DIY, February 2018

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set mu s ic fr e e free / is s ue 7 1 / f ebruary 2 018 diymag .com









Emma Swann

Founding Editor GOOD We’re finally getting some 2018 records to get our teeth into, wahey! EVIL The right-afterNew Year deadline we were greeted with after the lovely long winter break. ..............................

Lisa Wright

GOOD The only good thing about having a depleted post-Christmas bank balance is being able to catch up on all the albums and Netflix I’ve missed. EVIL Snow is pretty and all, but when it turns to ice I’m hardly as elegant as Torvill and Dean. .............................

LOuise Mason

Art Director Senior Staff Writer GOOD I’ve managed GOOD First interviewed to sneak a dead flying The Vaccines seven long monkey and Arnold years ago, just ahead Schwarzenegger (with of their first LP. Now a bow and arrow) into they’re on album four this issue. and I’m feeling very old, EVIL A new level of self but there are still few as pity after eating the all quotable as Mr Justin the jelly beans from the Young. Rae Morris shoot. EVIL Watched ‘Three ............................. Billboards...’ and think Will Richards maybe the whole world is Digital Editor fundamentally just full of GOOD Shaved my head inescapable evil, ready to on NYE and realised a strike at any turn? IDK. stupid life goal. EVIL I’ve never been ............................. colder in my life. Read: Eugenie stupid life goal.

Johnson Staff Writer





EDITOR’S LET TER For the best part of the last eight years, The Vaccines have been making a right royal racket; their anthemic tracks soundtracking messy nights out and hazy early mornings for loads of us everywhere. The challenge they faced with ‘Combat Sports’, however, lay that much closer to home. With just over two months to go until their fourth full-length enters the world, we joined the five-piece to uncover exactly what went into its creation. Elsewhere in our issue this month, we rendezvous with the alwaysbrilliant Dream Wife to discuss their incendiary debut, discover that what didn’t break Marmozets certainly didn’t kill them (quite to the contrary, in fact) and meet up with the newly-reinvigorated Rae Morris to chat about her bold new record. Sarah Jamieson, Managing Editor GOOD New year, new me! Just, y’know, still eating loads of pizza. EVIL The other day, someone told me that February always feels worse than January. I am not prepared for that…


W h at ’ s b e e n t i c k l i n g t h e DIY team’s eardrums this month? demob happy - ‘holy doom’

They might be smaller in number this time, but LP2 has Demob sounding more beefed-up than ever, their sludgy riffs wound tighter than an immobile slinky. An unholy racket of the best kind.

pale waves - ‘all the things i never said’

Glittering like, well everything else the Class of 2018 superstars have put their name to so far, this four-track EP - featuring stellar single ‘New Year’s Eve’ - is bop central.

vampire weekend - ‘modern vampires of the city’

A record so perfect it’ll almost be a shame when we’re forced to turn it off once Ezra and pals finally decide to grace us with a follow-up. 3

For DIY editorial For DIY sales For DIY stockist enquiries DIY is published by Sonic Media Group. All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of DIY. 25p where sold.

Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which Sonic Media Group holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally.

Founding Editor Emma Swann Managing Editor Sarah Jamieson Features Editor El Hunt Digital Editor Will Richards Senior Staff Writer Lisa Wright Staff Writer Eugenie Johnson Art Direction & Design Louise Mason










Contributors Ben Tipple, Cady Siregar, Ellen PeirsonHagger, Joe Goggins, Katie Hawthorne, Liam McNeilly, Lisa Henderson, Matthew Hogarth, Max Freedman, Nick Pollard, Steven Loftin, Will Moss. Photographers Andrew Benge, Jenn Five, Lindsay Melbourne, Mike Massaro, Patrick Gunning, Phil Smithies, Robin Pope. Cover photo: Jenn Five. This page: Phil Smithies.


“It was terrifying - you don’t want to let people down.” - Pete Wentz


YOUNG & MENACING YO O Y Admitting you’ve made a mistake is never an easy task; for Fall Out Boy and seventh album ‘M A N I A’, it was just another hurdle to overcome. Words: Sarah Jamieson. Photos: Mike Massaro.


or the best part of two decades, Fall Out Boy have been pushing against boundaries. From their emergence into an intensely hardcore Chicago punk scene, the band have been no strangers to subverting norms, and with their latest effort – the caps-tastic ‘M A N I A’ – they seemed intent to go even further. It was on their seventh album’s lead track ‘Young and Menace’ that the full enormity of their latest ambition was revealed. Sounding like no other Fall Out Boy song before it, complete with throbbing beats and piercing autotune, it was their largest slice of musical marmite yet, throwing all expectations out of the window.

cohort, vocalist Patrick Stump, quoting the iconic Back to the Future line, “...but your kids are gonna love it!” And while Twitter debates raged on about the song itself – the reaction a fairly 50/50 split on the genius to horrendous ratio - the table was set for ‘M A N I A’. “We’re not the kind of band who want to do a whole abrasive record that purposefully alienates people,” Pete confirms, before Patrick picks back up. “We’re not just trying to test everybody; we want to give ourselves some space to do different things. That was actually a really conscious choice on ‘[From Under The] Cork Tree’. It’s funny, I was listening back to it and it’s such a strange record. At the time, I remember thinking that we had to take really weird chances and do a lot of weird things because otherwise, we’d be making the same sound forever. “I feel like, going into this record, we just had to keep following that thread. In a lot of ways, it [became] about ‘If we were a new band right now, what would we sound like? If these were our first songs, what would they sound like?’ It started from that; the idea that if we only had one chance to do our thing, what would it sound like?”

“You never really know the boundaries,” starts Pete Wentz, as the band arrive in London for a two-day pitstop of performances and press runs. “Lots of times, you have to push a little past it to know where the edge is. It’s like that final bit of the Michael J Fox guitar solo.” “I guess you guys aren’t ready for that,” adds in his

With the quartet hurtling towards deadline in early 2017, it was only then that something dawned on them: they weren’t happy with the way the album was shaping up. “For me, it was terrifying,” says Pete. “I mean, it was liberating in the way that it’s what allowed us to make the right record, but terrifying in that you don’t want to let people down.” After a phone call to Patrick in which the pair realised that the record just wasn’t good enough, they put on the brakes

and found themselves back at square one, scrapping over half the songs they’d already finished work on. It was, however, the right move. “I was totally relieved,” admits Patrick. “I used to work at a used record store - and it was in Des Plaines, Illinois so it wasn’t a very hip location. The records that we had were exclusively those that people didn’t want anymore. It was the island of misfit toys, you know? And I got very acquainted with those records - the records after the band lost it, or gave up trying - and so, to me, I was thinking ‘maybe those records were rushed, maybe those records were trying to hit a release date, or play whatever game.’ No one knows that after it’s released, no one cares twenty years later. “I knew this was the right thing to do; yeah, it sucked for a few months, but in the long run - twenty years down the line - when someone asks me about this album, I want to know that they’re asking about a record we cared about and gave enough space.” The result is an album which challenges perceptions whilst still nodding to its predecessors, with grandiose choruses and arena-ready guitars paired alongside electronic flutterings and intricate sonics. A melting pot of old and new, still intent on pushing the boundaries whilst remaining, at its core, another Fall Out Boy album into which listeners can escape. “I want it to feel like it’s a safe thing for people,” Pete explains, on what he hopes the essence of ‘M A N I A’ will become. “I think we live in a really chaotic world and I want it to be a place where people can go for 57 minutes or whatever, and just think about stuff, or not think about stuff, just be and feel alright.” ‘M A N I A’ is out now via Virgin EMI/ DCD2. DIY


N eW S Fall Out Boy Electric Brixton, London. Photos: Emma Swann.


all Out Boy are no strangers to small venues, but the excitement that fizzes through Electric Brixton tonight is hard to ignore. While the venue may not be the smallest they’ve played in recent trips to the UK - previous stints include shows at the teeny tiny Underworld and Islington Academy - it feels like the walls might buckle at the seams at any given moment.

piano-led ‘Save Rock and Roll’ (even sans Elton John).

Bursting on stage with earwormy hit ‘The Phoenix’, there’s a sense of urgency and adrenaline in their performance from the off. Nothing is off-bounds tonight as the four-piece race through tracks from across their discography with the deftest of hands. Slipping into the well-worn grooves of the likes of ‘Grand Theft Autumn’ and ‘Dance, Dance’ feels effortless, while there’s a real drama to newer numbers ‘Uma Thurman’ and the larger-than-life,

That’s another remarkable element to the set; each track is welcomed with the crowd meeting every opening chord with renewed roars of appreciation. If tonight is testament to anything, it’s that it really doesn’t matter when you joined Fall Out Boy on their journey - be it 2003 or 2013 - there’s still something for everyone.


What’s most brilliant about this evening, though, is how easily their newest tracks join in. ‘HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T’ is a funky affair, while ‘Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)’ is roared along to like an old favourite, despite it only being about ten hours old to most people in the room.


The Triumphant Return of

The World’s Number One Entertainers

















14.02.18 BELFAST

25.02.18 NORWICH

10.02.18 GLASGOW

16.02.18 SHEFFIELD


11.02.18 NEWCASTLE


27.02.18 BRISTOL

13.02.18 DUBLIN


28.02.18 LONDON






UK TOUR 2018








































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Believe it or not, rock stars sometimes do normal things, too. They get lost, go food shopping, and catch buses – all sorts. Here’s who we clocked lately. A slightly groggy James INHEAVEN browsing an art fair, mere hours after the band’s rowdy London return. Savages’ Gemma catching the overground to Brockley. Kris from The Magic Gang having an absolute ‘mare and knocking over the following objects with his gigantic coat: a cluster of glasses, a tray full of food. Dave from Glass Animals having a bevvy with Gengahr in a ‘graffiti tunnel’. Jules and Celia Big Moon at the first Hello 2018 gig at The Old Blue Last. Dom Superfood on a street near Waterloo in the small hours. Goat Girl’s LED outside King’s Cross station.

Position of the Month: How To Be A Human Teacher First Executed By: Dave Bayley, Glass Animals


t’s a fact that secondary school kids can be absolute little shits at the best of times. Add an inexperienced yet well-meaning supply teacher into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for total disaster. From employing the stealthyyet-effective method of quietly humming throughout an entire lesson, to the more drastic move of locking a teacher in an actual cupboard - not recommended unless you fancy a term’s worth of detentions - Year 9 classes particularly are often at degree-level standard when it comes to the Basics of Being Really Fucking Annoying. It’s a backdrop worth bearing in mind as you attempt Dave Bayley’s exasperated arm-fling. It’s an onstage trademark which sees the Glass Animals frontman hurling his limbs away from his body (signifying despair, probably) with palms turned up (indicating a non-threatening stance, thanks

for that, random book on body language) and displaying all the perturbed weariness of a poor supply-teaching soul who has had to - for the fifth time today - answer a knock on the classroom door to find that it was just dastardly Clive at the back rapping on his desk for a laugh instead. AGAIN.

WHAT A LEDGE A Perfume Genius

s last year drew to a close, Perfy G - consistently one of the funniest musicians to grace Twitter - began to amp up his currently one-sided dispute with Eminem. Since back in 2014, when Mike sold his own Feminem t-shirts (featuring pictures of the rapper dressed in drag), he’s long hoped to corner Em to speak about his homophobic lyrics. At the time, he seemed fairly sure he could take him down. Three years on, the dispute remains unresolved, and with the two artists appearing on the same Coachella line-up, obviously, he’s now challenged Eminem to an honourable joust. Slim Shady is yet to respond to this piping hot accusation; perhaps he’s too busy trying to find new ways to rhyme “mom’s spaghetti”.


On 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 phototaking action as of late.

Joel’s transformation into LCD Soundystem’s ‘Sound of Silver’ artwork was officially complete. (@wolfaliceband)

Presented without further comment, it’s Drew from Glass Animals face-swapping with Elsa from Frozen. (@glassanimals)

Still no Vampire Weekend album, so here’s an Ezra Koenig selfie instead. (@arze)


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What’s Going On With…

Demob Happy?

The Brighton riffmongers’ 2015 debut ‘Dream Soda’ was an underrated slab of saucepot genius. Now they’re back to ensure that LP2 flies to the top of the pack. Words: Lisa Wright. Photo: Emma Swann. Demob Happy have a theory. “We’re a legacy band,” muses singer and bassist Matt Marcantonio – a lithe, towering figure with a strong line in Lennon-esque specs. “Six albums deep, someone will finally be like, ‘They’re amazing’ and we’ll be like, ‘Yes we know, we’ve been saying that for 15 years...’” It’s not an insane thought. With debut LP ‘Dream Soda’ – a hot and sweaty tangle of Queens of the Stone Age-style melodic filth – the Brighton band should by rights have become a lot bigger than the underground favourites that they currently stand as. But now the group – completed by guitarist Adam Godfrey and drummer Tom Armstrong, and streamlined down to three following the departure of guitarist Matthew Renforth – are readying a superlative second offering that should get the ball rolling a little sooner. The route to album two started off rocky, the band admit. Recording sessions for a planned transitional EP ended up being scrapped after Renforth left (“We were just pulling in different directions in terms of involvement,” suggests Matt, tactfully) and the trio were at a crossroads. Rather than sit and mope, however, Demob found themselves imbued with a renewed gusto. “There was a cloud hanging over us, but having a bit of breathing room at the end of 2016 made us regain balance and the focus became about the three of us in a room together, just jamming and having fun,” begins Tom. “Suddenly it felt like we were back like kids again, fucking around,” continues Matt. “It was exciting again. We had ideas again.”


And so began the birth of ‘Holy Doom’. Written and recorded in various locations around Brighton, Wales and the distinctly un-rock’n’roll retirement town of Eastbourne (“There’s just memorial benches as far as the eye can see...”), it’s an album that set its agenda from the start. “We had a really clear idea about what we wanted to do with it. We heard a sound in our heads,” begins Matt. “A combination of sweet and sour. Lush melodies, but with heavy, gnarly guitars - not in a flamboyant modern rock way, but in an understated, almost ‘70s way. The meeting of those two worlds.” He continues: “Some bands define themselves before they’ve even written a song, but we’re only just beginning to define ourselves after being together for 10 years. We just hear this scuzzy harmony-based thing that we haven’t heard anywhere else and try to write it. That’s what we’ve always done.” The gutter-dwelling riffs of ‘Be Your Man’ and ‘Fake Satan’’s sassy “sacramental boogie” set ‘Holy Doom’ up as a record that rocks harder and shines sweeter in tandem, the duality at the centre of the band stretched even further to sinfully saucy proportions. It’s an album that should ensure it doesn’t take another 15 years for Demob Happy to make their mark. The legacy starts here. ‘Holy Doom’ is out 23rd March via SO Recordings. DIY



your record pressed & distributed DIY’s teaming with Record Store Day UK and their partners Sound Performance for a very special competition. Everyone loves flicking through vinyl at the local record shop, or the feeling of opening up a record for the first time but sometimes, being able to press your own copies falls to the bottom of the priority list for bands. We’ve got a solution for that... DIY is teaming up with Record Store Day UK and Sound Performance for a brilliant, nationwide competition which is offering unsigned bands a chance to have their music pressed to vinyl. Not only does the grand prize include 500 copies of vinyl pressed for free, but the winning artist will also get their hands on a year-long distribution deal through Proper Music. If you fancy your chances, all you have to do is head to and follow the instructions. The competition will be open until 19th March, so be sure to get your entries in sooner, rather than later. The winner will then be picked by a panel of experts – including Tim Burgess, Sister Ray’s Phil Barton, and yours truly – and announced on 18th April, right ahead of Record Store Day itself. Terms and conditions can be found on



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.

Col3trane From mid-February, nationwide The Birmingham-born, London-raised newcomer will be taking 2017’s debut mixtape ‘Tsarina’ and lush single ‘Penelope’ on the road this month, hitting up venues including Manchester’s Soup Kitchen and Birthdays in London.

geowulf 28th February, The Lexington, London The Aussie duo’s ‘Drink Too Much’ was a Neu Pick back in August - now the pair (that’s vocalist Star Kendrick and guitarist Toma Banjamin) release debut album, ‘Great Big Blue’ ahead of this one-off London date.

HAUS 10th February, Omeara, London The North London five-piece spent 2017 tearing up festivals across both the UK and Europe, ending their year with a spot at Amsterdam’s London Calling, after having released EP ‘SWYS’ in the summer. For more information and to buy tickets, head to or 13

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In one corner there are Slaves: DIY’s fave punk duo turned new label owners. In the other are Lady Bird: rising Kent trio and new signees. And in the middle, there’s one massive love-in in the form of Girl Fight Records. Words: Lisa Wright. Photos: Emma Swann.


