrect, but what an answer) VANT’s guess: “They’re really cool, so I’m gonna say the Spice Girls.” The Big Moon’s answer: “Oh my god he knows us so well!” (Correct inspiring stuff) Visit diymag.com for the Neu Tour dates, starting 1st October.
2015 producers keeping it a decks-only affair when playing live. But let’s not forget Jamie xx isn’t the type to resort to bravado; he still brings enough quality beyond the cuts from debut album ‘In Colour’ to win over Reading. A giant disco ball does half the talking - the rest is up to incorporating Skepta and Idris Muhammad’s ‘Could Heaven Ever Be Like This’ to his glitzy showcase.
Alt-J Alt-J talk non-stop touring and early ideas for a third album.
head of their main stage slot, Alt-J told DIY that they’re beginning to form early ideas for a third album. The trio are still in the midst of touring second LP ‘This Is All Yours’, rounding off with a run of November UK shows. “We’re not raring to get back on the road,” Gus Unger-Hamilton explains, “but ideas for the third album come round.” Drummer Thom Green says he’s been working on ideas while touring, and never stops. “I don’t find life on the road too difficult, it actually kind of motivates you,” he states. “You have the equipment you need. If you’re a creative person, then I don’t see why you’d give up. Touring is harder, but we’ve adapted to the situation. It’s very important for us to do that. I think we’ll have more ideas than we realise when it comes to putting an album together.” Tonight they play one of their last UK festival shows around this album, with Leeds to follow. “I quite like not headlining,” says Joe. “It does take the pressure off. It means we don’t get caught in the media frenzy of whether this band should be playing, are they doing this festival justice by headlining. You avoid the politics of that.”
The Libertines’ reunion and Reading headline set drags chaos of all kinds along with it. Crimson flares are fizzing and letting rip turrets of smoke all over the shop, one flying off into the air, and landing tens of metres away at the feet of angry security. So often tonight The Libertines fall back on the original fail-safe charms; it’s in staples where The Libertines find themselves most at home. ‘Time For Heroes’ - dedicated to an “absent friend whose life was cut short” - is an honest, touching moment, and ‘What Katie Did’ a ropey, yelpy singalong with its own raggedy appeal. Their Reading set might not show a reinvented Libertines, but it certainly announces in smoky, shambolic style that the likely lads are back. (El Hunt, Jamie Milton, Sarah Jamieson, Stephen Ackroyd)
Kendrick L amar
here are few words fit for Kendrick Lamar. A showman and a storyteller, his main stage set - second down the bill - already contains every single poster-topping component; this is a headliner performance. Affairs start out heavily weighted towards ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city,’ Kendrick flipping verses of ‘Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe’ out into extended unfurling freestyles, and letting ‘Poetic Justice’ be picked up for a moment, and carried entirely by a euphoric crowd. After a pocket of quiet in the shape of ‘Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst’, third album cuts ‘i’, ‘Alright’ and ‘King Kunta’ burst out in quick-fire succession. All the while Kendrick Lamar paces the stage, grinning. He’s not only a commanding artist, he’s a larger than life member of his own crowd.
V I VA
The Madrid band are preparing to release their debut... and a new range of Hinds-proof kazoos. Words: El Hunt.
eople come up to us,” recounts a stern Ade Martin, “and they go, ‘Ay! Deers!” “Por favor!” joins in Carlotta Cosials. “It’s Hinds! Move on!”
heaps of Hinds’ favourite travel staple, pasta, the band set off for the Spanish city of Cádiz - the unofficial Andalusian party capital - and ended up sipping celebratory mojitos for a grand total of... jamás.
Hinds have come a long way from their humble beginnings covering The Virgins’ songs in Madrid. Watching Taylor Swift’s star-studded ‘Bad Blood’ video on repeat at their London crash-pad tonight, and lounging across towering stacks of freshly printed Hinds merch, the band have taken to their name change like a deer to Richmond Park.
“We were so stressed, we saw nothing,” summarises a matter-of-fact Ana Garcia Perrote. “As we were there, we were learning,” expands Carlotta, “and in the last days, the songs we were mixing were so much better. It was not time enough. We’ve done everything in analogue, it was exhausting to try things, and if you don’t like them, try again, from zero.” The band rarely left Paco Loco studios, and spent a great deal of time napping on the sofas in between takes. “You sleep there, eat there, make dinner there, and you are talking in relation
Recording their debut album, though, was not without its challenges. Laden with guitars, newly-penned songs, and
to the album all the time,” says Carlotta. “Completely mindblowing.” A Madrid-bound Hinds bundled out of the studio with a debut album twelve days later, and within minutes, they wanted to turn their train back around on the tracks. “The first time we relaxed was on the train coming back from Cádiz, and that moment we all listened to the album,” says Ana. “When it finished, we said - all of us - ‘We have to go back. This work is not done.’” “We got the clue that we wanted on the train,” Carlotta chips in, “the key.” “It could be a lot of singles, but we want an album,” Ana agrees. “The Hinds sound. ‘Davey Crockett’ is ok, you know what I mean, but no more singles,” she insists “No more singles!” “It’s not even our song!” laughs Ade across the table, raising a toasting beer to their Thee Headcoats cover. Hinds clearly feel strongly about moving away from standalones. A new version of ‘Castigadas En El Granero’ is the only previous single on the record, along with recent release
s tres s ed.” Ana Garcia Perrote
‘Chili Town’. Elsewhere, the band only have vague working titles right now. “‘Easy’, ‘Garden’, ‘Garage’...” lists Ana. “One of them we saved as a mobile recording, and the name that was on the phone is ‘Little Voices’.” “I am still a little bit desenfocado,” laughs Carlotta for no reason in particular. “Disfocused, “ translates Ade, quickly, “unfocused.” “We have a new van, which is better than my room!” Carlotta continues, going off on a tangent. “Seriously. Well. Not seriously, but in a poetic way.” With the debut now finished, Hinds have an idea to take on Dragons Den. They’ve noticed a gap in the kazoo market they’re not sturdy enough to withstand the band. “Seriously, I use like five per tour!” says Ana. “I really breathe a lot, and do it too heavy for the little tiny paper. It’s for babies. I can’t find any real kazoo.” “I think that doesn’t exist. We’ll need to create one,” says Carlotta, ending the impromptu pitch. “A special Hinds kazoo. Ay.” Kazoos aside, Hinds can’t wait to put their debut out, though they don’t reckon things will change drastically. “The thing is, we play as if we have an album out,” concludes Ana. “We play 11 songs every gig, like a real album, but the rest of the world doesn’t feel it. We can’t have everyone at the gigs. This is the middle point to show the world what we have, to trust us.” Hinds’ debut album ‘Leave Me Alone’ will be released on 8th January 2016 via Lucky Number Music. DIY
What’s going on with…
Panic! At The Disco? After releasing standalone single ‘Hallelujah’ earlier this year, Brendon Urie has completed Hello describe! I work on his band’s next Brendon! still really like album. We’ve heard to sequence rumours that stuff when I work’s now finished produce, so I make the on your fifth album... beats. Yeah! I just finished recording it and it’s being Your last album was the mastered right now, which first album you had truly is a process I don’t have worked on on your own, anything to do with. so now you’ve found your feet with it, would you say Is ‘Hallelujah’ a good this next album is an even indication of what the more definitive effort? album’s going to be like, Yeah, even more so. This or is it more of a curveball? one is just me; even on the That was kind of a curveball. last album, I had Spence It was a bit of a surprise for [Smith, previous drummer] me too because when I did play drums on a song here that song, the label were or there, and for the most like, ‘Alright, we’re gonna part it was me producing put that on radio now’ and I it and then taking it to my was like, ‘Really? I don’t have producer Butch Walker. an album yet…’ and they This time, I had just gotten were like, ‘Okay, write an a studio at my house, so I album.’ That was the catalyst was locked away in there for that helped start the album. hours and hours. I really just spent a lot of time alone, just What should we be writing all these songs. This expecting then? one, I played everything – Well, everything kinda drums, bass, all the vocals, sounds different. There’s the background vocals. I some songs that have a tried to play characters in Sinatra feel to them, with the vocals – like try to be a horns and crooning. Then woman singing. It was very there’s more stuff that’s cool! got chaotic... Halloween sounds?! I dunno, it’s hard to 17
n 2013, Deafheaven broke out of the pack with third album ‘Sunbather’, but it drew more attention than anyone could’ve imagined. Boasting a cover of pastel pinks and orangey hues, it seemed to perfectly contradict the unabashed darkness that the album held within and, against all odds, it gained both critical acclaim and mainstream success. Now, just two years later, the band have returned with a fourth effort ‘New Bermuda’ and, as frontman George Clarke explains, it was an album that felt to be both comfortable yet challenging. “I think that we had figured out our sound a bit more,” he confirms. “We were a little bit more confident with our songwriting going into this record and also, we had been playing with the band that we currently have, for the last three years.” When ‘Sunbather’ had been written, it was just George and guitarist Kerry McCoy behind it all, but for their newest full-length, it was a much more collaborative effort. “This is the first time we’ve written an album with those guys, and we’d got to the point where we were really comfortable and we could go through ideas quicker. It was really stressful for a minute but it
came together and I think that has a lot to with the fact that, after so much touring, we’re better players, we know what we want to do and we’re more cohesive with each other.” After the success of their third album, the band found themselves constantly on the road. Having played close to 200 shows during its cycle, it’s unsurprising to discover that the group had honed their musical relationship, but that doesn’t mean that their forthcoming full-length didn’t present a challenge or two.
“ I t w a s r e a l ly stressful for a minute, but it c a m e to g e t h er .” - G eo rg e Cl arke
“There was definitely a lot of pressure,” George admits. It didn’t, however, seem to stem from the acclaim they had been met with, or the temptation to transform their sound so as to become even more widely-accepted. “I think
we’re always going to sound ‘like us’ to a degree. I think we do have our own sound but we just didn’t want to write the same record. It wasn’t really anything about critical pressure or anything like that, it was more about self. We had this record that got a lot of attention and accolades and I was just thinking, ‘Can we do something different and still produce the same amount of love and attention?’ That was a challenge. “It was really about being as immersive as possible, and working hard and thinking about stuff, and over-thinking. It was about paying attention to every detail and giving it 100%. I think that’s what we did and in that case, we’re a bit more confident. I feel like we were very thorough with this record and I think we achieved what we were going in for, which was a different sound than ‘Sunbather’. It’s kinda in two parts; there’s a lot of pressure, you’re nervous and you’re scared but you know how much you care about it and that fear gives you confidence in the record itself. You know that you need to have that.” Deafheaven’s new album ‘New Bermuda’ will be released on 2nd October via ANTI-. DIY
C a l i f o r n i a n b l a c k- m e ta l l e r s D e a f h e av e n a r e a b u n d l e o f c o n t r a d i c t i o n s . W o r d s : S a r a h J a m i e s o n .
DIY HALL OF FAME A monthly place to celebrate the very best albums released during DIY’s lifetime; the next inductee into our Hall of Fame is...
ARCADE FIRE FUNERAL
Released: 28th February 2005, via Rough Trade (UK); 14th September 2004, via Merge (US) Standout tracks: ‘Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)’, ‘Wake Up’, ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ Something to tell your mates: ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ caused a band-wide feud about snare drums after they forgot to plug in a drum mic.
s it on? Whatever. Hi, we’re the Arcade Fire. 10 times as much vocals, if you can.”
There’s a video from late 2004, filmed at the tiny Jackpot Saloon in Kansas - you can find it if you look. An impossible number of bodies are crammed onto a tiny stage. Guitars crash, drums pound and strings soar as that primal cry rings out. It’s not just the glorious racket they make, but the pure joy on their faces. Even now, over a decade later, it’s beyond infectious. Maybe, in the time since, we’ve learned to take Win, Régine and co a bit for granted, but it’s still possible to feel that initial excitement of their era-defining debut ‘Funeral’ today. You’ll find it twenty one seconds into ‘Wake Up’ - a rising gang wail, even now it puts goosebumps on top of goosebumps. That’s the magic of Arcade Fire. Arriving into a scene filled with strippedback garage rock and angular post-punk, this wasn’t the two piece, direct shove of a White
Stripes or Death From Above 1979. It wasn’t the spiky dead disco of a Radio 4 or Yeah Yeah Yeahs either - but it could sit alongside either. Instead, here was this mildly ludicrous number of musicians, performing songs which seemed both smart and absolutely bloody huge at the same time. An album titled due to the loss of family members by several of the band in the previous few months to release, it would be easy to be downbeat. But ‘Funeral’ couldn’t be further from that. ‘Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)’ is filled with so much raw electricity it could power the National Grid. ‘Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)’, with its youthful exuberance, is only bettered by the euphoric joy of ‘Rebellion (Lies)’. A Top Twenty single back when that actually meant something, it practically floated on the potential of what Arcade Fire could, and would, become. Anything was possible. Most of it was probable. Almost all of it actually happened - but everything started right here. (Stephen Ackroyd)
“ I l i t e r a l ly t h o u g h t
I wa s d o n e
I had to
throw it all away. ”
L e a r n i n g T o S ay
Y e s
Zach Condon, posing next to plants before telling DIY he’s allergic.
Despite its title and the deadly writer’s block associated with it, Beirut’s new album ‘No No No’ sees Zach Condon finding a new positivity. Words: Jamie Milton. Photo: Emma Swann.
t could be the jetlag or his allergy to nearby plants, but Zach Condon looks like he’s about to sob. The Santa Fe-bred leader of Beirut is recounting years’ worth of writer’s block, dead ends and a recurring premonition that “maybe my mind had broken.” It’s something he’ll have to recount countless more times too, because that’s half of the story behind ‘No No No’.
The other half is one of island hopping, productive studio sessions and pivotal breakthrough. But back to the bad stuff. As a title, ‘No No No’ gives the impression of someone banging their head against a wall, getting nowhere fast. “It’s that image exactly,” confirms Zach. “It just got really daunting. I literally thought I was done for, as far as career and abilities. So I had to throw it all away,” he says. “I’m glad that I did.” ‘Perth’, the most positive-seeming blast of sun-doused pop to be found on the record, recounts the darkest moment of Zach’s story. “I think I was actually in Sydney when I fell apart,” he begins. “I was trying to get to Perth and I just couldn’t get on the fucking plane. I felt like I was on tour for four years straight. It was a slow burnout. I remember waking up thinking my mind was going one way, my body was going the other. It’s hard to describe.” To get to the other side and after a serious consideration of where Beirut could go, Zach took much-needed time out. He travelled through the Mediterranean with his fiancée, and zoned out of everything that used to weigh so heavily on his mind. “It was amazing. We rented some scooters and
slept on the beach. It was really something else,” he remembers. Nothing was documented - everything was just an experience. By the time music became the focus again, Zach had bandmates Paul Collins and Nick Petree by his side to help fight any remaining writer’s block. This is when the story really turns. “They put me on a routine of showing up every day, no matter what, and just recording something. Even if it’s the silliest, stupidest thing. We did that for two months and the album was ready to go, all of a sudden.” Zach remembers a pivotal moment when he began to lose grip on the project - in a good way. “I was just a kid in Santa Fe. And I only ever showed the music to my brothers before it got released. I didn’t want other
people’s signatures in there,” he recounts. With ‘No No No’, he stopped dictating. “We went into the control room, and it just blew me away - this fucking wall of sound. Unlike anything I’d ever recorded before. It’s really good to let other people do their jobs!” ‘No No No’’s turning point, then was when Zach began to say ‘Yes Yes Yes’ (but not in a euphoric shampoo advert kind of way). It might tear him to pieces, but the eventual record does sound like Beirut. To the outside world this a project that continues to steam ahead at record speed. “I can’t go through that again,” he admits. Hopefully the way this record was created will help keep Zach on the right path. Beirut’s new album ‘No No No’ is out now via 4AD. DIY
Popstar Postbag frank Iero We know what you’re like, dear readers. We know you’re just as nosy as we are when it comes to our favourite pop stars: that’s why we’re putting the power back into your hands. Every month, we’re going to ask you to pull out your best questions and aim them at those unsuspecting artists. You don’t even need to pay for postage! This month, Frank Iero is poised with the Qs. Do you already have some ideas about your next album? What would it sound like? @mr_kristman I definitely have a lot of ideas for the next instalment. As far as what it will sound like... I’m not exactly sure just yet. I’d like to let the songs dictate what they want or need to sound like, but so far I think it’s going to be a lot different from the first record. That was definitely a moment in time that was captured; it’s what those songs needed to be. This time around my whole world is a bit different and I think the record will probably reflect that. You are my inspiration to play guitar: who inspired you to start? Ella, via email That’s very nice of you to say. I had a few people I looked to when getting started. I was never much for guitar virtuosos though. I can respect the skill that goes into it but a lot of it seemed like just showing off. It wasn’t about the song anymore and that turned me off. My dad took me to see Richie Havens when I was younger and searching for what instrument I wanted to play. I immediately fell in love with his passion. Richie could play a one chord song and make it sound like an orchestra of angels. I knew then and there I wanted to play guitar and write songs. Do you believe in ghosts? Vale, via email I would love to believe in ghosts. I think there would no more comforting realisation than to find out there is something for us after we die. However if ghosts do exist it must be a very 22
crowded dimension, because there are way more dead people than there are living ones... and I can’t deal with traffic as it is. Also what about animals? Are there dinosaur ghosts?! It’s all a bit much to swallow. I do however think energy is very powerful, and when something terrible or wonderful happens it leaves a footprint on that place. What that all means, I’m not exactly sure. What’s your favourite part of being on tour? Alexa, via email Definitely just getting to play music for people. I hate travelling. Fuck planes, fuck boats, fuck security checks and border crossings. It’s truly a fucking
nightmare. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like the garbage pail kid where his head turns into a mushroom cloud, try crossing the border to play one show in Canada. But the shows? The shows make it all worth it. I get to write songs in my basement and play them for people all over the world. That’s a blessing. Would you rather forget who you are or who everyone else was? Tommy, via email Unfortunately I have a terrible memory as it is, so I feel like I’m already in this. It sucks and it makes me feel terrible. I just don’t know how to correct it. If you were trapped in a Mario game, would you work towards saving the princess or just mess around with the characters in the game? Stephanie, via email I would probably fall off a cliff immediately just like I do when I play Mario in real life. My wife has no patience for me. She loves playing Mario and I’m basically the worst so it causes a bit of turmoil. If someone wrote a book about your life what would the title be? Kris, via email ‘No Fun Club’ or ‘Who the Fuck is Frank Iero?’
