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proudest discovery of my journalistic career so far. Founding Editor GOOD Getting to return EVIL A pigeon hit me across the forehead, to SXSW for a second and a literal 13 year old year with some of our boy-child from my old Class Of... stars. secondary school wolfEVIL The five-hour whistled me ON THE layover in Newark I’ll SAME DAY. have on the way back ............................. so close to NYC, yet so very far. LOuise Mason .............................. Art Director GOOD Using mad Lisa Wright charm to avoid paying Senior Staff Writer the ten pound ‘Church GOOD I have been Organ Tampering Fee’ on to two Beyoncé dance Kate Nash’s behalf. classes this month and EVIL 924 children honestly, I am feeling laughing at me as I sassy AF right now. carried a surfboard EVIL All that hairthrough Greater whipping really does London. your neck in. Truly, she is ............................. superwoman. Will Richards ............................. Digital Editor el hunt GOOD Kendrick Lamar’s Features Editor O2 Arena show was an GOOD Finding out that absolute masterclass. Gus Magic Gang was on EVIL I can’t afford to CBBC’s best ever show go to every date on the Raven might just be the whole tour.

Emma Swann

EDITOR’S LET TER Four years may not feel like a long time to most, but looking back to when The Magic Gang first appeared on DIY’s radar, it’s hard to imagine that so much time could’ve passed. If anything’s become clear since 2014 though, it’s that they’ve grown to become one of the brightest, most exciting bands in the UK right now. Plus, it really is true that good things come to those who wait – their debut album is everything we hoped for and more. And to celebrate, we chucked them in a freezing cold swimming pool in January. Thanks, boys! That’s not all we’re looking ahead to this month: we join Sunflower Bean on the road ahead of the release of their incredible second album, Kate Nash is back and as inspirational as ever, and indie heroes Peace have returned, hurrah! Sarah Jamieson, Managing Editor GOOD Let’s be honest here, the photos in this issue are nothing short of in-cred-i-ble. Huge shout out to everyone involved in snapping this issue! (And the words are pretty good too, OK?) EVIL Getting the flu three days before deadline is just plain cruel.


W h at ’ s b e e n t i c k l i n g t h e DIY team’s eardrums this month? unknown mortal orchestra - ‘sex & food’

Lead track ‘American Guilt’ has Ruban Nielson beefing his riffs up in the most pleasing way possible, and much of ‘Sex & Food’ follows this, still keeping that cut-and-paste glitch he’s long perfected.

kate nash - ‘yesterday was forever’

Fusing feminist fire with the pop sensibilities that first catapulted her to fame, Kate Nash returns with a bright and joyous LP that could basically be prescribed as self-confidence medicine.

spice girls - ‘spice’

There were literal screams in DIY HQ when that photo of the fab five hit our Twitter feeds, so it was only fair to give their seminal debut a spin while our Lisa read out her (sadly unsent) fan letter to Geri.




2 6 WH E N YO UN G 2 8 T H E B R I TA N Y S 3 2 B OY A ZO O G A




Founding Editor Emma Swann Managing Editor Sarah Jamieson Features Editor El Hunt Digital Editor Will Richards Senior Staff Writer Lisa Wright Staff Writer Eugenie Johnson Art Direction & Design Louise Mason Contributors Ben Tipple, Dan Jeakins, Dave Beech, Ellen Peirson-Hagger, Joe Goggins, Matthew Davies Lombardi, Max Freedman, Nina Keen, Rhian Daly. Photographers Coen Rees, James Kelly, Jenn Five, Phil Smithies, Pooneh Ghana. Cover photo and this page: Jenn Five. For DIY editorial For DIY sales For DIY stockist enquiries DIY HQ, 23 Tileyard Studios, London N7 9AH Shout out to: Dalston Curve Garden, Parliament Hill Lido, Pretty Green, Rebekah Roy for dressing up Kate Nash, Rev Kev and St Matthew’s Church in Bethnal Green, School of Rock (twice), The World’s End - and finally, Cadbury’s Chocolate Fingers for their invaluable help.

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.






Photo: Jonnie Craig



It’s been three long years in the making, but

Peace are finally

back in the game with gloriously ballsy single ‘Power’ and a third LP around the corner. Have they toned it down in the interim? We’ll let you guess that one... Words: Lisa Wright.

t may be three years since Peace last emerged with an album, but worry not: time away hasn’t dampened their playfully OTT charm. In fact, with third album ‘Kindness Is The New Rock and Roll’ now firmly on the horizon, they may be the most ridiculous version of themselves yet. “We started treating things like, ‘OK, this is it now.’ Before we’d just groove out for a little bit, be a bit more nonchalant. But then we were like, let’s just seize the band and try and squeeze every drop that we have into this,” suggests frontman Harry Koisser. “That was basically it: let’s just put absolutely everything in and then just sprinkle a little bit more on top, you know?” If the Birmingham quartet – an effervescent whirlwind of ludicrous jackets, indie anthems and gloriously quotable bon mots since 2012 – have never exactly been ones to shy away from a little bit of excess, then now they’re throwing themselves at it, head first.

We got rid of all the half measures.

It’s perhaps the result of spending a few years away from the spotlight – a need, as Harry attests, to either give it up or “go fully in” - but it’s not the reason for their prolonged period away. See, while most bands in their position will spin emotive yarns of being lost in the creative wilderness, Harry just went and lost his mind in an actual wood. “For the first six months after we finished the second album cycle I went to a farmhouse in the midst of nowhere to write. I was taking the ‘me time’, but it was quite literally too much ‘me’ and not enough of anyone else. The only people I saw for that period of time were Dom [drums], Doug [guitar] and Sam [bass], who lived there sometimes but not 24/7,” he tells us. “I don’t think I’d been in the countryside for more than two hours at a time until that point, being townie scum. I think I might have ruined my brain for a little while because I didn’t know the difference between reality and fantasy. It probably took another six months to a year to undo what six months of isolation had done. I came back to London and everything looked like it was made out of plastic. I don’t know what I was thinking, but you know, I wrote some good stuff...”

We topped them up to full.” - Harry Koisser

Then, he spent a period of time readjusting and another six months doing, well, he’s not entirely sure (“There’s about six months where I was probably asleep? There’s a big gap in the memory...”). But eventually, after a few more delays, the band took themselves to Woodstock, “the actual home of peace”.

Recording with producer Simone Felice, their location couldn’t have been more of a free-loving masterstroke. “It was a stars aligning moment,” he nods. “The town has lots of peace symbols hanging


of Hell’ in two minutes, you know? Let’s try and get as much into as little as possible,” Harry grins. “We got rid of all the half measures. We topped them up to full. It was suggested at some point in time that we make a very experimental record full of ten minute songs – basically an album of ‘1998’s - but then we did the exact opposite. And that’s what happens when you suggest something to us. When the world thinks we’re going to zig, we zag and then when the world thinks we’re going to zag, we do zag because the world thinks that we would have zigged.”

I came back to London and everything looked like it was

everywhere. The pines were breathing their piney dew into the air and you could feel this power. We saw a few mountains, dipped our - Harry Koisser toes in a few lakes, the whole shebang. Campfires at midnight, screaming at the stars, yoga at 5am. I got mauled by a dog and then forged a meaningful relationship with it, you know, why not?” And between their new status as men of the woods (Justin Timberlake, eat yer heart out), they crafted what would become LP3.

made out of plastic.”

Well indeed. But whether they’re zigging or zagging, the destination seems to be the same. On Album Three, Peace are going straight for the jugular. No half measures. “I don’t think we could get any more Peace on this record, I don’t think you could squeeze anymore in. It’s jam-packed,” Harry concludes. “Someone has to do this album, so it may as well be us. At this point, why the fuck not?” ‘Kindness Is The New Rock and Roll’ is out 4th May via Ignition. DIY Peace are appearing at Live at Leeds and Liverpool Sound City this year. Head to for details.

You’ll already have heard ‘From Under Liquid Glass’, a surprisingly personal track originally released in aid of mental health charity MQ, and lead single ‘Power’ – a celebratory, inclusive banger influenced by seeing a bolt of lightning strike the ground “like the opening chord of Mother Nature’s headline set”. Not audacious enough yet? Try title track ‘Kindness Is The New Rock and Roll’ for size. “It’s like ‘Bat Out

Photos: Phil Smithies

Get Yr Facts Straight


d Roll’ The New Rock an Title: ‘Kindness Is odstock , USA Wo of ns tai un mo Where: In the With: Simone Felice y 2018 Release date: Ma The New wer’, ‘Kindness Is Track names: ‘Po From ay Aw lk Wa n’t u Do Rock And Roll’, ‘Yo llelujah’ Love’ ‘Shotgun Ha


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Believe it or not, pop and rock stars sometimes do normal things, too. They get lost, go food shopping, and catch buses – all sorts. This month, we clocked a fair few of them roaming around… A steely-faced Paeris Giles storming towards Fleet Services. Perhaps the rest of The Magic Gang sent him on a cheeseburger run? Dan Bastille and Chilli Jesson at The Vaccines’ gig at the House of Vans. Maccabees man turned YALA! head honcho Felix White watching Whenyoung at The Lexington.

Position of the Month: Lorde’s position on the Grammys

On These days, even yer gran is posting selfies on Instagram. Instagran, more like. Everyone has it now, including all our fave bands. Here’s a brief catch-up on music’s finest phototaking action as of late.

First Executed By: Our Lorde and saviour


his year’s GRAMMYs have been largely overshadowed by mounting criticisms of its continued failure to represent women. Lorde - the lone female nominee in key category ‘Album of the Year’ - was bizarrely the only shortlister who didn’t get to perform at the ceremony. And equally strange was the male-dominated awards as a whole - over 90% of those nominated this year were men. Recording Academy president Neil Portnow didn’t exactly improve matters when he was asked about the lack of gender equality at the yearly gong. According to him, women need to “step up”. Cue the biggest eye roll of 2018 thus far. Lorde - who would’ve likely put on a far better show than *snigger* Sting and Shaggy - responded in super-cutting fashion, taking out a one page newspaper advert that thanked her fans “for believing in female musicians. You set a beautiful precedent!” On the night of the GRAMMYs themselves, meanwhile, she shared a quote from artist Jenny Holzer, calling for “the overthrow of the oppressors”. An absolutely first class takedown from a first class artist. Bravo, Lorde.


Yes, this is Paeris from The Magic Gang weeping in the changing rooms because the swimming pool we used on our cover shoot was so bloody cold. (@themagicgang)

‘Plot Twist’ - Sigrid accidentally killed her Sim ten minutes after this photo was taken. (@thisissigrid)

Tyler, The Creator


ot content with releasing the excellent ‘Flower Boy’ last summer, Tyler, The Creator upped his legendary status even further by rocking up at the GRAMMYs in this categorically legendary ensemble. A surreal blend of Blu Cantrell’s pastel colour palette in the video for ‘Breathe’ meets, erm, Louis Vuitton, he naturally topped the whole thing off with a retina-burningly clean white ushanka (a traditional Russian hat). We can only guess how much Daz is needed to maintain that bad-boy’s gleaming white sheen. Truly iconic styling, Tyler.


Is that a Colin the Caterpillar cake we spy? Stellar choice, Angel! (@angelolsenmusic)


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No Zac, WE’RE supposed to be taking a picture of YOU.

Wi th :

zac farro halfnoise / paramore

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

Interview: Sarah Jamieson. Photo: Emma Swann.  So, a couple of years ago you lived over in New Zealand, right? On and off for two years, yeah. The first time I went over there, it was for a trip with my family and I saw my friend who I’d met back when I was 15, and it completely changed my life. I loved it, it was really beautiful, and I needed that in my life, to go somewhere and be like a normal person. I had dropped out of high school and never really had that group of friends in high school, or in college, that people have. I felt so weird – I felt so grown up because I had lived in this 25 – 45 year old world since I was 13 [to tour with Paramore], through to when I was 20. I was really unbalanced; I was really mature in some ways, but then as far as life experience goes, I just didn’t have it. There was no better place than to go there and reset. I started skateboarding, surfing and I felt like a teenager again. I would do road trips and bought a van; I would literally sleep in my van and I lived in it for nine months.  Did you stay over on the North or the South Island? I did a tour and went to both, but I mainly stayed on the North Island. I was based in Auckland. That’s where I really started [working with] photography. It’s so beautiful everywhere. I had always loved taking film photos, but over there, I realised I really loved doing it.  Recently, you’ve shared a lot of your own photos online. What was it that got you into photography more recently? I never really saw myself as a photographer, but I was on the way to LA and was with my manager and he showed me a collage of film photos that he was working on. I was saying 12

that I loved them and wished I could take them, but I just didn’t feel good enough. He said, ‘Course you are – you’ve just got to figure out what your style is.’ He told me to go buy a bunch of disposable cameras and to not have any rules with it, and that was the turning point for me, and where I started to develop my style of photography. It’s very on-the-go and very impromptu. It was really freeing to just get all of those cameras; they really did just feel disposable so there were no rules to follow.  And a great thing about disposables – and film generally – is that it really captures a specific moment. Yeah, the best thing about film is that it feels like it’s alive. With a film photo, even if it’s blurry or something, it has life within it.  What do you shoot on at the moment? This is a Contax G2 with Carl Zeiss lenses. My friend Phoenix, he got one of these too and it’s just a really cool film camera from the 80s. I just use the automatic [settings] so it’s just like a glorified disposable. The other one I had was a Contax too but it THINK YOU CAN just broke when HANDLE IT? we were out in LA. Fancy some more wonderful I always try to have chit chat about anything and at least two or three everything non-musical? We’ve got cameras with me you covered - just head to diymag. though. DIY com/podcasts to check out our Anything But… series.

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11.04.18 / 12.04.18 / 13.04.18 THE SSE ARENA, WEMBLEY





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08.05.18 KOKO

09.05.18 HEAVEN 23.05.18 KOKO


T SOLD OU 31.05.18 / 01.06.18 ALEXANDRA PALACE

















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HERE COMES TROUBLE For his fourth solo record, the Strokes guitarist is channelling a new alter-ego and tapping into previously undiscovered parts of himself. Albert Hammond Jr as you know him is dead. Long live Francis Trouble. Words: Lisa Wright.


was hoping that when people saw it they wouldn’t think of The Strokes or my past solo records, they would just see it as a new thing. I didn’t wanna become a band name – I’m already in one that seems like it’s defined something, so I needed to throw the weight on me and funnily enough I became more me by not being me,” offers up Albert Hammond Jr, speaking on the phone from his upstate New York home. He’s explaining some of the thinking behind Francis Trouble – the name of his forthcoming fourth solo album and of the new alter-ego that lays at the heart of it.

best when he said ‘some days are diamonds and some days are stone,’” he muses. “It doesn’t leave me solemn. It excites me to be alive. Nothing’s really that crazy to me, or bigger things seem crazy to me. Like, can you believe that people don’t care that we’re all just humans living together? I can’t believe that but I can totally believe [things that have happened in my life]. I had a weird out of body experience and that’s when it really clicked. I would walk around and kind of [use] my eyes as cameras, no judgement, just walking around and observing, taking it in. If you do it long enough, when you’re walking you start to feel like an alien.” He pauses. “I sound like I’m taking acid or something...”

But rather than a mere highfalutin’ concept plucked out of the air to keep things fresh, the story behind the moniker is a little more unexpected. Named after his stillborn twin, the catalyst for channelling this memory came when Albert recently found out that a lone fingernail from Francis had been born alongside him. Perhaps even more unexpected, however, is how chipper Albert seems about the whole thing. “I don’t see it as anything dark,” he shrugs. “Put it this way, it’s the kind of information I would have loved to have known when I was younger. But beside the emotion – because emotions are just things that come and go - then finding out about this has opened different doors and it’s just so fun to see yourself change and grow from things you hear. And yes it’s sad because it would be cool to have a twin, but I thought it was a pretty amazing story to all come together. It fell into my lap. I was making this record and then things started to fall into place.”

Extra-curricular hallucinogenics or nay, ‘Francis Trouble’ still rings with the energy of a man tapping into something new. Purposefully introduced as ‘Volume One’, Albert seems sure that this won’t be the only outing of his newfound other half. “This whole energy has just started and is just beginning, I’m only starting to understand it myself,” he explains. As for his other other half – or should that be other four – though? That one seems less certain. “If anything, why I started to create so much is because I don’t feel like I have that output in that band,” he explains, audibly rattled about being questioned on The Strokes’ future. “My only answer for that is I’m not a part of that culture and you can quote me.”


Having experienced lower lows (the guitarist has openly spoken about his previous heavy dependency on heroin) and higher highs (ummm, The Strokes) than most people, it’s possibly no surprise that Albert has grown pretty good at taking things on the chin. “I think John Denver said it

Though he still remains a part of the band (don’t worry, DIY spoke to their management and checked...), who knows what that could say about their next moves. But for now, Albert seems happy just to soak it all in and see where this new avenue takes him. “This record is just filled with colour. It’s comic book-like and cartoonish and fun. So that release of one [being] allowed this vibrant, living thing to come out,” he enthuses. The future is Francis. ‘Francis Trouble’ is out 9th March via Red Bull Records. DIY

Albert Hammond Jr is appearing at SXSW this year. Head to for details. 14


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HAVE YOU HEARD? ..........................................................

