THIS MONTH DORK readdork.com
Editor: Stephen Ackroyd firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Editor: Victoria Sinden email@example.com Associate Editor: Ali Shutler firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Editors: Jamie Muir email@example.com Martyn Young firstname.lastname@example.org Events: Liam James Ward email@example.com
Contributors: Ben Jolley, Chris Taylor, Corrine Cumming, Danny Payne, Eala MacAlister, Jake Hawkes, Jake Richardson, Jamie MacMillan, Jenessa Williams, Jessica Goodman, Josh Williams, Liam Konemann, Rob Mair, Rob Mesure, Poppy Marriott, Sam Taylor, Sarah Louise Bennett, Steven Loftin P U B L I S H E D F RO M
THE BUNKER W E LCO M E TOT H E B U N K E R.CO M
C O N T E N TS U P DAT E
04 PW R BT T M 0 9 C I T Y G U I D ES … S U N DA R A K A RM A 10 M R J U K ES 10 G I RL P O O L 12 K AT E N AS H 14 WAV V ES 16 A DAY I N T H E L I F E O F… G I RL I 18 T H E JA PA N ES E H O US E 19 BA N G E RS 20 T H E G RE AT ESCA P E 21 ST EV I E PA RK E R 2 2 CA L E N DA R 24 C O N N ECT I O N HYPE 26 A L M A 2 8 T H E RH Y T H M M ET H O D 2 9 T I RE D L I O N 30 A RT I F I C I A L P L E AS U RE 30 T H E O RI E L L ES 31 S H I T K I D 31 M AT T M A LT ES E F E AT U RES 32 M A RI K A H AC K M A N + T H E BIG MOON 3 8 T H E C RI BS 42 P I X X 4 4 T H E A M A ZO N S 4 6 P U M A ROSA REV I E WS
E D I TO R’S N OT E THERE’S A LOT OF AMAZING, EXCITING THINGS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. Obviously, right? There always is. But there’s also something incredibly important happening if you’re one of our legion of UK readers. Yep - sorry I’m getting serious here.
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Between our last issue hitting the streets and now, a general election has been called. You’re probably sick to death of people telling you to register, then get out there and vote - but they’re right. It’s not just something you should do, it’s something you have to. Because, while in these pages we may not spell it out, you’re smart cookies. You can read between the lines here.If you value people, if you have morals, if you want to stand up for those who need it against those purely motivated by self-interest - or even if you simply value the arts, which you clearly do - your voice is needed more than ever. Let’s not have our generation letting the side down again by not turning up, yeah? Stephen Ackroyd, Editor (@stephenackroyd)
ST U F F W E LOV E THIS MONTH Bands who surprise release new stuff and make us redesign half our magazine several times over the last week of production (no really, we ♥ this guys, thanks!), cat facts, 80s pop bangers, the fact the new series of Doctor Who is actually looking pretty good, Taskmaster on Dave (is this the funniest thing on British telly?), reduced Minstrels easter eggs.
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.
UPDATE IF IT’S NOT IN HERE, IT’S NOT HAPPENING. OR WE FORGOT ABOUT IT. ONE OR THE OTHER.
We got the PWR
PWR BTTM AREN’T JUST IMPORTANT, THEY’RE BLOODY BRILLIANT.
WR BTTM are, as they say, in Birmingham. They have just clambered out of the car from Sheffield, ahead of a show at The Hare. For those of us who’ve been watching and waiting, it seems like both a fraction of a second and a lifetime since they were last on our shores. But now they’re here, both finally and suddenly, with their second album ‘Pageant’. PWR BTTM’s second record is aptly titled. It glitters, it’s performative, and somebody’s going home in tears. ‘Pageant’ sees bedazzled duo Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce take the homemade queer punk of their debut ‘Ugly Cherries’ and kick it into overdrive. The duo are almost perfectly in time with one another. They seem to exist in the same shimmering note, catching the thread of the other’s thoughts and weaving their sentences together into a whole.
WORDS: LIAM KONEMANN. PHOTOS: EBRU YILDIZ
It’s this spiritual call and response that makes PWR BTTM work so well – despite having two different writers who constantly trade instruments and vocal duties in a very literal game of musical chairs, ‘Pageant’ is never jarring, and at no point does one voice overpower the other. Their process could be unorthodox, but PWR BTTM aren’t particularly concerned with the status quo. Their second album was recorded on the disused top floor of a furniture factory in New York, a multi-functional DIY space that felt like a more natural fit than a traditional recording studio would. “They make furniture on the first floor, they have live shows on the second floor – which is how we first discovered the venue, we played there – and then on a third floor, there was nothing. It was a perfect recording space, so we ended up using that,” says Liv. “We come from a performance art background, Ben studied theatre, I studied dance, and I think we’re both very interested in site-
specific performance. There are loads of artists that we admire who have been making art in weird old abandoned factories, public parks, the sewers -” “- especially the sewers -” Ben interjects. “- and so I don’t think it seemed at all remarkable to us that we were making a record there.” “This is, in fact, the first time we’ve realised how strange it was,” Ben notes. ‘Strange’ is in the eye of the beholder, and PWR BTTM have their own brand of normal. They’ve only worked in a ‘proper’ recording studio, that was used solely for that purpose, once, Liv says. “And it was fine,” they shrug. “But we’ve had truly magical moments recording in people’s houses and stuff like that.” Even so, the duo say that they did briefly entertain the thought of working out of a studio for ‘Pageant’. Somehow it doesn’t seem like that conversation took very long. “We all were like, ‘Yeah, we don’t
want to do that, that feels weird to us,’” Liv says, brushing the thought aside. So they stayed in the factory, with the furniture being carved out two floors below them, and ‘Pageant’ is all the better for it. “I think we feel more comfortable making things in a place like that. It doesn’t feel so clinical,” says Ben. Nobody could rightfully accuse PWR BTTM of being clinical. They are heartfelt and blatantly honest, tackling homophobia and insecurity head on in their lyrics. ‘Ugly Cherries’ dealt with the everyday realities of queer love and heartbreak, and ‘Pageant’ serves up the same with an extra shot of humour. On ‘Sissy’ Liv unpacks their queer identity, asking “who would I be if they never had taken my body, drawn a blue box around it and put a toy gun in my hand?” before relaying their sharped-tongued response to a jeer thrown at them from the window of a passing car. Lyrics like these have struck a chord with fans, no doubt in part thanks
IT’S HAIM TO FACE THE MUSIC! Haim are back! Back!! Back!!! After what feels like absolutely bloody ages (because it was - Ed), and pulling out of last year’s Reading & Leeds to finish it, the sisters will release their much anticipated second album on 7th July. 4
Titled ‘Something To Tell You’, the news broke alongside a flashy live performance of album track ‘Right Now’, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Apparently, Momma Haim was his art teacher at school. These famous types, eh?
â€œI will probably be
covered in glitter for the rest of my life.â€?
THIS THIS IS THIS IS THIS IS THISIS IS HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING
LIKE A PHOENIX Oh Phoenix, we have missed you so. After spending most of the year so far teasing away with world tour announcements and a return to the stage, the Parisian electro-pop giants are properly back – with opening cut ‘J-Boy’ delivering in every way. It’s the opening track from newly announced LP ‘Ti Amo’, confirmed for release on 9th June.
TO U RI ST H I STO RY The ‘previous festival headliner’ Special Guest that Latitude Festival has been teasing is none other than Two Door Cinema Club, who were set to top the bill a few years ago, before pulling out last minute. Further new additions for the July fest include Leon Bridges, Mystery Jets and The Coral.
to their entertaining portrait of the queer experience, but Liv tries not to think about that part too much when writing. That way madness lies. “Thinking that way in the studio can be a mental trap for me,” they say. “It’s like when I get dressed to go outside, if I don’t pick an outfit that I like then I’m going to feel uncomfortable all day. Writing lyrics is kind of like that, it’s something that makes me feel excited and truthful. I think humour is a part of that.” There’s also years of queer heritage to factor in, they think. In a way, PWR BTTM are simply coming into their inheritance. “There’s a long, long history of dark, gallows humour among queer people, dating back to Oscar Wilde and even earlier. That’s an important part of how I look at the world and so it usually makes its way into my lyrics,” says Liv. On ‘Pageant’s second single ‘Lol’, Ben equates being queer to the sensation of being perpetually nineteen – a comparison that some reviewers have taken as an unhappy one. After all, teenagers aren’t exactly known for their positivity. Still, Ben says, it’s not as if the lyric is solely about youthful enthusiasm either. “It’s this naïve perspective of thinking that everything’s gonna work out, and things might be okay, and also being as insecure as a nineteen-year-old. I think both are
true,” they say. The truth is at the centre of much of PWR BTTM’s output. Now and then they’ve toyed with the idea of just writing for writing’s sake, but it never quite comes off. There has to be something honest for them to work from. “I only write a song because I absolutely have to write it,” says Ben. “I try to write songs all the time, and I don’t finish them because I don’t really have anything worthwhile to say in them. The ones I finish are the ones that have actual thoughts about the way I’m feeling.” Liv agrees. “I’ve said this before - I think in the premiere for the ‘I Wanna Boi’ video, but it’s worth saying again in the context of this new record - that I think of songwriting as another form of magic, like tarot cards, or crystals, or horoscopes,” they consider. “It’s like reading tea leaves. It shows me something about myself every time.” Their fans are growing along with them, it seems. The more PWR BTTM are opening up, the more their audience is reflecting that back. Their shows are filled with fans covered in glitter or wearing DIY jackets emblazoned with leftleaning slogans, safe spaces where boys can kiss boys and girls can kiss girls, and nobody has to adhere to any kind of gender binary if they don’t want to. Liv doesn’t think they can necessarily take credit for that, though.
“I don’t think there’s much we do except create a space for it that encourages the...” they cast around for the right word for a moment, before lighting upon their earlier analogy and finishing with a smile in their voice “...the magic that happens in our fan community. I remember the first time people got really dressed up to go to see us, and thinking, ‘Oh that’s cool’. And then suddenly half the crowd was doing it.” “I think oftentimes they’re repeating my aesthetic, and I’ve always tried to make my makeup cheap and fast, having to do it at the gig, so it’s really easy to replicate for anybody,” says Ben. “I kind of feel like Andy Warhol, you know, how he’d just throw a white wig on people and have them walk around in a turtleneck and people would think it was him? I never tried to do that at all; I never thought anyone would ever dress up like I do. But people will be like, ‘Ben, I did your look!’ and I’ll be like, ‘No, you look way, way better than I do. You spent hours on your face’.” The glitter must be difficult to get rid of, after the show. “Oh yeah,” says Ben. “I have it on my scalp, right now. I will probably be covered in glitter for the rest of my life.” They pause. “But that’s not the worst thing to be covered in, I think.” PWR BTTM’s album ‘Pageant’ is out now.
MAMA, TIME OUT & COMMUNION PRESENT
THE ULTIMATE SUMMER SUNDAY
WILD BEASTS LAURA MARLING MICHAEL KIWANUKA A BLAZE OF FEATHER
VERY SPECIAL GUEST
& A GALAXY OF PROGRAMMING TO DISCOVER...
FROM Â£49.50+ BF
Headlining our date of the Bushmills Tour in Brighton, The Magic Gang set things off at their hometown show. See more on readdork.com now.
Photo: Jamie MacMillan
THE GREEN DOOR STORE, BRIGHTON
THE MAGIC GANG
C I T Y G U I D ES : THIS IS THIS IS THIS THIS IS THISIS IS HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING
FO B M A N I A Fall Out Boy have been playing the ‘mysterious teaser’ game over the past few weeks, leading up to not only the dropping of a new single, ‘Young and Menace’, but details of a new album too. The band’s forthcoming seventh studio LP ‘M A N I A’ is due on 15th September via Virgin EMI.
S U N DA R A K A RM A
P U T T H E K ET T L E O N Proving just what could happen if you pop ‘round your mates house, Jamie T looks to be working with Miles Kane on some fresh new music. With Miles dropping in for a “cuppa and a chorus”, according to a post in Jamie’s Insta, we can only imagine what the two of them worked on – and just how good that cuppa was.
O N RE A D I N G SUNDARA KARMA ARE FROM READING - WE MAY HAVE MENTIONED IT ONCE OR TWICE BEFORE, ESPECIALLY AROUND FESTIVAL SEASON - SO WHO BETTER TO GIVE SOME TIPS NOT ONLY FOR SURVIVING THE TOWN’S ANNUAL DEBAUCHERY, BUT ALSO THE REST OF THE YEAR THERE TOO. POP THE KETTLE ON, DOM.
EY E TO EY E Things have been pretty quiet on the whole Blood Red Shoes front, but that’s about to change in a big way with the duo unveiling a fresh new sound with ‘Eye To Eye’ – their first new music in over three years. Drenched in shivering synths and menacing tones, it’s a distinct boot to the jaw to all who thought they knew what the band are all about. Hypnotic and hooked from the first listen, it points to an unmissable journey ahead.
SPACE ODDITY Bluedot Festival has added a handful of new acts to the bill. Joining the likes of Alt-J, Orbital and Pixies are Toothless, Ten Fé and Post War Glamour Girls. Also playing are Astronomyy, Virginia Wing and loads more. The festival takes place at Jodrell Bank Observatory from 7th-9th June.
It’s like the only fucking place that kicks in Reading. It shuts the latest so everyone ends up going there so you get the strangest mixture of people. We’ve fallen in love at Turtle, thrown up at Turtle, gotten off with milfs at Turtle, even been kneed in the balls at Turtle. We’d recommend this place above anything else in the world.
Used to be tight! It got redecorated recently and has become this very gentrified gastro burger place for business bankers. It can still be fun though for pre drinks etc. We’re unfortunately not allowed to DJ there anymore.
ARCADIA VINYL STORES
A great place to find forgotten dust discs. There are two shops, one’s more old school and sells little toy trains and cars and old comics, etc. The other place is strictly vinyl. They’re both cool and do some absolute bargains.
ORACLE RIVERSIDE MCDONALD’S
This used to be the chilling spot when we were like 13/14, but we eventually became vegetarians so moved on to better things like
Pret and Subway. A sweet spot to be surrounded by concrete and shopping rats and a nice(ish) view of the river.
When we’re home and not touring, we like to have movie nights. We all go round to Dom’s house cause it’s the biggest and he’s got the pengest movie set up. Seriously it’s like something off fucking Cribs or something that Puff Daddy would own. I think the last movie night we had we watched ‘Finding Dory’ and consumed an absurd amount of Scooby snacks!
We rent a little lock up in Reading to keep all our gear in and rehearse in etc. It’s part of a Reading charity called Readipop, but we don’t feel that gangster calling our rehearsal room Readipop, so we refer to it as ‘The Space’. We actually played our first ever show in the same building way back when the place was called Plug n Play, and since then we’ve played a few shows there; one horrendously foggy Reading Festival afterparty which we try very hard to forget about. There have also been a number of illegal raves here attended to mainly by old bearded folk and white dudes with dreads. P
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: READING FESTIVAL 2017 Lesson 1 Know your colours: Our first Reading was back in 2k11, and local knowledge guided us toward the prime camping spot, Yellow. Yellow is for the legends, Purple for the wannabes, White is miles away and more for families etc., Green is gross, Orange is closest to Tesco’s. It’s been a few years so the chi might’ve changed slightly - some people say Yellow is where you camp if you wanna camp with 16-year-olds trying ket for the first time... Maybe your safest bet is Purple or Orange, unless you’re 16 in which case most certainly Yellow. Lesson 2 Pick your moments: Everyone ultimately leaves Reading with another batch of debauched stories. The goal of any festival is to make sure that you get through the weekend without someone ‘gramming too much of your shame. A little is healthy, but you don’t want the internet filming the moment you drank piss out of a wellie or when you did a line off your ex’s forehead. Lesson 3 Tescos: The third lesson, perhaps the most important, is to know where Tesco is and all your access points. Tesco becomes the Shangri-La for the grumbly boys and girls. It might be worth mentioning that there are two: one’s at the petrol station, and one’s the Tesco Extra which is a bit further away and more of a mission, but the perfect place to get a job lot of bananas.
also carry the risk of becoming rather self-indulgent. Is this album a one-off for you, or the start of something bigger? What are your ambitions for Mr Jukes? I don’t think this is going to be a one-off. I imagine myself touring this record and then writing a similar one but replacing the samples with the musicians I’ve been touring with.
JACK’S BACK JACK STEADMAN HAS LAUNCHED HIS FIRST SOLO PROJECT SINCE BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB DISBANDED LAST YEAR - AND IT’S A WEE BIT DIFFERENT. UNDER THE NAME MR JUKES, HE’S TEAMED UP WITH A NUMBER OF COLLABORATORS (WATCH THIS SPACE) FOR AN ALBUM THAT’S SET TO LAND THIS SUMMER.
Hey Jack, how are things? Is life treating you well? Life is good. I’m in Little Poland in New York mixing the final few songs of the album and eating lots of pierogi. You’ve just launched your first solo project - what prompted you to go it alone? The desire to write songs that didn’t need to have certain instruments on them due to the structure of the band performing them. Did Mr Jukes arrive fully formed, or was there a process of figuring out what you
wanted it to be? To be honest, I never envisaged having so many features on the album. But I kept writing songs that, in my opinion, my voice would not do justice. Once I realised that my daydreams about different singers on different songs could sometimes become reality, I became quite intoxicated with that idea. When did you start putting together ‘God First’? Was there any overlap with Bombay Bicycle Club? The actual writing process didn’t start until the break with the band, but you can certainly hear hints of the project
if you look back at things like our last Live Lounge cover (full of horns and Fela stylings) and the more sample-heavy songs on our last album. Your lead single ‘Angels/Your Love’ features BJ The Chicago Kid - are there many collaborations across the record? How did you decide who to approach? There are many collaborations, yes! I just kept imagining different voices on different songs. But also it’s important to maintain that dynamic of bouncing ideas around with people. If you go from being in a band to being completely isolated, it’s not only less fun, but it can
other, but it was hard not to be able just to have Cleo call like, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ and just head over and see them.”
POWER UP FOR THEIR SECOND ALBUM ‘POWERPLANT’, GIRLPOOL ARE BUILDING ON THEIR SOUND LIKE NEVER BEFORE. WORDS: EALA MACALISTER
ince meeting at a gig in LA as teenagers, Harmony Tivadad (bass and vocals) and Cleo Tucker (guitar and vocals) have been inseparable. Not afraid to be honest and bring some sass with their tunes, running through everything Girlpool do is a close friendship, which allows them to be
open and honest in their songwriting. Having spent time in New York before Harmony decided it wasn’t for her and moved to Philadelphia, they are now both back where it all began. She explains: “We’re back in LA now but we were living apart, and that was crazy. We were only two hours away by car so it wasn’t that difficult to see each
For second album ‘Powerplant’, the duo elected to bring in some musicians who help flesh out their sound. Harmony wasn’t so sure initially, but Cleo soon convinced her. “Cleo had the idea that these songs we had written would sound really different and more lush if we fleshed them out. Even though they sounded good as a two-piece, we would feel more excited to bring more instrumentation to them. I was a little hesitant at first, but we talked more about it and agreed that it would be an exciting opportunity, and it’s been amazing and beautiful to watch.” As it turns out, that was a great idea, giving ‘Powerplant’ a bigger, more muscular sound than debut album ‘Before The World Was Big’. The unison voices of Cleo and Harmony are still very much centre stage, however, and are what give Girlpool their unique sound. They sound bigger than ever before, but not necessarily more mature. “Calling something more mature can be a bit condescending to younger peoples’ work,” Harmony muses. “[Before The World Was Big’] was as right as it could be for that age, and this is as right as
Have you figured out how you’re going to perform your new material live yet? I’ve just put a ten-piece band together, and we’re going into rehearsals in a few weeks. I’m really excited for the songs to become more malleable and more direct in their message. My favourite part of touring with Bombay was when we had to play small sessions with no electronics, and the songs had to be reinterpreted and stripped back. I hope to do a similar thing with this show. Get to the essence of the songs with live instrumentation. Are there any other styles of music, outside of Bombay and Mr Jukes, that you’d really like to explore? I feel a great sense of freedom with this new project. When you’re crate-digging and sampling, you are really exploring an eclectic mix of music. I’d love to reinterpret something like Stravinsky’s The Firebird with the live band, maybe as an introduction to the set. Do you have big plans for over the summer? Releasing the album! It comes out 14th July! P
it can be for this age. I think that both have merit.” The album came together in just two weeks, in what Harmony remembers as a creative and inspiring, if intense, time. “It was amazing. We recorded it with Drew Fisher, and he’s a pleasure to work with, down to earth and full of ideas. We really just buckled down and we were doing it for long days, and it just came together really, really quickly and beautifully.” Harmony reckons there is an air of catharsis and disillusionment hanging over ‘Powerplant’. At its heart, she believes it’s a record about looking at things a bit differently. With their sights now set on the road, the band are touring through their home country in spring and will also have some European dates across the summer. Harmony’s excited to hit counties like Spain and Italy, which she hasn’t visited before, and also Britain’s own End of the Road. “We played there a few years ago, and that was amazing,” she reminisces. “That festival is beautiful.” Whatever fate awaits Cleo and Harmony, they will likely still be found hanging out at each others’ houses, playing music and getting creative. P Girlpool’s album ‘Powerplant’ is out now.