Bird (completed by guitarist Alex Deadman and drummer Joe Walker) had played in bands with and around the Slaves boys since their youth. “I used to go round Isaac’s and his mum would give him a tenner if he did the ironing and the washing up, then we’d go and buy a couple of beers and sit in the local park,” recalls Don – currently on vocal rest after a throat operation and writing down a series of bon mots on his trusty notepad. The friends continued to follow each others’ career paths, and today we join them as they seal the deal with a ceremonial signing in, erm... Camden Wetherspoons. “These places have become our drinking grounds,” notes Laurie. “Yates and ‘Spoons – that’s the title of our next album.”


amed after a frenetic, 15-second early track and scrawled on the back of their debut mini EP (“We self-released it and had to make up a name; ever since, it seemed like a good one that we wanted to do something with,” notes guitarist Laurie Vincent), Girl Fight Records arrives as the latest venture to come from Slaves. Unlike the song from which it takes its name, however, the ethos of their project is a lot less frenzied.

“We’ve all been interwoven in the scene in Kent for a long time.”

Signing fellow Kent dwellers Lady Bird up for their debut release, Girl Fight Records’

Laurie Vincent Turbo Woo Woos: The drink of champions.

first foray into the game is basically one big bromance. “Me and Isaac both knew [Lady Bird singer Don Lennols] before we knew each other,” Laurie continues. “We’ve all been interwoven in the scene in Kent for a long time. Because we’ve got a past with them, it felt even more relevant to do something with people from where we’re from and that we feel passionate about.”

But there’s a more notable reason for heading to the bargain boozer than merely the chance to get tipsy on a new beverage the pals have dubbed ‘Turbo Woo Woos’ (half a glass of Woo Woo cocktail and half a glass of pink prosecco FYI). Lady Bird’s first track - the lead single from forthcoming EP ‘Social Potions’ aka Girl Fight’s first proper release - is a two-and-a-half minute playful punk blast dedicated to the Curry Club-touting chain entitled ‘Spoons’ (sorry Laurie, they got there first). “It’s an encapsulation of a confused young man in a world he doesn’t really understand and he’s found himself in ‘Spoons,” begins Alex. “The wider narrative of the EP is of escaping vicious life cycles in general, but told through a three-day bender with this vulnerable geezer,” continues Don. “Telling stories is the thing I adore most about music, from Jamie T to Isaac and things before like Ian Dury,” picks up Laurie. “That’s what was so special about when I first listened to Lady Bird and I think that’s what this EP has; they’ve got the ability to paint a picture in my head.” Currently, Lady Bird are Girl Fight Records’ only project, and Laurie and Isaac are keen to stress the industry-swerving nature of the label as a whole. “We’re not gonna force stuff out, it’s gonna be music we feel really passionate about that we’ve got some connection to. We’re not trying to meet quotas or anything,” Laurie continues. “Me and Isaac, I like to think we’re purists. We didn’t form a band to copy anyone else and we’ve never done anything to be like anyone else. [The label is] just an extension of what we do as a band – no rules.” Citing their previous split 7” with punk quartet Wonk Unit as an example of what could emerge from the collaborative nature of Girl Fight, Slaves are using their increasing musical platform to give a leg up to their peers who might have fallen slightly wide of London’s spotlight. But for now, Slaves and Lady Bird have got more immediate matters to deal with: namely, the 10 glasses of milk, four bowls of ice cream, 10 packs of nuts and various other miscellaneous goods that have been sent to their table following a fleeting Twitter post informing fans of their whereabouts. The life of a group of hard-working label execs, eh? ‘Social Potions’ is out 23rd Feb via Girl Fight Records.DIY

Formed 18 months ago, the members of Lady 15

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Service Station of the Month Bands love service stations more than music itself. Snacks, bogs, time to think - it’s all there. These are miraculous places where festival headliners mingle with lorry drivers. It’s due time we paid respect to the very best.


An unknown gas station, Lake Superior, North America.


here was a place when we were driving to Sudbury where we stopped at a gas station, and we ran across the street and jumped into the water. The UK has the service station scene nailed though, it’s wild compared to the wasteland that is the North American highway system. We do have some integral gas station food, though. And petrol. The only thing I angle for at a UK service station would be the multi-tiered chip mayonnaise stuff, in cones [erm, what now?! - Ed]. You know what I mean? No? Oh actually, wait, I think they’re German. Little mayo pockets! A mindblower! Road-doggin’ it.”

CLASS OF 2018 LAUNCH What better way, we thought, to launch the Class of 2018 than with a party, complete with photo exhibition and three of the most exciting bands 2018 has to offer? Photos: Emma Swann.


our Girl Goat Girl

ith balloons as far as the eye can see, a celebration is on the menu at The Borderline, and BIMM’s Youth Sector do nothing to dampen the atmosphere.

There’s bundles of energy present wherever King Nun tread, but tonight it’s particularly evident: the four-piece are absolute live wires. Impeccably tight, they roll through early singles and glimpses of new material from an upcoming EP with equal bite. Rolling into 2018, King Nun are unstoppable. Unreleased tracks from an upcoming full-length pepper Our Girl’s set. Cleaner and less drowned in fuzz, Soph Nathan’s voice is allowed to rise up further than ever before, adding more delicate colours to the Our Girl palette. That Goat Girl manage to create such a sonic ruckus while pulling nonplussed faces is a wonder, but they’re a band of extremes. ‘Crow Cries’ and ‘Country Sleaze’ remain rollicking highlights, while ‘The Man’ (no, not that one) points the way forward, an anthemic ode to untamed romance. Piling out of the exits and grabbing balloons as mementos while pulling some questionable moves to the selections of The Big Moon’s Fern Ford behind the decks, consider that our Class Of 2018 well and truly launched. (Will Richards) 16

king nun



th e

Ta Sk ke ie s

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W dj ith co a n l a B u n c g o tes fu t t i s e d j t a W r t h a e a n lb or f u ds he t h fo go m :E r ‘ a ug in s n rt ha Ma t e n to ’ t ha ve rb ie s n d le Jo un t hn c op ‘B eli Sk o v so h p n . a r ed r n er i es te t U ed ’, d he nd a Vincent describes as “definitely te m e m t beneficial. I think for all of us r r pu r S o r a e it s h t all it was more relaxed and I or in u began at think you can hear it on y. g rn ’ e . Lollapalooza the record too.” After the ve n



back in 2015, when a storm was brewing. With the clouds forming overhead, Django Django drummer and producer Dave Maclean witnessed a unique phenomenon, triggering him to record two words that would go on to be a key part of the band’s third record. “He wrote down ‘marble skies’ on his phone; when we were making the record we were throwing around ideas and we really liked it,” guitarist and vocalist Vincent Neff explains. It’s easy to imagine Django Django’s attraction to the title ‘Marble Skies’ – deeply suggestive of their expansive sonic nature as it is. But the twist is that the band actually returned to a setup closer to their roots for LP3. Having moved to Tottenham, North London, they set up their own studio, which

lengthy running time of ‘Born Under Saturn’, they also set some solid boundaries for the album. “We set out to make a single vinyl as a way of keeping ourselves limited,” he explains. “It was a useful tool for keeping ourselves from going beyond that.” That’s not to say the band aren’t stretching themselves on ‘Marble Skies’. Quite the contrary. They’ve packed the record with everything from R&B to vintage electropop and even a touch of rockabilly, mixing and matching styles into a vibrant patchwork of sound. “We had loads of little sketches on our phones and bits of ideas that we’d come up with in the two years previous,” he says. By the end of the initial jam sessions, they’d gathered a wealth of material. “We got quite a lot, maybe 30 or 40 initial starting points for songs

and then we chose the top six or seven that had potential.” From these foundations, the band set out to craft a record that was filled with enough twists to keep listeners on their toes. “We try to build it up, hopefully making each song different enough from each other that it changes track by track,” he explains. Even when the album hinges on a recognisable style, like the soaring dance-pop of ‘In Your Beat’, they’re still constantly seeking the unexpected, using a cut-and-paste approach that helped characterise their debut. “Obviously with some of our stuff we go towards a more retro thing but we’re always conscious that we don’t want to go a straight retro way; we always try to put something into the track that’ll freshen it up and make it a bit more modern,” he says, “so on ‘Tic Tac Toe’ there’s a lot of weird synth noises buried within it. It’s always about subverting it.” The malleable sound of ‘Marble Skies’ also means the band aren’t pigeonholed in their roles, moving fluidly between instruments when needed. “I think we always try to make the song have its own world and identity, so we’re used to stepping back when we need to stay back,” he says. “I think we’re all quite good at telling each other not to play that but to stick to something else instead!” A few extra guests also helped push ‘Marble Skies’ into uncharted territory. As Dave decided to get some welldeserved rest, Metronomy’s Anna Prior stepped in on the drums for the record’s initial sessions. “It was kind of refreshing in a way – and I don’t mean that in a bad way, I love

Dave!” Vincent laughs. She lends a krautrock-inspired edge to the title track, something the band believe they wouldn’t have discovered themselves. “It gave a new light to it and a new groove that, [Dave] said himself, wouldn’t have been a natural place that he would fall into,” he says. “That wouldn’t have come about if it wasn’t for Anna’s drumming style.” Similarly, Slow Club’s Rebecca Taylor provided vocals on the pulsating, dancehall-inflected ‘Surface To Air’ and, as Vincent comments, “it’s the first time we’d done it and it was better with just one person for the whole shebang.” Rebecca’s solo voice certainly gives an entirely different texture to the record, but the band did attempt to have Vincent sing backing vocals. “It just sounded really weird,” he explains, “I just imagined me and Jim in the background in long sequin dresses and bouffant hair doing the doo-wop!” While there may not be any ‘60s fashions in sight on ‘Marble Skies’, it’s still probably Django Django’s most sparkling collection to date. Unsurprisingly though, they’re keeping things wide open for the future. “For this [record], we wanted a change from the last but in the future I wouldn’t be averse to making a double album. It’s just about the mood,” Vincent says. Whichever direction they decide to traverse in, they’re continuing to prove that the sky’s the limit. ‘Marble Skies’ is out now via Because Music. DIY



The album art for ‘Marble Skies’ attempts to recapture what Dave saw back in Chicago. The method for doing so wasn’t exactly the most glamorous task though.

“It was me hiding in the bushes over a little swimming or paddling pool in Tottenham,” Vincent says. Don’t worry though! It was all in the quest for art, often including lengthy discussions about cloud formations and a heck of a lot of patience. “It took about two months to get the pool empty, the water clean with no kids in it and the right clouds and conditions. And to get the inflatable balloon! I had to keep buying them!” At least it was all worth it for the perfect shot.


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“Adrian! Adriaaannnn!”

AN YT H I NG BUT... With: THe cribs

Get to know some of your favourite acts - without a word spoken about the music. Interview: Lisa Wright

Gary! We’ve heard you’ve got an illustrious secret boxing career? Gary: I grew up completely anti-sport and anti-conflict, but we’ve been on the road for 14 years now and I was like, ‘Man, I’ve got to get fit’. I’d been so fucked up for so long, everything had taken its toll. When Johnny [Marr] was in the band, he was always trying to get me to run. Ryan: He runs marathons. G: I couldn’t cut it doing any of the easy stuff like running, so I thought I’d do the hardest, scariest thing and then I’d have an excuse if I failed. It just turned out I had a flair for it. How do you get your head around punching someone on purpose? G: The first time I ever sparred with someone, I apologised to them for hitting them. That was my biggest problem; I couldn’t assert myself on somebody without feeling like I’d done something wrong. But regardless of the licks you have to take, it’s the most therapeutic thing in the world. Ry: My mum says it’s a mug’s game. G: When I was a kid, I promised my mum three things: that I would never dye my hair, I’d never get a tattoo and I’d never start boxing. Did all three.


Do either of you have any similarly therapeutic hobbies? Ry: Just drugs, really. Therapeutic drugs. Ross: Over summer I spent a load of money buying a broken car, and then one that’s broken in a different place, making a Frankenstein car from them and losing a bunch of money in the process. Have you always been handy? G: When we were kids, Ross got a toolkit for one of his Christmas presents; around that age me and Ry were getting My Little Pony. Ry: All the girls at school had My Little Ponies and I really wanted one, and eventually I got what I thought was one, but it wasn’t, it was just a green horse. When I showed it at school, that was the first time I realised there was a difference between branded stuff and non-branded stuff, because obviously the green horse was not allowed to the party. G: Girls’ toys were almost contraband in some ways, because if you were a boy you weren’t allowed to have them. It made them way more exciting. So Ry got Posie and I got Cherry Blossom, which was a bummer ‘cause she had curly hair so you couldn’t really brush it through or anything, whereas Posie had this beautiful pink mane... Ry: But neither of them beat that green

horse with the wool hair. I feel bad for that green horse. It’s a sad story... G: We were working class – we didn’t have Nike, we had Nicks. Ry: I told people at school I’d got some Nikes at home. So the next day everyone was waiting for us at the gates... G: see these phantom Nike Airs. Ry: I went into school and everyone was taking the piss ‘cause I hadn’t got them. And then my best friend walked up to me in class and - I don’t know why he did it in such a flamboyant way – slapped me across the face with a leather glove. Where does a 10 year old get a leather glove from? G: Biker gloves, he used to have them with studs on and call them knuckledusters. It sounds like we grew up in some sort of teen movie, but junior school in the ‘80s was a fucking wild time. DIY

THINK YOU CAN HANDLE IT? Fancy some more wonderful chit chat about anything and everything non-musical? We’ve got you covered - just head to diymag. com/podcasts to check out our Anything But… series.


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A monthly place to celebrate the very best albums released during DIY’s lifetime

Frightened Rabbit - ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ Affective to its core, Frightened Rabbit’s breakout second album remains an honest, witty documentation of gut-wrenching heartache. Words: Will Richards.


cott Hutchison loves self-deprecation. It’s littered all over his second album as Frightened Rabbit, 2008’s ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’. “You must be a masochist to love a modern leper, on his last leg,” he sings on the opener, and the lyrics don’t get much more hopeful from there onwards. What ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ does provide, though, is a soundtrack to sing and drink along to in the throes of a gutting heartache, and in its ten years of existence, it’s blossomed into one of the great modern indie breakup records. It hurries between the varying emotional states during and after heartbreak; on ‘The Twist’ he longs for a cold, emotionless hookup (“Twist and whisper the wrong name, I don’t care and nor do my ears”) while ‘I Feel Better’ wrestles with the idea of moving on, just to be thrown back again (“I’ll stow away my greys in a padlocked case in a padlocked room / Only to be released when I sing all the songs I wrote about you / This is the last one I’ll do.”)


THE FACTS Release: 14th April 2008 Stand-out tracks: ‘The Modern Leper’, ‘My Backwards Walk’, ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ Tell your mates: The Australia and New Zealand version of the album comes with three new tracks, including - amazingly - a cover of N-Trance’s 1994 banger ‘Set You Free’.

“And today’s book club meeting is now adjourned…”

As if buckling under the pressure of his own torment, it’s an album that just gets more intense across its length. ‘My Backwards Walk’ handles things equally painfully (“I’m working on erasing you, I just don’t have the proper tools / I get hammered, forget that you exist, there’s no way I’m forgetting this”) and humorously (“You’re the shit and I’m knee deep in it), while the perfect, anthemic ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ takes back the sentiment of ‘The Twist’, insisting that it takes more than a bedfellow to gain that much-needed warmth. ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ has been followed in the decade since its release by three increasingly polished but still bitingly tough full-lengths, but it still remains unmatched for its sheer catharsis. Plus, it’s not all that bad for a drunken singalong either, as will be proved on the 10th anniversary tour the band are set to take the album out on this spring. Its impact not dimmed one jot across the last decade, ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ remains the perfect companion to wallow with. DIY




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Fluffer Pit Party King Nun

Black Lips The Coronet, London. Photos: Lindsay Melbourne.


mong a sea of littered beer cans and strewn toilet paper, Black Lips are playing on a 360-degree stage in the middle of London’s Coronet. Half house party spiralling out of control, half unadulterated chaos, the band, ankle-deep in plastic cups and loo roll, play an energy-inducing show full of their trademark riotous garage rock. This final Fluffer Pit Party of 2017 also happens to coincide with the farewell of the south London venue, and tonight is an ever-fitting way to go. It’s a goodbye performance, but also a warm welcome for Black Lips and a string of supports that include Future of the Left and Warmduscher as well as the innovative Madonnatron. The Atlanta, Georgia band bring chaos to the Coronet’s swan song in a flurry of noisy revelry, drowned by a cloud of dry ice and a series of giant papier-mâché heads. The audience are treated to a range of cuts, ‘Can’t Hold On’ and Dirty Hands’ being crowd favourites, the band covered in a mist of cloudy smoke, toilet paper flying in and over their heads from all corners. (Cady Siregar)

DIYLIVE First Fifty

Ten Tonnes, Freak, FEET, King Nun Birthdays, London. Photo: Patrick Gunning.


he Great Escape may still be a solid five months away, but for those chomping at the bit to traipse along the seafront in search of the Hot New Thing, they’ve gifted us a tasty teaser in the form of the First Fifty. Tonight caters for all ends of the indie spectrum – from sunnier kicks to raucous chaos. And first up are recent Dirty Hit signees King Nun: rollocking exponents of the latter category who quickly prove their wry charm is just as indisputable as their ability to craft ferocious riffs. Taking to the stage out of the darkness, Theo, Nathan, James and Caius are like four atoms colliding. Rattling through previous singles ‘Sponge’ and ‘Tulip’, it’s in their parting gift of ‘Hung Around’ where the London quartet really come into their own. Coventry newbies FEET, meanwhile, err away from the chaos, darting between breezy, summery indie and more intense bouts of noise. Bringing the riot back, Chelmsford boy FREAK pushes the chaos even further. The brainchild of Connar Ridd, his is a kind of Slaves-meets-Nirvana hybrid (with a dash of Rat Boy for good measure). Ten Tonnes might be made of less raucous stuff, but his Declan McKenna-esque earworms are no less gripping. Roll on TGE: with heavy-hitters like these already lining up, May 2018 can’t come quickly enough. (Steven Loftin)



N eW S

New year, new you… new bunch of festival announcements, obv.


