s e t mu s ic f re e f r e e / i s s ue (1 9 ) 75 / J UN E 2 01 8 diymag .com
THE 1975. THE FIRST INTERVIEW.
J U N E 2 0 1 8 Date night with Matt was an acquired taste...
GOOD VS EVIL
WHAT’S ON THE DIY TEAM’S R ADAR?
Founding Editor Art Director GOOD An absolute GOOD The Great Escape was a sensory assault in vintage year at the Great the best way possible. Escape, 2.30am Black Midi being the highlight. Great new bands! Great EVIL The horrific new-ish bands! discovery that I work EVIL Being still so hungover on the Friday alongside someone who afternoon that I couldn’t thinks said band sound like alt-J. take a single sip of a free ............................. cocktail. Ouch. .............................. Will Richards Digital Editor GOOD Spent two Features Editor GOOD In this issue you brilliant, wild days on tour with Shame. will find two separate EVIL Have probably interviews in which men slept an average of five called Matthew start talking to me about Jim hours a night across May. Thinking of installing a Carrey and that’s, if not a nap room in DIY HQ. good thing, then at least ............................. ‘a thing’. EVIL The hardest part Rachel Finn about attempting to not Staff Writer eat meat for a bit is when GOOD Started this new you’re pissed in Subway job at DIY this month, and forget you’re not which is pretty good, meant to be ordering a isn’t it? steak sandwich. What’s a EVIL My hangover girl to do? after The Great Escape ............................. was pretty dire, but also definitely worth it.
EDITOR’S LET TER Sometimes, fate is on your side and for team DIY this month, that was definitely the case. As it happened, our June issue doubled as DIY 75, and its street date was scheduled to be 1st June. So when a certain band asked if we’d like to speak to them about what they’ve been beavering away at, everything clicked into place. Enter cover stars The 1975, who - in these very pages! - give us the first interview about their new ‘era’ - you read that right - ‘Music For Cars’. Better strap in, dear readers. You’re in for a hell of a ride. Sarah Jamieson, Managing Editor GOOD Finally getting to see LCD Soundsystem play live! After missing them last year (and the year before), it was the perfect print day pay-off. EVIL Not so much evil as heartbreaking. The news of Scott Hutchison’s passing this past month was incredibly sad, and we’re still sending all our love in the direction of his family, friends and fans.
W h at ’ s b e e n t i c k l i n g t h e DIY team’s eardrums this month? bodega - ‘endless scroll’
Brash post-punk with lashings of incisive wit, a song about Leo’s most iconic role and produced by Austin Parquet Courts - what’s not to love?
mattiel - ‘Mattiel’
Getting a second injection of life with a UK release on Heavenly, it’s not hard to see why Mattiel’s amalgamation of ‘60s-soaked blues is gaining followers by the day. yolanda be cool - ‘we no speak americano’ This is entirely the fault of Dom from Peace. But do we pop it on the office stereo when in need of a mid-afternoon pick-me-up? Yes, we do. 3
C O N T E N T S
6 SPRING KING 10 PEACE 14 DRENGE 1 6 H AV E YO U H E A R D ? 1 8 H A L L O F FA M E 2 2 F E S T I VA L S
26 SPORTS TEAM 28 ROLLING BL ACKOUTS C OA S TA L F E V E R 33 KING PRINCESS
34 44 50 54 58
THE 1975 SHAME M AT T M A LT E S E SNAIL MAIL L E T ’ S E AT G R A N D M A
REVIEWS 62 ALBUMS 76 LIVE
Founding Editor Emma Swann Managing Editor Sarah Jamieson Features Editor Lisa Wright Digital Editor Will Richards Staff Writer Rachel Finn Art Direction & Design Louise Mason Contributors Alex Cabré, James Bentley, Joe Goggins, Matthew Kent, Rhian Daly, Ryan De Freitas, Samantha Daly. Photographers Eva Pentel, Jenn Five, Lindsay Melbourne, Patrick Gunning, Phil Smithies, Samuel Taylor-Johnson, Sharon López, Sinéad Grainger. Photo this page Sharon López For DIY editorial firstname.lastname@example.org For DIY sales email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org For DIY stockist enquiries email@example.com
mDIY HQ, 23 Tileyard Studios, London N7 9AH Shout out to: Samuel Burgess-Johnson for all things 1975, Bobby Fitzpatrick’s ridiculously cool bar, the ever-brilliant Brudenell Social Club, Constellations in Liverpool, the city of Leeds for their £2.20 pints, Dead Oceans, Eva Pentel for the great collage, Horatio’s for hosting us again at The Great Escape, Peace for all the bananas and Wahaca for not one but two excellent mid-festival rescue meals (please send us some food we love you). 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.
Would you let this man in front of your kids?
JULY 12-13-14 ESPACIO MAD COOL VALDEBEBAS-IFEMA MADRID
TAME IMPALA • KASABIAN • JUSTICE • POST MALONE
FLEET FOXES • MGMT • EELS • YO LA TENGO • LEON BRIDGES • JAPANDROIDS • WASHED OUT PORCHES • FIDLAR • MAYA JANE COLES • IVÁN FERREIRO • TOUNDRA • SLAVES • DVSN • ACTRESS THE LAST INTERNATIONALE • GOLD PANDA • FATIMA YAMAHA • LALI PUNA • MODELO DE RESPUESTA POLAR GANG OF YOUTHS • MICK JENKINS • BIZNAGA • MILK TEETH • BED RUGS • DURAND JONES & THE INDICATIONS RE-TROS • CONTTRA • YLIA • CAROLINA DURANTE • BIFANNAH REPION • FRANK´S WHITE CANVAS • LOS RAMBLINGS
ARCTIC MONKEYS • JACK WHITE
MASSIVE ATTACK • FRANZ FERDINAND • SNOW PATROL • ALICE IN CHAINS
JAMES BAY • AT THE DRIVE IN • BEN HOWARD • PAUL KALKBRENNER • PERFUME GENIUS • SAMPHA • MARMOZETS ODESZA • REAL ESTATE • LA MARAVILLOSA ORQUESTA DEL ALCOHOL • THE WHITE BUFFALO • KEVIN MORBY SOFI TUKKER • JAIN • YOUNG FATHERS • JAMES HOLDEN & THE ANIMAL SPIRITS • BLACK PISTOL FIRE THE BLOODY BEETROOTS • OFENBACH • MORGAN • EROL ALKAN • THE BIG MOON • BAYONNE • NÚRIA GRAHAM WILD FRONT • GOAT GIRL • AGORAPHOBIA • HOLY BOUNCER • ALEX FRANCIS • VÍCTOR SANTANA MAVICA • WHYWHYKA • BADLANDS
DEPECHE MODE • QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE
NINE INCH NAILS • DUA LIPA • UNDERWORLD • JACK JOHNSON
RICHIE HAWTIN CLOSE • JET • RAG'N'BONE MAN • KASE.O • FUTURE ISLANDS • GLASS ANIMALS PORTUGAL. THE MAN • KALEO • WOLF ALICE • LP • BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB • RIVAL SONS
DJ KOZE • FRANKIE COSMOS • THE BLACK MADONNA • DANIEL AVERY • WEVAL • RUFUS T. FIREFLY • ANGEL STANICH HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF • CORA NOVOA • MAGA • POLO & PAN LIVE • JARDÍN DE LA CROIX • DEAF HAVANA GRUPPO DI PAWLOWSKI • PILE • HAUX • THE NINTH WAVE • ELYELLA • NIÑA COYOTE ETA CHICO TORNADO MOKUMOKU • TOURJETS • ALBERTO & GARCÍA
N E W S
Returning with huge new single â€˜Animalâ€™, and with album two on the way,
Spring King are beefed up and ready to go all over again. Words: Will Richards. Photos: Emma Swann.
Donnie Darko had really mellowed out over the years.
O U T
C A G E
comebacks go, Spring King’s return with ‘Animal’ is a total belter. Stating its intentions within seconds, it’s a filthy, riff-dominated monster, vocalist Tarek Musa sounding more inspired and fired up than ever. A first taste of upcoming second album ‘A Better Life’, it’s the most exciting teaser we could have hoped for. “We were playing ‘Animal’ on our headline tour at the start of this year,” Tarek tells us, fresh from releasing the track and its frenetic music video, “and I just couldn’t wait for it to come out because, although people were jumping around to it already, I could just tell that when it comes out, they’ll be going even more apeshit.” The band’s set at last month’s Live At Leeds saw this come to fruition, the song received like an anthem only days after it was unleashed. A self-described workaholic, the band were only off the tour for debut record ‘Tell Me If You Like To’ for a matter of weeks before Tarek and guitarist Peter Darlington found a writing room down in London to make headway into LP2. Before long, a gargantuan sixty tracks were available to them, and the record began to take shape. “We rushed the first record so much,” he looks back, reflecting on just three weeks of sessions. “There was a bit of a pressure there; we’d just become the first band played on Beats 1 and wanted to kick on as fast as possible, and so we got something out there quickly. For this record, we’d write two or three days a week for a couple of hours a day and take it quite easy.” When the songs were fleshed out, they took them to Vale Studios in Worcestershire, a vast upgrade from Tarek’s now-infamous Manchester bathroom, where the debut came to life. “The first album made us consider trying to take a breath,” he says, before revealing that he, uh, didn’t take his own advice at all. “This new album is so fucking loud and fast, and when we were in the studio, we really should’ve said to ourselves, you know, ‘Guys, let’s put in some slow breaks here’, because although some of the songs are mid-tempo, they’re still super heavy,” he laughs. “I should’ve learnt my lesson from the first album, but I’m in it now!” The answer then, naturally, looks to be to head to the gym. “I love bands that have such a huge stage presence, and we want to command the stage that way too, but when we’re playing such fast, loud music, we need to stay fit,” he says, almost grimacing before recounting some of the band’s early shows. “I used to have a
vomit bag on stage,” he laughs. “I remember throwing up on one of the guys from FIDLAR’s shoes. We were supporting them at Heaven in London, and so happy to have that show. The crowd were going nuts, and we walked off to see them having watched us from side stage, telling us it was a great show, and then I just let it all out...” While album two looks like it might see less of this type of on-stage behaviour, it’s still a non-stop barrage from a band at the top of their game. It’s also a record that comes with a vitally important message.
“Thisnew album is so fuckingloud and fast.” TarekMusa
“‘Animal’ was the first song we wrote for the album, and it was a really special moment,” Tarek remembers. “For me, it’s about that feeling of being completely lost, and just living for the weekend. There’s this tension we all have, and we’re all on so much social media, and I really do feel quite animalistic a lot of the time, just sitting there thinking ‘What the fuck am I doing on this piece of shit phone? I’m scrolling through and there’s just nothing...’ and there’s this tension that you don’t quite know how to relieve. In a lot of ways, phones have fucked us. We’re not trying to make it a massive thing - we’re not going to write our ‘Everything Now’,” he adds with a smirk - “but ‘Animal’ is that tussle between modern life and wanting to be human.”
“The album title is ‘A Better Life’,” he continues, presenting the flipside to ‘Animal’’s frustrations, “and it sums it up pretty well. It’s about improving where you are, and rebuilding in an apocalyptic world if something’s gone wrong in your life. It’s about rebuilding, and knowing there’s another way. I’ve become a bit wiser after writing this album,” he reflects. “I feel like I’ve learnt something from the process about life itself, which sounds fucking cheesy, but…” he shrugs, smiling. ‘A Better Life’ also sees all four members of Spring King entering the writing process. In the live setting they’ve been a ‘proper band’ for years now, but this time ‘round, that’s solidified on tape. “We’d been a band for four years under my songs,” he lays out, “and it feels like this is where the band really starts. It’s always been this way because of time restrictions, and people having day jobs, but this album is where it becomes a case of us all being in this together. It sounds like everyone’s chipped in, and it’s amazing. It makes me feel happy that we’ve finally caught up on record to where we’ve been in a live setting for years now.” ‘A Better Life’ is out 17th August via Island. DIY
Harry, legiterally peeling a lemon.
AN YT H I NG BUT... Wi th : Peace
get to know some of your favourite acts - without a word spoken about the music.
Interview: Lisa Wright Photos: Emma Swann.
So, you have a theory about bananas, we’re told. Talk to us. Harry: A few. The first is that the banana opened my eyes up to the fact that really, fauna are at war with flora and losing the battle. It started yesterday when I was eating a banana and I said to Sam ‘this banana makes perfect sense from a human perspective but think about it for a second from the perspective of the banana: what is it thinking? Why would it be this way? To be perfectly grabbable, delicious and fluffy on the inside...’ Sam: A perfect source of slow-release energy and potassium. H: It’s all for our benefit: why are you here to serve us? And then Sam opened up my eyes... S: The banana has one up on us because it wants to be eaten. In the same way that when you want to trick a horse into taking its medicine you hide it in 10 diymag.com
food, that’s what the banana’s doing. It’s hidden its seeds inside. H: It’s the Trojan Horse! It’s sending its guys in, inside the banana. So we share the same vision and we both want the same thing, us and the banana. There is a mutual understanding of existence. But here’s the thing: they want us to eat them and help them spread their seeds around. But what does that make us? That makes us servants to the banana’s intentions. Surely the whole point of human digestion is to take in the bits and spread the bits around? S: We’re gardeners. H: We’re just gardeners. Here we are thinking that we’re free, but we’re not. But after vilifying bananas for a while and wondering how they could do that to us, I started to realise that maybe they’re the good guys. You know the conspiracy about some people being lizards? I think some people are
bananas. Bananas ripen all the other fruits in the bowl, and some people I find when you meet them, they make you faster, they bring out the good in you. If they’re the ripening fruit, is there a destructive fruit in the human bowl? Dom: Well, being around a banana does give you a shelf life because it means at some point you’ll go bad. H: We all go bad at some point. D: But at an accelerated rate. H: But what a ride! What a fucking ride! S: The light that burns the brightest... D: I was just playing devil’s advocate. H: I am also the first person to have photographic proof in the history of ever that I am the first person to peel a lemon. Lemons are just like all other citrus fruits, and they’re designed to be peeled and segmented, which made me realise that we think we’re
all big and clever with our technology and our bullshit but we don’t know nothing because we cut lemons in half and squeeze all their juice out really awkwardly and get tricked into buying those metal things. And Jif! Who juice the lemons for you! Crooks! S: They’ve been selling you a lie your whole life. H: And they make the bottle the shape of a lemon, as if it wasn’t insulting enough. So some people are bananas and some people are lizards... H: Dom’s the most lizardy one of us, in general. He’s probably the most likely to lie and bake in the sun; I always use that as a measurement of how lizardy someone is. S: I think that’s Doug. D: Doug’s quite reptilian. S: I think he’s more amphibian. D: He does have an amphibious streak. Do the rest of you feel any kinship with a type of animal? H: I’m quite goaty, aren’t I? D: Weirdly, goat was the first thing that came into my head. Sam is something nocturnal. He’s quite hedgehog-esque.
H: What about one of those big bats – no, a flying fox! They’re massive, bigger than bats but they look like bats. They’re somewhere between a bat and an Alsatian dog. They’re very handsome though; it’s not an insult. S: To any flying foxes out there: it’s not an insult. H: And you’re not a small lizard Dom, you’re like [makes stomping noises]. Like a komodo dragon. They live for hundreds of years and you have the wisdom of someone who’s been on this planet before. This is something I’ve become very interested in – not necessarily the idea of reincarnation, but multiple lives. I’m starting to feel like we live the same lifetime, but on a loop? Things will happen, and I’ll just know already. S: Like the thing with the Glastonbury tickets. What’s that then? H: I procured some Glastonbury tickets for someone and had put them in an envelope. My friend had the tickets in his pocket and lost them the day before. It was hopeless, we called everywhere and then I just said, ‘They’re on this road’. We drove and they were just
“What does that make us? That makes us servants to the banana’s intentions.” - harry koisser
there, in the gutter. Here we go as well: predicted or possibly was the first ever planker on planet earth. D: Oh, here we go... H: There’s a photo of me planking that pre-dates the planking craze. And in the same photo of me planking, a Volkswagen door is behind and the word is partially obscured, so above me on the floor planking is the word ‘swag’. This pre-dates swag becoming a thing, planking becoming a thing, the whole shebizzle is all there in one picture. D: It’s like a cultural big bang. Any other inventions? H: I invented a few words. You know the word ‘literally’ now kind of means the opposite? We need a word that means legitimately literal, so ‘legiterally’ is a portmanteau that I think should go in the dictionary. D: schnarbling... H: Yeah, schnarbling’s a good one. That’s just going around, doing a bit of shopping, having a few cocktails, doing some bits. And just to round things off, one of my favourite words at the moment is ‘eggcorn’. An eggcorn is when you get a word wrong but it still means the same thing. So for example, our video director had written down ‘mid late’ and I was like, what’s mid late? ‘You know, mid late? The bit in the song – the mid late’. Do you mean the middle eight?! And he was like, well it makes sense ‘cause it’s always just after the middle of the song. And that is a perfect eggcorn. DIY
THINK YOU CAN HANDLE IT? Fancy some more wonderful chit chat about anything and everything non-musical? We’ve got you covered - just head to diymag.com/podcasts to check out our Anything But… series.
