Zero pounds / Volume 03 / Issue 55 / the alternative music tabloid
wa r pa i n t A l l yo u n e e d i s l ov e , d e a t h a n d da n c e
+ Albu ms of the year Da r k s i d e C at e L e B on Ho ok wor m s Ja m e s Bl a k e Kelela Fa t W h i t e Fa m i ly N e w Wa r B a r r y H o g a n & ATP
contents De c 2 0 1 3 / J an 2 0 1 4
A l b u m s o f the year 2 0 1 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 Voted for by the very contributors that make this magazine, it’s our top 40 albums of the year
H OO K W O R M S . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 6 Leed drone band hookworms discuss a year of CHALLENGING EXPECTATIONS IN SOUND AND THE CONCEIVED LIMITS OF A DIY group
cover photography GABRIEL GREEN
Cate L e B o n . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 8 Tell me about it: Nathan Westley meets cult welsh star cate le bon and let’s her do all the talking
A T P en d o f an era . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 0
Daniel dylan wray meets atp found barry hogan at the festival’s final ever uk holiday camp event
Loud And Quiet PO Box 67915 London NW1W 8TH
N E W WAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Editor - Stuart Stubbs Art Director - Lee Belcher Sub Editor - Alex Wilshire film editor - Ian roebuck
Australia’s most patient band talk about getting old
F AT W H I T E F A M I LY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 5 in the belly of the beast: punk band fat white family welcome us into their south london headquarters
K elela . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 6 say her name: LA only-child kelela made the best mixtape of the year
DARKSI DE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Nicolas Jaar and Dave harrington discuss COMBINING IMPROVISED ELECTRONIC MUSIC WITH THE IDEALS OF JAZZ TO CREATE ‘PSYCHIC’
JAMES BLAKE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 we finally pin down Mercury man james blake at the end of his most successful year yet
WARPAI NT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 exactly three years after they topped our albums of the year poll, warpaint return to discuss their second LP
Contributors Amy Pettifer, Chris Watkeys, Daniel Dylan Wray, Danny Canter, David Zammitt, Elinor Jones, elliot kennedy, Edgar Smith, Frankie Nazardo, Gareth Arrowsmith, Hayley Scott, Janine Bullman, James West, Josh sunth, Joe Goggins, LEE BULLMAN, Kate Parkin, Kelda Hole, Gabriel Green, Gemma Harris, Leon Diaper, Mandy Drake, Matthias Scherer, Nathan Westley, Owen Richards, Phil Sharp, Reef Younis, Roy J Baron, Samuel ballard, Sam Cornforth, Sam Walton, Sonia Melot, sonny McCartney, Tim Cochrane, yoyo This Month L&Q Loves jane third, johnny brocklehurst, leah ellis, marcus scott natasha parker, sinead mills The views expressed in Loud And Quiet are those of the respective contributors and do not necessari ly reflect the opini ons of the magazine or its staff. All rights reserved 2013 Loud And Quiet. ISSN 2049-9892 Printed by Sharman & Company LTD.
4 0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . al b u m s film s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 8 east india youth, i break horses, let’s wrestle, planningtorock, xiu xiu & more
Ian roebuck shares his movies of the year
4 8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . li v e party w o lf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 4 factory floor, jessy lanza, television, ty segall and autumn defense
The unfortunate world of ian beale special: christmas day spoiler alert!
welcome Exactly three years ago, in our 2010 Review Issue, it was ‘The Fool’ by Warpaint that topped our contributors’ Albums Of The Year poll. In the intervening years, the same plaudit has gone to PJ Harvey and Tame Impala, both with similar fanfare, in editions of Loud And Quiet completely dedicated to the highlights of their individual years. This time, we’ve not done that. We’ve still pulled together our records of 2013 (40 of them rather than 20, on pages 12 and 13), and we’ve still pawed over the list and, y’know, checked it twice, but just as much of this double issue that spans December 2013 and January 2014 is the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come as it is Christmas Past.
Coincidently, Warpaint return to discuss their eponymous, second album for the first time, released 20 January 2014. Since we last met the band, bassist Jenny LeeLindberg has married filmmaker, musician and visual boogieman Chris Cunningham, while guitarist Theresa Wayman has begun dating James Blake, a fact we learned from Blake at the end of a most successful year. So Blake reminisces, and so too do the collaborative duo of Nicholas Jaar and Dave Harrington known as DARKSIDE, while for LA RnB starin-waiting Kelela the New Year can’t come soon enough. Loud And Quiet 55 bobs this way and that, from one page to the next, like those days between Christmas and New Year that look both ways at the same time, while one article does it all by itself. Late last month, after 13 years of festivals, ATP held its last ever UK holiday camp weekender at Pontins, Camber Sands. Daniel Dylan Wray went and spoke with ATP
founder Barry Hogan about what’s next and what’s been, and found that the latter was something that Hogan was particularly keen to discuss candidly. The short of it is that ATP’s Pontins festivals are over for good, but the company is far from dead, with new signing New War featured on page 24 and events abroad and in conjunction with Pitchfork planned for 2014. It was ATP’s solvency and business practice that Hogan was most keen to defend, though, points that were brought into question in 2011 following an article printed in The Stool Pigeon. Hogan wanted to talk about that, just like he wanted to talk about the bands whose egos have gotten in the way, and, on a more lighthearted note, how Vincent Gallo wanted to book (and sleep with) Christina Aguilera. Now that (the booking bit) would have made for one hell of a final ATP.
beginning Dec 2013 / Jan 2014
An American Ye ar From the vantage point of LA, our favourite noise band, HEALTH, round up the year’s headlines to give us a glimpse at what living the American Dream felt like in 2013
KIM JONG UN THRE ATENS TO NUKE L A
I GOT CHL AMYDIA
This was an exciting time for Los Angelenos. The old guard of the East Coast has long monopolized terrorist attention. The proximity of the Big Apple to the Middle East has always given it a certain allure and as a result we got no love on 9/11. But with North Korea at the table with some new toys it’s a whole new ball game. No sparks have flown yet, but at least it looks like the Westside might start getting the headlines we all know we deserve.
Earlier this year my girlfriend kept reporting intense pain during vaginal intercourse. I assumed it must’ve been a result of my giant cock… However, I was disappointed to find out that I had given her a long undiagnosed case of Chlamydia. Thank you Planned Parenthood Pasadena.
You may not remember Snowden’s blog hit ‘Black Eyes (Le Castle Vania Remix)’ from 2007… But he broke big this year spilling the US’ beans all over the Internet. He’s currently taking a long vacation from the hype machine but I can’t wait to see what’s coming next from this young talent.
THE POPE QUIT Who gives a shit, that fucker is not American.
PAUL WALKER KILLED IN AMA ZON PRIME DRONE STRIKE This is historic on multiple levels. Not only was this the first civilian life stamped out by a drone attack on American soil, but the assassination was carried out by a powerhouse U.S corporation. America has a long history of being on the cutting edge of technological application, and Amazon has shown us the future and potential of privatized military resources with this fast and furious display of power.
OBAMACARE This is an absolute milestone in the history of U.S Healthcare. Unfortunately, as with anything these days, if you have to spend more than 5 minutes on the website everybody shits all over it.
90 % OF AMERICAN FILM ROLES ARE CAST WITH BRITISH AC TORS Is the United Kingdom teaching American accents and diction in grade school now? I can’t even watch 12 Years a Slave without at least half the cast being English. Throw us a bone here. What the fuck was Benedict Cumberbatch doing in there? It sounded like he had multiple personality disorder. I guess after The Wire you guys figured we were fucking clueless and you could just take over, leaving good hard working Americans high and dry. NOT ON MY WATCH.
THE BIRTH OF THE ROYAL BABY Who gives a shit, that fucker is not American.
IRON MAN 3 HIGHEST GROSSING AMERICAN FILM
PAUL A DEEN L AWSUIT
Iron Man 3 was the highest grossing film in America. It is the sequel to the films Iron Man 1 and Iron Man 2.
America’s sweetheart Paula Deen found herself in a bit of a pickle when she fatally shot unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida in 2012. Although acquitted in 2013, Deen was dropped by nearly all of her endorsement deals and lost her top rated TV show. On a personal note I was able to acquire a full set of her cookware at a competitive price.
BOSTON MAR ATHON BOMBING Then an unknown teen heartthrob and techno aficionado, Dzhokar Tsarnaev exploded on the scene on April 15th 2013. Gracing the cover of Rolling Stone just a few months later. His meteoric rise to fame electrified the American public and ultimately gave rise to the wildly successful Boston Strong clothing line. We think Tsarnaev may find it’s harder to stay on top than it is it to get there, especially with such an ethnic name.
AMERICAN SCIENTISTS 3D PRINT A LIVING E AR While an amazing breakthrough for science, society is going to break down once they start printing living dicks. You’re not going to be able to sleep when Tom from accounting has a dick 5 inches longer with an elbow and Led Zeppelin’s Four symbols on the side.
LOU REED DIES AT 71 They don’t make cool people like this anymore, and we are getting down to the last handful. The further we get from the historical epoch of great Rock n Roll the thinner the old growth gets. There was once a time when there were only a few survivors of the Great War left, then there were none. We are now facing the fast approaching extinction of our tasteful musical elite. All that will be left is bland, self mythologizing, validation whoring, social media superstars.
K ANYE AND KIM HAD A BABY That fucker might be American but who gives a shit.
MARIJUANA IS LEGALIZED IN COLOR ADO AND WASHINGTON STATE Most British people don’t really care about weed, but this is big deal for Americans. The next step is to legislate reparations for those wrongfully incarcerated for Marijuana possession by providing each exonerated party with a PS4 and a refurbished George Foreman grill.
HE ALTH STILL DIDN’ T PUT OUT A NE W RECORD I wasn’t aware of this until someone mentioned it on our Twitter. Thanks for looking out dude, almost forgot. New LP 2014.
be g i n n i n g singles & Books 01 by L ee & Ja nin e B u l l m a n
T he S udde n Death of S tars / Beat M ark A A Split (Ample Play) Out now
A fresh batch of Christmas songs sounded like a good idea a couple of years back. Then people like Zooey Deschanel and shops like John Lewis changed our minds as ‘fresh’ became known as stripping the old of all festive cheer and making classics like ‘Frosty The Snowman’ more suited to TV appeals for famine relief. For anyone who remembers Tim Wheeler and Emmy The Great’s 2011 album ‘This Is Christmas’, original songs were sadder still (albeit a different kind of sad), and yet while ‘Mr Blooby’ sounded the death knell for the golden age of the Christmas single, this double hit of understated psych pop is, rather refreshingly, the holidays seen through the eyes of two groups of realists. That is to say that The Sudden Death of Stars and Beat Mark share a cynical, English tone on this split 7”, never mind that both groups are French. ‘What is Winter Good For?’ (TSDOS’s track) laments the lack of snow to build a snowman and features sleigh bells, yet somehow the Canterbury, ’60s vocal delivery makes you feel like you could listen to it any time of the year, while Beat Mark’s ‘Christmas Blossom’ repeats the (almost) anytime/anywhere trick, moping like a 21-year-old Bobby Gillespie.
BOOKS OF T HE Y E A R 2 013 2013 was something of a vintage year for music books, from Morrissey’s muchanticipated memoir to Sam Knee’s fabulous investigation of the look and feel of the indie eighties via Led Zep and Nick Cave. Cave gave us his complete books of lyrics, too, while Everything But The Girl’s Tracey Thorn turned in an autobiography that, true to her music and a career that has now produce 13 albums, refused to show off where so many others do. In no particular order, here are our favourites from the past twelve months. Rate them yourself, but read them all…
Tracey Thorn Bedsit Disco Queen: How I grew up and tried to be a pop star B o b St a n l e y Y e a h Y e a h Y e a h : T h e St o r y of Modern Pop Randall Doane St e a l i n g A l l Transmissions: A Secret History of The Clash
(tRash mouth) Out now
…And the deviants went marching two-bytwo, not into Noah’s freedom boat, into the white hot eternity of Beelzebub’s freak room. This is how one writes or talks about Fat White Family, however grotty their proto punk actually makes you feel, although in the case of this new split EP with Taman Shud, it’s pretty on point. The opening ‘Wet Hot Beef (Part I)’, is a trudging march that lasts forever and sounds superiorly produced compared to the band’s homemade debut album. It features a happily tortured choir of moans, as if Fat White Family are the house band to those Orks in Lord of The Rings. But marching two-by-two, you say? That’s where Taman Shud come in, who are clearly kindred spirits from the cave punk underworld, at their best here when they cut the directionless drone of ‘The Zuggurat, A Mirage’ for the truly unnerving monster jabber of ‘Crime Cycle’ – a mix of shclock rock and overexcited anger.
A lyssa E ngl ish Gir l fr ie nd e p (Girlfriend) Out Feb 3
Remember that song ‘Friday’? The one that went viral with lyrics like, “It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday”? I do. It’s haunted me for a year, and now it turns out that even the most charmingly trite rich-girl tween song can inspire. Alyssa English’s ‘Girlfriend’ is a cross between that and Jenifer Lopez tapping into the witch house scene two years too late. ‘De Ja Vous’ is even worse, although you probably wouldn’t think that if it was sung by Kelly Clarkson, which makes it extra strange that other tracks on this debut EP feature dancehall chatters Tommy Lee (‘Jimmy Choo’, about shoes, duh!) and Beenie Man (the brash EDM drop of ‘Hands Up’), and our very own Giggs for the closing title track, which finally has English discovering the notion of less is more on a smoky late night slow jam that unfortunately fades out prematurely. Watch out, though – all of this flip-flopping makes for a big 2014 for English, I’m sure.
Barney Hoskyns Trampled Under Foot: The Power and Excess of Led Zeppelin Nick Cave The Complete Lyrics 1978 – 2013 Morrissey Autobiography Alan McGee C r e a t i o n St o r i e s : R i o t s , Raves and Running a Label Simon Reynolds Energy Flash Jon Savage Punk 45: Original Punk Rock Singles Cover Art
Single reviews by John Ford Blowback by Lee Bullman and Michael Forwell published by Pan Macmillan available now
F at W hi te F amily / Tama n S hud EP
Sam Knee A Scene In Between: Tripping through the fashions of UK Indie music 1980-1988
Top 40 Albums of 01
Hookworms ‘Pearl Mystic’
Th e s e N e w P u r i t a n s ‘Field of Reeds’
Jessy Lanza ‘Pull My Hair Back’
Mikal Cronin ‘ MCII ’
King Krule ‘Six Feet Beneath Th e M o o n ’
( XL )
James Holden ‘ Th e I n h e r i t o r s ’
John Hopkins ‘Immunity’ (Domino)
Vision Fortune ‘Mas Fiestas con el Grupo Vision Fortune’
Fuck Buttons ‘Slow Focus’
Th e K n i f e ‘ Sh a k i n g Th e Habitual’ (Brille)
( AT P )
Arctic Monkeys ‘ AM ’
Factory Floor ‘Factory Floor’ (DFA)
F a t Wh i t e F a m i l y ‘ Ch a m p a g n e Holocaust’
Earl Sweatshirt ‘Doris’
Nick Cave & Th e B a d S e e d s ‘ P u s h A w a y Th e S k y ’ (Bad Seed Ltd)
Connan Mockasin ‘Caramel’
Dean Blunt ‘ Th e R e d e e m e r ’
James Blake ‘ Ov e r g r o w n ’
Laurel Halo ‘ Ch a n c e o f R a i n ’
Waxahatchee ‘Cerulean Sea’
( H i pp o s i n t a n k s )
Voted for by the contributors and staff of Loud And Quiet
the Year 2013 21
Pissed Jeans ‘Honeys’
Forest Swords ‘Engravings’
Th e N a t i o n a l ‘Trouble Will Find Me’
Th e H a x a n C l o a k ‘Evacuation’
Poliça ‘ Sh u l a m i t h ’
Melt Yourself Down ‘Melt Yourself Down’
Boards of Canada ‘Tomorrow’s Harvest’
( M e mph i s I n d u s t r i e s )
Foxygen ‘ W e A r e Th e 2 1 s t C e n t u r y Am b a s s a d o r s of Peace and Magic’
M a t t h e w E Wh i t e ‘Big Inner’
Danny Brown ‘Old’
San Fermin ‘San Fermin’
Kanye West ‘Yeezus’
Unknown Mortal Orchestra ‘ II ’ (Jagjauwar)
My Bloody Valentine ‘ M BV ’
Yo La Tengo ‘Fade’
Foals ‘Holy Fire’
Iceage You’re Nothing
Money ‘ I n Th e Sh a d o w o f Heaven’
San Fermin Sam Amidon ‘Bright Sunny South’
Channy Leaneagh of Poliça Jon Hopkins ‘Immunity’
August Peru of Vision Fortune Lil Wayne I A m N o t a H u m a n B e i n g II
Amidon’s previous records have had these great arrangements by Nico Muhly on them, but this one is more sparse. There are old mountain ballads in there as well as re-appropriated songs by Mariah Carey and Tim McGraw, and they all somehow feel like they’re drawn from the same musical well. There’s a restraint and truthfulness there that’s frustratingly absent in today’s more knee-slappy pop-folk.
I remember the first time I heard Jon Hopkins.We were sleepily strolling into the Night and Day festival. The music overtook me and I immediately went and bought it. Since then we’ve been playing that record on the road consistently. It is a seamless beautiful piece of music from beginning to end that utilizes solo piano, which feeds my Satie-loving ears and is also very progressive and opening.Very well done.
Whilst sitting in the Idea Store (public library) trying to write about my favourite album of the year the young man sitting next to me refuses to stop chewing so loudly that it is drilling into my brain. Anyway, here it goes… ‘I Am Not a Human Being II’ is the tenth studio album by Lil Wayne. It was one of the most anticipated albums of 2013 (can’t find the citation for this). It is a master piece.
Johnathan Rado of Foxygen Kanye West ‘Yeezus’
James Blake Mount Kimbie ‘ C o l d S p r i n g F a u l t L e ss Y o u t h ’
Forest Swords These New Puritans ‘Field of reeds’
‘YEEZUS’ has probably influenced me more than any album in the last couple of years. I’m not sure why. I’m not even particularly into Kanye’s whole catalog or even modern hip-hop, but there’s something about this record that I can’t get enough of. I think it’s a true piece of art. I love everything about it – the words, the jump cut samples, the minimal production, “hurry up with my damn croissants”. It all works for me.
Mount Kimbie with Cold Spring Fault Less Youth is probably my most listened-to album of the year. I love the fact that it includes King Krule. I think he’s amazing on it. He’s certainly one of my favourite new people and I actually leant him the mic that he recorded his album with. I’m long time best friends with Mount Kimbie as well so it hits a personal soft spot for me.
‘Field of Reeds’ pushed These New Puritans into even more lush, exploratory territory. It’s not a record that I can digest in one sitting, but the sheer scale of ambition and accomplishment that runs through it puts a lot of other bands of their age to shame. It twists and turns in the most curious and surprising ways. It’s even better record than previous one, ‘Hidden’, which I thought they would never improve on.