Leeds the Way 21st - 24th november

Peace, The Horrors and Pale Waves are among the first names for Live at Leeds 2018.

The first names for May’s Live at Leeds have been announced, with a whole heap of faves included. Peace, The Horrors, Pale Waves, Blaenavon, and Circa Waves have all been confirmed to appear across the event, which takes over the city on 5th May 2018. Former Kaiser Chief Nick J D Hodgson will also appear, as well as Spring King and Neu faves such as Bloxx, Anteros, Boy Azooga, and Whenyoung. Plus there’s over a whole hundred names yet to be announced. Ber-limey.

Let’s Go Round Again 24th february - 4th March

The full bill for this year’s Roundhouse Rising has been revealed.

Roundhouse Rising will take over the iconic London venue yet again from the end of February, and with Little Simz already signed up to bring her ‘Welcome To Wonderland’ show back the event has revealed its full bill. Singer-songwriters Blair Dunlop and Ailbhe Reddy will play across the week-and-a-half, which will also host an Artist Toolkit Day as well as acts including Dapz on the Map, Gaika, and Triforce. For a full run-down of what’s on, head to

NEWS IN BRIEF The Coachella (13th - 15th and 20th - 22nd April) bill has finally been revealed, with Beyoncé joined by The Weeknd and Eminem at the California bash, plus spots for St Vincent, HAIM, alt-J, Bleachers, MØ and more. Creeper, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes and PVRIS have been added to Slam Dunk (26th - 28th May), joining acts including Jimmy Eat World and Taking Back Sunday. Tame Impala, Franz Ferdinand and FIDLAR are included in the latest announcement from Mad Cool (12th - 14th July), where they’ll find themselves alongside acts including Kasabian, Queens of the Stone Age, and Marmozets. Leicester’s Handmade Festival (5th - 6th May) will feature Circa Waves, IDLES, Her’s, The Orielles and Protomartyr. Governor’s Ball (1st - 3rd June) will play host to Jack White, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Chvrches, Wolf Alice and Loyle Carner, with The Gaslight Anthem hopping over to New York City to play ‘The ’59 Sound’ in full, too. Perfume Genius, At The Drive In and Chvrches are all headed to NOS Alive (12th - 14th July).






In 2010 Little Simz started on our young creatives programme. In 2017 she supported Gorillaz on their worldwide tour. Now she’s headlining our Main Space. 27

Pete Doherty was looking a lot healthier these days.




Touring with Ought and METZ and penning warped, dark postpunk, this trio are as

Wakefield’s musical history might be inextricably tied to a certain three Jarmans, but over the past year or so, a new page has started to be written in the still-sparse book of the city’s guitar bands.

urgency to the band’s output, all set behind her unorthodox but captivating vocals. Spitting out line after line and twisting words and syllables in each and every direction like they’re Play-Doh, they’re teamed perfectly with razor sharp guitar and Mike’s thundering power behind the kit.

intense as

Holed away in an uncharacteristically grand old Georgian Words: Will house on “one of Richards. Photo: about two nice Emma Swann. streets in the whole city”, Drahla have been honing their dark, intense take on indie-punk. Through debut single ‘Faux Text’ to the supremely exciting ‘Fictional Decision’ and new EP ‘Third Article’, they’ve strode out as one of the country’s most uncompromising new bands.

they come.

They began when bassist Luciel Brown and guitarist Rob Riggs hit a dead end of making music in their South London bedroom, and moved back up north where they reconnected with old friend Mike Ainsley (drums) to create a new base in West Yorkshire. “It got to a point [with the bedroom project] where we thought ‘where do we go with it now?’,” Rob offers, There’s so much more freedom out hunched away in a corner of London’s The Old Blue Last, of the spotlight.” - Luciel Brown a few hours before starting their year at the first show of DIY’s Hello 2018 series. “We were under a lot of limitations. We made the quick decision to move back up to Leeds and got back in touch with Mike, and had a practice the week after. There’s so much more freedom out of the spotlight,” adds Luciel. She comments that a lot of the drive for Drahla’s early material came from a feeling of lost time, and not being able to achieve what they were capable of in the capital, and there’s an untameable

As with so many punk bands across the country, the band went to go-to producer, MJ of Hookworms, at Suburban Home in Leeds, to mould their sound. “We can’t overstate how much of a help he’s been,” Luciel begins, before Mike admits that the band probably wouldn’t be where they are now, and looking forward with such confidence, if it weren’t for the help the producer had poured into the early stages of the band. “He totally gets us.” ‘Third Article’, released back in November, is a natural and satisfying progression, with lead track ‘Form of Luxury’ using restraint as its main weapon: Luciel’s vocals make far more noise in her spoken drawl than an untamed scream would. In an ideal meeting of minds, the band’s next tour - which comes in between a series of studio sessions - is alongside Montreal punks Ought, who just happen to be Luciel’s favourite band. “It feels like a massive deal,” she says of the upcoming April run. “We’re so influenced [by Ought] that the fact they’ve asked us to play is amazing and terrifying.” Already slotting in perfectly alongside some of the punk game’s biggest players, Drahla are quickly becoming your favourite band’s favourite band, and with ideas coming thick and fast for the follow-up to ‘Third Article’, and an unstoppable live show, they’ll be yours before long too. DIY 29

Sofi Tukker Defiant, cocky pop written with a Scissor Sister.

Over the past few years, New Yorkbased duo Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern have managed to simultaneously garner nearly 50 million streams for early single ‘Drinkee’ and fly relatively under the radar. A house-influenced chartmingler, it’s been followed up by the uninhibited, hands-in-the-air smash ‘Fuck They’, written with Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters. It carries much of the fun and fearlessness of said band, and pushes Sofi Tukker closer to that much-deserved success. Listen: Viral hit ‘Drinkee’ and the ballsy ‘Fuck They’. Similar to: House-influenced twists on chart-topping bangers.



Gritty, promising new Sub Poppers.


British punks with more than a few points to prove.

Releasing second album ‘Everything Dies’ via Big Scary Monsters in March, four-piece Nervus are striding out as one of Britain’s most important new punk bands. Vocalist Em Foster’s lyrics are savage, thoughtful and socially conscious, but don’t deny the band’s right to have a hell of a lot of fun along the way too; the album’s first preview ‘Sick Sad World’ is a supremely catchy indication of things to come. Listen: Shiny but angry new single ‘Sick Sad World’. Similar to: An amalgamation of all your favourite UK punks.

A product of LA’s DIY scene, Moaning are Sub Pop’s latest signing, and maybe one of America’s greatest new indierock bands. Teasing their upcoming debut LP (out 2nd March) with first single ‘Don’t Go’, the trio channel Cloud Nothings and labelmates METZ, making something uncompromising in its heaviness, but also committed to a stonking, catchy chorus. It’s already looking like the whole package. Listen: Debut single ‘Don’t Go’. Similar to: Cloud Nothings, METZ.

RECOMMENDED Boy Azooga New Heavenly signings pack a funky punch.

As debut singles go, Boy Azooga’s first effort ‘Face Behind Her Cigarette’ is an impossibly strong one. Already stuck to the airwaves (and the DIY office stereo) like glue, the discoinfluenced bop sees the Cardiff bunch and new Heavenly signings already bound for dancefloors and festival tents alike. Released at the tail end of last year, the track takes influence from LCD Soundsystem’s dance-rock hybrid and points at plenty, plenty more to come. Listen: Instantly addictive debut cut ‘Face Behind Her Cigarette’. Similar to: Friendly Fires’ bop meets Foals’ early intricacy.



buzz feed

Whenyoung Irish trio who count Superfood and (ahem) Shane McGowan as fans.

Not many bands (well, actually, no other bands) get asked to support Superfood and play Shane McGowan’s 60th birthday party within six months of each other, but it’s already becoming pretty clear that Irish trio Whenyoung aren’t ‘most bands’. Across debut AA-side ‘Actor’ / ’Silverchair’, there’s enough hooks to fill a full-length, with harmonies that scream out for tinnies in the park on endless summer afternoons. Just what we need in a bleak winter, we reckon. Listen: The sun-drenched, absurdly catchy ‘Silverchair’. Similar to: Gorgeous, uninhibited indie-pop.

All the buzziest new music happenings, in one place.

AN L.P. FOR YOUR M.I.N.D. Hot on the heels of brilliant new single ‘Everybody Wants To Be Famous’, Class of 2018 stars Superorganism have announced details of their debut album. The self-titled effort comes out on 2nd March, and it’s bound to be a full-length packed with as much colour, melody and forwardthinking as we’ve come to expect. A few more cash registers wouldn’t go amiss either.

SHE SHOOTS, SHE SCORES After re-releasing her bedroom collection... um, ‘Collection’, last year, Soccer Mommy is back with details of debut full-length, ‘Clean’. First cut ‘Your Dog’ shows a new bite to Sophie Allison, and we’re beside ourselves with excitement for the album, to be honest. It’s out 2nd March via Fat Possum, and you can find more details and listen to ‘Your Dog’ on

OUR GIRL TAKE US TO CHURCH (THEN ON TOUR) No strangers to shredding, Our Girl are stripping things back for us this month with a special full-band acoustic performance at London’s St Pancras Old Church. Following the special show, they’re set to plug back in and head around the UK as part of our Class Of 2018 tour. It’s all systems go for Our Girl. See all the dates on


ON THE PLAYLIST 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: FRIGS ‘Talking Pictures’ This Toronto four-piece make spiky, confrontational post-punk, and newie ‘Talking Pictures’ is the best example yet. ******** [The Drink] ‘Kinderpunsch’ A drawling, hilarious account of mundanity, ‘Kinderpunsch’ from the band FKA Guinness is a glorious first step, and “club me with your Clubcard” might already be the lyric of the year. COL3TRANE ‘Penelope’ This Frank Ocean-influenced Londoner is already looking like a star, and ‘Penelope’ is a silky, enticing early highlight.




LIVE HELLO 2018 It’s that time again: we bring the hottest new acts to London’s Old Blue Last for a month of live shenanigans. Photos: Emma Swann




he first Hello 2018 night is a paean to all things dark and stormy. Londoners Sistertalk are suited up like a bunch of dapper spivs, and make for a deliciously confident opener, channelling the stabbing melodic shrieks of ‘Strange House’-era Horrors. Hotel Lux, meanwhile, are a more straightforward proposition but no less angry - there are Shame-recalling kicks to be found throughout. The new project of Palma Violets star Chilli Jesson, Crewel Intentions’ set sees the frontman exude a sheer force of energy that feels almost too big for the room. Musically, it’s incredibly tight too. The cowboy theatrics of their opener and its repeated talk of “the man in black” come on like Nick Cave in a western, while there’s even a bit of Tom Petty when the set takes a slower turn. By comparison, Leeds trio Drahla are almost static, but their rhythmic repetitions and taught coils of post-punk provide all the intensity needed. Yowl’s Gabriel Byrde has fractured not one, but two (aka both) of his elbows - but you wouldn’t know it from the way the singer hurls himself around the stage and into the crowd. He’ll be needing a hefty dose of codeine in the morning, but tonight, not even a full-on body cast could stop Yowl. (Lisa Wright)




underwater boys

jw ridley

sports team

boy azooga

t’s a bitterly cold night in East London, and the second night of our Hello 2018 series is one that, suitably, deals largely in escapism. New Cannibal Hymns signings Underwater Boys open things up, with debut single ‘Everyone You Know’ a woozy, sun-kissed slice of Tame Impala-esque psych-pop. JW Ridley, meanwhile, shows buckets of promise with skyreaching, drive-time stabs at the do-or-die attitude of Springsteen. Sports Team, meanwhile, are firmly rooted in reality. Penning songs about - in their own words - crisps and Ashton Kutcher among other things, they’re an intoxicating live prospect, with frontman Alex Rice pinning confrontational stares on the front row one moment, then trying to compete with the swinging hips of Mick Jagger the next. When Cardiff newcomers Boy Azooga tear into the fast, frenetic ‘Full House’ a few minutes into their headline set, it couldn’t be more apt: there’s barely room to sip a pint let alone swing a cat, but the band’s star quality is immediately evident, with debut single ‘Face Behind A Cigarette’ an undeniable highlight. (Will Richards)

Sitting in the London offices of label Matador, Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan is putting the rest of us to shame. Straight off a plane from her native Baltimore, doing the rounds and meeting her new colleagues all while running on next-to-no sleep, she’s got no right to be this bubbly and energetic.


“Some of the songs are aggressively sad, and others are just...shrug emoji,” she laughs through a yawn, speaking of her upcoming full-length record, her first on the new label and the follow-up to 2016 EP ‘Habit’.

Matador’s latest signee, Lindsey Jordan is an untameable force of youth. Words: Will Richards. Photo: Emma Swann.


Written over a number of years, and tracking the teenage years of the 19 year-old, the as-yet-untitled record predictably travels through many transitional states, and it’s selfdescribed as a bit of an emotional mess. “It’s really noticeable,” she begins, the day before her first UK show, playing solo at the capital’s The Lexington. “It’s written across a very transformative time in my life, and there’s a lot of different viewpoints, be it on relationships, or whatever’s going on in my life. The writing process started out being a very pathetic ‘Why don’t you love me?!’ but got to the point where it was more ‘Love me or not, I’m a busy, independent person’,” she continues, letting out another giggle. “I guess it’s necessary to develop your feelings, but the record’s gonna come out and everyone’s gonna think ‘well, how do you feel about these things?’ Every single song is a completely different stage of my life.” Dropping out of her local ice hockey team in her early teens (“those guys were jerks”), Lindsey fell in with the local punk and hardcore scenes in Baltimore, who persuaded her to take Snail Mail more seriously and go on tour, which was never the plan. A prod in the right direction and a quick sign on the dotted line for this year’s upcoming full-length later though, and things are moving at a real pace for Snail Mail. DIY 33

Bouncing around like possessed jelly beans, and veering wildly off topic at every turn, it’s a mean feat to get a word in edgeways at the best of times with Uxbridge’s newbies, Bloxx. Going off on tangents ranging from their passionate gripes with Wetherspoons’ new order-to-table app (three quarters of the band originally met through working at the bevvy utopia) to constantly taking the piss out of one another to the point that almost every original point of conversation is instantly derailed, it’s a wonder that this lot ever get anything done. And yet, taking stock of the music itself, it’s apparent they’re doing something very right indeed.

neu Brought together behind the bar, and penning attentiongrabbing, straightup bangers, Uxbridge upstarts Bloxx take things far more seriously than they first let on. Words: El Hunt. Photo: Emma Swann.

