set music fr e e f ree / issue 67 / sep tember 2 017 diymag.com
next life T H E
e back a l i c e ar
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d e at h f r o m a b o v e 1
S E P T 2 0 1 7
GOOD VS EVIL
WHAT’S ON THE DIY TEAM’S R ADAR?
Emma Swann Founding Editor GOOD Reading! Still my favourite weekend of the year. EVIL I sat on the ground for all of five minutes all weekend, and still got bitten to fuck. ............................ El hunt Features Editor GOOD St Vincent’s video for ‘New York’ is beyond everything I ever dreamed of, and also has provided me with fashion inspiration for years to come. EVIL Everyone’s least favourite scumbag estate agent. Rhymes with Cockstons. ............................. LOuise Mason Art Director GOOD Liars live, very marryable. Also Trisha, for letting Wolf Alice lounge in her bar in Soho. EVIL Two people shouted at me for Brexit
in the space of an hour at Pukkelpop. Leave me alone, I’m sad too. .............................. Lisa Wright Staff Writer GOOD Had my fave Reading in years thanks to Josh Homme, several pints of wine, sunshine, LG and what seemed to be a ‘get out of hangover free’ pass. EVIL “Enough now. You need to give this up”: The sage words of the newsagent upon realising I was going to said festival at the ripe old age of 29 :( ............................. Will Richards Digital Editor GOOD Festival season is nearly over! My poor, swollen feet can finally rest! EVIL Festival season is nearly over! I can’t pass off drinking and watching bands in a field every weekend as work any more!
EDITOR’S LET TER
Over the past five years, Wolf Alice have steadily grown to become one of the most important bands in the UK. Back in 2015, when we got so giddy about their debut we covered them in glitter and got them to run around a photo studio, it didn’t take long for the rest of the world to catch on. Since then, their rise has been tremendous; now that they’ve returned with their thundering new record ‘Visions Of A Life’, they’re set to become one of the most important bands in the world. Elsewhere this month, we head to Oslo to hang out with Sløtface in their home country, discover how Superfood overcame all sorts of hurdles ahead of their new album and bring you all the action from this year’s Reading Festival. As you were, SJ x Sarah Jamieson, Managing Editor GOOD Let’s be honest. There are so many brilliant albums coming out this month that we’re a bit spoilt for choice. EVIL Viserion the dragon :(
LISTENING POST What’s been tickling the DIY team’s eardrums this month? weaves - ‘wide open’
The Toronto alt-rockers slammed straight into our hearts with their ludicrously excellent self-titled debut. Now they’re back with a second LP, bursting their own boundaries, well, wide open.
liam gallagher - ‘as you were’
Has LG written a boundary-pushing set of genre-hopping surprises? Of course not. Is ‘As You Were’ still a swaggering reminder of Our Kid’s brilliance? Most certainly.
eminem - ‘the eminem show’
Slim Shady’s Reading headline set might have been marred by criminally quiet sound, but back in the confines of DIY HQ we can listen to the hits as loud as we like. And oh lord, we shall.
C O N T E N T S
6 READING & LEEDS 12 ORLANDO WEEKS 14 MYSTERY JETS 16 MARMOZETS 2 0 H A L L O F FA M E 22 LUCKY DIP 2 4 F E S T I VA L S 26 DIY LIVE
FEATURES 36 44 48 52 56 60
28 HARE SQUEAD 32 JERKCURB 33 SUZI WU
WOLF ALICE THE HORRORS A LV VAY S SUPERFOOD D E AT H F R O M A B OV E S L Ø T FA C E
64 ALBUMS 78 LIVE
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 Alim Kheraj, Cady Siregar, Danny Wright, Dave Beech, Ellen Peirson-Hagger, Heather McDaid, Joe Goggins, Liam McNeilly, Matthew Davies Lombardi, Rhian Daly, Rhys Buchanan, Shefali Srivastava. Photographers Jonathan Vivaas Kise, Lindsay Melbourne, Mike Massaro, Patrick Gunning, Phil Smithies, Robert Goodman, Sarah Louise Bennett. For DIY editorial firstname.lastname@example.org For DIY sales email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org For DIY stockist enquiries email@example.com DIY is published by Sonic Media Group. All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of DIY. 25p where sold.
Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which Sonic Media Group holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. Cover photo: Phil Smithies.
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From Kasabian’s top spot on the opening night to the lasers and fireworks of Muse’s closing set via secret sets from Queens of the Stone Age and Wolf Alice, it’s fair to say this year’s Reading (and Leeds) was all kinds of awesome. Words: Lisa Wright, Will Richards. Photos: Emma Swann.
queens of the stone age
ueens of the Stone Age’s ‘secret’ set is, predictably, at the tip of everyone’s tongues on Friday, but not before the day kicks in to gear. Marika Hackman whips her crowd into a storm, while Deap Vally set the main stage ablaze, their set a roaring trip through the scuzzier back alleys of rock ’n’ roll. “This has been a dream of mine since I was 16,” IDLES protagonist Joe Talbot says of their mid-afternoon set, during which they they lambast The Sun, rile up a wall of death and generally act like exactly the kind of thing that Reading Festival needs. “We were supposed to headline, but they messed up the times,” jokes Rat Boy’s Jordan Cardy, before whacking out the guitar riff from ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. Bounding onto a stage filled with traffic cones, he’s brimming with confidence, and it’s not a stretch at all to imagine his band topping the bill here in a matter of years.
After The Big Moon take on the timely Bonnie Tyler classic ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ to a rapturous reception, Two Door Cinema Club unite the whole site with massive singalongs - and before Bastille stake their claim to 2018’s top spots with a slick main stage showing, it’s the big event. Then, taking to the stage fashionably late, QOTSA open - ridiculously - with ‘No One Knows’. No messing about. From there we get ‘Feel Good Hit Of The Summer’, ‘The Way You Used To Do’ and apocalyptic last album track ‘My God Is The Sun’, all delivered with thundering riffs and swaggering sass. Equally, Kasabian throw out ‘Eez-Eh’, ‘Underdog’ and ‘Shoot The Runner’ within the first 15 minutes. The headliners tear into an actually-quitebrilliant cover of Nirvana’s ‘All Apologies’ before ‘L.S.F.’ closes the main set with a lungbursting singalong. Charging into an encore that begins with ‘Comeback Kid’, the band then roll into the vicious, spiky ‘Vlad The Impaler’, helped out by old friend Noel Fielding, dressed as Vlad himself. Absurd, ridiculous, and more fun than any other set this weekend guaranteed, it could only be Kasabian.
aking to the stage at midday for their “not so secret secret set”, Wolf Alice are greeted like headliners. They open with ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ and ‘Bros’, but it’s when they unleash the gnarlier numbers that the crowd really go for it. ‘Yuk Foo’ is a screaming monster live and incites a circle pit from the word go, while ‘Fluffy’ and ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ still sound enormous. It’s in a final ‘Giant Peach’ that they really look like they could be taking the top spots soon though. As Ellie Rowsell stands on the lip of the stage, eyeballing the crowd, she’s completely in control of the whole tent. What a way to kick off a day. Buzzy labelmates Pale Waves then follow on the BBC Introducing stage, bringing with them buckets of confidence, before INHEAVEN incite circle pits throughout their set, the crowd’s appetite for their debut album visibly whet. Superfood continue their reinvention to a mass of jumping bodies, inheaven while fellow comeback kids Marmozets are on vicious form, playing to the loudest crowd in a tent yet. There’s another rapturous reception for hometown heroes Sundara Karma. Their tent isn’t just full, but full of real, proper, hardcore fans. When they bust out ‘Flame’, the entire crowd sings along
at deafening level. Decked out in a white suit and eyeliner, Oscar Pollock is a proper frontman. And as he leads his band through the last cheers, you sense he’s only going to be on bigger stages from here on in. Predictably, by the time Glass Animals begin, there are pineapples everywhere. And when ‘Pork Soda’ closes the set, it’s mayhem. Never mind those who’ve been crowdsurfing atop fruit-shaped lilos for the whole set, now we’ve got pineapple confetti, which blankets the crowd as the song reaches its climax.
appearance for ‘KMT’ certainly made sure the set will go down in Reading history. While Charli XCX commands an overflowing Dance Tent with pop hits on a conveyor belt, Liam Gallagher rallies together the main stage. Dishing out an early head rush of Oasis classics ‘Rock’n’Roll Star’ and ‘Morning Glory’ alongside recent hit ‘Wall Of Glass’, he might be beset by technical issues, but LG powers through. Luckily, he’s one of the few people in the world who are iconic enough to still be entertaining even when literally just standing still.
Headliner Eminem is on customarily opinionated form, declaring before ‘White America’ that he “doesn’t wanna get all political and shit, but that guy Donald Trump [he] can’t stand”. He saves the real big guns for an all-too-short medley, mixing fragments of ‘The Real Slim Shady’, ‘Without Me’ and ‘My Name Is’ into one super-charged five minute blitz. He only needed to turn up to have won. And if there’s something wilfully contrary about his refusal to fully indulge in his past glories then, well, what did you really expect?
or a Sunday afternoon set in wilting heat it’s an impressively dedicated throng in attendance for VANT on the main stage. Transitioning onto the biggest stage, they’ve made the step up with ease - Mattie even makes the sizeable crowd squat down and burst up before inciting a pit for ‘Do You Know Me?’.
It’s a comprehensive, career-spanning set with a trio of old classics (‘Hysteria’, ‘Plug In Baby’, ‘Stockholm Syndrome’) providing an early highlight. But even when Muse veer from the hits, it’s all just so big and loud and full-on, you can’t help but be entertained. When they return for the encore, it’s with a pal in tow in the form of AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson. Together, they roar through ‘Back In Black’ as Matt grins like a kid black honey on Christmas Day. It’s a sweet moment, and as they close with the ludicrous sprawl of ‘Knights Of Cydonia’ you sense Muse are still enjoying it as much as the crowds are. DIY
Sløtface are full of energy in the Lock Up tent, giving both fans and those sheltering from the sun an impressive preview of debut ‘Try Not To Freak Out’, while King Nun thrash through their future anthems in typically frenetic style next door on the Festival Republic stage.
The day’s talking point, though, belongs to Giggs. Or specifically, his BFF. “I go by the name of Drake,” says Drake, accurately. “But this isn’t about me, so make some noise for this legendary guy.” Yep, if Giggs’ high billing wasn’t already a victorious festival highlight from the South Londoner, then Drizzy’s vant 8 diymag.com
Before HAIM make up for lost time with an entertaining set, it’s down to Muse to close the festival. The Devon trio know exactly the boxes to tick to make people lose their shit and tonight they dish them up in spades.
UK TOUR NOVEMBER 2017
OUT Wed SOLD 08 Thu 09 OUT Sat SOLD 11
Bristol O2 Academy Manchester O2 Apollo Glasgow Barrowlands
Sun 12 Mon 13 Wed 15 Thu 16 OUT Fri SOLD 17 OUT Sat SOLD 18 Mon 20 Tue 21 Fri 24
Glasgow Barrowlands Newcastle O2 Academy Nottingham Rock City Birmingham O2 Academy Norwich UEA Leeds O2 Academy Brighton Dome Southampton O2 Guildhall London Alexandra Palace
EXTRA DATE ADDED
SEETICKETS.COM GOLDENVOICE.CO.UK AXS.COM wolfalice.co.uk ! $ t New Album ‘Visions Of A Life’ out 29 September A Goldenvoice and SJM presentation in association with Primary Talent International
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S P OT T E D
Believe it or not, pop and rock stars sometimes do normal things, too. They get lost, go food shopping, and catch buses – all sorts. This month, we clocked a fair few of them roaming around the capital... Three of the big Moon on the morning their debut album got Mercury nominated walking a dog in the park. Dec ‘n’ Dom in da 100 Club - aka Declan mckenna and dom from superfood - on a bro date watching baxter dury. Dan smith of bastille repeatedly mobbed by fans as he tried to watch Perfume genius at Pukkelpop festival.
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: mac de-bar-go First Executed By: Mac DeMarco
ostling elbow to elbow with a trillion sweaty punters for half an hour is a high price to pay when the end result is exchanging an average month’s rent for a watery vodka and Coke. With all of the useless gadgets available to consumers in 2017, you’d have thought humanity would have a solution for bar queues by now - special beverage butlers riding hovercrafts, perhaps, or drinkable holograms - but nay, the pain continues. Unless you’re Mac DeMarco. Night in, night out, our Mac takes to the crowds, soaring straight through the bar scrum like a clumsily driven catamaran heading straight for the 2-4-1 apple Sourz. Mac’s crowd surfing routine usually ends with a pleasingly executed arc back to the stage rather than a hefty round of tequila shots, sure, but we can all learn something from his flawless technique next time we’re gasping for an overpriced tinny, can’t we? Then again, we could just use the ‘Spoons app to order from the table...
WHAT A LEDGE
Lana Del Rey In a world where pop superstars’ social media accounts are manicured to within an inch of their lives, it’s refreshing when somebody breaks rank. Upon learning that her latest album ‘Lust For Life’ had leaked, Lana Del Rey took matters into her own hands. “U little fuckers” she cuttingly told one fan who tweeted about it, mustering Let’s not beat around the up all the shade of a thousand leafy trees bush: every month, at least one of our favourite pop stars in direct sunlight in the process. And while does something brilliant. So, most artists might wake up the next day to celebrate, we’ve decided to and regret an outburst (or get made to take dedicate a few column inches it down by their publicist, let’s be honest), Lana’s left hers well alone. May this serve to The Best Person In Music as a warning. Do not mess, u little fuckers. This Particular Month™.
It’s Chris Bear! From Grizzly Bear! With a koala bear! This is almost too much to, erm, bear. (@grizzlybear)
Oh for god’s sake, Drew! That’s a GRASS animal, not a Glass Animal. (@glassanimals)
Isaac from Slaves, here, looking like a cross between Sharon from EastEnders and blond Gerard Way. (@isaacslavesholman)
Become Fender’s Undiscovered Artist of the Year 2017
his autumn, Fender are holding a competition to try and find their Undiscovered Artist of the Year for 2017. They are looking for singersongwriters in the UK to compete for the chance to perform their material in front of a panel of judges and the public, and to be voted through to a livestreamed final. And the prize? You’ll be given the opportunity to play onstage at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, in the opening slot for Lucy Rose’s show on the 3rd November. To enter, all you need to do is to submit a performance of one of your own acoustic tracks. From there, eight successful entrants will be selected to compete in two semifinals in front of our panel – who will vote on a winner from each round. However, there is one more space in the final up for grabs, and it’s the voting public who will decide – out of the six remaining contestants – who takes that third spot. The final will be streamed on Facebook Live in October. Want to join Lucy Rose playing your own acoustic material, live in one of London’s most iconic venues? Get working on your entry!
The deadline for entrants is 24th September. Go to fender.com/undiscovered to submit it and be in with a chance of being crowned Fender Undiscovered Artist of the Year, 2017. Best of luck! 11
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WHAT ORLANDO DID NEXT
Maybe after this, Orlando can make an, ahem, sketch show. 12 diymag.com
From Maccabees frontman to illustrated Gritterman, we caught up with the singerslash-creative-polymath to learn all about his first postband venture… Words: Lisa Wright.
ead any piece of tear-sodden writing proselytising the brilliance of The Maccabees following their recent split and you’ll see the same point crop up time and time again. More than just a group with an undeniable set of tunes, the quintet had a rare and audible heart. And at the centre of it, penning lyrics on compassion and life’s small curios with this distinctive world view, was frontman Orlando Weeks. Now, with the confetti fully swept away following the band’s final shows, Orlando’s turned his hand to a largely different type of creative output – his first, fully illustrated book and accompanying album, ‘The Gritterman’. And though the medium may be different, the narrator of this charmingly low-key tale following a seasonal road gritter as he quietly goes about the business he loves for one final time, feels familiar to the one who once eulogised the wave machine in a South London leisure centre all those years ago. “I think the world sometimes feels like it needs to be big and fill the space, but you can tell grand stories in these very small vacuums,” he notes. “The small stuff can tell the big stories and I think they’re better at doing that in some ways.” The seeds of ‘The Gritterman’ were first sown back when Orlando was still in the throes of his former day job. Growing restless from all the “dead time” in windowless dressing rooms, he began writing stories down as a means of keeping his mind active. “It just helped me feel like I was doing something. I love making stuff, and if I’ve got to the end of the day and I haven’t really done any of that then I feel like I’ve wasted the day,” he explains. “I’ve got a little stockpile of stories now, and I don’t really mind if they never find the light of day, but they were a very nice way of passing time when you’d just be sitting in places where you can’t necessarily draw or play guitar or find somewhere to just be quiet.” In mid 2016, just ahead of the band’s split, Orlando moved to Berlin for a prolonged period and there he began to flesh out one of these stories into something bigger. Having tested the waters with previous project Young Colossus (an EP and accompanying illustrated story, drawn by friend Rob Hunter) and Sleepless George – a spoken word track released as part of the band’s ‘Toothpaste
Kisses EP’ back in 2007 - ‘The Gritterman’ quickly began to take shape as a fully-formed, multi-faceted idea, bringing together the singer’s love for drawing, songwriting and storytelling together into one cohesive whole. “I didn’t really know many people [in Berlin] so my routine was self-contained. I’d be drawing in the morning and then go for a walk or whatever, then play piano in the afternoon and write in the evening,” says Orlando. “I just knew I wanted to make something at my pace and the way I wanted to make it, and I loved spending time doing each of those things.” Narrated by comedian Paul Whitehouse and influenced in particular by the simple charm of Snowman creator Raymond Briggs, ‘The Gritterman’’s most appealing quality is its smallness. Boiled down to a headline, its story would probably state ‘Man Does His Job, Well And With Pride’ – hardly something likely to set the Twittersphere alight in 2017, but it’s this quiet dignity and lack of sensationalism that feels both comforting and refreshing. “You watch something like The Royle Family and the reason it’s brilliant and funny and heartbreaking is because there’s no grand [event]. It revels in its compactness,” agrees Orlando. “I like that normalness of it. It allowed for the music to do the other side of it; the more normal I kept him, the more I felt like the music could be that escapism.”