THIS THIS IS THIS IS THIS IS THISIS IS HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING
O N T H E REG U L A R
“Fuck the legacy!” WITH HER BREAKTHROUGH DEBUT ‘MADE OF BRICKS’ HITTING TEN YEARS OLD, AND A NEW
‘UN IN THE WORKS - KATE NASH IS BACK, DOING THINGS ON HER OWN TERMS.
t’s 18th June 2007. Tony Blair is on his way out of office, the first iPhone is launched to market, and a Harrow-born teenager called Kate Nash is signed to a major record label, wrestling it out with Rihanna for the Number One spot with ‘Foundations’, a song that gained prominence on MySpace. Fast-forward nine years and ten months and that same musician has just hit her target of $70,000 on Kickstarter. Tired of old-fashioned business models and industry bluster, she has once again taken to the Internet to fulfil her artistic vision. In ten years, everything has changed, and yet, with fourth record impending, the Kate Nash brand still feels as DIY and spirited as ever. “I’d had a bunch of meetings with labels and people in the music industry, and it just didn’t inspire me. I’ve been independent for five years, and so Kickstarter seemed like the natural path.” She’s a rare artist for whom a crowd-funded campaign feels natural as opposed to a begging exercise – driven by a personal connection with a dedicated audience that have stuck by her through many musical changes; it seems organic to invite those supporters to become her record label. For an artist whose guard was fully up from years of
WORDS: JENESSA WILLIAMS.
working with “dishonest, shady characters”, it wasn’t a move that was taken lightly, but came about after the realisation that her ambitions were moving faster than a record label would allow. “There are so many people in the industry who just wish things were as they were in the nineties - you can never really be sure of why you’re compromising on things,” she explains. “But things are different now – there are so many cool and positive opportunities that it’s time to really appreciate the change. “Even though things were going well [on Kickstarter], I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable until we made the goal, so now we’ve broken through there are so many more possibilities. I’d love to invest in the stage show; I come from a theatre background so I’d love to experiment more with that. It would be amazing to fully realise some of the visions I have.” With the new record shaping up to a be a very modern affair (“It’s quite genreless, I feel like music doesn’t have to be just one thing anymore”) and the Kickstarter balance tipping over $100,000, her battle for independence remains right on course. All is good in Kate’s world, although she does fear for what is happening outside it. With the announcement of a June General Election, she is audibly exhausted at the state of the country she loves so much.
“I just feel like everything is a shitshow and a joke. Nobody is interested in governance anymore – it’s such an ancient way of ruling us, and we’ve advanced socially past that. There needs to be a spiritual revolution, and I think it’s going to come through the internet. We need extreme change, which is usually quite painful and it’ll be chaotic and a mess for a while - maybe that’s what we’re in the middle of, and we just can’t see it yet.” But what if we never get through? In a post-apocalyptic world where the government has dissolved, all musicians had been wiped out by austerity and ten years was all we had of Kate Nash, what would she like her musical legacy to be? “Oh god, I don’t know!” she laughs. “I think the most satisfying thing for me has always been the connection to my fans as individuals, the way my songs have affected them personally and helped them through certain situations. I just like having conversations. I like chats like this where we just have a conversation about things that feel relevant. “I don’t really care what the music industry remembers me for; I just care about what I’ve been able to do for people on a personal level. Those stories are why I do it. Fuck the legacy!” P Kate Nash tours the UK this August.
We do like surprises, especially if it’s a fresh new album from bonafide fave Shamir – unveiling new LP ‘Hope’ online. The album, which is free to stream and listen to, comes with a note that details its creation: it was recorded over one weekend and was written, produced, mixed and performed entirely by Shamir. Makes you think that maybe we should have done more with our weekend…
O N T H E ROA D Prepare to head to church, Father John Misty is set to hold court with a string of UK headline shows confirmed for this November. Sure to be packed full of that unmistakable showmanship and swagger we’ve come to know and love, the man otherwise known as Josh Tillman will kick things off in Edinburgh on 1st November.
NO, TAKE OUR MONEY Bleachers are primed and ready with new LP ‘Gone Now’ lined up and set to land on 2nd June. After delivering the knockoutsized hooks of lead number ‘Don’t Take The Money’, Jack Antonoff has used Twitter (as you do), to reveal details of the hotly anticipated follow-up to debut ‘Strange Desire’.
DA M N Things you never expected to read: Rat Boy is sampled on Kendrick Lamar’s new album ‘DAMN’. Yep, Rat Boy. Even he’s shocked. The track sampled is ‘Knock Knock Knock’, taken from the 2015 mixtape ‘Neighbourhood Watch’. It appears on Kendrick’s ‘LUST’.
“YOU LOOKIN’ AT ME?”
PHOTO: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT
THIS THIS IS THIS IS THIS IS THISIS IS HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING
A F T E R TA M E I M PA L A Paramore’s new material sounds a bit different, doesn’t it? It’s no wonder though – during its creation, songwriter Taylor York was “trying to rip off” an unlikely band... “I was only listening to Tame Impala,” he explains in a Beats1 interview, “so I was just trying to rip off everything. I had to try. It didn’t work, but I had to try.” Paramore’s new album ‘After Laughter’ is out on 12th May.
H I TS H I TS H I TS Why wait for one new track, when you can have three? That’s the thinking of Foster The People, who have returned with an almighty bang by dropping new numbers ‘Doing It For The Money’, ‘Pay The Man’ and ‘S.H.C.’ all in one go. All three are set to land on the band’s as-yet-untitled third album.
GOOD AT THIS Diet Cig are set to hit the UK and Europe for a run of shows. The band will kick off the UK leg in Nottingham on 13th October. They’ll then play shows in Lancaster, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Cambridge and London before finishing up in Brighton on 26th October.
BIG! BIG!! BIG!!!
“I DON’T WANNA GET BOXED IN.” NATHAN WILLIAMS AND CO. HAVE LEFT THEIR PREVIOUS MAJOR LABEL HOME TO DO IT THEMSELVES, LAUNCHING NEW WAVVES ALBUM ‘YOU’RE WELCOME’ ON THEIR OWN GHOST RAMP RECORDS. IT’S A WELCOME MOVE, IF A STRESSFUL ONE... WORDS: JAKE HAWKES.
Do you have post album blues now that the new album’s all finished and ready for release? No blues! Just excited for people to finally hear it in its entirety. Why did you pick ‘You’re Welcome’ as the title-track? I wanted the first single to be a departure from [last release] ‘V’ which was primarily comprised of power pop songs. This was a more insular song, sample-based and not particularly guitar heavy. I don’t like people being able to expect how my next record will sound. I don’t wanna get boxed in. You do get labelled as indie, surf, pop-punk, punk, lo-fi, and pretty much everything else under the sun... I don’t get too caught up in the labels, for the most part, they act as a way to pigeonhole a band, and I’m not with that. What were your favourite tracks on the album to write/record?
‘Come to the Valley’ and ‘I Love You’ were my favourites to write. They came quick and were recorded fluidly.
I’ll chase that. If I wanna flip drums and record something faster, then I’ll do that.
The album is going to be released entirely through your own label. What do you think are the benefits/ challenges of releasing on your own, rather than through a major label? I mean, the upside to a big label is obviously money and manpower. Without the label, you have more freedom and more stress, but the payoff can be a lot bigger if something sticks.
Where do you think this album sits with relation to your other work? It’s more of an oddball record, so it’s more akin to something like ‘King of the Beach’. It also has the same producer.
Is there a specific thing you want people to take away from the new album after listening to it? I don’t think about other people’s opinions while I’m recording. Once we start the mixing process it starts to sink in that people will eventually hear it but in the beginning, I’m just following my taste instinctually. If I come in wanting to do something sample based that sounds like it belongs on a strange musical, then
You and your brother released a game about punching Richard Spencer in the face, why do you think it’s important to mock figures like Spencer? I’m not even mocking; I’m encouraging people to be violent towards him because it’s what he deserves. P
You’re on tour with Blink-182 at the moment, how’s that going? It’s been great! They’re all nice, genuine guys.
Wavves’ album ‘You’re Welcome’ is out 19th May.
WEEKEND If you had plans for the end of May, then you might as well clear them – because BBC Radio 1 have announced a stellar bill of names for the Big Weekend, including Kasabian, Lorde, Alt-J, Haim and tons more. This year’s weekend is set to head to Hull from 27th-28th May – with all tickets already allocated via a ballot.
DEC’S DEBUT Declan McKenna has revealed details of his debut album. Set for release on 21st July, it’s called ‘What Do You Think About The Car?’ and features the ‘someone’s seen a 90s Take That video’ artwork right there on your left.
That’s not all Dec’s been up to this month, either. If the story of how our hero got a pizza eating squirrel and its epic fight with a swarm of evil pigeons covered by a national newspaper, you’ll want to head to readdork.com right now.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF...
GIRLI RIHANNA, MAKIN’ MUSIC AND PARTYING - IT’S PRETTY MUCH AS YOU’D EXPECT TBH.
9:00 I freak out if life becomes repetitive or slips into the same rhythm, so every day is pretty much totally different. The 9am wake up moves several hours forward if I’ve been out the night before (which happens a lot), but in general, I like waking up around this time, so I don’t waste the day ‘cause it gives me the creeps knowing that it’s light outside and I’m in bed. When I get up, I drink peppermint tea, have a shower, and have banter with some of my (eleven) housemates in our big shared kitchen. Then, it’s back up to my room to pick my outfit, bang out some morning vibe songs like Madonna ‘Into The Groove’ or anything off Rihanna ‘ANTI’ and, like the control freak I am, go through my to-do list and get all the little things I gotta do done. 11:00 On days where I’m making music, I’ll leave my house by 11 and head to whatever studio I’m in that day. I work and collaborate with a lot of producers and other musicians, and some weeks I’ll work with three different people in one week. I love writing songs and making music. It’s my diary entry, my chance to vomit all my ideas into words and sound, and I love working with other people as I think that teaches me more things about the way that I work when one day I decide to make all my music on my own. I have a home studio setup, too. 13:00 I AM HUNGRY ALL THE TIME SO FOOD IS A V. IMPORTANT PART OF THE SCHEDULE. Tummy starts a rumblin’ at 1 most days. 17:00 Creatively, my brain gets fried after about 4/5 hours in the studio, and I don’t see the point in pushing it if you’ve had a good day of making a song and you hit a wall or get tired - there’s always tomorrow. Some studio sessions will be so vibey that you get to 9pm and forget the time. Others start getting weary at 3pm. Every time is different. After the studio, I’ll usually head to a skatepark to skate with a bunch of my skater girl n guy mates, to skate, have a laugh and plan things for Bowl Babes, a skate brand and organisation that my friend set up to encourage more girls to skate (check em out @bowlbabesltd). I grew up in North West London, so I usually skate ‘round there, or in Camden.
21:00 I love the night. It’s when I feel most alert, and London really comes alive. Most things I write songs about happen at night. If I don’t have anything early on the next day, this is the time that I dump my board and bag at home, get dressed up, do my makeup and go out to a gig or a party. In music and fashion, there are a lot of free booze events which I get invited to so I just bring a mate as a plus 1 and get wasted and silly and then it’s to whatever afterparty is happening. On the weekend the warehouse I live in is a constant party vibe - I live on a road of warehouses and the one next door always has live bands or a sound system out playing jungle and funk. Good vibes all round. Then to bed. P
PHOTO: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT
ASK A RESPONSIBLE ADULT TO HELP YOU BEFORE USING SCISSORS.
ULTIMATE BANGERS THEY SAY IT IS A LEGEND. THIS MONTH...
CHVRCHES THE MOTHER WE SHARE
WITH A NEW TRACK IN TOW, IT’S ONLY RIGHT WE CAUGHT UP WITH AMBER ABOUT LIFE ON THE ROAD, FRESH MUSIC AND THAT INCOMING BEYONCE COVERS ALBUM… WORDS: JAMIE MUIR. PHOTO: CORINNE CUMMING.
Hey Amber! It’s been a while since we last caught up, how’s things? Hey! It’s been really good. I’ve been doing a lot of touring recently and the last few tours, in particular, have felt quite different, especially the last one in America. There’s been a lot of dates but I’m not bored of it at all, and now I’ve got a new band that I’m playing with too. They’re all such fucking legends and great musicians, so I think it’s really adding another element to it all. It’s a bit more live now, not as if it wasn’t live before but now there’s much more to it, and it feels much cooler, and I’m really excited about it. But yeah, things have been going well I think – I dunno, it’s hard to tell because I’ve stopped reading all the comments and shit like that. Sometimes I’ll type into Twitter ‘Amber Bain Shit’ or ‘Japanese House Shit’ just looking for some mean tweets, but I haven’t seen any so far. I’m sure they’re out there somewhere! It looks like you’ve been having a brilliant time out in the States, playing all those headline shows and SXSW too – what’ve been the standout shows? Ahhh, yeah there’s been quite a few over the past few months, like we did this show in Chicago which was cool because we’d never played there before and the show we did was in a 900/850 people capacity place that was sold out, so that was a bit like ‘Woah’. So many people were there, and it was such a fun show. There was New York at The Bowery, which I really like as venue and then I guess Atlanta too which was right after South-by and… South-by was quite an intense experience playing quite a few shows. It’s quite weird because it’s a bit industry and there are so many shows each day.
Just so happens of course, that there’s some new music about with ‘Saw You In A Dream’ (which is blooming great by the way), how did the track all come together? Ahh thanks! Yeah, it all came together quite recently actually. I had a verse that I was playing around for a bit, and then I decided to not force myself to finish it – so a few months later I sat down and was like ‘right, I’ve got this’ and finished it in a day. The track feels really natural and open! It’s probably one of the most natural songs or naturally written songs that I’ve ever done. I didn’t need to change anything, I just got it all done and sung the melody, and that was it. I didn’t change anything else about it, which is quite rare because usually I look through the lyrics and think ‘Urgh that makes me sound like a dicckkk’ or that it just doesn’t make any sense. It’s quite a blatant and honest song, and I guess quite revealing, and I think that’s probably why it was quite easy because it was stuff I purposely hadn’t been writing about or obviously writing about. So as soon as I started writing about it, it all kinda splurged out. Of course it also marks a new EP on the horizon in June too, is the first track a good reflection of what’s to come from that? Ermm, I think the other songs are quite different. I’m really getting into guitar at the moment so there’s a lot more guitar on this EP and I think that’s probably because I’m playing live so much. There’s quite a lot of different styles of writing going on there. Like, there’s one track that I haven’t given a title just yet, but at the moment is called ‘I Hate Myself’ - which I really need to change but, y’know. It’s quite
a blatant one about questioning whether a relationship has changed. There’s one called ‘Creases’, or I think it’s going to be called ‘Creases’, which has these almost hip-hop styled drums. I mean it’s not actually hip-hop, more of a Japanese House hip-hop? It’s a groovy number, really heavily inspired by Beyonce’s last album. So this must be the start of The Japanese House hip-hop album right? Oh yeah, my album is basically going to be ‘Lemonade’ – I’d be happy with that. Just a cover of the whole album from start to finish! P The Japanese House’s EP ‘Saw You In A Dream’ is out 16th June.
THE JAPANESE HOUSE
SAW YOU IN A DREAM
We’ve been head over heels with The Japanese House for a while now. That instantly recognisable blending of glacial-chimes and spine-tingling rawness have been captivating right from the go, and with each and every release that has only got stronger. ‘Saw You In A Dream’ has that special knack most tracks will never reach, an ability to switch you into an all-encompassing world of sparkling clarity that you’ll never want to leave: it captures the butterflies in your stomach, the unbridled emotion that swirls around your head and the longing desire that can only come from loving someone unconditionally. It’s majestic, stunning and a beacon above the city that takes The Japanese House to an unrivalled new level. Everyone’s playing catch-up now.
The zeitgeist and music are strange but welcome bedfellows. There’s no doubt that the sounds we listen to shape the fashions of the world around us. The same is true in reverse, too. Yet, while so many chase that cresting wave of ‘now’, so few actually manage to hit it straight between the eyes. They land either side - late enough to ride the mainstream aftershocks, or early enough to be called tastemakers without ever reaping the real rewards. That’s where ‘The Mother We Share’ proves truly magical. Not only was it a bullseye shot when it first arrived back in 2012 (yes, Dear Reader, it’s five years old this year), but it still feels just as sparkly and on point today. There’s no formula to it - no definable single trait that sets it out. There’s no obvious, repeating chorus refrain, or gimmicky filter. Nothing either throwback or try hard. It’s natural perfection. That echoing vocal synth line feels genuinely iconic, the sweeping electronic vistas drifting off to the horizon. It’s an organic body in a world of flashing neon and Blade Runner style dystopia. The secret, it seems, to being so achingly relevant, is to create a sonic universe that sits beyond outside influence. By not running after the prize, CHVRCHES secured first place for keeps.
FIND MORE ON OUR CONSTANTLY UPDATED BRAND NEW BANGERS SPOTIFY PLAYLIST AT READDORK.COM
WHATEVER THE PROPER BANGER IS CALLED
If buzz was measured by volume, Sigrid would need a few sizeable football stadiums to contain the noise around her early moves. ‘Plot Twist’ is no less worth of the hype machine - a fresh as fuck slice of juicy pop that feels streets ahead of her contemporaries.
The boundaries of rock music aren’t defined by the same list of boorish tick boxes it once was. Like Fall Out Boy and Paramore (more on them later - Ed), PVRIS are pushing their own boundaries with dark, challenging pop. Attitude beats uniform compliance any day of the week..
ALL MY FRIENDS
You’ll not find it on the front pages, but there’s an arms race underway in the UK indie underground. As bangers go off left, right and centre, it could well be Get Inuit that pack the deciding punch. ‘All My Friends’ is the kind of sugar soaked, melody laden warhead that we’ve come to expect. When they deliver the mother lode, everyone else will be running for cover.
Chukka-chukka-chukka. That’s the thumping sound of Estrons skullrattling charge, refusing to drop the beat for a single second. ‘Strobe Light’ is as urgent as its title might suggest. You’re paying attention, or they’re putting you in the ground. Fall in line.
Yes, Royal Blood’s big comeback track is packing riffs. So, so many riffs. Like a tin of popular branded creosote, the Brighton two piece do exactly what they claim, but boy is it effective. It’s not the volume of noise, but the cold eyed delivery that sets them out from the pack. Get down and stay down, sparky.
FALL OUT BOY
YOUNG AND RESTLESS
What did you expect from Fall Out Boy? If you have any answer at all to that question, you’re doing it wrong. Blending their colours, the first track from new album ‘M A N I A’ (yes, the spacing matters), is less a left turn and more never ending EDM donuts on the forecourt of pop punk. Open minds will be rewarded.
So basically, we know the first proper single from Haim’s new album is coming in-between the point we send this issue off to the printers and it ‘hitting’ the ‘streets’. We’ve heard ‘Right Now’, but we haven’t heard what we’re expecting to be the Actual Certified Lead Banger. You will have though, Dear Reader! So you can fill in the gaps below to give it its appropriate ‘dues’. We’re in this together.
THE NEW HAIM SONG IS
IN MY OPINION, IT’S REALLY . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . . .. . .
.. . . THE
BEST BIT IS . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . , BUT . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . I
CALLED . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. .
GIVE IT . .. . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. .
.. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .
. .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . OUT OF FIVE.
Just because we know what to expect from Phoenix doesn’t make it any less effective. ‘J-Boy’ bristles with the French crew’s iconic vibe - like a cold drink on a sparkling vista, there’s little point improving on what’s already perfect.
INHEAVEN have found their place. ‘Vultures’ bristles with the sticky floors and darkened corners of basement indie clubs up and down the country. Snotty and full of attitude, it knows it looks good. Your move, punk.
HATE THAT YOU KNOW ME
Jack Antonoff is a pop genius. There’s little arguing that. Add some backing vocals from HRH Queen Carly Rae Jepsen and simple platitudes don’t seem enough. Maybe we should try some form of ethereal being for size?
Paramore have gone pop. Did you hear? No, forget the fact they were smashing the mainstream out of the park on their last record, and that this is the glorious jump to the very height of their powers as the defining act of their musical universe. They’ve gone pop. Pop! 19
18TH - 20TH MAY 2017
THE GREAT ESCAPE
OH WE DO LIKE TO BE BESIDE THE SEASIDE...
YO U K N OW W H AT ’S G RE AT ? V E N U ES N E A R T R A I N STAT I O N S . Y ES , J UST L I K E T H E P RI N C E A L B E RT I N B RI G H TO N , H OW F U N N Y YO U S H O U L D M E N T I O N - T H AT ’S T H E LU C K Y V E N U E H OST I N G D O RK’S STAG E AT T H E G RE AT ESCA P E .
We’ll be hanging out all Friday evening with some of our fave new acts: there’s INHEAVEN, who’re currently putting the finishing touches on their debut album (watch this space), Stevie Parker, who oh look, takes up that whole page over there, and G-Ezra’s brother and new fave Ten Tonnes. It’s going to be great. Our pals at Upset are also taking part with a late-night party at the Komedia running until well after our usual bed time, featuring Gallops and loads more. Then elsewhere at the three-day festival there are sets from plenty of the bands who’re pretty much permanently on our playlists: King Nun, Dream Wife, Marika Hackman, Willie J Healey, Will Joseph Cook, Fickle Friends and The Magic Gang to name but a few.
ON THE DORK STAGE AT THE GREAT ESCAPE...
UPCOMING SHOWS + FESTIVALS
M AY 29 T H
M A RI K A H AC K M A N
M A M A RO U X ’S , B I RM I N G H A M J U N E 14T H
W I L L I E J H E A L EY
T H E BO I L E RO O M , G U I L D FO RD J U LY 1 ST
D ES P E R AT E J O U RN A L I ST
P U RP L E T U RT L E , RE A D I N G
INHEAVEN STEVIE PARKER TEN TONNES BELIEFS XAMVOLO THE PRINCE ALBERT, 48 TRAFALGAR ST, BRIGHTON BN1 4ED
J U LY 28 T H
H O N EY LU N G
ESQ U I RES , B E D FO RD AU G UST 10T H -12 T H M AY 19 T H
D O RK @ T H E G RE AT ESCA P E
I N H E AV E N , ST EV I E PA RK E R , T E N TO N N ES , B E L I E FS , X A M VO LO B RI G H TO N M AY 24T H
P L E AS U RE H O U S E
ESQ U I RES , B E D FO RD
H U S K Y LO O PS
U K TO U R G RE E N D O O R STO RE , B RI G H TO N (10), ACT RESS & B I S H O P, B I RM I N G H A M (11), ESQ U I RES , B E D FO RD (12) AU G UST 10T H -12 T H
L E E F EST
W I L D B E ASTS , F I C K L E F RI E N DS , BA D SO U N DS , F I S H , S H A M E + M O RE N E A R T U N B RI D G E W E L LS
FO R M O RE I N FO, T I C K ETS A N D M O RE , H E A D TO RE A D D O RK .C O M / S H OWS N OW !
