set mu s ic fr e e f ree / is s ue 7 7 / August 2 018 diymag .com
NO MORE HEROES
Slaves, IDLES and modern punkâ€™s compassionate new guise.
AUGUST2018 GOOD VS EVIL
What’s on the DIY team’s radar? EMMA SWANN
Founding Editor GOOD I’ve spent the month in my element, festival-hopping. So many great performances. EVIL My trusty Converse decided to split half way through Benicàssim, forcing me to fix ‘em with the only adhesive I could find: plaster tape :(. ..............................
Features Editor GOOD Spent a solid amount of time at various Spanish festivals and fully applaud their commitment to turning red wine into a summer drink. EVIL Got home and my curtain rail snapped, thus rendering my bedroom essentially a large, sweltering hot greenhouse. RIP. .............................
Art Director GOOD A new mad crush on Miranda July and everything she’s ever made or done. EVIL My new hobby of listening to two bands of different genres at the same time is hurting my mind. .............................
If you ever find yourself face-to-face with Slaves or IDLES on stage, chances are - on first glance - they’ll entirely live up to your expectations. Brutally loud and wonderfully aggressive, their relative brands of punk come packed with fierce adrenaline. But peel back the layers of boisterousness and you’ll discover two bands trying to change the genre from the inside out. Dealing in compassion and honesty while attempting to dismantle outdated masculine tropes, there’s nothing stereotypical about these two. Elsewhere in this issue, Spring King talk us through their brilliant new album, Our Girl celebrate the release of their debut and Anna Calvi welcomes us into the tactile world of her new record ’Hunter’. Plus, Joe Mount gives us a few clues about Metronomy’s next album, ooh-er. Sarah Jamieson, Managing Editor GOOD Got to see The Gaslight Anthem play ‘The ’59 Sound’ in full last month and it was predictably glorious. EVIL I’m meeeeelllllllttttinggggg… Never thought I’d be complaining about a heatwave but alas, here I am.
What’s been tickling the DIY team’s eardrums this month? DILLY DALLY - ‘HEAVEN’ Three years on from debut LP ‘Sore’, the Canadians are back with more deliciously crunchy riffs. SPEEDY WUNDERGROUND - ‘YEAR 3’ The buzzier-than-thou label of producer Dan Carey’s brilliantly varied new compilation features JW Ridley, Flamingods and more. BADDIEL & SKINNER & LIGHTNING SEEDS - ‘THREE LIONS’ Whenever our Will had the keys to the stereo in July, it was a constant rotation between this, the ‘98 rework, Fat Les and Ant & Dec. On repeat.
Digital Editor GOOD Our brave boys exceeding every expectation out in Russia. EVIL Not evil per se, but sending love to Joe Seaward and everyone on team Glass Animals. .............................
Staff Writer GOOD Going to Poland to watch Arctic Monkeys and Gorillaz and drink £2 pints was pretty good. EVIL This heatwave has gone on for so long now I’m not sure it’ll ever be cold again. St Vincent at Pohoda, by Phil Smithies. 3
C O N T E N T S
6 METRONOMY 8 MERCURY PRIZE 12 DEAF HAVANA 14 BLAENAVON 18 HAVE YOU HEARD 20 BROCKHAMPTON 22 FESTIVALS NEU
26 CALPURNIA 28 WESTERMAN 33 GENTLY TENDER
34 SLAVES 42 IDLES 50 ANNA CALVI 54 OUR GIRL 58 SPRING KING REVIEWS
62 ALBUMS 72 LIVE
Founding Editor Emma Swann Managing Editor Sarah Jamieson Features Editor Lisa Wright Digital Editor Will Richards Staff Writer Rachel Finn Art Direction & Design Louise Mason Contributors Alex Cabré, Ben Tipple, Dan Owens, Dave Beech, Emily Mackay, James Bentley, Joe Goggins, Nick Roseblade, Rhian Daly, Sophie Walker. Photographers Coen Rees, Ed Miles, Ellen Offredy, Ester Segretto, Eva Pentel, Gabriel Bertogg, Patrick Gunning, Phil Smithies, Pooneh Ghana, Sharon López, Sinéad Grainger. Cover photo and photo this page by Pooneh Ghana. For DIY editorial firstname.lastname@example.org For DIY sales email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org For DIY stockist enquiries email@example.com
DIY HQ, 23 Tileyard Studios, London N7 9AH Shout out to: Our own personal Jesús and his team at Mad Cool, Eva Pentel and Sub-Rosa Studios for hosting a LOT of topless men, Bitches Love Nebulas for letting Joe IDLES borrow the kimono, Mr Kipling for his exceedingly good Fondant Fancies, Sharon López for being a 100% solid gold hero, the Tate Modern for hosting our lovely party, Factor 50 sunscreen for keeping us alive through the festival season and Mad Cool’s constant supply of jamon on tap. 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. 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.
Kim and Aggie are NOT gonna be happy when they find what their new assistant has been up to.
Oscar’s well up on the nipple theme of this month’s issue.
‘Summer ‘08’ to Summer ‘18 From
You might have to wait a little while, but there is definitely, conclusively a new METRONOMY album on the way. And it’s influenced by... Twenty One Pilots! No, don’t leave! Words: Lisa Wright
t’s 1am on the coast of Spain and Metronomy frontman Joe Mount is cheerily chatting away ahead of their late night Benicàssim set, which still lingers a couple of hours in the distance. The subject in question is their next release - the follow up to 2016’s ‘Summer ‘08’ - and it is, so says Joe, “110% done”. “No wait,” he pauses. “Actually probably like 90%. Or 85%.” Still not bad. The plan, it seems, was originally for new material to already be out in the world. Following a slightly unusual roll out for their previous LP (“I managed to convince the label to let us release a record without really touring or promoting it,” he laughs), Joe and his band - keys-man Oscar Cash, bassist Olugbenga Adelekan and drummer Anna Prior, wanted to reintroduce themselves into the live arena and then get back in the saddle proper. “The idea was to start touring, do some festivals last year and then start to release music for the next album,” he summarises. Due to changes out of their control at label Because Music, that didn’t happen. But the actual songs themselves did. And if Metronomy have always had a knack for tasteful, gradual evolution, moving from the skronky blips of ‘Nights Out’ to the breezy pop of ‘The English Riviera’ through the darker lilt of ‘Love Letters’ and beyond, then LP5 looks set to continue that in even more surprising form.
‘Stressed Out’ - Ed] and was like, what is this?! And after a while I thought God, if I was 15, I would be obsessed with this. I would hammer this properly,” he continues. “I thought, I get what’s happened to me now. I’ve crossed over. I’m a parent now, and I’ve crossed over into that world and I can’t understand the kids! But my job is to make music and I love the idea of still having some kind of connection to teenagers. So I was listening to this Twenty One Pilots track, great track, and I thought yeah, this is brilliant. So ‘Lately’ is a quite serious little rock song. It’s a little bit angsty, you know?”
“After a while, you realise, y’know... love the skin you’re in!” - Joe Mount
“I’m aware that if you’re cynical, you might listen to Metronomy stuff and feel like it’s referencing older stuff too much or it doesn’t live in the now. And I think this record is supposed to be the record that’s from 2018,” begins Joe of the album’s genesis. So far, so understandable. Influenced by the Spotify culture of cribbing things, mixtape style, from everywhere, it’s seen the singer look to making songs that are “a bit more adventurous than the standard way of doing things. Not so classically song-ish in a way”. The first fruit of this labour comes in the form of ‘Lately’ - a heavier, more insistent track that the band have been touting in their live sets for a while now. And this is where the curveball comes. “I was listening to that band Twenty One Pilots and I was so into it.” Sorry, what now!? “I kept hearing that song ‘Blurryface’ [We think he means single
Elsewhere, there are other slightly unexpected influences creeping in: namely, the Englishness at the heart of the baggier end of the ‘90s. “My girlfriend is obsessed with The Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays. Now I have this appreciation for it that I didn’t have before and there’s something about the Englishness of [that kind of] groovy, indie music that I like,” says Joe. “I remember somebody saying that Metronomy was very English, and when I first read that I felt like, oh that’s not where I see myself. But now I realise that’s completely where I exist. And I’m not patriotic in the slightest, but in music England has been a very important place and you can get obsessed with American music or rap and wish you weren’t who you are. But after a while, you realise, y’know... love the skin you’re in!” As well as dishing up Metronomy’s next serving, likely slated for release next year with, hopefully, some new material out before this one’s through, Joe’s also been busy racking up the credits, co-writing and producing with Robyn. “I started working with her nearly four years ago, so it’s taken a long time,” he informs. “But if I’d been waiting for a Robyn record as long as her fans have, then I’d hear [single ‘Missing You’] and be like, brilliant. Everything’s cool.” There’s also plans in the works to hopefully collaborate on the next Nicola Roberts record (Joe co-wrote the former Girls Aloud star’s debut) and as for other big name pop collaborators, he’s got a few ideas. “I think I could do some stuff for Zayn...” he muses, grinning. “Not Louis, though. Louis is a bit white bread.” So that’s the hot take. Twenty One Pilots: yes. Louis Tomlinson: no. Album: imminent. You heard it here first. DIY 7
Eyes on the Prize
t’s that time again! Albums have been listened to, votes have been cast and the nominees have been revealed: Wolf Alice, Jorja Smith, Arctic Monkeys and Novelist are some of the shortlisted nominees for the 2018 Hyundai Mercury Prize. Other artists given the nod this year include Everything Everything, Lily Allen, Florence + The Machine and Nadine Shah.
This year’s set of shortlisted albums was decided by a judging panel which featured the likes of Mumford & Sons’ Marcus Mumford, Ella Eyre and Lianne La Havas. The ceremony for this year’s Prize - which was won by Sampha last year - is set to take place on 20th September at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. Speaking to us after hearing the news, Lily Allen said: “I’m just very overwhelmed! I worked really hard on this album and I worked to make something that felt really connected, and a true representation of how I feel. To get the nod from the panel is just amazing. I feel so happy.” Opening up about their second nomination - this time for ‘Visions of a Life’ Wolf Alice’s Theo Ellis told us: “We feel amazing, I can’t believe it. It’s weird… you never thought it’d happen to you when it happened the first time, and then you definitely think you’ve ticked off your life goal, so we’re buzzing to be here again.” Check out the full list of nominees below. Arctic Monkeys • ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ Everything Everything • ‘A Fever Dream’ Florence + The Machine • ‘High As Hope’ Jorja Smith • ‘Lost & Found’ King Krule • ‘The OOZ’ Lily Allen • ‘No Shame’ Nadine Shah • ‘Holiday Destination’ Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds • ‘Who Built The Moon?’ Novelist • ‘Novelist Guy’ Richard Russell • ‘Everything Is Recorded’ Sons of Kemet • ‘Your Queen Is A Reptile’ Wolf Alice • ‘Visions of a Life’
BIG CITY BIG NIGHT Here at DIY, it’s no secret that we’re big fans of tacos, frozen margaritas and all things Austin, Texas, so we’re really rather excited to be teaming up with Visit Austin. Later this month, DIY Presents + Visit Austin are all set to bring you a very special show, featuring one of Austin’s finest home-grown new artists Jackie Venson, who’ll be bringing her eclectic brand of soulfully-inflected guitar music. She’ll be playing for us down at Two Tribes Brewery, in Tileyard Studios and the gig’s set to take place on Thursday 23rd August and will be the grand old price of free, so you’ve got no excuse to miss it. Plus, keep your eyes peeled for some more exciting news about our partnership with Visit Austin in the not-so-distant future…
N OV E M B E R 2 0 1 8 M A N CH E ST E R J I MMY ’ S W ED 14 L I V E R P O O L S O U N D B ASEMENT THU 1 5 S H E F F I E L D CA F É TOTEM F R I 1 6 G L A S G O W T H E GARAG E SU N 18 L E E D S H Y D E PA R K B OOK C LU B 19 N OT T I N G H A M T H E B O D EG A SO C IAL C LU B TU E 20 N O R W I C H T H E WATERFRO NT W ED 21 LO N D O N CA MD E N ASSEMB LY TH U 2 2 B R I STO L LO U I SIANA TU E 1 3
L I V E N AT I O N .C O. U K - T I C K E T M A S T E R .C O. U K - K I N G N U N .C O M A L I V E N AT I O N, S J M, D H P A N D D F P R E S E N TAT I O N I N AS S O C I AT I O N W I T H P R I M A RY TA L E N T
WHAT LEDGE BRAVE LION, SEAN COYLE-SMITH
ootball fever swept the country this summer like it hasn’t done for over 50 years. The performances of our brave boys out in Russia united a nation at home. M&S sold out of waistcoats thanks to our heroic leader Gareth Southgate. Supermarkets ran out of beer (!) leading up to the World Cup semifinal, and street parades followed every England win. Shame’s Sean Coyle-Smith took it one further, though, getting a pretty wonderful ‘World In Motion’ tattoo, precisely the day before England crashed out of the competition in extra time to Croatia. Foolish, some might say, but we applaud it as patriotism (and wonderful banter) of the highest order. Express yourself, Sean.
Due to the name of our magazine, dear readers, we often get some slightly strange requests in our social media inboxes. Sorry, Jane from Surrey, but we’re really not sure on the best way to assemble your new desk. As our expertise lies far away from actual DIY, we’ve done the sensible thing and asked some of your favourite bands for their #1 DIY tips. We’re a magazine of the people after all. This month, it’s Serge from Kasabian. “I’m absolutely awful around the house. I can’t go near any DIY. That’s the reason I joined a band, so I’d never have to do anything like that! I can open a bottle of beer with a water bottle, that’s probably about as fancy as I get. Is that DIY? It’s pretty helpful if you don’t have a bottle opener.”
These days, even yer gran is posting selfies on Instagram. Instagran, more like. Everyone has it now, including all our fave bands. Here’s a brief catch-up on music’s finest photo-taking action as of late.
ALWAYS MEET YOUR HEROES. (@GEORGE_EZRA)
“ANYWAY HERE’S WONDERWALL” (@WOLFALICEBAND)
S P OT T E D Believe it or not, pop and rock stars sometimes do normal things, too. They get lost, go food shopping, and catch buses – all sorts. This month, we clocked a fair few of them roaming around… Arctic Monkeys’ MATT and JAMIE, plus LIV TYLER at QOTSA’s Finsbury Park gig, JACK WHITE at the NOS Alive hotel breakfast, staring at a tray of scrambled eggs. JIMMY from Foals eyeing up sarnies at Pret King’s Cross.
ROW, ROW, ROW YER BOAT… (@THEKILLERS)
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SAINT ORSINNER? DEAF HAVANA
After waiting almost five years to release their last album, it’s taken mere months to follow it up. Venturing into entirely different territory this time around, fifth album ‘Rituals’ sees James Veck-Gilodi and co. facing their demons head on. Words: Sarah Jamieson.
knew I needed to do something different,” begins Deaf Havana’s frontman James Veck-Gilodi, who’s in the process of trying to combat London’s scorching heatwave by hiding in the shade. He’s currently diving into the headspace he was in before beginning work on the band’s forthcoming fifth album, and if anything is clear, it’s that he was ready for change. “It needed to be radical,” he urges. “It needed to make a decision for me, really.” That decision was about the future of the band. While, on paper, the quintet had released their Top 5-charting album ‘All These Countless Nights’ just eighteen months ago, what most people wouldn’t realise is that it had long been completed, with label complications and red tape pushing the release further and further back. By the time it finally landed in the charts - something James still seems surprised about - the whole process felt drawn-out and bloated. And so he faced his big decision. “It would’ve been so easy to release another record that sounded like a bit of a progression from the last one,” he says today, just two months on from having completed ‘Rituals’ - an album they promised themselves they’d released this August. What he didn’t entirely expect, though, was to find himself exploring a totally different side to the band’s sound. While ‘All These Countless Nights’ found them channelling the likes of Springsteen and Tom Petty, ‘Rituals’ is a much poppier beast. “After I wrote the first song completely naturally and it ended up sounding that way, I thought, ‘This is obviously in me somewhere’, so I kept going and it seemed like a good path to follow.” Working with the band’s longtime sound engineer and friend Phil Gornell in his Sheffield studio - “it totally allowed me the freedom to not feel embarrassed to show him an idea that was crap” - ‘Rituals’’ new direction wasn’t just something that surprised the frontman: his bandmates also needed some convincing.
“WE NEEDED TO SHIFT THE GEARS.” - JAMES VECK-GILODI
“At first, it was almost laughable,” he explains. “We would listen to stuff and think, ‘Can we actually use this?!’ But we kept writing. There was a point where we’d written ‘Sinner’ and we thought that was gonna be the ‘pop’ song. Even when I first sent stuff to the guys; there’s a song called ‘Holy’ which I sent to my brother, and he said, ‘Great song, but we can’t use it’, then a week later, he messaged me and we decided to go with it. It did take a while but I always wanted a change. The demos I had written before were so average that we needed to shift gears a bit.” Shift them, they have. When the album was announced, accompanied by the soaring lead track they thought would be their token pop offering, it’s safe to say the band weren’t sure how things would go with fans. “I was so scared,” he laughs. “I was convinced that everyone who had previously liked our band was going to disown us, but there have been less bad comments on the first single of this than the first single of ‘…Countless Nights’. It couldn’t have gone better. “If that reaction’s anything to go by, this gear-change was the right decision after all. ‘Rituals’ is out 3rd August via SO Recordings. DIY
What’s Going On With...
