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nothing can break the killers down 1



Featuring the singles “Miss You In The Dark”, “Shine” and “Your Tears”, as heard on BBC Radio 1, Kerrang! Radio, Planet Rock and Radio X.

“Stupendous - if you get a chance to see them - go!” Mark Radcliffe, BBC 6 Music

“Melodious but badass.”

“Brilliant live!”

Team Rock

Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 1 ALBUM RELEASE TOUR










SAT 11


WED 15










SAT 18












Brandon’s still not figured out *that* ‘human / dancer’ quandary.



Emma Swann Founding Editor GOOD Spending four days in New York. The best city in the world. EVIL Having to get on a return flight to Gatwick. ............................ El hunt Features Editor GOOD St Vincent’s incredible - and also, incredibly weird - Brixton Academy show. EVIL Speaking to El-P from Run The Jewels makes for a very confusing feature-writing experience for El-H. .............................. Lisa Wright Staff Writer GOOD Less than three weeks until QOTSA destroy Wembley *counts sleeps*.

EVIL Probably loads of things, but right now I can only think about my utterly shit lunch. 2/10 at best. Would not eat again. ............................. LOuise Mason Art Director GOOD You have so many visual treats in store next month. EVIL I saw the Virgin Mary’s penis. ............................. Will Richards Digital Editor GOOD I’ve finally got around to watching Making A Murderer and OH MY GOD. EVIL Now I can’t sleep at night because it’s all too tense.

EDITOR’S LET TER Back when The Killers made their triumphant return this summer with the ridiculously brilliant ‘The Man’, DIY HQ went into a small state of meltdown. Six months, another great album and a frankly incredible show at Brixton Academy later, we’re still smitten. And considering our November issue is dedicated to the biggest and best musical moments of the past twelve months, when it came to deciding who would lead the pack, there was no other option. Elsewhere, we track down Mark Ronson and Queens of the Stone Age to discuss 2017’s most bizarre (but genius) collaboration, catch up with previous cover stars Run The Jewels and The Big Moon, and chat to Glass Animals about their pineapple pandemonium. Plus, we wanna know all about YOUR favourite moments too - more on that on p63! Sarah Jamieson, Managing Editor GOOD Gotta be honest, learning that Brandon Flowers loves trifle was a real highlight. EVIL It’s only November and I’m definitely ready to hibernate. Is it time for a nap yet?


W h at ’ s b e e n t i c k l i n g t h e DIY team’s eardrums this month? gengahr - ‘where wildness grows’

Confirming that the curse of the Difficult Second Album is definitely ‘a thing’, it’s been a long slog to LP2 for Gengahr. But now it’s here and we can confirm that it’s an absolute beauty.

the streets - ‘a grand don’t come for free’

Tickets for The Streets’ reunion shows sold out in a single minute and, unsurprisingly, we’re rather excited about Mike Skinner and co’s April jaunt too. Altogether now, “I’m not trying to pull you...”

sugababes - ‘overloaded: the singles collection’

Because when you’re feeling like a freak like us, or you’re going round round the bend, then just push the button (on Spotify) and the ‘babes will sort you out in no time.


CONT ENTS 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 Contributors Cady Siregar, Dan Jeakins, Grant Rindner, Ivan Scutt, Jessica Goodman, Joe Goggins, Liam Konemann, Lisa Henderson, Nick Pollard, Nina Keen, Rhys Buchanan, Steven Loftin. Photographers James Kelly, Jenn Five, Jenna Foxton, Lindsay Melbourne, Luke Hannaford, Mike Massaro, Phil Smithies, Pooneh Ghana, Robin Pope. For DIY editorial info@ 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 and this page: Phil Smithies.



6 CHESS CLUB 14 SHAMIR 1 8 T H E WA R O N D R U G S 2 0 H A L L O F FA M E 2 2 H AV E YO U H E A R D ? 2 4 F E S T I VA L S






64 ALBUMS 74 L I V E

OMAR SOULEYMAN “…the coolest man in the universe.” NOISEY

“….the hottest name to drop in Western electronic circles…” THE INDEPENDENT

NEW ALBUM OUT NOW available on double coloured vinyl and cd


With the influential London record label celebrating a decade of existence, we got some familiar faces - old and new - together for a trip down memory lane. Words: El Hunt.




Long live Chess Club!

Joel Amey, Wolf Alice


ick up virtually any copy of DIY from over the years, and the likelihood is that, having a casual flick through, you’ll likely come across a current signee or alumni of West London record label Chess Club within minutes. With a reputation for catching onto the next big thing yonks ahead of anyone else, Chess Club are responsible for launching DIY cover stars like Mumford & Sons, Jungle and Wolf Alice at the very beginning, and they’ve also helped some of our faves - from MØ to Sundara Karma release their debut albums. With a hugely eclectic roster that pays no attention to the constraints of traditional genres, the only real unifying factor across ten years of Chess Club is a sky-high bar when it comes to quality. “I didn’t want Chess Club to be known as ‘the trance label’ or ‘the indie guitar label’,” explains founder Will Street, reflecting over the past decade. “Over ten years we’ve done lots of things, and I wanted us to be known for quality across the spectrum. I also never agree to work with people until I’ve been to the pub with them,” he adds. “You wanna be working with people you trust and respect, and that works both ways, for the label and artist.”

Club,” Pumarosa’s Jamie Neville says, in a similar vein. “They’re clearly motivated by a genuine excitement for discovering and empowering new artists.” “I have to say that labels like Chess Club take the biggest leaps of faith with the artists that they work with,” remarks Jungle’s Tom, “because there’s no track record there. It’s the passion and faith they have in all of us that makes working with them such a pleasure.” “I really liked the fact that it feels as though true music lovers are behind all the decisions at the label,” Skott - who signed to the label last year to put out debut single ‘Porcelain’ - adds. Zooming back a decade, and that personal touch has always been at the centre of everything Chess Club does. Starting out as a London club night - and hosting the first ever UK shows from Laura Marling, Bon Iver, Bombay Bicycle Club, MGMT and countless others - starting up a label seemed like a logical next step to help out his mates, says Will. “I just thought, ‘what’s another way to help these bands out?’” Chess Club’s first signing was Jay Jay Pistolet, the first musical project of Justin Young. In later years, he would go on to form The Vaccines. “They used to DJ at Frog on Saturday night at Astoria 2,” Justin remembers, “and put on gigs at The Social with Lykke Li, Vampire Weekend, Florence and The Machine. We just formed a friendship through music.”

“I never agree to work with people until I’ve been to the pub with them.”

This focus on close-knit creative relationships is what sets Chess Club Will Street, apart as a special bunch, “I look at that single Chess Club founder agrees MØ, who is artwork [for Jay Jay currently working on the Pistolet’s debut single ‘We follow-up to debut ‘No A very early Are Free’], and I didn’t even Mythologies To Follow’ Mumford and Sons line up at Chess iron my shirt,” he laughs, alongside the label. “Very Club. looking back. “I hadn’t often, this whole music even found my voice, yet! industry thing becomes I was putting on this really so business, business, strange, affected voice, and business, and money, all they [Chess Club] helped me that shit,” she explains. “I find it. The fact that Will is remember I was in shock, still doing it now is testament to his drive and because they didn’t passion,” he adds, “and I wanted to affiliate want to change me,” MØ myself with people like that.” laughs. “I was like, mmm, this can’t be right, this With their first ever release under their belts, can’t be true! You always hear horror stories about evil labels Chess Club’s scope only grew wider, taking on artists across wanting to change you. But they were really into all my weird all genres over the next decade. “They’ve always had this semi-artistic shit!” diversity,“ Justin reckons. “Artists have taken a sledgehammer to genre, haven’t they?” It’s a sentiment that Jungle - who put out early breakthrough singles ‘Platoon’ and ‘The Heat’ with the label - also firmly That’s set the Chess Club in good stead, too. Back when agree with. “The great thing about Chess Club was that our iPods ruled how we listened to music, way ahead of digital artistic vision was never questioned,” enthuses the duo’s Tom streaming and lightning-quick access to music of infinite McFarland. The enigmatic pair went on to sign to XL for their varieties, the label were seeking it all out anyway. “I guess Mercury Prize-nominated debut album. “All that was offered these days it’s stranger to find people who have very singular was incredible advice and lots of positive vibes,” he adds. And tastes; the internet has obviously made it possible to reach all for Oscar Pollock of Sundara Karma, it was the label’s focus on kinds of art at the click of a button,” points out Joel Amey from fostering friendship that first won him over. “They were sweet Wolf Alice. The band released their debut EP ‘Blush’ with the dudes to sink a couple of jars with,” he says. “Honestly I think label. “People’s music collections have broadened because of it’s their friendly approach that’s so endearing for artists.” it. I love the fact Chess Club have represented everything from folk, to huge pop acts, to distorted guitars and just about “I think they’re such nice, honest people working at Chess




Speaking to a whole bunch of musicians about Chess Club’s ten year history, a common theme began to emerge: boozing! Here are just a few stand-out memories from some familiar faces.

The Vaccines

“All my memories are constructed through old photos. Just lots of drunken nights in Proud Galleries! I’ll stop there!”

“I remember this night at The Great Escape, we were playing before Chvrches. We all got super shitfaced! We’re just really good at drinking beers together.”

Wolf Alice Jungle

“Will and I are both lifelong QPR fans, and have season tickets pretty close to each other. It’s good times all around when we get a decent home run under the belt. Super Hooooooooops!”

Sundara Karma

“When we signed our deal we went to a ridiculous karaoke bar in Soho to celebrate and it was one of the most grotesque nights I’ve ever had. It was also one of the most hilarious. I can’t go into details unfortunately, but I’m sure it will all come out in our biography!”


“We’ve had many a loud, hazy night out with them, in the years both during and after we were on Chess Club. I remember sitting in a pub in Camden talking to Will about the ‘Fluffy’ release and the pure excitement of something actually happening; that we were gonna go and make this thing that we could actually hold. “


“Will took me to see MØ play and he was wondering where I’d gone after the show. I told him that I had been “doing pingis with MØ”. There was a moment of confusion. He’d misheard ‘pingis’ as ‘pingers’. ‘Pingis’ is how you say ping pong in Swedish. It was a bit of an awkward but very funny misunderstanding.”

everything in between. They always have their ear to the ground.” If Will Street could change but one thing about Chess Club, he jokes today that it would be handy to have the power to look into the future. “Sometimes we’ve been almost too early on stuff,” he laughs. “Our first release was Jay Jay. He went on to be The Vaccines. We also did a release with a band called Ghostwood, who at the time didn’t get much attention. Then they turned into Jagwar Ma.” Still, though, from Chess Club’s end there’s no regret. Even though some of their most notable former signings came along at a time when the label was unable to take them through to releasing albums, Will’s seen his label expand further still in recent years, and those farewells should soon become a thing of the past. “With Mumford & Sons, Jungle and Wolf Alice we weren’t set up correctly to see them through,” he admits, asked about the acts that got away. “But I have no regrets on those; we are very much part of all of those bands’ histories, and they always chime in to help us when we need them,” he adds. It’s a claim evidenced by the sheer amount of artists who were keen to sing the label’s praises for this very feature. “99% of the time, we start working with acts at the very start of their journey, and it’s the first time - for a lot of them - that they’ll get to hold a physical product they recorded,” Will goes on. “Whether we go on to work with that band long term or not, we’re part of their history, and I’m super proud of that. Some of them have gone on to headline Glastonbury, win the Mercury Prize, get Number One albums... and the quality they all have is that they started on Chess Club. And now, more recently, we’ve started being able to work on albums, so we don’t have to say goodbye to them.” In the next 12 months alone - never mind their second decade as a whole - Chess Club have loads more up their sleeves. “The next year alone is gonna be really exciting for us,” Will enthuses. “There’ll be more stuff from MØ, we’ve got Billie Marten coming back, more Sundara Karma, more Skott. I hope I can look back in another ten years and be just as proud! For any label, if you can stand by everything you put out, that’s all I want to be able to do. I’m happy if that’s the case.” DIY


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Believe it or not, pop and rock stars sometimes do normal things, too. They get lost, go food shopping, and catch buses – all sorts. This month, we clocked a fair few of them roaming out and about... Two thirds of Blaenavon at the London Lorde gig. Adam green wandering down Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. olly alexander at Highbury & Islington tube station. jack antonoff, half of gengahr and wild beasts’ hayden at St Vincent’s Brixton Academy gig. the horrors’ faris outside Manor House tube station.

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

Position of the Month: mirth in reverse First Executed By: St Vincent


f you hadn’t realised already, St Vincent is the kind of person who can make just about anything look very fucking cool indeed. And yes, that extends as far as maintaining unflinching eye contact while peering through her own legs in the manner of a contortionist bat. Because why have a normal staring contest when you can combine the whole thing with an absurd variety of pilates stretch? To recreate Annie Clark’s quite frankly iconic pose, get your mum to root through the loft and dig out her gym kit from when she used to religiously watch Jane Fonda’s work-out VHS back in 1982 (or failing that, buy a fluorescent swimming cap or morph suit). Imagine a sworn enemy is behind you, and while maintaining a steady centre of gravity, nonchalantly bend towards your toes, and eyeball your subject of choice backwards through your legs with the sort of non-committal disdain usually reserved for Rag N’ Bone Man. Mirthful and mildly terrifying at the same time. The perfect revenge.

WHAT A LEDGE olly alexander

“Hello, this is Alex Lahey, reporting for Eyewitness News.” (@alex_lahey)

Seriously, though, don’t put any junk mail through Soph Nathan’s door. (@weareourgirl)

T As we’re taking this issue to look back over the year that was, instead of celebrating The Best Person In Music This Particular Month™, we’re stretching the honour to The Best Person In Music This Particular Year™. Obviously.


hough Olly is best known for fronting DIY faves Years & Years, for the last 12 months, he’s been just as involved in important work outside of music, using his profile for great things. From speaking candidly about his own experiences with anxiety, to presenting a BBC documentary ‘Growing Up Gay’ to raise awareness of mental health issues in the LGBTQ community, and performing with Sink the Pink at a special night to celebrate the life of the journalist Dean Eastmond, Olly’s worked his socks off this year to help out some really brilliant causes. What a ledge.

Just another regular morning for Royal Blood… (@royalblooduk)






tickets, giving thousands of young people their first taste of live performance. 11

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.

What’s Going On With… ABATTOIR BLUES

Plotting their first headline tour and returning with new EP ‘Blinded’ this month, the unstoppable charge of Abattoir Blues continues. Will Richards checks in with vocalist Harry Waugh. You’ve played the songs from ‘Blinded’ live for quite a while now - is it nice to finally get them out? Yeah, it’s brilliant. The songs are so well-known among our friends now, and will be sung back to us because they’ve seen us play so many times, but they deserve recorded versions. The last song on the EP [‘What You Mean To Be’] is much newer though, so it’s great to get those old songs out there at last but also be pointing forwards with the last track.


Hot Food Van, Southbound B2114 (nr Pease Pottage)


e’ve got this well dedicated place we always go to if we’re near Pease Pottage. There’s a massive sign at the bottom of this lamp-post which says ‘Hot ‘n’ Tasty’. The turn-off takes you into this junkyard of scrapped cars, but if you go past, there’s a tent this guy has set up. He’s got a kitchen in a little trailer. He makes an amazing full English inside a baguette - it’s called the Breakfast Stick - and it’s the best we’ve ever had. Sausage, bacon, egg, mushroom, inside this tiger bread baguette. It’s £5 for the breakfast stick and it fills you up all day. You get a cup of coffee with it as well. We were converted the first time we went. What an adventure.”




hink you know your Blur from your Bombay Bicycle Club? Nerdy about The National and Nirvana? Well we have just the thing for you, fellow music geeks. On 14th November, the monthly DIY Pub Quiz will be returning to London boozer the Sebright Arms for a night of top notch musical questioning. There’ll be a host of swag up for grabs, including vinyl, merch and all kinds of goodies from a host of DIY faves, plus everyone’s favourite prize - booze. Grab your mates, form an unstoppable team and we’ll see you there. Get swotting.


Releasing your debut single ‘Sense’ last year after years of putting tracks online felt like a real moment - has it given you the courage to go further? We all had such a confidence in that song that made us want to put out our own 7” finally after years of just appearing on compilations. It wasn’t a conscious decision to start doing things ‘properly’, but that song really felt like the moment where we felt ready to step out and have our own releases. After we released it, and the reaction we got, we just wanted to put out an EP straight away and get more and more out there. You’re heading out on your first headline tour in December - excitement brewing? Yeah, it’s gonna be great! We’ve gained confidence from that big tour we did with The Magic Gang and so are ready to step it up. We’re also choosing local bands from each town as support, as we’ve got so many friends in brilliant bands in each city we’re playing.


Shamir: The Big Reveal


Ditching the playful electropop of debut ‘Ratchet’ for a record full of emotional introspection, ‘Revelations’ finds Shamir Bailey switching up everything you thought you knew and turning it on its head. This is how he got there. Words: Lisa Wright.


dorning the front of ‘Revelations’ – 22-yearold Shamir Bailey’s third studio album, released this month via US label Father / Daughter (home to Diet Cig, Vagabon and more) – is a picture of the singer with his eyes and mouth erased. It’s an unsettling portrait, and one that resonates strongly with the story behind the record itself. “It represents a lot of times throughout my career and life when I’ve wanted to speak up or I’ve turned a blind eye,” says Shamir, speaking down the phone during an away day in New York. “The image represents old me, whereas now I use my mouth and I’ve opened my eyes to a lot of things.”

difficult period of attempted compromise, they eventually parted ways.

Old Shamir, you may recall, came bursting out of the traps back in 2014 with the infectious electropop strut of early single ‘On The Regular’. He soon followed it with debut LP ‘Ratchet’ – a similarly-minded, technicolour explosion of sass and synths, released via XL Recordings in 2015. But when the singer got creatively itchy feet, things started to go awry. “I really feel like that whole time when I wrote ‘Ratchet’ was very genuine and true to me, but at the same time it wasn’t natural. I don’t like to dance and I was making dance music so I had to dance on stage...” he begins. “I’m happy I was able to bring out this other side to me and do it successfully and that people were able to relate to it, but at the same time I was suppressing so much of myself and that’s what was so frustrating.”