“You can tell grand stories in these very small vacuums.” The music, written on piano and featuring some of the most gut-wrenching moments the singer’s crafted to date, will of course be a welcome treat for those pining for the old days. Having bowed out in such a celebratory way, The Maccabees’ final, moving goodbye shows are clearly still an emotional memory for Orlando too (“I thought it was pretty beautiful,” he says softly. “It felt very rare and special; it was pretty extraordinary stuff.”) But, while Orlando’s not ruled out the possibility of finding a way to take ‘The Gritterman’ to the live stage, for now he’s content, writing and drawing and sitting at the piano, enjoying these “nice ways to pass the time” and coming out, as he always does, with something really quite special at the end of it all. ‘The Gritterman’ is available from 9th September via Particular Books. DIY
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B AOTF TTH EL E BAND
his month, as a tasty little treat before they start work on LP6, Mystery Jets will be heading to The Garage in London for the rather wonderfully named ‘Jetrospective’: five shows in five nights, playing their first five records in full for the first time ever.
Travelling from delightfully ragtag beginnings as Eel Pie Island-dwelling urchins on 2006 debut ‘Making Dens’, through sparkling breakthrough hit ‘Twenty One’ (2008), ‘80s-channelling ‘Serotonin’ (2010), ‘Radlands’’ sweeping Americanisms in 2012 and 2016’s expansive, epic ‘Curve of the Earth’, theirs is a career that’s spanned genres and geography and come out more exciting than ever. But, while it’s all very well and good celebrating each of their achievements equally, like a nice mum who can’t pick between her children, we all know that in this cutthroat world there has to be winners and losers. And so we ask, using the totally scientific and entirely objective tools of Top Trumps: Which Mystery Jets Album (so far) Is Objectively The Best Mystery Jets Album (so far)? Thank us later.
a decade ago, ‘Making Dens’ was the TOP TRUMP S FILE Released over a band seemingly conjured up from wonky, wonderful first glimpse of of acid and had a bit of a big loads took a lost time when Enid Blyton Make Loads Of Weird Bangers With one: Five Go To Eel Pie Island And e’ that soundtracked their ‘Zootim of chants Their Dad. From the group bounce of ‘You Can’t Fool Me earliest shows to the ramshackle pop the glorious soundtrack of still is Dens’ g Dennis’ and ‘Alas Agnes’, ‘Makin through to the mainstream. a bunch of misfits who somehow broke
SINGLES COMMERCIAL SUCCESS DADS IN THE BAND (FULL TIME) INDISPUTABLE BANGERS INDIE DISCO PROWESS MYSTERY LEVEL SCORE
5 5 1 5 7 9
TOP TRUMPS FILE Rising from the grub of the Thamesbeat scene a (see also: early Jamie T, Larrikin Love), the Jets returned in 2008 with will refined knack for radio-friendly earworms and a clutch of songs that one-two the still slay any dancefloor in their path to this day. Featuring punch of ‘Young Love’ (feat. Laura Marling) and the irrepressible ‘Two Doors Down’, it was the album that upped the ambition and proved that, under the eccentricities, Blaine, Will and co were songwriters of considerable clout.
SINGLES COMMERCIAL SUCCESS DADS IN THE BAND (FULL TIME) INDISPUTABLE BANGERS INDIE DISCO PROWESS MYSTERY LEVEL SCORE
3 8 0 7 8 7
TOP TRUMPS FILE By the advent of 2010’s ‘Serotonin’, Mystery Jets had jumped up playlists and festival bills alike, proving that they could do big, sing-a-long classics without losing any of their singular perspective. With their third, they retained this idea, added a solid dose of pastel suits and shoulder pads, and took it back to the ‘80s in a blaze of power synths and epic ballads. Opener ‘Alice Springs’ still encapsulates the beauty of the band best of all: soaring, pop hooks riddled with playful flamboyance and utterly heartfelt emotion all at the same time.
SINGLES COMMERCIAL SUCCESS DADS IN THE BAND (FULL TIME) INDISPUTABLE BANGERS INDIE DISCO PROWESS MYSTERY LEVEL SCORE
3 7 0 5 7 7
TOP TRUMPS FILE Heading to Texas to write and record ‘Serotonin’’s follow-up, it’s fair to say the dusty American heartland had just a little bit of an effect on the band. Returning with an LP that ditched sparkling synths in favour of dusky, porch-side tales and slide guitars, ‘Radlands’ was a curveball but a glorious one (and, integrally, one that showed the group were anything but stuck in a rut). There were still cathartic, heart-bursting epics to be found (‘Lost In Austin’, ‘Someone Purer’), but on ‘Radlands’ they were delivered in altogether different ways.
SINGLES COMMERCIAL SUCCESS DADS IN THE BAND (FULL TIME) INDISPUTABLE BANGERS INDIE DISCO PROWESS MYSTERY LEVEL BONUS UNDERRATED POINTS SCORE
2 6 0 5 5 7 5
DIY’S PICK OF
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.
October, nationwide Single-handedly bringing back the word ‘bint’ thanks to mega-bop ‘Diseasey’, the London trio are taking their minimal synth pop - and love of all things gory (check the vid for the same track) - on the road this autumn, hitting up Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Brighton and London’s Oslo.
Timber Timbre 16th & 17th October, London It’s a pair of nights in the capital for the Canadian psych fiends, as they bring April’s ‘Sincerely, Future Pollution’ to these shores, debuting at East London’s Oslo before heading West to play Bush Hall.
From late October, nationwide As well-known for his strong social activism as spitting rhyme, the rapper and poet heads across the UK shortly after celebrating a decade in the game, having released the self-explanatory compilation ’10 Years of Akala’ last year. More recently, he put out the ‘Visions’ EP, which accompanied a comic book of the same name, written entirely in verse.
CURVE OF THE EARTH
TOP TRUMPS FILE And so to 2016. Following the departure of original bassist Kai Fish and their longest break to date, Mystery Jets returned with new member Jack Flanagan in tow and a seemingly renewed sense of purpose. ‘Curve of the Earth’ showed a band still willing to experiment and stay on their toes, from the space rock anthemics of ‘Telomere’ to the prog harmonies of ‘Blood Red Balloon’. And with it, of the crowds came rushing back, giving the band a second career flush popularity and fans both old and new.
2 7 0 4 5 8
For more information and to buy tickets, head to livenation.co.uk or twitter.com/LNSource
TOP T RUMP !
So there you have it, ‘Twenty One’ is officially the best Mystery Jets album and if you don’t agree then you only have science to blame. Mystery Jets play The Garage in London from 25th to 30th September. 15
N eW S Just another bright and sunny day at Marmozets HQ.
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Marmozets?? Fresh from a comeback tour culminating at Reading & Leeds, and with brilliant new single ‘Play’ in their back pockets, Marmozets are back and more fiery than ever. Vocalist Becca Macintyre tells Will Richards just why the four-piece are so excited. Hi Becca! Marmozets are back! How exciting! It’s sick, we’re so excited to get out there again. We’ve just had our first few practices together, and it’s been incredible. It’s been a while, but it’s been worth that while to get fully prepared. Playing Reading & Leeds right at the start of the comeback as well, it’s like coming back to our roots - like returning to university or something. Tell us a bit about your comeback single, ‘Play’. Everything that it says to me to begin with - starting with “1, 2, 3, play” - it’s a comeback song. It was definitely the one that we wanted to release first just to show everyone where we’ve gone with the second album. It’s a weird and wonderful record. Each 16 diymag.com
song shouldn’t connect to each other when you listen to them separately, but it still works and it’s still awesome. And it’s good to be playing live again? So, so good, and so important. There’s something you can’t replicate about being face to face with a band and really learning about the songs, especially when they haven’t been released yet. It keeps everything fresh and exciting. People have to realise that we’re not exactly the same people that left for tour the first time around, but it’s still us, and we’ve all grown up and are so ready to do this again. It’s all of us together again, it’s Marmozets, it’s happening, and that’s all we could ask for.
How was the process of making the new album? I definitely had moments where I was at peace [with the album]. It was great to have that. You’re so determined that you’ll always get stressed out and annoyed at yourself a bit over the process, but you keep going, and end up doing something quite awesome, which you’ll never regret. We’re perfectionists, and I still listen back and want to tweak things, even though I absolutely love the record. Sometimes I get a bit told off about those things, but the excitement’s so high that I can’t help but constantly think about it. Marmozets’ new album is due for release later this year. DIY
This month, Jäger Curtain Call is back and it’s going to be very special. Continuing on with the concept of lending a hand to bands at an undeniably important point, DIY and Jägermeister have once again joined forces, but this time, it’s all happening a little further away from Curtain Road. Last month, the brilliant Fur headed into the studio to work on their new track ‘If You Know That I’m Lonely’, which you can hear over at diymag.com now. That’s not all: they’ve been invited to play live at Bestival, as part of the DIY Presents Curtain Call line-up in the Jägerhaus. They’re joining the likes of Muncie Girls, Free Money and Jäger Curtain Call alumni Kagoule and Bellevue Days, who’ll be performing on Friday 8th September. How cool is that?!
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BEFORE THE STORM
Daughter have penned the soundtrack for video game ‘Life Is Strange: Before The Storm’. We catch up with Elena Tonra and Igor Haefeli to talk diving into new worlds. Interview: Will Richards. So, how did you come to write the soundtrack? Elena: We were approached, and didn't really know anything about Life Is Strange, so we researched and were really intrigued and thought it looked really beautiful visually. The story and concept was really fascinating - to have a reality-based narrative where your actions affect the outcome in a very real way.
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.
Was it odd working with other people outside your comfort zone? Elena: It was! It was great because we were writing towards something else apart from ourselves for the first time. Igor: We came in with an open mind, and they were very trusting and really let us do our thing. They made sure we knew that Chloe [Life Is Strange's main character] was a loud character, so the tone needed to match that, and it meant it was some of the heaviest stuff we've written. Your music is so personal - was it natural to write from the perspective of a fictional character? Elena: When I was reading the script, it felt the same as when you relate to a character in a book you're reading - I really related to the slightly nostalgic quality to some of the things she feels and does. It seems more fictional because it's a video game, but for me you still find these characters relatable, and that connection is a really beautiful thing. ‘Music From Before The Storm’ is out now via 4AD. DIY
Peterborough Services, A1 "It's got everything. I particularly like it because I have this trick where I can get a kids' meal at the Mexican place. Obviously when you're in a band you go to service stations a lot, and it gets quite expensive. So I pretend that I've got a kid waiting in the car [Think they left that one out of the parenting handbook, Chloe! - Ed], and get a kids meal which is about £2.50, and you get a burrito, chips AND a drink. James [Taylor, vocals] has come up to me when I've been there before and I've just shouted "he's in the car!" (Chloe Little) "I just got given this death stare, and walked back like Homer Simpson when he disappears into the hedge." (James Taylor)
N eW S
Alice had always been a messy eater.
................................................ alice glass • Without Love ................................................ Until this point, in the three years since her split from Crystal Castles, Alice Glass had only released one song. Second single ‘Without Love’ is a surprisingly self-lacerating return from the former firebrand. “Am I worth it or am I worthless? / And will I ever figure it out?”,” she begins in the kind of breathy, ethereal style that’s unrecognisable from ‘Alice Practice’, way back when. Written alongside HEALTH’s Jupiter Keyes, it’s musically like Crystal Castles pushed through an introspective Evanescence filter (make of that what you will), but it’s clearly in the lyrics that Alice has poured her focus. Filled with images of suppression and discomfort, it wouldn’t take a psychologist to link the track’s morbid musings to the singer’s previous statements on the depressive, “deeply miserable” break up of her former band. And, as a document of a dark time, it succeeds. (Lisa Wright)
HAVE HEARD you
.......................................... • Marmozets • Play .......................................... Marmozets were already thumping hard on the doors to the upper echelons of British rock by the time they released 2014 debut ‘The Weird and Wonderful…’. But comeback number ‘Play’ doesn’t just see the Yorkshire brood continuing from there - they’re aiming for the stars. Or, to be less celestial, arenas. Bigger and more bombastic than before, but with the exact same menace and ferocity that earned them their stellar reputation, the UK rock mantle is Marmozets’ to take. (Emma Swann)
.......................................... .......................................... .......................................... • Weezer • • Julien Baker • • Dream Wife • Mexican Fender Appointments Fire .......................................... .......................................... .......................................... While ‘Appointments’ If the rest of Weezer’s eleventh Across their last two singles, doesn’t lighten the mood, studio effort sounds as Dream Wife have become it presents Julien Baker as a gloriously sunny as ‘Mexican a heavier, more dangerous more confident songwriter Fender’ there’s no wonder beast. ‘FUU’ was all Spice than the one found on her they’ve opted for the title Girls-references and cut-throat debut. She feels in complete ‘Pacific Daydream’. This is a demands, while ‘Somebody’ control. A crippling final story that - to this inhabitant took aim at slut-shaming line - “Maybe it’s all gonna of our rainy, miserable and rape culture. A staple of turn out all right / And I island, at least - could only their live sets, ‘Fire’ shows the know that it’s not / But exist on the West Coast. interplay between the trio. I have to believe that it ‘Mexican Fender’ distils the Rakel Mjöll dances around is” - serves as her mission golden state into a perfect Alice Go’s ever-intricate statement, and even if three-and-a-half minute guitar lines, and its chorus there’s only scraps of hope slice of giddy power-pop, explodes like a thud to the to be found in these places, sprinkling their trademark heart. ‘Fire’ goes even further there’s a brilliant catharsis “oohs” all over, and even has in proving that Dream Wife gained from laying out a smattering of wry lyrical are undoubtedly a special such pains. (Will Richards) self-awareness. (Emma Swann) band (Will Richards) 19
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DIY HALL FAME FRIENDLY FIRES - FRIENDLY FIRES of
Longing for a bright noisy metropolis far away from the dozy suburbia of St Albans, Friendly Fires’ debut album was a standout moment from a year filled with hedonistic indie dreamers. Words: El Hunt.
ast your minds back almost a decade, dear readers, to a far simpler time. Back then, most people’s idea of a musical catastrophe was Jack Peñate and Team Waterpolo clashing at Underage Festival, the plimsoll-prints of New Young Pony Club and Klaxons led the way. In 2008, Friendly Fires followed, putting a new spin on a well-trodden path. Ed MacFarlane and co singlehandedly liberated the cowboy from the shackles of Cheeseville. They also twisted together some incredibly sharp pop song-writing chops with the achingly cool pulse of German techno labels like Kompakt, and the sheened-up funk of New York’s trendier-than-thou DFA. And whatsmore, they did it all from the most unlikely of places. A commuter’s suburbia perched just outside London’s M25, St. Albans is hardly the first place you’d associate with the hedonistic pool parties and smoke-stained neon lights that tinge this golden debut; and that’s perhaps the point. Playing at being supermodels in an unnamed photobooth (presumably located in Hatfield Galleria) and promising to make it big before
fleeing to Paris, ‘Friendly Fires’ is filled with lofty dreams of escapism, mentally trading in calm cul-de-sacs for ‘Jump In The Pool’’s endless “inner city sky-rise”. When it’s landlocked back in Hertfordshire, though, this record is equally as obsessed with future pipedreams, breathlessly fleeing away from Friendly Fires’ biggest fear, monotony. “Let’s just hope we don’t get bored of each other,” Ed repeats over and over on ‘Bored of Each Other’, a minimal staccato-sharp groove giving way to agitated yowls of distorted guitar.
the Facts Release: 1st September, 2008 Stand-out tracks: ‘Skeleton Boy’, ‘Lovesick’, ‘Photobooth’... Oh just fucking all of them, to be honest. Tell Your Mates: The musical equivalent of a well-deserving limpet, ‘Friendly Fires’ stayed in the UK’s Top 100 for an entire year. Watch out, Adele!
Gradually clambering its way up to the upper echelons of the album charts over the course of a year, the band scooped a Mercury Prize nod for their debut, and over time, Ed became as famed for his on-stage booty-shaking as he was for carving out taut, percussive grooves. Markedly unpretentious, fantastically minded to the extreme, and nerdily obsessed with decoding the key to making people dance, this album stands out as one of 2008’s best. It’s fair to say that Friendly Fires never topped their very first steps in the years following, and yes, though they remain signed to XL even now, they’ve sort of disappeared. But then again, they gifted us this corker in the process. DIY
Safe to say, technology’s advanced a considerable amount since 2008.
N eW S e If you could contact
one person in a séance, who would you pick? I would probably have a chat with Jesus, just ask him how many loaves were there really? He was probably just a nice dude who was good to people, and he can explain that the story’s been massively taken out of proportion. Set the record straight.
