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Perfume Genius Pumarosa Superfood + tons more

s et mu s ic fr e e free / is s ue 63 / MAY 2 017 diymag .com

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time listening to FJM’s Emma Swann ‘Pure Comedy’, reflecting Founding Editor on how in ten years we’ll GOOD Harry Styles. all be dribbling lumps EVIL I haven’t been fortunate enough to take incapable of independent thought, and the other his photograph (yet). half banging back lagers H, if you’re reading? listening to Kasabian. .............................. EVIL Possibly having an El hunt identity crisis? Features Editor ............................. GOOD I met Nelly Will Richards Furtado (!) and she told Digital Editor me she’s found where GOOD Paramore’s ‘Hard her soul is. Iconic. Times’ is a blindingly fun EVIL HELP ME TO BE pop gem. Bring on LP5! AS COOL AS PERFUME GENIUS AND PWR BTTM. EVIL April was the month of awful gig clashes. Work ............................. around my schedule, k, LOuise Mason bands? Art Director .............................. GOOD The Paramore shoot is the greatest. I c Eugenie Johnson Pooneh / bright colours. Staff Writer EVIL I’ve forgetten how to GOOD Making little be a real living human after pilgrimages around the making so many pages country to see Russian this month. Circles and Deafheaven. .............................. EVIL Being woken Lisa Wright Staff Writer GOOD Spent half my

up at 5am constantly because blackout curtains aren’t quite as effective as they say.






The last time we saw Paramore, they were on the top of the world: fresh from releasing their biggest album yet and headlining Reading & Leeds, it seemed as though the future couldn’t get any brighter. Oh how wrong we were. In this issue we head to Nashville, where the trio - Hayley, Taylor and the newly-returned Zac - talk us through some of the hardest battles they’ve had to face. Now they’re back with ‘After Laughter’ and it’s their most mind-bogglingly brilliant effort to date. Elsewhere, the incredible Perfume Genius dives into new album ‘No Shape’, we hang out with PWR BTTM in Texas and manage to find time to join both Black Honey AND the Dirty Hit crew on the road. Phew! Sarah Jamieson, Managing Editor GOOD I got to go to Nashville, visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and eat fried chicken for breakfast. EVIL Not being able to tell anyone - including team DIY! - that Paramore were our cover stars was bloody difficult.


What’s been tickling the DIY team’s eardrums this month? Royal Blood - How Did We Get So Dark? (2017) Royal Blood’s upcoming second album is a thunderous return, anchored around blistering recent single ‘Lights Out’. Things get weirder and more involved in parts on LP2, but don’t worry, the riffs are still out in force. (WR) Charlotte Church - Tissues and Issues (2001)

In between jaunty belter ‘Moodswings (To Come At Me Like That)’ key-jangling sauce-fest ‘Call My Name,’ and the absolutely legendary moment of pop perfection ‘Crazy Chick’ this earlynoughties masterpiece really has it all. Hold tight for the Late Night Pop Dungeon, everyone. (EH) 3







FEATURES 34 44 48 52 56 60



Founding Editor Emma Swann Managing Editor Sarah Jamieson Features Editor El Hunt Digital Editor Will Richards Neu Editor Jamie Milton Staff Writers Lisa Wright, Eugenie Johnson Art Direction & Design Louise Mason DIY Live & Events Rhi Lee, Jack Clothier Contributors Alim Kheraj, Dan Jeakins, Dave Beech, Henry Boon, Jessica Goodman, Joe Goggins, Lisa Henderson, Matthew Davies, Rhian Daly, Tom Hancock, Tom Walters. Photographers Fiona Sneddon, Kasia Osowiecka, Leah Henson, Lindsay Melbourne, Mike Massaro, Patrick Gunning, Phil Smithies, Phoebe Fox, Pooneh Ghana, Poppy Marriott, Ruth Kilpatrick, Thomas Brooker, Victoria Ling.

For DIY editorial For DIY sales For DIY stockist enquiries DIY is published by Sonic Media Group. All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of DIY. 25p where sold. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which Sonic Media Group holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. Cover photo: Pooneh Ghana.

The Great Escape

18th – 20th May

Baba Shrimps


One Sentence. Supervisor



Sophie Hunger

Debrah Scarlett

Odd Beholder

Zeal & Ardor





Taking on the biggest headline tour of their career to date, we join the Honeys for three days of glorious, gamechanging madness. Words & photos: Lisa Wright. Photos: Lindsay Melbourne, Poppy Marriott.


“You just have to build your world outwards from this vision until it’s Hogwarts.” - Izzy B. Phillips

very day, for at least an hour before doors open in whatever increasingly large venue the band happen to be stopping at that night, frontwoman Izzy B. Phillips turns the merch stand into an immersive window through to Black Honey’s world. There are a revolving cast of helpers – friends and associates of the band and, for the three days across Derby, Reading and Brighton that we join them, DIY too – but really it’s the singer’s vision. More art installation than two-bit t-shirt shop, it’s truly a thing to behold. Alongside a growing range of custom-designed pin badges, patches, shirts and vinyl, there are glowing flamingoes (a nod to avian mascot Jerry), fairy lights, vintage suitcases and a temporary tattoo parlour to set the scene. On this tour, the band have even whipped up a huge batch of disposable red drinks cups nodding to a certain famous cola brand (no lawsuits please) that are given to everyone who passes by. It’s overblown and brilliant. In every city, people enthusiastically label it the most impressive merch display they’ve ever seen. “I want it to be a really immersive experience. To go to a gig and have a massive light display and merch stand, and come back with a cup and ridiculous mementoes. I want it to be a whole world,” enthuses Izzy, sat backstage with her band mates on the final, homecoming night of the tour. “Bands are caught up in thinking that they’re trying too hard because it’s very uncool to do that in the ‘band world’. Everyone’s all about wearing baggy jeans and not giving fucks, but we’re outrageous and we don’t give a fuck about giving all of the fucks.” Since posting a mysterious phone


NeWS number online back in 2014, asking fans to text asking them anything, Black Honey have marked themselves out as a group unafraid to go their own way. From their frequent Tarantino reference points, to the stylised artwork that’s been there since day one, the band have set about unveiling the full scope of their vision piece by piece, grabbing each opportunity by the balls as it comes. Rather than roll out a half-arsed lyric video with each track, they waited to release a clip until recent single ‘Hello Today’ when a little more income allowed them to head to the California desert to make a badass short film to

accompany it. Recently they’ve been touring with an enormous lightbulb display emblazoning their name. It fills up half the van and half the stage in most venues, but every day it gets hauled out all the same. “I see it like Hogwarts or something,” she continues. “Each time [you take the next step] you’re letting different characters come out. You know how extensive Harry Potter’s world is? When she [author JK Rowling] writes there’s Hogwarts in the centre but then there’s all these peripheral ideas and that’s without the stuff that didn’t even make it.” She pauses as her bandmates groan in a way that suggests that this is not an unusual tangent: “You just have to build your world outwards from this vision in


your head until it’s Hogwarts.” Over the three days and nights we spend with the band as they tackle one of the biggest crowds at Derby’s 2Q festival before rerouting back to their headline dates in Reading and Brighton (a sold out, 600-cap homecoming), it’s easy to get lost in the Honeys’ world. Having known each other for nearly a decade, Izzy, Chris (Ostler, guitar), Tommy (Taylor, bass) and Tom (Dewhurst aka Dewboy, drums) have the easy familiarity of family. When Izzy rolls into a late night off license during a pit stop in Derby on a small, pink, just-acquired children’s scooter singing Whigfield’s ‘Saturday Night’, she’s greeted with a patient

sigh from Tommy and told to get back in the van. They may look like Blondie incarnate in photos, but it’s fair to say they’re a lovable bunch of idiots behind the lens. This approachability, however, is what makes all the difference. Stopping in a service station after Reading’s sweaty madness - “That’s the first time we’ve had to ask people to move backwards for their safety,” notes Tommy. “It was like The Walking Dead” - Izzy is half-heartedly rubbing off some stray lipstick and attempting to cover a spot. Although, she notes, their imagery is so strong, she likes meeting fans and

Chris <3 Inheaven’s James 4eva.

having photos with people looking like a normal, flawed person. Their world is escapist, not intimidating. “When I was younger, I couldn’t believe you could be in a room with someone who made music that you loved so much,” she says later. “I thought bands had jacuzzis backstage that they sat in all day and drank champagne. But we want to be approachable. We have a strong connection with our fans, we spend a lot of time with them.” Black Honey are committed entirely to their own plan, happy to wait out getting signed until the full scope of their ideas are ready to unfold. “We’re inventing our own route as we go. We’re an indie rock band, but we operate like a pop band project. That’s how I see it in my head.” “Yeah, we’re like Katy Perry with the awkward shark,” deadpans Tommy. “Except all of us are left shark.” Ferocious, determined to get what they want but just a little bit ridiculous, he might have something there. DIY Black Honey are appearing at Live at Leeds this year. Head to for details.



















Believe it or not, indie celebs sometimes do normal things, too. They get lost, go food shopping, catch buses – all sorts. This month, we clocked a fair few of them roaming around… Marika Hackman headbanging to MUNA’s majestic cover of Evanescence’s ‘Bring Me To Life’. We then spotted her a week later at The Big Moon’s album party, sporting some pink-tinted nan glasses. Marika Hack-nan. Palma Violets’ Chilli Jesson swigging a ginger mojito in East London’s Ridley Road Market. He wasn’t eating any ‘Chicken Dippers’ at the time, as far as we know. Yer boy GeoRGE ‘GEOFF’ Ezra pottering aimlessly around a cafe next door to DIY HQ. Maybe he was looking for Budapest and took a wrong turn?

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

Position of the Month:

As with all physically taxing displays of athleticism - polevaulting, 100m sprints, pieeating contests, a full day on Oxford Street shopping - the key to executing Alex’s high kick is in the meticulous preparation. Limbering up with some calf stretches is probably a decent idea beforehand, and eating springy foods like sponge cake and tofu might help too, you never know. Blasting Kero Kero Bonito’s ‘Trampoline’-inspired pop bop as loud as you can could prove helpful. When it comes to your time to shine and kick high - preferably during a scrappy pop-punk number - really focus on working yourself up into a super competitive frenzy; a bit like your Grandad when he’s had a few too many sherrys during a game of Monopoly. Take a deep breath, and kick like it’s the final deciding round of Street Fighter II. Alex would be proud.

the high kick

First Executed By: Alex Luciano, Diet Cig


“You’re a wizard, Grimes!” “No I’m not, I’m just Grimes!” (repeat to infinity). @grimes

An absolutely iconic Easter-inspired look from St Vinny, here. @st_vincent

Let’s not beat around the bush: every month, at least one of our favourite pop stars does something brilliant. So, to celebrate, we’ve decided to dedicate a few column inches to The Best Person In Music This Particular Month™.

FATHER JOHN MISTY Last month, avid fans of FJM piled into London’s Rio Cinema for a rather nifty intimate performance, during which, good ol’ Papa John decided to call out yours truly and our news-writing habits. The cheek of it! Well, you’ve only gone and done it now.


Ahead of the game as always, Ezra Koenig wearing his ‘meme mask’. @arze


NeWS After a chaotic five years, with more dramatic happenings than your average episode of EastEnders, Noodle, 2-D, Murdoc and Russel are back with new album ‘Humanz’. Featuring a massive list of starstudded collaborators - from Vince Staples and Jehnny Beth, to Carly Simon, Graham Coxon, and Kelela, to just scrape the surface - we got the whole Gorillaz gang together to talk everything from Freudian disasters involving whales, to their firm. Interview: El Hunt.

How are things at Gorillaz HQ? Murdoc Niccals: I won’t lie, getting back together again has been pretty emotional. Not for me. For the others. Russel, Noodle and 2-D were overwhelmed to be in my presence again. It was almost embarrassing. But that’s why Gorillaz gel so well. Respect for your betters. Russel Hobbs: What’s embarrassing is the Snapchat he sent us all, before we agreed to come back. Murdoc: Don’t know what you’re on about. Russel: He was naked, hugging a Gorillaz photo and cry-singing ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ by Cher. It was low, man. Murdoc: Yeah. Irony, mate. Lost on you Americans. How is 2-D doing after being swallowed - and later regurgitated - by the Mexican whale known as Massive Dick? Murdoc: The kid’s lucky to be alive. A monstrous beast, that whale. No relation to Moby, incidentally. Scourge of the Pacific. Known as ‘Polla Masiva’ by Mexican fishermen. Noodle: A whale’s gastric juices must be very healthful and enriching. 2-D’s skin has never looked better. More… human, somehow. 2-D: It was a scary experience, but sometimes I miss the time I spent with Massive. At night I would go to sleep with my head on his soft aorta, listening to the slow beating of his heart. It was like being back in the womb, just slightly fishier. I cried like a baby when Massive spat me out. Even more when I had to eat him to survive. Murdoc: Fuck me. Freud would have a field day with you. And have you patched things



rivalry with a small kitchen appliances

up with EMI after they kidnapped Murdoc and forced him to make a new album? Murdoc: EMI? They’re long gone, mate. Murdoc Niccals had the last laugh, yet again. When I was incarcerated in Dungeon Abbey, I prayed to the dark lord every night, asking him to help me get my revenge on EMI by taking them apart. And in the end, that’s all it took. That and a £1.2 billion acquisition. Sayonara, wankers. Russel - any forthcoming plans to link up with Russell Hobbs (the small kitchen appliances firm) for a collaborative range? Russel: Seriously!? You telling me some

retail cowboys are getting fat off my name? Do the lawyers know about this? Murdoc: Chill out, Russ. Just make sure you get your cut. George Foreman did alright with that grill, didn’t he? ‘Course, the bigger concern for you is whether this other Russell Hobbs can play the drums. ‘Cos if he can, plus make us cheese toasties, you’re finished. Noodle: It is a very real threat. Machines are part of all of us now. That’s something ‘Humanz’ touches upon. Because who doesn’t like cheese toasties? There are lots of funfair rides at Dreamland – where you’re playing in June. What’s your favorite theme

park ride? Noodle: Not the wildest ride, but I always like the monorail. It makes me feel nostalgic for Japanese innovation. Regrettably, I think we peaked with the Sony Walkman. Murdoc: Hall of Mirrors. Handy if you run out of booze ‘cos it blurs vision for free. That or the Tower of Terror. They must have named it after my groin. 2-D: Dodgems. Before Gorillaz I worked them for two years at Eastbourne Funfair. I sometimes dream of packing music in and going back to that job. Although the last time I tried to leave I was hunted down by Murdoc’s bloodhounds. Russel: We’re already stuck on an

out-of-control roller coaster – it’s called LIFE. Why would I want to make things any more complicated? Previous Gorillaz albums have a distinct lack of song titles with extra ‘z’s on the end. What changed? 2-D: The letter ‘s’. Russel: EVERYTHING’S changed. We all woke up to a dark new reality. And if you can’t see that, it means you’re one of them. Murdoc: Sit down, Russ. Noodle: Our idea was that humans as a species are currently in transition. Becoming something more augmented, more digital. And it’s happening fast. So ‘Humanz’ with a z is like a snapshot of that, a selfie of the human race as it becomes something else. You’ve all had makeovers for ‘Humanz’, and you’re all looking a bit more three-dimensional these days. Especially on the cover. What’s the secret? Blueberries? Gold-dust in your muesli? Murdoc: A shitload of botox. Really fills the cheeks out. 2-D: I might look 3-D, but I’m still 2-D.

“We’re already stuck on an out-ofcontrol roller coaster -

it’s called LIFE.” - Russel hobbs

What do you think it was like for Jehnny Beth, De La Soul, Noel Gallagher, Vince Staples, and all the other album collaborators having to integrate into the cartoon world to work alongside you… Daunting? Or do you all take these things in your stride? Russel: Who d’ya think we are – Alvin and the Chipmunks? Wake up, man. You’re all building digital selves that you want the world to believe in. You inhabit the virtual realm almost more than the physical one. And you’re telling us we’re not real? 2-D: I like Alvin and The Chipmunks. You also worked with Carly Simon on this record. Does anybody do it better? Murdoc: Yes. Madonna. Gorillaz’ new album ‘Humanz’ is out now via Parlophone. DIY


NeWS Mac’s second career as an air hostess was going well.


