The Spark The new album. Out now. On tour November 2017 w/ special guests
16 Liverpool. 17 Cardiff. 18 Nottingham. 19 Newcastle. 21 Manchester. 22 Brighton. 24 Birmingham. 25 London.
W W W .E N T E R S H I K A R I.C O M
CONTENTS ‘N’ STUFF
EDITOR’S LETTER HIYA! “I GUESS I’M PRETTY GOOFY” P28 JULIEN BAKER
IS THIS THE ALBUM OF THE YEAR? P44 ST. VINCENT’S ‘MASSEDUCTION’, REVIEWED
“THEY’RE ALL FIRE, THESE TUNES” P28 WOLF ALICE
SO, WOLF ALICE THEN. Where do you start with Wolf Alice? If, when we started thinking up the magazine that would become Dork, there was one band poster we had stuck in pride of place on our metaphorical wall, it would have been this lot. See, Dear Reader, we reckon Wolf Alice are a bit special, and there’s good reason for that. Like their label mates The 1975, they represent something different to most of their peers. With a sort of untouchable magic, more than anyone else they feel to be leading the charge of brilliant, new (and newish) British bands. It doesn’t do any harm to point out their new album ‘Visions of a Life’ is nothing short of extraordinary, either. We’re absolutely delighted to give them their first Dork cover. You can bet it won’t be their last. At least, not if we have anything to do with it. STEPHEN ACKROYD Editor / @stephenackroyd
HE’S BECK FOR GOOD
P12 THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO... BECK
“I’M USUALLY IN A FANTASY WORLD” P22 SKOTT
“I WANTED IT TO BE A STEP UP” P42 BULLY
“I THOUGHT ‘HOPE’ WAS GOING TO END MY CAREER”
“I DON’T THINK I STOPPED SHAKING”
“IT’S IMPORTANT TO TALK” P4 NOTHING BUT THIEVES
“SO WHAT IF WE’RE A POP BAND?” P36 MUNA
P4 UPDATE P17 BANGERS P18 CALENDAR P19 NEWS FEED P20 CONNECTION P22 HYPE P44 REVIEWS P52 ACTIVITY CENTRE P54 ANY OTHER QUESTIONS
Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden Associate Editor Ali Shutler Contributing Editors Jamie Muir, Martyn Young Events Liam James Ward Contributors Alex Thorp, Chris Taylor, Ciaran Steward, Dan Harrison, Daniel Jeakins, Erin Bashford, Liam Konemann, Jake Hawkes, Jake Richardson, Jenessa Williams, Jessica Goodman, Josh Williams, Lily Beckett, Rob Mair, Samantha Daly Photographers Alyssa Gafkjen, Chiara Ceccaioni, Corinne Cumming, Jason MacDonald, Nolan Knight, Phil Smithies, Poppy Marriott, Richard Johnson, Rob Loud, Roy Rossovich, Sarah Louise Bennett Illustrators Rhi Lee P U B L I S H E D F RO M
W E LCO M E TOT H E B U N K E R.CO M
P O B OX 390, H A S T I N G S, T N34 9J P
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. DOWN WITH BORING
UPDATE IF IT’S NOT IN HERE, IT’S NOT HAPPENING. OR WE FORGOT ABOUT IT. ONE OR THE OTHER.
E L O H W M #IA BO U T O U T A LL A ES TO FI N D V IE TH T O TH IN G BU O LE . ES W IT H N T, # IA M W H TH E SC EN H PR O JE C LT EA H G O BE H IN D L TA H N EW M EN IO TT. W O RK W IT PP Y M A RR PH O TO S: PO R. O YL TA M W O RD S: SA
TH EI R
he NHS and youth charity YMCA have joined forces for a new mental health campaign. #IAmWhole was launched in 2016 by Rizzle Kicks’ Jordan Stephens as a direct response to the mental health difficulties being experienced by young people throughout the UK. The efforts will focus on the effects of harmful language and negative stereotypes on mental health - and this year Nothing But Thieves are joining Jordan to front the campaign, recording a special version of their single (and album title-track) ‘Broken Machine’. Hey Conor, first off - congrats on your new album doing so well in the charts. Were you expecting it to get such a high ranking? Cheers! Not at all. We were all chasing the third or fourth position in the charts. Really shocked to find out it came in at second place. Just weird to have a Number 2 album. What did you do to celebrate? We had a party at Dom’s house and also went out with the label. Just ruined ourselves in celebration goodness. Are you pleased with how the album’s going so far? It must be nice to finally have it out. Very pleased. I think it’s going down extremely well. Personally, I think it’s ten times better than the first; I’m confident with it. Feels great to have it out, we’ve been sitting on it for about eight months after recording, so it’s been so hard. Not very good at keeping secrets. So how did you get involved in World Mental Health Day? #IAmWhole contacted us out of the blue. I was taken aback by it and flattered to be a part of it. We just want to be able to help, if we can, in any way towards the campaign. Is it an issue close to you guys? Yeah, the last few years of touring and the lifestyle shift just flipped me over. I struggled with mental health issues, and it got to a terrible point where I nearly quit the band. We have friends and loved ones who struggle with it too. It’s a big part of our lives, and the album has a lot of songs written about it. How do you cope with the pressures of band life? Well, I didn’t at all very well the last couple of years. It’s weird;
if I didn’t have an awful time, I wouldn’t have learnt the skills I needed to get through it. So in a way, I’m glad - it taught me a lot. For me personally, I try to normalise tour life. I try and take the way I live life off the road and apply it on the road. Simple things like some exercise, read a lot, good meals at similar times a day. A little goes a long way for me. Quite a few of your songs are about life’s difficulties, do you get fans opening up to you about their troubles as a result? Absolutely. I think that’s the main thing people should do, talk about it and be open. We definitely encourage it. What are you all doing for your part of the campaign? We’re taking part in a music video for #IAmWhole. We’re shooting our song ‘Broken Machine’ with a string section, and it sounds so so good. They smash it. I’ve been talking to #IAmWhole about my story too, what I went through and trying to get the message across about how important it is to talk.
“IT’S IMPORTANT TO TALK” CONOR MASON
How did you go about putting together the new version of ‘Broken Machine’? We knew we really wanted to play one of our songs for the campaign with an orchestra/string section. ‘Broken Machine’ just seemed to fit for an odd orchestral section. Dom and I did string arrangement in A-level Music so he quickly pieced together an idea of what we wanted which sounded great and sent it to this incredible arranger Chris Elliot who just turned it into this beautiful beast, sounds like a bond theme now. And what’s the best thing about taking part in #IAmWhole? Being a part of encouraging people to talk about their mental health issues. Spreading the message that it is real and very serious and shunning the negative comments towards it. P Find out more about #IAmWhole at ymca.org.uk.
DOWN WITH BORING
LADS ON TOUR L AST M ONTH, W E TE AMED UP WITH TWO OF OUR FAVOU RITE BAN DS FOR ON E OF TH E MOST E XCITIN G TOU RS OF TH E YE A R.
HE RE’S W HAT WENT D OWN AS F REAK A N D KIN G N U N H IT TH E ROAD. PH OTOS: CH IAR A CECCAION I
ew bands are what we do best, Dear Reader. So clearly when the chance came around to team up with two of our favourites, Freak and King Nun, we jumped at it. Over the back half of September, the pair teamed up to hit the road. We caught up with them to get the lowdown, and go behind the scenes at the London date of the run. Hey, King Nun. Do you do anything to prepare before going on stage, or away for tour? We have a pre-show ritual that involves a lot of shouting and jumping about. It helps us get organised, and it’s actually quite weird now going onstage if we haven’t done it. What’s the key to putting on a great live show? We aim to connect with the audience, and give them an experience that
they won’t find elsewhere. We want to give everything we have to give. Which of your songs goes down best live, do you think? We have a song called ‘Sponge’ that was the b-side to our last single, but even before it was released, we were noticing lots of people were really getting into it. Hiya Freak! Did you know King Nun before the tour? Yeah, once it was all agreed we were just like, let’s hang out ASAP. So, we went to Wetherspoons got really really drunk.
At Wetherspoons were you using the app or did you still go to the bar? We still went to the bar! I dunno, I just haven’t invested in the app yet. There’s something about it. I’ll just go up, and I’ll normally decide on the spot what I need. I don’t want to scroll. I just want to see it and be like, that’s my drink today. D’you know what I mean? I had a Blue Lagoon pitcher, double vodka and lemonade. Gone. For the day. That was it. It was good. Everyone else was really drunk. Sam had nine double vodkas, so probably almost died. He’s still alive though. It was great! P
“WE WENT TO WETHERSPOONS TO GET REALLY DRUNK” FREAK
U P C O M I N G SH OWS... 16TH OCTOBER 2017
THE BULLINGDON ARMS, OXFORD 21ST OCTOBER 2017
PURPLE TURTLE, READING (FREE SHOW!) 21ST OCTOBER 2017
FRANCOBOLLO THE COOKIE, LEICESTER 17TH NOVEMBER 2017
PURPLE TURTLE, READING (FREE SHOW!) 18TH NOVEMBER 2017
BAD SOUNDS THE COOKIE, LEICESTER 20TH NOVEMBER 2017
BAD SOUNDS THE FACE BAR, READING
LIGHTS. CAMERA. ACTION! G LASGOW’S CATH OLIC ACTION DIDN’T PLAN TO PLAY FOR AN YON E BUT TH EIR FRIE NDS, BUT HERE TH EY ARE, MAKIN G WAVES ALL OVE R WITH A TOP-N OTCH DE BUT.
atholic Action have come a long way since they were taking Glasgow by storm with their pals on Fuzzkill Records. Now, as they approach the release of their banger-packed debut album, ‘In Memory Of’, the band are in full bloom. “We’re in a much happier and more creative place than we were before,” begins frontman Chris McCrory. The band have always been prolific with hundreds of songs committed to scrappy cassette and numerous demos online. Coming up with their debut album though was a whole different story. “We had to define the band,” says Chris. “We had to figure ourselves out. We had to get over a lot of things. It wasn’t always a painless process, but now we’re there, we’ve done it, and we’re still together.”
WORDS: MARTYN YOU N G.
The voyage of discovery that Catholic Action have been on has seen them surpass their dream of playing to their friends. These songs have propelled them to another level. “We never planned to become a national thing. We planned to make a record for our friends in Glasgow,” says Chris. “We were part of that DIY/Fuzzkill scene. So, we thought we’d just do that and have fun. “After that, managers and agents got in touch, and we were dragged out of Glasgow. As much as I love Glasgow and the west of Scotland, I want to get far away from it. It will always be my home, but if music can take us away from it, then that’s great.” ‘In Memory Of’ is an album that combines instantly addictive pop bangers with hints of something more introspective and darker. “It’s like a band figuring themselves out,” says Chris. “The thing that unites everything is it’s grounded in classic songwriting.” In the studio, there was a simple test
“IF IT’S NOT MAKING US PLAY AIR GUITAR, THEN IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH” CHRIS MCCRORY
to work out if the band were on the right track. “The bar we had was if it’s not making us play air guitar, then it’s not good enough.” Catholic Action’s success has been built on strong principals and a desire to do things their way. They want to be able to indulge in fun guitar pop like previous single ‘Rita Ora’, as well as the more serious side found on the album. There was no room for compromise. “We had people telling us that we could go down the whole Radio 1 route,” he explains. “I hate that music. If Radio 1 want to play our songs then great, but if you listen to a lot of the shit that’s on the Radio 1 A-list, it’s total disposable garbage.” It’s clear that Catholic Action aren’t messing about and they’re here for the long haul - already their minds are firmly fixed on album number two. Despite the increased success coming their way, they’re more determined than ever to stick to the values they forged back in Glasgow. “It isn’t always the easiest thing to do, to be in a band,” admits Chris. “There’s a lot of hard work and stress. It’s important to do things on your own terms. What’s the fucking point otherwise?” For now, the plan is simple, win everyone’s hearts with their debut album and then what? “We’re going to finish the second album and win everyone else’s hearts.” You wouldn’t bet against them. P Catholic Action’s debut album ‘In Memory Of’ is out 20th October. DOWN WITH BORING
U P D AT E
R.I.P. WILD BEASTS A FTER A G LORI OUS RU N, WI LD BEASTS ARE HEAD I NG OFF INTO TH E SU N SET. BE FORE TH E E N D, WE’RE G ETTIN G ON E FINA L E P,
ad news, Dear Reader. Dork faves Wild Beasts have announced they’re to split, releasing one final EP and heading off on a last farewell tour to say goodbye.. One of Britain’s most daring, intellectual and experimental bands, best known for their Mercury Music Prize nominated record Smother’, the Yorkshire band have stated that they feel it’s ‘time to leave the orbit’ after 13 years together, leading to an outpouring of dedications from the likes of Everything Everything, Foals and Forest Swords. A staple of the North East music scene, their penchant for off-kilter art pop made them a significant name to watch from the beginning. Combining the delicate enunciation of Thorpe with the rich, sonorous tones of Tom Fleming, their near choral marriage should have been dysfunctional- for every swooping falsetto there was a countering baritone, camp Victoriana cowering under the fists of brutish testosterone. Somehow, it worked. In a career that outlasted a decade, this dualfrontmanship has allowed them to
AND A FAREWELL TOU R. WORDS: JE N ESSA WILLIAMS
cover lyrical themes as diverse as 90s pro wrestler Ric Flair (‘Nature Boy’), modern feminism (‘Alpha Female’), Saturday-night hedonism (‘Celestial Creatures’), romantic regret (‘Loop the Loop’) and debauched Victorian orgies (‘All The Kings Men’) with the same ease, unlocking their most potent strength – the ability to portray both male and female emotions in all their subtleties, offering a sensuality and playfulness that would speak to lads and scholars alike. From their very beginning, Wild Beasts lyrical themes were that of anthropology, not always modern. Their very essence revolves tightly around the human form, with strong connotations of sexuality and the
relationship between emotional and physical impulse. Through heartbreak and sorrow to hedonism and chest-puffing machismo, they made no qualms about their own intellectual ambition, and we can only hope that this end comes as a pause before something even bigger. The legacy they leave is one of a band who managed to make music that felt inherently northern, manly and fatalistic, and yet cosmopolitan, soft, vulnerable. In a world where we are finally beginning to understand that gender is neither black or white, they felt like a very important shade of grey. Farewell Beasts, you will be missed. P
“IT IS NOW TIME TO LEAVE THIS ORBIT” WILD BEASTS
“Wild Beasts are coming to an end. Our hearts and minds have been devoted to the band since we were teenagers. We’ve created something quite of our own and built a body of work which we stand by as heartfelt and true. The four of us have decided, for our own reasons and in our own ways, that it is now time to leave this orbit. We’re care takers to something precious and don’t want to have it diminish as we move forward in our lives. Thank you for your love and energy and for helping us make it what it is. We consider ourselves remarkably fortunate to have lived this dream.”
Before sailing off into the sunset, Wild Beasts are set to release one final EP. ‘Punk Drunk and Trembling’ will arrive on 20th October through Domino. It features material recorded during the band’s ‘Boy King’ sessions, including the tracks Maze and Last Night All My Dreams Came True, previously only available on the deluxe vinyl edition of the album. You can check out the title track now on readdork.com.
As well as the new EP, Wild Beasts are off on a final, farewell tour next February. They’ll play three shows - one each at Dublin Olympia, Manchester Albert Hall and London’s Eventim Apollo. Tickets are on sale now. The dates read: February 15 Dublin Olympia 16 Manchester Albert Hall 17 London Eventim Apollo
We’ve put together a playlist containing 17 of Wild Beasts’ best tracks. Taken from across their impressive back-catalogue, you can find it now on readdork.com, or scan the Spotify code below to head straight to it on your mobile device.
CROSSTOWW N CONCERTS
P R E S E N T S
16 | 10 | 17
T | 11OU | 17 30 SOLD
17 | 10 | 17
30 | 11 | 17
- LONDON ROUNDHOUSE
- LONDON DALSTON VICTORIA
- BRISTOL TRINITY -
19 | 10 | 17
SOUND OF THE SIRENS
- LONDON THE WATER RATS
O2 ACADEMY ROCK CITY
22 | 10 | 17
- LONDON BUSH HALL
THE WATERFRONT O2 INSTITUTE O2 ACADEMY ROUNDHOUSE
01 | 12 | 17
JESCA HOOP - LONDON UNION CHAPEL
01 | 12 | 17
SLEEPTALKING - BRISTOL CROFTERS RIGHTS
- BRISTOL THE LOUISIANA
09 | 12 | 17
GOLDIE LOOKIN’ CHAIN
23 | 10 | 17
- BRISTOL THE LOUISIANA
- LONDON OSLO -
13 | 12 | 17
24 | 10 | 17
- LONDON ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL
- LONDON OLD BLUE LAST
06 | 03 | 18
27 | 10 | 17
BELLE AND SEBASTIAN
- LONDON THOUSAND ISLAND
A CROSSTOWN CONCERTS & FRIENDS PRESENTATION BY ARRANGEMENT WITH PRIMARY TALENT INTERNATIONAL
29 | 10 | 17
- TRURO HALL FOR CORNWALL
13 | 03 | 18
BELLE AND SEBASTIAN
- BRISTOL THE LOUISIANA
- CAMBRIDGE CORN EXCHANGE
06 | 11 | 17
15 | 03 | 18
BELLE AND SEBASTIAN
- BRISTOL LANTERN -
07 | 11 | 17
- BRIGHTON DOME -
16 | 03 | 18 - 17 | 03 | 18
- LONDON VILLAGE UNDERGROUND
BELLE AND SEBASTIAN
08 | 11 | 17
- LONDON TROXY -
- BRISTOL THEKLA -
27 | 04 | 18
09 | 11 | 17
DINOSAUR PILE UP
- LONDON ROUNDHOUSE
- BRISTOL EXCHANGE -
27 | 04 | 18
22 | 11 | 17
NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS
BAD SOUNDS - BRIGHTON KOMEDIA -
26 | 11 | 17
- LONDON DINGWALLS -
29 | 11 | 17
MARIAM THE BELIEVER - LONDON THE LEXINGTON
SUNDAY 28 JANUARY 2018
WEDNESDAY 31 JANUARY 2018
MANCHESTER THE RITZ
MONDAY 29 JANUARY 2018
THURSDAY 01 FEBRUARY 2018
SATURDAY 03 FEBRUARY 2018
DUBLIN WHELANS BELFAST LIMELIGHT
GLASGOW SWG3 T I C K E T S A V A I L A B L E F R O M
FRIDAY 02 FEBRUARY 2018
- LONDON THE SSE ARENA WEMBLEY
LONDON 02 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE
30 | 05 | 18
- LONDON MOTH CLUB
TICKETMASTER.CO.UK - SEETICKETS.COM - GIGANTIC.COM A CR O SSTOWN CO NCERT S A N D FR IEN D S P R ES EN TAT IO N BY A R R A N GEM EN T W IT H U N IT ED TA L EN T A GEN CY
T I C K E T S AVA I L A B L E F R O M
SEETICKETS.COM - GIGANTIC.COM - STARGREEN.COM - EVENTIM.CO.UK - AXS.COM ROUNDHOUSE.ORG.UK - TICKETMASTER.CO.UK - BRISTOLTICKETSHOP.CO.UK @CROSSTOWN_LIVE -
U P D AT E
5 REASONS WHY
YEAH YEAH YEAHS A R E B LO O DY B R I L L I A N T
THEY’RE RE-I SSUI NG THEI R D EBUT ALBU M, WH ICH IS ALL TH E E XCUSE WE N E E D TO RE MIN D YOU WHY THEY’RE ONE OF TH E BEST BAN DS ON TH E PLAN ET.
1. KAREN O IS PROBABLY THE BEST FRONTPERSON FULL STOP, TBH
You can take your preening dullards, we don’t need them. Not when there’s Karen O about. Has a human being ever been quite as cool as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ firebrand leader? Obviously not. Engaging, immediate and insistent, she makes sparks fly no matter what the occasion. Everyone else looks tame in comparison.
2. YOU’VE HEARD ‘MAPS’, RIGHT?
Every band has a crowning glory, and there’s little doubt that ‘Maps’ fills that rule for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Born as an instant classic, it stands apart from the rest of their arsenal. Heartbreakingly poignant, if coupled with its accompanying video, it’s sure to result in tears. In a good way.
3. AND WHEN THEY’RE NOT MAKING YOU CRY, THEY’RE MAKING YOU DANCE
4. THEY MAY BE THE ONE BAND FROM THE EARLY 00’S NYC SCENE THAT FULFILLED THEIR POTENTIAL
‘Maps’ isn’t YYY’s only stand out moment, though. Far from it. Debut album ‘Fever To Tell’ alone is packed with them. The air raid siren of ‘Date With The Night’, the elastic riff of ‘Pin’, the echoing chime of ‘Y Control’ - it’s one of the defining records of a generation. And it doesn’t stop there, either, ‘Gold Lion’, ‘Heads Will Roll’, ‘Zero’ - the Yeah Yeah Yeahs do bangers.