Soon after, the singer was hospitalised after suffering a psychotic episode and then diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Understandably, it had a deep effect on his own outlook in general. “It definitely changed my perspective about how much me struggling and keeping my mouth shut affected my mental health around my career at the beginning,” he agrees. And so, when he was back home in Las Vegas, recovering with vast amounts of spare time on his hands, he began to write ‘Revelations’. Aside from two older tracks – opener ‘Games’, the raw statement on his previous time inside the industry machine (“I can’t continue to play this game / I don’t have much to offer you”) and the positive, optimistic ‘Cloudy’ – the record poured out in two weeks. “I had loads of free time and I just channelled all my struggles and everything I was feeling into songs and then all of a sudden I had another record,” he says. “I called it ‘Revelations’ because ‘Hope’ really was me searching for some kind of hope and wondering if I was ever gonna make music again. Now ‘Revelations’ is what’s come about after I found my hope.”

From this came ‘Hope’ – a lo-fi, self-released and selfconfessed “hard to listen to” LP, uploaded to the internet this April with no fanfare and intended to be Shamir’s parting statement. “‘Hope’ was going to be my last work because I thought everyone was gonna hate it and be like, ‘What the hell happened to Shamir? Is he OK? This is horrible’,” he admits. “But I just wanted to put something out that was 100% true to myself, so it was very overwhelming when people responded to it.”

“‘R e v e l at i o n s’ i s wh at ’s c o m e about after I fo u n d m y h o pe .”

Having grown up on a diet of “‘90s alternative rock, like Hole, Black Tambourine and Velocity Girl,” plus his own holy triumvirate of Tegan & Sara, Vivian Girls and Beat Happening (“I have tattoos of those three artists all on one arm, and all three of those sounds could kind of sum up ‘Revelations’,” he notes), Shamir began to feel trapped by the slightly skewed public image of himself as a pop star. “I don’t think Shamir’s putting a lot of the interviews even focused on the his money where music,” he elaborates. “The whole gender his mouth is too. queer aspect of a pop star is not as foreign All proceeds from as when I first came out, whereas around the preorders of ‘Ratchet’ a lot of the press was just about ‘Revelations’ will be my identity which was kind of annoying, going to the Mental especially being so young and wide-eyed Health Association and trusting.” So, as he’d stated he would in Pennsylvania. from the beginning, he started making You can learn more music of a different ilk – a more guitarabout the charity based sound that wildly veered from that and donate at which had made his name. Predictably, his label weren’t buying it and, following a

Raw and emotional, ‘Revelations’ veers from fuzzy alt-rock distortion to crashing pianos, all united by the singer’s inimitable vocal. It’s evidently a record plucked straight from the heart and, with the freedom to really be fully himself, Shamir seems genuinely happy. “There’s no room for personal struggle when there’s so much struggle going on on a global and national scale. Self-care is key right now, because you can’t help others if you’re not well so you have to get yourself together first,” he states. “But I feel very content right now. I haven’t felt this content for a long while.” ‘Revelations’ is out 3rd November via Father / Daughter. DIY 15

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ny Creeper fan worth their salt knows the story surrounding James Scythe and his disappearance back in December 2015. What they’re not entirely sure of, however, is the full scale of that mystery. This month, that’s all set to change: Creeper’s Will Gould and Ian Miles have teamed up with independent publishing house 404 Ink to shed light on the whole thing. Landing in the form of their new book ‘The Last Days Of James Scythe’– or to give it its full title, ‘A Report for the Ombudsman of the Preternatural’ – their latest endeavour is set to flesh out the details of the mystery that began to unfold last summer when Creeper themselves first ‘disappeared’ and thus, sparked a scavenger hunt across their hometown of Southampton. Since then, theories have developed and rumours have circled, all attempting to unlock the true identity of their missing character, but it was through a meeting with 404’s Heather McDaid and Laura Jones, that they decided to develop the tale even further. “On the day of our Glasgow show,” Will says, thinking back to the group’s initial meeting in March, “we met up in a cafe. I’d heard all about [404 Ink]

THEATRE OF DREAMS Never ones to stand still for too long, Creeper are also gearing up for their largest UK tour at the end of this year. True to form, things are only getting bigger and more ridiculous. “Every time we’ve done something in the UK, it’s always been a smaller venue but with a high concept, right up until our March tour when we tried to recreate the set for our ‘Black Rain’ video every night. There was a lot of stuff that we were bringing into venues which weren’t really built for that sort of production. This new tour, we’re in really big rooms and I never thought we’d get to this point. “It’s all really, really exciting but at the same time, we’ve said, ‘OK, so people are expecting something big’ and we need to exceed those expectations every time. What we’re doing in December is by far the most ambitious thing we’ve ever done. I’m already stressing about it now!”

and I was very excited about the whole prospect. When we met, it felt like a really good match.” The narrative itself – with secret phone numbers, missing posters and stories of Room 309 – is an undeniably attractive one to anyone who wants to indulge their imagination, so it’s unsurprising that it drew in 404 too. “When we met up, there were a few suggestions of the ways we could go about this,” adds Heather. “It could’ve been a straight-up book, or more of a found files, or a diary. We want to publish interesting books and we want to do the kind of books that we want to read. As music fans, there’s so much potential overlap [into music’s more conceptual side] but no one really pursues it. We think a lot of bands could do way more interesting things if people just took the punt on them.” “It’s nice because Creeper is a huge art project for us,” Ian explains, thinking back to the group’s initial meeting. “It’s a big creative project and the idea of taking it to another platform - other than just music or performance - was really exciting.” ‘The Last Days of James Scythe’ is out 30th November via 404 Ink. DIY

Closing The Case As Creeper’s Will Gould and Ian Miles gear up to shed more light on the mystery surrounding their pivotal character James Scythe, we met them and publishing house 404 Ink to try and unearth some extra clues. Words: Sarah Jamieson.






TUE.14.NOV.17 WED.13.DEC.17













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Adam’s teachers always said he had his head in the clouds.


The War On Drugs may be gearing up to play their biggest UK shows yet but, as Joe Goggins discovers, their new-found success doesn’t rest easy with Adam Granduciel. Photo: Phil Smithies.



epending on how sunny your outlook is, you’d imagine the opening stages of the making of The War on Drugs’ fourth album would have either been imbued with the sort of confidence that genuine success brings, or fraught with the knowledge that a particularly challenging mountain needed to be climbed all over again. After all, ‘Lost in the Dream’, the band’s 2014 breakthrough, was a resounding triumph, troubling many an end-of-year list and certified gold here in the UK. As was well-documented, though, the process of making it was a thoroughly turbulent one, a stop-start affair over the course of two years in Adam Granduciel’s adopted hometown of Philadelphia that saw the frontman grapple constantly with depression and anxiety.

‘Tonight’s The Night’,” he laughs, “that thing of the guys alone in the hangout room recording it. We kind of did that in a way, but more in the conceiving of the songs. When the guys came out to LA, it felt significant, because they’d all taken flights and found places to stay. So for six or seven days, we’d be working thirteen or fourteen hours a day. And, you know, having fun too; jamming, listening to demos, listening to records, ordering dinner and drinking beer. But it was all a part of the main goal to work on new songs, and ultimately the record. Living in LA made that kind of working lifestyle possible, because it wasn’t a drag for the guys to come out here; it was an excuse for them to enjoy the sun, drive into the mountains, have a great time.” ‘A Deeper Understanding’ feels like the

“What am I searching for at the end of this rainbow?” - Adam Granduciel

By the time he got to work on follow-up ‘A Deeper Understanding’, the casual observer would’ve assumed he was on top of the world; he’d just wrapped up an extensive world tour that largely involved not half-full clubs but packedout theatres, and he decamped not to Philadelphia but to Los Angeles, in order to live with his actress girlfriend. “It’s easy to look back on the making of a record and say that there’s always ups and downs,” he explains over the phone from a tour stop in Minneapolis. “But nothing about the reception to ‘Lost in the Dream’ meant I felt any more confident in my abilities. You still have all the same questions - have I gone too far? Why am I fucking with this? What am I searching for at the end of this rainbow?” At the very least, though, Adam was afforded the ability to rent out his own studio space, which he could kit out to his own needs, and duly avoid the sort of delay that drew out the sessions for the last album. Instead, he’d log some serious hours in his proverbial office, both alone in the initial stages and then - later - with his bandmates, who would fly out from Philadelphia for a week at a time. In recalling that time, Adam invokes one of his heroes, Neil Young. “There was a part of me thinking about




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.


heralding of a new dawn for The War on Drugs, for many reasons - not least because of their jump from indie to major label, signing with Atlantic Records in a deal that clearly didn’t involve the concession of any creative control. After all, the first single released was the eleven-minute ‘Thinking of a Place’ which, for the record, Adam insists was the label’s idea. He’s continuing to move through the gears as he negotiates life as the standard-bearer for “the classic rock of tomorrow”, to quote a radio station boss from Philly who championed the band early on, learning about his songs and himself all the time. “You don’t really know what the album means to you until months after you’re done,” he muses, now firmly entering that phase. “These songs, I’m finding as we play them, are a lot more complex than they lent themselves to be, and yet there’s parts here and there that are just beautiful in their simplicity, and I wish I could have known that about them when I was making them - it would have saved me a lot of headaches. That’s what makes them beautiful, though; I think I’ll always have to struggle to make something that’s worthwhile.” ‘A Deeper Understanding’ is out now. The War on Drugs play six UK dates from 9th November. dIY

5th December, Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen We featured the pair’s track ‘Suffer’ as a NEU Pick back in April, pegging the London-based act’s sound as somewhere between Two Door Cinema Club’s disco turn, M83’s shimmering synths and Phoenix’s bounce. Head to Shoreditch this December to catch ‘em live.


From early December, nationwide The LA alt-pop trio released their self-titled debut album back in June, reaching #32 in the US album charts, and playing in as far-flung places as Manila and Seoul. Now they’re returning to the (much colder) UK, with dates lined up in cities including Brighton, Leeds and Birmingham.

the veils 4th December, Islington

Assembly Hall, London The London-based band were last seen as one of the acts performing at Twin Peaks’ Roadhouse, and released album ‘Total Depravity’ last year, as coproduced by El-P (yes, that one). Catch them in North London next month. For more information and to buy tickets, head to or 19

N eW S



A monthly place to celebrate the best albums released during DIY’s lifetime, the next inductee into our Hall of Fame is Le Tigre’s protest-filled burst of wit that infiltrated the mainstream, ‘This Island’. El Hunt finds the New York trio’s third and final album’s spirit is just as vital today.


ince their 1999 self-titled debut, Le Tigre have turned brash, abrasive electropop into their own form of rebellion. After the exit of original member Sadie Benning, the trio we still recognise today was complete. Kathleen Hanna and zine-making badass Johanna Fateman were joined by activist and artist JD Samson. Theirs was a band fuelled by aggressive, visceral wit; serious debate dissolving into comical silliness at a moment’s notice. Their final outing before going on hiatus in 2006 was ‘This Island’, a jarring major-label album that sounded more like an underground smash. Deliberately isolating itself by title, and sonically infiltrating the mainstream pop world, it’s a whipsmart record that both embraces and parodies radio play and fame, all while donning fight-ready boxing gear for the ‘TKO’ video. So limb-possessing is ‘This Island’ in fact, that it’s easy to miss the dry humour that surges through the whole record, at clear odds with the ideal that political music must be earnest and sombre. On ‘Nanny Nanny Boo Boo’, Le Tigre boast of having Le Tigre doing their best impression of the cast of Clueless.


the Facts Release: 19th October 2004 Stand out tracks: ‘TKO’, ‘Nanny Nanny Boo Boo’, ‘New Kicks’ Tell your mates: Le Tigre was originally formed as a backing band for Kathleen Hanna’s other project The Julie Ruin.

“dicks done by CP Caster” (an American artist who creates plaster-casts of rock stars’ penises, fyi), while protest anthem ‘New Kicks’ samples a newsreader listing off countless cities where anti-war protesters have taken to the streets, before she concludes “AND I AM ONLY NAMING A FEW!” Meanwhile, in ‘Viz’, JD Samson’s ubiquitous moustache sees her instantly ushered straight into a lesbian bar where freedom and debauchery awaits: “they call it way too rowdy, and I call it finally free”. And then, who can forget their brilliantly ludicrous take on The Pointer Sisters’ ‘I’m So Excited’? Wonky, tricky-to-palate pop warped through the ferocious bleeps of an early ‘00s internet modem, several gas turbine combustors and a synth cranked up to breaking point, Le Tigre were the very essence of refusing to conform. After all, what could be more rebellious than cloaking sex and provocation in big, bold pop? While they won’t rule out a reunion altogether - and the trio did briefly get back together last year to release ‘I’m With Her’ in support of Hillary Clinton - don’t count on it happening until they’ve got something new to say. This lot do not do things by halves. DIY










WED.08.NOV.17 SUN.22.OCT.17


THU.09.NOV.17 SAT.28.OCT.17

WED.13.DEC.17 MON.13.NOV.17



matt maltese • Comic Life .......................................................................... With previous, preposterously lush singles ‘As The World Caves In’ and ‘Vacant In The 21st Century’, our Matthew’s already proven that he can do sweeping, sucker-punch epics. Now, on self-produced newie ‘Comic Life’, the South Londoner’s dialled things down to a softer but no less potent concoction. A rumination on “those pathetic moments when your life seems like one big Channel 4 sitcom”, it’s a deliciously softfocus musing on a universal feeling; next time you’re sitting around at 3pm, eating a whole bar of Dairy Milk in your pants, at least you’ve got a comforting soundtrack to make it that bit better. (Lisa Wright)




.......................................... • MGMT • Little Dark Age .......................................... Make no mistake: this is not an upbeat number that could soundtrack the summer like ‘Electric Feel’ did. Its slightly twisted video is enough to signal that. Instead, MGMT are treading into darker territory. Sure, the synths are shimmering, the pair still bring out a melodic earworm of a hook, but the underlying tone is often gloomier. Despite the bleakness embedded within, they still manage to toe the line between danceable and moody. It’s a sure sign that this will be far from a dark age for the pair. (Eugenie Johnson)


.......................................... .......................................... .......................................... • gengahr • • demob happy • • yonaka • Mallory Be Your Man Bubblegum .......................................... .......................................... .......................................... Building on the dappled With debut LP ‘Dream Soda’, A highlight and set closer at foundations of debut ‘A Brighton riffers Demob Happy the band’s recent live show, Dream Outside’, ‘Mallory’ – the concocted one of the most ‘Bubblegum’ is the sound second track from its longunderrated albums of recent of Yonaka finally settling awaited, painfully-birthed years. Brilliantly saucy and full into their skin. A fidgety, forthcoming follow-up ‘Where of the kind of gnarly growls provocative sample blasts Wildness Grows’ (due March that’d make your nan blush, it down the door, before 9) – shows the Gengahr lads was a treat. Now they’re back Theresa Jarvis emerges have added a bit of muscle to with ‘Be Your Man’ and it’s with her most charismatic their frame. Sure, its chorus no less fruity. A fuzzy, sleazy vocal performance yet is all falsetto trills and lilting monster dredged up from somewhere between Karen melodies, but there’s a the murkier quarters of rock’s O and Jack White - and a backwaters, it’s an undulating hardened edge to singer Felix track that keeps YONAKA Bushe’s uncharacteristically throb of a thing full of glammy in that brilliantly flexible low verse vocals that’s new. harmonies and crunching middle ground between A little stress seems to have guitar stabs that are begging your standard rock band given the quartet some for a live stage. Welcome and something altogether added clout. (Lisa Wright) back boys. (Lisa Wright) weirder. (Will Richards)










first fifty 21st - 24th november


it might be cold and wet here, but it’s spring in au s t r al ia , at l e a s t. 24

ast year marked the debut of First Fifty, a handful of gigs in east London held to launch The Great Escape, starring acts included in the - you guessed it! - first 50 names announced for the Brighton festival. We’re partnering with the event once again our gig last year at Kamio featured ready-made faves Abattoir Blues and Eat Fast - for its second outing.

We’ll be hosting an all-star line up at Birthdays on 23rd November, with Ten Tonnes, Freak, Feet and King Nun, while acts appearing elsewhere include The Orielles, Katie Von Schleicher and Sports Team.


23/11 Birthdays, London • Ten Tonnes • • Freak • • Feet• • King Nun •

Q&A King Nun fill us in on this year’s festivals and their own favourite fifty. Hello King Nun! What’s new in your world? Things are getting faster and weirder, more exciting. Getting into playing shows every night is new and very welcome to us. We assume you’ve enjoyed the summer’s festivals - what have been some highlights? It’ll be hard to point out anything in particular, every bit of all them was amazing. Playing Reading & Leeds felt like a milestone. You played The Great Escape last year - how will next year’s be better? We’ll do our part, we have a better set now. As it’s First Fifty… 50 Cent, Fifty Shades of Grey, or 50mph? Don’t know about 50 Cent, never read 50 Shades Of Grey but we hear it’s about sex. Boring. So 50mph because we have no idea about the other two.

Preview off the record 10th november


n one Friday this month, venues across Manchester’s Northern Quarter including Night & Day, the Soup Kitchen and the Castle Hotel - will play host to Off The Record - a series of panels and live gigs, the latter curated by a legion of curators (spoiler: featuring us). The line-up itself won’t be announced until the day before, but they’ve already revealed the conference schedule - topics such as ‘How to make money from merch’ and ‘Love for grime’ will be covered. One of Off The Record’s curators comes in the form of Jess Campbell, who’s Head Of Music for Manchester-based music and radio network MCR Live. We asked her a few questions about her involvement in this year’s event.

What sort of part does MCR Live play in the local music community of Manchester? At MCR Live we don’t go by everyone else’s rules - we want to be the centre of everything worth talking about. We’re all about collaboration and celebration of this wonderful city; from local promoters and events to independent musicians - this year for Off The Record we’ll be recording some stripped back sessions in the Northern Quarter.