Want to send a question to DIY’s Popstar Postbag? Tweet us at @diymagazine with the hashtag #postbag, or drop us an email at popstarpostbag@ diymag.com. Easy!
METROPOLIS MUSIC PRESENTS
PLUS VERY SPECIAL GUESTS
PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS
NOVEMBER 2015 SEPTEMBER 2015
18 19 20 23 24 25 27 28 29
24 LIVERPOOL O 2 ACADEMY 03 CARDIFF GREAT HALL 25 MIDDLESBROUGH EMPIRE 05 CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION 26 GLASGOW QMU SOLD OUT 06 LEICESTER O 2 ACADEMY OCTOBER 2015 07 PORTSMOUTH PYRAMIDS 01 MANCHESTER ACADEMY 09 LONDON O 2 ACADEMY BRIXTON 02 NOTTINGHAM ROCK CITY 10 WOLVERHAMPTON CIVIC HALL SEETICKETS.COM / TICKETWEB.CO.UK / TICKETMASTER.CO.UK / VENUE BOX OFFICES A METROPOLIS MUSIC, SJM CONCERTS, DHP AND DF PRESENTATION BY ARRANGEMENT WITH 13 ARTISTS
NEW ALBUM ‘HAPPY PEOPLE’ OUT NOW PEACEFOREVEREVER.CO.UK
M A NS OCL DH OEUST T E R A C A D E M Y * BIRMINGHAM O2 ACADEMY* T O UO OLD L B R I SSTO 2 ACADEMY* T O UW L DO G L A SSOG BARROWLAND* T OU O LO NSDO LOD N 2 A C A D E M Y B R I X TO N * LO N D O N O 2 A C A D E M Y B R I X TO N ~ SHEFFIELD O2 ACADEMY* LINCOLN ENGINE SHED* NEWCASTLE O2 ACADEMY*
G I G SA N D TO U R S. C O M T I C K E T MA S T E R. C O. U K T I C K E T W E B. C O. U K NEW ALBUM ‘ BENEATH THE SKIN ’ OUT NOW OFMONSTERSANDMEN.COM
A METROPOLIS MUSIC, DHP & DF CONCERTS PRESENTATION BY ARRANGEMENT WITH CAA
PLUS GUESTS (13,14,16,18,20,21,22,27 NOV & 03 DEC ONLY)
THE SHERLOCKS APRIL ASYLUMS LOCK (13, 25 NOV & 03 DEC ONLY)
(16, 17 NOV
(17 NOV ONLY)
(18 NOV ONLY)
CLAY BROWN BEAR FEVERIST XYLAROO
(20, 21 NOV ONLY)
(22 NOV ONLY)
(26, 27 NOV ONLY)
(26 NOV ONLY)
UK TOUR NOVEMBER 13 MANCHESTER RITZ 14 SHEFFIELD O2 ACADEMY 16 WOLVERHAMPTON WULFRUN 17 PORTSMOUTH WEDGEWOOD ROOMS 18 LONDON KOKO
20 LEEDS STYLUS 21 LIVERPOOL O2 ACADEMY 1 22 GLASGOW KING TUTS 25 NEWCASTLE RIVERSIDE 26 BRISTOL BIERKELLER 27 LOWESTOFT AQUARIUM DECEMBER 03 NOTTINGHAM ROCK CITY
SEETICKETS.COM / TICKETMASTER.CO.UK / TICKETWEB.CO.UK NEW ALBUM & FILM ‘MIRRORS’ RELEASED 9 OCTOBER WWW.REVERENDMAKERS.COM
O C TO B E R 2 0 1 5 27 28 29
SHEFFIELD PLUG CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION LO N D O N R O U N D H O U S E
S E E T I C K E TS .CO M | T I C K E T W E B .CO.U K | T I C K E T M AST E R .CO.U K A M E T R O P O L I S M U S I C A N D F R I E N D S P R E S E N TAT I O N B Y A R R A N G E M E N T W I T H P R I M A R Y TA L E N T I N T E R N AT I O N A L
A METROPOLIS MUSIC, SJM CONCERTS & DF CONCERTS PRESENTATION BY ARRANGEMENT WITH CODA
TO U R A N N O U N C E M E N TS & P R I O R I T Y B O O K I N GS • F I N D U S O N
have you heard
The bes t new tr acks from the l as t month. Lana Del Rey – High By The Beach For a song apparently based around rolling across sand under the influence of narcotics, ‘High By The Beach’ is deceptive. Really, Lana Del Rey’s singing about saying “bye, bye, bye,” instead, and her coy, saccharine delivery lends itself to one of the best deliveries of “bullshit” this year. The chorus is oddly paced, half a leg behind like it’s just quaffed a glass of white wine and a sedative. Assertion also pumps through ‘High By The Beach’’s veins. Sacking off no good men, money-slinging bullshitters, and empty tributes in favour of beachy hedonism, this song is really about revelling in the escape of being yourself. (El Hunt) Deerhunter – Snakeskin As the stripped-back opening seconds of ‘Snakeskin’ slither into life with a radio-friendly disco-revival bounce, you’d be forgiven for thinking Deerhunter have pulled things right back in a cynical bid for chart supremacy. Indeed, it’s a skipping, almost Chic-aping number on the surface; but beneath the shiny exterior that heavy Deerhunter melancholy still finds its home. (Tom Connick) Låpsley – Burn When Låpsley started out, everything boiled down to a vocal that sounded both light and dark. ‘Burn’ sees her ducking and diving like never before. An effect-free vocal leads the way, but it’s swamped in a high-pitched alter-ego. That’s until the closing minute, which goes deep into the unknown, thumping, drum-and-bass-nodding beats. Låpsley has firmly defined a style in a way that some artists could take decades mulling over. No fretting, just progression, her future is paved out. (Jamie Milton)
The Neighbourhood – R.I.P. 2 My Youth All sparse vocals and darkly tongue-incheek lyrics - “Tell my sister, don’t cry and don’t be sad / I’m in paradise with death” - ‘R.I.P. 2 My Youth’ is a moody song that melds garage-y guitars and R&B beats but soon explodes into a spooky crescendo. If this is any indication of how second album ‘Wiped Out!’ is set to sound, it’s going to be one hypnotic listen. (Sarah Jamieson) The Dead Weather – I Feel Love (Every Million Miles) ‘I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)’ shows The Dead Weather have lost nothing of the magic that oozes from every dirty pore of both ‘Horehound’ and ‘Sea of Cowards’. The formula’s the same – Alison Mosshart’s deliciously scratchy vocals mix up with riffs distinctly from the house (if not hand) of Jack White to form an immediate stomp of a track – and it’s every bit as ominously dark as we’ve come to expect from the socalled ‘supergroup’. (Emma Swann)
Swim Deep – Namaste There’s trying something new, and then there’s ‘Namaste’, the only proof required that Swim Deep are taking a gigantic leap of faith with second album ‘Mothers’. It’s in another league. Beginning with a synth line lifted straight from a parallel universe Wheel of Fortune episode, it closes with a mad scientist shriek from Austin Williams and an attention-swerving guitar solo. Bonkers. (Jamie Milton) Rat Boy – Fake ID Try stopping Rat Boy in his tracks and you’d run into a stampede. There’s a momentum behind Jordan Cardy’s every step, and it’s epitomised in ‘Fake ID’, his cheeky sod of a new single. Drenched in attitude and sharp dart guitar lines, it’s the equivalent of some kids asking someone of age to buy a pack of ciggies. “Where’s your iPhone 6, I ain’t stealing this shit!” barks the provocative Cardy. He’s a troublemaker with a cause, a roughed-up newcomer with time on his side. (Jamie Milton)
STAND FOR SOMETHING TOUR 2015
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR, TWIN ATLANTIC? “I stand for art and freedom in art. Using the boundaries as guidelines instead of limitations.”
26.09.15 DUTCH UNCLES UNITED FRUIT SCHNARFF SCHNARFF
FINAL STAND FOR SOMETHING TOUR HEADLINER REVEALED
t’s almost time for the first date of this year’s Dr. Martens Stand For Something Tour in association with DIY, and there are still a few surprises in store. Already, 2015’s run is set to be a memorable one thanks to Dutch Uncles, Palma Violets, Lonely The Brave, The Wytches and Bury Tomorrow. There is, however, one final headliner left to be announced. Fresh from playing a sold out SSE Hydro Arena in May, Glasgow’s Twin Atlantic will return to the more intimate confines of
Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club this October. “We’ve never played at that venue before,” admits the band’s Sam McTrusty ahead of their show, “so we’re looking forward to something new. “We’ve played Leeds many many times and in fact it was one of the first cities in England that really gave us a fanbase outside Scotland; it will always feel special playing there. I remember one of the first times we had a big crowd chanting “Yorkshire”... I thought they were saying ‘You’re shit!’. Good times!”
THIS YEAR’S SUPPORT ACTS CONFIRMED
By the time November rolls around the tour will have hit the halfway mark, with 26
Only Rivals poised to join in the fun in Belfast with Lonely The Brave, while grungy Demob Happy will accompany The Wytches in Sheffield. Finally, Camden’s Our Black Heart will play host to both Bury Tomorrow and Heck, who were previously known as Baby Godzilla.
t’s not just the final headliner we’re now revealing: there’s a whole supporting cast of bands to be announced too. First up, appearing alongside Dutch Uncles on the opening date of the tour are hometown boys United Fruit, who’re already looking forward to performing for a Glaswegian crowd. Next, Best Friends will join forces with Palma Violets to take on Norwich, before punk rockers Creeper open for Twin Atlantic in Leeds.
The first five dates of the tour will also host a number of bands chosen via The Joe Strummer Foundation: Schnarff Schnarff, New Thieves, Life, R51 and Bear Chest. Visit diymag.com and drmartens.com/ standforsomethingtour for full details.
10.10.15 PALMA VIOLETS BEST FRIENDS NEW THIEVES NORWICH, THE OWL SANCTUARY
24.10.15 TWIN ATLANTIC CREEPER LIFE
LEEDS, BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB
07.11.15 LONELY THE BRAVE ONLY RIVALS R51 BELFAST, THE LIMELIGHT
21.11.15 THE WYTCHES DEMOB HAPPY BEAR CHEST
28.11.15 BURY TOMORROW HECK
CAMDEN, OUR BLACK HEART
DUTCH UNCLES PREPARE TO KICK OFF THIS YEAR’S TOUR
I WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR, UNITED FRUIT? “Because
sitting down all day gets boring.”
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR, BEST FRIENDS? ”Treating others as one would like others to treat oneself.”
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR, CREEPER? “We stand for all
sorts of things, but mainly we stand for the people who don’t fit in anywhere else.
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR, ONLY RIVALS? “Being true
to ourselves and trying to be the best band we can possibly be. Also, burritos. We stand for burritos.”
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR, DEMOB HAPPY? ”Cus
otherwise we’d fall down.”
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR, HECK? ”No compromise.”
t’s been a busy year for Dutch Uncles, who’ll be making the trip to Scotland for the Glasgow Stand For Something Tour date from their Manchester home. After releasing their last album ‘O Shudder’ in February and embarking upon a summer of festivals, their set could even be one of the final things they do with this record. “It’s been quite interesting with this album,” begins frontman Duncan Wallis, “because when we finished and had to start playing live, we realised there were three or four songs that we couldn’t ever possibly play,” he laughs. “It’s been quite fortunate for us, as we’ve not really done a recognisable headline tour; we’ve done a couple of headline shows and we’ve mainly just done festivals. It’s a bit odd though because it feels as though we’ve almost finished touring the album, and it only came out half a year ago.” “We’ve played [the venue] before,” he continues, “maybe four years ago, and it was raining sideways. It was day fourteen on a tour and we were feeling like shit, so the last thing you really want to do is play a gig. We got there and realised it was a really nice venue. To play Nice ’N’ Sleazy again will be a great opportunity for a bit of a do-over!” Dutch Uncles will be joined by United Fruit and Schnarff Schnarff at Nice ‘N’ Sleazy on 26th September.
TURBOWOLF JOIN EUROPEAN LEG
ollowing the release of their second album earlier this year, Bristol-based Turbowolf have confirmed plans to join this year’s Stand For Something Tour when it visits Europe this month. The band, who released ‘Two Hands’ back in March, will appear as the tour’s special guest, performing every night of the stint alongside the tour’s shifting line-up. They’ll be playing six shows from 5th to 12th September, making stops in Antwerp, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Paris.
EUROPE SEPTEMBER 2015 5/9 TRIX, ANTWERP
SCHOOL IS COOL + DOUBLE VETERANS 7/9 MOLOTOW CLUB, HAMBURG
FUCK ART, LET’S DANCE! + POOL 8/9 HUSET-KBH, COPENHAGEN
NELSON CAN + DE HOJE HAELE 9/9 DEBASER MEDIS, STOCKHOLM
SPIDERS + MOON CITY BOYS 11/9 WINSTON, AMSTERDAM
BIRTH OF JOY + THE BLACK CULT 12/8 FLECHE D’OR, PARIS
THE PENELOPES + THE 1969 + KID NORTH 27
“I went and did
shrooms in the
d e s e r t, a n d I scrapped e v e ry t h i n g .” Angel Haze
Getting Ruthless After leaking debut album ‘Dirty Gold’ and leaving their label, Angel Haze is returning with a new mixtape this month, and they finally feel like they’re expressing themself fully. Words: Sarah Jamieson.
Angel Haze still has a message for their label.
I didn’t take the time away for myself, I’d still be sort of concerned with what people think of me,” offers Angel Haze, sitting in their New York apartment, apparently cutting up clothing. Every so often, the sound of scissors sawing through material crunches down the phone line. “I don’t think there’s a bone in my body that gives a fuck about what people think about my music, or my life, or my anything,” they say. “I don’t have a single fuck in the world to give, and I think that’s cool because before I cared way too fucking much about everything.” Just over eighteen months ago, Angel Haze found themself growing more and more frustrated with the position they’d found themself in: after completing work on a debut album, they were forced to sit and wait for its release to just be pushed back. That was, until, they took their fate into their own hands and decided to leak it themself. It was only then that their label at the time – Island and Republic Records – finally did put it out, and the rest, as they say, was history. “I don’t count anything as a loss,” they assure. “Everything happens for a reason and I’m perfectly happy that it did, and that it happens in the way it happens. It allows for me to have such succinct creativity and a freedom that’s palpable. I could put my hand around it and strangle it, if I wanted to, or I could just keep going the way I’m going.” Now, the Detroit-born, New York-based rapper is gearing up to release their new mixtape ‘Back To The Woods’. “It’s sort of like two different lifetimes to be honest,” they think back to last year, when the touring of ‘Dirty Gold’ was winding down. “I feel like I’ve grown a tremendous amount between even just since I put out ‘Gxmes’ and this music I’m about to release. I feel like you can think about music like a bird learning to fly; when you can touch the sky, you can pretty much do anything. The past year or so, I completely locked myself away and became a bit of a caveman hellbent on dominating the music world. My new stuff is amazing! I’m not trying to honk my own horn or whatever the phrase is - I’m usually very humble, but I can’t be now!”