Lu c K Y Di P
e Have you ever written
a fan letter to anyone? Ooh, I don’t know. I was probably more likely to write to CBBC asking for a Blue Peter badge. Actually, I think I wrote to Dave Grohl; when I was starting out I was really naïve and thought if you wrote to people and asked them for a gig, they might give you it. That never happened. But fortunately we’re playing with the Foo Fighters soon so I can ask him why he didn’t respond. Just give him loads of shit for it, make him feel really bad.
e If you had 15 minutes left to live, what would you do? I’d make out with my girlfriend for ten minutes and then release about 1,000 demos that I have on my computer. Just put
Ever wondered what your favourite band’s preferred brand of toothpaste is? Or their favourite time of day to take a walk? With Lucky Dip, we’re here to provide you with the answers to the silliest questions you’d never dare to ask. This month, we challenge
KIERAN SHUDALL, CIRCA WAVES them online so that the world could enjoy my music forever. In reality I’d probably go and nick a car and ride it around somewhere but let’s go with the romantic version; that’s nicer I reckon.
been worse. But the lads in the band now sometimes call me Beeron once I hit too many pints and get this glazed look. Now and again Beeron comes out, but I try not to let him out too much.
e What’s the best
Did you ever have any nicknames at school? I was called Shuddy at school, which could have
sandwich filling? I’m just a big bacon sandwich fan. I know it’s not good
for the world and I should probably be a vegetarian by now, and that everyone feels really terrible about eating pork now because of Okja. But I can’t help but love bacon sandwiches. I’m a simple person with simple needs.
e Do you have any
recurring dreams? I keep on imagining that we’re headlining the biggest festival in the world and I go to sing and nothing comes out. I’ve had that at least three or four times. I don’t know if it means we’re definitely gonna headline festivals or if it just means I’m going to lose my voice and it’ll be terrible, but I keep having it and waking up in a cold sweat.
e What’s your weirdest
habit? If I don’t expel enough energy in the day then I dance for short periods of time throughout the night. If I’ve been in the house all day, I have to release it through the medium of dance. It’s like the move Carlton does in the Fresh Prince. It’s because I’m used to playing gigs every night, so my body is expecting some sort of rapid fire movement.
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N eW S
FESTIVALS S e p t e m b e r , n e v e r w a s a c l o u d y d ay … s o m e o n e ’ s n o t b e e n t o n o r t h e r n E u r o p e .
REEPERBAHN FESTIVAL 20th - 23rd September
nce again, new, newish and some slightly more established than that - arena-smashing titans Biffy Clyro made a surprise appearance at last year’s event, for example - acts head to the Germany city of Hamburg for a week-long celebration. The event takes over the city’s famed Reeperbahn area, venues and bars often more used to being filled with British stag parties playing host to live sets.
Tons of DIY faves are heading over, too. INHEAVEN, Marika Hackman, Sløtface, Pixx, LIFE, Milk Teeth, Matt Maltese, Nadine Shah, Dream Wife, Childhood, and Everything Everything are all among those making appearances, as well as perennial party-starters Black Honey.
Once again, some of the Netherlands’ finest acts will be Hamburg-bound for an evening of performances as part of the Dutch Impact Party. Taking place at the infamous Molotow on Thursday 21st September, this year’s edition will play host to the likes of The Cool Quest, Loren Nine, Naaz, Navarone, My Baby, Iguana Death Cult and Dakota... “We are very excited!” Dakota told us, ahead of the their set. “We’re still trying to decide on the last few songs we’re going to play as we just wrote a couple of new songs. We’d love to include them in our setlist so we can present them at Reeperbahn.” 24
Don’t expect Izzy B. Phillips to sprechen much Deutsch, as Black Honey look ahead to their German debut. Hello, Black Honey. What have you been up to? Hey, we have been in Italy playing festivals and tomorrow we leave for Switzerland to play Open Air Gampel. Between all the festivals we have been putting all my song ideas together. Have you played in Hamburg before? No this will be our first ever gig in Germany let alone the iconic Hamburg. I hope I feel like Pete Best. There’s at least one 99 cent bar in the city. On going, would you head straight for the shots, or try and pace yourself? I’m a lightweight so usually I’d stick to pacing it. That said if it’s 99 cents then surely we can enjoy the luxury of both? Let’s wait and see. How is your German? Shocking. I can barely speak my own language, though my ex-boyfriend was German and dedicated the most part of our relationship failing to teach me the pronunciations of the Berlin tube stops. In ‘All My Pride’ I talk about Potsdamer Platz. Reeperbahn is, obviously, a place to catch great new bands - who are you looking forward to trying to see? Dream Wife, HMLTD, INHEAVEN, Marika Hackman, Songhoy Blues, and The Amazons. At this year’s Reeperbahn, there’ll be a massive eighteen bands from ETEP – that’s the European Talent Exchange Programme – appearing across the line-up. They include the brilliant Matt Maltese, Sløtface, Francobollo and Skott, along with the likes of Cocaine Piss, Let’s Eat Grandma and The Amazons. For more information on ETEP, head to etep.nl.
THU.28.SEP.17 FRI.29.SEP.17 SAT.30.SEP.17
TUE.07.NOV.17 MON.20.NOV.17 THU.28.SEP.17
THU.09.NOV.17 WED.13.DEC.17 MON.09.OCT.17
FLUFFER PIT PARTIES
We’ve teamed up with the (literal) party-starters to host some of your faves ‘in the round’.
+ Baby In Vain + Yassassin Epic Dalston, London. Photo: Emma Swann.
n oversized chandelier hangs just to the side of a stage that looks more like a boxing ring. Tonight, the ‘secret’ venue of Epic in Dalston hosts the second Fluffer Pit Party of 2017, and a trio of heavy, badass new guitar bands. Yassassin start things off with a youthful energy. Baby In Vain may be a more established prospect, but are no less exciting. Then, as soon as headliners Deap Vally bound their way onto the stage, their presence is at the fore. When Lindsey isn’t howling into the microphone, she’s working her way around each corner, or falling to her knees next to Julie’s drum kit. Playing on a 360o stage is a challenge for any band, but Deap Vally more than own it tonight, and the setting makes for a unique night. (Will Richards)
FLUFFER PIT PARTIES
+ PINS Hackney Showroom, London. Photo: Patrick Gunning.
his is so weird,” JAWS frontman Connor Schofield says as he looks around the Hackney Showroom, where he and his band are stood on a stage in the centre. Audience-goers flank the front, back, and sides of the floating stage. “I have no idea where to look. You’ve got the view of our drummer Ed’s back. Sorry. Usually he’s facing front, like us.” The 360-degree nature of tonight’s
Fluffer Pit Party causes one giant, massive, raucous mosh pit which the bands are smack-dab in the middle of. With an all-day lineup that included the likes of Hey Colossus, Spectres, Phobophobes and the ever-ace PINS and JAWS topping the lineup in a co-headline slot, these parties are never one to miss. Manchester’s PINS take to the stage first with their brand of sludgy, caustic punk. The five-piece are a blur on stage – each member looks fixatedly out at a different
direction, yet they flit across the stage constantly to share mics between verses. JAWS’ unique brand of diffused, indie lo-fi seems more amplified than ever tonight. The Birmingham band offer a selection of new and old favourites, creating an atmosphere that’s equal parts ambient and unruly. The band have hit their heights, translating their ambient noise-pop to an even better platform live. We can’t wait for more JAWS. (Cady Siregar)
TICKETS AVAILABLE AT MYTICKET.CO.UK 27
new music new bands
Hare Squead had been praying for the train to turn up for hours now. 28 diymag.com
SQUEAD It’s difficult to remember Irish hip hop a time with revolution. quite as much buzz Words: Dan around Irish hip hop than Jeakins. Photo: right now. Emma Swann. 2017 has already seen Rejjie Snow trade bars with Joey Bada$$ on ‘The Moon & You’, while last year, Limerick’s Rusangano Family took home the Choice Music Prize (Ireland’s equivalent to the Mercury).
It’s for this reason that the timing feels just right for Hare Squead - a trio from Dublin made up of rappers Tony Konstone and Lilo Blues alongside singer Jessy Rose. The band have a sound in the mould of classic groups like A Tribe Called Quest, coupled with pop and soul influences akin to early Kanye West. Their output so far ranges from club-ready dance bangers (‘If I Ask’) to triphop tales (‘Flowers’, ‘Herside Story’), and singer Jessy reveals this sense of variety stems from the group’s overlapping record collections. “We’re into everything from Odd Future to gospel, punk to trap”, he says thoughtfully. “I guess there are lots of different artists that brought us together. I really love Nirvana too – I’m
basically down for anything that has a powerful sense of emotion behind it.” The trio met at an early age and all grew up in and around Ireland’s capital – and the city of Dublin feels like an inescapable part of what makes Hare Squead such an exciting proposition. “I consider us as part of a scene over there”, Jessy remarks proudly. “I loved growing up in Dublin – I guess you could say I was immersed in all different kinds of music. My Dad would always play Congolese stuff around the house, and from school I learnt about traditional gospel music. Everything else kind of came from whatever was on TV, I suppose”. The trio struck up a friendship from an early age - “we all met when we were about sixteen, but Lilo and I kind of already knew of each other even before then. We both used to post videos of each other at a guitar, or on the piano – he would rap and I would sing. Eventually we ended up in the studio together”. Far from basking in their breakthrough success, Jessy insists the group remain driven to increase their ever-growing audience. “I want the music to get better, and achieve a bit of respect within the industry.” DIY
Phoebe Bridgers The best Phoebe since Buffay.
Not to knock reverb – it sounds lovely and all, and it’s a go-to in applying sheen to any recording – but it has a habit of getting in the way. Like someone blocking your view at a gig, it’s just there, and often doesn’t add much to a song. Fortunately, Phoebe Bridgers is aware of this. The Los Angeles musician bucks a trend of reverb-loving musicians by choosing clarity instead. You can hear every word of her pained, emotion-laced pop. It’s no wonder Conor Oberst’s a fan, recently inviting her on a tour round the States. Listen: Head over to the brilliantly named phoebefuckingbridgers.com, or wait for debut album ‘Stranger in the Alps’, out 22nd September. Similar to: Frightened Rabbit on a road trip.
Putting the gloom in dance. Step into a nightclub and you might find Low Island at the bar, nursing a strong drink and avoiding eye contact. The Oxford fourpiece place themselves in the centre of a dancefloor, only it’s one occupied by lonely night revellers rather than smooching one-nightstanders. Their neon-lit pop is a perfect kind of misery to get lost in. Listen: ‘That Kind of Love’ is streaming now. Similar to: Hot Chip, Friendly Fires
Bonkers bangers. Bonzai is already everywhere, you just might not realise it. For the past two years, she’s been fronting every Mura Masa show, also collaborating with the Guernsey producer on ‘What if I Go?’ and the addictive ‘Nuggets’. Now the Indiana-born, Dublin-raised South Londoner, real name Cassia O’Reilly, is going places on her own. Recent banger ‘I Feel Alright’ is a positivity-first anthem. Listen: Start with ‘Nuggets’, then get hooked on ‘I Feel Alright’. Similar to: Courtney Barnett on a Kill Bill-style vengeance mission.
Recommended Tired Lion Anything but sleepy.
Down under, everything’s on the up: Australia is producing great bands for fun. Joining the likes of Courtney Barnett, Middle Kids and Methyl Ethel is Tired Lion, a plugged-in four piece penning universal, riled rock. Schooled in Seattle grunge and post-Weezer angst, they’ve created the perfect cocktail of emotionally-charged noise. They’ve just played Reading & Leeds, and it definitely won’t be their last UK visit. Listen: Debut album ‘Dumb Days’ is out on 15th September. Similar to: Bully, Weezer
“If there was an action figure of me and I had the opportunity to change it and be a bit more interesting, that’s who Jerkcurb would be,” laughs Jacob Read, the 25-year-old, London-based musician and illustrator creating the multi-layered world behind the moniker. “Maybe add a sense of mystery, or just that I know what I’m doing...”
an interest in,” he explains. “Something like The Simpsons is observational, but because it’s a cartoon you can get away with things that you maybe couldn’t [in other mediums]. It takes certain elements and emotions from real life and gets to the core of them.”
their music. I’ve always felt a little bit shy about that and preferred to get into a character - but the core of those songs definitely come from real emotions,” he says. “I’m always, always nervous before playing a Jerkcurb show. It’s much easier to be aggressive than it is to bear your soul.”
In the likes of recent singles ‘Night On Earth’ Elsewhere, Jacob’s got an and ‘Little Boring outlet for his aggressive Thing’ - combined with side too in the form their accompanying, of Horsey – the “silly, nocturnal imagery funny” (and also stupidly If he’s been winging it so far, then Jacob’s Jacob largely tackles good) band he also plays doing an impressive job of projecting the biggest emotion of in alongside three of his -JACOB READ a far more assured front. More than them all – love. They’re old school pals. But for just another South London bedroom swooning tales with just that now, he’s busy readying the musician, Jerkcurb (so called after an little eyebrow raise of sleaze, ones first Jerkcurb LP and expanding its old Post Office colleague thought that that tap into a “weird glamourisation of world out even further. “I’m definitely a was how he spelled his own name) is a America”, he says, rooting themselves perfectionist and I put a lot of pressure storyteller in the truest sense – spinning in underground lounge bars rather than on myself, but I hope this can be dark, romantic ballads that soundtrack anything so crass as broad daylight. something bigger,” he nods. “I’m always his own surreal visuals. “Illustrators and “Some people can really write about excited by it and I’m always thinking of comic books were the first thing I had themselves and put themselves into the next thing. It’s a juggling act.” DIY
“I’m always thinking of the next thing”
Meet Jacob Read: the
musician and illustrator behind the immersive universe of Jerkcurb. Words: Lisa Wright. Photo: Phil Smithies.
Suzi’s first single may be called ‘Teenage Witch’, but it’s not about the latter-day adventures of one iconic 90s TV star. Still, she gets enthused when talking about ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ (and her pet cat, Salem, because “he was so sassy”). “I wish they still showed it,” she laments. For her, being able to cast a spell is a sign of strength. “Women with magical powers are a great thing,” she says. “You can’t take that away from a woman. No matter what she’s doing with them, whether she’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch or Simon Hanselmann’s gravity bongsmoking witch, it’s still empowering!”
Suzie McDermott is a bold and brazen 19-year-old mixing real life with witchcraft. Words: Liam Konemann.
Suzi Wu “Ashes to ashes / Dust to dust / The guys are fuckboys / Girls are sluts.” That’s one heck of an opening statement. But Suzi Wu, aka 19-yearold Suzie McDermott, is quick to point out these first lines from debut track ‘Teenage Witch’ are “kind of a piss-take to be honest!”
“We use a lot of buzz-words to describe things these days and girls are expected to say a certain kind of thing,” she explains. Well, in just a handful of lines she’s defied convention in one brazenly frank swoop. Suzi is completely content with the fact that she’s “always been a brash person,” and she’s been channelling some of that energy into music from day one. After performing in choirs during her youth, Suzi went to sixth form for music tech but dropped out when demand wasn’t high enough. Still determined, she enrolled on to the Roundhouse’s
On Track scheme, eventually learning the basics of production. Suddenly, a new world of sound unravelled before her. “I went from making stuff on the guitar that sounded like a tenth of what it sounded like in my head to being able to create stuff with this massive range of instruments,” she explains.
care of me.” “Everyone has to come to that realisation at some point,” she says. But it’s a track with a dual meaning, and in the line “we can’t be perfect,” she attests to “the enormous amount of pressure we put on our children.” “I can see it break people and it’s totally unnecessary!”
It’s therefore no surprise Helping her peers navigate that debut EP ‘Teenage the stresses of teenage Witch’ is a spellbinding life and asserting that it’s “Women blend of snapping with magical alright not to always be beats, glassy melodies, is something she powers are a perfect poppy synths, lo-fi strives towards: “That’s great thing.” riffs and so much something I was trying - suzi wu more. It’s bold and to get across in all my vibrant, but the sounds songs; for teenagers who also come “from a place of feel alienated and feel they’re raw femininity.” Suzi performs putting on a mask to be happy, and produces as much as possible by that it’s okay to not be,” Suzi says, herself. “Half of the point of doing this is “there’s nothing shameful in that.” She for me to keep learning, and as a woman practices what she preaches too, not I think that’s very important,” she says. betraying who she really is and showing her true voice: “You’ve got to make sure While Suzi’s music is born from a fierce you don’t compromise that for anyone, sense of independence, her messages because that’s who you are, you can’t can also be self-empowering; with change that.” DIY ‘Taken Care Of,’ she stresses that “I take 33
MUST-SEE SHOWS this month
Like being the first to see the next big thing? Get ready to brag to your mates about watching this lot before they went big, sold out and spectacularly broke up.
Alaskalaska Bristol, Thekla (9th September) Profiled in last month’s Neu, ALASKALASKA are sharpwitted, odd-poppers to fall in love with. By the time this show happens, they’ll have spent a couple of weeks on the road with Canadians Alvvays, presumably picking up tons of new fans in the process. Their Thekla show is their last supporting Molly Rankin and co, with a show at London’s KOKO (8th September) also scheduled in.
Skott London, Pickle Factory (13th September) Speaking to Neu earlier this year, Skott had to go on the record and deny she’d grown up with a strange Scandinavian cult living in the woods. It’s not easy to see why people got so carried away. Her otherworldly pop mixes folklore with a modern sheen, so you’d be forgiven for thinking she was raised outside of traditional society. Catch her in familiar surroundings this month.
Anna of the North London, Omeara (26th September) After a couple of years making under-the-radar, understated pop, Anna of the North’s big moment is here. She landed a break appearing on Tyler, the Creator’s ‘Flower Boy’ album, and latest single ‘Honey’ has put the Norwegian newcomer firmly in the public eye. She plays a buzzy London headline show in September.
False Advertising Brighton, Green Door Store (29th September) Not long ago, False Advertising were one of the standout bands playing SXSW, their fizzing, frenzied punk having no bounds. They’re going on a big slog around the UK starting this month. If Brighton is a trek, they also play London, Norwich, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne and Basingstoke.
Touts Oxford, Cellar (2nd October) The latest in a line of loud, angry bands forming in the wake of anxious times, Northern Ireland trio TOUTS tour the UK for the first time this autumn. Imagine Slaves and IDLES sharing a sweaty venue, and you’ll be close to the full TOUTS experience. In other words, don’t miss it.
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:
All the buzziest new music happenings, in one place.