BLAENAVON On the eve of the trio announcing a new UK tour this October, we caught up with the band’s Ben Gregory to discover just what the band have been doing over the past few months. Words: Lisa Wright.
So! This is your first tour back for a while - are you excited to rev the machine up again? I think we’ve all missed the lifestyle a lot. You live in a weird little bubble where your day is nicely structured and I’ve missed that. And we get to go to lots of places we’ve never been before which is nice. There’ll be new songs debuted we assume? Yeah man, we’ve got hella tunes. As we’re doing this tour as a three-piece it’ll probably be the more rocky ones that make it in, but this album’s quite a lot more expansive so I think it’d be doing it a disservice to play it as a three forever. I also need to be playing about four guitars at the same time, which is kind of an issue. There’s a song called ‘Catatonic Skin Bag’ that we’re excited to play [this time]. Sounds cheerful! No, it’s pretty dire, but I get to press my distortion pedals pretty nicely on there. There’s also a track called ‘The Song’s Never Gonna Be The Same’ which I think is the best thing we’ve ever written. Is the record done yet then? It’s in a very good place; we’ve been recording in Manchester with Catherine Marks, who’s just been making it sound as phat as possible. Harris [drums] didn’t leave the studio for the entire 18 days we were there. It’s been a strange and lovely experience.
DIY’S PICK OF
LNSOURCE In desperate need of a live music fix but can’t decide where or who? If you feel too spoilt for choice, here’s just a few of LNSource’s upcoming shows worth getting off the sofa for.
20th August, The Louisiana, Bristol and 22nd August, The Dome, London The Aussie surf-rock pair released second album ‘Blend Inn’ earlier this year, recorded in Seattle with John Goodmanson, and follow their appearance at May’s Great Escape festival with these pair of UK shows.
The Nude Party 22nd August, The Old
Blue Last, London They’ve supported Sunflower Bean and Arctic Monkeys on tour, had Black Lips drummer Oakley Munson produce their self-titled debut - released back in July and now the North Carolina-formed band head to East London’s most notorious boozer.
28th August, The Garage, London The Nashville rockers followed up second album ‘How Will You Know If You Never Try’ with the Butch Walkerproduced single ‘Growing Pains’ earlier this year plus they’ve also supported the likes of The 1975 and Passion Pit on the road. They play this London date ahead of appearances at Reading & Leeds. For more information and to buy tickets, head to livenation.co.uk or twitter.com/LNSource 14 diymag.com
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HALL FA M E of
A monthly place to celebrate the very best albums released during DIY’s lifetime
Gaslight Anthem - The ‘59 Sound Built upon wit, charm and a series of picturesque nostalgic narratives, the Jersey punks’ second album has become their most powerful. Ten years on, it’s still just as potent as ever. Words: Sarah Jamieson.
hey say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes, words alone can build an entire world. Throughout musical history, we’ve had storytellers; lyricists intent on not just pulling heartstrings or making a crowd move, but creating cinematic backdrops through their songs. And that’s exactly what The Gaslight Anthem’s ‘The ‘59 Sound’ feels intent on carving out, even ten years on from its release. The New Jersey punks were in good company when it came to their offerings. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Bouncing Souls and Hot Water Music, the quartet were never going to be shy when it came to pairing gut-wrenching riffs with darkly honest vignettes from life. Yet, with their second record, they really tapped into something richer and more vivid. While their debut ‘Sink or Swim’ was brilliantly scrappy, ‘The ‘59 Sound’ felt more full of real, breathing life and characters. From the pained narrator of the title track recounting the death of a friend, to Maria, the enigmatic Nashville native from ‘High Lonesome’, each song offered a new
vignette steeped in nostalgia - a new version of the world to inhabit - each more heartbreaking than the last. Granted, the easy comparison here is always going to be Bruce Springsteen: a hero of frontman Brian Fallon himself, a fellow Jersey native, and perhaps one of the most famous lyrical storytellers to tackle American working class life, his influence is stamped all over this album. But his presence feels natural - much like his influence on Fallon’s life in general with tracks like ‘Meet Me By The River’s Edge’ nodding graciously towards his 1980 album ‘The River’. And that’s why ‘The ‘59 Sound’ remains so potent: every moment conjures up a pictureperfect image of American suburban life, before piercing it with the darkness that always infiltrates our rose-coloured view of the world. And while our real world may have moved on in the ten years since its release - sort of, at least - Fallon and co’s version still doesn’t feel all that far from home. DIY
THE FACTS Release: 19th August 2008 Stand-out tracks: ‘Great Expectations’, ‘Casanova, Baby!’, ‘The Backseat’ Tell your mates: Full-blown Springsteen inception happened when Gaslight played at Glasto 2009, and The Boss decided to join them for ‘The ‘59 Sound’. Dreams do come true, kids!
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CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS DOESN’T MATTER
.......................................................................................................................... With comeback single ‘Girlfriend’, Christine & The Queens gave us a steamy re-introduction into her world, introducing the titular character of new album ‘Chris’. The picture begins to look clearer on its follow-up, the catchy ‘Doesn’t matter’. Following in the footsteps of ’Girlfriend’, ‘Doesn’t matter’ takes debut ‘Chaleur Humaine’, which flirted on the edges of the dancefloor in a more intimate, introspective state, and drags it kicking and screaming into the sweaty mess. Though its shiny exterior presents an artist more confident than ever, ’Doesn’t matter’’s lyrics present a Chris who is battling significant demons. “Of lately the only people I can stand are the unraveled ones with their hands laying bare,” she sings before recounting “the suicidal thoughts that are still in my head”. The confidence with which these thoughts are transmitted, though, allows a platform from which to banish them for good. (Will Richards)
MØ & DIPLO
SUN IN OUR EYES .......................................... Unlike ‘Kamikaze’ before it, or Major Lazer’s mega-hit ‘Lean On’, ‘Sun In Our Eyes’ is somewhat more understated. Introduced with simple but powerful piano and doused in the warm sunshine mentioned in its title, MØ’s latest shimmers with end-ofsummer nostalgia. It’s relaxed but a little realistic, dreamy but self-aware. A more understated affair to come from the collaborators, sure, but the first taste of MØ’s new album ‘Forever Neverland’ is both as addictive and intriguing as we could’ve hoped. (Sarah Jamieson)
CHINESE MEDICINE .......................................... King Nun’s return has been a long time coming, but they make up for lost time in chaotic fashion on ‘Chinese Medicine’. A highlight of the band’s lauded live show, Theo Polyzoides helms the track with his now-trademark yelps, and the whole thing bursts and fizzes with excitement. A twitchy verse folds out into a chorus that swaps the intricacy for a driving, anthemic punch, and it’s a duality that sets King Nun apart. It’s a joy to have them back. (Will Richards)
I FEEL FREE ........................................ On ‘I Feel Free’, taken from their upcoming second album ‘Heaven’, Toronto punks Dilly Dally are ferocious as ever. ‘I Feel Free’ is a mid-tempo cut, with singer Katie Monks’ voice swaying back and forth between an almost-angelic whisper and a scream effortlessly throughout. The accompanying video matches the track’s ominous tone, with Katie digging up her bandmates from their graves under overcast skies in an attempt to revive them to play live again. Suitably creepy yet brilliant stuff. (Rachel Finn)
LOVE IT IF WE MADE IT ....................................... Its introductory sparkling synths are business as usual for The 1975, but it’s within the biting verses that things really become seductive. A Black Mirror-esque stream of consciousness, the band once again channel the bleak new world messaging of their ‘Music For Cars’ ‘era’. It’s not all dark though: when the chorus kicks in, the relief is glorious. Its repeated refrain of “I’d love it if we made it” becomes a silver lining to our world’s black cloud, the first bright dawn after a storm. (Sarah Jamieson)
Kilimanjaro & Friends by arrangement with Progressive Artists present
6 / 10 17 / 10 18 / 10 19 / 10 20 / 10 24 / 10
Manchester, Neighbourhood Festival Liverpool, Arts Club Reading, South Street Arts Centre Brighton, Sticky Mikeâ€™s Frog Bar Bristol, Simple Things Festival London, The Dome
25 / 10 26 / 10 27 / 10 30 / 10 1 / 11 2 / 11
Cambridge, Portland Arms Leicester, The Cookie Dublin, Whelans Newcastle, Think Tank Leeds, Brudenell Social Club Glasgow, The Great Eastern
The debut album Invitation To Herâ€™s out August 24th via Heist or Hit Available on Swamp Green Vinyl, CD and Digital Download thatbandofhers
BROCKHAMPTON Making their European debut this month, culminating in huge shows at Reading & Leeds, get to know the game-changing collective. Words: Will Richards. After repeat chaotic sold-out tours around the US for the past few years, Brockhampton are finally making their European debut this month. Playing a host of festival slots, a handful of headline shows - including two nights at London’s KOKO which sold out quicker than it takes to make a brew - and finishing with two sure-to-be-memorable sets at Reading & Leeds, August is when they’re set to really arrive on an international scale. To get you up to speed and hyped for the shows, here are five of their essential tracks.
(‘All American Trash’, 2016) Helmed by Merlyn Wood - one of the collective’s most aggressive, versatile rappers - ‘INFATUATION’ is a highlight of debut mixtape ‘All American Trash’, an introduction that saw them emerge as future superstars, where lightning fast verses glide over silky beats.
(‘Saturation’, 2017) Debut studio album ‘Saturation’, released in early 2017, was the first of a trilogy of records released last year that saw them end 2017 as one of the planet’s most hyped bands. ‘GOLD’ was one of the tracks that pointed the way forward, the members trading verses wonderfully, with different styles and perspectives constantly interweaving.
Brockhampton here, just back from a team bonding session at the paintballing.
‘SWEET’ (‘Saturation II’, 2017)
‘Saturation II’ saw the band’s promise grow, and ‘SWEET’ is one of their most-loved cuts to date. It shows their gang mentality off perfectly; Matt Champion and Kevin Abstract handle verses with care before Merlyn barrels his way in like a bull in a china shop.
‘BOOGIE’(‘Saturation III’, 2017) If there were ever any doubts that ‘Saturation III’ would push the band further into superstardom, then the opening hammerblow of ‘BOOGIE’ put them to rest - a wonderfully energetic shot in the arm, it’s fun, intoxicating and grin-inducing, and the best thing the band have ever written. ‘1999 WILDFIRE’ (2018)
Announcing new album ‘the best years of our lives’ on their US TV debut with Jimmy Fallon, the band then started their own Beats 1 show. The first slice of new music shared on the airwaves was ‘1999 Wildfire’, a wonderfully catchy cut that sees Kevin Abstract taking the reins.
READING &LEEDS 24TH - 26TH AUGUST
From headliner Kendrick Lamar, via huge spots for Wolf Alice, Shame, Creeper, The Horrors, Brockhampton and Slaves, plus more favourites than you can shake a smuggled-in selfie stick at (try Pale Waves, The Vaccines, King Nun, The Magic Gang, Sunflower Bean, Spring King, Dream Wife and Gengahr for size), this yearâ€™s bash will be both as varied and jam-packed as ever.
Dream Wife How has festival season been treating you so far? We’re having a lot of fun! It’s really interesting being flung between all these microcosms, quite complete little worlds. Last week we swam in a lake in France at Eurockéennes and the week before, I (Bella) went straight from the stage and into the sea and this week we played on a stage over what is possibly the biggest river in Europe in Linz for Ahoy! Did any of you go to Reading & Leeds growing up? I was an Oxfam steward at Reading in 2011. It was exciting to be part of the structure of a beast like that. I was positioned by the Festival Republic stage and just watched bands and occasionally told people where the toilets were. It’s obviously well known for being a rock festival; who’s the most likely member of Dream Wife to instigate a circle pit? Rakel is more likely to incite with her words, Alice and I with our bodies. You’re playing the same day as Big ‘Man’s Not Hot’ Shaq - can you recall a time when you also misjudged your clothing choices? We always forget our swimming things.
LOWLANDS 17TH - 19TH AUGUST
The Dutch extravaganza welcomes acts including Gorillaz, Kendrick Lamar, Dua Lipa, Patti Smith and Stormzy to Biddinghuizen, where they’ll appear alongside Sofi Tukker, Brockhampton, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Yonaka and many others.
Q&AYonaka CURRENTLY ON A WHISTLESTOP TOUR ACROSS EUROPE, THE FOURSOME LOOK AHEAD TO THEIR LATEST DUTCH ADVENTURE.
Hello Yonaka! How is festival season treating you so far? Our festival season is going amazingly and it’s only just started. We’re really excited to be doing the European festival circuit this year and checking out places we haven’t been to. Have you played in the Netherlands before? Yes we have played the Netherlands a few times; we played Eurosonic earlier this year and DICE festival last year. Dutch crowds really go for it and we can’t wait to come back for Lowlands. The festival takes place next to a theme park: are you roller coaster fans? LOVE. THEM.
Are there any acts you’re hoping to catch across the weekend? Wolf Alice, The Magic Gang, Dua Lipa, and Kendrick Lamar.
IVALS ST FE ELECTRIC FIELDS
30TH AUGUST - 1ST SEPTEMBER Taking place in the picturesque setting of Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway, Electric Fields is a mix of the old and new, pairing indie stalwarts Noel Gallagher (not forgetting his High Flying Birds), Teenage Fanclub, Ride, Idlewild, James and Leftfield, with current faves including Dream Wife, Sunflower Bean, LIFE, Young Fathers and Shame.
What’s more, we’re hosting a stage at the event, with Ghostpoet, IDLES, Black Honey and more. DIY Stage Saturday 1st September • GHOSTPOET • • IDLES • • BLACK HONEY • • TRACYANNE & DANNY • • HEAVY RAPIDS • • CRYSTAL • • FEET • • LUCIA • • SHAMBOLICS •
Q&ACRYSTAL THE GLASGOW QUARTET ARE ONE OF THE NEWCOMERS ON THE DIY STAGE AT ELECTRIC FIELDS GET ACQUAINTED.
Hello, CRYSTAL! Describe your music to us in the form of a Tinder bio. Nirvana, Bikini Kill, LCD Soundsystem, Queens of the Stone Age, Early Kings of Leon, Wolf Alice and Fleetwood Mac. If you like them, hopefully you’ll like us. You’re playing the DIY stage at Electric Fields, have you been to the festival before? We’ve never been to Electric Fields before so it’s going to be an exciting day for us! You’re from Glasgow - how is the scene there at the moment? Glasgow seems to be thriving - it’s potent with a wide genre-spanning collection of amazing artists. Not only that but there is a strong attitude towards everyone helping each other out to make amazing art without having egos or anything like that get in the way.
YPSIGROCK 9TH - 12TH AUGUST
The location of this Sicilian festival is as much the star as the artists playing: the imposing castle of Castelbuono, which provides a breathtaking backdrop to one of the event’s stages. The bands they’ve nabbed aren’t bad either, with Shame, The Horrors, ...Trail of Dead, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Confidence Man all set to appear.
Q&AShame AHEAD OF TAKING THEIR INCENDIARY LIVE SET TO SICILY, SHAME’S SEAN SPILLS ON HOW THEY’VE AMPED IT ALL UP FOR THE BIG STAGES - AND ALMOST FINISHED THEIR FESTIVAL BALLIN’ ON A YACHT.
How have you found adapting your sweaty punk to playing big, outdoor stages? In the past few months we’ve been doing a lot of headline shows, and we’ve been used to playing longer sets. Whereas at festivals we tend to get about half an hour, and we’re largely playing to people who don’t know us. It’s always nice trying to work a bit harder to convert people who haven’t seen us before. But sometimes it is absolutely soul-crushing. I think it’s translated quite well, I think we’re holding our own on the main stages, we haven’t fucked up too badly. And we’ve actually got our own sound man now! And a guitar tech! You’re playing Ypsigrock, and you’re planning on making a holiday out of it, we’ve heard... Yeah, that’s the plan. Because we’ve got three or four days afterwards before we have to be in Portugal, and we thought, we don’t get much of a break anywhere, we don’t get to see much of anywhere, and so if we do get to see somewhere, I’d like it to be Sicily. We were supposed to be staying on a yacht, an AirBnb yacht, it was so cheap! But it fell through, sadly. So we’re no longer sailing into the ocean. The dream sank.
BESTIVAL 2ND - 5TH AUGUST
With Mark Ronson and Diplo’s Silk City and MIA among the headliners, plus bona fide party starters Grace Jones and Chaka Khan also featuring on the Castle Stage’s bill, this year’s shindig in Lulworth will be nothing if not celebratory. There’s also time for some faces familiar to these pages, too, as July cover stars Black Honey and this month’s IDLES are joined by The Big Moon, Sundara Karma, Shame, Rat Boy, Whenyoung and Superfood among lots more.
