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THIS MONTH, WE’VE B E E N M O S T LY L I STE N I N G TO...

Blaenavon - That’s Your Lot It’s been a long time coming, but some things are worth waiting for.

Diet Cig - Swear I’m Good At This They’re the most loveable band in the world, and their debut album is straight up fire emoji.

THIS MONTH... U P D AT E

21 FREAK

04 08 10 11

F E AT U R E S

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F O R M AT I O N DUTC H U N C L ES SUMMER MOON KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD TEGAN & SARA A D AY I N T H E L I F E O F … OSCA R F RO M S U N DA R A KARMA DA M S O F T H E W EST CITY GUIDES… IDLES BANG ERS SUPERFOOD T H E O RW E L LS

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VA N T L O W E R T H A N AT L A N T I S LOS ! CA M PES I N OS TEMPLES

REVI E WS 3 6 C I R C A WAV E S 37 THE SHINS 38 AMBER RUN 39 LAURA MARLING 4 0 M A L LO RY K N OX

HYPE

A N Y OTH E R QU ESTI O N S?

20 MUNA

42. DIET CIG

DORK readdork.com

Editor: Stephen Ackroyd stephen@readdork.com Deputy Editor: Victoria Sinden viki@readdork.com Assistant Editor: Ali Shutler ali@readdork.com

Contributors: Alex Thorp, Christopher Jones, Connor McDonnell, Coral Williamson, Corinne Cumming, Jake Richardson, Jamie Muir, Jasleen Dhindsa, Jenessa Williams, Jessica Goodman, Josh Williams, Lucas Fothergill, Martyn Young, Rob Mesure, Poppy Waring, Sam Taylor, Sarah Louise Bennett, Steven Loftin All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of The Bunker Publishing Ltd. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which The Bunker Publishing Ltd holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of Dork or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. P U B L I S H E D F RO M

THE BUNKER W E LCO M E TOT H E B U N K E R.CO M


UPDATE Power to the people

O PL E TO B R IN G PE AT IO N A IM M R FO , N O T R ITS O KS . L A N D M AT N G PO P H O TH ERS W IL IN G DA Z Z LI S U ER H LE D BY B RO . ET IR TO G M IE M U WO R D S : JA

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S

itting in a cafe in Camden on a Friday night may seem like a different way to start a revolution, but there’s something effortlessly unique about what Formation are all about. It’s been six months since we were sitting in the sunshine on London’s South Bank, and the cold chills of a new year and a new world are sizzling in the air - yet for Formation, the message continues. More than ever, the journey they’ve experienced and the potency of what they represent is vital in the world we live in, and not in the sense of a “the world is shit” mentality, but more in a way that wants people to discuss, love and thrive in what we all are. “The last time we talked was in the midst of a nice break,” points out frontman Will Ritson. “We were going off to America, back to London, doing so much in Europe - like, I keep thinking back on stuff and realising that it was only in the past year!” “Yeah,” interjects drummer Kai Akinde-Hummel. “It feels like ages ago, it feels like so much has changed since then, I guess...” What hasn’t changed is Formation. The vibrancy, freedom and passion that flows through everything they do is straight at the forefront of 2017, a fruition that’s come from years of experimenting, creating and crafting in all manner of outfits and styles. Whether that’s punk bands, hip-hop outfits, working with underground electro titans or sitting pride of place in an orchestra - there’s something about Formation which just pulsates with music. It’s a foundation formed by twin brothers Will and Matt Ritson, taking a childhood engrossed in beats and flourishes and following a passion that’s lead them into a world not lead by rock star posturing, but the pursuit of something more. Northern Soul, improvised projects, expulsion from school and an unfaltering sense of individuality laid the groundwork - and in drummer Kai, bassist Johnny Tams and keys man Sasha Lewis, they found a shared bond with music pumping through their veins and families. “Each of us is quite a strong musician, and we were all brought up around music,” explains Kai, whose family stems through touring with The Clash to playing

with acclaimed Afrobeat giant Fela Kuti. “Bringing that together, with that understanding - which some musicians may not have - it means we’re really good at communicating with each other.” This isn’t just the story of a group who all met at school and decided to crack on with things. Formation are a band who needed the multiple strands of history to get them to where they are today - collaborating and meeting at certain points in each other’s lives - and in turn developing a bond that’s naturally brought them together to the stage they sit at today. As Will explains: “It’s an amalgamation of a lot of history and a lot of different interactions finally finding a really good formula between us that works as people as well as musicians.” “Like with Johnny, he was feeding me my influences when I was growing up, as he used to work in the CD shop where I’d go all the time. He was the cool older guy behind the desk who’d suggest new things to listen to, knowing I was a drummer he’d end up pointing me towards bands like Can and all this crazy shit.” “Me and Matt would end up playing him loads of our demos, because we then ended up working in a warehouse together. The plan was always to get Johnny involved, and that was how the White Label EP came around, us taking the demos to Johnny who then helped us to produce it. When you factor in Johnny’s experience of working on records with the likes of Björk and Madonna and Sasha’s experience of working with electro wizard Four Tet, you know this is a band onto something special, a path that’s lead to a melting point primed and aimed at being something important and distinctly unique. “For a while, it always felt like this was the weirdest band,” notes Johnny. “Like when you see us in pictures, we look like we’re from completely different worlds, but now we’re all part of the same.” “It became its own thing in that way,” elaborates Will, “because we weren’t ever trying to be anything else but ourselves and then we realised that ‘Hey, that is our image, we can’t be any less authentic than that’. As soon as we realised this is us, this is who we are - that was the moment it clicked, because people want

to engage with that rather than with something that tries to be something it’s not.” The years of history, experimentation and passion have lead to ‘Look At The Powerful People’, a debut album that packs an unworldly amount of flares and flourishes into indietronic grooves and infectious sounds. It’s the sort of record that makes you sit up and take notice, and one not afraid to swing for the highest level. The result is a band in full stride, confident and natural in every twist and rhythm they head down. Hitting that highest level and marking out their own in the process. “It was quite intense,” remembers Johnny, “because we did it in like two weeks and did pretty much everything. It’s weird because we spend a lot of time rehearsing, we used to do it in Will’s room, and it’s just going ‘round to your mate’s house - and then getting to a studio with a whiteboard and things to tick off, it’s a real experience!” “There was a great focus for us all and a really strong work ethic,” Will remembers. “It felt like everyone had the opportunity there to be creative and give something to each song. And it comes from knowing how to listen to each other, whether that’s because of that shared upbringing, growing up together or playing in bands or that experience of the orchestral side of things and being part of something bigger. You learn how to listen to each other, and you learn just to enjoy playing together and enjoying that musicianship and pushing each other to do stuff was there throughout working in the studio.” ‘Look At The Powerful People’ is packed to the brim with potent hooks that jump between eras and moods, yet consistently exudes that Formation swagger. The swagger that blends every track, live moment and note that they’ve digested into one distinct cocktail of revolving dance vibes with a hefty punk punch. Whether it’s the dazzling slaps of ‘Drugs’, the visceral kicks of ‘Buy And Sell’, the blinding synths of ‘A Friend’ or the rich unravelling of ‘Ring’ - from start to finish it’s a record that stands squarely for who they are, and one with a voice impossible to ignore. The power that comes with it, and the impact music can have isn’t lost on Will. “It’s a point that’s

THIS THIS IS THIS IS THIS IS THISIS IS HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING

A L L YO U R FAVO U RI T E AC E N E W BA N DS A RE P L AY I N G T H E G RE AT ESCA P E , O BV I O U S LY The Great Escape is getting bigger and bigger, with over 100 new names announced for the Brighton new music throwdown including The Japanese House, Dream Wife and Will Joseph Cook amongst others (and by others – we mean a bloody lot). The calling card for all things new music, the festival’s latest batch of names also includes the likes of bonafide Dork faves Marika Hackman, The Magic Gang, Pumarosa, King Nun, The Parrots, Dagny, Our Girl, Dan Croll, Salen, HMLTD, The Bay Rays and tons more – all bringing the heat across Brighton city centre. Tickets for the three day affair, taking place between 18th-20th May are available now. Check out the full list of new additions on readdork.com now.

Z A R A L A RSSO N I S SO G O O D It’s clear that Zara Larsson has become a big deal ever since the release of ultimate pop banger ‘Lush Life’ – so thank Christ we finally have some details about that debut album. ‘So Good’ is set to land on 17th March – stacked full of certified bangers such as ‘Ain’t My Fault’ and ‘Never Forget You’.


been said throughout history, but it’s worth repeating because it’s a message that keeps being forgotten,” he notes. “You need to keep reminding people that they can come together through music and it doesn’t have to be as hippy as being in a room together smoking weed and jamming. It’s to make something genuine and for that not to be forgotten, and that’s important”.

referral to meaning something on a wider scale. Of the importance of making music, the words they use and how it plays into a society that seems more divided and fragile than ever before. “It’s about opening the discussion,” explains Will. “When people interpret the lyrics in a certain way, it’s not definable by one thing but has to be open and allow people that discussion.

As a band gazing out onto the world around them, the platform they have is now more vital than ever. It’s a position not lost on Formation. Sitting around the table, all sipping on tea and reminiscing on the body of work they have today, there’s a regular

“Because that’s interesting; way more interesting than if we say, ‘This is a song about Trump’ or whatever. There has to be something deeper that you can delve into, and that’s what we want to open up - something way more interesting.

“Ultimately, we’re trying to find something we can connect with, something that we can connect with everyone on a base level to say - maybe you work twelve hours a week and you’re not happy about your life, but come and spend some time with us and maybe we can be happy together for a while.” With ‘Look At The Powerful People’, Formation have found their definitive calling card, an open invitation for the world to dive right into the future by drawing in everything from the past. Finding comfort and power in those around them, it’s an album born out of rebellion and hunger - and points to Formation being a band

destined not just to entertain, but inspire. “I guess that’s the excitement of this whole journey,” comments Will as the band finish up and get ready to head out for the night. “It could be something completely different in five years, and it could be us looking back as a moment of discovery and feeling our way through. Maybe it’s us reaching a pinnacle five years down the line or maybe this is as good as it gets! “This is a good way to start things off, though: this is Formation.” P Formation’s debut album ‘Look At The Powerful People’ is out 3rd March.

“We weren’t ever trying to be anything but ourselves.” 6


A M B E R RU N FOR A MOMENT I WAS LOST

THE NEW ALBUM INCLUDING ‘HAZE’, ‘FICKLE GAME’ AND ‘NO ANSWERS’

AVA I L A B L E N O W O N C D / V I N Y L / D I G I T A L


UPDATE

d d O y t t e Pr

d music... ir e w e it r w to “We’re going

D

utch Uncles are quite a weird band. A good thing, of course. It’s the hallmark of a group of musicians who are constantly creative and have traversed a unique path through the UK indie scene for five albums and a bonkers ten years. As singer Duncan Wallis explains, their ethos has always been to make subversive pop in an accessible way. “Our ongoing manifesto is that we’re going to write weird music, but people aren’t going to know it’s weird. We’ll make the weirdness more and more subtle every time we do it,” he laughs. It’s a way of thinking that has served the Manchester quartet well as they approach ‘Big Balloon’. Just to reach five albums itself is a significant achievement, but the only thing surprising about their longevity for Duncan is the conventional way in which they’ve done it. “We seem to have gone from one, straight to the other, straight to the next,” he says. “We’ve never really taken much of a break in between them or gone off to discover something, whether it’s music or ourselves. I’m just a bit surprised that we haven’t taken a moment to stop and think about it. We’re just here. It’s like we’ve fallen asleep on the bus.” Despite the regularity of their music, each Dutch Uncles release is different from the last, and this time ‘Big Balloon’ is a reaction against the complex rhythms and insane ambition of previous album ‘Oh, Shudder’. There certainly aren’t any bassoons involved here, for a start. “After the last album we

going ’t n e r a le p o ... but pe weird.” to know it’s

could only play four songs off it,” laments Duncan. “And our sampler ran out of space so we had to play real instruments. The general rule here is every song needs to sound decent and playable live in the practice room before we take it to the studio.” While ‘Oh Shudder’ was a breakup album, Duncan’s desire to write something a bit more heartfelt didn’t quite have the desired effect for him - “More Adrian Mole than Joni Mitchell”, as he puts it. This time while the music was simplified and instrumentation pared back, Duncan’s lyrics took a turn for the more obtuse. “I wanted to write a few more riddles,” he says.

views,” he says. “’Big Balloon’ is a self-obsessed record,” Duncan continues, warming into an enthusiastic hot take on the state of society. “The whole smartphone society is a fucking mess and depressing. There are moments on the album inspired by trying out things like Tinder, depressing systems where it’s all about the importance of you. There is a false sense of importance going on at the moment. It’s the whole millennial thing where we all made to feel like we’re special and prize winners when we’re not. It’s about feeling alone and then being alone. It’s only when you’re alone that you switch yourself off and some positive things begin to happen.”

As events transpired, ‘Big Balloon’ is also a breakup record, with the same partner incidentally, as a bit of a groundhog day effect took hold. The resulting songs though are significantly different. “I took those experiences, and I wanted to write an album that is highlighting the idea that we all think about how our own opinion is going to affect our standing on a lot of

‘Big Balloon’ is, however, categorically not a concept album. “We had a concept then we threw it in the bin,” laughs Duncan. The aborted running order was a story encompassing therapy, nightclubs and fired chicken, but in typical Dutch Uncles fashion they scrapped that and tipped the order on its head, making the whole thing an even more

intriguing listen. What remains, though, is that these are the poppiest, sharpest songs of their career. “We approach every album the same in that we don’t know what’s going to be a single, so we write ten different singles,” he explains. There was a desire now to focus on Dutch Uncles’ purest qualities. This is them distilled to their perfect incarnation. “We wanted to hark back to some of the influences that made us want to be Dutch Uncles,” says Duncan. “So that’s Talking Heads, The Strokes, Biffy Clyro, Super Furry Animals. We wanted to be a band again. The last album was a weird album. I’m pleased we’ve got a record like that in our canon of work, but sometimes I don’t recognise it.” Dutch Uncles will never escape being an odd and compelling band; and that’s just how it should be, only these days they’re more willing to relax. “The longer you play this game you realise you can simplify things,” says Duncan. “You don’t have to please yourself all the time. You learn to let go. It’s not like we’re ever going to run the risk of sounding like a Keane song. This is still going to be a headfuck to anyone who listens,” he laughs.” So, more than ten years in and Dutch Uncles are still confusing and delighting people and revelling in their ability to shake things up. Slightly less weird than before, but still quite weird. Just the way we want them. P Dutch Uncles’ album ‘Big Balloon’ is out now.

C LE S ’ D U TC H U N NS. A R E B AC K : S LL M A N C U N IA A B G D IN D IT E PO P O ER -E VO LV R EV U O E V TH FA R S RWA R D FO EV ERYO N E’ ER ST EP FO UNG. M IS A N OTH U : M A RTY N YO LB S A D R O ST W LATE


UPDATE THE STROKES’ NIKOLAI FRAITURE HAS TEAMED UP WITH STEPHEN PERKINS OF JANE’S ADDICTION, CAMILA GRAY OF UH HUH HER AND NOAH HARMON OF THE AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT FOR HIS LATEST SIDE-PROJECT, SUMMER MOON. WORDS: STEVEN LOFTIN.

