DIY, March 2016

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set music free free / issue 49 / march 2016 diymag.com

The Genius of

Grimes

+

D i l ly D a l ly

L책psley

Pa rq u e t C o u r t s

Kanye West

Ya k AlunaGeorge 1


A FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSIC 17—20 MARCH 2016

ROUNDHOUSE RISING THE MAGIC GANG BLACK HONEY AFRIKAN BOY KUENTA I TAMBU INHEAVEN HANNAH LOU CLARK AUCLAIR & ROUNDHOUSE CHOIR VELCROLOVE + 'GETTING AHEAD IN MUSIC' DAY ROUNDHOUSE.ORG.UK #RHRISING2016 SUPPORTED BY THE SACKLER TRUST

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GOOD VS EVIL

WHAT’S ON THE DIY TEAM’S R ADAR?

Louise Mason Art Director GOOD Everything at From Now On festival in Cardiff was amazing, especially the nice lady dressed in bread. EVIL An unhealthy addiction to the new Kanye record. .............................. Emma Swann Founding Editor GOOD Being literally six feet away from Queen Adele of Tottenham and half of One Direction at the BRITs. EVIL Whoever nicked Harry Styles’ ticket, I’m giving you evils. .............................. Sarah Jamieson Deputy Editor GOOD How bloody great does the Latitude line-up look already?! CHVRCHES, Grimes and The Maccabees? I’ll take that! EVIL Festival season is creeping ever closer and I’m not sure my liver’s adequately prepared.... ..............................

El hunt Associate Editor GOOD Talking to Grimes about the wondrous Samantha Jones of Sex and the City was my ultimate dream come true. EVIL My life peaked watching Rihanna, Little Mix and Justin Bieber play The BRITs. How can I possibly be as happy again? .............................. tom connick Online Editor GOOD Three equally nuts Show Me The Body shows in three days - pure, brilliant chaos. EVIL Still five months to wait ‘til Foals finally headline Reading. That’s aaaages.

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EDITOR’S LET TER Nobody else in the world compares to Grimes. In decades, she’ll still be raising the bar and setting a new standard. Mission statement album ‘Art Angels’ is just the start, and she’s on the DIY cover just as her true genius begins to spill outwards, through blood-filled videos and berserk rallying cries. It’s a jam-packed issue, containing familiar faces like Parquet Courts and M83, plus exciting new names Mura Masa and WALL. Yak invite us into the studio as they make one of the year’s best debuts, and AlunaGeorge return (minus the appearance of George, who is hidden away somewhere safe, producing massive pop songs - bless him). Jamie Milton, Editor GOOD The return of Radiohead on festival bills. Get a move on with the album, chaps. EVIL Miles Kane’s taste in tracksuits is a bad habit (ooh, yeah).

LISTENING POST

What’s on the DIY stereo this month?

Yak Alas Salvation

One of the debuts of the year? Don’t bet against it. Head to p6 as we go in the studio.

The Last Shadow Puppets Everything You’ve Come to Expect Dodgy tracksuits, bad habits (ooh) - Alex Turner and Miles Kane’s return is seedy and string-backed.

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Grimes has an axe to grind.

NEWS

6 YA K 1 0 KANYE WEST 1 2 C U R TA I N C A L L 14 ALUNAGEORGE 16 THE JOY FORMIDABLE 2 0 P O P S TAR P O S T BAG 2 1 D I Y H A L L O F FA M E 22 M83 2 4 F E S T I VA L S

Founding Editors Stephen Ackroyd, Emma Swann Editor Jamie Milton Deputy Editor Sarah Jamieson Contributing Editor Victoria Sinden Associate Editor El Hunt Online Editor Tom Connick Art Direction & Design Louise Mason Marketing & Events Jack Clothier, Rhi Lee Contributors Alex Lynham, Anastasia Connor, Ashleigh Grady, Danny Wright, Dave Beech, Emma Snook, Heather McDaid, Henry Boon, Jessica Goodman, Joe Goggins, Liam McNeilly, Lucas Fothergill, Martyn Young, Matthew Davies, Mollie Mansfeld, Rachel Michaella Finn, Ross Jones, Tom Hancock, Tom Walters, Will Richards

NEU

C O N T E N T S 4 diymag.com

3 0 WA L L 3 2 CLEAN CUT KID 34 HELLO 2016 36 MURA MASA

FEATURES 38 GRIMES 4 6 PA R Q U E T C O U R T S 50 YUCK 54 LĂ…PSLEY 5 8 D I L LY D A L LY

REVIEWS 62 ALBUMS 76 LIVE

Photographers Alyson Coletta, Andrew Benge, Carolina Faruolo, Daniel Boud, Mike Massaro, Nick Sayers, Robin Pope, Sarah Louise Bennett For DIY editorial info@diymag.com For DIY sales rupert@sonicdigital.co.uk lawrence@sonicdigital.co.uk tel: +44 (0)20 3632 3456 For DIY stockist enquiries stockists@diymag.com DIY is published by Sonic Media Group. All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of DIY. 25p where sold. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which Sonic Media Group holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally.


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NEWS

“Let’s do something that’s really stupid and has one riff!”Oli Burslem.

In The Studio

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diymag.com


Oli finds the brown note.

A collage of “pissed lyrics,” speakermelting riffs and … doo-wop? Yak are upping the ante with their debut. “We’re just trying to make something different and exciting.” Words: Jessica Goodman. Photos: Emma Swann.

“I

said, ‘we’re just going to record white noise, take your money, and run!” frontman Oli Burslem laughs, recalling talks with the band’s record label before starting work. “They were really cool. They were never in any process of it, and let us do exactly what we got on to do.” The group’s recent activity takes form in the guise of the album, ‘Alas Salvation’, due for release on 13th May.

Yak

“I wanted to make something that had no parameters for anything: for lyrics, for any kind of set structure, or for any commercial thing,” Oli explains. Indeed, from his descriptions, the record does seem to avoid fitting within the borders of any single category. “It was just us saying ‘let’s do a song that’s one minute long and that’s really loud,’ or ‘let’s do a song that’s seven minutes long and has Mellotrons,’ or ‘let’s do something that’s really stupid and has one riff’. On one song we’ve got a hurdy-gurdy!” he exclaims. “We were just trying to

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The excitement is instantly evident in the way the band discuss the record. “I’ve constantly been listening to it. When we started this, I didn’t think I’d be happy with it, just that I’d be relieved that it was done,” Oli admits. “But I actually feel really, really happy with it. Best feeling ever, really - I never thought I’d be as happy with it as I am. I’m really proud. We’ve given it to everyone who’s worked with us, and close friends who wouldn’t bullshit, and they think it’s good. I believe their judgement. I feel quite spoilt now.” Recorded with Steve Mackey of Pulp fame, Yak have every confidence their first album lives up to the infamy their raucous live performances have shrouded them in. “We first started doing the record because we met Steve,” Oli states. “He’s great. There’s no overthinking anything, and no messing around, and we’re recording four or five songs a day. It was basically going back to that blueprint, the idea that basically we’re just rocking it up in a garage, trying to capture the nature of the live thing. It was great to work with Steve, and to become friends. Hopefully friends,” he chuckles. “He might say different – but I don’t think so.”

Unleashing pent-up aggression on record is something Yak excel at. “The first song is called ‘Victorious (National Anthem)’,” he tells us. “‘Britons never, never, never shall be slaves’ – I thought that was one of the worst lyrics ever,” he groans. “So I thought we could do something like that, like a national anthem, but it’d all be just horrible. The heaviest thing we’ve ever done. The whole speakers, even on your laptop, will just feel like they’re melting.” Exciting as that may be, the album is about more than just unrestrained emotion. “We recorded a doo-wop kind of song, a really classic form of a song,” the frontman describes. “I put my guitar next to the amplifier and it’s just feedback the whole of the track, and then I put about four hurdy-gurdys just screaming over the song.” It’s not just instrumentation the band continue to challenge. “In the chorus [of ‘Victorious’] there’s no time signature or anything, so it’s incredibly heavy, but you can’t nod your head to it. It just has a guitar and one mic on the drum kit, and when the chorus comes in, there’s no beat or anything, but bass, and sub synth bass, and five guitars. It’s “No, I will NOT play a only two minutes long, but rock cover of I thought that’d be quite ‘Chopsticks’” interesting.”

Pushing everything to the extreme, Yak With two EP’s under have no trouble their collective belt, keeping things Yak’s first full-length interesting. “We try release has been and keep in all the heavily anticipated, imperfections,” Oli and is at last ready to says, of the trio’s see the light of day. creative process. “There’s 14 tracks “I think of it a bit on the album – well, like a conversation: there’s 13 and then a if you’re having a hidden track at the end,” conversation with Oli describes. “When we someone, it’s hard to play live we usually don’t edit yourself. Especially have any gaps between our face-to-face, you can see songs, so we’ve recorded it everyone’s reactions, and G E T YO U R FA C T S like that. We thought of it like a figure out who people are. But record, so twenty minutes for each if you edit yourself too much, it STRAIGHT side. The songs overlap into each other, becomes ultimately nothing. We try not and there are two interludes into other songs. to do that.” TITLE ‘Alas After the first twenty minutes it kind of stops, Salvation’ and then starts again as the second side.” Uninhibited and in total control, Yak have WHERE Narcissus created a debut that’s as impulsive and vital Studio & Hoxa While working on creating their debut fullas they are. “It’s pretty all over the shop,” Oli Studio, London length, the trio did everything they could to admits. “From the first song, which is the most SONGS ‘Victorious bring the best out of each other. “We didn’t aggressive thing we’ve probably ever done, (National Anthem)’, want the process of recording, ‘to click’ or to through to the last, which has My Bloody ‘Hungry Heart’, ‘Use metronomes or anything, to get in the way of Valentine guitars, Beatles-esque harmonies, Somebody’ what we actually wanted to achieve. We’d piss and Black Sabbath Mellotrons on it, the DUE 13th May 2016 each other off and then record, so it became influences are all kinds of all over the place. OTHER DEETS a bit more aggressive,” Oli teases. “There’s a That’s from having two completely different The band worked song on the record called ‘Curtain Twitcher’. sides of the band. I think that everyone will be on their first fullI think we were all quite pissed off with each quite surprised.” length with none other when we recorded that one. It was just other than Steve loads of Elliot [Rawson, drums] shouting, and ‘Yak’s new album ‘Alas Salvation’ is Mackey who’s, he’s getting more and more annoyed, and he released on 13th May via Octopus you know, from just starts to hit the drums even harder. I was Electrical. DIY Pulp. just ranting over it, a collage of pissed lyrics. It came out sounding quite aggressive.”

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Ph oto: A b i Da i nto n

NEWS

make something different and exciting.”


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Goldenvoice Presents

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NEWS

El Hunt tries to unravel the logic surrounding Kanye West’s new album ‘The Life of Pablo’; unsurprisingly, it’s a challenge.

W

here on earth to begin with ‘The Life Of Pablo’? Two-and-a-half years in the making, Kanye West’s latest album release made makes that of Rihanna’s highly dramatic ‘ANTI’ look like a positively seamless operation. Never mind Keeping Up With the Kardashians; it often felt like Kanye’s seventh album needed its own dedicated telly show with rolling updates on every title change and feature-spot axe. Still, after hiring out New York’s Madison Square Gardens to air it, ‘The Life of Pablo’ has finally landed, subject to a few lastminute tracklist reshuffles. The album (formerly known as ‘So Help Me God’, ‘Swish’, and ‘Waves’, respectively) finally wound up nodding to the Cubist iconoclast Pablo Picasso. Though it’s generally frowned upon to swan about comparing yourself to the most influential painter of a century, there’s truth in Kanye West’s rather egotistical parallel all the same. Wildly shifting in sound from album to album, every record Yeezy releases seems to spawn an entire new trail of hip hop; no doubt inspiring artists like Chance the Rapper (whose ‘T.L.O.P’ feature spot is probably no coincidence) along the way. Oh, and to complicate things further, these days Kanye is insisting that the Pablo in his title actually references St. Paul of Tarsus - a saint who Christians believe wrote almost half the entire Bible, and had London’s best known cathedral named after him for his troubles. Fair enough, then. Whether Kanye’s really talking about St. Paul, Pablo Picasso, or someone else altogether, there’s one substantial difference

10 diymag.com

at play; all those people didn’t have access to Twitter. It’s probably a good thing in fairness. Kanye’s outlet of choice has got him in trouble at various points on the road to ‘T.L.O.P’. Even diehard fans sighed incredulously when when he proclaimed Bill Cosby’s innocence with caps lock; even more so when he stuck a sneering line mocking one of the comedian’s alleged victims on album track ‘Highlights’. Elsewhere there’s his online attempt to justify the whole ‘Famous’ saga (the one with playground-level jibes levelled at Taylor Swift). Kanye’s always had a hint of self-aware arsehole about him (though nothing goes near his arsehole, you hear?!) but the unedited platform he’s found on Twitter has proved more than slightly ‘problematic’. Built on more drama than seven Eastenders omnibuses (omnibi?!), ‘The Life of Pablo’ boasts more feature spots than the ‘1989’ tour, and - like ‘Gold Digger’ and ‘Blood on the Leaves’ before it - wastes no time in flippantly sampling giants like Nina Simone and Sister Nancy. Veering between vacuously stupid, and profoundly witty, balancing one-footed on the paper-thin boundary between genius and egomania, there’s no doubt about it. If one thing about the chaotic web of ‘The Life of Pablo’ is certain; it’s an archetypal Kanye West record. What else did we expect? Want yet MORE Kanye? ‘The Life of Pablo’ is reviewed on p62. DIY


p “Bedroom pod with blesse newcomer melodies” swooning NME

l pop”

sona ly per ashed HFORK b a n C “U PIT

“Giant p

op songs

D IY

Includes the singles SOMETIMES, GOOD THINGS and BREAKING MY PHONE LIMITED EDITION NEON PINK VINYL, CD and DOWNLOAD

Coming 13th May

MOTHERS

WHEN YOU WALK A LONG DISTANCE YOU ARE TIRED 26TH FEBRUARY ON CD, LP AND DOWNLOAD “Kristine Leschper’s voice is a slow, hypnotizing croon that will sooth your soul of whatever worries it might have.” Noisey “9/10” Loud & Quiet “4/5” DIY

GLOBELAMP

THE ORANGE GLOW 10TH JUNE ON CD, LP AND DOWNLOAD Globelamp draws inspiration from the supernatural, fairy tales, folk music and punk to create her own psychedelic world on The Orange Glow. Her sound and compelling vocals have already earned her comparisons to the likes of Stevie Nicks, Grace Slick, Joanna Newsom and Donovan.

WWW.WICHITA-RECORDINGS.COM

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NEWS

Cut Ribbons

confirmed for third round ut Ribbons are the latest band to sign up for Curtain Call, following both Birdskulls and Nottingham act, Kagoule. The Welsh quintet will be given a hand to record a new track, before playing an intimate show alongside a secret headliner at the Queen of Hoxton on 23rd March - and DIY will be joining them along the way.

C

Birdskulls & Johnny Foreigner get boisterous for Curtain Call

The Brighton trio kicked off the first round of DIY and Jägermeister’s Curtain Call.

I

t’s no secret that Curtain Road is a musical hub. After all, the East London stretch is home to some of London’s best-known studios, record labels and venues, making it the perfect location for a band to make their mark. Tonight, live at the Strongroom bar, just seconds away from where they recorded it at the studios of the same name, Brighton trio Birdskulls will be airing a brand new song. Proceedings get off to a noisy start thanks to another Brighton threesome (and Birdskulls besties), Gang. All woozy vocals and splayed hair interspersed with crunching guitars, the trio are mesmerising to watch, and prove themselves to be another talent from their everexpanding local scene. Continuing with the theme of all things boisterous, Birdskulls burst onto the stage with a hit of glorious feedback before diving headfirst into a wall of scuzz. Blasting through tracks from their debut ‘Trickle’, there’s a power that’s enhanced tenfold by frontman Jack Pulman’s brash but brilliant vocals. ‘Clawing At The Wall’ – the track recorded earlier this month just over the road – glistens in the midst of their set, sounding even more fevered in a live environment. By the time Johnny Foreigner take to the stage, Strongrooms is warmed up and ready. If any band can raise a singalong, it’s this one and, unsurprisingly, it doesn’t take long for the crowd to start roaring along with Alexei Berrow et al. From their ode to reunions - ‘All Yr Favourite Bands Are Dead’ - and old favourite ‘Eyes Wide Terrified’ right through to the more sombre ‘Riff Glitchard’, there’s a sense of passion that sizzles in the air. Charmingly calamitous but brilliantly witty, they’re a band you can always depend on for a good time. DIY

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Behind the Curtain with Kagoule: recording a new track at Strongroom Studios.

Tickets are on sale now exclusively through Ticketweb, and you can see all three of the bands’ progress on diymag.com.


What’s going on with...

THUMPERS? son Jr. and ers have busy. John Ham . to touring India, Thump t they’ve been up to.. From starring in films wha ctly exa on ns l the bea Marcus Pepperell spil

Hello there Thumpers! How are you doing? Jack: Hello hello, we’re good, if a little heavy headed... Our old American tour friends Sun Club played London last night so we watched their incredible show then drank some. Last we spotted you, you were on the big screen in Legend - what was that like then?! J: Yeah that was a new one! Shooting a film and touring have quite a lot in common though. Lots of waiting and waiting then bouts of intense doing (ACTION-SHOUTING-doitagainRESET-stopdrummingsoloudly-don’tlookatthecamera-CUT) then back to a book for another few hours. We had a really good time hanging out with Duffy (yes, she of ‘Warwick Avenue’ and Diet Coke-peddling infamy - Ed) though and I shared a few words with Tom Hardy which was cool, though Marcus’ grandma, who lived in Bethnal Green in the 60s and met the Krays, said “he looks nothing like them” and that they were “truly really nice boys.” You were also in India a few weeks ago. How did those shows go? Marcus: Madness really. We were playing a touring festival called NH7 which was headlined by enormo-Bollywood composer A R Rahman for 15,000 people who probably needed calming down with beer, but instead had been fed nothing but Bacardi in tin buckets, ha! It was a riot. We also got fumigated on stage by a man on a moped during soundcheck a couple of times too, we don’t know why. And we upped the stakes of our whole experience there by debuting as a two-piece live band. (Where before we’d almost always played as a five, now it’s

just us two on stage using a loop machine we built to layer things up.) It was a crazy way to play new songs for the first time but I don’t think we’ve come back from anywhere more inspired and galvanised. What else have you been up to recently? Is there any new music in the works? J: We’ve been writing and recording the second record on and off for a year now and we’re on the home strait now I think... We finished probably two thirds of it by summer last year and then stopped for a couple of months to gain some perspective and to play some festivals - and to rehearse the new live set up. We road-tested some of the record at a tiny London show at the end of November before we went to India which was really really useful and that, combined with playing in India and the

travelling around we did afterwards, pushed us on to go back to the studio on 1st January and finish it off. We’ve just got vocals to do now and then it’s done! Have you got any upcoming plans that you can share with us just yet? M: Just the final stages of recording the new record so that’s the priority. We produced it ourselves again so we’ve got decisions to make about mixers and mixes and will be looking at digital buttons on tiny screens for a little while at least. While, for our last album we layered up a lot, coming off the back of doing these festivals our main aim is to pare down sonically, but retain that sense of euphoria. We want to get to a place where every single note the record contains has as much character as when we play together live. DIY

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NEWS

10 hours later, Aluna was still waiting for that dastardly George to turn up for the photoshoot.