•.................................................................................................................................................................... Chvrches • Get Out

With ‘Every Open Eye’, Chvrches took their intricate electronic soundscapes and gave them punch. Debut ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’ showcased the trio’s penchant for huge choruses coupled with more hooks than an angler’s shed, but LP2 had bite - their pop sensibilities made weightier by a greater level of confidence - and heavier sonics. ‘Get Out’, the first teaser from an as-yet-unconfirmed third record continues their progression, shaking off any vague remnants of indie shackles to fully embrace their Top 40 selves, the simple refrain of the title an instant earworm. Still as immediate and infectious as we’ve come to expect from the band, ‘Get Out’ hints that #CHV3 will be really-bloody-massive. (Emma Swann) .......................................... • Unknown Mortal Orchestra • American Guilt .......................................... UMO have always experimented with varying degrees of psych and funk. But it’s fitting that on ‘American Guilt’ main man Ruben chooses now to harness a more aggressive change of tack. There’s still his trademark bubbly, warped vocal on show, but it’s surrounded by unabashedly meaty licks and some of the most abrasive material he’s penned to date. A ‘70s-indebted wallop of Hendrix rifferama, it’s an uncompromising beginning to LP4. (Lisa Wright) 16

.......................................... .......................................... .......................................... • Goat girl • • Peace • • nilüfer yanya • The Man Power Thanks 4 Nothing .......................................... .......................................... .......................................... A drawling slab of rock’n’roll Over the last seven years, Nilüfer Yanya plays things and a swirl of cyclical lyrics, Peace have spent very slightly cooler on ‘Thanks ‘The Man’ - served up with little time beating around 4 Nothing’. Recounting the all the nonchalance of baked the bush when it comes to end of a failed relationship, massive indie-pop anthems. beans being slopped perfectly “I just can’t believe he’s between the hash browns Unsurprisingly, their latest here / Just as I got over and scrambled eggs - is less the ballsy-yet-brilliantly titled the idea” she sings over a ‘Power’ - isn’t all too coy either. concerned with finesse than simple, bright guitar lick, it is ferocity. “You’re the All swaggering guitars and before putting the final nail man, you’re the man, now earworm refrains, it’s clear the in the coffin in the track’s you’re the man for me,” baits technicolour wonder of Peace intense chorus: “I don’t Lottie, encircled by hungry, is back with a vengeance. want to make things better / prowling shark fins, bottling Humming with the addictive Thanks for nothing.” Luckily menace and The Crampssugariness of ‘Love Sick’ and for us, though the feelings nodding claustrophobia ‘Follow Baby’ while managing might’ve disappeared for alike. So, no - it’s not a cover to feel bigger, bolshier and Nilüfer herself, what remains of The Killers’ own ‘The Man’ bolder, ‘Power’ really lives up is an emotionally intense in other words. (El Hunt) to its name. (Sarah Jamieson) return. (Will Richards)


UK TOUR 2018










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MARMOZETS Tebay Services, M6

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


his is SO easy! Tebay! It’s organic, it’s fresh, it’s good food, and it’s a nice journey for us, too. Even if you’re hungry when you get in the van, it’s only about two hours up to Tebay, and it marks the halfway point to Scotland. We all sit down and have a nice meal together, and feel full. And the scenery! It’s very expensive, though, that’s the only thing about it. Our tour manager took us there when he was driving us, and every service station before that was your classic side of the road, eurgh kind of place. On the way to Glasgow he was like, ‘right, Tebay!’ We were just like, ‘Oh my god, this is unreal. Woah!’”


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



LNSOURCE In desperate need of a live music fix but can’t decide where or who? If you feel too spoilt for choice, here’s just a few of LNSource’s upcoming shows worth getting off the sofa for.

Alex Lahey From late March, nationwide Last year’s ‘I Love You Like A Brother’ quickly became a mainstay on the DIY HQ stereo on its release back in October. She begins her UK headline tour on 23rd March at London’s Omeara.

Lazy Day 9th March, Moth Club, London /

10th March, Louisiana, Bristol Single ‘Weird Cool’ was a Neu Pick back at the end of January, and the London-based quartet have these headline dates lined up alongside a series of Alex Lahey support slots.

The Aces 27th March, Thousand Island, London The Utah-based foursome come to the UK with forthcoming debut album ‘When My Heart Felt Volcanic’ in tow, set for release this April. For more information and to buy tickets, head to or

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Paradise Returning from his travels with breezy, grin-inducing new single ‘Paradise’, George Ezra is ushering in summer early. Words: Will Richards. Photo: Phil Smithies.

eorge Ezra has always been one to make music that sits sunny side up, but returning with ‘Paradise’, the lead single from second album ‘Staying At Tamara’s’, he forcibly dragged more than a few of us out of our mid-January slumbers. “If the record is a record about escaping and dreaming and taking yourself away a little bit,” he tells us. “‘Paradise’ is the perfect ‘love song version’ of that exact subject. “It’s not looking at a particular love story, but more the effect that love has on your psyche. You become a mess, but it’s good. It doesn’t matter what’s going on around you - you’re in your own little world. “A certain percentage of pop music is the ability to reinvent the love song, and that’s part of the challenge of it, and a part that I love,” he continues. “Seeing what it does to you, and to your

mind, and to the world around you, that’s what I love. ‘Paradise’ was the perfect word I think.” To create the record, the singer took himself away from London to a series of locations across Europe, including a Barcelona Airbnb owned by the soonto-be-infamous Tamara.

“ showmanship and a poetic element.” There has to be an element of

“It’s less about going somewhere extreme,” he tells us of his travels, which also included camping on the Isle of Skye and renting a cottage in Norfolk. “I don’t need to be left for dead in the desert in order to be able to write a song. But I live in a flat that has glass doors from the bedroom to the lounge, so I finish watching whatever shit TV I’m watching at night, and wake up and try and work on the same sofa. There has to be an element of showmanship and a poetic element. “In the studio we tried to give ourselves strict working times, and rest times. I love those stories of Keith Richards being like ‘Oh you know, I just sit there until 4 in the morning until the song finally comes’ but I just think ‘Alright Keith mate, I wish I could say the same but I just wanna be asleep!’” ‘Staying At Tamara’s’ is out 23rd March via Columbia. DIY


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

My Chemical Romance - ‘The Black Parade’ From haunted mansions to Liza Minnelli, My Chemical Romance’s third album was no mean feat; twelve years on, there’s no finer goth-rock opera out there. Words: Sarah Jamieson.

Somewhere along the way, MCR’s Sgt. Pepper impression took a wrong turn…


et’s not beat around the bush: not many gothed-up rock bands have managed to top the charts and score a multi-platinum selling album with a selfconfessed rock opera. Even fewer have blagged the talents of Liza Minnelli for a feature part in the process. But, as their ridiculous but powerful third album would go on to prove, few can compete with My Chemical Romance’s conceptual heights. Having cut their teeth on the New Jersey underground scene with darkly incendiary debut ‘I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love’ before infiltrating the mainstream with the blood-soaked, punked-up ‘Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge’, their next step took just about everyone by surprise. Written in Los Angeles’ infamously haunted Paramour Mansion and centred around the death and memories of the tale’s central character, The Patient, ‘The Black Parade’ first burst into darkly resplendent life with its semi-titular offering ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’, setting the dystopian but theatrical scene. With the band themselves transformed into the monochrome


THE FACTS Release: 23rd October 2006 Stand-out tracks: ‘Dead!’, ‘This Is How I Disappear’, ‘Teenagers’ Tell your mates: When the album’s lead single ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’ stormed to the top of the UK Singles Charts back in October 2006, it nudged off Razorlight’s ‘America’. Soz lads.

marching band at the heart of the narrative, the track – and its accompanying visuals – showed their ambitions from the off: it was go big, or go home. ‘The Black Parade’ itself is an album that rallies against convention or expectation, packing excruciating detail among massive guitars and classic rock tropes, while its narrator – be it The Patient, or just frontman Gerard Way – leaves no shadowy path untrodden. From the unnerving bleeping of an anonymous heart monitor that opens the record, to the wild scream that introduces ‘Dead!’; from the gut-wrenchingly haunting ‘Cancer’ to the unhinged merry-go-round of ‘Mama’ – which boasts that astonishing Minnelli moment – it’s a record that revels in darkness and cackles in the face of the unknown. It’s also one peppered with hope: closing number ‘Famous Last Words’ offers up enough poignancy to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end even now, twelve years on. Ridiculous, excessive and yet still overwhelming and emotional, ‘The Black Parade’ is an album that so easily could’ve been the undoing of My Chemical Romance. Instead, it became their defining move. DIY



Dream Wife QTY, Sabra


Elsewhere, Brooklyn, NY. Photos: Coen Rees


ream Wife are in celebratory moods tonight. Their excellent self-titled debut is just days away from being out in the world, and, as singer Rakel Mjöll happily reminds us throughout, they’re playing their first show in Bushwick. It’s also DIY’s first gig in New York and, as you’d expect, the whole line-up is worthy of raising a beer to.

Sabri, the new project of New York’s own Sam Sundos, is an intriguing opener. His set is a genre-hopping delight, with he and his band bringing together worlds like the woozy R&B of Frank Ocean and Madchester’s loping groove. That laidback air dissipates when QTY come onstage, bringing more fire and urgency to tracks like ‘Salvation’ and ‘Cold Nights’, which bookend their set. QTY


In the here and now, though, Dream Wife are justifying the buzz around their debut with… contortions? Rakel turns her back on the crowd mid-set and clasps her hands together behind her, before defying science by bringing them full circle over her head, still clasped, and down to her chest. Even without her stunts, the trio’s set is eye-poppingly good - ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ fizzes with punk energy, while the likes of ‘Fire’ and ‘Love Without Reason’ let their pop nous shine through. And then, of course, “If you spot a bad bitch at the back then tell her to come take her place,” Rakel commands before joining the growing group of ladies down the front for ‘F.U.U’ in a move that still feels special no matter how many times you witness it. We’ll say ‘cheers’ to that. (Rhian Daly)

The crowd looked on in mild horror as Rakel attempted to eat an entire microphone in one bite.




SAT.10.MAR.18 SUN.11.MAR.18


SUN.10.JUN.18 TUE.17.APR.18

THU.24.MAY.18 WED.27.JUN.18 WED.16.MAY.18

TUE.29.MAY.18 THU.20.SEP.18 FRI.21.SEP.18 TUE.22.MAY.18





N eW S

Preview SXSW

Before you know it, you’ll be knee-deep in soggy mud. Just you watch.


12th - 18th March


Quicker than you can shout “howdy!” to a man in a Stetson and spurs, the music arm of Austin’s home of all things buzzy is once again playing host to acts from across the world - including some of our own favourites, obv. From Albert Hammond Jr, Ezra Furman, Sunflower Bean and Shamir, to Pale Waves, Goat Girl, LIFE, Superorganism and IDLES, the Texan shindig is literally jam-packed full of great music. We’re hosting two stages at the event - first at the British Music Embassy on Monday 12th March, and then on Wednesday 14th March at Seven Grand.


MONDAY 12TH MARCH Francobollo LIFE Catholic Action Breakfast Muff Our Girl Boniface WEDNESDAY 14TH MARCH Suzi Wu Miya Folick Public Access TV The Britanys Goat Girl Starcrawler


LIFE’s Mez talks returning to Austin and his favourite taco filling (which tbh, sounds really good). What’s new in the world of LIFE? We’re currently writing and demoing new gear. Starting off experimental, chucking words in u-bends so that we are ready to cut the demostatute into a beautiful thing. We take it you’re looking forward to returning to SXSW? 100% - get us on the plane now! Last year was one big ride for us but we felt like there was still so much we missed. This year we get to do seven days and I for one ain’t planning on sleeping. What kind of taco is the best? Veggie all night long; summat like sliced onion “half-rings” tof course, the flesh of a smashed up avocado, chuck in some sexy black beans and roasted bell peppers, fried cumin seed, salt and pepper. Then wack this in a warm tortillas. To reach the max hit the beast with some hot as hell chillies and some cooling cheese. Ya beauty.



JORJA’S BEST Class of 2017 star is joined by M.I.A and London Grammar at Bestival ’18.

Not only has Citadel (15th July) found a new home at Gunnersbury Park in West London, but it’ll be headlined by Tame Impala in a UK exclusive. Ooo-er.

The first names for Bestival are out - and there’s plenty to look forward to. The festival, which once again takes place at Dorset’s Lulworth Estate, has moved to earlier in the summer for 2018, from 2nd - 5th August. Class of 2017 star Jorja Smith will headline the Thursday night, while London Grammar and M.I.A are other confirmed bill-toppers, with Rat Boy, Superfood, Black Honey, Shame, Sundara Karma and Neu stars Whenyoung also set to play.

Marmozets, King Nun, Ten Tonnes and Bad Sounds are among the latest additions to Community (1st July). Kendrick Lamar, Dua Lipa, Gorillaz and Brockhampton are all Lowlands (17th 19th August) bound.


Roundhouse Rising 24th february - 4th March

The event isn’t just taking over the Roundhouse itself this year, but will also feature talks and showcases at partner YouTube’s space in King’s Cross (a brisk walk from DIY HQ, fact fans). As well as Rising alumni Little Simz’ ‘Welcome to Wonderland: The Experience - Part II’, acts including Blair Dunlop, Ailbhe Reddy, and Kai Jones are set to play the festival. Ahead of this year’s Roundhouse Rising, we spoke to Jack Prideaux, the show producer behind Little Simz’ second run of ‘Welcome to Wonderland’... How collaborative is the process as a whole? Simz and her team are part of every decision, from which artists we program, the staging and set design, through to food and drink. The fact that Simz is so well liked and respected by her peers means that getting artists on board has been pretty easy, we’re super excited about this year’s line up. What did you want to build upon and improve on, after last year’s first edition of ‘Welcome to Wonderland’? We want to build on the one-day festival feel and really create an experience for audiences with more stages and performers, a market place and wonderlandthemed food & drink offers. We’ll also have a live podcast recording, an art exhibition and panel discussion. How important is a show like this to Roundhouse Rising as a whole? Simz is a brilliant example of the journey a young person can go on; from honing her skills in our studios as a teenager, through to headline shows and now curating her own festival. It’s giving emerging artists the chance to share a bill with an internationally acclaimed line-up and [will] hopefully introduce audiences to their new favourite artist.

Sound, mate

We’re headed to Liverpool Sound City with a bunch of great bands in tow. Not only is this year’s Liverpool Sound City home to returning heroes Peace, plus Black Honey, Matt Maltese, Superorganism and Jaws among others, but we’re heading up to host a stage featuring Class of 2018 stars King Nun and Sorry, plus recent Neu favourites including Bloxx, Yellow Days, ALASKALASKA and Puma Blue. Sunday 6th May Constellations Yellow Days sorry bloxx PUMA BLUE Gaffa Tape Sandy Vistas King Nun ALASKALASKA Plaza Sea Girls

Pale Waves, The Magic Gang, Sigrid and Anteros will all play TRNSMT (29th 30th June, 6th + 8th July) St Vincent, Glass Animals, Danny Brown, The Chemical Brothers and Housewives will all play Pohoda (5th - 7th July), alongside actual tiny piano fiend Jamie Cullum (!). Drenge are back! At least to play Handmade (5th - 6th May) and Deer Shed (20th - 22nd July). Fall Out Boy, Kendrick Lamar, Panic! At The Disco and Kings of Leon are this year’s Reading & Leeds (24th - 26th August) headliners, with Wolf Alice, The Magic Gang, Dream Wife and Pale Waves also appearing. The Magic Gang, Ten Tonnes, Pip Blom, Sorry and Her’s are all new additions to Live At Leeds (5th May). Arctic Monkeys, Jack White, Wolf Alice, Dua Lipa, and The Big Moon are all among those headed to Mad Cool (12th - 14th July), joining Tame Impala, Queens of the Stone Age, and a list so long there’s not enough page left for it. 25


neu thing

“Bono turns around and goes ‘Sure, but when we get the picture, why don’t you punch me in the face, as that’s what everyone wants to do’.” - Niall Burns


penning sweet, infectious indie-pop, casually Hanging with Bono, this London-via-Dublin trio are already rolling with the a-listers. Words: Will richards. photo: Emma Swann.

Things have been a bit ridiculous for Whenyoung since they released their debut tracks last summer. Wandering around London’s famous Highgate Cemetery - the resting place of Karl Marx, George Eliot and, um, the man who created Hovis bread - before stopping for a Guinness (“yeah, we’re a cliché, but it’s the best!”) at a pub opposite George Michael’s former house, it turns out brushes with celebrities are nothing new for the Dublin-via-London newcomers. With only two tracks out in the world, the trio were invited by Shane McGowan of The Pogues to play at his 60th birthday bash in Dublin in January, and - naturally - brought quite a few stories home with them. “I was talking to Bono,” vocalist Aoife Power slips in, casually, “about nerves and how I’m always nervous. He said ‘I’m the same, it never goes away. You’ve just gotta focus on the song.’ Everyone hates him but it was really sweet.” “Aoife then asked him for a picture,” guitarist Niall Burns grins, “and he turns around and goes ‘Sure, but when we get the picture, why don’t you punch me in the face, as that’s what everyone wants to do…’”

The band, completed by drummer Andrew Flood, originally went by the name Sisters, but found themselves with a new lease of life as Whenyoung. Singles ‘Actor’ and ‘Silverchair’, released towards the end of last year, proved an irresistible pair of appetisers, with Aoife’s spiky vocals circling around simple but propulsive indie-pop. They were followed by a UK tour in support of Superfood. “They were so sweet to us!” the vocalist says of the DIY faves, “and so committed to what they’re doing. It taught us a lot.” New release ‘Pretty Pure’ is their most exciting step to date. Packed to the brim with melody, Aoife spits out the track’s title with a sense of venom, while packing in the catchiest chorus of 2018 so far. It also saw them linking up with YALA! Records, and in turn, more of their musical heroes.