WELCOME TO THE HOUSE Bestival just got even bigger: this year, the legendary House of Vans will find a new festival home for the first time when it visits Dorset, and let us tell you, there are so many brilliant bands playing, you might never want to leave. Curated by Sunday Best Recordings, Invaders of the Future, House of Vans Sessions and us lot at DIY, it’ll play host to the likes of Spring King, The Big Moon, Kurupt FM, Holiday Oscar, The Xcerts, Anteros and loads more. DIY will be taking over proceedings on Sunday 5th August - check out our line-up below, and find out more about House of Vans in our nifty cover fold-out. HOUSE OF VANS, BESTIVAL Sunday 5th August • SPRING KING • • ANTEROS • • SUNSET SONS • • LADY BIRD • • MELLAH • (+ VERY SPECIAL GUESTS)
Q&ASuperfood ALWAYS BUSY BOYS, SUPERFOOD WILL BE PLAYING NOT ONE BUT TWO SETS AT BESTIVAL THIS YEAR THE SECOND OF WHICH IS AT HOUSE OF VANS. LOOK BELOW FOR MORE INFO ON THAT ONE…
What’s new in the world of Superfood? We’ve been busy mapping out a route to Kepler-186f to go hunt down some extraterrestrial beings and play them our new recordings. All of our friends are sick of us dragging them aside at 4am and forcing them to put headphones on so we thought we need a fresh perspective on all of it. We’re only releasing once we have their blessing. What can we expect from your appearance at Bestival this month? We’re playing two sets so the earlier one, we’ll be starting it off slow and ramping it up then the second we’ll be starting hard and curbing it towards the end. Maybe a couple of covers thrown in, maybe an alien playing a tambourine? This year’s Bestival theme is ‘circus’. Which circus act would Superfood be? Just did a little google search on this one and I think we’d do some kind of variation on a little known act by a guy called Richard Sands otherwise known as ‘THE HUMAN FLY’. He would wear little suction cups on his feet and climb things and pretend to be a fly. Hopefully, I can get the apparatus together in time for the first night.
CALPURNIA Yes, yes, it’s the kid from Stranger Things. But Calpurnia aren’t just another celeb cash cow; this
The road from child Hollywood star to burgeoning musician has a strange place in history. From The Mickey Mouse Club’s all-star brat pack to Macaulay Culkin’s fast food-themed Velvet Underground covers band The Pizza Underground, it’s seen global successes and horror show car crashes - the latter often swiftly succeeding the former. So when Calpurnia - fronted by Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard (aka young hero Mike Wheeler) - first cropped up with debut single ‘City Boy’ earlier this year, it was with some degree of wariness that the world pressed play.
Peaks - Calpurnia’s recent debut EP, released in the UK via indie champs Transgressive, is a far more musically-astute, accomplished thing than you might expect from a band of such formative years. “I definitely have faith that when we get up there and do what we always do and show how passionately and genuinely we love what we’re doing then people can overcome whatever biases they may have,” explains Ayla. “I think it’s having faith that you’ve put in the work and they’ll respect that in some way.”
Playing their first show as part of a charity benefit in LA last year, Calpurnia were faced with the bizarre reality of debuting their wares to a horde of starstruck Finn fans. “I will never forget what it was like going onto the stage as a unit energetic and for the first time and hearing screams, legitimate screams. It very bloody was crazy,” recalls Jack. But though they may have started the show as Mike Wheeler Plus Pals, they ended it having Give it approximately 10 seconds of the exciting. Words: won the crowd round on their own terms. “Afterwards this band’s Growlers-esque sun-drenched Lisa Wright. woman came up and she was just so ecstatic. She wasn’t slackerisms, however, and you’ll realise drunk or high or anything, she was just super normal but so that the quartet (completed by guitarist happy that kids were bringing back rock,” enthuses Finn. Ayla Tesler Mabe, bassist Jack Anderson and drummer Malcolm Craig) are about as far away from an ill-fated vanity “She was like, ‘You just got up on that stage and you’re just a big ball of energy and so tight.’ I was so flattered, and project as you can get. Calpurnia, like any good new band, I guess I kind of knew from that that if she’s excited then are just a bunch of mates, nerding out about music and maybe more people are excited too.” learning as they go along. “We all connected initially over classic rock. Obviously The Beatles, obviously Led Zeppelin People undoubtedly are excited - and with good reason. and those obvious choices,” enthuses Finn, dialling in during a filming break. “But what was also special about it was But for now, Calpurnia are taking it slow, fitting the band in whenever they can between schoolwork and starring in that there was stuff that we needed to show each other.” one of the most successful shows of the last few years. A “I remember sitting in my basement and we’d constantly classic tale. “It’ll become a priority when it can become be showing each other different music. You showed me a a priority,” nods Finn. “We’re thinking about doing a little song by the Buzzcocks...” joins in Ayla, she and the rest of [tour] when I’m not shooting something, so that we can live the band currently in hometown Vancouver. “I was going that life for a bit, get in the van and feel that great vibe for a through a big Blink-182 phase so I showed her that and few weeks.” “But I think it’s almost a blessing in a way that she’d be like, ‘Cool... It’s not my kind of music...’” laughs we have so much space to give what we’re doing because Finn. “I’d be like, ‘how can you not like this?! This is art?!’ of schedules,” picks up Ayla. “I think when you’re not totally But even Malcolm was like, dude...” overwhelmed, then you can enjoy the moment a lot more because you’re not being thrown into this totally different Though three quarters of the band initially started playing world. You’re taking little bits and pieces of it and you can together at a School of Rock-style musical summer camp take time to reflect on what you’re experiencing.” - “It’s the same idea [as the film], just without any of the irresponsible illegal stuff,” notes Finn - he and Malcolm What they’re experiencing is the early stages of what could had been pals, jamming and going for auditions together, genuinely blossom into a truly exciting musical career, no since the ripe old age of nine. It means that, though the band are all still in their early teens, they’ve actually been at caveats necessary. Sure, Finn’s got his diary full of other things right now, but when Calpurnia have time to really this lark for a while now. You can tell it, too. From the Kevin Morby lilt of ‘Louie’ to ‘Wasting Time’ - a brilliantly irreverent explore what they’re capable of, you sense they could be the real deal. Heck, stranger things have happened. DIY thing in the surf-punk vein of pals and EP producers Twin lot are eager,
“It’ll become a priority when it can become a priority.” - Finn Wolfhard 27
There’s no denying we live in stressful times, rife with overthinking. The music of Will Westerman arrives as something of a soothing hand on the shoulder: a deep breath, a re-evaluation. In his three singles of 2018 so far, the West Londoner champions simplicity, both musically and lyrically. In ‘Confirmation’, a wash of delicately plucked guitars and sprightly synths, he sings “Don’t you wonder why confirmation is easier when you don’t think so much about it?”. On new single, the subtle ‘Easy Money’, he doesn’t so much hammer the point home, more just quietly state again. “Why should I worry? Worry makes you ill.”
Words: Will Richards.
Will Westerman makes calming music for anxious times.
Taking inspiration from folk to make something fresh,
Following 2016 debut single ‘Jericho’ and last year’s ‘Call and Response’ EP, the new tracks mark a move away from a more traditionally folk beginning and into dreamier, synth-splashed waters. “I don’t know if I ever really saw myself as a folk artist,” he tells us, taking a needed deep breath at an Italian retreat, gathering thoughts for a debut album, which follows the completion of a new
EP set for release at the end of 2018. “Because of the instrumentation - just me playing the acoustic guitar - that’s an immediate thing that people tagged onto me. I never really saw the music in that way. Not that I have a problem with it, but in my head, the music was always going to be a bit different to that.” Working with electronic producer Bullion allowed the greater textures and colours in Westerman’s head to manifest themselves in songs that could be built from the ground up. “I definitely don’t like too many competing elements going on at once,” he affirms. “I don’t like it to be cluttered. I suppose it’s an aesthetic thing, I find a lot of music to be in conflict with itself, with too many competing elements, and maximalism can be great if there’s a function for it, but often I just feel like it’s for lack of a better idea.” “I think it’s braver and more honest to strip away the rubbish that your insecurities throw out, and strip it down to what it is that you were trying to say in the first place before you chickened out. The way I write isn’t strictly literal anyway, and so to have a lot of that is just too dense, and you just think: what is it?” DIY
Westerman’s been Tangoed.
ANOTHER SKY Londoners crafting weird and wonderful soundscapes.
Another Sky come firmly from the weirder, more experimental end of British rock music: shades of Radiohead can be found all across their early cuts. Latest track ‘Avalanche’ showcases their promise best, a slowly creeping death march that’s as invigorating as it is unsettling. “These days have no up or down,” they sing, but as Thom Yorke and co do so well, Another Sky make the mundane sound majestic. Listen: The intense battle cry of new single ‘Avalanche’. Similar to: The inventive nature of alt-J moulded into something fresher and darker.
RECOMMENDED LUCY LU
Nilüfer Yanya associate furthering London’s prowess for silky neo-jazz.
Sløtface bassist going solo with slinky
He’s a member of Nilüfer Yanya’s live band, but Luke Bower also makes creamy, horn-flecked guitar pop of his own as Lucy Lu. A debut EP released recently makes for a tantalising introduction, and adds yet another name to the list of young Londoners making a new home on the fringes of jazz and pop.
Lasse Lokøy’s day job as bassist of Norwegian pop-punkers Sløtface is a world away from his new solo material as Lokoy. Debut single ‘Malibu’ recalls Caribou at his most enthused and energetic, and is an unexpected left-turn.
Listen: Promising debut EP ‘Lucy Lu Vol. 1’. Similar to: Puma Blue, ALASKALASKA.
Listen: The low-key carnival of debut track ‘Malibu’. Similar to: Mount Kimbie, Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
GRAND PAX Trip-hoppy tracks to fall into from the mysterious London songwriter. We first heard of London multi-instrumentalist Grand Pax when she played our Hello 2018 show at London’s Old Blue Last back in January. The love affair began instantly, and she’s only going from strength to strength over six months on. Her self-titled debut EP is a pool of triphop-influenced, Warpaint-esque dreams that it’s all too easy to dive into and lose yourself in. Listen: The utterly gorgeous ‘Comet’. Similar to: A dream pop band starting out in early ‘90s Bristol. 30 diymag.com
PSYCHEDELIC PORN CRUMPETS The newest addition to the oddball Aussie psych canon. It’s almost fitting that Perth’s Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are named as ludicrously as they are; hailing from the same Aussie hotbed of psych that brought us King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and Tame Impala, and managed by Arctic Monkeys’ team, it’d be kind of weird if they weren’t. Luckily, they’ve got the musical chops to back it up too, producing the kind of riff-heavy wig-outs to immediately rival their peers. Listen: ‘Cornflake’ recently re-released for the UK with a suitably trippy video is a joyous delight. Similar to: Staring at a magic eye poster for a really, really, really long time. But with sound.
All the buzziest new music happenings, in one place.
BAK ON THE ROAD Fresh from being featured in our Neu section last month, genrebending Londoner Bakar has announced he’s taking debut mixtape ‘BADKID’ on a UK tour this autumn. Peep the dates at diymag.com.
RIDE THE WAVE It’s (almost) here! Pale Waves have announced their debut album. ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ is coming out on 14th September via Dirty Hit, and you can get all the details on diymag.com.
FEEL THE MATTIEL With a reissue of her debut album out now via Heavenly, Mattiel is set to take the record out on a UK tour later this year. Get all the info on diymag.com
ON THE PLAYLIST neu
Every week on Spotify, we update DIY’s Neu Discoveries playlist with the buzziest, freshest faces. Here’s our pick of the best new tracks: BONIFACE ‘Dear Megan’ A huge slice of synth-pop from the young Canadian.
RVG ‘Eggshell World’ The Aussies return with another sludgy belter. NO VIOLET ‘Be My Friend’ Think Wolf Alice at their angriest from this Bristolbased bunch. BLANC ‘Only One’ Will White - brother of Hugo and Felix Maccabee - shows the talent in this family never ends. 31
Two Tribes, London. Photo: Gabriel Bertogg.
Here at DIY, we’ve been teaming up with record label Big Indie for a new monthly live music night, the appropriately titled Big Indie Big Nights, where we put on a host of new artists that we’re very excited about indeed. To say that things are going to get rowdy at the latest edition would be a massive understatement. Not only does tonight’s gig land on the same night as England’s World Cup semi-final - which, understandably, adds a certain sense of hysteria to proceedings but Thee MVPs are never ones to do things by halves. Having already gained quite the name for themselves thanks to their full-throttle live show, tonight proves no different. Blasting through their rough-and-ready selection of garage tracks, they’re a ferocious force. New offering ‘American Dreamin’’ is blistering and fraught in the best way possible, and by the time they collectively clamber onto the brewery’s kegs for an electrifying finale, the whole room is in the palm of their rowdy hands. (Sarah Jamieson)
MUST SEE SHOWS THIS MONTH Like being the first to see the next big thing? Get ready to brag to your mates about watching this lot before they go big, sell out, and spectacularly break up.
CONFIDENCE MAN Having played at just about every festival across Europe this festival season, Aussie troupe Confidence Man are set to be wellprepped for their next London show. They’re taking on the Scala on 8th August.
Having confirmed the title of her forthcoming debut back in June - it’s ‘Room 25’, for all you fact fans - the brilliant Chicago rapper will be headed to our shores this month. While a visit to Reading & Leeds is on the cards, her KOKO headline show (28th August) will be unmissable.
Rough Trade NYC. Photos: Ester Segretto.
New York has long been a breeding ground for exciting new music, and the third DIY Presents show to be held in the city showcases two of its new charges who are helping keep that allure alive. Rebounder are almost as fresh as you can get, while headliners The Britanys are already well on their way to big things. New number ‘Neon Lights’ balances surging garage rock with longing sentiment, and recent single ‘I Don’t Know How To Be Alone’ might be their best work yet, building from stuttering bass grooves in the verses to a chorus that sounds gigantic live. The cascading, urgent guitar lines that close ‘We Are Human’ would be the perfect end to a triumphant set, but the crowd isn’t satisfied yet. Chants of “One more song!” ring around Rough Trade until the band concede and return for a cover of past New York heroes The Ramones’ ‘The KKK Took My Baby Away’ that shuts things down with a snarl. Forget past glories, New York’s present is as bright as ever. (Rhian Daly) 32
Jäger Curtain Call is back once again and this time, we’re doing things differently. While previously, it’s been based on Shoreditch’s Curtain Road, we’re now headed around the country. First up? The ace YOWL will play The Lexington on 15th November - head to diymag.com for deets.
Gently Tender; Slightly Fuzzy.
GENTLY TENDER Formed from the ashes of
Palma Violets, Gently Tender are honing in on the melody and taking it into expansive, joyous new territories. Words:
At the beginning of Lisa Wright July, after two years of radio silence, three quarters of ragtag South London urchins Palma Violets posted a message to the band’s Facebook page: ‘New music coming soon. Follow Gently Tender. Sam [Fryer], Pete [Mayhew] and Will [Doyle]’. Predictably, as the first real acknowledgement that their former outfit had actually split, it caused a fair few shocked faces among fans. But Gently Tender – completed by new guitarist Adam Brown and The Big Moon’s Celia Archer on keyboards – has in fact been brewing in secret almost the whole time. “There was a definitive ending, in February 2016,” says Sam of the Palma’s final movements. “We were writing for the third album and it got to the stage where we realised that there was something about the creative partnership [with former co-frontman Chilli Jesson] that just wasn’t working. When we were 18 we were on the same page, talking about the same things all the time, very excited by each other. And five years on I think we’d become almost the opposites of people. We didn’t leave on a bad note, but it was just time to move on.”
Chilli now has a new outfit, too: Crewel Intentions. “I think there’s something to be said about the history in the two band titles,” chuckles Sam. “That tells a story in itself...” But if their chosen monikers hint at certain characteristics, then musically Gently Tender – titled after The Incredible String Band track - are just as lush and joyous as their name might suggest, too. If Sam’s songwriting always represented the more languid, softer side of his former band, then now those traits are coming to the fore and exploding out in a layered, hyper-melodic spree. “A big part of the sound is backing vocals and singing in unison like we’re a big folk choir,” explains Sam. “We’ve been working on a sound which ended up being very ambitious. When I write songs for this band, I visualise the live before I visualise the recording and I think the home for this band eventually is big festivals and big stages.” Influenced by “‘70s folk and old soul bands”, the first movements towards these lofty hopes come in the form of debut single ‘2 Chords Good’ – a woozy, tumbling affair that takes Sam’s stream of consciousness half-spoken vocals and places them over joyous, harmony-laden expansive backing. There’s a load more tracks already in the bag too, but for now the quintet are keen just to take their time, second time around. “We’re not necessarily screaming out for a mosh pit anymore, we’re happy just to stand here and play and enjoy it,” concludes Sam. “And we know people will enjoy it as well.” diy 33
From L - R: Stretchy, Pouty, Beardy, Flashy, Hungry, Inky and [redacted].
Shot at Sub-Rosa Studios. Robe by Bitches Love Nebulas. 34 diymag.com
Thereâ€™s a change happening in British punk music right now. Trading out machismo and bullishness for sensitivity and a desire for dialogue and connection, Slaves and IDLES are leading the charge of bands rewriting the script.