A NEW WAVE Manchester-based dark pop fiends Pale Waves are going places fast. This year, they’ve supported The 1975 in North America, toured the UK with Dirty Hit label buddies Superfood, and released one of the year’s best singles in ‘There’s a Honey’. Now they’re upping the ante with ‘Television Romance’, another dose of noir pop that’ll have you sobbing and beaming at the same time. Listen on diymag.com.
Tayla ‘Coming Back Around’ Don’t mess with this Birmingham newcomer’s deadly side. Her sass-filled track initially seems like squeaky-clean R&B, but it also packs a punch. Biig Piig ‘24K’ On the surface, Spain-born, Ireland-raised 19-year-old Biig Piig (aka Jess Smyth) doesn’t mince her words. On this track, she relates the comfort and intimacy of a love that threatens to grow stale. Impressive stuff. Yellow Days ‘Hurt in Love’ George van der Broek is either going to be unbelievably huge (we’re talking Sound Of, BRITwinning, festival-headlining levels) or he’ll delve even deeper into the warped psych soul he specialises in now.
DEAD GOOD Dead Pretties, the most shambolic of London’s many, many exciting new bands, are keeping it together. More than that, they’ve raised the bar with new single ‘Confidence’, a ragged but impressively sharp sign of intent. Frontman Jacob Slater, never short of something to say, describes the track as follows: “The public is being de-intellectualised by certain outlets of the western media,” he says [look mate, why don’t you say it to our face, OK? - Ed], “who choose the easy path of reporting on bum implants and racists when they know they have the power to shift the focus of the public eye.” Catch the trio live as they tour the UK in September and October - dates on diymag.com.
BIG SHARK IN A SMALL POND JAWS frontman Connor Schofield has shared his first solo track, under the unimaginative but proudly all-caps moniker CONNOR. ‘Sun Burns’ embraces his emo side, relating the tale of his band’s move from beloved hometown Birmingham to scruffy, smog-filled London in impressive candour. It’s great, and you can listen on diymag.com.
THEIR DEBUT MARKED THEM OUT AS BRITAIN’S
EXCITING NEW BAND IN YEARS. NOW
WOLF ALICE ARE BACK WITH ‘VISIONS OF A LIFE’ - NO LONGER THE NEW KIDS AND READY TO
CHALLENGE FOR THE ULTIMATE CROWN. WORDS: LISA WRIGHT. PHOTOS: PHIL SMITHIES.
hen Wolf Alice wrapped up their final show in support of debut ‘My Love Is Cool’ on 1st October last year, it was an end, but also a beginning. Having toured incessantly for the previous three years - growing from nervous shoe-gazers, stumbling over their instruments in pub back rooms to defiant, joyful superstars in waiting, selling 10,000 tickets in their hometown on their last tour they closed their first chapter with their first ever festival headline slot at Margate weekender By The Sea - less a misty-eyed, celebratory pat on the back, and more a hungry career milestone, already snapping at the heels of a stupidly exciting future. “It’s promising isn’t it?” grins bassist Theo Ellis. “It wasn’t like, oh that’s done now, that chapter’s over. It’s like when you’re gonna drop a sequel and you have a cliffhanger...” Of course, because this is Wolf Alice, they also turned it into a massive party, shipping a “coach load of reprobates” up from London for the ride. But as far as putting an end to Part One, the quartet already knew it wasn’t a full stop, more an ellipsis. “We were so aware of what was looming ahead of us that we didn’t have that much time to sit down and self congratulate,” shrugs guitarist Joff Oddie, as his bandmates nod in agreement. What’s looming ahead of them, of course, is a record and touring cycle that could legitimately turn the group into next level stars. Universally acknowledged as one of UK indie’s biggest breakthrough artists in years, this is the time when they shake off all the caveats and grow from ‘best new band’ to plain ol’ ‘best band’. Everything is in place for it to happen and, even sat around in the teensy courtyard of a dingy Soho boozer today, there’s a confidence to the group – completed by vocalist Ellie Rowsell and drummer Joel Amey – that suggests they know exactly what they need to do to get there. They’re ready to fully, completely go for it. “It’s unbelievably exciting,” enthuses Theo, musing on the months the band have planned out ahead of them. And it really is. Five years ago, when early track ‘Leaving You’ started pricking up ears back in 2012, Wolf Alice’s current position would have seemed inconceivable. Joel and Theo had only just picked up their instruments, the other two weren’t much better, and Ellie spent most of their early shows staring at the floor, looking like she needed a hug. But even then there was an indefinable magic that fizzled all around them, and gradually Wolf Alice began to catch up with their own potential and then rapidly, wonderfully surpass what anyone had even dared hope from the young Londoners.
“We were all quite tentative and obviously nervous around our own instruments,” Theo recalls of those early days. “I feel ten times more confident for all of us on stage together now. That’s where we really see the marked progression in all of us the most: maybe not as human beings, but on stage we’re a bit better than we were before...” He might be right about the stage thing, but he’s underselling their personal advances. Even just sat around checking their phones and eating porridge, the quartet cut a slightly different shape to the playful, lovable goons that coated themselves in glitter for DIY’s cover back in 2015. Joel might still saunter into our low-lit photo set up declaring that he’s “ready to shoot this porno”, but there’s a quiet assuredness in the air now that’s newer. It’s the kind of confidence that comes from being thrown in at the deep end of life’s experiences and learning to take it all in your stride. Over the past two years, the quartet have earned themselves a Number Two record, Mercury, GRAMMY and BRIT Award nominations and a slot on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage among other notable achievements. Although, as Ellie attests, their night at the GRAMMYs felt “like we’d been plonked in this situation, like a fish out of water”, in general the band seem to have adapted to their newfound lifestyle with surprising ease. “I remember when we went to the NME Awards for the first time four years ago and we were just like ‘MWAHAHAHA’,” cackles Ellie, eyes bulging like the child from the Exorcist let loose in the devil’s playground. “Now it’s [more normal]. And those things are never what I dreamed of; even playing at something like Margate was far more important.” Labelled as The Future of Everything by essentially everyone with ears and access to the internet, the pressure could have been enough to suffocate lesser mortals. Not so Wolf Alice. “I think it’s nice!” proclaims an understated Ellie, in relation to her purported status as the next rock’n’roll messiah. “It makes you wanna work harder ‘cos you’re like, ‘well, if I’m the future of rock music then I’d better get cracking’.” Luckily for them, however, Wolf Alice barely needed to get cracking at all as it turned out they were already sitting on a goldmine.
ritten largely throughout the many tours in support of ‘My Love Is Cool’, ‘Visions Of A Life’ is the polar opposite of a difficult second album. Completely swerving the mythologised horror stories of
“IF I’M THE FUTURE OF ROCK MUSIC
I’D BETTER GET CRACKING.” - ELLIE ROWSELL
hours sat agonising over blank sheets of paper and whole sessions ditched because they just didn’t work, Wolf Alice’s second emerged almost without them even trying. “We didn’t have that huge pressure that everyone talks about, because we didn’t sit down and [try and write an album]. We already had these ideas and they were very natural and real because they were bits taken from our last two years,” remembers Ellie. “I think luckily – touch... whatever this is,” starts Theo, reaching across to tap a bit of old bench for luck, “the album was already there.” The result is a record that acts as a collection of diary entries, full of raw, real feelings and bursting with ideas. Like a diary, ‘Visions Of A Life’ is supercharged with heightened emotions that tackle the Big Themes – love and life and that feeling of ‘how the hell did I get here?’ Plus, like a diary, it’s never, not once, anything less than edge of seat stuff - who would bother to write down the boring bits for posterity? “You don’t write so often [on tour], so when you do there’s an outpouring of emotion that you’ve stored up for quite a long time,” says Ellie. “I can look back and listen to ‘Sky Musings’ and think, ‘Oh dear, I wasn’t having a very nice time then’. I find reading back on my diary entries is actually quite helpful when I’m making decisions about my present life choices.” Finished Fortress
at London’s Studios and
then recorded in LA with producer Justin MeldalJohnsen (Paramore, M83), it’s a record that takes all the experimentation, curiosity and openness of their debut and pushes things even further. If ‘My Love Is Cool’ was a giddy headrush that encapsulated growing up in all its wideeyed contradictions, then ‘Visions Of A Life’ is the opinionated, forceful sound of settling into your own skin. Across its 12 tracks, it shouts louder and swoons harder, raging and questioning and celebrating and sneering, all with a passion that forces you to surrender yourself whole. Like their debut, it’s an album that refuses to be defined by any one idea: from the feral spit of lead single ‘Yuk Foo’ to the unfiltered tongue-tied romance of ‘Don’t Delete
THEIR LIFE 2010 SO FAR
Ellie and Joff form Wolf Alice as an acoustic two-piece.
You can’t tell, but Joff currently has 35 darts stuck into his lower torso.
early 2012 Joel joins the band.
feb 2013 late oct 2012 2012 The trio unveil their first track ‘Leaving You’.
Theo joins, completing the line up.
First single proper ‘Fluffy’ is released.
The Kisses’, ‘Sky Musings’, which Ellie describes as “basically a speech over music” to ‘Planet Hunter’’s questions on success and huge, cathartic climax, ‘Visions Of A Life’ is defiantly bold and brave in its choices throughout. “That’s the beauty of where things were left from the first album – stylistically, no one really knew what to expect,” says Theo. “We’re very lucky with that. When a band stylistically explores something else, a lot of people’s first thing is to be like ‘Why doesn’t it sound the same?’” “You look at the YouTube comments when a band puts in a synthesiser for the first time,” joins in Joel, “and some people are slagging them off, others are saying they’re growing as artists...” Ellie interjects: “‘I don’t like this song but I have high hopes for the rest of the album’ - that’s the worst one...”
Wolf Alice, though? Well, people have been used to this lot questioning the ‘indie rock band’ status quo from the start. And in their vocalist, they have a figurehead who’s gradually becoming iconic. If Wolf Alice as a band have grown exponentially from their tentative first steps, then Ellie Rowsell is almost unrecognisable. It’s not only in her ever-evolving stage persona - a shrieking, stage-diving evil twin to her shy former self - but in the sheer assuredness of ‘Visions Of A Life’. Pushing the levels of intimacy further than ever before, her lyrics are defiantly raw and uncensored, whether perfectly depicting the feeling of falling headfirst
The band put out debut EP ‘Blush’.
into love or twisting tales of self-lacerating confusion. “I think lots of people spend a lot of time thinking they’re the only person in the world that feels this one way, but if you’re really honest about your feelings, someone out there is gonna [find solace in that],” she theorises. It’s undoubtedly true, but also a statement that requires a fair amount of guts to put into action. Putting yourself truly out there for scrutiny is a brave move. “Sometimes I do still feel like the person that’s staring at the floor now, but with practise you learn how to put her away for a bit,” she continues. And with each new step, that person seems to be receding ever further back into the distance.
TEN TIMES MORE CONFIDENT “I FEEL
FOR ALL OF US ON STAGE TOGETHER NOW.” - THEO ELLIS
f Wolf Alice are making this whole process sound easy – ‘Visions Of A Life’ comes barely more than two years after their debut, a quick turnaround by anyone’s standards – then that’s because they’re quite audibly in their stride. Right now, it feels like Wolf Alice can’t really put a foot wrong and, crucially, they’re doing it without cowing to any prescribed, media-trained notions of what a second record or a mainstream band should be. They’ve worn their beliefs and their politics on their sleeves, performing at a recent Tories Out march and vocally lending their support to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party campaign (“People say ‘Oh you’re preaching to the choir’,” notes Ellie, “but we’ve seen
Wolf Alice are named the UK’s most blogged about artist for 2013.
june 2015 may 2014
The band sign to Dirty Hit and release the ‘Creature Songs’ EP.
Debut LP ‘My Love Is Cool’ is released.
Wolf Alice win Best Breakthrough Artist at the UK Festival Awards.
people that are like, ‘Love your music, hate your politics; we’re going to unfollow your page now’ so no, we’re not preaching to the choir and that’s why we do it.”) Last year, meanwhile, they set up Bands4Refugees, bringing together a huge group of musical peers to raise money for a cause dear to their hearts. Throughout it all they’ve kept their sense of humour and fun – head down to one of London’s toilet circuit venues on any given night of the week and you’ll regularly see one of the band propping up the bar, cheering on their pals. When ‘My Love Is Cool’ threatened to take the Number One spot, the stakes felt higher than just one band sticking it to the man. It was representative of a new guard taking on the old farts and major labels, and challenging the established equilibrium. If there’s a new generation of guitar bands dreaming big, then Wolf Alice are arguably the figureheads that have made it seem possible. Now, they’re on the cusp of something even bigger than just record sales and chart positions, of becoming a genuine generationdefining artist – a capital letter Important Band. And far from the fumbling days of yore, now they’re poised and ready for it. “We’ve had opportunities to do huge things in the past and play to huge crowds but we’ve turned them down,” Joel explains. “Choosing to do four nights at the [Kentish Town] Forum rather than playing one huge room because we
Wolf Alice get covered in glitter for our frankly iconic DIY cover.
felt more comfortable like that, but we’d love to do those [huge] festival slots now.” “Ally Pally is definitely the most intimidating thing we’ve ever said yes to,” adds Ellie, looking towards the band’s giant homecoming show later this year. “The Pyramid Stage slot was a huge deal but I felt so sure that we were ready and it was right, whereas it’s different when it’s your own show. Madness were on after us so everyone was definitely gonna have a good time, whereas there’s no-one on after us here.” “It’s gonna be great though. Buy tickets now!” chips in Theo. “And if it’s terrible, then buy tickets too because that would also be a show I’d want to watch,” she finishes. The chance of the show being anything less than celebratory is, you sense, slim to none. But even more than that, playing the 10,000-capacity hall doesn’t even seem like a stretch. In years to come, you sense that shows like this will be a fond milestone but nowhere near the pinnacle for Wolf Alice. With the dizziest heights theirs for the scaling, ‘Visions Of A Life’ should cement the next part of their journey along a path that’s shaping up to be more special than anyone could have guessed. Wolf Alice’s new album ‘Visions of a Life’ is out 29th September via Dirty Hit. DIY
oct 2015 ‘My Love Is Cool’ is nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.
Wolf Alice are nominated for a bloody GRAMMY (!) and win ‘Best New Band’ at the iTunes Awards.
The band are nominated for a BRIT Award.
The quartet are nominated for six NME Awards and win two Best Live Band and Best Track.
“WE DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO SIT DOWN AND SELF CONGRATULATE.” - JOFF ODDIE
They sell out four nights at London’s O2 Forum.
april 2016 ‘Bros’ gets nominated for an Ivor Novello.
oct 2016 june 2016
Wolf Alice play Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage.
The band headline their first festival at Margate’s By The Sea.
They’re back! ‘Visions Of A Life’ is announced, alongside lead single ‘Yuk Foo’ and news of a world tour inc London’s Alexandra Palace.
‘Visions Of A Life’ is released. World domination awaits.
e y ’v e
se l v
r et u r n
t uc k
ed w it
i n a r ut .
h a ren
r e i n t he
be l l i
es a n
rm t he i
o st e
gn c it i n
ny ia l i
Words: L isa Wr ight.
aris Badwan is talking about what makes his band tick. Discussing the motivation that drives The Horrors forward and what they were aiming for on forthcoming LP ‘V’, there’s a word that keeps cropping up: fun. In the space of five minutes, he says it six times. “We want to make records that are fun every time.” “We just want to do something that makes us feel excited and like we’re having fun.” “More than doing a reinvention each time, it’s more like [finding] what feels fun.” If it’s an unexpected conversational tick from a band who began their careers as death-obsessed goth antagonists before emerging as critically-lauded shoegazers, then it’s also symptomatic of where The Horrors’ heads are at right now. Five albums and a decade in, the London quintet knew that, in Faris’ own words, they “had to feel excited about it otherwise [they] probably wouldn’t have made another record.” “We knew it
had to be a record that reinvigorated us as a band,” he admits. So they set about switching up everything that felt safe or stagnant – new producer, new studio, new writing methods – and emerged with ‘V’: their most vibrant, varied and well, fun album since their howling debut. Sitting in a North London beer garden, a stone’s throw from the church where they recorded ‘V’ with producer Paul Epworth, Faris and guitarist Josh Hayward still cut a towering silhouette. Both are in the throes of extreme jetlag having returned from a whirlwind trip to Japan that morning, self-medicating on a constant stream of cigarettes and, in Josh’s case, a little hair of the dog. Faris has just, at 4pm, woken up – his first sleep following a solid 56-hour waking stint, wandering around Tokyo. He still, of course, is immaculately tailored; the only person who would think to accessorise with a pocket square under such conditions. Maybe it’s the delirium, but the notoriously provocative frontman is also on chipper and open form today too. “Apparently when I wake up, I’m in a very good mood,” he grins from behind a pair of sunglasses. “You’ve got about seven minutes before he turns...” jokes Josh. But, in all likelihood, The Horrors are probably just happy because right now things are slotting into place. And, for a long time before, they weren’t. Though 2014’s ‘Luminous’ was almost entirely well-received and earned them a Number Six chart placing (their second highest to date), the pair both agree that it marked a creative low point for the band. “It wasn’t so much the output, more the process and the ways of writing songs,” Faris explains. “We realised that all of our songs that we like the most have been quite spontaneous in the way that they were written. On the last one some of the instinctive things weren’t there.” “We were really going over things, trying to perfect every part. It really takes the joy out it,” adds Josh. “You start to become scared of your own mistakes.” Faris takes a drag of his cigarette. “I think we just forgot for a little bit what’s good about the band.” Both maintain that they don’t see their last LP as a misstep, but agree that ‘Luminous’ marked the end of a certain period for The Horrors. They never actively discussed the possibility of calling it a day, but Faris admits that “maybe people might have been feeling that way without talking about it.” “If we’d kept working with the
same methods, it would have felt like it wasn’t interesting anymore,” says Josh. “For some people, getting big is the interesting bit. But from the offset,” he laughs, “that’s quite clearly not been the case for us.” “Some bands want to get to that place where they’re like, ‘This is how we write songs and if we do this, we’ll get another song’,” theorises Faris. “It becomes quite formulaic, but for me that seems like the opposite of creativity. You have to have some sense of uncertainty or risk.” Having become stifled by the selfbuilt Dalston studio base where they produced both ‘Luminous’ and 2011’s ‘Skying’, and the entirely insular, selfreliant dynamic within it, they ditched both in favour of trying the total opposite. Ironically, the building that used to house their former studio is now an Escape Room game. “It probably felt a bit like that when we were there anyway, to be honest,” mutters Faris. Teaming up with Epworth - “a creative producer who’s almost like part of the band for the process” - gave The Horrors the kick to question their own norms. Instead of over-analysing, they were encouraged to revert back to a more instinctive, fast-paced way of working. Nothing was out of bounds and, quickly, the band started taking those risks again. “Paul reckons we’ve written about 70 tracks for this record, and that’s just come from him saying you can’t say no to anything, you just have to see it through,” enthuses Josh. “Normally you get to the point where you’re all second guessing each other all the time, and you won’t do something because you think that someone else might not like it, but he [doesn’t let you].” They even did the most un-Horrors thing of all, and got the ol’ campfire classic out. “I think the biggest thing is we tried writing with acoustic guitars, which seems stupid. But the classic method of writing on acoustic guitars and having a proper producer?” says Faris, with a wry laugh. “Yeah, it turns out that actually works...”