“Felix [White] just loves music so much,” begins Niall. “He’s so positive and passionate. We were about to start a session recently and he just runs up and says ‘But have you heard the snare sound on this Simon & Garfunkel song though?!’. It’s infectious to be around.” “We had to try and hide how excited we were to be in [The Maccabees’ Elephant & Castle studio, The Drugstore],” Aoife blushes, Niall confirming that the dearly departed five-piece are probably Whenyoung’s collective favourite band of the last decade. “It was so great to see,” he continues. “Hugo [White, Maccabees guitarist] was in there producing the session, and Sam [Doyle, drummer] came in to film. They’re all so committed to helping out new bands.” As if to amplify the fact that things are really taking off, Andrew is about to become the final member to quit his day job, currently doing his final shifts in a restaurant. Aoife, meanwhile, worked as a gardener in the early days of the band. Introducing new track ‘The Others’ at their show as part of DIY’s Hello 2018 series at The Old Blue Last in January, she recalled a particularly affecting day she had at work. “On the day of the Grenfell Tower fire, I was working in West London,” she elaborates today, “and I could see all the

smoke and ambulances, and it was so sad. I was waiting for the rest of the gardening team to get there, and work just wasn’t going to happen. Seeing everyone on the street, coming out of their massive houses and looking up at this fire in the sky, I was just crying. Just knowing that all those rich clients in their huge houses live about two roads away from this. The song tackles the ignorance of the community around the area, and how forgotten these people have become.” With lyrical depth and a social conscience backing up the band’s knack for penning hook-filled jams, and tours alongside Dream Wife, Declan McKenna and more on the schedule, Whenyoung are set to soar through 2018. Just ask Bono. DIY Whenyoung are appearing at Live at Leeds and The Great Escape this year. Head to for details.




“Some bands

New York’s bright young things are upping their game and leaving their heroes behind. Words: Rhian Daly. If The Britanys told you they were the stars of a sitcom about a Brooklyn indie band, you’d probably believe them. Sat in their shared Bushwick apartment, it doesn’t take long for the conversation to devolve into tongue-in-cheek defences of School Of Rock, courtesy of guitarist Jake Williams, boasts of expensive gin from bassist Lucas Carpenter, or generally outlandish statements. “This is the band that’s going to make Juuls cool,” declares frontman Lucas Long of the “iPhone of e-cigarettes” while his bandmates vehemently shout him down.


Since forming in 2014, the unsigned New Yorkers have gone from playing parties for friends to causing chaos overseas, all with only a handful of songs online. The UK especially seems pretty taken with them. Their last trip to London brought carnage to the Sebright Arms - just watching video clips FUN FACT will make you feel the sweaty thrum of the moshpit. The likes of ‘Basketholder’ and ‘In Yer Time’ have drawn comparisons with The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys, as well as fellow countrymen The Strokes, due to The owner of this their underlying Britishness. Don’t get too used to that, though. The four-piece have been laying low since last


absolutely ludicrous gem that went viral a couple of years back is actually bassist Jake. In case you were wondering, yes the typos were on purpose (or so he claims).

summer, working hard on forging something new and less indebted to their heroes. “It was time to make something that we can call our own sound and try to be more unique,” explains drummer Steele Kratt.

might say

technology isn’t rock’n’roll, but what the fuck is rock’n’roll?” Lucas Long

Ironically, the band had a helping hand in shrugging off those influences from a character from Britain’s golden days of indie. They met Joe Van Moyland - better known back then as Joe Lean of Jing Jang Jong infamy - through mutual friends and spent a couple of weeks working with him on their songwriting. Since then, they say they’ve written “probably a hundred songs” and “haven’t even gotten to recording the best stuff” yet. If there’s better than ‘When I’m With You’, the track they shared last month, then there’s exciting times ahead for The Britanys. An ode to “the turmoil” of relationships, it swaps your traditional garage band setup for something more advanced. Casio drum samples open things and a burst of glittering electronics elevate the jittery guitars to more ambitious heights. “We try and take the Steve Jobs route and find whatever’s the most technological, cool thing we could do and incorporate that,” Long says. “[Some bands might say] technology isn’t rock’n’roll, but what the fuck is rock’n’roll?” Stay tuned and you might just find out. DIY The Britanys are appearing at SXSW this year and playing the DIY stage. Head to for details.






A BBK-mingling superstar-in-waiting. Much has been made of slowthai’s small town origins, but it’s this newcomer’s everything-goes approach to genre-hopping that really makes the Northampton rapper stands out. Channeling the grittiness of pirate radio with crystal clear ambitions, he joined Boy Better Know at their takeover of The O2 (that show Drake famously popped up at) last August, and word of a jaw-dropping live presence is quickly spreading, too. Listen: ‘T N Biscuits’ - a bold, brash cuppa that puts PG Tips to shame. Similar to: Heaps of braggadocio meets a cutting political edge, think the spirit of Run the Jewels transported across the Atlantic to sleepy Northampton.


Marble Gods

The next act on Glasgow’s conveyor belt of top-rate indie-pop.

Sports Team West Londoners adding a flourish to gritty indie.

After impressing at this year’s Hello series at The Old Blue Last, Sports Team’s new EP ‘Winter Nets’ sees them as intoxicating a prospect on record as on stage. Vocalist Alex Rice harks back to the ‘80s and glam rock with his sharp, flouncing vocal flourishes, and he’s backed by dark but melodic indie-punk. Listen: New EP ‘Winter Nets’. Similar to: Jarvis Cocker fronting a darker, grittier Pulp.

There’s something in the Glasgow water (or Irn-Bru, perhaps?) that produces first rate indie-pop. Marble Gods write the kind of joyous bangers that would leave their jangly, fun-loving predecessors beaming with pride, and accordingly they’ve supported the likes of Diet Cig, The Spook School, and Breakfast Muff. Keep an eye on them. Listen: Their concisely named EP, ‘Songs’. Does what it says on the tin, and very well, too. Similar to: Fellow Glaswegians The Pastels, with added washing machine woes and Windows ‘95 graphics.


South African crafting intense, thoughtful pop music. Growing up gay in a strict Christian household in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, it’s not difficult to see why the music of Nakhane feels like a torrent of pent up emotions, and a gorgeously arranged one at that. Latest track ‘Clairvoyant’, taken from an upcoming debut album out this month, takes the regal majesty of Wild Beasts and drags it kicking and screaming to the dancefloor. Nakhane is already looking like something special. Listen: Intense yet tender single ‘Clairvoyant’. Similar to: A swirling cocktail incorporating Perfume Genius, Wild Beasts and Christine and the Queens.



buzz mush

Wry Leeds slackers, channelling for Parquet Courts’ crown. A nearly 10 minute track, repeatedly drawling a phrase best associated with Trump’s counsellor Kellyanne Conway might not be the most conventional way to introduce yourself, but that’s what this Leeds quartet did with ‘Alternative Facts’ last year. Follow-up ‘Luxury Animals’ might be slightly less politically bleak, but its musically no less of an earworm – channeling Parquet Courts, The Fall and Pavement all in one. Listen: Hookworms’ MJ was at the helm for ‘Alternative Facts’. Similar to: The amalgamation of your most alt. mate’s music collection but like, fun?


All the buzziest new music happenings, in one place.

LISTEN TO ‘THE MAN’ Gas in the tank, and a debut album in the bank, Goat Girl have got news for you, baby. After sharing new single ‘The Man’ (no, not that one), London four-piece and Class Of 2018 stars Goat Girl have announced details of their debut album. The self-titled effort comes out on 6th April via Rough Trade, and will be taken on a lengthy UK tour that same month. See all the dates and listen to ‘The Man’ on


ON THE PLAYLIST Every week on Spotify, we update DIY’s Neu Discoveries playlist with the buzziest, freshest faces. Here’s our pick of the best new tracks:


milk disco

Londoners with one foot on the grubby street and the other firmly on the dancefloor. Where most of South London’s current stars trade in barbed punk rebellion, Milk Disco are aiming for something altogether funkier. Sure, they might still tell tales of modern disenfranchisement, but theirs dwell under the flickering light of the disco ball. Misery never sounded so sassy. Listen: ‘Welcome To The Milk Disco’ is as nonchalantly banging an introduction is its title suggests. Similar to: LCD Soundsystem, if they’d grown up in Peckham.

There’s a few ways to make your telly debut, and few are more exciting than Brockhampton barrelling out of a van into the middle of Actual Times Square to perform a raucous rendition of ‘BOOGIE’, complete with blue face paint. Oh, and during a later interview, Kevin Abstract took it upon himself to wish our sweet prince Harry Styles the happiest of birthdays. Bonkers and brilliant in equal measure, you can watch the performance at

BRIGHT-ON, IT’S FESTIVAL SEASON! The Great Escape is back in May - you know the deal: more buzz than a hive, more beers than you’d recommend, more walking than your feet can handle - and a whole bunch of new bands have been announced. Phoebe Bridgers, Suzi Wu, Whenyoung and more are heading down to the seaside, and so should you, tbh. See the full list on

BAD NEWS CLUB ‘The Painter’ Recorded on an iPhone in one take, ‘The Painter’ is a gorgeously sparse first step, and recalls the creepy darkness of Mount Eerie, with yearning seeping out of every aching vocal. HEAVY LUNGS ‘Stutter’ Following in the footsteps of tour mates IDLES in making Bristol the hotbed for fresh new British punk, Heavy Lungs are a new four-piece embracing all things gritty and intense. tony njoku ‘Remain Calm’ The latest taste of debut album ‘H.P.A.C.’, this is an emotional, arresting beast from the South London producer. 31


WHAT’S IN A NAME? So, what’s the origin of ‘Boy Azooga’ then? Well, the story behind it partly goes back into Davey’s history, to when he spent time with his cousin, Man of Moon’s Chris Bainbridge. “We’d always put ‘The Little Rascals’ on and then quote the film loads,” Davey explains. “When we grew up we’d be texting each other and in the film they’d go ‘azooga azooga azooga’ like a chant, so we’d text each other ‘azooga azooga’.” The “boy” part is a little, er, less sentimental though. “At first I thought ‘Bo Azooga’ because I love Bo Diddley, but my girlfriend said don’t do it because she reminded me of B.O so I changed it to boy!” Yep, that might have been a stinker.

Armed with a myriad of influences and a DIY spirit, Davey Newington invites photo: Carolina Faruolo you into rhythmic, propulsive and dynamic world. Words: Eugenie Johnson.

BOY AZOOGA When Boy Azooga mastermind Davey Newington talks about the music he loves, he’s filled to the brim with enthusiasm. But it wasn’t his personal inspirations like the Beach Boys, Caribou, OutKast or Ty Segall who initially spurred him on to chase his musical dreams. It was Jack Black. “It sounds really daft,” he says, “but I saw School of Rock when I was 12 or 13 and that was a bit of an epiphany moment when I was like ‘right, this is what I have to do’.” Jack Black’s oeuvre is hardly where Davey’s musical story begins though. While his parents met playing in the BBC Orchestra of Wales, he started learning to play drums as a child and participated in numerous orchestras and bands in his youth. It was an inspirational teacher that helped him further expand his horizons, suggesting he seek out the krautrock rhythms of Can. “It did totally blow my mind,” he confirms. His now-expansive list of influences are evident on Boy Azooga’s debut single, ‘Face Behind Her Cigarette.’ Psychedelic and dynamic, it’s built on propulsive percussive elements inspired by Nigerian funklord William Onyeabor, showing off his affinity

for the drums. “I kind of think in drums. I think drums are really vital to a song having a groove,” he says. The beats that once floated around in his head also became the backbone of his upcoming debut album. He’s played every instrument on the record - with the exception of the strings, for which he enlisted his dad - heading to the living room of producer Eddie El Shakarchie to lay down the tracks. Harnessing the full breadth of his influences, it’s also jam-packed with variety. “One of the songs has a really loud guitar bit at the end but then other songs are really quite melancholy. I just wanted to have a huge range of stuff,” Davey says. He’s created a treasure trove, full of secrets. “I really like albums that I feel like a lot of thought’s gone into it and where all the detail in them keep them interesting after a few listens.” The full Boy Azooga outfit, which includes friends Daf Davies, Dylan Morgan and Sam Barnes, are now gearing up to the hit the road but Davey’s mostly just looking forward to sharing his ideas with the world. “I’d love to be in the position where we were just constantly creating stuff.” DIY

Boy Azooga are appearing at Live at Leeds and The Great Escape this year. Head to for details.




HELLO 2018

The second half of January brought even more hot new acts to The Old Blue Last for even more live shenanigans. Photos: Emma Swann.





f De La Soul are to be believed and three is, indeed, the magic number, then tonight should herald all kinds of delights. Leeds group Team Picture are a polished proposition. Decked out in matching blue jackets like The Libertines in an episode of Star Trek, they veer between synthy Everything Everything-esque falsetto and more heavy, psych leanings. Limerick trio Whenyoung, however, feel like they’ve come out of the traps fullyformed. Unafraid to commit to hook-laden anthems filled with the giddy abandon of youth, their penmanship is not dissimilar to a certain bunch of Wolfs. Onstage, they exude a quiet confidence and so they should: early single ‘Actor”s self-questioning lyrics are a nuanced take on a universal theme, housed within a soaring sweep of air-punching brilliance. The rest of it’s pretty fucking good too. Decked out in cut-price gold sequin jackets (“the cheapest that money can buy”), Horsey, co-fronted by Theo McCabe and Jacob Reid (aka Neu fave Jerkcurb), are essentially the best possible result of some friends dicking about. That Theo pens musicals for his day job goes some way to explain the cavorting madness that runs throughout. We know which Horsey we’re backing. (Lisa Wright)







pener Bad News Club doesn’t tread particularly new ground - breakup songs flecked with reverb to amplify their sadness - but they’re done well. Debut single ‘The Painter’ provides the quietest, most tender moments we’ve seen at this year’s series. Velvety vocals rising and falling, backed by an almost trip-hoppy base, it’s still incredibly early days for Grand Pax - the line between a solo project and a band still blurred - but tonight’s set does more than enough to mark them out. Birmingham four-piece Chartreuse, meanwhile, glide between jazz and indie-pop without care. A House in the Trees take up every inch of the Old Blue Last’s tiny stage and proceed to barrel around it with abandon. Vocalist Sam Hatchwell proves the focus of the set, a livewire of energy that sees him hanging off the ceiling. Her’s, meanwhile, turn the night into an uninhibited knees-up. Airing a new song, provisionally titled ‘Ambient Airslayer’, before the band’s calling card ‘What Once Was’ brings the biggest cheer of the night, Her’s end Hello 2018 with untamed grins all round. (Will Richards) 33





The Magic Gang are wearing Pretty Green Slim Fit Shirts in Green.



t’s the day before The Magic Gang’s long-awaited debut is finally announced, but there are more rudimentary things currently playing on vocalist Jack Kaye’s mind. “It’s like I’m a teenager again, trying to impress all my mates into thinking I’m cool by playing a good show,” he grins, minutes before the band are due to play a home town gig at Bournemouth’s Old Fire Station. Tonight is an evening that both marks their next great step, and provides a surreal school reunion for a band who now find themselves miles away - literally and metaphorically - from their scattered beginnings. “One guy I knew from school just came up to me and told me that [album closer and previous single] ‘All That I Want Is You’ makes him really sad. Just really sad,” vocalist and guitarist Kris Smith says, chuckling ahead of their set. Drummer Paeris Giles, meanwhile, is manically bidding for an old shirt from his beloved Southampton FC on eBay. “We’ll be at a practice and Paeris will look at his phone and shout ‘YES!’ from behind the drumkit,” Jack recounts, “and we’ll all think ‘Score! We’ve been booked for Glastonbury!’ but he’s just won another football shirt.” Sure, you think you might know The Magic Gang, but the fourpiece began in significantly different circumstances. After, in their own words, “narrowly avoiding each other” across the majority of their A-level years, Jack, Kris, Paeris and bassist Gus Taylor all gravitated along the south coast to Brighton across

a three-year period. “Me and Jack actually met on Skype,” remembers Paeris. “Bearing in mind we’d been through the whole Bournemouth school system together, we’d luckily never actually met because I think…” he carries on before Jack takes over. “We’ve worked out that we met at the right time because we’d have properly hated each other at school. We were both little shits but in different ways.” Paeris and Gus then followed Jack to Brighton, and into the same house, which was frequented by visits from Kris, and these visits became the beginnings of The Magic Gang. The idea, though, was initially dreamt up in Kris’ head as a collective of around ten interchangeable members. “A protoKing Gizzard type of thing,” Paeris reckons. After losing the interest of many of the potential members of the imagined gang, debut track ‘Bruises’ was written by Jack and regular Brighton visitor Kris. They were backed by Paeris and Gus on drums and bass respectively, as they, uh, happened to be in the house at the same time. Once shared onto Soundcloud, the identity of The Magic Gang began to solidify.