TEN TONNES’ TOP 5 GREAT ESCAPE 2017 PICKS
“THIS IS MY WAY OF BEING BOLD.”
STEVIE PARKER HAS AN EXCITING MONTH AHEAD: A DEBUT ALBUM, AND DORK’S STAGE AT THE GREAT ESCAPE. WORDS: MARTYN YOUNG.
or any artist, releasing an album is a significant event. For 24-year-old Bristolian Stevie Parker, her debut ‘The Cure’ is the culmination of a decade of honing her talent and finding the confidence to push herself out there. “It feels like the point of no return,” she explains, trying to process the great leap from promising talent to genuine albumreleasing big deal. “It’s exciting as it’s all guns blazing: this is who I am.” While in some ways it signals a new beginning, in many ways the release of ‘The Cure’ is an ending. The final beautiful reflection on a period of drastic change and emotional upheaval. “It really captures a long period in my life and a lot of different experiences,” says Stevie. Despite Stevie’s reluctance to put herself centre stage as a naturally private and introverted person, her rich musical talent and the reaction she received towards her songs encouraged her to make that big step, “I felt a heavy responsibility in a sense that I should do something with this otherwise it would be a waste.” The album that Stevie has masterfully created is a record that
highlights all the deep emotion and desires in her music. “My real passion is honesty and rawness,” she explains. That honesty manifests itself in a record that takes the form both of an emotional gut punch and a tender caress. “It’s a heartbreak record really,” reveals Stevie. “It’s like all the different stages of life: heartbreaks and unrequited feelings. It’s outgrowing someone and all the different pitfalls and hurdles you encounter when you’re traversing the landscape of teenage relationships and beyond.” Rather than revel in misery though, Stevie wants a message of hope to shine through. “I did intend to have that glimmer of hope,” she begins. “It goes on a journey of self-discovery. In going through those experiences and the losses and heartbreaks, the one thing you can take from it is the sense of self-worth. I want to convey that. These things can be really shit, but ultimately, they can give you so much.” The experiences and feelings that have coloured Stevie’s life and made the music on the album have encouraged her to stand up for what she feels is right and promote a message of inclusivity and openness. Something that’s borne out by the responses she’s received from people touched by her music and her attitude: “People have said to me that my stuff helps them through all sorts of different things. I’m just
starting out and don’t claim to have any amount of fans, but people have bothered to reach out to me, and people do have an emotional response to my songs. I like to think that’s because they’re honest and relate to experiences that we all share.” That honesty extends to Stevie’s whole musical and social ethos. “I like to promote the idea of let’s all be who we are and dress how we dress,” she says. “Human Interaction and sharing is something that as a society we struggle with. I find that music is a way to bridge that gulf a little bit. As well as talking about the gamut of human emotions the album is a frank love letter to honesty and realness.” There’s nothing more real than facing your fears and shattering them, and that’s what Stevie has done. “This is my way of being bold,” she says confidently. The response Stevie has had to her songs and her work this early in her career has encouraged her that it’s now even more important to make her voice heard. “Music is essentially just a vehicle,” she says. “It’s a universal language that can speak to any amount of people at once about any number of things. I’m really keen to find ways that I can use my voice literally, and in bigger terms to do some actual good.” P Stevie Parker’s debut album ‘The Cure’ is out 19th May.
Hello, Ten Tonnes here! Long time no speak, I hope you’re well. So The Great Escape is happening next month, and I’m only bloody playing! This’ll be my first time at the festival, so I’m very excited about it. Here are some other acts I’m looking forward to seeing too.
THE AMAZONS These boys are gonna be massive, but I don’t think you need me to tell you that. I’ve loved all the singles I’ve heard, and their new album comes out soon, so I’m gonna be straight on it. I just think they’re great. I’ve not managed to see them live yet, so I’m making sure I fix that asap.
THE MAGIC GANG I supported these lads last September and their live shows are great. So much fun and great energy to it so I’m excited to see them again. Their new EP is out now too so go get that; ‘No One Else’ is my favourite off it.
SIGRID My friend showed me her music the other month, and at first, I wasn’t too sure it was my cuppa, but I haven’t stopped listening to her single since. It’s an absolute banger and warrants listening to on repeat for hours.
WILL JOSEPH COOK I’m lucky enough to be supporting Will on his UK tour in May, so it’ll be wicked to catch him at The Great Escape too. He has got the absolute bangers so definitely check him out if you haven’t already.
ANTEROS Another band that I’ve shared a lineup with before! They’re great live and bring the most fun to their shows. Their tune ‘Breakfast’ is a certified bop so definitely check them out. 21
All the Fields Are you on the guest list? Yep, it’s Field Day time again, with a line-up featuring the likes of Aphex Twin and Run The Jewels, Victoria Park plays host to the distilled version of the East London cool-a-rama. Thought it may be down to one day, it actually looks like it may well make things even more fun. Plus, Field Day always has top notch food options - and that’s the real point of festival season, right?
Alt-J offer up a ‘Relaxer’ New Alt-J albums always feel a bit like an event, ever since they won that shiny Mercury Prize with their debut. ‘Relaxer’ is no different; it’s challenging at times, occasionally accessible but always interesting. And it has chanty bits.
Ooh baby do you know what that’s worth? £19.25 for Perfume Genius at Heaven in London, Earth What? It’s a perfectly descriptive title to inform you that Perfume Genius is playing London’s Heaven on 8th June, with tickets just under £20.
JUNE JUNE 2017 2017 4
What a (Mighty) Hoopla! Of course, you might not be a standoffish type. You might want to have loads of fun with Years & Years, All Saints and Will Young. You might be gagging to see Charlotte Church and her pop dungeon. If that sounds like you, Mighty Hoopa is for you.
Gorillaz in the Margate mist There’s still not heaps of information ‘out there’ about Demon Dayz, the new (long sold out) one-day festival from Gorillaz taking place at Margate’s Dreamland. But it’s safe to say there’ll be some seaside shenanigans, and, as with everything Damon Albarn does these days, an impressively eclectic line up featuring at least one instrument nobody present can either identify, or pronounce. Probably.
London Grammar’s second album is out today We’ve been waiting long enough, but finally London Grammar are blessing us with their much anticipated, sort of given up on then suddenly here second full-length ‘Truth is a Beautiful Thing’. Our dinner party is saved!
Para-tour We’re unexpectedly getting Paramore-more-more of one of our favourite bands this spring, with Hayley Williams and co. returning with a new album (out now), and a few UK live dates - which finish up today in Edinburgh.
The Sesh starts here The Eden Sessions kick off in Cornwall today with Bastille topping the very first night. One of six headliners, they’re followed by nights with Royal Blood (22nd June), who’re back with new album ‘How Did We Get So Dark?’, and Foals (11th July), ahead of their UK festival exclusive Citadel set. Find gossip from at least one of those bands in the new Dork Festival Guide (out now).
King Gizzard and the endless supply of 2017 albums King Gizzard have promised us five whole albums this year: and now they’re 2/5 of the way there. ‘Murder of the Universe’ is out today. “Murder” is probably how we’d be feeling after committing to such a feat, too.
Lordey! Lorde’s new album is out If we were going to use the word “drama” in our album title, it would almost certainly be accompanied by the word “llama”. But ‘Melodrama’’s fine too. You do you, Lorde.
Miss you, Meg It’s hard to believe it’s been twenty years since The White Stripes’ infamous album ‘Icky Thump’ was released. Mostly because it’s not - it’s ten years. Don’t feel quite so old now, do you?
BST, easy as 1,2 3 Who doesn’t love a day out in a London park, with booze, bands and (the real selling point here) some proper 10/10 cheese toasties? BST Hyde Park- the festival probably most famous for accidentally selling tickets for £2.50 a few years ago - is back this summer with a line up that features headline sets from juggernauts such as The Killers, Green Day, Justin Bieber and Kings of Leon.
Three bands you need to see at Glasto 2017... Haim
Bar a quick bash over to Hull (yes, Hull) for BBC Radio 1’s big bash in May, this could be one of the first chances to hear some of Haim’s second album in the flesh. And let’s face it, nobody does festivals better than Haim.
They’re not exactly shouting about it yet, but it’s pretty obvious we’re getting a new album from The National before the end of 2017. This could be the moment it all comes into focus. You don’t want to miss that.
Sorry, you’re going to Glastonbury 2017, and you’re planning on returning home to tell your mates you didn’t see Katy Perry? Like, your choice, but you’re going to sound awfully fucking boring. Don’t be boring.
INCOMING THE ALBUMS YOU SHOULD BE EXPECTING.
M U R A M ASA Title: Mura Masa Due: July 14th The self-titled record will drop through Mura Maa’s own imprint label Anchor Point, and features an all-star cast of guests including Charli XCX, Christine and the Queens, A$AP Rocky, AK Paul, Desiigner, Nao, Bonzai and only bloomin Damon Albarn.
WA X A H ATC H E E
MUD, GLORIOUS MUD. IT’S GLASTO!
Yep, we’re here already. The inner city festivals have had their shot, now it’s time to get down in the fields as Glastonbury shifts summer 2017 into top gear. Words: Steven Loftin. t’s nearing that time of year. The hallowed Glastonbury extravaganza is once again completely sold out, including those precious re-sale tickets, and we’re getting the last few dribs and drabs through from the mammoth lineup. If you were one of the lucky hundred thousand-odd who got a ticket, then it’ll be a rather fun one this year. Foo Fighters, Radiohead and Ed Sheeran have taken the top spots on the Worthy Farm bill, but the rest of the line-up is where the real fun lies. While seeing the Foos get their go on the Pyramid Stage after Dave Grohl’s broken
leg led to a cancellation back in 2015 might feel like closure, who wouldn’t want to see the likes of Glass Animals or Declan McKenna in the Somerset sun? There is also, of course, the Sunday Legends slot which is always a hot debate, and while he’s no Lionel Richie or Dolly Parton (the greatest Legends slots ever?), Kris Kristofferson’s country twang should be a Sunday treat. You also can’t forget all the great bands who have made a comeback in the past few months (London Grammar, Haim, Lorde, Alt-J) along with those who are still keeping quiet (The National, First Aid Kit). With so many great bands announced, we can
Title: Out In The Storm Due: July 14th You wanted a Waxahatchee album, well here comes a Waxahatchee album – with new LP ‘Out In The Storm’. Marking the follow-up to 2015’s ‘Ivy Tripp’, the record comes with the surging lead track ‘Silver’, which you can stream on readdork.com now.
only wait for whatever else the Eavises have tucked up their sleeves. There’s so much to do at Glastonbury it needs a magazine all of its own (or *cough* a Festival Guide), not to mention the secret sets that pop up everywhere. While we wouldn’t normally condone always looking at your phone, it’s worth checking Twitter to see if the Foos are in the Healing Field playing an acoustic set accompanied by a druid or somesuch. Let’s just hope that the rain stays away so we can enjoy the wonders of Worthy Farm without fear of our tent sailing away; though we’re not holding our breath. P
B ET H D I T TO Title: Fake Sugar Due: June 16th The former Gossip leader goes solo. Expect understated, quiet moments so delicate you’ll barely notice they’re.... nah. Ear drum shattering wall to wall megabangers. We’re fooling nobody here.
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@charli_xcx: fuck everything else... i want a motorola razr again... Charli XCX Next she’ll be trying to put out that song about Dinosaur Sex again. (Please put out that song about Dinosaur Sex again) @hannah_hermione: Got sad because I finished my food. Instantly got excited because I realised that was only the starter. Hannah, Creeper We can identify. Though we obviously save the real excitement for pudding.
Thrash metal pioneers Paramore contemplate another 40 second riff-fest.
@WillJosephCook: help @readdork
LETTER OF THE MONTH HARD TIMES
Dear Dork, Why is everyone online complaining about Paramore going pop? They’ve hardly been avant garde jazz or heavy metal up to this point. Have these people heard ‘Aint It Fun’? Sheena, Preston Yes. Yes! A thousand times yes. We could have printed this letter with any number of bands this month too - just check out the online reaction to Fall Out Boy’s weird as fuck ‘Young
WE’VE BEEN TO THE YEAR 2007
Dear Dork, There’s a lot of 10th anniversaries going on this year. Kate Nash, The Cribs, every other skinny jean wearing kid of the 2000s. So if you could go back to 10 years ago, what would you tell your past selves? Rachel, Derby With great power comes great responsibility - so we’d clearly tell ourselves to put the house on Leicester winning the league. We’re not stupid. That and, on reflection, don’t get too attached to Nu-Rave. It’s not gonna last.
Dear Dork Admit it, were you a teensy tiny bit disappointed that the new new Haim track ‘Right Now’ wasn’t an Atomic Kitten cover? Kerry, Warrington They make us whole again, Kerry. Etc etc etc. Really very sorry. 24
And Menace’! Since when did we want bands to stay the same forever, rather than try new things and play with expectation. But when it comes to Paramore, you’re bang on. ‘Hard Times’ is the natural progression from the band’s self-titled album - one that saw them win a Grammy, no less. Anyone expecting them to creatively retreat to the safe ground of ‘Riot’ mkII is only kidding themselves. Creatively, they’ve had a great big tick in the
A WI ‘DOW TH N B T-S ORIN HIR G’ T!
box that says they’re on to something, and after another series of set backs, the fact they can embrace that and come out with a mega-banger like that is remarkable in itself. Pop, Dear Readers, is not a dirty word. It’s a great one. Pray that your band could ‘go pop’ if they wanted. What’s the alternative? They’re too boring to cut it? Down with that.
POSTCARD POSTCARD FROM FROM THE THE FRONT FRONT LINE LINE THOSE BANDS. THEY GO OFF ON TOUR, THEY NEVER RING. WE’RE WORRIED ABOUT THEM. TO PUT OUR MINDS AT REST, WE’RE INSISTING THEY CHECK IN AND KEEP US UPDATED. THIS MONTH...
WILLIE J HEALEY BE PREPARED
Hiya Dork, It’s festival season, so what are the essentials I need to take with me to make sure I’m in optimum condition to fill my weekends with bangers? Woefully Unprepared Tip one. Don’t tell people you plan to fill your weekend with bangers. They’ll talk.
Will Joseph Cook There are no words, Will. No words.
PHOTO: DANNY PAYNE
CUT STRAIGHT ALONG THE LINE, AND WIN A PRIZE. (THE PRIZE IS A POSTER.)
HYPE ESSENTIAL NEW BANDS
ALMA 21-YE A R OL D F I N N I SH SONGWRITER ALMA HAS ALREA DY BE E N TIPPE D BY
O NE O F THE B I G G EST P OP STARS ON THE PLANET, AN D WORKE D WITH
TH E L I KES OF M N E K A ND C HARLI XCX - AND THI S I S JUST TH E BEG IN N IN G. WO RDS: B E N JOL L EY.
“Elton John played my song on his radio show.”
ye My Hair’, an inescapably infectious slice of tropicalinfused pop that has clocked up millions of YouTube views and propelled Finnish powerhouse Alma into radio playlists worldwide, originally started out as a joke in the studio. “Someone said to me ‘You should write a love song’ and I said ‘Oh, that’s hard’. For me, love songs are like Bruno Mars singing ‘I’d catch a grenade for you’… Kind of clichéd, so ‘I would dye my hair blonde for you’ was just a joke; then we made a serious song about it. I wouldn’t ever actually dye my hair blonde for anyone,” the 21-year-old confirms, “but Bruno Mars wouldn’t catch a grenade for anyone either.” The pop-star-in-waiting never expected it would be such a massive hit, though. “I’m kind of a pessimist,” she confesses. “I’m always telling everyone ‘Let’s see, let’s hope for the best’. But when you get a good response it always feels fucking amazing.” She’s currently enjoying her week back at home in Finland. “It’s very relaxing, even though I’ve got a big rehearsal week for my tour,” she says. “I get to sleep in my own bed and everything; I’m so happy.” Growing up in Helsinki, music wasn’t something Alma experienced as a child. “Music is not our culture,” she considers. “My parents were not listening to music at all when I was growing up - it’s a bit different here.” Despite it not being an intrinsic part of her upbringing, it wasn’t long until she started discovering music, taking the time to trawl through YouTube as a teenager and stumbling upon Amy Winehouse, The Jackson 5 and Spice Girls. “I would listen to everything and discovered I really enjoyed music but didn’t really know why. My family is not musical at all, so it was weird, but when you’re a kid you start doing things that you like, and you don’t know why; even strange things…” Singing quickly became one of Alma’s favourite things to do. “I was singing all the time to myself and listening to music all the time,” she remembers. “It made me feel some strange way, but it made me feel good. Even though it sounds stupid, it was just part of me growing up… Of course, when you’re a kid you say to your mum ‘I want to be a superstar…’ but that’s just because everybody wants to be something big and cool. But when I was a teenager I think those thoughts were gone, and I was a bit unsure about what I really wanted to do,” she recalls. After finding music, Alma found
her own voice and became a part of Finland’s “very small” music scene. “Everybody knows each other, whether you’re making rap or punk or rock, whatever. But it’s very hard to get into the circle; people are very tight and like a family. I don’t think they want to take the risk of welcoming new artists… Once you’re in, though, it’s easy.” Soon after, Alma discovered that she had another talent: songwriting. “I hadn’t really considered what I wanted to do, but music was the only thing I was good at,” she suggests. “I just don’t know how to do anything else.” Last year, Alma played The Jazz Café in London for a showcase hosted by Radio One DJ Annie Mac - who has previously called her ‘a badass’. It’s safe to say the experience has stayed with her. “I was quite nervous because my music was still very small and I didn’t know whether people would know my songs at all. But at the gig, people knew every lyric to every song,” she gushes, sounding genuinely humbled. “Personally, the most important thing is that I get to break through every day in the UK, so it was very strange and great that people were so lovely to me; especially because, in the UK, there are so many artists already.” She needn’t have worried, though, as her brand of chart-ready genre-fusing bangers caught the attention of one of the world’s biggest music icons: Elton John. “One day I got a call from my manager who told me that Elton John had just played my song on his radio show. He was talking on the radio saying that he’s a big fan. Nobody knew anything about it; it was just that he discovered my music on Spotify and wanted to play it. For me, if you get a good response from a legend like that, it says something.” She’s also toured with MØ, who she considers “fucking amazing - as an artist and a human. I was so honoured to be able to tour with her at such an early stage in my career.” What stuns Alma most, though, is
ALMA ON... … THE UK
“I’ve been to the UK so many times; I love it. I think it’s my favourite city. I really love the UK humour; it’s very sarcastic and kind of dark. I think UK people are a mixture of LA and Europe – they’re kind of international but still very
when people know her songs. “That’s the craziest thing; I still freak out now. Wherever I go, if people know my songs, I’m like ‘What the fuck is going on?” Talking about her fans, she refers to them as “the craziest people,” adding “I love them”. As for the vibe at her gigs, mosh-pits are a regular feature; “at my last gig in Copenhagen I went into the audience, and we created a moshpit. It’s fucking great; strange but cool and very energetic. People dance and have a good time. It’s not anything glamorous; it’s just new music, hanging out, drinking and having fun.” As for an album, from what’s been recorded so far, people can expect “a new sound,” she enthuses. “I’m busy working on it, but there’s definitely more intimate, personal and experimental stuff. But also big pop songs with elements of everything, and maybe some cool features.” Talking of features, Alma’s next track is a potentially massive collaboration with dance producer Sub Focus. “He heard my song on BBC radio and got in touch saying he wanted to work with me. I’m a huge fan of his work, so I was like ‘Yeah, let’s do it’. I love house and dance things, and he’s the guy!” It’ll follow her festival-friendly second single ‘Chasing Highs’ - a song which she wrote three years ago about being in a club “kind of wasted. When I write my music, it can be just about one moment and ‘Chasing Highs’ is one of those…” Looking to the near future, Alma has her sights set on playing shows in the USA, “playing cool gigs”, making music with cool people and just enjoying life. That’s the most important part for me. I want to do everything in my own time and keep it in my own hands. The most important goal is the album, of course: it’s my debut, so I need to make it perfect!” P Alma plays her first headline London show at Oslo, Hackney, on 16th May.
real. They’re not like American folk. I also really love hanging out in London, it’s so much fun.”
“It’s very cold; we have long winters, but it’s also very relaxed. It’s not a very big city – we have loads of forests around even though it’s the capital city. It’s different for sure, but I really enjoy that. In Finland, nothing seems big. If we have something, it’s very small. We are a very, very small place – only one-and-a-halfmillion people in the capital.”
ON ON THE THE GRAPEVINE GRAPEVINE S I G RI D’S O N T H E U P
Fresh off the back of her new EP ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’, Sigrid has announced a headline date at London’s Scala: she’ll visit the venue on 13th September, following summer festival appearances including Latitude and Wilderness.
W E ’ RE T RY I N G ,G U YS
Dropping heavyweight hooks at every turn, Sløtface have been shaking things up for a while now and things are only going to get bigger with blistering new number ‘Magazine’ flying out of the gates in style. It’s a blooming good sign ahead of debut album ‘Try Not To Freak Out’, set to land on 15th September.