NO MORE HEROES
FEAR & LOATH ING LOVING
On third album ‘Acts of Fear and Love’, Kent duo Slaves are broadening their horizons, embracing their softer side and remaining as un-pigeonhole-able as ever. Words: Lisa Wright. Photos: Pooneh Ghana
here are still a ton of people in the industry we’re trying to correct. Still tons. There’s been so many misunderstandings and I’ve literally watched the face of fully grown women and men change when they meet us,” shrugs Laurie Vincent. “There are just loads of people we haven’t met yet.” Sat outside a Kings Cross cafe, heavily tattooed and decked out in dapper suits with - for the guitarist - an England shirt and the positive whiff of a man who still believes it’s coming home, Laurie and powerhouse singing drummer Isaac Holman cut a noticeable silhouette. On stage, they’re this but amped up by several notches – Isaac almost always topless and thrashing the skins to within an inch of their lives; Laurie stalking the stage and delivering big, meaty riffs. But when you actually meet them? Heck, Slaves are more like a pair of endearing, lovable labrador puppies than blokey bruisers. That particular preconception is one that seems to stem implicitly from both the genre they operate in and the initial furore over their chosen moniker (it is, to clarify once more, about being in thrall to society and expectation rather than anything else). But it also contradicts everything that Slaves actually stand for: for a band whose first album mascots were a pair of fluffy white pooches on a hot pink background, it seems bizarre that people might pen them for oiks. Now, however, the final nail in that coffin should be popped in with the release of third LP ‘Acts of Fear and Love’ - an
album that sees the duo opening up both sonically and lyrically to a place that’s undeniably far broader than just bangers and jokes. “This album is our attempt to right everyone’s wrongs,” nods Laurie. “And I feel like [it has], I feel like we’ve shown what we can do. Because if [people] aren’t going to come to a live show because they’ve got the wrong idea, then we’re gonna have to do it in another way.”
oming just under two years after 2016’s ‘Take Control’ (itself released a mere 18 months after debut ‘Are You Satisfied?’), ‘Acts of Fear and Love’ may be keeping the duo’s steady momentum going, but the attitude heading into it couldn’t be more different. “I think in the future we’ll look back at [‘Take Control’] and think it was sick, but that album doesn’t feel like an album to us,” explains Isaac, slugging on an orange juice. “We just chucked everything we had on it and didn’t really think about it as a body of work, I guess. It was like a mixtape.” “What I’ve noticed,” picks up Laurie, “is that there’s a lot of bands who put their debuts out the same time as ours who are just putting their second records out now we’re putting out our third. But I feel like it was important [to work quickly] because we needed to hammer that out to get to this point.” Having made their name with a bunch of early tracks that focused on the band’s playful, humorous side, alongside stretches of reputation-gathering live shows, the point that ‘Take Control’ seemingly needed to hammer out was to present Slaves as a straighter prospect. “At one point we felt like we were becoming a joke band,” explains Isaac. “We’re always gonna have that side to us but we did want to step away from it. We didn’t want to just become a
Sally’s parents weren’t too happy about the kids’ entertainment that turned up to the party.
gimmick.” “We were becoming really well known for [those] songs and as much as we were proud of that, we wanted to show a more serious side of ourselves. And I think ‘Take Control’ did that,” nods Laurie. On entering phase three, however, the possibilities were wide open. Both members had gone through some fairly formative experiences in the interim years - Laurie had become a father (baby Bart is pictured on the album sleeve of the new record) - while Isaac had undergone major surgery to repair an ongoing shoulder problem. With perhaps an added hit of maturity, it saw them approach Slaves with a similar level of increased faith and conviction. “Before it was a bit like, oh we’re just kids who smash it out and that’s all people want,” explains Laurie. “Whereas now we’re more confident to be like, let’s do this new production and [let’s keep it] nine tracks and to the point.” “I think there’s a range of things on ‘Take Control’ that we didn’t sonically record well enough for people to hear,” he continues, “so it became really apparent that to get what we were looking for we were going to have to spend a lot more time thinking about how we recorded it.” Inspiration for how this would take shape, however, came from an unlikely source. “You know another huge thing that can’t be overlooked is the death of David Bowie,” begins Laurie, without warning. Er... huh? “Him dying and [all the] documentaries that came about, I always knew that David Bowie reinvented himself, but when you realise there were different bands, different producers, and you see the Nile Rodgers Bowie or the Tony Visconti Bowie, that’s when you see that he didn’t do it on his own. That’s what’s exciting about creating art - working with others and making a concoction that you couldn’t do on your own.” Previously, admits Isaac, the pair were “very precious and definitely didn’t let people in”. Prickly to any possible shifting of their yin-yang dynamic - “as soon as anyone suggested an idea we’d say no” - it’s only on this album that the duo let producer Jolyon Thomas actually, well, properly produce them. The change is noticeable. On ‘Acts of Fear and Love’, the harder songs hit harder (‘Bugs’, ‘Chokehold’) while there are softer moments (‘Daddy’, ‘Photo Opportunity’) that might raise a few eyebrows. The overall effect is a record that, though shorter, is audibly fuller and more ambitious in its breadth. “I think playing those big arena shows [supporting Kasabian] had a big influence on our sound. You play these fast scrappy punk tunes in a big arena and it doesn’t really resonate. Playing those venues made us instinctively write bigger choruses maybe? Do you reckon?” asks Isaac to his bandmate. “That’s what Kings of Leon said when they did that ‘Sex on Fire’ album...” Laurie warns. “Oh no!” chortles Isaac, before pausing. “It’s true though, innit?”
t’s not just the sound of LP3 that finds Slaves veering away from their own self-imposed norms. Though there’s always been an element of social commentary to the likes of ‘Live Like An Animal’ or ‘Consume or Be Consumed’, the band have largely looked outwards to the world around them for inspiration. This time round, however, they’re touching on more vulnerable ground. Take ‘Chokehold’, for example. Ostensibly a break up song, but told from the spurned male viewpoint laid bare (“I felt rejected and disrespected / I thought I knew her, I stand corrected”), it’s an angle that’s not often found within the full throttle punk realm. “It felt time for us to write a song like ‘Chokehold’ and write it from the male perspective, because you know what? Men with our background and our music don’t do that,” says Laurie. “It didn’t feel like a cheap, easy song to write; it actually felt like quite a bold
statement, in a weird way. Men need to be able to start opening up and talking. I still feel like that’s a thing that needs to be challenged.” “Slaves is our therapy,” he continues. “I was talking to Lady Bird [the first band signed to Slaves’ label Girl Fight Records] last night and it was really interesting. So many people message us and say ‘your band got me through a hard time’, and [Lady Bird drummer] Joe was saying that when he got a message like that for the first time, he replied saying, ‘Yeah me too. This band’s got me through everything’. That made me realise, that’s what this band is for us. Both of us have got those dark thoughts as well, and this band is helping us. The core of it is that being in this band is helping me and Isaac be happy people.” Alongside fellow cover stars IDLES, pals Lady Bird and a number of other noisy bands preaching openness and sensitivity, it’s this kind of chat that puts Slaves in the centre of a group of punk bands practising a different kind of attitude. “Nobody wants the lad crowd, but those lads are probably some of the most fucked-up cases that need some help,” explains Laurie. “I think let’s get all the lads in and help each other out.” It’s about creating an atmosphere of positivity and inclusiveness around all that they do, too. Midway through their set at a recent headline show in Hull, a girl called out someone for being sexually inappropriate in the crowd. With the band immediately stopping the performance and alerting security, the offender was caught by the end of the gig. “It was the first time that a girl’s called it out as it’s been happening. And we’ve always kept an eye on it, but that must show that something’s happening and bands are creating a positive atmosphere where women are learning that we will help them,” enthuses Laurie. “Just people in general,” nods Isaac. “If you’re in distress in the crowd, I think it’s wicked if people think they can just talk to the band.” From the grand title of the record - named after a quote nabbed from one of Isaac’s old teachers (“There’s no such thing as hate, just acts of fear and love”) - to the more vulnerable tracks within it, to the warm, brotherly way that Isaac and Laurie conduct themselves in general, Slaves have proven time and time again that they’re far, far removed from whatever first impressions people may have lumped on them right back at the start. Instead, they’re entering album three with an increasing gaggle of peers ready and able to break down any stereotypes and create a space that’s safe, inclusive and full of nothing but good vibes. “I feel like I’ve grown up a bit since the last album where I can say I don’t agree with your views, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to our music because music is for everyone. There’s so much vitriol and bile spewing around the world at the moment and it’s causing so many fractions whereas really, you were always taught growing up, to agree to disagree. That’s what the album’s about, love,” nods Laurie. “There’s not a name for it yet, but growing up you had grunge, or punk or two-tone. And I feel like if anyone else [similar to us] comes along people will be like, oh they’re like Slaves. We take a lot of different ideas and we’ve not rewritten the rulebook but we’ve walked our own path, which has been hard but it’s been fun. I feel like we’re the first of something.” ‘Acts of Fear and Love’ is out 17th August via Virgin EMI. DIY
“MEN NEED TO BE ABLE TO START OPENING UP AND TALKING.” - LAURIE VINCENT
The Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino had never quite witnessed a spa weekend like this.
ECSTATIC PEACE Battling trauma and forging communities through championing vulnerability and exposing their imperfections, IDLES and their frontman Joe Talbot are offering an outstretched hand. Words: Will Richards. Photos: Pooneh Ghana.
“IT’D BE GOOD TO CHANGE THE NARRATIVE ON MASCULINITY.” JOE TALBOT
oe Talbot is a changed man. It’d be reasonable to raise an eyebrow as the IDLES frontman taps a nicotine lozenge out of a plastic container while staring longingly at the description of a tomato salad on the specials board of a plush Bristol cafe. He explains that he can’t eat yet today; he’s currently experimenting with fasting to help practice mindfulness and wants to be on top form for a gig in Switzerland, where the band take to the stage at the eye-watering hour of 1am the next morning. If IDLES are about anything, though, it’s challenging preconceptions. As the five-piece - completed by guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan, bassist Adam Devonshire and drummer Jon Beavis - made a rapid, and not to mention long overdue, breakthrough last year, with debut ‘Brutalism’ the sleeper hit of 2017 - half a decade into their tenure as a group - it became apparent almost immediately that they weren’t your average rock band, and Joe far from your average cocksure frontman. “People see us as these burly blokes on stage spitting and swearing,” he begins. “But I think when they see the interactions [between] us on stage, and our interaction with the audience, they understand that there’s also a vulnerability there, and it’s not all machismo - there’s a lot more to it.” Spend five minutes in the singer’s company, or see five minutes of their live show, and such rejection of traditional masculine tropes becomes abundantly clear: IDLES are a band intent on changing the narrative of masculinity in rock, and showing how vulnerability can be used as a tool of power.
Toy Story. Track two is titled ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’. “I use humour as an inclusive tool,” Joe explains, having first wormed his way into hearts and minds while yelling about Mary Berry, Trevor Nelson and the Tarquins of the world on ‘Brutalism’ highlight ‘Well Done’. “It’s like ‘This is savage, but it’s OK - come into my house, you’re invited’. I think humour’s a really great vehicle for inclusivity. It breaks down barriers. It’s very unpretentious, and again it’s a sign of vulnerability. I used to want to be seen as an intellectual, and a great writer, sign of the times kinda guy. And then I realised it’s fucking bullshit, it’s not how it works. And I like to make people laugh, and that’s honesty. That really came through in ‘Brutalism’ and I found a bravery in humour.” It also paves a path via which to introduce the more difficult subjects that define this album. ‘Brutalism’ was written in the wake of the death of Joe’s mother, and as the band looked forward towards album two, the frontman and his partner lost their daughter during childbirth. As a result, vulnerability was thrust upon them whether they chose it or not.
SORTING HAT During ‘Joy...’ album track
‘Gram Rock’, Joe quotes our lord and saviour Albus Dumbledore, barking “ten points to Gryffindor!” over and over - but which house would the sorting hat place him in if he were to enrol at Hogwarts? “The white-haired fuckers. I’d be like the trojan horse. I’d go to the dark side and bring everyone over. Put me in. Snakey bastards. I’d get in, cut the head off the snakes and then they won’t be slytherin no more.”
ulnerability is a word that comes up constantly during conversation with Joe, tied into every thread of chatter around game-changing second album ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’. It’s a practice that Joe says has helped him become more caring, accepting and understanding. It also often makes him quite misunderstood.
“A lot of people think it’s sarcasm,” he lays out, talking about the album’s iron-clad centrepiece ‘Love Song’. “I wrote a love song / ‘cause you’re so loveable,” he barks in its first line, before channelling Dirty Dancing’s Baby (and uttering that same word again): “I carried a watermelon / I wanna be vulnerable.” “It’s easy for a bloke to be sarky about [love],” he says. “But I’m not that guy, and I think it’d be good to change the narrative on masculinity, and love, and manhood. You can just shout ‘I fucking love you’ and mean it.” While ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’ doesn’t deal in sarcasm, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a funny album. While ‘Joy…’ is - at times - a catastrophic, deeply emotional record, it also somehow manages to quote Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore and Woody from
“One of the things that I found when my mum died was that some people find it really hard to talk about death, even when it’s got nothing to do with their life,” Joe looks back. “When it’s your life, and it’s something that you want to be open about, other people don’t want to talk about it. They clam up when you start talking about your dead mother or your dead daughter. But I want to be able to talk about my dead daughter whenever I fucking please. It’s my fucking life, and I need to be able to get it out. It’s healthy. “So what humour is is an offering. It’s saying ‘This is my life, but there’s a plurality to my emotions’, and I understand that it can be difficult to talk about. So you knock the edges off a little bit, and then I come in with a heavy one and just ruin yer life!” he quips, cracking a grin.
It’s a strikingly open conversation to cultivate from such a personal trauma, but one that’s vital for Joe to both further his personal recovery - which began as “a case of sink or swim” - while lending an outstretched hand to others experiencing the same. It’s a thread that binds ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’ together tightly, in an album that doesn’t wallow or ask for sympathy, but finds power in acceptance and community, and sees empathy pouring out of every word. “Trauma isn’t easy, and life isn’t easy, and I think people appreciate the honesty in our album,” Joe continues. “The world doesn’t stop spinning for any fucker. The bus hits you… you don’t choose when the bus hits you, it just fucking hits you when it feels like it. There’s a randomness to the universe that will not allow for any ego. [The album is] about projecting that, so people are less shocked when it does happen to them. There’s a lack of honesty in popular music and popular television and advertising. People have stretch marks. Peoples’ daughters die. That’s life. It’s about opening that up, not so much for the people that it doesn’t happen to, but so that the people that it
does happen to, when they do lose people they love, that they don’t feel shame, and they don’t feel like they’re the only person on the planet that it’s happening to, so they feel safe and not alone. Loneliness is too recurrent in our world, and it’s happening to more people than ever. It doesn’t make sense.”
“IDLES IS T AN EAR AS WELL AS A MOUTH.” JOE TALBOT
he album’s second side begins with ‘Samaritans’, which takes aim at toxic masculinity. Across the track, every dreaded phrase that each teenage boy has had barked at them is recounted by Joe. “Man up”; “Grow some balls”; “Don’t cry”. It’s a thread that works its way through the whole album. “I am my father’s son / His shadow weighs a ton,” he sings menacingly in cacophonous opener ‘Colossus’ before bellowing its refrain over and over as the track turns from a menacing slow-burner into an unhinged punk thrash: “I don’t wanna be your man.” “It’s amazing isn’t it, the trope of masculinity,” Joe ponders, exhaling into a half sigh, half chuckle. “It engulfs our psyche without us knowing. A bunch of unspoken rules that we live by, that are really dangerous a lot of the time.” It’s a point touched upon on ‘Brutalism’ but hammered home throughout album two. It’s something
Maybe just don’t ask…
he came across when he first started reading Grayson Perry’s ‘The Descent Of Man’ - a book that dives deep into the male psyche, and the ingrained behaviours taught through childhood - which was gifted to him by his partner as writing for ‘Joy…’ began (a present without any implications or ulterior motives, he insists, laughing). The read helped him “understand the articulation of those problems, and the problematic nature of men trying to live up to an idea of manhood that doesn’t exist”. “It’s not hard for us,” he responds matter-offactly, to the insinuation that it might be harder to get such points of view across as five men in a punk band, who yell their way through energetic, often aggressive live shows. “It’s probably harder for the audience. All we’ve done is unlearned a few things. We’ve unlearned how to talk about things in certain ways, and how to see things, and act out positive changes in our lives, and to be more vulnerable to each other. We communicate so much better about our emotions and so forth, and that trickles down to all sorts of other things in our lives; we see the roles of our friends and families and partners differently, and more importantly we see our own roles differently. “As long as we stay healthy and we’re mindful of who we are, who we want to be, and the relationship between us as people and us as projections of men on stage in a rock band, we can change that narrative, but we’ve got to keep working hard.” Such an aesthetic has somewhat inevitably seen instances of crowd members acting out the kinds of impotent male rage that the band are working explicitly against; Joe recounts a certain Milton Keynes gig that saw a rowdy crowd “exercising their male privilege” to the soundtrack of a ‘Brutalism’ track concerning the death of Joe’s mother, and the prevalence of sexual violence by men - “but that’s fine,” he asserts. “That’s gonna happen, because we are men, and we do appeal to the frustrations of manhood, it’s just we’re addressing the frustrations of manhood by abolishing masculinity. It’s just going to take a long time, because it’s entrenched in people’s psyche. But we don’t wanna oust anyone; we wanna encourage everyone to come to our shows, and change people’s hearts and minds slowly.”
he idea of perfection doesn’t exist on ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’. From the ‘right’ way to be a modern man, to the pressures placed on people by the media to look, act or talk a certain way, to the complicated, convoluted process of grieving, it’s an album that welcomes imperfections, and turns them into strengths.
‘look how perfect I am, you can achieve this’ - it’s about saying ‘look how flawed I am, but also look how much I’m achieving through my flaws, and how much I love myself, and how much I’m learning about myself by exploring that’,” Joe hammers home. “Through opening that up to the audience, they find a confidence in themselves because they see our flaws, not our perfections. I’ll always want more from myself, but I’m learning to love myself because of where I am. Because of counselling, because of my partner, because of my friends and family, and because of the record.”