t’s a wonder now that the four-piece began in such fragmented, uncertain circumstances. Drying themselves off after an icy dip in North London’s Parliament Hill Lido - a few weeks prior to their Bournemouth show, and doing their best Beach Boys impressions as part of our cover shoot


- they’re an instantly charismatic bunch, bouncing off each other constantly. Each member is just as integral as the next. Spending the majority of the band’s lifetime all living in a huge shared house in Brighton alongside members of Abattoir Blues and Sulky Boy, The Magic Gang and their residence became the focal point of a new scene bubbling up by the seaside. A handful of early singles that felt like festival anthemsin-waiting and a first tour alongside JAWS later, and the band headed out on their biggest run to date in support of Wolf Alice mid-way through 2015. “When you start and you’re a support band, you don’t have a fucking clue how to behave,” Jack looks back, almost cringing. “We started as kids just bothering Wolf Alice all day long,” Gus confirms. “We thought we were sick, as well.” It turned out, though, that the band, who were about to release debut album ‘My Love Is Cool’ at this point, would teach The Magic Gang a hell of a lot, and see the Brighton quartet treading a largely similar path in years to come. “We learnt a lot on that tour,” Paeris expands, “seeing the way [Wolf Alice] had built themselves up, and had a fanbase, but waited ages to release an album, knowing that it would have an audience


singalongs they now receive at every show

when it comes out that’s actually going to say ‘Fucking yes! Finally!’.” Such words turned out to be accurate upon the announcement of ‘The Magic Gang’, with a healthy injection of emojis thrown in for good measure. And, as if to mark the poignance of that tour even more, the London show of the run, at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, was the first time YALA! Records boss and former Maccabee Felix White saw the band play live.


hree years, three EPs and live shows that boast a reputation for being joyously raucous, life-affirming affairs later, and the album is ready. A chronicle of everything that’s lead these four to becoming one of the country’s most-loved new bands, ‘The Magic Gang’ fuses old and new together perfectly, reaffirming their ability to write arena-sized anthems to bellow from the depths of a beersoaked moshpit, while treading new ground on the album’s fresh cuts, albeit with a familiar tint. ‘Alright’ - from the band’s first single proper alongside ‘No Fun’ - arrives in beefed up form; with its live repower translated perfectly. Elsewhere, the instrumentation on the final choruses of ‘Jasmine’ and ‘All This Way’ gets stripped away, leaving room for the lung-bursting


It’s the new songs on the album that really push the band forward, though. Nestled in amongst old favourites, the six new songs widen the band’s outlook massively. The scope of the quartet’s songwriting is fully realised, something the EPs couldn’t bring. ‘Getting Along’ joins the band’s enviable arsenal of punchy, chorusdriven bangers, while ‘Take Care’ sees Gus take centre stage for the first time, unveiling a gorgeous, affecting voice over piano-based balladry. Both tracks come as a signifier of the band becoming more lyrically open than ever before. Written by Kris and Jack after they went through a pair of breakups simultaneously, ‘Getting Along’ sees the pair riffing off each others’ problems and finding a common solidarity, one that proves strong as steel. Their jangly ‘60s melodies aren’t the only reason the names Lennon and McCartney have been whispered around The Magic Gang more than a few times: while Jack stands at the helm of the brighter, chunkier cuts, Kris masters the sombre minor chords, which prove just as affecting once they’ve settled in. Together, their vocals weave in and out of each other, fitting perfectly. Album highlight ‘Caroline’, a skyreaching cut, was

written for a woman Jack met at a group therapy session. “She was going through a really shit time, and it really struck a nerve for me,” he recounts. “So I went home and wrote a song for her. I imagined it being to lift her up, but I think we felt the same as each other, and I thought ‘I don’t know how we’re going to get through this, but we’re in the same boat’. Obviously she’ll never know and never hear it, but I like the idea that it’d be to lift her and help her.” For all the tracks’ nuances though, they all flutter with the instantly identifiable energy The Magic Gang have cultivated throughout their existence. It’s the same spark the band give off in person; four best friends not afraid to crack a joke or ten at each others’ expense, but also deeply committed to the music they make. Signing to YALA! for the album and essentially committing their whole lives to the band in the process - wasn’t something they had to think twice about, then. An unspoken rule permeated everything the band did up until that point: they’re in this for good. “You figure it out over time,” Jack begins. “We figured that out in the first year when we were sleeping on sofas,” Gus takes over. “My Mum and Dad drove us on our first tour...

The Magic Gang were all fully on board with the cover shoot concept.



FEB ‘13 Freshly moved to Brighton, the band share debut track ‘Bruises’.

APR ‘14 The band head out on their first ever tour, supporting JAWS around the UK.

OCT ‘14 Play a headline show at London’s Old Blue Last for DIY.

MAR ‘15 Debut single proper ‘No Fun’/’Alright’ is re-released, and the band support Wolf Alice

We did everything in our power to get out there. We put money into it, and invested all of our time.” “There was a moment when we really had to sacrifice something to do this,” Jack remembers. “And it’s pretty fucking stressful, but it means we’re all in it together.” And alongside tour after tour and festival-defining performances, the band have become more important to some than they’d ever have expected. “There was a really lovely story in Leeds,” Gus begins, before Paeris explains. “Some kids at this school were severely autistic, and whenever they got into a place where they were in extreme discomfort, the only thing that would bring them down or calm them was putting our music on, so one of their helpers asked me to sign a drumstick for them.” “We need to go and play a show for them,” Gus affirms. “I’m pretty sure a kid told me once that he…” Kris coughs, “‘became a man’ to our music.” The tone instantly lowers. “Which song?!” Jack enquires. “Maybe not necessarily one that we’d want him to...” Kris quips back. “Oh fuck, THAT ONE?!” Jack replies, doing his best wide-eyed shocked face; clearly mortified about ‘All That I Want Is You’s new setting. “Hopefully they weren’t making babies,” Paeris adds, with a worrying tone. “I’d love to know the first Magic Gang baby conceived,” Gus grins.


tarting the band in years when anonymity and mystery in new bands was the number one mantra, The Magic Gang were refreshing from the outset, even if it was achieved by tapping into ideas of old. Worlds away from a frontman and three interchangeable, faceless bandmates, each member carries their own eccentricities and is as well known to fans as whoever’s holding the mic. “To have a band where three of you all sing, that’s the ultimate goal,” Jack says, before Gus takes over: “It definitely is a band, and we’re all so invested in it. There’s not one person spearheading the songwriting, we split everything four ways. We all have different jobs.” “It’s a proper sum of its parts,” Jack picks back up. “I hear a lot of bands saying that, but we are actually a proper sum of our parts. It would fucking collapse without one of us.” “We couldn’t replace any of us... no way,” adds Gus. “If one of us were to

What a bunch of wet flannels.

DEC ‘15 Picked out as part of DIY’s Class of 2016 alongside Rat Boy, INHEAVEN and more.

FEB ‘17

The band’s self-titled debut album is finally announced!

JAN ‘16

OCT ‘17

The band share their self-titled debut EP, featuring mega-bangers ‘Jasmine’ and ‘All That I Want Is You’.


Pack out the Festival Republic stage at Reading & Leeds before releasing their second EP the next month. 40

Share reworked version of ‘Alright’ and announce biggest headline tour to date.

FEB ‘17

Sign to Yala! Records and release new single ‘How Can I Compete’.

MAR ‘17

Release ‘EP Three’ and head out on a UK headline tour.

MAY ‘17 Head onto Brighton pier to play DIY’s Great Escape stage.

AUG ‘17

Return to Reading & Leeds, this time in the cavernous Radio 1 tent, and proceed to cause chaos.

“I looked at you I knew you wanted to... jump in the pool, jump in the pool!”


“IT WOULD FUCKING COLLAPSE WITHOUT ONE OF US.” - JACK KAYE tragically...” he continues before Kris chips in to roars of laughter, ”...want to leave the band, it would just be a nightmare.” Glued together by an unwavering passion and enviable bond, one that’s existed from the start - and even through the time Gus had a shoe stolen after a show in Liverpool and made it all the way back to Brighton with one very, very soggy foot - The Magic Gang are a band in the truest sense. They master the ability of making it all seem effortless.


A little-known (but incredible) fact: bassist Gus was the envy of the noughties, appearing on muchloved BBC kids TV show ‘Raven’. “My Mum’s best friend told me that they were looking for contestants for the next series and I applied, did two auditions, went up to Scotland and then I got a call the following Monday saying ‘Oh we want Gus to do it’. The year that I did it coincided with India’s 60th year of independence, so they did a series in India. So... I went to India! Six weeks off school! Staying in a nice hotel! It was fucking mad! I finished fourth. I was gutted because the directors had bets on me. I found these Top Trump cards that someone had made online on some weird forum and I was the Top Trump!”

Their debut album is a perfect chronicle of the band up until this point; a clever, caring record that packs a massive punch, while also pointing firmly towards a bright future. Releasing an album that’s as hopeful and empathetic as we all need right now, while having bucketloads of fun along the way, The Magic Gang are a band to fall head over heels in love with. ‘The Magic Gang’ is out 16th March via YALA! Records. DIY The Magic Gang are appearing at Live at Leeds this year. Head to for details.





kate nash 10 years after the debut album that catapulted her into the public eye, Kate Nash is having one hell of a second wind. With new album ‘Yesterday Was Forever’ nearing release and a second series of Golden Globe-nominated Netflix series GLOW ready to go, we find the singer grabbing her new life by the balls. Words: Lisa Wright. Photos: Jenn Five.

“When I was a toddler, in a tartan skirt with this red curly hair, someone threw a doll at my sister Claire and made her cry. My mum said that I just grabbed the girl’s face, pushed her over and then waddled off. I was only two and a half. Just like, ‘Argh! This is wrong! Injustice! Fight for the little people!” A very animated Kate Nash is recalling her childhood. Standing out like a brightly-coloured sore thumb in a lacy red top and enormous wide-leg Russian doll-esque trousers, her references to standing strong in herself stretch from these first waddles to the bold body slams she’s currently undertaking as part of Netflix hit GLOW – an ode to ‘80s women’s wrestling. Having been thrust into the spotlight at 20 with breakthrough smash ‘Foundations’ and its subsequent Number One debut ‘Made Of Bricks’, the singer’s learnt a thing or two about standing her ground in the last decade. And, though the Londoner has been steadily releasing records in the interim years, she’s had to metaphorically push over a lot of bullies to get to where she is now: with a fourth album and a second series ready to go, and in the most exciting career phase since those giddy first moves. “I think I am now at a place where I’m totally feeling like the best I’ve ever felt,” she grins. And so she should.


Back in 2007 when Myspace ruled the web and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were but evil glints in the tech overlords’ eyes, Kate broke through as part of a wave of fan-championed artists to emerge from the platform. Then followed ostensibly the popular peak of her career, but, as is so often the case, things weren’t necessarily quite as rosy in reality.

like, yeah, that’s what that record is and I think that’s fucking great. More teenage girl diaries should be out there so that we can all learn from women and girls, you know? And so it’s kind of reclaiming that as a good thing.”


“I was overworked and I don’t think I was looked after very well by anyone in the record industry or who was managing me at the time,” she remembers. “The music industry will suck you dry and work you when you’re hot right now and then when you’re not, they don’t want to know.” More than that, however, Kate recalls a strange disdain for the work that her got her there in the first place. Despite the personal storytelling of ‘Made of Bricks’ propelling her to the top of the charts, the singer’s main callback to that time is of being made to feel like she was “a silly teenage girl”. “I remember being made to feel ashamed of that. Like it was really derogatory, that term [teenage girl],” she explains, now visibly pissed off. “I remember feeling really stupid. Male peers would be [held up as] this legend. ‘Oh, he’s only 18 and he’s done this and he sounds like this’. Whereas for me it’d be, ‘Oh she’s only 18, shut up.’”

SECONDS WITH... Sure, Kate Nash is an inspiring singer/ actress with a decade-long career. But what does she think about the REAL questions? If you were a kangaroo, what would you keep in your pouch? My baby kangaroo? Or a dog. Did you have any strange habits as a child? Yes. So many, but mainly I would just walk around the house at night like a monkey.

Clothing: Elissa Poppy Lingerie, Kim West, Linnie Mclarty.

Did you have a nickname at school? They just called me Nash. Little Nash. Have you ever written a fan letter to any one? Sarah Michelle Gellar from Buffy as a teenager, and then I wrote a letter to the creators of South Park as an adult because I love them. What’s your least favourite expression? Word? I don’t know. I hate the word supper.

It’s one of the main reasons why, ten years on, Kate’s taking one for the teenage girls everywhere with new LP ‘Yesterday Was Forever’. Evoking the spirit of a teenage diary, it’s a second shot at owning the giddy openness and honesty that it entails – but this time, with the self-belief to back it up. “Now I’m 30, I think teenage girls are fucking amazing and they have so much to say and so much wisdom that’s just so sincere and unique and I just fight for the teenage girl all the time,” she enthuses. “I’m old enough to be comfortable to just sit in that chair and be


What’s the worst song you’ve ever written? So I was in a band and we had a song called ‘Cute’ and [one] called ‘The Biscuit Factory’. We had those high-pitched Garageband voices and we were talking about being so cute; that was the premise of the song. ‘The Biscuit Factory’ was about wanting to eat biscuits all the time. We were called C-Pies, like cutie pies. So that’s probably the worst, most annoying thing ever.

Taking ‘Made of Bricks’ on its 10-year anniversary tour last year – an experience that she jokingly describes as “#blessed” - it’s perhaps unsurprising that Kate’s been in the mood for reminiscing of late. On top of that, she’s also been filming a documentary around the making of her new album and the years leading up to it. “I was filming it while writing [the record] and it’s been going into a lot of archival stuff, so that’s been on my brain. I started going into my storage unit and reading diaries; looking at my life in a reflective way,” she explains. “It’s been really interesting and helpful with accepting and letting go of certain things and getting over some of the stuff that made me really angry and hurt. Thinking, ‘oh I can move past that because I’m comfortable with myself and I’m just going to try and make things better for the generations to come’. I feel like that’s our job, almost.” It’s this simultaneous sense of emotional vulnerability and righteous empowerment that runs through both Kate’s general speech and the high-octane technicolour gut-punch of her new album. An infectious burst of everything at once, you sense that if the singing and the acting all somehow went to pot, she could carve out a pretty good line in motivational speaking. “I think I’m strong and stubborn and I’m really silly and I like to laugh a lot and I like to dance and I’m very emotional and very melancholy and I can take things way too seriously, but then I can also just laugh through everything anyway,” she muses, trying to dissect her own particular personal blend. “It’s like I’m an old woman who’s looking back on her life out of a window and it’s raining outside, but I’m also a child all dressed up in mismatched colours who’s cut her own fringe and eaten loads of sweets,” she decides. “Those are my two personalities I think.” All these myriad elements seep their way into ‘Yesterday Was Forever’ – from the formative questioning of opener ‘Life In Pink’ (“Am I a person yet?”) to the heart-flip passion of ‘Body Heat’, ‘Hate You’’s middle finger up or the blissed-out sweetness of ‘My Little Alien’. Musically, it encompasses everything from the poppier storytelling of old to the riot grrl vocals of 2013’s ‘Girl Talk’. “It feels like all of my sounds together; it seems to have slotted into one shape somehow. It’s like the Megatron or something,” she laughs. And with a vague emotional narrative (flushed romantic



think teenage girls are fucking amazing and they have so much wisdom.�

Clothing: Catriona Hanly, Paper London, Tess Metcalfe. 45

beginnings lead to shitty heartache and then redemptive reclamation), it’s an album that encourages the same self-belief as its author. “There’s been a storyline in my life that’s been going on for the past few years and I feel like it came to a head last summer. I think letting go is really important because I’m a fucking crab, a Cancer baby, moon child and I was just like, ‘No! Don’t leave!’ But you’ve got to let go,” she nods. “It’s putting yourself first and understanding that if you see a vision of your future that’s positive and something that you want, then you actually have to make that happen.” Undeniably, Kate is someone who practices what she preaches. When it came to recording ‘Yesterday Was Forever’, the singer put herself on the line and raised the money via Kickstarter – an industry-swerving tactic placing her back in the hands of the fans, like her early days. Now, she’s also carving out a second string to her bow as Rhonda Richardson in GLOW: a liberating new career path that’s giving her life in all sorts of ways. “As a girl you’re always being told to take up a small amount of space and cross your legs and not touch your vagina and be quiet. But in wrestling it’s like, everything you’ve been told that you’re not supposed to do your whole life, this is the opposite of that,” she says. “Now is the time to be big, take up space, use your strength, use your power. It’s amazing what you can do with your human self and that’s what everybody needs to be taught: that just being yourself is fucking great and you can do so much with that.”


“ s a girl you’re always being told to take up a small amount of space and cross your legs and not touch your vagina.” A Nash-ional Treasure.

Like we said, Kate could run a mean line in self-help. But while we wait for The Nash Guide to Self-Confidence to make its way onto shelves, there’s enough enthusiasm and ambition in the real living, human Kate to make you realise that those first days of ‘Mouthwash’ and bitter lemons weren’t the peak but merely the stepping off point for the singer. “I just think, don’t look back at the past and think, ‘Oh, that was the best’. I like to look back and think, ‘Oh, that was fucking great but I’m going to make the best thing ever now’. And I think it’s never too late to do that,” she enthuses. Ten years in, you sense that Kate Nash is only really just beginning. ‘Yesterday Was Forever’ is out 30th March via Kickstarter. DIY Clothing: Zeynep Kartal, Tess Metcalfe.