THIS THIS IS THIS IS THIS IS THISIS IS HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING

Man on the

W

hat does a member of The Strokes do when The Strokes aren’t doing much? Well, whatever he wants. Bassist Nikolai Fraiture is no stranger to a good side-project having released an album back in 2009 under the moniker Nickel Eye (clever, eh?); this year sees him back with his new band, Summer Moon. Just like the name suggests, Summer Moon sees Nikolai breezy and carefree as he explores a littleknown genre called Italo Disco. “It’s kind of like this weird 70s Italian disco stuff that just sounds really cool,” he says. “It takes you on these sonic journeys, which was really what was in my head during the recording.” Debut album ‘With You Tonight’ has some funk, a bit of indie and a whole lot of fun. “I wanted to make it just for myself,

What’s up with The Strokes? “We’re all excited to be active, and I’m not just saying that. It’s a tough thing to talk about when things are bouncing around, but I think we’re all in a good place and on the same page now more than ever. Nothing is set in stone, but we’re definitely looking towards next year or two to be active.”

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and this was the album I wanted to make thinking of what I would want to listen to.” For this outing he’s shunned label involvement and had a go at crowdfunding, raising money through PledgeMusic. “I don’t love the idea of major labels dictating what things should sound like,” Nikolai explains. “I entertained the idea of it, then it became ‘Yeah, sure, but you’ve got to bring in this guy or that guy’, and it was just people I wasn’t into.” This lack of constraint has helped the record’s creativity. “It’s a lot freer and it’s a lot more experimental, and a lot more fun. I wasn’t into the idea of compromising.” What if crowdfunding had been more common when The Strokes first started out? “Well, it’s funny,” he ponders. “I think for us we were always quite independent, but we just happened to be able to have major backing. We were lucky when we started; it happened fairly quickly after we did all the work and we found a deal that was pretty much an indie deal but on a major. People were like, ‘You’ll never get played on the radio,’ so we never really expected much out of it in terms of what the label could bring to our thing.

Moon easier to find obscure genres like Italo Disco, but at the same time there’s a lack of funding and an overwhelming sea of bands competing for attention. “Now views are like currency,” he says with a chuckle, “and they actually do translate into currency because artists get paid per view. There are pros and cons, but I think what’s great is that artists can be a lot more creative now. Whether that translates into a solid career or longevity, I guess that’s a different story.” The Strokes are known for their various solo projects, some of which are downright crazy (see: Megapuss). “We’re lucky that we’ve been able to continue to be creative together and I guess every once in a while we need to refresh the tank, and then we come back, and it’s fresh and exciting,” he explains. “That’s why I think a lot of our other things are very different because it’s all about change and as an artist, as a musician, whatever you want to call someone, you constantly push yourself and want to try different things; otherwise you just become a weird parody of yourself.”

“I think back then, there was so much money in the industry that doing something like PledgeMusic or Kickstarter, it’d seem as if you didn’t ‘make it’, but I think now it’s very different. In so many other fields as well, there’s so much more participation with the audience that there wasn’t before. There was a gatekeeper in the past, and now that gatekeeper doesn’t hold as much power as it used to.”

As for Summer Moon, Nikolai doesn’t see a reason why the band won’t continue. “So far it’s felt really good, I’m looking forward to staying on track with Summer Moon for the moment. I go to LA every once in a while, the musicians I play with are out there; they’re super excited and it’s a really great vibe. I don’t see [me] changing it anytime soon for just a reason to be different. I think it’s allowed a certain ability to experiment in this context which is really fun, and I’d be excited to continue doing it.”P

A lot has changed during Nikolai’s time as a musician; it’s never been

Summer Moon’s debut album ‘With You Tonight’ is out 24th February.

T H E W Y TC H ES A RE O F F O N TO U R , A N D T H E RE ’S A D O RK S H OW TO O The Wytches are off on tour, following up a short run at the end of February with a full run this April. The later jaunt, which includes a Dork show in Reading on 6th April, kicks off in Guildford and finishes up in Cardiff. Get all the info on readdork.com now.

ROYA L B LO O D A RE ‘ BAC K’, T H E N Royal Blood are well and truly swaggering into view, with the band confirming their first UK show of the year at this year’s Eden Session. Taking place – as you can imagine – at the Eden Project, the band will headline the special show on 22nd June, promising to bring such a loud and unfaltering set that you better warn those pesky plants about it.

YO U ’ RE N OT G ET T I N G C H A RL I XCX ’S A L BU M U N T I L S E P T E M B E R . ‘SOZ ’ Charli XCX’s new album – originally due in May – has gone back a bit. Appearing on The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show on US radio, she was asked about the spring release. “[It’s] probably later,” she sighed. “September, roughly.” She went on to tease her upcoming mixtape, which is due a little sooner. “I just got bored and made a load of songs and decided to put them out.”


“You

don’t have to listen

sensible people

“I

t was definitely a band that wasn’t deliberately over ambitious,” Stu Mackenzie reflects. From any other group, that statement would seem par for the course – but King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard aren’t just any other group. Having released eight albums over the past five years, and stating they’re to release a further five this year alone, ambition seems to come hand in hand with everything the Australian psych-rock septet do. Rewind several months: after the release of their infinitely looping album ‘Nonagon Infinity’, the group were understandably exhausted. “It was the hardest record that we’ve ever made – it was a brutal process,” Stu admits. “It had to be very thought out and pieced together, more than anything we’d done before by a long way.” Each track a continuation of the one preceding, refrains repeating and evolving as the record continues, the process that birthed ‘Nonagon Infinity’ took a toll on the group. Having created what they describe as “the heaviest record that we’ve ever made,” the outfit found themselves in much need of some time away. “After we’d made that record we thought, ‘Let’s just take a

break, let’s just chill out’,” Stu recalls. When the group is as prolific as this one, it’s unsurprising to find out that the break didn’t last long. “In chilling out for a while we might’ve got excited,” he grins. Heading into 2017 with the announcement that they were to release not just one, not even two, but five new records over the course of the next year, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are once again hard at work. “I think we said that we’d do that, maybe not thinking about the consequences,” Stu admits with a chuckle. “Now we have to do it.” For anyone else, it’s a challenge that might seem insurmountable, but the Australian psych rockers seem relatively unfazed. The first of their many albums to see release this year arrives in the form of ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’, a record named after the custom built guitar the band wrote the songs on. “I’ve spent the better part of half my life playing guitar,” Stu expresses, “but then I pick up this instrument, and it’s like playing a completely new thing. I don’t recognise the fretboard anymore. It sounds all wonky and out of tune. It took a lot of getting used to.” Customising a further two guitars and a cheap bass “with similar but different fret arrangements that

to

if you don’t want to.”

would suit,” modifying a couple of harmonicas and an out of tune piano to match the microtonal instruments, and picking up a zurna, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard set about undertaking their latest project in a brand new way. “I think for every record we’ve tried to change the process up,” Stu considers.

The result is a driving venture along the dark side of psychedelic rock through the destructive nature of human behaviour. “It’s pretty doomy and nihilistic,” Stu illustrates. “There’s a bit of love on this record, but most the songs have a fairly depressing undertone – a ‘human beings are wrecking the world’ type undertone, or an ‘it’s all getting a bit too much’ type undertone,” he details, “but that’s the world that we live in.” With multiple albums to release this year, that’s not the only concept the band have been busy with. “We’re working on numbers two, three, and four all at the same time,” Stu reveals. “It’s all a bit confusing, but it’s good. I like it that way.” United in their origins (the group’s own studio in Melbourne), each of their upcoming releases is being created in true King Gizzard form – with their own unique personality. “We had these four or five distinct ideas that we wanted to explore,”

Stu divulges of the choice to work on so many releases. “It’s been a bit of a challenge.” With one of the upcoming records being described as “kind of heavy,” another is being made in collaboration with Alex Brettin of Mild High Club. Performing together at Gizzfest – a concert series run by King Gizzard – the two struck up a creative partnership. “Alex stayed at my house for like two or three weeks,” Stu recalls. “We just went to the studio most days. We hung out and recorded a bunch of stuff.” Continuing to collaborate “futuristic digital internet style” after Mild High Club returned to the US, this “more jazzy” record is just one of many directions we can expect to hear King Gizzard taking over the coming months. “I hope we can fit it all in,” Stu chuckles. “We’ve got ideas. We just need to put them to tape.” It’s a lot to live up to, but there’s a very strong sense that it’s a challenge the group are taking in their stride. “We always did exactly what we wanted to do,” the frontman laughs. “You don’t have to listen to sensible people if you don’t want to.” P King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s album ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’ is out on 24th February.

KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD PLAN TO DROP AN UNBELIEVABLE FIVE ALBUMS THIS YEAR. FIRST UP, ‘FLYING MICROTONAL BANANA’. WORDS: JESSICA GOODMAN.

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UPDATE

Stand

and

deliver

SOME POP STARS KEEP QUIET WHEN IT COMES TO THE ‘SERIOUS ISSUES’. OTHERS SPEAK OUT, BUT OFFER UP LITTLE IN THE WAY OF DIRECT ACTION. TEGAN & SARA ARE DIFFERENT. WITH THEIR NEW FOUNDATION, THEY’RE SHOWING MORE THAN JUST EMPTY WORDS. So you guys are touring the UK soon - how do you prepare for long stints on the road? Do you enjoy all the travelling that comes with being pop stars? We started touring in 1999 so the road is the place where we often feel the most comfortable. It’s also afforded us the opportunity to see so much of the world through the unique lens of the arts. Its not always easy to leave the lives we’ve built at home but with technology it sometimes feels like the world has become much smaller. How do you go about booking your support acts? It’s Alex Lahey and Ria Mae for this run, isn’t it? Yes, Alex Lahey and Ria Mae are both joining us for parts of this next tour. Both are terrific performers and songwriters that we both like very much. We generally select artists to support our tours that we feel that our audience will like - I think they’re going to really love Alex and Ria. This tour sees you promoting your new album, but you’ve also just launched the Tegan and Sara Foundation - what prompted you to formalise your social activism? We’ve been discussing the idea of formalising our activism for many years. The goal for us is to be more

purposeful but also proactive and not always reactive. Our community currently faces enormous challenges and we see ourselves as uniquely positioned to amplify the crucial work being done to an audience that may not be aware of the inequities faced by so many LGBTQ women. The tremendous support of our fan base, many of whom identify as LGBTQ, has emboldened us and this feels like a way to give back to them too. Can you tell us a bit about what the Foundation’s currently working on? We’ve just wrapped up our first convening of LGBTQ women this week and are excited to begin work on projects that address health, economic justice and representation in the media.  Is there anything you’ve learnt since its launch that you were particularly surprised by? The statistics and stories that we’ve been hearing go much further than surprise; I’ve been heartbroken and enraged by the absence of research, funding and concern that LGBTQ women and girls receive around the world. There is so much more to “gay rights” than marriage equality and at the very least our goal is to remind people of that. 

There are so many problems at the moment with health care, discrimination, poverty and the like - what advice would you give those who want to help but feel daunted? I do believe that there are so many valid and incredible programmes and providers in the world who want to and are helping those struggling with health care, economic justice and discrimination. I know there are ways we can expand and increase the access to those programmes and people by using technology and research. I don’t feel hopeless, although I sometimes feel helpless to address these issues that are so important in an expedited way. I have felt galvanised by the efforts of the organisations and educations and health care providers we’ve been meeting with and our ongoing focus is to anything we can to try and reach those folks in need asap. Back to ‘Love You To Death’ - how has the response been from fans? Has the album been understood in the way you wanted? We are so happy with the response to the latest album but specifically the positive feedback about our live show. We spent a great deal of time figuring out how best to create a performance that would feel sonically cohesive , allowing our older music to work seamlessly with the newer material. I think we did it!   How have you found releasing videos for every track? That must have been an awful lot of work - is it something you’d do again? It was a lot of work! But it was exciting to collaborate with ten fantastic artists, all of whom came to us from very different backgrounds with unique experiences in a wide range of mediums. Choreographers, photographers, Visual Artists, Comedians and Dog Groomers, puppeteers and animators helped us create a visual component that we’re very proud of! P Tegan and Sara’s album ‘Love You To Death’ is out now. They tour the UK this month.

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Anteros’ ‘On The Road’ playlist

ANTEROS HAVE SO MUCH TOURING THIS SPRING. THEY’VE JUST FINISHED UP A RUN WITH TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB, AND NOW THEY’RE BACK OUT WITH WHITE LIES, THEN THEY’RE OFF WITH BLAENAVON. IF ANYONE NEEDS A BANGERS-PACKED ON THE ROAD PLAYLIST, IT’S THEM. TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB UNDERCOVER MARTYN It’s our favourite track from Two Door’s debut record. NO DOUBT - JUST A GIRL This is a good “just got outta traffic” track to listen to. PALE WHITE - REACTION ‘That Dress’ was one of our favourite tracks of 2016, and we’re guessing this latest release is going to be one for 2017. DREAM WIFE - HEY HEARTBREAKER You can’t not have a crush on them, they’re amazing, and this track is SASS. KAISER CHIEFS - I PREDICT A RIOT We’ve been recording our next EP with [former ‘Chiefs drummer and songwriter] Nick Hodgson, and we keep wanting to play the chorus while recording. GARBAGE - STUPID GIRL Laura’s first song choice whenever she’s been made in charge of picking the music. THE AMAZONS - IN MY MIND Since meeting them at Reading Festival last year we’ve been playing ‘In My Mind’ and ‘Junk Food Forever’ on repeat. BLACK HONEY - HELLO TODAY We’re loving this latest release, they’re so good to see live. SUNDARA KARMA OLYMPIA We played our first gig alongside Sundara Karma at the end of 2015. We’re loving their album. TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB GAMESHOW We’ve been listening to this loads since its release. P


A A DAY IN THE LIFE OF... ADAY DAYIN INTHE THELIFE LIFEOF... OF...

Oscar from Sundara Karma IT’S A HARD LIFE ON THE ROAD... 09:00 Reluctantly crawl out of bed and down as much water as possible, splash my face with the Arctic tap aqua and praise the Lord for another day of goodliness on the road. I then roll my yoga mat out over the Travelodge carpet to stop me inhaling pubes or stripper dust as I’m doing my sun salutations.

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 FROM THE ROAD. THIS MONTH...

BRUISING

10:30 I shower, brush my teeth and shave. More often than not Ally is still sleeping so all of the above must be approached and executed with a polite precision that tends to set the tone for the day. 11:00 If I’m on top of my game then I would’ve already mediated but if not; I get comfy in the van, listen to a sounds of the ocean compilation, and drift off into the land of silence for half an hour. This period of nothingness is often interrupted by someone in the van farting. Then I have to try my best to be with the fart and accept the fart. 12:00 We enjoy a good servo stop. It gives us a chance to smoke our cigarettes and fill up on Britain’s finest. 14:00 We’d normally arrive at the venue around this time, stroll into the dressing room and either be pleasantly surprised or awfully disappointed by the rider situation. We need to up our rider game. Maybe find a theme. The Bob Marley party package?

Live at Leeds is looking

15:30 Sound check. It’s boring, but it’s our life. It’s important to check the sound.

Dreamy

17:00 We head away from the venue to avoid cabin fever and mutiny. If we’re up for it, we’ll find a cushty restaurant to have some dinner but normally end up settling on a ‘Spoons as we’re terrified of change. 21:45 Show time. We will do the rituals beforehand making sure we’re ready to fly. Oiled up and centred, we then make our way to the stage. We like to have a group hug before we go on, so we do that just before crossing the threshold and always make sure we check our flys. 23:0 0 Drive to the next Travelodge. The party will carry on in the van with Haydn normally as chief of the aux. The unspoken arrangement for the journey is to find the correct balance between Haydn getting his kicks and Dom feeling rested. It can be a struggle, but we always find the sweet spot. 02:00 If luck is on our side then the Travelodge will have a bar that we can collect in for an hour or so, get some pizzas and kick back like real people in a real hotel.