“If we took this seriously, it’d be too much like a job,” starts guitarist Taz Sidhu. ”We’re mucking about 99% of the time, even when we’re writing music. We keep it nice and laid back.” It’s an approach that’s won out so far. When Bloxx first popped up last year, playing raucous gigs in packed East London vintage shops and penning infectious, unfiltered songs, they showed a raw kind of promise that soon caught the attention of the


discerning Chess Club Records, and won them support slots with INHEAVEN, Sundara Karma and Will Joseph Cook along the way. “Since those tours, it’s seriously levelled us up,” frontwoman Fee Booth says. “We’ve shown thousands of people our music who would never have heard of us otherwise.” Early singles ‘Your Boyfriend’ and ‘You’ are similarly straight-up, investing energy in immediacy over floweriness. “I cannot for the life of me write lyrics down and keep them the same,” she says. “Every night we played a song on the Sundara tour, and the words were different. I don’t sit down and overthink it, so I just write straight-up as things come out my mouth. Word vomit. If I was to be all metaphorical and linguistical, it just wouldn’t be Bloxx,” she pauses before summing the band’s no bullshit lyricism with another to the point one liner. “We’re literally just a generation of people who love ‘Spoons,” Fee concludes. Speaking about what’s next on the agenda, Bloxx - for once - focus on the matter in hand, and it’s clear that, despite the clowning, they’ve got sky-high ambitions. “We’ve honed in our sound,” Fee says of an upcoming new EP, “and in the new ones it’s a joint effort. We’re so excited. The next two [songs] we’re going to release will take us from here,” she gestures, lifting her hand upwards towards the ceiling, “to here.” DIY

Bloxx are heading out on the road as openers for our Class of 2018 tour later this month(!) Last month’s cover stars Pale Waves will headline and the brilliant Our Girl join them - the shows kick off on 19th February. Head to for more info. 34








In the battle of Arni v Arnie, we know who we’re backing.




f all the frontmen out there – a niche breed, prone to selfreflection at the best of times – Justin Young must rank in the upper percentiles of hyperself-awareness. Sitting in the corner of a cafe with guitarist Freddie Cowan, compulsively unbuttoning and re-buttoning a nowcustomary varsity jacket as we wind down from an intense hour of conversation surrounding the build up and eventual birth of The Vaccines’ fourth album ‘Combat Sports’, the singer is fretting whether he’s made his point clearly. “It’s difficult when you make two indie rock records and then you make one that’s more loosely like that, and then you [return to it]. It could be construed as regressive, but it doesn’t feel like that to me at all,” he stresses. “I’m still trying to figure out how to get it across, because I hate that narrative we’ve all read a million times of a band rediscovering who they are. I read enough of other people’s interviews to realise how awful it is when people talk about ‘getting back in the room and getting back to basics’. We weren’t trying to go back and make ‘What Did You Expect...’ all over again. ‘Combat Sports’ is absolutely not one of those records.” It would, indeed, be easy to thrust this narrative onto the band. Having released a more out-ofthe-box third album in 2015’s ‘English Graffiti’, lost a member (drummer Pete Robertson), gained two more (replacement Yoann Intonti and keyboardist Tim Lanham now complete the line-up alongside original bassist Arni Arnason), pushed back the ETA of their newie by a full year and then re-emerged with a record that summons the


passion and energy of their 2011 sea-changing debut, it’s almost the classic story of a band “rediscovering themselves” or any other number of stock phrases that the singer vocally hates. But, like most things associated with The Vaccines – be that music, attitude or trajectory – the story under the surface is a lot more nuanced than it may first appear. Theirs is a tale of losing sight of your identity and then evolving into its next incarnation, and of finally getting to grips with what made them so damn exciting all along. As Justin puts it, “It’s funny because the journey we’ve gone on to sound like The Vaccines has been a long and winding road.” It did, however, start off at what could easily have become a dead end.


ut to early 2016, shortly after the release of ‘English Graffiti’, when the then-quartet were heading back into the ring to try and work on what would come next. “We regrouped, went to Arni’s studio and were just tearing our hair out,” begins Freddie. “To be more specific, we were finding it hard to hang out as a four-piece and our energy reserves were drained,” Justin interjects, bluntly. “There wasn’t really any positive personal creative energy for fuelling the project. It was a low point. I always knew Pete would be the first to go, but I wasn’t expecting it.” A flicker of humour crosses his face. “I think one of the reasons he quit was because there weren’t enough seats in Arni’s studio, there was only room for us to be a three-piece. You’d get there last and be like, ‘I guess I’m standing up for the day’...” As well as the seating plan, The Vaccines had also been frustrating themselves in other ways. Having recorded their previous album without






The guys’ take on ‘Greased Lightning’ hit a snag when nobody remembered the keys to the garage. 39

gigging its wares beforehand, the band wound up with a record that didn’t really work live. “There were only about three or four songs that we could do justice to and it really felt like we were cheating ourselves, the fact that we’d spent three years making this record and then we only had a few songs that we could play at Brixton Academy or Reading & Leeds’ main stage because the others didn’t make sense,” says Justin. Now, although they maintain that they’re proud of ‘English Graffiti’, the pair admit that it maybe suffered slightly from having a point to prove. “I guess we deviated,” he nods. “We needed to prove to ourselves and other people that we could make a record that wasn’t just three chord, plug in and play. Because we came up under the microscope, the negative voices were perhaps louder than they would have been if we’d come up slowly and through different means. Off the back of the first album, there definitely was maybe a process of appeasement where we were like, ‘we’ll show you’ and we perhaps forgot about the idiosyncrasies that make us ‘us’.”

brothers who share a bedroom and are absolute dicks to each other all the time, and then you get some exchange students come to stay. Some fresh blood and people start behaving a bit better,” theorises Freddie. “To make the kind of record we wanted to make, we had to get in a room with each other for a year or 18 months, and we would have struggled to survive each other without that. Through becoming great friends with them, we’ve become great friends with each other again.” Musically, however, they were still out at sea. Having set out “to make an FM pop record. Something like The Cars, Todd Rundgren, Big Star – that was the mission statement,” the band initially began drawing up a list of pop producers to work with. “We did two songs with Patrick [Wimberly] from Chairlift. He’s super pop in his production and

Having been thrust under the spotlight almost from the word go (their debut London show at the nowdefunct Flowerpot back in 2010 famously saw queues snaking down the road, while debut single IT’S LIKE HAVING THREE BROTHERS WHO ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ was SHARE A BEDROOM AND ARE immediately named Radio 1’s Hottest Record In The World), this FREDDIE COWAN idea of being almost blind to their own attributes for a long time keeps cropping up. “We took those idiosyncrasies for granted, those elements that made us who we were,” says Freddie. “The irony is that everyone else was recognising those things, but you don’t see them yourself.” “‘Be charismatic! Be brilliant!’,” barks Justin, mimicking those early voices around him. “I think it’s a really interesting thing, coming to terms with the kind of artist that you are and then falling in love with the kind of artist that you are.” “It’s difficult to do that as a group unless you’re doing that as people though,” notes Freddie. “You’ve got to learn to like yourself first...”



n mid-2016, around the time of Pete’s departure, it seems they hadn’t quite reached that point yet. As a band, the pair admit they were “headed for a brick wall”. “We were incredibly lost. I remember bringing in songs which I guess I thought were pretty good, but no-one having the first fucking clue how we were going to arrange them and record them and what a Vaccines song sounded like anymore. Our heads were in a spin,” says Justin. “As sick as it sounds, and I was obviously really sad, Pete leaving was a way out. It forced us to look in the mirror.” At a creative and inter-personal nadir, the then-trio gained an injection of new energy in the form of replacement drummer Yoann and touring-turnedpermanent-member Tim. “It’s a bit like having three


he’s amazing but it just lacked any identity,” explains Justin. “The songs we did with him could have been any band and the songs we were doing ourselves for 18 months could have been any band: I’m sure you could have played a lot of them to some of our biggest fans and they wouldn’t have

COMBAT SPORTS: TRACK BY TRACK It’s not long now until you can get your hands on The Vaccines’ long-awaited new’un. Here’s a potted guide to how it sounds. PUT IT ON A T-SHIRT

A fluttering verse that leads into a simple wallop of a chorus a la ‘Wetsuit’, ‘...T-Shirt’ is a direct punch of straight, strong power chords that opens the record with intent.


The first single to be taken from ‘Combat Sports’, you can tell why The Vaccines wanted to lead with this one. Massive riffs, playful backing vocals and defiant, anthemic melodies herald their return with gusto.


The biggest concession to their former idea of an FM pop record, this one’s a breezy, 80s-tinged drivetime delight that may as well come with a faded denim jacket slung over its shoulder.


“How many lightbulbs does it take to change the mood?” questions Justin with the kind of propulsive delivery that suggests he couldn’t really give a shit about your answer. A high-octane fizz of giddy riffs, it drives the tempo up a notch further.


A doe-eyed declaration filled with 80s keys and shimmering guitars, ‘Maybe...’ shows the softer side to The Vaccines 2k18: whack some sleigh bells and a snowball fight in, and you could be in a Wham video.




Haven’t you ever seen five metn having a cuddle on a gym mat before?


known it was us.” He continues, “I won’t name any names, but three or four producers on our list said ‘I love the band but this doesn’t sound like the band, so I’m very confused’. That was when we thought, well what the fuck do we sound like? Who are we? And obviously that was up to us.” YOUNG AMERICAN

A two-minute, acoustic slowie centred around Justin’s soft croon (and some rather racy lyrics that would make your Nan blush), it’s a swooning halfway point that pauses for breath before...


And we’re back in the scrum. The most tightly-wound offering on the record, ‘Nightclub’ revels in buzzsaw riffs and that feeling of falling into something that you can’t control. Read: frantic, intense but stupidly exciting.


On the surface a stomping banger, ‘Out On The Street’ is actually a pretty weird one: flitting between blustering verses and sweet falsetto chorus trills, it’s got a breezy New York feel with a dirty British twist.


Put aside the fact that the intro sounds bizarrely like the theme tune to ‘Toast of London’, the rest of this one is full of witty, self-effacing couplets (“I wanna fly you to the moon, but I don’t wanna pay for gas”) that put the lyrics to the front.


Mixing yearning, lovelorn lyrics and peppy, relentlessly upbeat backing, ‘Someone To Lose’ is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Extra points for Justin’s Elvisesque vocal tremble mid-way through.


A big climactic closer to end proceedings, ‘Rolling Stones’’ slow-building anthemics sound sod all like the band of its namesake but bow out with a bang nonetheless.

The process of working that out, like everything here, has a more straightforward answer and an underlying one. More tangibly, they agree the tide really turned when they were eventually convinced to work with Sheffield-based producer Ross Orton (production partner of Pulp’s Steve Mackey). “He said, ‘You’re not boys anymore, you’re men. You need to make a record that reflects that’. Just give them hell. Be confident in who you are and what you do and be unapologetic about that,” remembers Justin. But it was a case of grappling with his own identity as a songwriter that really enabled the singer to step up to the plate.


ustin Young has always been a tricky character to pin down. When The Vaccines first emerged, they were heralded and slated in equal measure for their purposefully simple offerings: sub-three minute, threechord wallopers with choruses designed to be yelled along to with your mates. But the singer is far from your average lad. Acutely aware of his own persona, with a tendency to throw your own questions back at you (“Why do you think we’re still successful?”), you could be forgiven for thinking his anthemic style calculated except – as he found out himself – that shit just doesn’t work. “We’ve always wanted to be a big band and I’ve always wanted to write big songs, but I think in doing that I tried to write universal songs that were maybe a little beige,” he recalls of the initial, scrapped material he penned for the record. “When Leonard Cohen died that was a really big watershed moment on this record for me because I ended up listening to him loads and finding him so intelligent and funny and sexy and really simple but clever. I thought, I can be cynical and mean and funny and astute conversationally as a person, so why am I being so bland as a lyricist? I think I am quite a dark soul underneath it all, so I don’t know why I wouldn’t use music to exorcise some of those demons? “I think I still surprise people socially. I think they might think I’m a bit more bullish or knuckle-dragging, not as conscientious...” he muses. “It used to keep me awake at night, all that kind of stuff. But now I think back and I’m so proud that people were even talking about us. I almost long to be that polarising because you know you’re doing something right.” He grins, wolfishly: “Don’t read it, weigh it.”

It’s this Justin - the cheeky, confident, playful singer, who penned a strangely euphoric song about ill-advised shagging (2011’s ‘Post-Break Up Sex’), who comes to the table on ‘Combat Sports’. At one moment he’s battling a girl who “makes [his] head feel like a nightclub” against hammering, claustrophobic guitars, the next he’s crooning saucily to “‘suffocate [him] in between your thighs” on ‘Young American’ (“I had to walk out of the room when I played my mum that one...”). They’re almost universally tales of love and lust, lost and found – as they always are with The Vaccines – but they fizz with a distinctive point of view that goes beyond just another tale of girl-meets-boy and, crucially, they sound big and vibrant and ready to take on the world. “I think by being intentionally universal you can often come across as bland and insincere, so by being as personal as possible then hopefully it’s a voice people will relate to and understand,” he nods. “It’s me laid bare, stripped back emotionally.” Getting to this point has been a rocky road. While ‘Combat Sports’ is ostensibly titled after a minor studio punch up between the singer and guitarist, Justin and Freddie both agree it’s more an analogy for life in general. “‘Combat Sports’ is much more about friendship and love and mental health and the constant battle that goes on inside your head. It’s the human condition, rather than the story of a band on their fourth record,” Justin explains. Unsurprisingly given the giddy highs and self-confessed lows of being in one of this decade’s most successful British bands, The Vaccines’ internal combat may be more rife than most - “I think myself, Freddie and Arni all know each other well enough to know we’re all fighting some pretty big demons...” he admits. But as they near the next stage of the journey, ‘Combat Sports’ is the sound of a band wrangling and getting to grips with exactly what made them great all along. “What’s at the spine of our band is that it doesn’t have to be a fast song, it doesn’t have to be a simple song, it has to be my lyrics and the tone of my voice with whoever it is hitting the drums fucking hard and Freddie bleeding on his fretboard. Euphoria as well: all our best songs are euphoric which is something I didn’t realise for a long time. I thought they were all catchy, but they’re all euphoric and actually that’s quite a different thing. That’s what makes us who we are and that’s at our core,” says Justin firmly. “So, what makes you keep wanting to get back on the horse?” we ask. He grins. “I’m still obsessed with being in a band. I live for it. It’s the best rollercoaster ride on the fucking planet.” ‘Combat Sports’ is out 30th March via Columbia. DIY



Teleporting from their crowning moment to their most challenging period yet without warning, making their second album almost broke Marmozets. But defiant and bonkers all at once, ‘Knowing What you Know Now’ sees the band fuelled by new confidence, and back out there fighting for their place at the top of rock. Words: El Hunt. Photos: Jenn Five.


Marmozets: Not the most subtle spies.


ress the rewind button, and whizz back to 2015. Still riding the shockwaves of ‘The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets’ almost a year after its release, this tightknit rabble of Bingley upstarts found themselves in the sort of surreal, pinch-yourself-situations that few bands ever reach, let alone off the back of a debut record. After years of graft, gradually inching up festival bills, Marmozets graduated to Reading & Leeds’ gargantuan main stage, casually sharing a bill with, erm, Metallica. During the show, however, vocalist Becca Macintyre sustained an injury and Marmozets’ unstoppable high hit a literal stumbling block. “I broke my knee,” she explains. “We were supposed to go on that huge American tour straight after that, but we had to 45

cancel. We had to go, ‘right, that’s enough’. I need to sort my knees out ‘cos this is ridiculous, or else I’ll be traumatised for life,” she reasons. “That took a while, being in the pain I was,” she adds. ”Having two operations over two years, walking again, and then at the same time…” she sighs comically, “writing the album. I felt like everything was falling apart, and it almost did. The one thing that kept us together was the music, actually. That says something. We’re supposed to be doing this, we’re family.”

way through, stepping things up to a whole new level. The result is a brilliant, batshit album that leaves no bizarre line of enquiry unturned. ‘Major System Error’ and ‘Like A Battery’ are privy to fearsome, high-reaching yelps that would leave Minnie Riperton quaking in her boots, and in more reflective moments, deceptive softness lends Marmozets a new method of attack. “A lot of confidence came from the first one,” Becca reckons, looking back on making Marmozets’ debut. “I never stepped into the room like ‘I’m the shit’,” she reflects. “I’d take a back seat in a way if you know what I mean; I had the ideas and I’d write and perform, but I’d never give my 100%. Then I thought, I should be up the front doing my thing,” she adds. “I’ve always done different stuff, from pop-punk to screamo, to what it is now. I’m always experimenting. I feel more at one with myself,” she smiles, “but I still have that same Becca side where it’s like, ‘I wanna punch someone’.”