Andy Hung of Fuck Buttons Holden ‘The Inheritors’
Connan Mockasin K i r i n J C a ll i n a n ‘Embrace’
Matthew E White J u l i a / e a r l / B i ll / K a n y e / B o b ... and a not to Kendrick
( T e r r i bl e )
This year has been incredible for electronic music, but ‘The Inheritors’ held the most anticipation for me. It’s a really ambitious record; attempting to break out of the mould of digital sequencing and the sound that comes with that. That’s why albums like Burial’s ‘Untrue’ were so compelling, where the artist actively tries to destroy the rigmarole of automated sequencing. It’s more generous to the listener, allowing us space to feel and interpret.
I saw Kirin J Callinan perform this year and I found him the most genuine and exciting performer I have ever seen. It was something I hadn’t heard or seen before, which excited and inspired me. The music sounds a bit nasty and scary and you can feel naughty and dirty listening to it, but he has a beautiful voice as well. Actually, maybe I would find the record hard to like and listen to if I hadn’t seen him live before.
I can’t decide between Julia Holter, Earl Sweatshirt, Bill Callahan, Kanye West and Bob Dylan... And a significant, honorable mention to Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Control’ verse. Lets have a round for these freaks and soldiers. All these folks have courage and imagination in spades. In some its graceful, in others its a bit more reckless. When I listen, that’s what I want, however it may shine through.
Compiled by Stuart Stubbs
9 a r t i s t s f r o m o u r a lb u m s o f t h e y e a r l i s t p i c k t h e i r f a v o u r i t e L P s o f 2 0 1 3
A humble evolution Hookworms made our favourite album of the year while challenging expectations in sound and the conceived limits of a DIY band ph o t o g r a p h e r - J e n n a f o x t o n
I first interviewed Hookworms for Loud And Quiet in 2011. They were playing a hometown show at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds and had their gear set up on the floor, a fairly common occurrence for bands that aren’t likely to fill out the venue. I’d seen them previously a few times but this show felt different – pivotal – it being their last of the year before taking a break from performing, leaving behind most of their debut EP material too to focus on upcoming recordings for their debut LP. I remember distinctly the bass on the opening ‘Medicine Cabinet’ rumbling and groping my innards with a tricky, almost malevolent twinge, as the hissing guitar filled the room like a poisonous gas slowly creeping in. One of the two men responsible for that, SS, was hunched over with his legs out-stretched looking like a deranged lumberjack ready to swipe the head clean-off anybody that caught his eye-line.The caterwaul screech that came from the echo-laden vocals shattered the room, while the drums hit tautly, feeling mechanical yet vivacious. It was the kind of performance that reaches the levels of intensity that have you wondering if you might put your teeth straight through your bottom lip, jaw locked. Two years later, almost to the day, I both interview and witness Hookworms play on another pivotal occasion, this time igniting the main stage of ATP that, truthfully, in a weekend loaded with psych-heavyweights and noise monsters, is one of the weekend’s most pulverising and seismic performances. But most importantly, in-between all of this, Hookworms released their debut LP, ‘Pearl Mystic’, which while it may have catapulted them in terms of stature, notoriety and critical acclaim, it also derailed their hurtling psych train. It’s almost impossible to read a Hookworms-related article without the mention of some psych-behemoth in a comparative form but ‘Pearl Mystic’ probably paid more heed to the contemporary cosmic haze of Pure X than it did Spacemen 3. It opened up a side to them that hadn’t – and, most interestingly, still really hasn’t – been seen by the band in a live environment. What ‘Pearl Mystic’ did was split the scope and potential of the band wide-open. The ferocious, life-sucking vortex of ‘Preservation’ will strip paint and burn through sounddesks, but in the context of the album it is sandwiched between two of the albums finest but slowest moments: the dense, atmospheric groove of ‘Since We Had Changed’ and the lullaby-like ‘What We Talk About’. The band has proved that knocking out psychstompers comes easily to them and of the nine songs on their debut only three really fit into that category. ‘Pearl Mystic’ is a bold record; one that’s spent the year challenging peoples’ perceptions of Hookworms before they even fully had chance to establish one.
w r i t e r - D a n i e l D y l a n Wr a y
“We had absolutely no idea if [‘Pearl Mysic’] was any good,” recalls SS, one of the band’s two guitarists, thinking back to the album’s February release.“I remember doing an interview before it came out and just having no idea of the kind of reception it was likely to get.” “I was worried too because it had a lot of slow burners on it,” says MJ, keyboardist, singer and producer. “Now that’s fine because most people know us from ‘Pearl Mystic’ and they know that’s how we are, but before a lot of people viewed us as just a rock band, so I was really nervous about the slower songs being on there.” Some superlative press and hype surrounding the LP soon hit new highs. “It was sold out before it was even released,” MJ recalls. “It got a 10/10 on Drowned in Sound and that was when a few realisations started to creep in,” says SS. “That was the week I went to master the Menace Beach song at Abbey Road,” says MJ of his spin-off band. “The ‘Psych for Sore Eyes’ comp [a limited 7” from Sonic Cathedral that featured exclusive Hookworms track ‘The Correspondent’] came out and got a 9/10 on Drowned in Sound and then ‘Pearl Mystic’ got 10/10,I remember that.So that was pretty frightening.” Things then got “really weird” and “really intense.” MJ:“We hadn’t played in a while, so we went out and played in these 200/300 capacity venues and we sold them out and that was really confusing for us because we thought we were maybe overreaching, so that was really surprising.” The band then followed up ‘Pearl Mystic’ almost instantly with the non-album single ‘Radio Tokyo’ for the Too Pure Singles Club, which again sold out instantly, and it was around then that labels started to really get involved. “[In 2011] we told them all to go away,” says MJ.“We shut them out, made ‘Pearl Mystic’ and gave it to Gringo. We didn’t even tell Gringo we wanted them to release it; I just emailed them saying, ‘hi, we’ve made this record. I wonder If you’d like to put it out?’ and that was it. So, yeah, I just shut all of that out and I think that helped us. I think some people took it as though we were trying to play the music industry, as some people do and it was just like,‘no, we’re not bothered’. However, it got to the point where the people talking to us and the things they were saying, we thought we should at least entertain this. It sounded interesting. I was less than enamoured with the music industry at the time and I wasn’t sure how our band would fit in with it all and I didn’t want our band to end, which worried me about engaging with that.We could have signed with a hip buzz label two years ago, released a single and then broken up because we were being made to do things we didn’t want to do. It happens
to loads of people and I didn’t want it to happen to us.” Despite interest and offers from other camps Hookworms signed with Domino Records and their imprint Weird World, home most notable to Washed Out. “It’s hard to talk about as we can’t say a lot, but there were other labels we talked to before Domino,” says MJ. “Domino is my dream label, so I’m very excited about that and they’re very nice people. It’s a label that releases music for the sake of releasing music, and nothing else. I think with us having that kind of DIY background, there was a realisation that these are good people, they’re not going to screw us over. I don’t doubt any of them, they’re all good people and it’s not just a job to them.” I ask if remaining DIY during an ever busying year has been a challenge for the band. “We split all the roles in the band,” says MJ.“Someone does merch, someone else does finances, someone else emails – we all do different things. We’re still selfmanaged [but] it’s becoming hard. We have a booking agent now, especially for sorting the American shows, as we needed that. My attitude has always been that if it’s something we can do, we should do it ourselves. Our booking just got to the point where we couldn’t do it anymore, we were dealing with a side of the industry that we just didn’t understand. It’s kind of an off-topic analogy but there’s this magazine called Tape-Op which is like an indie recording magazine and they recently published an open letter in the front of the magazine, saying that they had dropped all of their advertising rates because they felt really ashamed and guilty about the way it was negotiated. People would come to them and say we want to put an ad in the magazine and they would say, ‘sure, it’s $, but what you’re then meant to say is, ‘I’ll give you $150’, and then they settle on $200. Now, everyone had $200 in their mind the whole time
‘W e s h ut th e r e c o r d s l a b e ls o ut, m a d e ‘P e a r l Mysti c’ a n d g a v e it to G r i n g o. I j u s t e m a i l e d th e m s ayi n g, ‘h i, w e’v e m a d e th i s r e c o r d. I w o n d e r I f yo u’d l i k e to p ut it o ut?’’
but it’s just this fucking circus that everyone has to do and they said they felt uncomfortable about that because a lot of their ad-revenue comes from small independent pedal makers and microphone manufacturers and a lot of them didn’t know that they had to go in with this farce, they just got told that price of $300 and paid it, and it was upsetting Tape-Op – they found it unethical and that’s something we struggled to deal with. We played a lot of these festivals for very little money compared to all of these buzz bands who might not actually have all that many people wanting to come and see them but they’re just getting forced onto the bill, getting paid thousands of pounds and we weren’t even breaking even to pay for ourselves to be there. So, that’s why a booking agent came in. I mean, we’re signed to Domino now – we’ve got to accept aspects like that.” Similarly, any money made has just carried as an extension of the bands ethos, as MJ points out. “All the money means is we have some nicer equipment,” he says. “That’s it. It sounds really sad, but even just being able to have my own microphone is a big deal – it means I’m not licking someone else’s spit but that was a bit of an ostentatious buy for me.” Of course, the Nottingham based indie label Gringo were sad to see Hookworms move on to Weird World, but SS notes that there’s been no bitterness towards the band’s growth from the DIY world. Of Gringo, MJ says: “I’ve loved that label for years. I’m glad I was able to be part of a record that has helped them be able to put out more great music. I fully support Gringo Records.” And yet Hookworms’ habit of selling out their limited releases is something that doesn’t sit well with them. “Everything we’ve done that’s been a limited edition has ended up going on Ebay or Discogs for a lot of money,” says MJ. “I don’t care about the money, it’s just
like if some kid wanted to buy it and couldn’t afford it because they’re being priced out, it’s ridiculous. I’d like to keep our records in print and keep the prices as low as possible. It won’t quite be like Dischord but I want to keep it as cheap as possible.” Live – where Hookworms’ reputation was forged and where fans are still won – the band have spent the year performing in the Loud And Quiet tent at Beacons Festival (“That was massive and rammed and surreal,” says MJ), playing with Pissed Jeans (a coveted spot due to the Philly band’s insistent on liking everyone they play with) and a trip to New York’s CMJ. “We played a show as soon as we arrived,” says MJ. “We had about 10 minutes there before being driven to the venue and I went outside to buy an orange juice from a vender and it was like,‘shit, I’m in NewYork!’ It’s like being in a film. I’d never been, and it’s very overwhelming and simulative.” “It was around this time I submitted a Wikipedia page for the band but it got turned down, so we can’t be that big,” says SS. “They’re really serious now, it used to be in the old days you could write any old shit on there.” Which brings us to this weeknd weekend: ATP ‘End of an Era’ Part 2. The band play the best show I’ve ever seen them play on the festival’s main stage, blasting with jet engine force. “I had a very nice time,” says MJ after the set. “I liked it when the house lights went up and I could see the mosh-pit; that cheered me up.” “When I was a kid there was an untouchability about artists and music,” says SS. “There’s a mental barrier between them and us and when you start getting into music in your scene, there isn’t that division. All the things I used to do when there was a division I don’t really care about anymore, like Leeds and Reading festival when we played that, it doesn’t matter because it’s not yours anymore, but ATP is the only one that’s an event I used to go to and it’s very weird playing it, I think it’s the only event where I’ve felt that way. Going to a festival as a kid, none of them felt weird when we ended up playing them, but ATP did… I just hope the next record isn’t a disappointment.” On that point, MJ feels all too aware of the fickle nature of the modern music world. “We’ve reached a point now we’re we’ve been given so much praise that people seem to enjoy hating us,” he says. “It’s cool, I don’t like The Smiths, it’s not the end of the world, but the Internet is very binary and it’s like, ‘no, no, I fucking hate them. The singer’s a cunt, I’ve never met him but he’s a dickhead’ – that was a post on Drowned in Sound last week. It was basically that. He didn’t like me even though he’s never met me. It’s quite disappointing. I know I’m a dickhead but at least give me the opportunity to live up to it.”
te l l m e a b o ut it
Cate Le Bon on… p h o t o g r a p h e r - Ph i l s h a r p
Now with a trio of critically acclaimed albums under her belt, Penboyr-born songstress Cate Le Bon, despite her dalliances with the mainstream, remains a cult artist. In 2008, Le Bon’s first major introduction to the world came via a guest appearance on Neon Neon single ‘I Lust You’, but rather than following it up with a slice of authentic pop as you’d expect, she instead swerved off in a completely different direction, ushering out folksome Welsh language EP ‘Edrych Yn Llygaid Ceffyl Benthyg’ followed by 2009 debut album ‘Me Oh My’ – a record of haunting vocals and psych-folk that drew plenty of comparisons to the work of Nico and Vashti Bunyan. 2013 has been a year that saw her temporarily return to Gruff Rhys’ Neon Neon family for a series of shows, followed by a tour alongside the Manic Street Preachers, not that either experience bothered what’s become her highest water mark yet – her third and best album to date, ‘Mug Museum’, released just last month. Having gained the description of an “Alien with extraordinary abilities” (that’s what appeared on her US work Visa), Le Bon set to work alongside Noah Georgeson in Los Angeles for her latest record, a man who has worked with both Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsome in the past, and who on this occasion shared the load with neo-psychedelia musician Josiah Steinbrick, best known for his work with White Fence and Adam Green. ‘Mug Museum’ sounds like a cross between Le Bon’s two worlds – her pastoral, naïve home of the Welsh dales, and the dirty, hippy, modern-historic California where she’s currently based. I met her before she presented that new amalgamation to a sold-out Bush Hall for the first time, where Cate Le Bon did all the talking.
w r i t e r - n a t h a n westley
… a d ay at th e o f f i c e
… Los Angeles
“I’ve reached a point where I’d like to think that I’d be able to train myself to work a standard 9 to 5, or something like that, but I don’t know if it would work; I like to snooze in the afternoon, so you know... “There’s no routine [in what I do], which is sometimes wonderful and sometimes when you are your own master there are down moments. I struggle; I feel guilty if I’m idle. It’s about taking time to have a break when you need to and also finding a balance between that and pushing yourself to get things done.”
“I think it’s a tricky one, because people are so keen to pigeonhole everybody these days or attach them to as many of the bands that they have similarities too, so sometimes that can kind of muddle your identity. The only thing that is important to me is making music that comes from an honest place and that doesn’t come from trying to conform to any of these labels or whatever, you know – not letting that stuff influence anything that I do. “I think you start to hone your craft a bit better [after a couple of albums]; you start to understand how you work best and also how to balance it out, whilst still enjoying what you are doing; not making it arduous for yourself and turning the thing you love into the thing you dread – it’s the balance between doing that and creating something that is good.”
“I think I’ve had this romantic notion of making a record in Los Angeles, ever since when I started going there with Neon Neon to rehearse. There was an excitement about the place that seemed conducive to making music. Last year when I was touring the States, we played a show with White Fence and there bassist at the time was Josiah [Steinbrick]. I was talking to him about going to America to make this record and he said,‘Let’s make this happen.’ He was the bridge between me and Noah [Georgeson] and I asked Nick Murray from White Fence to play drums, as he is one of the best drummers I’ve seen. It all kind of fell together quite organically. “I think the perfect thing about LA for me is that it’s not just a metropolis full of concrete – it sits either side of so much extraordinary nature. It’s a really special place and it has probably kind of seeped into the record somehow; I think it’s going to be one of those things that I see retrospectively in maybe five or ten years. “I guess the purposefulness when you go somewhere is that it becomes all about the record and making the record – it’s all about that rather than slotting it into everyday life. But it is still the same sort of process – staying up until 7am to write lyrics the night before going into the studio, and all the stupid things I do. I think I approached the instrumentation differently and spent more time thinking about the form of the songs and the dynamics and everything else. I think when you travel somewhere to make a record, you are there for that sole purpose, so you end up completely devoting your entire time to that thing, without distractions.”
… G r u f f R hys, th e m e nto r
… singing in Welsh
“The Neon Neon stuff was an incredible learning curve and experience. I view it as a different category in my head; it is something completely different. It is something that I am so lucky to have been a part of, playing a Keytar in an Eighties type band was good fun. Gruff – I can’t speak more highly of him as a person who can guide you through. Both Neon Neon and taking me on tour to support him, he’s such a great person to have be your sort of portal into this world that can be a bit fucked up at times. It’s important to get that from the get-go – that it’s just music and you should enjoy it and be generous with it; it’s not something to be overly precious about. He’s extraordinarily kind and extraordinary musically, and he leads by example rather than preaching. He’ll never tell people what to do or how not to be.”
“It’s my first language, I suppose in many ways, but for me it’s slightly harder to compose in Welsh and style isn’t something that translates from language to language. I would love to and fully intend to [sing in Welsh more regularly], it’s just that I tend to leave writing lyrics to the night before entering the studio, so time is always very limited. I technically learnt Welsh when I was four years old and it’s such a complex and difficult language. I still get quite shy about the standard of my Welsh speaking – I worry that it’s not good enough, so that also kind of makes me revert to singing in English, I suppose.”
… i d e ntit y
… m a k i n g m u g s f o r fa n s
… th e W e l s h m u s i c s c e n e
… th e r o a d
“Pottery was something that I had always really wanted to do.After I had made the record in Los Angeles and we had also moved there, we’d moved apartment, were trying to buy a car and I was trying to mix the record. Everything kind of got a little on top of me, so I just wanted to go and have a hobby that was nothing to do with music, something that was completely separate. This little pottery studio had just opened in our neighbourhood so I signed up for the course with the view that if I could make something that resembled a mug, then I would tell the record company that I wanted to make 100 mugs for special bundles of the album. So I just went in there for hours and hours every day, just practising and it was such a wonderful time to be doing something like that and to be listening to music without thinking about the other side of things; it was great, I just set to it and got them all done. “I made the hundred in the end, but there was plenty more that just didn’t make the cut. The ones at the beginning were a bit fucked and then I started to improve.The middle ones were really good, then I got a bit bored and the last ten were shocking.”
“I get asked about the music scene in Wales quite a lot and it’s something that I’ve also thought about a lot. My take on it is that people of my generation, people of my age would have been exposed to bands like the Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and the Super Furry Animals at a much earlier age than maybe they normally would have done, because the whole Brit-pop scene was going on.We had these two incredible and beautifully bonkers bands who were just ploughing their own path and who were on the edge of the Brit-pop explosion but were also doing something that was completely different. I think when you have bands that you can look to like that, bands who are really inspiring but who are also politely disregarding any sort of scene, they’re just being themselves and I think that is probably the biggest influence. When you look at all the bands currently emerging from Wales, there’s so much brilliantly weird music, I think it’s just that thing about it being alright to make the music that you actually want to make.They’re cool, so it’s fine.”
“I think it’s imperative that you have great musicians around you, but also really great people and I’ve always been really lucky with that. I think people go through tour highs and tour lows at different times. After soundcheck and before the doors open is always the most surreal part of it – the moment when I start to become really nervous is always around that point. The only moment that I relax is when I know a set list has been written and then I can chill out.”