hankfully, ‘V’ is about as far away from an acoustic record as it’s possible to land. From the grinding, industrial throb of lead single ‘Machine’ to the joyous, expansive chorus of ‘Press Enter
To Exit’ or ‘Something To Remember Me By’’s propulsive, dance pulse, it’s a record that’s in turns heavier, poppier and weirder than any of their previous material to date. It’s audibly an album that treads new ground and, crucially, it’s one where the band themselves sound reinvigorated. “The main thing about this record is that it feels like a beginning,” Faris says. “Normally after finishing a record, i’m so creatively exhausted I can’t think of doing another one for a little while, but with this one I almost feel like we could go back in straight away.” Ten years in, it’s a strong position to be in. Having reinvented their own wheel on game-changing second LP ‘Primary
Colours’, The Horrors set their bar intimidatingly high early on. At times, it seems, it was difficult to rise to. “If you’ve really cracked something and done something really different, then there’s a massive pressure to repeat that and do something incredibly different again,” explains Josh. “And because that [concept] is something very unknown, it becomes very tricky.” But largely, the band have kept their heads down and steadfastly carried on forwards. Ignoring the standard procedure of anniversary tours and indulgent career-marking celebrations, The Horrors seem relentlessly committed to living in the now. “I never think about two years ahead or three weeks ahead or anything, I just have a chronic fear of boredom and that’s what I want to avoid,” shrugs Faris. “I feel like if I keep doing that when I’m doing stuff, then things will fall into place.” The Horrors could soon be allowing one concession to the past that people might not be expecting, however. Ten years after the release of ‘Strange House’, and seven since they
stopped performing its shrieking wares live, the dirtier throb of ‘V’ might finally be the album that welcomes those early tracks back into the fold. “Something like ‘Sheena is a Parasite’ – doing that live, we’d play it twice as fast, I’d be singing three times as fast, and it’s just a very different way of approaching a performance,” Faris explains. “But there’s a way to fit them into the set [on this record]. I love the idea of performing things like our first single, so yeah, for sure we will.” Nonchalantly rumbling that he “still likes provoking people” and that he doesn’t think they’ve changed very much as humans from those antagonistic early days (“I’d hate people to think we’re human,” laughs Josh), you sense that Faris could still spit out those early calling cards with as much deathly bile as he did back in 2007. Though their shows have always rung with a certain intensity, there’s a playfulness to them currently that feels like those old days. It’s all, of course, down to that elusive, endless quest for fun. “A lot of the bands [we started out alongside] really ended up figuring something out, doing the best version that they could of it and then calling it a day. Which is great if that’s your goal – they’ve done it, and that’s probably why they stopped,” suggests Josh. “But I’m glad it appeals to us to chase having fun,” Faris adds. “We’ll never be finished.” The Horrors’ new album ‘V’ is out 22nd September via Wolf Tone / Caroline International.DIY
“I j u
st h ave a
om onic d e fear of bor
at’s wh at I wan t
Emb r acing watery isol ation, and g et ting pecked by a few ducks in the proces s , Alv vays have s ucceeded in the tall tas k of equalling their gob s macking ly b rilliant debut album. The follow- up, ‘Antisocialites’, is j us t as fix ated with darknes s and lig ht alike . Words: El Hunt.
actually dreamt of Celtic music last night,” recounts Molly Rankin cheerfully, in the process of adjusting to the hubbub of New York from the confines of a very beige hotel room. “I was just walking on a bridge, listening to Celtic music,” she smiles, “approving of it.” The daughter of the late John Morris Rankin - who was part of family folk outfit The Rankin Family - it’s no surprise she’s a fan, really. “When I hear it, there’s just an instant feeling of home and comfort and nostalgia.” “That’s a pretty good dream!” bandmate Alec O’Hanley tells her. “Yeah,” Molly laughs. ‘Usually I have very grotesque, scary, murderous dreams. This was a nice one for me.” Incidentally, darkness and light often find themselves at loggerheads in the world of Alvvays. Contrasting sugary surfaces with impenetrable gloom has become the Canadians’ calling card, and their self-titled debut – released in 2014 - was full of such jarring collisions. “How do I grow old with you?” asked Molly on opener ‘Adult Diversion’, with its chipper pop melody and flippant witticisms belying dangerous levels of infatuation. “Even if you don’t notice as I pass by you on the pavement.” Water also seeps through Alvvays at every meandering turn too, manifesting as rain, fatal rip-tide, and a glossily inviting surface hiding endless threats beneath. “That may stem partly from our Smiths reverence,” comments Alec. “Morrissey was obviously the king of saying the most cutting thing in the most sweetly operatic context. Those songs are so sugary sometimes, and that’s the dagger of pop. It’s what has always fascinated us.” Though their second album, ‘Antisocialites’, certainly sees Alvvays beefing up the lo-fi sensibilities of their debut – with a cellist, and, erm, Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake on glockenspiel among their ranks for recording – it’s also a continuation of those very same ideas, with songs being cap-
tured to cassette when they’re - to paraphrase Alec - right in their infancy, still fresh and developing. “I feel like with our first record we must’ve done something mildly right...?” Molly wonders aloud, making something of an understatement in the process. “It seems like it resonated with some spectrum of humans, so why leave all that behind to try something completely new and shiny?” Growing up on various sleepy islands dotted around the frilly East coast of Canada (Molly’s from Cape Breton, while Alec and bassist Brian Murphy hail from the not-actually-that-close Prince Edward Island) is the main reason, the pair reckon, behind Alvvays’ ongoing obsession with the ol’ H2O. This time around it crops up in many forms; the jagged seashells in ‘Plimsoll Punks’, the washing waves of ‘In Undertow’, and even the collaged cover – nabbed from National Geographic – which originally depicted a group of islanders waiting for a fleet of dinghies. Though these days Alvvays are all based in Toronto, they find themselves pulled back towards the shore when it comes to their music. “It’s the imagery I conjure up when I’m thinking of narratives,” Molly reasons. “It seems to be a very beautiful setting for drama, on the shore, on a beach, looking off a cliff...” “I guess it’s the duality of beauty and danger at the same time,” Alec picks up. “That was the juxtaposition when we were growing up. We were beach bums. Molly would jump off the pier for swimming lessons, but we were always taught to fear the rip-tide and the undertow, and that sort of thing. When you’re a teenager, that’s where you go, to goof off with your
friends and sneak off late at night. It’s inherently very romantic. I guess you’re in London, huh?” he remarks. “So not many beaches. The churn of the Thames probably doesn’t accomplish the same thing.” [yeah alright, cheers Alec – Ed] “We grew up on outposts, and we’re inherently hermitic,” he continues. “In a way we did try to get back to that spot. We really tried to dive back into that world of insular beauty.” When it came to this particular quest, the band particularly focused on the ‘insular’ part, packing Molly off to Toronto Island with nothing but a wheelbarrow holding a few essentials; namely a tiny PA and her favourite keyboard. “If you knew the demographic over there, you’d know we fit right in,” Alec, who took charge of delivering groceries to the island each week, snorts. Other than receiving the odd shipment of food, Molly was left to her own devices, shaping the beginnings of ‘Antisocialites’ alone in an abandoned classroom (less creepy than it sounds, she insists), sleeping on the beach, and riding a bike around the island – where cars are banned - listening to the cream of Scot-pop: The Pastels, Motorcycle Boys, and Shop Assistants. “I hadn’t experienced being alone for quite some time because we were a travelling circus,” Molly laughs, “for a few years. I had forgotten that isolation is what inspires me and enables me to imagine. I was a little tense about the whole thing, and then by the second day I felt like I was in some utopian environment. It was like a little private concert for myself,” she observes, “very self indulgent, but um...” Alvvays have since tried to return to Molly’s new favourite retreat, but in typically unpredictable style, the
ever-present water put a soggy spanner in the works. After Canadian and American officials collectively botched an agreement about Lake Ontario’s maximum water capacity (whoops) the entire thing flooded and was ruined. “It was a shame going back, seeing that the beach where she got pecked by ducklings is no more,” Alec says morosely. Things then carried on full steam ahead in different hideaways - the band’s basement in Toronto, and various studios here and there - but true to ‘Antisocialites’’ title, the thinking behind Molly’s original escape remained, and still remains, key to this band, and this record. “We quickly realised you have to go away to come back,” Alec says. “A lot of our work is done in solitude. We’re big collaborators, obviously, but to get something out of it you can see, and to bear whatever’s inside of you, you have to be alone a little bit. The process can be a little bit… embarrassing.” They both laugh knowingly. “And,” Molly adds, swerving tact, “you still very much exist without sharing everything. There’s a fear of not existing if you don’t tell everyone what’s happening in your life at all times.” “It’s a rabid opening mouth,” Alec deadpans. Alvvays’ new album ‘Antisocialites’ is out now via Transgressive. DIY
Alvvays’ adopted home city Toronto has a penchant for brewing talent. Besides this lot, the city also boasts Weaves, Dilly Dally, Metz... the list goes on. So come on, Alec and Molly, spill. What on earth is in the water there? Alec: The water treatment is quite robust in Toronto. We’re buddies with those folks. Brian [Murphy, Alvvays’ bassist] and I practiced with Weaves one time. They were trying to add a guitar player. Molly: Weren’t you in the band for a few hours? Alec: We were! For like, three hours, or something. And I didn’t even know Brian was going. We just kind of showed up. They’re really sweet people. Molly: There is something in Toronto, I think. Because the rent is so high, I think people really work at making life as full as possible. I know so many people in bands working multiple jobs and they are really doing everything they can to make things happen. In Toronto you can’t afford to sit on your butt, you really have to hustle. Alec: It’s also probably pretty rich for us to be complaining about rent prices to a Londoner. [YEAH ALRIGHT CHEERS ALEC THANKS - Ed]
LAUNCHING 23rd SEPTEMBER!
Returning after three tumultuous years away, Superfood are back with new album ‘Bambino’, a vibrant, crate-digging delight. Getting there wasn’t easy, but hard times led the duo to create the year’s best comeback. Words: Will Richards. Photos: Phil Smithies.
very band starts from scratch when working on their debut record, but barely any have to do the same again on album two. When Superfood parted ways with their record label following the release of 2014’s ‘Don’t Say That’, the band’s world was thrown right open. Nailbiting meetings with lawyers and accountants followed, all punctuated with a ‘what the hell are we going to do?’ state of mind.
Sat upstairs at East London boozer The Old Blue Last, perched on one of the dusty tables that adorn the venue’s top-floor flat, it’s only five weeks until Dom Ganderton and Ryan Malcolm release their new album ‘Bambino’. The intervening years have made a lasting mark on the now-duo, but from listening to ‘Bambino’, you wouldn’t even notice a scratch. From the moment opener ‘Where’s The Bass Amp’ careers into life with a thudding bass drum, it’s clear we have a very different Superfood on our hands. Reflecting on what they now consider a rushed debut, and the subsequent fallout, it seems as if ‘Bambino’ was the album that Dom and Ryan were always meant to make. “Everything with the first album just kind of snowballed,” Dom says, “with money in our banks each month, and that being that and us being complacent as a result. Now, having nearly been kicked out of our flats, and surviving on nothing for over a year, it means so much more to have done this,” he continues, the pride in his voice unmistakable. “I think we needed that.” “When we first got signed and everything started to happen,” the vocalist continues, looking back with a decent slice of dissatisfaction, “we’d look at ourselves and ask each other if we were being pranked. We’d go into meetings and expect to come out and someone just start laughing at us and tell us the joke’s over. With this record - starting with nothing and putting so much of our hard work into it and doing everything ourselves it’s the most satisfying thing.” “You can hear the difference in attitudes as well,” Ryan adds, with every next word the duo say about the record making their belief and pride in ‘Bambino’ even stronger.
“It’s so easy to get signed as a band and think that’s you sorted. When we realised that’s not true, it completely changed how we now write songs. We sat down on our own to write this new album and thought ‘fuck, we’re chasing something now’.”
‘Bambino’ is a record peppered with samples that make it feel alive and buzzing, with the pair tapping into endless different worlds across its length. On first single ‘Double Dutch’, recordings burst through of an instructional video for the game of the same name - also known as jump rope - inspired by Dom and Ryan hearing some kids chanting outside the window of their flat. “We couldn’t get the mic out of the window quickly enough to record them, so ended up looking for the same sorts of sounds on the internet, and stumbled upon Double Dutch,” Dom chuckles, leaning his cigarette out of the window as if to demonstrate. “We wrote the song from there.” 18 months of slogging it out in their makeshift studio then followed, often not leaving until the sun was up and then returning mid-afternoon. The lack of an endgame that lay in front of Superfood means the level of depth on ‘Bambino’ is stunning, with samples nestled among layers of original music, making every next listen a journey, with a new gem buried even further in the mix. It also meant that it became increasingly difficult for the duo to know when the album was finished, tinkering away until it simply had to be handed over or never be finished.
“We sat down on our own to write this new album and thought ‘fuck, we’re chasing something now’.” Ryan Malcolm
Booked on two flights by their then-manager to LA to mix the album with a producer in the summer of 2016, the pair returned with ‘Bambino’ in their hands (even if they were still adding new layers of vocals in the Californian hotel room). “We stepped off the plane in LA at the end of this long, long 18-month slog, and it was sunny and idyllic and then we came home with our album!” Dom grins, the fact that the record even exists
still a source of giddiness for the pair. “It’s a fairytale ending, isn’t it?” Back in London, Superfood then had their music sent to label of the moment Dirty Hit. “It all turned around for us in about two weeks,” Dom remembers, talking through the initial conversations the band had with the label about releasing the already-finished ‘Bambino’. “It was like six degrees of separation, with someone we knew sending it onto someone else and so on, until it got to the label.” A meeting followed, the kind to induce wild smiles and high fives. “I was fucking buzzing,” he says, doing his best recreation of said wide smile. “I still am.” Heading out on the label’s inaugural tour alongside King Nun and Pale Waves, Ryan and Dom found themselves part of a new, close-knit community after so long crafting the album alone. “It’s easy for me to say now,” Dom concludes, “but I wouldn’t rather be with any other label.” From ‘Double Dutch’ to slow, anthemic follow-up single ‘I Can’t See’ and the propulsive, aptly titled third effort ‘Unstoppable’, ‘Bambino’ is a record of
many sides, and takes a little adjusting to for fans of ‘Don’t Say That’. “I don’t know what kind of music fans wouldn’t want their favourite bands to change though,” Ryan offers, musing on the adjustment process of returning as such a different band. “Flat earthers!” Dom deadpans in response. There was a great deal of doubt that Superfood would ever return following their label split and first album, let alone as such a revitalised, wonderfully different beast. “It’s comforting to know that there’s a way without a map,” they sing on the album’s closer ‘Clo Park’, and by scrapping the blueprint for album two, Superfood have created the year’s best comeback - a glorious and free record that sets them up for the most exciting of futures. Superfood’s new album ‘Bambino’ is out now via Dirty Hit. DIY
ROCK’N’TROLL We’re sure by now that you’re all aware that Dom and Ryan are a pair of jokers. They’re also pretty convincing trolls, they tell us… Ryan: I kept trying to tell people that I was abducted by aliens. I’d be at a house party and just say ‘look, I’ve met them, I’ve seen things, and I need to tell you...’. Dom: Oh and when we started the band, we’d tell everyone that we met that Ryan once downed a lava lamp for a dare. Just cracked it open and started chugging it back. Dom’s reached the final three to become the new member of Take That, and with that pose, we think he’s in with a shot.
DONâ€™T down 56 diymag.com
Words: Heather McDaid. Photos: Mike Massaro.
Death From Above are back with their new album and they’re pushing themselves further than ever before.
t’s a few weeks before Death From Above’s third album ‘Outrage! Is Now’ is announced, and the band’s Jesse F. Keeler feels odd. He and Sebastien Grainger have done the hard work - creating an album that they’re immensely proud of - but, speaking on the phone from across the Atlantic, they’re currently in a limbo where the world doesn’t yet know about it. The waiting has him on edge. “It’s awkward to not talk about it,” laughs Jesse. “It’s strange because we’ve put out one song [‘Freeze Me’] that’s part of a varied body of work and it’s difficult for me to think that there’s just three minutes of music representing everything we’ve spent a lot of time on.”