Indie’s favourite Simpsons-memorabilia collector is back with his new record ‘This Old Dog’ and, thanks to a change of scenery and a bit of perspective, he’s showing off a whole new side to his talents. Words: Lisa Wright. Photo: Phil Smithies.


ast year, following a slight creative wobble (and 3,000 fans turning up on his doorstep after he, somewhat recklessly, gave out his address), Mac DeMarco left New York and bought a place in LA. The relocation meant that, for the first time in his career, the writing of his forthcoming LP (‘This Old Dog’, due May 5th via Captured Tracks) and its recording were disconnected. “I wrote about 13 songs in New York in March of 2016, and as I was going to start making the record, I was like ‘Ah, I just don’t feel like doing this for some reason’. I wasn’t vibing and I couldn’t focus,” he ponders. ”So we went back out on tour and then we moved. In November I had to start thinking about it again, but it’s weird coming back to songs. I’d re-record them and try and make them into this big thing, but then I’d listen back and think it was so stupid. So [in the end] most of the tracks were just the original demos, because they felt the most right or the most real.”

softly-plucked ode to the continuing endurance of love, to 80-second interlude ‘Sister’ – a “sweet little ‘I Love You’ to my ‘sis” it’s a record that’s tender to the core. “When I’m at home it’s the only time I have to think about my life and the way I’m feeling, and all I can really write about is myself. I don’t really know much about anything else.” It all ends on the warped, woozy and heartwrenchingly affective ‘Watching Him Fade Away’: easily the rawest thing Mac’s penned to date. “My dad got really sick this year. I don’t really know the guy very well and that song was my ‘see you later’. But somehow he got better, which was... That was very strange,” he admits. “I thought he’d probably never hear these songs, and that was my way of coping with it, but now he’s probably gonna hear all of them. Maybe it’ll make him smarten up. We’ll see. It’s a bizarre situation to be in.” Strange it may be for the Canadian romantic, but by treading new geographical and emotional ground, he’s sure to have an even bigger legion of fans by his side to help him through.

“I wasn’t vibing and I couldn’t focus.”

The result is the singer’s most stripped-back and intimate album yet. Recorded largely on acoustic guitar, ‘This Old Dog’ finds one of indie’s most naturally romantic raconteurs pinning his heart ever firmer to his sleeve. From the title track, a lilting,


Mac DeMarco’s new album ‘This Old Dog’ is out 5th May via Captured Tracks. Read the full interview in DIY’s Festival Guide 2017, out now. DIY Mac DeMarco is appearing at Sziget and Lowlands this year. Head to for details.

What’s Going On With…




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.

Portugal. The Man

23rd May, Omeara, London It may have been almost four years since Portugal. The Man last released an album, but have no fear: the Alaskans are back, and they come bearing new album ‘Woodstock’. They’ll be taking to the intimate confines of London’s Omeara to showcase some of their new material too, ooh-er.


13th September, Scala, London As you’ll discover later in this issue (over on page 30, ‘FYI’), Sigrid is intent on making some of the most upfront, no-BS pop music around right now. Like the sound of that? She’ll be heading to the Scala this September and - we can guarantee - it’ll be bloody massive.


September 2017, nationwide Having released debut ‘Silhouettes’ earlier this year, Tom Higman and Ben Fletcher are proving themselves fans of forward-planning: they’ve announced plans for a UK tour this September, which will host some of their biggest shows yet. Get yr diaries at the ready. For more information and to buy tickets, head to or

girlpool? As Girlpool gear up to release new album ‘Powerplant’, Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad open up to Charlie Mock about its themes. Your 2015 debut ‘Before The World Was Big’ focused on the constant state of growth that accompanies transitioning from childhood to adulthood. What’s the focal point on ‘Powerplant’? Harmony: I feel like ‘Powerplant’ [thinks about how], in every arena of your life, you have a period of passing through; you’re always passing through things, and arriving, and passing through. Cleo: When we were writing a lot of these songs, Harmony and I were living in different places, [so] it’s a lot about the grey, the in between time of navigating a new kind of lifestyle, living in new cities and a different chapter of our lives.

Harmony: We would just send a lot of voice memos, we would drive to each other to meet up and practice and write.

Long-time fans will notice a move towards a more layered sound both on record and on stage following the addition of two new touring members and percussion on ‘Powerplant’. What prompted the change? Cleo: We were working on these songs that we felt could really be interesting to grow in a way with different instrumentation. The songs had an opportunity to get more climactic at parts and start to explore different kinds of dynamics in songs - we were like, Did navigating this new kind of “oh, we’re kind of writing rock songs!” lifestyle alter your creative process It definitely felt natural and exciting at all? because it was what we wanted to Cleo: [During] that time apart, we were explore, but it was a new kind of dynamic writing more music solo, which I think was and we’re still learning about it. a necessary moment of growth for each other individually. It kind of just naturally Girlpool’s new album ‘Powerplant’ is happened to do our own things for a little out 12th May via Anti- Records. DIY while but like, share them with each other.

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.


Beaconsfield, M40

Connor Schofield: “OK, we’re going with Beaconsfield here. There’s nothing better than pulling off the motorway with an empty stomach and seeing the sign for Beaconsfield services. Am I going to get two sausage rolls from Greggs? Am I going to get a Big Mac? Am I going to get a fillet box meal from KFC? Am I going to Nando’s? Or am I going to bloody Wetherspoons? Never mind service station of the month, this is service station of the Century. Notable celebrity spots include one of the blokes from Take That that wasn’t Gary Barlow, and Hull City FC defender Curtis Davies. They clearly also have very good taste in service stations.”




............................................... Royal Blood • Lights Out ............................................... Royal Blood’s comeback single ‘Lights Out’ is very, well, Royal Blood. From the track’s first grubby bass line, the new cut streamlines everything that made their QOTSA-lite debut album such a hit into an even more brutal beast. An explosive chorus somersaults into a screeching breakdown - it’s as immediate and instantly gratifying as a comeback should be, and puts any doubts that Royal Blood’s new album will make them one of the country’s biggest bands to rest. (Will Richards)

.......................................... • Sløtface • Magazine .......................................... If there’s a better diss to the vapid media culture of ‘It Girls’ and body-shaming than “Patti Smith would never put up with this shit”, then we’re yet to hear it. Like the queen of righteous punk spirit herself, Sløtface are here to fight the good fight – rebelling against magazine images that encourage unrealistic selfcriticism and put “thoughts that aren’t [yours]” in your head. It’s all delivered over the kind of fist-pumping, cathartic chorus that’ll leave you so gleefully sweaty, you’ll only be using those rags to wipe your brow anyway. (Lisa Wright) .......................................... • paramore • Hard Times .......................................... Sugary choruses and enough hooks to catch an ocean of fish have always been 16

part of Paramore, but 2013’s self-titled album took things further, embracing pop with open arms. ‘Hard Times’, the first taste of forthcoming fifth album ‘After Laughter’, strays even further into saccharine-sweet territory, and is all the more enthralling for it. This infectious playfulness isn’t exactly reflected in the track’s lyrics - but as the track’s bonkers, retro, goofy video shows, Paramore have never had as much fun as they’re having right now. (Will Richards) .......................................... • Marika Hackman • My Lover Cindy .......................................... If there’s anyone who can combine jaunty guitars and a burst of sha-lala-las - and make the whole thing GO BLOODY OFF - it’s yer girl Marika. Her latest song is titled ‘My Lover Cindy’ in honour of a minor character from telly show The L Word, and incidentally,

she channels Shane-vibes for this one, sweetly singing absolute filth atop the deceptive, jangly candy-coating. ‘My Lover Cindy’ shows Marika flexing her new direction, and sounding all the more unstoppable for it. (El Hunt) .......................................... • Her’s • I’ll Try .......................................... Her’s specialise in the sort of oddball anthems that float along like iridescent bubbles, the petrolly haze of flitty melodies just about surviving the plunky impact of Audun Laading’s sharp bass-lines. The shimmery, fidgeting ‘I’ll Try’ is no exception. “Be yourself, and I’ll be fine,” croons Stephen Fitzpatrick, in that distinctive muffled warble of his, somehow overseeing falsetto yowls, a solemn spokenword section, and about a million intricately picked lines in the process. What an absolute wizard. (El Hunt)




































THE STREETS - A GRAND DON’T COME FOR FREE Mike Skinner’s debut album turns fifteen this year, but his concept rap opera about losing a wad of cash


down the back of the settee deserves equally close attention. Words: Tom Walters.

n the age of twelve-part televised murder mysteries and convoluted, story-driven podcasts, what has become of the concept album? While there’s plenty of chatter about The Streets’ 15 year old debut ‘Original Pirate Material’ right now – a stone-cold classic, for the record – you could go out on a whim and argue that ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’ is Mike Skinner’s true magnum opus. The gritty tale of an ordinary bloke just trying to catch a bloody break, it’s People Just Do Nothing by way of Eastenders; a rap opera (!) with more twists and turns than the Queen Vic has seen in the thirteen years since the record came out. Seriously, though – who ever thought a narrative about an unnamed protagonist (let’s just presume it’s Mike himself) and his journey through the ups and downs of everyday life would still sound so fresh to this day? Sharp, slick, and witty, it’s not just the brilliant sense of humour and hard truths littered throughout: he’s got an uncanny ability to make us care about this poor sod who’s – spoiler alert – only gone and lost a thousand quid down the back of the sofa.

What he packs into less time than an episode of Making a Murderer is astonishing: the nightclub scene in ‘Blinded By The Lights’ that captures dread and despair; the dodgy ‘Fit But You Know It’ holiday saga we’ve all (hopefully) avoided. For every well-written sketch about weed and not knowing a thing about football, there are real gut-punching moments about affairs, break-ups and getting kicked out.

the Facts Release: 17th May 2004 Stand-out tracks: ‘Fit But You Know It’, ‘Dry Your Eyes’, ‘Blinded By The Lights’ Tell Your Mates: The first album Mike Skinner ever owned was Vanilla Ice’s ‘To The Extreme’. His review? “That first song is a tune, but the rest of this is rubbish.”

None of this would’ve mattered if it didn’t stand up musically. Luckily, Mike smashed it out of the park. His delivery is awkward and charming, only furthering his characterisation, and the sounds scattered throughout are wild visions of a thoroughly British pop landscape – the chugging indie guitars of ‘Fit But You Know It’, the slowmotion euphoria of ‘Blinded By The Lights’ and beautiful balladry of ‘Dry Your Eyes’ tapped into a sound that was grin-inducingly fun. ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’ exists solely in its own space, and in doing so rightfully earns its place alongside any of the best film scores, soap operas (yes, it topples Neighbours) and indeed, concept albums. Let’s just hope Dan and Simone have bucked their ideas up in the years since. dIY

The wistful stare of a man who immediately regrets his lilac jumper choice.



9 – 18 June 2017 #MELTDOWNFEST


NeWS e What is the song that’s

guaranteed to send all of MUNA collectively rushing for the dancefloor as soon as it comes on? Honestly… Pretty much any Prince, Michael Jackson, or Stevie Nicks song will do the trick. Specifically ‘P.Y.T.’ by MJ or ‘Stand Back’ by Stevie Nicks.

e You’re sent to live on

a desert island, and you’re allowed to take three luxury items with you. What do you pick, and why? Collectively, we all want to take our Sonicare toothbrushes because we love the shit out of our teeth. Josette wants her blender or a stove for cooking the tropical island veggies and fruits. Katie and Naomi would like to bring chocolate and nice face sunscreen, not oily, for obvious reasons.

e You can have one super-

power. Which one would you pick? Josette and Naomi choose flight, hands down. Katie would like the power to control her own thoughts.

Ever wondered what your favourite band’s preferred brand of toothpaste is? Or their favourite time of day to talk a walk? With Lucky Dip, we’re here to provide you with the answers to the silliest questions you’d never dare to ask. This month,

muna take it on...


be if you went on a talent show? (But it can’t be musicrelated!) Collectively? We’d probably do improv. It may not be funny to anyone else but would likely be very funny to us.

Lu cK Y

e Tell us your best joke!

Di P

e You win one millions

e What Sex and The City

characters would you all be? We’re all shades of Miranda. Katie might be a little bit Samantha and Jo might be a little bit Charlotte. Naomi’s full Miranda, though.

e What would your act

Jokes are for dry guys!

e Is pizza in the UK as bad

as Americans say it is? Actually, no. We have had a history of delightful experiences at a restaurant called Pizza East in Shoreditch. UK street pizza is crazy though. The appeal of cheesy corn stuffed crust is lost on us. dollars. How do you spend it? Probably invest some of it in property for our moms.


FRI.19.MAY.17 WED.24.MAY.17







WED.24.MAY.17 MON.20.NOV.17 THU.25.MAY.17



FESTIVALS May your summer be filled with all the best bands in all your fave fields. MAY. See what we did there?


THE GREAT ESCAPE 18th - 20th May

The line-up for Brighton’s finest yearly collection of jampacked music-filled days is so long it literally crashed our computer . From our takeover of the Pier with the Slaves boys and friends, to all the buzziest buzz bands you could buzz a single bumblebee at (if such a thing is possible), there’s a LOT of music on the Sussex coast this month. The Japanese House, Pixx, Our Girl, King Nun and Goat Girl are all among our favourites playing. PLUS obviously there’s the not-so-small matter of the DIY Stage - once again at pier-based boozer, Horatio’s on Friday and Saturday night, with The Magic Gang and The Big Moon headlining, plus Sløtface, Eat Fast, Yellow Days and Abattoir Blues also appearing.


Harry Waugh, Abattoir Blues As local boys, we assume you’ve been to The Great Escape many times - any particular stories to tell us? One TGE moment very close to all of our hearts is the time someone shat themselves and passed out at the same time while we were playing a late set at Sticky Mikes last year. That’s a moment we as a band will always share with him. …and what is Brighton like when it’s not a windy weekend in mid-May? Brighton’s a cool place to live, there are shows pretty much every night and we’ve fallen into a good group of friends and bands here. 8/10, would recommend. What are you looking forward to most over those few days? We’re putting on another Echochamp [Brighton label / collective] show this year and have some pretty cool stuff in store for it, so that’ll definitely be a highlight for all of us. What can Great Escapees expect from your set on the DIY stage? Business as usual: on stage late, set cut short, hurry off stage. Who, apart from yourselves, would you suggest our readers make time to see there? Drones Club, Fish, Jay Som and The Magic Gang, obviously.


diy at the great escape: FRIDAY • The Magic Gang • • Husky Loops • • Sløtface • • Eat Fast • • Abattoir Blues •

SATURDAY • The Big Moon • • Sorry • • Bad Sounds • • Yellow Days • • Luxury Death •

elsewhere, on the pier: SLAVES PIER PARTY + Dr. Martens Horatios Takeover • Slaves • • Superfood • • Life • + more

DJs on the Dodgems: • Jethro Holman • • Josh • (The Skints) • Ellie Rowsell • (Wolf Alice) • Dave Holman • (Isaac’s Dad!)


NEWS in Brief


We won’t just be down on the pier this year - we’re once again lending a hand to the Dutch Impact stage, which will be welcoming the likes of Klangstof, CUT_, Dakota, Kovacs and Kim Janssen to Brighton’s Komedia on Friday 19th May.


Klangstof You’re just getting ready for festival season - what’s your favourite thing about getting to play so many festivals throughout the summer? It’s great to see so many places you would have never visited if you weren’t in a band. And it’s always nice to meet fans and friends in different parts of the world. You’re also headed to The Great Escape this year. Will this be your first time visiting the seaside town? We actually played at the Old Market in March with the Jagwar Ma boys, so it will be our second time in Brighton.

We loved the vibe back then. It felt like it was very different from the rest of the UK - a lot of hippies and we definitely had the best fish and chips so far over there! What are you expecting? Expecting to play a very jetlagged, but great show. We’re just rounding up our tour with the Flaming Lips in the US the day before, so we’re definitely on form for that show. Just need to try to stay awake! Will you be indulging in some fish and chips on the beach? YES.

The Magic Gang, Marika Hackman, Dream Wife, Jorja Smith and IDLES all play Latitude (13th - 16th July), in a second wave of acts that also boasts Matt Maltese, Little Cub, Dan Croll and Aldous Harding. The festival is headlined by The 1975, Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes, with The Japanese House, Declan McKenna and Loyle Carner also Suffolk-bound. Yonaka, Aldous Harding, Cosmic Strip, and Oscar Jerome all play the DIY x Kopparberg Urban Forest stage at citadel (16th July), with XamVolo, Stevie Parker and Tamu Massif also appearing. Future has been announced for Super Bock Super Rock (13th - 15th July), his first European date of the summer, alongside Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Orwells, Tyler, The Creator, Deftones, and Kevin Morby.


We’ve got a pair of tickets - plus travel - to Rock Werchter (29th June - 2nd July) to give away. If you fancy seeing the likes of Radiohead, Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, Soulwax, and Lorde, head to



Katy Perry’s the pick of the pops at Pilton Farm.

FIREWORK(S) AT GLASTO! The full Glastonbury (21st - 25th June) line-up has been revealed, with pop queen Katy Perry leading an announcement that also includes Biffy Clyro, Lorde, Run The Jewels, The xx, Haim, Warpaint, Metronomy, Declan McKenna, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Loyle Carner, Circa Waves, Future Islands and George Ezra.


NEWS in Brief

The headliners, are, obviously, Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran. Visit for more. You can’t see them, but K-Pez already has her wellies on.

The Vaccines, P!nk, Wiz Khalifa, and Rita Ora have all been confirmed for .Sziget. (9th - 16th August), which had already announced Kasabian, Interpol, Charli XCX, George Ezra, Two Door Cinema Club, Mac DeMarco, and Major Lazer. Local Natives, Floating Points and Bonobo have been added to the NOS Alive (6th - 8th July) bill, joining The Weeknd, The xx, Royal Blood, alt-J, Ryan Adams, The Kills, Foo Fighters and Warpaint. The Big Moon, Pixx, Gothic Tropic, and Miya Folick all join the bill for .Dot To Dot (26th - 28th May), which already boasts Sundara Karma, Cherry Glazerr, Vagabon, Pinegrove and Honeyblood.


‘Our Kid’, The Magic Gang and Black Honey are all to play.