Sunflower Bean’s second album might be inspired in part by political turmoil in America, but they’re using that tragedy to find strength in numbers. Words: Rhian Daly. Photos: Pooneh Ghana.


n the run-up to the 2016 US election, bands on the road were one of the few sections of society that had an idea of how serious Trump’s support was. The perpetually hard-touring Sunflower Bean were one of those out there in the months before his unsettling appointment, and with more than just a social media echo chamber and the liberal safe haven of their home to rely on, they witnessed firsthand that backing of the soon-to-be shock president on their travels. “Living in New York, there aren’t that many Trump signs on the lawns,” says drummer Jacob Faber as the band fuel up on breakfast in an Austin Airbnb. “But then you drive a little bit to the middle of America and it’s just everywhere. When we went on tour, it was like, ‘Oh shit, this is really real.’” That experience, as well as being citizens of the world, consuming the news each day about the latest injustices instigated by the new administration, took a real grip on the trio’s second album. On the road in those increasingly turbulent times around Trump’s victory, the band would meet “hundreds of people” at shows that became their muse. While ‘Twentytwo In Blue’ would probably be a very different album if the world hadn’t thrown itself off the rails (“You’re going to be creating art that’s inspired by the time period you’re making it in,” Nick reasons), it’s not a record who’s purpose is to stoke up more anger. Instead, it sounds like a beacon of light and hope - something to help those fans the band met on tour feel like they can get through the dark, and send them a “unified message of solidarity”.

“We have at least six more banging records in us!” - Julia Cumming


You can hear that in ‘Crisis Fest’, the powerful glam stomper that finds singer and bassist Julia Cumming steely and forceful as she delivers lines about student loans, missile tests, and 2017 being “one big sick show”. “If you hold us back you know that we can shout / We brought you into this place, you know we can take you out,” she asserts in the chorus, her delivery becoming tougher as the song goes on. For the 22-year-old, the key to that track - and the album as a whole - is resilience, and it’s not just on the punchier songs that you can hear that message. The swooping emotion of ‘Only A Moment’ - which doubles as a dispatch to a friend going through something and a reassuring note to Julia herself - “fits into that theme in its way”, while the cinematic, string-laden ‘Twentytwo’ also shows hints of that hardiness. “I do not go quietly / Into the night that calls me / Even when I’m alone,” she sings, graceful but assured. “To make rock music in 2018 you have to be resilient,” she notes wryly. “The record is trying to say, ‘You can’t kill me, you can’t stop me. I’m gonna keep showing up and I’m gonna get to where I’m going.’” On a parallel tangent, last year Julia started a new community organisation called Anger Can Be Power - named after a lyric from ‘Clampdown’, her favourite song by The Clash. After hosting a political radio show in high school (she stopped to focus on getting better at music and because it’s “easy to be complacent” when it doesn’t feel like there’s an urgent need for change), she knew she was going to do something in response to recent occurrences. Since its founding, the You missed a bit, love.

group has held two events in New York so far - a “women who run” night discussing politics and running for office, and a conversation and bass masterclass with Arianna Gil of feminist skate crew and art collective Brujas. “The idea behind it is to create an interesting and exciting place for people to integrate political awareness into their lives,” she explains. “So many people have creative energy that isn’t exactly harnessed for anything in this realm, and it could be. As musicians, we get asked to play benefits and that’s the only way that we feel like we can help. Or you have your ways of expressing yourself as a citizen, which is voting, calling your representatives, and protesting. They’re extremely vital to democracy, but if everyone lifted themselves a little bit more as a person in the realm of activism, I think our world could look very different.” While the title ‘Twentytwo In Blue’ might suggest a record full of misery and heartbreak - like Bob Dylan’s ‘Tangled Up In Blue’ and parts of Joni Mitchell’s break-up post-mortem album ‘Blue’ - Sunflower Bean’s inspiration didn’t come from being down in the dumps. They’ve previously described the colour as “coming to them” a lot during the album’s creation. “Unfortunately none of us are synaesthetic in the way that we see colours,” Julia says, the sound of pans clattering in the background. “But, without having that particular way of hearing things, songs can definitely still have an aura.” Whatever colours you see or feel when you hear the record, there’s no denying it’s a stunning step


For Sunflower Bean’s recent ‘Crisis Fest’ video, the band took over Brooklyn venue Alphaville to start a sweaty moshpit on a snowy Sunday. Director Andy DeLuca tells us about the inspiration behind it. “During the brainstorming era of the ‘Crisis Fest’ video, the band sent me some ideas they found for inspiration. The one that stuck out the most was The Decline Of Western Civilisation - the documentary on the 1970s punk scene in LA. It reminded me of my first ever concert in eighth grade, where I snuck out of the house and went to see The Casualties and some other punk bands play a packed room with people twice my height and liberty spikes. That’s the concert I mentally tapped into while shooting the video.”


Sunflower Bean’s new two-headed frontwoman was a striking look.

“To make rock music in 2018 you have to be resilient.” Julia Cumming


on from the New Yorkers’ debut. This batch of new songs veer from glam-rock jewels (the T.Rex swagger of ‘Puppet Strings’), Velvet Underground-tinged ‘60s rock (‘Sinking Sands’), widescreen pop dreaminess (‘Twentytwo’, ‘I Was A Fool’), and more. It’s sophisticated and cohesive, and a powerful reminder of why the world was so excited about these three in the first place. Unlike with their debut, the band had the luxury of time this time around. After making some initial recordings and “[feeling] that we were almost done”, they showed what they had been working on to Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Jacob Portrait, who they’d asked to mix the record. “When he heard it, he was really into it and wanted to be involved more,” explains Nick. So, after working with producer Matt Molnar and engineer Jarvis Taveniere - the same team behind ‘Human Ceremony’ - the trio spent a couple of weeks with their new collaborator “trying things you might never think would work”. “Actually, it turned out they brought the record to the next level,” the guitarist says. “A Jake Portrait thing” is, apparently, using a lot of “funny instruments”, and Nick is particularly enthused about a guitar that he describes as “looking like a giant thumbs up”. But perhaps the most unusual thing the group used on the record was an old payphone that Nick would record some of his vocals on. However, if you’re imagining him singing away on the side of a bustling New York street, straining to be heard over car horns and the subway rumbling underfoot, then we’re sorry to disappoint you. “In Long Island, there’s this gear swap page on Facebook,” he clarifies. “This guy made these microphones out of discarded

New York City payphones. He had somehow come into a lot of them - maybe he bought a storage unit of them? I was like, ‘That’s what I want, that’s what I need, and I need to go and buy them right now.’” He immediately went to this mad professor’s house and excitedly bought three - of course - gaining a softened, ever-soslightly crackly effect to his vocal contributions in the process. As they regroup in their Austin confines, it’s two years and a day since Sunflower Bean shared ‘Human Ceremony’ with the world. They’re currently on the road supporting Sleigh Bells, and shortly they’ll check out of their temporary home and head on their way to Dallas to share a preview of their new record with some more potential muses. But first, they’re feeling reflective. “As musicians, I feel like we’ve come so far,” says Jacob. “That’s one of the most satisfying feelings - still doing what we’ve been doing, but at a higher level, a more creatively satisfied level.” Julia nods in agreement. “[You have to be] more creatively satisfied with the work you’re making because we’ve already slept on the floors.” She thinks for a split second. “And we probably always will.” Talk turns to musicians at the other end of the age spectrum from the group, including Pixies, who they toured with last year, and Paul Simon, who just announced his final tour (“He’s done it, y’know,” says Julia admirably). “Someone asked me recently, ‘Do you ever wanna just not [be in a band] or do you ever wanna take a different job?’” the singer says, her face scrunching up in confusion before settling into a firm confidence, as she relays her response. “I was like, ‘Wha—… no?!’ We have at least six more banging records in us!” ‘Twentytwo In Blue’ is out 23rd March via Lucky Number. DIY Sunflower Bean are appearing at SXSW this year. Head to diymag. com for details.

Sunflower Bean are appearing at SXSW this year. Head to for details. 52









On tour now.


Welcome to

No prizes for spotting the class clown‌

Rock School Words: Lisa Wright. Photos: Jenn Five. 54

qual parts hardriffing monsters and sweetened harmonic seducers, Demob Happy have existed in their own unquantifiable box from day one. It’s about time, then, that we get to the bottom of this particular rock riddle. Heads down, pens at the ready: let’s begin...


You might not think it from the sexed-up riffola that permeates their every swaggering musical move, but Demob Happy are lifelong, stone cold nerds. “The teacher used to chase us out of the music room at break times,” singer Matt Marcantonio recalls, still exasperated, of the band’s first days together at college. “They’ve got a few young kids who are desperate to play piano at break, and they’re telling us to get out. Madness. ‘Go and smoke weed by the sheds!!’” Drummer Tom Armstrong chips in: “We did a Monsters of Rock project in college when we were 17 where you had to cover one of the bands from the original lineup. We ran there first thing in the morning so we could be Led Zeppelin. Obviously no-one else was there.” Guitarist Adam Godfrey, meanwhile, had his own uniquely methodical route into the rock world. “I hadn’t really had music in my life until I was a teenager, so then I had this musical puberty where I thought, I’m gonna just find all the best things throughout history,” he laughs. “I collected it all. I actually did do research because I figured I might as well start off with the best there has ever been.” If it all marks the then-teenage trio out as endearingly massive keenos, then the result 10 years later is a far more bewitching blend. Armed with a meticulously

curated mental library of music’s brightest and best, and blessed with a decade spent honing their songwriting and musicianship to levels that far surpass your average three-chord, plug-in-andplay wallop, it sets Demob up as a strangely unique proposition: a blistering rock’n’roll band with all manner of intricate tricks lurking beneath the surface, happy to delve into the genre’s extensive back catalogue and mix it into an end product that’s entirely their own. “I think we’ve always sat in a funny place because we’re not that indie, and we’re not screaming heavy metal – it’s rock but there are chords and melodies in there that are pop. People don’t know where to put us,” suggests Matt. On second LP ‘Holy Doom’ they’re pushing this duality further than ever. Even from the trio of singles that precede the record – the thundering hammer-swing of ‘Be Your Man’, ‘Fake Satan’’s purring “voodoo hootchie-cootchie” and ‘Loosen It’’s twitching, itchy guitar jabs – you can see that the Brighton trio are embracing all their sides at once. “When we were putting this album together, the exact centre of what we wanted it to be was Queens of the Stone Age and The Beatles,” the singer grins. “The Beatles in the desert – that was the idea. Peyote instead of acid, and the desert instead of India.” But what are the sonic lessons we need to learn to fully get to grips with Demob’s peculiar sonic brew? Let them explain...



When the band sat down at their Eastbourne studio to turn the ingredients of ‘Holy Doom’ into one gargantuan rock monster, they found themselves with an overwhelming amount of material on their hands. So what did they do? Make a Venn diagram, of course! “There was ‘70s, Zeppelin-influenced stuff, tracks with a more modern Queens-y vibe, ‘60s stuff and then outliers. And in the middle there was the mission statement with a big crucifix, which is what we set out to do with the record,” Tom explains of their typically intricate approach. “We can tear it apart because we are nerds and we’re very self aware,” Matt explains. “But at the core, we’re just songwriters. If we wanted to, we could be in an EDM band and we’d still write good songs.” Thankfully, they haven’t tested that theory out yet.


Back To The Future



Demob Happy have mined rock’s depths, drawing it all together into something forward-looking and entirely their own. Here’s a little history lesson on the ingredients that make up ‘Holy Doom’.

“If anything, [first album ‘Dream Soda’] was a little jarring. One song had five tempo changes in it and this time we were a bit more aware of maybe just having three?” Matt laughs. “It had so many ideas and was trying to be in your face and quite heavy, [so we learned] that it’s better to give the things that you do say space to be heard and to breathe. Give someone a second to compute it,” agrees Tom. If this all hints at a pared-back Demob mk II however, then fear not: there are still more ideas in ‘Holy Doom’’s little finger than most bands’ entire back catalogue. “There’s a lot for people to chow down on even if we do slim it down,” Matt assures.



Bury down deep into Demob’s core and you’ll find a strange yinyang of light and shade. From sweet and sour sonics to playfully dark imagery, there’s a sense of these opposing forces meeting in a bittersweet harmony throughout. “I’ve always had this Catholic guilt about not upsetting people, I was always trying to find the light [side of myself], but I learnt that the two sides only co-exist because there can’t be one without the other,” the singer explains. “Everything on the album is an exploration of that. I’ve always hidden behind two or three different layers of meaning like a defence mechanism, but I’m letting people in just a little bit now.”

Tom: From the Beatles-y vibe of ‘Liar in My Head’ or the more chilled stuff on [title track] ‘Holy Doom’, there’s lots of ‘60s stuff on the record. Matt: The Kinks as well are a huge influence and The Beach Boys. From that it’s the harmonies from ‘The White Album’ onwards – ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’ and tracks like that. Among a bunch of other things, the [fact they’d splice songs together] is what appeals, so we don’t get bored.


M: We’re talking ‘Zeppelin III’ and ‘IV’ or ‘Physical Graffiti’. Not bluesy Zep, more groovy Zep. It’s about the associated emotions of what your body is doing: if you’re nodding your head and going [makes indistinguishable grunt], you associate that with some Zep. Adam: Everyone was grooving in the ‘70s.

1980s/ 1990s



BIGGER I BETTER The common preconception of ‘rock’ might have changed from the saucy days of Zeppelin and co to the current devil-fingered Download stereotype, but ‘Holy Doom’ finds the trio throwing things back to the days when riffs were deliciously feral and rock got you hot under the collar. “There’s a pressure to take all of the human element out of the drums and keep it perfectly in time, but that’s not fucking cool,” grimaces Matt. “A lot of what is considered rock now is completely sanitised; to breach the mainstream you have to pop it up. And we’re not going down that path, which might be to our detriment in the short term game, but we don’t really care.”


A: They were the periods when music was looking back on the trends of previous years and re-presenting them. Music was becoming post-modern. I’m not so keen on the ‘80s. T: There’s bands like Violent Femmes and Pavement, that slackery loose thing that took the sheen off how bands were presented, but it’s not a big thing for us.

Modern Rock

Adam: Queens of the Stone Age, DFA, early White Stripes – ones with big, heavy, fuzzy chords. Things that aren’t heavy in a Slayer sense, but in a different way. M: ‘Spinning Out’ on the album is very influenced by that stuff. Our engineer described it as ‘a bad trip in a future desert punk anarcho-UV disco’. A: It’s what grounds everything. We take the little bits from the past and mould them into that, but this is what roots the sound otherwise we’d just sound like a ‘70s throwback.

By rights, ‘Holy Doom’ should find Demob Happy opening those doors without making any concessions. Full of intelligent idiosyncrasies but delivered with sweaty gusto, it’s a record that draws all of their disparate parts together into one exhilarating whole. Bet that music teacher’s kicking himself now. ‘Holy Doom’ is out 23rd March via SO Recordings. DIY



NATURE BOYS Massive support tours and a critically-acclaimed first album made Gengahr’s first steps seem easy. When they went back to record second LP ‘Where Wildness Grows’, however, the quartet had to tread the road less travelled. Words: Lisa Wright. Photos: Emma Swann.



remember distinctly one of the first shows we did when we were supporting Catfish and the Bottlemen. We were heckled from start to finish and I was there thinking, ‘Fuck my life, I’m not sure if I’m cut out for this’,” recalls Gengahr singer Felix Bushe, sitting with his shivering bandmates on a cold January morning. “Getting the piss ripped out of you by a bunch of 13-year-olds is not my idea of fun...” “I think we got good at it from school, to be honest,” chuckles bassist Hugh Schulte - “it” being the ability to weather the particularly icy storm of a disgruntled crowd. “We used to play a lot of our own stuff in assembly. The [rest of the kids] were much more into R&B and rap and we’d come in with really ropey guitar songs. It’s fair to say no-one really had time for it.” “But yet we put ourselves up for it multiple times,” finishes Felix. “It toughens you up and after that we thought, well that’s probably about as cold an audience as we’re going to get...” If the rapid rise of Gengahr a few years back was one that went smoother than these tentative first steps, the band playing huge arena shows with Alt-J and Wolf Alice before releasing a universally-lauded debut in 2015’s ‘A Dream Outside’, then the thick skin their early forays had earned them would turn out to be more necessary than anyone might have guessed.

chasing your tail a bit and you’re never quite satisfied. We tried to iron all the creases out, but in doing so we ended up strangling a lot of the life out of it.” After three solid months in the studio, “all day every day, very late”, Gengahr had wound up with a record that they didn’t really want. From commendable beginnings of trying to test their boundaries and create something broader than the debut that they still love but admit was “a bit samey”, they’d lost the looseness and easy rapport that the past years of solid touring had cemented. “We didn’t once play a song all together. The studio was small and we weren’t afforded the luxury of playing all in one room, and I think that was why it didn’t work, because it was so fragmented,” shrugs Danny. And so, after dozens upon dozens of hours of work, they decided to scrap the whole thing. “It was quite exhilarating. Like, just fuck it!” exhales Hugh. “It was an expensive mistake, but a fun one...” With a new mission statement that boiled down to essentially “do the opposite of what we did before,” the band went back and turned everything on its head. Recorded in two weeks, with the emphasis on playing live, ‘Where Wildness Grows’ mk II quickly proved that Gengahr could expand their own horizons without losing sight of themselves along the way. “I think good albums can have a real sonic similarity from start to finish and that’s fine, but we always

any of Gengahr as particularly clownish characters – all come across as fairly considered, quiet types while guitarist John, bundled down into his jacket, remains entirely silent for our whole conversation – Felix in particular comes off as a reasonably serious kinda guy. When we ask if he considers himself to be an open person, he replies “No” immediately, not missing a beat. For a man who doesn’t seem to want to give much away, it makes his decision to delve inwards for Album Two all the more commendable. “I’d tried to hide behind the narratives [before] which I think is ok - I don’t think everything has to be about yourself. But the idea is to try and make people feel something; whether it’s joy or utter sadness, that’s got to be the end result,” he begins. “It’s funny because on the first record it was all based around the idea of escapism and on this album I wanted it to be more personal. But in the process of doing the album my mum got very ill and she ended up passing away, so it became almost more of a distraction than the first one ever was. It’s cheap therapy,” he notes, wryly. Filled with raw, natural imagery from the leaves that grace its cover to the carrion (aka a decaying corpse) that titles one of the record’s most darkly engaging tracks, ‘Where Wildness Grows’ is an album that takes the dappled beauty of its predecessor and fills it with this glut of humanity. In sticking to their guns and having the balls to know when things just aren’t sitting right, Gengahr have come good on their ambition to push things forward. But instead of precision and studio trickery, it’s emotion and openness that are leading the way. “The smart thing is to realise when you’re not happy and you’re not comfortable because you’re going to have to live with that for the rest of your lives, so we did take the time and I think we’re all very glad of that now,” nods Felix. “You’ve got to carve your own path. If you get too caught up in trying to be like something that’s already happened then you’ll always be shutting the door on your own identity. What connects with people is if it sounds unique. And if it sounds like nothing else, whether people love it or hate it, then you’re doing something right.”