At the end of album opener ‘Colossus’, Joe compares himself to a series of members of popular culture, so we asked him the obvious question: which member of the band would be played by which celebrity in the forthcoming IDLES biopic.
Mark Bowen Guitar
“Bowen would be played by Fred Astaire. Because he’s fanciful. He likes attention and dances around a lot. He’s light on his feat; a peacock. He dances to my tune.”
Adam Devonshire Bass
“Dev is Reggie Kray. He lives a two-sided life. He gets up to all sorts of naughty stuff when I’m not around.”
Lee Kiernan Guitar
“Lee is Evil Knievel. He’s a savage, he doesn’t mind getting hurt. He’s got a dark history. Very, very dark.”
Jon Beavis Drums
“Jon is Jesus. He’s clean, he’s honest, he lives a good life, and I don’t think he’s real.”
Joe Talbot Vocals
“And that leaves me. I’m Ted DiBiase, because I feel like a fuckin’ millionaire right now.”
It’s a point that anchors ‘Television’. “If someone talked to you the way you do to you, I’d put their teeth through / Love yourself,” Joe demands in its intro. Rather than serving as a call to cast aside personal dissatisfactions, it’s an outstretched hand to join him in embracing flaws, and making the growing community that little bit stronger. “Without that audience I’m nothing,” he notes, embracing the band’s greater platform that’s come with success, while also holding tight to the honesty and openness that drew so many fans to them in the first place. “You’ve really got to remind yourself that you’re only as good as your audience are, and what we’re building - and what the audience have built, more importantly - is a really beautiful relationship, where we’ve got this place of safety where we can all be vulnerable to each other. But my vulnerability is only as important as the listener will allow, and this second album is about that. “It’s about a dissolution of ego, it’s an offering and a gift of our flaws and our imperfections to the audience, so they can reflect that back, and give us their imperfections and flaws as a growth. We don’t wanna be seen as rockstars or any of that shit; what I hope is that we create a community and people feel like the message that we make is as important from a listener as it is the artist. IDLES is an ear as well as a mouth.” What this quite remarkable album does is turn a personal tragedy into a tool for change, a second album from a band as open, giving and - yes - vulnerable as you’ll find. “What the album is about is not my daughter,” he states. “It’s about grief, and how amazing the transition [after] losing my daughter [was], and how amazing my partner and my friends were at helping me get over my imperfections, enjoy myself and learn to live again.” Joe Talbot is a changed man. ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’ is out 31st August via Partisan. DIY IDLES play Bestival and the DIY stage at Electric Fields this year. Head to diymag.com for details.
“The point of the album isn’t to say
Anna Calvi’s third album, ‘Hunter’, finds her rawer and realer than ever before.
Let Us Prey
Words: Emily Mackay. Photos: Eva Pentel.
n the spring of 2018, a red mist descended on Anna Calvi. A ruddy flush suffused her Instagram, tinting lusty pictures of surrealist beauties, a closeup of smeared lips, a naked back painted with French words: “mute and blind here I am, dressed in thoughts that you lend me”. It was the first bloodshot glimpse into the world of her third album ‘Hunter’, a record the colour of flesh, lust, danger, alarm, life.
In June, London got its first live taste in a wild show at Heaven, during which Anna dropped to her knees, wailing with both guitar and voice like never before, in the middle of a runway projecting into the crowd. “The record is very much about contrasts,” she says. “About once being very powerful and strong, but then also [having] moments of real intimacy and vulnerability… I wanted to get the extremes of contrast even more onstage. When I’m there on my knees screaming, it’s incredibly exposing for people to witness me completely and utterly unleash my whole sense of my body, but at the same time it’s very confrontational and powerful. I feel like the stakes are high for both me and the audience.” ‘Hunter’ is full of high stakes. Where once Anna’s presence glistened with hauteur, now it is red-raw, grabbing you as forcefully as the dancers clasp at her face and throat in the erotic, unsettling video for lead single ‘Don’t Beat the Girl Out of My Boy’. The song, she says, reflects on how soon children are restricted by gender (“when I was a child, I felt like I was a little boy and I hated being put in anything remotely female”) but also on “the defiance of happiness”. “I wanted to show that me and this person were very happy together,” she explains, “and if somebody else outside of our pure bubble of love tries to disrupt it I am wholeheartedly ready to defend it with my life. That’s what the screaming’s about. It’s like: don’t you dare try and ruin this beautiful moment.” Anna had previously expressed her sexuality ( ‘Eliza’, ‘Suzanne and I’), and her sense of gender (‘I’ll Be Your Man’), but it’s a subject she’s not addressed head-on until now. “I think that when my first record came out and there were quite a few songs about women on it,” she muses, “I almost didn’t notice that they were about women because it was just normal for me. I felt slightly exposed, I think. And I was worried because I saw how Beth Ditto got treated in the early 2000s being openly gay... It would be like an article began, ‘Beth Ditto, lesbian’ and I thought that was so ridiculous, to define her by just calling her that and not calling her a musician.” Anna, though, wasn’t singled out in the same way. “It felt that people were just listening to my music and those that needed to hear the queerness, they heard it, and those that didn’t need it for whatever reason they didn’t notice it. I don’t feel restricted - I don’t think I ever did - but I think I feel more defiant now.” ‘Hunter’ steps boldly into the open discussion around gender and sexuality. Its title reflects a woman taking on a traditionally male position of strength and active pursuit. “I imagined the teenage me, what kind of representation of a woman would have actually been helpful, especially as a queer teenager,” she says. “This idea of a woman being a hunter and going out into the world and seeing it as hers, being the protagonist of her own story, and just searching for pleasure in whatever ways that she wants, without any
sense of shame, felt quite an important thing for me. I’d broken up with someone after eight years and I was now with someone new, living in France, and I guess I was sort of enjoying having to start over again and find out what I wanted from my life.” Songs such as ‘As A Man’ and ‘Alpha’ play luxuriously with sex, gender, power and language. “We assume when we hear the word ‘alpha’ that we’re talking about a man,” she says. “The way we use words affects our sense of self. And I just felt that it was important that it isn’t gender-specific, this trait. A lot of the strongest people I know are women, because they have to be.” The way the words are delivered, too, is a revelation Anna’s voice ranges from banshee scream via seductive falsetto to hot-and-heavy half-spoken. “I’ve always been kind of interested in the lower tones of my voice in the past,” she says, “but I wanted this record to be more visceral and more wild, less controlled, and exploring a higher register while still singing really loud felt like a really good way of exploring those emotions. When you sing that loud and that high, it takes all of your body to be able to do it, there’s literally no space to have any other thought or any other emotion than the one that you’re trying to express.” That record was a long time in the coming; her last album, ‘One Breath’, was released in 2013. But Anna wasn’t idle in the meantime, collaborating with Marianne Faithfull on the track ‘Falling Back’, David Byrne on the ‘Strange Weather’ covers EP and the Heritage Orchestra in a series of live performances. Last year, she wrote the music for her first opera, The Sandman, based on the ETA Hoffmann story of lust and monsters and madness, directed by experimental theatre director Robert Wilson. “It was a very high-stress situation,” she explains. “He was improvising the whole thing, and he would just go “play something” and I would just have to improvise pieces right there and then in front of 30 people. I was inspired by how high his stakes are… this idea of really taking risks and being on the edge I think I learnt from him, and I definitely tried to have some of that making the record.” Joined by new producer Nick Launay, with her longtime band of multi-instrumentalist Mally Harpaz and drummer Alex Thomas abetted by Bad Seeds bassist Martyn P Casey and Portishead’s Adrian Utley on keys, she spent late nights in the studio chasing the right feeling. “I didn’t ask myself too many questions other than: what does this music make me feel. I didn’t want it to feel like a cerebral record, it’s meant to be emotional, and of the body.” ‘Hunter’’s bodily, emotive shock is a vital addition to the ever-growing canon of records boldly and openly exploring queer identity; Anna herself has been inspired by Christine and the Queens, Perfume Genius and Ezra Furman. “It feels like an exciting time in that people are asking questions like ‘Is this really all there is?’ and ‘Can’t things be better?’,” she asserts. “And I think that’s really important and I hope that it causes lasting change.” We’re not living in utopia yet; and ‘Hunter’’s most striking track, ‘Indies or Paradise’, finds her “down on my knees, crawling through the trees like an animal”, still hunting for happiness, for freedom. “That song is about how people are eternally optimistic,” she says. “We all trudge through the mud and dirt of our lives, with this idea that if only we could meet someone that we would somehow get away from the bad stuff…. It feels religious, somehow, this belief in love. I find it both tragic and really beautiful.” ‘Hunter’ is out 31st August via Domino. DIY
â€œI didn't want it to feel like a cerebral record, it's meant to be emotional, and of the body.â€?
Our Girl’s maypole attempts hadn’t gone so well.
STRANGER THINGS Words: Rachel Finn. Photos: Emma Swann.
ince forming in Brighton four years ago, Our Girl have been whizzing their way through all the usual experiences for a band on the rise. This year so far alone, the trio - made up of singer and guitarist Soph Nathan, drummer Lauren Wilson and bassist Josh Tyler - have headed out to Texas for a busy week of shows at SXSW, played a fifteen-date run on the DIY Class of 2018 tour alongside Pale Waves and Bloxx, bagged a supporting slot on tour with The Magic Gang and started making their way around the international festival circuit. But for a band that had, as Soph explains, “only ever imagined playing live when writing,” getting together to tick that all-important debut album off their list proved a little trickier at first than they might have hoped.
“When we first started talking about it, I was so not ready,” Soph says, thinking back to the beginning of the process. “At the time I was like ‘but we can’t do a record! What are we gonna do with it!’” Getting some time in their busy schedules to head to the residential Eve Studios in Stockport alongside producer Bill Ryder-Jones for a week late last year proved the key to getting the record done. “Sometimes you can get caught up in your own head and your own thoughts and worrying about little details, like ‘Oh I don’t know, is this right?!’” Lauren explains on working with Bill who, as well as being a successful solo artist and former member of The Coral, has also produced records for the likes of Hooton Tennis Club and The Wytches. “...and then he would just crack a joke or say something really lovely and then we’d just be like ‘OK!’”
An old country house-turnedstudio, the space gave the band the uninterrupted and immersive experience needed to bring the record to life. Crucially, it also allowed them to build layers and experimental elements into their sound without the limitations that can come from only being three bodies on a stage. The result of that week was ‘Stranger Today’, an album that acts as a celebration of love and friendship, made by three real-life best friends who care meticulously about every detail of their music and often finish off each others’ sentences in conversation. “We could just grow extra hands!” jokes Soph, when asked about overcoming the challenges of translating their new multi-layered soundscapes from the studio to the stage. “Sprout two more arms each!” suggests Lauren. It’s an ambitious idea, but then again, this is an ambitious band. We asked Our Girl to pick a selection of their favourite tracks on the album and tell us the story behind each song.
I REALLY LIKE IT Soph: I’d say ‘I Really Like It’ is a love song. 100%. I haven’t written many songs like that. It happened very naturally and I think I almost needed that to happen. Thinking about how to present it to people was more difficult though, because even though it’s a happy song, it’s still personal. Lauren: That’s what I love about your songs though, that you don’t filter it! That song in particular whenever we play it, people love singing it and I think it really resonates with people because most people have had that feeling of like ‘wow, this emotion is so overwhelming and amazing and beautiful and mad’. I get it, I didn’t write those words but I feel those words as well.
OUR GIRL Lauren: That song is the reason why I’m in Our Girl. I fell in love with it. It’s the first song that we worked on together as a three, it’s the first single of the album and first track on the album because of that. It just sort of felt like the right way to do it. Our theme tune. The Our Girl national anthem!
Soph: I was just thinking nice things when we recorded ‘Level’, which is a song that means a lot to us. Before we recorded it, Bill told us it was his favourite song on the record and gave us a little pep talk, telling us that what he thought we were doing was important and it was just really nice. Lauren: What he did was really important to remind us to be in the moment and - it’s really cheesy - but you only do your debut album once. It was really nice, to pause in the process. We just needed some confident words. Soph: It also felt really nice to be able to have a lyric from that song (‘I told a stranger today / Sat cold on a level’) as the title of the album; it’s not an obvious lyric in there, which I think suits the record because there’s a lot of talk about feeling weird about things and feeling strange.
SUB ROSA Lauren: What I found is how the atmosphere in the studio really captured it. It sounds like a late-night conversation between two people who are figuring stuff out. Bill and I both did drum stuff even though there sounds like there’s no drums on there. It was recorded in this really creepy room in the studio that was called the stone room, which had a natural reverb so if you clapped [the sound would] all bounce off.
I WISH IT WAS SUNDAY Soph: It’s about that feeling of wanting a bit more. I wrote it when I was really busy and I was away a lot and I was in a new relationship and I just wanted to be with that person and soak that up.
Lauren: I was upstairs in the room above the guitar room trying to go to sleep when Soph was playing ‘Heat’ in the studio and she was getting a bit frustrated, because it is quite fiddly to play. I could tell there was some sort of problem or stropping going on downstairs, and then she’d start again and I’d be like ‘come on girl, come on girl you’ve got this!’ Soph: That’s so funny that you were up there doing that! It’s fiddly but also I didn’t want to overthink it because I wanted it to have that late-night feel. But in recording it, you are overthinking it because you’re imaging how it’s gonna be…
BORING Lauren: We always imagined other layers that we wanted to do with this song but because there’s only three of us live we couldn’t. So when [we were] recording, it was really nice to have that opportunity to then play with those layers and test things out. Soph: We’ve played it at the end of the set since forever and when we didn’t it felt weird, so that’s why it’s on the end of the record. We knew we wanted to do a big raucous ending.
‘Stranger Today’ is out 17th August via Cannibal Hymns. DIY 56 diymag.com
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painting pictures 58 diymag.com
On second album ‘A Better Life’, Spring King have found a new collaborative creativity to take on social injustice. Words: Ben Tipple. Photos: Ed Miles.
t takes less than twenty-four seconds on ‘A Better Life’ for a saxophone to rear its head. It’s an immediate far cry from Spring King’s comparably straight-forward debut ‘Tell Me If You Like To’, a record almost entirely written by founder and drummer Tarek Musa. Yet, as the four-piece explain over a much-needed dose of H2O on a sunny afternoon in London, they are now more of a band than ever before. Musically, ‘A Better Life’ still carries the fundamental garage rock sound that propelled Spring King into the mainstream, but it’s considerably more complex. Frankly, as Tarek notes himself, it’s also a more interesting listen. Heavily influenced by The Beach Boys and their ilk, their second full-length arrives underpinned by pop melodies and overlaid with the band’s signature driving guitars. Never is this juxtaposition more obvious than in the latter half of the record, as the drawn out psychedelic pop of the sublime ‘Radioactive’ melts into the overt sun-kissed bounce of the tantalisingly titled ‘Have You Ever Looked Up Into The Sky’. “Let the light in,” the band collectively implore on the latter, showcasing the record’s abundant positivity. “I got a feeling that we’re gonna see in the dark.” It’s a lyric that perfectly shows off its consistent push and pull between affirmation and social ills. “We always said the world is in a very negative spot,” bassist James Green explains. While ‘A Better Life’ deals with some serious subject matter - from Brexit to the Women’s March and anxiety - it does so with an empowering tone. “A lot of bands react to that in an angry way, but we thought it would be amazing to make something that’s a positive reaction.”
of taking the best parts of each other into songs, and to say we liked one bit or didn’t like another bit without there being any friction,” guitarist Andy Morton unfurls. Has this affected their relationships with each other? “We know each other too well,” guitarist Pete Darlington adds before Andy interjects, “it’s never been worse,” he laughs.
t’s this new sense of collaboration that’s propelled Spring King to where they stand now, preparing to release an album that embeds the musical influences and input of all four members; an album that was created with far more space to breathe. “It’s four painters painting different parts,” Tarek muses, getting all fine art about it. Their different strokes create a coherent image and foster different musical experimentation; the subtle brass instruments underpinning ‘Us vs Them’, the cataclysmic crescendo of closer ‘Thunder’ and the song’s sister interlude ‘Lightning’, and the consistent yet considered use of synths. Music wasn’t the only element they experimented with: each member brought their own lyrics to the table. “The record is a decent amalgamation of various approaches to songwriting,” James explains, noting the lyrics were something of an afterthought for their debut, but on ‘A Better Life’, they’re pushed to the forefront. What pulls the album together is the conflicting ideals of positivity and idealism. Built around the concept of a utopia, it learns from the negative to reinforce the beauty of the world. Its upbeat nature is delivered almost entirely by the melody and rhythm, while the lyrics tackle more weighty issues. “That’s the thing I love about the record,” Tarek beams. “You can hear it on the surface level and just enjoy the melodies, or if you want you can focus on the lyrics of the record.” He refers again to The Beach Boys’ iconic ‘Pet Sounds’. “It goes much deeper than what you can take from the surface. There are so many levels to it.” It’s something he, and Spring King as a whole, are keen to replicate. “I don’t mind if people don’t go deep down. They don’t have to, as long as they enjoy themselves.”
For the first time, it’s also a collective mantra. While Tarek was the driving force behind ‘Tell Me If You Like To’, ‘A Better Life’ is confidently a full band effort. “This time around everyone is writing,” he notes, “everyone has an input.” It’s the polar opposite to their debut, during the recording of which their schedules didn’t allow for shared studio time.