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… Members of Yak, Blaenavon and more hailing the return of Iceage in London, Alex and Bob from Franz Ferdinand watching buzzy New Yorkers Bodega in London, top legend Nick Cave watching Crewel Intentions at The Haunt at The Great Escape, and Oliver Sim from The xx having a ciggy in the middle of Soho.
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.
WHATALEDGE this month: CHILDISH GAMBINO
Certain moments in music - a surprise album drop, an amazing, meme-worthy video, some gasp-worthy Twitter beef - make the entire internet stand still. This month, it was Childish Gambino’s turn. Returning with new single ‘This Is America’, Donald Glover provided a biting social commentary, taking a left turn back towards rap after his slinky, jazz-flecked last album ‘Awaken, My Love!’, and it came complete with a staggeringly ace new video.
Hayley’s new look? We dig it. (@paramore)
Fighting back against gun culture in the States over an intense and addictively charged track, Donald proves himself one of the best we have. And you can perfectly sync his dancing with Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’, and, honestly, what more could you ask for?
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 Tarek from Spring King!
The percentage of indoor sunnies in this private jet pic of Royal Blood and Queens Of The Stone Age is frankly astonishing. (@royalblooduk)
“Remember to work upwards with your sandpaper grit. 40 is for rough stripping, and your 1000 will give you a good polish. But if you’re after something a bit different why not get sand blasting? It’s a great way to reveal the inner texture of timber grain!” [We have no idea what he’s on about, but turns out our Tarek is a DIY dark horse. We should probably give him a job, to be honest.]
That’s... well, that’s not how that works, Theo. (@king_nun)
Drenge: less MOR, more MOT.
What’s Going On With… DRENGE
Fresh from their Grand Re-Opening UK tour and ferocious new single ‘This Dance’, the Derbyshire duo are prepping a new album and ready to get back in the ring. It’s all starting to happen, Eoin Loveless tells Will Richards. You’ve just come back from your Grand Re-Opening tour! How was it to get back out there? It was great! I think we just went out there thinking it was just going to be a bit of fun, but every night seemed to be quite special and meaningful, which we were a bit surprised about! We were a bit worried that if you take time out, you’ll fade into obscurity. Weirdly though, being away seemed to boost our value. We should’ve stayed away for longer and we’d be massive! And there’s four of you on stage now. There is! It’s been great to be able to translate stuff in a different way, and play older songs that we never got the chance to. Rory [Loveless, drummer] said he’s trying to make us Britain’s Biggest Two-Piece. You’ve just returned with new single ‘This Dance’ - was it a relief to finally 14 diymag.com
get it out there? It’s a bit different to what we’d normally do - it’s quite full-on. It’s full-on in the way that ‘I Need A Hero’ is full-on, ya know? And no-one’s said they hate it! It’s a dancey track - but don’t put it on at weddings. And can we expect more soon? Yeah, the album is done. It gets weirder and broader from there. The album started with a very flukey thing one evening. I was at home in my bedroom studio - Catshit Studios - and I was just building a song in a digital audio workstation, and I’d never really worked that way before. That’s not how a Drenge song normally comes about. You don’t wanna come back from your three years travelling and have completely changed [in sound], so we wanted to come back and remind people what we stand for, and I think ‘This Dance’ does that really well. DIY
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.
6th June, Sebright Arms, London Introduced to us via her appearance at a Hello 2017 gig alongside Her’s and a solo set from Blaenavon’s Ben Gregory at The Old Blue Last, the singer-songwriter is returning to east London for a one-off show at the equally buzzy Sebright Arms this month.
7th June, The Waiting Room, London Featured in these pages while still recording under her former pseudonym WALL, and having released debut album, ‘Mirrors The Sky’ via cult indie label Sub Pop, Lyla’s making her return to the London stage in the coming weeks.
27th June, The Islington, London The band recently released a new single, ‘if we buy a train set’, from last year’s album ‘racquet’. As you can see, they’re not too fond of capital letters. For more information and to buy tickets, head to livenation.co.uk or twitter.com/LNSource
.......................................................................................................................... So you think you know Black Honey? Izzy and pals have been gifting us gem after gem of cinematic indie-pop for some time now, and matching them blow-for-blow with their buoyant live selves to boot. Still, even for the most seasoned of ‘Honey lovers, ‘Bad Friends’ will be an introduction to a before-now-hidden side of the foursome. First of all, and bear with us, the track worms its way in via tweaked, synthetic vocals from Izzy, before a brash, uber-confident chorus picks the band up and dumps them into a whole new realm. What’s surely now the first teaser of what to expect from a full-length continues (again, bear with us) where Charli XCX’s ‘Sucker’ left off, blurring the lines between pop stars and slick rock band perfectly. Immediate and dancefloor-ready, slathered with massive beats and finished off with a smidge of vocoder, it’s the band’s slap-tothe-face attitude gone industrial pop. And this new way of thinking suits Black Honey very well indeed. (Emma Swann)
Florence + The Machine
Hunger .......................................... There’s a certain thing that runs through the core of Florence’s best offerings, a kind of romanticised but raw articulation of the fundamental desires and flaws that bond us all together as lumps of flesh and blood. On ‘Hunger’ the lens is turned to ideas of longing. Musically, well… it’s a F+TM song. Big, swooping vocals; powerhouse chorus; elegantly banging. You know the drill. (Lisa Wright)
This Dance .......................................... Drenge’s first new material since 2015’s ace second album ‘Undertow’, ‘This Dance’ needs to do a lot to reintroduce the band. Of course, we needn’t have been worried: they re-establish themselves as one of Britain’s best snotty rock bands inside twoand-a-half huge minutes. Eoin’s fizzy guitar line introduces the track with a crash, bang and wallop. ‘This Dance’ sees Drenge at their most vital and confident. (Will Richards)
Christine & The Queens
Girlfriend ........................................ Christine & The Queens became a worldwide success almost overnight back in 2016, and her star has only risen further in her year away. Obviously ‘Girlfriend’ doesn’t disappoint; a deliciously camp bop, it once again sees the newlymonikered ‘Chris’ turning the tables on masculinity, idealising “this idea of a macho man, while still being a woman” in her own words. A lusty, convention-swerving return. (Will Richards)
Quarter Past Midnight ....................................... The first track to be taken from Bastille’s follow-up to ‘Wild World’, ‘Quarter Past Midnight’ is driven, and turbocharged with adrenaline. Tinged with their familiar twist on darkness - “You said we’d leave this place in dust / And fall from heaven straight through hell” - the track, with its soaring chorus and gang vocals, still manages to capture that sense of euphoria that comes with disappearing into the night. (Sarah Jamieson)
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HALL FA M E of
A monthly place to celebrate the very best albums released during DIY’s lifetime
Franz Ferdinand – ‘Franz Ferdinand’ Spiky, sexy and impossibly exciting, Franz Ferdinand’s art rock debut slinked its way to the top of the mid-’00s pile with the aim of “making music for girls to dance to”. Turns out the boys were very much on board, too. Words: Lisa Wright.
The queue at the skinny tie sale was starting to get heated.
004 and the indie tides were shifting. After a turn of the decade that had gifted us the beige MOR-my of Starsailor, Coldplay and the like, guitar music had finally started to get interesting again. The White Stripes’ raw, unhinged garage rock had fully broken through. The Strokes were the literal sound of effortless cool. Closer to home, The Libertines had spearheaded a movement of be-trilbied oiks spinning drunken yarns of doomed romance. It was a good time for the indie disco, but it still didn’t prepare us for the sassy, stomping monster that would be ‘Franz Ferdinand’. From the start, the Glaswegian quartet were something of an anomaly. Birthed out of the city’s underground art school scene, Franz committed the cardinal sin of being - gasp - over 30 when they first popped their heads above the parapet. But when you crash land with a song as monumentally mighty as second single ‘Take Me Out’, then age ain’t nothing but a number. It was a clarion call to a
Release: 9th February 2004 Stand-out tracks: ‘Take Me Out’, ‘This Fire’, ‘Michael’, duh. Tell your mates: Apparently the track ‘Michael’ contains a secret message: from 1:35 to 1:39 if you play the track backwards, you can hear the words “She’s worried about you, call your mother”. Cute.
band who mixed huge, hook-laden earworms with a subversive, saucy undercurrent. In less deft hands, a song like ‘Take Me Out’ could have become a heavyhanded, Fratellis-esque laddy nightmare, but Alex Kapranos and his sharply tailored cohorts’ natural oddness ensured that even the biggest banger never lost its smarts. On ‘The Dark Of The Matinee’, they created a huge radio hit about the “utopian environment” of the mid-afternoon theatre. On ‘Darts of Pleasure’ they inserted a German moshalong chant that translates to “My name is super fantastic. I drink champagne with smoked salmon”. On the spidery ‘Michael’, they managed to get a nation of winkle-pickered indie lads to go nuts to a highly homo-erotic track about seducing boys on the dancefloor. The result was an album that fizzed with wit and danger, but was so irrepressibly brilliant it transcended nicheness to win the Mercury Prize, hit the Number Three spot and catapult Franz to the upper leagues of indie’s finest. DIY
Back To School Want to get involved in the music industry? Let DIY give you a helping hand.
ave you ever picked up these hallowed pages of DIY, gone to a gig, listened to a radio session or engaged with any of the many and varied elements of this business we call music and thought, I want in on some of that? If the answer is yes, then we’ve got something that might be right up your street.
We understand that the music industry can be a daunting place to try and break into. But in this day and age, with the ways we consume and release music broadening and evolving constantly, there’s never been a bigger array of career paths to aspire to. Whether you want to work directly with artists, get involved in the touring circuit, knuckle down behind the scenes at a label or try your hand at something else entirely, there are literally loads of ways that you can turn your passion into an actual, bona fide job. Enter our new special issue: the Do It Yourself guide to working in the music industry (because we’re DIY by nature as well as by name, y’know). Aimed at demystifying the industry and providing real-world advice for people wanting to get involved in it from whatever angle, it’s your one stop shop for helpful tips and tricks, provided by people who’ve navigated their own paths through and come out on top.
We’ve gathered 45 industry professionals, from managers to booking agents, technicians to label owners, publicists to promoters and more, plus four artists – Bastille, Kate Nash, IDLES and Black Honey - who’ve all had unusual and interesting trajectories, to pass on the most important things they’ve learned along the way. Because there might not be a surefire recipe for success in this game, but this lot have all achieved it in their own ways. Head to shop.diymag.com to pick up your copy. DIY
FRI.09.NOV.18 SAT.10.NOV.18 WED.26.SEP.18 WED.13.JUN.18
Before you know it, you’ll be knee-deep in soggy mud. Just you watch.
FES TIVAL S 22 22
Open’er 4th - 7th July
This year, the large, flat expanse of the Kosakowo airport in the Polish city of Gdynia will host acts from behemoths Arctic Monkeys, Gorillaz and Bruno Mars, to newer faves like Class of 2018 alumni Sigrid and Yonaka, plus now festival staples, Chvrches, Marmozets and Glass Animals.
Marmozets’ Jack Macintyre spills on the band’s previous trip to the festival - and soundtracking first dances (yes, really). What’s new in the world of Marmozets? We’ve just been doing a load of writing, recording some demos and getting everything together as we’re about to hit the road for a UK tour. Raring to go with festival season, we’ll guess… Yeah, we’re really looking forward to doing a load of festivals again. It’s been three years since we did a run of festivals as long as we’ve got coming up. Are you looking forward to returning to Open’er? Yeah, [last time] we were sat in a backstage area making sandcastles and booting this beach ball around on this weird fake beach thing with Enter Shikari as Tom Odell
and his band watched on. Open’er crowds are known for being particularly passionate - what’s the best thing you’ve seen from a fan showing their dedication? I think the most dedication you can get is maybe a band tattoo? There’s a bunch of people with Marmozets-related ink which is amazing. One of my favourites was meeting a couple that used our song ‘Captivate You’ as their first dance song at their wedding. That’s pretty special. Finally, what’s literally next for you? I just put the kettle on and am about to make a cup of tea for me and Becca.
FES TIVAL S
Pohoda 5th - 7th July
St Vincent, Glass Animals, SOPHIE and The Chemical Brothers are just some of the names headed to Slovakia’s biggest festival, alongside more favourites such as Danny Brown, Tune-Yards and Everything Everything.
Q&A: Everything Everything
Drummer Michael Spearman talks festival sets and unfortunate noise curfews. Hello! You must be pretty chuffed at the Ivor Novello nods! Hello! Yes, they were a really nice surprise. We’ve been nominated before but have never won one so hoping this is our year. It’s tough competition but we’re really pleased to be in among it. …and itching to go with 2018’s festivals, we’ll assume? Yeah, we love festivals. You never quite know what you’re going to get with a festival: what the crowd will be like, the atmosphere of the festival in general, getting to see other bands that we normally might not see, having nice local catering. It’s fun. It must be pretty cool, now you’ve got a few albums under your collective belts, to be able to bring out what are now people’s ‘old favourites’ during festival sets? We try to play new songs as much as possible but yes, festivals are kind of a ‘greatest hits’ set. It’s different from our own shows where it’s fair to assume the crowd will know the new record quite well. At festivals we want to win people over who might not know us.
Have you played in Slovakia before? We have! BA City Beats on the river in the middle of in Bratislava in 2013. It was us, Aloe Blacc and Wyclef Jean. Katy B’s show had been too loud the night before and there had been complaints (too much sub bass) so there was a severe noise curfew on the day we did it and everyone had to go on two hours early. It was the least well attended festival we’ve ever played but was fun afterwards hanging out at the hotel with Wyclef and his security team. I went hiking in north Slovakia (near Ždiar) and saw how beautiful Slovakia is. Great people too. We’re looking forward to coming back. And finally - have any of you read the book, or watched the film ‘Everything, Everything’? I was on a flight and saw a bit over someone’s shoulder. Something about a girl in a glass house dreaming about going to the beach or something? Looked dreadful and makes our band harder to Google so it displeases us. Also we get the odd tweet sent to us saying how someone adores the film. Sometimes we reply.
NEWS IN BRIEF Estrons, Alexis Taylor and The Ninth Wave are among the latest names for Reeperbahn (19th - 22nd September), joining Bear’s Den, Ibeyi, and Lewis Capaldi at the Hamburg event. DIY’s stage at Citadel (15th July) will feature Pumarosa, Matt Maltese, and Ten Tonnes. The festival is, of course, headlined by Tame Impala with Goat Girl, and Chvrches also along for the ride. Yonaka, Ezra Furman, Børns, Jade Bird, and The Lemon Twigs are all heading to Lowlands (19th - 21st August), joining Kendrick Lamar, Dua Lipa, Stormzy, and more. Marika Hackman, Yak, and No Age are among the latest additions to Visions (4th August), joining IDLES, Chastity Belt, and more. Dream Wife, Sunflower Bean, and IDLES are all headed to electric fields (30th August - 1st September), alongside The Horrors, Black Honey, and many others. The Flaming Lips, and Mystery Jets are just two acts at Kaleidoscope (21st July) at London’s Alexandra Palace.
THE BIG Craving a side of theatricality with your indie gig? Some pizazz? Maybe a few sharks?! Welcome Sports Team: the flamboyant, hilarious
answer to all your prayers. Words: Lisa Wright. Photo: Phil Smithies.