When it came to the writing of their latest offering, they really did take themself away from the world. It was being alone, though, that gave them the clarity to create their boldest, bravest offering yet. “Oh man, I started writing…” Angel thinks back. “I’d got maybe over a hundred songs, and it started when I was still with my label. I started writing with a bunch of people, so I’ve got a lot of songs from my label days, and then I went and did shrooms in the desert, and I scrapped everything that I had started in the past year. I then wrote thirty or forty new tracks with my producer - TK Kayembe - and we basically locked ourselves in my apartment and didn’t see the light of day for two months. It was crazy obviously, and he had to deal with moods, but every time something happened… He’d be like, ‘I’ve got an idea’ and he’d create a beat and I’d step up to the microphone and do my thing. It would start to develop organically like that, you know? “I think being alone with yourself teaches you, not only that you’re sane but that you’re passionate for a reason,” they continue. “I didn’t know who I was doing this for, or what I was doing or I didn’t realise that music was my calling. I started when I was young and I got thrown into a lot of uncomfortable situations that sort of made me have this disdain. The clarity that you get when you’re alone, though, there’s nothing like that. I’m gonna say it again, I’m stoked.” Angel Haze’s new mixtape ‘Back To The Woods’ will be released on 14th September via Noizy Cricket!!. DIY
In The Studio... Frightened Rabbit
As the Scottish band decamp to New York to work on the follow-up to their ‘Pedestrian Verse’, we caught up with the band’s Scott Hutchison to find out how it’s all going. Words: Sarah Jamieson. Hey Scott, you’re currently in the middle of recording your new album; how’s it going? It’s been great! It’s been a long time coming. It feels like forever since we’ve been in the studio. The live room that we had upstate was a big, beautiful old church so we wanted to make the most of that, so we were all about getting the more acoustic sounds, but then the next session is in a much smaller place and that’s all about getting more detail for the album. I’m really looking forward to adding the excitement to the album.
work in that way is quite difficult, but it’s also, at the same time, naturally put the music in a new place. I’m a big believer of changing the scenario to make a different record. Initially it was frustrating, but in the end we just kept going with it and realised that this was maybe what was going to set the album apart, this way of working.
You’re also working alongside The National’s Aaron Dessner. How did that come about? We had done a tour with The National before, and we chatted to him then. Then, we got in touch and After ‘Pedestrian Verse’ I went over to his place in drew to a close, the band Brooklyn and it was really had a little time apart. just supposed to be a You began your Owl John writing session, where he project, Gordon left the helped structure things band. What sort of place but just from there, he were you guys in when seemed so involved that you reconvened to start it would’ve been stupid to writing again? get anyone else. Plus, we’re I mean, one of the main all massive National fans so things is that I moved to for us, it’s a bit of a trip for the US and that definitely us to be working with him! changed the way that He’s absolutely the lifeline we worked. We still did of that band and you can occasional sessions back see that. He has a very in Britain but we did most precise musical mind and I of the writing remotely, think that’s something we over email which was a needed to bring this whole new way of working for thing together. us. It was more difficult to connect and find our paths Frightened Rabbit’s new quickly, which might be album will be released in why it’s taken this amount 2016. DIY of time. To collectively 29
festivals previews 2015
UNDERGROUND FESTIVAL 26th - 27th September, Gloucester Guildhall
ith a reputation for offering up some of the finest musical acts right before they get massive - Bastille, Lower Than Atlantis and Peace to name a few - Underground Festival will return again this year, and their 2015 line-up is set to be no different. Fresh from stirring up a frenzy with his debut album ‘Blossom’, Frank Carter will grace the Gloucester Guildhall stage with his band The Rattlesnakes, while Brightonbased quartet Tall Ships are due to showcase some new material when they take on headlining duties. Elsewhere on the line-up, there’s the likes of newcomers Demob Happy, Loom and All Tvvins. “We’ve done 2000trees, we’ve done Hevy, we’ve done NASS, and ArcTanGent. We’ve been playing a lot!” says Black Peaks frontman Will Gardner, ahead of their first appearance at Underground. “Oh man, it’s amazing. It’s fantastic to have this opportunity; not a lot of people actually get to do it, so it’s amazing.” “It was so exciting and overwhelming,” Will goes on, opening up on the success of their debut single ‘Glass Built Castles’, which landed at the start of the year. “We never really had time to absorb that in January... We’re in August now and it’s just been going from there. I still can’t really believe it’s all happened since.” Now, with two singles to their name, the band have signed a deal with Sony and are finished with their debut album, so it’s just a matter of time until more material is put out into the world. “It’s so exciting,” he confirms. “It’s gonna come out at the beginning of next year! Again, we’re just overwhelmed by the whole thing.”
APPLE MUSIC FESTIVAL 19th - 28th September
This year’s iTunes Festival has now become the newly-named Apple Music Festival, taking over the London Roundhouse this month. One Direction, Disclosure, Pharrell Williams and Florence + The Machine have all signed up to play, with more headliners and special guests to be announced.
LIVERPOOL MUSIC WEEK 22nd - 31st October
A new batch of acts have been announced for Liverpool Music Week, where the city is taken over from 22nd to 31st October. Zane’s faves Spring King lead the new additions - they’re joined by Micachu & the Shapes, LA Priest, Baio, Stealing Sheep, All We Are and Outfit.
7th - 8th November
A handful of acts have been added to this year’s Sŵn, taking place in Cardiff on 7th and 8th November across various venues. The Go! Team, Vant and Alex Burey lead the new additions. They join a line-up boasting The Big Moon, Hooton Tennis Club and Tuff.
28th - 29th November
METZ, John Talabot and Chelsea Wolfe are three of the first acts to be confirmed for Mutations festival later this year. The inaugural edition of the two-day event will take place on 28th and 29th November taking place in venues across Brighton.
BEACONS METRO 12th September - 1st December
The line-up has been announced for Beacons Metro, taking place across four Leeds venues, Headrow House, Canal Mills, Wharf Chambers and Belgrave Music Hall, as well as a one-off Manchester date. Everything Everything, East India Youth and Titus Andronicus have all been confirmed.
HOXTON SQUARE BAR AND KITCHEN GIG LISTINGS
FRI 11 SEP 7PM 18+ £12.50
TUE 22 SEP 8PM 18+ £10
GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS SPECIAL GUESTS
SEEKAE SPECIAL GUESTS
WED 23 SEP 8PM 18+ £8.50
RYAN KEEN SPECIAL GUESTS
SAT 12 SEP 7PM 18+ £8.50
GABRIEL GARZONMONTANO SPECIAL GUESTS
FRI 25 SEP 8PM 18+ £8
REBEKA SPECIAL GUESTS
SAT 26 SEP 7PM 18+ £6
TUE 15 SEP 8PM 18+ £15
FOURTH & FOLSOM SPECIAL GUESTS
JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD SPECIAL GUESTS
MON 28 SEP 8PM 18+ £5
VAGUE SPECIAL GUESTS
WED 16 SEP 8PM 18+ £8.50
HOLLYSIZ SPECIAL GUESTS
WED 30 SEP 8PM 18+ £10
THU 17 SEP 7:30PM 18+ £6
DANIEL PETERSON DAGNY + OFFICER + HOT UNDER COLLAR
FRI 18 SEP 7PM 18+ £8.50
AURORA SPECIAL GUESTS
MISS BABY SOL SPECIAL GUESTS THU 01 OCT 8PM 18+ £6
LIU BEI SPECIAL GUESTS
SAT 03 OCT 7PM 18+ £10
MAGNUS SPECIAL GUESTS CLUB NIGHTS
FRI 11 SEP 9PM-2AM 18+ £5
MR THING SPIN DOCTOR + MO FINGAZ + RUSS RYAN
SAT 12 SEP 9PM-2AM 18+ £5
WHITE HEAT VS RACKET 808 WITH MARCUS HARRIS + DANNY SANCHEZ
FRI 18 SEP 9PM-2AM 18+ £5
AARON WALKER DJ SET FRAU DJS + ANTIMATTER PEOPLE SAT 19 SEP 9PM-2AM 18+ £5
LAURENT SCHARK & FRIENDS SKREA DJ SET
– SUND AY UNTIL LATE DJS EVER Y WEDN ESDAY Hoxtonsquarebar
2-4 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NU Tickets from hoxtonsquarebar.com or 0844 847 2316 (24hr)
plus special guests
SEPTEMBER Saturday 26
MANCHESTER THE RITZ Sunday 27
GLASGOW QUEEN MARGARET UNION Monday 28
SHEFFIELD PLUG Wednesday 30
NORWICH THE WATERFRONT OCTOBER Thursday 01
BRISTOL MOTION Friday 02
LONDON KOKO Saturday 03
BIRMINGHAM RAINBOW WAREHOUSE
Tickets available at GOLDENVOICE.CO.UK | AXS.COM
NEW ALBUM ‘LITTLE VICTORIES’ OUT NOW
A Goldenvoice and Friends presentation in association with 13 Artists
THE JAPANESE HOUSE Cough syrup highs are just a tiny fragment of Amber Bain’s alien-like pop. In her first interview, she explains how it works. Words: Jamie Milton.
he Japanese House’s ‘Still’ has the honour of being Zane Lowe’s last ever Hottest Record on Radio 1. The departing host loved it so much, he made it permanently hot; an artifice of buzz to go down in history. This was Amber Bain’s first step, too; the first time anyone outside of her circle of friends heard the eerie, ultra-experimental work she puts her name to. “I was out for a meal with my friends and my manager texted me saying, ‘turn on Radio 1 now!’” she says, remembering the Zane moment. “So I put my phone on the table, played it out loud and we were all giggling. The table next to us wasn’t very impressed.” Since ‘Still’, there’s been more questions than
Those vocals that swell up and sound drenched in effects? That’s her messing around with layers, “to the point where it sounds like I’m using a vocoder.” Songs tend to be made up of “two-hundred” parts, she says. “The harmonies - there’s usually at least three going on, and then it builds up. I’m a big fan of the Beach Boys and things like that. I always prefer melodies when they’re surrounded by other ones.” The first song she ever wrote was ‘My Little Secret’, penned at the age of twelve and about “a crush on someone I had at school”. Since then, Bain’s learnt the ropes of Garageband, Logic, and she spends most days geeking out on production tricks. Behind the scenes she’s been readying The Japanese House’s first steps for some time. Without being defined by anonymity, she wanted to make sure the project remained identity-free at the start. “At first, I thought it was important to make it just about
music. It wasn’t obvious if I was a girl or a boy, because I had an androgynous voice. I really enjoy that sometimes people think I’m a boy. It’s funny. If Victoria Legrand from Beach House can handle it, I can handle it. And not using my own name having a band name - that was on purpose,” she says. “But I didn’t want the mystery to become bigger than the music; I’m not wearing a balaclava. And I’m not Daft Punk - they must have really sore shoulders by now.” Robot suits might be out, but there’s still an alien touch to Bain’s second EP. Being on Dirty Hit (the go-to label for giving acts time to make their mark), she’s not rushing towards an album. Instead, this follow-up dives into a more direct, “sunnier” route, without giving too much away. ‘Clean’ is a beat-driven force, while ‘Cool Blue’ flutters past in a roof-down, ‘80s glow. It’s still all about trying new things, and that’s what will set the agenda for years to come.
Photo: Dave Ma.
answers for The Japanese House. Debut EP ‘Pools to Bathe In’ is a severe take on pop. Vocals sound like they’re coming up from underground. Fragments of synth and outside noise circuit around. But with every song, somehow Bain lands on something pure, free of distraction. Labelmates George Daniel & Matt Healy (from the 1975) have production credits, but this is ultimately the product of Bain’s strange imagination.
HÆLOS Night-lurkers with a purpose, don’t run into these “vampires” on the wrong day. Photo: Mike Massaro On one of their rare excursions outside, Comparisons to Massive Attack and Portishead aren’t ones nightcrawling London trio HÆLOS have been they shy away from. Those acts were clearly in mind from the tracked down and spotted in the Latitude beginning, and it’s since been their mission to stamp their own neu forest. After a year holed up inside windowless trade on darkness-drenched pop. “We honed it in, refined and studios, Lotti Benardout, Dom Goldsmith, developed it,” describes Goldsmith. “We’ve worked so hard and Arthur Delaney over the last eight months, and we are staring up at the sky like it’s a can already see how far we’ve come,” long-lost friend. “We make these agrees Delaney. “We’re making “We’re making forays into the outside world,” says something that feels significant, at Delaney, before all three confirm least to us.” something that they’ll be back indoors recording within hours. All three members approached the feels significant, band with a different perspective That’s been the code for these three and background. Benardout leads since summer 2014, when they everything with a vocal that could vowed to cut off all ties and record camouflage into any surrounding. an album. “We shut ourselves off,” Goldsmith brings with him previous Arthur Delaney says Benardout. “We hit that point experience in the buzzy Get People. where the most important thing was Delaney used to front a band called making music,” admits Delaney. “I Born Blonde, also the former home think we’ve had this work ethic that of Tom McFarland and Josh Lloydwas healthy from the start and is maybe entering unhealthy, Watson from Jungle. From the very first moment they stepped slightly obsessive territory.” Rooted in East London, Goldsmith in a studio together, HÆLOS were on the same page. describes their old recording hub as a “cave”, joking about the bloodbaths that’d take place when things got too nocturnal. Whether it’s a case of being ultra-disciplined or shameless “The darkness creeps into your soul and… makes you a little workaholics, they’re not leaving that studio anytime soon. bit punchy.” “When we’re done with the album, we’ll keep writing,” declares Benardout. “The end is in sight for this record. And It’s evident in HÆLOS’ early work that they’re more catered then we’ll start the next one!” beams Goldsmith. “No rest for to 4AM deep-thinking than free-spirited weekend picnics. the wicked,” concludes Delaney. DIY
at least to use.”
Don’t take the Mickey out of Oscar.
Oscar talks his debut LP His first work is due early next year, according to the Londoner. Words: Jamie Milton. Photo: Mike Massaro
“I’m always writing,” says Oscar, and his debut is set to contain several unheard tracks. “It’s gonna be a mash-up of genres, vibes and grooves. If you’ve seen the live set it’s not dissimilar to that, but a bit more variation. I recorded the rhythm section in a studio, but the rest was done in my bedroom like normal.” At the turn of the year, Oscar spoke to DIY about how he’d like to write for other musicians (and how he had a song turned down by post-Sugababes project MKS). Are the offers pouring in these days? “I’m starting to get asked to do bits and bobs,” he admits. “Writing sessions, even a bit of production here and there. For the most part I write for myself, but there will be songs where I’m like: ‘This isn’t for me right now’.” The rest of 2015 sees Oscar taking on the States (“Most of the fans are from America. They’re slightly more accepting of British music, in a way”) with a run of North American shows, before heading back to Europe ahead of the debut’s release. “Whatever happens, happens. If I have to go out to America first and come back here for things to pick up, then so be it.” DIY
“I’ll give you a bit of
The North Londoner made an almighty entrance with two EPs earlier this year, ‘Daffodil Days’ and ‘Beautiful Words’. Balancing a tightrope of emotions, his songs can sound sickly sweet and drenched in melancholy at the same time. Chances are that theme will continue with a full-length, due out via Wichita Recordings.
Oscar Scheller has given DIY an update on his debut album, which neu he says will be out in “the most chilling month” of 2016. “In the middle of winter, you need that burst of energy and inspiration,” he says. “I’ll give you a bit of sunshine.”
DECLAN MCKENNA A politics pundit of the future or a breakout star? Either way, this teenager’s had the year of his life.
Not many musicians find themselves on Sky News within a few months of putting out music for the first time. It’s even more neu unthinkable to find them fielding questions from Adam Boulton about politics and the responsibilities of football’s governing body. But that’s just a glimpse into the last few months of Declan McKenna’s life. He’s gone from an unknown to the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition winner and one of the most sought-after “It’s qu new acts, in the space of half a year.
the wheels are already turning quickly. With the Glastonbury weekend, he was pitted in the exact opposite of a suit-filled Sky News studio. “Last year, I was at a small local festival and I shouted ‘Hello Glastonbury!’” he remembers. “I had no clue that next year I’d actually play it. It’s crazy… I couldn’t really believe my luck.”
Despite the rush of attention, McKenna is keen to go cool, thinking December saw McKenna self-releasing beyond ‘Brazil’ as soon as ‘Brazil’ on Bandcamp, booking a gig possible. That World Cup is about by himself and getting a venue to hire long gone, there’s a Euros on the place out for free. The song took on the way which he might want FIFA and its role in bringing football’s to write about. Subjects are biggest prize to a poor country, without arriving from all sides when “doing anything for the communities,” he it comes to new material, he explains. says. “It’s politics and what I Declan McKenna see in the news, and it’s just It was intended to be a quip on corruption. general things I feel strongly It’s since taken on a new life, being about, things happening in attached to the downfall of grubby money-grabber Sepp my life,” he claims. “Even with this small amount of hype, even Blatter. Sky News invited the teenager on air to talk big issues, that’s crept into what I’m writing. I’m not restricted to one like he’d been studying football’s contrasting relationship with thing at the minute. ‘Brazil’ was a one-off in terms of football poverty as a hobby. “It’s expanding into things further than and politics coming together.” These next twelve months are I ever meant it to. It’s quite cool, thinking about the monster a case of making sure his breakthrough single is more of a I’ve made with that song. People take a lot of different things future captain than one-season wonder. DIY from it,” he says, backstage at a DIY Presents gig that meets the industry hype head-on. With just a loop pedal by his Declan McKenna will play Underground Festival and Mirrors. side, it’s clear there’s a long way to go for this newcomer, but See diymag.com for details.
the monster I’ve made.”
L oy l e Carner
This South Londoner has more than just a way with words. Storytelling doesn’t come naturally to most newcomers. Hiding behind effects and ambiguous meaning might be a default mode. But Loyle Carner is one for direct, straight-for-thegut delivery. The South London MC doesn’t make things easy for himself, taking on subjects like the death of his father on debut EP ‘A Little Late’. But when things tick with Carner, they point towards a talent who can dance with deep subjects just as easily as lighthearted quips. Listen: ‘Tierney Terrace’ is a familial charmer. Similar to: Kate Tempest meets Nas.
