MILES KANE MAGGIE ROGERS DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
set mu s ic fr e e f ree / is s ue 76 / JULY 2 018 diymag .com
READY EIR R FO TH UP E S CLO
K C A L B Y E N O H
GHOSTPOET JANE WEAVER
SUUNS . THE LOVELY EGGS GNOD . BOY AZOOGA WARMDUSCHER . LICE . CASSELS Husky loops . FONTAINES DC . SELF HELP THE HOMESICK . JOHN . LACUNA COMMON BROOKE BENTHAM . EASTER ISLAND STATUES VIVE LA VOID (Sanae Yamada - Moon Duo) DJ SETS FROM STEVE DAVIS + KAVUS TORABI plus DROWNED IN SOUND DJS and MANY MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED
JULY2018 GOOD VS EVIL
What’s on the DIY team’s radar? EMMA SWANN
GOOD Jack White at Hammersmith Apollo was pure genius. Didn’t even miss using my phone. EVIL The current UK heatwave. I am not made for this weather. ..............................
LISA WRIGHT Features Editor
GOOD I went and hung out with ACTUAL PAUL MCCARTNEY FROM THE BEATLES and honestly it was exactly as ridiculous and amazing as you’d expect. EVIL Now what happens? .............................
Louise Mason Art Director
GOOD Looking very unprofessional by having a tiny cry in the
photo pit at Breeders at Primavera, because Kim Deal is the greatest human. EVIL A pillowless week after Lady Bird destroyed them in the name of art. .............................
Since they first emerged shrouded in mystery with only a phone number, Black Honey have been carefully plotting world domination. For the last four years they’ve built their own three-dimensional world, packed with more retro influences and iconic imagery than you can shake a hot dog at and they’re finally ready to welcome us in. As they ready their eagerlyawaited debut, we join the quartet to unpick their journey so far and discover just what’s hiding - quite literally - in Izzy B. Phillips’ cupboards. Elsewhere in our July issue, Death Cab For Cutie talk changing times, we explore Australia’s bonzer new acts and meet superstar-in-waiting MNEK.
Sarah Jamieson, Managing Editor
GOOD Have seen some of my favourite shows of the year so far this month, from Camila Cabello and Katy Perry to Nick Cave and IDLES. EVIL Still running on about 60% three weeks after returning from my first Primavera. .............................
Rachel Finn Staff Writer
GOOD It’s summer! Festival season is here! EVIL It’s summer! World Cup season is here!
GOOD Took a day off to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and got offered a world exclusive with a Beatle. That’s how days off should go! EVIL Will Richards’ World Cup optimism is becoming annoyingly infectious…
What’s been tickling the DIY team’s eardrums this month? MITSKI - ‘Be The Cowboy’
Two years on from ‘Puberty 2’, Mitski Miyawaki is back with a fifth LP, helmed by intense first single ‘Geyser’.
MENACE BEACH - ‘Black Rainbow Sound’
The Leeds-based band embrace a whirlwind of synth sounds this time ‘round - and even bag a guest spot from Brix Smith.
THE BEATLES - ‘1’
Because there’s never a bad time to spin Alan Partridge’s favourite Fab Four album, is there?
C O N T E N T S
6 MAGGIE ROGERS 12 PAUL MCCARTNEY 16 HALL OF FAME 18 MATT MALTESE 22 HAVE YOU HEARD? 23 MENACE BEACH 24 FESTIVALS NEU
28 LADY BIRD 30 MATTIEL 35 BAKAR
36 BLACK HONEY 44 DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE 48 MNEK 52 SOUND OF THE DOWN UNDERGROUND 58 MILES KANE REVIEWS
62 ALBUMS 74 LIVE
Founding Editor Emma Swann Managing Editor Sarah Jamieson Features Editor Lisa Wright Digital Editor Will Richards Staff Writer Rachel Finn Art Direction & Design Louise Mason Contributors Alim Kheraj, James Bentley, Joe Goggins, Kate Lismore, Louisa Dixon, Matthew Davies Lombardi, Nick Roseblade. Photographers Hannah Diamond, Jenn Five, Lindsay Melbourne, Phil Smithies, Pooneh Ghana, Robin Pope. Cover photo and photo this page by Phil Smithies For DIY editorial email@example.com For DIY sales firstname.lastname@example.org lawrence@ sonicmediagroup.co.uk For DIY stockist enquiries email@example.com
DIY HQ, 23 Tileyard Studios, London N7 9AH
Shout out to: All at 53 Degrees North for the impeccable hosting, Espero Studios, Frank the sausage dog, Hot Dog Studios (no relation to Frank), Jägermeister for the cocktails, Stu at Dawbell, big special thanks and sorry to Arch One Studios, and an extra special double thumbs up to our new best friend Sir Paul McCartney. Feel free to swing by DIY HQ any time you’re in the area, pal! DIY is published by Sonic Media Group. All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of DIY. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which Sonic Media Group holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally.
AUGUST 3-4 2018 HULL MARINA
2 DAYS, 200 ACTS 32,000 PEOPLE
THE NORTH EAST’S FINEST WITH THE COUNTRY’S MOST EXCITING NEW EMERGING TALENT
ANTEROS AVALANCHE PARTY CALVA LOUISE CHAMBERS CHEIDU ORAKA COUNTING COINS DYLAN CARTLIDGE ENDOFLEVELBADDIE FONDA 500 LA BÊTE BLOOMS LUCIA LUMER OF ALLIES PARIS YOUTH FOUNDATION POLO STRANGE BONES TEAM PICTURE THE HUBBARDS THE BLACK DELTA MOVEMENT THE GOLDEN AGE OF TV THE HOWL & THE HUM THE TALKS VULGARIANS YOWL
+200 MORE ARTISTS ACROSS 15 STAGES THE SPIDERS FROM MARS STORY ARTS | AMPHITHEATRE | SILENT DISCO SOUNDSYSTEM | SKATE PARK | FUNFAIR | DJS GRAFFITI| SCRATCH DJS| BREAKDANCING EACH DAY: £10 ADVANCE, £15 ON THE GATE
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DESIGNED BY FORM STUDIO
Maggie wasn’t afraid to stomp all over the competition.
BACK WITH SINGLE ‘FALLINGWATER’ AND CRAFTING A DEBUT ALBUM THAT’S SET TO SEE HER STAR RISE EVEN FURTHER, MAGGIE
IS COMMITTED TO MAKING A CONNECTION. WORDS: WILL RICHARDS. PHOTOS: JENN FIVE.
think a lot of people thought I was actually quitting music!” exclaims Maggie Rogers, half chuckling, but still with a hint of worry. Back in September of 2017 - after a whirlwind first twelve months in the limelight, a wildly received debut EP ‘Now That The Light Is Fading’ and a summer where she became a mainstay of festivals worldwide - the Maryland-born singer shared new track ‘Split Stones’, a “parting gift” delivered as “me saying goodbye for a little while”. It could be considered a brave move for an artist so new to 7
take themselves out of the spotlight that they only just found themselves in, especially as part of a culture so obsessed with instant access and immediate gratification. “There’s this expectation of crazy intimacy all the time,” she affirms. “I just needed a second.” It was a year earlier when she was propelled at lightning speed into the public’s consciousness, emerging as Pharrell Williams’ protege via a masterclass video, where her single ‘Alaska’ left him speechless. “My private life became public so fast,” she reflects. “I didn’t even get to process the fact that I graduated college. There were still boxes in my childhood bedroom that I didn’t get to unpack for a year and a half.”
“I don’t feel scared anymore.” “In every rom-com movie about life in your 20s,” she theorises, “you have your group of people, and you’re all experiencing life at the same time. But I got removed from my peers so quickly that…” she continues before pausing and pulling a slightly sterner expression. “There’s no context for virality,” she picks up. “There’s also no choice of whether or not it suits the way you express yourself, or the way you like to share your life. I just needed to figure out what the hell happened, and then figure out how I was going to tell people about it. That was the hardest thing… all this stuff happened, now what do I say about it?”
eading out of the spotlight, Maggie began to craft her debut full-length, a record set to cast her ambitions and her story in stone. “I never would’ve made an EP by choice,” she says, looking back. “I made an EP because this crazy thing happened to me and I had to put music out immediately. But I never got to finish my sentence. Now, putting a record out, it’s just like ‘OK, everybody slow down for just a second, this is what I actually have to say’, and that feels good.
“You thought it was fast - it was faster for me!” she chuckles. “The record is about that. The record is about change and transition, and how amazing but also terrifying that can be, and everything in between. Making a record was my processing. This record is me processing out loud everything that happened to me - all the change, all the transition, all of the amazing things, like having a fanbase. But also all of the terrifying things, like… having a fanbase. And now I don’t feel scared anymore. I wrote about this incredible time of instability, and now I feel super grounded and really fortified and strong and ready to take all this on again.” “I was introduced to people in such a specific glimpse,” she looks back, clearly appreciative of her big break, while also now ready to tell her full story. “There was such a small glimpse of who I was as a person, and then from there, everyone had to make assumptions, because there wasn’t enough information to make a full sentence. People had to make assumptions about who I was, or what I would become, or what my music would sound like.” 8 diymag.com
he first taster of the next stage of Maggie Rogers comes in the form of new single ‘Fallingwater’. A rustic, piano-based cut that leads the singer away from icy beats, it’s an exciting first glimpse of what’s to come. It also showcases her vocals better than ever before, highlighting a smooth, versatile voice. “I didn’t know I could sing like that,” she admits. “I was shocked, and then terrified because I didn’t think I could sing like that every night and just thought ohhh, what have I done?!” Across a recent series of festival dates and a UK and European tour in support of Haim, though, it seems she’s doing just fine. Recorded between her home studio in Maryland and a setup in Los Angeles, the record took a little while to come together. “I’ve learned it takes a long time for me to transition from being an extrovert to being an introvert. So two months in, everyone’s like, ‘Alright, Mags - time to write something!’ and I’ll just be sat there like ‘Ssssh, I’m getting in the zone!’ and they’ll just yell back ‘Oh fuck offfff!’,” she laughs. The album, though, looks set to be as honest and true as Maggie has always been. “There’s this Björk quote I think about a lot, especially when making music. She says, ‘the more selfish you can be with your music, the more giving you’re actually being’, and it’s so true. The more personal and the more vulnerable your music is, the more universal it actually ends up being. I don’t feel like I’m here to provide spectacle for people. I have a calling, and a job, and I provide a service, but I need it just as much as anybody else might. It’s about humanity, about connection, and about creating community. And that feels way more important than just a good reality TV show. Or maybe you need both! A good protein and a good dessert. But I’m on one side of the spectrum.” “We’re so obsessed as a culture with storytelling,” she concludes, refusing to be drawn into artificial narratives, “and everyone wants a best-selling novel. But sometimes it just looks like real life.” DIY
GRACE JONES SPECIAL GUESTS
FIRST AID KIT
WHAT LEDGE this month: Alex Turner
To be honest, any month when Alex Turner comes back into our lives is one to be celebrated, but the recentlycrowned master of moon-based lounge has really outdone himself recently. Back on stage with Arctic Monkeys to tour new record ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’, he’s every bit the perfect frontman: one minute the lightningfast lyricist we’ve known and loved since the mid-’00s, the next a drunk dad stumbling his way through the last night of a Vegas residency. From triumphantly standing up from his piano, arms aloft, while playing ‘Four Out Of Five’ on American telly, to inexplicably but wonderfully yelling “LET’S. PLAY. DARTS.” during ‘Pretty Visitors’ at the band’s Royal Albert Hall show, Alex Turner is back, back, BACK! We’ve never loved him more.
Due to the name of our magazine, dear readers, we often get some slightly strange requests in our social media inboxes. Sorry, Jane from Surrey, but we’re really not sure on the best way to assemble your new desk. As our expertise lies far away from actual DIY, we’ve done the sensible thing and asked some of your favourite bands for their #1 DIY tips. We’re a magazine of the people after all. This month, it’s Laurie Vincent from Slaves. “When we were on a photoshoot, my son literally dropped a raspberry on my white t-shirt just as we were about to take the photos, and my friend taught me that you boil a kettle, take your top off, put it on a flat surface and pour the boiling water on it from a height, and the stain just lifts out instantly. Nothing else, just boiling water, and the stain will lift riiiiight out!”
These days, even yer gran is posting selfies on Instagram. Instagran, more like. Everyone has it now, including all our fave bands. Here’s a brief catch-up on music’s finest photo-taking action as of late.
Porto laid on the perfect welcome for Our Nick. (@nickcaveofficial)
Less MOR, more MOT on the next album, eh peace? (@whenyoungband)
S P OT T E D Believe it or not, pop and rock stars sometimes do normal things, too. They get lost, go food shopping, and catch buses – all sorts. This month, we clocked a fair few of them roaming around… Colin Greenwood of Radiohead cackling away outside the Roundhouse before Thom Yorke’s solo show, Skepta wearing a fancy tiger-emblazoned jacket on his way home from Primavera, The Vaccines’ Tim Lanham having a good ol’ singalong to himself walking down London’s Kingsland Rd, Suede frontman BRETT ANDERSON walking straight past Jack White’s Hammersmith Apollo gig. 10 diymag.com
Most. Pure. Photo. Ever. (@ollyyears)
MACCA RETURN OF THE
We sat down with the legendary Beatle for a world exclusive (!!!) about new album ‘Egypt Station’ and more. Interview: Lisa Wright.
It’s 3pm on a sunny Monday afternoon and we’re sat in Paul McCartney’s countryside studio, listening to the most successful musician in the entire world (a quantifiable fact) make cow puns. In an almost comically-in-character turn up for the books, he’s just been told that his petition to help save a pregnant cow unfairly earmarked for death row has been successful. Visibly chuffed, Paul spends the next few moments riffing on potential headlines: “Love Me Moo?” If that particular exchange is about as surreal as they come, then that’s just what it’s like spending time in the company of a bona fide legend. But we’re not just here to geek out. Sir Macca is gearing up to release forthcoming new album ‘Egypt Station’. Recorded with super producer Greg Kurstin (Adele, Sia), with an unexpected one-song production cameo from OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, it’s an album that treads new ground while harking back to some truly golden oldies. We sat down to ask him all about it.
Since releasing 2013’s ‘New’, you’ve worked with Kanye and Rihanna and now taken on a pair of new, younger producers for ‘Egypt Station’. What makes you continue to keep trying out new collaborations? You know what it is? It’s ‘cause I get asked. I don’t actually plan too much of this stuff, but for instance with Kanye, my manager just rang me up and said, ‘Kanye’s interested in working with you’. So what would you do? I went, OK great! With him, it was much more made up as we went along - so much so that I didn’t even realise that I was making songs. We had two or three afternoons where we just hung out together in a Beverly Hills hotel and he was set up with a couple of microphones incase anything happened. I was tootling around on a guitar, and Kanye spent a lot of time just looking at pictures of Kim on his computer. I’m thinking, are we ever gonna get around to writing?! But it turns out he was writing. I played a few little things and one of them ended up as ‘FourFiveSeconds’ with Rihanna. It’s more a question of me feeling lucky that these people are interested [in working with me] and think that I can bring something to it. Why did you choose to work with Ryan Tedder on album track ‘Fuh You’? I rung him up and he said, ‘What do you hope to get [out of this]?’. I was like, oh I don’t know. And then I thought, come on Paul, don’t be so shy. So I said, ‘A hit?’ And he was like ‘Yeah! Now you’re talking my language! The world loves a hit!’ So that was our brief. To do something commercial. In a week, we ended up with three songs and one of them was ‘Fuh You’, which is on the album. This record was made while you were compiling the 50th anniversary re-release of ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ - did going back through your old work start to influence you again? Yeah, there was so much on about it - the programmes about how we made it [etc]. I remember going up to the studio a couple of times with Greg and saying, ‘I was listening to this programme last night and I thought on ‘Penny Lane’ it was just one piano that I played but it turns out it’s eight!’ We 12 diymag.com
were goofing around on that. I’m a great believer in stuff happening. I tell people this story with The Beatles from years ago in the early days when we used to come down to London and go back up in the van to Liverpool. There was a blizzard in one of those big winters, we were going up the M1 in the van and you couldn’t see the road; our roadie made a mistake and our van slipped down the embankment. We were looking up thinking, how the hell are we gonna get back up there? What do we do now?! And one of us just said, ‘Well something will happen’. That became the mantra, and I still believe that. Now, ‘Sgt Pepper’ is widely regarded as one of the most influential albums of all time. Was it really that coincidental? That’s the interesting thing about it. If you’re lucky and if you’re good as we were with ‘Sgt Pepper’, then it’s going to turn into something special. Did you know at the time that it was special? It felt special, yeah. Particularly because we weren’t touring, so all our attention was devoted to the album. And the best thing was that there was someone in the NME who said, ‘Oh, The Beatles have had it. They’ve gone cold and dried up’. And we’re like [chuckles cheekily] because we knew what we were making. Talk on, baby. Just keep talking. We knew that wasn’t true and that we were making something pretty cool. Then after that we released ‘The White Album’ and completely changed. Have you finished preparing the 50th anniversary package of that one yet? It’s all in place and it’s really good. We were a great little band – I think we can agree on that - so for me to be a part of that and to be remembering it is great. We’ve got some demos of the songs, so you get things stripped right back to just John’s voice and a guitar. You just think, how fucking good was John?! Amazing. We were just doing it; it was amazing. We were having a good time. ‘Egypt Station’ is out 7th September via Capitol. DIY
We were a great little band – I think we can agree on that.”
