GL ASS ANIMALS NAO T WIN ATL ANTIC WARPAINT
seset t music free music free free / issue 5354 / JULY 2016 2016 free / issue / AUGUST diymag.com diymag.com
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GOOD VS EVIL WHAT’S ON THE DIY TEAM’S R ADAR?
Emma Swann Founding Editor GOOD It’s Reading & Leeds this month! If there’s a festival with more passion, excitement and adrenaline within its weekend, I’m yet to find it. EVIL Henham Park’s many hungry insects. Two weeks since Latitude and I’m still a human dot-to-dot. .............................. tom connick Online Editor GOOD Latitude 2016 might have been my favourite festival ever. EVIL Hearing my own voice back on the DIY Podcast is going to be the end of me. .............................. El hunt Features Editor
GOOD Latitude was properly ace. Please can I watch Kero Kero Bonito and then ride in a gondola every single weekend? EVIL I have a truly ridiculous watch tanline from the recent heatwave. .............................. Jamie MILTon Neu Editor GOOD Portugal’s NOS Alive festival is a paradise. Take me back. EVIL Sadly, not every festival boasts Radiohead, Arcade Fire and Hot Chip on its line-up. .............................. Louise Mason Art Director GOOD Boxing rings. EVIL Nine injuries trying to get photos at Latitude.
EDITOR’S LET TER With their new album, Wild Beasts are giving in to their more aggressive, macho side. So, we figured, where better to meet them to cut loose and let off steam than a boxing ring? Not just any old boxing ring either. We got them down to York Hall – you know, where they do real life boxing, that’s on the telly and stuff - to get the lowdown on tough new album ‘Boy King’. Luckily, no punches were thrown during the making of our cover feature. We think... Elsewhere in this month’s issue, we go into the studio with Warpaint to find out all about their new album, speak to Twin Atlantic about the call of their home town, and step into the frankly bonkers world of Glass Animals’ new record. Plus, you can catch up with everything that went on at last month’s Latitude, which – let’s be honest – was brilliant. Sarah Jamieson, Managing Editor GOOD Watching Wolf Alice at 2.30am on a Saturday night in the middle of the Spanish mountains was pretty special. I reckon the massive rum and Cokes really aided the experience, too. EVIL Someone’s gotta have a word with the builders working next to our office. It’s getting a bit silly now, lads!
LISTENING POST What’s on the DIY stereo this month?
The DIY Podcast
Yes, readers: we’ve gone full stereo. From chats in the dressing room to following bands on to the ACTUAL STAGE, the first two episodes of the DIY Podcast are on iTunes RIGHT NOW, featuring Latitude shenanigans with Weaves, The Maccabees, Frightened Rabbit, White, and Courtney Barnett. Subscribe at diymag.com/podcast 3
C O N T E N T S
6 WA R PA I N T 1 0 L AT I T U D E 18 THOM SONNY GREEN 2 0 P O P S TAR P O S T BAG 2 2 D I Y H A L L O F FA M E 2 8 F E S T I VA L S
32 DREAM WIFE 34 WILL JOSEPH COOK 38 MABEL
40 WILD BEASTS 48 NAO 5 2 T WI N AT L AN T I C 56 ANGEL OLSEN 60 GLASS ANIMALS
REVIEWS 64 ALBUMS 74 L I V E
Founding Editor Emma Swann Managing Editor Sarah Jamieson Features Editor El Hunt Neu Editor Jamie Milton Online Editor Tom Connick Art Direction & Design Louise Mason Marketing & Events Jack Clothier, Rhi Lee Contributors Alexia Kapranos, Alex Cabré, Alex Lynham, Ali Shutler, Cady Siregar, Craig Jones, Danny Wright, Dave Beech, Dan Jeakins, David Zammitt, Eugenie Johnson, Henry Boon, Jessica Goodman, Joe Goggins, Kyle MacNeill, Liam Konemann, Liam McNeilly, Mollie Mansfield, Mustafa Mirreh, Nick Scott, Nina Keen, Niall Cunningham, Tanyel Gumushan, Tim Cooper, Tom Hancock, Will Richards. Photographers Andrew Benge, Carolina Faruolo, Ian Laidlaw, Jenna Foxton, Jonathan Dadds, Konstantin Kondrukhov, Kris Griffiths, Krists Luhaers, Mike Massaro, Robin Pope, Poppy Marriott, Ryan Johnston, Sarah Doone, Sarah Louise Bennett, Sinéad Grainger, Stephan Flad. For DIY editorial firstname.lastname@example.org For DIY sales email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org tel: +44 (0)20 3632 3456 For DIY stockist enquiries email@example.com DIY is published by Sonic Media Group. All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of DIY. 25p where sold. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which Sonic Media Group holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. Cover photo: Jenna Foxton
NE in the studio
Warpaint After two years apart pursuing other creative projects, Warpaint are back, reinvigorated, with third record â€˜Heads Upâ€™. Words: El Hunt.
n the two years since their second, self-titled album, Warpaint have been busy cutting loose and letting go of all restrictions. Stella Mozgawa – the band’s kit-wielding secret weapon – has been playing drums for just about everyone, from Cate Le Bon and Kurt Vile, to SBTRKT and Jamie xx. Jenny Lee Lindberg’s been occupied elsewhere too, finding her own voice with solo album ‘right on!’. Theresa Wayman’s also been working on a solo record with production whizz Dan Carey. And, as if her plate wasn’t full enough, she’s also got another project, BOSS, on the go with Hot Chip and Yeasayer’s Sarah Jones, and Guro Gikling from All We Are. With the band busier than the world’s only ice-cream van during a searing heatwave, you’d have thought a new Warpaint record was bottom of
All Warpaint’s seance needed. was a guest appearance from. Derren Brown..
their to-do list. Wrong. The hum of activity outside the band has fuelled ‘Heads Up’, and with the balance re-jigged they found themselves making a bold, raw and spontaneous return to the unfiltered kinetic energy that fires up Warpaint’s central engines. “I think when people get their own creative juices flowing, it doesn’t put as much pressure on the band to be an individual thing,” agrees Emily Kokal, taking a chilled day off in Paris amid a sprinkling of European tour dates. “Everybody was so busy doing their own thing, that coming together to make this album was just one more thing to do that was creative,” she says. “Being in a band so long, if you don’t get those things out your system individually you can get frustrated 7
Painting by Numbers Emily gives us a quick numbercrunching breakdown (highly scientific, of course) of the ingredients fuelling Warpaint’s third album. Five months of writing and recording “We just kinda started writing and demoing almost simultaneously to making the album. We did it all at the same time.” Three sleepless nights “It was psychedelic. Shaun [Everett], who was mixing our album, was up 24 hours working on three different projects, so we’d get to the studio at, like, 3am, start mixing, and we wouldn’t sleep from the night before. One of the weirdest times. Every day bled together.” A devilish amount of chai tea “Everybody, even Theresa, was on coffee. We were all on the iced coffee for the all-nighters. But chai tea? I’m gonna go with 666 cups, collectively. Zero police visits “We didn’t have any cops this time, at least not at the studio....”
Exposed to the sun for the first time, after months of studio hibernation.
creatively...” she adds, laughing. “Blue balls or something.” In the past, Warpaint have been meticulous songwriters, poring over things endlessly, zooming in to perfect every microparticle and complexity. Late last year, however, they made a conscious decision to not just switch gears, but to rip out the old system and re-wire completely. Adamant that an album wasn’t on the cards, they instead focused on one-off demo releases like ‘No Way Out’ and ‘I’ll Start Believing’. New possibilities began multiplying without halt; a sparser, less misted sound taking on concrete shape. The energy fizzing through Warpaint was tangible, and infectious. Accidentally, just five months later, the band found themselves with third album ‘Heads Up’. And accordingly, “it’s a lot more rough and in your face,” Emily says. “We were never like, ‘OK, now we’re going to start working on our album’,” she explains. “We almost tricked ourselves into making an album really, really fast. We just kept making these songs, adding parts to them, and doing what we do. And pretty soon all these little ideas were an album. This process was really conducive to what music is all about; capturing a moment, and capturing creative energy.” A return to the basic essence of the band is a major pursuit on this record. Building themselves a proper band HQ in Los Angeles – a cosy space they’ve nicknamed ‘House on the Hill’ – they were eager to keep things in-house and stripped-back this time around. And, after working on ‘Warpaint’ with the formidable and hugely influential production figurehead Flood, they hit up an old pal. Jacob Bercovici – who manned the desk for debut EP ‘Exquisite Corpse’ way back in 2008 – hopped back on ship, in a deliberate move to simplify. “That was kind of the plan. We wanted
to make [the album] ourselves, in our rehearsal space, in downtown LA. We decided we should probably have some help but we wanted it to feel really homegrown and organic, so [Bercovici] was a really obvious choice.” With all members frantically dotting between projects, ‘Heads Up’ ironically became a very relaxed process. Instead of working songs together from the ground up, they’d rock up at sessions with fragments and half-ideas already assembled. They’d meet for dinner at each other’s houses, and wind up tinkering about with new parts for hours instead. The whole thing was a revelation. “What was really cool about making it was going to our collective band’s houses and just hanging out,” Emily starts. “We took the rules off the band, and said, ‘let’s play whatever we want. Let’s not try to be strict so we can play this live exactly how it is; let’s be creative and do whatever we want’. I don’t have to play guitar all the time. Hey, I can beatbox if I like!” she hoots. “Whatever, just feel it,” she concludes, summarising the spirit of the new record. “Feel free. Let’s not make each other feel restricted in any way.” With ‘Heads Up’ recorded, mixed, mastered, your lot, the band are chomping at the bit to get back out on the road with an arsenal of new material. Early airings have been going super well, Emily agrees; the band even found themselves debuting a brand new album track in front of a double rainbow during their Hyde Park show last month. “I’m hoping every time we play a new song a double rainbow comes out,” she laughs. ”That must be a good omen!” Warpaint’s new album ‘Heads Up’ is out 23rd September via Rough Trade. DIY
auG 23 the LeXINGtON LONDON
auG 30 hOXtON BAR & KItCheN LONDON
AUGUSt / SePteMBeR 2016
seP 06 hOXtON BAR & KItCheN LONDON
seP 14 LOND0N KOKO
norma Jean martine
SePteMBeR / OCtOBeR 2016
seP 21 OSLO LONDON
seP 26 MANCheSteR ACADeMy 3 seP 27 LONDON eLeCtRIC BALLROOM
oct 10 VILLAGe UNDeRGROUND LONDON
oct 19 the CAMDeN ASSeMBLy LONDON
the best in new live music
@lnsource livenation.co.uk 9
latitude It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas... L atitude Festival! There’s no doubt about it, this year’s edition was one to remember. Jam-packed with brilliant artists and (of course) those infamous pink sheep, you can relive the whole weekend right here. Words: El Hunt, Henry Boon, Jamie Milton, Jessica Goodman, Liam McNeilly, Tom Connick, Will Richards. Photos: Emma Swann, Mike Massaro, Poppy Marriott, Sarah Louise Bennett.
shine brighter than ever Earlier on Friday evening, The Maccabees admitted to being plagued by nerves ahead of their Latitude headline set. As they take to the Obelisk Arena’s stage to the shimmering entrance of ‘Given To The Wild’, they don’t seem to have shifted. It’s all smiles, but each nervous glance out at the huge main stage crowd amassed before them is cut as short as possible, Orlando Weeks’ eyes fixed firmly to the ground. It only ups their charm factor, though – as they beautifully drift from ‘Wall Of Arms’, through ‘Kamakura’ and ‘Ribbon Road’, it’s a soft start, but one that shows The Maccabees don’t need flashiness to prove their worth. 10 diymag.com
A perfect run through of every step that’s taken them to this world-beating height, they then duck into their earliest days, with ‘Latchmere’ dedicated to the South London haunts this band of brothers still call home. ‘X-Ray’, the first song they ever released, finds a new life on this huge platform, still sounding as vital now as it ever did. Speaking a few hours before their set, The Maccabees are visibly nervous. “I’ve managed to distract myself pretty well,” claims Orlando Weeks. “We’ve been playing gigs, these last two nights. There’s an odd feeling where you’re imagining, just for a split second, the different view you’ll have at Latitude. You realise it’s gonna be bigger than this.” Felix White says this moment’s been a long time coming. “We felt like we were ready to do it, to be honest. We should be able to do it by now!”
Father John Misty
shoots for the stars Pairing huge bursts of borderline orchestral bombast with whites-of-theireyes lyrical intimacy, there’s an everpresent balancing act that Josh Tillman skips along like a seasoned tightrope walker. Throwing himself about the stage, dropping to his knees with every impassioned outburst and flailing his limbs about like a man possessed by the all-encompassing love that forms the heart of ‘I Love You, Honeybear’, he paints a picture of the ravaged lover in stunning watercolours, becoming a sure-fire icon in the process. Complex and confounding though it may be, Father John Misty’s main stage slot is a star turn.
Låpsley brings a
powerful performance A long summer of festivals is seeing Holly Fletcher grow in confidence, with the majority of the record rolled out with poise today. She admits to never having been to this part of the country before, but a Latitude return must be beckoning after a set that fluctuates between soulful, thumping and delicate. ‘Station’ is a highlight, with the song she released aged 17 still holding weight against some of the newer, slicker numbers from her debut.
The Big Moon bring
the mayhem Firmly at home on Latitude’s Lake Stage, The Big Moon are overseeing sheer mayhem. From amiable stage invaders, to hurled iPhones, Madonna covers, and a moshpit during brand new song ‘Formidable’, it’s all a standard day in the nuts trajectory of this lot. They’re as polished and lockedtogether as ever, beaming and exchanging fuzzed up blows left, right and centre. The crowd is going absolutely batshit in return, and guitarist Soph Nathan can’t help but play with a permanent grin.
Weaves offer up
oddball pop perfection Screeching, squealing and slathering away, the woodland of the Sunrise Arena is the perfect place to lock away Weaves’ monstrous pop. As guitarist Morgan Waters wrestles with his instrument, whooping and wailing into its hollow body and toying with the feedback it creates, it’s beautifully captivating madness from the off.
CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS gets a superstar’s welcome These last few months have been pivotal for Christine and The Queens. It’s seen debut album ‘Chaleur Humaine’ soar to the Top Ten, a good two years after its original release. Our shores might’ve been a little slow to catch on, but now she’s quickly being embraced as a superstar. It’s thoroughly deserved. A slick, polished show without a single weak spot, Christine and The Queens has the effortless finesse of a stadium show, with none of the arms-length distance. Endless dance routines, piercing laser lights, and a high-octane foray into French discotheque make up a rammed set that just doesn’t relent. From ‘Tilted’ to ‘iT’ and the declaration that “this tent is a free zone!” there’s no-one else out there with the transgressive, boundary-pushing punch of Christine.
brings day one of Latitude to a crushing close It’s halfway through the biggest summer of Grimes’ career, and tonight she’s in a playful mood. Claire Boucher’s stage presence has always been charmingly awkward, but it now resembles confidence. From laughing off starting the wrong sample before ‘Oblivion’ to explaining her embarrassment at not being able to speak Mandarin to sing ‘Scream’ (she instead roars through it in Russian, as you do), Grimes and her backing dancers throw themselves into every beat. It’s a set that feels slick and well-rehearsed, but not to the point of complacency. ‘Art Angels’ is an album made for sweaty tents, and for headline performances. ‘Venus Fly’ and ‘World Princess pt 2’ shake the BBC 6 Music stage to its foundations, with flailing bodies from front to back. ‘Kill V. Maim’ cements its position as song of the summer, a crushing closer that brings a set that both the packed tent and Grimes herself could’ve watched all night.
Keeping it fresh: Grimes. 12 diymag.com
SAT 22/10/16 SUN 23/10/16 MON 24/10/16 WED 26/10/16 THU 27/10/16
BRISTOL, COLSTON HALL EDINBURGH, QUEENâ€™S HALL MANCHESTER, ALBERT HALL LIVERPOOL, THE DOME LONDON, ROUNDHOUSE
The National return to Latitude as heroes
Tonight, The National become the first band to headline Latitude for a second time, and Matt Berninger takes time at the start of the band’s set to remember how much the festival helped them as a smaller band making their way.
Courtney Barnett stirs up a storm As Courtney and her band cut loose on stage, the audience lose themselves in the music, pulling all manner of eccentric shapes as the rhythms take hold. The driving distortion of ‘Small Poppies’ incites a particularly zealous crowd member to rock out so hard his headband flies through the air, and during ‘Elevator Operator’ a group of gentlemen in suitedand-booted attire shake off all sense of composure. ‘Kim’s Caravan’ sees Courtney sinking to her knees as the riffs she’s playing overpower everything else. Rawer, wilder, and verging on the edge of chaos, her performance tears free of expectation and lets everyone’s innate instincts take hold. The trio throwing their arms around each other as they leave the stage, there isn’t an experience that provides, or stimulates, more thrill. ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit’ – Courtney Barnett’s breakthrough debut – came out in March last year, and it’s taken the Aussie around the world several times since. “It seems to have connected with lots of different people, y’know?” she observes, smiling. “Not just some boring little pocket of the world.” When it comes to album two, Courtney’s apparently hard at work; though things remain in the scrappy-lyrics-insketchbook stage at the moment. “I’ll record it, I guess, when I get home,” she says. “I’ve been writing loads, but I don’t really have a solid idea. Every day I change my mind about it,” she laughs. 14 diymag.com
Tonight’s set leans heavily on 2013’s ‘Trouble Will Find Me’, with four new songs also previewed. ‘The Day I Die’ comes first, and feels like an instant classic. Bryan Devendorf’s backbeat is as thunderous as ever, and the band look perfectly confident with the song now, after loose, nervy videos of it had appeared on the internet in the past few months. Songs that are insular on record become anthems live, with ‘I Should Live In Salt’ and ‘Afraid Of Everyone’ belted back at the band with adoration. By ‘Terrible Love’, Berninger is buried in the front rows of the crowd, losing his glasses in the process. The National have always been a well-kept secret. The fact they can waltz in and headline a festival as big as this having not released an album in three years is a measure of how far they’ve come without ever having a tangible ‘big break’. The secret is well and truly out by now, but the band still manage to make tonight feel close, personal and superbly special.