You must Liss-ten to these guys. Danish four-piece Liss weaselled their way into XL producer Rodaidh McDonald’s studio for debut single ‘Try’. McDonald might usually put his name to murky but precise pop, but this is a different ball park: candy-coated, it’s romantic but only in the sense that it might pick flowers from the soil, instead of ordering a bunch online. Frontman Søren Holm sounds like a runaway case waiting to happen. Listen: ‘Try’. Similar to: Frank Ocean covering fellow Danes Blaue Blume.
Fans of berserk psych-pop should join the club. In terms of bands who threaten to self-destruct at any second, they don’t come more attuned than Sun Club. The Baltimore group share characteristics with Animal Collective, especially in their satanic delivery. But there’s more. ‘Tropicoller Lease’ is a driven take on oddities, where substance meets outward-thinking head on. Debut album ‘The Dongo Durango’ is out 30th October. Listen: ‘Tropicoller Lease’ is a maniacal introduction. Similar to: Animal Collective meets Vampire Weekend.
Pa r t y b a b y
Everyone’s invited to this California band’s shindig. Californians PARTYBABY have everything within their locker to bark out FIDLAR-style YOLO chants, throwing a great big escapist party. They’re built for that stuff. Instead, with their remarkable first move ‘Everything’s All Right’, they get sinister. Masters of several crafts at once, there’s so much to feast on in the space of one introductory song, you could live off this for years. Listen: ‘Everything’s All Right’ is a 24-hour party. Similar to: Big nights out without the hangover.
THIS MONTH IN
EPS Honne - Over Lover Smoothvoiced duo Honne are still making slick pop, but this time they’re adding cuss words and more sass. It’s out now. Creeper - The Callous Heart Southampton gothpunks Creeper mark their signing to rock and metal megalabel Roadrunner with ‘The Callous Heart’ - a collection of impassioned, soulful purges that hark back to the glory days of emo’s crossover success. Puppy Puppy London trio Puppy encapsulate the MTV2-on-repeat lifestyle of everyday twenty-somethings who’d spend their teenage years admiring their own guitar heroes. Their first release is out 25th September.
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even making eye contact. It’s there to see in Yannis’ rabid delivery, the way ‘Mountain At My Gates’ doesn’t stop short at an armsaloft chorus, instead racing towards a breakneck crescendo. Foals are chasing bigger things with every record they make. Whether that’s for self-fulfilment or a festival headline slot is another question, but 24 hours with the band reveals the innerworkings of their pursuit. oals’ greatest strength is their ability to shatter expectations. It became a habit of theirs, from the early days of jagged math rock demos, to play the unlikely hand. They managed to get TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek to produce ‘Antidotes’, but they did the unthinkable by scrapping a big chunk of those sessions. ‘Total Life Forever’ saw them submerged in electronics, suddenly capable of penning heartbreaking numbers like ‘Spanish Sahara’. Change is what they thrive on. These days, Foals’ potential is blackand-white. They’ll either go one bigger and create something more vital, or they’ll finally hit the hurdle that many bands crash into at an early point in their careers. “Every time you go into the studio, the odds are stacked against you making a good record. Harder each time,” admits frontman Yannis Philippakis. Somehow, with every album, they emerge with something that dwarfs what already existed. ‘Inhaler’, from 2013’s ‘Holy Fire’, had them louder and more bloodthirsty. ‘What Went Down’’s title-track is the evil sibling of that beast. Just when it looks like Foals can’t possibly hit bigger heights, they knock out the next level boss before
“Particularly at the moment, it’s increasingly rare for a band to progress album-by-album,” states Yannis on a blow-up, grass-stained sofa backstage at Kraków Live Festival. “Even if I’m wrong, it’s unusual for a person in a band to feel like that four records in.” Just as he’s speaking, Orlando Weeks from DIY’s August cover stars The Maccabees walks past. Orlando and co. can also count themselves as part of a small pack of bands making headway with every record. They initially struggled with chart-topper ‘Marks to Prove It’ (“I think they made a whole album and canned it. That’s harsh. And then to come out with a great album is testament to that,” notes Foals
guitarist Jimmy Smith later on). But that’s how it is - fight to the last to make something better or get ready for music’s grim reaper to knock. It’s been ten years since Foals trashed
house parties, booked their own gigs and toured the world in a secondhand Royal Mail van. But it’s easy to connect those hungry teens to the band currently triumphing on stages ten times the size. “We grew up feeling like we were the underdogs,” claims Yannis. Never shy of admitting “I definitely have a chip on my shoulder,” he’s the picture of a restless workaholic. “We had this feeling that we were coming up and fighting it out. That’s partly what’s kept us together. And I still feel like that,” he says. “Everywhere we play - not today you’ll go to these radio shows and you 40 diymag.com
“ IF W E W ERE T O M A K E A NO T HER REC ORD RIGH T NO W, I T
V IOLENTLY DIFFERENT.” YA NNI S W OUL D BE
P HIL IP PA K I S
realise so many of these bands are just pop groups that somebody’s kicked through Topman. It is depressing.” There are some exceptions to the rule. “The Maccabees - they’ve fought it out the old way and they’re Number One. Arctic Monkeys, they’ve been successful on their own terms. But there are other bands that I feel have been given the cheat codes to life.” From an outsider’s perspective, Foals’ journey to the top rode a wave. There was a demand from the start. Labels were on board, the attention never dipped. Momentum was always behind their backs. “Yeah, we had our fair share of good fortune,” agrees Yannis. “But you’re competing with
these highly slick, fabricated groups. There are a lot of groups pretending to be indie bands that kind of aren’t, I feel. Maybe I sound embittered but there’s some music out there occupying the same space that somebody else should. They’ve been given an unfair advantage because they have a slick marketing team and someone’s told them how to run their Instagram. There’s all these other aspects that you don’t think about when you’re fifteen and you pick up a guitar. “That plump contentedness certain musicians start to show after a while - I just don’t think it’s going to happen to us,” he declares. “You notice it in
other bands. People go through the motions. I’d rather not put a record out than have us get comfortable.” And Foals aren’t lording it up in Hollywood or purchasing penthouse apartments. “It’s not like all of a sudden we’re hanging out with people with nose jobs, or guys sleeping on lilos in Bali every day. I don’t feel that different to when I was younger. That’s probably a good thing.” Jimmy remembers the feeling of having no real alternative to being in a band. “Not speaking for Yannis - he was at Oxford,” he starts. “But for me, I had a really shit job doing data entry at a doctor’s surgery. It got a bit crushing after a while. The alternative to Foals was not even worth thinking about.” Cut to the present day and the guitarist can’t believe his luck. A more at-ease character than Yannis, he’s still embracing the perks. “It just keeps getting more fun,” he smiles. “There’s that realisation - this is it. This is what we do. It’s such an exciting thought, and it’s still propelling us. It’s a fuel source that keeps on burning. It sounds really clichéd but a lot of the time I wake up and I pinch myself.”
It’s not just new albums that Yannis is hungry to make. He wants to start writing books, and he’s got a couple of ideas. “There’s two different things. I could do a children’s book where Pigeon, my cat, would be the main character and the book would explore the relationship with this houseplant, her buddy. That would be the kid’s book - their adventures. There’d be some element of a moral in it, like an Aesop’s Fable. Or I’d like to write a book which is stuff ripped out of my journals, mainly to do with the creative process. Or just brain spasms. I don’t document everything so much these days, but I used to be pretty obsessive about it.”
“Yannis, mate, get up! We’ve got a photoshoot to finish.”
“ VIOLENT. SPONTANEOUS. AGGRESSIVE.” I’M MORE
YANNIS PHILIPPAKIS 42 diymag.com
into the process, regardless of where Foals make a record. After all, it was in nearby Arles back in 1888 where Vincent van Gogh chopped off part of his left ear.
‘What Went Down’’s own making-of film, titled ‘Crème Anglaise’, paints a
“It definitely wasn’t a holiday,” pipes Yannis. “When we make records, it’s an intense experience. That’s partly why I didn’t want to go somewhere shit. When I go into the record, it’s an adversarial thing. It’s a combat. There are more awful records than good records. That threat is what’s kept us nimble. Why go somewhere that could create more problems for us? I’m perfectly happy to drive myself crazy within the studio or next to a guitar amp. But when I go outside, I just don’t need that shit
omfort could have crept into ‘What Went Down’. Previously, they’ve been known to climb up the walls in nightmarishly cold spaces (recording ‘Total Life Forever’ in a Gothenburg winter) or come to blows with a producer. This time, they decided to enjoy themselves. Mid-February this year, Yannis, Jimmy, drummer Jack Bevan, bassist Walter Gervers and keyboardist Edwin Congreave travelled to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in France to make their fourth record. It had all the ingredients of a pleasant trip abroad.
about it,” declares Jimmy. “We got to France and it was like ‘Fuck, it’s too nice’. We were really worried we’d get pampered, or distracted.” Last time round, producer Flood told the band: “Good records are made under stress and tension.” But Foals trusted their own instinct instead of taking outside advice. They’re stubborn like that. “We wrote it really quickly, went to a really nice place to record it, and it was all just… great,” says a beaming Jimmy. “We weren’t experimenting with: ‘What’s it like to put a hot-headed producer in a room with a hot-headed band?’ You learn - fourth record, ten years in the band, you just learn how to deal with it and what it’s all about.”
THAT KEPT US NIMBLE.”
THERE ARE MORE AWFUL RECORDS THAN GOOD RECORDS. IS WHAT’S
PHILIPPAKIS picture of luxury. They can be seen hiking through forests, exploring nearby towns, shooting photos, taking a dip in a studio swimming pool. How lovely. But there’s the odd revealing shot. One has Yannis typically holding up a piece of paper with the words “SOD OFF”. Another sees him lurking over a typewriter in a giant room (it’s a surprise he didn’t write: “ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES YANNIS A DULL BOY”). There’s also an especially creepy shot of a doll hanging off a basketball hoop. Needless to say, madness creeps
in my life.” With the help of local wine (“We did some other things as well, but that’s just recreational,” smirks Yannis) they hit the studio habits required to make ‘What Went Down’’s berserk extremes. The title-track sees the frontman barking out orders. Closer ‘A Knife in the Ocean’ is an ultimate apocalypse soundtrack. The band’s harsh and maniacal side is given more of the spotlight, but the purer, melodramatic alter-ego also gets its say. To avoid slipping into the comfort zone of doom, they stuck to their guns. “We were really Foals
here’s always room for more. That’s the mantra Foals stick to. During a closing set at Kraków Live, they’re as snarling and energised as ever. Yannis dives into a pack of flailing arms, races past stage barriers. “I’m more violent. I’m more spontaneous. It’s more aggressive,” he says of these recent shows. New material raises the dial on what came before, and closer ‘Two Steps Twice’ - one of the first songs they ever wrote - remains the ultimate fire-starter. Shortly afterwards, and it’s clear they haven’t hit perfection. Jack and Yannis look puzzled backstage, and they both agree that
WATCH YOUR UNITS, LADS
Foals drink a lot. That was the case with ‘What Went Down’’s boozy sessions, and the same applies for their gigs. “We drink quite a lot as a band generally, and that’s what feeds into the shows,” says Yannis, in between sips of beer. “Drink loads before and then carry on, at least for a bit. I’ve never played a show where I haven’t been drinking before it. Sometimes I wonder how fucked up our bodies will be... Life is short. I wanna do more stuff. I wanna put more music out, better music out. All of us feel like there’s an urgency in what we’re doing.”
something was missing. The following day, Yannis is still mulling over what did and didn’t work. Speaking to fans at the city airport, he talks through each song like it’s a case study. “We’re never full,” he states before the set, and what follows is evidence that Foals are still on the hunt for perfection. “There’s a drive to try and write better songs, something better than what’s come before,” he says. “ If we were to make another record right now, it would be violently different to the one out now. And I’m excited by that idea. There isn’t a full-stop.” It’s not a fear of failure that keeps Yannis on his toes - it’s the absolute threat of being happy with output. “Some people would agree that we’d made missteps,” he begins. “There’s no shortage of people that hark on about everything
since ‘Antidotes’ not being as good. I don’t agree with those people, but I’d rather take missteps and make errors and go through the mangle. People are more forgiving of that. We’re testament to the fact that people are forgiving of change. Maybe we’ve been lucky, but the bands that become extinct are ones that stand still for too long.”
admits Smith. “We get starved, and then all of a sudden we can do it again. You sit down at a keyboard, a piano or a guitar, and you make something. It’s exactly the same principle. It’s being in a band, it’s making music. There’s a joy in what we do, and we’re tethered to it, we have to do it. Because then life is kind of meaningless without it.”
After a weekend back home in London, it’s all things go on a world tour that looks likely to span twelve months, at the very least. Back in 2014 and after a headline set at Bestival, it was a matter of days before work started on ‘What Went Down’. Chances are that’ll be the case next time round. A handful of European festival shows to their name, and they’re already chomping at the bit to do something new. “You get starved of creativity when you go on tour,”
He lists off potential new releases (“droney shit” or a “proper EP, a standalone thing” spring to mind) like they’re next on the agenda, as if arena tours and 2016’s festivals won’t come first. “Four records in ten years isn’t that much. We could be doing more,” he claims. There’s an itch that won’t quit with this band. Never content, never capable of ticking boxes - if there are specific traits to becoming a group who take the long route and always improve,
Foals have these in spades. “I think we’re lucky,” starts the frontman, “because some bands come out with these perfectly-formed debut records. And then it’s hard to better that. If you’re in that situation, it’s hard to know about the next step. But we never felt that. There was mixed feelings about the first record and the second record and the third - and there will be about this record. That’s even an internal thing. It means that you want to write another record. Creatively, I don’t think I can afford to sit back. I’m never done. I feel the opposite of that. I’m perpetually craving something.” It’s not just the future that keeps Yannis up at night, it’s the past. “There’s all of these things that haven’t
materialised.” He cites “embryos of songs” from the early days - “and they goad you,” he says, like he’s haunted by the ghosts of scrapped ideas. With Smith, he’ll pen sketches or loose loops that might eventually form into full beings. “There’s hundreds of untouched ideas,” he claims.
‘WHAT WENT DOWN’
IN NUMBERS 5
“It motivates but it also teases you,” he says, scratching his head and staring down.”It just feels like there’s a lot more to do. I feel like we’re young. I don’t think we’ve got jaded or that we’ve slowed down. The best is still to come.” Foals’ new album ‘What Went Down’ is out now via Warner Bros. Records. DIY
months of writing in hometown months of Oxford. recording in the more relaxed environment of Saint-Rémy-deProvence.
bottles of wine were consumed, apparently. “I think Jimmy pulled that figure out of his arse. We didn’t sit there counting the wine,” says Yannis.
polaroid photographs taken during the sessions. They’re being sold as part of ‘What Went Down’’s 12” boxset.
“ NEVER DONE PERPETUALLY CRAVING . “I’M
, I FEEL THE OPPOSITE OF THAT. I’M
YANNIS PHILIPPAKIS 45
SCREAM IF YOU WANNA GO FASTER
Zach’s in trouble for talking about B-town. 46 diymag.com
These guys didn’t seem the most likely of bands to switch everything up. Settled into a hyped-up scene, they rode the wave of escapism for two successful years, picking up thousands of die-hard fans in the process. That wasn’t enough. Together, they decided to dive headfirst into berserk synth solos, drum-and-bass breakdowns and shrill screams. Different in personnel (they’ve since added keyboardist James Balmont as a full-time member), they’ve in turn gone from “hazy” pop customers to an unrecognisable outfit. At the start of the year, frontman Austin Williams told DIY the band were “shaving our heads and going to war with this record.” And new LP ‘Mothers’ proves he wasn’t just spouting big claims. “There’s something in that quote,” says Austin, several months on. “It feels like we genuinely are going to war. There’s tons of people who don’t know what to think of us yet. Tons of people who still haven’t made their minds up.” Austin is at the forefront of this transformation. The second he starts speaking about how different a band Swim Deep are now, he’ll get carried away, unable to look back. He says the group are “leaping off a cliff” with this release (“arms open, necks wide”) and his eyes light up whenever new material is mentioned. “There was this idea that we wanted to make a modern day ‘Screamadelica’, something that pushed the boundaries of electronic music and rock‘n’roll,” he says, not understating things in the slightest. “The spirit’s still alive, you just have to rekindle it in some way. It’ll always be there bubbling away.”
Once “s toned” escapis ts, dimens ion.
Swim Deep have entered another
Br ave, brilliant and more of ten than not
batshit cr azy, they’re convinced they’ve writ ten this year’s answer to Primal Scream’s ‘ buns en burners
Screamadelica ’. But how many
exploded to make it happen? The five mad
scientis ts tell all . Words: Jamie Milton. Photos: Emma Swann .
‘Mothers’ is a monster of an album. From the get-go, it sets out to achieve everything at once. It wants to inspire a new “summer of love” and an entire generation. There’s this steadfast belief that they’ve made an album that can do more than get itself stocked in record shops. “This sense of expression comes from turmoil,” begins Austin. “There’s clubs shutting down, and you get people who want to open their own raves in new places that aren’t watched on. People want to do something free again and be free again. That need for pure happiness comes from it being taken away from you. I think the same thing is going to happen,” he says, and flickering behind the eyes is a belief that ‘Mothers’ could instigate that change. It’s a big claim, and it’s one that might get Swim Deep laughed out of town. But how many other bands can you find sticking their colours to the mast with so much bombast and unhinged confidence? This sudden jolt in another direction could easily put the fear in fans who’ve grown accustomed to the dreamy escapism and pop-rooted songwriting found in first work ‘Where the Heaven Are We’. The record label had every right to call security
irst-to-second album transformations tend to stick in the memory. The Horrors ditched the eyeliner for krautrock and turned into giants with 2009’s ‘Primary Colours’. Radiohead could tell you a thing or two about change. The Swim Deep of early 2011 - B-town boys with their hearts in the ocean - wouldn’t know what to make of this.