WORDS OF ADVICE To celebrate the launch of our new Do It Yourself issue, we gathered up a bunch of music industry pros for a whole day’s worth of panels and talks. Gengahr
s you may have read in our June mag, last month we released a brand new special issue, aimed at anyone wanting to break into the music industry. Whether student or young person, upcoming artist or fledgling manager, our Do It Yourself issue is here to help those wanting to succeed, offering up some choice pearls of wisdom (and a few ridiculous anecdotes along the way) from a whole host of industry professionals who’ve been there and done it. So what better way to celebrate its launch than to round up some more experts to do exactly that IRL? Back at the start of June, we set up camp in Tileyard Studios for a full day’s worth of panels and talks, geared towards demystifying the music industry and about how sometimes, it’s just best to give it a go. While Yala! Records’ Felix White and Morad Khokar sat down to discuss the formation of their label - and in turn, offered up a brilliant nugget of advice; “Tell everyone you know that you want to start a label, because then you’ll just have to do it” - we also had guests from Bestival, Marathon, Holy Roar Records, Believe Digital and Help Musicians UK along. Even Izzy from our cover stars Black Honey and Matt from Demob Happy came along to join in the fun.
Yala! Records’ Felix White and Morad Khokar
The launch wasn’t just about talking though: as the panels came to a close, the nearby Two Tribes Brewery played host to two rather special stripped-back live sets: the first from Leeds newcomers Peakes, who gave us a glimpse of their gorgeous electro-flecked offerings, before DIY faves Gengahr played us out with a selection of cuts from their intricate electro-flecked back catalogue. Fancy getting your hands on one of our Do It Yourself issues? Head to shop.diymag.com to pick up your copy.
HALL FA M E of
A monthly place to celebrate the very best albums released during DIY’s lifetime
The Long Blondes – ‘Someone To Drive You Home’ Effortlessly stylish and channelling a particularly Sheffieldian strain of faded, kitchen sink drama, The Long Blondes’ debut became a cult classic that still packs a playful punch to this day. Words: Lisa Wright.
“We’ve got Twilight, Twilight: New Moon, Twilight: Eclipse. All sorts.”
rom Pulp’s tales of suburban ennui and unfortunate bedroom trysts to Alex Turner’s early stories of youthful bravado and a certain romance, there’s always been something in Sheffield’s waters that’s lent itself to a particular kind of storytelling. Full of faded glamour and a playful strain of doe-eyed daydreaming, the Steel City has its own unique place in indie mythology, and its into this lineage that The Long Blondes landed back in the mid-noughties, in a tumble of charity shop twin-sets and effortless, cheekilywinking cool. Early singles ‘Separated By Motorways’ and ‘Giddy Stratospheres’ snuck into the party with the kind of shimmying, sassy strut that was part Blondie two-fingersto-the-man, part disco giddiness and part Franz Ferdinand angular eyebrow-arching. But it wasn’t just in the audibly brilliant opening statements of their early material that the band set themselves apart from the masses. Renouncing the standard rock’n’roll lineage of the time, the quintet instead filled their hyper-visual, all-encompassing world with references to ‘50s movie stars, vintage glamour and cult outsiders. Their schtick was literate and witty, with an implicitly feminist outlook and a frontwoman in Kate Jackson
that inspired a legion of beret-wearing teenagers. Released in November 2006, their debut was the near-perfect distillation of all this promise. From the opening judder of ‘Lust In The Movies’ through the misleadingly perky teenage trauma of ‘Once and Never Again’; the bitter stomp of ‘Madame Ray’ and those early singles - still vital and joyous, second time around - it fleshed out a world built on swooning, cinematic theatrics and deadeyed, calculated smarts all at once. In 2008, they’d follow it up with the sleeker, more futuristic ‘Couples’ before disbanding after guitarist Dorian Cox suffered a stroke. It was, of course, a sad ending to an all-too-short career, but it also left The Long Blondes as an untarnished diamond, forever fixed in their prime and with one of the decade’s finest cult albums to their name. DIY
Release: 6th November, 2006 Stand-out tracks: ‘Giddy Stratospheres’, ‘Once and Never Again’, ‘Separated By Motorways’ Tell your mates: The record is full of pop cultural references including nods to Edie Sedgwick, Anna Karina, Alfred Hitchcock, Scott Walker, Man Ray and Burt Lancaster film ‘From Here To Eternity’.
P R E S E N T S
UK TOUR OCTOBER 2018
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THE ALBUM SOMETHING ELSE OUT NOW A CROSSTOWN CONCERTS & F R IE N D S PRESENTATION BY ARRANGEMENT WITH X-RAY
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THURSDAY 24 JANUARY
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NOTTINGHAM ROCK CITY
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STEVEN PAGE WITH CRAIG NORTHEY & KEVIN FOX
UK & IRELAND LIVE TOUR AUGUST 2018
| 07 BRISTOL FLEECE LIVERPOOL ARTS CLUB | 10 LONDON UNION CHAPEL HOLMFIRTH PICTUREDROME | 13 BELFAST EMPIRE MUSIC HALL DUBLIN WHELANS | 16 EDINBURGH QUEENS HALL GLASGOW ORAN MOR | 18 NOTTINGHAM RESCUE ROOMS
06 BRIGHTON KOMEDIA
D E AT H C A B F O R C U T I E .C O M THE NEW ALBUM THANK YOU FOR TODAY AVAILABLE AUGUST 17 A CROSSTOWN CONCERTS, SJM CONCERTS, DF CONCERTS & DHP PRESENTATION BY ARRANGEMENT WITH CAA
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AN YH T H I NG BUT...
AN YT I NG BUT... Wi th : Matt Maltese
get to know some of your favourite acts - without a word spoken about the music.
Interview: Lisa Wright. Photo: Phil Smithies.
● You had a childhood in musical theatre. Did you see yourself as a kind of ‘Bugsy Malone’ character? I was actually in Bugsy Malone. I played the Italian magician, Marbini. Just because I can do an Italian accent, because I grew up with one. I remember one line, it was “I am The Great Marbini”. I cliched my own background. I did disservice to my ancestors. ● Can you still speak Italian? A little bit, but I’m less than half fluent now. ● If we were to ask you ‘how’s your day been, Matt?’, would you be able to answer? Probably, yeah. Mi giorno è andato bene. My day went well. Boring answer, but the main part is, it was in Italian, so it sounds good. ● Were we talking a school play? I used to like to be in school plays. And I used to want to be in the West End. I remember seeing Fame and it changing my life. I was in a cubicle half way through crying, because of how much I wanted to be on the stage. ● Did you then go and do dance lessons? No, I didn’t think it through. The biggest thing I did was play Mowgli in the Jungle Book. I was eight and I didn’t want to take my vest off [laughs]. I then got really disillusioned, because I was just [like] ‘this
isn’t real life’.
● No inclination to return to the theatre? I don’t think so, to be a Shayne Ward who has no music career then goes in to the West End? I don’t think I could do it. Respect to Shayne Ward, but it’s not for me. ● What are your TV habits? Mostly like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, over and over again. They’re a healthy escape from reality. I grew up watching Everybody Loves Raymond. Because I have an Italian grandmother and Canadian parents, I saw a lot of my family in Everybody Loves Raymond, which is maybe a massive insult. ● How far back does the Italian bloodline go? My dad’s parents were Italian immigrants to Canada, they were born in Sicily. I think Maltese comes from people who came from Malta to Sicily giving themselves a name that shows their history. The Italian side is half of it. And hardly anyone’s really Canadian, it’s a total immigrant place. I’d say my parents are Canadian, though. I visit Canada every Christmas, my grandmother pays for us to come. ● Is a Canadian Christmas very different to a British one? I guess it differs because everyone speaks in a Canadian accent. I’m the only English
one there. Poor me, everyone sees me as a cliche of the country. I did dress up as Harry Potter once for Halloween in Canada. What was I doing?!
● To finish, who was your first pop star crush? Britney Spears. I used to have dreams that she was my mum, which has got to be the most Freudian thing I can ever say. ● Which era of Britney was this? Early, like ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’. Full schoolgirl outfit, [sigh] it’s so fucking weird. I’ve now ruined my career. Britney Spears, dreamed her as my mum. It just sounds like a Father John Misty lyric, though, doesn’t it? I’ve just written the next Father John Misty song. ● You’re the one who mentioned him, not us… Who’s he? Father who? Matt Maltese is appearing at Citadel this year. Head to diymag.com for details
THINK YOU CAN HANDLE IT? Fancy some more wonderful chit chat about anything and everything nonmusical? We’ve got you covered - just head to diymag.com/podcasts to check out our Anything But… series.
FRI.09.NOV.18 SAT.10.NOV.18 WED.10.OCT.18
Jäger Curtain Call hits All Points East at London’s Victoria Park. Photos: Emma Swann
ast year, DIY teamed up with Jäger Curtain Call to curate a full day of musical treats on the Jägerhaus stage at Bestival. This year, it’s the turn of new East London weekender All Points East.
the big moon
as in the North. Now gearing up towards the beginnings of LP2, they’ve got a couple of newies in their arsenal to pepper debut ‘Popular Music”s wired blasts. Recent single ‘Grown Up’ is a rallying battle cry, while another fresh offering hints that they’ve got the darker side of the indie dancefloor in mind.
Kicking off proceedings with the flamboyance and theatricality of a Glastonbury headliner, Sports Team are a gloriously grandiose proposition from start to finish. In frontman Alex Rice, they’ve got a natural born show off and he’s all the better for it; prancing and posturing around the stage, regularly splaying his arms in a fully Christ-like crucifix manner, he’s an obvious proponent of the ‘dance like someone’s definitely watching’ school of thought. They are, and they bloody love it.
Sports Team life
With the stage packed and a queue snaking down the field, Superfood need no introduction today. With second LP ‘Bambino’ now all grown up and in its second year of festivals, there are no lulls in energy or unknown newies to be found. The sample-led strut of ‘Where’s The Bass Amp?’ is still as infectious as on first listen, while a final run through of their eponymous anthem ‘Superfood’ concludes proceedings all too soon.
Glasgow’s Sweaty Palms (one of this year’s Curtain Call focus bands – watch this space) follow, with a set that channels the murkier end of South London’s finest. Like a deliciously scummy Fat Whites from the North, their particular family’s clearly been raised on a diet of Buckfast and cigarettes; by the end, they’re all fully tops off (or should that be ‘taps aff’), and howling into the night.
LIFE are next, and though singer Mez Green’s references to hometown Hull might be a fair way away from their origins, the quartet’s politically conscious punk resonates as strongly in the capital
l ad y bi
With a circle pit throughout and the crowd even singing back as-yet-unreleased tracks, Kent trio Lady Bird return the energy with gusto, spitting out cuts from EP ‘Social Potions’ with vein-popping intensity. “They’re like The Streets on speed,” we overhear one excitable crowd member yell. It’s not far off.
Onwards to YOWL, who follow the previous night’s sold out homecoming headline with a set that proves exactly why people are queuing up at the door, frontman Gabriel Byrde splitting his time between aggressively lurching around the crowd and melancholically lamenting his own internal monologue.
It’s left to The Big Moon to close out the stage, and if there’s a more joyous way to end a day then we’re yet to find it. Forever an effervescent bundle of grab-yourpals good times, as headliners they ramp the vibes up to bursting. Throwing out a cover of Bonnie Tyler’s karaoke classic ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ midway through a set that’s basically one big sing-along already, Jules, Soph, Celia and Fern are the merry pied pipers of their own feel-good indie tribe. You’d have to be the biggest buzzkill of them all to deny this lot. (Lisa Wright)
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.......................................................................................................................... On last year’s ‘Brutalism’, IDLES had more than a few scores to settle. Batting away grief and disillusionment with the world via sardonic putdowns, the band became a new voice for British punk. Comeback single ‘Colossus’ sees them no less insistent. “They laugh at me when I run, I waste away for fun,” vocalist Joe Talbot spells out, taking aim at toxic masculinity slowly and purposefully, set over foreboding, swelling instrumentation which rises as one, giving his words a furious, determined backing. “I am my father’s son, his shadow weighs a ton,” he continues, rubbishing the existing rulebook of what a man must be. Amplifying his words even further, the band rally behind him as his voice rises to cacophonous levels before repeating “It’s coming…” over and over, as a sea of crashing guitars and drums reach breaking point, and it all falls away. In an instant, via a screamed count-in, the track turns from a slow-burning, darkness-shrouded beast into a fun, unhinged punk song. The message remains though: “I don’t wanna be your man,” Joe yells over and over, refusing to adhere to the current set of rules and creating a whole new world to exist in. It’s an exhilarating return. (Will Richards)
Cut and Run .......................................... This first teaser of an imminent new LP from Slaves is an exciting one, if not the all-guns-blazing type many might’ve assumed the Kent duo would sling out. ‘Cut and Run’ channels ‘90s Blur, only with an added layer of unease thanks to Isaac Holman’s spoken-word vocals hovering a little too close to under-the-breath for comfort, and the tension never letting up - or exploding. Add a catchy af chorus to what’s already a heady mix, and the pair’s new’un is definitively a record to look forward to. (Emma Swann)
Marauder ........................................ Returning from their worldwide Our Girl tour celebrating 15 years of In My Head seminal debut ‘Turn On The .......................................... Bright Lights’ with details of new Mesmerising from the start, album ‘Marauder’, Interpol have ‘In My Head’ is also a lesson in restraint. Soph Nathan’s vocals an undeniable new-found spring in their step. First single ‘The are somehow dreamy and assertive all at the same time - Rover’ sees Daniel Kessler’s tinny, and the results are bewitching. taut guitars ring out, as iconic as ever, before a rumbling rhythm Even as the pace quickens towards its final minute, almost section rolls its way in, the band finally beginning to forge an becoming frenzied, ’In My identity without bassist Carlos Head’ still remains perfectly Dengler. Paul Banks sounding as paced; the song almost on inspired as ever, it’s a thoroughly the brink of falling out of pleasing return. (Will Richards) control but without ever quite doing so. (Sarah Jamieson)
Noises ....................................... Now over a year since debut single ‘There’s A Honey’ painted them as one of the most exciting new bands in the UK, and now with a debut EP under their belts, Pale Waves are beginning to find their own voice. Pelting towards their debut full-length, new track ‘Noises’ - a live favourite for a while now - sees Heather Baron-Gracie translating the swagger and confidence she’s developed on stage onto tape. It’s very much a sign of a band on the up and up. (Will Richards)
DIY’S PICK OF
LNSOURCE In desperate need of a live music fix but can’t decide where or who? If you feel too spoilt for choice, here’s just a few of LNSource’s upcoming shows worth getting off the sofa for.
connie constance 17th July, Omeara, London The Londoner’s hometown headline comes hot on the heels of latest single, ‘Yesterday’.
18th July, Paper Dress Vintage, London The Philadelphia folk-rockers visit the capital in the wake of releasing their self-titled debut back in February.
19th July, Thousand Island, London The Dutch singer-songwriter released debut single ‘Words’ back in June - now she’s headed to the UK live stage. For more information and to buy tickets, head to livenation.co.uk or twitter.com/LNSource
What’s Going On With
...Menace Beach With new album ‘Black Rainbow Sound’ on the way - which features a guest spot from former Fall member Brix Smith, no less - Ryan Needham spills on what the pair have been up to. Hello there! How are you doing? I’ve just hand screen printed 1500 Arctic Monkeys tour posters so I’m quite achey of shoulder but apart from that I’m good. I hope they appreciate the graft. When did you start work on the new album? We started writing it in October 2017 and recorded it over Christmas and New Year. We didn’t tour the last record that heavily, so we ended up not really thinking much about playing or writing music for about eight months which got kind of weird after a while. After releasing ‘Lemon Memory’ last year, what did you want to explore this time around? The break was long enough to us to forget what we’d naturally go to when we picked up our instruments, which in hindsight was really good but I’m shit at playing guitar again now. I guess I was less focused on ‘songwriting’ and structure this time and Liza got even more into electronic textures and sounds and synthesis and we just kept it really loose and kinda spaced-out and free. We ended up bringing it all into a bit more focus a couple of weeks before we went into [studio] The Nave. What was it like in the studio? Did you find yourselves playing around much? It was very unstructured. We discussed with Matt [Peel - producer] before we went in that we should just use the studio in the exact same way we write and record at home; just start tracking whatever idea or instrument comes first, be totally reactionary and respond immediately to whatever was just recorded, chase silly ideas for ages that inevitably just sounded silly. It was the most ego-less studio session I’ve ever been involved in. I barely played a note to be honest, and Nick sings half of it. How did the Brix Smith collaboration come about? She’s incredible. She hosted some BBC 6 Music shows and played one of our songs and Liza thanked her on Twitter and they started messaging each other. I think the initial idea was that we’d write much more stuff together but we were running out of studio time by that point. Where we got to was magical though and we’ve got plans. ‘Black Rainbow Sound’ is out 31st August via Memphis Industries. DIY
MAD COOL 12th - 14th July
Moving home across the city to IFEMA, the massive Madrid festival this year hosts a bill so jam-packed, Jack White and Arctic Monkeys play the same day (!). If that wasnâ€™t enough, how about Kasabian in a Tame Impala and MGMT sandwich? Or Wolf Alice opening a night thatâ€™s completed by hopping from Nine Inch Nails to Dua Lipa? Obviously the event - which also boasts sets from more faves including Franz Ferdinand, The Big Moon, Marmozets, Slaves, and Perfume Genius - has long been sold out.
Photo: Pooneh Ghana
FE S TIV A L S
Q&A Goat Girl
Goat Girl’s Ellie and Naima chat Parquet Courts, heading to Japan, and rating their cool.