L

ive at Leeds has confirmed a whopping 75 new names, including Dork faves Dream Wife, King Nun, Get Inuit and Fickle Friends. BRITS Critics Choice winner Rag ’N’ Bone Man leads the new batch of acts, alongside Nothing But Thieves,

Honeyblood, Temples, The Moonlandingz, Clean Cut Kid, Trudy & The Romance, Eat Fast, Fish and plenty more.

playing a very special Live At Leeds: Welcome Party the day before, on 28th April at Leeds University Stylus.

They join the likes of Slaves, Wild Beasts, White Lies, Jagwar Ma, Black Honey, Let’s Eat Grandma, The Big Moon, The Magic Gang and The Amazons.

There are loads more names still to be announced for the event, which takes place on Saturday 29th April.

Future Islands will also be

Tickets are on sale now from liveatleeds.com.

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UPDATE

I

f I made a record exactly like Vampire Weekend that would be terrible… I can’t sing like Ezra, Jesus Christ!” Drummer Chris Tomson neatly introduces his new project Dams of the West, which is also his first foray into the solo world since the band went on hiatus back in 2014. “If I had attempted to make an album that sounded like Vampire Weekend, for whatever reasons, that wouldn’t have been good!” Dams of the West’s debut album, ‘Youngish American’, isn’t too far from what you’d expect from a member of Vampire Weekend, though it does veer away from their unique brand of “preppyindie”. There is, however, an expected familiarity, especially from the prominent rhythm section. “That band is very much a part of my DNA,” Chris explains, “so it would much make sense that you can hear some of it translating into the music that I’m making, but also at the same time it’s fairly different.” Throughout ‘Youngish American’, you can hear Chris’s strength as a songwriter; powering straightforward rock songs such as ‘Will I Be Known To Her’ contain immortal lyrics like “No selfconfidence, alcoholism and a taste for clutter.” The majority of the record concerns the milestone of turning thirty. “Age is but a number, we all know that, but I do think that there is something karmically and cosmically odd about turning thirty,” he laughs. “Especially being in the position I’m in with Vampire Weekend, and in some very odd and lucky way, having done so much of what I dreamed of doing. It’s both met my expectations, and not; I do think time was a lot of the inspiration for these songs.” It’s been a tumultuous time for

Chris, going it alone after working with his bandmates for so long. “All of the more intense feelings that I’ve felt, I felt a while ago as I was making it. I’m excited, a little bit nervous,” he says. “This album in no way takes away from Vampire Weekend, and I think in a lot of ways it’s healthy for the long-term growth and viability of the band, of everyone being able to do other stuff outside of it all.” “Straight up, I’ve zero concerns about Vampire Weekend artistically and all of that,” he continues. “I love those guys; I love being a part of that band. This album came up because when we finished up Reading & Leeds in 2014, I knew we were going to take a long break and music is the only thing I’m relatively qualified to do, so I sort of strapped down to see if I had songs with me that were worthwhile putting out. I think out of respect for Vampire Weekend and everything that we’ve done, and how much I love and respect that band, that I didn’t want just to put anything out; it had to feel important to me.” Dams of the West has given Chris the opportunity to strengthen his creativity and shine as a songwriter while paying respect to everything he’s achieved thus far. “I had a great time making this album,” he says, “and I feel very strongly about it. I’m a free market guy, so we’ll see how it goes regarding response, but I can

foresee this happening again and I certainly hope it does. My goal with this was to make a sustainable and separate thing, obviously related to Vampire Weekend, but you know, not necessarily beholden to it. We shall see, but I certainly hope that it becomes a thing.”

THIS THIS IS THIS IS THIS IS THISIS IS HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING

As for the future of his other band? “Vampire Weekend will continue for a long time, but I don’t see it being quite as dominant of all of our time and mental energy as it was in our twenties,” says Chris. “That’s a part of us as people and as a collective growing up and changing.” “We’re working on the next album,” he adds. “There’s no time frame, but work is being done! I actually feel like a way better band mate having done this, and learning a lot of stuff about myself, musically, conceptually, lyrically or whatever. I’m better for having done this album on my own, and I think that will continue to be the case the more I do.” P Dams of the West’s debut album ‘Youngish American’ is out 24th February.

God Dam

T H E M AG I C G A N G A RE BAC K I N TOW N The Magic Gang have a brand new single, ‘How Can I Compete?’, and a tour alongside their housemates and fellow Brighton powerhouses Abbatoir Blues coming up later this year. You can check out the track and dates on readdork.com now.

T H E 1975 A N D F R A N K O C E A N A RE HEADLINING PA RK L I F E Parklife has announced the full line up for its 2017 edition. Taking place between 10th11th June, they’ve out done themselves this year with the likes of R&B smooth man Frank Ocean, The 1975, A Tribe Called Quest and the unstoppable Grime outfit Boy Better Know.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND DRUMMER CHRIS TOMSON IS BRANCHING OUT ON HIS OWN AS DAMS OF THE WEST, WITH AN ALBUM THAT SEES HIM STRETCH HIS CREATIVE MUSCLES. WORDS: STEVEN LOFTIN.


In Stores Now! Spain's renowned indie folk rock band, ready to conquer the world! Special edition 2CD Digipak including the bonus disc "Nocturnal Solar Sessions", an acoustic version of the main album.

Catch Amaral live in February!

5 February: Shepherd's Bush Empire, London 6 February: Thekla, Bristol 7 February: Rescue Rooms, Nottingham


UPDATE

THIS THIS IS THIS IS THIS IS THISIS IS HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING HAPPENING

R A D I O H E A D, B I F F Y C LY RO, T WO D O O R C I N E M A C LU B A N D LOA DS M O RE A RE ‘ D O I N G ’

City City Guides: CityGuides: Guides:

T H E F I RST EV E R T RN S M T F EST I VA L

Idles on Bristol JOE TALBOT FROM BRISTOLIAN MISCHIEF MAKERS IDLES RUNS THROUGH ALL THE THINGS THAT MAKE HIS HOMETOWN GREAT.

B

ristol is an anomaly. It sits as this valley of its own merit that seems not to care much about the rest of this island’s acceptance but works towards carving its own history, sometimes to its own wanky discomfort, but mostly to the result of a magnificent dishevelled rumble of cacophonous joy. The people are mostly welcoming and hard working, most with a drinking problem. The key, here, is that all are welcome.The ‘scene’, here, is not much of an insular scene, there is more of a scattered frenzy of people working towards their own fancies and equally bringing in their own crowds. Bristol has come into its own recently with Crack magazine, Howling Owl, Team Love, Thorny, Jacknife Design, The Know, Simple Things, Young Echo, Tap The Feed and shit loads more creating something fucking magical. Below are some venues and bands that feel good at the moment and most certainly help Bristol be what it be. THE OLD ENGLAND My boy Diego is doing that DIY shit for the love of it, and it’s inspiring. Go there for some exciting back-to-basics gigs and seriously passionate mess.   EXCHANGE

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A venue that came from the ashes of The Croft. It is a beast in medium sized venues that should never die. THE LOUISIANA A home from home, where the family history has been to champion new music and feed the fuckers with shit hot pasta. The best live sound in the world too.

SCARLET RASCAL They make my teeth itch when they play live. Well crafted tank songs. LICE Cantankerous fuckers. P IDLES’ debut album ‘Brutalism’ is out 10th March.

The line-up for the first edition of Glasgow’s new TRNSMT festival has been announced, and it’s huge. Radiohead, Kasabian and Biffy Clyro are set to headline the three nights of the July event, where they’ll be joined by The 1975, Two Door Cinema Club, Twin Atlantic, Blossoms, Catfish and the Bottlemen, George Ezra, The Kooks, Circa Waves, Belle & Sebastian, London Grammar and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man. More acts are still to be announced. TRNSMT is taking place as Scotland’s usual summer extravaganza T In The Park takes a step back for 2017. It’ll be held on Glasgow Green between July 7th and 9th.

THE STAG AND HOUNDS Relentless in bringing new music for cheap. They have a savage hard working promoter that results in a fuckton of decent gigs. THE SURREY VAULTS A grotto of forward-thinking art and music with cheap drinks and plenty scuzz. FRIENDLY RECORDS/ RISE True independent record shops that house new music sold by new musicians for the people, by the people, yada yada... THE CUBE MICROPLEX An unsung venue, pushing the independents; from drag shows to ambient noise to arthouse cinema. BANDS SPECTRES Beautiful pricks, Horrible noise, Beautiful noise, Horrible pricks.

R AT BOY I S H I T T I N G T H E ROA D W I T H K ASA B I A N A RE HEADLINING RE A D I N G + L E E DS The latest batch of bands for this year’s Reading & Leeds has been announced, and it includes the second headliner. Joining Muse as bill-toppers for the two-legged August Bank Holiday event are Kasabian. They’re followed by other new additions Two Door Cinema Club, Flume, Fatboy Slim, Circa Waves, Jimmy Eat World, The Amity Affliction and Rat Boy.

S P RI N G K I N G L AT E R T H I S Y E A R , FYI Rat Boy is heading out on tour throughout April and May, and he’s taking some of our faves with him for a couple of those dates: joining him at the Manchester and London shows will be Spring King. As we’re still waiting for Rat Boy’s debut we can hopefully assume the run being dubbed the ‘Scum Album Tour’ means it’ll be heading our way sometime soon.


The BEST new tracks

BANGERS BANGERS ARCADE FIRE

I GIVE YOU POWER (FT. MAVIS STAPLES)

Organs echoing unnervingly through empty space, synths bounding to the darkest depths and back again, and one enduring refrain; “I gave you power, I can take it away.” Released on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, there’s no mistaking what Arcade Fire’s latest track is about. A protest song for the masses, ‘I Give You Power’ is designed to rally and engage. Which leaves only one question: what’s holding you back today?

THE MAGIC GANG

DIET CIG

TUMMY ACHE

Frustrated but determined to have a good time, Diet Cig have always dealt in empowerment. From the pushback of ‘Sleep Talk’ to the curled lip of ‘Harvard’, the pair have always proudly rallied against the expectations of their scene but ‘Tummy Ache’ sees them grab a megaphone, paint a placard and take to the streets. The first cut from their debut album sees the band step up in every way imaginable. Scrappy, infectious and grinning despite the bullshit, it’s Diet Cig at their very best.

BAD SOUNDS

BLEANAVON

ORTHODOX MAN

Blaenavon have been dipping their toes into their musical hotpot for a while now, not only releasing track after track of an unfaltering quality, but in turn unravelling their various counterpoints and strands that make them the band they are. ‘Orthodox Man’ fizzes with the early energy of those off-kilter indie pinpoints of the mid-naughties. Promised for a while but now finally realised, if ‘That’s Our Lot’, then everyone’s going to be playing catch-up for quite a while.

SUPERFOOD

HOW CAN I COMPETE

MEAT ON MY BONES

DOUBLE DUTCH

Ask a stupid question, the saying goes, and you’ll get a stupid answer. Quite why The Magic Gang would need to ask how they’re going to compete is beyond most mortal minds, but with their new single they’re providing the solution for themselves. Their first for soon-tobe ex-Maccabee Felix White’s YALA label, and produced by brother Hugo, it’s a refined take on the Brighton band’s trademark style. Easy rolling, packed with melody and sounding huge, we should be asking how anyone else is expected to keep up.

If the sign of a potentially brilliant band is maintaining a fearsome banger average, Bad Sounds are well on the way to the top of the class. Following up on last year’s bangeriffic ‘Wages’, ‘Meat On My Bones’ may be less brassy, but it’s packing that same catchyas-fuck swagger. Breaking beats, it’s almost as if someone has spliced Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz tendencies into his Blur like ear for a killer hook. With every step forward, Bad Sounds start to look more and more like the real deal.

Superfood have been busy in their time away. Down two members, ‘Double Dutch’ is self-admittedly “the furthest away” from their debut banger factory ‘Don’t Say That’, but that’s the point. On their return, the newly minted duo are determined to do things their own way. More laid back, their comeback may not be the spinning-til-youbarf sugar spun fun-fest we’re used to, but once that groove takes hold there are new depths to be found. Superfood just got very interesting indeed.

Hey Ben from Blaenavon. You’ve just dropped your new single ‘Orthodox Man’ - what sparked its creation? I was sitting very still with my guitar and started to write out some lyrics about feeling positively tiny and in awe of a woman - being willing to do literally anything to win her affection. I.e. moulding your body into the shape of a towel so you can dry her whenever she leaves the shower. That’s a bit weird, mate. What’s your fave thing about the song? At times the lyrics are utterly absurd and that’s something I’m quite proud of. Who came up with the concept for the video? Francesca Consarino - the wonderful director. We basically wanted to make the most of a trip to New York; to capture those beautiful times. The motorbike was hers, too.  Do you enjoy being on camera? It’s like being a goldfish in a bowl, and as a fan of sea creatures I take extreme pleasure in it. What made you choose ‘Orthodox Man’ as a single?  It’s got that direct radio fizz and will hopefully grab people’s attention pretty immediately. It’s also pretty catchy. Tell us a secret about your debut album, ‘That’s Your Lot’. There’s a shaker on one of the tracks, which we made by filling a Punky ice cream with granola. P

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F U T U RE I S L A N DS A RE DA N C I N G T H E I R WAY I N TO ‘ T H E FA R F I E L D’ T H I S A P RI L

It’s a hit!

UND ERR ATE D GEM : ‘DO N’T SAY THAT’ WAS AN SUP ERF OOD ’S DEB UT ALB UM SORT OF FIZZ Y, TO OVE RFLOW ING WIT H THE HEA PS OF FUN AND PAC KED BUT THE MOS T ALL OF D T CAN LIFT THE MOO EXU BER ANT BAN GERS THA NIN G TO DIRTY HIT AFT ER AN UNE XPE CTE D SIG DET ERM INE D MIS ERY CHO PS. - 201 7 SEE S THE CE ALI ES THE 1975 AND WO LF HOM E TO FEL LOW DOR K FAV NT.. . ERE DIFF BIT A LL, WE BAN D RET URN SOU NDI NG, Hey Dom, how are you guys at the moment? What have you been up to since we last saw you? Skint, bored. We need to get this stuff out there. Since we stopped touring, we’ve been keeping our heads above water making this album. ‘Double Dutch’ is pretty different to your last batch of bangers - what drew you to releasing it as your comeback track? It’s the track that is the furthest away from the stuff we used to write, so we wanted to put it out there and gauge people’s reaction. We also wanted to scare you. Is the new direction indicative of change within the band, or a new attitude towards what you want the band to be? We always wanted to make this album; things just got lost in transit. I feel like every record we do will change and grow. There’s no new attitude, it’s just that we’ve written and recorded this by ourselves with no outside influence at all. How far in are you with your second album? Is it done and dusted?

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Dusted. And how many 10/10 bangers are on this one? 13. What was the most important lesson you learnt from ‘Don’t Say That’, do you think? Don’t rush it. Think. Don’t give yourself two weeks. Follow through your own ideas until the end. Don’t listen to anyone. You’ve signed to Dirty Hit now, how did that come about? We were in LA mixing and saw The 1975 were there too, so we gave Matty [Healy, frontman] a message on Twitter. He said to send over what we’d been putting down and then things went from there... Will you be airing much new material on the upcoming tour? Yes my friend, old and new. Opening the window and giving it some decent airflow. Album aside, what are you most looking forward to in 2017? Fewer adults on scooters. Actually, nah, fuck that - do what you want. More adults on scooters. P

SUPERFOOD ARE HEADLINING THE DIRTY HIT TOUR, ALONGSIDE KING NUN AND PALE WAVES. YOU CAN CATCH THEM AT... MARCH 17 O2 Academy2, Oxford 18 The Leadmill, Sheffield 19 King Tuts, Glasgow 20 Sound Control Basement, Manchester 21 Brudenell, Leeds 22 The Welly, Hull 23 Think Tank, Newcastle 24 Arts Club, Liverpool 25 The Sugarmill, Stoke 27 O2 Academy2, Birmingham 28 Rescue Rooms, Nottingham 29 The Haunt, Brighton 30 Thekla, Bristol 31 Tufnell Park Dome, London APRIL 01 Clwb ifor Bach, Cardiff 03 Oh Yeah, Belfast 04 O2 Academy2, Dublin

We’ve waited a while to get our deep thinking dancing shoes on, and now Future Islands have given us a due date – confirming new album ‘The Far Field’ . The album will be released on 7th April, with the twelve track collection featuring a guest appearance from none other than Debbie Harry of Blondie fame. Future Islands will mark the release with a string of UK headline shows – heading across the country from the end of April through to early May, before headlining Green Man in August.