… k n o w i n g yo u r p l a c e i n l i f e “It’s not a theme as such, and ‘Mug Museum’ is not about bereavement and it’s not morbid, but the death of my grandmother was the trigger to me going, ‘Oh my god, everything’s shifted up one now’, and I really felt it, I really felt like there was a shift and it made me think about my relationships with my family members and to try and resolve my responsibility within these relationships, etc. I suppose when you start thinking about family relationships, other ones will also fall into the mix. It’s an album where each song kind of deals with a different relationship, I suppose. “It was the first time I ever came close to feeling like there’s a real purpose in life, a real place that was comfortable.”
End of an era
At the final ever UK holiday camp ATP, Daniel Dylan Wray met with founder Barry Hogan to hear about the best and the worst of times
A b ove: A TP proves to b e the most rela xing festiv a l after 13 ye a rs right: fo under ba rry hog a n over: G ene S immons
At thirteen years old, ATP has become something the English alternative music world first became familiar with and then, to some extent, took a little for granted. Its uniqueness has perhaps been replaced with a sense of expectancy and routine. However, walking through the Pontins holiday camp at 5am, there’s still something about the place that no other festival has come close to capturing. Strolling past the rows and rows of chalets, each one with their own playlist blaring out, some opening their doors to strangers, others with curtains tightly pulled and the doors deadlocked, there’s a vibrancy that’s both exciting and mysterious. Part lost, part drunk and part high, I must walk the grounds for nearly an hour on my own, drinking in the icy morning air. ATP was always put forward as being a ‘mixtape’ of a festival, in which the line-up is there to impress, surprise and perhaps even teach. But an extension of this is the fan culture that comes with it. Window after window I walk past, party after party I stumble into, simply walking around the site is your very own playlist in itself. Some have criticised the predictability of line-ups over recent years and with the amount of events and festivals that are put on (sometimes four UK weekendlong events in a year) it’s hardly surprising there has been some crossover but, without meaning to sound all BBC ‘Glastonbury moment’, ATP has been about more than just the line-up, and as it takes its final bow at Camber Sands on 1 December 2013, an irreplaceable fan culture leaves with it. On site, I meet up with ATP founder Barry Hogan to reminisce over the best and worst of times and what the future holds for his live promotions company and record label.“It feels a bit like when you were at school, waiting for the summer holidays to come,” he tells me. “Those
photograph e r - J e n n a F o x t o n
six weeks just seem like an eternity. Our next festival is in Iceland and isn’t until next July. Myself and Deborah [Higgins] have been married eight years and we haven’t had time for our honeymoon because we’ve been doing this so it will be good to do something and take a break.” The first question to pose is an obvious one – why call it a day now? “You know, we could probably have a band like Yo La Tengo curate and I’m sure it would be great but there’d no doubt be a bunch of bands that have already played and it would start to get a bit repetitive, so I thought why not draw a line in the sand and then have people reflect with fond memories instead of, ‘oh, that shit that just keeps going.’ “I’ll be honest,” says Hogan, “they [Pontins] haven’t made it easy. There’s been a change in the management and they’re starting to do stupid things like charge the fans for bedding and towels and things.” Hogan too has seen a surge in other alternative events, many utilising similar formats. “When we started there were no real alternative music festivals,” he says, “now everybody who buys a CD from Rough Trade is a promoter… I think when we started doing the ‘Don’t Look Back’ shows in 2005, it would be fair to say it encouraged an epidemic of people doing it. We’ve done about 60/70 albums, some better than others, but it just seems that everyone is doing a classic album thing or curating festivals where the festival says it’s ‘curated by’, but it’s not always curated, it’s just a festival. It’s like you get greengrocers curating apples these days. I think people abuse the word. I think people dilute it.” Closing the final ever weekend is a band Hogan has been after for some time. “It’s nice to get LOOP to play because we’ve been chasing them since 1999,” he says, “and they always said no, but I take it that when a band
writer - Daniel Dylan wray
says no to me, I keep trying. It was the same with Pavement and My Bloody Valentine – it always pays off, the only one who it didn’t with – who we’ve asked every year and they always said no – is Kraftwerk and it kind of broke my heart when they did the albums retrospective at the Tate. And when the Pixies got back together and then broke up again, in that in-between stage, we asked them to do ‘Surfer Rosa’ and ‘Doolittle’ and they were like ‘we’re not really a band at the moment’. Then they got back together and did it on their own. I was like, ‘fuck you’!” he laughs. Although billed as ‘End of an Era’, Hogan says, “It’s definitely the beginning of a new one.We’ve been asked to do stuff in Poland,Turky, Denmark, Brazil, Chile and Argentina – there aren’t enough months in the year.” Next year will also see an indoor London festival, like an extension of ATP’s current ‘I’ll be Your Mirror’ event, except it’s a joint venture with Pitchfork and Primavera, named Jabberwocky. Details are clandestine at present but cheap tickets is the premise, with it being either a 2 or 3 day event. “We should be looking to the future. We’ve got enough nostalgia under our belts.” ATP came under the spotlight last year when an investigative article by The Stool Pigeon revealed huge financial debts behind the company. It’s an article that spread enormously and put intense pressure on and speculation about the festival and the business workings behind it. It’s an article that Hogan refutes and has some choice words for. “There were inaccuracies all over the place,” he says. “I mean, we were going through some financial issues, generally because promoting is like going to the horses, but for them to do that was just so stupid. They ended up alienating everyone and I know lots of people who refused to advertise with them [as a
result] and I think that’s half the reason that they’re no longer in business. Phil [SP editor], why he did that, I don’t know. I mean we helped them launch that magazine. I mean, you guys know you need to rely on your advertisers and have people who support and believe in what you’re doing. I mean, it wasn’t just us, they upset 4AD, they upset Mute. I mean they tried to make out that we were like Rupert Murdoch or something, setting out to exploit people – we’ve actually been known to overpay bands. We always treat people fairly and bands with the upmost respect. If anyone else was doing this kind of festival, they would get the bands to stay for one night, kick them out and get a new one in and we let them stay for the whole weekend. Every single penny I have earned has gone back into this festival and for them to try and highlight that, they made things so difficult for us it got to the point that we nearly had to stop doing the festival over it, so I hope they’re proud of themselves. I mean look at what it did – their own magazine isn’t in circulation and I know they’ll say differently, that they decided to stop, but I know for a fact people had stopped advertising in it. We were horrified by it to be honest – it’s full of inaccuracies and it’s one of the worst pieces of journalism I’ve ever read, to quote Facebook comments and Drowned in Sound message board comments, I mean that’s the work of a sixth former.” Hogan continues: “The way they wrote it and the way they behaved is like the way The Daily Mail behaves when it tries to expose immigration statistics and highlight everyone’s faults, it was sensationalist journalism. They were trying to make a name for themselves and someone even told me it won an award for the best article of the year. It was incoherent, not cohesive and there was no point to it. I don’t understand why they picked on us because we supported them and advertised with them from the start, it baffles me. I told Phil at the time – as he showed it to us before it was published – ‘it’s full of inaccuracies’ and he said, ‘well, I don’t want to run it if its full of inaccuracies’, and I said,
‘why are your running it at all?’, and his response was that ‘people need to know’. It achieved nothing. What their magazine was designed for was to be like when Sounds, Melody Maker and NME were around, when there was an indie community and everybody supported each other and all they did to the labels, from Beggars to Mute to Rough Trade, was end up making them [the labels] resent them, which was stupid. It defeated the object of why they started. They may as well have just gone off and worked for The Daily Mail the way they were carrying on.” The reaction was divisive. Many people rushed to support ATP, including Geoff Barrow who publically wrangled with The Stool Pigeon, while others saw it as an opportunity to attack the festival.“We had a lot of haters hit the message boards to criticise us,” says Hogan. “There are some people who think we’re this massive corporation who don’t give a shit about the fans, but it’s not true.We definitely have struggled over the years but that’s because we set-out with a premise to do a festival that had no sponsorship and that we believed in musically, and it has bit us in the arse a little bit. When
you lose on events and you have no sponsorship, it hurts. For example,TV on the Radio: fantastic line-up, no one came. So, there have been some fans that have turned against us [since the article] but also a lot that have been very supportive, but if people don’t like what we’re doing, don’t fucking come.” We move onto more anecdotal territory as Hogan recalls some highlights. “I really loved the Dirty Three one,” he says. “It was so much fun to work on, there was so much new music, working with Warren Ellis was great, as far as I’m concerned he could curate every single one. I would definitely say the Dirty Three one was the most enlightening.” Infamously, ATP had a ‘No Arseholes’ policy, where bands who don’t behave themselves are banned from ever playing again. “Black Lips apologised so we welcomed them back,” says Hogan, “and I feel bad for speaking out against the Butthole Surfers because it painted the rest of the band in a bad light – who are good people – when it fact it was just Gibby [Haynes]. He was a tricky customer; he was pretty full-on and rude to lots of people, including myself. He did some crazy stuff. He was going through some difficult stuff, however, and saying that, I would work with him again and we are talking about maybe doing something. I don’t know if I could handle Killing Joke again, but there’s loads of bands like that, they come and they treat us… there was a band last year that curated, they were huge, and it just wasn’t a good experience and we’ve been doing this since before they were even in a band and they were invited to play, and to be made to feel uncomfortable in your own festival [by them] is just something we didn’t set out to design. “We treat people how we would like to be treated; we want them to have a good time and we want them to want to come back. I mean, imagine if I came to your house and I drank all your beer and left a code 6 in your toilet, you’d be like ‘fuck you Barry Hogan, you’re not coming to my house again’. We’re respectful of people, that’s the way I was brought up, so that’s where the ‘No Arsehole’ policy comes from, but it’s kind of a running joke.We thought about designing a poster for the office listing all the bands that were difficult with us. But I’m sure there are bands that could do an arsehole promoters of the world poster and I’m sure I would appear on a few of those. It’s tongue in cheek, really.” The big band in question from last year must be The National, right? “I don’t know what you’re talking about?!” he laughs. “That was not a good experience. I mean they asked us if they could do it; we didn’t ask them and I thought it
Left: Goat performin g l ive Left bottom : ATP ’s answer to to a pok ey o l d tent Be low: end of an ear part 2 curators, l oop
would be something a bit different for us to do, but it wasn’t to be. I think there’s different group’s within that group that control what’s going on and then you have this manager that plays good cop and bad cop and it’s a stupid situation. We don’t care that they’re massive, I don’t even buy their records, I personally think they’re shit.What I wanted to get from them was that I thought they would have an interesting take on curating. I don’t have to like everyone who curates, although most of them I do, but I walked away from it feeling really empty and that’s not how it should be. Their music is so bland, I think I’d rather watch slush melt than listen to their music. There’s a whole scene of these Brooklyn bands and they’re all fucking trust-fund kids, they need to go and do a Black Flag and lose money and go out there and play toilets. It’s just a hobby to them.” Barry recalls a few other challenging moments in the festivals history. “I tell people to leave their egos at the door,” he says, “but I remember when Cheap Trick turned up and asked where the VIP section was, and they were like, ‘What? There’s no VIP section?! You mean we have to hang out with the crowd?!’ And I was like,‘yeah, you fucking do. Get out there!’They probably wouldn’t even recognise them! “I remember the MarsVolta came and they refused to stay on site because at the time in California they were huge rock stars and they had kids that dressed up like them and followed them around and they expected that here so they stayed off-site and were bummed that they kept having to walk back to the hotel because they thought it was too far, and they realised they could have just stayed on-site and it would have been so much better. GZA just went to a sports bar off-site all weekend. Ghostface Killah came to catering and they were just like ‘nah, we’re not eating that’, and this is a catering company that caters for people like Coldplay and Radiohead. It’s amazing food and stuff everyone looks forward to but they didn’t like the way it was served, so they requested a buy-out and I just said find anywhere on-site that you want to eat in and they went everywhere
atp Live REPORT
and nearly settled on Burger King but they found this pub, at the Minehead site, called The Sun And Moon and we just said let them get what they want.There was about 32 things on the menu and they ordered every single item on there – there was shitloads of food all over several tables and they just cherry picked at it and said, ‘this is bullshit’, and just walked out! He also complained that there was no clock in his chalet and I said to him, ‘you know in England, we have these things called watches?’ and he’s like, ‘yeah, I’ve got a watch’, so I said why don’t you use it? And he didn’t want to change it from American time to English time and I said to him, ‘you need to get out more.’” Musicians will make a fuss about their food, but ATP has also come with an added insistence from the curating bands – the lineup.“Slint mentioned Snow Patrol at one point,” says Hogan. “You get some strange ones.Vincent Gallo wanted Christina Aguilera – he was convinced she should come and he should have sex with her. And I’m like,‘I’m not sure I can arrange that’, and he was like, ‘just ask her’, and I said,‘which bit? To play or to have sex with you?’. and he said ‘just put it in the offer’. He actually wanted me to put it in the offer to her.” Before Hogan gets back to his last hurrah at Camber Sands, I ask him a little about the recently deceased Lou Reed – the man who gave ATP (All Tomorrow’s Parties) its name, and I’ll Be Your Mirror, too. Yet it’s more than Reed’s song titles that have influenced the way this festival has turned out.“‘Magic And Loss’ [Reed’s album from 1992] was what inspired me to do Don’t Look Back,” says Hogan. “I was seeing him on that tour at the Hammersmith Apollo in whatever year that was and he decided to play that album in full, in track order, and it’s a very conceptual and very poignant record about his friend Doc Pomus who died of cancer. Someone said in a slightly poetic way that he started this [ATP] and then he passed away just as we came to the end of the era. There’ll never be anyone like Lou Reed again. Every band that has played this festival owes their career to him and if they don’t, they just don’t realise it yet.”
Follakzoid stretch out their dense Chilean grooves and coat them with a gritty urgency that strips away the occasionally pastoral swirls and sink-holes of the album in favour of volume and momentum, occasionally to mixed and underwhelming results, sadly. Shellac bound onto the stage in the way only they do and unwind a ball of pulverising acerbic noise. All aware of playing for the last ever time, their spring-coiled, metallic assault is particularly crowd-pleasing and through the unfathomable guitar crunch sound they create, they play an incendiary final show. Slint initially pale and struggle in the looming shadow left by Shellac. In opener ‘For Dinner…’ the chatter spreading through the crowd becomes painfully audible. The doubleblow of ‘Breadcrumb Trail’ and ‘Nosferatu’ begins to bring people round and by the end of set-closer ‘Good Morning, Captain’ they have come full-circle and succeed in creating genuinely introverted, engulfing moments, their ambiance never sacrificed by the cheap lure of pleasing a midnight crowd. A Winged Victory for The Sullen struggle slightly with some sound cackles, but aside from that they play a beautifully delicate and stirring set. The gentle glides and swoops of strings bring around throbbing heads and prove a perfect and occasionally transformative opening to the second day. Comets on Fire fucking explode on stage and burst into a screeching ball of restless, mind-boggling invention and energy. The heat in the room reaches suffocating levels and they tear through it like an asteroid hurtling ever closer to destruction. They supersede all expectation and then some. LOOP go the other way from the wild, erratic and insanely unpredictable approach of Comets on Fire and stick to their namesake as they churn out thundering repetition and grinding swirls of guitar-fuelled assault. While overshadowed by Spacemen 3 in the history books, it’s pleasing to see them in this capacity and to be faced with the full blunt of their hypnotic, unrelenting charge. If there is a better way to open a day of a festival than via the sounds of ‘Hallogalo’ then I can’t think of it. Michael Rother playing the music of Neu! and Harmonia is a perfectly scheduled booking, although the charged, guitar-heavy, beat-fuelled electronics are more angry and gutsy than I envisaged and could lend themselves to a midnight slot just as easily as this 3.30pm one. Rother evades plain nostalgia and retrospection and injects vivacity, variation and new life into his peerless back catalogue. Goat reinforce their position as fastbecoming one of the most fun and engaging live bands currently doing the rounds. Mogwai close the night and take home the coveted loudest band award from this year’s festival; a surge of volume laps over the crowd in glacial waves and whipping winds. Half transcendental ambience and half melt your brain oomph, is of course what Mogwai do best and tonight is no exception. Not only is there a symbolic poignancy in seeing the band close a festival that they first curated but the inclusion of powerhouse new material such as ‘Remurdered’ indicates that a new era is afoot for more than just ATP.
Tom orrow’s w orld ATP might have put a stop to their holiday camp festivals, but the company’s label arm is punching strong, scoring an unlikely top 40 album with Fuck Buttons and more recently signing Australia’s most patient band, New War photographer - jenna foxton
As I walk alone along the vast beaches and coastline of Camber Sands, I soak in what a strange place it is around this time of year. The dilapidated buildings look even more weathered and worn, the flakes of paint flapping from buildings take on a lugubrious presence, loose snags of rope and debris whip up in a gale that blows harshly and the surrounding cafes and ice-cream parlours remain deadly quiet, like ghostly faded postcards of the 1960s. If you then factor in that during ATP it becomes a place in which middle aged men in leather trousers and sunglasses walk hand in hand with the early-bird metal detectors, and where young men and women who stagger with last night’s can of lager glued to their hands are confronted with the bounding energy of morning dog-walkers and winter-wrapped children, it becomes even more strange. On my headphones as I take this long walk is New War, a band I have been struggling to get a comprehensive grasp on.They have an evadable characteristic that always wriggles away from me. Yet whilst absorbing my odd surroundings, a loose parallel takes hold: perhaps the appeal and unexplainable guts to New War is much like what’s in front of me right now: a fusion, a bizarre, seemingly conflicting meeting of components that on the surface might not work but when placed together find a coherence and energy that melts and flows – it bonds. New War’s debut LP is imbued with forceful postpunk snarl, dub-heavy grooves, isolating ambiance and eerie, wired keyboard sounds that not only fill the hole of having no guitar but reach such baffling pitches and tones that one questions the need for the instrument at all.“I don’t see daylight,” drummer Steve Masterson tells me when trying to put a finger on the perfect environment to take in the foursome’s gloom-soaked debut. “I definitely don’t see daylight.” The strange but alluring unification of sounds, textures and tempos found on the album is a result of a
w r i t e r - d a n i e l dylan wray
varied backdrop of musicians within the band and one, collectively, that has been around the block a few times. Chris Pugmire (vocals) and Melissa Lock (bass) played in Kill Rock Stars-signed Shoplifting, who put out a single LP back in 2006, a project Lock describes as a “psycho feminist rock-band”, while current keyboardist Jesse Sheppard’s roots are in a Gainsbourg-esque outfit with Masterson dealing in some “back-end of Australia swamp-rock”, and that just scratches the surface. Pugmire ditched his hometown of Seattle, one in which years before his departure he had spent ensconced within the Riot Grrrl and Grunge movements. “I wanted a change,” he says. “There wasn’t a lot going on. It hit one of those lull patches.” “America wasn’t exciting,” confirms Lock. “There wasn’t much going on for me music-wise. It was things like Death Cab for Cutie.” The band then took their time. They have been together for four years now, and holed-up in Melbourne they waited it out until the right members worked, then hammered away for a further year before even playing their first show.“We just wanted to be really good,” Pugmire offers, while Lock gives a glimpse into the politics of the Melbourne scene. “It’s so small you only get one shot,” he says. “Then it’s like, ‘nah, I’ve checked them out, they’re rubbish, don’t bother coming back’.” “You find that’s why people change bands a lot,” says Shepard. That said, New War’s waiting paid off and as we sit around the QueenVic pub at the final ever ATP (of which they played both final weekends) they also find themselves currently signed to the festival’s label, spearheading the institution into a new period of its existence. All has been going well at ATP so far, “except for that guy in the audience yelling out ‘impress us,’” says Lock.“He was like an angry old punk dude, so I found that really amusing. It was really funny because he was dead serious.”