“I always try not to second guess what’s cool or not cool.” - Rob Naggs 26
It’s 7.30pm on a Tuesday night and we’re sat in the middle of a bingo hall being snarled at by an angry pensioner. It’s not just any bingo hall, mind. No, Cricklewood’s Beacons Bingo holds the lofty title of the UK’s largest venue for this sort of thing, and we’re here upon the specific request of Sports Team – a band who seem naturally drawn to semi-suburban
curios like these, much to the irritation of the nearby gamblers desperately hissing at singer Alex Rice to shut up. “There are two things you can do if you come from the suburbs,” he’s theorising. “You can send something down and say it’s grim and boring, or you can, if not romanticise it, then talk about it and be interested and make it lyrical and beautiful. Maybe that’s the difference with the sound we’re making.” Since meeting at Cambridge University, the band (completed by guitarist and songwriter Rob Naggs, drummer Al Greenwood, guitarist Henry Young, bassist Oli Dewdney and Ben Mac on, er, shaker) have always taken the road less travelled. Among a near-non-existent music scene consisting primarily of choral groups and covers bands, the group started writing their own off-kilter tales of suburban romance and putting on their own night – the excellently-titled Poundband. “For us, it’s always been about making the gig an event,” explains Alex. “We did a tombola, we’d trick the local Labour candidate into coming down and introducing us, there were all these ‘bits’ that we had to make people come.” Eventually, Sports Team became such an established anomaly around Cambridge that they were asked to play the uni’s prestigious May Balls. “We’d be sharing dressing rooms with Nero, Shura, and Loyle Carner - that was one of the line ups,” remembers the singer. “We played before Pendulum once...” Moving to their shared house in Harlesden, the band upped their oddball live act to a series of ramshackle London shows – flamboyant and theatrical, with Alex in the centre of it all, prancing ‘round the stage like a young Jarvis, and Ben standing perfectly still, shaking a packet of Tic Tacs. “It was definitely born out of the fact that if you don’t have
loads of songs then you’ve got to make a show,” says the frontman. “I just think it’s a higher art form than the actual songwriting, doing the performing bit. I think it’s quite lowbrow, the songwriting bit.” Alex, it turns out from the amused head shakes that respond to that particular quip, does not actually write the songs. The Liam to Rob’s Noel, he’s primarily the outspoken mouthpiece of the operation. Rob, meanwhile, is covertly tucking some zingers in behind the scenes too. On ‘Camel Crew’ they slyly dig “This avant garde is still the same / Go to Goldsmiths and they dye their fringes / You know they’ve made it only when they sign the rights to Sony” - supposedly aimed at HMLTD. “The outrage they had shows how self-congratulatory that whole scene is,” snorts Alex. “Their A&R walked out of our set when he heard it, but if you hear the lyrics it couldn’t be tamer.” Shortly after our interview, the band get in another lol-worthy Twitter beef with Shame. Is it a joke? Who knows. And therein lies the brilliance of Sports Team. Take single ‘Kutcher’. A eulogy to the ultimate romance of the TV star and actress Demi Moore, it’s a surreal and brilliant slice of absurdity. “As soon as you start to pretend to be a big band and sing about things outside of your experience, it becomes very embarrassing, very quickly,” says Rob. “So I always try not to second guess what’s cool or not cool.” And by not giving a shit about being cool, Sports Team have ended up weirdly cool regardless. What world are Sports Team trying to inhabit, we ask? “It’s Mock Tudor with a hint of lovable amateurism. A bit of [runner] Roger Bannister. [John] Betjeman’s a good reference, and a Will Self wandering element. That’s probably where we are,” assesses Alex. Well, exactly. For their next trick, Sports Team have recently announced a reasonably ambitious date at London’s Scala. Naturally, they’ve got some lofty plans for the night. “There are very grand themes we’re floating the idea of,” nods the singer. “The promoters want it to be something like ‘Sports Team and Friends’, but we want to do a shark theme. Get a beach upstairs, cages, boats, surfers. Thorpe Park, Splash Down vibe – log flumes, that sort of things. You know Robbie Williams at Knebworth where he gets lowered down on a harness and dangled in? We wanna do that. 100% getting a harness.” It sounds ridiculous, but honestly at this point, we wouldn’t bet against it. DIY
Hope Downs is a gigantic iron ore mine set in the outback of Western Australia, miles from civilisation and producing over a billion tons of the metal stuff per year. It’s also the title of the debut album from Aussie five-piece Rolling Blackouts
Coastal Fever. “It feels like somewhat of a metaphor,” Joe White - one of the band’s three vocalists - tells us of the mine, on the phone during a day off on the band’s sprawling debut US headline tour. “There’s miles and miles of a big flat nothing, and then a giant hole in the ground.” The album itself is far less hopeless than it sounds on this showing though, promise. Ten tracks of bright, catchy surf punk lathered with the sunniest of guitar melodies and popping basslines, it’s far more suitable for soundtracking sunny days with tinnies in the park than the somewhat existential crises from which it was born (it also features some of the best song titles we’ve seen for quite a while, from ‘An Air Conditioned Man’ to ‘Cappuccino City’). Though three of the band write and sing, there’s a great deal of common ground to be found across the record, the trio of songwriters congregating around the idea of a fictional world for the album to exist in, with the great, immovable mine as its centrepiece. “We came at it from this single idea of this
‘Hope Downs’,” Joe expands, “and this great expanse of dread in the world, but interspersed with personal experiences and vignettes of stories to find meaning within the world we were trying to create.” Album highlight ‘Mainland’ is a gorgeous, melody-packed throwback to the ‘80s, with simplicity at its core. It’s why, in Joe’s words, “people seem to find a lot of nostalgia in our music, and why there’ve been more than a few grey heads at some of our shows.” New single ‘Talking Straight’, meanwhile, is a suitably straight-to-the-point shimmy through propulsive indie-rock with distinctive, almost-spoken lyrics. “Lean your face; hopeless, no embrace. I wanna know where the silence comes from, where space originates,” Joe sings, before a sunny chorus comes in, the duality between music and words impossible to miss. “It definitely also looks at the brighter side of things, “Joe confirms of the album’s motives, “from the more human side of things, and by viewing the interpersonal relationships that exist amongst the great expanse. And musically, it’s a pretty upbeat, poppy album. If people don’t read into it too much, it’ll probably just make them feel quite happy.” And if they do read too much into it? “Then they’ll find hope.” ‘Hope Downs’ is out 15th June via Sub Pop. DIY
ROLLING BLACKOUTS COASTAL FEVER On their debut album ‘Hope Downs’, these Aussie indie-rockers find hope from the great expanse of their homeland. Words: Will Richards.
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Haiku Hands Bonkers Australian rap-pop trio with unfiltered fun at their heart.
Bounding onto the DIY stage at The Great Escape last month, Haiku Hands blazed their way into being one of the highlights of the weekend. A barely contained thrash of energy, they flit between the PC Music-esque, dirty synths of Charli XCX and the bombast of a rap collective, throwing out staggeringly catchy choruses. Their two released tracks, debut single ‘Not About You’ and newie ‘Jupiter’, pack in an LP’s worth of hooks, and the live set points at plenty more to come. Listen: The bombastic ‘Not About You’. Similar to: If Charli XCX started hanging out with Brockhampton.
RECOMMENDED Black Midi
South Londoners making mind-bending, zig-zagging weirdo rock. Black Midi have built their reputation from the ground up. Playing gigs with Shame and others, and emerging from the same South London scene, the newcomers have made a name as one of the most relentless live bands around. Their new NTS session shows it off well - a vibrant, fresh spin on math-rock with deliciously distinctive vocals. It really has to be seen live though, so get yourself down to a show ASAP. Listen: Their only recorded track, a relentless, fantastic NTS session. Similar to: Math rock and noise colliding in a gorgeous mess.
Springsteen’s drivetime anthems meet shiny pop through this Aussie newcomer. There’s something in the Australian water recently something that’s producing some of the buzziest new acts in the world, no less - and Harriette Pilbeam (aka Hatchie) is drinking up plenty of it. There’s a huge ambition to the singer’s limited output so far, reaching for drivetime radio and festival main stages. New track ‘Sleep’ melts the huge, expansive anthems of Bruce Springsteen with the punchy pop of Robyn, and it’s an intoxicating combination. Listen: The simply huge ‘Sleep’. Similar to: Bursting out of the disco onto the open road. 30 diymag.com
New Julia Jacklin-featuring trio making wonderfully uninhibited guitar pop. “I would love to know what it’s like to make people feel good and dance,” Julia Jacklin says of new project Phantastic Ferniture, and proceeds to do just that on the trio’s infectious debut single ‘Fuckin ‘N’ Rollin’, an upbeat slice of indie-pop that sees the singer with a new lease of life. A self-titled debut album is out next month, and looks to be an absolute delight. Listen: The sunny ‘Fuckin ‘n’ Rollin’. Similar to: The Beach Boys through a reverb pedal.
All the buzziest new music happenings, in one place.
Flohio Brilliant London rapper ready to make her big break. Flohio’s name has been floating around the underground London scene for a while now, first coming to our attention with the intense ‘SE16’, a collaboration with God Colony. It seems that 2018, though, will be when she makes her big break. Live shows have cemented her as a real hope, and new single ‘Watchout’ just furthers the promise of a new fresh voice, channelling the anger of the capital into something great. Listen: Exciting new single ‘Watchout’. Similar to: The warped, hyper-modern beats of Vince Staples given a London twist.
Birmingham’s Youth Man have announced details of their new EP. It’s called ‘Five Songs’ and is out via Alcopop! at the end of the month. The announcement comes alongside new track ‘Statuesque’ and the news that they’re set to play NYC’s Afropunk festival this summer. Peep all the details and listen to ‘Statuesque’ on diymag.com now.
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: BEN KHAN ‘Do It Right’
hey Boy As they release their debut album ‘1, 2, Kung Fu!’, Cardiff quartet Boy Azooga - the brainchild of Davey Newington - have announced a new UK and Irish tour for October. Running throughout the month, the dates begin in Dublin on the 5th, and include a mahooooosive London show at Scala on the 17th, before the tour finishes in Brighton the next day. See all the dates on diymag.com.
hey GIRL They’ve already played SXSW, toured with The Magic Gang and headed out on our Class Of 2018 UK tour so far this year, and Our Girl have now shared details of their debut album. ‘Stranger Today’ will be out in August via Cannibal Hymns, and comes alongside a new video for single ‘I Really Like It’. Get the details and watch the new vid at diymag.com.
The second track from the Dirty Hit signing’s debut album, ‘Do It Right’ is an understated but brilliantly slinky cut. SQUID ‘Terrestrial Changeover Blues (2007 - 2012)’ This Brighton outfit’s new one flits from woozy psychedelia to jaggedy krautrock in the blink of an eye. SORRY ‘Showgirl’ The Class Of 2018 stars present another warped, dark slice of indie-rock. WESTERMAN ‘Edison’ The Londoner’s next step is a breezy offering of alt-pop. 31
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.
On the week of his debut album release, everyone’s favourite new saucy warbler will play his biggest show to date on 6th June, headlining London’s Scala.
The London math-noise rabble support Preoccupations in London (5th June) and Brighton (14th).
Various venues, Edinburgh. Photos: Sinéad Grainger.
here’s no denying that Scotland has had its fair share of musical success stories over the years. And while there’s not much point in waxing lyrical about its rich history, there’s certainly reason enough to look to its future. That’s where Wide Days comes in. Held in Edinburgh and currently celebrating its ninth year, this is a new music-focused festival with a twist. Gone are the timetable clashes and never-ending queues: instead, there’s a concise selection of just seven artists on offer, playing across a neat and tidy three venues. It’s down at our own stage at La Belle Angele – also sponsored by Jägermeister, natch - that things really heat up. Openers CRYSTAL, the first of tonight’s three Glaswegian four-pieces, are hypnotic from the off with their dark and grungy offerings sounding huge. Propulsive and rhythmic, their new track ‘Heaven’ stands
as a gloriously slick centrepiece in the set, building and swelling into almighty life. In almost complete contrast, Rascalton are scrappy and rough around the edges, in the best way. Echoing the frenzied fury of South Londoners Shame - with a more rhythmic twist - the likes of ‘Told You So’ and ‘Police’ are satisfying slices of roughed-up punk that stir up mosh pits across the tiny venue. Tinged with a hint of ’90s brattiness and packed with gritty hooks, LUCIA take to the stage to close proceedings with ease. Fresh from a trip to the States for SXSW, the quartet are slick and well-versed from the off, frontwoman Lucia Fairfull the band’s mesmerising lynchpin. Recent single ‘Melted Ice Cream’ is tauntingly good - its opening refrain making way for a blast of sublime garage rock - and it’s no real surprise why the Glaswegians have got a summer of festival spots lined up: they’re destined for much bigger stages than tonight. (Sarah Jamieson)
Newly signed to Captured Tracks, these Neu faves play a homecoming show at Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club on 23rd June.
With just two songs out so far, King Princess’ resumé is already pretty damn impressive. While ‘1950’ boasts a Harry Styles co-sign (she’s still waiting to meet him, but is sure they’d vibe) and millions of streams, it’s also the first release on Mark Ronson’s label, Zelig Recordings. Calling from the city she now calls home, Mikaela Strauss, the singer-songwriter and producer behind the moniker, is starting her Friday right, just hanging out, drinking coffee. It doesn’t take long, though, for the conversation to turn towards her vision for a future where queer representation is commonplace and she can dip into her catalogue-style discography whenever, wherever.
King Princess moniker hints at both the fluidity she wants to express by removing genre from the equation as well as gender. “I have a lot of walking contradictions as a person,” she says. “As a name, it’s genderless and I often feel that way as well. There’s been such a long period of time without adequate representation and that’s not the fault of artists, it’s the fault of the system and the fact it was so difficult to come out. It’s time for actual queer people to assume those roles and become icons.” And while there was no coming out story for her - it was more like “this is what’s happening, this is the ship I’m on,” she laughs - she knows that isn’t always the case. “It’s not something I think of as a negative ever, which is incredible, I’m very very happy that’s the case, because I don’t feel that a lot of people get that opportunity to love themselves unconditionally for their sexuality, especially at a young age, because I’m still a young person.”
Growing up in New York, Mikaela’s parents were into music - her dad owned a studio - so she soon found herself surrounded with all the means to experiment and explore a world of sound. Educated on the classics through her family’s love of rock, there was a time when she wanted to be Jack White and just shred it up, but things soon changed. “I don’t think genre is super relevant,” she explains, adding: “pop music is in this weird middle ground where we don’t know what it is, but we know what it sounds like.”
The future is coming up fast and Mikaela already knows she’s in it for life. While she wants to release music forever, improving release-on-release with the goal of having hours of material she can sift through, right now she confirms that the heat of the political climate in the US is great “besides the fact it’s evil”, because it’s fuelling art. “I think there are a lot of amazing queer people in this country who are waiting for an opportunity to show themselves and express themselves through their art, that goes for every minority group in this country, we’re all connected by this common cause.” DIY
Her forthcoming “eclectic” debut EP sees the King Princess story further unfold. Grounded in a pop sound - there are still references back to her days as a “punk ass kid” - it’s a collection of tracks for the queer community. The
Mikaela had never really got the hang of the buttercup test.
KING PRINCESS With Harry Styles and Mark Ronson on
her side, it’s no surprise Mikaela Strauss is ready to be an icon. Words: Matthew Kent.
THE 1975. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE. THEY’RE ONE OF THE BIGGEST BANDS IN THE WORLD. THEY’RE ABOUT TO LAUNCH ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED ALBUM CAMPAIGNS OF THE YEAR. AND THIS IS THEIR FIRST INTERVIEW ABOUT IT. WELCOME TO THE NEW ERA OF THE 1975. WORDS: LISA WRIGHT.
MacDonald and drummer George Daniel). Last year, during their Latitude headline set, Matty consistently peppered between-song breaks with repetitions of “The first of June, The 1975” - a nod to their name origin story, but also seemingly a suggestion of a forthcoming release date. The following day they posted a flickering video to Instagram showing the neon signage of second album ‘I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’ being turned off and replaced by a new phrase, ‘Music For Cars 2018’. Earlier that year, Matty had told Beats 1’s Zane Lowe that the name – previously the title of an early 2013 EP – would be the title of their next record. Before they’d even begun recording, the band had put all the cornerstones not only in place, but out in the public eye, ready to be discussed and dissected. It’s an intense way of
working, and one that could cripple a lot of people. “I think we always put a bit of pressure on ourselves because we thrive off excitement. The indie mentality is that the more excited
ight now, there are approximately
people get, the less they care. Fuck that!” he grins. “The more
3,000 posters pasted around
excited people get, the more we care. If you don’t care, why
London, advertising an album
the fuck should [anyone else] care?!” Safe to say, the singer is
that doesn’t exist yet. If you’ve
not in that camp.
not seen them there, then you will have seen them in your city,
It also doesn’t really matter anymore, because now almost
or on Instagram, or Facebook.
all of that early information has changed at least partially
They’re cryptic things, filled with
Black Mirror-esque dystopian jokes about a future that’s actually
By now, you’ll know that the first of June is not, as predicted
just kind of the present: a toddler
by hordes of excitable fans on the internet, the date of an
in a VR headset emblazoned with the phrase ‘MODERNITY
album drop. Instead, as this issue hits streets, you’ll be able to
HAS FAILED US’. A group of people on their phones at an art
hear intriguingly abrasive first single ‘Give Yourself A Try’ – a
gallery, with a link to the Bible passage of Isaiah 6:9-10 (sample
jarring fizz of one, repeated riff and an 808 drum machine. The
quote: ‘Make these people calloused; make their ears dull
album itself, we’re told, is due in October. And as for ‘Music
and close their eyes’). A plain black poster with a dense mass
of text filled with dry, darkly humorous observations on the modern, “more distracted world”.
“‘Music For Cars’ isn’t an album.”
It’s the seven other characters printed in the top left that
So what is it?
people really care about though. And that’s why we’re sat with the figurehead at the centre of it all, to start to unpick the
“That’s the only thing I can say. Between me and you, I’d never
hungrily-awaited new era of The 1975: an era centred around
say anything as wanky as ‘Music For Cars’ is an era, but that’s
an album that’s still “nowhere near done”. It’d be an insane
what I have to do for the interview...”
stunt, were it not so ridiculously them. “It’s just part of the way that we do things, so to complain or to celebrate seems
So is ‘A Brief Enquiry Into Online Relationships’ – the phrase
a bit pointless. We’re gonna do it. We always do it,” shrugs
that’s been written across the band’s recent posters – the
Matty Healy. “It’s a trip, man. The most amount of posters
around London are our posters. There’s one in London Bridge and I went past it in an Uber and thought, ‘that’s me. And
“That’s... an album.”
that’s advertising an album that I haven’t finished. What am I doing!?’”