While their contemporaries have been anything but slouches, its the Yeah Yeah Yeahs that feel like they’ve rolled with the punches best. While the Strokes have faded, and Interpol remained consistently good, YYYs have sparkled, shifted and evolved.
5. OH, AND THEY’RE BACK!
It’s four years since the band’s last album, ‘Mosquito’, during which time they went on ‘a bit of a hiatus’. Now, though, they’re back, with their debut album in tow. They’ve not announced any UK dates yet, but they’re set to play a few in the US later this year. Keep ‘em peeled for festival season 2018, we reckon.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs are reissuing their 2003 debut album ‘Fever To Tell’. Due on 20th October, the release will feature a remastered version of the album alongside demos and other rare
FIRST AID KIT ARE BACK
THIS IS HAPPENING THE LATEST NEWS. ISH.
G ET M O RE AS I T H A P P E N S AT RE A D D O RK .C O M .
First Aid Kit have shared a new single ‘It’s A Shame’. The track was written while Klara and Johanna Söderberg were both going through a difficult time in Los Angeles last Spring. “We were in this beautiful sunny place, but mostly felt sad and lonely,” they explain. “‘It’s A Shame’ is a song about the emptiness and desperation you feel after a relationship has come to an end. How you will go to great lengths just to numb the pain and feel less lonely.”
tracks – including the previously unreleased ‘Shake It’. The band originally performed ‘Shake It’ live around the time of ‘Fever To Tell’, reintroducing it during their ‘It’s Blitz!’ tour around 2009.
I CAN FEEL IT COMING IN THE AIR TONIGHT, OH LORDE
You can now watch Lorde’s version of Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’ online. She covered the absolute retro-banger in session for BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge on Wednesday, before her gig at London’s Alexandra Palace later that same day. The track was a natural choice for Lorde, as she’s been covering it live on this tour. Check it out on readdork.com now.
EZRA’S GOT A BRAND NEW TRACK
Ezra Furman has released a brand new track, ‘Driving Down To L.A.’. The song comes alongside a new video, and a statement from Ezra. “This video is dedicated to Heather Heyer, killed the day before we started filming,” it reads. “This is a song of paranoia, escape and ecstatic ego-death. We decided to make a video about me and my angel companion escaping from modern-day Nazis.”
PHOTO: PHIL SMITHIES
U P D AT E
BECK A TH E B EG I N N E R’S G U I D E TO. . .
TH E PO P P OLY M ATH I S BAC K WITH A BRAND NEW, BANG E R PAC KE D A L BU M. IT’S TI ME TO D O YOUR HOMEWORK.
WO RDS: JA M I E M U I R.
masterful genius. A shape-shifting chameleon of music. An enigma. Nobody has come close to him, and it’s likely we’ll never see anyone even try. As he once again returns with a shimmering new album, join us in a quick-fire guide to the force of nature they call Beck. There are certain people who just stand out. It’s not just because they want to be something different in life, but it’s the way they think about it. A hunger to splatter the world in whatever glorious vision that comes flying into their brains, and having the power to follow that intuition no matter what. If there’s anyone who plays the rules by their game and their game only, it’s Beck. For nearly 25 years, he’s pulled and ripped apart the very idea of what an artist is, throwing himself down more lanes than a bowling ball. Whether it’s eye-popping rainbows of pop, gritty indie licks, sensual R&B, beat-bashing hip-hop, delicate heartbreaking acoustics or big band bonanzas - Beck has done it. What makes him an undeniable kingpin is that no matter what it may be, it keeps that feverish feeling flowing - making each turn his own and baying you in closer to savour it. In the process, he’s influenced generations of bands, even if they don’t know it. If you’re The 1975, Kanye West, Haim, St Vincent the result is the same - Beck has lead the way in a world of his own, unafraid of reinvention and the next shimmering chapter. A jukebox of bangers at his disposable,
THE ALBUMS ODELAY
Iconic. One of the true landmark alternative albums of the 90s, ‘Odelay’ dares to go where nobody would even contemplate - full of big-time radio hits that didn’t fit into any mould, but forced everyone to readjust their own understanding of what music could be. Hip-hop, bluegrass, fuzz and pop? Now that’s a mix. 12
After the pogoing fireworks, Beck’s first album of the 21st century was his most personal - a raw and devastatingly beautiful album of heartache and loss that pushed his delicate and beautiful songwriting to the core. Still one of the best break-up albums of all time, we’re going to go grab a hankie for this one.
Almost a decade on from his breakthrough, ‘Guero’ was the reaffirming statement of intent of a man set and ready to embrace the next chapter. Once again morphing genres and shapes into his own image, cuts like ‘E-Pro’, ‘Girl’ and ‘Black Tambourine’ helped Beck shine a light on everything missing in a new century - and welcome it all with bang.
There was a time where many thought Beck was done. Rumours of ill health and retirement, ‘Morning Phase’ was a lush platter to put everything to bed. Aesthetically warm and marking a throwback to the raw tones of ‘Sea Change’. It won him a bunch of Grammys and heralded the return of an icon.
U P D AT E
Beck represents everything we think is exciting about music. It’s bold, it’s fresh, and it’s never the same - the idea of boring for Beck is probably what keeps him up at night tinkering away at his next big era. As his latest barn-stormer ‘Colors’ gears up to make its way into the world (which you can check our thoughts on further down the line in this ‘ol mag), here’s a good place to start on Planet Beck.
THE BANGERS SEXX LAWS
Like a peacock sashaying its way into frame, Sexx Laws is a punchy blend of big horns, bigger hooks and the sound of a party erupting in under four minutes. If there’s a crime to go down for, blaring this banger out for the neighbours to hear is probably top of the pile.
Oozing with fuzz and a chorus born to be belted out, this is the sound of Beck proving he can kick out a riff like nobody’s business. Coming slap-bang in the middle of the 00’s, it put Beck squarely on a platform of his own in the midst of guitar-laden wonderlands. Get lairy and take on the world, ‘E-Pro’ has your back.
With a brain going the speed Beck’s must be, ‘Devil’s Haircut’ is the ultimate snapshot of the off-kilter screens he projects on. With lines that seem to jump like a frog in a sock, and a shuffling backbone, it’s an anthem that likes to open itself up and see where it goes.
If there’s one banger you’d of heard of, it’s this. Yeah yeah, everyone thinks they know the chorus and ya mate has tried to rap-along at 1am in the morning at you (just us?), but this was the moment where Beck invaded the mainstream. It’s not been the same since.
WHERE IT’S AT
Sounding like a message from outer space, the chiming organ blues and boom-bap breakdowns was a gamechanger in the mid-90s. Sounding like he was speaking from the heart of a desert, it’s a lightning bolt of a master at work.
Beck’s latest album is a jolt in the arm to a world all over the shop. One big pop party plastered across the walls for all to see, it takes Beach Boys melodies, Beatles swoons and modern pop glides to form a cake of moreish delight. An invitation to throw away fear and embrace joy.
“WE HAVE ANOTHER ALBUM’S WORTH OF SONGS!” WEAVES H AVE JUST DROPPE D TH E IR SECON D ALBU M, ON LY A YE AR AFTE R THEI R POLARIS-N OMIN ATE D FIRST; AN D TH AT’S N OT ALL - TH EY’VE A LSO RE LE ASE D A LIPSTICK...
Hi Jasmyn. What’s all this about releasing a lipstick? Lipstick! Yes, I’m so excited to have a Weaves lipstick. It’s called Wide Open, and the two colours are named after songs on the album. Blue is called La La, and the orange coloured one is called Scream. Who’s idea was it? I guess I’ve always loved make-up and I’m always trying different colours for stage so when I came up with the idea and our team said it was a possibility I was super stoked. How do you even go about getting your own lipstick? I will say that this was a dream. Made with the help of Good Digital Culture and our label in Canada, Buzz Records. Essentially I got to pick out two colours I love and help create a design. It was all very exciting. My sister’s handwriting is also the font on the actual lipstick. Do you wear it? Ya, I love it. I wanted to pick two colours that kind of suited our music and also would look good on many skin tones. I wanted a matte orange because that colour works well with many skin colours and it’s also called Scream! So apply it and then apply that mandate to your life (do your thing). And the blue (La La) is kind of like living in the clouds and being a dreamer. It’s pretty bright, but I feel like when you put it on you’re kind of like a superhero. What are you going to do next, blue eye-shadow? Well if people like the lipsticks I would love to start my own line. I
have always been passionate about make-up and skin care, so that’s a dream. I also feel like when I enter a make-up store, I don’t feel like there’s a brand that represents the weirdos in the market. It’s either like rock n’ roll glam or demure. But I think I’m somewhere in between like many people that listen to our music. Like umm, where are the unibrows, mullets and normal body sized humans in the ads? The accompanying album, ‘Wide Open’ - it’s come awfully quickly after your debut, hasn’t it. Did you take any time off in between? We took a bit of time off, but I guess not really, ha. We came back from tour and just started writing, but it was also nice to have this year off as far as being back home and just doing normal things again. But yeah we pretty much got home in November and were recording the album by April, for it to come out next month. What are the advantages of barrelling straight into another album? I mean it worked for us, but I guess
it depends on your personality. Morgan and I are always working, and I think we kind of like it that way. It must be weird to be still talking about your debut, what with it being up for the Polaris (congrats, btw), and ‘Wide Open’ at the same time how do you juggle the two different headspaces? I wouldn’t say they are two different headspaces in that I can relate to the sentiment on both albums. I guess as you build a body of work over the years, you just relate to songs in different ways and maybe learn something new about them as time goes by; so I never feel that disconnected to songs on the old album versus the new. It’s like when you read an old diary and kind of chuckle but recognise that it’s still a part of you. Do you have a favourite track on ‘Wide Open’? I’d say ‘Scream’ with Tanya Tagaq, and the song ‘Wide Open’. Those felt like the most real and honest songs I’ve ever made. What’s next for you guys, are you straight into album number three? Who knows! We have another album’s worth of songs that didn’t make the album that we’d maybe like to release. But I’m not sure. I’m always writing when I’m home as it is still a great form of release, so I’m not sure what will happen in the future. But there will definitely be more music. P Weaves’ album ‘Wide Open’ is out now. DOWN WITH BORING
WE’VE G ON E R A DI O GA GA WITH OUR BRAND NEW O N L I N E STATI ON, BROAD CASTI NG THE F RESHEST BA N G E RS, 24 HOURS A DAY!
If you’ve got eagle eyes, Dear Reader, you may have noticed something new on readdork.com. Yep, we’ve been eagerly building our own online radio station. With a world of all you can hear streaming at our fingertips, we’re as eager as anyone to keep crafting playlists and sharing tracks, but we also like curating stuff in a non skippable, equally exciting format. That’s where Dork Radio comes in. We’re going to be broadcasting the best bangers 24/7/365. With a slant towards new and emerging music, we’ve got big plans – but to start with, it’s going to be all about the music. Carefully curated themed shows,
new bands and recommendations, track premieres and a multitude of other audio delights will dominate the schedule. Constantly loaded with the best new tracks as they drop, we’re kicking off with our new flagship scale of awesome, the Dork Buzz Chart. Updated each Thursday, it’ll play out every weekday at 5pm, keeping you up to date with the hottest new music. Calculated from a combination of listener votes, visits to readdork.com, likes, shares, RTs and other ‘stuff’, it’ll all be fed into our complex formula nobody understands to give a top 10 of the buzziest new bangers on planet Dork. You can cast your vote at readdork.com/chart now. Dork Radio is available to play via readdork.com, or via TuneIn on iOS, Android and other devices.
FRIENDLY FIRES ARE BACK! BACK!! BACK!!! Friendly Fires have announced a oneoff London date for early next year. Headlining London’s O2 Academy Brixton on 5th April, it’ll make the trio’s first UK live show since 2012. “The headline show is set to herald a new era for the band,” reads the press release, “who have so far released two full length LPs –
their eponymous, Mercury Prizenominated, 2008 debut and its 2012 follow up ‘Pala’ – to widespread acclaim.” “This show’s going to be a profoundly special occasion for us,” the band add, “and we hope for you too. We’re looking forward to seeing friends old and new there.” P
HERE ARE SOME OF THE INFLUENCES ON ENTER SHIKARI’S NEW ALBUM Enter Shikari have always been a mixing pot of influences, from their nu-rave drenched debut – branded finger lights and all – to current fulllength ‘The Spark’, which has nods to everything from Britpop to Grime. Frontman Rou Reynolds talks through some of the places he looked to for inspiration for their latest effort.
I love Depeche Mode for their diverse and ever progressing back catalogue of great pop music. Vintage modular synths played a big part in the instrumentation for this album and Depeche were one of the first outfits to put that technology to widely accessible music.
Another diverse artist with an incredible catalogue. He has a great ability to create outstanding texture and atmosphere as a producer and is brilliant at crafting real emotional weight to the music too.
A favourite to listen to help wind down after a recording session, or just any tiring day really! I fell in love with organic micing techniques (i.e. getting all the creaks and natural sounds when playing a piano rather than trying to make it sound as slick as possible), and Nils is one of the best at this.
Their songwriting, their diversity, Graham Coxon’s guitar tones and their bold Britishness all influenced this album. I was a huge fan of them growing up, somehow dodging the Blur/ Oasis divide and loving both.
SAM & DAVE
Motown and Northern Soul has always been a huge – and perhaps the most surprising – influence on my songwriting since day one. My dad was a DJ and had an extensive record
collection that I was fascinated with as a kid. Sam & Dave have some great tunes but also as performers, they captivated me from a young age and have stuck with me.
A lot of our tracks are Drum & Bass tempo, high-energy music is something I’ll always love. And in terms of highenergy electronic music production, these guys have always been top of the game. An endless influence.
Classical music has always been a big influence on me and Elgar is one of Britain’s finest ever classical composers. The emotional response to his music is always very powerful.
Well if diversity is becoming a recurring theme, then we all know Bowie is the king here. His death (as artist’s deaths normally do) really inspired me to delve into his output in full and celebrate and revel in his music. His fearlessness and honesty is all over this record.
I couldn’t pick one artist here, so have just labelled the genre; it’s such a powerful part of culture in the UK now. I had the luck of being able to watch it grow from its early beginnings. [Dizzee Rascal’s] ‘Boy In Da Corner’ came out the same summer we formed Enter Shikari, and since then BBK, Roll Deep, Ghetts, President T and many others have always been on my playlist.
Another big influence when it came to synths on this album. Always so simple and playable, but so effective. I also love his aesthetic and his unfashionable and endearing “fuck you; I want to be a pop star” outlook. P Enter Shikari’s album ‘The Spark’ is out now.
U P D AT E
t seems every band is calling it a day this month - VANT have announced they’re to go on indefinite hiatus.
“It was in no way an easy decision,” says frontman Mattie Vant. “Many sleepless nights and difficult conversations culminated in this eventuality. It’s a positive thing though; the future is very exciting for all of us, as sad as it may seem right now! “Our worry was that time, money and effort were starting to run out, it’s a business after all. We could never be a band without balls, if we had continued with Parlophone and our second record had sounded like “insert bland, say nothing, so-called “rock” band here”, I’d fucking kill myself. “They knew that as well. It was probably the most mutually agreed end to a major label deal in history. I fucking love those people, they truly believed in everything we did, and they genuinely wanted us to be the biggest band in the world.”
The band – who released debut album ‘Dumb Blood’ earlier this year – will release a mini-album called ‘Talk Like Thunder’ before they go via their own Dumb Blood Records. It features five original songs, and a cover of Blur’s ‘Beetlebum’. “As a homage to Parlophone and everything they’ve done for us we’ve included a cover of one of our favourite Parlophone acts Blur,” Mattie explains. “Not to blow one’s own trumpet but I think we’re pretty good at the cover thing, and we’ve always had fun doing them.” They’ve a farewell tour too, which will kick off on 19th October - but after that? “I’m afraid it’s time for us to take a break. But don’t be sad, new things are already underway, we will reincarnate in 2018 for sure. “Thanks to everyone who bought an album, came to a show, wore a t-shirt, streamed a song, introduced us to a friend or shared something online. It meant the world to us at the time, and it always will do.” P
*SNIFF* *SNIFF* VANT ARE GOING ON HIATUS TH EY’RE RE LE ASIN G A N E W E P AN D GOIN G OFF ON TOU R FIRST, THOUG H.
U P D AT E
5 TH IN G S
THE 1975’S MUSIC FOR CARS WE KNOW ABOUT. . .
IT’S NOT OUT U NTI L 2018, BUT THE 1975 ARE ALREADY H A RD AT WORK ON THE IR THI RD ALBUM.
IT’S THE FINAL PART OF A TRILOGY
With The 1975, everything happens for a reason, and every detail counts. Third album ‘Music For Cars’ is set to be the culmination of their journey from Manchester bedrooms to global stardom. It was always planned this way. Speaking to Beats One recently, singer Matty Healy revealed their grand plan. “The next record’s called ‘Music For Cars’. That’s the title and it references our third EP.” On stage headlining Latitude this summer, ‘I Like It When You Sleep...’ ended and ‘Music For Cars’ was born as he pronounced: “Tonight Is the end of that era. Tonight is the start of an era called Music For Cars.”
THIS IS HAPPENING THE LATEST NEWS. ISH.
G ET M O RE AS I T H A P P E N S AT RE A D D O RK .C O M .
THEY’VE ALREADY BEEN WORKING ON THE ALBUM FOR MONTHS
The band have been holed up planning and plotting for ages, and they have a very simple, high standard for what makes the cut. “If It doesn’t make me dance or cry within the first 48 hours,” says Matty, “we normally get rid of it.” His tweet a few weeks ago of “Music For Crying” bodes well, then.
THERE’S EVEN A SONG TITLE
Matty’s Instagram is a treasure trove of delight for 1975 fans eager to snap up information about everything they’re up to. In amongst teasing pictures of studio tinkering and dressing up, there’s an
BON IVER HAS RESCHEDULED THOSE CANCELLED LONDON SHOWS
Bon Iver have announced five new London shows. Replacements for Justin Vernon and co.’s cancelled dates earlier this year, they’ll visit London’s Eventim Apollo for five nights in February. Tickets are on sale now.
intriguing screen grab of a playlist entitled ‘Music For Cars’ that runs to 2 hours, 13 minutes. Maybe a triple album this time? Anyway, even more exciting is a song called ‘Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America’. Responding to a fan who queried if it was genuine, the singer replied: “It is the actual track name yes.”
THE COLOUR SCHEME HAS BEEN SET
Few bands place more importance on aesthetics and visual identity than The 1975. With each era referencing the last, the evolution in the band’s visuals has played a key role in their rise. This time around, the band appear to be paying homage to their debut
TALL SHIPS (2007-2017)
Tall Ships have announced they’re going to split. The band – which formed in 2007 and released two albums: 2012 debut ‘Everything Touching’, and 2017 follow up ‘Impressions’ – have decided that “the time has finally come for us to call it a day.” They will play three final shows this December, in Bristol, Leeds and London.
album with an inverse of the colour scheme of their much-loved opening statement. White and Black, tweeted Matty. Everything is coming full circle.
EVERYONE AROUND THE BAND IS EXCITED
It’s fair to say there’s a bit of anticipation for the album. The 1975 are a massive deal. Someone who would know exactly what a massive deal they are is Dirty Hit supremo and king of indie, manager Jamie Oborne, who tweeted on 17th September: “MFC first studio session starts in a matter of days… A band at the peak of their powers. Slightly Terrified. Time to buckle up. Again.” We can’t wait. P
R’KID TAKE TWO
Noel Gallagher has a new High Flying Birds album due later this year. ‘Who Built The Moon?’ – produced by David Holmes, and featuring guest spots from Paul Weller and Johnny Marr – will be released on 24th November. It’ll be followed by a UK tour next spring, stopping off in Brighton, Glasgow, Aberdeen, London, Nottingham, Birmingham, Newcastle. Manchester, Cardiff, Leeds, Belfast and Dublin.