Taking their time over their output, aside from being creatively motivated, is perhaps also indicative of the group’s collective maturity, as the band are all in their thirties, while Lock admits she sometimes wishes she wasn’t. “I keep saying I wish this had happened in my twenties,” she says. “I was a waitress in a shared house, ready to go and now I’ve got kids and responsibilities and I can’t just go on tour like I would have in my twenties, but then again I don’t think I would have been the same musician then.” The band recall simpler times too. “In our twenties it was just a big party,” adds Lock. “It was pre-Internet and nobody thought about being a rock-star or getting bigger or anyone ever hearing you outside of Australia.Who’s going to pay to fly you all the way from out here? So it was like this little community. It was just a lot of fun, which is maybe different motives from what American or English kids felt because we were just so far away, so it was like party time. It was great.” “We didn’t have those TV shows that they do now, where they suck all these kids into thinking that being an artist or a musician is about impressing judges and being judged on those performances,” says Masterson, while Pugnire notes that “it seems like people now have to prostrate themselves; it’s really weird.” And yet, for a band content on taking things slowly, who are more settled into their age-bracket now and remember fondly movements based around communities, ideologies and friendships rather than money, fame and desperation, New War’s resulting (selftitled) LP is far from lacking in urgency or grit. It surges and thrashes as frequently as it glides and bounces, and again, this is a balance that age has helped develop. “You can focus your energy into being insane,” Pugmire tells me, “like, controlled insanity. You can put that into the project and not let it spill over into the rest of your life, but I guess in your twenties, everything is insane.”
The Belly of The Beasts Fat White Family make us feel at home in their south London headquarters photographer - dan kendall
This is exactly how I’d imagined it to be.Terrifying. “I’d quite like to have these people lined up against the wall and shot, I think they’re absolute scum.” I’m being eyeballed now; spit flies from the mouth of the man sitting opposite. “I mean, Boris Johnson actually said greed is good. I would string him up and all his cronies, these people need to be removed from existence. Especially IDS [Ian Duncan Smith], dying is too good for that cunt, he needs to go through some serious trauma first; can you print that?” I tell him of course, he smiles, wipes his mouth and we part ways. Two hours earlier the doors of the Queen’s Head, Brixton, open to reveal an empty pub. At one end a Union Jack mural, at the other a barman called Dave. This is home for Fat White Family – six brothers in arms living life in the margins and beyond. Photos are taken in almost darkness; it feels tense when it needn’t be. Soon after, the band’s frontman, Lias Saudi, leans in at the bar and tells me, “I’ll be chatting to you on my own – we can be on stage together, but not in the same room, like Johnny and Joey Ramone.” His guttural laugh puts everyone but myself at ease. Now we’re sat in the bands rehearsal space upstairs, a calm has fallen and Lias’ warmth is a welcome surprise. “We only ever fight amongst ourselves you know, when there are other people around everyone is quite courteous. It isn’t like we have too many divas; nobody is being an arsehole about it, yet!” I tell him that’s contrary to what is on the Internet. “We give off the impression that we’re a bunch of wild guys,” he says. “I mean, we like to have a party. The reason we look and sound the way we do is because it’s in direct contradiction to what we saw was a problem.” What we’re left with is an outlandish caricature of a band, grotesque in its output but strangely triumphant.
w r i t e r - i a n roebuck
Six years ago Lias and his brother Nathan Saudi were playing a country night in Peckham; since then they’ve been sketching out a ludicrous but bold portrait. “We had pig’s heads back then and we’d make a bit of a show of it,” Lias explains with what looks like a wink. “After our old band the Saudi’s fell apart we called up a bunch of people we knew and came up with Auto Neutron, and we thought actually this is quite fucking good!” An anthem for the disenchanted and heavily influenced by a choral, almost gospel core, Auto Neutron was the template for the so called Cartoon Industrial sound they create today. “Yeah I stand by that,” Lias nods. “I think Saul (Adamczewski) who writes all the songs with me came up with the term.The new stuff is along that vein – irritable riffage but with a glam glaze; it’s monstrous but pathetic.” By now we’re joined by the drummer Dan Lyons and brother Nathan. They’re sprawled across the room disinterested. “It’s subtle,’” shouts Dan. “It’s not subtle at all, there is a total lack of subtlety,” Lias shouts back. The rotten fruit of Fat White Family’s toil was let loose earlier this year. ‘Champagne Holocaust’ is an unapologetic album that bites and kicks and claws and scratches. “We don’t mind being out on a limb or a bit weird,” says Lias. “Even though the songs are ridiculous and have this absurd humour we all take it very seriously.” Lias is right. Whilst the band’s debut contains songs called ‘Is it Raining in your Mouth’ and ‘Without Consent’ that liberally grease the pole, there are others such as ‘Bomb Disneyland’ that mark Fat White Family with a pronounced political bent.These are angry young men sufficiently fuelled to trouble a comfort driven demographic. In the mid/late 2000s, band guitarist Saul
Adamczewski almost enjoyed some major label success when his band The Metros signed a deal with Sony BMG imprint 1965 Records. Absent today, I wanted to ask him if Fat White Family – a band so clearly against the mainstream – is his retaliation to an industry that once promised the world and then turned its back on him. “Well you might be right,” says Lias. “One of the things we hate about this industry is there are so many bands who actually have a plan – they know what press guy they want and they know what artist they’re using for their front cover before they even start making the fucking music.” And yet Fat White Family’s choreographed display of disgust has been delightfully assembled, and lurid videos for ‘Cream of the Young’ (carcass licking, nausea inducing) and ‘Heaven on Earth’ (directed by Mike Diana, the first artist to receive a criminal conviction for obscenity for artwork in the United States) have inflamed the revolt. And while they might not like it, being branded a squat band on the Web hasn’t hurt Fat White Family’s down at heel punk aesthetic either. “That’s Chinese whispers,” fumes Nathan. “What is a squat band? I really don’t get it. It’s been said like 40,000 times.This pub’s not a squat,” he says looking around.“A lot of people say it is, but it’s not.” It all comes back to the Queen’s Head, Fat White Family headquarters and front page of the national newspapers when Margaret Thatcher died in April of this year. “We made a sign which had The Bitch is Dead on it but the landlord made us change it to the Witch is Dead, that’s when it made the headlines,” laughs Nathan. Lias leans in, a lengthy castigation is about to commence: “I won’t lie, we were really, really happy that day and if David Cameron died in a car crash tomorrow we would also be celebrating.”
Say her name Kelela: LA’s only-child responsible for the year’s best mixtape p h o t o g r a p h e r - Ge m H a r r i s
“It’s…” Kelela Mizanekristos sits in a Dalston café grappling with her next line. I’ve asked if she’s been surprised by the unanimous acclaim that her debut mixtape, ‘Cut 4 Me’, has received and she’s making absolutely sure she doesn’t leave herself open to misinterpretation.With a glint in her huge brown eyes she signals that she’s ready.“OK. I did my best work. It’s doing what I wanted to do, if you know what I mean. So it’s not an absolute,‘Oh my God, I can’t believe you like this.’” While her unshakeable confidence means that success hasn’t come as a total shock, Kelela admits that the whole experience has been a little overwhelming. Having already passed her thirtieth birthday and eclipsed the likes of Cobain, Hendrix, Joplin and Morrison by a full three years, Mizanekristos was hurtling towards musical pensionership. The relief at simply getting the release out there is obvious. “I’ve had this dream my whole life and I haven’t actualised it until now so yes, it’s this immense gratefulness,this feeling of accomplishment. Beyond the reception, once I got it out and it was this body of work – that moment, you can’t really fuck with me now because that’s happened. It was this thing on the outside of me and if you listened to it you would know who I am. Everything on it is the most honest experience. And before anyone liked it I thought it was cute.” If, like me, you’re not accustomed to the parlance, ‘cute’ appears to mean very, very good indeed. And what an entrance it has been. Early on Kelela declared that she wanted to “disrupt” the musical landscape rather than find an existing nook in which to fit. Since then she has teamed up with a host of producers from experimental electronic labels Night Slugs and Fade To Mind and by setting her vocals to the sparse, booming grime production of the likes of Bok Bok, Nguzunguzu, Girl Unit, and Kingdom, she has created a sound that you’ll struggle to draw parallels with. At once alluring and devastating, it’s a disorientating concoction. Fortunately, through multiple interviews, she’s managed to nail her description, and she assures me it’s a Loud And Quiet exclusive. “The vision is this Faith Evans vocal, but take out everything and put Faith Evans over this grime track and then we have exactly what I’m talking about. If I were to be very simple, that’s how I would put it.” The sound is a synthesis of a kaleidoscopic range of influences, from straightforward ’90s soul and RnB (“The first voice I fell in love with was probably Whitney Houston.”) to the outer reaches of electronica. Even UK garage gets a mention and she’s not ashamed to admit to her excitement at discovering The Artful Dodger via Napster. “When Napster came out, I remember going over to my friend’s house and they said, ‘OK, tell me any song right now.’ I was like, ‘What do you mean?’” It gave satiety to an appetite for music that’s always been voracious. “When I first downloaded
w r i t e r - D a v i d Zammitt
Napster with that black background and green text I would download all this music before going to sleep. I would just click on it all. Like the remix of ‘Say My Name’; I’d never heard the remix!” Kelela would wake up in the morning with a hard drive full of new experiences waiting to happen. “Sometimes even a partial file was mindblowing! That was my first experience of electronic music. So there was music me and my friends would listen to and then there we these alone-in-your-room tracks.” The obsession with finding new sounds was born partially out of her status as an only child and a need to fill those empty hours. “I had a lot of cousins who felt like siblings but I also spent a lot of time by myself.There was a lot of Kelela time and that was spent with Erykah Badu and D’Angelo and Mariah.” The story is far from a sad one, however, and those adoptive siblings nourished her musical development. “That’s how I fell into a lot of music as a young adult. Stuck in my room or on my way to school. Driving in the morning, getting the most hyped before school. Listening to like…” The café is empty, but I doubt that it matters as she delivers a chorus of ‘Get on up and shake that booty!’ before collapsing back into the couch in shrieks of laughter.“These things all sort of happened by myself in cars and in my room.” The daughter of Ethiopian immigrants to Rockville, Maryland, that dichotomous background was another factor that shaped her as an artist, “because of the experience of getting comfortable with being othered, getting comfortable with making the best of that,” she says.“That dual cultural experience; going home and it’s one way and then going to school and it’s another. Having to be in between cultures. There are so many things. Like, my mom didn’t have any grip of what sleepovers meant. She was like, ‘Why do you have to sleep over in their house though?’” I have to admit that, come to think of it, it’s actually a very good question. “It’s a really good question, but when you’re eight you don’t want to go that deep!” She raises her voice in mock plea as she acts out the scene. “You’re like, ‘Damn, mom, we just – I don’t know – there isn’t something special that we do there that we can’t do at home. It’s just we do it together and it’s cute!’ You have to liaise. You have to survive in your household and be functional with your family, and you also have to be functional and survive in your school. It really did make a huge difference.” After various dalliances with work and education during her twenties, the big opportunity came through a chance meeting with Ashland Mines, aka Fade To Mind producer and founding member, Total Freedom. “I did a song with Teengirl Fantasy and Total Freedom was in the room when I was recording that song. He basically connected with that and was like,‘Wait.Who is this girl? You need to sing with my friends.’” Things
snowballed and before she knew it Prince William, another key Fade To Mind player, arrived at her house with a bounty of 50 instrumentals as a birthday present. It was, Kelela’s pleased to announce, the best birthday present ever. “I was like, ‘Fucking fuck! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for my whole life!’” The synergy was born and they never looked back. “It’s not airy – the default, with electronic music where you take the production seriously, usually there’s this default, weaker, airy vocal,” she says. “It’s such a rarity and it was palpable that they got RnB vocals in the way that I get RnB vocals.” ‘Cut 4 Me’ isn’t only striking for its up-front, widescreen musical style, however. Lyrically, it doesn’t shy away and the themes that bind it are sexual desire and carnal fulfilment. When it isn’t ruminating on the feel of skin on skin, it’s exploring the depths of the psychology of attraction. The tantalising feeling of a lover’s breath is a repeated motif and eyes seem to perpetually wander and lock across rooms. Recently she was asked by Rap Genius to put her words online. She complied immediately, again tying in with her determination not to be misrepresented; to write her own narrative. “They asked me if I’d like to post my lyrics on their site. I felt like it made sense to be like, ‘I wrote these.They’re not interpretations of the lyrics.’” From the title track’s refrain (it’s ‘Cum For Me,’ despite its title) to ‘Do It Again’’s scenes of twilight lust, even Kelela’s producers weren’t completely sure about the dark, sensual content of her poetry. “Prince Will was like, ‘Wait. Oh God. ‘Cut 4 Me’, maybe that should be the title,” she says. “But I like that ambiguity. I had to hide a bit because I put my ass out there, basically. In this digital age, if you can create some journey of some sort then that’s amazing.” Before I know it, she has gone off on another spellbinding tangent, this time about the impossibility of surprise in the digital age. “Like white labels,” she ponders, “the fun about that is that nobody has it so even hearing it is a blessed, valuable experience. Then on the flipside, with everything available all of the time it makes it hard to make something obscure or hard to get a hold of or to create value. I wanted to make a secret track and I was thinking of digital ways. I was thinking maybe you get the folder, it’s a zip and then in that folder it says ‘Virus’. Or like, another folder that says something and then it opens another hundred folders and you need to open them a hundred times to get the secret track.” As fully-formed as ‘Cut 4 Me’ is, it has been carefully pushed as a debut mixtape as opposed to an album outright. I never quite understand what the difference is, but though it may be subtle, Kelela sees it as an important distinction. For a start, it’s helped her reach an audience that might not necessarily have shelled out for the
pleasure. “It’s a mixtape. Because a) it’s introductory and b) it’s free. But that’s the reason I wanted it to be free, so that it would be pervasive and to make sure it would be successful.” As one of my highlights of 2013, I’m surprised to learn that she feels it’s underdeveloped. “The melodic ideas on the mixtape…” She trails off, again loath to utter a word she isn’t fully bought in to.“I didn’t take every song to the most epic degree.You can hear that on the mixtape.There are beautiful, interesting loops. And I’ll still keep the minimalism for the album, but I want to play with pop structure and make sure that it’s even more resonant. I want to grab somebody who does not listen to electronic music.That’s my goal.‘Floor Show’ is probably one of the only ones with all of the elements; verse, chorus and break – that flow.” As she discusses the making of ‘Cut 4 Me’, it becomes evermore clear that the standards she sets for herself are significantly higher than the average. She recalls an encounter with Night Slugs producer Bok Bok, who had come to her with an intro he had been working on for the mixtape. The idea was to invoke the feeling of getting into a car and putting a record on but it wasn’t quite to Kelela’s taste.“I was like,‘Yeah, but can you make
‘Th e v i s i o n i s t h i s Fa i t h E v a n s v o c a l, b u t ta k e o ut e v e ry t h i n g a n d p ut Fa ith E v a n s o v e r th i s g r i m e tr a c k’
it so that the windows go down and then the door closes?’” Accepting her criticism but admitting defeat, he handed the reins over to the singer. “He was like, ‘Here’s the site. You can make the intro yourself but that’s the idea.’ I spent the next four days lost in freesound.org. I wanted to articulate this moment of being in your car and feeling like absolute shit. You put your car in park and then this really beautiful day happens but you’re so sad.That’s some LA shit. ‘This fucking beautiful day.This sun. God damn it. Fuck this day.’” If she really has, as she says, left some creative juices in reserve, that first fully-fledged LP is set to be something very special, and the good news is that we won’t have to wait very long to hear it. “I’m working on it right now,” she says. “It will include production beyond the Night Slugs and Fade To Mind scope, but include that as well.” Her eyes grow bigger still as she waxes lyrical about the project at hand.“I’d like it to be a bigger statement of the mixtape. More pervasive and with all the people I dreamed of working with four years ago, who I’m now working with.” She stops and bares each and every one of her gleaming white teeth in a smile that seems impossibly wide. “I’m really excited to share it.”
W h e n W o r ld s
New York Based duo DARKSIDE have been adamant that people should discover their debut album on their own terms. Number 17 on our albums of the year top 40, here they discuss combining improvised electronic music with the ideals of jazz to create ‘Psychic’ p h o t o g r a p h e r - Ti m J o n e s
Nicolas Jaar’s rise and rise of the last few years owes a lot to a creativity and focus that pushes beyond his 23 years. They’re qualities that helped make 2011’s ‘Space is Only Noise’ such a cinematically experimental success, and those drip-feed beats and fastidious dedication to sonic exploration also run deep with DARKSIDE. It’s undeniably a project moulded by Jaar’s intense identity but there’s also clear emphasis on the collaborative; the influence of guitarist Dave Harrington (pictured right) colouring the lines between the dead space. It’s a Diff’rent Strokes approach, with Jaar’s ruminative production colliding with Harrington’s impressive guitar work, and collision, exploration and excitement are running themes throughout their debut album, ‘Psychic’, and indeed this interview. They don’t feel like buzzwords, though, more the triumvirate that’s come to define DARKSIDE and underpin how Jaar and Harrington view the band.
w r i t e r - Re e f y ou n is
RY: You had worked and played together previously but was there a point where the shift in dynamic became more definitively collaborative? DH: It just kind of happened very naturally. That was partly because the first time I met Nico was when I was playing in his band three years ago and that was already a collaborative endeavour. It wasn’t like I came in and he gave me a stack of sheet music and demo tapes and said, ‘go learn this stuff ’; it was more developing a way of playing together, putting the band together with an identity in mind, so from the very beginning, even though it was Nico’s band, I was welcomed into it to do this thing together. Everything grew from there. RY: So did giving the work a name help to crystallise everything for you? NJ: I think it definitely helped to have a name, it made it very real for us. But honestly, it’s just a title and it could have been any combination of numbers or letters. It
doesn’t really matter as long as it focuses the intent of the music and that’s really what Darkside did for us.We were interested in the hidden things, the underside. We don’t know what that means, and whatever that means musically, we’re just trying to explore that. That really helped us and gave us that focus and sometimes you need something very simple like a name to jumpstart something. RY: Has it always been a case of you two sitting in a room and improvising or has it become more structured than that? NJ: I’m not sure how it can get any more structured than that [laughs]. We’re not trying to say anything specific with us, it was more the idea that we’d combine the place that I come from, and the place that Dave comes from, and see where it could go. It surprised us, and took us to a place that was exciting and we feel like we’re exploring new things.