Daughter triumph at the Obelisk Arena
Daughter’s arrival on the Latitude main stage is met with blazing sunshine and a headline-worthy crowd. As they thunder into ‘How’ and that tumbling drum beat, it’s a dazzling welcome to the festival big leagues. A cloud of bubbles rises out of the crowd for ‘Tomorrow’, the perfect reflection of the beauty and fragility exuded from on-stage. “Thank you so much… how are you doing?” whimpers Elena Tonra between songs, stunned into near-silence by the mass of people gathered in front of her. From glorious summery triumph to crushing bleakness, regardless of which way they mould the mood, Daughter’s main stage appearance is nothing short of a complete victory.
Welcome to the
Chvrches bring electrifying
energy to Latitude
Strutting across the stage front like they own the damn place - and let’s face it, from the moment they step under the stage lights to the moment they leave, that’s pretty much the case - Chvrches perform like superstars. Armed with an arsenal of hits, the motion never ceases as both band and crowd shake off every inhibition to the music thundering through the speakers. Lauren Mayberry is on top form. Staring straight into the audience as she sings, it’s like every word was meant for the individual. Opener ‘Never Ending Circles’ ignites the wild side in everyone, and ‘Clearest Blue’ sees that energy run rampant. By set closer ‘The Mother We Share’ everyone from six to sixty is climbing onto friends’ shoulders to make the most of the moment they’re in. Beaming from ear to ear, it’s impossible to tell who enjoyed the experience more.
e love surprises, so at this year’s Latitude Festival, we decided to do something a little different. Across the weekend, some of the festival’s best bands paid special visits to our DIY Den, a brand new space hosting invite-only gigs, fan Q&As, meet and greets, and all sorts more.
One of those brilliant acts was Frightened Rabbit: frontman Scott Hutchison stopped by to run through a few strippedback renditions of the band’s back catalogue. Performing bare-bones versions of older tracks in the DIY Den gave Hutchison an opportunity to reflect on their growth as a band, particularly when it comes to festivals: “If I ever listen back to one of the first few records, to re-learn a song or something, it sounds so insular and quiet, but these songs have to be beefed up when playing them to a massive field.” Other bands who stopped by to join in the fun included The Magic Gang, Oh Wonder, Oscar, Pixx, Blaenavon and MONEY. Head to diymag.com/latitude to take a look back.
Kurt Vile gets celebratory Kurt Vile could play for days, between sunrise and sunset, without getting bored. His lengthy, exploratory rock eases itself in. It’s easy to drift off, given his self-facing schtick, footlong hair draped over his face. But once nestled into these songs, it feels like being lifted up and carried away to another place. On record, Kurt’s music crawls into strange spaces, a lazy-day vibe coated in invention. It’s more celebratory when played live. Between songs he belts out “woop!” exclamations, clearly enjoying himself.
Frightened Rabbit pack a punch Frightened Rabbit thrive on emotional intensity. Their set in the BBC 6 Music tent serves this to the extreme, with the crowd responding rapturously to every note. Songs from this year’s ‘Painting Of A Panic Attack’ and cult favourite ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ make up the meat of the set, with the latter’s numbers significantly beefed up live. On record, ‘The Modern Leper’ and ‘Head Rolls Off’ are breezy and calm in parts - today, Grant Hutchison’s thunderous drums make them festival anthems. 15
latitu de New Order ’s hits prove the perfect Latitude swan song After giving The Maccabees their first shot at headlining a major festival on Friday night, the final night hosts the other end of the spectrum. The heady days of Haçienda hedonism might be well behind New Order now, but they’ve made themselves a new home in the form of massive slots like these. Latest album ‘Music Complete’ showed a band that isn’t ready to tail off to irrelevance. Those aren’t the tracks that people have come to see though. Closing the main set with ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’, ‘True Faith’ and ‘Temptation’, the Obelisk Arena is transformed as the audience arrive on side. Gillian Gilbert, forever the most composed head on stage, sends out synth lines that double as commands for people to start losing themselves.
Kagoule turn up the temperature “It’s so fucking hot in here,” Cai Burns mutters as Kagoule launch into the start of another new song. It’s been almost a year since the band released debut album ‘Urth’, and the songs have lost none of their edge. Numbers like ‘Glue’ and ‘Gush’ veer dangerously towards disarray, but having made their name by creating their own brand of chaos, the Nottingham trio remain in complete control.
Kero Kero Bonito
bring the party
Kero Kero Bonito follow sets from the intricate Three Trapped Tigers and rowdy boys in The Magic Gang, but they’re on blistering form. Recent single ‘Lipslap’ is even more cheeky live, and the set comes with all manner of stage props (the band’s signature flamingo only has one leg remaining, the other lost on tour), really ramping up the party feel.
brings even more sunshine As the sun starts to set on Latitude’s lakeside, Oscar turns up to perform the perfect soundtrack. All baritone and silken sentiment, he slips down every bit as smooth as the festival’s countless cocktails. Debut album ‘Cut and Paste’ is the ideal sun-kissed summer retreat – as he takes to the stage to ‘Beautiful Words’, his croon proves the perfect antidote to those festival-end-fast-approaching blues.
Three days without a shower, MØ tests the waters.
Of Monsters and Men bring Latitude to a glorious close
The now-famous Icelandic football chant from Euro 2016 greets Of Monsters and Men as they take to the stage, and - unsurprisingly, really - it’s a cacophonous noise that almost drowns out New Order on the main stage. Yet, the energy summoned at the start of the band’s time on stage doesn’t let up for the whole set. ‘Little Talks’ still gets the biggest reaction - in fact, it erupts into a glorious celebration - and will probably always be their biggest hit, but there’s no denying Of Monsters and Men’s capability in rallying a crowd and putting on a blindingly fun show.
MØ tears up the rulebook for frenzied set “Are you guys sweaty?!” yells MØ at a packed, humid BBC 6 Music tent, “cos I am!” A Duracell bunny of uncontainable energy, she pinballs her way between the front row and the stage floor, tearing through ‘Kamikaze’ in a frenzied burst of limb-flailing dance routines, and loads of braid-twirling to boot. “I just want to fuck it up,” she declares, balanced atop a speaker, side-stepping security to throw herself into a crowd-surf. “I just couldn’t help it,” she shrugs nonchalantly, shooting the guards a grin and taking to the stage again for ‘Final Song’. It’s with ‘Lean On,’ though – the most streamed song in the history of Spotify, no biggy or anything – that she packs her meanest punch. Already a certified pop star, with a second record on the burner, this is just the beginning for MØ.
The Magic Gang
bring fun and frivolity
“We’ve been here all weekend and we’re absolutely loving it,” Jack Kaye exclaims as the group start their set. If the cheers that follow are to be taken as any indication, then everyone present is equally as enamoured. Performing to a crowd that fits near perfectly into the tent, their showcase approaches sublimity. ‘She Doesn’t See’, ‘Jasmine’ and ‘All That I Want Is You’ all receive rapturous applause, but it’s a testament to the band’s status that their new music is met with just as much frivolity. If there’s one thing to take from this performance, it’s how good everyone is left feeling - for sun kissed joviality, it’d be hard to find anyone better. DIY
Grass is Greener
oddballs Alt-J taking a well-earned break, drummer Thom Sonny Green is chasing after minimal, atmospheric beats for his new solo project. Words: El Hunt. Photo: Mike Massaro.
hom Sonny Green might be best known for manning the drums for Alt-J, but under wraps he’s been producing everything from Miley Cyrus, to sparse, Boards of Canada-nodding electronica. After reserving his own music as a tour bus hobby for years, the sticksman is finally lifting the lid on a solo project that couldn’t be further removed from his day job. “The first tour of America [Alt-J] did was in a splitter [van], and I can’t remember how long it was, but it felt like around a month,” Thom says, taking a quick sofa break between rehearsals for his debut live show. “I was in there for six or seven hours a day, and I just put all my effort into this. I find touring pretty difficult, so you’ve got to put your mind somewhere, otherwise you lose it,” he reasons. “It really helped me with anxiety and stress. It meant I had control over something.” Aptly titled ‘High Anxiety’, Thom sees the entire record as a positive outlet. “I’m prone to being anxious,” he explains. “It comes on randomly, and on tour I can be a lot more sensitive. The actual sounds themselves make me feel really comfortable more than anything. I don’t like flying, as well. I do this while I’m flying,” he adds, “and it’s a comfort blanket, I guess.” Well used to headlining major festivals with gigantic production budgets, he’s looking forward to getting back to basics. “I do miss those small shows,” he agrees. “There’s something nice about them. It’s a lot more nerve-wracking, because you can see everyone, but it’s a lot more intimate. You can’t really hide behind anything.”
You’ve got to put your mind somewhere,
otherwise you lose it.” Thom’s first Pokémon Go session saw him hunting long into the night. 18 diymag.com
And as for Alt-J, the band are in the middle of a well-earned break. As well as allowing Thom to focus on ‘High Anxiety’, it’s also given bandmate Gus Unger-Hamilton ample time to open up a lovely restaurant just around the corner from DIY HQ. Frontman Joe Newman, meanwhile, is on his holidays in sunny Australia. “It’s really important that we’ve taken this time off,” Thom says. “We might be coming here to write, actually,” he adds, indicating around the East London studio he’s rehearsing in alone today. “We’re thinking about it [the next Alt-J album],” he adds, though is careful to emphasise that there’s no pressure forcing them to crack on with things before they’re properly ready. “We really want to do it, and it’s quite daunting,” he says, “but as soon as we start, it’ll be fine. All we ever want to do is write interesting things, so we might write an entire album with an acoustic guitar and a tambourine,” he jokes, cracking a smile. “We’ll see.” Thom Sonny Green’s debut album ‘High Anxiety’ is out 19th August via Sudden/Infectious. DIY
Popstar Postbag u n g white l
We know what you’re like, dear readers. We know you’re just as nosy as we are when it comes to our favourite popstars: 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, White Lung’s Kenneth William is taking on your Qs. What’s your favourite album of all time? James, via email It’s a tie between ‘Loveless’ by My Bloody Valentine and The Smiths’ ‘The Queen is Dead’. Who would be on the guestlist for your dream dinner party? Caroline, Manchester Jeremy Kyle. I would also invite a ton of people I hated so he could scream at them and make them feel bad about themselves. What was your favourite moment making ‘Paradise’? Will, Glasgow When Lars [Stalfors, producer] had a 24-pack of Vanilla Coke delivered to me. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Kate, via email Tokyo, I went to a bar once there where they locked you in a jail cell and people dressed as monsters came to rattle the cages and scare everybody every half hour. They know how to have fun there.
What was it like working with Lars Stalfors? Lee, Farnham It was really great and very easy. He kept us all separate for most of the recording so it was a new record for least arguments in the studio. What made you want to start a band? Rosie, via email Vanity. Which film would you choose to watch right now? Stu, via email I still haven’t seen ‘The Shallows’, and I like shark movies. What’re your three most essential items to take on tour? Jimmy, Norwich Basketball shorts, sunglasses, earplugs. How would you describe White Lung in three words? Thomas, via email The best band.
NEXT MONTH: creeper Want to send a question to DIY’s Popstar Postbag? Tweet us at @diymagazine with the hashtag #postbag, or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Easy! 20
ell, hello there. Last month, My Chemical Romance posted a teaser video on Twitter, featuring the intro music to 2006 single ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’, and a date.
The date is 09/23/2016 (23rd September this year, for us Brits). That single’s home, breakthrough album ‘The Black Parade’, was released on 23rd October 2006. So, we’re just putting two and two together here to say, something is gonna go down. Since the video’s release (and the subsequent internet meltdown), the band themselves have come out and confirmed that there’s not going to be a reunion (boo! hiss!) but they will be releasing something for their album’s anniversary. “We’ve been really touched and blown away by the response to the teaser trailer,” the band said in a statement. “We are not touring and there is no reunion planned only a release for the anniversary of The Black Parade.” Hmmm. We’ll believe it when we see it.
Famous last words
DIY’S PICK OF
Given up on festival mud and decided to go to a good ol’ fashioned gig this month? Here’s just a few of LNSource’s upcoming shows that are more than worth checking out..
Sundara Karma September 2016 • Nationwide Following their massive Main Stage slot at this year’s Reading & Leeds Festivals, Sundara Karma will be returning to the road to win over a whole host of new fans. They’ve got twelve dates scheduled across the country, so chances are you’ll be seeing them sooner or later.
Honeyblood hit the road with DIY!
ot only are Honeyblood releasing a new album later this year - they’ll also be previewing material from it on a DIY Presents tour!
The intimate dates begin with an Aberdeen show at Lemon Tree on 25th October, and run until October, with a London date set for the Shacklewell Arms on the 4th of SEPTEMBER the month. Support for the majority of the 25th Aberdeen Lemon Tree tour comes from Eat Fast. 26th Glasgow Hug and Pint 28th Sheffield Bungalows & Bears New album ‘Babes Never Die’ is released 29th Brighton Patterns 4th November via Fat Cat. Read our 30th Guildford Boileroom thoughts on lead track ‘Ready For The Magic’ over on p26. OCTOBER 1st Portsmouth Southsea Festival Tickets for all dates are now on sale; down4th London Shacklewell Arms load DICE to order with no booking fees. 5th Leicester The Cookie 6th Edinburgh Electric Circus
September 2016 • Nationwide With their reunion last year still fresh in many minds, L7 have now announced plans to return to our shores for another slew of shows. They’ll be playing in Manchester, Glasgow and London later this month.
Black Peaks / Heck September 2016 • Nationwide If something altogether heavier is right up your street, this is the perfect tour for you. The chaos-causing Heck will be heading off around the country with Brighton’s post-hardcore heroes Black Peaks, who’ll be offering up cuts from their debut album ‘Statues’. For more information and to buy tickets, head to livenation.co.uk or twitter.com/LNSource 21
as there ever been a better way to state your intent as a band than crashing into your debut album yelling your band name, over and over, before a flamboyant “HIYA!”, and a first song with enough force to kick down a door? Enter Dananananaykroyd (is that enough nana’s?). The Scottish rabble released debut full-length ‘Hey Everyone!’ on the back of the extremely promising ‘Sissy Hits’ EP from the year before, cementing the faith so many had put in them. ‘Hey Everyone!’ is remarkable in that it dips into so many sub-genres of indie rock without any experimentation feeling gratuitous. Even in ‘The Greater Than Symbol & The Hash’ alone, there’s thrashing hardcore, something approaching soaring post-rock, and bouncing, rhythmic guitar pop. The band’s capacity to write a pop hit was never in doubt either - ‘Black Wax’ remains a fists-in-the-air triumph, and even when Dananananaykroyd may be a band that many
have forgotten or rarely think of, when they are looked back upon, it’s with a smile. The album’s crowning glory is ‘Pink Sabbath’, the track title a perfect, concise description of the band - packing a punch, but remaining saccharine-sweet. ‘Hey Everyone!’ manages to maintain the perfect balance between playful, tongue-in-cheek jokiness and crushing sincerity when they yell “these are the days of our lives” on ‘Hey James’. Dananananaykroyd may have only existed as a band for five years, but what days those were. There are so many styles employed on ‘Hey Everyone!’ - all switched between at lightning speed - and it should make for a disjointed, difficult listen, but the sense of unadulterated fun running through the whole thing makes it anything but, and it showed hardcore at its most playful. Dananananaykroyd became famous for inciting a ‘wall of hugs’ at their gigs - a way more fun and significantly safer take on the wall of death. ‘Hey Everyone!’ is its sonic equivalent, and a complete joy to look back upon. DIY
Release Date: April 6, 2009 Standout tracks: ‘Black Wax’ ‘Pink Sabbath’ ‘Infinity Milk’ Something to tell your mates: Thanks to the dedicated camcorder work of guitarist David Roy, there’s actual video footage of the band meeting Bill Murray at an airport on the internet. Give it a Google.
DIY HALL FAME of
DANANANANAYKROYD - HEY EVERYONE!
Their band name might be a bit tricky to say after a few pints, but that didn’t stop this Scottish rabble making a ludicrously fun debut. Words: Will Richards.
“Dress fancy,” the invitation said.
Having funded 122 artist over the past three years, PRS for Music Foundation and Arts Council England’s Momentum Music Fund in association with Spotify, is making a real difference for musicians across the country.
eing in a band can be a challenge for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest struggles that artists are increasingly facing nowadays is finance.
In a world where bedroom producers and do-ityourself scenes are cropping up here, there and everywhere, it’s growing more and more evident that money is not something easily obtained in the current climate of the music industry. That’s where PRS for Music Foundation and Arts Council England’s Momentum Music Fund, in association with
Spotify, hopes to step in. Set up to support artists at a crucial tipping point in their career, the Momentum Music Fund gives acts the opportunity to apply for a grant of £5K to £15K in order to take the next integral steps of their careers. Over the past three years, some of the artists funded include Years & Years, Spring King, Little Simz, Dutch Uncles and Ghostpoet and this year, another eighteen artists have been awarded funding.
Hooton Tennis Club: “We all feel very lucky”
resh from a performance at Benicassim, we spoke to the Liverpool-based band to find out how it’s already helped to record their second album with Edwyn Collins.
Hello Hooton Tennis Club! It’s just been announced that you’ve awarded funding through the Momentum Music Fund - how does it feel? It’s really amazing and we all feel very lucky, very grateful, and very relieved. The money will help a lot on tour - we might actually get to sleep in actual beds now! We’re really looking forward to getting back in the van, listening to Smooth FM, eating Sainsburys meal deals and playing the new songs live. What have you actually applied for the funding to help with? The funding has allowed us to record our second record with Edwyn Collins! Edwyn and Grace are some of the loveliest, most helpful people we’ve met as a band and their beautiful studio is up in beautiful Helmsdale. The funding is also going to help us tour the UK to promote the album, it also really helps us go to places that may not be on the usual touring circuit of big cities.
Kagoule: “It came as such a shock!”
aving just played DIY’s Alcove Stage at Latitude, we spoke to Cai Burns, frontman of the Nottingham-based trio, to discover how the Momentum Fund will help them.