FIND MORE ON OUR CONSTANTLY UPDATED BRAND NEW BANGERS SPOTIFY PLAYLIST AT READDORK.COM
Instantly recognisable due to their falsetto vocal and lo-fi, layered guitar, Gengahr’s two-year silence has resulted in a band almost indistinguishable. New track ‘Carrion’ is a rolling, snarling song with a sticky, gritty vocal performance from frontman Felix Bushe. While there are still pinches of debut-style Gengahr in the swirls of the chorus, the new offering from the London four-piece showcases that all-important creative growth, promising great things for their second album. Building on the beauty of ‘A Dream Outside’, ‘Carrion’ is intelligent, tightly written, with a delectable hook. Erin Bashford
There’s nothing overnight about Milk Teeth’s progression to British rock’s shiniest gemstone, but with each new track that sparkle grows a little brighter. Following up a brilliant debut with an EP that stepped up the game, the second part of their double header project kicks off in glorious style with ‘Nearby Catfight’. Without even mentioning a video full
of kittens (awwww, etc - Ed), there’s no doubt they’ve raised the stakes again. A rumbling growl of Becky Blomfield’s bass, the spit-forth fury of Billy Hutton’s short-but-sharp interjection - Milk Teeth are becoming more than just another band. Stephen Ackroyd
If there’s one things Dead Pretties have in spades, it’s confidence. Way beyond its title, their latest banger drips with it; big, gloopy blobs of the stuff. Striding forward with ramshackle surety, there’s a hint that - like all the best bands - they’re holding it together with sticky tape and string, but the charge continues regardless. Wailing guitar solos, yowled refrains and a bass line that’s moving for nobody, it’s proof that Dead Pretties can mix business with pleasure. Dan Harrison
BETTER SIT DOWN BOY
Let’s be honest here, Confidence Man aren’t like other bands. Anyone that’s caught them live will understand. On paper, it shouldn’t make sense morning work out beats and dance
We’re always adding the latest bangers to our new online station, Dork Radio. Listen now via readdork.com or on TuneIn via iOS and Android.
moves delivered as if both everyone and nobody at all is watching, it should feel faddish and empty. But it doesn’t. Not even close. Packed with unbridled joy and ceaseless sass, it’s the most fun imaginable. Like the first time you heard Scissor Sisters blast past with a hip check and a wink, Confidence Man are on to something. You may as well give in now. Stephen Ackroyd
Few things in the realm of new music feel as reliable as Estrons’ ability to make a bloody good racket. A band less concerned with the slow burning tear jerker when there are bangers to be written, ‘Cold Wash’ is packing all of their signature bombast. Rumbling bass, free-wheeling guitars and thumping beats provide a canvas for a vocal line that doesn’t know how to quit, never mind when. A relentless advance from a band who don’t need permission to make a scene. Dan Harrison
Ever wished you could have seen The Sex Pistols in their heyday? Sham 69 before they got old? Never fear, Shame are here, and they’ve brought their brand new banger ‘Concrete’ with them. A call-and-response dialogue taking place in somebody’s head, the track is as violent and punchy as we’ve come to expect from South London’s foremost punk dropouts. Frontman Charlie Steen’s hoarse shouts sound like the combination of a 20 cigarette a day habit mixed with raw, bleeding emotion. Shame seem determined to bring the sound and spirit of punk kicking and screaming into 2017, and with ‘Concrete’ it looks like they’ve managed it. An amphetaminefuelled soundtrack designed for the dark, sweaty venues Shame call home. Jake Hawkes
BANGERS ON DEMAND
Want to keep up to date with the latest bangers as they drop? You’ll be wanting our Brand New Bangers playlist, then. Load up Spotify on your mobile, tap search, then the camera icon, scan the code to the left, and it’ll pop right up. Follow to make sure you never miss out again
DOWN WITH BORING
2017 N OV E M B E R
PERFUME GENIUS PLAYS LONDON’S ROUNDHOUSE
It’s fair to say if you’re looking for an artist with genuine pedigree, you could do a lot worse than Perfume Genius. Camden’s legendary Roundhouse is a venue that proves just how far he’s come over the last few years. He plays there tonight. It’s one not to miss.
SHAMIR’S ALBUM IS OUT TODAY
Six months on from his last, low key, lo-fi release, Shamir is dropping his latest full-length today. He’s been through quite the journey to get there, as you’ll find later this issue.
IT’S LORDE’S BIRTHDAY
Lorde turns 21 today. Twenty one. For those of us older than 21, it’s enough to make us feel a bit sick. Why are we not all massively successful, brilliant pop stars yet? No. Don’t answer that.
Julien Baker is the kind of talent that comes along once in a blue moon. Tonight she kicks off a UK run in Bristol that will also see her call off in Leeds, Glasgow, Dublin and London.
RUN THE JEWELS HIT THE ROAD WITH DANNY BROWN IN SUPPORT
If you’re heading to the Reading or Leicester dates of Bad Sounds’ UK run, we’ll see you there.
MARIKA HACKMAN STARTS A RUN OF LIVE DATES
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
JULIEN BAKER’S TOUR KICKS OFF
With RTJ3 relatively fresh in our ears, Jeremy Corbyn’s Glastonbury chums El-P and Killer Mike return to our shores this month, with Danny Brown in support. Now that’s a line-up.
BAD SOUNDS GO ON TOUR, WITH TWO DORK LIVE! SHOWS
Kicking off by the Brighton seaside tonight, Marika’s latest UK run also calls off in Oxford, Leicester, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Newcastle, Nottingham and Bristol before finishing up at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Tickets are on sale now. Get at it.
MORRISSEY’S NEW ALBUM IS OUT
Covering Morrissey’s music is tainted by the presence of Morrissey’s ‘opinions’, but he has a new album ‘Low In High School’, and we’ll take any excuse to print that cat picture.
PUMAROSA START THEIR TOUR
Pumarosa kick off their latest tour. Starting in Dublin, they’ll also call in Brighton, Oxford, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Bristol and London.
N E WS F E E D
A LV VAYS
A RCT I C M O N K EYS
Alvvays have announced a February UK tour. The Canadian band will visit in support of new album ‘Antisocialites’, released just a few weeks ago. They kick off in Bristol on 16th February, going on to visit Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Leicester and London’s Roundhouse. Tickets are on sale now.
We’ve been waiting long enough, but it’s official now. Arctic Monkeys are back in the studio. The news was confirmed by bassist Nick O’Malley in an interview with motorcycle website For The Ride. “Nick found time for the track day before recording began on the eagerly anticipated sixth album, started at a secret location in September,” the piece explains. “The new album will be out next year because ‘if it isn’t, we’ve got problems’.”
AT T H E D RI V E I N At The Drive In and Death From Above are teaming up for a UK tour next year. The two bands will start off at London’s O2 Brixton Academy on March 9th, calling off at Newcastle O2 Academy, Birmingham O2 Academy, Manchester O2 Apollo and Glasgow O2 Academy. The run comes after the release of ATDI’s comeback album ‘in·ter a·li·a’ earlier this year, and a forthcoming support run with Royal Blood. Death From Above, meanwhile, dropped their latest album ‘Outrage! Is Now’ back in September.
D UA L I PA Dua Lipa will be touring the UK next spring. She’s already got a batch of dates planned for October and November, which feature a night at London’s O2 Academy Brixton, but she’s stepping up for next year. The new run will kick off on 20th April at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre, and culminate on 20th April at London’s
W H AT YO U R FAVO U RI T E BA N DS A RE U P TO, N O M AT T E R H OW M U N DA N E .
F RI G H T E N E D R A B B I T Frightened Rabbit have released a new three-track EP. The surprise new effort features a duet with Julien Baker called ‘How It Gets In’, alongside new songs ‘Roadless’ and ‘Rained On’. “These three songs seemed to exist happily next to one another, so it made sense to place them on an EP instead of wedging them into an album on which they didn’t fit,” says Scott Hutchison. “These are not B-sides or ‘bonus tracks’. These are songs that still fill us with the same feelings that our albums can, and I’m happy that they now have a place to live.” It follows on from latest album ‘Painting Of A Panic Attack’, released just last year, and a standalone track called ‘Fields of Wheat’ released a few months ago.
J O RJA S M I T H Jorja Smith is heading out on a tour of the UK early next year. The run will kick off on 6th February at Edinburgh’s Liquid Rooms, and will call
at Sheffield, Liverpool, Coventry, Oxford and Cambridge before culminating at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Find the details on readdork.com now.
VA M P I RE W E E K E N D Ezra Koenig has delivered a new update on that much anticipated new Vampire Weekend album.
PA L E WAV ES Pale Waves have dropped the video for their banger of the year contender ‘Television Romance’. The clip marks the directorial debut of the band’s collaborator, producer, label mate and The 1975 frontman Matty ‘is there anything he doesn’t do?’ Healy. Featuring the band playing in a delightfully chintzy front room, you can check it out on readdork.com now. Pale Waves are set to release a new four track EP later this year. Keep ‘em peeled.
Speaking to Zane Lowe on Beats 1, he spoke about the band’s fourth album, which is still under the working title ‘Mitsubishi Macchiato”. “It’s getting there,” he explains. “I feel like it’s close to being done.” He goes on to reveal the band have been recording with Ariel Rechstaid, maybe BloodPop, and a whole “cast of characters”.
WE’VE GOT THE KEY... RECORDING RELEASE TOURING RUMOUR SPOTTED OMGOMGOMG VIDEO BANGER SOCIAL
DOWN WITH BORING
CONNECTION STUFF YOU SAID. STUFF THEY SAID.
GET IN TOUCH! TWITTER: @READDORK FACEBOOK: DORKMAGAZINE INSTAGRAM: @READDORK EMAIL: CONNECTION@READDORK.COM
@liamgallagher Thought of the day. Is [it] ever really too late for social fucking media training as you fucking were LG x Liam Gallagher We’d probably look into punctuation lessons first, r’kid.
CONNECTION DORK PO BOX 390 HASTINGS TN34 9JP
LETTER OF THE MONTH BANANAS SPLITS
Dork, m8s. Why are all the bands splitting up? Is there a one in, one out policy at play - we got Friendly Fires back, so now we have to lose Wild Beasts? This sucks. Dave, Newcastle Oh gawd, imagine if you were right, Dave? In the last month alone we’ve had to wave a sad goodbye to Wild Beasts, Tall Ships and VANT - and while they may be offering us up a final wave as they sail off into the
sunset, it doesn’t make it any less sad. But then, being in a band isn’t all fun and games. It’s not the glory days anymore. Unless your fave is doing rather well for themselves, it’s probably not a full time job. Juggling the world of ‘showbiz’ (lol, etc - Ed) with a few shifts down the Cow and Duck must get tiring eventually, especially when earning money has to fit round tours, promotion and recording. Sure, that’s not true of all bands
A WI ‘DOW TH N B T-S ORIN HIR G’ T!
- sometimes it’s a creative decision. That’s probably why WIld Beasts are so brave they’ve talked new material since the release of ‘Boy King’, but have decided it’s better to call it a day rather than force it. That deserves respect. But, say you do have a point. Say we do get one back for every one we lose. We must be due the arrival of something really good now, right?
PSSST. JEMMA SOUNDS LIKE A MISERY GUTS
Hi Dork, I don’t want to sound like a misery guts, but this year’s festival headliners have been really boring (apart from The 1975, OBVIOUSLY). We need some new blood. I’d love to see Chvrches and Bastille play bigger slots, wouldn’t you? Jemma We would like some newer headliners, yes, Jemma. Bluntly, The 1975 best be headlining Reading in the next two years or we riot. We know they’ve done Latitude, but the biggest stages aren’t 20
Hey Dork, Could you please look into your crystal ball and tell me what album will be the best of 2018? I think it will be Vampire Weekend. Olivia We’ve thought about this a lot, Olivia. By which we mean two minutes while making a cuppa in the office kitchen. Vampire Weekend is a great call - but we reckon you’re doing that thing again where you get all indie and forget the true, underlying rule of all music. While our fave bands may be brilliant - we should never, ever forget the might of Little Mix.
Hey Dorks, I have a bet running with my mate that we won’t see Charli XCX’s album until next year. What do you think? Alex It’s Charli, Alex. Of course we’ll be waiting. It’s tradition that every Charli XCX album has to be delayed six months, released in America, delayed again in the UK then randomly feature Rita Ora.
@DeclanMcKenna all I know abt album 2 for sure is that there’s def gonna b a tune on it called 3 weetabix Declan McKenna This explains more than you’d think...
Shigeto too large for that lot, Chvrches are ready for a Latitude type slot, Bastille may be with a third album under their belt. After ‘Visions of a Life’, Wolf Alice must be pushing for someone to give them a shot too - after all, they are pretty much The Greatest Band In The World Right Now. Alternatively, everyone could just book Paramore. We’d be fine with that.
@ficklefriends: Hope you guys are ready for something a bit different Fickle Friends Dunno guys, we’re a bit fickl.... nah. Can’t do it.
St John at Hackney
@Joffoddie1: I HAVE NO IDEA WHATS GOING ON!!!! #visionsofalife Joff Oddie, Wolf Alice Joff ’s on Twitter, ‘FYI’
Hey Dorks, I have aICA bet running with my mate that we won’t see Charli XCX’s album until 12 What OCT. do you think? next year. Alex It’s Charli, Alex. Of course we’ll be Room waiting.The It’s Waiting tradition that every Charli XCX album has to be delayed six OCT. in America, delayed months,17released again in the UK then randomly feature Rita Ora.
Johnny Flynn Roundhouse
PSSST. JEMMA SOUNDS & 19 OCT. LIKE 18 A OCT MISERY GUTS
White Kite Miranda
too large for that lot, Chvrches are ready for a Latitude type slot, Bastille may be with a third album under their Scala belt. After ‘Visions of a Life’, Wolf Alice must be pushing for someone to give 26 OCT. them a shot too - after all, they are pretty much The Greatest Band In The World Right Now. Alternatively, Corsica Studios everyone could just book Paramore. We’d be fine with that. 27 OCT.
Dream Wife Noga Erez
Hey TheDork, Garage Could you please look into your crystal 27 OCT. ball and tell me what album will be the best of 2018? I think it will be Vampire Weekend. Heaven Olivia We’ve thought about this a lot, Olivia. 30which OCTwe & 31 OCT. By mean two minutes while making a cuppa in the office kitchen. Vampire Weekend is a great call - but we reckon you’re doing that thing again The Lexington where you get all indie and forget the 31 OCT. true, underlying rule of all music. While our fave bands may be brilliant - we should never, ever forget the might of Rlectric Little Mix. Ballroom
Crooked Colours Liars
Hi Dork, I don’t want to sound like a misery The guts, but thisPickle year’s Factory festival headliners have been really boring (apart from 18 OCT. The 1975, OBVIOUSLY). We need some new blood. I’d love to see Chvrches and Bastille play bigger slots, wouldn’t you? Jemma Moth Club We would like some newer headliners, 19 OCT yes, Jemma. Bluntly, The 1975 best be headlining Reading in the next two years or we riot. We know they’ve done The Latitude, butLexington the biggest stages aren’t
The Dream Syndicate Kevin Morby
THE END OF THE YEAR APPROACHES, DEAR READER. THAT MEANS THE LISTS ARE ABOUT TO START. BEST ALBUMS, BEST TRACKS, BEST PEOPLE CALLED DAVE IN POPULAR BEAT COMBOS. YES, WE KNOW YOU’VE NOT EVEN HAD YOUR FIRST MINCE PIE OF THE YEAR YET, BUT WE STILL WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK. WE’LL BE DROPPING A WHOLE BUNCH OF 2017 BEST OF ACTION IN OUR NEXT ISSUE, ON THE STREETS FROM THE 24TH NOVEMBER, INCLUDING THE RESULTS OF OUR SECOND ANNUAL READERS’ POLL. SO GET YOUR PENS OUT, FILL IN THE PAGE BELOW, THEN SEND IT TO US AT THE ADDRESS BELOW. WE KNOW IT’S FUTILE, BUT TRY NOT TO VOTE FOR THE 1975 OR BASTILLE IN *EVERY* CATEGORY.
THE BAND SLASH ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2017 IS...
... AND THE BEST NEW ACT IN WAITING FOR 2018 IS...
THE MOST ANTICIPATED ALBUM OF 2018 IS...
THE BANGER OF THE YEAR 2017 IS...
THE BEST MUSIC VIDEO IS...
THE BEST LIVE ACT IS...
THE WORST SONG OF 2017 IS...
THE BEST FESTIVAL OF 2017 WAS...
THE BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR IS...
THE PERSON OF THE YEAR IS...
THE GEORGE EZRA AWARD FOR YOUR MUM’S FAVE ACT GOES TO... .
THE BEST MUSICIAN AT ‘SOCIAL MEDIA AND STUFF’ IS DEFINITELY...
THE WORST ALBUM OF THE YEAR IS...
THE ROTTER OF THE YEAR IS...
THE BEST COMEBACK OF 2017 WAS...
THE BEST NEW ACT IS...
THE NATTIEST DRESSER IS...
SEND YOUR COMPLETED FORM TO... DORK, PO BOX 390, HASTINGS, TN34 9JP
HYPE ESSENTIAL NEW BANDS
t’s barely been eighteen months since Skott released her triumphant first single ‘Porcelain’, but now several faultless tracks down the line, it looks as though a debut album is in the works.
Ahead of her gig at The Pickle Factory in London, the Swedish singer reflects on how the past three years living in Stockholm, combined with her upbringing within a rural forest community, has impacted her music and outlook. “I love Stockholm,” she explains, “I have a hard time seeing myself move anywhere else to do music because it’s such a tight community. It’s a quite small city, but it’s so songwriter-producer oriented, the industry’s very big there. “I think [the city] has prepared me a little bit more for the lifestyle I’ve been living since I released ‘Porcelain’. It’s a lot more high-tempo. I came from a very calm, peaceful place, and I feel like when I was younger, I liked working slow. Moving to the bigger city at least might have prepared me a little bit more for the crazy world of pop music.” Although Stockholm’s music industry has provided Skott with the opportunity to make a name for herself, she has discovered that producing music for commercial distribution can sometimes run the risk of stifling the creative process.
SKOTT SIN G ER-SON GW RITE R SKOTT HAS MOVED F ROM RURAL SW E D E N TO THE C R A ZY WORLD OF P OP.
WO RDS: L I LY B EC KET T PHOTO: ROY ROSSOVI C H.
“All of a sudden it’s your job, and there’s an element that comes in that’s not about passion - but it starts with passion. I mean, the writing, the music and everything is just a passion I have, then politics comes in and all of a sudden it’s like, I’m a company basically. “I think that’s - for many artists - the biggest challenge, to find a balance, and not to let it take over or take away too much. Because you do have to spend time on that side of it too.” The mystical artwork adorning Skott’s single covers and merchandise draws heavily on tales from folklore and nature, influences from her upbringing. Natural phenomena and the spiritual world are entities which she feels are very closely aligned with music. “To me, music has always been something which I feel is a little bit divine. It feels like it’s some kind of clue, or some kind of proof, that there must be, you know, something more. Something like a soul. Like, why do we feed on
ESSENTIAL NEW BANDS
“I’M USUALLY IN A FANTASY WORLD”
music? It’s almost… over-natural?” Supernatural? “Yeah! Supernatural, in a way. I guess that affects my ‘respect’ for music, and I feel like the songs and melodies and messages are already there, in the universe, and you just have to find them. It’s not me creating them, it’s me on a… treasure hunt, for these pieces that can actually touch people.” She laughs, “That sounded really pretentious.”
Success has come swiftly to Skott: on Spotify, her ‘monthly listeners’ have now shot past the one-million mark. The singer contemplates how her music has changed since her first release: “I’m a little bit more open maybe. In a way, I’ve always been curious to not be too set with one genre. I wanted to be a little bit unexpected.
the cheesy side, because I like that too! And then I might go back to the darker stuff; it’s just like the mood of a person.” The singer will be exploring uncharted territory in her debut album, which she hopes will be released by March 2018.
“Like any person with a personality, there are so many sides. Often I have these darker, heavier messages, but sometimes I just want to feel good and dance. You’ll see probably, this Autumn I have a little bit more happy songs coming, even towards
A MI D L A N DS F I VEPI ECE W HO M A KE DA M N IN F ECTIOUS B RITP OPIN F LU E NC E D F U Z Z-P OP.
E HE TH O NT ON E NE VIIN EV PE AP G RA GR
“I’m usually in a fantasy world, the spiritual world, the forest or something, but I’m gonna take my new songs more to the modern life, into the living room or dancefloor. But that doesn’t mean that I will
abandon my ‘bubble’ of fairytales, that’ll always be something to go back to.” As her parting gift, Skott recommends a Swedish pop duo she’d love more people to listen to. “I Am Karate are really cool. They do everything themselves, so like loop pedals, computers, playing and singing - it’s two girls. And then they produce a lot all by themselves, make the videos and edit them all by themselves. They’re very cool.” P Skott’s single ‘Remain’ is out now.