“We want it to be unreal.” -

Jack Bottomley

Accordingly, there’s a fight-back to ‘Knowing What You Know Now’, from its defiant title, to the ‘us against the world’ mentality which quite literally peppers the chorus of reset-button whacking monster ‘Start Again’. “It’s fighting back for everything,” Becca nods. “Fighting for us to even have the resistance and a place. This is what we’ve given everything to. Marmozets is so personal, and that’s something we’ll always carry.” “It’s almost like it goes into some sort of generator machine,” ponders bandmate Jack Bottomley. “You put all this shit in,” Becca picks up, “and it comes out positive,” Jack finishes.


ust like the band’s weird and wonderful debut - so weird and wonderful, in fact, that both words made it into the title - ‘Knowing What You Know Now’ pushes boundaries to their limits with little care for convention. Veering from the gargled lullaby of ‘Insomnia’ to the isolating menace of ‘Lost in Translation’ a song later, Becca’s very much at the helm the entire


“We are perfectionists,” adds Jack. “We want it to be unreal. Listening back, we’re so happy with it. There are exaggerated lights and darks on this record, there’s a lot more room for everyone to have their stamp. Becca and the vocals are the key focus, as it should be.” Newly empowered by the sudden “splurge of inspiration” that followed their almost-undoing, the band decamped to Wales, setting up shop in the decidedly idyllic surroundings of Monmouth with producer Gil Norton. Though the Welsh accent bears few similarities to this lot’s Yorkshire twang, the quartet felt oddly at home regardless. “A lot of people are like, do you go insane in the middle of nowhere,” comments Becca, “but actually

PLAY CUPID Tinder not working for you? Bumble run out of matches? No problem. Becca and Jack reckons you should just go to a Marmozets show to swipe right IRL. Becca: People come to us with their stories, and one of my favourite things is when you meet people and they’re like ‘we’re best friends because we met standing in line for a Marmozets show’ We’ve met so many couples who met at our gigs, too. Love! The vibe is so there Jack: Someone had their first dance to a Marmozets song, recently. Becca: The amount of people who come alone to our shows and meet someone for life… a lover for life! I love that.

that’s what we needed. We just wanted to be back together doing our thing. For all of us to come to this beautiful country house - and we all come from small towns - well, villages actually - surrounded by nature - that was just us!” “It was just an exaggerated version of where we live,” Jack chips in. “Tranquil, and also sort of funny when you go in the live room,” he adds, mimicking the almighty racket the band created, “and it’s like, bleaughhhhrahghhhh” ”You feel like you’ve gone back in time,” Becca adds. “There’s no transport, and only one taxi person called Randy. You couldn’t use mobiles, just landline. That’s me all over.” “Yeah,” concurs Jack, “there’s no distraction there at all.” “Apart from ourselves,” Becca cackles. “But oh well, what can you do?” Looking forward, Marmozets are bursting with a quiet confidence; clearly holding the reins and excited to take on

moments even bigger than that milestone festival set three years ago. If they’re set on one thing, it’s keeping things grounded and focused on what they consider to be a priceless relationship with their fans. “It’s not so much us performing for them as it is a big exchange of energy, together,” Jack observes. “It is cool,” he adds, changing tact, “playing a show in London and driving back, and then the next day you’re walking about Keighley with a Greggs and a coffee!” “Money and fame, it’s all fake, darlings!” Becca hoots. “I want to think about the next generation of artists and give them a chance, get a buzz again. I want to take over the world,” she decides. The best thing is, she’s not even exaggerating. ‘Knowing What You Know Now’ is out now via Roadrunner Records. DIY

“I felt like everything was falling apart, and it almost

did.” - Becca Macintyre



Despite being dealt their fair share of bad luck in the

last two years, it turns out a little distance was just what

Hookworms needed. “It’s important to remember

the positives,” they tell Joe Goggins.


ookworms have taken a left turn. After releasing two albums heavily influenced by krautrock and psychedelia vocalist MJ rather self-deprecatingly suggesting recently that he felt as if the Leeds five-piece had “made the same record twice” with ‘Pearl Mystic’ and ‘The Hum’ – third album ‘Microshift’ fizzes with a new energy that almost borders on – whisper it - pop. It’s certainly danceable, thanks to a greater focus on synths and less on guitars, and even the band themselves have recognised that it’s their most uptempo material that really ignites the crowds at their live shows.

in the immediate aftermath were about how Matt was going to be able to make money, and whether or not he’d be able to pay his rent; the band was something we put on the back burner for a while, and it helped that we weren’t being expected to play shows or anything like that, because it was about eighteen months after ‘The Hum’ came out. We all helped to clear the studio out and gut it, but there was a lot of waiting around that he had to do, on things like insurance payments and help from his landlord, before he could even think about starting to rebuild.”

Really, though, the most remarkable thing about ‘Microshift’ is that it even exists at all. A spectacular run of bad luck after the release of ‘The Hum’ saw their 2015 North American tour falling through at the eleventh hour because of visa issues, before the Boxing Day floods that swept across Yorkshire hit MJ’s studio, Suburban Home, with catastrophic effect.

That’s exactly what he did, though; by June 2016, Suburban Home had reopened its doors, and the queue of up-and-coming bands waiting to work with MJ was, if anything, even longer than before. It was around that same time that ideas for Hookworms began to circulate again. An EP that they’d been working on before all the upheaval was scrapped, but they resolved to make a third record as a gesture of defiance more than anything else - as concrete proof they’d overcome the adversity they’d faced.

“When the flood happened, the idea of a new Hookworms record was way down the list of priorities,” says bassist MB. “We were all more concerned about the fact that it’s Matt’s [MJ] day job; being a producer is what he does from day to day, so the studio really is his livelihood. The things we were worrying about

“We knew we wanted to start work on it straight away, as soon as we reopened the studio,” MJ explains. “It was a priority for us, because we’d really missed the band. We practice every Thursday, and we don’t all live in Leeds any more, so it’s nice to just get everybody in the same room once a week,


if nothing else. When we didn’t have the studio, we basically didn’t practice for six months, so we barely saw each other.” Despite considerable tumult in both the life of the band and its members, MJ can see the positives in Hookworms’ enforced lay-off, which would double as the first proper break they’d taken in five years. “Everything that happened with the band leading up to the flood - the first record, the second record, signing to Domino - it all felt very much as if it happened in a row for me - I don’t really see any gaps in those first five years. Once we ended up with that enforced time off, things started to happen in our personal lives, and we started to think about why it was that we started the band in the first place. Our sound engineer died, and my dad has Alzheimer’s, and then he developed cancer while I was rebuilding the studio. Things like that really focus what it is you want to do. When the flood happened we’d been doing everything constantly for so long that we’d almost come to take it for granted. It was nice to have the space to realise that we wanted to carry on and throw

Hookworms’ new member smelled a little, ahem, ruff.


ourselves back into the band for no reason other than that we enjoyed it.” While MJ was in the process of rebuilding Suburban Home, the rest of the band kept themselves busy with other projects; MB, for instance, began to indulge his new-found affinity for synthesizers with his XAM Duo project, which sees him collaborate with Christopher Duffin of dream-pop outfit Deadwall. Those stylings fed back into the more pointedly electronic sound of ‘Microshift’, as did the sensibilities that drummer JN brought with him from his own synth-driven side gig, Game Program. For MJ, though, the influence of his own musical work outside of Hookworms on ‘Microshift’ came more in thematic terms. “I’ve worked recently with bands like Martha and The Spook School, and what I found really inspiring about them was the way that they put together really personal, political lyrics about mental health or gender politics and were able to pair them up with pop songs. I wanted to move towards that more. My vocals are much more at the

front of things on this record, and that also meant that I was going to have to work really hard on the lyrics, which I maybe hadn’t in the past.” With the release of ‘Microshift’, it seems as if Hookworms are finally putting a string of difficulties firmly behind them; if nothing else, the flood and its aftermath have clearly galvanised the group in a way that seems sure to secure their long-term future together. “I feel super hopeful,” says MJ. “I always thought of our records as being one album of ten, and I’m excited about the things we’re going to do in the future. I think you can become quite normalised to the things that happen in your life, because they unfold so gradually. It’s important to remember the positives - I get to make records for a living, and my band’s signed to Domino. Regardless of all the bullshit, I can’t complain about any of that.” ‘Microshift’ is out 2nd February via Domino. DIY


MO RRIS A blindingly bright album cover, a comeback single called ‘Reborn’ and a new palette of euphoric pop. It’s clear from the off that things are different for Rae Morris second time round. Words: Will Richards. Photos: Phil Smithies.



ive up and start from now,” Rae Morris’ comeback single ‘Reborn’ states as it lurches into a propulsive chorus. It’s a track filled with upfront lyrics not aiming to disguise the Blackpool native’s desire to move forward. “These are new beginnings / won’t let the past determine where I go from here.” With debut album ‘Unguarded’, Rae presented herself largely as a traditional singer-songwriter, penning lovelorn ballads from behind the piano. And while it was a suit that fitted well at the time, the touring cycle for the album and subsequent two-year break saw her ambitions grow. “I didn’t think ‘I’m going to make a massive change’,” she reflects now. “It just happened with the passing of time. I think my taste changed. My way of writing music changed after not doing it for about two years. That gap changed the way I did things. In a way, I became more confident in myself generally, which meant that I now don’t make decisions in the same way that I used to. I used to be very confused about what was ‘me’ and what was the right thing to do, so I stopped thinking that way and just started thinking ‘Yes! This feels right, I’m going to do it!’” This plan of attack is most directly shown off in the album’s first single proper, ‘Do It’. As well as a show of intent for Rae’s new lack of restraint, it’s a tracking of her blossoming relationship with producer Fryars, which turned from professional to romantic across the writing of ‘Someone Out There’, and permeates every aspect of the record. “I really do believe in the positive or negative energies in a room, and there was an atmosphere that was captured and then seeped into the songs,” she reflects, and ‘Someone Out There’ swerves becoming a detached reinvention simply because of how close it is to home; every wideeyed moment of euphoria chronicled on the

record was one lived during its creation. “I really do care about [the songs] more because they brought us together,” Rae continues, “and I guess everybody has a song at the start of a relationship that they listen to constantly and bond with the other person over. It’s not normally your own songs though,” she chuckles. “Bit narcissistic.”


f the singer’s commitment to her new self on ‘Someone Out There’ wasn’t already concrete enough, she started taking, er, ‘movement’ classes in an attempt to embrace her new persona even more fully. Teaming up with choreographer Aaron Sillis, who’s previously worked with Rihanna, Katy Perry, FKA twigs and more (no biggie), the change proved to be a whole lot more significant than simply revamping her stage presence. “I’d met Aaron quite a few times on previous video shoots, and I’d always found his energy to be really amazing. I’d never taken dance classes or anything as a kid, and so when I had a bit of time, I thought it could be really useful to learn how to use my body and my position while standing to convey another layer of creativity. “It really can help. I got in the studio with him every week for a couple of months, and it made a massive difference. Even just in everyday life, standing up straight really helps. You kind of forget, and you think ‘why am I sat all hunched, and what does it say about me?’” Playing one of her first comeback shows at last year’s Field Day, just two days after the release of ‘Reborn’, the first glimpse of the new Rae Morris was sharp, shiny and sublime, emerging from behind the confines of the piano and taking her live show in a whole new direction. “I realised that I’d lost a lot of time over the years not connecting with the audience,” she reflects now, seeing the piano as a barrier to that connection, while also previously having served as her safety net, something to hide behind.



“ It

“There’s a whole other level of connection that you can achieve by just… sweating on each other, and getting really up close,” she adds. Despite all the progress, she hasn’t quite mastered stage diving yet. That’s next on the list.

felt like anything was possible in that time.” US of Rae As well as writing sessions in LA, Rae jetted off to New York and New Orleans to shoot the videos for ‘Do It’ and ‘Atletico’. “Noel, the director of those two videos, is based in New York. I did [the video for] ‘Reborn’ with him as well, because he has connections in Beirut, where that was shot. I’d never been to New Orleans before, so I could legitimately play the role of a traveller, and actually be as naive and wideeyed about it all as I wanted to come across. It was very fun to go there.”


“So much changes when you’re on tour,” she continues, the break clearly offering up a few key revelations regarding her next steps. “By doing something over and over you become so much more relaxed, and ease into it, and by the end of the touring cycle for the first record, I was doing three or so songs in the set where I’d be standing up.

“But then it turned out that those moments, when I would come away from the piano, were really tense. Now the balance has completely tipped - I have two songs at the piano and the rest is just full-on Britney mic…” she giggles, still a little bit out of her depth as a new-found pop star. But it’s a skin she’s fitting into remarkably well. And the pop reinvention could’ve gone even further, it turns out. “We wrote some things that were even more pop, and really extreme, but that felt like the wrong thing. When Fryars and I really got going with the writing, we wrote a couple of tunes that were a bit… too far,” she laughs, “but it just felt great to be two songwriters and collaborators just using our skills and creating music that Taylor Swift should sing. We pulled it back.” While ‘Unguarded’ was largely written while the singer still lived in her home town of Blackpool, the sessions for ‘Someone Out There’ got split between London and LA, lending itself to the new, shiny, wide-eyed Rae. “It felt like I have a few different characters to my personality [in London]. When I go out on a night out, this is how I am - and that’s what ‘Atletico’ is - and then there’s the more emotional ‘Wait For The Rain’ storyline, about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. “I find myself sitting on the tube and wandering into peoples’ storylines, and wondering how they got to where they are, while never being able to find out. People find it really claustrophobic but I like the community spirit that it brings,” she says, and while the album largely circles around her personal revelations, it’s also a firmly empathetic one. “The album title ‘Someone Out There’ is along those lines too. There are all these strangers that you sit with every day on the tube and you have no idea that that person next to you there could be a future best friend, or a life partner.” If anyone could convincingly say such a thing and make you believe it, it’d be Rae Morris. Reborn as a new, confident pop star in waiting, her dreams are getting bigger by the day. ‘Someone Out There’ is out 2nd February via Atlantic. DIY



Throwing punk spit and pop nouse, feminist fire, playful humour and a prop and costume cupboard worthy of a small theatre troupe into one marvellous melting pot,

Dream Wife are the art project that transformed into so much more. Now, they’re ready to claim their place at new music’s top table. Words: Lisa Wright. Photos: Phil Smithies.

n pop culture when we were growing up, a lot of the female icons in the ‘90s were witches,” muses Alice Go – Dream Wife’s infectiously enthusiastic guitarist, blessed with a howling cackle of a laugh capable of erupting at any moment. “Buffy, The Craft, Sabrina, Charmed... Women who didn’t fit into the box at that time were typecast as witches, and there’s definitely something that speaks to us about that. It’s a powerful thing that should be embraced, I think.” “When a man flies, he’s called Superman, but when a woman flies she’s called a witch,” notes singer Rakel Mjöll with a knowingly raised eyebrow, adorned today in a near-perfect approximation of Cher Horowitz’ yellow-tartan Clueless suit. The trio, completed by bassist Bella Podpadec – a quieter but no less intriguing presence, currently curled into the corner of a sofa – all nod and mutter murmurs of agreement. 57

See, in Dream Wife’s world, the magical and mystical are tangible presences. Whether in the sisterly bond that notably fizzes between the three - both on stage and in their mile-a-minute, finishing-each-others’sentences conversations - or the nods to the power of the occult that pepper their visuals and general vibe, there’s something otherworldly about this lot. It’s not ‘ethereal’ or ‘fairy-like’ or any of the flimsy words usually put upon women, though. No, Dream Wife have concocted a powerful brew charged by strength and solidarity, gathering an ever-increasing congregation of selfproclaimed Bad Bitches along the way to help make real their vivid fantasies. They’re a riot of giggling fun one moment, and passionately explaining their commitment to creating safe spaces for women the next. Their live shows take pastel-coloured imagery (their last London headline show was prom-themed) and fill it with hundreds of empowered fans screaming at the top of their lungs. They’re a wonderfully contrary force that defies labels, steadfastly revelling in being everything all at once. “It’s about flipping the switch,” grins Alice. “Taking these stereotypically feminine aesthetics, and then turning them around into something powerful and liberating. Being in control of your identity and your own destiny.” Today, drinking black coffee in the low-lit surrounds of Victor Wynd’s Museum of Curiosities – a treasure trove of the weird and wonderful, tucked away in a corner of Hackney – the trio’s immediate destiny seems to be unfolding just fine. Here to wax lyrical on the self-titled debut album they began recording at West London’s Eastcote Studios on this exact day last year, they’re now sitting on a


record that encapsulates the giddy dichotomy of feral squalls and sugary pop hooks that have become their trademark. It wasn’t, of course, always meant to be this way though. Now cemented as one of this generation’s best band origin stories, Dream Wife started life as an art project conceived solely to wing them an excuse to go abroad. “Me and Bella had the idea of making Dream Wife because we wanted to go to Canada. And we thought, we don’t wanna travel without a purpose, so what if we made a band and toured?” explains Rakel, completely seriously. “I had a [university] crit the next day and I had no ideas for what I was going to do for my project, so I thought what if forming a band with the sole purpose of going to tour Canada as an A to B plan [was the project]? The piece was called ‘Dream Wife Dream Of Canada’. We didn’t have a clue what we were doing and it was meant to be finished when we came back.”

such a unique proposition along the way. Whether decorating the stage with a glittery silver “space beach” theme for their debut London headline show (ever seen a crowdsurfing palm tree? They have...) or filming the video for the screaming sass of Spice Girls-referencing standout ‘F.U.U’ in the mosh pit at their fully costumed Halloween gig last year, Dream Wife always come at everything with an ambitious vision. “The London shows always just become a wild party because all of your friends are there, so why not throw a couple of tombstones in?” shrugs Rakel, by means of explanation. Life advice we can all follow, if ever there was some.


Of course, that particular deadline never quite came to pass. Having spent a month on Canadian Megabuses, successfully playing a string of DIY shows organised by their friends, the trio returned with a taste for musical life. “We thought we should try and play a show in Brighton or London. So we wrote a few more songs, and played a gig,” continues Rakel. “We never put any expectations on ourselves as a band, but we could never stop either,” picks up Bella. Almost immediately after their first London show at Shoreditch’s Old Blue Last, the trio found themselves in a string of meetings with hungry industry types, already snapping at their heels. Suddenly, ‘Dream Wife Dream Of Canada’ had become just Dream Wife, and the group had crossed over into the music world, for real.

ore than just creating an audio-visual world to dive into, though, Dream Wife have also spent time nurturing a community at the heart of it. A place of inclusion and freedom that’s a kind of real life magic. “It originated as a photo project with our friend, photographer Meg Lavender,” explains Bella. “She came with us on the [Hello 2017] DIY Tour; she was going to take photos of us, but ended up mainly taking photos of the crowd.” “She took this idea, and started shooting all the interesting people that come to our shows. She’d ask them about being a bad bitch, and we’d put these portraits online as the Bad Bitch Club,” continues Rakel. “There’s a moment in the show where I call out the bad bitches and ask them to come forwards to the front and take their space. They make the craziest moshpits and stage invade and have this time together. It’s all about believing in yourself and it’s really powerful.”