G E T YO U R FA C T S S T R A I G H T TITLE ‘I Remember’ WHERE Henley, London, Los Angeles SONGS ‘I’m In Control’, ‘Mediator’, ‘In My Head’ DUE Spring 2016 COLLABORATORS Flume, Zhu, Diplo and Popcaan

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“Some of the songs are anthems for standing up for yourself.” Aluna Francis


ey ’re l clear: th g’s cr ysta t one thin bu , n. so th ie pa m s Sarah Ja George’ m. Words: ic ted Aluna cond albu uld’ve pred il their se ve No one co un to ready more than

T

o say AlunaGeorge’s journey so far has been ‘unusual’ would be a mighty understatement. Back in 2013, the duo – Aluna Francis and George Reid – found themselves placed at the top of ones-to-watch lists for the coming twelve months. They came good on their promise, releasing the infectious debut ‘Body Music’ later that year, all the while setting the charts alight via their feature on Disclosure hit ‘White Noise’. For most bands, that would be where the story draws to a close; they’d take a break and start work on a follow up. Yet, for AlunaGeorge, things were set to pan out a little differently. “Yeah, I mean, our whole career has been pretty bizarre,” begins Aluna, who’s currently about to begin her day over in Los Angeles, “so you kinda get used to not expecting things.” One less-than-‘expected’ instance was the massive success of the DJ Snake remix of ‘You Know You Like It’ in the US, back in the summer of 2015. While the duo were busy beginning work on their second album, the remix began to climb the charts Stateside, before going on to be certified double Platinum. “One of the surprising parts was definitely when America started to take notice of us,” she continues, still seemingly getting her head around the track’s rapid rise, “and deciding that they wanted us to give more music to them. It’s such a big place, you know? So, to be able to reach all those states and make any kind of impact is pretty amazing.” In a twist of events, the pair found themselves reevaluating the work they had already put into their second effort. “We probably started writing in the second half of 2014 and by January, we had a full album,” Aluna admits. “Then, we sort of decided not to release that, and to carry on writing.” What with the circumstances, it didn’t feel right. “It felt like starting over again.” Now, the band’s second album finally seems ready to be

unleashed into the world. They may not have worked out the final tracklisting just yet - “I think we’ll be working right up to the deadline, but I kinda wanna know what’s going on right now!” - but ‘I Remember’ feels to be a real step up. “I think we’ve set the bar higher, for sure. Both in the sounds that we’re using and the songwriting skills that we’ve come to have over time. I wouldn’t say that we’ve perfected the art of the song, but we’ve certainly gotten better than [on] ‘Body Music’. “We’ve done a few collaborations too,” she adds, “because over the years, we’ve met so many people on the road, and it’s just nice to be able to collaborate with people in the studio; it’s kind of what it’s all about, in a way. We’ve done stuff with Flume, Diplo, and obviously we have Popcaan on the single, so that’s been really fun. It makes it all the more surprising!” The record also sees Aluna herself growing as a lyricist. “I think there’s definitely been a turn,” she offers. “I

suppose maybe because I’ve been developing on my lyrical writing skills over the years, I’ve found it easier to write my own stories and be more personal. I think there’s a theme on this record, especially around the album title ‘I Remember’. It’s about how, in a way, a song can be a reminder to you of the person you can be if you put your mind to it and just remember some simple things. Some of the songs that I’ve written are almost an anthem for standing up for yourself in life.” It’s a sentiment epitomised in the record’s lead single too, which has finally been let loose on the world. “‘I’m In Control’ is one of those songs where, if you sing along to it, you feel like you can take control in more situations and trust your instincts and do what it is that you wanna do, rather be swayed by other people’s desires or interests.” AlunaGeorge’s new album ’I Remember’ is out later this year. DIY

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NEWS NEWS

“I think you have to feel a bit fucked up after making a record” Ritzy Bryan

Without a

hitch After years of incessant touring, The Joy Formidable cut themselves off from the world to make LP3 - the result, ‘Hitch’, is their most confident and varied effort yet. Words: Joe Goggins

The Joy Formidable meet their . match - the dog formidable. 16 diymag.com


G E T YO U R . FA C T S S T R A I G H T. TITLE ‘Hitch’ WHERE The Red Brick, Wales SONGS ‘Radio Of Lips’, ‘The Gift’, ‘Blowing Fire’ DUE 25th March 2016 OTHER DEETS The band managed to bag Alan Moulder – who’s worked with the likes of Nine Inch Nails and The Killers - for the record’s mixing.

L

ast year, The Joy Formidable did something they’d never done before; they disappeared. They’d seemingly already been around for an age before they released debut full-length, ‘The Big Roar’ in 2011, and when they went out on tour in support of it - as veterans, already, of the UK and European circuit - they didn’t see the value in slowing down. With a never-ending schedule taking in everything from toilet venues to arenas with the likes of Muse and Foo Fighters, the follow-up, 2013’s ‘Wolf’s Law’, written almost entirely on the road, and recorded whenever the group could grab the chance to cut some tracks; enforced downtime during a snowstorm in Maine, for instance. It was only after wrapping up yet another exhaustive jaunt that singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan, bassist Rhydian Davies and drummer Matt Thomas decided it was finally time to slip under the radar for a while; their rural Welsh hometown of Mold the obvious spot to retreat to. “We were out in the hills, in this simple studio that we set up, with no producer, no engineer, and no interference,” says Bryan over the phone from the US, where the band have been rehearsing new tracks for their return to the road.

“Staying and working in one place doesn’t really come naturally to me; I like the vibrancy of being on tour, and if I’m honest, I quite enjoy the chaos as well.” The resulting record is their least straightforward and most stylistically diverse yet. Crucially, too, the confidence that led them to eschew outside help is scored through the songs; from the atmospheric, Twin Peaks murk of ‘The Gift’ to the woozy rush of ‘Running Hands with the Night’, ‘Hitch’ is an album that fizzes with thrilling self-assurance. “Aesthetically, we don’t care about getting too bogged down,” reiterates Bryan. “We’re big believers in trying to capture the moment; if it feels good and sounds good, don’t fuck with it. You need a certain dynamic and a tight relationship within the band to go without a producer, but we kind of needed to be just three people again. You can lose each other on the road; you’re together every day, but there’s a rapport that comes from being creative together that can fade a little bit when you haven’t done it for a while.” At the album’s core, both in terms of theme and feel, is the often jarring comedown between the breakneck pace of touring through bustling cities

and the relative tranquility of country life. The conflict that creates - as well as the sense of displacement - feels like a prominent concept on ‘Hitch’, and Bryan agrees. “There was a deep longing towards the end of the last touring cycle; kind of a nostalgia and a romance about going home. We were chasing a sense of belonging. I don’t necessarily think you need too much of that in life, either - I’m quite happy feeling like things are constantly fucking changing - but as you get a little bit older, you start thinking about what you’ve missed back home, and the melancholy that comes from that was important on this album.” “There’s a paradox, of wanting two different things at the same time, and you can feel that pull in these songs a little bit. The album talks a lot about freedom, and trying to find it in that weird balance between how comforting it feels to be back home, but also the feeling that you’re not really supposed to be there any more. Being back in the same place for so long drove us a bit loopy, at times, but that’s OK - I think you have to feel a bit fucked up after making a record.” The Joy Formidable’s new album ‘Hitch’ will be released on 25th March via Atlantic. DIY The Joy Formidable will play The Great Escape. Head to diymag.com/festivals for details. 17


NEWS

FKA twigs – Good To Love

HAVE HEARD?

you

Deftones – Prayers/Triangles Shimmering back into view, Deftones’ return leans heavily on their more ethereal side. Ghostly, melting guitar work opens ‘Prayers/Triangles’, as Chino Moreno murmurs spooky sweet nothings like an occult-obsessed leader. It’s not long, though, before things erupt, that familiar crunch smashing through the ceiling. More expansive than ever before, and yet harbouring some of their most guttural moments since the days of nu-metal past, on the evidence of ‘Prayers/Triangles’, that Wembley date won’t be the last time Deftones are bothering arenas. (Tom Connick)

Eagulls – Lemontrees ‘Lemontrees’ shines far brighter than anyone could have expected. Soaring, Cure-influenced washes of guitar set the pace for Eagulls’ return. Talk of dancing beneath those titular lemon trees drags the lyrical agenda into sunny new pastures, too, Eagulls now opening their hearts rather than shying away in the shadows. Granted, George Mitchell’s yelped vocal still tugs

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FKA twigs doesn’t waste time in delivering a no-frills message. It’s good to love. “Touch me softly, let our kisses last,” she sings on a track delivered alongside a simple, bedsheet-tangled video. There’s still a hint of the disorienting charm that defines ‘LP1’ and last year’s ‘M3LL155X’ EP, but this is her most direct effort since 2013’s couplet of ‘How’s That’ and ‘Water Me’. Twigs continues to walk a tightrope between chart-ready triumph and bright dynamism; she’s just as effective reduced to bare bones. There’s no guessing her next step, but she could go anywhere. (Jamie Milton)

things along - he remains the ringleader of the disaffected fivesome as that silken new dressing swirls around him. It’s that balance between the bitter and sweet that looks set to define Eagulls’ second strike. (Tom Connick)

James Blake - Modern Soul “I know a crossroads when I see them,” begins James Blake, an admission of the path ahead of him. Indeed, he’s at something of a turning point. A sprawling, unpinnable rush of blood to the head, this is Blake at his most avantgarde. Swarming and spilling, it ditches structure in favour of a constant flow, a seemingly non-stop evolution of sound and texture. At its core, ‘Modern Soul’ serves its primary purpose as evidence, were it needed, of Blake’s prowess. It proves there isn’t an artist in the world turning expectations on their head quite like James Blake. (Tom Connick)

PJ Harvey – The Wheel PJ Harvey isn’t immune to transformation and, after ‘Let England Shake’ took her political voice to new heights, the ball was, as ever, in her court to

take an expectedly unexpected next step. This makes returning gambit ‘The Wheel’ slightly disappointing. It rackets and chants - in a more conventional way - but there’s a hint that it could open new doors. ‘The Hope Six Demolition Project’ followed journeys to Kosovo and Afghanistan, and Harvey’s latest feels like a distillation of foreign worlds. ‘The Wheel’ goes beyond her last record and into a different space; there’s hope that this could be her finest work. (Jamie Milton)

Sheer Mag – Can’t Stop Fighting Sheer Mag aren’t afraid to throw punches and ‘Can’t Stop Fighting’ packs another fatal blow. Oozing with the gritty essence of angry punk, violence and degradation towards women is the subject, with singer Christina Halladay screeching about the unsolved murders of women in Ciudad Juarez. Meanwhile, infectious guitar hooks and plucky riffs make the track as easy to dance to as rage against. With hard-hitting topics and an electric energy providing the backdrop, Sheer Mag look unlikely to stop fighting any time soon and we’re ready to join them. (Ashleigh Grady)


DAN with a PLAN In and out of the studio over the past twelve months, Bastille have finally given an official update on their second album. Sort of… On 11th February, they posted a video snippet, giving a fleeting glimpse into the follow-up to 2013’s ‘Bad Blood’. “I’ve heard lots of bands talking about making their ‘difficult’ second album,” says the band’s Dan Smith in a voiceover, “but we never thought that far ahead. I guess, until recently, we haven’t had much time to think about it.” Bastille will play Wild Life and Open’er this summer. Head to diymag.com/festivals for details.

Time to get your thinking cap on, Dan.

MALI and ME All hail King Damon Albarn. The Blur frontman has been made a “local king” of Mali. It’s as swish as it sounds really - in addition to the swanky new title, a classroom has been named after Damon, and he’s been given a new name too. That’s Makandjan Kamissoko, to you. Makandjan has a longstanding relationship with Mali. He released ‘Mali Music’, a collaboration album with local musicians in 2002, along with the Africa Express collabs ’Maison Des Jeunes’ and ‘Terry Riley’s In C Mali’ in 2013 and 2015 respectively. Earlier this month, he ignored a state of emergency in the country to perform at Festival Acoustik Bamako. What a badass king. He’ll have to abdicate if he doesn’t get a bloody move on with that Gorillaz album, mind you.

cky my Lsu ma cot Everybody needs a little company on the road. This month, Shura introduces us to her special little on-tour friend. “If you didn’t know already, I love koalas. I’ve been given a few by amazing fans on tour, and when I can wrestle them away from my cats Winnie and Flump of Shepherd’s Bush, I love to bring them with me so they can see the world.” #koalalife

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NEWS

Popstar Postbag l a roux

We know what you’re like, dear readers. We know you’re just as nosy as we are when it comes to our favourite pop stars: that’s why we’re putting the power back into your hands. Every month, we’re going to ask you to pull out your best questions and aim them at those unsuspecting artists. You don’t even need to pay for postage! This month, La Roux’s Elly Jackson is posed with the Qs.

• If you had to, who would you love to collaborate with on your next album? Lenny, via email I feel like I’ve met the person that I want to make music with at this time in my life, so don’t dream about working with anyone else. There are some vocalists that I love and whose voices I can hear working well with mine. But I should ask them first really. • How many pairs of shoes do you own? Also, what’s your new favourite pair? Brionna, via email I tend only to like shoes I can dance in so I keep a fairly small and concise collection of slippers. Often a few of the same design. • If you were made prime minister for a day, what would you do? @buzzi2k I’d attempt to make it easier for there to be cultural moments without them being shut down because someone lit a cigarette or played some music a bit loud. • How is the new album coming along? Ross, via email Things are coming along nicely, thank you for asking • How many records do you own? @xcolourlessx I’m not entirely sure, I actually came quite late to vinyl so don’t have as many as you might think. I seem to have four copies of a lot of records because fans often send me

records they know I like and I end up with versions from every country which is nice. • What should I stick on my record player this month? @buzzi2k We’re still mourning Bowie, but in terms of something new,

Moses Sumney has an incredible voice. • What’s your favourite movie? @xcolourlessx I couldn’t possibly choose, I like so many for different reasons but I recently saw Carol which I would say is my favourite film in recent years. I found the costume by Sandy Powell and the look of the film very inspiring. • How do London shows compare to the rest of the world? What’s your favourite country/venue to perform at? @barneyleigh London is always a highlight, it can be quite pressured but only because it’s home. We played South America and Mexico for the first time last year and It became my new favourite place to play. The crowds were so incredible and it’s such a beautiful place. • Do you get sick of answering questions? @tropicalsocks No, I like talking!

NEXT MONTH: GENGAHR Want to send a question to DIY’s Popstar Postbag? Tweet us at @diymagazine with the hashtag #postbag, or drop us an email at popstarpostbag@diymag.com. Easy!

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DIY HALL FAME of

the Facts

Released: 10th October 2007 Standout tracks: ‘Nude’, ‘Reckoner’, ‘Bodysnatchers’ Something to tell your mates: 62% of those downloading ‘In Rainbows’ chose to get it for free. Cheeky!

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A monthly place to celebrate the very best albums released during DIY’s lifetime; the next inductee into our Hall of Fame is Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’. Words: Jamie Milton.

adiohead announced and released their seventh album ‘In Rainbows’ within the space of ten days. In 2016, we’re used to this lack of a heads up, hitting a stage where ‘surprise releases’ are a given. Adele looked like a relative rule-breaker last year, stocking ‘25’ in Tesco rather than dropping a surprise download in the deep web. ‘In Rainbows’ played a revolutionary card. Every lofi bedroom project under the sun can now have a pay-what-you-like price tag on Bandcamp, but this is only thanks to one of the world’s biggest bands. Radiohead changed the game. In the mid-00s, releases were no longer ‘events’. Leaks were rife - perhaps at their peak - albums appearing online in various forms months before they’d reach the shelves of HMV. The process of hearing about and listening to an album was fragmented. 10th October 2007 was different. This was the closest any record could come to replicating the experience of queueing outside a shop, purchasing a physical copy, and living with an album, even for a short while. Radiohead were in a unique position to shift the parameters. They were no longer tied up in a contract with EMI. Nobody was forcing them to

make another record, full stop. Truthfully, Thom Yorke and co. had all the hallmarks of a band ready to settle down, or in layman’s terms, fade into comfortable ‘that’ll do’ territory. It took go-to producer Nigel Godrich to kick them up the arse. He reintroduced deadlines, for one. He also hand-picked strange locations to kickstart ‘In Rainbows’. They housed themselves at Tottenham House; a wasteful, abandoned mansion that needed almost as many repairs as Radiohead themselves. Windows were smashed, ceilings were falling in, and flu-ridden band members slept in caravans. Out burst ‘Bodysnatchers’, a frenzied and revived shock to the system. The band invited children’s choirs to cheer for a fragment of ‘15 Step’. They were happy. Ignoring the release strategy, the lack of a record deal made them fearless in creating music that didn’t necessarily have to reinvent. The band were in a new bloom. By the time ‘In Rainbows’ reached completion, they were ready to set the agenda again. Not every giant band gets it right. U2 remain awful pricks for invading iTunes libraries with ‘Songs of Innocence’, and right now, it’ll take something remarkable to make “surprise releases” surprising again. Plenty have accused the freebie route of ‘In Rainbows’ as a pivotal moment in devaluing music. Looking beyond the dollars and cents of it, they gave music a new way of being experienced. You can’t put a price on that. dIY

ra in r

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NEWS

An Unexpected

Awakening

Returning after the huge album ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’, M83’s Anthony Gonzalez isn’t letting expectations get in the way. Words: Will Richards.

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83’s Anthony Gonzalez gained far greater success than he’d ever anticipated on 2011’s ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’ and its hit single ‘Midnight City’. Telly soundtracks, constant airplay, sold out shows worldwide - it was all very new for the Frenchman. Five years later, he’s returning with a new LP, ‘Junk’, one that deals with the grand amount of change in his life and career in the past five years.

I’ve done it. I wanted to explore new things and this collection of songs works together because I hope the fans are still going to find ‘my sound’ in the songs; it’s not completely gone, just there in a different form.”

“I felt very free. I thought: what do I have to lose now? I had a massive success on the last album, I did a soundtrack for a Hollywood film, and now I can do whatever I want. I don’t think I need to prove myself any more, almost fifteen years into my career, and it feels really good to be free again,” Gonzalez explains from a Paris apartment, after spending Christmas with friends and family in his home country.

Clearly growing restless at the sudden nature of his success - which he calls “a mistake” - and his new life in LA, ‘Junk’ shows M83 at his most reactive. “There’s always some kind of concept behind my albums, and I grew sick of it,” he explains. “The main criticism that I always hear is that ‘M83 is this pretentious band. It’s too big and too bright’ and as proud of my albums that

Moving to Los Angeles at the turn of the decade changed a lot of things for him, not least producing that sixth LP and the soundtrack to 2013’s ‘Oblivion’. He speaks of the new record offering a backlash against the slick, American sound explored on his recent material. “In the last year I’ve been really missing home a lot, especially around the time of the attacks in Paris. I felt so far away from my family and my friends, and I felt useless. I was in the studio in LA just making music, and I wasn’t close enough to the people I love. That was a strange feeling, bringing lots of sadness, and I think you can feel that in the album. As a result, I started to think about singing in French on a couple of the songs. I was missing home and I needed to get closer to my roots.” Subverting peoples’ expectations of a post-’Midnight City’ M83 is something Gonzalez emphasises as a driving force in the creation of LP7, with an insistence that he wasn’t going to repeat himself creatively. “I feel like a lot of people are expecting me to release ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’ #2, but there’s no way I’m going to do that. I’m not interested.

“With this album, I just wanted to say fuck off” 22

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I am, I can’t help but hear these things and react to them.” “At this point, I’m too far into my career to start changing what I do because of what people have said. Of course I care about the criticism, the press, and the reaction of the fans, but I can’t let other people lead my process. It’s like giving away your baby.” Putting it bluntly as can be, Gonzalez says, “With this album, I just wanted to say fuck off.” M83’s new album ‘Junk’ is out 8th April. DIY M83 will play Bilbao BBK Live, Open’er and Latitude. Head to diymag.com/festivals for details.