What’s it like to have been asked to be involved in this year’s Off The Record? MCR Live has only been active for about 8 You’re Head Of Music for MCR Live. What months, but to already be recognised for would you say is the best part of your job? what we’re doing within not just Manchester Going through new releases and finding new bands to promote, being a part of their journey. but the music community within is extremely flattering! I can’t wait to see the line-up, I That might be an incredibly obvious answer know it’s going to be an absolute treat. but I spend hours each week going through submissions, new releases, recommendations, upcoming gigs and the expanse of the internet.


the rising stars Roundhouse Rising returns for a ninth year. It’s official: the 2018 edition of the event will take place across a week towards the end of February 2018. Fresh from playing hosts to the likes of VANT and Catholic Action earlier this year, next year’s event will welcome back Roundhouse alumnus Little Simz, who’ll not only be playing a headline set, but she’ll be curating the final day of the fest. Tickets for 2018’s Roundhouse Rising start from just £6 and are on general sale from 9th November. Head to for more information and to get your hands on tickets. Keep your eyes peeled for further line-up announcements too. 25

Disclaimer: no seagulls were harmed in the making of this issue.

new music new bands



“When we play live, everyone can really get on board with it.� Gabriel Byrde



these londoners are proving there’s

value in being young, broke and pissed off. Words: Rhys Buchanan. Photo: lindsay melbourne.

“I’m a bit knackered mate.” These are the first words from YOWL frontman Gabriel Byrde on showing up to be interviewed. You can’t exactly blame him. He’s been slogging at his day job from six in the morning through to the early evening, just like any other day. But it’s this reality of the grind that’s integral to the sense of resentment driving his band’s ravaged, poetic and pissed-off rock. YOWL reflect London’s mundane commutes, endless shifts and expensive rents.

that you can never shut down and get away from it. You’re stuck in this bustling city life which is great, but also a worry at the same time.” He groans. “It becomes suffocating when you’re trying to juggle so many different projects.” They strike a chord with those who share the same plight, and the band have noticed this too. “What I’ve realised most is that I don’t think we speak for people, but we’ve been writing about our own dissatisfaction and people have latched onto that. When we play live, everyone can really get on board with it.”

The band have been buzzy since the release of debut EP ‘Before The Sleep Sets In’ last year. Their blatant discontent has resonated with young crowds across the UK, a feeling punched home in snarling, rough-edged songs like ‘Saturday Drag’, which deals with doctors, valium and depression.

The city is a blessing as much as a curse though, packed with bands in the same position eager to give each other a hand. “I think there’s a willingness among bands who are at a similar level to us, to give each other a leg up. People all want to see each other do well.” This idea of musicians simply wanting to have fun together creates a community that Now there’s a batch of new YOWL are currently enjoying. songs in the works. “We had “‘Community’ is definitely the a pretty heavy gig season word I’d use,” he says. “I think earlier on in the year, so we’re there are bands that don’t get trying to freshen things up a mentioned in London who are little bit,” Gabriel says. “We’re as much as a part of this thing excited to get some new stuff as everyone else is. You see out now and will be recording the same faces day in day out next year.” “The material is a product of a time and place,” he working towards a common continues. “There’s definitely a goal.” dissatisfaction. I wouldn’t say that our songs were polemic, “To a certain degree I feel like they’re not protest songs. But everyone bounces off of each there’s definitely an element of other,” he continues. “I can’t us just wanting to complain.” pinpoint the family tree but there definitely is a common thread.” Their creative fuel comes from the sinister side of London. Gabriel tries to narrow it down: “There’s a lot of things, there’s the anxiety of the social aspects of living in London. The fact

YOWL are speaking on behalf of those of us stuck in apartments the size of wardrobes, and they’ve got the snarl to back it all up. DIY 27

A House In The Trees

Or, a house above a shabby pub. Strength in numbers clearly means more than ever, because collectives are forming all over the place. Is it because it’s cheaper to hire a flat with a dozen others, share the rent and record? Or is there a certain defiance in young people joining forces when the world’s out to get them? Either way, A House in the Trees are up there with the UK’s finest new collectives. Based in a flat above a South London pub, they make jagged, collaborative pop that’s so good, you’ll want to become a member. Listen: The ‘What Am I Supposed To Do?’ EP is out now. Similar to: Massive Attack


Girlhood Men I Trust

Putting faith in the groove. A freewheeling trio from Quebec, Canada, Men I Trust like to keep both feet glued to the floor. Every one of their early singles, from the strutting ‘Tailspin’ to the slap basscentred ‘Lauren’, puts all emphasis on dance. They might as well wear matching spandex disco-suits, there’s so much groove here. Listen: ‘Tailspin’ is the perfect starting point, then play their selfreleased albums on Bandcamp. Similar to: TOPS meets Phoenix.

London duo Girlhood’s glistening pop belongs on spaceships and year 3008 school discos, not the grubby river Thames, but that’s where it all started for Christian Pinchbeck and Tessa Cavanna. The former was hanging out on his canal boat – the cheap rent option, if you’re a Londoner – and heard Cavanna walking past, singing. He mustered the courage to ask her to form a band, they penned dreamy bangers like ‘Bad Decisions’, and the rest is history. Listen: A great decision = listening to ‘Bad Decisions’. Similar to: Future-pop with a twist.


Jelani Aryeh Putting fun in the suburbs.

You wouldn’t expect a 17-year-old rapper from San Diego to sample Declan McKenna, but that’s the web for you. No boundaries are getting in the way of this maker of selfprofessed ‘Suburban Pop’, who says he’s a fan of Frank Ocean and Brockhampton, while his ‘Where We Go’ track gets by on the familiar guitar kicks of McKenna’s ‘Brazil’. And just like any busy-minded teen, he’s aready formed a 20 strong collective of similarly-minded artists calling themselves Raised By The Internet. Kids these days, they’re so bloody productive. Listen: His ‘Suburban Destinesia’ EP is out now. Similar to: Raury, King Krule


Proof that singing out loud in public is A Good Thing.


Wyldest - Hitchhiker

Swimming Tapes - Soft Sea Blue

Dama Scout - Dama Scout





Meet the New York R&B star with nothing to hide. Words: Dan Jeakins.

It takes serious guts to begin a career with something as open as New York’s Amber Mark and her ‘3.33am’ EP. It’s “the most personal thing I’ll probably ever do”, she says. Atmospheric, emotionally bare R&B, the seven-track EP acted as Amber’s coping mechanism following the passing of her mother.

about the more trivial aspects of her life, especially now. “That’s something I’m really struggling with,” she admits. “The EP was so meaningful and I need to learn how to write about the drama in my life. But sometimes I feel like it can be harder to write happier songs than sadder ones.” Saying that, the house-nodding ‘Lose My Cool’ and hand-clapping ‘S P A C E’ match dark subjects with a smart, “Sometimes I feel danceable sheen. She already has a skill for like it can be balancing emotions.

“When I started writing it was just after my mum had passed,” she harder to write reveals. “It was a way of dealing with the emotional rollercoaster I was Due to the ultrahappier songs than going through. I remember getting a personal nature of pamphlet from the hospice where she Amber’s music, she sadder ones.” stayed, which listed the seven stages likes to be in total of grief for someone going through control of everything the death of a loved one. It was then that I decided she releases. “I didn’t really enjoy working with to create my own version of these seven stages, producers,” she confesses, “but I certainly learnt a and that’s what the EP became. lot from them. When I first started I showed a lot of producers a lot of demos, and they would make a “Once I’d written down that list, it was quite lot of changes. Often I felt like they made it sound easy for me to put those puzzle pieces together like something completely different to what I was because I’d already written songs about things like initially going for. I don’t regret working with any regret, isolation, sadness and losing faith,” Amber of them – because there was a lot that I learned. explains. “People process things differently, but But I think I was really insecure at the time and felt those were the things I felt when I was grieving.” like I wanted to do things on my own.” Amber is clearly comfortable talking about matters close to home, even putting these issues into songs. She admits it can be difficult to write


Isolation isn’t doing any harm, at this stage. On her own two feet, Amber Mark is already making a big impact. DIY

aj tracey brooke bentham 26th November, The Poetry Club, Glasgow London-based Brooke just teamed up with the equally ace Grace Lightman on a video for track ‘Losing, Baby’. She’ll be winning, baby (safety wink) this November with a run of must-see UK dates. Anyone new to her emotion-swept, stirring songwriting needs to pay a visit.

5th November, Kentish Town Forum, London The ultra-political grime don in waiting is on the brink of being a superstar. In 2016, he’s released his sharpest material to date (‘Blacked Out’) while standing out as one of Jeremy Corbyn’s biggest star supporters. He rounds off a sold out UK tour in his hometown this month.



SHOWS this month

Like being the first to see the next big thing? Get ready to brag to your mates about watching this lot before they go big, sell out and spectacularly break up.

drahla goat girl & jerkcurb 11th November, The Crofters Rights, Bristol Everyone’s favourite goats are herding themselves around the country this November, including a sold out night at London’s Corsica Studios. Joining the noir fuzz newcomers is Jacob Read aka Jerkcurb, the weird and wonderful songwriter we profiled back in September.

22nd November, The Garage, London (w/ METZ) The Leeds trio won’t blow the speakers like their tour buddies, but there’s a reason they’ve been hand-picked to support the Canadian fuzz fiends. Both bands share a kindred spirit for offshot, left-of-centre noise. Of all the new bands threatening to break the doors down, Drahla are one of the deadliest.


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

watch out, dimbleby UK rapper Dave wants answers on ‘Question Time’, his flooring, political-to-the-brim new track. Released alongside a seven-minute video, he stares directly into the camera, addressing our current Prime Minister - it has more impact than a thousand fake P45 forms. The 19-year-old touches on everything from NHS budget cuts to Grenfell Tower and the ongoing conflict in Syria, alongside production from long-time collaborator Fraser T Smith. Listen on, look out for the new ‘Game Over’ EP, and scout out his November and December UK dates.

miya, you gotta see her Last year we profiled one-of-a-kind, genre-hopping talent Miya Folick. She’s just returned with a brooding cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Woodstock’, which forms part of a new EP (the appropriately titled ‘Give It To Me’) out in November. Like everything else she’s released so far, ‘Woodstock’ is an unpredictable, ever-shifting gem. Watch out for more big moves in 2018. Miya Folick, plotting her next frolic.


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: trudy and the romance ‘Is There a Place I Can Go’ Loveless, hopeless, but oh so loveable, these Liverpool lads keep getting better. rex orange county ‘Loving Is Easy’ (ft. Benny Sings) Life is easy for Alex O’Connor aka Rex, who in the last few months has found himself playing guitar for Skepta during the Mercury Prize, joining Frank Ocean on stage, and releasing honeyed love songs like this one. dama scout ‘Sugar’ Taken from a debut EP via Hand in Hive, Dama Scout are fast becoming one of the UK’s brightest left-ofcentre prospects. ‘Sugar’ is fuzz pop with one hand off the wheel, threatening to career off the edge.



Get to know Anna Lena Bruland, as she showcases the dark side of Scandinavia. Words: Lisa Wright. Photo: Mike Massaro.

“I think as an artist and a songwriter you analyse everything, and you have very high highs and very low lows, because that’s how your energy is. That’s how you choose to live your life,” suggests Anna Lena Bruland. Gregarious and chatty, the singer behind EERA’s hypnotic, nocturnal musings is easy company, but within this natural selfquestioning you start to see how the shadowy elements of her songs come out to play. “For me,” she continues, “I just find my inspiration when I feel a bit further down. I’d love to learn how to write from my other side as well, but it’s a learning curve, right?” Classically trained, Anna found her own niche first through the heavy riffs of Queens of the Stone Age’s ‘Rated R’ and its ilk (“I started playing Nirvana covers with these dudes, so I was there singing ‘Rape Me’ when I was 15 – not

a good look,” she recalls) and then the more intricate pleasures of Radiohead, Deerhoof and Elliott Smith. Her own output – a potent, all-enveloping mix of the emotional and experimental - feasibly sits at the juncture of these three artists, with a dash of PJ Harvey thrown in. It’s what the singer calls “surprise music”: the kind that unfurls further with every listen. “Everything I like is within that world,” she nods, “something that catches you off guard.” Released this month, debut LP ‘Reflections Of Youth’ is a gorgeous distillation of these elements. Whether in the soft, crackled lullaby of ‘Christine’ - an ode to the healing power of her sister (“Christine, you always tell me I look good tonight / Although I feel like death”), or brooding opener ‘Living’ with its plea to “help me feel alive”, ‘Reflections…’ is a record full of seething humanity, containing those very same highs and lows. It also encapsulates a period of acceptance for the Norwegian-born, London-based singer. “I think the whole thing of going from 20 to 30 is some of the toughest shit you’ll go through because you’re supposed to have, in society – and in Norwegian society especially – everything figured out by then,” she says. “You’re meant to have a steady relationship and a house and a dog, and I have none of that. It’s a big thing in Norway, and I’m sure it is in most places except London. So I went through a tough time [with that], and that’s when these songs came out. But then I met so many creative people whose lives are so enriched in other ways, and you see you don’t really need to worry about it.” Sure, EERA might not have the car or the two up/two down sorted just yet, but on her debut she’s hit upon something far more special than mere ordinary pleasures. DIY

eera 33






2017 has been a big ‘un. Over the past twelve months, there’ve been more remarkable debuts, headturning albums and massive returns than you can shake a proverbial pineapple at. So we thought it only right to celebrate some of DIY’s absolute faves from the past year – here, dear readers, are our Big Ones.

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A lot has changed for The Killers over the last five years but, returning to headline London’s Brixton Academy over a decade since their first appearance there, we discover they’re still just as . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . bombastic and .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. brilliant as ever. Words: Sarah Jamieson. Photos: Phil Smithies.



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a wonderful life

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onight, Brixton is buzzing. The South London district is certainly no stranger to having its streets flooded with music lovers, but it’s not often that, late on a Tuesday afternoon, there are already hordes of fans – most of who are kitted out with band t-shirts - shouldering their way through the ticket touts that haunt the Underground exit. By the time that the infamous Academy comes into view, there’s a queue already snaking around the block, hours before doors are due to open. The lettering above its entrance bears two words with a proud flourish, and it’s suddenly very clear what all the fuss is about: The Killers are back in town. For most artists, Brixton Academy is a career pinnacle, a momentous occasion where almost 5,000 bodies cram into its hallowed hall for one of their biggest shows to date. Tonight is an altogether different affair. Tonight is about swapping the huge arenas of their upcoming tour for a tightly-packed cavern. And, considering their last show in the capital took place at London’s Hyde Park just weeks earlier, that’s an understatement. “We can’t help but get a little bit sentimental about these places,” begins drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr, sat in his dressing room a few hours ahead of stage time. Thinking back to the last time they played at the venue – he’s adamant that it can’t actually have been way back in 2006, as part of their ‘Sam’s Town’ run – it’s clear their return stands as a marker of their achievements so far. “We have a lot of great memories, but rather than it being about remembering everything and reliving the good old days, it more reminds you of how far you’ve come.”


lot has changed for The Killers since their last visit to the capital in June 2013. Having released fourth album ‘Battle Born’ the previous September, the quartet went on to embark upon another hefty run of world tour dates, which included that massive, 90,000-strong show at Wembley Stadium. It was then, after finishing up in their native Las Vegas a few months later, that their longest break yet would begin. “It felt like too long,” Brandon Flowers decides now, in the present day. Fresh off stage following a (naturally) incendiary Brixton set, he’s wide-eyed with adrenaline. What’s also obvious is just how much he wants to get the band’s new album – ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ – out into the world. “We


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We’ve always been adventurous.

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Brandon Flowers


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Coming out of his cage, and he’s been doing just fine.


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HOW WAS Sometimes it’s IT FOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . tough . . . . . . . . . . . . me to be . . . . . . .YOU? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . for . ON AIRING NEW SONG ‘RUN FOR COVER’:

“It feels like – what do they say? - an old hat. ‘Run For Cover’ is very Killers-esque and it’s an older song so it sort of eases itself into the setlist.”

ON BRINGING WOODY HARRELSON OUT ON STAGE: “It was probably a little bit of, ‘What the heck?’ moment for the audience!”


“That felt good. It’s funny, my fingers just seem to find their way around the old songs even though they’re that old. After you practice them a couple times, they just seep back in. It’s nice to dust them off.”


We sat down with Brandon right after the band came off stage, so we thought it only right to ask: what was it like for them?

ironic because I have such a sincere voice. Brandon Flowers

initially took these long breaks to give Mark and Dave a longer space between records so they’d be refreshed and rejuvenated and have the time that they needed to do it again,” he explains. It’s been a little over a year since bassist Mark Stoermer announced he would no longer tour with the band, while guitarist Dave Keuning’s decision to leave the live side – both members still plan to write and record – is still fresh news. “Obviously, that still wasn’t quite going to solve the problem and so it’s a little frustrating,” the frontman confirms. “I mean, I wouldn’t have made those solo records... With the records [2010’s

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‘Flamingo’ and its 2015 follow-up ‘The Desired Effect’] I made, I’m proud of the work that I did with them, but I was doing it to give [Mark and Dave] a break. I wasn’t doing it for vanity and there wasn’t some itch I needed to scratch. I would prefer that I was talking to you about the eighth Killers record.” Despite dealing with a change that would fracture many other bands, The Killers still feel strong. Ever a changing beast, over the past fifteen years the group have managed to serve up a wealth of indie anthems, all while continually shifting the goalposts and growing even mightier. One quick glance across their discography and it’s no wonder they’ve been headlining festivals for almost a decade. It was in their introduction to their latest album, though, that they showed off one of their most bombastic and unexpected moves so far: ‘The Man’. “Sometimes it’s tough for me to be ironic because I have such a sincere voice,” Brandon laughs. Perhaps their boldest, sassiest track to date, it’s a song dripping with charismatic naivety, harking back to a version of his younger self. It was also accompanied by a video full of brilliantly over-thetop examples of masculinity at large, Brandon’s character taking on casinos, pumping iron and surrounding himself with women. “I think it’s working with ‘The Man’ though,” he grins, “I think people are getting it. It brings a little


bit of levity to the shows and it definitely brought some to the studio and recording.”