DIY are headed to España for one of this summer’s hottest fests.

Liam Gallagher heads up a mahoosive announcement for this year’s Reading & Leeds (25th -27th August), which will now play host to Declan McKenna, Marika Hackman, Superfood, Black Honey, The Magic Gang, Blaenavon, Sløtface and PWR BTTM among others across the August Bank Holiday weekend, with VANT, Honeyblood and Deap Vally all headed to the festival’s legendary Main Stage across the three days.

Let’s be honest, us Brits could always do with a bit of vitamin D, so we’re really rather chuffed to reveal that we’ll be Madrid-bound this summer for this year’s Mad Cool Festival. While Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon and Green Day are all headlining, it’s set to be a bit of a family affair for us, too tons of our faves including Foals, Wolf Alice, Savages and Warpaint are all on the bill. As, er, ‘official media partners’ for the fest, we’ll be bringing you all of the action, so keep your eyes peeled. 24

They join previously-announced headliners Kasabian, Muse and Eminem. Visit for more.

Liars, Goat Girl, The Men and IDER all feature in the first Visions (5th August) announcement, which also includes SOPHIE, Noga Erez and Jenny Hval. Loyle Carner, Hannah Diamond and Joe Goddard will be joining Run The Jewels, Aphex Twin, Slowdive, Mura Masa and more at .Field Day (3rd June) in London’s Victoria Park. Stormzy, Parquet Courts, PVRIS, The Shins and Ryan Adams have all been added to .Pukkelpop. (16th - 19th August), with Mumford & Sons, Bastille, The xx, George Ezra, Perfume Genius, and Pixx also playing the Belgian event. Royal Blood, The xx, Future Islands, IDLES and The Jesus and Mary Chain have joined the .Roskilde. (28th June - 1st July) line up, joining Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Solange, Foo Fighters, Blink-182, and Lorde.


A rare sighting of the lesser-spotted goth, outside of its normal indoor habitat.

new music new bands


neu thing

Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve spent pretty

every hour of every day together since we met.â&#x20AC;? much

Ciara Doran 26

PALE WAVES An inseparable Manchester force ready to take over the world. Words: Lisa Wright. Photo: Emma Swann.

Nestled at the centre of many of music’s great success stories lies a particularly potent partnership. From Pete’n’Carl to Morrissey and Marr, there’s a host of alchemical friendships that have borne brilliant fruit, and Manchester’s Pale Waves might just be next in line.

Vocalist Heather Baron-Gracie and drummer Ciara Doran were meant to find each other. Clearly both cut from the same velvet cloth, they finish each other’s sentences, speak in almost indistinguishable Northern drawls and adhere to the Robert Smith school of goth attire. Having met in the city four years ago, they’ve been inseparable ever since, bringing Pale Waves to life along the way. “I don’t think we’ve been apart since the day we met. We’ve spent pretty much every hour of the day together since,” says Ciara, as Heather nods in agreement. “Maybe Christmas Day we didn’t spend together. But we don’t have that many friends to be fair. We don’t have time for friends...” For the first two years of Pale Waves, the pair kept their world insular, growing through “phases of being quite acoustic, and then electric and then going from there.” After a while, however, they realised that in order to take things to the next level, they needed to open up the gates and let some others in. Guitarist Hugo Silvani found the group via Facebook, having grown tired of a string of previous “uncommitted” former band forays. Bassist Charlie Wood, meanwhile, was poached from under the nose of another Manchester outfit. “We went to go and watch one of his band’s shows and we knew we needed to get him,” explains Ciara, matter-of-factly. The group recently inked a deal with label-du-jour Dirty Hit and found some perfectly-placed mentors in the form of their most successful exports – The 1975. “Matty and George are exactly like me and Ciara, it’s dead weird. We’re so on the same page.” says Heather of their new pals. “They want it to be - and we want it to be - a continued relationship. They’re just incredibly talented.” So far, the relationship has seen Matty and George produce debut single ‘There’s A Honey’ – a sparkling pop nugget with a dark undercurrent that makes total sense of the two parties’ clearly mutual tastes. Next, they’ll be heading out with the ‘75 boys on an American tour, including a date at a sold out Madison Square Garden – no small show for a band with precisely one single to their name. Pale Waves though? They’re just hungry for it. “It definitely does scare us, but we feel confident. The fact that people believe that we can do it is amazing,” explains Heather. Flinging the doors to their unique world open to invite everyone in, that pool of Pale Waves believers is only going to keep growing. DIY


Brooke Bentham

Soccer Mommy

Rough-edged pop with big goals. Sophie Allison’s Soccer Mommy is the latest project quietly creating a storm through a prolific, increasingly-exciting output on Bandcamp. Last year’s ‘For Young Hearts’ documents insecurity and heartbreak like just about every other release on the platform, but Sophie has a melodic edge that helps her stand out in a crowd. Her songs are timeless snapshots of bittersweet youth. Listen: ‘For Young Hearts’ is out now on Orchid Tapes. Similar to: The Smiths for a do-it-yourself generation.


Gutsy, conventionsmashing songwriting.

Newcastle newcomer Brooke Bentham makes full-hearted, direct pop that never does things by halves. Just when one of the nowLondon based songwriter’s songs looks to have settled into a rhythm, it’ll find another gear. Most recent track ‘Heavy and Ephemeral’ is a stud-encrusted beast – razor-sharp, commanding and always looking up. Listen: ‘Heavy and Ephemeral’ is taken from an upcoming debut EP. Similar to: Boring ‘singersongwriter’ tropes being smashed into bits.


100mph indie for a new generation. In 2017, indie is splintering off into wild hybrids, and Bakar’s first steps are another all-thrills slice of something different. His ‘Big Dreams’ track is a straight-up, spiky, ballsy number, aided by a video showing the Londoner wandering around local estates with his mates. The part-time model is just as influenced by old indie heroes as he is London grime – he’s a fascinating glimpse of the new. Listen: ‘Big Dreams’ aims high. Similar to: Early Bloc Party meets Jamie T.

Recommended Steve Lacy A no-prisoners star-in-waiting.

Steve Lacy required nothing but an iPhone to record his dazzling debut EP. And beyond the intentional rough edges, ‘Steve Lacy’s Demo’ could have been produced by a old-timer studio whizz. A newly-recruited member of Los Angeles-based, Odd Future-affilated troupe The Internet, Lacy brings a sun-baked, alwaysflowing ease to skewed soul. At just 18 years old, he has a long way to go, but don’t rule out him being the next in-demand super-producer. Listen: ‘Dark Red’ is the standout from his first EP. Similar to: Frank Ocean songs being made on a four-track.




She might be a musical protege, but Sigrid is actually a triple threat.

“I started doing ballet in kindergarten and did that through primary school. Then we started doing jazz and hip hop through junior high, combined with modern dance. Then I quit when I started doing music more professionally. I didn’t really have time to do school, music and dancing. I also had to quit theatre, too. I did theatre for five years in primary school,” she tells us. “I miss dancing, though, and I miss theatre, too. I’d love to do more of that.”

Growing up in Ålesund, Norway, Sigrid’s first foray into songwriting came after her brother invited her to perform with him – but on one condition. “He told me that I could do a song but that it had to be an original one,” she recalls. “I was forced to write a song in two weeks. That sort of started the songwriting thing...”


Signing to Norwegian indie label Petroleum at just 16, she soon decided to move to the coastal city of Bergen, opting to stay away from Oslo and its hub of big record labels. Despite shying away from the mainstream nature of the city, however, Sigrid’s sound is still unashamedly pop. ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’, her first single since signing with Island, is a musical behemoth complete with raspy vocals and an aggressive chorus with pop hooks that wallop you around the face. While ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ was borne out of a difficult songwriting session where she felt her voice and opinion was being diminished by the individuals she was working with (she politely describes it as “very difficult”), the experience hasn’t put the 20-year-old off working collaboratively. “I learn so much from other songwriters and producers,” she gushes. “It’s so nice to share experiences, but also new ways of thinking. I have a thing where, if I usually do my verses


Pop doesn’t come more pure and uncompromising than Sigrid’s brilliant debut single. Now, the Norwegian newcomer is taking her next step. Words: Alim Kheraj.

one way and someone comes in and suggests something different, I think it’s amazing. I evolve as a songwriter.” Does she ever get self-conscious bearing her soul with complete strangers? “The beautiful thing about writing sessions is that you can click with a person 100%,” she assures. “I think it’s cliche for every songwriter to say, ‘Oh, I get to talk about my deepest emotions. This is my therapy.’ But it’s totally true. You get to talk about your feelings and where you’re at in your life in that moment. It’s really nice.” This is echoed throughout her debut EP. Whether it’s the aggressive nature of ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’, the antifuckboi anthem ‘Plot Twist’, or dismissal of sycophants on ‘Fake Friends’, there’s something intensely relatable and wonderfully frank about her music. The collection’s only soft moment, ‘Dynamite’, a song about the difficulties of balancing work and love, isn’t saccharine, but falls into that category championed by Adele: realistically devastating. “I think I’ve developed into making music that feels 100% me,” she announces. “Four years ago, I wasn’t as sure as I am now as to what I’d like to make and what pop music I liked. So, I guess I’m just more me.” “But give me a year and who knows what I’ll be making.” DIY


Sigrid is appearing at The Great Escape and Latitude this year. Head to for details.

“This is an album I’ve been working on for my whole life.” To anyone that’s heard even a moment of Noga Erez’s debut, ‘Off The Radar’ – a record so rooted in pertinent, current issues and one that is so strikingly, powerfully in-the-moment – this might come as a surprise. For Noga, it’s straightforward. “Personal things are always universal, I think that’s the beauty of it.”


Born and raised in Tel Aviv, existing never more than a stone’s throw away from the tension, violence and uncertainty of the conflict in and around the Middle East, it’s no surprise that ‘Off The Radar’ is rooted in politics. It’s also a record that sits in a chaotic global climate that none of us could ever have predicted, least of all Noga. “It’s so relevant to so many more people than I ever imagined it would be,” she says, “that’s a very, very sad thing”. What ‘Off The Radar’ isn’t, however, is a purely political record. “I talk about [politics] from a very, very personal point of view and never from an opinion point of view or a knowledge point of view,” Noga admits. “I’m always afraid that people will start asking me questions about the details of the conflict in Israel that I don’t know how to answer!” This point doesn’t come from a place of ignorance – Noga is incredibly eloquent and well informed when it comes to talking about politics, war and the state of the world – but she doesn’t see herself as some kind of oracle. The reason ‘Off The Radar’ is so relatable is because

every inch of it, every current of anxiety, frustration, doubt and white-hot rage has been lived and felt by Noga herself. Whether it’s the frustration with ineffective government addressed in the blistering, scathing ‘Dance While You Shoot’ or the dumbfounded horror and biting rage at the passive documentation of a sexual assault case on ‘Pity’, Noga’s music lives so rigidly in the real world that it becomes impossible to ignore. “For now, the only thing I hope to do is to get people to enjoy the music and expand the way they look at things,” Noga says when asked if she thinks her music has the power to make any difference in the issues she speaks on. Another key part of what makes Noga such an exciting artist is that she’s the full package. One glance at her Richard Mosse channelling, neon-pink bathed visuals for first output, ‘Dance While You Shoot’, is enough to know that Noga Erez doesn’t stop at music. “I spent a lot of time visualising my music in my mind,” she says. When she writes a song, “that’s the first thing that happens to me, I imagine the video for that song.” Already a debut that feels like the work of an artist light years down the line, Noga Erez is still itching to do more – go bigger, hit harder. Noga Erez’s debut album ‘Off the Radar’ is out 2nd June via City Slang. DIY


Noga Erez is appearing at The Great Escape this year. Head to for details.

The outspoken, uncompromising sound of Tel Aviv. Words: Henry Boon.


MUST-SEE SHOWS this month Like being the first to see the next big thing? Get ready to brag to your mates about watching this lot before they went big, sold out and spectacularly broke up.

sløtface Newcastle, The Cluny (1st May) Los Campesinos! know a thing or two about ace new bands. Alongside the almighty Muncie Girls, they’ve picked out Norwegian pop-punk heroes Sløtface as supports on their UK tour. Expect fireworks from Haley Shea and co, who make the smallest of venues feel like a firework-lit stadium.

Francobollo London, Village Underground (2nd May) Odd-pop Sweden-via-London bunch Francobollo have been picked to support The Big Moon on this spring’s UK tour. Their debut album’s due out later this year, led by recent, ultra-inventive single ‘Good Times’.

HMLTD The Rhythm Method, Dead Pretties – London, Scala (3rd May) Three highly-touted new bands from very different walks of life play the same venue this May. HMLTD’s lipstick-stained, seedy but engrossing theatrics lead the bill. They’re joined by retro-pop purists The Rhythm Method and brilliantly shambolic trio Dead Pretties.

Hoops Birmingham, Hare & Hounds (7th May) Beach-pop four-piece Hoops have the sharpest ear for melody since Real Estate first sprung out of the suburbs. Debut album ‘Routines’ is out this May, and they’re touring the UK to celebrate. Get ready to feel immersed in dreamy fuzz.

Middle Kids London, Sebright Arms (15th May) Buzzy gigs in the capital don’t come more anticipated than this. Genre-hopping trio Middle Kids, signed to Domino in the US, made a name for themselves at SXSW. Now they’re bringing the racket to London. 32

neu All the buzziest new music happenings, in one place.

BETTER THAN DOWNTON London trio Girl Ray have gone all Downton Abbey with their ‘Stupid Things’ video, which follows a love triangle romantic tale, taking place in old Blighty. “We’d always thought a period drama influenced music video would be really fun to film. So we decided to get our Keira Knightley on and do a WWII romance,” they explained. It’s one of the best videos of the year so far, to be honest. Watch 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: Ohyeahsumi ‘Snowflakes’ A trippy introduction from twin sisters Rena and Lena Vernon, whose debut EP is out now on in-the-know label Sports Day.

FANCY ARRANGEMENTS London singer-songwriter Nilüfer Yanya is going places fast. New single ‘The Florist’ gets on sharp yet soulful guitars and a glowed-up house pulse. A video for the track embraces rave and gabber culture, following around a group of friends as they grow up being young and free in the city. It’s not all sunshine though, and even though the group experience some euphoric highs, the video also shows some of the lows, particularly the comedown after the night before. See it on

PIXX THAT ONE OUT Hannah Rodgers aka Pixx is going on a UK tour in support of very good debut album ‘The Age of Anxiety’. Kicking off at Norwich’s Arts Centre on 2nd June (the same day as the album’s release!) she’ll head to Leeds, Birmingham, and London before rounding things off at Lancaster Library on 9th June. Tickets are on sale right now. Anyone who’s yet to see Pixx live – sort it out. Get the deets at

Lucy Camp ‘The Heart Dies’ This San Jose rapper / songwriter performs backflips on her new track, sounding like nothing else on the planet. boy pablo ‘ur phone’ Heartfelt lo-fi pop from Norway, at this rate lowercase-loving newcomer boy pablo could be writing smash hits for pop sensations in no time at all. 33

Anyone for a game of chess?


i There have always been arrows flying at Paramore, but over the past two years, the

band found themselves faced with their worst period of uncertainty and hurt. Now

theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve reached the other side, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re more sure of themselves than ever before.

Words: Sarah Jamieson. Photos: Pooneh Ghana.


ver the last fifteen years, Paramore have come up against their fair share of hurdles. That much is no secret; with each of their past four albums, the group have been forced to face new challenges, and stare into new unknowns. It was with their previous, self-titled full-length, though, that it was all set to change: they had finally cast off their demons and stepped into a new light. Or had they? Back in 2013 when the band released their fourth album, the pieces felt as though they’d finally fallen into place. With ‘Paramore’, they threw out the creative rulebook and offered up a seventeen-track record brimming with ambition and energy. Packing in more musical styles than you can shake a stick at, the trio found themselves deviating from the punk-pop sound they’d mastered previously, choosing instead to stack the album with pop hooks, funky rhythms and a gospel choir for good measure. It was bold, it was brave and above all, it gave the group a new lease of life. It wasn’t set to last. As the band drew their ‘Paramore’ chapter to a close with a final run of intimate US shows and a second Parahoy! cruise scheduled for early 2016, things soon went very quiet. By the end of 2015, a message from the band broke the news that bassist Jeremy Davis had departed in what they called a “painful” split, the reasons for which still remain a private matter. It was then the remaining two members – Hayley Williams and Taylor York – were faced with another big decision to make. They chose to, once again, pick themselves up and continue.