ANNA MEREDITH

MEILYR JONES

VA R M I N T S

2013

4th March 2016

18th March 2016

KIRAN LEONARD

TELEMAN

GRAPEFRUIT

BRILLIANT SANITY

25th March 2016

8th April 2016 @moshimoshimusic www.moshimoshimusic.com 23


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, Beirut and Monsters and Men, M83 Chvrches, Grimes, Of also set to appear at the are rs lato Vio the Kur t Vile and 17th July. s place bet ween 14th and Suffolk event, which take ners’, so g as ‘Official Media Part We’re once again returnin on s keep your eye cements in for all the latest announ diymag.com/latitude ths. the coming mon


photo: Alyson Coletta

15th - 20th March Follow enough new (and not-so-new) bands on Instagram this month, and you won’t be able to avoid SXSW. The most mindbogglingly massive of all the ‘come-and-see-these-new-bands’ events, for a week or so Austin, TX is host to both hype and barbecued meats in equal measures. And, while there are always a handful of last-minute ‘secret’ sets from massive pop stars (who’d bet on Zayn Malik following in the footsteps of Miley, Prince and JT?), confirmed acts already include DIY faves Dilly Dally, Milk Teeth and cover star Grimes’ pal, Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes, plus Class of 2016 alumni Formation, The Big Moon, Oscar and Yak.

SXSW.

DIY does SXSW ‘16

We’re teaming up with Hype Machine to host a night at Mazda’s Hype Hotel, packed full of some of Absolutely Bloody Brilliant bands. Former cover stars HINDS join our 2016 hot tips Diet Cig and Pumarosa, the just-give-memainstream-meMarch, Tuesday 15th gastardom-with-a, TX SXSW, Austin beard delights of • • DIET CIG Jack Garratt, and • SA O R • PU M A the unspecified royBY • alty of Empress Of. • PART YBA

DIY at el Hype Hot

• HINDS • RR AT T • • JACK GA S OF • • E M PR ES

Class Of faves Partybaby are also joining us to make sure Austin is left in little tiny pieces.

“We couldn’t be more excited to play music in Austin. The skies are taller, and the horizon is wider, and it all feels like the world could go on for just about forever down there. So we’re eager about that, about endlessness.”

DANCE YRSELF KEEN LCD Soundsystem are playing every festival going this summer #confirmed.

OK, not every festival. But, in the few days following that STOP! PRESS! Primavera Sound line-up reveal, it sure felt like it. As well as joining Radiohead in Barcelona, James, Pat, Nancy and pals are hitting up (deep breath) Roskilde in Denmark, Lowlands in the Netherlands, Bonnaroo in Tennessee and Lovebox in London. That’s on top of the small matter of that already-announced Coachella slot. And this is just as we type. In fact, by the time you’re reading this they’ve probably doubled their dates. Which, obviously, is BRILLIANT news. 25


NEWS

FESTIVALS HANDMADE

announced headliners Catfish and the Bottlemen.

LIVE AT LEEDS

9th - 11th June Sigur Rós, PJ Harvey and Air have been announced as headliners of the Porto event, with Savages, Parquet Courts, Battles, and Animal Collective also among those confirmed to appear alongside Brian Wilson performing ‘Pet Sounds’.

THE GREAT ESCAPE

10th - 12th June All Time Low, Glassjaw and Napalm Death are among the latest additions, joining Deftones, Twin Atlantic, Muncie Girls and headliners Rammstein, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden.

GOLD SOUNDS

11th - 12th June James Blake has been confirmed as Saturday night headliner, with Dilly Dally, Loyle Carner, Roots Manuva and Danny L Harle joining PJ Harvey, Parquet Courts, METZ, Four Tet and others at Victoria Park.

29th April - 1st May Swim Deep will headline this year’s event, with Deaf Havana, Black Honey, Big Deal, Oscar and The Xcerts also among the latest additions.

30th April Mystery Jets, Los Campesinos!, Blood Red Shoes, Formation, Milk Teeth, INHEAVEN, Pumarosa, and Slutface are among the second wave of artists confirmed for the all-dayer, joining Rat Boy, Circa Waves and others across the city in April.

19th - 21st May Among two batches of artists confirmed since we last went to print are Stormzy, The Big Moon, INHEAVEN, Spring King, Muncie Girls, Eagulls, Telegram, Diet Cig, Songhoy Blues, Teleman and Catholic Action.

21st May The all-dayer at Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club will be headlined by Yuck, with Black Honey, VANT and Trudy among those also confirmed to appear.

NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND

DOWNLOAD

FIELD DAY

DOT TO DOT

27th - 29th May Mystery Jets are the first of two coheadliners to be confirmed, with Rat Boy, The Japanese House, Ekkah, Estrons, Lewis Del Mar and The Temper Trap also among the acts for the Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham event.

SLAM DUNK

28th - 30th May Mayday Parade, Cancer Bats, ROAM and Yellowcard are among the latest additions to the Leeds, Birmingham and Hatfield event, which sees Panic! At The Disco headline.

SOUND CITY

28th - 29th May Dilly Dally, The Big Moon and INHEAVEN are among the latest acts confirmed to hit up the Liverpool docklands in May, with Palma Violets, Shura and Georgia also joining newly26

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SECRET SOLSTICE

17th - 19th June The midnight sun of Reykjavík will host Radiohead alongside artists including Deftones, Of Monsters and Men, Róisín Murphy, and Kelela.

GLASTONBURY

22nd - 26th June Coldplay have self-confirmed as Sunday headliners, sharing a photo of a poster by the structure of the Pyramid Stage with a date. Jeff Lynne’s ELO have been announced as this year’s ‘legends’, and Emily Eavis has also revealed PJ Harvey will take to the Other Stage.

ROSKILDE

25th June - 2nd July LCD Soundsystem, Chvrches, Savages, and MØ are among the latest additions to the giant festival’s bill, with Tame Impala, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Protomartyr also joining the already-announced PJ Harvey, Foals, Bring Me The Horizon and Mac DeMarco.

LOVE SAVES THE DAY

28th - 29th May Hot Chip, Dizzee Rascal, Everything Everything, Stormzy and Shura are among the initial artists announced for the Bristol two-day event, with Mura Masa, Hudson Mohawke and Clean Cut Kid also to appear.

BEST KEPT SECRET

17th - 19th June A third headliner has been announced, as Jamie xx joins Beck and Editors in Hilvarenbeek, while also among a list of 38 additions are The Japanese House, Sleaford Mods, Danny L Harle, Dinosaur Jr, VANT, Band of Horses, and December/January cover star, Rat Boy.

2000TREES

PARKLIFE

11th – 12th June The Chemical Brothers and Major Lazer will headline, with Wolf Alice, Jamie xx, Years & Years, Bastille and Skepta also set to appear.

WILD LIFE

11th - 12th June Organisers Disclosure and Rudimental have confirmed the event will return to Brighton City Airport for a second year, with Bastille, Skepta, Rat Boy, Stormzy and Jack Garratt confirmed to play alongside both artists’ headline sets.

7th - 9th July “We hope … the ferocity of our set doesn’t drive out every badger in all the Cotswolds” say Refused, as they and Twin Atlantic are announced as headliners for the Gloucestershire event. Artists rounding out the rock-oriented line-up include Moose Blood, Muncie Girls and Tigercub.

BILBAO BBK LIVE

7th - 9th July Joining Pixies as headliners are Arcade Fire and Foals, with the line-up already boasting M83, New Order, Wolf Alice, Years & Years, Hot Chip, Courtney Barnett, and Father John Misty.

NOS ALIVE

7th - 9th July


A FEW SECONDS WITH...

THE MAGIC GANG The EP is out! Are you happy with how it has been received? We are! More than anything we’re looking forward to playing the songs live now that people are familiar with them. What’s with the synchronised swimming in the video for ‘Feeling Better’? We just felt the song sounded like it needed a dance routine, so why not a swimming dance routine?! You played the big room at the Roundhouse supporting Swim Deep back last year, how was that? It was amazing. Playing the venue lived up to our expectations, and the people in the audience made it really special.

PREVIEW

ROUNDHOUSE RISING 17th - 20th March

Is there anything else you’ve been up to that readers should know about? We’ve been writing... loads!

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eturning for its sixth year, once again Camden venue The Roundhouse will house both a series of live gigs – Black Honey are among the acts already confirmed to appear – and various sessions and talks aimed at helping young people join ‘the industry’. We’re returning too, after last year’s shenanigans with Girl Band, we’re hosting The Magic Gang, INHEAVEN and Gillbanks at the venue’s Sackler Space on Friday 18th March. Tickets are on sale RIGHT NOW (bonus – it’s 16+).

Radiohead, Arcade Fire and The Chemical Brothers headline the event’s 10th Birthday celebrations, with Foals, Pixies, Wolf Alice, Tame Impala, Years & Years, M83, Courtney Barnett, John Grant, Hot Chip and Father John Misty also appearing.

BENICÀSSIM

14th - 17th July Muse, Hinds, Disclosure and The Vaccines are among the latest names for the Spanish bash, joining the alreadyannounced Kendrick Lamar, Major Lazer, The Maccabees and Jamie xx.

LOVEBOX

15th - 16th July LCD Soundsystem and Major Lazer headline this year’s Victoria Park twodayer, the former a “London exclusive”. Among those also appearing are MØ, Run The Jewels, Jungle, Jack Garratt, and Stormzy.

LONGITUDE

15th - 17th July Kendrick Lamar, Major Lazer and The National have been announced as headliners, with Jamie xx, Chvrches, Courtney Barnett, MØ, Tyler, The Creator, Róisín Murphy, A$AP Ferg and Father John Misty also playing.

SECRET GARDEN PARTY

21st - 24th July Caribou and Air join Primal Scream as headliner, with Swim Deep, The Japanese House, Dua Lipa, Rae Morris and Oscar also confirmed.

KENDAL CALLING

28th - 31st July Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Everything Everything and Rat Boy are among the first artists announced, with The Charlatans, Hooton Tennis Club, The Hives and The Big Moon also playing.

ØYA

9th - 13th August

FIDLAR and The Last Shadow Puppets have been added to a line-up that already features PJ Harvey, Chvrches, Stormzy and Jamie xx.

BOARDMASTERS

10th - 14th August Deadmau5 is the second headliner announced for the Cornish surf-loving weekend, with Primal Scream, Rat Boy and Mystery Jets joining acts including the previously-confirmed Wolf Alice, Kaiser Chiefs and VANT.

WAY OUT WEST

11th - 13th August Skepta, Massive Attack and Young Fathers and Jack Garratt join the likes of Chvrches, Jamie xx, Sia, Stormzy, and The Last Shadow Puppets in Gothenburg this August.

FLOW

12th - 14th August Iggy Pop, Massive Attack with Young Fathers and Sleaford Mods join the

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NEWS

FESTIVALS

OPEN WIDE

Open’er

Grimes, Mac DeMarco and Kurt Vile have been confirmed to join Foals, LCD Soundsystem, Bastille, Chvrches, Florence + The Machine, Tame Impala and more at Polish festival Open’er – which we’re teaming up with as ‘media partner’! Hooray! Open’er takes place int Gdynia between 29th July and 2nd August.

WIN

JOIN US AT

BILBAO BBK LIVE

With the latest additions to the Basque festival including favourites like cover star Grimes, Chvrches, Tame Impala and Class of 2016 stars INHEAVEN, and them joining Arcade Fire, Pixies, Foals, Wolf Alice and Years & Years, this year’s Bilbao BBK Live looks Pretty Good. Which is why we’re not only excited to team up with them once again as media partners, but also give away a pair of VIP tickets – including flights and accommodation – to the festival. Bilbao BBK Live takes place between 7th and 9th July in (you guessed it), Bilbao. To enter, head to diymag.com/winbbk.

previously-announced Chvrches, Jamie xx and Sia at the Helsinki event.

GREEN MAN

18th - 21st August James Blake, Wild Beasts and Belle & Sebastian headline, with Battles, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Jagwar Ma, Cate Le Bon, Sunflower Bean, Formation, Mothers, and Julia Holter also announced.

LOWLANDS

19th - 21st August Disclosure, LCD Soundystem, The Last Shadow Puppets, Eagles of Death Metal and Sigur Rós head up the bill in Biddinghuizen, with Chvrches, Jamie No fucks given, GIRLI Woon, M83, Sum 41 and Frank Carter isn’t messing around. & The Rattlesnakes also announced.

READING & LEEDS

26th - 28th August 28 diymag.com

READY TO START (AGAIN)

Arcade Fire make a shock (well, ish) return. It’s hardly the shock to the (sound)system that news of LCD’s return made, but the announcements of Arcade Fire’s headline sets at Bilbao BBK Live and Lisbon’s NOS Alive has us raising an eyebrow or two.

“We’re buzzing” said Foals’ Yannis Philippakis said of the news that they were stepping up to headliner status. They co-headline with Disclosure, while Two Door Cinema Club, The Internet, Jack Ü, and Crystal Castles are added to the bill which already boasts Rat Boy, Hinds, Slaves and headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers.

FESTIVAL NO. 6

1st - 4th September Bastille, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Hot Chip will headline this year, with Django Django, Lucy Rose, C Duncan and Oscar also among the first artists announced.

END OF THE ROAD

2nd - 4th September Animal Collective, Joanna Newsom and Bat For Lashes will headline the Wiltshire weekend, with Cat Power,

Devendra Banhart, Shura, Dilly Dally, Sunflower Bean, The Big Moon, MONEY and Mothers also among the artists announced alongside them.

BESTIVAL

8th - 11th September The Cure, Major Lazer and Hot Chip lead the artist announcements, while this year’s theme is ‘The Future’. Wolf Alice, Years & Years, Katy B, Bastille, Animal Collective, Ghostpoet, and MØ are among artists confirmed to appear – and they’re yet to announce Sunday’s headliner.

LOLLAPALOOZA BERLIN

10th - 11th September Radiohead and Kings of Leon headline the festival’s second year, with other acts in the first wave of announcements including Years & Years, Major Lazer, New Order and James Blake.


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WOLF ALICE

13.03.16 O2 ACADEMY OXFORD 21.03.16 FOLKESTONE LEAS CLIFF HALL 22.03.16 BRIGHTON DOME 24.03.16 CARDIFF UNIVERSITY GREAT HALL 26.03.16 D OUT SOL O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN 27.03.16 LD OUT SOFORUM O2 KENTISH TOWN 28.03.16 O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN 29.03.16 O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN

BRYSON TILLER 28.03.16 UT SOLD O KOKO LONDON 29.03.16 UT SOLD O KOKO LONDON 30.03.16 UT SOLD O KOKO LONDON

BIG UPS

+ CROWS 30.03.16 LONDON LEXINGTON

EKKAH

7.04.16 LONDON OSLO HACKNEY

MATT & KIM 08.04.16 SCALA

YEARS & YEARS

+ MØ 01.04.16 BIRMINGHAM BARCLAYCARD ARENA 04.04.16 BOURNEMOUTH BIC 05.04.16 PLYMOUTH PAVILLIONS 08.04.16 THE SSE ARENA WEMBLEY

VAULTS

13.04.16 LONDON HEAVEN

ISLAND

+ ISAAC GRACIE 20.04.16 LONDON OSLO HACKNEY

BROKEN HANDS

28.04.16 LONDON DINGWALLS

VANESSA CARLTON 03.05.16UT DO SOLLEXINGTON THE 18.05.16 SCALA

TOURIST

11.05.16 XOYO LONDON 12.05.16 THE HAUNT BRIGHTON

EAGULLS

19.05.16 LONDON ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL

FATHER JOHN MISTY

18.05.16 UT SOLD O THE ROUNDHOUSE LONDON 19.05.16 UT SOLD O THE ROUNDHOUSE LONDON 20.05.16 LONDON THE ROUNDHOUSE

YAK

24.05.16 LONDON DINGWALLS

SHURA

26.05.16 O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE

LION BABE 01.06.16 LONDON KOKO

PARQUET COURTS 14.06.16 BRISTOL TRINITY CENTRE

SLEAFORD MODS 03.11.16 NOTTINGHAM ROCK CITY

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WALL, leaning on an invisible wall of their own making.

NEU

Spitting, growling post-punk from New York by way of Texas, nothing’s going to stop the force that is WALL. Words: Rachel Michaella Finn

WALL

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“We’re all pretty rooted in a really amazing music scene in New York, so when we wanted to start playing we had a lot of good access to shows because our friends were just like, yeah, come! Play on this bill with us here.”

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016 has already offered up great things for Texas-bred, New Yorkbased WALL. They only made their live debut mid-way in to 2015, but on the day of its release back in January, the band’s self-titled EP all but sold out. One listen and it’s not difficult to hear why. Their four-track release is an exhilarating collection of spitting, growling post-punk, so ingrained in the very chaotic energy that surrounds most cities – the roar of traffic in rush hour, the buzzing chatter of an underground bar, the kerfuffle of a drunken fistfight - that it’s hard to imagine the band aren’t home-grown New York natives. Though all of the band members have previously been involved in creative pursuits – bassist Elizabeth Skadden previously played in

If their seemingly smooth transition from the beginnings of - as Sam says - “just jamming to see what could happen”, to being tipped as ones-to-watch seems a pretty chill one, that’s in direct disagreement with their music itself. Sam York’s growling vocals over pounding instrumentals nod towards 80s post-punk bands such as Pylon and Au Pairs, which is anything but calm. It’s a grumbling, growling tribute to gritty urban existence. Perhaps their most well-known release so far, ‘Cuban Cigars’ is “essentially about the pigs... the nasty men in our lives,” Sam explains. ‘Milk’ is about “people pretending to be something that they’re not” and ‘Last Date’ about “being crushed under the weight of someone else’s expectations”. This, along with a sound that hits like a punch in the jaw, may make it sound like they’re pretty pissed off at the world, but when quizzed on what they’d want to achieve as a band, their response is pretty refreshing. “The goal going in was to make music for friends and we’re doing that and it’s already gone way beyond our

“THERE’S NO S H O C K VA L U E L E F T I N S O C I E T Y. ” S A M YORK the Austin-based Finally Punk; guitarist Vince McClelland in The Keepsies with Austin Brown of Parquet Courts; drummer Vanessa Gomez works as a manager at a photography studio; vocalist Sam York has a successful modelling career – like so many good rock n’ roll stories, it all started when they got to New York. “When you get to New York, when you meet one person from Texas, you’ll meet everyone from Texas... we all somehow end up there,” Elizabeth admits. She reached New York after a three year stint in the arts scene in Berlin before being joined by childhood friend Sam. There, Vanessa met Elizabeth at a show and mentioned she’d started playing drums; they brought in Vince and WALL were born. Within their first hour of practice, they’d already written the short but impactful ‘Last Date’.

expectations of anything,” Sam says. “We just started it as fun and it’s gotten really real, I guess.” WALL don’t see themselves as something that can change music, only as something that, according to Vanessa can “continue to make it interesting”. “There’s no shock value left in society. Everything’s already made,” Sam adds, laughing. “I mean, let’s hope I’m wrong and something totally fucking bananas happens.” WALL aren’t necessarily hoping to shake up the post-punk scene, but with their aggressively inspiring sound and laid-back attitude, give them a little time, and there’s a small chance they may do just that. DIY

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS When looking for a producer for their debut EP, WALL turned to longtime friend and vocalist/guitarist of Parquet Courts, Austin Brown. Austin met guitarist Vince fifteen years ago at a DIY punk show in Beaumont, Texas. They kept in touch and over the years collaborated on a range of projects, from being party coordinators to champagne sellers, as well as recording music as The Keepsies. “As soon as he knew we had formed the band, Austin expressed interest in recording WALL,” Vince says. Recording took place over a weekend in their unheated run-down rehearsal space in Brooklyn, with Vince recalling Austin being “motivating and extremely positive, which is unusual for him, as he’s usually talking so much shit that you can barely get a word in!” But he stresses: “He was elemental in getting the best takes out of us and especially Sam’s vocals... 10/10 would record again!”

“That was the moment when we were like, ‘cool, I guess we can be a band’”, Sam says nonchalantly,

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Clean Cut Kid Despite hiccups and hurdles, this Liverpudlian quartet are planning for 2016 to be their year. Words: Emma Snook. Photo: Emma Swann Liverpool’s Clean Cut Kid have had their fair share of adversity to contend with. During soundcheck for their Brandon Flowers support slot at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in November, frontman Mike Halls fell off stage – breaking both elbows in the process. “I played the gig with two broken arms,” he recalls. “Then I had five days off in which I recorded two or three demos for the label while my arms were in slings. Then we went on a twenty-date tour with Shura... So even with two broken radius bones we still didn’t slow down!”