It’s just been announced that you’ve awarded funding through Momentum - how does it feel? It came as such a shock! We were stuck at the bottom of a big soily hole and the Momentum angels have just thrown down a rope ladder. We will be using it to record and release our second record. How much do you think the money will benefit you? Is it hard to convey how necessary support like this is in the music industry? It’s going to help us out no end. We’ve had the songs for this record ready for a while now but have been been chucking everything we make back into touring. We don’t have the backing of a label so the idea of saving up for a second record has seemed almost impossible. People seem to think that there’s a lot of money in this industry and that bands just waste it away, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Everyone I know in bands invest everything they have into it and often fund it from their own pocket. Funding like this takes a massive stress off their personal lives and lets them fully focus on being creative and moving forward.
Hooton Tennis Club, Kagoule, Flamingods, Eska, Speech Debelle, Employed To Serve and This Is The Kit are amongst the latest 18 artists to have been awarded funding through the Momentum Music Fund. Not only that, it’s now been announced that Arts Council England will contribute a further £1million investment to the fund which will enable PRS for Music Foundation to continue the programme for another two years, while partners Spotify have also extended their partnership until 2018.
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK PRS for Music Foundation will also be teaming up with Arts Council England and Spotify for their new Momentum Day series. Designed to offer advice and help artists across the country through a series of workshops and showcases, the first Momentum tDay in association with Generator NE will be hosted up in Newcastle on 12th September. The Momentum Music Fund is managed by PRS for Music Foundation using Arts Council England funds and in association with Spotify. Head to prsformusicfoundation.com for more information on the Momentum Fund and to find out how to apply.
HAVE HEARD? you
Honeyblood – Ready For The Magic
Distill all the best, most ferocious highlights of Honeyblood’s 2014 debut album and you’re left with a perfect, all-guns-blazing punk potion. Or, in simpler terms, there’s ‘Ready For The Magic’. The lead single from a new album, it captures all the no-prisoners ecstasy of the Scottish duo’s first work, adding another dose of ferocity just for the hell of it. If ‘Ready For The Magic’ is an early indicator of what to expect for LP2, Honeyblood have upped the ante in every way imaginable. (Jamie Milton)
Rat Boy – Get Over It Since his first pitter-pattering steps at the beginning of last year, Rat Boy’s been defined by chaos. ‘Get Over It’, though, marks something of a heel-turn - he’s put down the silly-string, the skateboard and and the books of matches, and opted for a daiquiri and a Hawaiian shirt instead. Skipping along atop a skittering hip-hop beat, there’s an upbeat edge to ‘Get Over It’ that Rat Boy’s never shown before. Now, though, he’s all beaming grins and parping horns. It’s a carnival number at heart, proving that even when he’s chilling, Rat Boy’s output is packed full of sherbet energy. (Tom Connick)
Pixies – Um Chagga Lagga As fire-breathing introductions go, they don’t come quite as red hot as Pixies’ welcome letter from new bassist Paz Lenchantin. ‘Um Chagga Lagga’ is as nonsensical as that title – a rickety, 26
rollicking, smoke-spitting machine, spewing its wares across a scorched desert. It finds the new form Pixies impossibly tight from the get-go, the onetwo of Paz and Dave Lovering’s rhythm section clattering along at breakneck pace, never stumbling or stuttering. Atop it all, Pixies sound fuller than ever before, a roaring wildfire of careering riff after riff. (Tom Connick)
The Big Moon – Silent Movie Susie It can take some bands years to replicate their live game on record. For an unlucky few, it’s like a double-edged sword and a constant curse. Energy doesn’t translate to tape with ease, that much is evident. But no such problem hits The Big Moon, a group whose all-smiles, berserk on-stage dynamic is their biggest draw. With new single ‘Silent Movie Susie’, these
antics are peering out from every side. Nothing quite compares to witnessing the experience IRL, but this is a perfect antidote to being stuck at home instead of in a sweaty venue. (Jamie Milton)
Wolf Alice - Ghoster Wolf Alice’s contribution to the Ghostbusters soundtrack might not include cheeky samples of that theme song (or an appearance from one of the world’s rapping greats for that matter), but as Ellie yells “I feel powerful, yeah” over a driving riff and an oh-so-90s skittish beat, it’s both as deliciously bratty as the film it’s been written for, and perfect for a chase through Manhattan in Ecto-1. And, as those spooky guitar licks scatter themselves over the top remember: don’t cross the streams. (Emma Swann)
Su m m er days , th o se su m m dr if ti ng aw ay to , o h o er ni g ht s (t el l m e m o re h, â€¦)
Photo: Ryan Johnston
Meet Isaac Slaves, security guard gone rogue.
reading &Leeds 26th - 28th August
ith not three but FIVE headliners for this year’s shindig, the August Bank Holiday looks set to be as hot as July’s weather, as Foals, Disclosure, Biffy Clyro, Fall Out Boy and Red Hot Chili Peppers prepare to top the bill at Richfield Avenue and Bramham Park respectively. If that wasn’t enough, there are massive sets aplenty, from Chvrches’ sub-headline, Boy Better Know’s Main Stage takeover, and Two Door Cinema Club’s return, to more faves than you can shake a tent pole at: The 1975, The Vaccines, Spring King, Savages, Hinds, Milk Teeth, Låpsley… the list goes on (and on). One act making their Main Stage debut at this year’s festival are Slaves. The noisy Kent duo spill all about the massive leap up.
A few seconds with…
We hear you’ve been working on a brand new album. Laurie: As soon as we released the last album, we had a session and started trying to write new songs and when we had time off, we spent time writing and we spent quite a lot of time focusing on the record. Isaac: We’ve done all the music, so now it’s just about concentrating on artwork and tracklisting, things like that. L: We just felt like we had the material and we were writing really quickly, so let’s just do it. So, it should be out before the end of the year. Before any of that, you’ve got a Main Stage slot at Reading & Leeds to play! I: That is gonna be very special. L: With Reading & Leeds, we’ve stepped up on every stage for four years in a row, so it feels really nice. I: It feels very humbling. I’ll probably weep a little bit.
summer camp Fancy catching up with our Class of 2016 acts? You’re in luck. A whole six (and counting) are on the Reading & Leeds bill.
BBC Radio 1, Friday at Leeds, Sunday at Reading It’s no shocker Essex boy Jordan and his rag-tag pals are already half way up the bill in this giant tent - 2016’s been his for the taking from the off. Expect crowdsurfers on skateboards.
The Pit, Friday at Reading, Saturday at Leeds If there’s gonna be one oversubscribed set all weekend, it’ll be this. The Southampton six-piece’s (black, natch) star has been rising steadily over the past 12 months, their self-styled ‘Creeper cult’ now a reality.
The Japanese House
Dance Stage, Saturday at Reading, Sunday at Leeds With big love coming in all directions, most notably from her Dirty Hit labelmates and sometime producers The 1975, Amber Bain’s oddball electronic pop will ease in even the worst earlyafternoon hangovers.
Festival Republic, Saturday at Reading, Sunday at Leeds With a handful of anthems-in-waiting in their back pockets, VANT’s raucous live set has gone from strength-tostrength since last year’s NEU Tour alongside INHEAVEN and The Big Moon. Expect sing-a-longs, mosh pits and some putting the world to rights.
Festival Republic, Saturday at Reading, Sunday at Leeds If smasher of a single ‘Baby’s Alright’ wasn’t made for a beered-up tent full of sweaty festival-goers, we’re not sure what it was for, tbh.
The Magic Gang
Festival Republic, Friday at Leeds, Sunday at Reading Summery-as-fuck jangly indie ahoy, there’s every chance the crowd for these Brighton boys will be the noisiest of the weekend (yes, we’re looking at you, The 1975 fans). 29
A few seconds with…
he Cribs, The Wytches, Crows, Spector, Gang of Four and The Jesus and Mary Chain are among the first acts announced for the return of 1-2-3-4 Festival, now taking place at Three Mills Island in East London on 3rd September. Also on the bill are Gloucestershire noiseniks Milk Teeth.
CD Soundsystem’s triumphant return continues, as they make their way to Dutch village Biddinghuizen alongside rock heavyweights Muse, Disclosure, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (or ‘Potato’ as the former Oasis man’s little bro would have it), Biffy Clyro, Foals, Chvrches and LOTS MORE. Brit newcomers Pumarosa are also heading across the North Sea, for one of their first tastes of festivals abroad.
CHRIS WEBB, MILK TEETH
You’ve had a relatively busy festival season... It’s been so much fun. We never know what to expect with festivals but we’ve had such a good response at them so far. Plus you get to see a lot of bands and hang out with mates so yeah, we’re a fan of festivals. Any stories to tell? We camped at Download, and after three days in the soaking wet we decided to go to a hotel, ten minutes away, for a shower to try and fight off the cold. So we did and it was excellent. But somehow it took us five hours to get back. The traffic for Iron Maiden was unreal! So we are looking forward to that never happening again.
A few seconds with…
Have you ever played any Dutch festivals before? Nicholas: We did London Calling. Isabel: At that amazing venue, the Paradiso. We played on that little stage upstairs, which for us was a really big gig. The next morning they texted and said do you want to come back and headline! So yeah, Holland is really lovely. They seem really receptive, and they seem to really get it. Also – they seem to keep it quite civilised! They’ll all be getting really high but it’s all fine and clean! Have you got a basic grasp of the language, or will this be a real phrasebook-led adventure? I: Unfortunately the only word I know in Dutch is not very nice - “godverdomme” It means ‘god damn me,’ but apparently that’s a terrible thing to say! N: I’m shocked. I: Oh, and I know “hagelslag”! That lovely chocolate on toast. N: All you need to know, really.
LOWLANDS 19th - 21st August
6th August Yak and Fake Laugh have joined the bill for Visions (6th August), joining the likes of The Japanese House, Dream Wife, Gengahr, Cate Le Bon and Elf Kid at the East London all-dayer.
18th - 21st August Fish, Factory Floor, H. Hawkline and Loose Meat are among the latest additions, which also include DJ sets from familiar radio voices Huw Stephens and Tom Ravenscroft. They join headliners Belle & Sebastian, James Blake, Laura Marling and Wild Beasts in the Welsh mountains.
POWER TO THE PARTY
24th September Afropunk’s first UK event will be headlined by Grace Jones, replacing the previously-announced MIA, with Laura Mvula, Skinny Girl Diet, MNEK, Kwabs, Noisettes, Jorja Smith and Big Joanie also added to a bill that also features Youth Man, Ho99o9, and Benjamin Booker.
1st October Honeyblood lead the new additions to the all-dayer, alongside Kagoule, Dream Wife, Gang and Smoke Fairies. They join the already-announced Mystery Jets, Eagulls, The Big Moon, Black Honey, and INHEAVEN.
29th October Joining Bat For Lashes at this year’s Mirrors are Fucked Up, who’ll perform 2006’s ‘Hidden World’ in full, Cherry Glazerr, Bill RyderJones, Caro, Babeheaven, Allah-Lahs and Diarrhea Planet. 30 diymag.com
THE F E S T I VA L THREE MILLS ISL AND LONDON E3 3DU S AT U R D AY 3 R D S E P T 2 0 1 6 1 2 -11 P M TICKET WEB.CO.UK ROBOMAGICLIVE.COM T H E12 3 4 F E S T I VA L .C O M FAC EB O O K .C O M / 12 3 4 F E S T I VA L POWERED BY ROBOMAGIC
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THE LUCID DR E A M GA RY THE TA LL ( NTS) D/ R / U/G/S DJ SEX CELLS
It’ll take something Titantic to stop Dream Wife’s ascent.
A few months ago, a big project of yours was putting together a Leonardo DiCaprio shrine. Where are you at with that? Or has the obsession worn off now that he has his Oscar? Bella: Young Leo was a phase I guess. He’s an activist now, fighting for the planet, and growing up. He’s not just a teen dream. Rakel was even looking at his Instagram a few hours ago, full of pictures of him talking about the effects of climate change. Rakel’s dad actually looks like Leo. And when he was younger, he’s
almost the spitting image; fluffy blonde hair and tight jeans. It freaked Rakel out a bit. A controversial question: was there enough room for both Jack and Rose on the mantelpiece in Titanic? Did poor Jack die in vain? Bella: I mean of course, I’ve acted it out with friends on smaller pieces of wood. He didn’t need to die, they didn’t even try. It literally makes no sense.
An art project run riot and out of control, this lot have found themselves forming one of the most exciting new bands right now. Words: El Hunt. Photo: Mike Massaro.
Inflatable palm trees, impromptu Peaches covers and trashed stages filled with ruined ‘space beach’ paraphernalia; it’s all a standard day for Dream Wife. A glitter-pen daubed collaging together of bright, gaudy obsessions – from Bikini Kill and No Doubt right through to Blondie and Banana-bloody-rama – Dream Wife’s music is a tattered scrapbook, and yet their sound is as recognisable as it comes. Rakel Mjöll, Alice Go and Bella Podpadec first crossed paths while studying art in Brighton, with rock stardom the last thing on their minds. With the band starting life as a performance piece (oh, and because they fancied going on a jolly to Canada and needed a believable excuse) the trio readily admit they never imagined themselves as band types at all – let alone in the process of readying a debut album. Yet, here they are. “We had a great time in Canada,” says bassist, Bella, looking back on the time the band – before they even realised they were an ‘actual’ band, that is – spent playing shows across the Atlantic. “Canada was intended as a conclusion and realisation of the performance piece, but writing songs together felt natural, and we were all curious to see how far we could push the project,” she adds. “The transition from art project to ‘real band’ was quite organic; taking the piece out there, playing shows and sleeping on night coaches for a month forged a solidarity between us, we were suddenly a gang of Wives on the road, and we loved it,” she says. Starting out with no fixed end goal has been liberating for Dream Wife. An unwieldy combination of vulnerability and empowerment, there are few places the band won’t explore. Their music veers between taking aim at heartbreakers of the world, searching for family graves in upstate New York, and Rakel’s terrifyingly smirk-filled promise; “I’m going to fuck you up.” And according to Rakel – who recently moved from the Icelandic city of Reykjavík to spend more time on the band in London – a certain country legend is an unlikely inspiration for some of her most laid-bare lyrical moments. “When I write lyrics I often think about Dolly Parton,” she drops into the mix with all the casual nonchalance of someone asking for access to the nearest condiment jar. “What would Dolly do? With the rawness to her writing, she’s channeling a direct emotion of a time,” she goes on. “If it’s a few minutes or a night she experienced she can go back there. Dolly the time traveller.” The band recently inked a record deal with Lucky Number (Hinds, Sleigh Bells) on the pebbled beaches during this year’s Great Escape festival “champagne on the rocks,” quips Alice, “literally” - and next on the Wives’ agenda is cracking on with that full-length. “Right now we’re in the midst of writing songs for our album,” Bella says. “Three down! Seven to go? Or something like that. All the ideas that have been bubbling within us for months are now letting loose!” DIY
This Tunbridge Wells-based maverick’s star is on
the rise thanks to latest single ‘Take Me Dancing’ and his smart take on pop. Words: Eugenie Johnson. Photo: Emma Swann.
Is it possible to steal Will Joseph Cook’s dad? His love of live music and impeccable taste in bands puts most fathers to shame. “He literally took me to so many shows,” Will says. “Everything Everything, Vampire Weekend, just shitloads of indie bands really. That whole scene built around MGMT and all those bands, Empire of the Sun and stuff. Darwin Deez too.”
In all seriousness, growing up in a creative household helped introduce Will to a host of bands who undoubtedly shaped the way he approaches his own brand of unorthodox pop. MGMT, Weezer and Vampire Weekend are particular favourites of Will’s. “I think the thing I find most appealing is when they are completely aware of what they’re doing,” he says. “They’re not tied down to a certain era and they’re clever pop songs, but also slightly ironic. They haven’t stumbled across a sound by accident, they’re almost showing off because they’re so good.” That timeless quality is present in Will’s own work, where classic hooks are married with shuffling guitar licks and his own falsetto. It’s not in-your-face but, as Will puts it, “if your music is saying something, it doesn’t have to be abrasive.” Although he’s technically an average guy with an acoustic guitar, don’t try to pigeonhole him. “I fucking hate the
term singer-songwriter. Honestly. It’s the bane of my existence,” he says. “Labels and stuff are kind of bullshit. That’s what I like about [pop music]. If you’re a pop artist you can do what you want.” Will’s genre-busting sound hasn’t come too easy though; he’s always hard at work trying to create something magical. “If I can get one little thing a day and note it down, even if it’s crap, I always record stuff,” he explains. “You’d think I was fucking nuts if you went on my computer, there’s so much stuff. Some of them are the most awful, awful musical ideas.” These moments of inspiration even hit him when he’s out and about. “I think the worst ones are when I wake up or I’m walking to the shops or in a public place. It’ll be like a really creepy recording humming in a bit of song and I’ll go back to it and I’ll go ‘what the fuck was I thinking,’ singing in public and all that.”
“I fucking hate the term singersongwriter”
GAME FOR ANY THING
Will Joseph Cook
Now Will sounds more ready than ever to break into the mainstream. Still, he’s aiming to stay true to his own vision. “I love pop music, but there’s a duality to it. The music means a lot and I’m not making a product, I’m making music that I find the most satisfying,” he explains. “I could never make pop music to be commercial. I’m just making the music I wanna make. The commercial aspect doesn’t play a part for me.” DIY
ast month Will played an acoustic set on the Sony PlayStation stage at BST. Unfortunately for Sony, Will probably won’t be sponsoring the PS4 anytime soon. He’s much more likely to play for another team. “My first console was the Nintendo GameCube,” he says. His favourite game happens to be the gorgeous cel-shaded masterpiece ‘The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker,’ a typically colourful adventure across the high seas to match Will’s own personality. “Every aspect of it is good: looks amazing, cute storyline. Yep.”