“C O M I N G SO O N ”
Following the release of new track ‘Lazy Shade Of Pink’, Willie J Healey has revealed that his debut album is done and dusted, and coming soon. “I’ve always wanted to have a song with a drum solo in it,” he says. U P I N L I G H TS
Cardiff’s Estrons have shared their new single ‘Strobe Lights’. “[It’s] about the competition between love and jealousy,” says frontwoman Taliesyn Källström, “and the fallout when one defeats the other. We sometimes do crazy things to test our love for one another, no matter how nihilistic.”
“T THE RHYTHM METHOD HYPE
he Rhythm Method is more of a philosophy than a band in the traditional sense,” begins musical mastermind and co-singer Rowan as he lets us into the wonderful world of The Rhythm Method. It’s an ethos that the duo has been cultivating for years going right back to the vibrant mid-noughties indie golden age when the two met as gig-hungry musically obsessed 16-year-olds. Initially, though, The Rhythm
TH E RHY THM M ETHOD ARE MORE THAN J UST A POP G ROU P. FOR
JOEY A N D ROWA N, IT’S A WAY OF LI F E, AND THE DUO ARE RE ADY TO BRI N G THE I R OWN UNI QUE BRAND OF METHODOLOGY TO TH E MASSES. WORDS: M A RT Y N YOUNG.
Method began as a vehicle for the extraordinary writings of lyricist Joey. “He was in a bad place in his life, unemployed, no qualifications, sitting around at home in a bit of a slump,” explains Rowan. “It’s the same thing everyone goes through at some point in their early twenties. He’d always written bits of songs and bits of poetry, and I thought he was really good. He put loads of songs on SoundCloud, and it was this very weird, unfiltered primal scream. He was getting his demons out in these songs.” “That’s some of the weirdest music I’ve ever heard in my life,” continues Rowan. “He doesn’t really understand music. He’s not a musical guy. He just made these tunes at home and wrote about 20 songs. It’s like outsider art. I thought it was mad and brilliant and it would be great for Joey to try and put his lyrics over my music.” The result was the beginnings of their own pop revolution. The Rhythm Method are a band that have no boundaries and the wonderful freedom that colours everything they do allows them to easily stand out from the crowd. “We want to bring back the middle in pop,” says Rowan. “You’ve got very serious music like the Mercury Prize and the BBC Radio 6 Music world at one end, and on the other, you’ve got the chart or what used to be the chart. We like to think there’s a middle and all our favourite bands existed in that middle.” The kind of bands they’re talking about are the sort of wildly ambitious pop groups of their youth. Bands
who believed that you could make pop full of personality and jokes and playfulness, but it could also be something bigger. Rowan cites Pulp and 80s favourites like Madness as the perfect example of this: “They had this big pop appeal and big melodies and arrangements, but also they were intelligent and heartfelt bands. They had political and emotional ideas as well.” All these years later in 2017, The Rhythm Method see themselves as a vital antidote and something a bit different. “We see a lot of cynical, by numbers, insincere music out there, in the serious and non-serious camp,” proclaims Rowan. “We want to provide an alternative for all the kids who feel like Morrissey did when he sang about songs that ‘say nothing to me about my life’. The Smiths provided an antidote in the 80s, and we’d like to see the same thing now.” After two years spreading their message and gathering a devoted following up and down the country The Rhythm Method have caught the attention of some similarly like-minded pop idealists like The 1975, and their frontman Matty Healy. “Matty has been really supportive,” says Rowan. “He came to see us at one of our gigs in Dalston in January.” It’s easy to see why a band like The 1975 feel a connection with The Rhythm Method. For both bands the subversive power of pop and the personality that goes with it is everything. “We have the same philosophy. It shouldn’t be that surprising that they get it,” explains Rowan. “I like that The 1975 are
TIRED TIRED LION LION
a band who are interested in that intelligent middle. They really stepped up to the plate and said, “fuck it, we’re going to write some really massive songs. It’s great to hear a band like The 1975 who want to write some bangers.” The Rhythm Method have no shortage of bangers of their own though from the Mike Skinner produced dreamy dub of last single ‘Cruel’ to the joyous dance pop rush of ‘Party Politics’. Now all thoughts turn to their debut album where The Rhythm Method can fully express themselves. “In our eyes, the album is written, and we’re in the process of talking to various people to put it out. We’d like to have it done by the end of the year,” says Rowan. It’s still in its planning stage, but the band are full of ideas about the possibility of a concept album, a theme that lends itself to their instantly relatable real-life vignettes. “We want to tell the whole story. We’re playing with the track listing and thinking of all sorts of ideas of how we can tell a story with it. Not in an overblown way because everything we do is quite mundane but in the sense of a day in the life kind of thing.” One thing is for sure though, no matter what form their album will take it promises to be something a bit special. If you buy into The Rhythm Method and everything they stand for, then there is much to look forward to. We’re all in it together. As Rowan signs off, “Anyone can be part of that philosophy.” P
TIRE D LION DRO P IN FROM AUSTRA LIA TO SAY HI.
WORDS: ALI SHUTLE R.
t’s weird when you find that band you really love. You find your place; it’s comforting.” For Tired Lion’s Sophie, that moment was when she heard Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘Today’. “It felt like I’d been exposed to this whole new world. This is exactly what I want my band to sound like.” And while Tired Lion are much more than a nineties throwback, that blend of fury and delicacy wrapped around huge, shimmering moments is clear as day. After a handful of songs set them bouncing around the globe, the band are on the cusp of finishing their debut album. “It sounds huge,” beams Sophie. “I honestly didn’t think it would sound as good as it does.” You can’t release songs like ‘Agoraphobia’, all direct chaos amidst the wide-eyed, “things should be alright” or ‘Cinderella, Dracula’ and not have people desperate for more.
KEEP YOUR EYES ON...
Brighton boys Safe To Swim’s second single ‘Pretty In The Morning’ is a jangling, sweeping indie juxtaposition born from feeling a bit glum first thing in the morning. Full of heartfelt bangers, with woozy melodies and hooks aplenty, you can hear Sulky Boy’s new EP ‘Sulky
Boys Play Songs of Love’ in full on readdork.co.uk. Catching a glint from that summer sun and pushing it through an insatiable hook, Ardyn (pictured) are back and new number ‘Together’ is packed with the boldness and drive that’ll take them around the globe.
They’ve started being recognised in record shops, and their schedule now deals in months, not days. “We’re locked in for the long haul.” Despite the imminent future building up the debut album, Tired Lion aren’t stressing too much. “I just go with the flow,” shrugs Sophie. “The week before we have something planned, I figure I should start getting my washing done or find my passport. I still just stay in my room and make up songs. We don’t let the pressure get to us.” P
FO RM E D F ROM THE ASHES OF NI G HT ENG I NE, ARTI FICIAL PLE ASU RE H AVE SET TH E I R SI G HTS ON A RESURG ENC E OF SMART P OP. WORDS: JAMIE MU IR.
he idea of the show can sometimes be a lost art in music. Getting bogged down in the intricacies of studio moments is all well and good, but it’s hard to forget that ultimately it’s about stealing the show and dazzling like nobody else can. If there’s a feeling in all of that, it’s wrapped into Artificial Pleasure, not so much swaggering into view but bursting with the lights turned up to 100 with a glam-soaked vitality. It’s what feeds right out of frontman Phil McDonnell’s mouth
as he sips on a bottle of beer as another Friday night careers into view, dreaming of the seismic checkpoints that lay ahead. “For me, it’s always been about making an impact. About not pissing around,” he explains. “We want to smash things out and not be concerned about it being pretty.” It’s exactly what makes Artificial Pleasure such a vibrant force. Across the sounds unveiled so far is an undeniable infectious core, one that fizzes in shimmering pop glory but at the same time bursts like a tidal wave of uncompromising boldness. Packaging together synth-glossed style and soaring hooks that ring out
N E W HE AVE N LY REC ORDS SI G NEES THE ORI ELLES H AVE J UST TA KE N THE U K BY STORM WITH A MASSIVE TOUR: A ND IT’S ON LY U P F ROM HERE. WORDS: BE N JOL L EY.
THE ORIELLES 30
like long-lost 80s chart-toppers, it’s the sound of a band born to play on the grandest stages. “What’s really important for us is always making sure that it’s accessible,” details Phil. “We have these big pop hooks that sit in our songs and what’s important to me is that people can then take something away from it all.” Dripping in a Talking Heads-esque knack of sweeping off-kilter pop, their expansive and all-reaching sound can be heard surging through early single ‘Bolt From The Blue’ and ‘I’ll Make It Worth You While’, but it’s with their latest EP ‘Like Never Before’ that Artificial Pleasure lay
eenage trio The Orielles are destined to become Halifax’s greatest exports. Having met at a house party, they bonded over a shared love of US bands from the 90s. “Henry was wearing a Green Day t-shirt, and we thought it was really cool,” remembers 18-year-old vocalist Esmé Dee Hand Halford. After striking up an instant friendship, Esme, her sister Sidonie B, 21, and guitarist Henry Carlyle Wade, 17, decided to meet up for a jam the next day. “Then we just started gigging,” Sidonie recalls. “We did our first gig at a little place called The Doghouse, down the road from our house,” Esme says, before Henry chips in describing it as “a working men’s club environment”. As for the crowd at their debut show, the audience were all sat down “so it was a little bit weird”, Henry considers. “We didn’t know what to expect, but we soon realised it was so much better when the crowds are stood up, people are getting into it. From there it just kept going.” Growing up in Halifax, the music scene is mainly made up of bands playing covers the group say. “There are a lot of younger people playing music, but not that many important
down the marker for what’s brewing on the horizon. “We want to make people realise that it’s cool to be both alternative and pop at the same time,” states Phil. “Before we were told that we couldn’t be both, but that’s just not the case. Bands like Blondie and Television back in the late 70s were so good at it, and we just want to show that bands can be all of those things when it comes to being exciting, experimental and accessible. “There used to be some amazing bands competing in the charts and seizing those moments, and we want to make things bold and exciting again.” P
bands,” Henry considers. In terms of their individual influences, sisters Esme and Sidonie would listen to their parents’ music: Grandaddy and The Beach Boys records among them; “One of our earliest memories is listening to ‘Pet Sounds’ on a long journey in the car,” Esme recalls. Music’s in their blood too; their dad is drummer who was in an 80s indie band. As a group, Henry cites Pixies and Sonic Youth as important influences, as well as The Pastels – who the trio recently met in Glasgow. “They’re lovely people,” Sidonie gushes; “they were dead nice, and they brought us all a gin and tonic.” They should get used to being treated like stars, because their next single, ‘I Only Bought It for the Bottle’, is infectious. “We like people to appreciate the lyrics - that’s the hardest thing for us,” Sidonie suggests. “That’s about narcissism, inspired by the Nicolas Winding Refn film The Neon Demon,” they reveal. “It’s a really, really good film.” Looking ahead to The Orielles busy calendar and an album’s already in the works. “Being signed to Heavenly, we’ve got a lot more going on,” Sidonie says. “We’re enjoying it so much, and a lot of the pressure’s actually been lifted with being signed; being an unsigned band is much harder, but we’ve always carried on and persevered.” P
LO O K OUT FOR 24-Y E A R OLD ÅSA SÖ D E RQVI ST’S DE BUT DRO PPI NG N E XT M ONTH. WO RDS: J ESSI CA G OODM A N.
’ve always wanted to make music,” Åsa Söderqvist enthuses. “I couldn’t play any instruments; I didn’t know anything about them.” With two EPs under her belt and a debut album about to see release, ShitKid is still a newcomer to the world of music. Fusing a lo-fi aesthetic with woozy melodies and bubbling pop hooks, the Swedish artist has been stirring up a sensation.
“I had songs in my head, but I’d never been writing songs,” she recalls, “then I got a sound card, and I made that first thing.” Recording her ideas alone in her room, Åsa crafts a brand of rock’n’roll that’s freewheeling
in its nonchalance. “When I got the sound card it just made it simple,” Åsa describes. “I could really make it simple. That’s what made me start.” Debut single ‘Oh Please Be A Cocky Cool Kid’ is full of all the intoxication of instant attraction, written when returning home from a party where she’d seen someone across the room and started crushing hard. “I usually just begin with playing a beat and start playing guitar to it, jamming,” Åsa explains. “Then if I like something I’ll record it.” Riffing off her emotions, ShitKid’s music conveys a very real sense of character. With performances at The Great Escape and Roskilde, as well as
a string of dates across the UK ahead of her, the excitement couldn’t be more natural. “It’s crazy!” she exclaims. “We’ve been headlining, which is really weird.” Commenting that it’s “crazy that it’s all gone so fast,” ShitKid is now hot on the heels of her debut LP. “It’s similar to my EPs but a bit more jolly,” Åsa carefully portrays. “It’s a bit more ‘doo-wap, ba da da’,” she sings, laughing. “It’s maybe a little bit more pop too, but it still has the same ingredients.” Stating that “you can expect a rock’n’roll,” the album embodies ShitKid’s sense of character to a T. “Hopefully it goes well,” she enthuses. “I want to play, and I want to keep playing everywhere!” P
ON ON THE THE GRAPEVINE GRAPEVINE RE X O R A N G E C O U N T Y D RO P P E D A N A L BU M , BT W
Last month we told you to keep your eyes on Rex Orange County. Hopefully you listened, because he dropped a full album between then and now. You can find ‘Apricot Princess’ on all the usual platforms right now.
W I C K E D G A M ES
London four piece Zola Blood have announced details of their debut album. Titled ‘Infinite Games’, it’ll be released on 26th May and was mostly recorded in the band’s windowless Hackney Wick studio. It’s “more sophisticated” than their previous work, according to the band. “We’ve got to know our instruments better and spent a long time going weird with new synths and effects to get make more interesting sounds.”
am sometimes the sad boy, but I’m not always the sad boy,” explains Matt Maltese. It’s a Wednesday night, and Matt’s enjoying an evening in a South London Wetherspoons, surrounded by the characters and sights of the capital in spring. It’s in these scenes and romantic lights that he truly stands apart, a playwright of 2017’s highs and lows delivered with an unparalleled charm. “I mean, if there were a method to it all, I’d write it down and sell it,” notes Matt, gazing out of the pub’s window. “That’s what fascinates me to this day. The novelty of it was what excited me about songwriting, and the irrationality of it is like nothing else - picking something out of thin air allows me to be able to do this as a career. It’s so random.” If the roulette chips are down, then Matt’s winning hand is enough to beat an entire casino. Gripped with a peerless ease, his blend of Leonard Cohen realism, pin-drop rawness and grand cinematic visions make him a voice that cuts right to the bone. “Like a lot of people, I realised that the emotions I could associate with music were ones that could change me and in a way save my life - which is such a cliche, but when you meet others who are into music just as much, you realise how true it is.
WORDS: JAMIE M U IR.
People who don’t just listen to songs here and there, but affects them and their being. I’ve always felt that; it’s got a funny little power. Music for me was a way to communicate with friends and family, almost like a language. And you can usually make out who is going to be a good dude or who’s going to be a bit of a douchebag from the songs they like.” Heading straight for the emotional chords of thousands, it’s only a matter of time before Matt Maltese has his name up in lights. Soaring with majestic prowess, and an ability
to weave incredible tales across incredibly crafted panoramic scores, the sound of hearts can only belong in one place - and Matt’s got the key. “It’s been a long journey,” comments Matt. “And it’s still a constant grapple with what the hell I want to be or what to talk about and how I want that to come across in my songs - but it feels like things are really positive and people are getting what I’m trying to do.” The scripts are coming together, and it’s through Matt Maltese’ eyes that we’ll see the sheer beauty of what’s going on. Best get those tickets in now then. P
MATT MALTESE H AS MUSIC RU N N IN G
TH ROUG H H IS VE IN S; IT’S EVE RYTH ING TO TH E 20-YE AR-OLD SOUTH LON DON E R.
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M A RI K A H AC KM A N IS BACK W ITH A BR AND NE W A L BU M AN D TH E C OOL EST GA NG IN TOW N, TH E B IG MO ON, AS HE R BACKI N G BA N D. WHAT B ET TE R WAY TO F I ND OUT W HAT’S BE E N GO I N G ON THAN TO SET THE M LO OSE O N THE I R NE W L E ADE R? WO RDS: A L I SHUTL E R. PH OTOS: P OPPY M A RRI OTT.
arika Hackman knows what she wants. From the very beginning and through debut album ‘We Slept At Last’, she’s known exactly what she isn’t - and she’s never been afraid to share that. With ‘I’m Not Your Man’ though, Marika has worked out exactly what she is. And that’s powerful. “I think a lot of my journey thus far has been a process of elimination. I feel in a very calm and confident place right now, just across the board, which is nice,” she admits. We might be standing on the edge of full-emersion in Marika Hackman’s second chapter, but there’s no fear. No doubts. It’s different, but that was always the plan. “There are people out there who aren’t going to like it, but it’s like that with anything you put out. You just brush it off and focus on the good bits,” she smiles. And right now, there are plenty of good bits to choose from, but that’s new as well. The years between her first record and this one were strange and choppy. At the beginning of last year, she left her label and her management of five years. “I had a bunch of songs ready to go, and I was getting frustrated because I wanted to start recording the album. That was all a very strange, emotional, turbulent time but I came out the other side of it feeling much stronger in my resolve, and that was then the plans with The Big Moon [who make up her backing band for several of the album’s 13 tracks] were coming together. Suddenly everything felt like it was going in the right directions. I started writing more and more, and I felt more productive because it felt like a good place. It felt like everyone was behind it. Everyone just wanted to do it, and it felt positive. That drove me to have the confidence to make the change. I knew where I wanted it to go before I’d even started writing for this record, it’s just whether I would be able to do it or not.” ‘We Slept At Last’’s ‘Open Wide’ was the nod and the wink to where that destination lay. “It felt like the change was always in me, I was always going to start writing heavier music. Years of touring and playing solo meant I could play on my own with a guitar, standing on my head. It’s my safe space. If you don’t fucking push yourself, then what the hell are you doing?” So rather than follow the path laid out for her, she decided: “’I‘ll challenge myself. I’ll start writing for a full band; I’ll have to get a band together, and start performing live like that.” It was scary, but “it’s a good fear, it pushed you. If you’re out of your comfort zone, you’re going to be making something that’s different and new and feels exciting rather than just getting a bit fed up with it all.” “Since I was eighteen and started releasing music I said I don’t want any record to sound
like the last one. Once you’ve said that, you kinda have to follow it up,” she continues. “I feel the difference on ‘I’m Not Your Man’, but it’s still me; it’s just more confident. I feel like a much more confident performer and artist now. I would never have been able to make this record five years ago. That last record was very introspective. It’s a moment in time that’s been caught, but this one feels like a fun-for-all, a direct hit, an actual physical punch. It’s where I was at that moment in time, but it’s a lot freer.” Rather than observation, ‘I’m Not Your Man’ is a record that makes you feel involved. “I started thinking I wanted to play shows that were going to be a shared experience. I wanted to make music that people wouldn’t sit there quietly and get lost in; I wanted people to be there, experience it and experience it with everyone that was around them.” She wanted it to be fun. Marika admits that she’s not very excitable, but get her talking about her new music and sparks fly off her tongue. It’s the same when she talks about the smart pop of MUNA, the crash course lesson that was bringing ‘I’m Not Your Man’ to the stages of SXSW or when she talks about her friends The Big Moon. When they’re together, the room buzzes. Inside jokes are formed and quickly become part of their foundation, and that spinning web is infectious. It’s why ‘I’m Not Your Man’ crackles with such vibrancy. There’s a gang energy throughout and Marika harnesses that to give the album a deep warmth. She never simply rides it though. She’s in control throughout. Which is handy, because Marika admits to being a massive control freak. “I think you have to be in music to get that distinctive thing heard, but then what’s so nice about this record is that the control was all early on. The control was before I started rehearsing with the girls, my control is in my arrangements, my writing, the way I do all of that. Everyone learns their parts, then something else happens, and that’s beyond your control, but that’s why I wanted to do this: to release a little bit of that control.” She never gets lost in The Big Moon’s hurricane urgency though. Yes, the four piece are a solid-as-a-rock group and Marika slots in perfectly, but always in the foreground. “I’ve always said about the songs that I write; I feel confident to take them wherever, with whoever, because I have a confidence in my abilities as a songwriter and my voice as an artist. When people shy away from collaborations or stepping out of their comfort zones, I see that as a fear in their abilities or their voice getting muddied or lost, whereas I don’t. I’ve never felt like that. That might come across as arrogant, but it’s a strength thing. It’s a confidence thing. I’m not sitting here being like ‘I’m fucking amazing’, but I know I have something vaguely unique.” Teaming up with The Big Moon meant that everything had to come together quickly. The record is littered with pedals clicking, people laughing, under the breath counting and talking. None of it was planned. There was never a director’s note saying, “Yes Cee, would you please laugh at the beginning of ‘Boyfriend’.” Instead, it’s all accidental and
real life - “but that’s what gives it that extra level so that when people listen to it, they hopefully feel part of that world and that experience we went through recording it.” .
SPEAKING OF WHICH, AMIDST SHOOTING MUSIC VIDEOS, PLAYING SHOWS IN AMERICA AND WEST LONDON AND GENERALLY BEING VERY BUSY, WE GOT THE BIG MOON TO SIT DOWN WITH MARIKA FOR A CHAT. WE THOUGHT IT’D BE INTERESTING; WE DIDN’T JUST WANT A MORNING OFF. PROMISE. SO OVER TO YOU CELIA AND JULES.... Celia: Okay, so we made an album together. Marika: Yes. C: And how was that for you? M: It was great! C: When did you first think that you wanted us to do it, how many songs had you written, what stage were you at with it?