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‘Wonderful Wonderful’ isn’t just an album packed with glittery bravado, though. Granted, there are shinier moments – the sweeping title track opener, or glorious ‘Run For Cover’, a track brought back to life from a different . . . . .era. entirely. . . . . But . . it.also . . . . . feels . . .like . .one . .of.the. band’s . . . .most . . . . . .personal . . . .and . .intricate, . . . . a .record . . . . . . woven together with memories and pain, which ultimately still manages to lift the spirit, as so many Killers albums have done before.

collection gets an airing and is met with the kind of euphoria only reserved for festival headliners and indie disco champions, both of which the band have managed to master.

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That’s – at least in part – down to Brandon’s life at home: in a recent interview, he revealed he was forced to pull out of a series of solo live shows in 2015 as his wife was suffering from the aggressive psychological condition, complex post-traumatic stress disorder. Unsurprisingly, many of ‘Wonderful Wonderful’’s tracks see him trying to process the situation, because “it felt necessary,” he confirms. “People talk about these things being cathartic, but it wasn’t necessarily for that. I just couldn’t write about anything else. Nothing else was happening, but I felt a power when I was doing it, I felt emotional. Usually I’ve noticed that when I’ve had those feelings with a song, that translates to other people and so I think some of those songs are - I hope - going to have an impact.” So while ‘The Man’ stands proud as the record’s buffed-up introduction, it’s the more vulnerable moments - ‘Rut’, ‘Some Kind Of Life’ - that really give ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ its human heart. “We’ve always been adventurous,” he says. “I don’t know that that’s something that people would apply to us when they talk about us, but if you really take a look, we’re actually pretty adventurous.” He’s not lying: they’ve built their career upon striking gold in one genre, before going on to tackle an entirely different realm. “If you look at the band that made ‘Hot Fuss’ and you look at a picture of the people on ‘Sam’s Town’, it’s like ‘What is happening?!’,” he laughs. “But to us, it just made complete sense: we didn’t know that it was strange or brave or anything, we were just doing what we did.”


s ever, The Killers’ live show is electrifying. Almost bursting at the seams, it feels as though Brixton Academy has never been so packed and, as the gripping introductory feedback of ‘The Man’ swells into life, the crowd explodes under the rain of pink confetti that’s projected from the stage. From then onwards, it’s no holds barred: every gem from their musical


Best of

BRITISH With The Killers are all set to return to the UK for a massive tour this month, we wondered what exactly Brandon will be most looking forward to about their trip to our fair isle. Here’s his top three...


No particular kind, just trifle in general! It’s something that I look forward to after dinner.


I know it’s sort of a tourist area but we always find ourselves around there. There’s a great Indian place that we’ve been going to around there.


We’re from the desert and when I was a kid, I thought about this place a lot because all the bands I listened to were from here, so being on tour and sitting up front with the bus driver and seeing the green hills and fields is kinda a magical thing. And with the overcast skies, I mean, I get 330 days of sun a year in the desert!

What’s all the more exciting is that the whole thing feels reenergised. Brandon is a gripping frontman, complete with costume . . . . . . changes and spangly-lapelled . . . . . . jackets. There’s a touch of the . . . . . . theatrical to their set too, which gets capped off by the surprise appearance of actor Woody Harrelson – he, you know, just happened to be in town for the night – who’s welcomed on stage to recreate his at-thetime unknown appearance on ‘Wonderful Wonderful’’s ‘The Calling’. It’s a show that ties in perfectly to the energy of their more recent UK shows: BST Hyde Park and the small matter of a secret appearance at this year’s Glastonbury. “We hadn’t been in that tent for thirteen years,” Brandon remembers, “and we have a reverence for things like Glastonbury and people like John Peel. We understand what they mean to this country, so we take that stuff seriously. I was a little nervous because we were the surprise band and you can’t choose who’s coming to the festival - you don’t know if they’re really gonna be happy with their surprise.” Unsurprisingly, their greatest hits blitz of a set went down a storm. “That was the first time I’ve heard an audience supersede us,” Ronnie confirms. “They were just as loud as the PA was. It was a crazy feeling.” While the past three years may have come littered with hurdles, they’ve not been enough to trip the band up just yet. It may have taken longer than they’d hoped to release ‘Wonderful Wonderful’, and they might look like a somewhat different band on stage now, but it’s clear that the only thing on The Killers’ agenda is to get bigger and better. “I’m so excited,” Brandon confirms, of their upcoming tour dates. “It’s gonna be a little bit more theatrical, which I love. You know, the things that Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush brought to live shows? I mean, I’m not saying that far, but I love that. I didn’t realise how much we’d done that on ‘Sam’s Town’ until we did the ten year anniversary and we got all of the stage back out, with the screens, the festoons, the lights and the wood and I realised, ‘Oh, I like this!’ We’re trying to do a new version of that. These next shows are bigger than anything we’ve ever done,” he laughs, quite clearly eager to get back out on stage, just an hour after their Brixton set has wound down. “It’s really, really exciting.” The Killers’ new album ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ is out now. DIY


I would prefer that


I was talking

to you about the eighth

Killers record. -

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Brandon Flowers







Bringing pineapple mania to the world in a year that’s seen them become one of the most talked-about bands on the planet, Glass Animals frontman Dave Bayley reflects on the band’s frankly ridiculous 2017. Words: Will Richards. Photos: Emma Swann.


The rest of the band don’t know it yet, but Joe just spotted a ghost. 42


s if to epitomise their ridiculous 2017, Glass Animals had quite a journey to the US tour they currently find themselves half-way through. Performing at the Mercury Prize in London in early September - for which they were nominated for second album ‘How To Be A Human Being’ - the Oxford four-piece then made the most of the ceremony’s afterparty, making it all the way through the night, hopping straight onto a morning flight across the Atlantic and into production rehearsals for their biggest tour to date.

Across a non-stop 18 months, the band have played some of the most iconic venues in the world, as well as some of the weirdest. From the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado and Radio City Music Hall, one of New York City’s most illustrious venues, to shows in woodland, on beaches and beyond, this year has proved that nothing is too outrageous for Glass Animals.

“The crowds are not only bigger, but more feral.” - Dave Bayley

Speaking on the phone from New Orleans, Dave Bayley and co are about to play a show at a Mardi Gras warehouse, with ridiculous, wildly colourful situations seeming to follow the band around wherever they tread at the moment. On a seemingly endless thrash around the planet since before the release of LP2, it’s a rare chance for the frontman to reflect on what’s been a whirlwind year (and beyond) for the band. “I haven’t even really thought about everything that’s happened too much until now,” he chuckles, “but now it’s all hitting me!” It’s impossible to pick out just one moment from a year jam-packed with ‘moments’, but there’s certain nights that have defined their year, centred around a festival season that made them one of the most talked-about bands of the year. Their Reading Festival set made the headlines before the band even set foot on stage due to the event advertising a pineapple ‘ban’, and ended a stunning summer for the band. Pineapple paraphernalia littered the crowd. “We’ve had naked people, people on stilts who are also mostly naked,” Dave begins, as if folding out a huge, never-ending list straight out of a TV comedy. “People coming to us as the characters from the record a lot, people bringing lilos and floating through the crowd for the whole show.” The frontman also pointed out a fan munching on a pineapple, skin on and everything, in the front rows of their Latitude set back in July. “It’s some serious commitment. I think he’s gonna get appendicitis but at every gig, we have everyone going pineapple crazy!” “Reading was amazing,” he continues, turning attention back to the festival season closer that saw the band up the ante, bringing their own pineapple confetti as if in competition with the crowd. “We used to break into that festival when we were kids. I’ve seen my favourite bands there. LCD Soundsystem played the exact slot that we played back in 2010, and that to this day is still my favourite show of all time, and to play that slot 43

just made me feel amazing. “At first I felt pretty sick, but then it started getting exciting, and when we finally got there it was totally unbelievable,” the singer exclaims, digesting some of the biggest moments of a year that’s been packed full of revelations, before pausing. “It’s weird,” he chuckles.


urn back the clock six months, and it was their Brixton Academy show that saw the wheels finally turning for them in the UK. The momentum had been with the four-piece for a while by that point, but it was the spray-painted pineapples on the pavement that led the way down from Brixton tube station to the world-famous venue, and the euphoric, sold-out show that followed, that really saw them arrive in the UK after getting their first big break Stateside. It also happened to be the venue that the band’s frontman saw his first ever gig at. “Brixton is my favourite venue in the world. When I lived on the Old Kent Road in South London, I saw Bloc Party there. That was my very first show,” the frontman remembers. “To see that room sold out and with such an incredible atmosphere, I ended up having a little cry onstage at the end of ‘Agnes’. I had to run off to the side!” “Every time we go back to a place, the crowd seems to get twice as big, which is nice, and the crowds are not only bigger, but more feral, which is exciting,” he lays out. The current US tour they find themselves on is the most ambitious yet, complete with, predictably, all manner of pineapple-related stage props and outrageously huge G and A letters. It’s also a tour that’s seen the remoulded songs from both ‘...Human Being’ and debut record ‘ZABA’ to, in some instances, be almost unrecognisable from their original recorded forms. “When you see us at the beginning of an album campaign, everything will probably sound pretty similar to the record,” Dave comments. “And by the end it’ll almost sound like remixes.” Indeed, ‘ZABA’ cut ‘Gooey’ has morphed from being understated to anthemic, while ‘How To Be A Human Being’ numbers are still being tinkered with, nearly 18 months on from its release. “Literally yesterday, we completely re-worked [‘...Human Being’ track] ‘Mama’s Gun’ and added in some crazy stuff which means I can sample my vocal live and play it out over a keyboard and chop it up and stuff. We’re always tweaking it and keeping ourselves on our toes, and we kind of leave things very malleable, so if the crowd looks like they’re up for dancing, we’ll play the dancey outro of ‘Pork Soda’ for an


extra two minutes - we all look at each other and go with the flow.”


Playing pretty much all of the world’s biggest festivals, bands are bound to run into some celebrities backstage, right…? “I looked around to the sides of the stage Coachella while we were playing, hoping to see a famous face, and on one side was Tyler, The Creator, and on the other side was Stormzy. That was pretty surreal. We walked off stage and Tyler was like “oi mate!” and tried to do an awful British accent. He was lovely!”

As well as the extra punch that ‘Gooey’ now packs instrumentally, it also sees Dave clamber his way through whatever venue he finds himself in, mingling with the front rows while becoming the most unlikely superstar. Commitment never an issue, he even got on the shoulders of two security guards and waded through the front rows at Coachella, complete with a moon boot after breaking his ankle the previous month. The frontman is the first to admit that he, guitarist Drew MacFarlane, bassist Edmund Irwin-Singer and drummer Joe Seaward aren’t the most natural showmen or entertainers, but with the gigs getting bigger, their confidence has grown with it, with the quartet becoming an unstoppable live prospect over the past year.

“When there are that many people in a room, there’s a lot more...this is gonna sound really cheesy, but there’s a lot more energy to play with,” Dave says, with his far-from-conventional dancing becoming a focal point of the band’s live set. “5,000...10,000 people in a room being quiet sounds really, really quiet. 10,000 people in a room feeling tense feels reeeeally tense. But 10,000 people in a room going crazy, moshing around, feels freaking wild. If you can harness all of that, you can do some pretty awesome things.” “Pretty awesome” plays down the 2017 Glass Animals have had. A talking point of pretty much every festival they played, award nominees, and one of the most fun live bands of the year, the quartet have made a weird, wonky corner of pop their own, and brought their already vibrant, bustling second album to life even further. While new material may be a while away - concepts are at the heart of Glass Animals and Dave comments that such fully-formed, interweaving work can’t be dreamt up while constantly on the road and they may well move on to another fruity phenomenon and leave pineapples behind, there’s no doubting they’ve been one of the bands of the year. DIY


As part of the band’s current, biggest US tour to date, they headed to legendary NYC venue Radio City Music Hall, where they felt slightly out of place. “That venue is ridiculous. It’s very different to any venue we’ve ever played. It’s pretty posh, it’s incredibly beautiful, and you feel when you’re walking in that you’re going to see an opera and you should be wearing a tuxedo and holding those spectacles that come on a stick. It’s a weird one. You walk out and it’s just loads of bobbing takes your breath away. But then you have to remember that it’s not a big party show. It was a different type of show, we were trying to do more interesting things musically, rather than simply go for a big, huge dance party.”

“We have everyone going pineapple crazy!” - Dave Bayley



BIG ONES Royal t






They’re the grand high overlords of hard-riffing, tequila-swigging desert rock. He’s the king of the funk-filled, horn-toting pop banger. Joining together on recent LP ‘Villains’, Mark Ronson and Queens of the Stone Age united to form a right royal union. Words: Lisa Wright.


hen it was announced back in June that, following six self-produced records, Queens of the Stone Age would be enlisting brassloving Uptown Funker Mark Ronson for their seventh, it was, let’s not beat around the bush, a bit of an eyebrowraiser. Turns out, however, that no-one was as worried about the super producer pulling a clanger as Mark himself. “I have friends who are fans of the band who were like, ‘Yeah we’re really excited that you got this gig but you better not fuck it up or we’ll never talk to you again’,” he recalls, speaking down the phone from LA during a break from his current studio sessions with Diplo (no biggie). “There’s five incredibly talented musicians and one musical fucking monster in Josh Homme, so there’s no way that one bad production job is gonna be able to fuck that up. But at the same time you wanna be worthy of that lineage and legacy that you’re getting into. I was very overly self-conscious of that, for sure.”

because otherwise I would have had to kill myself or kill you’,” laughs the producer. “So I thought OK, maybe there’s something about my music that he likes. His favourite rap album is by Ol’ Dirty Bastard and his favourite pop song of the last 20 years is ‘Toxic’ and I was like, ‘Oh, did you ever hear the cover of ‘Toxic’ I did with Ol’ Dirty Bastard?’ and I think that blew his mind. Things like that just kept coming up.”

What they were trying to do with this one (spoiler alert: it worked) was to amp up the band’s natural swagger and make it “a groove-heavier record”. Endearingly, despite having forged a career doing exactly that, Mark still claims he was “200%” nervous going into the studio. “It was kind of like working with Paul McCartney [casual – Namedropping Ed]. You have a day to get over your nerves because everybody gets that you’re a fan. But then after a day, if you don’t start firing off some great ideas and adding something to the musical conversation, then that’s when you need to be worried,” he explains. “But then I’d throw in something - this funny thing of spitting back an idea to the band that have probably taught me to have that idea in the first place - and they’d be like ‘Oh man, you’re in the jacuzzi’, which means like, ‘You can get in the club with us’.”

“Nobody can keep up with Josh - his legs weigh like, 60 lbs.” -Mark Ronson

Having enlisted Homme to play guitar on Lady Gaga’s recent Ronsonproduced LP ‘Joanne’, the unlikely pair had started to realise that they had more in common than the surface might suggest. “He wrote back [to the original email] saying that his kids requested nothing other than ‘Uptown Funk’ in the car on the way to school and he said, ‘Thank god you made such a fucking good record,


On Queens’ side, the group already had all the material that would form ‘Villains’ and, a couple of months prior to the sessions, decided to make the call. “We wanted to just be the band for once,” explains guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, calling in from a hotel room bed in Detroit. “Josh knew [Mark] had the right vibe from the Gaga sessions and he helped steer things in the direction it was naturally going in. He’s a fan and he knows all of our records, so he understood the arc of where they were going and what we were trying to do with this one.”

“‘Era Vulgaris’ [Queens’ fifth album] – a record like that is not technically a good record,” explains Troy. “We’d plug the wires in backwards and make some of it just sound wrong, which is what we wanted, but that’s not what this record is. Every moment on this record is meticulously thought out.” He continues: “[Mark] works in the same way as us where, when you’re working, you do that idea until it’s done. It’s very ‘heads down’. He took this beautiful bouquet and put the frosting on top”. If a strict work ethic and sensible regime doesn’t sound like the

legendarily booze-soaked band we know and love, however, then rest assured: the new compadres certainly caught up on lost time at the band’s secret Reading & Leeds sets this summer. “My behaviour [there] was so unhinged that it probably made up for the entire rest of the recording process. I just remember at the end, Josh being like, ‘Man I am just so glad to have somebody else who’s the fucking animal [here]’ and I was like, ‘Hey man, if that’s what it takes to – quote unquote - “protect you guys and your rep” then I’m happy to be the fall guy,’” jokes Mark. “Nobody can ever keep up with Josh – you just can’t, ‘cos his legs weigh like, 60 lbs - but you can try and it can be fun...” With an album full of swagger and a bar full of shots, Mark and the band’s bromance is an unexpected one for the ages, that both parties attest could still yield further fruit in the future. “Anybody who’s made something that I’ve ever listened to and thought, fuck that’s good – that means that they hold magic,” says Mark. “[The people I work with] just all happen to be the most talented people in their lanes. I’m just lucky.” DIY

“He took this beautiful bouquet and put the frosting on top.” - Troy Van Leeuwen







This year has seen stars of all descriptions emerging; both on stage, and from the slightly less glamorous surroundings of a recording studio. Here are just a few of the year’s most groundbreaking producers.

Justin Meldal-Johnsen

Beck collaborator, sometime Nine Inch Nails bassist, and full-time studio genius, Justin Meldal-Johnsen produced two of 2017’s most formidable musical giants. First came a newly invigorated return from May cover stars Paramore, who had also previously worked with the producer on their self-titled album. They reunited with the Oregon desk-man to bring their kaleidoscopic ‘After Laughter’ to life. “It was about putting people around us that we had history with, and confidence in,” Paramore’s Taylor York told us. And then, no biggy, Justin moved onto Wolf Alice’s richly varied and all-round exceptional second album ‘Visions of a Life’. What a year!