“We definitely wanted to be honest with where we’re at.” - Taylor York


lmost eighteen months later, the three current members of Paramore – Williams and York are re-joined by original drummer Zac Farro – are sat together in the corner of a lofty Nashville photo studio. It’s a Friday afternoon and the trio are in the middle of planning a trip to see Radiohead in Atlanta this weekend. It’s also just a little over a month until their fifth album ‘After Laughter’ will be released and, as of the time of writing, only a handful of people in the world have any idea what’s coming. “It’s weird,” ponders Hayley, on how it feels to be five albums deep and over ten years into their career. “I still feel like we’re really green, especially with this record. It felt like there were so many new things to try and so many new feelings about life - you’re finally all the way over the hump of being able to deny that you’re an adult now. Yeah, this was a crazy record to make.” Unsurprisingly, the sense of anticipation surrounding the band’s next move has been palpable. In March 2016, the then-duo of Hayley and Taylor set sail on their second Parahoy! but fans remained uncertain of what would come next. And while their performances on board - their first after Jeremy’s departure - were fraught with emotion and honesty, with wounds still open, the four-day cruise would go on to be much more significant than they’d anticipated. “I’ve never really wanted to cry on a cruise...” Hayley laughs, looking back at the rather emotional experience. “That wasn’t a selling point for certain!” It did, however, provide some much-needed catharsis for the then-two members. “Taylor and I talked about that right after it happened. It was really tough, and a lot had changed. All of a sudden, I felt very naked up there. “[Parahoy!’s] supposed to be this fun thing; it’s meant to be a place where we all leave



“If we’re all faking it or being phoney, when do we ever get to connect?” - Hayley Williams 38


the world behind and we do our own thing, connect over music, play games and none of it matters, because who even knows how to find us? It’s this really beautiful community and feeling, yet I was really sad. There was this - I dunno - cloud that felt like it wouldn’t get off our backs for a moment there.

“Then we did this meet and greet that was about three hours long,” she explains. “People were coming up and looking us very deeply in the eyes and genuinely telling us things like, ‘Oh man, we’re so proud of you guys’ or ‘We’re so happy we get to be a part of this music’. These really incredibly genuine sentiments. There are always these really nice reminders with Paramore that it’s not just about us. I think that’s why we’ve been able to survive all of this shit: because it’s not really about us. When you’re looking into people’s eyes and you know they’re going through something probably worse than you, it just gives you a fresh perspective. We came home from that with a little bit of extra energy to get going with writing again. It was a good thing.” By the time June rolled around, the band – who had invited Farro back into the fold by this point – were gearing up to head into the studio. “I mean, I never feel prepared, but I was scared,” confirms Taylor, on how they were feeling in the lead up. “I did feel like we had all the pieces, but it’s always a bit terrifying.” After the ambition of their previous full-length, the bar was set high, and that sentiment wasn’t lost on them. “Music is one of the only mediums of art where you do something and that is what you exist with for years.” An artist can create a piece and move on, a director finishes a film then continues with their next project. “For us,” Taylor continues, “we make a record and we live it. There’s a lot of pressure from both outside and within, because you want it to be great, you want to believe in it. That was where the fear came in; it was about making something that we all loved and that - even if it didn’t work out - we could all still stand behind it and be proud.”


he first step in making their fifth record was to build themselves a support network. Alongside Zac, who originally left the band in 2010 and has most recently been working on his own project HalfNoise, the group recruited ‘Self-Titled’ producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen to co-produce with Taylor. “When me and Hayley went into the studio,” adds Taylor, “we were a duo, so it was about putting people around us that we had history with and confidence in.” Rebuilding their bridges, they tried to create something that felt much more like a band. They were able to move forward, and more importantly, be themselves. That’s an element that has ultimately shaped ‘After Laughter’ itself. While their previous record saw them giving anything a go, this time around they knew the path they needed to tread. Building upon the high octane energy of the likes of ‘Ain’t It Fun’ and ‘Still Into You’, it takes the bubbly vibrancy of those tracks and cranks it up to eleven. “We intentionally didn’t look back at all,” Taylor is quick to assure. They now finally felt liberated enough to pursue the sounds they’d played with last time, but in a bigger way. “I really wanted this album to be different, but I didn’t really know what that would be like. I knew I didn’t want a ton of high lead guitars and I was getting kinda sick of head banging - our necks just always hurt!” While ‘Ain’t It Fun’ represented one of the most distinctly different sounds they explored last time around, now it was about calling upon the attitude and the mentality that had allowed for that song to be birthed in the first place. “We definitely just wanted to be honest with where we’re at,” he adds, “and be excited to listen to [the music] ourselves.”

‘After Laughter’ has been over eighteen months in the making: here’s a few of its most key moments. March 2016: Hayley and Taylor set sail on the band’s second edition of Parahoy! where they find a little extra inspiration for their next record. June 2016: LUUUUNCHTIME! The band start ‘eating with people not doing anything special at all.’ Yeah, right. “We ate a lot of Vui’s,” Zac reveals, looking back at Paramore’s teasing Twitter posts, “which is this Vietnamese restaurant.” June 2016: The band begin pre-production with Zac back on drums, while producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen joins them for the process down at RCA Studio A in Nashville too. August 2016: More lunch is consumed... October 2016: Vocal takes are finished, and the album is officially done! “We finished back in October,” Hayley confirms, “but we didn’t have mixes or anything yet.” January 2017: Hayley gives fans an update on life in the band and what’s set to come next. ‘Following up our self-titled album didn’t seem like it was going to be an easy task,’ she writes, ‘and, unsurprisingly, it was not.’ February 2017: It is announced that Zac is back in the band, via the means of a very cute, very colourful gif and t-shirt. 19 th April 2017: News of the band’s fifth album is OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED, while new video for ‘Hard Times’ – the first track from the record – is revealed too, ooh-er. 12th May 2017: ‘After Laughter’ gets let loose on the world!!


As you maaaaay have noticed, Paramore are once again a trio (!). After inviting founding member Zac Farro – who originally left the band back in 2010 - to join them in the studio to record drums for their new record, getting him back was a bit of a nobrainer for everyone.

Zac’s nailed this whole ‘wearing sunglasses’ thing. The other two…? They haven’t quite got the hang of it yet.

Not only do Paramore have a new album, they’re also heading back out on tour. First stop? It’s only the UK and Ireland! Get yourself to one of these shows to get a first glimpse of ‘After Laughter’. JUNE 15 Dublin • Olympia 16 Belfast • Waterfront 18 Manchester • O2 Apollo 19 London • Royal Albert Hall 21 Bristol • Colston Hall 22 Edinburgh • Usher Hall


Taylor: I think we just had a gut feeling about it. Me and Zac had reconciled a couple years before and he’s always been me and Hayley’s favourite drummer, genuinely. So, I think it was a really obvious thing, because we really wanted Zac to play on it. Zac: It really was a nobrainer. I mean, I have all of my HalfNoise stuff - I still do and I love it - but I was always looking for things to do because I don’t full-time tour with it. So, recording worked out perfectly with the schedule, and then halfway through the record, Taylor just walks outside and like, with no context and without Hayley, he just goes ‘Do you want to join the band?’ Hayley: He had already asked me in the same matter of fact way! Zac: Someone asked me if I freaked out, and I felt bad for being not like, ‘Yesssss!’ but it’s been such a crazy road for our band; I was part of its past, and so was my brother. I was so flattered and honoured that of course I wanted to say yes, but I took some time as it was such an important decision for me. It’s been so amazing though. Something that was really important to me was writing my own music, so how supportive they’ve been, even outside of me joining the band, has been great. These guys are my best friends, so a huge part of me felt as though not hanging with them was really missing from my life.

Honesty was also the key component within Hayley’s lyrics. While Paramore have never been a band to shy away from pain or hardship in years before, this set of songs shout the message loud and clear. Unabashed and open, raw to the last, with titles like ‘Hard Times’, ‘Forgiveness’ and ‘Fake Happy’, the album shows that it’s clear the pain they’ve felt over the past two years hasn’t dimmed. Now, they’re unafraid to show it. “You can say it, it’s alright!” laughs Hayley, at the suggestion that these lyrics are much more forthright in their, well, sadness. “Honestly, we don’t even have the energy...” she admits, trailing off a little. After almost a decade of dealing with issues - whether they be the departures of band members, the band’s portrayal in the media or simply the mechanics of the industry - it’s no shock to learn that Paramore are often exhausted. “We went through enough shit, man,” she goes on. “It’s not a selling point; life can be so hard. It’s funny to think that there’s anybody in the world that would look at us and think that our lives aren’t really hard just because we played Wembley or something. That’s cool but we still go home at the end of the tour.

“It’s cool to not feel like we have to be presentable when we’re broken.” - Taylor York

“We’ve been playing shows for years and have been around so many people and parts of the world, and you just reach a certain point where you’re like, ‘I’m done.’ We don’t ever wanna be rude or unprofessional, but we’re just people,” she continues, tapping into one of the album’s main sentiments. “If we’re all faking it or being phoney, when do we ever get to connect? I don’t want to live in that mindset anymore, where I have to perform, not on stage but, as a human. It’s just tiring!” Sometimes, you have to be pushed to the edge to discover your fighting instinct. For Paramore, it took the loss of another band member to hit that brink. Now, they’ve reached the other side and for that, they’re stronger. Not only is this record their most cohesive and bold, it’s also undoubtedly their most definitive, their most creative. It’s an album that makes perfect sense and now, as a unit, they’re finally at their most comfortable. “This is the least we’ve ever tried to prove to people that we’re doing good, but everybody’s saying that to us [regardless],” confirms Zac, before Taylor continues his sentiment. “We’ve always been trying to let people know - because there have been so many changes - ‘This is us now!’ ‘No, this is us now!’


“It’s so great to know that we didn’t give up.” - Hayley Williams “But one of the things that’s strange to me is that this doesn’t feel strange,” he goes on, looking to his two bandmates. “When I first started playing in Paramore in 2007, if you had told me at a certain point it would be Zac and Hayley and I... To try and get there in my head, there’s just no way!” Over the last ten years, a lot of things have changed, “but it feels like we’ve been in this form of our band for a long time,” he continues, “and it feels so comfortable. We’re still just as broken, but it’s just bizarre how good it feels right now. In the past when things felt good, we would hold onto them so tightly, and we wanted everyone to see and we forced them to see it, but this time, like they’ve been saying,” he gestures to his bandmates, “it’s cool to not feel like we have to be presentable when we’re broken, just to be ourselves and let people draw whatever conclusion they want.”


t the time of writing, knowledge of their fifth album is still scarce. Hayley herself has only given one short update on the band’s progress this year, which came back in early January, when a sense of anxiousness had begun to creep in. It was a message that reflected on the band’s past – and how it could’ve come to define them – and the challenge that was presented in following up ‘Self-Titled’. Now, with the gift of hindsight, the journey – and the struggles – finally seem worth it. “It’s refreshing now,” she begins, “that I can hear what we made out of some of our own issues that we were going through, and how we came together to create something bigger.” Despite being ready to walk away from the band, they seem a happier unit than ever before. “We’ve all wanted to quit at different times, or go away and disappear - there have always been arrows flying at Paramore - but I had never actually felt that until this time. Now that we’re sitting here, and we have the songs we have, it doesn’t mean that my life’s perfect by any means, or that I’m even over some of the stuff we talk about on the record, but it’s so great to know that we didn’t give up.” “For us, to be in the spot that we’re at, it’s just so rad for the three of us to want to be together and love being together genuinely,” continues Taylor. “To be proud of what we did. I would like to hope that one day we can make a record without having to go through something like that, but that’s just been our reality so far. Every time we actually get through it, it’s just that much sweeter. Life doesn’t stop,” he concludes, “but I think we got over a big hurdle and it’s great to be on the other side of that.” Paramore’s new album ‘After Laughter’ is out 12th May via Fueled By Ramen. DIY



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t’s fair to say that East London’s most infamous glitter-soaked den of gayness – LGBT institution Dalston Superstore - probably isn’t the first place that springs to mind as a calming joint in which to grab a mug of green tea. Yet, that’s where Mike Hadreas has ended up this afternoon, and for this American, its local reputation for debauchery comes as a surprise. So too does Mike’s quite accidental decision to announce the new Perfume Genius record ‘No Shape’ on National Perfume Day – an apt, if entirely unplanned, coincidence. “Did I?!” he exclaims, upon hearing about the neat turn of events he’s unknowingly engineered. “I didn’t know that! No. It was an accident. I thought about doing an actual perfume,” he adds. “My boyfriend thinks that’s too corny, but I think it’s cool. I could do a whole commercial for it and everything, and make it album-themed. An enchanted forest with something dark underneath. I think that would be cool....” he muses. “Do you think so?”

The answer to his question, to be clear, is a very enthusiastic yes. ‘No Shape’, in bottled form, would likely be the kind of scent that instantly smells like a straight-up classic, where singling out all the intricate components is nasally impossible. A bouquet of fake flowers playfully swatting you across the face, and a murky, slinking underworld – at the same time, Perfume Genius’ fourth record thrives on escaping definition, true to its title. “There’s this idea of transcending, or escaping, your body,” he expands, “and the limits of your brain, the limits of your body. I’m not happy with those things the way that they are now; I don’t really like...” he pauses to form the right words “my brain... I feel like even creatively I’m limited by my anxiety, and the patterns that I’m always thinking in. I feel like I’ll get to the edge of an idea, and might be brought back. I can’t really fully get over it, because physically maybe I don’t feel well or something. I would like to not have those limits. ‘No Shape’ is like a formlessness, or the second stage of something. I also liked how it could mean there’s no set rule for how to be or seem, or talk.” Diffusing into uncontainable particles, and escaping the everyday dirge of human existence – the fixed container of a human life that begins and ends - crops up repeatedly on ‘No Shape’. “Burn off every trace, I wanna hover with no shape,” insists a near-frantic Perfume Genius on the shimmering ‘Wreath,’ “I wanna feel the days go by, not stack up”. And even when things seem most contented and secure – huddled in


the duvet-cocoon of ‘Alan’, a tender song written for his boyfriend – there’s a fraying edge of nagging fear. “I’m here,” it assures, colliding the statement with an opposing yowl: “how weird.” “I never imagined my life being that way,” he admits. “I started drawing pictures of people smoking when I was, like, ten. I was like, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m just going to drink, and do drugs, and smoke, I’m going to live in the city.. you know what I mean? I’d never imagine myself buying a mattress,” he adds, cracking a smirk. “A nice one!” he exclaims, letting loose a wicked chortle. For all of his faux-horror at the idea of getting really into purchasing memory foam, he also notes that the relative safety of ‘No Shape’ is, in its own way, transgressive. It’s very much at odds with mainstream narratives around the gay experience – usually plagued by overwrought tragedy and inner turmoil – and instead looks inward, rejecting definition. “In a way, it’s kind of weirdly rebellious,” he agrees. “I just don’t wanna fucking think about it anymore, you know? I don’t want to put all my energy into outside shit as much anymore. Maybe I feel less like changing minds,” he ponders. “I don’t really care anymore. Maybe after the [US] election, if I would’ve written the album then, I might’ve been a little more overt, but when I was writing, it just felt a little closer to me to write about how I felt, and to write songs that were more for me and my boyfriend, and for my family. More for people,” he laughs, “instead of at them.” To create this shape-shifting, super-saturated onslaught, Perfume Genius reverted to a trustworthy technique; locking himself away and downing a shitload of fizzy


drinks before running around in a frenzy of creation. “I like a certain drama about the whole thing,” he says. “I sort of work myself up into a fervour, pace around, hype myself up. Or if the song is dirtier, I’ll start snaking around,” he adds, grinning. “I think that’s why isolation helps too,” Mike laughs, “because then there won’t be witnesses to the weird shit I do. I’ll have all the lights out, and be there in my room, humping the ground and singing this really weird dark,” he drags the word out for added effect “seeeensssual number.” He’s likely talking about the pulsing, slinking ‘Die 4 U’ – a song about both unbreakable trust and choking fetishes – or the cry for possession that is ‘Run Me Through’, to hazard a guess. And has he ever lost track of the hours, and been discovered... erm, dry-humping the sofa? “Yeah, like, all the time!” he hoots. “But [Alan] just lets me. I’m like [inaudible squealing] in these weird tongues. I just like to see if I can push myself somewhere different,” he adds.

Perfume Ri-nius

One trusted figure who is allowed into Perfume Genius’ isolated space, however, is his chihuahua, Wanda. “Her full name’s actually Towanda,” he says.” Have you ever seen Fried Green Tomatoes?” he asks, referring to the 90s film about two women who sack off their good-for-nothing husbands and start up a café together in the deep South. “It’s Kathy Bates’ power name.”

As anybody who follows Perfume Genius on Twitter will know already (and if you don’t, why not!?) he’s a big Rihanna fan. Like, a massive Rihanna fan. Mike talks us through why...