Collide RY: How did that impact the way the album was written. Was that more of a sporadic process? NJ: Ah, well my answer is then it wasn’t organised at all. It was completely impulse driven and it was about Dave and I realising that making the [‘Darkside’] EP (2011) was fun so why not make another song? We did that, had fun, and by the second or third song, it becomes obvious that you’re really enjoying it, so why stop it? It wasn’t like we were trying to finish a record, perhaps until the very end when you realise you’ve got a record, but in the beginning it was a fun project that became like having a band, going to the studio and just recording a load of ideas. In that way, it was just like a friendship. DH: I agree. If it’s not fun then why even do it? It’s like a rule of life and I try to follow that as much as I can. Things get to be work at a certain point but there’s nothing wrong with that and having craftsmanship, but when we go into a studio, it’s liberating and like a playground for us. We have no problem bouncing and running ideas, we do that for as long as we can until it becomes something we like, or a song, or just something we discard. The way we work has a lot do with just looking at what’s directly in front of us. RY: Moving on from that, do you think one of the strengths of DARKSIDE is that you each bring something different or unique to the duo? NJ: Unique is a complicated word because it’s up to you and the rest of the world to decide. For me, we both have our own particular tastes and we were both excited to see what would happen when they collided. RY: The dominating backdrop to ‘Psychic’ was obviously this collision of styles. Did you have any doubts about it working out? NJ: We still don’t know if it works and I’m sure a bunch of people think it doesn’t work at all. It’s all subjective, but what’s exciting is that it’s an exploration and it’s questions being asked. In music you hardly ever get answers but asking a question is exciting and whether this is a pertinent question, I don’t know. Does this work? Does it not work? It’s just a question and one we have a lot of fun asking. DH: Very simply, it’s the two of us working together and I think collision is a great word. It’s not too brutal but I think it’s two different ideas about sound colliding and seeing what dynamic is produced from that interaction. RY: Having asked the question and creating the album, once you finish it and put it out into the world, do you have expectations for it? Do you think or question yourselves beyond that point? NJ: I take my job as a musician to be that I do everything until I give it to you, and once it goes out to the world, none of that belongs to me, or about me, the band or the music. It becomes other. The expectations you have for any record or piece of music is that someone out there understands it like you do. You can believe the good critics or the bad critics but it’s completely irrelevant to get hung up on that. DH: It’s like having a mind like water where you centre yourself. Everything else is just noise, it’s really just about how much you let filter in.
NJ: The idea of critical reception is complicated. I care about the record being understood by certain people around me, like friends’ reception or my family’s reception, and that Dave and I can be proud of it. So those perceptions are more important than someone whose job it is to criticise or laud music because in a way what we do is very personal to us. Obviously music criticism is very important for people to discover new music but it’s not something we look for as part of our job. I know it sounds idealistic but if you were to make music for a particular website or magazine, I think it would sound pretty horrible. RY: Are you proud of the record? NJ: Absolutely. If the beginning of creating the record was exciting and fun, the end was more difficult because we want to create a record we can be proud of in 20 years. I hope I look back and think that was an interesting thing we did at that moment in time, but at least for right now, I’m proud of Dave and I’m happy we were able to do something together that makes sense to at least a couple of people. RY: Playing iconic club venues like Fabric in London and Berghain in Berlin, did you always view the record as one that can be played out in these places? NJ: The way the record sounds and the way we play live is very, very different. When we started thinking about how we wanted to play it live, the first consideration was sound. It’s why we played places like The Roxy in LA because it has wonderful sound; it’s why we played at Fabric, Berghain, the AB Club in Brussels. We don’t necessarily play these places because they’re iconic; we play them because they have great sound. RY: Thinking about the transition from the record to live, sound quality aside, is it a case of not wanting to replicate the experience? DH: The thing for us when we play live, more than anything, we believe in improvising and taking risks. Taking the album as a block of raw material that can be broken up and rebuilt on that night, on that stage.There’s something amazing about seeing a band and thinking, wow, that sounds just like the record, because that’s its own thing, but for us, what’s exciting about playing live is taking it on a structural level and taking it down to that night, that energy, and trying to tap into that. NJ: We feel like music is so easily available these days, the actual songs you make, whether it’s Youtube, Facebook or iTunes, the actual experience of seeing something that can’t be replicated is heightened. Everything’s so easily duplicated, so easily recorded, it’s why I see live shows – not just the Darkside live show, but all concerts – as important, unique moments. That’s why some of the best stuff to see is jazz because there’s so much improvisation, and something that happens one night will probably never happen again. To me, in this day and age, that’s much more exciting than just going to see someone play music the same way I can hear it on all those devices. RY: Do you think the essence of a live show is changing? Is it more about structured sets and high choreography over spontaneity? NJ: I think it’s going both ways. In electronic music
there are a lot of people recreating all their entire music live using analogue, and that’s an interesting way to make it super live. On the other hand, the bigger acts who have a lot to lose get stuck on creating a crazy choreography that cannot live if anyone’s improvising. Sadly you end up watching a click track or watching a non-unique show but that’s what you get when you’re a big act and playing for a lot of people and need to provide something perfect every night. RY: So there’s still a healthy factor for you? The idea that everything could collapse… NJ: Well we usually don’t plan what we’re about to do, or necessarily know how to get from one place to the next, but we know that we like to change how we do it because it’s more exciting to change. It just depends on the type of people and what you’re trying to say with your music… DH: I think you run that risk whenever you improvise and that’s part of the excitement. So that means when you make the choice to not have your show not be your show, then every night you’re choosing to roll the dice and you know that not everything’s going to work.The point is to open up for that moment of magic and be ready for it, because at the same time, it could go horribly wrong.That’s exciting. RY: Finally, looking ahead to the New Year, it looks like a pretty punishing schedule… DH: I’d have said celebratory more than punishing (laughs). NJ: We just want to play to as many people who want to see us play. We make this music, and we’ve made this music for the past two years to take it on the road and give it to people, and I think that’s where the music lives. It’s just as important for us to give the live experience to as many people as possible, even though it does look punishing at times. It’s cool to be on the road but I’m much more of a studio person, I like going to the studio every day and spending 10 hours there and not really thinking about anything else. But playing live is really the other half and it’s really beautiful to have the chance to play the music to other people. DH: I love a good gig, that’s the best feeling. Period.
M e r c u ry Man James Blake is a man far too modest to call 2013 his most successful year yet, but let’s face it, it has been photographer - nabil
On 30th October James Blake picked up this year’s Mercury Prize for ‘Overgrown’. His second nomination for as many albums, it saw him go one better than 2011’s breathtaking, antecedent-less self-titled debut. However, having batted off the praise in a now infamous postawards Newsnight interview, where he was asked if he was happy to have “seen off ” the likes of fellow nominee David Bowie, Blake has stayed calm and modest amid the commotion, declaring that he was honoured to have even shared the stage with the likes of Ziggy Stardust, absent, naturally. Said Blake: “Unlike a lot of the commentary on the Mercury prize, I really didn’t feel like anyone who won was beating out anybody else. It seems like when you’re being nominated or it’s being voted for that it’s in no small part luck. It’s kind of a lucky dip really.” It’s a nice counterpoint in an industry that trades so often on verbose self-aggrandising. Indeed, when I speak with Blake at the end of his most celebrated year, the memory of Lauren Laverne’s foot-long eyelashes as she read his name under the warm lights of the Camden Roundhouse is a distant one.“I’m sorry, I’m insuring my car and I’ve been bombarded by the insurance company talking to me about really irrelevant things,” he says, and when I note that surely recent Mercury Prize winners shouldn’t possibly be dealing with such routine trivialities, he laughs, “I’m just another customer.” Since the release of Blake’s first LP in early 2011, it’s been a continuous trail of tours, writing and recording for him. 2014 finally promises to be significantly more laid back. “I’m back in the UK which is really nice,” he exhales. “I’ve been non-stop so it’s great to not only be home but to have a breather. Even if it’s been the writing period, you are working really. You’re dominated by your job at hand.” ‘Overgrown’ is nothing if not the work of a musician totally consumed by his art. In February, his bid for Mercury nomination was launched – perhaps even sealed –with lead single ‘Retrograde’, building its hook from layers of quasi-monastic vocals before giving way to a catharsis of raw, aching synths. Simultaneously erudite and yet Radio 1-friendly by virtue of the Londoner’s entrenched pop sensibilities, it perfectly prefaced an album that manages to take the listener on a complex journey through RnB, hip hop, house and the outer limits of electronica while somehow remaining coherent. Whilst Blake has been nothing less than disarmingly humble on the “bauble” conferred on the record, he’s equally careful not to dismiss its value. When asked if such titles matter to him, he highlights the integrity of the Mercury versus its peers, and he’s plainly grateful for the honour. “With other prizes, for example the Grammys or the BRITs, there’s often a tangible sense of who’s going to win based on a career trajectory or maybe a major label strategy that might be in play.With the Mercury that’s not the case. It just comes down to the subjectivity of it; who do they actually like the most. It means that none of the rules are set.” It’s the first sign of the ennui that he holds in relation to the world he now finds himself a part of. The evergrowing fervour around the award means that he has
w r i t e r - D a v i d z ammitt
had the inane chatter of the mainstream media foisted upon him, with the aforementioned Newsnight interview an excruciating case in point. During it, Steve Smith, with tongue in cheek, asked him if his music was a, “howl of pain about England and the planet today,” or, perhaps, “more ambient chillax.” It made for an uncomfortable few minutes of viewing and as amusing as Smith’s facetious approach undoubtedly was, it seemed an odd tack to try to undermine the award’s winner from the off. Blake, however, is delightfully unbothered. “It seemed more painful for him,” he tells me.“I’ve never actually seen him on Newsnight before so maybe I shouldn’t pass comment, but I felt like he was either really bored of doing it and was making it fun for himself, or he just wanted to see if I would come back with something. And I did, so that’s fine.” Offhandedly describing the tête-à-tête, it offers up a side to Blake’s personality that might not be immediately obvious. It’s been all too easy for the music press to cast the 25-year-old as a brooding figure. After all, he makes serious music, ergo he must be miserable. But Blake has a reputation amongst music journalists and musicians that have met him as a gentleman of electronica, and it should be noted that the young man I encounter is true to that standing – consistently warm, friendly and engaging, if quite rightly reticent to answer facile questions.“If anyone’s going to take the piss out of genre descriptives and my music then it’s probably going to be me,” he says, “so I was quite happy to keep court with him [Smith].” If the interview was hard to watch, then Blake sees it as a job well done. “I’m glad it was!” He convulses with laughter before pulling himself together and adopting a more professional, sober tone. “At least it’s something to talk about.” It seems that Smith had prepared himself to meet a morose twentysomething indiscriminately railing against a world he couldn’t possibly understand. When he didn’t get that, he kept going anyway.There is one question that remains unanswered though. How does James Blake address the question that has followed him everywhere since the ‘post-’ prefix was inevitably appended to dubstep in early 2011; how does he describe his music? His answer is a pithy one. “Just say superduper DJ bass.” Hype put neatly to bed, what I really want to know is what makes James Blake tick. It’s been a subtle shift, but ‘Overgrown’ stands in contrast to the solipsism of his debut, a work which evoked the Romanticism of Wordsworth in its focus on the self and the world around
‘i f a r e c o r d l a b e l w a s l i k e w a s a f o otb a l l te a m I d o n’t th i n k I’d b e M e s s i. I’d b e G a r eth S o uth g ate’
the creator as opposed to relationships with other human beings, romantic or otherwise. Since then, he has started a relationship with Theresa Wayman, guitarist and vocalist with American indie rockers Warpaint, and being accustomed to solitude means that he finds even the idea of being in a relationship a hard one to deal with at times. “As an only child, it’s a strange concept because you’re no longer on your own,” he says.“What you’re so used to from birth is being the only person of your age in the room. So to have someone with you who you treat as an equal, it doesn’t really come naturally.” He pauses and reflects on what the idea of being on your own means to him, not only as a musician, but as a person. “You associate it with head space.” Though engaging with this new dynamic doesn’t always come naturally, he’s quite open in stating that the relationship directly informed the warmer thread that runs through his second LP. “You’re kind of speaking into the ether as opposed to speaking to somebody,” he says,“or even speaking to yourself. If a song is completely inward looking it can have a different feel and I think the first album has that feel. It comes down to the subtle things, the subtle inversion of who and what you’re talking about can be the difference between an album feeling completely different or just talking about the same old stuff.” Alongside Wayman, a fundamental relationship in Blake’s life is the one he has with his father, James Litherland. A singer and guitarist hailing originally from Salford, he’s been a significant influence on his son’s development, and the pride held by the musical heir is patent.“He’s got an amazing voice. He’s actually got one of my favourite voices.” Blake stops for a moment and it seems to dawn on him just how throughly he means the praise. “…Even ranking him with my favourite singers.” Early single ‘The Wilhelm Scream’, in fact, is actually a reworking of one of Litherland’s own songs. “It was a completely finished song before I mutilated it but we’ve never really worked together. We’ve definitely jammed and I’ve played on stage with him when I was really young but we haven’t really collaborated as such.” He pauses. “I think at some point it would be lovely to do something with him.” Before Blake allows himself to become overly sentimental, however, he makes clear that the relationship isn’t always so brimming with compliments.“We disagree on the writing of lyrics pretty viciously! He’s a lot more direct in his lyrics. He’s a lot more willing to talk about love quite directly and I’m always in favour of the abstract. Sometimes he thinks I miss the point and sometimes I think he’s being cheesy.” The cheesiness will inevitably come, I say, and he will unquestionably release that blues or country record at some point, won’t he? “Well this is it, and I’m fearful that age does it.” For now, at least, he’s staying clear of Nashville lest he gets bitten by the MOR bug. He laughs. “It’s like when 25-year-olds go to Berlin.” Before it all goes downhill, though, there’s surely an awful lot more to come. Recently, Blake has indulged a more collaborative bent, working with Drake, RZA and
even Brian Eno as well as Chance. “A lot of it has just been people talking about it. I can safely say I’ve spoken about Chance in interviews more than I’ve spoken to him. And I’ve spoken about Drake more in interviews. Same with Kanye and almost anybody else. It’s kind of silly really but I’m quite happy to let it happen and then make some music. “It’s just me continuing to do what it is I fancy doing. I’m very lucky to be able to do that, but there’s no need to hype it up just yet because I haven’t even had the time to do it yet.” Blake’s circumspection reminds me of King Krule’s near-embarrassment when I asked him about Beyonce bestowing her seal of approval upon his work via Facebook. “Namedropping really is an epidemic at the moment,” he says, “and people listen to you because of the recommendation, which is nice. Like Kanye just mentioned something and then you have a load of new fans, so that’s really good, but on the other hand it can be a tiny bit cynical.” When asked to elaborate that earlier record industry weariness creeps back in and he’s happy to lay his frustrations bare. “People signing to my label at the moment; the label namedrop me as a possible collaboration, as if I’m on board for someone and I don’t even know they’re doing it. So then I hear I was included as maybe a bartering chip or something, which is crazy.” I note that it’s not like a football team where signing on the dotted line means you get to play alongside the rest of the roster. “And if it was a football team I’m not sure who I would be,” he says.“I don’t think I’d be Messi. I think I’d be someone like Gareth Southgate.” I suggest that perhaps Matt Le Tissier might be more apt, believe it or not compelled to counter Blake’s selfeffacement, on account of the player’s peerless technical ability, mercurial skill and a lifetime spent relatively underground. “Yeah! I like that analogy.” Blake playfully points out that now that he has officially produced the best album of 2013 he deserves a bit of a break, and the nature of his art means that there is very little profit in planning. “Before this second one I think I did an interview with the NME where I said it was going to be really aggressive, returning to some of the dancefloor thing, which was obviously bollocks. And I got called up on that afterwards. But, you know, if you’re going to ask me a year before it’s made then that’s the kind of discrepancy you’re going to find. I think the next one will be a lot more outward.” In the last few weeks he’s dropped a remix of Destiny’s Child’s ‘Bills Bills Bills’, suggesting he still possesses the ability to stretch the idiosyncrasies of his production to their limits, while the infusion of hip hop hinted at in collaborations with RZA and Chance The Rapper is likely set to remain, though only, of course, if it feels right. “There’s nothing worse than me trying to sound hip hop when it’s just not working. So if it works it works and if it doesn’t then it won’t be on there. It reminds people not to get too comfortable. And although that disappoints people at some turns, it excites people at others.”
A Weird and Delicate Thing In December 2010, it was ‘The Fool’ by Warpaint that topped our albums of the year list. Next month they will finally follow it up with a new eponymous LP enhanced by Chris Cunningham and producer Flood, and yet the question remains: why can’t anyone quite put their finger on what makes this LA group work so well? p h o t o g r a p h e r - Ga b r ie l Gr e e n
w r it e r - a m y pettif er
e can only sit and wonder at the unknowable set of circumstances that keep the universe in check. The chains of ecosystems that teeter on the brink; the gentle precarities of hot and cold that keep infinitesimal things alive; the matter of seconds or days or yes/no choices that cause history to tick and that set us down exactly where we are, rather than where we might have been. While the domestic equivalents of this astronomic balancing act might not be a matter of life or death, there’s still something miraculous in the incidental meeting of minds and the unexpected upshot of a life meandering through places and around people, only to find itself in exactly the right spot. To spend any length of the time in the orbit of Emily Kokal,Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee-Lindberg and Stella Mozgawa – the fourheaded Siren being that is Warpaint – is to witness exactly this kind of joyful equilibrium; a coterie of totally shared understandings and creative intent born out of childhood friendships and deeply forged new ones that happen to fit perfectly. Kokal and Wayman met at school in Oregon, Lindberg hails from Nevada and Mozgawa from New Zealand, all four of them having drifted separately to LA, a hazy dream-world of possibility in the shape of boys, the amorphous entertainment industry and potential encounters with kindred spirits. Seven years later Warpaint have done the impossible; outliving the idle chatter of their well-worn origin tale – complete with A-list cameos – and making the real story about the rare and curious product of their serendipitous union; an enduring music that feels like it’s always existed – like it was somehow always meant to be. But like all delicate, harmonious things,Warpaint was a couple of life choices shy of never happening at all… “I didn’t imagine that I would ever be in an all-girl band,” confesses drummer Mozgawa, “I almost remember saying that to myself. People would say, ‘oh there’s an all-girl band that needs a drummer’ and I’d say nah, that’s not really my thing. My 14yr old self would not have been attracted to it at all.” Similarly for bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg there was a time when being part of a collective was utterly out of the question;“I didn’t start playing music seriously until I was 19 and at that point I hadn’t imagined myself playing in any band. I was so self-conscious and would only practise at certain hours when my boyfriend was gone… I remember telling myself I’m NEVER going to play in front of anybody and I’m never joining a band or playing on stage, the thought of it terrified me!” With such blatant aversions festering in their individual pasts, it’s incredible that Warpaint find themselves now three years into a definitive line up, a blistering debut album under their belts and – off the back of two years intense touring – another just about to surface.