M U M FO RD & SO N S , DAU G H T E R A N D M O RE A RE D O I N G A T I N Y C H A RI T Y S H OW Ever the loveable guys that they are, Mumford & Sons have announced a very special intimate charity gig for 3rd March, appearing on a bill with the likes of Michael Kiwanuka, Daughter and The Fat White Family amongst others. The night, which is also set to feature the likes of Palace, Lucy Rose, Bear’s Den, Isaac Gracie, Charlie Cunningham and a poetry performance from Money’s Jamie Lee – is to raise funds for The Felix Project, an organisation that collects surplus food from supermarkets and the such before delivering it to 50 charities across London. Taking place in the stunning St Stephen’s Church in London, you’re guaranteed for a mesmeric night of stripped-back performances.


... w o n k u o y , d n a g n u o y re e “We w

” . s e l o h s s a l a t to hen you’re young, and in a band, there’s a certain level of expectation for you to fuck up and cause a scene. It’s an ideology The Orwells have taken to heart. Infamous for abrasive live shows and a general lack of giving a fuck, in 2014 the group kicked up a gear, releasing second studio album ‘Disgraceland’ and running riot during a performance on Letterman in the US. Now, they’ve returned to finish what they started. The perhaps aptly titled ‘Terrible Human Beings’ isn’t quite a forward move, if anything it harks back to the youthful vigour found on their first studio album ‘Remember When’. Guitarist Matt O’Keefe is more than ready for the world to hear it. “We’ve sat on it for a good amount of time, and you know, it drives us insane,” he says. “The songs are going stale for us, but nobody else has ever heard them. It’s a funny thing; I’m just stoked that this thing’s gonna be out.” After such a quick ride with their previous album, including signing to Atlantic Records and touring with Arctic Monkeys, the band were briefly a hot topic - but more for their attitudes and antics than

music. Matt recalls that time with a slight chagrin. “I was a little bit more gullible to what I thought was gonna happen with when that album came out. I think on this; we’re all wiser about how this goes, you know? What it’s gonna do, and all that stuff. It feels like we have a better grasp with this one and what we’re about to do. “When we were recording ‘Disgraceland’ I turned nineteen; we were eighteen-nineteen-twenty before we’d even released the thing, so yeah, we were pretty young and gullible. We believed a lot of things that were said to us, and that’s what I’m saying about this time around, we’ve got a better grasp. I think we’ll be able to understand what’s going on much better, so I’m excited to go through it again and age a little bit wiser to the whole thing.” Their first forays to British shores involved tiny shows, including one at a community church in Dalston, but they were soon selling out venues like the Electric Ballroom. “It was great to be able to comprehend that step up, seeing your music expand to new fans and more people,” says Matt. “It’s great when you get to come back, and you’re doubling the size of rooms. Hopefully it’ll happen with this. Hopefully people dig it.” During their now famed Letterman

slot, a worse-for-wear Mario Cuomo sat down for an entire verse. It drew a lot of attention - not all of it good. “People definitely did not get it,” affirms Matt. “[But] how any band should do it is not treat it any different than you would if you were on a stage in a club. We just didn’t want to water anything down when we got on TV, or we got to the bigger clubs or any of that stuff. We always do what we want to do, and you know, good things happened, and bad things happened because of it.” “I think you lose the magic if you think you’re not going to let yourself fall,” he muses. “You’ve got to put yourself in a bit of risk or let yourself be vulnerable because I think vulnerability and falling on your face go hand in hand with just being on stage and playing in front of people.” Following the album’s release, the band went away for a bit. “After we got off the tour we took some time to decompress because we just had to. Then we started writing, and you know, it was just me, Dominic [Corso] and Mario, we’d bring acoustic guitars and we’d write in my parents’ basement.” Sticking to what they know best, they had their third album in no time, keeping things as basic as

possible and letting whatever happened, happen. “If you make the songs you want to make, that’s all you’ll ever need to do. We never thought, ‘Oh, we’ve got to prove these people wrong, that we’re not these ‘kids’.’ Maybe it was somewhere in the back of our heads, but we never talked about that when we were writing songs, you know? We just made the songs we wanted to make.” As for that title? Matt laughs. “It’s a bunch of things I think. We thought it was funny, and it owns the reputation that some people put on us. It’s kind of an idea to some of our heroes too, you know? It’s a bunch of things, and it sounds cool too, which is important to us.” Looking to the future is a hard factor for a band as in the moment as The Orwells - they can’t carry on drinking and getting up to shenanigans around the world forever. “Who knows?” shrugs Matt. “I don’t see that sticking. I think the first time America and Europe got a look at us we were young and we were kind of, you know, total assholes. But I don’t know, who knows? I don’t really want to think about it.”P The Orwells’ album ‘Terrible Human Beings’ is out now.

THE ORWELLS STILL WANT TO HAVE FUN, BUT WITH ‘TERRIBLE HUMAN BEINGS’ THEY’RE ALSO GROWING UP. WORDS: STEVEN LOFTIN.

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HYPE ESSENTIAL NEW BANDS

MUNA

D

‘‘

ude you know I’ve always fucked with them!” exclaims Josette Maskin. The topic of MUNA’s very first EP has arisen, and the memories are flooding back of the countless hours spent fine-crafting the first sounds of a trio on the cusp of something massive. That EP made its way onto Bandcamp, and now demand is flying with a legion of fans longing to hear the now-missing collection. It’s a re-release that’s already a hot topic, a career retrospective of sorts for a band already dealing in certified bangers at every turn. “I’d love to put it back out,” continues Josette. “We called it ‘More Perfect’ so it was a kinda statement for doing it all ourselves and learning how to produce. I love those songs because they got us to where we are today so...” What follows is three best friends rolling through those formative moments, an eye into the world of a band who dive through their days with each other, who bounce off each other’s every word and who are already looking at that career retrospective. “It’s a bit early for that now girls,” declares lead singer Katie Gavin when the discussions subside, “let’s wait for people to know who we are.” For MUNA, that wait is already at

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the gates of something bigger - and their importance is palpable. Bringing shimmering 80s pop-noir right into the 21st Century, their infectious knack for energy and pulling the joy out of every moment of darkness means that they’re primed and ready at the top of pop’s royal table. With MUNA though, they’re ready to take that table out into the world, and everyone’s invited to sit around it - a powerful blend of everything pure and real about music’s ability to change lives.

WITH A BON D TO BE RECKON E D WITH, U ND E RG ROU ND POP SE N SATION S MU N A MAKE FOR A FORM IDA B LE TRIO. WORDS: JA M IE M U IR.

“It’s interesting,” ponders Naomi McPherson. “We knew that we were going to play an important role in each other’s lives, but just didn’t know it’d be in this sort of capacity. We became best friends, very intimate and very close, very open - and very quickly into our friendships. I didn’t know that I’d ever have friends like this, it’s like we’re married!” Having that connection and that kinship within one another is a special thing. Many spend their lives chasing it, spending money in the

“WHEN “WHEN WE WE FIRST FIRST WROTE WROTE A A POP POP SONG, SONG, II WAS WAS ABSOLUTELY ABSOLUTELY SHOCKED.” SHOCKED.” After all, MUNA itself changed its member’s lives in a way only destiny could properly explain. Meeting at the University of Southern California, there was always a sense that the three of them had found in each other the strength and muse to their every emotion. It quickly became clear just how vital the three of them were to each other, a sense of family and a connection that radiates through everything they do.

hope of finding it - but in MUNA, that tight-knit support and unbridled love is living and breathing in stunning technicolour. In each other, the band didn’t need anyone else - and that spinning creativity allowed them to be free in every direction and simply enjoy the feeling of creating and being with each other. If the term, ‘let nature take its course’ was ever suitable for any band, then for MUNA, it paved the way. Josette saw that initial process of

defining the band they were as one that sat completely open. “When we first started, we were throwing shit against a wall. It was really experimental, we were just seeing where it could all go. When we first wrote a pop song, I was absolutely shocked. I’d never written pop music before and I never really listened to a lot of pop music, so it really hit me in the face. I feel like it kinda just happened to us, and then it all started to make sense.” What pop music has needed for a while now, is not only a band and a voice that can cut above the world around them but one that can shift and look to change it. As heard ringing through their debut album ‘About U’, MUNA are painting a masterpiece that’s gearing up to be recognised far beyond the dorms and halls they first called home. The power of family, love and friendship have never been more vital. It’s a statement Naomi keeps close to mind. “I feel like sometimes I take for granted what good friendships I have with Josette and Katie, not everybody gets to have that. By being in a band, we’re trying to encourage that vulnerability, to look for that connection with other people, and to be as open as you can be.” In a world where doors are being shut at every turn, MUNA’s open door is the stand of defiance we need. P MUNA’s debut album ‘About U’ is out now.


Hey Connar, what first got you interested in making music? My dad got me a guitar for Christmas when I was eight and ever since I’ve been obsessed with music and writing songs. What did you listen to growing up? The Kinks, Nirvana, Marilyn Manson and Atomic Kitten. What are your favourite things to write about? Some of your songs are pretty angsty… I write about real, everyday things I see happening or that happen to me. Most of them are about people who piss me off, or about myself. How much cake did you get through for the ‘Cake’ video, and how much did you hate custard come the end of it? We had tons of cakes - too many to count! There were about sixty cans of custard that we mixed with jam. I absolutely hate custard now. I smelt like it for days and it was all in my guitar, but my hair smelt like strawberries so it wasn’t all bad. Is being a musician all you hoped it would be? Being a musician is incredible. I get to play my music to loads of people with my two BFF’s as well as writing songs everyday and shooting music videos. It’s literally a dream.

playing football, skateboarding and watching really shit TV. How did you get booked for the INHEAVEN tour? Are you guys buds? I don’t personally know INHEAVEN but I’m a big fan and love their most recent single, ‘Treats’. As soon as I heard there was an opportunity to tour supporting them I was messaging my manager like ‘we need to get on this!’

FACT F I L E

How long have you been making music: Just over a year. Where are you from: Chelmsford, Essex. What musical pigeon-hole can we shoehorn you into: Big-Band Jazz. Which track of yours should we have put here, if, you know, this wasn’t on paper: ‘Cake’.

W I L L J OS E P H C O O K’S D E BU T A L BU M I S D O N E

Fans of ‘FYI’, not exactly news info - eagle-eyed watchers of Will Joseph Cook’s social media feeds over the last month will have noticed he’s finished work on his debut album. That’s exciting, isn’t it?

Are there any other new bands you’d recommend at the mo? Definitely, bands like Yonaka, Black Honey, CABBAGE and Bad Sounds are wicked. There are loads of really sick upcoming bands. J O RJA S M I T H I S O N TO U R I N A P RI L

You’re playing Live at Leeds soon, too - have you ‘done’ a festival before? Yeah we played Reading & Leeds last year which was incredible. The shows were mental. I can’t wait to start the festival season properly this year, it’s going to be mad.

The ‘tastemakers’ love a bit of Jorja Smith, so they’ll be delighted to hear she’s ‘hitting’ the ‘road’ in the UK this April. Basically, Jorja’s going to be massive and if you want to say “I was there” before she becomes a superstar, you know what to do.

What else are you up to this year? Do you have big plans for 2017? Definitely. Just releasing loads of new music and videos as well as tours. I’m really excited.

What new stuff are you into...

Anything else we should know? Everyone’s the same. P

What do you do for fun? I never really stop making music but when I do I like painting,

FREAK

“I love Mitski, Shura, Japanese Breakfast…” - SARA, TEGAN AND SARA “James Ferraro, Jeff Parker, Janet Feder, Marisa Anderson, Ian Sweet, Girlpool, Sean Nicholas Savage, La la la la, Princess Nokia, Girlpusher.” CLEM, CHERRY GLAZERR

18-YEAR-OLD CONNAR RIDD, AKA FREAK, MAKES THE KIND

OF RACKET THAT DESERVES TO BE PLAYED AT EAR-SPLITTING VOLUMES: MESSY, PACKED WITH ATTITUDE AND LOADS OF FUN.

KEEP YOUR EYES ON...

TE A R

ON THE GRAPEVINE

Bands. If you’re looking for a way to make us fall in love, include dinosaurs in your music videos. Or dogs. Londoners TEAR went for the former in their clip, which you can see on readdork.com now, and it was enough to send us head over heels. The music is great too, obv. If you’re not already familiar with Zuzu,

and you probably should be, now is the time to get yourself acquainted. They’ve gone two for two on amazing bangers. That kind of form will play a band right into the buzz big leagues. Peaness have just signed to Alcopop! Records, which is great news. Not only are they awesome, but it’ll keep us in comedy headlines for at least six months. Yes, we are still six years old. They’ve got a new EP, ‘Are You Sure?’, coming out “later this year”.

“We haven’t listened to a lot of new stuff recently, we’re stuck in the past at present. But some snazzy new exceptions would be Flamingods, Karl Blau, Whitney, The Parrots, Tacocat and Big Thief.” HOOTON TENNIS CLUB “Polographia from Australia have a great song called ‘Sly’ which is worth checking out. Silicon from New Zealand has also been a favourite of ours for a while so not exactly new but his song ‘God Emoji’ is really good.” - BEN, FENECHSOLER

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THE WORLD ACCORDING TO

EL IE V E IN . H AT TH EY B W R FO P U S PE A K SAY. A FR A ID TO S A LOT TO E VA N T H A N D S A R EN ’T TI A B AT E M M , O PS S O T. A PA RT, B EN N ET LO O D ’ D R R LD FA LL S A H LO U IS E M ‘D U M B B AS TH E WO OTO S : SA R EB U T A LB U D PH . R EI ER TL TH U S H A S WO R D S : A LI


‘‘

verything is so unfathomable. I don’t have a fucking clue what’s going on. I don’t understand the details of any situation,” admits Mattie Vant - but to be fair, who does? “The politicians don’t even understand now. The Oxford Word Of The Year last year was ‘Post-Truth’, and that says it all. We live in a time where everyone is scared, and everyone is unsure, to the point where unfortunately we just ignore it, and we just get on with our lives. That’s the problem. It increasingly gets worse and worse and gets more confusing because we choose to put our blinkers on instead of addressing anything.” Despite everything, Mattie has hope. “That’s what ‘Dumb Blood’ is about; waking up and being a part of the conversation before it’s too late.” Seeing themselves as more philosophical than political, VANT’s debut album is a considered reaction to the world that surrounds them. Inequality, misogyny, sexism, climate change, racism, global relations, religion and the general state of the human race: the band tackle it all. More than a checklist of grievances, though, they’re outspoken but considered. Searching for answers and hoping to get more people talking, ‘Dumb Blood’ is an album with purpose. If it feels vital, that’s ‘cause it is. This isn’t sideline commentary or echochamber self-gratification, ‘Dumb Blood’ is about immediate action. It’s now or never. The call to arms is undeniable, but it never detracts from ‘Dumb Blood’’s immediate and whole-hearted entertainment. “Music is the perfect platform for what we talk about. There’s no other way I can say this without sounding cheesy,” he warns, “but music is the universal language. There’s something very tribal about music. I could go anywhere in the world and play with a drummer from Iraq, a bass player from China and a guitar player from Mexico. We could get in the same room and communicate through song, that’s why it has such a universal nature. It’s something that gets a hold of us and grabs our attention. It’s the same as a caveman dancing round a fire, banging rocks together.” That primal want to be part of something bigger lights a fire in the centre of ‘Dumb Blood’. Above everything, each song is an anthem for coming together. From the rattling cry of ‘The Answer’ to ‘Fly-By Aliens’’ promise of “You are important/you are extinct. You have a meaning/you have a purpose. This life is short, make sure it’s worth it,” VANT take