NEU

That wasn’t all. Rather than worry their fans, they decided to keep the injuries to themselves; Mike would slip his arms out of 90-degree slings before going on stage each night. It was, as he admits, “hardcore”. Trouble arose again before they appeared on Radio 1’s Live Lounge in January. Mike woke up two days earlier “completely deaf in one ear.” He was in a private ear surgery at 9am on the morning of the performance. “I had this inner middle ear film thing that they had to take off. I was driving to the clinic like ‘Why do I need this today?! We’re about to play live on Radio 1!’” he remembers, laughing. These have merely been blips in an otherwise exhilarating past year or so for the band. Last spring they signed to a major label after just their second gig. They headlined the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading and Leeds, and supported everyone from

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Years & Years, Rat Boy and Shura (plus, obv a certain Brandon). Despite such a whirlwind 2015, it hasn’t quite happened overnight for them. Mike spent ten years as a session guitarist, working with many different bands and artists. Mike and Evelyn – who are now married – met around three years ago, while he was writing with a friend and she happened to be singing on the project. “Our first date was the Blur gig at the end of Olympics show. I came down on the train to London and we watched Bombay Bicycle Club and Blur.” Gradually they started working together. Now, with all the pieces finally in place, he hopes that 2016 will be the year that more people get the full Clean Cut Kid picture. “I think

we were never going to be a band that people just got” he admits. “People hear the sound of our songs and then check the band out and just go like ‘what the hell! Why do these guys look like this?’” It’s the release of their debut album that he thinks will clarify any confusion. “The consistency there across the whole record conveys the message of the band rather than people making snap judgements about a single. Like, if Arcade Fire just released ‘Wake Up’ then you’d be like, ‘OK these are going to be some kind of anthemic, American version of Coldplay or whatever’ but obviously they’re not. I’m looking forward to the record showing people what we really are.” DIY Clean Cut Kid will play Live at Leeds and The Great Escape. Head to diymag.com/festivals for details.


SET IN HENHAM PARK SUFFOLK

14th - 17th july 2016

COURTNEY BARNETT

DAUGHTER

CHET FAKER

BRITISH SEA POWER

NATHANIEL RATELIFF & THE NIGHT SWEATS

MICHAEL KIWANUKA

STURGILL SIMPSON / ALIF

LAURA MVULA

BBC RADIO 6 MUSIC STAGE

KURT VILE AND THE VIOLATORS

MIIKE SNOW / CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS / HALF MOON RUN / POLIÇA PERFUME GENIUS / OH WONDER / MØ / ROOTS MANUVA / JAMIE WOON / RAT BOY AURORA / MURA MASA / LUCIUS THE ARENA

PANTHA DU PRINCE PRESENTS THE TRIAD / BLACK MOUNTAIN ANDY SHAUF / ANNA MEREDITH / BLANCK MASS / BOB MOSES / CLOVES DRONES CLUB / HAYDEN JAMES / HIGHASAKITE / HOLLY MACVE / KELLY LEE OWENS LAMBERT / LITTLE GREEN CARS / MARLON WILLIAMS / MONEY PROTOMARTYR / SUUNS / WEAVES LATE NIGHT ARENA

JUNGLE (SPECIAL DJ SET) / DAVID RODIGAN (A JOURNEY THROUGH REGGAE) MIKE SKINNER & MURKAGE PRESENT TONGA / ARTFUL DODGER FOR LINE UP SO FAR VISIT LATITUDEFESTIVAL.CO.UK TICKETS FROM SEETICKETS.COM / 0871 231 0846 CALLS COST 10P PLUS NETWORK CHARGES. BILL SUBJECT TO CHANGE

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HELLO 2016!

It’s just your everyday. GIRLI pop show..

For the past few years, DIY’s ‘Hello’ nights have been rowdy, sweaty, exciting glimpses into the year ahead. We’ve had Wolf Alice, Girl Band, Spring King and Honeyblood playing early shows at London’s The Old Blue Last for this yearly series.

• Night 3 • 19th January

FISH, GIRLI, Yonaka & Beach Baby There’s something about FISH. Opening the third of four ‘Hello 2016’ DIY bills this January, neu they’re as raw as they come. The North London four-piece make amped-up, frustrated grunge, the kind that goes from barely-there undertones to all-out force in a split second. Give them a year or two and they’ll be everywhere. Next up, GIRLI is one of a kind. Where else do you find tampons, condoms, tracksuits and a beat tape - on stage? “YAAAAAAS TEAM!” shouts the newcomer and her MC, the epitome of confidence. The Old Blue Last has never seen anything like this before, and it’s a bonkers, enraptured mess. There’s even a stage invasion. GIRLI fever has begun. If there’s a running thread between tonight’s ‘Hello’ bill, it’s a bright bunch of bands willing to put themselves forward, with no second thoughts. Yonaka are ballistic. Fronted by the magnetic Theresa Jarvis, they reach fever pitch in seconds and never look back. A year in to their career, Beach Baby are as self-assured as they come. Shirts are unbuttoned, mouths wide open in a gurny, cocky way. They look like rockstars, but they deliver a softer, sunny-side-up kind of pop that’d sit nicely with Two Door Cinema Club or a less hell-raising Mac DeMarco. 34 diymag.com

• Night 4 • 26th January

Sälen, Babeheaven, Cloud Castle Lake & Pumarosa Opening the fourth and final night is Sälen, a London trio not to be confused with flash-in-the-pan witch house bunch Salem. Reminiscent of Wet in their loyalty to hooks, there’s a more London-centric feel, like pacing through the capital’s streets with nothing but distant sirens for company. Their show makes the OBL about as packed as it’s ever been. It’s the same for Babeheaven; the five-piece trade soul, funk and murky pop - the kind Dev Hynes would beg to produce in a perfectly-paced flow that’s never compromised. Dublin’s Cloud Castle Lake have taken years to build their rep, and there’s a sense that word will continue to spread long after they release a full-length. Their arms-aloft, spinetingling noise is rooted in beauty, sitting somewhere near Icelandic mountains and a galaxy up above. Talk around Pumarosa is at fever pitch; new bands are rarely met with this kind of instant adoration. From the off, they’re a remarkable force. There’s a constant build, but when Pumarosa strike, everything hits at once. Closer ‘Priestess’ remains their divine calling card, but there are hints of early2000s PJ Harvey and ‘In Rainbows’-era Radiohead here, too. 2016 is theirs for the taking.


neu

LUH

Recommended

WH I T N E Y

The beginning of a new Lyf.

Less Houston, more Western - say hello to your favourite new band.

A long time ago, in a buzz band-filled galaxy far away, Wu Lyf had all the makings of a band who could last for decades. But the smoke faded fast, and they put quits on a career before it gained pace. Frontman Ellery Roberts is going big on new project LUH, alongside partner Ebony Hoorn. Roberts’ smoke-stained vocals are a focal point, but he sounds like he’s fronting the apocalypse this time round. An album’s due this year on Mute. Listen: ‘I&I’ is bonkers melodrama, produced by the Haxan Cloak. Similar to: ‘A Lyf without borders’

Newly signed to Secretly Canadian, Whitney already possess a timelessness you can’t teach. Former Smith Westerns members Max Kakacek and Julian Ehrlich emailed DIY about the project last summer, debut track ‘No Matter Where You Go’ coming off like UMO basking in sunshine after months of hibernation. Ehrlich adopts a drum/vocals role, and instead of delivering thudded force through two different means, he uses both tools to create a soft sweetness. They write songs that could get buried below the surface for decades, before floating upstream and being cherished by future generations. Listen: ‘No Woman’ is no fluke. Similar to: A walking, talking lullaby. Sounds lovely, right?

B E L L E V UE DAYS Joel Wolf Aliceapproved madness.

swe at

Some bands arrive with all the festival-headlining credentials already packed in a suitcase, ready for take off. Croydon bunch Bellevue Days have exactly that - anthems in spades, frustration and ferocity running through their veins. Wolf Alice’s Joel Amey is already a big fan (“hey who sang that ripped jeans song?” he asked Radio 1 Rock Show host Daniel P Carter recently), and the rest of the world’s playing catch up. Listen: ‘Ripped Jeans’ is coming to a festival tent near you. Similar to: Jamie T doing it for the kill.

Sweat aren’t shy in living up to their name. Already, hyped-to-thehills shows have turned freezing cold basements into saunas. Their murky but finely calculated pop isn’t everyday. If aliens dropped down and found a sampler, they might make music like this. Futuristic and filthy, debut track ‘Be Complete’ is the kind of mission statement that requires a shower afterwards. Listen: ‘Be Complete’ Similar to: Dev Hynes joining Jungle.

Dripping with new ideas.

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Currently squirrelled away writing his debut in the middle of nowhere, this 19-year-old producer from Guernsey is going to be Mura-Massive. Words: El Hunt.

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“but the music scene is quite limited.”

“I was actually with Nao the day we found out,” Alex says. Having collaborated with her on ‘Firefly’ - which clashes addictive bass-judders with chiming pentatonics - for his latest EP ‘Someday Somewhere,’ Mura Masa was with the Class of 2016 star on the road the day the shortlist was announced. “We went for Mexican,” he laughs, remembering the guacamolefilled celebrations.

“Chiefly the first thing was we all found each other, and we all dug what the other was doing,” he explains, speaking about how he wound up working with the bursting roll-call of hotly-tipped new artists in the credits of his ‘Someday Somewhere’ EP. Along with Nao, he also collaborated with Denai Moore and Jay Prince. “It wasn’t a complicated process collaborating, it was more jam sessions than anything else, just coming up with ideas,” Alex says. “Jay Prince I never actually met before the track came out,” he adds. “That was just over email. It’s a testament to how the 21st Century works,” he laughs. Currently holed up in the depths of Oxfordshire, in the process of penning his debut album proper, Mura Masa might be where he is because of connecting with things online, but isolation still has a special place in his heart. Expecting the record to come out towards the end of summer - all being well - Alex has one main goal on his mind these days. “I want to move away from the bangers,” he claims, “make something really intentional.”

“I want to move away from bangers. Make something really intentional.” If there’s one thing Mura Masa has managed to set right so far, it’s his role in kickstarting the flute solo revival. His left-of-field pop banger, ‘Love For That’ (a collaboration with Shura) brought a haze of rich string sections and thumb pianos to mainstream radio, and across the board, his music leaves no potential influence unexplored. It’s something Alex puts down to growing up in the middle of nowhere. Guernsey might boast a shit-ton of cows, and some fairly snazzy blue post boxes, but it’s hardly renowned as a being a thriving musical hub. As a teenager hungry for music, he had to get creative with his reference points.

Mura Masa will play Wild Life. Head to diymag.com/festivals for details.

This month in

EPS

From debuts to next steps, show some love for the mini releases of the month.

Kruum • Evil Twin 20-year-old producer Kruum puts soul at the centre of his electronic head-rush ‘Evil Twin’, a debut EP that’s among the year’s best so far. Heady, post-Jai Paul brilliance.

B Boys • No Worry No Mind Captured Tracks-signed thrill-seekers B Boys have the ballsiness of Eagulls and the post-punk roots to boot. New York-based, their first work is out 18th March.

Catholic Action - L.U.V. Glasgow band Catholic Action’s new 7” is a foot-stomping essential. ‘L.U.V.’ carries the bombast of Franz Ferdinand and surprise surprise, the band supported FFS at arena shows last summer. Their latest release is out 18th March on Luv Luv Luv.

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“That’s exactly how I felt. Growing up without any source of culture or diversity; there’s not really much of anything in Guernsey.” He pauses, before rephrasing slightly. “It’s a lovely place,” he revises,

Considering the immediacy of everything Alex produces - slashing like electronic swords in line with his Japanese namesake - Mura Masa isn’t just about bangers, though they’re certainly there in his repertoire. Increasingly Alex Crossan is writing music that leaves razor-sharp, lasting cuts, instead. DIY

NEU

{

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ailing from Guernsey - a titchy little Channel island just off the coast of France - Mura Masa grew up with zero reference points. Armed with a dodgy dial-up connection, and a copy of Ableton, he, real name Alex Crossan, found himself swotting up on Eastern Asian instrumentation, and trawling YouTube for production tutorials in every second of his spare time. Over the past few years, he’s become the sort of producer who whacks strange orchestra arrangements on top of radio singles without a second thought. It’s bagged him a well earned spot in the Beeb’s Sound of 2016 poll, sharing joint fifth place with WSTRN.

The turning point arrived when Alex - having taught himself to produce stumbled across TNGHT’s music. “Maybe that’s just me being ignorant, but it was the first time I was exposed to exciting electronic-based bedroom producer style stuff,” he says. Lunice and Hudson Mohawke’s gaudy spin-off trap project was a massive turning point for Mura Masa. Though his musical melting point remained just as varied and disparate, his beats became larger, bolder, and crisper.

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• Bolder than ever, and setting an entire c u lt u r a l ag e n da , G r i m e s e x i s t s o n a n o t h e r p l a n e t, while everyone el se revs up their rocket engines t o p l ay c at c h - u p. T h e w o r d g e n i u s i s t h r o w n a r o u n d t o o l i g h t ly t h e s e d ay s . H e r e ’ s o n e , r i g h t h e r e . • Wo r d s: El H u nt. Li v e Ph oto s: Da n i el B O U D

“S

orry, I have so many beverages here!” exclaims Claire Boucher suddenly, attempting to juggle a mug filled of coffee, and an elegant wine flute. Distracted every so often by a mountain she can glimpse out of her Adelaide window, and in the process of taking ‘Art Angels’ on tour for the first time, Grimes is, as she puts it herself, in a “mildly insane” mood today, having just awoken from a nap. “This is water, not wine,” she qualifies, quickly. “I just like the look of the glass,” she explains, studying it. “I feel like I’m in Sex and the City or something.” A couple of years ago, the idea that Grimes was a potential subscriber to Carrie Bradshaw and co.’s hapless romantic adventures seemed unlikely. Squirreled away in darkened basements, making bizarrely twisted - and yes, overwhelmingly zeitgeisty - sounds, Claire Boucher struck as an incredibly serious musician. Though she remains a true perfectionist, obsessed with every microparticle of her craft) Grimes is also becoming a rocket-fuelled cultural hoover with no limits. Less pop, and more endlessly fascinated by popular culture itself, anything is game for absorption into her retinabashing slash movie meets sci-fi flick universe; everything that emerges out the other side is life in the vivid dream, enhanced and larger-than-reality for reasons beyond everyday comprehension. It’s an ability very few artists possess. In each generation, you can count people like Grimes on one hand. ‘Art Angels’ - Grimes’ fourth record, and her first since her breakthrough third, ‘Visions’ - sees her taking on more ferociously varied facets than ever before. From the genderbending vampire mobster that runs riot spitting football chants over ‘Kill V. Maim,’ to the record’s bizarre, garish, no-fucks-given clashing of all genres going, ‘Art Angels’ is a little like Grimes’ beloved Game of Thrones in scope and ambition; if it were set in a gaudy, futuristic neon wonderland instead of Westeros. Though she still readily admits to battling against stage fright, Grimes’ live show is a saturated glimpse into the world she’s designed, letting rip with fast-unfurling, cathartic screams. Designers these days are tripping over one another to photograph her fearless Adidas sandal and sock combinations, and in the studio, Boucher’s dark days of Adderall-fuelled writing binges have been disowned and left behind. Now, she operates from a studio in her home. Everything is entirely on her own terms. Originally, Grimes was conceived as a sort of alter-ego; a

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space-dust flecked girl band controlled by Claire Boucher The Producer, safe and hidden behind the curtains. Grimes itself has grown enormously in scope in the last couple of years, taking on ever more technicoloured variations. Claire Boucher, meanwhile has emerged gradually from her mysterious control box. Though one especially infamous character from the program that inspired her multiple beverages today, Sex and the City, might not feature as one of Grimes’ voices, per se, she’s a definite influence on how Claire Boucher conducts herself these days, all the same. “Samantha,” Grimes announces, naming the Sex and the City character she identifies most heavily with, without a moment’s hesitation. “It’s her crass nature,” she qualifies. “I appreciate her lack of giving a fuck. I relate to it. A lot of times I get in trouble are a result of not giving a fuck...” she adds, changing tact, “and then people taking it out of context.” Several times today, Grimes alludes to this frequent knack for “getting in trouble.” Really, though, she’s talking about her words being sensationalised, and her caution is fair “Hello, my name is fabulous” (No it’s not, mate, it’s Samantha Jones - Ed)

enough. With ‘Visions,’ she set an entire agenda and influenced a whole trail of lesser imitators; her knarled, blooping nightmare-scapes being hawked by every aspiring weirdo out there with some free time and a copy of GarageBand. Part and parcel with that came a great deal of critical recognition, and also constant scrutiny. An artist who started out making weird, crunking noise-pop about obese cats in the warehouses of Mile End, Montreal, suddenly found her flippant, off-hand remarks turning into boldletter headlines on pop’s biggest gossip websites, and alternative music publications alike Most prominently, there was the dramatic non-saga of the ‘scrapped album,’ and Grimes’ ‘panning’ of her one-off song ‘Go’. Originally penned at a songwriting bootcamp, she was toying with behind the scenes writing; worn down by her constant visibility in the public eye. Though the song was ultimately turned down by Rihanna - who is signed to Grimes’ management, Roc Nation - Grimes liked it enough to put it out there anyway as a one-off. The media machine painted an entirely different picture; the sort of scene that depicted Grimes chickening out of a whole new direction, simply because a portion of her fans weren’t entirely keen.


Making the red velvet cake had proven a messy process.

“I don’t want to succeed on

cute n a i v e t y, o r e n d e a r i n g fa i l u r e .” the basis of

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“I’m going to discuss

a thing I’m not supposed to discuss because it a lway s g e t s m e i n tro u b le . . .”

Sticking your tongue out makes you slay a hundred times harder 42 diymag.com


“I’m going to discuss a thing I’m not supposed to discuss because it always gets me in trouble...” Grimes starts, that notorious word rearing its head once again. She shrugs, and continues anyway. “Me and my friend Blood Diamonds were writing ‘Go’ for another artist [Rihanna] and the process of pretending I was someone else at that time, I had so much fun making that song. I realised I had this terrible feeling of constraint, that everyone’s always judging me, you know....” she trails off. “Because they do. They still do.” Fast-forward from the media ruckus surrounding ‘Art Angels’’ creation, and Grimes silences the lot in a swift fell. Hurling herself into a swimming pool, Grimes returned as macabre, pastel-drenched Marie Antoinette, her bloodied gowns staining the crystal-clear waters.“Got a doll that looks just like you,” chides ‘Flesh Without Blood,’ nodding - but only nonchalantly, in a half-arsed, unbothered way, - towards people’s expectations and the inaccurate figure ‘Visions,’ and the churning media cogs, created. Forget everything you thought you knew about Grimes. “People were like, ‘oh it’s so cute and naive,’” Grimes says of ‘Visions’ today. “I don’t wanna succeed on the basis of cute naivety, or endearing failure or charming lack of knowledge,” she says, firmly, “I want to succeed because I’m good.” It’s a mission that Grimes takes incredibly seriously; from the making of ‘Art Angels’ itself to the relentless months she spends working on her complex music videos. Blowing almost all of her advance on the most high-tech home studio set up she could muster, she set about poring over complex production techniques, physical string arrangements, and crisp, in-your-face high fidelity. She had a drive to reach new heights. “I kind of went insane during it,” she admits. “It’s mentally difficult when people are like, oh she’s so cute, she screws up, she always hits the wrong button, it’s so lo-fi and you can tell that she doesn’t have good equipment,” she says, before putting on a high-pitched, whinging voice in imitation, “neh neh neh.”