But while the trio (augmented live by drummer Alex Pavely) may be a fully-professional musical machine these days, it’s their left-of-centre art school approach that’s made them

Alongside organisations such as Girls Against – a project aimed at creating


chaos pop!

Can we coin this new genre?!” Alice Go


“Everybody’s got something to hide, except for me and my weird, dead monkey.” 60

Get to Know

Can you give us a brief overview about what Girls Against do? Girls Against is a campaign led predominantly by young women working to end sexual harassment and assault in live music settings. It started when one of our founders, Hannah, was assaulted in the crowd when she went to see Peace. They shared her story and made a strong statement against such behaviour, asking that anyone who wished to act that way didn’t come to their shows. It started a huge conversation. How important is it to have an increasing group of bands and artists supporting you with this? Having the support of artists is incredible, as it spreads the message to fans across music. It also means that people are hearing about what we do from the voices of people they respect, and want to see live - if they’re being told that kind of behaviour will get them kicked out, that acts as a deterrent where they might lack a moral understanding of the issue. How has the project grown so far and what are you hoping to do in 2018? It’s grown so much over these past two years! We didn’t ever expect we’d be reaching as many people as we are now, that we’d be working on International Women’s Day events with bands and being present at festivals like Reading & Leeds! We’re so proud of that, and ready to take it even further. What can people do on an everyday basis at gigs to help? Look out for other people. It’s really simple. If someone is being harassed, and you’re not - it’s a lot easier for you to get security or the performer’s attention, or to tell the harasser to leave them alone. If someone has been harassed, check in with them - see if they’re OK. That can be a very traumatic experience, and it’s nice to know that not everyone is horrible.

safe spaces at gigs for women – Dream Wife are one of an increasing group of young bands rallying to make these positive steps. If the last 12 months have been particularly dark in certain corners of the music world, then a generation of bands being vocal and demonstrative in their determination to turn things on their head seems vital. “It’s not a thing I thought about when we first started playing shows, but now we’re playing to a younger crowd. How was it being 14, going to a show? Most of the time it was quite difficult and there were incidents that happened that you took for granted,” explains Rakel. “Now there are girls coming to my show and I never want them to experience anything like that or to think that they have to deal with it and that’s the way it is.” “It feels like it’s our duty to have these conversations,” nods Alice. “Every single band has to step up.”

important emphasis on sheer, danceable, balls-to-the-wall fun. Bookended by the playful pashing of ‘Let’s Make Out’ and the aforementioned jagged belter of ‘F.U.U’ – the record’s two most full-on tracks by far – the filling of this particular album sandwich takes in pure pop hooks, angular ‘80s-isms, no-nonsense riffs and more. “It’s embracing the pop sensibility of it all because ultimately they’re pop songs and we love that, but it’s about flipping the script on pop music,” says Alice. There’s an audible lightbulb moment. “It’s chaos pop! Can we coin this new genre?! Bowie was chaos pop. Madonna was chaos pop. We could pull it off maybe...” As chatter descends into the intricacies of what does and doesn’t constitute their newfound niche (“It’s punk, but there’s so much funk in punk...”), one phrase from ‘Act My Age’ - “Do I amuse you? Do I confuse you?” comes up. It’s an eyeballrolling kiss off that seems to lie at the heart of Dream Wife’s particularly untameable blend. Feminine but aggressive, fashion but DIY, pop but chaos, they’re the kind of progressive group that the old guard don’t understand and the youth are lapping up. “That [line is] basically the story of our lives,” mutters Rakel. “When ‘FUU’ comes on, people’s faces freeze. They’re smiling but they’re afraid at the same time.” She continues: “We’re women; we’re not just one mould. We’re not just ‘the dream wife’, which doesn’t exist. We can be angry and enjoy it. We can be sexy. We can be vulnerable, but also empowered. We’ve tried to show all those faces within this album.” “It’s complex... like a woman,” deadpans Alice, as the trio descend into hoots of laughter.

“It’s about flipping the switch, being iN

Dealing with delicate issues surrounding sexual assault and victim blaming, and centred around the righteous motif “I am not my body / I am somebody”, 2017 single ‘Somebody’ was always going to be one of the band’s most meaningful. “When I wrote it, I was very timid about releasing it. It’s so personal because it’s about myself and my friends, and pretty much everyone I know as a female, which sucks,” admits Rakel. But when the #metoo movement started to gain such immediate momentum, with thousands of women taking to social media to open up about their own experiences of harassment, the song began to take on a new prescience. “On our last tour of the UK, it was during the time that #metoo was happening. ‘Somebody’ had come out and people were just screaming it. “It was powerful, sharing that moment with all those women,” nods Bella. “When a song you release has so much impact on someone that they tattoo it on their body, that’s because they relate it to strength,” the singer picks up. “It’s about finding your inner strength; a terrible thing that’s happened to you should not define who you are and society should not define who you are either.”

control of your own identity and destiny” Alice Go


et, if there’s an undeniably serious undercurrent to many of the ideas that ‘Dream Wife’ as a record wrangles with, then there’s an equally

Righteously fierce and irrepressibly fun in equal measure, Dream Wife revel in their own idiosyncrasies, creating a thoroughly modern kind of magic at every turn. Now, with a badass debut under their belts, the heady allure of their particular spell is getting stronger with every move. And for their next trick? Keep an eye out for ‘Complex Like A Woman’ in fragrance departments from 2019... ‘Dream Wife’ is out now via Lucky Number. DiY



MARMOZETS Knowing What You Know Now


he Weird And Wonderful Marmozets’ was an apt title for Bingley five-piece Marmozets’ debut: a record that twisted and turned through the stranger corners of rock and propelled the band to Reading & Leeds’ main stage, being held up as the genre’s next big hope in the process. Follow up ‘Knowing What You Know Now’ builds on this early promise, offering up an album of extremes. When things get heavy on ‘Habits’, Marmozets look a menacing prospect. When they develop a strut on ‘Lost In Translation’,



it’s an invincible one. And when things are slowed down on creepy ballad ‘Insomnia’, it’s done with the utmost con dence. Fearlessness flows through the record. By contrast, ‘Play’ - the lead single and opening track from the record - is as direct as possible, and the most straightforward things get. However, above all else, ‘Knowing What You Know Now’ is irresistibly catchy. From Becca Macintyre soon-to-betrademark yelps in the chorus of the brilliant ‘Major System

Error’ to ‘Like A Battery’’s towering bass line, it’s full of moments that stick instantly. No matter how many genres the record dips its toe into, it never gets lost in its own weirdness. A blinding hook always appears to drag you back in by the scruff of the neck. Becca’s vocals are the maybe the record’s most striking step up. Peppered across the record are a series of eye-watering vocal stretches that set the singer, and Marmozets,

aside from the crowd of British rock bands they grew up alongside. In the same way that Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s eyebrow-raising howls made At The Drive In one of a kind, ‘Knowing What You Know Now’’s weirdness is its weapon. For every radio-ready chorus, there’s a fascinating tangent, and plenty of pointers towards Marmozets being the most important rock band we have. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Lost In Translation’, ‘Like A Battery’


1. Play 2. Habits 3. Meant To Be 4. Major System Error 5. Insomnia 6. Lost In Translation 7. Start Again 8. Like A Battery 9. New Religion 10. Me & You 11. SuffocatioN 12. Run With The Rhythm






microshift (Domino)

‘Negative Space’ was one of the most surprising returns of last year. Placing Hookworms’ signature fuzzy kraut aside, the track was a soaring punch of dancerock that catapulted the Leeds five-piece towards the dancefloor. As ‘Microshift’ rolls along, the lead isn’t altogether followed, but there’s a lighter touch, adding contemplation to the already-evident intensity of 2014’s ‘The Hum’. ‘Static Resistance’ is a breezy follow-up, while ‘Ullswater’’s gloopy, repetitive bassline and anthemic, sweeping conclusion recalls a certain James Murphy. As with the countless brilliant records he’s worked on over the last five years, MJ’s production shines here - ‘Microshift’ bristles with life and never sits still. Almost drone-like atmospherics sit on ‘The Soft Season’, a track which sees the producer’s vocals shine, replacing his trademark yelp with something, suitably, altogether softer. He proves himself an increasingly versatile vocalist. While ‘The Hum’ proved a logical step forward for Hookworms, ‘Microshift’ pays little attention to the script, and is all the more thrilling for it. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Negative Space’, ‘Ullswater’


DREAM WIFE dream wife

(Lucky Number)


Little Dark Age (Columbia)

Back in 2007, MGMT’s hedonistic call to arms ‘Time To Pretend’ declared “I’m feelin’ rough/ I’m feelin’ raw / I’m in the prime of my life”. Now, on ‘When You Die’, they offer us “Go fuck yourself/ You heard me right / Don’t call me nice again.” Safe to say there have been some changes. But if the pair’s post-’Oracular Spectacular’ career has purposefully distanced them from its sparkling space pop, long-awaited fourth LP ‘Little Dark Age’ could do with clawing a bit of that magic back. It’s the attitude that throws you. All of their best output has a warmth to it: not just the populist early hits, but the slow smooch of ‘Congratulations’ or ‘Alien Days’’ wonky rollercoaster. Here, however, they mostly just sound cold. There are not one, but two tracks (‘She Works Out Too Much’ and ‘TSLAMP’) that bemoan social media and selfie culture, while the aforementioned ‘When You Die’ is venomous. It’s a shame because when they soften (‘Hand It Over’) or give in to a bit more joy (‘One Thing Left To Try’), they’re still capable of something special. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘One Thing Left To Try’

It’s a fact that Dream Wife are at their best making an unholy racket, when a raging Rakel Mjöll’s lungs are operating at capacity over a spidery riff from resident axe-wielder Alice Go. ‘Dream Wife’, the band’s debut full-length that it feels like we’ve been waiting a lifetime for, is bookended by two perfect instances of this - ‘Let’s Make Out’, in which Rakel screams the title over and over until it sounds like more threat than promise, and ‘F.U.U’, still the finest track the trio - completed by bassist Bella Popadec - have recorded yet, here an even more beefed-up beast than before.

Breakthrough number ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ is another souped-up monster, the twisted cheerleader chant of its chorus as infectious as ever, while live standout ‘Act My Age’ turns on a sixpence, its refusal to conform reflected in its sonic intensity. And even when less visceral in sound, Dream Wife’s angry calling card is still there, the evocative ‘Somebody’ touching on rape culture and the ‘she was asking for it’ trope. Sometimes we get the bands we want: sometimes - like in the case of Dream Wife they’re also the bands we need. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘F.U.U’, ‘Let’s Make Out’



For the best part of the last two decades, Fall Out Boy have found themselves pushing against the norm. It’s on seventh album ‘M A N I A’, however, that they seem to fully realise how far they can go. The genre-bending ‘Young and Menace’ remains a showstopper, but refuses to dictate the whole picture. Alongside its revved up, auto-tuned chorus comes a slew of brilliant arena-rock songs - packed with Patrick Stump’s recognisable soulful vocals - which confidently flirt with electronics, rather than adopt them entirely. ‘HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T’ carries a punch but feels playful while Burna Boy’s guest vocal feels as at home as Jay Z once did, back on ‘Infinity On High’. ‘M A N I A’ was always going to be an interesting ride, but it’s also a deftly-created rock album with a cutting-edge twist. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘The Last Of The Real Ones’



Someone Out there (Atlantic)


photo: Phil Smithies

The idea of Rae Morris’ second album serving as a clean slate is unavoidable. As colourful and vibrant as its cover, ‘Someone Out There’ is an early contender for pop record of the year. ‘Do It’ is the most comfortable she sounds in her new skin: tracking the blossoming relationship of the singer and producer Fryars, it’s an uninhibited recounting of untamed desire, and it’s the lack of fear with which Rae attacks such subject matter that makes ‘Someone Out There’ such a success. The title track is the singer’s only return to the piano here, and though it’s a reminder of her prowess as a traditional singer-songwriter, it’s the record’s pop flourishes that properly shine. A reinvention that could’ve easily been a disaster, it’s Rae Morris’ commitment and dedication to her new self that makes ‘Someone Out There’ work so well. A fun, full-of-heart pop record that’s 2018’s first big surprise. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Atletico’, ‘Dip My Toe’



DJANGO DJANGO marble skies (Because)

Title track ‘Marble Skies’ sets a pace in the first thirty seconds that rarely lets up. It’s got it all: a bold mission statement (“Take us as we are!”); a robotic break-down; an anthemic, nonsensical chorus. All this is business as usual for Django Django. In fact, ‘Marble Skies’ may be their least frantic LP. Strategically placed breathers are found in ‘Surface to Air’, and ‘Sundials’, a gentle, dizzy track. You’ll need them, too. ‘Champagne’ is a woozy, indulgent showcase for Vincent Neff’s gleeful falsetto and ‘In Your Beat’ gradually becomes a sky-high, psychedelic anthem. ‘Further’ might be the best example of this new semi-restraint, and doesn’t ever explode in the way you’d expect – it’s all the better for it. Most importantly, though, Django Django never sound like they’re not having fun. That kind of pure, genuine enthusiasm is always infectious, and ‘Marble Skies’ feels like a joy ride. (Katie Hawthorne) LISTEN: ‘Tic Tac Toe’



always ascending (Domino)

If Franz Ferdinand released a ‘Best Of…’, it might be one of the best ‘Best Of’s. You can’t argue with fifteen years of undeniable indie bangers, crammed with theatrical lyrics and glam, camp riffs. This time, for their fifth record, they’ve gone for a self-proclaimed ‘futuristic’ edge, and a new line-up. ‘Always Ascending’’s opener, lead single and title track comes through on its promises: it’s angular, charismatic and silly - a Franz Ferdinand hat-trick. It’s probably the most immediate number of the album’s ten songs, though. ‘Lazy Boy’ has an irresistible riff but a fairly bland, weirdly infantilising refrain for a band of adult men. ‘Huck and Jim’ has a fun, threatening swagger, as they promise to preach the NHS to America and wax on about the benefits of Buckfast, and closer ‘Slow Don’t Kill Me Slow’ is a surprisingly touching, largely instrumental ballad. None of this feels enough to truly deserve that futuristic tag, but maybe this new set-up just needs time to find their own MO? In the meantime, we’ve got another great single to add to that hypothetical greatest hits. (Katie Hawthorne) LISTEN: ‘Always Ascending’



The Franz lads sing about rising ever upwards on LP5, but how did they get so high? Here’s a nifty album-by-album rundown.

Franz Ferdinand (2004)

From initial breakthrough ‘Darts of Pleasure’ to ultimate dance floor smash ‘Take Me Out’, few debuts are as jam-packed with bangers as this one.

You Could Have It So Much Better (2005)

It was no difficult second outing for the boys, as ‘Do You Want To’ ran out of the blocks kicking and screaming, while ‘Walk Away’ showed a softer side. Bless.

Tonight (2009)

A record that traced the course of a night out, Alex Kapranos well and truly got his croon on here, even managing to segue into ‘I Feel Love’ during ‘Can’t Stop Feeling’ live.

Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action (2013)

A plethora of dance icons twiddled knobs on this stomp of a record, the standout being the not-quite-title track, ‘Right Action’.

Chill out lads, it’s only a bit of wind. 66



how to solve our human problems (Matador)

There’s always been a sense of familiarity to Belle and Sebastian’s music, but they’ve also got form for playing with the traditional album release. Shortly after debuting in 1996 with ‘Tigermilk’ and later ‘If You’re Feeling Sinister’, a trio of EPs followed in 1997 and it’s via this staggered format that the band now share ‘How To Solve Our Human Problems’. Taken in full view, there’s a greater sense of ambiguity to some of these tracks than with their trademark vivid storytelling. There are, however big single-worthy tracks to pepper the band’s live arsenal; the ‘Electronic Renaissance’channelling ‘We Were Beautiful’, the slacker-disco stomp of ‘Poor Boy’, and elegance of ‘Everything Is Now (Part Two)’. These releases won’t blow fans away, nor shed a particularly new light on what this band have to offer, but that no longer feels like their role. While others that have been in the game for as long deal in cringe-inducing ‘yer da’ moments, Belle & Sebastian continue to craft pop songs that sit proudly alongside their best from the past two decades. (Liam McNeilly) LISTEN: ‘Poor Boy’



DZ DEATHRAYS bloody lovely (Alcopop!)