What’s new in the world of Goat Girl since you released your album? Loads! We’ve been on tour in America and had loads of fun, and did SXSW and played Jools Holland. It’s great. How has the tour with Parquet Courts been? The tour was very good, they’re a talented band and we all got on and to see weird interesting parts of America was just great. ...and you’re about to head to Japan?! Yes! We’re very excited to go! We’ve heard great things about Japan; the toilets, the food, the people... we’re excited to try out a late-night ramen bar. We also have one friend out there who’s going to show us some karaoke bars. He flies over to London frequently to come and see us and bands like Shame, Sorry and Milk Disco. You’re playing Mad Cool - how cool are Goat Girl collectively on a scale from one to wearing sunglasses indoors? Rosy is already into wearing sunglasses indoors at the moment. Just for gigs, so they might be more like work-wear glasses. Rosy is a ten on the cool scale, the rest of us probably don’t qualify for it.
You’ll be looking at The Man if you’re headed to this legendary festival, as yes, The Killers are one of its massive headliners, alongside Pet Shop Boys, Travis Scott and Liam ‘LG’ Gallagher himself. Also havin’ it large on the Spanish coast will be Two Door Cinema Club, Wolf Alice, Parquet Courts, Shame, Pale Waves, The Magic Gang and The Horrors. Pack your Factor 50.
Another festival moving home for 2018, the UK exclusive set from headliners Tame Impala will take place in the wilds of West London at Gunnersbury Park. The Aussies will be joined by acts including Chvrches, Leon Bridges, The Horrors and more - as well as the DIY at Kopparberg Outsider stage, where we’ll host acts including Pumarosa, Matt Maltese, and Ten Tonnes.
19th - 22nd July
Q&A Our Girl
Soph fills us in on Our Girl’s partying ways - and which song they’ll be mad fer it at during LG’s set.
Hello, Our Girl! Your album’s almost out in the world! That’s got to be exciting? It’s very exciting! I feel like we’ve lived with these songs for a while now and I’m excited to finally share them. Benicàssim’s got a reputation for being one hell of a party - any amusing stories of ‘havin’ it large’ you can share with us? We like havin’ it large. We also like having it small and drinking tea. We had a good one in Manchester with The Magic Gang. Lots of dancing, lots of warm tequila shots. Have you packed the Factor 50 yet? I’m more of a 20 gal but I’m sure I’m gonna end up trying to borrow Josh or Loz’s big 50. ...and you play the same day as LG himself - what’s Our Girl’s collective favourite Oasis song? ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’.
Look out for new songs in Pumarosa’s set, as well as old songs played new, according to vocalist Isabel.
What’s new in the world of Pumarosa? We’re working on the new album, so there’s lots of new songs flying around. New energy. What can we expect from your set headlining the DIY at Kopparberg Outsider? You can expect to hear some new songs in there. We are playing using a Moog these days, no bassist. We changed some tunes for a ravey set we did a little while ago, and now that’s all we wanna do. Citadel’s found a new home - what’s the first thing you do when moving into a new place? I just moved, and the first thing I’ve done is to move my piano in. I love her. And if I am in a house without a piano I don’t know why I’m there. Need candles too. I just can’t seem to leave this new place. I’m sat in here and it’s 30 degrees outside. But it’s peaceful.
FES TIVA L S
Kaleidoscope 21st July
A one-dayer at the iconic venue with a view - Alexandra Palace and Park Kaleidoscope will see acts like headliners The Flaming Lips, Ghostpoet and Mystery Jets paired alongside the London African Gospel Choir performing ‘Graceland’, words from poet John Cooper Clarke, and DJ sets from Norman Jay and Don Letts.
Q&A Mystery Jets
The ‘Jets are big fans of headliners The Flaming Lips, while Blaine Harrison also reveals his band are hard at work on a new album.
Hello! What’s new in the world of Mystery Jets? A sizable chunk of last year was taken up preparing for playing our first five albums in full for our Jetrospective residency in London. It took an amazing amount of work to put on but in return we were blessed with a very visceral reminder of all the musical worlds we’ve travelled to as a band over the past 12/13 years. Writing this [new] record I’ve found myself looking completely outside the realm of my own reality and at what’s going on in the world around us all. It’s got a bit of a bite to it, I’ll tell you that much.
You’re playing Kaleidoscope alongside The Flaming Lips - are you fans of theirs? Huge fans. ‘The Soft Bulletin’ has got a few of us through hard times at different points over the years. Their songs touch this very intimate place inside you, which creates this incredibly personal connection- but then you see the show and its it’s just this whole other thing. It’s so all encompassing and unifies everyone in a way that few artists have succeeded in doing for long stretches in time. It’s just so out there that it really shouldn’t work. I can’t wait to play together.
NEWS IN BRIEF The Big Moon head up new additions to Bestival (2nd - 5th August), alongside takeovers from Radar Radio and Ram Jam among others. Vessels, Confidence Man and Algiers will join The Horrors, Shame and more at Ypsigrock (9th 12th August) in Sicily. Amyl & The Sniffers, SOPHIE, and Nile Rodgers and Chic will all play Lowlands (17th - 19th August), alongside Kendrick Lamar, Gorillaz, Dua Lipa and others. Nadine Shah, Stella Donnelly and Natalie Prass are among the latest names for iceland airwaves (7th - 10th November), joining Blood Orange, Superorganism, Snail Mail, The Voidz and more. IDLES, Black Honey, Ghostpoet and loads more will play the DIY stage at this year’s electric fields (30th August - 1st September. Swim Deep, Sundara Karma, Everything Everything, Blaenavon and Lady Bird have all been announced for Manchester all-dayer Neighbourhood (6th October), with Spector, Sports Team and Whenyoung also set to play.
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And the lesson here is never invite Lady Bird to your sleepover.
Socially-conscious punks with a heart, Lady Bird are kicking out the old tropes of rock’n’roll machismo in favour of something communal, compassionate and collaborative.
Words: Lisa Wright. Photo: Emma Swann.
There are certain stereotypes that you’d be forgiven for defaulting to when you think of a group of young men, from a small town, making noisy, mosh-worthy music. Ones often riddled with slightly too much aggression, or a bit too much bravado. Ideas that have been laid down and built upon for years now, from the antagonistic beginnings of punk, through the swaggering ‘90s to the second wave fall-out of ‘00s indie. They’re far from all bad, and there are pros to be found among the blustering cons, but Kent trio Lady Bird are here to stand for a far more modern alternative. “At the end of a century that had seen massive upheavals in human nature and how people were thinking about themselves, the cultural figures that we chose to look up to were all people going ‘I’m the fucking bollocks’, even though you knew that underneath they were just like everyone else,” explains drummer Joe Walker. “It represented the time perfectly, but people are looking for something a bit more real now. The time to bury your head in the sand is gone.”
Formed just over two years ago around the scene hub of the Tunbridge Wells Forum, it was with debut EP ‘Social Potions’, released via local pals Slaves’ Girl Fight Records back in February, that Lady Bird first made themselves known to the wider world. An interlinked four-track largely documenting the various ill-advised exploits of a fictional youth, its strain of Streets-esque storytelling took the playful wordsmithery of their label bosses and set it in a murkier, but ultimately more moral framework. “‘Social Potions’ is about drugs, but as a metaphor; it’s about vicious cycles in general. Finding yourself too far down a certain path before realising it might be more damaging than you initially realised,” explains Joe. “And it’s definitely not condoning it,” chips in Sam, with a groan. “A young person asked me in a park near where we live whether it was for or against drugs. And I thought, well you are literally the person that this was written for, to help and maybe give you some perspective, and you’re asking me that! I have failed you!” If there’s any quiver of doubt as to their intentions on record, however, then the trio’s powerful live show should sort that out. Raucous and vital, but peppered with spoken word poetry-style between-song messages on growth and change, it’s also found the band swapping their roles and sharing vocals due to Sam’s ongoing throat problems. Though he’s recently had a huge breakthrough that should allow him to largely resume frontman duties from now on, that sense of camaraderie is one that clearly remains. “I think we almost work better when there aren’t defined roles. Lady Bird is whatever comes out of the room when we’re in it, so how I imagine us to be is a big, mouldable ball with three pieces intertwined as one,” nods Alex.
In 2018, if there’s a prevailing trend among UK indie’s musical youth, it’s one of positivity and a genuine desire to foster a sense of social and emotional wellbeing. Peace named their latest LP ‘Kindness Is The New Rock’n’Roll’. Hull boys LIFE recently put on an entire festival in aid of local young people [see p77 for more on that]. And Lady Bird – completed by singer Sam Rennols and guitarist Alex Deadman – might just be the breakthrough voice that exemplifies it all. Hailing from Tunbridge Wells and still all only in their early-to-mid-twen- Joe Walker ties, the trio’s conversation - both in song and out - is infused with a remarkably And if one of Lady Bird’s greatest strengths sensitive and compassionate core; lies in their six-armed, equally-weighted, old heads on young shoulders, mouldable band ball, then their other is in they’re creating the kind of excitable racket their willingness to extend that sense of that’s playful but vulnerable and unafraid to community and positivity out to the world acknowledge both of those sides in equal around them. “The thing that I really wanna measure. As Alex states, “I think currently see is, in a time where global issues can most bands are rejecting that whole [old feel so oppressive, for people to really give school] rock’n’roll image because it’s just not enough respect to the power inherent in helpful and does nothing for anyone. The their daily lives to create positive contribuenvironment that I’d like to try and create is tions,” grins Joe. “I think that’s a lot of what one of self-belief, that no matter who you Sam’s lyrics deal with. It’s about the person are, if you want to make your life better or do and if you give enough respect to your own more, then you can do that.” life then that’s a really positive force that you can [exert] all the time.” DIY
“The time to bury your head in the sand is gone.”
modern twist. Words: Rachel Finn.
The Jack White-approved Atlanta singer, giving nostalgia a
As far as origin stories go, Mattiel Brown’s is one that’s been told many times before. Brought up on a farm in rural Georgia, the singer created the foundations of what would eventually become the garage blues-rock sound of her eponymously-named band by learning White Stripes songs on her first guitar in her early teens. But it doesn’t end there. Because, while many may have begun by emulating their heroes, few end up being plucked from obscurity by those very people. Now, speaking on the phone from her home in Atlanta, it’s almost as if she can’t quite believe her luck. “It was really a dream come true...” Mattiel says of getting to support Jack White for a series of dates on his most recent tour. “He’ll never know how much he influenced my writing and my literary knowledge and my creative process. It was very surreal.” Dream support slots aside, she’s now gearing up for the Heavenly re-release of her self-titled debut - an eclectic rock record with a vintage feel that sounds just as home today as it would have done in decades
past. Pairing bold, playful visuals (she also directs her own artwork and designs the sets for her music videos) with a pop-oriented Americana sound, the band - completed by Randy Michael and Jonah Swilley of Atlantabased songwriting and production group InCrowd - encompass a DIY spirit, recording most of their songs live on vintage recording equipment and making their colour block aesthetics and design-savvy music videos on as little budget as possible. “When you start out, your budget for music videos is often very limited,” she explains. “You just have to come up with whatever you can that’s as compelling as can be, and sometimes those limitations force you to come up with good ideas and do it quickly on the spot.” It’s a process that’s no doubt helped by Mattiel’s job as a designer and illustrator: something she’s been doing full-time for the last five years. Music, on the other hand, came as a bit of a surprise. “I never did anything with music as far as writing it or making it or getting up on stage and doing anything with it until this project, because it was something I never really thought I could do,” she says. Luckily, she concedes, “I realise the potential of it now.” DIY
All of August at Camden Assembly Idle Frets | The Barratts Drool | Ginger and The Ghost | Hana | LAOLU | Cristian Asher Grey | Sharlene Klarice | Saltwater Sun | Brook Baili Lylo Gold | LuvRell | Lauren Ackie | JaydonClover | Baseman | Vibbar Jordy | Jamilah Barry | Tiana Major9 | POLO | Ambiere | ZELAH | Zkeletons Deliah | SYKOYA | Thyla | Underwater Boys | Moon Panda | The Curves | Ayelle Big Society | Pupils Of The Clock | The Honest Poet | RxSolo | Scott Xylo | Blackﬁsh Soci Collective | White Fever | LAIRA | Silverlake | Shak Omar | Jordan King | Penny Mob Aneesa’ Marie | Duchess | Happi | Himalayas | Mary Miller | Remee | Gazelle XamVolo | SubBlue | Jerome Thomas | Lady Sanity | Svga | Seani B | Celebrity Raven DeeJay Swivo | Nakala | Hello Operator | Charmides | Indica Palm Radio Rila’s Edge | Glass Peaks | Blushes | Naropa | The Velvet Hands | RAFFER Long Day Late Night | ELK | Indigo Club | Passion Bel Canon L avender Hills | The Maida Vales | Albion Martyn Peters | Loose Threads
@ THE LONDON PALLADIUM
MYLES KENNEDY SUN 29 JUL
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BOOK YOUR TICKETS TODAY AT THELONDONPALLADIUM.CO.UK 31
Sharp-suited Londoners plundering music’s dark and dangerous underbelly. Sistertalk are still yet to gift us with an actual recorded track but never mind such trivialities as these: with one of the most immediately engaging live shows we’ve seen from a new band all year, they’ve planted themselves firmly in our sights, regardless. Suited up like a bunch of wheelerdealing spivs, their slices of taut, lurching angst are like an icier, cooler take on The Horrors’ ‘Strange House’ - all nightmarish back-alley botherings, but with a surprising amount of hooks. Listen: You’ll just have to wait for that one. Similar to: If The Krays had listened to a lot of post-punk and formed a band.
Fuzzy, off-kilter indie-rockers from Norway. Emerging from the same Norwegian indie-rock scene as Sløtface, this trio are carrying on the country’s recent penchant for creating brilliantly off-the-wall, angular twists on the well-travelled formula. Recent single ‘I Know Where You’ve Been’, the first preview of an upcoming EP, is their most intriguing yet, marrying into no traditional genre boundaries, but still managing to be instant and appealing.
Elusive multimedia collective with very good record collections. If you dropped a bomb on any of Crack Cloud’s recent shows, you’d probably have killed a good portion of the music industry, such was the buzz. It centers around a self-titled album that draws influence from Talking Heads, Gang of Four, more modern preoccupations like, er well, Preoccupations, and basically every other Very Fucking Cool reference point in between. Listen: All of ‘Crack Cloud’ is worth your time. Similar to: The sound of BBC 6 Music having one giant orgasm. 32
Listen: New track ‘I Know Where You’ve Been’ is an unpredictable beast. Similar to: Weezer as their weirdest, most evasive selves.
IDLES-approved, incendiaryyet-melodic Dubliners If you’ve got the patronage of one of the UK’s most important, exciting bands on your side, then you’re probably doing something right. It’s not just the company they keep that’s getting us excited though; with one foot in the shambolic anarchy of The Pogues, and the other in a Las-esque lilt, Fontaines DC are messy but melodic, in the best possible way. Listen: ‘Boys In The Better Land’ is a rollocking, hedonistic delight. Similar to: Shane MacGowan and Lee Mavers having a scrap at closing time.
flirting. London five-piece twisting indie-pop and math into delightful new shapes. flirting.’s new single ‘Peppermint’, the first preview of an upcoming debut EP, is an intriguing introduction, an indie-pop song that constantly shapeshifts. Marrying spiky, lightning fast lead vocals with a sardonic, almost spoken-
word counterpart, it presents the five-piece as a multi-faceted proposition. Listen: New single ‘Peppermint’. Similar to: Indiepop taken to its relentless extremes.
All the buzziest new music happenings, in one place.
SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED Class of 2018 alumni Her’s have announced their debut album. ‘Invitation To Her’s’ will come out in August via Heist Or Hit, and is being previewed by new single ‘Low Beam’, a commentary on toxic masculinity. Get all the details and listen to the new single on diymag.com.
PAX POWER After shining at DIY’s Hello 2018 series back in January and impressing with debut single ‘Comet’, London newcomer Grand Pax has shared new track ‘Destroyer’, along with details of a debut EP. The self-titled effort will come out on 13th July via Blue Flowers (Nilüfer Yanya, Puma Blue), and you can listen to ‘Destroyer’ on diymag.com.
TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR Slowly sprinkling new material throughout the first half of 2018, Class Of 2018 alumni Sorry keep on impressing. Most recently, they’ve shared ‘Twinkle’, the b-side to recent single ‘Showgirl’. A typically dark, winding track from the four-piece, it comes ahead of a summer packed with festivals. Listen to the new track on diymag.com.
ON THE PLAYLIST neu
Every week on Spotify, we update DIY’s Neu Discoveries playlist with the buzziest, freshest faces. Here’s our pick of the best new tracks: LAO RA ‘No Pressure’ The Colombian-born singer’s first material of 2018, ‘No Pressure’ is a carefree, sunny bop. WHENYOUNG ‘Heaven On Earth’ Well whaddya know, it’s another sweet-ashell indie-pop banger from the Londonvia-Ireland trio. ESTRONS ‘Lilac’ The most welcome (and savage) of returns from the Welsh trio. BLACK MIDI ‘bmbmbm’ The first studio recording from the impossibly exciting Londoners, ‘bmbmbm’ is an exhilarating thrash.
MUST-SEE SHOWS THIS MONTH
Like being the first to see the next big thing? Get ready to brag to your mates about watching this lot before they go big, sell out, and spectacularly break up.
Hot on the heels of being the most talked-about act of this year’s Great Escape in May, and to coincide with the release of debut album, ‘Endless Scroll’, the buzzy New Yorkers tour the UK this month, beginning on 4th July at Bristol’s Fleece, and finishing with what’s easily the year’s most meta gig at Nottingham’s own Bodega on 14th July.
The Brighton indie kids have a one-off date at London’s Camden Assembly on 16th July, following a short string of support dates with Miles Kane.