But it’s not this album?
Pressure, it seems, has never really been a factor for the
“That’s... this album.”
quartet (completed by guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross
“BEING HUMAN IS MORE DIFFICULT THAN BEING IRONIC.” - MATTY HEALY
So there we go. And why the
is sporting a bleached blonde crop (which he’ll soon dye
change of plan? “Because
bright orange), a skin-tight rollneck emblazoned with Jean
things always change,
Paul Gaultier logos, a black leather trenchcoat, extravagant
man! Because things did
cowboy boots and orange ‘90s raver sunglasses. It is not hard
fucking change when we
to work out which person is the pop star in this particular
started making it. There’s
room. Matty doesn’t, however, act with the stereotypically
a lot to say but that’s all I
jumped-up pomp that cliche dictates might come with
can say for now. This is a
it. “Look at me! I look like Julian Clary!” he hoots, partway
● April 2017 In an interview with Beats 1’s Zane Lowe, Matty says that their third album will be called ‘Music For Cars’.
really important time for
through our chat; for a man with nearly a million-strong
The 1975 and... yeah,” he
social media following and an outfit likely worth an average
groans, laughing at his own
few months’ rent, there’s more of the lovable goof about
grandiose phrasing. “What a
Matty than you might imagine. It’s why he can get away with
wanker. But I have to be that
describing a recent trip as “having a bit of a namaste” - “you
● July 9, 2017 Matty tweets ‘1st June – The 1975’, thus officially starting the rumour mill.
wanker for now.”
have to write the way I say these things by the way because
A Brief Enquiry Into The 1975’s Moves Thus Far. The road to LP3 began nearly a year ago. Here’s how it’s played out so far...
I can come across as a complete cunt, but I’m only messing,” he chuckles. And it’s also why he’s developed a reputation
● July 14, 2017 The 1975 headline Latitude, reiterating the date several times. ● July 15, 2017 The band post to Instagram, shutting down the artwork to LP2 and replacing it with the thenname of LP3. ● August 2017 The singer posts a screenshot showing a file of the record. It has begun. ● April 22, 2018 Manager Jamie Oborne responds to a fan on Twitter, stating that the era of ‘I like it when you sleep...’ will only last a few more days. ● April 31, 2018 The band delete their social media as a host of posters turn up around major UK cities. ● May 1, 2018 The band’s socials are switched back on. Their website shows a countdown clock, ticking towards June 1st. ● June 1, 2018 ‘Give Yourself A Try’ is released (as is this issue). ● October 2018 ‘A Brief Enquiry Into Online Relationships’ is due for release.
aken on face value, you sense that a lot of people saw Matty as “that
wanker” for a while. It takes a lot of chutzpah, after all, to name a record as extravagantly as ‘I like it when you sleep...’. But there’s something far more selfaware about him than just another Johnny Borrell with an ego overload. He might embrace the pretentious, but there’s a knowingness to it all that keeps him one step ahead. “My thing’s always been, how can you criticise someone that criticises themselves?” he shrugs. In other words, if you find yourself calling him out on something, chances are he’s already pulled himself up on it first. Today, sat on the balcony of an impossibly fancy East London hotel, the singer
as something of a journalist’s dream. If most people in his lofty position are guarded to an understandably
It means that talk around The 1975’s next move is even
high degree, then Matty is the opposite: a gregarious,
denser and grander and more verbose than you might
excitable conversationalist with a tendency to word
expect. Matty might be being a bit cagey around the
vomit and little to no sense of self-censorship.
specifics (“I’m doing a Nicholas on you there,” he jokes), but lord knows he’s up for spiritedly waxing lyrical about
Having been holed up writing album three in
the concepts behind it all.
Oxfordshire since November, today he’s on hyperactive form. Referencing the theories of noted author and
Rewind a year, however, and things were rather different.
speaker David Foster Wallace, the skits of Monty Python and the problems of Maoist China in the space of about two minutes, his brain is clearly buzzing with a thousand thoughts and ideas happening all at once. After an initial ten-minute splurge of barely drawing breath, he pauses: “Sorry, I’ve been in the fucking woods for six months. Somebody asks me a question and I’m like ‘woohoo!’’”
t the end of the campaign for the last record, Matty “wasn’t in a good place”. “I was experiencing [some problems] and also thinking, fuck I need to make a record out of this without making a ‘poor me’ record,” he says. “It’s
so boring when you hear people do that, because they become unrelatable. There’s a great Jim Carrey joke where he says, ‘Nobody goes on stage and goes, ‘Fucking hell, threesomes are a nightmare aren’t they?’’. And at the end of that album I was very concerned about the truth of what I was saying and the truth was me turning into that. I was playing huge festivals. I was becoming a rockstar, objectively.” When he first brings the subject up, he explains that to combat this he took himself off to Barbados for a prolonged stint “to really get away”. That period, however, crops up in conversation again a little later. There’s a line in ‘Give Yourself A Try’, we ask, where you mention “get[ting] addicted to drugs”. Did that happen? Would you say you had a problem? “Yeah! Oh yeah! Full on!” he nods, before pausing and going off to check with his manager about continuing. He comes back. “So when I went away to Barbados, I actually went to rehab. And I should have just said that because it makes me sound like I didn’t wanna say it, but I’ve been telling anybody who’ll fucking listen. I went and worked with horses for seven weeks. I didn’t get dragged away to rehab, I was fucking exhausted and at the [risk] of being another statistic in that prescription drug opioid crisis that hit America, because that’s the way I dealt with things on tour. I loved going out on stage and talking to 12,000 people. I didn’t like going back to my hotel room and sitting on my own for another three hours and then being expected to go to bed when I wanted to, I don’t know, change culture or
something ridiculously grandiose,” he laughs.
far more human and fallible heart than these early technology-infatuated movements might suggest. Of
“And I knew that I wasn’t going to detox myself, so I went
course, there’s an overly complex explanation about the
away and I got clean. I wasn’t going there to get straight
renouncing of his previous postmodern songwriting
edge, I didn’t have a drinking problem or anything else,
tendencies (“always referencing myself, always
I was just chemically dependent on a substance and I
referencing another song”) to explain it all, but really it
didn’t wanna make a record as a fucking junkie. Who
boils down to a far simpler point: “Everything is so ironic
wants to hear that?”
because the idea of sentiment is more difficult to deal with. Being human is more difficult than being ironic.”
Knowing that people would likely pick up on that line, was there any hesitation over including it? “Nah, because
At a time where society is more politically polarised than
I don’t have anything else. I don’t have a particularly
ever, and a fear of being publicly burned on social media
rounded world view. I always talk about myself and
has the world treading on fearful eggshells, The 1975
people go, oh there’s a bit of me in that. And then you
want to tap into the real, human feeling at the centre of it
do that enough and it touches the world,” he continues.
all. “You look at the Right, and the Right has got Nazis in
“That’s what people want. That’s what I want as well.
it, so we put that in a box and we know that’s not a good
Tell me the fucking truth. If you’re gonna care as much
place to go. And then you look at the Left and you’ve
as you do with all this pretentious fucking bullshit and
got this whole group of people who just won’t stand for
all these campaigns, then let’s do it then. Let’s make this
any nuance. So everyone’s scared. I’m scared. I think that
exchange really honest and I will, as a fan, give myself to
people are scared to feel, and they don’t know what to
you and not judge you if you just tell me the truth. And it
say. So I think that going deeper is where this record’s
makes for more interesting art, and that’s what I’m here
come from,” Matty explains. Later in our conversation,
for now I’ve decided.”
these fears manifest themselves in a way that’s echoed by many conscientious males in the public eye right now. “Let me ask your opinion on something,” he cuts in. “I can be quite tactile, so am I deluded or paranoid to think, would it be good for me to always have a chaperone in
interviews if the journalist is female?” he questions. “I’m worried about being myself and just chatting. I know
t’s these kind of impassioned statements that make
that women are made to feel uncomfortable by men, so
The 1975 a band that cause such devotion. Give
is it my moral duty to say, would you like another person
yourself over to Matty and his vision, and they’ll
around? Or does that make me seem guilty? I’m not a
give you far more than most in return.
bigot, and I’m not a racist and I’m not sexist, but what if there was some ridiculous scandal that was not true but
Take all the quotes and reference points throughout
managed to really discredit me? I worry about it ‘cause
the campaign so far. Instead of introducing an
I’ve never thought about it [before]...” For the record, the
entirely sci-fi, dystopian record as you might
most forward thing Matty does during the hour or so
suspect, the theme is only really drawn from one track,
that we’re with him is offer to fetch DIY his “big jumper”
but extrapolated out into a whole new thread of clues
in case we’re a bit chilly.
for people to follow. It’s all part of the rich and constantly evolving world the band try and create with every new move. “I’m bored of doing campaigns where I go, ‘Guys, this is what my album’s like’. So I wanted it to be very esoteric, very specific, very thought-provoking,” the singer explains. “I know that people who are at the point in their lives that I am, who are more well-read than me, they don’t go on this portal of discovery to find out more ideas that could enlighten them about things that I reference in the music. But it really does [do that] with our fans, and it extends our community and it gets people talking about literature and things. The stuff that we do is always to serve our fans.”
t’s the modern world in all its confusing complexity that’s being brought to the table on ‘A Brief Enquiry...’ - an album that Matty describes as having “an anxiety to it that there wasn’t on the last record.” “[That one] was definitely dense, but I think it was quite a beautiful record. This one’s not as easy.” That anxiety is there in ‘Give Yourself A Try’ and its “abrasive” guitars and it sits over an
album that the singer already cites as having “a lot of
Instead, ‘A Brief Enquiry...’ looks set to beat with a
post-punk” and being “all over the place” before leaning
“I DIDN’T WANNA MAKE A RECORD AS A FUCKING JUNKIE.
WHO WANTS TO HEAR THAT?” - MATTY HEALY 41
“I’M A HUMAN BEING AND SOMETIMES I’M FILLED WITH CONFIDENCE
pop song, ‘cause if she was going [sings] ‘There’s a problem in Gaza...’ in and raising a conspiratorial
it wouldn’t be a good song. There’s
eyebrow: “And there’s jazz on
certain [times] where I’ve thought,
the album.” Eh? “There’s lounge,”
well this is like a love song so why
don’t I make it really snide and ironic? But now I’m like, no, why
Don’t panic, however, because
don’t you just write a really beautiful
LP3 is also set to feature some
of the band’s most straightup, “cards on the table” songs
And so, as we enter the next era of
yet too. “I want music to be
The 1975 and their anxiety-plagued,
important or I want music to
be really, really good. So music
odyssey (unsurprisingly, this one
can say something and that’s
looks set to clock in not far off ‘I like
amazing, or music can just be
it when you sleep’’s 17-song opus
really, really good and it doesn’t
too), how is Matty feeling about it
have to do both things at the
all? “I’ll be really honest with you,
same time,” he states. “‘Into You’
I’m really fucking nervous, “ he
by Ariana Grande needs to be a
replies, somewhat surprisingly for a
AND SOMETIMES I’M FUCKING SHITTING MYSELF.” MATTY HEALY
man who previously stated that his band’s third album would have to land among the all-time great third LPs. “Yeah, that was silly,” he laughs. “I quoted... didn’t I quote The Smiths?” You quoted ‘OK Computer’, we remind him, as he puts his head in his hands with an amusing groan. So... what are the chances then? “Well, if you can say what your album is or isn’t before it comes out, then I think you’re talking shit,” he says, perking up. “I’m a human being and sometimes I’m filled with confidence and sometimes I’m fucking shitting myself. And I can sit here and say I don’t care about reviews, and that I think this record will make more sense in a couple of years, and that when people really hate The 1975, that’s normally because they’ve missed the point. But to say that I don’t want people to fucking love it would be a lie.” The first of June. The 1975. It’s only the beginning. DIY
VIVA L A REVOLUCIÓN: O CHAOTIC DAYS ON THE ROAD WE HE AD TO SPAIN TO SPEND TW RATION OUT OF APATHY AND WITH THE BAND LIF TING A GENE ALONG THE WAY. HAVING A HELL OF A GOOD TIME S: SHARON LÓPEZ. WORDS: WILL RICHARDS. PHOTO
E STAKHE TAHEM CHARGE ACROSS EUROPE
grin that wavers into a wince.
“COULD THIS TOUR GET ANY MORE SPINAL TAP?!”
Eddie Green yells at the skies, to eruptions of laughter in Shame’s dirty, tour-worn van. It’s ten days from the end of the band’s nonstop four month thrash around the planet, and they’ve hit a bout of bad luck. Travelling from last night’s show in Barcelona to tonight’s in Madrid - the South London five-piece’s first headline shows in both cities - they’ve come into contact with the less-than-savoury Spanish police for the second time in the space of twelve hours, before yet another incident unfolds just hours later outside the Madrid venue they’re set to lay waste to. And to rub horrific-smelling salt into the wound, this particular incident happens directly next to a pig farm off the motorway, emitting an astonishingly strong stench. ”It’s not always like this,” Eddie gestures in our direction, through a
Indeed, though things threaten to conspire against the band, who released furious, fantastic debut ‘Songs Of Praise’ at the start of the year, today, their tour - which began in Australia just after Christmas, headed to the States for a six-week run which included them becoming one of SXSW’s most talked-about acts, then was brought home for a triumphant, sold-out UK run before finally taking them across mainland Europe - has been nothing short of a revelation. Everywhere the five-piece tread, they’re greeted with something approaching pandemonium. Their Barcelona show, at the small but wellestablished Sidecar venue is sold out in advance. In fact, they’re never met by anything less than a packed house in each of the seventy-five cities they’ve played in over the last sixteen weeks. Turns out vocalist Charlie Steen is a facts man, and rolls off the figure before the show without even having to think. The gig sees the band rip through ‘Songs Of Praise’ in its entirety, barely pausing for breath. The likes of ‘Concrete’ and ‘The Lick’ are bellowed back at the band with fervour, while closer ‘Gold Hole’ sees the frontman clamber atop the crowd before kicking out at the plastic ceiling like he’s trying to swat away an insistent wasp. A sea of confetti - still laying on top from a previous show - begins to rain down on the moshpit below.
Charlie has become a remarkably good frontman over the past two years, as well as a clever, decisive lyricist. On ‘One Rizla’, he uses his own imperfections to find a powerful self-acceptance, while on ‘Friction’ he turns the camera outwards, calling out bullshit in others’ behaviour with pinpoint precision. Though Shame are an extremely British proposition, and their rallying calls and channelled anger appeal most to an audience close to home,it’s the openness they present it with, not to mention the sense of community their shows demand, that mean they’re really connecting beyond their roots. Every
Shame gig is punctuated by an insistence that personal space is respected in the audience, and everyone takes care of each other in the often hectic melee in front of the stage - that means they’re really connecting beyond their roots. “Their attitude and energy is amazing,” one fan tells us, still sweating after the show, one of hordes of new converts or otherwise, itching to greet and congratulate any of the band. “It’s universal. In Catalonia especially, we’re really angry about everything right now,” she continues, “so the anger in their songs applies to us very well. They put everything into their show and that energy translates to any language. Also, sugar daddies are everywhere!” she chortles, referencing ‘Songs Of Praise’’s brilliantly seedy centrepiece ‘Gold Hole’. An encore of ‘Donk’ sees band and crowd expel any last drops of energy, and everything including the metaphorical kitchen sink is thrown at the performance. It’s attacked like
“WE HAVE A PORTUGUESE YOUTUBE FOLLOWING THAT ACTUALLY THINK WE’RE A CHRISTIAN ROCK BAND.” CHARLIE STEEN it could be their first show of the year, before t-shirts, records, ticket stubs and magazine covers are signed, selfies captured, and Barcelona can be considered well and truly conquered.
he band - completed by guitarist Sean Coyle-Smith, bassist Josh Finerty and drummer Charlie Forbes - have an infectious, intuitive energy that runs between them, both on and off stage. “I think we’ve gone beyond friendship now,” the frontman explains later, “and I think that happened quite a while ago. We’ve experienced everything together.” As such, the van is a place where no-one’s safe from relentless japes, with any pisstaking one-upped by their effervescent (and very sweary) tour manager, a close friend of drummer Charlie’s dad and undoubted sixth member of the gang. As a result, tour life with Shame often feels like one long character-building and painfully funny holiday, if you ignore the punk shows that punctuate the end of each day. “There’s not much room for relationships [in my life], because I’m in a relationship with four other guys,” the frontman chuckles. “You have all the arguments, the makeups…”
“It’s got to the point where you don’t even need to speak to each other,” Sean continues. “You just know. You can happily sit there in silence and just know what would be said. You also know that if you’re sharing a room with Steen and he goes back early, you’ll get in and he’s gonna be naked and munching on a packet of peanut M&Ms disgustingly loudly with his headphones in.” When the band started, they were often tarnished with the same brush as their significantly looser South London forefathers - including notorious regular visitors Fat White Family - but over the 47
past year two things have become apparent about Shame: firstly, they’re relentlessly committed to their music, and secondly, they’re almost as insistent on not taking themselves too seriously. “We have to approach everything with humour,” Charlie lays out, sitting down before the Madrid show. “We did all of the shittest gigs possible at the start, and if we didn’t look at it in the way of it being hilarious, we’d probably have given up by now,” he continues, before Eddie recites a particularly painful early memory. “We played at this thing called Richmond Riverside Festival, and we saw the word festival and were just like ‘Siiiiick let’s do it!’, so we did it, and turns out it was basically a village fete,” he begins, with his bandmates letting out chuckle after chuckle. “There were like five people there, one of which was Josh’s dad - the other four were just 8 yearolds doing cartwheels. Steen was also asked half-way through to tell the crowd that there was going to be storytelling in the opposite tent in ten minutes. We got paid in Cumberland sausages and cider.” “It’s one of our proudest moments, that we made it through that gig and didn’t give up,” affirms Sean. But give up they didn’t. Shame carved a reputation as a formidable live band and entered 2018 ready to explode.