A BAT TO I R B LU ES H I T T H E ROA D T H I S D EC E M B E R
Abattoir Blues have a new UK tour planned for the end of the year. The run will kick off in Bristol on December 5th, before calling off in London, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham. Writing on Facebook, the band say they’ll be hand picking support for the dates, promise new music, and suggest we’ll be getting “other exciting stuff” before the tour. S E A G I RLS A RE P L AY I N G LO N D O N
Sea Girls will play a London headline show early next year. The band will play the Omeara on 1st February, following recent sets for Live At Leeds, Neighbourhood Festival and their upcoming set at SWN Festival (21st October). C H LO E H OW L RET U RN S TO T H E STAG E
Chlöe Howl has announced a oneoff London show. The singer - who returned earlier this year with new single ‘Magnetic’ - will play the Waiting Room on 6th November. Tickets are on sale now.
because he owns a film camera and has eight rolls of undeveloped film.
Hey guys, what’re you up to? Hey, we’re all here in our cosy little lock-up in Lichfield, where we’re rehearsing and chilling out between shows. How’re you feeling now that your debut single’s out, has it been a long time in the works? ‘Feel’ was one of our first tracks that we wrote last year and we’ve been sitting on it for a little while; it “feels” good to finally have a song out there for everyone to listen to. What inspired you to write ‘Feel’? It came about before Luke [Brickett, guitar/vocals] got a flight and was worried he wouldn’t make it home, so he recorded some demos in an existential daze. Thankfully our Luke made it home and showed it
to Patch [Murphy, drums] and then subsequently to the rest of us, making it into what it is now.
or Smashing Pumpkins, but we all started making music together around this time last year.
How do you guys go about writing your tracks, and do you have many in your arsenal? Someone usually creates an initial idea and will show everyone, then each of us adds a lil bit of ourselves until we like where it’s at. We’ve been accumulating songs for the past year, recording the ones we’re happy with, but we have quite a few to our name now some of which we’re hoping the world will get to hear soon…
What was the music scene like in the area where you grew up? When we all started properly going out to gigs, ‘B-Town’ was the big thing in Birmingham at the time with bands like Peace and Swim Deep dominating the scene, so it was quite an inspiring time for us all. Unfortunately, now there isn’t a scene like there was before.
When did you first realise you wanted to make music? We’ve all been surrounded and influenced by music since we were wee bois, whether it be S Club 7
Are you creative in non-musical ways too? Luke and Patch do some graphic design stuff on their Instagrams under pseudonyms (it’s very good to be fair). Ted [Spivey, synth/percussion/ guitar] thinks he’s a photographer
What’s your favourite thing about being a musician? The satisfaction you get when writing something that you all love. When it’s reciprocated it’s a lovely “feeling”. What’ve you got planned for the rest of the year? We’re on tour at the moment, and we have a couple more gigs towards the end of the year. We’ll be writing some new songs, we’ll record said new songs, we’ll celebrate Christmas, and we’ll wait for this all to blow over. Anything else we should know? Have you ever thought about what you were gonna think about next, but as you think about what you were gonna think about next - you’re already thinking about what you are thinking about thinking next? P Violet’s debut single ‘Feel’ is out now.
DOWN WITH BORING
NDS. L NEW BA
eleasing indie banger after indie banger and supporting heavyweights such as former Dork cover stars INHEAVEN and Sundara Karma Bloxx have made quite an entrance. “Paul is a bass maestro, Tazz is a riff master, Moz can put the perfect drums over anything you give him, and I write the lyrics,” Fee says, summing Bloxx up in the most delightfully modest way. Focusing their sound around what will make for the most exciting live experience, a method which is undeniably serving them well, their infectious, edgy, melodies are still very much finding their feet. “We just play around with things and try and make them sound like us.” ‘Curtains’ sees Bloxx channel aggression, while ‘You’ and ‘Your Boyfriend’ are pure indie-pop bliss, and recent hit ‘Coke’ sees them drench themselves in grungey, indie realness. “I wrote the song two years
MEET LOND ON FOUR-PIECE BLOXX , YOU R N E W FAVOU RITE BAN D. WO RDS: SAMANTH A DALY.
ago, as an acoustic track, released it on my own, re-recorded it and now I’ve been waiting months to be able to release it,” Fee says But, it’s not just the creation of indie bangers that they’re making look easy - Bloxx came together as a band after meeting partly through college and partly through working at ‘Spoons, where coincidentally frontwoman Fee is on her way to work right now. “It’s been pretty seamless,” she says. “Like, it wasn’t really a ‘Let’s be a band’ thing, it was more of a ‘Let’s play together here and there because it’s fun’.” Even their name came to
them by chance thanks to a Maoam Bloxx sweet wrapper that was on the floor outside their practice room the second time that they’d ever practised. Being based in the musically thriving city of London has definitely had its perks. With so many opportunities around every corner, they’ve already appeared at Phil Taggart’s Slacker and Abbie McCarthy’s Good Karma Club. With buzzy gigs flying to them left, right and centre, Fee says supporting The Wombats at Brixton Academy was a particular highlight. “I don’t think I stopped shaking for a
“I DON’T THINK I STOPPED SHAKING”
while after that,” she reveals. They’d only been with their management for three days when their opening Slacker slot supporting Sundara Karma came to them; now they’re supporting them once more, this time for part of Sundara’s UK tour. Pair that with a week-long string of dates with INHEAVEN and King Nun, and it’s fair to say that they’re doing pretty well for themselves. “It’s really mad,” Fee laughs. “We love King Nun they have such a massive live show. To be on the same bill as them, let alone above them in the billing, is mental.” Performing to a packed-out tent at Truck over the summer and with a slot in Neighbourhood Festival’s second year, it’s been a great twelve months for Bloxx. They have big aims for 2018 too, wanting to put an EP out, tour more and with hopes to play at “all of the UK festivals.” There’s a whole lot more of Bloxx about to be thrust into our lives - and we can’t wait. P Bloxx are currently touring the UK with INHEAVEN.
ESSENTIAL NEW BANDS
NELSON CAN DAN ISH TRIO N E LSON CAN MAKE ADDICTIVE OFF-B E AT POP BAN G E RS.
LOW ISLAND OX FORD’S LOW I SL A N D ATTEMP T TO BLEND P OP WITH SO M ETHI N G A BIT MORE LEF T-F I ELD - AND D O A BLO ODY GOOD JOB.
Hey Carlos, have you guys had a good summer? It’s nearly Christmas now, you know. We’ve had a great summer. It’s been our first festival season as a band, and we’ve been incredibly lucky to play some brilliant ones; Latitude and Reading being particular highlights for us. We’ve also loved having the opportunity to see and discover other artists as well; HMLTD and Goldfrapp at Latitude were spectacular. We’re going to be releasing a load of music and touring this side of the year, so Christmas still feels a way off! So tell us about your band - who are you all, and where did you meet? We are Carlos (gtr/keys/vocals), Jamie (gtr/keys/vocals/programming), Jacob (bass) and Felix (drums). Some of us in the band go way back – I’ve known Jacob since I was about five years old – but we all met at various stages through school playing in different bands together before finally settling on Low Island last year. All of the different projects we’ve been involved in have fed into what we do now; between us, we’ve played in indie bands, jazz bands, written music for theatre and film, DJ’d, played in orchestras and a whole lot more. We’ve tried to channel all of these different experiences into Low Island. How would you describe your vibe? Wonky pop. We hear you’ve racked up loads of plays on Spotify - congrats. What’s the key to streaming success, do you think? It sounds trite, but not worrying about it too much is really important. Of course, a track streaming well
or getting into a good playlist is brilliant. But you get into dangerous territory trying to second guess why a particular track has been successful, and then let that reasoning dictate how to shape your future songs. As clichéd as it sounds, I think the best approach is just to enjoy writing the music that you want to. Once it’s written, you can see how and where it fits in. And if it doesn’t, you still had a great time making it. What’s the best song you’ve written so far? There’s a song on the new EP called ‘Too Young’ that I’m really proud of. We wanted to make something that sounded like the love-child of Aphex Twin, Arca and Lana Del Rey. I think it’s our most successful attempt so far at trying to bring pop together with more left-field electronic production. I can’t wait for it to be released. What are you guys working on at the mo? We’ve just finished recording our third EP. The first single’s now out, and the rest of it’ll be coming out over the next few months. We’re now trying to figure out how to play it all for our upcoming Low Island and Friends tour. We’re doing a load of nights around the UK where we’re collaborating with some amazingly talented people from all sides of art; dance, theatre, visual as well as music. We’re hoping that the tour will serve as a celebration of independent artists from across the UK. It’s not the easiest time to be one; we need to support each other. P
Hey Selina, how are you today? Have we interrupted anything fun? Hi Dork! I’m also a dork. It’s cool to be a dork. Love being a dork. Øhm… [Danish for hmm…], I was actually just cooking some dinner. No biggie. How did you guys get together? Signe and I have been best friends since pre-school, and we met Maria at Roskilde Festival in 2012. We fell in love with her drumming and her awesome personality. I always say that we really only became a band after we met Maria. What’s been the highlight of your time as a musician so far? It’s hard to name just one, but I think we’ve grown so much this past year. Both as a band and songwriters, but also as friends. The last being the most important for us as musicians. We are stronger than ever. We had a rough year in 2015, which meant the songwriting stopped - but after a whole year of eating good food, drinking beer, fighting, making up and being together as friends again, I can say, that our highlight for us as musicians, is our newest baby - ‘EP3’. We are so proud of her. What’s ‘EP3’ about, then? Uh, it’s all about LOVE. Haha, no… but also a little actually. All the mixed up feelings you can have inside. Stuff that’s been bottled up for a while. It’s about overcoming anxiety, and how you sometimes just feel like making things worse for yourself to feel better. And how you can overcome shit you didn’t think you could - but
you can overcome it if you have friends and family to support you. Are you guys working on an album at all? Wouldn’t you like to know? <3 Ps. Yes, we might be. Music aside, what do you do for fun? We love eating. It’s a hobby we all share. Maria is a wonderful chef. How did you get into running your own record label? Long story short - we didn’t fit with any other label when we started out, and thought it would be easier to just go DIY. It has been one hell of a ride, and we still have The Entrepreneurs, and Gurli Octavia signed to it. We believe in DIT (Do It Together) just as much as DIY, and helping out other bands is rewarding. We finally found a label we love, and being signed to Alcopop! Records is one of the best things that has happened in a long time. They’re wonderful, hardworking, talented people. You’re in the UK later this year touring with Jaws, is there anything you especially like seeing/doing/ eating while you’re in the UK? We can’t wait to go on tour with JAWS! It’s gonna be so much fun! I was born in Plymouth, Devon, so I grew up with my dad cooking Cornish pasties, so that’s a thing I have to try when I’m there. We always aim for at least one Sunday roast as well. P Nelson Can’s EP ‘EP3’ is out now. They tour the UK this November.
Low Island and Friends tour the UK from 13th October. DOWN WITH BORING
NDS. L NEW BA
GANG OF YOUTHS
AUSTR A L I A N JUG G ERNAUT GANG OF YOUTHS’ NEW ALBU M DE BUTE D AT N U MBE R 1 IN TH E IR H OME COU NTRY’S ALBU M S CH A RT E A RL I E R TH I S SUMMER, BUT THE PAST F EW YE ARS H AVE N’T ALL BE E N SMOOTH SAILIN G FOR FRONTMAN DAVE
L E’AUPEPE, WHO’S J UST TRY I NG TO MAKE SE N SE OF TH E WORLD. WORDS: JAMIE MU IR.
t’s midnight in Adelaide, and Dave Le’aupepe is eating pizza. In the heart of a city beating with energy at every corner, he sits - taking a moment in the midst of a mammoth headline tour around Australia that has already seen his band Gang Of Youths described as one of the true ‘great Australian bands of all time’ with only two albums to their name. It’s been a matter of weeks since ‘Go Farther In Lightness’ was released down in Oz, and its reaction has been staggering. Hailed as one of the defining albums of a generation, it’s all come as a product of Dave’s unflinching ambition for honest, raw and heart-moving anthemic rock. It’s a truth that cleanses away any bravado and results in a band of immeasurable importance. “There’s so much of my very being
tied up in this work,” details Dave. “It manifests itself out of my experiences and out of my life. There’s nothing about this music that isn’t entirely me, so it can be very difficult. I’ll always be looking at what I do as somebody deeply entrenched in those experiences, even if I’m 10, 15 years down the track. I look at ‘The Positions’ now like I’m still that kid.” For a debut album, ‘The Positions’ is a rarity. An album not looking for buzz-hunting glory, it instead sits as a devastating body of work that delved into a period which found Dave dealing with cancer, the disintegration of a relationship and the struggle within his mind to cope with the darkness surrounding him. It’s an emotional, but once again unflinching examination of the depths life can throw at you - and sparked a reaction that saw Gang
Of Youths play the biggest stages across Australia and beyond. Yet its most powerful moments were those connecting to thousands who found solace in its vision and in turn, Dave found in himself, something that continues through ‘Go Farther In Lightness’. “Dude, I belong in fucking prison - I shouldn’t be doing this,” starts Dave, when thinking of the personal connections and stories he’s heard over the past few years. “For a 21 year old girl who is suffering from depression and anxiety or has a really fucked up childhood or has had a parent die from cancer, for them to come up to me and say ‘Hey this song means a lot to me, this helped me through a really dark time’ - damn that’s a fucking good feeling. “I’m not sure I deserve to be feeling
it, but there it is. To experience that as a person who thought they never had anything to offer in life is like fucking cool - I’ve just got to hold tight to that feeling.” For someone who feeds everything they are into the music they make, facing criticism can sometimes be hard for Dave. When the music you make focuses on such open wounds, it can be difficult to acknowledge - something Dave is learning to overcome and prioritise in the way he creates and experiences art. It’s not about how many stars are next to your album, what those sitting at desks think, what matters is the emotions and words written across thousands of fans’ faces when they step on stage, and the power that has. Unabashed, it’s all about allowing yourself to care - and let natural reactions take over. After all, that’s the core of who we are right? “I think the real problem for me is getting addicted to critical acclaim - it turns into a drug, with the way people reacted to that first record and now with this album,” explains Dave, in between bites of his pizza. “I’ve started to learn how much more powerful that response from a live audience is, and need to let that critical talk be dwarfed by that sense of camaraderie in an audience. “Of course, what we do can be met with potential cynicism, but for fuck’s sake, three guys on the internet or some fucking dipshit fanboy or music critic can’t replace the screams of thousands of kids and adults alike who are experiencing something vital with the music.
“IT MAY BE CHEESY OR CORNY, BUT I DON’T GIVE A FUCK” DAVE LE’AUPEPE 26
“I think it just comes from having a foundation in some way in the belief in the redemptive power of rock music. The ability to kickstart someone’s fucking life, to put an end to sad times, to elevate suffering and to bring good things to dark situations - there’s a part of me that still believes in that. Yeah, it may be cheesy or corny, but I don’t give a fuck.” P Gang of Youths’ album ‘Go Farther In Lightness’ is out now.
ESSENTIAL NEW BANDS
B RATTY LON DON TRI O D EA D PRET TI ES A RE ON E O F A H AN DF U L OF BA N DS INJ ECTI N G THE CA PITA L W ITH SOM E M UC H-N E E DED ENTHUSIASM. WO RDS: JASL E E N DHI N DSA.
DEAD PRETTIES D
ead Pretties are London’s sharptongued punk trio; their zealous and brutally honest attitude an essential part of the bubbling UK alternative scene. “We all used to play a lot together last year; it was more labelled a scene then. Now everyone’s toured off doing their own thing. Us, Goat Girl, HMLTD, Sorry - bands like that,” starts frontman
Jacob Slater of the now-famed South London rabble. The band have a contagious punk, grunge and garage rock sound that stands out as real as it can be. “I don’t listen to that much modern music,” Jacob states. “I’m a grandpa already. Lots of people dismiss stuff that’s older, people who could actually play their instruments seems very, very uncool these days.
“I fucking love old rock bands, I love more 90s grunge stuff and garage rock like The White Stripes and Ty Segall. Fuck it; I’m not scared to say I love bands like Led Zeppelin and guys who wore stupid clothes and high heels. The music was really good,” he says with the frankness that powers the brilliance of his band.
Dead Pretties’ two singles - ‘Social Experiment’, and more recently ‘Confidence’ - show Jacob spitting brazen social commentary. “It’s not strictly politically focused,” he explains. “It’s more just frustration and feeling alienated. Not that everyone else has got it wrong, but everyone else could just do so much better for themselves if they weren’t so fucking insecure.” “I don’t read the papers as much as I should,” Jacob continues. “The reason I don’t is there’s nothing of that much interest when you pick it up. There’s a lot of stuff that’s thrown in our face as easy reading stuff, so and so has broken up with so and so, and did Jane and John really get together in the end? People are genuinely, or so it seems, interested in this. “We’re not doing it for any other motive or agenda other than we like playing live music. There isn’t some sort of arty angle on it, we wanna hold up the tradition of playing live music, and people coming along and seeing it and enjoying it, and a form of escapism and even provoke some sort of thought. Even if we don’t do that, we haven’t failed. We’re doing it for the right reasons. Trust me, consumers.” P Dead Pretties’ single ‘Confidence’ is out now.
Visio n s of a Life
WIT H F I RS T H E I R T AL THE Y K BU M , ICK AR S E WO VO LU T TA RT E D LF A ION . NO WIT LICE W H A N D TH E F A RE B AC K OLL T H EY ’ R CHA OW U OV E N G E T H E A BO U P, RA E T G GAI A M E TO WO R N. ALL P H O DS : A L I SH TOS U : SA RA
TLE H LO R . UIS
E BE NN
hrough the evergrowing excitement of debut album ‘My Love is Cool’, Wolf Alice got bigger and more potent. There were nominations, awards and loads of big numbers as the belief that they are A Very Important Band shifted from buzzy optimism to undeniable truth. Expectations surpassed in every direction, new album ‘Visions of a Life’ takes all that magic and pushes it widescreen. Songs of friendship, fear, fantasy, fallout and love drip in an earthly reality, making sense of things that shouldn’t but never getting lost in the search for something pure or wasting time looking at their own relevance. See, Wolf Alice make the sort of music that galvanises relationships, soundtracking nights that’ll last forever and offering a comforting escape when things you thought would, don’t. They’re very much in love with music and two albums in, they’ve become a band we can, and do, rely on. Like Este, Danielle and Alana or Noel, Liam and, erm, those other guys - they’re the sort of band who you know on a first name basis. A group of friends done good, they still wrestle, will put their hands in pockets for money towards a bottle of milk and find the humour in any situation. But the world has shifted around them. A lot has changed since the release of that debut. After the wide-eyed search of ‘My Love is Cool’, ‘Visions of a Life’ sees the band taking control, saying no and making a stand. It’s mature without being boring (Wolf Alice don’t do dull), and is serious but never self-important. A lot of what makes this band connect comes easy - effortless companionship and a giddy, grinning excitement about everything they do - but this new album sees them dig down into difficult. Every decision takes what you think you know about their music, and warps it. “We’re trying really hard,” starts Ellie Rowsell. “It’s not just mates making music. We are ambitious and hard working. We’re not just like, this is a laugh. There are a lot of sacrifices you have to make doing what we’re doing so if we’re making those sacrifices, we want to see something. I want to work hard, it’s fun that way. You don’t want it to flatline, and it’s not just jokes.”
DOWN WITH BORING
“It’s not,” confirms Theo Ellis. “That’s been noticed this time around. We don’t feel like four goofy friends, even though we obviously are.” Those sacrifices and struggles light fires across ‘Visions of a Life’. The difficult second album that never was, the band finished touring, went home and realised they already had a record sketched out. They set up camp in a practice space with twenty-four-hour access and began to explore. “We were able to record and work stuff out, with plenty of space and no time restraints,” Theo explains. “We got into doing that and forgot about everything else.” The group always had at least eight songs on the go, and by the time it came to heading out to LA to record, took 16 songs with them, “but a lot more fell by the wayside.” There was no concept going in, just a couple of small ideas about pushing themselves further and entertaining their own tastes. It’s the same spirit that drove their debut, this time around the band had a lot more to explore. Before they took an expression and ran with it; this time out they stay a little longer, asking how things work. “We’d play the songs together and see which ones
feel most exciting,” explains Ellie. Chasing that feeling is how ‘Visions’ came to life. “Before we even started playing around with the songs, we were banding things around like, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have a punk album or something like that?” starts Joff Oddie. “But you know, it can’t be pre-calculated. If you try and force it, the music will be rubbish. You’ve got to let the music inform what you do. You’ve got to surrender to the fact that good songs might not be all punk songs.”
espite the pressures, the only thing the band set out to do was “please ourselves and surpass our own expectations.” You know they did, because they’ve released the record. “We’re all really proud of this album, so the nerves went away as soon as we realised we’d made something we all really love,” explains Theo. “I like it when things come together, and you only realise they did in hindsight,” adds Ellie. “That’s what happened with this one. It sounds to me like ‘My Love is Cool’, but mature. You can hear the different circumstances, and you can hear our progression. It’s a very natural
album made through a very natural process.”
identity. It’s a masterpiece, whichever way you draw it.