Big Indie Big Nights Photo: Emma Swann
Here at DIY, we’ve been teaming up with record label Big Indie for a new monthly live music night, the appropriately titled Big Indie Big Nights, where we put on a host of new artists that we’re very excited about indeed. Taking place each month at Two Tribes Brewhouse and Tap Room, in Tileyard Studios, close to King’s Cross and DIY HQ, we’re putting on one band each month for the very reasonable price of £0. PARA ALTA After Factory Seconds’ sterling kick off last month, May sees Hartlepool indie boys Para Alta take to the stage for Round Two. Blending Circa Waves-esque soaring guitar hooks with shimmering, sun-dappled nuances, the band play a short and snappy set of earworms, including new single ‘Dusk’. A lilting, summer banger made for soundtracking sunset 34 diymag.com
holiday romances, it’s the peak in a set that also includes anthemic oldies ‘Home To You’ and ‘Feel It’. (Lisa Wright) SUPEREGO At June’s night, Midlands-based four-piece Superego perform a set full of catchy, reverbstrewn hooks to a packed-out crowd, fusing together scuzzy guitars and impassioned vocals. On debut single ‘Sleep’, which was recorded with Bill Ryder-Jones, the band whip up a heavy, psychedelic haze. For July’s edition of Big Indie Big Nights, we’ll be joined by London garage punks Thee MVPs. Already a respected force, having been tipped by US lynchpins Burger Records alongside tours with Metz, Together Pangea and more, they’ll be releasing their debut LP later this year. (Rachel Finn)
Another Great Escape favourite, the noisy Amsterdam-based band will rejoin The Breeders on tour this month, playing Bristol Academy (10th July), Birmingham Academy (11th July) and Manchester Ritz (13th July), ahead of August’s ‘Paycheck’ EP.
something fresh, new and free . Words: Will Richards.
genre-melding Londoner is fusing indie, punk and rap into
Storming into view with debut mixtape ‘BADKID’ this
The worlds of rap and rock have intertwined many times in the past, but never quite like this. Far from the nu-metal pioneered by Limp Bizkit, Rage Against The Machine et al, on his debut mixtape, North Londoner Bakar presents a different spin.
‘BADKID’ is a gloriously genre-bending collection, unrestricted by traditional boundaries or preconceptions of what he ‘should’ be, or what his fans ‘should’ like. Opener ‘One Way’ mixes the raucous indie of Jamie T with incessant, halfrapped vocals and socially-conscious lyrics (“If the government calls, put my dick in their mouth / ‘Cause I’m back at my mum’s, I can’t even move out”), while highlight ‘BADlands’ sees choppy, Bloc Party-esque chords set above a thumping 808 drum machine and a wild, shouted rap that channels the energy of Death Grips, before a sombre, softly sung chorus filters in. “It’s trying to bridge the gap,” he tells us, “and having young kids - especially young black kids - knowing that you can like whatever you want, and have no rules or obstruction.” As tiring as constantly being second guessed with regards to his somewhat indefinable sound can be for Bakar, it’s something he also relishes. “Yeah,” he half sighs, mulling the point over. “With the colour of my skin, it looks like a rap mood, but when they listen and they realise it’s not... yeah. And that was by design, not by accident. I hear the same thing all the time. ‘Oh my god, I didn’t expect it to sound like this, ra ra ra!’.” “From early on, as a kid, my taste was varied without me really knowing it. As I got older, I started to realise when I got to my early teens that my taste was kinda different, and a bit all over the place. It’s been a real journey.” He points out Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘By The Way’ as a particularly influential record that shaped his taste. “When I was like 13, I was a super rap kid,” he says, “and then I heard that record. As a kid that was listening to rap and grime really heavily, it made sense to me.” “Also ‘Antidotes’ by Foals,” he expands. “That might have had the biggest effect on me, on a musical level, thinking ‘What the fuck am I listening to?! Whatever’s in my brain, it’s all making sense. Everything’s connecting.’” ‘Everything connecting’ is a perfect, succinct way to describe ‘BADKID’: a first statement from a new artist drawing inspiration from all corners of the musical canon, and creating with it a sound like nothing else around at the moment. DIY
DAYDREAM DAYDREAM BELIEVERS BELIEVERS NEARLY FOUR YEARS AND FOUR EPS SINCE THEY FIRST ARRIVED ON THE SCENE IN A HAZE OF ATTENTION-GRABBING MYSTIQUE, BLACK HONEY ARE FINALLY ABOUT TO RELEASE THEIR LONG-AWAITED DEBUT ALBUM. WORTH THE WAIT? WELL, WE PUT THEM ON THE BLOODY COVER, DIDNâ€™T WE...
WORDS: LISA WRIGHT. PHOTOS: PHIL SMITHIES.
Nearly four years and four EPs since they first arrived on the scene in a haze of attentiongrabbing mystique, Black Honey are finally about to release their longawaited debut
album. Worth the wait? Well, we put them on the bloody cover, didnâ€™t we... Words: Lisa Wright. Photos: Phil Smithies.
ver since Izzy B. Phillips was young, she’s suffered from vivid nightmares. Often so bad she’d spend entire restless evenings awake, the lack of sleep would then cause her to hallucinate. “My dream-space is a really vivid experience for me,” she accepts now, sitting cross-legged in her childhood bedroom in Crawley – a space filled to the brim with dressing-up box-esque piles of clothes, books, pictures and general treasure trove ephemera. Eventually, doctors suggested that she should start to keep a journal, documenting the figures her overactive imagination conjured up. Finding that it helped clear the clutter of her mind, she continued the practice. Now, she’s got an entire shelf full of them; she’s currently filling up number 43. And though the idea ostensibly began as a logical solution to a problem, it led to a much bigger discovery. “I realised there was a direct correlation between creating something and me coping with my own existence,” she continues. And so it began. These days, though the exercise remains the same, the contents of those entries has changed dramatically. Instead of the crude, dark drawings that populated those first books (and trust us, some of them are genuinely quite harrowing), nowadays Izzy’s journals are filled with rambling diary entries scribbled from the back of a tour bus. Though they might still just be “normal person dramas”, they’re dramas taken from a world that’s becoming increasingly less normal by the day. And as Izzy, guitarist Chris Ostler, bassist Tommy Taylor and drummer Tom Dewhurst gear up for the long-awaited release of Black Honey’s self-titled debut, things aren’t likely to get any more average, any time soon. But first, let’s rewind a little.
hen Black Honey first appeared back in 2014 with debut track ‘Sleep Forever’, cloaked in an aura of mystery yet exuding an intoxicating sense of cinematic drama and fantastical escapism, the quartet seemed like they’d arrived fully formed. Posting a dial-in, direct access hotline number in lieu of a traditional press release and offering up alluring artwork filled with pastel hues and vintage collages, their introduction was remarkably selfassured for a brand new band. Except, of course, they weren’t. “It felt like all of the growing pains and the mistakes and the identity [issues] had already happened,” explains Chris, as we join the rest of the band in one of their favourite Brighton boozers for the second stop of our cross-town Honey tour. “We knew what we wanted to be and we knew where we were going, so we made the new band and it all just fell into place because we’d already done the experiments.” Those experiments had actually begun several years earlier, in relatively unassuming fashion. Izzy and Chris met at uni. Izzy enjoyed the fact that Chris had professed to wanting to be the next Matt Bellamy (“It was such a fucking whack-job thing to say after one lesson, but I really liked the ambition of it”). Chris originally thought that Izzy was “a bit of a dick”. Eventually they found their wavelength and started writing together. Soon Tommy joined, originally playing drums. Alongside a string of never-quite-right bass players, they started making music, first under the truly terrible moniker What’s Your Vice?, and then as the substantially better Kill Moon. At some point between the two, Tommy switched to bass and they recruited his housemate Tom on drums. Gigging relentlessly around Brighton and making small inroads outside of their city, they knew the line-up was right but things still weren’t clicking into place. “We were about to give that up. I remember doing the gig where we met our agent and manager and we didn’t give a shit at that point,” remembers Tommy. “We were all wearing sunglasses indoors and were completely smashed,” adds Tom. “Everyone said, there’s something about you but your identity’s not coming through,” Izzy recalls. “They said, go and study how you brand it. So we went away and were literally in Tom’s room with the cheetah from our artwork, brainstorming name ideas. I originally said Honeyblood, but that was already a band. Black Honey spoke to us, because it was bittersweet, light and dark, beautiful but iconic with the history of Black Sabbath and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and ‘A Taste of Honey’ and everything that we loved about rock’n’roll.” And so they drew a line in the sand, kept the songs that had already started to subconsciously go down this new route and upped their game. Welcome, Black Honey.
f it’s the kind of origin story that could sound calculated from some bands, then from this lot it strangely makes sense. Never one to shy away from being endearingly extra, the world that Izzy’s created for her and her bandmates is one that’s meticulously curated. Cribbed from the great and good of pop culture past, it’s filled to the brim with loving reference points and playful twists on old tropes. A happy accident, it most certainly is not. Back in the singer’s bedroom, she’s waxing lyrical on the iconic status of cheeseburgers (bear with us...) “Cheeseburgers are iconic because they’re so fucking weird but people are obsessed with them,” she muses. “I like that they’re an emblem of the fast food chain; it feels Pop Art. I got obsessed
with hotdogs for the same reason.” Iconic is a word that keeps popping up today. These fast food emblems: iconic. The Milky Bar Kid? Iconic. Earlier, while mixing up an actually-quiteimpressive cocktail, she sends us out to look in her garage. In it, among the detritus of Black Honey paraphernalia (busted TVs; an unholy amount of merch; you know the drill), is a life-size pink coffin. “It’ll be iconic,” she grins. “£300 for a glamorous death? Bargain.” The natural conclusion, you sense, is the hope that Black Honey too will wind up stamped with that brush. It’s not an entirely ridiculous idea. “There’s a really good phrase in this book called ‘The Art Of Theft’ that basically says, if something’s been said before, say it again. It’s the idea that all art is theft,” she continues. “I used to really offend myself saying that I needed to create something so original, but you can’t pluck originality out of thin air. In that book they speak a lot about your creative genetic parents, so I would say mine are Andy Warhol and Kurt Cobain, or Blondie and the Milky Bar Kid.” All iconic, let it be noted, but also all pulling from different directions. And if it takes balls to really understand, accept and harness the lineage of where you’ve come from, then it takes bigger ones to ride that trail through to your own new terrain.
“WE MADE A FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER!” - IZZY B. PHILLIPS
ut back to the pub (come on, keep up...) and if there’s an idea that crops up as often as icons, then it’s that of the band as a gang. Though it’s understandable why people might regard Black Honey as a onewoman operation - and, let’s face it, no-one at this table would disagree that it’s Izzy steering the ship - there’s a dynamic within the quartet that quietly confirms that all
IZZY B. PHILLIPS:
GENIUS AND/OR MADWOMAN
In case you haven’t realised, our Iz is a bit of an, err… individual. Need more proof? Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, please see the evidence below.
I was such an exhibitionist when I was little that I’d put on my wellies in the snow and take off all my clothes, go outside in the front garden naked and wave this really dramatic performance farewell to my uncle as he was driving away.
Toddler me was me living my best life. Is it bad that I feel like I’m a giant toddler now? People drive me about in a van that’s basically a giant pram and I spend all day in my room, which is just a big dressing up box.
When I was seven, me and my friend Emma were playing beauticians. I properly pierced my ears with pins; I was so proud. My mum says I’ve always been a determined soul…
the pieces are as important as each other. “Our relationship as friends is almost more or as important as the actual art that we’re creating,” she says. Izzy might be the wide-eyed dreamer, but without the presence of the three boys (Tommy, the deadpan realist; Tom, the affable pragmatist; Chris, the perky, excitable midway point between them all) there’d be no posts to tether these ideas to. More than just grounding foils though, they’re also just a fun bunch of humans, the four of them. It’s why when people sign up to The Bad Black Honey Club (a concept that’s fast turning into a real-life fan community), they’re not just pledging allegiance to an escapist ideal but to the tangible, important relationship at the heart of it. “Building a family of reprobates is what I want from a band, and I can’t think of a band that does it better than Black Honey for me,” Izzy impassions. “There’s something so powerful about a group of friends who are unbeatable. You can worry about your insecurities until the cows come home, but if you’re on stage with your best fucking friends having your fucking moment, there’s no feeling in the world like that.”
“YOU CAN’T PLUCK ORIGINALITY OUT OF THIN AIR.” - IZZY B. PHILLIPS “Tom has this family house in the arse-end of Normandy and I never feel more like a band than when we go out there and record songs in the day, and then someone will cook and we’ll play Scrabble and get drunk,” she continues. “I think for all of us,” picks up Tom, “the best times have been sitting in there, getting lost in being a band and being artists and in that world. You have two weeks of that, where there’s just you in a room, and then when you go on the road it comes across.” Now, however, it’s not just on the road where all of these ingredients are set to merge. As well as playing word games and getting pissed, Black Honey’s French sojourns have also helped yield something larger – a debut record that takes all their early promise and explodes it out into bigger, bolder and more ambitious terrain than even they may have originally expected. See, though the interim years may have seen their peers race ahead of them in terms of release dates, they’ve discovered that there’s merit to playing the long game. “I think when we came out, if we’d have been snapped up by some big fancy label, we could have put an album out straight away
“THE AMBITION’S ALWAYS BEEN THERE, BUT NOW WE FEEL LIKE IT’S CLOSER”. - CHRIS OSTLER
and it would have been a collection of stuff that we’d put out haphazardly and at the time we would have jumped at it,” Tommy admits. “But the way it’s worked out, it’s forced us to think things through and [now the record is] a work in itself.” Influenced by the size and scale of the increasingly massive stages they found themselves on as part of a huge, game-changing European tour with Brighton buds Royal Blood, Black Honey returned to the UK with fire under their bellies. “It closed the gap in our brain, that tour,” explains Chris. “The goal has always been to have the best career in music that we can, but doing that made it way more attainable and closer to our reality. It rubbed off on us and I think our mindset’s been different since then. The ambition’s always been there but we believe we can achieve it a lot more. Now we feel like it’s closer.” Having spent two months watching their old pals walk out and slay arenas every night, the quartet realised their ambitions were perhaps starting to outgrow the metrics they’d always been subconsciously working within. They weren’t the only ones thinking it, either. “Our management said to us that they knew we had a pop song in there,” nods Izzy. “They sat us down last year and said, what you’re writing is really cool but what happens if Black Honey tries to write something bigger?” If the initial question posed something of a lightbulb moment for the band, then the corresponding answer proved a more time-consuming one. In true Black Honey style, the quartet set about their new mission with an admirable work ethic, studying pop music, conducting a series
of “dogshit experiments” with new sounds and beats and generally casting aside their old parameters in favour of a try-anything mentality. Eventually, it began to yield fruit. “It’s a recalibration of perspective - starting to look at the pop thing and then thinking, how do we fit into that?” Izzy begins. “Pop is the goal. But if you take a band that’s grown up in a rock world and stretch the muscle as far as you can, then something magical happens. We made a Frankenstein’s monster!” Tom summarises: “The album is that sweet spot of us challenging ourselves as far as we can but still being ourselves to a point that we think is now bang on.”
ou’ll have heard the first taster of Black Honey mk II in the form of recent track ‘Bad Friends’. Instead of the swooning headrush of old single ‘Corrine’ or the spaghetti western twangs of ‘Spinning Wheel’ (both absent from the album, alongside most of their already-released material), it landed with a grinding throb – part badass Charli XCX pop, part industrial iciness. Next up, the band are preparing to release ‘Midnight’ – already a new live set standout and easily the most sparkling, unashamedly radio-friendly moment of their career to date. “‘Midnight’ to me is Saturday Night Fever mixed with Tarantino, with Justice remixing it and Abba top-lining it, with a John Bonham fill,” notes Izzy. Translated, it’s simply a fucking massive disco banger. The most telling hint as to Black Honey’s new bigscreen thinking, however, comes in their choice of producer. Rather than a classic big-shot indie type, the band opted to work with Emre Ramazanoglu
BLACK HONEY’S PERSONAL PINTEREST BOARD
– these days acclaimed for his work across various genres, but coming from a background originally rooted in hip hop. “The eclecticism of hip hop was the main point; how it, as a genre, cherrypicks from everything and how we collage our art from a songwriting perspective [is quite similar],” explains Izzy. “It’s about multi-sourcing.”
And, while ‘Black Honey’ veers off in different sonic directions at every turn, taking this eclectic, curious If there’s a band who’ve done approach and applying it to their pop cultural homework, big pop numbers, sassy indie it’s these lot. Here are the stompers and sweeping love key figures feeding into the songs in the same breath, melting pot… there’s never any question ..................... as to who the band are at
the centre of it all. Having whittled and honed their patchwork of influences into one of the most fullyformed, intoxicating and immediately-identifiable packages of any new band out there, now they can put it all to work in whichever way they want. The golden thread that links it all? Izzy, of course, has a theory. “It’s about being a villain, not a victim; it’s about taking your pain and [owning it]. Black Honey is escapism at the end of the day, but it’s rooted in reality. It’s rooted in your experience in your day-today world. I don’t believe I live in a peachy palm tree universe, but my that’s my
way of coping,” she affirms. “If you’re asking what I want from a rock star or a pop star, then I don’t want Britney that’s clean cut, I want Britney that’s being a nightmare. For every high I’ve had in my life, I’ve had ten times the sadness, the heartbreak, the torture and self hate. But who wants to be a fucking victim? If you’re a villain, then you’re the trophy from your own life.” Iconic. ‘Black Honey’ is out on 21st September. DIY Black Honey are appearing at Bestival and Electric Fields this year. Head to diymag. com for details.
Andy Warhol and Pop Art always fascinated me ‘cause it threw America and consumerism back in its face.
I love grindhouse movies and always wanted to be in Kill Bill or Faster Pussycat Kill Kill ‘cause I loved the way women were represented as badasses breaking hearts in B-movies.
Debbie to me is the most iconic example of beauty. In this world full of Kim Kardashians, I crave a unique, dark and twisted kind of beauty that Debbie represented.