M: I’d written a good whack, maybe six of the ones I wanted a live sound on. Then I was in a meeting with Charlie [Andrew, the producer] and my management and we were talking about how we could get a live band sound, they said, “Well you know The Big Moon, ask them!” It was totally one of those things where I’d thought about it but was too scared to be the one to come up with the idea. It made perfect sense in my brain. So then I asked you! C: I’ve never seen you so nervous. M: I’m going red thinking about it now. I was so scared. Jules: And everyone was really up for it! M: Thank god! And just look at us now. C: Look at us now! We made a cracking album! I was interested, because you wanted to do something different with this record, and I know you’ve worked with Charlie always, but did you even consider working with anyone else
for this? M: There were chats in that vein, but I felt like because I’m so comfortable working with him, that would give me the confidence to push it musically and sonically. He’d be able to do that with me. I trust him a lot. C: And you were very comfortable. We’ve said this a lot in interviews, but because we made your album before we made ours, the way that you were in the studio made us so much more relaxed about the whole process. J: Definitely. I saw the way that you were with Charlie and how collaborative you were with us, and it just made me feel like recording an album doesn’t have to be a big thing where you have control over everything. Everyone has their input, we’re all doing a great job, and everyone contributes. M: It’s about getting the best out of everyone. And we were in for such short bursts of time as well, so that also took away a lot of that control
G N I K C U F T ’ n O D “IF yoU H YOURSELF, THEN PUS
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factor. It was like, “Let’s just do this and see what happens!” and that was exactly what I wanted. J: It’s amazing how quickly we did it. M: Yeah the second batch was four songs in two days. C: But it was five days from you sending us the tracks and all the parts to having everything recorded. M: And that is a testament to you guys. C: So you sent them to us on Monday, then we had a rehearsal on Tuesday... M: ...then went into the studio Thursday and Friday. I remember it was so down to the wire. The backing vocals on Friday afternoon, Jules you had to go somewhere, and we did one last “Ooo shalala” and hand clap, and you were like “OKAY GOTTA GO!”, threw your headphones off and ran out the door. C: Recording those backing vocals! We all stood in different rooms and just yelled them all at the same time. We stole that and did it that way for our album as well because before we would do it one by one and you get way more precious about your takes. M: Oh totally. Actually, in terms of any comping and stuff like that, we didn’t even look at the backing vocals, we just shoved them in. I wanted it to sound group-y and like we were all there just shouting them, and it was fun. Sometimes backing vocals are tricky; they’re high as well aren’t they? C: Yeah, and I didn’t realise that because we did it all so quickly, and it all just came together because it had to. Then when we were coming back to rehearse them for the live show, I was like fuuuckkk. I don’t know if you felt this as well Jules, it is like a workout playing some of those songs. J: But it is the most satisfying thing when you’re playing one rhythm and singing a different rhythm. M: It’s so unnatural some of that stuff. Now I’m doing a live show with one less guitar, and I’m using different parts, so I’ve got one set up with you guys where I get the easy option, and now I’m crossing between all three of our parts a lot of the time. I was really making life hard for you guys. C: How are you doing it with only two guitars? What are you doing? M: I never try and make a live show sound exactly like the record, that’s not my vibe. It’s a challenge to be approached, but I never went into it thinking, “We’ve got to make it sound exactly like how we played it with The Big Moon!” It’s a slightly different show, but I think all the important bits are still there. It’s just trying to get that thickness to the guitar sound. Three guitars is quite an unusual thing for a band to have anyway, that wall of guitars, so it’s just trying to capture that depth. C: Oh my God, the three of you in that guitar room! One of the main
things I remember from recording is the three of you together just SHREDDING and playing around with pedals and making the weirdest noises you could, just so so excited, especially you and Soph, and then me and Fern in the rhythm room being like SHUT UP! M: It was so FUN! C: But for Fern, because you and Charlie then added a lot of percussion on top of what we did, I think she was quite excited when we decided to do those live shows about trying to find ways of getting all those little extra beats. M: Sticking shakers onto her drumsticks! She totally nailed it. C: It’s good having to play slightly different styles. We get quite used to our own thing. J: Yeah, it’s good knowing that I can just go and play someone else’s music, or stuff that doesn’t really come naturally to me. So many of your riffs move around in strange ways. M: Because I write riffs in a more visual way, which sounds quite weird, but if you break down what I’m actually playing, a lot of the time they make patterns on the fretboard. When I give them to other people, they often find an easier way to play them whereas I’m like, “This is how I did it, and it looks like this pretty little worm that goes down the fretboard.” J: That’s so weird! How do you approach writing your songs? What do you do? M: Umm sit on my bed? J: Okay, do you drink a cup of tea or anything? M: I drink a lot of tea, especially when making demos. It’s my procrastination device. What I really enjoyed with this record are the songs that I wrote on the bass. I haven’t done that since I was about 14 so to revisit that was nice. That’s why songs like ‘So Long’ have a way more in-depth bass line, because it wasn’t an addition to add warmth, it was like, “I’m gonna write the song around this.” Rather than just sitting down and writing a song on an acoustic guitar I’ve gone straight in with a bass line and a drum beat and then built it up from there. C: And some of them I remember you saying, “I just got kind of drunk and this song came out!” M: That does happen. C: Was that because you were doing this new thing, kind of like, “Can I just write a song where the chorus is just A E D? Is that OK?” M: Yeah I struggled with that a lot, like with ‘My Lover Cindy’ I was scared of it being too simple, but then I realised I should just let go. ‘Violet’ was the first one I wrote for this record where I suddenly felt, “Cool, I can do this. This is where it’s going to go.” And from there I got more and more confident and just let things flow. J: It’s so strange that you say ‘My Lover Cindy’ is simple, because to me, even when I first heard the demo of
it, I thought, “How does she do this?” Especially over the ending, there are about ten different vocal lines all going on at once. There’s the verse and the chorus and the middle eight all carrying on at the same time and it somehow still all sounds like music. M: I mean, there are happy accidents. I don’t know if I really consciously did that. But with vocals, that’s where I do more. It was mainly the chord progression; the chorus is just three chords. C: But it doesn’t sound like that, and that is just a real testament to your musical brain. And with the subject matter of the songs, was that also scary for you? Because a lot of your lyrics are open, but these are bolder, and some of them are more...
Is the magic numbEr
She might just be releasing her second album, but Marika is already thinking about what comes next. “I am thinking about number three,” she reveals. “I've started writing for that as well. We'll see where it goes, I could spew off a load of ideas now about where it's going to go and what it's going to sound like, but it'll probably all change, it will be a change of sound again. I don't want to make the same record again, so it's going to be interesting, and seeing where my writing takes me this time around. “I don't think I'll ever find a definitive Marika Hackman sound,” she continues. “I think my sound is in my writing, rather than how I treat the songs. That's why it's so exciting. Who knows? Who knows where it's going to go, but it's going to be exciting. I can't wait to make another, but I also cant wait to tour this one.”
...INSPIRATIONS “I was always writing from a young age, even before I knew what I was doing. Playing the piano when I was 6 and writing songs, it’s always been an innate thing. In terms of performance, I was writing more strippedback acoustic stuff, but I saw Warpaint play in Brighton when I was 18 and that was probably the spawning of this record actually, that little bulb went off. One day, that’s what I want to be doing, I want to be part of a group, playing shows, where it’s not just all this introspective shite. I want to be rocking out and having a good time. The seed was planted, but we’re talking 6-7 years ago, and I’ve gone through a whole journey in that time.” ...HER BEDROOM FIXATION “I’m bedroom obsessed, and have been since I was a kid. Whenever I was in trouble or I’d done something bad, and I felt scared or guilt or all those childhood emotions you go through, Mum would just find me in my bed. I would always just retreat to my bed. I love sleeping. I love going to sleep; I think it’s great. That is a sanctuary for me, but when you’re hiding from something, it takes on a slightly different role. It’s a sanctuary, but it’s not, it’s where you become imprisoned by outside fears.”
M: Sexy? C: Yeah! Explicit. M: On the last record a lot of it’s ambiguous or shrouded in metaphor, and again, I think when I simplified that and decided to be more direct that was really scary because I wasn’t hiding behind poetry anymore. I’m just saying things and being a lot more open. There are a lot of very queer songs on there, a lot of very sexy songs, but I guess, like with the chord progressions, I just let everything flow. I also really struggled with writing the lyrics for this record which I didn’t with the last one, so they’re quite last minute, but I think that makes it a much more immediate record. J: Yeah, sometimes the first thing that comes out of your mouth is just what sticks because that’s the thing. It’s also quite musical to write lyrics like that, finding sounds that just go with the way the melody is.
M: Exactly. J: I want to know lots of other things. I was thinking on the way here that we’ve been friends for a while, but I don’t know that much about you. I want to know, where you’re from exactly, and what school you went to… no not really, but did you go to uni? M: No I did an art foundation. J: Oh me too! M: Did you? How did I not know that? Where did you do yours? J: City and Guild in London. Where did you do yours? M: Brighton. That’s where I decided, “I’m not going to go to uni, I’m gonna give this a shot.” So I was there doing art, but I was playing a few little gigs. J: Is that where you did your first ever gigs? M: I think my first ever gig was when I was 16 at St Moritz. What were you specialising in on your foundation? J: I was doing fine art, just fucking around with people. M: As in… J: I just wasn’t there a lot of the time. I ended up playing guitar for someone in another band, and I went on tour with them halfway through the foundation year, so I did a lot of talking about ideas... M: Classic. J: And I managed to pass the course by saying lots of stuff that I wasn’t actually doing, and it was all about just trying to annoy people. So it’s good I didn’t go to uni and down
that tunnel. I genuinely thought that irritating people was good art. C: There’s an argument for that. M: Yeah! I mean, maybe? J: What were you doing? M: Painting. J: That’s the other thing I want to know! I want to know what the cucumbers [on the album’s artwork] mean? M: Well the cucumber is one of Tristan [Pigott, who painted the album artwork]’s go-to references. He equates it with middle class white male sexual anxiety, so he does a lot of paintings involving that. He also finds cucumber water a really funny concept, so he plays on that in his work too. J: There are just so many things. It’s such a world! M: Yeah there are lots of things in there because I really like artwork when you can come back and look at it again and again and really dive into it. When I was a kid, I’d pour over my mum and dad’s vinyl, and that’s what I enjoyed. And because there are a lot of very direct lyrics that are very obvious references I thought it’d be quite good to put them in. It also references the last record a lot, so there’s a poster on the wall that’s Tracy Emin’s ‘My Bed’, but then the bed is the bed from the last record cover. Then C, you and Fern are sitting on the mattress. There’s a lot of harking back to that as a kind of window to the last world. But it’s all on the interactive
website; you should check it out. J: That was a fun little morning in Tristan’s flat. He’s got a budgie! M: Called Olive. C: Is it? That’s so weird! Charlie’s baby is called Olive. M: You really know you’re on the right track when these things start happening. C: It’s like all of a sudden the whole universe just goes... M: Zing! C: Yes! It’s like, “I was right! Everything makes sense! I’m doing the right things, and I’ve met the right people, and we’ve all got to the same place, and I didn’t do it on purpose, and I got drunk, and this song just came out!” J: It’s so true! When all those things start happening, and all the arrows start pointing the same way C: And you feel like Milhouse! J: You feel like fucking Milhouse! C: So basically since you met us, everything’s gone really well. M: Genuinely. You guys changed my life. C&J: Same! M: That fateful night in The Dolphin! C: Who knew? I mean, we knew. Do you have anything you want to ask? M: I really really want to remember what you were laughing about at the beginning of ‘Boyfriend’! C: I don’t know! You are all pretty hilarious. M: Also my favourite easter egg is at the end of ‘So Long’. If you listen very carefully at the end, Fern goes: “Well, that was a rubbish take,” just as the notes are dying. It’s so low, just on one of the little room mic in your room. I only heard it after it was mastered! C: Really! I thought you’d left it in on purpose. M: No! And we’ve got the Doritos thing somewhere, from the guitar room when we were eating Chilli Heatwave Doritos, drinking beer and burping into the mic. C: And why did we have the party blowers? M: Jules bought them! But why did you get them? J: I just felt like it. I just saw them in the shop. C: And that’s in ‘Good Intentions’. Such good times, take me back! M: I can’t believe it’s been a year. We should do it again. C&J: Yeah we should. M: It was a match made in heaven. .
Across ‘I’m Not Your Man’ there’s this feeling of “We’re all in this together.” Marika recruiting The Big Moon feels like a big statement, but it was more heart than head. “That was an accidental thing,” she explains. “The reason we did that is that they’re my friends and they’re fucking great at playing their instruments. They’re a really amazing band, but looking back on it and reflecting on it, there’s a lot of female energy. I like that; it’s
got that sense of fun and power.” From the album cover to the songs within, ‘I’m Not Your Man’ is a record that fights against the expected. “It is a male-dominated industry, but we’re just getting by and doing our thing and the best way to do that, is to write the best music you can and to be strong about it, be open about it and talk about stuff. The reason this record is an empowering female record is just that I am. I feel confident, and I’m a woman, and I’ve made a record that reflects that. It’s just struck at a potent time for that conversation. It’s been swirling around me, you pick up little things that are going around your head, and if you keep talking about these things, it’s going to be in your consciousness.” It’s not deliberately rebellious, but a big chunk of ‘I’m Not Your Man’’s energy sees Marika “pulling away from what I’ve been perceived as before. It’s fun, toying with people in that way.” Her music is sometimes still called folk and “that blows my mind.” There’s a want to shake off “a lot of those tags that were stuck on me early on, very wrongly. In my mind, that first record isn’t a folk record. At all. I really wanted to step out of that box. I want to step out of being a singer-songwriter and just be viewed as an artist, and that be it.” And as for calling her a songstress, “that’s a real kicker. It creates this mysterious, elflike vision of a woman playing guitar in the woods and it’s just bollocks. “Everything is so way off in the way people view things. I hate the idea of me being this meek female character, or this disturbed, dark woman. It’s fucking bullshit. All of it. I was just writing about love. I was just writing about fancying people, but because I was putting it under metaphor, suddenly I was this strange, dark, otherworldy princess. It’s such bullshit. Going leftfield with it, stepping away from that first record, it now leaves it wide open for the next one which is a really exciting concept.” ‘I’m Not Your Man’ is a record about love. Every shade of a relationship is uncovered, picked apart and lamented, or celebrated. “I went through and did the tracklisting based on the music, not the lyrics, then realised after I’d done that it runs through in a perfect sequence of a relationship arc. It was a complete accident, but somehow, musically, it matched. You’ve got ‘Boyfriend’, there’s a love interest there, it’s a bit naughty; then it goes through ‘My Lover Cindy’ where there are doubts: ‘Can I do this, do I want to commit?’ ‘Violet’ is just full on sex; ‘Cigarette’ is where things start to get shaky; ‘So Long’ where it starts to
break down; ‘East Bound Train’ where you’re saying goodbye; and ‘I’d Rather Be With Them’ which is the total end of it and the acceptance of that.” The different shades just happen. “Obviously, I exaggerate a lot of stuff, these aren’t all necessarily things that have happened to me, but I do work from past relationships. I’m fascinated with the idea of love being so fickle. You can have such strong emotions and then fall out of love, it’s heartbreaking on both sides, but a lot of people don’t focus on the baddy side. I’ve been the baddy, and it was a horrible situation to be in. I come back to it quite a lot as an idea.” There’s a lot of self-deprecation on ‘I’m Not Your Man’, but Marika is never defeated. There’s acceptance to the bad; she wants to show off every side. “I’m beating myself up for a lot of stuff. You have to when you’re creating something that you want people to connect with. The last record is very sad, and it’s very wistful. You can have those feelings, but you can still get on with it. You push through. Life still goes on, and that’s very empowering when you get through those moments. So there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be an empowering record even if it does have shades of that on it and shades of romance alongside my very dim world view.” That said, there’s laughter. There’s vibrancy. There’s a glittering thirst for more.
a change in an industry and inspire people. In thirty years time, kids will be going to school, and they’ll have heard my music, and their parents will have heard my music. I want it to span generations and not just be a moment pandering to something fashionable. I want a sense of fun. That’s a big thing for me, especially after the last record where I probably depressed quite a few people. I wouldn’t mind people listening to this one and feeling empowered and feeling that strength and fun. That’s how I felt when I was making it. It’s a confidence thing, and I felt really confident. There are fears in there, as there always is. It encapsulates all human emotion. Coming out of making the record though, I just felt
really good about it.” It’s been a long time coming, but Marika Hackman is finally at a point where she knows how to get what she wants. “I want to be one of those artists who stands the test of time, but in the meantime, I just want to make records I like. I never want to feel like I’ve been put into a position where I’ve got to change it up to fit someone else’s idea of what I should be doing ‘cause that just fucks me off,” she grins. “I don’t respond well to people telling me what to do.” P Marika Hackman’s album ‘I’m Not Your Man’ is out 2nd June.
, E M L L I T I“ T’S s T RE O uS
M ” . T N E CONFID It’s j
“I love a bit of sarcasm; I remember when we were recording ‘Boyfriend’ and Charlie asking, “Do you think people are going to understand that everything you’ve said in the chorus is sarcastic?” I really hope so because otherwise, it’s an awful song. Humour is always a good thing. Humour is a good way to deal with a lot of stuff, and get a lot of points across. It’s how I interact with people a lot so it feels right that it should be on there.” There’s a never-wavering respect for the audience that they’ll get the sarcasm, the tongue-in-cheek, the eye-rolling and the sideways glances. “I would never, ever, ever, ever want to write a record where I underestimate my audience and pander to an idea of a listener that is a dim view of them. I assume that everyone, of course, will understand where I’m coming from. Hopefully, because I’ve made it clear enough but also, I’m not going to pussy foot around. Everyone knows what’s going on. People aren’t dumb.” Marika Hackman unashamedly wants. She doesn’t want to burn out and disappear from the world; she wants “to make
THE C RI BS WI LL C ELEBRATE THE TE NTH AN N IVE RSARY OF TH IRD ALBU M ‘ME N’S N E E DS, WOME N’S NE E DS, W HATEVER’ BY PLAY I NG THE REC ORD IN ITS E NTIRETY DU RIN G A RU N OF U K H E ADLIN E DATES TH I S S U M M E R, CULMI NATI NG WITH A HOMETOW N SH OW AT LE E DS ARE N A - AN D TH EY’VE A FE W SU RPRISES IN STO RE... WORDS: JESSICA GOODMAN.
ooking back on music in 2007, it feels almost like another world. Mika signed to Universal and was about to kickstart a high-pitched pop revolution. Avril Lavigne had just released her smash hit single ‘Girlfriend’. A Spice Girls reunion was actually happening. It was also the year Radiohead released ‘In Rainbows’ on a pay-what-you-want scheme, as well as the year Arctic Monkeys put out their storming second record ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’. And, of course, it was a year that underground sensations won out, as The Cribs released their seminal album ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’. “The scene in the UK was so amped up – it really was a pressure cooker,” Gary Jarman states. “A band would start, get a buzz, get signed to a major label, and be on the radio within a few months. It was crazy.” With two albums already under their collective belt, as well as a series of charting singles, The Cribs were forging out their own path, and no matter how long it took them they were determined to see it through. “We always used to get told we were ‘too lo-fi’,” Gary groans. “The major labels were snapping up any band who looked cool, or any band who had a buzz. We were really reacting against that.”
it is switched on. It’s the sound of a band who know their voice and demand it be heard. Earnest, heart-on-sleeve emotion meets storming pop riffs in a series of twelve songs that spoke out for the discontent in everyone. A decade on, it’s an album that still rings with as much resonance today as it did the first time you heard it. “When you’re making a record you always hope that people will still care about the record,” Gary admits. “You hope that it will be something that resonates with people. But looking this far down the road?” Now, as they take the album on tour across the UK, with dates already sold out across the country, the admiration is as keenly felt today as it ever has been.
led by peoples’ opinions all the time,” Gary starts, “but…” With the idea planted, and the excitement levels high, the trio started to look back on all they’d achieved in the decade past. “The fact that people were asking us to play a record was such an honour. We thought ‘y’know, there’s really no reason not to – we should do it.” A way of giving back for the support that’s got them to where they are today, this tour is a celebration of the fans as much as it is of the music. “We’re doing this tour because people asked us to do it,” they state. “We’re not really doing it for ourselves. That is the coolest thing.” “We really value the people who have stuck with us for this many years,” Gary expresses. “There’s been people who have really cared about the band for a long time. That’s such an enormous honour. You feel fundamentally indebted to them for that reason.” Describing the decision as “a way of us trying to be the ideal band for them,” this whole tour has been pieced together for the fans that have grown with the music – no matter when they discovered it. “We looked at it from the viewpoint we had when we were younger, when we were fans of bands,” the musician recalls. “I was really into Weezer when I was a teenager. I was like ‘I don’t know why they don’t just go out and play ‘Pinkerton’ and just do that, that’d be really cool.’ They own those songs. They can do that. I could never understand it.”
“We’re doing this tour because people asked us to do it.”
An expression of rebellion, ‘Men’s Needs…’ was also the record that propelled The Cribs from being homespun heroes to becoming the nation’s sweethearts. A storming criticism of the culture it was released into, the album is as ticked off as
“When you’re making a record it’s all about trying to capture what you’re doing at that time, and trying to capture what’s important to you at that time, or what the feeling is at that time,” Gary describes. “You’re never really looking that far ahead – but secretly, you’d always hope this.” It’s something fans have been hoping for too. As 2017 ushered its way in, so began the tweets requesting an anniversary celebration for the release, something the band addressed a mere three days into the year. Their response? A taunting “never say never,” soon followed by an ever so subtle “*cough*never*cough*” Liars. Remembering this, the band start to chuckle. “You don’t necessarily want to be
While hopes of a ‘Pinkerton’ anniversary performance went unanswered last year (if you’re reading this Rivers: it’s never too late), the celebrations for ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’ are 39
Come on, be a first on. Heading out to celebrate one of their most beloved records, The Cribs have rallied together support from some of the most exciting bands around. “We wanted to divide the tour up rather than having one or two bands be with us the whole time,” Gary explains. “We thought we’d try and curate it a little bit just to switch it up. I don’t know if people are going to come to multiple nights...” he trails off, giddily enthusing, “sometimes that happens.” “Slotface is a band we’ve heard a lot about. We like what they represent and think they sound cool,” the musician introduces. “Yak are a band we’ve been excited about. We’ve played some shows with Demob Happy before and they’re great, and great guys too. God Damn we’ve never seen before, but I saw a review that compared them to Nirvana AND The Cribs, and I was like ‘man, that ticks two boxes for me’. We were really psyched that we could get everyone signed up for it.”