Pete finds solace in putting pen to the paper in the first place. “There are songs that mean a hell of a lot to me that might not be intended that way, but it doesn’t matter,” he says. “Once it’s made and once it’s out you hope it has its own life and people can relate to it in their own way.” He explains his strong personal connection with ‘Have You Ever Looked Up Into The Sky’. “Even if it’s read in a different way, at least I know it’s right for me.”
“We never even existed in the studio together until this point,” James reveals with a notable level of disbelief. “We had to learn to interact with each other in a new way.” And, granted, this collaborative process wasn’t without its complexities. “There was definitely a learning process
Perhaps the biggest challenge for Spring King going forward is translating this bigger sound into the live show. “We recorded in a weird way,” Andy admits. “We did all the parts, and then we kind of crafted the songs around that. Now we have to learn them as a band.” “It’s really hard to
“The record goes much deeper than what you can take from the surface.” Tarek Musa
play,” Pete exhales. “Spare a thought for Tarek,” James laughs, “he’s got double the amount of limbs to coordinate.” Yet, much like before, the band are excited about the live show, too. Hard at work ensuring they can make the songs work, they’re focused on retaining their signature intensity. “It’s not really an issue in my head,” says Tarek, shrugging off the suggestion of adding backing track or new members to bring it to life. “Our fans just want to lose their shit, and there’s space for everybody to do that.” It’s all part of the thunderous evolution of Spring King. “I’m feeling like an animal,” they sing on the album’s lead track; really, they’re becoming an entirely new beast. ‘A Better Life’ is out 17th August via Island. DIY
Tarek: I’d have really rigorous exams to become a politician. A real process to it. I’d get rid of junk food too, make it limited, and promote healthier lifestyles from birth. Buying McDonalds would be like trying to by cigarettes.
James: My dad read a lot of Russian literature. When I was a kid and asked what anarchy was, he described it as a society where people can do whatever they want so long as everyone thinks about everyone else before themselves. That sounds pretty boss to me.
Pete: I’d teach meditation to children. It’s started to happen more but I’d bring it to schools.
‘A Better Life’ focuses on turning negative into positive and fostering beauty, so just what would the members of Spring King look for in their perfect utopia?
Andy: A world with no social media whatsoever. Delete it immediately from the planet. It doesn’t make me happy whatsoever. A lot of it is so fake. It also affects a lot of music. People should go off the fact of whether music is good or not, rather than posting bollocks. 60 diymag.com
REVI Jon there, subtly hinting at a Craig David cover on LP3.
Joy As An Act Of Resistance (Partisan).
very so often a band comes along who community and empathy and raw, un-cauterised emotion. are so fundamentally necessary that It was undoubtedly a very special introduction to a very they cannot be denied. special band, and so - coming not 18 months later - it is with no small level of anticipation that we arrive at ‘Joy As An See, in the modern world of streaming numbers and safe Act of Resistance’. And if ‘Brutalism’ marked the opening bets, the success of IDLES makes no sense. Their debut chapter of a conversation of real importance, then IDLES’ ‘Brutalism’ was self-released with no label clout behind them to splash the cash. Full of searing, pained aggression, second statement picks up that mantle and fleshes out the book; it is not so much an album as a manifesto. Of defiance it was the absolute antithesis of radio-friendly. Hailing from and love in the face of adversity. Of laughing in the face of Bristol, the quintet didn’t even have the benefit of a big city scene to give them a leg up. And yet, by the end of 2017, the pain. And of celebrating the strange parade of humanity, and album had gracefully risen to the top of almost every end of all its unlikely tangents. year list, the band selling out every tour months in advance; If all that sounds grandiose and overblown, then for once with all logical odds stacked against them, Joe Talbot and his cohorts had created a genuine grassroots phenomenon it genuinely isn’t. Joe has been open about the personal tragedies that informed both records; ‘Brutalism’ was based on the things that major label execs can’t bottle -
IEWS Photo: Pooneh Ghana
written in the wake of the death of his mother, ‘Joy As An Act of Resistance’ the death of his daughter. And while the absolutely gut-wrenching ‘June’ is the only song to explicitly reference the latter, its haunting, aching refrain “baby shoes for sale / never worn” almost too sad to bear, its the recalibration after such a seismic event that led the singer to what we have now. That doesn’t mean that the record is a sombre listen; as anyone who’s experienced an absolutely flooring loss will know, emotions aren’t that simple. But you can hear it there in the raw, bleeding edges of ‘Colossus’, that rage against demons inside and out (“Forgive me father I have sinned/ I’ve drained my body full of pins”); there in the defiant ‘fuck you’ to societal pressure of ‘Television’; there in the celebratory, funny, simple declarations of ‘Love Song’. When your world falls apart, you find new ways to make sense of what remains, and ‘Joy As An Act of Resistance’ does that through warmth and humour, openness and honesty. Across its 12 tracks, it runs the full gamut of emotions. ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’ is hilarious and
sarcastic, perfectly encapsulating small-town macho types running on too much booze and testosterone (“Me oh me oh my, Roy / You look like a walking thyroid”). ‘I’m Scum’ up-ends the insults thrown at liberal lefties in righteous fashion, culminating in the snarled crescendo of “this snowflake’s an avalanche”. On the cathartic purge of album closer ‘Rottweiler’, meanwhile, the band whip up a tornado of joyous noise as Joe yells the album to a close: “Keep fucking going! Smash it! Destroy the world! Burn your house down!” Across its 40-odd minutes, ‘Joy As An Act of Resistance’ makes you want to laugh and cry and roar into the wind and cradle your nearest and dearest. It is a beautiful slice of humanity delivered by a group of men whose vulnerability and heart has become a guiding light in the fog for an increasing community of fans who don’t just want, but need this. No hyperbole needed; IDLES are the most important band we have right now. (Lisa Wright) Listen: ‘Love Song’, ‘Colossus’, ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’
ALBUMS eee BEN KHAN Ben Khan (Dirty Hit)
eeee MENACE BEACH Black Rainbow Sound (Memphis Industries)
The opening half-minute of ‘Black Rainbow Sound’ lays out the foundations of what’s to come on the Leeds band’s third album: motorik beats, distorted guitars, synths and the complimentary interplay between vocalists Ryan Needham and Liza Violet. Liza’s falsetto floats through songs like ‘Tongue’, while woozy guitars and whirring electronics reminiscent of cult ‘90s experimenters Add N To (X) add an element of chaos. Elsewhere, depth is assured by some strong variations to the established formula. Frantic psychobilly number ‘Hypnotiser Keeps The Ball Rolling’ sounds like a mash-up of Bauhaus and The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, while the hard-hitting ‘Watermelon’ provides a hard-hitting groove. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘8000 Molecules’
eeee DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
eee JUANITA STEIN Until The Lights Fade
Thank You For Today
To say Ben Khan’s debut has been a long time coming would be the understatement of the year. ‘Ben Khan’ tries to pack every second of that time spent away into the record’s forty minutes, and it results in a wildly inventive, varied, kaleidoscopic album, but one that also ends up being largely muddled. Single ‘do it right’ is a slinky highlight, but across 15 tracks, the album begins to lose its way, unsure of its ultimate purpose. All manner of swirling interludes pop up at intervals throughout the record, giving it the feel of a real trip, but the punch needed from the songs in between is still somewhat lacking. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘do it right’
Last year, Juanita Stein released debut solo record ‘America’, whose country stylings suited her smoky voice down the ground. That she’s been able to follow it up so quickly suggests a less arduous process, and sure enough, ‘Until the Lights Fade’ was largely recorded over the course of a single week. When so much here clearly involves a folk-rock flavour, it’s a shame it wasn’t fleshed out. The highlights are the bluesy, moody closer ‘French Films’, on which Juanita herself does most of the heavy lifting, and lead single ‘Forgiver’, which was co-penned with Brandon Flowers. Let’s hope whatever comes next is afforded longer in the incubator. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Forgiver’
Finally, for Death Cab for Cutie, a clean break. The parting of ways with Chris Walla loomed large over 2015’s ‘Kintsugi’, but ‘Thank You for Today’ feels like their first opportunity to move forward. ‘Gold Rush’ is built around a Yoko Ono sample and is preoccupied with the gentrification of Seattle - both would have been difficult to envisage in past years. Throughout, there is a sense that Death Cab are realigning themselves under Ben Gibbard’s sole stewardship far more smoothly than many predicted. ‘Thank You for Today’ marks the stirring opening of a new chapter in this band’s already storied history. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘60 And Punk’
eeee INTERPOL Maruader
MISSED THE BOAT ON THE BEST ALBUMS FROM THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS? DON’T WORRY, WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED.
MILES KANE Coup de Grace (Virgin EMI)
There’s a bullishness about Miles Kane - the kind of self-assured bravado that led the singer to performing an ill-advised topless cover of ‘Hot Stuff’ at a recent summer show - that’s always meant that the people who love him, really love him and the people that don’t, really really fucking don’t. On ‘Coup De Grace’ - the singer’s first new solo album since 2013 - the Scouser isn’t exactly about to become a 6Music wet dream overnight, but there is something slightly more charming about Miles, third time around. Maybe it’s in the way that he absolutely unashamedly wears his influences on his sleeve; ‘Cry On My Guitar’ is so T-Rex glam, it might as well be wearing glitter eyeshadow and a curly wig. Or maybe it’s that, on the likes of ‘Silverscreen’ and ‘The Wrong Side Of Life’, there’s a rawness here that suggests Miles is genuinely feeling lots of feelings, he’s just expressing them in his own slightly blokey way. Fuck it, maybe it’s just that some of the riffs here (the aforementioned ‘Silverscreen’ especially) are actually pretty alright. Named after a match-winning wrestling move, ‘Coup De Grace’ isn’t quite going to do that, but it’ll get Miles through to the next round. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Silverscreen’
Between heading out on a 15th anniversary tour for debut ‘Turn On The Bright Lights’ and featuring in ‘Meet Me In The Bathroom’, the book diving into the indie revolution of the early ‘00s, it’s safe to say Interpol have been looking back recently. Taking themselves back to the mindset of their heady early days on ‘Marauder’ serves them well - their sixth LP is a return to form that sees the trio overcome their mid-career slump. Daniel Kessler’s tinny, reverberating guitars helm single ‘The Rover’ wonderfully, as distinctive as ever, while Sam Fogarino’s work behind the kit is intricate and pummelling at once. ‘Stay In Touch’ is a hip-shaking highlight, and the one true surprise here, but largely ‘Marauder’ sees Interpol proving their worth once again, and their prowess for creating bleak, blackened indie rock that’s full of feeling. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Stay In Touch’
YEARS & YEARS Palo Santo ........................
By getting personal - and a bit filthy, natch - on LP2, Olly and the lads produced a beast.
Endless Scroll ........................
Post-punk with lashings of wit is obviously the best kind of post-punk, so the NYC gang’s debut is obv a smash.
Photo: Phil Smithies.
With soulful rock’n’roll by the dozen, there’s little surprise Mattiel Brown recently supported Jack White on tour. 65
Acts of Fear and Love (Virgin EMI/AMF)
If Blur’s ‘The Great Escape’ perfectly encapsulated mid-‘90s Thatcherite Britain in all its middle-class aspirational kitsch, ‘Acts of Fear and Love’ does a decidedly similar job sifting through today’s grimy suburban rubble. ‘Magnolia’ is after all - literally about the ubiquitous paint colour. “Daddy’s got a new girl / Young enough to be his kid / Making up for lost time / Things he wishes that he did”, recalls ‘Daddy’, while opener ‘The Lives They Wished They Had’ muses on presenting our best selves - and includes the humorous couplet “approach with caution / I’ve got my muscles to an intimidating proportion”. In short, ‘Acts of Fear and Love’ is - in the true Britpop tradition - an album that tells stories. If that doesn’t sound like the Slaves you think you know - well, quite. The pair, by now well-versed in pummelling punk, have audibly broadened their horizons here. And if you think we’re leaning on some particular Essex boys a little too much, have a listen to highlight ‘Chokehold’ and tell us that “uh uh uh” backing vocal doesn’t sound familiar. There’s also a delightful Weezeresque riff on ‘Photo Opportunity’, Isaac Holman swapping his perpetual roar for vulnerability, murmuring “metacognition got me hiding away.” There are still some heavy moments - ‘Bugs’ is a joyous thrash, while ‘Artificial Intelligence’ brims with doomy grunge. The closing title track, meanwhile, is a masterclass in tension, the sprawling, layered textures contrasting well with Isaac’s spoken-word. After releasing two albums in such quick succession, ‘Acts of Fear and Love’ is probably the first chance Slaves have had to try anything different. And by keeping enough of the old - and allowing themselves the space to go heart-on-sleeve - their tales of 2010s disillusionment are a resounding success. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Chokehold’, ‘Photo Opportunity’
eee CULLEN OMORI The Diet (Sub Pop)
Once part of hyper-buzzy Chicago group Smith Westerns, Cullen Omori has already proven he can still write brilliant pop without his former bandmates. For his second solo album, he’s expanding his horizons with a series of grander compositions. ‘Millennial Geishas’ starts off like a Primal Scream song that’s just about being prevented from flying high. Closer ‘Real You’ opens with fingerpicked guitar hooks that possess nursery rhyme inflections that later get hidden under hazy surges. The glam-pop of his past is mostly a distant spectre on ‘The Diet’ (it makes a brief appearance in the Suede-y riffs of ‘Quiet Girl’) and that’s no bad thing. Take the bright ‘Happiness Reigns’, for example - a song about the musician’s current girlfriend. Instead of just writing an ode to his partner, Cullen asked her to write with him. The results are loved up lyrics (“Darling, there’s no one like you / Your presence and your love is like a perfume”) underpinned by more vulnerable moments that make everything more human. Cullen might’ve had a rough time of it post-Smith Westerns, but he’s managed to spin beauty out of bad times. (Rhian Daly) LISTEN: ‘Millennial Geishas’
eeee BAD SOUNDS
eeee THE CORAL
Photo: Pooneh Ghana
Bad Sounds have rapidly carved a niche of their own, resulting in a debut that’s deliciously unpredictable and varied. Brothers Ewan and Callum Merrett have previously dipped their toe into different musical worlds, and it’s their combination of hip hop swagger and soul-tinged pop polish that forms the backbone of the album. ‘Wages’ sets the tone immediately with its singsong delivery that recounts ideas of balancing a day-job against dreams of the big time. Elsewhere, ‘Banger’ is built around a sultry, sleazy bass line. In lesser hands, ‘Get Better’ could be wrought with cliches or on the nose lyricism. In the hands of Bad Sounds however, it’s a perfectly executed statement of intent. (Dave Beech) LISTEN: ‘Banger’
Move Through The Dawn ....................................................
As fawning fanboys of the ‘60s, The Coral’s psychindebted wackiness was always more than enough to set them apart. Yet, in spite of such invention, they’d begun to lose their way. ‘Move Through The Dawn’ elegantly showcases The Coral’s two unmistakable modes: maverick psychedelia and tight folk-rock. Opening pair ‘Eyes Like Pearls’ and ‘Reaching Out For A Friend’ best exemplify the latter, both upbeat, lovelorn and infectious ditties that keep a lid on the group’s more manic tendencies. ‘She’s A Runaway’, meanwhile underlines their serious knack for penning psychedelic anthems. With ‘Move Through The Dawn’, the Wirral lads have added another fascinating work to their canon. (Dan Owens) LISTEN: ‘Sweet Release’ 67
eee DEAF HAVANA
eeee WHITE DENIM
(Heist or Hit)
Despite coming quickly off the back of last year’s ‘All These Countless Nights’, ‘Rituals’ forgoes the Springsteen stylings, instead relishing in pop pomp. It’s an interesting direction to take. With track titles such as ‘Sinner’, ‘Holy’ and ‘Worship’ among others, there’s a definite theme of redemption flowing through the core. Introspective and selfdeprecating, there’s a self-awareness present too, which reveals itself once the veneer of pristine production has been scratched away. Though somewhat at odds with the rest of Deaf Havana’s canon, taken on its own merit ‘Rituals’ harbours a darker underbelly. A notable sonic departure, it also presents them as a band that refuse to rest on their laurels. (Dave Beech) LISTEN: ‘Sinner’
ALBUMS 68 diymag.com
Be The Cowboy ....................................................
Through LPs ‘Bury Me At Makeout Creek’ and ‘Puberty 2’, Mitski has shown herself able to transmit intensity and intimacy in their extremes, sometimes at once. ‘Be The Cowboy’ begins with ‘Geyser’, a particularly intense, thudding thrash, but takes a series of unexpected turns from then on. ‘Nobody’ is a piano-led bop. ‘Why Didn’t You Stop Me’ is led by shiny synths, while ‘Lonesome Love’ is a breezy folk number. There’s little musical consistency across ‘Be The Cowboy’. It hints little at the future for Mitski, but as a self-contained piece, just furthers her ability to create immersive, intense worlds to fall into. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Geyser’
It’s no surprise to hear a litter of Southern rock wig-outs, garage fuzz, and jazz drumming at the core of ‘Performance’ - an album that refuses to let up across its nine tracks. Some brassy new ground is broken with the sleazy saxophones on ‘Magazin’, and the triumphant horns on highlight ‘Double Death’. ‘Moves On’ revives the band’s psychedelic tendencies, with a number of free-formed guitar and synthesizer solos over off-kilter rhythmic grooves, organs and guitars. ‘Performance’ doesn’t necessarily take White Denim in a drastically different direction, but it captures so many of the different sides of the band’s multi-faceted sound that it feels expansive and wholesome. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘It Might Get Dark’
Invitation To… ....................................................