S EAR YY
R , OU
N NI T,
CRET TH SE
’. KY OU FO R T O D AY AN
E D T O FA C E H E A D
H T CO HEIR NEW RE
WOR DS: S ARAH J AMIESON. PHO TO S:
t’s halfway through June, the morning after their appearance at Robert Smith’s Meltdown, and with summer finally rearing its head, two members of Death Cab For Cutie are discussing change. “There’s a huge shift right now, politically and everything,” sums up bassist Nick Harmer, rather neatly. “Change is on the brain.”
To say that’s true both in Death Cab’s own world, and the wider one around them, would be a massive understatement. Looking back through their recent history is evidence enough. After the aptly-titled ‘Kintsugi’, named after the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver the band found themselves staring at a blank new chapter; with longtime guitarist and producer Chris Walla announcing that he was parting ways with the group, it meant their eighth album would be their first foray into new territory in a twenty-year career.
thinking that we should hang this up, it’s not working anymore. [But] I’m really happy with how this album’s turned out and I’m feeling fairly confident that there are a number of songs on this record which will remind people why they liked or loved the band in the first place. I feel like this record is more in tune with the spirit of the first four albums than the last two, or even three.” The studio wasn’t the only place where they were taking new approaches. While Ben continued his well-practiced art of writing day in, day out, the quintet soon found themselves
“Change is on the brain.” Nick Harmer
It’s a change that – ahead of the release of new album ‘Thank You For Today’ - they’re still very much processing. “I think we always have collective goals for the record which are let’s make a really good record, let’s make the best record we can,” begins frontman Ben Gibbard, on the headspace they found themselves in ahead of the album. “I think we all realised that Chris was a massive part of the story of this band and an absolutely integral part of the sound of this band. For me specifically, this is a real pivotal album for us; I think, in some ways, it’s really determining the future of the band.” Not only did ‘Thank For You Today’ mark their first entirely without Chris, it also saw ‘Kintsugi’ producer Rich Costey once again take the reins, while two new band members - Dave Deppa and Zac Rae - became fully inaugurated. “If we were sitting here and this was not 2018 but 2025, if we had gone through six or seven producers and multiple collaborators, and we made a shitpile of a record, y’know, we’d probably be
with a huge collection of tracks to choose from. But while technology and streaming services encourage an appetite for more, the band decided to buck the trend and streamline their offering. “I think it’s essential for anyone making albums in 2018 that it should be an exercise in restraint,” he says wryly. “When we were looking to sign with major labels in 2004, we took a meeting with this very well-known industry guy - who was a complete fucking blowhard - who said something that stuck with me: he said that records were too long. That was in 2004.”
“When we were finishing the album,” Nick continues, “we had a lot of discussions about how this was going to live outside of the studio and we just liked the idea of [the whole thing fitting on] a single vinyl. ‘Kintsugi’ was three sides, so there was a blank side; you want to ask everybody, ‘who stops to put on the second disc of ‘Kintsugi’?!’” he laughs. “It was about finding the songs that worked together the best.”
tracks like ‘Northern Lights’, ‘You Moved Away’ and most notably, lead single ‘Gold Rush’. It turns out the change in their landscape is a searing hot topic. “Right now, there’s an artist called John Criscitecello, who’s been doing these amazing murals, and Childbirth have a song called ‘Tech Bros’, Tacocat have a number of songs about it, The Wimps have a song called ‘Capitol Hill’ about our neighbourhood.
The shifts within their own world weren’t the only ones making an impact. While the band have always had a knack for offering up insight on the more reflective moments in life, on this record, Ben found himself dealing with the change happening on his own doorstep.
“People are starting to express their feelings about the change in landscape of the city that we care about so much,” he continues. “I wanted to write something that was about how so many of my memories are connected to my immediate geography. As one gets older living in a city, they’re always in a state of flux and are always changing. They’re not meant to be static. However, what upsets me greatly about Seattle [is that previously] it’s been one creative community passing on the city to another creative community, and now that’s starting to disappear. We saw that happen with San Francisco – people don’t live in San Fran anymore, they live in LA now, or over on the East Bay. Brooklyn is just a playground for the rich now. But here, we don’t have a Brooklyn or an East Bay; it’s Seattle or nothing, so people are just leaving. Not only do I look around the city and see it changing, it upsets me that so many of my touchstones are no longer there. Sometimes, that’s just the march of time, and there’s nothing you can do. But it seems very accelerated. I wonder what the city’s gonna look like not in ten years, but in three years.”
As a historically politically-engaged band (even recently, they were the first artist to contribute to the anti-Trump ‘30 Days, 30 Songs’ project), you’d be forgiven for assuming these related to the obvious. Instead, the group actively decided to avoid going down that path. “We’re sitting talking in June 2018, it now feels like it’s been 35 years but it’s only been a year in. We all need a fucking break from this guy! Whether you’re a supporter of him, or if you loathe him like I do, you cannot get a break from him. His whole career has been based on sucking up all the life The next series of from a room, all the Queer Eye had taken a slightly bleaker turn. time,” theorises Ben. “As we were looking at the material that was working and we thought represented this period of our band, it just became apparent that we had a choice: we could either point this in a more overtly political direction or we could just give people a break. I really wanted to make a record that gave people a bit of a respite.” Instead, the changes that the quintet found themselves drawn to documenting were even closer to home. “In Seattle, where we’re from, the effect the tech boom has had upon the creative community...” he begins, detailing the inspiration behind
What hasn’t altered, however, is the band’s dedication to one another. While it’s easy to imagine that after two decades together, things may start to feel more mundane, it was through those small changes during work on ‘Thank You For Today’ that they felt a renewed sense of purpose. “When we were recording in Santa Monica, we were staying in these really kinda dire apartments, and we’d walk home every night. Nick and I would talk to each other and be like, ‘hey, this is really fun’ - we’d also be quick to recognise that just because we were enjoying [the process], it didn’t mean it was good. Having said that, the most enjoyable album we ever made was ‘Transatlanticism’,” he notes, referring to one of Death Cab’s touchstone records. “At that point we had gone through a rough patch with Chris where he’d almost quit, but then re-committed. Jason [McGerr, drums] had just joined, and [it was] a really enjoyable time to be in a band.” That’s something they felt once again with ‘Thank You For Today’. “The atmosphere was really creative and we were having a good time, but also being brutally honest.” Sometimes, even the smallest of changes make the biggest of impacts. ‘Thank You For Today’ is out 17th August via Atlantic Records. DIY
in FULL 48 diymag.com
COLOUR 10/10 for yr trousers, MNEK.
Stepping out of the shadows of his worldbeating collaborations,
â€˜s debut album is set to see him arrive as a superstar in his own right. Words: Will Richards. Photos: Emma Swann.
NEK is between two of his biggest shows so far. Taking to London’s cavernous O2 last night and tonight to sing with Hailee Steinfeld, who’s supporting Katy Perry on her ‘Witness’ tour, he’ll face nearly 40,000 faces across the two dates. In theory, it shouldn’t feel too much of a stretch for Uzo Emenike - after all, across his decade-long career he’s collaborated and written with the likes of Madonna, Beyoncé and Christina Aguilera. But these shows are different: tonight, instead of sitting safely under the banner of someone’s else’s star, he’s playing ‘Colour’, a Hailee-featuring song from his own forthcoming debut album.
Gaining a publishing deal and entering the music industry at the age of 14, the South London singer and producer has racked up an enviable list of contacts and collaborations, while also sharing a series of solo singles and 2015 EP ‘Small Talk’. It’s always felt like a predecessor to this, though: the true arrival of a singer who you always knew had the charisma, the songs and the story to become a pop powerhouse in his own right. ‘Colour’ and the other track to surface from the full-length - the sexy, slinky single ‘Tongue’ - are, he explains “indications as to where I’m at. I’m very different to how I was when I first started releasing music. My lens on life and on my music and what I want to achieve is different. [The album is] me growing up and figuring out what my purpose is. It’s all well just being a singer, who sings songs, and songs that people like, but I’ve found that there were a lot of people that were really inspired by me being myself. It’s encouraged me [to do that] even more. I’m coming out of my shell a bit more… I mean, I’m sitting here in PVC vinyl trousers,” he laughs. “This is not what I would’ve done a year ago or two years ago. It’s just not where I was. I’m now comfortable enough to do these things, and unapologetically.” It’s a confidence that’s been fostered over time. “Me and my friends, we are…” he begins, before pausing. “People think that when you come out, suddenly the next day you’re going to become this completely different person. But it develops and it grows in different ways. Your mindset, your approach to your gay... sometimes even when you come out as gay, you still have the shame. The shame of coming across too feminine. And then you edit yourself in certain environments. But then at some point, you can just have an ‘Aha!’ moment, and realise that actually, I don’t need to edit myself anywhere. I guess I’ve had that switch.” Not many artists release their debut a decade after they started writing commercially successful music. But it’s been a road that has allowed MNEK to develop
naturally, find his true voice and release it at a time when it can arrive as the truest representation possible. “I am thankful. I was able to skip a lot,” he says of any potential regrets at spending his formative years of life in the spotlight. “I had a job at 14, so I can’t really complain. It was like, ‘Cool, the second I’m out of school I’m set’. I got to avoid the trauma that comes with being in uni and figuring out what you want to do. Everyone’s experiences of uni are different, but the ones that I’ve heard have been filled with a lot of uncertainty, a lot of debt, and a lot of resentment. I’m glad I got to avoid that. I’m glad I just had a job and was getting on with it and making my money.” A job it was, sure, but hardly your regular 9-5. As overawed as any teenager would be in his situation, it led Uzo to a self-confessed bad habit of playing down all his achievements. His debut works to rally against this, to not be ashamed of what is a staggering list of achievements for a 23-year-old. It’s best shown on ‘Correct’, a confident entrance that sees him backing himself all the way. “Show me some respect,” he demands over thudding beats. “I wanted to try the exercise of going full hip-hop and going full-on LA state of mind, and being grandiose, talking about all my achievements, and owning it,” he says. “I listened back to it and thought that, actually, there’s nothing wrong with this, because I’m saying what’s happening, and that’s something I’m trying to approach life-wise as well. When I’m talking to a guy, I’m scared to talk about what I’ve done with my day because he’ll go ‘Ooh fancy, look at you!’. I can only talk about my life, because it’s happening and I’ve earned it.” For a songwriter who’s spent so much of his time fostering the narratives of others, there’s still a hell of an entrance for him to make himself. Finally, Uzo is fully emerging from the shadow of his famous mates. Or, as he sings on ‘Correct’, “Everybody’s asking why they haven’t heard my album yet / I had to go correct.” ‘Yeah... it’s not my favourite,” he sighs of the constant mentions of said pals. It’s the first time he looks back at his past unfavourably. “But at the same time,” he continues, “it’s exactly what got me here. I love all the work I’ve done. But I know that my purpose is beyond helping someone else write a song. I want to tell my story, and to be able to be the face of that. I have a different lens on life than a lot of the people I’ve worked with. That deserves to be shown.” Despite the record arriving a decade in, it still arrives with an acknowledgement that he remains a relative unknown. “The album is about learning,” he explains. “It’s about me learning what it’s like to be a pop star. It’s me learning what it’s like to be a recording artist. It’s everyone’s first real chance to learn about me. This is how I articulate myself. This is how I feel. This is everything that I want to say. This is my language.” DIY
â€œI know that my purpose is beyond helping someone else write a song.â€?
Sound Of The Down Underground We’ve been noticing a trend. From highlights of showcase festivals to the buzziest shows of the year so far, a majority of the most exciting musical happenings in 2018 have had one thing in common: they’ve all come from Australia.
For a good while now, the majority of music from down under that’s made its way to our shores
has been distinctly Kevin Parker-shaped. Tame Impala’s lead has seen the emergence of the likes of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Pond and more; bands with escapism at their core.
This year, though, has seen a strong, diverse and socially-conscious new crop cutting through the woozy, dreamlike jams, giving the Australian youth a new voice.
From the biting alt-folk of Stella Donnelly to the gritty, unhinged punk of Amyl & The Sniffers via the fun, bratty pop of Haiku Hands and Hatchie’s drive-time pop-rock, the new Australian wave comes in all shapes, sizes and
genres. We’ve spoken to the lot of them to find out just why the country is producing some of the world’s most exciting new acts.
Tackling rape culture and heartache via sparse folk songs delivered with lashings of dry humour, this Perth-based songwriter is determined to make you feel. Words: Will Richards.
n watching Stella Donnelly’s sets across her extensive UK tour this Spring, two things stood out. Firstly, the biting nature of her songs, presented most strikingly on ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ - a commentary on rape culture and victim blaming that’s softly delivered but with a message as strong as steel. The second thing that was clear, though, was the dry humour she introduces these topics with, hammering home her message while simultaneously making people bend over laughing. “I try and keep it pretty fun on stage, so I have fun too,” she tells us over the phone from her native Perth. “If I played those songs every night and didn’t try and make it fun, I’d end up looking like the guy from Black Books,” she chuckles. “I’d be miserable!” “A lot of people come to my gigs and expect it to be quite sad and serious,” she elaborates. “And that’s fair enough, because the EP has a tiny bit of fun in there but it’s mostly just misery. I try and keep it light when I perform. Make people laugh a bit, get them vulnerable, and then hit them with some heavy shit. And then I make them laugh again so they forget it ever happened.”
“I didn’t really mean to do that, but it has helped me. People are seeing that I’m a real human, and that I can pull the piss out of myself, but I also care about things. I think a lot of artists at the moment are presenting themselves as humans who have good days and bad days. I love that. I couldn’t fake it if I tried.” The Perth scene that Stella has emerged from was defined until recently by Tame Impala. Also home to weird-popsters Methyl Ethel, it’s been a breeding ground for woozy, dreamlike psych that reflects a lot of what people see in Australia: laid-back and carefree, if a little bit heartbroken. It’s not all that Australians are concerned with now though, as Stella explains. “I think everyone’s a bit angrier now! Everyone got a bit pissed off. A lot of things are happening around the world right now. Britain’s got Brexit, America’s got Trump, we had the huge marriage equality campaign, which was pretty traumatic, and very full on. We’ve got some things to be pissed off about out here, and that’s where [the angry songs] have come from. You can hear it.” It’s a new anger that’s carving a country-wide scene with a socially-conscious new voice. “I think people are moving away from that psych, happy-go-lucky stuff in favour of music that actually says something,” she ponders. “Not to say that the psych stuff isn’t great, I love it,” she’s quick to clarify. “But the sound is definitely shifting at the moment.” Of course, Stella is only one piece of the vast, fast-emerging buzzy jigsaw that is the new Aussie scene, but her ability to swerve outdated singer-songwriter tropes while keeping simplicity at the music’s heart and transmitting deeply important messages, makes her a frontrunner in a scene that’s beginning to change the face of the country. Right now though, she’s just thinking about her debut album. “I tried to write on the road,” she says, “and just ended up writing a really shit song about driving. I scrapped that one. I was pretty anxious, thinking ‘What if I can never write a song again, and this whole thing is just a bloody joke’. I was scared that I’d lost some creativity. But I’ve come back, and all the experiences of tour are still so fresh.
“I couldn’t fake it if I tried.” The EP in question is ‘Thrush Metal’, a release that - despite its title and cover art of Stella shoving spaghetti into her face - presents an artist with something vital to say, tackling notions of abuse and heartache over beautifullyarranged folk and a voice that’s at once angelic and gritty. It’s a seriousness that only exists on the fringes of the live show, though. “Some of the biggest lessons I ever learned were from stand-up comedians, who are so funny and then all of a sudden start talking about gun reform, and you just go ‘Wooooah, yeah they’re right!’ and it takes you by surprise.
“There’s nothing worse than trying to force it. I’m doing my best not to rush myself. If I did, there’d just be a song on the album of me just singing ‘I don’t know what to saaaay, la la la’. Look out for that one on the album. It’ll be track seven.”
KEY TRACK ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ ‘Thrush Metal’ is out now via Secretly Canadian.
KEY TRACK ‘Not About You’
Your shows are always riotous affairs - was it always the plan to put fun at the heart of the band? Mie Nakazawa: At our very first show we came on wearing fat suits, so it seems so! Claire Nakazawa: There’s no time or space to be introspective in this project. Beatrice Lewis: It’s a balance of having a really, really good time, but also delivering messages that have some connection and meaning. If you’re also dancing and laughing at the same time as thinking about something really important and serious, it’s easier to digest and work through. The sound is a melting pot of a load of different styles - are you coming at the band from different perspectives? Beatrice: We do have similar but different tastes, but where our tastes intersect is the sweet spot. I live in Melbourne and the other two girls come from Sydney, and the two cities have quite different music scenes. And what is it that works between you, and makes the onstage chemistry so strong? Mie: We came together at the same time through the same desires and the same urge to explore the collaborative process. We all get a kick out of letting loose and expressing ourselves. It helps the crowd, too: we’re essentially saying ‘We’re losing it up here! Come join us!’.
WHAT With unadulterated fun at their heart, this three(ish)-piece collective will make you dance like no others can.
WHAT Technicolour, sample-led weirdo pop, complete with dance routines and lots of them. KEY TRACK ‘Boyfriend (Repeat)’
What kind of vibe are you trying to create with Confidence Man? The vibe is a little bit silly and a little bit sexy. I suppose what we’re trying to do is make a mix of all the good stuff we like. The fun elements in ‘90s music culture, disco bass lines, Talking Heads-y lyrics, sassy girl group content. In salad everyone knows all you want is the cheese and the bacon bits. So what we’re doing is taking all the good stuff like the bacon bits and making hits. When you first started out, where did the band fit in with what else was going on in Melbourne? There’s lots of dance music in Melbourne. Brisbane is a bit more rocky. And Sydney is for bankers. So we fit in more with the Melbourne scene. I’d say there’s always been a good healthy mix of music on radio over here, maybe more indie rock than anything else. There’s a obviously a big fun, performative element of the band live what influences that? Fashion, vogue-culture, madonna, goth eye makeup, Iggy Pop, good French cheese and Sugar’s dad who’s a botanist. All the good stuff.