THE STRUMBELLAS 24.08.16 LONDON BORDERLINE
+ CUCKOOLANDER 15.09.16 LONDON RED GALLERY
19.09.16 LONDON THE WAITING ROOM
20.09.16 LONDON THE WAITING ROOM
23.09.16 BRIGHTON HOPE & RUIN 27.09.16 LONDON THE WAITING ROOM
26.09.16 UT LONDON SOLD O ST GILES IN THE FIELD
26.09.16 MANCHESTER SOUP KITCHEN 27.09.16 BRISTOL LOUISIANA 28.09.16 LONDON OSLO HACKNEY
THE MAGIC GANG 28.09.16 LONDON SCALA
BABY STRANGE + HAPPY MEAL LTD 28.09.16 LONDON CAMDEN ASSEMBLY HALL
06.10.16 LONDON HOXTON SQUARE BAR & KITCHEN
PARQUET COURTS 12.10.16 THE OLD MARKET HOVE
12.10.2016 LONDON MOTH CLUB
17.10.16 BRIGHTON HAUNT 20.10.16 OXFORD O2 ACADEMY 2 21.10.16 NORWICH ARTS CENTRE 22.10.16 SOUTHAMPTON BROOK 26.10.16 LONDON O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN 27.10.16 MANCHESTER ACADEMY 29.10.16 BIRMINGHAM O2 INSTITUTE2
18.10.16 O2 INSTITUTE3 BIRMINGHAM 23.10.16 O2 ACADEMY 2 OXFORD 27.10.16 BRIGHTON CONCORDE 2
19.10.16 LEEDS WARDROBE 21.10.16 MANCHESTER DEAF INSTITUTE 22.10.16 NOTTINGHAM BODEGA 25.10.16 LONDON ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL 26.10.16 BRISTOL TRINITY CENTRE
23.10.16 BRISTOL TRINITY CENTRE 28.10.16 LONDON ROUNDHOUSE 01.11.16 BIRMINGHAM O2 INSTITUTE
04.11.16 LONDON BOSTON ARMS 05.11.16 LEEDS BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB 06.11.16 BRIGHTON HOPE & RUIN
BILLY BRAGG & JOE HENRY
07.11.16 UT SOLD O LONDON UNION CHAPEL 08.11.16 UT SOLD O LONDON UNION CHAPEL
15.11.16 LONDON TROXY 16.11.16 LONDON TROXY
16.11.16 LONDON HEAVEN
23.10.16 BRISTOL MARBLE FACTORY
23.10.16 BIRMINGHAM RAINBOW 25.10.16 BRISTOL LOUISIANA 26.10.16 BRIGHTON KOMEDIA
24.10.2016 HOXTON SQUARE BAR & KITCHEN
24.10.16 NEWCASTLE O2 ACADEMY 26.10.16 LEEDS BECKETT SU 27.10.16 MANCHESTER ACADEMY 1 28.10.16 LIVERPOOL GUILD OF STUDENTS 31.10.16 BRIGHTON DOME 03.11.16 NOTTINGHAM ROCK CITY 07.11.16 COVENTRY EMPIRE 08.11.16 BRISTOL O2 ACADEMY 10.11.16 LONDON ROUNDHOUSE
27.10.16 LONDON SCALA
28.10.16 CARDIFF BUFFALO BAR
31.10.16 LONDON 100 CLUB
02.11.16 BIRMINGHAM O2 INSTITUTE
02.11.16 LONDON SCALA
04.11.16 BRIGHTON CENTRE 05.11.16 PLYMOUTH PAVILLIONS 06.11.16 SWINDON OASIS CENTRE 12.11.16 UT SOLD O BIRMINGHAM O2 ACADEMY
21.11.2016 LEEDS WARDROBE 24.11.2016 NEWCASTLE O2 ACADEMY 25.11.2016 MANCHESTER GORILLA 26.11.2016 O2 INSTITUTE2 BIRMINGHAM 28.11.2016 KOKO LONDON
25.11.16 BIRMINGHAM HARE & HOUNDS 26.11.16 UT SOLD O THEKLA BRISTOL
27.11.16 BRIGHTON CENTRE 28.11.16 PLYMOUTH PAVILIONS
29.11.16 BRIGHTON PATTERNS 01.12.16 BRISTOL MARBLE FACTORY 02.12.16 LONDON OVAL SPACE
01.12.2016 BRISTOL TRINITY CENTRE
07.12.16 LONDON O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN
11.12.2016 MANCHESTER ACADEMY 1 14.12.16 LONDON O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON 15.12.2016 O2 INSTITUTE MANCHESTER
22.12.2016 CARDIFF MOTORPOINT ARENA
16.08.16 LONDON ISLINGTON O2 ACADEMY 2
AUG – DEC
Sweet Swedish escape, coated in sadness. Don’t be deceived by the sunny disposition of Gothenburg group Holy Now. In a similar way to how Alvvays would favour a graveyard tour over a typical weekend picnic, they clash deep darkness with the sound of pure escape. It’s rare to find lyrics like “Let me fall asleep / I am trying” and “Let me find a space / I am dying” in the company of jangly, euphoric choruses, but that’s how Holy Now operate. Listen: Their debut single is out now via Beech Coma. Similar to: An all-nighter with Alvvays.
Meet the UK’s next unorthodox-pop prospect. Earlier this year, those stumbling across the North’s showcase fests might have found their new favourite band. Caro are a Leeds-based trio sporting stately, delicatelyarranged pop that’ll slap you round the face unprompted. Sounds unnecessary and a bit mean on paper, but the fizzing ‘Cold Comfort’ drifts between two wild extremes. Listen: ‘Cold Comfort’ has enough going on to set pulses racing at dangerous levels. Similar to: An Alt-J, Wild Beasts and Glass Animals cocktail.
S tevi e Par ke r
Ditching old tropes for inventive, emotional pop.
Aris tophan es
One of this year’s breakthrough standouts at Field Day, Stevie Parker ditches the ‘earnest songwriter’ stereotype. Avoiding the trap of being ‘just another musician with a heartfelt message’, she balances emotions with genuine invention. Few newcomers know how to stand out in a crowd with their first step, but Stevie Parker has already hit liftoff. The 24-year-old’s synth-drenched first steps hit a smart balance between harsh emotion and instant pop gold. Listen: ‘The Cure’ is a fitting antidote to summer blues. Similar to: Soak raised on Bon Iver and Cocteau Twins.
A breathless, tongue-twisting Taiwanese rapper. You’ll likely know Aristophanes from her dark, twisted cameo on Grimes’ ‘SCREAM’. The Taiwanese rapper sounds like nothing else on Earth, hence why Claire Boucher was so keen to have her appear on ‘Art Angels’. Since then, this English teacher has gone skywards, working with Arcade Fire’s Will Butler as well as taking SXSW by storm. Listen: ‘Fly To The Moon’ is a berserk intro. Similar to: Spinning in the air at 100mph per second, without the motion sickness.
neu All the buzziest new music happenings, in one place.
THIS MESS WE’RE IN Never afraid to put their political views front-centre, VANT gave DIY their perspective on a post-Brexit Britain after playing the Netherlands’ Best Kept Secret festival in June. “I think most young people are really scared,” said Mattie Vant. “Obviously there are a lot of reports saying it’ll affect the music industry massively, as well. Like I say, with festivals like this, the reason a band like us can come and open the main stage is because they’re able to pay us a fee which is affordable for us to come, and it’s not a massive fee for them to be able to put us on. If taxes come in, and visas, and all that stuff, it’ll remove the British music scene from Europe. And at the moment, the music industry is one of the greatest – if not the greatest – export we have.”
LEAVING THE HOUSE The Japanese House has announced a great big UK tour. The 21-year-old Dirty Hit signing is also readying new music, after touring the world with The 1975. Dates include a headline show at London’s Heaven, plus stopovers in Bristol, Birmingham and Leeds. This summer, she plays Visions London (6th August), Reading & Leeds (26th-28th August) and Bestival (8th September).
UNFINISHED BUSINESS New York rockers Public Access TV have announced that debut album ‘Never Enough’ is set for release on 23rd September via Cinematic. Zane Lowe premiered lead single ‘Sudden Emotion’ on Beats 1 last month and it’s a hookladen, hip-shaking taste of what’s to come on a record that was made in New York, Nashville, London and Henley-on-Thames. They’ve been travelling, but expect this debut to carry nothing but the spirit of the Big Apple.
Mabel McVey’s life so far has been a pilgrimage, a journey across Europe in search for two things: R&B and a community who embrace it. Born in London before moving to Spain and then Sweden, despite the globetrotting, Mabel’s teen years were typically awkward. “I felt really misplaced in my year,” she says of her school days in Sweden. “I really loved Lauryn Hill, Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé, and felt in some way ashamed to admit that to my classmates, which is crazy.” As hard as it is to imagine a place where it was uncool to like Beyoncé, she never really felt at home.
Just an ordinary teenager, looking for her place in the world? Well, not quite. If you recognise the surname that’s because Mabel’s the daughter of Massive Attack and Portishead producer Cameron McVey. Oh, and her mum is one Neneh Cherry. “It’s impossible to not somehow take influence from them,” she says, but she also mentions insecurities that came with being the daughter of such influential figures. “I thought if I could find managers and get a record deal by myself, that would get rid of my insecurities that they [her parents] are the root of my talents,” Mabel says, admitting that she did consider recording under a different name but that she was too proud of her parents’ accomplishments and too resolute in her goals to get to a place where “one day people just won’t care who my parents are”. She’s right to think this way. Completely devoid of any tampering or helping hands from her family, Mabel’s shimmering, soulful R&B found her supporting Years & Years at Wembley for her fifth gig ever. She’s had nods from the BBC Sound Of poll, has collaborated with the likes of SBTRKT and even found herself part of the Tate Modern’s latest makeover. Promising a complete album with the kind of interludes and B-sides that made up her influences (namely, ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’), there’s no question that she has so much more to offer. DIY Mabel will play Reeperbahn. Head to diymag.com/festivals for details.
not to be defined by her family, Mabel is globe-trotting her way to stardom. Words: Henry Boon
Mabel was looking for something else. She was simply searching for a place where she could “make sick R&B and nobody thought that was weird,” and this search eventually led her back to London. “When I moved here I felt more free, there are just so many people doing so many different things,” she chirps, talking enthusiastically about finding a community of like-minded people. Some of the first of these people though came not from R&B but from grime, namely Skepta and the BBK collective.
Photos: Sarah Louise Bennett
20-year-old electronic pop producer goes way beyond his calling with a smart, excitable set at Latitude 2016.
t first, Mura Masa (aka Alex Crossan) looks like someone forced into the one-man-band role without much of a choice. The Guernsey producer has a laptop on one side, keys on the other, and a cymbal to smash in case he gets frustrated, presumably. That’s on first glance. What follows is a magnetic showcase of how to achieve a great deal with very few tools.
GIG GUIDE The must-see new music gigs taking place this month. Buzzy first steps Dream Wife London • Visions • 6th August All-day hypefest Visions hosts big names like Young Fathers and Gengahr, but you’d be a damn fool to miss out on brill-as-fuck fuzz-punk-pop trio Dream Wife.
After a couple of songs, the 20-year-old tells the crowd “I know it’s hot, but you’ve gotta move a little bit more than that.” The power of persuasion looks to have worked. Within seconds, kids are standing on each other’s shoulders, a circle pit even forming at one point. To be fair, Alex’s cause is helped by guest vocalist Bonzai, who takes centre stage for half of the set. On his own, Mura Masa brings highs with sharp, hyperactive beatwork (he’s a dab hand at piano, too). With Bonzai, the pair give the crowd exactly the kind of party they’ve been waiting for.
Far from a one-man-band affair, this is a set that goes way behind a laptop-hugging default. Plenty of producers stick to the basics when they’re starting out. A big label budget obviously helps, but Mura Masa is doing a fine job of going for the jugular.
Racking up the airmiles
Julia Jacklin 31st August • 11th September Australia’s most talked-about new songwriter arrives in Europe for a run of shows this month, where she’ll be showcasing debut album ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’. Stops include a headline show at London Lexington, plus End Of The Road festival. She’s back for a proper UK tour in November. Show Me the Body 6th-13th August New York rap-punk hybrid Show Me the Body have an excellent debut album in ‘Body War’. They’re back in the UK this month for Visions, plus a brief run of UK shows. 39
KINGS W ITH N E W A L B U M ‘ B OY K I N G ’, W I L D
B E A S T S A R E S WA P P I N G S I L K E N S O U N D S F O R L E ATH E R JAC K E T S , A N D K I C K I N G D OW N TH E D O O R T O TH E P O P PA R T Y.
“What do you mean, Chris Eubank is coming here to fight us?”
WO R D S : T O M CO N N I C K . P H O T O S : J E N N A F OX T O N .
“ Th is is a
t’s not critical reception, everswelling venues or even fans’ reactions Hayden Thorpe looks to for reassurance that he’s making something worthwhile. Instead, the Wild Beasts frontman has a far simpler, much closer-to-home solution – get the relatives round.
SELFIE OF A RECORD. Hayde n Thorpe
“My theory is if your in-laws hear your record and think, ‘such a lovely boy, I’m so pleased for you’, then your art is fucking terrible,” he grins from beneath his newly-groomed beard. “It’s a good barometer for your art – your grandma and your in-laws should be slightly perplexed.” It’s unlikely that granny’s going to be head-over-heels for new album ‘Boy King’. A sweaty embracing of Wild Beasts’ most primal urges, it’s as probing and synthetic as they’ve ever dared to tread – a glitching, futuristic vision, swapping the pastels of their past works for a newfound love of neon and excess. It’s a two-footed leap out of their comfort zone. The four of them – fellow frontman Tom Fleming, guitarist Ben Little and drummer Chris Talbot – openly admit to their nerves at letting ‘Boy King’ loose. “The feeling of nausea and terror means that you’ve revealed something of yourself that isn’t necessarily for everyday life,” reasons Hayden, “but who wants their music to be appropriate for everyday life?”
“We’re not out to comfort,” Tom agrees.
hat balancing act of bravado and insecurity lies at the core of Wild Beasts’ story. From day one, and with their pairing of silken indie and a prominent falsetto, they’ve battled with their own perception, contorting themselves into new shapes in an attempt to avoid stagnation. Their success at that could be questioned - a second Mercury nomination for 2014’s ‘Present Tense’ seemed like a sure bet, but evaded them once the shortlist was unveiled. “There is the constant fear of oblivion – of people losing interest,” Tom admits. “It obviously has to be artistically consistent, but we’ve always tried to turn the screw a little bit.”
Hayden talks of a “strange dichotomy” that’s bedded into their collective lives. Growing up together in the tiny, Cumbrian market town of Kendal, the four of them
were always somewhat out of place. “Men were men, and they worked with their hand on the land – a very stoic community, really,” he says. “And then we make our living, our trade, through channeling our emotional vulnerability. You can’t get rid of that in your skeleton – that way of being that we grew up in. We’re bringing out our softer sides, into what is a gang mentality band. So that’s where the dynamic comes from – it’s a constant source, a constant rub.” He rubs the tips of his fore and middle finger against the edge of his palm as if to drive home the point - that ‘hand on the land’ instinct creeping through. Emerging in the mid-2000s - in a sea of “leather jacket, proper lad bands,” as Tom puts it - Wild Beasts remained at odds with their surroundings at every opportunity. That ‘rub’ was inescapable – it
“Hello darkness my old friend…”
“ We wa nted to
THROW OUR TOYS PRAM. out of the ”
Tom Fle m i ng
even manifested itself within the band. “Certainly on our first record [2008’s ‘Limbo, Panto’], I think we all played on ten all the time,” says Ben. “We were all trying to get our point across.” By contrast, the spacious ‘Present Tense’ felt like both a breather and a turning point. Sure, the Mercury snub must have stung, but as the band’s first Top Ten album, it propelled them into higher climes, showcasing a band who finally felt a fully cohesive unit in the process. Heading towards ‘Boy King’, there were arena dates with The National in their back pockets; festival headline slots in their diaries. The temptation to tread water was never present, though there was always a tendency to remain close to that mast they first nailed their colours to. Over time, it became limiting.
“Get My Bang’’s video finds Hayden whipping out his inner Travolta, thrust-heavy dancemoves and all. As it turns out, it was almost one impulsive decision too far… Hayden: “On the way from the airport to the first dance rehearsal, I was just thinking, ‘If the car crashes, I don’t have to do this.’ [everyone laughs] ‘If I fall down the stairs… I don’t have to do this.’ This realisation of, ‘Fuck, I actually have to be this guy now.’ But there’s no point in having a song like ‘Get My Bang’ and not actually having the guts to see it through. In the end it became a really profound, life-affirming growth spurt. I was dreaming about dancing, and dreaming about the guys in inappropriate ways [laughs]. It was that incredible psychological effect. And also, Serbians as a people [the video was filmed in the country’s capital, Belgrade], are admittedly pretty brutally honest. My encouragement spanned from being told I was a pervert, or - worse than that - Mr. Bean.”
“I think there was a bottleneck, in terms of our craft,” Hayden admits with a laugh, while Ben cites the “element of surprise” that keeps his favourite bands relevant – “we want to shock you and keep you interested in that way.” “If we’d have followed the line of design of ‘Present Tense’, it’s like music by maths,” says Hayden. “It was so meticulous and so detailed, and we went to such extraordinary lengths to construct it. It was either that – we start putting the lab coats on - or we put the leather jackets on. And of course you put the leather jackets on!”
he result of their latest reinvention is a record that takes every expectation of Wild Beasts and sends them packing. Outrageous guitar solos nestle up to their most juddering electronics to date, while the sleaze would put a red light district to shame. True, Hayden and Tom might never have shied away from the sex factor, but on ‘Boy King’ it’s taking over. “I think all our records have been fairly sexually charged, and not always about good sex…” Tom admits, before adding with a chuckle: “In fact, almost never about good sex or good relationships!”