Those already wellacquainted with Her’s will know not to expect anything too stylistically narrow on their debut. Sure enough, ‘Invitation to Her’s’ finds Audun Laading and Stephen Fitzpatrick on similarly eclectic form. At the core of their appeal is that they pull off that same dynamic of presenting as class clowns whilst secretly putting plenty of work in; the result is a handsome collection of love songs that mine everything from glacial doo-wop to sunny funk inflections. It’s an occasionally jarring listen, thanks to its stylistic restlessness, but there’s enough substance behind the silliness. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘She Needs Him’
eeee PIP BLOM
eeee OUR GIRL
Following on from Canshaker Pi, Pip Blom - fronted by the singer of the same name - are the second recent fuzzy Amsterdam export to start making waves on UK shores. Fresh from touring with The Breeders, that particular union is one that makes total sense; ‘Paycheck’ rings with the kind of effortless cool the Deal sisters specialise in. ‘Pussycat’ is anything but meek, while ‘Come Home’ begins on the kind of tingling guitar bends that show that Pip could have something genuinely interesting to add to the canon. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Come Home‘
eeee SPRING KING A Better Life (Island)
On 2016 debut ‘Tell Me If You Like To’, Spring King positioned themselves as masters of furiously up-tempo garage-rock. It’s that tangible energy - the smell of sweat, the rush of blood - that sits at the core of their DNA. It’s no wonder that relentlessness plays a key role in this follow up, which quivers, rattles and fizzes hypnotically throughout. A Better Life’ finds the band tackling meatier topics than before; it’s about searching for greener grass in spite of the chaos and confusion of the world we live in today. Which is probably for the best. No one wants an existential crisis in the moshpit, and SK know this; the intentionally ambiguous lyrics allow maximum joy. ‘Let’s Drink’ is instilled with a Britpop zest, ‘The Hum’ grabs you by the scruff of the neck in a way old Spring King could only have dreamt of, and ‘Have You Ever Looked Up Into The Sky?’ trades dirty noise for clean-cut, easy-flowing sweetness on its mid-tempo melody. Where the first record bit and scratched with scrappy impatience, ‘A Better Life’ paces itself; it’s a heftier beast that still reaches all-guns-blazing crescendos like it’s no biggie, but for the most part is slower, louder, and easier to lose oneself in, resounding proof that Spring King are still on an upward trajectory with no signs of slowing. (Alex Cabré) LISTEN: ‘The Hum’
Across a series of early singles and EPs, and a punishing touring schedule in 2018 so far, Our Girl’s debut full-length arrives with a hell of a lot of momentum. With production courtesy of Bill Ryder-Jones, the band’s sound is beefed up and polished beautifully on ‘Stranger Today’, an album of contrasts and revelations. Soph Nathan’s guitar work across the record is biblical; crunchy chord work becomes filthy shredding and solos in the blink of an eye, all backed by the morethan-solid rhythm section. Singles ‘Level’ and ‘Being Around’ are given a new lick of paint, while newies ‘I Wish It Was Sunday - an invigorating thrash defined by screeching guitar solos - and closer ‘Boring’ - a live favourite that sounds even more intense on record - show that Our Girl can more than hold their own across a full-length. It’s what’ll come next that we’re most excited about though. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Boring’
ALL GUNS BLAZING. Photo: Ed Miles 69
eee ANNA CALVI
(Tatemae / Atlantic)
Anna Calvi has never shied away from big ideas. On new album ‘Hunter’, she tackles sexuality and gender in a bold and theatrical way, a stomping rock opera. References to breaking out of the boundaries set by gender conformity are littered throughout. “Let us be us...” she whispers on the defiant ‘Don’t Beat The Boy Out Of My Girl’. On the swooping chorus of ‘Chain’ she repeats the line “I’ll be the boy, you be the girl” and on ‘Alpha’, she’s celebrating power and strength; being alpha as a non gender-specific trait. With its high concepts and bold instrumentals the album feels a little heavy at times, but you really can’t fault its ambition. (Rachel Finn) LISTEN: ‘Swimming Pool’
Love Me / Love Me Not ....................................................
Honne’s style is a miscellany of twinkling synths weighted with cinematic beats, and ‘Love Me / Love Me Not’ shows a duo more certain of their identity than ever before, every track marbled with these two influences. The Japanese philosophy of two halves existing as a whole forms the foundation of the album, right down to the tracks being divided evenly, one half exploring the euphoria of falling in love and the other the agony of falling out of it. It’s almost surgical in its strategy. The standout track, away from the formulaic plodding-pace beats that often sound a little too lazy, is ‘Me & You’. Honne’s crystalline, Mura Masa-esque beats will see them through - though only as easy-listening, nothing more. (Sophie Walker) LISTEN: ‘Me & You’
eeee TREVOR POWERS
eee WILD NOTHING Indigo
‘Letting Go’ is a record that carries on with more of the bouncy dream pop that Wild Nothing is known for, only it opens itself up to more experimental possibilities. Opening track ‘Letting Go’ clocks in at the poppier end of the scale, awash with upbeat guitars and sweeping synth; ‘Dollhouse’ is a minimalist instrumental that runs straight into ‘Canyon On Fire’, which with its scratchy guitar line and hazy vocal is reminiscent of an ‘80s rock ballad, while the creeping slow burn of album closer ‘Bend’ brings things to a woozy finish. With just about enough sonic variation to keep things interesting, there’s a more pristine feel to this collection of tracks - no doubt the result of an artist who’s getting closer to refining their craft. (Rachel Finn) LISTEN: ‘Letting Go’
In under 30 seconds, opener ‘XTQ Idol’ tells us everything we need to know about ‘Mulberry Violence’. Sombre piano, skittish misfiring loops, murky bass lines, and scatter-shot beats are submerged under an unsettling vibe, while Trevor’s vocals range from a gentle embrace to barbarous and primitive shouts. Then it switches to become a glorious avantpop gem. The main event however is his vocals, which can change from a guttural primal scream to delicate and tender crooning in a heartbeat. Trevor Powers has crafted an album full of malice and aggression that lives up to its title, but is peppered with themes of hope and optimism. (Nick Roseblade) LISTEN: ‘Ache’
BLACK HONEY Black Honey
Our July cover stars have ramped everything up past eleven for this storming debut. Released 21st September.
PALE WAVES My Mind Makes Noises
The Class of 2018 cover stars will unleash their poptastic debut on 14th September.
CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS Chris
Grab your dancin’ shoes. You’re gonna need ‘em if poptastic previews ‘Doesn’t matter’ and ‘Girlfriend’ are to go by. Out 21st September.
MAD COOL ....................................................
IFEMA, Madrid Photos: Emma Swann FIDLAR
till only in its third year, Madrid weekender Mad Cool has already established itself as one of the biggest hitters of the Euro festival circuit. This year’s event is borderline ridiculous; some of the biggest acts in the world jostle for top billing, while even established festival favourites are relegated to early supporting cast slots.
Case in point: Slaves. Back on UK turf they sit pretty near the top end of any large scale event; here, they’re first on. It’s not that there’s a lack of demand for Isaac and Laurie’s playful punk blasts - later, we catch the pair wandering round the site, getting mobbed every three paces, there’s just simply shit loads of competition. Playing a handful of new tracks from third LP ‘Acts of Fear and Love’ including, ironically, slowie ‘Photo Opportunity’ - an ode to the being asked for selfies all the time, the pair set the bar high for the day. Back in the game after a couple of years off the touring circuit, FIDLAR have lost none of their messy charm. The LA punks are a gloriously unpolished affair from the opening blast of recent single ‘Alcohol’. Judging by the set-long mosh that greets them, Madrid’s glad to have them back, too.
Seemingly congregating the entire festival to their main stage headline set, Pearl Jam still clearly have the pulling power. Clocking in at two hours, could we have done with a slight slim-lining of the setlist? Well, yeah. Luckily, if there’s one band that know a thing or two about bangers, it’s everyone’s favourite Leicester likely lads Kasabian. Entering to the 20th Century Fox theme, the group are on gloriously joyous, slightly ridiculous, entirely excellent form from the off. Another festival conquered.
The Big Moon’s Bonnie Tyler cover is the kind of unifying moment that defies language barriers on Friday afternoon, while Goat Girl have the crowd thrashing around to ‘The Man’. With the kind of formidable, vast back catalogue that means he can cherrypick whatever he feels like on the night, it’s always a bit of a gamble with Jack White. Tonight, however, we get White Stripes highlights ‘Ball and Biscuit’ and ‘The Hardest Button to Button’ in a joyous one-two before a final sing-along ‘Seven Nation Army’. Say what you like about the man, but holy hell has he written some tunes.
Tunes is something Alex Turner is rather au fait with, too. With a glowing ‘MONKEYS’ sign behind him, there’s an aura of spine- tinglingly legendary status about the singer now. This isn’t just a band, it’s fucking Arctic Monkeys. Franz Ferdinand are left to close the big stages with the late night party slot. If there’s a purer pleasure than having a seductive shoulder shimmy to ‘Michael’, then we’re yet to find it. Saturday begins with an early set from Wolf Alice. ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ is air-punchingly joyful and tearjerking all at once, while Ellie Rowsell stomps around the stage during ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ with the entire crowd in the palm of her hand. If there’s been an elephant in the room throughout the festival, it’s been in the event’s decision to corner off an area at the front of the two main stages reserved for VIP ticket holders, often meaning that there’s empty areas directly in front of the stage. Josh Homme, however, isn’t up for this shit. “Security, you’d better let those people in,” he begins - interrupting ‘No-One Knows’. “I’m not playing until you let them in.” It’s the kind of ‘fuck you to The Man’ move that Queens of the Stone Age have always revelled in, and it charges the second half of the set with renewed electricity. As he mounts the speaker stack for a final meaty guitar solo, tonight, Josh is the people’s Queen and king of the festival. Depeche Mode are the slightly more danceable sandwich filler between the main stage’s hulking bookends tonight, but it’s Nine Inch Nails who throb the hardest. Heavy and dirty, they’re an unlikely festival band. But under the cloak of darkness and pumped out gloriously loud, it’s impossible not to be fully enveloped by their sheer primal energy. Dua Lipa has firmly made the jump from promising newcomer to Proper Big Star. Sure, people are mainly just waiting for the hits (‘New Rules’, predictably, goes off), but Dua’s a commanding performer who keeps the crowd rapt throughout. Growing from newcomer to top tier-challenging event in three years, there’s obviously been some teething problems this weekend. But with a line up already as massive as this, you sense they only need to make a few tweaks to quickly become one of the Euro heavyweights. (Lisa Wright)
Passeio Marítimo de Algés, Lisbon Photos: Andrew Benge
os Alive might primarily be categorised by its guitar-centric line-up, but Jain opens proceedings with a counterbalancing set on Thursday afternoon. She possesses an arsenal of house-meets-pop bangers which go down deliciously on the festival’s first afternoon. The guitars worm their way in via Wolf Alice next on. A performance of ‘Lisbon’ is predictably meta and received wonderfully. The band have never looked more confident.
Nine Inch Nails greet the sunset with a dark, sexy hammerblow. Trent Reznor and co manage to be heavy-as-hell and danceable at once. A significantly more radio-friendly set from Snow Patrol follows, before Arctic Monkeys continue their mammoth festival tour. ‘Tranquility…’ songs slide in between back catalogue cuts seamlessly.
Nearly a year on from the release of ‘Sleep Well Beast’, The National are on impeccable form. Matt Berninger beams from song to song and fights his way through the crowd all the way to the bar, ordering a pint and stumbles his way back on stage, all while roaring his way through ‘Mr November’. It seems like they’re a band who’ve never had more fun. Future Islands put in a glorious, heart-bursting set that champions unity and openness via sturdy synth-pop and a masterclass from one of the best frontmen around. Two Door Cinema Club then close out the main stage with a bam-bam-bam
opening of ‘Undercover Martyn’, ‘I Can Talk’ and ‘This Is The Life’, sending everyone home with a reminder of what they do best. Saturday continues to provide rock fans with an almost unbelievable selection. Marmozets impress on the Sagres stage, but their crowd slightly suffers due to a clash with Alice In Chains, who still sound ferocious over thirty years in. Jack White’s back catalogue has also stood the test of time, and his set packs in plenty of them. Songs from The Dead Weather (‘I Cut Like A Buffalo’), The Raconteurs (‘Steady As She Goes’), The White Stripes (‘Hotel Yorba’, the ever-massive ‘Seven Nation Army’) and his three solo albums are weighted perfectly against each other, and proves his unwavering power as a festival headliner. Though Pearl Jam’s set drags on to within an inch of its life, the introduction of Jack White to cover Neil Young’s ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ sees more than a few rock kids’ wet dreams becoming reality, and the reaction as they exit the stage (well, are told to leave - Eddie Vedder was already getting ready to smash out another song) is absolutely gargantuan. It’s an impressive feat, but a set of its length might have been a little more palatable if coming after a sparkling pop show courtesy of a headliner from a different world. For what it offered, though, NOS Alive 2018 proved itself one of the best of the bunch. (Will Richards)
Gunnersbury Park, London Photos: Ellen Offredy
hinking of the Great British Festival Season, the first image that springs to mind is mud. In 2018, that couldn’t be further from the reality, especially at Citadel, which today is more akin to the Sahara Desert than its newfound home in Gunnersbury Park. Today is so hot that most punters find themselves queuing at water stations rather than bars, and shadow-hopping between sets but a little sunshine never stopped anyone.
Shame may emerge onto the Main Stage as one of the first acts of the day, but you’d never be able to tell: diving headfirst into their murky brilliance, it takes mere moments for Charlie Steen and pals to whip a frenzy in the first front rows. Intense, hard-hitting and unhinged in just the right amounts, they seems to get better with every show.
After winding our way through the Citadel site, it’s time for Matt Maltese to sooth any souls on the DIY at Kopparberg Outsider stage, a neat garden-esque enclave that feels hidden off the beaten track. He breezes through a selection of enigmatic tracks from his recent ‘Bad Contestant’ debut, with the likes of ‘Greatest Comedian’ and ‘Sweet 16’ offering up a sense of sublime bittersweetness. Things are a little more frantic back at the Main Stage, where The Horrors are due on stage but are taking a little while to get there. Opening with the glitchy slow build of ‘Sea Within A Sea’ - in all its eight minute glory - works to their advantage though, before frontman Faris Badwan finally emerges, explaining the late arrival. “Nobody told me the festival had moved from Victoria Park,” he says, in way of introducing next cut ‘Machine’, with little hint of
amusement. “I wish I was joking...” ‘Still Life’ swells as powerfully as the sun of the day, before their New Order-esque ‘V’ closer ‘Something To Remember Me By’ closes proceedings in a massive fashion. Back at the DIY at Kopparberg Outsider stage, Our Girl are riffing up a storm. An exercise in restraint, the band constantly teeter on the edge of feather-light touches and achingly-heavy guitars, without ever quite losing control. A world away from such scuzziness, Chvrches feel almost otherworldly today. Cuts from ‘Love Is Dead’ are given pride of place today and it’s no surprise really; their electro-bangers sound massive, sparkling in the still-intense heat of the day. Wrapping things up with the delirious highs of ‘Clearest Blue’ and ‘The Mother We Share’, before bursting into ‘Never Say Die’, they prove themselves an even fiercer live force to contend with. By the time that the sun begins to set, it feels like the perfect setting for Tame Impala. Appearing in the UK for what’s billed as their only performance this year, Kevin Parker’s mind-bending set is as luscious as you’d hope – his intro of ‘Nags’ into ‘Let It Happen’ into ‘Sundown Syndrome’ feeling glorious - but admittedly, tonight doesn’t seem all that different from the last time he played our shores. Backed by shifting multicoloured animations and equipped with confetti cannons from the word go, Tame Impala sure know how to put on a show, but tonight mostly just whets our appetite for what’s set to come next, with the hope that it’ll land soon. (Sarah Jamieson) 75
NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS Nick had an unusual tactic when throwing the bouquet.
Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport. Photos: Emma Swann.
he sun is shining over Open’er, where Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds are peppering their set with a few old Oasis classics. ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ sound a little strange, however, performed to a crowd that doesn’t react quite as energetically as a home crowd might.
Later, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds prove why they’ve long been hailed as masters of dark magic. Throughout the set, Nick leans over the barrier, and at several parts pulls people over it to sing, sob (or in the case of one particular joker, perform a hip swinging dance) next to him on stage. By the time they close with the ‘Rings of Saturn’, there’s the sense that we’ve all been left mesmerised. It’s been five years, almost to the day, since Arctic Monkeys last played Poland. Their absence shows; tonight they draw the biggest crowd. Alex Turner surveys the crowd, snakes around the stage and places a perfectlytimed wink at the moment the stage lights go down to leave their light-up sign emblazoning the word ‘MONKEYS’ into the night. After the release of ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’, there was some debate about how the band’s new direction would fit. When set opener ‘Four Out Of Five’ bleeds effortlessly into the stomping ‘Brianstorm’, however, it’s obvious there’s no need for worry.
Thursday starts with Alma, who’s intent on getting the party started. She dances, drinks and parties her way through a set of pounding, synth-driven pop.