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unfathomable ideas and turn them into fantastic pop songs. “I grew up listening to records that I didn’t know were political and it gradually seeped into my consciousness. It made me the person I am today,” explains Mattie. “That’s the main hope I have for our record. There are a lot of artists out there saying great things, but stylistically, their music is terrible. It’s not good enough. Just because something has meaning, it doesn’t mean it’s good.” “We love writing music. We love making melodies that are catchy, addictive and resonate on that language of music. If you can get that part right first, then say something meaningful with it, it’ll hit people even harder.” The song always comes first, but “if you also get the meaning and it impacts your understanding in some way, then that’s amazing. It’s all we can hope for.” Offering a shifting stream of conscious and never dumbing it down, VANT’s debut is clever without arrogance. “You can’t underestimate your audience; people understand things. People got it when PJ Harvey did ‘Let England Shake’. People got it when Arctic Monkeys did ‘Whatever People Say I Am…’, and the fact it was intelligent lyricism that questioned society as a 17-yearold in Sheffield in the same way that The Clash did it with ‘London Calling’, the same way that Rage Against The Machine did it in the 90s. It resonated with people, but the one thing all of those bands have in common is the fact they write great music. The fact they talk about important issues is almost secondary. I guess that’s what I’m hoping we do, that ours is an album that is accessible for people who

“YOU CAN’T UNDERESTIMATE YOUR AUDIENCE.” don’t want to think about those sort of things but for those that do, it’s like the golden snitch.” “We’re not like anyone else that’s out at the moment,” reflects Mattie. “That wasn’t intentional; it’s just the way it is.” VANT want to stand in the spotlight, entertaining and connecting with the world on a primal level but they’re never going to pander. The songs have meaning, and they’re going to use their platform to start conversations. Don’t like it? “I don’t give a fuck.” That take it or leave it attitude is the pinnacle of a massive learning curve. “When we first started out, no one gave a fuck who we were. It’s been a circle,” he continues, ignoring geometry. “I had all that freedom not to give a fuck, because no one gave a fuck about me.” As more people became aware of the band, more people started criticising them for having an opinion. To begin with, Mattie would engage. “I’d reply because it’s all about debate. It’s fine if you don’t share my opinion, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have one.” But as time has gone on, it’s become pretty obvious what VANT are about. “We want to start a conversation. You can choose to ignore the lyrics, but I’m not going to resist having a message

or denying that ‘cause it’s fucking important. Now, I just ignore those people who complain about us having something to say. If someone says something that makes me think about my opinion or makes me realise a different narrative I’ll maybe engage, but in general, I don’t give a fuck.” Having an album to cement their voice solidifies their stance because “there’s no arguing with it,” Mattie continues. “Whenever you’ve created a piece of art, whether it’s a documentary, a painting or an album, you can’t change that opinion. It’ll always exist in the state that it does. You can interpret it in different ways, and you can take whatever meaning you want from it, but from the artist’s perspective it’s a matter of ‘this is what I fucking think so deal with it’. I guess that’s the approach you’ve got to have with everything these days, and you’ve got to be prepared for backlash because it’s inevitable. You can’t worry about those people who turn off because we have opinions. The majority of people who love our band care about the message. They care that we’re actually saying something. Hopefully, we are giving a lot of people a voice. The bigger we get, the more power we have to


represent people who don’t have someone backing them up. “I’m appreciative of every moment we’ve had so far, but we’re going to continue to do what we set out to do in the first place, which is to stir opinion and make a fuss. I like to think, especially over the last six months, that politics isn’t a dirty word with music anymore and there are a lot more artists who feel like they can speak up or write about certain things. I said a long time ago that if there was one thing that I hoped we could do, it was to open the door for more political music. Obviously, world events have been the main cause of that, but I think we’ve made it less of a taboo.” After a decade of bouncing around the industry, the community and the country, Mattie has finally found a platform for his voice. In a relatively short time - VANT’s debut single was first aired in the opening months of 2015 - the band has found a connection. Not that Mattie knows why. “I still don’t understand what’s going on. I’d rather I didn’t. It’s been this gradual, natural climb for us, which has been nice. If the band skyrockets, you’re just holding on, and it’s out of your control, but I feel like we’ve approached it in a sensible, mannered way that reflects the type of band that we are and the type of band that we wanted to be in the first place.” And the type of band VANT are is a genuine one. They soundtrack an authenticity that Mattie has craved since he was a child. “I used to act when I was younger, just stage and theatre, and having that response from a live audience, clapping and stuff, that was cool. I felt like a fraud though because I wasn’t myself, I was playing other people.” He soon realised music was a way of playing yourself that earned the same response from others. “That was the turning point. I realised if I wrote my own stuff, I could start performing it.” Mattie was told he didn’t have the musical ability to learn violin or acoustic guitar at school when he was seven. “I wanted to prove those people wrong. The only opportunity I had to play music from that point on was to play the recorder in a recorder choir. I was the only boy, and that resulted in a lot of bullying, and I packed it in.” A handful of uninspiring private Spanish guitar lessons came a few years later - “I fucking hated it” - but from the moment he finally got his hands on a guitar of his own after being inspired by The Strokes and The Vines in the early 2000s, he started writing. Visits to a few local battle of the bands later and Mattie assembled a group around him. That first band, like VANT, was also “completely real.” Formed when he was fifteen,

“THE PEOPLE IN POWER DON’T GIVE A FUCK.” they did everything but sign a record deal. “I think that was purely based on geographical location. We were a great band.” Eventually, it all fell apart when Mattie moved to Brighton and the others didn’t. Everything about that first band “felt so easy because there was no resistance. That led me to this deluded place where I thought, ‘If everything’s that easy, then whatever I do next will be easy’, but it wasn’t.” What followed was a series of projects that saw Mattie trying to conform to what he thought was popular. “I experimented with folk music and then later on electronica, dubstep and just whatever was the current trend. I realised quite quickly that it was vacuous and I wasn’t

getting any satisfaction from it.” The various bands just weren’t him. “I kept hitting brick walls because I wasn’t doing things that were honest and natural. Authenticity is the number one thing you have to have as an artist. You have to be authentic, and you have to be undeniable.” Moving to London and soaking in the atmosphere, the community and the spirit of acceptance while working in a bar, VANT started off as a solo project. “I had the realisation that it’s so important to make music from the heart and from a place that is honest. That resulted in me returning to the punk rock music I made when I was younger. It was the music that I listened to most and really cared

about. I was at a point in my life where I didn’t want to talk about self-indulgence anymore, or love, or any of those things. I was frustrated seeing what was going on in the world and I understood the struggle a lot of people have living in London. Sometimes I was working 80 hours a week, and I’d take home just enough money to pay my rent and get the bare minimum food requirements to survive. I was living in a shithole with drug addicts and arseholes, and I went through a lot of weird, weird times. That general frustration filtered into the lyrics I was writing at the time, and it made me want to express my views and philosophies and also try and raise a few key, basic human principles that were no

25


longer talked about in music. I write from a very aware but philosophical place that tries to incorporate dark humour and the awareness that we are hopeless in a lot of ways, but it’s okay to feel hopeless. Maybe if enough people feel hopeless together, we can address the reasons why we feel that way, look to change that feeling and flip it on its head. “When I started doing this, I felt the same as when I was 15. I wasn’t thinking about anything, I was just writing from a place that felt easy, and there was no struggle to it. Everything just happened easily and that momentum just built and continues too. People gravitate towards something that isn’t trying too hard or isn’t being something

that it’s not. I think everything that’s led up to this point has been trying to prove people wrong, and prove that as long as I’m myself, people will eventually listen.” Despite the success, the attention, their determination, self-belief and their opinions on the world, life and the human race, VANT don’t think they are better than you. They’re on the level. Mattie is quick to admit he doesn’t have all the answers but wants to start a conversation to get the ball rolling. ‘Dumb Blood’ is relatable and provoking without being judgmental. VANT are with you. They’re the same as you. “I’ve always tried to maintain that. I generally don’t think I’m any

different now to how I was two years ago when we signed a record deal. If anything I’ve got less and less arrogant and precious about things because when I was younger, it was a defence mechanism. Playing music and doing unusual things when I was 16 was my way of being more powerful than the kids around me whose ambitions were to go to college, university, get a normal job and die with a wife and kids. It’s not that I don’t want normality, but the older I got, the more I realised it’s not about you, it’s about everyone. “If someone I know has a problem or an issue, I’ll try and talk it through with them or offer help and do whatever I can to just be there. That philosophy resonates

in our music because I want to do whatever I can to help. I’m just a kid from an ex-coal mining town in the north east of England, and no one achieves anything from that place because of the prejudices that are put on them and the lack of opportunities that exist in that part of the world. Unfortunately, I had to move somewhere else to be given an opportunity, but I got it. I took it, and now I’m releasing an album to the world that says not only can you do anything, but you can also talk about anything to anyone, and I think that’s the most important thing; not to be afraid anymore, to say what matters to you and do what is important. I believe that we’re only here once and we can’t just be indulged in our own lives. I just want people to wake up. And the alarm bell is ‘Dumb Blood’. “This is probably the most arrogant I’m going to sound here,” warns Mattie, shuffling on the sofa, “but I genuinely think it’s a really great album. It’s got well-written songs with thought. The only reason I can justify going out on stage every night is that every single line of every single song means something. Every single line relates to a different thing, and I could sit and talk to you for about five days, taking you through the entire thing.” But, the studio is calling. “As much as it is spontaneous, it’s all thought out, and it’s all delivered with purpose. And it’s undeniable.” “‘Dumb Blood’ is a comment on a silent generation,” he adds. “It’s meant to be metaphorical and mysterious because you can take so many meanings from the phrase, but the crux of it is the idea of a sleeping giant. The idea that we have so much power and we’re always so much more intelligent than the generations that went before us. The more we talk to kids after shows and young people in general, it’s just so obvious that 99% of them feel the same way we do. They want change, and they want things to get better.”

“INFILTRATION OF THE MIND IS MORE POWERFUL THAN AN INFILTRATION OF YOUR BOWELS.” 26

If 2016 was a wake-up call for the world - “it was everything we’d been talking about for maybe three or four years condensed into the unfathomable truths of the EU referendum and Donald Trump’s election” - 2017 is time to take that power back. “People have realised we have to start talking about these issues. ‘Dumb Blood’ is kind of a summary of where we are as a species and it suggests where I feel we should go rather than where we’re headed, so it’s all hypothetical.” Mattie knows the complexity of the situation and the fact people have enough struggles in their day-to-day lives means that the big-picture topics he wants to talk about aren’t the easiest to engage in. “The reality is that a lot of those day to day struggles stem from the


bigger picture. If we can change the bigger picture, it will push us towards a much more equal society and help with the spread of wealth and opportunity. It’s really important to try and break people out of that mind frame of isolation. “At the minute I struggle to see how we’re going to survive as a species for longer than a few hundred years. I really do. Everything is escalating so quickly that it’s unsustainable, and we’re not making enough changes now to have any real impact on the future. The people in power don’t give a fuck ‘cause they know they’re going to die anyway.” It’s now or never. “That’s the problem, we only think about our lifespan and not everyone else’s. I read something the other day that said maybe it’s a good thing that humanity destroys itself,” starts Mattie wearing a bleak smile, “because then we’d leave the planet for animals and life that probably deserves it more than we do.” Despite the apocalyptic hopelessness, there’s a light to ‘Dumb Blood’. It’s snotty, tongue-incheek, sarcastic and funny. “A lot of my major influences are comedians, Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Stewart Lee; they use comedy as a tool to make people realise what’s going on while also expressing their own opinions.” As always with VANT though, it’s never one-dimensional. “If you hit people too hard with something, they’ll ignore it. It’s like the albums I listened to when I grew up, that infiltration of the mind is more powerful than an infiltration of your bowels,” he laughs, making it up as he goes along. “I don’t know,” he continues, running with it. “You can shove it up someone’s arse, or you can feed it to them nicely. It’s still going to come out the same end.” He pauses, thinking, before continuing. “I enjoy that snotty, sarcastic element and it very much plays on the idea of feeling lost and unsure of things myself. I find a lot of things difficult and unfathomable, but I think I’m worrying about the right things. I worry about a nuclear war or kids dying in the street. I think as a species, we need to think outside our own bubble. As a band, we’re trying to burst it. “I had this vague idea when I started gathering songs together and refining the lyrics that for every three songs that were hard-hitting, I wanted to have a light-hearted song to go with it and eventually that mind-frame seeped into every song rather than it being specifically this song is full of hope. Instead, it’s very old school, end of a sitcom, moral. ‘Well, everything’s gone to shit, but at least we’ve learnt a lesson.’ I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think it’s important not to only preach doom, because the reality is that there’s hope.”

“WE’RE ONLY HERE ONCE; I JUST WANT PEOPLE TO WAKE UP.” Across ‘Dumb Blood’, VANT show empathy and understanding. ‘Parking Lot’ tackles sexual assault while elsewhere the band shine lights on inequality, sexism and racism. “I’m well aware we’re a band of four white dudes, how many of those have existed before, but I don’t see any reason why I can’t express my support for people in societal positions that are difficult and that’ll I’ll never understand,” starts Mattie. “I try and be respectful of those things, I’ll never understand what it’s like to be a black lesbian in Texas but I can definitely be appreciative of how difficult that might be and say I fucking agree with your stance and your right to be who you want to be. I’m so fucking lucky to be white, and straight and a man because I’ve never had to deal with what others have. Why is that? Why don’t I get as much abuse as other people? No one deserves it.” He’s the first to admit he’ll never understand the struggles of others as fully as he likes but that doesn’t mean he’s going to avoid conversation on the matter. “I think you need everyone in support,” he reasons. “There’s no point saying ‘that’s bad’ from a distance.” If you can, “You need to take charge of the situation and have the conversations with your friends and family. It’s how you change opinions.” Not through violence or aggression but conversation, thought and realising our similarities are greater than our differences. “We exist in a time where we are more selfish now than we ever have been. People generally in western culture only think about themselves, what their life means and this whole idea of individualism when the reality is that we’re all

exactly the same.” Despite the humanity, Mattie doesn’t do this to make himself feel better. “I want to do this because I feel like it’s important and I feel like I can hopefully make a difference and spur conversation.” Shunning the idea that he’s somehow better than others because of the discussions he inspires, he knows evoking emotion matters. “We need songs that make us laugh or dance or cry or just feel something. We need songs about emotion and life in general.” As long as it’s expressive, honest and means something to the person creating it, it’s important. “At this moment in my life I can’t write about those subjects, but it doesn’t mean I won’t ever write about them.” “You’ve got to be selfish, you’ve got to make music that excites you, and that’s what we’ve tried to do with our first record. Moving forward, the second record - already written and with nine songs recorded - is so different. It’s so exciting, but that’s what keeps you going as a writer. People get bored, and they want it to sound new. Any successful artist is a chameleon. I’d rather people hated us or loved us than just didn’t say anything at all. I think that’s the problem with our generation as a whole is, we don’t express our opinions enough, whether it be music or politics or whatever. People just feel like they can’t deal with the criticism they might receive.” In amongst everything, that belief in being yourself is the one thing VANT want to inspire. “I just want people not to be afraid. We’ve been

as honest as we possibly can, as authentic as we possibly can. There’s a conscience thought to try and talk about as many things that we think are as important as possible, within the restraints of an album. Doing it with no fear and just not taking no for an answer and not watering down anything that we do. I feel like we’ve delivered something that is really important and really relevant in 2017.” Everything is so unfathomable, but making a positive impact on the world is easier than you might think. “As we get older and with life in general, we find it really hard to be ourselves. If you find something that really inspires you and you concentrate on that, naturally it’ll have a positive impact,” starts Mattie. “Regardless of how big or small it is, as long as you’re doing something that is positive, that is the most important thing. Sometimes that means a lot of sacrifices and a lot of hard times but you’ll find some beauty and some meaning from it. You’ve got to be honest with yourself, you’ve got to ask, ‘Is this what I want to do?’ otherwise your life will get more and more stressful until you’re so engrossed in your own world that the outside world doesn’t matter anymore. Just do what you fucking love no matter how hard that is to achieve, otherwise you’ll wake up in twenty years time and regret everything. You can’t live your life like that.” P VANT’s debut album ‘Dumb Blood’ is out now.