Wanda, apparently, is unfazed by pretty much everything Mike does. Even the Max Richter-levels of operatic chaos that stoke the fires of ‘Choir’ went down well in her books. “You’d think maybe there’d be certain notes she’d react to differently,” Mike laughs, “but she’s pretty much into whatever. To be honest,” he admits, “I’m just being real. I could’ve turned that into a story, but I’m just gonna tell the truth. She’s into it. There would be times where I’d be screaming and really getting into it, and she’d just be politely looking at me, all sweetly.” With Wanda suitably impressed, and ‘No Shape’ ready to be unleashed, Mike Hadreas – typically – is already looking to the horizon again. While recording amid the surreal, neon-smog of Los Angeles he found himself unexpectedly falling for the city, and is considering uprooting from his nest in Seattle. He’s got plenty of reasons – ranging from easy access to herbal remedies, to the sorry state of American politics. “It freaked me out,” he laughs. “But the more I went, I saw this weirdness. There’s something really fucked up and creepy about LA that made me like it a lot more. Something seedy about it, and kind of beautiful, too,” he adds, his love of jarring opposites cropping up yet again. “I’m into the convenience and the witchiness of all the health food there. It feels really potiony, all the herbs and tonics and things. I kind of have this fantasy of moving there and just taking tons of herbs,” he adds, “and wearing really thin robes.” “And to be honest with you,’ he adds, getting serious, “part of the reason I want to move there is because of how things are going in America. I live in a smaller city now, and we’re not very social, there’s no sense of community, I don’t really go outside. I don’t see anybody, let alone any other weirdos or gay people, and stuff. I just feel like I really need to... I’m going to need to straight-up fight.” Perfume Genius’ new album ‘No Shape’ is out 5th May via Matador. diy

“It’s kind of overwhelming. I don’t know how to explain it to people, to be honest with you. It’s not just Rihanna, it’s like, this whole thing about it, what she means. It’s not that I just like her songs – I do like them – but I almost have to take deep breaths sometimes when I watch her videos. She’ll just take off her glasses and that’s it; there’s one performance where all she did was take off a pair of sunglasses. And I just had to go outside and take a deep breath. I think a lot of it is aspirational, I want that same kind of ease with which she just fucking kills everything. Also, I have a feeling she might be somewhat normal. It’s not like it’s a put-on, just she magnifies herself a little bit and amps it up, right?”

les sn es s.” fo rm ik ea is l Sh ap e’ “‘N o Mike was unimpressed about being caught offguard mid-moonwalk. 47


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Split ting from a major l a b e l h a s g i v e n N at h a n Williams and co a new lease of life, a freedom t h at ’ s s p l a s h e d a l l ov e r n e w r e c o r d ‘ Yo u ’ r e W e l c o m e .’ Words: Eugenie Johnson.


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“I wanted to change the narrative.” Nathan Williams good!’” If ‘No Shade’ is anything to go by, he’s not wrong. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The band delve into everything from glam rock, psychedelia and surf, to 50s doo-wop and even a little bit of chiptune and electronica. If it sounds a bit random, don’t worry: it all comes together in a flurry thanks to blistering punk riffs and some careful planning from Nathan. “I thought, ‘well, it’ll be kind of all over the place but it’ll kind of work if I have the song placement right and have a bit of a common theme.’” Nathan has also expanded out in his lyrics, shifting the focus away from himself and on to the wider world. As it turns out, he was mostly growing a bit sick of answering questions about himself. “When you do interviews all day and people just ask you about yourself, you sound and feel so narcissistic,” he explains. “For me, I’d done it. I’ve talked about drinking too much, every fucking problem I had. I wanted to change the narrative.” And so we’re treated to tales of a drug addict who lived nearby in San Diego on ‘Stupid In Love,’ shouting out to the haters on ‘Million Enemies’ and the anti-corporate message of ‘Animal’, which delves into the soulsucking nature of the establishment. “I feel taken advantage of and empty inside,” he sings, leaving little to the imagination. For the most part though, Nathan is happy to escape from his own life with the lyrics, sometimes quite literally. Opener ‘Daisy’ has him musing about an imaginary life he wishes he had where he could get away from everything, “like a deserted beach or a fantastical Antarctica with my pet polar bear.” Even when he does give a 50

GET DUMP’D Recently it was Wavves’ own time to get dumped on when they took part in Super Deluxe’s fake game show, er, ‘Dump’d’. They had everything from Coke Zero to ‘hedgehog mucus’ thrown on them (which was really just corn starch and water that “smelled like liquid tortilla chips.” Urgh). The gross factor wasn’t helped by Nathan’s own “bad gag reflex.” The worst part came afterwards. “It was in my hair for hours!” Nathan laments. They took a shower in the house of one of the producers, but left a bit of a mess. “I’d like to give him a formal apology right now because we ruined that bathroom.” They’ll never get the smell of damp tortillas out of there…

glimpse into his opinions on the world, such as on ‘Exercise’, the statements are tempered by moments of optimism, proving that even though the world might be collapsing around them, Wavves still want to be dancing. “When everything is burning down,” he confirms, “we can have a good time because we have each other.” Think that’s optimistic? Well, hold onto your hats, because Wavves have recorded a love song. “I finally decided to embrace it!” Nathan exclaims. ‘I Love You’ is the result, a tender yet to-the-point number about, well, being in love. “If I was going to write a song like that, I was gonna call it ‘I Love You’ and I was just gonna say ‘I love you’,” he explains. “I feel like it’s the most straightforward way, and most effective way, to come out with it.” He starts to laugh. “That was some more new territory for us!” In all seriousness, the past few months have been a liberating time for Wavves. With Ghost Ramp, he’s also trying to give that same sense of freedom to others: “they could come with me on Ghost Ramp and I could give them a deal where they don’t have to sign their life away and I don’t have to keep rights to their music for ten years.” Equally as importantly, Nathan and the band have taken complete control over their own destiny, able to turn the tide without waiting for others to make decisions: “I’d rather be my own boss than twiddle my fingers.” They may be riding the crest of one, but Wavves show absolutely no signs of wiping out. Wavves’ new album ‘You’re Welcome’ is out 19th May via Ghost Ramp. DIY







T H U R S D A Y 1 8 T H - M A Y - 2 0 1 7

D O M E - S A T U R D A Y - 2 0 T H - M A Y - 2 0 1 7









Sticking it to ‘normal’, shouting their stories loud and proud, and returning with their ace second album ‘Pageant,’ PWR BTTM are one of the most vital bands around. Words: El Hunt. Photos: Emma Swann.


n a searing Austin afternoon, hot-coated by the greasy-sweet smoke of Red River Street’s multiple hot dog stands, PWR BTTM are making slow progress down the city’s main strip in search of some precious shade. They’re stalled at two-second intervals as they gladly take selfies with excitable fans, and navigating the milling swarms of green-clad Americans celebrating St Paddy’s Day hampers progress further. Eventually, Liv Bruce and Ben Hopkins hone in on a rare patch of sun-shelter. Just up the hill from the venue where they just played their sixth (!) show of SXSW, it’s no wonder they’re holding back involuntary yawns. It’s been a gruelling week, and with second record ‘Pageant’ on the way, the real trip has barely begun. Add to that a potent case of hayfever on Liv’s part, and it’d be impressive to find any other pair still standing. PWR BTTM, on the other hand, are unstoppable on all counts. Their new record stands as both a middle finger to the world’s bigots, and a defiant sharing of personal

“ I felt li ke I was a b le to surrender myself to the demons m o re th a n I u s ua lly d o .” - Li v B ru c e experience that is impossible to silence. And their live show – roughly akin to standing in the firing line of a glitter-cannon – sees Liv and Ben darting around the stage switching instruments, chatting away familiarly with the assembled crowds, and making them mosh along to the french horn in the process. Quite a feat, anyone would agree. “The show we just did,” Liv says, indicating down the road, “it was the middle of the day. My allergies were at their peak, my nose was running as I sang,” they add. “I felt like I was able to surrender myself to the demons a little bit more than I usually do.”

“You really did,” chips in Ben, approvingly. “I really gave it to the demons,” Liv boldly declares. “Normally I’m like, surrounded by the demons, and shaking hands with one, but this one, I was jumping rope with those demons!” Demons figure very heavily in PWR BTTM’s music; as well as apparently tangoing with the band over an invisible skipping rope on-stage, they’re heavily exorcised on record, too. “I’m a big, bad sissy, and I’m gonna make you listen!” yells the insult-reclaiming ‘Sissy’, loud in resisting gender norms and proudly existing in spite of those who try to deny it. It’s just one such moment on ‘Pageant’ where life’s bullshit is fed into an explosive super-combustor, and spat out the other side in tatters. For PWR BTTM, being unapologetically yourself is the strongest form of resistance. “I don’t know if empowerment is the word I would use,” ponders Liv, “as much as I seek to impart things with value,” they add. “When I say value, I imagine everyone exuding this beautiful energy. That sounds like such a yoga mom thing to say!” they cackle before resuming. “I think that a lot of people are told that their experiences aren’t interesting or worth hearing about,” Liv continues. “That underlies a lot of systematic oppression, the idea that your pain isn’t important.” This, they add, runs all the way through PWR BTTM’s music. “To me,” Liv explains, “it’s actually a political gesture to say me waiting for this text back is important,” they add, referring to recent single ‘Answer My Text’. “It does deserve to be sung about. Also, if someone says something mean to me on the street, about how I look, that’s also important. That deserves to be talked about, and one isn’t more important than the other.” Liv is bang on. As America finds itself in the sausage-fisted grope of a certain orange-hued demagogue, and Europe tears itself apart justifying its vile racism with referendum papers, shouting the stories of marginalised folk from the rooftops becomes vital rebellion. ”When people are choosing to try to hurt you, it’s because they don’t believe that your pain is real,” Liv nods. “You don’t have to speak


specifically to them to counteract what they’ve said. You just have to insist that your pain is real, which isn’t really a radical statement at all. It’s a very simple statement, and it just highlights how awful they are.” “I think playing music is the closest I’ll ever get to having superpowers,” a glitter-covered Ben says. “Playing guitar as opposed to having a sword. I channel that a lot. I think my make-up’s very reflective of that, too,” they point out.

Big (and not actually very) Scary Monsters PWR BTTM’s path has been a winding one, most people catching on to debut ‘Ugly Cherries’ long after it first came out. According to Liv and Ben, that’s a lot to do with the support of label Big Scary Monsters, who not only helped them go bigger, but introduced them to the good ol’ fashioned British boozer. Liv: Big Scary Monsters really helped us. They’re just the sweetest boys. When we went to the UK, the day before we started touring, we just spent an entire day in the pub with two of the guys from the label. A very English thing to do. We got there at noon, and left at like, 8pm. Ben: So much fun, they’re so kind and good. In a label partner, for us, it’s about someone who isn’t just trying to get a buzz band, or a queer band, or something like that they can brand and market. All the labels we work with just look at us as musicians. 54

“I th i n k pl ayi n g m u s i c i s c lo s es t I’ll e v er g et

having superpowers .” to

- B en H o pki n s

Appropriately – considering it’s a record made by two riff-wielding superheroes – PWR BTTM’s second album is jam-packed full with bright, brash, colourful textures. There’s even a cheeky bit of opera (vocals courtesy of Ben’s mum) nudged in along the way. Liv and Ben packed off to a strange industrial building named The Cracker Factory, in Geneva, New York, to make the record. “They don’t make crackers there though,” Ben adds. “They made straight-edge razors.” With the foundations in place, they then linked up with a trusted and familiar face, producer Chris Daly (who also worked on debut ‘Ugly Cherries’). Retaining those foundations, they say, was instrumental in allowing them to push forward in other ways. After all, as Ben puts it, “we made ‘Ugly Cherries’, and it was like, we already made it, why would we make the same album twice?”. “We both come from performance backgrounds, and in theatre and dance sometimes you have someone in your process called a dramaturge,” explains Liv. “They’re kind of an editor for a piece of performance; they tell you what’s working, what’s not, they ask you helpful questions that help you discover things about what you’re making, and help you make choices. Chris is kind of a dramaturge for PWR BTTM’s work,” they say. “When we’re recording, it’s like we’re diving down into the ocean,” Liv adds. “We need to have someone on the surface, whose job it is to make sure we’re getting enough oxygen, and that we’re not under too much pressure. That needs to be someone you trust with your life.” With several shows later on today, PWR BTTM have places to dash, and apparently they’ll be auditioning new bass players along the way. It’s something of a tradition. After all, PWR BTTM is about far more than these two musicians alone. “If we encounter someone who’s a stranger,” Liv says, “who is incredibly strange or weird, in a beautiful way, or out of place, or glamorous in their own strange way that they might not be aware of, we’re like, oh, that’s our next bass player. It’s our way of pointing out the ridiculous theatricality that we embody on stage, that we see everywhere in the world.” PWR BTTM’s new album ‘Pageant’ is out 12th May via Big Scary Monsters. DIY

Upcoming London shows

tickets and more info at




“London’s amazing - it’s shimmering and beautiful - but it’s also really dark.” Isabel Munoz-Newsome



umarosa don’t do things by halves. From releasing a nearly-eight-minute debut single to living and writing in a north London warehouse, few acts hurtle themselves into existence with such force and commitment as this four-piece. It’s been a hell of a ride for Pumarosa in the run-up to the release of debut album ‘The Witch’. With fewer songs out in the world than members, the band were trotting around arenas in Europe and North America with Glass Animals, and even taking on London’s inimitable Royal Albert Hall. It’s not something that seems to be intimidating the fast-rising newcomers though, according to Isabel Munoz-Newsome. “Everyone told me I should be so nervous, but I was rolling around on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall like “yeeeeeeah!” she squeals, evidently still unfazed.

lion’s On their spr awling, ambitious debut ‘The Witch’, Pumarosa fight back against the often brutal realities of day-to -day life in London and the demonisation of women. Words: Will Richards. Photos: Mike Massaro.


There’s been a fearlessness about everything Pumarosa have presented so far, a lot of which comes from none of the band ever having written and recorded an LP before ‘The Witch’. “That element of the unknown was really important and interesting, and it lead us to not be precious with stuff,” Isabel begins, only weeks away from the album’s release, restless at not being able to unleash it to the world this very second. “Everything was quite impulsive. I have friends who have been releasing LPs for years, and are on their fifth or sixth ones, and because they know the process so much, it drags on indefinitely, and there’s no way to know when to let go.” Experimentation became a vital part of ‘The Witch’’s make-up as a result, and this was furthered when the band were, somewhat inexplicably, took up residency at a huge disused cinema in the remote Italian region of Calabria. With songs as big as skyscrapers and a penchant for anything grand, it was a perfect fit for the band. “You learn so much from doing things that are just different,” guitarist Jamie Neville adds. “That’s how you start to zoom in on a reference point of


how you sound together in a different context.” The trip, which saw the band sleeping under the stars on muggy nights - a far cry from the London they left behind - also accidentally saw them play their biggest gig to date, when they invited the Calabrian locals down to the venue on their last night in residence, with everyone from toddlers to 80 year-olds stumbling upon something pretty bloody confusing. “We were just jamming - not even playing songs - and they all just came along and danced and loved it,” Jamie chuckles, before Isabel reveals that the gathered throng stood, watched and danced along to multiple hours of pure improvisation, either through politeness or confusion. No matter, taking themselves out of “the London bubble” they operate in 90% of the time served to give Pumarosa that bit of perspective when they returned to the capital and took to 180 HQ, the once infamous home of Palma Violets. “There’s this level of self-consciousness that exists in London, and it’s so strange and nice to interact with people outside of the bubble. The bubble is fascinating, but there’s a whole world out there,” Isabel exclaims. The good and evil of life in the capital is one that fuels ‘The Witch’. “It tries to reflect how London is constantly changing,” the vocalist says. “How you get pushed around. Also the complexity of it. London’s amazing it’s shimmering and beautiful - but it’s also really dark.” The polarising nature of the band’s day-to-day life in the city comes across significantly on the album - from the bleak, industrial crunch of ‘Lions’ Den’ to the sky-reaching, euphoric ‘My Gruesome Loving Friend’, the majestic and the mundane are both given equal weight. “Some days, it feels like everyone in London comes together and it feels warm and orange and lush, and then on others it’s really bleak and blue,” Isabel begins, with Jamie adding that, “London’s constantly shifting and you always think you know what it is, and then one thing slightly changes and all of a sudden you’re in a completely different community.”


Pumarosa are, to a large extent, a product of their surroundings, and the current social and political climate gave Isabel the urge and the need to concern the album with prominent female protagonists, right down to its immediate, evocative title. “There’s a theme of female leads in the songs”, she agrees.

Pep me up

Pumarosa aren’t normally ones for pre-show pep talks, but when Isabel got an unusual and out of character burst of stage fright before a big NYC show with Glass Animals, it was left to Jamie to address the troops. “He said, “Isabel, you’ve got to play that guitar and that tambourine like it’s your last day on earth!”, and after the show someone wrote a review afterwards that said “she was dancing and playing like it was her last day on earth.” We carried the message! Pep talks work!”

“Often when I’m singing, I’m singing about these women, which, when I’m listening to other music, is something that I often see to be missing or absent. Women are usually sung to, as these figureheads or -isms, and I was trying to sing more about what it feels like to be that figure, rather than just always seeing it portrayed it from the outside. “Straight away, calling an album ‘The Witch’ conjures up certain feelings, and for me it’s trying to address the notion of the witch and the demonisation of the female that’s been present for the last 600 years or so, and never quite left,” she continues. “The kind of shit that’s going on at the moment, hugely reductive ideas from the American government, and regarding contraception, it’s like, oh my god. It’s very strange, but then it’s really exciting and important to be aware, and to be reading whatever you can, and not just taking what’s handed to you. Because it’s all there, you just have to find it.” Pumarosa’s debut album ‘The Witch’ is out via Fiction on 19th May. DIY

Pumarosa are appearing at The Great Escape this year. Head to for details.


L-R: Michael Jackson, Robert Smith, Courtney Loveâ&#x20AC;Ś

ITâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S A DIRTY HIT!