KEY TRACK ‘Mole
What’s the punk scene like in Melbourne right now? Melbourne has a really strong punk scene and music scene in general. Heaps of different genres and styles including punk get played on local radio, there’s a venue for anyone to play or punt, and if not someone will probably just do a DIY show. It’s a powerful community and people seem to look after and support each other and each other’s music.
There’s a real ‘70s influence in the band where does that come from? There’s a lot of good music that came out of the ‘70s and ‘70s Australia especially. In terms of the aesthetic. I’m not too conscious of it. I’ll wear something because I think ‘Sick, these jeans compliment my ass’ or ‘This haircut is sick’ or ‘These shoes are comfy’. Lots of good stuff came from the ‘70s but just as much good is coming from music and clothes now.
WHAT Melbourne gang putting a new spin on dreamy, indie melancholy.
AMYL & THE SNIFFERS
WHAT Snotty ‘70s-inflected punk of the most chaotically hedonistic variety.
KEY TRACK ‘A Quality Of Mercy’
‘A Quality of Mercy’ seems to have a lot of British ‘80s influences like Echo & the Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs etc. Is that a period that resonates with you? Of course, but I think that people think we sound more ‘80s than we are just because we don’t like to use distortion pedals or swing our guitars about like Nirvana. I also think what we’re trying to say as a band is quite modern, even if we do so through a medium that is sometimes anachronistic. What are the scenes that are thriving in Melbourne currently? There’s a really thriving punk and garage scene going on in Melbourne. It’s one of the few places in the world where people don’t turn their noses up at the first sight of a guitar. What works in Melbourne is there’s a strong sense of community in music. You’ll find bands of different genres all sharing a lineup together and it’ll be packed. It’s a much broader church than what I’ve seen elsewhere in the world.
What atmosphere do you want to create at a Sniffers show? Just [something] energetic and sweaty. It’s fun for me when people get into it. I want everyone to have a good time, including us. Recommend us some good new Aussie bands, please! Here’s some, look ‘em up. NASHO, C.O.F.F.I.N, Parsnip, UBIK, Miss Destiny, Peter Bibby, ORB, Vertigo, No Class, and anything on Antifade.
KEY TRACK ‘Talking
Do you find yourself more influenced by artists from abroad than ones from Australia? We’ve always listened to bands from all over the place. But I think we’ve always been most influenced by bands from home. Old Australian bands, mates’ bands. We’ve wanted to make something particular to where we are from.
For ages, the only Aussie music that made it over in the UK really was Tame Impala-style psych stuff. Now there’s loads of bands coming through. Who should we be keeping an ear out for? Loose Tooth have their new album ‘Keep Up’ coming out soon. They were over in the UK recently, supporting Courtney Barnett. They write great big scuzzy pop songs.
WHAT Sun-drenched dream-pop for fans of Mazzy Star and Cocteau Twins. KEY TRACK ‘Sugar & Spice’ What’s Brisbane like? Is there a lot of opportunity for new artists? It’s pretty small, but people are making a bit of dance music. There are a few guitar bands like Sleep Club and Sweater Curse but there’s totally opportunity. I joined my first band when I was 18 and it opened up a whole new world for me. There’s a pretty thriving scene, especially a few years ago when I first started in bands. Tell us a bit about your first moves as Hatchie. Hatchie’s been going on for about a year. I’d been working on it for a year or two before that, but only a year publically. It’s been crazy and I’m still in shock over the fact that I’m doing this now. Nothing but great things have happened since then. Playing shows overseas, going to SXSW in Austin, signing to Heavenly - it’s been blowing my mind.
Can you give us a brief potted history of how and when you started? We kicked around in a high school band for a while. We played here and there, recorded here and there but never really did very much. When we started playing shows around 2013 we started to find our own sound pretty quickly. To our surprise and our friends’ surprise, we actually didn’t suck.
ROLLING BLACKOUTS COASTAL FEVER
WHAT Blissful surf-pop from Melbourne hiding a vulnerable, giving heart.
WHAT: The new, full-band project from acclaimed Aussie altfolkie Julia Jacklin. KEY TRACK: ‘Fuckin’n’Rollin’’ Phantastic Ferniture is a lot more lighthearted and spontaneous than your previous music - where does that come from? Liz Hughes: When you hit your 20s, things just feel more serious. It’s like suddenly you have to have to be achieving things non-stop. This was our kind of defiant way of championing the haphazardness of that time. Sometimes you just gotta remember to have fun. What’s exciting about Australian music to you right now? Julia Jacklin: I’m really liking Tropical Fuck Storm, RVG, and Jen Cloher, and Laura Jean just released an album called ‘Devotion’ and it’s so good. There’s always been great music here but maybe we weren’t very fashionable in the international scene for a long time. Obviously Courtney Barnett and Tame Impala helped kick that into gear. Liz: I think having role models really helps. Just seeing musicians who have stuck it out and it’s all paid off really helps young people to keep doing what they’re doing. I think it’s mostly people noticing what was already here.
Milesâ€™ personal backdrop-carrier goes with him wherever he goes. 58 diymag.com
FIGHTING TALK It’s apt that Miles KanE has named his third album after a wrestling move; on ‘Coup De Grace’, the Scouser is back with a record that see him stepping out of his best mate’s shadow, and fighting for his own glory. Words: Lisa Wright. Photos: Phil Smithies.
t’s easy for that [reputation] to happen, because if you’re on stage then you’re showing off, aren’t you? If you’ve got your top off and you’re kicking and spitting, then people will think, ‘oh he musn’t give a fuck about anything’. I don’t blame people for that, it’s just that I guess because I’m in it then I can see both sides of the coin. It’s up to other people if they do or not,” nods Miles Kane, decked out in a vintage Scarface t-shirt and chunky gold chain, nursing a bottle of beer.
We’re sat in the sunny surrounds of an East London courtyard, talking to the 32-year-old Scouser about his public persona. Because if there’s one thing that’s holding Miles Kane back on the eve of undoubtedly his best solo work to date - forthcoming third LP ‘Coup De Grace’ - it’s perhaps people’s idea of who and what Miles Kane actually is. As frontman of mid-’00s indie boys The Rascals and then a burgeoning solo artist, Miles naturally fell into the lineage of the Gallaghers and co: the swaggering lads of rock’n’roll. With The Last Shadow Puppets - the band he formed with his best pal, Arctic Monkeys mainman Alex Turner - he was cast somewhat unfairly as the perpetual bridesmaid, clinging onto the coattails of his A-list mate. The cumulative effect produced an artist with a loyal, sizeable fanbase but one seemingly destined to be forever resigned to a certain kind of career. “There’s so many opinions, and even if you have no showmanship or confidence at all, in some other way you’d still have something pinpointed,” he continues, somewhat wearily. “There’s no way you can please everyone.” In 2016, on the promotional circuit for the Puppets’ last album ‘Everything You’ve Come To Expect’, things came to a head in an interview for American magazine Spin, when Miles replied to a final question from the female interviewer about his later plans by asking if she wanted to go upstairs. Unsurprisingly, there was a backlash. “That upset me; it was upsetting because it was a miscommunication in humour,” he says now. “All I can say about it is it was a joke that didn’t get understood, so yeah, it got me down. It did get me down.” While it’s, let’s face it, not the smartest bon mot to come from anyone, from Miles, it just fuelled the fires of people’s preconceptions. Miles, the lad. Miles, for the lads only.
ast forward a couple of years, and he’s sitting on an album that might just help nudge open the door to a different kind of view of him. Though ‘Coup De Grace’ is still an album rooted in antagonistic punk spirit, and one that rips from beginning to end, it’s also one that wears its heart on its sleeve a little more. Written after a bad break-up, its 10 tracks are wired and often pained, bleeding at the raw edges of a recent wound. “It’s the process of being in love to not being in love, the resentment, the jealousy,” he begins. “Even though [the songs are] angry or sad or whatever, to create them felt really good, like a relief from every one that we did. It was the best therapy ever. Punk therapy, in tunes.” You sense that this is how the singer makes sense of his emotional world. Ask him about his feelings and he gets tongue-tied, stumbling over every admission with a caveat that he’s not looking for sympathy. Stick a guitar in front of him, however, and he’ll come up with the pained howl of ‘The Wrong Side Of Life’ - with its Lennon-esque, strainingat-the-edge vocals - or the embittered jealousy of ‘Silverscreen’. “It’s pretty black and white to understand [lyrically], which is a good thing,” he nods. “It feels
honest and confident and I’m glad it’s out of me.” This musical catharsis didn’t come quickly or easily, however. Originally beginning writing for the record after 2013 solo effort ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’, Miles decided to press pause in order to go back in with The Last Shadow Puppets and found that, upon returning, the old tracks weren’t cutting it. “I was a bit confused with it. I couldn’t finish any songs and I felt like I had a bit of writers’ block after writing a lot and them not being good,” he admits. Help, however, came in the form of another pal: one Mr Jamie T. Bumping into each other in LA, the pair soon started writing together, heading to Jamie’s studio first in the US and then back in London and eventually coming out with more than 20 completed tracks - many of which ended up on the final record. “I could see that his reaction and excitement was genuine,” enthuses the singer. “My mojo for working and writing tunes was back and it felt good.” And if that particular collaboration might surprise a few people, then the addition of Lana Del Rey into the mix (the singer co-wrote and sings on lead single ‘Loaded’) is one that precisely no-one would have guessed. “We wrote a lot of tunes together, me
“It was the best therapy ever. Punk therapy, in tunes.” and her actually,” adds Miles. “‘Loaded’ had the oomph that fitted with the other tunes, but a lot of stuff we did was super cool, man. Maybe [they’ll get used] one day; we were talking about it the other day. She’s an amazing writer and really quick. She’s the real deal.” No plans for a supergroup trio as yet then, we ask? “Ha. Three Psychos: that’d be the band name,” he laughs. We’ll pencil it in for 2028, then...
et, while Jamie and Lana’s influence is undoubtedly peppered throughout ‘Coup De Grace’, this is the album that could set Miles Kane up as a contender, in himself. With Alex and the Monkeys strolling through the sonic space station of ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’, it’s the first time in the pals’ careers where their musical paths have truly diverged. “Maybe stylistically some of these songs, the more punky ones, started from doing the Puppets stuff. A similar thing you could probably say for Al, on the slower tunes. I think [the last Puppets album was] the start of the two records now, mine and his, in a weird way,” he explains. It can only work in his favour. From the antagonistic jabs of ‘Cold Light Of The Day’, to the half ridiculous-half brilliant (think Kasabian, after they’ve been listening to ‘Screamadelica’ on repeat) title track, through the genuinely rather lovely closing moments of ‘Shavambacu’ (titled after a cute mishearing of ‘Je t’aime beaucoup’ from his grandma), ‘Coup De Grace’ is an album that goes a long way to understanding what Miles Kane’s been aiming for all along. It’s a record with an honesty that you might not expect, and an obvious sensitivity underneath all the bluster and noise. Remind you of anyone? ‘Coup De Grace’ is out 19th August via Virgin EMI. DIY Miles Kane is appearing at Lowlands this year. Head to diymag.com for details.
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE
o make fourth album ‘High As Hope’, Florence Welch headed home. Crafting the first stages of the record in her house in Peckham, she cycled every day into the South London hotspot’s creative hub, the Bussey Building, to - as she put it - “bang on the wall with sticks”. It was then taken to Los Angeles, where it was given a lick of paint and gathered
High As Hope
contributions from friends such as Sampha, Kamasi Washington and Jamie xx. But it’s this nucleus of the record, formed back home, that gives it its identity: ‘High As Hope’ is a record that relies on comfort, togetherness and familiarity in an increasingly alien and cold world. From opener ‘June’, where she sings
of “those heavy days in June, when love became an act of defiance” to the straight-to-the-point ‘South London Forever’, which recalls hanging out “with the art students and the boys in bands / high on E and holding hands with someone that I just met”, ‘High As Hope’ presents Florence as an artist determined to form an iron-strong connection.
‘Sky Full Of Song’ is the record’s highlight. “Grab me by my ankles, I’ve
been flying for too long,” she sings, casting aside escapism in search of a more tangible sense of change, with instruments stripped back to allow the words to pierce through even more clearly. It sits right at the record’s heart, just before ‘Grace’, a letter to Florence’s sister. “I’m sorry I ruined your birthday / I guess I could go back to university, try and make my mother proud,” she
sings, before lamenting her own lack of discipline: “I don’t think it would be too long before I was drunk in Camberwell again.” By bringing things closer to home, Florence forges a deeper connection than ever before. ‘High as Hope’ is an album that takes solace in those closest to her, works to right previous wrongs, and sees her come out the other side a whole lot stronger. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Sky Full Of Song’, ‘Grace’
Illustration: Katy Harrald
The album still brings clout in terms of fitting into arena-size shows and festival headline sets; single ‘Hunger’ - a search for happiness and clarity set over the singer’s pummelling voice and rollocking percussion - is huge, and ‘100 Years’ just as bombastic, but ‘High As Hope’’s greatest power comes from its quietest, most reflective moments.
PHOTO: HANNAH DIAMOND
BANGERS OF THE HIGHEST ORDER.
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Lamp Lit Prose (Domino)
Dave Longstreth seems to have undergone some kind of an awakening. 2017’s self-titled LP focused heavily on the breakup between him and former bandmate Amber Coffman, with long, mournful songs full of glitchy electronics. Only a year later, ‘Lamp Lit Prose’ is a decidedly more organic record; buoyant and witty, and notably shy of meandering eight-minute odysseys. ‘Right Now’ introduces his newfound optimism with folky jangles and staccato horns, and harmonicas, mandolins, organs and even woodwind all make their colourful presence known. The ecstatic energy rarely lets up until the end. “Change is the only constant law”, Dave Longstreth coos on ‘You’re The One’ - and on this occasion it’s a rewarding re-shuffle of the cards. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘I Feel Energy‘
There are special guests dotted all across ‘Lamp Lit Prose’, with Dave Longstreth collaborating with all manner of stars through its 10 tracks. We’ve picked out a few of the best.
(‘RIGHT NOW’) The album opens with ‘Right Now’, and features The Internet figurehead Syd, joining Dave on the horn-flecked, laidback opener, the pair’s voices floating gorgeously between one another.
AMBER MARK (‘I FEEL ENERGY’)
As the song’s title would suggest, ‘I Feel Energy’ is a significantly more upbeat cut, feeling carnival-ready, and featuring the silky vocals of the supremely exciting New Yorker.
(‘YOU’RE THE ONE’) The former Vampire Weekender appears on the slow, subtle ‘You’re The One’ alongside the ever-distinctive vocals of Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold. What a lineup.
eeee DIRTY PROJECTORS
ALBUMS Missed the boat on the best albums from the last couple of months? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
MATT MALTESE Bad Contestant
Packed with self-deprecating wit and glorious harmonies alike.
Laura Marling stretches her experimental legs.
CANSHAKER PI Naughty Naughty Violence
The Dutch quartet’s new’un is superb. 65
ALBUMS eee BODY/HEAD The Switch (Matador)
SOPHIE OIL OF EVERY PEARL’s UN-INSIDES
The first few years of SOPHIE’s career were defined by anonymity. Performing DJ sets almost entirely shrouded by smoke or screens - or in some cases, from the side as she sent a stand-in up to the desks to mime - the real person behind the producer was never truly shown. Her emergence on debut album ‘OIL OF EVERY PEARL’s UN-INSIDES’, then, is even more striking. From the stunning vulnerability of opener ‘It’s Okay To Cry’ to the plasticy, hypermodern ‘Faceshopping’ and equally euphoric and apocalyptic closer ‘Whole New World’/’Pretend World’, the album shakes pop music and gender identity to their respective foundations, and presents a new kind of hero in the process. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘It’s Okay To Cry‘ 66 diymag.com
Kim Gordon threw herself into the making of the first Body/Head record pretty quickly after the sudden dissolution of Sonic Youth, so it’s a touch surprising that it’s taken so long for her and collaborator Bill Nace to follow up ‘Coming Apart’. The result is a thoroughly impressionistic affair. Opener ‘Last Time’ is extreme even by Kim’s non-conformist standards, and by the time you arrive at the monolithic final two cuts, ‘Change My Brain’ and ‘Reverse Hard’, both of which sprawl out past ten minutes, you realise that this is less a five-track LP than one long musical movement. It’s an unsettling listen, occasionally disturbing in its unremitting bleakness, and even those predisposed to enjoy Sonic Youth’s weirdest work might find it impenetrable. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘In The Dark Room’
eeee NINE INCH NAILS
With so many ideas running through ‘Humanz’, there were times when the album felt jarring, but on ‘The Now Now’, coming just a little over a year afterwards, it feels easy to just sit back and listen. Gone is all the alluding to a dystopian present, packaged as a soundtrack to the party at the end of the world, and in its space is a sense of calmness. Opener ‘Humility’ features legendary soul and jazz artist George Benson on guitar, whereas on ‘Hollywood’ Chicago house pioneer Jamie Principle acts as co-writer and vocalist while Snoop Dogg returns to sweep up the verses. If ‘Humanz’ was a reaction about a world that seemed to be heading to hell, then ‘The Now Now’ is a more spaced-out affair, bathed in the apathy of the modern age. (Rachel Finn) LISTEN: ‘Idaho‘
Less than ten seconds into the boldly-titled opener ‘Shit Mirror’, it’s obvious that on ‘Bad Witch’, Trent Reznor has found his most furious vein since Year Zero’s ‘Survivalism’ over a decade ago. An ambitious undertaking, it’s made truly playlist-destroying with the mix of rip-roaring electro-rock stormers and foreboding ambient soundscapes of scratching, clawing, beating and squealing. From an intense start to often intriguing, mysterious endings he conjures up some of the most evocative and dense music he’s made so far. Famously innovative and controversial; whatever few rules Nine Inch Nails were adhering to have been entirely razed at this point. (Matthew Davies Lombardi) LISTEN: ‘Ahead Of Ourselves‘
The Now Now (Parlophone)
Bad Witch (The Null Corporation)
Hitchcock but not the systems that allowed that world to be filmed.