The eponymously titled follow up to 2010’s rapturously received ‘The Fool’ shows no signs of having emerged from a place of fear or doubt; whatever was sparked on the first album has been concentrated, bottled and coolly sprinkled over music that could not really have been made by anyone else. Rather than exhausting them, the relentless tour of those early songs has been galvanising and – with the driving presence of Mozgawa, the last, blistering piece of the puzzle – they’ve cleaned the slate, broken free of familiar patterns and let loose on exploring the wily limits of an even more personal sound. Quite a mountain to scale in the relatively short space of time since Warpaint first started turning heads: “Yeah, we definitely weren’t taking our time and just sitting around,” says Kokal, marvelling at three years vanishing in the blink of an eye. When we meet they’re a day away from heading home after three months weaving new material into their live set and reliving the process of the new record’s genesis in a string of press interviews. Unsurprisingly they’re flagging a little; occasionally drifting off midsentence, fighting to keep awake when the photographer plunges the room into atmospheric darkness for our cover shot and occasionally losing the plot entirely – “wow, I think that was it!” Mozawa gulps, wiping away tears of hysterical laughter and crumbling into incoherency apparently over nothing. You can’t blame them. Whether it’s because of the unforgettably seductive lure of early tracks like ‘Undertow’, or the tiresome curio nature of an allfemale band, or the fact of their starry LA milieu, everyone now wants a piece of Warpaint and will be clamouring to unpick the thorny issue of how you follow a debut as out-of-the-box perfect as ‘The Fool’. Maybe there’s a clue in the title though, an almost selfdeprecating allusion to wide eyed beginnings replaced with the possessing embrace of the self-named album, one that speaks most eloquently of who they are at this moment in time, with their particular mark etched into every inch of its being. “It definitely feels more full on this time,” says Wayman of releasing the new record,“but I feel like we’re more conscious of every part of it and we weren’t before. Like, we sat in on the mastering session and we didn’t last time, and I was just sitting there going ‘what?’ how were we not a part of this because it can change everything!” “I think on this record, more so than any of the others, each of us know where we’re coming from a lot more than we did in the past,” Lindberg adds. “As individuals our visions are clearer and on this record it shows. It also shows that the trust we have for each other is much stronger, so even if an idea doesn’t resonate with you first, let’s hop on that train and see where this goes and that could open up other avenues.” Warpaint’s shared desire for experimentation and the free flowing of individual ideas is the subject on which
they’re all most effusive, as if the harmony they’ve clicked into is the perpetual bass note, the only element of their creative process that’s not up for discussion. It’s a mark of maturity, too, and an explanation of the most striking thing about their sound; its unmistakable depth, the unhurried product of something that took its time and is in no doubt about what it is. As we speak, the silent balance of their group dynamic emerges in a sisterly support, one picking up on another’s dropped thread, full of gentle encouragement to complete a thought and make it to the end of a sentence. In the aftermath of ‘The Fool’, for which each and every idea was thrown at the wall, making mixing and exact live renderings almost impossible, things have developed and fine-tuned into an atmosphere that all four of them can breathe. “We definitely approached writing in a completely different way than we ever have,” Lindberg explains.“It’s not about having one person in charge but it’s getting easier for one person to at least see through and to execute their vision fully, without having any interruptions of, ‘wait here’s my idea, here’s my idea’. The rule right now is: there are four people in this band and we all have something important to say so let’s give each other the respect and the time, and listen.” “That’s the most liberating, confusing and slow paced thing about the band,” adds Mozgawa,“no one person is holding the flag and saying, ‘that’s a great idea but ultimately I’m judge, jury and executioner’. It’s crazy and impractical sometimes but also it’s where the unique flavour of the band comes from. If you refine it too much you might lose a bit of the muse or something…” Kokal speaks too of their desire to break out of the tour imposed routine and to shake things up within the band’s infrastructure – for ‘Warpaint’, songs came from all four corners, instruments were swapped and personalities hung back rather than clamouring for some fixed place in the line-up. To any peripheral ear things were working just great, why fix something that isn’t broken? But the four are wise enough to notice that those arbitrary rigours are exactly the kind of thing that can bust a band apart. “I think there’s probably a lot of bands that find a formula that works for them but then there’s that person in the band like George Harrison who never got enough songs on the album because there was something else that was working, or there was competition,” says Kokal. “With our band, at the end of the day, I think fairness plays more of a hand than is normal.” “And no one is saying, ‘Well I’m not playing on that,’” says Lindberg of individually proposed songs, “none of that bullshit was going on. Not that anyone would have done that in the past, but those feelings would have come up for sure.” Kicking old habits also means getting out of town and ‘Warpaint’ could quite easily carry the sub-title Escape from LA; sonically legging it as far as possible from
the torpor of sticky, indistinguishable studio time and heading for the rangy wilderness of Joshua Tree, an area of natural beauty on the edge of the Mojave Desert. They rented a house, complete with Geodesic Dome, and set up every instrument they owned on the living room floor.“It’s really easy to go into a practise space for just a little bit and then go back to your life,” says Kokal, “whereas living in this house together, it was all very concentrated on making the album and I think that gave it a depth.The depth of that experience is in the album.” It’s not hard to image why an expansive landscape, blanketed with starry skies would be a preferable, energising force; not to mention the ease with which you can draw a line between the organic, almost feral edge to their sound and a generative proximity to nature. “I just heard this interesting fact the other day,” confirms Wayman, “when you look at something natural it actually releases endorphins in your brain. Even if it’s something harsh like a rock or a Joshua Tree that’s really spiny, it’s nature so it actually feels good.” That definition of harsh, invigorating beauty – of a satisfying, night-timey darkness – is more or less the perfect way to describe the twelve tracks on the new record. On first listen it’s a pervasive atmosphere or attitude that strikes you, rather than definable melodies or memorable lyrics. I put this to the band, guessing it to have been their intention, but find out how different it feels to them: “The atmosphere was more intentional than on other records,” agrees Kokal, “but I think on past albums there was a kind of film between the music and the listener, it wasn’t quite as immediate…” “We didn’t want to create a lot of conflicting melodic lines,” adds Wayman, “but at the same time I feel like it’s not ambiguous or free floating, at least not to my ears – I feel like there’s more succinct songs.” “We put the vocals up, the lyrics up,” continues Kokal “…the song writing is as much of a focal point as the instrumentation, whereas in the past the vocals were almost just another instrument… there’s a lot more of a vocals pressed to the front, it’s a more traditional style of recording than we did last time.” Clearly there’s something about the listening experience that involves shifting register and inhabiting the band’s particular wavelength. Like ‘The Fool’, ‘Warpaint’ repays a patient and attentive ear – time passes, the music creeps under your skin and suddenly, out of an amorphous, disorienting whole, those succinct melodies gradually begin to emerge. The first single swims around the bittersweet, rhythmic mantra “Love is to Die/Love is to not die / Love is to Dance”; ‘Hi’ broods over crisp electronic beats; ‘Go In’, penned by Mozgawa, is a louche masterpiece of understatement and ‘CC’, driven by Lindberg, might be the grungiest thing they’ll ever produce. The more you delve into the record, the more their specific personalities are revealed, but the thing that tethers it together is the particular blend of timbres that somehow make one, stunning vocal entity; a soft, communal roar that is unmistakably theirs. “Before the record was finished,” says Lindberg, “we thought the songs were all so different and the record was going to be so eclectic, like no song sounds the same – but I think we surprised ourselves, when you tie them all together, how fluid the record was and how concise it feels.” That cohesion could, in part, be attributed to
“With our band, fairness plays more of a hand than is normal”
the involvement of legendary producer Flood whom, along with the expansive desert, Wayman cites as the sixth member of the band. “We’ve ended up with an album that we couldn’t achieve on our own sonically,” she relates. “He has so much experience creating really good sounds, and mic-ing drums in such an incredible way, and being creative with how to layer sonic ideas within a song. All of that is so natural to him that it’s actually pretty hard to know exactly what he’s doing, it seems like nothing’s happening but he’s doing so much!” Flood’s name is generally mentioned in the same breath as the words seminal and landmark – PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, New Order and U2 all being counted in the roster of his long-term collaborators. But rather than exerting any heavy pressure, his presence simply adds to the band’s status as serious, canny musicians, bristling to explore the boundaries of their sound and continuing to gather people around them that compliment rather than upset the balance of their particular universe.“He’s
a real collaborator,” says Kokal, “from the get go, he said ‘you pick what’s comfortable for you’, and that’s pretty amazing for someone of his level. He lived on the premises of the studio, ate what we ate, slept in these little quarters… a really simple, really modest person who was just there to serve the music and to bring out, what he felt, was the best in a circumstance that could be quite stressful.” Perhaps the most logical way to translate this atmosphere of closeness that Warpaint both generate and seem to crave creatively is into the notion of a family. And it’s a motley extended one that includes Wayman’s son, her long distance partner James Blake, and Lindberg’s husband – the maverick, Reading born, video director Chris Cunningham – who plays a direct part in bringing the band’s vision for ‘Warpaint’ to life. For music that sounded so cohesive, the aesthetic that accompanied ‘The Fool’ was arguably pretty jumbled; “everything was scattered,” says Wayman,“it didn’t seem like we knew what we were all about as much as we wanted to portray. So that was a conscious decision this time around, and then we ended up having Chris Cunningham helping us do that!” The band had begun filming one another during the Joshua Tree sessions, just to document their time and “have something in 40 years, y’know,” as Lindberg puts it. But Cunningham was on site too, working on his own projects and taking his place at the family table before eventually beginning to gather footage of the band himself.The result is Love is to Die, a full length film that will accompany the album when it’s released early next year, but don’t expect a fly on the wall documentary – teaser clips suggest that the potent atmosphere of their creative coven has been distilled, layered and set against an underscore of howling desert winds that are tinged with the ghost-girl harmonies. Family ties aside, the collaboration makes total sense when you consider the twisted beauty of their oeuvre alongside Cunningham’s own genius for visualising the most shadowy corners of the collective unconscious. With a shared experience of the places they’ve been and a deep sense of the music they’re engaged with making, it’s fair to say that his treatment of Warpaint’s particular brand of noir is likely to be a gentler assault on the senses than his genre (and peaceful sleep) destroying work for Aphex Twin. “Definitely,” says Lindberg. “The record cover he made for us is really timeless, really classic, really beautiful and soft, but with just a hint of edge and darkness. People think he’s the dark lord of music videos but he’s actually a practical joker and really funny!” “I feel like he’s more mischievous than he is dark,” adds Mozgawa. “I remember seeing ‘Come to Daddy’ and laughing my tits off. Even ‘Windowlicker’, people are like ‘ewwww that’s disgusting’ but I think that’s the funniest shit ever!” So Cunningham will cast his subtly dark web over everything that emerges under the banner of ‘Warpaint’ – even remixing some of the music – and this time around there’ll be no confusion about what the band want to say about who they are. “We’re so lucky that we have someone that has such an interesting, creative and twisted mind in our inner circle,” enthuses Wayman, “and also that he’s so good at what he does…” “His soundtrack is probably going to sell more albums than ours!” jokes Kokal.
hile they’re clearly focused on driving more of themselves into their music, even opening their private, collective world to a bigger audience in the shape of a film, what makes Warpaint such an alluring prospect is the sense that you can never quite pin them down. Between the music that takes its time, a maturity that defies flighty commercialism and the secret alchemy of their friendship bond, the mercurial nature of the band slides in and out of tangibility; even Cunningham’s album artwork alludes to this – depicting four spectral personalities merging into one chimeric whole.They’re both the strange girls on the peripheries of the schoolyard and a classic girl gang that you’d sell your soul to join. They’re goofballs too, cracking each other up as often as they slip into contemplation; just like the track listing of the new record which flits from the gentle, harmonic tug of ‘Teese’ into ‘Disco/Very’ – the Warpaint-ian notion of a floor filler being a snarling, Slits-y, comic book anthem that carries the warning “Don’t you battle / We’ll kill you / Rip you up and tear you in two”. “I think we’re all of those things,” muses Mozgawa, “we’re sunny, we’re very emotional and sensitive, and I think being outwardly sunny is sometimes the end of a journey of being tortured and intense and self-aware. As a collective we come to those places where when we’re having fun we’re genuinely having fun and when we’re sad we’re really sad. Being in a band and being encouraged to let those emotions show, both personally and collectively, I think that you get a bit of everything.” So what’s next for them? While the world casts judgement on the sonic twists and turns of the new album, what will Warpaint do with their renewed sense of balance and possibility? Despite the particularity of their identity as a collective, Mozgawa, Lindberg, Wayman and Kokal are clearly never going to be interested in JUST being instrumentalists and will doubtlessly want to explore projects beyond the limits of the band. “Being in a band with less people sounds nice,” says Lindberg, “with just one other person y’know… doing something heavy metal! I’ve always wanted to be in an instrumental band too...” “Yeah, Jen and I have talked about starting a funny project that’s really hard-core,” says Mozgawa, “and I think all of us are totally not intimidated about anyone exploring all the things they want to explore, because it only enhances the experience of being around each other.There’s no antagonism and no one feels held back. I’ve been in situations where I’ve been dissuaded from playing with other people and I feel really lucky that we’re all supportive enough of each other that we can all go off and do our own thing. Aside from the fact that we’re a functioning collective we’re also really hyper and we all have a lot that we want to do while we can.” Despite having conjured the anxieties of her 19 year old self, it’s Lindberg who articulates the one thing that’s underpinning the whole operation, the thing that keeps the planets aligned and the ship afloat; “It feels special and unique,” she enthuses. “If we broke up or did something else, I feel like it would be missed. It would be something we eventually would want to come back to because, y’know, you can’t really find that anywhere else.” “Yeah,” says Mozgawa, “It’s a weird delicate thing for sure.”
Impress your friends by listening to our ALBUMS OF THE YEAR mixtape only at www.loudandquiet.com Featuring our top 40 artists of 2013
Loud AND quiet ALBUMS LIVE FILM REviews
Al bums 06/10
Let’s Wrestle Let’s Wrestle (Fortuna Pop) By Mandy Drake. In stores Feb 10
East India Youth Total Strife Forever (Stolen) By Joe Goggins. In stores Jan 13
Nothing says ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’ quite like branching out of music journalism and into running of an independent record label – the former is, at best, in a state of transition, while the latter remains a business that operates on the very brink of financial viability.We’ve given it go, as has The Line of Best Fit, while in April 2013 The Quietus was inspired to release ‘Hostel’, the debut EP from East India Youth, aka Bournemouth based producer William Doyle. At the time of ‘Hostel’’s release, alongside some characteristically visceral comments about the unforgiving nature of putting out records, Quietus head honcho John Doran provided some sharp insight into how much he believes in Doyle when he said, “I would’ve remortgaged my own soul to get this music out there.” Now signed with Tottenham’s Stolen Recordings, EIY follows up a slew of rapturously-received support slots to Factory Floor with this, his debut album. Delightfully, ‘Total Strife Forever’ is nowhere near as insipid as the Foals record from which it cheekily takes its name; rather, this is a genuinely ambitious statement of intent from an artist who clearly has no qualms whatsoever about blurring genre boundaries. ‘Hinterland’ is a disorientating example of Doyle’s willingness to force a host of
incongruous influences into the same sonic space; a rushing, bassy beat and repetitive, techno synths battle for prominence, before the latter ascends with the growing urgency of a ticking time bomb only to give way to a sudden retro flavour in the percussion, as the beat takes on a feel of ‘Blue Monday’. ‘Total Strife Forever III’ – the track around which the record has been ultimately built – meanwhile takes the atmospheric buzz of opener ‘Glitter Recession’ and skews it, with off-kilter electronics and unpredictable fade ins and outs making for a genuinely mercurial soundscape. ‘Heaven How Long’ then takes things in a different direction entirely, reaching a middle ground between electro and dream pop that’s pleasingly contemporary (think MONEY if they swapped their guitars for keyboards), and ‘Dripping Down’ is in similar territory.The combination of tribal drumming with twinkling keyboards should be a jarring one, but Doyle’s soothing vocals work well as the track’s anchor. ‘Midnight Koto’ sounds like Doyle’s pitch for a new Blade Runner score, which, like much of this record, is neither hugely intricate nor especially complex in structure, yet there’s a question of whether in needs to be considering Doyle’s keen ear for minimalism. It’s is a fittingly forward-thinking record with which to kick off 2014. It’s time for a new approach to minimalist songwriting to permeate the mainstream – one that isn’t yet another pale imitation of The xx – and East India Youth has offered up a serious candidate in that regard.
When a band names a record after themselves and it’s not their first, the message is clear if clichéd – “this is the real us”.You can’t imagine that London’s Let’s Wrestle would disagree with that: not frontman Wesley Patrick Gonzalez, at least. This third album is all him; effectively a solo record; impressively, his first written the sour side of 19. In 2007, barely out of school, Gonzalez rejected his juvenile, indie adolescence on debut single ‘I Wish I Was In Husker Dü’ – a track of rudimentary garden-shed-punk that dissed Lambchop and idolised Part Chimp and Thurston Moore. It was largely a joke and the humour has indecently outlived a vast majority of the band’s rolling cast members, but it also set the tone for Let’s Wrestle’s homemade debut of Pavement pop through keen schoolboy eyes that were also petulant and quintessentially English.The following ‘Nursing Home’ was less hip in that sense, but it’s ‘Let’s Wrestle’ that sees Gonzalez finally bring the band back in line with his true heroes – The Beatles and various classic bands you might find on an America AM dial. Gonzalez is clearly more McCartney than he is Lennon, pricing melody above anything else, which unfortunately includes simple excitement for the greater good of a song ‘working’. And so all of ‘Let’s Wrestle’ sounds perfectly decent, if draing in its constant mid-tempo by the closing ‘Watching Over You’ - one weepy to far in a record so down on romance. Mud-like waltz ‘Tied Up’ stands out as a rare occasion in which unlucky in love Gonzelez is melodramatic enough to not bring us down in his funk, while ‘Opium Den’ is the optimum cocktail of the band’s slacker beginnings and ‘the real Westley Patrick Gonzalez’ - a young man getting a little older.