t does seem like it’s all happening in one very short, abrupt burst,” says Eddie. “We’ve been working hard on this for our entire existence as a band, and we’ve been taking it seriously and gigging hard and trying so tirelessly to make it our full time job, and then this record started getting underway, and when it came out, all of this stuff was just done for us already: the position we dreamt about being in this time three years ago, it feels like it happened as soon as this record came out. “We’d been so used to being on tour and thinking ‘Shit, we’ve only sold 10 tickets for tonight, this might be a bit rough’ to...we’ve been on tour for four months now and every single show has been rammed. It feels like that goal was just achieved out of nowhere. Obviously it wasn’t, because we worked hard to write these songs, but the actual practical stuff just happened.” “It was mad,” Sean affirms. “Every day we’d be together after the album came out, and one of us would just say ‘Holy shit, London just sold out!’ and then a few hours later ‘Oh and now Bristol’s sold out!’.” The revelations just keep coming, from an
exhausting but fantastic slew of SXSW shows, to a triumphant, sold-out night at London’s Electric Ballroom, and bringing ‘One Rizla’ to Later… with Jools Holland, it’s been a year packed with ‘moments’, ones which have allowed the band to have a mental stock-take. Only hours earlier in the van, they’re beaming with delight when the latest update comes through for their November UK tour, seeing that ticket sales for Kentish Town Forum have passed the thousand mark. “To have that homecoming show felt really special,”
“WE WERE QUITE SURPRISED THAT THE HUMOUR “MY DAD WAS HANGING OVER THE FRONT BARRIER AT THE ELECTRIC BALLROOM, TRANSLATED.” CRYING.” - SEAN COYLE-SMITH CHARLIE STEEN 48 diymag.com
Charlie says of the April gig. “It was quite hilarious to watch my dad hanging over the front barrier at the Electric Ballroom, crying,” laughs Sean. “America was also amazing,” the frontman picks back up. “We sold out New York, LA and Chicago, and almost every show was packed. We were quite surprised that the humour translated. People did understand it, and did connect with it,” he continues, despite citing one particular show on the run where his onstage jape about Shame being “a Christian rock band, here to spread the word of Jesus H Christ” went a little too far, leading to a few irate audience members. “We do have a Portuguese YouTube following that actually think we’re a Christian rock band,” he sidelines, grinning.
RUN TO JOOLS Half-way through the European leg of the band’s world tour, they made a short but very sweet return trip to the UK to play the iconic Later… with Jools Holland. Predictably, in Shame’s very own way, it wasn’t as smooth as it could’ve been, as Steen explains.
“I don’t think that our Britishness is necessarily inaccessible for Americans or [mainland] Europeans,” Eddie expands. “I like the rage [in the music],” a Madrid native confirms,
stopping to get his ticket signed by the band. “It’s a rage that we all feel, and one you can connect with and use for good.” The connection is shown better than ever at the Madrid show; it’s an unstoppable thrash. Charlie’s even more animated tonight, barking his way through ‘Friction’, his eyeballs inches away from the front row, every next line that’s spat out forming a deeper connection than the last, before the show comes to a gloriously messy climax. ‘Gold Hole’, already complete with a mess of sweaty bodies clambering all over each other, sees Josh break a bass string. Sean manages to grab a replacement and hand it to his bandmate only to discover it’s left-handed, while Charlie rages on oblivious, still shouting his gospel until there’s no breath left. He goes again the next day. Unlikely heroes Shame may look and feel, but heroes they might just be becoming. Shame’s debut album ‘Songs Of Praise’ is out now.DIY Shame are appearing at Citadel, Bestival and Ypsigrock this year. Head to diymag.com for details. Charlie’s Batman costume needed work.
“We were playing in Poland the day before we travelled back, and got to the airport at midnight but our flight wasn’t ‘til 6am, so Sean and I managed to find a children’s playground in the airport and have a little kip in there... obviously. Then we arrived and went backstage, just about to go on, and I ran into Jade Bird, who was also playing, to see that we’d shown up in identical white boiler suits. ‘Oh fuuuuuck…’.”
a different kind of
Love Song On
London boy Matt Maltese is ripping up the modern singer-songwriter rulebook and emerging with an album that tackles love and life in all its good, bad and ugly truth.
Words: Lisa Wright. Photos: Phil Smitihes.
remember being 14 with my friends listening to Ben Howard and just thinking, I can’t do this, I just don’t feel anything,” recalls Matt Maltese. “I’m not cussing him, but I couldn’t relate. [Those kind of singers] sound like they’ve all had such a nice life, but then you listen to Leonard Cohen and it sounds like he’s lived a bit and he’s actually put himself in uncomfortable situations rather than just singing these vague metaphors about fire...” Sat cross-legged, sipping on a half-pint of Guinness in the beer garden of a North London pub, you’d immediately pick Matt out as a man who doesn’t necessarily always fall into step with the trends of the modern world. Though he’s ditched the ‘70s suits of his regular stage wear today in favour of a natty bootcut trouser and denim shirt combo, the shaven-headed singer still cuts the silhouette of an irregular 22-year-old. He’s always been a bit of an anomaly, it seems. “I was the intense 13 year old, having Jim Carrey realisations that we’re just a small insignificant thing on the planet,” he laughs. “I think I really liked being an outsider when I was younger; I didn’t find that many people who liked the music I liked or the things I liked doing. I used to make up reasons why I was too busy to hang out with friends so I could hang out on my own.” But if this picture of the lonely, tortured youth seems out of sync with the Matt that’s in front of us – a warm and chatty figure, with a wickedly dry sense of humour who gamely larks around with various props and poses for today’s shoot – then
forthcoming debut LP ‘Bad Contestant’ shows that he’s still both of these things all at once. Simultaneously hilarious and heart-wrenching, playfully light but with some often uncomfortable rug-pulling moments, it’s an album that seeks to capture the realities of this tangled mess that we call life in all its multi-faceted terrible brilliance. Unlike Josh Tillman’s alter-ego of sorts Father John Misty - the musical comparison Matt garners the most - the singer is keen to stress that there’s no edifice at all here. Whether singing about a former flame informing him of her new sexy chocolate exploits on ‘Like A Fish’ or an ill-advised affair on ‘Guilty’, every funny, awkward, painful truth is all very much him. “There’s nothing made up. That’s the thing that annoys me the most, people thinking there’s a character, because there’s definitely not. It’s maybe dramatising my own life and making bigger things out of issues that aren’t that big, but that’s what I do anyway ‘cause I’m human,” explains Matt. “We all do that.” Unlike most albums of ‘love songs’, it’s also a record that’s unafraid to often cast its author in the role of the bad guy. Sometimes Matt’s the doe-eyed smoothie (‘Nightclub Love’, ‘Strange Time’), but sometimes he’s the rogue (‘Guilty’). Sometimes he’s doomed by his own bad luck (‘Greatest Comedian’, ‘Bad Contestant’) and sometimes he’s entirely over it (‘Less & Less’). It’s the kind of fully-rounded perspective that aims to land as far away from the beige platitudes that populate the modern popular male singer-songwriter canon as possible. “Those ballads just mainly make me feel quite depressed. They make me feel alone because it’s like, if I can’t feel anything for these kind of things then why are my
Who said the youth of today donâ€™t know how to fend for themselves, eh?
feelings about love or life so different?” he explains. “What I really connect to is when you hear someone put it all on the table, but really do it rather than sugar-coating it. Those [other] songs don’t make me feel happy or like Ed Sheeran understands me, they just make me think, well maybe no-one understands me? What I like about a lot of the good songwriters is that they make you feel like you don’t have weird thoughts because everyone has weird thoughts. Little nuances don’t separate you from the song, they give some kind of reality to the experience.” ince Matt first started making real waves at the end of 2016 with sweeping breakthrough track ‘Vacant In The 21st Century’, he’s been presenting these realities in increasingly well-received ways, getting doffs of the musical cap from everyone from The Maccabees (RIP) to Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado (who produced ‘Bad Contestant’) to Brandon Flowers – who tipped the young singer in a recent interview. It nearly didn’t end up this way, however. “I was going to go to uni, but I missed out on my place by one mark because I got a D in Music Performance,” notes the professional music performer with an eyeball roll. “The reason was because my mic was distorted, but that music tech guy literally changed my life by not knowing what he was doing with that mic. Because I didn’t get into uni, I decided to move to London.”
“And it’s very easy to be around those kinds of bands and feel like you’re behind the times because they’re doing these things that feel young and fresh. But it’s wholly positive to be around people you respect that don’t do what you do, because that’s what excites me the most. I wouldn’t want to be doing a singer-songwriter night in Dalston.” ‘Vacant...’ – a state of the nation musing on a disaffected generation – and its follow up ‘As The World Caves In’ with its surreal skewering of Donald Trump and Theresa May’s toe-curling public relationship, hinted that Matt would follow the path of his pals into the realm of social and political sonic commentary. Instead, however, he decided to turn the lens inwards. “Everything that was happening [in the world] was getting more and more ridiculous every
month. And I probably have an album of songs that describe my disassociation with the current state of the modern world and my upset around it, but the more difficult thing for me to do was actually go back to what I maybe felt like I was disavowing, which was heartbreak,” he says of the choice. “It’s just such a big part of everybody’s life. People’s love lives and their relationships with friends and family can also define a lot of their relationships with the world outside them.” And with the help of Rado - “the king of self-aware cheekiness” Matt set about sculpting a record that would embody that idea.
“Those songs don’t make me feel like Ed Sheeran understands me, they just make me think, maybe no-one understands me?”
From there, Matt soon fell in with the current South London scene of Goat Girl, Sorry and the like, where he ended up “playing this show where Shame were headlining, and there was me in a white turtleneck...” Despite their obvious sonic differences, it furnished Matt with a solid group of musical peers for the first time. “Before I moved to London, I struggled to find people my age that I could really relate to,” he recalls of those days.
Recorded largely in 12 days in LA, ‘Bad Contestant’ sees Matt at his most honest and confident. While most anecdotes regarding his childhood, teenagedom and even his first years in London are peppered with caveats of feeling out of the loop or doubtful of his own talents, when the singer speaks of his LA experience there’s nothing but good vibes to be found. “I felt the most unburdened by anything while I was out there. You escape
“It annoys me when people think there’s a character, because there’s definitely not.” your life for 12 days and you’re in the presence of someone whose opinion and taste you respect and who respects you in return,” he glows. “Rado’s proper wacky, in a great way. He’ll call up all these friends who are just wonderful LA cliches – the drummer’s a part-time actor, just the best looking man I’d ever met and so annoyingly nice that you can’t even call him a prick. The world he’s in there, I felt so privileged to have fallen into that.” From the purposeful outsider of old, it’s seen the singer step into the next phase with a newfound sense of conviction. “The older you get, the more comfortable you get with your own weaknesses and strengths and what kind of person you are, and I’ve definitely done that,” he nods. “It’s really about trying to access what you were as a kid, not caring what people thought and being playful – that’s the place I’m trying to get to.” And for the next generation of awkward teens, needing something to provide a little more relatable solace than ‘Shape Of You’? Well, Matt could be just the guy to give it. “I’d love it to be the end of the straight up singer-songwriter that the ‘00s or early ‘10s knew,” he grins. “I’ve just tried to put the annoying, pathetically funny details that happen into the songs. There really isn’t a lot left out. There’s no going back now...” ‘Bad Contestant’ is out 8th June via Atlantic. DIY “No Mum, they’ve been making me pose on this weird couch for hours now…”
Matt Maltese is appearing at Citadel this year. Head to diymag.com for details. 53
lush life Between releasing a critically-acclaimed first EP and graduating from high school, snail mail’s lindsey jordan has had a lot on her plate. Now she’s getting ready to release debut ‘Lush’, and discovering a new sense of clarity. Words: Rachel Finn. Photos: Phil Smithies.
indsey Jordan is busy. She’s out buying flowers for her mum’s birthday in a rare moment of down time when we get the chance to speak to her in the space that she has free between a photoshoot and another interview. In the rest of her spare time, “the hour or two” she has, the band are teaching Snail Mail’s new touring guitarist their songs. Otherwise, she’s constantly touring and trying to write on the road after a whirlwind couple of years in which she’s put out her debut EP, signed to Matador, toured the US and Europe and, in the middle of it all, even found the time to finish high school. So what’s it like when she finally gets to go home? “No, no, I don’t go home!” she insists, laughing. “Once being in transit becomes your reality it’s really hard to go back... it’s like, who am I?”
for my own reasons; that’s sort of when all the songs started to be better.” A debut album of growing pains about being on the brink of adulthood, on ‘Lush’ you can hear the progress of an artist who’s no longer holding back. When writing the record, “a lot more came to the surface”, she explains. Whether in the melancholic slow burn of ‘Deep Sea’, the heart-wrenching ballad ‘Stick’ or the more upbeat take of singles ‘Pristine’ and ‘Heat Wave’, here Snail Mail taps into the weird and awkward feelings of relationships even more so than before, and unashamedly faces them head on in a way that feels refreshing in a culture where it’s sometimes seen as a bit uncool to care.
“I just really became obsessed with perfection.”
‘Who am I?’ seems like a pertinent question for Lindsey, who formed Snail Mail in her native Baltimore in 2015. Her music is the sonic equivalent of feeling your emotions at 100mph, pairing red-raw lyricism with slow-burning hooks and intricate guitar lines, exploring a full range of human feeling in the process. On debut EP ‘Habit’, she tackled the uncertain emotions and questioning of self that’s synonymous with your teenage years in a way that seemed both overwhelmed with emotion and yet aware of how transient those feelings are. Now, debut album ‘Lush’ picks up where the EP left off, an album of transition, presenting Lindsey at her most confident and uninhibited - although writing wasn’t always easy. “I was putting pressure on myself to make something that mattered to me, so when I graduated it was even harder because it was like ‘Oh I have time [now], why do I not want to write?’” she explains of adapting to post-high school life during the space between working on the two releases. “I kind of had to teach myself to love [writing] again and do it
“The cool and mysterious approach has its place and it just doesn’t belong to me. I’m a very non-apathetic person,” she says. “I feel everything really strongly and I think if I was to fake it everyone would know and I would know. That’s really where songwriting goes for me. I use it as a real outlet to compartmentalise my feelings and put them all in one place.”
It’s then no surprise to learn that music was a form of expression from an early age for Lindsey. Growing up in suburban Baltimore, her first experiences began age five with classical guitar training. Coming through the Baltimore music scene, she started performing live covers in her friends’ bands before forming Snail Mail in response to an invitation to play a local festival but not having a band of her own. “I had a bunch of songs that I had written as a personal outlet and it was the natural progression of wanting to be a multi-faceted guitar player.” Pulled together through friends, two weeks later Snail Mail performed their first show alongside the likes of Screaming Females, Sheer Mag and Priests (who later released the band’s first EP on their own label Sister Polygon). Despite it being her
first official foray, due to her long history of performing, it felt more of a continuation from everything that had come before. “I wasn’t really nervous,” she remembers, nonchalantly. “I remember my amp stopped working half way through, which is something that used to happen with that amp all the time. But I borrowed a friend’s so it was all OK.” At ease with Snail Mail onstage from the get-go, ‘Lush’ however is an album created through hours of meticulous and painstaking work in the studio, Lindsey keen to get involved in every stage of the process. “[I was] locking myself away so I could make the personally impressive music that I could make. I wanted to fully reach my potential,” she explains. “I just really became obsessed with perfection and wanting to make it the way I heard it in my head so that everything that people were hearing had my fingerprints on it. Right down to mixing, I was sitting right in the studio being like ‘yeah, this, this and that…’” Despite seeming to have a strikingly clear vision of her music and what she wants to do with it, it’s still surprising to her that some have honed in on her ability to articulate aspects of the teenage experience with such clarity. In making the record, she explains, she was trying to make something
that reflected exactly what she was going through, rather than encompassing anything bigger: “I was just feeling so intensely at the time and so I didn’t even really think about that until it got into the press cycle. Then it was like, ‘these songs for the age! This album really represents the eighteen / nineteen-year-old experience!’ and I was like ‘oh, I guess it kind of does’”. Almost three years after that first show and about to release her debut, Lindsey is taking her bright and busy future in her stride. She’s already writing the next record, she explains, although she “fully plan[s] to take as much time with it as possible…” and the rest of the year for her is full of constant touring.