Anybody familiar with the first two DZ Deathrays records will know that they were, above all else, about fun. The Brisbane duo weren’t out to reinvent the wheel, and instead nailed down their own take on a triedand-true formula - huge riffs, thundering percussion, rough and ready vocals. What set them apart was the fact that they didn’t just evoke chaos - they actively seemed to encourage it, in a kind of freewheeling, devil-may-care sense that made for great party music. Sonically, there’s a touch more polish to proceedings on ‘Bloody Lovely’ than previously, but otherwise, there’s little in the way of real surprises. Only the moody, foreboding ‘Over It’ hints at the pair testing their own boundaries; otherwise, this is another solid Deathrays outing. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Back_Forth’


NO AGE snares like a haircut

(Drag City)


what a time to be alive (Merge)

‘What A Time To Be Alive’ is Superchunk’s eleventh album, and arrives at possibly one of the most politically divisive times in America, not only in their lifespan, but perhaps in the last century. But not so much a political album, ‘What A Time To Be Alive’ is more a reaction to public events and the general state of affairs. Written in the fallout of the election of Donald Trump and his first few months in power, it’s a record which wears its heart on its sleeve. It takes no prisoners musically or lyrically. It’s raucous, but most importantly triumphant in the face of everything they sing about, allowing the light to peer through the darkness. At its best points the album is defiant in the face of a country it’s not in agreement with, however it also leaves us just wanting just a little more. (Matthew Hogarth) LISTEN: ‘What A Time To Be Alive’


Last time round, No Age kept things pretty spare, stripping away the usual swathes of reverb to leave something more skeletal and brittle. ‘Snares Like A Haircut’ immediately makes you think the duo have ditched that tactic and there’s definitely nothing about opener ‘Cruise Control’ that can be described as minimal. For the most part, that’s representative of the whole record, but you could never accuse No Age of being monotonous before their half-decade break, and you still can’t now. Time away hasn’t dulled No Age’s musical sword they’re sharper and brighter than ever. (Rhian Daly) LISTEN: ‘Cruise Control’






transangelic exodus (Bella Union)

eee US GIRLS in a poem unlimited (4AD)

Once the sensual breathiness of ‘Velvet 4 Sale’ gets going, the sixth studio album from Toronto-based US Girls has an unmistakable swing to it. With the help of instrumental collective The Cosmic Range, horn melodies and percussive rhythms sit at the forefront of this wide-ranging soundscape. The album is listed as a protest record – and Meg Remy finally lives up to the plurality of her musical alias as these songs act as intimate character studies of women grappling with power and identity. On ‘Incidental Boogie’ a woman is physically abused, leaving so little visible evidence that she must still go to work. On old-school R&B-sounding track ‘Pearly Gates’, a woman seduces St Peter in order to enter heaven. And while Meg includes her own straighttalking personal artistic worries too, the message of US Girls hides under instrumentation which is far more intriguing than its lyrics – the music is a bit too good for its political musings to be wholeheartedly focused on. (Ellen Peirson-Hagger) LISTEN: ‘M.A.H’ 68


“The narrative thread is I’m in love with an angel, and a government is after us, and we have to leave home because angels are illegal, as is harbouring angels,” says Ezra Furman of this, his seventh album. It doesn’t take a genius to see the grim, earthbound realities that his heavenly concept draws parallels to, and it’s this sense of defiance and unrest that runs throughout ‘Transangelic Exodus’. From the howled yell of “a plague on both your houses” that ends opener ‘Suck The Blood From My Wound’ to the claustrophobic drums and war-cry horns of ‘No Place’, the record seethes with barely contained rage and pain. Even on its more straightforward moments (‘Love You So Bad’), Ezra is still a unique enough narrator to tell these universals with fresh eyes. Timely and uncompromising, it feels like a record of real importance. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘No Place’

Shaking things up, looking forward, and entering a new creative era, Ezra Furman didn’t exactly set out with the aim of writing a sprawling rock opera about an outsider angel. And yet, here we are. Interview: El Hunt.

You’ve said before that with ‘Transangelic Exodus’ you’re beginning a new musical chapter. In what sense? I think the old chapter had a lot to do with homage to 20th Century music. We sort of fulfilled our mission as that band [Ezra Furman and The Boy-Friends]. It felt like we’d hit a ceiling. I was telling my dad about how it felt we had mastered this thing completely and there was nowhere left to go. He said, ‘well, stay at the top, keep doing it’. That’s never been my instinct. Listening to a lot of new music, listening to Kanye West, I’m like, what am I doing with this stuff that’s trying to sound like the ‘60s? I’m dead in the ring, and I want to step into the arena of 21st Century music. The fact is, you can make any song you can imagine. The resources are unlimited, and we were using them to sound like a time where resources were limited. It feels ironic, or disingenuous. The Boy-Friends fulfilled their purpose. Is that change and experimentation the reason why your band is now called The Visions? As to why the noun is Visions? Yeah, I would hope that it connotes some kind of ecstatic mystical experience. I’m into ecstatic mystical experiences. It’s one

of my interests. I like mystical stuff, and referencing mystical things. Angels are all over the album; these parts of religious tradition where you’re not sure what they’re talking about, and on unsteady ground. As you say, angels - or rather, one specific angel that you’re on the run with - are at the centre of ‘Transangelic Exodus’. You’ve never really sustained a narrative for an entire album in this way before… I had a whole plan for this record, and I was trying to find a way to be cool, a new kind of style of self-presentation. And then this one song came and fuckin’ sucked the blood from my wound and kind of just crashed into my head uninvited. I was like, what the fuck is this?! It was totally against my plan, but it arrived as a vision. Over time I realised that the compelling thing you have to say is something you find, rather than calculate. It eventually turned into a literature project. I wrote a whole backstory, some songs that progressed a plot, and then I killed it. I don’t want this to have a beginning, a middle and an end. The situation is what’s compelling to me. Me and this companion who had turned into an angel, running from authorities. It’s better to have it unexplained. That situation is very real to me. It’s what my life feels like.


wonderfault (Eget Selskap)

Norwegian indie-pop trio Great News clearly wanted to create a debut album that sounded big. On ‘Wonderfault’ they sound as though they take great joy in having succeeded, piecing together a surreal and psychedelic atmosphere from ‘80s pop synths. And it’s that very happiness that gives ‘Wonderfault’ its title, named after the playful euphoria which stems from creating something imperfect, and above all, as natural as something so shamelessly untidy can be. (Nick Pollard) LISTEN: ‘Never Get My Love’


THE SOFT MOON criminal (Sacred Bones)

After three albums and an EP that worshipped at the altar of Bauhaus, Luis Vasquez is finally content to go full Nine Inch Nails. And he’s never sounded better. Enjoying The Soft Moon has always required a fair level of tolerance for whiny lyrics, and in this regard, ‘Criminal’ is no different, but its thick industrial blur makes Luis’ woes sound realer than ever. Luis fuses himself - his voice, his riffs, his beats with mechanical sounds throughout ‘Criminal’, the most complete result of his vision he’s committed to record thus far. An engaging listen, even if he does stray into the realms of melodrama. (Max Freedman) LISTEN: ‘It Kills’


THE ORIELLES Silver Dollar Moment (Heavenly)

With debut single ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’ - a shapeshifting, eight-and-a-half minute journey through the esoteric backwaters of post-punk and ESGesque dance beats - Halifax trio The Orielles marked themselves out as a confident and original proposition. On ‘Silver Dollar Moment’, the band are similarly adventurous but sometimes have the tendency to meander. Individually, the likes of sweetly lolloping slowie ‘Liminal Spaces’ or the careering psych outro of ‘Let Your Dog Tooth Grow’ are interesting, clever tracks that show a magpie’s den of influences. But as a body of work (and possibly down to singer Esme Dee Hand-Halford’s sing-song vocal style) the album lacks the punctuation marks needed to really hit hard. Leaving off ‘Sugar...’ also feels criminal. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘I Only Bought It For The Bottle’


open here (Memphis Industries)

On ‘Open Here’, Field Music are escalating their music into expansive new territory. This comes hand in hand with looking outward lyrically, wrestling with politics as well as parenthood. Sometimes though, the complexities in the melodies can overshadow what they’re trying to say. There’s occasionally some blaring saxophone that steamrolls over everything in its path, while other times the multiple aspects fight for attention. When they strip things back and leave space for each element to breathe – as on the purely orchestral title track – ‘Open Here’ can be a joy, a deeply astute pop album that’s also often brimming with fun. But by pushing their boundaries as far as they can go, it sometimes makes for a record that can feel frustratingly cluttered. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘Count It Up’

eee RHYE blood

(Loma Vista/Caroline)

On 2013’s ‘Woman’, Rhye’s soft, impassioned vocals were androgynous and other-worldly, while the production was so succinct that it was impossible to tell how many people were behind it. Four years later they’re back, and as consumed by longing as ever. Both the sleeve for ‘Blood’’s cover and its contents continue its predecessor’s modus operandi - a love letter to the object of Mike’s desire. It’s unsurprising, then, that sex is a major theme, with ‘Taste’ and ‘Please’ oozing carnal intention. Robin’s simple production of strings and minimal synths allow Mike’s whispers to stand front and centre. ‘Blood’, like ‘Woman’, is honest, and an endearing expression of sexuality. (Will Moss) LISTEN: ‘Please’


Where Wildness Grows

Frontman Felix might not be hitting those high notes any longer, but LP2’s still gonna reach giddy heights. Out 9th March.



The collective’s kitchen sink approach to pop is winning us over ear by ear, and if the rest is as infectious as their singles to date, this debut will be a gem. Released 2nd March.


Twentytwo In Blue

The trio sounded bloody massive on those huge Wolf Alice support slots late last year. We expect their second record to boss it and then some. Out 23rd March.





uncle, duke & the chief (Paper


‘Uncle, Duke and The Chief’ is a chirpy affair that’s very much in the vein we’ve come to expect from Born Ruffians, even when there’s a sadness permeating the lyrics; ‘Miss You’ is driven by a vibrant acoustic guitar and frontman Luke Lalonde’s skyward vocal howl, both of which belie the track’s fundamental melancholy, while thumping percussion and sharp melodies underpin the uncertainty of ‘Fade to Black’. Those are Born Ruffians’ ace-in-the-hole, and they make this particular nostalgia trip a pleasure to embark upon; it’s just that you wonder whether or not the band are ever going to shoot for more than the pop formula they perfected ten years ago. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Fade To Black’


music for the long emergency (Transgressive)

Given that Poliça have carved out a reputation for powerfully atmospheric indie pop, one that doesn’t seem to involve much room for compromise, you’d have been forgiven for raising an eyebrow when they announced that their latest project would involve them working together with Berlin-based chamber orchestra s t a r g a z e. They’re still working off of the same sort of synthpop palette as previously, but it’d be an understatement to say that s t a r g a z e have proved a mellowing influence; at points, particularly on woozy opener ‘Fake Like’ and the dreamy ‘Agree’, ‘Music for the Long Emergency’ starts to sound like the logical conclusion to the chillwave fad. Poliça have broken new ground and consolidated old strengths with this laudable step outside of their comfort zone - it bodes well for their next LP proper. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Cursed’


Freedom’s Goblin (Drag City)

By this point, you’re either into Ty Segall or you’re not. Now with ten solo LPs, plus at least another ten as part of a constant stream of side projects and collaborations (all in not much more than a decade), the prolific garage rocker is a fully-fledged cult hero. While ‘Freedom’s Goblin’ doesn’t exactly blow the doors off of his usual niche, it’s a solid addition to the canon that rattles between all corners of his spectrum – from melodic psych lilts (‘Cry Cry Cry’) to vicious garage punk (‘Meaning’) to playful silliness (a rather excellent cover of Hot Chocolate’s ‘Everyone’s A Winner’). Identity firmly cemented, now Ty’s just having fun within it. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Cry Cry Cry’


CHARLI XCX Pop 2 (Asylum)

We thought the wait for Charli XCX’s third LP was going to be unbearable. Instead, it’s become her most exciting era to date. ‘Pop 2’ takes the experimentation of ‘Number 1 Angel’ and twists the genre in even newer, more exciting ways. From the gorgeously vulnerable Caroline Polachek duet ‘Tears’ to the spiky, hyper-modern ‘I Got It’, ‘Pop 2’ is a collection of polarising states, melted together perfectly. While serving largely as a sketchbook for Charli’s continued evolution, ‘Pop 2’ is remarkably fully-formed, and worthy of standing as an album on its own, far from a stop-gap. It might’ve looked like ‘Number 1 Angel’ and ‘Pop 2’ were to serve only as little appetisers before the eventual third full-length, but these mixtapes have proved an absolute revelation, and placed Charli as the most forward-thinking figure in pop. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘I Got It’, ‘Tears’




messes (Saddle Creek)

A sleeper hit now picked up by Saddle Creek for a reissue ahead of the singer’s second full-length, Stef Chura’s debut ‘Messes’ is a propulsive, brilliantly catchy indie-rock record. Highlight ‘You’ showcases the Detroit singer’s way around a melody, and there are sumptuous choruses littered across the record. It’s the singer’s voice that really makes ‘Messes’ special though, a spiky, unpredictable beast that feels fresh, and is shown best on the gorgeous ‘Slow Motion’ and angry ‘On And Off For You’. ‘Messes’ sets up a potentially brilliant path for Stef Chura to continue along. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘You’


Detroit’s gravelliest karaoke fan is re-releasing her debut album ‘Messes’ with the proper fanfare it deserves. As she tells El Hunt, it’s reached some unlikely places along the way. Somebody recently got in touch with you on Twitter to let you know that they heard your album blasting at full volume… at a deserted sex party. Is that a scenario you ever envisaged for your music? Absolutely not! I was so shocked, I almost fell on the floor laughing. He said that he and his partner decided to go to a sex party, but they’re dorks, so they went right on time at around 3pm, and nobody was there. My music was playing, though. With that in mind, do you perhaps regret the choice to call your album ‘Messes’? Oh my god. It’s true though. They probably should’ve played it at the end of the party.

Presumably, then, you’re referring to other ‘Messes’ here instead. It’s referring to emotional mess; knowing something is wrong but doing it anyway. To me, they’re all these different situations that I found overwhelming, or there’s a power struggle, or I wasn’t able to communicate. I look back and see that songwriting is very cathartic for me, but maybe [laughs] also very passive aggressive. It must be a great feeling for the record to be getting this second wind with your new label Saddle Creek. Yeah, it definitely wasn’t done justice on the first run. I’m really excited to be moving forward with Saddle Creek. I put so much of my life and soul into ‘Messes’, so I’m really glad we’re just getting it out into the world.

Missed the boat on the best albums from the last couple of months? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.



eeeee shame

songs of praise

A debut that makes good of all the Londoners’ gritty early promise.


the spook school could it be different?