“THE IDEA IS TO TRY AND MAKE PEOPLE FEEL SOMETHING: WHETHER IT’S JOY OR UTTER SADNESS.” - FELIX BUSHE Going back into the studio after two years of touring, the quartet – completed by guitarist John Victor and drummer Danny Ward – began work on Album Two. So far, so normal. Back in October 2016, they spoke to DIY from the studio, an early 2017 release date on the cards. “We’re listening back and making tweaks and just kind of finalising everything,” said Felix back then. Safe to say it didn’t quite work out. “We had a sinking feeling from the final [days],” nods Hugh. “We were in the studio for so long and everyone was getting really unhappy.” “The songs weren’t the problem, it was our approach to it,” agrees Felix. “I think we were just driven to make something impeccable. Everything had to be the best it could be, and so you end up


felt like we were capable of doing more than what just worked,” pushes Felix. “We went a bit nuts making every song sound like a different genre as much as we could, but the thing that unified it at the end was thinking that if we could do it between four of us then no matter how weird and different it was from what we’d done before then it would still sound like Gengahr.” While, sonically, this broadening of boundaries is obvious from the opening vocals of single ‘Carrion’ – an unexpected statement that trades Felix’s trademark falsetto for a lower range filled with new-found urgency – there’s also been a notable lyrical switch up. Though you’d be loathe to describe

Those kids in assembly won’t know what’s hit them. ‘Where Wildness Grows’ is out 9th March via Transgressive. DIY


Just four pals, casually lurking in a bush(e).





aking stock of one of the most turbulent periods in recent history spanning from Trump’s shock election at the end of 2016, right through to the political backwards steps which peppered the following year - it’s easy to see why Sunflower Bean’s second album, written during this time, is frantically treading water and examining new anxieties beneath its glossy, gliding


twentytwo in blue

(Lucky Number)

surface. “2017 - we know, reality’s one big sick show,” vocalist Julia Cumming says, addressing the year in question atop ‘Crisis Fest’’s twanging ‘70s glam riffs. “Every day’s a crisis fest.” Titled ‘Twentytwo in Blue’ - the band were 22 years old during the making of the record - the melancholy clothing colour is significant too. From start to finish, the trio are concerned with taking apart the worries and anxieties of being young in this uniquely terrifying time, marching soldiers and fast-

Photos: Pooneh Ghana.


approaching darkness peeking between the gigantic, celebratory rock‘n’roll. And during more tender moments - ‘I Was A Fool’ draws solid-gold pop out of emotional quicksand, just as Fleetwood Mac did on ‘Rumours’ - they progress leaps and bounds on from the foundations of their debut. Recorded in a wire-strewn basement,

Sunflower Bean’s ‘Human Ceremony’ was hardly a flawless debut, but the band’s real promise shone when they pushed their ideas to the realm of unencumbered, sprinting-before-learning-to-walk inventiveness. The follow-up, a more considered harnessing of all that raw potential, shows just what they’re capable of. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘TwentyTwo’, ‘I Was A Fool’


1. burn it 2. i was a fool 3. twentytwo 4. crisis fest 5. memoria 6. puppet strings 7. only a moment 8. human for 9. any way you like 10. sinking sands 11. oh no, bye bye 63



where wildness grows (Transgressive)

Gengahr’s return with ‘Carrion’ was one of the most pleasantly surprising of last year. Felix Bushe’s vocals were transformed from floaty and dreamy, developing a spiky, new-found twang. It pointed at good things for the follow-up to delicate debut ‘A Dream Outside’. It proves the most thunderous cut on follow-up ‘Where Wildness Grows’, but there’s change to be found across the record. ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ rolls along with infectious momentum, egged on by Felix’s vocals, channeling Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox, while the title track anchors around a subtle but distinctive guitar lick. ‘Where Wildness Grows’ was initially scrapped, with studio sessions for album two leading to frustrating dead ends. The finished product, then, understandably comes complete with an air of quiet patience. It’s true on the listener’s side too: ‘Where Wildness Grows’ is an album that slowly seeps in given time, and when it’s finally settled, feels like it’s been there forever; an ode to patience, determination and second chances. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘I’ll Be Waiting’, ‘Whole Again’


GEORGE EZRA staying at tamara’s


“Can’t bring myself to dive into an ocean full of change,” George Ezra sings, seconds into opener ‘Pretty Shining People’, an ode to togetherness and sharing the emotional load. As it turns out, community and fellowship in difficult times goes on to become the lynchpin of the singer’s second full-length. It’s followed by single ‘Don’t Matter Now’, a breezy cut dedicated to taking yourself away from difficult situations in favour of much-needed isolation. It’s just what our Geoff did to record ‘Staying At Tamara’s’, writing everywhere from the idyllic Isle of Skye to a sun-kissed Barcelona apartment; and escapism is the order of the day. ‘Staying At Tamara’s’ doesn’t shelve real problems, but simply recognises the power in taking yourself away. As a result, it proves a gorgeous, much-needed escape. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Shotgun’, ‘Paradise’



Photo: emma swann

Not one, but FOUR wild Gengahrs appeared!!!



the magic gang (YALA!)

With One Direction leaving the title of World’s Best Boyband™ well up for grabs, The Magic Gang might just be the lot to bag it. OK, so they might not be up for donning matching cashmere sweaters and cradling a variety of cute puppies for an official calendar any time soon (though we wouldn’t complain) but still, their flawless debut has all the makings of worldwide domination, and heaps of individual personality to match. Often, The Magic Gang shows feel like frenzied beaches, wave after wave of fans surfing their way forward, before washing up - in a blinded daze - on the stage shores. And taking turns on the microphone, Jack Kaye might be the de facto lead singer, but Kris Smith and Gus Taylor are right there with him, along with the band’s percussive pulse, Paeris Giles. As a group they feel like a gang of distinct members - with this debut, that’s even more pronounced. And while ‘The Magic Gang’ has felt like a long time coming, you suspect that they couldn’t have conceived such a fully-formed and far-reaching record any sooner. Established faves, from ‘All This Way’ to the soaring ‘Jasmine’, are present and correct, but re-recorded and honed, they sound more gigantic than ever. It’s in the newbies, though that The Magic Gang demonstrate how much they’ve grown. The stomping and bittersweet ‘Take Care’ sees Gus taking up lead vocal duty for the first time. “Don’t you think the world feels so much colder, without our love?” he asks with simple, wrenching effect - a quieter number with a razor-sharp heart. And ‘Your Love’, a gigantic barbershop croon blown up and distorted, stands out just as much. It takes a deft hand to write about being madly in love and watching rain roll down a window-pane without coming off as a bit tradge. The Magic Gang’s classic influences are clear at every turn, too, from the dominant 7th chord drops that pepper motoring piano-banger ‘I’ll Show You’ to peppy lead single ‘Getting Along’ complete with its dreamy melody lines. Here, a clear love of music from eras bygone - even flecks of The Osmonds and the Temptations are audible, at times - results in a forward-looking ear for songs that are classics in their own right. A rare album without a single Achilles heel. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Take Care’, ‘Slippin’ Photo: jenn five

Move over, Llewelyn-Bowen, this is Changing Rooms with The Magic Gang! 65




time & space (Roadrunner)

A world of influences, peppered with interludes and tangents, ‘Time & Space’ defies expectations at every turn. For a start, there’s a production credit for Diplo on the ferocious ‘Right To Be’, adding swells of spiky electronics to its conclusion, while Sheer Mag’s Tina Halliday lends backing vocals to ‘Moon’. Elsewhere, ‘High Pressure’ is a storming, sub-twominute highlight, its chorus defined by forceful stabs of piano that are unstoppable. Sneaking under the half-hour mark, ‘Time & Space’ is a remarkably comprehensive thrash that places Turnstile as inventive and forward-thinking boundary-pushers. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘High Pressure’


pure beauty (Third Man)


Vocalist Brendan Yates spills on what Turnstile had on the stereo as they put ‘Time & Space’ together.

As the first ever rapper signed to Jack White’s Third Man Records, New York native SHIRT generates more than enough interest to overwhelm the remote anonymity he carries himself with. But ‘Pure Beauty’ gets off to an unconvincing start, ‘Snow Beach’ introducing a solid flow to a languid jazzy backing and not doing all that much else. There’s a distinct effort here to be intriguing and mysterious, like SHIRT is taking each track as a singular exhibit in the gallery of ‘Pure Beauty’. But, even the most abstract pieces of art, from Joseph Beuys to Gerhard Richter, hang off a central value, a perspective worth finding. SHIRT seemingly promised this, at points even nudged towards it, but thirteen tracks in, the only real question is, is ‘Pure Beauty’ something we were ever really meant to find? (Matthew Davies Lombardi) LISTEN: ‘Energy’

sly and the family stone there’s a riot goin’ on

A cool-ass record. Everything with the vocals and percussion and keys feels very seductive. Top tracks are ‘Just Like a Baby’ and ‘Family Affair’.

snail mail habit ep

My favourite new act from Baltimore. A great bunch of songs that I listened to on many night walks while at the studio. I can’t wait to hear more from her.



basic behaviour (Arts & Crafts)

‘Basic Behaviour’ is built on tension. Tension between states of balance and collapse, light and dark, melody and dissonance. Tensions in singer Bria Salmena’s life and society at large. Even in its more subdued moments, there’s the sense they have to eke these words and sounds out for their own good. A lot of ‘Basic Behaviour’ chafes with a very specific fury. ‘II’ was, the band coyly say, written after a “catastrophic political event” it’s safe to assume is the 2016 US election. ‘Chest’, meanwhile, finds Bria dealing with the ideas of victim blaming and white male privilege. “Stay asleep while you spoil me,” she snarls. Frigs know not everything has to be so abrasive to make their point, though. ‘Solid State’ feels like being invited into Bria’s journal, and ‘Gemini’ drifts like mist over a murky, darkened lake. Even as they strain between varying poles, Frigs still manage to find moments of great, if sombre, beauty. That’s not basic at all. (Rhian Daly) LISTEN: ‘Chest’

billie holiday - love songs

Just a great collection of her songs. One of those albums I go to for comfort listening. She has the voice of an angel. Top track? ‘All of Me’.




SUPERORGANISM superorganism (Domino)

Bringing together eight musicians hailing from (deep breath) Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, Superorganism is a fitting moniker for this hive of activity. With blockbuster ambitions of expansion, and an almost pathologically infectious ear for melody, ‘Superorganism’ channels the choppy switch-about and fuzzy vocal samples of The Avalanches throughout, cramming strangeness into every corner. On tracks ‘It’s All Good’ and single ‘Something For Your M.I.N.D’ - a woozily memorable wash of earworm psychedelia and call-and-response vocals - it’s an exciting approach; in small doses, at least. Taking on online fame-chasers with gaudy aplomb on ‘Everybody Wants to be Famous’ and writing what could easily be a seafood-themed Beck song from an alternate universe for ‘The Prawn Song’, this debut album feels coherent in that every song is born from the same basic stem cells; fuelled by the same thirst for weirdness. It’s just a shame that Superorganism’s main calling card soon grows repetitive, and you can’t help but think this debut might’ve been a more diverse offering further down the line. Excess and saturation can only get a band so far without a knowing wink to match, and at the moment, it’s that mischievous streak of personality that feels slightly absent. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Something For Your M.I.N.D’, ‘The Prawn Song’



cocoa sugar (Ninja Tune)

Young Fathers have always sat firmly in the realm of the unexpected. It made sense, then, that they chose ‘LORD’ to be their comeback track, a slow, glitchy, strangely uneventful cut. Single ‘In My View’ sees the trio’s distinctive raps slowed down into deliberate, halfspoken verses before a subdued chorus worms its way in. Their intensity is dialled down, but when the record finally does seep in, it proves itself to be a gorgeous, affecting album. Young Fathers haven’t done what was expected of them on ‘Cocoa Sugar’ but in dodging expectations once again, they continue to triumph. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘In My View’




clean (Fat Possum)

Soccer Mommy’s rise over the last few years has been less back-of-the-net Messi screamer, and more a skillful slow-burn; think more along the lines of a playmaking Fabregas beavering away in the midfield. While much of Sophie Allison’s early work dabbled in the world of low-risk fantasy and unreturned desire, ‘Clean’ blankens the slate, and plumes the landscape of frustration instead. “I don’t wanna be your little pet, at the edge of every bed you sleep in,” she sings on ‘Your Dog,’ raising her voice to convey the message a little clearer for those at the back. “I don’t wanna be your fucking dog!”. And the plaintive ‘Scorpio Rising’ - taking its name from either astronomy, or a 1969 film about gay Nazi bikers (we’re guessing it’s the former, to be honest!) - starts out hushed but grows and grows by stealth; a fearsome shadow extinguishing the streetlights. In typical Soccer Mommy fashion, there’s little flashy footwork to be found here; only expertly-shaped understated songs that give more with every listen. Stepping beyond the groundwork of her debut collection, and sounding all the more confident for it, Sophie Allison shoots, and scores. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Your Dog’



how to socialise and make friends

(Run For Cover)


historian (Matador)

“Everybody else looks like they figured it out,” Lucy Dacus sings on ‘Nonbeliever’, the fourth track from this hefty second record. It’s not the only time her words could fit the listener’s situation like clothing that’s just a wee bit too tight; in fact, this flexibility is ‘Historian’’s key charm. Many of the record’s most alluring lyrical moments accompany the album’s most alluring musical moments; most of the songs here grow from restrained, inviting conversations into triumphant declarations, such as ‘The Shell’, which starts as a soft wash and gradually blossoms into an exultant sweep of piercing guitars and synths. It comes down for a bit at its end, the song’s path symbolic of ‘Historian’’s sound and message: there are serious issues we all need to tackle together, and there are serious issues we might prefer to tackle individually, and they all need to be properly heard, and there just might be calm at the end of the storm. (Max Freedman) LISTEN: ‘Nonbeliever’

If Camp Cope’s 2016 self-titled debut introduced the garage rockers as serious ones to watch, ‘How to Socialise & Make Friends’ cements them as essential. On suitablytitled opening track ‘The Opener’, vocalist Georgia Maq aches with fury. To sing with frenzy requires determination. The trio’s unadulterated ferocity drives the record right through to the strummed chords of closer ‘I’ve Got You,’ a less abrasive, but just as emotive, tale of Georgia’s father’s battle with cancer, which she takes on solo. That same drive for honesty steers ‘The Face of

God’, a tale of sexual assault and the isolation that follows. The song’s power comes in its heart-breaking familiarity. “Could it be true? You couldn’t do that to someone / Not you, your music is too good” is the refrain, an immediately relevant excuse. The lyrics are painful, but the resilience of Georgia’s soulful vocals is astounding. To write about topics this intimate is brave. For Camp Cope to do so with honesty and enchanting fury takes a lot of energy – and that is nothing short of valiant. (Ellen Peirson-Hagger) LISTEN: ‘The Face of God’


PUBLIC ACCESS TV street safari (Cinematic)


THE BREEDERS all nerve (4AD)

After briefly reuniting to tour in 2013, ‘All Nerve’ sees the line-up from The Breeders’ 1993 album ‘Last Splash’ reunited on record for the first time since then. It’s hardly surprising then that it puts the full breadth of their hallmarks on display, from layered harmonies that combine in euphoria to powerful chords and more angular melodies. While it may flag a bit towards the end, there are still moments where the magic of this particular, iconic incarnation of The Breeders feels recaptured. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘Wait In the Car’

eee MOANING moaning

(Sub Pop)

Moaning met almost ten years before they actually formed, and you wonder how different things might have been if they’d turned out this self-titled debut then rather than now: you can’t help but feel that they’ve been beaten to the punch. For every aspect of their sound, you’re immediately put in mind of a band who’ve recently done it better. Preoccupations are the obvious parallel to draw, but when the guitars shimmer, they’re approximating a previous incarnation of that same group, Women. It should be noted that their live show is potent enough to have convinced Sub Pop to sign them up off the back of SXSW last year. On record, though, they might have shown up too late. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Misheard’

Nowhere in the world do bands sound so obviously from their city than those hailing from New York. From The Ramones to The Strokes via any group that’s tried to rip off either of the above (i.e. lots), there’s an unquantifiable vibe that runs throughout. On 2016 debut ‘Never Enough’, Public Access TV were happy to slot neatly into that rich legacy, but two years later they return a far broader, more unexpected and downright funkier proposition. Sure, ‘Rough Boy’ is such a carboncopy Ramones tune it may as well come with a leather jacket and lego haircut, but the majority of ‘Street Safari’ is as in debt to Quincy Jones and Nile Rodgers as it is to punk’s finest. Single ‘MetroTech’ is a pure disco-inflected joy, while ‘Wait It Out’ runs on a bassline basically plucked out of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’. A big and brilliant step out of the box. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘MetroTech’

Q&A Public Access TV are back, switched on, and ready for action. Vocalist John Eatherly gives Ellen Peirson-Hagger the lowdown on ‘Street Safari’. You recorded with Patrick Wimberly look back on our lives, and the time who used to be in Chairlift. we moved to New York City. ‘Lost in What’s he like to work with? the Game’ and ‘Metrotech’ are like So good! Sometimes producers really that. ‘Your God and Mine’ is about how care about changing what you go as long as you have the same morals in with. But with Patrick, it was just as somebody else, you can be crazy about amping up what we already had. different from each other and still get New ideas were there to amplify the along. Another theme is remaining demos, not to change the structure hopeful in the midst of trying to achieve completely. Some of the sounds on the your creative dream. It sounds corny, final versions are even taken straight but it’s a helpful album. When I write I out of the A-track demos. I’m super don’t necessarily realise exactly what happy with it, because it feels true. it’s about until I’m mid-way through writing it, it’s weird. But it always ends What are some of the up feeling like a message to myself – themes on the record? it’s not necessarily like I’m preaching A few of the songs retrospectively to anyone else. It’s truly cathartic.