‘Get My Bang’, the lead single from ‘Boy King’, showcases that filthier new dressing best. Atop squalling, screeching guitars, Hayden’s front-and-centre. “No getting it right, no getting it wrong / just getting it on” he cries - there’s no needless poetry or self-doubt here. “Don’t be ashamed of the things that satiate you,” Hayden says of ‘Get My Bang’’s mantra. “Don’t be governed by your inhibitions.” “A band is like a nuclear reactor,” he continues, “you bring these elements together and it makes a great amount of heat and energy. When we get together, it’s kind of like harnessing that heat and energy, and if that heat and energy is directing the songs to get slicker, sexier, darker, and the guitars are getting heavier… just by osmosis, the subject matter, the sex gets heavier and darker as well, basically.” Cementing that new mantra meant tearing themselves away from their East London studio and throwing themselves into an uncomfortable setting – Dallas, Texas, a place that couldn’t be farther removed from home. “The thing about being in Texas is our modest Britishisms and politeness were useless, and it was stamped on,” Hayden smirks. The pace and size of life amped right up, it proved the perfect place to let ‘Boy King’ loose after a year of studio entrapment. “A lot of what we’d done in the early part of the year was quite smooth,” remembers Chris, “and I think we realised halfway through, like, ‘OK, this isn’t really where we want to go.’ So going to America, where everything is huge, and you can’t walk to a shop, and you can’t walk to a pub, and you can’t walk to a restaurant – you get driven everywhere… We needed that grotesque lifestyle.” Dallas’ sweltering heat – and the “ballsiness and no-nonsense” attitude of producer John Congleton - lit a fire under Wild Beasts’ feet that they’d been longing for for years. “A song like ‘He The Colossus’ – which is probably one of the most obscenely sexual songs on the record - was written pre-‘Smother’,” Hayden reveals. “It’s almost as if we were waiting for the right environment. It’s kind of a seed in the ground that was waiting for the right environment, and then all of a sudden… it got really hot-house in that studio, and it just kind of erupted and became this Venus Fly-Trap type creature.” Likewise, ‘Get My Bang’, “after a year of meticulous construction, fell together in about ten minutes.“
ar from just refreshing themes previously trodden, that spontaneity led to ‘Boy King’ unveiling a new side to Wild Beasts, too – the fun lover. “We are seen as a ‘clever-clever’ band, which does my head in,” says Tom, just a matter of minutes after play-fighting with his best mates in a boxing ring, “and certainly to be considered alongside a lot of British indie bands does my head in as well.” “The point of the record is that the heaviness should be worn lightly,” Hayden says. “It’s to be kind of celebrated – the self-loathing is to be celebrated and the darkness is to be revelled in.” He cites a mixture of “the self-loathing, masochistic” sexuality of Nine Inch Nails and the “slickness and functionality” of Justin Timberlake as primary influences on the record – not your standard Friday night playlist, perhaps, but one that seems perfectly suited to the hedonistic, warped world ‘Boy King’ inhabits. “In some ways it’s quite a dark and angry record, but we also think it’s a party record,” Tom continues. “We think it’s fun! We were smiling when we were playing it a lot of the time, because we know how ridiculous it is, but this feels great! It’s like, ‘What happens if I grab the whammy bar – oh yeah, we like that! What happens if you put that fill in the wrong place? It sounds fucking brilliant!’ That kind of thing. There was a joy of discovery about it – or, I guess, rediscovery. It did feel fun to make. We wanted to throw our toys out the pram a little bit. Make some noise.” It’s a new, fist-forward stance that’s set to send Wild Beasts leagues ahead of their past selves. Swapping silk for leather, mist for neon and tenderness for a cocksure attitude, Wild Beasts are a completely different, er, beast as they enter their second decade. “We’ve embraced a lot of the gestures and a lot of the postures that we started out against,” Hayden states proudly. “The band was founded on principles that completely object to some of the things we’re doing now. The circularity to that is kind of the beautiful thing about it. “To me, it is an alter-ego record,” Hayden reasons. “The ‘Boy King’ is bigger than us, and it’s more brash than us, and he’s more preposterous than
The showiness of ‘Boy King’ was defined in no small part by a “big, white Jackson guitar” that Tom brought into the studio, like a kid at Christmas. Hayden: It’s a statement instrument, absolutely! [everyone laughs]. Tom: It’s been something I’d been thinking about for a while, and it felt consistent with the music we were making. It’s not really a metal guitar - it was supposed to be a fun concept. Rather than making a metal album, it was like, ‘we’re gonna have some ridiculous abstract sounds.’ Hayden: The guitar is a beautiful symbol of masculinity. It’s a weapon, an extension of self – it’s like a sports car. Tom: Compared to a traditional, like the guitars I’ve played before, because I’m fingerpicking, they’re big guitars and they have heavy strings. This is like, [wiggles his fingers] ‘Wow, look at that, it’s easy!’ But certainly, I’ve been practising – you can’t have a guitar like that and… suck. [laughs] us, and to get to be that guy is pretty liberating and cathartic.” “There’s flashes of ‘Boy King’ in all of our material, always – just brief flashes. But that’s like, ‘Oh, that’s that guy!’ Now this record is like, ‘Fuck, that guy’s me.’ It’s always been around, but now there’s a slight acceptance. It’s like there’s always been a shadow, but now the shadow’s receding actually into your body. This is a selfie of a record – the camera was facing outward before.“ Wild Beasts’ new album ‘Boy King’ is out now via Domino. DIY Wild Beasts will play Reeperbahn. Head to diymag.com/festivals for details.
“ We’re not out to
COMFORT.” Tom Flem i ng
‘F o r A ll We Kno w ’ m ig h t h av e a va g u e
ti tl e w h e n it c omes
ipping on a wholesome-looking blueberry booster smoothie, Nao’s still gathering herself after a late night dancing on Dalston’s Ridley Road. The East Londoner has a basement studio right on the thronging market street, which she shares with a ton of close pals and long-term collaborators. For all of her most pinch-yourself moments over the last rapid-fire year – from Disclosure guest spots, to scooping third place in the Beeb’s Sound of poll – there’s one thing that defines all of her first steps, and this debut record. Deeply personal and totally lacking in gimmicks, ‘For All We Know’ is focused firmly on the friendships, places and loves that shape Nao as an artist and person. And, stopping by for a natter a week ahead of her first album’s release, she’s dead excited to unleash the thing for that very reason (that explains last night’s cocktails, then).
to lo o k in
G fo r w a
r d, b u t N a o ’s
bringing to mind old-school pioneers like Kashif and Patrice Rushen as much as the innovative wizardry of 2016. And there are sly references to everyone from Billie Holiday to D’Angelo hidden in plain sight, too. One voice memo on the record even sees Nao covering Floetry’s ‘Say Yes’ with Kwabs, during a tour as part of his backing troupe. It’s intended as “a thank you to the past,” she says. Every single ingredient of ‘For All We Know,’ as it goes, is taken directly from her formative years growing up. “That was my spongiest time!” she laughs, brandishing her smoothie. “In really subtle ways I’ve given a nod back,” she adds. “There’s a lyric - “with all the jungle fever” - which is a nod to Stevie Wonder,” she explains. “In ‘Girlfriend’ I sing “cos I’m your lady,” which is from a D’Angelo record. I take little licks and influences, and put them within the songs for people to recognise or not,” she smiles. “It doesn’t matter either way. I studied jazz, and that was all about taking pieces of information, or little sentences, and evolving them to make them your own. That’s improvising. You learn a language and use it. That’s kind of what I was doing here; taking bits and putting them in my own, as a little ‘hello!’ I’ve made my own story out of them.”
“I am the
through it all.
“I try to draw on what’s innate to me, and that’s what comes out,” she says. Growing up on the outskirts of London, her home was a bustling, musical melting pot; gospel music, old school funk, garage, hip hop and jazz, all colliding from stereos and clashing in the corridors. Every single thread is woven into ‘For All We Know’. There’s that meaning-loaded title, which nods to a 1934 song, performed by every legend from Aretha Franklin to Nina Simone and Nat King Cole. There’s the record’s thoroughly modern, but homage-paying production,
“With the EPs I was working out my sound quite publicly,” she ponders. It’s a spot-on observation. From the fidgety basswubs of ‘Zillionaire,’ to the skittish, parping A.K Paul hook-up ‘So Good’, Nao’s two EPs (‘February 15’ and ‘So Good’) have
Nao .That’s What I Call
You know what we’re like here at DIY - we’ll take any excuse to make a pun. With that in mind, we asked Nao to talk us through some of her all time favourite records.
Stevie Wonder – Hotter Than July “This album is just sick! I saw him perform in London a few weeks ago, and I was blown away by how timeless his voice is. He was so young when he sang on this record, and his voice still has that childishness to it. ‘Hotter Than July’ has so many colours to it, and so many good tunes, and it’s so musical.”
Nas – Illmatic “This was my first introduction to hip hop. My brothers would listen to it, and it was so new to my ears – I was super young, and I had no idea what it was. I ended up knowing the words, so I would walk around the house spitting Nas lyrics! Only as I got older did I understand how important that album is to hip hop. Nas is such a good lyricist, obviously, and his sound is so Queens, and New York.”
BON IVER - BON IVER, BON IVER “I love Bon Iver! Oh my god, how did he do that?! In a really beautiful way, he’s so stubborn in his sound. He’s just found it, and it’s the perfect album for me to put on during those long car journeys. It takes you away to another place; I don’t even know where. It’s really mystical, and that album reminds me of a few years ago, discovering new music.”
taken her in all manner of experimental directions along the way. They serve as brief little snapshots into the bigger picture, and in ‘For All We Know,’ she’s found her cohesive sound-glue. “I thought about all of my favourite albums and how they flow together, and what made them so special; what makes them interesting to me,” she says. “I love Lauryn Hill ‘The Miseducation...’, and I love ‘OK Computer’, and Frank Ocean. In all those albums, there are all these cool things happening – intros, outros, interludes, and stories. It created a feeling, and so that was the goal.” “I feel like I sound like I’m saying this in a big headed way, but it’s not...” she goes on, “but everything started with me. All the beats, songwriting, lyrics, are me. I hope that’s why it can be cohesive, because I think essentially I am the ingredient through it all.” “There’s something beautiful about the connection between writing these songs, and them becoming other people’s stories,” she adds. “When I’m singing these songs, and there are people in the audience singing them back, they’re not mine anymore,” she smiles. “They’re ours.” Nao’s far from being big-headed, and the personality that’s she’s charged her debut with – the stories and lyrical poetry that shape every song – brings the pulsing life and soul to ‘For All We Know’. While many of her pop contemporaries are busy jetting off to snazzy studios, and teaming up with gigantic chart names, this is an album built from the basics. Demoed in a wardrobe, and recorded on her beloved Ridley Road, the joy of music is more important to Nao than chart-climbing or radio play. “I want people to see how normal it is,” she adds, “and how tangible. It’s not like we’re in big shiny studios. It’s just us in our little rooms across the world making beats. I record in my bedroom cupboard!” Nao’s debut album ‘For All We Know’ is out now via Little Tokyo / RCA. DIY
From G l a s g ow,
With their last album, Twin Atlantic found themselves obsessed with perfection. For ‘GLA’ they decided to let their instincts take control, giving in to the heartbeat of the city they call home. Words: Sarah Jamieson. Photos: Mike Massaro.
t was all instinct, and it re-awakened our senses as to what we can achieve if we just do what we fucking want.” Twin Atlantic’s Sam McTrusty is sat upstairs in a South London pub, just a few days after the band headlined Gloucestershire festival 2000trees. He’s not talking about their recent successes, or their newly-complete third full-length. He’s talking about the record’s frankly batshit opener ‘Gold Elephant: Cherry Alligator’. “It was more a statement for ourselves, to excite us,” he goes on, explaining why it was the perfect song to send out in the open first. “That was the song - when we were making the record - where we heard the demo, didn’t change a thing, just added some more cool stuff to it and then it was done. That was really why we put it out first.” A clear catalyst for ‘GLA’, it’s a track that embodies the band at their most unhinged. It shows a quartet with the shackles off, acting on impulse and throwing themselves in headfirst. In some ways, it’s the antithesis of previous album ‘Great Divide’, which – by the time its rigorous touring schedule was complete - had left the band at a strange junction in their career. It’s no surprise, then, that this feels like a reaction.
“We had kind of boxed ourselves in,” admits bassist Ross McNae, “and into our roles within the band and it was getting very safe and predictable. I don’t think it was even our fault.” At the time, the four-piece claimed ‘Great Divide’ was about filling out their musical repertoire, and exploring avenues they’d not yet ventured down. There were, however, some pressures that came with their third record. “Everything was so under the microscope,” Ross continues, “and there were so many people making decisions on songs. That all got laid on us, but the reality of it was, what did we want to do? Keep fighting it or go with it and actually put an album out?” “There was at a point where we had finished ‘Great Divide’, in our minds,” Sam takes over, “but the label said, ‘We’re not putting that out’. We were constantly being pushed to prove ourselves and I react quite badly to that, and I’m then quite aggressive in my reply to that. I had the opportunity to reply with a song, so went in quite hard and wrote two songs like ‘Heart and Soul’ and ‘Hold On’, which – it just so happens – went on to become the biggest songs on that record. “That last record became a bit of a monster; like Ross said, you don’t want to turn down that shit, but at the same time, it was starting to take over, so getting back that control,” he returns back to the subject of their new album’s opener, “and giving the song an insane name, getting to make the video... It was just exciting.” On ‘GLA’, the band found themselves following a new road. Where previously, songs were written with the entire band present in a practice space, life had rejected that formula this time around. Thus, with each member working away in their own time and on their own terms, their output changed. Home studios and technology allowed for the band to not only still write, but to shape the record in a new way. “Ross and I had always been more interested, with every album we’ve done, with the production side and how things are actually made,” Sam highlights. “As we were getting involved in that, it just happened to work out at the same time that we were taking a departure from making everything so perfect. As a team, we made a conscious decision to be selfish and do what we wanted. We wanted to, once and for all, have a record that we can listen to from start to finish without judging it. We used to be obsessed with self-criticism and it became overthinking madness. But this time, it was really just about getting as far away from where we’ve been before. It
After working with producer Jacknife Lee on their now-infamous hit ‘Heart and Soul’, Twin Atlantic decided to return to his studio to work on ‘GLA’. He didn’t half put them through the wringer though… “It was brutal working with him again,” says Sam. “He fucking breaks you down to expose your inner creative weakness. He destroys you in front of your peers. We weren’t playing to our strengths anymore; we were more conscious of what makes us shit and it was put on big neon signs in front of us! We’d be like, ‘Here’s a demo we made’ and he’d rip it to bits.” Good grief! It’s not all bad though. “We’ve learned way more from being told the truth than being encouraged like little kids.”
was more of an instinctive way of writing and once we made that call, everything was so fucking easy.” Deciding to do things their own way wasn’t all that shaped their new record: it was the city in which it was written – the city they grew up in – that offered the final piece of the puzzle. Named ‘GLA’ quite simply for Glasgow, and the memories, thoughts and lessons learned in the city, their fourth album became a pinning of their colours to the mast. “I think that Glasgow definitely is, from our perspective,” Sam says, on whether the city really is embedded into the fabric of the record. “I think some people may be surprised and want to hear more, but that was the whole point in us calling it that; it’s more a modern representation of it. We’ve been quite lucky growing up in Glasgow as it’s been totally on the rise, so a lot of the old cliches that Glasgow has in the wider world – which, when you travel around, you realise people still believe are totally not the case. “When I listen to it, I definitely think it is, because it was our decision about which songs fit that attitude. It was more about if the songs sounded
“We make the rules.” Sam McTrust y
like our outlook on life; we’re from Glasgow, we still live in the inner city of Glasgow, so even if someone says it doesn’t sound like that, we can say, ‘Well, we’re from there and we wrote it.’ We make the rules and that was partly why we went down the road of making it so much about us.” There’s also something great about dedicating the album to the place that ended up defining their career. “For us, there’s a bit of... I don’t think irony’s the right word but, for example, I still get a hard time about my accent,” he continues, “so to call the album that is almost like a bit of an extra ‘Fuck you’ to the people who try and stamp on us for it.” They’ve never been ones to reply shyly, after all. He laughs, “Yeah, we just went and took it even further!” Twin Atlantic’s new album ‘GLA’ is out 9th September via Red Bull Records. DIY
Angel Olsen feigns surprise when we tell her how good that new album is.
Angel Olsen is opening herself up on her new album, . .but there’s so much more to ‘My Woman’ than its feminism.. Words: Liam Konemann. Photos: Jenna Foxton..