Ben Hozie from the New York post-punkers lets us in on just what’s going on across ‘Endless Scroll’. 1. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? This one is about the guilt of the cultural consumer. Said connoisseur is taking a stroll with a curated playlist past a demonstration of Hillary Clinton supporters on the day after the 2016 [US] election. Instead of wagging his finger, he looks in the mirror and doesn’t like what he sees. 2. bodega birth It’s about the start of a new relationship and a new band. Conversely, the end of a band and other friendships. Born by what consumes: influences - other bands, hence the classic rock citations - but mostly the personal destruction that sparks when you play with the flame of life. 3. name escape Observations from a night at Palisades, a now defunct Bushwick venue. The Smiths blare out of the PA as I chat with people I’ve seen hundreds of times but will never really know. Nikki in particular wanted to express the alienation she was feeling at rock shows. 4. boxes for the move Telling my old best friend through song what I could not in person. 5. i am not a cinephile Written in the style of Parquet Courts. A bit of sacrilege from someone who is deeply committed to the dream of the modern cinema. I love the world of Alfred
Endless Scroll (What’s Your Rupture?)
In the Venn diagram of Really Good Music, there are records that succeed because of their playful irreverence and the rare skill of being genuinely, properly grin-inducing within the relative confines of a song. There are ones that strike a chord because of their thought-provoking politics; ones that are an impressive document of superlative wordsmithery; ones that make you dance; ones that challenge you. And in the teeny, tiny pocket at the middle sits ‘Endless Scroll’ – a rare gem that combines all of these strengths in one effortlessly brilliant package. It’s been barely six months since New Yorkers BODEGA started making ripples on these shores, but in the interim the quintet have been on the receiving end of some of the most excitable muso buzz of recent years. This is no vacuous trumping of the hype machine though. ‘Endless Scroll’ delivers on every count. Produced by Parquet Courts’ Austin Brown, the influence of their city peers’ dry delivery and witty intellect is there in ‘Name Escape’ and lead single ‘How Did This Happen?’, but this is no rip-off. ‘Jack In Titanic’ is a shouty, celebratory paean to the doomed hero; ‘Warhol’ is a deadpan 90-second rumination on the philosophies of the Pop Art king, while ‘I Am Not A Cinephile’ is little more than a series of two repeated erratic notes and needs nothing else. Streamlined and minimal but bursting with intelligence, humour and ideas, BODEGA are the real deal. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘How Did This Happen?’, ‘Warhol’
6. can’t knock the hustle A Socratic debate I had with a co-worker at a soft-serve shop several years ago. Deductive logic without context (in this case, Jay Z’s) lead to disastrous results. 7. gyrate Nikki’s ode to female pleasure and self-sustainability. 8.jack in titanic Learned male behavior from the movies and LP’s. My childhood idols: James Bond, Jackie Chan, and Jack (in Titanic). 9. margot Erotic idealism and what it’s up against. 10. bookmarks I got a tiny tattoo on my wrist several years ago to wake me up whenever stuck in the muck of repetition. The tattoo lost some of its power over time so I wrote this song. 11. warhol A diss track to Andy. A syllogism following his logic to its natural conclusion. 12. charlie On New Year’s Eve in 2007 my best friend Charlie drowned in the Charleston River. We had spent every day of that fall semester together; playing records stoned at the University of South Carolina. I’ve been trying to write him a worthy song since then and only recently found the melody that felt like him. My favourite song to play. 13. williamsburg bridge EXT. WBURG BRIDGE. SUNSET. Themes: vertigo, memory, longing, clarity. 14. truth is not punishment A protest song. A reminder to be open-wide.
“Please, just WAIT, I’m taking m….. oh fine.”
eee CHROMEO Head Over Heels
When Chromeo broke through in the mid-00s, the kind of funk-pop they were peddling was deliberately dated; their contemporaries were using synths alright, but Dave 1 and P-Thugg used theirs to also cast a knowing wink back to the decades that gave them their shimmering sound. Which makes returning after four years with ‘Head Over Heels’ a funny one: in the interim, what was against the grain, almost auspiciously uncool is, well, as mainstream as it gets. From Daft Punk to Uptown Funk, the resurgence of Nile Rodgers and even as far as *spit* Maroon 5, by doing nothing different on album five, they’re doing, well, nothing different. So it’s just as well they’ve picked guests well. The appearance of Stefflon Don alongside French Montana on ‘Don’t Sleep’, and Amber Mark on ‘Just Friends’ keeps ‘Head Over Heels’ - and Chromeo - still at least half a step ahead of the times. (Louisa Dixon) LISTEN: ‘Don’t Sleep’
MATTIEL Mattiel (Heavenly)
An ad designer and illustrator in Atlanta by day and the mononymous Mattiel as a musician by night, Mattiel Brown’s self-titled debut brings soulful rock ‘n’ roll into the modern age. Blending classic Americana sounds with a tinge of modern pop and stating such disparate influences as Jack White, Andre 3000, T-Rex’s Marc Bolan and 1950s rock‘n’roll pioneer Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, she clearly has a plethora of ideas and huge ambition but luckily also seems to have the talent to pull everything together into one coherent album.
Joy As An Act Of Resistance
Thought the Bristol punks couldn’t sound any more heart-on-sleeve incendiary? Think again. Released 31st August.
A Better Life
If lead track ‘Animal’ is anything to judge the rest of Tarek and gang’s second LP by, they’ve turned the whole lot up to eleven. Out 17th August.
Stranger Today It’s been a long time coming, but Soph, Lauren and Josh’s debut will be with us come 17th August.
Bringing The Backline
Across three full-lengths and countless other singles and compilations, Trust Fund’s Ellis Jones has become one of the UK DIY scene’s most-loved figures. Helmed by the breezy, melody-packed single ‘Carson McCullers’, ‘Bringing The Backline’ sees him swooping between dark, heavy lyricism (“Got that sad, Sunday suicidal ideation eight days a week”) and funny yet straight-faced quips (“For her messages, I would wait forever / But the girls in the group chat alone know her plans for the summer”). ‘King Of CM’, the album’s fuzzy centrepiece also brings the sardonic lyrics (“Oh, and so succinctly I unsubtly infer / That you should lose that bruised banana of a boyfriend and come out with me”). There’s some curveballs here too - ‘Alexandra’ is helmed by icy drum machine - but ‘Bringing The Backline’ largely just reaffirms Trust Fund’s place at UK DIY’s top table. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘King Of CM’
Having supported Jack White on a series of recent tour dates, it seems fitting that ‘Five and Tens’ recalls the raw energy of The White Stripes, but it might be on on the bold power choruses of album singles ‘Whites Of Their Eyes’ and ‘Bye Bye’ where she’s at her brightest and best. (Rachel Finn) LISTEN: ‘Bye Bye, ‘Whites Of Their Eyes’
eeee TRUST FUND
eee TY SEGALL AND WHITE FENCE Joy (Drag City)
Six years on from the previous collaboration between Californian psych-rock stalwarts Ty Segall and Tim Presley, the pair have joined forces again. 15 tracks long but barely 30 minutes in length, ‘Joy’ generally feels like a muddled assortment of hooks, riffs, field recordings and interludes than aren’t always memorable or compelling. Somewhere among the disposable stoner-rock licks, acoustic strums and thrashing fuzz hide some tidy nuggets, though. ‘A Nod’ sounds like a long-lost collaboration between The Beatles and The Byrds, with layered vocals and sweet, jangling chords, while ‘My Friend’ gravitates towards a Neil Youngstyle Southern rock outro. The lack of focus damages the record as a whole, but then again these are artists that favour productivity over perfection. Like any Ty Segall or White Fence record, there is much to savour here. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘She Is Gold’
THE INTERNET Hive Mind (Columbia)
Written and produced entirely by the group, ‘Hive Mind’ delivers as many gems as The Internet’s breakout third record ‘Ego Death’, and serves up some serious ‘70s funk and soul flavours in the process. ‘Come Together’ acts as the record’s mission statement, the perfect example of Syd’s comments about music being used to promote unity and positivity in this politically-charged time. Steve Lacy also makes for a refreshing change for lead vocals on ‘Roll (Burbank Funk)’ and ‘Beat Goes On’. Just as ‘Hive Mind’ indicates the collaborative spirit of The Internet, it’s clear to see that spending time away working on their individual projects has only strengthened the group’s sound, Steve’s slinky guitar riffs, Patrick Paige’s charged bass and Syd’s honest vocals in particular making the album a pure pleasure to listen to. (Kate Lismore) LISTEN: ‘It Gets Better‘
eee JOHNNY MARR Call The Comet (Warner Bros.)
When Johnny Marr left his temporary spot in The Cribs back in 2011 to embark upon a solo career, you might have got long odds on it involving three records in six years. It seems as if Johnny is very much at home being front-and-centre these days, with ‘Call The Comet’ another album that has him sounding as confident as he ever has as a frontman. That has to be, to some degree, down to the fact that he toured those last two albums extensively, because the first thing you notice here is just how at ease he seems with his own voice; there’s a bluesy assurance about his delivery on opener ‘Rise’ that sets the tone for the rest of the record. Where ‘Call the Comet’ falters a little is on the thematic concepts that he’s discussed, whereby the songs are intended to come together to paint a picture of a near-future utopian society; he hasn’t quite pulled that off as smoothly as he’d intended, perhaps because he just isn’t that kind of lyricist. Still, musically speaking, there’s plenty to like - it’s a stylish, polished affair from one of the UK’s premier axemen.(Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Bug’
Steve Lacy: extremely flexible man, or sitting on an invisible chair? 69
SWEATY PALMS Quit Now (Nice Swan)
eeee DEAFHEAVEN Ordinary Corrupt Human Love (Anti-)
Deafheaven’s place in the world changed drastically back in 2013, when their second album - the brutal but shimmering ‘Sunbather’ became a cult hit and propelled them out of the somewhat insular black metal scene that they’d existed in for half a decade. 2015 follow-up ‘New Bermuda’ felt like a reaction to their new-found exposure, an excellent but slightly off-balance return that gave little hints as to their future direction. Enter ‘Ordinary Corrupt Human Love’, a fourth studio album that at once repositions the band as a genreless powerhouse. Opener ‘You Without End’ channels Explosions In The Sky in its widescreen, openroad feel, punctuated by sung backing vocals, before George’s vocals add bite to the sheen. It’s the little surprise flourishes that make standout ‘Honeycomb’ - and ‘Ordinary Corrupt Human Love’ - such a delight as a whole though; at the four-minute mark, the track turns from a pummelling metal track into a punk song that skips along with momentum, guitarist Kerry McCoy throwing out Thin Lizzy-esque guitar licks. It’s the sign of the band never having had more fun. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Honeycomb’, ‘Canary Yellow’
Glasgow’s ghastliest four-piece make an ear-splitting impression on their debut, but it’s not all just hot air and white noise on these eleven tracks. Robbie Houston is a compelling, and sometimes politically-charged storyteller when you can make him out through the haze. The subject of misogyny is attacked at several points across ‘Quit Now’, first of all during the searing, Birthday Partyesque single ‘Captain of the Rugby Team’. Elsewhere, ‘The Illusionist’ recalls the fearsome freakbeat of The Cramps, with a ‘Jack the Ripper’-style guitar riff and a ghoulish, howling refrain. Like their peers, Sweaty Palms clearly have a lot to say and a lot of noise to say it with. ‘Quit Now’ captures the sheer volume of the band with ease, but, crucially, it also has a message for those who are willing to listen out for it. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘Transit Paul’ Taps aff, pants down.
It turns out Sweaty Palms got, er, sweaty palms as they recorded ‘Quit Now’. How did you come together as a band? We joined forces as rehabilitation for our time spent in various different cults. A simpler time actually. Rehearsals take the form of our weekly group therapy. When and where did you record ‘Quit Now’? At The Green Door Studio in Glasgow over a rare hot and sticky period of 7 days in the summer of ‘17 aka a lifetime ago. You’ve got a reputation for chaotic live shows - how did you work to manifest that on record? We recorded the vast majority of the album live, straight to tape with minimal overdubs. We worked fast and maintained a loose grasp on the process in order not to sterilise the music. Hopefully it comes across. We were still writing the album a week before the recording dates. So much life and soul is lost in how people perform their music - by the time it makes it to the studio the band have already played the life out of it, we do our best to avoid that.
eee PHANTASTIC FERNITURE Phantastic Ferniture (Transgressive)
EP OCALYPSE NOW!
You’ll probably best know Julia Jacklin from her 2016 album ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’, a melancholy indie-folk record that saw the Sydney singer-songwriter wear her heart on her sleeve. But she’s also been building up side-project Phantastic Ferniture alongside bandmates Elizabeth Hughes and Ryan K Brennan. On the trio’s self-titled debut, Julia and her bandmates take her sound in a more upbeat garage-rock-tinged direction. This feel good attitude is most evident on singles ‘Fuckin ‘N’ Rollin’ and ‘Gap Year’ but there’s variety here too. On ‘Take It Off’ and ‘I Need It’ things take a more lurching, darker turn with rumbling bass lines and a sense of urgency. Julia’s vocals are still the centre-piece here but they take a more playful turn and, at nine songs long, the record serves as a short but promising introduction to a band still in their relative infancy. (Rachel Finn) LISTEN: ‘Gap Year’
BACK TO THE
DRAWING BOARD with PHANTASTIC FERNITURE
Q1: Where did you record the album?
Because sometimes good things come in small(er) packages.
eeee YOUTH MAN
Five Songs (Alcopop!)
There’s something distinctly no-nonsense about ‘Five Songs’. It isn’t, though, straightforward punk; there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface. Kaila Whyte’s shape-shifting vocals hold everything together; it’s a spoken-word snarl one minute, and a throat-shredding scream the next. ‘Five Songs’ bodes well for the future of Youth Man, even if it’s over too soon. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Statuesque‘
Q3: Draw a room full of ‘Phantastic Ferniture’. Q2: What does a ‘Dark Corner Dance Floor’ look like?
eee ORCHARDS Losers / Lovers
(Big Scary Monsters)
To get the best results ‘Losers / Lovers’ needs to be played somewhere sunny. Opener ‘Luv You 2’ explodes from the speakers in dazzling technicolour. It’s a fun collection of songs that show off Orchards’ compositional prowess, and ear for a killer melody. The downside is that some of the songs are nearly two years old. Where it excels is getting us excited about Orchards. A strong first attempt, but more new songs next time please. (Nick Roseblade) LISTEN: ‘Be Here‘ 72 diymag.com
Q4: What did each of you look like as an ‘Uncomfortable Teenager’?
ALL POINTS EAST Victoria Park, London Photos: Emma Swann
LIVE Day 1
here’s nothing like stepping through the gates of the first festival of the summer. All Points East is new for London’s legendary Victoria Park, and sees the doors thrown wide open on a muggy Friday night in Hackney.
There’s little room for introspection across today’s line-up; with early sets from Confidence Man, Superorganism and Young Fathers, bombastic energy is firmly the order of the day. This is carried on in earnest by Glass Animals. Taking a chunk of time off after touring second record ‘How To Be A Human Being’ relentlessly last year, their relief to get back on stage is palpable.
Another band who are most definitely happy to be back is Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It’s been five years since the trio have played on UK soil, as Karen O points out, but when you can arrive on stage and bash out an opener of ‘Y Control’ like it’s nothing, you needn’t be worried. A decade and a half after the band’s debut, Karen remains a perfect frontwoman, bounding her way around the stage and goading the crowd into giving just as much energy as she’s exuding. They, of course, oblige. A lightning-fast crash through calling card ‘Date With The Night’, and just like that, five years disappear into the distance, and one of the greatest live bands in the world are back.
Not an easy one for LCD Soundsystem to follow, then. It’s been two years since the band first returned for a reunion tour, and with new album ‘American Dream’ under their belt, tonight only serves to affirm that they’re well and truly back. Big-hitters ‘Losing My Edge’ and ‘New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down’ are swapped out, with space given to the sprawling, creepy ‘How Do You Sleep?’ and ‘American Dream’’s skittish closer ‘Emotional Haircut’. The sense that the band have nothing to prove, and deserve their place again, is palpable, and even sees Nancy Whang lead a gloriously carefree run-through of Chic’s ‘I Want Your Love’.
If the blazing sunshine wasn’t enough to shake off sore heads, then Rex Orange County makes it a whole lot easier. Taking to the festival’s North Stage, Alex O’Connor briskly makes his way through breezy cuts from last year’s ‘Apricot Princess’, and is becoming more of a showman with each step.