The record - which was announced just three weeks ahead of its release - came to life when they were still mixing 2014’s ‘The Physical World’, following their reformation a couple of years prior. “When you’re making a record, you end up learning a bunch of things,” he explains. “Then my brain starts scrambling, putting together those ideas and next thing you know you’re writing songs already.” They came quick and fast, so much so that the duo even considered producing and recording it themselves just to get them out of their system, a stripped-down punk record more akin to where they began. But things didn’t quite feel right – these songs were more evolved, and recording them in a previous style wasn’t fitting. This time around, it was about pushing themselves beyond their comfort zones – being creatively ambitious, but also to spare boredom. “It would probably be better for our careers if we weren’t afraid of repeating things that we’d done but for me I’m always trying to not do what I’ve already done. It’s more enjoyable. I don’t want to just keep rehashing the same ideas. There’s things on this record that I never would have done on anything previously. Initially, maybe sheepishly, I presented a lot of these demos to Seb wondering, ‘What’ll he think? What’s he going to like?’ “The stuff he gravitated towards was the most left field. It was exciting that the stuff furthest outside of my normal zone was what Seb was excited about.” Already excited by the new roads they were treading, they turned to producer Eric Valentine (Queens of the Stone Age), and there began their “fastest and smoothest” recording process. “That was partially because Eric is a genius. We enjoy getting a lot accomplished with very little talking. And i’m not saying that we’re averse to talking,” he laughs, “but there’s an unspoken language that has developed [between the band]. Eric meshed in with that right away. It was like he’d been in our band, always.” Has he ever felt the pressure to put himself fully into the music due to others’ 57
expectations? “This might sound dumb, but my music is my art and making music is what I do. This has been my job for half my life - I can’t believe it. When you’re broke and suddenly have a band that people like – it’s shocking. It’s probably because I’m getting older that I’m like ‘Wow, this is what I’ve done, this is my life’s work’. “In that sense, whatever I make is obviously a reflection of me but I don’t like the idea that my music always has to be personal. It doesn’t have to be about what I’m feeling, it could be something I’m thinking about, something I’ve imagined. It could be just a musical idea that I really like and wanted to see through.
While those songs would indeed be odd - though, few could be against more songs about dogs - real life did seep into some songs. “I wrote in the middle of nowhere,” he recalls. “I was looking at maps - most of the United Kingdom are places where human feet have stepped. Completely used. On my farm there’s this island out in the pond that no one’s ever been on. There’s no bridge, never been a tree cut down. When I wrote ‘Nomad’, it was -2° and kind of snowed in - it makes a lot of sense up here. That’s not something I would have made in the city. “With ‘Never Swim Alone’, my daughter was with me and I was keeping her occupied. She was three. I gave her a snare drum and said ‘you play this drum’, and then I recorded the demo. To this day, she’s like ‘dad can you put on the song that I played the drums on?’ She’s convinced it was her drumming on that recording.”
“You see sometimes people who listen to rap music or old school punk and they dress like they listen to those things? They’re getting something out of it that’s more than the music - finding a piece of identity because of what they’re listening As you may have noticed, Death to. It doesn’t always happen - I From Above have dropped don’t think there are people listhe ‘1979’. Jesse gives us the tening to classical music wearing lowdown... white wigs!
THE DEATH OF...
“I like the idea that Seb is free to sing about people that don’t exist and circumstances that are something he thought of and be creative with it rather than real life all the time. Otherwise we’re going to be singing about walking our dogs,” he laughs, “or ploughing fields at my farm and dealing with rodents. That would be strange.”
Jesse and Sebastien hadn’t quite got the hang of hide and seek.
“The name change is actually kind of humorous for us because for more than the last year and a half or so, we hadn’t been using the 1979 in show posters or anything. We did a tour with Eagles of Death Metal and we didn’t put the 1979 on it, no one seemed to notice, other tours without the 1979 on, no one said anything. We thought, alright, well maybe it’s not such a big deal. But obviously when we let the single out with no 1979 the reacting began. I don’t know if it says more about the success or failure of our tour posters or interest in the single.”
And now, the release of their new album is upon the duo. But, as with all DFA’s work, they’ll continue to grow as time goes on. “I was shocked when I listened to our older records how much songs have changed from improvising. I love how they evolve live. I love to get beyond the mastery of playing a song and move into how this song gets to stay alive. That’s something I didn’t appreciate years ago but now it’s one of the most fun things about going out onto the stage where I look down at the setlist and see what’s next I kind of think ‘Oh what can I do with this today?’ rather than thinking ‘Oh I hope I do the best possible approximation of that recording’. I’m thinking what little things can I do and add ideas that I put them in. I’ll never get tired of it.” Death From Above’s new album ‘Outrage! Is Now’ is out now via Last Gang. DIY
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Releasing a debut album that’s playful, gritty and sociallyconscious, Sløtface are one of Europe’s best new bands, and only heading upwards. We meet them in Oslo to talk all things ‘Try Not To Freak Out’. Words: Will Richards. Photos: Jonathan Vivaas Kise. 60 diymag.com
merging bleary-eyed out of their rehearsal space on the banks of Oslo’s Akerselva river, Sløtface look proud if exhausted. The fourpiece have just spent two solid days running through their upcoming debut album in full, over and over again. Tonight, they play the record in its entirety for the first time at nearby grimy basement venue Revolver, and, taking in some much-needed Vitamin D outside at a nearby bar, it’s making the whole thing seem real.
The album was recorded nearly a year ago, just around the corner at the city’s Amper Tone studio, and it’s been a bit of a struggle for the band to pick up where they left off with the record’s deeper cuts. Returning from a year of almost solid touring to songs they last played what feels like a lifetime ago, vocalist Haley Shea soon admits she’s more than a little worse for wear after trying to iron out the creases until midnight the evening before. “Now we’re getting closer to it, I forget all the time we’ve waited,” bassist Lasse Lokøy adds, before baseball cap-wearing guitarist Tor-Arne Vikingstad offers his own spin on the common saying: “Time flies when you’re not bored!” ‘Try Not To Freak Out’ follows nearly four years of EPs, singles and blistering live shows from the Bergen-based quartet, and is a brilliantly-crafted ten tracks of punk-pop. From drinking too much and shouting at DJs to play Beyoncé, to decidedly more sombre evenings spinning Ryan Adams’ ‘Heartbreaker’ over and over, the album savours every memory - every drop of youth that was poured into it - and its insatiable energy never runs dry. A mammoth UK tour and a trip to Australia face the band before the end of 2017, but they’re making time to celebrate the record’s mid-September release, already planning the party to end all parties. “It’s gonna be the Sløtface Gala!” Haley proudly exclaims, before rolling off plans to turn one of the band members’ apartments into a luxury venue with red carpets as far as the eye can see. “I’m gonna be there on arrival with the champagne,” Lasse chips in.
Jetting off the next day to a German festival before starting to prepare for their upcoming headline gigs, Sløtface are becoming almost surgically attached to the road, and it’s been a slow transition towards realising that the hobby these four friends began in their teens can now confidently be called a job. “It’s been a while now, where we’ve had to sacrifice other things for the band,” drummer Halvard Skeie Wiencke interjects, and despite the sense of reckless abandon that surrounds Sløtface a lot of the time, they’re a band with their heads firmly screwed on.
yes to as much as possible, but without working 24 hours a day, every day for the whole year, because a lot of musicians end up in that place.” It’s no secret that the band have been embraced by the UK, playing more gigs on these shores than in their homeland in 2017. Falling into a scene has been surprising but brilliant for the four-piece, even if they say their aim for 2018 is to add some memories of the UK that aren’t “Gatwick > van > club > Travelodge > van > Travelodge”.
“People say that your debut
‘make it or break it’ -
but I’m not worried.” Tor-Arne Vikingstad
“When we wrote the album, we went to the rehearsal space at 9, and left at 5, so had full days of writing, and just played shows at the weekend,” Lasse adds, noting that the need for routine and stability is something they’re coming to terms with. “We’re learning to be a little bit better about taking care of ourselves,” Haley begins, almost gesturing to the non-alcoholic ginger beer sat in front of her, ”and choosing what the important things are. I think that’s the toughest balance, when you’re still learning that what was your hobby is now your job, is thinking how can I say
Taken under the wing of some of their childhood heroes (supporting both Los Campesinos! and The Cribs in the last six months) and playing to packed rooms, it’s been somewhat of a dream come true for Sløtface, who grew up idolising UK indie exports. Tonight’s show at Revolver is set to be significantly less grand, though, if their previous memories of the venue are anything to go off. “The last time we played there, the ice machine on the floor above broke and the ceiling was leaking, so I was getting a steady stream of water onto my face and my drum kit,” Halvard remembers,
smirking. “I sweat quite a lot so I didn’t really need any more.” As the show draws nearer, and the band run through parts of new songs they’ve had to re-sculpt after a year of leaving them alone, talk turns back to the album. “Doing an album was something we always had to do, but it was never a priority when we started out,” Tor-Arne explains, and despite the frenetic punk songs at its core, nothing was rushed in the lead-up to ‘Try Not To Freak Out’. “Just releasing EPs and playing gigs worked for a long time, and people came to the shows and had a good time. It
wasn’t like we needed an album in order to do this, but it felt really natural to try and use all the experience of what we’ve learned and seen over these past four years and put it into a product that’s from one to ten, and travel with it.” “And when your songs are as short as ours, an EP might only be 12 minutes long, which isn’t a whole lot of someone’s attention,” Haley takes over. “That’s less than your walk to work or school, but if you have a full album, it’s more of a commitment to sit down and listen to it and try to get a wider window into what people’s brains look like.”
Sløtface’s reenactment of the iconic ‘Abbey Road’ artwork was not off to the best of starts.
“We were talking about this last week,” Haley begins. “The theme of the album is trying to keep your shit together even though you feel like you have no control. A lot of that is trying to put on a face for other people, or trying to appear like everything is fine, so in that sense, that juxtaposition of really boppy, happy melodies over the sarcastic and sometimes really negative and anxious lyrics works really well, because that’s what it feels like a lot of the time, when you’re dealing with something but don’t want everyone else to know about it and don’t want to be a burden.” Despite the album largely dealing in hiding emotions, Haley and her bandmates are remarkably open, both when talking about their album and chatting among themselves. ‘Try Not To Freak Out’ is an album of two sides, balancing vicious, angry retorts and playful recollections of messy nights out. “That’s just what it’s like to be a person,” Haley lays out. “Things go up and down; bad things happen and good things happen, and sometimes it’s not always easy to see the other side when you’re feeling a certain way.” At the midnight show at Revolver - a packed, sweaty forty-five minutes of which Tor-Arne, Haley and Lasse spend about half of it in the crowd itself - the diversity and moulding of states and styles across the record is abundantly clear. The set introduces the band’s debut in a small room of close friends in their home country, before they prepare to hit the road for the foreseeable future.
TEAMWORK IS DREAMWORK
Reaching democratic decisions is always a vital part of being in a band and writing an album, and, as Haley explains, Sløtface are getting good at compromise. “In the writing process, we all had bad days, where you think ‘oh OK, I’m not gonna test this person today because you’re obviously not in a position to handle it’. I also know which person to ask if I want one of my ideas to be accepted, or not to talk to this person about a part for a new song until they’ve eaten. It’s a complex process, but we know each other inside out, and how to get things done.”
Their debut has shown Sløtface to be a lot more versatile than many may have first thought. It still packs in scrappy, punky hooks by the bucketload ‘Pitted’ and ‘Backyard Adventures’ are unhinged, instantly appealing hits - but across its half an hour, ‘Try Not To Freak Out’ also shows the band to be vicious and anxious. ‘Nancy Drew’, an album highlight, profiles the feminist icon through Haley’s growled vocals, taking down any boys’ club in sight, while ‘Try’ bounces off the album’s title, putting on a brave face.
A chaotic ‘Backyard Adventures’ closes the set, Tor-Arne signals the sound engineer to play ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ blisteringly loud, and the band jump into the front rows to be greeted by their friends’ first impressions of their debut album. A night that points towards the future while also serving as a last moment of calm, there’s a hell of a lot ahead of Sløtface in the next year and beyond. Chomping at the bit and still learning every day, they’re going to give it all they’ve got. Sløtface’s debut album ‘Try Not To Freak Out’ is out 15th September via Propeller Recordings. dIY
Sløtface are one of the acts involved in the European Talent Exchange Programme. For more information on ETEP, and the artists and festivals involved, head to etep.nl.
THE KILLERS wonderful wonderful
somehow it’s still quintessentially the killers.
he Killers have never been a band short on ambition. Over the past decade and a half, they’ve managed to create more iconic indie anthems than you can shake a pint of snakebite at, all while constantly shifting and growing into the stadium-commanding outfit they are today. Looking back on the ‘00s eyeliner-clad new wavers in contrast to their current guise, it’d be easy to believe that the Las Vegas band could simply kick back, set the dial to
‘bombastic’ and throw out another record. Yet, with the long-awaited ‘Wonderful Wonderful’, it seems they’ve approached things a little differently. Despite the album’s decidedly Moulin Rouge-esque title (Spectacular, Spectacular, anyone?!), there’s no high-drama fictional concept at play. Instead, the album’s ten tracks are ambitious in another way. Granted, any album that boasts the insatiable, brilliant swagger of ‘The Man’ is going to make a mark, but this is not a record built upon one facet of the band’s musicality, and for that, it’s all the more interesting.
TRACKLISTING: Wonderful wonderful the man rut life to come run for cover tyson vs. douglas some kind of love out of my mind the calling have all the songs been writ ten?
While the title track and opener comes to life in a dawn of horns and brooding bass, all slinky and distant, ‘Life To Come’ packs a heavy U2-ish punch, which they somehow wear quite well. The intensely personal ‘Tyson Vs. Douglas’ – a track frontman Brandon Flowers has said is written for fallen heroes – channels the energy of ‘80s Springsteen, while ‘Run For Cover’ stands as a gorgeous technicolour highlight, melding together a bombastic chorus with hints of charged politicism and now-infamous catchphrases.
the rousing refrain of “don’t you give up on me” closes ‘Rut’ in a flurry of bittersweetness, while ‘Some Kind Of Love’ is a gentler moment nestled among ‘Wonderful Wonderful’s more heavy-hitters. What’s most remarkable, though, is how well these tracks sit together. An album without an obvious theme or concept it may be, but somehow, it’s still quintessentially The Killers. It may not be the all-out stadium epic we’ve come to expect from the band but it’s still wonderful (wonderful). (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ’The Man’ [duh - Ed], ‘Run For Cover’
There are, of course, the more introspective moments too;
A DARKER, BOLDER WOLF ALICE. eeeee
WOLF ALICE VISIONS OF A LIFE (Dirty Hit)
‘My Love Is Cool’ was the kind of era-defining collection that felt so perfect that it’d be near-impossible to follow. That didn’t make it easy for Wolf Alice, then, but ‘Yuk Foo’ - the spiky, lightning-fast first single from this follow-up - gave an early indication that the band were giving it a hell of a go. Taking aim at anything in its sight, it sees Ellie Rowsell at her most uncompromising yet, shouting down anyone and everyone in an intoxicating rage. Working with Beck and Paramore producer Justin MeldalJohnsen has had a significant influence on ‘Visions Of A Life’, and it’s most clear on the swaggering, funky ‘Beautifully Unconventional’. It’s a confident strut that also powers ‘Formidable Cool’, a powerhouse plonked in the middle of the record that sounds like the soundtrack to the creepiest Western ever made. As with much of ‘Visions Of A Life’, Ellie produces shiverinducing whispers that creep around stabs of guitar and Joel
“Four full Englishes and a side of toast please, guv.”
Amey’s ever-present thud from behind the drum kit. On ‘Sky Musings’, Ellie’s lyrics are at their most creepy and enticing. She races her way through a wonderfully-delivered verse, musing on the idea of her plane crashing, dark thoughts enveloping everything around her. She’s fast becoming a vocalist capable of creating the tensest of atmospheres. It’s the album’s closer and title track that really points the way forward, though; an eight-minute behemoth that’s the biggest the band have ever sounded. “My journey ends when my heart stops beating,” Ellie repeats at its finale, among towering riffs that sound like they could fell buildings, the end of an album that twists and turns through a world of anxiety and paranoia. This is a darker, bolder Wolf Alice. ‘Visions Of A Life’ is a gorgeously twisted beast that keeps Wolf Alice on the path to becoming Britain’s best band. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Beautifully Unconventional’, ‘Sky Musings’
Try Not To Freak Out (Propeller)
Sløtface are the kind of band who know each other’s drinks orders and condiment preferences by heart, with the strain of rabblementality musical chemistry that comes along once in a blue moon. It seeps out of every second of ‘Try Not To Freak Out’, too. They clearly take inspiration from some familiar places - notably ‘Riot!- era Paramore, Be Your Own Pet, and John Hughes’ ‘80s cult teen movies - but far more importantly, they push the boundaries at every turn. ‘Magazine’ is a parting of ways with unhealthy body image standards, while boredom, hedonism, carefree silliness, regret and apocalyptic angst all creep into view, running riot around the backyard. An absolute ripper of a first record, and clearly guinea-pigged to perfection after years of experience on the road, ‘Try Not To Freak Out’ is joyous, runaway youth committed to record. Handling pop punch with the same rightful care as punk rebellion, Sløtface aren’t indebted to any of their touchstones. Instead they’re mashing them to new, distinctive effect. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Pitted’, ‘Slumber’
DEATH FROM ABOVE Outrage Is Now! (Last Gang)
Given that it took ‘em a decade to follow up that cult debut of theirs, it feels as if it’s been mere minutes since Death From Above - with or without the 1979 - last put out a record. But where ‘The Physical World’ forced us to play musical join-the-dots, working out what might’ve been in the interim years, there are no such mental gymnastics needed here. The Toronto twosome have fully found their groove with ‘Outrage! Is Now’. Whether it’s channelling their dance-punk roots on ‘Freeze Me’, the pummelling insistence of ‘Moonlight’ or the straight-up stoner rock of ‘Caught Up’, melodic suits DFA (especially when it allows Sebastien Grainger to channel his inner crooner - Josh Homme watch out). There’s a strut to ‘Outrage! Is Now’ and it sounds oh so good. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Caught Up’, ‘Never Swim Alone’
“I’m sure I left that 1979 down here somewhere...”
eeee HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR omnion
(Mr. Intl / Skint / BMG)
Hercules & Love Affair’s fourth album might not provide the answers to the world’s ills, but it delves into them with honest readiness. The presence of The Horrors’ Faris Badwan does jar somewhat given the queer, politicised voices more readily associated with his work, but it’s balanced by the welcome contribution of Lebanese outfit Mashrou’ Leila. While ‘Omnion’ is unlikely to break the ground of earlier releases, it doesn’t need to – he’s carved out a unique space that he’s remained true to. In a landscape overloaded with accessible takes on house, Hercules & Love Affair are cemented as a muchneeded proponent of authenticity, and a vital queer voice. (Liam McNeilly) LISTEN: ‘Are You Still Certain?’