Love To Give
Eighteen Hours of Static
(Rock Action) By Reef Younis. In stores Jan 20
(No Pain In Pop) By Amy Pettifer. In stores Feb 17
(Fire) By Joe Goggins. In stores Jan 27
(Soft Bodies) By Sam Walton. In stores Jan 13
(Tough Love) By Sam Cornforth. In stores Jan 21
Eight albums and 18 years instil a special kind of devotion Mogwai will enjoy until their last molten electronic beat hums its dying ebb. It’s a privileged position that’s been hard-earned by the bombastic, guitar-heavy travails of their early output, and the dedicated, electronic exploration of ‘Happy Songs for Happy People’. Lately though, the tumultuous walls of guitar squall have been noticeably less ferocious, and where previous album ‘Hardcore Will Never Die...’ spiked with a few outstanding moments of sky-splitting anthemia, ‘Rave Tapes’ is also equally restrained. Perhaps the sound of a band wilfully slowing things down, where the BoC-esque journey of opener ‘Heard About You Last Night’ is beautifully crafted, and ‘Remurdered’ is an intense, driving electronic cut, the emotional force of ‘No Medecine For Regret’ is still enough to cut you in two.
For Halls, the project of London based Sam Howard, music is no joke. Solemnity is his thing and, on his second album aged just 23, he’s not mucking about. Easily mistakable for a more mature artist, his choirboy falsetto has warmed to a timbre not dissimilar to Beirut’s Zach Condon, delivering a depth beyond its years.While the atmosphere of ‘Love to Give’ is one of longing and melancholy, it steers clear of doom, thanks to a full band supporting Howard’s soaring voice and keys, particularly a bold rhythm section, let loose on the nine minute closer to fiery effect. His debut ‘Ark’ casts more funereal shadows but a welcome, cathartic heat creeps through these nine tracks and builds languorously around modern hymnals such as ‘Sanctus’ and the brighter melodies of ‘Waves’ and ‘Harmony in Blue’. There’s light and shade and nothing to laugh about.
Brooklyn trio Hospitality took far too long to get their self-titled debut album out; a failure that meant that after considerable Web hype in 2009, most people will probably think this the band’s first. It’s been a speedy turn-around since that LP, and the stop-start structure of the opening ‘Nightingale’ is no subtle hint of what’s to come. Vocalist Amber Papini, who sounds like Karen O’s tougher, older sister, is rather inspired; sultry on ‘Going Out’, dramatic on ‘Rockets and Jets’. Instrumentally, the band have branched out towards more expansive territory, with spacey synths and meandering guitars scattered throughout, especially on the sprawling standout ‘Last Words’. You’re bound to have heard more original records than this in 2013, but Hospitality make enough smart nods to some obvious references to suggest they’re not going anywhere just yet.
Calling your album ‘Utility Music’ suggests loftier ambitions than just the aesthetic: this is music that sets out to accomplish something. How disappointing, then, that Gyratory System’s third LP is so circular, self-consuming and simplistic – and not very likeable either.Taking its cue from 1960s synth experimentalism (if you’re being charitable) and happy hardcore (if you’re not),‘Utility Music’ is a dumber, more self-satisfied Dan Deacon, lacking his excitement or human warmth and in love with its own loops. Central tracks ‘Lackland’ and ‘Thorney Island’, with their textured drones and playful woodwind, hint at what Gyratory System could do with broader horizons, and ‘Mr Portsmouth’’s swooshing interlude of bass throb is quite mesmerising, but the vast majority of ‘Utility Music’ is single-tempo crud, tedious and, perhaps most damningly, useless.
Big Ups’ debut album serves as a thrilling history lesson in American punk.The New York four-piece met whilst studying about Cat 5 cables, but judging by ‘Eighteen Hours of Static’ they have decided to throw their tech manuals out of the window and instead play really sludgy rock music. Opener ‘Body Parts’ is tense and taut like an elastic band that has been pulled back, whilst ‘Goes Black’ springs loose channelling the Descendants’ at their noisiest, and later ‘Fresh Meat’ and ‘Fine Line’ sound like the result of a Pissed Jeans and The Jesus Lizard’s love child.This debut album is fast, frantic and furious, but it is ‘Wool’, the only song that clocks in over two minutes, that is the real ace in their pack, as it builds to an invigorating climax and shows these punks don’t just fire songs out at a zillion miles per hour while convincingly aping Fugazi and Double Dagger.
Angel Olsen Burn Your Fire For No Witness (Jagjaguwar) By James West. In stores Feb 17
Missouri-born singer Angel Olsen sounds quite unbelievable on her second LP. Her rickety coo is more flawless than ever, her songwriting is defiantly more eclectic than it was throughout the acoustic porch songs of ‘Half Way Home’ and those abrasive punk roots – described as “blood-curdling” when she performed in Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s backing band – are laid bare through a string of charged-up ditties. ‘Unfucktheworld’ flits between Moldy Peaches’ innocent allure and Vera Lynn’s timeless warble, recalling her more primitive, reverb-shrouded ‘Strange Cacti’ EP, while ‘Forgiven/Forgotten’ sees her flash her fangs with exactly the sort of instantaneous ear-assault that Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast strives for time and time again with mixed results. Even better is ‘Hi-Five’, which is a stoned shot of sun-blemished rock’n’roll that lollops like a big, silly St. Bernard in the woods, before beautiful closer ‘Windows’ paints an acute and emotionally wrought portrait.
Al bums 06/10
Choir of Echoes
(Polydor) By Sam Cornforth. In stores Feb 3
(Melodic) By Chris Watkeys. In stores Jan 6
(Wichita) By Hayley Scott. In stores Jan 27
(Fierce Panda) By Daisy Jones. In stores Dec 16
Brothers & Sisters of the Eternal Sun
Arthur Beatrice have seemingly achieved the unachievable by taking their time to perfect their debut album whilst remaining firmly in buzzy minds. Earlier this year, their EP ‘Carter’ whetted appetites and debut album ‘Working Out’ nicely follows suit. Delicate pop is still very much on the menu, and evidently the band have taken their time to place every note exactly where they want them, like on ‘Councillor’ that breathes slowly into life before morphing into an intrigue slice of sparse pop.The essential ingredient here, though, is Orlando Leopard’s and Ella Girardot’s cooing vocals that interweave superbly on ‘Midland’ and ‘Grand Union’. And yet, as the gossamer pop ripples have a habit of bordering on the bland, drifting out of attention completely on the needless ‘Interlude’, while carefully constructed, this debut is hard to truly love.
Pitched somewhere between Band of Horses, Foals and Yeasayer, Patterns are a band who clearly have a vision of what they want to achieve. On ‘Blood’ there is something mildly euphoric about the many-layered headrush of sound and the driving rhythms pushing the song forward. It’s highly crafted, intelligent music with an electronic gloss; music that both hangs in and illuminates the darkness like the northern lights. ‘Waking Lines’ is a million miles from meat’n’potatoes indie rock, but despite its moments of shimmering beauty and its attempts to reach for something extraordinary, it’s a record that ultimately disappoints. It feels insubstantial, and at times impactless; by the end the flood has become a trickle, the band’s grip on your soul loosens and falls away, and the sameness of one track following another leads the album into a musical cul-de-sac.
When Peggy Sue first emerged in 2007, their then full-name, Peggy Sue and the Pirates, came with negatively twee implications. It wasn’t long, however, until the band redefined their moniker and sound (a predilection for traditional folk and the glowing whir of alt-rock) and shook off the shackles off their cloying beginnings. ‘Choir of Echoes’ is a heightened continuation of that. It inclines towards a more mature vision in both sound and context, but carries on their aptitude for melody, at times sounding more ‘surfy’ than usual. Single ‘Idle’ – an ode to the dole – has an opening and closing part akin to that of a troubled gospel song, which remains an underlying theme throughout. Claimed to be an album about singing, it’s this emphasis on voices and the variations thereof that makes this record stand out as the bands finest to date.
Owen Brinley’s been knocking around the north of England for a while now, most notably as the ethereal vocalist from rock quartet Grammatics, who disbanded after they ran out of money.Two years of DJing in Leeds nightclubs and one diagnosis of Hyperacusis later (severe tinnitus), Brinley has returned with solo project Department M, which hears him put down the guitar and pick up a Roland Juno-60 Keyboard.The results are quite spectacular. Layers of off-kilter drumbeats, heavily textured synths and ghostly vocals give way to a sweeping, darkly atmospheric debut.Whilst listening to the numb, church-like drones of ‘Sleepwalker’, or the intermittent scratches of white-noise that build in ‘Absentic’, one can’t help but wonder if Brinley’s unfortunate case of Hyperacusis may have given rise to pleasingly offbeat swathes of sound.
(Secretly Canadian) By Jack Doherty. In stores Jan 20 There was a shift sometime in the last 5 years – car adverts stopped being about cars and ended up as nothing more than fragrance adverts for petrol. Obscure arty images replaced engines and voiceovers about journeys replaced stats about catalytic convertors. The soundtrack to these new, floaty automobile images was slightly obscure indie bands with a bit of a folky Americana thing going on.The songs had just enough edge to pass as being hip, but not enough edge to put car buyers off, because if they put the car buyers off, they wouldn’t be very good adverts would they? Seattle’s Damien Jurado has made an album (his 13th since 1997) full of tunes for car adverts.This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it’s hard to tell just yet if it’s a brilliant thing. I should probably ring Toyota to find out.
Dum Dum Girls Too True (Sub Pop) By David Zammitt. In stores Jan 27
Dum Dum Girls’ Dee Dee Penny reckons she “let the muse loose” on this, the project’s third album. It’s a big claim but, having shed band members and regrouped since 2011’s ‘Only In Dreams’, it’s Penny’s best work yet. Where that album proffered nods towards the likes of Mazzy Star and the Pretenders,‘Too True’ calls on Siouxsie, Robert Smith and the Cocteau Twins for inspiration. It’s smarter, sassier, and more coherent and it feels as though Penny might finally have found her true sound. Highlights are lead single ‘Lost Boys and Girls Club’, with its funereal bass drum beat and fractured, distorted guitar motif, and the nonchalant, dry-ice post-punk of ‘Rimbaud Eyes’. Elsewhere,‘Are You Okay’ recalls the weaving, tumbling layered vocals of Elizabeth Fraser, while ‘Evil Blooms’ takes the Scottish singer’s unearthly style and sets it to a thumping, propulsive beat and Marr-esque guitar lines. It also benefits from the superbly pithy refrain,“Why be good? Be beautiful and sad, it’s all you’ve ever had.”
Planningtorock All Love’s Legal (Human Level) By Amy Pettifer. In stores Feb 17 As progressive as we might think the landscape of contemporary music is, it’s not until someone pipes up in the plainest terms that you realise what a Micky Mouse operation it is.We can learn nothing from Disney Channel alumni whose messages of emancipation are twerked rather than tweaked – we need people like Jam (formerly Janine) Rostron to take definitions further and queer the pitch, as she does literally on her third album of straight-from-the-heart, four-to-the-floor killers. Much like John Maus, whose ‘Rights for Gays’ beats a comparative path, Rostron knows that the best way to get your message across is to embrace the language of capitalism i.e. an instantaneous, hook heavy soundtrack crammed with messages that stick fast in your head; gender’s just a lie and fall in love with whoever you want to are the blazons of her campaign. The Judith Butler of the electronic underground calls for Public Love Respect over effervescing sub bass and skittering beats, while also darkening her euphoric message with a sense of struggle via the electronic caterwaul and scramble of ‘Mysogyny Drop Dead’ and ‘Beyond Binary Binds’. On this record, PLANNINGTOROCK boldly fulfils its potential, heads up the charge and doles out the kind of revolutionary anthemics we need right now and in the days to come.
Angel Guts: Red Classroom
(Bella Union) By David Zammitt. In stores 3 Feb
(Trouble In Mind) By Jack Doherty. In stores Jan 27
And so Jamie Stewart continues his almost annual habit of releasing a new Xiu Xiu record. As always, the bile is dialled up to eleven with the goal seemingly be to simply shock, disorientate and dislocate whoever has the misfortune to play the role of listener. I don’t want to put words in mouths, of course, but it doesn’t seem too risky to say that Stewart and Co. (Angela Seo has been Xiu Xiu’s other half since 2009, yet it really remains a Stewart endeavor) would like to challenge us. Ideally, their music will invert our idea of art and force us to ask ourselves some very difficult existential questions regarding the world around us. However, rather than causing me to confront anything, ‘Black Dick’’s chorus of ‘Black dick, black dick, black dick,’ makes me feel uncomfortable for all the wrong reasons. It makes me cringe and it makes me want to spit out my food (a bit like I’m A Celebrity…, you shouldn’t eat with this album on) and laugh out loud. I can only assume that this wasn’t the intended reaction.
Flicking through the latest edition of the Official Cockney Rhyming Slang Dictionary (something I do with great regularity), I came across the phrase ‘Morgan Delt’, which apparently means ‘melt’, as in: “Would you mind Morgan Delting that cheese for me. I love Morgan Delted cheese”. Incidentally for this Morgan Delt of Los Angeles, melting is exactly what his music does, all over the floor and out of the door. The tunes on his debut album are so trippy they make make Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd seem a bit pedestrian, which is a big claim, but rock monsters need taking down a peg or two every now and then and this self-titled album does a half decent job of that.The guitars drip around all over without a hint of prog over indulgence, just like psych pop should do, and this concise nature is MD’s true gift.There’s not a chance anyone will be playing Dungeons & Dragons to this, and thank God for that. Prog rock died long ago, let’s not attempt a resurrection.
Al bums 07/10
I Break Horses Chiaroscuro (Bella Union) By James West. In stores Jan 13 Holy smokes! It seems that this Stockholm-based duo of Maria Lindén and Fredrik Balck has taken a leaf out of their untouchable recent tour mates’ book. Like Icelandic messiahs Sigur Rós, who have carefully honed their ethereal soundscapes across seven rather glorious studio albums without too many dramatic departures, I Break Horses similarly haven’t shape-shifted on sophomore ‘Chiaroscuro’, but rather added a new layer of beguiling depth to their brand of delicate electronica. The title itself – meaning “light-dark” – sets the tone nicely;‘You Burn’’s poignant and lingering piano chords sound brooding like NO CEREMONY/// at half speed, while Lindén evokes some sort of elusive Natasha Khan/Del Rey hybrid as she playfully whispers “Baby you burn” in a lazily seductive fashion. Esewhere they’re far less gentle and accessible, like on ‘Faith’, which is bold, cold and hypnotic, starting ominously like mid-90s Underworld, before revealing an insistent, detuned Crystal Castles-like hook. It’s strong, but the duo still seem at their most resonant when they heighten the contrast even more. Consequently,‘Weigh True Words’ is the gem here, gliding effortlessly on roaming percussion and glossy synth. Basically, this isn’t light years away from debut ‘Hearts’, but Lindén says all she cared about was ignoring second album pressures, and that plan of attack has made for steady improvement.
(Label) By Sam Walton. In stores Feb 3
(Warp) By Josh Sunth. In stores Feb 17
One would be forgiven for feeling trepidatious about a new record from The Verve’s Nick McCabe and Simon Jones. After The Verve’s final album of cod-totemic bullshit and a realisation that their finest work was now twenty years old, a new album of sprawling bombast from two 40-somethings – albeit one free of Dickie Ashcroft’s messianic warbling – is not exactly on everyone’s Christmas list. But against all odds, ‘New Shores’ is actually a rather enthralling record of sprawling bombast: full of icy vocals from newcomer Amelia Tucker, twinkling McCabe trademark guitars, big dubby bass and even bigger strings, it carries its own considerable weight with a reassuring confidence.That’s not to say there isn’t a fair amount of bloat here too: several songs could lose their final couple of minutes of infinitely stretched guitar noodle, and a couple of others could disappear altogether.The bulk, though, is a treat of swaggering, psychedelic rock that hints at The Verve’s earliest work, and there’s no reason to fear that.
Wanting to be known solely for his fiddling with patchwork electronics, Patten isn’t exactly forthcoming with information about himself.The camera-shy Londoner’s latest LP, however, is the opposite of self-effacing: a sharply focused, almost overconfident selection of electronics, which sees the disjointed feel that underwrote much of his debut largely dealt with. Listen to tracks as demanding and downright arrogant as ‘Agen’, where even the most obtuse clashes of ambience and percussion beget only clean lines, and it’s clear Patten has perfected the knack of making the relentless and the difficult slide down easily.Whether plumbing the icy soundscapes of Rustie’s ‘Glass Swords’, the wonky lopes that characterised much of Hopkins’ ‘Immunity’, or carving out his own shapes, placing clicks, whirs, synths and a palette of other tangential sounds over trademark flurries of drumming, everything about ‘ESTOILE NAIANT’ feels like an exercise in drawing out elegance from the densest complexity.
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
Sophie Ellis Bextor
The Age of Fracture
(Wichita) By Chris Watkeys. In stores Feb 10
(EBGB’s) By Stuart Stubbs. In stores Jan 20
(Tough Love) By Reef Younis. In stores Jan 27
(Mexican Summer) By Austin Laike. In stores Feb 3
The opening few guitar-drenched bars of ‘Cheetahs’ hit you like a wave and leave you belly up on a stony beach, staring into the aged eyes of early nineties alternative guitar rock.This debut album from the London-based four-piece is an unsubtle but perfectly executed homage to the past. Even on first listen everything feels naggingly familiar, walking in the knackered shoes of shoegaze.‘Northern Exposure’ is a brutally loud guitar assault, with indistinct vocals and a slacker guitar trope on fast-forward, while bright melodies battle their way through the fuzz to emerge gasping for air at the surface. Much of this record bludgeons your senses like being stood in front of a wall of amps, buffeted by blasts of vibrating air, but while the epic ‘The Swan’ is melts into an indistinct, echoing kaleidoscope of sound, such highpoints merely mask how backwards looking this album is.
Last seen fox trotting around Bruce Forsyth’s dementia, Sophie Ellis-Bextor probably never intended for ‘Wanderlust’ to sound like a bid for West-end Theatre Land – the next logical step for any singer that defibrillates their career with the shock of Strictly Come Dancing – but much of this dramatic collaboration with Ed Hardcourt showcases Bextor’s ability to tell a story through song.The singer’s bird-like warble shares centre stage here with Hardcourt’s string arrangements that rise and fall throughout the Broadway plot twists, from the Arabic rush of the opening ‘Birth Of An Empire’ to the chipper ‘Runaway Dreamer’ that sees our protagonist pull herself out of squalor and onto a road of self discovery. Even at its most ‘pop’, a track like ‘13 Dolls’ conjures images of an ensemble cast stepping in time. Bextor should be on the stage; Hardcourt her wing(s)man.
Princeton academics and weighty literary ideals rarely make for a bright-eyed sense of feel-good, but it’s a trick Cymbals pull off extremely nimbly. Inspired by a book about the uncertainty of collective meaning, it’s a neat backdrop to the band’s everchanging amalgam of ragged punk-funk and sleek, disco-inspired pop.This time, the emphasis is firmly on the latter, lending ‘The Age of Fracture’ the familiarly gilded sounds of Foals and Everything Everything but still allows Cymbals’ ingenuity to shine through. It does so on the itchy-picked guitar lines of standout track ‘Like an Animal’, and whilst ‘Empty Space’ and ‘The Natural World’ hark back to the Talking Heads deference of ’Unlearn’, the echoing melodies of ‘Winter 98’ and the sweet J.Mascis-esque melancholy of ‘Erosion’ still make this a massively enjoyable listen.