“It’s going to be exactly like the shows were back then.” in full swing. For the favoured fraternal trio, they couldn’t be more thrilled. “Things don’t age very well nowadays because technology moves so fast. A lot of things from back then are obsolete,” Gary mulls. “To see that it’s embraced and it’s bringing back good memories for people in the way that it’s bringing back good memories for us is really gratifying.” Drifting between enthusiasm and amazement at the excitement they’ve inspired, and continue to inspire, the band couldn’t be more excited to take this show on the road. Promising a performance of “the 40
record in its order,” along with “some b-sides from that era,” “some rarities we don’t normally play,” and “probably a few of the classics just because,” the setlist might be somewhat predetermined, but these shows are all going to be one of a kind. “When else are we going to play a song like ‘Fairer Sex’?” they tease. “This seems like the time to do it.” “It’s not going to be like The Cribs in 2017 playing those songs,” Gary proclaims. “It’s going to be exactly like the shows were back then.” Digging through DVDs of decade old gigs to get themselves in the
right frame of mind, what The Cribs are offering is an authentic escape into freewheeling celebration. “The fact that you can put something out there and see people respond to it like that…” he trails off in awe. “It’s an amazing feeling,” he summarises, sincerely. “Everyone at these shows is in the same boat,” Gary declares. “Everyone is nostalgic for that record and that time of their lives. The band are in the same place, celebrating that period of our existence too. Everyone is on the same page and feeling the same way. Hopefully, that will give it a sense of unity.” If you’ve seen The Cribs play before, then you know that creating unity is something the band excel at. Caught up in the motion and appreciation of the moment, singing hand on heart to your favourite songs, surrounded by a sea of people all echoing that same adoration – what better feeling could a concert promise? P
Describing Leeds special guests Slaves as “totally a headliner in their own right, and Leeds opening act Pulled Apart By Horses “a really awesome band too,” The Cribs are adamant that they have “pulled out all the stops to make it a special night.” “It took a lot longer to sort out than it does if you just ask a band to go on tour and they agree,” Gary states. “I think it was totally worth it, to put that extra work in, for the people who come to these shows.”
The Cribs will play... MAY 11 Glasgow O2 ABC 12 Manchester Academy 13 Birmingham O2 Institute 15 Newcastle O2 Academy 16 Bristol O2 Academy 18 London O2 Forum 20 Leeds First Direct Arena
JUNE 9th LP / CD / TAPE / Digital
Big Thief return with their second LP, Capacity, featuring “Mythological Beauty” & “Shark Smile.” “Big Thief’s quiet power propels songs of the esh and soul. These are timeless songs, memorable and momentous.” - Bob Boilen - NPR Music Also Available: Mythological Beauty 7”
MAY 19th LP / CD / TAPE / Digital
The highly anticipated follow-up to 2010’s Cloak and Cipher. Featuring “This Time,” “Heartcore,” & “Inner Lover.” "…It’s so good. I’ve been listening to it on repeat…" - New York Magazine Vulture "a beautiful ode to self-determination." - NPR Music
ALSO AVAILABLE FROM SADDLE CREEK O+S YOU WERE ONCE THE SUN, NOW YOU’RE THE MOON • POSSE KISMET • BRIGHT EYES THE STUDIO ALBUMS 20002011
aybe people don’t want to hear the brutal truth of what’s going on,” reasons Pixx. “They want to listen to music as an escape, rather than something to learn from.” It’s going to take more than that to stop her from speaking up though. Pixx’s debut album ‘The Age Of Anxiety’ captures just that. Eclectic would be selling it short. Bold would be dimming its brightness. Across its twelve tracks, electronic dreamscapes and abrasive changes soundtrack direct admissions and shrouded poetry as Hannah tries to make sense of the world around her. “There was a time where I was like ‘shit, should I have done this in a more ordered way?’ but no. I’m just leaving it open for myself. I can go in any direction I want now.” It’s quite the leap forward from her folk-grounded debut EP ‘Fall In’ which was a lot more personal. “I wrote it about a breakup, and it was very internal. It was me writing about how I felt about being heartbroken and with this album, I wanted to step away from making it all about love because that’s pretty much what the only music that comes out is that. I just wanted to make sure I was writing about things that I felt were important. Music is
HEY PIXX, WHAT’S BRIT SCHOOL ACTUALLY LIKE?
“It’s full on; it’s a mad place. There are lots of strong characters, but it’s an amazing place to be as a creative. There were days when there’d be people standing on the tables in the canteen dancing and singing, it is a bit High School Musical at times, but that’s because there’s the dance strand, the theatre strand and the musical theatre strand. I was very much into the music side of it, I just did my music and stuck to that. I met a lot of really amazing people there, and I went there from an all-girls convent before that, so it was a nice jump for me to be surrounded by more like-minded people. When I was there, they were always getting us to do cover songs, and they’d sometimes pick the song they wanted you to cover at a gig. I was never into that. I was always writing my own music and I was always just asking the teachers, ‘Can’t I just play my own songs, surely that’s better than doing a cover?’ but they never really seemed to want to, which to me was very weird. That’s why I struggled a little bit, It was about the performance and I used to be a fucking nervous wreck, I used to stand up on that stage and I’d be totally ruining the vibe, it was not my thing at all. I wouldn’t say I got to grow as much in my writing, or play my own songs as much as I would have liked to. There were times when it felt like whoever had the loudest voice, was the best which isn’t necessarily a great way of looking at things. I was never one to be like ‘I want to do a song at the show’, I was always a bit ‘get me out of here’. I remember I once did a cover of ‘Jamafrica’ which was this reggae French song, it was so weird and I was asking why am I doing this, what is going on here. It was great fun though and there were the actual lessons where I learnt a lot. It was great to have a few years just to focus on music.”
a great opportunity to talk about things that are important and affect everybody.” The songs are still crafted on acoustic guitar but rather than leaving them there, “they’re dissected, pulled apart and moulded into whatever the hell they are now.” In the studio “we just got more experimental. Let’s just do whatever the fuck we want rather than trying to follow a structure.” There’s an awareness throughout that’s come from growing older and bearing witness to what’s going on in the world. “‘Telescreen’ is a song written about the wars that are going on, how fucking shit everything is, and the fact that humans are numb to it now. We’re used to seeing these awful videos and breaking news of awful stuff going on and reacting with an ‘Oh no, that’s so awful and bad’, and then just getting on with our lives. Music for me is a good way to try and send out a message.” Sure, ‘The Age Of Anxiety’ may come from a W.H. Auden poem about a man trying to find meaning in an ever-changing world but Pixx chose it because her brother wrote it down in a notebook for her. It’s personal, relatable and it just felt right. “It was a good way of bunching together where all of the lyrics come from. A lot of the songs were written about weird nightmarish dreams I’d have and general anxieties, from when I was a kid. ‘A Big Cloud to Float Upon’ was written about when I used to get really bad anxiety towards the end of the school day, I’d start to get panicked about going home because I knew I was going to have really bad dreams when I fell asleep. For me, it is an age of anxiety because for however many years of my life, I’ve struggled with that. I know there are a lot of other people who feel the same way. There are a lot of people who feel like they’re on the outside looking in, and that’s something I felt as a child and as I got older, that idea of trying to fit in.” Calling it ‘The Age Of Anxiety’ meant Pixx had to remain open and couldn’t dismiss those feelings. “It’s quite bare and honest to call it that and not just say ‘I’m fine’.” There’s an intensity to the record. For every moment of space, there’s one of claustrophobia. “I wanted to make sure I was being honest, actually writing from the depths of how it can be in modern life because there’s a lot of stuff going on and there’s not a place to get away from anything. No matter where you are, you’re never really alone. You never really have alone time because our alone time is spent on our phones, which isn’t being alone. That’s something that can throw off humans, because when you think about how fucked that is, we’re sorta controlled by these little robot phones that we can’t live without now. It’s a terrifying prospect.” It’s never just seven shades of doom though. Yes, her EP was dark, brooding and slow, but “with the album, it’ll be nice to see people having a bit of a dance. I don’t want this record to be a negative portrayal of everything. There is some hope underlying there, and that is very much represented in the music.” Just when you think you’ve got Pixx’s debut pegged, it up sticks and changes shape. That’s a deliberate move and one inspired by the evershifting world it was written about. “I want people to know that there’s a lot of complicated feelings I try and portray in the record, I have very varied feelings about lots of different things, and as the album evolved, I was growing and changing opinions and trying to write from other peoples perspectives rather than my own. I wanted to show the two sides of the story.” One thing remains constant though, and that’s Pixx’ belief in speaking
her mind. “I’m a very opinionated and outspoken person if I want to be, and I wanted the album to portray that.” If it sounds like Hannah knows exactly what she wants from Pixx, it’s ‘cause she does. There’s already a desire to get in the studio with other artists and see what happens (Let’s Eat Grandma are top of the wishlist) and she knows album two will probably see her heading down a heavier, punk route but these grand plans haven’t always been present. “There was a long time where I thought I just wanted to write songs. It wasn’t really until I got a record deal that I realised ‘Oh, they want me to sing the songs as well?’ That might make me sound like a bit of a prick but it was a self-belief thing. I’m great at writing songs but I’m not a great performer or singer so maybe I shouldn’t do it.” As soon as she got the opportunity though, she loved it. “Now I’m about to put an album out into the world and it feels like a dream come true, even though I didn’t know I had that dream in the first place.” With a platform beneath her, Pixx has been quick to make sure it’s used properly. That feeling of not being good enough is something she doesn’t want to hold others back. “A lot of time the music would inspire me to write about a particular thing,” but not always. ‘Everything Is Weird In America’ started off as tongue-in-cheek observation before growing into something real and there’s a reluctant b-side (“I wanted the album to have 14 tracks but everyone was like, ‘No Hannah, that’s not cool. Do a 10 track record.” They settled on 12.) that was written about when I was in New York for the first time on my own. I kept getting annoyed because I kept getting cat called. It’s something that I’m used to, but I remember being there and thinking, ‘Right, I need to write a song that’s talking about this because it’s something girls have to deal with every day’. It’s not a good thing at all. I think young girls are conditioned to allow that behavior from men and there’s that expectation that women aren’t as strong or don’t deserve the same respect. Popular music has such a good opportunity to mould that idea, change it and get away from it.” ‘Girls’, the record’s most direct track, ties into that idea. “There are a lot of girls out there who feel super insecure because of the way women are expected to be and portray themselves to be this sexy whatever, and there are girls like me who are like, ‘No, that isn’t what I feel like I naturally want to do’. It’s a shout out to all the girls who don’t feel like they have to dance in a certain way. “ Across ‘The Age Of Anxiety’ “there is a spin on everything” and conflict reigns, but at its heart, it tries to find peace. “I wanted to draw a line with my anxieties and for people who do have similar worries, to feel like they’re not on their own. It’s a fucking hard time to be a young person trying to get on with life at the moment.” The album opens discussions about fear and encourages engagement. “A lot of the songs are at your throat. I wanted to portray myself as who I am, and I wanted to express the opinions and views that I’ve picked up from people over the past year and not be flippant about it. The last track ‘Mood Ring Eyes’ is a send-off, in a light way. It’s saying everything is going to be fine. It’s going to be ok. Being afraid of your feelings is the worst thing. I’ve been in places where I’ve been totally in denial about how I feel and you should never be ashamed of it. People should feel like they can always be open. You’ve got to speak out some times.” P Pixx’ album ‘The Age Of Anxiety’ is out 2nd June.
“LET’S JUST DO WHATEVER THE FUCK WE WANT.”
MODERN AGE LI FE G ET TI N G YO U D O W N ? D O N ’T W O RR Y, PI XX H AS YO U R BA C K . W O RD S: A LI SH U TL ER . PH O TO : C AT ST EV EN S.
ast summer, indierock foursome The Amazons played a set at Lancashire-based dance festival Beatherder; there were roughly 20 people in the tent, no-one had heard of them, and the sound was dreadful. It could and should have been a write-off. But it wasn’t. “Fucking hell, what a show!” recalls frontman Matt Thomson. “The sound on the stage was total shit - it could’ve been the worst gig ever – but the crowd, for a dance festival, were really receptive, and we know of two or three separate fans who’ve come to multiple shows off the back of seeing us at Beatherder, so it just goes to show that sometimes the weirder or smaller shows can be the ones that you get a lot of feedback from.” The Amazons killed it that day, attacking their performance with swagger, sweat and a healthy dose of showmanship; they went for it like they were headlining Wembley. “Rock’n’roll was born in sweaty clubs in the 50s and 60s,” states Matt. “We’re a rock band. We don’t care about where we play. You do support tours for bigger acts; you do these big venues, and it’s great, but you realise that what’s important is the energy and interaction with the crowd. We’re not a band where we play our thing and then everyone sits down and claps like the fucking Proms. Yeah, we’re playing big stages now, but it only works if the crowd enjoy it; it doesn’t matter where you’re playing, it’s all about that relationship.” The band certainly are playing big stages now, such as recently supporting rock giants You Me At Six, an experience which Matt is thankful for. “What we learnt from them was to nurture your fan-base, because at the end of the day you’re not going to be the ‘hype’ band of the world forever; what’s cool and what isn’t shifts all the time, and so what really matters is your connection with your fans. Everything else is just middle-man stuff. They’re just really good guys, and they’re one of the best bands we’ve supported, purely because they were well up for having a beer with us after the show and hanging out, and they were more than happy to share their experiences from over the last 10 years.” There was a time, however, when Matt wasn’t so enamoured with rock music, and playing arenas with colossal bands seemed like nothing more than a pipedream. “There was a big house scene around 2014 in [The Amazons’ hometown] Reading – and this was at a time when house was a really big thing – and I lost a year of my life going to raves all the time,” Matt explains. “I was so jaded with rock music; it wasn’t doing it for me, and I felt like house was more exciting. And house is fucking drugs, let’s be honest! But I ended up going to this Foals show at Ally Pally on Valentine’s Day; I went down, we got smashed-up, and Cage The Elephant were on. We got to the front and I was just blown away! It was the personality, the lights, the unpredictability of [vocalist] Matthew Schultz and that
Iggy Pop vibe he has, and I was like ‘What have I been doing?!’ It was such a eureka moment! I was thinking about the previous incarnation of The Amazons at the time like ‘Why are we fucking around with electronic stuff?! Let’s get our guitars on!’ So it all just fell into place that this was what we were doing; we started playing rock’n’roll, and we didn’t care if it was cool. We liked playing gigs, we liked playing really loud; Joe [Emmett, drums] was smashing the shit out of the drums and our ears were ringing. That Cage The Elephant experience was the event that brought us to the beginning of The Amazons.” Fast-forward three years and the hype machine is very much behind Matt, Joe, guitarist Chris Alderton and bassist Elliot Briggs, and it’s not hard to see why. The band’s self-titled debut album is one which combines boyish charm with huge indie-rock choruses and some seriously meaty riffs. There’s a promising degree of musical eclecticism on display from the Amazons, something which can probably be attributed to both the large period of time across which their album was written, as well as a varied list of influences. “There’s songs on the record like ‘Stay With Me’ which are very much ‘indie’; I was 18 when I wrote them, and I was into Arcade Fire and bands like that. But tastes change; between 18 and 22 a lot of change happens, and I think you can hear on songs like ‘Little Something,’ that they’re a bit heavier. We’re well into bands like Queens Of The Stone Age, Royal Blood, The Kills and Arctic Monkeys’ last record; the darker, sexier, heavier side of the spectrum of rock’n’roll. And there were also bands we kept coming back to, like Rage Against The Machine, and Nirvana especially; they’re the band that got us inspired in the first place and made us want to pick up guitars. We’ve got a real appreciation for that kind of band, and that bleeds into the record.” The stand-out moment from The Amazons’ album comes in the shape of a re-worked version of the band’s first single, ‘Junk Food Forever’. An undeniably sunny indie-rock banger, it’s perfect for the upcoming festival season, and it’s a song Matt is very proud of. “I think now is the best time to release it, going into the summer,” agrees Matt. “It was written in the summer, and when I think of ‘Junk Food Forever’ I get that vibe. We want to be a festival band; we grew up going to festivals like Glastonbury and Reading, and that’s the kind of vibe we had in mind when that song was written. We released the song the first time two years ago and we did it ourselves; we just put it online, and it was all recorded in Chris’ bedroom, where he produced it and mixed it. I love that version, but we didn’t feel like that recording represented where we are now as musicians and people, and when it came to recording the album we felt like it was unfinished business. We wanted to put it right, and we wanted to achieve what we couldn’t before; we didn’t have an amazing studio or an amazing producer like Catherine Marks first time around. We were thinking at the time we first recorded it how it would be great if we could do this song properly, and push it as far as it could go. And then we recorded it in the studio this time and we felt it was
right to be a single and put it out at this time, before the album is out, as it feels like we’ve come full-circle.” Officially certified bangers may be The Amazons’ stock in trade, but their album also sees them flexing their musical muscles in other ways, such as on album closer ‘Palace;’ a piano ballad which sees Matt give his rawest performance to date. “Lyrically, fucking hell, ‘Palace’ is going back a little while!” laughs Matt. “It’s about a group of friends, when we were 18 or 19, and we’d go out every weekend in Reading. I liked one of the girls, and she was with a total cunt! I was wondering why the fuck she was with him, and the song’s got this ‘I’m not good enough for you’ vibe. It’s quite a reflective little tune, but its heart is in the right place. I wrote it a couple of years ago, and it was one of those ones which we just tried so hard to arrange as a band, and it kept coming back to people saying ‘Matt, it just sounds better when you play it on the piano, mate’. And then we were thinking ‘Can we do that? We’re the Amazons, we’re a rock band; can we do a piano song?’ But we just thought ‘Fuck it, why not?!’ We wanted to do something really raw and unexpected, and hopefully something where, if we do get a chance to do a second record, we could do a couple more songs along the same line in the future.” That The Amazons have a song on their album built around the piano leads on to discussion about yet another exciting opportunity the band have recently been afforded: that of appearing on renowned pianist Jools’ Holland’s ‘Later…’ TV show. “When we got the call for Jools Holland… I can’t remember a time I’ve been more fucking excited!” says a euphoric Matt. “I hate to say it, but I will say – one time only – fucking hell, Jools Holland: that is actually a dream come true! I have to fucking say it! I have to! I remember when I was 12, watching it, wide-eyed, for the first time; I’d be doing it a disservice by not saying it’s a dream come true to play it. It fucking is. It’s an institution. I saw the Guardian ran some fucking article about Jools Holland being a cockroach, and they can go fuck themselves! Go fuck yourself. Jools Holland is fucking amazing; where else can you get Queens Of The Stone Age, Metallica, and then some African folk music and some Stormzy?! It’s an amazing show and an absolute national treasure, and I’d be saying this even if we weren’t going on it! I absolutely love it! I’m really excited!” And it’s that word – ‘excited’ – that is the best description of the mood we find Matt Thomson in as he prepares to share The Amazons’ debut LP with the world. All musicians are of course in good spirits pre album-launch, but there’s a charming difference to Matt’s high-spiritedness; an honest, raw, unwavering giddiness over what the future might hold for his band. And you should be excited, too. Because in The Amazons, the UK has unearthed the world’s next indie-rock gem. P The Amazons’ self-titled debut album is out 26th May.
TH REE YE A RS AG O, M ATT THOMSON THOUG HT HE WAS FIN ISH E D W ITH ROC K M USI C. N OW, WITH THE AMAZONS PREPARIN G TO REL EASE THE I R SE L F-TITLED D EBUT ALBUM, THE F RONTMAN REVEA LS HOW HI S PASSI ON FOR THE BAND WAS RE-BO RN. WO RDS: JA KE RI C HA RDSON.
“YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE
BURN THE WITCH P UMAROSA - AS WE’RE SU RE YOU ALRE ADY KN OW, IF YOU’RE TH IS FAR INTO A N ISS U E OF D ORK - ARE ON E OF TH OSE FORMIDABLE BAN DS WH O COMBIN E FU N WITH B E ING A BIT WEI RD, AN D ALSO RE ALLY BLOODY GOOD. FIN ALLY IT’S TIME FOR TH E IR D E BUT ALBUM, ‘TH E WITCH’. AN D IT’S EVE RYTH IN G YOU’D H OPE IT WOU LD BE.
umarosa have achieved a lot in the four years of their existence. Building from just drummer Nicholas Owen and singer and guitarist Isabel Munoz-Newsome, the East London band have grown into an allconquering globetrotting five-piece monster. Before even releasing their debut album they’ve taken their own distinctive blend of dark pop to different continents from Australia to a rapturous reception in Japan. “It was quite fun being in Tokyo because they have such a strong fan culture,” begins Isabel. “We played a festival there and did a signing, and I was like, ‘This will be quite funny and probably a bit tragic’, but there were loads of people!” The excited reaction to Pumarosa is perhaps a consequence of them taking their time before putting a full record out, content instead to build up their following and create an alluring dynamic that makes them stand out. “It gives you time to grow into your sound,” says Isabel of the slow burning process that’s led to anticipation for debut album ‘The Witch’ running at fever pitch. It’s easy to see why Pumarosa are inspiring such devotion among
WORDS: MARTYN YOU N G.
their fans; there’s a deep passion and intensity that runs through their music. You can hear it in the string of excellent singles they’ve released over the past few years, but collected together on one album the whole thing rises to another level. For Isabel, the depth of feeling is a consequence of how she and the band invest themselves in the music: it’s an allencompassing experience. “When I’m writing and thinking about words and melodies, I’m trying to feel my way into things that make me feel passionate,” she explains. “That’s what makes me tick or feel compelled to stand in a room and sing to people. I have to feel pretty intense about it.” For the whole band, the experience of making music is revelatory. “We do whip ourselves into this fever,” she says excitedly. “We play in a passionate way. That comes from the message, and that’s how we connect.” The message that Pumarosa deliver though is not just bound up in words. There’s an importance and a socially-conscious idealism to Isabel’s lyrics, but at the same time, there’s something more primal going on. Pumarosa are making music that goes straight for the body and your primary senses. “That’s something I’ve been thinking about recently while talking to my sister who’s a dancer,”
she says. “I’ve been thinking about the intelligence of the flesh. In our civilisation, we have this belief that the mind and the head are where your consciousness is and the body is just this appendage that flops along behind. Your consciousness is in your own body, and you’re a huge receptor. You’re a powerful thing. To think otherwise is to do it down. Our bodies are incredible.” In many ways, ‘The Witch’ resembles dance music filtered through the prism of rock. See for example the orgasmic, trance-like crescendos of seven-minute-plus epics like the title-track or ‘Red’. “We’re all really into dance music and beat driven electronic music, but we don’t make that kind of music,” says Isabel. “That feeling of euphoria and release though that you get from dancing to heavy electronic music is coming out in these rock songs.” When it comes to the lyrics, it was abundantly clear to Isabel what she wanted to say and how she wanted to get that message across. “I consciously wanted to sing about women,” she states. “I still find it incredible that in so much culture and politics the names and faces are so hugely predominately men. I wanted to put something out into the world where the words and narratives were feminine.” For Isabel, the lyrical themes of
“ YO U ’ RE A P OW E RF U L T H I N G : O U R BO D I ES A RE I N C RE D I B L E .”
DAN ! DAN !
For many bands finding a good producer can be the missing piece of the puzzle. That one final element that brings everything together. For Pumarosa hooking up with super producer extraordinaire and all round sonic mad scientist Dan Carey gave them the impetus to take things up a gear. Carey has worked with all sorts of people including Bloc Party, Mystery Jets and Bat For Lashes and he’s known for having his own unique approach. “As soon as we went in with him within an hour I was like I love this guy,” explains Isabel. He’s quite amazing in that when he works with someone, there’s no barrier. It’s completely disarming in an empowering way. He has this presence when he’s working. Everything is open. I’ve never felt that trust in a producer before.” He does have some slightly unusual methods though. “He always forgets to eat and forgets that you need to eat,” laughs Isabel. “That can put you in a weird state by 6 o’clock, and you haven’t eaten all day. Then he says, ‘Do you want a drink?’ ‘If I have a drink now I’ll fall over!’” Dipping into his bonkers box of tricks helped Pumarosa whip up their fevered sound as well. “He’ll slowly dim the lights while you’re playing. That brings out the vibe for him but just makes me really sleepy! He has a laser machine and a smoke machine. He makes it into a party. Which can be really great. You lose yourself in it and start feeling it and feel like you’re performing at a gig.” 48
the album address a key issue. “It’s about seeing clearly the problems and ways of addressing it. In ‘The Witch’, it’s seeing the history of oppression and through acknowledging it you’re already beginning to take your power back,” she says. Recent political and social events have also indirectly influenced Isabel’s thoughts and writing. It makes ‘The Witch’ a vital listen in 2017. “It’s so relevant to today,” she begins. There was almost a time when we thought we were through that stuff, but the kind of things that are being passed in America right now is incredible. We’ve got to be so aware. I went on the Women’s Day anti-Trump march, and it was so amazing. There was such a cross-section of people. It’s not like it’s this middle-class problem, it’s everyone’s problem. We’ve all got to be there and be present with it. You just have to see it. All you have to do is see.” Pumarosa’s development has been characterised by them becoming increasingly comfortable with each other both as people and as musicians. “As a whole five-piece we’ve found our sound,” says Isabel. “At the point when Jamie [Neville, guitarist] joined we were dipping into quite different sounds. We still have that, but then it was way more extreme. We know each other’s style now. We improvise and jam a lot together. We sit really comfortably with each other.” The relationship the band now have allows
each member’s confidence to soar as Isabel laughs, “Now I’m under this funny delusion that I’m incredible at jamming. I can just walk into a room and start playing this amazing music.” “You become a weird family,” she continues. “That closeness makes it easy to play together. It feels natural. We’ve come a long way performing and pushing ourselves and what we can do. I like to push what I can do onstage. Whether it’s something physical I can do with my body, or addressing something on stage.” It’s not just on stage and in the studio that Pumarosa like to challenge themselves. Going right back to the beginning, Isabel and the band have cultivated a distinctive visual aesthetic. “I came to music via visual arts,” says Isabel. “I don’t think I’d even call myself a musician. I’m probably still an artist.” For Isabel, taking charge of the band’s visual identity and creating all their artwork herself was a no brainer. “That wasn’t even a choice,” she laughs. “obviously, I’m going to do the cover. Jamie was a bit like ‘Really?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah! I’m fucking going to do it, shut up!’ I was always going to do that. You’re trying to get an essence of the sound of the song or the meaning and put it into this painting.” It did take a while to get the right image though. “For the album cover, I did about 500. I did so many different images just trying to find this thing that had something of what we were inside it.”
‘The Witch’ is that best kind of debut album in that it has something to say. It’s a statement, and it makes its presence felt. For the band, the titletrack is the perfect representation of what Pumarosa are and what they stand for. “It’s the last song we wrote,” says Isabel. “The rest of the album revolves around the message of ‘The Witch’. Clean and pure. We wanted to create this pool of sound where you can imagine flames flickering and hear raw drums and weird echoey sound. We just jammed, and jammed and it turned into something. That encapsulated what we wanted to say.” The release of their debut album is a launching point for the band to achieve the rest of their ambitions in a busy 2017, that includes slots at numerous summer festivals including a proper slot at Glastonbury and a first ever trip to Reading. “That will be a real coming of age event,” says Isabel excitedly. Perhaps the biggest ambition left for the band’s singer and leader though might follow their next trip across the pond. “We’re going to go to America and hopefully Mexico. I’m really looking forward to that,” she begins. “The closer we get to Chile the better it is. Being half South American, I’d love to play there. I’m interested to see how the music would go down in different cultures.” Not just content to thrill people in the UK, Pumarosa are continuing to go global. P Pumarosa’s debut album ‘The Witch’ is out 19th May.
ALT-J’S CONTINUED RISE FEELS IMPOSSIBLE TO SLOW
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lt-J aren’t your average big band. They’ve got all the trappings headlining major arenas and topping the bills at major festivals. When they drop new music, the internet reacts accordingly. Radio stations add it to their playlists. Words are written. People listen. But at the heart of it all sits a band who don’t conform to the expected norms. Not musically, at any rate. Nobody else sounds like Alt-J. Few others are as daring, either. Perhaps Radiohead, with their blank cheque of being able to record whatever they desire and still receive automatic acclaim, could be said
to push the boundaries of mainstream acceptance in a similar fashion, but it’s easy when you know there’s little on the line. Standing on their own, Alt-J don’t play by the rules - the rules bend around them. The most immediate moment of ‘Relaxer’ might feature a string of binary as its ear-worm refrain, but there’s little digital about their third album. While those peers churn out carefully crafted robotic bangers, coated in the sheen of ones and zeroes, Alt-J’s music feels like a living, breathing, growing organism it’s intertwining vines creaking as they wrap themselves around a world lit by the cold blue glow of a billion tiny screens. Far from a carefully levelled out affair, ‘Relaxer’ drifts and skips around its family tree, drawing inspiration from wherever it feels fit. ‘In Cold Blood’, all powerful chants and forceful stabs, is definitely the battering ram that will placate the machine’s desire for
something immediate, but it’s far from a comprehensive preview of what’s to be found elsewhere.
something bangers with a repeated chorus and a thick layer of uniform polish.
Those moments of focus come in different shapes and sizes. ‘Deadcrush’ is a bass heavy, vibe surfing beast - so typically Alt-J that, for them, it makes perfect sense. ‘Hit Me Like That Snare’, meanwhile, is part scratchy, lo-fi, primal punk, part retro fair ground ghost house shudder. Both sit together on the same record. Both feel like they belong.
It’s the perfect vignette for what Alt-J represent. While everyone around them strives for the prize via accepted, well worn roads, one band appears through the undergrowth, reaching that final destination by routes previous unmapped. Not by design or deliberate refusal to play the game, but because they’re following their own path - and in doing so creating something that could only ever work if they completely give themselves to where the music takes them. There’s no half measures to ‘Relaxer’. Any suggestion that someone in a suit has asked them to ‘add a couple more singles’ would feel outlandish at best. So rarely does such artistic purity result in the biggest rewards, and yet from here Alt-J’s continued rise feels impossible to slow. Sometimes - just sometimes - a little faith pays off. Who wants to be average, anyway? Stephen Ackroyd
Opening track ‘Relaxer’ is even more compelling. Offered up as the first public taster of ‘Relaxer’, it packs getting on for two minutes of instrumental before it even begins its delicate, folky advance. And yet, by the time Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell appears to deliver one of the most magical guest spots in recent memory, it feels like a legitimate moment. Something which totally belongs on the wider stage, while in the exact same moment breaking every accepted rule of three minute
Popular Music Afghan Moon
eeee Having spent three years cutting their teeth performing everywhere from Hull to Texas, LIFE have long built up a reputation with their frenzied live shows. Debut album ‘Popular Music’ is everything you’d expect following such a rise. It’s blustering, it’s brazen, it’s even outright brawling in places. Where this record finds its strength is in the band’s ability to combine their inescapable energy with unshakable hooks. Opening track ‘In Your Arms’ is a rallying call to arms that forges its contagion through wry social commentary; ‘Electricity’ is the band at their most unhinged, proclamations of reassurance colliding with deafening cries of doubt. A reworked version of early single ‘Take Off With You’ appears as ‘Beautifully Skint’; a resonating standout, it sees the band stepping out of their comfort zone to create as close as you can get to a punk ballad. LIFE’s charm lies in the unabashedly raw nature of the sounds they create, and on ‘Popular Music’ they supply that in abundance. Jessica Goodman
LIFE MICK TAKES A BREAK FROM HIS FIFTH TWELVE-HOUR WORK SHIFT IN A ROW (“MY BRAIN FEELS LIKE A USED CONDOM”) TO TELL US ABOUT LIFE’S DEBUT ALBUM. So, what can you tell us about your album - how would you describe its vibe? The album is the end product of years of working, writing, gigging and fighting to tread water in a marginalised city. It’s the sound of anxiety about the future and anger at the present. Where do you draw your ideas from? Lyrically, myself and brother Mez take structural influence from modern and post-modern poetry. Wordplay, blank fiction, beat visions. Thematically we can’t help but reflect what is happening politically and socially, it has become unavoidable in the past year or so to not comment on the times. The world is batshit crazy, and it feels like we are walking through the hyper-realism of an Escher-esque dreamscape. Are there any topics you haven’t yet covered that you’d like to on a future release? I’d like to do a science-fiction concept epic about unknown creatures and sexual deviance. Or maybe a reggae album about dragon riding wizards that solve crimes. Other than that I guess we’ll just continue to absorb the pus that oozes in society and comment on what happens next... Why the title ‘Popular Music’? A couple of reasons really. Firstly, when we wrote the titular track ‘Popular Music’ it felt like a mission statement for us as a band. It became the track that all other ones had to hold a candle to. The measuring stick by which we assessed our own output. Secondly, I think it has a positive message. It would be easy to see it as a snipe from a ‘leftfield’ band about the mainstream populous. I actually see it as the opposite, lyrically it paints the scene of working day life grinding you down and how getting ‘off your face’ and listening to ‘popular music’, or whatever music you choose, can help you escape that monotony. Whether you crawl into a dungeon in Dalston and listen to underground Belgium jungle groups, or go nuts to Beyonce in your local Walkabout, it’s all about the cathartic release of saying fuck it. This is my LIFE, and for the rest of the evening, I wanna pretend my job does not exist. I wanna make some bad decisions, y’know? P
Building from mournful piano, echoing, trip-hoppy thwoks of snare and an insistent, submerged electric pulse like the faintest sign of life from a heart broken one too many times, Stevie Parker’s ‘Never Be’ is a melancholy, impressive opener which quickly establishes the mood of ‘The Cure’. Although Parker writes with a disarming, relatable frankness, all the heartbreak and high drama can make the album a little wearying in spots; but as the title might suggest, there’s a story being told here. However bleak, it’s a voyage that’s ultimately redemptive. Rob Mesure
Ambition is a wonderful thing. All too often, you see bands get a bit scared of going for it, of giving everything and being unabashed in their dreaming. That definitely isn’t the case with The Amazons, whose intentions of singalong masses and unbridled euphoria have been written across every move and riff they’ve laid out - and now with their self-titled debut album, they have the soundtrack for it all. Big, bold and bursting with ground-shaking moments, it’s a debut that doesn’t just introduce itself but affirms how unstoppable The Amazons’ rise is about to become. Jamie Muir
‘Different Days’ sees The Charlatans draft in a plethora of guests such as actress Sharon Horgan and writer Ian Rankin, alongside some Manchester legends. ‘Solutions’ sees New Order drummer Stephen Morris behind the kit, underpinning its driving edge, while ‘Plastic Machinery’ has indie banger written all over it with Johnny Marr’s distinctive guitar. A tale of two halves, the first bathes itself in 90s psychedelic with a Britpop edge, and the second takes on a more electronic sound. It’s a solid record and, while the likes of the title track and ‘Not Forgotten’ feel like filler, well worth a listen. Josh Williams
eeeee With beautiful melodies draped around complex ideas, some folky, some country and a little bit of what’s in between, for the most part ‘Rocket’ is a serene and docile affair. It means you’re all the more susceptible for the barrage that comes from middle point ‘Bridge’. Furious and sounding like the soundtrack to a Guy Ritchie film, it’s distorted to the max and completely sideswipes your expectations. It’s an album rife with earnest truths that do little to take themselves seriously, making it a quintessential staple of Alex G and all of his efforts. Steven Loftin
The Age Of Anxiety
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“Baby are you out of your mind?” Åsa Söderqvist echoes on her album’s opening track. “Never seen a girl like me.” Tongue in cheek those lyrics might be, but the music she makes is certainly one of a kind. Creating rock’n’roll at its most deliciously lo-fi, the Swedish musician has become something of a sensation. Under the moniker ShitKid she offers a soundtrack to life in all of its droll possibility. From late night parties through lazy days, cute crushes, and pent up frustrations, debut album ‘Fish’ is an exploration through everything that excites us. Jessica Goodman
Sometimes, we all need to distil the world around us into something more understandable. It could be taking away the complicated elements and leaving an underlying purpose or focusing specifically on small worries one at a time whatever helps us through is a key part of the human condition. Giving a new meaning to what’s around us, the viewpoint of Pixx is one sprinkled and coated all over ‘The Age Of Anxiety’, a debut album that introduces the nuances and textures of her world in a way that is both dazzling and infectious. Jamie Muir
DUTCH-BORN MUSICIAN ANNELOTTE DE GRAAF SPILLS THE BEANS ON HER NEW EP. Hey Annelotte, how are you today? I’m good! Just waiting around in the backstage in Vera (awesome legendary venue in Groningen, the Netherlands) till we can start sound checking… Tonight is the first show of our joint Dutch tour with Moss, should be fun! What’s ‘Cannonball’ about? It is a collection of songs that reflect on the nature of romantic relationships as I’ve experienced them over the last couple of years. The push and pull, growing away from and towards each other again at different times. The things I seek in them and project on them. Is there anything about it that you’re especially proud of or pleased with? I think my personal favourite track of the EP is my duet with Bill Ryder-Jones. It had been fermenting in my brain already for quite some time. I had the idea for the chorus of it first, and I thought it would become like an upbeat funky indie tune. But then one time biking to the supermarket I had this idea for a verse to go with it which was kinda brooding, Yo La Tengo-esque, which fit beautifully. I love Bill’s voice on it, too. What’s your favourite lyric on the EP? “I know it feels like most of the time I’m running wild, but I don’t close my eyes, I’ve never let you out of my sight.” It reflects on my experience with touring so much over the last year and how to combine that with maintaining a relationship with my boyfriend. What would you say are the EP’s ideal listening conditions? My favourite time to listen to music is while driving, and I always try to match the music to the landscape and the time of day. I’d say these songs are good for driving through an empty field at sundown. P 52
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In a world where everything moves at a million miles per hour, waiting around makes no sense what-so-ever. That’s the logic Annelotte De Graaf - better known as Amber Arcades - is taking with her new EP ‘Cannonball’. “I’ve thought about postponing their release and waiting till I have more songs to make it into a full record,” she admits, but she really need not have worried - as a five track package, it’s perfectly poised. Standout ‘It Changes’ in particular feels like the kind of track that has no need for a full-length record to support it’s hazy stomp. Packing a chorus that feels timeless, it’s proof positive that living in the moment brings its own rewards. Stephen Ackroyd
John Darnielle remains an American institution, even though The Mountain Goats will forever be held with cautious eyes this side of the Atlantic; a cult band all your favourite bands adore, yet somewhat impenetrable for casual listeners. ‘Goths’ will do little to change that perception, even if it possesses some whip-smart takes on issues of identity, wrapped up in the story of goth music (yes, really). After the acclaim afforded 2015’s ‘Beat The Champ’, ‘Goths’ is a clever move, stepping away from the indie-folk but still leaving Darnielle’s lyrics front and centre. It might be testing at points, but it still possesses many captivating moments. Rob Mair
I’m Not Your Man AMF Records
eeee You know that feeling when an album comes along and manages to sound different yet undeniably natural at the same time? It’s pretty special, right? For Marika Hackman, debut LP ‘We Slept At Last’ was an alluring introduction into a world of spinetingling pulls and fragile glory, one that had us all heading into the palm of her hand. Yet with ‘I’m Not You Man’, Marika manages to take that vulnerability and shift it into a record full of carefree, undeniable and immediate hooks that may just well find Marika hitting the strides and sound she’s been destined to create. Fizzing with energy and unabashed in its every turn, ‘I’m Not Your Man’ is a record full of natural instincts. With The Big Moon in tow, there’s pure fun around every hook - the
infectious chimes and breakdowns of ‘Boyfriend’ and ‘Good Intentions’ surging with a grunge urgency while ‘My Lover Cindy’ and ‘So Long’ sit as prime melting pots that take indie flicks and dial them up to a level that make them essential go-to’s for blissed out days in the sun. Grounded and real, tracks like ‘Cigarette’ and ‘Apple Tree’ are odes of stripped honesty, ‘Blahblahblah’ sounds like a lost ‘Revolver’ track from The Beatles spun through 2017’s loudspeaker and ‘Time’s Been Reckless’ has a singalong hook that’ll be screamed in bigger and bigger venues in the months and years to come. More than anything ‘I’m Not Your Man’ is the sound of Marika Hackman making a statement: one that pushes her to the forefront with an album that dazzles and welcomes anyone in with open arms, laying out a path for the artist she’s destined to become. Naturally moreish and rich, ‘I’m Not Your Man’ is Marika Hackman’s ticket to the big time. Jamie Muir
eeee Matthew Barnes is a man who sees music a bit differently. As Forest Swords he paints audio pictures, great vistas of sound that wash over you and prompt all kinds of different feelings. On his second album ‘Compassion’ he takes his electronic storytelling to another level. It’s a record that provokes deep emotions. With his masterful palette of sounds Barnes creates something beautiful from fractured beats and tortured symphonies and blends it into 10 disorienting tracks that provide a perfect accompaniment to these uncertain times. From the apocalypse jazz of ‘Panic’ to the tender, brooding beats of ‘Raw Language’ it’s a dark but compelling listen. Martyn Young
Gloriette Records Nite Jewel’s fourth album ‘Real High’ sees Ramona Gonzalez luxuriating in an intoxicating warm bath of tender, delicate slow jams that pack an emotional punch. Everything is perfectly poised and measured. Nite Jewel has always been a compelling musician, but here she makes a little go a long way. The music flits from bubbling electronica to loose-limbed R&B grooves but never overpowers Nite Jewel’s sense of character. It’s the sort of dance music where you can turn the sanctuary of your bedroom under covers at night into glorious dancefloor euphoria. Dealing with love and passion, it’s Nite Jewel’s best expression yet of heartbreak and triumph. Martyn Young
Home Counties Heavenly Recordings
e e ee e 27 years into their career Saint Etienne have proved that they’re masters of the pop game. The trio of Sarah Cracknell, Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs are now onto their ninth album and ‘Home Counties’ offers another insight into the distinct world of Saint Etienne. This time the concept is based on the area of England that gives the album its title and life living in these towns. Adept storytellers, the album is immaculately produced and features the kind of considered pop in which they specialise but lacks a certain sparkle. Thematically it’s well done but could do with just a few more bangers. Martyn Young
Luke Sital Singh,
Favourite ever book: The War of Art - Steven Pressfield. I can get pretty lazy sometimes. This book is gold for shocking me back to life and reminding me of the hard, but worthwhile work I need to do, and for equipping me with the tools I need to do it. TV show you couldn’t live without: The West Wing. I can’t remember a time I wasn’t deep in the West Wing cycle. When I finish it, I just start over again. Simply the best TV show of all time. All the more poignant in these turbulent times. Best purchase of this year: Subscription to The New Yorker Magazine. I’ve read New Yorker articles online for years, but I decided to bite the bullet and subscribe to the print mag. It’s world-class journalism, especially the political coverage and it feels important to be amassing a physical archive of the mess we’re in at the moment. Plus their covers are awesome. Anything else you’d recommend: I’m a bit of a coffee snob, but I bought a Nespresso machine recently, completely on the basis that I tried these new compatible coffee pods by Colonna coffee roasters and they tasted amazing. Much to my surprise. P
Big Scary Monsters
ee eee When they released ‘Ugly Cherries’ back in 2015, it was clear that PWR BTTM were at the beginning of something great. ‘Pageant’ is the next step in their evolution, building towards something bolder and brighter than ever - and hell knows we need it. “I cannot sit still, never have and never will,” Ben Hopkins sings on opening track ‘Silly’. As the noodling guitar riff expands into stadium sized refrains, introducing a chorus of brass melodies and skyscraping harmonies, right from the start the record embodies every ounce of PWR BTTM’s larger-than-life energy. Through questions of identity and self-doubt to resounding contentment and rallying anthems, ‘Pageant’ is a venture towards finding fulfilment within yourself. A voice of
Shake The Shudder
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‘Time Is A Riddle’, London singersongwriter Luke Sital-Singh’s second full-length, is a heartbreakingly emotive record. At times easy listening due to its graceful melody, at others uncomfortably affecting, this album is up there in the Julien Baker realms of super high-quality solo songwriting. Opening with the sombre yet catchy groove of ‘Still’, this LP is consistently brilliant throughout. The tenderness of ‘Til The Night Is Done’ is spellbinding, ‘Innocence’ is a wistful, gorgeous listen, and the titletrack – complete with a beautiful piano accompaniment – is deeply moving. ‘Time Is A Riddle’ is a record in which it’s easy to lose yourself. Jake Richardson
‘Shake The Shudder’, !!!’s seventh record, feels like their first proper disco-inspired album and it’s all the better for it. This side started to shine through on 2015’s ‘As If’, but this is the booty-shaking disco king in full effect. Leading ‘The One 2’ bristles and fizzes with the energy of the club, while ‘Dancing Is The Best Revenge’ is practically impossible not to strut down the street to. The less said about ‘What r u up 2Day?’ the better, however, which sounds like a bad cover of a rejected Grimes track. Luckily this mid-point mishap is saved by the Talking Heads-dohouse feel of the fantastic ‘Throttle Service’. Riotously fun, silly and capable of hooks that’ll be stuck in your head for days. Chris Taylor
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After the intricate assemblies and smart, winsome wordplay of his fifth album, 2015’s ‘The Boombox Ballads’, singer-songwriter and multiinstrumentalist wizard Sweet Baboo was tired. He “almost packed it all in,” according to friend and collaborator Cate Le Bon. “Fortunately you cannot split up yourself.” “Fortunately” is the word. Embracing positivity, wrenching optimism from the bloodied jaws of catastrophic current affairs, ‘Wild Imagination’ is an utter joy. It’s an album that could be perfect for walks in the sun, or strolls through your own imagination, however wild. Rob Mesure
There aren’t many bands who do lo-fi, summery indie rock quite like Beach Fossils, so it’s heartening that the band have gone back to making just that on third album ‘Somersault’. After ‘Clash The Dark’’s confused stab at a darker tone back in 2013, the band have pulled themselves right back to the centre of what made them great in the first place: making songs that are perfectly designed to soundtrack a midsummer barbecue. ‘Somersault’ is Beach Fossils doing what they do best, with the only real forays out of their fuzzy bubble coming from guest features. There’s nothing that could better soundtrack a day in a hammock. Jake Hawkes
Last good record you heard: Introducing Karl Blau. Everything about it for me. Pressed all my buttons. Great songs (all classic Nashville country covers). Interesting vocal. Stellar arrangements and production. A proper class record.