DESK Jack Antonoff

Usually known for fronting Bleachers and co-writing the odd song with Taylor Swift or Carly Rae Jeppo (casual!) 2017 saw bespectacled whizz Jack Antonoff making a name for himself in the producer’s chair, too. Allegedly bonding with Lorde for the first time over a can of pineapple juice (Glass Animals would approve) Jack later joined her in crafting ‘Melodrama’ this year, colliding all of that record’s fractured loneliness and heartbreak with an opposing pop euphoria. After that, there was no hanging about, either. Hopping back behind the mixing desk for another of the year’s best - St Vincent’s ‘MASSEDUCTION’ - our boy Jack was at it straight away, bringing warped beats and sleazy, glitching synths to Annie Clark’s most personal record to date. “He is such a wonderful person,” she told us, speaking about her work with the producer. “We just walked hand in hand through the fire.”

John Congleton

Catherine Marks

Along with John Congleton, Catherine Marks - one of the brightest talents out there - co-produced Manchester Orchestra’s ‘A Black Mile To The Surface’ this year. She’s also behind one of the year’s best debuts, bringing The Big Moon’s big, bonkers ‘Love in the 4th Dimension’ to life in a West London studio (with the help of a fair few inflatable palm trees and colourful shirts for good measure). “She’s an amazing producer, and such a boss,” The Big Moon’s Jules Jackson told us while work on the album was still underway. “We only had twelve days in the studio, so it was all quite quick, but that’s good because it’s sort of like, wham-bam, make decisions.” 48

As chance would have it, you’ll probably know John Congleton’s name from his longstanding association with St Vincent (he produced her last three records). 2017, though, saw the Texan throwing up a few surprises of his own, producing ace records from Alvvays, Future Islands, Blondie, and Manchester Orchestra. The biggest curveball of all, though, had to be his link-up with noughties pop ledge Nelly Furtado, for her low-key banger collection ‘The Ride’. “There he is, this uber-cool alternative punk rock producer, and then there’s me,” Nelly told us earlier this year, “with the very mainstream pop that I’ve made over the years. We both had some skin in the game, working with each other. It’s kind of unexpected; you look at our discographies, and go ‘what the hell?”







The Big Moon, there, enjoying a richly deserved lie down. 50


It’s been a busy old year for this lot, what with releasing their all-kinds-of-ace debut album ‘Love in the 4th Dimension’ and touring different continents numerous times over. We asked a slightly dazed Jules Jackson to run us through a few highlights. Interview: El Hunt. Photo: Pooneh Ghana.


The Big Moon’s ringleader hasn’t stopped moving this year. So naturally, we asked her what she’d run for. The last tube? Yes. If it meant I would get where I needed to go. Yeah that’d be fine. A Bonnie Tyler secret show? Oh my god, OBVIOUSLY! Who wouldn’t? I think the feeling you would get when you finally got there, combined with the power of Bon-Bon’s music, would create such euphoria. I’d run for that. Prime minister? I would, in the manner of Lord Buckethead. I’d like to ridicule the candidate by standing behind them with a bucket on my head. Or a colander. Lady Colander. For a hanky, midway through a song? No. I’d just let the bogies flow with the music. In fact I’ve let them flow, many a time. When I get a cold I get really streamy. It’s not even bogey, it’s just wet, dripping out, into the microphone. Really attractive.

How are you, Jules? I’m well! I’m walking around Leeds in the rain, ‘cause we’re playing a radio awards show later on. Busted are here, but I’m not really sure how to open a conversation. The eyebrows? I could actually bond with Charlie because I recently bought some eyebrow gel. Maybe I could share my eyebrow gel with him? You released your debut album the year of the total eclipse. Was this premeditated? The universe is full of signs, and I like making them apply to my life. Whenever the clock says 12:34, you think, wow, all the arrows are pointing in the right direction. I’m walking the right way. But then, when those signs don’t work, you can be like, ah man, it’s superstition! All bullshit anyway! Anyway, the moon has the power of making things feel purposeful. Always there, doing stuff, changing. Just like our band! Since starting this band, the moon has become a family member I always hear news about. Did you know the moon isn’t actually round? It’s pear-shaped, very slightly. Earth’s gravity pulls the pearshaped bit towards us. Does that make sense? Umm. That all sounds a bit scientific to be honest, Jules. Moving on… We’re all werewolves, which is why we’re in a band. It’s so we don’t have to go outside at night. We thought we could hide in plain sight if we just talk about the moon and call our band The Big Moon. Nobody would realise we were allergic to it. So, how on earth does Soph Nathan (who’s also in Our Girl) manage to be in so many places at once? She doesn’t reveal her secrets to us band members, we just do what we’re told. I think that she might have Hermione Granger’s little magic necklace, where you twist it around and go backwards in time.

[Iiiinteresting - see p61 - Ed] She does wear a lot of spooky jewellery. She’s got quite bushy hair too, like Hermione. Maybe she’s actually Hermione? This year we’ve greatly enjoyed following Fern Ford’s Instagram account, @fernssandals. What’s the backstory there? Our manager Louise made fun of her for wearing douchey sandals. But you know, Fern truly loves those sandals, she adores them. They’re very comfortable, practical, waterproof, and they don’t get smelly. They’re inexpensive, they have velcro straps, and they’re her favourites. Now they have an Instagram account. They go on adventures. Do you have a favourite... A favourite out of the left or right sandal ? I think the left one is pretty good. Fern actually has pretty lovely feet. I don’t know if you noticed. On our album artwork, her feet are very prominent. She’s got lovely little tanned feet. You should have a look. This year The Big Moon were nominated for the Mercury Prize! How is the red carpet lifestyle going for you? It’s pretty fucking weird but also, it’s on telly! You walk on a red carpet and stand in front of a thing with logos on it and smile awkwardly while all these photographers yell “look over ‘ere please ladies!”. I find that my face starts twitching. It’s so bewildering, but you also get treated like a princess! And Glastonbury must’ve been a blast, too? It’s Glastonbury! Having a colander on my head made it all the better. I just took that from the kitchen, and didn’t ask permission in case anyone fancied pasta. I’ve moved house since, and the house I’m in now has a very different colander. I was looking at it the other day. I wouldn’t have worn that one because it’s square and weird. DIY 51

That’s one small step for bands, and one giant LP for bandkind!






2017 ’s

There’s something special about debut albums, isn’t there? An artist’s first fully-fledged musical outing into the world - and inevitably charged with all the relentless excitement that comes with holding a lovely shiny physical record for the first time - there’s no other moment that rivals a cracking debut. And this year, we’ve been spoiled with a whole truckload of them. Lucky, lucky us.


Try Not To Freak Out If Sløtface strode out as one of the best new bands around with their early singles and EPs, debut album ‘Try Not To Freak Out’ blew all expectations out of the water. From stories of over-indulgence and regret on ‘Pitted’ to cherishing friendships that will last a lifetime with ‘Slumber’, the record is as thoughtful and caring as it is young and reckless. It’s also the first full-length from a band that are going to be massive.

Diet Cig

Swear I’m Good At This A debut that goes out to everyone who has ever been told to “calm down and stop overreacting”, Diet Cig’s high-jumping ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ is the perfect blend of both cathartic melodrama and reassurance that all those feelings are valid. Finding power in the sharing of personal experience, and boosting up her fellow femme folk, Alex Luciano’s wit-packed lyrics steal the show here.

Sheer Mag

Need To Feel Your Love Introducing itself with a gnarly riff with an odd resemblance to the Hollyoaks theme tune, Sheer Mag’s debut has the air guitars out within seconds and they’re not put down across its entire length. Classic rock brought into the 21st century with generous helpings of social conscience and unabashed fun, ‘Need To Feel Your Love’ is an album to strut and feel invincible to. 52

Declan McKenna

What Do You Think About The Car? Packed with the kind of sing-alongs that seem custom-built for slinging an arm around a swaying mate, and holding a lukewarm can of Red Stripe aloft in a muddy field - while half of the yeasty contents slops all over your own head - Deccers’ debut ‘What Do You Think About The Car?’ shows off everything that’s best about its creator. Touching on everything from the misguided views of a right-wing Fox News presenter type, to corruption at the heart of FIFA, this is a charged first album with its eyes on the current political climate, and its ears firmly geared towards bringing people together in response.

The Big Moon

Love in The 4th Dimension When The Big Moon unleashed their ripper of a debut back in April, we cut straight to the chase and called it “the kind of musical roast that’d have Nigella beaming with pride”. There’s a reason we picked Nigella, too; she’s the only TV chef (spare for Delia, sorry Delia) who has ‘done a Rihanna’ and moved into the first-name-only realm. Over the last year Soph, Celia, Fern and Jules - aka The Moonies - have achieved this notso-modest feat, too, and ‘Love in The 4th Dimension’ was all of their gang’s potent chemistry and musical talents bottled onto one of the greatest first outings of this year.


That’s Your Lot Four years after the release of their debut EP, Blaenavon finally served up ‘That’s Your Lot’ in April: the accomplished, intricate accumulation of everything that had come before and a testament to the power of taking your time. Full of brooding, seething atmospherics (‘I Will Be The World’, ‘Take Care’), hooks for days (‘Let’s Pray’, ‘Orthodox Man’) and a smart, nuanced lyrical sensibility, it was a debut record with the weight and depth of an album from a band far further along in the game.










Not many artists end up with Jeremy Corbyn as their support act, but then again, Run the Jewels’ 2017 has been extraordinary. Kickstarting the year with the firecracker that is ‘RTJ3’, El-P and Killer Mike haven’t stopped since. Words: El Hunt. Photo: Phil Knott.

who run THE

world? 54


ay back at the end of last year, while most of us were still slumped on the sofa letting our Christmas dinners go down, Killer Mike and El-P shook us out of our post-holiday stupor with ‘Run the Jewels 3’. A charged call to action, an honest delve into emotional darkness, a barrage of ludicrous dick jokes, and an album championing the power of hope, it emerged as a fitting remedy to an almost entirely bleak 2016. ‘RTJ3’ is a record the pair are still riding the waves of, and speaking the morning after a triumphant set at Austin City Limits, the duo’s world tour remains in full swing. Most recently, Mike and El spent “a lot of fucking money” on a pair of gigantic golden hands. “We’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of childhood fantasy shit,” laughs El-P, “which is odd because we’re in our 40s now. And yet if you could peer into our minds…” “We’re still just children,” chortles Killer Mike. But anyway, returning to those hands. “I’m glad you noticed!” Mike enthuses. In fairness, they’re hard to miss. “In case you were wondering if fame has changed us...” El muses, dryly, “that’s probably the first sign. We needed giant hands that better match our egos. They get a hotel room every night, they’re incredibly demanding, they won’t even talk to me or Mike. They have their own chef,” he announces as Mike booms with laughter. “My dream is to get to the Spinal Tap, Tenacious D level of ostentation,” El explains. “That’s our hope. We modelled our show and group after Run DMC, the idea being that two MCs and a DJ can be as powerful an experience as any live show you could see.” “We don’t wanna give you the same show,” Mike adds, on a more serious note. “I gotta be honest, I’ve had a lot of death this year; people I love. For me, starting to perform records like ‘Thursday in the Danger Room’” he adds, referring a ‘RTJ3’ track which tackles acceptance and mourning alike, “has brought me a certain comfort and changed emotion.” A huge moment for them came in the shape of Glastonbury, a set dedicated to Mike’s mother who sadly passed away that same

BLAZIN’ SQUAD How was your 4/20 this year? Mike: Let me tell you, my wife gives me the best 4/20 parties. El: You know Mike’s birthday is on 4/20, right? In other words, he never had a chance to not be hopelessly addicted to marijuana. Mike: El did not make the party, but he’ll be there next year. Our friend Bowman was there, though. He was on an African-American side of town, in an African-American club, surrounded by people like Big Boi, rappers, and was one of only three white people in the whole building. There’s a picture of him with a load of Atlanta rappers looking like he’s having the time of his life. This 4/20 was beautiful. The only thing I was missing was El, and this year we gonna act the fool and do it all again. Thanks to my wife Shay for giving me a bombass party. El: If you wanna do a bit of research, our Bowman is kind of like Forrest Gump. He’s one of those weird New Yorkers. The other day he popped up in a picture with Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones, because in 1990 they were in a funk band. He’s been on David Letterman twice because he has a dog that can paint. A legendary man. I implore you to go and look up the TMZ pictures of Mike’s party. You’ll know who he is when you see him.

week. Pouring everything they had into the show, leading the field in sticking up a finger to fear of all strains, that show was notable for another reason, too; being preceded by Jeremy Corbyn. “It could have been anybody who espouses the idea of love and community on a bigger level,” points out El-P, “and that was so clearly what the message was from Corbyn. It was a huge moment for us, and not because it was about us; because we felt like we were experiencing something powerful. They say that it...” he chuckles, “and now I’m going to pull a Trump on that crowd shit right now, they say it was the biggest crowd in Glastonbury since the Rolling Stones.” “Last week I was with Bernie Sanders,” says Mike, “in Atlanta, and he asked us ‘so, you met Jeremy, what did you think of him?’ That was his first question. And it showed me that it wasn’t just a politically-motivated thing. It is a global movement. The more men that pop up like Sanders, like Corbyn, the more people that stay active in the streets - we’re on a course away from what we have been doing in terms of warmongering, towards more peaceful resolutions.” “It was an honour,” El adds, “and Corbyn seems like a cool dude. I gave him a pound [of the fist-bump kind, rather than coin... we think... - Ed].” Looking ahead, the pair aren’t ruling anything out. “I really want a Run the Jewels game,” declares Mike. “I want me and El doing post-apocalyptic New York killing shit trying to make it to Madison Square Garden to do a show.” “And also,” interjects El-P, “if you don’t mind me adding, I’d also like a magical forest in which we pick golden coins out of bushes.” They’re also - in what is a bit of a curveball booking - set to hit the road with New Zealand’s pop queen Lorde next year. It’s what you might call a bonkers bill. “That was our reaction,” admits El. “When we were asked, our first reaction was, this is incredibly weird and unexpected. And the second was, that’s fucking awesome! What’s so cool about Run the Jewels,” he adds, “one thing that I appreciate about it, is that we’ve gotten a lot of love from the music world in general. People like Lorde, she was tweeting about ‘RTJ2’ when it came out.” “I’m damn happy to be going out with her,” Mike adds. “My daughters wanna go. I’m looking forward to this tour like I looked forward to OutKast when they toured with Lauryn Hill back in the day. It gives me the same kind of feeling.” Looking back over the year, amid triumphs and tragedies alike, El and Mike have grown closer still. “It went from a friendship to a family,” El says. “The thing about family is that family is family. I put my guarded heart in the right hands,” he says. “Absolutely,” Mike chimes in. “I grew up with five sisters, and I used to pray for a brother as a child. You don’t think you’re gonna get that at 35, but I did, and I was glad for my mom she didn’t have to go through labour again” he laughs. “I co-sign that. He’s my brother. “ DIY 55







This year, a whole host of DIY faves stepped out from the safe bosom of their bands to brave it along the lonely road of the solo artist. Here are the independent men and women who did it best.

Mr Jukes

If Bombay Bicycle Club’s final LP ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’ hinted that the Londoners had more to them than just a clutch of indie classics, then no-one could have quite anticipated the curveball that Jack Steadman was about to throw in the form of Mr Jukes. Stepping into the role of curator more than frontman, LP ‘God First’ was a soul-funk odyssey, packed with samples, guest vocals and more groove than James Brown.

Harry Styles

Bored of being penniless and unsuccessful, One Direction’s Harry Styles decided to fully ditch his dead-end previous boyband gig and try something on his own this year. Cue a self-titled debut LP and finally – finally! - some deserved fame for the poor young crooner. Good for you, son.


Jack wasn’t the only Bombay Bicycler to step out on his own; having dished up his first material as Toothless at the tail end of 2016, bassist Ed Nash delivered debut LP ‘The Pace Of The Passing’ in February – a lush, often melancholic twist on his former day job. 56

Beth Ditto

Sure, our Beth’s never exactly been a shy and retiring wallflower, but it’s still a big leap even for the most scene-stealing of singers to fully go it alone. Of course, she didn’t need to worry. Leaving the art punk assault of Gossip behind in favour of a record that channelled her favourite phrase “dork equals cool”, ‘Fake Sugar’ found the indomitable Southerner playfully trying out everything from pop bangers to honky-tonk and clearly having a whale of a time along the way.

Liam Gallagher

Nearly a quarter of a century after he first swaggered into the limelight, 2017 was the year Our Kid finally put his money where his considerable gob was with a solo record. Along with it, of course, came a constant set of quote-worthy gold and a Twitter account that should, frankly, be published in book form. A gift to us all, as you were LG x.

Alice Glass

Stepping out alone, and bravely speaking out about her former band this year, Alice Glass is an unstoppable force in more ways than one. ‘Without Love’ - a glitchy burst of empowerment - seizes back ownership of the narrative and shows the musician at her most creatively charged. A continuation of 2015’s ‘Stillbirth’, it looks like that debut EP is just the beginning, too.











School Reunion What better way to reflect on the last 12 months than inviting some of our ultimate DIY faves - and Class Of graduates - down to the pub for a good old fashioned natter about the year that was 2017? Interview: El Hunt & Will Richards. Photos: Jenn Five.


s this year draws steadily to a close, and horrifically premature Christmas decorations begin to rear their heads across the country, we’re in need of a bit of a nap, dear readers. It’s been a jam-packed 2017 on all fronts, and pondering how best to look back on it all, we decided to invite a bunch of our faves to have it out over a pint. This lot have all featured in DIY’s Class Of... in the past, picked out as being set for big things in the future. And look at them all now! Marika Hackman and Superfood, as you’ll probably know, released their second albums this year, both levelling up to a whole new realm of aceness in the process. Blaenavon, meanwhile, smashed it with their five-star rated debut, while Black Honey - hard at work on their own first fulllength - ripped up the live circuit and saw exactly the kind of debauched sights fit for this round-table in the process. So, with introductions out the way, no further ado is needed. Welcome to the School Reunion!