She keeps coming back to the idea of transforming herself into something menacing and downright scary, a monstrously ambitious artist to whom patronising adjectives like “cute” will never stick. It’s no more pronounced than in the monstrously brilliant Janelle Monáe-featuring ‘Venus Fly,‘ from ‘Art Angels’. “What if I cut my teeth? Cut my hair underneath my chin,” she asks, or rather proudly threatens, before demanding “why you looking at me?!” Tinny, timid, super-trebled melodies rev into life, the whole thing growing into clawed, fearsome rebuff of objectification. “In retrospect I see more pathos in [‘Art Angels’] than when I was actually making it, about that kind of stuff,” reasons Grimes. “I’m in a weird situation..” she starts, “where if I always say and do stupid things, I get a lot of attention, but I actually fucking hate it. It’s really distressing to me. I’m in a constant state of distress because I’m always... there’s always a new thing, you know?”

There’s no denying that Grimes is one of these rare magical characters that Claire Boucher - still sipping from a seemingly bottomless mug of coffee - personally admires. The aesthetic she paints mashes together pastichey combinations; androgynous Al Pacino-type mobster vampires, Daniel Clowes’ Ghost World comic books, the

of Thrones

(Contains spoilers) To call Grimes a Game of Thrones fan is something of a vast understatement. When she met the novel series’ author, George R. R. Martin, at Comic Con, she was quite literally lost for words. So obviously, we quizzed her about fan theories, and asked her for next season predictions. The books have finally caught up with the telly show. Anything could happen next! What do you think is on the horizon? I think Jon Snow is dead, but I think...ok, first of all, the king of the White Walkers is obviously a Stark. Or, something to do with warging. I think there are a lot of possibilities. Also, I just don’t like Jon Snow. I don’t care about him at all.

“People think... she must want attention so much, and it’s like, no,” she continues, start-stopping sentences. “I feel really disassociated when my hair’s a normal colour, shit like that. Shows are still a nightmare for me,” she admits. “You wanna make art, and you wanna make music. The art and music I admire is really character-centric. Beyoncé, Rihanna, Bowie, Prince, whatever... there’s this core character. I kind of need that, but at the same time it’s really uncomfortable to have this much attention. There’s always this inherent tension where you’re like, no, leave me alone,” she says, “but also, I am completely embedded so deep, with my personality, in this work,” she trails off. “It’s weird.” “Most people ask me,” she observes, putting on a comedy British accent. “Do you want to be like Katy Perry?’ Sorry,” she laughs. “Anyway.”

Grime

That being said, what are your thoughts on R+L=J? Who is Jon Snow’s mum, do you think? Lyanna Stark? I think that’s likely. I also think that it’s likely that Tyrion might be half-Targaryen. You know how when he kills his dad, and his dad is like “you are no son of mine?” I think there’s something about Rhaegar, and the mum of Tyrion or something. Maybe I’m crazy, but there’s definitely going to be some crazy shit. Which house would you be in? I hate to say it, but probably Tyrell, because I’m French, and the Tyrells are French. I like to think I’m Targaryen, maybe, but i’m definitely very different to Khaleesi. Do you think the Lannisters have an unfair rep? The Lannisters are actually cool. Everyone hates the Lannisters, but if you think about it they’ve got Jaime, Cersei, Tyrion, and Joffrey! They’re probably four of the best. Honestly, they’re four of my favourite characters. Cersei, Tyrion, and Joffrey are up there with Brienne and Khaleesi. Joffrey is such an arsehole, though. He’s not very nice! I kinda look like him. People tell me I look like Joffrey. In pictures, in certain angles where my hair looks short, I look like Joffrey.

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It’s a ludicrously untrue twist on events.

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The idea that all of this bold, boundless expression marks Grimes turning into a Pop Star, she says, confuses her no end. Judging by the liberal smattering of swear words she drops into conversation around the subject, it’s also an assertion Claire Boucher clearly finds annoying. Vehemently dedicated to keeping full control over every single aspect of the Grimes project - from hand-drawn album covers, to self-directed videos - and signed to independent label 4AD, she actively distances herself from the smoke and mirrors of cookie-cutter singers performing songs written by a ten-strong team. “It depends,” concedes Grimes. “If you classify David Bowie, and the Ramones as pop, yeah Grimes is pop. But if you’re talking Top 40, I do think it’s pretty different from that. The means to the end are extremely different in particular.” “When I made ‘Visions’,” she laughs, “I thought it was my sell-out Britney pop moment! I didn’t think it would succeed, either. I remember A/Bing [comparing sound quality] with a Britney song, and being like, this is just totally as good as this Britney song, I’m so great!” she remembers, visibly amused. “This is really embarrassing...” Grimes starts, before, typically, shrugging and continuing her thread anyway, “but I didn’t know who Mariah Carey was until I was like, 24. I went on this cross-country road trip with my dad, and he was like, you have to get into R&B, so he got me into her. There are a lot of hipster Mariah Carey remixes, like Burial and stuff, and I remember listening to it. It was really hip at the time that I first started making music. I was like, why aren’t there any actual bands like this? Why don’t they get actual singers, and make original songs instead of doing these hip remixes. That was kind of my thought.” Grimes is not pop music, in that she does not imitate anything that has come before her. Instead, studying the world - complete with all its ugliness, brashness, and macabre unpleasantries - she’s something unclassifiable on the fringes while setting the entire agenda. “It’s weird to me that people think ‘Art Angels’ is a poppier thing, cos in terms of the actual process, I was trying so much harder to make pop music when I made ‘Visions,’ she says. “I was actively trying to make pop music when I made ‘Visions’. With ‘Art Angels,’ I wasn’t.” At approximately this point, Grimes decided to give an almighty “fuck you” to all convention, for good. “To me, [‘Art Angels’ is] an emo rock record,” Grimes says, changing tact entirely seriously. “I was listening to Queen and Bowie, My Chemical Romance, Le Tigre,“ she lists “and I thought people might think it was my rock record. I was so confused by the response.” Garish, neon-hued, and screaming with a breathless cramming-in of every feasible influence, ‘Art Angels’ takes everything that Grimes loves - from the hellish paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, to J-Pop, and Russian ballet set designs and throws it at the wax. From the twanging hoedown vibe of ‘California’ - think Dolly Parton on a mad one at Comic Con - to the merrily chirruping intro of ‘Butterfly’ ‘Art Angels’ is, in the best possible way, a little bit uncool. “That was a goal!” exclaims a delighted Grimes.

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“I wanted to stop being seen as a hipster thing, I guess,” she explains, referring to the whole pastel-grunge, synth-pop aesthetic that ‘Visions’ became an integral part of. “I actually don’t mind hipsters,” she clarifies, “hipsters are rad. But I didn’t want [Grimes] to be seen as a thing that existed because it was cool. It’s the same thing as the cute thing - ‘oh, Grimes, because it’s cool’. No, no, it’s not cool, and it’s not cute.”

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Russian poet Pushkin, ‘Lord of the Rings’, Enya, the music for ‘The Legend of Zelda’, and Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic ‘Dune’. Out of breath yet? Grimes is dizzyingly vast, and yet it’s unmistakable.

“I really wanted to make a Baby Bash song,” says Grimes, talking specifially about ‘Art Angels’ closer, ‘Butterfly’. For the uninitiated, Baby Bash is a smooth-crooning 90s rapper - again, not especially renowned for being cool. This goal - naturally - led Grimes into a mess of old Japanese jazz compilations, and it was there that she discovered ‘Penguin Dancer’ by Masayoshi Takanaka. She ended up sampling it for ‘Butterfly’‘s introduction. “It sounds like a kids TV show theme song,” she says excitedly. “I want ‘Butterfly’ to be a really all-ages song, like a kids TV vibe song.” ‘Butterfly’ - vaguely about a curious little minibeast who discovers air travel for the first time - feels like a symbolic launching off from the record where Grimes finds her wings. Having seized back the narrative, trampling all over it with trebled-up riffs, Grimes concludes ‘Art Angels’ by saying one thing - “I’ll never be your dream girl.” It’s the one headline in the entire world she wants written in bold. So, where on earth does Grimes go from here? Nowhere on earth, to hazard a guess; more likely, she’ll wind up in some other distant musical galaxy, creating daring, experimental, and boundary-pushing art out

Giddy for Diddy So, you’re a long time Chelsea supporter, right? I’ve not watched a fucking football game in two or three years, but in theory yes. Mostly because my family loves Man Utd. Also, Chelsea have Didier Drogba, and he’s my favourite player. He’s hard, he’s cool. He’s the best. Would you go play for Chelsea, if they asked you? No! I’m terrible at soccer (Sorry, she’s Canadian, she can’t help it - Ed). I’d be shamed off the field. It’d be like when an actor tries to make an album and it’s trash.

of the meteor dust whizzing around her super-charged neurons. As Boucher’s beloved Frank Herbert - who wrote Dune - pointed out; “beware of heroes”. Rely on your own judgement instead, make your own mistakes, and question everything. It’s a mantra that Grimes follows to the letter. Blazing her own trail, and flinging open the door to a whole new realm of possibilities, Grimes is a genius alright. What’s more, she’s only just getting started. Grimes’ new album ‘Art Angels’ is out now via 4AD. DIY Grimes will play Bilbao BBK Live, Open’er and Latitude. Head to diymag.com/ festivals for details.


“The art and music I admire i s r e a l ly charactercentric:

B e yo n c é , Rihanna, Bowie, Prince .”

Purrfect News

Way back in 2009, Grimes penned a song for an overweight and pissed off cat named Voignimir, with her friend Majical Cloudz. The cat, though no longer angry and on a diet, is still alive and well, apparently. “He lives with his original owner. He’s probably fat again. His original owner is one of the people who was responsible for his obesity in the first place. But he’s alive, I know that. I think he lives in Vancouver. He’s actually on [second record] ‘Halfaxa’. The song ‘Weregild’ at the beginning, I’m like ‘Voignimir, Voignimir!‘ and you can hear him going ‘meow!’” 45


Acting

Over the past five years Parquet Courts have avoided photography, taken

vows of silence and tried to deliberately subvert the idea of being a musician.

Now, with their new record, they’re taking a look further inside the concept of performance. Words: Jessica Goodman. Photos: Mike Massaro

P

arquet Courts have a reputation. Since signing to Rough Trade last year, the New Yorkers’ rise is seemingly unstoppable. But, as they gear up to release album number four (five if we include Parkay Quarts’ ‘Content Nausea’), the quartet are determined to let their music, and only their music, do the talking.

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“I’m averse to giving away all the mode of thought behind things,” frontman Andrew Savage hesitantly admits. Taking a vow of silence before the release of last year’s ‘Monastic Living’ EP, a record that’s almost entirely instrumental, Parquet Courts readily diverted the spotlight cast on them. “There was a statement we were making about silence and having something to say, and about not always having something to say,” he describes. “That was a moment when we decided that


“Chim Chim Cher-ee…”

Class

our actions would speak louder than words. So in choosing that, we did an instrumental record, and decided not to do any interviews for it.” Released with little fanfare but to much enthusiasm last November, ‘Monastic Living’ is an intense whirlwind of barbed refrains. “A lot of what that record has to do with is not overstating things, so maybe it’s appropriate that

there wasn’t a massive push Just one of Parquet on it,” Andrew contemplates. “I Courts’ slithery tattoos really do think that in time it’s going to be a record that is going to mean more and more to people.” With band-related tattoos (which earn the proud owners a lifetime of free gig entries) not uncommon, Parquet Courts have no trouble resonating with their audiences.

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“I hope it’s at least one person’s favourite record of all time.” Andrew Savage

Stepping out of their shroud of silence, ‘Human Performance’ is the band’s most ambitious and accessible effort to date. “The album is kind of based on this idea of what it is to be a performer, not maybe in the sense that bands are performers, but how all of us perform,” Andrew explains. “It’s about the relationship between performance and authenticity, and if those two things are mutually exclusive.” Posing the questions “can a performance be an authentic expression?” and “how much of our lives are spent performing?” the band continue to challenge the notion of how they, and indeed everything around them, is presented. Setting the precedent for such poignant questions comes as second nature to the group. “Usually what the record’s about always ends up not being something that’s done from the outset,” Andrew ponders. “It’s always something that makes itself apparent through the process. I think it’s best to kind of let the themes of a record reveal themselves as they happen.” Releasing their most collaborative album yet, if anything, their new record shows just how much of a unit Parquet Courts are. “A record like ‘Sunbathing Animal’ was pretty much all of my songs,” the frontman recalls. “Austin has five on this record, Sean has two, and Max has one. So it’s coming from a lot of different places, more so than any other record.” Recorded predominantly at Dreamland, a studio renovated from a supposedly haunted church in the woodlands of upstate New York, their newest full-length was born out of the footsteps of greatness. “It’s got a few gold records on the wall, let’s just say that,” Andrew chuckles. “There was Hall & Oates, Huey Lewis, Paul Simon… The B-52s’ record with ‘Love Shack’ was recorded there.” Aligned with the greats, the band never failed to keep hope that the ghosts would also be in their 48 diymag.com

favour. “I wasn’t haunted, much to my chagrin. I’d really love to be haunted, but it’s never happened. Rationally, I can’t put two and two together, but I’d love to be wrong. I’m keeping my heart open to the right ghost.” With recording sessions also taking place at Sonelab in Massachusetts and The Loft in Chicago over the course of the past year, the record demonstrates the group at their boldest and most dexterous. “There are lots of instruments that we’d never had on a record before,” Andrew reveals. “There’s timpani on there, and Max plays some marimba… There have been keys on Parquet Courts records before, but never as many as this. I guess that’s one of the things that might set it apart, is that it’s recorded in a very large, professional studio, with tons of instruments.” With bolder instrumentation comes a braver approach to songwriting. “For a long time in Parquet Courts, for me, it was lyrics first, music second,” Andrew recollects. “I think that was one of the things that kind of defined the cadence of my delivery, making it have more to do with rhythm than it did with melody. On this record I was a bit more interested in melody.” The new creative tactic shows in the album’s partpunk, but oft-dulcet presentation. After nearing a year’s work, ‘Human Performance’ is about to see release, and the band are in high spirits. “I hope it’s at least one person’s favourite record of all time,” Andrew declares. “All I really want is that people feel can something from it, whatever that emotion is. There’s a wide range of them on the record. I’d just ask that people felt anything.” Parquet Courts’ new album ’Human Performance’ is out on 8th April via Rough Trade. DIY


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While ladybird carcasses and sky-high expectations haunted Yuck’s second record, the band hit a new stride of confidence in ‘Stranger Things’. Words: El Hunt.

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O

n a particularly (ahem) yucky day, Max Bloom is sitting huddled away in a cafe, sheltering from both a horizontal downpour and howling gale. Yuck’s frontman is busy recounting the various horrors his band had to contend with while recording second album ‘Glow & Behold’ two-and-a half years ago in a haunted American church. Having covered inexplicable ghosts hiding on drum tracks, strange haunted apparitions, and a spooky vicarage, Max has moved onto the cheery topic of bug infestation. The memories are still very raw. “There were dead ladybirds everywhere, thousands of them!” Max says, his voice quivering with barely-disguised horror. “It had just been fumigated, and stepping on the floor was just like, crunch, crunch, crunch,” he says, pausing for suspense. “If the ladybirds can’t survive there, what can? There was so much stuff that made us lose a lot of time,” he adds, before his story takes a darker turn still. “The studio got infested with bedbugs, and we had to wash all of our clothes twice a day. It was fucked up. I can laugh about it now.” Despite its title, ghosts, spooks, and other eerie echoes of the past do not feature on Yuck’s new record ‘Stranger Things’. Recorded in his childhood bedroom in Finchley - “my family’s house is creepy in a different way,” he laughs - and self-produced by the band, Yuck’s third record seems to start refreshed and revitalised after the relative drama of ‘Glow & Behold’. Another presence from the past has disappeared, too. The tangible expectation that followed Max Bloom around after the exit of Yuck’s original vocalist Daniel Blumberg piled on the pressure the last time around; with their third record, the band cut loose and have fun. “It was always going to be such a difficult album in every circumstance,” admits Max of ‘Glow & Behold’, “and I’m glad we’re over that step now. There was so much pressure on releasing that album, because it was the first one without Daniel,” he reasons. With ‘Stranger Things’, on the other hand, it’s clear they’ve put all of that to bed.

Yucky-do-do

Despite their revolting namesake, Yuck take cleanliness very seriously. “The main thing on tour is personal hygiene. If you’re sitting next to someone who smells, everyone is too polite to say anyway, so it develops into smouldering resentment. We’re quite a hairy band, so it’s important to wash regularly. Always brush your teeth.” - Max Bloom

“My house was built in the 80s,” he says, returning to those infamous ghouls. Though he’s unwilling to rule their continued presence in Yuck’s music out altogether, he insists that the only ghouls on ‘Stranger Things’ are “very modern ghosts. Did you ever watch Aziz Ansari’s stand up?” he asks. “He talks about what modern ghosts would be like. They’d wake you up in the middle of the night, like “what’s the wi-fi password!?” he laughs. “My dad has taken it upon himself to eradicate every single trace of any child having lived there,” Max continues, describing the space Yuck took over as a makeshift studio. “The house

51


is like a B&Q showroom. My parents have kept no memorabilia,” he laughs. Though it was a decision taken out of practical necessity rather than some kind of return to their roots as a band, Yuck felt instantly relaxed returning to the space where they made their debut together in 2009. “When we recorded the first album, my neighbours who were a bit dodge started getting a little bit aggressive about me making noise,” remembers Max, smiling. “The only reason that was a problem was because on the first day of recording the first album, I put this huge stack in this cupboard with no insulation, and turned it up to eleven. It was very audible, everywhere in Finchley....” “Being at home was a different experience to the first record,” Max adds, “because back then we had no idea what we were doing at all. It was very messy. On this one, I had a little more knowledge of how to record music. I knew what I was doing a little bit more, and I had more of a vision. It was just a case of trying to carry it out.” A large chunk of realising that vision came from Yuck’s decision to self-produce. After working with Chris Coady on ‘Glow & Behold’, the band were eager to take matters into their own hands this time around. “I’m glad I had experience trying a different way,” he agrees, referring to their time with Coady, “but we needed to do it completely on our own terms. A lot on the second record... there’s a lot of stuff i wasn’t necessarily happy with. I wanted to do something completely from us. On our terms.”

M o Te nk nn ey is Yuck are launching ‘Stranger Things’ with a two-night residency at Hackney’s shiny gold glitter cavern, Moth Club. Max Bloom explains why it’s a venue close to his heart. Max: I did an Alan Partridge quiz there! I fell in love with the gold sparkly ceilings, but the quiz was really annoying. My Partridge knowledge is so good, and they didn’t ask many Partridge-based questions at all! It was all really random shit. It pissed me off, and I should’ve won. So is this a Partridge inspired album, Max? Max: I can’t even begin. Alan Partridge shouldn’t even enter my head once during recording. Unfortunately it’s not an Alan Partridge concept album. I know millions of people will be disappointed.

“On our own terms” is a phrase Max keeps returning to, and as a whole ‘Stranger Things’ sounds like a very self-assured album, from start to finish. From the fuzzed-up entry of ‘Hold Me Closer’, to the rumbling ‘Cannonball’, immediacy lies at the record’s core. Walls of sound make way for infectious, Pavement-channelling melodies, and metaphor moves aside for plain-talk. The loved-up and bittersweet ‘Like A Moth’ sees Max Bloom singing about straight-up unavoidable infatuation, while the titletrack’s chorus repeats lulled refrains of “I hate myself” on a loop. “I wanted to write as plainly and openly as possible,” Max nods. “I felt like I needed to write about things that were quite painful. It felt cathartic. I wanted to write about quite mundane things, in a way. The lyrics I enjoy listening to aren’t necessarily very metaphorical,” he adds, no doubt nodding towards two of his favourite bands, Grandaddy and Wilco. “I enjoy lyrics where the artist is talking about things that are familiar, that you can connect to on a quite basic level,” he concludes. “A lot of the songs are very personal, and I didn’t want to disguise them.” “I’ve always had the ethos - be as instinctive as possible,” claims Max. “If I’m writing a song, and it’s not feeling good in the first 15 minutes, I’ll abandon it. I think the best lyrics just pour out of me.” Yuck’s new album ‘Stranger Things’ is out now via Mame Records. DIY Yuck, Yuck, Yuck, Yuck, Goose

“I needed to write about things that were quite painful. It felt cathartic.” Max Bloom . 52

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“It’s my way of getting things out, just like some people might go kickboxing.”