Time Is A Riddle
recommend us some stuff.
Luke Sital Singh
You’re Welcome Ghost Ramp ‘You’re Welcome’ picks up the lo-fi, scuzzy sound that Wavves are best known for and runs with it. Opening track ‘Daisy’ sounds like it could be a cover of an unreleased FIDLAR track, and the whole album feels a lot less like it was recorded on a hangover than ‘V’. Tracks like ‘Hollowed Out’ and ‘Stupid In Love’ are reminders of just how much there is to love about Wavves, all fuzzy vocals, wonky lyrics and choruses that are just made for screaming along to at gigs. ‘Daisy’ is also a complete banger, with a catchy guitar hook and lyrics like “My winter lake house is freezing cold / And my polar bear don’t do what he’s told.” It’s silly stuff, but it’s also great fun. Jake Hawkes
hope and struggle, the record offers as much empathy and insight as it does conviction and belief. Giving voice to the dichotomy of mind and body in the stirringly lost yet hopeful title-track, and echoing the divide between the mental and the physical on ‘Styrofoam’, the duo lay everything bare. Challenging conceptions of gendered pronouns with the addictive ‘New Trick’, rallying against body shaming on ‘Big Beautiful Day’, and swaggering through their own contentment on ‘Kids’ Table’, ‘Pageant’ is an expression of life in all of its infinite variety. Angry, frustrated, excited, and elated, in just over half an hour the band place strength in every emotion. “My teenage angst will be with me well into my thirties,” Liv Bruce sings on ‘Answer My Text’. In the hands of PWR BTTM, relishing in every motion with a flourish of guitar riffs and propelling harmonies, somehow that doesn’t sound quite so bad a way to be after all. Jessica Goodman 53
Kendrick Lamar Damn
Top Dawg Entertainment
unning over an hour in length, on ‘The Witch’ Pumarosa’s world is laid out across ten tracks of incredible beauty. Like a collection of elements being pulled together into one remarkable whole, the results are stunning. Whether it’s the panoramic screens of ‘Honey’, ‘Snake’ and its shimmering build into layered bliss, ‘Priestess’ and its Foals-esque swagger and drive or the submerging majesty of opener ‘Dragonfly’ - the sheer breadth of tastes and freedom is astonishing. It’s a record that can’t be
second-guessed or predicted, with a pool of influences that would stretch right out of a record store’s door. ‘My Gruesome Loving Friend’ menaces like an early 90s alt-rock favourite, while ‘Red’ manages to merge plucky indierawness with an orchestral release across six minutes to spell-binding effect. And that’s exactly what ‘The Witch’ does so well. It completely engulfs and embraces you in, deftly showcasing a band whose creativity truly knows no bounds. From start to finish it’s a record that lives and breathes in expansive
and bountiful moments, introducing a band who could deliver a masterpiece for an entire generation. That’s what is so incredibly beautiful about ‘The Witch’, it not only is a remarkable record for 2017 but also pinpoints Pumarosa as a band who can keep getting better and better. When people ask about the next Radiohead, it’s easy to point to Pumarosa as a band capable of following that path - but that would do injustice to how vital and unique Pumarosa are. We are in a Pumarosa world now, and my does it look phenomenal. Jamie Muir
Land of Talk
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‘Life After Youth’ is a rounded and mature record that shines thanks to its softer edges, biting insight and confident arrangements. There’s a haunting, ethereal quality elevating muted tracks like ‘What Was I Thinking?’ and ‘Spiritual Intimidation’ to a level of reverential beauty. While themes about getting older loom large, ‘Life After Youth’ also possesses some insidious pop songs to offset the melancholy. Closing with the resilient ‘Macabre’, it’s the telling blow in a journey of Elizabeth Powell’s selfdiscovery and a spirited conclusion to a well-worn truth. Rob Mair
Entwining delicacy and fervour, the follow-up to Girlpool’s debut ‘Before The World Was Big’ is a well-constructed affair that shows the duo’s growth while sticking to what brought them here. Singing with light, ghostly vocals, Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad know how to add innocence to already fragile tracks. That’s not to say the punk in “folkpunk” has gone: guitars cut through and pick up in volume, drums crash. There’s a beauty and playfulness that flows throughout ‘Powerplant’, a record filled to the brim with realism and confrontation. Steven Loftin
If you had to apply to be a pop star like any other job, that application form would be an odd one to look at. Delivering bangers and soaring hooks while jumping into a world of big, bold colours is not an everyday hobby, so the ability to do all of that from the get-go on a debut album is one to be admired. For Dua Lipa, it’s a world that hasn’t just stumbled into line, but one that’s been the goal from the very beginning - and that wide-eyed aim at the biggest stages can be heard searing through her self-titled debut. Dua Lipa is about to take things global. Jamie Muir
How do you top an album widely hailed as a modern-day masterpiece? That’s the dilemma facing Kendrick Lamar as the king of Compton follows up 2015’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’. Rather than make a poor rehash or rip up everything completely Kendrick has instead kept things relatively simple. Proving he doesn’t always need a grand concept, it’s a stunning return. ‘Damn’ is a far more straightforward and concise proposition than the sprawling, kaleidoscopic denseness of the previous album. Instead, it’s chocked full of bangers, tempered with a few affecting moments of tender introspection. In many ways ‘Damn’ acts as a midpoint between the narrative storytelling of his breakthrough ‘Good Kid m.A.A.d City’ and the socially conscious bigger picture of ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’. ‘Damn’ finds Kendrick stepping back from the voice of a generation that he was previously and focusing more on himself. He still takes plenty of shots at cultural villains like Trump and Fox News but generally the theme is of humanity and personal reflection. You can see that in the track titles like ‘Love’, ‘Lust’, ‘Pride’ ‘God’. For each of these songs Kendrick masterfully expressed the different emotions and feelings that he’s gone through since his breakout. Musically, ‘Damn’ offers a more accessible sound than before. The jazz influences have largely disappeared and big hooks and beats are in the ascendancy, for example on the monster hit ‘Humble’ and the gorgeously soulful ‘Love’. There’s still a striking breadth of ambition at work though and Kendrick is unafraid to throw in a curveball like featuring Bono crooning away on ‘XXX’. It shouldn’t really work but does wonderfully. Kendrick can do it all. ‘Damn’ is certainly different from Kendrick’s previous work but it succeeds in different ways. He’s not trying to change the world here. This time it’s all about Kendrick. It’s a comeback that solidifies him at the very top of his game. Martyn Young
Years in the making, a debut album that’s a gorgeous tapestry painted with the bold, the fragile and the beautiful. ‘That’s Your Lot’ can’t be boxed in or pinned down, and that’s just how Blaenavon want it to be.
From scrappy punk, through strident garage rock and brake away pop hooks, to gentle acoustics and beyond, Diet Cig demonstrate themselves capable of anything they turn their hands to.
Life After Youth
You need these albums... The best albums from the last few months.
The cartoon troupe and a cast of assorted all star guests bridge the gap between the surreal and he sincere. This is Gorillaz at their most human, making a collective stand with the world at their feet. 54
Will Joseph Cook Sweet Dreamer
There are many records this year that’ll try to command that ‘Sweet Dreamer’ spills out, but few will actually get close. Like flucking through the record collection of a generation.
That’s Your Lot
Swear I’m Good At This
WORDS: ALI SHUTLER. PHOTO: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT.
Charli XCX is making something that lasts
TA K I N G TO T H E JA Z Z CA F E FO R A ‘ N U M B E R 1 A N G E L’ S H OW, C H A RL I S H A RES H E R B E L I E F I N M US I C. Charli XCX is a natural at being a pop star. She churns out so many bangers, there’s enough to share and while that talent for big hooks comes easily, she’s never complacent with it. Each release has seen her push forward. From the black and grey world of ‘True Romance’, through the bubblegum snarl of ‘Sucker’ and onto the glitching rainbow of ‘Vroom Vroom’, there’s been a danger and a gamble to her every turn. It’s exciting because she never stands still. Her latest release is no different. ‘Number 1 Angel’ is a mixtape in name alone as the ten tracks show off new sides to Charli’s ever expanding pop-empire. More than just a throwaway release to help bide her time until the next album, ‘Number 1 Angel’ is important. Every song released means something and this is no different. Rather than dropping it and moving on, the record was bought to life with a handful of intimate club shows around the world. Ahead of Paris and behind New York, San Francisco and an appearance with Mura Masa at Coachella, Charli XCX took to the basement of London’s Jazz Café. And it’s pandemonium from the off. Despite not going back beyond 2016, every track feels like it’s one of her greatest. The opening whirl of ‘Roll with Me’ sees everyone clamber on board before the starry-eyed hit of ‘Dreamer’ picks up the pace. Electric and uniting, Charli leads the
room in hyper-active karaoke. Bounding about the stage, singing into people’s faces and always asking for a little more, it’s tough to tell who’s more excited to be here tonight. Live, the polish of the record is scratched off and replaced with a fiery urgency. The hammer of ‘3AM (Pull Up)’ hits harder, the introspective romance of ‘White Roses’ unravels and winds its way around the tightly packed room and even the off-kilter skip of ‘Bounce’ makes a strange sort of sense, all tension and release. Despite her ever-changing stance, Charli’s selfempowerment has always remained firm and tonight’s closing one-two sees it light up the room. ‘Lipgloss’ is the most unrelenting thing she’s put her name to and acts as the perfect conclusion to an evening that’s persistently dialled things up before the direct club of ‘Girls Night Out’ (“No boys, no boys. It’s a girls night out”) sees the evening spill out, over and onto the street. Tonight is yet another reminder that Charli XCX is one of the best because she does what she wants. Skipping the hits, her current single and all expectations, her show at the Jazz Café is about belief, meaning and having a good time. In a world of throwaway pop and instant gratification, Charli XCX is making something that lasts.P
WORDS: LIAM KONEMANN. PHOTO: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT.
Dream Wife and King Nun continue their charge to the top
ing Nun are one wrong note away from descending into chaos. But, for the uninitiated, never fear. This is part of the plan. The wrong note never comes. The band take each song to the absolute brink, but pull back at the last possible moment. King Nun do a great line in rapid, rabid riffs and howling vocals, but in their set there are also flickers of more laid-back influences, seen clearest when they lock into a surf-rock groove during new track ‘Sponge’. When they traipse offstage, King Nun have well and truly blown the cobwebs away for Dream Wife. Dream Wife have come a long way in a short time.
In June last year they opened ‘Pop Up in the Park’ downstairs at Boston Music Room, playing to a small but enthusiastic late afternoon crowd. Now here they are in the “big room” with a near sell-out audience. But if the trip has given them whiplash, they don’t let it show. Dream wife are pros. They launch into ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ with confident grins, the energy of the kick-off carrying them and their audience through the post-punk of ‘Lolita’ and new track ‘Take It Back’. In the crowded, close atmosphere of the Dome the nostalgic summer pop of early single ‘Kids’ feels particularly relevant. Despite the recent chill the weather will be turning soon, and ‘Kids’ tends to bring the sunshine to mind.
It’s followed up by recent single ‘Somebody’, which has quickly cemented itself as a crowd favourite. The chorus line “I am not my body, I am somebody” is purpose built for the crowd to chant along with singer Rakel Mjoll. So they do. While their set tonight has rarely missed the mark, it’s towards the end of the set where Dream Wife really fire on all cylinders.‘FUU’ kicks off an art-punk apocalypse with a stampeding drum beat, while Rakell’s vocal is cheerfully murderous, each lyric delivered with a smile that manages to confirm the threat rather than undermine it. As they wrap up the track, Rakell has a message; “support your local bitch.” It might be best to do as Dream Wife say. P 55
Blaenavon’s crowning moment comes into focus at Heaven There’s something special in the air tonight. Whether it’s the bonafide slammers Declan McKenna is blaring out at the DJ booth or the shifting pulse of the crowds gathered, tonight is a moment that seems to lay out something seismic. Blaenavon’s journey to this moment has been a storied one, a path taken over multiple years – and it leads to this very moment. The same day that their debut ‘That’s Your Lot’ makes its way into the world, Blaenavon are throwing the biggest celebration party in London, one that promises far more than any birthday bash down the local could ever muster. Blaenavon’s crowning moment is a sensation that can’t be sized in comparisons or numbers, but instead fizzles through the faces of a crowd witnessing a band on fire. From the moment the trio step onto the stage, their place and purpose becomes something far greater. Ben Gregory’s crown of daffodils rest over a presence that’ll see him become a frontman thousands will be clambering over, erupting into a set that fizzes through seas of pogoing bodies on ‘Lets Pray’ and ‘Miss World’, and the unbridled fever that greets ‘Lonely Side’. Overflowing with a wall of sound that flattens all in its path, they surge through the double-sided crunch that makes Blaenavon a band like no other. The delicate soothes that flip into ferocious bites of rabid intensity shine on ‘Alice Come Home’ and a riotous ‘I Will Be The World’ – every note and flick captivating in every sense. Hands in the air devotion follows throughout. That sheer visceral feeling of a band seizing the moment glows through ‘My Bark Is Your Bite’, ‘Orthodox Man’ and ‘Take Care’, and when a string section joins them for ‘Swans’, the sheer breadth in meaning and potential is a jaw-dropping one. Beyond it all though is an undeniable sense that a community is finally witnessing a band capable of seizing the biggest stages – and with ‘Prague 99’ closing out the evening with a stage invasion that feels more like a landmark point in the year than just any other gig, what’s clear is just how special Blaenavon are about to become. P
WORDS: JAMIE MUIR. PHOTO: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT.
On the road
Get your diary out - you won’t want to miss these bands on tour.
Diet Cig are very good at a lot of things. Their debut album ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ is very good. Their live sets are very good. They have a tour coming up too, which is also very good. Nottingham (13th October), Lancaster (14th), Manchester (16th), Edinburgh (17th), Glasgow (18th), Leeds (19th), Cambridge (23rd), London (25th), Brighton (26th)
At the time of going to press, tickets for Gorillaz’ tour haven’t yet gone on sale. Now you’re reading this, they’re probably sold out. And there are probably more shows “due to demand”. And they’ve probably sold out too. Sorry. Brighton (27th November), Glasgow (29th), Manchester (1st December), Birmingham (2nd), London (4th)
London-based trio Yak are currently working on their second album, the follow up to 2016’s sparky debut ‘Alas Salvation’. When it’s out, no one knows. But they do have a tour planned for October… Brighton (4th October), Southampton (5th), Leicester (6th), Stowmarket (7th), Oxford (9th), Hebden Bridge (10th), Wolverhampton (12th), Cardiff (13th), Manchester (14th), Tunbridge Wells (18th)
13th - 26th October
27th November - 4th December
4th - 18th October
Father John Misty 1st - 8th November
Speaking of adding shows “due to demand”, Father John Misty has just extended his November run with a second show at London’s Event Apollo. Popular chap, huh. He’s playing in support of new album ‘Pure Comedy’, with support from Weyes Blood. Edinburgh (1st November), Glasgow (2nd), Manchester (5th), London (7th), London (8th)
WANT YOUR GIGS IN HERE? BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW. EMAIL LIVEADS@READDORK.COM
Baba Ali The Nines 26 MAY.
Bing & Ruth LSO St Lukes 27 MAY
Xylouris White Oslo
upcoming London shows
Swet Shop Boys
The Orielles The Finsbury
William Tyler Omeara
ACADEMY EVENTS presents
TO CELEBRATE THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF ITS RELEASE, THE TWANG WILL BE PERFORMING THEIR ICONIC DEBUT ALBUM
IN ITS ENTIRETY FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER! NOVEMBER 2017 29 BOURNEMOUTH OLD FIRE STATION 30 LEEDS O2 ACADEMY DECEMBER 2017 01 MANCHESTER O2 RITZ 02 GLASGOW O2 ABC 08 OXFORD O2 ACADEMY 09 LONDON O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN 14 SHEFFIELD O2 ACADEMY 15 NEWCASTLE O2 ACADEMY 16 LEICESTER O2 ACADEMY 21 BRISTOL O2 ACADEMY 22 LIVERPOOL O2 ACADEMY 23 BIRMINGHAM O2 ACADEMY
ANY OTHER Q U E S T I O N S WITH...
CIRCA WAVES THIS MONTH, KIERAN FROM CIRCA WAVES RUNS THE GAUNTLET OF OUR RANDOM, STUPID QUERIES.
WHAT’S THE BEST SONG YOU’VE WRITTEN OR PLAYED ON? Probably out on my own.
WHAT DID YOU LAST DREAM ABOUT? Royal Blood making a music video in my house. It was pretty fuckin’ weird.
WHO WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MUSICIAN OR BAND WHEN YOU WERE 14? Foo Fighters.
HELLO. HOW ARE YOU? Hungry.
WHICH DEFUNCT BAND WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO REFORM? The Maccabees. I’m still hurting from the breakup.
WHICH BAND DO YOU FEEL IS CRIMINALLY UNDERAPPRECIATED? The Maccabees.
WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE POP STAR? The Weeknd.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO TODAY? Just woke up in Cologne on the tour bus. I’ve achieved nothing yet. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN? Playing guitar every day and writing songs as a job is pretty insane. WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT? Top 10 record and selling out Brixton Academy. WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? Porridge.
DO YOU BELIEVE IN ALIENS? Absolutely. WHAT’S THE BEST MUSIC FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD? Glastonbury of course. WHAT’S THE MOST IMPRESSIVE THING YOU CAN COOK? A boss lasagne. HOW PUNK ARE YOU OUT OF TEN? 4.3.
WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEMBER OF ONE DIRECTION? Barry. WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST FEAR? Fear itself. WHAT WAS THE FIRST RECORD YOU BOUGHT? Michael Jackson ‘History’. WHAT COMPLIMENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO RECEIVE? Dave Grohl telling me he likes my songs.
WHAT STRENGTH NANDOS SAUCE DO YOU ORDER? Anything to take away the bland chicken flavour. What was the last thing you broke? MY GUITAR NECK SNAPPED ON THE UK TOUR. GUTTED. HAVE YOU GOT ANY SECRET TATTOOS? I have Trevor MacDonald tattooed on my back.
OUT 2 JUNE
19 MAY TH