We’ve brought you legends together today because - at some point or another - you were a part of DIY’s Class Of...! With that in mind, this is a school reunion! What were you all like at actual school, then? Dom (Ganderton, Superfood): I was really hyperactive and annoying, to be honest. Ben (Gregory, Blaenavon): I was just a tosser. Marika (Hackman): I was very disorganised. I wouldn’t do my work, and I’d leave it all until the last minute. I’d always get told off for being a distraction in class, too. Izzy (B. Phillips, Black Honey): Anyone who was good at school is lame.


Dom: Say it how it is! Ben: I don’t agree with that, for the record, kids. Try hard at school. It’s important. Izzy: Only the naughty ones do the good shit. Ben: But I was a fucking try-hard, and look at me now. Still trying. Really hard. What’s the most trouble you ever got in? Dom: Once we were playing rounders, and as my mate was running around I went to trip him up. The teacher saw, and my punishment was… there was a train track that went past the school. He made me stand by the train track, and every time a train came past, I had to scream at the train. It was really weird. The first train went past, and I didn’t scream at it. He came walking over, and was like, no, scream at it like me. We both stood there screaming at this next train. I stood there for about two hours screaming at the trains. At parents evening a few weeks later, my mum went in to talk to him about that. It was an awkward conversation. Marika: What kind of school did you go to?! Wow. When I was six, I told my class what a lesbian was, and I thought it was spelt with a silent g at the beginning. Glesbian! My parents got called in. Apparently I’d just been saying it was two women who love each other. So yeah, I got taken out of that school pretty quickly! Izzy: Oh! That’s so sad. Ben, Blaenavon

I was a fucking try-hard, and look at me now. Still trying. Really hard.”

Ben: If they’d been mad over the wrong spelling, though your spelling’s all over the place… Marika: That would’ve been more understandable. Ben: Mate, respect for leaving. Dom: So yeah. We all enjoyed school! We can tell! So, moving on, we’re all here today to reflect on the year that was 2017. Any stand-out moments you’d like to bring to the table to kick things off? Dom: Oh god, I dunno. My mind’s drawing a blank. Off to a roaring start, guys! Ben: Well, I guess the right answer is that our [Blanaevon’s] album came out. That was fucking cool, ‘cause we’ve been working on that for three years. And people liked it! Especially DIY! [cheers for the plug, Ben - Ed] Izzy: My favourite was Glastonbury. Doing the John Peel stage was amazing. You know how in rehearsals you go like “GLASTONBURRRRRRY!” For ten years that’s been a joke, and to actually do it was nuts. Ben: How many times did you scream “GLASTONBURRRRRY”? Izzy: At Glastonbury? A lot. You have to milk it while you can. This year has seen One Direction start up solo careers. Which one has been your favourite to watch blossom? Dom: Niall Horan! ‘Slow Hands’! Marika: Ergh! Doesn’t that song go, like, “sweat dripping down your dirty laundry”? What does that even mean?! Where are you, Niall? Is that really happening? Dom: OK, so not lyrically. The lyrics are terrible. He hasn’t got a direction. No direction, in fact. [we see what you did there, Dom - Ed] Izzy: Mine has to be Harry Styles, and mainly because I didn’t know any other members have put an album out.


Marika: Zayn was the first one, he left to start with. Dom: Liam’s lost the plot, man. Ryan [Malcolm, also from Superfood] used to go to college with Liam Payne, and he taught him guitar. He used to perform in class! He used to have a really broad Wolverhampton accent, and now it’s an American accent, and he’s hanging out with all these rappers. “You know what it iz, man”. Fucking hell. He’s at the bottom. Ben: Louis’ material is pretty challenging. It’s a fucking tune, but live, it’s difficult to recreate. Nobody’s really talked about Harry Styles yet... Interestingly, you’re dressed like Harry Styles today, Ben. Ben: Yes! People were tweeting at me, saying he took my suit. Marika: Once I was soundchecking at a show, and Harry walked in, and walked out again. I tweeted him, like, ‘Hey Harry, did you not like my soundcheck?’ Five minutes later I walked past him. Whoops. There was a week where I saw him twice. It’s meant to be. Dom: I saw him out once. I was very far away from him, and very drunk. I started shouting at him and trying to take my top off. So bad. Izzy: I like the lyric on the Harry Styles record where he talks about wanking off in a hotel room. I can relate to that. Ben: Saucy! There’s one thing that unifies everyone around this table today. You’ve all played shows by the sea in 2017; be it Blaenavon supporting alt-J on their seaside tour, or Black Honey playing at Margate Dreamland for By the Sea. The questions is: do you like to be beside the seaside? Do you like to be beside the sea? Ben: Being in the ocean refreshes you in a way that nothing else can. We played a show in Brighton, and went for a swim before it, and then for some reason it was the best show we’ve ever done. I would recommend that to all bands. Dom: When we played at Brighton in March, we went for a swim after the show. We didn’t mean to, we were just standing close to the water, and a big wave came. My phone was in my pocket. Destroyed it. Izzy: Being a Brighton band, we’re a bit sick of the sea, to be honest. My mum’s a sailor, as well. Bit fed up with it all if I’m honest. You do not want to go to Brighton beach in summer. It’s like Oxford Street. We jumped in a lot of swimming pools on tour. Mainly mouldy ones. Damage done. Tomorrow I’ll probably grow an extra head. 60

When I was six, I told my class what a lesbian was. I thought it was spelt with a silent g at the beginning.” - Marika Hackman

Turns out Izzy couldn’t make Dom stop talking purely through the medium of mind control.

I started shouting at Harry Styles and trying to take my top off.”- Dom, Superfood


In reflecting on this year, one familiar name just kept popping up, again and again. So much so that Blaenavon’s very own Ben Gregory - ever the helpful man - suggested that we made a dedicated section of the magazine for The Big Moon and Our Girl’s lead shredder. So we did. And here it is. Izzy: Our Girl are fuuuucking amaaaazing! Soph Nathan is gonna be the Nile Rodgers of the future. Marika: She’s an indie dreamboat. Izzy: She can do everything, and can’t do anything wrong. But she’s still [got] a bit of Dave Grohl, that lovability level. Marika: I’m sure she has Hermione Granger’s time turner. Izzy: She’s a machine! Ben: Soph Naaaathan, mate! I bought a Telecaster because she plays a Telecaster. She’s that good. You’ve got to make this into a special section in the article now. Izzy: The Soph Nathan Appreciation Society, courtesy of 2017!

I’m gonna die before I even put out a first album. EP 58, here we come!”

- Izzy, Black Honey

Marika and Dom, you’ve both had second albums out this year - does it give you a profound wisdom when you graduate to the second album; one that you never had before? Marika: Yes! Dom: Definitely, yeah. Izzy: Are second albums stressful? Marika: I found it less stressful, but I think that’s because on my first record, I didn’t use anything I’d written before. It felt like I was approaching that like a second record anyway. I kind of just did that, and it made me think ‘oh I can do this!’. So this [‘I’m Not Your Man’] was just really fun. I feel more pressure now actually. Dom: We had no-one to write it for; we weren’t doing [‘Bambino’] for a label or any manager, so there wasn’t any real pressure. It didn’t stop us from stressing out about it every day, but we just wanted to get something done. The stress came when it was finished, and we needed to try and fucking get it out somehow. The next record, as you [Marika] say, is going to be… it’s exciting being in a band where you have three albums out. It’s crazy. Whether you’ve made any money from it or not, that’s a career, that is. Izzy: I’m gonna die before I even put out a first album. EP 58, here we come!

It’ll be ok, Izzy! Blaenavon took agggggesss to release theirs! Ben: It was supposed to come out in January 2014. Izzy: Whaaaat! Ben: We started being a band when we were 15, and tried to make an album completely on our own. It was really cool but everyone would’ve hated it so much. So we have this debut album that we never put out. Dom: Have you still got it? Ben: Yeah, it’s on Google Drive somewhere. I think it’s on a Google Drive file called ‘secret files, hide from David Cameron’. We went back to school after that, and did our A Levels and shit, and then stopped making music for a year. Then we came back and started from scratch. Izzy: So your first album was like having a second album, too? Ben: Yeah totally. You could release it as your first album now, Star Wars-style! Izzy: Fuck, that’s such a good idea! Noone’s released the prequel album. Ben: I hope you’ll hear it one day. It needs a mix though. DIY


The School Reunion’s ALBUM

OF THE YEAR Dom: Thundercat [‘Drunk’] came out this year, didn’t it? That’s mine. Marika: I’m currently listening to the new Alvvays album at the moment. That’s a banger. There’s teen angst, sadness. Izzy: Dreaminess, too. There’s an ethereal quality to her voice. I’m gonna go straight to it and say Wolf Alice. Dom: I loved the idea of their battle for number one, between Wolf Alice fans and mums that love Shania. Izzy: Shania Twain can do one! She can suck a fuck! Leave indie alone! Ben: The Pixx album was really fucking good. Rex Orange County is good, too. I’m sorry, but Izzy, I can’t believe you told Shania Twain to suck a fuck. Izzy: Ok, to be fair ‘Man, I Feel Like A Woman’ was one of the first records I ever bought. I didn’t know what it was called, so I drew a picture of the cover. It was just her and a wind machine. Such a classic. I take back the fuck-sucking.


BIG ones Of 2017 GIG

OF THE YEAR Dom: I went to see a band called ALASKALASKA the other night at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. They’re amazing, proper muddling loads of things together. Chic at Glastonbury was also sick. Izzy: Never mind that, Jeremy Corbyn at Glastonbury! Him before Run the Jewels was fucking special. We came home - we record at Chris’ gran’s house - and his gran was so angry that it happened! ‘Everyone’s getting the one up on us,’ she said. Gran, stop being a Tory! The other day she told me to give up writing songs. She’s super supportive, though! Dom: My gran’s got Instagram. Instagran. She hashtags and everything. Izzy: She could take over Superfood’s account! Call her Supergran. A takeover! Gran cam! You can have that one for free. Dom: We need some help, to be fair. Ben: I saw Parcels play at Glastonbury. They had a show there. We toured with them and Two Door Cinema Club. When we were on tour with them, Noah [from Parcels] was like, ‘so, that song with DP’. Wait, you’ve done a song with Deep Purple? Oh no, just Daft Punk. Dom: That’s so fucking cool. Marika: Do you think they take their helmets off? Dom: Nah, they just rock up in their outfits, L.E.D. strips down their trousers. Hi guys! Marika: I saw MUNA earlier this year and they covered ‘Bring Me to Life’ [by Evanescence]. So, so good.


OF THE YEAR Izzy: Tom Dewhurst of Black Honey. It’s been my favourite, and the most entertaining thing this whole year. We’ve stuck the picture of him being DIY’s Indie Dreamboat around the van. We come into rehearsal, and the tour manager will have written ‘Tom Dewhurst, Indie Dreamboat of the Month’ on the setlist as his title. Marika: Present company excluded, I’d have to say Amber Bain [The Japanese House]. Otherwise I’ll get in trouble. Can you bring it back and do a girl? I’m just raising this now. Izzy: No! Because it was meant to be a satire!


FROM THE CHARLI XCX ‘BOYS’ VIDEO Dom: I didn’t get the call... Ben: It’s a fucking tune as well though, isn’t it? All: Yes! Dom: Mac DeMarco. Ben: Stormzy and cereal. Izzy: Laurie Vincent and baby Bart, who is the biggest, most hilarious baby ever. He’s massive for his age, really tall, and the last time we were playing a show with [Slaves], Laurie was just walking around backstage with his baby carrier on, with Bart with headphones on, just passed out. This kid is the coolest kid already. Fred Perry campaign, serve it up. Laurie is the best person ever. Someone like Laurie, who fucking lives and breathes art... he goes home and he paints and works so hard, and he has a family, and he’s the sexiest dad ever. He’s turned into a sexy dad.




THAT’LL BE MASSIVE NEXT YEAR Ben: He’s already the biggest deal now, but I think Rex Orange County is gonna change the world next year. When we play shows, people sing pretty fucking hard, but his gig [at Village Underground], he could’ve just not even had the microphone. 800 kids just going fucking insane. Izzy: I’m obsessed with this band called Nova Twins. They’re a two-piece girl band - well, they’ve got a drummer as well but I’m not sure if he counts - and they look like Destiny’s Child. They make all these really cool glam-rock clothes, and play prog riffs. They’re the tightest live band I’ve ever seen. It blew my mind. I’m begging them [to let us] take them on tour, cos they’re so fucking good. Dom: A band that we’re on tour with at the moment, from London, called Whenyoung. They’re these three guys from Ireland. They were in a band called Sisters a while ago, but I think this is very much a new thing. They’re the most genuine, nicest people and write amazing songs. I think they’re really going to do some cool things this year. Ben: Niall [from Whenyoung] is a fucking boss. Dom: He’s like a magical pixie. Izzy: I’d love to be described as a magical pixie person. Where do you find new bands? Ben: DIY!



Across this issue, we’ve told you all about our Big Ones of 2017 and now it’s YOUR turn to have a say! Fill in the below, take a photo and send it our way by tagging @diymagazine on Twitter or Instagram, or god forbid - stick it in the postbox!*

MY BIG ALBUM IS MY BIG BAND IS MY BIG SONG Is MY BIG VIDEO IS MY BIG FESTIVAL IS MY BIG NEWCOMER Is MY BIG MOMENT Is MY BIG LEGEND IS *Our address is: DIY, 2nd Floor, 23 Tileyard Studios, London N7 9AH. There’s also a nifty form at if you’d rather put your postie out of work. You meanie. 63


SHAMIR revelations


evelations’ is a fitting title for Shamir’s new record. Born out of creative frustration, it’s a starkly different prospect to the glossy, euphoric pop of his ‘Ratchet’ debut, and sees the Las Vegas musician returning to his outsider roots after becoming an “accidental pop star”. Like the self-released ‘Hope’ - which Shamir Bailey put out with little fanfare after parting ways with his old label XL - ‘Revelations’ is a grittier record; like the sawtooth bourbon chaser to ‘Ratchet’’s fizzy, sugary


(Father / Daughter)

lemonade. Dissecting harmful relationships - both personal and professional - it starts out with a clear statement. “I won’t shame you, but I can’t continue to play this game”. The cover of ‘Revelations’ shows Shamir with his eyes and mouth erased; a reference, he’s explained, to the lack of voice and vision he felt in previous years. It seems like the perfect reply, then, that his voice is so central to this record, and pushed to the limits like never before. Shamir’s versatile vocal soars to the highest reaches and cracks interchangeably, a counterpoint to thudding basslines and grungy fuzzes of

games you have a song 90s kids her story blooming cloudY float astral plane straight boy

TRACK listing

Mystic Shamir

Can Shamir predict the future? Well, no. But sometimes he does write songs that go on to have an eerie prescience.

“Sometimes lyrics can kind of be psychic, and sometimes a song you write then and there isn’t meant to come out then and there. ‘Cloudy’ was written to be on ‘Ratchet’ but it never made it. It’s crazy that I’d written it so long ago, but it really resonates with where I am with my life right now.

guitar. Identity pigeon-holing, too, is shoved to one side, ‘Straight Boy’ taking shot at the sensationalisation of queer identity. “They say I’m brave for being true,” he sings “... they’re clinging to a false sense of pride”. For all its explorations of the anxieties that young people face today, and for all its kickbacks against greed overruling expression, though, ‘Revelations’ is fundamentally a very positive album, rooted in redefining yourself and taking charge. “I’m done trying to conform,” states ‘Float’, while ‘Blooming’ - strutting yé-yé shot through a beaten-up amplifier - boldly announces “I don’t have time for things to ruin my life.” The sound of an artist creatively re-energised, this is a revelation in all senses of the word. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Straight Boy’, ‘You Have A Song’

“It also goes to show that a lot of songs on ‘Ratchet’ were written like they are now but they turned into these electronic songs. My writing process has always been the same, it’s just now there’s no lights, no glam, I’m just giving the songs straight and that makes it a little more emotionally powerful and potent.”