And naturally, Wolf Alice are a very eclectic band. ‘Visions of A Life’ continues that anything-goes attitude they’ve always treasured. At the start, the stylistic leaps between the likes of ‘Leaving You’, ‘Fluffy’ and ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ saw a group trying to find their own way. The bounding excitement of ‘My Love is Cool’ captured a gang eager to lay out their stall, fulfilling their dreams, while ‘Visions of A Life’ is more deliberate. They’ve found peace in not fitting in because they don’t need to.
The other thing about nature is how violent it is - survival of the fittest and never-ending circles. ‘Visions of a Life’ exists on the cusp. Teetering on the edge of chaos, there’s a very real feeling that it could all come tumbling down at any minute.
“I can see it visually, and it’s very broad. There’s a lot of depth to the songs sonically and in other ways,” offers Ellie. The band didn’t go into the studio to do anything but follow their own gut. It’s why ‘Visions of a Life’ is made up of twelve individual paintings rather than one giant landscape. From the opening serenade of ‘Heavenward’ straight into the cut-throat roar of ‘Yuk Foo’, the record shifts shape, constantly changing direction, style and colour while maintaining a vicious sense of
“The term ‘difficult second record’ seems to be coined for bands in our space,” starts Joel Amey, as Joff adds: “It’s an achievement to carry on success after your first record, especially being an indie band. How many indie bands have a bit of success and then after the second album, no one cares?” he asks. That question was “in the back of their minds” as they recorded the album, but just for a moment. It only spurred them on. “We know the geography of being in an indie band. People generally don’t survive very long so we need to work hard to make sure we can survive.” All that chatter around the gang and the success that came alongside it “makes you work harder,” according
“PEOPLE DON’T LIKE SAFE” Theo Ellis
Peer pressure Hey Wolf Alice. Did many famous types pay your studio a visit while you were recording ‘Visions of a Life’? Joel: You had the Foo Fighters coming in, then QOTSA. Theo: Then Ilan Rubin came in, arguably the greatest drummer, just turned up to have a listen and then the best bassist in the world is the guy producing it and we fucking suck. Joel: Luckily I was just doing toms that day. Theo: Blake Mills popped in. Joel: ‘What you guys up to?’ Joff: I’m feeling inadequate, Blake. Theo: We’ve got two weeks to get this bit done. That was fucking horrible. It wasn’t horrible, but... Joel: It was strange.
to Ellie. “You should kinda ignore what people say about you, but you especially don’t want to give them that opportunity to say, ‘Urgh, why did they get nominated for this?’ or ‘Why does everyone say they’re this?’” With everyone telling them their future was already a promise of legends, festival headline slots and changing worlds, ‘Visions of a Life’ pushes back and focuses on the now. They hate the word “forever” in ‘Space + Time’, ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ has the fear over “signs of a lifetime” and the whole record tosses and turns, working out their own mind in real time. Stepping up regardless. Refusing to leave themselves open to attack following all the praise and promise, the band came to a conclusion: “Shit, I really have to be that good,” states Ellie. “It gave us a bit of fear to work with. We had opportunities to go into the studio before we did, and if we hadn’t had so much good press and that kinda thing, we would have said ‘Ok, we’re probably ready now’ when actually, we needed to be 100% sure we were more than ready. That’s how it changed our process.” But the success, “I don’t think it changed us.” ‘Visions’ is fiercely coherent; reoccurring imagery, heartbreak poetry and a raging battle within. “Did love pass me by, when I had feelings I was scared of?” asks the nightmare claustrophobia of ‘Sky Musing’. “Cos I feel so... when I should feel... I feel so... when I
should feel...” it continues, desperate for an explanation but hopelessly lost. Those silences are where Wolf Alice songs exist. Filling in gaps, shining lights and making sense when mere words fall short, they validate feelings and turn confusion into purpose.
“I learn things about myself sometimes from my own songs which I only truly understand with hindsight,” offers Ellie. “Even now on ‘My Love is Cool’ - you look back, and I would never have remembered how I felt at that particular time if I hadn’t written a song about it.”
“I DON’T NEED TO TELL YOU WHAT I WAS THINKING, SO I’M NOT GOING TO” Ellie Rowsell
“This is all just one big fucking scrapbook for us,” offers Theo, while Joff reasons it’s “one big, long therapy session,” with a smile. The songs take inspiration from the everyday; family, friends, frustration, fears (and even some things that don’t start with ‘f’), but there’s a storyteller twist to them. There’s a distance from initial inspiration to the final anthem as Ellie digs down to play with the bones of her feelings. Songs on ‘Visions Of A Life’ are inspired by everything from the film Heathers, to death, dementia and the sort of love that defines you. But that’s not what the songs are about. Not really. Instead, it’s the feelings they invoke that are thrown into the spotlight, indulged and explored. “Most of it is either an exaggerated version of myself or me in another situation that I perhaps haven’t been in. It’s like when movies say ‘based on a true story’,” explains Ellie. Across the record, there’s a feeling of doom and loneliness. “I am set to self-destruct,” ticks ‘Space & Time. “I feel so alone,” whispers the title track and even the romantic flourish of ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ has to
DOWN WITH BORING
“PEOPLE DON’T REALLY EXPECT YOU, AS A FEMALE, TO TALK ABOUT SEX” Ellie Rowsell
ask about love and “what if it’s not meant for me?” “That’s not a sole representation of me,” starts Ellie. “The things that are helpful to write songs about and also come easiest to me in terms of lyrics are the things I can’t explain in conversation. Those things that aren’t tangible, like feelings, misery and not knowing what’s going to happen. That’s probably why lots of my songs are about that, rather than I’m always feeling sad, lost and doomed.” This time out though, everyone shares in the emotional outpouring and the toying with old wounds. The music might speak in unknown tongues, but you can feel the fear and confusion at every turn. The outward relief that they don’t have to face it alone bursts forth. There’s an unrelenting lust for life that emerges from the unknown. ‘Heavenward’ might look to the sky, hoping for some eternal peace but there are lessons to be taken into the everyday before the snap of ‘Yuk Foo’ rages against wasted time and boredom. ‘After The Zero Hour’ sees a girl refusing to die, drinking the milk of life instead while the title track comes to the heavy conclusion that you can stay as you are because “everybody likes you, everybody cares,” but that’s no life for our narrator. “I’ll get my coat. I’ll be the bitch,” shrugs Ellie. “I heard that journeys end in lovers meeting, but my journey ends when my heart stops beating.” Even the seemingly inevitable heartbreak of ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ was edited to give it a Hollywood ending. Hope even when you doubt it can exist.
“It’s just a bit too depressing to not have some sort of glimmer of something positive at the end,” reasons Ellie. “We are positive people, and it’s just a reflection of our outlooks. It’s always been a thing, most of our songs are like that and y’know, if I were feeling truly, truly end of the road sad, they wouldn’t have that feeling of optimism.” ‘Visions’ wrestles with itself. Pulled this way and that, it’s turbulent, unpredictable and constantly colliding with what came before. There are light and shade, but every moment of calm, every dash of panic and every end-of-theworld wave is dealt with the same heartfelt importance. Every emotion is allowed to exist in its natural state, bratty anger, fragile adoration and glittering hope because every emotion matters. Still, Wolf Alice can’t help but exude joy. There’s a playfulness to ‘Visions of a Life’ that comes from the songs dancing in the dark. Always moving, always exciting. “Maybe it was ‘cos we were literally facing each other when we were writing,” offers Joel. “It’s a sad song, but you can still move to it. There was that aspect to it, that pulse.” “It was important that all four of us could have fun playing the songs,” adds Joff. That danceability is “always the objective,” for Wolf Alice. “Whether or not you hit it, that magic to be able to make people dance is powerful.”
he thing about ‘Visions of a Life’ is how unexpected it all is. At no point do the band retread old ground or echo what’s already been said. “It’s very easy to play to our crowd,” Joel reasons, but this album isn’t about doing things the easy way. There’s no sequel to ‘Bros’ (a track the band had to be persuaded to put on the debut) as the record flits between the new and the newer. “People get talked down to a lot about what they think other people are going to like. People don’t like safe stuff,” reasons Theo, trusting the audience will follow their lead. “People get so into stuff if it’s genuine,” he adds later. “It’s not a defiance of expectation,” starts Ellie, “as much as it’s quite easy to settle for what’s comfortable and we made sure we pushed ourselves. If you wanted to try a weird thing, you’d try it. We had more time, so if we wanted to do more layers, we could, and we pushed our instruments a bit further than before. I guess that is against expectations in a certain way because it’s easy to say something is good enough.”
Take the title track. It started life as three demos that weren’t good enough to be songs in their own right. Normally, the band “don’t merge ideas for the sake of it,” Ellie continues. “I think something should be treated as its own thing, but they just really worked together. And because it worked, it was a good sign. Normally, three demos punched together to make an eight-minute song full of riffs should be bad. But it was good.”
than it feels exciting.
And now it exists as its own thing, a microcosm of the record that took its title. A beaming dash through the past, present and ever-blooming future.
Remember, it’s not about the spark, it’s about the anthem at the end.
“No idea was off limits with this album,” Theo adds. “We wanted to be completely open and try everything. We had more time in the studio; we had double the time it took us to make ‘My Love is Cool’. Ideas, lyrics anything was game, and we were up for trying it. It was an intention for it not to hold back, to not have any restraint or anything you’d regret, because if you heard something you hadn’t done when you listen to it back, fuck. That would haunt you.” They had to commit. They had to grab everything in front of them and more. “I remember Justin [MeldalJohnsen, who produced ‘Visions of a Life] talking about the new Beck release [he was also Beck’s bassist/musical director for bloody ages],” says Joff, with a glint in his eye. “After a certain number of albums, people have no longer been expecting anything from him. They just expected to be surprised. They expected a difference” - “You just expect quality,” interjects Joel - “and that’s super exciting. You want that to happen, to have no one have any expectations about what it is.”
‘Yuk Foo’ is “just about frustration,” starts Ellie. “With that song, I feel reluctant to go into depth about it because I feel like I’m always trying to defend it. ‘Oh, it’s not a stupid song’, and then I’m like, ‘Why am I saying that?’ It’s about frustration and for me, I don’t need to tell you what I was thinking about so I’m just not going to,” she explains with a smile.
“It’s weird with ‘Yuk Foo’,” continues Joel. “If you write an emotional record, people forget that anger is part of it. They find it really jarring when you bring out an angry song, like it’s immature, but if it was a sad
song, that could be taken seriously. I was surprised by how people reacted to it. Maybe you can’t please everyone after all,” he grins. “But losing your temper is quite immature,” reasons Ellie. “You’re not composing yourself, so it really jars me when people say ‘You’ve not tried very hard with the lyrics’. Well, I didn’t try very hard when I was screaming and having a tantrum either.” Anger is a weapon, and like everything on ‘Visions’, it fulfils a purpose. There’s a purity in staying true to the emotion, and it shows off yet another side to the band, the story and the people within. It’s also Ellie’s chance to push against people’s expectations of her, the quiet, reserved vocalist.
“I LOOKED AT MY TWITTER FOLLOWERS AND THOUGHT, WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY” Ellie Rowsell
Wolf Alice aren’t there just yet. When ‘Yuk Foo’ announced the record, it provoked a reaction. ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ further escalated things as the band seemed to be toying with their audience by being contrary on purpose. “I would believe we were doing that deliberately too,” admits Ellie. “and it would kinda annoy me, but I actually didn’t even think about it.” “There’s a lot of scope on the album so if we released any two songs, there’d be a difference,” reasons Theo. “And I suppose following them both with ‘Beautifully Unconventional’ was really weird,” he adds with a grin. Often with Wolf Alice, things don’t need a reason or a bigger purpose
DOWN WITH BORING
“WE HAVE MORE MUSIC TO CHOOSE FROM, AND THEY’RE ALL FIRE, THOSE TUNES” Theo Ellis
at a big venue, the prospect of that is really exciting.”
“I always get told I’m really shy. I guess I’m not so extroverted, but it was my time to say, well, you don’t really know me, and I can do whatever I want in my art. And I will. Also, why are people taking that song so literally? The line ‘I want to fuck all the people I meet’, people have been taking it so literally and telling me ‘That’s really stupid’ and ‘Eww, what are you on about?’ “I feel like people don’t really expect you, as a female, to talk about sex in the same way. Yes, it’s still really shocking, but because it’s art, I can do that. It is quite scary to say some things, but you have that reassurance that its art. It’s not necessarily a reflection of me.” “And it would be a completely different statement if a bloke said it,” offers Joff. “Kendrick wanted a dick as big as the Eiffel Tower so he could fuck the world for seventy-two hours and people were like, ‘cool man’.”
isions of a Life’ is full of small epiphanies, life-changing realisations and constant reassurance. It challenges, confronts and comforts with each breath, down but never out. Hopeful but never naïve. It’s felt the weight of the world and can now carry its own. Ultimately, it’s an album about grabbing life while you can, because that’s what Wolf Alice want. Towards the end of touring ‘My Love
is Cool’, the band skipped playing a homecoming at a London arena, instead deciding to do a four-night residency at the Kentish Town Forum. Every evening sold out as the band played to just shy of 10,000 people. Draw wasn’t an issue. Instead, the band were worried about getting lost in venues that expansive. “We were touring one album and to play a venue that size is tricky,” says Theo. “Admittedly we had two EPs, but those aren’t songs that are necessarily in everyone’s conscious.” Now the band are heading straight to those big, cavernous venues to introduce ‘Visions of A Life’ to you face to face. “We have way more to choose from,” reasons Theo. “I think what proved it to me personally was that the last set of intimate UK and US shows, they just felt so fun. 50 minutes was flying by, whereas before 50 minutes was a stretch for us. We’re in better shape to play somewhere like Ally Pally now. We have more music to choose from, and they’re all fire, those tunes,” he laughs, as Joff nods. “That’s going to be the byline then.” They know how this game works by now. The band “weren’t thinking about anything other than making the songs good” during the creation of their new album, says Joff. “I don’t think the record is aspirational in those terms intently. [But still], playing a song like ‘Visions of a Life’
“And sometimes it’s good to do things that scare you,” starts Ellie, “so you can push yourself. I don’t feel like, ‘Oh my god, what have we done? We’ve made a grave mistake’. I just feel it’s out of my comfort zone, which is sometimes a good thing.” “To be fair, I don’t think I’ve ever felt in my comfort zone at any big London show other than maybe the Kentish Town ones, ‘cos they
were smaller than the one before it [Brixton Academy],” says Joff. “All the ones before that were a step up, and I always thought ‘Fucking hell, can we do this?’” “I was about to say the same thing,” adds Joel, as the band look back further. At the time shows at Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Dingwalls seemed uncomfortable as well. Now look at them. “You’ve got to take that leap at some point to get to that next stage,”
reasons Theo. “We were going to have to do it eventually.”
with your friends and your own self-discovery. Their music is fantastical but real. They tell stories, explore harsh truths and find beauty in camaraderie. They inspire this gang mentality, welcoming and tightly knit, they mean a lot to the many, but every connection is deeply personal.
What better time than now?
t’s been said before, it’ll be said again. Wolf Alice are an important band. They mean something to their audience and they stand for what they believe in. Earlier this year, they pulled together Bands 4 Refugees. A series of gigs to raise awareness and cold hard cash for the ongoing refugee crisis, it saw them take to the stage alongside members of Peace, Dream Wife, Superfood, Black Honey, The Magic Gang, Slaves, Years & Years and basically every great band around.
The band don’t know why they inspire such a strong bond, “and maybe we shouldn’t know,” reasons Joel. “I know what bands mean to me, and that’s very important. So if you have that connection, that is important. And that’s not us glorifying ourselves,” he quickly adds. If the record lasts on peoples shelves and “it’s not a disposable record from 2017, if it had longevity, then we’ve done ourselves proud.”
It would have been easier to just focus on themselves, and their new record, “but the whole nature of it is that it’s not going to be easy to do.” “You find the time for something as important as that, if you really want to do it,” offers Joel. “Which is what we did. And it’s what the people who helped did.” It’s an ongoing concern. “It would be cool to do it again, I think it’s important to,” starts Theo. They’re going to block out some time for it, but “at the moment, we wouldn’t be able to do anything very good,” because of how busy they are. “It has to be worth people donating money,” he figures. Elsewhere, during the election, the band loudly backed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and fervently encouraged people to use their voice. “I looked at my Twitter followers and thought, with great power comes great responsibility.” teases Ellie of her decision to get involved. “Just trust your gut and your heart,” she adds, managing a shrug and sincerity. “Also, it’s black and white these days. It’s good versus evil, choose your side,” adds Theo. “I think speaking up is important. I don’t know if making music is,” he starts, before Ellie cuts him off: “If someone is enjoying what you’re doing, it’s important. They probably don’t want you to stop, and if you’re enjoying it as well…” “You do forget it a lot of the time,” says Joff, “but if you think about the big bands you listened to, they genuinely did help you through growing up and that stuff. It does sound a bit naff, but bands do properly help people.” “They also help you realise you’re not the only person going through something,” continues Theo. “When you feel detached from something, they explain something for you in a song. People have come up to
us after our shows and said we’ve helped them through certain things.” “You shouldn’t take that lightly,” starts Joel, as Joff reasons: “But it’s so easy to forget that.” The thing is, “you don’t feel like that person,” says Ellie. “When someone is looking at me I always think, ‘Oh no, what have I got on my face?’ rather than, ‘Oh, they probably just recognise me.” They might be indie champions, role models and serious artists but together, they’re still just four mates. Humble but refusing to let anyone down or give others the satisfaction, theirs is a powerful stance.
There’s nothing wrong with being charismatic, interesting and a little bit arrogant at times, but the notion of a rock star, or the old cliché of thinking you’re above other people, it conjures up negative connotations. There’s nothing wrong with being funny and a laugh, but a rock star? I don’t know.” “No one trying to be a rock star is a rock star,” states Ellie. “There you go!” exclaims Theo. “Fuck what I said, that answer was good.” Wolf Alice soundtrack adventures
Wolf Alice are already a oncein-a-generation force. They make music to fall in love with because they’re in love with music. Soundtracking evenings that soundtrack years, forever is on their horizon but what matters right now, is now. It’s the flickering lightbulb that hovers above ‘Visions of a Life’. Embrace them while you can. “You still go back to the records you grew up with and the nostalgia you get from that is crazy, you feel the same way now as you did back then,” concludes Theo. “If someone can feel the same way listening to this album, as I do listening to [Queens of the Stone Age’s 2002 album] ‘Songs For The Deaf’, then job done.” P Wolf Alice’s album ‘Visions of a Life’ is out now.
After everything they’ve been through, everything they’ve achieved, you wouldn’t blame Wolf Alice for coming back and believing their own hype. That said, Theo knows “at least five people from one pub that would take me down at least seventeen pegs,” if he even mentioned being in one of the best bands in the world, and the four of them are quick to keep each other in check. Rock star “is a stupid idea” and despite the band taking their music seriously, they’re under no pretence about themselves. “It’s weirder when you go to a festival, and you see any young band who do take it seriously, they do really stick out now,” offers Joel. “Liam Gallagher has come back, and everyone loves him because no one really does that anymore.” “But he’s also parodying himself,” adds Theo. “He’s pretty self-aware.
DOWN WITH BORING
IT’S ALL ABOUT U THEY DROPPED ONE OF THE BEST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR, NOW THEY’RE ABOUT TO HIT THE ROAD WITH HARRY STYLES. OBVIOUSLY, RIGHT?
he sun is shining on the balcony of Shoreditch’s Ace Hotel, and MUNA are all in good spirits. Consisting of Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson, the threepiece are fresh from a run of shows in the UK – and conversation quickly turns to their upcoming tour with none other than Harry Styles. “We’ve had loads of love from Directioners,” laughs Katie. “We’ve been told he selected us personally, which is really humbling. We’ve been lucky enough to have a few musicians reach out to us and tell us they like what we’re doing. That’s obviously really cool – we want to create the best art that we can so it’s awesome to hear that”. Many alternative acts may have avoided aligning themselves with one of the biggest pop stars in the word, but MUNA are quick to distance themselves from such snobbery. “So what if we’re a pop band, what the fuck of it?” says Naomi defiantly. “Don’t judge anyone for that. You’re going to be humbled if you make assumptions about people based on their popularity”. “Harry Styles is proving himself to be quite an interesting artist,” continues Josette. “If you ask Directioners they would say that they’ve been following him for ages and he’s always been like that. He’s found ways to spread alternative messages through what he’s doing. So I think it goes to show that you don’t know somebody just because they’re a celebrity.” The pop landscape is a subject MUNA seem particularly passionate about, and the band continue to dissect the phenomenon that is One Direction. “It’s like the Spice Girls type of thing,” explains Katie.