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“We’re just a fucking rock band.” LOWER THAN ATLANTIS ARE ONE OF THE UK’S MOST SUCCESSFUL ROCK BANDS, ALWAYS ON THE UP-AND-UP. THEIR SECRET? FUCKING GOING FOR IT. WORDS: ALI SHUTLER. PHOTOS: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT.

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wenty seventeen is the tenth year of Lower Than Atlantis. Not that the band are spending much time looking back. Mike Duce, Eddy Thrower, Dec Hart and Ben Sansom have just released their fifth album ‘Safe In Sound’, which takes their decade of steady progression, says “fuck it” and starts sprinting towards bigger, brighter and brasher things. “I think most importantly we’ve learnt is to enjoy it and have fun as we go along,” says Mike. “For a while, it was really stressful and horrible. It was a job when we were on a major [for 2012’s ‘Changing Tune’], and it was terrifying ‘cause it was never going to last anyway. It became not very fun, but it’s really fucking fun now, isn’t it? We just try and maintain that as well as good music. That’s it.” The secret to the band’s success is simple. ‘Safe In Sound’ sees the band flex their good-songwriting muscle. They’ve always known their way around a banger or two, but this time they’ve filled an album’s worth. Sure, once upon a time Mike Duce wrote with 5 Seconds of Summer for their ‘Heartache On The Big Screen’ - “Still talking about that are we? Fucking hell.” - but as for picking a side between pop, rock or whatever: “I don’t think about any shit like that. Not ever. We just do what we’re doing. Stuff like that never comes into play.” Instead, the band keep it simple. “We know what worked from our last album, so this time around we made a whole album of it.” All their previous records have come with

intensity, an urge to lean forward and move quickly, but ‘Safe In Sound’ plays with space. Every part glistens. “At the end of the day, there are four people in this band. Two guitar, bass, drums and vocal. We want it to mainly be about that as opposed to wowing people with production because we’re just a fucking rock band. We want the songs to sound one-way, just us without all the fancy production, and then we worry about it later as opposed to it making the song. There’s a lot of modern music where if you take away the modern production and take it back to a couple of piano chords and the vocal, it’s horse shit. We wanted that not to be the case with our album.” With bigger shows behind them, and even bigger ones already booked in, ‘Safe In Sound’ was written with those grand rooms in mind. “During the writing process we were thinking, ‘Will that drum fill translate on a massive stage, bouncing off walls or will it translate on a big festival stage, getting blown around on the wind?’” Ambitious and determined, “we’re all quite similar,” explains Mike. “I’m the type of person who’s like, I really like this, I want to do it. I will do it. I’m like that with anything in life. If someone else can do it, why can’t I? We’ve all got holes in our arses.” It’s a levelling attitude from a band about to headline Brixton after a decade of toil, but they want to inspire as much as they want to have a laugh. Now they know how to do both. “I looked at the setlist from when we played at the Roundhouse, and I was laughing to myself asking ‘Why did we play that song? That’s rubbish live.’ But that’s only a year on; now we’re really thinking about what works. Well, we’re not thinking about it. We know what works

and what doesn’t.” The songs from the first and second albums, they don’t come across well when we’re playing them,” explains Dec. “We were playing shitty clubs and pubs, that’s what those songs were written for,” adds Mike. “They don’t work in massive venues; they’re a mess and sound shit.” “We enjoy playing, and that’s where we came from.” Sure, LTA are among the few UK rock bands that are also a radio band, but they’ve been touring for ten years. “I’ve seen bands who release a few EPs on Spotify, get millions of plays and be on the radio, but then they’d have to learn how to play it live,” starts Dec. “I’ve seen bands like that live the week their album comes out; it’s Top 5 and the show’s shit.” “They’ve put no graft in either,” adds Mike. No one makes a ‘Work For It’ joke. “We know what we’re doing musically,” Dec continues. “We know who we are as people, for now, and we know what we’re doing in regards to being a functioning band and a touring band. The band is a business. It’s four people’s livelihoods. We know what we’re doing, and we’re only going to get better at doing it.” “We’re just music fans in general. We like all music, and we always have liked all music growing up. I always find it a bit weird that people do want the same thing over and over from a band, ‘cause that’s just fucking boring. They want to pigeonhole things.” “It’s like that Smashing Pumpkins thing; everyone wants them to get back together. I do, and I know Mike wants them to. I was watching this

video yesterday, and Billy [Corgan] was like, ‘I’ll do it’, but I respect him for saying he wouldn’t do it forever. Why taint something that was good? It’s like going back to our records and touring for a ten-year anniversary. Nah thanks. It was there at a time. Let it lie.” “Get over it,” shrugs Mike. “We actually bought back the rights to our first and second albums, so maybe we’ll re-release them. ‘World Record’ never came out on vinyl, and that’s something I want to do, but anyone saying we were so good then and asking for a ten-year anniversary tour, you’re just saying that to be cool mate. There were three people who came to those gigs, and you weren’t fucking one of them. When bands do that, it’s because they’ve peaked and they’ll just play the album that did well and people actually like. We’re not like that. Every album we’ve released has surpassed the last one.” “If the band ever stopped doing well, I think we’d stop doing it as opposed to changing what we do. It wouldn’t be fun,” offers Mike, before Dec adds: “No one is making you do something you don’t want to do, so don’t do it. If no one wants to come and watch it, why the fuck are you doing it?” The end isn’t in sight yet, though. “We’ve already started writing for the next album. Straight away we know what we’re doing and how it’s done. We know what we’re doing now, and it’s just a matter of staying on course and not fucking up. As they say, it’s a one way ticket to stardom.” “Nonstop, to the top,” adds Dec, with a grin. Lower Than Atlantis’s album ‘Safe In Sound’ is out now. 29


STOP

BEING A BAND.”

THE PAST FEW YEARS HAVEN’T ALL BEEN SUNSHINE AND ROSES FOR LOS CAMPESINOS!, BUT NEW ALBUM ’SICK SCENES’ SEES THEM TAKE CONTROL AND COME BACK FIGHTING. WORDS: MARTYN YOUNG.

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t’s easy to take being in a band for granted. You’re living the dream, making albums, playing shows and travelling the globe. But what happens when things get a bit sticky, and real life takes over? For long-standing indie rock heroes Los Campesinos!, the past few years saw the most frustrating period of the band’s existence, one that has only recently come to an end with the revelatory recording of their sixth album, ‘Sick Scenes’. It’s a record full of their typical exuberance but tempered by an added maturity as the band went through their darkest period and came out fighting. For singer and lyricist Gareth Campesinos!, the fact that the album exists at all is a testament to the band’s spirit forged after a period of hardship and inactivity. “By the

time this one comes out it will be over three years since ‘No Blues’,” he begins. “It was a difficult, boring time for the band. Going into ‘No Blues’ was the time where we all got proper jobs. Previously we’d all been very fortunate to be doing the band as a full-time thing. We knew that wouldn’t last forever.” Forced to take a back seat to the realities of making a living, the band came under pressure to call it quits. “People we worked with previously encouraged us to stop being a band, said it wasn’t worth doing anymore,” explains Gareth. This negative response forced them to confront some nagging issues. “We were frustrated with how ‘No Blues’ was handled. We felt it was dusted under the carpet as soon as it came out.” Coupled with their lack of touring and inability to visit America, the

band decided to take things into their own hands. “We stopped working with the label and started self-managing. That was a huge positive,” says Gareth. That was a decision that proved to be the making of ‘Sick Scenes’. “The great thing about managing ourselves at that point was that we could raise money and choose what we did with it. We were in a position where we were able to record an album, and it was very clear that was what we wanted to do.” There’s no doubt that fans are very happy to have Los Campesinos! back, fit, firing and brimming with the kind of irresistible, smart bangers that they specialise in. Los Camp! are an important band to a lot of people. In many ways, they’ve been the quintessential gateway band to a whole generation of indie fans since they emerged eleven years ago, even

if Gareth thinks people bafflingly want to hide it. “I think there are a lot of bands who are influenced by us, but I don’t think we’re at that point in our legacy when people will openly admit it,” he says. ‘Sick Scenes’ arrives at a point where the band are embracing becoming older and more mature by imbuing their music with the sense of exuberance and joy of their earliest albums. It’s a perfect mix of the spirit of the old, and the confidence of the new. “Tom, our guitarist, said for a long time that the truly honest record you make is the first one. That’s the first batch of songs you’ve written, and you make them without consideration for how people will react. We felt like that approaching ‘Sick Scenes’ because it felt for so long that we might not get to do another record that when we did come to write it, it was a celebration

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of just being in a band.” Part of the celebration was the band itching to get out there and play live. These songs are designed to be shouted out loud and clear. “It was written in mind of playing directly to people,” explains Gareth excitedly. “That’s probably why there’s that energy in the songs and the recordings that we maybe didn’t consider on the last couple of records. It has the excitement and enthusiasm of being in a band. We never lost that, but this time we were more aware of it.” The sense of ageing and adapting to growing older is an inescapable theme of the album, but it’s one that fits with a band who produce songs to hit home. They write about stuff that matters to us all. “One great thing we have with the relationship with people who like our band is that we’ve grown up with them. People who’ve been into us for the duration were in their teens or early twenties at the beginning. As we’ve grown and matured as a band so have they, and they’ve gone through the same shared life experiences. That’s forged a tight and unique bond.” For Gareth, someone who has a deserved reputation as one of this isle’s sharpest lyrical minds, the process of penning a song is not as effortless as it may seem. “I don’t like writing,” he says. “I don’t see myself as a creative or artistic person. I like football, wrestling and drinking. I feel like if I sit down to write for any reason other than I have to, I’m taking myself too seriously. It’s a constant battle I have with myself.”

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To combat that battle Gareth came up with the most brutally honest and reflective Los Campesinos! album yet. “Compared to ‘No Blues’ this album is a lot more plain-spoken and direct,” he says. “I’m 31 now and very aware of it. I’m lucky to have had the band for the past ten years but other than that I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. I’m aware of my slowly declining health in terms of not being as good a footballer as I once was, being knackered at any exercise, being dependent on mood altering drugs to keep me sane. It’s about muddling to work out where you are and who you are. The subjects have been done a thousand times over in indie rock records, but it’s where I’m at in my life right now.” Unlike most Los Campesinos! songs, the album pays reference to current affairs and is set against the backdrop of last June’s EU referendum, which took place at a time when the band were recording in Portugal. “All the shit going on surrounding that was so surreal when we were away from home,” he says, recalling that whole rotten summer. “Initially we were grateful to not be in the UK for it because we didn’t need to feel the full level of despair. Being in contact with people back home and through social media, though, it was apparent. That mood and the state of the world and the UK is the backdrop to the record.” Through the confusion and resentment at the leave vote came album highlight ‘The Fall Of Home’, perhaps the most touching and tender song the band have ever recorded. “It’s difficult because one of the things that frustrated

me the most in the fallout from the vote - apart from the obvious, as it goes without saying that Los Campesinos! are pro-remain and very disappointed about the result - was the amount of people, largely from London, pointing blame at the regions and small towns for allowing this result to happen,” says Gareth. “It’s about these people who have left their hometowns to live in London and then are really surprised when they go back to their hometowns, and they’re not the places they used to be. Everything is dilapidated and dying, and the politics is not the way they want it to be.” Away from politics, the album again features prominent references to Gareth’s great love of football. The sprinkling of football-based lyrics across the band’s songs in recent times has been a joy for lyrical magpies. As ever, though, there’s a deeper meaning. “I used to deliberately not put stuff like that in because I thought it was inappropriate. Especially on the first two records as I felt indie rock was not a place for football. That was when a had this conflict of how do I make peace with the fact I love this horrible macho sport of football full of thugs and idiots, but I’m also a very sensitive male who likes indie music. I was an arsehole for ever feeling like that.” Now, though, football plays a key part. “I’m amazed that football doesn’t crop up more in lyrics ‘cause y’know, football is war, football is love, football is every emotion that you can find. There are these great stories within football that work perfectly as metaphors for other

things. For love and depression, happiness and despair. They’re really useful tools. In songwriting, there’s a definite need and urge to say something that everybody can empathise with, the perfect line or chorus that everybody is going to connect with. If you stumble upon that then fair play, but I have much more luck doing that by zoning in on something much more specific. There’s a whole load of people who that’s going to connect with even more because you’re talking to them on a level that they’re going to understand and want to hear. It’s probably only since ‘No Blues’ that I’ve really committed to that and I really enjoy it. It’s a fun way of writing songs.” It’s nice to hear Los Campesinos! talking about having fun again. Times have been tough and misery hasn’t been too far away, but they’re still here. Relegation has been staved off, and they’re all set up for a championship push. The position the band find themselves in now is one of frenzied excitement to get back out there. They recognise that they’re never gonna be seventeen again and in the full glow of youth, but that just makes them a more interesting and rounded band. You can hear all of this in the fizzing closing track. “’Hung Empty’ encapsulates every element of Los Campesinos! There are a lot of words in it, and it says everything we want to. It’s a hopeful song. The lyric ‘Not right to call this old age, but it certainly ain’t youth’ is the lyric that sums up the record and my mindset more than anything.” P Los Campesinos!’ album ‘Sick Scenes’ is out 24th February.


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GLAMOUR, POP, AND FUN ARE HIGH UP ON TEMPLES’ AGENDA - BUT THEY ALSO WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. WORDS: ALEX THORP.

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he secret behind Temples’ tight, melodic psych pop tunes might have something to do with their frontman’s toilet habits. “The melody will generally start the song. It could come from something as ridiculous as going for a wee. You might have an idea that comes to your head, and I’ll just press record and sing it. It’s ridiculous where something can come to you,” singer and lead guitarist James Bagshaw explains. It’s the band’s knack for writing infectious and immediate songs that helped their debut record, ‘Sun Structures’, reach the Top 10 in the Official Albums Chart. It was performed live at shows across the world and brought their 60s tinged psych through the TV sets of millions; their single ‘Keep In The Dark’ even soundtracked a Strongbow advert. Now, almost three years on, the well-mannered Kettering quartet have returned with ‘Volcano’ - an album that drives the band’s sound forward, without compromising on the pop sensibilities that made its predecessor such a success. “This record certainly has a distinctive sound as much as the first record, but it doesn’t sound like the first one,” James says, before he heads down to film the video for their latest single, ‘Strange Or Be Forgotten’. “There’s always that difficult next song, and that’s apparent with being a writer anyway. Sometimes you go for a month without coming up with anything good, and you think, ‘Is this me? Can I not write music anymore?’ But that’s nothing to do with whether that’s your first or your tenth album as far as I’m concerned. “It’s about jumping on it when there is a spark and trying to build it into something that’s better than the last thing you did and hopefully with some degree of originality.” The topic of originality has been one question mark that’s followed Temples around since they emerged. Some have sneered at Bagshaw’s apparent attempt to channel Marc Bolan on stage with his glitter-flecked cheekbones, while frequent comparisons with their Australian

counterparts Tame Impala seem to linger. James is undeterred.

of it, but it also feels like an interesting little journey as well.