BENJAMIN CLEMENTINE I Tell A Fly
(Behind / Virgin EMI)
On his Mercury Prize-winning debut ‘At Least For Now’, Benjamin Clementine honed some of the influences he’d absorbed on his travels into a collection where references to famous speeches sat alongside more deeply personal tales. With ‘I Tell A Fly’, he similarly treads into his own nomadic past, but ties it into the stories of a variety of characters and scenarios thematically linked by migration, refugees and being a stranger. As his thematic horizons have broadened, so have his musical ambitions. Tenfold. This is a record unafraid to experiment and dip its toes into an almost unfathomable range of styles, sometimes in the space of a single song. When it all falls into place, it can be thrilling. Give a little time for the scattershot approach to sink in and moments of genius gradually reveal themselves. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘Quintessence’ 68 diymag.com
THE NATIONAL SLEEP WELL BEAST (4AD)
‘The System Only Sleeps In Total Darkness’ hinted at a move towards The National’s often fiery, guitar-driven live sound. But at large, ‘Sleep Well Beast’ is a quiet predator. On standout ‘Day I Die’, Matt Berninger ponders his status in his final hours, and a sense of uncertainty in adulthood is one that rules the record. “Let’s just get high enough to see our problems,” he mumbles at the track’s end, and finding realisation from getting fucked up is something that travels across. It’s a masterclass in portraying the glamour and banality of being ordinary, making mistakes and being swallowed by regret. As every National record tends to, the album slows to its finish, and by the time the closer and title track arrives, Matt’s singing in his lowest register ever. “I’ll still destroy you, someday / sleep well beast; you as well, beast” he finishes, and, inches from buckling under the pressure of the record and the growing troubles of adulthood that he depicts across its length, some fight is still found. It’s what makes The National so relatable, and, on ‘Sleep Well Beast’, still so very special. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Turtleneck’, ‘Day I Die’
eee FOO FIGHTERS
Concrete and Gold (Columbia)
Foo Fighters’ decision to work with Greg Kurstin - a producer better known for his pop work than twiddling knobs for yer da’s faves - is probably a direct reaction to 2014’s ‘Sonic Highways’. And, in a not entirely dissimilar way to pals Queens of the Stone Age having enlisted Mark Ronson for their latest, if nothing else it’s a curious experiment for a band often accused of settling into an all-too-familiar rhythm. When Foo Fighters really push it here - and they do push it - it’s, ahem, golden. ‘The Sky Is A Neighbourhood’ is both visceral and a total earworm, veering from bluesy stomp to total thrashout, while standout ‘La Dee Da’ throttles at 100mph in the most glorious way possible. The quietest moments shimmer too (‘Dirty Water’ could be ripped straight from ‘Abbey Road’) while the track which actually does feature a Beatle - the customary Taylor Hawkins-fronted number ‘Sunday Rain’ (Macca’s behind the kit) - is nothing short of charming. Foo Fighters’ ninth is, then, more interesting than one might’ve expected. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘La Dee Da’, ‘The Sky Is A Neighbourhood’
James Mur-feet, more like.
LCD SOUNDSYSTEM american dream (DFA / Columbia)
LCD Soundsystem’s 2016 return was nothing short of stellar. Crowned by the twin beasts of Coachella and Glastonbury festivals, it was, to employ one cliche, as if they’d never been away; the celluloid sadness of 2011’s ‘Shut Up And Play The Hits’ a distant memory as crowds joyfully celebrated, well, ‘the hits’ themselves once more. But, once seen, those heart-wrenching scenes of a dejected James Murphy, speechless and on the verge of tears, can’t be forgotten. And, at the halfway point of their comeback record, as the bleak 9-minute epic ‘How Do You Sleep?’ booms away, James’ vocal stretched to breaking point, it’s as though we’re right back there with him. The band may be best known for its dance-punk insta-classics, but ‘American Dream’ is, for the most part, dark as fuck. Opener ‘Oh Baby’ might have that unmistakeable synth sound, but James isn’t just Actual Singing but crooning as he repeatedly pleads the title’s refrain. ‘I Used To’ and ‘Change Your Mind’ are similarly despondent, the former brimming with anxiety as it builds, while the latter pairs its glum vocals with skittish guitar in a clever call-and-response. And yet, just as the record threatens to get Too Much, as ‘How Do You Sleep Tonight’ wrings out its last notes, the crowning glory that is ‘Tonite’ kicks in. A ‘Losing My Edge’ mk II of sorts - opining on current pop music trends, “what remains of the airwaves”, and internet culture in suitably knowingwink style - it’s most of what’s drawn the world to LCD Soundsystem in the first place at once. More ‘All My Friends’ and ‘Someone Great’ than ‘Drunk Girls’ or ‘North American Scum’, then. This wasn’t ever going to be a bad album, was it? (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Tonite’, ‘Emotional Haircut’
Growing up on various island outposts sprinkled around eastern Canada means that Alvvays are better versed than many on the finer workings of being alone. “There’s no turning back,” Molly Rankin insists before listing off a series of potential lone hobbies she could take up: “meditate, play solitaire, take up self-defence.” Alvvays mastered darkness on their self-titled debut, and likewise, on ‘Antisocialites’, deathly black humour hungrily circles sugary pop like a blood-sniffing shark. ‘In Undertow’ hazes in and out of focus, while the menacing riptide rages beneath. And all the while, porous, uncontainable water metaphors flow through the gaps; a product, perhaps of growing up on an island. Just as unique as that now-classic debut, Alvvays have inadvertently gotten their wish. They’ve wound up in a league of their own. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Hey’, ‘Dreams Tonite’
eee ROSTAM Half-Light
Nimble cascades of string and agile melodies colour every turn of ‘HalfLight,’ and it’s easy to mistake this for the blueprints for a Vampire Weekend album at times. That’s less a shortcoming, and more a sign of the influence Rostam had on his former band. Hearing his own isolated ideas reverberate is an intriguing prospect. As with Jamie xx and a variety of other band-membermeets-producer characters, Rostam is fast becoming a standalone figure, entrusted with the music of everyone from Charli XCX and Solange to Frank Ocean. Listening to ‘Half-Light’ - a subtle journey through a wide-reaching set of musical influences - it’s easy enough to see why everyone has him on speed-dial. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Bike Dream’ 69
C O M I N G
Rejoice! Funky, pop Beck is back, and he’s bringing a whole rainbow with him. Dancing shoes at the ready for 13th October.
‘Reveries from a beach at the end of the world’ is how the band describe the songs on their eleventh LP, released 27th October.
In Memory Of
The Glaswegians’ stop-start indie has caught the eye of many - including Rita Ora, natch - their debut full-length is one to get excited about. Released 20th October.
THE HORRORS V (Wolf Tone / Caroline)
When the industrial grind of ‘Machine’ announced The Horrors’ return, it was with obvious intent. Far removed from the shoegazey throb of ‘Luminous’, this was the London quintet returning more direct, punchy and immediate than they’ve been in years. ‘V’ follows this feeling of rejuvenation. Highlight ‘Press Enter To Exit’ is a baggy delight with a chorus that soars, ‘Weighed Down’ undulates along on big, spacious drumbeats and a slow, druggy delirium, while ‘Something To Remember Me By’ is a New Order-esque highlight that could end a night at the Haçienda. They’ve even got an acoustic guitar on ‘Gathering’ if you need further proof that the old rules no longer apply. Five albums in and The Horrors have found a new lease of life. This ‘V’ is for victorious. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Press Enter To Exit’, ‘Machine’
The Bronx, The Horrors, we see what you did there. So here are five other V’s.
Wavves (2015) “Packed with energy and chaos, rough-around-the-edges” - it was a full five stars for Nathan Williams and pals’ fifth. Maroon 5 (2014) It’s sold a lot of records. Like over a million copies in the USA lot of copies. It’s got ‘Sugar’ on it.
Van She (2008) Confusingly, this was the Australian electro-poppers’ debut album, and as they’ve only released one since, probably won’t reach five. Hollywood Undead (2017) This one isn’t released yet, which tbh gives the LA rap-rockers enough time to come up with something a tad more original. The Jonas Brothers (2013) A replacement for the fifth album that never came (though the split gave us ‘Levels’, so…), the bros’ second live LP instead highlighted the V in ‘live’. Meta.
Faris’ lightsabre tie was really something to behold.
V (Cooking Vinyl)
If ever there was a time for a new record from The Bronx, 2017 is surely it; just the sheer fury of their honest-to-god hardcore sound should be enough to provide catharsis to listeners caught up in the current maelstrom of global turbulence. ‘V’ is their fifth album and as it happens, it does see the group begin to look beyond the usual thematic palette of personal discontent and disapproval of those outside of the hardcore scene. An incendiary opening salvo sets the tone, with both ‘Night Drop at the Glue Factory’ and ‘Stranger Danger’ tapping into the breakneck punk spirit of Bronx records past. It’s when they begin to enter more melodic territory that everything sounds a little pedestrian; ‘Side Effects’ is plenty catchy but kills the album’s early momentum, whilst second single ‘Two Birds’ pairs some rudimentary riffery with a chorus that never quite takes off. It robs the album of a consistency to the sort of bite that the more pointed likes of ‘Sore Throat’ and ‘Broken Arrow’ provide. ‘V’ will go down a storm with committed Bronx fans, but is curiously subdued in places. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Night Drop At The Glue Factory’, ‘Stranger Danger’
Q&A After almost half a decade away, the world’s current political shitshow relit The Bronx’s creative furnace, the band tell Eugenie Johnson. It’s been nearly half a decade since you released ‘IV’. What was the catalyst for coming together to record ‘V’? To be perfectly honest, we were just ready to get back as The Bronx and kick some ass! We were ready to fucking go for it. There’s so much going on, it was a just a great time to write a record. What really emerges on ‘V’ is an anger towards the current chaotic political and social climate. Were these turbulent times always in your mind when writing the record? I feel like when people make art, each time you create something your surroundings really work their way into what comes out. The world right now, every single person either is or will be affected by decisions being made. It’s just a really volatile time. A soldier’s time is war time, and it’s the same with musicians. It’s time like these of complete insanity, these are the times when it’s almost like your duty to create something; to write music and make a statement. On ‘Cordless Kids’ you talk about wanting to create “something history will admire”. How do you think people will look back at ‘V’? I hope that people will be able to reflect on this album and look back on a great time in their life. The chances of that are extremely low, I’d say they’re probably 9%! Everyone’s just going through a gnarly time right now. As people look back, I hope that it matters!
PROTOMARTYR Relatives in Descent
As an act that always has an eye on an anecdote, Protomartyr have developed a skill of mining curious tales and historical, mythological precedents. Now, with ‘Relatives In Descent’, they’ve crafted a masterpiece that doesn’t just do justice to its lofty inspirations, it sits comfortably and deservedly alongside them. The searing wit, the wincing smirk firmly in place, ‘My Children’, burns with acerbic lines. Playing out across the backdrop of skittering guitars, foreboding percussion and humming bass, there isn’t a shade of black in the post-punk spectrum Protomartyr can’t execute with aplomb. Still though, they seem to find extra scale and louder roars within the palette. A dystopian, focused pessimism that sounds (unfortunately) exactly like the world outside. (Matthew Davies Lombardi) LISTEN: ‘Half Sister’
eee EMILY HAINES & THE SOFT SKELETON Choir of the Mind (Last Gang)
Where ‘Knives Don’t Have Your Back’ dealt predominantly with dealing with grief, using sparse piano melodies and subtle arrangements, its follow-up is a much fuller record. And while Emily Haines often presents a very insightful, poetic vision of the harder-edged nature of life, ‘Choir of the Mind’ could have done with a little bit of reining in. The likes of ‘Statuette’ are pretty, but seem to drag more over time. This occasional lack of restraint makes some of the blackened themes on show even more oddly oppressive, even if her melodies are often spacious and airy. When it gets its balance perfectly poised though, it’s an album that can be engaging and emotionally-charged. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘Fatal Gift’
Missed the boat on the best albums from the last couple of months? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Queens of the Stone Age Villains
In part thanks to super producer Mark Ronson, the Californian filthmongers’ seventh studio album is also their most danceable offering yet.
eeee Nadine Shah Holiday Destination
Casting her eye outwards for LP3, the Tyneside songwriter’s more strident than ever on this hugely political record.
Channelling everything that makes them such an irresistible live band onto tape, the Londoners’ debut is one to rage along with.
THUMPERS Whipped & Glazed (True Say)
With most songs on Thumpers’ debut ‘Galore’ clocking in at roughly the four-minute mark, it’s a bit of a shock that the average length track on followup ‘Whipped and Glazed’ comes in closer to nine. That’s not the only difference. Where ‘Galore’ came across as universally optimistic, floating on warm swells of upbeat instrumentation, ‘Whipped and Glazed’ feels somewhat torn. Where the likes of opener ‘World Removed’ fizz and pop with the same frothy warmth of its predecessor, ‘Life All In’ and ‘Bray’ throb with a quiet despondency. And though far from obliquely downtrodden it provides the album with a strange balance of optimism and pessimism. Such a dichotomy comes from the duo’s ability to selfreflect, their anxieties and their ability to find humour within them. (Dave Beech) LISTEN: ‘Shot Through’, ‘Boundary Loves’
Q&A Poking fun at their own self-criticism, and emerging with a heavier sound, Marcus Pepperell talks us through Thumpers’ second record. Interview: Rhys Buchanan. How did ‘Whipped & Glazed’ come together? We had quite grand ideas for it to come out quite quickly but it actually took a lot longer to come into fruition. Not to make it sound too much like therapy but there was an element of being very self-critical. We spent a while reflecting on how ‘Galore’ had been received. The turning point for the album was when we took all of the inward-looking inclinations we had after that record and basically blew them up into grotesque versions. That’s what ended up being the main driving theme for the new album. We were making fun of our own self-critical period. We wanted to make the most of our relationship and do what we do best really. That is playing guitar and drums and layering things. It’s a thrilling and better representation of the band. So maybe you’ll take people by surprise who are already familiar with Thumpers… Yeah hopefully. That’s part of what’s exciting for us definitely. It’s about balancing between wanting to make an impact on people who haven’t heard us yet and treating the people who have been really good to us as well. Also we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater with the last album because we’re very proud of that as well. It’s just when you want to take a step-on you have to kick-off as well. That’s what I feel most pride in, staying true to our original sound but also putting our feet more on the throttle of what we wanted to do.
Bambino (Dirty Hit)
If ‘Don’t Say That’ was Superfood’s potential-laden but slightly rushed debut à la Blur’s ‘Leisure’, then ‘Bambino’ is their game-changing ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’ – the superlative next step that no-one expected, and the sound of a band carving out their own niche to stupidly exciting effect. It’s a wildly eclectic listen that travels from giddily infectious, sample-led dancefloor bangers (‘Where’s The Bass Amp’), through sun-drenched good vibes (‘I Can’t See’, ‘Natural Supersoul’), swaggering wonky indie (‘Need A Little Spider’), hazy instrumentals (‘c is for colour’) and further. Yet there’s a unifying atmosphere throughout – a kind of balmy warmth to the production that allows the duo’s treasure trove of ideas to knit together in one harmonious package. In ‘Bambino’, Superfood have birthed something truly special. Thank god for second chances. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Where’s The Bass Amp’, ‘Natural Supersoul’ Think the parkour routine might need some work, guys.
eee CUT COPY
Haiku from Zero
Now four years since they released the lacklustre Summer of Love-themed ‘Free Your Mind’, Cut Copy seem rejuvenated. While the title ‘Haiku From Zero’ suggests similar hippie vibes, the album is the sound of a band who seem to have rekindled their shimmering charm. Gone is the flabby acid house and in come dubby rhythms and a band that seem leaner and ready to take on the world. They’ve never been a band big on substance and the similar motifs of ghosts, motorways and not giving up on love play throughout. Dan Whitford has said this album is “an existential distillation of Cut Copy” and that makes sense – they continually hit the sweet spot between the dance floor and sweaty indie venue. (Danny Wright) LISTEN: ‘Airborne’
PROPHETS OF RAGE Prophets of Rage (Hangman)
Prophets of Rage are a contradiction: brash and bold but vague and unspecific. By dealing largely in generalities, in one sense the supergroup have made a timeless record. But the lack of specifics to anchor it to what’s going on right now (Black Lives Matter? Standing Rock? Trump’s Muslim travel ban?) means it loses much of the impact it could’ve had and lines like ‘Gasoline that rag / Burn that goddamn flag!’ just feel a bit, well, impotent. Forget the fact that even at its best moments the album still kind of sounds like a RATM reunion minus Zack, the biggest issue with ‘Prophets Of Rage’ is that it’s not as radical as it thinks it is. After Tom Morello talked such a big game, it’s a pity they’ve undercut their own power by playing it safe and retreading old, familiar ground. (Shefali Srivastava) LISTEN: ‘Unfuck The World’
Q&A Sometimes a change of scene can help bolster creativity. In Anna of the North’s case, more drastic measures were required, and it was moving halfway across the world that finally did the trick, Anna Lotterud tells Joe Goggins.