When Swim Deep were in the studio, they asked poor producer Dreamtrak (Oli Horton) to try and record the most impossible things. Such as the following:
The sound of a black hole “In the middle of the record there’s this song ‘Forever Spaceman’, and we wanted to make the sound of a black hole. Obviously a black hole doesn’t sound like anything. But he was like ‘Yeah, let’s do that.’” - James Balmont The sound of tumbleweed “We wanted him to make a tumbleweed sound once, and we went over to a Moog, spent five minutes on it and lo and behold, it was a tumbleweed.” Austin Williams The sound of purple “I remember saying to him, ‘Can we make the synths a bit more purple?’ That’s the thing - we really clicked.” - James Balmont 47
when they heard the new LP, too. Instead, Austin insists, they were more than receptive. “It’s quite brave. I’m sure they’ll learn their lesson.” Together they admit that most people will hear things differently, but Austin says there’s a “Swim Deep spirit” shared between both ‘Mothers’ and their debut. “That album was such a captured moment of our youth - a naive diary entry of us being stoned teenagers and looking out to the world,” says the frontman. Newest recruit James backs things up by describing a “feeling that we could do anything” - “We wanted to do something different, not like how other bands sounded. I think it made it less stressful for us.” “I’d kind of disagree slightly,” says Austin. “I thought we were just making music that sounded like Swim Deep. It was never a conscious effort to try and not sound like anyone - I’ve never really subscribed to that. It just sounds like Swim Deep to us, but to everyone else it sounds different. I asked for advice off a few close friends before that have known the band since day one. They said ‘Just keep that Swim Deep spirit there. As long as you keep that, you can’t do any wrong.’” Between albums, James gradually integrated himself into the band. He admits that “there was no way I wanted to just be a live member,” and across tours he’d find himself presenting new ideas between soundchecks. “It’s very much like - whoever wants to join can. Music’s not a selfish thing,” claims Austin. Shortly after James officially became a member, he and Austin began to bounce ideas off each other, forming a songwriting partnership that appeared to consist of one egging the other on to try something even more outlandish than the last idea. Both members are the most vocal about Swim Deep’s great second chapter, although they’re prone to the odd disagreement. “You can’t put yourself in a corner and make the same music all the time,” claims James. “You can if you want, you fascist,” replies Austin. “We could make the same album as the first one next time.” The whole band seem settled into their new skin, even though they’re more than aware of ‘Mothers’’ giant leap of
faith. “I feel so much older than I did back then,” says bassist Cavan McCarthy, describing the days when they’d record in drummer Zachary Robinson’s shed. “It feels like a lifetime ago.” “I know what you mean,” says Austin. “That just happens. Every three years you get a turnaround. It was a very fast and blurry period of our lives. We came out of Zach’s shed with songs and the label wanted to put an album together. From then it’s like Tokyo, playing a shit show. These kids still figuring out what they’re doing. Now we feel like we’ve settled - we can actually be good musicians.” Would Swim Deep have said yes to the hype and the record deal if they had another roll of the dice? “There’s tons of answers to that question,” declares Austin. “It’s life - you make decisions and you do it. We wouldn’t have this album if we didn’t do that. And I probably wouldn’t be living in London, I probably wouldn’t know these people. So there’s no way I could regret anything like that. Everything is possible.” It’s worth noting that some ideas didn’t stick, with ‘Mothers’. “Tons” were left in the studio, claims guitarist Tom Higgins. This album could be weirder and more extreme. Still, we’re left with the game show glitz of ‘Namaste’. “I thought I was ripping off Aretha Franklin with that one, but it turns out I was ripping off The Spice Girls,” jokes Austin. Then there’s ‘Fueiho Boogie’, a nine-minute juggernaut that could easily be the product of Bez, The Prodigy and Damon Albarn brainstorming in a studio. “We still laugh now when thinking about that one,” says Austin. “The break bit at the end - it was like, ‘Should we do this?’” goes James. “Fucking yes. Obviously,” Austin beams. Nothing is sacred from the first LP - everything is there to be shaken up and spat out in a completely new direction. “We’ve still got the badges from the first album - we still wear them proud. But there’s more to see and there’s more to do,” the frontman says, like an explorer who’s only just set off on his journey. “It’s set a good precedent - because I guarantee the third album will sound nothing like this one. Maybe people should get used to it.”
Swim Deep’s new album ‘Mothers’ will be released on 9th October via Chess Club / RCA. DIY
“I t h o u g h t I wa s r i p p i n g off Aretha Franklin, but it turns out
ripping off S p i c e G i r l s .”
I wa s The
“ T h e m o r e yo u t ry t o m a k e
something better than
w h at i t i s , t h e m o r e yo u ’ r e
t ry i n g t o
polis h a turd. ”
don’t know if Pikachu would agree,” starts a tactful Mica Levi, “but I was named Micachu by [the London MCs] Brother May and Baker Trouble. Pikachu is a little electronic thing...” she tails off, taking a swig of tea. “At the time I was producing beats, so somebody else giving me a nickname felt like a rite of passage.”
n e w
SHAPES After razzmatazz, red carpets, and recitals, Micachu & The Shapes take it back to the bare bones. Words: El Hunt. Photos: Mike Massaro.
Since their debut album days, Micachu & The Shapes have had a surreal few years. ‘Chopped & Screwed’ - the band’s collaboration with the London Sinfonietta orchestra - was originally cobbled together in the band’s van by hurriedly screen-grabbing from a demo version of a notation program. It was performed - at the Southbank Centre, no less - using bizarre new instruments made with the help of Mica’s thenhousemate Dave the plumber. Two years later Mica Levi snazzed it up alone down red carpets across the entire film awards circuit, totting up a sizeable stack of nominations and shiny trophies for her Under the Skin film soundtrack. She became the youngest ever Artist-in-Residence invited to Southbank, a studio resident at the Barbican’s recent Station To Station installation, and a
prolific name on the contemporary arts scene. After all that fancy galavanting, it was time for Micachu & The Shapes to revert back to the bare bones.
recorded the band] me and Raisa sort of rolled our eyes, but he sent them anyway. There’s a lot of crap on there, like,” Mica says, “but then I thought, ahh, that’s so good.”
“I went to some pretty flashy dos,” chuckles a relatively undazzled Mica, cuppa in hand, sat outside the band’s East London studio. “It was a circus,” she smiles. “It was weird. It was a trip. This,” she goes on, referring to Micachu & The Shapes’ new record ‘Good Sad Happy Bad,’ “was well needed after doing that. I needed to -” she suddenly lets loose with a startling noise akin to somebody unloosing a stream of vomit - “get physical,” she laughs. “Do a bit of retching.”
Micachu & The Shapes reckon that ‘Good Sad Happy Bad’ is their most free sounding release yet, and it’s also the record that comes closest to capturing the band’s live energy. It reverts back to their beat-making roots, where Mica first got her Pokemon namesake. “This process was akin to getting a load of beats and instrumentals and trying to turn them into the songs,” Mica explains. “It’s kind of how we all make music individually, in a sense, we all record vocals over instrumentals that we’ve made. It’s a process we were familiar with, but we hadn’t thought to do it with the band. I think we felt like we’d never managed to achieve getting things that feel good when we play live down on record very well, either,” she admits. “This” she says, referring to the raw recordings that they shaped into an entire album, “was a way of doing that.”
“She was doing this for about an hour,” interjects bandmate Raisa Khan, as Mica continues to recreate her abrasive, hurling vocal loop from album track ‘Unity’. “She got into the rehearsal room and did that while jumping around.” she pauses, giving a withered look, “for an hour.” ‘Good Sad Happy Bad’ is about as physical as it gets. A spew of field recordings, incidental sounds, and spontaneous shouted tirades - harvested from an hour and a half long recording on drummer Marc Pell’s tape recorder - this is not just a departure from Micachu & The Shapes’ meticulous classical forays. This is a long-haul, red eye flight back into the heart of where Mica first earned her nickname, and where The Shapes won their cast-iron association with the vacuum cleaner. “I’ve got a stereo recorder, and I record stuff, because I like listening back to it on the bus,” Marc puts it, simply. “You’re both used to it being there,” he adds in an aside to bandmates Mica and Raisa, “it didn’t feel like there was a big red light saying ‘record’.” Mica nods. These particular sessions, the band agree, captured something different and unusual, though, that made them take notice. “When Marc said [he’d
“We couldn’t fuck with it too much, because it is what it is. The more you try to make it better than what it is, the more you’re trying to polish a turd,” grins Mica, “it’s very blatant. It can be intimidating, going into a recording studio with a bazillion options, for sure. In this day and age of how everyone uses things - footage, recordings, you know, seeing something happen for real - even on the news people show mobile phone footage of people within the action of tragic situations around the world or whatever. These devices,” she goes on, “it’s now the way we record and capture things, and do things. It seems to make sense to also make them do music. You can attach a GoPro to an eagle and film stuff from there,” she points out, “you can tell if something’s a lie.” It turns out there’s another upside to sticking to a lo-fi template, too. “This was a very, very, cheap way of making a
was well needed.”
“O u r n e w a l b u m
record, man,” Mica finalises. “we saved those pennies. Every little helps.” ‘Good Sad Happy Bad’ - by hyper-focused title, and superraw nature - is a singular album. That focused intensity is largely a product of how Micachu & The Shapes made it, sifting carefully through tape recordings, and honing in on the smallest incidental noise, or accidental click. While the album’s content was essentially written in an hour and a half, the assembly of every single element into something tangible took months. Each of the band love different moments on the record. Marc’s especially attached to a “dolphin” click at the start of ‘Peach’ - ‘it’s not a beat, it’s a texture,” he says, “It just does its thing.” One of Mica’s favourite tracks, on the other hand, is the doeswhat-it-says-on-the-tin ‘Thinking It,’ which samples Raisa talking aimlessly about going for a jog. “Mica thought it would be nice if it was a stream of consciousness over that instrumental,” explains Raisa, “so I did a diary entry.” It’s just one example of Micachu & The Shapes approach of talking a relatively simple idea, and running with it until it’s totally spent. Though they still run nifty musical rings on ‘Good Sad Happy Bad,’ the band aren’t into actual wholesome exercise, apparently. “Mica, you used to do a load of sit-ups and pressups before,” Raisa says. “It’s heavy, the guitar, you know?” protests Mica. “We all used to be fit, back in the day. There was a little phase” ‘Thinking It,’ she adds with a cackle, is the only evidence left of their health-kick. “On the Animal Collective tour, we were running every day,” remembers Raisa. “I slept for 11 hours a night on that bus,
like a baby,” says Mica; marking herself out as one of the first musicians in history who is able to snooze on a tour bus. “Decent sleep, nice evenings, and going for a jog. That was a life,” she continues, lavishly. “It was like, whoa. This fridge is full of coconut water!” Micachu & The Shapes’ reminiscing soon takes a darker turn. “That jog Marc took me on round the lake,” glares Mica, suddenly. “I wanted to kill you,” she says, giving him a pointed look. “That’s one of the few moments we’ve driven each other mad. I would’ve had to run after you to kill you. If I wanted to kill you now,” she goes on, ominously, “I’d probably have a lot of energy to put into pushing you off the chair. But running after you, after all that time? Nah.” “I remember just thinking, your little heart!” laughs Marc. “Going duh-duh-duh. I was like, is she going to die?” “It’s so rank!” exclaims Marc, “when we were in the van, we’d have a football with us, but we’d also be smoking, so we’d grab loads of sweets from the shop, and be smoking and kicking.” “All the footballers back in the day, they used be smoking like a bitch!” points out Mica. “George Best used to score a goal with bog roll all over the pitch, and cakes of mud - it looks like any old park. He scores a goal, and runs up to the post,” she says, before jumping out of her chair and bolting towards a parked up burger van, huffing and puffing theatrically. “Not even in a cool, arrogant way, more like, I fucking hate my job. It’s amazing.” Micachu & The Shapes’ new album ‘Good Sad Happy Bad’ will be released on 11th September via Rough Trade. DIY
D o n’t
St o p B’l i e v i n g Ku rt Vile g et s m o re co nfident by the reco rd. It helps w h e n y o u r h o m e c i t y d e c l a r e s i t t o b e ‘ K u r t V i l e D ay ’, a f t e r a l l . W o r d s : J a m i e M i lt o n . P h o t o s : P h i l S m i t h i e s .
ride of Philadelphia Kurt Vile has always been a night person. Growing up in a “big family”, he’d be the sibling chasing free time by staying up all night. “In summers I’d be up until the wee hours,” he smirks. Taking time out to “zone out and be alone,” that’s a mantra still by his side for sixth studio album ‘b’lieve i’m goin down...’, a record defined by trips to Joshua Tree’s Rancho de la Luna and sessions where he’d shun the clock. “But this one was extreme,” he admits. “I didn’t have any type of father figure producer around this time, I was the dad - the bad dad.” The family man recalls being in a “mental funk” before recording his album, which is when he wrote ‘Pretty Pimpin’, a lead single that surreally documents how he “woke up one morning and didn’t recognise the man in the mirror.” Being detached is part and parcel of Kurt’s everyday existence. “I’ve always been pretty elusive to technology. I obviously use it as a tool for email and texting,” he says, like he’s just discovered a old walkie-talkie down the back of his sofa. “I’m still separate to it. I’m in and out of the real and virtual world all the time.” Embracing his “mental funk,” Kurt has recorded an album that goes to extremes without
“ E v e r y t h i n g t h at h a p p e n s b y a c c i d e n t
My career is all ac c i d e n t s .” might happen for a reason.
betraying the pluck-hungry charm of 2013’s ‘Wakin on a Pretty Daze’, a record that hoisted this cult favourite to a bigger status. There’s a notable pattern on Vile’s album sleeves. Previously, he’d either be pictured in a blur or with his shoulderlength hair draped over his face. On the ‘b’lieve i’m goin down...’ art, he’s staring straight into the lens on a dusty-looking chair. He looks confident - cocky, even. “It is closer up, but that’s one of those fateful accidents,” he says, denying that this close-up shot is some kind of statement. “I feel like everything that happens by accident might happen for a reason. My career is all accidents ideally it’s a natural evolution.” Kurt had every right to be more assured, this time round. Since releasing his 2013 breakthrough, he was given Philadelphia’s “Highest Honor” by being granted his own “Kurt Vile Day”. In the last two years, word’s also spread like wildfire about his songwriting, and it’s something he’s increasingly aware of. But there’s more to the new album than a confidence streak. “Laying down tracks, especially my favourite ones, I was definitely tripping out inside,” he admits. “The end result is definitely my most confident and accomplished, just because that’s naturally the way it should be.” Trading Philly for the open road, Kurt ticked folk boxes by having his own handmade banjo in the studio. Nathan Bowles (“he’s this amazing banjo player”) had it made for Kurt, who’s been schooled in playing the instrument since childhood. “I grew up playing banjo and I could tap into it in a way I felt nobody quite touched,” he says. There’s that confidence again. ‘b’lieve…’ isn’t quite Mumford & Sons’ early days (“that’s more of a throwback to those folk groups in the early sixties, with the turtlenecks”). Instead it’s a rekindling of how Kurt first learnt how to play. “I was going for more gritty - I wanted to bring out the psychedelic side.”
might be his most direct song to date. “It’s not thinking the divine question, like ‘Is there a god?’ It’s everything I’ve seen and everything I can feel,” he says of this grand, six-minute number. “I always say it’s every emotion combined. It’s a funny world. And today it’s a strange world, where you have a different emotion every two seconds before getting distracted by this and that. I feel every emotion a million times a day. I feel like we all do! It’s a fucking yo-yo, man. You’ll see a news clipping that’s awful. You’re just living your life and having a good time, then all of a sudden there’s really insane shit going on everywhere. We’re so privileged really.” For a man who seems constantly detached from reality, he knows a thing or two about the way the world turns. Going into the studio with a direct plan (“I wanted to have piano on there, I wanted to have banjo songs, I wanted to have acoustic songs, and I wanted to have electric songs”), the end result was defined by surprises. Kurt remembers a moment in Joshua Tree where he was messing around before everyone else arrived on location. “I wrote ‘Wheelhouse’,” he says proudly, referring to a song that circuits around as one of his career highlights. “That’s almost my favourite stuff songs written off the cuff. I didn’t see it coming. I wrote ‘Wheelhouse’ and less than a week later, it was in the bag. I knew the song had potential but I didn’t necessarily think it was done, but it was just captured.” Next time, Vile wants to stay close to home to make an album. “I did the bounce around thing for the last three records,” he states. Listing off all the fancy equipment he’s bought for his “jam space” back in Philly, he says he’s “gonna stay relatively local, work on it in-between touring. “It’s time I tried to find some sort of grounding.”