“It makes no difference,” he says defiantly. “People will say that because there are similarities with maybe the choice of effects, but I’d much rather be compared to that than, you know - I don’t want to slag anyone off - but someone who is not very good.”

“You just work on a song until it grabs you and has an atmosphere around it. The moment it hits is when you see all the music is coming together as one.”

He adds: “I don’t really listen to any music when I’m writing. It’s kind of like fasting. I find that quite purifying as far as coming up with stuff because you’re inadvertently not ripping stuff off then. It’s so easy to do. “If you listen to anything, whether you like it or not, you can be influenced by it. I like to go through the struggle of not hearing any music, and I find it quite liberating when something comes of it. “If I’m at home and I put on [David Bowie album] ‘Hunky Dory’, and I’m feeling really inspired after it then I’m sure I’ll start sitting at a piano. It’s not

Back in December last year, Temples were asked to join the likes of The Farm, Paul Weller and Robert Wyatt at a concert in support of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The self-confessed “working-class lads” from Northamptonshire were only too keen to perform at the Brighton gig - the first of a series People Powered concerts. Just don’t expect them to go all Billy Bragg anytime soon. “We don’t write about politics or our political stance, but anyone who says they’re not interested in politics is a bit of a liar because it affects everybody. We are a working class lads from a working class town so people could probably guess which way we sway,” James says.

of the same unit, so there are compromises of course along the way, but there’s something that happens when we all get together and work on a song. The conception of a song will be an individual thing, and then we’ll start bouncing ideas off each other.” He adds: “Melodies just come out of the air really and then a song comes out of that and sometimes it doesn’t. There are melodies that may get used at another point because we just couldn’t find the right bed for that melody to sit on.” That system seems to have done the trick so far, and now the band are eager to tour the new material. A sizeable list of dates has already been announced, with gigs planned across the US, Europe and the UK over the next few months. “We want to play new stuff now, and that’s what it’s all about,” James says. “We have been playing ‘Strange Or Be Forgotten’ live, and it gets to a bit, and

“Anyone who says they’re not interested in politics is a bit of a liar.” like I have ear plugs in, it’s more I don’t listen to music through my own choice.” James’ decision to ‘fast’ from music has produced some impressive results. The songs sound more expansive and grandiose when compared to the tracks on ‘Sun Structures’, not least ‘Oh The Saviour’ - a sprawling, hook-laden track that’s doused in synth. It’s also the frontman’s favourite on ‘Volcano’. “One that feels like a real movement from anything that we’ve done before is ‘Oh The Saviour’ because, without getting too geeky, it modulates throughout as far as chords go,” he explains. “It’s something that happened by accident, and it’s the first time I’ve really written something like that. It changes key with every verse without anyone really knowing that it’s happening. Lyrically, I am really proud

“We don’t go on marches or anything, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care as much as the people who do. Music can be married with politics quite easily, but we are interested in the effects of it and how it affects others more than how it directly affects us. Which you’ll probably read into that that we’re not Tories.” James and bassist Tom Walmsley launched the band in its initial guise as a recording project in 2012. After uploading four tracks to YouTube they managed to prick the ears of independent label, Heavenly Recordings, and drummer Sam Toms and keyboard player Adam Smith jumped on board. The fourpiece have since developed a formidable system that manages to bring out the best in each musician. “That’s how our democracy works,” James says. “It is a filter, but we are all pretty much part

you’re like, ‘What am I doing here?’ It’s about getting that song into your blood stream, so you’re not playing a rendition of it, you’re playing a new version every night.” With a solid addition of songs and a rediscovered appetite for the stage, only one question remains: Will James bring the glitter along with him on the tour bus? “My tears are made from glitter, so it’s quite hard to fake it,” he jokes. “For some reason, I like sparkly things; I’m like a magpie when I go in a shop. It doesn’t matter whether it’s for a girl or whatever I am always drawn to it. I actually have a drawer with stuff related to glitter, just not Gary Glitter. There might be a reappearance. I need some new colours.” P Temples’ album ‘Volcano’ is out 3rd March.

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REVIEWS

Circa Waves Different Creatures

eeeee

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ith ‘Young Chasers’, Circa Waves introduced themselves into the world with a winking eye and a sun-dazzled glow that captured the summer in a bottle and passed it round for all to savour. Unafraid of what they would get compared to or how close to the line people would think they were playing it, ‘Young Chasers’ was a free record in every sense, and the perfect summer soundtrack. Yet the summer cedes into winter, the light into the dark and from ‘Young Chasers’ comes ‘Different Creatures’ - a bold and meaty record of garagerock spinners that unravels the sunshine to show Circa Waves’

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teeth, and boy are they hungry. Sizzling from the get-go, ‘Different Creatures’ is a record that shows the full spectrum of who Circa Waves are - rippling with a Queens Of The Stone Age intensity on the scorching ‘Goodbye’ and lead single ‘Wake Up’ yet flourishing with a distinct blossom when dipping into The Verve’s territory with the pulling strings and burning swell of ‘Out On My Own’. More than anything, the album is an invitation and plateau of the bows and arrows Circa Waves may have hidden from view when knocking on the door back in 2015, a new found confidence that means when they do let rip with indie gazes - like they do on ‘Crying Shame’ and ‘Without You’ - it comes with a bigger punch than ever

before, with a reinforced standing of a band in their prime. Through diversions into throbbing bassstreams (‘A Night On The Broken Tiles’), slick modern Strokesswoons (‘Different Creatures’) and stripped raw odes (‘Love’s Run Out’) - it’s a record that shows the plumage of a creature many underestimated. ‘Different Creatures’ is a record that’s bold in its vision, free in its adventure and ambitious in its destination. It comes from a space of not giving a shit, of wanting to be bigger and instead of creating a sound to fit the stages they’re playing - flips the story to create the band that’ll make their own. Because of it, ‘Different Creatures’ is packed with landmark moments for an important year. Jamie Muir

PACKED WITH LANDMARK MOMENTS FOR AN IMPORTANT YEAR.


LOS CAMPESINOS! HAVE FINALLY EMBRACED WHO THEY ARE.

Rag ‘n’ Bone Man

REVIEWS

Human

Columbia Records/ Best Laid Plans

eee It’s been a long time coming for Rag‘n’Bone Man. After years of grafting, the stars have aligned with ‘Human’ on the cusp of record collections around the country. That sort of pressure can be a dealbreaker, but for Rag‘n’Bone Man it may just have given him the purpose to create an album that’ll take him into a legion of pop stars, as he mixes R&B, soul, hip-hop, jazz and blues into a potent cocktail of hookpacked success. Jamie Muir

Temples Volcano

Heavenly Recordings

eeee From the opening drums on ‘Certainty’ to the dying guitar strains on ‘Strange Or Be Forgotten’, ‘Volcano’ is simply a delight to listen to. Once you get past the lengthy intro on ‘All Join In’, it turns into a ridiculously catchy melody with James Bagshaw’s 60s-infused vocals drifting across - a formula they repeat to great success. ‘Volcano’ is full of expertly crafted pop while retaining Temples’ trademark psychedelic sound; a leap into the future from a band firmly rooted in the past. Josh Williams

Los Campesinos! Sick Scenes

Wichita Recordings

eeeee There’s no denying that Los Campesinos! have played the long game. Prioritising a hard-working DIY ethos over making a quick buck, the music they’ve produced over the past few years has always been held together by one thing – a raw, open honesty in Gareth’s lyrics that incite wry smiles as readily as tears. ‘Sick Scenes’ pushes Los Camp!’s most distinctive qualities to the fore – hitting the perfect sweet spot of musical perkiness but lyrical despair. Speedy guitars and self-loathing battle each other to the finish line via an obstacle course of gang vocals, football analogies and Cure-worthy atmospherics, used to tell some close-to-home tales about love, depression and the ‘is this really it?’ anxiety that plagues so many millennials. So much of the bands’ career has centred around Gareth’s attempts to find love in a hopeless place, and it’s quite the sensation

‘HEARTWORMS’ ISN’T AFRAID TO GET WEIRD. to experience his place in this record, seemingly having found it but not altogether better for it – ‘‘I’m glad to be in love, but I’m lonely/and I feel like I’m the only one’ (‘Hung Empty’). This sense of no-frills honesty really glows on the record’s slower tracks - it’s no coincidence that the intro to ‘A Slow Slow Death’ sounds remarkably similar to that of past single ‘Hello Sadness’, beautifully describing the ‘elephant shoes’ that make it so difficult for depression sufferers to go about their lives. ‘The Fall Of Home’ is something even those lucky enough to avoid mental illness can relate to, watching a hometown go to shit as both memories and youth fade. When depression statistics are higher than ever, and it’s all too easy to compare somebody’s else’s Instagram feed to our trash folder, ‘Sick Scenes’ feels like an important record. If acknowledgement really is half the battle, this is an album where Los Campesinos! have finally embraced who they are. Jenessa Williams

The Shins

Heartworms Aural Apothecary/ Columbia Records

e e e ee You might think that five years is a long time to go without a new studio album – and it is, really, for a lot of bands. But for James Mercer and The Shins, it’s practically normal. ‘Heartworms’ is the band’s fifth studio album, coming out five years after the excellent ‘Port of Morrow’ – which itself came five years after ‘Wincing The Night Away’. It’s been 13 years since we were told to listen to this one song because it’ll change our life, Natalie Portman swears. So, time continues its relentless march, and what do we have to show for it? An album that sees frontman James Mercer continue as the sole songwriter behind The Shins, and picking up production duties again for the first time since 2001’s debut, ‘Oh, Inverted World’. And for all that – it’s a pretty good record, too. While ‘Port of Morrow’ was loosely influenced by newfound fatherhood,

this time Mercer’s daughters inspire opener ‘Name For You’. With such loveliness at its core, ‘Heartworms’ lives up to its name. It features the kind of lyrics that burrow into your vital organs: “You kissed me once when we were drunk / And now I’m nervous when we meet / I’ve got nothing under my feet,” sings Mercer on the relentlessly bouncy standout track ‘Cherry Hearts’. ‘Heartworms’ also isn’t afraid to get weird, either. Playing with more electronic noises in between the more easily recognisable Shins tracks (‘Dead Alive’, ‘Heartworms’, the soaring ‘So Now What’) results in the likes of the throbbing ‘Painting A Hall’ and the squashed synths of the catchy ‘Half A Million’, while the swooping sounds of airplanes introduce ‘Fantasy Island’. The overall result is an album that, yes, sounds like a Shins album, although occasionally it can feel a little disjointed (‘Mildenhall’ is a bit of a plodding and sleepy three and a bit minutes halfway through the album). But its heart is certainly in the right place – and with any luck, it’ll worm its way into yours too. Coral Williamson 37


REVIEWS

AN EYE OPENING GLIMPSE AT THE GLORIOUS PEAKS THAT CAN COME FROM DESPAIR. Amber Run

For A Moment, I Was Lost Easy Life

eeee

Hi there,

It takes a lot to bounce back when times get dark. For Amber Run, the time around the release of debut album ‘5AM’ was one packed with self-doubt, personal setbacks and a professional crossroads that many bands simply wouldn’t come back from. With the aptly titled ‘For A Moment, I Was Lost’ the band don’t just come back, but pour that darkness into a new chapter. A dense and panoramic record, there’s a new found sense that Amber Run aren’t fucking around. Take ‘No Answers’, a gripping and unravelling epic that takes murmuring synths and twists them into an out of control twister that snarls and menaces with a

Amber Run

THE SHORTEST MEMBER OF AMBER RUN (GUITARIST WILL) PONDERS THEIR NEW RELEASE.

Your new album ‘For A Moment, I Was Lost’ is out soon - did you go through a period of feeling a bit lost? Are you okay? The title is in reference to the last couple of years, where we’ve all gone through various stages of anxiety and depression - the album is sort of a story around that. We’re all fine now though - actually, we’re better than ever.  What have you been up to since your debut, other than new album making? Well, aside from music, Henry’s finishing off his degree, Tom’s working in a motorbike shop, Joe’s moved to Brighton, and I bought myself a dog. But regarding band activities... mostly new album making! We haven’t played a show since December 2015, so we’re all pretty desperate to get back to it. We’ve been pretty fucking bored.  Do you feel more prepared for the release of this one, what with it being your second and all? Yes definitely. The build up and release of ‘5AM’ was painful at times - to be honest nobody really knew what they were doing first time round. We’ve been planning this album for a long time with a very specific concept in mind. We came so close to calling it a day last year, the fact that we are about to release a second album into the world is a blessing, and we’re all pretty excited about it.  You’ve said this album’s ‘a timely response to more recent experiences’ - what does it cover? We just went through a very stressful period towards the end of 2015. We were under a lot of pressure to write a song that the people around us felt was going to be ‘a hit’ - it’s a classic story. Ultimately, it just ended up sounding shit, and we all felt really demoralised by the whole experience. We generated so much negativity just by being around each other which had terrible repercussions on all our mental states. That’s basically where the album comes from.  What’s your favourite track on the album? We all probably have different ones. There’s a song called ‘Island’ that we wrote days before going into the studio that we’re proud of. I also personally love ‘White Lie’ because, musically, it’s something we’ve never really tried before. P 38

Tall Ships

IDLES

FatCat Records

Balley Records

Impressions

eeee The best bands don’t fit snugly into any one perceived ‘genre’, and Brighton-based Tall Ships certainly can’t be accused of making music that’s easy to slap a label on. Their latest LP, ‘Impressions’, sees the four-piece blend aspects of emo, indie, prog, pop, math-rock and more, resulting in a collection of serene, sombre, genre-defying tracks. Already loved by the UK indie scene, to any new passengers boarding the Tall Ships vessel off the back of this album we simply say this: we’re sure you’re going to enjoy the ride. Jake Richardson

Summer Moon

With You Tonight DTF Records

eee ee Supergroups aren’t always the ones wearing the capes. Summer Moon - made up of The Strokes’ Nikolai Fraiture, Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction, Camila Gra of Uh Huh Her and The Airborne Toxic Event’s Noah Harmon - may not wear their underwear over their trousers, but that doesn’t mean their output isn’t worth an overenthusiastic tag or two. ‘Class A’ races, ‘Cleopatra’ stalks and ‘Into The Sun’ grooves. A combination that more than live up to the sum of their parts. Christopher Jones

Brutalism

eeee

potent urgency. Straddling that line between vulnerability and intense frustration, it reaches boiling point with the cutting slides of ‘Island’, the drastic shadows of ‘Perfect’ and the simmering love-lorn rage of ‘Darkbloom’. For every explosive moment, however, is one of crippling fragility - one that can’t be ignored with the stripped back ‘Haze’ spine-chilling in its delivery while ‘Wastelands’ takes stadium-sized choruses and heralds them with an unrelenting honesty that sounds like a cleansing moment of reality in a sea of bleakness. ‘For A Moment, I Was Lost’ is the sound of a band hitting their heads on rock-bottom and attempting to work out the realities of the world around them while bouncing back up. What it shows for Amber Run, is that it may have taken their darkest moments to distinguish the band they were meant to be, and for that, it’s an eye-opening glimpse at the glorious peaks that can come from despair. Jamie Muir