ANNA OF THE NORTH Lovers (Different)
“Don’t want your body / Don’t like your face / She don’t give a damn about your future plans” sings Anna Lotterud on ‘Money’. It’s a resilient statement, the kind of which drew the Norwegian to Australia in the first place. The tale goes that Anna, at work, was approached by a customer who told her to explore the world. Jolted, she booked a flight to Australia, leaving behind the person with whom she thought she’d spend the rest of her life. The result of this move is a punchy album full of synth-pop tunes that drive the record forward right to the very last bar. (Ellen Peirson-Hagger) LISTEN: ‘Someone’
What made you move from your hometown of Oslo to Melbourne, where Anna of the North started out and took off? I had a pretty comfortable life in Norway - I had a job, I was done with my studies, but I always had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that maybe something was out of balance. I was working as a store manager, and this lady used to come into the store and tell me about how she’d travelled extensively, and that it was the making of her - she’d lived in France, married a Frenchman, that kind of thing. She really encouraged me to travel myself, and two months later, I was on my way to Australia. I went there because I wanted to challenge myself, and be far enough away from Oslo that I couldn’t just go back if I felt homesick. Did you ever foresee making music your career? Never. I always dreamed about being a musician as a kid singing in the shower, coming up with my own melodies, and writing lyrics as a way of expressing myself, in the same way that other people might keep a diary or take photographs. Being from Norway, you never really think it’s realistic to make it into your whole life. And how on earth did you end up working with Tyler, the Creator on ‘Scum Fuck Flower Boy’? It was really the simplest process ever. Taco from Odd Future messaged me on Twitter, and I met up with them when they played Øya in 2015. We stayed in touch, and Taco messaged me again to ask if I could help out with Tyler’s record. I think they really liked the vocals on ‘Sway’, and they saw some room for something similar on Tyler’s record.
eee NICK MULVEY Wake Up Now (Fiction)
Nick Mulvey is a poster-boy nice guy. ‘Wake Up Now’ wholeheartedly embodies this image, full to bursting with kind-hearted folk tunes. ‘Myela’ might come from a humble place, stringing together first-hand accounts of the journeys of refugees over an electronic-flavoured guitar track, but it quickly becomes trite, as his voice is too honeyed to listen with any genuine sincerity for the cause. He’d do better to stick to his signature rippling guitar on the quietly sensual ‘Lullaby’, or, best yet, the charming ‘Remembering’, which chugs along with a jolty percussive joy. (Ellen Peirson-Hagger) LISTEN: ‘Remembering’
Yet another solid audition for that spare spot in Take That (watch out Dom on pg.54!)
Opener ‘Beautiful Ones’ sets the tone for ‘Desire’; as Hurts do often on this record, they shoot for a soaring, Imagine Dragons-style chorus, but it falls flat, and it doesn’t help that Theo Hutchcraft’s asinine lyricism doesn’t leave them much to fall back on thematically. At their best, Hurts had a sense of menace and foreboding about them, but that’s gone entirely by the wayside. ‘Desire’’s best moments arrive when there’s a genuine attempt to create a bit of atmosphere - the cool strut of ‘Spotlights’ is a rare bright point. Everything else, though, has been done better elsewhere, and recently, too. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Spotlights’
eeee TURNOVER Good Nature
(Run For Cover)
That ‘Good Nature’ should initially come across as light and breezy, ephemeral almost, is something of a surprise given the record’s overarching ideas of learning and self-development, something which has always seemed to play an intrinsic part in Turnover’s make-up. Aesthetically, ‘Good Nature’ falls somewhere between ‘Magnolia’ and ‘Peripheral Vision’, an unashamedly pop sensibility combining with a more nuanced approach. Turnover aren’t a band content with settling. (Dave Beech) LISTEN: ‘Super Natural’
eee COLD SPECKS Fool’s Paradise
(Arts & Crafts)
‘Fool’s Paradise’ is both a lighter listen than its predecessor and one that focuses its storytelling on a more abstract concept, the album inspired in part by the story of Araweelo, a Somali queen and mythical figure. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a straightforward affair, though; Ladan Hussein is a coyer songwriter than that and, instead, the through line seems to be one of self-discovery, as well as an understanding of her roots. Ultimately, it feels as if she’s still waiting for her words and her sound to match up, but what we’ve got in the meantime is an intriguingly personal record. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Ancient Habits’
eeee THE WORLD IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE & I AM NOT AFRAID TO DIE Always Foreign (Epitaph)
Across their first two full-length albums TWIABP have become frontrunners in the new wave of emo in the US, teaming hugely emotive lyrics with swirling synths and growled vocals. On ‘Always Foreign’ they subtly expand their horizons, with early highlight ‘The Future’ one of their most immediate moments ever. It’s far from a reinvention, but ‘Always Foreign’ sees the band becoming increasingly comfortable, and this freedom has spawned a glorious, free collection. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘The Future’
ee ARCANE ROOTS
melancholia hymns (Easy Life)
The near four-year wait has obviously left Arcane Roots eager to clamber up festival stages; there’s no doubt they’re seeking great heights with ‘Melancholia Hymns’. Problem is, it lacks imagination. Opener ‘Before Me’ takes a long while to get underway, and the synths feel half-asleep from the get-go. Even the screamo part in ‘Matter’ is watered-down. You hear a lot about three-piece bands making a ‘mighty noise’ for their number but this release just comes off as buffed-up. (Rhys Buchanan) LISTEN: ‘Off The Floor’
ZOLA JESUS Okovi (Sacred Bones)
‘Okovi’ is not the kind of record you go into lightly. Existential and emotional to its core, it offers little respite, either lyrically or in its thick, punishing sonics: ‘Siphon’ describes the “cold dark nights inside your head” - written about a friend’s suicide attempt - to a throbbing beat. Heavy with feeling throughout, it’s often a tough listen. But for allowing herself to tackle life’s most difficult subjects, you’ve got to applaud her. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Witness’
Love What Survives (Warp)
‘Love What Survives’ plots Mount Kimbie on a whole new path - it’s a hazier, more organic sound, pinned by the influence of German experimental pioneers to a greater extent than that of UK dance. The driving, direct, Neu!-indebted rhythms propel the record forward to a destination that’s not initially clear, but forever fill you with optimism that it’ll be a worthwhile journey. The distinct voices of collaborators Archy Marshall, Mica Levi and James Blake are peppered throughout the record, the former two in particular providing standout moments. It’s more of a slow burner – not so instantly gratifying as previous works – but is their most affecting work to date by some stretch. (Liam McNeilly) LISTEN: ‘Marilyn’
eeee BRAND NEW
science fiction (Procrastinate! Music Traitors)
Eight years since ‘Daisy’, Brand New returned in the only way they know how: with basically no warning and a far-from-traditional rollout. After the dust settled on the excitement, we’re left with ‘Science Fiction’, the band’s most sprawling statement, and almost definitely their parting gift. “If it’s breaking your heart, if nothing is fun / Don’t lose hope, my son, this is the last one,” Jesse Lacey sings on ‘Waste’, and there’s an ever-present sense of finality across the whole album. ‘Science Fiction’ sees Brand New bowing out as knowingly miserable as ever, winking back at their past, and with some of the best songs of their career. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Can’t Get It Out’, ‘137’
eeee PHOEBE BRIDGERS
stranger in the Alps (Dead Oceans)
The key is in Phoebe Bridgers’ influences Joni Mitchell, Elliott Smith and Conor Oberst all hang heavy over ‘Stranger in the Alps’. Perhaps the most relevant point of comparison, though, is contemporary Julien Baker; Phoebe is similarly confessional and contemplative, but sees the value in more polished production. That’s not to say she throws the proverbial kitchen sink at the record, though; ‘Motion Sickness’ and ‘Chelsea’ are both nuanced and intelligent in their use of electric guitar, and when she experiments a little, it tends to come off. ‘Stranger in the Alps’ is as accomplished a solo debut as you’ll hear all year - a quietly devastating listen worthy of her obvious influences. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Scott Street’ 75
BACK TO THE
DRAWING BOARD with METZ
Three Futures (4AD)
Q1: Can you draw us a ‘Mess of Wires’?
The idea of seeing multiple possibilities is something of a metaphor for ‘Three Futures’. It retains some of the brooding examination of Torres’ previous work, but also ventures into previously little-trodden ground in sumptuous new ways. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘Three Futures’ Q2: You recorded in Chicago with all-round legend Steve Albini - what did the studio look like?
Q3: If ‘Strange Peace’ was a kind of magical creature, what would it look like?
Deerhoof are often at their best when they’re collaborating widely, and ‘Mountain Moves’ features a raft of guest turns. When they stray from it is when it falters - ‘Singalong Junk’ kills the pace at the album’s midpoint. As usual, there are probably a few too many ideas here and the band trip up on them occasionally - but if they didn’t, it wouldn’t be much of a Deerhoof record. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘I Will Spite Survive’
From its very first second, METZ’s third album catapults you into an abyss of bludgeoning riffs and rhythms. ‘Mess Of Wires’ is immediately intense, guitars like pneumatic drills tunnelling into drummer Hayden Menzies’ insistent pounding and Chris Slorach’s weighty bass. Just over three minutes of tightly wound forebodingness pass and then it all collapses into a tumbling, clattering end. It all sounds very METZ and, while the Toronto trio aren’t leaving the sounds of their past two albums behind, they are building on them. ‘Strange Peace’ is more - more intense, more melodic, more brutal, more confident. (Rhian Daly) LISTEN: ‘Mr Plague’, ‘Caterpillar’
eeee LA WITCH
Q4: What’s at the bottom of the ‘Drained Lake’
L.A. Witch (Suicide Squeeze)
Q5: What’s your favourite thing in the world?
Recalling a period in the earliest months of the decade when cult label Captured Tracks was king and every band (see: Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls et al) seemed indebted to Phil Spector and garage rock in tandem, L.A. Witch aren’t re-writing the rule book but they’re rehashing it pretty damn well. On their self-titled debut, the trio prowl their way through the likes of ‘Kill My Baby Tonight’ and ‘Untitled’, steeping them in fuzzy jangles and lo-fi production. A convincing first stab. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘Untitled’
U HOW LOW CAN YO GO? vince staples
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‘TIL YOU DROP
Hasselt, Belgium. Photos: Louise Mason.
the flaming lips
ukkelpop is sizeable enough to provide a sonic route through no matter what your persuasion. On one end, you have a main stage hosting the likes of London Grammar, Clean Bandit and Bastille. At the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got Syrian party-starter Omar Souleyman, queer pioneer Mykki Blanco and hardcore aggressors Death Grips. And somewhere down the middle, you’ve got three days of fully on point programming.
the crowd in the palm of his hand. As a brief storm sends the heavens opening, The Flaming Lips offer a gloriously excessive glimpse into a fantasy world where the only thing that falls from the sky is pink confetti. More performance art than gig, there are giant rainbows, silver balloons reading ‘Fuck Yeah Pukkelpop’, and a constant, celebratory stream of confetti and glitter.
Preoccupations are a relentlessly uncompromising affair to kick off Saturday. Between singer Matt Thursday is clearly Flegel’s strangled vocal Stormzy’s. Packing out and a final closing ’Death’, the Dance Hall, he spends complete with a repeated the set demanding the one note motif that lasts crowd’s energy, at one for literally four minutes, point declaring “if you there’s little light among came with bad vibes then the post punk shade to fuck off”, and reaps it back be found. in reams. At The Drive In later Later, Solange is a provide a final burst of relentlessly exciting excitement. Scaling the proposition, powering speakers, riling up the through a whole heap crowd and at one point of nifty choreography removing his belt and alongside her backing pulling his trousers to dancers and proving just his knees, Cedric Bixlerhow effortlessly classy a Zavala is an unhinged pop show can be. and mesmerising frontman. It’s a feral Perfume Genius is blast of a set, roaring unrecognisable from through old favourites the timid figure hiding ‘Sleepwalk Capsules’ and behind a piano of ‘One Armed Scissor’ with yore. Body rolling and an unstoppable force, contorting around the and one that rounds off stage, he’s a bold and a weekend characterised brilliant performer now, by its refusal to be bringing a defiance to pigeonholed. (Lisa every move and holding Wright)
Lana Del Rey
Brixton Academy, London. Photo: Emma Swann.
or her first London show in four years, Lana Del Rey doesn’t initially command the stage, Yet, unlike early disasters, she’s no longer dwarfed by live performances. Launching into ‘Cruel World’, and flanked by two backing singers-slash-dancers, she leans into the scuzzy melancholia of the music, allowing it to slowly raise her up. Halfway through the song, one thing quickly becomes clear – she’s found absolution from the heavy expectations of performing.
LUST FOR LIVE
Interestingly, the songs from her latest nestle nicely next to ‘Ultraviolence’’s looseness, with Lana clearly luxuriating in the soaring melodies and often maudlin lyrics. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Lana Del Rey show without a heavy dose of hazy nostalgia, but as she whizzes through early tracks ‘Blue Jeans’, ‘Born to Die’, ‘Summertime Sadness’ and ‘Video Games’ it’s obvious the bluesy feel of her subsequent records has rubbed off as she adds self-assured vocal flourishes while comforting Instagram-filtered footage plays out behind her. She certainly doesn’t colour inside the lines, but this unexpectedness means freedom, and it’s something that Lana Del Rey, her fans and her music thrives on. (Alim Kheraj)
Castelbuono, Sicily. Photo: Robert Goodman.
psigrock’s main stage sits pretty in the grounds of the town’s castle, and across its weekend, its line-up is a melting pot. Preoccupations offer up a dose of thunderous energy. Swerving from innate noisiness into looming, hulking shadows of sound, the Canadians really know how to command a stage. Using the opportunity to air a handful of tracks from their newest fulllength ‘Weather Diaries’ – their first in over two decades - the likes of ‘Lannoy Point’ and ‘Charm Assault’ sound massive, as Ride reverberate around the castle’s walls. The following evening sees Rejjie Snow take to the stage; a whirlwind of energy, the rapper wasting little time in whipping up the crowd into a frenzy with cuts from debut ‘Dear Annie’. Acting as a perfect introduction to Sunday’s headliners, Cigarettes After Sex’s understated performance sees them air a selection of soothing cuts from their self-titled debut, before Baltimore’s Beach House dive headfirst into their haze of dreamy pop with ‘Levitation’. Shrouded in smoke, they possess that brilliant sense of mystery but comfort. Drawing this year’s Ypsigrock to a close with the unmistakable chords of ‘Myth’, their final notes add a real sense of magic to such a wonderful setting. (Sarah Jamieson)
THE ITALIAN JOB 81
, we’ll pub quiz of sorts A big inter-band by one. e on es fav ur be grilling yo
It’s Your Round E MBERS OF LIF ALL FOUR ME e Cost: Fre Drink: Red Wine tival tage at Truck Fes Location: Backs
Chosen subject: STEVE LAMACQ & KEANU REEVES Who gave Steve Lamacq his nickname Lammo? Mez: John Peel Correct. That wasn’t even on Wikipedia. [It definitely was – Ed] Who did Steve present The Evening Sessions with from 1993 – 1997? Rich: We think it’s Jo Whiley Correct. Name either of the two bands that Keanu Reeves has played bass in [All simultaneously] Dogstar. Correct. You could have also had Becky. Mick: We know our Keanu. Dogstar supported Bon
A classic demonstration of the ‘bag of wine teat’ from LIFE, here.
Jovi once. And they played Glastonbury. Who starred opposite Keanu in the film My Own Private Idaho? Mez: River Phoenix Correct. What speed does the bus in Speed have to stay above otherwise it’ll blow up? Mez: 90mph Rich: No! Why did you shout that out, where’s the conference?! Buses can’t even fucking do 90mph! It’s 50mph 50 is correct, but you only get half now. Score:
General Knowledge Which two bands have had hits with the song ‘Go West’? Rich: Pet Shop Boys. I don’t know the other one. Is it a pop band? Mez: I’d like some clues. They’ve got five very distinctive band members. Mez: Spice Girls? No, it’s the Village People. Half a point for Pet Shop Boys. Rich Uncle Pennybags is the mascot for what? Loz: I know, I think. Monopoly? Correct Rich: Check out 1950s dad over here. Which two footballers have been sent off twice while playing for England?
Mez: David Beckham. And Rooney maybe? Correct. The largest known spider in the world is named after what biblical character? Rich: God. No, I’m joking. Goliath or something? That is correct. Mick: We are acing this quiz. What do we win? Honour – the greatest prize of all. Literally translated, the name of what kind of street means ‘the arse of a bag’ Mick: Cul-de-sac Correct. Score:
SCORE 9/10 A note from our contestants: “We’re legends, aren’t we? Finally some recognition. I always knew we’d be good at quizzes.”
Verdict: One Hull of a result
VISIONS OF A LIFE 29 SEPTEMBER WOLFALICE.CO.UK
DIRT Y HI T 84 diymag.com
Published on Sep 5, 2017
September’s cover stars are returning indie heroes Wolf Alice, who’ve got a smasher of a second album up their collective sleeves (yes, we’r...