Rejuvenated Birmingham favourites Superfood are at the helm; sparky newcomers King Nun and Pale Waves are nipping at their heels. DIY checks in with the first Dirty Hit Tour to find an indie fairytale to warm the coldest of hearts. Words: Lisa Wright. Photos: Emma Swann.





ettle down, girls and boys, as we tell you a tale of redemption. Of wrongs righted and victory clutched from the jaws of defeat. It ends with one of our protagonists, Superfood frontman Dom Ganderton, running giddily drunk and fully clothed into the Brighton sea following a victorious live comeback show, but it begins just over a year ago when bandmate Ryan Malcolm was nearly arrested for locking out a bailiff... “We’d got used to [the perks of being signed] really quickly, and then when it transpired that we weren’t going to do anything more with our old label it was like... fuck. All the money’s gone,” remembers Dom, nursing a pint in a Nottingham boozer. “We were in an accountant’s meeting when they told us the balances, and you know in films where you spit your drink out in shock? I actually did that. Just spat water all over the table. We had bailiffs come round the house; it got proper shit. Ryan nearly got arrested for trying to lock them out.” The pair are looking back to the lost 18 months following the release of Superfood’s 2014 debut ‘Don’t Say That’, when the band – now streamlined down to two following the departure of their former bassist and drummer found themselves without a label, management or much hope. “We were just gonna scrap it and start a new band,” he admits. Ryan continues: “We’d made this [new] record with the last bit of money and met up with a few A&Rs who didn’t get it, and we were really bummed out. To hear from a few different people that they didn’t like it ‘cos it didn’t sound like the old stuff was really hard; we just thought it was crap and were about to leak it online. Our friend [Peace frontman] Harry Koisser had to chase us down the road at one point, following us down Ridley Road yelling at us not to do it.” If it’s a particularly deep nadir that the Birmingham boys found themselves

in once the honeymoon period of the B-Town scene had passed, then fear not. There’s a knight in shining armour in this story; current uber-label Dirty Hit (home to Wolf Alice, The 1975 and more), who picked the band off the cutting room floor and gave them a second shot at the big prize. “Two friends of ours, including Matty from The 1975, sent it to the label, and then two weeks later they called us in and said they wanted to put it out. We were just like... Well OK then,” recalls Dom, still visibly baffled at the pair’s sudden change of fortune. “[Before that] I remember thinking, ‘Oh well that’s it then. I can’t believe they were the glory days.’ But having this again feels like a second chance,” agrees Ryan.

e first hop on the bus in Birmingham – our headliners’ hometown – where the bands are prepping for a sold out show at the O2 Academy 3. They’ve purposely kept their B-Town re-introduction small (judging by the bulging crowd, they could have easily upgraded to the larger hall), but that doesn’t mean that nerves aren’t running high. Adding some extra indie cred to proceedings, Superfood have recruited former Big Deal singer Alice Costelloe into the touring band to play bass. “I remember [after Big Deal broke up] Dom saying that if you ever get bitter watching a show then you should get back on stage,” she recalls. “It took about a week”. A pre-show trip to the town’s infamous hang out The Sunflower Lounge finds a gaggle of friends and family (including a newly short-haired Doug from Peace) knocking back beers. Two out of three of the ladies’ toilets already have vomit in them. It’s 7pm. Back in the venue, Pale Waves are on first and debut single ‘There’s A Honey’ is already going down like a modern classic. The four lads of King Nun, meanwhile, have been prepping for their first tour ever by watching groupie classic ‘Almost Famous’, but their hedonistic stabs of noise are far removed from the 70s hippy dream of Penny Lane and co.

As well as acting as the jump leads to re-start Superfood’s career, Dirty Hit have also been putting the time in with two bands at the very start of their journeys: London noiseniks King Nun and sparkling Manchester pop proteges Pale Waves. And for the first time, they’ve brought all three bands together to tout their wares up and down the country for the inaugural Dirty Hit Tour.

By the time Superfood take to the stage, the crowd are ravenous. Later, Dom will admit to being so nervous that he felt physically sick before playing for the first time ever, but you can’t tell. Recent comeback single ‘Double Dutch’ – a smooth, mid-tempo groove of a track – revs people up into a moshing frenzy despite its chilled summer vibes, and it only gets wilder from there. The pair look overwhelmed at the reaction, thanking the crowd for sticking by them through two years away, and by the time they come back for an encore, the sweaty throng are already singing the words to old favourite ‘TV’ before Superfood have even started. Job done.


Getting To Know You

King Nun

From: London Band Members: Theo Polyzoides (vocals), Caius Stockley (drums), James Upton (guitar), Nathan Gane (bass) Key Track: ‘Hung Around’ For Fans Of: Jack White, Supergrass They Say: “We all have a desperate need to communicate as much as possible as quickly as possible. We want to make a lasting connection with as much power and intensity as we can” - Theo

Caius needed a drink to prepare for his annual birthday wash.



f Superfood are feeling slightly worse for wear the next morning – although, let it be noted, they’re on their version of best behaviour on this tour (Dom confirms, “If this was the first album, we’d be out ‘til 6am every night getting fucked up, but we’re taking it more seriously this time”) - then King Nun are on perky form. It’s drummer Caius’ 20th birthday and spirits are running high. The two support bands, who’ve been alternating spots on the bill each night to keep it fair, have spent a solid two weeks tucked up in the same tiny van together and are now two halves of the same whole. In celebration of this beautiful new union, Pale Waves’ male contingent – guitarist Hugo and bassist Charlie – present the birthday boy with half an avocado with a candle stuck in it. A true treat, you’ll agree. Despite a slightly quieter crowd, possibly due to Circa Waves stealing the indie kids away to their show next door, King Nun still howl their way through a set of twitchy, excitable future anthems like they’re headlining the O2. Singer Theo hops and goose steps his way around the stage like he’s just been given a shot of e-numbers straight into the eyeball, while his bandmates whip up the kind of direct, no nonsense howls that veer between White Stripes stomps and wonky Blur-isms. Pale Waves’ charms, meanwhile, are of an altogether slicker variety. Taken under the wing of The 1975 and soon to grace the stage of the world-famous Madison Square Garden in support, they’re a band whose natural presence far exceeds their junior years. In singer Heather Baron-Gracie’s dead-eyed stares and puppet-arm gestures, they’ve got a frontwoman who’s part Matt Healy, part Robert Smith. Which, frankly, sounds like quite the recipe for success.


Backstage in Superfood HQ and Dom is attempting to revive the group’s somewhat flagging energy levels with a homemade concoction of mashed up banana mixed into a cup of scalding coffee. If the sound of it is unappealing, then the look – essentially, not to sugar coat things, something resembling a cup of human vomit – is significantly worse. “I could have just had a cup of coffee and eaten a banana,” he muses sadly, after gallantly attempting to swallow a bit of the mixture. It seems to do the trick, however, and on they march to the stage. As well as re-worked versions of the oldies, Superfood have been adding four newies (including ‘Double Dutch’) into the mix on this tour. Earlier in the day, Ryan touched on what they wanted to change about the first record: “When we got together, we wanted to make something that was like Beck or Gorillaz,” he explained. “But we slipped into this comfortable scenario of guitars, bass and drums instead of doing what we set out to do.” With the new songs, it’s clear they’re much closer to this original vision. ‘I Can’t See’ is a warm, soulful thing with an almost reggae lilt. All honeyed harmonies it’s one to keep your heart nice and toasty. ‘Natural Superstar’, meanwhile, ups the funk, pitting falsetto vocals with some Princeloving sass, while ‘Where’s The Bass Amp?’ is built around a sample from Ronald Russel’s 1968 tune ‘Rythm Hips’. Somewhere between the aforementioned Beck and Deee-Lite’s ‘Groove Is In The Heart’, it’s a ridiculously fun romp through everything that Superfood always threatened to be able to produce.



Superfood are appearing at Live at Leeds and The Great Escape this year, while King Nun will be found at Live at Leeds, The Great Escape and Latitude. Head to for details.

s the bus rolls into Brighton, it’s clear there’s mischief in the air. Superfood’s pal Angie has joined the gang to add guest vocals on the new tracks and King Nun are playing tennis with their guitars as rackets while Pale Waves soundcheck. For the first time on the whole tour, Superfood have decided to go hard on the G&Ts before the set. Of course, because fate is a cruel mistress, a drum kit wobble means tonight is also the first real tech malfunction of the tour. Luckily, the combination of the two means that, when the wheels are back in motion, everyone on and off stage throws themselves into the set even harder. Nerves finally at bay, it’s easily the best show so far – fun and loose with just the right amount of chaos.

We leave the young’uns of Pale Waves and King Nun heading sensibly onwards to the next city as Superfood continue the celebrations into the night, gallivanting around Brighton beach and emerging back in the van, sodden to the bone but happy. It’s a messy kind of victory, but it feels like Superfood’s fairytale ending could be in sight. The end. DIY


From: Manchester Band Members: Heather Baron-Gracie (vocals/ guitar), Ciara Doran (drums), Hugo Silvani (guitar), Charlie Wood (bass) Key Track: ‘There’s A Honey’ Getting For Fans Of: The 1975, To Know Swim Deep You They Say: “I love it when people are say they relate to our songs. Someone recently tweeted, ‘Kill me now so I can play ‘There’s A Honey’ at my funeral’.” - Heather



GORILLAZ Humanz (Parlophone)

Their biggest, most political statement yet.


pecial guests have always provided the most blistering moments of Gorillaz’s three albums to date. From De La Soul’s timeless, cackling spot on ‘Feel Good Inc’ to Shaun Ryder (and his decapitated head) on ‘DARE’, these four characters have always called on some of music’s biggest names to give them a helping hand.

On fourth album ‘Humanz’ though, they completely hand the floor to their guests. Only the slow, ambient ‘Busted and Blue’ doesn’t have a feature spot, and the sheer number of different voices heard across the album’s 20 (!) tracks make ‘Humanz’ a


disjointed but consistently engaging listen. Right off the bat, the record barges down the door courtesy of a vicious Vince Staples cameo on opener ‘Ascension’, and the tempo never really loosens for the next hour. The four tracks the band shared in one go to announce the album give a pretty good indication as to the direction ‘Humanz’ is taking Gorillaz, and prove its standouts. ‘Ascension’ bleeds into the Popcaan-featuring ‘Saturnz Barz’ via ‘Strobelite’, a pedestrian take on pop-house that you could imagine on a Disclosure album without too much of a stretch. ‘Saturnz Barz’ teams Popcaan’s elastic, bright vocals with a


gorgeous, melancholic chorus from Damon Albarn. The Blur man takes a backseat for much of ‘Humanz’, and when he does interject in a handful of its tracks, he’s used sparingly, and always to maximum effect. From the hyperactive ‘Momentz’, which sees De La Soul returning to the fold once more, to the creepy, intense, Grace Jones-featuring ‘Charger’, ‘Humanz’ is by far the weirdest Gorillaz album ever released, and a struggle to get through in one sitting. There’s a certain cohesion here though, largely focused around dissatisfaction and rallying together. While ‘Ascension’ sees Staples spitting that “you can live your

i switched my robot off ascension strobelite saturnz barnz momentz the non-conformist oath submission charger elevator going up andromeda busted and blue talk radio carnival let me out penthouse sex murder party she’s my collar the elephant hallelujah money we got the power

dreams as long as you don’t look like me,” euphoric closer ‘We Got The Power’ serves as a huge battle cry for a finale, with Jehnny Beth of Savages yelping along like they’re her very last words. For a band known for their otherworldly nature, removed from reality, Gorillaz’s new album sees the characters handing over the reigns to the humans (*z, sorry), and creating their biggest, most political statement yet, via the mouthpiece of some of the music world’s most vital voices. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Saturnz Barz’, ‘Submission’, ‘We Got The Power’




Immortal Kombat - EP

powerplant (anti-)

Girlpool’s debut was beautifully simple, at least instrumentally, Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker’s tender vocals washing over twisting and turning guitar and bass lines. Its follow-up sees the pair aiming for the stars. From the moment opener ‘123’ fully kicks in with the first drums ever heard on a Girlpool record, ‘Powerplant’ largely leaves the introspection of ‘Before The World Was Big’ behind. The hushed vocals of ‘Sleepless’ melt into a chorusof-sorts blanketed by distortion, and large periods of the record team the kind of polarising elements that Elliott Smith fitted together so well - of highly emotional whispered vocals given stadium-sized backing from huge drums and piercing guitars. ‘Corner Stone’ is beautifully jangly while the fidgety ‘Kiss and Burn’ is the most complex Girlpool have ever sounded. The relative loss of simplicity makes ‘Powerplant’ a listen that takes longer to settle and sink in. But when it’s wormed its way in, it proves itself to be just as affecting and crushing as its predecessor. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Corner Stone’

(Cannibal Hymns)

Eat Fast have never been ones to play things safe. On second EP ‘Immortal Kombat’, the band stride forward through punk-pop perfection. The riffs are dirty and distorted, melodies weighted down in a potent tonic of fuzz and reverberation, and each track is as refreshing and delicious as the one before it. Lead single ‘Scrambled Egg’ showcases the group at their most immediate yet - crooning hooks drip with apathy, a vibrant contrast to the ferocious storm of refrains they float above. ‘Luck Pusher’ is rough and ready to tumble, lyrical imagery as vivid as the raw guitars that encase it. On ‘Alone At Last’ the outfit take a turn for the more stratospheric, gleaming synth lines zipping their way through a tapestry of sprawling sonics. With two albums worth of music waiting in the wings, ‘Immortal Kombat’ is the rumble before the explosion, a bust of thrillingly turbulent energy weathering for what’s to come. Whether scorching or storming, it’s sure to be sensational. (Jessica Goodman) LISTEN: ‘Scrambled Egg’



Pageant (Big Scary Monsters)

Considering the dangerous wave of populist right-wing sentiment sweeping the world right now, shouting the experiences of marginalised folk loud seems more vital than ever. And in ‘Pageant’ – a record that finds beauty outside of norms, and tells stories ranging from unanswered texts to body-shaming at the doctors – PWR BTTM champion the idea that there are politics in the personal, to bold, middle-finger-slinging effect. “I’m starting to move more like a fish in the sea, than a train on a track,” says the colourful paint strokes of ‘Kids’ Table’, a song that manages to visit facial hair removal, “everything bagels”, and selfies with God along the way. Wittily acerbic on ‘Answer My Text’, naively, hopelessly infatuated in ‘LOL’ and reclaiming slurs on ‘Sissy’, ‘Pageant’ isn’t just a sharper record lyrically, though. It also sees Liv Bruce and Ben Hopkins carving out new musical territory, too, charging their rollicking pop-punk with parping french horns, and, occasionally, gently warbling opera. (El Hunt) Listen: ‘Kids’ Table’, ‘Sissy’





Untitled (Wharf Cat)

‘Quit while you’re ahead,’ the idiom goes, but on the evidence of WALL’s first – and only – album, it’s a shame that these New Yorkers are disbanding before things really got started for them. A corrosive spew of gloomy, dissonant post-punk, that breathes with all the filthy hum of their home city, Sam York is a fearsome ringleader, channelling monster-baiting nonchalance into ‘Save Me’ and pissing off would-be critics with ‘High Ratings’. Hurrying urgently down the rushing veins of every song, colliding surreally poetic lyrics with thumping racket in a tense, on-edge mess, ‘Untitled’ could well’ve put WALL on the same trajectory as their equally absurdist contemporaries Parquet Courts. Still, que sera sera. Whatever this lot are going onto next, they’re a talented bunch worth watching. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Wounded At War’, ‘Save Me’

los angeles police department (ANTI-)

Ryan Pollie isn’t one for sticking to a singular aesthetic, and over the course of this second LP he shape shifts all over the shop. Sure, you can hear The Beach Boys’ influence all over ‘Hard’, but it comes sandwiched between the confessional ‘If I Lied’ and the spacey synth odyssey of ‘Plane 2’. When you throw quite as many ideas as this at the wall, they’re not all going to stick; Ryan’s adventurousness, though, sets him apart. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Grown’


KASABIAN For Crying Out Loud (Columbia)

Have Kasabian learnt from the whole “horsemeat in the burgers” thing? Of course not. There’s mentions of drinking straws, not wearing shorts in the summer and a brilliant bit at the start of opener ‘Ill Ray (The King)’ where singer Tom Meighan repeatedly jeers “what’s yer band called, mate?” like a pissed uncle down the local. Does it matter? Fuck no. As it always has been, the Leicester lads’ prerogative is to bring as many people as possible together for a communal Big One and on ‘FCOL’ they do it in style. The aforementioned ‘Ill Ray’ has about three different choruses and is essentially one big drop, and ‘Bless This Acid House’ is an utterly ludicrous arms-round-ya-mates singalong. 15 years in, Kasabian don’t have to prove anything anymore. If you’re not on board, it’s frankly your loss. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Bless This Acid House‘, ‘Ill Ray (The King)’




C ......................... O M I N G Relaxer

The trio’s long-awaited third LP sees them delving deep into traditional folk for inspiration, even taking in a cover of ‘House of the Rising Sun’ (no, really). It’s released 9th June.



With top banger ‘Green Light’ and the equally brilliant slowie ‘Liability’, odds are pretty great that the follow-up to smash debut ‘Pure Heroine’ will be one of the year’s best. Out 16th June.


Fake Sugar

Best known (and loved) for her role at the front of 00s disco-punk champs Gossip, Beth’s back with a debut that’s every bit as rabble-rousing, if it’s like lead single ‘Fire’. Released 16th June.