Dutch Uncles

Big Balloon Memphis Industries

IDLES are a band whose debut has been impending for some time now, and it’s arrived like an epic we didn’t even know we needed. ‘Brutalism’ is politically charged, an emotional complex of unsettling truths delivered with a sharp charisma and cathartic vulnerability. It isn’t just unadulterated spitting venom, it’s importantly poetic, delivered in possessed, hoarse yells from frontman Joe Talbot. ‘Brutalism’ is a consequential record; it’s harrowing, but in the darkest truths, offers humour, sensibility and scrutiny of life. Jasleen Dhindsa

eeee

Dams of the West

The Orwells

Youngish American Columbia

e e ee e With what seems to be a shrinking space to get a record out before the next, highly anticipated Vampire Weekend record, you’d be forgiven for filing Chris Tomson’s debut solo effort as Dams of the West under the ‘side project’ banner. That would be wrong, though. While never trying to sound too influenced by the day job musically, there’s a confidence running through that makes ‘Youngish American’ a fine record in its own right. Christopher Jones

The best thing about Dutch Uncles’ signature brand of weird pop is that, actually, when you think about it, it doesn’t seem all that weird at all. While on ‘Big Balloon’ they may often head into an entirely different area code to their peers, their delivery is so confident it feels like a natural step. So while ‘Hiccup’ might be a jumpy, scatter-gun of ideas, it’s also so much damn fun that it goes down as smooth as full fat milk. Yet another example of how Dutch Uncles make the edges of pop cut all that much sharper. Stephen Ackroyd

Terrible Human Beings Atlantic Records

eee Those five scamps who drank and dived their way into our consciousness in 2014 with second album ‘Disgraceland’ are back. The Orwells’ blend of blues and punk doesn’t exactly reach new heights on ‘Terrible Human Beings’, there’s still a bit of spit and bile, but it’s a solid effort with the band beginning to explore new territories, such as extended jam outros and reprise tracks; the maturation is happening, but the next effort from the Chicago five-piece will need to continue to show growth. Steven Loftin


Meat Wave The Incessant

Big Scary Monsters

eee This Chicago punk trio impressed with 2015’s ‘Delusion Moon’, vocalist Chris Sutter displaying a keen ear for melody among all the hardcore buzz and clatter. And, while third album ‘The Incessant’ is certainly relentless enough to earn its title, the songs lose little ground to all the nervy, amped-up savagery. The album was written after the end of a relationship the 24-year-old Sutter had been in for half his life; it’s an abrasive 37 minutes which could be as cathartic for the listener as it evidently was for him. Rob Mesure

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah The Tourist

Undertow Music

e eee Lightly sparkling with synths, breezy acoustics and high harmonies, ‘The Pilot’ is an opener heavy on atmosphere, but drifting nowhere, with ‘A Chance to Cure’ similarly aimless. It’s only on the tense, driving third, ‘Down (is Where I Want To Be)’, that the parts first seem to cohere. But it’s a momentum ‘The Tourist’ struggles to keep up, never seeming to know quite what it wants to be, all too often content to meander, humming its own tune. ‘The Tourist’ is not without its charms, but you’re unlikely to stay for long. Rob Mesure

Laura Marling Semper Femina More Alarming Records

e e ee e Womanhood is a topic that Laura Marling embraces; her sixth album takes its title from an excerpt from Virgil‘s poem Aeneid - “varium et mutabile semper femina” - meaning “woman is always a fickle and changeable thing.” She reclaimed this phrase and took ‘Semper Femina’ (‘Always a Woman’) for her art, even getting the phrase inked on her thigh. She sings in narratives throughout, but there is always a longing to discover something. Atop the palmmuted notes of ‘Always This Way’, she ponders: “I’d like to know if she had to go / or if she made a point to.” More questions are asked on the melodically finger-picked ‘Wild Once’, about a time forgotten, where “You will sit down to explain it / And you’re constantly asking ‘Why?’” ‘Nouel’, meanwhile, is a bard-like adoration to the divine titular character, taking Virgil’s line in its final verse: “I do well to serve Nouel / My only guiding star / Fickle and changeable / Semper femina.”

Dirty Projectors

REVIEWS

Dirty Projectors Domino

eeee Love is fucking hard. Dave Longstreth, Dirty Projectors’ founding and sole member, understands this better than most. “I don’t know why you abandoned me / You were my soul and my partner,” he laments in the record’s opening seconds. The joyous original soundtrack for La La Land, this is not. A nasty break-up with former partner and fellow Projector, Amber Coffman, has been rumoured (but unconfirmed) ever since ‘Keep Your Name’, a nuclear bomb of a break-up song, dropped in September 2016. What follows is an album, Dirty Projectors’ eighth, of invention, reflection, gorgeous instrumentation and surprises. The psychiatrist Irvin D Yalom once advised that one must “give up all hope of a better past” to enjoy a better present and future. By the end of ‘Dirty Projectors’, it seems that Dave Longstreth has taken this advice onboard. His tone has shifted. Gone are the scathing putdowns. In their place, forgiveness. Reconciliation. A look to the future. Lucas Fothergill

MARLING IS ARTFUL IN REMAINING CLOAKED. It could be Marling personifying women and womanhood; her comments on the creative process of the album hint at this: “It’s me looking specifically at women and feeling great empathy towards them and by proxy towards myself.” For all the candid moments on ‘Semper Femina’, the mystery that shrouds it feels like the coy singer-songwriter still doesn’t want to reveal quite everything. In every track there is a vulnerability, but Marling is artful in remaining cloaked. Connor McDonnell

Tat’s the business

39


REVIEWS

Mallory Knox

Muna

RCA

eeeee

Wired

eeee If there’s one thing you can’t accuse Mallory Knox of, it’s aiming low. As their peers make a break for that next level, they’re determined to not only avoid being left behind, but to burst through to the front of the pack. While the signature traits of post-millennial Brit rock stand strong and proud, ‘Wired’ picks and chooses shiny treasures from elsewhere too. ‘Better Off Without You’ has half-inched a chorus straight out of the sing-it-back anthems of mid-00s indie, while ‘Lucky Me’ almost certainly owns a pair of too tight leather trousers. Against all odds, they look good, too. Mallory Knox have discovered how to lead. Christopher Jones

Hey,

Mikey from

Mallory Knox.

Recommend us some stuff. Last good record you heard: ‘At Swim’ by Lisa Hannigan. It’s quite gloomy and moody so it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m a sucker for a beautiful voice, and hers is no exception. Favourite ever book: I read a series of books by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell called ‘The Edge Chronicles’ when I was younger until the books fell apart. I loved this crazy world they’d created and how brutal and horrific the writing could be at times. The illustration was amazing, too. TV show you couldn’t live without: Shows always come and go it seems nowadays, but I always get a pang of excitement whenever I hear a new series of Black Mirror is on its way out. The social commentary intertwined into these sometimes terrifying exaggerations of our own lives is moving art to me. Best purchase of this year: So very boring, but I finally got a decent phone case for my Samsung. No heartstopping near-drop scenarios for me anymore. Anything else you’d recommend? For the gamers/dinosaur enthusiasts/ explorers out there - check out Ark:Survival evolved. It’s just moved over from PC to PS4 and XB1, and it’s got my friends and I hooked already. You basically attempt to survive and develop your character in this incredible island setting while at the same time do your best to avoid being eaten by T-Rex and his pointy-toothed friends; it’s awesome. It’s the game I prayed to Satan for when I was a kid; he brought it out 15 years later than I’d planned but it’s still sick. P 40

VANT

Dumb Blood Parlophone

eeee Something you’ll already know about VANT: Mattie likes to run his mouth. Not as a gobby oik, you understand. The man just has things to say. Important things. What, when the band first burst onto the scene, may have looked like earnest artist ‘politics’ has quickly become scarily pertinent musing. In a post-Brexit, post-Trump world, VANT are merely reading the leaves. But that’s not the thing you should be taking as note. While so many artists who consider more weighty topics find themselves dragged down into boorish drone and preachy turn-offs, VANT marry their fire with solid gold bangers. They’re a voice that doesn’t just want to speak, but needs to connect to an audience young enough to still make a difference.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

Flying Microtonal Banana Heavenly Recordings

eeee With nearly as many heads as syllables, Melbourne’s King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are not ones to do things by halves: the seven-piece plan to release five studio albums in 2017. The first of these arrives tagged ‘Explorations into microtonal tuning’, and was conceived around custom-made instruments which double the twelve tones available in Western music. If this sounds like the kind of proggy nonsense you should run a mile from, you’d be missing a treat. King Gizzard are off to a ‘flying’ start. Rob Mesure

About U RCA Sometimes an album comes around that captures the scent and emotions of an age, and distils it into a banger-filled voyage of extraordinary moments. For MUNA, ‘About U’ is a debut that does more than that, a self-produced and personal collection of those universal moments where love, fear and hope meet - all glistened with some of the most infectious and expertly crafted pop. It’s an album that not only defines 2017, but takes those insular feelings of doubt and transforms them into a scrapbook of love lost, heartache and defiance that’ll leave everyone who listens in a better place. It’s that good. An important record for important times that will sound just as extraordinary on each and every listen. Jamie Muir

A fan base who haven’t given up and accepted the status quo, but are willing to challenge authority at every turn. The fact that ‘Dumb Blood’ is willing to live up to its name, then, only works in its favour. A forward thrust more about primary instinct than the small print, it’s brash and bold enough to blast through the noise with its own din. Though the topics underneath may matter, they’re delivered with a sense of fun, or at the very least a refusal to be run down by the world. From ‘The Answer’ and its colourful lyrical flourish [Yeah, you know the one - Ed], through to the rage against the 9-5 of ‘Do You Know Me’, some of VANT’s debut album may have been ‘around’ for ‘a while’ now, but collected together it becomes a statement. A flag planted in the ground. It’s not just about what you say - it’s about how you say it. VANT’s message is impossible to resist. Stephen Ackroyd

Pissed Jeans

Formation

Sub Pop

Warner Bros

Why Love Now

eeee ‘Why Love Now’ starts with a curdling scream. It’s an appropriately harrowing start to Pissed Jeans’ latest album - one that throws at its listener pictures of the discomforts of modern life, from office small talk, the failures of masculinity and fetish webcams. Let it be known: this isn’t an album that asks you to enjoy it. It twists your words and spits them back out at you. It asks you to step back and take a look at it from a distance before deciding the nature of the beast. This is an album that asks you to go beyond it surface level and examine the contrived shittiness of the world outside your headphones. Poppy Waring

Look At The Powerful People

eeeee The bells and whistles of insatiable groove after insatiable groove live throughout ‘Look At The Powerful People’, bursting at the seams on single ‘Pleasure’ and opener ‘Drugs’, led by the soulful depths of Will Ritson’s vocal refrains. Formation live within the chilling backdrop of late night London life and the dance floors of modern Britannia. The sultry pulsations of ‘. ..Powerful People’ have a depth of anti-establishment power far from the jumpy nights of youthful abandon that sugar-coat it. It’s an incredibly rich body of work, that when sliced open reveals layer after layer of diverse musical tastes. You wanted a hit? Well here’s ten of them. Jamie Muir


THE

SAFE

NEW

ALBUM

IN

SOUND

INCLUDING ‘WORK ‘DUMB’ AND ‘HAD

OUT

NOW

FOR IT’ ENOUGH’


ANY OTHER Q U E ST I O N S WITH...

THIS MONTH, DIET CIG RUN THE GAUNTLET OF OUR RANDOM, STUPID QUERIES.

Noah: The Used! I listened to their first record every day at least 100 times a day.

HELLO. HOW ARE YOU? Alex: Hi! I’m feeling great! Snuggled up next to my roommate’s pup while writing this. Noah: Feeling good! Just released the new single ‘Tummy Ache’. It’s been an exciting couple of days! Can’t wait until the record is out!

WHAT’S THE BEST SONG YOU’VE WRITTEN OR PLAYED ON? Alex: ‘Link In Bio’. I don’t know if it’s the best, but we wrote it in the studio, and I’m so proud of it!!

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO TODAY? Alex: Nothing super wild and exciting, but Noah and I are about to leave for Harry Potter Trivia at a local bar!!! WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN? Noah: The opportunity to get to travel is a really exciting part. Always learning something new and meeting new people. Also, to play music all the time! That’s honestly my favourite part. WHAT DID YOU LAST DREAM ABOUT? Alex: OMG this is so crazy, but I had a dream I worked in a diner and Eminem came in and held us up at gunpoint and demanding grilled cheese sandwiches, and after we had fed him, he set a grease fire in the kitchen and left! WHAT’S THE SCARIEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE? Alex: One time I crowd surfed off a 15ft high monitor stack, and it was like a trust fall into a giant blob of drunk dancing people… somehow they caught me. HAVE YOU EVER WON ANYTHING? Alex: I win like every raffle I enter (hope this doesn’t jinx it!). Seriously please let me in on your raffles. I will win.  WHAT IS THE WORST JOB YOU’VE EVER HAD? Noah: Stood in Times Square and tried to sell tickets to a comedy show. Very soul-sucking. WHO WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MUSICIAN OR BAND WHEN YOU WERE 14?

42

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PIZZA TOPPING? Noah: I like to keep it simple with straight cheese. Sometimes I’ll throw some pineapple on it for special occasions. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU BROKE? Alex: On New Year’s Eve I broke the zipper to an amazing skirt I was trying on in a store to wear that night. I bought it because I felt bad and ended up sewing it onto my body. WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEMBER OF ONE DIRECTION? Alex: Does Zayn count???  WHAT’S THE BEST MUSIC FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD? Alex: Wrecking Ball was the most fun I’ve ever had at a festival, LONG LIVE MASQUERADE! WHAT WAS THE FIRST RECORD YOU BOUGHT? Noah: Linkin Park - ‘Hybrid Theory’. WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE NEW BAND? Alex: I LOVE Martha, like a lot a lot. WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION? Noah: It was my Honda Element, but we couldn’t tour in it anymore. Gave it to my brother, still get a little sentimental when he lets me

drive it.

going to be the first female player on the Boston Red Sox…

WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT? Alex: Selling out our first three London shows ever last year! It felt so amazing and validating.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN? Alex: I love to cook and read about cooking and pretend I know stuff about fine dining.

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP? Alex: I had this plan that I was

HOW PUNK ARE YOU OUT OF TEN? Alex: A New York 6, but an LA 9. Noah: 7?


Don’t look dumb. OUT NOW. THE F RE E ROC K MAGAZ I NE.

DISRUPT THE NOISE. Never miss an issue. U PSETMAGAZ I NE.C OM AVA ILAB LE NATIO NW ID E F RO M REC O RD STO RES , VE N U ES , BA RS A N D M O RE . S UBSCRIB O NL I Nat E ATreaddork.com/buy U PSETM AGA Z I N E .C O M Subscribe to DorkEnow - or else.


THE DEBUT ALBUM : AVAILABLE 17 FEBRUARY

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------VINYL LP - CD - LIMITED DELUXE CD - DOWNLOAD - STREAM INCLUDES PARKING LOT, FLY-BY ALIEN, KARMA SEEKER, PEACE & LOVE AND DO YOU KNOW ME?

DUMB BLOOD UK TOUR

------------------------------------------

FRI 24 – NOTTINGHAM – RESCUE ROOMS, SAT 25 – LEEDS – THE WARDROBE, SUN 26 – DUBLIN – ACADEMY 2, MON 27 – BELFAST – OH YEAH

MARCH

www.wearevant.com

WED 1 – MANCHESTER – GORILLA, THU 2 – SHEFFIELD – PLUG, FRI 3 – BIRMINGHAM – 02 INSTITUTE 2, SAT 4 – SWANSEA – SIN CITY, SUN 5 – OXFORD – O2 ACADEMY 2, TUE 7 – PORTSMOUTH – WEDGEWOOD ROOMS, WED 8 – BRISTOL – THEKLA, THU 9 – LONDON – ELECTRIC BALLROOM

j

Dork, March 2017  

Featuring VANT, Los Campesinos!, Formation, Lower Than Atlantis, Temples, MUNA, Superfood and loads more.

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