American utopia (Todomundo / Nonesuch)

‘American Utopia’ slots neatly alongside David Byrne’s series ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’, in which he’s collected stories that could potentially inspire a sense of optimism. Despite being defined by a single, distinctive concept though, ‘American Utopia’ is almost a record of two halves. Much of the first is steeped in relatively upbeat melodies and a steady pace, but that doesn’t always place David’s thoughts in the best light, the jaunty yet lilting vibe of ‘Every Day Is A Miracle’ making its central hook seem a little too on-the-nose, and ‘Dog’s Mind’ is a sweeping number with a slightly theatrical swell, but there’s something about hearing him sing of “doggy dancers” and “doggy dreaming” that doesn’t really fit its dramatic tone. Finding answers to help solve the current social and political climate isn’t easy and, much like the United States itself right now, ‘American Utopia’ isn’t a complete paradise. Yet, there are enough upbeat vibes on offer here to perhaps make you feel a little more optimistic. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘Everybody’s Coming To My House’



holy doom (SO Recordings)

Photo : Emma Swann

A lot has changed since Demob Happy’s 2015 debut ‘Dream Soda’. They’ve been streamlined down to a three-piece, and have, we assume, spent most of the interim worshiping at the altar of Josh Homme. From the moment ‘Liar In Your Head’ struts into life, the band grab their identity as irresistible, roaring riffmongers - and don’t let it go for a second. While ‘Dream Soda’ skirted around this kind of chunky riff worship, ‘Holy Doom knows its aim, and proceeds to execute its harmony-drenched rock prowls flawlessly. The pace never lets up, the riffs, ambition and confidence growing across its length. “When you gonna do me tonight?” vocalist Matt Marcantonio spits in ‘Fake Satan’ with a swagger, while his higher-pitched vocals on ‘I Wanna Leave (Alive)’ contrast perfectly with the filthiest riff the album has to offer. As second efforts go, ‘Holy Doom’ is an absolute stormer, hammering home everything that made Demob Happy such an exciting prospect, and turning it firmly up to 11. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Be Your Man’, ‘Fake Satan’



drift (Sacred Bones)


It’s always been hard to pin The Men down. As ‘Drift’ confirms, seven albums and ten years in, that spirit of unpredictability is still very much intact. Opener ‘Maybe I’m Crazy’ suggests this will be another collection of bristling noise, but we should know by now it’s never safe to make assumptions with the Brooklyn punks. Instead, its nine tracks embark on an odyssey that’s as satisfyingly odd as it is erratic; there’s only one other song on the record with its eyes on making as much racket. Wilfully experimental and typically fluid, ‘Drift’ is an album that will keep you on your toes. Its constant shifting might make it harder to be bowled over by it straight away, but then who said the good things in life should always come so easily? (Rhian Daly) LISTEN: ‘So High’

Alb’ wasn’t really getting the hang of this whole ‘wearing sunglasses’ lark.


everything dies (Big Scary


Touring with Creeper and Milk Teeth among others, Nervus have quickly become one of the UK punk scene’s brightest new hopes. Second LP ‘Everything Dies’ is a rousing collection, led by Em Foster’s intoxicating songwriting. First single ‘Sick Sad World’ is as crushing as it is intricate, and there’s anthemic choruses strewn across the record like she writes them in her sleep. That’s not to say they’re lacking feeling though: ‘Everything Dies’ looks at issues of addiction and gender dysphoria, but tackles them with an outwardly hopefully outlook. As such, they’re set over infectious, bright punk that favours light over darkness. “If you’re feeling uncomfortable, that’s common ground” she sings on highlight ‘Skin’, and as introverted as the album’s topics can get, it’s also firmly empathetic. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Sick Sad World’


ALBERT HAMMOND JR francis trouble (Red Bull)

‘Francis Trouble’ isn’t just the name of Strokes axeman Albert Hammond Jr’s newest solo LP, it’s also a sort of alter-ego, birthed from the knowledge that a fingernail remnant from his miscarried twin was actually born alongside him. If that’s a reasonably bleak and downbeat premise for a concept, then the record itself falls squarely in the opposite camp: this is an album that rings with renewed energy. Where AHJ’s early solo work tended towards the sweet and sentimental, there’s a spark of danger in ‘Francis Trouble’; whether he’s stealing ‘Sympathy For The Devil’’s infamous “woo woos” on ‘ScreaMER’ or spitting out closer ‘Harder Harder Harder’’s jagged chorus, there’s something understandably darker going on here. Of course, there’s still those effortless signature guitars and plenty of light to counteract the shade, but overall Francis Trouble is a more risky counterpart to his earthbound sibling. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘ScreaMER’, ‘Stop and Go’

ee TITUS ANDRONICUS a productive cough (Merge)

Patrick Stickles has always relied on intensity, bellowing out his deepest, darkest fears until there’s no breath left. He did so for 29 (Twenty. Nine.) tracks on 2015’s The Most Lamentable Tragedy’, and he does so on opener ‘Number One (In New York)’. From then on, though, ‘A Productive Cough’ runs out of urgency. ‘Real Talk’ and ‘Above The Bodega’ meander through elongated acoustic drunken singalongs. ‘(I’m) Like A Rolling Stone’ takes on a yelled version of the Dylan classic, before choral backing vocals almost comically repeat “Do you feeeel like Miiiick?”. Patrick has always melted together the music of his heroes, but this feels completely without inspiration. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Number One (In New York)’ 71


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



new material (Jagjaguwar)

dream wife Dream wife

As ferocious as their live presence and a whole lotta fun to boot.


marmozets knowing what you know now

A beast of a return for British rock’s next great hope.


hookworms microshift

Smash single ‘Negative Space’ will have even the least rhythmic of you chair-dancing. 72

A clattering of iron bars before the brawl in a slaughter house – that’s how Preoccupations’ latest roars into life on opener ‘Espionage’. Aggressive, unsettling, intense and emotionally-tearing, it’s very much business as usual for the Calgary outfit. Bringing in Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Paramore, Wolf Alice) to mix the album has lead to a cocktail of fresh nuances, a certain sheen to complement their well-established fury. And, despite the fact the album centres upon depression and self-hatred, it drips with a lost romance, a cynicism that is not entirely immune to a ray of hope. In a world of easy sound bites, ‘New Material’ has withdrawn from the spectacle to pursue a whole new goal - to teach you something about yourself. (Matthew Davies Lombardi) LISTEN: ‘Espionage’


From exorcising demons to working with Paramore producer Justin MeldalJohnsen, Preoccupations tell Will Richards about the road to ‘New Material’. Hi Preoccupations! Your new album’s done - how does it feel? Eight months down the drain. Nah, it feels very satisfying and always surprising that we manage to keep finishing records. This will be number four in as many years, so we’re keeping the pace up anyway. You’ve said the album is an “ode to self-sabotage” - do you see writing the album as having exorcised some of those demons? Absolutely, we use music as medicine. It makes me feel bad for people who are going through depression, but aren’t creative and don’t have that outlet. Learn the flute you depressed pieces of shit! How was it working with Justin Meldal-Johnsen on the mixing of the record? I think he did a great job making sense out the jumbled mess of tracks that we gave him. The past couple of records, we’ve been a little more handson with the mixing process, and this time we kind of just left it up to him. It’s very tedious work, and he’s got an impeccable ear for mixing.

挀愀琀栀漀氀椀挀 愀挀琀椀漀渀 昀攀戀爀甀愀爀礀 ㈀ ㄀㠀 ㈀㌀爀搀   氀漀渀搀漀渀Ⰰ 戀椀爀琀栀搀愀礀猀 ㈀㜀琀栀   戀爀椀猀琀漀氀Ⰰ 挀爀漀昀琀攀爀ᤠ猀 爀椀最栀琀猀 ㈀㠀琀栀   氀攀攀搀猀Ⰰ 漀瀀漀爀琀漀 洀愀爀挀栀 ㈀ ㄀㠀 ㄀猀琀    猀栀攀昀昀椀攀氀搀Ⰰ 爀攀挀漀爀搀 樀甀渀欀攀攀 ㈀渀搀    ㈀渀搀  戀攀搀昀漀爀搀Ⰰ 攀猀焀甀椀爀攀猀Ⰰ ㌀爀搀    氀椀瘀攀爀瀀漀漀氀Ⰰ 猀栀椀瀀瀀椀渀最 昀漀爀攀挀愀猀琀 㐀琀栀    礀漀爀欀Ⰰ 昀甀氀昀漀爀搀 愀爀洀猀 ㈀ 琀栀   猀漀甀琀栀愀洀瀀琀漀渀Ⰰ 栀攀愀爀琀戀爀攀愀欀攀爀猀 ㈀㄀猀琀   戀爀椀最栀琀漀渀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 栀漀瀀攀 ㈀㈀渀搀  最甀椀氀搀昀漀爀搀Ⰰ 戀漀椀氀攀爀漀漀洀 ㈀㌀爀搀   挀愀爀搀椀昀昀Ⰰ 挀氀甀戀 椀昀漀爀 戀愀挀栀 ㈀㐀琀栀   ㈀㐀琀栀  最氀愀猀最漀眀Ⰰ 欀椀渀最 琀甀琀猀 䐀攀戀甀琀 䰀倀Ⰰ ᠠ䤀渀 䴀攀洀漀爀礀 伀昀ᤠ 伀唀吀 一伀圀

SJM Concerts & DF by arrangement with Coda presents


& (London only)

Fri Sat Mon Tue Thu Fri Sat


2nd 3rd 5th 6th 8th 9th 10th

Mar Mar Mar Mar Mar Mar Mar

Norwich Birmingham Bristol Leeds Glasgow Manchester London

(all dates)

UEA 02 Academy Colston Hall O2 Academy Barrowland O2 Apollo Alexandra Palace | New Album A FEVER DREAM out now




reiði (Search & Destroy)

‘Reiði’ sees Black Foxxes wave goodbye to ethereal atmospherics, packing a heftier punch with some serious hooks, not least in the furious one-two of ‘Manic In Me’ and the excellent lead single ‘Saela’, both of which showcase their vastly heightened confidence. The experimental ‘JOY’ sits as a thunderous midpoint to a record that ultimately sees vocalist Mark Holley go full on Jeff Buckley in stunning closer ‘Float On’, a track which perfectly captures the two sides of Black Foxxes. It’s this balance of hearty riffs and atypical atmospheric twists that continually define their sound. ‘Reiði’ is peppered with surprises, from the thoughtfully used trumpets in ‘JOY’ to the gut-wrenching delivery of the comparably stripped back ‘Take Me Home’. ‘Reiði’ presents an awakening from the bleak nature of their debut, fully embracing their pop influences. They continue to create and deliver captivatingly unique songs. (Ben Tipple) LISTEN: ‘Manic in Me’



LIZA ANNE fine but dying

(Arts & Crafts)

“I feel like I’m dying, but in a good way,” says a giddy voice at the end of ‘Kid Gloves’. That feeling of being about to meet your maker crops up a lot - Liza Anne’s third album is titled ‘Fine But Dying’, after all - but it’s not always tied to such positivity. It details the panic disorder she’s lived with for most of her life. Her attitude brings a stinging honesty to the country lilt of ‘Closest To Me’, and ‘Paranoia’ opens with epic drums but turns swiftly into something more creeping and agitated. ‘Fine But Dying’ is the logical next step in Liza’s journey - one that’s not only brave, but also simultaneously bruising, revivifying, and a comforting weapon against the turbulence of the human mind. (Rhian Daly) LISTEN: ‘Paranoia’


autonomy (Zen Ten)

Table Scraps are scuzzy, uncompromising, and tongue in cheek. As such, ‘Autonomy’ harbours many of those same traits, and though its clattering garage rock may feel familiar for those who spent any time with the band’s debut, it does just enough to distance itself. While one can’t go as far as to say that they’ve undergone a complete maturing between records - each snarled lyric still feels brattish and uncouth - there’s a definite feeling that the band’s approach to their songwriting is coming from a more considered place. ‘Autonomy’ is a record that gallops more than canters, yet occasionally falls victim to its own sludge; bogged down by the murky waters of the Mississippi delta when it should be doing speedballs in an NYC dive bar. (Dave Beech) LISTEN: ‘More Than You Need Me’

eeee LO MOON

lo moon (Columbia)

Lo Moon’s self-titled debut is a daring and complex record scored through with emotional tumult and a nuanced understanding of the groups that have inspired them. 2017 single ‘Loveless’ remains the standout, but ‘The Right Thing’ is similarly epic in scope, as is ‘Wonderful Life’ - both tracks underpinned by maelstroms of swirling synth. The back half of the record contains its more experimental moments, particularly on the beguiling ‘My Money’, but it’s when they’re in thrall to their heroes that Lo Moon really soar. That’s especially true on ‘Thorns’, when - and this is no small compliment - they invoke the spirit of ‘Laughing Stock’-era Talk Talk. A towering debut. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Loveless’

i’ll be your girl

(Rough Trade)

“When you’ve been a band for 17 years, inevitably there are habits you fall into,” The Decemberists’ vocalist Colin Meloy said of new album ‘I’ll Be Your Girl’. “So our ambition this time was really just to get out of our comfort zone.” First single ‘Severed’ saw the band do just that, embracing skittish synths. Opener ‘Once In My Life’, meanwhile, is a towering introduction, Colin lamenting “For once in my life / Could something go right?”. His vocals are still immaculate on the band’s eighth studio album, and his storytelling still gripping. Musically, though, the album too often drifts back into those old habits they’ve tried so hard to avoid. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Once In My Life’ 74




combat sports

With ace single ‘I Can’t Quit’ on board already, it’s anthems a-go-go from February’s cover stars. Released 30th March.


goat girl

The way the Class of 2018 stars’ self-titled debut is going, it’ll be grubbier than a student’s house gutters. Out 6th April.


boarding house reach

Ol’ Jack’s been peppering that trademark sound with vintage synths, if the tracks we’ve heard are to go by. Released 23rd March.


eeee NAKHANE you will not die (BMG)

Nakhane’s music is driven by defiance. Growing up gay in a strict Christian household in South Africa, ‘You Will Not Die’ screams of a release from pent-up feelings. They’re transmitted gorgeously, with hints of the regal majesty of Wild Beasts and the tenderness of Perfume Genius. Lead single ‘Clairvoyant’ is a shiny, dancefloor-bound stomper, while highlight ‘Presbyteria’ circles around an earworm of a whispered vocal hook. Flitting between piano-based balladry and swells of intense electronics, ‘You Will Not Die’ is glued together by Nakhane’s delicate vocal. An album that values intensity and tenderness in equal measure, ‘You Will Not Die’ is a multi-faceted and fascinating introduction. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Clairvoyant’

ee OF MONTREAL white is relic / irrealis mood (Polyvinyl)