PUMAROSA The Witch (Fiction)

There are some artists who unleash an unmistakable sound the moment you whack them on the stereo. In Pumarosa’s case, they had their signature nailed by the time second single ‘Cecile’ (oddly absent from this record, given the concentration of previous singles elsewhere) landed. The band themselves dub the whole thing “industrial spiritual”, and that’s not far off the mark to be honest; debut album ‘The Witch’ marries punchy, stainless steel chorus-spiders with a delicate web of skittering, electronic texture. Their record’s title track – all wavering, vocals from Isabel Munoz-Newsome, and muffled drums - channels Massive Attack’s ‘Heligoland’ if it grew an extra arm of reverb. The only slight stickler is that many of ‘The Witch’s stand-out moments have now been around as long as Pumarosa. Packed full of genius – with a few dips that promised more – for the most part, this does play a little like a Greatest Hits. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Red’, ‘The Witch’





This Old Dog (Captured Tracks)

When you have a track record of putting drumsticks up your bum, wearing Michael Jackson masks and generally being the most lovable goof in the world, it’s hard for people to remember that you don’t feel ace all the time. ‘This Old Dog’ still has whispers of Mac DeMarco’s usual chirpy guitar licks and strutting rhythms - but beyond that, it goes deeper and sees our protagonist at his most mellow and introspective. It’s pretty disconcerting when the harmonica kicks in on ‘A Wolf Who Wears Sheeps Clothes’, but it works, giving an Americana twinge to Mac’s crooning. Even more (literally) progressive is ‘Moonlight On The River’: it’s over seven minutes long. Maybe for some fans it’ll be a step too far from the happy-go-lucky icon they’ve etched. But, for the majority, it’s a blessing, and a wake-up call that maybe we’ve collectively treated him as a kind of Sad Clown character. There’s no referring to himself as ‘Macky’, no dicking around with pitch-shifted voiceovers or giving out his home address. For the only release Mac has put out that doesn’t feature his face on the cover, it’s the closest to him we’ve ever been. (Kyle MacNeill) LISTEN: ‘Sister‘, ‘Moonlight On The River’

eeee FEIST

Pleasure (Polydor)

It’s been six years since ‘Metals’, and in that period the times have certainly changed. Judging by ‘Pleasure’, so has Feist. Elements of the comforting, homely warmth of her previous output still remain, but for the most part, it’s her most haunting work to date. She’s in heartshattering mood, happy to mine the darkest recesses of her soul and lay her feelings on the line for all to see. So while it’s not always the easiest of listens, the raw emotional honesty makes it truly a pleasure to have Leslie Feist back. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘Any Party’ 68 68

ee CLEAN CUT KID Felt (Polydor)

Without the raw energy of their live performances, the simplicity of Clean Cut Kid’s songwriting is exposed. Sentiments range from loved-up and cuddly to heartbroken with little nuance in between – consistently it’s very basic subjects explored with no unique or interesting perspective. They do know their way around a power-pop song, but the likes of ‘We Used To Be In Love’ and ‘Time To Let You Go’ are so cliched and overblown they could pass for rejected Journey numbers. (Dan Jeakins) LISTEN: ‘Vitamin C’

eee LAND OF TALK Life After Youth

(Saddle Creek)

Seven years after ‘Clock and Cipher’ and Elizabeth Powell is still delivering the kind of mellifluous, heart-busting vocal that first enticed Bon Iver to produce superlative 2008 debut ‘Some Are Lakes’. If they’ve grown into a more mid-tempo affair than the indefinably antsy quality of that record, then ‘Life After Youth’ proves that middle age still has its rewards. Falling somewhere between Poliça with an Americana tinge and a less naff Fiona Apple, the likes of ‘Inner Lover’ and ‘This Time’ are cornerstones that hold up a record characterised by catharsis. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Inner Lover’

eeee SLOWDIVE Slowdive

(Dead Oceans)


PERFUME GENIUS No Shape (Matador)

A masterclass in kitschy indulgence and raw honesty alike; Perfume Genius’ fourth album is a bold, brash record that veers from shrieking gusts of operatic frenzy to crackling emotion without batting an eyelid. While the diseased bodies that plagued ‘Too Bright’ – arguably his breakthrough album - were “rank, ragged” containers, the follow-up takes a more porous view; the boundaries between boring, limiting old mortality and trumpet-parping visions of heaven less clearly cut. And even in ‘No Shape’s quietest moments there’s the nagging threat that Perfume Genius falling completely silent is deathly. Perhaps that’s the reason ‘No Shape’ – which constantly dices with the pros and cons of corporeal obliteration – is so blimmin’ loud. Perfume Genius has always shown a vagrant disregard for convention, and with his fourth record, Mike Hadreas takes a scalpel to the inner-workings of his creative brain, and the love that feeds it. An absolutely flooring record from a once-in-a-generation talent. (El Hunt) Listen: ‘Die 4 U’, ‘Wreath’

The latest in a long line of returning 90s heroes, Slowdive have spent the time since their initial reunion reminding all how many musical gems they have in their back pockets. ‘Slowdive’ sees them ageing gracefully, but not without tweaks, even if reinvention is too strong a word. ‘Star Roving’ is a propulsive, rollocking beast that takes them close to post-rock territory. The album’s highlight comes courtesy of ‘Sugar For The Pill’, a deep, intricate cut that ties together gorgeous, finger-picked acoustic guitar with thudding bass, Rachel Goswell’s hushed backing vocals never having sounded so affecting. It’s an absolute joy to have them back. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Sugar For The Pill’




Leeds psychgrungers Weirds live up to that fierce reputation they’ve built on their debut; the extent to which they’ve embraced the atonal makes listening to ‘Swarmculture’ much like wading through tar. Or last year’s Glastonbury mud, if you will. There’s much of an acquired taste to the sonics on show. But it’s not all droney glop there’s almost a melody hidden away in ‘Old World Blues’ and the chorus of ‘Salamander’s Sister’ will be ringing in heads for days. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Old World Blues’ 69

eeee HO99O9 United States of Horror

(Toys Have Powers)

An artist may get lost in their art, but debut album ‘United States of Horror’ seems to have actually possessed Ho99o9. An abrasive duo, challenging and difficult, the pair have the point of no return firmly in the rear view mirror as they manically slash through every decibel-blasting genre of the last three decades. A reanimated corpse that moves just artfully enough to be considered a devastatingly effective metal, rap, hardcore, industrial, experimental noise crossover, the unholy nature of which has never quite revealed itself to the world before, The ‘United States of Horror’ is an outrageous, bewildering and scary place where every alley presents an open invitation to get attacked in ever more gory and interesting ways. (Matthew Davies) LISTEN: ‘Street Power’


the days we had


‘The Days We Had’ makes for frustrating listening. A handful of tracks in, it’s already becoming clear that any ‘wow’ moment which ought to be coming, isn’t. Jackson Phillips’ failure to convincingly answer the question of just how much he’s capable of ensures that doubts continue to linger. Who knows, perhaps we’ve already heard the best of Day Wave, because this sadly isn’t it. (Tom Hancock) LISTEN: ‘Bloom’

eee HOOPS Routines

(Fat Possum)

Hoops may have begun life as Drew Auscherman’s ambient ode to Oneohtrix Point Never’s ‘Replica’, but you’d never tell now except for how blissfully chilled-out ‘Routines’ is. It’s an album that can only be described as languid, chiming guitars unhurriedly layering up aside softly purred words about life and love. A pretty good reminder to stop and take things in once in a while. (Rhian Daly) LISTEN: ‘Burden’ 70


THEME PARK Is This How It Starts? (Recreation)

It would be fair to say Theme Park don’t like to rush things. By the time they got around to releasing their self-titled debut in early 2013 it was nearly two years since their hyped-up 2011 breakthrough. A lifetime in band years. Four years to follow it up? Just who’s going to remember them? That’s something that might suit the north London trio well - rather than begging for comparisons with their early buzzy singles, ‘Is This How It Starts?’, as its name hints at, could be Theme Park’s way of starting anew in all but name. With the help of producer pal Fryars, they’ve taken the synths to 11, Miles Haughton’s vocals taking a back seat almost at times. At its best, there’s plenty of Friendly Fires’ Hawaiian shirt-wearing party-starting: ‘You Are Real’ is a beast, while ‘Never Ending Story’ a 90s house-aping stomp of a track. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘You Are Real’, ‘Never Ending Story’

Q&A Four years on since the release of their debut, the band’s Marcus and Miles Haughton reveal just what it’s like to be back. Interview: Sarah Jamieson. It’s been a while! How does it feel to be about to release a new album after four years? Marcus: Very exciting! Very exciting indeed. It feels like a long time ago we started working on it, so it’s super exciting finally giving people the chance to listen. Because of label trouble and various other reasons it took much longer than it should have but I guess that means the pay-off of it coming out is much more rewarding. What did you want to explore on this record, both lyrically and musically? Miles: Lyrically, if there was a theme it was just for it to be true, and for every song to be about something. (Producer) Fryars told me to write my lyrics like I was writing my tweets which was scary at first as sometimes in the past I’d hide behind more abstract lyrics. But it was fun! Listening back to it, there’s lots about internet, dating apps, dates, FOMO, which could all be grouped under the heading of ‘being a single man’. How did Fryars get involved in the process? Marcus: We’ve known Fryars since we were very little and he’d actually had a hand in the first ever Theme Park demos but for various reasons we never managed to pin him down to produce the first record so we were very excited when he had enough time to help out on this one. Fryars produced seven out of the 11 tracks on the record and it was really nice and creative working in his Southwark studio. Because we know each other so well it made it much easier to be honest about what we wanted with each other and with the record!




Into the Flophouse


(RIP Records)

Tangerines’ debut pits them as US devotees stuck on the wrong side of the Atlantic. ‘Keep On Racing’ bounces past like a laidback update of the Modern Lovers’ ‘Roadrunner’, while the rollocking romp of ‘Peckham Boys’ is about as far away from South London’s chicken shops and overground tubes as they come. Over ten tracks there is little variation - singer Gareth Hoskins’ 50-a-day tone is nothing if not consistent – but fundamentally Tangerines have crafted something enjoyable enough to merit sticking it out to the end for. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Peckham Boys’


It would be something of an understatement to say that Nathan Williams is a busy guy: ‘You’re Welcome’ is the fifth LP he’s been involved with in the space of two years. It makes for a thoroughly compelling and entertaining insight into the seemingly limitless stock of ideas buzzing around inside his head; from Cambodian pop to 70s South American psychedelia, he’s dug deep for inspiration. As such, it’s not only eclectic, but also borderline bizarre at times (at the wackier end of the scale, ‘Come To The Valley’ sounds delightfully like the theme music to a funfair curated by The Beach Boys). But for all its adventures into the weird and wonderful, ‘You’re Welcome’ retains the hallmarks of Wavves at their most recognisable and best. As an opener, ‘Daisy’ packs every bit as much of an immediate punch as ‘King of the Beach’ or ‘Sail to the Sun’, ‘No Shade’ whizzes by in a contagious two-minute flash, and ‘Stupid In Love’’s brilliantly boisterous chorus just demands to be sung along to. Six albums in, these Wavves are showing no signs of ebbing. (Tom Hancock) LISTEN: ‘Daisy’, ‘Stupid In Love’


BLONDIE Pollinator (BMG)

For more than four decades Blondie have been one of pop music’s brightest sensations: “Is it doom or destiny?”, Debbie Harry questions. There are pop hooks a plenty here, but where ‘Pollinator’ succeeds is not in trying to outshine the band’s history, but in adding to it - with the help of a few friends along the way. ’Gravity’ is the definition of zippy - melodies zooming across the stratosphere , while ‘Love Level’ announces its arrival with a pomp and circumstance that’s positively gleeful. Flexing their muscles as they stretch their creativity, on ‘Pollinator’ Blondie might not be testing any limits or redefining any capabilities, but they make thinking inside the box sound pretty damn fun. (Jessica Goodman) LISTEN: ‘Long Time’, ‘Love Level’

•C•A•L•L• •M•E• As if Blondie weren’t enough of a name on their own, to make ‘Pollinator’ even more exciting the band enlisted basically every artist you’ve ever loved. So, who picked up, and who left ‘em hangin’ (on the telephone, obvs). When Dev Hynes isn’t working on new videos for latest album ‘Freetown Sound’ he found time to team up for ‘Long Time’. Elsewhere, having released mixtape ‘Number 1 Angel’ and collaborated with Mura Masa already this year, Charli XCX is showing no signs of slowing down. She worked ‘Gravity’ and ‘Fragments’, the latter of which also features a hidden track with electronic music pioneer Laurie Anderson. All-round guitar god Johnny Marr wrote ‘My Monster’. Punk rock legend Joan Jett lends her voice to ‘Doom Or Destiny’. Trademark blonde bob owner Sia penned ‘Best Day Ever’ - a track which also features The Strokes’ Nick Valensi. Production genius and musician extraordinaire Dave Sitek worked on ‘Fun’, and musical comedy group The Gregory Brothers (perhaps best known for their Songify the News series) lend their talents to ‘When I Gave Up On You’. AND BREATHE. In case having all those musicians involved didn’t seem like enough, comedian and voice actor John Roberts (of Bob’s Burgers) lends his vocal talents to ‘Love Level’. It’s not the first time they’ve worked together - Debbie Harry featured in one of John’s skits back in 2009.


eee SHE-DEVILS she-devils

(Secretly Canadian)

‘She-Devils’ is a perfectly mid-fi indie pop album with occasional experimental inflections. Still, it’s when the duo embrace a more traditional pop identity that it really takes off - the grippingly melodic ‘You Don’t Know’ recalls Vivian Girls at their finest. Drop any expectations of freak pop from another dimension, and there’s plenty to like. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Never Let Me Go’


Fast or Feast

(Old Flame)

Like Ladyhawke had she grown up on Tame Impala, debut ‘Fast Or Feast’ finds Gothic Tropic channelling a modern strain of pop star. At a time when former Test Icicle Dev Hynes is still one of pop’s most sought-after collaborators and blimmin’ Rat Boy is on the Kendrick album, Gothic Tropic’s blurred lines feel bang on point. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘How Life Works’



The Weather (Marathon Artists)

Last time we heard from POND, they were heading on a wild, garage-rock based excursion into the solar system. True to their ways, they’ve changed things up yet again on their seventh album. ‘The Weather’ still has their fundamentals at its core - out-there psych-rock, Nicholas Allbrook’s urgent wails, mind-boggling lyrics that take several listens to comprehend - but it’s given them a polish and an upgrade into something new and improved. Opener ‘30,000 Megatons’ makes his position on the state of society - in Australia and elsewhere - pretty clear. “I’ll not stand for Maybelline or Kyle or Jackie O / Or my sunburnt country burning people I don’t know,” he strains over gently tinkling, sci-fi sounds. ‘All I Want For Xmas’, meanwhile, has the band geeking out over a Tascam 388 recording console as howls and barks infiltrate the background. Proof that no matter how slick POND get, there’ll always be a part of them that’s a little bit bonkers. (Rhian Daly) LISTEN: ‘Sweep Me Off My Feet’, ‘30,000 Megatons’


Nick Allbrook and Jay Watson tell all about the new, streamlined POND. Interview: Lisa Wright.

eeee (SANDY) ALEX G Rocket


It’s been two years since (Sandy) Alex G released an album, a lifetime for the super-prolific 24 year-old. The time spent away sees him refining his sound. Slowing down and refining his output has allowed him to make ‘Rocket’ a brilliantly considered next step. It’s also his catchiest record yet. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Bobby’



Shake The Shudder (Warp)

For ‘Shake The Shudder’, !!! drafted in a rotating cast of vocalists, including Cameron Mesirow of Glasser. It’s then where things really take off, when it feels like the band are flirting with new territory. Elsewhere, the tempo never really lets up, and by the back half of the album, it’s all beginning to feel a little bit much of a muchness. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Dancing Is The Best Revenge’ 72

This album’s pretty concise and poppy for you – is this a new phase of Pond? Jay Watson: You do one like that and then you wanna do one that sounds like a truck falling down a hill. Nick Allbrook: We’re just back and forth all the time. In one day we’ll probably go between being into Butthole Surfers and then totally vibing on Rihanna. It’s pretty scattershot.

we go through all the albums and list the songs we want to play, and often we’re pretty much struggling to get to an hour of music after seven albums.

How is this record better? N: I think what we’ve been trying to do is to get better about being truly, truly honest instead of this constructed honesty of being more obtuse than we actually are. We’re Do you cringe at a lot of your old music? just getting a bit bolder in [admitting] N: Fuck yeah. Oh god, yeah. that we actually just like bangers. J: When we’re writing set lists for tour


KENDRICK LAMAR DAMN. (Aftermath/Interscope/TDE)

“I feel like the whole world want me to pray for ‘em / But who the fuck prayin’ for me?” Kendrick Lamar spits during ‘FEEL.’ With 2015’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, the rapper opened himself up to the world, acting as a mouthpiece for a viciously angry generation and becoming a figurehead for millions. On ‘DAMN.’ he turns the camera inwards, coming to terms with his new position and how it affects the rapper himself. It’s most concisely presented in some of the album’s final lyrics: “It was always me vs the world, until I found out it was me vs me.” Musically, ‘DAMN.’ trades the brass and jazz of ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ for slinky beats on the James Blake-produced ‘ELEMENT.’ and siren synths on ‘XXX.’, erratic yet fused together by his continuing quest for inner peace, fighting against anxiety. Kendrick Lamar rose to the top with his last album, and on ‘DAMN.’ he tries to rediscover himself while on this new perch, with spectacular results. (Will Richards) Listen: ‘D.N.A.’, ‘ELEMENT.’