WORDS: DANIEL JEAKINS. PHOTO: CORINNE CUMMING.
“With every pop band, you have preexisting personalities where people say ‘this one is the funny one’ and ‘this one is the sweet one’. There are millions of people who don’t know you that make assumptions about you – it comes from living a life entirely in the public eye.” The band may hail from the US, but much like many of their predecessors, they established a fan-base in Britain before their homeland. “We’re all kind of anglophiles”, confesses Katie. “I live British humour in particular. I’ve watched every episode of Skins, Misfits and The Inbetweeners!” “Our first fans were here,” continues Josette. “People here are a little more open to new music, and I guess that’s always been true of Britain. People here are into new music in a way they aren’t in the States. The US is a massive country and so breaking there is so difficult, whereas here it feels a little more achievable.” While the band’s debut album ‘About U’ has enjoyed widespread praise, the band suffered significant nerves before release. “Before the record came out I was ready for everyone to voice their disappointment in us,” explains Katie. “I didn’t understand why people thought it was enough – the way people have reacted to it has proven to be a huge lesson for me.” “Everything with us feels like it was meant to happen,” continues Josette. “We feel ready to be on the road. It’s hard to tour when you have about three songs out, so it’s great that people know the record well and give a shit about it.” The band formed in Los Angeles, but feel their signature electronic pop sound derives more from the records they bonded over than the place they are from. “We all love ‘Tango
“SO WHAT IF WE’RE A POP BAND, WHAT THE FUCK OF IT?” In The Night’ by Fleetwood Mac, ‘Body Talk Pt. 2’ by Robyn, ‘Hounds Of Love’ by Kate Bush, ‘The Joshua Tree’ by U2, ‘Heathen’ by David Bowie’, ‘Disintegration’ by The Cure,” lists Naomi. “We have a lot of common ground musically, and I think that shows with the music we make.” “We’ve been listening to a lot of Talking Heads too,” continues Katie. “Sometimes it takes me a while for me to understand what’s going on conceptually with them. I guess we’re all from the same generation and connect over the same kind of music.” The band do note, however, that the comparisons they receive in the music press don’t necessarily reflect these influences. “Twice in the last week I’ve had people say ‘you remind me of Haim’ – even when they’ve never even listened to our music. I wonder what it could be that makes them say that?” Katie notes sarcastically. “I don’t think that’s ever happened to a boy band.” “It’s amazing that someone could say that, being so well-meaning,” laughs Josette. “To have the naked comparison without even listening to our music kinds of confirms that we aren’t as in the future in terms of gender as one might think. This is not to discredit any other band who identifies as female – I don’t necessarily think we sound alike to Haim at all. In some ways, we’re a lot
more like the Spice Girls!” MUNA’s live show has been getting better and better since their album dropped, and the band have taken to performing live in a big way over the last few months. “The last time we were in London there’s been a bunch of time when I’ve had to wake up out of a fever sleep,” reveals Naomi. “Then I go onstage and scream and jump for about an hour. I really enjoy pushing myself to my limit and being on edge all the time. There are so many conversations we’ll have backstage where we big ourselves up and tell each other to fucking smash it.” “It’s the best feeling in the world,” continues Katie. “The most powerful high you can possibly experience. It’s akin to the creative process when you feel like you’re on the edge of something great. If you play a great show, it’s the best feeling in the world.” As for the future, the trio are looking forward to recording more music and taking it to even more exciting places. “We love a long-term game plan. Doing anything, you have to take some time and reflect on what it is you’re trying to do. We are addicted to working and are constantly working – so you can expect to hear more soon.” P MUNA tour the UK with Harry Styles from 29th October.
DOWN WITH BORING
DEBUT ALBUM ‘SPRAINED ANKLE’ SAW JULIEN BAKER BECOME AN EMO ICON OVERNIGHT. RETURNING WITH HER SUPERB SECOND EFFORT, ‘TURN OUT THE LIGHTS’, SHE’S LOOKED TO FRIENDS, FAMILY AND THE PAST TO PROVIDE THE EMOTIONAL INSPIRATION FOR ONE OF 2017’S STAND OUT RECORDS… WORDS: JAKE RICHARDSON. PHOTO: NOLAN KNIGHT.
promise I won’t take us down a contrived ‘What does emo really mean?’ tangent, but it’s interesting how that term has reinvented itself,” muses Julien Baker when asked how she feels about the following she’s garnered in the worlds of emo and punk, and the question seems to have ignited something inside the Tennessee native. “It’s no surprise to me,” she says of the support she receives from the emo crowd. “That’s the world I came out of, and it informed how I write lyrics. There’s something outside of sonic and stylistic choices that is consistent with that scene. It’s interesting how the term ‘emo’ has changed its meaning, and how what it’s getting at is peoples’ need to emote; people looking for something that is… I don’t want to say more honest, but it’s something like that. There’s so much music out there that I would consider emo that sounds nothing like traditional ‘emo’, but to me is. Leonard Cohen is pretty emo to me. If you were looking at the criteria – cataloguing events in a very hyper-specific, personal experience, looking at an intense personal emotion and exploring it – then Leonard Cohen and Simon & Garfunkel are super emo. I like having a following in that world.” Julien pauses, almost aghast at what she has just said. “Wow, that’s so weird of me even to say, because I never think of myself in terms of a person who would have a following! But people who listen to me also like emo music, and maybe that’s because emo is the style of music I most connect with.”
It’s a fascinating discussion and one that bands and music fans alike have grappled with for decades now. For some, the word ‘emo’ instantly brings to mind bands like My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy – the flagbearers for the mid-noughties post-pop-punk emo revival. For others, it means the emotional hardcore of Rites Of Spring, or the indie-leaning music of 90s emo pioneers Sunny Day Real Estate. Jimmy Eat World, Modern Baseball, The Hotelier, Manchester Orchestra and Death Cab For Cutie are other names that may spring to mind. Despite this, one constant throughout the genre’s transformations is that it has always been associated with bands. That is, until now. With her 2015 debut album, ‘Sprained Ankle’, Julien Baker tore-up the emo rulebook. This was one woman and a guitar; no frills, no bros and no bullshit. But at its core, it was very much an emo record. Jam-packed with emotion, this was a sorrowful, cathartic musical experience. Like Death Cab, MCR and Leonard Cohen before her, Julien Baker was looking into her soul and laying herself bare. She was, however, doing so with a tenderness we’ve never seen before. Almost out of nowhere, she became one of the most talked-about names in alternative music. A sizeable fanbase and countless five-star reviews followed, including a perfect rating from Dork penned by this writer. We hadn’t heard anything quite like the introspectiveness of ‘Sprained Ankle’. Julien Baker had looked inside herself to find inspiration for her debut album, but fast-forward two years, and on the eve of releasing sophomore effort ‘Turn Out The Lights’, she reveals how for this new album, she sought to explore the emotions of not just herself, but of those around her, too. “As the process of making this record progressed, I had several different roommates and had interactions with my family members about their struggles,” Julien recalls. “I was recognising that other people have this trauma they are sifting through, and that gave me some context as to how I understood them and how I understood myself. A song on the
album called ‘Hurt Less’ is about one of my best friends that I play music with, and how practising empathy with another person can be a means of teaching it to yourself. So the songs on ‘Turn Out The Lights’ are still told from my perspective – I just wanted to try and not just focus solely on myself this time.” As well as looking to document the struggles of friends and family on her new album, Julien also used the writing to process for ‘Turn Out The Lights’ as a means to reflect on ‘Sprained Ankle’. Her debut album might have been a critical and commercial success, but she wasn’t content to write the record off as flawless and move on. “Compared to ‘Sprained Ankle’, I tried to be more conscientious as to what I’m saying and what the songs are really getting at this time,” she explains. “I was going back and playing
out how to process sadness, instead of wallow in it or become enslaved to and defined by it.” It’s apt that ‘Turn Out The Lights’ contains a song titled ‘Happy To Be Here’, as ‘happiness’ is a concept that Julien grapples with the on the album. Happiness, she argues, is somewhat of a fallacy; a concept always on the horizon but forever out of reach. “In recent years I’ve been making records and touring, and I’ve been in some painful relationships and seen new ones begin. With all of this change and transition happening, I’ve become of the opinion that happiness and joy are very different things,” she says. “And that seems like I’m very particular and semantic, but happiness seems to be this idea that no-one can quite define – they feel it for a moment and reflect on a time when they were truly happy – and it seems to
“I GUESS I’M PRETTY GOOFY” JULIEN BAKER
the ‘Sprained Ankle’ songs over and over again and asking myself, ‘What motivated me to say these things? What beliefs are those songs telling me I have about myself?’ Consequently, this record is a lot about exploring the treacherous and scary realm of mental health.” Again, there’s a contemplative pause. “Gosh, it sounds really pretentious to say this, but I talk about the psyche on the new album too. And I don’t mean the psyche in terms of the conceptual or philosophical; ‘Appointments’ and ‘Happy To Be Here’ were some of the first songs I wrote for this record, and they were me trying to take a look at my mind and how to get better while being realistic. I was trying to figure
be very circumstantial, fleeting and a precarious thing to seek.” “I don’t think I’m a naturally happy person, but I think I have a lot of joy; I guess I’m pretty goofy, but I experience a lot of anxiety, and most of my thoughts are a little heavy. But the way I go about dealing with that is choosing to approach things with an attitude of joy, and when I have the option between a positive and negative assessment of a situation, I try to be positive. No matter how much my immediate inclination or the genesis of my mental health issues motivates me to be negative, I try to combat that with joy. Happiness is something where I imagine if I’m this successful, make this amount of money, drive this car, if I had a partner that loved me
in this way, if I felt more physically attractive, then I’d be happy. But if those things were to be achieved, there’d be new deficits we’d continue to discover, until we realise that we are eternally chasing something that’s beyond us. “Achievement or possessions may never make us happy, whereas I think joy is something that you can apply to your present circumstance. I try not to think, ‘If only I could stop having panic attacks I could be happy,’ because I might never – that’s a real possibility. But maybe if I could control them or learn to not hate myself for being who I am, then it wouldn’t be such a consuming issue. So now, I still have panic attacks and anxiety, but I’m able to cope with them and be joyful about the person that I am.” She pauses before deciding to poke fun at herself. “Did that all sound super self-help book?” she laughs. “Like me giving you the thumbs-up on the cover of the sleeve?” Maybe a bit, but more than anything, Julien’s words are sincere. ‘Turn Out The Lights’ is not just an album for her, it’s a gift to her fans; the lyrics an arm around the shoulder, a hand to hold and a reminder that – imperfections and all – you are perfect the way you are. It’s telling you that no matter how bad things might feel, your life is precious, and it will get better. “I hope this record provides some solace or encouragement to people,” she says as our conversation draws to a close. “The way I was able to reassign meaning to the bleakness of ‘Sprained Ankle’ was that it was made up of emotion, and emoting helps a person heal, and thus the bleakness can be repurposed as a positive thing. I want to be more intentional about this album being specifically for that purpose – to help a person really be okay with the things they find when they’re introspecting, and not let sadness be a stagnant, final destination. I hope this record is a step along the way for people to get to a better place.” P Julien Baker’s album ‘Turn Out The Lights’ is out 27th October.
I GET SO EMOTIONAL, BABY
Like Julien Baker? Like music that’s a bit emo? Then check out these bands picked by Tennessee’s finest!
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
“When I first heard about Death Cab I was at art school, people were saying Death Cab For Cutie are an indie band. For me, Death Cab has always lived in that world of Fleet Foxes and bands who play nice theatres, so it’s interesting to think of them as an emo band doing club tours!”
PEDRO THE LION
“Pedro The Lion’s album ‘Control’ changed my life! It was so good – I’d never heard anything like that record. [Frontman] David Bazan is opening a couple of my shows in the States and I am over the moon! I can’t describe my feelings about that!”
“Oh my gosh – Manchester Orchestra were a huge band for me growing-up! Freshman year was when I first heard the album ‘Mean Everything To Nothing’. They are such an incredible band – they’ve got to be one of my top five favourite bands of all time!”
AND HONOURABLE MENTIONS FOR...
“I got into Elliott Smith later than the ‘event’ of Elliott Smith – I just picked up a record, and it was already like a monolith of song-writing! I also listened to loads of Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance in high-school, as well as AFI and Alkaline Trio. That was around the time I was starting to go to local punk shows.” DOWN WITH BORING
90’S KID POP WHIZZ SHAMIR HAS HAD ONE HELL OF A YEAR - NEW ALBUM
‘REVELATIONS’ SEES HIM TACKLE LIFE AND MENTAL HEALTH HEAD-ON. WORDS: JESSICA GOODMAN. PHOTO: JASON MACDONALD.
just want to give people my soul,” Shamir offers. It’s been a long six months since the Philadelphia based musician shared his second album online, along with the announcement he was going to quit music for good, and a hell of a lot has changed. “’Hope’ was just me at my wit’s end,” he reflects on album two. “I thought it was going to end my career, but at the very least I knew that I would go out with the last word, and give the world a piece of me before I move on to pasture.” Playing and recording the album himself in his room using an old four-track, ‘Hope’ showcased Shamir at his most innately heartfelt. “What a lot of people don’t realise is that ‘Hope’ was the beginning of a manic episode for me, which, in turn, turned into a psychotic episode,” the musician states. “I ended up having to spend a week in a psych ward.” Getting out of hospital to be “pretty much forcefully sent back home to Las Vegas,” his musical career might’ve been one of the last things on his mind, but it was music that proved to be a saving grace. “Music is my therapy,” Shamir expresses. “It was just me writing out these feelings and about my life.” Giving voice and form to the thoughts in his head, ‘Revelations’ is a portrait of an artist at his most candid yet. “I’m definitely a person who can get more creative the less stuff that I have,” he describes. “Coming to Vegas, I had to travel light. I just had my guitar. While I was out there I bought a bass and a drum sampler, and that’s literally about it, that’s all I had.”
Stripping creativity back to its basics, the result is a record that tears through any sense of circumstance to convey emotion and expression as it’s most keenly felt. “I think people just really respond to heartfelt stuff that actually means something to artists, despite sound quality or my playing abilities,” Shamir laughs. “I wasn’t even trying to record an album when I got back to Vegas,” he adds. “I had just got out of the hospital, that was the last thing I was thinking of.”
From start to finish, ‘Revelations’ is an album that bears its heart on its sleeve, personal reflection – disillusioned though it can be – finding power in its own expression. “The record is so very personal,” Shamir states. “Everything on the record is so very specifically personal.” Voicing your innermost thoughts can be a daunting task, but it’s also something that comes naturally to the musician. “It’s actually very easy,” he describes, “especially when the emotions are that overwhelming.”
“I THOUGHT ‘HOPE’ WAS GOING TO END MY CAREER” SHAMIR
Seeking catharsis in creativity reaped its own rewards, and the result of that creativity finds itself somewhere between “a personal transformation” and “a musical diary.” “It feels like a journal that I’m sharing with the world,” Shamir portrays. “It’s called ‘Revelations’ because it revealed a lot of things about my life, my health, my mental health, and about the people around me,” he continues. “When something so traumatic happens to you, it shows you a whole new worldview.”
No holds barred, the record paints a picture of some of Shamir’s darkest moments with a resounding sense of acceptance. Few manage this better than the album’s emotive high-point ‘Astral Plane’. “That, for me, was specifically about the time that I spent in the emergency room after having my episode before I went to the psychiatric ward,” he recalls. “They put me in a really, really, really dark room to calm me down. In that time, being super detached from reality, I thought that maybe
I was dead, maybe I’d passed on.” Dark and intensely personal though that may seem, the song isn’t without its sense of hope. “If you’re going through hell, keep falling through,” Shamir sings in the introduction, his voice a beacon of light and a sense of calm against the chaos. “That song is kind of just about me on the astral plane: if I was to go, what would I want to see to better the world?” he describes. “I’m only 22 years old. I felt like even if I was to go now, or soonish, there’d be a lot more positivity and positive things that I would continue to want to do, not necessarily for me personally, but also for the world.” With ‘Revelations’ about to see release, that’s exactly what Shamir intends to go out and achieve. “So much has happened, just in the last few months,” he reflects. “From ‘Hope’, to being in hospital, to going back to Vegas for the summer, to being resigned, to releasing a second record in one year…” Album release and live shows ahead of him, it’s onwards and upwards towards a future that’s seeming brighter than ever – and it’s a future the musician can’t wait to share. “Even though the record to me is very personal, it talks about specifically personal things that have happened to me, I think I try to write in a way that anyone else can personally relate to through something else that has happened to them,” he expresses. “I just hope that people are able to relate to it, whether they can relate to the specific stories that I wrote it from or they can relate it to something that’s happened to them.” P Shamir’s album ‘Revelations’ is out 3rd November.
DOWN WITH BORING
“I WANTED IT TO BE A STEP UP” ALICIA BOGNANNO
B U L LY
WI N S
BULLY’S NEW ALBUM ‘LOSING’ SEES FRONTWOMAN ALICIA BOGNANNO FLEX HER SLACKERY POP PUNK MUSCLES.
ashville trio Bully instantly captured hearts when they emerged in 2013, then released their bangerpacked debut ‘Feels Like’ in 2015. There weren’t any gimmicks or quick fixes: Bully do things on their own terms and call their own tune. It’s a singular drive and work ethic that’s led them to follow-up, ‘Losing’. ‘Feels Like’ was full of heart-swelling punk rock, but this time they knew it was time to switch things up a gear. “We tried a lot harder to step it up a notch in so far as the complexity of the songs,” begins singer and guitarist Alicia Bognanno. “When I was writing I had it in the back of my head that I didn’t just want to keep it to two chords, really quick. I wanted to spread it out a little longer and give it a bit more space.” That space gave them the opportunity to both broaden their approach and ramp up the qualities that make Bully so special. You can hear it in the copious goose-bump inducing moments that hit you like a sudden bracing electric shock. From Alicia’s piercing screams and impassioned roars on tracks like ‘Focused’ to the breakneck punk assault of ‘Seeing It’, the album represents the next development of Bully - one that’s the product of years of refining their craft. “I wanted it to be better, and I wanted it to be a step up,” explains Alicia. “I never want to be stepping in the opposite direction. After we had tracked ‘Feels Like’ we got so
WORDS: MARTYN YOUNG. PHOTO: ALYSSE GAFKJEN.
much touring under our belt. We played together almost non-stop for a year and a half so I thought that it would definitely be a little better; there’s no way it wouldn’t be - our playing is better, the engineering is better and the songwriting is better.” Once again, the record was engineered by Alicia at Steve Albini’s famous studio in Chicago. There was a brief temptation to try and bring someone else in but, in typically Bully fashion, doing it on their own just felt right. “I considered having someone else engineer it,” says Alicia. “I could see how it would be more beneficial for me and offer me more space to be creative. When it came down to it though I wanted to do it. I think it would just bum me out of I had someone else engineer it. For me, it’s such a learning experience. It’s a test that I put myself through. To be on the road for a year and a half and make sure you still got your chops. I like that challenge, and it’s naturally a
THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER With such a relentless work rate, Bully are already eyeing up the future. “It’s actually funny because this one isn’t even out yet and in my head, I’m thinking about a third record,” laughs Alicia. “Every time I bring it up to someone they’re like, ‘Chill out, what are you talking about?’ I’m always moving on to the next thing. My head is already on the third record.”