14 studio albums, 10 EPs and 15 former members later, and ‘White Is Relic / Irrealis Mood’ is just as vast and complex as of Montreal. Now working solo, Kevin Barnes concocts a tough exterior to a record whose doors are already hard to break down. When positioned, chopped-up and squeezed in, against contrasting section after contrasting section, any one feels overwhelming and unnecessary. Elongation relies not just on quality component parts, but on tender placement and a development which holds some compassion. On this rich but straggling album, of Montreal fail on both accounts. (Ellen Peirson-Hagger) LISTEN: ‘Plateau Phase / No Careerism No Corruption’


violence (Play It Again Sam)

If Editors’ fifth album (2015’s ‘In Dream’) presented them as survivors, their sixth at times even makes a case for a return to the spotlight. Lead single ‘Magazine’ possesses the moodiness of Interpol with added euphoria, whilst ‘Violence’ creates an almost creepy yet endearing atmosphere throughout its six-minute run. The problem, ultimately, is overindulgence - and it holds ‘Violence’ back from being a return-to-form. Piano ballad ‘No Sound But The Wind’ drags its heels in a ‘Coldplay at their worst’ kind of way, whilst ‘Belong’ confirms the album’s desperate need for some hard editing. Whilst aiming for something epic in scope, the five-piece have yet again delivered an album that will merely keep wheels turning. (Dan Jeakins) LISTEN: ‘Magazine’


jericho sirens (Sub Pop)

This is the first Hot Snakes record since 2004 and it sounds every inch as if it was formed in the same mould as the last three. Hot Snakes have always seemed to value fun over ferocity, and ‘Jericho Sirens’ is bound to have long-time fans grinning like Cheshire cats at its sheer energy. There’s evidence of evolution in their sound, too; both the title track and ‘Candid Cameras’ are based primarily in groove, with bass and spat-out vocals lending them an edge that’s somewhere between glam-pop stomp and funk-driven strut. Hot Snakes throw a hell of a rock and roll party; let’s hope the invites to the next one don’t take another fourteen years to arrive. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Psychoactive’


EP-OCALYPSE NOW! Because sometimes good things come in small(er) packages.



state of the state (Specialist Subject)

With their shimmering, warm guitars and vocals that land right in the feels, on ‘State of the State’ Pillow Queens don’t put a foot wrong. The way everything melts and flows into one another, and their warmth and expression, suit these songs so well that their emotions flood in, from the frustration of ‘Puppets’ to the languid anxiety of ‘Favourite’. Rarely has a facebook bio described a band so perfectly; Pillow Queens could well be your new favourite band. (Nina Keen) LISTEN: ‘Favourite’



all the things i never said (Dirty Hit)

Having first earwormed their way into our subconscious with the sugary one-two punch of ‘There’s A Honey’ and ‘Television Romance’, Pale Waves waste little time in reaching those same pop heights. Led by the forlorn ‘New Year’s Eve’ – a melancholy tale of the expectation vs reality of the year’s end - ‘All The Things I Never Said’ builds upon the heady foundations laid by their debut tracks, while also giving a more rounded taste of their talents. While ‘The Tide’ comes packed with jangly guitars and soaring pop hooks, it’s the shimmering synths of the mid-paced ‘My Obsession’ that really stands out here. These four tracks may only be giving an initial taste of Pale Waves’ powers, but it’s certainly both short and sweet. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN ‘My Obsession’



time will die and love will bury it (Holy Roar)

Rolo Tomassi’s time to date has been marked by experimentalism at every turn, from working with Diplo on second album ‘Cosmology’ to interpolating an orchestral string section on 2015’s ‘Grievances’. ‘Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It’ represents yet another curveball from Rolo Tomassi, and, as usual, feels like a direct kick against what came before. Right from the gentle instrumental opener ‘Towards Dawn’, there’s something almost sunny about ‘Time Will Die…’ - it’s imbued with a palpable sense of optimism, which might be a first for the band. Key to the sense of an upward trajectory are the melodic guitars that run through the likes of ‘Aftermath’ and ‘Whispers Among Us’, but even on the much noisier ‘Rituals’ and ‘Balancing the Dark’, the six-string cues are plucked from freewheeling punk. For all the twists and turns that Rolo Tomassi have made, this is their first album that can reasonably be described as being, first and foremost, riotously good fun. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Aftermath’



there’s a riot going on (Matador)

When Yo La Tengo put out ‘Fade’ in 2013, it was near-unanimously received as a standout in their storied back catalogue. They’ve not rushed this follow-up, with 2015’s ‘Stuff Like That There’ primarily a collection of covers and reworks. It shows, too, at least on the face of it; ‘There’s a Riot Going On’ is a carefully crafted and unhurried listen, but as languid as the tempo can feel and as melodic and carefree as the guitars and electronics sound, their decision to borrow the album’s title from Sly and the Family Stone’s stormy 1971 state of the union address was not one made with tongue in cheek. Instead, repeat listens reveal that beneath the dainty instrumentation and breezy arrangements, Yo La Tengo are not immune to the darkness enveloping the world. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Shortwave’


Rolo Tomassi’s Eva and James Spence reveal how they’ve channelled positivity and expanded their palette for LP5. Interview: Sarah Jamieson. Going into this record, what did you want to musically and lyrically explore after releasing an album like ‘Grievances’? Eva: We had chosen the title of the record before writing anything else. This was a brand new way of looking at it, and offered a brief with lyrics. We felt the title was a lot more expansive than ‘Grievances’ and allowed a lot of room to explore the themes, I feel like the lyrics are a lot more honest and open in this record covering themes like time, death, change, love and grief. You returned to The Ranch to work with Lewis Johns again; how was the experience this time?

James: Even better than the first experience which was the reason we went back! Lewis is a fantastic producer and collaborator as well as being one of the most patient people in the world. We share influences and have a great working relationship. It’s an ideal partnership. What would you like listeners to take away from the record? James: I hope people can take something a bit more positive and hopeful than what was on offer with Grievances. Despite its dark moments, ‘...Love Will Bury It’ is a considerably more positive record for me. I think it demonstrates a much wider scope of what we’re capable of musically.




78 78

Various venues, Groningen. Photos: Emma Swann. Superorganism

Canshaker Pi

roningen may play second fiddle to its more famous Dutch cousins in terms of city stature, but for one week a year it turns into the hub of the music industry. The festival may be host to a whole fistful of new talents, but if you want to even get close to this year’s most hotlytipped acts, then be prepared for a long ol’ queue. It’s a fate that befalls swathes of people trying to get into both Sigrid and Pale Waves. Superorganism, too, pack out the none-too-small Machinefabriek to capacity. With their travelling circus of visuals, primary-coloured outfits and ribbon-decked tambourines, theirs is a show that prioritises joy. That teenage frontwoman Orono delivers her between-song chat with the kind of deadpan sarcasm that’s basically one big eyeball roll feels incongruous; with a giddy song about being a prawn, all claims to even ironic aloofness are off the cards. It’s two of the Netherlands’ own that lead the charge of the truly new, however. Amsterdam quartet Canshaker Pi are an idiosyncratic ball of energy that channels the wonkiness of Pavement while adding a noisier Ty Segall-esque slant on the likes of ‘JALS’. Pip Blom and her band, meanwhile, up the sun-bleached jangles of their recent singles to something altogether fiercer live. There’s still a soft lilt to the singer’s crackled vocal, but they’re pleasingly raw and rough around the edges tonight.

Pip Blom

Now heading into album four,

Agar Agar

Danish punks Iceage are a far more established proposition than most on the bill here. Maybe it’s down to a more stagnant crowd than they’re used to, but Elias Bender Rønnenfelt and co seem to lack some of the aggression that made their early material so exciting. Swedish duo Pale Honey have also been in the game a while now, but their twowoman-Warpaint charms are still yet to fully break through on UK shores. Judging by tonight, they deserve to: conjuring up a brooding, fuzzy spell that’s equal parts icy cool and Kills-esque grit, they’re worthy of stepping out from the peripheries. French duo Agar Agar are the surprise big-hitter of the weekend. Musically, it’s all Italo-disco synths and warm, pillowy beats, but there’s something in Clara Cappagli’s vocal that elevates it out of the club. It’s danceable music rather than dance music, with a brooding undercurrent. Elsewhere there are the inevitable handful of wobbles. Italian Giorgio Poi aims for Mac DeMarco but ends up sounding like he should be the inoffensive in-house artist at a cafe. Belgian duo Equal Idiots, meanwhile, are promising but still in their infancy. Mid-January might be an eye-wateringly early time to begin the year’s festivals, but in terms of laying the groundwork for the next year, Eurosonic shows us that 2018 should be just fine. (Lisa Wright) 79

House of Vans, London. Photos: Emma Swann. he next time The Vaccines play London, it’ll be at the cavernous Alexandra Palace. It means that tonight’s show at the teenyin-comparison House of Vans - while out of the ordinary in any circumstance - feels particularly special. No-one really needs winning over tonight, but the now-five-piece still crash into the set like they’ve got a firm point to prove. It’s well and truly done within the first ten minutes, during which they bash out ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ and ‘Teenage Icon’, instant reminders of their stadium-sized indie prowess. New tracks from upcoming full-length ‘Combat Sports’ are sprinkled throughout, with ‘Your Love Is My Favourite Band’ a highlight, and ‘I Can’t Quit’ already one of the catchiest songs the band have ever written, but tonight serves more as a reminder of quite how many bangers The Vaccines have in their back pocket. They’re delivered with gusto, too. Justin Young prowls around the stage, sunglasses donned, looking like a true rockstar. His bandmates, meanwhile, look reinvigorated, barely pausing for breath. A one-two of ‘Wetsuit’ and ‘Post-Break Up Sex’ raises voices so much that they completely fill the room, before ‘If You Wanna’, ‘No Hope’ and ‘Norgaard’ make for a storming finish. The glitz and glamour will arrive at Ally Pally, but tonight is a firm reminder that The Vaccines are back with a bang. (Will Richards)



ULU, London. Photo: James Kelly.



armozets’ second album ‘Knowing What You Know Now’ released at the tail-end of last month - is a spiky, unpredictable beast, one which flutters with abandon between a funky strut and a hammerblow of riffs. Tonight’s show at ULU is largely the same, staying true to the band’s genre-bending ebb and flow.

The strength of ‘Knowing What You Know Now’ comes in its punch: the album is an invigorating series of propulsive choruses and fearless, swaggering verses. Unfortunately for tonight, though, such power only truly seems to fully translate to the front half of the room, with the venue’s sound system sounding somewhat numbed further back. New album material makes up the majority of the set, with its singles getting the best reception of the night. Opening with a blistering one-two of ‘New Religion’ and ‘Habits’, vocalist Becca MacIntyre is a versatile frontwoman. One minute she’s tearing her vocal chords apart inches from the front row; the next, she’s hip-shaking with a wide-eyed grin on her face. ‘Weird And Wonderful…’ cuts ‘Move, Shake, Hide’ and ‘Born Young And Free’ incite something close to pandemonium in the front rows, as do ‘Knowing…’ highlights ‘Play’ and ‘Major System Error’, while ‘Run With The Rhythm’ is a true epic, a soaring call to arms. A sea of friends on shoulders greets closer ‘Captivate You’, and the second age of Marmozets is well underway. A little more time for tracks from album two to bed in (and a beefier soundystem) and they’ll be ready to claim their throne. (Will Richards)

kendrick lamar The O2, London.

With ‘DAMN.’, Kendrick Lamar took on a new persona, that of Kung Fu Kenny. Tonight’s show tracks the life and times of the persona via an often hilarious series of clips played throughout the show. Sprinkled throughout, the clips allow breathers for both Kendrick and the audience: tonight is an all-out assault on the senses. From a thunderous opening of ‘DNA.’ and ‘ELEMENT.’ into ‘King Kunta’, the show is immaculately produced and impossible to take your eyes off. He takes to a second stage in the middle of the arena for ‘LUST.’, which sees him prowling a sparkling cage, which he then ascends to stand atop of for a triumphant ‘Money Trees’. While the show never quite strays into becoming gimmick-y, ‘PRIDE.’ brings the next surprise, seeing Kendrick somehow, amazingly, suspended and rapping, um, sideways. The instrumentation on ‘HUMBLE.’ is stripped away, the crowd left to complete the rap themselves. It’s then given its full run-through, a euphoric encore of ‘GOD.’ is rolled out, London is declared the rapper’s “second motherfuckin’ home” and he’s gone. A masterclass of an arena show, The ‘DAMN.’ Tour sees Kendrick at the peak of his powers, and pushing live performance in new ways. As if any more confirmation were needed, tonight shows he’s the greatest in the world right now. (Will Richards)


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orris 0 R ae M st: £4.5 y ale Co ession sary, Brockle s it u fr Dispen : Grape Drink ondon Beer n: L ocatio

Chosen subject: BLACKPOOL Q1: In what year did the famous Blackpool Illuminations first take place? Shit! How long? I’m going to embarrass myself and Blackpool. It must be post-war? Honestly I’m stumped. It was 1879. Q2: Which world-famous band were banned from playing in Blackpool for nearly 50 years? Was it... uh, The Rolling Stones? Bang on! Q3: How many words make up the famous comedy carpet on Blackpool seafront? Oh wow. It’s gotta be loads right? I’m gonna guess something like 170,000

General Knowledge

Close, 160,000. Q4: How long does it take to repaint Blackpool tower? Oh it must be ages... somewhere between 5 and 10 years? It’s seven years - does that equal half a point? Q5: Which film director labelled himself ‘Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s biggest fan?’ Oh I’ve actually got no idea! Is, Tarantino? It’s actually Tim Burton. Me and him are gonna have to have a few words, because I’m absolutely Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s biggest fan.



SCORE 5/10 Verdict: ‘Do You Even Know?’, Rae? We eagerly await the battle for Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s biggest fan, mind.


Q6: As of December 2017, what’s the most viewed YouTube video of all time? Not Ed Sheeran? Uh... oh god, what was big last year? ‘Despacito’? It is ‘Despacito’. I’ve actually never seen it. It doesn’t need any more views anyway. Q7: In what year did Coronation Street first broadcast? I used to watch Corrie religiously. I’d even watch the Omnibus so I could see them all again. Is it...uh, the ‘60s? It’s 1960 on the dot. Let’s call that half a point. Q8: Which four cities in the UK have an underground

rail network? OK, so London. And I genuinely don’t know any others? Manchester? No? London, and then Glasgow, Liverpool, and Newcastle. Well I’ve learned something new today. Q9: The beaver is the national emblem of which country? I was gonna say Canada, but isn’t that the maple leaf? It is Canada. Well there we go. Q10: A Boobie is a type of what animal? Hmm. I’ve heard of this. I know this! A type of... bird? Correct.





SiLk city

MURA MASA thunderCat


GRACE JONES speCial gUests

First aid Kit



ChaKa Khan

JiMmY ClifF steFflon Don DaViD roDigan & the oUtlooK orChestra Kojey raDiCal dUBioza KoleKtiV gentleMan’s duB ClUB

songhoy BlUes the CUBan Brothers idles this is the Kit ChaKa DeMUs & pliers oh my god! it’s the ChurCh l.a. salami son of daVe

Jorja smith sUnDara Karma Kelela DJango django

gilles peterson iaMDdB maBel Charlotte de Witte lotto BoyZz hot ChiP Mega mix not3s Kojo fUnDs ghetts CasisdeaD Mr jUKes agoria (liVe) norMan jaY MiKe sKinner & mUrKage Pres tonga: holy gooF, donea’o & JayKae Craig Charles Phil taggart Pres slaCKer: ratBoy, shame, superFooD,

donna leaKe anDY BlaKe jazZheadChroniC (the south lonDon soUl train)

shaKa loVes YoU

reaCh uP DisCo wonDerlanD aMy alsop Perri Kaye


(dj set)

Chali 2na & Krafty Kuts

BeZ’s aCiD hoUse wooKie Matt jaM laMont stanton Warriors shogUn aUdio Pres. alix Perez, teChniMatiC, Pola, Bryson & glxY Big FreeDia dj BraCe jodie harsh KidDY smile savage


dj set dj set

amelie lens solardo

CamelPhat honey dijon Mall graB denis sulta artWorK Flava d PalMs trax oBJeKt darKzY fineart nastia mella Dee Moxie eli & Fur alex niggemann BenJaMin DaMage haai jaMz supernova aMine K goldieroCKs tasty lopez

ConFidenCe man sinK the pinK adrian sherWooD We are sCientists nilÜFer Yanya eBenezer haK BaKer CaravÃna sun graCe Carter Mellah Blossom Caldarone KittY, Daisy & lewis the Correspondents

east 17’s Christmas Party Jaguar sKills so solid Crew

Chris CoCo Jane fitz Mixmaster Morris Flying white Dots Flying moJito Bros

rUdiMental BiCep


pres. MetalheaDZ

DaViD roDigan pres. raM JaM

raM reCorDs: loadstar B2B dC BreaKs B2B MinD Vortex the 2 Bears Foor nathan dawe raDar raDio Billy daniel BUnter & rainDanCe haPpY Meals Biig piig

temPle fUnK ColleCtiVe urBan voodoo maChine pres. the gYpsy hotel BufFos waKe MY BaBy sKa v goldsMith John fairhUrst junior JUngle

viC reeves (reggae set)

reggae roast ft. natty CamPBell dj shepdog (niCe Up!) eZra ColleCtive JazZ re:fresheD toKYo sex Wail iMmigrant sWing MoVimientos

DIY, March 2018  
DIY, March 2018