The Glasgow band’s latest is a scrappy, quicksmart slab of danceable indie pop.


tove lo blue lips

Irresistible, angstfilled, and at times vulnerable, who else would write about fornicating with a puppet?



have fun ep (XL)

Smerz’ take on R&B and pop takes familiar elements and skews them into new shapes and textures. With opener ‘Half Life’, the slightly asynchronous jackhammer beats and almost industrial pulse create an unsettling, somewhat oppressive atmosphere, while ‘Have Fun’ lays down something of a manifesto for the evolution of Smerz going forward. Sitting somewhere in a triangle between chilled, surreal and club-ready, Henriette and Catharina are carving an interesting niche for themselves. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘Oh My My’



recreational hate (Big Scary Monsters)

sleepwalkers (Virgin EMI)

With his day job as vocalist for The Gaslight Anthem, Brian Fallon emerged as a songwriter from the school of Springsteen, able to evoke nostalgia and longing. With debut solo LP ‘Painkillers’, an acoustic guitar replaced electric, but the songs were just as potent as ever. Follow-up ‘Sleepwalkers’ sees the singer widen his palette and show he’s just fine on his own. ‘If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven’ is an addictive ode to Motown, while first single ‘Forget Me Not’ is crunchy and anthemic. The subject matter stays largely stuck to Fallon’s bread and butter - broken dreams, escaping for a better life, etc etc - but it’s matter that he tackles so well that it doesn’t quite run dry. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven’

Despite the ominous title, ‘Recreational Hate’ isn’t nearly as terrifying as it sounds, as its subject matter orbits around music and love at first sight. It’s laced with sounds which appear for a few seconds only not to return again. For example, eventful highlight ‘More Tunnel’ begins with lonely, atmospherically echoed vocals, features disjointed rhythm, and closes on a shamelessly fun and cheesy synths. In contrast, several other tracks sound very sparse, empty and unremarkable by comparison, such as the call-and-response ‘Wanted to Be Yours’. ‘Recreational Hate’ is sprinkled with various curiosities, but they lose their effect as the songs’ ideas come across half-baked. (Nick Pollard) LISTEN: ‘More Tunnel’



make way for love (Dead Oceans)

Having established himself as a key name in the alt-folk world, Marlon Williams’ second album sees him experiment with new sounds and directions. His folk and country influences still feature heavily, but his latest possesses a much more ethereal quality. Having written the album after a break up, Marlon invites the listener to delve deep into beautifully-composed melancholia. He pushes his haunting vibrato to new levels hitting notes previously unreached. It’s rare a voice makes quite the impact that his makes on this album, and it’s only complemented by the rich composition surrounding it. It’s obvious where Marlon Williams’ influences lie but he expertly melds his roots with elements of chamber pop and ‘50s heartbreak amid a sea of textures, meaning ‘Make Way For Love’ is nuanced, subtle and evocative. (Matthew Hogarth) LISTEN: ‘Party Boy‘



CATCH MARMOZETS ON TOUR 2018 02/02 Cardiff, The Tramshed 03/02 Southampton, Engine Rooms 04/02 Brighton, Concorde 2 06/02 Cambridge, Junction 07/02 London, ULU 08/02 Nottingham, Rescue Rooms 09/02 Newcastle, Riverside 11/02 Sheffield, Leadmill 12/02 Edinburgh, The Liquid Room 13/04 Belfast, Oh Yeah Music Centre

150118_DIY_HP.indd 1

15/01/2018 15:00




Room Inside The World (Merge)


PIANOS BECOME THE TEETH wait for love (Epitaph)

With 2014’s ‘Keep You’, Pianos Become The Teeth firmly shook off their screamo label, opting for huge melodies under Kyle Durfey’s foreboding vocals. And here on ‘Wait For Love’, the quintet show little interest in reclaiming the genre. Instead, these ten tracks build on swirling atmospherics, bigger than before but retaining a distinctive claustrophobic density. They find beauty in bleakness, creating captivating shadowy soundscapes. ‘Wait For You’ carries this delicate juxtaposition with ease, underpinned by the band’s continued reinvention and ability to challenge convention. (Ben Tipple) LISTEN: ‘Manila’

Ought deal in anxiety and nervousness, and their sense of panic has been one of their defining attributes so far. But what happens when they present something a little less tense? ‘Room Inside The World’ still exhibits those nail-biting moments in places, (most prominently on the Cure-esque noodling of ‘Disaffectation’) but its largely a record that explores beyond what has made up Ought’s palette in the past. ‘These 3 Things’ would get Future Islands’ Samuel T. Herring pulling some shapes in a heartbeat, as singer Tim Darcy does his best Morrissey croon over a post-punk-gone-pop bass line. Anxiety might still be rooted in Ought’s foundations, but by looking beyond it the four-piece have made their richest, greatest work yet. (Rhian Daly) LISTEN: ‘Brief Shield’

Back to the

DRAWING BOARD with ought

The band’s Ben Stidworthy gives us a visual guide to Ought’s latest.

Q1 Please could you do a drawing of a room inside the world?

Q2 Where did you go to record the album?

Q3 Please could you show us a few favourite socks from the sock factory you rehearse at?

Q4 Who would you most like to chuck ‘Into the Sea’?

eeee NILS FRAHM all melody (Erased Tapes)

‘All Melody’, Nils Frahm’s ninth solo album, is a name both odd and, eventually, totally appropriate. His melodies are obtuse, or at least not glaringly obvious, everything he plays is precise, from the earthy piano tread of ‘Fundamental Values’ to the propeller-like opening of ‘#2’. For Nils Frahm, this record is nothing new: on his terms it is not extraordinary. But for mere mortals, ‘All Melody’ is a bracing cacophony of the possibilities of minute sonic experimentation. (Ellen PeirsonHagger) LISTEN: ‘Sunson’ 74

Q5 If this record was a mythical creature, what would it look like?











WINTER / SPRING 2018 01.02 03.02

Prom /


Blaine Harrison (Mystery Jets) DJ

Frankie Stew & Harvey Gunn /


After London


No Hot Ashes / 09.02 Sid Batham / 13.02 Nathan Hector


Lee Ranaldo – Electric Trim Trio /



Rider /

Adrian Daniel /




Two Another

Talos / 06.03 Alice Merton / 09.03 Yves / 14.03 Brent Faiyaz


Brent Faiyaz / 27.03




Boy Pablo /

Colouring /


Keels /



Wyvern Lingo

Goan Dogs

Shanghai Blues / 12.04 Bitzen Trapper / 17.04 Little Hours 20.04

Indian Queens / 27.04 Courts /



Dates, times & tickets: w w



“Would the owner of the green Volvo please make their way to the car park…”


The O2, London. Photos: Emma Swann. he last time Paramore graced London’s O2 Arena, things were a little different. Having last visited the enormodome over seven years ago, their two-night-stand would later mark some of the final sets for two of their founding members. During the time since, life for the band may have continued on its infamously uncertain path but it’s now – just a few days into 2018 – that there feels to be a true change in the tide.

no tomorrow, while Taylor York nonchalantly noodles his way through the likes of ‘Fake Happy’ and ‘I Caught Myself’.

Built primarily on tracks from latest record ‘After Laughter’, their set stands as a full-speed blitz through their back catalogue – the euphoric ‘Riot!’-era ‘That’s What You Get’ a firm favourite - while also showing off some of their less expected new cuts. ‘Pool’ is gorgeously reflective, ‘Idle Worship’ is as cathartic – for both Support - Philadelphia’s fans and frontwoman – enigmatic mewithoutYou as it promises on record - take on one of the more and the incendiary ‘No unexpected challenges Friend’ is a relentless, of their lifetime in playing kinetic display which sees at the world’s busiest mewithoutYou’s Aaron venue. Their intricate Weiss return to the stage and mesmerising nature for his part, while the is magnified by the lofty band musically spiral to surroundings and there’s the edge of control. an added potency to the likes of ‘Red Cow’ and What’s most remarkable ‘January 1979’, which tonight, though, is just explode into fiery life how happy the band midway through their set. seem. In contrast to their last slots in this room, Having last visited the UK the band – re-joined back in June to road test by drummer Zac Farro their latest full-length, – feel more solid, more tonight feels like much comfortable than ever. more of a celebration Their enthusiasm shines for Paramore. From through in their on-stage the opening synths in-jokes and infectious of ‘Hard Times’, both dancing, and, even excitement and energy though ‘After Laughter’’s is at fever pitch, the subject matter still stings band themselves barely a little, it’s clear they’re pausing for breath during feeling more hopeful the following one-two these days. Things might punch of ‘Ignorance’ – all have changed since dark and glitchy – and the last time Paramore the sugary pop of ‘Still played the O2, but if Into You’. Hayley Williams anything’s clear after herself is a vibrant ball of tonight, it’s that they’re power, high-kicking and finally in the right place. throwing herself across (Sarah Jamieson) the stage like there’s 77

Alexandra Palace, London. Photos: Emma Swann. ack in 2013, Wolf Alice rocked up to London’s 300-capacity Lexington and proceeded to have an absolute ‘mare. Amps broke, songs were restarted. It could have been terrible, but even then the London quartet had fostered a tangible sense of goodwill through a combination of affable charm and a songbook that was clearly outdoing itself by the day, rendering the show an endearingly shoddy success. Fast forward four and a half years, a superlative, benchmark-setting first album, and a game-raising second in this year’s ‘Visions of a Life’, and we find ourselves in a very different setting. Gathered in the cavernous surrounds of North London’s Alexandra Palace, their congregation now swelled to a sold-out, 10,000-strong throng, Wolf Alice are here tonight to come good on all that promise and cement their status as the leaders of the pack. Kicking into the swathes of fuzz that open ‘Heavenward’, from the off it’s noticeable that ‘Visions of a Life’ has given Wolf Alice a fresh set of tricks to play with. ‘Yuk Foo’ immediately sends the energy levels rocketing, while ‘Beautifully Unconventional”s brighteyed ode to friendship rings with easy warmth. When they dish up the giddy romance of ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’, it’s like the band are soundtracking everyone’s gooey prom moment. For a band that can rage with the best of them, they don’t shy away from putting a lump in your throat. The familiar whirling motif of ‘Bros’ enters like an old pal, old favourites sounding enormous now they’ve graduated to the big stages. There’s something undeniably righteous about hearing these early nuggets sung back by a crowd who’ve followed them the whole way, and there’s none more notable a depiction of the two-way gratitude that fills the room than when the band invite a teenage fan on stage to play (and totally smash) the riff to ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’. They finish with the joyous thrash of ‘Giant Peach’ as an explosion of silver confetti unites the room in one celebratory sweaty mass. It’s a special moment from a special band, whose potential seems more limitless than ever. (Lisa Wright) 78


The O2, London. Photos: Emma Swann.

hen Gorillaz first emerged at the turn of the millennium, their entire focus was on collaboration. Tonight ostensibly also carries the same ethos. Over the course of two hours, we get a conveyor belt of nearly 20 guests dropping through. The whole effect, you assume, is to promote the idea of Gorillaz as an ensemble cast: no stars, no egos, just a travelling circus of artists putting together a sensory spectacular. It would work, too, were it not for the lynchpin at the centre of it all that overshadows almost everyone at every turn. If Damon Albarn spent the early days of Gorillaz pulling the strings from the, if not background, then mid-ground at least, now the polymath seems to have embraced his role of frontman to the full. Front and centre at the mic, he bounds around the stage, gesticulating to the sky, spasmodically leaping into the air and – during ‘Kids With Guns’ – descends into the arms of the crowd for an entire five minutes. On ‘Every Planet We Reach Is Dead’ he stands at the front, arms casually folded, surveying his kingdom as if playing to an arena full of people is the most normal thing in the world – which, of course, for Damon it is. It takes Vince Staples, who bursts out for ‘Ascension’, to really give the singer a run for his money. A tightly-coiled presence that blows the energy up a gear, he shoots out the traps and then tips off the edge of the stage on the last beat – an effortlessly cool full-body mic drop.

There’s so much going on on the stage itself, that for much of the show you half forget their cartoon alter-egos cavorting through the apocalyptic wastelands on the screens behind. And that’s none more apparent than when the band bring out a final half hour of big hitters that throw everything at the wall and watch it almost uniformly stick. ‘We Got The Power’ is a concise masterclass in the Gorillaz ethos: Savages’ Jehnny Beth and Little Simz take centre stage while, to no fanfare, Noel Gallagher and Graham Coxon pop on to lend some fretwork. It’s a headline-grabbing combination of people that could easily overshadow the rest of the stage, but they don’t let it. Instead Graham wrestles with his guitar in the background, Noel falls into an endearingly ‘uncle at a wedding’ two step choreography with Gorillaz’ own axeman and Damon runs around the stage, conducting the whole affair. They end with an enormous singalong of ‘Clint Eastwood’ and the final strains of ‘Demon Days’, as phone flashlights twinkle across the arena. “Make some noise for the greatest entertainer in the world,” announced De La Soul’s Maseo earlier in the night, with his arm around Damon. It’s a lofty claim, but he’s probably not too far off. (Lisa Wright)


A BLISSFULLY HAPPY PUNK MARRIAGE. Brudenell Social Club, Leeds. Photo: Andrew Benge. he Brudenell has long been recognised as the spiritual home of The Cribs, who’ve continued to make a point of coming back despite technically being far too big for its intimate surrounds. Their most notable return came in 2007, when they hosted the original Cribsmas over three December nights, one for each album they’d released to that point. They secured some big-hitting special guests, too, with Kate Nash, Franz Ferdinand and Kaiser Chiefs all making surprise turns. The Cribsmas concept has been revisited since - in 2013, with two shows at the Academy, and they’ve been back to the Brudenell since, too, for a low-key ‘For All My Sisters’ release gig in 2015. Not until now, though, have they truly followed it up. By now, a repeat of that complete look at their back catalogue would be too much of an ask, but what we get instead is a giddy run through the Cribs’ canon, one that’s all-encompassing even by their own standards. All the bases are covered, including callbacks to the hedonistic early days. They might have been tempted to ease off ‘Men’s Needs’-era cuts after taking the full album around the country so recently, but no set would be complete without the anthemic ‘Be Safe’. There’s to be no cameo from Johnny Marr to play on ‘Ignore the Ignorant’ songs, as was the case in 2013, but even stand-in guitarist Russell Searle has solid connections to the original run here from 2007, when he lent additional instrumentation to ‘It Was Only Love’. Over the next four nights, there’s room for mixed-up set lists, as well as the return of the Barman vs. Jarman pint-pulling contest from Cribsmas I. The Brudenell might have had a few licks of paint this past fifteen years, and The Cribs are certainly a lot closer to ticking everything off of their musical bucket list, but this remains a blissfully happy punk marriage. Here’s to the next decade and a half. (Joe Goggins)


Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London. Photos: Robin Pope.


aving waited five years to see the release of a debut album, Blaenavon have shown themselves masters of the long game. Tonight, however, they show no such self-restraint. From the moment the trio bound onstage at Shepherd’s Bush Empire to the sound of Lorde’s calling-card ‘Green Light’, their collective feet are firmly on the gas. Before he’s struck a single chord, frontman Ben Gregory makes a beeline for the surging crowd who lay claim to his pastel suit. But it’s the opening drum sequence of pre-debut cut ‘Hell Is My Head’ that really kicks things off, setting a pace and energy that doesn’t let up for the rest of the set. ‘Let’s Pray’ and ‘My Bark Is Your Bite’ follow and when one of Ben’s darkest lines, “Let’s pray for death”, prompts a deafening sing-along, it’s clear nothing will quash the jubilant atmosphere in the room tonight. Firing on all cylinders works a charm so far for Blaenavon tonight, but when the set takes a turn for the album’s softer cuts, the band struggle to slow the breakneck speed they’ve set for themselves. ‘Lonely Side’ suffers as a bolder, brasher incarnation, with Ben’s on-record purr swapped out for a harsh belt. It’s a shame, considering the album prospers just as much in its quieter moments, but an extra tender rendition of ‘That’s Your Lot’ in the encore goes some way to make up for it. ‘Orthodox Man’ and ‘Prague’ close the set on an incendiary note and as the band are swept away on a sea of hands, you can hardly blame them for getting carried away with it. (Lisa Henderson)

Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London. Photo: Emma Swann. ver since Creeper wiped their social media back in August 2016 to replace it with scant details of a missing James Scythe, the dreamt-up mystery that arrived alongside their debut album has grown into a fully-fledged urban myth. Creeper are not just another rock band. And that’s what makes tonight - their biggest headline set to date - so special. Set against the backdrop of Southampton’s 1967 World’s Fair, the drama of their narrative is very much alive tonight. Followed by a blackout of lights, a torch-lit stage search and the re-appearance of their pivotal character, they pull off one of the best conceptual rock shows since My Chemical Romance’s Black Parade days. Musically, they blitz their way through debut ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ like there’s no tomorrow.

Charged with adrenaline from the off, the likes of ‘Black Rain’, ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Hiding With Boys’ are anthemic. And while the brilliant flair of their conceptual side is very much present throughout – with frontman Will Gould seamlessly channelling the likes of David Bowie, Jarvis Cocker and Gerard Way all at once - their performance lacks none of the intensity they’re so renowned for. Winding down with a spine-tingly rendition of album closer ‘I Choose To Live’, before returning for the euphoric one-two of ‘Black Mass’ and ‘Misery’, it’s a crescendo that provides a perfect conclusion to such a cathartic night. A show packed with hope, tonight is undoubtedly the shining black jewel in their crown. (Sarah Jamieson)


, we’ll pub quiz of sorts A big inter-band e. faves one by on ur yo g llin gri be

It’s Your Round er eod, the xc murr ay macl 40 £1. st: Co Drink: Ginger ale , Brighton nd Location: The Po


Chosen subject: friends Q1: What is Chandler’s middle name? Oh, for fuck’s sake! Oh god, I’ll have to pass. What is it? It’s Muriel! Muriel! Of course! Q2: What name does Ross give the gravy-soaked slice of bread in the middle of his Thanksgivingleftovers sandwich? The moist maker! [laughs] Correct! Q3: How many divorces does Ross go through by the end of the whole series? The whole thing? Three. Three is the correct answer.

SCORE 4/10 Verdict: His general knowledge might be a bit ‘Scatterbrain’, but looks like The Xcerts’ll be there for you after all.


General Knowledge Q6: Which school did both the Duke of Edinburgh and his son Prince Charles attend? I know this! Gordonstoun. That is correct. Q7: In the United States, how many nickels would you get for a dime? Any answer I give is gonna be really stupid... ten? Is that way off? It’s two. Q8: What is the most popular name for pubs in the UK? Does it begin with ‘The’? It does. Do you want a clue? It has an animal in it. I have so many pubs running through my head at the moment... I really dunno, just tell me. It’s The Red Lion. Oh! I’ve never been into a Red Lion.

Q4: How many years older is Richard than Monica? 23? 21, so close!

Q9: How many rings does Saturn have? Is it less than 100? It’s a lot less than 100. Two? It’s seven.

Q5: In which area of New York City can you find the real Friends apartment? What area? I can’t just say Manhattan? Is it Greenwich? It is! It’s Greenwich Village. And that was a guess!

Q10: In what year did the first season of the Great British Bake Off air? Noooo, I love this show! It’s not that old a show, is it? Okay, 2012? It was actually 2010!