challenge that comes with Bully because that’s the only way we’ve done things.” Writing and recording the album presented another challenge as Alicia and the band tried to once again adapt to the normality of everyday life away from the highs of life on the road. “A lot is going on,” says Alicia of the songs on the album. “Just coming back and learning how to be stationary and natural at home, not being on the road. The election was going on, and that’s undeniably going to creep into the record. There were a lot of events like that occurring. Everything is about something different. It goes from heavy to more light-hearted, like ‘Guess There’ which is just a mockery of me wanting to stay at home instead of socialise.” Despite beginning to establish herself as one of rock’s new vital voices Alicia resolutely sticks to the principals that have allowed Bully to flourish. There’s no big statements or outlandish grandstanding. Dealing with her elevated position does provide a few challenges though. “I feel like having to keep up with social media if nothing else gives me more of a personality crisis than when I’m on my own, and I’m not concerned about other people’s opinions that are going to get thrown at me all the time,” she explains. “There’s little things that have developed, basic things such as stand up straight and dealing with interviews. I don’t think my personality has developed and I’m now a confident person though because everyone knows who I am because of the band. If anything,
it’s the opposite because it’s stuff coming at you from left and right.” She laughs off any claims that she’s now a new rock icon though but admits, “I think if that is the case then that’s great because we set a really good example. We work really hard, care about our music and care about playing well live. There’s never anything we’ve released that has been half-assed.” The commitment to giving absolutely everything to the music and their craft has driven Bully forward to big things. Despite making it appear they can craft relatable punk bangers at will, the process is slightly more complicated. “With the lyrics, there’s a whole wall that I have to break down to take myself where I want to go with it,” acknowledges Alicia. “That process of being more direct takes a while to get there. I really have to sit down in and work out in my head where I want it to go. I can’t just tap into it anywhere, I have to be concentrating.” When the songs are as good, and the lyrics as fiercely passionate as the bristling ‘Kills To Be Resistant’ we should be thankful that Alicia puts that effort it in. There’s a sense in Bully that they’ve created something a bit special; the hard work and dedication has paid off. “I would put it at the top because I think it’s better than anything we’ve done,” explains Alicia proudly. “We’ve been playing together longer, and it’s a little more mature. I would say that it’s the best so far.” P Bully’s album ‘Losing’ is out 20th October. DOWN WITH BORING
REVIEWS ST. VINCENT MASSEDUCTION
eeeee techno beats, half theatrical banger. At one point, it sounds like the Ghostbusters theme coming out of a dying child’s toy. ‘Pills’ matches it every step of the way, ringing out like a twisted playground rhyme before swinging a full 180 and floating out of the same door it entered through. Where ‘St. Vincent’ may have been whip-smart in its pacing, ‘MASSEDUCTION’ has no time for anything but full-throttle. While personal preference may sway one way and the next, there’s no doubt that such directness works. Even the record’s slowest moment - lead track ‘New York’ - wins earworm status.
here aren’t many artists like St. Vincent. Heck, it’s quite possible she’s one of a kind, but then all the best have that strand of individuality that marks them out from the field. It’s a trait which finally started to gain the mainstream recognition it deserves on her previous, self-titled album. An
In the lead-up to the record, Clark has claimed this is the record to listen to if you want to really know what her life is like - but while it may well be her most first person full-length to date, no space is left to morbidly pick over lyrical content. Instead, it drips with confidence - be it natural or deliberately presented. From the reminiscence of ‘Young Lover’ to the virtual perfection of ‘Los Ageless’, every moment is gilded with gold. explosion of oddball, unique pop, it became the big breakthrough record that pulls the threads together, adding swagger to every move. From first listen, it was obviously something special. Now its effects have fully taken hold, it’s given birth to something on an altogether different scale. ‘MASSEDUCTION’ isn’t just the next
record off the conveyor belt. In some ways, its day-glo highlights might be the logical next move for Annie Clark, but while others would take the attention and cash out, she’s done anything but. Instead, she’s created a full-length that takes every brilliant, twisted idea and supersized it. ‘Sugarboy’ is a hundred foot high monster - half
As wider horizons open, Clark has grasped her opportunity with both hands. There’s no sign of hanging on for dear life, either. She’s in complete control at all times. On the biggest stage of all, St. Vincent does more than just succeed, she belongs. When, in years to come, they mark out the greats of this era, you can bet she’ll have her say. By then, she’ll be operating in a completely different universe. Stephen Ackroyd
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REV I E WS
EP2 Fighting Ourselves
eeee From Bologna, Italy to London, England via a name that’s been compared to “an off-brand bodybuilding cereal”, it’s no wonder Husky Loops are a little bit different from the norm. Their first EP was an exercise in boundary-pushing, jagged edges melting away into smooth melodies, claustrophobic songs suddenly expanding as fast as you can blink. Their second EP, ‘EP 2’ (well done on the name, lads) picks up the ball and runs with it, building on what made their first effort so original and pushing even further. They’re impossible to pin down and never predictable, but you always get the sense that they hit the exact spot they intend to. Jake Hawkes
DISSOLVE One Little Indian
eeee The cinematic luxuries affected by Hastings-born musical mastermind Tusks, better known to family and friends as Emily Underhill, sees her debut album ‘Dissolve’ become a brooding selection of delicious alt-pop sounds that seek to expand your mind as they swirl intoxicatingly inside your head. Throughout the release, the warm textures surround you with ‘Last’ and the title track both proving powerful as they grasp you by the lapels to pull you in close and tell you the most personal of stories. ‘Dissolve’ - also the lead-in single to the album - is a highlight. There’s never a sense that the pop sensibilities inside are going to overpower the throbbing desire to spill out every last feeling, and at no point does anything you’ll hear become even slightly inaccessible. At the heart of it all, this is an album made for the big screen; destined to flow out of story-high speakers to hordes of fans just waiting to give it a much deserved standing ovation. Ciaran Steward
KEN Merge Records
eee Dan Bejar can always be relied on to provide a certain degree of quality and distinction on every album he releases and ‘Ken’ his twelfth Destroyer album has all the grace and beauty you’ve come to expect. The enigmatic title isn’t a Coronation Street homage; instead, it’s a reference to the original working title of Suede’s romantic ballad ‘The Wild Ones’. While not sounding like the Suede album, it’s imbued with the same sort of evocative spirit of escape and mystery. ‘Ken’ is an album filled with joy and sadness in equal measure. Martyn Young
ometimes the best things come to people who wait. It’s felt like an age since news of Beck’s new album first broke and things in the meantime have gone a bit skew-iff in the world. Thankfully, what hasn’t changed is the promise of Beck going pop, a teasing line that has had us banging on his front door for a while now, and a direction that only Beck could pull off after the lush crafting of previous album ‘Morning Phase’. Striding in on the back of a steed, with his paintbrush firmly in a bucket of technicolour vision - the result is ‘Colors’, a palette of shimmering pop that pulls from a variety of eras for one hell of a good time. Whether its swinging with Beatles-esque joy on ‘Dear Life’, chucking the term pop against the wall and playing with its splatter on ‘Wow’
or putting his foot down in a manner that hasn’t been heard since ‘E-Pro’ scorched its way into disco playlists with ‘I’m So Free’ - ‘Colors’ is a record that thrives on open and carefree moments that only Beck could produce. It’s the sound of pressing play on a glorious summer day, with Beck sounding as vital and important as he’s ever done. Turning his bow back to the immediate pop licks that burst from the title track itself, ‘Dreams’ and ‘Seventh Heaven’, Beck proves that he’s the master of whatever style he likes - and doesn’t let up the grinning hooks throughout (only taking a step back on closer ‘Fix Me’). For a record packed with heady highs, immediate glory and an effortless charm - ‘Colors’ is pretty much unrivalled. This is the moment Beck proves he’s the leader of the party, with an album that could turn any mood into a celebration of life. Jamie Muir
osing’’s opening track ‘Feels The Same’ almost acts as a direct bridge to debut album ‘Feels Like’. Alicia Bognnano is almost trapped in an endless cycle (“Cut my hair / I feel the same / Masturbate / I feel the same”). Life becomes rote, but instead of aimlessly throwing around emotions as we all tended to do when we were younger, this older and wiser Bognnano starts to tackle things head-on. Whether it’s relationships, sexism or general malaise, Bully are now fully prepared to fight their way through it all. All the confused anger has already been expelled and now, even though it’s difficult to see what path they need to take, it’s clear they just need to focus that fire to eliminate the
obstacles. At times, it can feel like Bully have trimmed their claws a little bit. Bognnano’s signature scream, in particular, takes much more of a backseat here. But perhaps this is part of their growing up. It’s a much more reflective album, harking back to incidents with bad weed (‘Focused’) and agonising over consequences rather than just raging ahead like a furious fireball (‘You Could Be Wrong’). It is easy to miss the bite and verve of the old Bully, but Bognnano is still as open and raw as ever. There’s nothing nearly as impactful here as on ‘Feels Like’, but ‘Losing’ feels like a natural progression of Bully’s story. From intern, to forming a band, to exorcising demons, and now to understanding the self, this is still Bully, just older and wiser. Chris Taylor DOWN WITH BORING
KING KRULE THE OOZ
eeee Four years on from his debut, and Archy Marshall has reinvigorated King Krule for follow-up ‘The Ooz’ - a 19-track odyssey which deals with relationships, obsessions and our protagonist’s mental health. And Marshall, now aged 23, remains a raw, unflinching lyricist. “Why’d you leave me? Because of my depression? You used to complete me, but I guess I learnt a lesson,” he sighs on ‘Midnight 01 (Deep Sea Diver)’. But it’s the subtlety on ‘The Ooz’ which sets it apart from this artist’s previous work. It’s a sprawling, dense record and one which represents another progression for an artist who was already way ahead of his years. Alex Thorp
MAYBE IT’S EASY EP Distiller
IN MEMORY OF Modern Sky
Bloody Knees have been teasing for a while now. At every moment, it seems like they’ve almost got there, on the cusp of proving just how hard they can knock things out of the park. Now, with ‘Maybe It’s Easy’, Bloody Knees have the statement they’ve been gearing themselves to lay out - with a tantalising insight of a band in purely unstoppable form. That gnarling spit of attitude still radiates throughout, but now sounds amplified to the point of all-encompassing ferociousness. Showing its teeth with a wink and a smile, this is the sound of a band taking the rulebook, ripping it up and building a shower of glory. No soap needed. Jamie Muir
Direct and sharp, ‘In Memory Of’ is a record of palpable swagger. It jumps off The Cure-wrapped ‘Propaganda’, glides into view with ready-made chant favourites on ‘L.U.V.’, ‘Doing Well’ and ‘Say Nothing’ and can be heard in ‘New Year’ as it captures that peak moment down the boozer (handclaps and all). There’s a sense of youthful abandon, like the sound of earlyLibertines late nights that would pull in the most despondent of faces and make them feel like giants. Catholic Action don’t just prove how good they are with ‘In Memory Of’, but deliver a shimmering reminder of how glorious pop hooks can sound when burst out of an explosive cannon. Jamie Muir
You need these albums... The best albums from the last few months.
V The Horrors’ fifth album is full of surprises; there’s magic when they do something that little bit different, adding sparkle and depth to an already vital voice. ‘V’ sees the band at their playful and creative best.
TRY NOT TO FREAK OUT Sløtface have always had more to them than big choruses and irresistible charm. ‘Try Not To Freak Out’ is you versus the world. Like the best bands, they soundtrack the struggle while having your back at every turn. 46
MELANCHOLIA HYMNS It’s taken a full decade, but Arcane Roots have finally delivered the goods and soared light years above their stratospheric ambitions. Rejoice at this mindbendingly brilliant band.
SCIENCE FICTION Despite all the odds and delays, Brand New have actually released a new album. Emotionally fraught and underlined with a sense of free-falling doom, playful sparks light up this dizzying adventure to pastures new.
DEVOTION Bolero Recordings
eee Pale Honey had zero reservations when it came to exploring unfamiliarity for their second LP, ‘Devotion’. Quite the contrary, the band embrace a full spectrum of sound, characterised by a myriad of electric guitars, percussive synthesisers and catchy basslines. Tuva Lodmark’s languid vocals act as an extension of the album’s often mellow guitar riffs, especially in more atmospheric tracks like ‘The Heaviest of Storms’, while juxtaposed with distorted guitars in tracks ‘Someone’s Devotion’ and ‘Golden’. There’s a striking resemblance between the intro to ‘Lesson Learned’ and the iconic riff featured in Nirvana’s ‘Come As You Are’, as well as between the flanged bass guitars played in the standout single ‘Get These Things Out of My Head’ and New Order’s instantly recognisable intro to ‘Age of Consent’, lending an air of timelessness. ‘Devotion’ serves as an essential stepping stone in the development of Pale Honey’s evolving sound and lays the foundations for a promising future. Lily Beckett
recommend us some stuff.
Last good record you heard: Nelly: Queens of the Stone Age’s ‘Villains’. Tuva: ‘AVVOLGERE’ by True Widow. Favourite ever book: Nelly: Lord of the Rings. Maybe I’m reading it slowly because I don’t want it to end? Tuva: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. Or anything written by him, really. TV show you couldn’t live without: Nelly: Rick and Morty. Tuva: Game of Thrones. Best purchase of this year: Nelly: KNOTTEN table from IKEA. I love it. Tuva: My Yamaha CS reface! Anything else you’d recommend? Nelly: Listen to Tuva’s advice. Tuva: Go on a hike. P
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GANG OF YOUTHS
GO FARTHER IN LIGHTNESS Sony Red
JULIEN BAKER TURN OUT THE LIGHTS
he simple storytelling of Julien Baker’s ‘Sprained Ankle’ was powerful and undeniable. Focusing on the sad, it wallowed in emotion and found comfort in the dark. With nothing to hide behind and nothing to lose, her stories quickly found an audience that, like her, longed for a sense of belonging. Turns out she wasn’t the only one in a little world of sadness With the creak of ‘Over’, Julien once again invites the world into hers. Rather than just accepting sadness,
EP3 Alcopop! Records
eeee Danish trio Nelson Can are going places fast. Showing that guitars sometimes ain’t all that the newly Alcopop! Records stars have a wonderful time on ‘EP 3’. ‘Miracle’ is a joyous slice of disco-tinged post-punk while on ‘Break Down Your Walls’ the trio of Maria, Selina and Signe use simply bass and drums to whip up an impressive storm. There’s a playful sense of mystery at work too, for example on the theatrical dark waltz of ‘Digging Your Grave’. The fuzzy bass that underpins closing track ‘Stonewall Frank’ highlights the band cutting loose on a post-punky stormer. Making a statement while offering an exciting glimpse into the future Nelson Can’s ‘EP 3’ suggests they’re one to watch. Martyn Young
WILLIAM PATRICK CORGAN
OGILALA Martha’s Music / EMI
eeee ‘Ogilala’ is Billy Corgan’s latest step
Turn Out The Lights’ looks outwards and explores the whys and the hows. Confusion and loss still run wild but they’re chased by a reason. A desire to turn things around. These are so much more than sad songs. The changes are bold and quick to make themselves known. ‘Appointments’ twinkles under the belief that “maybe it’s all going to turn out alright. I know that it’s not, but I have to believe that is is,” while ‘Sour Breath’ plays with slow builds and deafening silences before the cinematic climax of ‘Claws In Your Back’ twists with epic horizons and quiet truths. Sometimes joyful, sometimes haunting, ‘Turn Out The Lights’
is constantly and wonderfully arresting. Julien’s music has this was of finding its way into your very being, lighting up parts of yourself that you’d forgotten or long since locked away and reigniting a fire. It’s scary, conflicting but reassuring. There’s a purity to the way she bares herself in song and a resilience in the way she pushes things forward. Whether it’s fighting with herself in ‘Shadowboxing’ or questioning her flaws in ‘Happy To Be Here’ to the close contact smile of ‘Hurt Less’, this record sees Julien step out beyond the expected. Sparking with brilliance and dancing under the weight of the world, ‘Turn Out The Lights’ is mind, body and soul superb. Ali Shutler
in a 25 year+ career, but it’s the first for William Patrick Corgan. The album is his second strictly solo venture, and it finds the Smashing Pumpkins frontman indulging in something a bit more intimate. Built on a simple foundation of strings, acoustic guitar and piano as well as Corgan’s distinctive vocals it’s a sweet collection of reflective ballads. Of course, it’s filtered through Corgan’s unique prism and is filled with the sort of mythical, philosophical lyrics that have characterised his work. “Take me as I am” he sings on ‘The Spaniards’ and indeed, this may be the most personal work he’s put his name to in years. William Patrick Corgan is off to a promising start. Martyn Young
all profits are going to the Tegan and Sara Foundation. Shura’s version of the title track turns it from a peak emo banger into an 808 era Kanye-esqe sonic landscape while Ryan Adams’ ‘Back In Your Head’ turns into a rock and roll highlight from the acoustic driven original. Hayley Williams’ ‘Nineteen’ becomes a minimalistic ballad, while the best is saved to last with CHVRCHES’ ‘Call It Off’ is the perfect atmospheric closer with Lauren Mayberry’s vocals backed by a vocoder and dreamy synths rounding off a collection of songs that deserve to be heard. Josh Williams
Remember that idea of music being pretty powerful? To pick you up from the dirt and dust off your shoulders to go back swinging at whatever life is poised to throw at you. It’s a power that practically launches itself out of ‘Go Farther In Lightness’ - a 75 minute opus that finds Gang Of Youths not just aiming to shake a few cages, but launch them out of the window. Full of wide-eyed visions and red raw honesty, it’s a poetic and gripping body of work that places Gang Of Youths as not just a important band, but an important voice in 2017 and beyond. Jamie Muir
COURTNEY BARNETT AND KURT VILE
LOTTA SEA LICE Marathon Artists/ Matador / Milk! Recordings / Mom & Pop
eeee Open-hearted and warm, with charm to spare, Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile’s mutual admiration hits you straight away. Vile has called Barnett’s ‘Depreston’ an “instant classic” (he’s not wrong), while Courtney has said working with Kurt pulled her out of a songwriting rut. There’s a clear kinship on ‘Lotta Sea Lice’ which makes songs like ‘Let It Go’ - written by Barnett after Vile sent her ‘Over Everything’ - such a balm, and lifts the breezy, but slight ‘Blue Cheese’ out of throwaway territory. There are slightly mixed results when the pair cover each other: Vile’s ‘Outta The Woodwork’ sheds the haunted, desperate feel for a ponderous country-blues, losing something in the process, while Barnett’s ‘Peepin’ Tom’ takes the same tumbling guitar figures but piles on fragility. But overall Barnett and Vile have created something together that manages to live up to and confound your expectations. Rob Mair
TEGAN AND SARA
THE CON X: COVERS Warner Bros
eeee In 2007, Tegan and Sara released ‘The Con’ to almost universal critical acclaim with the album launching them to a much wider audience. Ten years later, the duo have put together a collection of covers to bring the songs into a new light from which
DOWN WITH BORING
QTY Dirty Hit
eee Dirty Hit is, quite probably, the most exciting label in the country right now - certainly so if you’re a fan of big, brilliant British indie. That makes QTY a new string to their prolific bow. A NYC duo, their brand of genre-friendly bangers draws from a different world - but that doesn’t make the pulse race any slower. Opener ‘Rodeo’ packs the moves, while ‘Michael’ rolls its way to a chorus that soars with classic style. A triumph in traditional indie rock, what it lacks in originality, ‘QTY’ makes up for in tunes. If it was 2002, they’d be the next biggest band on the planet. In 2017 they’re a hidden gem to discover. Stephen Ackroyd
THE FIRST AMERICAN BAND TO SIGN WITH THE HOME OF THE 1975 AND WOLF ALICE, DIRTY HIT, NEW YORK’S QTY DISCUSS THEIR CHANCE SIGNING, FURNITURE AND FALLING IN LOVE WITH LONDON. WORDS: JAKE HAWKES. New York’s QTY are about to release their debut album, and are on the brink of a major tour. Dan Lardner, one-half of the duo, is sitting at his desk in New York and explaining how QTY managed to secure a record deal with Dirty Hit in London without ever meeting anyone from the label. “When I got the call from Dirty Hit it was a number I didn’t even think could exist, it was too many numbers!” he laughs. “We had just played some random show in San Francisco, and we recorded some demos at a recording studio there. I sent the songs over to my roommate, who’s from London. She passed them on to Jamie Oborne at Dirty Hit and the next day I just got this phone call, and I couldn’t believe it. We’d been through the most difficult way of doing things in the past, and it had fallen apart, but this just worked from one phone call. It was kinda magical, and kind of like some cosmic joke. It’s taken so long, and it took someone I’ve never met in my life giving me a phone call to finally get things going.” When asked about his songwriting process, Dan is slow to answer: “I’m a lyricist, I’ll always put the things I write to chords and a melody. I just keep a notebook with me, and I write things down, then I come home to my desk… A bit of a tangent, but I’m ridiculously proud of my desk, I think I even mention it in a couple of songs. I’m actually here now!” He exclaims. “Where was I? All of my lyrics are about real things. I’ll put all of those things together and make sure it all makes sense, but it’s all based on real experiences. I do write a lot; we have so much material for coming albums, EPs, whatever, it just needs recording.” What about when QTY run out of relatable observations? Dan whistles, before answering: “Do you think that’ll happen? I think I’ll always be somewhat of… I don’t wanna say a degenerate, but a man of the people. I think it’ll always be relatable; you’ve gotta walk places, you’ve gotta see people and have experiences.” The band’s broadening horizons mean they’ve got plenty of material for the foreseeable future anyway: “I’ve basically never left New York,” Dan laughs. “I don’t wanna seem like some naïve country bumpkin, but it’s true! Going from that to touring North America, all the way up to Canada, that’s incredible. Going to Europe? That’s crazy. Australia? That’s so wild.” When Dan talks about touring, he sounds like a kid in a candy shop, and you really get the sense that he’s been waiting his whole life for the upcoming shows. “London’s what I’m most excited for,” he says, “because that’s where it all happened. It’s a special place for me, I had hands down the best time of my life there, recording the album. It’s a weird feeling, but I feel like London’s got my back. Those are my people somehow, I don’t know how it came about, but it’s true.” P 48
F ESTIVA L N O.6 H AS A CR ACKIN G LI NE UP WORDS: LI AM KON E MAN N. PH OTO: RICH ARD JOH N SON.