That goal can be ticked off. But it’s not just about the banjo. ‘I’m An Outlaw’’s opening guitars bring to mind Interpol’s early work, while the big-thinking ‘That’s Life, tho (almost hate to say)’
Kurt Vile’s new album ‘b’lieve i’m goin down…’ will be released on 25th September via Matador Records. DIY
Even Kurt was getting exasperated by the popularity of the â€˜Lorde or Kurt Vileâ€™ meme. 57
C h a o s T h eo ry With their debut album, Girl Band have warped themselves more than
ever before, but ‘Holding Hands With Jamie’ sees the Dublin quartet find method in the madness. Words: Tom Connick. Photos: Phil Smithies.
don’t think we’re really a singles
band,” divulges Girl Band
guitarist Alan Duggan. The Dublin noiseniks may have built their name thus far on a series of standalone tracks, individual bricks constructing their now-impenetrable wall of noise, but it was more out of necessity than a stance the four of them ever took consciously. If anything, they’ve been itching to put forward a proper body of work. “Singles, the tunes are inevitably gonna be a bit more ‘single-y’,” offers bassist and primary recording engineer Dan Fox, “and there’s plenty of ‘not that’ on our record.” Girl Band’s debut full-length is the end result of that mentality – it’s hard to imagine anyone pinning early cuts like the buzzsaw ‘De Bom Bom’ or 25-second mosh-fest ‘The Cha Cha Cha’ as “single-y,” but with ‘Holding Hands With Jamie’ they’ve finally descended, cackling, into full-on madness. “I completely forget that it’s not that accessible, to people who don’t listen to that kind of stuff or who don’t get
where it’s coming from,” says frontman Dara Kiely, his slow Irish drawl a world away from the crackling yelp of his onrecord persona. “I remember that [US radio station] KEXP session, we played one of the tracks off the album and were like ‘oh, this is our poppy song!’ and people were like ‘this is… this is terrible!’ We thought, ‘Oh god, you’re gonna hate the rest of it!’ We thought that was our ‘She’s The One’!”
drums and then see someone who can play them actually play them, y’know?” Dara picks up the baton; “A lot of the practises are getting Adam, like – Adam’ll play a beat and we’ll be like, ‘oh, I really like that. We’ve noticed that your left hand is free for like two seconds though…’”
Robbie Williams, this is not. Every track on ‘Holding Hands With Jamie’ stretches noise-rock to its furthest horizons, each instrument warped to within an inch of its life as they clatter against each other. It’s a hypnotic kind of chaos; a beautiful plume of smoke rising from the wreckage of a fifty-car pile-up.
The group took that lateral approach to mucking in into the studio too, with Dan himself taking up primary engineering duties on the record. “There’s no hierarchy,” he states with pride. “No one’s coming in like, ‘What shall we do, Mr. Producer?’ Anyone’s idea’s pretty valid – it kinda helped that the lock on the studio door was busted – there was a total open-door policy. A lot of mates coming in and out, and people coming in like, ‘Oh, that’s cool’. If anyone ever chipped in an opinion – like, ‘Oh what do you think of that’, or ‘That sounds really cool’ – you take anything on board regardless of where its come from.”
Dan laments the “rigid way” of playing that formally learning an instrument relies upon. “The way we write all the songs, it’s all together,” explains drummer Adam Faulkner, “and it’s never even been said that, y’know, ‘I want you to have an input!’ – it’s just natural, we’ve just all had an input on each others’ instruments, and it’s a very collective songwriting process.” “I can’t play drums,” continues Dan, “but it’s great to have an input on the
“I got the nickname Buckaroo,” Adam shrugs.
“I threw a spoon across the room,” laughs Alan, before Dara explains the cause for such reckless cutlery wielding: “For the first track, ‘Umbongo’, that was the bit with all the metal and percussion
and things. Our friend Dennis is a kind of drummer percussion guy, and he gave us loads of parts of cars and stuff. So we all went in and were doing all kinda of chaos noise and stuff, and Al threw a spoon across the room and just clapped.” The band collectively snigger at the memory. “It was pretty good! I don’t know if you can hear the clap on it – I always listen out for it.” “I like to think you do!” says Dan, and Alan insists, “it’s somewhere buried in there!
“I threw a spoon
a c r o s s t h e r o o m .” – Alan Duggan
“There were pipe-cleaners up against broken cymbals, stuff like that,” he continues, thinking back to their left-field studio set-up. “I think with the other experiments stuff’s relatively subtle,” explains Dan. “The songs were there and then anything that was added into it wasn’t like ‘this is what it’s about now’ – it’s just to embellish what’s already there. I think we already knew what we wanted it to roughly sound like before we even entered the studio.” It’s not just their penchant for metalwork that gives ‘Holding Hands With Jamie’ its warped personality though – Dara’s lyricism is clearer, and dafter, than ever. “I do all the writing on my own, and they’d say
“Could you pass the Nutella, Nutella, Nutella, Nutella?”
“ I c o m p l e t e ly f o r g e t t h at i t ’ s n o t t h at
a c c e s s i b l e .” – D a r a K i e ly
something if they didn’t like it… which happens!” he laughs. “There’s been a couple of instances where I’m like, ‘My god, this is perfect!’ and I’d go in and they’re like ‘Jesus - no, man!’” “I gather them from notes – about three or four years of notes that I had, that I kinda condensed down, and those words would have triggers for certain moments in my head, so it kinda keeps it fresh when we do them live. It’s more about the tone of the song, and then I change it into everything else. So when it’s like, ‘does that mean that?’, if people think something means something offensive or something then it’s like ‘oh’, and we have to change it. But I think about 90% of it goes through! The 10% is the PG-13 stuff, which is for the
next album! When we get the parental advisory sticker and I get my real thoughts out! ‘Fuck you, Bush!’” “We’re just gonna do an album about tax,” teases Dan – “ABOUT ‘NAM!” insists Dara. “Just a lot of poorly informed opinions, really…” settles Alan, to peels of laughter. “Because they’re playing all that stuff,” continues Dara, “you can feel very limited cause they’re not really playing notes.” “Hey! There’s a note!” Dan objects. “He plays G in a song and he’s like, ‘Is this selling out?’” Dara laughs, “’Are you sure about this lads - this isn’t pop
music?’” Genres are certainly something that elude Girl Band’s sound, though that’s not stopped others from tying to pin them down in the past. “Post-goth was a good one!” enthuses Dara when prompted on the worst they’ve ever been pinned with. “Neo-grunge, too… After-goth. Goth in limbo.” “That’s a good title,” reckons Dan, “‘Goths In Limbo’! Yeah it kinda happens all the time, but y’know, who cares?” he shrugs. “I think there’s a couple of tracks on the album,” continues Dara, “there’s one or two mellow ones, to some degree. I think it’s kinda rounded in a way - it’s not all mad noise all the time. It’s not all post-goth all the time!”
WA XIN G
LYRICAL Dara explains some choice lyrics from the band’s debut.
“Nutella, Nutella, Nutella. No tell her, Nutella. No tell her, no tell.” – ‘Fucking Butter’: “We were sitting in the van once and we were making up weird sounds – we got ‘Pears For Lunch’ out of it, and “my daughter Paul,” that became ‘Paul’. We had this idea called ‘Nutella saved my life’, it was a stupid conversation. I woke up a couple of days later - it was a maaaaad one – and I just saw that and had no reference to it at all. It took me ages to figure out what it was. That song, ‘Fucking Butter’ in particular took ages to write. The tone of it’s about frustration and stuff like that, and the bit before – the “petit pois” bit – is about the mindfulness aspect of eating one pea at a time. And then it’s like, “Aaaaaah Nutella.” Think about it, lads. With extra meanings as well. It’s pretty genius actually.”
a development in there.“ “‘That is soooooo post-goth,” mocks Alan, before Dan sighs that “It’s gonna be like nu-rave all over again.” “Post-nu-rave!” Dara blurts out, “We’re a post-nu-rave band from Dublin!”
“We’ll get there,” Dara agrees. “I am getting an organ! Y’know how these Korg synths were kinda cool a while ago?” “Again, nu-rave!” laughs Alan.
“Post-nu-rave revivalist. We’re not a band, we’re a scene,” jokes Dan. Back in the real world, though, the indefinable Girl Band are prepping for the release of an album that offers something a world away from anything else on the scene – “it’s like a blank canvas again for the first time in years,” states Dara with a note of relief. “We can go and develop,” offers Dan on the band’s future. “Even the last songs that we’d written for this record are pretty different from the earliest ones, there’s
Dara promises “bossa nova drum beats” with a smirk. “We’re gonna go for a whole Emerson, Lake & Palmer thing,” smiles Dan. “Dara in a giant wizard’s hat. Change his name to Tuesday or something.” Girl Band’s debut album ‘Holding Hands With Jamie’ will be released on 25th September via Rough Trade. DIY
“Spend my time watching Top Gear with my trousers down, covered in Sudocrem and talking to myself.” – ‘Pears For Lunch’: “That’s just a fact! It’s a really sad fact… I was going through a really hard time with depression and stuff, and I couldn’t really write. My mum told me to keep writing, so I’d write something every day and it’d be shit. Then I wrote that and came into them, and I literally just wrote what I did that day. I showed them, thinking, ‘Don’t know what you’ll think of this’. They just started to laugh and I was like, ‘Oh no!’. It kinda clicked though, in my head – you can actually have a bit of a laugh about depression. Afterwards.” “Digestive fingernails are sogging from your mug.” – ‘Pears For Lunch’: “I was just kinda disgusted by digestive fingernails going soggy in a mug. Something about disintegrating… it’s really about society... [laughs] This is not gonna turn out good.” 61
o a lot of people, we were a new band,” Bring Me The Horizon’s frontman begins. Back in 2013, the Sheffieldbred five-piece were at something of a crossroads. Having lost their
former guitarist Jona Weinhofen, keyboardist Jordan Fish soon entered the picture for sessions on their fourth album ‘Sempiternal’. It was with that album that the band began to paint themselves in a new light. “It was as though our old albums didn’t even exist,” Oli Sykes continues, “but we were
almost cool with that. It felt like the start of something new.” For the British metal band, it really was something new. By the time that their fourth effort landed on shelves, their image had shifted. No longer were they considered the underdogs of the
F r o m s c r a p py m e ta l c o r e t o a r e n a- r e a dy a n t h e m s , B r i n g M e T h e H o r i zo n h av e h a d q u i t e t h e c a r e e r s o fa r . N o w, i t ’ s t i m e t o s t e p e v e n f u r t h e r a w ay f r o m t h e i r f o r m e r s e lv e s . W o r d s : S a r a h J a m i e s o n .
screamo scene; they were changing perceptions. Jordan encouraged Oli to move away from his previous intense bouts of screaming and veer further towards singing. Electronics began to play a bigger role. They became one of the heaviest bands featured on the radio and the mainstream was finally
beginning to accept them. “I guess with ‘Sempiternal’ we really stepped it up a notch in general,” Oli reflects. “It had been overwhelmingly positive; there are usually lots of ups and downs. It kinda pushed us out of our scene a bit more and into
something new. I think we got a bit of a taste for it, to be honest. With Jordan coming into the band as well, we were able to develop so much during the time we were touring ‘Sempiternal’. It just naturally progressed, and we had just gotten better and better so by the time that the label were asking for
a fifth single, we felt like we could do something so much better than what’s on ‘Sempiternal’.” Ahead of their sold out show at Wembley Arena last December they released a standalone single, which would prove a more dramatic change than perhaps anticipated. “‘Drown’ was really received well, and then there was Wembley and stuff, so that left us with this taste to do something more. It was the first time everyone was paying attention to us; we’re not having to fight to get on the radio, we’re not having to fight to convince people that we can do something good. It’s like everyone was waiting to hear what we do next and everyone was ready for it, so it felt like too good an opportunity to pass up and wait. We decided at the start of this year we were just gonna work non-stop; get in and get it out and work harder than we’ve ever done before.” With ‘Drown’, the band had proven that they could effortlessly straddle genres. With one foot firmly in the heavier world, they stood unafraid to dabble in any amount of musical elements. More than anything though, they had perfected the art of the pop song. “It was received better than anything else before,” he explains, “and it just gave us that confidence to do what we did on ‘That’s The Spirit’. We didn’t have that fear that we had before. With ‘Sempiternal’, we didn’t keep it heavy against our own will because that was what we wanted to do, but it was compromised in the sense of, ‘Drown’ is the song we would’ve have always wanted to write but I don’t think we dared to. Having that song and seeing how it went, it gave us the confidence to say, ‘Right, with this album there’s no compromise. We’ll do it exactly how we want and we won’t have one thing on there that we don’t actually want on there.’ It’s the first time we’ve had that confidence just to go for it.” Their fifth record, then, is their biggest, boldest statement yet. Having garnered the confidence to start doing things their own way, it became the theme that ran through the record’s story itself. Their latest offering marks their first foray into self-production (“With no disrespect intended to any of the producers that we’ve worked with in the past, it’s always a compromise.”) and saw them visit the Greek Island of Santorini to record, quite simply for the experience. It wasn’t about playing by anyone else’s rules but theirs.
“That was another challenge that we set ourselves,” Oli says about the album’s heaviness. “We felt like we had taken heavy music as far as we could’ve taken it. We had squeezed the best out of what we could do; we’ve hit you as hard as we can with a breakdown, with a riff, with a sub-drop and everything else. This time, we really wanted challenge ourselves to hit hard, but with an acoustic guitar. How can it be heavy without any speed, without any screaming?” If ‘That’s The Spirit’ has anything to say, very. “How can we make it powerful and have a massive impact? That is so difficult to do. You can look at these songs as simplystructured songs but it is so much harder to write a simple song than a technical one. To write a song that could become a classic and is gonna hit you hard without any volume or distortion is really hard. That’s what we wanted to do this time; to be heavy in completely different ways.”
“ W e f e lt l i k e w e h a d ta k e n h e av y m u s i c
as far a s w e cou ld’ve taken it.” O li Sy k e s Alongside the more stripped-back musical structures, Oli also decided to use his lyrics to explore more simple, relatable themes. “It was a massive challenge that I set myself,” he admits, “and I knew that I wanted every song to be very obvious when it came to what it was about. I wanted every song to have a simple theme that anyone could get. With ‘Throne’ it’s all about turning your grief into gold and ‘Happy Song’ obviously has a clear, bold message. Again, it’s very hard to get an obvious point across without it confusing people when it comes to the joke or the pay-off. It’s hard to it get across without people just thinking it’s stupid. “With the lyrics for ‘Happy Song’, I didn’t want to make them too poetic and that’s the point,” he emphasises. “It’s almost a stupid answer to a stupid question.” The emotion of the tracks also relates to his new vocal
approaches. “I think, with ‘Sempiternal’ too, the reason I wanted to sing was not so we’d get big, but it was because I wanted to get more emotion across. There’s only so much you can do with a single-pitched scream; you can have anger or desperation but you can’t really have any other colour. When you sing, you can display so much more emotion.” Alongside the simplicity of the lyrics lies somewhat of a black humour. Having overcome an array of personal problems outside of the band, it’s no real surprise that a hint of sarcastic darkness lingers in Sykes’ lyrics. “That’s the stuff that would’ve seemed so weird on the last album because it was so much more…” he ponders. “I dunno what the right word is... So much more straight. I think ‘Sempiternal’ took itself a lot more seriously whereas this one has a bit more fun with it. “Confidence, time and the right moment,” he confirms, on what exactly allowed them to get to this point today. “There wasn’t really a lot to joke about on ‘Sempiternal’ whereas on this one, there is. It’s all about making light out of dark situations and about how, if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. It made sense to have that in areas of this, whereas it just wouldn’t have in any part of our career before.” An album that bears just as much punch as their previous metal-doused records while using the less-is-more approach, it’s undoubtedly their most accessible effort yet. While ‘Sempiternal’ boasts glimmers of hugeness, it’s within their latest effort that their intentions are clear; they’re setting their sights on becoming one of the biggest bands in the UK, and they won’t be content until they’re done. “There are no excuses and nothing in the past to get in the way. In a way, we’ve broken through our scene and come through it,” he says, of the genre they were born into, “but still, we haven’t. We don’t care about being a band for kids who only like heavy music. We want to have people who just like songs. We don’t want to be a band for metalheads or scene kids or whatever you wanna call it, we want to be for everyone. Good music shouldn’t be defined by genre.” Bring Me The Horizon’s new album ‘That’s The Spirit’ is out now via RCA. DIY
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CHVRCHES Every Open Eye
(Virgin EMI / Goodbye Records)
Album two, and CHVRCHES still haven’t put a foot wrong.
ne day, CHVRCHES will probably release a bad song. Theoretically, at any rate. It has to happen eventually, right? Because on the evidence of ‘Every Open Eye’, they’re yet to come even close. From early demos through to debut ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’, the Scottish trio have hit every note. In the two years since that first album, their ascent has only become steeper. Touring the world, moving up bills, gathering fans in high places - that big breakthrough is just a dot in their wing mirrors. And yet still, CHVRCHES show no signs of slowing down. Fast becoming genuinely important voices, they’re not pulling a hard left either. There’s no obvious attempt to find a more commercial sound, no guest spots or big name assistance. Instead, they’ve taken the blueprints for what came before and augmented them.