“Shit. Did I shut the front door?” 54 diymag.com


Leave

Nothing Chance to

When it comes to making her opening statement, Låpsley is playing by her own rules. Words: Will Richards. Photo: Emma Swann

“It’s

so weird, putting a face to the music like that.” It’s a week after her first live television performance, on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and it’s evident that Holly ‘Låpsley’ Fletcher’s still reeling a little. “I don’t measure success against seeing my face on the big screen, but that’s what you have to do,” she explains. “I think it made my mum happier than it would ever make me.” The York-born, Southport-raised singer’s rise began the moment she moved to London as a seventeen-year-old. By signing a record deal, she began a process that was never really the plan, but which has led to the here and now; the release of her debut album ‘Long Way Home’. “I made the decision on the day that I signed my record deal that this is something I’m not going to back down on. I’ve been given this opportunity and I’m not going to waste it, even if it wasn’t originally what I intended to do.”

Moving to London and signing with XL brought with it one main change for Låpsley: it became the step up from writing in her bedroom to producing tracks in studios with advisors. “I needed someone to show me the ropes - I didn’t learn this shit in school.” Låpsley explains that, while relocating to the capital didn’t change much on the surface - “I write about people, not places” - it was her own personal development over the year she wrote ‘Long Way Home’ that’s lead her to explore such a bare-all songwriting process. “I’ve definitely grown as a person, and it’s easier for me now to say how I feel about things,” she says. “Once I’ve written [how I’m feeling] in a song, I’m done with it, and I don’t have to carry it with me anymore. It’s my way of getting things out, just like some people might take their dog for a walk, or go kickboxing.” As well as exploring new methods with production, she says that signing a record deal

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“I needed someone to show me the ropes - I didn’t learn this shit in school.”

.Lappers is seeing double. 56 diymag.com


and entering a studio in itself gave her a new audience; it left her with “this subconscious feeling that you’re writing for other people all of a sudden, which I never had in my bedroom.” Despite, at times, being aware of the outside world, she still strives to keep the songs and meanings personal. She talks of using bright, bold imagery to back up her tales, otherwise it’s “just another sad song.” “A lot of people don’t quite get the specifics of what I’m singing about,” she admits, “but in the same way, I wouldn’t search the internet for a video of a singer talking about one of my favourite songs to find out what it ‘really’ means. A person’s interpretation of a song, and the meaning they give it, even if it’s not at all what the song was actually written about, is really powerful.” ‘Long Way Home’, as such, isn’t written to impart wisdom or give advice; just share feelings and experiences with the hope that others might connect with its stories. “I’m not sure if I’m trying to get anything across with the songs - it’s more just my opinion of a relationship,” Låpsley explains. “It’s not like I purposefully want to tell everyone that this person is a bad person, it’s just a truthful account. ‘This is how I feel’, not, ‘I need to tell you how I feel.’” “I was talking to the person that I wrote [the album] about recently, and said to them, ‘It’s not about you, it’s about me. Even though you influenced all of this, it’s not written to make you feel

bad, or prove a point - just to say how it’s affected me.’” A debut album can give people a lasting impression of an artist, one that stays with them for their career. Låpsley’s well aware of that, so she’s tried to cram everything that’s brought her this far inside its confines, to stop her future self being pigeonholed by her first work. “It’s me testing the waters,” she says simply. “If you can’t venture into genres that you want to go to on your first album, then when can you? You always get referred back to your first album, so I’ve had the pure indulgence of mixing in everything I want to do right from the start, and if I want to do something different later on, they can say ‘oh, well she was interested in that way back on her debut’.” The result is a number of different styles on the album, and she insists that everything couldn’t be given away by one song; that it’s an album that proves itself best as a whole. “Some people will hear the singles and say, ‘oh, she’s changed, this is different’, and I just want them to chill a bit,” she says. “It’s a full body of work, and that’s how it should be listened to.” Serving as the culmination of everything Låpsley has done up until now, her debut also looks to the future. Even if it ends up being her only album - and that original plan of studying for a Geography degree comes good instead - with ‘Long Way Home’, Låpsley’s done everything she wanted, and left nothing to chance. Låpsley’s new album ’Long Way Home’ is out 4th March via XL Recordings. DIY

Long Way There Over the past two years, Låpsley’s slowly but surely been making all of the right steps. Here are a few key moments in her journey to her first full-length. October 2013 Self-releases her debut EP ‘Monster’. June 2014 After finishing her A-Levels, Lappers had just three days to prep her performance at Glastonbury, which was also, you know, her first live performance. No pressure… October 2014 Moves to London and signs a deal with XL Recordings, while also being nominated for the BBC’s Sound of 2015. January 2015 Her ‘Understudy’ EP gets released. January 2016 Debut album ‘Long Way Home’ is announced, and performs on live TV for the first time.

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Dilly Dally still need to take down their Christmas decorations 58 diymag.com


Gravel-throated and gunning for the hearts of thousands, Dilly Dally threw down the gauntlet with their debut album ‘Sore’, and they’re only going to get more essential. Words: Tom Connick. Photos: Mike Massaro

Like Eating

GLASS S lumped around a coffee shop table at the end of their first overseas tour, Dilly Dally look a million miles from the whirlwind balls of energy they become on-stage. “I think we’re all starting to crash,” yawns guitarist and vocalist Katie Monks.

It’s no surprise. ‘Sore’ might have showcased a band who seemed as fidgety and frustrated as they come, but give them a platform to let loose upon and they’ll set it all ablaze, upping the ante with every passing second. They look back on a “sweaty” Manchester show in particular with a smile. “We’re not Bono or anything,” Katie jokes, “We’re not playing the biggest venues yet, but this tour went so well, we’ll definitely be back.”

Constantly looking ahead, there’s been a momentum behind Dilly Dally’s every move since Katie and her six-string partner in crime Liz Ball found their rhythm section after three years of writing as a duo. Joined by bassist Jimmy Tony and drummer Ben Reinhartz a couple of years back, Katie and Liz’s work immediately lurched forward, ‘Sore’ at the forefront of their collective mind. “All of it, the whole mindset became that whole record, and the sounds and everything,“ Katie explains.

Throwing themselves into everything they could, Liz and Katie even got matching Dilly Dally tattoos back in the group’s earliest days. “It’s so much more than just the sounds,” she soon clarifies, emphasising the band’s kitchen sink approach to chipping in with whatever they can. “Something that the four of us all have in common is that we’ve all had an obsession with some artist at some point. It’s not even so much as it is about the one song, or the one record, as it is about following an artist.” “I think we’re artists before we’re musicians, even. It’s more about the sentiment of it, the feeling of it, the statement of everything, than it is about playing everything perfectly or whatever.” It’s an obsessive, all-encompassing ethos that’s leaking into Dilly Dally’s own fanbase, too – Katie recalls with a grin one particular fan from Glastonbury who “dyed her hair to look the exact same as my hair.” It’s probably for the best they stick to the hair dye, mind – attempting to replicate Katie’s trademark, gargled-glass vocal might have a more lasting impact. Spine-chilling and sharp as a knife, it’s a signature part of their beloved ‘Dilly life’ that’s much harder to replicate than hair colour.

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“Since I was a teenager I’ve been recording my own demos and experimenting with my voice,” Katie explains, “making weird sounds.” She drinks “tons of tea” to keep it on top form, but admits that “after a while, your body just becomes used to it – it’s like being an alcoholic or something. I feel so weird when I’m not screaming for 45 minutes a night.” With a follow-up to ‘Sore’ already top of the priorities list (“everyone’s really eager… we’re really excited, moving forward, to keep it new and fresh”), she’d do well to stock up on lozenges. All four of them are keen to get back to their practice space in their hometown of Toronto, which they share with everyone from METZ, via Fucked Up, to old-school alt-rockers Sloan and singer-songwriter Michael Rault. It’s a jam-packed spot. “There are a lot of other people who jam there,” Ben smiles, “so you get in and you just stand on your tip-toes and try to manoeuvre around!” Toronto pride shines through everything Dilly Dally touch, none more so than their recent cover of hometown hero Drake’s ‘Know Yourself’. “We were actually in Winnipeg, hanging out with this guy who drives around in a junk truck,” Katie explains of the choice to take on the ‘6 God’. “He put us up while we were passing through on our last tour through there, and was just pumping that Drake record.” “Especially that one track,” Ben groans. “He was like, ‘I don’t listen to rap, but I just love how hard Drake is repping Toronto

Keep

Yo u r F r i e n d s

C lo s e

Drake covers are one thing, but Dilly Dally’s passion for their local Toronto music scene goes way deeper. We asked them to pick out a few favourites: • Weaves • Quirky alt-pop in the vein of tUnE-yArDs and co – expect a new album this year. ”You’re going to be hearing a lot more of them,” promises Ben. • Odonis Odonis • Self-proclaimed ‘Industrial surf-gaze” – sludgy, sweaty and thick-as-mud rock. • New Fries • “A kinda no-wave… thing,” says Ben, “really good.” Their debut ‘Fresh Face Forward’ just got its first vinyl pressing. • TeenAnger • Bratty punk-rock in the vein of a spindlier Ought. • HSY • Pronounced, er, ‘hussy’, think industrial noise fed through a meat-grinder and you’re halfway there. • Crosss • Gloomy, black-as-coal psychedelia without any of the usual sunnyday associations of the genre.

right now! So awesome!’ just pumping ‘Know Yourself’, constantly,” laughs Katie. “Because we were away from home, it was really nice. When you’re actually in Toronto, you’re like, ‘Oh, Drake, yeah whatever’, it’s like a joke. But when we’re in New York, or when we’re in somewhere strange like Winnipeg and people are so enthusiastic about it, it makes us feel like, ‘Ah, Toronto.’” Bringing a little bit of Toronto out on the road with them seems important as they gear up for a summer of festivals. “All my favourite bands are from Toronto!” says Jimmy, eager to get back to the city’s bubbling scene. “After a long tour, everyone there is so happy for us, so proud of us,” Katie admits, “but also then we see all the shows we’re missing.” Drake cover aside, she says it’s Snapchat that proves their saviour on the long weeks away: “Lots of Snapchat of each other’s cats, of our friend’s cats, and people smoking weed. Lovely moments, little moments that we’re missing. The video games…” “Cats smoking weed and playing video games,” Ben interjects, laughing. “Next album cover!” Dilly Dally’s new album ‘Sore’ is out now via Partisan. DIY Dilly Dally will play The Great Escape. Head to diymag.com/festivals for details.

“I feel so weird when I’m not. screaming for 45 minutes a night.”

Katie Monks.

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break free of his incomprehensible fame.

eeee

KANYE WEST

I

The Life Of Pablo (G.O.O.D Music)

t’s impossible to fish ‘The Life Of Pablo’ out of the stormy seas that preceded its arrival - you know the story already. Hogging the limelight for months, the Kanye West of 2016 is either a master puppeteer of the modern media, or struggling to cope with the attention he refuses to relinquish. ‘The Life Of Pablo’ paints West with a little from each pot. “Name one genius that ain’t crazy,” he demands on ‘Feedback’, a screeching early highlight that lays Kanye’s ethos on the table. Impossible to contain or dissect, it’s a rollercoaster record that’s every bit as erratic as the man who birthed it. At points it feels like a cross-section of every one of Kanye’s records to date. ‘Feedback’ deals in the harsh noise that defined ‘Yeezus’; parts of ‘FML’ and ‘Wolves’ call to mind ‘808s & Heartbreak’’s frostier sentiments; ‘Waves’ and ’30 Hours’ wouldn’t be out of place in the “pink polo” Kanye days of his earlier works referenced in ’I Love Kanye’, ‘…Pablo’’s brilliant and bizarre mid-point. Kanye’s admission that album seven - back when it was called ‘So Help Me God’, remember that? - was heavily influenced by gospel music rings true. It’s one of the only constant threads, and it’s an influence which transcends the music: lyrically, too, West returns constantly to the theme of salvation. References to his anti-depressant Lexapro abound, and on several occasions he seems desperate to

‘The Life Of Pablo’, in spite of its mammoth guestlist, feels primarily like a character portrait of Kanye himself. None more so than on ‘Facts’, where references to his shoes and his wife Kim Kardashian West’s personal brand of emoji which “just shut down the App Store” draw the most attention. There are points where that image is less than savoury. Those headline-baitingly crude lines about Taylor Swift remain, and his references to sex and former flames reach a new level of crassness throughout. It’s like he’s desperately trying to push the buttons of his detractors, but in turn only playing right into their hands. The anti-Kanye crew thrive on this vile side of his personality, and on ‘…Pablo’ it’s turned up to 11, at times drowning out the intricacies of the art it sits atop. One thread illuminates both the record and its context, though - the oft-scoffed at idea that Ye’s perhaps more self-aware than he’s granted credit for. On ‘30 Hours’ he oh-so-knowingly spends the track’s final third declaring it “the bonus track… my favourite albums used to have bonus tracks” and reflecting on what a laugh he’s had at Madison Square Garden just hours before. It ends with him taking a phone call while the tapes are still rolling. It’s ‘I Love Kanye’ that ties up ‘The Life Of Pablo’ in the most fitting of bows. Sitting halfway through a record that’s packed with guests, ‘I Love Kanye’ instead pitches him alone in the booth. “I miss the old Kanye,” he states, picking apart his own transformation - “I hate the new Kanye, the bad mood Kanye” - before addressing his audience with a rare moment lacking in bravado. “I love you like Kanye loves Kanye,” he concludes with a giggle. A genius - and yes, perhaps a little bit crazy - with an attention to detail like no other, no matter what might slip from his grasp ($53 million for one, if statements are to be believed), Kanye West is in full control of every atom of ’The Life Of Pablo’. Whether he’ll let you believe it is another matter. (Tom Connick) LISTEN: ‘I Love Kanye’, ‘Feedback’

REVIE A rollercoaster record that’s every

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diymag.com


Poor Yeezy needs a nap after all that excitement

tracklist (subject to change, knowing Yeezy) 1. UltraLight Beam 2. Father Stretch My Hands Part 1 3. Father Stretch My Hands Part 2 4. Famous 5. Feedback 6. Low Lights 7. HighLights 8. Freestyle 4 9. I love kanye 10. FML 11. Real Friends 12. Wolves 13. Silver Surfer Intermission 14. 30 Hours 15. No More Parties in L.A. 16. Facts 17. Fade

CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE

‘The Life of Pablo’ has a list of producers and collaborators longer than Donald Trump’s list of sins. Here’s what you need to know: • Kanye’s kids North and Saint West are credited as “Creative Consultants”. Not bad for a first job. • Big name guests include Frank Ocean (‘Wolves’), The Weeknd (‘FML’) and Chance the Rapper (‘Ultralight Beam’). • ‘Freestyle 4’ samples Goldfrapp’s woozy hit ‘Human’.

IEWS

photo: andrew benge

bit as erratic as the man who birthed it.

63


eee LUST FOR YOUTH

Compassion (sacred Bones)

On previous LP ‘International’, Lust For Youth re-emerged with a new lease of life. While maintaining a sense of the cloudy darkness that underpinned Hannes Norrvide’s earlier solo work through the guise, the expanded three-piece presented an album of questions and of potential. On ‘Compassion’, we’re pushed a step further. LFY’s fourth LP sees them experiment with space like never before. Across its eight tracks, the album sees LFY take familiar themes and shape them in to something that’s as accessible as anything that’s gone before, filtering gloom into something that’s often uplifting and charming. While the abrasive sounds of Norrvide’s earlier work seemed custom-built to turn you away, on ‘Compassion’ we’ve gone full circle in the form of a record that seems intent on growing with each listen. With room for refinement this isn’t LFY’s crowning glory by any stretch, but it’s a purposeful record that shows a trio holding on to the makings of something quite special. (Liam McNeilly) Listen: ‘Better Looking Brother’

eee WHITE DENIM

Stiff (Downtown

/ Sony RED)

From the moment the squalling guitar riff of ‘Had 2 Know (Personal)’ kicks in at a breakneck speed, White Denim are back with a vengeance. The seventh record to come from the Texan quartet, and their first in two and a half years, ‘Stiff’ is a tour de force of dexterity and capability. Lead track ‘Holda You (I’m Psycho)’ sets the template for an album that breathes rock ‘n’ roll as well as the classics do; placing air guitar and hairbrush karaoke moments alongside twirling, handson-heart emotion, with ‘Stiff’, they place all their capabilities on show. With a whirlwind sense of adventure and an unrivalled sense of devotion, the quartet are proving they’re capable of just about anything they turn their hands to. (Jessica Goodman) LISTEN: ‘Had To Know (Personal)’

eeee

LÅPSLEY

Long Way Home (XL Recordings)

She’s writing straight-up anthems. 64 diymag.com

When it comes to her first full-length ‘Long Way Home’, Låpsley is no longer playing catch-up with the world around her. Her songs still carry the post-midnight isolation, but make no mistake - she’s writing straightup anthems that could fly in any environment. Gloomy but uplifting, the playful ‘Hurt Me’ is a chart-ready triumph disguised in an unusual coat of feathers. ‘Tell Me the Truth’ makes use of her signature, pitch-bending vocals, but it could also soundtrack break-ups for a generation. The same applies to ‘Love is Blind’, its plucked harps and sky-reaching chants going way beyond the blog-friendly status Holly Fletcher first emerged with. It’s taken just a couple of years for Låpsley to write songs both universal and complex. ‘Painter’, one of her first ever efforts, makes the cut here. There’s a childlike, tinny xylophone in the background, vocals arriving from several sides. It’s as simple as they come, and proof that she’s always had the potential to pen giant numbers with no strings attached. On ‘Long Way Home’, she delivers these in spades. (Jamie Milton) Listen: ‘Hurt Me’, ‘Painter’


eeee

PRIMAL SCREAM Chaosmosis (First International / Ignition

Records)

eeee ANNA MEREDITH

Primal Scream’s eleventh (!!) studio album, ‘Chaosmosis’ is a really good time. And hell, if a good time is on the menu, why not invite HAIM, Sky Ferreira and Rachel Zeffira over too – it’s what Bobby Gillespie’s done. The LA sisters take the first turn, adding the typical gospel-backed flavour to the effortlessly anthemic ‘Trippin’ On Your Love’, an instant hit from under the ‘Screamadelica’ mask. A moodier, slower, ‘Feeling Like A Demon Again’ ups the ratio of 80s electro, a slinking, stomping dancefloor killer, while Sky makes her debut in a slice of pure pop magic, the duet ‘Where the Light Gets In’. Unusually consistent while still admirably varied, ‘Chaosmosis’ is one of the early delights of the year. While they’ve not quite made a release to sit on the very highest tier, Primal Scream have come a lot closer than they – and perhaps anyone else for that matter – have any right to. It’ll be a delight to hardcore fans and eager newcomers alike, but more than anything it proves that while fashions may change, having fun and doing exactly what you feel like is never going out of style. (Matthew Davies) LISTEN: ‘Where the Light Gets In’, ‘Golden Rope’

Varmints (Moshi Moshi)

Few musicians boast a CV quite like Anna Meredith. From composer-in-residence of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra to collaborations with everyone from Laura Marling to The Stranglers, hers is a mixing bowl overflowing with all manner of seemingly disparate ingredients. It’s a wonder that ‘Varmints’ tastes as sweet as it does. Channelling those classical influences down all manner of different routes, Meredith’s magic lies in the golden thread that sews it all together. Whether it’s the jarring, mind-melting cacophony of opener ‘Nautilus’ and its avalanche of horns, or the slick, honeyed pop of ‘Something Helpful’ or ‘Dowager’, her finest composition is the way ‘Varmints’ never feels piecemeal. Vibrant and kaleidoscopic in a way few musicians could ever muster, it provides a jolt of energy and inspiration to both the pop and classical inflections of Anna Meredith’s personality, bridging the two worlds like never before and marking her out as a talent like no other. (Tom Connick) LISTEN: ‘Something Helpful’

eeee CREEPER

The Stranger EP (Roadrunner

Records)