Stefflon Don then performs a hometown set on the cavernous main stage that exudes confidence. Joined by a troupe of skilled dancers, her set is all-energy from start to finish, whether on the slower R&B-infused ‘Hurtin’ Me’ or the ridiculously catchy ‘16 Shots’. Lykke Li draws a huge crowd for an early evening performance, injecting a dose of euphoria into her live set while Sampha commands the main stage with understated confidence, at times dancing around the stage with an infectious energy and enthusiasm and at others nestled behind his keyboard. lorde
Lorde then puts in one of the sets of the weekend. The show is stunning - backing dancers worm their way around the singer, intertwining with intense cuts from last year’s ‘Melodrama’, and the emotional power of the tracks is thrust back at Lorde with every ounce of the energy she performs them with. As soon as ‘Dangerous’ opens The xx’s headline set with a slinky thrust, the mood is set and it rarely shifts. The set is helmed by Jamie, stood atop a platform and whizzing his way between all manner of samplers. Both Oliver and Romy take time to give an ode to London, a place the bassist calls “the greatest city in the world”, and they depart via a gorgeous rendition of ‘Angels’, sang back at them word for word.
yeah yeah yeahs
Kelela plays a captivating early-evening set in the West Arena, full of sleek, emotional R&B from last year’s breakout debut album ‘Take Me Apart’. Friendly Fires, meanwhile, are in their element on the North Stage. Jumping straight into ‘Lovesick’ from their 2008 debut, Ed MacFarlane and co smash through summery bop after summery bop, with new cuts from an expected upcoming third album promising more of the same, punctuated with blissful horns.
If one were to employ a team of science boffs to plot out the many varied genres and styles on show today, Beck would sit somewhere pretty near the centre. It’s Party Beck that’s made his way to a similarly celebratory Victoria Park this evening, as he flits between banger after banger. “I think this is one of our best London shows we’ve ever had,” he remarks, before the all-too-short second billing set closes with an epic ‘Where It’s At’ via hat-tips to Chic and Talking Heads. Things are - predictably - a little less straightforward for Björk. Beginning the world tour for new album ‘Utopia’, the show dodges convention, for better and for worse. The set struggles as a headline performance, with little punch or immediacy to capture the imagination of those beyond the dedicated throng at the front. Joined by a seven-piece flute section(!) and all manner of foliage on stage - along with otherworldly visuals on the huge screens - the show is wonderfully ambitious in scale, but doesn’t quite have the excitement that a headline set in such a huge space needs. (Rachel Finn and Will Richards) 75
APE PRESENTS… NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS
Victoria Park, London. Photos: Emma Swann.
aving played arguably the show of their lives at The O2 last year, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are an almighty headliner in themselves. Add an immaculately curated supporting cast featuring cemented legends and burgeoning icons of the alternative world’s most intelligent, boundary-pushing corners and you’ve got a leading light in a fortnight already full of stars.
Shame kick things off in the blazing mid-afternoon sun by announcing this as their first ever Main Stage festival slot. If their visceral punk blasts find a natural home in the sweaty confines of small venues, however, then today proves that they translate thrillingly onto bigger stages too. Ever the magnetic frontman, today Charlie Steen uses the added space and platform to really revel in the joys of being front and centre. Courtney Barnett draws one of the biggest afternoon crowds of the entire ST VINCENT
fortnight, bringing a heavier, riffier slant to the introversions of recent LP ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’. Tearing into old favourite ‘Avant Gardener’ and recent single ‘Nameless, Faceless’ with the same level of confident gusto, any hint of the introverted soul that used to reside underneath is ditched in favour of a proper, full blown frontwoman today. If there’s one person who knows a thing or two about putting on a show, it’s St Vincent. Now fully ensconced in the neon, sci-fi sexual dystopia of ‘Masseduction’, she’s part human, part robot, swapping out a series of highlighter pen-coloured guitars. And lord knows there’s tunes too, from ‘Birth In Reverse’ to ‘Digital Witness’, Annie Clark gives a masterclass in effortless cool, wrangling meaty riffs at every turn while barely breaking a sweat.
only the true one-offs can muster, her set is more a communal sermon than a traditional music gig. Ever since he basically hypnotised a girl in the crowd during a now-legendary Glastonbury performance, Nick Cave’s reputation as the high priest of musical black magic has been unquestionable. It’s a testament to his powers of command that when he brings out Actual Real Life Kylie for ’90s duet ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’, he’s still the most entrancing presence on stage. A tear-jerking ‘Into My Arms’ welcomes the dusk, and as they finish with ‘Push The Sky Away’, Cave surrounded on all sides, it’s like he’s hypnotised not just one person but a whole field of them. And that’s how you headline a festival. (Lisa Wright)
Patti Smith herself is, of course, every bit the living legend. Exuding the kind of natural presence and gravitas that
nick cave and the bad seeds
53 DEGREES NORTH
Zebedee’s Yard, Hull Photos: Emma Swann
s the swathes of festivals falling by the wayside each year will attest, it’s bloody hard trying to start a large scale event in 2018. Kudos then to new Hull all-dayer 53 Degrees North, who not only manage to avoid the pitfalls of most in this, their inaugural year as a big outdoor shindig, but who are also doing it for a worthwhile cause. Organised in support of local youth charity The Warren, it’s a Saturday knees-up with a heart.
Following sets from local punks Vulgarians and London-via-Hull newcomers Night Flowers, Our Girl continue the afternoon’s proceedings in earnest. Drawing from forthcoming debut ‘Stranger Today’, the trio’s blend of quiet-loud dynamics and mesmeric, slow-building drama might be more suited to low-lit, moody gig venues but in the blazing mid-day sun, they conjure up a different kind of spell. Still only entering their first summer on the festival circuit, Kent trio Lady Bird are already a ridiculously fully-formed proposition. It’s not only in the Mike Skinner-esque social storytelling of recent EP ‘Social Potions’, but in the confident, easy way they switch vocalists and dish up word-perfect between-song stage patter that’s almost spoken word poetry.
Doncaster boys The Blinders might have a questionable line in face paint, but their raucous racket is decent, seemingly drawing, appropriately, from headliners Slaves’ spitting punk and The Horrors’ first album psych squalls in equal measure. With a crowd of punters adorned in merch, Hull boys LIFE aren’t just hometown heroes here, they’re also part-orchestrators of today’s entire event. Unsurprisingly then, their set is a victorious one, singer Mez Green peppering their playful post-punk with impassioned speeches about the importance of young people and The Warren itself. It contextualises the quartet’s whole ethos. While the likes of ‘Euromillions’ and ‘In Your Hands’ are excitable, propulsive gems in their own right, it’s the political and social message that runs throughout their arsenal that sets the band apart. Today, it shines through with importance. Dream Wife, meanwhile, have their own mission today – namely, eulogising their soon-to-be-retiring tour manager with as many endearingly overblown dedications as possible. Luckily, the sheer, joyful airpunch of their live show means the trio can get away with these kind of indulgences. ‘Let’s Make Out’ and ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ have become ferocious, revitalised things; not even bothering to sing the words of the former’s opening and instead letting out
a roaring scream by way of replacement, Rakel, Bella and Alice sound the best they’ve ever done. The Horrors, too, are on the form of their lives. During the touring cycle for 2014 LP ‘Luminous’, the quintet seemed uninspired by their own sets. Now, with the more forceful wares of recent album ‘V’ at the fore, the Londoners are a band rejuvenated. Clad in PVC trousers and zips, Faris prowls the stage like the electricity-shocked goth of old, leading the industrial grind of Nine Inch Nails-esque single ‘Machine’ and the Gary Numan space synths of ‘Hologram’. In turn, the new material gives the old favourites a new lease of life. And so to headliners Slaves. Heading into album three, Isaac and Laurie are a well-oiled machine by now; throwing out cheeky double act jokes alongside the kind of short, sharp punk blasts that they’ve become known for, the likes of ‘Cheer Up London’ and ‘Fuck The Hi-Hat’ are designed to rev crowds up into a jubilant frenzy. When things take a bleaker turn and a woman in the crowd calls someone out for harassing her, the band react immediately and with zero tolerance. It’s exactly what a punk band should be: fun and frenetic, but also compassionate and kind. And closing a festival that stands for all those things, Slaves have got it nailed. (Lisa Wright)
Parc del Fòrum, Barcelona. Photos: Louise Mason.
he European festival curtainraiser, Primavera Sound has carved out a reputation for bringing the most eclectic, intense line-up of the summer to Barcelona each year. The first full day of proceedings is as jam-packed and genrebending as you’d expect.
Warpaint have been here before, and bring the brightest, danciest parts of their discography to Barcelona. Bar a thudding speaker malfunction that shudders the ground and makes the whole crowd jump with fright, Warpaint deliver, and show their somewhat insular cuts can translate well enough to main stages. Björk later brings her weird, hugely colourful and slightly inaccessible ‘Utopia’ tour to the Seat stage, before Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds prove anything but inaccessible on the opposite stage. Throwing out classic ‘Do You Love Me?’ inside the first five minutes, the veterans’ intentions for the evening are already perfectly clear; Nick’s an entertainer, if a twisted, pofaced, snarling one. Providing respite from the emotional onslaught are Chvrches, who are bringing new album ‘Love Is Dead’ to its first major festival. There’s a punch to the trio’s sound that feels bigger than ever before. It’s also helped by the recent addition of Jonny Scott on drums, providing the backbone for the band’s chunky synth-pop. Friday starts with Waxahatchee, who blows any potential midafternoon hangovers away with a gorgeous 45-minute sweetener. Also channelling gritty indie-rock are The Breeders. Kim and Kelley Deal’s onstage chemistry mirrors that of Katie and Allison Crutchfield just minutes before; it’s an insatiable bond that it’s impossible to take your eyes off. There’s a sense of understatement to The
National’s headline set tonight. The band’s traditional closing one-two of ‘Mr November’ and ‘Terrible Love’ is run through before the band dedicate ‘About Today’ to the late Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison. Having toured with the band, and Aaron Dessner producing the last Frightened Rabbit album - 2016’s ‘Painting Of A Panic Attack’ - the track takes on a new, far deeper meaning for both band and crowd tonight. It sees the set finish on a sombre note.
Tyler, The Creator then proceeds to blow the main stage apart, bringing out A$AP Rocky and hammering his way through highlights from last year’s ‘Flower Boy’ with abandon, and looking more comfortable than ever before. The atmosphere for IDLES is no less chaotic. The band are flying, hammering their way through cuts from debut album ‘Brutalism’ with utmost confidence and abandon. New tracks point the way forward tonight, from the bright, radioready thrash of ‘Danny Nedelko’ on.
Let’s Eat Grandma kick off our Sunday. Crashing through ‘Hot Pink’ into the euphoric synth-pop of new single ‘It’s Not Just Me’, the pair seem far more comfortable in their own skin second time around. Directly after, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever head confidently through breezy cuts from debut album ‘Hope Downs’. The power when they join together for a punchy chorus is an intoxicating prospect. As soon as ‘Four Out Of Five’ opens Arctic Monkeys’ set, the huge gathering sing along to every clink of piano, every note from Alex Turner’s mouth. Any worries about how ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ will affect Arctic Monkeys’ position as a world-beating festival headliner are left in the dust. (Will Richards)
unknown mortal orchestra
JAM-PACKED & GENRE-BENDING.
nick cave and the bad seeds
ARCTIC MONKEYS Royal Albert Hall, London Photos: Emma Swann
t’s been four long years since Arctic Monkeys stepped onto a UK stage, and you don’t need us to tell you that there’s been some big ol’ sonic changes at AM HQ in the interim. But if the smooth croons and slippery, often chorus-less forms of new LP ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ are designed to be judged as their own separate and cohesive new whole, then what the hell happens when you whack them up against the old stompers? The answer however, as with most things Monkeys, is that it works kind of ingeniously. Scattered around a stage that mirrors the album cover’s set design, and backed by Old Hollywood-style glowing ‘MONKEYS’ signage, there’s more than a whiff of the theatre in the Royal Albert Hall’s opulent surrounds tonight. While the twinkling cinema of set opener ‘Four Out Of Five’ or the grandiose crashes of ‘She Looks Like Fun’ hinted that they could sidle up to the oldies without too much fuss, it’s in the more unexpected picks that the band prove they’re puppetmasters of real excellence. ‘TBH&C”s title track is dropped straight after ‘Arabella’, the former’s spidery lyrics somehow making sense of it’s new partner’s strange stream of consciousness. ‘One Point Perspective’, meanwhile, comes complete with some comedy “lost my train of thought” acting from Turner, before crashing into the high drama of ‘Do Me A Favour’ while ‘Star Treatment”s already legendary opening line (“I just wanted to be one of The Strokes…”) is sung back with as much glee as any of the classics. Oh yeah, and there’s a whole heap of those classics, don’t you worry. With a back catalogue as rich and brilliant as theirs, cherry-picking a mere hour or so of best bits is a near impossible task, but tonight the Monkeys do about as good a job as it’s possible to do of it. Throwing out the jagged spikes of ‘Brianstorm’ and the prowling swagger of ‘Crying Lightning’ and ‘Do I Wanna Know’ early, the thread that connects everything tonight, no matter what
the album or era, is this sense of heightened drama in its many and various guises. Whether in the emotive crescendoes of ‘505’ or the saucy danger of ‘Knee Socks’, ‘Pretty Visitors” disdainful leer or the youthful antagonism of ‘From The Ritz To The Rubble’ (served up tonight for the first time since 2011), there’s no dip in energy. Whether slow and soft or hard and fast, Turner and co inject everything with the same level of commitment. Of course, it goes without saying that the whole of the RAH loses its mind from start to finish. Everyone knows tonight is special. The welcoming home of our finest sons, and an absolutely superlative return from the most superlative band of them all. As if we ever could have doubted it. (Lisa Wright)
A SUPERLATIVE RETURN.
quiz of sor ts, we’ll A big inter-band pub one by one. be grilling your faves
It’s Your Round
tface lasse lokøy, slø t: £2.50 Cos a sod and e Lim Drink: don Lon an, term Ligh The Location:
Chosen subject: red hot chili peppers (‘californication’ era)
Q1: Which countries hosted the World Cup the first time it came to Asia? Ooooh, no idea. China? It was Japan and South Korea, in 2002.
Q1: Which world-famous producer was behind the desk for ‘Californication’? Rick Rubin! Immediate, and right.
Q2: What is a Vexillologist? Oh man - is it something to do with patriotism? In a way, but no dice we’re afraid. It’s someone who studies flags.
Q2: The song ‘Emit Remmus’ was inspired by Anthony Kiedis’ brief relationship with which famous British pop star? Oh man - good song but no clue! Amazingly, it was the Spice Girls’ very own Mel C.
Q3: Abuja is the capital of which country? Argh, I honestly have no idea. Wearers of the best shirt at this year’s World Cup, it’s Nigeria! Q4: What are the five boroughs of New York City? I’ve got Manhattan and Brooklyn….Jersey? No, I can only get those two. You’d also need The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. Q5: What is Taylor Swift’s middle name? Oh wow this is going badly. No clue! Alison.
Verdict: A woeful performance on general knowledge was (almost) counter-balanced by tip-top knowledge of the Chilis. Lasse’s addicted to the shindig but not the trivia quizzes, we see.
Q3: What number Chilis album was ‘Californication’? Ooh….sixth? Nope, seventh!. Second time’s the charm! It’s their seventh LP. Q4: Which was the first song shared from the album, in May 1999? The title track? No, that’s too obvious. ‘Scar Tissue’?. Bang on the money! Q5: Which famous actor did Chad Smith have a drum off with on late night telly? Oh god! I’ve seen it and cannot remember his name. Star of Elf, Step Brothers and Looking Just Like Chad Smith, it was Will Ferrell. Score:
AMBER ARCADES The Cellar Oxford | 27.07.18
THE NIGHT CAFE O2 Academy Oxford | 25.09.18
OUR GIRL The Cookie Leicester | 15.10.18
IDLES O2 Academy Oxford | 29.10.18
PUPPY The Cookie Leicester | 06.08.18
THE NIGHT CAFE Dryden Street Social Leicester | 26.09.18
TOM GRENNAN O2 Academy Oxford | 18.10.18
THE BLINDERS The Bullingdon Oxford | 05.11.18
OMNI The Cellar Oxford | 15.08.18
TELEMAN O2 Academy Oxford | 29.09.18
TOM GRENNAN O2 Academy Leicester | 19.10.18
JAPANESE BREAKFAST O2 Academy Oxford | 20.08.18
WHEN YOUNG The Cookie Leicester | 05.10.18
PUMA BLUE The Cellar Oxford | 22.10.18
SHAME O2 Academy Leicester | 17.11.18
CREEPER Dryden Street Social Leicester | 21.08.18
THE MAGIC GANG O2 Academy Oxford | 05.10.18
HUSKY LOOPS The Cookie Leicester | 23.10.18
PAUL DRAPER The Cookie Leicester | 17.11.18
STELLA DONNELLY The Cookie Leicester | 23.08.18
Newhampton Arts Centre Wolverhampton | 10.10.18
YELLOW DAYS The Bullingdon Oxford | 23.10.18
EASY LIFE Dryden Street Social Leicester | 22.11.18
ODDITY ROAD The Cookie Leicester | 31.08.18
GET CAPE. WEAR CAPE. FLY. The Cookie Leicester | 11.10.18
ROLLING BLACKOUTS C.F O2 Academy Oxford | 25.10.18
SUNFLOWER BEAN Dryden Street Social Leicester | 23.11.18
GOAT GIRL The Cookie Leicester | 07.09.18
HOLLIE COOK O2 Academy Oxford | 12.10.18
HERâ€™S The Cookie Leicester | 26.10.18
MIDDLE KIDS The Cookie Leicester | 25.11.18
DESERT MOUNTAIN TRIBE The Cookie Leicester | 14.09.18
CASSIA The Cookie Leicester | 13.10.18
BAD SOUNDS The Cookie Leicester | 27.10.18
SUNFLOWER BEAN The Bullingdon Oxford | 25.11.18
LOW ISLAND O2 Academy Oxford | 21.09.18
DERMOT KENNEDY O2 Academy Oxford | 14.10.18
WE ARE SCIENTISTS The Bullingdon Oxford | 28.10.18
SHAME O2 Academy Oxford | 27.11.18
O2 Academy Oxford | 15.11.18
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