Kid Kruschev (Lucky Number)

For some bands, relocating to upstate New York might signal a shift towards a more peaceful way of life; in the case of Sleigh Bells - whose Alexis Krauss made the move from Brooklyn recently - it seems to have just given them the opportunity to make even more noise. Just over a minute and a half into their new EP’s opener ‘Blue Trash Mattress Fire’, there’s absolutely no doubting Sleigh Bells’ intentions here. It begins as more of a slow burner, but suddenly explodes into the full-on, feedbackdrenched glory that the duo have managed to finesse over their previous four albums. Unsurprisingly, it’s gut-wrenchingly satisfying - somewhat of a theme across their seven-track ‘Kid Kruschev’. ‘Favorite Transgressions’ is another thunderous melding of guitars and sugar-sweet vocals – its finger clicks calling back to 2013’s addictive ‘Bitter Rivals’ - before ‘Rainmaker’ takes a more R&B-infused turn into echoey darkness. ‘Florida Thunderstorm’, meanwhile, offers up a different side to them entirely: dark and foreboding, set against acoustic guitars and the sounds of nature. While ‘Kid Kruschev’ may see the duo veering into more experimental territory - as Derek Miller confirms, they’re “putting out shorter records at a more consistent rate” - it’s a recipe that clearly suits them. Streamlined but still turbo-charged with adrenaline, this is Sleigh Bells being searingly good. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘Blue Trash Mattress Fire’

ee MORRISSEY low in high school (BMG)

Like with 2014’s ‘World Peace Is None of Your Business’, any smudge of sincerity on ‘Low In High School’ is overshadowed by nasty cynicism. And then there are the cringeworthy sex songs. ‘When You Open Your Legs’ possesses the subtlety of a fully-matured walrus trying to navigate an obstacle course designed for guinea pigs, Morrissey singing of being enlightened spiritually by the sight of somebody’s nether regions atop what sounds suspiciously like Dean Martin’s ‘Sway’. The record does have its moments: ‘Home is a Question Mark’ shows Moz doing what he does best, colliding weighty syllables with dramatic cadence. And while it’s easy to believe his warnings against becoming unwitting believers in ‘The System’ are also sincere ones, they land with a sour note. This charming man? These days it’s more a case of bigmouth strikes again. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Home Is A Question Mark’ 66

eeee QTY ‘qty’

(Dirty Hit)

New Yorkers QTY’s self-titled debut is labyrinthine in its intricacies. They come in two different strands - frontman Dan Lardner’s words and Alex Niemetz’s guitar parts. The latter elevates the album’s contents to special songs that veer from searing to tender, but always make you feel something. On ‘Salvation’, her lines go from rippling chimes to giant rays of light, while, on ‘Notify Me’, they amplify the sense of comfort and reassurance in the lyrics. ‘QTY’ is as timeless, compelling and clever as you could hope. Debut single ‘Rodeo’ still sounds as earth-shatteringly imperative as the day it came out, while there’s hope and light to balance out the despondency in the form of the gorgeous ‘New Beginnings’ and the album’s closing line: “It’s gonna be alright.” In terms of QTY’s debut, “alright” is an enormous understatement. (Rhian Daly) LISTEN: ‘Salvation’


blinded ep (Telharmonium)

eeee PRIDES a mind like the tide: part one (Twin Music)

The first part of a double release, Prides’ latest puts the great Scots firmly back on track. While not a lot has changed stylistically, the strength of the songs shines through on this seven-track offering. The swaggering ‘You’re The Drug’ is a slice of modern-pop gold to file right next to The 1975, while ‘Let’s Stay In Bed All Day’ showcases the Glaswegians’ anthemic qualities. Most impressive, though, is ‘A Wilder Heart’ – an exuberant, driving slowburner ready-made for crowds as far as the eye can see. How these seven tracks will piece together with the album’s second part – coming in January – remains to be seen. But having come through their fair share of adversity, the trio-turned-duo feel like genuine contenders once more. (Dan Jeakins) LISTEN: ‘A Wilder Heart’

eeee SÄLEN zebedy’s cult ep



With debut single ‘Sense’, released towards the end of last year, Abattoir Blues emerged from years of DIY punk shows and scrappy singles with an absolute behemoth. New EP ‘Blinded’ takes this promise even further, matching the grunt of ‘Sense’ with four gritty but insatiably catchy slices of punk. ‘Change Your Mind’ is a propulsive thrash that shows off Harry Waugh’s booming vocals better than ever, while the collection’s title track is a live favourite finally given the concrete form it’s deserved for years. Still playing catch up after years of promise, ‘Blinded’ is a huge step forward for Abattoir Blues. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Change Your Mind’

Across their handful of singles, London trio Sälen have honed a talent for sarcastic, off-kilter pop, and it’s a sound that’s refined and furthered on this self-titled debut EP. Oldie ‘I’m In Love (WMBF)’ is given a shine and polish, and remains a brilliantly sincere punctuation mark in Ellie Kamio’s undoubtedly tongue-in-cheek lyrical arsenal. It’s followed by ‘I Am Champagne’, a slinky earworm. Its breakdown flirts towards crashing onto the dancefloor, before it instead chooses subtlety, still Sälen’s greatest weapon. A considered step forward rather than a huge breakthrough, this latest collection only serves to further Sälen’s promise. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘I Am Champagne’


dama scout ep (Hand In Hive)

A year after debut single ‘Forget It’s Good’, Dama Scout arrive with their self-titled debut EP and lord, was it worth the wait. Like Speedy Ortiz or Palehound, the trio have a knack for veering off down unexpected corridors, slipping in a bone-tingling harmony or tempo change with little to no warning, and on the heavenly fuzz of ‘Toothpaste’ or ‘Tightrope’’s joyful wonkiness they do it to startlingly accomplished effect. ‘Dama Scout’ doesn’t let a moment go to waste, packing every second with sonic twists and turns that unravel with every listen. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Tightrope’

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

eeee alex lahey i love you like a brother

The Aussie’s debut boasts a ramshackle spirit and buckets of ambition.


catholic action in memory of

It’s the sound of the Glasgow quartet setting their sights on success by putting their faith in pop.


st vincent mASSEDUCTION

“You wanna pizza me?”

As batshit as it is full of insatiably infectious hooks, we’re left wondering - is there anything Annie Clark can’t do? 67



is everything ok in your world? (Good Years)


Yellow Days has been selling out shows and inciting hysteria in teenage fans ever since the release of his debut EP, last year’s ‘Harmless Melodies’. Returning with a 13-track effort, hesitant to call itself a debut album but not quite a mixtape either, it’s clear that there’s an endless pit of inspiration for George van den Broek to draw from. ‘Is Everything OK In Your World?’ is a remarkably varied, sprawling collection. Single ‘I Believe In Love’ is the clearest example of his stunning gravelly vocals yet, while Rejjie Snow cameos on ‘Lately I’, a track that blurs the genre boundaries that Yellow Days already doesn’t particularly care for. Less a cohesive body of work and more a stepping stone, keep all eyes on Yellow Days. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘I Believe In Love’


JAWS OF LOVE. tasha sits close to the piano

(K-Rizzla / House Arrest)

On 2013’s ‘Hummingbird’, Local Natives took glances inward, mixing up-tempo cuts with quieter moments. And that’s where Kelcey Ayer returns to as Jaws Of Love. ‘Tasha Sits Close To The Piano’ isn’t as heartbreaking as the likes of ‘Colombia’ - it is, after all, an album named by his wife referencing his dog. But it’s that kind of homeliness that forms the thinking behind the record, a collection that indulges his love of slightly darkened piano music. He’s crafted something deeply atmospheric, that mixes in washes of vintage, often ambient synthesisers, and heartbeatlike drums from fellow Local Native Matt Frazier. The results are often dramatic. Hearing him be vulnerable in this way is an engaging listen, even if he does stray into the realms of melodrama. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘Everything.‘

Shortly before releasing his debut album/project/whatever you fancy calling it ‘Is Everything OK In Your World?’, Yellow Days tells Will Richards about the new record, and how he’s always learning. Hi George! Tell us a bit about ‘Is Everything OK In Your World?’... The cohesion of the piece comes in the answer to the question that the album title poses: how are you feeling at the moment? It’s all about people who feel a bit down and can’t quite get themselves together. Me and my friends are always pouring our hearts out and making sure each other are on a good path, and it’s about reaffirming that through the new record. How can you see your songwriting progressing across your still quite short career? The main change is that I started learning piano this year. I self-teach myself all the instruments I can play, and I’d just wake up every morning, smoke a joint, and sit down at the piano and just play around until I worked out some chords that sounded good, and then wrote songs from there. It’s really changing the way I go about things, and is so exciting to me. You’re currently on a UK tour - what’s the plan for the rest of the year and into 2018? I just want to keep creating and keep making albums. I have grand visions. I don’t think any of them will be small pieces either - after my debut EP, I can’t see myself releasing anything that’s less than ten songs. I think you need that length to make a more complete statement. 68

eee EERA

reflection of youth

(Big Dada)

A soul-searching musician crafting songs about going it alone, there’s nothing particularly unusual about EERA’s approach. Although she delivers it so naturally and strikingly with ‘Reflection Of Youth’ that sticking to a tried and tested setup doesn’t matter. Opener ‘Living’ sets a sparse and wandering tone, allowing her vocal to grow with fragile anger. ’10,000 Voices’ showcases a much more vulnerable side to her as a musician, showing she isn’t afraid to open up. If anything, this first full length feels like just the beginning. (Rhys Buchanan) LISTEN: ‘10,000 Voices’

Sleep well, Beasts Remember the good times with these picks from the boys’ back catalogue. this is our lot

(‘two dancers’, 2009)

Melancholy, reflective, and a slow-creeping belter all at the same time, necking lagers with the lads never sounded so profound.



punk drunk and trembling (Domino)

Joining the ranks as the latest band to announce a completely unexpected split, ‘Punk Drunk & Trembling’ acts as Wild Beasts’ parting gift – a three song ‘extras’ EP taken from the sessions of last LP ‘Boy King’ and given its own release by way of a goodbye. If the context sounds underwhelming, however, then the contents thankfully isn’t. The title track is a classic WB falsetto hypnotiser, ‘Last Night All My Dreams Came True’ is as good and grotty as anything the romping Kendal quartet have put their name to in recent years, while ‘Maze’ is a sparser reminder of their more cerebral beginnings. Goodbye chaps, it’s been glorious. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Last Night All My Dreams Came True’

Alpha Female (‘Boy King’, 2016)

Possibly LP5’s greatest moment, a shiny, leather-clad beast, with Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming’s vocal interplay at its best at the end of the track.

Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants (‘Limbo, Panto’ 2008)

They introduced words like ‘moribund’, and philosopher Aristotle to the surroundings of a disarmingly eccentric debut.

The Devil’s Crayon (‘Limbo, Panto’, 2008)

Dabbling in humanity’s status as “moulded dough” fit for sin and glory alike, bassist Tom Fleming steps up to vocal duties, here.

Get My Bang

(‘Boy King’, 2016)

With a hint of mickey-taking, lusty cries that date right back to the debut days collide with crisp synthesiser; an identity crisis meeting tongue-in-cheek sleaze. “No getting it right, no getting it wrong, just getting it on”.




AUTOBAHN the moral crossing

(Tough Love)

Opening track ‘Prologue’ finds AUTOBAHN fans in familiar territory - it’s a brooding introduction to ‘The Moral Crossing’. Motorik, whirring and building as though passing through the night as the flare of street lights strobes upon the dashboard, it’s strangely comforting yet disconcerting. Beside the heart-on-sleeve gothic and postpunk influences of the likes of Sisters Of Mercy and Martin Hannett comes new tones, and overall the record reveals an evolution for the Leeds five-piece. A more textured album which sees them juxtapose the darkness with the light. (Matt Hogg) LISTEN: ‘Future’



memory of a cut off head (Castle Face)

Opting for finesse over ferocity, ‘Memory Of A Cut Off Head’ sees John Dwyer and pals pitting their fanciful imagery against a background of resplendent folk. Electronic melodies and soaring strings float weightlessly at the helm, creating an air in which everything feels dangerously off kilter. It’s eerie to the ear, melodies wisping into nothing as quickly as they appear. Delicate, enchanting, and altogether intangible, ‘Memory Of A Cut Off Head’ is a venture into the unexpected. Coming from a band who’ve spent twenty years doing just that, it’s probably something we should’ve expected after all. (Jessica Goodman) LISTEN: ‘The Fool’

eeee BATHS Romaplasm

eee DANIELE LUPPI & PARQUET COURTS Milano (30th Century)

According to Daniele Luppi, ‘Milano’ is a spiritual successor to ‘Rome’, the 2010 record that he and Danger Mouse previously collaborated on. It was intended as a panoramic tribute to Italian film scores and, accordingly, it’s difficult to envision that the ideal bedfellows this time out would be Parquet Courts. Sure enough, ‘Milano’ is a decidedly ramshackle affair sonically; it’s worth noting that Karen O features on four of its nine tracks, and that ‘Talisa’ and ‘The Golden Ones’ cast her vocals against some of the scratchiest punk instrumentation that they’ve been accompanied by since Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ earlier work. ‘Milano’ doesn’t come with the cinematic sensibilities or the polish that ‘Rome’ did, but its sheer boisterousness and rough-and-ready sonic approach does justice to the underground movement that it aims to serve as a homage to. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Talisa’ 70


“This must be the airship, and are these your fellow crew? / Where are we headed?”, ‘Romaplasm’ begins, and the next 45 minutes feel like a trip to an alternate universe. Swirling, other-worldly synths aside, Will Wiesenfeld’s third LP is still brutally human, and all the better for it. He battles with sexual identity on highlight ‘Human Bog’ (“I’m queer in a way that’s failed me / I’m not enough of anything”), while ‘Adam Copies’ is a furiously hyperactive shot in the arm. Expanding the instrumental side of the project to paths previously untrodden, while also presenting his most hard-hitting lyrics to date combined with his sweetest vocal melodies yet, ‘Romaplasm’ is Baths at his finest. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Human Bog’


birdie (Lame-O)

Slaughter Beach, Dog was reportedly borne of the Modern Baseball frontman’s desire to cure his writer’s block. But an intellectual exercise isn’t automatically successful by virtue of its being one, and so unfortunately ‘Birdie’ is far more miss than hit. Most of the songs have likeable elements - the main guitar parts in opener ‘Phoenix, Buttercup’ and lead single ‘Fish Fry’ are perfectly pretty with nice enough lyrical imagery, but unfortunately not original enough to make up for the nonexistence of any substance behind these images. A frustratingly disappointing album from a writer we’ve all heard do so much better. (Nina Keen) LISTEN: ‘Fish Fry’

eeee LIIMA 1982

(City Slang)

‘1982’ takes the gooey melodies and fat percussion of yesteryear synth pop and imbues it not only with Liima’s flare for the operatic, but also a more robust production style; it’s almost like playing an 8-bit video game on a 2017 console. Working with Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor as a coproducer, the arrangements are always pretty. It might appear slight on first glance, but ‘1982’ is packed with so many lasting melodies and shifts in tone and dynamics that it winds up being a much richer project than at first glance. (Grant Rindner) LISTEN: ‘Jonathan, I Can’t Tell You’


SPINNING COIN permo (Geographic)


The Dusk In Us (Epitaph / Deathwish)

Converge could be forgiven for wanting to hit the ground running; the five-year lay-off since 2012’s ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’ represents the longest gap between records in their near-three decade career. That might be why the opening one-two of ‘A Single Tear’ and ‘Eye of the Quarrel’ burn with a particularly blistering pace, even by the Bostonians’ usual standards. ‘The Dusk in Us’ was whittled down to thirteen tracks from eighteen and there remains a little bit of extraneous material, particularly towards the album’s close, and that uneven pacing suggests a touch of rust after so long away. Regardless, there’s a vitality here that reminds us that Converge are exactly the sort of band we can hardly afford to do without in a world this uncertain. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘The Dusk In Us’


stranger (Year0001)

Yung Lean seems to do most things with an unshakable confidence. The man born Jonatan Håstad incorporates ideas from both on ‘Stranger’, which again is a thoroughly brooding affair throughout; over beats that seem designed deliberately to summon up a claustrophobic atmosphere, he delivers his latest set of missives in his trademark, menace-laden drawl, like Stockholm’s answer to King Krule. ‘Stranger’ doesn’t feel any more disciplined or carefully-crafted than his experimental mixtape ‘Frost God’ did, but Yung Lean does continue to push the boundaries - which is precisely what brought him to public attention in the first place. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Iceman’

Spinning Coin’s heritage is easily traced. Channelling the indie-pop of their home city Glasgow from the ‘80s and onwards, there’s definitely a certain amount of looking back present on debut album ‘Permo’. That doesn’t make it any less fresh though, and emerging from the city’s increasingly strong DIY scene, the record is a first full effort bustling with ideas, characterised by the dual voices of Sean Armstrong and Jack Mellin. It’s a duality that stops ‘Permo’ from becoming drawn out or one-dimensional, and the pair of voices feel like they’re working together towards a common goal rather than battling it out. Opener ‘Raining On Hope Street’ is a gorgeous attempt at lifting hope from a hopeless situation, while its follow-up ‘Tin’ ushers Mellin into the album with a scrappy thrash that’s darkened by a creepy, minor chorus. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Raining On Hope Street’

Q&A Sharing the stage with Real Estate, Teenage Fanclub and more across this year, Glasgow indie-poppers Spinning Coin tell Will Richards a little bit about its creation. Hi Spinning Coin! How does it feel to be releasing your debut album? It’s great! We could’ve released it over a year ago to be honest, but it’s great for it to be out in the world. There are some songs on there that we’ve played since the beginning, and some much newer ones, so it’s a really good snapshot of where we’re at right now, and documenting our band as a whole up to now.

his studio. It was a lot of fun. Before that, we’d done everything ourselves, coming from a very DIY community, so the extra time we had, and working with outside help, really helped make the record. The increased time also meant we were able to add more on to the top of the songs.

What’s the plan for the rest of the year? We’ve got some headline shows coming up as well as gigs with Girl Ray and Dinosaur Jr, and we’re also You worked with Edwyn Collins on the putting on an album release show in record - how was linking up with him? Glasgow with our friends. We’re really It was quite an experience to go up to excited to be back on the road. 71


MILK TEETH go away ep (Roadrunner)


the endless shimmering

(Sargent House)

‘The Endless Shimmering’ is far and away the tightest record to date from And So I Watch You From Afar. As usual, the Belfast outfit take a liberal approach to the volume dial across the board; the drums are thunderous, while the guitars flit frequently between shimmering walls of feedback and agile licks. Perhaps most pleasantly surprising is just how anthemic it sounds; instrumental outfits of their ilk are often the groups best placed to deliver the sort of apocalyptic soundtrack that frankly wouldn’t be amiss in 2017’s political climate, but instead, And So I Watch You from Afar are on frequently buoyant form here. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Terrors Of Pleasure’

The ‘Go Away’ EP’s lead single ‘Nearby Catfight’ is Milk Teeth at their simplest and most tongue-incheek. It defines the Gloucestershire band’s current style - a collision of their most frantic, though accessible songwriting yet, all the while glazed with noise. The sound of someone tearing their hair out, reflecting upon misery, just shouldn’t be this much fun. Opener ‘I Stabbed You First’ is shamelessly morbid melodrama – “I took a pillow to its mouth, so it can’t breathe, but the fucker cuddled up right next to me”. Listeners never do find out what ‘it’ is. It’s just one of three furious streams of consciousness, where Becky Blomfield’s voice has escaped before she has any time to think them through, let alone poetically explain herself. Next comes ‘Lilian’ - a furious rant about everyday life, which concludes on the dizzying mess of snare drums, feedback, and two overlapping voices, building to a screaming release in the final chorus. Closer ‘Big Sky’ is much slower, and more reflective. Still, it’s nothing close to calm, instead it’s a grumbling, still ill-tempered comedown. (Nick Pollard) LISTEN: ‘Nearby Catfight’, ‘Lilian’


DRAWING BOARD with milk teeth

Can you draw us the Tooth Fairy?

What does the room where you recorded the EP look like?

Who, or what, would you most like to ‘Go Away’?

If the EP was a magical creature, what would it look like?