Flamboyance has been part and parcel of the Creeper ethos from day one. Taking the gothpunk template and tarting it up with as much pomp as it could take, they relish the glitz and shimmer of their more fantastical influences. On ‘The Stranger’, though, these ever-active imaginations finally leave the shadows completely behind, to dazzling effect. From the borderline-Meatloaf cabaret croon of ‘Black Mass’’ huge final waltz, to the defiant-and-gloomy-in-equalmeasure closer ‘Astral Projections’, it’s a third EP that harbours both playful musicianship and songwriting talent that’d turn groups ten times their age green with envy. Despite having just fifteen songs to their name, Creeper’s evolution is already one for the ages. By the time that debut LP rears its head, they’ll easily be the one of the country’s most vibrant and vital new bands. (Tom Connick) LISTEN: ‘Black Mass’

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DMA’S

ee Hills End (Infectious / BMG)

DMA’s may not have been doing themselves many favours lately by wearing their Gallagher-loving hearts so obviously on their sleeves but they do show range on ‘Hills End’. There’s the assertively driven opener ‘Timeless’ right through to the swooning romance of ‘Step Up The Morphine’. ‘Lay Down’ shows off the Aussies’ indie pop credentials, but ultimately, it’s in the guitar-heavy anthems that the Sydney boys really find their feet. ‘Too Soon’ packs the biggest punch of the lot with a huge chorus and reverberating guitars. Nevertheless, ‘Hills End’ is really an album of two halves. Towards the end of the record momentum gets lost in the similar sounds of ‘Melbourne,’ ‘Straight Dimensions’ and ‘The Switch’ - none of which stand out individually. Closing track ‘Play It Out’ hits harder while there’s a touching poignancy to ‘Blown Away.’ Despite these efforts though, it’s hard to ignore the inconsistency and feeling that something’s lacking from its second half. (Ashleigh Grady) LISTEN: ‘Too Soon’

eeee PALEHOUND

Dry Food

(Heavenly Recordings)

Though we try to avoid them, there are moments in everyone’s life when it feels like the world has truly beaten us down. ‘Dry Food’ is a soundtrack to that tide of self-doubt. With a stark lyrical dexterity and deliciously noodling guitar riffs, the album is torn between crippling sentiment and stark detachment. Distraught and distracted, with her first fulllength album Ellen Kempner brings a wealth of emotion into a searing lease of life. It’s on ‘Healthier Folk’ that the mixing pot of emotions bubble and explode, building from stripped back acoustic admissions to chiming electric solos that rage with a strength that borders on feral. ‘Molly’ proves equally as wild, while ‘Cushioned Caging’ channels that energy into bitter cries of resentment. With the contrastingly delicate acoustics of ‘Dixie’ and ‘Seekonk’, ‘Dry Food’ is a rollercoaster portrayal of emotion as real as it comes. There’s no solace or enlightenment, but instead an acceptance of uncertainty, and out of that chaos is born something beautiful. All that’s left to do is hold on for the ride. (Jessica Goodman LISTEN: ‘Healthier Folk’

This is joyously immediate pop music. eeee

CHRISTINE & THE QUEENS Chaleur Humaine (Because Music)

There’s a reason why Christine and the Queens is already a runaway success on the European mainland. Our little island might have been a tad slow to catch on, but luckily for us she’s issuing an ‘international’ version of debut album, ‘Chaleur Humaine’ (basically, it’s sung in English, not her native French). And, thankfully, none of its poetic lyrical turns or gender-defying explorations have been lost in translation. “She’s a man now,” she repeats casually over sparse synth plods, raised on strings by tinny cascading chimes. Elsewhere Perfume Genius’ guest appearance on ‘Jonathan’ is a beautifully tender pocket of quiet. “Can you lay your hand on my forehead?” he asks, simply, and Christine answers him in French; a strange, indirect echo of two people longing to connect, but communicating in different, metaphorical languages. At face value, this is joyously immediate pop music. Dig a little deeper, and there’s endless facets to ‘Chaleur Humaine’. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Jonathan

66 diymag.com


eee BEAU

That Thing Reality (Kitsuné)

Beau work on a refreshingly simple economy of scale. Their songs are mostly brief, compelling snapshots of city life and yearning desire based around Heather Boo’s guitar and the striking voice of Emma Rose. Tracks like the rousing pop rock dash of ‘Animal Kingdom’ and ‘Come On Please’ showcase the energised direct side of the duo while standout ‘Mosquito’, despite threatening to blast into ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ in the intro, is a glorious slice of pure folk pop perfection that provides a rousing uplift, ‘I don’t really want to talk about my problems, I just want to embrace the outcome,” sings Rose in a line that aptly sums up the spirit of the record. Where Beau most succeed is in creating an intimate atmosphere to cloak their music and on the gentle, whispered comfort of closer ‘Lullaby’ they bring to an end an album that is warm, relatable and full of just great songs. (Martyn Young) LISTEN: ‘Come On Please’

eeee THE THERMALS

We Disappear (Saddle Creek)

‘We Disappear’ has Portland trio The Thermals reconvening with producer Chris Walla, and from the outset it’s clear the former Death Cab man knows what makes them tick: ‘The Great Dying’ sounds as epic as its title suggests, huge reverb washing over dramatic percussion, while ‘My Heart Went Cold’ fizzes with nervous energy. The boisterous ‘Hey You’ is a standout, as is breezy pop gem ‘Always Never Be’. Closer ‘Years in a Day’, a woozy comedown of a track that laments the pace at which life passes Harris by, serves as a nice reminder that The Thermals can do empathy as well as they do energy - on all fronts, this is a stirring return to form. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Hey You’

Comfortable, casual and a little bit weird. eee

IGGY POP

Post Pop Depression (Rekords Rekords / Lomo Vista / Caroline)

Iggy Pop’s tipped ‘Post Pop Depression’ to partner his 1977 triumph ‘Lust for Life’. And despite having Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders by his side, Pop’s latest doesn’t quite pack the finger-snapping punch of his most celebrated album’s title-track. Instead, it lethargically warns the listener that they’re going to break into your heart, and while the mesmerising twangs seem like they may be trying to trick you, bit by bit, the album seeps in. ‘Gardenia’ is subtle and soaring, ‘In The Lobby’ is smooth, with ‘Sunday’ bringing a little funk to the show. It’s eclectic in its mix without being totally out there. This isn’t an aggressive Iggy or even a particularly energetic one at times, but more of a reflective one, looking back at his career, letting influences seep in, almost in an armchair reminiscing. It’s comfortable, casual and - as is Iggy - a little bit weird at times. It’s catchy and has some great stories nestling in there ‘Post Pop Depression’ gets its hooks into you gradually with each listen. (Heather McDaid) LISTEN: ‘Vulture’, ‘Paraguy’ 67


eee JEREMY GARA

Limn (Atlantic)

Produced and recorded by Jeremy Gara himself, ‘Limn’ is a 10-track expedition into the outer reaches of his ambient psyche. Not so much a story, this solo debut is an exhibition of impressions, a series of lonely postcards from outer space. There are no words, only instrumental electronic sounds limned by the abstraction of Gara’s enigmatic red-black-and-white artwork. Only verbal clues are offered from the titles of the tracks - ‘Divinity’, ‘The Gate’, ‘Judgement Dialogue’ - and it can all feel a little troubled and subtly disconcerting. A private experimental enterprise, ‘Limn’ is unlikely to gain new fans outside of the circle of Arcade Fire faithful. Nevertheless, it’s a convincing artistic undertaking providing an interesting insight into Gara’s creative threads. (Anastasia Connor) LISTEN: ‘Divinity’

Q&A

As Poliça gear up to release their third album ‘United Crushers’, DIY’s Anastasia Connor poses the band’s Channy Leaneagh with some key questions. Why did you call the album ‘United Crushers’? It’s in homage to an artist in Minneapolis. It’s the idea of united, we crush shit; divided we fall. This record is about uniting in love, sex, activism, anarchy, peace and, of course, music. Where did your album artwork come from? I wrote and recorded these songs during nine months of pregnancy. The cover image is me; the colours and the images are reflections of the way I see these songs visually and the way I see this time in the world visually. You described your first record as ‘depressed’, your second one as more ‘assertive’, what would you say about

the new LP? Is there some form of progression or continuity between all three records? The biggest continuity is we are the same band that made ‘Give You The Ghost’ and ‘Shulamith’; but we know each other better and we know ourselves better. As I get older I feel everything stronger. I am still depressed. I am still assertive. I love harder now and I have stronger ideas and opinions. We hope that as we keep making music our voices will get stronger. You know our ears for making music together will make more sense and everything will become more cohesive and cacophonous. ‘United Crushers’ feels more vulnerable, but also edgy, disquiet and defiant. Was this the reaction you intended? I am not an intentional person. I do everything by the seat of my pants and how it feels. But I am a vulnerable, disquiet, and defiant person, and maybe with each record I get more confident speaking my true self in the songs.

eeee

POLIÇA

United Crushers (Memphis Industries)

Encompassing Poliça’s newfound love of pop and infectious dance, the band’s ‘United Crushers’ offers up a lesson in how to create something truly universal. It is, however, an album of two halves; while filled with experimental tendencies, it comes plagued with dreaded topics, issues of politics, and sees the four-piece create something unignorable. While filled with experimental tendencies, teasing an array of complex stick-work and trickling synths throughout, it comes laden with a heavy, political edge. The solidity of Poliça’s work shines through ‘United Crushers’, suggesting the band have finally drawn straws to find something to stick with - and have definitely not picked the shortest. (Mollie Mansfield) LISTEN: ‘Fish’, ‘Wedding’

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69


eee HÆLOS

Full Circle

(Matador)

HÆLOS’ space obsession exists for a reason: the East London trio’s form of escapism doesn’t belong on this planet. Guitars rooted in funk but flipped upside down are given space, while Lotti Benardout’s vocals avoid gravity at all costs, and ‘Full Circle’ waves farewell to Earth from the moment it starts. For the most part, ‘Full Circle’ avoids familiarity like the plague. The opposite of concrete slabs and rising tower-blocks, it’s a nightcrawling, adventurous beast only faulted by its tendency to play the same hand. Gloomy, falsettoed melodrama peppered by sleight, splintered beats is their norm, and they rarely break from it. But HÆLOS are clearly intent on shunning tradition; this is a promising start. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Pray’, ‘Earth Not Above’

eee ROSIE LOWE

Control (Wolf

Tone / Polydor)

From the boxes full of old scrawled love notes scattered across ‘Right Thing,’ to the thrown-open emotional drawbridge of ‘So Human,’ Rosie Lowe’s debut album has a knack for trading in frank, unembellished emotion. “I can’t watch you kill yourself,” Lowe pleads on ‘Nicole’, and meanwhile, on ‘Run Run Run’ she’s fruitlessly searching for ways to stack the odds in her favour when it comes to love. A tipped out pile of diary scribbles ‘Control’ might be, but this is also far more than a heartbreak album. Subtle flicks of left-field production pepper ‘Control’ at every turn, setting Rosie Lowe apart as an understated, but completely engrossing prospect. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Run Run Run,’ ‘So Human’

eee LIIMA ii (4AD)

Liima is the first new music to emerge from the ashes of Denmark’s Efterklang. The project, featuring three members of the band alongside Finnish percussionist Tatu Rönkkö, created their debut album in an exceedingly inventive way, one which makes the album a strikingly polarising listen. Metallic, industrial percussion shines when colliding with a pop-minded, easy-on-the-ears synth line on ‘Amerika’. Conveniently translated from Finnish as ‘glue’, Liima manage to work these opposing components together into an immovable force that twists and turns its way through ‘ii’. It’s a refreshing dive into experimentation and spontaneity post-Efterklang with no consequences; the result that’s emerged is a gloriously original next step. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Woods’

eee

RIHANNA

anti (Westbury Road / Roc Nation)

Daring and surprisingly subtle. 70 diymag.com

Over three years since 2012’s ‘Unapologetic’, ‘ANTI’ has long-thrown Rihanna’s rep for hawking around a new album every year out the window. And along with it has gone her knack for instant commercial appeal and recordbreaking singles: this is something far more tricksy: pulsingly darkened synths, experimental sonics and a dark, often vulnerable undercurrent sets the tone. It’s a fascinating listen, albeit one that takes a little more work (work, work, work, work). Aggressive, frustrated, lust-filled, a little bit stoned, and veering all over the place, this is an overwhelmingly Danny Wrigh honest record, for all its wayward unpredictability. Rihanna’s crass public persona is almost parodied at times, sitting in stark contrast to the striking, intimate vulnerability of ‘Love On the Brain’ and ‘Higher’ - her most flooring vocal performances to date. Daring, and surprisingly subtle, ‘ANTI’ may not be the “timeless” album Rihanna set out to create, but it certainly has its moments. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Yeah, I Said It’, ‘Love On The Brain’


ht

eee LUCIUS

Good Grief (Play It Again Sam)

“I cannot lie, there is a tingling down my spine” sing Lucius’ co-founders’ Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig on the opening track of their second LP ‘Good Grief’ and it’s hard to disagree. Dark alien electronic moments, beguiling vocal harmonies and full-on euphoric pop bangers are all part of this curious sonic confectionery. It’s not all shameless verse-chorus perfection. ‘Never Look Back’ kicks off brandishing a bold adolescent swagger but gets a little lost along the way, betraying a band still in search of its true identity. However, it is those effortless melodic hooks and spacious emotional dynamics that make Lucius’ often bewildering sonic kaleidoscope an irresistible proposition. ‘Good Grief’ marks an important next step in the realisation of their sassy pop character. (Anastasia Connor) LISTEN: ‘Born Again Teen’

eee THE KVB

Of Desire (Invada Records)

From The KVB’s name to their Berlin location, right through to the industrial 80s aesthetics, there’s a moody Cold War feel to the icy shards of synths that permeate each track. Opener ‘White Walls’ spirals into a mesmerising motorik hymn though elsewhere it feels a little one paced and monotonal. It takes single ‘In Deep’ to bring some propulsion to proceedings - it’s the magnificent juggernaut of the record and only ‘V11393’ comes close to packing that punch. But you get the feeling that’s probably not the point - throughout it seems to be about creating that atmosphere. The touchpoints are well trodden. The minimal synths, deathly drones and doomy vocals have touches of House of Love, Death in Vegas and flecks of Ian Curtis and Movement-era New Order. (Danny Wright) LISTEN: ‘Second Encounter’

eee

Before a Million Universes

BIG UPS

(Tough Love / Brace Yourself Records)

The schizophrenic internal monologue of Big Ups’ Joe Galarraga certainly hasn’t quietened since 2014’s ‘Eighteen Hours of Static’, still swinging violently between his contemplative spoken musings and vicious roars, with only injections of noise to separate the two. ‘Before A Million Universes’ starts with a warning – with howls of “I can’t contain myself”. It’s one that’s wise to heed, with 13 tracks that take a bubbling disenchantment and rarely fail to boil over into all-out visceral aggression. It’s captivating and as album highlights ‘Capitalized’, ‘Feathers of Yes’ and ‘Negative’ prove, with ‘Before a Million Universes’ the listener is either at the eye of a full volume tornado or approaching one. Still, there’s a sacrifice at play here, in delivering a great light and shade Big Ups risk fragmenting the songs. They don’t often get the time to build a song from nothingness to explosion quite as well as they mastered on their debut. It’s all too fitting that Big Ups are selling raw disaffected misery wrapped in poetic criticisms and it’s just too good not to buy in. (Matthew Davies) LISTEN: ‘‘Feathers of Yes’, ‘National Parks’

MAD SOUNDS New York-based Big Ups offer up an insight into some of the records that helped shape ‘Before A Million Universes’. Lungfish - The Unanimous Hour I really love so many of Lungfish’s records, but this one has had the biggest influence on our record both sonically and lyrically. We definitely took inspiration from those techniques, particularly in songs like ‘National Parks’ & ‘Yawp’. Naomi Punk Television Man Repetition is definitely thematic on ‘Before A Million Universes’, and like Lungfish, Naomi Punk employ it well. This record really challenged me to think about ways to experiment with rhythm and song structure. Alanis Morrisette Jagged Little Pill While it would be absurd to say that ‘Before A Million Universes’ sounds anything like Alanis, I’d say that there is no other record that we have listened to more while on the road. Inevitably, ‘Jagged Little Pill’ has worked its way deep into our subconscious.

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eee TONIGHT ALIVE

eee RJD2

Limitless (Easy Life / Sony RED)

Dame Fortune

(RJ Electrical Connections)

‘Dame Fortune‘ is a loosely defined concept album; a social and political statement by a producer intent on exploring beyond just beats, crate digging and samples. It’s the sound of RJD2 looking to explore deep into his nation’s psyche. The album comes primarily musically informed by the producer’s experience living in Philadelphia where the album was also recorded; that classic Philly soul sound permeates much of the music. But despite the intermittent rays of sunshine, the album is dogged by a potent air of foreboding that cloud mournful instrumental pieces like ‘Your Nostalgic Heart and Lung’ or ‘PF, Day One’. The album does all the things you would expect or desire an RJD2 album to do. As usual, it features some reliably masterful beat work and production, but falls slightly short in becoming the grand defining statement that its creator was intending it to be. (Martyn Young) LISTEN: ‘Piece of What’

When it comes to Album Three, Tonight Alive are being fairly upfront with its sentiments. With an opening gambit like ‘To Be Free’, and a title of ‘Limitless’, it’d be difficult not to get their hints. Granted, the results of – whether realistically or metaphorically - casting away their restrictions are grandiose and, with tracks like ‘How Does It Feel’ and ‘Everywhere’, see the band climbing ever further towards the arenas that they’ve always aspired to reach. But at times it feels a little overwrought, a little too cheesy. While their hooks are huge, there are moments within ‘Limitless’ that seem too polished. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘Waves’

eee NADA SURF

You Know Who You Are (City Slang)

Celebrating their 20th anniversary as a band this year, US indie rock stalwarts Nada Surf have been around the block a few times in their career. Returning with their seventh record, and their first as a quartet, it heralds a feeling of progression within the ranks that could’ve brought a change of pace for the group. Yet ‘You Know Who You Are’ primarily sees the group coming full circle, cementing themselves as adept veterans of the sentimental indie rock circuit. ‘New Bird’ races across with determination and fervour, a compelling energy that further enhances Matthew Cawes’ emotional stance. Still the group remain poignant (perhaps their best quality) - bright chords meet minor harmonies in a pleasant blend of sentimentality. It’s a smooth record, yet with the additional instrumental elements thankfully doesn’t blur into one. (Ross Jones) LISTEN: ‘Rushing’

eeee

ALESSIA CARA Know It All (Virgin EMI)

From sharing videos on YouTube to sharing a stage with Taylor Swift, Alessia Cara had quite the 2015. Anti-party lead single ‘Here’ was one for all the loners out there, its success in part born from its all-out honesty - it actually sounded like it came for a real person. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for everything on ‘Know It All’. The lush production aside (most evident on ‘Seventeen’), it’s Cara’s powerful voice that takes centre stage throughout ‘Know-It-All’. Which is a good thing, because the 19-year old Canadian possesses a voice full of energy and charisma which, just like Lorde, defies her age. Alessia Cara is a real talent. At the Canadian’s best, she sings with real style and charm about topics that a lot of her fans have been waiting to be articulated. ‘Know It All’ isn’t perfect, but it’d be a challenge not to fall for even just some its charms. (Lucas Fothergill) LISTEN: ‘Four Pink Walls’, ‘Outlaws’

Alessia Cara is a real talent. 72 diymag.com


eeee THE JOY FORMIDABLE

eee HECK

Hitch (C’mon Lets Drift / Membran)

Instructions (NPAG Industries)