When I think of the word ‘quilt’ – not that I do that often – I specifically think of America, the 1970s and, as a result, The Wonder Years. New York trio Quilt get it, even if you don’t – they make triple harmony, out-of-town, shamelessly vintage sounding, 60s-hangover, purist guitar music that could only have ever come from the United States.They make gently stoned, counter culture pop for brown paneled station wagons, which somehow will forever sound autumnal even when they planned for it to be summer music. Where Brooklyn campfire band Woods are the Pitchfork Generation’s answer to Neil Young, Quilt are its Byrds, viewed through the flicker of a Super 8.They are cool, which is why they’ve signed to Mexican Summer, but coyly so, seemingly only really concerned in keeping the sepia melodies going. They are very, very good.
Held in Splendor
Wig Out At Jagbags (Domino) By Daisy Jones. In stores Jan 20 “I would not jerryrig or candy-coat your Latin Kisses,” sings exPavement frontman Stephen Malkmus in ‘Lariet’, the third track off his fifth album with The Jicks. It’s a brilliant lyric, and is one that embodies the exhaustedly feted lyricist in a warbling portion of drunken poeticism.Whilst anything he releases will inevitably draw comparisons to the hugely influential Pavement, he’s actually been making music with the Jicks for a little longer than the former. It is therefore perhaps painful to say that ‘Wig out at the Jagbags’ is essentially a case of ’90s déjà vu that has been cleaned and tightened.The fitful energy combined with brilliantly askew melodies and quintessential Malkmus witticism remains, but the album emerges as a touch softer, and this adultification does affect ones enjoyment. Only ever so slightly, though.
Blank Realm Grassed Inn (Fire) By Josh Sunth. In stores 13 Jan
Whilst Hookworms have been over here leaving a visible trail of destruction in their wake, Australian family psych band Blank Realm were clearly busy with the details.They’ve always had a roughness about their lo-fi garage punk, but on ‘Grassed In’ it’s been curbed a little, concentrated, snapped into line. Album opener ‘Back To The Flood’ is a sort of loose, pleasing sketch of Blank Realm at their best, centring itself on a fidgety, hyperactive guitar riff and then proceeding to loiter brazenly on the verge of anthemic.‘Even The Score’, however, is more representative of the whole and, after a thumping first few seconds, sits back and settles for relative impotence. As a crop of fine-tuned (but still pleasingly raucous) tracks, there’s plenty to enjoy here, but gone are the expansive gestures and the messiness that often excited most about Blank Realm’s music. Instead, ‘Grassed In’ is another step down the path towards the tighter, more precise songwriting that 2012’s ‘Go Easy’ hinted at, and it feels a little too comfortable
Factory Floor Heaven, London 03.12.2013 Words by Sam Walton Photography by Roy J Baron
When Factory Floor’s debut album proper finally arrived in September, it somewhat unexpectedly took the form of a gleaming new, seamless steel skyscraper: pristine, megalithic and disappointingly shorn – or maybe cleansed – of the splashes of grit, fuzz, reverb and chaos that had been scattered across the band’s earlier EPs and live shows. The result was a spotless techno record of immaculate purity, atomic flawlessness and technical virtuosity, but one, crucially, with only a fleeting resemblance to the band that has been so alluring on stage for the past three years.The studio had apparently put their music on a marathon-runner’s diet, stripping it of all fat, leaving a muscular but characterless husk, and while that Spartan, boiled-down approach was eye-catching, and weirdly seductive, the vanishing act was ultimately under-nourishing. Indeed, seldom must an act have existed whose live performances differed so much from their debut recorded statement. Thankfully, though, this musical asset-stripping hasn’t spread as far as the trio’s stage incarnation: tonight’s Factory Floor offer a full-fat performance of frantic improvisation and rhythmical interplay that also reintroduces Nik Colk’s scabrous guitar playing that was all but absent on the band’s
debut.That they do all this at uncompromising volume and considerable length – an hour and a half of unbroken sound is unleashed with almost sadistic zeal – suggests that the slimline studio variant of the band has been left just there. That’s not to say, however, that the austere sound palettes and space that characterised their debut is absent: tonight, their songs don’t so much begin as creep into life, each one stealthily assembling a hulking mass of defibrillating beats and sinuous synth before allowing the additional thrills of reverberating vocals and shrapnel guitar to cut across the mix. It’s a hypnotic effect: the band shift from track to track with a machined precision, warping one’s sense of time in the process, and it’s only when they embark on what the set-list describes as “30 Minutes Deconstruction” that you realise an hour’s passed and they’re through with playing the album.The improvised jam has an apt title: what’s initially physically and mentally exhausting ultimately ends up eliciting a zen-like calm reminiscent of ambient pioneers Stars of the Lid as almighty waves of feedback drone, sine wave and mechanised thud intertwine and mutate.With at least four false endings, glorious spontaneity throughout and a thrilling demonstration of
the band’s maverick hive brain, it’s the freest, most impressive part of the show and is also, tellingly, the farthest the trio stray from the sleek blueprint of their debut. Of course, Factory Floor are not the first band to struggle to make a successful trip from stage to studio – if, that is, they did struggle at all: what tonight proves beyond doubt is that while their songs may be compositionally slight, there are myriad ways of executing them. Indeed, the band have argued before that a recording just represents one incarnation of each piece, itself no more valid or definitive than any given live rendition, and with that stylistic restlessness in mind it’s a tribute to the band that they still appear so pleasingly bloody-minded and self-expressive, and that their appeal remains so potent. Indeed, not unlike Battles – three more assertive, strong-willed and enormously talented individuals who combine their obvious musical differences to make something utterly captivating – one gets the impression that Factory Floor won’t let trifling matters like sonic consistency or outside approval impinge on their artistic direction on stage – especially when the output is as focussed, animal and oddly transporting as this.
Ty Segall The Scala, Kings Cross, London 02.12.2013 By Samuel Ballard Photography by Owen Richards
Ty Segall is, in many ways, totally unique. His output is prolific. His fans are doting. And tonight he plays to a packed out Scala, which is turning away people by the bucket-load at the door. And you can see why. Segall will play a set mainly taken from his most recent album, ‘Sleeper’; an uncharacteristically acoustic record that possesses a sobriety that many may be unfamiliar with.There is a sombre tone that, while not evident lyrically, fills every other recorded space, and it’s worth noting that ‘Sleeper’ was written during a time when the singer’s adopted father died following a long illness, and also shortly after he stopped talking to his mother.Whether or not these events have permeated Segall’s writing is up for debate, but within a live setting, the songwriter shows a completely different side to his character. Fittingly, the whole band is seated, as their man acoustically and skilfully meanders through his recent output. It’s captivating where Segall is usually carefree and full of life, especially during tracks ‘Sleeper’, ‘The Keepers’ and ‘Crazy’. Some corners of the room try and illicit a response between tracks, but he’s having none of it, stoically working his way through the evening, grabbing the Scala by the hand and gently pulling them along with him. And regardless of whether or not you believe that the album’s supposed context is important, one thing is certain: the last year has affected how Segall wants to be seen as a live performer – it’s halted the part, somewhat.There is a new rawness tonight, markedly different from past outings and while less ‘fun’, this newly revealed vulnerability feels all the more enduring.
Television Academy 2, Manchester 17.11.2013 By Hayley Scott Photography by Andy Ennis/ shot2bits.net
When a band’s reputation rests heavily on one particular album, they’re usually expected to showcase the music thereof at their live shows.Tonight, Television fans are in luck, because the band’s current low-key world tour draws heavily on their seminal album ‘Marquee Moon’ and this evening sees them performing some of proto-punk’s greatest and most influential songs, in what seems like such an intimate venue for band of such importance.The music being played over the PA is aptly punk and new wave from Television’s epoch, and people become increasingly restless ahead of the band’s arrival, though when Tom Verlaine and group do eventually enter the stage, the response from the crowd is relatively timid… until they launch into the indelibly brilliant ‘Prove It’, a single that became one of their most successful in the UK, and was the catalyst for their wider critical acclaim.The song’s unforgettable appeal is manifested in the crowd’s zealous appreciation as they yelp “prove it!” in sync with Verlaine’s distinct, bleatingly awkward vocals that are only ever so slighting starting to reveal their age.They continue with the more idiosyncratic and very early 7” single ‘Little Johnny Jewel’, ‘Elevation’, ‘Torn Curtain’ and countless other unmistakable gems, all similarly perfected by Jimmy Rip’s potent guitar virtuosity.They finish, unsurprisingly, with the instantly recognisable ‘Marquee Moon’, which turns out to be a spectacularly elongated version with the dextrous instrumentation and Verlaine’s sneering, obtuse wordplay all present, correct and not sounding a day over its prime.This band are remarkably timeless.
Autumn Defense The Lexington, Angel, London 24.11.2013 By Sam Walton Photography by Sam Walton
Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy once responded to an accusation that his band was dad-rock with, “I’m a dad, and I like Merzbow – does that make Merzbow dad-rock?”, and while devotees will cite plenty of the group’s catalogue that draws from post-rock, drone and krautrock, it’s an understandable charge.What’s more, one gets the impression that those Wilco fans who have come tonight to see two of the band’s rhythm section – bassist John Stirratt and guitarist Pat Sansone – perform as an acoustic duo are not exactly expecting anything avant garde. And that’s just as well: Stirratt and Sansone stick to the Beatlesy, ’70s AOR blueprint that has peppered their mother band’s recent records so tastefully, and the congregated Men Of A Certain Age – virtually the entire audience is male, over 40 and demonstrating the full ranges of both male-pattern baldness and Marks & Spencer leather jackets – listen and nod reverentially. Indeed, the reverence is somewhat disarming to Sansone, who begins by thanking the crowd for their silence but ends sounding slightly desperate for something more than the polite applause that greets every song.Yet that polite applause is deserved – Stirratt and Sansone perform elegantly and effortlessly, harmonising and playing together in that tightly-coiled manner of musicians who’ve spent far more time as the backbone rather than the head of a rock band, while unfurling a repertoire that treads delicately between Byrdsian jangle and – especially when Sansone takes to the piano – the wistful nostalgia of Magic FM yacht-rock. It makes for a deeply comfortable, winsome and unjarring Sunday evening; quite what Stirratt and Sansone’s boss might make of it all is another matter entirely.
Jessy Lanza XOYO, Old Street, London 30.11.2013 Words by Sam Walton Photography by Roy J Baron
As technology improves, what passes for live performance in a club environment seems to become an ever more fluid affair. So when Jessy Lanza takes the stage for a 45-minute “live” set in front of a synth, a microphone and a Macbook, it’s hard to escape the feeling that XOYO is about to be treated to, essentially, some pretty trendy karaoke. And so it goes: Lanza, alone on stage, cues backing tracks on the laptop beside her and then sings along, occasionally stabbing at chords on the synth or playing out the lead line with one hand.What’s frustrating isn’t so much the unapologetic artificiality – the arrangements replicate ‘Pull My Hair Back’, Lanza’s terrific recent album perfectly faithfully, and her sleek, breathy vocals are seductively delivered – but more the inescapable feeling of a performance that’s on rails: there’s nothing spontaneous or interactive here, just a great singer with excellent songs, singing them exactly the same every night not because she chooses to do so, but because the backing track insists she must. It’s a shame too: the most addictive quality of her LP is its innate warmth and intimacy, with Lanza’s expressive, girlish range a wonderful tonic for the juddering bass elsewhere; her songs are sordid and coital, injecting a humanity to the surrounding pristine skeletal gloss.Tonight, though, that enticing three-dimensionality is all but stripped away, and Lanza somewhat flails as a result. A reluctance to employ a full band for a shared-bill booking like tonight is understandable; by the same token, though, with songs as visceral as Lanza’s, one can’t help feel that the current execution is an opportunity missed.
Films of 2013 By IAN ROEBUCK
0 3 . G ra v i t y ||||||||||
So Alfonso Cuaron and his little brother Jonas fell short on the screenplay, and the allegorical final third lacked subtlety, but for sheer bloody-minded thrills Gravity delivered. Spacewalking from set piece to ridiculous set piece, Sandra Bullock’s Ryan Stone went from eye-wateringly naive to Ripley-ripping-herclothes-off in a blink of an eye and as tough as it was to stomach the 3D more than made up for it. After your head stopped spinning the details remained, the camera travelling magically through Stone’s helmet, while George Clooney’s lost in space monologues sparkled amongst a starry sky of minutia.
0 4 . A f ie l d I n E ng l an d ||||||||||
They used to grind mushrooms to dust and blow them in the vicinity of unsuspecting squares, and watching this film felt just like a face full of fungus. The prevalence of hallucinogens in the 17th Century triggered Ben Wheatley’s inventive mind whilst filming a documentary on historical reenactments and so A Field in England was born. It turned out having your brain invaded in barbaric fashion by Wheatley was more pleasant than you’d imagine. Tethered with authentic prose from Amy Jump’s screenplay, this films muddy grip dragged us into the English Civil War and gloriously left us stranded.
B e f ore M i d nig h t ||||||||||
A lot can happen in nine years. Richard Linklater’s heartfelt trilogy of films has made us smirk, sob and feel spectacularly old. Almost two decades since the first encounter (Before Sunrise, 1995) and nine years since the last (Before Sunset, 2004), Before Midnight joins Jesse and Celine’s story once more and how we missed them. This time we’re in Greece, after Vienna and Paris, another alluring location and the love-struck couple’s romantic fate has been sealed. We know this as their wonderfully spiky conversations have developed into full-blown rows and there are children trying to sleep in the back of the rental. Linklater’s magical spark with Ethan Hawke (Jesse) and Julie Delpy (Celine) has far from dulled over the decades. Thankfully they gelled again to design a fantastic and very real premise, the screenplay grown up and the execution effortless. The Greek countryside a subtle choice for their relationship to untangle, it’s a holiday destination that adds a bittersweet note chiming perfectly with the trilogy’s tone. Our familiarity with the characters only reinforces the films strength and Hawke and Delpy revel in taking Jesse and Celine down into darkness. Before the clock strikes midnight we’re treated to spectacular relationship lows but it’s testament to the film’s deft skill that these touching moments are never far fetched; in fact they’re grounded in reality which makes this soulful movie that much better.
0 2 . T h e ac t o f ki l l ing ||||||||||
100 minutes through this astonishing documentary by Joshua Oppenheimer, two of the four inhabitants of the scandalously small Soho screening I attended upped and left. This ferocious film coaxed Indonesian war villains to reenact their atrocities and so we are taken along on a savage, mental ride. By the time the gut-wrenching final act kicks in, the audience are drained dry because The Act of Killing is the most merciless of films, its ending a horrifying relief. To see protagonist Haji Anif finally come to terms with his life’s work was one of this year’s cinematic musts. Sit tight and see it out.
0 5 . A l an P ar t ri d ge : A l p h a P apa ||||||||||
Fighting it out with Ryan Gosling for fifth place is Alan Partridge. The Place Beyond the Pines and Only God Forgives are deserved contenders but for the Roachfordbacked title sequence alone we’re plumping for Partridge. Alpha Papa showed us Steve Coogan’s virtuoso character really can translate to the big screen as a nation breathed a sigh of relief. Partridge is a man who won’t be told what to do by an automated woman and he’s got a shooter, so back down Gosling. All that brooding and all those bikes are no match for his mid-range saloon and mid-morning chat.
Loud And Quiet 2013 Read every past issue at loudandquiet.com Zero pounds / Volume 03 / Issue 55 / the alternatIVe musIc tabloId
Zero pounds / Volume 03 / Issue 54 / the alternatIVe musIc tabloId
Zero pounds / Volume 03 / Issue 52 / the alternatIVe musIc tabloId
Zero pounds / Volume 03 / Issue 53 / the alternatIVe musIc tabloId
Cliff mArtinez shopping
wa r pa i n t
Courtney BArnett t.r.A.s.e
teeth of the seA
a l l y o u n e e d i s l ov e , d e a t h a n d da n c e
Poliça heartbreakS and exorCiSM
+ albu ms of the year da r k s i d e c at e l e b on ho ok wor m s Ja m e s bl a k e fa t w h i t e fa m i ly n e w wa r b a r ry ho ga n & at p
k at y b Another mission
Connan Mockasin AnimAl chArm
Cabar et Vo ltai r e S o Ci ety M i k al Cr o n i n J o h n W i zar d S J eS S y l an za bi l l Cal l ah an
Zero pounds / Volume 03 / Issue 51 / the alternatIVe musIc tabloId
Zero pounds / Volume 03 / Issue 50 / the alternatIVe musIc tabloId
Fuck Buttons richard Hell no Age san Fermin Melt Yourself down Fair ohs scout niblett MoneY
Pissed l o u d a n d Q u i eT aT P r i M av e r a s o u n d, w iTh
S o lan g e
Easy doEs it + onEohtrix Point nEvEr JamEs holdEn roky Erickson salvia Plath no cErEmony/// traams Braids
Zero pounds / Volume 03 / Issue 48 / the alternatIVe musIc tabloId
Zero pounds / Volume 03 / Issue 49 / the alternatIVe musIc tabloId
ly n c h
Mechandise Th e h a x a n c l o a k Pa nTh a d u P r i n c e killer Mike M eTZ G o aT disclosure
P l u s: Jon hoPkins BishoP nehru Te r r o r B i r d
A hobby for life
Waxahatchee / Vision Fortune / Mount Kimbie Gold Panda / Adam Green & Binki Shapiro Plus The Loud And Quiet guide to Primavera Sound
Zero pounds / Volume 03 / Issue 46 / the alternatIVe musIc tabloId
Zero pounds / Volume 03 / Issue 47 / the alternatIVe musIc tabloId
The Child of lov We lCo m e To pi n eapple Cam e l fu n k
The flaming lips g h o sTpo eT kulT CounTry pure X k e aT o n h e n s o n kurT vile
m aT T f l a g ’ s neW hardCore rundoWn
F OXYG E N The 21sT CenTury AmbAssAdors of PeACe & mAgiC
Zero pounds / Volume 03 / Issue 45 / the alternatIVe musIc tabloId
The Germans –
Thank you for reading
fiCTion dePTford goTh fun AdulT blAnk reAlm unknown morTAl orChesTrA nighT works yo lA Tengo
– are coming Fidlar |Villagers | Apostille | Only Real | Mazes | Palma Violets | Seize The Chair
Y A D party wolf XMAS ALERT! R E L I SPO Photo casebook “The unfortunate world of Ian Beale” Oi oi! What’s this? Santa’s puny elf making a deliver of manky spuds!?
I thought we were doing Wham this week and Wonga puppets next time?
Ha ha! You’re dropping them all, Ian! You wanker!
) ) Let’s give it a bit of the ol’ Mitchell welly!
Disclaimer: The representations of the persons herein are purely fictitious.
Huh? That’s weird. I’m definitely in gear...
Warpaint / James Blake / Hookworms / Albums of The Year / Darkside / New War / ATP / Fat White Family / Cate Le Bon / Kelela