Meanwhile, things are off to a tricky start for MØ when the sound cuts out during ‘Nights With You’. The stage is plunged into silence, but she carries on like a true pro regardless, her set a loose-limbed performance of wild gesturing and energetic dance moves. David Byrne’s show is more like a theatrical performance than a gig. His Talking Heads repertoire features heavily, throwing in ‘I Zimbra’, ‘Slippery People’, ‘Once In A Lifetime’ and ‘Blind’, among others, alongside his solo work, as well as St Vincent collab ‘I Should Watch TV’. Sigrid whips up a frenzy of early Friday evening powerpop. Though she reacts to the mammoth crowd that greets her with level of surprise that, by now, seems a little bit feigned, with her infectious enthusiasm, it’s easy to see why her ascent to pop stardom has been so quick. A Gorillaz live show in Poland is a rarity, so it’s nothing but expected then that Damon Albarn and band are greeted with a furore of emotion. Despite their sets at the festival earlier in the day, collaborators Kali Uchis and Vince Staples don’t turn up for renditions of their ‘Humanz’ tracks. Little Simz does though and she makes up for it, bounding onto the stage to race through ‘Garage Palace’ The slower, more chilled-out nature of the tracks on ‘The Now Now’ filter into the set with ease, though they can’t quite match the energy of ‘Feel Good Inc’ and set closer ‘Clint Eastwood’, which cause the field to erupt into a celebratory dance party that re-ignites any flagging spirits as day three of Open’er draws to a triumphant close. (Rachel Finn)
Glasgow Green. Photos: Sinéad Grainger.
his year’s TRNSMT takes over two weekends, and as the first hits Glasgow Green, the city is in the middle of a heatwave. Anteros open the King Tut’s stage, and frontwoman Laura Hayden’s vocals are the star of their show. It’s hard to peel your eyes off Pale Waves’ Heather Baron-Gracie. When the band play ‘Television Romance’ and ‘Heavenly’ it’s clear they’ve already cemented their place in the hearts of many.
With a camera crew following him on screen from dressing room to main stage, the excitement is at fever pitch by the time Liam Gallagher actually comes into plain sight. It’s fairly obvious that most of the crowd are there for the Oasis throwbacks, but when he dishes up ‘Morning Glory’ and ‘Supersonic’, who could possibly refuse? On a day where most other bands are kitted out in black, Declan McKenna takes to the stage in a wonderfully flamboyant white get up with a yellow plastic jacket, calling himself a “Primark Freddie Mercury”. The minute he plays ‘Brazil’ the arena is jumping. Arctic Monkeys’ return to the UK festival circuit has been highly anticipated and people have travelled to Glasgow from all corners of the UK for their set. As the crowds leave the festival for the final time this weekend there’s an
echoing chorus of people singing on the streets of the city centre. Job well and truly done, then. The final day of TRNSMT hosts a series of massive names. With streamers and confetti flying at the crowd in almost every song Friendly Fires then put on a show like no other. A warm welcome is extended to Franz Ferdinand. The hits come thick and fast as they make their way through ‘The Dark of the Matinée’, ‘Walk Away’ and later ‘Take Me Out’. Fellow Scots Chvrches, meanwhile, take to the main stage for their first show in the city in over two years. It’s been a hot minute since The Killers appeared on a festival bill in Scotland but, as they open with the gigantic ‘The Man’, we’re immediately in the palm of frontman Brandon Flowers’ hand. During ‘For Reasons Unknown’ they invite a young local drummer up to play with them and - as Brandon notes halfway through - Tony must’ve done his homework; he plays along as if he was born to do it. To make their return to Scotland even more special, they takes on both The Waterboys ‘The Whole of the Moon’ and Travis’ ‘Side’, both covers showing off the strength of Brandon’s vocals. By the end of the set, it’s beyond any doubt they’re the perfect band to close what’s been a sensational festival, and there’s no better song to close with than ‘Mr. Brightside’. For one last time all inhibitions are lost and The Killers reign supreme. (Danielle Wilson)
POHODA Trencín Airport. Photo: Phil Smithies.
oughly translated as ‘comfy’ or ‘contented’, Pohoda - located in Trencin, Slovakia - separates itself from the bulk of UK and European weekenders from the off. The emphasis here is on the whole experience.
The line-up, too, is a slightly leftfield one in comparison to most. Sure its size might dictate that headliners are slightly smaller, but even throughout the bill Pohoda favour the more interesting and avant garde over your standard set of indie bands. Really, the only slightly baffling curveballs come from the UK’s corner, in the form of king crooner Jamie Cullum and naff mum-friendly sorts Scouting For Girls. Sorry about that, Slovakia.
Not so much easing us in, as demanding that we go full pelt into the weekend, The Chemical Brothers headline Thursday’s warm-up night with a set that’s as visually glorious as it is audibly jubilant. Sure, the universal bangers (‘Galvanise’, ‘Hey Boy Hey Girl’, ‘Block Rockin’ Beats’) might predictably come near the back end of proceedings, but there’s enough 78 diymag.com
giddy hedonism to carry even the less well-known numbers through. Friday kicks off like the party never stopped, with Aussie quartet Confidence Man. On record, the band are obvious dancefloor fillers. On stage, however, they’re the all-singing, all-dancing, all-costume-changing perfect festival band. Slovakia’s Diego are a more sedate proposition, but their indie melancholy lands on the right side of ‘slightly too wet’, while Jessie Ware has to battle actual physical rain (and a fair amount of it) for her early-evening set on the second stage. Back from the dead to teach The Stone Roses a thing or two about how to do a baggy reunion and still actually, y’know, sound good, Ride are a booming, heady juggernaut tonight. It helps that the sound levels are high enough to feel like they’re burrowing into your spine, but regardless – the Oxford boys’ swirling walls of noise sound glorious. Across the other side of the field, a newly clean-cut (in aesthetic at
least) Danny Brown has one of the biggest non-main stage crowds of the weekend. And so it’s over to tonight’s headliner St Vincent, whose set feels entirely uncanny; at once jarring, but beautiful, unsettling but badass. Shredding through ‘Digital Witness’ and ‘Birth In Reverse’ like a queen, and standing still and centre stage for a weighty ‘New York’, it’s masterful and fucking weird, aka exactly what you’d hope from the singular star. Into Saturday and the biggest, most joyful revelation comes in the form of Reykjavíkurdætur. An all-girl hip hop troupe, watching them is a bit like discovering The Spice Girls for the first time - an absolutely heart-swelling, celebratory display of girl gang joy. Tune-Yards’ oddball pop is nothing if not built for dancing, and though it comes from the most avant garde of ingredients, she turns unusual rhythms and repetitive motifs into unlikely anthems. It’s the perfect example of an unexpectedly brilliant festival artist, from a perhaps unexpectedly brilliant festival. If Pohoda means content, then we’re feeling very pohoda indeed. (Lisa Wright)
LIVE LIAM GALLAGHER Finsbury Park, London. Photo: Emma Swann.
ny Liam Gallagher gig is a cauldron of atmosphere, pints flying in every direction, but tonight really is a big one: the culmination of a slowly building solo career that’s seen the rejuvenation of one of Britain’s most adored frontmen.
Wolf Alice take to the stage after Loyle Carner brings a feisty performance of debut album ‘Yesterday’s Gone’, and they’re looking perfectly at home. Then, if the crowd’s limbs and vocal chords weren’t sufficiently warmed up by this
point, they’re given another chance of a run-out via an unannounced acoustic set from Richard Ashcroft. He proceeds to rip through ‘Sonnet’, ‘Lucky Man’ and ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ before a lung-bursting rendition of‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ sets the tone for a night that’s defined by the anthems that defined a generation. Barely ten minutes later and Liam’s barrelling out onto the stage to the iconic opening notes of ‘Rock’n’Roll Star’. You only really know it from the explosion of flares and mighty
QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE AND FRIENDS Finsbury Park, London. Photos: Emma Swann. .......................................................................................................
et’s get the obvious gripe out of the way: tonight, the sound is shit. It’s wildly frustrating. But it’s also testament to Queens of the Stone Age that they still hold Finsbury Park in the palms of their hands, regardless.
First, however, we have an entire day’s worth of treats to sweat through – kicking off with Black Honey, who’ve come dressed for the occasion in matching double denim. Deap Vally are clearly feeling right at home, as they throw out playfully teasing one liners to the wilting masses about the British not being used to the weather. Wiggling out to the strains of ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ like a toddler that’s just been let off the leash, Iggy Pop may resemble a well-preserved leather satchel these days, but he throws his arms around and shakes his hips with unselfconscious exuberance.
Cometh the hour, cometh the band, and despite everything working against them, Queens are on unstoppable form. “I remember playing to 200 people in London,” recalls Josh Homme at one point, “and now we’re stood here in front of 45,000 of you.” The magnitude of the show is clearly not lost, and there’s something suitably celebratory in the air tonight. Across the set they move seamlessly from full on, monstrously heavy riffs to come-hither sauce (‘Make It Wit Chu’) to finger-clicking struts (‘The Way You Used To Do’), intertwining light and dark, heavy and soft with a dexterity that’s become all their own. So yeah, maybe tonight is quieter than anyone would like. But the fact that this big hulking rock band can still emerge victorious even without noise on their side? Well, that’s true praise indeed. (Lisa Wright)
singalong, though: the sound barely travels to half way back in the massive field. It’s a good job, then, that 80% of what he plays tonight is recited back to him word for word: every Oasis cut is carried on by singalongs alone, guitars and drums barely audible. It’d be a disaster if the songs weren’t so cherished and bellowed back with such conviction. Tonight is a showcase of Liam Gallagher the showman: a man who knows exactly what the crowd wants, and proceeds to hand it over, anthem after anthem. (Will Richards)
COMMUNITY Finsbury Park, London. Photo: Emma Swann.
he road to festival headliner status has been long and tumultuous for Two Door Cinema Club, and while the trio have dabbled in the past, Community sees them at the peak of their power, playing their biggest ever headline show. It’s a baking hot Sunday but from the time the gates open anticipation can be smelt in the air.
The rest of the afternoon is spent hot footing it back and forth across Finsbury Park to catch both buzzy newcomers and staple faves, kicking off with Marmozets. It takes a lot to make a 2pm mosh pit in 30-degree heat look appealing, but the Yorkshire quintet are just that kind of band. Becca Macintyre is a fireball of energy, her vocal unfaltering as she thrashes up and down the enormous main stage, no more so than on certified turbo-banger ‘Major System Error’ which sounds immense. Today feels like a massive step up for Sundara Karma; having honed their skills on countless fringe stages over the years, the Reading boys are in their element. The infectious grooves of ‘Flame’ and ‘Olympia’ reverberate through the air while sun-baked anthem ‘She Said’ enters the history books as a perfect sing-along festival number. A quick hop over to the N4 Stage finds King Nun kicking up the dust like it’s nobody’s business, previewing a forthcoming EP. Legging it back to the main stage there’s time to catch the end of Circa Waves, and that song everyone’s gagging for. “This song was made for right fucking now,” beams Kieran Shuddall, proudly introducing ‘T-Shirt Weather’, before a biblical scene unfolds of people on shoulders, pints flung, pits opened, in a moment that will surely stick in countless memories for years to come.
“We’re Pale Waves, we’re from Manchester”, announces Heather Baron-Gracie, as if anyone didn’t know, diving into a shimmery rendition of ‘Kiss’. With a revised stage entrance and more confidence, it’s a real treat to see how far the DIY favourites have come in such a short space of time; Heather bounds around playfully, joining Ciara on the drum riser and dancing around guitarist Hugo, every single song greeted with screams and movement from the thousands-strong crowd. Released just a few days before, ‘Noises’ is sung back as strongly as all the others. There’s even a pit for ‘My Obsession’ - the ‘slow one’. A deluge of bodies rushing back to the main arena can only mean one thing: The Vaccines have come out to play. Stage decked up with a golden backdrop and vintage movie-set lighting, the band look downright phenomenal in the twilight glow. They don’t fuck about unleashing the bangers, kicking off with a cut from each album: ‘Nightclub’ followed by ‘Wrecking Bar’, ‘Teenage Icon’ and ‘Dream Lover’, all delivered with lightning-fast precision. Justin and co know the young crowd are here for the classics. They whiz through ‘Nørgaard’ and ‘All In White’ barely stopping for breath, before a surfy new one titled ‘All My Friends’. In dazzling blue flares, Justin Young coaxes his eager audience into ‘If You Wanna’ before knocking it out the park with another ‘Combat Sports’ slice, ‘I Can’t Quit’. Time for the headliners. The journey to get here has been long and gruelling; just as Two Door reached their pinnacle off the back of ‘Beacon’, a cancelled appearance at Latitude 2014 signalled the start of a rough patch, with speculation that the group would no longer continue. Thank Christ they got through it, tbh. If tonight is proof of one thing, it’s that the world needs TDCC. (Alex Cabré) 81
quiz of sor ts, we’ll A big inter-band pub es one by one. fav r you ling be gril
IT’S YOUR ROUND YOWL GABRIEL BYRDE, £4.80 Drink: Camden Hells, Derby, Oval Location: The Brown
GENERAL KNOWLEDGE 1. What disease are koalas famously known for having? Chlamydia, mate! Yes, correct. 2. What was the first product that Heinz made? I mean, obviously they’re famous for beans… Maybe it was a tinned food before beans? Let’s go with beans. It’s actually tartare sauce. They do do it! I’ve seen it in Wetherspoons, in the sachets. 3. What’s the oldest that any human being has ever lived to be? I was gonna say 132… We’ll go with 112!
SCORE 3/10 Verdict: Yowl might be slightly bugged out about their lack of ant awareness, but at least they’re in the know about animal STDs. Congrats, we guess?
CHOSEN SUBJECT: ANTS
It was 122, we’re afraid. Not even a half point there. 4. There are three colour names that cannot rhyme with any other word name two of the three. Orange and purple. Very good! That’s a point. The third is silver. 5. What is the name for a group of lemurs? I wanna say a stand-off of lemurs! Hmm, a curiosity of lemurs? That’s actually quite close. It’s actually a conspiracy of lemurs.
6. To the nearest 1000, how many species of ants are there? 100,000. According to the internet, it’s 12,500. Yes, but we could’ve well been looking at different internets. 7. When Ant McPartlin was in Byker Grove, what was the tragic accident that famously happened to his character? Did he die on a go-kart? No, the answer was he was blinded in a paintballing accident. 8. Adam Ant had three number 1s in his career - can you name two of them? ‘Stand and Deliver’ and…
‘Dick Whittington’? I’m not ashamed to lose this. ‘Prince Charming’! There was also ‘Goody Two Shoes’. 9. In the Disney film Antz, who voices the main character? (Ivor [guitarist], chipping in): Woody Allen! That’s correct! 10. What does ANTi-freeze do?! One purpose is quite obvious but the other isn’t… Kill people? Other than it de-freezing things… Not only can you lower the freezing point, you can increase the boiling point of something. SCORE:
OMNI The Cellar Oxford | 15.08.18
THE MAGIC GANG O2 Academy Oxford | 05.10.18
SAM EVIAN The Cookie Leicester | 21.10.18
THE BLINDERS The Bullingdon Oxford | 05.11.18
CREEPER Dryden Street Social Leicester | SOLD OUT
Newhampton Arts Centre Wolverhampton | 10.10.18
PUMA BLUE The Jericho Tavern Oxford | 22.10.18
STELLA DONNELLY The Cookie Leicester | 23.08.18
GE CAPE. WEAR GET CAPE. FLY. The Cookie Leicester | 11.10.18
KIRAN LEONARD The Cookie Leicester | 22.10.18
SHAME O2 Academy Leicester | 17.11.18
GOAT GIRL The Cookie Leicester | 07.09.18
HOLLIE COOK O2 Academy Oxford | 12.10.18
YELLOW DAYS The Bullingdon Oxford | 23.10.18
PAUL DRAPER The Cookie Leicester | 17.11.18
LOW ISLAND O2 Academy2 Oxford | 21.09.18
CASSIA The Cookie Leicester | 13.10.18
LUCY DACUS The Cookie Leicester | 25.10.18
BLOXX The Bullingdon Oxford | 20.11.18
THE NIGHT CAFE O2 Academy2 Oxford | 25.09.18
DERMOT KENNEDY O2 Academy Oxford | 14.10.18
ROLLING BLACKOUTS C.F O2 Academy Oxford | 25.10.18
EASY LIFE Dryden Street Social Leicester | 22.11.18
THE NIGHT CAFE Dryden Street Social Leicester | 26.09.18
OUR GIRL The Cookie Leicester | 15.10.18
HERâ€™S The Cookie Leicester | 26.10.18
SUNFLOWER BEAN Dryden Street Social Leicester | 23.11.18
SEAFRET The Cookie Leicester | 28.09.18
CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH The Bullingdon Oxford | 16.10.18
BAD SOUNDS The Cookie Leicester | 27.10.18
EASY LIFE The Jericho Tavern Oxford | 24.11.18
TELEMAN O2 Academy2 Oxford | 29.09.18
TOM GRENNAN O2 Academy Oxford | 18.10.18
WE ARE SCIENTISTS The Bullingdon Oxford | 28.10.18 Oxfo
SUNFLOWER BEAN The Bullingdon Oxford | 25.11.18
WHENYOUNG WHEN The Cookie Leicester | 05.10.18
TOM GRENNAN O2 Academy Leicester | 19.10.18
IDLES O2 Academy Oxford | 29.10.18
SHAME O2 Academy Oxford | 27.11.18
O2 Academy Oxford | 15.11.18
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