From their raucous beginnings as Baby Godzilla, a band seemingly so devoted to chaos that their tracks seemed to rarely break the three-minute mark without collapsing under the weight of riffs and restrained energy, Heck have finally found enough self-control to get an album together. What’s perhaps most striking about ‘Instructions’ - from the point of view of those who might have heard hearsay of amplifiers crowd surfed, guitars smashed, lighting rigs jumped off - is that it’s actually accomplished and technically adept. It’s easy to hear complicated, stop-start rock and rush to namecheck The Dillinger Escape Plan, but to do so without appreciating the gravity of such an accolade is foolhardy at best. Comparisons aside, ‘Instructions’ is a hell of a record; intense and unrelenting, it’s the sound of a band born and refined in the live arena still learning how to be a band in the studio. For another band, the raw intensity might seem like an affectation or a persona played by the band. For Heck, it’s a record that’s captured them exactly as they are right now: really, it’s simply just a ‘rad record’. (Alex Lynham) LISTEN: ‘The Great Hardcore Swindle’

Though they may have made their name from an oddball blend of grunge, shoegaze and stadium-ready hooks, there’s every sign that The Joy Formidable have completed their artistic evolution away from those capricious beginnings. On the whole, ‘Hitch’, a self-recorded effort, has all the hallmarks of an album made without the scheming aspirations of a large record company on the prowl for easy hits. This is probably a good thing, for where previous album ‘Wolf’s Law’ came to ground on this tension, ‘Hitch’ reacts by trimming all the fat away, leaving only limited, more nuanced traces of the atmospheric instrumentation they made their name on, not try-hard ‘epic’ for the sake of it. That’s not to say there aren’t widescreen moments; witness the interplay of distorted guitar and synth loops in album highlight ‘Blowing Fire’, for example, or indeed the wash of reverb on the guitars at the post-rock-esque crescendo of album closer ‘Don’t Let Me Know’. If the songwriting on ‘Hitch’ is, to coin an old music hack turn-of-phrase, ‘mature’, it’s also concise - in a good way. (Alex Lynham) LISTEN: ‘Blowing Fire’

eee

MIIKE SNOW

III (Atlantic Records)

In lesser hands, a scattered recording process might lead to to a fractured finished product, but ‘III’ harbours a cohesion that serves as a testament to the chemistry of Miike Snow. While it’s described by Christian Karlsson as the “original Miike Snow sound...taken to the next level”, that only seems half true. Where the band’s eponymous debut maintained an understated, icy finish, the tracks on ‘III’ feel much warmer in comparison. ‘Lonely Life’ is lush and optimistic, with ‘Over and Over’ texturous with an ominous undercurrent. It’s this diversity that marks the next level referred to by Karlsson, and though the subdued melancholy of previous releases is somewhat missed, the strength of the tracks that make up the latter half easily make up for its average first. (Dave Beech) LISTEN: ‘Genghis Khan’ 73


eeee HOLY ESQUE

At Hope’s Ravine (Beyond The

Frequency )

It’s often said that music is the product of its surroundings. As far as Glasgow’s Holy Esque are concerned, nothing’s truer. Reflecting both the stark brutalism of the city’s architecture and the imposing countryside of Lanarkshire itself, the band’s debut is a deft dichotomy of uncompromising walls of noise and sweeping sonic vistas. An album not just ambitious in its composition but thematically as well, ‘At Hope’s Ravine’ is both opulent and sparse; a contradiction manifest in the recurring motifs of fear, love, religion and escape. For those familiar with the handful of EPs the band’s released since their inception, such formidable grandeur will come of little surprise. Where it was once contained in to the relatively short run-time of an EP, here it’s allowed to run its own course, resulting in a record that peaks and troughs with gloriously wilful abandon. (Dave Beech) LISTEN: ‘Rose’

eeee MUNCIE GIRLS

From Caplan to Belsize

(Specialist Subject )

Exeter racket-makers Muncie Girls might sound more buoyant than The Magic Roundabout’s Zebedee on a hydraulic bouncy castle, but beneath the dynamic fervor, there’s a shadowy undertone. “For the next few years you can laugh and joke about your next victim,” sings the band’s vocalist-stroke-bassist Lande Hekt on ‘Respect’, while an unpleasant radio report of sexual assault plays, barely audible, underneath the thrashing guitars. The album title itself references poet Sylvia Plath’s deeply affecting novel, The Bell Jar. Imagining real-time tragedies of death and mourning neighbours, with unsettlingly merry delivery ‘Gas Mark 4’ also serves as a dark nod to Plath’s own tragic suicide. While Muncie Girls might tread relatively familiar musical territory on ‘From Caplan to Belsize’, it’s Hekt’s acerbic, nofrills lyricism that shines brightest. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Respect’

eee BRIAN FALLON

Painkillers (Polyvinyl )

Following the hiatus of his primary band The Gaslight Anthem, Brian Fallon is now officially heading out on his own. Luckily for him, it’s a position he suits rather well. While the band’s latest album ‘Get Hurt’ saw things take a darker turn for the frontman, it’s on ‘Painkillers’ that he seems to lay some of his demons to rest. Granted, that ever-questioning spirit still runs through the veins of these songs and he still yearns for answers – opener ‘A Wonderful Life’ makes that clear from the off - but on his first solo venture, he seems willing to find some comfort within his own conclusions. An album that not only shows off just how great a story-teller he is, but sees him really coming into his own as a solo artist. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘Among Other Foolish Things’ 74 diymag.com

eee AURORA

All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend (Decca / Petroleum / Glassnote )

While her debut album, ‘All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend’, doesn’t signal the greatest departure from the the piano-led, squeaky clean Aurora that many were first faced with, it contains a bite that it was hard to see coming. ‘Conqueror’ employs earth-shattering drums that allow her voice to float across the track like a battle cry. It’s equal parts joyous and threatening, something that defines the album. Despite pretty strong preconceptions, it’s a listen that’s anything but delicate. When the album hits, it does so with an infectious force, but often feels like it’s only able to be viewed from a distance - an album that’s too calculated to evoke any emotional reaction. ‘All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend’ isn’t what was expected of Aurora from the millions that first saw her in the ads halfway through ‘Love Actually’, and while ‘All My Demons...’ is a listen that’s at times varied, interesting and progressive, any connections made here are purely at surface level. (Will Richards) Listen: ‘Conqueror’

eee THE RANGE

Potential (Domino )

For The Range - that’s Brooklyn-based producer James Hinton, to you - YouTube is as much a music tool as a synthesiser or drum pad. ‘Potential’ - his second album under the moniker - is full to the brim with samples of artists he’s discovered from the deepest depths of the video sharing site, pulled from hours and hours of tweaking settings and search terms to find as much hidden talent as he can lay his hands on. There’s a deft and distinctive rawness to what The Range does with his painstakingly sought vocal samples that you don’t get from other artists seeking samples from more high-profile acts - one that permeates through his whispery yet full-bodied beats that certainly leaves an impression. It’s a creative, deeply introspective record that makes up for in depth what it doesn’t quite reach in soaring heights. (Tom Walters) LISTEN: ‘Falling Out Of Phase’


eee

eee JOSEF SALVAT

LA SERA

Night Swim tt(Columbia )

Music for Listening to Music to (Polyvinyl )

The beauty of La Sera’s music has always been its saccharine contrast; cutting like a wincingly potent margarita, and sweetened with a sugary glass rim. Though ‘Music For Listening to Music To’s standout tracks ‘Time to Go’ and ‘Nineties’ nail that same playful opposition, for an overwhelming portion of this Ryan Adams-produced record, La Sera just sound a bit too politely polished. Though Vivian Girls bassist Katy Goodman has a still-evident knack for catchier-than-chicken-pox melodies, La Sera’s latest is lacking in the smirking mischief of previous releases. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Time To Go’

From the opening murmurs of ‘Open Season’, it’s clear that Josef Salvat specialises in the cinematic. Through the swooning of ‘Paradise’, to the grandiose percussion of ‘Till I Found You’, Salvat has become an expert at setting the scene and building a narrative to feel larger-than-life. ‘Hustler’ is still as brilliantly affecting and sparse as its first airing three years ago, but it’s now just one small vignette within a much larger storyline. With tracks like the dramatic ‘Shoot and Run’ and shining ‘The Days’ also on the tracklisting, ‘Night Swim’ as a whole is more luscious, more multi-faceted, and makes for a more intriguing record than his earlier offerings may have alluded to. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘The Days’

COMINGUP WEEZER

Weezer

A return to form and then some. Rivers Cuomo and co. have set a new standard with their tenth album, inspired by Tinder and life on the beach.

PJ HARVEY

THE HOPE SIX DEMOLITION PROJECT ,

After opening up the recording process by allowing members of the public to get a glimpse inside her studio set-up, the follow-up to PJ Harvey’s Mercury Prize-winning ‘Let England Shake’ was always going to be a point of curiosity. Luckily, all will be revealed on 15th April.

Lacking in the smirking mischief of previous releases.

DEFTONES GORE

Next month, experimental metallers Deftones will return with their eighth studio album, and it’s set to be one of their best yet. The band’s Chino Moreno even tried doing a Kanye in a recent press release, saying “out of respect for Pac, Big, Stevie, Michael, Hendrix, ‘Gore’ is ONE of the greatest albums not the greatest, just one of.” OK then...

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The Maccabees Brixton Academy, London. Photo: Carolina Faruolo

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S

ometimes it takes a hiatus and a prized comeback to realise how cherished certain bands truly are. Somehow, The Maccabees ignored this rule, transforming into giants while nobody was looking. They scored a Number One record in 2015 with ‘Marks to Prove It’. They’re main stage certs at festivals. By all accounts, they’re one of the UK’s biggest bands. And this three night, sold out stint at Brixton Academy proves as much. The Maccabees are a big band, no question, but on the evidence of this Friday night Brixton show, they’re embraced like a group who’ll never disappear. On a set that spans across their four albums, they’re as tight as they’ve ever sounded, flicking between ‘Kamakura’’s moody embrace and jangly early days number ‘Latchmere’ with ease. The five-piece are expanded to eight, percussion, piano and those trusty horns backing their every move. Without wishing to dismiss their future, they already look like a band at the peak of their powers. The close proximity to Elephant and Castle - the hub that birthed ‘Marks to Prove It’ - gives tonight extra poignancy, Brixton getting a shout-out as they arrive on stage to David Bowie’s ‘Changes’. Orlando Weeks laments on how specific locations, however meaningless at first, stick with the band and become a part of their songs: perhaps one day they’ll pen a number about a chilly weekend in Brixton. Landmark moments aren’t rare in The Maccabees’ career, but they’ve begun 2016 on a high. Seated sections of the Academy rarely come rowdier, and there’s even an ovation for the delicate ‘Silence’, sung by guitarist Hugo White with a sentimentality that matches the night.

Perhaps unusually, The Maccabees have steadily risen from hype band to a juggernaut without making a big deal of it. They have an arsenal of brilliant songs, but there isn’t one particular anthem that steals the show. They’re a fascinating exception to the rule, and there’s no disputing their potential to keep on going, bit-by-bit establishing themselves as one of a kind. (Jamie Milton)

Panic! At The Disco Brixton Academy, London. Photo: Carolina Faruolo

I

t’s always interesting to watch a musician play live right ahead of their album release. A curious time for all manner of artists, the success of their show can be balanced on a knife edge. Luckily for Panic! At The Disco, they never did really care about expectations. Taking on London’s Brixton Academy at the turn of a year is a challenge for anyone - regardless of the impending release of Panic!’s fifth effort ‘Death of a Bachelor’ - but there’s something about the infectious energy of Brendon Urie and friends that seems to effortlessly shake off the winter cobwebs. What comes as an unusual surprise this evening is the amount of new material aired. What’s even more staggering is the reaction it garners. As the dapper gents dive in and out of Urie’s five-album strong back-catalogue, there’s a kind of hysteria in the air that’s normally only reserved for ginormodome pop concerts. It’s something that Urie revels in, whether when he’s sat tinkling on the ivories for ‘Nine In The Afternoon’, daring to cover a snippet of Bowie’s ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’ or back-flipping his way through ‘Miss Jackson’. Whether this is a first exposure to his new material, or you’ve been hitting repeat on YouTube for the past few months, it almost doesn’t matter: Panic! At The Disco are simply here to entertain, and they do it so well. (Sarah Jamieson)

A band at the

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Like a rocket ship headed straight for the atmosphere.

Tame Impala Alexandra Palace, London. Photo: Carolina Faruolo

F

or all his self-confessed control-freak tendencies, Tame Impala head honcho Kevin Parker is remarkably adept at letting loose. Taking to the humungous Alexandra Palace stage for a second sold-out night and diving straight into a thickened up ’Let It Happen’ that fills the cavernous space with ease, he relinquishes control from the off. All swirling, psychedelic backdrop and a sea of people clambering onto their friends’ shoulders, the obsessive nature of Tame Impala’s creation is cast aside, replaced by pure impulse. It’s rewarded with a show-opening shower of confetti, a popped cork on a carnival atmosphere that carries right through the evening. It’s the streamlined Tame Impala of last year’s ‘Currents’ that conducts proceedings, that record having finally given Parker and his companions their leg up to arena-filling, festival-topping status. Hazy, noodling numbers on record become ready-made singalongs, older cuts like ‘Mind Mischief’ and ‘Elephant’ stripping back the left-field fuzz in favour of a room-filling crunch. Impressively, Tame Impala even, er, tame Ally Pally’s notoriously echoey sound, every note crystal clear and delivered with a thump rather than ending up lost in the rafters like so many bands’ before them. Even softer numbers like ‘Yes I’m Changing’ and ‘Eventually’ become mammoth, heartrending chants, every inch of the palace floor awash with outstretched palms. Finally looking skyward rather than dragging their heels across their pedal boards, the way in which Tame Impala seize control of Alexandra Palace this evening is astounding. Flooding the hall with light, lasers and a deafening response to a closing encore of ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ and ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’, it’s less a step up and more a rocket-ship headed straight for the stratosphere. For a group so defined by the image of the perfectionist songwriter, agonising over his creations in the confines of his studio, Tame Impala’s latest guise is wonderfully confident in its every move, and all the more captivating for it. (Tom Connick)

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dilly dally

Dalston Victoria, London. Photo: Emma Swann

T

his Toronto four-piece’s debut album, last year’s ‘Sore’, showed ash-stained, saw-toothed grunge is their game. And tonight’s Dalston Victoria set - the second of a trio of dates in the capital - finds these harsh, gruesome songs becoming even more sinister. In years to come, Katie Monks might eventually have trouble maintaining her voice. But it’s not a current concern, so it doesn’t matter. Instead of avoiding the nasty, crackling chants that define ‘Sore’, she launches straight into them, vocal cords creaking under the pressure. Set opener ‘Snake Head’ starts with a devilish bang, and momentum doesn’t slip from then on. ‘Purple Rage’ is a fire-breathing monster, while breakthrough moment ‘Desire’ plays a key role tonight, performing Dilly Dally’s trademark of going further when it doesn’t look possible. On record, they’re exciting. Live, they’re an even brighter prospect. Say hello to one of the year’s essential live bands. (Jamie Milton) 79


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vant

The Lexington, London. Photo: Carolina Faruolo

T

onight’s been sold out a fair while already, but from the awkward way they’re shuffling a throng of stage invaders off between main set closer ‘Do You Know Me?’ and calls for “more!”, it doesn’t look like VANT were expecting to play an encore. The Lexington’s on stage guests, though? Such invasions are already a staple of the fiery still-newcomers’ live shows. While deciphering much of frontman Mattie Vant’s roar in a live setting isn’t the easiest task, it’s still clear enough tonight that his lyrics are defiantly political. There are audible nods to topics like gun control (‘Put Down Your Gun’), immigration (‘Birth Certificate’), and war (‘Peace and Love’), each song bringing with it another pointed message. Somewhere there’s a Venn diagram dissecting “rock”, “politics” and “entertainment”. Somewhere in the middle of that, there’s this. Because there’s a touch of that brief, glorious, post-Strokes, pre-Internet age to VANT’s music: part garage-rock, part grunge, an unashamed embrace of the immediacy of power-pop. And, whether it’s the rock ‘n roll of ‘PARASITE’ or new single ‘Fly-by-Alien’, each song brings with it unbridled potential of both singalong and mosh pit fury. Yes, their message is strong, but its ferocity is more than matched musically. And, by the reception tonight, it’s winning yet more ears (and minds). (Emma Swann)

Poliça Village Underground, London. Photo: Robin Pope

P

oliça are in total control tonight. Nothing is wasted; the farthest corners of Channy Leaneagh’s vocals and every instrument’s potential are exploited and doubled over. Every inch of London’s Village Underground is throbbing with crisp, clear sound. Rich, thick lighting swirls tightly around each of Poliça’s four members individually as if to say, ‘yeah, it’s just the four of us doing all of this’. It could easily be the work of twenty. This is Poliça’s biggest strength; the sheer volume of their sound almost takes physical form and yet it’s never overdone. They’re capable of making the moments of silence woven into each track just as forceful as the complexity that surrounds them. Menacing numbers from the new album such as the devilish ‘Top Coat’ juxtapose hostile, ominous synth lines against swathes of cheerful, rainbow-coloured lighting to give an odd sense of serenity and unnerve simultaneously. The show opens with a triple punch of new material: this confident approach to new tracks persists throughout with just a smattering of oldies and big hitters omitted. There’s no disappointment in the air though. Poliça are focused totally on the future, to dwell too much on the past wouldn’t feel right in this setting. Closing on an unrecognisably haunting and completely outrageous cover of Drake’s ‘Madonna’ and one of the few moments of nostalgia in the form of ‘Amongster’, an evening of what Leaneagh describes as her “one big night off” from her new baby is exactly that, it’s huge. In their absence Poliça clearly haven’t forgotten how to put on a show. (Henry Boon)

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Spring King

100 Club, London. Photos: Nick Sayers

A

couple of years ago, a show at the subterranean 100 Club would have gone along pretty nicely with Spring King’s relatively underground status. But that was then. This is now, and they play their biggest London headline show to date as red hot property. “There’s so many of you here,” remarks singing-drumming machine and group lynchpin Tarek Musa as he takes his seat. “It’s a bit nerve-wracking.” He needn’t worry one bit; he and his band are about to spark a riot. It comes as no surprise that it manifests itself as a mob of fervent moshing, one which seems to swell in size with every certified banger Spring King deliver. It doesn’t matter whether they’re early cuts like ‘Can I?’ and ‘Mumma’ or recent humdingers of singles ‘Who Are You?’ and the brand new ‘Rectifier’, each and every song on the setlist raises the proverbial roof. Or should that be ceiling down here beneath Oxford Street? Perfectly in sync throughout, their faces etched with exactly the kind of infectious glee that emanates from their

music, these are four young men who are visibly high on the rock ‘n’ roll life and loving every second of it. They’ve even got the confidence to throw in an audacious cover of Grimes’ ‘Oblivion’ – because why the hell not? Frankly, it just shouldn’t work, but needless to say it’s an overwhelming success. With performances as enthralling and energy-sapping as this, it’s little wonder Spring King have previously been tasked with warming up crowds for the likes of FIDLAR and Slaves. Tonight though, they prove themselves once and for all as a formidable live force in their own right. Almost eight months have passed since Zane Lowe memorably launched his Beats 1 station with the set-closing ‘City’; you can already imagine what grand stages the same song might be gracing another eight from now. (Tom Hancock) 81


DIY

INDIE DREAMBOAT Of the Month

Will Gould CREEPER Nickname: Will Ghould Star Sign: Capricorn Favourite Film? Rushmore, I’ve been a big fan of Wes Anderson since I was a young kid. Favourite Food? Salted popcorn. Drink of choice? I’m not really a fussy drinker, normally a cheap and vegan beer. I’m a cheap date! Signature scent? My brother bought me this aftershave from a place in Brighton called Eden, most of the time I just spray it in my hair though because it smells so bad when I come offstage. What song would you play to woo someone? I would play David Bowie ‘China Girl’. You could fall for anyone once you hear David sing that ‘Oh baby just you shut your mouth’ line. If you weren’t in a band, what would you be doing? I was working on a space musical called ‘Cosmic Love’ before the band, I’d probably be still working on that I think. Chat up line of choice? ‘Hey, do you wanna go to Disneyland Paris with me?’

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