FOREST SWORDS Compassion (Ninja Tune)

Rather than craft a record that wallows in impending doom, ‘Compassion’ strikes a balance between hope and fear, and does it in a way that’s even more musically bold and compelling than debut ‘Engravings’. The most remarkable aspect here is Matthew Barnes’ truly valiant attempt to find a way to break down borders with a new language. Looking past the incessant aggression of trolls and spiteful commenters, he’s been inspired by the way in which we now communicate with each other through the internet and other media. ‘Compassion’ barely utters a word and yet still manages to convey trauma and sorrow. It covers a huge spectrum of human emotion, while still looking ahead to the future with its cinematic, atmospheric electronic passages and fascinating attempt at breaking borders. It’s at times heart-stopping and at others movingly barren, but is always thoroughly arresting. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘The Highest Flood’, ‘Panic’


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

eeeee The Big Moon Love in the 4th Dimension

Granted, you’ve probably barely stopped playing this since its release last month, but The Big Moon’s debut is a right smasher.


Blaenavon That’s Your Lot

The Hampshire boys’ expansive debut is more than worth the oh-solong five years it took to get out.


Diet Cig

Swear I’m Good At This

Bouncier than Tigger on a trampoline, and every bit as incisive as we’ve come to expect from the New York duo. 73


in·ter a·li·a (Rise)


GNARWOLVES Outsiders (Big Scary Monsters)

Three years have passed since Brighton punks Gnarwolves released their self-titled debut. In the scheme of things that might not so long, but the change in the band is more than evident. ‘Outsiders’, though harbouring the same energy and DIY ideals as its predecessor, is a record more nuanced, and more considered than anything the trio have released before. There’s a newfound emphasis on melody, and lyrical maturity, the band’s wry worldview feels more refined, more cynical even. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Gnarwolves record without a certain degree of happiness, even if that happiness is found in the catharsis of sharing the same misery. Gnarwolves have always embodied the very idea of being outsiders, they do things their own way, but with the release of their second record, you could do much worse than do it with them. (Dave Beech) LISTEN: ‘Car Crash Cinema’, ‘Channelling Brian Molko’

Q&A Gnarwolves’ Thom Weeks walks us through ‘Outsiders’ and, er, fart jokes. Interview: Dave Beech. You’re a band who’ve always done things your own way... I used to be really fierce about this sort of stuff. These days I don’t really care, anyone can do whatever they want really. I think integrity is really important, and it’s important to us to be able to do what we want and always be able to feel like what we’re doing has a purpose and isn’t shit. However, don’t judge, everyone’s on a different ride aren’t they? Pop-punk has come a long way since the fart jokes and teenage angst of the ‘00s. What do you think caused the shift? Did people not just get bored of hearing fart jokes? I’m pretty sure that’s what it was wasn’t it? I’ve got a feeling it’s going to come back around to fart jokes before long. There’s going to be a fart band soon. I think the internet has made a huge difference, people are listening to Bad Brains age 14 instead of Papa Roach. You can already see real young bands coming through and they’re making incredible music with really varied sources of influence, and it’s incredible. How do you think the world’s political climate has affected the global punk scene? There are still political punk bands, but there’s a lot of focus on personal issues too now in punk rock, which is great. I’d like to hear more good political punk bands but I think the issue with it is that people want to make art, and unless you’re very clever with the lyrics, it’s hard to write a political punk song that doesn’t sound really shit. You can write a song that’s political without being obtuse. 74

Having previously bowed out with crowning glory ‘Relationship Of Command’, At The Drive In were always going to be up against it with what came next. The curiously-titled ‘in•ter a•li•a’ begins with a song called ‘There’s No Wolf Like The Present’, and it’s clear across the whole record that the band have no interest in looking back. An album that’s worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with their back catalogue. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘No Wolf Like The Present’

eeee ALDOUS HARDING Party (4ad)

It’s truly captivating how Aldous Harding can create impact with seemingly so few components. Much of ‘Party’ is built on gentle acoustic guitar melodies, hushed piano lines and dusty percussion. But why clutter a record with too many instruments when you’ve got a voice like hers, and some equally fascinating narratives to match? Her vocals give ‘Party’ its emotional punch. And it can sometimes feel like being hit by a heavyweight champion. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘Party’


Latent Whispers


Two-piece bands are nothing new, but two bass bands on the other hand? Not really a thing, apart from, urm, yer da’s faves Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. Cue Kite Base. Savages’ Ayşe Hassan and Pop Noire labelmate Kendra Frost specialise in heavily-synthetic pop prisms and plunking low-register lines; sparse sweetness shot through a lens of post-punk. Kite Base’s vision flies high, caught on a gust of ideas. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Dadum’


The Cure (Virgin EMI)

You could be forgiven for wondering if Stevie Parker has plucked her name straight from Ms. Nicks - but if you think that’s her only affectation, you’re well wide of the mark. There’s plenty of room for calculation in pop but outright cynicism is a step too far. Parker talks plenty and says nothing on this crushingly dull first outing. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Without You’


Killer Mike can dab with the best of them.


run the jewels

Albert Hall, Manchester. Photos: Leah Henson.



he two-fingered pistol. The fist. The universal symbol of knowing the world is against you but starting a mosh pit right up against the riot shields. Ever since Run The Jewels exploded onto the scene - as much as you can while already being two certified legends solo - that two-handed salute has followed them adoringly everywhere. Tonight they even play under two giant gestures, each punching out from the background to form the backdrop to the stage. El-P and Killer Mike choose to kick off proceedings with three songs in a row from ‘RTJ3’, a breathless salvo of ‘Talk To Me’, ‘Legend Has It’ and ‘Call Ticketron’. Firmly in the swing of things, it’s time to delve slightly further back into the past and return with ‘Blockbuster Night’. There’s a genuinely uplifting sense of togetherness as both performers seem to revel in the friendship of each other and their disdain for a world of politics beyond their control. As Killer Mike puts it: “We’ve come from the asshole of the centre of the apocalypse”, “the bastard cousin of the UK”. It’s a stark ballsyness that both of these men can inhabit so well, El-P taking time out in his faux shyness, to explain how he “has to be brave” and he just wants the chance to debut his “solo poetry”. “I leave my prints on her keester, suck…” by this point it’s pretty clear that El isn’t heading for the sonnet section just yet. Larger than life entertainers with natural charisma and a firm grasp on their humour it’s almost easy to forget at this point that some time tonight RTJ are going to produce one of the saddest and most powerful songs of any set in ‘Early’. By the time the tale of police brutality, fear and violence ends, it’s impossible to forget. Somehow RTJ are able to balance their dystopia with euphoria. Speeding sharply towards the final car-off-cliff face moment, ‘Close Your Eyes (and Count to Fuck)’ is an explosive, bone shattering, Zack De La Rocha-injected impact that sends the room into the most frenzied chaos yet. There’s a final goodbye in the shape of weirdly uplifting ‘Down’ as if RTJ do it almost out of respect to their role to leave us with some sort of hope. That hope? So long as there is a finger pistol and a fist raised up somewhere there’s hope and no one in this room is putting them down any time soon. (Matthew Davies) 77



Heaven, London. Photos: Phoebe Fox.


elebration defines tonight’s proceedings: from the second ‘Hell Is My Head’ bursts in, everyone at Heaven is fully up for the party. Blaenavon’s debut only came out hours ago, but its earlier singles have already been taken in as classics - ‘Let’s Pray’ follows the opener and invites a swarm of swaying bodies and waving arms, while ‘My Bark Is Your Bite’ is even more vicious and cutting live, Ben Gregory thrashing around right up to the eyeballs of the front row with the confidence of the rockstar he’s surely about to become. There’s an unwavering devotion on show tonight, Ben even picking out those singing along to album cuts ‘Swans’ and ‘Take Care’, not even out 24 hours. When ‘Orthodox Man’ kicks off a wildly encouraged encore, it’s clear that Blaenavon have a bonafide hit on their hands - teaming the best of their predecessors in the British indie scene, this is one that will soundtrack grubby indie discos for years to come, and tonight’s crowd react accordingly. A frighteningly huge stage invasion greets closer ‘Prague’, with the trio completely blanked from view by halfway through the song. If Blaenavon wanted to celebrate the release of their debut album in style, London gave them an emphatic party tonight, and it’s guaranteed that they’ll be back for plenty more. ‘That’s Your Lot?’ Nah, see you in venues five times this size very soon indeed. (Will Richards)


“No honestly, it’s this big…”

Flying Vinyl Festival. Oval Space, London. Photos: Emma Swann.


Goddamn that upturned plug onstage!

he second Flying Vinyl Festival is greeted by the first blisteringly hot day of summer. Light streams into an already pretty full Oval Space for Palm Honey’s early set, in which the quartet intersperse grunge-tinged slacker rock with glimpses of something more sunshine-soaked. Trudy and The Romance then fully embrace the weather, their awkward, fidgety doo-wop still as engrossing as ever. Anteros then bring slab after slab of alt-pop gems, vocalist Laura Hayden a livewire, bounding across the stage with the make up of a soon-to-be-star. And talking of bands on the brink of something massive, the buzz that follows Dream Wife everywhere they go at the moment is in full force. In all honesty, they could’ve successfully headlined. The Wytches may close Flying Vinyl mk. II, but it’s Spring King’s penultimate set that feels like the true celebration. dream wife There’s even confetti. Highlights from debut ‘Tell Me If You Like To’ are thrown out with abandon. ‘It’s Dark’ and ‘Detroit’ are received like gospel from the liveliest crowd of the day, and the infectious wave Spring King are riding doesn’t show any sign of waning. On the back of last year’s ‘All Your Happy Life’, The Wytches then embrace the darkness, bringing their intense, demonic psych to a crowd that find one last burst of energy to fling themselves around the front rows. Maybe it’s just the sun, but festival season feels like it’s upon us, and Flying Vinyl’s second all-dayer does more than a good job of jogging our collective memories on the handful of British bands heading for something really special this summer. (Will Richards)



LI VE 79


Our girl

The Waiting Room, London. Photo: Patrick Gunning.


ye bye to the usual backstory – tonight Soph Nathan from The Big Moon’s side project stands up alone. With Our Girl commanding a bursting, sold out basement, this evening finds the trio shining as an equally ace rabble worth holding up high. Moment of the night comes from drummer Lauren Wilson as she takes her time in cheerfully scolding a smug gig-goer who yells that he already has an Our Girl t-shirt. “Well, they come in two colours,” she quips. “Thank you please.” Fearsome slices from their ‘Normally’ EP take on a new razorsharp bite live. A sprinkling of ‘Dirty’ era Sonic Youth here, a pinch of Breeders there, Soph Nathan’s airy vocal restraint becomes Our Girl’s calling card; all the yearning and muddled confusion of the EP’s lyrical thought-trains colliding into a wall of fuzzed-up, sugary noise. And minimal new cut ‘Heat’ – which sees Soph taken in and swung around atop a single guitar – shows yet more room for growth. (El Hunt)


Electric Ballroom, London. Photos: Thomas Brooker

T Creep(er) oh ah, oh ah, oh ah yeah

LI VE 80

onight, at Camden’s Electric Ballroom, every second points to a band racing towards stardom. The Southampton six-piece’s debut album ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ was released less than a week ago, but its tracks are already being yelled back at them like cast-iron classics. The punchy ‘Black Rain’ bleeds into the lightning-fast ‘Poison Pens’ and the venue - which Creeper could’ve sold out twice over tonight - becomes a mass of sweaty, elated bodies. On one side, it’s a triumphant performance that feels like the band’s biggest moment yet, while also simply serving as another step on their unstoppable rise - Creeper aren’t going to stop here, not nearly. Hannah Greenwood’s rise to becoming a pivotal member of the band is amplified tonight with her move to centre stage for album highlight ‘Crickets’, giving respite from the constant onslaught of crowdsurfers that the rest of the set brings and bringing a completely new dimension to their set. When they finally depart following an encore of first EP track ‘VCR’ and the anthemic ‘Misery’, there’s a sense in the air that Creeper are on the cusp of something really, really big. (Will Richards)

Laura Marling

Declan McKenna



The Garage, London. Photo: Kasia Osowiecka.

Roundhouse, London. Photo: Ruth Kilpatrick. or the first 45 minutes at the Roundhouse, ‘Semper Femina’ is given an almost complete run-through, and it’s the most true Laura Marling has been to the recorded form of her tracks in many years. The results are simply beautiful. ‘Always This Way’ and ‘The Valley’ are massive, hammered out with unparalleled confidence. The ten or so songs from her catalogue she then rolls out show a chemistry between Laura and her band that’s never quite reached these levels before. Introducing each member in a frankly hilarious ten minute interlude, the six-piece then crash into a blistering rendition of ‘Sophia’, which bursts into life with pummelling percussion. Tonight, a singer and her backing musicians become an intertwined, playful travelling band, and the results are huge. (Will Richards)

want all those people at the bar to come forward. You’re here to see me, not a pint of Stella!” exclaims Declan McKenna. It’s not just his sharp-tongued banter that makes him appear a bolder, brasher incarnation than the fresh-faced teen that broke through. His usual t-shirt and tracksuit get-up has been replaced with a white boiler suit, glitter-adorned cheeks and kohl-rimmed eyes, while his demeanour boasts a new-found confidence. Throughout the night there’s a sense that he’s closing the door on one era, but still nothing compares to the rapturously-received ‘Brazil’, as he’s almost transported out of the venue on a sea of hands. (Lisa Henderson)



Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London. Photo: Victoria Ling.


n a mean feat that will surprise absolutely nobody, MUNA sold out their two nights at Hoxton Bar & Grill in less time than it takes to buy a takeaway coffee. The shuddering walls can barely contain the euphoria, and the band feel it, too. “You’ve given us so much energy,” Kate Gavin says. “Now, just lean on us.” ‘Crying on the Bathroom Floor’ and ‘I Know A Place’ are flawless, but it’s during an especially surreal cover of ‘Bring Me To Life’ – complete with artful plunges into darkness – that they shine brightest. Penning songs for the misfits – and illegally catchy ones at that – rooms this tiny will soon be a distant memory. (El Hunt) 81

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

It’s Your Round

man Marika Hack ourg Cost: £4. 50 nb ne Kro : ink Dr lds, London Park, London Fie Pub: Pub On The

Chosen subject: TEEN MOVIES (90s and 00s)

General Knowledge

On which day of the week Oh shit I was gonna say four!! do The Plastics (Mean Hmmm.... Girls) wear pink? What is the name of the Oh fuck! I will be in so actress who appears in much trouble if I get this Crossroads, and later wrong. Wednesday...? went on to star in Orange Yes! Is The New Black? YESSS! Oh whaaaat. I saw Crossroads In ‘Ten Things I Hate in the cinema! Good times. About You,’ which band All I can remember is does Kat Stratford go to Britney, and she’s not in see play live at a bar? Orange Is The New Black. Oooh, it’s like a girl band. Oh It’s actually Taryn Manning, who shit. Oh fuck. I have no idea. plays Pennsatucky in OITNB! It’s The Raincoats. Shit, well that’s news to me! Aaah, I’d have never got that, oh well. What flavour is the pie that Jim Levenstein has sex How many times is the with in American Pie? word ‘Clueless’ said in Apple, right? the film Clueless? Hint: Correct! A warm apple pie. it’s between 1 and 10

How many sides the 2004 Brit Awards? does the brand new Oooh, er, the one pound coin have? that Eminem’s on? Six? No, ‘White Flag!’ It’s actually twelve! Correct! Wait, and does that I used to looooove include the top Dido. and the bottom? No idea, tbh, but we have Is ‘a jiffy’ an actual twelve written down. exact measure of time? I think it is... yeah. In which country Correct, it’s 1/100th were maracas (as of a second! in the percussion instrument) invented? How old is the girl I’d say it’ll be a South who played the sun in American country... Tellytubbies now? Venezuela? Ok, shit, let me think It’s Puerto Rico! about this. 18? Damn, I had a P She, somehow, is now 21. in my head... Oh shit! I am so old.

OK... I’m gonna go for three. Four!



Which Dido song won ‘Best British Single’ at



SCORE 4/10

Though Marika’s score doesn’t look immediately impressive, there were some pretty close calls here, and a few very-nearly-right answers.

Verdict: ‘Unlucky’.

SWEAR JAR: 8 We get that pub quizzes are highly stressful environments where tempers may fray, but let’s just say that we hope Marika’s mum isn’t reading this... 82



DIY, May 2017  

The secret's out! As Hayley, Taylor and Zac prepared to unleash details of their fifth album, we headed to Nashville to find out how the reu...

DIY, May 2017  

The secret's out! As Hayley, Taylor and Zac prepared to unleash details of their fifth album, we headed to Nashville to find out how the reu...