(Virgin EMI)

Aussie George Maple’s debut album has been a long time coming: its first single was released all the way back in April 2016. After such a long gestation period, listeners still perhaps wouldn’t expect an odyssey across the full spectrum of romance. ‘Lover’ resembles the setting of a bustling nightclub, George on the dancefloor, spotting somebody else’s romantic joy or misery from across the room, only for her surroundings to fade away to become illegible noise. In short, ‘Lover’ is at its most beautifully intriguing and relatable when George is at her most confused and melancholic. (Nick Pollard) LISTEN: ‘Hold Me By The Waist’ 72


Annie’s flamingo costume needed work. 74 74

st vincent Brixton Academy, London. Photos: Emma Swann.


erhaps tellingly, St Vincent’s show at Brixton Academy begins with ‘Marry Me’’s title track; delivered by a static Annie Clark, and strewn with flourishes of string instrumentation - which may, or may not, be coming from behind the unfussy curtain hanging behind her. Dividing her show into two theatre-like halves - the first being a regimented, chronological journey through her previous output to date another carefully chosen debut cut, ‘Now, Now’ comes next. “I’m not your mother’s favourite dog / I’m not the carpet you walk on,” she sings, shifting her stationary microphone a metre or so to the left, partially hidden behind a furl of fabric. “I’m not one small atomic bomb / I’m not anything at all”. A running theme, here - which extends through the whole show - is a flat-out refusal to conform. Challenging inter-song patter, performative niceties, previous expectations, notions that ‘real music’ be performed by an ‘authentic band’, and indeed, the very premise of a conventional gig, is a daring move. It’s also a jarring opposite to the dangerous physicality of the ‘St Vincent’ tour, blood-streaked faces, unhinged crowd surfs, and detached, prescripted speeches traded in for something equally peculiar. The cranked-up backing track takes its cues from a super-production pop show, without quite being one.


After a brief interval, Annie returns. The howling mouth is swapped for crisp retina-searing bursts of colour; leopard-print clad asses, sinister, bandagecovered faces, cake-phones, deadpan shredder sketches and latex-wearing dominatrix characters all glitching on the screens behind her as she shreds - in true to album order - through ‘MASSEDUCTION’. ‘Sugarboy’ thuds and skitters with gender-fluid yowls of “boy” and “girl” interchangeably, ‘Savior’ simpers and begs its way through countless archetypal roleplay fetishes. And ‘Dancing With A Ghost’ and ‘New York’ are yearning cries; their sadness finding a home in tonight’s brazen isolation. The only thing that’s missing from the whole visual collage seems to be St Vincent’s wink that ends her ‘New York’ video, but then again that same knowing wink is present in tonight’s entire execution. There’s no doubt that ‘style over substance’ will be a criticism of tonight’s divisively experimental show; an odd conclusion to take away from ‘MASSEDUCTION’, it must be said. After all, it’s an album that hinges upon style - a powerful, super-feminised interpretation of glam rock. That style, however, is also imbued with substance. An incisive dissection of power’s many forms; ranging from Annie Clark’s own growing fame to the ways in which we seduce, and are seduced continually by adverts, kinks, money, and desires, St Vincent’s decision to withhold everything that’s expected of her is surely the entire point. (El Hunt) 75


Various venues, New York City. Photos: Emma Swann.


or thirty-odd years prior to last Autumn, for one week in October, CMJ Music Marathon would take over much of the city’s music venues. Now in its second year - and also taking place in October, not entirely coincidentally - comes Mondo.NYC. It’s the brainchild of CMJ’s founding team, who’ve swapped big-name underplays and buzzy branded ‘experiences’ to, on the live music side at least, focus on a handful of small venues around the Lower East Side and largely underground artists.


Chase The Jaguar

Freddie Nunez

It’s at Pianos that we start our festival. There’s more than a touch of the theatrical to Holy Golden, whose vocalist Leslie Schott has studied at the Kate Bush school of soaring high notes. Musically it’s very ‘90s grunge. In the lounge upstairs, meanwhile, is Miranda. She’s clearly listened to much of Chvrches’ ‘80s influences - her vocal effects take her from Jimmy Somerville to Bon Iver in consecutive songs - and by the end she’s got even industry types bopping along. A short walk away, one which passes the shell of what was once legendary punk hub CBGB no less (sob), is The Bowery Electric, where there’s a giant dinosaur balloon dancing to another local act, Strange Loops, as we arrive. They’re followed in the brick-walled basement by Floridian blues rockers Chase The Jaguar - think the mellow side of Kings of Leon. Swedish singer-songwriter Adée, accompanied by a lone keyboardist at Rockwood Music Hall, is explaining how she came to record her first cover. It’s Anderson .Paak’s ‘Miss Right’, and it slots in neatly among her own laid back electro. She’s followed by South Africanborn Tuelo, who is captivating hearts and minds, with a vocal that’s unrivalled all festival, ‘Saint Margaret’ and ‘Here We Are’ - the first song, we’re told, she wrote after moving to the city are both standouts. It’s then down to The Delancey, a short walk from the iconic Bowery Ballroom, where things are behind schedule. So rather than Dublin trio Sleep Thieves, we’re treated to lush layers of sound courtesy of Mt Wolf, who drop in a cover of Radiohead’s ‘Lucky’, just because. It’s up to Alphabet City for Saturday’s first couple of acts, beginning with Brooklyn-based Freddie Nunez at Berlin. On the indie side of alt country - he’s decked out perfectly for an appearance on a Third Man Records ‘Blue’ series 7” - there’s also more than a smidgen of Pavement about his acoustic-led jams. A few doors along at Drom is Russell Elliot, who channels James Blake one second, then white boy raps like Macklemore the next, through interpolating Cher’s ‘Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)’. Then a final visit to The Delancey, before one last late-night trip through to the sweltering heat of the subway, has us catching the end of smokey-voiced Louisiana native Merci Raines, before Austin dual-vocalled blues rockers Chill Russell are, well, anything but. (Emma Swann)


neighbourhood festival Various venues, Manchester. Photos: Luke Hannaford.


ringing some of the brightest bands around to the northern capital of indie rock ‘n’ roll swagger, Neighbourhood Festival is a blitz of brash energy and brazen talent determined to leave you clamouring for


There are hijinks from start to finish. “I lost my fishnet tights,” Tali Källström declares midway through Estrons’ raucous performance, “so if any of you get any compromising photos, I want a cut of the money.” When Idles take to the stage a few streets away, all clothing is optional. “Pants didn’t seem like a good idea any more?” frontman Joe Talbot questions guitarist Mark Bowen, who’s sporting nothing but a pair of tight-fitting Y-Fronts. Introducing themselves as “The 1975-dles” before inviting the crowd to “enjoy, unless you are a Tory,” the Bristol outfit’s blistering punk anthems resound at their most raucous. There’s crowdsurfing, barrier hopping, and band members in the mosh pit before their set is over, cementing Idles as one of the country’s most ferociously storming acts. With queues outside the venue stretching to a forty-five minute wait, you don’t even have to reach the venue to see how much Peace have been missed. Inside, the excitement scales to fever pitch - and no one who makes it into the room is left disappointed. Performing songs from all across their time as a band, from ‘EP Delicious’ to ‘Happy People’, and even debuting a couple of new, stripped-back

numbers, the Birmingham band might have been out of sight for a while, but these indie darlings have lost none of their spark. There’s always been a certain magic to Peace’s performance, one that made the here, the now, and the music within it feel like exactly where everyone was supposed to be - and this afternoon is no different. Riding a wave of success from the release of their debut album last month, INHEAVEN are on characteristically top form. There’s a sense of drama in every distorted refrain they play, brought to life with a typically contagious energy the band certainly aren’t any strangers to flaunting, and the audience lap up every moment. With their ‘Heavy EP’ just released, Yonaka boast a similar confidence. Prowling and pulling shapes from a smoke filled stage, vocalist Theresa Jarvis makes her command of the crowd’s attention seem effortless. Elsewhere, Declan McKenna has no trouble packing out the venue ahead of his set. The room swelters with energy, and in typical Deccers fashion, it’s not long before the musician is diving off the stage to crowdsurf. Neighbourhood is all about getting lost in the moment and watching some of the brightest bands around, what else could you ask for a festival to offer? (Jessica Goodman)




Sundara Karma

Brixton Academy, London. Photo: Robin Pope.


f tonight is a celebration of anything, it’s three guitar acts reaching the bigger stage that they were always destined for. Willie J Healey is the first to testify with a stomping set of scuzz-drenched rock‘n’roll numbers, before passing the baton to The Magic Gang who evoke mass sing-alongs with their buoyant indie romps. But of course, there’s no band more thoroughly deserving of this milestone than the headliners themselves. From the moment Sundara Karma dropped their formidable debut album ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect’ in January this year, they’ve been staking their claim as worthy headliners of Brixton Academy. Tonight they finally reach their crowning point and not a minute too soon. The foreboding introduction of ‘Another Word for Beautiful’ ushers in the band, all dressed in an identical shirt-and-trousers get-up. Though the mournful amble of their debut’s closing track is hardly the fanfare you’d expect from a band opening their biggest show to date, when followed with the frenetic

energy of ‘A Young Understanding’ the wave of chaos that ensues is more fervent than before. The rip-roaring ‘Loveblood’ continues on the same upward trajectory and there isn’t a single fist not in the air, punching to every syllable uttered by frontman Oscar Pollock. Old EP cut ‘Run Away’ gives the frontman a chance to abandon his guitar and exercise full command over the audience, before giving way to pulsing guitar ballad ‘Be Nobody’ which provides one of the more tender moments in the set. Effervescent hits ‘She Said’ and ‘Vivienne’ are rapturously received and just when it feels the band can’t go any higher, they reset the pace and deliver a euphoria of a different kind via the debut’s slowburning cuts. ‘Flame’ and ‘Happy Family’ earn such deafening singalongs it’s hard to believe that their soaring melodies weren’t written with venues like this in mind. The band close on recent single ‘Explore’ and as Oscar screams his way through the outro, it’s a clear indication that the night has reached fever pitch. (Lisa Henderson)

INSTANT KARMA. How many pints are you going to have after the show tonight, Oscar? 78



Electric Ballroom, London. Photo: Emma Swann. oes anyone remember the last time Beck played a bad show? Has he ever? It’s not likely, considering the man’s got more bangers than a sausage factory. That fact is driven home tonight as he plays hit after hit, casual as you please, while neon lights flash around him and the wall-to-wall crowd surges forward. It seems like an odd choice at first to begin with a run of his gentler work, until he steps forward and says “think of it as us opening for ourselves tonight.”


Tracks like ‘Blackbird Chain’ and ‘Lost Cause’ are a pleasant introduction, but it’s the abrupt gear change of ‘Devil’s Haircut’ that properly sets the night off. Things don’t let up from there, with the racing ‘Nausea’ followed hot on its heels by ‘Go It Alone’, ‘Black Tambourine’ and the angular ‘Think I’m In Love’. New album ‘Colors’ isn’t out until after the show - this gig is its baptism, of sorts but songs from the record are met just as enthusiastically as his older work. ‘Up All Night’ and ‘Colors’ are celebratory and danceable, while ‘Wow’ brings on ecstatic cheering. Still, there’s never been any question over which Beck song people want to hear most and ‘Loser’ is greeted with a roar. It’s the crown jewel of his catalogue, and the sparkling crescendo of tonight’s set. As he rounds up his week in London, farewells ‘Morning Phase’ and welcomes ‘Colors’ into the world, Beck is still at the top of his game. (Liam Konemann)



Omeara, London. Photo: Robin Pope.


hen Gengahr returned with ‘Carrion’ last month, it showed a band reaching for darker territories. When the song closes their set tonight, it’s already received like a classic. Before that, almost all of their upcoming second album is given an airing. ‘Mallory’ is the first new cut shared. A slower, more considered cut than ‘Carrion’, it’s full to the brim with melody and John Victor’s hazy lead guitar line. Similarly to ‘Carrion’ though, it sees Felix Bushe’s vocals taking on a newfound twang in a lower register. There are also plenty of reminders of what a brilliant debut ‘A Dream Outside’ was, with ‘Bathed In Light’ and ‘Fill My Gums With Blood’ still irresistible earworms. ‘She’s A Witch’ and ‘Embers’ close the set. But the main takeaway from tonight is that there’s plenty more to come from Gengahr - by the sounds of it, they’ve got a hell of a second album in their back pocket. (Will Richards)


mystery jets

The Garage, London. Photo: Robin Pope.


t’s been a big year for retrospectives, but finally, we’ve found ourselves in the middle of a ‘Jetrospective’: one night for each of Mystery Jets’ albums. Tonight they’re showcasing third album ‘Twenty One’. Like the rest of the five dates, it’s completely sold out. Cracking straight on with ‘Hideaway’, the running order doesn’t quite match up to that of the immortalised track listing - it becomes clear why later on. Second up is ‘MJ’, a song not aired since 2008. There are no signs of dusty old cogs, it sounds fresh, and with the same energised attack its recorded version holds. Of course, it wouldn’t be a celebration without a surprise, and not only does ex-bassist Kai Fish join in the festivities, but Laura Marling steps onto the stage to lend a hand with ‘Young Love’. We’re shot straight back to 2008. Even more so when ‘Two Doors Down’ hits hard toward the end of the set. For the encore, which kicks off with the live debut of the album’s hidden titular track, a few fan favourites are also thrown in for good measure, including ‘Serotonin’ and the finale one-two of ‘Bombay Blue’ into ‘Bubblegum’. Ultimately, tonight all boiled down to one thing; warmhearted nostalgia for an album that still stands up today. (Steven Loftin)

the national

Hammersmith Apollo, London. Photo: Lindsay Melbourne.


he last time The National played London, they pulled the curtain down on the world tour for sixth album ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ at the O2 Arena. Quite amazingly, for a band without a number one to their name (until this month, that is), it found them with no bigger indoor venue to play in the country. On night two of four at Hammersmith Apollo, the setlist leans heavily on new album ‘Sleep Well Beast’. The band play for a solid two hours, and there’s still noticeable omissions in the setlist; their back catalogue has crept up to being one of the strongest in the game. While undeniably a tight live band, some of The National’s strongest connections come from when it feels like everything’s about to fall apart at the seams. Casting off arenas to recapture some of the intimacy so many find in their songs, The National’s return to the capital tonight is stunning, and done firmly on their own terms. (Will Richards)






Scala, London. Photos: James Kelly.


onight’s headline show in their hometown is a culmination of what INHEAVEN have achieved, fresh off the release of their self-titled debut album last month. James Taylor points out that exactly a year ago, they had played to a Boston Music Room that was the fraction the size of the Scala. Opening with ‘Bitter Town’, the crowd have begun the mosh pit from minute one. It’s a high-voltage set-opener whose lyrics are anthemic, a rebellious soft-punk rallying cry of sorts. The melodies are rose-tinted even throughout the quiet pain of ‘All There Is’, while ‘Drift’ is a more melancholic yet still summery tune. With all the softer numbers, of course, come the fiery and ravaged numbers of ‘Treats’, ‘World On Fire’ and ‘Vultures’. It’s music that toes the line between punk and pure rock, distorted guitars sitting adrift floaty verses with added elements of shoegaze thrown into the mix. For the final number, James asks the crowd to help him finish the lyrics as the band launch into ‘REGENERATION’. Mosh pit, check, even bigger circle pit, check, James diving into the middle launching himself into the crowd, check. It’s INHEAVEN’s world and we’re just living in it. (Cady Siregar)


low island

Headrow House, Leeds. Photo: Aidan Wyldbore.


xford quartet Low Island are making their way across the UK, with a set of cathedral-sized songs, from techno momentum to trip-hop ethereal, via immediate pop. Jamie and Carlos might have guitars nearby, but the pair put as much gestural dynamism into their keyboards, triggers, faders and dials. Jacob bounces between bass and synth seamlessly. Felix drives a vast percussive layer into the texture with electronic and acoustic drum elements. They enjoy playing, bashing trigger pads with delight, and this is reflected in the crowd. Particularly, an enthusiastic outro duet between drums and Jamie’s shaker drew applause and cheers on its own merit, though the whole set receives a grand response. Enough singalongs to sing along to, plenty of groove to dance, and immaculate sound design and textures for the chin-strokers too. (Ivan Scutt) 81

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

It’s Your Round , gengahr john victor st: £4.40 Drink: Amstel Co k, London The Par On b Pu : ion cat Lo

Chosen subject: star trek (1966-1999) Q1: How many seasons did the original Star Trek run for? Three! Off to the perfect start! Q2: What was the name of the dame of the hour in ‘Requiem for Methuselah’? Oh shit. It’s quite an unusual name… nope, it’s not gonna come to me. It’s Reyna Kepek. Q3: What does the ‘H’ in Leonard H McCoy stand for? Oh wow, I really should know this. Uh, I have no idea...

It’s Horatio! Horaaaatio! Outrageous! Q4: What planet did Spock hail from? Oh I know this one - Vulcan! Bang on. Q5: What is the name of the Vulcan ritual to shed all emotions? OH GOD. I’m sure I know this. I’m doing so badly. Can we come back to it? (We never went back to it - the answer is Kolinar.)

SCORE 3/10 Verdict: Some positive glimpses in a largely disappointing run. We’re sure John will come back bigger, better and stronger very soon.




General Knowledge Q6: How many countries are there in the world right now? Oh... um, shot in the dark here, but 160? Not bad - it’s 195. I was trying to go by how many teams are eligible for the World Cup. Q7: What was the name of the last film to be directed by Stanley Kubrick? Was it The Shining? It was Eyes Wide Shut. Q8: Which is the hottest planet in our solar system? Um, I’m gonna go with Mercury? It’s Venus. [I’m your venus, I’m your fire etc - Ed] Q9: Which word can be

placed before ‘rising’, ‘wards’ and ‘set’ to make new words? I’m very bad at these things. Um, is it sun? No that doesn’t work. Oh I don’t know. It’s up! Q10: In what year did the Berlin Wall fall? Nineteen eeeeightyyyyy...nine? It is indeed, Taylor Swift’s favourite year, 1989! A little bit of pride to take away at the end, then.



THE NEW ALBUM 24.11.17


DIY, Nov 2017  
DIY, Nov 2017