“I was putting pressure on myself to make something that mattered to me.”
“It feels really fulfilling being able to play every night and go to all these places I’ve never been and it’s kind of a routine you have to throw yourself into fully and give it your all. It really doesn’t work if you can’t make it your own,” she says. “It really comes down to what you want out of it,” she continues, “and to me that was to make a record that I was really proud of. I definitely did that.” ‘Lush’ is out 8th June via Matador. DIY
LI ST E N
Returning with the spellbinding pop of second album ‘I’m All Ears’, Let’s Eat Grandma are evolving, accentuating their differences, and entering a whole new world. Words: Will Richards. Photos & collage: Eva Pentel.
he evolution of Let’s Eat Grandma can be summed up across the four minutes of single, ‘It’s Not Just Me’. A highlight of second album ‘I’m All Ears’, the track sees Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth taking a verse each, attacking the subject from different angles - Rosa cutting through the awkward denial of an inevitably blossoming romance, then Jenny promising that a friendship won’t drift apart - before colliding together over euphoric synths in the chorus. When the duo first emerged two years ago with debut album ‘I, Gemini’, a peculiar trip of witchy, oddball pop, Rosa and Jenny cut almost identical figures. Down to their on-stage games of patty cake and promo photos that saw their curly hair intertwine as one, they were a unit, inseparable. Fast forward to ‘Hot Pink’, their SOPHIE and Faris Badwanproduced comeback single, and you could almost hear the script being torn up and lobbed out of the window. Bewitching tangents were swapped out for gigantic, plasticy synths and a dirty, hyper-modern chorus. It’s only the tip of the iceberg that is ‘I’m All Ears’, too.
anyway,” Jenny confirms, the pair consistently finishing off each others’ sentences, interlinking and overlapping throughout the conversation. “Sometimes it’s really hard to convince people that we’re not the same person, which is just hilarious to me,” she says before pausing. “I guess that was part of the branding…” Let’s Eat Grandma arrived as a heavily branded and overtly kooky concept. You couldn’t quite work out if they meant it or not. “To a certain extent - and this is true for anyone, just with the press it’s heightened - you can end up becoming what people say you are,” Jenny looks back, far from distancing herself from the band’s first age. “If people had a perception of you, and they told you what they thought, you might start dressing more like that, or acting more like that. This is my brand! This is who I am! And you can easily fall into that, rather than just being yourself.” “I didn’t think so at the time, but in hindsight it probably did have some negative effects,” she says of the way she and Rosa were introduced. “The positive thing is just our friendship, which has nothing to do with the press. We’ve always had that.”
t’s funny how easily you can link two different meanings into one song,” Jenny begins, reflecting on the duality of ‘It’s Not Just Me’. She’s clearly relishing the contrasting perspectives that the two bring to ‘I’m All Ears’: “For some of the other songs, we’ve got even bigger differences in ideas going on!” The track is only one example of a second album that works to accentuate the differences between the pair, with Rosa’s cleaner, more polished vocals and Jenny’s edgier twang both given ample space. “I guess it’s more that as we’ve grown a bit older, we’ve got into different things, and we’re less tied to each other,” says Rosa, before Jenny picks up: “I guess if you’re dating people, you end up spending loads of time with whoever you’re seeing... not that we both do that a lot or anything!” she’s quick to clarify through a giggle. “If you do it though, you end up spending large amounts of time with one person.” “With the first album,” Rosa continues, “because we’d never dated anyone, we’d just spend all our time with each other. And we still do obviously, but we also have different connections with other people.” “We’ve always had different friends
“But we did start the whole image, and ‘twin’ branding ourselves,” Rosa considers. “But we were like 14!” Jenny chips in, the first time either of the pair come across as agitated.
It’s important to not let the band become our whole lives,” say Rosa and Jenny. So what, then, do they get up to when they’re not on the road or in the studio? Jenny: I’m quite into Hama Beads, gotta say. There’s only so much you can do though, to not let them take over the whole house. Rosa: I’ve been making loads of origami birds. I get home and need a creative outlet and to occupy my time. J: It needs to be something that’s deliberately not got a point and isn’t done to be productive though. R: My bedroom is getting a bit too full of origami birds, and I don’t know what I’m gonna do with them all. A new stage design, maybe? J: No because that would be productive! The point is that you burn them all at the end!
“We’ve always had real creative control,” Rosa affirms. “We knew less what we were doing, and I’m not ashamed to say that,” Jenny chips in, before Rosa confirms the point: “That’s how we were, and it was accurate. You’ve gotta go with what you feel in the moment. When we started the band, that was us. And because our friendship is such an important part of this band - one of the most important parts - even though we’re still best friends now, we’re not the same person.” “When you’re always bunched together, it makes it difficult comparing yourself to each other,” confirms Jenny, “especially when you’re younger and less secure in your identity. “Whenever I do things, I don’t think ‘Oh, what would Rosa do in this situation?’.”
’m All Ears’ is another definitive account of the Norwich-based pair doing exactly what they feel in the moment. A bam-bam-bam opening of ‘Hot Pink’, ‘It’s Not Just Me’ and the propulsive, fascinating ‘Falling Into Me’ introduces the record, but it still delves deep into the weirder, darker sides of the pair’s
personalities across its 50 minutes. ‘Snakes & Ladders’ sees Jenny throwing out verses like confetti, getting into such a stride that she’s halfway to rapping, all set over slow, creepy synths, while ‘Cool & Collected’ is a brilliantly measured nine-minute trip which rises and falls with precision. “The fact the album’s quite emotionally dynamic is good,” Jenny says of the record’s twists and turns, both musically and lyrically. “If you have a whole set of really sad songs... how draining would that be! You have to give your all every performance, and you’d just be standing there like...’there’s no tears left!’.” Recorded at a series of studios across the country, the album’s ups and downs can be reflected in its fragmented creation, with ideas coming to fruition across many separate session, or in ‘Falling Into Me’’s case, at the most inconvenient times. “I remember
when we were in the van on the way to Bestival,” Rosa recalls, “desperately trying to come up with a chorus for ‘Falling Into Me’ before we got there. I think we went through about ten different potential hooks for it before we hit gold. We arrived and still weren’t done but then the tent we were meant to be playing in blew down because of the rain, and our van got stuck in the mud, so we polished it off there and then. Someone wanted us to finish that song!” “Whenever I do songwriting, and I might sit there and try and write for a few hours but come up with nothing good, I never leave it feeling bad,” adds Jenny of the process. “I just consider it a fun two hours. The more bad ideas I come up with, the more likely it is that a good one will be next.” It comes as little surprise that ‘I’m All Ears’ marks such a departure for the pair, given it was written and recorded
around the time they both turned 18. “It’s been a relatively short amount of time [since the first record],” Rosa states, “but for us, because of the age we’re at, a lot happens in those two years. For older people, it feels like hardly any time has passed, but for us, it feels like forever, and [the album] is truthful to where we’re at now. We wanted the ability to change our image. That was us then, and this is us now.” “And the next record we’ll want something different again,” picks up Jenny. “People don’t like the idea of you changing. Even in personal situations, they don’t like when someone changes their mind. “For the second record, we just decided to be ourselves. It makes you more vulnerable, and I feel once you’re being yourself, you can go in any direction.” ‘I’m All Ears’ is out 29th June via Transgressive. DIY
“Somet imes it’s people really h that we ’re not t ard to convinc which i h e s just h ilariou e same person Holling worth s to me , !” - Jenny
t’s no great revelation to say that Lily Allen’s 2014 comeback LP ‘Sheezus’ was something of a misfire. Failing to match the deliciously witty nuance and cutting social commentary that had categorised her first two albums of superlative pop, it seemed that five years out of the game had cooled the singer’s precision-dart pen. Rather than cleverly soundtracking the often ill-advised exploits of her generation, it felt like Lily Mk. II just didn’t really know what she wanted to say. Fast forward four years and here we are at a follow-up that, it’s fair to say, many may have assumed would never happen. Having openly admitted that she had something of an “identity crisis” on LP3, this time she’s entering the ring under a largely different set of circumstances. Where ‘Sheezus’ thrust forward slightly clunky tales of being a mother and wife, now Lily is
publicly separated: a theme that runs heavily throughout ‘No Shame’. She’s also stated that, following a series of potentially iffy decisions made by her label last time around, this time she’s been working more separately. And, while ‘No Shame’ still doesn’t quite reach the dizzying pop peaks of her early work, there’s a definite sense here that Lily’s got her mojo back, on her own terms. Lead single ‘Trigger Bang’, featuring grime star Giggs, easily sits alongside any of her best work. Breezily melodic with the singer’s trademark airy trill, it’s an effortless earworm and a sharp, biting ode to a dangerously addictive nature. Lyrically, it’s this almost painful rawness that categorises the album throughout. If ‘No Shame’ as a title could be read as a sassy kiss off to her many detractors, then even a cursory listen through the almost uncomfortably personal nature of its 14 tracks shows that Lily’s actually gunning for something far more
vulnerable here. From the refrain of “I’m a bad mother/ I’m a bad wife/ You’ve seen it on the socials/ You read it online” that runs through opener ‘Come On Then’, it’s clear that the aim is to address these preconceptions by laying bare the truth in painful detail.
‘Family Man’ (melodically reminiscent of Christina Aguilera’s ‘Beautiful’) or the cheeky reggae lilt of ‘Waste (feat. Lady Chann)’, they’re even more welcome moments of atmospheric respite.
Realistically, ‘No Shame’ is about 30% too long. Among all the other, better dissections of her situation, the plinky, mildly On sentimental ballad ‘Three’, she sings from the perspective irritating ‘My One’ isn’t necessary. There’s also something a bit of her daughter, highlighting the disappointment of having a tonally repetitive about the lyrical disillusionment + musical mother who’s always off on tour (“Please don’t go/ Stay here with restraint recipe that seeps through the three-track run of ‘Your me/ It’s not my fault”). On the anxious slow jam of ‘Everything Choice’, ‘Lost My Mind’ and ‘Higher’. Closer ‘Cake’, meanwhile, To Feel Something’, she speaks of having meaningless one is fine but ultimately adds little. Overall, however, ‘No Shame’ night stands and “giving all [her] worth to someone else”. On goes a long way to restoring Lily’s previous position at the top ‘What You Waiting For’ she talks about the confusion of life after end of pop’s pile. She’s not quite there yet, but after a wobble separating (“Never thought we’d be this couple/ Run at the first that could have sunk lesser personalities, she’s found a sound sign of trouble”). Coupled with Lily’s often feather-light vocal that feels authentic again. And that’ll do for now. (Lisa Wright) and doused over modern, minimal beats, the effect is starkly Listen: ‘Trigger Bang (feat Giggs)’, ‘Family Man’, ‘Waste intimate. It means that when she throws in the lush pianos of (feat. Lady Chann)’
Photo: Phil Smithies.
eeee lush (Matador)
On her debut EP ‘Habit’, Lindsey Jordan presented herself as a talented young songwriter, able to evoke vivid emotions. All her promise is taken to the red line on ‘Lush’. The record is started - and largely defined - by lead single ‘Pristine’. The scrappy, lo-fi backing of ‘Habit’ is beefed up and given a polish, and the new, heftier instrumentation serves to lift the singer’s words even higher. “I know myself and I’ll never love anyone else,” she sings, lamenting her reluctance to move on from a past relationship, while sounding incredibly sure of herself despite the hurt. The record is peppered with slower solo tracks, but it’s the crunchy, full band material that really points the way forward, adding another name to the growing list of songwriters that are giving indie-rock a new, more relatable voice. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Pristine’
eeee JORJA SMITH lost & found (FAMM)
A RELATABLE VOICE.
Clinching the BRIT Award for Critics’ Choice isn’t ever a guarantee of sustained success or even a well-received debut. Jorja Smith, you suspect, needed neither the affirmation or any more of a pedestal than she already had, given that she’s already got high-profile collaborations with Drake and Kendrick Lamar under her belt. ‘Lost & Found’ would surely have emerged sounding this assured and fully-formed regardless; there’s a diversity of stylistic approach and yet a singularity of vision that few artists are able to combine so early on. There’s the occasional misfire - she doesn’t pull off the falsetto that she aims for on ‘Tomorrow’, for instance - but for the most part, Jorja Smith’s only real concern once ‘Lost & Found’ is out is how she’s going to top it. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘February 3rd’ 64 diymag.com
eee PANIC! AT THE DISCO
eeee LET’S EAT GRANDMA i’m all ears (Transgressive)
pray for the wicked
(DCD2 / Fueled by Ramen)
When an album opens with a track titled ‘(Fuck A) Silver Lining’, it’s probably safe to assume it’s not going to be a shy and retiring ride. Unsurprisingly, then, Panic! At The Disco’s latest - Brendon Urie’s sixth album in all - is anything but. Building on the ridiculous bombast of ‘Death Of A Bachelor’, he seems to have again chucked just about everything’s he got at it. For the most part, it’s addictively fun - ‘High Hopes’ is a transcending centrepiece, while ‘The Overpass’ is a sleek, percussive bop - but it does, at times, feel a little confused. While his previous effort sought the benefit of balance, ‘Pray For The Wicked’ is packed to the rafters with over the top hits; in isolation, each would undoubtedly become massive pop anthems, but as a record, it’s just a smidge too much. That’s a sentiment probably best mirrored in soaring closer ‘Dying In LA’ - a simple but gorgeous track that sees Brendon backed by just a piano and strings. It’s not only the album’s standout track, but an incredible testament to his talent. Granted, his sixth effort is as bonkers and creative as ever, but it could be that less really is more. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘Dying in LA’
SMART & KNOWING.
On debut album ‘I, Gemini’, Let’s Eat Grandma ended up bogged down by their own weirdness, the songs given little room to breathe, instead embellished to breaking point. Two years was always going to be a long time for the pair, both still not out of their teens, and the transformation seen on ‘I’m All Ears’ is a revelation. Spearheaded by lead single ‘Hot Pink’, the new record sees the pair focusing in on gigantic, chart-mingling choruses rather than adding frills to the fringes. Measured and calm where ‘I, Gemini’ was slightly erratic, and packing some of the strongest pop punches we’ve heard in yonks, Let’s Eat Grandma truly arrive on ‘I’m All Ears’, and look like they could go anywhere from here. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘It’s Not Just Me’
eeee FATHER JOHN MISTY god’s favorite customer (Bella Union)
When you write an album with a concept as lofty as last year’s ‘Pure Comedy’ - a complex, sprawling opus that tried to distill the essence of the modern world into 75 minutes, then you’ve given yourself a hell of a task to follow it. Once you’ve tackled the subject of the universe and everything, where do you go from there? ‘God’s Favourite Customer’’s answer is to turn the lens inwards. But, because this is Father John Misty, of course it isn’t just another set of ‘woe is me’ shoe-gazing. Largely written during a romantically troubled period where he temporarily moved into a hotel, we get the meta ‘Mr Tillman’’s once-removed analysis of the singer unravelling, ‘Hangout At The Gallows’’s swirling crashes of heady latter-Beatles pianos and the theatrical swansong of ‘The Palace’ with its purposefully ham-fisted rhyming of being in the “poem zone”. It’s smart and knowing, flitting between perspectives with ease. Barely a year after his last, Josh Tillman makes this shit look easy. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Mr Tillman’, ‘Hangout At The Gallows’ 65
so sad so sexy (RCA)
Lykke Li has inhabited an evolving musical persona since her debut album ‘Youth Novels’ was released a decade ago. Now building on the raw vulnerability displayed on 2014’s ‘I Never Learn’, ‘so sad so sexy’ sees her emerging again from a cloud of heartbreak, but this time it’s a more pop-oriented, highly-produced one. It’s obvious here that Lykke has aimed to push the scope of her sound. From using a vocoder and minimalistic percussion on opener ‘hard rain’ to the R&B inflected ‘deep end’, which almost sounds as if it was written after listening to The Weeknd’s back catalogue, she retains her trademark emotional masochism, but goes bigger with pop hooks, widescreen atmospheric synths and multi-layered vocals. There’s a lot of terrain covered in experimentation that sometimes feels slightly jarring given its subject matter. The title track is sad though not particularly sexy, though that’s perhaps the point she’s trying to make; ‘sex money feelings die’ takes her in her most hyper-pop direction yet whereas ‘two nights’ is a slow, indie-pop ballad that features a verse from American rapper Aminé. This is clearly an album of personal and musical growth - it’ll be interesting to see where she goes next. (Rachel Finn) LISTEN: ‘last piece’, ‘sex money feelings die‘
A STUNNING DEBUT.