Are We Human? A
ngel Olsen is learning to be clear. Having spent the last few weeks gearing up for the release of new album ‘MY WOMAN’, the North Carolina-based musician has found that sometimes her message gets misconstrued. Sonically, it’s a record that’s a bold step away from her earlier work, towards a shinier, more synth-driven sound. Despite that, ‘MY WOMAN’ is arguably her most personal album to date, exploring relationships, artistry and femininity. For Angel, it’s vital the meaning is delivered with as much clarity as possible. It’s understandably frustrating, then, when things get muddled... With a title like ‘MY WOMAN’ she invariably finds herself drawn to conversations about feminism, social politics, and the complicated mess of identity. Yet, this third album is both bigger and smaller than that. It’s about womanhood, sure, but also humanity, artistry, and beneath it all, the very specific experience of being herself. “The title is ‘MY WOMAN’, and there is a woman - who is me - on the cover,” she says. “I know that it’s going to come up. As a woman there are certain things that are from a woman’s perspective, though I feel like to say every piece of work that I do is feminist because I’m a woman and I have a woman’s perspective is sort of a linear way of thinking. That’s what I’m trying to project, by saying, ‘Yeah, I am a woman, and I do see things a certain way but I am also a human. And I’m also a writer.’ I’m also someone who makes songs, and who wants to project something in my songs that isn’t necessarily just about a woman’s struggle.” This isn’t to say that Angel feels feminism should be left out of the conversation entirely. Rather that she would prefer people engage with the music and form their own opinions. “I guess that in some ways I asked for it, by being bold and knowing that it could be misunderstood,’ she continues. “My main thing is [that people] just listen to the record, and then decide if it’s a feminist piece of work. And if you think it is, if you see it in there then that’s great, because it probably is.” Identity hasn’t been the only factor to affect her newest work: this drive to engage with her audience has permeated it too. In some ways, the record has become a more broad artistic project than standalone album. To allow herself more control over the music’s
message, Angel started to write and direct her own videos, and used them as a means to tie the whole concept together. “In the situation where I’m making videos, I can finally carry my music and my sense of humour and my image, and what I think about this thing that I did and see it all the way through,” she admits. “No matter how busy I am or how limited I am by my experience - my very little experience - directing, I at least have a vision in mind when I’m writing a song. I’d like to be more in control of that.” Her clips for ‘Intern’ and ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’ feature her in a glittering silver wig, singing unflinchingly in the middle of an empty roller-skating rink. “Even if the idea that I’m projecting through wearing a wig in my videos is projecting something that has consequences, at least I get to be the one to make that mistake. At least I can have more control over the final art form.” This process does, however, see her learning as she goes. Throughout ‘MY WOMAN’, she’s exploring her limits as an artist communicating with her audience. “It’s very humbling, you know?” she says. “I realise that I’m risking certain things not coming across. But I would rather learn and put myself through the agony and the humiliation of it not coming across than hire someone and be like ‘can you make me do some weird hand movements in this video? I just want it to look artsy and cool.’ I don’t think about my work like that. I don’t think, ‘Oh, I put all this effort into this record, now you can just have my image and make it whatever you want. Just do whatever you want with me.’ I think that’s a weird thing to do, you know? “I’m testing people to see through the wig and to see through the synth music, and to hear my writing,” she says. In the
past, her dedication to authenticity has proven difficult to match to her artistic profile, but more recently, she’s struck a comfortable balance. “To hear my voice, and to hear that it is me, actually. That’s what’s so interesting about it, is that it’s actually very autobiographical.” Underneath the layers of synth and glam is a nostalgic, quietly introspective record. While it may seem like a departure, in truth, it’s something of a return to her roots. “I got a Yamaha keyboard from my biological family as sort of a parting gift from them, so I’ve had these objects around me from the beginning,” she reflects. “It was just that folk happened to be how I started writing music. Now I’m starting to embrace R&B, and the different things that inspired me along the way. I couldn’t write a song to piano before. It took time to figure that out.” In particular, she says, the tracks that open and close the album - lead single ‘Intern’ and the crackling, piano led ‘Pops’ - are close to the bone. “I get obsessed with that theme of having the songs that bookend a record, and I think the songs that bookend this album are very literal. I hope that they apply to people and that they can come across to people in a human way. “When I wrote ‘Pops’ I was like, ‘What did I just do? I’ve never done anything like that in my life! Is that even me in it?’” It’s clearly still hard to fathom for her. “I had to speculate if I was being an honest person in my writing. But then I spent time away from it, I reflected on it and I realised, ‘This is me’. I’m opening up some parts of my life - I’m opening up my singing - and that, to me, made it interesting again.” Angel Olsen’s new album ‘MY WOMAN’ is out 2nd September via JagJaguwar. DIY
“When I wrote ‘Pops’ I was like,.
‘What did I just do?’”.
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La La Land Glass Animals’ Dave Bayley has always been away with the fairies (just ask his school teachers). But with the band’s second album, he found himself fascinated by real life and true stories that managed to blow his mind. Words: Jamie Milton. Photos: Ian Laidlaw.
lass Animals’ Dave Bayley is playing a voice memo off his phone, plainly titled ‘David 2 New York City’. “Walks to the sidewalk, takes a left, goes to the corner,” begins the recording, and Dave cuts it off. “Can you hear that?” he asks, before recounting the tale. “So this guy was telling me about how he went on a date with this girl that he really liked. First date. They went clubbing on this double date with their two best friends. They left the club and sat in their car, smooching in the backseat, with their friends sitting up front - also smooching. This guy tapped on the window of the driver’s seat and shot the two people in the front. He then pointed the gun at the guy telling the story, pulled the trigger again, and he was out of bullets.” Everyday conversations with taxi drivers don’t tend to go into such gory detail. Usually it’s the weather, football results, or how Uber’s ruined everything for ‘us cabbies’. Death rarely crops up. But maybe Dave’s just the kind of person it’s easy to emote to. He certainly has his fair share of voice memos. Hundreds of conversations, recorded on the road, became the foundation for ‘How To Be A Human Being’, Glass Animals’ second record. Their first, 2014’s ‘ZABA’, was a Jungle Book-inspired canopy-swinger. This one is far
“I used to knock on my teacher’s
door and go
you are evil.’”
more rooted in reality, though Dave’s imagination managed to have its way.
way from college”. These are vivid stories, caught up in the band’s own current of strange.
Back in his school days, one teacher declared on every report card that “Dave is always in La La Land.” Given the fantastical debut album he made decades later, she might have been right. “That really upset me, for some reason,” he remembers. “So I went to see her every Halloween, from the age of eight. I’d knock on the door and go ‘Mrs Brooks, you are evil.’ I was probably dressed as a Power Ranger, maybe a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.” Terrifying.
Life on the road can often be a lonely, isolating experience. Several time zones away from home, it’s easy to feel detached from reality. But Dave honed in on those confessional conversations and the dozens of people he’d meet each day. “It was difficult to avoid talking to people,” he claims. “You feel much more part of the real world than you do when making a record, for instance.” He admits he “might have forgotten” about the real world by this point, but he cites the “fifteen people who work in the venue”, the fans who they meet after a show, new friends they make at after-parties. “It was kind of impossible not to think about people, all the time.
Now that it’s his actual job to daydream, Dave has let his imagination run riot. These voice memos didn’t initially have a purpose. He just kept having so many interesting conversations, and his “bad memory” meant that he’d forget them otherwise. “I found it really weird that people were so open,” he admits. “This taxi driver - he tells you a story in this almost light-hearted way, with a smile on his face. These really gut-wrenching, scary stories, told with a kind of cheekiness. That’s one of the things that some of the lyrics have - a cheekiness on the surface.” Aside from the personal touches, all of ‘How To Be A Human Being’ is from fantasy-land. The album sleeve is a dysfunctional family portrait: there’s a bloke in speedos with a walkie-talkie; a six-foot-seven basketball player spinning a ball on one finger; a seedy tourist with three cameras strapped round his neck; a sun-blushed space cadet. Dave isn’t forthcoming on which song is connected to each specific character, but when inventing these stories, he went deep. “It got a bit out of hand,” he admits. “I was interested in what they ate, what they wore, what they did in their spare time, what their house looked like.” He started to make drawings of these people too, hence the artwork and Neil Krug-directed videos, where these fictional characters come to life. Compared to ‘ZABA’, both records share a playful pop ethos. The group perform to thousands every night in the States it’s easy to imagine them hitting the same Madison Square Garden-heights of Alt-J. ‘Youth’ is a sunken-heart, tragic anthem, while ‘Poplar St.’ could soundtrack dramatic sports montages for decades. But instead of sharing coconuts with Tarzan, ‘How To Be A Human Being’ cruises the streets with “Northern Camden’s own Flash Gordon”, a boy whose “life is back to front”, someone boasting about how they “fuck my
“The reason people probably feel lonely is because it is strange. It’s not your normal life,” he adds. “The last two weeks we’ve been in Australia, twelve hours separated from life back home. We’re lucky in that we [the band] are friends anyway.” He’s known Drew MacFarlane, Edmund Irwin-Singer, and Joe Seaward “for twelve years now”. And even though this record was mostly made in his own company, his bandmates were fully on board with using bizarre conversations with strangers as a launchpoint. They even had some recordings of their own, it turned out. Dave’s press-record documentation of the outside world will “never stop,” even though he’d want a third album to be based around something “totally different.” The taxi driver anecdote was actually recorded just a few weeks back, after ‘How To Be A Human Being’ was complete. Perhaps the most fascinating anecdotes are still waiting around the corner. Glass Animals’ new album ‘How To Be A Human Being’ is out 26th August via Caroline International. DIY
WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS, STICK TO MUSIC Dave Bayley might write, record, design artwork and think up fantastical stories about made-up characters. But he’s not quite ready to enter the world of filmmaking, Beyoncé-style. “There are some wonderful little films out there, where this kind of thing could work,” he says, citing Jim Jarmusch’s vignettes as inspiration. “Maybe that could work, in a funny way. But I like making the music, and the artwork side of it is really interesting. I’m still getting my head round video, to be honest.”
Illustration: Nick Scott
Boy King (Domino)
Everything’s swathed in gaudy neon
here’s a lot to be said for a band perfecting their niche. With 2014’s ‘Present Tense’, Wild Beasts blossomed like never before. Taking their delicate, delirious, lovestruck sound and tightening every screw, it was the final tinkering of a beautiful engine, one that took the band to pole position. A decade in, though, and that edge-of-a-cliff, fight-or-flight instinct has taken over - with ‘Boy King’, they’re painting go-faster stripes all over their car and taking it for a drag race in the desert. A fifth album u-turn that few could pull off, ‘Boy King’ is the sound of a band reborn. The core elements are all still there
– that falsetto-baritone play-off between vocalists Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming as prominent as ever – but they’re glitched-up and garbled. Everything’s swathed in gaudy neon light and a sickening swagger, dripping with the sweat of the Texan heat it was recorded in. Opener ‘Big Cat’ asserts their newfound position as “top of the food chain”, and the subsequent forty minutes find the Kendal kings on the prowl, bellies to the ground. Where before Wild Beasts bathed in soft textures, this time around they’re wailing away. ‘Get My Bang’’s obnoxious guitar solo is just the beginning – ‘He The Colossus’ repeatedly dips in and out of squalling electronics that even Skrillex might deem ‘a bit much’, while ‘Alpha Female’ feels fit to collapse
light and a sickening swagger. with its laser-guided dogfight of high-gain guitars and blinding electronica. There’s thunderous rhythm backing every stomping step; a sense of grim urgency pushing everything forward. Sexually charged like never before, Hayden’s practically breathless throughout. “I’ll be right behind ya,” he assures the namesake of ‘Alpha Female’. Tom’s every bit as cocksure too ‘Ponytail’ may be a slicked-back grease-fest too far, but even the decidedly romantic currents of ‘2BU’ come with a looming shadow – “I’m the type of man who wants to watch the world burn,” he warns the object of his affection, a pick-up line fit for a dictator. All that being said, though, there’s a freedom to ‘Boy King’
that reveals itself only after ‘Dreamliner’ offers its gentle, closing respite. Oppressive and overbearing though Wild Beasts’ return may be, there’s a sense of shackles being cast off – or (whisper it) fun being had. Playing up to the stereotypes of the modern, fuck-first-and-ask-questions-later male mentality, each repeat play unearths another almost audible grin, buried deep in the ‘Boy King’’s gutter, and it’s that which proves their masterstroke this time around. An impulsive transformation, they’re no longer agonising over every detail. Instead, the decade-old Wild Beasts are embracing the more carnal impulses of that moniker, and sounding all the more rejuvenated for it. (Tom Connick) LISTEN: ‘Big Cat’, ‘Alpha Female’, ‘He The Colossus’ 65
PHOTO: MIKE MASSARO
eee DINOSAUR JR Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not
With a title like ‘Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not’, you might expect this eleventh album to be Dinosaur Jr. moving into unknown territory. It’s not totally out of the question, especially considering that J Mascis’ 2014 solo album saw him turning down the volume. Really though, it’s ironic: even on opener ‘Goin’ Down’ he sings “I’ve got more of the same / I’ve got more of who you know.” It’s eleven tracks of Dinosaur Jr. doing what Dinosaur Jr. do best: fuzzy, classic rock. Despite sticking tightly to the well-worn formula, none of the tracks here feel too similar. Things do get quite plodding in the album’s second half, where everything becomes a little bit one-paced. However, even here there are a few memorable moments, such as the hectic, clashing climax of ‘Knocked Around.’ For those who enjoy their nostalgic licks, ‘Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not’ will be a pretty satisfying addition. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘Knocked Around’
Crayon Soul (3 Beat)
Inspired by the weird and wonderful - from the beautifully strange cartoon show Adventure Time to the sci-fi mysteries of Interstellar - New York dream pop project Corbu present a diverse body of work with debut album ‘Crayon Soul’. Hints of Tame Impala and MGMT lurk throughout - no doubt assisted by the work of producer David Fridmann. Along with Corbu’s mind-boggling artistic vision, it makes for one of 2016’s most out-there debuts. ‘Crayon Soul’ is ultimate escapism, music that’s every bit inspiring as it is original. (Mustafa Mirreh) LISTEN: ‘Better Better Off’
eeee APOLOGIES, I HAVE NONE Pharmacie (Holy Roar)
Since the release of ‘London’ back in 2012, Apologies, I Have None have gone through a fair few changes. Four years on, however, the band have returned on blistering form. Laced with a tangible sense of hopelessness, ‘Pharmacie’ sees the quartet grapple with their demons while searching for some sense of catharsis. An emotionally fraught effort perfectly executed by the punk band, it’s impossible not to be affected by its stories. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘The Clarity Of Morning’
eee HOCKEY DAD
Boronia (farmer & the owl / believe)
Racing forwards like a keenly enthusiastic father elbowing his way into front row at his kid’s big school match, unwavering scrappiness and no-frills, immediate songwriting is clearly Hockey Dad’s schtick. Runaway surf-rock pegging it across a sandy beach – with little deviation - their debut suffers from its tunnel-wave pursuit of those crashing choruses. That said, ‘Boronia’ is undeniably good fun; even if it’s not tearing up any rulebooks. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Raygun’ 66 diymag.com
For All We Know (Little Tokyo Recordings / RCA)
Somewhat of a late bloomer, Nao has plied her trade over the last decade as backing vocalist for a host of acts from Kwabs to Jarvis Cocker. She’s spent the time since then working on a sound that fuses disparate elements of UK bass, funk and early 90s pop and soul to form something impossibly coherent; the product of earned wisdom welded to raw talent. And on ‘For All We Know’ there’s a maturity that shines through in its restraint. The undoubted standout here is A. K. Paul collaboration, ‘Trophy.’ Its Prince-like grooves, all offbeat and obsessing with the gaps in between, drive it forward with serious self-assurance. Elsewhere, ‘We Don’t Give A’ is a slick dance anthem that goes disco without going kitsch, while ‘Blue Wine’ is a slow jam for 2016, aching and throbbing its way through its four minutes. ‘Feels Like (Perfume)’ is another single contender, imbuing Destiny’s Child grooves with the controlled class of recent D’Angelo. The only real criticism is that, in trying to present all of her sides, she hasn’t been ruthless enough in the cutting room. At eighteen tracks, ‘For All We Know’ feels its length but, to be fair, it’s hard to suggest what to trim. (David Zammitt) LISTEN: ‘Trophy’
eeee THE PARROTS
Los Niños Sin Miedo
ANGEL OLSEN My Woman (Jagjaguwar)
Football commentators of the world would have a field day with ‘MY WOMAN’: it’s quite deliberately an album of two halves. Sonically, there’s a vast difference between the punchy, decisive first, and the stripped-back wandering flip-side. And lyrically, Angel Olsen is entirely concerned with opposites, too. Running away, or facing things head on; falling senselessly in love or bolting up the guarded emotive hatches at all costs – they’re all dilemmas explored on ‘MY WOMAN’. Despite the uncertain, vague and fast-shifting idealism fuelling many of her lyrics, ‘MY WOMAN’ often shows her at her boldest and most concentrated. Though the momentum does slow, there’s still a playfulness; despite her lyrical insistence otherwise. “I’ve been thinking about your smile,” waltzes the smitten sort-of title track ‘Woman’ – rasps of trumpet sounding out with a sideways smirk behind her. Contradictory, complex, and worthy of endless re-listens, Angel Olsen has crafted her most compelling record to date. (El Hunt) Listen: ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’, ‘Not Gonna Kill You’
As tends to be the case given his distinctive, almost feral rasp, it’s impossible to make full sense of The Parrots’ frontman Diego García’s words. He hardly has the elocution of ABBA, but he does sing about having “so much fun”. It may have been made by Madrileños in the southwestern city of Cádiz, but ‘Los Niños Sin Miedo’ can transport you far further than Spain, whisked away to the rock ‘n’ roll tropics. ‘James Gumb’ journeys to that very fantasy-land, its steadfast, rumbling, unrelenting bass line cutting through a steamy jungle as García is joined on vocals by the squawking and chirping of birds (which had better be parrots, or there’s some explaining to do). Ornithologist garage rockers: this is your calling. The rock ‘n’ roll tropics, however, are just one region of The Parrots’ world. ‘Los Niños Sin Miedo’ is a richly enjoyable exploration of all of that, and a big two fingers to all those who ever doubted them. ¡Viva The Parrots! (Tom Hancock) LISTEN: ‘James Gumb’
eee HAPPY DIVING Electric Soul Unity (Topshelf)
‘Electric Soul Unity’ is Happy Diving’s fourth album in less than three years. Such prolificity can either be a mark of a band so confident in their own ability, or of one with no quality filter. Luckily, Happy Diving fall firmly into the first category, with this second album on Topshelf Records full of vibrance and melody. At times, the record threatens to be blanketed by distortionladen guitars, but when guitar and vocal melodies peek above the fuzz, they’re dizzyingly addictive. It’s an album that almost falls into the trap of being swamped by its huge instrumentation, but there’s enough glimmers of insatiable melody here to cut through the fuzz and create something that sticks. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Head Spell’
eee JAMIE ISAAC
Couch Baby (Marathon
At the ripe young age of 21, Jamie Isaac has managed to create an airy record that feels like being plunged into a dizzying yet gentle wormhole of psychedelia. Debut full-length ‘Couch Baby’ is a project three years in the making, following Jamie’s assortment of little-known releases and mixtapes, an EP released in 2014, and several under-the-radar remixes and performances. His background credits check out - hailing from South London, he is a BRIT School graduate and has collaborated with the likes of King Krule - but ‘Couch Baby’ is a fresh foray into the blurry realms of both jazz and electronica. He possesses a sound forever stuck between time periods, floating through decades seamlessly. It’s a dark musical underworld. (Cady Siregar) LISTEN: ‘Pigeon’ 67
ee OF MONTREAL
After the blunt nature of last year’s ‘Aureate Gloom’, ‘Innocence Reaches’ finds Of Montreal mastermind Kevin Barnes in a much more lighthearted mood, embracing contemporary electronics. After twenty years and thirteen albums, are Of Montreal finally embracing the here and now? Kind of. And the results are very mixed. Unfortunately, a slightly more mainstream vision is consistently obscured, making ‘Innocence Reaches’ a frustrating listen. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘trashed exes’
eeee FIELD MOUSE
Best known for scurrying around under floorboards and causing low-level mischief, field mice have unfair reputations as pesky little squeak-creatures. Actually – and thanks for the heads up on this, Dave Attenborough – they’re pretty badass. The lesson in all this vaguely wildlife based rambling? Underestimate Field Mouse at your peril. Their third album, ‘Episodic’ sees the Philly band amping things up. There might be a roll-call of familiar faces longer than Stormzy’s Thorpe Park guest list – Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis, Allison Crutchfield from Swearin’, and Hop Along’s Joe Reinhart on production – but it’s Field Mouse themselves who steal the spotlight with smartly-written, sugar-edged pop songs. (El Hunt) Listen: ‘The Mirror’ ‘Accessory’ ‘The Order of Things’
eee COLD PUMAS
eee VINYL WILLIAMS
Though blanketed in a similar ephemeral haze to that of last year’s ‘Into’, Vinyl Williams’ third album ‘Brunei’ feels far less tangible. Named after the sovereign state of the same name, it’s both a psychedelic and conceptual record. That ‘Brunei’ should feel like the soundtrack to a dystopian science fiction novel is no coincidence. It’s an impressively pretty record that masks a noble subtext. But given its propensity to allow lyrics to become lost in transience, it’s likely a deeper message will go unnoticed. (Dave Beech) LISTEN: ‘Riddles of the Sphinx’
eeee THEE OH SEES
A Weird Exits
Thee Oh Sees are less a band, more an ever-evolving concept. With nine albums already under their belt, and a further seven released under earlier variations (and that’s before we even start to look at the various side projects associated with their rotating membership), the group are a force to be reckoned with. ‘A Weird Exits’ is - much like the rest of the band’s repertoire - a world of its own making. Uncouth and future-proof, it draws on everything from krautrock to psychedelia and beyond, drenched in the group’s characteristic lo-fi brand of scuzz. From gut-wrenching lows to stratospheric heights, it’s an adrenalinefuelled ride of epic proportions. The group may be old hat at this by now, but they remain relatively unsung heroes. (Jessica Goodman) LISTEN: ‘Ticklish Warrior’
The Hanging Valley
(Faux Discx / Gringo)
Cold Pumas’ debut full-length ‘Persistent Malaise’ pointed to a lot of obvious touchpoints; claustrophobic post-punk was very much the name of the game, with the likes of Joy Division and Can clear influences. With ‘The Hanging Valley’, they’ve expanded their lineup and swapped Brighton for London. Some of the fresh efforts do work; the standout by a mile is the sprawling ‘Fugue States’, which puts an industrial spin on the band’s krautrock influences. But Cold Pumas peddle a kind of post-punk that’s long since been done to death; it takes real ingenuity to find a way to imbue this particular template with genuinely new energy. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Fugue States’ 68 diymag.com
eeee DM STITH Pigeonheart
(octaves / outset)
Protégé of Sufjan Stevens, David Michael Stith first came to attention in 2009 with ‘Heavy Ghost’, blending his high-pitched voice with brass, strings and subtle electronica. Second album ‘Pigeonhole’ is a collection of fragile emotional songs, delivered with delicate double-tracked vocals. It’s a record that rewards repeated listening, unravelling like a combination of ‘Kid A’-era Radiohead and James Blake collaborating with Justin Vernon, whose voice shares the same keening quality. (Tim Cooper) LISTEN: ‘Amylette’
THOM SONNY GREEN high anxiety
(Sudden / Infectious)
‘High Anxiety’ is an outlet for every tour anecdote Thom Sonny Green has experienced in the past four years on the road with Alt-J. Since the band went stratospheric with 2012’s ‘An Awesome Wave’, he’s had little to no time off. This debut channels all those moments Thom felt like he couldn’t cope, providing snapshots of nights out and new cities, all under the blanket of dark, ominous electronics. Opener ‘Vienna’ lifts from Zomby’s frenetic technique, while ‘Arizona’ could slot easily with Arca’s recent material. Not a single track would work alongside Gus Unger-Hamilton’s keys or Joe Newman’s signature vocals. And while this is a deeply personal record that’s often hard to penetrate, it’s a curious insight into life on the road. Despite hiding behind the veil of electronic experimentation, Thom Sonny Green has taken a brave step beyond the kit. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Vienna’, ‘Neon Blue’
Drum’s Not Dead
Thom Sonny Green is giving it a go. Here’s a guide to the other drummers who went beyond sticks duty.