From the big, bombastic stabs of opener ‘Never Ending Circles’, ‘Every Open Eye’ is familiar enough to require no new introductions, but more than fresh enough to never feel lazy or obvious. There’s the big pop moment (‘Empty Threat’) followed by the creeping slow jam (‘Down Side Of Me’). Like neon lights passing by, ‘Keep You On My Side’ fizzes with possibilities, while ‘Clearest Blue’ erupts into pure, arms aloft euphoria. Unlike so many of their peers, CHVRCHES know who they’re supposed to be. Every piece of the puzzle adds up to a whole. Definitively a single piece of work, this is an album of many aspects. An electronic band with an organic soul, there’s nothing faceless about CHVRCHES. More confident in their own musical skins, it all adds together to make ‘Every Open Eye’ a second album even better than the first. Next stop: arenas. (Stephen Ackroyd) Listen: ‘Empty Threat’, ‘Bury It’, ‘Make Them Gold’
ph oto: M i ke m as sa ro 67
eeee BRING ME THE HORIZON
That’s The Spirit (RCA)
Over the last decade, Bring Me The Horizon have managed to do the impossible: they’ve transformed themselves from the rough-aroundthe-edges youngsters of metalcore and overcome every obstacle that’s been thrown their way. Despite what some would call a dubious start, their previous effort ‘Sempiternal’ saw the group bridging the gap between the heavy and mainstream spheres. With their new album, they’re burning the bridge down entirely. Where ‘Sempiternal’ saw them honing their aggressive bouts of metal, ‘That’s The Spirit’ sees them creating deliberate, determined anthems, with sights firmly placed on the arenas of the world. There’s no beating around the bush when it comes to their fifth effort: it’s a set of huge songs that’ll cement their place at the top of rock’s ranks. (Sarah Jamieson) Listen: ‘Throne’
eee DARWIN DEEZ
Back in 2010, Darwin Deez perfected the art of simple, chirpy guitar pop. For many, singles like ‘Radar Detector’ and ‘Constellations’ soundtracked seemingly endless summers drenched in cheap cider and concoctions pilfered from a parent’s spirit cupboard, where all you had to worry about was whether you would get ID’d or not at the local Londis. ‘Double Down’ is another attempt at trying to recapture that turn of the decade magic. If released five years ago, it would probably have been seen as on a par with its predecessor. Tracks like ‘Bag of Tricks’ and ‘Last Cigarette’ attest to this. There is the strong danger however that, like many of the noughties indie stalwarts before him, Darwin Deez’s inability to change could mean that ‘Double Down’ will be his last album with any impact. (Will Moss) Listen: ‘Bag of Tricks’
Double Down (Lucky Number)
Pagans in Vegas (Metric Music
There’s something comforting about a new Metric album. You know what you’re getting. Not in an ‘it’s all the same boring stuff’ way either. The Canadians have a consistency unrivalled by their peers, Emily Haines’ on point vocals never anything less than perfect. Standouts are in no short supply either. From ‘The Shade’, with its earworm chorus that’s both instantly familiar and wonderfully unique, to the oddly infectious, shouldn’t-work-but-do yelps of ‘Too Bad, So Sad’, very little drops below a solid seven. Indeed, the only moment when things do slip slightly is the one track where Haines doesn’t lead, ‘Other Side’ missing that trademark tone badly. When playing to their strengths, Metric still have it. (Stephen Ackroyd) Listen: ‘The Shade’
Super Transporterreum EP (Memphis Industries)
On smash-and-grab debut ‘Ratworld’, Menace Beach announced themselves without a wasted breath. Turns out they had more in their collective system. Quickfire follow-up EP ‘Super Transporterreum’ isn’t a blow-byblow repeat of what came before. Hookworms’ MJ is in the production chair once more, and Ryan Needham still sounds like he’s compressing a hundred frustrated diary entries into a three-minute thrasher. But something’s shifted in their mentality. The EP title takes its name from a flu-fever hallucination Liza Violet suffered, and this fivetrack work is suitably prone to berserk, ‘out there’ bursts of weird. The title-track arrives drenched in psych-nodding effects, while ‘Ghoul Power’ tows a line between freakout fantasy and hard-hitting force. Menace Beach never allow themselves to sink into self-indulgence or let the hazy flu meds take over. There are very few bands as focused right now. (Jamie Milton) Listen: ‘Super Transporterreum’
The Names (Glassnote Records)
Taking a step away from the shadow he cast with New York giants Vampire Weekend, bassist Chris Baio is making the name he was given his own. ‘The Names’ is Baio’s first full-length solo release. Infusing the blissful indie pop of his band with his own affinity for dance music, he’s wrapped up soaring sentiments in a multi-textured release capable of making bodies move as much as it soothes. ‘The Names’ has been a long time in the making, and that devotion is evident in every breezy refrain, chiming melody, and pulsating rhythm. Perhaps the most similar to Vampire Weekend of old is ‘Sister Of Pearl’, with its chiming melodies rippling along blissful choruses. ‘Endless Rhythm’ is a song written about the sheer love of writing songs. Title track ‘The Names’ infuses stuttering synths with sublimely smooth vocals, while the electric grooves of ‘Brainwash yyrr Face’ switch from their mellow origins to an overpowering climax. Eclectic almost to an extreme, Baio combines reckless abandon with infectious introspection to create something entirely, captivatingly new. (Jessica Goodman) Listen: ‘Brainwash yyrr Face’
Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio talks us through his first solo release. Words: Anastasia Connor.
Is this a side project or something bigger? I’ve never worked this hard all my life. I played every note. I sang every note. I produced it. I thought about this record for five years but it’s basically all I worked on for about a year and a half. I definitely don’t view it as a side project or anything like that. But I don’t mind other people referring to it like that.
ph oto: em m a swa n n
What’s the story about? In a way every lyric is personal. I wanted to start out with darker lyrical topics like ‘Brainwash Yyrr Face’. It’s about shame and shame that can accompany drinking too much and getting too fucked up. About things like depression and relationships between citizens and their states’ violent foreign policies. These are all impressionistic but that’s the kind of thing the first half is about. The second half is more about love songs and art songs, about the relationship between people and art. So there is a progression maybe from darker, more depressive themes. Are you interested in producing other people’s work in the future? Yeah, definitely. I would like to do that, I really would! I would say it comes with confidence and assurance in your own ability. Two years ago I had absolutely no confidence in my voice as a singer. Being able to discover that I can sing, I can produce and come up with a vocal performance that I’m happy with, that doesn’t send a rush of disgust down my spine was a journey in making this record.
FIDLAR too (wichita)
ph oto: ph i l s m ith i es
If FIDLAR’s 2013 self-titled debut was a hyperactive teen, ‘Too’, its follow-up, is the inevitable late-20s comedown. Ostensibly, it’s a document of frontman Zac Carper’s descent into, and rise towards recovery from, drug addiction. Where song titles point – ‘Overdose’, ‘Sober’, ‘Bad Medicine’ – lyrics follow; by the umpteenth time he repeats the line “one day, I’ll be coming home to you” during ‘Stupid Decisions’, it’s clear there’s neither a ‘home’ nor a ‘you’ for him to return to. His pain, although obvious, is also universal. For too long
from the past few months
we’ve relied on Generation X-ers for our catharsis-viamusic: ‘Too’ is dripping in millennial angst. It’s confessional; self-deprecating; melodramatic. ‘Punks’ is bombastic; ‘Sober’ bratty; ‘Stupid Decisions’ a sort of Beatles-via-Weezer epic; ‘Bad Habits’ a show-stopper of a closer. ‘Leave Me Alone’, ‘Drone’, and singles ‘40oz On Repeat’ and ‘West Coast’ all sing-alongs. It’s clever, too – the obviously digital stop-start edits of ‘40oz On Repeat’ and ‘Sober’ countered by the lo-fi interludes. Yes, they’ve recorded in a proper studio this time – just don’t think they’ve changed THAT much. ‘Too’ is a big, dumbsmart, happy-sad, beast of a record. Ber-limey. (Emma Swann) Listen: ‘Punks’
Bully - Feels Like “Bully make you believe, without ever trying.” (Stephen Ackroyd)
Wolf Alice - My Love is Cool “Bands like Wolf Alice come along once in a generation.” (Stephen Ackroyd)
Foals - What Went Down “Foals have embraced their calling.” (Jamie Milton)
confessional; s e l f - d e p r e c at i n g ; m e l o d r a m at i c .
“Whadda ya mean only . five stars?!” .
Love + War (Atlantic Records)
That voice. The rich, baritone voice that could cut through a thousand hearts. Both powerful and vulnerable, it’s an instrument that can be intimate and confessional but also helps songs soar. Unfortunately, much of Kwabs’ album seems to fall back on old ideas; ‘Cheating on Me’ feels like a step back into old-fashioned soul. And that sadly seems to be the template making ‘Love + War’ feel too worthy. The album’s title suggests fight and energy, but here he feels too polite and too pedestrian. There’s no denying his talent, but on his debut Kwabs leaves you feeling he could give more. (Danny Wright) Listen: ‘Make You Mine’
Delusion Moon (SideOneDummy)
If there’s one thing Meat Wave don’t do on debut record ‘Delusion Moon’, it’s beat around the bush. From the very nanoseconds of the title track’s opening, the Chicago-based noise-punk trio have ploughed right through the bush and bounded straight over the horizon like a pensive Forrest Gump. It’s unrelenting, it’s hectic, and it’s the only flavour on offer. Although this breed of cut-the-brakes punk is obtrusive and in-your-face in all the right places, it offers little else in terms of versatility or gear changes. (Chris Rickett) Listen: ‘Network’
Rub (I U She Music)
ph oto: ph i l s m ith i es
It may have been six long years since Peaches’ last record ‘I Feel Cream,’ but with the provocative, bold, unforgiving ‘Rub,’ it’s like she never left. Peaches probably hasn’t written the album of choice for when Nanna Pat pops over for tea. “I wanna see you put your dick in the air,” she orders bluntly on the no-frills titled track ‘Dick In The Air’. Lewd, bulshy, and gaudier than a kitsch ornaments warehouse with a sprung glitter pipe, ‘Rub’ is a return to form. (El Hunt) Listen: ‘Dumb Fuck’
M3LL155X (Young Turks)
Despite sharing an aesthetic with ‘LP1’, none of these songs would sit snugly with the debut. ‘M3LL155X’ is sometimes more show than substance, but it’s ultimately a sign of FKA twigs getting more confident by the second. It’s a relentless projection that finds its voice before being cut brutally short. ‘Glass & Patron’ has her demanding “now hold that pose for me,” but twigs is doing the opposite of staying static. She’s arguably the most focused, creativityfuelled act to emerge for some time, and we’re only just beginning to see the results. (Jamie Milton) Listen: ‘Figure 8’
b’lieve i’m goin down (Matador Records)
‘b’lieve...’ flits between Kurt Vile’s rich solo work and the layered compositions of his full-band The Violators, the difference being notable, yet equally frank and enthralling. Kurt’s singular experiments combine his familiar finger-picked progressions with an air of pensive deliberation, the full-band dynamic thriving from the affirming melodies of lead-guitar, synth or the purposefully sudden introduction of bold piano. While feeling the contrast in emotions, Kurt’s honest, open outlook is what makes his music so compelling. Delivering his most open, captivating work to date, Kurt Vile draws on the wisecracks of ‘Smoke Ring...’ and the fluidity of ‘Wakin...’ to present further growth, thankfully unhindered by the influence of pressure. (Ross Jones) Listen: ‘Pretty Pimpin’ 71
t e l l i s o n r e ve al t h e i r i n s pi r at i o n
The Mountain Goats - Beat The Champ Ultimately I respond most to sad, clever lyrics sung with heart. John Darnielle is a master. This whole record is about the golden age of wrestling, something I know little to nothing about, yet it totally floors me on every level that counts. Humbling compositions, arrangements and delivery. Metaphor at its most potent. Hop Along - Painted Shut Not only is Frances Quinlan, singer of Hop Along, blessed with three (THREE!) genuinely unique and heartbustingly human voices, not only is she a virtuosic guitarist, not only is she funny, smart, articulate and bright she’s just a truly wonderful, original, baffling and exciting songwriter. I’m wildly jealous. Glorious fuzzed-out four piece rock with narrative power to keep you coming back indefinitely. The Spills - A Film And A Frame The Music Industry are a bunch of morons for not realising how truly excellent The Spills are. A Wakefield gang writing dual vocal 2015 indie rock that would be huge if it happened to be on the other side of the Atlantic. Wrenching guitars and wry observations on misery. New album coming in September.
Hope Fading Nightly (Alcopop)
If Tellison were half as big as Tellison should be, they’d be currently selling out their third night straight at Brixton Academy. But then if Tellison were half as big as Tellison should be, they’d not be writing albums like ‘Hope Fading Nightly’. As the genuine wry heartbreak of ’Tsundoku’ sits alongside the gut punch of ‘Tact Is Dead’ and ‘Helix & Ferman’, it’s this bitter sweet juxtaposition that sits at the heart of an album which plays perfectly to the converted. The world isn’t a fair place. (Stephen Ackroyd) Listen: ‘Helix & Ferman’
Caracal (PMR / Island
With second album ‘Caracal’, Disclosure (ahem) settle into their self-made groove with so much ease, they’re in danger of sinking into the mould. With Sam Smith’s ‘Omen’ guest spot, they repeat the success of ‘Latch’ but steam things up tenfold. And there remains a to-and-fro between million-selling artists like Lorde and A&R-approved new names Lion Babe and Nao. It’s ticking boxes to an extreme, which would be fine if ‘Caracal’ surged through normality and delivered triumphs as big as those on ‘Settle’. It comes close, but by chasing the notion of being separate from an everyday crowd, the duo end up in lost territory, submerged in style and an A-list cast to the point where they forget how to pen pop songs. (Jamie Milton) Listen: ‘Holding On’
Anthems for Doomed Youth (Harvest Records)
Over ten years after The Libertines’ second and seemingly last record, the ‘good ship Albion’ has sailed on into the hazardous oceans of a comeback album. Lead single ‘Gunga Din’ seemed pretty watered-down with its diluted radio-rock chorus, but the poppier production has worked fantastically with some of ‘Anthems for Doomed Youth’’s tracks. More grown-up, thoughtful and certainly a lot slower – nothing really comes close to the urgent turn-thatracket-down of ‘Mayday’ or ‘I Get Along’, but the breadth of the material is astounding compared to their previous stuff. A mostly successful and far more mature record. (Kyle MacNeill) Listen: ‘Iceman’
ee THE VIEW
On ‘Ropewalk’, a bland job behind the desk smothers what feels like The View’s strongest collection of songs since ‘Which Bitch?’; there is, once again, nuance and ambition on the likes of the lilting ‘Talk About Two’ and the freewheeling ‘Penny’, but the band sound weirdly subdued throughout rambunctiousness was always a key part of their charm, and it’s largely absent here. There’s enough evidence that the band’s songwriting senses remain sharp, but it’s the turgid manner in which they’ve served up this group that renders it a disappointment. (Joe Goggins) Listen: ‘Talk About Two’
A lot has changed for Slayer since their last effort ‘World Painted Blood’ six years ago: drummer Dave Lombardo was replaced by previous member Paul Bostaph, and the band’s Jeff Hanneman passed away. Their eleventh record, however, proves that it’s still business as usual for the four-piece. ‘Repentless’ is as dark and satisfyingly aggressive as any fan of the band could hope for, even with such line-up changes. Packed with powerful guitars and guttural vocals, the quartet may be over thirty years into their career, but they still know how to pack a devastating punch. (Sarah Jamieson) Listen: ‘You Against You’
No No No (4AD)
Some artists have a knack for remaining recognisable despite each of their records sounding largely different from the last. It’s a rare-ish quality that can sometimes be seen as a huge misstep, but with Beirut’s fourth album in four years - ‘No No No’ - Zach Condon is keeping things fresh, and yet entirely the same. There is a feeling that there could’ve been more, though. Zach’s clearly aiming for a big pop record, and while he delivers on the title track and ‘Perth’, some here sound like middling interludes - they never quite strike the same chord as the catchier tracks. (Tom Walters) Listen: ‘Perth’
A m o s t ly successful , fa r m o r e m at u r e r e c o r d . 73
Mica, there, covering Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’ for the fiftieth time today.
mi cach u & the shapes don’t do normal.