BAD CONTESTANT (Atlantic)
In a short space of time Matt Maltese has positioned himself as one of the most exciting emerging British songwriters in years. His releases have ranged in tone from jaunty and upbeat to downright morbid; appropriately, ‘Bad Contestant’ is a stunning debut with two very opposing personalities. He muses about romance and sadness, often mixing the two, but where other songwriters might wallow in their misfortune, Matt gives every anecdote an ironic spin. Soaring gracefully away from ‘gruff hipster on an acoustic’ territory and into the realm of effeminate indie icon, the essence of Jarvis is detectable in his dry, pithy lines throughout. At times he’s heartfelt, longing for the partner that god put “so far away” on ‘Greatest Comedian’. Elsewhere, less so; “I can always passively aggressively put you in a song”, he quips on ‘Sweet 16’. Shrouded behind the sultry dress-up are glimmers of chart pop potential; the earworm grooves of ‘Like A Fish’ and ‘Misery’ hint that he could make some IRL indie bangers if he fancied. When he really lets rip, Matt can do grand and orchestral too, but for the most part this enigmatic young voice needs only a simple piano accompaniment to deliver dazzling, idiosyncratic brilliance. (Alex Cabré) LISTEN: ‘Greatest Comedian’, ‘Nightclub Love’
Sunday lunch with the Malteses was a hoot...
eee ROLLING BLACKOUTS COASTAL FEVER hope downs (Sub Pop)
The rise of Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever has been a rapid one. Debut full-length ‘Hope Downs’ follows two quickfire EPs, and knows its game inside out. The ten tracks here largely come from the same rulebook: hooky indie-rock that’s shiny and danceable, but holds far more wonder if peered at more closely. From opener ‘An Air Conditioned Man’, ‘Hope Downs’ finds its stride and rarely breaks it, packing in sunny, memorable hooks by the pound. If there’s anything to criticise ‘Hope Downs’ for, it’s its risk-averse approach, and tendency to become a one-dimensional listen, but as a debut, it presents a band that know exactly what they’re doing. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Talking Straight’
BOY AZOOGA 1, 2 kung fu! (Heavenly)
There’s a fine line between pulling off eclecticism and losing your own sound within a sink load of influences and ideas. Happily, Boy Azooga fall into the former camp on their debut. ‘1, 2, Kung Fu!’ is a fun, beautiful, and accomplished reminder of the joy of discovery. It encourages you to keep a close ear to its many layers, peeling each one back to reveal a Krautrock pulse here, a soul groove there. It’s indiscriminate in its approach to inspiration - fitting for a musician who also drums as part of Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon. In the disco-tinged, Tame Impala-esque ‘Taxi To Your Head’, Davey NewingtonX narrates a scene of taking a cab through your mind. It’s surreal, but also makes total sense in terms of this album - essentially a drive through his own head, where other records and artists make up the landmarks, street signs, and buildings like the most musical city on earth. (Rhian Daly) LISTEN: ‘Face Behind Her Cigarette’ Boy Azooga
Good Boy Azooga
Q&A While letting us in behind the scenes of his debut, Boy Azooga main man Davey Newington reveals he’s already looking forward to LP2.
nightstand (Polyvinyl / Hand In Hive)
Jess Abbot’s time post-Now, Now has so far consisted of a series of increasingly confident releases to 2016’s loud and outspoken ‘Out Of The Garden’. And on ‘Nightstand’, she continues along that trajectory with her most cohesive collection of songs to date. Where once Tancred’s choruses came out of speakers like an explosion of nervous energy, ‘Queen Of New York’ and ‘Reviews’ harness that energy with a tight focus that elevates Jess to the top table of jangly indie-rock songwriting. (Ryan De Freitas) LISTEN: ‘Rowing‘
When and where did you record the album? I started making it a few years ago with producer Eddie Al-Shakarchi. He has a beautiful home studio on a farm just outside Cardiff. At the time I was busy drumming in other projects and recording up at Ed’s was my escape. We’d stay up till the early hours trying out sounds and working on the songs. Lots of my favourite records, from Caribou to Ty Segall, were recorded at home and I love making music that way. We’ve started recording LP two in the same place. How important is it to you to have the full breadth of what Boy Azooga is ‘out there’? It’s really important to me, I got a bit freaked out when I first started putting the music out ‘cause the songs are quite different to each other. I didn’t want people to think we were just one thing. The album has interludes and little themes that come back on themselves and that was intentionally done to make it feel more unified despite the different style between songs. I’ve got another album’s worth ready to go which I want to get out as soon as possible! Finally - what’s your favourite kung fu movie? Drunken Master! 67
magic gone (Run For Cover)
‘Shame’ set Petal up as a project of deep emotional introspection that found its strongest footing in its most intimate moments. So it’s something of a surprise that follow-up ‘Magic Gone’ opens with a boisterous guitar line. ‘Better Than You’, however, proves to be something of a red herring as it soon gives way to a more downtempo, reflective tone. Across the album’s two distinct halves – the first written prior to Kiley Lotz seeking treatment for depressive and panic disorders and the latter written during recovery – she conveys a depth of emotional exploration in her lyrics that goes beyond even her previous work. (Ryan De Freitas) LISTEN: ‘Stardust’
eee GANG GANG DANCE kazuashita (4AD)
Experimental outfit Gang Gang Dance return with their first album in seven years, and with a pantheon of abstract instruments, invigorating rhythms and a heady, shoegaze-inspired production, it ranks among the most colourful works they’ve done. ‘J-Tree’ sets the album on its path with a percussive, balearic beat partnered by a skipping synth line. This is the kind of utopian music that should be played as the sun sets on a tropical island. And while ‘Snake Dub’ steps a little too close to Aphex Twin’s more nauseating works (there’s an uncomfortable excess of telephone rings and door squeaks), album closer ‘Salve on the Sorrow’ is one of the most enchanting moments of a record that is engaging and magical throughout. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘Kazuashita’
SERPENTWITHFEET soil (Secretly Canadian / Tri Angle)
Cloaked in dark and immersive production, ‘soil’ draws from the musical genres that serpentwithfeet’s Josiah Wise was surrounded by during his youth. With cinematic sweeping choruses, booming drums and soulful melodies that borrow from his early life growing up in church, singing in choirs and later as a music student at Philadelphia’s School of the Arts, the New York-based musician’s debut full-length is an experimental one, mixing classical and electronic music with the sounds of gospel and R&B. ‘Cherubim’ is an exclamation of love for a man he’s just fallen for with the kind of devotion and grandeur reserved for religious ceremony, whereas lead single ‘bless ur heart’ is a sparser, piano-led track with lyrics that read like poetry. ‘soil’ is perhaps a literal title: a return to his roots and a celebration of finally having found his feet. (Rachel Finn) LISTEN: ‘Cherubim’
GIRLS NAMES stains on silence
‘Stains on Silence’ came very close to not being released at all. With financial strain, personal upheaval and doubt all taking their toll, the album was shelved, and the band took a break, before dismantling the record and building it again, almost from the ground up. The result is a record that feels born from the very things that almost destroyed it, and as such, is far from easy listening. From the gothic grandeur of opener ‘25’, to the understated and off-kilter menace of ‘A Moment, and A Year’, there’s little on offer here that will raise spirits. This isn’t a forgiving record, and panders only to its creators’ fancy. There’s too little that hits home, and too much that feels like being experimental for experimental’s sake. (Dave Beech) LISTEN: ‘Karoline’
eee TEAM PICTURE
recital (Big Dumb)
A short, snappy debut, ‘Recital’ is an album of two obvious ‘wonky’ sides, kicking off with the cleaner, more direct numbers before moving swiftly on to the final, more guitar-driven three. ‘(I Have A) Little Secret’ bursts with ‘80s nostalgia, synths interwoven with guitars working as a tight unit to power the track onward. ‘Strange Year’ meanwhile evokes Klaxons when it comes to the synth work. ‘Theme From Flint’, a seven-minute effort, does well to prove that Team Picture are unstoppable at this point, before things get hazy toward the end with ‘Love Irritant’. A largely successful introduction. (Samantha Daly) LISTEN: ‘(I Want Your) Life Hack‘
eeee MELODY’S ECHO CHAMBER bon voyage
lump (Dead Oceans)
Laura Marling has always threatened to stray from the path, while never quite actually making the steps. LUMP - a new collaboration with Mike Lindsay of rustic folk group Tunng - sees the itch well and truly scratched. A perfectly-contained six tracks, ‘LUMP’ trades Laura’s signature, breezy acoustic guitars for swelling synths, and rearranges her traditional song structures like
they’re playdough. Laura’s voice is understated for large parts of the record, but when it shines, it does so brighter than ever. With each track melting into each other perfectly, ‘LUMP’ feels like a self-contained trip. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Hand Hold Hero’
Five years since her debut, Melody Prochet’s return is initially a baffling one. Her Kevin Parker-fuelled sound has been ditched for a complex, experimental style. There are only seven tracks. And there’s barely anything that resembles traditional structure. Instead, ‘Bon Voyage’ feels like an erratic series of disjointed vignettes, almost as if several different bands are playing in succession, transforming the song as they go in a mighty, messy jam session. But perseverance is vital, because the treasures buried within are emphatic. Melody’s weird medley may not be as accessible as her debut, but it’s a work of art that deserves to be beheld for its innovation. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘Desert Horse’
naughty naughty violence (Excelsior)
The most explosive indie band in Amsterdam are barely out of high school but they’re already two albums deep. And while ‘Naughty Naughty Violence’ sees them part ways with the ‘90s slacker icon that produced their debut, it’s clear that Canshaker Pi absorbed plenty of Stephen Malkmus’ skill. But despite the similarities, Canshaker Pi don’t merely sound derivative. They’re more like the second coming. It’s a controlled chaos that’s warm enough to endear to, but hectic enough to feel exciting at the same time. Angular riffs and lurching balladry provide plenty of twists and turns throughout the rest of this superb album, and it rarely drops off from the high standard established at the offset. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘Indie Academy‘
Missed the boat on the best albums from the last couple of months? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
eeeee parquet courts
Easily the best thing the New Yorkers have put to record.
eeee chvrches love is dead
Was there ever any doubt the trio would be top pop titans?
kindness is the new rock and roll
Back and as anthemic as ever. Photo: Emma Swann
eeee BEN HOWARD
Noonday dream (Island)
Across his wildly successful two album career, Ben Howard has been defined by the breezy, radio-friendly folk of his singles, rather than any dark undertones that punctuate both of his records. New record ‘Noonday Dream’ sees the singer’s eye drawn closer towards darkness than the radio waves. It’s a choice that pays off excellently: it’s an engrossing, deeply atmospheric trip, helmed by seven-minute monster ‘A Boat To An Island On The Wall’, that serves as a repositioning as well as a career highlight. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘A Boat To An Island On The Wall’
colt (Sacred Bones)
Dubliner - and former JJ72 bassist for any turn-of-the-century indie kids left around - Hilary Woods wrote ‘Colt’ in an abandoned flat, which lends plenty of weight to the sombre mood that prevails throughout. It’s by far the record’s most intriguing quality; developed through a dark canvas of swelling strings and windy ambience. It’s not surprising to hear that she’s previously worked producing original scores for horror films. Gentle piano tinkering provides much of the melody, while Hilary’s vocals are sombre, glistening and heavily coated in reverb. There’s a further sense of spiriting when harps show up on the tracks ‘Limbs’ and ‘Take Him In’, and ultimately this album succeeds as an ominous exercise in atmosphere. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘Jesus Said’
GRUFF RHYS babelsberg (Rough Trade)
YEARS & YEARS
It’s gonna be bangers o’clock from May’s cover stars on LP2 from what we’ve heard so far. Released 6th July.
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE
high as hope
Soaring vocal lines, a touch of poetry to the lyrics and a smattering of references to her South London home? Flo’s back. Out 29th June.
lamp lit prose Dave Longstreth and pals have roped in favours from Haim, Rostam, Amber Mark and more this time around. Out 13th July.
This new solo record from Gruff Rhys - his fifth - is a lofty piece of work; the title, which he noted down on the road years before knowing he’d one day come to use it, came about because he was “looking for a name that evoked the Tower of Babel - people building towers to reach an idea of heaven”. ‘Babelsberg’ is certainly a thematically ambitious record but that isn’t to say that it isn’t accessible; it’s a melodic and consistently playful piece of work, even with the formidable backing of the 72-piece BBC National Orchestra of Wales making up a huge part of the instrumental palette. Despite being written two years ago and left on the back burner until Gruff could secure the musical collaborators he wanted, lyrically, the pervading themes of consumerism, technology and modern day anxieties remain pertinent. It’s a record in its creator’s image; curious, insightful, eclectic and most of all - good fun. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Take That Call’
Now-five-piece State Champs run the stylistic gamut on ‘Living Proof’, from the relative slow burn of the moody ‘The Fix Up’ to the irrepressible energy of lead single ‘Dead and Gone’, co-written with Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 after he dropped by the studio unannounced. You wouldn’t need to listen to much of ‘Living Proof’ to figure out what a big deal that must have been. Elsewhere, there are some unfortunate, shoehorned arena choruses - Imagine Dragons continue to have a lot to answer for in that regard - as well as a disquieting sense that frontman Derek DiScanio’s vocals are by-numbers enough that they undermine the experimental nature of the arrangements a little. Still, there’s enough of a sense of fun to dampen down those concerns. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Time Machine’
bay dream (Epitaph)
Though undeniably a punk band at heart, Culture Abuse’s is an interpretation of the ethos that puts the focus squarely on pouring positive energy into the world through their music, and on ‘Bay Dream’ the San Francisco natives deliver their most blissed-out offering yet. Whether it’s the acceptance that “There’s some things in life that you should never know” on ‘Rats In The Walls’, or the buoyant escapism of ‘Calm E’, vocalist David Kelling brings a posi philosophy with his lyricism that is backed by wistfully tripped-out instrumentals that turn even the odd melancholic moments into slacker summer anthem territory. (Ryan De Freitas) LISTEN: ‘Calm E’
BACK TO THE
Because sometimes good things come in small(er) packages.
Q1: What does MOURN’s familia look like?
Last year’s ‘Relatives In Descent’ was Protomartyr’s best yet, a relentless barrage of intensity. The search continues here, while roping in Kelley Deal of The Breeders as a guest. There’s still barely any light allowed in, but Protomartyr’s prowess at channeling darkness into something cathartic has never been stronger. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Wheel Of Fortune’
scout (Paradyse / Transgressive)
Hit TV appearances aside - the Vancouver teens boast Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard among their number - Calpurnia are almost your regular high school band - except they’re also very good. ‘Scout’ is the first full introduction to the group, and, recorded with Twin Peaks’ Cadien Lake James, it features similarly languid guitar licks to the Chicagoans. As first steps go, ‘Scout’ is an exciting glimpse at things to come. (Rhian Daly) LISTEN: ‘Waves‘
sorpresa familia (Captured Tracks)
Barely in their twenties, Spanish upstarts MOURN have already faced an uphill battle on their way to the release of this third LP. ‘Sorpresa Familia’ follows a lengthy legal battle which effectively prevented them from touring and releasing music for several years. Unsurprisingly, then, they sound like a band full of pent-up energy, with enough bite to take the hand off anyone seeking to exploit them. Highlight ‘Skeleton’ channels the neurotic post-hardcore sound of At The DriveIn, and, indeed, ‘Sorpresa Familia’ is as unapologetically frenetic as much of that band’s chaotic work. It’s punk with the intelligence of wizened old jazz musicians, and as a chronicle of the band’s hardships, it’s a much-welcomed return for MOURN. More power to them. (James Bentley) LISTEN: ‘Skeleton’
Q2: What’s your favourite place in Barcelona?
Q3: ...and what’s the most annoying part about having so many tourists there?
Q4: Where did you record the album?
TICKETS AT PARCELSMUSIC.COM
The Great Escape Various venues, Brighton. Photos: Emma Swann and Louise Mason.
he Great Escape is upon us once more and we’re welcomed to Brighton with some delightfully sunny weather to kick off three days of new music here on the south coast. New at the festival this year is The Beach - a seafront venue consisting of two indoor stages - and it’s there that Snail Mail shows formidable force on stage, pairing twangy and fuzzed out guitars with heartfelt lyricism. We once again take over Horatio’s Bar on the pier for three nights of buzz, and Thursday’s introduction is a blazing one. King Nun have become a ferocious live proposition, and tonight they’re impeccably tight. From the garage blues thrash of ‘Hung Around’ to previews of tracks from an upcoming EP, the four-piece are just growing and growing, fronted by the insatiable Theo Polyzoides, who bounds around the stage with untameable energy. They’re followed by Pale Waves, who are excelling at every turn in the live setting recently. New track ‘Kiss’, released only a few days prior, is already received with the same adoration as debut ‘There’s A Honey’. There looks to be no stopping the quartet. As a first night down in Brighton goes, it’s been a total smash.