edged between the lurid village of Portmeirion, a wide estuary, and a wall of rolling Welsh hills, Festival Number 6 is hovering on the edge of a fantasy. It’s only fitting, then, that hazy indie rockers Flyte open proceedings on the Main Stage. From the dreamy groove of ‘Victoria Falls’, through the sweetly pining ‘Cathy Come Home’ and on into ‘Faithless’, Flyte give a warm welcome. Naturally, Charlotte Church’s Pop Dungeon is set up to be a smash before the first of the vocal acrobatics have even begun. The setlist is designed to please, with a version of ‘Chicago’ sliding into ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ into ‘Earth Song’. It’s a party, a glittering singalong with hundreds of participants. Charlotte’s dose of sweetness and light turns out to be crucial to the balance, as the intensity of Kate Tempest’s performance sets in. She plays ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ from front to back, its telescopic focus making the set feel both expansive and intimate. Kate delivers poetry
for the apocalypse with a blistering heat that builds into a triumphant, life-affirming crescendo. The weather turns just in time for Ten Tonnes, and the sudden afternoon sunshine couldn’t be more fitting. His upbeat bops draws a major crowd as he shows off his ability with ‘Soft Lad’, ‘Cracks Between’ and ‘Born To Lose’. Brand new track ‘Lay It On Me’ and the older ‘Lucy’ keep him riding high, and cement Ten Tonnes’ place in the next batch of indie unmissables. Black Honey are a more prowling beast. The energy of ‘Madonna’ and ‘Somebody Better’ crackles and spits, before the electricity is balanced by gentler tracks like the sweetly sad ‘Corrine’. The band delve into the slow, rolling darkness of ‘Sleep Forever’, its contrast only serving to prove that for all their swagger and snarl onstage, Black Honey are no deft hands at the slow-burn. Superfood drop their second record the day before their Festival No. 6 appearance, and their set could double as its cheery baptism. Recent singles ‘I Can’t See’ and
‘Unstoppable’ are natural highlights, but in truth this is a performance without a weak link. ‘Bambino’ album tracks like ‘Where’s the Bass Amp?’ and ‘Natural Supersoul’ are equally sparkling, as is earlier single ‘Double Dutch’. Superfood have every reason to celebrate, and their set at No. 6 is a stand-out showing both the cause and the effect. The Rhythm Method, too, have cause for a party. Playing three sets throughout the course of the festival, their evening appearance at the Tim Peaks’ stage is a casual affair. After opener ‘Salad Cream’ they easily win the evening drinkers’ affection with the glittering ‘Party Politics’. ‘Something For The Weekend’’s sunny groove is another knockout, and by the time they reach closer ‘Local Girl’ The Rhythm Method’s clever wordplay and shiny beats have bagged them the world on a string. This year, Festival No. 6’s crop of indie stalwarts and newcomers has cemented its reputation as the jewel of the season’s smaller events. If 2017 is anything to go by, then 2018 will be unmissable. P
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L A N O I T THE NA AT UCHABLE O T N U E R A O T IM A P O L L N E V E ’S N LO N D O BE N N ET T. H LO U IS E
RA PH O TO : SA M IE M U IR . W O RD S: JA
s the lights dim in Hammersmith, a small camera projects onto the tiered screens adorning the stage. It’s positioned just behind the stage door, capturing moving bodies and last minute activity and slowly, one by one, reveals The National coming together and exchanging the final words before they once again transform a venue into an unbridled exhibition of human fragility, fever and feeling. It’s not so much that The National have come bursting in with all guns blazing, but they’ve captured a level of devotion that few bands could ever achieve. Guiding through a career that’s never compromised and always remained true, there’s a masterful touch to every moment tonight, like the coming of a glorious artistic statement that has everyone transfixed from the opening strains of ‘Nobody Else Will Be There’. New album ‘Sleep Well Beast’ is given an almost-full airing, jumping between the ferocious cuts of ‘The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness’ and ‘Turtleneck’ to the chilling serenes of ‘Guilty Party’ and ‘Walk It Back’. Never putting a foot wrong, the bright lights that scatter across each track and the shape-shifting visuals behind them feel like a band embracing and belonging to that clear-call of one
I LOVE YOU LIKE A BROTHER Dead Oceans
eeeee Alex Lahey might struggle to escape lazy comparisons with Australia’s other premier export Courtney Barnett, but in reality, though they may come from the same foundations, they’re heading for different destinations. Lahey’s debut full-length is gloriously direct. Engaged, full throttle and packed with hooks, every word is written in 100 point neons. Title track ‘I Love You Like A Brother’ rattles and rolls, all harmonies and hand claps, while ‘Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder’ burns hotter than a thousand suns. Within ear for a pop rock masterpiece, it’s a hard task to find points where Lahey doesn’t hit her mark. Opener ‘Every Day’s The Weekend’ sparkles with abandon, while ‘I Haven’t Been Taking Care Of Myself’ takes a negative and turns it into a solid gold banger. While slacker cool may win the critical plaudits, with songs this good, there’s
more than one way to take over the planet. Stephen Ackroyd
REVELATIONS Father/Daughter Records
eeeee “Music is my therapy,” claims Shamir. Six months on from the release of second album ‘Hope’, it’s easy to see why he’d see it in such terms. The start of a manic episode that ended up with a week on a psych ward, by the time he arrived in Las Vegas he only had the guitar he’d travelled with, a bass and a drum sampler. They say creativity comes from limitation - if that’s true, it’s no wonder ‘Revelations’ sparkles with invention. Described as “a journal I’m sharing with the world”, it proves that Shamir’s talent will shine through no matter what life throws. Lead track ‘90s Kids’ may concern itself with the struggles of a generation, but as it dances in the dark, it can’t help but offer up a defiant burst of light. Every cloud has a silver lining - this one is made of solid gold. Stephen Ackroyd
of the great bands of a generation. The blissed-out cathartic feeling that comes out of the opening plucks of ‘Graceless’ and ‘I Need My Girl’ finds tears flowing throughout the hall, swelling into a beautiful whole on ‘England’ and its building layers that finds frontman Matt Berninger patrolling the stage with the look of a thousand tales behind his eyes. ‘Sea Of Love’. ‘Fake Empire’. Early EP favourite ‘About Today’. A blooming cover of Talking Heads’ ‘Heaven’. There is no turning away from such a powerfully crafted display of a band in their prime and knowing it too. Pints are thrown, songs are drowned out by the voices of a choir all flinging themselves into every word and sound that comes from their catalogue and moments are made - and its in those exact pinpoints that a band become undeniably special. The National continue to look forward with the weight of emotion and majesty that they have formed from years of dedication. It’s written across every face in Hammersmith tonight - and as Matt careers through the crowd one thing is clear. The National have become the band of the people. Sometimes the truly special bands are the ones whose shows can’t be put into words. The National are that band, and they’re only just getting started. P
S R E L L I K E H T
N AT O I S A C C O EMY SEIZE THE D A C A N O B RI XT 2 O S ’ N O LO N D LO U D. O TO : RO B IE M U IR . PH M JA S: RD WO
ho disputes The Man? Powerful, dominant and all-encompassing – it’s a road that The Killers have rightfully claimed as their own over the past twelve years, marking themselves as one of a handful of bands who not only jump to mind but define a generation. While sometimes they may just embrace the role, lately things have taken a real grab ‘em by the throat mentality, like the time a band realises that they need to truly kick the competition to the curb. 2017 is laid out for The Killers to own, a statement of where the stadium-conquerors now find themselves in a world that seems to change on a dime every couple of months. Longing for the Las Vegas natives to seize the occasion and more, rolling into Brixton Academy is a prime affair – one that shines a light far brighter than any stadium show or festival headlining set on where The Killers sit in the world at this very moment. They’re a band of immeasurable importance and one seething with a hunger that’s sure to ignite a new era in a heartbeat. It’s that exact message that bursts into Brixton with the arrival of ‘The Man’, lighting the fuse on a set that sizzles with urgency. The swagger-filled opener should be plastered across every flag and sign that comes from the stage Brandon Flowers & Co find themselves and sets the tone for a set that never feels tired or repetitive, but instead feels like a culmination of everything they’ve been working on till this point. Re-energised and soaring, the opening one-two that comes with ‘Run For Cover’ gazes directly at the future – unravelling a greatest hits assortment that has Brandon drowned out from the very first kicks of ‘Spaceman’, ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ and ‘Somebody Told Me’. ‘Read My Mind’ is spiritual, ‘Mr Brightside’ sets light to sheer chaos,
‘Human’ demands to be screamed along to amidst pogoing crowds and ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ stands as an anthem that transcends any sort of ‘hit’ or memory but continues to create its own orbit around them. More than anything, Brixton tonight is the sound of a band searing with power, discovering and showing that hunger and passion for more – simply settling is a ridiculous notion when screened across the panoramic dreams displayed in Brixton tonight. If anyone can ever chuck criticism at The Killers, it’s born out of that fear that they may slip into averageness. We don’t want them to go down the line of U2, spawning out an album every few years to kickstart a tour, but instead leading that charge for the next sound and vision – frothing at the mouth with a hunger that can never be satisfied. Tonight at Brixton, The Killers became that band again. The one that isn’t satisfied with the normal, but wants more. When Brandon Flowers leans out to hear from the vast crowds, he wants to hear the screams and pulsations of an audience gazing into the future, not one locked in the past. With new album ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ incoming, Brixton tonight feels more like a line in the sand. There truly is nobody quite like The Killers. That is a statement that rings long out of Brixton tonight – grabbing the world by the throat and no longer settling for an average reaction. Aiming to be the best and not being afraid to own it, that sounds like The Man to us. It’s pretty amazing how one track can open things up, and sometimes we need one night in South London to remind us all of that. The 21st century belongs to The Killers. By bringing things back, they’ve proven their importance on a level that simply can’t be quantified in physical numbers on a spreadsheet. Now that’s a ‘Wonderful, Wonderful’ future, just ask The Man. P
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THE LEXINGTON, LONDON It takes guts to pause in the middle of one of your most popular songs to plug the merch table, but Jamie Glass’s cheeky charm means there’s not a face in sight which doesn’t meet and match his beaming grin. Get Inuit roll out their greatest hits so far - plus a couple of cracking newbies they’re overly apologetic for - with all the energy of Skittles-fuelled toddlers. Confidence abound, they rock out to a room packed with crowd-surfers and Jamie Glass lookalikes, barely taking a breath. Support from the smooth and dreamy Stereo Honey plus the delightfully riotous Gaffa Tape Sandy is strong, but beauts like ‘Pro Procrastinator’ and ‘Teriyaki’ show the headliners’ pedigree and ensure unending adoration from their ever-increasing fanbase. Complete with an energy often reserved for practising in front of the bedroom mirror, Get Inuit make for a genuinely mind-blowing live experience well worth seeing. Ciaran Steward
ALBERT HALL, MANCHESTER There’s something fitting about the streets of Manchester being rainsoaked while Interpol are in town to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of ‘Turn On The Bright Lights’. Running through their seminal debut with near perfection - including the bonus track ‘Specialist’ - it’s a celebratory evening that somehow garners, even more, magic with the encore. Fan favourites such as ‘Slow Hands’ and ‘Heinrich Maneuver’ get an airing, while we’re even treated to a brand new track called ‘Real Life’. A perfect evening that held as much energy as when Interpol first suavely crept into our lives, they sound as dark as ever - here’s to the next fifteen years. Steven Loftin
YO NAKA A RE SO M ETH I N G SPECIA L AT TH E BORD E RL I N E WORDS: ALI SHUTLER. PHOTO: CORIN N E CU MMIN G.
onaka have had a busy summer. The band who took to The Great Escape, full of blurred lines, jagged edges and a hurried want for the party to start on their own terms were not the same beast by the time Reading & Leeds rolled around. That need to get things moving was still ever present, but carried by a confidence in the build and the thrill of the chase, they were bigger, better and more potent. With a handful of anthems-in-waiting at their disposal and the buzz of the new,
Tonight as the headline London’s The Borderline, things change once more. Starting the excitement from scratch, the gang colour the night in their own terms. From the word go, they toy with light and shade, fury and frenzy. There’s a space to play so of course Yonaka use it. Four songs in and ‘Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya’ hits. Instantly the excitement finds a new level to bounce from and carnage reigns. The whirling chaos carries on through ‘Drongo’ as Yonaka
push for more. Constantly driving things forward and pushing at the walls, theirs is an undeniable energy that lights up the room. Normally the slow burn of ‘All In My Head’ is used as a pause for breath but tonight, there’s simply no stopping them. ‘Ignorance’ and ‘Bubblegum’ lift things even further, a flurry of electric shapes, realised potential and swaggering wonder. There’s always been something special to Yonaka, an attitude and a need for space, and tonight sees them taking control in glorious high-definition. P
C HA RLY B L ISS A RE G RE AT AT
CORN EXCHANGE, CAMBRIDGE Ryan Adams has been having a bit of a rough time recently. Tweeting like it’s going out of fashion, he’s made some questionable choices, but tonight, having finally returned to Cambridge after nearly a decade, he lays them all to rest with a performance that comes straight from his earnest heart. Taking to the stage in a plume of smoke, Ryan and band are tight from the get-go. Clocking in at just over two hours, it’s a marathon of jams that challenge every emotional aspect you can think of. Cuts from across his mammoth back catalogue sit better than the newer from recent album ‘Prisoner’, though they’re still warmly received. All in all, it’s everything you could want from a Ryan Adams set. Steven Loftin
TH E O B L WORDS: ALI SH UTLE R. PH OTO: CORIN N E CU MMIN G.
harly Bliss have spent the days, weeks and months since they released ‘Guppy’ crashing head-first into peoples lives, stealing hearts and occupying minds with an unrelenting ease. They’re the sort of band who have a song celebrating their therapist, who roll their eyes and poke fun while telling stories of broken hearts and who know the meaning of joy. It’s all done with
an unflinching purity and an infectious excitement. From the screaming pour of ‘Percolator’, tonight’s show takes their “I think it’s cool I’m in touch with my feelings,” and passes it around. ‘Westermarck’ struggles to let go, ‘Scare U’ is “about how much I suck and am incapable of casual relationships”, while ‘Glitter’, all pointed barbs and sunshine escape, picks through the debris of a relationship. Throughout the jealousy,
the confusion and the fear, the band are self-deprecating but find the strength in their flaws. Giddy with companionship, they rage, giggle and yell. There’s colour in the grunge, glitter in the dark. Tonight might be their first time in London but by the time the onesong encore cover of Len’s ‘Steal My Sunshine’ rings out, Charly Bliss feel like old friends. Secrets are shared, crisis’s are averted and there’s a spirited togetherness in knowing that you’re not the only one with these feelings. P DOWN WITH BORING
ACTIVITY CENTRE IT’S TIME TO GET ARTY!
COLOUR ME IN We bloody love your fan art. We’ve been sent loads of it over the last couple of months, so we’ve decided to help you out when it comes to getting creative. Our resident illustrator Rhi has been inking up some of our favourite Dork artists. All you need to do is add the colour. simple, eh? This month it’s Will Joseph Cook who needs a bit of technicolour accompaniment. Get your crayons out and get on with it. Send your finished work to @readdork on twitter or to email@example.com via ‘email’ and we’ll find a way to show off the best ones.
PENS OUT! EYES DOWN! IT’S THE AMAZING DORK
3. What a Carrion this lot make (7) 5. PVRIS’ favourite season (6) 6. Fall Out Boy always save us their last one (4) 8. They’re so special (4) 9. Bloxx are getting fizzy (4) 11. Try not to, say Sløtface (8) 12. Dream Wife have been busy channelling the power of this basic element (4) 13. Saintly (7) 14. Girli’s making a humid mess (3) 16. Blaenavon recently released a cover of which pop star (5, 6) 52
1. DZ Deathrays have already made their summer 2018 plans (5) 2. You’ve got an appointment with Julien (5) 4. Returning trio with a fondness for flames (8,5) 5. It’s splitsville for this beastly group (4,6) 7. Confidence is a preference for the habitual voyeur of what is known as (8) 9. One is happening in the proximity of Milk Teeth (8) 10. Tegan & Sara are ready to call it (3) 15. Tove Lo’s disco appendages were sure to cause a stir (4)
A N Y OTHE R Q U E S T I O N S W ITH . . .
FICKLE FRIENDS THIS MONTH, NAT TI FROM FICKLE FRIENDS RUNS THE GAUNTLET OF OUR RANDOM, STUPID QUERIES.
Hello. How are you? Hey! I’m great thanks… currently en route to York for a lil festival. When’s your birthday? 12th February. What’s your favourite being-in-a-band perk? Erm… probably all the free clothes lol. What is the spookiest thing that’s ever happened to you? I ordered a pot of tea the other day, and a spider poured out of it and into my cup. I was shook. Who is your favourite member of One Direction? Harry. Always Harry. What was the first record you bought? Britney Spears - Lucky What did you last dream about? I dreamt my teeth all started falling
out. I’ve had this dream every night for about a week.
playground fence. It matched my coat and everything.
What strength Nandos sauce do you order? Lemon and Herb then I grab a bottle of hot Piri Piri sauce and pour it everywhere.
Do you believe in aliens? Anything is possible….
What was the last thing you broke? A nail. And my phone screen. In one evening. Which defunct band would you most like to reform? Friendly Fires… and I think they actually might be! What’s your biggest fear? Loneliness. Tell us a secret about yourself? I kissed a girl, and I liked it. What is your most treasured possession? My voice. What is your earliest memory? Being four years old and the school bully throwing my furry hat over the
Have you got any secret tattoos? I have a GRL PWR tattoo hiding under my pants. Who’s your favourite new band? Yungblud. If you won the lottery, what would you spend the cash on? I’d buy all the cosmetics company’s still testing on animals and put an end to it. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done? I tracked a guy down on linkd in that I met at a festival (CRINGE). We started emailing (yes email) but turns out he has a GF. How punk are you out of ten? 2. What do you want for Christmas? To see my family.
Abattoir Blues 23 Alex Lahey 49 Alvvays 19 Arctic Monkeys 19 At The Drive In 19 Bad Sounds 18 Beck 12, 45 Black Honey 48 Bloody Knees 46 Bloxx 24 Bully 42, 45 Bon Iver 16 Catholic Action 7, 46 Charlotte Church 48 Charly Bliss 51 Chloe Howl 23 Confidence Man 17 Courtney Barnett 47 Dead Pretties 17, 27 Death From Above 19 Destroyer 45 Dua Lipa 19 Enter Shikari 14 Estrons 17 Ezra Furman 10 Fickle Friends 54 First Aid Kit 10 Flyte 48 Freak 6 Friendly Fires 14 Frightened Rabbit 19 Gang Of Youths 26, 47 Gengahr 17 Get Inuit 51 Husky Loops 45 INHEAVEN 11 Interpol 51 Jorja Smith 19 Julien Baker 18, 38, 47 Kate Tempest 48 King Krule 46 King Nun 6 Kurt Vile 47 Lorde 10, 18 Low Island 25 Marika Hackman 18 Milk Teeth 17 Morrissey 18 Muna 36 Nelson Can 25, 47 Noel Gallagher 16 Nothing But Thieves 4 Pale Honey 46 Pale Waves 19 Perfume Genius 18 Pumarosa 18 QTY 48 Run The Jewels 18 Ryan Adams 51 Sea Girls 23 Shame 17 Shamir 18, 40, 49 Skott 22 St. Vincent 44 Superfood 48 Tall Ships 16 Tegan & Sara 47 Ten Tonnes 48 The 1975 16 The Killers 50 The National 49 The Rhythm Method 48 Tusks 45 Vampire Weekend 19 Violet 23 Weaves 13 Wild Beasts 8 William Patrick Corgan 47 Will Joseph Cook 52 Wolf Alice 28 Yeah Yeah Yeahs 10 Yonaka 51
VISIONS OF A LIFE OUT NOW WOLFALICE.CO.UK
Published on Oct 13, 2017