MICACHU & THE SHAPES Good Sad Happy Bad (Rough Trade)
With ‘Good Sad Happy Bad,’ Micachu & The Shapes draw out the most unhinged, experimental threads of their previous two albums ‘Jewellery’ and ‘Never’. And, considering their longstanding reputation for bizarre tuning combinations and sampling hoovers, that’s really saying something. Singular and hyper-focused, songs like ‘Thinking It’ and ‘Unity’ train in intently on one idea and tumble chaotically down the hill like a wheel of cheddar at the annual cheese rolling tournament. With all walls battered down, ‘Good Sad Happy Bad’ is undeniably a very odd prospect, and - with the exception of ‘Oh Baby’ and ‘Suffering’ - it’s also lacking in moments with that instantaneous left-field pop connection. Still, for all its unwieldy eccentricity, ‘Good Sad Happy Bad’ is still fascinating, and with space to unleash on stage, Micachu’s most daring experimentations have the potential to grow into a looming, all absorbing shadows of sonics. Taken as a normal album, ‘Good Sad Happy Bad’ makes about as much sense as trying to chop down a tree with a satsuma. Then again, Micachu & The Shapes don’t ‘do’ normal. (El Hunt) Listen: ‘Suffering’
Ones and Sixes (Sub
Have You In My Wilderness (Domino)
Low’s atmospheric eleventh studio album offers fans plenty of diverse songs, nostalgic enough to remind them of earlier LPs like ‘Long Division’. This time, everything’s swamped in an electronic undercurrent. Examining themes that appear in multiple Low releases such as spirituality and our uneasiness with our own emotions at times, top tracks include ‘What Part of Me’ and ‘Lies’. While some may argue that ‘Ones and Sixes’ sounds too familiar, it could be said that the trio are simply playing to their strengths. (Kate Lismore) Listen: ‘What Part Of Me’
Julia Holter has a clever eye for borrowing, stitching together the twisted, gnarled sentences of Virginia Woolf, with the stanzas of life-loving poet Frank O’Hara, Greek Tragedies, and 40s French novellas on previous albums. But, to paraphrase one of Holter’s likely favourites Mrs Dalloway, on ‘Have You In My Wilderness’ she bought the flowers herself. Just as poetic, but rooted in a new, more personal realism, Julia Holter’s voice has never sounded clearer. She’s always stood out as a left-field crafter of melody; this album establishes her as a unique lyric voice. (El Hunt) Listen: ‘How Long’
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BATTLES La Di Da Di (Warp Records)
Don’t be alarmed by Battles. A trio making muscular, fist-down instrumental rock that throws sharp darts at every opportunity might be their game, but wait: They’ve called their new album ‘La Di Da Di’, as innocent and approachable a title as they come. Concrete objects might be more fitting, but the cover art is draped in a collage of breakfast food eggs, pancakes, a half-peeled banana piercing through a watermelon (ooh er), one rasher of bacon. Everyone loves breakfast, right? Battles might not be such a disarming force after all. Ultimately, ‘La Di Da Di’ and its breakfast-tastic art are playful. And that’s Battles down to a T. In the early days of penning ten-minute monsters, ex-vocalist Tyondai Braxton wailed through a blurry mesh of effects about how “the kitchen is cook”, “the chorus comes after.” Brilliant nonsense defined debut ‘Mirrored’, and a playful quality ran through follow-up ‘Gloss Drop’, this time bringing in guest vocalists.
‘La Di Da Di’ is all about self-awareness. Whenever they veer into complete selfindulgence, Battles rein it in. As soon as raw force holds the ropes, they throw in a strange work like ‘Cacio e Pepe’ to restore the balance. Without any voices swimming around the noise, the record does lack the variety that came before. Instead, this is a stubborn embracing of all the weird things that make up this unique trio. (Jamie Milton) Listen: ‘Summer Simmer’
A stubborn emb r acing of all things weird.
ph oto: ph i l s m ith i es
Holding Hands with Jamie (Rough Trade)
For every strangled embrace, tug of a t-shirt and pulling-out-hair motion, the dark and introverted world of Girl Band has always looked destined for bigger things. Live shows have cemented the Dublin group as a unique prospect. Replicating this intense, hypnotic live game on record was never going to be easy. With ‘Holding Hands With Jamie’, however, they look to have given up the fight from the beginning. Self-produced, it barely mirrors the sense of restraint, control and execution that tightly winds itself around their shows. Instead, the record is delivered as a forceful mush that relies on its oddities to still stand out in a crowd. It’s an opportunity missed, in that sense. But make no mistakes, when this debut kicks and screams the right way, it still sets itself apart. To write off a record simply because it doesn’t match the ferocity of live shows would be foolish. ‘Holding Hands With Jamie’ remains an untamed beast that’ll pave the way for Girl Band’s unstoppable ascent. There remains a nagging feeling, however, that this deadly work could’ve forced an apocalypse if delivered with more conviction. (Jamie Milton) Listen: ‘Fucking Butter’
When I’m FreE
(Balloon Ranger Recordings)
Continuing a tradition of expansive Scandinavian pop, Ane Brun is 14 years into a prolific career, and on ‘When I’m Free’ we find her at her most settled; this record floats seamlessly with an almost impatient willingness to throw countless ideas. Lyrically, there’s a lot to enjoy: ‘You Lit My Fire’ is a tribute to the powerful women who’ve inspired the songwriter; ‘Still Waters’ harks to a period of ill health and exhaustion. ‘When I’m Free’ finds Ane in a powerful mood. It’s packed with compositions which match a sense of control that echoes her life. This album is one of empowerment and regained vitality. Simply put: quite stunning. (Euan L Davidson) Listen: ‘When I’m Free’
Savage Hills Ballroom (Fat
What the World Needs Now... (PiL
Something’s shifted in Youth Lagoon. Three albums in, the Idaho musician has gone from bedroom-based breakout to fully-fledged force. Songs that used to swim around in hazy tones are sharp and precise, with nothing to hide. In doing this, Trevor Powers has still retained his ability to seem unhinged, on the point of emotional implosion. It’s this that makes ‘Savage Hills Ballroom’ so engrossing. But there’s more to Youth Lagoon’s evolution, Powers could tell stories for days; he compresses tragic, ponderous tales into striking songs backed by strings and wild instrumentation. (Jamie Milton) Listen: ‘Kerry’
PUBLIC IMAGE LTD
‘What The World Needs Now’, though patchy, is a forceful reminder of what PiL are capable of. There are plenty of ideas on show: ‘Big Blue Sky’’s ominous dubbed-out hypnotising insistence is punctured only by a chorus that sounds like it’s from a musical; ‘The One’ - as close as you could imagine them getting to classic rock - is blissful. Despite the mis-steps, it’s the album’s ability to sound energised and fresh which makes it one you can’t dismiss. John Lydon remains part pantomime, part snarling truth sayer - and it’s exactly what we want from him. (Danny Wright) Listen: ‘The One’
NADINE SHAH THE THURSTON MOORE BAND THE WYTCHES AQUILO OCEAÁN PIXX ALEX BUREY DREAM WIFE DECLAN MCKENNA CAMERON A G DUCK HOUSE & LOTS MORE ST JOHN AT HACKNEY HACKNEY ROUND CHAPEL OSLO HACKNEY MIRRORSLONDON MIRRORSLONDON MIRRORSLONDON.COM
SAT 31/10/15 77
live Florence + The Machine
SUPER BOCK SUPER ROCK
Parque das Nações, Lisbon, Photo: Sarah Doone. 78 diymag.com
he EDP stage is christened by the psychedelic scuzz of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and then treated to Perfume Genius’ seductive serenity. Later, crowds fall and stumble into the MEO Arena for The Vaccines and Noel Gallagher and The High Flying Birds. Come Friday, Savages are suffocating. Removing her heels to tip toe along the railings between crowd and stage, Jehnny Beth is all presence, screaming and jeering while launching herself into the crowd. It’s one of the stand-out sets. As Bombay Bicycle Club indulge in a careerspanning set drenched in summery indie, crowds begin to walk across the marina in anticipation for Blur. Damon Albarn bounces onto the stage like a hyperactive toddler. To his right bassist Alex James stands posing, while Graham Coxon can barely look away from his shoe laces during ‘Coffee and TV’. Hit after hit, it’s an outstanding headline performance.
Various venues, London, Photos: Jonathan Dadds
n the darkened underground of The Laundry, Oscar’s potent brand of dream pop brings Hackney to life with a natural ease, enchantment growing as the gathered start to sway and swoon where they’re stood. “It’s great to see you all, I think” frontman Oscar Scheller chuckles as he squints through the stage lights. That enthusiasm builds into excitement as Girl Band ready to make the stage their own. Frontman Dara Kiely prowls and growls menacingly out of the darkness as music thunders through the speakers. The group’s drawn out numbers tear out of their form, ripping through eardrums with a volatile energy. In complete contrast, Hinds’ performance seems to emit the same scorching sunshine that floods Hackney’s streets. “We’re from Spain”, the band state “but this is HOT!” The rising temperature doesn’t subdue the frenzy as the fourpiece meander through a set of already-favoured tracks. But it’s at Shamir’s set the crowd really let loose. With the sunset streaming through Oval Space’s windows, sensibility and composure are lost as the rhythm takes control. Limbs glide left, right, and centre as the most frenetic movers find each other, drawing a crowd of their own away from the stage. Shamir’s seamless performance fuels every movement, and it isn’t too long before he dives to the centre of the crowd. In the glittering surroundings of The Moth Club, Ho99o9 make a mark intended to last. Quite possibly powered by the fires of hell itself, the group take to the stage with one intention: to tear it all down. Crowd surfers hit the walls, the roof, and the floor all at once, whilst those balanced enough to stay on their feet propel directly into each other. It might leave bruises, but there’s no thrill quite like it. (Jessica Goodman) girl band
Thrashing their guitars whilst wearing unopened, sweat-drenched white shirts and revealing fresh sunburn, Palma Violets sit on the stage serenading the crowd to ‘We Found Love’, easing their way in to the final night. Finally, the atmosphere building for Florence + The Machine is contagious. Opening with ‘What The Water Gave Me’ amid a showering backdrop of topaz glitter, Florence Welch runs manically across the stage. Encouraging bodies on shoulders during ‘Rabbit Hole (Raise It Up)’, Florence’s energy is cataclysmic as she dances frantically. (Joanie Eaton) 79
Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria. Photo: Andrew Benge
nlike many on the bill, The Vaccines don’t have a long Kendal history but clearly fit its vibe. They burst into action the minute they hit the stage, ‘Post Break Up Sex’ and ‘Wetsuit’ causing a fireball of party riot. Super Furry Animals win over the crowd with a career spanning set, while Dutch Uncles throw impressive dance moves. Given that every second person at Kendal seems to be from Manchester, it’s not surprising that many head in the direction of the main stage to see the return of Elbow. However, as darkness descends, the mysterious green Woodlands stage surrenders to the sounds of British Sea Power who deliver a straightup big hit set. Snoop Dogg was always a brave move for a festival with a family-friendly reputation. He greets the biggest crowd of the weekend by telling them to put their “motherfucking hands in the air” and advising everyone to smoke weed. Fan favourites ‘Drop It Like it’s Hot’ and ‘Gin & Juice’ are complemented by an array of covers.
Proudly declaring their northern credentials, Kaiser Chiefs elicit loud cheers, but sadly fail to ignite the party flames. It is a somewhat disappointing ending to this 10th birthday bash, but even the cold Cumbrian rain fails to dampen the happy Kendal spirit, drifting through the night time wonderland of bars, dance tents and fairground rides. (Anastasia Connor)
Tøyen Park, Oslo. Photo: Johannes Granseth
magine a utopia in which you can enjoy everyone from Beck to Tyler, the Creator, and Flying Lotus to a curious Norwegian band called Slutface, all at your own leisurely pace. Want to take in the sights and atmosphere whilst still being able to hear and see everything? That’s not a problem, either. Chic featuring Nile Rodgers - the first headline act of the week - get the party started with an extraordinary set of bangers that constantly beckons the question, “Nile Rodgers wrote THIS ONE too?!”. It’s a vibrant performance that sets the tone of the rest of the festival that is, one of glorious sunshine and very, very good times.
On Wednesday evening, those who don’t have a nostalgic connection to Beck’s impeccable parade of hits can opt for the hectic hip-hop of Lars Vaular instead. This year’s circuit staples such as Run the Jewels, Future Islands and alt-J all deliver sets that are on par with their calibre. Elsewhere, Brits Hookworms take a rare opportunity on a smaller stage to unleash a beast of a set on the small Hagen stage on the Friday. The idyllic setting proves to be a winning factor in Florence + the Machine’s fairly stripped back Thursday headline set too, with a gorgeous sunset elevating her vibes to a radiant level across the entire site. (Tom Walters) 80 diymag.com
Biddinghuizen, the Netherlands.
ears & Years kick off proceedings, Olly Alexander’s crystalline vocals cutting at the helm of a one-way party boat. Shamir is on exceptional form. ‘Hot Mess’ he quips, is “an autobiography”, and ends by hopping the barrier for a hug-in. Caribou sticks closely to his usual trajectory, but it’s hard to imagine a sequence sweeter. A rarely sighted phenomenon - the moshpit whirlpool - turns up to play for Ho99o9 the next day. Unfurling like Black Flag being scorched by a poison flamethrower, it’s meticulously controlled too. Fuelled by an arsenal of new material, MØ swaggers her way through a larger than life show. “You guys seem nice,” comments Courtney Barnett. Thrashing, drawling and swinging her guitar around like a piñata with string, she establishes herself as one of the most vital voices in music right now. Formation hot-wire the final day of the festival into life. Elsewhere Sunday is the designated day of new records to air. The Maccabees pick that particular baton up with ease,‘Marks To Prove It’ turning anthemic. Later, Kendrick Lamar stakes claim over the weekend stand-out, stalking the stage to the most unhinged screams of the festival, while Tame Impala land in a perfect vortex between undiluted pop and psychedelia - ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ - winding things up on a technicoloured high. (El Hunt)
Glanusk Park, Powys. Photos: Marieke Macklon + Paul Bevin
ales is wet this weekend. Green Man, set in a valley in the beautiful Brecon Beacons, is particularly susceptible to such conditions, and as such each day of this year’s festival doesn’t come without torrential downpours.
A lt- J
Villagers’ Conor O’Brien embraces the gloom during his Mountain Stage, apologising with tongue in cheek for there being “no happy songs in the set”. Hookworms then appear to get louder, brasher and more brutal with every next show in support of ‘The Hum’. One of the real gems of this year’s festival comes just before headliners Hot Chip on the first night. Atomic Bomb! is a performance and celebration of the music of fascinating Nigerian musician William Onyeabor, transmitted onto the stage by the likes of Alexis Taylor and Pat Mahoney. As expected from such a cast, the stage is turned into a disco for the next hour. Hot Chip and Mew close out the first night with dual headline sets of equal power and beauty. A rare slither of sunshine is one which Marika Hackman makes the most of, ending her excellent summer with highlights from ‘We Slept At Last’ and a woozy Joni
Mitchell cover. Waxahatchee’s hectic touring schedule in support of ‘Ivy Tripp’ has made her impeccably tight with her new band. Back-to-back performances of ‘Blue’ and its ‘pt. II’ twin show she can still do quiet as well as the loud that dominates the set, just in smaller doses. The Antlers are the anti-festival band, but manage to make being one of the least suitable acts imaginable for a muddy field into something that charms. Continuing a repeated dash between the Mountain Stage and the Far Out tent, Courtney Barnett gives a penultimate set in the latter that feels like a celebration of her long summer, with her debut LP growing into a new beast when performed live. If St. Vincent’s meticulously choreographed set for her self-titled LP seemed too weird to headline festivals with, a bam-bam-bambam beginning to tonight’s show with ‘Birth In Reverse’, ‘Rattlesnake’, ‘Digital Witness’ and ‘Cruel’ takes all of these preconceptions and rubbishes them. The set is striking, touching and anthemic all at the same time. (Will Richards) 81
INDIE DREAMBOAT Of the Month
Z AC carper
photo: sarah louise bennett
Full name: Zachary darn Carper Star sign: I’m a Leo. That’s a star sign, right? Pets: My girlfriend has a dog, so it’s kind of my dog too. Her name is Stella, and she’s the strongest dog I’ve ever met in my entire life. She’s a mess. She was a street dog. Favourite film: I really liked Rushmore growing up. I love Bill Murray. Favourite food: Ramen. I could eat ramen every day. That’s the deal. Drink of choice: Straight lime soda. You can act drunk and get away with it, or not be drunk, and hear all the ridiculous things people say. Favourite hair product: I’ve never really used hair product. I cut my own hair when I get a bit crazy. When I was a kid, I used to cut my own hair and hide it around the house. Song you would play to woo somebody: Engelbert Humperdinck. ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’. It’s a beautiful song. If you weren’t a rock star, what would you be doing: I’d probably be a drug addict and a criminal. I did get really into computer programming, too, before FIDLAR really took off. The crack kind of won out, there, though. Chat up line of choice: “So, do you work here?”
Gloucester City Council presents
IN ASSocIATIoN wITh
Lisbon, THE biG Moon, CuT Ribbons, DECLan MCkEnna, nEw CaRnivaL (boTb winnER)
EMP!RE, bRawLERs, CRows, bLaCk FoxxEs
aLL Tvvins, YouTH CLub, TibET, THE aMazons, QuiGLEY
FaLLs, HoMEbounD, FREEFaLL, ELEssaR, FouR DEaD CRows
EMi MCDaDE Russ PooLE, QuiGLEY, jaMEs RiCHaRDs
jaCk waTTs, joHn aDaMs, januaRY, DExTER MiLLEsT
Weekend tiCkets £10, day tiCkets £7 oN SAlE Now froM www.underground-festival.co.uk www.gloucesterguildhall.co.uk or cAll 01452 503050 /underGroundfestival
23 Eastgate Street Gloucester GL1 1NS Box Office 01452 503050
www.gloucesterguildhall.co.uk /gloucesterguildhall @glosguildhall 83
“As sensual as D’Angelo and crisp as Aloe Blacc” ★ ★ ★ ★
“A young man with a take on soul that’ll stop you flat in your tracks” DIY “Kwabs looks born to be a star” ★ ★ ★ ★
“So hot for 2015” Sunday Times Culture 84 diymag.com
Featuring Foals, Swim Deep, Reading & Leeds, Girl Band, Bring Me The Horizon and lots more.