Father John Misty Somehow, this selfprofessed ultimate narcissist was once happy sitting at the back of the stage with Fleet Foxes. It’s hard to imagine, given the open-buttoned seduction he specialises in today. Lauren Mayberry Before she smashed it centre-stage with Chvrches, Lauren had been behind the kit since her teens, most recently as singing drummer for Glasgow band Blue Sky Archives. Janet Weiss When Sleater-Kinney originally fizzled out, Janet Weiss took up vocal duties with Quasi, and lent her skills to Wild Flag. Not a bad way to keep busy. Philip Selway Sweetly dubbed a “partner in time” by Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood, Phil is essential to how his band tick. But like Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood’s solo stints, he found an outlet with some similarly brooding work of his own.
eee BENJAMIN FRANCIS LEFTWICH After the Rain (Dirty Hit)
Benjamin Francis Leftwich won a small but devoted fanbase in 2011 with a debut album (‘Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm’) that hinted at a list of obvious influences - Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, Nick Drake. He’s been quiet in the five years since, but it’s an absence partially explained by the passing of his father, and it’s dealing with that loss and grief that fuels ‘After The Rain’. These are tough songs to pierce through. The good news is that Ben’s found a voice here and makes enough of an impact to stand out. The bad is that what follows is nowhere near interesting enough to sustain the attention that refined opening track ‘Tilikum’ demands. While these songs obviously hold important and cathartic significance for Ben, any potential feels somewhat confused. (Craig Jones) LISTEN: ‘Tilikum’
How to be a Human Being (Caroline International / Wolf Tone)
On 2014 debut ‘ZABA’, Glass Animals shared branches with tropical frogs, talking monkeys and funky fruit. A twist on The Jungle Book, it was the Oxford group’s way of making a quick exit from this planet. True to its title, ‘How To Be A Human Being’ is far more rooted in reality. But in a nod back, this reality is lifted from a hyperactive, alternate universe. Threading it all together are hooks served with popping candy. ‘Youth’ is a sadness-soaked highlight, Dave Bayley chanting “you’ll be happy all the time” like a false promise. ‘Poplar St.’’s cinematic chimes could easily end up on a blockbuster’s rolling credits. And ‘Season 2 Episode 3’ brings a Game Boy to life, Super Mario-like effects forming a bed of zany, sugar-crushed pop. On first glance, these playful songs are an extension of ‘ZABA’, which saw Glass Animals going skywards in the States while remaining oddly uncelebrated back home. ‘How To Be A Human Being’ should change the agenda. ‘[Premade Sandwiches]’ is a chest-pumping, hip-hop steered gamechanger, while closer ‘Cane Shuga’ sounds like an extension of Kanye West’s ‘808s and Heartbreaks’ days. Everyday life is pretty dull, in all honesty. So it’s with relief that Glass Animals have shifted the paradigms of reality. Their new record showcases inner madness, characters you’d cross the street to avoid, and some of the band’s smartest pop songs to date. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Youth’, ‘Season 2 Episode 3’, ‘Life Itself’
A guide to the hip hop pioneers’ best records. ‘3 Feet High and Rising’
DE LA SOUL
and the Anonymous Nobody (AOI Records))
Two decades ago this year, De La Soul’s iconic fourth album ‘Stakes Is High’ solidified itself into hip hop history at a time of turmoil. As the genre sat on the cusp of widespread commercial appeal, De La called in-fighting, label meddling and fakeness in the pursuit of mainstream appeal into question. Twenty years later - and twelve since their last release, the New York trio’s message is largely the same. Funded via a $600,000 Kickstarter, painstakingly put together independently by De La Soul themselves (with, obv, a little help here and there), ‘and the Anonymous Nobody’ is made by the hip hop community, for the hip hop community. The ethos is refreshing and the sheer, palpable joy in their craft that has always made De La Soul great is still present. Unfortunately, it’s only in the moments with somebody else in the driving seat that ‘and the Anonymous Nobody’ shines; most notable on David Byrne’s ‘Snoopies’ where the intertwining melodies are irrefutably his hand at work. The rest is trapped somewhere between past and present; never quite “classic” De La Soul, save for a few standout tracks. (Henry Boon) LISTEN: ‘Snoopies (feat. David Byrne)’
eee SLOW CLUB
One Day All Of This Won’t
Matter Anymore (Moshi moshi)
For ‘One Day All Of This Won’t Matter Anymore’, Slow Club hand things over to the session band at Spacebomb studios. Therein lies part of its problem. Opener ‘When the Light Gets Lost’ is a loping and transient affair that kills the pace before it’s begun. ‘Ancient Rolling Sea’ however, is a notable highlight. Brooding and entrenched in deep pop grooves, it’s an insight into the more realised tracks of the second half, which contains some of the strongest work Slow Club have released. Steeped in decade-spanning traditions of pop, rock and folk, it’s ambitious, marred only by early nonchalance. (Dave Beech) LISTEN: ‘Ancient Rolling Sea’
eee CASS MCCOMBS
Mangy Love (ANTI-)
This is Cass McCombs’ eighth full-length, and with that in mind, there’s a reasonably clear idea of what to expect by now. He’s generally made gentle, melodic indie folk his calling card - what he hasn’t done before is venture into contemporary political themes. The laid-back, psych of Cass’ sound has always sounded like something from a bygone era, so the fact that he’s gone sociopolitical on ‘Mangy Love’ is jarring. In practice, the results are mixed. ‘Rancid Girl’ is a brilliantly bluesy strut that takes aim at narcissism. But ‘Opposite House’ - which features Angel Olsen but criminally under-uses her - meanders. ‘Mangy Love’ is the sound of a songwriter in transition. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Rancid Girl’ 70 diymag.com
Littered with funk, jazz and even disco, De La’s debut created a middle ground between the serious and political, shunning the pop leanings of its era. ‘3 Feet’ singlehandedly rejuvenated hip hop’s sense of fun. ‘De La Soul Is Dead’
With more samples than a food festival, the collective’s second album moved away from the friendly atmosphere of their debut in favour of dark humour, crisp, aggressive beats and brave subject matter. ‘Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump’
A source of fan division, this is the group’s most experimental record. After a four-year absence, ‘AOI’ brags an iconic mix of guests from Chaka Khan to the Beastie Boys, hosting a futuristic, lo-fi party.
ee BOYS FOREVER
The fact that Boys Forever, the new project of Veronica Falls’ Patrick Doyle, takes its name from his love of The Beach Boys tells you everything you need to know about this self-titled debut. Composed largely of jangly guitars and quintessentially early 60s harmonised vocals, rare is this level of worship of one band by another. Which is fine, but this sound already exists in several solid, untouchable forms. It’s not even that it’s unpleasant to listen to, more that listening to it actively - as opposed to playing it in the background - gives a sense of diminishing returns. One of the best things about The Beach Boys was their creativity, their ability to reinvent. Boys Forever’s debut does nothing of the sort. (Nina Keen) LISTEN: ‘Poisonous’
eee ALEX CAMERON
eee BEATY HEART
Jumping the Shark
Till the Tomb (Caroline
Alex Cameron is an oddball. For starters, he’s constructed an elaborate backstory involving a (possibly imaginary) “business partner” called Roy Molloy who plays the saxophone in his band, even though he doesn’t really have a band and his record seems sax-free. He also refuses to conduct interviews outside his local bowling alley. Harking back to the dawn of synthpop, ‘Jumping The Shark’ joins the dots between the pre-punk minimalism of Suicide and the lo-fi experiments of Ariel Pink. These songs share a nobility of sadness and self-destruction, and there’s a sense that the more his backstory unravels, the more Alex has to give. (Tim Cooper) LISTEN: ‘The Comeback’
eee CRYSTAL CASTLES
Take a seat. Buckle yourself in. Hold on tight. You’re about to embark on a sugar rush trip. ‘Till The Tomb’, the second album from Peckham electro-poppers Beaty Heart, fizzes more than a can of shaken lemonade. With a swagger in frontman Josh Mitchell’s vocals, Beaty Heart can’t be placed exactly geographically. Whether it’s a tribal beat, a bluesy undertone or a carnival groove, the trio aren’t caged to their South London roots. Album closer ‘Death Metal’ is a faraway adventure in itself. A step up from their two year old debut, ‘Till The Tomb’ is a fresh journal of euphoric memories. With a knack for a killer pop hook and a jawbreaker of a chorus, the only person who wouldn’t enjoy the summertime rush would be a dentist. (Tanyel Gumushan) LISTEN: ‘Death Metal’
Amnesty (i) (Fiction)
Since Crystal Castles’ chaos-theory electronic pop blew minds in the late 00s, they’ve been in a state of flux. None more so than now, with ‘Amnesty (I)’ the duo’s first album with new vocalist Edith Frances replacing iconic frontwoman Alice Glass, the release following a brief spell where founding members looked to have disbanded, before issuing statements that implied there’d been a major falling out. The main issue with ‘Amnesty (I)’ is that Crystal Castles needed to say something different. To act happy and pretend nothing’s changed achieves very little. ‘Char’ is a bittersweet standout, an unorthodox club track designed for zombies. ‘Kept’ makes some inroads, trading fear factor for a loop-heavy headrush. But while this record is an enjoyable nod to their legacy, it could have given a bolder account of itself. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Char’, ‘Frail’ Factory Floor’s Avatar auditions didn’t go as planned.
25 25 (DFA)
‘25 25’ is Factory Floor’s second album on DFA Records, first as a two-piece, and sees Nik Void and Gabriel Gurnsey venture further into their club, bringing their studio recordings closer to the experience of their now-infamous, pulsating live show. The album’s title track is a perfectly to-the-point cut, rising and falling with precision, but never losing its crushing backbeat. While Factory Floor have made their home in the club, their 2013 debut didn’t quite manage to recreate the euphoria they produce live. ‘25 25’ sounds as great in a bedroom as it would do in any sweaty warehouse. For that reason, it’s a triumph. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Ya’, ‘25 25’ 71
spend the Night With...
NYC newcomers Cheena collectively bring Lou Reed’s thrashy punches, the heavy sounds of the Dolls and hometown glamour of Kiss to this brutally honest debut ‘Spend the Night With’. Across the record, they drag themselves off to familiar nights out, pounding mosh pits and late-night whiskey sessions. Recent single ‘Stupor’ oozes with 1970s rock glamour, belting with sliding guitars and swaggering vocals for an emphatic finish. ‘Spend the Night With’ is rough around the edges to an extreme, but it thrives under this approach. (Mustafa Mirreh) LISTEN: ‘Stupor’
The King of Whys
Show Me The Body
Body War (Loma Vista)
Searing its way through flesh like musical scarification, Show Me The Body’s debut album is as hot-headed as they come. Exploding into life with ‘Body War’’s mangled riffing, it’s a car-crash in the most beautiful sense – all twisted metal and lungs glistening black with smoke. That title track perfectly captures the energy of these New York newcomers – harsh noise and bawled vocals are their MO, but there’s a quiet intelligence and methodical turn to every movement. Politically switched-on without painting their colours in overly-broad brush strokes, ‘Body War’ captures their home city’s latent frustrations with all the nuance they deserve. ‘Honesty Hour’, meanwhile, digs closer to home. Frontman Julian Cashwan Pratt might ply his trade in tearing himself asunder, drawing blood on stage and hurling himself around like a ragdoll, but ‘Body War’’s midpoint finds him looking inward, sounding fit to break as he longs for something just out of reach. Anxious but exuding confidence, intelligent but forever giving over to impulse, ‘Body War’ is a first work up there with the best of them. Show Me The Body are an incomparable prospect, shunning the limelight and churning up dirt in the shadows. Where they’ll go next is anyone’s guess, but their first moves are attention grabbing in the extreme. (Tom Connick) Listen: ‘Body War’, ‘Aspirin’ Show Me The Body are heavily influenced by their home turf of NYC - we unpick the East Coast metropolis’ most prominent impacts on ‘Body War’. Disclaimer: NYC’s quite nice really. Try the pizza.
Mike Kinsella has been releasing music as Owen for fifteen years now; ‘The King of Whys’ is his eighth album in the guise. As such, it’s a collection of songs that see Mike as confident as possible in his skin. Reuniting American Football in 2014, he took a step back into his formative, emotional teenage years, and ‘The King of Whys’ appears to be a reaction against this. The vast majority of the album is told from the present day, with him as father, a husband, and son. No Owen album is going to completely reinvent Mike Kinsella as a songwriter - he’s too entrenched in the things he does so well - but he’s a master of the slow-burn. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘A Burning Soul’
•••COMING Up••• BEACH BABY
No Mind No Money
Riding on last year’s hype, Beach Baby’s suitably coastal pop makes its biggest statement yet on 2nd September.
THE WYTCHES The building blocks of
60% Industrial noise lifted straight from a building site
Twatty Crazed yelps Blood-curdling police from down screams that’d a darkened wake you up at night alleyway
ALL YOUR HAPPY LIFE
Never afraid to raise the dial, The Wytches’ second album is a ferocious follow-up to ‘Annabel Dream Reader’. It’s out 30th September.
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB Gameshow After a vow of silence, Two Door Cinema Club are promising to shift the formula with a third LP. It’s released on 14th October.
BILBAO BBK LIVE Kobetamendi, Bilbao. Photos: Emma Swann
ARCADE FIRE ARE NOTHING SHORT OF MAJESTIC. 74 diymag.com
hey may be one of the first acts to grace the stage this year but the crowd’s here early, ready and eagerly awaiting Years & Years. The trio are as infectious as ever, with Olly Alexander proving yet again that’s he’s one of the most brilliant pop stars right now. Even tackling a cover of Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ – interspersed with Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ for good measure – isn’t a challenge for the band, who seem to take everything in their stride.
her Friday evening set is hard to draw your eyes from; the likes of ‘Venus Fly’ and ‘Kill V. Maim’ are electrifying, but it’s during the full-throttle ‘Go’ that things take a turn. A power cut at a festival is never something an artist wants to deal with, but her approach to the situation is admirable.