On Friday, Amsterdam’s Pip Blom showcase their slacker-garage rock hybrid at a Dutch takeover of Komedia - it’s noisy in the best way. Phoebe Bridgers’ performance at the same venue later may have more paired-back acoustic elements than on record, but her talent as a vocalist is allowed to shine. In contrast, at The Walrus, Kent boys Lady Bird have a queue stretching out the door for their no nonsense scrappy punk blasts. By the end, they’ve got a full on pit, and a crowd of converts. If there’s an obvious way of describing the influences of Crewel Intentions – the new venture from former Palma Violet Chilli Jesson – then it’s in the man physically looming down over them from the balcony above The Haunt tonight. Yep, Nick Cave’s in the building – literally and spiritually, as the influence of the dark sonic master runs through the very veins of the quartet’s arsenal. The Haunt
is also the scene for undoubtedly one of the night’s hot tickets. Bodega are at the toppermost peak of the weekend’s buzz pile. Like a pepped up, humorous Parquet Courts on the dancefloor, or James Murphy with guitars, the likes of ‘Name Escape’ and ‘Warhol’ are brilliantly abstract, intelligent things that are simultaneously dry but danceable, while ‘Jack In Titanic’ is an unlikely anthem to the doomed hero. Stella Donnelly’s bedroom folk-pop is full of wit, and she shines in her engagement with the audience during her early set on Saturday, mixing up small talk, meaningful messages and genuine thankfulness. Bully’s second album ‘Losing’ was one of last year’s most satisfying returns, a relentless thrash of ’90s-indebted punk. Today, even at the sober hour of 3pm, it’s even more wild and untamed, closing with an enraged cover of Mclusky’s ‘Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues’. Brighton boys Demob Happy have been playing The Great Escape for years now, so it’s with no little amount of righteous vindication that they take to the 700-capacity Beach Club stage with a queue snaking out the door. The trio’s intoxicating blend of filthy riffs and heady harmonies are undoubtedly picking up pace and rightly so. Continuing today’s selection of hometown boys coming good, The Magic Gang take to a heaving Beach Club like returning heroes. The quartet don’t need to be touting their wares at new band festivals anymore but there’s something special about the fact that they’re here on home turf today. Joking about their hangovers, they’re still a ray of harmony-laden sunshine. Over at Horatio’s, it’s Haiku Hands that are the true revelation of the day. One minute they’re throwing out dirty electronics of a PC Music ilk, then in seconds they’re whipping out unashamed choreographed dance moves. It’s then left to Abattoir Blues to bring this year’s festival to a suitably raucous conclusion. Squeezing themselves into The Western, it’s the fivepiece as they’re meant to be seen: huge singalongs, and barely-contained chaos. (Lisa Wright, Rachel Finn, Will Richards)
“Look! It’s the entire music industry, desperately trying to befriend us!”
THREE NIGHTS OF BUZZ. 75
A BARRAGE OF NEW MUSIC.
live at leeds
Various venues, Leeds. Photos: Lindsay Melbourne.
t’s blisteringly hot in Leeds today, one of the hottest of 2018 so far. Perfect for the start of festival season, we’d say. As soon as the doors to the legendary Brudenell Social Club are swung open, a brilliantly varied barrage of new music begins, and doesn’t stop until the clock ticks into Sunday morning. On early in the main room are Sports Team, who command the stage like a band playing significantly later in the day, frontman Alex Rice their effervescent focal point. New single ‘Kutcher’ recalls Pulp in its winking romanticism, and the day can be considered well and truly started. Meanwhile, down at Leeds University’s Stylus, Superorganism are offering up a glimpse into their weird and wonderful world. Dressed completely inappropriately in their multi-coloured rain macs, their set is a perky, multi-
sensory affair, all animations and projections, but landing this early in the day, it doesn’t quite match up to the exuberance of their debut on record. Significantly more widescreen in scope is Boniface, who - back up at the Brudenell - takes to the Neu stage and proceeds to shoot for the stars. Whenyoung, are heading full pelt through a huge Spring schedule, coming to the Brudenell between tours with Declan McKenna and Peace. Understandably, then, they’re now a wonderfully tight live band, crashing through their half-hour set without a hitch. Closer ‘Given Up’ will soon become their calling card though, a simply huge soon-to-be-classic that’s destined for indie discos for years to come when it’s finally released. ALASKALASKA handle things a little more subtly back in the Community Room, swaying their way through majestic, jazz-flecked pop, with new single and set closer ‘Meateater’ possibly their finest yet. The evening then powers on, via the hyper-active, superbly confident pop of Suzi Wu and the heavy yet intricate hammerblow of one of the indie world’s next big hopes, Boy Azooga, before Her’s do what they do best, namely providing a wonderfully fun, wide-eyed jolt awake.
Sorry then offer up their zig-zagging, unpredictable rock to the Community Room before Anteros bring what can only be described as a carnival to the night. Vocalist Laura Hayden - every inch a superstar of the future - invites a slew of women onto the stage for the band’s calling card ‘Bonnie’, and the sense of community and togetherness created is intoxicating, and necessary. Complete with a cover of ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’ running into recent single ‘Drunk’, the set sees Anteros feeling invincible. Somehow, though, Pale Waves manage to top it. Heather Baron-Gracie’s evolution as a frontwoman has been a delight to watch, and tonight she’s the real deal. Ditching her guitar to mingle with the front rows for the opening ‘Television Romance’, the vocalist matches the adoration shown from everyone squeezed into the Brudenell, handing the mic to the crowd in nearly every song, and taking their live show to the next level. With long summers ahead of these bands, they all look ready to grab 2018’s festival season by the horns and make it a cracker. (Will Richards and Sarah Jamieson)
“All together now: IT’S FUN TO STAY AT THE…”
Liverpool Sound City Various venues, Liverpool Photos: Emma Swann.
On yer pod! If you fancy delving deeper into goings on at both Live at Leeds and Liverpool Sound City, head to diymag.com/podcast we’ve got chats with Peace, Pale Waves, King Nun, Anteros, Matt Maltese and Whenyoung from across the weekend. 78 diymag.com
aking over the weekend for a triple hit of musical high jinx, north of the M25 is very much where the action’s at this early May bank holiday. In Liverpool we have Sound City: a two day, 20-venue buffet of new music and more established favourites, all packed into the semi-industrial warehouse district of the city’s Baltic Triangle. Kicking things off at Constellations, Dama Scout have an unfortunate rival in the form of the blazing ball in the sky keeping people basking outside. But those who do venture into the darkness are rewarded with a set that comes good on all the trio’s early promise, and then some. If people need a reminder of just how good this lot are, then Dama Scout go about providing it at every turn. ‘Forget It’s Good’ veers from twinkling beginnings to three-part harmonies to unexpected fuzz, while recent track ‘Milky Milk’ slams in with some of the chunkiest riffs around before warping into a spiralling, starry outro. These are songs that are impossible to Matt Maltese predict, and that’s a truly exciting thing. Matt Maltese and his wry, piano-led love songs have, for reasons unknown, been put on the noisiest stage known to man. Yet, despite being up against a gigantic air conditioning unit huffing through the entire first half of the set, the young crooner still has the sizeable crowd in the palm of his hand. On top of the soaring swoons that first piqued everyone’s interest, we get the tongue-in-cheek eyeball roll of ‘Misery’ and, on recent single ‘Greatest Comedian’, the singer even comes out from behind the keys to deliver the track in full cabaret compere style. Over to main venue Camp & Furnace and it’s clear where all the people are. Packing the space out to capacity, Black Honey might be playing second billing to DMA’s tonight but they embrace the set, as ever, like they’re headlining Glastonbury. Playing a host of new material from their forthcoming debut album, their set is a meaty thing these days: from the dead-eyed snarl of new single ‘Bad Friends’ to the more familiar headrush of ‘All My Pride’, the Brighton quartet make it clear they’re not here to play nice anymore. There’s an ambition and scope to it all that feels limitless; put these tracks on huge stages and they’ll do just fine. By contrast, IDLES’ late night set fizzes with added energy because of its intimacy. Having escalated to venues of a fairly hefty size these days, seeing the Bristol punks in a pretty small, no frills space feels special. By now, their live prowess is well documented:
singer Joe Talbot spits the pained lyrics of ‘1049 Gotho’ and ‘Benzocaine’ out like he’s exorcising every demon in his body, while guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan bound their way merrily around the stage, serving up huge, cathartic spells of noise. But, even upon umpteenth KING NUN viewing, their particular chemistry is still joyous; at once brutal but accessible, emotional but hilarious, riddled with pain yet bursting with humanity, they’re a true one off. In new track ‘Lovesong’, meanwhile, they’ve written perhaps their most exciting offering yet: a surging, sarcastic, danceable monster. Roll on Album Two. Over at Constellations on Sunday, DIY have taken over the venue for a line-up that finds King Nun amping up the volume on their earlier offerings. New tracks range from the rhythm-heavy ‘Chinese Medicine’ to a fully shouty rager that singer Theo Polyzoides introduces as “a song about fucking off and being fucked off”. There’s still plenty of endearing enthusiasm to be found, however; even when they’re hammering out the fuzzy power chords of ‘Hung Around’, they’re still an infectiously upbeat proposition. Peace take the top spot at Camp & Furnace with the kind of joyous, celebratory and just a little bit ridiculous set that’s been sorely missing in the couple of years they’ve been away. With third album ’Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll’ out mere days before, you could forgive the heaving crowd for still being a little reserved with the new tracks, but every offering is greeted like an old friend. The band are clearly having fun with it, too. During old slowie ‘Float Forever’, drummer Dom Boyce wanders out from behind the kit (now emblazoned with his own name) and hangs out on the barrier for a bit, as bemused members of the front row start to recognise him and take photos. Harry Koisser, meanwhile, is as superlative a frontman as ever but nowadays he’s got different levels to the show. Sure, old rippers ‘Follow Baby’ and ‘Money’ might still swagger around like ‘70s love children, but when the singer unleashes recent emoter ‘From Under Liquid Glass’ it feels like a whole other kind of moment. Even taking to the piano for ‘Kindness…”s title track, it’s a return that feels like, far from trading off their former glories, the band are hungry to keep pushing things forward. It’s good to have you back, lads. (Lisa Wright)
“I’m afraid that ding on your bumper’s gonna set you back a few hundred, guvnor.”
Islington Assembly Hall, London. Photos: Emma Swann.
s The Clash’s ‘Rock The Casbah’ rings around a jampacked Islington Assembly Hall, there’s a palpable tension in the air. It’s been well over a year since Drenge’s last tour proper; three years since second LP ‘Undertow’. As the lights dim, and the foursome - bassist Ed Crisp is the newbie this time around, joining Eoin and Rory Loveless and Rob Graham - bound on stage, this might be a mid-sized venue, but there’s a mighty roar. “We’ve spent the last three years on a beach in Alicante,” Eoin jokes. From the handful of new songs aired this evening that’s definitely not the case. Opener ‘Bonfire’ is thunderous, Eoin’s booming vocal more like the reciting of a political manifesto than singing. Later, the frontman ditches his guitar completely. The newly-revealed ‘This Dance’ owes as much to classic rock as their debut did to filthy grunge, while ‘People In Love Make Me Feel Yuck’ is sleazed up with additional keys. It’s all greeted with open arms, crowd surfers and circle pits. From the tangible, limbs-flailing euphoria of hearing new takes on much-loved staples, to the teasers of new material, it’s all very exciting indeed. (Emma Swann)
Scala, London Photo: Emma Swann.
racking Iceage’s musical progression across their four full-lengths has been a glorious watch. One thing hasn’t changed though: they’ve always remained an incendiary live band. Led by the swaggering, intimidating Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, every Iceage show needs only seconds’ introduction before a swaying sea of bodies begin to crash into one another. Tonight is, of course, the same. Coming to London’s Scala as part of a short European run only days after the release of new album ‘Beyondless’, the show is a live introduction to the band’s new world; more of a teaser than a full-blown singalong. It’s no less furious, though. Pelting into album opener ‘Hurrah’, Elias is every inch the ideal frontman. Carrying the lead to his microphone everywhere he goes, he prowls the front of the stage like a man possessed, occasionally lurching forwards into the front rows, eyeball to eyeball with those who worship him. The new album makes up the vast majority of the set, and it’s an immersive trip with only a few detours into older material. Highlight ‘Thieves Like Us’ is even more thrilling live, an untamed brawl of a song that sees Elias at his most unhinged. He then proceeds to leap into the crowd during a furious rendition of ‘The Lord’s Favorite’, a standout in a set that never dips below sheer pandemonium. (Will Richards)
Alexandra Palace, London. Photo: Emma Swann.
et’s be honest: The Vaccines are no strangers to big rooms. Heck, Alexandra Palace itself seems almost sewn into the band’s history, so it’s unsurprising, then, that that’s what makes their return to the venue feel so triumphant. Just a fortnight on from the release of ‘Combat Sports’, there’s no holding back: while newie ‘Nightclub’ may open up proceedings - frontman Justin Young emerging in his shades, amping up the swagger factor - it’s with rowdy classic ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ that the room really explodes into life, the crowd’s voices raised high. Most of the set from then follows in a similar vein; their newer material – brilliant cuts like ‘I Can’t Quit’ and ‘Your Love Is My Favourite Band’ – go down a treat, but there’s no denying that it’s the old classics that cause a real ruckus and are roared right back at the band. Six years since they last headlined this cavernous room, they’ve certainly lost none of their pomp and circumstance and that’s just what makes The Vaccines’ live show so bloody fun. (Sarah Jamieson)
Total Refreshment Centre, London. Photos: Patrick Gunning.
ver her decade-long career, Laura Marling has proved a versatile musician - flitting between traditional, rustic folk and something blues-ier and more Stateside-indebted - yet she’s always hinted at something more, a bigger left-turn. Enter LUMP, then: a collaboration with Mike Lindsay of Tunng. The project is introduced tonight with a truly immersive debut show at North London’s Total Refreshment Centre. Flowers adorn the warehouse-like space’s grubby ceilings, and phones are placed in sealed bags, with the night asking not to be filmed. It doesn’t need a lack of scrolls through Instagram to be a thoroughly engrossing, captivating show, though. Laura and Mike cut opposing figures on stage: the former is a passionate but stoic frontwoman, stretching her voice to its limit on the gorgeous ‘May I Be The Light’, while Mike looks and acts like he’s playing in a punk band, flailing and jumping around like his life depends on it. The duality is spellbinding, and introduces LUMP as an engrossing new project. (Will Richards)
quiz of sor ts, we’ll A big inter-band pub one by one. be grilling your faves
It’s Your Round
King Nun average.” t: ”About a four pound Cos Drink: Various. hton Brig , Tav Pav The n: Locatio
General Knowledge Q1: What is the highest possible hand you can get in poker? James: Oh, Royal Flush. I actually know that one. You do. Caius: …but what does that consist of? James: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10 in the same suit. Nathan: Imagine if we were on The Chase right now, we’d be stacking. This is so much better than The Chase. No money involved whatsoever. Q2: How long was Arsene Wenger Arsenal manager for? Nathan: 18! Or is it 28? I’m pretty sure it ends in an 8. Caius: A long fucking time. We’re Tottenham fans, it doesn’t count! Nathan: I’m gonna say… 18 years. Wrong. 22 years. Q3: What is the most popular beer in the world? Theo: Budweiser.
Verdict: Not only did they do reasonably well, Theo’s not fibbing, he’s now very proudly carrying around a flyer reading “you have been scouted” which looks Totally Legit And Not At All Scammy.
It’s Bud Light. Theo: Ohhh! Is that not the same brand? We’ll say half. There is a difference. Q4: What is the collective name for a group of crows? James: Oh! A murder. Theo: Murder! Murder! Murder! Crows are my favourite animal, I love them. We nearly chose the specialist subject as crows but I’d lambast it so hard there’d be no discussion. Correct. Q5: ... Theo [interrupting]: Did Theo get scouted for a modelling agency today? Yes, yes he did. On the day we chose fashion. …Which film, released in 1989, has recently had a new sequel commissioned? Caius: Bill & Ted! Bill & Ted Face The Music. Yes, spot on. Score:
Chosen subject: Fashion Q1: Who has been editor-inchief of Vogue (US) since 1988? Nathan: I know this! She’s in a Kanye West song! Anna… Rubik? Kanye West goes gokarting with her... Caius: Kanye West’s friend. James: Our answer is Kanye West’s go-kart. Half a point... it’s Anna Wintour. Nice bonus facts, though. Q2: What is a fanny pack? Nathan: Oh! It’s a bum bag. Caius: …the greatest item of fashion ever to be created. Theo: It’s our favourite item. That’s a point. Q3: Which fashion designer had a t-shirt with the slogan ‘I’m yours for a tenner, Kylie Jenner’? Theo: There’s actually a little-known fact about that, which is in the 18th Century there was a painter called Kylie Jenner. There was also an expressionist artist, what was his name, James? James: Serge Gainsbourg. Theo: And Serge Gainsbourg
used to sport a t-shirt, well it was more of a frock, with that exact thing on it. So really, that was the original. It was Henry Holland. Q4: What did Kate Moss get thrown off an easyJet flight for? Nathan: Was it for being too drunk? Caius: Yodelling. You need to be more specific than that. Nathan: Being too drunk and yodelling at the same time? Theo: Disobeying the basic rules that easyJet have... Half a point for drunk. She bought a bottle of vodka from duty free, and proceeded to drink it on the plane - which is prohibited. She then called the cabin crew a “basic bitch”. Theo: King Nun applauds! Q5: What’s Kanye West’s fashion line called? Nathan: Yeezy! Yeah, fine. Score: