Dork, February 2017

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Editor: Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor: Victoria Sinden Assistant Editor: Ali Shutler


Contributors: Alexander Bradley, Ben Jolley, Christopher Jones, Heather McDaid, Jake Richardson, Jamie Muir, Jasleen Dhindsa, Josh Williams, Marc West, Martyn Young, Richard Brabin, Rob Mesure, Phil Smithies, Sam Taylor, Sarah Louise Bennett, Steven Loftin


3 6 C H E R RY G L A Z E R R

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All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of The Bunker Publishing Ltd. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which The Bunker Publishing Ltd holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of Dork or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. P U B L I S H E D F RO M





VANT - Dumb Blood Not quite as brilliantly vitriolic as Mattie’s occasional Twitter outbursts against The Man, but close.

Los Campesinos! - Sick Scnes Another Los Campesinos! album. Another solid gold winner.




oyle Carner is the most down to earth and openly honest rapper in the game. The 22-year-old South Londoner, real name Benjamin Coyle-Larner, fuses jazz, East Coast hip-hop and laid-back pop to tell poetically intense soul-bearing stories. Growing up in West Norwood, Loyle experienced different cultures, lots of music – “but mainly a lot of rap,” he says. “I grew up in the age of Channel U and MTV Bass back when they were good. When I was younger, I was so obsessed by rap. It was the first thing that I found an identity with… then a couple of years later I thought, ‘Cool, maybe I can do this myself.” Getting into music wasn’t a “conscious decision” though; “it was just happening while I was growing up,” Loyle remembers. “I was making a lot of music for fun just to listen to and chill with my friends because we were all up on the same stuff. It just spiralled out of control from there…” There was one artist in particular who inspired him: Kanye West. Seeing him on the College Dropout tour at the Brixton Academy and “being around people that were up on the same stuff,” inspired him at the show. “It was the first time I realised there were so many people listening to the same stuff as me. Rap was a big, big thing in America but it didn’t seem like it was over here... Everyone was just going crazy over The Libertines,” he recalls. “What blew my mind was how many hip-hop heads there were out and about on a day to day basis.” Going to a Roots Manuva show, as well, was inspiring to Loyle; not least for his musical style, but because “he looked a lot like my biological dad. I though he was for a while… quite jokes.” Less inspiring was when he was taken to see Jamie Cullum at the Royal Albert Hall with his school; “it was so dead,” he remembers. Loyle’s biggest influence, though, is his family. Growing up in a musical home with talented musicians and songwriters for parents, the music playing in their house shows a different style of artist. “There was a lot of David Bowie flying around, Bob Dylan and… All Saints (“they’re wavy, though, man”), he laughs.

And it’s family that’s at the heart of his debut album, ‘Yesterday’s Gone’. “My dad made an album before he passed and nobody knew about it,” Loyle reveals. “We found it, and it was beautiful. ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ was my favourite track off of it, It’s like he’s chatting to me again. I had it on my iPod forever, but when I finally listened back I thought ‘this is the one for me’. It meant a lot, so it made sense.” “I wanted to get my dad back involved. I spent a lot of time missing him, and I always do, but the album is also about trying to find some new love and happiness to latch onto as opposed to just focusing on the tough stuff,” Loyle suggests of the album’s message. “The most important thing to me was to make sure it was all honest and wasn’t made up or trying to be something that it wasn’t. Ultimately, I’ve got to live with this record for my life which is quite a big and scary thing.” Writing the album was less of a process, more a diary about what was happening in his world. “I wasn’t thinking too much when I made it; there was enough happening that I didn’t have to stop and rationalise it. Something would kick off, and I’d go and write about it. When I’ve got nothing to write about, it’s a blessing because it means that nothing’s going wrong. I’m learning to enjoy the times I can’t write because it means I’m a bit content.” Reuniting his mum and dad on the final track, ‘Sun of Jean’, was massively important to Loyle. “At the end, that’s my dad playing the piano under my mum speaking. I wanted to sample my dad’s stuff a lot, but I didn’t know how possible it would be because I needed to make sure I was doing it justice. I guess I just wanted to immortalise them together for one last time; it means a lot to me for sure, it’s scary that it’s out there...” Loyle says he isn’t phased about whether or not the album is a commercial success. He’s just happy it’s almost out there and that it’s honest. “I don’t mind if [the album] doesn’t take me anywhere. I just had to get it out, because it’s stuff that’s been bubbling up in my head for ages,” he confesses. “I’ve never really finished a project before, a physical thing that I can hold, so it’s more for me - not to prove I could do it - but to make sense of what’s in my head,” he says proudly.

Rather than “big, flashy studios”, the album was recorded in various bedrooms across South London to make it “feel like home”. Across the record, Loyle welcomes a handful of rising producers and artists including Tom Misch, Kwes and Rebel Kleff. “It’s quite a large amount of luck that I’m friends with so many people that I respect as musicians. They helped me to step outside of the box... It wasn’t a cherry-picked thing at all.” Arguably his biggest breakthrough track, ‘Ain’t Nothing Changed’, was a response to the haters. “People were saying ‘all this guy ever talks about is to do with his dad or his mum, it’s all about family. It’s all the same’. But the reason it’s all the same, is because nothing is different,” Loyle ponders. “I don’t lie about what I write about; if it’s the same thing that’s happening for six months, then that’s what I’ll write about for six months. “And also, people just assumed because I’m making a tiny bit of money to be able to just about live off making music - with eBay transactions here and there to make it up,” he laughs, “that I thought I was this or that. But I really don’t,” he says defiantly. “It was getting to me because I was just like, ‘Fuck off’. I’d got into a couple of fights because of it, which I never do; so I thought, ‘I need to silence this before people keep talking’.”

show will be different. I feel like I need to step it up for this tour. It’s just me telling stories, some happy, some sad (mainly sad),” he laughs. “It’s very honest and almost like going to the pub and having a chat with the guy who talks too much and doesn’t let you get a word in edgeways... but with songs and lights.” The crowds at his shows are “always hyped-up”, he says, but very varied. “The young ones are at the front, and the further you get back are the older heads, which is cool. There’s never been a set type of person who listens to my music because why should there be? Crowds are just people - different walks of life, different shapes and sizes,” he ponders philosophically. “It does get a bit nuts on tour, especially in Europe,” Loyle continues; “It depends on every night whose at the front, who knows all the words? It’s an equal thing, sometimes I bounce off people, other times they bounce off me. But usually, it’s quite energetic.” One show that he’ll always remember is performing at Koko in London. “I got my first ever bra thrown at me onstage... and my mum was in the crowd. It was a very weird situation. The girl was like, ‘Can I have it back?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, but you threw it... I don’t know how this is supposed to work’.”

Although it started getting to him, Loyle stuck to his sound and persevered. “It was interesting because as much as it was winding me up, at no point did I ever want to change my sound or lose faith in what I was making. I was never really making music for anyone anyway; it’s always just been a bonus that people seem to, bit by bit, go ‘Ah actually, this seems quite cool’. I was just making tunes for myself.”

Aside from music, cooking is Loyle’s second biggest passion. “I found the most peace when I was cooking when I was younger. It’s been something that’s chilled me out all throughout my life, and I figured that if it worked for me, it could work for other kids in a similar situation. At school you get told you can’t do things or can’t focus, can’t read or write. But there’s no ‘can’s - I want to show children what they can do…”

Touring with Kate Tempest helped him progress as an artist. “That was wicked man; it was one big lesson. Whenever I go on tour or on a support tour, I’m trying to learn as much about the person I’m touring with and how it operates and to take as many notes as I can. Kate took me under her wing on that tour and taught me a lot about self-worth, selfbelief and self-value.”

Modestly, Loyle says he hasn’t felt a real ‘turning point’ regarding his music yet. “It’s weird, at 22 I don’t think there has been one yet – not that I could say. It’s kind of like getting fat. Every day you’re getting fatter, but you don’t notice until you stand in front of the mirror and go ‘Oh shit, I’m huge’. That hasn’t happened to me yet…”

In terms of his own live shows, Loyle is stepping up for a massive UK tour in February. “If you have seen me or you haven’t, this new

There’s no doubt that Loyle Carner is going to be huge in 2017. P Loyle Carner’s debut album ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ is out 20th January.



Look! Basically every band ever!




’is well and truly the season. Instead of planning what gifts to buy for their friends, though, Wolf Alice set about pulling them all together for an evening (and an afternoon, and another evening due to demand) of music. With a line-up reading like your dream festival bill (The Various Legends Cover Bands does exactly what it promises), and all for the Help Refugees Charity, the Bands 4 Refugees shows feel like the start of something important.

Opening with Fred from Spector doing a sensational cover of Robbie Williams’ ‘Feel’ before sticking around to act as compare, the show is unexpected from the off. Black Honey’s Izzy takes on The Cardigans’ ‘Favourite Game’ before being joined by Ellie Wolf Alice and Ollie Years & Years for a grinning skip-through of ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’. There’s a Beatles medley from The Magic Gang’s Jack and Kristan; Rakel Dream Wife does a breathtaking turn on Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ while Bloody Knees’ Brad and Sam lead the room with 5ive’s ‘Don’t Stop Moving’. At one point Ellie storms back onto the stage, fire burning in her eyes before launching into a snarling ‘Sabotage’. There are dance routines, friendly digs (Slaves’ Isaac is introduced as the only cockney from Tunbridge Wells) and, with every act backed by Wolf Alice and Austin Swim Deep, the energy is constant.

PA R A M O RE A RE B E I N G RE A L LY The room reeks of compassion, and there’s no motive other than fun for a good cause. A one-off in every sense of the word, there’s an accessibility to the night. Yes, every person on the stage is an incredible musician but tonight isn’t about that. Stripped of their own material, The Various Legends are the same as every person present. Just mates making music that can make a difference. It’s a powerful, inspiring message that sits under the surface. A takeaway that breaks cover every time you smile at the ramshackle finale that sees most of the legends teaming up for an apt cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Freedom’ that teases both Robbie’s ‘Let Me Entertain You’ and Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ – a tease so good it demands an unscripted encore. Bands 4 Refugees isn’t just a night to remember, it sparks an empowerment that should never be forgotten. It might never be repeated, but its influence will move things. Anyone can make a change and, if doing so is anywhere near as rewarding as tonight’s show, everyone probably should. Head to to find out more about Help Refugees. P


We know it’s coming at some point this year but as for facts, we’ve got nothing. Luckily for us, Hayley Williams has taken to Instagram to offer a small insight into the making of their fifth album. “Following up our self-titled album didn’t seem like it was going to be an easy task and, unsurprisingly, it was not,” she starts. “The problem about comparing yourself to… yourself… is that even though it’s better than looking elsewhere, you’re still looking in the wrong direction. For me, it wasn’t until I trusted that the past is finished with me that I could go looking for what’s next. Our pasts can be a great comforter or a horror movie; a noose, or a shield… but it is ‘past’ for a reason. After a rest, we have to go looking for what’s supposed to come after that.” Reading between the lines, it sounds like the new album will see Paramore breaking new ground. We’re expecting nothing less than poptastic btw.


immediately comfortable working in that environment, partly because he just rules and also partly because he’s a sonic wizard and has an amazing synth collection. We clicked pretty instantly, he just got what I was doing, so we had a similar agenda early on. And he was excited about it! Good vibes all around.

Allison Crutchfield:

Is there anything you really hope listeners will “get” or appreciate about the record? Not really? I think that this record is pretty straight forward, but at its core it’s a feminist break up album. That’s what I wanted it to be and I feel like that comes across. I hope people who hear it can find some comfort in that.

“At its core its a

Is the finished album everything you intended it to be when you started? Yes and no. I think I had a really clear idea about what I wanted when I went in to make it, down to the track list. And the people who played on it were extremely rehearsed, because I wanted to be really prepared but it would be a lie to say that YOU PROBABLY KNOW ALLISON CRUTCHFIELD FROM P.S. there weren’t changes ELIOT, OR SWEARIN’, OR MAYBE WAXAHATCHEE - BUT made or flare added in the studio because WITH ‘TOURIST IN THIS TOWN’ SHE’S STEPPED AWAY FROM that’s just what always HER BANDMATES FOR A RECORD THAT’S A DEGREE MORE happens. I would say all PERSONAL. in all though, this record has just been what it is from day one; it was Hey Allison, how’s things? was sometimes daunting for me as a weird puzzle in my brain that I I’m doing well! Currently a songwriter, mostly because of how put together and then wrote down drinking coffee at my parents’ house close I was to everyone in the band. and recorded with the help of some in Alabama while the Today Show I think that made me feel inhibited friends. I was pretty obsessive about plays in the background. and intimidated, and also just like keeping it that way, momentary and I really wanted to write songs that true to life. Very autobiographical. What prompted you to go it alone represented my band and that my for ‘Tourist In This Town’? bandmates liked? Writing this album What does being a musician mean Well I was on tour with felt really natural and cathartic, I to you right now? Has it changed Waxahatchee for all of 2015, and think because I could just sort of since you first started out? any time I’m on tour I’m thinking write freely and not stress about I don’t really know if being a about writing and making records. other people hearing these songs in musician means anything to me, Swearin’ ended early in the year their infancy. because I just am one. I think a lot and so I envisioned this album as has changed for me as a human a solo thing pretty much as soon How did you find your time since I started playing in rock bands, as I decided I was ready to make recording? Were you able to explore but I still just want to make music something new. new ground? that I like and that’s kind of why I I think the whole process was sort started. Have you found yourself writing of an act in self-invention honestly.

feminist break-up


about more personal or different topics? For sure. I think that’s also something that prompted me making this record now; being in a band that operated as democratically as Swearin’ tended to


This was my first time working with Jeff Zeigler, and really my first time in a studio without Kyle [Gilbride from Swearin’] in the control room in years. And while I feel like it was maybe out of character for me (being a neurotic freak and all), I was

Are you intending to release more solo material? Yes, I’m under contract. P Allison Crutchfield’s album ‘Tourist In This Town’ is out 3rd February.


R A D I O H E A D, B EYO N C E , K E N D RI C K + M O RE FO R C OAC H E L L A Coachella have announced their 2017 line up in full and it’s Pretty Damn Good. Radiohead, Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar will be headlining the Californian festivals alongside The xx, Justice, Bon Iver, Justice and y’know, loads of others. It also sees Lorde return from years of not being about, so hopefully that new album is sooner rather than later.

B RI T I S H S E A P OW E R A RE BAC K W I T H A N E W A L BU M British Sea Power are going to release a new album. Woo, etc. ‘Let The Dancers Inherit The Party‘ is out 31st March via some crowdfunding the band did last year and, according to them feels like jumping into the sea on a winter morning.

BO N I V E R CA N C E LS EU RO P E A N DAT ES Bon Iver have cancelled their upcoming European tour due to “personal reasons”. “Our deepest apologies to all our fans,” they say. “We will be back.” The dates included several nights in London – at Brixton Academy, The Roundhouse and the Eventim Apollo – as well as Blackpool and Edinburgh.


Kieran from Circa Waves D I D YO U K N OW K I E R A N H AS A H E RD O F R A RE M O U N TA I N G OATS ? W E L L …



6:30 I get up to go for a run. I like the brisk cold air hitting my sleep covered eyes. I run down the road no more than 4 miles per hour as that is all it’s all my legs allow. Their is a huge sense of achievement running this early before anyone else its awake. 8:00 I have a cup of tea and sometimes a coffee if I’m feeling particularly sleep depraved. The craze of coffee is something that has not passed me by un noticed, My friends will tell you I’ve been known to have a flat white as late as 8 o’clock, which plays havoc with my sleep, . 9:00 I feed my herd of rare mountain goats. 11:00 I like to prepare a late breakfast. Some would call this brunch, but those people are uneducated pricks. A wheat toast forms the base for an avocado and egg extravaganza (eggstravaganza), which undoubtedly will be wolfed down in 4 to 5 minutes. 14:00 By this time I’m in the deep, dark belly of writing and recording demos, AKA future hits. I leave Colombo on at all times in my studio as I feel his funny face and his quick witted turn of phrase really keep me on my toes. I layer up instruments like a homemade music lasagne ready to be eaten by the hungry public. 15:00 It’s time for my nap. I sleep in the kitchen to not disturb my cat who sleeps most of the day in my bed. 17:00 I like to make a move towards the kitchen to start a delicious dinner. As most of my day is busy I find it best if i mash my five fruit and veg a day up into a paste, which forms the base of a tasty sauce for my meal. 19:00 I will be absolutely shattered from the massive day that preceded. I’ll listen to the radio and gently nod off. 19:30 I’ll take myself up to bed to go asleep. Not before brushing my teeth and washing my face, obviously.

London Grammar are back! Back!! Back!!!


Where the chuff are London Grammar? That’s what we’ve spent most of the last couple of years asking, as the three piece remained conspicuous in their absence, working on their second album. Well, wonder no more, because as 2017 came barrelling in, slightly pissed and jolly, so did

they – dropping brand new track ‘Rooting For You’. We’d had hints this was on the way, with the band popping up on festival bills over the last few months, but now there’s something ‘proper’ out there. No news on a new album yet, but well worth checking out on now.







grew up in Toronto so I love to hate it, but ultimately I keep coming back to the city and can’t deny that it’s one of my favourite places to be in the world despite how much it’s changed. I feel especially lucky to have come of age in that city when it was still cheap, and there was stuff going on almost every night. There was a party promoter called Will Munro who used to throw these monthly queer parties called Vazaleen that people from all different scenes would go to. He booked a lot of crazy bands before they were super famous, like Peaches, the Gossip, and even Nina Hagan one year. The party was super liberating, and Will was a really kind man who knew everyone by their first name. He, unfortunately, died of brain cancer in his mid-thirties and a lot of the energy he brought to the city seemed to have died with him for a while, but I think it’s still alive, maybe just a bit harder to find. Will’s legacy still carries on, as a touring musician now I am constantly running into artists who knew him, loved him, partied with him, and therefore still think of Toronto as one of the queer, punk,


party capitals of the world.” KENSINGTON MARKET The market is situated in the middle of Chinatown in downtown Toronto and has somehow managed to resist gentrification entirely. It’s probably expensive to live there now, but it still feels dive-y, there is a ton of cheap food and some really good bars and venues. It’s nice to have a space in the city that doesn’t feel totally commercialised. DOUBLE DOUBLE LAND The best DIY venue in the city, of course located in Kensington. It’s named after the Tim Horton’s special, the “double double” coffee. Anyone who has been to Canada will know what I’m talking about. THE BEAVER The Beaver was opened by Will Munro before he died and persists as one of the consistently cool queer places to hang out in the city. When he stopped doing his parties he opened a bar so that the kids would keep having somewhere to go. HOLY OAK Holy Oak is in Bloordale which used to be pretty sketchy but is now kind of my favourite neighbourhood to hang out. These guys are a coffee shop and also throw parties and shows ranging from experimental jazz to queer R’n’B nights.

ROTATE THIS This record store has been around forever and is usually my go to when looking for vinyl. I could be wrong, but I feel like it sells only vinyl which is something they started doing when it was pretty risky to do. THE COMMON The Common is really good and cheap. There are three locations, and I feel like I know everyone who works there. It’s a locally owned business that treats its employees really well and knows how to make a very good Americano for $2. PAUL’S BOUTIQUE My favourite musical instrument store in Toronto also located in Kensington market. I probably shouldn’t let the secret out, but you can rehearse in the basement which is something my band does pretty often. LONG WINTER My friends from the band Fucked Up started throwing this insane monthly party that only happens in the winter when people are depressed and don’t want to go out. They take over this entire huge heritage building called the great hall and fill it with DJs and bands and artists and food and it’s the best. P

After being announced for shows all over Europe and beyond, it appears that there may be more to the Foo Fighters’ 2017 – with the band apparently spending the rest of the year in the studio. Well, that’s according to one of the guys behind California’s Bottleneck Festival – which announced the band as one of its headliners – who said in a recent interview with the Napa Valley Register that the band are “in the studio recording a new album”. If true (big word being IF), it’ll be the band’s first new material since 2015’s ‘Saint Cecilia’ EP and their first full-length album since 2014’s ‘Sonic Highways’. It’ll come in a big 2017 for the Foos, who are already confirmed for a string of European festivals (including Roskilde, NOS Alive and Open’er amongst others) and are rumoured for a ton more (see Glastonbury…)

M O RE BA N DS REV E A L E D FO R S L A M D U N K 2017 Against Me! are leading a new batch of additions for Slam Dunk 2017. Also new to the bill are Beartooth, Tonight Alive, The Bronx, Goldfinger, Mad Caddies, The Movielife, Trophy Eyes and Like Pacific. “Slam Dunk fam! It’s been four long years,” says Tonight Alive’s Jenna McDougall. “We can’t wait to reunite and play for you this May. The UK always brings some of the best shows and we know this time won’t be any different!” They join headliners Enter Shikari, plus Bowling For Soup, Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, Cute Is What We Aim For and We The Kings. Slam Dunk will take place across May Bank Holiday weekend in Leeds, Birmingham and Hatfield.

The BEST new tracks



‘Hiding With Boys’ once again sees Creeper turn inwards and confront their own minds. They know what they want, sure, but the real world isn’t making it easy. With the romance dialled up with decadent swathes of harmony, the pain is hidden but fatal. As youth fades away, so does the lust for life. Wrapping all the counselling, consoling and confusion around a theatric want for escape, the band are spinning layers upon layers but, as always, the door is still wide open.


NAME FOR YOU We’ve missed The Shins. After 2012’s ‘Port Of Morrow’ burst them well and truly back into our lives, we’ve been sitting here like impatient kids at a birthday party - waiting for the next hit of mindspiralling goodness to land our way. What we’ve got is an even sweeter treat, with ‘Name For You’ brimming with sky-high euphoria and the sort of feel-good anthem that seems destined to pull summer days of blissful breeze right into our lives. Even if it’s only the start of the year.



Sixteen years is a long time to wait for new music from any band. For one who had exploded as violently as At The Drive-In, it’s beyond a lifetime. But finally it’s here; ‘Governed By Contagions’ is actual, legit new music from At The Drive-In. Trying to compare ATDI 2017 to their millennial vintage would be both unfair and unrealistic. But ‘Governed By Contagions’ does put hairs on end. It does feel like the sparks are flying. There’s still something special about At The Drive-In.


WHAT’S THAT PERFUME THAT YOU WEAR? If we told you that we were working on a track based on perfumes and unbridled love, built on top of a beat that blends samba, calypso, steel drums and infectious pop in its prime - you might think we’ve lost the plot. Coming from the mind of Jens Lekman, it’s an altogether more bountiful proposition - the sort of life-affirming anthem that’ll get you bouncing across the room like a pogoing champion (if they even exist).





We’ve had the storming fuzzypop sounds ring through with ‘Teriyaki’ and now Get Inuit are shooting even bigger, with ‘Barbiturates’, the sort of anthem that signals just how big those stages are about to become. Packed with not one, but three sweet hooks - it’s the scuzzy noise-pop version of Bohemian Rhapsody that you thought would never happen. This is Get Inuit chasing the crown in the manner only they could pull off. ‘Barbiturates’ is big.

It’s pretty stunning what one track can do. Back in 2013, London Grammar not only seized our hearts, but gently pulled it into space and wrapped it in a blanket of red-raw honesty and dazzling spectral gazes. It was the sort of refreshing electrotinged sounds that made you stop everything, a magic treat for the ears that was the sweetest treat anyone could try. With ‘Rooting For You’, those memories come flooding back – stepping out from the shadows and slowly turning that light dimmer up on their next bold step.



Everyone is always looking for the next pop superstar, the sort of act that’ll push those boundaries at every turn - and no matter what they tip their hat to, it’ll sound distinctively real. There’s not many who can better MØ for that, a star who’s choosing her moment with the poise of a figure that’ll be around for years to come. It’s what makes ‘Don’t Leave’ a particularly mesmerising banger, a modern slice of classic heartbreak that’s just as potent alone in your room as it is in the club.


THE KIDS DON’T WANNA COME HOME When you think of a true ‘artist’ you think of somebody who doesn’t sit still, who’s always looking ahead and who can twist and bend what they do into new and distinct flavours. Declan McKenna is already laying out banger after banger, but with ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’ - he’s confirmed that he’s an artist who could be one of the most important we’ve seen in a long ol’ time. Tune in now, because the change is a-coming.






t’s been done since March, so I’m ready for it to come out now. I don’t really care if people like it at this point.” Cloud Nothings’ founder and frontman Dylan Baldi opens with a bold statement, through laughter mind you, about forthcoming album ‘Life Without Sound’. “We finished it in March and I was like, maybe it’ll come out in the fall or something. Everyone at our label was like, ‘Ehhh, maybe January’. Like okay, whatever.”

Vocalising such grand ideas is no easy feat. Dylan found some help in someone whose ideas resonated with him: “I got really into this writer, Peter Matthiessen, he helped found the Paris Review. He’s pretty important, a really great writer, and also a pretty intensely studying Buddhist. I was intrigued by a lot of that while making this record, and I think that comes across in a way. I wouldn’t say that I am religious, but I was fascinated by that man and his take on a lot of things.”

The band’s fourth outing sees more of a melodic edge than their previous efforts. “In my mind, we’ve always been writing ‘pop’ songs, since day one,” he continues. “That’s always been my goal, so maybe the fact that with this one so many more people say it sounds more catchy it just seems like I’m getting better at writing pop songs?”

The connection hasn’t gone unnoticed, as Dylan describes an interaction he found himself in recently. “There was a real crazy monk that my friends know. He used to sell drugs to Dinosaur Jr in the nineties, somehow he’s still around, but he came up to me at one of our shows and was like, ‘So… I listened to your record. I think we have a lot in common. You should come to India with me and help my friends build the biggest temple in the world.” Through laughter, he says: “I was like ’Uhhh no? Thanks for the offer, though, man’. Who knows, maybe we’re monks?”

It’s certainly worth the wait. The moment you set eyes on the cover - featuring a vast oceanic space viewed from the coast, perfectly complementing the highs and lows found within - you understand that ‘Life Without Sound’ is a wander through the larger aspects of life. Dylan explains: “I started thinking about things that were bigger than just like, ‘I’m depressed’ or ‘I’m sad today’. I started thinking about the world a little bit more. My actual place in the world.”


Drug dealing monks aside, ‘Life Without Sound’ is an album filled to the brim with large ideas and the melodies to make them resonate. “They’re about that realisation that it’s important for you to think about things outside of your own sphere,” he says. “I wanted every song to

be its own little world. It’s not as repetitive as some of our other stuff; it’s more of a trip that each one takes you on.” And what a trip it is. The sound morphs from savage nineties rock to mid-naughties indie, with ‘Realize My Fate’ holding the largest curve-ball - a seven-anda-half minute build up to chaos. “It’s like a cliffhanger at the end of a good TV show, you know? Like, maybe you’ll watch the next episode.” With the album concerning grandiose subject matter, it’s given Dylan a chance to reflect on exactly what Cloud Nothings has given him. “The band gives me a sense of purpose,” he ponders. “I was pretty directionless as a young kid. I didn’t know what I was going to end up doing, or what I wanted to do with my life. Then it turned out this band was the thing that makes it feel like I’m giving back to people in some way rather than just going through the normal motions; going to college and not being able to get a job because I was majoring in saxophone! “The fact we can still be on a fourth record and I have people wanting to call me from England to talk about the band [That’s us! - Ed], and any effect it’s having on people at shows, it’s great!” P Cloud Nothings’ album ‘Life Without Sound’ is out 27th January.

D’ya know a fool-proof way of making 2017 a rip-roaring success? Well aside from getting rid of the term ‘rip-roaring’, a new Mac DeMarco record will certainly do the trick – and turns out that the latter is certainly on the way. Taking to the mighty announcement juggernaut that is Instagram, Mac posted up a video confirming that mixing on a new record is now done and sorted and, in his own words – “That’s a wrap motherfucker” That anticipated new record (the first full-length since 2014’s ‘Salad Days’) will fit in nicely with a huge 2017 already lined up for Mac DeMarco, with two nights at Brixton Academy already confirmed and set for 30th and 31st May respectively.

K ASA B I A N LO O K L I K E T H EY ’ L L B E BAC K I N 2017 2017 already looks set to be a big ’un – with Kasabian now throwing their hat into the mix for a mammoth year themselves. The band have announced a trio of Italian shows for next July, so as you can imagine there might be more bits coming soon… Kasabian had a pretty quiet 2016 by all accounts, only breaking cover for two huge hometown shows at Leicester’s King Power Stadium in the summer, to celebrate Leicester City’s Premier League triumph in the ol’ footie. Expect similarly huge stages next year, with a new album primed on the horizon at some point. Until then, just blare out ‘eez-eh’ in preparation for what’s to come. It’s going to be big.




ames Veck-Gilodi still has a lot of stupid goals for his band. His words. He’d like Deaf Havana to headline Brixton Academy, and armed with fourth album ‘All These Countless Nights’ full of renewed vigour and a brand new view of the world; you wouldn’t bet against them. But perhaps more importantly, “this sounds bad because you shouldn’t do it for money, but if we can make a decent living out of it, it allows us to continue being a band which is the only thing we want to do. If we can achieve that, then we can keep making music, which is all I want to do; keep making music.” In a world of stupid goals and dizzying heights, earning money from something you pour your entire being into seems the most reasonable request imaginable. “Some people get a bit funny when you say stuff like that. You shouldn’t do it for money, yeah but I need to eat and pay my rent.” Say what you like but Deaf Havana definitely give a shit about their band, “or I would have done something else a long time ago,” explains James. The starting point for ‘All These Countless Nights’ was “a culmination of a lot of different things. The first song I wrote, ‘Cassiopia’, isn’t even on the album. That was the song that made me realise I needed to keep going.


It shaped a new sound but the record sounds different to that.” Across four albums (though this version of Deaf Havana started properly with 2011’s ‘Fools and Worthless Liars’) the band have been impossible to pigeonhole. Coming up with the likes of Lower Than Atlantis, Young Guns and Mallory Knox but having more in common with the American folk of The Gaslight Anthem, Deaf Havana have always been the black sheep. They’ve never followed a trend, and every record has come with surprises. This time around, it’s no different. “You can really hear it when bands try and sound a certain way. We just write what we write. I find it boring when bands release the same album over and over again, and I’ve always liked that we don’t do that. I do like the fact that people, even after hearing three or four songs off the record, still don’t know what to expect from it. There will be things on this record that will surprise them.” With a handful of regrets laid to rest on record and the desire to gift Deaf Havana with the drive it deserves, this is a band with no end in sight. Brixton, a career and the future, whatever is in store for the band (and based on previous experience, it’s a lot) they’re “so ready to go,” so bring it on. P Deaf Havana’s album ‘All These Countless Nights’ is out 27th January.

SAM COOKE - (WHAT A) WONDERFUL WORLD Voice like velvet. It’s a classic; we’ve all heard it before, but that’s okay. A bit of warm familiarity helps beat the blues. FOUR TOPS - REACH OUT, I’LL BE THERE It’s those HUH!!s in the verses. If that doesn’t get you out of bed on a cold January morning, you have no hope. Give up. QUEEN - DON’T STOP ME NOW When I hear this song I can’t help but think of the music video, but also the Shaun of the Dead scene where they beat the shit out of a zombie with snooker cues. Both get me absolutely fucking buzzing. JOURNEY - DON’T STOP BELIEVING I’ve given up being cool with this list. Uplifting songs are never cool anyway, miserable shit is. Turn this up very loud in your car and let it seep into every fibre of your being, screaming the wrong lyrics. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN BORN TO RUN The Greatest rock’n’roll song ever recorded. Fight me. If you’re getting tired of your cold, deadend town whack this on and dream of going travelling and finding yourself in some dodgy bar in Thailand. Just think of the likes on Instagram. OASIS - ROCK N ROLL STAR Who cares if it’s the middle of winter. This song is one of the few

that’s gonna make you wanna stick some sunglasses on and punch a paparazzi. STEVIE WONDER - UPTIGHT (EVERYTHING’S ALRIGHT) The message is the title. If you’re not gonna, listen to Little Stevie, who are you gonna listen to? I love how loud everything sounds, distorting and jumping out the speakers, sounds like the vibe in the room would’ve been electric. THE BEATLES - HERE COMES THE SUN Here comes the sun, in 3 months time. Apparently, George Harrison was chilling at Eric Clapton’s house, went for a quick stroll in his garden with a guitar, and returned with this classic. That’s either gonna motivate you or make you feel even more worthless. EARTH, WIND & FIRE SEPTEMBER Ah, September. So much fun yet to arrive in our lives. Halloween, Christmas, New Years Eve. Just play this and try to forget about the worst and one of the longest months of the year. THIN LIZZY - THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN Hey 2017 watch out. We’re back, and this time we mean business. Proper Dad tune this, but hey, our Dads were young once. P Live at Leeds takes place on Saturday 29th April. Find out more at Tickets are on sale now.






or everyone who’s heading to the next show, the coach is leaving RIGHT NOW,” announces Shame frontman Charlie Steen from the stage. It’s the first set of an evening that’ll see the band play three shows in four hours - travelling across London with their distinctive brand of high-octane melodic punk glory that takes a history of underground kicks and brings it rattling into 2017. From climbing up and balancing on ceilings, to finishing up the night in Peckham sporting full drag and a rapturous packed out crowd, it’s more of a coronation of one of the most exciting live bands in the country than a cross-city coach journey. When we say coach journey, we mean literally - not many new bands can pack out a coach across London like Shame do.

paid for in unrivalled and thrilling live arenas. It’s the sort of show that no matter where they go, will grab attention and force you to witness something that the next day you’ll be talking about to all your mates. In-your-face, visceral to the bone and a touchpoint for how to command a stage, it’s the platform which brought them into music and breathes through them each and every day. As Charlie explains, “we started off when we were doing our A-Levels


London are encapsulated in Shame, born and raised in the area and with an unmistakable connection to the DIY streets and bare-knuckle truths that form a part of everyday life. It’s a relationship between the five-piece that was seeded back when they were less than five years old and something which makes them such a formidable unit now. “Everyone in the band has known each other since we were in primary or nursery school, and with Sean, who plays guitar in the band, we used to write shitty acoustic songs together. I’d


“It was fucking tiring,” explains Charlie, “but was an incredible experience. We just wanted to do something different for the first single launch, to show what it all meant and do something that was a complete experience instead of just playing one venue that we’d probably end up playing usually. It was a challenge to ourselves, we changed the setlist around, had to think about what to wear and how we would organise it - but it turned about to be a really good night.”

- we were at The Queen’s Head and knew a few people around there and at venues such as The Windmill. We just kinda decided that even when we had four songs, that we were going to play two gigs a week even if that was to two people a night. It’s all about the live environment, and that was our approach - we enjoy playing live, and we want it to be, for whoever comes down, a memorable experience and the best it can be.”

Everything Shame do is built and

The smell and sounds of South

want to write lyrics like Tom Waits or The Traveling Wilburys, but I was eight, so they were the worst lyrics in the world,” remembers Charlie. While most bands recall certain musical moments or other acts as inspiration, for Shame it’s apt that influence stems from South London itself and in particular, the Queen’s Head pub - a Brixton landmark and a world unto its own, a snapshot of a time and era in British culture. “We can’t express how much importance

it had, the characters that were in that pub who influenced us,” reminisces Charlie. “We were 16 when we first went there, and we met people like the Alabama 3 and Larry Love and that who all used to drink there. Me and Sean met the bassist of Stiff Little Fingers there and we would be listening to that band when we were six-years-old, so they were our heroes. They might have been an older generation, but that was what appealed to us.” “We kinda sort-of got more friends who were 50 years old than 19, but they were the characters that had a lot of advice to give, and we were always really interested to hear that. It’s easy to start out with so much optimism, but the reality is you’ve got to work hard all the time.” With the sound of a generation rustling through them, you wouldn’t bet against Shame being the most talked about band in the country by this time next year - a show not to be missed and a voice impossible to ignore. “Our dream from the beginning, being completely honest, was that one day we would headline Brixton Academy,” details Charlie. “We were 17 years old at The Queens Head so that dream was to have a drink at the pub and then walk two minutes down the road and then headline the gig. “Obviously The Queens Head is gone now but that’s still everything we could always dream of, we don’t want to stop in any way.” P



20 year old Glaswegian LUCIA has shared a stage with the likes of The Big Moon, Black Honey and Honeyblood in the last year (yeah, she likes honey - Ed). She’s got a brand new EP, ‘Best Boy’, too. You can check out her reallyrather-brillo banger ‘Saturday Is Dead’ over on readdork. com now. With their first

release and debut show ticked off in December, Pillow Queens are at the very start of something brilliant. The rough edges show wisdom while their joyful push-back creates a space to dance in. Oh BOYS. Recorded and produced by Yuck’s Max Bloom, the band’s ‘American Dream’ EP is all wavy lines, gentle escapism and persistent dream pop bangers. Bones on show, it’s perfect for summer road trips or staring out of rain-soaked windows.

Cabbage have digitally released their new compilation, which features all three of their EPs thus far: ‘Terrorist Synthesizer’, ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’ and ‘Necroflat In The Palace’. . . . A N D SO H AV E S H E E R M AG

What new stuff are you into...


And how did you guys meet? What was your first impression of each other? We met when we were both 17 on Houston Street, we’d both just ended our high school bands and, despite not knowing much about


Sheer Mag are really great. Previously, though, we’ve only been able to experience Sheer Mag’s breathlessly exciting punk brilliance in small bite sized chunks. Helpfully, the Philadelphia quartet have now remastered and collected their three EPs from the past three years into one collection. It’s called ‘Compilation LP’ and is available digitally right now on the band’s Bandcamp page for $10 (just over 8 quid in U.K.) – bargain. If you like holding actual objects then a physical 12” is available through the band’s website.


Hey guys, what first sparked your enthusiasm for making music? We both got sucked pretty deep into music when we were tweens and started eating up all the classics, and whatever else we could get our hands on. By the time we were teenagers and in high school it had become most of our identities, we got jobs exclusively so we could afford records and guitar strings. For both of us it was David Bowie that transformed us from obsessive music fans to an obsessive desire to write our own songs. I [Dan] really, really wanted to be David Bowie and it devastated me and broke my heart to come to the realisation that I was not, and never would be Bowie, or any other of my idols. I [Alex] was also obsessed with glam rock, but I used it as a tool to learn guitar and learn about types of music.


one another, started talking about starting a new project together. I never really thought about it but I guess our impression of each other must have been great and pretty spot on. We eventually hit up a Mr. Softee ice cream truck and split a cone and soon after that we started writing and playing together but since then there really hasn’t been a day that’s gone by without us at the very least texting. You’ve been recording with Bernard Butler - how did that come about, were you Suede fans beforehand? After our initial demos, and then a bunch more demos, Jamie and the dream team over at Dirty Hit were on a mission to find the perfect match for us to record our album with and Bernard is a literal dream come true. We were aware of Suede and that first album that Bernard plays on always came up, but we weren’t mega fans or anything. Now we’re big Bernard fans, the more time we’d spend with him and the more we spoke and played and worked together the more we’d fall in love.

What’s it like working with him in the studio? We loved working in the studio with Bernard. We would basically play him all of the songs in the beginning, and then we would unanimously decide which ones we were going to record as a full band. So we would do the drums and bass (which Bernard ended up playing) first and then do guitars and vocals, and then more guitars. I [Alex] got to spend so much time with Bernard’s amazing and historical guitar collection. I had never played guitars that nice before. A few of the guitars felt magical, it was definitely one of the best times in my life. What does 2017 look like for QTY? We’ve got our full-length that we just finished, we’re talking now about the next few 7”s and what the A and B sides will be and thinking about the tracklisting for the album that those 7”s will lead into. 2017 is going to be a year of growth and hard work for us. A lot of touring ideally up to and then around and after our various releases and the eventual debut QTY album. P

“I’ve been listening to this guy Tony Molina a lot lately. He writes amazing short pop songs that come across as effortless. He used to have a band called Ovens that are also great. We toured with a guy named Alex Calder last year, he’s been around for a while but his music is great, and he’s putting out new material constantly. It kind of sounds like the Beach Boys but more insane, and it creates a really cool/ eerie mood that’s hard to pin down. There’s a band called Gothic Tropic from LA. We’ve played with them before and they are amazing to watch live, last I heard they have a record coming out in early 2017. My friend just recorded an EP with his band Public Eye, really good classic punk music from Portland, OR. There’s a band called Boogarins from Brazil that I just started listening to and really like. - JOHN PAUL, SURFER BLOOD




hen people say that a band capture youth perfectly, it’s usually the same old story. With Sundara Karma there’s much more behind the story, blending personal memories, raw observations and ancient storytelling. In frontman Oscar Pollock, they may have 2017’s true indie icon. In ancient Greek philosophy, the Allegory of the Cave is the sort of tale that’s been repeated and told for centuries. It’s not an old-wives tale of herbal medicine or how to cure a cold with a bamboo stick and a jug of sea water - but a foretelling of a world that even though has expanded still hasn’t learnt a thing. In the story, a group of prisoners are born and raised in a shackled cave; their necks fixed in place to look at a wall. Behind them, lies a raging fire and a another wall, behind which, people carry home-made puppets and figures which become the only reflections the prisoners see on the wall directly in front of them. For those prisoners, the reflections are all that they know and in turn, becomes their reality. The idea continues that once released from the shackles, a prisoner would turn and see the fire and be blinded by it, failing to believe what he sees after a lifetime of believing in something else and therefore would retreat to what he knows. It’s only when the prisoner is taken far from the cave and can gaze upon the place that he’s been held that they can truly see the real realities of the world they find themselves in. “It’s such a mind-fuck, and even now it’s still so relevant to what we’re going through in society,” exclaims Oscar Pollock, who even at 21-years-old could very well have the most refreshing outlook on society, love and growing up than any band have distilled together up to this point. Sundara Karma aren’t just gazing into the shadows; they’re bursting out of the shackles and staring straight into the realities of life in 2017, of everything that makes us the people we are today - and that makes them quite bloody important. It’s lead them to this point, to ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’. It’s the sort of album that examines a moment in time with the sort of precision that nails the exact emotion you’d be feeling at any given point and won’t sugar coat every up and down that life chucks at you. It’s a record about growing up, of not understanding what may be happening and that exact feeling being okay. “I don’t know how people will feel at the end of the record” explains Oscar. “It’s weird, but it’s a privilege to have these memories captured on a coherent body of tracks. It’s an opportunity that not a lot of people get because it’s a real documentation of where we’ve come from 14 years old to now.” It’s been a ride that has seen Sundara Karma go from band practice in Reading to the world, complete with the sort of universal spirit of an Arcade Fire in full groove, yet dripping with

the grit and wounds of Bruce Springsteen. It’s written in every lyric, heard on every blistering high and now ready to stamp itself down onto 2017 and beyond. In the space of twelve tracks, Sundara Karma are about to inspire so much more than many ever thought possible. As Oscar sips away in his label’s offices, looking back on the path that led him here - the album’s importance and relevance rings through. Each track is pivotal; each track is personal, and each track is a part of a much wider scrapbook that doesn’t just belong to him but all of us who have grown up and seen what the world is really about. “For me, you listen to it, and it takes you on that journey, you can listen to it and feel all of the emotions that you felt at certain points when you were young - and that’s condensed into however long the record is. You end up feeling, like, maybe it’s changed your perspective on it all.”

be, rather than what it was. “It was also this sunshine-laden hot place, like a paradise really - and I was there until I was seven, and then we moved back as a family with my Dad getting a job back here. Moving to Maidenhead was such a culture shock. My world was completely turned around on itself, and then my parents got divorced when I was 13 and what followed was a series of really just unfortunate events which meant I had to grow up, and grow up quick - at least quicker than my friends at the time. I think it all contributed and came together as this feeling of alienation which has stayed with me ever since and stems from that exact period of my life.” It’s in those struggles where ‘Youth...’ really was born. Examining those dark corridors of being young and struggling to understand or come to terms with what’s happening around you, it’s a personal history which has been shared and experienced through thousands around the country and world. It’s from those moments where songwriting and music acted as a beacon to express every emotion and feeling flowing through him, of taking those moments and turning them into something greater. There’s hope in every second of Oscar’s words, whether it’s talking to him face to face or listening to him on record and it helped him navigate the world going on around him. He looks at songwriting now as such as necessary part of his life, one that shaped him ever since he picked up a guitar at eight years old and began to strum away at the same three chords. “Luckily I had that because if I didn’t, I probably would have ended up a lot more mixed up individual than I am, so it was there as my therapy - to channel all the angst and how I was feeling at the time into music. That’s what I’ve always used it for, to express everything inside me and get it out.


he story of ‘Youth...’ begins in Singapore. 1995 to be precise. A place Oscar was born and spent his formative years in soaking in a vibrancy that seeps through the bright lights and even brighter mornings. It’s a world he remembers fondly, one that without him even knowing it - set him on a path that he continues to step forward into even now. “What’s cool about Singapore is that it’s so multi-cultural,” gazes Oscar. “One of the biggest things that I took away from that place was how everyone gets on with everyone like there’s no reason not to.” That rainbow-soaked introduction to the world, gave Oscar a glimpse of what a warm and welcoming society could offer, one fuelled by an acceptance of one another. A look into the world for what it could

“I also think, school and that mid-teen era was tricky for me, and a lot of inspiration lyrically, which I’ve drawn upon for this album has come from those days. Like especially in ‘She Said’ where I’m talking about a night out between two people, and it was a night-out that summed up the feelings I had or the ones I wished I could have expressed when I was that age. When I’m sitting down to write, the emotions I’m addressing aren’t necessarily the emotions I’m feeling at the time. It’s emotions that I know I’ve felt and can talk about honestly, with a clarity after looking back on them.” At a stage where music was firmly set in the forefront of everything he wanted to dream of, Oscar glimpsed at the iconic figures of bands such as Thin Lizzy and The Doors - with Jim Morrison’s distinctive aura of approaching the stage and performance as an inspiring touch point towards where he belonged. Reading a biography of the man himself, in Oscar’s words it “made me want to share the singer path in a similar way to how he had done early on. It was clear that being in a band was such an important thing to him, so it was inspiring for me to learn about that.” Growing up in Maidenhead, with a lifetime of

“ T H E RE ’S


“ W E OW E


experiences, snapshots and emotions already in his mind - it was the foundations for what was to come, and a coming together of four friends that could only have formed Sundara Karma.

say that the person on stage is the most honest version of myself because that fraudulence creates the vehicle where I can be more myself, if that makes sense?”

eading is a town with musical history streaming through its streets, so a natural home for Oscar, Haydn Evans, Ally Baty and Dom Cordell to be drawn together. After meeting Haydn in school after first moving to Maidenhead, Oscar’s teenage years lead him to move into Reading and another new town, new environment and new school. This time, he met Ally and Dom and the world of Sundara Karma began piecing itself together.

Honesty is such an integral word when it comes to Sundara Karma. Honesty has seen them tour around the world multiple times in the past two years, without a debut album to their name. It’s seen them sell out dates around the country and headline venues most bands would only dream of playing. It’s seen an evergrowing legion of fans turn up at their shows, send them messages online and dive into everything the band believe in. That honesty is what makes Sundara Karma more than just an indie band with some big songs, but one that means something to so many young people. It’s why they were your Best New Act In Waiting in last month’s readers’ poll, and that sort of connection is something not lost on Oscar.


“Yeah, we were all into music, so the three of us - me, Ally and Dom - formed a band,” remembers Oscar. “We needed a drummer, and I remembered Haydn. It was actually like that moment where it all clicked together, that first rehearsal as the four of us. We were getting ready to play a track, and it just went ‘whoosh’, y’know? We were all looking around at each other and thinking, fucking hell. This is amazing. This is real. We’re a proper band; there’s something special here. “At the time, the main goal was to play at the school’s Battle Of The Bands, so we ended up playing it for two years in a row and slowly realised that there may be something more than just that! But it still feels like those same 14-year-olds, playing in that first session who are playing now.” Since that point, there’s been no turning back. Finding any opportunity they could to practice or play, Sundara Karma spent most of the next few years sneaking onto pub bills (and often getting booted out as they were underage), writing song after song of triumphant indiepop grooves and becoming the band they are today. The learning blocks for how to be a band in the 21st century. It’s a time full of joyful memories and, in turn, the untouchable highs of being young. It’s in those moments that ‘Youth...’ lives and thrives in blistering choruses and hands in the air gleams, the sort that gets you up in the morning and sends butterflies racing around your stomach. The memory-filled days to the deafening nights that click perfectly throughout the record. It’s the fuel to the engine of the record, and the fuel behind Oscar each and every day. “Fuck yeah, there are some amazing parts of being young,” he bursts, “Going out and getting shit-faced, wasted and blacked-out drunk - those things are amazing but, at least for me, there’s always been a kind of... like... I haven’t appreciated it. I haven’t appreciated the moment enough. “Like now, I look back on those memories and think, ‘Fuck, it was so good then - why didn’t I realise that and appreciate how fucking amazing it was then?’ And I’m sure in a few

months time I’ll look back to now and think the same. It’s about really appreciating the moment, which is probably one of the hardest things for anyone to do - people spend a lot of money trying to figure out exactly how to do it. “There’s that saying by George Bernard Shaw which I think is ‘youth is wasted on the young’, which is really cool. There’s a nostalgia that naturally comes from that, which I have all the time but it’s silly because you’re never going to get that back. When I catch myself doing it, I think ‘ahh don’t be so silly’, but it’s an easy trap to fall into.” Within those times of youthful abandon, of living in the moment before nostalgia is even a word in their vocabulary, Sundara Karma began to establish themselves as a serious prospect, with lead track ‘Freshbloom’ gathering interest and turning heads. For Oscar, that step up to the stage as a frontman, as the centre of attention with his songs and band in tow was a daunting one - and one packed full of questions and contradictions. Up on that stage, there’s a manner of classic already written about the way he moves, like a unique blend of Marc Bolan’s glam pull, the soul-bearing chest of Brett Anderson and the choir-master modern figure of Gerard Way. With those on the surface, the very essence of standing out from the pack is against human nature, right? “It’s a real weird thing man, because people try and focus on the frontman thing and...” trails Oscar. “Like, getting up on stage and playing in front of people is probably the most fraudulent thing a person can do. Every primitive and innate human instinct tells you not to do that. It’s that idea of upsetting the tribe, and if you fuck up then you’re out of the tribe forever if you get what I mean? “From that mindset, you have to trick it into thinking it’s okay by embracing the fraudulence and creating a persona. So I like getting up on stage and just taking the piss out of myself and making feign movements because it is a bit of a joke, it’s fun, and it’s entertainment. I always

“Genuinely, we owe absolutely everything to our fan base, because people would have given up on us a long time ago if it wasn’t for the dedication and pure passion of these kids and how they feel towards us,” implores Oscar. “They’ve really pushed us over the line; there were moments where people may not have wanted to give us that chance. Our fans are the powerhouse; it’s cool, and it’s a relationship which is now at a point where we can put out music and do things, and they’ll react in an incredibly loving way and keep it all moving in this amazing reciprocal cycle. “From that bond, those large shows for us have become really poignant. We’ve never really been a hyped band, we’ve never really been a press-loved band and we’ve never been the cool band that other bands want to say they love - so where I think we excel is in the fact that we have fans, and I still don’t fully understand why we have this crazy amount of fans, but that’s our strongest point. I’m really happy about it because it’s the most organic way for it all to happen. It wasn’t planned it just happened.”


fter numerous EPs, ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’ is the culmination of everything the band mean to so many, and in turn, has the hallmarks of a record that won’t just soundtrack lives, but change them. Packed with the tales and shades of young life, it’s a record that truly reached its vision when the band decamped to Berlin recording the album surrounded by one of the most inspiring cities in the world, following in the footsteps of many of their heroes and writing their own history in the city. “That history man,” exhales Oscar. “That creative history and the people it attracts is something else. I wanted to go there and soak it up a bit, that kind of minimalism to the Berlin art scene which you can really hear in those Bowie records - they’re massive, but there’s nothing in there that doesn’t need to be, which I liked. It’s exactly what I like about the city itself. I wanted

path for Sundara Karma to become a key band of an entire era, giving comfort to those feeling alienated and afraid. “If we can do that,” comments Oscar, “then that’ll be really fucking cool. It wasn’t the key ambition, or what I necessarily wanted to do with the record, but I would be so happy if somebody could listen to the record and find some comfort in it - that’s quite an important thing. I’ve listened to a lot of records that’ve given me that comfort, and made me think ‘oh, maybe I’m not so weird after all’, so if someone gets that feeling, it’ll be amazing.” In that measure of success, Sundara Karma are only set to fly. They’ve already headlined landmark venues like Heaven in London and The Ritz in Manchester, and played the main stage at Reading, cementing their hometown rise - so that grand stage is well and truly set. What that success looks like is something Oscar doesn’t quite know yet, but the vision for Sundara Karma is clear in his mind. the record to be this apocalyptic, sci-fi, Blade Runner thing but it couldn’t be further from that! It came together when we decided to name it ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’, that was the moment where everything clicked, and the whole concept of the record emerged it’s that feeling and that phrase.” That phrase sums it all up. It’s an album full of raw memories, whether that’s a head over heels runaway romance (‘Vivienne’), a plea to hold on to that other-worldly reaction of a certain moment in time (‘Lose The Feeling’)’ or the countless nights spent wide awake dreaming, over-thinking and wishing the sun will never come up (‘The Night’) - it’s an album that takes those life-affirming cornerstones in growing up and stares right at them, whether they’re happy or terrifying. That freedom to explore and tackle it all came from a studio time where the pressure was well and truly off, and an opportunity laid out before them was seized with both hands running. Oscar looks back at the recording sessions as one of the most enjoyable of his life, and one that he’s incredibly fortunate that the band were able to do. “There was no pressure on us, no deadlines that we had to meet or anything so we really could take our time. Plus it’s the first time we’ve ever done this, I mean we’re just kids at the end of the day, getting to do this in Berlin too - so we were just having a fucking amazing time, y’know? Jumping around, trying shit out, it wasn’t difficult at all.” That time lead to them dreaming big and looking higher than they’ve ever done before. ‘Youth...’ fizzes with the sort of urgency and energy that blistered through iconic records such as The Killers’ ‘Hot Fuss’ or The Maccabees’ ‘Colour It In’. It’s an album that brings you closer and closer until that point reaches where the record is effortlessly entwined with every listener’s story. When Oscar opens himself up with the spiralling close-to-the-bone tale of family heartache and separation in ‘Happy Family’, you feel every word - and it’s that what makes ‘Youth...’ a record many will be coming back to for years to come. It has that confidence

to examine the exact ways we live our lives in such a broad way that it becomes incredibly personal. Take ‘Be Nobody’, an ethereal choir-like reaction to the online world of self-culture and selfimportance. “The thing is with social media and the many traps in modern day society,” elaborates Oscar, “is that we’re told we have to be a somebody. We have to be of a certain importance otherwise nobody will take you seriously, nobody will spend time on us - when actually, you don’t have to be anyone. You really don’t. Get up early, obviously look to have something for a living, have some discipline to your life but besides that you don’t have to be anything. “Like, I’m happiest when I’m not thinking about myself at all but when I’m thinking of others. When I’m writing about music, and totally in the zone there, you kind of escape yourself and become quite selfless, and that’s really where you’ve got to be - people should be putting their energies into getting there. To that point of just selflessness.”


he importance of what Oscar says, how he says it and the lessons he’s learnt behind it have come from a life that’s born witness to it all. It’s come together in ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’, standing as a definitive tapestry of youth - stronger because of the shadows it finds itself in. Its brightest moments shine even brighter because of it, and its importance and timing is something that can’t be ignored. After all, there’s a generation of young people still trying to navigate that toughest of moments in life, of having to grow up and step away from the abandon of teenage dreaming. For that ‘Youth...’ bears all the hallmarks of that future blueprint, a motion picture for a generation attempting to understand what 2017 is and how to live with it. It’s why so many fans wait, eagerly anticipating an opening salvo that’ll pave a

“For me, success is being able to put out great records and be consistent,” he notes. “The best example is Mystery Jets, one of the greatest bands doing it at the moment and so consistent with the music they put out. I’d love to be a band like that. “Last time we played Manchester, which I think was at The Ritz - walking out on stage and seeing more people there than we’d ever played to before was a great feeling. It was the same when playing Heaven, and there’s a greater feeling there playing live to more and more people. If we get to play larger and larger venues then we’re definitely going to get that feeling more, getting that energy off from the fans and that’s wicked. “I mean, I don’t care about playing stadiums, it’d be cool, but I’d rather focus on putting out good music and making sure that’s the best that it can be. It kinda terrifies me the idea of being a big band; I don’t know if I’d like that.” It’s a result that Sundara Karma may have to grow to love, because with ‘Youth...’ out in the world and a community of fans that are taking in new members each and every day, Sundara Karma are now a premier league proposition. It’s a story woven through youth, from the band they are to the moments of life that change who we are - the good and the bad that shape us for better or for worse. This is a band that a generation have been waiting for, and one desperately needed in a year of profuse change and uncertainty. “It’s going to be alright,” assures Oscar, finishing the last drops of his drink and preparing himself for another whistle stop day in the world of Sundara Karma. “I’m an optimist, there’s some beautiful shit happening.” Youth may only be fun in retrospect, but by looking back, Sundara Karma have pointed a direction that we can get into right now. The moment is here; let’s live it. P Sundara Karma’s debut album ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’ is out now.




hen bands finish their debut album, they likely take a moment to bask in the achievement, tour it around a little, see how it goes and then start to think of a follow-up. Not Frank Carter. Fresh from laying down ‘Blossom’ he and the Rattlesnakes jumped straight back in. The result? ‘Modern Ruin’. “We’ve been sat on this record now for almost a year,” says Frank. “At this point, I’m just desperate for it to get out!” The difference in the two albums is stark; the first feels more a capturing of a frantic moment in time, the latter a more explorative project. “Most bands they go in and they spend a long time labouring over this debut album like it’s the important thing,” he explains. “In a sense, it is. It’s supposed to give your fans an idea of your band, the full scope of your band, but then what always happens is that you enter album two or album three and the band is trying to explore and challenge themselves and people get upset. “So what we wanted to do was write two albums very closely together and explore as many avenues as we can early on so that people know that we are a band who are going to continually challenge ourselves, that we’ll never feel truly satisfied. We always want to be finding new things, new excitement, and we want to be trying to constantly better ourselves as musicians, as players, as performers and make the best music we can make.” Over the course of writing, they amassed over 40 songs, as the legend goes. Along the way, they found themselves being surprised at where they found themselves, and the last song on the album ‘Neon Rust’ is one such detour that made the final cut. “That came to us very late in the game. It was not anything

that any of us expected that we would write, but when we had written it, it just felt perfect. It felt very much us. It made a lot of sense. I think that was the last song we wrote and when we finished recording it in the studio we had a better understanding of ourselves as a band and the future that we could have, the potential that we had going forwards and it was really exciting.”

since had time to live with the album and get to know it before anyone else can too, which gives him more confidence in where he can take it. “Whenever I’m playing and writing a record, I’m always trying to challenge myself because I think that naturally, I get the best stuff when I’m at my most uncomfortable. That’s when I’m really reaching and trying to find a new place.

Looking for that potential going forward is key to Frank. He doesn’t have time for looking back or threading a line between Gallows or Pure Love, and the music he makes today. “People will always reference my past, but for me, Rattlesnakes is just a different thing,” he says. “I don’t think there’s anything particularly reminiscent of Pure Love or Gallows in ‘Modern Ruin’, but I think it really is the definitive album of my career. It’s the one album that you can give to anybody, and you could say, ‘This is a really good example of Frank Carter.’ He’s singing, he’s screaming, but beyond those two very basic approaches to performing, there’s some really incredible songwriting, there’s some great musicianship, and there’s an album that has a lot of depth and complexity.

“The good thing about this record is that we wrote it and we’ve had a few months to be practicing the songs so I’ve got a really good grip on them. Performing them live is really fun and quite enjoyable whereas before it was kind of hard work because we wrote ‘Blossom’ and we were touring it before we released the album. So yeah, I’ve definitely found my voice. I’m understanding its limits a lot better than I ever have in the past. My problem is that I always want to keep challenging that, just as I get into my place with it I try some new ways to shake myself up.”

“I think for me, it’s never really been about the past; it’s always been about the future. Obviously, the past plays a very integral role in how you move forward. I’ve done hardcore, and I’ve made the poppier side of rock with Pure Love - even though that record is not a pop rock record at all, but that’s what everyone believed it was, so that’s where it kind of sits - but with Rattlesnakes it’s always been about having no boundaries, not allowing ourselves to feel trapped and just trying to write as expansively as we can so that no one can ever pin us down, you know? Just when our fans think they’re understanding our band, we want to throw them a few curveballs to keep them on our toes.” Those curveballs come in many forms, and in their sophomore album shows Frank starting to understand the capabilities of his voice. He’s

Many things may have been shaken up in the world of the Rattlesnakes, but one thing that won’t change is their affinity for the road. The album drops in January and then they’re on tour with Biffy Clyro, sure to be testing the pit capacity of rather large venues. Then it’s their headline tour, which has had a number of dates sell out months in advance. Years into his career and the feeling still leaves him both stunned and fairly chuffed. “It’s crazy,” he beams. “Even when the tour is months away and it’s fucking selling out already, that’s mad.” They may have some breathing room after this album comes out in terms of creating, but in all other aspects it’s full steam ahead for Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, and you’d be wise to join him for the ride. P Frank Carter’s album ‘Modern Ruin’ is out 20th January.



ands often complain about album recording sessions being cursed and bad luck befalling their every move. In the case of Leeds scuzz rock heroes Menace Beach, their own peculiar curse provided the inspiration for ‘Lemon Memory’, a superb second effort that sees the band spreading their wings and taking their brand of heavy grunge pop in some weirder directions. As singer and guitarist Ryan Needham explains, Menace Beach’s relationship with the dreaded lemony hex goes back a long way. “When we went to Ibiza on holiday we took a few books with us, and one was called mysterious cults,” he begins. “There’s a bit about curses and to wish someone bad luck you can chop a lemon up fill it with some of this stuff, tie it in a bag and bury it on the property of the person you want to curse. I was going to Liza, I remember when we found at the house we used to live in in Derby a bag of 15-20 lemons on the doorstep. It was probably some kids, but I was like, ‘What if someone cursed our house?’ Loads of bad shit happened there. That was a bit of a jumping off point for the album, and I got a bit carried away with it.” Strange lemon-based activity was not the only difference in the making of their second album which was a world away from their night time recording sessions in Ryan’s flat in Sheffield. This time the band wanted to do something different and in many ways, ‘Lemon Memory’ is a reaction to their instant hit debut ‘Ratworld’ rather than a mere consolidation. “After the last tour, me and Liza were like, ‘Shall we just fuck off somewhere and have a bit of a break?’ So we found a cheap holiday in Ibiza, took the iPad and stuff and then we found a guy who could get us a couple of guitars,” explains Ryan. “We had a beach holiday and wrote four or five songs. That was the start of it. It doesn’t sound particularly

Ibiza inspired, but that’s where it started, and we just came back to even sunnier Sheffield to finish it off.” Writing in a drastically different location proved inspiring to the band who are now firmly established under the core songwriting partnership of Ryan and Liza. Travel and discovery informed the band’s creative direction. “We went to this little island underneath Ibiza. I’m a real geek, and I get obsessed with local history,” says Ryan. “We found out that this island back in the 60s was part of the hippie trail where people would come from Morocco. Pink Floyd lived there in the late 60s, and Bob Dylan lived in a windmill there. We went and found these landmarks and just got into that. Once knowing that I was like, ‘Yeah! There’s good energy here.’ There was something pretty magical about the place. Once you learn about all this stuff you’re like, yeah, I can get into this. It’s probably a load of hocus pocus, but once you get that in your mind, you just run with it.” The driving force behind the album and their desire to shake things up was Liza. “She’s got stuck in on this one and realised that she wanted to have a bit more influence,” explains Ryan. “It’s more her record, both in the songwriting and the production. Once we got in the studio with Ross Orton, the producer, she just had an idea, right from the start. She was switched on and pretty firm about her ideas.” Liza’s love of synthesisers and a more experimental take on pop provides the perfect counterpoint to Ryan’s pure pop chops. Or, as he laughs, “She probably got sick of playing my pop songs and wanted to do some weird stuff.” The Menace Beach who have returned so confidently are a band who are finally settled and focused 100% on what they’re doing. In the early days and on the last album they were often in a state of flux with members coming and going. “It got to the stage where we were asked to do so much, and people got

on board with the label and a lot of people get a bit nervous when things are run like that,” says Ryan. “It gets a bit stressful to do a week tour around Europe, and I don’t know who’s going to play bass.” Now with a settled line up and a sustained creative period of writing, experimenting and recording, the band are thriving. For Ryan, the last two years have been liberating for Menace Beach as they have created something special that’s more than, “just a nineties grunge record.” “A lot of people, including myself in the past were so bothered about being cool, dark and mysterious,” he reveals. “Once you let go of that fear and go, look, I don’t have to hide behind this thing or try and be cool. This is it. You can hear it in a lot of artists when the fear’s gone and they do whatever they want.” After embracing their weirdness and allowing it to colour their own special knack for a willing pop hook Menace Beach have shown that there’s plenty directions in which their brand of scuzzy rock can travel. Let’s just hope that any citrus curses don’t befall the band on tour and ruin their summer plans. “I love festivals,” says Ryan excitedly. “I hope we just do a load of them and get back into Europe before it becomes a lot more difficult. I want to get my shorts on and play somewhere where you legitimately wear sunglasses on stage,” he laughs. Maybe he should buy that mysterious cult inspired crystal ball he was pondering? “I got into reading about occult stuff and ways to reverse it. It was good for inspiring lyrics. You have to be careful, though. I find myself going; maybe I should buy a crystal ball? I’m getting a bit too far in.“ Despite the fear of losing himself down the rabbit hole of magic and mystery, Menace Beach are ready to face 2017 head on, just don’t bring any of the demon lemons to their gigs, please. P Menace Beach’s album ‘Lemon Memory’ is out 20th January.


o one expects the bass player of a band to do that much.” Ed Nash, aka Toothless, is breaking away from this idea by releasing what will surely be one of 2017’s highlights. A walk through indie-pop soundscapes and melodies that infect with complete pleasure, ‘The Pace Of The Passing’ is not only a strong debut, but it also marks Ed’s full immersion since the hiatus of his previous band, Bombay Bicycle Club. Ed is ready to make sure everyone knows this is where his future lies - and that bass players can have bloody good ideas. “I don’t want to come out and have this as a Bombay side project,” he ponders. “I want this to be my own thing. I also don’t want to alienate people that enjoy Bombay’s music and say, ‘Oh, that’s nothing!’ It’s a huge part of my life. I’ve been trying to tread that line; I don’t know if I’ve done that well or not, trying to stay away from Bombay but also not disassociate myself.” The success that Bombay Bicycle Club found gave its members invaluable knowledge that they can each bring to future projects. In Ed’s case, it enabled him to develop a wise and expecting persona. “I don’t feel vulnerable at all. I know the industry,” he affirms. This wasn’t always the case, as you can imagine, starting out in music as a teenager. He remembers with a sly fondness: “I had no idea what was going on then, we were fifteen and not particularly savvy to it. I know some young people can be

savvy… it took a couple of years to work out what was going on.” Bombay will always be a massive part of his story, but this new record he’s written has so much to say. “I only started properly writing the songs for it when Bombay was nearing an end. I recorded and wrote music, and I just kept that going in the background with the idea that I would do it myself. There’s always the excuse of ‘the band’ and the time spent doing other stuff,” he explains. “In my head, I was like ‘I can do this, I want to do it, but when the time is right.’ Then the time came, and I couldn’t bottle it, I had to follow through. Hence the band name of course, and that’s when I started writing the songs for it.” The first look into his solo project, ‘Terra’ - a “slow burner” by Ed’s own admission - may not be an instantaneous revelation but fear not, the album is inundated with delicious melody and lyricism. From the catchy refrain in ‘Palms Backside’, to the euphoric and hornladen crescendo in ‘You Thought I Was Your Friend (I Want To Hurt You)’, Ed has crafted and honed his debut to make a statement in the “saturated world of indie pop”. His level of dedication and craft is taking the idea of songwriting back to its roots. “You can really tell when a song’s a song, and what I mean by that is, if you strip it back to just an acoustic guitar and sing it, would the song exist?” Ed muses, pondering music’s current place. “The art of songwriting isn’t gone, but it’s changed into something else. I think a lot of people do just hit buttons and rely on melody, but when you strip it down there’s not

so much meaning or thought behind it. I listen to some band’s lyrics, and I’m like, ‘What? How did they get away with that?!’” He loops back around to the bass player’s place within the standard band setup. “I’ve always been a big advocate of people having roles. People don’t need to prove themselves, you’ve just got to make it work. I did that with Bombay, but this is what I want to do now, this is my full-time thing. When it came to two years ago and I was like, ‘I have to follow through with this idea otherwise I’m going to regret it’, I was quite used to playing music, writing on guitar and recording, but I’d never really written lyrics before that people were going to hear,” he divulges. “I found an easier way in was to find other stories that I could relate to and use them as a starting point. I’d find metaphors or ways around writing about my life in particular. There are bits and bobs, and ideas that I’ve collected. All of my playing and thinking about stuff has been over the past fifteen years I’ve been playing.” With ‘The Pace Of The Passing’ about to take its place in music libraries around the world, it’s time for this bassist to take his ideas out into the great unknown. “Had I not done this, people wouldn’t have noticed,” he asserts. “It would be more normal not to do anything. I still get people coming up to me and going, ‘I can’t believe you did this!’” Well, get ready to believe - Ed Nash is here to stay. P Toothless’s debut album ‘The Pace Of The Passing’ is out 27th January.


Sundara Karma

Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect



or most bands, a debut album is an opening gambit that in the space of 10-12 tracks manages to summarise the various corners of what that band is about. ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’ is something more than that, a collection of tracks that not only unveils Sundara Karma to the world but summarises the collective depths and highs of growing up. Its flourishing corners and crooks are what make it such an essential album, combining the best of modern indie into a delectable mix that’ll be sampled in headphones and headline shows in no time. There’s an instant hit to the album that doesn’t just limit itself to one lane. The glorious bubblegum-

catchiness of ‘She Said’ is the sort of direct indie-punch that would land its mark no matter what era it was born in, whilst the high-octane sheens of ‘Loveblood’, ‘Vivienne’ and ‘Olympia’ sound ready-made for the destined monumental live moments that’ll live with this band from here on out. It’s coated in such richness that it truly defines what an album is meant to be, a statement of who this band is and what they’re ready to accomplish. Its personal tales of youthful struggle glisten into such heady heights that you’re left listening again and again. ‘Happy Family’ lifts with an early-Kings Of Leon urgency that delves right into family heartbreak with an unfaltering honesty, the chilling refrains of ‘Be Nobody’ twists

with shadowy beats and echofilled dreams and ‘Flame’ lives in a dazzling swagger of its own combining Greek philosophy with 2017 in one deft swoop. This is a band with the vision of something bigger, and the ability to create a world that houses every corner of their imagination. Expansive and painting its own picture of 2017 already, ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’ is a record that bursts away from the very idea of a debut album. Surging to get out the gates, it’s full of refreshing honesty and picturesque landscapes that’ll have you hooked on the very first listen. It signals Sundara Karma as a band who not only are destined to hit the biggest lights, but more importantly are needed there. Jamie Muir


Red, Green or Inbetween No Sleep Records

The xx

eeee WSTR are UK pop punk’s hottest property right now. Their debut full-length makes no attempt to hide this band’s ambition; ‘Red, Green Or Inbetween’ is a polished, and potent pop punk record. The lyrics of dramatic closer ‘Punchline’ sum up the essence of the record nicely: “I miss being a kid… maybe I’m a fucking joke?” ponders vocalist Sammy Clifford. WSTR have produced the ideal soundtrack for reminiscing about the good times of summers past. They might just be the most exciting pop punk band on the planet. Jake Richardson

I See You

Loyle Carner

Lower Than Atlantis

Virgin EMI

Easy Life



Loyle Carner is a man of many talents. Quite why you’d bother with making music if you were able to cook up a storm is beyond any sensible, hungry person, but nobody is going to hold that against him - such is the quality of his debut album. Homegrown, mixing spoken word and domesticated rap - there’s none of the grandiose, overblown largesse of Carner’s cross pond peers. That’s ‘Yesterday’s Gone’’s biggest strength. A refreshingly decent debut from a man to believe in. Christopher Jones

“I hate everyone that I meet, but I’m getting better, think before I speak because I know I’ve got a temper” Lower Than Atlantis frontman Mike Duce utters after a heavy and explosive whirring intro on opening track ‘Had Enough’. ‘Work For It’ is huge, and unarguably the best song the four piece have ever written. There’s anger, honesty and selfreflection that was missing on their previous self-titled effort, which felt more like a real mainstream push if anything. Jasleen Dhindsa

The Menzingers


Menace Beach






Despite all the critical acclaim in the world over their past couple of albums, ‘After The Party’ feels like a record where we find The Menzingers on the verge of something special. Maybe it’s growing into their skin, perhaps it’s the world around them finally catching up, but with their punk-rock tales lovingly matured, they’ve found a sweet spot that it’s impossible to fake. With a scene of brilliant bands behind them, 2017 is the year when The Menzingers make a charge. Christopher Jones

People never seem to expect much of the bass player - which is near-on criminal, especially if they can unravel something quite as bountiful and encapsulating as ‘The Pace Of Passing’. While Ed Nash’s known job in Bombay Bicycle Club may resonate, his debut as Toothless is a breathtaking journey into a blossoming paradise. Free, engrossing and much more than the CV of one man - it’s a shimmering gateway into 2017. A record that’s not only incredible but needed to set us in the right direction. Jamie Muir

It’s hard to work out exactly what a fair level of appreciation would be for Menace Beach. Their debut, 2015’s ‘Ratworld’, was one of the best of the year - a nugget of solid dirty gold, capable of dazzling in the light. ‘Lemon Memory’ is no less special. Slightly odder, but equally confident in its delivery, its the sound of a band sure of their footing, knowing exactly who they want to be. Scuzzy, weird pop that manages to hit all corners, with two safely tucked in the top drawer, their star should only shine brighter from here. Stephen Ackroyd

After The Party

Yesterday’s Gone

The Pace of the Passing

Safe In Sound

Lemon Memory Memphis Industries

XL Recordings

eeeee Straight from the opening stabs of ‘Dangerous’ – it’s obvious The xx have gone in a different direction for new album ‘I See You’. Gone (mostly) is the ambience of their first two records, replaced with the bombast Jamie xx explored on his solo album ‘In Colour’. At times it may feel like its straying towards a continuation of that record, but it most definitely isn’t. Quite the opposite – it feels like a band renewed with a point to prove. The use of samples feels as if the band’s sound has gone in a completely different direction – particularly with single ‘On Hold’, and ‘Say Something Loving’. ‘A Violent Noise’ is a spectacular track bringing in Ibizan influences and mixing them perfectly with the vibe of The xx to the point where it may well be the best song they’ve ever written. ‘Performance’ is where the album gets closest to its two predecessors but still utilises the new sound perfectly while ‘I Dare You’ is a killer of a song with its beat steady throughout. The remarkable thing about ‘I See You’ is that it doesn’t tire – quite the opposite, it grows with every single listen. For a band that’s sold out seven nights at Brixton, it’s no surprise that they’re making a very early claim for album of the year. Josh Williams


The 1975 O2 Arena, London


“I You Me At Six




Vermillion Records

SOHN’s greatest skill is finding the reality in a world of shiny, overly polished fakery. That’s where ‘Rennen’ finds its strength. Full of real emotion, warm tones and textured vibes, though the subject matter may often find its way into weighty subjects (‘Primary’, for example, was written around the start of the ill-fated US elections), there’s a humanity within which makes them connect better than many of SOHN’s peers. Smart and subtle, light and darkness, ‘Rennen’ makes you feel something. Christopher Jones


The Flaming Lips


Cloud Nothings

Bella Union

Austra’s third studio album displays “a commitment to replace the approaching dystopia” - something that runs through it’’s 11 tracks like a message through a stick of rock. Smart, thoughtful yet immediate electronic sounds play perfectly off a showstoppingly perfect vocal as opener ‘We Were Alive’ morphs into the more bloopy, brilliant title track. Lead track ‘Utopia’ stands out furthest, sounding both futuristic and self-aware of what’s to come. As we charge full-length into the coming apocalypse, we can’t say we weren’t warned. Christopher Jones

Night People

eeee You Me At Six’s success has primarily come from the fact that they know how to write huge riffs and mammoth choruses. It’s that same conscientious craftsmanship that explodes on their fifth release ‘Night People’. While there isn’t a huge difference in style, what is apparent is how far the band have come. From the breakdown of ‘Make Your Move’ to the blues notes of ‘Spell It Out’, the Weybridge five piece have spent their careers trying to be mainstream prodigies. They have well and truly triumphed. Jasleen Dhindsa

Oczy Mlody

eee There can be few more frustrating bands than The Flaming Lips. Wayne Coyne’s band of oddballs’ are capable of the most inspiring pop but are just as capable of making indulgent bobbins. ‘Oczy Mlody’ is as baffling as you’d expect. It’s more downbeat and reflective, like on the pastoral psych of ‘How’ and ‘There Should Be Unicorns’. Still travelling on their sonic voyage, The Flaming Lips do what they want even if it’s not what we want them to do. Martyn Young

Rennen 4AD

Future Politics Domino


Rose Elinor Dougall Stellular

‘Colour of Water’ sets the scene perfectly, building from fluid, solitary picked guitar - the twang complementing Rose Elinor Dougall’s occasional folkish vowels perfectly. This momentum carries through ‘Strange Warnings’ and the title track, wedding relentless forward motion and a dizzying pop headrush to the kind of icily 80s production - here in spades - that made Shura’s ‘Nothing’s Real’ a 2016 highlight. By the gorgeous ‘Wanderer’, Rose is reflective and settled. Rob Mesure

Life Without Sound

Wichita Recordings

eeee Cloud Nothings are a band who continue to evolve, without ever losing touch of their DNA. Their fourth album still sounds definitively like the band who have three previous top-drawer efforts behind them, but in the same breath it feels like so much more. With his songwriting chops grown to a fearsome length, Dylan Baldi is up there mixing it in the A leagues now. As ‘Modern Act’ and ‘Internal World’ prove, their peers fall away with each and every song. Christopher Jones

don’t know how many people are here but it’s definitely more than 200,” starts Matty Healy during the first of two sold out shows at London’s O2 midway through a sold out UK arena tour. It sees The 1975 close out a year that’s been astronomical for the four kids from Manchester who write songs about, well, everything and sound like nobody else. It’s typical of The 1975 that they don’t know how many people are here tonight though, all that really matters is that people are here, listening. The band have never dealt in facts, only feelings. And there are a lot of those about tonight. The 1975’s set starts eight minutes before they do, as the twitching pulse of ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’ opening track creeps out from the stage. Their second album may be an uncompromising wild ride and from the off, tonight is no different. None of the excess or quiet reflection is traded in for instant gratification as The 1975 show off every inch of themselves. Songs like ‘Love Me’, ‘Ugh!’ and ‘The Sound’ seem purpose built for tonight but there’s plenty else on offer. ‘Change of Heart’ swells with a frank charm, ‘Lostmyhead’ haunts the venue and ‘Paris’ celebrates the unity of everyone present. There are tears for ‘Medicine’, Matty asks for no phones for just one song (“I just want us all to be together now”), and ‘If I Believe You’ almost feels like a religious experience. The 1975 care about making a show, a show. It’s impressive to look at but the real power comes from immersion in it. Matty is a star, no doubt about it. Commanding, endearing and with the capacity to lead, he relishes the spotlight but he knows the band is bigger than himself. “Please welcome to the stage my favourite band, The 1975,” he starts. Later he pauses, wine glass in hand and dressed like he’s off to prom, as he tries to take in the venue. “I’ve not come here to talk about politics, I’ve come here to celebrate being a fucking legend,” he jokes before continuing, “It’s been an exhausting year to be a person, especially a young person. It’s very sad to see young, progressive voices of change drowned out by regressive voices. If we are the right,” he offers, stepping up to the platform given to them, “It’s ok to be pissed off but not patronising. We have to be compassionate and understanding.” That’s how The 1975 built their world. They celebrate the things that unite us and rally against all the rest. Tonight what unities everyone just happens to be their music and the band make sure every corner is covered. Set against a world intent on dividing, the band gives togetherness a voice. The 1975 are with you every step of the way and tonight sees everyone come together as one to champion having a voice. It just so happens to be one that’s worth singing about. Ali Shutler

Deaf Havana

Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes

All These Countless Nights

Modern Ruin

International Death Cult

So Recordings

e e eee


Frank Carter’s been here before. From bursting into frame with Gallows or the anthemic pop detour of Pure Love, he’s rolled the dice a few times, yet none have come up quite as high as his latest run with The Rattlesnakes. After stamping his mark as one of the best live acts going, the next step was to lay out a record that’ll take him onto the biggest stages of his career. In ‘Modern Ruin’ he’s found it. A perfect crystallisation of everything he’s turned his hand to, ‘Modern Ruin’ is a direct and chest grabbing tour-de-force that stands as flagbearing call to arms. The record that not only sits as his masterpiece but sits as the one that’ll take him to that arena he deserves. The bite of The Rattlesnakes is something you’ll not be able to shake off any longer. Jamie Muir


Surfer Blood

SURFER BLOOD’S NEW ALBUM IS AN IMPORTANT ONE FOR THE BAND: FOLLOWING THE LOSS OF GUITARIST THOMAS FEKETE TO CANCER IN MAY 2016, IT SEES FRONTMAN JOHN PAUL PITTS WORKING THROUGH LIFE WITHOUT HIM, AND INTRODUCING NEW MEMBERS, MICHAEL MCCLEARY AND LINDSEY MILLS. ’Snowdonia’ sounds immensely personal. Does writing about events from your life change your perspective on them? At the very least it helps you collect your thoughts. I usually write the song and melodies first and spend weeks procrastinating on the lyrics, writing this record was the first time in a few years I forced myself to sit in a room with a notebook and write lyrics. I wouldn’t say it changes my perspective on events in my life, but it helps make sense of them. Do you ever worry about songs being too exposing? Never while I’m writing them, but I always feel insecure afterwards. If I record a demo I usually try and show it to someone as soon as possible, because I’ll end up second-guessing it until I get some outside perspective. So yes, I do worry about exposing myself, but I try not to think about it because if I did, I probably wouldn’t end up ever releasing anything. What is your biggest achievement with ‘Snowdonia’? I put a lot of myself into all of our releases, but this one was especially personal for me. I wrote it, oversaw every aspect of its production and ended up mixing it myself. There’s nothing I would change about it, and that’s an accomplishment in itself. P

For a band that nearly called it quits after their last album, you’d expect Deaf Havana to come out all guns blazing. ‘All These Countless Nights’ finds the band continuing to explore their sound with some of their biggest hits. From the Springsteen-style bravado of the last album ‘Old Souls’, the opener ‘Ashes Ashes’ works to bridge the two records The beauty comes as the band begin to push their sound with a more energised and focused approach. When they get it right, they’re undoubtedly one of the best British rock bands around. Alexander Bradley

Surfer Blood

Ten Fé

Joyful Noise / Secretly Canadian



If ‘Hit The Floor’ is Ten Fe’s opening salvo to the world, then we could be set for a stunning ride. Packed with unparalleled flourishes, glorious highs and enough catchy grooves to get anyone up and off their feet, it’s a soundscape mixture that has you right from the get-go and won’t let up until you’ve lived through the journey they have in store. Tinged with vulnerable darkness at every turn, what Ten Fe do best is flip that into the sort of blossoming finale that can soundtrack any moment of life, lead by the rhythmic charms of LCD Soundsystem yet shimmering with the hidden dramatic depths of Hurts in full flight. Jamie Muir



eee ‘Snowdonia’ isn’t an album born from the most joyous of places. Their first since the loss of guitarist Thomas Fekete, and compounded by frontman John Paul Pitts’ discovery that his mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer, it would be hard to blame them if they’d decided to record an hour long screamfest at the big C. Instead, they’ve found something positive in the darkness. I’s easy to hear just how personal it must feel - but equally there’s a positivity within. It might not all be okay in the end, but we’ll find a way to carry on regardless. Christopher Jones

Hit The Light PIAS

Allison Crutchfield Tourist

Allison Crutchfield has always been a prolific musician. From P.S Eliot and Bad Banana, her bands with sister Katie (aka Waxahatchee) to her own outfit Swearin’; she has established herself as a true, vibrant punk rock talent. Those albums were a collaboration, though. ‘Tourist In This Town’ is different. It’s a record rich in emotion and ambition borne out of troubled circumstances relationships ending, plans shifting. The result is full of emotion and reflection, punctuated by short, sharp blasts of punk rock thrills that hark back to her previous work. This is the album of Allison Crutchfield’s life. Martyn Young



Cherry Glazerr

So Recordings

Secretly Canadian



Down to a core two piece of brothers Ben and Ross Duffy, Fenech-Soler’s third album sees the band taking a different guise. Following up on last year’ ‘Kaleidoscope’ EP, they’re not giving up on their more electropop roots. As standout ‘Cold Light’ showcases, they’ve found a groove that runs between past and future sparkling and twinkling, driving and dipping. Less a revelation, more a welcome companion, there’s a focus that shows that - sometimes - less is most definitely more. Christopher Jones

Clem Creevy is the Karen O that Generation Z needs – she’s an honest innovator who’s damn good at her craft. ‘Apocalipstick’ has transformed the slacker vibes of Cherry Glazerr’s earlier material into intricate melodies, trancey synths, and bucket loads of fuzz. This isn’t just a punk record, it’s as if the band’s collective mind - filled with everything they’ve heard - has exploded. ‘Apocalipstick’ makes you want to dance, and wear glitter as your warpaint while fucking shit up. Jasleen Dhindsa


The Proper Ornaments Foxhole

Tough Love


without: Right now it would be Boardwalk Empire or Billions. Perfect tour binge watching.

Last good record you heard: I really enjoyed Utopia Defeated by DD Dumbo. I also thought Metronomy made a great album this year.

Best purchase of this year: A new computer. Extremely boring I know but we’ve made 2 albums on my last one so for me this is always a revolutionary purchase.

Favourite ever book: The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Alborn. Just always makes me feel good. It’s an endearing story. TV show you couldn’t live

Anything else you’d recommend? Yes! Southernfired chicken, waffles, maple syrup and chilli sauce. Sounds mental but it’s one of the best combinations of food. Look up Sweet Chick in Brooklyn. P

After a chance encounter involving boots, a vintage clothes shop and a light-fingered ex, James Hoare (Veronica Falls/Ultimate Painting) and TOY’s Max Oscarnold released their first full-length as The Proper Ornaments back in 2014. If their name suggested breezy listening, ‘Wooden Head’ was a lot more rough-hewn, heavy on worn and fuzzily indistinct indie tropes. Twoand-a-bit years on, ‘Foxhole’ is an airier prospect, thanks in part to what Hoare calls a “happy accident” with a broken studio tape machine leading the band to substitute more sparse, intimate home recordings. Mostly, though, it’s unmemorable, the softer settings doing little to paper over the weaker tracks. While the lighter touch appeals, all too often the songs get blown away. Rob Mesure



Cherry Glazerr CLEM CREEVY PONDERS MUSIC’S PLACE IN THE WORLD. 2016 was a rubbish year for many, many reasons - tell us something good and positive. ‘Blond’ by Frank Ocean is one of the best albums ever made. What inspired your new album? ‘Apocalipstick’ is a snapshot of Cherry Glazerr’s continuous creative flow. My personal interactions with myself and the world inspired the songs. What was the most rewarding thing about making the record? Making the record. What’s your favourite lyric or moment on the album? “Art is love and love is sloppy.” I think it points to my (flawed and everchanging) philosophy that there is beauty in letting go of control in every facet of life. What is music’s most important job right now? We cannot understand music entirely. Music exists on another plane. It’s naive to think that we own or control it; but we like to pretend like we do. Music that humans have interacted with so far has always been a universal healer and outlet for pain, love, fear and other human emotions but humans place political importance on the music, music doesn’t intrinsically have political importance. I feel fucking lucky that music has given itself to us. What does 2017 look like for you? Touring the shit out of the US and EU! So excited, we’re very happy and blessed to be able to play shows every night. P



Near To The Wild Heart Of Life Epitaph

eeee It’s been five years since Japandroids’ last full-length, 2012’s ‘Celebration Rock’. In the half a decade that’s passed between that and their latest, ‘Near To The Wild Heart Of Life’, a lot has changed - but some things stay reassuringly the same. Keeping their bar set reassuringly high, the band’s third album may see them heading away from the sweaty basements and closer to the Springsteen-esque stadium anthems they’ve always had within them, but it’s anything but overblown. Instead, as with the album’s opener and title track, it’s packed with the kind of songs that demand attention then grow further with every listen. Be still our wild hearts. Christopher Jones

Foxygen Hang



Willie J Healey The Bullingdon, Oxford



or some time now Willie J Healey has been Oxford’s best kept secret. However after years of developing, honing and polishing his musical prowess, 2017 promises to be the year he is propelled into the collective consciousness, his charmingly warm and compelling compositions too infectious and too enticing to remain just a localised murmur. His performance feels as much like a swan song before a long voyage as it does a homecoming show. As Healey meanders through a set of exquisitely captivating musicianship, his quiet confidence and charisma spills out in a truly memorable hour of live music. What becomes quickly apparent is that to pinpoint Willie stylistically would be to chase ones tail, such is the diversity and intricacy of his work. Although often favouring chunky and wholesome chorus lines, there is a subtlety to his work and, like a musical daydream, he often deviates into unprecedented tangents with colourful conclusions. The outro of ‘Somewhere In-between’ contains an almost Floyd-esque flurry of saxophone and Subterranean’s expansive and throbbing ebb mesmerises, portraying the unquestionable intellect of a musician who has an innate instinct for tone and timbre. However it’s Willie’s ability to find huge chorus lines down uncharted and desolate thoroughfares which makes his music so unique. His effortless and fearless performance showcases not just his songwriting ability but an earnest and headstrong individual who is just beginning to harness the potential he clearly possesses. So with a palpable feeling of expectation from everyone involved, 2017 promises to be a huge one for Healey. All the wheels appear to be in motion as we prepare to become engulfed in the wonderful world of Willie J Healey. Richard Brabin

Time is a weird and wonderful thing. Even if Foxygen’s new album ‘Hang’ is a brief affair, coming in at just over half an hour, it doesn’t mean they’ve not managed to cram it full to bursting with glorious ideas. Working with the Lemon Twigs’ equally ambitious D’Addario brothers, it’s hard to think of a better match up. Take ‘Follow The Leader’. Strings stab, vocals swoon - there’s a timeless quality that refuses to feel dated. A strutting confidence in skinny fits and high boots, inhabiting a world of sequins and sunbursts. ‘Hang’ isn’t just an album - it’s a universe of weird and wonderful delights. Christopher Jones



Your new album ‘Hang’ is imminent: does it feel to have been a long time in the making? It sounds like a huge production. It was a big production, but it didn’t take us very long to record. We’re very efficient in the recording studio. Did you already have an idea of what you wanted to do with this record before you began? Yes. We had the idea, years ago, to make an album with a full symphony orchestra. How did you hook up with Brian and Michael D’Addario? Are they good guys to work with? I recorded their album in my house. They are some of my best friends in the world and amazing musicians. What did you make of their album? Loads of bands are raving about it at the mo. I think it’s great. Glad they’re getting attention. You also brought in a symphony orchestra, how did it feel to have to so many people involved - was it daunting? How did it work logistically? It was not very hard to make. We hired the right people to make it happen. Trey Pollard and Matthew E White, who did the arrangements worked out all the logistics of the orchestral recording. It went off without a hitch. What was your favourite thing about having such a large cast? It’s great to work with people who are also passionate about the record. It inspires us to work with people who are excited about the music we’re making. What themes do you cover on the album? Has much seeped in from the current political / social climate? There’s a lot of LA imagery and death. We made the album In a bubble, long before the current presidency. But it is interesting that it plays so much into the current political climate. P



1. HELLO. HOW ARE YOU? Hello, pretty good thank you! 2. WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO TODAY? Some Christmas shopping, although I ended up buying loads of Christmas cards and Sellotape … nothing else. 3. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN? Songwriting. It’s always been my favourite thing. 4. WHAT DID YOU LAST DREAM ABOUT? This is actually ridiculous, but I dreamt about tiny cute puppies last night. I know… 5. HOW PUNCTUAL ARE YOU? Never. A set time gives me an hour window. 6. WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT? Honeyblood’s current album. I really put all my heart and soul into this record and feel like that shows. 7. WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT GLASGOW? The people! And the banter, there’s no where else with banter like Glasgow.


8. HOW DO YOU RELAX? I love to cook and I’m a Netflix binger. I’m also a bit of a boring person who also likes to visit historic castles and stuff.

9. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SMELL? This is a weird one… my favourite smell since I’ve been a little girl is the smell of my dad’s amplifiers. It’s like a mixture of smoke and electricity. If I could smell that, it meant that my dad was home from touring. 10. WHAT STRENGTH NANDOS SAUCE DO YOU ORDER? I’ve never been to Nandos. 11. WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE NEW BAND? A band called The Cut and at the moment I’m obsessed with The Lemon Twigs. 12. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU BROKE? It’s not really broken but I had to chuck out one of my favourite

plants cause it died while I was away on tour. I can’t keep stuff alive.

13. WHAT’S THE SCARIEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE? Recently I went swimming in the sea and went into a cave, that was pretty scary but fun. We also ended up at a pro-Trump-esque bar in Wisconsin before the US election which was equally as frightening. 14. WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? My grandmother’s cats in her garden. 15. WHO IS YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE MEMBER OF ONE DIRECTION? Hmmm, I honestly don’t know any of their names except from Harry! Saying that I don’t have much of an opinion on any of them to make a point of saying which one is my least favourite.

16. WHAT’S THE BEST MUSIC FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD? Pohoda Festival. We loved it big time and all festivals should take a leaf out of their book. 17. What’s your biggest pet peeve? People who change the music midway through a song at parties. 18. WHICH BAND DO YOU FEEL IS CRIMINALLY UNDERAPPRECIATED? A punk band called Hang On The Box from Beijing. Listen to ‘You Lost Everything But It’s Not My Fault’.

19. WHAT’S THE MOST IMPRESSIVE THING YOU CAN COOK? I’m not about impressive cooking, more about quantity. I made a cake shaped like a dick once that looked pretty impressive. 20. HOW PUNK ARE YOU OUT OF TEN? The girl who likes visiting castles and has dreams about cute puppies…?

FRANK CARTER & The Rattlesnakes

MODERN RUIN 20. 01. 17