The adoration rippling through the crowd as Pixies take to the stage is as clear as the mountain air. The band clearly mean business: beginning proceedings with the crunching ‘Bone Machine’ before storming into their rendition of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s ‘Head Lauren Mayberry is a On’, their opening gambit is commanding leader, diving strong. It’s easy to see just how headfirst into Chvrches’ set with profound an effect this band the ease of a headliner. Songs have had on their audience. from ‘Every Open Eye’ shine From their anthemic ’Debaser’ brighter than ever, evidence to those forever-recognisable enough that their incessant chords that kick off ‘Where Is touring is constantly paying My Mind?’, the quartet go from off. It’s not all high octane strength-to-strength. electro-pop though: the band are also unafraid to mention the The rise of Tame Impala over current political climate in the the past few years has been UK. ”I feel like we’ve spent this remarkable. They top the bill on whole run of European festivals Saturday, and it’s evident that apologising to people,” she says, this new-found status suits them pointing out a fan holding an EU well. Opening with the mindflag, before introducing ‘Gun’ bending introduction of ‘Nangs’ with a cutting dedication to before bursting into their Boris Johnson. now-infamous ‘Let It Happen’, the Australians ooze a real Thursday headliners Arcade confidence on stage tonight. Fire are nothing short of majestic. While their last By the time Foals take to the record’s touring schedule saw stage, the crowd are prepped them transform their set into and ready. Blitzing through a fully-fledged disco, tonight, their set, there’s electricity in they’re firmly back on grandiose the air; ‘Snake Oil’ twists and territory. Opening with the coils like the animal it’s named anthemic combination of after, before ‘Total Life Forever’ ‘Ready To Start’, ‘The Suburbs’ whips up a storm. It’s the likes and ‘Sprawl II’, they then hit of ‘Inhaler’ and ‘What Went the breaks and swerve back Down’, though, that remain into ‘Reflektor’. Its title track the big guns of Foals’ back packs in fun in droves, but is catalogue: they’re monstrous also bittersweet as they cut in size, providing a tremendous the song short just as conclusion to their massive set. the late, great David Bowie’s lines would’ve It’s Wolf Alice, however, who usually been called out. are given the job of closing the Bursting straight into final day. Performing at 2.30am ‘Afterlife’ immediately is a challenge for even the most after is a tangibly touching experienced but, despite their moment. late billing, the four-piece seem unfazed. The hypnotic scuzz of No longer stuck behind ‘Your Loves Whore’ is enough her synths, Grimes has to get lost in, while ‘You’re A grown into a true pop star. Germ’ is an explosion, all visceral Backed by dance routines energy and squalling guitars. VANT and high-octane energy, (Sarah Jamieson) 75
“Kumbaya my lord, Kumbayaaaa!”
Victoria Park, London. Photos: Jonathan Dadds.
asing Citadel in on this sunny Sunday are the golden, glittering Cat’s Eyes. The pair – The Horrors’ Faris Badwan along with multi-instrumentalist Rachel Zeffira – offer up a laid-back, almost effortless set, previewing a handful of tracks from new effort ‘Treasure House’, which soar away darkly in the sunshine. Meanwhile, on the other side of the park, New York’s Battles are getting themselves acquainted with the rather toasty Soundcrash stage. A sweatdrenched tent isn’t enough to put them off, though; after a few issues for drummer John Stanier during the first half of their set, things soon get into full, experimental swing. Laden with intensity, there’s something mesmerising about the band’s shifting setlist. Newer cuts like ‘Summer Simmer’ and ‘The Yabba’ weave their way in seamlessly, while the intricate ‘Atlas’ remains a firm favourite. Caribou’s exclusive outing sees him transform the likes of ‘Our Love’ and ‘Can’t Do Without You’ into living, breathing musical opuses, extended way beyond their regular playing time. There’s a confidence to Dan Snaith’s set that works perfectly on a festival stage, making him the ideal co-headliner. In contrast to the swelling electronica that’s taken over the Main Stage, Lianne La Havas is serving up an altogether more organic alternative on the Communion x DIY stage. Brilliantly talented, the singer runs through the likes of ‘Forget’, ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’ and ‘Green and Gold’ with a real beauty and warmth. It’s her cover of ‘Say A Little Prayer’, though, that really shines bright today. Sigur Rós’ new stage show has been something of a talking point this summer, and by the time they arrive on stage to close Citadel, it’s clear why. The intense opening – the band’s three members standing alone, at the back of the stage – melds into a gorgeous light show. Spectacular visuals elevate the likes of ‘Vaka’ and ‘Ný Batterí’, the effect much more profound because of it. A band both majestic and ferocious, Sigur Rós’ set is something to behold. Their next chapter may remain a mystery for now, but its beginnings are promising. (Sarah Jamieson)
Sigur Rós’ set is something to behold.
Open’er Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport. Photos: Emma Swann.
he shadow of Brexit looms as large as the plentiful grey clouds over Gdynia in northern Poland this weekend. It’s Glastonbury hangovers that kick things off, though, as Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker nearly doesn’t make the band’s bombastic closing set on Wednesday, a photo with medical staff and oxygen mask posted on the band’s Instagram hours before.
The Aussies’ set is peppered with “how are you doing? how are you DOING?”, requests to sing along - stage banter 101 basically, but one of the reasons Tame Impala look terrifyingly close to reaching the very top. Appearing on the main stage after headliners Florence + the Machine doesn’t seem odd - ‘Elephant’ and ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’, songs which once felt shy, have become powerful anthems; they’re within touching distance of that final step. On day two, Foals’ closing trio of ‘Inhaler’, ‘What Went Down’ and ‘Two Steps, Twice’ is simply brutal, even when Yannis Philippakis gets his foot stuck in a selfie stick while attempting to crowdsurf.
The 1975 are due to play. Delayed by well over an hour, Matt Healy accurately describes the situation when they do make it out: “Hello, we’re The 1975, and everything is fucked.” The crowd, who stayed put even through the worst weather - it literally makes the stage shake - are full of energy nonetheless. Bastille’s Dan Smith revels in the post-storm atmosphere, running and jumping everywhere possible. Poland loves the band, with even the staff at the main stage bar seen singing along. He dedicates ‘Overjoyed’ to the storm, and Bastille create one all of their own today. As closing sets for a festival go, Pharrell’s takes some beating for hands-in-the-air euphoria, but Grimes does her very best to incite the same chaos over in the tent. The final day of Open’er 2016 began sodden, downbeat and even bordering on scary, but come its conclusion, the Poles and the acts they adore turned it around. (Will Richards)
LCD’s Soundsystem’s huge slot at last week’s Glastonbury was their biggest in Europe since they returned, TV cameras and millions of viewers watching and waiting. As a result, the performance was nervy as well as triumphant. Tonight, meanwhile, is care-free and glorious. James Murphy grows into the set as it progresses, kicking cymbals and playing hide ’n’ seek with a spotlight. ‘All My Friends’ is as anthemic as expected, and the return of LCD Soundsystem rolls on. It’s an eerily quiet field on the final day, as right on cue, a storm rips through just as
LI Positivus VE
Salacgrīva, Latvia. Photos: Krists Luhaers, Konstantin Kondrukhov.
t’s Olly’s birthday, and Years & Years’ glittering set feels like a celebration, all bubblegum hits and beaming desire. Hot Chip take that carnival atmosphere and run with it - a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’ opens a door for Mark Ronson’s DJ set to march through. It’s not quite hit after hit after hit but when he’s good, he’s really very good. And he plays ‘Uptown Funk’ twice, so...
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Wolf Alice have a battle on their hands. It’s the band’s first ever visit to Latvia and the muggy opening of ‘Your Love’s Whore’ isn’t the best of introductions but with ‘You’re A Germ’ swiftly following, people don’t put up much of a fight in falling for them. There’s something special about a crowd slowly losing themselves to Wolf Alice’s magic.
years & years
Energetic to the point of chaos but never out of control, Grimes’ hour-long assault is beautiful, wondrous, terrifying and impossibly empowering. She bounces, shrieks and dances about the stage as we glimpse behind the curtain and see Grimes, the wizard of awe. Iggy Pop, meanwhile, is a masterclass in melding nostalgia with relevance. “This means everything to me,” he screams to the packed crowd. And you believe him. That lust for life isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and tonight, it’s shared by the whole of Positivus. (Ali Shutler)
Victoria Park, London. Photo: Sarah Doone.
hat was originally a straight up dance event feels this year like a litmus test for the sound of now Lovebox pulses and buzzes with the zeitgeist.
Stormzy demands energy from the moment he gets on stage. Born and bred in London, this is an thrilling homecoming gig. From the opening bars of ‘Scary’ the level never dips below high-octane. Even though his debut album hasn’t even dropped, Stormzy is at the peak of his powers. Another Londoner, Katy B, delivers a lesson in pop bangers, not least her recent UK chart-topper, ‘Turn The Music Louder’ and concluding with the song that launched her, ‘Katy On A Mission’. Run The Jewels are quick to build up a rapport with the crowd, El-P reminding us “It’s good for us to be here to realise both countries are run by arseholes” before they launch into ‘Lie, Cheat, Steal’. Saturday starts with George Clinton, who arrives on his spacecraft with ‘Mothership Reconnection’, bringing with him members of the latest Parliament Funkadelic line-up and a seemingly endless array of backing singers, guitarists and rappers. Five years since LCD Soundsystem’s last London show there’s a sense of expectancy hanging in the air. But James Murphy is too shrewd and too talented to fail. From the throb of ‘Us v Them’, and the opening “A-Ow! Ow!” and joyful disco-punkfunk rush of ‘Daft Punk is Playing In My House’, this is a band who’ve lost none of their ability to have the crowd eating out the palm of their hand. (Danny Wright) 78 diymag.com
run the jewels
“Listen here, this is my treehouse and nobody else is allowed in.”
British summer time Hyde Park, London.
Florence + The Machine
Photo: Sarah Louise Bennett. year ago, thereabouts, Florence Welch found herself in the unique position of topping the Glastonbury bill with just days’ notice. Twelve months later, she’s closing ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ with a hometown show just a stone’s throw away from her first Florence + The Machine gig. “I don’t remember it because I was so drunk,” she quips, between sprinting barefoot from one end of the stage to the other. Her show is tight and awe-inspiring throughout. Perennials ‘You’ve Got the Love’ and ‘Dog Days Are Over’ draw proceedings to a close with a perfect sing-along moment under a picturesque London sunset. The lid is closed, then, on the ‘How Big…’ era, with style and elegance. Go get some shuteye, Florence. (Alex Cabré)
MUMFORD & SONS Photo: Robin Pope.
or Mumford & Sons, the shift from banjo-wielding public schoolboys to aspiring arena rock band is a risk that has worked in their favour. Opener ‘Snake Eyes’ is swiftly followed by the big-hitting rustic couplet of ‘Little Lion Man’ and ‘White Blank Page’, during which the crowd is at its most jubilant. ‘There Will Be Time’, when ‘Johannesburg’ EP collaborator and Senegalese legend Baaba Maal joins in, meanwhile ranks as the most captivating moment of the night, Marcus abandoning his guitar halfway through for a ‘Fix You’ style coda. Based on tonight’s showcase, headlining to 60,000 is a feat unlikely to go unrepeated. (Alexia Kapranos)
massive attack Photo: Carolina Faruolo.
ith a smattering of guest appearances - including a wheelchair-bound Horace Andy whose vocals are no less chilling and captivating for ‘Angels’ than they were almost 20 years ago, as well as Tricky joining them on stage for the first time in three decades for ‘Take It There’ - Massive Attack are clearly firing on all cylinders tonight. As they’re joined by Deborah Miller and a full orchestra for encore track ‘Safe From Harm’ to a backdrop of an impassioned plea for aid to refugees, tonight Massive Attack are here to try and unite people, even for a moment, through music and discourse at a difficult time. If only for a short while, it’s worked. (Henry Boon)
Ferropolis, Gräfenhainichen. Photo: Stephan Flad.
he first act to whet appetites on the main stage at Melt! is M83, with a set packed with huge electro-pop bangers, the stage literally lighting up for ‘Midnight City’, its triumphant synth hook proving as at home at festivals as soundtracking Made In Chelsea. Even better are Tame Impala. Throughout ‘Let It Happen’ and ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’ the bass is groovier than a discoflavoured packet of McCoy’s crisps, embellished with trippy visuals, pedals galore and some guy in the crowd holding a weird glow-in-thedark jellyfish umbrella thing. Jamie xx opens with the post-punk of ‘Atmosphere’, hauntingly industrial among the setting of looming cranes and concrete. It’s a set with twists that don’t go unnoticed - an ideally-crafted soundtrack to the peak-fun of Saturday night. On the final night Chvrches play an invigorating, fresh set to a rammed crowd, then, as the final tones of Disclosure’s ‘Latch’ wub around the site, everyone is sonically satisfied. (Kyle MacNeill) 79
LI T in VE the
Strathallan Castle, Perthshire. Photos: Ryan Johnston.
verything from the apocalyptic rain, to the oceans of mud and the general lack of organisation means T in the Park descends into an unruly mess on countless occasions. It isn’t always good, clean fun, but those who made the trip to Strathallan Castle are willing to embrace the chaos. LA skate-punk outfit FIDLAR flourish with a typically raucous performance which begins with a delightfully scuzzy, impassioned rendition of the Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’. Headliners The Stone Roses’ set prompts predictably deafening mass sing-a-longs, but while thousands indulged in some nineties indie nostalgia, Jamie xx is busy establishing himself as one of dance’s most forward-thinking performers. Rat Boy thrives on the Radio 1 Stage, showing that he’s far more musically diverse than many give him credit for. Jordan Cardy and band combine bombastic nineties dance beats with blaring, punk-inspired guitars which suggest he’ll continue his upwards trajectory. As the sun sets on Sunday evening, LCD Soundsystem undertake a vibrant performance that fuses electro, disco and pop. The dance-punk pioneers deserve credit for giving so much to a show enjoyed by so few and remain on terrific form throughout. (Dan Jeakins)
Passeio Marítimo de Algés, Lisbon. Photo: Kris Griffiths.
espite the ‘taps-aff’ fearlessness of Biffy Clyro, day one’s sentimental moment belongs to Wolf Alice, who finally reach a meta peak by playing ‘Lisbon’ in the city it was named after. Theirs is a sharp, focused, brilliantly loud set; a timely reminder of ‘My Love Is Cool’’s force.
Emotions are at a high by day two’s close, but the mood changes by the time Arcade Fire close the main stage. Just their second show in two years, they give the impression of a band who’ve been watching the world unfold before their eyes, unable to pass comment. (Jamie Milton) 80 diymag.com
Photo: Chris Bethell
Radiohead swing between perfect calm and berserk fandom. Oldies like ‘Creep’ and ‘Paranoid Android’ are certified classics, and ‘Nude’ and ‘Reckoner’ earn a similar status. Opener ‘Burn the Witch’ is a clogged-up, dense mess without the strings of its recorded version, but given how they re-jig fan favourite ‘Talk Show Host’ and percussive tracks from ‘The King of Limbs’, Radiohead treat their songs like constant works in progress.
Dyrskuepladsen Darupvej, Roskilde. Photo: Andrew Benge.
he story of Roskilde shares more than a few similarities to the same concepts of the previous weekend’s Glastonbury: both are huge not-for-profit festivals founded on hippie principles about half a century ago.
Accompanied by a full conventional band, two backing dancers either side of her, with her ‘Art Angels’ tour, Grimes is at her absolute best on Thursday at Roskilde. Later, Blood Orange brings his ‘Freetown Sound’ to the red velvet quilts that drape over the Avalon for a rare live show this side of the Atlantic. Friday’s late slot is filled by Peaches, and whether it’s being joined by two large vaginas (in full anatomical detail) for ‘Vaginoplasty’ or attempting to walk across the Danish crowd in heels during ‘Fuck the Pain Away’, it’s a real highlight. LCD Soundsystem are seamless on this tour. No new material gets an airing on their Saturday night headline, but the band look anything but tired on this late-night set which is both celebratory and a perfect finish to the weekend. (Niall Cunningham)
Upcote Farm, near Cheltenham. Photo: Sinéad Grainger.
leary-eyed fans are camped out at the main stage for VANT, who open Friday’s proceedings with an energetic set that sees Mattie roll over backwards while playing a solo at one point. Headliners Twin Atlantic are on solid stadium-rocking aspirant form later, coming a long way from peddling angular songs at the bottom of the bill, and both look and sound a lot more comfortable with their new material than the old. Over the entire weekend, it’s doubtful that any band has more t-shirt wearing devotees than Creeper, who deliver a high-energy set on Saturday to rouse their faithful. Demob Happy’s almost QOTSA-like grunge tunes, meanwhile, are a breath of fresh air, powerfully knocking the hair back as they blast through a set of alt-rock blinders that would have been at home in 90s Seattle.
“Can I scream?!” The line that everybody expects Dennis Lyxzén to open Refused’s set with actually doesn’t happen until their final number, but luckily the intervening noise is an arrestingly-delivered masterclass in heavy punk rock. Before they smash out ‘New Noise’, Dennis stops to speak. ”The people who book this festival, it’s fucking fantastic, but you need to do better. Next year, 25% women, and in five years 50% women and 50% men. That’s the way it should be!” Loud cheers and a sizeable number of boos rise from the crowd, but Refused aren’t here to debate - kicking into ‘New Noise’ may be a jade’s trick, but it’s a classy one to end the festival on. (Alex Lynham)
INDIE DREAMBOAT Of the Month
Zac Farro HalfNoise / ex-Paramore*
Zac, waiting for a call from Wes Anderson.
Full name: Zachary Wayne Farro Nickname: Zac, or Mr. Downtown Star Sign: Gemini Pets? No pets now, but I will have a fish tank one day Favourite Film? Ahhhh, so hard. Probably The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Favourite Food? Avocado toast Drink of choice? Coffee or whiskey Signature scent? Comme des Garçons Favourite hair product? Shampoo What song would you play to woo someone? ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ by The Beatles If you weren’t in a band, what would you be doing? It’s hard to say, I’ve been doing music since I was 12, so I have no idea really. Maybe an architect? Chat up line of choice? “Hellooooo ladies!” *it’s complicated
August's issue goes into the ring with Wild Beasts, as they spill all about new album 'Boy King', to 'GLA' with Twin Atlantic as they look c...